Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall at the Beach (and no, not off the lifeguard chair)





We had an amazing evening at the beach yesterday with the doggies.

It always feel like a gift to me to be at the beach after Labor Day. A hold-over I guess from school days.

We stayed until it got dark, and Ella jumped and jumped off the lifeguard chair.

That Joy loves Declan. She does whatever he asks her to do. Me, she just follows around, but Declan is her special love, I think.

Milo was snuffling and snuffling and came across a jelly fish. It was really beautiful, but I always think that then it is going to kill us. I know, I am totally paranoid about jellyfish (and don't get me started about TICKS).

New Beginnings





I love fall. It seems to be a time for new stuff to come up and other things to be put away. I like the holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and the weather (mmmm...cozy sweaters).

We are trying this fall, in the spirit of the season, a new piece to our routine. We have been having big yummy breakfasts. Well, Ella calls them weird breakfasts, but *I* think they are delicious.

We loved when we were at the conference and we would all eat and plan our day together. As Ella usually sleeps in and Declan is a bear until he eats, breakfasts together had all but disappeared from our family.

Last week we had breakfast burritos that were not a huge hit. I am going to try them again, though, because I got some farm fresh eggs yesterday and that should make them more appealing. We had pancakes which are always welcomed in the morning, and a baked french toast dish with apple-brown sugar-caramel sauce. I know! It sounds great. I have to admit, tho, it was totally stinky. We had a lovely oatmeal day, with vanilla soy milk and crunchy granola to go on top.

The topping on the coffee cake, so to speak, was the crepe day. We had crepes with all kinds of topping imaginable. We had strawberries, and raspberries, and apples and caramel and organic chocolate syrup and maple syrup and butter and yogurt and even a little left over vanilla ice cream.

Declan had his crepes plain.

Of course.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cooking



Ella really loves to cook. She is getting good at baked goods and trying her hand at other concoctions. Yummy. Maybe she'll make some Christmas presents this year. Delish.

Back in the Swing of Things

We are back into our crazy schedule. How can it be when I had so many good intentions of being very laid back?!?!

Oh, who am I kidding. I am just not laid back.

Declan found this cool vine to swing on, isn't it great?

Today we had Writer's Workshop, and we are doing a big project. I try to have the kids really enjoy what they are doing, and so I asked if they would like two weeks to make their Author Biography posters. Of course, they ALL wanted to get it done in one week. I tried to impress on the parents that they kids could take longer....we'll see how it goes.

Doesn't Ella look like she just discovered a whole new landscape? Maybe she did.

We had what may be the final swim of the season today. We went to Hathaway's pond and splashed around this afternoon. The water was actually pretty warm, so we were all in. Okay, I admit it, I was only in up to my waist, but I was in a bathing suit!

Then, we went to this great store called Edelweiss in our neighborhood and got some sculpting wax and a ladybug ball. Then we *had* to hit the beach in order to try out the ball and see if the puggies would be interested in fetch.

They aren't.

They love the beach, tho.

Yummy fresh fish for dinner and it was pretty much a perfect Cape Cod fall day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wide Variety of Names

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car): Pax Windstar
YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Mocha-Chocolate Chip
YOUR "FLY Girl" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name): J Hun
YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Beige Dolphin
YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Lynch Syracuse
YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) : Hun Je
SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put "The"): The Blue Cosmopolitan
STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy) White Linen Snickers
WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names ): Anne Kevin

Friday, September 21, 2007

Plimouth Plantation

We had great weather for a visit to the Plimouth Plantation. It was really nice there today. I am always a bit uncomfortable talking to the people in costume, but we were able to have a nice chat with a young woman today about kids games, and a gentleman in his house who was talking about his neighbors (the Wamanoag emissaries sent by the tribe sachem to communicate with the newcomers). It was actually a family of ten that lived there in the Hockamock settlement.

In was an interesting stream of events that led us here today.

Yesterday, we were inspired by the Curious George show to make some instruments of our own and I thought of this paperbag book I had seen at our library with instructions to make Native peoples' instruments. The book had some information about different tribes, and we talked about the Wampanoag Nation that was involved with the Pilgrims in 1627. Our little library was gifted by patrons with some passes this year, so we were able to reserve a pass for the Plimouth Plantation for today.

These beautiful woven mats on the inside of the We-Tu (whee-two? spelling unknown to me!) provide a path for cool and hot air to flow through the dome-like structure. There was a man in Native dress today who was making a new structure. He asked for Declan's help. I love hearing about how the children were raised alongside the adults learning by observing and playing.

In this particular structure we met a great collection of fellow homeschoolers. They were snapping pictures of all the differently shaped We-Tus because they were going to make one of their own when they got home.

Note the chamber pot! That is the green pot under the bed, which has its curtains drawn. The kids were very interested in this, along with the conversation they overheard about "snot" being fluid from the brain. Yuck.

Declan *loved* this treasure chest and the thought of it sailing over the ocean. There were only blankets in it, tho.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pumpkin Pictures



These were some big ole pumpkins :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to Fall

Well, it is getting cold here. We went this week to the fire station, and it was a bit of a bust, actually.

I guess I overestimated the need of the kids to see their friends shortly after we came back from Live and Learn. Or, maybe, it is that seeing their friends here, as much as they may like them, is not as exciting as a camp gathering.

Anyway, fire stations always freak my kids out a bit, what with the constant threat of an emergency. Ella decided to wear her iPod, but then took it off when the fireman (very sweetly and good naturedly) asked if he was boring her. She was embarrassed, because although I think that the fire fighter was just trying to connect, it singled her out, and then she was kind of done with the fire station.

Why does this always happen to my girl? She would like to come to situations on her own terms, and it seems most places we go some adult is trying to draw her out. As the "drawing out" backfires, she withdraws more. Nine times out of ten this just makes one of two things happen: a) the adult just tries harder and harder to our increasing discomfort or b) the adult tries to engage me about how *shy* she is. Ugh.

This rarely happens to Declan, and when it does there are different results. Maybe it is a gender thing? Girls should be more compliant and talkative? I don't know. IT is not an age thing, as this has always happened with her.

Anyway, we went to the Sheriff's Ranch to look at the pumpkins today. We ended up with one for the porch and a few tiny ones for, as Declan calls them "pumpkin pets". The man helping us kept telling the kids to take a few, so each child picked out two small ones.

I had forgotten to tell the kids that the people working there were in the custody of the Sheriff's Department. Ella saw one of them wearing a t-shirt that said "Sheriff Inmate" and started to laugh, thinking it was a joke. I whispered to her about the minimum security farm, and how the place works.

It was an interesting experience to see and interact with the inmates. She was shocked that the people there were prisoners, including the man who had told us the names of all the different types of pumpkins and told us which variety was the best for long term color on our porch. There is something to be learned from everyone who comes across your path, or pumpkin patch.

We also visited Bray Farm. How fun! The Scottish Highland Cattle were cute, I thought, but Declan thought that they were scary. That is until he saw that one had broken one of his horns, then he melted with compassion for that one.

We of course oohed and aaahhed over the chickens. Oh, I hope there are chickens in my future. These are a special kind of banded American chicken that had almost become extinct until the 1970s when all things American were in fashion. The breed was brought back. What a bunch of fat and healthy looking chickens.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Morning. You are loved.


A Reminder

I am enough

Just me alone

With no one’s approval

Only my own


I am complete

With no need for more

Containing within me

An infinite store


I am abundance

I am magic and light

I am creation

I am joy and delight


I am Source of it all I am boundless, and yet

Being still human Sometimes I forget.


by Dan Coppersmith

www.spiritwire.com

Lunch in Manhatten

Yep, that's what we did. Just popped on into NYC for a little lunch on our way home yesterday. What was it that Jon said? Oh, yeah, we are all going to die. I guess that means seize the day.

My brother, urban mental mapper extraordinaire, was able to guide us to a parking space and restaurant, people watching spot and cheap gift shop from atop some scaffold in Boston or something.

He is AMAZING that way, like having a human GPS for a relative.

I called him from the Lincoln tunnel, saying we had decided to try to see something of New York, and had about 2 hours. He said some things to me, street names, encouraging sounds about how easy it was to drive around the city, general tips and something about watching the meters.....

I know now to just let it all wash over me like he's a hypnotist and I'll get somewhere great.

And, yep, he did it again!

We saw a couple of tattoo parlors, a head shop (are they still called that? I am so unhip), the CBGB gift shop, and a great comic book store that Declan loved. Ella got some henna tattoo stuff from a Tibetan man and some magnetic rocks from an Indian.

We were having the best pizza, and had one of those New York moments.

There was a young, preppy looking 20-something sitting next to us. His cell phone rang.

He answered, "Chad here. What can I do for you?" All business. Suddenly he sounds like a high powered agent or something.

Oh, yeah, I had to listen in.

So he goes on, "Yeah. There is No. Way. we are getting in that space. The place is padlocked. I can't pick it. I can't break it. I can't card it and the super is not taking a bribe."

Hee hee. Gotta love New York. We are SO going back.

Watching Jake


What a great title my friend Anne gave to this picture. I love the look of intense concentration on Declan's face. He is completely absorbed in what Jake is telling him, but more than that, he is so focused on the being of Jake and all that he is showing to Declan of himself.
Oh, what a lucky boy to have these wonderful people in his life to love and be loved by!
As I look back, this may have been one of my favorite moments of the conference. There was enough space in that moment for me to really be in that moment, and it was all so connected and lovely.
Thanks, Anne for sending the picture!

Happy to be Home


We are happy to be home. We rolled the windows down as we crossed the Sagamore bridge and yelled "Hooray for SEA LEVEL hooray for SEA LEVEL!"


There was a beautiful sunset, and the air smelled so delicious. It was salty and sparkly and yummy to my nose.


The pugs clearly missed us all. We have been having a big cuddle fest on the couch and they were so happy to take a walk with us today. As I had anticipated, the bird is snubbing me. When Ozzie finally came home from his other house, he was so happy to see me he joined both pugs and sat on my lap too!!! Of course, he doesn't mind Joy, and he jumped right down when he realized that Milo was huddled under the blanket, too.


My mom came down and we walked through our sweet little village, aka "New England Land at Disney". It couldn't be more like a postcard. I am conflicted about this, as I like a little disorder and rebellion, but it is comforting that it pretty much is always the same.
We had a wonderful day reconnecting with my mom and our town. It feels like we are home, now. Tomorrow, we are going to visit the Fire Station and have lunch with Tom and Jenny. That should be nice, too. We can all wear our fire helmets into Friendly's!

Amy Steinberg

Yay! She is coming to TOAD on October 4th! I think it may the perfect venue for Ella to see her in, as I know the place (didn't Auntie Shaunda work there for a minute?), and it is pretty intimate, and hopefully won't be completely overwhelming. Maybe earplugs would be a good idea this time around.

So? Who's coming?
Who knows that they are Exactly Where They Need to Be?

I have heard that she is little, uh, graphic in person and says the F-word. I think we can survive that. It won't be anything my kiddos didn't hear when I found out I was going south to travel from North Carolina to Massachusetts. It was not a pretty Mom moment (blushing).

If you (gasp!) don't know her, you can check her out at http://www.amysteinberg.net/

Virginia Diner

We stopped in this diner for lunch (before the conference, but there has been so much going on, I am backtracking a little bit). The inside was all about The King, Elvis. There was even a motorcycle in the restaurant.

The place had two sections, one for smoking, and one for non-smoking. Even two sections are pretty much unheard of here in New England at this point.

Anyway, there were some people in the restaurant, but not many. However, the hostess told us that we had to sit in the smoking section ("But no one's smokin' there righ'now, hunny") becauser there was a prayer meeting going on in the non-smoking section.

Oh, how I felt like Dorothy saying we're not in Kansas anymore. We were so not in Massachusetts anymore.

I have never been told, in the company of small children, that I had to sit in a smoking section because a bunch of men were praying.

Oh, yeah, and this statue was outside. Thank goodness the pancakes rocked and the coffee was awesome. Otherwise, I might have been completely freaked out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Asheville

I never posted about my superhero boy standing with Batman! How cute is he? Asheville is a really cool town with all sorts of funky nooks to see. We couldn't squish it all in to one afternoon, but we tried despite the heat.
Oh, just look at these wonderful women. How I love them! Oh, and now I see Quinn is peeking in the background, and Anna's Dave, too....they can be included in the circle of love.

We were at this point all into the chocolate experience we had had and feeling really glad that Jake wanted to go into this groovy Woolworth Walk Art Gallery. I wish I had taken a picture of the floor, because it reminded me of the stores in Harvard Square when I was a kid.
I think that the glow-y quality of picture is perfect for how I felt about that lunch. All a-glow and happy. Declan is blurry, also perfectly capturing his energy of the day as he was a bundle of all kinds of stuff.

The restuarant had a Star Wars wall with all the band characters from the bar scene. There was a wall of remotes, a wall of DVD covers that were turned into tiles. It was all kinds of cool. They were also very very nice about the fact that we re-arranged all there furniture, since, as Anne said, "We all drove pretty far to have lunch together".
I took the picture for two reasons. Ella thought that the big butt lady looked like me and what we call my Butt Of Power. I thought that the cat picture was outstanding. It says We are Cat. Resistence is Futile. Geek humor, I know, but you can't live with Ian for so many years and not get a bit geeked out seeing Star Trek Humor in odd places.

We had the coolest time in Asheville!

Blue Ridge Parkway

Nature girl is getting used to the altitude, Declan didn't want to stand so close to the edge.

We think that these are gypsy moth nests. Either that or Spiderman and Mary Jane's babies. There has been some debate in the car.
The Blue Ridge Parkway (which runs up to the Smokey Mountains) is unbelievebly beautiful!! What a place. There are these lookouts along the way, and I could have stopped at every single one!

Also, there are tourist info centers. We stopped at as many of those as possible. They are elaborate, with gift shops, etc. The best one was the Gem Museum. And it is all free!

The National Park Service is great. I think that every time I travel. We have a passport (if you go anywhere, I recommend getting one) and we have collected about 10 stamps for it on this trip. The park service people are so happy to talk to you and share information, as well.

Painting


So my mom has been reading about the conference here at the blog, and thinks I am crazy.
Oh, well. This will add fuel to the crazy fire. I thought that this was brilliant. There was a huge canvas, and paints. Add some kids and teens and you get a beautiful painting.
It was pure genius.
I am not sure we should necessarily paint because "we're all going to die anyway", but when a conference gets a theme I guess you just go with it. Thanks, Jon Kream.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Computer Gaming Room

Soccer in the gaming room. Hee hee. Who says gaming is sedentary?
Well, maybe a little sedentary.
Declan is enthralled.

Bellydancing (American Tribal)




There was so much we didn't get to! We never went to one of the Tribal Dancing events, but we did get to see the dancing at the Talent Show. There was so much to do, we just couldn't do it all. These women were amazing, and it was so inspiring to see them shaking their groove thing!

Declan LOVED the drumming and is quite the little belly dancer himself.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Building Funshop

video

JUMPING!!

Ummmm. hmmmm, it looks far down. Mom is definitely freaking out a bit. "Hmmmm....16 feet deep? Should I really?" she thinks.
Then, she decides that she going for it!
Wheeeeeeeeee! She is going in (remember it is 16 feet deep!)

SPLASH DOWN!

Cars


This ca belonged to the conference coordinator. It was so great to see it bopping around the place!

This car had the names of all the people in it on it! So fun!

So you think my car is bumper stickered?

Who is this guy and why is in my pictures? LOL



Talent Shows and Funshops

Ella ended up running a little impromptu funshop on how to make yarn dolls. They were into it! She is so great at explaining how to do things. She gets the detail oriented explanations from her dad, and the delivery from me.
I am bummed that my pictures of the talent show are coming out so dark. This is the band formerly known as The Ohman Family singers. As they have evolved (from singing with mechanical hamsters to singing with actual instruments), they are apparently in search of a new name. The band is conflicted over something deep and meaningful (Navigating Rapids or something) OR something not meaningful (Hot Dog Lips or something).

Ideas anyone? How about HotDogs with Meaning?

These sweet boys were able to show Declan how to duel yesterday. It was the highlight (so far) of the trip!

Ah, the sheer joy of dancing on tables with glow sticks! Does anyone else ever wonder if they are raising children who will be really really popular at raves?

Do people even have raves anymore?