Wednesday, November 26, 2008

15 days: Play

Today I found much happiness in watching the children play with our Enchanted Winter scene, something we created with our own hands.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

15 days: burlap

So I had been thinking "burlap" for the pirate blocks bag.
With a cotton lining to help hold it stable?

Then yesterday I visited this fabulousness. I almost cried (over the pears and birds).
Needless to say I decided right then and there that burlap was definitely The Thing.

After a trip to the fabric shop for said medium - where I also purchased a brand new pair of Fiskars thankyouverymuch - I raced home and settled in for a long day with the sewing maching.

The burlap looks beautiful with the map print for the pirate bag.

Next I knew that I had to have a bag. Burlap and linen.
I already even knew it's Function.
When we went to the nature park with friends the other day, I carried around the Adventure Pack (our giant backpack that we drag to the park, friends' house, etc). Because we always take the Adventure Pack. It has pencils, and paper, first aid kit, colored pencils, scissors, magnifying glasses, etc.

But I didn't need it that day for a few-minute Wander. And I didn't particularly want to carry it -it can be awkward during photos- but I did. Because I wanted the scissors.
Aaaah. Thank goodness for such small little magical moments.
Because now I have this.
A doubled linen lining. With an extra thick pocket for scissors. With a little v shape to keep them just so. Behind the scissors is a pocket for pencils. And there is a little one for my camera batteries. And another one just right for keys. And another large one just right for a medium sized notebook.
The main section will fit my laptop. Or a set of colored pencils and a sketch pad. Or a beautiful "how to" watercolor book.

It has an extra long strap that of course fits me perfectly. Over one shoulder, so the bag rests low on my hip (or in the back).Perfect for Steps From Home. Perfect for short walks in the neighborhood. Perfect for nature trails.

Trevelyn has one of his own. He was interested. For keeping leaves. Beautiful found stones. Treasures. And a magnifying glass.

I'm so in love with my Goodliness that is burlap, linen, and buttons.

bags and bags

One for Baby
one for our little Friend
one for Trevelyn
and one for Mama.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hand Made

Here's the tally so far.
Isn't this exciting? :)
(If you're here visiting for ideas, you may want to see the Sharing the Holidays posts.)

Botanical ornaments. They may go in a pretty glass jar for my sister, or they may go in a bowl. Either way, there will probably be pinecones and silk ornaments with it. The pinecones we will gather ourselves, of course!

A button ornament for me. I buy a pretty ornament every year, this year I've made it. (lace on a styrofoam ball, covered with buttons. very simple.)

You remember the star ornament from a week or so ago? This is the second one I've made - there will be more.

The hiker's plant press. More are coming.

Beads.Love these.

Last night's project - an art apron for Madeleine. It's canvas with calico trimmings. Very excited about this!

This morning's project was a table cloth for Maddie's little table in her room. I've made pretty linens (table cloth and napkins) for her tea parties.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Meditation Beads

Ever since I read Eat, Love, Pray I've wanted beads.
Not necessarily for ritual, or for repetitive 'prayer', if you will, but as a conscious/subconscious/spiritual consciousness reminder during meditation.
This first strand's intention is Love. (I've made a couple more since then.)

Now I have my beads.
And I love them.

I loved creating them with my bare hands. I made them consciously, as I knew for what purpose they were as I was crafting them.

I've washed them, and I've oiled them. And no doubt I'll be setting them out under the New, and then the Full Moon.
Yay for Love beads.

15 Days: Piles of Goodness

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gift List

Let me just tell you how excited I am that we're making almost all of our gifts this year!
Well, aside from my children's gifts. Though I will where I can.

And let me tell you something else... all that crafting we've been doing? I haven't bought anything!! I think the only thing I had to buy was velcro strips for the plant presses (and I'll have to buy the plastic rings to secure them) and a large bottle of craft glue. Mine was a little one, and almost gone. That's it! Everything else we've had.
Makes me feel justified in collecting things, let me tell you. (Not in a packrat, never-throw-anything-away way, but in a "Ooh, look at this pretty silver paint. And it's on sale for 59cents! That might come in handy someday...." sort of way. Let me just say again... Ha!

Doing handmade this year is not about the money, as we all know that often times we can buy it for far cheaper than we can make it, so when you already have the supplies, it sure cuts down on the angst.
It's about crafting. Making things with my bare hands and bare heart and bare spirit.
It's about being in that zone... where the ideas come faster than you can make the dream happen. It's about those famous, lovely, flowing Juices.

The energy is zipping and zapping in our house right now.
It seems that everything is "Step outside your regular self and let ingenuity and creativity be your guide."
Who could complain about that?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

15 days: shiny and muddy

Has it been 15 days yet?
Just wondering.

This morning, first thing.... well, first thing after the sun came up.... I found happiness in a dish filled with our remnants of the last few days.
Buttons, pompons, glitter, lace, threads, glitter, shiny stars, and more glitter.
I loved it.
I didn't take a picture, because I know that I can never photograph glitter well. It always just looks like random bits.
It loses its magic, I suppose.

A few hours later I saw this little bit of sweet.And I sighed in a wistful sort of way.
And I thought "Not too much more of that for a while."And it was enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

crafting frenzy

See that big white glare at the bottom right? (er, next to the glass of golden elixir?)
That would be The Take-Out Menu.


Life's so good.

15 days

Happiness is found sittin' at the kitchen table stitching mittens while the babes are heard giggling at a movie in the next room.


Is it wrong that I'm sitting here at the kitchen table thinking, fantasizing, dreaming about, and sighing over crafts?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

15 days: rock and roll

U2's Rattle and Hum
Good Morning VietNam
Doors, Best Of
Jimi H.'s Band of Gypsies
and Bob Marley.... just to keep us from spinning and dancin' high off the earth.

playin' loud and proud.
rock on.

happiness in crafting

I've been at it this morning.
Evidently I'm consumed.

Since I get up before the sun (which means long before my Loves), and since all my happy chaos was still on the kitchen table.....

Here is a project that I hope the children will want to do for their grandmothers. I came across the idea yesterday, here. I loved it.
You just press a plant for a day or so until it's flat - but making sure it isn't for so long that it gets too dry and brittle. Then paint craft glue onto the glass votive holder, and press on your plant. Let it dry for a while, so it is sticking firmly, then glaze with glue again and put bits of torn tissue paper covering all of the glass.
I knew that I wanted to use plants in season, so I went to my mother's to snip some Holly from her gardens.
Here's mine.I think this idea might also be pretty with different colored tissue paper (sans botanicals), making it look like stained glass. Children might really enjoy doing that.

And my other accomplishment this morning - I'm so excited about this one.
I came up with this idea when I was doing impressions with leaves with my children a few weeks ago. I thought that pine would be beautiful placed in the plaster with red rosehips or Holly berries, and I was right (though I've used tiny pinecones here)! I'm so glad they turned out.
The children and I are doing this project today, so I'll post pics later of how we did it on olm.
I think they'll be beautiful in groupings of three or four, hanging next a doorway.
I am considering making such a thing for gifts, I think a set of some pressed herbs would be lovely hung in the kitchen.
This, too, would be beautiful for Thanksgiving, using autumn's colors and offerings.

That's all for now.
As I Really Must Clean.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

holiday crafting

Today I got started on my crafting for the Solstice/Christmas Season.
Outside we use lots of traditional garlands and bright red velvet ribbons, but inside I like things to flow with the rooms - gold, sage, pinks and burgandy in the livingroom, sparkly white snowflakes in the kitchen, and a more rustic and woodsy sage and burgandy in the den.

I love getting things ready for the holidays! But if I wait too long, then I just get discouraged -- there's so much to do!

So this year, today!, I have begun.
Mostly in honor of the sharing that I look forward to.

I came up with this idea a few years ago. It's one of my favorites. I love things pretty, but I also like to honor Mother Earth's gifts.
What better way than with silk ribbons, candlelight, and tiny pinecones? This would also be beautiful with an Autumn colored ribbon with dangling acorns.

We're doing votive candle holders for gifts this year.
This one is a variation of the ones we'll make for others - pretty tissue paper from the holidays last year that I used (decoupaged) on a small glass bowl. I trimmed the top with rosehips from our gardens.
I started the hiker's plant presses that we're giving to the children in our family that hopefully will enjoy them on nature walks or camping trips.

And the children and I started a project, but we won't be able to finish it until tomorrow, so we'll share with you then! (I'm pretty excited about this one. I hope it turns out the way I envision.)

Here's another creation of the day.This one I've been meaning to do for years. I've even had the sticks cut and dried for ages.
It's just a star pattern with sheet moss in the center, dressed with different dried flowers and leaves. And it smells good! This would be beautiful and more special with dried flowers from the gardens. Here I've used mostly pretty potpourri.

And lastly, this. I just read about this idea today in one of my books.It said to put craft glue all over a 3" styrofoam ball, then roll it in potpourri.
Well - that didn't work. I tried a couple of times.
So I glued moss to it everywhere, then hot-glued different dried flowerheads and cones and pods to it, and finished it with ribbons coming up the sides. I think a few of these in different sizes and with different botanicals will be pretty in a bowl - with one or two silk ornaments in the bowl as well.
I'll let you know how that turns out.

Lots of lovelies today!

Holiday Gifts

Here's post number one!

A box of goodies (decorated shoebox?) filled with things you have in your craft cupboards, for your favorite little nieces or nephews - pipe cleaners, a bag of feathers, felt, stickers, pompons, sequins, buttons, a bottle of glue, maybe a piece of sandpaper, cut-outs, cardstock shapes, popsicle sticks, little balls of yarn, beads, stars, whatever you've got!
I gave my niece such a box last year, and she loved it! She had lots of new supplies for decorating and crafting.

A pretty planter filled with forced bulbs. A beautiful pick-me-up for the long winter months. Either time it so that they bloom at Christmas/Yule, or for a bit after for staving off February's blues.

Tub teas are super easy, and much appreciated by most girls. You can either put some bulk in a jar accompanied with a new white washcloth tied with a ribbon to keep the tea inside or use a culinary cloth with a drawstring. The natural markets also sell little linen bags with a drawstring -- or you can make your own quite easily.
Lavender with bits of orange peel is a favorite, and of course Rose, also Raspberry or Strawberry leaf are very nice. You'll want to have fragrant oils for it too, and a fixative, such as dried orris root. (iris root) This will help to scent the teas, and keep the scent for longer.

I have a fabulous recipe for Bath Bombs - so delicious.
10 T baking soda
5 T cornstarch
5 T citric acid
1 1/2 T sunflower, sweet almond, or canola oil
1 1/2 T water
1/2 t Borax
1 T essential oil of your choice
Mix baking soda, cornstarch, and the citric acid. Mix the oil, water, borax and sent in a jar, making sure to shake it well. Drizzle the liquid mix over the dry ingredients, and mix it well with your hands. You can press them into molds, or I just shape them into balls, that are about 2-3 inches big. Let it set for at least 24 hours to harden, but then wrap it in plastic or cellophane or store in a container to keep the oils fixed to the balls. If I remember right, it makes 2-3 per batch, but it's been about three years since I've made them!

Bath Salts are nice, too.1 cup of epsom salts
10-20 drops of essential or fragrance oil
1 cup of sea salt
Mix up the salts, then take about a 1/2 cup out and put it into a little bowl. Add the oils (and food coloring if you like) to the salts, and mix well. When it's blended, mix this into the remaining salts. Repeat the process until you have the color and scent you want. Pour the salts into a pretty jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake it every day for a week to keep the salts loose.

A felt board is a good gift for a little one - I made one for Trev and Maddie one year out of stiff cardboard and a giant piece of felt. I cut out shapes of letters, numbers, shapes, figures, clothes, etc.

A puppet theatre can be made pretty easily out of a spring-rod curtain rod (or two) put into a doorway. Just cut and hem a hole in your "stage material" somewhere in the middle toward the top for the window. Sew a piece back on at the top for the backdrop curtain, if you like. Make or buy tickets and play money to go along with the theatre. Hand puppets can be made easily out of felt, also.

A dream pillow is a lovely addition to anyone's favorite pillow, just make a pillow-sized flat pillow with maybe 2-3 cups of lavender flowers sewn inside of it. You can decorate it with a couple of slim purple ribbons or bows, or some embroidery if you like. They can insert your pillow inside of their regular pillow case, have it tucked in with their pillow. I made one for my mother a few years ago - she enjoyed it for at least two or three years!

We have a hiker's plant press that we keep in our adventure pack. This year I'm making some for loved ones. You only need very thin plywood, cardboard, and acid free paper, and for binding - non-adhesive velcro and a sturdy plastic rectangular ring. Perfect for nature walks!

A few years ago I made a cloth carry-all for my colored pencils and charcoals. It's made out of linen, and I was careful to make extra padding for the pencil tips to protect those precious expensive pencils! I made extra pockets for a soft rubber, a sharpener, and a regular eraser. I just roll it up, it's much lighter than my tin for the pencils. My friend Julie is making one with a place for a sketch pad for a gift -- here's hoping she'll let us have a peak at how to go about doing that!

Sharing the Holidays

Hi friends.
I've been looking over some books and websites this morning, and I've gotten some lovely ideas for the coming busy and sparkly season.
I think we'll be making many of our gifts this year (a rather large fete, as we are not exactly "Step into my Enchanting Etsy Shop" people at my house. We try, but....), and I have begun collecting ideas and getting ready.

Here's what I'm thinking:

I'll of course share my favorite ideas, as always, but I would really appreciate it if you'd share yours, too. You don't have to post directions or anything -- even if you could leave a comment saying "We did something cool today, make sure to check out today's post!"

I'm hoping this way we can share ideas, and I can keep everything in one spot!

It's pure selfishness - I'll see something beautiful that I think someone I know will love, then I'll forget where I saw it, and won't be able to find it again.
This way, I can have everything under one category, including the comments.

Anybody interested?

Friday, November 14, 2008

15 days: friends

And their Fabulousness.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

cleaning potions

I make my cleaners.

I stopped using commercial household cleaners almost completely a couple of years ago, with the exception of laundry soaps and dish soaps - though now I make our powder dish-machine soap, too.

I've done quite a bit of research on it, as I'm something of a germaphobe (thanks, Putty).
When I clean, I have to know it's clean. It has to look clean, smell clean, feel clean, and sparkle clean. I have to hear the Voices of the Angels.
And I don't like vinegar. So there.

I am not above using a little bleach (a tablespoon or two) in a squirt bottle filled with water when things are feeling yucky. It sterilizes. I don't like to do it -- it feels like cheating, and I know it's not good for the earth. But I have lots of white tile, white shirts, and an aversion to mold stains on the bottom of white shower curtains, so I've made peace with it. But most of the time I try to stay on top of the bathrooms and the kitchen, so I don't use it.

With that full disclosure, :), here you go.

First I'll give you info on the ingredients, so that you can make your choices accordingly.

Lemon Juice and Vinegar neutralize substances such as marks from hard water (scale) because they are acidic. Acids also remove dirt from wood and dissolve tarnish and gummy build-up. Lemon is also an effective grease cutter.

Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) absorbs odors that are in the air, and neutralizes acid-based odors in the water. It can be used as a scouring cleanser, which can be used on bathtubs, sinks, countertops, fiberglass, and ovens. It will neutralize many chemical smells if added to the laundry.

Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) is somewhat similar to baking soda, but has a much higher ph. It's a great solvent that releases no harmful fumes. It cleans petroleum oil, wax and lipstick, and cuts grease. It also neutralizes like baking soda does. It's caustic, so they say you should wear gloves when working with it, though I never do am not bothered by it, even though I have somewhat sensitive skin. Natural and eco-friendly dish machine powders contain washing soda.

Borax (hydrated sodium borate) is a great multi-purpose household cleaner, though it is mildly toxic. It is also a water conditioner, so if a bit of it is added it to your recipes calling for a bit of soap, it acts as a hard-water softener. It deodorizes whatever it meets, and can be used to clean porcelain and fiberglass, along with most other surfaces, including fine china. It also helps to remove various stains. Do some research on it if you're thinking "absolutely non-toxic", though even essential oils can be deemed "toxic", as they are anti-biotic.

Soaps and Detergents are not the same thing. Soaps are made from lye and fat, and react with hard water, causing soap scum. Detergents are made of synthetic materials, specifically designed to not react as soap does.

Disinfectants are necessary for cleaning our environment and staying healthy. The EPA recommends a simple soap for this purpose. You can use essential oils added to or in lieu of a natural vegetable (such as castile) soap. All essential oils inhibit the growth of organisms – bacteria and germs- but some are more effective. For antibiotics, use garlic, lavender, myrrh, or tea tree oil. Anti-fungal oils are cinnamon, marjoram, myrrh, savory, tea tree and thyme. Antiseptic oils are bergamot, cajeput, cinnamon, eucalyptus, fir, garlic, juniper, lavender, pine, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, savory, tea tree, and thyme. For antivirals, use bergamot, eucalyptus, garlic, geranium, helichrysum, lemon, tea tree, and thyme. Bactericides are bergamot, cajeput, euclaytus, garlic, juniper, lavender, rosemary, tea tree and thyme. I've taken to using thyme in my dish-washing powder, as the research that I've done shows me that it kills bacteria, staph, ecoli, - is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.

As I said, I don't like the smell of vinegar, so I use lemon juice, instead. (I use the RealLemon in the green bottles.)

All Purpose Scouring Scrub
This is a great recipe for cleaning tile, and it has no acid so it will not deteriorate the grout. I have white tiles and grout in my kitchen that this cleans it beautifully. Also use it for bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and countertops.
2 parts baking soda
1 part borax
Few drops of essential oils
I recommend adding a few drops of essential oils (I use orange and a couple of drops of spearmint), but you’ll want to make a small enough solution that the oils don’t go to waste, as the soda will eventually absorb the fragrance, and the oils will evaporate. Try orange and peppermint together, or eucalyptus and ylang ylang, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, anything that smells clean to you! You can put the mixture in a cheese shaker or something similar for your ease.
For mold and mildew: use this same recipe, but make a paste to slather on wherever you need it. Leave it for a while, then scrub with a soft brush. If you need a bit more power, try the same thing with just borax.

All Purpose Cleaner
This is my favorite cleaner. I have one bottle filled for the bathroom, and one for the kitchen. They're the same ingredients, just different scents. Orange, grapefruit, and lemon essential oils for the kitchen, and spearmint for the bathroom cleaner. Love, love, love it. I use it on everything!
3 T lemon juice (or white distilled vinegar, if you prefer)
1 1/2 t borax
2 1/2 - 3 cups water
1/3 cup castile soap
26 ounce bottle (I use the Method bottles)
In large a measuring cup put in the borax, and add hot water to it, to dissolve the powder. When it dissolves, add the lemon juice or vinegar. Pour it into your bottle, and add the soap and water. You can used distilled if you prefer, though I run out so fast that I usually use tap water. Shake well.
Add oils of your choice for added disinfectant and fragrance. Use more or less ingredients, depending on how many ounces your bottle holds.
A great kitchen cleaner, as lemon juice and vinegar are both great grease-cutting agents. This recipe is especially helpful on the stove and the surrounding area.

Dishwashing Powder
The creator of this formula only uses a tablespoon in each compartment, but I use a bit more than that. I also use my " pre-rinse" cycle before I wash them, as it's not a "dissolve the food off the plate" cleaner.
I have hard water, so this recipe is acclimated to that. If you have soft water, cut your citric acid and salt to 1/4 cup each.
In a plastic container with a snug lid, mix:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup citric acid
30 drops citrus essential oil--lemon, grapefruit, orange, or tangerine. I use about 15 drops of citrus oil and 15 drops of thyme for disinfecting.
Shake it well, and done!

Dusting Cleanser
Outside of the kichen and bath I don't want to use soap, as I don't want a dull film on dressers, the wood in the livingroom, and every where else. So here's my spray for the rest of the house.
26 or so ounces of water
3-5 ounces alcohol (I use rubbing alcohol.)
Essential oils
For the oils, use whatever you prefer. I tend to use "happy home" ones, orange and bergamot for joy, lavender for harmony, pine for prosperity, clary sage for creativity, etc.
I spray what can be sprayed, and what can't I just wipe with the dampened rag.

Heavy Duty Anti-Funk Spray
Sometimes (like for the bathroom, or when we've had colds or the flu) the big guns are necessary. When that's the case, try this!
24-32 ounce spray bottle
4-6 ounces Rubbing Alcohol
Thyme oil.
I use this to spray down the bathroom when it's time for sterilizing, instead of bleach. I spray, then let it sit for about ten minutes, then wipe it down. The thyme has a strong antiseptic smell to it, but after I wipe everything down I scrub with my scouring powder, rinse, then finalize with my bathroom all-purpose cleaner. Yum yum. (Yup, cleaning the bathroom can be yummy.)

Carpet Freshener
baking soda
crushed herbs or essential oils
After washing out a commercial carpet fresh container, fill it up with baking soda, so you know exactly how much to make. Pour the soda back into a bowl, and mix it with either herbs that you have crushed in a blender, or several drops of your favorite essential oils. Orange and grapefruit make a lovely blend, but by all means experiment!
Let the baking soda set and get stomped on, it will absorb odors that are in your carpets. After vacuuming, you can even add a little more to leave on for an extra clean smell.

Drain Cleaner
1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for 20

Spot-Free Dishes
Add vinegar or lemon juice to the rinse compartment in the dishwasher. Both are acidic and neutralize alkaline substance such as hard water, so your dishes will come out clean and shiny

If you have a great window cleaner that you make, or wood oil, please let me know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

15 days: Warmth

Today I've traveled through many tumultuous emotions.
It's just one of those "crawl in" days.

All day I've been finding warmth in things - warm tea this morning, warm air blowing thoughout the house, warm sounds within the walls, the warm comfort of the washer and dryer going.... seeing Maddie grab a warm blanket and snuggle up to Annabelle.
I've been comforted, lulled, consoled, charmed, and loved by warmth today.

What I found the very most happiness in was seeing my little girl snuggled in a long flannel nightie - the arms hanging well past her tiny baby fingers, and the flounce dragging like a queen's mantle far behind her.

It puts to mind oodles of warm snuggles, and stories of "...Visions of sugarplums danced in their heads...."


out on a limb continued: working it through

Note: I wrote this post this morning, when I was still working though some problems in my own head. It has sat all day in Drafts, and I didn't think I would send it. But now I have decided that I will send it. It Is What It Is, and I'll not apologize for being hurt, doubtful, vulnerable, and worried. If you can't take it, don't read it. I don't mean to be rude - I'm just feeling defensive.

Sometimes I resent having to come up with answers all on my own.
Sometimes I feel angry that people don't share wisdom like "Seven year old boys are obnoxious."
Sometimes it pisses me off that I have to read on someone's blog "I'm sorry that stating whom I was voting for (or what I was worried about) offended you because you do not come here to read about reality, only about sweetness".

At the moment I'm upset about these particular things.
Not that I'll remain angry and hurt about it, for no doubt as soon as I'm done here I'll be feeling better.
And it's not my intent to relieve myself of frustration while upsetting others.
But hell's bells.

After my friend sent me the email, and after I had talked with Trev, and after my Aunt's note of encouragement, I eventually arrived to a place of "You're trying to separate it from "usual" - to make the specific situation be the problem, and it's not. It doesn't matter if it's two boys or two girls, or one of each. It's the same." (when we're talking about a tot, and what is funny or interesting. Noses, ears, tummy buttons, or parts.)

So often when I'm having a big problem with something, I cannot step out of my own head to fix it.
Like when I was around 29 or 30, and Eric said something about "kind of have a crush on her", and I was ready to kill him. Not because he had a crush on someone (I knew he adored me, and did not feel threatened by it), but because I had been ready to leave him the year before because I had found someone attractive and thought it meant that I no longer wanted to be with Eric.
And that I felt like a horrid mother because I found my child annoying, until I read "seven year old boys are obnoxious." That was a doozy. One day I had this sweet boy, and the next I had this Beastie that thinks poo and burping is hilarious, and that spends some of his time coming up with the most obnoxious and annoying sounds and screams on the planet. Mighty irritating at times, I can tell you.

So here I am, complaining that no one ever writes about these things to enlighten me with The Truth Of Things.

Yesterday I needed a "You're making too much of this. It doesn't matter that Maddie is a girl and Trev's a boy. She'd be doing the same thing if Trev were a girl."
"Talk with Trev about it."
Which I did again, this morning....
"Trev, can I talk for a minute?"
Maddy hadn't gotten out of bed, yet. We were in the livingroom - he had come in to get a prehistoric documentary.
"Sure, Mom."
"I wanted to talk to you about why I freaked out yesterday." As I have been trying to backpedal since then. Process, don't you know.
"Okay, Mom."
"The reason why the "privaxx parts" are private, is because that's where the sex organs are... the mating organs."
"Mom," he laughs, "Please don't say organs!!!" bwahhaha
Trev has a very sweet and charming way about him with "private" time. He'll say things like "when Annabelle will have puppies, she'll mate with a Male, then a while later, she'll have Privacy and have her puppies."
"But... do you understand that that's why we keep that to ourselves? That they're not for others to touch, and for touching others with?" (thanks for that one, S)
"Mom." blink. "You should be saying this stuff to Maddie, not me. I already know about this stuff."
"Well," I love you so much - thankyou for being so blase' about this and helping me through it, "I just want you to understand that I need you to tell me if things like that happen."
"Okay, Mom." And off he ran with his Before The Dinosaurs in hand.
So it's now been down-graded to a non-issue.

But I don't understand how even in this day of ultra communication, we still have to have these sorts of rough patches.
I understand that people are hesitant to put themselves on the block (believe me, I understand this!), for all and sundry to judge and condemn, but why does it have to be like that?
When I was trying to search for information yesterday, I ran across a parenting site of questions and issues. This woman had said that her daughter complained of burning when she was bathed with soap, and wanted to know if it was normal. I can just imagine the thoughts going through her head.... "has she been hurt?" "why does she seem irritated?" and so forth.... and, thank God, several people wrote back, "Perfectly normal, soap is not needed, self-cleaning oven," etc.
I could well understand her concern - these are precisely the same sort of worries that I have.
No doubt she was terrified of even asking... was worried that people would doubt, judge and condemn her. (With whom does she leave her children, Doesn't she watch carefully, etc)

Of course I understand that these are specific concerns, and not something the General Society wants to read about over their morning tea, but obviously folks besides me have these sorts of concerns, and what is the benefit in pretending that people don't?
It seems to me that not talking about our hopes, trials and fears is just separating us more from finding friendship, empathy and love with our fellow man.

Oh, no, that's not for blogs!
Psh. Take it somewhere else, Indeed.
Where, I ask you?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

15 Days: Resolve

So quickly on the heels of my last post comes Answer in two forms.
One, in an email from a friend. Who graciously relates a tale of a happening between her boys - a funny tale, that I could plainly see had no disturbing content, but of which, had it happened in my home, in my present state I would have been suspicious.
So! Many thanks to her for sharing her funny tale.
I was able get past "the forest and trees", and come to a place where I was able to separate myself - to see that I am applying adult motives where they do not belong.

The second part of the resolution came in the form of my Little Son.
While I was still melding and pondering and shifting, my children went on blithely with their lives. Innocent, unaffected, and happy.
They left their mother to her Pondering, and continued to giggle merrily and play their games, and watch their television shows.
I could hear them carrying on with their lives, as if nothing had happened.
It's no big thing... just give Mama a minute, she'll come to her senses.
Little Son continues to laugh at his own terrible jokes, fake laughs til his sides hurt, and convinces Maddie that things like "butt" and "Japanese Learning Wizard" are hilarious.

Which had nothing to do with anything.
And how it should have stayed in the first place.

out on a limb: help

Hi friends.
I'm in need of help.

I am hoping for some advice and aid in the name of Parenting A Nekked Child And What Is Perfectly Normal.
(Please be patient with the code words. Don't want anyone stumbling to my blogs looking for something horrid.)

I think I'm extremely suspicious and fearful when it comes to the well-being of my children.
While I really and truly do not suspect that I was harmed as a child, I was raised with uncommon fears of Kidnappers -- all of my nightmares were of being kidnapped.
My mother's greatest fear... made into my own.

I'm worried that I will, or even worse -am- projecting my own parental fears onto my children.
I do not believe (or really seriously question) that anything untoward has happened. There is nothing of a weird or mature nature going on - just things that I see and freak on.

The very basics I can deal with.
Body manipulation, if you will.
I've no problem with that.
I just say "that's for your bedroom when you're alone - not for anyone else to see." Though I don't think my son is interested at the moment. (with tongue in cheek, and in a tone full of levity, I'll say I'm sure that in a few years, that will change!)

But anytime I see anything new, I freak.
Like last night I hear "I'm gonna poo on you!" and Trev laughed, and soon Maddie had stripped off her drawers, and was sitting buck nekked on Trev. "Mom! Maddie's nakxx!"
I got all weird about it.
"That's not okay...", "Inappropriate".... "Not safe to teach Maddie that sitting on people when she's naked is alright..."
And then today Trev started to call for me (because Madd was, again) and then stopped, as he didn't want Maddie to get in trouble because I freaked so badly last night.

The problem is that I freak first and ask questions later.
And I make a much bigger deal out of it than it needs to be.
Because of my own hang-ups, I know.

I try (afterward, when I take the time to actually think) to ask myself "Would this (behavior) be odd in a village full of naked (or semi) people?"
The answer is always No, that I'm just reading more into it because we live in a clothed (and private and maybe suppressed) society.

The problem is, I have no one to ask.
Except, I will be asking my mother, you can bet.
I have friends and family that I could ask, but most of them have two boys, or two girls, or the circumstances don't seem the same.
Though, I must say that Trev isn't a problem, he seems to have reached a maturity level that is just fondly indulgent with Madeleine, not so immature as to be pulled entirely into her games. (Such as hollering, "Mom! Maddie's nakxx again!!")

So I am in desperate need of your help.
Any "I'm familiar with this, and it's normal...", will do, or any great websites or any books on the subject. (I've actually done a search tonight, and feel better about the whole thing, though I was worried about what I'd come up with with the words I was using to search.. Had to make sure "parent" was in there.)

I am absolutely not open to "teach your kids that they have to be ashamed of their bodies and watch them with suspicion and be frightened with everything they do."
Anyone that wants to say as much can swiftly go to hell. And I wish you Godspeed.

But I'll gladly accept any advice that is given with a tone full of love, understanding, and empathy.
Frankly, it's all I can handle.

15 Days: Resources

I was so busy, that I forgot to post!
But since it's technically four something -which to some can seem the-middle-of-the-night, I'm sneaking it in on the side.

Resources! I am so happy with resources.
Do you suppose that people are more creative today than at any other time?
On the one hand, we have television, and computer games, and stuff that can bzzzz us when we want to zone out, but on the other hand, we're exposed to So Much, and that so much can lead us to some really wondrous places.
Creativity doesn't come from nowhere. Nothing comes from no where.
Creativity comes from a spark. You read about something, or see something someone makes (online, often) and you get an idea to expand on it, or it reminds you of something you've been wanting to do.

While, as you know, we don't do "lessons and things" around here, yesterday we found joy in checking out the Earth Kids page for Thanksgiving.
Initially I told the children that when they were finished with what they were doing, I wanted to show them something.
After I gave them a rundown of what I could offer - interesting facts about turkeys, jokes, a Native American legend (which Trev loved), and crafts, etc - they started shouting what they wanted to see first.
There was a lot of joy to be had - not only in the name of the various websites, but in the way the day followed thereafter.
Weaving in and out of things, being stimulated and nurtured by things we've never done or seen before.
There were no expectations, nor a sense of obligation. Just "Here it is, let's have a look."

As I've said a million times, I'm so thankful to be living this life -- this wild unschooling life, with these wild unschooled children.
The resources we have at our fingertips are astounding, and seeing the magic happen day-in and day-out is a blessing indeed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

sacred life sunday: choice

This picture represents choice for me. I have the choice - :) - to look out this window and be irritated at all the chaos I see; or I can choose to tidy up the patio so that my view is more harmonious. (Oh, it's tidy, now, Friends.)

When I went for my walk the other morning - trying to make some sense out of my emotional... craziness... there were a few things running through my head.
Thay's words, as I mentioned.
And Hafiz's poem - which reminded me that it's a blessed being who can embrace the seemingly unfortunate occurrences as well as the pretty ones. As we all know, what first appears to be a wicked ditch can turn out to be a happy shortcut to where we want to go.
Along with those Words Of Wisdom For The Day, I was thinking of other things, too.
Like "If you want harmony, really want harmony, Steph, then you have to give it. You have to create it, nurture it, give it, be it, and sustain it."
Be the change.
I came to a place during that walk when it felt like I was talking (er, thinking) about two different things, though.

Oddly enough, since then, I've been really calm and at ease.
I haven't done anything.
I haven't struggled, or planned, or meditated on changing my heart/mindset - nothing like that.
It's just been.

Maybe it's that I gave myself permission to feel whatever I had to feel, and for that moment (as I had been in a pretty wicked cycle of irritation) that's all it took.
Acceptance - however momentary, of whatever needed to Be.


Today, I checked in to a place I like to go, Christine Kane's blog.
What I found - that I had missed until now, when I was ready for it- was her speaking of Creating. Not only creating (as in creating harmony) but creating versus Reacting. Ha!

Creating is You creating your life, consciously making your choices, taking responsibility. Reacting, is, of course, reacting to what is happening around you - not taking responsibility for being the Creator, and looking to others to blame for your reality.
I know it.
I really do.
I have known it, I know it still, I feel it, I see it, I accept it... and now I re-member it. Yet again.

So now I've found a very specific spot to sit for a spell between the two.
Riding things through - emotions and upsets, without judging or condemning them; and redirecting my mind-- re-membering that if I am Reacting, then I am not consciously Creating something better for myself the next time.

It's a good thing [waves hand over head] there's a whole Infinity out there.
Because it sure is taking me a while to get this stuff.

15 Days of Happiness: romantical

I love romance.
Of all kinds.
Probably even romance of any kind.

Taken in the town of Lemington on June 25, 2008

I love the romance of a cup of hot tea cupped in two hands, or inspiring introspection while sitting next to a laptop on a still quiet early morning.

I love the romance of warm knitted socks on an autumn's morning.

The romance of a lace -or tattered- curtain blowing in a window.
Taken in the town of Lemington on June 25, 2008

I love the romance of the word "cottage", and I love how enchanted I feel when I see an old fruit cellar.

I love the romance of Things That Live In Little Boys' Pockets.

It doesn't take much to charm me.
Just a little bit of Romantical.

This morning I am feeling a quiet happiness in finding there is so very much of it.