Wednesday, April 16, 2014

why is this night different from all other nights?

As part of Lala's 3rd grade, Waldorf inspired school year, we have been studying the Old Testament, Jewish history, and Jewish festivals.

When I was a child, my parents and three other families, all of whom were part of a babysitting co-op, decided to celebrate Passover with a Seder supper each year. I have very specific memories of our Seder, despite the fact that we are not Jewish. In fact, I don't think it was until I was older that I realized that it isn't a Catholic celebration. My parents and the parents (all of whom are grandparents now) still celebrate this Seder supper, so this year I thought we might re-invite ourselves, so Lala could experience it.

In the end, we decided it might be better for Lala if we had a small one with just family, so she could be a more active participant. My parents. Grandma and Nonno, hosted and we included Grannie Annie, as well.

It was so special. It was beautiful and both kids participated, even Finnian hummed along with the blessings, even though he can't yet read them.

 Together, Lala and I made this matzoh cover. She embroidered half and I finished it and sewed it. It says Shalom in Hebrew.
 Lala made place cards, each with at least one of the 10 plagues on it. They were a little gross! That is my great grandmother's silver.

Helping wash Nonno's hands as part of the ceremony.

 My mom's matzoh ball soup is a family favorite. It has been for years. One year, when all the kids (who are now grown and parents) were still in the mix, my mom had to make well over 100. For the last several, she's made gluten free for me. Yum!

Monday, April 14, 2014

happy birthday, mike!

We celebrated a very special guy's birthday this weekend, by taking him camping. We gave him homemade (and not) goodies, made his cake (gluten free, so we could all enjoy it) in the dutch oven, hiked, and just enjoyed be in nature.

We have spent nearly half our lives together. I am so grateful for that huge gift. I like and love you, baby. Happy birthday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

making with kids

Sometimes, our kids love to make alongside us. Sometimes, they need some one on one time with one of us, making just what they want to make. That was last weekend for us. I felt as though Lala could use some one-on-one time with me and Finn Luca and dada always love one-on-one time.

I love that when our kids get time with us, they like to create.

 A bow and arrow for Finnian. (Actually, 2. The more elaborate one is not done!)

A baby mei tai for Lala.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

corners of our home

Spring cleaning mode has hit, as has a desire to purge more, re-arrange, organize, etc. Here are the corners of our home that are really touched by our children. All of our spaces are multi-use, because we have a small house and we really live in it! Our outside spaces aren't shown here. I will try and come back and share those soon.

Honestly, taking these photos was interesting to me, because I feel as though we have a fairly uncluttered home, although it isn't sparse; it's homey. Many of the things we have are vintage from our own families and we love this. But...these photos appear so stuff-heavy to me, especially in our kids' room, which was recently purged! We have lots of books....

 Our early spring nature table, above.
Below, the kids' play kitchen in the dining room. (It trades places from time to time with the little table, which is currently in the kitchen.) The big pile of boxes in the corner is...a big pile of boxes, some of which are glued together. They are the beginnings of geometric structures the kids are building from recycled materials. (The curtain fronted cabinet is my desk. Behind the curtain is a roll out desk that fits my laptop. The printer is below it on a shelf.)

 The basket on the right, above, has toys. (Puppets, silks, and other assorted small toys.) The cardboard behind the couch is a fort the kids made, folded flat.

Book nook, below.

 The closet photos are because we just purged. The stacked boxes are toys "resting." The bag is dress up clothes.

Below, a part of the kids' closet that used to be stacked full of stuff and is now a closet fort. The first is with flash, the second with them in it, using flashlights.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

and the days go by

Well, I suppose we are now on the downhill side of this school year. I won't even say I can't believe it. I will spare everyone the inner over-thinkings of my mind, but I will say a few things. First; we never had a winter. Anyone who thinks that northern coastal California doesn't have seasons is wrong. Until this year, that is. We had maybe two scattered weeks of rain, for which we were so grateful. That said, spring has sprung here, because even without distinct weather changes, the birds and plants seem to know just what to do and when to do it. When all else fails to balance me and help me breathe, nature does.

Above, despite the mild could-have-hung-clothes-all-winter weather, we had really heavy winds a number of times and the old (left behind by previous tenants of our house when we moved in 13+ years ago and mended and painted and put into use by us) clothes tree snapped to pieces. Mike bought me this gorgeous one for Christmas and he and Finnian installed it (had to be buried) a few weeks ago. The kids don't love emptying the dishwasher, but they seem to love washing and hanging laundry!

Below, our almost 4 year old chickens suddenly started laying again! (We have been feeding and caring for them, but having to buy eggs for a long time now.)

Above, Lala learned to crochet and has now made several "squares" for a 4H afghan that is being made. (That Corn Pops cut-out is her template, given to her by someone in 4H.) Lala learning to crochet, and taking to it, was a will power step forward. She had been irritated with it and resistant for some weeks now.

Below, Finnian is learning to cast-on! A huge developmental leap for him! At the beginning of the school year, he didn't even want to finger knit. He has been doing handwork, but prefers carding wool, woodworking, painting, cutting, and weaving.

Above, the box model of New York that Lala and 3 classmates made together in their Build-It! class through our homeschool charter. Once complete, each child got to have it for a week. This photo was taken after we reassembled it. It was so big, it fell apart on the way home! It is now in the hands of the next family!

 Above, a reminder and family checklist from The Seven Spirutal Laws for Parents, from Deepak Chopra.

Above: Oh my goodness, my kids are in love. I haven't loved the choices for where to use our homeschool charter class money, so with only a few months left to use or lose, I signed the kids up for a clay/pottery class after several adults independently told me they thought Finnian would like it. They LOVE it. Imagine a pottery studio designed for kids, but with no limits. There are 11 pottery wheels, people! No one has to wait!

Below: I scored "new" bikes for both kids on a local buy/sell list. These are so much better quality than their old bikes (and a size up for Finnian). These guys are unstoppable now!

 Glorious rain!

Another developmental marker for the kids. Skiing. They have been on skis and in lessons before, but this year, Finnian hiked half way up a hill just to ski down (because we didn't anticipate the skill leap and Mike, carrying Finnian's skis, couldn't get on the lift without a ticket). Lala had a solo lesson and got right on the lift with the instructor (previously she wouldn't venture onto the lift with anyone)! After lessons, they went skiing with Grandma and Nonno for the rest of the day! Next season, we will be bringing our gear so we can ski as a family!

The four of us under Yosemite Falls.

Painting. Finnian was studying colors and color mixing.
After seeing Lala's (and her classmates') structure, Finnian needed to build one of his own.

We have a baking day, but this was the first time we had baked bread together. (There is a story there that I don't feel like explaining, but has to do with diet limitations and the annoyance of baking gluten free bread with kids.) This bread has so many health grains in it (rather than the gf breads that are all starch, although those are yummy!) and the kids love it! Now to try and make the loaf shorter but taller to be better for sandwiches.... (The recipe I used comes from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which is one of my favorites. Their website recipe list is fabulous and while this bread isn't on their site, others are.)

Weeding and repotting plants at the native plant nursery that supports the kids' environmental stewardship project through 4H. These guys are thriving in 4H.

I just felt a need to catch up here on our days as we roll right through into spring. Personally, I need to get us through taxes and Lala through testing (since we homeschool through a charter, Lala still has to take the Common Core tests, and for a variety of personal reasons, we are not opting her out this year), but otherwise, I feel the end of the school year riding up quickly, and "plan for next year" is rising to the top of my to-do list. All this glorious growing continues to be bittersweet for me. I am treasuring being part of it all with them.


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