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Showing posts from February, 2012

Sorry

What do you say to your child when she tells you that learning is not fun?  I immediately had a multitude of reactions from “not everything can be fun” to “how can you say this -- we have fun every day” to “there are somethings you have to do just because you have to do them”.  Wisely, I said none of these things.  I asked her for her opinion.  What would she like to see that we are not doing?  No response.  Hmm.  
I considered the “fun” stuff to be the “extra-curricular” activities we do like Destination Imagination, co-op, Girl Scouts, piano lessons, basketball, etc.  I seem to have fallen back on my school way of thinking without even realizing it.  We have our “work” and they have their “specials”.  I am becoming more of a task master and less of a facilitator.  Ouch.   I know that when I chillax (a word we use all the time in our house) and let the girls take charge of their learning, we all rejoice in our experience.  It is a constant give and take between giving them exposure to …

Joy

This weekend Grace had a chance to spread a bit of joy.  Her piano teacher arranged for four of her students to play at an assisted living facility.   Grace is never one to turn down an opportunity to perform!  The piano was set in the rehabilitation floor common room.  The residents enjoyed an ice cream social while the children played.  It touched me deeply.

My baby played Fur Elise flawlessly (at least to my untrained ears).  She said she did make a mistake but I reassured her that her audience could have cared less.  Her music and her presence brought her listeners joy.

Signs

Yesterday during my walk around New Haven, I ventured into a store that was so visually powerful my first words were, I need to take pictures.  There were vintage posters of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley.  In every nook and cranny there were tiny statues of every Indian God you can think of.  There were bumper stickers that I would never ever imagine putting on my car but I enjoyed reading all the same.  Incense was burning, music was playing and my senses were overloaded with joy. All I could think about was Instagram.  The pictures would be amazing.  Apparently I missed the sign that said not to use cell phones in the store and no picture taking was allowed.  Unknowingly I was about to break to rules.  Focusing on a bronze Buddha, my finger was just about to hit the shutter button when the man behind the counter bellowed “No camera’s allowed!”.  Actually, he did not bellow, but my brain interpreted it that way.  Sorry!  Didn’t see the sign.  Didn’t get the message.   “Sign, sign, everywher…

Marble Run

My girls and a bunch of their friends signed up for a class at the Eli Whitney Museum.  The purpose of the class was to construct a marble run.  I thought that this class would tie in nicely to Grace’s interest in physics concepts (remember her Rube Goldberg co-op project?) and give Lilah an introduction to physics.   The more the girls know about physics, the better able they will be to apply their knowledge to the construction challenges they will face in their Destination Imagination challenges.  It was a win/win.  They get educational concepts presented in an entertaining environment and I get a day out in New Haven with my friends!  
In the end I ended up having a better day than the girls.  Lilah’s quote was “I am glad I went, but I did not like it.”  Grace felt the rules imposed by the counselors were arbitrary and meaningless.  Especially the “no running outside rule”.  Seriously?   Finished projects:


DI Drawings

Lilah's DI project has required homework....a word that is not often used in our house anymore.  There has been movie watching (documentaries) and Brain Pop viewing (all science) and book referencing (Lilah’s art books).   I often wonder what type of student Lilah would be if she remained in school.  She (like her Mama) is a major procrastinator. Her homework was to have three pictures completed her her meeting the next day.  At 10:00pm she was found tucked away in her room, fairy lights twinkling, desk lamp glowing, drawing.  She was completely at peace and told me to go to bed ahead of her.  She would turn the light out when she was ready.   She finished her homework, went to bed very late, and got up early (with no fuss) to attend her practice. Here is a sampling of the children's art that will be used for their project.  Sorry that I can’t tell you more.  It is top secret.  Stay tuned for more updates......



Grace is also in the midst of a very different DI project.  Her projec…

DI Daze

I wanted to write this post last night but my eyes were bleary and could not focus on the computer screen.  This Mama needed sleep.  At 8:00pm we had just returned home from 10 hours spent at DI (Destination Imagination) Practice for Lilah’s team.   Luckily, DI is my favorite (and my girls’ favorite) activity we are involved in.  The commitment required for practices, training, and travel time requires that you love it.  Otherwise you could not invest the amount of time it takes for your child to see a concept to completion.   “Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, we reach 125,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation, our core program, is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on t…

Moments to Veg

Karen suggested that I start a new site dedicated to my journey towards becoming vegetarian.  I love the comments from my last post -- they have helped me to set the framework of my next step.  I have been vegetarian for three days!  I am still defining what that means.  I feel if I strictly label myself, then should I stray, and have a real burger rather than a veggie burger, I am setting myself up for failure.  My goal is to be the healthiest me as possible and that involves not eating meat right now.  


I am playing around with a new site, Moments to Veg, which will feature the food choices I make, along with their recipes.  I am using dynamic views to help you quickly find a meal based on the picture of the finished product! 


I would love your feedback.  My goal is for this site to become a place where we can share our own personal food journey.


Moments to Veg

To Be or Not To Be...

I was asked yesterday if I was a vegetarian and I really wanted to answer yes.  Yes I am.  But I am not.  What I am is a person who has drastically reduced the quantity of meat that I consume.  But I am left questioning why I wanted to answer yes to that question.  
Over the past two years my life has completely evolved in terms of my food choices.  Rather than rewrite what I have written about here before, to sum it up, reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watching Food Inc. changed my life.  I can no longer look at meat the same way.  Unless it is farm raised, grass fed (which is very hard to find and even harder to afford) I don’t want any part of it.  I refuse out of solidarity with the animals who live their lives in pathetic conditions, unhealthy and unhappy.  Why would I want to contribute to the propagation of this inhumane industry?  Why would I want to eat meat from a sick animal?  Why would I want to raise my own inflammation levels through the digestion of this meat?  Bottom …

A Walk to Remember

Have I mentioned how much I love Instagram?  I love it, love it, love it.


Last week we took a ride to visit our friend's new house.  They choose wisely.  Maybe it is because their home is filled with love and kindness.  Maybe it is because they poured their souls into the renovation.  Perhaps it is a bit of both, because this home brings joy and peace to the visitor.  It is a place I look forward to spending much time at.  


It was a lovely spring winter day and we took a walk along the train tracks (the once daily train had already passed by - this is NOT a commuter line) to play in a field with a stream. 


A perfect 50 degree winter day in Connecticut!











R.A.K. Day 3....

Monday was one of those days you wish you had a do-over button for.  It was not fun.  It was not happy.  It was hard.  There were tears.  Not every day is full of fun and adventure.  Some are full of questioning, wondering and evaluating.  Where we are, where we have come from, where we are going.  These are the days that you look for the moments; the true meaning of random acts of kindness.   In the despair of this day, there were many.  Like when Grace made Lilah dinner because they both despised my chick pea veggie burgers (which were awesome for the record).  Or when Lilah cleaned off the table, picked the table cloth and put out some coffee table books.  Or when the girls let me take an hour long nap because I needed a break.   Or when the girls told me my banana bread was awesome.  Or when I went to crawl into bed, glad to rest my weary self, and pray that I would have the chance to do it over again tomorrow only better, and found these on our pillows.....


Love shared.

R.A.K. Day 2...

Last week the children who attended our Valentine’s Day Party made cards for Veterans.  They were beautiful and I wish I had taken pictures......take my word for it.  They are lovely.
The cards were packed into an envelope along with a big bag of red, white and pink M&Ms.  We have a VFW in our town.  The parking lot was full of cars with Veteran license plates and Vietnam War stickers  The girls ran up, dropped the envelope into the mailbox, and raced back to the car unnoticed.



Love shared.

R.A.K. Day 1....

I love that my girls each have their own email account.  As I come across random bits of goodness, I forward them their way.  Some get completely ignored and some stick.  Like this link.  Did you know this week was Random Acts of Kindness Week?  Pay it forward people.  Share your love.  





































Day 1:  Cake.  Valentine's Day Cards.  Homemade frosting.  M&Ms.  Delivered to our elderly neighbors who are surrogate Great-Grandparents.  This is sharing love.

Be My Valentine

Some days are just so wonderfully amazing that they live on in our memory for a very long time.  Yesterday was one of those days.  It was a day when love collided head-first into community.  
Lilah threw one heck of a party for her closest friends.  All 20 of them!  This was the girls who in school had just one child that she could call her friend.     We are truly blessed to have these families in our lives.  They bring us joy, support, wisdom and laughter.  We have fun sharing time together. We called this week our "February Vacation" week in order to devote the time necessary to prepare for such a momentous occasion.   We cleaned:


We prepared:







We shopped and displayed:


And then we played!




Cake

A cake chosen with care.   Baked with love.  Decorated with glee.   Shared with friends.   Thank you Grace.  It sure was yummy!








Art Journaling

I would love to keep a journal like this: http://allnorahsart.blogspot.com/2011/09/things-that-flutter-forth.html
For now I settle for my blog and the little bits of art journaling that I do with my Monday writing group.  My goal is to move these amazing girls away from the idea that their journal is for drawing and towards the idea that it can be a place where art and words merge and meld into something that is unique to the artist and writer.  

























The creative process is soothing.  When you are painting, or drawing or writing, your mind is very focused.  Those little distracting, annoying thoughts that pop up all the time are held at bay.  For 90 minutes it does not matter that the carpets need vacuuming or the laundry needs folding.  All that matters is that your words and ideas are transported from mind to paper in a way that is visually pleasing.