Tuesday, May 26, 2009

nomad week (or two) in review

last weekend (the one before memorial day) we visited the beach that is most directly west of us, Ecola Beach in Cannon Beach. look how big and handsome this boy is getting! he pretty much ate sand and threw fits everytime we saved him from face-planting in the tide pools--he's officially a toddler!


they have great tidepools there; plenty of starfish and anenomes...it was little chilly but it didn't stop the girls from wearing their swim suits...
then last wednesday, blake was invited to lecture at the portland bead society. we came along for support--it went great! blake had those ladies rollin' and everyone gushed over the kids.
he spoke about bead use in tribal culture, and brought many examples from africa mostly, although he also talked about pre-columbian examples, native american, and asian. after the talk people were able to look closely at the jewelry and the maasai book, asked him questions, shared their own stories.
the next day i took mayan out the our second Homeschool Day at the evergreen space museum in mcminnville. they host homeschool kids from 9:30 to 2 with a lecture, workshops, and games all focused around one theme--this time it was astronomy. here is the big inflatable planetarium she is about to go into.
so i have recently read this book about the effect of anxious parents on their growing children. at first i poo-poohed it, but as i read further it made a lot of sense. i started to realize that the kids need more experiences without blake and i hovering over them. especially mayan who is old enough now to figure out many things on her own, and needs to know that she can problem-solve, and succeed in new situations without her ever-present attachment figures. its time for us to be that "voice in her head" or image in her mind, after the many years of nurturing. so in that vein, since she'd been to one of these before, i let her do the day on her own, only meeting her for lunch break. when i told her i would be doing this she hugged my legs and said "thank you thank you thank you...i am going to feel like such a BIG KID!" she had a blast, but when i went to pick her up, with my newfound focus on de-hovering, i saw this and had to take a picture: nearly every child had parent at their side, jumping in and assisting with every craft and activity. last time that was ME!
so to continue this, the day after i sent mayan into trader joes by herself to pickup her special rice bread (it was the only thing i needed there.) she was so jazzed about it--i gave her instructions which she focused on intently then set her off on her mission while i stayed outside with the kids. here she comes running back with her bag of bread.
oh, the look (and feel) of success! i have noticed mayan's confidence growing, and myself have been more aware of my shift toward clinging to the idea of "my babies" and my resistance to them getting older, and being able to find joy in my children becoming more independent. it's been a very positve shift for me and blake to make.

here is mayan working at her bead shop on a custom order from myself. she and blake built a special store-front for her business and she is open saturdays, noon to six. she is building quite a customer base....an entrepeneur like her dad!

sweet George, his hair get more and more delicious every day!
blake organized his office this weekend and gave some attention to his special Star Trek room...looking very good! (i HAVE mentioned this room before, haven't I?)

fast-forward to today...today was about beauty and organization. i wandered into my sewing room and began sorting through the many boxes of clothing.....and suddenly my whole day had past. the kids clothes are sorted: baby items, girls stuff size 6 months to 3 years, girls stuff size 4-6, and finally a box for George clothes, and also items to be returned to other people. i discovered soem things i had not seen in a very long time, especially some great vintage pieces--for those that don't know have a pretty huge vintage clothing collection, although most of which i will not ever be able to wear again unless i lose thirty pounds...i am clinging to the clothes, as i cling to the hope!

the roses are blooming and i made this lovely arrangement for our table.
last night i tried to make hamburger buns from scratch but sof course, i struggled with the yeast and they did not rise properly, so they turned out like denser mini-buns. tasty though! for lunch today i used them to make tuna sliders. cute, huh?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Questioning

In many ways, I am attracted to controversy. I liked to rock the boat in high school with my teachers--for instance, when given a ceiling tile to paint in health class I wanted to do one about safe sex and they said "NO!"...so I snuck it outside and painted a big, red picture of a Trojan condom wrapper and installed it back into the ceiling. I like to surprise people in their perception of me--maybe have a certain look, but then say something unexpected when I opened my mouth. In college, this was with a very punk rock look...at bible study. And the obvious, my choice to bring home a man tattooed and pierced from top to bottom to my family...and then marry him and have lots of babies.

The thing is, once you do something that is considered "fringe" or "alternative" and it picks up steam, it becomes mainstream. And once it is mainstream, I feel the need to question it all over again with a more critical eye. My biggest blessing/curse is that I am a natural diplomat--given any circumstance, I can see both sides. (This can be very frustrating to my husband who alwasy wants me to have his back;) The blessing part aspect of this is that, even if I find a way that suits me, I can (usually) easily get to a place where I can respect the choice of someone who does things the opposite way. I can hear and understand a theory behind a certain type of lifestyle or choice and not feel threatened by it. On the flip side, this can many times put me on the fence. I especially feel this way about politics, beacuse the choices made do not just affect the individual but a whole population. Often times, when those ballot measure booklets come in the mail, I read them and think "Well, that makes sense..." and then "Of course, this side makes a good point, too...." Most of the time I can't make up my mind and toss my ballot into the recycle bin.

Sometimes on the fence is a lonely place to be. Its natural for groups and friendships to form around common ideals. This is certainly true of mothering tribes, who in the past decade seem to have become so polarized between "the natural way" (which somehow leaks over into more areas than just things like birth and breastfeeding, but also commonalities like politics and parenting) and the "mainstream"...which is funny, and maybe this is because I live in the bubble that is the Republic of Portland, but it seems that "natural" IS mainstream now. And as said before, once something becomes mainstream, I feel the need to question it, to challenge it. Suddenly, I feel outside of the circle that I'd been so inside of. I do find it a challenge to only focus my new found scrutiny on only my own life with having it spill over into other relationships, but I find it doable because of my diplomatic tendancies. I can say, "this isn't working for me anymore, but respect that it might still be working for you". Making a move like this makes me search deeper for those relationships that are not merely built on "doing things alike" but on mutual respect and trust and openness. Sometimes I find that the easiest people to talk to about parenting are non-parents, or to talk about politics to people who are less-informed--their ideas are not so cemented, so they are receptive.

But I wonder where this "need to be different" stems from for me. Relationships are importnat to me, and sometimes I feel that this boat rocking puts them in jeopardy. I don't think I do this on a purposeful (albeit unconscious) level. Does this make me seem wishy-washy? I mean, to abandon ones ideals seems like something a very unstable person might do. I don't feel unstable...yet I am often teetering on a fence:) Maybe I am just impressionable. I was at the library the other day and I picked up a book, that seems to at first glance be in line with "the way I do things." But on further inspection, I could see the author was challenging them instead. Not one to be close-minded, I took it home and found that many of her arguments not only made sense, but I could see examples in my own life. Suddenly, my world-in-my-head was set aspin (I think I just made that word up--it's like afloat, but more spin-y than float-y)--theories about attachment, education, and society that were banging against previously popular views. Some of these opposing views I could reconcile, somehow finding a way for both to live in harmony in my brain. Others that may at one time been so unwelcome in the circle...looking very, very sensible to me now.

It maybe that I was looking for something new and fresh. Or that I am continuing to search for a place where my true values fit in--or that my values continue to change and mature every year. One thing I have learned about life, whether its parenting or politics or whatever, is that often times something look really great on paper, but turns out very different when put into action. I suppose we all put things into action differently as well, what functions well for one family or one country just doesn't translate the same for another. Right now, besides finding what is right for my family, I am also trying to find how my constant questioning can be a strength for me and not a weakness--and to explore what relationships make me feel safe enough to question without being judged, and who also will not feel judged by my questioning.

Was that vague enough for you? LOL. If you are still following along, do you ever feel this way or have any thoughts??

Sunday, May 10, 2009

for mother's day

The mamas who make my world go 'round:







(and a sweet shout-out to the few i don't have pictures of...You ladies ROCK)