Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Puffy Shirts Tie Dyes





Again, we were inspired by my friend Jill who posted about making painted shirts w/ puffy paint with her kids. Thanks, Jill! We also made Tie-Dyes and I will post a picture of all of us wearing our family shirts soon!
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First Movie


The boys went to their first movie last Sunday, Kung Fu Panda. They were thrilled to be in the theater and it was really neat to watch their excitement. Turns out that the movie was a bit too scary for Patrick. He nursed the entire time and didn't look at the screen after he saw the scary tiger in the dark and ominous prison. Liam liked it a bit more. They asked a million questions during the movie which was really cute.

And at last, one picture of big mama!
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The tag along





The boys are now in LOVE with this bike! They have been cruising all around town with Papa for the last 2 weekends. The photo is of their very first day on the bike. They took about 7 rides that day! As you can see, later in the after noon they were wiped out!
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Great Birthing Quote

I am immersing myself in birthing stories right now and came across this quote by Dr. Christiane Northrup from Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom:

Imagine what might happen if the majority of women emerged from their labor beds with a renewed sense of the strength and power of their bodies, and of their capacity for ecstasy through giving birth. When enough women realize that birth is a time of great opportunity to get in touch with their true power, and when they are willing to assume responsibility for this, we will reclaim the power of birth and help move technology where it belongs--in the service of birthing women, not their master."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I just watched this last night for the first time after hearing about it for months. I was so impressed! I had had the impression that it was pretty censored for a more mainstream audience and that Ricki Lake hadn't really taken any big risks in discussing what is going on in this country in terms of birth. But no, it was a lot more honest than I thought!

I was really inspired by the the homebirth scenes because they were such amazing and beautiful experiences. It is such a clear contrast to what goes on at most hospitals. Having had the experience of a home and hospital birth myself, I feel that the movie portrayed this difference really well. Even though I transferred in an emergency situation for the birth of Patrick, my first thought as I was wheeled through the hospital doors was, "thank god I decided to birth at home." Seriously, it was my very first thought. I was very grateful to have the hospital available to me, but very thankful that I was aware of my other options.

I like how Lake focused on informed consent and the lack of it at most OB/GYN's offices and hospitals. I just think it's so important that women understand very clearly the impact of each and every potential hospital intervention. I have seen so often doctors/nurses completely blow off any concerns expressed by the patient. "Oh yes, this is a routine procedure and very safe. it won't harm your baby." Oh really, how do you know? What if I showed you some of my own research that clearly indicates that each intervention causes a potential cascade of interventions. Do we really understand the long term impact of these drugs/procedures on the physical and emotional development of the child?

I also liked that she discussed the potential harmful effects of the difficulties in bonding and creating attachment with our babies due to the drugs and procedures used at most births. It was so very clear how completely in love and bonded the women were w/ their babies that had home births. It was so beautiful to see. But as one of the doctors asks, what are the consequences to our world of whole generations of babies and moms not bonding in the way nature intended?

This is what people should be learning in schools! We blindly accept what the media, corporate america, and doctors portray as normal birth so when it comes time to birth ourselves, we don't question the program. I love the scene where Lake asks doctors if they have ever witnessed a natural birth before. No. For all that condemn home birth, have they ever been present at one?

I feel this is such an important social and spiritual issue. It's a feminist issue. Our rights to know about the possibility of a natural birth have been taken away from us. As women we don't even comprehend what we have lost here. Birthing is one of the most empowering things a woman can do and allowing women who want to, to birth naturally would change the world.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A day to cook

As a parent I am learning to go with the flow. I don't make many plans, although I still do have my things to do list handy. It just sticks around for a bit longer than it did in the past.

Today turned out to be a day to cook and prepare food. The boys were very interested in helping, and I somehow felt energized enough to be on my feet all day.

The other thing I am coming to accept as a parent is that children are not neat! I have had to let go of my compulsion to keep things neat and tidy (no joke, mom, i do like to have a clean house!) and find peace them to make their messes. I understand that these "messes" as an important part of the learning process, but I sometimes get frustrated when things are not orderly. Another downside to conventional education is that teachers are always looking for the "right" answer which does not leave much room for experimentation or "messes." But one never truly learns without taking risks and experimenting with ideas. I didn't. I remember being so worried about having the right answer for my teachers that I rarely participated in class discussion and panicked while answering test questions. I didn't care what I learned, only that I told the teacher what they wanted to hear and therefore, got good grades as a result.

So breathe, Lisa, when the boys "help" grind the grains while running their hands through the flour, draw with the flour, spoon the flour into a jar--well, at least 1/2 of it made it, etc. It was actually enjoyable cleaning up the kitchen after all of their projects today because I thought of how much fun they had while helping me. They laughed and played as they cooked. Liam was so proud to shred some of the kim chee veggies with his hands and then organize them into piles. Patrick loved taking what I had chopped and adding it to the bowl. They both loved pounding the vegetables for the kim chee to get the juices out. They loved climbing on the counter from their learning tower to check to see how many grains were left in the mill and then report it back to me. At one point they got out some of their smaller construction vehicles and played with all of the flour that had ended up on the floor. Loading their tiny little dump truck w/ flour and creating elaborate construction zones.

So today we ground (or is it grinded?) lots of flour! A bunch for a new sour dough starter that I am starting, inspired by my friend, Jill, who recently did the same: /blogginrobins2.blogspot.com. We ground up a bunch of local wheat berries which I purchased at the farmer's market yesterday. We soaked the wheat flour w/ yogurt to make a pizza dough for tomorrow night. Yum! Our new raw dairy co-op (www.windsordairy.com) makes fresh mozerella so we have been having pizza every week! We also made a jar of kim chee w/ local onions and carrots.

Balance Bikes

Our unschooling group has been going on lots of bike rides lately. There are so many great trails around here! Patrick and Liam tried to keep up with their scooters, but realized pretty quickly that they wanted a bike, too. I was a bit late in realizing that they were eating their knees on their trikes! Anyhow, a bunch of people have recommended balance bikes which are bikes without pedals. So instead of using training wheels, the child learns to balance on the bike w/out pedals and graduates to a regular bike much more easily and quickly. We purchased Strider's (www.stridersports.com) and have been really happy with them. I did also just hear about a local company who makes these bikes at www.mykinderbike.com.


All of a sudden Liam and Patrick both wanted to be soccer players. They talked about it for a while. They wanted shin pads and cleats like they had seen other kids wear. Then they decided they wanted a uniform, too. On one of their Saturday adventures with Papa, they found a soccer store and uniforms and gear just their size. They have been wearing these uniforms now for about 2 weeks. The first few days they wore the shin guards all day long! Ugh, I remember how sweaty those got after just a few hours! So you will see lots of photos of them in these uniforms. I believe Patrick's is Club America and Liam's is Madrid. They also will go outside and kick the soccer ball around quite a bit, too.!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What is Unschooling

So for my friend Katie Tepas in Anchorage, AK, and all of you out there who wonder what the heck I am referring to when I talk about unschooling, I want to take a stab at explaining it.

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling. It is essentially child-led learning. An unschooled child is one free to explore whatever interests them. As a parent, I act as the facilitator to their learning. I am really tuned in to what they are curious about and help to provide ways that they can learn more about it if they wish and in ways that best suit them. For me it's all about freedom and in allowing a child or any person, for that matter, to have freedom, they will find what makes them happy. They will find what they are passionate about doing. They will find their calling or callings in life. It's about living a joyful life. It's about doing what makes you happy. It's about finding your genius. There are no limitations to what a person can learn, but schools place many on our kids.

I stumbled upon unschooling as a result of practicing Attachment Parenting (www.attachmentparenting.org). It just seemed to flow naturally from it. I feel that practicing Attachment Parenting took me on a very different path as a parent as the one I had anticipated. In a way, I felt like there was no turning back!

The part of a more gentle parenting style that really led me to unschooling was choosing not to use rewards or punishments with my children--I read a book called Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn which really resonated with me in regards to this subject. I don't want my children to do things because they will be rewarded or punished for them. I want them to really know what they want in life, not to decide what they want based on someone else's arbitrary notions of what is a good or bad choice for them. I believe that children do not need to be coerced to learn--what natural learners they are!--but using rewards or punishments and coerced learning can take away this natural love of learning. Some children end up rebelling against this system and in the process learn to hate learning. Some children comply, and if seemingly outwardly successful, they really don't know what makes them happy or know what they really want to learn. They just learn to please others. I have seen this in my own life as a student and as a middle and high school teacher.

This is just a quick peak at what unschooling is, and I am sure I will add many more posts on this subject!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Race Cars

We have a children's book about animals racing cars and the boys were very curious about them. About the race cars, not the fact that animals were driving them. So we took them to a fun park area in North Boulder to see for themselves. Liam was beaming when he got out of the car after his first ride. Patrick wasn't as sure.

Chick Update

The girls are growing up! They are now out in the coop full time. We have the cadillac of coops built by Curly who spent 6 painstaking weeks building it for us. He actually fell off the top of the coop roof and broke some rib bones. We really appreciate his hard work building such a palace for the girls.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Vacation 2008

We traveled back to the East Coast to visit family in New York City and New Jersey in May.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gardening and yard work

Oh my gosh, Liam and Patrick LOVE working outside. They seriously work all day outside some days. They especially love helping their Papa. Patrick more so. He just follows him around and helps him with anything. Matt will say what he wants to do and Patrick repeats it verbatim. It is so cute.

We have spent about 1 1/2 months doing spring cleanup and preparing new garden beds. I am so happy with the way it has all turned out and can't wait until things start really growing! At this point, we do a lot of watering and weeding. I have wanted a garden for while now but we have moved around so much, it was never worth the effort. We did start a vegetable garden in Tacoma only to find out after everything was planted that the soil was contaminated with arsenic.

This year we are growing potatoes, beets, carrots, onions, lettuces, leafy greens, green beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries, strawberries, winter squash, and lots of basil and cilantro. One day, I hope to grow a lot of our own food. We do have great organic farms here, though, which is so wonderful. Awesome farmer's market on Saturdays.