Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

another video about childbirth

i really liked this video that I found on the unassisted birth web site. patrick wanted to watch a birth and this is what we found. then, unfortunately, i discovered that he was looking to watch a video of the birth of Claire, but we don't have any video because it all happened so fast. the boys had planned on being there for her birth, but when i went into labor, i really wanted to be alone and they really wanted to go to the park with Eli! I wish it could have worked out differently, but that's just the way it went.

Gosh, i wish i could have had a birth like the woman in the video! Again, can't change it now, but I do know in my heart that this kind of birth is possible. Letting go of fears and preconceived notions can be a long process, though. I didn't get there this time, and I don't think there will be a next time!

The part at the end of the video is a bit strange, I must admit, but i think Laura was just trying to demonstrate the power of the mind and the interviewer was going for shock value obviously.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My lesson planning

I have to share this exciting book! I have been reading Amanda Soule's book, "The Creative Family" for the past week or so and just love it! It truly has inspired me. I told my friend jokingly that I would be implementing every one of her ideas, and in just a short time, I really have used a lot of them and prepared for most of them!

I would say her book is very Waldorf inspired in that the focus is on natural living incorporating crafts, emphasis on creating activities using the 5 senses for younger children, and gentle parenting. I felt very inept in the craft arena before, but now I feel like I can actually learn to knit, sew, embroider, paint, draw--anything!--doing the basic activities she outlines in the book. I am excited to try these activities with our family. I sense that these projects will really help to ignite my creativity, a part of my life that I have ignored lately.

One of our first activities from the book was making sewing cards. They were a big hit! We drew a soccer ball and a football on poster board, punched holes on the outline, and sewed away using embroidery thread. I was a bit surprised because it is a sedentary activity, but the boys really liked it. I am looking forward to trying some of her suggested beginning sewing projects with the boys.

Based on Amanda's suggestions, I also put together an art bag for all of us which includes a small sketch book, colored pencils, markers, and pencil sharpener. I thought the idea of having this bag accessible at home or out in nature sounded like a great idea for the boys. I wasn't so sure about sketching myself, but surprisingly, i really like it. I thought I had absolutely no interest in drawing, but it's been really fun. The boys have also really enjoyed it even though they haven't showed much interest in drawing in the past. I think they really liked the idea of having their own bag and supplies which made the activity more special for them.

So I am well prepared with loads of fun and creative activities for the rest of the winter! Our house is now super organized with so many different types of toys and crafts easily accessible for the boys and myself. I look forward to the possibilities and am so thankful for this book.

loving unschooling

I thought I would post about our past few days because they struck my as a good example of unschooling.

I have been feeling so energized by my decision to unschool lately and so thrilled to have discovered this amazing path. One of the many reasons i love unschooling is that I really enjoy lesson planning! One of my strengths as a teacher in the classroom was this passion of mine. I thrive on the research involved, organizing my ideas, and preparing for the lesson. The cool thing about doing this for my kids is that they have the option whether to participate, choose the day and time they want to do it, we can discontinue the project and move on to something else or perhaps delve even deeper into it if we want to, and they will not be evaluated in any way.

actually, i am getting ahead of myself here because the few days i want to write about now involve "lessons" the boys planned mostly themselves, and I might add their plans were just as multifaceted as the ones we were encouraged to create in my grad school program--of course, they were! Matt and I just followed their lead and became their facilitators. I will discuss my own few days of lesson planning in my next post!

What started our "unit" on fires was the fire that burned a lot of land and even some homes in North Boulder last week. We mentioned the fires to the boys on Thursday morning and from the minute we did, they were off and running with questions (see "your four year old: wild and wonderful"--4 year olds are often intrigued with fire and oh how true that is for liam and patrick!) On Thursday morning, Matt took them to see the fire that was still burning. Wow! They were so fascinated. They came home to tell me how many firefighters worked on the blaze, how they worked over night, how the fire started, what damage the fire did, etc. They were brimming with facts. Next, Matt decided to read them some articles from the Boulder Daily Camera online, and they also found a few videos of the fire on the site. They watched those short videos countless times and asked lots of questions, and then proceeded to show me the videos and explain them to me in detail. On Friday, Matt and the boys visited the library where they picked up about 15 books on fires and firefighting. They had a wonderful afternoon reading them and we have been reading them often since. That same morning they also dressed up as firefighters--fire rainboots, 2 pairs of pants each so that they were doubly protected, winter coats, fire hat, gloves tucked inside their coats so their hands would not burn and went outside to play firefighter for an hour or so. They have been wearing the boots the past few days and both plan on being firefighters on the same "team" when they grow up. this week, we plan on a visit to a firehouse to learn more.

I think the above example demonstrates just how fun and easy unschooling can be. Most of us facilitate our children in this way anyway. As an unschooling parent, I want to be really in tune with my kids and their interests and let them lead the way.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Some relief

Unfortunately, Matt lost his job recently which has been a tough situation for us in many ways. However, I have to say that I am much happier! I know that this is an opportunity that will provide us with an even better life. I have wanted to live more simply for some time and perhaps this will be the catalyst to doing that.

The main reason I am much more at peace, though, is that I now have a full time partner at home. I cannot tell you what a difference this makes in my life and the lives of my children. I have been noticing more and more how my mom friends struggle in their daily lives. I had no idea how challenging it would be to be a mom before I became one. Everyone gives lip service to this fact, but do we really comprehend it? I am just starting to comprehend it now after 4 years of being a mom. By the end of the day when I am on my own, I am so exhausted and frustrated and short-tempered. I think about how ridiculous it is to do all that I do in a day by myself. I long for the days when extended family were near and even long for a much more natural tribe like setting. How much easier it would be. But can we go back to that? I have thought a lot about this as well and I am not so sure.

I am just so thankful, though, for this time when I do have a full time partner. It gives me the help and the little bit of space I need. We have wonderful lives together, but now even better! I know that in moving forward from here we can create a different kind of life. Not sure how we will do so and what it will look like, but I have faith that we can.

My Wild and Wonderful 4 year olds

I remember a few months back when my friend became troubled by her 4 year old's behavior and was so relieved to find Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful. She immediately recommended it to me and suggested I read it before the boys turned 4 just to be prepared. At the time, we were sailing along blissfully, well almost, so I thought I wouldn't need to read it. But something did start to happen in the last few months to my sweet little boys. Okay, they have always been very high energy and liam has been known to throw a temper tantrum or two, but now, well, they are, yes, wild and I am working on the perspective shift to wonderful.

So here is how the author describes the 4 year old:

very social
likes new places, ideas, etc.
high energy
fluid movement--from one task to the next to the next to the next....
hates and loves passionately
likes to step out of bounds
likes to use profanity and enjoys anything that has to do with poop
silly, silly, silly!
obsessed with violence

That's what I remember from the book and it does describe my boys to the tee! I have to say that I ,too, was so relieved after reading this book. Knowing that this can be normal behavior actually makes me much more understanding. I guess you can say that this is a phase that I have struggled with and have become the parent I don't want to be at times. So now I am getting back on track. I will let go of my resistance to this behavior and find strategies for me to cope with it and we will continue to sail along!

The perfect gift



Aunt Peggy, Uncle Mike, and Kelley Belly sent this awesome gift to the boys. It's a set of both football and soccer players, felt playing fields, and goal posts and soccer goals. Liam and Patrick have been football and soccer fanatics now since last spring and they are loving this game. I love the fact that they still don't know about video games and are playing with this instead!

Plus, they play soccer every day in our basement. I will need to take pictures of this as well. We have borrowed our friends soccer goal for the winter and we have intense and competetive games played in our basement every day. Claire even gets in on the action as she rides in my sling while I try not to trip over the ball. I love the way they end every game by making sure it is tied. I am still so amazed by their love of sports!
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Papa's girl


Claire just ligthts up when she hears her papa's voice or sees his face. She absolutely adores him! It is very precious to see.
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black knight vs. buffs


Patrick and Liam got new Colorado Buffs Jerseys with their names on them from Grandma Melanie and Grandpa Bob so now they are "real football players!" Patrick decided that he wanted Papa to wear his real football jersey as well. I thought this was too funny! Matt didn't think anything was funny about the way his jersey fit after all of these years. I, however, am very impressed!
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new clothes




here is claire modeling some of her fancy new dresses! Thanks, Leveques and Willis's
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making music with Eli





I decided on a music themed holiday and birthday season this year and it's been so much fun. Someone very generously gave us an old piano for free. We are loving banging around on it and can't wait for it to be tuned! Liam and Patrick also got bongos, loads of great CDs, and an mp3 player. So music has filled the house now for the past few days, and it's very nice. Sometimes I forget about music, but I would love for it to be a bigger part of our lives. The boys and I may take some piano lessons! I guess I am a Boylan after all!
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off to work


Matt decided to bring the boys to work every once in a while, and I think it's a great idea! Not because I get some quiet time, but because they LOVE it! They are so thrilled to be "working" with their papa. They get on their best clothes, and tell me, "we are going to work. have a nice day mom!"
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cholesterol myths and food is medcine

I found this brief you tube video at Chris Masterjohn's blog which is listed as one of my favorite blogs. I think Masterjohn has it right regarding cholesterol even though his views are very radical in the eyes of conventional medicine. I like to spread the word whenever I can that fat is back! Let's look to our very healthy ancestors for our medicine--food. Not modern processed foods or pharmaceutical drugs--while they have their place, they are not the answer. Eating more consciously in this way has the power to heal us and our planet.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Liam and Patrick!





Can't believe my guys are 4 years old! It is so special to celebrate their birthdays and to reflect back on my pregnancy with them, their births and our 4 years together. We had a special day together the day before preparing for their birthdays. We made their favorite foods, made crowns for their special day, and talked about the day they were born. I also got such a wonderful idea from Soule Mama's Creative Family book which Matt and I have decided to do as well. Each year on their birthdays, we will write a love letter to our children reflecting back on the year and how special and wonderful each of them are to us. We will save these letters to give to them when they are older. I also want to make a photo album for them every year. Better get started as I have 4 years to catch up on!
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