Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Orange

And when there was a blue moment, we followed our orange dog to the dirt roads, highlighted by orange of course.

Party for The Graveyard

At the beginning of the week we found out about a party being held last night for Neil Gaimon's (he wrote Coraline, among many other books) newest book - The Graveyard. We have been to this unique children's book store several times before, once for a rocking Harry Potter party, so we knew it would be worth it to drive in last night for this and we read as much of the book as possible during the week. The invitation asked that only those nine-years old and up attend as they planned to scare the life out of us. Gillen and Jesse wore frightening costumes but you'll have to take my word for it. I only have pictures of them with peeled back layers and with their sweet faces showing through.
I love that Gillen still gets scared. He didn't even go with Jesse and I on the dungeon horror walk. I think this shot caught the moment when his imagination got the better of him and he stepped out of the line.

I love a party that can provide a terrifying ghost walk, an eleven year old great lead singer:AND the possibility of reading books while you party:
The party was held in answer to a challenge put out by the author, Neil Gaimon, to independent booksellers. Whichever book store put on the greatest Graveyard party will be honored by a visit from Gaimon in December. I don't know how anyone could have surpassed Little Shop of Stories.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

WanderCRAFT book

About three weeks ago, right before going to the beach for a week on that spontaneous trip to Isle of Palm, S.C. to be with fellow unschoolers, I was quickly checking out some of my favorite blogs, seeking joy in places other than my long packing and cooking to-do list. On that day, I visited Sara, at Wandercraft, a crafty, dog-loving, great photographer in Boston. She revealed a giveaway for a small travel scrapbook that she had made. The winner would need to scrap a few pages of this book and blog about it and was given a more than generous amount of time in which to do so. Well, you know where this is going. I won! I came home from the beach to find this beautiful book and several scrapping accessories waiting for me on my table. I was so excited. I put it in my art room (a room that has seen far more food and Bananagrams than art lately) and envisioned all of the possible trips that I could scrap about. And, as recovering from the beach, new lives and early deaths took over, I conveniently blocked out the request to have a few pages scrapped for Sara's etsy store by this week. eek!

As it turns out, rediscovering this deadline last weekend was just the push my procrastinating, deadline-loving creative side needed. Despite laundry, cooking, knitting for fast growing new babies and planning and cooking for the next trip (in the mountains - leaving on Sunday), I rediscovered my art supplies and any printed out pictures I had on hand from past trips.

Here are the scanned images of the front of the book and of the first two pages (Sara created teh map cover and back and I did all the inside work - I love her sewn together book):
On the front of the book, I highlighted a few of the longer routes that we have taken (to Australia and Japan) on the beautiful map-cardstock cover that Sara had created.

The book will be a collection of moments from various trips over the years. It will live on our coffee table as a place to go to remember, and to find inspiration for the next journey.

Thank you Sara for these precious moments back in the art room. I never would have gone there without you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The falling leaves, and many human reminders of seasons coming to an end, have me craving quiet and stillness. As much as I may want to just hole up under blankets on my couch, watching last year's "House" episodes on DVDs all day while I knit baby clothes, unschooling won't allow it - at least not exclusively. This is a good thing. My kids and their friends have films to make and places to go and ideas to help implement. There is no time to withdraw, at least not for too long a stretch of time.

The first several Bionicle based movies were filmed in my bedroom. Here is Jesse's favorite. My bed is now on You Tube. Luckily, I'd made it that day. ; ) The most recent one has been started at the farm, with yet more actors and directors:
Reviewing their work on Eli's Flip camera:In addition, there has been polimer clay to sculpt (This is our newly-unschooling friend Jack):
and Bananagrams games to play with me. Jesse did this one solo:I noticed one word that was missing a few letters and he rearranged whole words and fixed it in seconds. Jesse's Bananagrams ability is something to behold, or to run from , depending on your self-esteem that moment.
Another highlight of the week was going to a fund raiser in a nearby small town. Social Circle resident, Robbie Baldoni, was a passionate skate boarder who had just begun his own well-organized plan to create a local free skate park, when he suddenly died, at twelve, from a brain aneurism. His family has been continuing the work to make his skate park dream come true. Yesterday, a ramp company from Missouri donated ramps for a fund raiser (drove them here for free!) and we all bought Robbie shirts, Robbie hats and lots of food, to help create the dream park. Their story is here. They are home schoolers as well.

At the fund raiser:

Jesse, wearing a hat like the one Robbie always wore when he was on his board:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh Baby!

My brother Kenneth and his wife Naomi just announced the arrival of their second daughter! It took her many hours to get here. Her mom was heroic. We are so very happy for them.

My friend Persephone had her baby boy a few weeks ago.

Now, time to get knitting!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing but sad

It is Hilda and Andy Byrd's twenty-third wedding anniversary today. Andy shared this information with Nicolas and I, tears running down his face as he looked up at us with his beautiful clear blue eyes from his always-present wheelchair. He told us lots of things about Hilda, the love of his life. He told us that she had not wanted to be put on ventilators, if it should come to that, but that yesterday, after a surgical procedure to remove brain tumors had failed, she had whispered to him, "Let them put me on the ventilator. I want one more chance, Andy." The ventilator wasn't the last chance she had hoped it would be. Her body gave up the fight, despite her spirit's strength. Andy held her hand and she was able to squeeze his in response, when he told her that she could let go, could leave him. Moments later, she was gone.

He told Nicolas and I all of this when we reached him at the funeral home, taking our turn in the long line of people who were there to give their respects. Hilda was so loved. She was a foster mother, an organic farmer, long-time wife and caretaker of Andy. She had ten siblings. Her strength was palpable. It seems impossible that strength such as she had could ever have been diminished.

I have another forty-something year old friend who is in her final fight with cancer. I have to believe that she will kick its butt. But if Hilda could not, I wonder.

"Tell each other every day that you love one another" Andy said to Nicolas and I.

Every day.

Not just my husband, but also my children, other family and friends. Oh, my friends. Just in case you didn't know, I love you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Endless summer

My watermelon blog banner is in honor of how long we get to grow "summer" fruits and vegetables down south. I went up north again last week and I need to keep reminding myself of all of the perks of living down here, of which there really are many. I like being warm in September and October, while eating tomatoes and watching the guys spit watermelon seeds.

Due to some luck and spontaneity, Gillen and Jesse and I are getting to go to the beach in South Carolina with a bunch of other unschoolers this coming week. Unfortunately, Nicolas has to farm. But I think it might be nice for him to be alone for the first time in many months. We leave tomorrow. I have spent the last two days making soups and chili to freeze and take with us. I will spend my time there hanging with my boys and our friends, knitting baby things, and listening to the ocean.

We are so lucky. Even when the leaves have turned and the wood stove is lit, we will still be experiencing the freedom of an endless summer. Unschooling rules! (interesting oxymoron there)