Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stitch and Witch

Last month, we spent the weekend with six other GA unschooling families at Fort Mountain State Park in north Georgia. We hiked, paddle-boated, swam at twilight in our clothes (the youngest and most intrepid of us), played putt-putt golf, ate lots of food and played games such as flashlight tag and "Pretty Pretty Princess" (both popular among the younger boys : ) But we never got around to the knitting or crocheting or stitching. This was a great excuse for me to throw a Halloween stitch and witch party with the same group of people (minus one family with a sick mom who was very missed.)

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Somehow, some southern Christians have manipulated things such that we have to trick-or-treat on Saturday whenever Halloween falls on a Sunday around here (apparently we shouldn't worship Satan on a Sunday - I never suspected that Satan had anything to do with Halloween, still don't.) This makes me mad and ranting could now hijack my blog post...I'll chew on some pumpkin seeds. Back to our Stitch and Witch party.

We lined the hall with larger than life fake webs, but the resident spiders helped us out as well.
Gillen always gets this expression when he is focused. I wish I'd caught the dimple and the tongue.Lately, he's been focused on hunting - hours and hours of completely silent waiting (no deer hit by him yet) from 5am-11, and then again for hours at night. He's also focused on guitar and on playing with a group of neighborhood boys, and girl, who ride bikes and play football with him once they're out of school. I miss him.

But for the last few days, we had the younger, more homebody side of Gillen at thirteen. He wanted to plan the preparations and help with the cooking. It was mostly younger kids coming to the party so he ended up leaving towards the end of the party to play football with his friends, but he was committed to helping make it happen.

There was a moment, during our crazed last minute preparations, when he wanted to drop everything to go shoot a squirrel in the backyard. The idea of having to brine a squirrel carcass right then, with so much else to do, had me screaming liking a banshee (aren't banshees more related to Hallween than satan?)

I am working on being a moment-to-moment, mostly-conscious mama. I'm definitely not there yet, especially when I've taken on way too many projects, supposedly for my kids.
The ugly moment passed quickly. The forgiveness I received was as sweet as chocolate (I'd say sweeter than but we all just did a week-long cleanse and right now chocolate is seriously sweet).

Stitching with Annie Hall and Zombie Woman/Scar Face:Dead Man Walking by:
All of the kids on the trampoline, watching each other do skits:Nicolas knows the right days to come home for lunch:

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Playing a great new board game that we bought a few weeks ago, Settlers of Catan We have played most every day since:We are so lucky. We have three very local (I'm talking out-here-in-the-boondocks-with-us local) families who unschool. The kids are very close. The kind of close that they can have three people together for a slumber party and no one ever gets left out. The kind of close where they respect each others' differences, with no fear of being judged or dropped. I love hearing, "That's your favorite movie (lego set, yu gi oh deck, book, drink)? Really? Not me." Great debates ensue with no one thinking they are going to change anyone's mind, they just love the debate.

I learned a theory from my brother, years ago, who learned it from a consulting whiz, that people learn best when in groups of seven. Interesting. A lot of learning happens with these kids as a result of just hanging out together, sharing their passions, free to experiment, fail and then learn from their mistakes, uninhibited by adult control. It's hard sometimes, not interfering, just waiting for them to ask for help. Especially when directing or art are involved (for me personally). I've learned (I keep relearning this!) that my unsolicited advice just stops their flow, frustrates them, keeps them from that brazen confidence that allows them to take the risks that forge new paths. Risks that I, who mostly learned from books and in classes, am hesitant to take.

I'm grateful for all of our friends, near and far.

And, we're incredibly grateful that our eleven year old dog, Tuki, has a young, new friend:
Four-month old Willie (named for my great-grandmother) showed up on our porch about a month ago. Tuki has a new lease on life. She's learning and teaching a lot lately.

"Follow me Willie, here's how to dig up the chipmunk we buried several days ago":
That is Leonard next to Willie, lying down exhausted from all the wrestling. Leonard used to be one of the boys favorite beings and is now Willie's favorite chew toy.

Willie has been going to work with Nicolas at the farm. Tuki gets a much needed break from the constant Willie love-fest. Time alone is good too. But after a while, we all miss our friends.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A few moments,

from the past several months:

In the spring, we noticed the local school kids at our public park having their end of year Field Day. Remember that awesome day when you get to ditch the routine for egg tosses and three legged races? Jesse decided that we should have a Field Day too. So we had a few friends come to the same field, a few weeks later, for kick ball, water balloon tosses, egg tosses and three legged races. They even made Field Day shirts. Next year, we'll have to make it bigger!

Another highlight was going to visit my sister, and friends, in Montana.

Hiking in Yellowstone National Park:

Skipping stones on one of the beautiful rivers in Bozeman:
In my sister's back yard creek:
Planning how to launch the homemade raft (we'd been reading Huckleberry Finn together):
Making the raft:Our intrepid host, Matt, not quite acclimated to summer water temperatures there yet.

Gillen was in ecstasy there. Fly fishing:

We even went to a ranch for a few days, where we got to ride horses several times in the mountains near Yellowstone and Gillen did some more fishing. He would like to be a cowboy one day.