Category: Photos

Just Life

Life has been busy.

Awesome family photos by http://halseymae.com
Awesome family photos by http://halseymae.com

Crazy busy.

Rachel and Esther
I have been working overtime.

3 Christian radical unschooling families together.
3 Christian radical unschooling families together.

We have gotten together with fellow unschooling friends from all over every single week for almost 2 months.

At the zoo with friends.
At the zoo with friends.

Rachel took a 2 week trip to visit her friends in Arizona and Texas.

At the bus station, about to leave.
At the bus station, about to leave.

Shamus is writing a video game- but you knew that.

Shamus and Heather
Shamus and Heather

I have gotten sick enough to have to call off work. Twice. I still have a cough that will not die.

Like I said. Fun photo shoot.
Like I said. Fun photo shoot. And yes, the photo has been double copyrighted- my friend Tina took the photos, which I added a copyright for on Facebook then reused and added a regular for my site and I am too lazy (or too busy) to go back and fix.

The kids are suddenly tall- Issac is the only one NOT taller than me and he is getting there fast. And he is getting a mustache. For real. And a deep voice.And he just turned 12.

Rachel's shoes
Rachel’s shoes

The girls? They are 5’7.5″ and 5’9″.

Kids
Kids

The Christian Unschooling  group I run on Facebook (with a small group of admins) has reached over 1,600 people. I have an awesome group of admins. Really. They are wonderful.

At the zoo with RCU friends
At the zoo with RCU friends

Life is going by in a streak.

With Jennifer of The Path Less Taken (http://jennifermcgrail.com ) and Teresa- a fellow radical unschooler and dear friend from only 3 hrs away. Both mother's of my daughters' closest friends.
With Jennifer of The Path Less Taken (http://jennifermcgrail.com ) and Teresa- a fellow radical unschooler and dear friend from only 3 hrs away. Both mother’s of my daughters’ closest friends.

And it is good.

Birds of the Air

A friend who is in  a kind of similar boat financially…okay not really but in the “trusting God completely with this whole money and provision business” boat has started a weekly meme where she encourages others to share God’s provision.  This is perfect because, though I write it over on the Untraditional Home Facebook page, I do often forget to come over here and share. So here is me sharing all the awesome stuff God has done over the past week.

To start this last week we had no idea where the money was coming from for our auto-insurance.  We are in the “juggling bills” stage of  freelance work and things have been …interesting.  (Initially as in Jessica’s case God provided via our Amazon wishlist and direct donations via paypal.  More recently it has been through  a huge variety of sources, including donations but mostly via work He has provided from many different sources. ) God has been continuing to provide from all sorts of places but it has been tight and we have to be careful.  After paying the most immediate need we waited to see what He would do.  I was finishing up the book and in the meantime we waited on God.  I finished writing and editing, got the book up for sale and by the next day we had exactly the money for the car insurance.  Down to the penny.  Exactly.  So we paid on time.

It was a miracle and all of us were so excited to see what God had done. However, the thing about getting exactly the right amount was that we pay tithe on whatever He gives (personal conviction and He has been faithful.).  I needed to pay that bill and now but wanted to pay tithe.  So we prayed about it and decided to give the money from the next two books sold as tithe.  And sold two more books the next day.  No other books, just those two.  So there was our tithe.

But I didn’t know where to give.  All I had was the name of a friend, I was to contact her. When I did she didn’t need it (they live in New Jersey) and no one locally needed it but she knew of someone who lived on the shore who either could use it herself or would know where it should go.  So she messaged her for her paypal account so I could send the money directly.  When she got back to me she said that 9 other people have also asked for her paypal information out of the blue and she knew exactly the family that needed the help.  God knew exactly what He was up to there.

A few days later my print book came. This was amazing because it meant that from start to finish the book had taken almost exactly 3 weeks.  You don’t usually write a book in 3 weeks let alone hold a physical copy in your hands in 3 weeks.  Granted it is a short book but still. 🙂

So now the book was out there and I could focus on decluttering our house in preparation for sale.  We have no idea where God is leading (okay, ideas yes, but no firm plans) so we are focused on leaving here with as little stuff as possible. We are eliminating everything excess from our lives so that when He says go we are ready.  The house has a buyer so we are waiting on the bank and various decisions to be made.  If it goes through then we will be out of here before Christmas but everything is still up in the air.  So we continue to get rid of and simplify our lives.  We continue praying for wisdom and clarity in this and that we can move out soon because it is expensive to heat and keep electric and water on in this house.

Because of the house sale we needed to get a few estimates on sewer replacement. (The buyer is threatening to walk if too expensive.  Be praying God’s will here– it IS more expensive than they want to pay but if the bank is willing to work with them then  maybe they will stay?) I have always been horribly afraid of making phone calls.  That whole talking to random strangers without being able to see their face thing is HARD.  Yet, suddenly God removed that fear completely.  I was able to call without even a twinge. And last week I spent several hours on the phone negotiating with our cell phone provider so we could move to a way cheaper situation for free, without fear.  I realized that God has completely removed that fear.  Maybe it was all the robot calls during the political campaign.  Maybe it was all the crazy calls from the bank (right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing) but it is gone.  In fact, I have to call this morning and get a few more estimates and I am not even feeling nervous about that.  God is so awesome!

God has been providing money for groceries from every source imaginable and has also provided that for the first time ever our groceries are super cheap.  Thanks to the GAPS diet we are now able to eat “normal” food with minimal side affects– even Es who was super allergic to corn and rice can eat both without a sniffle.  This week, when my dad took Issac and I out for breakfast for Issac’s birthday I asked about going to Sam’s Club sometime in order to stock up on a few things. He offered to go right away but I explained that it had to wait till I had some money to go (our current grocery budget is about $40-$50).  He said he would take us and give me that much to buy groceries.  Then I ended up picking up the wrong rice (50 lb instead of 25 lb– it was in the wrong pile and I got distracted as I picked it up) so we ended up going over but only buy a little and it was fine. So we ended up with enough food to last us several months, or at least to extend whatever else we can afford (the flour and rice will last, the rest?  Probably not. :))  God has also provided random food from friends and family– a large shopping bag of apples from a friend, some fruit from my grandma, things like that.

We also felt led to drop Netflix this last week.  It is a small thing but it cost money that we didn’t have and it needed to go.  So we cancelled, and it turned out that when we cancelled it was the very last day of the month– if we had waited a day it would have charged us and with what we are juggling that could have been bad. Then Issac decided he wanted to use his birthday money for Hulu Plus this month.  He was so excited when he discvered that the show they had all really wanted to watch, which wasn’t on Netflix, was available on Hulu Plus.

And finally, it looks like God has gone ahead and supplied the money for the next bill– the cell phone, which was about to be turned off tomorrow, and would have cost a lot more to get turned back on or if we dropped it completely. So that is another phone call I get to make today. 🙂 Praise the Lord!

As I posted on Facebook: It can be nerve-wracking (living on what God provides alone) but such a blessing to see how specifically He is taking care of us from all different directions. With God it isn’t, “You can expect me to always provide in this one way,” but rather “Don’t bother to expect me to provide in just one way, I am amazing and creative and own the cattle on a 1,000 hills and love to surprise you and remind you I am Lord through my provision.” #birdsoftheair God is so good and who are we to be afraid when He has shown us time and time again that He is taking care of us and will provide.

Now head over to Jessica’s to read some more awesome stories of God’s provision.

Happy Halloween

We finished Rachel’s Chell costume (from Portal) tonight.  Issac had to test out the Portal gun: made from a small soda bottle, a 2 liter, foam, paper, tape, glue gun, some pieces of plastic and wire found around the house, and a glow stick.  Designed by Rachel with help from Mom. The boots  are real boots with stockings over (drawn on with sharpie) and lots of electrical and packing tape.

PAX East

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The show floor from the sky bridge that you walk across everytime you want to get to a panel room across the building on the same floor as the last panel you saw.

We just got back from PAX East last night.  God provided that we had the money to get there, sold all the books while there and therefore had the money to get home.  Go God!!!  And thank you to the random gift givers who helped us get there.  You all are awesome!!!

Escapist Movie Night
The Escapist movie night panel, L-R: One of the dudes from the new show "Space Janitors", Shamus, Movie Bob, and the crew of Loading, Ready, Run: Matt Wiggins, Kathleen De Vere, Graham Stark

We got to find out how quickly Shamus’ book would sell out and wish we had brought more.

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Blankety Blank Panel which was hosted by Susan Arendt (NOT in the photo), in photo : Russ Pitts, an ex-reviewer who wrote a book that I can't remember the name of, Kathleen De Vere, and Movie Bob

We saw some amazingly funny panels (like the LLR panel and those that the Escapist creatives including Susan Arendt and Movie Bob were involved in). We got to meet some more cool people to add to the list of cool people we already know (like Russ Pitts and James Portnow along with a slew of Shamus’ readers and some really awesome indie game developers) and see friends we hadn’t seen for a year (like Susan Arendt and the LLR crew) .

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James Portnow of Extra Credits among many other things.

We got to see some incredibly thought provoking panels which I am still pondering and percolating posts thanks to (namely two that included James Portnow and were on topics close to my heart– one on Gaming and Education and one called the Genre Divide about rethinking why people play certain games and how games are divided into genres.)

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Girls Like Robots (a pretty fun indie game.)
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A very cool concept for a rpg that my kids are really looking forward to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/JoshuaACNewman/mobile-frame-zero-rapid-attack

We got to see a ton of amazing indie games and some cool AAA games.

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Shamus crashed while waiting.

We got tired and hungry and sick of granola bars (thanks to the convention centers ridiculously huge symmetric layout where you have to go down a level and cross a sky bridge to get between two panels on the same floor and expensive food–$7 for a HOT DOG.)

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In front of the convention center-- parking was in rear and you had to walk a quarter mile of wind tunnel just to get in a door.

We got stuck in 2 hours of 5 mph traffic and only got lost in Boston once (last year we managed to add a half hour of wrong turns onto every single trip and this year we were saved mostly thanks to paying close attention, avoiding the roads we knew we had trouble with, and Josh’ excellent sense of direction.)

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The audience at the Escapist movie night panel.

Halving it All

A recent question on the CU Facebook group got me thinking about my experience with too much stuff and how God got a hold of me– which is why our house is no longer cluttered and it is actually easy to find what we need or want and keep it clean.

I have always collected things.  Old books, lots and lots of old books, vintage toys, rocks, vintage clothes, you name it.  When I was a kid my floor was completely covered with stuff and intermingled with toys and books and clothes were fossils, lots and lots of fossils collected from our limestone driveway. When I went to college, I packed up most of my stuff and moved into a teeny tiny dorm room.  It was covered in stuff all the time.  When I got a job as a nanny and moved out I took ALL my stuff with me– most of it never got unpacked– boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff.  And I still couldn’t keep my trailer clean because I had too much stuff.  Same happened when I got married.  And then proceeded to move multiple times, and I took everything with me.  When we finally settled down here 11 years ago  I had boxes stacked in every closet, more books than shelves, the kids toys and clothes overflowed every possible nook and cranny.  The floor was constantly overwhelmed with our stuff.  I couldn’t keep up with the basic chores because I was dealing with 3 little ones (Issac was born 10 months after we moved in) and we had too much stuff.

Shoes
Too many shoes? We figured out that they only wore about 3 pairs of these each. Most didn't even fit!

Probably around 2004, definitely in January, God clearly told me to get rid of half.  I don’t remember the verses I read at the time nor how exactly nor what (and the journals are packed up at my in-laws so can’t check.) However it was very, very clear that He wanted me to get rid of half of all of it.  Some of this stuff had never been unpacked since I first moved out to become a nanny 10 years earlier.  Most of it I had held onto out of fear– what if I need this at some point in the future.  That was how my family had always done it– when I had Rachel my mom handed me box after box of my own clothes and toys from when I was small.  My grandmother saved bread bags instead of buying ziplocks.  It was just how we did things.  How could I possibly give this stuff up?  It just wasn’t done.  But half of everything stayed in my mind and stuck with me.  I needed  get rid of half of everything and I needed to start now.  (And mind you Shamus had been wanting me to get rid of stuff for forever.)

So I started.  I started small.  I looked at the coat rack and my pile of coats– I still had winter coats that I had had in school, and ones that had been given to me by family members who were getting rid of (being the only married kids in the family with the only grand-kids- EVERYONE gave us stuff.) So I looked through my coats and got rid of half.  Those all went to the thrift shop.  I realized I could suddenly find the ones I wore with no problem, instead of knocking everything down every time I tried to grab one.  Then I went through my shirts.  I got rid of the ones that didn’t quite fit, the ones that weren’t flattering, the ones that I didn’t really like to wear.  By the time I was done I could close my drawer.  And it went on from there.  I got rid of half our dishes.  Half our books.  Even half our food (turns out we had a whole lot of stuff in the pantry that had been bought that we couldn’t or wouldn’t eat– that all went to the food pantry in town.)  I went through the old paperwork and got rid of the surplus (which was more than half and went to the burn pile.)  And so, in the matter of about 6 months, I had gone through the entire house and gotten rid of half of everything.

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This train only left the house this year as Issac decided it was time to share it with someone else. Much of the rest in this picture, taken in 2006, is long gone. By that time we had a lot less stuff though not near as little as we do now.

It ended up being a good thing (or you could consider it God blessing us) because in August a friend started dropping stuff off at our house that they didn’t want (she was cleaning out her house) and suddenly we had more stuff– some of which we really needed or had been wanting.  And then my parents, who  were divorced both remarried, combining multiple households and started dropping off stuff THEY didn’t need.  And a neighbor started dropping off things her grand-kids didn’t want.

Issac does Kung Fu with marker sticks in our fairly simple living room. The kids pitch-in and help get rid of because they like being able to find the things they enjoy.

Pretty soon I was in the habit of going through, only keeping what we would really use, and getting rid of the rest, recognizing that God clearly WAS and would continue to provide what we needed, when we needed it, and we didn’t need to hold onto all that stuff.  Because that was all it was.  Stuff.  Even the things with sentimental value were just things, things that were getting in the way of my peace, of our family’s peace, even in the way of my relationship with God because I wasn’t trusting Him, I was trusting stuff.

So now we keep the clutter down, regularly going through and getting rid of, and focusing our time on better things than maintaining stuff.  Less clothes=less laundry, less dishes= people will rewash instead of leaving the dishes to pile up, less toys means the kids can find what they really want to play with, less stuff we don’t use means we can focus on what we DO use.  All in all halving everything was the beginning of a much healthier lifestyle for all of us and God continues to bless us as we willingly pass on the things He gifts to us.

Strewn

I have been thinking about strewing a lot, mostly because people keep asking about it. So I thought I would share some examples in our house (way less than usual because we have most stuff packed up and away or gotten rid of.)

Our new "This week's specials" board. This has the main foods available for quick meals and snacks each week.

The chalkboard on the cabinet and the food bins on the shelf and in the fridge are new additions. And yes, they are a type of strewing.   The chalkboard is so when I come home from shopping, instead of making a mealplan, I can quickly note the foods I bought so everyone knows what is available at a glance, and I can remove things if they go bad or get eaten.

Fridge: each person has a bin for the special "just for them" foods. And yes, we are almost out of cheese-- picking some up tomorrow. 🙂 We have two fridges, this one is mostly the stuff people grab during the day, the other is raw milk and backup stuff.

I don’t do meal plans and with everyone having certain foods they don’t like and do and other things they can and cannot eat it helps to have things organized so people can find what they are looking for and know what is there (and hopefully it will help us have less waste.)

Shelves

We have been searching for a solution that would allow the kids (and hubby) to know which foods I bought just for them and which are someone else’ as well as which things I have set aside for them (things which might otherwise get pushed to the back of the fridge.) This way one person doesn’t eat something that I bought special for someone else, at least not without asking first.

Most of our strewing is now via internet– either Facebook or Google chat or even email.  I took the following pictures while taking the other ones– they serve as a good example of why computer strewing works for us. 🙂

Esther playing Sims.

 

Esther was getting tired here– she has been going to bed in early evening so she can get up early and work on her book with friends online in other time zones.)  She spent the next hour after this watching our new Animaniacs dvds (which Issac bought with his own money.)

Issac playing online with a friend.

Issac was playing Roblox and talking to a friend in New Jersey as he does most days.

Rachel talking online with a friend while drawing and occasionally playing piano.

Rach was playing piano, drawing (working on illustrations for Esther’s book), and talking with a friend in Arizona.
The strewing photos here include just a few places– mostly living room and bathroom– yes, I strew in the bathroom.

Our coffee table strewn with rocks and game pieces.

I always keep the red painted locally hand-carved wooden  bowls (I adore these bowls) out in the living room out (there are more on the shelves and on the mantle) and fill them with random stuff that is interesting– some always have cool rocks because we all love rocks and love picking them up and messing with them. The other two contain game pieces from a set Rachel got for Christmas from my brother.

Our shelf strewn with games and rocks and vintage wooden boxes for holding more stuff when we aren't getting ready to move.

The board is on the shelf above (ontop of Blockus–which is an awesome game)– this way when they are bored they remember that it is there. I think next to come out will be the gaming dice– a bowl of those will be fun. In the past the bowls have had Christmas bulbs, random baubles, marbles, and fake cut gem stones from Michaels. Under the coffee table is a vintage wooden box with our magic cards, and another full of gaming devices and dvds. In the shelves on the coffee table are books I think the kids will like.

Books on the back of the toilet. Yes, is blurry.

We always keep books in the bathroom, along with writing utensils in case someone wants to do a workbook or crossword.

Shelf in bathroom.

More often I find the books and magazines disappear from the bathroom as once someone starts reading they tend to take it with them.

Not House Beautiful

A discussion on the Christian Unschooling Facebook group got me thinking about my kitchen and how, as unschoolers, it gets and stays relatively clean.  We still don’t do chores though we all pitch in once a week for Sabbath prep (we all take a room and clean up– not perfect just make it nice and put things away so we can have a Sabbath without concern for messes or things not put away.)  There are no battles about it, the kids all choose what they want to do and help since they know it makes things nice for Sabbath and they love showing off their work “Mom, I did the living room!  Come see how nice it looks!”

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One of the keys for me personally is trying to keep clutter low (I go through and get rid of when I notice things accumulating.  Sometimes a kid helps and sometimes no.)  Another trick has been having enough storage and it organized in a way that it is simple to put things away.  Part of that for me is NOT having cupboard doors.  When I have doors I hide things behind them which means mess lurking where I don’t want to deal with it.  My kids are the same way so we use the cupboards below the counter minimally  other wise they turn into insta-traps.

I have this whole out of site out of mind thing that is kind of irritating– if I can’t see it regularly and store it in my brain that that is where it is I forget and can’t find it.  And being the person that everyone looks to when they can’t find something I need to know where things are and remember where I last saw it.  Instead of trying to make things beautiful we aim for convenient and neat looking.  When I make changes I discuss them with the family (you wouldn’t believe the grief I got for MONTHS for changing the silverware drawer without discussion).


We don’t have a lot of spare change for organizing things so I use things I find on clearance (like the baskets in the other photos), at the thrift shop, or things that are free like the clementine boxes that are my spice racks.

I also use a lot of hooks and jars (I don’t store in plastic).  I keep things I use regularly out where I see them  so I can easily access them because then I am more likely to use them (for instance baking and cooking happen more often when I can see my favorite pans and bowls without having to search the trap which is the pan cupboard down below.)  Also keeping things near where they are regularly used makes it easier for everyone.  Utensils for cooking and knives are readily available near the stove.  There are plastic cutting boards everywhere that people tend to cut (which eliminates cutting marks on my counter since they will automatically cut there whether there is  cutting board or not.)

The teas we drink regularly as well as the coffee are by our water heating tool (aka microwave).  We use fancy canning jars as drinking glasses since they are cheap, easy to hold, and have lids for quick storage when someone realizes they don’t want what they poured.  Also cool is the ridges at the top are perfect for a colored pigtail holder  to keep track of who’s cup is who’s.)
I keep my dish washing stuff close at hand since then I and the kids) am more likely to remember to do dishes and use the dish drainer and brushes (the brushes are in the pitcher on the window sill.)

Another view of our dish and tea cupboard.  We have a shelf on the counter as it is easier for the kids to put dishes away if they can reach.  Our dishes are all mismatched sets  and most of them are ones Rachel bought me for my birthday or ones given to us by a friend.  I have a thing for square plates and rice bowls so we have an eclectic mix of those.  Also we each have favorite types of coffee/tea cups so those all hang  even though we don’t need so many (no one is willing to give up their favorites.: ))  The jar set on the second shelf was made by my grandfather and is kind of tricky since some of the lids don’t fit perfectly and fall off at random– this would be why they are sitting straight up instead of at an angle.  Nothing like nearly being clonked on the head with a large wooden and porcelain lid.

The front pantry is an old metal medicine cupboard that was my grandparents.  The basket on top is full of our daily supplements, the little cups to the right are tomorrows vitamins  for the family, the red overnight suitcase is our medicine cabinet of various herbal remedies and the brown basket below is full of herbal cough drops for the cold that has been circulating our family.  This cabinet has whatever is in use daily– nuts, dried fruit, homemade grain free granola, and chocolate.

Our homemade back pantry.  Growing up my grandparents and my parents both had an awesome walk in pantry and I have been wanting one for forever.  I finally took the metal shelves from the girls room and made a red-neck version so I have a place to store all our teas,orders from Amazon, my milk run cooler, empty jars, kombucha, and other ferments.

The baskets on top of the fridge have Shamus’ pretzels and other foods that are just his so the kids are tempted to eat his stuff (still on the GAPS diet and they requested that things like that be out of site.  The two fridges hold our beef, raw milk, and ferments.  The one on the left is the regular fridge where left overs etc go, the one of the right is overflow and storage.

And if you are wondering…yes, I cleaned up and did the dishes before taking photos though no deep cleaning.  Sorry, you, dear reader, don’t warrant a deep cleaning.  I needed to clean anyway since tomorrow is Sabbath Prep so now I have one less thing to do.

Where We Are: September 2011

This month (and the end of August) has seen as much busy-ness as our summer though of a new variety. We are prayerfully considering what direction we should be heading financially (have money to live on for the moment and had hoped to save up and live on it longer by bringing in more income but that all but stopped when the check finally came. Good thing God knows what He is doing (and He obviously has us trusting Him completely in this) because we have no idea. Well, we have some slight direction, and the Lord is kind of herding us in a certain direction that we are getting more and more comfortable with but the logistics of it all are still kind of out there and we don’t feel free to share yet. Still no money for the house payment and we are just waiting for the bank to kick us out– packing things up that we don’t need so we can simplify significantly is what we are focused on at the moment. Due to our awkward financial circumstances (no steady income, no savings, everything pretty unstable) they aren’t willing to work with us (not that I blame them.) So we will see what is around the next bend.

Idlewild 2011
The kids on a ride at a rare trip to Idlewild park (carload days are awesome.)

In the meantime, still doing GAPS– in fact we are being more rigorous with it while we are here so we can kick some more food allergies (which will simplify things down the road.)

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The youngest son of a friend who sheltered with us during Hurricane Irene.

We are still unschooling (and yes, the kids are still learning way more than they ever did when workbooks were a way of life for us).

We just got a package
The kids opening the box of Magic: the Gathering cards friends sent us-- our living room is overrun.

 
We are focusing on doing the next thing, whatever that is, as the Lord guides us. Right now that means I will be painting, purging excess stuff (and God willing having a yard sale, taking my grandmother shopping several times a week, helping Shamus with his projects, and more time to spend with the kids; chatting with them, being with them, loving them where they are. Shamus is currently working on his autoblography which when done, God willing, will become an eBook memoir.

If you would be praying for wisdom and direction, especially regarding our finances and where the Lord wants us but also regarding spiritual things He is showing us recently, we would heartily appreciate it.

Unschooling Monday: Mother’s Day edition

So I decided to join in Owlet’s Unschool Monday (thanks to Jessica at Bohemian Bowmans).

Since beginning our “Mom stops telling the kids do stuff around the house” experiment,  the kids have cleaned out the car, done the dishes, mowed the lawn, done the laundry, helped clean up the kitchen, helped me make food, helped me prepare to go pick up raw milk, cleaned up the backyard and picked up the big sticks that have blown down–some of which I asked, some of which I didn’t, all without me asking more than once.  They have also made dinner, baked a cake (grain free GAPS friendly), spent a lot of time watching movies and playing video games (specifically Harvest Moon and Minecraft), rode bikes, spent time laying in the grass watching the clouds, helped with the laundry, made multiple messes, cleaned up some messes–both their own and others though not all of either, made some great choices, made some bad choices, and frankly have very much been kids.  And honestly, it is pretty much the same stuff they would be doing anyway, but with a lot more helping out around the house with a lot less whining from them (I can’t guarantee that I am not doing more whining though mine is silent…waaaa.)

Grain free white bean cake
The GAPS friendly grain-free white bean cake Rach made me for Mother's Day (with a lot of help from me since I didn't have the ingredients all on hand--but it was GOOD.

I didn’t say anything about the experiment to the kids until the end of the week (when I pulled them aside and told them what had happened and why.) However on Thursday my middle “miss perceptive” child came over to me as said, “Mom, since you stopped yelling at us and telling us what to do we are doing a whole lot more stuff” (mind you I didn’t TELL them I was going to do this, that was part of the experiment, just stopped cold turkey). She then went on to say that she thought it was because they felt more responsible and grown up and able to choose what they felt they should do to help out and so it felt good when they did help out and they didn’t resent it.

Esther
Esther lying on the floor at my grandmother's new apartment. I don't know either but this is how I felt on Sunday.

I should also mention that right before they came and started helping I was feeling VERY overwhelmed and poor me and no one is going to help me and waaaaaa. And then I remembered that this had been a HUGE thing in our marriage for a while (about 8 years ago all the way back to us as newly weds 14 years ago)– me doing the housework and resenting every second and my husband resenting me resenting him. Like I said, obviously I have huge heart issues regarding housework.  Of course right after all that they started helping but I also got sick (with the same cold thing that they have had which accounts for much of the not helping that has happened.)

And between feeling sick, hormones, and not wanting to deal with Mother’s Day because my own mom died a few years ago and I still am not keen on Mother’s Day I was a crank for Mother’s Day so my heart attitude didn’t get much better there especially since everyone else is also still feeling kind of cruddy and no one wanted to help with anything.  Then the kids picked up and decided to make dinner (meatball soup and eggplant Parmesan– very good and perfect for feeling cruddy me).

So, we are continuing the experiment because it really is working, even though just like with school work, it means the kids are doing different things than they would be if I were insisting they help out.  It actually means they are doing more, and more willingly without all the fighting over who does what when.  So I guess that is a win, even if it also means more heart surgery for me because the “but THEY aren’t doing it” whine comes out at the most inopportune times.

 

(And the recipe for the cake can be found here: http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2009/06/gluten-free-dairy-free-sugar-free.html.)