Saturday, January 26, 2008

Let Pleasure Find You...

This is a writing prompt from a book I got for a friend recently. It says, "Let pleasure find you. What are some of your favorite pleasures?"

So, here's my stream of consciousness order:

* Time with Mango
* Reading with Mane
* Having Vespera lay her head on me
* Getting to spend the afternoon with friends ~ I get to do that with 2 girlfriends tomorrow!!
* Phone calls from Montana
* Visits with my Montana-Friend
* Having people over to my house for the afternoon! (Thanks to my Bible study small group!)
* Finding great books at the library
* Good coffee
* Coffee shops with great ambiance
* The wind in my face
* Listening to the waves on a lake
* Walking in the woods
* Listening to good music really loud in the car
* Time to write
* Reading poetry
* Helping my kids through this complex journey of life & getting to see the results sometimes
* Knowing Vespera tells me the important things in her life
* Seeing Mane learn to read
* Sleeping next to Mango
* Hearing Mango & Vespera play guitar
* Watching soccer games
* Summer
* Camping
* Great books
* Making a meal that people enjoy
* Knowing my gluten-free bread is REALLY good
* Seeing my friends in good relationships
* Listening to Mane talk about God
* Sitting on the porch in the summer
* Mango's grilled food in the summer
* Road trips
* Knowing my family can get through a road trip together!
* E-mails from far-away friends
* A shiny teapot
* Following the Iditarod with Mane
* Learning about EVERYTHING with Mane
* Finding good book bargains
* Good deals at Savers
* Watching my kids with their friends...seeing their personalities come through, seeing how they engage with other people, and how people love them
* Listening to Spanish
* Hearing Vespera repeat a piece of advice I gave her
* Thunderstorms
* Sun-showers
* Growing a garden

...I need to head off to bed...anybody want to leave their own list in the comments? :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Random pieces of relationship advice....

Since I find myself in the position of giving relationship advice to one who is near & dear to me lately, I thought I'd record it here...for posterity, I guess.

---> TELL the other person what it is you want & need. Don't expect them to read your mind. They can't do it. I promise.

---> Following from the last piece of advice, VALUE what the other person does "even though" you needed to tell them what you wanted/needed. It is the highest honor to have someone love you enough to do what you asked them to do. It means they have *listened* and they care.

---> Every relationship is a little like a cross-cultural relationship, even if you're both from the same culture & you speak the same language. You grew up in different families where words & actions have their own unique sets of meaning. Every person has their own unique sets of experiences & expressions of personality. This means you have learn the other person's "language."

---> Speaking of languages, I am a fan of the Love Languages concept. I believe that what speaks love to one person may not speak love to another, or, at least, it may not speak as loudly or as deeply. Different people have different needs in order to feel loved, cared for & respected. Briefly, the 5 primary love languages cited by Gary Chapman in his book are: words of affirmation, acts of service, touch, quality time, and gifts. Whatever you tend to do for other people is probably your primary language. It is one of the highest expressions of love to learn the language your partner speaks, especially if it isn't your primary language.

---> Allow yourself to be loved, even if it embarrasses you. It's really ok to let people love you and for them to show it in big, romantic, sentimental, and extravagant ways.

---> When it the presence of someone who loves you and whom you trust, there's no need to be embarrassed about expressing how you feel. They LOVE you, and they just want to know that you love them back.

Any questions? ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dating News

So, Novio came over this afternoon before Vespera got home from school. They had a major misunderstanding last night, and though they worked through it last night over the phone, he came over today in person to re-connect. I chatted with him a little waiting for Vespera to get home from school. I told him I knew about what happened last night & wanted to know what his intentions were toward her because she cares for him a lot and, therefore, his actions carry a lot of weight around here. Essentially they need to either cool it or they need to be really invested because there isn't a whole lot of middle ground any more. Am I making sense?

Sooooooooo, anyway, I was sitting here in my living room with a pounding headache (another story), talking to Novio, and he looked me straight in the eye, as his own eyes filled with tears, and he said, "She means more to me than anything. I want you to know that I love her. I really love her."



I knew this already. But I hadn't heard it with my own ears. He was really nervous, but also quite sincere.

Just so you know, she'll be 18 in October. He'll be 19 in May. It's entirely overwhelming to me to be overseeing this kind of relationship. This has strong potential to last a really long time, and I can hardly fathom it. I've never watched a relationship from this angle before, never been so responsible for guiding and advice-giving. Its amazing and overwhelming. Really, it's kind of beautiful. Watching them has brought back a lot of memories for Mango & I.

It's hard, though, you know? You don't want to push your kids in a relationship, but you also don't want them to just give up. You want to see them learn to communicate & work through differences. But, all the while, they are so young. I'm not going to stay out of it & let them flounder around, but I also want to communicate that if this isn't the right relationship for them, they can get out. Tough stuff.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A morning person?

You know, I really *do* love mornings. I do. I woke up extra early on Wednesday to make sure I could borrow my neighbor's car to go to Bible study (and I had to call her before she left to take her kids to school), and I realized that I like it when the sun is just coming up & the world is hushed. It's the same way I feel about walking around the house in the middle of the night when everything is still and peaceful. It occurred to me that *maybe* I could transfer my love of late nights to a love of early mornings. It's entirely possible that I resist early mornings because people talk about getting up early as though there's something so virtuous about it, and I resist the idea that there's something more holy about getting up early than staying up late. It always felt so adventurous to stay up late in college, when I first became truly acquainted with the wee hours of the morning (those being 1am - 4am). Getting up early is really only an extension of those adventurous hours (5am & 6am). Of course, that would entail going to bed early and giving up my love of the midnight hours. Because God (and everybody else) knows how I feel (and act) when I don't get enough sleep. So, I have to trade. The late night hours make me think of the descriptions of Fynn at the beginning of Mr. God, This is Anna, and I feel connected to writers everywhere. Early mornings, though, make me think of Anne of Green Gables, gardening, dewdrops, and SUNSHINE. Hmmmm...I'm going to have to give those early hours some thought.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Ocean & the Arctic

I have totally hit the jackpot in the last few weeks with books to go along with our homeschool lessons. As you know, we've been centering our lessons around the book Very Last First Time, and my plan was to study the ocean & the Arctic. We found two very cool books on just those subject, complete with experiments, projects & activities. Here's my shameless plug for those two books:

Awesome Ocean Science taught us to make rain in a jar & how to show that saltwater is heavier than freshwater! We also practiced fractions talking about how much of the earth is saltwater & how much of the human body is freshwater.


Let's Go To the Arctic tells a story of an Inuit family, and comes with activities related to animals and their adaptations to the cold Arctic climate, the arctic food chain, and the rotation of the earth! It also comes with patterns for some very cute paper dolls, which Mane is coloring clothes for as I type!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quote Archive 1/14/08

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

~ Krishnamurti, as quoted in the book The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole

Drawing With Children

Mane & I started using this book today. I'm looking forward to the adventure, though I've had little interest in drawing in the past. Mane loves to draws and is actually quite good at it, if you ask me. Mango, Vespera, AND Novio ALL also turn out some fantastic artwork. So, this is an adventure. We started lesson 1 today over some Good Earth tea with some classical music in the background. I know. I'm crazy. But, it's fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ties that bind

Music continues to be the tie that binds us together in this least, it binds Mango & Vespera in a way that words and actions and gifts and all the other parent-child things never could. Music is the bridge between them, a powerful emotional bridge.

A few nights ago, after Mango got his guitar for his birthday, Mango & Vespera both took out their guitars and played together in the living room (while Mane played the xylophone and I made dinner). The tune was simple and sweet, as they are both beginners. Simple and sweet.

Another tie that binds? Food. Vespera made tamales for Mango for his birthday. Mango's reaction? "I never knew she liked me so much!" I cracked up. How can it be that this silliness is so totally true? If someone makes food for you, especially your favorite, time intensive food, it is such a true demonstration of affection.

I sent Vespera off with corn pancakes and sausages before she left the house the other night, and I felt so satisfied, so totally warm and content to know she had eaten some good food. Truly, I must be turning into Ma Ingalls.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Archiving my old quote of the week...

"I don't want to eke out my life like a resource in short supply. The only selfish life is a timid one. To hold back, to withdraw, to keep the best in reserve, both undervalues the self, and undervalues what the self is.

Here's my life - I have to mine it, farm it, trade it, tenant it, and when the lease is up it cannot be renewed.

This is my chance. Take it."

~ from The Powerbook by Jeanette Winterson

Very Last First Time

This week Mane and I are doing a unit study around the book, Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews, using our Five in a Row curriculum. For future reference, we refer to this as "rowing" a book. My guess is that we'll be on this one for two weeks - one week to study oceans & tidepools, another week to study the tundra & Inuit people.

Today we talked briefly about the tide. Did you know that in Northern Canada the ocean freezes on the top & people can walk around under the ice on the ocean floor when the tide goes out? That's what Very Last First Time is about. A little girl, Eva, goes out to gather mussels on the sea floor, and this is the first time she's gone alone. Of course, because it is the first time, there will never be another first time. Thus, the title: Very Last First Time.

Aside from "rowing," Mane & I worked on memorizing Luke 2:52, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people." Just as Jesus was growing up, so Mane is growing up, and so Eva, in the story, was growing up.

And we cracked nuts with a nutcrackers, a LEVER, just as Eva used her shovel as a lever to pry the ice open.

We played Math War:

And, Mane practiced reading by taping words on index cards to objects all over the house!

It's been a busy day in the homeschool house. Hmmm...our homeschool needs a names. Thinking... Thinking...

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Sidebar List

And for a friend who was reading my library list a few weeks ago, I thought I'd create a list of our favorite children's books. We own many of our favorites (thanks to great thrifting & generous grandparents), and so they are not included on our library list.

So, here's for you, Friend...a list of favorite children's books. Check out my sidebar!

Children's Book List 2007

These are the children's books we checked out from the library in 2007 in alphabetical order. I realized the other day that the list is not complete because I couldn't find the title of a book I know we checked out in March! Wish I could find that title... In any case, you can certainly see the themes we followed last year!

* A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
* A Flag for Our Country by Eve Spencer
* A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart by David A. Adler
* Across the Alley by Rishard Michelson
* Amazing You by Gail Saltz
* And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Janet Stevens
* Celebrate the 50 States by Loreen Leedy
* Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Ruth Heller
* Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende & Harry Devlin
* Dolls Kids Can Make by Sheila McGraw
* Easter by Jan Pienkowski
* Fly, Bessie, Fly by Lynn Joseph
* Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler
* Happy 4th of July, Jenny Sweeney! by Leslie Kimmelman
* Happy Birthday, America! by Marsha Wilson Chall
* How Do Birds Find Their Way by Roma Gans
* How Nanita Learned to Make Flan by Campbell Geeslin
* How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
* I am a Dolphin by Darlene R. Stille
* I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child
* I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite
* I Will Never, Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
* In Rosa's Mexico by Campell Geeslin
* Inch By Inch by David Mallet
* Madeline Says Merci by John Bemelmans Marciano
* Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pilgrims by Mary Pope Osborne & Natalie Pope Boyce
* Miriam's Cup by Fran Manushkin
* Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
* Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
* Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip With Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
* Moses by Ann Keay Beneduce
* Musicians of the Sun by Gerald McDermott
* Night Driving by John Coy
* One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
* Pablo's Tree by Pat Mora
* Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer
* Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep by Jane Yolen
* Snow by Manya Stojic
* Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz
* Story of a Dolphin by Katherine Orr
* Swimming With Dolphins by Lambert Davis
* That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child
* The First Christmas Stocking by Elizabeth Winthrop
* The Glorious Flight by Alice & Martin Provensen
* The Journey: Stories of Migration by Cynthia Rylant
* The Night the Moon Fell by Pat Mora
* The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy
* The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
* The Seasons and Someone by Virginia Kroll
* The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller
* The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote by Tony Johnston
* The Tooth Fairy by Peter Collington
* This is the Rain by Lola M. Schaefer
* This Way Home by Lisa Westberg Peters
* Tiny Tortilla by Arlene Williams
* Tooth Fairy's First Night by Anne Bowen
* Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant
* When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood
* When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan

The 2007 Book List

This is the list of books I read in 2007, as they were listed in my sidebar, which means that each book was added to the top of the list as I finished it:

* Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Rowling
* Jesus Has Left the Building by Paul Vieira
* Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
* Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
* Ready, Set, Count by Marlene Barron
* Ready, Set, Read & Write by Marlene Barron
* Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
* Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
* Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
* A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
* Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
* Passsionate Marriage by David Schnarch
* Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott
* The Gluten-Free Bible by Jax Peters Lowell
* I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
* The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year by Louise Erdrich
* Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
* When God's People Pray by Jim Cymbala
* The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
* The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
* Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen
* How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
* The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
* Joe Jones by Anne Lamott
* Good Harbor by Anita Diamant
* Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
* Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
* Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
* Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
* Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
* Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Thursday, January 03, 2008


ESL: That's "English as a Second Language," for those of you not in the know.

Funny Story -

Background info: Vespera's first language is not English, but she speaks English nearly perfectly, including idioms. Novio also speaks English as a second language, and, although he's learning VERY quickly, his English does not include figures of speech.

So, Novio was over last week, and Vespera said to him, "You rock my world!" : )

I was walking by and said, "Wow. That's a really nice thing to say."

Novio replied, "Yes, if you know what it means."

So, I found myself standing there explaining to my teenager's boyfriend what she meant when she said, "You rock my world."