Monday, March 29, 2010

Talking about Easter

So, today we started talking about Easter with Mane, using Resurrection Eggs:

They're these totally cheesy plastic eggs with equally cheesy little plastic figures inside that symbolize different parts of the Easter story. In all honesty, I could have made nicer ones myself, but I got the "real" set from Savers for $0.99. I couldn't pass it up when I saw it this summer, and I'm determined to push through the unappealing aesthetics in order to have a concrete, tactile tool for talking about Easter with Mane.

I described Mane this morning to Mango as a "theological child." She talks to me about God in these random moments. Once, I was cutting out paper dolls for her, and we were listening to Sara Groves. Mane told me that she knows the things I tell her about God are true because when she hears them she knows in her heart that they're true. I talked to her about how God made us so that even if nobody ever tells us about God, we can know God. That's part of the wonder and the mystery. And sometimes I think it's easier to know God if nobody ever tells us about God. It muddies the waters less. Maybe that's why I enjoy these theological talks with Mane. She seems to see so much more clearly sometimes.

So, this week, we'll follow the Passion Story (isn't it interesting that we call it that?) using our thoroughly American and 21st century Resurrection Eggs...because Mane is also my "kinesthetic child." Today we read the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. We read it from several different books: The Children's Illustrated Bible, Jesus: The Friend of Children, and The Easter Story. When one book referenced Jesus healing a lame man, we went back and read the story of the man who was lowered through the roof of a house by his friends. Jesus forgave his sins and healed him, and, though he had been paralyzed, he walked home healthy and strong. We also learned that kings would ride on donkeys in times of peace. They rode on horses in wartime. So, Jesus came into Jerusalem as a king of peace. The Bible is so rich with symbolism that I still find myself amazed, after all these years of studying.

Tonight we may open another egg, as there are 12 eggs and only 7 days until Easter. Tomorrow we will read Miriam's Cup in honor of the beginning of Passover. We have been reading Mrs. Katz and Tush for homeschool, which includes a beautiful explanation of Passover. And sometime this week we'll read The Tale of Three Trees.

I hoping this will develop into a tradition as rich as Advent has become for us. It's always hard the first time around. I always have to jump into these new traditions, and I feel unprepared no matter how prepared I am. Isn't that true of most new things in life?


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thoughts on Cohousing

Cohousing is filled with all kinds of unusual questions and strange concerns.

I find myself wondering if I should hang out in the kitchen doing homeschool with Mane at the table in order to give the young couple some space in the the living room...or if it drives them nuts that I'm always in the kitchen when they want to cook (or shower, since the bathroom is right off the kitchen).

I wonder whether we should ask them to join us for everything, if they're tired of being bothered, or if they'll feel left out if we don't ask.

I wonder if we should say goodnight at night or if we should leave them alone.

When they're quiet, we wonder if they're ok or just sleepy or busy.

I wonder if I talk too much. And then I back off. And then I wonder if I haven't said enough.

We wonder if we should stay home when they're home in order to spend time with them or if they'd like to have the house to themselves.

And then. Then...I realize that we wonder and worry too much. It's ok to just be ourselves. We're all loving people with a lot of care and respect for each other. If we wonder, we should ask. Direct communication works amazingly well.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The other day, Mane was sitting with Vespera and I and my cousin while we were working on Vespera's homework project (a jacket made entirely of paper, using nothing but paper to hold it all together). She [Mane] plopped down next to me and asked,

"Do you ever have questions, but you don't really know what they are? You just know they're about life."

Why yes. I have those kinds of questions all the time. Thanks for asking.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Things to do in MN

Someone on a homeschool yahoo group asked recently about family friendly places to go and things to do in southern MN and the Twin Cities. I thought it was worth saving my reply and posting it here:

* Visit the Faribault Woolen Mill Factory Outlet Store and take a tour of the Woolen Mill. We did this when Mane was 4yrs old, and she loved it. I think kids 4 & up would enjoy seeing the wool-making process. Faribault is about one hour south of the Twin Cities.

* In far south central MN near the Iowa border is the Spam Museum. Even if you think spam is disgusting (which I do), it's a fascinating slice of American history, and they have a number of hands-on activities for kids.

* LARK Toys is definitely worth visiting if you are near Kellogg, MN. Kellogg is on historic highway 61 along the MN and WI border. They have toy shops with both old fashioned & new/unique toys and games, a hand-carved indoor carousel, and a food shop where you can eat lunch or have ice cream!

* Also on highway 61 is the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. We got to see staff feed the eagles while we were there. They were supposed to be getting a golden eagle in the weeks following our visit. They have some hands-on activities and beautiful windows for eagle-watching.

Others have already mentioned the many Twin Cities options. I'll just add that the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is free. They have a kid's room with toys and also a coffee shop & deli.

If you're looking for a place for your kids just to play & blow off steam, there's a huge indoor play area in Edina.


Perhaps another day I'll post all the wonderful Twin Cities options. As I mentioned above, many people on the yahoo group had already listed the myriad of places to visit in Minneapolis and St. Paul.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Music Monday - The BIBLE

In honor of the Go Fish concert that we attended Saturday (as volunteers, thanks to my friend at Driving With The Windows Wide Open):

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Iditarod XXXVIII

The Olympics just finished up, but we still have Olympic fever at our house! So, it's a good thing the 38th annual Iditarod sled dog race begins on Saturday, right on the heels of the 2010 Olympics, and just in time to keep feeding our hunger for great sports action and stories.

This will be our 4th year following the Iditarod, both for fun and for education. Over the years we've been drawn to the stories of the mushers (the individuals who "drive" the sleds), and we have learned much about character, strength, generosity, and endurance. I'll never forget the story of the musher who lost one of her dogs during the race. She was so heartbroken that another musher offered to stay with her and keep pace with her for the rest of the race, just for company, thereby giving up an possible competitive finish for himself. And then there's the Red Lantern - the prize and trophy awarded to the last competitor to finish the race, a tribute to that musher's determination and an acknowledgment that any finish in this race is a prize-worthy accomplishment. I've found that the race and the stories that happen on the trail are so often analogous to the rest of life and faith.

This year we'll be following more that a few mushers. Of course, we'll have to keep tabs on some of our favorites: Martin Buser, DeeDee Jonrowe, Jessie Royer, Aliy Zirkle (in alphabetical order so as not to pick favorites).

We'll also be watching the 7 female rookies this year (Jane Faulkner, Kathleen Frederick, Tamara Rose , Michelle Phillips, Kristy Berington, Celeste Davis, and Colleen Robertia - listed in the order they're listed on the Iditarod website, also so as not to pick favorites). That's SEVEN women who have never run the Iditarod before this year!! I find that pretty amazing.

Finally, we'll be following Sam Deltour of Belgium, who was the first Belgian to finish the Iditarod (2008) AND the first person ever to finish with all 16 sled dogs (also 2008), Wattie McDonald, who is from Mango's country of ancestry, Scotland, and Newton Marshall, who is interesting just by virtue of being from JAMAICA!

That covers 14 of the 71 current entrants! Every year we seem to accumulate a few more names of interest. ;) We look forward to seeing what new projects we can build around the race this year and, of course, to a great party to celebrate the finish!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Music Monday - All I Want is You

Today's Music Monday features "All I Want is You" by Barry Louis Polisar, as featured in the movie Juno.

If you didn't see the movie, I'd recommend it. It's been a while now since I saw it, but bits of it stick with me still. There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the depiction of adoption and teenage pregnancy. It makes for a good conversation piece in that regard. I always like a movie that has a little conflict surrounding it. :) I loved the portrayal of characters, the way that I felt I knew people who would be just that way.

If you enjoy the music, you might enjoy this clip of Barry Louis Polisar singing the same song LIVE: