Friday, August 29, 2008

i have joined the ranks

last night, my littlest babe of only 8 years spent the night with her friend sierra. i was not ready for that. it was her first time. and mine. because, even though she's got 2 older brothers, she's the first to venture out into the sleepover world.

the boys and i were not feeling up to the ATC thing last night and so we needed to leave early. sadie was nowhere near ready to leave, so she asked to stay with sierra. she was unsure if she would be able to stay all night but she wanted to try. and so i let go. but not without a little bit of freaking out. i felt like puking leaving her there. just leaving.

thank goodness heather came over a little after we got home because it helped keep my mind off worrying about sadie. but after she left, the freakout resumed and i called ren's house to see how sadie was doing. she was fine...OF COURSE. of course she was fine. she's so independent. it was bittersweet, to be sure. i got off the phone and cried like a million babies. all the while smiling. my little girl is growing up and away. already. i wanted to be a fly on the wall and watch her bloom without me. to get that peek we always want but know we can never have into their worlds that don't include us.

i went upstairs earlier and, like always, when i got to the top of the stairs i looked into the bedroom to see if sadie was still sleeping. the bed was already made. i had forgotten that i did that first thing this morning, something i never get to do because she is always still sleeping. something about the already made bed made it seem so much sadder.

i will go pick her up later and i'm sure that when i see her face i will know for certain that this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

amy steinberg house concert

still just trying to catch up on some of our big get togethers this summer. i'm way behind!! this one is from august 10th!! sheesh!

last month ren had brought up the idea of hosting a house concert for amy steinberg and wondered if anyone would be interested. scotty and samuel thought it would be great (since we had so much fun with our acoustic jam/potluck party at the house)...i didn't think so. i wasn't up for it, so i declined. luckily there's this awesome lady, JESSICA SCHMESSICA, who was willing to do it!! so on a beautiful sunday night we gathered at her place to eat, talk, laugh, listen to music, and dance. it was a beautiful thing. first thing's first, we took a tour of jess' garden, there are some crazy big sunflowers growing down there!! then it was time to eat and the kids played a lot on the tire swing and the swing under the deck as well as explored all the little nooks and crannies of their property. finally amy came and got set up. no more tire swing kids, it was right where she was going to be performing...sorry! she started off the set with "exactly" which made us all happy as that song holds a lot of meaning for us. we danced and sang along, the kids got to run around and play in the wooded areas some more. after the concert, we went up to the house where amy shared her vibrating bowl with us. it felt amazing to hum and chant with the vibrations. we talked for awhile after that, just enjoying all the powerful energy created by the vibrations and the people there. later, a few of us walked up to the cow field to look at the stars. it was a beautiful night. must've been the moon...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

heather's night

i'm a little (a lot?) late on posting about this right??? anyway...

on august 5th, we went down to the acoustic coffeehouse for originals night to watch heather perform! we were really excited and weren't sure when she was going on so we got there 7:30!! it was all quiet in there, no music!! so we ordered some smoothies for the kids and sat and talked awhile. heather got there sometime after 8 and we got to visit with her and her sick self...she was sporting a dayquil dowsed cold but ready to sing anyway! we thought we might be the only heather fans there that night but soon others started trickling in. it was exciting to see all our friends from sofh showing up as well as a few of heather's other friends. she had the place packed!! we ordered some food and drinks and watched a few of the first sets while quietly anticipating heather's stage time. which seemed to never ever ever come!!! they kept pushing her back and pushing her back. i finally told heather that because she had such a big crowd there to see her that they were trying to keep us there for as long as possible as we were all ordering food and drinks...they did not want to see us go anytime soon. that made her feel better =)!!

finally, it was time for her to go was around 10:30!!! we were all very very excited. we gathered the kids up (they had been playing in and around and all over while waiting) for the show and settled in down front. she started off the set with "beautiful stillness" and a hush came over the crowd that had not been there all night, even while other performers were on. beautiful stillness indeed! it gave me goose bumps. i sang along like the crazy eyed fan of hers that i am. she did a full set that included a new one that i hadn't heard before and it got the crowd hooting...LIES LIES LIES!!! it was so awesome to see her let go of the nervousness she had been feeling and just perform like she did that sort of thing every single night.


Friday, August 15, 2008

the past is not as far away as it seems

the last 2 days we have had the pleasure of visiting with some really special friends of ours that we used to hang out with a lot before they moved to california. cheryl, brian, phoenix, aubrey, and sol...what a beautiful family!! cheryl was the first real-woman real-friend of my adult/mommy life. we met through a playgroup she started with other moms who had homebirths in the area. this was back in 2001. it seems like so long ago, but really it has flown by. after we moved to charleston in 2004, we sort of lost touch. but recently, as if the stars had it planned this way all along, i found her on the myspace page of her uncle plez and contacted her. just in time to find out they were planning a trip to tennessee. how's that for fate?!

we got together at warrior's path park on wednesday and it felt so good and natural, as if no time had passed at all! silas and phoenix hit it off immediately, like two matching souls...although they did not remember each other at all. of course not, they were all so little. samuel has a few memories, but he's the only one. i got to meet some of cheryl's friends and i really liked them! i found out that her friend ashleigh had been reading my blog recently and that was really cool, i felt so read and famous...LOL!! we played at the playground for awhile until the kids were so hot that we headed for the swimming area. but not before checking out a very cool, very bright green, but very freaky spider!!the water felt great!! we swam for awhile and then brian and cheryl's dad took the kids on the boat (samuel and sadie didn't want to go so they hung out with us moms).they had so much fun!!! as we were leaving (to avoid getting stormed on) we made plans for a quick drop by at our house the next day.

i woke up on thursday excited about sharing some more time with our friends and showing them our new place. i got a wonderfully unexpected visit from my friend heather (who is a huge fan of cheryl's uncle and i forgot to tell her that when they met) and then cheryl's family got there and we put lots of food on the table while the kids all went in every direction to play. sadie, rowan, and aubrey hid out in sadie's room and played. silas and phoenix got busy with video games while samuel shared his artwork with cheryl. heather couldn't stay too long and so we said our goodbyes. brian pointed out that aubrey was talking to sadie, she normally doesn't talk much to other kids...that was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. after lots of eating, we hung out on the porch and talked for awhile. it felt so good to just sit there in the quiet cool shade of my favorite part of the house and BE. they eventually had to leave, so many people to visit so little time. i did not want them to go. i know it will be a very long time before we see them again. but we are back in touch now and that feels really really wonderful. cheryl and her family feed my soul in a way that i had nearly forgotten. i love you guys!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

in this quiet morning

it's been a long week. so many activities to attend. so much to do. my mom had open heart surgery on friday afternoon. she is recovering nicely. i went to see her last night but she was sleeping and so i did not disturb her. but i looked at her for awhile. she didn't look like she'd just been through the wringer. her complexion was good, her breathing was good. she even smiled in her sleep...maybe a good dream about having no more chest pain, and finally getting to really really exercise now. she has lost over 100 pounds in the last year and i couldn't be more proud of her. unfortunately the past was just too much and it caught up with her.

my sister from knoxville was here with her new baby that we hadn't seen yet, her 2 year old and her 14 year old. it was good to be able to visit for awhile. they stayed with us, which was nice because we have never had room (or even lived in town) in the past when we've all gotten together.
as some people know, i've spent the last year working on some of my very deep food issues. i have come a long way. seeing my mom in the hospital though, i can feel it unravelling. i keep trying to hold on to what i've learned...but i look at cheese and think "oh man, our arteries!!" but i take a deep breath and try to remember the damage already done by my extreme control over food. balance balance balance...

we saw our friend, heather, play at the acoustic coffeehouse this week as well. it was amazing and i'd like to blog about that separately...but just wanted to mention it here because i don't know when i'll get to it.

i took some time earlier in the week to make some new for sierra, who gave me some awesome wrist warmers!! one for ren, because she asked me to =). and one for myself. i worked on another just because i had an idea to work out, it is not really for anyone. i also took an old sketch and put color to it.

this morning, i did a lot more gardening than usual. it seems like after spring it's mostly watering and light picking. today i got to dig in the dirt again. pick lots of cukes and beans...and a nice batch of carrots. i planted a lot of lettuce and spinach and i'm looking forward to having that again. we've lost all but one of our watermelons. not sure what happened there but i'm learning that i will do those differently next year as well. the tomatoes are finally turning red, that is so exciting as i wasn't sure if they would make it either. i love my morning ritual of working in the garden. it gives me time to think and just focus on one simple thing. i love hauling the water that i'm using from the pool right now. it's really dirty in there and i refuse to just let the water run out into the grass. what a waste. so i haul it one 5 gallon bucket at a time up to the garden to water. it wakes up my muscles. it feels good. this is the second pool full of water i've used this way so far. it will be my last though as the pool didn't get the attention i thought it would and so i will not be filling it up again. besides, i need to have that space clear for when we finally move the camper over here.

tonight we are going to a house concert at rob and jess' place. we're pretty excited about that...but i'm also a little tired and wanting a quiet day at home. but that will have to wait until monday. as it is i had to cancel on a party we were going to attend briefly today. that was just too much. but we will visit with those friends later this week, so it is all good.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

another day in this life...

we had such a full week that it was hard to pick what to blog about for the RUN blog carnival. i decided that this particular day was also very special and so i'm adding it to the carnival as well.

on friday, the 1st...i had no plans to do anything particularly special. i had a vague idea that i might want to go to MOTS but hadn't made any concrete plans. then i went out to do my watering and checked on the frogs we "grew"...we were losing them. i knew that it isn't common for all tadpoles to make it, but i figured once they were frogs they would all be okay. i knew that we needed to re-release them ASAP. from what i'd read about capturing tadpoles and releasing the frogs, we needed to take them back to the spot we got them from. so after a little thought, i asked the kids if they wanted to go to rock creek to release the frogs. sadie has been reluctant about this idea, but she has known from the start that that was what we would be doing in the end. i asked them if they wanted to invite anyone to go, even though it was short notice we started making calls. by the time i talked with my friend, ren, i was not so sure that i wanted to get everyone all the way out there when we really didn't think we'd be there for too long. just dropping off frogs and maybe dipping a toe in the freezing water. since she was having some car problems she opted out, so we decided to just make it a solo family adventure. but while talking with ren, we decided we would meet later at MOTS and that made it a little easier for her daughter, sierra, to miss out on the rock creek action. so there it was, we had our day all figured out. so we headed out...

letting the frogs go was not as easy as i thought it would be.
finding a place in the creek where they would not drowned immediately or get stepped on (they are super tiny, even the one tree frog was still pretty small).
i ended up moving them in the end to a spot under a rotted out tree next to the creek. sadie cried. she would miss them.

but the sadness didn't last long and soon we were wading in the pool area. sadie made a friend and was happy to just play for awhile.
we brought a bowl of fresh salsa and tortilla chips to snack on so we wouldn't get the crankies from hunger.
it was really good!! as expected, we didn't stay long. we had already planned to stop at the "green" walmart on the way home to get guinea pig food and nerf guns, so they were anxious to go do that. we like this branch because it's small and laid out differently than the others. i should add that the reason we call it the "green" walmart is because the sign is green instead of blue behind the walmart letters. so we got our booty (including our new tent) and went home to get ready for our night out.

i had also asked my friend jess if she was going to MOTS and she had emailed me that they were going to go to first friday instead and if we'd like to meet there. of course, we already had plans with i said maybe next month. i thought i would call ren to see what time to meet but she had already just called me (my ringer was off). so when i called her back and told her about jess' idea, she and her kids thought that was the better plan. so i quickly got off the phone with her to call jess and while i was calling jess, she was calling me. it's been like that lately, just yesterday i was calling my sister to wish her a happy birthday and she asked if i was a mind reader because she was just going to call me to thank me for the flowers i sent to her. so anyway, we got it all planned to meet at nelson's around 7 to just walk around and hang out downtown together.

i'm so thankful that the stars were all lined up that night for us, because it ended up being one of the best times we've had in awhile. we ate some fancy chocolate and other delicacies at nelson's and drooled over art supplies in the back at artopia. the kids really enjoyed the free buffet and art supplies too. we got to talk and laugh and enjoy a lot of beautiful art work as well. unfortunately i did not take my camera that night (but ren and jess i'll have to make them blog about this too!!).

we left nelson's and headed down the street to see what else there was to see, we stopped in at beadworks to check out the beading party going on in there. it was a little hot so ren and i went outside...after i gave the kids each $1 each to spend and told them as long as they didn't go over 90 cents they would be fine. even though there were many beads they loved, they decided to save their money for another time. a guy came and played an accordion for a bit and i came back in to watch that for a minute before going back outside. there was a band playing there and i decided it was time to dance...and everyone else joined in. what a great feeling. we were dancing in the streets, just like the song says. the kids were jumping around and sitting cross legged under the street light, it was such a cool sight to see. we briefly saw our friends deanna and doug before they ran off to play with other peeps.

after realizing that our little tyler (jess' son) was busking down the block with his dad, we all quickly made our way to the show. he was so awesome and drew quite a diverse crowd. the kids played in the corridor until we were informed by a friendly lady that the kids might want to keep their shoes on and avoid the darker corner areas where it was not so clean if you know what i mean.

after tyler and rob's show, we decided to go to the acoustic coffeehouse to wind down the evening. i tried to get scotty to come out after work but he was just too tired and had to be at work at 6 the next morning. i told him we wouldn't be too late. it was loud but we still enjoyed some lively and meaningful conversation while some of the kids played together on a nearby couch and others sat at the table with us. all enjoying some yummy drinks and smoothies...and then ren got nachos...yum!!! we discovered that we all share a beautiful connection. not that we haven't always enjoyed getting together, but for some reason that night just seemed to be more magical and held the promise of even more wonderful times to come. around 11, we all headed out to our van because ren and sierra had hitched with us over from downtown and silas needed to show tyler his new nerf gun and tyler needed to see it. we hung out a little more before finally tearing ourselves away from each other. we dropped off ren and sierra at their van and rode home bubbly with excitement over our friendships and good times.

i couldn't sleep that night thinking about how i feel in this very moment that i am exactly where i need to be. amy steinberg's song "exactly"...obviously...was running through my head. i said to scotty finally, i feel happy and proceeded to talk his ear off about how content i felt after all these years. i was then able to drift off to sleep. and it was a good sleep.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

this life

this is my contribution to the radical unschoolers' network blog carnival for august. topic: a day in the life of unschoolers.

i got up this morning and realized that with all the rain from yesterday, i would not need to do any watering in the gardening. normally, i get up and water and pick anything that needs picking. i said goodbye to scotty as he went off to work early and then i got to go straight to my morning vice...the computer! reading emails, answering emails, reading forums on RUN and IT, reading my favorite blogs. it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it! i also downloaded some music and made a couple cds and put some on my mp3 player.

the other thing i do every morning is give the guinea pigs some fresh food, this is usually carrots or lettuce or whatever we happen to have. if i don't they will squeak at me while i'm trying to use the computer.

the kids slowly roll out of bed and pick out something to eat, usually they don't need a lot of help with breakfast. i had already cut up a watermelon and had it out so they could just get some if they wanted. i got off the computer so i could go make a tape for the car. the kids have made it real clear that they are tired of listening to kate nash, sia, and r.e.m. and i'd been wanting some dar williams and ani difranco for the car anyway. did i mention that my car doesn't have a cd player...that's why i have to make tapes. all the tapes that are usually in there are from the mid 80s and early 90s. once in awhile though i get around to making something new to put in there.

you've got to picture this tape making process because i don't have any and it's funny. my cd player with the tape player in it is super old and lately has been skipping all the time. so recording a cd onto a tape with it was just out of the question. so what did i do?? i borrowed samuel's cd player and took them both up to my room where it was quiet so that i could play the music on one and record it into the mic of the other. not recording studio quality but good enough to have something new in the car...and better than constant skipping. in case you didn't know this already, i have been known to go on for several paragraphs when talking about music so remember that for next've been warned. so i informed the kids what i was doing so that i could have the quiet i needed for my project. they were awesome. the phone, not so much. my mom called, then my sister. my mom to tell me about her tests at the hospital and because i think she was feeling lonely and just needed to talk. my sister because she was bringing a project over and couldn't remember what i'd told her to bring.

while i was doing that, the kids were playing on the computer together, playing with guinea pigs and hanging out. my sister showed up just before lunch and we got to work on the project of building a wall piece for her son's bedroom. i painted a 2' x 2' craft board black and let it dry while we arranged and rearranged the 2 broken skateboards that we would attach to the board out on the front porch. the kids hung out inside with their cousins, shot each other with their new nerf guns and decided they wanted to walk to the comic book store. they stayed long enough to watch me attach the skateboards to the wood and then they left. but not before making sure they had enough to buy a bunch of the 25 cent comics in the back of the store and reassuring me that they did not need to eat lunch, they were not hungry. sadie stayed at home with us. i fixed quesadillas for the three of us, we ate at the picnic table on the porch and talked and laughed. it was nice, i never get to talk much with her one on one. sadie listened for awhile then went in and came back out with her guinea pig. then put him up and came back to listen some more to us talking. she got a little bored and played chuzzle on my phone for awhile

just when i was starting to wonder if the kids would ever come home, they rounded the corner. imagine 4 sweaty, thirsty pre-teen and teen youths rushing towards the of which was shouting "water, water!!!" (that was silas...of course). they took their comic book treasures in to look at and share. while my sister and i were talking, i started falling asleep...seriously, i had to lay down. i said that it felt so good outside but i didn't have anywhere to lay down and i wished i had a hammock. that's when i remembered that i do!! i was suddenly awake with the excitement of hanging my hammock on the porch. my sister and her kids left to visit my mom and i found the hammock and hooks and got to putting it up. sadie helped hold it for me so i could figure out how high to put it. it didn't take long before it was all done and ready to test whether or not the hooks i used would hold my weight. they did. but by this time, i had lost all my sleepiness. so i got a book and some water and the phone and read for a little while.

meanwhile, samuel was reading his new comic books and silas was IMing with a friend who lives here in town and hatching a plan for her to come over to our house today. that didn't pan out though, it was just too late by the time they decided what to do. sadie watched the movie "cars." everyone tried out the hammock. by the way, this is a hammock i got years and years ago...maybe '92, not sure...on a trip with my boyfriend and his family and other friends down in mexico.

samuel took over the hammock while i went out to the garden to pick a watermelon from a vine that was not looking well and i was worried i would lose it as one had already went soft and yellow. it's a nice size for a shallow root system garden like SFG. i also harvested the rest of the corn and cut the stalks down. i have some new shoots from a recent corn planting coming in that are several inches now and i'm thinking it's plenty hot enough to do one more set as soon as i get up the roots of the old plants. i also found a huge cuke that i had somehow missed before. i usually get to them before they get that big, but it's not so big that i need to chuck it on the compost or anything. the kids had eggs and cukes for supper and i had three ears of corn and a whole cuke. we have yet to bother cooking any of the corn we've gotten from the garden. i love raw corn...but fresh raw corn that you just picked less than 15 minutes ago is phenomenal!! a little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt...nothing better. and i ate the cuke like an apple. much juicier that way since none of the juices get left behind on the cutting board.

after eating, we put our new tent together out in the backyard. we recently missed out on an opportunity to camp because we had no tent, so we decided it was time to get a new one. we haven't had a tent since silas was a baby. the kids were excited and were so helpful putting it up. i told them maybe we would sleep in it tonight. we got it all put together and came inside to scratch our mosquito bites and rest. we had some nachos and watched a sitcom, then it was time for the kids to clean the guinea pig cage. when we got them, i helped with the cleaning for the first few weeks and then turned it over to them completely. they get it done, each with their own particular part they do. and then they are done before i know it.

while they are doing that, i'm on the computer for a rare second time today treat and i decide to go ahead and do this blog entry. scotty came home just a bit ago and he went to take a shower while i finish this up. he brought home cookies. yum. he might get lucky. oops, that's probably not supposed to be part of my day in the life story. ah well.

while writing this i'm listening to my projectplaylist music and enjoying chair dancing to a new discovery...lady gaga..."just dance." i keep hitting the repeat button. must get version on my list is faster than the one on her i like it better.

now everyone is horse laughing in the other room while watching "family guy"...a show i would never have thought i would let my kids watch.

i know it seems like so much of this is about me and what i did. but that's how it gets sometimes as they get older. but they are always in and around my activities...sometimes helping, sometimes just watching. later there will probably be some reading to sadie if she wants, while the boys take turns getting in a little more computer time before they get tired and head to bed.

i didn't take any pictures today...not even when i was doing projects...gasp!! but i did take one a little while ago of samuel and sadie cuddling on the couch together. i may come back later and add it (while proofing this i remembered that i did take a picture of sadie in the i'll have that to share later as well. okay, i did take more than i thought it did...funny how it's an extension of my arm sometimes so that i don't even remember using it) but right now...the real world calls...Share

Friday, August 01, 2008

imagination tribe and so much more...

wednesday was a busy busy day!! there was laundry and cleaning and shopping to be done and then promises to play games to be kept as well. and we got it all done just in time to head out to jonesborough!!!

playing othello with sadie (she always wins!!)

doing my best sean penn!

this is an actual game, i love how it turned out (that missing spot would be white, we have lost some pieces over the years)...sadie was white!!!

so we made it to "the cranberry thistle" for the first real life create and trade of imagination tribe's east tennessee tribe...that was a mouthful!!

it was a beautiful thing. there was good food and conversation. creating art and making messes. and there was friendship. that was my favorite part! we got some wonderful compliments on all our kids...and not the usual "oh they are so well behaved" but that they were so wonderfully engaged. i really liked that.

the kids had so much fun that early the next morning they got out all the supplies again, set up the card table and starting making more cards. it was an all day event. i only tried to pick up once!! aren't you proud of me?? i looked around at one point and told myself, this mess is beautiful!!! i looked at the kids and how absorbed they were in their was just beautiful!! so i embraced the lovely mess...and if you know me, you know that's a big deal!! we even went to bed with some of the mess still intact...oh my!!

Find more photos like this on Imagination Tribe

silas really got into it more than i've ever seen of him before...he made so many cards!!

getting our groove on

lovely mess!!

this is the face you have to make when you're being artsy fartsy!!

i knew the tv cabinet was good for something!!

samuel tuckered!

late night silliness and dramedy!!