for the days when we’re just too much alike

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on very rare occasions i can talk darla into sporting matching top knots with me. on these days i hear the phrase that has followed us around for the past 4 years a little more: she looks just like you.

yes. she does. i think i’ve confessed on here before that i’m not entirely sure that she isn’t just me. that i’ve reincarnated myself before i’m even dead. the lines between where i stop and where she starts have always been blurry. as those lines are beginning to take on definition life has gotten a whole lot more complicated.

don’t get me wrong, darla has always been incredibly willful, ready to make her mark on the world from the youngest of ages and it’s something i love about her…but it makes life incredibly difficult at times.

i’ve come to the awareness that the things i don’t like about darla, the things i nag on, over-parent and try to over correct with her are really the things i don’t like about myself. i’d venture to say that’s how all relationships work but that would be digressing. what i want to convey is that it’s especially difficult to come to terms with the little person that is a mirror image of myself, not just in looks.

i have to face and own up to the fact that the things that frustrate me the most about her were put into her by me in one way or another whether it be nature or nurture. there are so many times when i do things wrong as a parent, when i handle things wrong. some days it seems that everything i do is wrong. when at the end of the day i admit that everything could have been different if i had focused on changing myself instead of changing her. i get fixated on trying to correct things in her that remind me of myself at her age because i want her experience with the world to be different. i sometimes cut her interaction with this world short by trying to force my will instead of leaving it all up to the universe to figure out.

i wish, oh i wish, i could just sit her down and tell her that i don’t have all the answers. that i don’t understand the way of the world any more than she does, that adults seeming to have the knowledge is a farce. i wish i could take her by the hand and tell her that what it’s really all about is us finding the answers together. but how can i explain such a thing to a little girl who doesn’t stop spinning in circles long enough to focus on such a discussion?

i don’t really have a conclusion for this post. all i can ask is that you send me some of your positive thoughts and energy, or a virtual back pat as i try to make progress on this area of myself. she’s the most important mirror in our house and taking a good, long look into that mirror has been taxing for me lately. i’ll need any extra support i can get.

thanks. you’re the best.

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road trip

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i’m blogging from the road!! don’t worry i’m not driving. we’re on a 9 hour trip and so far so good. darla has a whole bag of tricks that i’m praying get us through the day. d’s a pretty darn good travel partner though.

and me, i’ve just got my hat and a couple good books. that’s all i need.

ARKANSAS OR BUST!!!

week 44

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this week. this week right here. whenever i start to doubt myself and question whether this is right for us, i will look back on this week and put myself at ease.

sometimes i feel like i’ve missed out on so much in life and then other times i feel so full and crazy grateful for how beautiful my life is. getting to raise and educate darla in this way is one of the great honors of my life. i can’t believe i get to spend my days romping around the town with her and then sometimes i get to see a human born into this world. it’s nuts.

i hope i can remember how fortunate i am the next time i start worrying about how i’m going to pay bills and afford life.

we spent as much time as possible outside this week. it was absolutely gorgeous. conversations of late are showing me just how much knowledge of science and nature are getting in to darla. it makes me hungry to show her more. how can i show her more?

for those of you just here for the pretty pictures from our week then this is a good stepping off point. please proceed to your nearest exit with caution. thanks for stopping by! come back later, i’ll have more ;-)

those of you interested in this unschooling-thing, stick around.

that spirit deer told me to get out into nature last week and i listened like it was my job because it is. i took her to the audubon center on monday. that day went like this: new obstacle course doings, playground playings, water tower towerings, pond life exploring, woolly bear snuggling and lots of running to and fro. the information we covered ranged anywhere from our feathery friends, to shelf fungus, to dragonfly life cycles, to human anatomy and lots in between.

we ventured to griggs reservoir on tuesday. we walked along the river, tracking a great blue heron and darla collected her choice items for the day. i love how i somehow become the keeper of items during our nature outings. my pockets always end up full of various things she has found along the way.

weds we went hiking in blacklick woods. darla was very fascinated with various nuts and seeds along the trails. she stuffed both her pockets and mine full and inquired about them with the ranger inside the nature center. we saw lots of wildlife on our walk, i think due to the overcast nature of the day, including several does and fawns, a huge buck, chipmunks galore, and two magical albino squirrels that we determined are king and queen of all squirreldom on earth. we rewarded ourselves at the gluten-free bakery afterwards :-)  and darla wanted to take some of the acorns home to the squirrels in our yard because they “probably don’t get too many of those type living around us.” we prepared a plate for them and offered it outside. ummmm the acorns were gone within a couple of hours. i think we have some thankful wildlife in our immediate area now.

maybe this is just the deep breath before the plunge into winter that will keep us locked up indoors but i’ll take it. i’ve determined that my niche in her education is to get her outside as much as possible. because if i can accomplish that then i can certainly do this unschooling/homeschooling thing. and she told me during our woods hike that she wants to continue to do them even during snowy weather so maybe we have some snow hikes in our future this winter.

what else do i want to tell you all about this other than COME JOIN US?  i don’t really write these posts about unschooling to push my views on anyone else, because this is just what is right for our family right now. BUT if you feel so inclined, then please, come join us.

getaway

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in case i hadn’t sufficiently rubbed it in your face that we spent the first couple of days this week in the woods, communing with birds and spirit animals then here is a whole entire post dedicated to just that.

i was having myself a time. my sweet mother joined us so this meant i was afforded some alone time and i spent it in the woods, in glorious natural woods. i feel i really need to make an effort to spend more time doing this. i really have no excuse since there are so many parks and green spaces in and near columbus. i take darla to the parks a lot and we do go on hikes but i don’t make alone time to do this and i think i really need it. my brain kept tapping into some of my most cherished memories as a child which always involved some camping trip in the woods or a stay at scout camp. i could feel how my brain operates differently in that setting. most of the time i feel like my brain takes in way too much information and i can’t focus in everyday life but in the woods my information inundation has a purpose. i feel like my vision is in panorama view the entire time. it feels right. i mean, i saw a spirit deer for cryin’ out loud.

i enjoyed little quite moments of solitude that left me yearning to make a solo cabin trip someday soon. nothing too long but maybe a 2 day excursion to the woods to have myself a walden weekend. please universe?

my daughter on the other hand had a different experience. this cabin had 3 tvs in it. 3 TVS!!! i was hoping this would be a break from television but it wasn’t for her. that’s how she chose to spend her time. can you see her up there in that last photo fighting the forest? because that’s what she said she wanted to do. i think darla may not be as much of a nature-girl as i am. and that’s ok….i guess. maybe she’ll come around but i know i wasn’t as focused on television and electronics at her age. i wanted to be outside, up in a tree, at the creek or in the woods. it makes me sad for her that she’s not getting to know the freedom of a rural childhood.

but she’s got her own thing going on. like turning party hats into unicorn horns that she has to use to impale a bull to the moon. i have the visual arts to thank for that.

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so, i’ll be carrying a little bit of the natural world around with me until i can get back. and next time we’ll be renting a cabin without 3 tvs.

weekending 42

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it’s boot weather. this weekend was very much out and about. friday is looking to be our family day this fall. we braved the homecoming crowd to take in the blues for smoke exhibit in the afternoon. this was a precursor to our friend’s performance there friday evening with Lonnie Holley. Both performances blew my mind but Lonnie gave me a new catch phrase that’s been stuck in my head: thumbs up to mother universe.

between the two wexner events we walked past a new little donut spot {literally named the little donut shop} and had to stop in for some tasty maple bacon goodness. mike got a samoa and darla got her standard sprinkles special. those last two pics are us as cheerleaders for the columbus marathon. this was my first time as a spectator at a marathon and it was more inspiring and entertaining than i thought it would be. that might be due to the pair of sideliners dressed up in the horse mask, followed by his friend clapping cups behind him up and down the road. it was fun to cheer on the runners.

i guess this is the only time of year we visit the wexner center since the last time we went was about a year ago. it’s a great way for me to make observations about darla’s cognitive progress, though. last year she didn’t really want anything to do with looking at the exhibit. this year she was just really motivated to look at only the things she wanted to take in, which is pretty wonderful in my book. no standardized tests needed here!

but it does make it a bit hard for mike and i to have a personal experience. luckily, the wexner offers free tours on thursdays so we can return again at a later date.

but what i mainly want to say about life thoughts from the weekend is how thankful i am to have this little family that runs around getting involved in so much life. i can let myself get pretty stressed out at times about the fact that laundry piles up, dishes don’t get done and there never seems to be enough time to clean up all the messes. and then i remember that’s a sign that i’m living my life. i’m not simply maintaining it. a clean house is life management, not life. we get out there. that may be our strongest area as parents up until this point, we get darla out for experiences. she’s done a lot in these short years. she’s learned to be the master of her own universe. she’s learned to seek out life. and for that i’m thankful.

daily moment

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i love that my little girl grabs a bumbershoot and galloshes {can you tell i’m feeling very retro at the moment?} and heads out for a good time during a rainstorm. i dislike that my first reaction is to try and control it and think how this activity will interfere with my routine. she lives life in the moment and each moment to the fullest. please, universe remind me not to squash this out of her.