weekending

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i can only hope that darla’s last few weeks of life as an only child will be much like this past weekend which was pretty close to perfection. we packed it in with that beautiful weather going on.  and for me, i hope these last few weeks will contain more donuts like the salty caramel one i picked up at the farmer’s market.

i want to put down here for darla, in the event that she ever read this blog {good luck friend}, that she is an incredibly lucky girl to have a father like mike. he’s been putting in long hours and days at work but is never short on energy or attention for d when he returns home. i keep waiting for the bottom to drop out but he consistently pulls more energy out of thin air to take darla out to the park, or errands, or to a social gathering after coming home thusly giving me a much-needed break or to high-five while i head off to work or commitments with clients. i’m so grateful for that and i hope that one day, darla will be too.  and i also hope that energy holds out when we have a second child taking up residence in our lives.

we’re all making it through somehow, huh?

and also, there was nelsonville music festival…which is deserving of its own post. so that’s coming sometime. you can look forward to seeing pics of me dressed as a watermelon!

* i hope you enjoyed a wonderful weekend and that your week is off to a great start*

our week

a

small

collection

of moments

from our week.

picnic belly
 flowering branch mango sill cupcake papes cupcake makescupcake makes taco picnicgoddess headband georgie boy

in my journal this week i wrote a list of the things i want my life to be about:

love. beauty. passion. gratitude. and the human spirit.

 i think we did pretty ok getting that all in there.

* i hope you enjoy a lovely weekend *

 

our return to the outdoors {and some thoughts on unschooling}

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we’ve returned to the great outdoors for our days, finally. these days have been bittersweet as i know that, at least for now, this chapter of our free wheelin’ unschooling days is coming to a close. it’s the right decision for us at this moment and i have high hopes that we’ll see darla in the right atmosphere for the next phase of her education experiment. because that’s what it is in the end right? an experiment? each generation comes along with ideas and tests them out in the big experiment that is the evolution of the human species so i don’t have to worry about making *the right decision* for her. it’s all a gamble, no matter which way you slice it. i feel like education is one of those areas of life that many people take staunch stances, sure that their way is the best but from where i stand i feel like it’s all a gamble. it’s all a dance and at some point it’s time for this group number to narrow down to a solo effort. i feel darla has lent her voice towards the desire to try out school so that’s what we’ll do.

and it doesn’t feel as heavy as it once did. i’m not stressed. i feel that as she’s grown older and come into her autonomy these decisions that we’re supposed to navigate are not as loaded as they once were. one of my main goals as a parent is to be able to trust that my daughter has what she needs inside of her to create her own path and that she always has. that is just where i’m at with this journey. a few years back i felt like i could feel the weight of every decision as we pressed on into the future. now i’m more at peace with the fact that it’s really my daugther’s right to figure out how the path of her own life is going to run. she must be her own and i must be my own. i’m settling into this role of “guide” much better than i ever have felt as “mom.” as darla told her friend the other day “no ones the boss of me. my mom and dad just help me figure out how to be the boss of myself.”

maybe i can get this next child to call me mother-guide.

so this leaves us with one last summer, one last summer of flexibility and adventure. this leaves us a few short months of mother + daughter roaming until we all go through the very big learning experience of incorporating another human into this fold. how’s that for unschooling?

and then i’ll get to start this all over again. and who knows, if we get a year of school under our belt and find it’s not the best fit and we find a way for me to be able to accomplish my work as well as help two children educate themselves then maybe we’ll take that path.

maybe not. it’s all a great experiment, after all.

creek skipping

 fallen tree

 stone steps

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.

week 43

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our unschooling this week was pretty lax and very experiential. you may have seen we spent the first part of the week cabining at hueston woods. we hit up the park’s nature center for a few hours for some darla-learnin’. i very much dug the center’s wildlife refuge because i got to see two types of owls at close range and you should know that owls are my spirit animal, even if a deer is trying to make a run for that position.

we rounded out the week with some of our favorite people at the pumpkin patch b/c that’s obviously where you should take your children when it’s snowing in little pellets. despite the almost freezing temps, the kids were peeling off layers to romp in the barn. it’s nice to be in environments where the kiddos can be wildly independent and not worry about them b/c everything is basically padded.

thanks for checking in our week of good times and learning through living.

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.