Cliffs Notes 2008

What a crazy year it has been!
It's hard to believe at the beginning of this year my oldest daughter, 7 at the time, was a member of the public school system.
It's even harder to go back and look at the pictures!

Thankfully, sometime in January, i realized (after one day on the job at a local daycare with my baby girl crying down the hallway) that public school was not something that we had ever wanted or intended for our family, and we refocused, got back on course, and pulled her out of school to be home with us again.

Shortly after that, we celebrated our baby girl's first birthday. HAPPY DAY!

Unfortunately, when we took her for her one year checkup, we found out that she had an elevated lead level in her bloodstream. The nurse called and suggested we find another place to stay immediately. What a shock that was! So we packed a few clothes and moved into my dad's house that night until we could figure out what to do. We were there for three months. Family of four sleeping in a double bed and living out of suitcases. We tried to get out of the house as much as possible!









Because it was determined that one possible cause of the lead was that my husband might be bringing it in on his shoes from work, he started trying to use his connections in Dallas to get a job in the racing industry.
We didn't want to sign a lease anywhere knowing that we wanted to move, but nothing was happening fast enough, so we talked our way into staying at a friend of a family member's camp on the river for the summer, in exchange for fixing the place up. Family of four sleeping on a king size mattress on the living room floor while the rest of the place was being renovated and used as temporary storage! We tried to stay outside as much as possible!

The job finally came through at the end of June, and Steve flew to New York for his trial run with the race team.

I guess he passed the test because he got the job!
For the next few months, me and the girls stayed at the camp in Louisiana while he traveled the country with the team.
He came home long enough to help me move everything out of the camp and into storage, and me and the girls took off to Dallas with our suitcases to look for a place. We stayed at his boss's house while they were on the road, and went back to Louisiana and stayed with family when they came back in town.

We went to the Rethinking Education conference and met lots of cool and inspirational people who also unschool their kids.

The conference was a life-changing, inspiring, and self-affirming event, and i am so glad we made it a priority to go.

Back to Louisiana for the rest of September to stay with my little brother while my mom took a temporary job assignment in Puerto Rico. (poor thing, right?) But it worked out great for me, because me and the girls had a comfy house with a pool for the last little bit of summer weather.

Then off to California with hubby in race rig for family road trip and last race of the season!

We finally found a nice little apartment with a library and a ymca within walking distance from our front door, and signed up for all kinds of local groups and have stayed very busy meeting all sorts of new people. We have been to museums, gardens, aquariums, zoos, parties and park days; and have met lots of incredible unschooling families!

And i couldnt think of a better way to end this wild ride of a year than meeting 'in real life' the gypsy spirited woman who has been my online hero for a couple years now! She travels the country with her husband and three kids living in a converted school bus and teaches her kids about life by getting out there and living it! Thank you Vicki for being such an inspiration and for sharing your family's awesome alternative lifestyle with the rest of the world! I'm so glad to call you a friend!

This is just a very brief summary of what we have gone through this year as individuals and as a family.
All the experiences of this year, and all the life lessons, and all the fun, the sadness, the frustration, the struggles, the enlightenment, and the strengthening of our family that went along with those experiences are too many to list; and too subtle to define. But it has been an amazing year, in both good and bad ways; and i know that without some of those 'bad' experiences, many of the 'good' ones would have never come along!

So, here is wishing everyone a new year filled with many new experiences that will expand and enlighten your world!


it's a WHALE of a TAIL!

We Went Whale Watching!!!!

We are in california right now with my husbands job having an absolutely amazing time!
Yesterday's whale watching cruise was the height of the trip so far!

I guess true to my libra tendencies, i couldn't help feeling torn between the deep inner desire to get really close to them and also a sense of guilt for being a part of disturbing them at all.

The kids were both pretty impressed, although T was also a little disappointed that none of them did flying leaps over the boat! She gets her elaborate fantasy thought processes from me, so i try not to judge her!

Despite not realizing our fantastical imaginings, these gentle giants exuded a sense of grace and majesty that was...humbling.

A boat filled with eager, intrusive tourists fell completely silent as soon as the first humped back broke the surface. 50+ complete strangers edged in closer to one another, shoulder to shoulder, none minding the presence of the others, all in silent awe as we witnessed what was known by all to be a rare treat indeed.


33 has moved!

all posts for the 33things/33days, etc....
will now be posted to a separate blog.
i will use this blog to focus on our unschooling life.
i guess i have a need to label and categorize things.

anyhow, i hope to have time to blog on some of our travel adventures tomorrow!


new rules! 33 challenge

okay, i thought for sure i was the only one who ever read my blog when i issued that little 30 day challenge to myself. but then, i got a comment on my blog which lets me know, someone might see me not taking myself too seriously with the challenge. so rather than admit defeat right out the gate, i am changing the rules!
i will be 33years old on october 2nd, which is not that far away.
i sent a text message out to all my family and friends today asking for some inspiring ideas on how to spend my 33rd birthday. i consider it to be a landmark birthday. it's not the typical 'round' number like 30 or 40, but to me, it seems like a significant one.
aside from the jesus analogy, it's also 3-11's(i like the band), its a twin number(i like twins), and it feels like the very beginning of my 'adult' life.
how odd, i suppose, that hundreds of years ago, people were lucky to live to this age, and i consider it the 'beginning' of my adult life.
there are several reasons why this year is so signifacant to me, i guess; some delightful, some depressing.
just last weekend, i realized that i could quite possibly spend the WHOLE rest of my life with my current husband and be HAPPY about it! delightful little bit of enlightenment that was!
also, myself, aforementioned hubby and two girls are 'in process' of moving out of state where we will be at least 8 hours drive from the nearest family member! that in itself deserves a party!
i dont mean to sound harsh or hateful, i really love my family. i just think for most of us, family is kinda like a monet. the beauty of it is better appreciated from a distance; if you get too close, you start to see what a muddled mess it really is!
the depressing bit is that on my birthday, it will have been a year and a month since my brother passed away. i feel like i have been in a fog since then, and am just starting to come out of it. so i want to do something symbolic to walk out of my grief and move forward in my life.
anyway, out of the responses i got to the text message brainstorm-
-one took it as a hint that i wanted a party, so she has decided to plan one and also thinks she may become a professional party planner. (not what i intended)
-one sent the sweet suggestion that i shop for a coffin- bad getting old joke!
-and the one that stood out the most suggested that i 'drink33, sing33, write down 33 things i always wanted to do and give myself 33 days to do each. think of 33 reasons its best to be me, get a babysitter and lets all go do something none of us have the balls to do! (that was my favorite so far)
anyhoo, that little bit inspired my rules change for this self-imposed challenge.

i will start the day after my 33rd birthday on october 3rd and write something on this blog everyday for 33days.
one year, one month, one day after the end of my brother's life, i will begin mine.
not to be morbid, but in honor of him. i want to live my life all the way to the fullest. no more wishing for this or that, but creating it. becoming the me of my dreams, a little bit more every day; so that when its all said and done, i will not have to wonder what could have been had i only believed.


still rethinking...

okay, i know that last entry was quite the read! but all the new experiences and information i tried to cram in within the span of a few days left me feeling kinda like forrest gump(staring blankly out into the atmosphere, saying dryly,"that's all i have to say about that".
i still have not been able to fully process all the information i got; not to mention all the amazing people, and all the internal changes that have begun to unfold.
i made new friends. and people that i actually have things in common with. other parents who challenge the typical societal rules and smirk in the face of so-called tradition. people who do what they feel is best for their children, their families, and themselves, regardless of what that looks like to other people. and the coolest thing about my new friends is they actually keep in touch with me. they said they would call or write, and they did. they meant it. they didnt think i was some flaky weirdo with extreme ideas and opinions about life and just try to get away quickly.
well, maybe they did think that, but they are enough of the same to not fear it.

i am challenging myself to blog everyday for the next 30days. this is my personal precursor to the 30queries30days challenge that my new friend lisa invited me to join. i'm not prepared for that level of commitment yet. so this will be like my marathon training. doing something consistently every day for 30 days.
this should be interesting!


rethinking education


this is the BOX CITY room at the RETHINKING EDUCATION conference.
the kids had a lot of fun building

and then 'de-constructing'!




transitional chaos!!!!!

we've got the trailer loaded and ready to make our first trip to this temporary residence- and it starts to rain!
can somebody say roundup! we have been overwhelmed all day trying to deal with the sheer magnitude of stuff that we have accumulated in just a few years! if it werent for my strong aversion to wasting things, i would just set it all on fire!
i feel that i have been prompted for quite some time now, (by god), to get rid of everything. maybe it is just that i really really really dont want to 'deal' with all of it, or maybe i am being directed towards my 'gypsy fantasy' life! i feel really torn between putting down roots,(ie. buying a home, settling in, having the little fenced yard, herb garden, local sports leagues, picture perfect house) and spreading my wings, (ie. selling/giving away all the 'stuff', getting rid of all the debt, converting a school bus to green fuel and taking off to explore this big big world first hand). there are so many pros and cons to both paths; what to do, what to do?



my favorite aunt (only four years older than me, so more like a big sis) once told me... "it seems like every time you try to put down roots, somebody comes along and sprays roundup!"
boy if that isnt the truth!
i have been kindof a runaway for as long as i can remember, so maybe some people just arent supposed to have roots? at least not in the usual sense of the word. maybe my roots are supposed to be srictly on a spiritual level?
so this is where i am today:
we have been staying with my dad for about a month now after finding out that our baby girl had an elevated lead level. we were hoping to move to dallas where my husband has a friend with some good connections in the racing industry (his lifelong dream). we are in a kind of limbo right now not really knowing which way to go. we could empty our bank account and pay deposits, etc. to rent a house here in louisiana until we get our metaphorical ducks in a row, we could empty our bank account moving to dallas and hope the job comes through, we could spend some time in new mexico with my inlaws while living in my sister-in-laws travel trailer, we could buy an old school bus from my dad, convert it to greasel, make it liveable, and take off without a set destination and just hope that god leads us to where we should be. there are actually any number of options, pretty much all of them involve emptying out the little money we do have from the lovely irs; but, hey its only money right?


well, we've come to it!

that metaphorical bridge, that is.


it's official!!!

kick up your heels! she's home again!



today is the day i will be going to the school and officially withdrawing my little girlie from public school!
it is actually really shocking to me the magnitude of fear and guilt i am feeling. i am so afraid that i cannot 'teach' her what she 'needs to know' (that should be said with an abe lincolnesque authoritative type voice). i knew since before this child's birth that she would be homeschooled, and after some fairly thorough research, i was elated to find out that 'unschooling' was actually something that real people really 'did'(or mayble 'undid')tehe!, and that it works out just fine, and even better than fine in many cases! i am not someone who believes in these ideas about doing things because 'thats just the way its done' (abe lincoln again).
i am not afraid to swim against the current, at least i didnt think i was.

but to be perfectly honest, after only a few months of forcing myself to conform to all these school rules, i am well shaken by the fear that my brilliant daughter will grow up nearly illiterate, with no idea of how to handle herself in the simplest of social situations.
this baffles the mind.
i KNOW that any supposed 'socialization' that takes place in a school setting is far from what any natural social setting would be. i KNOW that the school setting is a hindrance to real learning rather than a necessity for learning. i KNOW that my previously "un-educated" child excelled in all subjects when she entered the second grade, and i gradually witnessed her 'dumbing down' as she was in school being 'educated'. i KNOW that having been an attachment-parenting, co-sleeping, baby-wearing momma to this child; i understand her thoughts, feelings, learning styles and needs far better than anyone else ever could.
i KNOW that i am doing the right thing; yet the FEAR has set in.
still, i am taking this leap, FEAR can come along if it must. what FEAR doesnt yet know, is that i am taking FAITH along too!
(i hear the two of them dont make good companions.) so, i imagine, FEAR will eventually take his leave due to the crowd that follows FAITH- JOY, HOPE, LOVE, GROWTH.