Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love Affair

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I think I have a slight (huge) love affair with my town. I believe that someone from the Chamber of Commerce should hire me to be the spokeswoman for Ashland.

I LOVE this town. My love affair is so big that I even have nightmares that I am going to have to move. I love how quaint it is. I love how friendly it is. I love it's culture and climate. I just love it!

And let me tell you, I love it's Fall foliage ;-)

What a wonderful afternoon with my peanut and my love, my town.

The Shakespeare theater in the water.
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My lunch date. This lunch was ubber delicious.

a handful of almonds, handful of cranberries, some lettuce, some balsmic vinegar, and some freshly steam green beans.. add a bit of feta.. and DELICIOUS! My 21 month old devoured it.

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Then we walked at marveled at our hands in the sun vs the shade.
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And dropped our leaf friend.
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A nature walk is not complete without a stick.
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and ducks
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The leaves are falling and I know that soon the trees will be bare, but oh what beauty that sets on my eyes each day.
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's not always easy...

This past weekend Adrian was away. A quick trip to Portland, I was performing my single mom duties. It's not usually that different than my typical week, except that H sleeps with me and the boys are in bed a whole lot earlier (thank you early nightfall!)

However, this week was not.. let's say.. restful. For some reason N decided that he no longer wanted to sleep and woke up every 2 hours!!! This started on Thursday and has yet to end. Why??? I have no idea??? Teeth? Growth spurt? Afraid of the dark? Who knows.. I do know this.. I'm TIRED!

So, with our chilly, gray weather I was trying to figure out what to do on Saturday after nap. I thought long and hard and what I came up with was..

A trip to TARGET!!!
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Oh yea, I was gonna do it. I didn't need 1 thing from there, but I was sure it would have something for me to buy. Of course it would. And I am sure I NEEDED it. Whatever it was, I needed a trip to Target. A place to drive to. 40 minutes of not having to interact with children, because, honestly.. I was WAY too tired to interact. An hour or so in the store, looking at things after things after things... that's what we needed......Right? Then all that time there would get me to dinnertime, then bath time, then bed time... my day would be Done!

Oh, but wait! I am sure my kids have no desire to sit in the car for 40 minutes. I am sure they have no desire to spend an hour in a store. I am sure that walking aisle after aisle, that they too will have a NEED for something. WAIT!!!!! I can't just go to Target for NO APPARENT REASON!

So, what did I do? We went to the park. Quickly. I had to divert my energies away from my relentlessness Target need. I had to do. it. quickly. And we did.

And we had a blast. It was so nice. The sun was setting (under all those clouds). The leaves were perfect to play in. The kids were so happy. I had so much more energy. It was the perfect decision.

nature=1 --- corporation=0

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Friday, October 26, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reader Question: Halloween?

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Kathryn, who blogs over at Fertile Foods asked today "How do you handle Halloween? Simplicity Parenting Style??"

Thanks for the question Kathryn!

Halloween has always seemed like a joke to me, but I get that it's exciting for kids. Each year I make my kids costumes and show them the energy put into making it. I feel like it's giving us both some creative outlet to the Halloween crafting. Each year H has picked being a character in a book. That's been pretty fun to recreate!

(H 2010 Halloween Parade)
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(H and N 2011 Halloween Parade)
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My thoughts on the actual day. Do it SIMPLY! What an overwhelming day for young ones. It's a day that is based on sugar, dressing up, and adding an element of frightfulness. This year my sons preschool has noted that the kids can dress up for the day and that parents are to bring a "treat" to hand out to the kids. I was a little put off that there were going to be treats at school and then my child was also wanting to do trick or treating in our neighborhood.

H is very particular about "rhythm" He likes it when his day flows pretty smoothly and consistently. School is going well for him and I wasn't ready to have his day be "off." I kept going back and forth on whether I would send him dressed up and off to indulge in sweets! We (I'm not the only parent here) decided it best he stay home.

We are also having a small gathering at our house with family and close friends. We will be having some warm chili and the like.. can we say Pumpkin Beer??? Then my kiddos will go trick or treating at some of the neighbors houses. We have told Hudson that he can have 4 treats (a treat for each year he's been alive). Nolan can have 1.

Our town also holds a rather large Halloween parade. We went the last two years. It's "supposed" to be a children's parade, but let's just say.. it's not. I remember strolling Nolan around, in a mass of people, dressed up in scary masks and such, and thinking "what in the world is going through his head????" I felt that this kind of parade can wait until they are much older and are able to process these images. For now, I think friends and family, a small treat, and some warm food is just enough for our Simple Family Living ideals.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TV! "so what's the big deal!"

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Before we had H we were going down the road of no tv (or let's be honest, netflix tv). We were fed up with being addicted to television and it was time to kick that nasty habit. That was 2007 that we rid ourselves of cable television. What a fantastic idea! That's also about when I started knitting, so I can attribute my newest addiction to the loss of an old addiction.

It was funny when we first had people stay with us. They couldn't believe we couldn't turn on the TV and flip through numerous mind numbing channels. If you turned on our TV, you got snow. Sometimes that was fun.. just watching snow.

So it came to no surprise that we were not going to introduce television to our young children. It wasn't until I had children, that I really started reading about the effects of television and young minds. It wasn't even just the hippy, anti-television Nazis that were saying TV was bad for babes.. The American Pediatrics Association even states it! No television before age 2!

I even found this note from the Kaiser Foundation. How is this even possible?
"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."

Not doing television with H was an absolute breeze. We didn't have cable, so it was easy. Then things got harder and I remember times wishing that I could just plop him in a coma state in front of the television while I do any of the many tasks that I needed to accomplish, but alas, I couldn't do it.

I would be lying if I told you that H NEVER watches ANYTHING. He has seen a couple of programs and he has watched a few videos of trucks on YouTube. But I can probably count those times on two hands in the 4 1/2 years he has been alive. Now, I must also state that H is actually pretty freaked out about television and videos. If it's fast music, or if there are "unusual" characters, he is done.

A couple of questions I get after the "why?" is "So What do you do instead of television? How do you make dinner or get things done? Are you worried they will be "weird" if they don't know what all other kids know?"

"What do we do instead?"
We play. Read. And we are outdoors a lot. I never fear that my children will become bored, because they DO become bored. Quite often. When they are bored they may come to me and ask me what they can do. I usually let them "feel" through their boredom. I might offer some suggestions, I might help them in finding something to do, but mostly I let them be bored. There is a great thing that happens when a kid is bored. They find a way to use their imagination. As I see H dig deeper into his 4's, I see his imagination work at great lengths. Soon after I see his brother follow his lead.

We do a lot of dancing. Music play. And building. We spend hours painting and coloring. I watch their rhythm and if things are starting to get hectic inside, we move outside. I have yet to see my kids suffer from outside boredom.

"How do you get things done?"
It's easy. My kids know no different. They understand that at certain times of day I will need to: fold laundry, cook dinner, clean the house, run errands, have "computer" time, or just plainly need some "me" time. I give them the option to either join me in my tasks or to find something to entertain themselves. There are plenty of times that I sit on my sofa and knit. I speak with them, acknowledge what they are doing, and watch them play. H loves to talk and he he loves to have me knit next to him while he talks to me. I let them know that some times I need time to decompress and I feel they both respect that. They also know that we can shift things if we need to in order to bring everyone to a happy medium.

"Are you afraid they won't know what their peers know."
Nope. Without television, H knows about Cars. He can name them all. He knows of the characters. He doesn't fully know what they "do" but he knows of them. It's slightly impossible to keep marketing out of their lives. I also know that my kids can bring something to other kids.

In closing, it's a family decision we made with television. I find my household to function quite easy without it and now couldn't imagine it being a part of our day. When H has watched something I usually find him to be whiny and needy after. He can't seem to motivate to do things. Without television he seems able to use his imagination fully, without the noises of images and the effects of television.

There's even an E How to not do tv for kids ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Outdoor Fall Craft

My kids don't watch television, watch videos, or play video games (that's a post in itself). I find myself searching for projects that we can do together. I am excited that Nolan is getting to an age where he can start to participate in most of our adventures and our crafting.

Our weather is shifting but that doesn't mean that my boy's energy levels are shifting. I am fully embracing our weather changes and layering them up in order to get outside.

Last week we took a nature walk by our house. We walked a good amount of time and brought a "treasures bag" with us. The leaves are in their peak and we were on a hunt to collect them.

The boys starting out on the adventure.
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I've seem to have lost a child.. wait.. he's peaking there!
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I believe we made it to our collecting destination. The boys were looking for leaves of all colors and shapes, acorns, walnuts, sticks, and pine cones.
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After our collecting we played at the park and then headed home. Three hours of walking, searching, collecting and playing tired out the babe and he was off to nap.

I pulled out my handy (and very useful) Nature's Playground book and found the mobile craft.

We gathered our treasures, found some scissors, twine, and a darning needle. We then started cutting the twine (my 4 year old's favorite activity) and placing the needles through the leaves and treasures.

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Ta Da. Our nature mobile. We decided to place it on our tree in the front yard. It's very exciting for all of us to see it when we come home or walk outside.
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On a side note, I love decorations that blend into nature. It's a mobile that most people probably don't even notice when they walk by, but we know it's there and it's very special to us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Living Smaller

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As time has shifted, I am finding my need to be back in this space. I am realistic about my blog. There are times that it will "fit" with my family pace, and times that it needs to take a rest. Recently I have felt very inspired. I have felt rather connected with my surroundings, my community, my children, my husband, my family.

I feel such a great need for learning more and taking my crafts to new levels. I have recently enrolled in a Waldorf Early Education program where I hope to end with my Waldorf Certificate. I don't know if this path will lead me to being a teacher, or to a business dream that I have (which is remaining under wraps for now ;-) But it feels good, so good. To take my passions and desire for learning more to a whole new level.

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Through my reading of Waldorf education and meeting new individuals, I am feeling a profound connection to my children. I am watching them grow: Hudson now 4 1/2 and Nolan nearing age 2. I see their minds open and saturate with the beauty of this world, and of our very special town.
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Nolan is entering a world of knowing and understanding that his world is bigger than just us. To witness his eyes take in this world one day at a time. To welcome him to the kitchen with eager hands to help. To welcoming him to our daily tasks of house keeping and rhythm.

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His brain so eager for learning. Fulfilling himself with such beautiful friends and watching him grow into a kid from a toddler. He is full of energy and life. His words are beyond his years and his compassionate heart is always shining through. He continues his love for helping me and keeping on our daily rhythm. He thrives on such routines. He is fast as fast can be on his bike and makes my heart race with excitement and fear.

Our biggest shift in life has been our move to a much smaller place (1100 square feet lost to be exact). When we moved to this small town we were looking for a "house!" A somewhat grand house as we were leaving our tiny city condo. We wanted a yard, a garden, two floors (I always grew up thinking that people with two floors were somewhat better off than I). We wanted a house that was big. We wanted space. We wanted something beautiful.

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It was amazing when we first moved in. We had sooo much space. 4 bedrooms, lots of room to grow and lots of room to fill. It was easy when guests came to visit. It's what we thought we wanted.

Reality sunk in. Not only was the house out of our one income budget, but there was something about all that space! It was space that we had to fill. And we did fill it. We had books everywhere, we had toys, we had a lot of furniture, we had lots of dishes, we had lots of closet space and those closets were full, we had massive gardening supplies, we had... STUFF.. period!

I didn't really understand that I, as a person, feel very overwhelmed with "stuff." The ceilings were high in our old house. That made me feel a little overwhelmed, not cozy and warm. Since it was a big house, it took a lot to heat our place. We spent many a nights cold and wishing we were elsewhere. All that space meant I was cleaning, a lot. Which meant that I was generally stressed. And what really meant I was not spending my time with my kids.

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Fast forward two years. We are now living in town. We have a modest home. It is nothing special, except that we all feel much happier. I designate 1 day now to cleaning our whole house. It takes about an hour with the help of my eager helpers. We have a ton less stuff and we are working to making that even less.

It's pretty funny that a journey toward "simple child raising" has led to a need for us to be more simple in our own lives. I feel more full and feel such gratitude to my family for entering into this world with me.