Monday, August 31, 2009

We Garden

We deal with vegetables everyday. Whether eating, selling, preparing, moving, boxing, arranging, photographing, observing, or harvesting, we deal with vegetables. Local, organic/sustainably grown vegetables. The kids will grow up and never have to wonder what a Hubbard squash is or how to prepare kale or bok choy. They'll have eaten Romanesque cauliflower and declared it divinely geometric and perfectly situated between broccoli and cauliflower in flavor. Thus, Bastian tends to the last of the tomatoes...
And I in heels and skirt new from the thrift store, dig around for beans in the tangle of weeds and leaves of powdery mildew (grrr).

We Worked City Fresh

Every Tuesday, since early July? Or was it late June? We've been spending nearly 8 hours at City Fresh from distribution to tear down, moving vegetables around, stacking them, counting them, redistributing them, arguing over the order of peppers on tables, checking people in, and running around like crazed maniacs getting filthy. Well, some of that's the boys and some of that's me. Bastian is indeed quite into helping, however. Especially if there's some older-person buddy type for him, like Steve, who helped count some ridiculous number of corn (like 1124 or something). That's a lot of corn.

We Find Bugs, As We Always Do

We are forever finding interesting bugs to look at. Today, this fabulous August 31st (again! ha!) was no exception.
I have a request into Bugguide dot net to figure out if it really is an assassin bug of some sort.

We Visit Museums in Hour-long Intervals

Often after one of our several thousand scheduled excursions - like speech therapy, for instance - we'll take a trip to a park or a museum to spend some time making me feel like I'm doing a good job as a parent and ensuring that we make good use of the money we spent on those memberships.

Some Thursday in August (and again, I'm dating this post August 31st, just to piss everyone off) we went to the Natural History Museum to see if I could quite forgive them for housing terrible crap like the Surviving: Body of Evidence Exhibit (coming soon to a museum near you). Truthfully - as an aside - it's been the only exhibit which I've taken issue with. We ignored the exhibit hall and wandered around looking at animals and bones and playing with the coin vortex:

There was a nice exhibit on the animals of the Galapagos islands with a little bit about Darwin. The kids performed a puppet show for me:
Then we put on Booby Bird Costumes.

And did a booby dance before security guards kicked us out:

We Make Movies (and Amends)

I've not been posting at all and for that, I apologize. We have been so, so, so, so busy I can't even take photos enough or find the time to sit at the computer and update this blog. And that's just ridiculous because I at least used to do that like once a week, backdating everything so the events corresponded to the appropriate day on the calendar. For that, I will make this entry August 31st, even though it's actually currently September 21st. But seriously, there's much to catch up on.

We were in a short film, for one thing. The boys and I were invited by my friend Dixon who I know through a bunch of other folks, none of whom are unschoolers, mamas, parents at all even, or even married. Heck, many of them aren't even currently employed. But that's the state of things these days, I suppose. Dixon is a kid I met at a birthday party for someone turning 24. The only reason I note this is because I seem to be the only 30-something unschooling parent I know who hangs out with lots of childless 20-somethings. It's beside the point though.

Dixon invited me and the boys to come be in his short film about kite flying and spite. It entailed getting up very early and dragging Zena with us on a Sunday morning. We went to a difficult-to-locate field in the middle of one of the area's many metropark reservations.

It was the second film we'd been in recently, as my sister Lilly is also shooting a documentary about unschooling, which I mentioned before. Rachel, who I met first on the internet and then randomly in Chicago, also did an interview for Lilly's film.

Aleks made sure that Dixon understood he was star of the show and they are also now in talks about shooting another film with a murder scene in it. Aleks was watching lots of videos on YouTube about making your own special effects. We also recently got a book from the library about special effects. He's really into it.

The kite-flying film will be showing Sept. 26th at the 2009 Film and Animation Showcase in Seattle.

The lovely Heidi Rolf took lots of photos of our shooting day and the boys made good friends with my young childless friends. People without kids love playing with kids, it seems, so it works out really well. I'm in a babbling kind of mood, so I apologize for the disorder of this post and my continual pointing out the fact that we hang out with young people who don't have children. It's sounding embarrassing now.

Bastian, Rachel, Aleks, and Miles, at craft service.Hangin'. Rachel, Miles, Zena, Aleks, and Janna, co-star of the show.
This awesome young gentleman takes photos with this neat camera. Of Aleks with a sword.
There were many weapon props available and the boys tried them all out.

Aleks found a Monarch wing and talked extensively to Heidi about Monarchs and the caterpillars we had at home (which all unfortunately perished from the earth prior to entering the chrysalis phase).
Bastian, Zena, and Rachel picked wild blackberries.

There was lots of beating people up, thanks to there being lots of weapons.

No one was hurt in the making of this film.

Random Birthday Cake

One evening while Papa was out, I took the kids to Tommy's for dinner rather than having to deal with anything myself. It's been like that a lot this summer as I've had fifty-gagillion meetings, am co-managing the City Fresh stop, have been networking with people in a million different ways to discuss local foods issues and birth issues and make moves to do something about all of it, started an unschooling co-op (based, in part, on seeing photos of the RU Fun get-together), spent hours on the phone to Kosovo talking to my wayward traveling sister, shlepped the kids all over town to retain the crown of Half-way Decent Unschooling Mama, Gone to Chicago to visit my sister (where I also met the lovely Rachel (more on that)), visited my parents to celebrate Aleks turning 7, spent hours upon hours on the phone and on hold attempting to navigate Aleks' health care needs and get them appropriately met (agony), and volunteered to help with every little thing someone needed help with, it seems. Whew. Busy Busy! No time to cook!

And on one of these occasions, it happened to be John from Mac's Backs' birthday. We only found this out when while waiting to purchase some books after dinner, a couple came in with cake and candles to surprise him. And they offered us all cake, which we enjoyed. There is almost nothing wrong with spontaneous dessert. In fact, I'd dare to say it is a very good thing indeed.

Last Days of Summer

In late days of summer, it got warm again, briefly. We took the opportunity to swim at what was formerly Lego Club and has since become simply an open house day.Bastian is strong.
Gilda, with rain barrels.
Mari shows the kids how to dig up purple potatoes.
Their garden is massive.
The purple potatoes...
Which Ivy, in a kimono, plucked to take home.

They also have a plum tree...
And a pool!

Aleks wore his lion costume (a garage sale find) over there and back.
Bastian wore a superman t-shirt and playsilk cape. On the way home, we stopped to buy bread for garlic bread at the grocery store. Everyone looked at them like we were crazy. But they got a smile out of it nonetheless. A gentleman in the parking lot asked me if they were dressed for a school something. I told him, "No, my kids just wear costumes everywhere." Then I added, "it brightens everyone's day though - look at you! It put a smile on your face, didn't it?" I like to razz people. Can't help it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In Honor of Seven

Seven is a huge year to me. Six was too, as was five, and so on and so forth back to the beginning. Even so, seven feels so big. It seems the beginning of so many things, but mainly the first year I can declare Aleksander, my Aleksander, as a big kid, an official "kid." Perhaps I declared the same about six. I can't be sure. It may have been true then as well, but each year that he inches further along, I am struck by how much more true it is.

He is a kid. He is a kid that can read a little and ride on two wheels and visit neighbors by himself. He understands things and gets obsessed with things and can walk around and talk and need very little of me. He is getting closer and closer, by knowing so much, to being truly independent. It is astounding. We are further away from toddlerhood and the agony of three than we have yet been. It is amazing. It pumps my heart full of pride and awe. I stare at his face, his freckles, the crooked mouth when he explains things to me and the staring out the corners of his eyes and my mind just churns over and over, "Seven. Seven. Seven!" I am just so so impressed.

To honor this new year, we set up the tent a friend recently purged from her attic and made a campfire to roast hotdogs and s'mores. Then we slept on the hard ground in terrible humidity on one of the hottest days yet. And the kids loved it and Jon's insomnia let him rest because he's crazy and sleeps best on hard ground.
Then we had the cousins over for burgers and cake. Aleks demonstrated his two-wheelin' skills.

He found a toad too

which he showed to his cousin Emmalynn.
While Bastian showed the chickens to Braden.
The chickens took their chance and made a race for freedom and delighting in all the bugs and other tasty treats in the rest of the yard.
Aunt Lilly is taking a documentary class this quarter in school and decided to make her documentary on unschooling. She did an interview with me and filmed a bunch of b-roll of the kids. B-roll, as an aside, is just extra footage for illustrating the interviews and breaking up long periods of people talking.
Happy Birthday!
The kids are always so cute together, sitting on the swing, eatin' cake and ice cream. Sigh.