Monday, July 28, 2014

from Haircuts to CAT Testing to Stolen Purses

Getting ready to post the latest installment of photos and a message popped up saying I'd used up all my cloud storage.  So I took to clean out some of the folders full of photos.  I scrolled through memories from two years ago, picking out the highlights and deleting the blurries.  And in the process, saw images much happier than I remember them.  In little 5 year old Kaio, I saw a tiny kid, happy and astonishingly capable.  Yet my recollections of this time float on a raft of the same doubt and struggle I feel now.  Are the pictures misleading? Or am I not living in and enjoying the moment?

I love this boy and his innocent little soul.  Why do we fight so much?

And now the recent pictures.  Will I look back on these in two years with the same surfacing regret?  A regret for too much time spent worrying and arguing?  Not enough time spent trusting and encouraging?

A daredevil and an artist.

Nala would eat only pancakes and cereal if I let her.   But at least she likes some green veggies, like broccoli.

While our fig tree died off, our blueberry bush thrived through the cold winter and yielded the most blueberries ever.

Every year world class kayakers race down the Great Falls of the Potomac, class 5 and 6 rapids.  This year we went to watch from a nice little perch.  That is until Nat Park Service told us to get back on the other side of the safety wall.

Camp fire and party for the kayakers as part of the Potomac River Festival.  Someone flew a goPro drone over the party and the kids really thought it was a UFO.

Kaio's more than a bit obsessed with fire.  He seems to be obsessed with all things dangerous.  He knows how to light lighters and matches.  I've recently told him to stop with the pyrotechnics without adult supervision since last week I found him trying to burn a rocket fuel capsule from a model rocket kit!  Luckily it didn't set on fire.  Again, the crazy things he does all take me back to my childhood- setting various things on fire in my basement.  My brother still has a piece of shrapnel in his chest from when we set a bullet on fire and it exploded.  I remember holding that bullet over the candle flame with a pair of tweezers, and then BOOOM!  My ears were ringing for the rest of the day!

Kaio runs so hot that I chopped his hair off to get some ventilation, and also make it easier to check for tics.  What was supposed to be an Army cut, looks like a monk.  I hope we can reshape it soon, cause it really doesn't fit him.  Nala is like me and her hair grows painfully slow so I almost never take her for a cut.

Oh yes, speaking of cut, I finally got a new do with some peek-a-boo purple streaks.  They make me so happy to have a little bit of fun color mixed with my natural brown.

What else makes me happy?  Wallpaper in my room!

The baby will stay with us in our room, so my nesting phase has orbited around making our personal space a reflection of our own style.  We've been living with yellow walls since we moved in here, and not a shade that I connected with.  So I'm finally doing something about it.  This wallpaper is called Anaglypta and it is a textured paintable vinyl wallpaper.  After buying it on super sale it sat in my room for two months as I dreaded putting it up.  But then, it actually wasn't that difficult.  I intended to paint it like Moroccan tiles, but we're enjoying the white.  So paint will come later when I'm ready for more change.

What also makes me happy?  The view from my bed of sunlight, wallpaper, lace curtains, and jasmine flower sun and moon tea.

And one more thing that makes me happy.  Mammoth sunflowers and other flowers growing in our yard.  It's so satisfying to plant a seed and then actually see it come to fruition.

Last week we completed our testing week for Kaio's 1st grade homeschooling evidence of progress requirement.  I know, it's half way through the summer and we just now finished 1st grade?  But it's our first year doing this and I wanted to give us as much time as possible to cram for the test.

When the .5" thick testing booklet arrived, I thought, 'No way we are getting through this.'  Doing a page of worksheet with him takes mountains of patience and coaxing on my part.  Sometimes even chocolate and coffee.

Not sure why but I got all emotional about his Scantron page and had to take a picture.  My baby's first Scantron test!  It's such a rite of passage.

I had to make a quick trip to the grocery store for a pack of #2 pencils.

To my pleasant surprise, we flowed through the testing, doing about 20 minutes each day.  He answered the stupid questions, filled in the bubbles, and overall did really well.  There were some areas that we didn't cover and he didn't know, I guess the test was helpful in pointing those things out.  Although I could equally argue that they are not important for a 1st grader to know anyway.  Besides completing the testing without a fight, the other biggest surprise for me was how well he did on the reading comprehension.  I would have never known that area to be one of his strengths had it not been for the test.  His recollection of the details of the stories was way better than mine.  And come to think of it, I really struggle to remember what I read and that made college tough.  I had to read and re-read text books, and highlight and take notes, and still wouldn't remember what I read.  I'm much more weighted on the kinistetic side.

Nala likes crawling around the house inside a pillow case.  She pretends to be a worm.

She enjoys pretty much anything from playing with barbie dolls to building weaponry.


I've been learning so much from her.  She has this incredible innate ability to make friends with people big and small.  She really listens to what people have to say, and naturally asks relevant questions to carry on the conversation.  She's dynamic and animated.  It seems so simple the way that she does it, but it is so mystifying to me.  I guess my mind wanders and I have trouble following people when they are taking about a subject that is new.  Mari wants to put her on path to politics.

We went to the zoo.  Kaio wanted to see octopus, but the invertebrates exhibit is permanently closed.  Bummer.  Nala wanted to see the flamingos, and then we found a peacock feather.

We returned to a car that had been broken into.  Glass all over the front seat.  My purse was stolen from inside.  Luckily I'd transferred everything of value to the backpack that we took with us to the zoo.  Later I saw that other cars on the row also had their windows broken, funny that the police didn't notice that or didn't care to look.  We were parked in front of million dollar homes, by the way.

The whole event was pretty exciting.  But I was surprised the police did nothing to try and catch the thieves.  They basically just gave me a case number and left.  No forensics, no pictures, no detective work.  They didn't even help me clean up the glass from the seat.  They pushed the big chunks of glass out of the window sill, but they pushed them onto the street, totally littering.  I got a bag out of the trunk to put shards in, and they left.

I draped a t-shirt over the glass on the seat so I could sit down without slicing my ass, and we drove to Adam's Morgan for some falafel and pizza - bigger than your head!

And that's all.  An eventful couple weeks that hopefully will continue being eventful as we're officially on summer break now that testing is over!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer and Fire

After Spring we move into the active time of Summer.  This is the energy of Fire, the time of activity, warmth, movement, growth and relationship.  Nature itself is moving, the plants are growing, animals are getting ready to produce young and things are busy.  Fire is our ability to have relationships, to feel safe, to feel in control, to be intimate, to have fun, to laugh and be excited. (taken from here)
I've always been the spontaneous one, the inspired one, the under prepared one.  Ready to walk across a street aimlessly just because that happens to be the direction with the illuminated walk signal.  Ready to buy a plane ticket to another country without knowing how to speak the language or where I would sleep.  Ready to jump into a new job I'm completely under-qualified for with attentive abandon.  I guess my moto could be, "We'll figure it out when we get there."  Or something like that.  And for this my life is very low stress.  I don't worry about making sure the diaper bag is full of diapers and wipes.  Instead of all the upfront fuss and  planning that seems to consume people, my life is a series of potential "oh shit, what do we do now?" moments where a decision is made and then its over.
oh shit, I didn't pack a lunch, what do we do now?
oh shit, the renters didn't pay their rent this month, what do we do now?
oh shit, I'm pregnant, what do we do now?
oh shit Kaio doesn't like school, what do we do now?

Mari and I sync up so well like this because we're both unattached to outcomes, fluid and easy going.  But unfortunately for me, its not a great way to run a house.  It worked fine when we were pre-kid and could go out to dinner every night.  But now, if I don't set a meal plan at the beginning of the week, then come Wednesday or Thursday 7pm rolls around and we are cranky and hungry.  We forage for ants on a log for dinner - then discover there are no raisins so we just eat celery and Sunbutter.

Disciplining myself to be a prepared person challenges me every day.  But I need to do it.  The kids need me to do it.

Did you notice the last couple months I haven't been updating the blog?  It's because I'm disciplining myself.

When March came around I was like, "Oh shit, Kaio's in first grade and we have to summit some evidence of progress this year for 1st grade homeschool, what do I do now?"

I hadn't worried about it.  The VA homeschool requirements are so loose, that I thought, 'we'll figure it out when we get there.'  So then March came around and I took to figuring it out.  But when I actually looked at what a version of the end of the year test looked like, I realized we were worlds away from the math requirements.  I told Mari and he freaked out, thought the state might call us loser parents and force us to put Kaio back in school or take him away.  Luckily that is not what happens.  If you do not submit evidence of progress you get a one year probation to submit.

So I've tightened up at home with scheduling and formalities for the last two and a half months now.

Currently it is actually working, but I have so much less free time to just fuck around in front of the computer.  That's probably a good thing.  But it means I haven't been updating this blog.  I've also been spending at least three days a week on the water paddleboarding, first ramping up for summer time SUP Yoga and now teaching and training teachers.  It has been so much fun, but with my pregnant belly growing bigger, I'm ready to cut down on the days out on the water teaching, and have some more time to relax and bake a baby.

Kaio has been doing awesome with the homeschooling.  As much as my personality fights it, I think that both he and I really need some structure in our lives to be productive.  He's started saying "I can do math, I'm good at math!"  with a big smile across his face.  That is, until we get to a new difficult thing, and then he switches to "I hate math!" and throws his pen across the room.  But he wont give up to the wave of frustration and insists on finishing the page.

So May happened and we explored outdoors with other homeschoolers:

Captain Hook's hook 

 A machine gun, or anti aircraft artillery 

 Exploring in dresses

 Mining for Virginia clay on the stream banks

It looks like a frog wrapped in a leaf 

 Building on a lake beach with other homeschoolers

Nala's a little yogi

The Brave Writer says the best curriculum for kindergarten is costumes and face paint

 I'll add water sports to that!

 The birds have come out and we catalog them from the bay window, Nala gives each one a name.  Window paints and lego mess included.

 Watching the planes land from Gravity Point

 Stuffing their faces with free donuts on D day.  Best way to solidify a history lesson is with some food

 We visited my grandparents' grave in New Jersey and planted flowers, lit a candle

The grave of one of my grandfather's sisters.  She died as a child of small pox I think

Mariano has been racing SUP.  He placed 2nd in this race!  

Kaio competed in his first race too, using his above water kayak.

 ya know when dad gets home at 9pm and the kids are wearing makeshift flying squirrel suits, running through the hallway and leaping...

 Pool days

  Berry picking

 Arts and crafts

Playing with fire

 Moving around furniture

and lounging

We've been so busy implementing chores and routine, homeschooling, finding distractions from screen time, and occasionally getting out of our bubble to play.  I have so much to do that keeps getting pushed aside.  Updating this blog was one of those things.  I'm glad I woke up early enough to get it done because there are so many decadent moments (between the whining and exhaustion) I want to box up and save forever, this post was just a sliver of that.   Now off to the waterpark!


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