Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grouting the bathroom floor.

"Okay, so, if you were in the water and there was a cement man and you were sweating and your sweat got on him you would get hurt, right?", says monkey #2.
"If I was in the water and there was a cement man and I was sweating and my sweat got on him would I get hurt?", says I.
"Yeah", she says.
"Um, yes," I says.
"Mommy I have to go poopy.  Can you turn on the light and shut the door?" says she.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mind your children

I came across a great quote today, from Kittie Franz, a nurse and breastfeeding guru:

Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being

and it hit me. It hit me because its something I have been thinking about alot lately. Not for myself so much, but for the world around me. I have three small kids, so I spend alot of my time around not only other small kids, but their parents. And so many of these parents seem so, well, disconnected (before I go any further I want to assure my many beloved friends that am I not talking about any of them). We go to the park, and so often I see mothers sitting off on a bench, waiting for the time to take the kids back home again. The other day there was a mother waiting in the car. I think she might have spent some of the time cleaning it (hey, I understand taking advantage of a cleaning opportunity), but she basically waited in the car. We go to our library, which has an extensive children's section including a play area, and there are parents sitting back, staring blankly into space while their children run wild and fight with other kids.

Now believe me when I say I understand the need for a few quiet minutes. Really, I do. REALLY. But I just find it so sad to constantly see kids being "dumped" by their parents, who seem to have little to no interest in what their kids are doing. Kids are small for such a short time, I feel like as a parent you need to work extra hard to soak up every moment you can with them. Our Monkey 1 is only 6 and already I am starting to see his big-boyness. Before long, he's not going to want me hanging around. I don't want to miss out now. Being a parent is complicated. It's hard hard work, it's exhausting, but it's not an inconvenience. People should celebrate their children. Don't just take them to the park, go to the park with them. Run with them, play with them. Because before you know it they won't be kids anymore and you'll wonder what happened.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stuff and nonsense

We have alot of stuff. With 2 adults and 3 kids and a large extended family, I guess its kind of inevitable. The thing is, I'm not really a "stuff" person. I would love to get rid of stuff, but I wouldn't even know where to begin. My kids have a whole lot of stuff, but really with 3 kids, that's just the way it is. I can't get rid of their stuff. So far, when one child has grown out of something, another child has come along. I know that this cycle is not infinite, and someday I will start getting rid of that stuff, but honestly I am not emotionally ready to go there. Anyway, my kids use their stuff and alot of what they have is pretty fun.

So that leavesthe the two of us, surrounded by our stuff. It seems the simpler life is supposed to get, the more stuff it requires. So here we are, fighting with our time-saving stuff, trying to get the printer to work, the phone to ring the way we want, the computer to play the movie. But that's a whole different cycle of craziness. It just seems that no matter how much stuff we get rid of (and we've actually gotten really good at getting rid of things), there's more stuff we should get rid of, or use, and can't figure out where we put or why we even have it.

Sometimes I think about all the people and all the stuff they have. What happens to all that stuff? When we're all gone, who gets it? All of these houses, these containers full of all this stuff? I wonder, is it really possible to live a modern life without stuff? I think we could maybe do it, but it almost seems harder than to just give into the stuff. Chances are, unless some great calamity should occur, I will never be completely stuff-free. Maybe the best thing is to be careful about the stuff we accumulate. Selective stuff. Stuff that means something. Now I have to go clean some stuff, move some stuff, store some stuff, and freecycle some stuff.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

airing out

I hung a load of laundry on the line today.

Nothing earth-shattering about that, I realize. But there was something so satisfying about it. Spring is here. OK, this IS northern Illinois, so Spring will come and go in waves of hot and cold. It was in the 60s today, and sunny. There are buds on the honeysuckle and crocuses flowering and even some brave broccoli attempting to regrow. It's supposed to snow this weekend, and I'm sure there will be a few more days of cold and ice and frozen dog poo. But somehow the hanging on the line of that load of clothes signified something important to me. It was like letting out a breath I had been holding all winter long, without knowing it. It was such a normal, everyday warm weather thing to do, and in doing it I knew I would have to do it again. And again. And that means, my friends, that winter can't last forever.

I know alot of people hang their clothes out. I know people have been doing it for centuries, out of necessity. I do it to save a few bucks, to conserve some energy, and for the pure pleasure of the task and its results. Laundry from the line is different - feels different, smells different. Even the kids recognize this. But I only do it in nice weather. I don't like frozen underpants. And by doing it today, it was a recognition that nice weather is here. That nice weather will stay. That the sun will shine and the breeze will blow and the shirts will dry and that maybe it will snow this weekend but the pants and nightgowns and t-shirts will be back out there soon.

So I feel good. I feel better than I have in months. And I owe it (almost all) to the sight of underwear flapping in the breeze. Happy (almost) Spring.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

greetings and hello

So let me start out by saying I am totally new to the world of blogging. Oh, I've read many blogs, searched blogs, thought about blogging, but now here I am, actually doing it and I'm not really sure WHAT I'm doing. I like to think I have alot to say about interesting things, and I like to think that most of what I say is interesting. Most people I know are too nice to tell me its not, so I'm just going to go on assuming that it is and, well, blog my little heart out.

I don't know that this blog will be about one specific thing. Scratch that - I KNOW that this blog will not be about one specific thing. Life in general is too complicated for that. I can only hope that this blog will grow along with life, and roll with it, and fit into it in some way. I plan on enjoying this.

So while this blog isn't about one specific thing, it is, I guess, about me. And my family. And what I think is our interesting life. So I'll start there...

We're a bigger-than-average family, I think, by America's standards, living here in northern Illinois. We're a husband, a wife (that's me), and three energetic children. Monkey 1 is 6, our only boy and full of more crazy energy than I have ever seen packed into one human being. Monkey 2 is a beautiful, moody, silly 3 year old girl who, I predict, will be our greatest challenge as a teenager. And little Monkey 3 is our 1 year old daughter, already keeping up with her older siblings in energy level, silliness, and the ability to be amazingly loud. They're the most amazing, wonderful people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

So that's our family, in a little nutshell. In a rather larger one, we fit in homeschooling, small-time farming, landlording (is that a word? if not, then it should be), historic preservation, music and accounting. Yes, we homeschool our kids - actually we unschool our kids, which in our humble opinion is way better. I know, it's a big time consuming commitment and I'll never have a moment of free time until my youngest child moves away. Whatever. So what. It's a decision I stand by and am damn sure of. And yes, we farm. Right now on a much smaller scale than we would like, but we're working on that. We're trying to be self-sustaining right now, and hoping to move up in the ranks and start a CSA, and sell people our food, and make people happy. And we rent houses to people - that's not all that exciting and I won't say more about it right now. And yes, I work in historic preservation, evaluating architecture for historic significance and even doing the occasional archaeological dig. And yes, for now my beloved works in the world of accounting. For now.

That's all I'll say about us - for now. I've said alot - I guess there's alot to say. Soon I'll say more, about my kids, homeschooling, farming, historic preservation, music, and maybe even accounting. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marcy's new blog

This will be where Marcy (and Trogg) post unschooling/sustainable local farming/life wisdom info and commentary. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.