this moment

Harvey and Zion playing in a snowless patch in the neighbors' yard

far away play

A moment from the week.

Where I've been.... mostly in the laundry room

I have been off the blog for a month now... it's not for lack of things to say it's just that I've been WORKING. By working I don't mean exchanging my time for money, haha. More like exchanging my time for meals and reasonably happy children and laundry-not-soaked-in-vomit. I sometimes fantasize about working elsewhere, somewhere quieter perhaps, but then I'd have to exchange money for meals and happy children and sheets and I don't think it would come out even in the end. Anyway, here are a few things I've started this past month while being completely underwater, and by underwater I mean under vomit. Can I say vomit one more time in a paragraph? No, that would be declasse. I'll say puke.

Threaded the loom, and wove a few rows because I have an undying sense of optimism even in the face of parenthood.

the loom looms

We did some literal garage banding at a friend's party. They just moved into a new house so there basement is unfinished and unabashedly loud.

"music"

I made a muslin for Harvey's Easter coat. One more week until I need to get the real things finished, not only coat but vests and ties.

debonaire

Meanwhile, he hasn't taken the tester off since I gave it to him. He just keeps changing the pants to go from sailor to king to pirate. I love this boy so much, and next time I make a muslin I'm going to fully line the collar so it sticks up straight.

Okay, enough wasting time on the internet! Back to work!

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homeschool parent nerves

When you homeschool, people are naturally interested in what you're doing with the kids. Only I always feel a little sheepish when they ask me, because my answer tends to be "not much." Or maybe that's not quite fair: it's just that most of the learning we do tends to be pretty much randomly scattered around the day, unconnected to anything we could ever hope to label as "curriculum". There's not much in the way of assessment, either. Sometimes this makes me a little nervous; as I mentioned last year, I tend to be a little competitive when it comes to the achievements of my offspring, so there are definitely days when I think that I should sit Harvey down and put a test in front of him or something. Actually, when I'm in those moods it's mostly the sitting down that feels important to me—I think of all those millions of kids learning to hold still and follow directions and wonder if Harvey needs to be doing that too.

Which of course is ridiculous. He absolutely can sit still when he wants to, and in lots of ways is basically a model student. Check out this video of him at age two to see what kind of a baseline we're working from (really, check it out: it's pretty much the best video ever made). If someone is ready with interesting content, or even a compelling reason why boring content is worthwhile, he'll be totally willing to endure the presentation. And in my more rational moments I know that what he needs isn't more sitting, it's more running around playing imaginative games.

So mostly I let him run (or build with legos or listen to music or whatever). But every once and while we throw formal schooling a bone. Here's the last formative assessment he did, back in January (formative assessment means "test" in teacher language).

a scanned math paper

the sticker is how they do it at school

Today Harvey, Zion, and I sat and drew pictures for each letter of the alphabet. That is, Harvey and I drew, and Zion looked on and told us what letter should be next. Harvey easily thought of something to draw for almost every letter (I was particularly impressed by his quick choice of "quilt" for Q) and he drew everything confidently in his own, admittedly non-standard, style. That seems like pretty fair for kindergarten if you ask me. So tomorrow if all we do is play legos, ride bikes, and read stories, I won't feel like that's any kind of a problem at all; and maybe I'll even be able to own it proudly when someone asks what we've been up to.

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leftover snow stories

When they looked outside this morning, the boys were delighted: "it snowed! and it's still snowing!" Isn't it lovely how they can keep a positive attitude? Actually, I was totally on board with their excitement, because the new snow was beautiful: big flakes sparkling in the air and soft whiteness covering the craggy brown and grey wreck left behind from last month's big snows. So we went for a delightful wet walk.

There was a lot of snow this winter, and I kind of got tired of writing about it (maybe after some of you got tired of reading!). So there are a few stories of this year's snow that I didn't get a chance to tell. Like the day I went up to shovel the roof!

a picture from the top of the roof, with my shadow waving far below

the view from up top

It was pretty awesome. When I was painting the house I was terrified up on the ladder up near the eaves, but with my snow gear on and piles of snow all around me I didn't mind it a bit being even higher, up to the very peak of the roof itself. Plus it was nice to move all that snow without having to lift any of it above my head. And there was plenty of snow to move!

deep snow on the roof, with the shovel for scale

shovel provided for scale

In between then and now we had some pretty warm days, and it suddenly occurred to me that one day it would be spring... and I should be thinking about starting seeds! So I had to find the cold frame. It took a little work but I was able to discover it, with only one pane cracked by its heavy blanket of snow (it's probably a really good thing I got it cleared before it rained!).

the excavated cold frame surrounded my mountains of snow

very cold frame

But mixed in with the warm days have been lots more cold ones; some of the coldest days of the year, in fact, in terms of perceived temperature! Which means that there are definitely no plants outside yet, even under the cold frame. The positive side of the temperature fluctuations is that, on the cold days, the snow is finally firm enough for kids and dogs to walk on top of. Which means that the backyard became a place to play again for the first time in a month!

Rascal digging a hole in the deep snow

when you can walk you can dig

The chickens could also walk on top of the frozen snow, but that has no appeal to them, so their day of backyard enjoyment had to wait until there was some actual dirt visible. When that day arrived they were so delighted to get out!

our blue oppington hen in the snow

chicken in the snow

Well, most of them were delighted... two of the young hens flew halfway across the yard only to land in a patch of soft snow where they stood still for half an our before I took pity on them and carried them back to the coop. They're going to wait a little bit until they can take their whole outing on dirt. Not, of course, that there's any dirt showing any longer, after this morning's snow. But not too long now!

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this moment

the chickens pecking in snowy straw

a little more freedom

A moment from the week.