Monday, January 31, 2011


it came to me when i was scribbling madness onto my morning pages. {which is the Reader's Digest version of how it came was actually a week-long battle with Great Cosmic Forces and my penchant for being a bit slow at times.}

the even shorter version is i've realized this unschooling journey is exactly the same as our journey to art. well, it's mostly my journey to art -- children are born artists -- so says Picasso. and i happen to believe him.

i have learned that in opening ourselves to the creative source....we open ourselves to a place of infinite possibility.

kind of like unschooling

i was tidying up today and i came across a pile of Savannah's GIANT drawings. she creates complex scenes of fantastical creatures on the giant vellum Bristol that i buy for my big paintings.  and then she drops them in a heap in the hallway to be recycled.

occasionally there's one she loves and decides to tape it to her wall. or she'll gift one to one of us. but otherwise, she's done. in the moment, they are her Masterpieces; while she's working on them, they are precious. once they're finished  though, and she's shared the story behind them, she can set them aside and move onto the next thing.

assemblage of found objects {raiding the recycling bin} ~ Savannah

she is completely disengaged from the product*. it's all about the process.

kind of like unschooling 

so yeah, i'm done looking in other places for our extraordinary. it's clearly right here under my nose.

and so the drumming finds a rhythm.....and our haze of paint and poetry isn't such a mad idea after all.

*my next post will illustrate that this isn't always the case...;)

Monday, January 24, 2011

shift work

frost on the window pane
~life up close~

things are moving around here. subtle, but profound shifts that leave you with that "Ooooh, now i get it" feeling.

good stuff. but it means change.

i'm not sure of the future (if any) of this space. i'm struggling with the purpose of what was my original intention and where is it now? i am afraid that it has become a place to justify how we choose to live, rather than simply a chronicle of our days. it's just how it's become to feel whenever i think of posting.

i also want to be mindful of my children; of their journey, of how their future-selves will look back on this.

i feel less moved to document our lives with photos, strictly for the purpose of blogging here. i see how that works so beautifully for some families...and i love to visit with them...but it doesn't seem to capture who we are.

how do i capture the wild wind and the rain, and the fast-beating hearts of my faery children? because these are the things that are the pulse of my family....the feral days of paint and poetry...tomatoes for breakfast, the fire of our disagreements and the vast, vast love of our forgiving.

 i look at the photographs and i know there is so much more to them...especially my beloved Sebastian- who seems to get very little air-time...only because of the elusiveness of his Bright and Shining soul. it is he who has taught me the most - even more than my magical girl - yet the one who i seem unable to share. at least, not yet.

so i'm still around. i'm peeping in your windows and leaving wild honey on your doorsteps.....

....but mostly we're going to follow the wild drum-beat of our souls....into the woods for a while.

blessings and Light to you and yours.....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

where we are

it's been a week of questions....mine, theirs, ours.

i wonder sometimes, about these chronicles of our goings-on -- how much is too much, where are the lines that we cross or don't....and to say nothing of the agony of doubt. there are days when i look around, slightly bleary-eyed, shaking myself loose from our sandalwood-scented haze of paint and books and dog hair and wonder what the hell i'm doing.

in my heart of hearts i know...i believe...that we are walking the right path. but how that looks from day to day, or where the road is taking us...well, that's where my faith is tested.

i asked Savannah the other day, if she felt like she was missing something...if she wanted more.

"Why? Did someone complain that we weren't learning something?"  

from the mouths of babes.  you can tell that we offer full-disclosure around here. she knows well of the trials of family and the doubting and questioning and disapprovals.  we want her to know, so that we can explain how we see it differently. and she gets it. she's a perceptive kid.

but no, this time i didn't ask in response to an external judgment. this time it came from me.

at last...there is snow

i recognize my biases. i recognize i've leaned heavily toward art and literature in my strewing of their path. i've offered the science -- we have a deep fascination with the world around us...but, again -- my bias is that of Biology -- it's where my partial degree is, and then my vet tech training -- and the art/stories far outweigh in influence. so i worry that they're getting a lopsided view of the world. not that it's a bad view.

Sarah wrote a couple of lovely posts about how she has moved through curriculum-based education to unschooling to something somewhere in between. it gave me much to think about....although i've been thinking about it rather a lot lately.

i'm not a rabid unschooler. i believe strongly in the principles therein...but i also recognize that each family -- each child -- is different. so to paint us all with the same brush, is as inherently foolish as the way the conventional educational system operates.

a modest snow-person....coaxed out of not-packing snow

i suppose what i'm struggling with mostly, is trying to discover what unschooling looks like to us. and even then - how it looks for Savannah is vastly different to how it looks for Sebastian.

so where are we?

Savannah has decided she wants to learn how to tell we dusted off a workbook and are meeting at The Table every morning to explore that. she's also decided she wants to learn Spanish. i'm still working on that one....

we have Arthurian legend on the brain -- and enjoyed a boisterous session of sword-fighting on the Wii at Nanna's on Friday. we've also just started watching this documentary on Netflix - and are marveling at the vast beauty of this country we live in. for me, it's an affirmation (at just the right time) of the extraordinary that exists right under our noses. there's a new hidden object game from Big Fish that the pair of them have been glued to for almost two days.

and of course....there's the art and the pursuit thereof.  big paintings and small paintings, illustrated story 'books', air-drying clay's never-ending.

but is it enough?

i really don't know. it's a blind faith, this road.

mostly we're just bumbling along.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

painting and piercing

it would seem that arting is mostly what we do these days...painting, art journals, sketching...forever we are on the hunt for the next thing to draw/paint/glue/imagine.

and because i'm taking up the 'big painting' wall-space.....she paints on the floor.

and then there was yesterday....we had a consultation with Ty the Piercing Guy (not actually what he calls himself, it rhymes so i felt i had to use it) -- he and his partner have the tattoo and piercing shop  next door to my all of our piercing and tattooing needs are taken care of by them -- such as those needs are. :)

Ty is a funny little man...lots of piercings (naturally), some body-modifications of the pointy-eared variety and a plethora of ink.  he's also Very Serious about what he does.  his standards of cleanliness would leave most hospitals wanting.  we're talking aseptic. (and i happen to know about these things). i covet his autoclave. so of course i would trust my baby girls' ear lobes to him without a second thought.

BUT...she had to go through a bit of an 'interview' first. he's not in the habit of piercing minors. but since we're neighbours and all....

naturally (because we've been talking about it since she decided she wanted it done, way back in November), she passed muster. dazzling him, even, with her understanding of the process and the responsibilities therein ;)

she's quite pleased with herself and is diligent about the rather stringent cleansing guidelines Ty wrote out for her.

{inspired by Rabbit}

(can you see the hint of a sparkle in her ears?)

it was strange, actually...watching her chat, quite unconcerned she was, by Ty's rather striking appearance - surgical mask and all. thinking "wow...this is my daughter" took me back to the first time, way back, 8 years ago when she was born, and the first time i ever said those words -- 'my daughter' - and the weight of what that actually meant settled into my heart and forged itself to my soul.

it's all very surreal sometimes, isn't it?

Friday, January 7, 2011

days fly by

somehow we ended up here...although we always do, don't we? end up where we are, that is.

life in these parts has been a blur of busy -- somehow the days ooze into one another and before we know it, an entire week has passed.

Monday was Savannah's 8th birthday {January 3rd} -- no photos of that...we absorbed the day and i must confess to not feeling camera-ish these days...something about the grey and bleak outside that does nothing to inspire me to take photographs. and there's something to be said for experiencing the day fully, without thought to how it will look afterwards in a blog-post. plus, i'm lazy and keep leaving the camera in places far from where i happen to be in times of inspiration.

so...we girls took ourselves (somewhat foolishly, as the Boxing Week sales were still on) to do some shopping. she had her Xmas gift-cards burning a hole in her pocket....and they were for bookstores and art-supply stores and Wally World (ack! but it meant a new game for her DSi)....which meant i got to hang out with her in bookstores and art-supply stores. suh-weet. there was a book on horses and a new bookmark (horsey, of coursey) and a GIANT Bristol sketchbook for the further pursuit of her latest obsession in large, mural-type drawings.

{the evolution of her horse drawings continues....}

there's also been....

a little science to go with our art

{clearly this happened BEFORE i took down the tree}

{foam robot assemblage}

oh - and more episodes of Merlin. we finished the first season last night -- and would you believe we have to WAIT until at least January 18th for the second season to be released on DVD (according to Amazon)?!?!

we're not sure we can wait until it becomes available on Netflix. we are, without a doubt, ADDICTED.  i am not impressed at all with whomever is in charge of all this licensing and permissions business that makes it impossible for us to view episodes streaming from the U.S. hmph!

so now i'm on the hunt for a decent child-friendly version of the Arthurian legends...i don't want anything Disneyfied nor anything as dry as the old tomes. any suggestions?

oh - and a good do-it-mostly-yourself kids cookbook?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

happy new year...

i woke up this morning (almost 8am - GASP!) to the sound of rain on the bedroom window.  it seemed so perfect....the rain washing away what was left of 2010. then, when i got up and took Emma-dog out....i heard birds singing. (a real rarity around these parts in January). those things together confirmed for me that 2011 is going to be a really, really good year. you can, as do i, interpret good howsoever feels right to you.

goodies from the Big Box o' Art Supplies from Grandma L

i didn't get the house cleaned yesterday -- not for lack of effort. i was tidying up around here and there when i got sucked into the marathon of River Monsters on Discovery channel. B had put it on for Savannah while she was arting and before long, all three of us were glued in fascinated horror to the screen. (we shall not speak of the things that some fish do in the Amazon *shudder*) still, we learned a lot.

after that, we went up to my mom's for an early birthday party for Savannah. pizza, cake and ice-cream on the menu -- although we're all fairly food-ed out by now. and a few more just-what-i-always-wanted gifts to make her soul sing.

she has a passion for EXTREMELY LARGE mural-type drawings these days

my hopes for the Jane Austen movie marathon were not to be realized so i browsed the selection on NetFlix (our newest discovery -- we're trying out the free 30 days!) and made my choice...saw everyone else settled and then tucked myself into bed with a weiner dog, two cats and the first season of Merlin cued up {i do believe i have mentioned that i'm an utter dork...i'm also a sucker for all-things-Arthur..besides, Colin Morgan has the cutest dimples...but i digress}.

well, it was only a short time before it was me, a weiner dog, two cats and two snuggly kids.

Sebastian: "What are you watching....oooh! It's a knight!" (climbs in beside me -- "'scuse me cat...")
{a moment or two later}
Savannah: "Hey, what are you guys watching? Oh, can I watch too?" (scootches along disgruntled weiner dog)
{10 minutes pass}
B: "Oh, i wondered where everyone went to....anybody need anything?" (goes back to the History channel after refilling water bottles and bringing cookies)

 i'm happily brainwashing sharing my interests of all-things-Arthur...although Sebastian's fondness for knights and dragons and Savannah's love of all-things-magic, make them easy marks students.

needless to was a moste excellente way to spend New Year's Eve...we happily leave the parties and noise-makers and drunken buffoonery to more willing participants.

AND -- i have some utterly delectable mail-art to share....tomorrow....because i have just been engaged to paint with my favourite painting partners...;)

hope you're spending this day following your bliss...