Friday, February 27, 2009

FO :: Fair Isle Yoke Vest

I find the name of my blog misleading. It is not that I do not knit, I just rarely talk about the process and the projects. I find I post up a picture and sometimes upload to Ravelry, but rarely make an effort to blog about the project itself. Not so with this FO, folks. I am very happy to present the finished Fair Isle for the Ravelry Vestuary project. Just in time too.
Close Up
I saw Lolly's project last month and though I had absolutely no plans to knit myself a sweater after the mania of Christmas knitting, I could not stop thinking about it. Her version was gorgeous and very practical for my side of the world. Sleeveless and striking and stockinette in the round...I thought, this could be done.

The matter of yarn settled itself quickly, I had 6 skeins of Lion Brand organic cotton languishing for three years plus in the stash cubes. I bought it with the idea of Bean sweaters but it never came to be. My swatch was on gauge with size 6 needles and I knew cotton would work well for the body as I get way too hot in wool. I gathered the leftover Knitpicks Telemark from the myriad of Xmas Gifts and swatched a few colors. I had my yoke yarn at the ready. And then I started to get really excited.

The body went by quickly, cotton is not the easiest on the fingers row after row, but the shaping kept my interest. I did follow the pattern roughly, but I always place my side shaping according to my measurements to better accomodate my, um, shapely middle, shall we call it? And this goes the same for the bust area. Once I reached the yoke I was in knit heaven.
Pretty Yoke
The way the colors blend and unfold and reveal themselves...made it hard to put it down. I found the pattern well written and the chart easy to follow, but I always stumble on the transition between chart rows. I tend to get cocky after a few repeats of the pattern and forget where to stop. Somewhere in the back right shoulder is a line of not so neat colored stitches, but I am figuring they will go mostly unnoticed.

A few things about the pattern. I should have listened to Lolly's recommendation to go down a few needle sizes on the moss stitch edging for the sleeves. They flutter a little too much. But I might thread some elastic through and gather the sleeves for an impromptu ruffle, the sweater seems sweet enough to carry that. Also, I am not too fond of the guts inside.
The Guts
Weaving ends is the knitter's bane. I admit they are all hiding out still, I took the photos anyway.

I love the way fair isle looks from the inside.
It makes me want to knit something inside out some day, there seems to be such order and flow in the weaving of the colors. And I really love the yoke. Oh, I love the yoke. It is like a beautiful colored necklace and it makes me glad the cotton was a nice neutral, to better set of their jeweled tones. Okay, I have waxed poetic enough.

I am pretty sure the cotton will grow with wear, but I can live with that. Here are the boys who now love to get in front of the camera when I have the self timer going. Something about the beeping.
Yoke with baby
Yoke with other Baby
I hope to have some good Spring time wear out of this sweater, plans for a night out Saturday will give it an opportunity to be seen in public. Glad I made it for the February deadline (it was getting close) but now I am pondering what to knit next.

And, the little birds have taken up residence in my kitchen until I can find just the right fallen branch.
Birds on A Wire
Every time Mace sees them he asks me "Birdie, eats?" and offers them whatever snack in hand. See, this is why I make things.

And L.A.
L.A. at its finest
Sometimes I just love living here. City far enough to stay out of my business, close enough to see. Took this from the driver seat headed down a hill close to our home. Then I saw the CHP officer on the side of the road and hid the camera. If it is illegal to talk on the cell phone, I am sure they frown upon photography from the driver seat.

Happy weekend, all. Hope it is filled with lots of fun weekending stuff.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On the Making of Things

Oh, joyous making. Now that we are mended here and normal shenanigans have been reinstated, I find the making of things to be flowing. So many good moments of inspiration that I actually have the energy to execute. I am now appreciative of the energy I have when we are well and will accordingly cherish it until the next bump in the road.

:: Tweet : I finally found the impetus I needed to create these sweet birds when I saw the blog post at Sew Liberated.

I bookmarked them long ago, but something about her image caught my eye and had me gathering fabric and scissors and going for it. I made these in a few hours using machine sewing and bamboo stuffing. These will go in the boys' room on a to-be-found manzanita branch. I think I will make a second to hang over our bed, but ours will be all black birds with multi-hued tummies.

The free pattern can be found here, the machine sewing I did works out okay but they are not so pretty up close. I miss hand sewing but I wanted these done.

:: Sip : The plethora of mint coming up reminded me that every plant has a use.

And I actually located our tea ball upon opening the drawer (this is a very rare occurance round here). A few snips and chops later, huge glass of mint tisane.

Very welcome in helping move the last of the cough out of my lungs. And pretty too.

:: Block : Ah, well, I have done it again. I blocked out my yoked sweater yesterday and in the blocking of, realized a sad fact. I knit the body out of organic cotton, the yoke out of 100% wool. And the body of cotton grew and grew as it soaked up the water. And as I laid it out...well, I think I can say this one might not fit the way it should.
Fair isle yoke :: Stretched

Which I knew when I started but ignored, as I always do. I have yet to try it on, hoping a really through drying in the sun might magically shrink and tighten the body. And I cannot toss it in the dryer as the yoke would likely felt up immediately. So, we shall see. I love the color of this yoke so much that if it is not wearable in the current incarnation, I would actually consider ripping from bottom to armpits and re-knitting down using post blocking gauge.
Yoke detail

I think you knitters out there guessed that I swatched the cotton but did not wash it. Arg (shooting self in foot). At least I know I have enough yarn.

:: Cut : After a lovely morning of solo errands (during which my parent took the boys to Ash Wednesday mass and I reveled in my leisurely activities of oil change, Goodwill donating and tea drinking) I came home with the desire to clean up the backyard and make space for our proposed garden.

I hacked back a huge rosemary and made room for growing things to come. I smell like a chicken dinner, had a great time sawing away and loved watching the boys 'help' me by dragging rosemary branches willy nilly all over the yard.

Spring comes early to these parts and it makes me long for the fresh food to come.

:: Train : Not that we are making any real efforts at potty training, but O loves the potty and toilet paper and they are both showing an interest. So we let him sit when he wants.

Someday he will kill me for posting this picture, but come on, how cute is he?

Now, I should go and make an effort to clean my room, finish the laundry and start dinner. But instead I am going to ignore all that and make some time to read. What are you making up? I would love to see it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Twenty-second Month

This month has proven to be a rough one. Not because of development or challenges by the two of you, but because of the dreaded flu and our first real experience of the two of you sick, in tandem, while Mama And Daddy battled their own snot demons. Never before have we seen the two of you stopped by illness and it makes me realize what vibrant independent souls you are at the top of your game.

Mama feels bad because it dawned on her that at your 15th month check up, Dr. L mentioned they were out of flu shots and that we could come back any time in the following weekend. To which I nodded, and then promptly forgot. Until a few days ago. This is a mistake I will never ever make again.

It was a lesson in patience, both the having of and the loss of. There were many times when I felt like I was going to lose it, up and leave, or cry in exhaustion and despair. I did a little of the last but managed not to resort to the first two. It was tough on my body and mind with the constant carrying, the constant needs. Countless hours spent shifting one from arm to arm, lap filled with sad little boys that needed to be held on shoulder, protesting if we sat when you wanted standing, stood when you wanted sitting. Watching how your little bodies shrank in light of food refusal. Not my favorite month, but still, I guess I want to remember it all, don't I?

And of course, interspersed in the days of sick and ick were plenty of things that I can smile about. Games and new skills, smiles when you could manage or when the coughs eased up a bit.
Swing, batter.

One of the best is the new story time when I ask you both if you remember .....this _____, or that ____. And you listen with rapt eyes and attention until the end and then Mace, you say...'uh-huh' or 'yeeeah' excitedly. The video shows it much better.

My favorite is when I ask if you remember the times when you were inside of me...and you still say 'Uh-huh'. Who is to say you don't?

And Owen, you are my little sous chef now.
Sous Chef

The way you drag your chair to the counter and rearrange the food items out for dinner prep, place them bowl to bowl, stir them and whack them and salt them...oh, you do love salt, kid. Though I have to say, maybe the zucchini bread did not need those extra shakes on the top. Your liberal use of salt is endearing, but not very tasty. I love the way you concentrate on the task at hand, stirring carefully when instructed and adding the ingredients when told. You are learning to cut, to mix, to pour and I see the love for it in your eyes. It is just that when I turn my back sometimes, well, you get a little crazy on stuff.

And that can require a little more in the clean up in the kitchen area than I like.

Daddy has assumed the role of 'God night Moon' reader and I think the three of you would spend hours finding the mouse and the various assorted other items in that book. I love listening to you talk to your Daddy and tell him what is next, what you see, what you love. Mace, every time you see the page with the little lone mouse you giggle. The best giggle ever.
Carrot? Stick?

And I am training you to say ..."mama's knittens" instead of "pair of mittens" because that is just better, you know? But something happens to my heart when I hear your Daddy reading you 'The Lorax' or 'The Places You'll Go', hear your voices say 'more?' when he finishes. It seems you really can fall more in love with someone, for the most wonderful reasons.

We started teaching you the 'I Love you this much' game that I played with my mama when small. I hold my fingers together so close then stretch my arms out wide to finish. And Daddy does his different with a clap and stretch. And you laugh and laugh and say 'more?. Tonight, as we played, I think we both realized this is how much our parents love us, and that you may never really understand how much that is. Until you have your own.

For Omi

So, you two, let us leave Month 22 with its yucky noses and wheezing lungs and welcome Month 23 with clear bright eyes, loads of fun and much less drama, shall we?
I love you boys. So very much. Slow it down a little, huh?

And props to the husband that took the majority of the are so good, love.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Day in The Life :: Feb 20, 2009

February 20 2009

It was a really good experience to carry the camera yesterday and shoot constantly. And I loved watching the day unfold in pictures, just those ordinary daily moments becoming captured memories. Most of our days look just like that, except the poop diapers and the general chaos was gently edited out...mainly because I cannot hold a camera and manage chaos at the same time. I might drop the camera.

A Day in the Life

I am eternally grateful to have the means to capture these moments via photography. It is such a powerful tool. I know I do not need 30 or so gigabytes of stored memories burned into DVD after DVD, I know I should edit more, become ruthless with the delete button. But I just cannot. Because those moments, their mine. Even though they are just every day, ordinary moments.

You should try your own Day In the Life. You never know what might come into focus.
You can see our slide show here if you are interested. Watching it makes me realize why I am so tired at the end of the day. But it just means it was a good one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Throw Caution to The Wind

Ah, it is Friday. How did it come to Friday so quickly? I am so glad it is Friday. Not sure why, nothing special planned, no places to be or things to do or commitments to follow. Maybe that is why I feel so happy.

The week brought lots of rain and about Tuesday I was losing it, stuck with fevering, restless and bored toddlers that just wanted to throw things. So I made them something to throw.
Rainy Day Fun

I have been meaning to make bean bags for some time, Mace just loves chucking stuff into buckets. My Mama suggested she distract them with beans in cupcake tins while I sewed. It worked...until the first bean bag was finished. Then I started to feel like I was sewing in a sweat shop, the cries of "More, more, more" escalating in the background. I managed to get four done before the pressure was too much. I cut enough to make 8 in total. I need to get back to that. Four is not cutting it, I have to get up too many times in a minute to retrieve them from the bottom of my empty clothes know, the one that was holding the dirties until they discovered it in my closet.

The week was not very fun, but I consoled myself by looking at this.
Ridiculous Restash
This ridiculous amount of yarn was my haul from last Sunday's destash, or in my case, restash. I brought no yarn, but apparently that did not dissuade me from taking all of that. I feel very gluttonous but was assured that it had to go somewhere and no one else was taking, so it fell to me to be responsible and make sure it did not end up back on the shelves of the destasher. Julia mentioned she donated about 120 skeins of yarn to the almighty pile, I think I took 50 of them. Jeez. I just have to point out one of my favorites.
Restash :: Free

Kat gave me this, it is the same yarn she used for this poncho. Which reminds me, if you are looking for one of the best baby knit books, check out her fun and unique book, Boho Baby Knits. It is as cool as Kat...full of projects that shine. Faerie wings, poet coats, socks and mobiles and ponchos, of course. Me thinks a poncho is in order for a child. I certainly have enough yarn.

Today was awesome, baking and park play and exploring my brother's house. The boys became fascinated with some hardware they found at the house.
Fun PlAY
I fell in love with the way their little hands repeatedly put the screws in and out of the holes, carefully balancing the plate, carefully placing the screws. I watched a great video on another blog this week, talking about Danger and Kids. Give it a view if you have a minute. It brings up some great issues in regards to our children and what we let them experience in life. Now, I am not running them towards the table saw, not yet. But a hardware box definitely seems to be in order. Maybe that is the project for next week.

Now I think I shall go and enjoy the no longer sick, ready to go, back in action boys. With hair that makes me swoon.


:: The auction is up and you can get there by clicking the link top left corner. Lots of stuff there and more to come.

:: I am participating in a Day in the Life on Flickr. Come play. You have to take pictures of your day, today, Friday and try to get them over there. Fun.

:: Beth, I cannot contact you via your blogger profile. I have some good book recs, email me when you get a chance if you would like to chat.

Happy Weekending to you all!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2 Years Ago

2 Years ago almost to the day I was put on strict bed rest. I was 26 weeks pregnant with the boys and at 24 weeks had started to show signs of pre-term labor. At that time, I was instructed to follow modified bed rest and monitor things carefully. That did not do much so just about this time, 2 years ago, I went on meds and lock down in the bedroom.

2 years ago I had to lay down almost every minute of the day. I had to shower kneeling down. I had to eat whatever meals were prepared for me (which were all really good, but I think we all know how much I like to cook). I had to monitor my contractions. I did the Baby Stay In hypnosis CD religiously every day. And I prayed a lot, used my Oma's rosary ring for hours on end and thought of my Gramma and willed those two women to please hold me babies safe.

I remember being so afraid when it all began. I feared for them at the 26 week mark, absolutely terrified of the thought of micro preemies. And then we passed each week, more meds, more visits to the L&D with the stopping of labor, the instructions to take this per x hours, stay put, etc. But always the babies were fine; strong heart beats, tricksy little boys dodging the fetal monitors strapped to my belly. I remember Mace was buried deep in my pelvic floor, hard to get a hold of and hard to keep on the monitor. Owen always up high on my right rib area, trying to stand on my pelvic crest and escape via boob. I swear his head is flat from my pushing him back down.

I always got to go home, discharged with the instructions to see Dr. T at my next weekly visit. Each week a milestone, each day, when we turned out the lights and I lay sleepless next to Tim, an accomplishment. Man, those were tough days. And I remember that my mind was never very far from the fear.

My connections to the world were a cell phone, a lap top and a TV with local programming. My only excursions out to see Dr. T. My world narrowed to the view out my window with the occasional venture to the reclining lounge in the backyard for air. It seems like such a long time ago, but as I write this I can see the rose bush out my window coming back to life and know the explosion of miniature pink blooms will be here soon, just like they were a few years ago. Last year I guess I was so consumed by the boys and their needs that I had little time to reflect on all this.

But the memory hit me like a punch in the gut this morning. I was showering, and knelt down to let the steam build up and work on my aching cough. And I remembered that sensation of showering every day like that, the relief of being up for a minute and the challenge as I would feel the contractions get all worked up because I was active.

Maybe too because I have been thinking about more children. And these memories dissuade that idea. I do not think I could do that all again; the worry, the meds, the confinement, the loss of control. And the chance of having twins again is there and scary, not for the having of two more kids in my mind, but for the getting them here safely. Now, on the other side, with two healthy almost 2 year old boys, I know so many twin parents. Some had easy uncomplicated pregnancies, some had difficult. Some had no issues, some lost a little one. It makes pregnancy seem scarier than it was the first time around when I had nothing to compare it too.

I do long sometimes to experience a regular pregnancy, the fun of watching your body grow and change while walking around and doing other things. But I am grateful every day for the way we had our boys. They came at 36 weeks, no complications, no NICU, home with Mama by Day 5. Grew and changed and became all so well. I know we are lucky to have these little people charge around the home and take command of themselves and their lives as they grow. And if they are the only ones, well, although my mind bounces around a lot on the subject, I know the blessing I did receive, tough pregnancy and all.


*The last few weeks have been a hearkening back to the infant days, it feels, with the constant demand of the boys to be held and comforted due to their sick status. I brought them into Dr L. today and he said, though on the mend, a course of Abx was in order to clear Owen's ear and Mace's bronchi. Well, we almost made it to 2 without a prescription. It makes me realize how absolutely fortunate we are to have such strong troopers.

**And another little sick note: My cough was starting to trigger some asthmatic symptoms, something I have not battled since my college years. I no longer even have an inhaler and started to feel a little panicky last night as I felt the wheezing building. Then I thought I might try a few yoga inversions to see if it would help. And it did, remarkably so! After a few headstands my breathing eased and the cough did too. I am in no way advocating this as a method of treatment for anyone else. But I am glad I thought of it for me, avoided any need to get to the MD and worry about meds. I spent much of last night musing about why it helped so much, but I will spare you my theories.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Salvaging Heart Day

I read some of the sweet and romantic tributes to loved ones over the weekend ans was glad to see Valentine's panned out for some of my favorite bloggers. And I felt a wee bit jealous as ours went pretty much as predicted.

We woke Saturday morning to 2 fevered and fairly sleepless children that were sporting hacking coughs that would suit a 50 year old chain smoking bar fly better. I tried to salvage the morning with home made pancakes but they literally were not biting, so I broke out the emergency measures.

Champagne and chocolate (not for them, of course, for Tim and I). I still had a bug about making those cupcakes I linked to in the last post, so I strapped one of the 20 pound (plus change) twins into the backpack and got to work in the kitchen. Thank god for the mimosa, it made the weight on the back seem trivial.

The cupcakes came together pretty smoothly, I made sure to prep the ingredients Friday night, so it just required some mixing, melting and pouring (with far too much tasting, I must say).
I loved both recipes, the chocolate cake was enhanced with Murphy's stout rather than Guinness and the taste of the cake was good, intriguing really. They ended up just a bit flat as Tim was giving me a hand in the baking part and pulled them out a minute too soon. No harm done though, especially when we scooped out the centers to add ganache. Yeah, that made them faultless. By the end of the morning I was covered in flour, batter and a little spit up (none in the cakes, I swear, just on me). And a platter full of love to give to friends and others.

A few bright moments in the day...the boys having their V day meal of In n Out. We had to resort to a chocolate shake and fries as we had yet to see food make it to their stomachs.
In n Out ShakesIn N Out

And Mace blew his first bubble, and I caught it...that was awesome.
HIs bubble

We did make it out that night for dinner at our place, but as stellar as the meal was, we were exhausted and knew we were in for another rough night. Our friend works the bar so we sat there and chatted and ate and met a few really nice folks and decided the bar is the place to sit in that tiny little restaurant, you actually get jostled less there than at the tables. Most of our dinner conversation centered around how sad it is to see them sick and how it was hard to remember them being any other way. Parenting is weird like that, each phase or challenge seems all consuming to the memory. Anyway, the night had no romantic finish as we arrived home to a sleepless Mace, up in Opa's lap watching an action flick at 11:30 and needing his Mama for most of the night. But we did have cupcakes, people.

Sunday was a shade better, there was a plan for me to meet up with my circle of knitting friends and a grand destash was to happen. I am not sure I would have made it without the impetus of the yarn giving. Tim was awesome, he and his Dad assumed responsibly for our nap less miserable boys and I scrambled out the door and was greeted by this wonderful sight, a table full of yarn, ripe for the picking.
Destash Madness

I was late, this was after some had been taken and traded. And yet somehow I ended up with 2 bags full of yarn and a flawlessly completed Orangina that I will have to model because it feels like it was commissioned.
Destash Madness

Lori Z is impeccable in her knitting and finishing and I was honored to take that baby home. I felt like a total glutton as I headed out with my bags of free yarn, but to be fair, I did bring ganache cupcakes, okay?

Anyway, sorry for the blow by blow on the (not terribly) Happy (but still good) Heart Day . I think my testament of love will just be to say to Tim, though it was not achingly sweet, or deeply romantic, it was the two of us standing solidly by each other, giving each other breaks when we needed it, assuming both boys' care when the other needed a shower or a few hours sleep, and being the partner we promised to be.
Down time

And in my book, well, that is pretty sexy and pretty loving. (Said as I wipe dripping snot off my nose). Love you, MCD. Maybe next year?
Me by Him, Him by Me, Just the way it should Be

Friday, February 13, 2009

F4F :: A Good Cause

Getting to F4F this week has not been easy. We have been mired in some sort of sickness since the New Year, Tim is going on his 6th week of respiratory complaints, the boys are in competition for which can fever/cough/drool and need the most carrying around,
Sick Day

and Mama woke up feeling just a bit off kilter (yoga was interesting this morning). But in spite of the challenges, I completed a few things that required completion. I find I turn even more so to creating when times are rough, helps pull me through and gives me a focus.

These all came about in increments, a pattern piece drawn and cut here, a few minutes at the machine there, moments with needle in hand.
Auction Items

I find myself pretty happy with the end result...especially as they are going to a good cause. I mentioned in a previous post that a blog friend, Matthew at Childsplayx2 is having an online auction for his YMCA. You can read a bit of the background story here. He put out a request for donations to auction and my first thought was, of course, I will knit something. But I could not decide on a pattern, then I realized time was rapidly dwindling, so I turned instead to my sewing/embroidery skills, meager though they are.

The result is something I think I can be proud of. Two little bebe outfits, one boy, one girl, to be auctioned off separately. Sized to fit 6-12 months (I think).
Bebe girl outfit
The pants are made from stash fabric, some of my coveted Heather Ross and a little contrasting (clashing?) binding hem. The cotton is so so soft and light, perfect for warmer weather to come.
Bebe boy outfit
The onesie is the coup de grace though. My youngest brother Jon is an amazing artist and has a knack for character creation. The little monkey is named Fred and first debuted in a small childrens book Jon wrote and illustrated for his French class. I love Fred,
Auction Items

he is impishly cute and a little spacey and will steal your heart. Someday I am going to find a publisher for the booklet...if you could just see Fred with his bananas. Here he is depicted diapered and happy. So, thanks Jon, for lending us Fred for a spell.

The Friday finish was important as Matthew wants to have the auction up and running by February 16th. He plans on keeping it open for two weeks and I am excited to see what else shows up. The blogging community is so diverse with so many interests, so I am sure there will be a little something for everyone. I plan on posting a link in the sidebar once the auction is up, I will be sure to let you know.

I sent out another little love package earlier this week for a family. In it I included these toddler socks.

They are a simple sock pattern, ribbed leg and your basic heel flap/gusset construction. I used stash sock yarn, a bit of Cherry Tree for the leg and Koigu for the foot. I love how they remind me of Spring. Like a flower coming up.

I just used the boys mallet feet for reference, cast on 32ish I think and went from there. The boys hated them on, but I am holding out hope that the toddler on the other end might not be so averse to their wear. And if they really are intolerable for toddler feet, well, at least they are really pretty to look at. (Horrid indoor lighting on the pictures though. Does not do the color justice.)

Ah, Friday. I see a Valentine's of cough and snot and little romantic endeavoring. No worries, I never really took to the holiday itself. But I am planning on making some cupcakes, both for family and friends. I have a recipe from Orangette for a perfect white cake...oh, so delicious. And then SK posted these car bomb cupcakes that must be made because the husband loves Guinness, chocolate and cake (in that order). And the whiskey might burn the sick out. Right?

And by Sunday, when I gather with my knitting friends, with plans of (them) divesting stash yarn and (me) taking it all because they will be lulled by the sugar coma from the cupcakes...well, I will myself to be better because what better way to end a weekend?

I hope your Valentine weekend hearts you and leaves you sick with love and not the flu. Hugs, friends and happy V day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To HS...that is the Question

I have been thinking a lot on the development of the Mind/Brain lately, specifically that of my children.
After the Rain
I have always been fascinated by the Mind/brain and if I had not gone the route of physical therapy, the back up plan was Neurobiology. During my PT practice I found myself specializing in the treatment of people with Stroke and Brain Injury. It was a time during which I learned of both the amazing plasticity and stubborn rigidity that an injured brain can present. I truly loved the work and always found myself wanting to know more. I even once dissected a (human) brain for a class, it was crazy, our teacher rolled out a bucket full of murky liquid and we had to reach in and grab one. Disgusting yet so fascinating. That squiggly mass inside our skulls dictates what we do and yet it is still such a mysterious thing.

A few months ago I began to seriously contemplate homeschooling the boys. It was something Tim and I had spoken about before we had children, a flippant remark I made here and there about wanting to be the one to show them the world. During those early infant days, well, it sounded like complete madness. But now, as we approach 2, I have become excited and engaged in exploring the idea of HS. Our current plan is to look at the community Parent Participation Preschool our city offers and enroll the boys in the program come next September. This I am comfortable with as there is active participation by parents of all the children, for me it will likely be weekly as I will be bringing in two. It makes me happy to think of seeing them grow and change in a new setting and I am fairly certain that the school itself promotes the things I believe in for child development.

From there, it is anybody's guess. But in order to know more and inform myself I am looking into the local HS network and also reading a few books that focus on the development of the child. I received fairly extensive training in school for physical development, but the cognitive aspect of development is such a complex topic. Years before I even contemplated children, I read a book called What's Going on in There, by Lise Eliot. It is a fascinating synopsis on the way the brain develops during the first 5 years of human life. It deals less with cognitive issues, more with the concrete senses and how each changes and matures, starting in utero and going on through infancy etc. Her approach is clean and well written and the lay person would find it very palatable...she has a way of explaining complicated bits. She herself is a neurobiologist that looked at her infant daughter one day and realized she had an amazing subject for study right there in front of her. She did not poke her baby's brain with electrodes or anything, just delved deeply into the brain development. One of the fascinating facts in the chapter on scent is that a newborn infant, only hours old, will turn his or her head to a t-ishirt that smells of their mother...not by instinct but because the bebe has literally breathed the mama's scent in utero. I highly recommend the book to anyone parenting or just interested in what does go on in there. You actually get a really good picture of the astonishing things that happen inside that little noggin wreaking havoc in your life.

The other book I am struggling through, but loving nonetheless is The Discovery of the Child, by Maria Montessori. I have always been attracted to the idea of Montessori education but never was truly sure of what that meant. To rectify this, I checked her book out and am working through it.

It is quite dense, not easily read as it was written and researched in the early 1900s, but I find her to be so mindful of the Child, and pretty witty too. I think the idea I am forming of her methods are that they promote internal awareness, early development of the senses and of the ability for the child to explore and interact with their world in a directed but free mode that gives them strength of character and mind. I am just beginning the chapters on how to use her approach practically, but it makes me feel good to realize I have already instinctively followed many of her suggestions as my boys have been growing and learning. One topic she explores is the ability for a child to sustain physically much more than we expect.
After the Rain
Well, those stairs? They did them all, at the end of the hike.

There are so many topics when it comes to child development, so many opinions and theories. You may wonder why we are considering HS. There are many reasons...I want the world to be their lab,
After the Rain
I want them to be free of standardized testing (which starts in Kindergarten in California). I want their individual spirit to be seen and celebrated. I want to shield them from the materialism so rampant in my part of the world, so that a train can be a train, not a Thomas and the name Diego only implies our friend D. It may seem ambitious, but if you think it cannot be done, please see Soulemama's blog and the way her children thrive in the environment created by her efforts and her family. Which reminds me, next method to research...Unschooling.

I think we vastly underestimate the depth and potential of the mind of a Child, and it would like that to not be so for my boys. So, please do not take this as a treatise on HS. And if it were not to work out for us, well, no harm done in all the reading. But I find myself embracing the idea. And before you, I would not keep them around in those teen years...come 13 I am giving them the boot anyway. I have heard living with teens is a terrible trying time. I think I will just ship them off to my family in Europe. Study abroad, you know?

So, what do you think? Any suggestions or ideas? Or even opinions? I would love to hear them. I think.

Sick Day