Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a Thursday.

It's gloomy outside, and mama is recovering from a particularly bad day yesterday, rife with shredded nerves from a teething baby who wouldn't sleep, the lateness for an orthodontist appointment that followed, the speeding ticket that followed that, the subsequent failure to make it to the tooth appointment on time, and one very sad Mirth who has to have her appliance in a full 6 weeks longer as result.

cutting up gelatin-Grace's squares are pretty darn perfect. 
Today is better. There is tea with honey, a baby who slept curled into her mama's belly all night contentedly, roasted acorn squash and kale chips, and a tour of a raw milk dairy farm waiting for us late this afternoon. Perhaps I'll squeeze in a 30 minute run, as well.

Lark making mazes. <3 
Lark is in her bedroom on the top bunk, listening to The Chamber of Secrets on mp3. Earlier this morning, she pranced into the kitchen lightly and trilled, "I notice we've eaten a lot of sweet things lately. I think we should eat less sugar. Let's eat vegetables for lunch!" :blink blink: It'll be hard, but I think we can manage it. She's also been pushing the baby around the house on an upside down lego table, sleigh ride style, Electra giggling all the way. She's in a remarkably easy/cooperative phase right now, and she's constantly making me giggle with her insightful observations.

To my complete astonished delight, Mirth pulled out one of her old stories and decided to type it out, editing grammar/spelling as she goes and adding illustration in Paint as she goes. I'm treading lightly, so as not to disturb the magic that's going on there; too much input, and I'll pop it. ;oP When it happens, her projects are so thought out and organized, as long as no one puts too much pressure on her and jinxes it. She just asked me if I wanted tea, because "I'm making myself some. Every good writer needs tea."

 A recent homemade joke of hers, "How do you tell an asian elephant from an african elephant?" "Read the SIGN." :OP

Grace is sprawled out on the rug, doing a Montessori activity a friend recommended, and instructing her sisters on the finer points of emotional validation as she goes. ("Mirth! I lost my key. I lost my key. MIRTH. I lost my key." "OK, wow, you lost your key! Great! -.-" "You can't say 'great' when someone loses their key! You're 'sposed to say, 'Oh, no! That's so sad!'") I'm snickering here. Extraverted feeling at work here, folks. She's started drawing really detailed art writing very small, perfect, amazing letters and words. Her first word was 'poop'; no surprise there. She still flips out over small physical setbacks, but is able to work it out herself or respond to humorous explanations of *why* the frustrating thing might be happening. She loves it when we anthropomorphize frustrating objects like her pants: "Sneaky PANTS! You're trying to trick us, but we're too clever for you! We've CAUGHT you trying to be lumpy!" This usually produces a knowing look and giggles.

Electra is mostly just bumping along the floor in a sideways crawl, inspecting things as she goes, and chirping for 'nanas whenever she sees one. Of all the foods she's tried so far, bananas are her favorite, I think. She also seems to really love the soft parts of popcorn, chia pudding, beans, sweet potatoes, and curried anything. She repeats almost any word that strikes her fancy, but the ones she uses to actually tell us things are: bow, dat, dis?, mama, dada, Mirth's name, sis, mo', cat, some and the sign for milk. Her favorite is funny noises: hissing like a cat, "whistling", clucking her tongue, making a pee sound at the potty, "mop-mop-mop"ing like a fish, and imitation of pretty much anything else she hears. She tends to wake up dry in the morning, so we've started taking her to the toilet, signing "pee", and she empties her bladder there...Lark tends to come along and cheer, and Electra grins proudly with all her teeth and claps for herself.

It's so much fun to watch her develop relationships with all her family members...each one is different from the next, and she's quickly learning who to go to for what. One of her many nicknames is "Babber Nabber the baby grabber".

That's all for today. Just wanted to get those thoughts down. <3

Monday, February 11, 2013

A pretty day in February

magnolia tree tent

(they also make excellent climbing trees...)

Lark is a tree climber extraordinaire. I've never met anyone so in her own body or at home in a tree as my girlie. Her sisters are also excellent climbers, mind you. She just has a certain nimble sprite-like quality that surprises me..somehow, even though I feel it's the motherly thing to do to remind her to keep her focus, I rarely ever worry about her falling. She's just sure-handed/footed. She somehow manages to look dreamy

Mirth climbed the tree long enough to say she did it, and was off the fish in the pond some more. :OP Busy, busy.

I was really proud of my sweet Gracie girl, too. She's a little methodic in her climbing (like her mama), and while she's got an increasingly good command of things, she tends to freak out a little when she feels stuck (like her mama). And, also like me, she doesn't want anyone to help her. So, "Help, help, help!!" but also, don't help, I've got it! So, after I went up after her (and that didn't do) and daddy extracted her from below with me braced on a limb above, she begrudgingly allowed herself to be settled into the fluffy dirt floor of the magnolia tent. She came and found me, and said, "I didn't do it. I can *never* climb again." So I assured her she could whenever she felt ready to, and that I hoped she'd always climb every tree she felt ready to climb, if she wanted to. And she purposefully went right back and called out, "I'm stuck in the very same SPOT!" So, I ran over and realized she'd done it on purpose. Oh, I recognize that stubborn drive to untangle problems by one's self. :OP So, I stood on the ground and called out instructions/suggestions, and tried a few times to put a hand on her leg, and she started yelling, "No, no!!! I want to do it my SELF!" with the angst that only a 3.95 year old can muster. And she did it. She made it all the way down by herself. I could have swooned over the look of competence and happy all over her little face when she announced she'd done it. Never lose that feeling, Gracie lady. :hearts:

Electra was thrilled with the loamy dirt, sticks and magnolia-cones (I don't know what they're technically called) under the tree...we spread out Barefoot's trusty wool Masai blanket inside the "tent", but what fun is it to stay on the blanket? ;OP

Love that Lark is waaaaay up above and Electra is way down below...both cheesing for the camera, LOL
We also caught some crrrrrazy big fish from the pond (my dad reeled in the biggest), and then went home to celebrate Electra's very first birthday. Happy Birth Day, my sweet lovey! She has the best grin known to mankind. I cannot see her smile and not want to grin back at her. Also, her sisters designed and did about 80% of the cake decor themselves, much inspiration and technique drawn from CakeBoss and NerdyNummies a la youtube.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gelatin prints!

This was an absolute blast! Very messy, very process oriented, good for experimentation. 

First, we made a block of plain gelatin (followed the directions for 6 packets, using hot water only), and were careful to sponge all bubbles off the top. When it was set and rubbery, we plopped it out on a plastic cutting board and went to town. 

First, we rolled on a thin coat of watered down acrylic paint onto the gelatin block (or you could smear with your hands), and experimented with empty space by putting down paper cutouts, mesh onion bags, string, rubber bands, etc. We lay the blank sheets down directly on the gelatin block and gently pressed the paper down with our hands, then peeled it off to reveal the print! 

Then, we experimented with layering effects. After they dried, we experimented with adding some fruit cross-section stamps. Fun! XO)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Unschool Photos....

lots of cooking
Lots of pony pretend and books on MP3 for this one...Lemony Snickett, Holes and Harry Potter books are the latest. 

lots of  Lego
Harry Potter-a-thons (and legos in general, actually)

lots of climbing!

Letter drawing, unprompted. She likes to keep adding them and laughs when I try to sound them out!
Garden planning for our community garden plot...square ft grid, learning about diameters, how much space each kind of plant needs to grow time, we may do all sticky notes so we can rearrange them

Latin roots, a la Harry Potter and Star Wars
And plenty of this, too. :OP