Friday, July 29, 2011

3 Weeks Already?..

So much for keeping up with the blog!  Life has been rolling along here at shaggyboystown.

When I first started this blog, I called it shaggyboys because my then, younger boys..had such long, shaggy, in their eyes, hair. The boys have grown. They no longer aspire to look like Jedi Knights and Pokemon characters. One even wears business casual to work with his short hair and everything. My..that happened fast!

I also started this blog after the death of a dear friend. My friend Leticia lived life fully. She never did anything extravagant. She could blend into a crowd fairly well. But she had a laugh that was contagious, a strong sense of compassion for all who came into her world, and loved her family with such was humbling. Leticia knew her life would be short..and she treasured every moment of it. Good and Bad. She was (and still is) well loved. She enjoyed living.

So when I am asked what I blog about, I have no real answer. Other know..just day-to-day life. Because it is this day-to-day stuff that makes us who we are. Not the high points..or the low points. Just the small stuff.

What is some of the living that has filled our days?

First I would like you to meet my Uncle Yates and Aunt Nancy. They are part of my North Carolina family. My Aunt and Uncle came to visit. It was nice to see them. They hung out a lot at the River Walk, visited some of the small Hill Country towns..and spent an afternoon with us.

But let me set the tone as to just how generous this visit was. We had hoped that they could come out for a some tubing, play in the river...hang out in town, and we would end with a Cajun Crab Boil. Yup. That was the plan. But then we had this drought thing happen. So river? Hmm..we have a puddle? Then of course is that heat we keep talking about.

Last week Eric (Mr. Eric is a friend who is currently living in our tree-house and helping me get our house in order for day-care) and I were sitting on the deck. We were like you feel that breeze? Did it cool off? It feels kinda nice...and then we looked at the thermostat.

 What can I say? We have acclimated?

So no River Play..extreme heat...and wouldn't you know it? The town was almost empty. Almost unheard of on a weekend in The Cowboy Capital of the World.  But regardless, here are Yates and Nancy in front of the General Store.   Why? Because they wanted to prove to a friend they were in Bandera!

My Uncle took some other pictures while they were here. Since he is a much better photographer than me..thought I would share.

Horses in town, cooling off in the shade

A few longhorns looking for anything green

We return home to just hang out. Here are Uncle Yates and Levi.

We enjoy, yet another, Cajun Crab Boil. What can I say? We like Cajun food around here.

During the past few weeks..we also celebrate my sister's "pinning" . She has completed her nursing program. Now she studies for (drum roll please) THE BIG TEST....

It is time to prepare for the next Kairos weekend at one of the local prisons. I spend time helping prepare for team-buildings, etc.

We continue to pick away at what needs to be done to legalise what my friend Jack refers to as Rancho Rugrat.

The co-op parents and I finalise curriculum plans for the motley highschool crew. We agree on TRISMS revolutionary studies along with an eclectic mix of stuff for Marine Biology and Stack the Deck writing program

We squeeze in a pretty invasive (but pleasantly successful so far) eye surgery for another family member. I continue to pick away at this afghan for Cody. Have I mentioned before I do not know how to crochet??? Well...7 months into it and I am no better.

Similar to my friend Leticia who triggered my desire to blog. I have a dear friend who has recently chosen to admit herself into hospice care. I first  met Pat at my Women and Spirituality..turned Book Club..that sometimes forgets to read..Club. Our women and spirituality.. turned book club..that sometimes forgets to read club meet by Pat's bed in the hospital. If she is too tired we meet in the waiting room. As usual, we laugh, we ponder, we cry.

We help finalise funeral plans. I meet with the local funeral home to help make arrangements for Pat's funeral. Pat is very clear about how she wants to leave this earth..and we are trying our best to honor her wishes.

In the midst of all, our family celebrates Big B's birthday with ice-cream cake!

 This evening Big B and I are going out for our 21st anniversary. Our anniversary is actually not until Sunday..but today? We can enjoy ourselves and not feel like we are ignoring work that needs to be done. Quite sad..don't you think? 

We are doing our annual thing. Spending all our restaurant gift-cards in one evening..and ending with appetisers at Chilli's. 

We bought ourselves some used chain-link fence..complete with all the hardware. We are spending our anniversary weekend putting up fence posts! Now that? That is day-to-day living.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Of Tots and Teens...

We have spent the past couple of weeks slowly revamping the house to prepare for a small handful of tots (think infant, toddler tots) in the Fall. As we create "tot space" we are simultaneously keeping space aside for the teens in our tiny little homeschool co-op.

It is crazy, really. This need to provide separate spaces...knowing full well..that tots and teens do, and will, mingle.

We are off to a slow start on the revamping process. Our back deck needed a lot of work. But it is done!!!! We now have one large tot-safe back deck complete with 3 locking gates. One of these gates will open into...deck #2. Deck #2..which will lead to the pool (also with another gate). Deck #2 is the official teen deck. It is not built yet.

But this separation of tots and teens is not limited to the deck. Dining? about the dining room table for the teens, the kitchen for the tots? Inside space? Tots can hang in the living room, kitchen and morning room. Teens? The den and dining room.  Bathrooms? Tots in the hall bathroom. Teens in our master bathroom. Outdoor space? Tots in the enclosed part of the yard (still needs to be enclosed, by the way) Teens to the open part of the yard, pool or tree-house.

It seems so unnatural to create space in our home this way. Yet I understand the legalities of why...and I know full well..that on Monday mornings (when co-op meets) Tots and teens together will be in our kitchen/dining room to grab muffins, play with eachother and live life as it should be. Even if only for a brief moment before the craziness of the day kicks in.

But hey..both the little people and the big people do have official spaces to call their own now. Cody and Levi both seem to think this is a good thing.But for a homeschooling mom that often resisted a separate space for the kids learning to happen, this is a pretty big step.

In theory anyway, while the teens are editing eachothers essays in the dining room? The tots can play outside on the deck. While the teens discuss revolutions in the den, the tots can parallel play in the living room.

But all this separation nonsense aside, they are too much alike, these tots and teens. I mean let's face it. While tots (or tot as the case may be) pretends the flyswatter is a vacum cleaner? (we have an unused fly-swatter ..I promise) A teen vacums. While the tot pretends to cook a teen actually cooks. While a tot decorates himself with a marker, the teens decorate eachother with the same marker.

And then of course is food. Toddlers and teens actually have similar diets. Fruit, muffins, oatmeal, popsicles, cheese, etc. But diet and behaviour are  just the surface similarities.

It's the inside stuff that really intrigues me. Little ones learn to share. You know, real basic share your toy kinda stuff. The teens? Are learning to share ideas, thoughts, feelings. Just as the tots are learning to communicate verbally, the teens are learning to communicate through the written word.

But most important of all is the art of  nurturing that is being absorbed. Babies are held and nurtured. Toddlers are held and nurtured. Teens are listened to and nurtured.

In imitation of this nurturing the tots practice by nurturing a doll, a stuffed bear, etc. Even if only for a few moments before running over said bear with a truck. But the teens! The teens not only nurture the tots..they hold each other in that sacred space of listening. The teens I know see themselves and others as beings worthy of their time and attention. Even if, sometimes especially if, they disagree. And that valuing of others is something we, as middle aged adults, sometimes forget how to do.

So as the tots and teens in my house spend the summer laughing, crying, playing with swords, listening to music and sleeping...sleeping....sleeping.... Big B and I continue to plug along at home remodeling.

You we can all-tots, teens and adults- share a muffin together.