Friday, October 24, 2008


Tonight at dinner, Dan was telling me about meeting with his advisor, Dr. Condee.  Anika, who had been intently peeling the melted cheese out of her quesadilla, looked up at him with a wrinkled brow and said "is he a DOCTOR Condee?"  Dan told her that Dr. Condee, with whom he has been taking a class on Southeast Asian puppetry, was not a doctor who heals people, but a doctor who is a thinker, a doctor of philosophy.  I can't remember which of the girls then said, "oh, he's a doctor of puppets?" and there it was. Yes. A Doctor of Puppets. NOW we know what goes on at Papa's school. And here are some photos to prove it.

As an assignment for class, Dan had to make his own shadow puppets and perform a short children's story.  Here he is, hard at work on some awesome renderings of a wacky family favorite "Look and Go Train".  Isn't it nice to know that he gets to do something other than read Thomas Aquinas and Plato?

Catching up...

After a forced hiatus, due to house guests (yay!) and the family stomach flu (boo!), we're back in action and ready to catch up with all the crazy goings-on around here. And I can't believe I haven't posted about this - the Bake Sale!!!  Mondays are the day the Linscotts come into town and spend the day with us.  The Linscotts deserve their own post, which I promise is forthcoming, but for now, know that on Mondays
Melanie and her daughters Madeline and Olivia, her son Izekiel, and their friend Lily all come over and spend the day "in town".  They arrive around lunch time and once that's done the older girls and I walk 2 verrrry long blocks up the hill east of us to an old renovated church that houses ArtsWest.  This is where the girls have choir for an hour every week.  The younger girls stay home and "do kindergarten", which remains a sacred mystery to the rest of us, but they enjoy themselves quite a bit.  Afterwards, we run back down the hill to join them for snack and play until dinner time.  Well, one week choir was cancelled, and Melanie, knowing that Eliza had been wanting to have a lemonade stand, and having had a good selling day with her girls the previous week at their roadside produce stand at the top of their driveway, suggested that we have a bake sale in our front yard.  This is a brilliant idea, and I'll tell you why.  Every day at approximately 3:15, about 150 hungry elementary school students come pouring out of the building across the street from us, bleary from their hours inside and ready for home-baked goodness at an incredibly reasonable price. It worked! Anika and I made banana muffins, Melanie and Olivia made oatmeal cookies, and the big girls worked on signs ("cookies for kids" said one. "cookies for adults" said another) and setting up the table, and we had ourselves a bake sale. And heck if we didn't sell out of muffins and just about all of the cookies (there were more of those)!!! Our family made six bucks, the girls each got money for their banks, and we had a blast!  And a nice added bonus for Ani and I is that we get to hang out with Melanie and the baby, both of whom are excellent company...

 (as a side note: we tried having another bake sale this past week, and it unfortunately was a lesson in competition and corporate take-over.  the PTO vice pres lives next door, and he set up a table laden with leftovers from their halloween haunted house over the weekend, but HIS table got to be across the street, thus hitting the hungry children before they ever had a hope of seeing our goodies.  the girls took it really well - eliza even told him that if he didn't make any money and we did, we would share...the girls had all dressed up so cute, in aprons and head scarves, and they proceeded to yell "MUFFINS! HOMEMADE ORGANIC MUFFINS!" but to no avail. well, they sold three.  we'll try again next week...)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, dear Jessica...

We take a break in our normally scheduled programming to bring you...a quick note of love to Jessica Robin, beloved fairy god-belayer of our children, dear cousin and most amazing individual, who is turning 26 today somewhere on the other side of the planet. Well,  not just "somewhere" - a teeny village in Niger, to be a little more exact (please see the link to Jessica's peace-corps-adventuring blog to the right!).  And once in a while, because we live in a ca-RAZY time, she is able to get on a computer aalll the way over there and peek at our world here. SO - to Jessica: I just wanted to post a quick shot of the ways in which I honored you today, dearest you - some Amish fudge (courtesy of my sweet sister, who was just here), some crocheting (oh yes, that is a jar cozy in the back there...), and a pendant refound and restrung and reloved. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WE LOVE YOU AND ARE SENDING YOU HEAPS AND HEAPS OF LOVE, RIGHT NOW AND ABOUT EVERY THIRD MINUTE OF EVERY DAY (the ones not reserved for thinking about or making food and the quite frequent bum wiping that goes on around here. though i often mix sending you love with thinking about food, i really try to keep bum wiping all to itself.).  Light, love, rain, sprouts, growth, food, more love, warm wrinkled hands, big smiles, laughter, more rain, and much contentment be yours this year...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Forced March

For those of you who imagine that our frequent tromps in the woods and about our world are always peaceful, merry marches, here is a disclosure: sometimes we are going in three separate directions.  Recently we discovered a new walk along the area called The Ridge, just south of the Hocking River, and it has a wide path that cuts through fields and disappears into the woods.  It is beautiful in the evening, as the sun is turning the clouds pink and the deer are venturing out of the woods, and as you finish your walk stars emerge in the growing dark. Well, we headed there the other afternoon, desperately in need of some new scenery in our day and some big space and air. I needed it. Apparently I was alone. Anika thought it was "toooooo sunny" and Eliza dragged her big six year old feet the whole time.  Finally I caved and we struck a compromise - just to the thin line of trees that offer some shade for a quick snack and then home. I promise. I suppose it was my turn to relearn the hard fact that being a family means daily compromise in hopes of harmony...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Archaeology 101

We had a fun Sunday this week! The girls and I read a few books about history and archaeology (based on the Story of the World curriculum), and this is one of the projects that followed. I had spent a sweaty half hour the day before, digging a 3 feet by 2 feet hole in our backyard, which is full of roots, and, as Eliza noticed, bereft of worms.  I filled the hole with random items from our home that might give clues to future archaeologists as to how we live - a fork, a key, a plastic toy shoe, a toy car, a few pennies...We set up the site by marking it off in a small grid and the girls went at it with shovels, paint brushes, and a sifter for the smaller items.  They spent about an hour digging through the dirt, totally engaged, and recruiting our neighbors Sid and Cirus for a bit.  I was a bit relieved, as I imagined that the project could have gone the way of others - Mama is excited but the kiddos are not.  Ani mostly sifted and dug and got really really dirty, but don't they learn best when they're happy?! The most exciting part was that they found things I didn't bury:  a spoon, shards of terra cotta and ceramic pottery, and coolest of all, a BONE. 

When we were done recording all the loot, we washed up and made a picnic and headed for Stroud's Run and the dry creek.  We hoped for some cool artifacts there, or maybe some fossils, but "all" we found were some teeny tiny salamanders, which I think were redback salamanders, but I don't know for sure.  They were super tiny, fast, and cute!!  I believe I said "Omigosh I think I'm in love" which was met with a scrutinizing look from Eliza. She takes "in love" verrrry seriously. And it is not usually reserved for salamanders.

a day at the gardens

Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them.  If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process...the independent scientist in the child disappears.  
- John Holt

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nature Lesson

Sedges have edges and
rushes are round and
grasses, like asses,
have holes in the middle.

didn't you always want to know?