Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

It's finally here!!!! We'll be spending the day baking and getting the house ready for our pre-trick-or-treat party.

I found this article about Halloween this morning. I love it but hesitated to post it for reasons I'll explain below.

It touches on so many things I care about. The message about talking to, and even (gasp!) taking candy from strangers reminds me of my own first dilemma about that issue while walking in a park with a then-toddling Riley (now 10). We were approached by a sweet, friendly homeless man who wanted to chat and whose heart seemed truly warmed by the antics of a carefree, joyous little kid. Fear and judgment (the automatic, prejudicial kind) and rote "don't talk to strangers" rules popped into my head and conflicted with compassion and unity and the *other* kind of judgment (as in gut feeling/intuition) that this guy was okay. It was an early instance of rethinking how I wanted to live with my child and started me on a path toward a more mindful, present, principled approach and away from pre-ordained rules and have-to's and because-I-said-so's.

The author also talks about trick-or-treating as an excellent example of free-market economy. I had been thinking the last few days about trick-or-treating as a perfect example of a voluntary "gift economy," something I just heard of recently and have been trying to learn a bit about. I would have thought those were opposite conclusions, but then I don't understand large economic systems very well! There's always more to learn!

The reason I hesitated to post it is that it is obviously anarchist, an ideal I share but, because of the popular & unfortunate image of chaos and violence associated with the word "anarchy," I tend to use the term "voluntaryist" as it is more clearly about nonviolent/peaceful & truly voluntary relationships. I love that the author of this article was able to talk about that kind of anarchist vision: genuine community and genuine, people-driven giving and the motivation of gratitude and joy in contrast to that of force & violence inherent in coercive institutions.

Off my soapbox and into my kitchen...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I carved my first pumpkin!

Can you believe I'm 36 years old and, before today, I had never carved a pumpkin?! My Dad always carved ours when I was a kid, and then for some reason Matt has just always carved the ones we've had together.

Anyway, today I drew & carved the face for Seth's -- he wanted "monster-angry."

Maya drew hers and cut the top off but wanted me to carve the face.

Riley drew and carved his. He didn't like pulling out the "guts," so Maya and Seth and I did that, separating out the seeds for roasting.

We sat outside telling different versions of the Jack-O-Lantern story -- some that I had read and some that they knew from cartoons.

Maya made up a story with hers -- a mystery about a villain that had cancelled Halloween.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Here's Maya and her toy chimp, Fifi, outside the Omnimax Theater at the Cinci Museum Center. We went to see a film about one of her heroes, Jane Goodall.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Kids' Hopes & Dreams

I really will try to keep this rant to a minimum. I knew I shouldn't watch the debates a couple nights ago. Knew it wouldn't add anything to my peace or joy or sense of freedom. I *really* knew I should turn the TV off when they got to the last question about education, phrased in a way that made children sound like tools. But I watched and I listened. And I heard two men with their own goals and agendas talk as if those should be the goals and agendas of everyone -- that our children need to be molded and shaped to compete and dominate internationally.

My kids can figure out their own goals, their own agendas. They can live their own *dreams*. So far, their lives don't seem to have anything whatsoever to do with international competition or domination.

While I was turning this stuff over in my head yesterday morning, griping and grumbling, I found comfort in two things. First, was a collage of pictures I have hanging on my wall. Pictures of my kids playing & laughing & just being themselves. In one frame I have this poem by Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and the daughters of
Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet
They belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward
Nor tarries with yesterday.

Here is a version sung beautifully by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Second, I found a paper Maya is working on for girl scouts. She was writing & drawing her ideas for how to live out the "girl scout law." It's an image I have seen her draw numerous times. It's inspired by Amy Steinberg's song, Exactly. I have Maya singing part of it as my ringtone on my phone: Peace, Love, Free; Peace, Love, Free...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Evans Apple Orchard & Cider Mill

This was our second year visiting Evans Apple Orchard & Cider Mill with homeschooling friends from Georgetown, KY. Definitely one of our favorite trips -- a really fun, interesting, welcoming place.

Seth watching one of the goats while we waited to begin our tour through the cider mill

Heading through the corn maze in search of the pumpkin patch

Our friend, Anthony, and my headless child, Riley trying to be scary

Maya with friends Michael and Jacob on the way back from the pumpkin patch

Seth at the playground

Maya at the playground