How Do You Google?

Let’s face it. We live in a google world. Google has placed information at our fingertips. Google can answer almost any question. As a home school mom, I am a big fan. We google everything. Recipes, stories, math problems, science inquiries, historical facts, music, news, weather, anything. 
Recently Hannah asked me about panda bears. My google history followed her string of questions:  What does a panda bear’s teeth look like? What does a panda bear eat? What does a baby panda look like? What do other bears look like? What does a black bears teeth look like? What do they eat? How do they catch fish? Why do they like to eat fish? What else do they eat? Where do they live? Why do they like honey? Can I see one getting honey? 
For every question, we got a solid answer, pictures, video footage, graphs, charts — you name it, we got it.
Google has helped us on the farm. When we brought home baby calves, I spent an hour watching videos on bottle feeding a calf. There are wonderfully inform…

The Most Important Hour

Good Friday. Our mother had us sit out the noon hour in complete silence. Alone. We always dreaded the hour. It felt like a forever sixty minutes. I’m pretty sure we didn’t eat lunch either. To my mother, this hour was the most precious hour of the year. The most important hour to pause. The most meaningful moment. The one hour since there was evening and there was morning that counted.

And, it wasn’t actually awful. It was peaceful. It was an hour I wasn’t going to get into trouble for abusing a sibling or getting into something I shouldn’t. Because, I think,  we actually understood it.

Understood that across time and space and eternity, there was a man that dropped every last drop of his blood and let out a last breath -- for me. For Me!  He took all the disgusting mess that I am and absorbed it --along with the mess of every other human -- on that cross. In that hour, the earth lost hold. It fell apart. It was dark. There were earthquakes. Weird stuff happened. A giant curtain ripp…

Hobo Camp

It was a craigslist find. Last summer, Amelia was hoping to add a few chickens to her menagerie. We did a little hunting on craigslist and made a few calls. When we finally found what we were looking for, we started discussing, with the friendly voice on the other end, where to meet. He suggested I bring the children and plan to stay. He thought it would be worth their time to check the place out. I didn't really register what he was talking about...

The next afternoon, George headed out with the kiddos to collect chickens. They stayed gone for quite sometime. Five hours later they returned with piles of stories and excitement galore. They had just visited Patrick's Hobo Camp. There was tomahawk throwing, archery, blowguns, rope tying, gardening, and supplies for whatever project you might want to try. In every direction, there was something to do and learn with clear directions on how to do it.  Patrick was eager to teach it all to them.

That next Sunday, we headed back to Pat…

Surfing On A Dinosaur

The days have seemed long and wrong. Even though I live in Florida, and I’ve been barefoot most of the month, everything is blooming and I’ve even watched my kids swim in the pool a time or two, I’ve had the winter blues. Deep winter blues. I might as well live in Siberia — in a yurt. 
The days seem to drag on endlessly with nothing real marking the coming and going and doing. My glass has been totally half empty. The grass on my side looks really really brown. And the crazy thing is, we literally have the greenest grass around because George plants winter rye and it grows vibrantly green right through the dullest days. 
I reported to George my deep discouragement. Most of it falls on my feelings of never measuring up - for not having firework homeschool days and children inspired to a cheerful “yes ma’am!” and “I’ll be right there!” 

Instead, it has felt like very boring, dull, non thoughtful, day after day days of kids droning through their lessons and more “It’s not my turn to emp…

Amelia, Our Teenager

Amelia’s name means “to make right”. She lives into her name more than anyone I’ve ever met. She wakes up each day with an agenda to create and do and learn and live fully. She doesn’t want to waste a thing. She sees life as an absolute treasure. If she is sitting still, there is something in her hands which she is weaving (even banana peels), folding, carving, painting, twisting, or turning into something beautiful.
She hears and sees and feels the presence of birds all around her. If she could, she would incubate and hatch one of every bird egg she ever found and raise a flock of all birds that exist. She has been drawing and painting birds since she could hold a pencil and brush. She continues to paint beautiful birds.
She takes clay, leaves, bark, roots, ash, flower petals, mushrooms, or coffee grounds and figures out how to make rich colorful dyes. She dyes yarn and material and wool and keeps a detailed record of her colors and combinations.

She loves to write letters and recei…

Hannah Is Four

Hannah. She is four. You don’t have to ask her. She will tell you. We didn’t know that she had in her mind that turning four was going to change her world. To her, turning four meant that she could do about anything. She rides her bike without training wheels — all the time! She collects eggs. She wants to read and write and count. She watches my mouth to learn songs and asks me to sing them over and over. She feels like she is growing everyday and measures her growth to our belly buttons and is sure she is nearly as tall as we are. She asks every child how old they are and then tells them in great detail that she is four. 

She is very caring of creatures and babies. She has quite a collection of stuffed animals that she is feedings, putting to bed, carrying in bags, teaching, singing, talking, walking. They are always with her. 
She loves food. She talks about it. She eats often and happily. She wants to bake and cook and be very present in the kitchen. 
Hannah’s vocabulary is bigger t…

Gentle George Wilder Is Eleven

George Wilder. Eleven already. He is a five speed sports car. He can hang in neutral and just purr, huddled wherever he finds a spot and get lost in a book. He doesn’t hear a word around him. He sucks down every word quickly and quietly before he is off in fifth gear figuring out how to ride a unicycle, juggle, work a puzzle, or try something new. Or, if you need him steady on a job, he sticks to third and putters through. When it is hard, he puts it in second, until he has it right then, he throws it straight into high gear and is off! Yet, when he needs to put on nice clothes, speak clearly, and walk with anyone between the ages of 1-100, he finds fourth and hums along making whoever, whenever feel special. 

After a unicycle appeared at our house on Christmas Day, he spent hours perfecting his ability to zip up and down the driveway. He was covered in bruises from his endeavors but this didn’t slow him down. 
He also decided that he wanted to learn how to play Carol Of The Bells. H…