Bits of the month

I’m trying something new—a weekly (or monthly) wrap-up sort of post where I share bits and pieces that don’t warrant full posts and that allow me to share personal type things about homeschooling and so forth as well as just random thoughts and ideas and material for my personal memory archives. I’m inspired to do this by Molly Westerman’s always interesting links for thoughts posts and by a blog I stumbled across recently called The Holistic Homeschooler(she does a weekly “homeschool mother’s journal” post).

So…here goes…

What I’ve been up to

Me = grading papers and final exams. The last day of the session is today

What boys have been up to

They both enjoy playing Minecraft to an almost obsessive degree. This week they’ve been working on plans for programming mods for the game and setting up sort of mock worlds with things they’d like their mods to have. Lann worked on a Batman themed mod and Zander’s is about “hunchback zombies” (many of whom are holding cakes).

New dog Dagger!

They’ve been making movies for the last several months in a very dedicated manner that I’ve really enjoyed observing. Over 300 video clips have been filmed since this new project began. And, then, this week, the perhaps inevitable happened—they dropped and broke my camera. It was around $300, but I quickly realized that I didn’t have any grounds to be mad at them (despite the fact that they’d been carefully instructed to always keep the strap around their wrist and to be careful). When you give 8 and 5 year old’s free reign with a camera, breakage is definitely a possible side effect. I also try very hard to remember the people before things mantra. So, now their extensively movie making projects are on hold until we figure out a replacement. I’m thinking a low cost kid-friendly, video-capable camera and an adult camera might be the most logical plan.

They buzz with ideas constantly. Lann’s big project idea this week was for a virtual reality helmet. Mark and I both struggle with the balance between expressing interest in his ideas and offering reality checks. It can be extraordinarily exhausting, truly. The other thing they came up with is a cartoon strip about “Poo Log Dog.” This is based on their intense dislike of our new little dog, Dagger, who showed up skinny and starving last month and is now part of the family. I like him, which is a real shocker, because dogs are not my favorite. The boys are less enraptured.

We’re back to our no artificial colors experiment which seems to have a drastic impact on Z’s rage fits, Lann’s teasing, and their cooperation with each other. We’ve had days and days of happy playing, bright energetic faces and ideas, and very little discord or meltdowns.

I love this baby's eye view picture taken by my friend at the playgroup Valentine party last month.

What baby has been up to

Walking more and more—I think we’ve almost seen the last of the crawling baby and the funny little one foot on ground, one leg down scoot-drag-crawl.

Climbs up on couch and onto stepstool in bathroom

Walks unsupported outside

Loves outside—loves so very much.

Likes to do mischievous stuff on purpose and stare at person til they notice and then squeal/yell while staring in their eyes.

Makes addle, addle, addle sound with tongue. Still uses adorable, “hmmm?” question-intonation sound to ask for or about things. Says Dagger, dog, Daddy, dragon, and quite a few other things. Refuses to perform any of them on command.

Loves to spin! In hammock swing outside, on Sit n Spin toy, dancing with brother. (A long time ago, pre-kids, I went to a workshop on play therapy. One of the speakers maintained that you should never bounce or rock or jiggle a baby, because it predisposes them to become addicts later in life—i.e. they start to like the feeling of having a “scrambled brain” and seek out that stimulation. It is amazing how certain, seemingly small experiences can leave a powerful legacy that cast a shadow on happy moments!)

What Mark has been up to

The man is quite focused on his plans for an aquaponics system. Is drawing plans for the greenhouse and figuring out supplies to buy. Planning to take a week off soon to focus on building it. We’ve also been doing our work party with a group of four friends. We take turns working on each other’s homesteads on alternate weekends. It has been a really good, community-building experience.

Homeschooling report

I finally did a Cartesian diver experiment (about buoyancy and air pressure) with the boys and it worked perfectly. While we did so, Alaina mashed her breakfast and a fruit leather into a cup of water.

I also signed them up for Studyladder. Jury is still out on whether this was a good plan. The graphics and style seem “primitive” in a way, like they were programmed in the late 90’s. However, I like it because they have math and science and counting in other languages, as well as reading. It seems much more comprehensive and full scale. Lann has also been wanting to work on his Click N Read Phonics lately and Zander has been doing Reading Eggs (still our favorite) and occasionally Starfall (we pay for the “more” version). Jumpstart we’ve let go, because even though it has really cool graphics and features, we can rarely get it to start up without crashing/freezing/or being generally frustrating.

I’ve been trying to find a good new book to read aloud to them. We keep reading the first chapter of various (free Kindle) books and then deciding we want something different.

This week (month) in blog news

I hit the 200,000 hit mark! That is pretty good for something that started out only intended for a local audience. I checked my annual stats too and noticed that in 2008 (my first full year of blogging), I had 8,000 hits during the entire year. Just this past week, my All that Matters is a Healthy Husband post had 8,000 hits by itself. ;-D Another new post that had a lot of shares and views was the Spontaneous Birth Reflex. I was happy to finally write it and also its related companion piece about the Rest and Be Thankful Stage of labor. My Honoring Miscarriage discussion and giveaway are still open too.

What’s on my mind

I am nearly speechless and also horrified about the current political obsession with contraception. This isn’t about birth control it is about woman control. I can’t stand it! And, I do not consider contraception to be a “women’s issue,” it is a human issue. Last time I checked, men participated in sex too. And, they too, desire a size of family that is compatible with their other needs (financial, personal, whatever). Likewise, many, many happily married, monogamous couples choose to use birth control and ; enjoy being able to have sex without procreating. It would be bizarre to characterize a man’s desire to be responsible for his own fertility as, “being paid to have sex all day.” It is equally bizarre to apply this claim to women.

In my work for my doctoral classes, I focus extensively on body politics, reproductive rights/politics, feminism, women’s rights, and personal autonomy as well as the historical and sociopolitical context of these issues. Since I live in a conservative area and have a “public” reputation to maintain, I shy away from addressing any of these subjects in depth here (I’m very googleable by students and prospective clients—heck, this blog was originally intended exclusively as a business tool for my local clients). However, in an ironic twist, that is exactly the kind of social control/inhibition/silencing/oppression of women that I am so passionate about addressing in my doctoral work. In fact, my dissertation is going to be about a thealogy of the body and how women’s bodies are the very terrain upon which patriarchal religious structures are built and maintained.

What I’m reading

I just finished reading The Hunger Games for book club—gobbled it up in a couple of hours—and I’m in the middle of the second one. I also finished reading Sisters Singing which is anthology of women’s prayers, blessings, songs, and readings. I read it over the course of several months in short segments during my daily meditation/altar time. I also finished reading Daughter of the Forest (also for book club) and Nobody Girl (don’t bother) and I am Woman by Rite: A Book of Women’s Rituals. I’m currently reading Peggy O’Mara’s Way Back Home collection of essays. The boys and I are listening to the sixth Harry Potter book on tape while in the car. I really love doing this! I less love realizing that by the time we finish we will have spent a minimum of 19 hours in the car. Whew. When I’m on my own I’m listening to Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, one of my favorite childhood authors who wrote The Song of the Lioness Quartet, which is where I got Alaina’s name (I guess when I was approximately 12). I recently finished re-listening to Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich.

Articles I’ve enjoyed

Breastfeeding support: less is not more

What an awesome logo for the upcoming LLL of Illinois conference!

“I feel saddened by the alarming regularity at which women give up their desire to breastfeed because breastfeeding is not the ‘best’ way to feed babies. It’s the normal way. The idea that breastfeeding is somehow extraordinary persists because we live in a culture where very limited paternity leave is normal, where an expectation to continue cooking and cleaning and exercising and socialising in the post partum weeks and months is normal, and where a perception that unpaid work (especially if it is physical and monotonous) is pointless drudgery is normal.”

Breastfeeding – Does Science Mislead Parents & Professionals?

A clear majority of public opinion in the United States supports the view that ‘breastfeeding is healthier for babies’, yet substantially more than half of the surveyed population disagree that ‘feeding a baby formula instead of breastmilk increases the chances the baby will get sick’.

If exclusive breastfeeding was the norm against which other methods are measured, breastfeeding would not be ‘protective’ and breastfed infants would not enjoy ‘lower risks of ill health’; they would instead be referred to as ‘normal’, while formula fed infants are in fact ‘exposed’ to increased risk of poor health and development.

Also enjoyed this post from The Minimalists about turning off the internet at home. Since we live out of town and I work from home teaching online AND since it is super important to me to have a home based life, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to shut off the internet at home and drive into town to use it, but for a while after reading this article I fantasized about it.

And, this inspirational short post from Roots of She.

And, some pictures:

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This heart-meltingly adorable sight met my eyes as I sneaked away from Alaina's napping self this week.


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Tiny, independent nature girl!


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Sweet sibling moment even though I lose crunchy points because they're watching a movie (it is Kipper though)


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Yes, we have a michief-maker in the house!

I have about 14 others things I was going to include, but forgot about, such as the fact that we had our first local birth network meeting in February and I feel really good about it. But, now this post is terribly long and cumbersome anyway. I’m too wordy to do a bits and pieces type post, I guess! I thought it was going to be short and simple—instead it took several hours over the course of multiple days to get ready to post. Sheesh!

3 thoughts on “Bits of the month

  1. Molly, we have a V-Tech Kidizoom camera for the kids. It is brightly colored and has a chunkiness to it that I think intended for kids younger than mine, but it has better resolution than my old Kodak EasyShare, and it’s totally bomb proof. Video capability as well as still shots. Two eyeholes instead of one, and you can also use the little screen. Takes an SD card and four AA batteries, all of which are behind screwed on panels. It even plays tic tac toe, for reasons I have not been able to determine. . .

    [and if you would ever like to chew on the contraception topic with a Catholic convert who sees both sides and speaks both languages, you know where to find me 🙂 ]

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