Rory’s Room

A Day in the Life

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He goes wherever he wants, these days. He stands up in the middle of the floor, walks across, and changes directions when something new catches his eye. If anyone feels like a little chase, he’s only too happy to run away. With a spotter, he can take the stairs, and with a little reminder he’ll even spin around to go feet first off of any elevated surface. Dangle dangle, little toes. Then grab the ground and sprint away.

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From his little front room, he can creep up the step stool we painted in the summer. It’s the perfect spot to view the neighbors walking up and down the sidewalk, the garden growing in our front yard, and the HUG farm volunteers checking in on turnips in the right-of-way. He sings a song to them, and sometimes taps on the window.

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Edie joins her brother to look out and to investigate the toys from his shelves. Seeing a big kid handling the treasures is a great provocation; he peers intently at pictures, or shape blocks, or animals she sets down. They talk together in a wiggly body language they both know by heart.

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Every day his world is getting bigger, and it all starts in his own little room.

To Wrap My Baby Bunting In

A Day in the Life, Farm Book

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Long ago we stuck some rabbit pelts in the freezer, and after a week of thawing and rounding up supplies, today was the day to process them. Rory came to help out. We had a reliable looking recipe from Mother Earth news, which gave us the option of using a salty solution of either alum or sulphuric acid… Weirdly, the acid was easier to find and purchase, so we are trying that out first.

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Basically the tanning process involves brining the hides in this solution for a week and a half, then cleaning and “breaking” them: stretching the leather until it’s pliable and soft. It’s not as difficult as I imagined. Actually so far it seems pretty easy, though I’ll have to remember to stir the brine each day.

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Our rabbits are Silver Foxes, a breed developed in the US to mimic the furs of the wild silver fox, which was endangered by overhunting early last century. Apparently many rabbit pelts so closely resemble the fox that DNA tests are required to verify authentic fox furs. No wonder the demand was high; the furs from both animals are quite beautiful. This shot of processing of course doesn’t show off the coloring, but I’ll post a photo of the finished product when we’re done. I’m pretty excited to see how they come out!

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Other cool stuff we did today: Kevin harvested the turkey tail mushrooms…

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Edie did lots of ballet, here demonstrating her second position…

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Baked some French breads…

And built Glinda’s tower for the Oz figures to play in. It’s been a pretty good day.

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First Day of Gardening

A Day in the Life, Farm Book

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It’s been one of those warm snaps where we get a few crocuses opening up and spring suddenly doesn’t feel so far away; although we’re sure to have a few more freezes before spring really kicks off, Adventure Time found us thinking about all the food and flowers we hope will pop up sometime soon. Edie picked out a “garden girl” outfit. I expected to stick Rory in the backpack for a little rest, but he beat me to it and took a nice long nap in the nest.

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Since we weren’t sure how long he would sleep, and we didn’t have much of a plan, and it’s too early to plant seeds outside, we decided to prep one of the front beds. After swinging through the yard for tools, we scooped up some poops from the bunnies to fertilize our chosen garden bed.

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Bunny poop is great for gardens, especially because it doesn’t “burn” plants fresh the way other manures can. We used Edie’s rake, Kevin’s welder, and my trowel to clear out some gnarly dandelions and grass patches that had taken hold since last summer.  As we worked, we remembered our last real garden day together when I was so pregnant, I couldn’t reach to seed the middle of the beds. The stuff we planted that day hadn’t done so well. In fact we have yet to experience much real success gardening.

For a long time I have always assumed that I would eventually be well enough resourced and coordinated to take my kids on more or less daily excursions, as I was required to do with my preschool class in Seattle. The benefits for  kids in a class setting was fairly obvious; children get exposed to the world outside the classroom and have a chance to work out their energy in ways besides destroying things. Supervising children on a playground is actually easier in a way than keeping them off each other in the classroom.

However as I’ve delved deeper into Unschooling literature over the last few years, I’ve questioned and shed a lot of the expectations I was accustomed to as an early childhood educator, and I’m not sure why it took me so much longer to question the daily bustle goal. I guess I was just so bad at actually accomplishing it that my ideal image was never really challenged. The season we entered as a family when we came home with the new baby has been one of energy and initiative for me- thankfully, since life got so neglected and out of control during my pregnancy that I am still digging out of that hole.  Today for instance I was putting away laundry and realized that a stack of clothes for sorting had been there very nearly a year. Now, I’m able to keep on top of routine chores, chip away at backed up projects, and even make daily time for something a little exploratory and unusual.

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A big part of the excuse for not “getting out of the house more” has been our long term car-free lifestyle, which has vascillated between voluntary and less voluntary. Sometimes I’ve been super proactive about bussing and walking, and we have always had generous friends and family offering use of their vehicles when we really needed it. This year is a new season for us; I expect to buy a car sometime in the next month. So, with ready access to wheels, will we finally be able to sign up for all the activities and plan all the outings I’ve looked forward to all this time?

Yes and no. I am relieved to look forward to a summer that we can run out to a beach or forest whenever we like, for foraging or just to explore the natural beauty of our exquisite region. But I think for me the daily outing has gone the way of the phonics coloring page: it’s fine to pass the time and sometimes may be just the practice a child needs to clarify a specific concept, but there’s really no obligation to schedule it every day.

Instead I’ve been focusing on the value of sinking in to home life and the comfort of rhythm. I’ve been considering how to isolate what is healthy and lovely about the busy activities we chose, and find a way to include that in our home life. How can we suck the marrow out of life without giving up all of our peaceful days?

For now, we’re settling in, sinking roots, condensing. We’re gardening, painting, cleaning out, and reading up. We’re asking friends over and sticking close to home. It’s a good place to be in the soft dead of winter. Perhaps another season, it will be time again the expand, unfold, and bloom.

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Arts and crafts

A Day in the Life, Art Book

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As we’ve settled back into a rhythm here in the White House, I have been able to get intentional about how we spend our time. While we never get through everything perfectly on time, Edie has come to expect her playtime with Mama, adventure time, and “preschool” to happen in a certain order, and she even color-coded her own chart so she can predict snacks, jobs, and bedtime.

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Like I said, we don’t always stick very close and most schedule items are pretty interpretive. But it helps us make sure we get through the stuff that’s important to us at least a few times each week.

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One of the best effects of getting more predictable and planning ahead is that we are finally making time for creative activities. Especially since I’ve been thinking about what our family needs from our home, a lot of those little personal touches are on my mind, and Edie is happy to pitch in putting some color in new places.  A few days ago we tried out some wax relief painting on canvases I had been holding on to for a long time. Today, we painted with cake tempera and glitter paints on a simple stool I picked up at an estate sale while in college.  It’s been waiting for it’s glitzy makeover for a long time:

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Unfortunately I never seem to have a clean hand to snap photos until Edie is off on her next adventure, but these shots should give you an idea of what she’s been up to.

Meanwhile Rory has been adapting well to having a bit of rhythm as well.  Since I have him in the Ergo (thanks again, Uncle Patrick and Auntie Kim) for a few predicable portions of the day, and lay down with him at least part of the time Edie naps, he’s beginning to settle into a three nap day, as well as sleeping beautifully next to me all night. You know, most  nights. More importantly, he gave a really solid, hilarious giggle yesterday, which Edie and I both found intoxicating and addictive in the best way. Since then we have been speculating on what exactly could be funny to babies, because we simply must get him to replicate that laugh. Oh man.

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Rory and Edie, potty buddies

A Day in the Life

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We have been enjoying our diaper service, blending with paper diapers when we travel, and this week, Baby Rory started on option three: elimination communication. This worked well for Edie, who was out of diapers at eighteen months, so I was excited to try with Rory. We’re starting a few months earlier this time, and so far it’s been really encouraging.

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Rory quickly relaxes when given a chance to sit on the potty at certain times a day, like right after nursing or getting out of a sling or backpack. It’s been fun to try out potty choices and save diapers by putting waste where it belongs, in the toilet. Edie helps by getting fresh diapers, checking if baby is wet, and making the hushing sounds we will teach him to associate with relaxing on a potty. He appreciates the help keeping clean… Most of the time.

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It’s not always easier than just sticking a paper diap on, but I like the trade off. It takes more intentionality right at first, and since the convenient supplies are different from things used for conventional diapers and potty training, it takes some resourcefulness and experimentation to get started. For us, the rash prevention and the diaper savings are worth it in the long run. It ends up feeling much simpler and less wasteful.
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Edie still uses her own potty at night since our only bathroom is so far from the bedrooms, and we keep some around the house for baby potty ease… For a little while it will be quite the potty parade around here!

41 Reasons to Go Diaper Free

A Day in the Life

 

We are talking a lot about potty time right now, with signing and sitting, and everything is going great. Some days have been better than others, but this is a great reminder of all the reasons we started on elimination communication in the first place.

» A Whopping 41 Reasons to Go Diaper Free with Elimination Communication, No Potty Training Required » Boba Family.

Also, if you’re interested in trying EC with a little one, check out our favorite tools at the Things I Use  page.

Rocking Horse

A Day in the Life

I got back to my old house! Da got us at the airport and when we got home I saw Mimee and my uncle Matt. It the morning Poppy came in to see me and I showed everybody all my new stuff. We ate some breakfast.

Did you know I have all these cool toys at my house? I have books and animals and Phydeaux and a rocking horse. Mimee put me on my horse and I rocked him all by myself. Then I dismounted like a cowboy and told her more please! She put me back over and over so I could practice my expert horsemanship.