Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As I was putting things on vimeo...

I came across this one that was taken about a year ago. Hope it makes you giggle again!

Kade on the pillow case ride from Beachbum on Vimeo.


We finally took the plunge and got the fish we've been talking about for years...

L-R: John, George and Paul

George and John

Ringo (the black one, who is now called Ash, I guess) and Paul

Here is Ringo (Ash) up close.

They have survived a few we are hoping for the best. The tank is still showing warmer than it should...even with the heater off and the lid open. Wish us luck.


I'm posting this song...done by this part of my trying to deal with an old friend having Alzheimer's

I don't fear death. This year has been challenging for me to handle the people that I have been losing. I still have yet to really cry all my tears. But, to loose someone to Alzheimer's is like loosing them twice...and sometimes even many times over, as they flicker in and out of memories of their loved ones. While I don't have to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's, I have friends who are. Although not directly engulfed by the whole process, I still will miss Paul and the connection we had. And yet, he's still with us...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Birthing questions...

I wanted to keep this somewhere...and what better place than here on the blog.

I received this note from a friend's daughter:

Hello! I am doing a project for my women's studies class. The topic is, "putting the natural back into birth". I wanted to ask you a few questions for my research, about your experience with home births and hospital births if you have had any. If there are any questions you do not feel like answering that is fine or if you have anything else to add, any feedback is great! Also if you know any mothers who would feel comfortable answering a few of these questions who have had a home birth or two that would be excellent!

What are your experiences with birth? At home or at the hospital?
What was most effective for you?
Did you have good experiences with a midwife or midwives?
Do you stay in touch with your midwife?
How did you find out about home births?
How did you find your midwife?
Did you have support during your birth/births?
Would you change anything about your birth/births?
Why did you decide to have a home birth?

Thank you!
Take Care!
Natalie Crevola-Miller


In response, I sent this:

What are your experiences with birth? At home or at the hospital?
Our first, Kai, was born in the hospital. Mainly, it was there because we were in the Army when we got pregnant and Jeff was still in when it came time for the birth. We didn't look into options at the time because we thought it would be really expensive to homebirth and because Jeff was very much coming from the main stream thought on health care. However, we agreed on finding a OB/GYN that was a single practice guy and who would support our natural birth choices. What we learned when we had our second, Kade, is how my body carries and births. What we didn't know when we had Kai is that my water breaks and 12 hours later I start contractions. This long lapse was not welcomed in the hospital. Both of our babies stayed really high until the contractions started, even though I was dilated and effaced. In the hospital setting, this was cause for constant monitoring to make sure the baby wasn't stressed. Even when he didn't show any signs of being stressed, they still insisted on monitoring. When I asked to walk, they told me the cord would wrap around his neck and would cause a lot of complications. This effectively scared us into doing whatever they told us to do. My OB/GYN had assumed things were going well and didn't get there until 9am (8 hours after I arrived at the hospital and 9 hours or so after my water broke). He was questioning why we hadn't help with the labor. Then when I wanted to walk they decided it was too late and that it was necessary to induce. We went with Pitocin and the labor still didn't start. At the second dose, things really started happening. This is two fold. My body (and Kai) decided at that magic 12 hour mark to start working on the labor. This was also when the second dose of Pitocin kicked in. My contractions and Kai's stress started to rise. I was not able to combat the pain of the double/triple peaked contractions and asked for pain killer. After hours of labor, Kai was out in 2 contractions. A healthy beautiful boy!

Kade, our second, was born at home. It was like night and day - our experience with each. For Kai we did the whole technical pregnancy. We had several ultrasounds. We were poked and prodded. With Kade, we opted for the midwives. We had charted our cycle, so were pretty involved in the process. I had taken Jeff down so many paths to a more natural way of dealing with health. Stopping the vaccinations, cloth diapers, co-sleeping, making our own baby food are a few of the changes he adjusted to. When we finally chose the midwives, I emphasized how close the hospital was how much quicker we would be treated if we came in than if we were already in the hospital. I also made sure we talked about the experience we were getting with our midwives. I especially loved the fact that Claudia had, as part of her midwifery journey before she moved to CA, the extra experience that came with having Amish clients. I know Jeff was concerned about the whole process, and am thankful he trusted me to know what I needed. So, in contrast to Kai's many ultrasounds, Kade had none. We heard the heartbeat (Kai did, too, as he was there for all appointments) and trusted that everything was well. When the water broke, I was ok with it all. I spent the time walking and rocking in the kitchen (the only uncarpeted surface in our apartment at the time). We had the living room set up to accommidate the birthing tub. I was pretty sure I would want to have a water birth. It was totally the right decision. Contractions started in around that 12 hour magic mark. At 1pm or so, Claudia arrived to check on me. I requested the water. This led to a check and I was still only 3cm. I still wanted the tub, so the Claudia trusted it. Once in the tub, labor really began. Kade's shoulders got stuck, and that was the only painful moments I remember. He made it out, but wasn't breathing. The midwives were right there with us, prompting everything. We held Kade and talked to him while they got the oxygen. It turned out just fine. I don't remember being deeply aware of the seriousness of the situation as Jeff was. I do believe that if we had been a hospital, we would never have seen Kade...and I honestly don't know if he would have made it without the comfort of our voices, our touch and our warmth. After the birth, the midwives cleaned everything up and and made sure we were comfortable. They fixed our first meal with a candle to celebrate the birth. At that moment, I knew I could birth this way 1,000 times and be perfectly happy. The water birth was the best.

What was most effective for you?
I was far more comfortable at home than in the hospital. I think this is true for two reasons. First, it was our second birth and we had an idea of what to expect. Second, I wasn't going to let anyone else take charge of our birth. It was going to be me and the baby. I trusted that millions of women had done this before me and that my body knew exactly what to do and that it was in constant communication with our baby.

Did you have good experiences with a midwife or midwives?
I *love* my midwives. We had a team (Birthstream in Davis, CA) and it made us feel safe. At different times throughout the pregnancy we connected more with one of them. In the end, they were incredibly supportive and the birth of Kade was an experience that I'd repeat in a minute.

Do you stay in touch with your midwife?
I have one of them as a friend on facebook...and she is listed as part of my family. So, yes!

How did you find out about home births?
My step-daughter was home birthed. My mother and her siblings were home birthed. I don't enjoy the MD world, so have always searched for the alternatives. After Kai, I was far more motivated to find those alternatives. I found information on water birth from Waterbirth International ( and was a reader of Mothering Magazine.

How did you find your midwife?
Early on, we looked at a birthing center. We heard of Birthstream Midwifery via word of mouth. A woman from the park day I attended mentioned them. We researched a couple midwives, but in the end went with the one that was most comfortable. As a bonus, they were the closest and had great referrals.

Did you have support during your birth/births?
Jeff was with me the whole time during each birth. His support was paramount in it all. I have to admit, though, that I don't remember him really being there except for a few minutes throughout the birthing processes when we were home with Kade. I think this is partially due to me being so confident and certain my body and our baby knew exactly what we needed to do. With Kai, I remember Jeff being there the whole time. He was my focus and the one who got me through the whole ordeal. My mother was at Kai's birth, too. At the time it seemed right. Looking back, I was trying to keep up appearances (both with her and the hospital staff), which I feel helped make the hospital experience the not so perfect experience it became, even though nothing truly horrible happened. With Kade, there were four of us there : Jeff and both midwives. I felt their presence. My focus not on them, but instead was on birthing.

Would you change anything about your birth/births?
I would never go back to a hospital birth. I would have a ton of home births, though!

With Kai, I would have preferred to be more assertive in waiting for the natural process and not have given in to the hospital staff's recommendations. Things the staff mentioned and said were just not anything like I had wanted to do. One nurse was just plain rude. When my doctor did get there, he was asking why we had not done the things we had intended...and it was mostly because we were of the mindset that if the staff was despotic then we really had no choice. I would never have stayed in bed and been monitored all the time. I would never have induced labor. I would never have taken pain killers. I would have requested they let me hold him before they cut the cord and cleaned Kai. I would have asked to be nearer him when they did all the cleaning and tests. Jeff was able to be there, so that was good, but not my ideal. I would have left sooner. There are things we did right, though. I'm glad I chose to keep him with me when they wanted to take Kai away to 'let me sleep'. I'm very happy Jeff stayed in the room with me, too. I'm glad we had the doctor we did. For even though we didn't do everything we intended to do, he was still on our side for the most part. I'm glad Jeff wore the bunny ears all through the labor. I wouldn't have my mom with us...and didn't for Kade.

With Kade, I would have made more space for me to be comfortable with the fluids draining out...and that would have allowed me the space to walk more. I would have taken more pictures after the birth...I don't think we have any of us actually holding him right after he was born. I would have made a point to have Kai there and/or had him home earlier. The things we did right : had a wonderful trusted team and chose water birth.

Why did you decide to have a home birth?
I think I answered this in what I have mentioned before. I was looking for an alternative to the mechanized birthing process found in hospitals. I wanted a path that was more in tune with what I believed - that our bodies, as women, know exactly what they are doing. I didn't want 'what if's to govern my care, but instead wanted a more trust based experience. I looked for practitioners that made sense to me and with whom I felt comfortable. I found all these in the midwifery and water birth options.


Natalie, thanks for letting me be a part of your research. If you need more from me, let me know. If there are more details you need, ask for those, too.

Hope you are well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Much we have done...

So, by now I don't know where to start! For this moment, I'm going to list the happenings...

Sept. 5th, friends Emma and Beth arrive at our house and stay the majority of September...

Sept 7th : we celebrated Kade's birthday with friends.

Sept 10th : Unschooling Conference in San Diego

Rest of September : go with Em and Beth to Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Birch Aquarium, movies and the beach.

October : first few weeks - chillin'.

2nd and 3rd week of October :
head out to NM for the Balloon Fiesta
visit with Nona and the 'kids' who play 'tag'
visit with Alaina, my niece, in Alamagordo
slide on the sand dunes at White Sands National Park
go up to Sunspot and see the cool telescopes where Alaina does her magic
back to Albuquerque to play with friends
drive up to Mora (northeastern NM mountains) to visit Nina at the cabin
meet Nacho, Rocky and Copper as well as the 4 chickens with cool names
stay in the mountains!
drove down the road a mile to the Alpaca Ranch and fed the alpacas and got some yarn
back to Albuquerque for some Halloween fun

October 20th : head for CA. Stay in Needles and see some beautiful country.

October 27th : Halloween get together with our local community group.

October 30th : carve pumpkins.

October 31st : eye appointments for Jeff and Kai. Cookie making for Kade and Ginger. Trick or treating with us as a family.

There! I will get back and put the details up and the pictures. So this may change from time to time. Keep your eye out for the rest!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fun. Pure fun.

for all ages :)

Annie challenged Kai to a war.

Personally, I like the fact that Annie had a sniper in the candle.

Kai was winning, even still.

Knowing that learning is natural...

for kids is a big thing for me. People who are unfamiliar with our chosen path to schooling ask me how I know they are 'learning'. I just smile and say, "I just have to look around me and see it. It's everywhere, all the time". Take this, for example:

Yes, you are seeing it right. Here is a closer look.

I found this on the counter a couple of weeks ago. It was left there sometime while I was busy doing something else. And I took a double take when I walked into the kitchen.

Now, you could say that it is just a quirk and that kids do strange things. Well, yes. Sometimes kids do quirky things. But I see it differently. First, one of them (and I am not sure who did it) had to think of trying to put the can on it's edge. Then, they had to find the right volume of liquid needed to balance. There must have been some trial and error before they go it just right. There must have also been some awareness of mass, weight, shape, angle and so forth.

Who says science has to be anything but a soda can, some water and a brain?

I am amazed by the thoughts of my children...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 may be true.

This happened this morning. There were no pauses in the conversation, just a rapid exchange of words.

Kade: Good morning, Mama.
Me: Hey, Baby.
Kade: You know what's amazing?
Me: What's that?
Kade: When I get up I'm really awake.
Me: Yes, that's true for you. You've always been that way. The rest of us, not so much.
Kade: I think it's because I'm a kid.
Me: But Kai's a kid, too.
Kade: No, Kai's an alien.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Auntie has given me a task.

Chet and Dorrie Shelden. Taken sometime in the mid 1980s.

The memories of these fine people who I miss so terribly makes it bittersweet. What an honor it is to have known them, been loved by them and be a part of a family who is so loving - in part because of them.

The task is to recreate the pattern for these :

It will be great to actually make some stockings in this pattern to help keep them in our hearts and minds. Now if I could just stop crying long enough to actually see the stitches...

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Well, we are rarely just sitting you may already know. Those days are few and far least in the summer. Now it's time to *do* things.

This morning was a slow start (as many of us stay up till the wee hours of the morning...)(as I type it is 1:00 am and both boys are still playing together) we started today around noon. Jeff and Kade went on a bit of a shopping spree. Kade is really into his tie up shoes and they are getting a wee tight. Today he came home with a snazzy new pair of Nikes. Jeff was on the prowl for new work clothes. He nicely bought shirts that are 'iron free'. (Can you see me dance a happy dance?) and was really stoked that Kade was truly helpful at the store. I think Kade was helping the salesman and maybe even another customer. Anyway, they were having a great time together. Meanwhile, Kai and I were hangin' together. Jumping from computer fun to tv fun as he tried to conquer and unlock all the characters in this one game.

Once Jeff and Kade returned, it was time for some Kai and Jeff time. Kai had asked for it since we are planning on going to see Harry Potter tomorrow with Annie while Jeff and Kade stay home.

Well, Kai asked to bike downtown to Jamba Juice. So after Jeff got some grub and changed into some comfy clothes, the bigger boys headed out on their adventure downtown. They ended up finding a great little market I'm supposed to check out. They also peeked into the used book store.

Meanwhile, this left Kade and I alone.

Naturally, we made cookies! Kade had taken the butter out last night, too late for cooking (the oven is right next to the room we sleep in, so would potentially keep Jeff awake) so today was the day.

He chose cookie press cookies. It's been forever since we've made this kind. Having only wheat flour can make cookies a bit thicker and a different color than white flour does. This is especially true for ours, today, since we also put in a bit of almond flour.

We melted some chocolate to put on top. Of course, this led to some wanting them to have faces...smiley ones at that. Here is what we came up with...

Kade's favorite.

My favorite.

After the cookies, we realized that the guys had forgotten to take the gate key with them. Kade suggested we gather a few blankets and head down to the gate to wait for them.

We gathered a few things and headed down. It was such a beautiful afternoon, too. Perfect. So we settled in and I started a henna design. Kade was having fun getting ready to hide once he saw them coming down the road...all the while talking with me without stopping to breathe...or so it seemed. I thoroughly enjoy his his banter as it lets me see a bit of what is going on in his mind. Anyway, the boys did arrive. Kade hid and was found. Then Jeff stayed a bit with Kade as Kade rode his turtle. So much fun was had!

The videos are still downloading on you'll have to come back to see them here... (tahdah)

Turtle fun July 2009 part 1 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Turtle fun July 2009 part 2 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Turtle fun July 2009 part 3 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Once the henna was done, this is what I ended up with. Happy Mama, I am.

Inside we chilled for about half an hour. Then the boys played more on the Mario game they are borrowing from friends. Jeff agreed to join in after Kai and he had a sock war.

Before we knew it, it was time for Jeff to head to snooze land. Kade stole a book reading or two with his Daddy. I got to tuck my love in and come out with the gang. Now it's been a few hours of catch up with the blogs I haven't been reading.

And I guess I'm ready to post my own things again!

Yesterday...or was it the day before?

OK, well I can't keep the days straight. So you'll just have to hang with the general "later" or "before now" kinda thing. Either that or everything will have happened yesterday - which may, actually, be accurate!

Enough, you say? Well, alright.

Yesterday I tied over 100 water balloons. No joke. When Jeff came home, he tied a bunch more. Annie stepped out to the corner market and brought more balloons home with her. So, we have been on a water balloon high. Well, Kade, mostly. Here are some pics and a few videos of the fun!

Note the change of outfit? Well, he went through a couple of sets...5 I think.

Kade and the water balloons - July 2009 - Part 1 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

I couldn't get the camera out the door quick enough to get everything in this one...but you can still hear him.

Kade and the water balloons - July 2009 - Part 2 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

After awhile Kade started saying, "Clean-up on isle 2!" as a way of getting me to help out. It was a great way to get me to help for I was giggling all the way down the stairs!

Kade and the water balloons - July 2009 - Part 3 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

BTW, Kade can now tie his own.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mt. Shasta

Well, every once in a while I miss the area I grew up in. Really, I miss the feeling this area has. It's hard to explain. In an attempt to do so, I borrowed some photos a few friends have taken - and hope this conveys the feeling I feel.

The music I used is from the CD Kade bought at the market last Saturday. We enjoyed his music while Kade ate his ice cream. His name is Nathan Welden.

Mt Shasta in pictures from Beachbum on Vimeo.

We have been busy living life to it's fullest. I'll get back to blogging soon...maybe!

Friday, June 19, 2009

LIFE is Good 2009 Unschooling Conference

I've been trying to figure out how to write about this experience. Words don't do it justice. And the pictures we took were few. So, with permission from others, I compiled a slide show. It gives the feel of the conference, at least a touch of it. The LIFE is Good Conference is far more - and more fun than should be allowed. The Vibrations and Amy Steinberg actually gave a having their music a part of the video is a must. Here we are:

LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference 2009 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Here is one that is more personal to our family and friends from's a bit shorter, too... I've included some pictures from our stay with friends in Corvallis, OR. We were able to stay at the Gold's house for 5 days! We saw the Hessels, Cabatics, Golds, Lugos, Waynsforths (before they headed home to England!), Diana and Hayden and Scott, and the Holcombs (at the park before they went home to CO). Anyway, good times.

LIFE and our days in Corvallis from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Ok, granted it's now considered tomorrow...but still.

This made me laugh.

Thanks, Crystal, for the random comment that started the banter on facebook.

Thanks, Ronnie for posting the link!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Well, we were at Mandy's last week and we came home with some great peaches! This is what we did with ours - after seeing THIS! Great idea, friends!

Here is a short slideshow of our time at Mandy's as we helped her can some of those divine peaches.

Peaches and fun from Beachbum on Vimeo.

Somehow the picture of Juliet didn't get in the here it is. Juliet with her butterfly face :

Kade's art

Yesterday as I was painting, Kade was painting. Here is his work with the flowers he picked for me, too. Happy, happy Mama.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Well, here it is!

I decided to paint you can see. So it is now bright and happy for this bright and happy soul.

Meanwhile, Kade painted his own wood. When he finishes it, I'll ask him if I can take a picture of it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I need some ideas

I have a cd case that needs some decoration. It's a bright blue color. What should I put on it? Flowers? Dragonflies? Vines? Frogs? Peace signs? Spots?

Ideas, anyone?


Right now there is laughter so true that it is making tears. I love it when Kade laughs. At first it is kinda loud. Then as he lets himself go it gets really quiet...and pretty soon there is a huge intake of breath and it's back to the almost silent laugh. Such great sounds to hear.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

LIFE is Good

At the talent show, Jeff joined a few of our friends and played bass. Here is Gloria.

Oh, we are home...and getting back into life hang in there! I'll be posting more soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mr. Lovejoy and our fabulous visit

Ben arrived on Sunday - much to our delight! We were able to gather a few friends, by his request, and had a bit of a pool party. James Colburn and Jayne (Robyn was ill, sorry to say), Flo, Marc, Camille and Juliet were here, as were we five and Hannah. We had a great time talking and visiting and swimming and talking some more. We threw together some pizzas and headed down for some food and water sports. All in all, a great time. Ben had some checking in to do down in San Diego, but Jeff went down with him, so we knew we would see him that night as well. The kids love him. Kade still talks about the visit often.

Ben was actually here on business, so we missed him for a few days. We made up for the time, though, as we got to share some of the kid's favorite places with him on Thursday and Friday. Thursday we took him out to eat. It was, actually, part of the deal Kade made with him in order for him to have his shoe back the Sunday before (Kade was holding it hostage so Ben couldn't leave). Kade was promised a dinner at Hot Dog on a Stick. So, this is how we spent our evening! Kai, of course, loves Panda Express, so that's what he had. We were able to spend some quality time together as a group and it felt as if Ben was just part of our family. We feel so fortunate!

Here is proof he was here and that we wore him out completely!

These are from Friday night. We were able to have him over then, too. Heehee! It worked out perfectly. Jeff and Ben were to be at the airport early in the morning, so we were able to drive them down to catch their planes. Ben was on his way home. Jeff on his way to Scotland.

Thanks, Kelly and kids, for letting us steal your Ben. He certainly brightened our lives. We will ever be grateful for the Steven Lynch introduction. Thanks, Duncan, for the cool Naruto headbands. The boys were very happy you thought of them. They love 'em.

Monday, May 18, 2009


park day! We are just about ready. Need to eat a touch then we can go see some friends. Hopefully there will be some who will share this time...they may be on the road, though...

I have so much more to post about. I am feeling more like getting it down will eventually.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rainsticks and the car accident

After we got home from our road trip, we slept! By Thursday we were ready for some friends and fun. So we headed out to Gardenia's to take a class. Gardenia is great at finding cool things to do...and to help her she has her brother, Luis. Luis is offering many classes on native american art forms. This particular Thursday we made rainsticks. The boys want the end product, but really aren't crafty if there are friends they can play with. I look at this as a great way for me to provide them with cool crafty things I truly enjoy making - and they truly enjoy playing with! Kai stayed and listened to Luis talk about the rainsticks and how they were used in different native groups, as did Kade. Kade started his then flew off to play. They turned out great, though. We made them out of cardboard tubes with pipe cleaners inside to break up the fall of some beads. Simple, easy and fun. We ended up decorating the outside with wooden beads and feathers. Too cool. Loads of friends and fun - a perfect mixture!

The next day, though, is what started my own personal spiral. Thursday night Hannah, Annie's friend and fellow cosmetologist, came to stay for an extended weekend. Having Hannah is great...and her birthday was this particular Friday, so we were in planning mode. The girls have class on Friday, so they headed out in Hannah's car. Annie loves to drive, so she was behind the wheel. Well, I got a call at 9:30 or so. It was Annie. The front left tire of the car had blown while they were in the fast lane. She was able to keep control of the car, signal and start to go to the left off the road to slow down and stop. While doing so, they were rammed by someone going about 85-90 mph. Not good. They had the police and a witness to the accident there. Reports were filed and the tow truck picked up the other car. Hannah's car seemed to be ok, so they let them drive it. In hind sight, I don't know if this was the best idea, but at least it turned out ok. Annie was calling from Starbucks because her phone had died and she didn't have enough charge to call without it being plugged in - and they needed a bit more time before getting back on the road to get home. Thankfully we were able to get them in to see the Dr. that same day. However, in between that 9:00 hit time and the 4:00 appointment time both girls were in some serious pain and were definitely stiff. Hannah seems to have been injured worse than Annie was, or at least Annie's body handled it better than Hannah's did. By Sunday, Hannah was in really, really bad shape. She had been to the emergency room already once (and went again before she was able to get home). The meds she was given didn't go well with the meds she is already on, so she ended up sick to her stomach and spitting up blood. Not something any of us were comfortable with...and her folks are in Stockton. Once she got home on Wednesday, her personal Dr. was able to do a lot more for her. Come to find out her jaw was dislocated and so her pain went down tremendously once it was put back into place. She also got the right meds and seems to be back up and running.

Annie is doing fine now. She's back to wearing her back braise (something she's been working on getting off of for a long time), but the healing is happening. But the drama/trauma was entirely real for all of us.

Thankfully, it seems we are all doing better now!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

LIFE is Good...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Road trip

Well, WAY back in April, we took a road trip. The plan was to leave here and stop in Phoenix to stay with our friends Shan and family for a few days. Then we would go on the road again to Albuquerque. We would stay with Beth and her fabulous family while there. All this was timed perfectly for when Baba and Grandpa Jon were touring New Mexico. While visiting Beth, we would get to spend a few hours with Baba and Jon. Then have a day with friends and head back to AZ for an overnight and then back home we would go.

However, plans changed. First, though, check out the pictures the boys took while we were on the road. They are awesome. It's a bit over 6 minutes, but worth it. The music helps (so remember to turn off the music on the side bar) speed things along. It's fun to see what they found worth taking a picture of.

Trip to Albuquerque to meet up with Baba from Beachbum on Vimeo.

While on the road, we saw the sign for the Gen. Patton Museum. In unison, the boys read the sign and both immediately said they wanted to go see it. So we stopped. It turned out to be full of information I was unfamiliar with. I knew Patton trained troops. What I didn't know is that he found and built this facility to train troops for battle in Africa. There was nothing there. He had to bring water in and set the whole thing up. This museum is where it used to be. They have a small building now set up with memorabilia and Kai sat through the entire 30 minute video presentation. Kade and I kept browsing through the exhibits and spent some time looking through the gift shop while Kai was watching. Afterwards we walked through the outside part of the museum and took a few pictures. Since most of the structures were tents (if I remember correctly) the only permanent structure was the chapel...which had no roof or walls. Now you can dedicate a bench or a brick, if you so desire. Anyway, it was worth the history lesson and was a welcomed break in our drive.

When we hit the road again, I called our Buckley friends only to hear they had been hit by a fever and were pretty sick. We weren't looking forward to starting our trip by getting whatever nasty thing they had to get over, so decided to stay on the road past Phoenix and finally landed in Flagstaff. Jeff was able to find a great hotel, Little America, and we loved our stay there. It is a great, family/kid friendly hotel with rooms that have plenty of space. It was just the perfect spot to rest. Pandi took time to explore with me as we went to get extra water for the night. The next morning found us ready to head out again. So, we jumped into the car and headed for Albuquerque. Being a day early meant we would be able to join the unschooling tribe there for a park day. We arrived late, but most everyone was there. It was wonderful seeing the boys seamlessly fit in and start playing as if they had known these kids forever. We all felt welcome and enjoyed ourselves much. We spent the next few days with the wonderful Fuller gang. It was so incredible for Kevin to squeak as much time with us as he did - it was wonderful. Beth and I have no trouble passing the time and often were looking at each other and asking where it had gone! Emma and Kade were great friends. Kai went along and played much as well as played on his DS. We enjoyed many a song on Rock Band. It was truly magical. The intensity of the boys can be much, so I'm thrilled everyone seamed to handle it well. How cool is it that this unschooling tribe is so active?! We were able to meet the crew at the zoo for some fun on the structures and around the polar bear exhibit. Kade and I took a gander at the seals, too, and they were cool. The next night we hung out at the pool for an hour with the kids. In there somewhere we were able to visit with Beth's mom, Nina, and made food I saw on the TV (a great bread salad and a needed to be altered, maybe cause I tried to make it by memory, stuffed mushroom appetizer).

(Proof we saw Baba and Jon!) We obviously brought the camera. Of course, in classic fashion we didn't take a single picture of all the fun times we had. We did get a few from Sylvia which I hope to scan and get up here at some point.

The next afternoon we got to spend a few hours with Baba and Jon - and ate at this really great restaurant, the Range, and enjoyed our time with the Grandfolks. We headed back to Beth's (or Emma's if you are asking Kade) and get enough energy to head out back to the park. I was able to talk a bit more with some folk and the boys played. Saturday we headed back out of town toward Phoenix and Shan's house.

Of course, the travel was a bit fun. When we left for Phoenix there was a storm warning. I-40 was clear and dry all the way (except for a spitting of rain once). We were coming down past Flagstaff and it started to snow. We ended up going about 10 mph on the freeway. I found a great spot right behind a semi (so we could follow in his path) and ended up passing 6 accidents of other motorists who were traveling way too fast and spun out of control. We were also able to watch the snowplows work on the opposite side of the freeway...and saw the two working on our side exit off the freeway to head back northbound. Once we crossed over the pass, there was no threat of snow. I-10 was a breeze. We were glad to have made it to Shan's with so little trouble...but with nerves a bit frazzled.

By then the kids were all well. We had a wonderful time there, too. Shan and kids had dyed some eggs (using silk) and they turned out beautifully. We hid them in the park the night before Easter so when the kids were up and ready they could go on a hunt. All the kids awoke to baskets, too, which was a treat. Shan's folks had us over with the rest of the family for Easter morning food and egg hunt. By then Kade was truly tired and had some trouble with all the changes and had some expectations we weren't aware of...but we *still* had fun. Back to the house for an evening in the park and baseball in the grass. Out to diner at the golf course restaurant surrounded by beauty. We got to walk around a bit and see the pond and fish. Kade wanted to crash a reunion picture...but we managed to avoid the main shot...and made it back to the table in time to eat a delicious meal. After the dinner, Dave made a fire in the pit and we sat around and had s'mores and chatted a bit. A lovely time with great people.

We are thankful for our great friends. Kai was in hog heaven to be with older kids that enjoyed his interests. Kade was happy to be doing things with people every moment of the day. I was thrilled to see and talk with people I don't get near enough time with. It definitely filled us up with happiness.

That Monday we headed back for home. It was great to be able to see a happy face first thing! Annie had to have her car worked on, so we picked her up from the auto shop. Her bright face was a great gift. We made it home with just enough time to unload the car and unpack before I jumped back in to go get Jeff from work. I don't often have the chance to pick him up that was a gift, too!

What a trip. We saw things we had never seen. We got to further know people whom we enjoy. We had a ton of fun.

More it's getting a bit late here...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I remember

the very first time we did this. My brother sang, I think Beth did, too. Definitely McKee. What a great time and wonderful music we made a long time ago.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm getting here. Slowly.

Jeff asked when I would be posting again. "Anytime soon?" and "Before I'm"

Well, see, I'm getting here.

It's been an emotional time for me lately. I don't post well then. I don't communicate well. I don't sleep. Put all those together and it's best that I spend my energy taking care of myself and the people in my life.

Silence means we are busy. And we have been very busy.

Peace to Carol. Hugs to her wonderful siblings and friends. Our thoughts are with you all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We are home...

but first: I came home and Jeff sent me to you tube.



Then I listened.

Listen from 1:36 to 4:25. I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables.

Now Susan Boyle has changed my life. I have listened to this too many times to count. It inspires me to follow my dream. Talent like this that touches your soul. Silent to most of us for the 36 years she's been singing...

Go listen. Then come back. I may have stopped listening to her long enough to write about our awesome trip.

Dream you dreams.

Thanks, Susan, for sharing your incredible talent.

Listen HERE.

I found a place that let me embed it, so here it is. Once again, start from minute 1:36. And turn off the music on the side bar...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Trip planning

Well, planning trips in general hasn't been my forte. I love to go, though. Mainly, I like to see new places and do new things. I think that is the spirit in which we will venture out on our newest journey.

We have had fun with Gardenia and her crew. Gardenia's brother, Luis, is organizing and giving instruction on native people's art. He provides all the supplies, talks about the reason the native people made the items and then shows us how to do them. We missed the dream catcher making, for which I am sad. However, we have cool medicine bags now. So I guess that makes up for it. Now, I look forward to getting more supplies and making some myself.

Luis read a book about the medicine bags which was his favorite children's book about the medicine bags : called Coyote Medicine Bag. It was a bit long for the littlest of the group, but still a good story.

Both Kai and Kade have the bags now. I look forward to seeing what they put in them.

Next time we will make rain sticks.

While at Gardenia's, Kade was racing and his knee popped. He landed pretty hard on the floor, in pain. I don't know what exactly made it pop, but it was definitely sore. He finally managed to gimp around and stepped outside...right on a bee. He had been looking forward to playing with his friend Cameron so much and it was sad to see him experience things that made him ask to go home. He asked not to go to the doctor, so we waited. The next morning he was still gimping and was still in a bit of pain. I asked again and to the doctor we went. Thankfully, the x-rays turned up nothing, but he did hurt it. The Dr. advised him not to run until he can walk comfortably. He hasn't run yet, but is definitely getting closer.

I have found a good way to treat the bee stings! Lavender oil directly on the sting and Apis homeopathic treatment. It worked well incredibly fast. Yeah!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Birthday Celebration!

We celebrated Kai's 10th birthday at Moonlight beach with our family and friends. Kai has 2 other close friends who turn 10 - Violet on the April 2nd and Robbie on April 1st. Well, we all decided it would be cool to celebrate together at the beach. And celebrate we did! We invited our families, a very small bunch of mutual friends and their family members and enjoyed the company. Jeff ended up being pounced upon by the lot of kids, they played in the sand, they played at the playground, they sang the birthday song and blew out some candles. We are definitely blessed. Here is a slideshow made from the pictures friends took (thanks!). The slideshow has music, so pause the music on the side bar and enjoy.

Celebration of #10 from Beachbum on Vimeo.

As an aside, there was another group at the park right next to us that had a few teens playing guitars and singing. Great sounds and fun to hear. Goes well with the music! And, it's just a tidbit I don't want to forget.

You can visit Mandy's blog to see her version of this special day for She talks about stuff I didn't mention.

We celebrated our family gift time on Saturday night. Auntie Mary was here, too, and that made it extra special. He got everything on his wish list and a few things that surprised him. He had asked for a game cube and 3 games and two sets of Grandparents made that happen. With his gift card he just ordered 2 more and a book. Kade gave him a set of board games, which Kai thought was cool. Annie got him a skate board with lessons. Jeff and I gave him a Japanese style bowl/cup/dipping sauce set (that Pete hand made). The bowls have notches for the chop sticks and the set is beautiful. Baba and Grandpa Jon also got him a zafu and now he has a great Japanese themed set.

Pretty much, he's a very contented boy. I'd include more pictures, but he chooses not to have them taken often. They'd show him with a contented smile.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kai's news

Kai says to Jeff and me last night :

"I really want to enjoy these next few days. It is the last time I will live in single digits."

It took a while for my withered brain to understand this...but I eventually did. I don't ever remember thinking thoughts this profound...especially right before I turned 10!

Getting smarter.

Kade comes into the kitchen and says,

"I'm getting smarter by the hour? No. More like by the minute. By the second. By the millisecond."

Little does he realize he is exactly right!

And from Kai:

"I've got your ticket, Mama. I know exactly how you work."

What's a Mama to do?

More later...

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Lemons. How do you view them?

If you are Kai, you see them as something that smells good and goes well in some drinks.

If you are Kade, you see them as a tasty treat, something that makes good ice cubes when juiced, a fun item to manipulate and great for experiments.

I see them as one of the ingredients in an awesome raw cheesecake - preferable combined with a bit of pumpkin. Lemon also makes a great ice cream flavor.

Here, however, lemons make lemonade. And this lemonade comes with a booth. Better yet it is an acknowledgement. And, thanks to my friend, Jean, I get to post it here.

When I first saw this picture I thought of Lucy. It reminds me of her booth.

But, in a good way.

I'm definitely not Lucy. And there definitely isn't a charge to see my ramblings!

I'm glad my ramblings give a positive vibe.

Thanks, Jean, for this gift.

I'm changing the rules a bit. I'm going to privately acknowledge some blogs. Go ahead and privately or publically acknowledge some of the blogs that inspire you to see your life in a happier way and help ease your journey.

The original rules are these:

1) Put the logo on your blog or post. 2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude. 3) Link to your nominees within your post. 4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. 5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award.

The blogs I follow and the ones I have listed on the side bar are all gifts for me. There are others out there too that are just as influential. Thanks for the positive views on life, my friends!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Our friend Jonas

I love this boy (and his siblings...and parents).

Jeff related this to me today and I just have to share it.

Jonas and Jeff are hanging out together. Jeff was sitting on the floor and Jonas, who is 3, was talking with him. Jonas, apparently was standing up at the time.

Jonas : You have a head.
Jeff : Yes, indeed I do.
Jonas : I don't have a head. I have hair.

Hee hee. Out of the mouths of babes. I love my bald headed man.

Leno and #44

I just pulled this from facebook. I am amazed at how relaxed, articulate and humorous Obama is. I know they say Reagan was an orator, but he was nothing compared to who we have now.

Grace. Respect.

Anyway, watch if you wish.

***The flack he got for one sentence in this is a bit much, in my honest opinion. Do they actually believe he has little respect for the special olympics? Was it a wise choice, probably not. Still. I think it is sad when we hold people to such a high standard that they never have a chance to be human and err. Just my $.02***

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Cute

I just had to include this. See if it doesn't cheer you up a touch.

A Kite to fly by...

So we went inland to Mandy's house today. We met Renee and her crew, too. These are the three about to be 10 kids...Violet, Kai and Robbi. We have a great time with our friends. We were talking about how they can play for hours and hours and still be going strong. It's tough for Kade to leave this home...and so we are making plans to spend more time there. We all like it there!

While there we talked a bit about the birthday things. We made a few of these cool kites, too(which we had to play with today!).


8.5 x 11 paper (we love color, so use construction paper)
tape (we use box tape)
skewer (trimmed to 8". We have found pruners to work best for the trimming)
string (10 feet - more or less depending on space and the size of kids)
a plastic bag (cut in a circular long single piece. Put knots in the bag every foot or so. Measure out 6' for the tail.)
small piece of cardboard (we used a close pin)
hole punch

1. Fold the sheet of paper in half widthwise. Place fold to your left.
2. Keeping the paper folded, measure 1" in from fold and mark it (A). Measuring along the bottom of the folded sheet measure in 2 1/4" from right (the open edges side) and mark it (B).
3. Place the ruler so that it connects (A) and (B). Using the ruler to help guide the crease, fold the top piece of paper over. (This leaves one half unfolded and the folded part as an angle.)
4. Tape along this new fold, securing the fold and making a lip underneath.
5. Place the skewer perpendicular to the taped fold and connecting the two corners. Tape into place.
6. Tape plastic bag tail to the bottom of the kite.
7. Flip over the kite and fold the flap back and forth until it stands straight up.
8. Fold a piece of tape over the flap about 3" from the top of the kite. Punch a hole through the tape 1/4" from the folded edge.
9. Tie one end of the string through the hole.
10. To make the string winder, tie the other end of the string around the middle of the cardboard, securing it with a strip of tape. (We just tie it to the clothespin and wind it on there.)
Take it out for a spin!

Pictures to come..,

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Well, this one is personal, so if you aren't into that kind of thing...skip to the cool post about the Original Egg Game or the one about the San Diego Conference.

For a few years I have been noticing things changing in my body. It started with the hot flashes and night sweats. Not every day/night, but enough for me to say - WAIT! Now, I'm not sure if the weight gain is from not being able to exercise forever or if it is due to this process my body is now going through. I have noticed other signs as well, that are probably too much for the www, so I wont talk about those.

I am one who doesn't mind growing older. I welcome the wrinkles. I don't mind the grey (although you can't see it anyway, for which I am slightly bummed). This new stage of life isn't one that I dread or fear.

What I didn't expect, though, and don't particularly enjoy are the massive mood swings, the full blown weepy days and the hazardous absentmindedness that I definitely go through. I am not fond of being a hazard. I don't like being in the car and forgetting where I'm driving to and have to drive along hoping I remember before I get to the exit at which I'm supposed to get off. OK, so that may be a tad exaggeration, but not by much. I definitely forget what I'm saying in mid conversation. I definitely have to think about where I have put things. Not good. I also feel that the mood swings from elation and joy to rage are also huge. Sometimes I can even feel my face flush with the power of my emotion. So far, I have not focussed this on the kids or Jeff, and rush into the bathroom or outside to breathe a bit. However, my voice can still be heard by those precious ones and the tone is not very pleasant. I also find I'm not reacting to things well. This can be hurtful, too. Now, thankfully, it isn't often all day or even every week. But enough for me to take a good look at myself and say, girl you gotta get some help!

So, if you know me, you will know what a huge step this is. I did end up at a Naturopathic's office. Thankfully, Jeff is willing to go with me. This is grand because he has the outsiders view to offer. He also can remind me of things I meant to talk about (see afore mentioned absentmindedness of the previous paragraph!) and he can help me in my quest to do what Dr. Dunn suggests.

I have other things going on, but have found out they may be all interrelated a bit. I have lower body temperature, which implies thyroid stress. I know because of the RSD my body has been under a ton of stress and if my memory serves me right the adrenal glands are incredibly active during times of well as produce the bodies natural form of cortisone. So, my adrenals have been under massive usage for a long time. Now with hormonal changes, they are being asked to do even more...and they are not responding as well as they might.

All is better, now, though. There is a great little cream I'm using. I still go through times of major trouble keeping on task and staying focussed. But at least I am not all over the page as far as moods go.

This has caused me to not write here much. I am most sad of this for it means I don't have what we've been up to. For life truly doesn't stop because my body is going through some adjustments.

We have had friends over and we played as well as made a cool heart pizza. I have made more food than I can even talk about. The three kids and I have gone to park day and frozen our tuckies off. While there we played some games, chased some kids and did our best to stay warm. We have celebrated a birthday of a good friend and enjoyed the celebration with Cameron's big family. We have made experiments with everything imaginable. We have brought home yet more cool rocks. We have dressed up and pretended to be all sorts of crazy things. We have won the Lego City part of Lego Star Wars on the Wii. I was able to help do it! Then we made a new record of doing it...and are trying to get to under 30 minutes. We have played the DS, Wii and a couple of board games. We have colored and played with clay. We have spent some time together swimming and being a family. We have had Rus here to have fun with. We have had hair dying in our home and look awesome! And...Jeff and I went on another date. How cool is this? Very.

There are thoughts and plans to see family this weekend coming up. There's a trip to NM via a stop in AZ in April. There's a conference coming up in May. Let the busy travel time begin!

PLUS, who could forget that Kai is turning 10! We are going to celebrate on the beach with 2 other friends who are also turning 10.

Could life get any sweeter?! I don't think so...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We are playing

The Original Egg game. Now this is *way* too much fun. Check it out here and get you one!

These are pictures from his website...

Unschooling Conference here in San Diego!!!

Conference Diva, Flo, let us share this with any who wish to read. I honestly am thrilled and can't wait to see our friends here and share our slice of heaven.


Have you heard? There's an UNSCHOOLING Conference this Sept in San Diego!!

Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference
Sept 10-13, 2009
Doubletree Hotel near Del Mar


Start a new tradition--Be here for our inauguration--Start making memories! Be a founding family of the Good Vibrations Unschooling Conference.

This is your opportunity to mix it up with other unschoolers in a swirl of trust, support and celebration! Our fabulous speakers are ready to inspire with radical thoughts, ideas to end resistance and wisdom to make your unschooling life the best that it can be. I can feel the energy and excitement already as I picture the day at the beach, the wildly entertaining talent show, the dancing, the funshops, round-table discussions, unschoolers happy and free, kids trusted and loved! It will be amazing! Did I mention the beach, lounging by the pool? And surfing lessons? Yeah, those, too.

All the exciting details are here:

I'm especially excited about Roya Sorooshian. She's a grown unschooler who will be one of our main presenters- an absolute delightful person who is living a joyful, productive and busy life! Come see what unschooling looks like when it's all grown up. :) And her mom, Pam Sorooshian will be speaking, too, sharing the wisdom she's gleaned through her many years of unschooling. Other speakers include Jeff Sabo, Miranda Demarest, Rain Fordyce, Beth Fuller, Erika B Perkins and Sandra Dodd, all ready to deliver positive, inspiring unschooling messages. You will be refreshed and renewed!

My favorite funshop? Hard to choose. Team Twilight? HSM Dance Party? Knitting? Oh, I know- International Candy Tasting!

This conference is where you'll pick up lots of good vibrations and lots of unschooling friends. We can never have enough, right?

So head on over today to join us in the sun and sand at the discounted rate:

Oh, and don't forget to reserve your hotel room, too. And join the discussion group to get in on the chatter:

Feel free to pass this message on to your lists and friends.

See you in September!