Wednesday, April 16, 2014

School During Holy Week

There is so much to look forward to and to prepare this week, and the weather, if super-cold, is at least mostly sunny...well, if we don't count the snowstorm on Monday...and we don't, except as a phenomenal display of nature's beauty, and nothing stayed on the ground. The bunny will get through.

New day, new hopes, new plans. This morning; handwriting and math, an outing to see The Lego Movie and pysanky egg dying this afternoon. If only someone had not dumped the yellow dye down the sink, sigh. We'll have to make do with orange, turquoise and green this year. The application of wax was begun last week, but it has been so busy that we did not get far. 

Yesterday was our weekly math class with the most amazing teacher. She comes with her daughter and works with my girls and one more; 4 different levels, sometimes all doing the same thing, sometimes working on their own with supervision and help. I had tried to keep up when they had a 6-week unit on principles of trigonometry and some triangle work...that's about all I could tell you on the topic. I tried, I did. I want to be an inspiration to my children, but they are, and always will be, a better version of humanity; smarter, stronger...and more importantly; younger!

My brain knows its own mind too well. It likes to read history, philosophy, knit, appreciate art and music, and take long walks. It has discovered an interest in physics and botany, but this, sadly, does not extend to linear equations.

In homeschooling, being authentic is vital. Anyone can teach the rudiments of what children need to become educated, but living one's passions takes guts and confidence. I have learned to do what I love and seek help for my weaker subjects. In any case, it makes living with me nicer, a non-negligible point, non?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mama Fitness: Advice from Down in the Thick of Things

1) DO NOT ask friends for dieting advice. Or at least not in a public, social network sort of place...like a blog or FB, where what ever dumb idea you may have briefly had will forever brand you a crazy person. Be private in your inquiries, very private. Or take the risk of regretting it for all eternity. The person responsible for your health is you. A healthcare professional and one best friend is about all you need...and a way to make calorie-free, gluten-free, sugar-free donuts that taste the same as any normal, cake donut with chocolate frosting...or powdered sugar...

2) FORGET fad dieting. Common sense, statistics and all of my friends on FB will tell you; there is no better way to set yourself up for a re-gain of even more weight. I do not know if pursuing a low-calorie diet for a few weeks is a fad or a necessity. More research required.

3) HAVE A PLAN and stick with it. Premeditating the joy you will get from the food you have planned for each day IS a good thing, and allows for portion control, as you have just obtained all the pleasure you were expecting to get from that little bowl of yogurt. More would just be redundant. Go have a glass of water. Or something.

4) DO have someone with whom you can talk this over. If I blog, it is partially to encourage myself. My husband has incredible self-discipline when it comes to food. He also loves to eat. He is a great sympathizer for me in this journey. (Even though he has never been even 10lbs. overweight in his life.) You need girl friends too!

5) WINE, a word; I find that using this teeny tiny, two-ounce glass for a portion of wine makes life beautiful. If wine should be a forbidden item on my menu, then this little jewel is a treat. That might work for chocolate cake too; I'll have to dig up the kids' old tea set and try.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mama Fitness; Check-Up Day

So...I am in great shape. My doctor is very pleased; my glucose levels are down, the good cholesterol is up, my blood pressure is perfect. Yaaa me. Yet, I still weigh in 20lbs.heavier than 3 years ago. It is discouraging. It is ridiculous. It is perfectly vexatious. 

When I began this series on shaping up again post-baby years, post-40ish, I did not expect the initial weight-loss phase to last so long or be so difficult. I have a healthy lifestyle; fresh produce, lean, healthy proteins, hardly any grains, exercise 5-6 times a week. I think some weight-loss should naturally follow. 'Snot. I AM toned, strong, healthy. I am grateful. I do not want to put this good health in jeopardy for a smaller skirt size. I love working out, the buzz exercise gives you is better than chocolate...um, a fresh hair cut and a glass of wine. I not only take the stairs, I walk to the bakery and bike to the grocery store. My lifestyle is better. I am not essentially thinner.

I am considering a short-term, super low-calorie diet to kick start things. This is not my first choice, and it may not even end up being a choice at all, but two health-care providers; both a midwife and an MD, have suggested it may be an option I should look into.

Any experience with the HCG injection and very low-calorie diet? Here is the new protocol, post-Simmeons version of it: http://www.dremma.com/.
There is good and bad all over the internet, as usual, but I know none of the participants personally. It would be one course, with a doctor and a plan; for food, for supervision, for long-term weight-loss.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cate and Lucy

Sunday Snapshot

A lot of people ask me, and I have had the same curiosity about your lives...what really happens in a typical day at your house?

I am in the role of observer today, as I recover from being ill, so from my corner of the sofa (not the one in the sun, it was taken over when I got up for a minute, so, the other sofa), I can tell you. Dad is doing dishes in the kitchen after our Sunday meal. Duncan is playing a new tune on the guitar, as Charles beats a drum to keep time. Gael is doing a slow, Native-American sort of marching dance around to the same beat. But a minute ago, the little guys were outside trying to fly a remote-control helicopter. Amazing that they did not even try it inside today.

The girls have done with their terrible bickering over who is going to clean what part of the shared bird cage and have gotten down to business. Puppy is in his bed, in the sun, looking out the window, just in case a squirrel should dare venture into his territory.

On the plate for later; lesson-planning. I've decided to make my own; horrors! worksheets for French and math for the rest of the year. I like our Spanish program, but I want the French to fit the particular needs of my family, and that's a hard bill to fit. Thierry will take the kids who want to go to the library, then to fly a kite.

I managed a picture in secret. I'll post it from my phone. Aah, and Cate has allowed me to take one of her with Lucy. Coming up.

Sunday Here

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tipi Completed

See former post. This has been a project long in the making. Charles and I had a real collaboration of ideas and labor. He can now decorate it in any way he wants...or not. He has spent the last two days in it and is proud of his efforts. Instructions coming tomorrow.

It's a French Onion Soup Day

...and fresh, homemade bread with a fire in the hearth. Outdoors is the scent of cold, wet and wood fire smoke from a chimney, one of the best smells in my whole little world. It will always remind me of life in a French village in the rainy winter season, of host families, then friends and neighbors, once upon a time.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Plato, Socrates and 6th Grade

Though my daughter is in 6th grade now officially, we took some time out to read aloud the last dialogue, Phaedo, of Socrates together, looking at the meaning in more depth than we had previously in 5th grade. In Waldorf education, each level is meant to build on the foundation you have built in the past, taking it to new levels and new places in each cycle.

Why did we choose to go back to the Greeks? Why, in order to better understand the Romans, of course! Valentine, 12, chose a project that highlighted the lives and features of 15 Greek/Roman gods and goddesses. She realized early on that the Roman gods were often a newer, renamed version of their Greek counter-parts.

Roman civilization borrowed so much from that of the conquered Greeks. Romans were smart that way; they adapted and adopted the culture of the peoples they overtook in order to better rule. Their law and forms were instilled everywhere they went, but the writings, beliefs and wisdom of the new part of the empire became enmeshed with what it meant to be Roman. Nowhere is this as true as with the Greeks.

Socrates was a precursor of so much that is part and parcel of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Many times in literature there is an explanation of how this or that "came about through the christianization of the world", but some of those very points can be found in the dialogs of Socrates. One example of that is the notion that suicide, as an idea, is immoral. In many cultures, it was viewed as an honorable way to redeem a failed life. Socrates disputes this, saying that we belong to the gods, they created us and we may not destroy their creation. Sound familiar?

The Waldorf sequencing of teaching makes sense as it follows a child's development. What makes sense in homeschooling, however, is knowing where your own child is in her journey and meeting her there. Build on the old wisdom, it has always been there and it will guide you to new places. Look around you and into your reading with new eyes each day. Have fun, this is childhood, a time for joy!