Monday, June 30, 2014

Making things happen for my family

I'm always reading about families that go on adventures together or travel the world. I read about families with their own land and homesteads. I want that, sure.

I used to just do things when I was younger. Of course traveling across the country with a few hundred dollars is a lot easier without kids. I was impulsive. I still am. With limitations. Chief limitation being providing food and shelter for my children (clothes optional). Of course, I also provide the children with me! No wasting away in school means I do not work. No work=less money=less everything.

We went to the creek today. It has been a while since the last time we went and upon arriving I saw a new bridge over the creek. Initially I thought they had rebuilt the footbridge. It has limited railings on the sides, is quite high up, and gives me the heebie jeebies. I am not scared of heights and certainly was not when I was younger. However, feelings change a bit with four kids in tow. Anyway, I was happy that they had rebuilt the footbridge and I would not have to stress when crossing it believing that my kids could fall to their death at any moment.

However, when we got closer I saw that the old footbridge remained and this new bridge was one meant for cars. NOOOOOOO! Immediate depression sets in. Why? No one is ever here when we are here. Sure, we only come on weekdays specifically for that purpose, but why? I am sure it is to make things easier for those who work in the park. Currently one would have to drive out of the park and quite a ways around to come in the back entrance. It just sucks though. 

Then on the drive home, at a stop light, a man opened up his car door and threw his trash into the street. Double depression whammy.

There are things I love about Texas. Primarily, I am from here, grew up here, and all of my family lives here. I do love the rural and small town Texas, BUT the Texas cities are enough to suck the soul straight out of a person and spit it out on the sprawling concrete.

So leave! Well it's never that easy. My husband has a job. We have a house with a mortgage. Sure we do not have debt (HUGE PLUS!) other than the mortgage, but we do have that mortgage...close to our income source. To sell our house we would have to get rid of the chickens and the coop (not legal), plant grass, paint and fix holes in our walls, get new carpet, etc. Although we do not have debt, we also do not have savings. We cannot afford to do any of this. We make just enough for me to stay home and homeschool and others would certainly say we do not make enough for that.

So what do we do? 

Well, for now, we travel as much as we can to Central Texas where there is semi-clean water to swim in. We live on as little as we can so we do not get into debt. We hope for a miracle. 

Meanwhile, we are thankful for what we do have (the kids have never been out of Texas, so they do not know what they are missing...yet).

Taven was a dinosaur hunter digging up fossils.

He found the tooth of a "baby long neck dinosaur."

As a person who has lived in Alaska and has backpacked for days without seeing a single piece of trash, I want more. I want more for my kids. I want amazing! If we never move out of this house, we will go on road trips. We will drive through the Tetons and Glacier. We will see pristine wilderness. Maybe there is no such thing in the lower 48, but there is a heck of a lot better than where we are. My kids will experience it! I just hope their kids can too....

My backpacking days were before the advent of the digital camera (well at least before I had one). So unfortunately I do not have many pictures. I look at the ones I do have over and over and wish I had taken more. Guess what?!! I will take more! With my kids! Soon!!!

This picture is from Glacier National Park in Montana. I LOVE this place with my entire self!!! With 100 of my selves!!!

 This is also from Montana. I wanted to live in Montana as a kid. I never lived there but I did drive through once (with many pit stops). I cannot wait to return!

 This was at one of my favorite camping spots in Yellowstone. Man how my kids would love to camp here and play in that stream for days!!!! Do nothing but explore...for days!!!! Soon!!!!

 Alaska. My home for a short while.

 Not many people get to land on a glacier!

 This is Grand Teton National Park. I left part of my heart there and I must return to retrieve it!!!!!

 Backpacking alone in Denali. This has become a little joke among my family. I thought I was cool back then. I could backpack Denali, a park with no trails and many, many bears, ...alone. Let's just say the bears surrounded and scared the shit out of me. HOWEVER, it is an experience I would not trade for anything.

 More of Glacier. I cannot believe I didn't stay there longer. I could have....

 Southwest Alaska from a float plane.

My kids are my world. Obviously. All I do is take pictures of them, write about them, talk about them, spend every waking hour with them. When Mirek is just a little older we will travel. We will travel on very little. Camping everywhere. Eating cold beans from a can if we have to. I will not waste away here. My kids will not waste away here. In these places, one does not simply see their surroundings, they FEEL them. It is so AWESOME! My kids will feel that. I am sure.

Our Lemonade Stand

My kids have been asking if they can have a lemonade stand for probably over a year now.

...We finally had one!

On Saturday, we went to the Homeschool Store to sell some of the books we no longer use. I could not help myself and bought two more books (Garden Wizardry and A Homeschoolers Book of Lists). The first book has neat experiments and the 2nd is just a great reference. I sold the Teachers Guide to some of our Math curriculum because I do not use them and I sold back A Child's History of the World and A Child's Geography of the World (Hillyer). They are neat to read but I do not understand why people would use them in their homeschooling. They are outdated (esp Geography) and a little slanted. I don't remember what it was but I skipped over quite a bit because it seemed to treat whites as superior or just sounded condescending in general.

ANYWAY, we used the leftover money to buy posterboard to make our lemonade stand signs. We also needed dry erase markers and so bought those. Taven and I have been experimenting with the flight of various planes and bought one made of balsa wood to try out.

Naia lost a tooth an Saturday, but woke up crying Sunday morning because the Tooth Fairy did not come. She blamed her sister for the whole thing, accusing her of not sleeping and therefore keeping the Tooth Fairy away. To Naia's relief, I found this letter with some money on the front doorstep.

 We went to Grandma's house to make the lemonade and set up our stand. We used Pioneer Woman's recipe with only half of the syrup. It was VERY good!

 Profit was $13.50.

 Despite my efforts to get the kids to save their money, they REALLY wanted to spend it. I took them to the Dollar Theater to watch the LEGO movie.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Two Scheduled Days

First of all, the goal of our scheduled days is peace. I believe that with 2 or 3 scheduled days a week, our family will become more peaceful on ALL days. So far, my plan is working.

We ended up having two scheduled days this week, Monday and Wednesday. I had planned on a scheduled Friday, but we spent the night at my sister's house Thursday night and Friday became free.

 We started off with reading. However, reading involved this poem...

A Good Play
by Robert Louis Stevenson

We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, "Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake";
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.

...which quickly led to this.

 Eventually, things calmed down and everyone "worked" a little.

 I took out some different toys for the kids to play with.

Instead of quiet time in the rooms (which is not for our family apparently), the kids played out back.

On Thursday I changed the schedule up a bit. Everyone here is most attentive early in the morning so I figured I'd rotate what we do first. On Thursday, it was History.

Eaden was my helper and she wanted me to read Twas the Night Before Christmas. If you say so.

 Here is Eaden reading my favorite book from when I was a kid. My aunt had it and brought it over to my mom's house to give to me. Thanks!

 Here is what we are reading for History. I bought the blank timeline book used (but not written in) at the Homeschool Store.

 I like doing video narrations. Not only are they fun to look back on, but the kids retain the information because they have to do 5-10 takes. Ha ha!

 Another rotation of the toys. The kids have been working on how to get Mirek to help them build up instead of knocking down their creations. They have actually come a long way. All it involves is asking him to help instead of telling him to go away.

 We have had quite a bit of rain this week. Eaden created this ensemble to step outside. Looks hot to me!

 On our way home from the Y, Taven asked for lemonade and  I told him no. He kept asking and asking, then started whining and crying. I could tell it was going to be a fight. After we got home, he was still crying about the lemonade. How could I peacefully solve the situation? ...

I asked if he wanted to help me cut some potatoes and we would make his favorite meal. French fries, bacon, and eggs. It worked!

I told Taven how proud I was of him for not crying about the lemonade all night and moving on. He smiled and asked for water.