Still Shining

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It seems like yesterday I woke up for the first time to the sound of a singing baby… No really… My sweet Miss Rayne was born with her Daddy singing her a song and she began to sing right back and didn’t ever really stop. She sang in her sleep, she sang her first words. She was and is the most beautiful thing in my world. She will be 5 years old in October. I really cannot believe it. As quick as it all seems, I have had so many different emotions as a mother because she is in my world. She will sing you a song if you’re sad, try to make you giggle if you’re mad, dance and put on a show if you’re bored. She is both an old soul and a wild child, all in one very petite little body.

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I’ve said it before in this space and most anyone who knows me well has heard it… But she really does shine. She shines light and happiness into everything and everyone she sees. It’s been such a sweet privilege to be in her world. 20120613-230458.jpg

With all of that said, I am quite the opposite of her personality…unchecked I can be cynical, untrusting, and negative. It has been such a huge learning curve having her in my world. There have been phases of this four and a half year dance that I have tried to parent with those -uncomfortable kid words- “authority” and with “control.” And it always ends in a heap of tears and heart break for both of us. I am the type that NEEDS to know what is going to happen and NEEDS to have a plan for everything. I used to feel like it was my job to teach her how to do, say, and be everything. 20120613-230531.jpg

In all of that, we both ended up a mess. It felt very unnatural and that i was overstepping a boundary that every human naturally has because I had the “I am your mother” title. I recently came across this blog post. It helped me tremendously! I also began to really dig deep into what it means to parent with grace.

The truth is that there ARE things that she needs from me, but they are very different than what I had prepared for as a parent. When she was first born and I brought her home, there was this natural connection, a natural rhythm I found by following her. We adjusted that rhythm any time we needed to and kept moving until she hit 3 years old. Three came, and I found myself not knowing whether to follow or drag. It really is true, even with a child, you can only be a leader if they’re following. In my experience, if you’re dragging, it’s most likely not a healthy relationship. 20120613-230548.jpg

I am sinking back into that sweet rhythm with her. We sing and dance like crazy. We hold hands and talk “like friends do.” We work together on cooking and house projects. She helps me. She feels beautiful and needed.

My favorite thing that I am witnessing is her making mistakes loudly and confidently. She used to hide, cry, or pretend it didn’t happen. Now, she says, “Whoops!!” and asks me if I can help her fix it. Something so small to the adult eye but so huge to a four year old.20120613-230701.jpg
She shines!

Stampin’ Fun!

I have always LOVED the crafty inspiration that I can always count on while checking up on Geninne’s space.

Today was no exception. I was looking at all of her stamps and tutorials and wanted so bad to make cool stamps too.

Since we had no erasers or anything like it, I had an idea to use the foam paper we had. I used a pencil to make all the lines, and this is what we ended up with:

Pretty good, right? Not as detailed as the eraser method, but I was satisfied.

This is the first one I did, just because I love drawing this flower.

On Geninne’s blog, I saw where she had different stems and different flower blossoms that you could mix and match. I knew Scarlet would love this, so above is our version.

And these are the first ones she made.

Yay for fun, easy and creative new stamps! Now we need to get pretty inky colors!!

We made many, many more after these. We also started putting bottle corks on the top of them so that it was easy for their little hands and so we didn’t have quit so much ink on the hands. ūüôā

 

Try it! Sooo fun!

Oh February… you are so boring.

I think that no matter where you live or what the weather is like February is just plain boring. It’s this in between month, this lull that Winter gives, when all the excitement of the Holidays are over and now we just wait…. and wait, and wait, and…. wait. Then finally, after everyone (everyone meaning, my kids) are so bored they could fall over, spring suddenly pops up all around us. Things speed up, and life goes on. I don’t know about you in your world, but this is how it is around here almost every year.

So, I’ve made crafty goals for us this month, just to make passing the time maybe a little easier.

Here they are:

1. Chore List: We have a chore list and I believe it really helps Scarlet know what is expected of her. The one we have now is a little bit boring. This week, I found this one from Modern Kiddo. The one thing I’m going to add to it is images for each chore. Because she is so young, this will help her be able to work with the chart on her own without needing mama to read it.

2. Clay Beads: I have been thinking a lot about how my kids are perfect ages to really get into working with and manipulating clay. They have never worked with Salt Dough or anything like it, only play dough. I’m excited to make some necklaces! I found the recipe over at Craftzine.

3. Wall Hooks: I found these super amazing decoupaged wall hooks from Bloesem Kids. I am really excited about this. I think the kids will both really love creating their own creatures.

4. Working with Shapes: I am looking for lots of cool ideas for Adelai and Scarlet to create pictures out of shapes. Scarlet is really into naming shapes right now. I got the idea from Giddy Giddy.

To go along with our shape adventure, I saw over at Almost Unschoolers where they are using all their food boxes in the house for cutting shapes. Great idea!

5. February Packages: After reading Sara’s challenge to send some snail-mailed love to someone far away, it made me really realize how many friends Scarlet has who are far away. I may just take this on as part of the rhythm of our little schooling adventure. I mean really, who doesn’t LOVE getting mail. I know it would really help Scarlet with the concept of creating, making, and giving to others.

6. Growing Grass: I want to have some growing grass in the house for Spring. I would really like to do it in a clear container so the kids can see the roots and the growing process. I know it’s probably early to be growing stuff, but I’m going to try to¬†hold out until the end of February. It will take two weeks to sprout, then we’ll give it some time to grow before Easter. I LOVE planting seeds! Here are the instructions I will be following from Salt and Chocolate.

Now, if we get all this done and it’s still February, I figure we should steal from someone else’s list of course. I came across this list from Let’s Explore. It’s downloadable as a PDF.

I will be posting about the outcome of these goals and what went well and what could have gone better.

I hope your February is full of fun!

Homeschooling, Preschooling, & Unschooling

I have never really been one of those mama’s that knows¬†exactly what I’m supposed to do when it comes time to put these kids in school. I have researched every type of homeschooling style there is. There are a few I gravitate towards and quite a few that I run from. I had the opportunity to know both sides as a child. I was in public school for kindergarten and first grade. I was homeschooled from second grade to seventh grade. Then, I went to a Christian School in eighth grade and went through two years of high school there and then ended up with a GED to end it all. I have quite the larger view of schooling. A larger perspective than most, I would say.

By far, the best experiences I had in school were the ones that were very rarely planned. I remember in 5th grade studying history by spending whole days in museums and battlegrounds. I was in a History society with a few other kids and we did projects together. Earlier in 2nd and 3rd grade I was involved in Brownies and 4-H. These were great ways for social interaction. And even before that I was reading and very artistic before being put into kindergarten.

I’m saying all this to say that I gravitate more towards everyday learning. Very rarely as a child was able to learn things well by sitting for hours, listening to lectures, or doing worksheets. I was most certainly a hands-on, “want to experience it myself” learner. And the honest truth is that I am like this in every area of life. I am the ultimate, “learn from my own mistakes” type of person. I wish I had a better understanding of what type of learner I was and how to use it to my benefit instead of be burned by it later on in life. But honestly, it was not at all as “normal” and “cool” to be an unschooler back then. In fact, it was frowned upon. I guess it still is in quite a few circles.

One thing I’ve had to consider, is that my children could be those learners that LOVE to sit down and do worksheets and be in a public school enviroment for 8 hours a day. They may thrive in another place than I did. I realize that, and that is really why I never want to be headstrong in one direction or the other. This really is an area where I feel that it’s neccessary for me to follow them, instead of trying to lead them in a direction that I would feel comfortable in.

So, in my observation of these kiddos, Scarlet is one of the most social people I have ever seen. She thrives when there are other people around that are her age and her size. Which of course, leads me to believe that she may end up in a public school type setting. What we are doing now is experimenting, to find out if she puts quite a bit of her social life and her energy into her new dance classes, maybe she will feel that outlet is being fullfilled so that she can be free to explore and learn at home.

Adelai is really too young to be thinking about it. He is always up for being outside, learning the names of things, and finding 1000 new uses for sticks. Although, I have a feeling he is going to be the creative type, who wouldn’t be able to sit still in a classroom setting anyway, he’d be dreaming of building forts outside, and throwing the ball with Dad, etc.

I know this is a long post, but I am going to start posting every once in a while on our journey through Unschooling our little ones. I will make goals for myself here and post pictures of the outcome.

I’d love to get links to what you’re doing in your home, comments, tips, and advice on the subject!

Farm Day!

DSCF6249This is Farmer Mary! Yesterday we had a BLAST out at her farm. We got to feed goats, ride a miniature horse, hug a spitting lama, and take a walk through the property. It was a great experience. Miss Rayne makes friends faster than anyone I know, so Mary was begging to keep her by the end of the day. 

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Her Front door and her very large guard dog.

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Scarlet chased the chickens the ENTIRE time

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Scarlet, her friend Leah, and Lucky the Lama.

 

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Scarlet feeding a very dirty angora bunny

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Pictures of the property

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Our walk through the woods

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Miss Rayne riding Nelson, her first horse ride

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This is Obediah. Scarlet would feed the goats and laugh and say, “That tickles goat!”

 

We will definitely be visiting Farmer Mary again soon!

Around the House…

Wanna know what’s going on around the house this week?

 

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DSCF7392   :: Cleaning! Miss Rayne LOVES to get out her bottle filled with half vinegar and half water (a great cleaner that is safe for children, by the way) and her rag and clean every glass and wood surface in the house!

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:: Washing! Adelai has outgrown his small prefolds and is now on to the larger kind. (time to go pull the pocket diapers out of storage!) Of course, I needed help stripping and washing the small ones for the next baby. (Did I just say that?!) So, she ran and got her buckets and her soap from the bathroom and scrub scrub scrubbed the diapers! She loved this! This is the first time she’s ever done a wash.¬†

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:: Discovering the Mirror! This is Miss Rayne’s new favorite thing to do. She LOVES to dress up and run to the mirror to see how she looks. The first picture is when she got a new dress, handmade from her Gran! (I should really take a picture of her whole summer wardrobe… so much cute mama-made and Gran-made stuff!) The second picture is her being a bunny for her Daddy.

And last but not least!!! *drum roll* 

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:: Her new KITCHEN! From Suzy’s Antiques, of course. Actually, the apron is from Suzy’s… and the furniture around it… and pretty much most everything in my house.¬†

She LOVES her new kitchen. I took the advice of this awesome mama and decided it was time she had her own kitchen. This has been perfect, except for her being too short to reach the top cabinets. But the stool works great and actually she enjoys getting on and off the stool. This is probably the best thing she’s ever gotten. She’s played with this and fixed her own meals from here everyday this week.¬†

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Please notice my very first sponsor over to your right! Beloved Inc. is run by sweet Carrie Lynn, a dear friend of mine for many years. She is an amazing photographer and talented seamstress. Be looking out for a giveaway very soon!

Also be looking for more businesses sponsored by Roots & Wings. As I figure out the details I will be ready to add more. If you have a business, online shop or own a local business and would like to advertise in this space, please email me at

rootsnwings at live dot com

~ Raising Rayne

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The past few weeks Joseph and I have decided to stand back a little and watch Scarlet. Montessori believes that if you observe the child it allows them to show you how they learn, what they learn from, and how quickly they are capable of learning it. We’ve realized with Scarlet, that she learns much quicker once we remove ourselves and our control of the situation. We stand back and watch her do things like dress herself, brush her hair, and take a bath. It’s amazing what children are capable of at such a young age. The frustrations of “I want to do it myself!” are gone. Although, I constantly have to fight wanting to do it for her because she’s not doing it the way I would. ūüėČ One of the things we have yet to figure out is how to handle those things that she just can’t do on her own yet. Like, picking up a pen and drawing all over Mama’s favorite (vintage) Cookbook. We still use the time out method or “reminder” method for these types of situations. We have created an environment¬†that is very organized, clean, and easy for her to learn in. She can grab anything and play or learn with it. The other frustration we have is how to successfully leave that environment and enter the world, where she can’t see and touch everything. There are way more “no don’t touch that’s” and “Scarlet, stay here’s” outside than there are in the safety of our home.¬†

I also see that most people do not use the Montessori method to homeschool. Most of Montessori is about the freedom in the classroom and the teacher’s sole job is to allow the children room to learn. It’s hard to juggle that + laundry + nursing + dishes + this errand + that errand + nursing (did I mention… nursing?). I would really like her to be around other kids in a montessori evironment and see how she does. There should really be a montessori homeschooling play group around here!¬†

Many people have asked us about the Waldorf method and if we use it. I would say that we have pulled many ideas between Waldorf and Montessori and are sort of trying to feel it out and find a perfect fit for us, our family, and our beliefs. One of the things that concerns us about the Waldorf method is how much imaginative play they say to encourage upon the child. We totally love her using her imagination to play and very much encourage her to do so. We just have seen people use this method who get so much into make-believe that they can’t find reality when the time is right. I have a whole theory on Santa and all that (mentally saved for another day) that is a really easy way for Christians to introduce there kids to Santa or the Easter Bunny without lying to them or causing confusion later in their life.

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We are moving through this journey as parents and in many ways we’ve found our groove. In other ways, we are working to find the groove. Do you have any good advice, experience, or… (ahem) ¬†silly make-believe hats… you would like to share? I’d love to hear what works for you. Going against the grain is not always easy. I do wish it was easier to connect with other Alternative Parents both locally and over this blog world. ¬†

Hope you have a sunny day!