Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

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Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

The schools are starting all over the place this week. Our city starts on Wednesday, and we seem to be one of the last. I am not buying into the back to school hype at all. We couldn’t be happier to keep living our life without school. I am actually hosting a fun “Not back to school” playdate for our local unschooling group. The kids are super excited about it, and hopefully I will have time to write about it once it happens.

Another Monday. I try not to be a downer about Mondays. We don’t have to get up early because of the day of the week. The only thing that changes is Papa goes back to work. Yet, lately Monday’s have still felt difficult. I don’t know if it is because we are in this season of change with the baby only being 12 weeks, or if it is because our weekends have been busy so the kids are overstimulated a bit. Some of both likely. Today started out tough. My toddler was being very rough with his brother. The toilet clogged and overflowed. Some people woke up grumpy. Etc.

After breakfast, we got the day back on track with some outside play. This almost always helps the mood around here, especially for my 5 and 2.5 year old. We headed to the back yard and they played, rode on the jeep, went back in for costumes, and played some more. Hailey was up by this time. We watched a little of YouTube with her when we were inside too. After the boys were finished outside, I made everyone a snack and offered to read some new library books to the kids. We sadly hadn’t gone to the library and ages. It may have had something to do with library fees owed…cough….cough. They boys picked out a bunch of books and we sat at the table and read.

I laid the little ones down for a nap, then got up and made lunch. I chatted with Hailey and Elijah while they were playing on their tablets and ate. The baby woke up. I asked if the kids wanted to play Roblox with me while I nursed. They really love it when we play together. We played for a while, then when Winter woke up from his nap I took him back outside to play. Elijah followed shortly after and they worked together to get cups of water and pour it into an outdoor pan. They said they were making an ocean.

Hailey is off now at Kung Fu class. Elijah is playing the virtual reality headset job simulator game. The rest of our night will probably include more outdoor play, some tv, dinner, some more library books, ice cream, and definitely some coffee for the adults.

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Summer has started!

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Summer has started! It’s kind of strange, since our summers and our other days of the year are not much different in many ways. Yet still, the days are longer, we play outside later, and seem to crave more adventure.

The kids are in want of fun and adventure more so than usual. We stayed indoors more than usual this past winter. By the time spring really came (and it was delayed around here) I was huge and pregnant and not feeling up to as much.

Our days have varies quite a bit these past few weeks. Much it has been spent getting to know and love our newest family member.

Meet Dexter

We have been taking it easy, allowing everyone to adjust. Routines have been off, sleep has been less, and more patience has been needed by all. We are settling in and finding out groove a month later.

Hailey has been doing tons of artsy stuff lately. She’s been drawing pictures, creating new Pokémon, making her own stickers, and anything else she can think of. She’s also been watching lots of Pokémon YouTubers. Both bigger kids have been playing Roblox often, and sometimes together.

Elijah and Winter have been playing outside a ton. Squirt guns, chalk, and just running around have been a good majority of our days sometimes. Picking mulberries have been popular with all the kids.

Papa took the kids to our favorite farm for playtime and activities.

We also checked out an airshow. The kids watched planes fly and perform tricks. There favorite parts were actually getting to check out the inside of some different aircrafts.

They also got inside a helicopter and got to strap in, which Hailey thought was awesome.

We went to our local children’s museum for Father’s day. They always have fun in their different favorite areas.

Our days seem to be play it by ear style right now. We are saving our outings for when Papa is home most of the time. Low expectations and lots of snuggles is the motto of our life right now.

Freebirth of Dexter Lee

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This post is going to be quite different than my usual, but as this is my space and my life, I want to have an official birth story typed up. If birth stories and pictures aren’t your thing, than you probably want to skip this post.

The Birth Story Of Dexter Lee Bartoe

I was 41+1 weeks pregnant Friday, May 25, 2018. That afternoon I had taken a nap with my toddler, and my husband came to lay and chat when he got home for work. I was telling him how I was feeling emotional at seeing all the babies born the past few days and getting anxious to meet our 4th little one. He was being reassuring as usual and feeling my belly. He thought the baby felt fairly low, a noticeable difference from a day or so before. As he was feeling around, the baby moved in an odd way and I felt a large sharp pinching sensation. I joked that the baby was trying to pinch him and to leave my belly be. We got up and decided it we should go get some dinner as it was 6:30 already.

At the restaurant, the pinching feeling continued. I noticed that I wasn’t having my usual evening practice tightenings, but instead the pinching feeling would come and go. It was rather uncomfortable, and not like anything I had felt before, and definitely not like contractions. I mentioned that the baby was still pinching me, and my husband asked if I wanted to leave. I said no, I was fine, it was just odd. We finished, and as we left I sent my best friends a message to our group chat around 9pm saying that something was different, these pinching sensations were fairly consistent, and I hoped that meant I would get a baby over the weekend. But as we arrived home, the pinching went away and was replaced by deep pressure, that I recognized as contractions. At 9:34 I messaged back saying that actually I think I might be in labor.

I told my husband that I was thinking this was it for sure. He picked up the floor and took out the trash. I organized the supplies on a table in my birth room. He started filling the pool.

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At 10pm I was standing and talking to him about how I think this will end up being a fast birth, although nothing felt intense yet, the waves were happening often. As I said this my water started leaking. I laughed and said, “Well there starts my water.”

Water broke

I couldn’t believe it, as in the past water breaking usually meant transition and baby around the corner, but here I was easily setting things up only having to stop to take a few breaths with my eyes closed during the waves.

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The other kids noticed the pool, and my toddler excitedly yelled “Pool! Baby coming Mama?” I told them that it was baby time, but we didn’t know how long it would be so they might want to go watch a movie and we would call them in to see when it was time. I snapped a quick picture with my bigger two kids and they went off.

Last pic with big kids

About 40 minutes before he was born

I felt a more intense wave and decided I should go to the bathroom before hopping into the pool. I had two contractions on the toilet, and that was not a comfortable position for me. I made my way back to the room and was feeling hot, so I was excited to see that hubby set up a fan for me. I turned on a beautiful cello artists music and decided that although it was early, I wanted to try the water.

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I had a couple contractions that seemed as if they were very close together. I could feel baby moving down inside me, which was such a strange wonderful feeling. I was not afraid or overwhelmed. I felt so connected to my body and my baby. The contractions were one on top of another at this point, but I never had that “I can’t do this, it is too hard” feeling like in previous labors. I just felt like I was on top of it all. It wasn’t a choice I was making, I just was there. The waves were intense, the work was getting hard, but it felt so meaningful. I felt grateful for it. I just low moaned my noises and rubbed my hands on the towel near me. I felt a contraction that had a pushy feeling at the end. I told my husband, “I think I am feeling pushy.” The next contraction the fetal ejection reflex started, and I felt my body began working to get my baby out.

pool labor 2

In between the waves I said, “If the kids want to see, tell them because it is happening”. I heard them come into the room. They were so excited. I could hear my toddler saying “baby is coming one minute”, and my 5 year old was excitedly asking questions as his Papa was trying to get him to settle down. My 8-year-old was quietly watching. She had decided last minute to watch. I had a couple more very intense waves with my body bearing down forcefully. I felt the strong sting of the ring of fire, which is the only part of the entire experience that felt overwhelming. I knew my baby was coming soon. I felt excited that I would be meeting him or her shortly. I was focused. A few more contractions happened with my body pushing for me. I was on my knees leaning over the pool, so I couldn’t see. In my mind, I thought more of baby was out. I could feel baby moving and my Mama Bear instinct kicked in and I yelled “Nobody touch the baby” a few times. Hubby later told me that just the head was out, no one was near the baby. I realized that what I had felt was just the baby moving and my body working hard to turn those big shoulders we had joked about when I was pregnant. Another wave or two and my body pushed the shoulders out which felt like a second ring of fire. Baby was out into the water at 11:05 PM. I flipped over and held my sweet precious little one, who was so quiet with eyes shut. I didn’t worry for a second. I felt so connected to this baby as I looked and talked. Baby cried a bit and looked at me finally.

Baby just born kids 2 fav

I kissed the baby over and over. I looked down to see we had a boy! Another beautiful, 3rd boy. Without thinking, I yelled to my daughter who had begged for a sister, “It’s a boy Sissy, I’m sorry!” She told me she didn’t care and was so happy. I looked at my baby and just thanked him for being my partner. That is what the labor felt like, a partnership in which we worked together and communicated. I felt so at peace, so safe.

I did it face

I got out of the pool about 10-15 minutes later and gave a big push and the placenta plopped into the bowl.

We cut the cord around 2 hours later, nursed and snuggled, and then weighed and measured him. 10 lbs 21.25 inches long. What a big boy! I didn’t tear at all and am healing well.

2 year olds

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I don’t believe in “terrible twos”. I do believe the words we chose to say or think about a situation changes out perception. I know this can be a tough stage as a young one tries to figure out where they can be independent and when they still really need help, all in the middle many cognitive growth spurts in language and functioning. I have so much empathy.

I’m on my third 2 year old. My first was a higher needs kid and all her years have had some big cough spots. My second was much more easy going, although super physical in a way I had never experienced.

This little guy is much more the typical 2 year old experience that people refer too. He is so much fun, but wants to be fiercely independent without all the skills to do so which feels overwhelming and frustrating for him. He has also been on a very late sleep schedule for a long time now, so that has its own challenges. I’ll be honest and say, many days lately my empathy has been more forced, my patience thin. I’m tired, pregnant with my 4th, and sometimes wish I could just speed up this stage. I know I *really* wouldn’t want that.

All that to say, that no matter how long you’ve been on the peaceful parenting journey, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you catch yourself thinking things that go against what you know to be your real core values. I’m searching my toolbox to find ways to feel more centered and present again. We are all learning.

Unschooling Life in the New Year So Far.

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Hi all! Yes we are still here, living our life and having fun. I wanted to update with some of what’s been going on in our lives lately.

I took a little break for the holidays, and we enjoyed those in a relaxed laid back way. We all got sick on Christmas and the week after, recovering in time for our annual New Years eve snacks and game extravaganza. We started the New Year right away with an experiment. By 12:10am Papa was throwing boiling water into our freezing weather and making instant snow.

We have had lots of inside the house, more restful days hiding from the cold. Plenty of time spent using our new Christmas arts and crafts supplies, playing with Playdoh, taking colored bubble baths, building with Magnatiles, playing Wii, and watching shows.

My mom bought us a family pass to an aquarium about an hour away. We took out first visit there. Each kid had a favorite part from petting sharks to observing the penguins. Elijah enjoyed playing photographer for much of the day capturing lots of the fish on film.

We took a field trip to a local trampoline park set up for homeschoolers. We filled the place to capacity. The kids are excited to do this again in a few weeks.

Elijah had dental surgery. Although that was nerve wracking, he did great and we loves him through it.

We have played a few Wii games as a family. Mario Party has been pretty popular. The virtual reality headset came back out for some roller coaster simulations. Papa made this a full experience with the kids sitting in a chair that he picked up and turned, as well as a fan blowing for the windy effect.

We’ve also had a few playdates with our friends. That’s always a favorite.

We’ve been doing lots of baking. Some things we’ve bakes recently have been fresh bread, muffins, and banana bread. Yum!

We had a couple big snow storms. The boys really wanted to play. Elijah threw snowballs and made snow angels. Papa pulled Winter around the yard in a sled.

It warmed up to 50°F, and we headed to the park. There was lots of melting snow and ice which captured the kids interest. They had fun walking on ice, slush, and splashing puddles. They also threw snowballs at the pond to see which areas the ice cracked.

Hailey has continued her martial arts class and belt testing is coming up soon.

That wraps up our January so far. Hope your New Year is going well.

I don’t fear daylight savings anymore. 

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Daylight savings time. I used to go with the rhetoric of how awful it had to be, because everyone else complained; and truthfully, when we pressured ourselves with early time commitments, I’m sure it did have its challenges. 

Back then, I was very much still discovering who I was and what I believed as parent. I caught myself parroting what I heard others say. That was the normal. I wanted to fit in. Not only in my words, but my actions. I did many things differently, but I also conformed in ways that were hard for me. Get up early, rush to a million activities. Go go go. 

Not now though. Now my kids can sleep and wake as they need. We adjust each day and go with the flow, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Hailey did wake up earlier than usual today, not because the clock was changed, but because of an excited little brother who made a bit too much noise. That’s okay. We can figure out what we need as the day goes on. Our morning was free to take it as slow as we needed it to be.

We ate breakfast, the kids watched a bit of a movie, checked on their birds nests they made for the back yard, and found ladybugs on the porch as I sipped my coffee. Winter demands I take pictures of anything he deems interesting. 

I am thankful that this day won’t throw us off the week and that we have no strict schedule to adhere to. I know that can’t be everyone’s reality. My husband will still have to sleep at his normal time, even if the kids are still up. I could look at that as putting more “work” on me. I don’t look at it that way anymore. I love this life.

Unschooling Today 10/26/2017

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It was a chilly morning. I decided to bake some apples to go with our breakfast. I whipped up some cream too, as my kids love fresh whipped cream. We ate breakfast and had a relaxing morning.

Yummy

I cleaned up while the kids played together. They listened to some music. It was really the first time they played well together all week, so that was nice.

Winter wanted some chips. I has picked up a new flavor at the store. It was called Voodoo. We all tried them and talked about what voodoo dolls were and a bit about New Orleans.

The kids played with Magnatiles. I made a big snack plate.

I layed Winter down for a nap. The kids were still playing with the tiles when I got up. Hailey was multitasking them with her DS.

My Mom called and told me she had left a surprise for the kids in the mailbox. Elijah had mentioned he wanted to get mail, so Grandma to the rescue. She surprised them each with a letter and a small box of goodies. They were thrilled.

Papa came home. He had a virtual reality  headset with him that he was supposed to test. The kids all took a turn.

We had dinner. The kids are playing on their tablets for a bit, and then we will tell stories and snuggle for sleep. 

Feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

One of My Favorite Recipes

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I was craving some Indian food and decided to make one of my favorite recipes. It is Tikka Masala like, but not truly because it doesn’t have some of the extra steps, and doesn’t use the traditional garam masala seasoning. I found it on another blog years ago, and I liked it because I love Indian flavor, but at the time couldn’t find the specialty seasonings. Even now, when I have easy access to these ingredients, I keep going back to this one because it is now a family favorite.

This morning, when I went to open the recipe, the blog that originally shared it is now archived and most of the posts are gone. I was really sad to think that I had lost my favorite recipe. I knew some of it by memory, but it had been months (before we moved) since I had made it, and I knew I was probably off. Then I remembered I had shared it almost 5 years ago in a group a friend created to share recipes. I searched for the group, hoping it wasn’t deleted. I hit some luck and I found it. So I am sharing here so I will never lose it again.

Slightly adapted from Creative Christian Mama:

Marinade:

1 c plain yogurt

1 T lemon juice

2 t cumin

1 t cinnamon

1 t cayenne

1 t pepper

1 T fresh minced ginger

1 t Celtic sea salt

3 chicken breasts, cubed

Mix all above and refrigerate for at least one hour, or more for extra flavor .

Sauce:

1 T butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 t cumin

1/4 t turmeric

2 t paprika

1 t Celtic sea salt

1 (8 oz) jar tomato sauce

1 c cream

Procedure:

1.  Saute garlic in butter for 1 minute, then add cumin and paprika. Heat the spices through, stirring constantly. Add salt, tomato sauce and cream.

2.  Simmer on low until thickened, stirring often (about 20 min)

3.  Add chicken and simmer 10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve w/ cilantro, flat bread, and/or rice.

 

So there you go. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Unschooling Fair

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A couple of months ago I read a brilliant post by  the blog Happiness is Here. If you haven’t read her work I suggest you head over right away because everything is spot on.  Anyway, she describes how her kids participated in an unschooling fair and market. When I read the idea I just knew it would be something that Hailey would love. She is always trying to sell her art and trinkets. She even opened a store in her bedroom.

I mulled over the idea in my head, and then decided to share it in my local unschooling group. The other parents in the group loved the idea as well. We wanted to do it, but I have never organized anything like this for a group and honestly was a bit intimidated. I knew if I didn’t at least try, then I would regret it. I made a poll post asking for good dates, and a friend reserved a room at a local library. The planning had begun!

I explained how it worked to the kids, and let them know they could work on artwork, jewelry, trinkets, or whatever they wanted to sell anytime. We had planned it for 6 weeks out so we had plenty of time. I went to the store and bought a bunch of supplies they might be inspired by. I figured whatever they didn’t use now would just restock our art and craft closet.

As the day grew closer, I continued to talk with the kids and remind them when the fair was. I was getting a bit nervous, because neither one had really made much. I set out the art supplies on the table in the morning sometimes, or at the toddlers nap time, strewing the idea.  I will admit that this was a trust fall for me some. I had organized this whole event, and my kids might not even bring anything. I wanted this to be enjoyable, and I knew telling them they had to make things wasn’t an option. I had to do some breathing on more than one occasion when Hailey made some beautiful artwork that she let me know was NOT for the fair.

However, as the fair was only days away, a little bit of this and that added up and they were each happy with what they were bringing. The morning of the fair I helped them make their signs and price their items. We packed up and headed out. When we got their all the kids set up their table.

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Hailey had Pokeballs and she was making more while we were there as well. They were a big hit. She also had a clay fish, some art work, some creations made out of pipe cleaners (my favorite was a Pikachu), and a decorative ball she called a “compass eye”.

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Elijah had clay eyes, a clay shark, some painted balls (one had different landscapes, one was a triple colorful ball, and one he said was a bouncy ball), and shaved ice cups which had decorated pretend shave ice inside.

The kids dug right in talking to each other and shopping. They looked around and bought treasures from each other.

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Elijah shopping

They would shop and then run back to their booth when they had a customer.

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Hailey loved her necklace

When they had a customer, they would help them figure out the cost of the item. If they needed my help figuring out change or anything I was right there to assist.

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One of Elijah’s favorite booths was the face painting. He paid a dollar and became a tiger!

While we were cleaning up and putting away our leftover things, Hailey decided she didn’t want to take home her leftover items, so she went and offered each kid something that was left. Other kids joined in and offered some of their leftover stuff too. It was so sweet. The fair was a success. The kids had fun, practiced so many real life skills, and met some new people.

Unschooling Today October 3, 2017

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We had a slow morning with breakfast, Netflix, and chatting. Elijah asked to practice riding his bike, something he hasn’t done since the beginning of the summer at our old house. The boys and I went outside and they took turns riding with my help. By the end, Elijah had made such great improvement. He was getting 15 feet or so on his own, and being able to start himself when he stopped some. He was very proud of himself.

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After I laid the toddler down for a nap, I invited the other two to help me bake cupcakes for my youngest 2nd birthday tomorrow. He asked for a pumpkin cake, so we mixed a batch up. I made lunch and the kids watched some more TV.

I wasn’t feeling the greatest, so I rested on the couch while Winter played with Lego’s on the floor. Hailey and Elijah were doing some arts and crafts stuff for a long while. Then they were playing games with their crafts. At some point they switched to playing with Lego’s  in water.

They decided it would be fun to create a mud puddle, so they dumped water in a spot in the backyard. They all jumped around in it with their boots on. They made a mess and had fun. Then they went off to play on the swing set.

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We are going to figure out dinner soon, then they usually play on their tablets for a wind down before stories and bed.