Saturday, June 23, 2007

Food Mishap/Miracle

You all can probably just file this under the "funny to the author only" category, but it makes me giggle when I tell the story to myself in my head, might as well tell it to the world wide web too. Also keep in mind that I am feeling pretty tired, hot, sweaty, and have a messy kitchen that needs cleaning-all which are contributing to my thinking this is really funny, but tomorrow not-so-much. Moving on.....

So Chris and I stopped for dinner at Cafe Rio for veggie salads. (No cheese please!) If you have never been to Cafe Rio, you should because it's delicious and cheap. We got take-out because Chris had to rush home to go do a contract ( He's a real estate agent and can help you with all your real estate needs) He had to wait to delve into his scrumptious dinner. On the way out he asked me to put it in the oven so it doesn't get cold. Okay. No problem. I ate my delicious veggie SALAD. It was good and filling.

Later, Chris is eating his salad. "This is really gross" he says. "The lettuce is all wilty and crispy. The guac is very brown. The cilantro is blah. Not so appetizing."

Then, and only then, did it dawn on me that I put his salad in the oven to stay warm. It wasn't warm in the first place. Salads are supposed to be cold. Duh!!

Later still, I thought about Chris' oven salad and started laughing hysterically. I remembered that just before putting the salad in the oven I wondered if I should take out the lime first. I got a big kick out of that. The kind where I was laughing so hard I was crying. I guess I was really in the need for a big, fat laugh. I got one.

Moving on to my food miracle....

Isn't it pretty? Not saying that my cooking is a miracle or anything, just needed a word that started with an "M" and as the opposite of mishap for a catchy header.

I made this Vegan Orange Buttercream Sun Cake for a Summer Solstice gathering with friends. It was very yummy!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Birthday To You

Hope your birthday was fabulously wonderful!
We love and adore you. Grandma with itty bitty Soleil

Grandma and Xavi

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wishing for a breeze

It is HOT! We don't have air conditioning at the moment (excuse me for those that have heard me say this over and over again) and everyone in this house is feeling the heat. I can't summon much energy being so hot so our activity the past few days has been minimal and close to home.

We did head over to Julie's house for Art and Craft circle and made really cool sun prints. We stayed longer than Julie probably would have liked, but just couldn't leave her swamp cooler! Fun times.Daydreaming.........

Popsicle face

Xavi came up with the idea of counting fruit. He's been very
into adding and subtracting as of late, and I thought his fruit idea
was a brilliant one.
Brother and Sister writing out a scavenger hunt list

Hitting the big purple ball with a big red bat

Getting cool in the pool
Xavi's "Queen Bee" chalk drawing

Dancing to Mom's singing. At least they enjoy my singing!

Farewell to Spring

Summer Solstice is upon us , it is now time to bid farewell to Spring. I have come to appreciate Mother Nature and her cycles much more than ever before. Birth, life, death, reborn. It's truly a miracle. I am realizing my place in nature and her circle. I am not removed or above it, rather a piece of the puzzle. I find comfort in nature's predictability. I am appreciating my own cycles.

I will be sad to see Spring coming to a close, but will greet Summer gladly. I know Spring will be coming back around to see me soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Tribute to Our Mighty Super Dad!!

In a culture where growing up without a Father is commonplace, we feel so blessed to have a Father that is not only a full-time Dad, but a Dad that enthusiastically embraces the unschooled way of life. A Dad that is dedicated to providing a home for his children based on the values of respect, love, and freedom. This type of Dad is a rare breed.
Chris is the type of Dad that is always ready for romping around the house, reading a story, jumping on the tramp, and making elaborate Lego houses. He doesn't blink an eye to come home to 2 naked kiddos bouncing off the walls, a sink overflowing with dishes, a living room floor covered in puddles of melted Popsicles, and a very frazzled Mama. In fact, he calms the kiddos, does the dishes, cleans up the Popsicles, and sends frazzled Mama out to take a walk.

Chris, thank-you for giving your children a childhood filled with happiness and memories of cuddles, hugs, rides on your shoulders, kisses, playing, and just plain being free to be a kid.

We thank our lucky stars for you. Happy Father's Day!

the pursuit of Happiness

The law of happiness is "let things come to you."

What comes to you will make you happy, what you go after shall make you miserable.

The "going after it" will make you sweaty and miserable.

Then when you get it, you can't handle it."

-Yogi Bhajan, PhD

A lot of thought has gone into my current predicament. Thinking about emotional evolution, what I really need to be fulfilled, how I can look at any situation in a positive light and as an opportunity to grow.

When I was younger I kept tabs on my emotional growth. I compared what I knew and understood at the moment versus what I knew and understood a year ago, a month ago, a day ago. I made those mental connections and thought I was unique in this perspective. Around me I saw only emotionally stagnant people. I figured once you got to a certain age you "knew it all" in a sense. You stopped making those mental connections, stopped trying to understand your life, stopped growing. I didn't want to be one of those people.

This is one of the marvels of unschooling. It's not just about disagreeing with forced learning, or wanting my kids to be free and respected. It's not just about trusting that my children are born with the knowledge on how to live their own lives.

It's about trusting ourselves. It's about always being able to look inside and make the necessary self-changes in order to live in harmony with others. It's about the journey. The inner dialogue. The self-learning. The never-ending emotional growth.

Isn't that glorious? Isn't that the most exciting thought? We as human beings never have to "know it all." We can always learn. And grow. Always make those connections.

And my children get to witness my evolution. They will know that we never just stop growing. This is an idea I am just coming to terms with now. My children will understand this much earlier. There isn't a finish line. We never graduate from learning.

I get to be a life-long unschooler.

That's what I like to think of as my pursuit of Happiness.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fun with Grandpa Bob and Andrea

Chris' biological father, Bob, and his fabulous girlfriend Andrea came to visit us for a day! They live in the Bay Area and we haven't had the opportunity to see Bob for a few years. He hadn't seen Xavier since he was 6 months old (boy, he has changed a lot since then) had yet to meet Soleil and we were anxious to meet Andrea after all the wonderful things we had heard about her. So needless to say it was a joyous reunion. We had a jam-packed day of the zoo, playing in the fountain at the Gateway, and eating at the Skybox complete with a huge arcade. The kids were happy, yet exhausted after our long day and didn't fall asleep until about 11 pm, which is late for them. We were sad that our visit with them was so short but vow not to let so much time go by before meeting again. Next time we are coming to California for a little R&R by the beach!
The kids thoroughly enjoying their bathtub crayons given to them as gifts.

Xavier on the funny elephant.

Will you just look at that handsome baby-wearing husband of mine!

Hey! I've Been Tagged!

So, Steph from my Hooligan Mama's group tagged me to share 8 things about myself that those reading may not have been aware of. But first, the rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Here goes,

1. I was named after the Bread song, "Aubrey." My dad was an amateur singer/songwriter and it was one of his favorites. My middle name, Eshele, came about while my mom was watching an old Indian movie on TV while pregnant. One of the characters names' was Eshele and my mom liked it. I have to say that I do too. :)

2. I am a self-declared foodie. I love anything to do with food be it cooking, eating out, religiously reading restaurant reviews in the newspaper, pouring over cook books time and time again, or shopping for food. And of course the eating part I love too! When I was very young the predominant theme to my diary was what I ate that day. I have always thought that being a restaurant critic would be a dream job, and am currently fantasizing about opening a vegan bakery called Eat Cake.

3. I have been a dancer since I was 3. Well, I suppose you really couldn't call me dancer right now as I haven't taken a formal class since before I had children, but nevertheless it's been a defining factor in my life. I have done most types of dancing (tap, lyrical, ballet) but my favorite is modern. I love expressing myself through choreography and have found that showing my emotion and soul through movement is very healing. There is just something very grounding about dancing without rules of how your body should look, just moving in a way that feels right to you, all the while connecting to the ground with your bare feet. I would love to go back to college to major in modern dance. I would love to get on the stage again and choreograph wild and wonderful pieces.

4. I hate to even write this. I have a shameful habit of reading the MSN hot gossip page and occasionally will buy People magazine or something similar at the store. I know, I know, I just can't help myself. So yes, I know what's happening with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Yikes! I guess it's just curiosity and fascination with the way other's live their lives. I have often wondered what my life would be like if I was in the public spotlight like that. Would I handle the constant scrutiny and be a champion for my causes, or crash and burn?

5. I had both my sweet babies at home. Both of my labors were lightning fast at 3 hours. But they were still hard work! Xavier was a water baby born in a birth tub in my living room. Soleil was born in the bathtub, but not in the water. She was caught by her daddy. :) Giving birth to my babes were the most empowering, awe inspiring moments of my life. I hope I always have an intact memory so that I can replay those moments time and time again.

6. My favorite activity is to drive really slowly through the Avenues and Sugarhouse neighborhoods and marvel at the stunning architecture. I would love the opportunity to go
inside all these houses and hear the tales they could tell. Perhaps this is in part what is fueling my desire to go to real estate school and get my license. That way I would have an excuse to tour houses to my hearts content.

7. I am terrified of all things scary, and not in a good way. As a child (and probably now) I couldn't read Nancy Drew books because I would have nightmares. I was pressured as a teenager to watch "Scream" and couldn't go to the bathroom by myself for a week. Last year we went to a neighborhood Halloween party that included a haunted house put on by the elementary school. My son, barely 3 at the time, wanted to go in 4 times. I was freaked out just going in once. Now this is ironic considering our house may be used in the filming of a scary movie. (An aside note: everyone PLEASE put out positive thoughts to the universe for us that we get it. This is one scary experience I would very much like to have :)

8. I have a short attention span and a restless personality. I've never lived anywhere longer than 5 years and in the past 8 years I have moved on average every 6 months. I've been to massage therapy school, vet tech school, travel agent school, SUU to be a special ed teacher, and almost went to midwifery school. I have a million things I would love to do (open a bakery, be a modern dancer, and become a real estate developer for instance) but have a hard time sitting still long enough to actually really finish one. I seem to run in circles and exhaust myself before I can even get started. Perhaps I am a dreamer, but I do think that I have the most delicious dreams and that might be all I need to be fulfilled.

Whew, I'm done. I sure must like to talk about myself. But, hey, who doesn't? I'm supposed to tag someone, but I don't know of any friends with blogs that haven't been tagged already. So, if I do discover that I have a blogging friend that is tag-less, you just better watch out! HAHAHA
(my evil laugh)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How we are perceived

I was reminded recently by my son that I am not always being seen by my children the way I assume I am. I feel frustration and my child magnifies that frustration to anger. Since my child is the center of his world, this anger he is seeing in me is automatically, in his eyes, directed at him.

For example, after a long and hot morning at the zoo we were driving home and I was taking a longer, meandering way through downtown neighborhoods in the attempt that Xavier would fall asleep. Apparently he wanted to continue driving in Parley's and was upset that we had left the canyon. To show me he is mad he starts screaming at the top of his lungs. Shrill, ear piercing, awful screaming. To add insult to injury he begins to throw books and toys at sleeping Soleil to wake her up. I can't drive while looking back and trying to prevent Soleil from getting hurt and woken up, and the screaming is absolutely unbearable for me. I pull over and try to cover Xavier's mouth to stop him from screaming. Duh, that doesn't work and makes him more crazy. I am unsuccessfully trying to explain to him why screaming in the car isn't okay when he tells me to "look down, close my eyes, and stop being angry."

"Oh honey, I'm not angry, I just can't take the screaming."

"Your face looks angry."

I relax, let down my guard and start to validate. He is upset about leaving the canyon, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. He just wants me to give him my elbow so he can rub it and fall asleep. He looks at me and says "I am ready to stop screaming now. You can drive Mom."

How wise are our children about what they need. How often do we misinterpret their signals completely and overwhelm them with our "reactionary" emotions? Maybe we put it together a little later once we get in the right mind set, but totally loose a connection moment-a chance to understand a little more about what is going on in that fascinating mind.

I am probably being hard on myself. There is always opportunity to retrace those steps and let my children know that I finally got what they were trying to say with the not-so-many words at their disposal to say it. Always a chance to do a "do-over" and to say I'm sorry.

Seeing Xavier's face at that moment was like looking in a mirror. I got a glimpse of how he sees me. How often do I look like that to him? All angry and frustrated? I hope it's not too often. I just need to be more aware of my reactions to situations that really just need a clear head and a heart full of understanding.

Monday, June 11, 2007

welcome to the world of make believe

Our day involved a lot of imagining, role playing, and dress up. It's pretty great for me to let go of my "agenda" for the day and get caught up in the captivating world my kids spin around themselves. Xavi woke up at the crack of dawn with his dad this morning while I had a most difficult time convincing myself to get up. Xavier decided to help by taking absolutely lovely pictures of my sleepy stupor. These pictures will not be released to the public. Xavier built a castle/hotel in his room and then we all headed downstairs for dressing up. They were a dragon, frog, and a doctor butterfly. He insisted that I wrap up his arms in the silk because "butterflies don't have arms." He's right there.

Gee, I am having difficulties getting the pictures in the right order. Oh, well. I made Lemon Poppy seed muffins this morning and Xavi inhaled 2 of them. While eating we were talking about what letter starts what word. I said "Mmmm, M is for muffin." With a mouth overflowing with muffin Xavier said "D is for delicious!" I laughed and told him he was too cute. "I'm not cute, just handsome" was his reply. I would say he's definitely both.Soleil follows Xavi everywhere and mimics whatever he is doing. Xavi plays with Transformers, Soleil is playing too. She especially digs games that involves loud sound effects. She can "vroom" and "roar" with the best of them!

Xavi was excited about the Transformer family he had put together (picture above.) It consisted of 2 moms and twins. He then showed me how the babies "popped" out of the mom's uterus. "More than meets the eye" indeed!

Fun day. I now must conquer the mountain of clothes that rivals Mount Everest that is taking over the bathroom. Sigh. Maybe I'll just "make believe" it's not there!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bright, Sunshiny Day

What a great day! You know those days that you check a bunch off your mental to do list? That was my day today. I love, love, love those types of days!

We all woke up in good moods (Chris got to sleep late today, lucky dad.) We ate yummy waffles for breakfast with strawberries we got yesterday at the Farmers Market, delicious! I actually washed the bed sheets today AND took the wool mattress topper outside to get some fresh air and sunshine (something that's supposed to be done regularly and I sheepishly admit it's the first time...)

Chris went of to the Children's Museum with the kids and I walked with my good friend Julie to the Tea Grotto. Can you believe we got cat-called on the way by a car full of boys?? That hasn't happened in awhile. We indulged in superb green tea and conversation. I got time afterwards to eat lunch and start this blog before everyone got home. It is strange to be home all by myself. It's like I run around in circles and can't decide what to do first with my "me time".

Everyone had fun at the museum, and zonked out on the way home. Except Chris, of course, he was driving. While they were at the Gateway they also ran through the big water fountain and Chris and Xavi had to go through some negotiations regarding which articles of clothing were OK to take off. I imagine the converation went something like this:

"Dad, can I take off my pants and shoes but keep my shirt?"

"How about the other way around? You can take off your shirt, but keep the pants and shoes on. This is a public place so we really need to keep our pants on."

Xavier was cool with the agreement and had fun getting soaked. What a fun dad they have. He's a goofy guy that's so fun to be around. Xavi and Soleil adore him.

To finish off the day we actually planted plants in our garden!! Woohoo! I have wanted to get my garden going since March and haven't had enough time to get out there. We have a terrific garden area but unfortunately it's in the front yard with no fence. It's not easy to round up Soleil and get any real gardening done. And then there's the "clothing is a must in the front yard" policy. It's not adhered to so well as Soleil was out helping with only her pink rubber cat boot and a shovel. Too funny.

Well, it's late. Should say goodnight for now. Here's to bright, sunshiny days.


So finally...

Wow. I am blogging. How strange. How surreal.
When I first heard of blogging I didn't quite get why people would put their personal lives on display for all to see. It didn't quite make any sense to me. I hadn't read any blogs and really didn't intend to. But then my larger band of hooligans (the mama's) started to share their blogs and I can't tell you how much reading about other's unschooling experiences via blogs have really helped to define and shape my own view on life. I have laughed out loud, cried, been inspired, amazed, excited, and motivated after reading the daily musings of others. So now I am a believer in blogs and had to have one for myself.
I really have been blogging in my head for a few months now. (Does that sound strange?) Kind of like an internal dialogue of how the day was, just journaling in my head. I needed something more concrete. Something to show the kiddos when the get older. I think they will really appreciate seeing little pieces of our lives that would probably get forgotten otherwise. I know I will certainly cherish it.
Now, about the title of the blog. Silly, I know, but we are silly people. I don't think of my family as exceedingly "bad and cool" or "rowdy." To me, hooligan would describe a free thinking person that does what is true for them even if it means bucking the current trend and blazing a new trail. That's unschooling. At least, that's unschooling to me at this moment. :)
Funny thing about the title though. I used the "hooligan" phrase in a web group I belong to and it's was suggested I use for my blog title, so that's what I did. (thanks Steph!)
I hope you enjoy my thoughts on life (and hopefully Chris will be a frequent contributor as well..nudge, nudge.)