Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

June 26, 2006

Hey, hey, hey! It's party time!

To all of you who read this webble, you are invited to come to our Fourth Annual Mimosa Festival/Double Baker House Warming Party! This Saturday, 4:00, our house and David&Heidi's. Come on, come on!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2006

three things

Here's what's going on:

1. Our beloved hamster, Elephant, died last week after two and a half years with us (a very good, long hamster life). We were all very sad and had a beautiful little funeral for him in the back yard, complete with flowers and prayers. I wanted a picture of the girls putting flowers on the grave because they were so sweet and sincere about it but it didn't seem right. Elephant was our first pet that we had as a family and his presence did a lot to teach the girls responsibility for a little life. Maya especially loved to clean his cage. I didn't have many feelings about him for most of his life except nervousness about him biting me (which he did) but then recently he got to be a very old hamster. He really showed his age and got thin and small and blind and shaky and it reminded me of how babies are when they are first born, more baby hamster than baby human, but still very endearing. Making it hard when he did actually die. We mourned for a few days. And then I really wanted a new pet. A healthy, young, new pet that would nip at my fingers and act very alive. So we got two gerbils, and they are very lively indeed. They dart around and chew on things all the time and they are awake during the day so we can watch them play (hamsters are nocturnal). Maya named her brown gerbil 'Gerbie' and Georgia named her black gerbil 'Elephant'. Yeah, we're definitely on the rebound here at this house.

2. I went to a fantastic mother's retreat that Suzanne Allmart planned at Brown Deer Farm in Wisconsin. It was really great to talk to moms and share our experiences and talk about how to make the world a better place for mothers and children and families. (Plus I got to meet little Olivia Davis! Three weeks old and so cute and peaceful. mmm. ) There was a lot of talk of reaching out and creating the village that you need to raise children instead of trying to do it alone and isolated. Very good stuff. There will be a group blog by the moms that were there to support each other in village-making and friend-making. I'll definitely share the web address when there is one!

An aside: This all reminds me of something I just read while studying "A Thomas Jefferson Education" (for homeschooling purposes). It was part of a large idea from child psychologist Erik Erikson where he describes 'Stages of Psychosocial Development'- from birth to 65+ and says what the primary concepts that are learned in each age group. For the age range that I'm in (and most moms), 18-40, the concept learned (or perhaps struggled with) is intimacy vs. isolation, with the resulting virtue aquired (if intimacy is chosen) being Love. I think that pretty much sums it up.

3. On that note, a friend of mine (and homeschooling mom) here in C-U just e-mailed me that she and some of her friends are starting up a little mom-run 'private school' based on Charlotte Mason's philosophy (I don't know how to characterize this yet because I have barely begun to find out what it means myself- I think reading the classics, keeping nature journals, and letting kids learn at their own pace may be part of it). They are also working with a book called 'A Thomas Jefferson Education" which is a philosophy in itself, but more of an overarching one- more how, less what. I've started to read about this second one and am really impressed with how many questions it answers and the ways it challenges me. The part I'm really taken with right now is the idea that the mentor (be it a homeschooling parent, public school teacher, or any other kind of mentor) needs to lead the children by the example of their own scholarship and love of learning about things that they (the mentors) themselves are actually passionate about. They are challenging homeschooling mothers to be scholars in the field of their choosing and to show kids by their everyday example how to really study and know things deeply. So according to this philosophy, I'm supposed to inspire the kids to a love of learning by my own love of my own learning, instead of following down the path of requiring them to learn because I said so. How can I disagree with that? The cool thing is that these people have been practising this method for fifteen or so years and have a list of ingredients of your life that need to be in place to support that kind of philosophy working in a real home with real kids. Good stuff. I highly recommend reading about A Thomas Jefferson Education to anyone who wants to figure out what their own educational philosophy is because it challenges you to go to the original sources and read the classics and really think for yourself and then offers some (ok, lots of very specific) advice on how to structure your time so you can focus on that instead of less important things (like a spotless house).
(Arg! It's so hard to explain something that I don't really understand. Maybe I'll say more about this later as I learn more.)

So- life and death, love, initimacy, passionate learning, mentoring the next generation of leaders- it's all here. I'm going to call this the good life today.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2006

homemade party



Today is my birthday! And Layli's birthday! Happy birthday! I decided yesterday that I wanted a kid-type birthday party that was just exactly however I felt like doing it. It just had to be fun for me. So I didn't clean my house or cook all day while getting snappy at the kids or invite over a house full of people. I just started doing fun things. The girls and I went to the best toy store ever (Art Mart) and I bought toys for them that I really wanted to play with (Playmobile sets: cows with a cute little shephard, a tractor with produce in the back, and a greenhouse/nursery playset with lots of flowers in little pots- all SO cute and really fun to play with!) and a few that they really wanted to play with: capsules that grow into sponge animals (Georgia), the greenhouse for Maya and two sparkly balls for Teresa. Then we picked up some balloons and streamers and food and went home and started decorating. We crafted and played decorator all afternoon. Oh, and we made a great cake! Chocolate with chocolate frosting and strawberry frosting in the middle! Yum! (And we made it without soy, dairy or eggs! Can you belive that? I can't, and I made up the recipe!) Georgia and Maya entertained Teresa during the part where I used beaters so she wouldn't cry (which she usually does). They found fingerfulls of frosting to be very effective at keeping her happy. Then we all dressed up in fancy dresses and played hopscotch and pretend until Billy got home. Unfortunately, I found it very impractical to actually parent wearing a bridesmaid's dress. Oh well. I changed into a T-shirt and sweats and felt happily casual and comfortable. Then we ate cake and opened presents and played with our presents until bedtime. It was great! I got to just play and play with the big girls (you'd think I get to do that pretty often since I'm with them 24/7 but mostly it's more chores and helping Teresa and keeping her out of whatever chokable-parts thing they are doing) while Billy made Teresa balloon animals which she immediately popped on purpose! I was relaxed and happy almost the whole time. It was a great party. There are almost no good pictures of it because we didn't do any posing, but there are some good movies of the action (which maybe someday I'll figure out how to put up here). I think that's a sign of a good party.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:47 PM | Comments (3)

If you (attempt to) build it, they (the mosquitos) will come.

Well, we're building that playground I mentioned agonizing over. It's fun now that it's all decided and moving forward. It's getting moreso as it gets closer to functionality. It's got a really fast slide and a mini climbing wall and a fort and five swings and soon it will have monkey bars too! Billy is the man. He's building his girls a playground that will last till they grow out of it (which will hopefully be never!). He's had a great supporting cast including Khalil, Georgia and Maya (of course), Rich Wilson, David, neighbor Erik, and a bunch of Mormons that happened by (Really! Billy talked their ears off while they drilled and bolted the swing set together.) It was supposed to take two people 4 to 6 hours to build. That's really a strange and twisted joke though because so far it's taken Billy at least three full days of work to put it up and it's still not done yet! So here's what I've learned: Do not be fooled by the signs plastered all over LowesHomeDepotMenards that show the smiling, non-sweating, non-mosquito bitten person telling you how easy it was to build the deck-gazebo-retaining wall themselves in just two hours! It is a bald lie. Construction is a serious skill. And constructing something that your precious children are going to be climbing all over takes as long as you have to make it as safe as you can.

I'll put up a picture of it soon!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)