- a book I finished about 2 months ago.
- really old junk mail.
- my checkbook - hey! I'd been looking for that!
- a mini-stapler that belongs to Silas.
- 2 spiral notebooks I thought I'd lost back in July.
- several dust bunnies the size of my fist.
One of my core beliefs, that ultimately led me to unschooling Silas, is that children are our equals. Plain and simple. They are whole people with wants, needs, and rights. So often in the public school system (and in family and society as a whole), they are treated as second class citizens. They are expected to sacrifice their autonomy and free-will for the sake of blind obedience, staying "on-track" and preparing for their future. Subject matter is thrown at them at a speed that they may either not be ready for, or be light years ahead of. The order in which they are expected to absorb this information is rarely compatible with the individual needs and interests of the child. But here's the thing... they're living their lives RIGHT NOW. Not solely in this bright, exciting future where we want them to be doctors and scientists and humanitarians... cue the epic eye roll. They only get to be children once.
Our recent shift into the practice of unschooling and peaceful parenting has been eye opening. Silas has been able to express himself and explore new territories (both physical and intellectual) in ways that he never had the chance to experience before - at his own pace, in his own way, of his own choosing. I'm finding more and more that the release of control is crucial in this new family dynamic. For us, peaceful parenting and Silas driving his own education have been heavily intertwined, pretty much impossible to separate.
I'm on the front page of a trendy (and high-traffic) consumer site! I'm not, per se, but my dryer sachets are! I'm hoping this gets me some much needed exposure and boosts the sales a wee bit. And if not... ah well. It was a fun ride.
Another weird dream plagued me last night.
I was in a theater, the kind where plays are performed. There were a lot of people there rehearsing for a musical. A bank-heist musical.
It was mostly people from high school in the play because it had been written by one of my former classmates.
I'm not sure why I was there, I didn't seem to be cast in the play or have any kind of involvement... I was just there, watching.
But then something drastic changed and shifted...
Next thing I knew, we were no-longer rehearsing a play, but actually robbing a bank! While singing and dancing! And even though it appeared to be actually happening, I kept pulling people aside and telling them, "I know the guy who wrote this. We went to school together."
The new mattress has really upped the ante when it comes to dreamtime.
posted by Jasie VanGesen at 9:49 AM
We love it here. This town is amazingly beautiful. But we frankly can't afford to buy a house here. We've been approved for a loan that would buy us a ginormous homestead in other places, but here... would get us a dilapidated mobile home on a tiny piece of property. Thankfully, we decided early on that we didn't want to buy a home within the city limits. But even in some of the outlying areas, it's spendy.
We can't relocate. It's just not an option. Seth's family is 20 minutes away, my family is less than an hour away, Silas' dad has visitation on the weekends and would freak out if we left the area, Seth works for his family and wouldn't get paid as much or have as flexible of a schedule doing the same work somewhere else... the list goes on. We have to stay within 15 miles or so of the Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Chimacum tri-area. So we're looking slightly south... the boonies, the farms, the areas where hillbillies shoot squirrels from their back porches. If we open up our minds to that area, we could conceivably get a quirky 3 bedroom house on 1/2 to 3/4 of an acre with the loan we qualified for. I'd have to drive half an hour to get to any grocery stores. I think I could deal.
Whether I enjoyed it or not, being at work fed some of my social needs. I got face-time with real, live people! I had conversations and exchanges, got along with some, not so much with others. I spent a lot of each shift dreading certain co-workers and customers. But I got to be social.
Now that Silas and I are home together, trying to work as equals instead of parent/son, adult/child, our relationship has grown and evolved into something much better than it used to be. We're still learning. We always will be. I've finally accepted, after 8 years of being a parent, that you NEVER figure it all out. You never find your groove 100%. You're always learning new things about yourself and your kid and they're in the same boat. Things are constantly moving and changing and shifting. Thankfully we've grown together as a result of these changes instead of apart. But it doesn't change the fact that I don't have a social life. I don't get much face-time with adults. This is part of what bit me in the butt last time I tried being at home, but I've decided that this time I'm not going to let it destroy me.
I'm going to get out there and savor my trips to the store, post office, playground... suck up the glow that comes from being around people, any people. I'm going to actually make plans with the couple of friends I have and stick with those plans. I'm going to stop perpetuating this. No more curling up into a ball and being a lonely hermit. And I'm going to either find an unschooling group here in the area, or organize one, if need be. I'm going to continue talking to the moms I've found online who "get it" and stop brushing it off like it's not a real social life. I'm gonna take what I can get.
- Amazing food. I'm talkin' bricks of curly fries, corn dogs, veal bratwurst, elephant ears, cotton candy, chicken on skewers, buffalo meat, and teriyaki!
- Entertainment in the form of; juggling, acrobatics, short Mexican Johnny Cash impersonators, dogs in costumes, and a family of fiddlers.
- Lots and lots of farm animals! Llamas, cows, baby pigs, bunnies, chickens, goats, etc... Even better if they demonstrate how to milk some of these animals
- Unless your natural smell is less than pleasant, your hair will not stink. I was so worried I'd stink.
- You can probably skip the baking soda and vinegar rinse. It'll get you nowhere and just make your hair act confused and upset. I don't know if maybe it works perfectly fine on oily hair or on thinner hair, but with my thick haystack it did a whole lot of nothing.
- You can scrub away dirt and grime just fine with a bit of conditioner worked into your hair and massaged into your scalp. I've devised an anal retentive system for how I scrub mine; what speed, what direction, how hard... and it works wonders on my particular head of hair. I feel clean and refreshed and moisturized with just basic conditioner.
- Switch conditioner types each bottle or two you buy. Your hair gets used to stuff and after awhile it doesn't work as well. I switch back and forth between Joico's K-PAK Intense Hydrator (I buy it from the salon where I get my hair cut, but it is available at most supermarket/drugstore chains), Pureology Hydrate Conditioner (also available pretty much anywhere these days), and Organix Conditioner in Coconut Milk, Teatree Mint, or Pomegranate Green Tea. I'll usually have more than one choice on hand in the shower (since I share conditioner with my dude) and whenever I empty a bottle, I make sure that the next one I buy is different than what I was just using. My scent has some variety and I save money by switching $5 bottles into the rotation with $20 bottles.
My hair is still looking redder than I remember. This is the longest I've gone without dyeing it in my entire adult life. I've been dyeing my hair since I was 11 and to think that it's been almost two years since I colored it now - is insane. It's healthier than it's pretty much ever been. And this has inspired me... I've marked my calendar exactly two months out from when I last got my hair cut. I will be having them trim it and even up the two asymmetrical sides, maybe cut the bangs short again just because it allows lots of growing room, and I will be growing my hair out. This is a major exercise in patience for me. My hair hasn't more than grazed my shoulders since I was 16 years old. And that was the first time it had touched my shoulders since I was about 11. So this is big.
This shop is fantastic, selling soaps, green cleaning products, and vegan body scrubs - but what really drew me in was their toothbrushing soap! I bought the Peppermint Lemongrass flavor last month and I'm loving using it! Once this runs out (which will be in quite a long time, based on how much we've used so far) I plan to buy the Sparkling Mint flavor!
I'm not gonna lie - not everyone will love this product. The different-than-your-average-toothpaste-taste takes some getting used to, for sure. And in my personal opinion, it doesn't quite cut it for the first thing when you wake up brushing... though that could be me and my notorious mouth-breathing at night. I get quite gunky. For that brushing, I put a little on my brush and also add a dab of traditional toothpaste. Seth loves using it too! It leaves your teeth smooth and clean and creates a fantastic tingle in your gums that feels very natural and stimulating. As you can probably guess, Silas isn't too keen on it. Frankly, no big deal... he's the one person in the house who still uses crest 100% of the time.
I highly recommend switching to this stuff! It works great, tastes awesome (once you get used to it), and reduces the unnecessary packaging in your bathroom! Plus, she's friendly and runs a great operation.
posted by Jasie VanGesen at 8:16 AM
shoes - Torrid
vest - TopsyCurvyDesigns on Etsy
jewelery - Forever21
Seth and I are getting married sometime before the end of the year. We're not having a ceremony, just a little get together with the people necessary to sign the license. We may have a reception, but would probably just wait and combine it with a house-warming get together once we settle into a house (also something that will happen within the year, most likely).
I'm divorced, have a child from that previous marriage, and Seth and I have been co-habitating for over 3 years at this point.
edited to add: I've updated my Etsy favorites so that it's exclusively items Seth & I would enjoy receiving as wedding gifts. I'll also be creating an Amazon.com registry to list the items that are a little more practical and housewares-y, but I figured Etsy would be a great option for those who want to give something a little different... Look on the sidebar -->
I lived with my parents & brother in their motor home.
It was present day, but Silas either didn't exist or was somewhere else entirely.
We were traveling around and ended up stopping in a run down town in southern Oregon or northern California.
Because we were in the motor home, I had to ride the public transit everywhere. I couldn't figure out how much the fare was from the vague brochure at the bus stop and when I checked I didn't have any cash or change. The driver let me on anyway and told me to just pay double the next day.
I ended up carrying around a giant soda from some fast food place. It was about 3 feet tall and skinny like one of the glasses I drink out of at home, I tried taking the straw out and it didn't come out.
My parents insisted that I attend school while we squatted in this random town... high school. Even though it was present day and I'm 28. I was upset, but did what I was told. It was only on the bus ride to the school that I realized how insane it was that I was going along with this, so I chose not to go and got off the bus at the next stop.
The stop happened to be right in front of a giant hospital. I decided to go inside and get a job. They had an opening in the pharmacy, so I worked there. A few people from Safeway worked there too, but I never said anything to them and they didn't seem to know me.
My boss explained to me that we had a lot of meth addicts coming into our pharmacy and that I was not, under any circumstances, allowed to remove the bars that separated us from the patients. She said they all carried knives and scissors and we must be very cautious.
After a couple hours of working I had to use the bathroom, but I couldn't find it. All I could find was mens restrooms... they either didn't have one for the women or I was totally lost and couldn't find it. As a last resort I decided to use the mens room, but when I opened the door it wasn't a bathroom at all. It had long tables and benches and was full of soldiers making tools.
Then I woke up.
"Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I'd like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you. You cannot disappoint me." - Mary Haskell
At the end of June, Silas and I took a trip across the state to visit a good friend we hadn't seen in about 4 years. She was VERY pregnant during our visit and ended up having the baby just a couple weeks later. This trip was barely six weeks ago... not a long time, by any stretch of the imagination. And yet, when I look back on it, on the way I parented during this trip, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I expected him to be something that he's not, all to "impress" fellow parents, friends, the world.
I was still in the throes of obsessively controlling Silas' every move. Why would I do that to a child who I love, who is amazing, who surprises me every day with his cleverness and curiosity? Why would I choose to stifle him in any way? Why would I care what someone else thought of my parenting and in turn, put pressure on him to fit some kind of mold? I don't know. My cheeks feel hot and angry when I think about this. I don't understand why cycles like this continue... it's entirely unfair. When you're raised in an unhealthy way, shouldn't you grown up and do better for your own family? But how do you go forward and make that change when pressure and rules and stifling is all you know? That's not the kind of parent, or person, that I want to be. I never wanted to be that...
Tara over at The Organic Sister wrote a post this weekend that made this all so glaringly clear to me and it made my heart hurt to know that a mere six weeks ago, I was that parent.
We've made so much progress in the past few weeks, working towards mutual respect and consideration... letting go of the control and oppressiveness. It's been hard to fight those patterns that come so naturally, they've been drilled into my head for the past 28 years. Be polite, be quiet, behave yourself. My mother pushed on me time and time again to follow these guidelines and it never worked. I wasn't quiet, I wasn't good, and I didn't feel loved. It didn't work. I turned out as me no matter how hard everyone around me obsessed and controlled. Silas will turn out as him. And that's how it's supposed to be. I had to wade through years and years of heartache and bullshit and pain to become me. Why would I turn around and inflict that on him as well? You don't do that to people you love, people you care about.
I'm interested in discovering Silas and cherishing him... not overhearing other people comment on how "well behaved" my son is. My child isn't other people's business. My job as a parent is NOT to control my child. It's to love him and guide him and work WITH him.
Everything in this outfit, except for the necklace, came from Old Navy. I would NOT have thought of them as my signature store, but honestly, they tend to have the best selection of plus-sized neutral pieces that fit my style. Simple things, mix and match things. My wardrobe tends to be a bit uniform-esque. I find a look I like, that I feel comfortable in, and I run with it. Sure, I mix it up with different shoes, scarves when it's chilly, necklaces and earrings, etc... but the basics stay the same. If I find a shirt I like, I tend to buy it in a few colors so I can switch them out on a whim. I've also done this repeatedly with shoes and cardigans. There's one 3/4 length sleeve cropped sweater that I own in 4 colors. I'm compulsive...
As an aside, this is the aforementioned haircut I'm not so sure about. It's basically this haircut, but slightly shorter, with these bangs. I have my head turned here, so you can't see very well that it's asymmetrical. The side closest to the wall is much shorter... the whole thing is funk-tastic and honestly, I've done asymmetrical many times in the past and have always loved it, but it's taking me ages to get a feel for this cut.
I'd been wanting to do this for quite some time now, but just hadn't had the motivation to up and do it. Then I noticed that the detergent we'd been using was getting low and only had 5 or 6 loads worth left. Nothing will light a fire under my ass like necessity! And my gosh, this turned out to be so incredibly easy...
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
2 cups grated bar soap
(I used about half Fels Naptha and half Dial White)
So stinking easy... mix it all together, add some essential oils, stick it in a container and WASH!
We promise to work together to accomplish the following:
- to live peacefully with each-other, enjoying our day to day life together without judgment or criticism.
- to feed our family with a variety of tasty and nutritious foods, also working toward eventually growing much of that food ourselves.
- to take responsibility for our impact on the environment and to reduce that impact whenever possible.
- to appreciate the life we are lucky enough to have. When we want to whine and complain about small things, we lose sight of the big picture and need to remember that many go without and are not afforded the opportunities we are.
- to accept Silas for who he is and to relinquish control in trying to form him into someone he's not. To meet him on his own terms, as an equal, and love him just as he is, every moment of every day.
- to spend time alone and time together following our individual and group interests and hobbies and to respect each-other's space.
- to treat our individual wants and needs with equal priority regardless of family "title", age, income earned, or household tasks shouldered. We're in this together as a team.
- to keep our home neat & clean, but not sterile, creating an environment full of warmth and charm.
- to spend, save, and budget our money responsibly so that we can be free to enjoy life's surprises without stress or worry that our financial resources will run dry.