Friday, July 31, 2009

Instant Rewind #2...

City Market, Bangalore, India...March 2009
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slices of our summer...

Owen has taken to the trees... Not long ago, I was relaxing on my blanket at the park while the kids played when I heard a familiar, yet oddly placed voice, "Hi, Mom!" Startled out of my mom alone reverie I looked around. "Up here, mama, I climbed the tree." And climb he far up that his head stood out above the leaves and a bird circled his noble (and breakable) head. "Umm, Mama...I think, maybe...maybe it's gonna be harder to get down?" Why yes, my son, maybe it is! After a bit of discussion in which Owen learned that mama doesn't really climb trees (shocking, I know,) and my encouragement to make a plan before he moved, he successfully and quite sure footedly scaled his way back down. "Ya know mama, that was kinda like climbin' a mountain and I'm pretty great at that." Super. I think it is quite clear that this child does not have agoraphobic leanings. We did settle, however, on his asking mom if it is okay to climb before he does so...and I'm holding him to that until he's at least 35!

Somewhere, in the midst of this rather tumultuous summer, Grayce managed to turn 8. I've forbidden her to grow further. Up until this year, she planned on living with me forever... Now, she's planning on going off to college "and living with some cool, smart women." Luckily, her plans include a return to the family in which she and Owen envision living together in a house directly next to mom and dad...

Isn't she great! She wants to be a veterinarian. She is a lovely dancer. She's funny and she has a flare for drama. She is a flashlight-under-the-covers kind of voracious reader. And she totally does not let me get away with unfairness, subterfuge or bad mom behavior, including the ability to recall the things I say with frightening accuracy...

Birthday bouquets from Daddy... She was delighted to find out that Bob has not ever brought me TWO dozen roses!

Beautiful milkweed in the backyard...

Crispy Kale...from the garden. Kale, good olive oil, roast in hot oven till crispy...add sea salt. Even the kids love it.

"Pirates like MEAT, mama...Grrrr." Better even than crispy kale...Fourth of July feasting.

Peaceful boy and butterfly...a fine example of nature's gifts.

And a last photo: Kids camping...dirty, sweaty, sticky, awesomeness with friends.
The Fischers
in Minneapolis, MN

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Conscious Wander...

Wow, have I ever let this blog slide! At one point I had visions of posting our transition to life back in the U.S. but as it turns out, life was just a bit too complicated and the transition more awkward than even I, expected. I needed space to process. Heck, I needed space to manage normal social interaction, trips to the grocery store, and lecturing myself for not embracing the challenges of the return in the same way that I embraced our move to Bangalore. Oh...and for trying not to snarl at people, because, well...we do wish to have and maintain a certain amount of amiability! In the midst of all that, my Dad was diagnosed with liver cancer. And I discovered I had a previously unknown half sister. Honestly, I began to feel as if we were right smack in the middle of some bizarre and badly written reality t.v series!

So I haven't blogged. And I have despaired. And whined. And felt sorry for myself...and all those other little self-involved but seemingly necessary things that human beings tend to sink into when life feels inside out and upside down.

And then I felt...just...bored with myself...and I knew it was probably time to dust off my sense of adventure and recall that the law of attraction works both ways.

So, we carry on. We took a break from homeschooling (had been planning to school through the summer), listened to a lot of Michael Franti (because his music tends to remind me that I need to get over myself and start a revolution some where...even if only in my own mind,) went back to yoga (grounding, plus there is an awesome studio three minutes from our house,) and generally tending to the small moments in our days, the needs of our family, the pull of chairs on the back deck and the ever impending realization that winter is coming and we will not be ready ;-)

My Dad still has terminal cancer and that has been a terrible see him so sick. Yet our family remains hopeful. My new half-sister, as it turns out, is really great and she has two really great boys, of whom appears to be Owen's kindred cousin. We are all looking forward to an August family reunion with all my siblings and their significant others and the kid's cousins. My family is scattered across the U.S. so the last time we were all together was last year for my sister, Alicia's, wedding. It will be a chance for us to gather in support of my Dad and Mom and be together. We'll celebrate my sister Sasha and her new fiancee, Tom, and hold a baby shower for my sister, Mari. We're a loud and talkative bunch...each of us a piece of our unique family puzzle.

Next weekend, we're off to Brule, Wisconsin...for our annual week at a river cabin, with Bob's family. It's the first place that Grayce (our girly, girl) realized that getting dirty is a whole lot of fun and a peaceful place where we've created a lot of enduring happy memories with Bob's family.

The past week and into the next I've been spending time thinking about and planning our upcoming homeschooling year and planning for continuing my own midwifery and birth studies. The kids will be doing Kindergarten (Owen) and third grade (Grayce). A lot of people have assumed that we would put the kids in school now that we are not living in India. They assume that we homeschooled in India because we "had" to. In all actuality, we started homeschooling in India because we felt we could best serve *our* kids' education that way (and our desired travel schedule!) In doing so, we came to love it and appreciate the flexibility, fun and strengthened relationships that it's offered us. We are eclectic, relaxed homeschoolers...with a real unschooling bent. We do use varied curriculum, which is sometimes parent-prompted and try for a family rhythm (a la Waldorf) so we can't totally call ourselved unschoolers, but we take a LOT of child-led side trips along the way and very rarely adhere to straight curriculum. We are, like the title of this post, "conscious wanderers," in our homeschool, as well as in, (we hope) our lives.
Lastly, the kids and I spent a glorious week in New York City (and Long Island) with our terrific expat friends(the same friends we traveled to Oman with)...Laura Lee, Lucia and Henry! It was so much fun to see the kids together again and for Laura Lee and I to have the chance for a regular conversation rather than a skype call filled with kids showing each other their belly buttons...As the kids said, in reference to our friendship..."chat, chat, chat, coffee, coffee, coffee, chat, chat, chat, wine, wine, wine..." We explored the parks of Manhattan, went to the Met and Central Park, shopped at American Girl and FAO Schwarz, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, went to a Whaling Museum and the Fire Island light house, met Laura Lee's parents and had the kids up till 11 pm almost every night...Blissful :-) They are off to Hong Kong on their next assignment and the kids are already "planning" their next trip!
Grayce and Lucia on the Brooklyn Bridge
Owen and Henry on the rooftop garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owen and Henry: Long Island Lobster Feast...
Hair Raising on the deck of the Fire Island Lighthouse!

At a Long Island Park...

Ahoy, Mateys! Pirate dress up at the Whaling Museum...Long Island.

Grayce in a tree...New York City park...near Battery City

Owen in a tree...Battery City Park, New York City.

Grayce, Hen and Lucia playing...Battery City Park...New York City

The foursome at the Met rooftop...after 5 hours exploring the museum.

Grayce and Lucia...birthday money or economic stimulus?

Brookly Heights pier...apres ice cream at 10 pm!

Best Friends walk over the Brooklyn Bridge...

Bryant Park playtime....New York City.

And that is where we are at. We still miss India and hope to return one day, but we are looking forward; trying to focus in on the now, while at the same time, continually re-imagining our future ;-) Who knows, where we'll end up next?!!
The Fischers
in South Minneapolis, MN, USA