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One of the things I miss most about LifeWays is spending an entire day focusing on an art/craft project. Today, with Joe's blessing, I treated myself to a class on creating Needle Felted Tapestries. (Needle Felting is taking colored wool bits and a barbed needle and stabbing the wool over and over with said needle. The wool felts and you can create lots of stuff with it. Very therapeutic.)The class was taught by one of my LifeWays teachers and hosted by one of my fellow classmates (and one of my favorite people ever). After about four hours of work, this is what I ended up with.

Its about 9X12 and I estimate that I've got about another 4 hours of work on it. I have to finish the butterfly, add bluebells, and a couple of good sized daffodils. And more background color...I'm noticing with the picture that the yellow on top is looking pretty thin. What's really cool is that we felted it onto half inch industrial felt! Took some of the work right out! Perfect for just hanging on the wall when done!.

The great thing that I got out of this class is how to fix Ike's crown. I'm not happy with the wings and I wasn't sure how to fix it. After today, I think I've got a pretty good idea.

It was a good class, and I missed my LifeWays classmates very much. I wish more of them had shown up. But I did get a good visit with the hostess, especially when I drove her to the airport.


Jun. 14th, 2011 03:52 pm
aelfie: (Default)
LifeWays homework is a lot more fun than ECE 1 homework.

ECE 1 homework=read chapter and answer questions at the end (what the hell is this? Junior High School? What a waste of time.)
LifeWays homework=needlefelt something

I like creative homework so much better.
aelfie: (Default)
Did you know I have the best husband in the world? Better than anyone else ever? Well, let me tell you I do.

Friday morning started the last of my Lifeways weekends down at Hill of the Hawk Farm. We were scheduled to be sleeping outdoors in the tents, but there was some discussion back and forth as rain was predicted. In the end, we were instructed to bring equipment consistent with sleeping outside. For me this meant taking this huge ass battery pack for my CPAP. Now I don't have to bring it. The owner offered to run a power cord from the kitchen out to the tents (maybe 30 feet) the first weekend we had back in October. Since I really hate being a pain in the ass, especially since I kept feeling that my food issues was making life a hassle for her, I planned on bringing the battery pack.

And I then left Friday morning without it. And I didn't realize it until about 2 PM when we unloaded the cars (after it being decided to sleep indoors. Good thing too. We got 5 inches of rain Friday night and wind strong enough to knock down trees.). Oh shit.  Oh well, don't need it anyway. And then just went upon my day.

We spent the afternoon wet felting landscapes for a story apron. The rest of the group went on a short hike. Then we made dinner. And of course, we were having a great time. During dinner, we hear kids voices, I look up at the window and don't see anything. I go back to my dinner of salad and talking to classmates. Then another classmate spoke up. "Hey, there's a heavy set guy in a plaid jacket wandering around".

The owner got up and went outside. And we all heard a "Can I help you?" About a minute later she pops back in and says "Jen you have visitors"

I get a half second to think WTF? And I'm bombarded with 3 kids. And Joe walks in the door. "Why are you here?" "To bring you this!" And he holds up my battery back. And my stomach sinks, I didn't think to call home and say not to worry I didn't need the battery pack. I felt so guilty "I don't need it." To my surprise, he didn't blow up. He responded "Well, maybe you'll have a power outage. I don't know. I just know you needed it."

Joe managed to drive down to Big Sur (a 2 hour drive) with no instructions on how to find the place. All he had was the name of the owner and the name of the farm which he found by rifling my email. (Tuesday morning we discovered that had he gone through the sent folder he would have found the instructions and the phone number). I'm still seriously impressed. We had a hard enough time finding it with instructions. (For his take of the adventure, look here.)

The stuck around about an hour. The kids ran around a bit. Elli bat cleanup on the dinner salad (her favorite food). I nursed Gray (eliminating the need to pump), and then changed him. And then sent them home. It was getting dark and the fog was coming in and that makes PCH really treacherous. And that stop light were the section decided to fall into the ocean didn't make it any safer.

All my classmates were seriously impressed. "My husband would never do that" "Mine would have said "you are SOL"". I got lots of compliments on how cute the kids are and how beautiful Joe's and my relationship is. And its true. I have been truly blessed by that wonderful man.

And one day soon, when the kids go to bed early and he's home....I'll show him. =)

Full Day

Jan. 15th, 2011 09:38 pm
aelfie: (Default)
Up at 5:30
On the road at 6:00
Arrived at classmates house 6:30
Left classmates house 6:45
Arrived in Mill Valley 7:40
8:10 Class starts
8:10-9:00 Singing
9:15-11ish Adult Biography (awesome, now I get it)
11:15-12:30ish Angels
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:30 Spatial Dynamics ([ profile] kineticphoenix  would love this)
2:30-4:30ish Discussion about starting and running one's own preschool/childcare program
4:30ish-5:30ish Wet-On-Wet Watercolor painting (better job this time...Color Wheels!)
5:50 Get in car
7:00 Drop off different classmate at SFO
7:30 Drop original classmate at home
7:35 Stop at Chavez Market on Fair Oaks for dinner (the taqueria inside rocks!)
8:00 Home
Spent the evening: nursing Gray, getting him to bed, saying goodnight to Elli on the phone (she's at Grandmas), catching up on email, writing this blog entry, spending time with the hubby.

Its been a good day. Full, busy, and good for my soul. Goodnight!
aelfie: (Default)
I did this today at Lifeways! A needle felted Earth Mother. I've never needle felted before and it was a lot of fun. And I managed not to stick myself with the needle. Go Me!

aelfie: (Default)

LifeWays believes in having real work for the adult to do around the children. It also believes in handmade natural toys for children to use. Towards this, we are “required” to learn how to knit, and then put those knitting skills to use. Hence, the Year Long Knitted Farm Project.

I dislike going forth on such a large project without a plan. The programs plan is that everyone will create 16 squares and then put the farm together to form a playmat. With everybody using their own imagination on how its going to turn out. I need more planning than that, so  I pulled out a LARGE piece of drawing paper, folded it so there are 16 squares and plotted out what I wanted in each square. Since I have a nasty habit of losing things like this…I’m posting my plan and the materials needed so I have a backup. Not a bad idea huh?

If you are really interested in reading what I’m going to be doing, feel free to read behind the cut…’cause its long!


aelfie: (Default)
This past weekend was the first of four weekends away for LifeWays Training. It was awesome! We were at Hill of the Hawk Farm in Big Sur for a total of 49 hours and my goodness what we packed in!
  • Silk scarf, wool roving, and wool yarn dyeing (natural and acid dyes)
  • 3 beautiful lunches
  • 3 beautiful hikes with stunning views of the ocean
  • 2 mornings of being woken up to the sound of rain on my tent
  • a spectacular sunset
  • 2 candlelit dinners
  • lots of singing
  • tomato canning
  • 2 warm breakfasts
  • knitting
  • apron sewing
  • 4+ hours in the car with 2 wonderful women
  • 1 really cold shower!!!
  • informative movie watching
  • Festival exploration
  • 2 sessions of Spatial Dynamics (gentle movement, raises a sweat though!)
  • Healthy eating/cooking lectures
  • Food prep!
  • 1 nature observation/journaling exercise
  • Hunting in the garden for luscious tomatoes
  • Hunting for Gold (potatoes in the earth)
  • 2 persnickety sewing machines
  • 1 rowdy dog
  • 2 adorable cats
  • Lots of chatting about life, children, home life, families, Steiner, Waldorf Education (several of my classmates are Waldorf Teachers, including one who knows [ profile] labelleizzy ), husbands, in-laws, etc, etc
  • 7 breast pumping sessions

It was a very full, lovely, relaxing weekend. I didn't want to go home and yet I did. I missed my family, but as we drove back into "civilization" I could just feel the tension coming back into my body. Not good. But it was wonderful and I am looking forward to the next weekend in January.
aelfie: (Default)
LifeWays North America put together a 15 minute video exploring what LifeWays is and put it up on Youtube. For those who are really interested in what I'm doing with my spare (HA!) you go!

Part 1

Part 2

aelfie: (Default)
I thought I might do some writing/musing

Will Development/Weight Management
I am a sugar addict. Oh hell, I'm a food addict. But sugar is the biggest problem of all. I get on that roller coaster of highs and lows and its just awful. I have managed to stay away from sugar for almost three weeks. This is big for me. I want to be healthier, but most "diets" have you cutting everything out at once. And it doesn't work. So right now I'm focusing on sugar. Baby steps will win the race. I don't know if I've lost any weight or not, but my Mom says I'm not as puffy as the last time she saw me. And my scale in the bathroom doesn't automatically go "TILT" when I step on it. It actually has to think about it before it does it. So I see that as a vast improvement.

Oh my god do I need some. For the last four nights Gray has gotten up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours. I finally figured out he's probably teething, so I've been giving him ibuprofen. Problem is that it wears off in the middle of the night. So my night is really broken. I'm crispy. Thank god I'm not eating sugar to make it worse!

Has actually been going well. We do better on the days we stay home all day, but overall school is going well. The other day Ike said to me "Mommy, I love doing school here. J (boy down the street) has to go to school all day, has homework when he gets home, and we're done by lunch! I get a lot more time to play" Smart boy. We are working on American Tall Tales right now and Melisa is right as usual, when you read a book the lesson goes flat. So I will be telling the next couple instead of reading the cool picture books I found. I'll save those for story time (which is something new I've managed to institute. I read to the kids for about an hour every afternoon). He's also found pencils are much easier for him to write with than using crayons. So we are making headway there.

I did a lot of thinking and meditating this summer on how to approach teaching this year. I gave myself permission to not beat myself up because I can't manage a Waldorf School experience at home. I'm Homeschooling! Not Schooling at Home. So I'm not going to kill myself trying to squeeze in everything. I'm working on stories, some writing, handwork, singing, penny whistle, verse memorization, and some painting. Which is still a lot. And I'm not even going to bother teaching Grammar this year. Ike doesn't read! It makes no sense at all to me to teach a non-reader grammar. I'm also not going gung-ho on teaching him to read. He's not frustrated enough yet. He's starting to get there, but he's not there yet. And when that frustration sets in, then I'll work on turning him into a reader.

I also got inspired by another Homeschooling Mama of 9(!) kids. So, in addition to focusing on less things, I'm leaning a bit toward child-led education. I'm giving the kids the option of a lesson (but they have to finish a lesson they start). And if someone expresses an interest in a subject, we'll look at it as appropriate

Steiner did say once that not having to go to school to age 12 would be a good I'm still schooling them (I'm not that brave to not do "anything" until age 12), but I'm backing off on forcing the issue. There's no rush. Everything will be covered in due time.

I had my first class on Saturday. Awesome, but long day topped off by a Stupid Tax courtesy of SFPD. (Not only was I blocking someone's driveway, I forgot to curb my wheels. Whoops! I'm glad they didn't tow it.) We started the day with singing, then Steiners Ages and Stages (going whole to parts, of course), lunch, sewing, and knitting. My kind of day!

The knitting component was starting on our year long knitting project...the knitted farm yard. I've gotten the first two squares done. I had to rip out what I did in class 'cause it was messy and uneven.  And I didn't like the needles we were given at all! Bamboo makes for really slick needles and it just drives me up a wall! I'm completely sold on my Knitpicks wood circular needles. They are perfect in my book.

So I'm finally doing some major reading on autism. When Ike was diagnosed a year ago, I just wasn't up for any reading. Now that I'm finally feeling like my head is out of the water since I got pregnant with Gray, I've got the energy to read. (yea, I know I read a lot. But this is a different type of reading. I just wasn't ready). Things I've figured out/found out. Kids with Autism have fewer mirroring neurons. Which is why a baby smiles back at you when you smile at them. The fewer the number the more pronounced the autism. Ike has problems with Executive Processing. Which is not only causal relations (i.e. if I hit my sister, she'll get hurt, then I'll get into trouble) but sequential thinking (i.e. first I pick up, then I dust, then I vacuum). It also impairs his ability to take verbal instructions. He just can't do it beyond a certain point.

I also found its quite common and expected for younger siblings to mimic elder siblings behave. In due time, as they mature, they outgrow it. (Thank goodness!)

Oy, am I knitting up a storm. I've been focusing on my shawl. I'm finding I have an urge to make something. I've been cleaning out my work basket. (Where things are put to be repaired) so far in the last week or so I've repaired 2 Heavy Babies and I've finally put together a Gingerbread Man I knitted up last year. Turned out really, really cute! Gray will enjoy it for Christmas!

I'm starting to look toward Christmas and decide what needs to be made by then. I want to make the kids their own Hobby Horses from Santa. I have 5/6 of the material I need (I need to find a co-ordinating fabric for Ike's Horse, which is red of course) I need to set up my sewing machine as I want to make the girls their Halloween costumes on top of everything else.

So that pretty much sums up everything going on with me. How's things with you?
aelfie: (Default)
Last Saturday I drove up to San Rafael for the LifeWays Orientation. We met at the Director's house for lunch (I got glutened, bleh), met everyone in the program, got our materials, our first assignments, went over details of the program, and got a look at the year long knitting project we will be working on.

This will be a lot of work.

This will be a LOT of FUN

I will learn an amazing amount from this class.  And I have the feeling it will only whet my appetite for more.

The only downer is the commuting. Either up to SF or to Marin or down to Big Sur twice a month. And we start EARLY! So I will be having a few very early mornings each month. But at least there is one other classmate down here. Everyone else is either in the city or a couple are in Marin.

I can't wait for next Saturday!


May. 7th, 2010 08:50 am
aelfie: (MnM Librarian)
I got in! W00t!


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