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I started this doll five years ago.  I finished it yesterday.

My life is all process now.  With the childs, ten and six years old, their activities, homeschool, my activities and friends (oh, yes, I insist upon a life outside my home, even if I have to drag the childs with me), nothing is ever Finished.  Accomplishments are few.

Process is where it's at.  But I don't delude myself in thinking that domestic process is progress.

I try very hard to enjoy the act of doing, rather than achieving, but I fear that as an essentially lazy individual that I enjoy life most after the work is done and I can look at my finished product and think, 'thank god that's over with.'   

But, in ten years time, when the girl is in college and the boy out late nights with his friends, I will have plenty of time to create product.  Which is why I now try to keep lists of things I'd like to make because I have ideas galore that I have no time for during this age of process. 

Lists that I try to believe are in themselves a product, although, honestly, they really are process in disguise. 

Ah, one day.


media blackout

I didn't want to do it but I feel I must.  To sooth my anxious homeschooler soul.

I've put all media on hiatus, except in very limited circumstances, until our homeschool objectives for year have been met.

No video games, no movies, no YouTube.  At the announcement, there were pitiful cries of grief and gnashing of teeth all around me.

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My heart was cold to all the raving and whining.  We are more than halfway through winter and the childs have done maybe ten percent of the actual, technically very little, curriculum work that I believe is important to do, just in case the childs choose to enter into public school again at some point.  That option is theirs; I would like to ensure it is a real one that they can take without feeling anxious that they won't have the academic background.

I guess I'm not feeling like the loosey goosey unschooler I wish I could be.  But, structure, damnit.  Achievement.  Paperwork!

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I wonder how long it'll take them to catch up on nearly a year's worth of curriculum work?  I shouldn't think it would take more than a month, really, if they wanted.  I know motivated children can accomplish a great deal in a very short amount of time.  Here's my concern, though: my attempts to inspire them to do this small amount of schoolish work by banning media may not work out as slick as I hope.

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For the first few hours of even thinking about not being able to play video games, both children went through all five stages of grief, several times over.  Exhausting.  And then, darn it, they just sort of forgot about it and went outside to play.  And when they came in, they drew some pictures, listened to a book on tape (Alvin Ho by Lenore Look, by the way, very funny) and rearranged the living room furniture and hung some pictures.

Not a single curriculum workbook page was even attempted.
Clever resourceful children are the worst sometimes. 

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The sun is out for the first time in a week!

I'm sitting here listening to the sound of snow falling off my roof when I realize that I can hear it because the childs are not inside with me.  By lovely serendipity, the temperature outside has crept up above the freezing mark the same day that boy child FINALLY kicked Bowser's butt in Paper Mario thus both children failed to fight me when I tossed them outdoors.  Last I saw of them, they were heading across the road with their favorite outdoor toy, the ice chipper, to meet their friends just returning home from school.  It is, except for the thunder on the roof, humming of the washing machine, burble of the coffee pot and the meowing of my attention seeking cats, quiet.

Yes. Breathing space.

Being introverted and a homeschooler is both a perfect fit and not at all good for me.  Sure, I get to avoid the draining small talk conversations with other parents at school and teachers, but being with my kids all day, as much as love them, is draining hard work.  No, really, they exhaust me. 

 I love being alone.  My idea of a good vacation is to send my family away and then avoid all human contact for a few days.  I find it refreshing.  Or, I suppose, it would be pretty good to go somewhere where nothing is demanded of me and I know no one while I leave my family at home.  Also lovely.

An hour or two of peace right now, though, with the sun and the childs out, I'll take it.

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I could easily live without my electronics.  Except my camera. 

I have have tens of thousands of digital photos on my computer from the last ten years.  It's hard for me to believe, as I flip through them, I have forgotten most of those moments that I captured.  At the time, it seemed like those mundane things would stay unchanged, those kids would be that age forever, those people would always be with me.

Looking back at the photos is like reviewing my life with fresh eyes.  They grant me access to a view of my life that I could of never conceived without the object lens.  How envious I am of my former self, who had so many great things she took for granted. 

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Oh, I've been busy lately.  Making things, tending to growing children, playing derby, endlessly cleaning stuff and doing laundry.  I can hardly find a moment to just take a few deep breaths, never mind reflect and appreciate this stage in my life.

It's always been like that.  Which is why I'm grateful for being an incorrigible taker of pictures.  They may not always be in focus, but it at least reminds me, later, when I can hardly remember to remember, that I was there, at that place, with those people.  It helps me to remember much more good than bad and see the present with more gratitude. 

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Unbelievably, the other day when The Man picked up the camera, which he rarely does, and took a few snapshots of me wearing hockey skates at the ice rink at the end of the street, I was angry with him.  How dare he take pictures of me when I felt awkward and in pain (despite being a decent roller skater, I can't ice skate to save my life, and those damn hockey boots are agonizing).  I seethed and swore to erase the photos as soon as I got home.  Of course, later on, I was glad he snapped those shots and regretted my anger.  Not only do the pictures wisely remind me not to try that stupid ice skating thing ever again, but the childs were also caught on film with me, being fairly capable and happy faced.  I probably wouldn't of even noticed if I hadn't reviewed the situation from outside of my own faulty emotional systems in those photographs.

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So I take pictures, every day. Even those days when nothing is going right and everyone is grouchy. Especially those days.  Looking back there is so much detail missed, so many great things happening. 


Rumpelstiltskin doll

Just a quick shop update for my Dollyshop Theatre.  I just added this little rascal, Rumpelstiltskin.  I started him over a year ago!  You can check out the listing and you can also like Dollyshop Theatre on Facebook to see what other strange things we come up with.