Friday, December 30, 2011

It's the end of the year as we know it... {Part One}

Well, December found me very much preoccupied with everything but writing on my own blog.  I read a gazillion other blogs, mainly for Christmas inspiration, whether that be in the form of decorating or gifting or baking.  And I spent entirely too much time on Pinterest (how can you not get sucked down that rabbit hole?) But what I didn't do much of was write.  This little piece of cyberspace, the one that I decorate with photos and word pictures and quotes that I like and links to people far more amazing then me... well, it remained in the shadows.  The truth of the matter goes something like this... sitting down and gathering my thoughts and then pouring them through my fingers in a way that is somewhat coherent, well, it takes time and energy and focus.  And as much as I LOVE doing it, the fact that I learn so very much about myself when I read back over what I've written...well, it is work.  Good work.  Mindful work.  Life-giving work.

But work, nonetheless.

And this Christmas season I simply chose to expend that energy in places other than here.  I guess in the blogosphere that makes me a simple wannabe blogger.

Darn it.

And now I find myself at the end of the year and Christmas is over (well, not liturgically, but in the commercial, way-of-the-world sort of way) and I feel spaces opening up all over the place.  Literally and figuratively.

As I've begun to disassemble some of the Christmas cheer that has bedecked our halls this season I have been refreshed by the new spaces created. (I must pause here for one moment to say that I have never been more pleased with the way our little house was decorated this year...just the right mixture of homemade whimsy, quaint vintage pieces and the miscellaneous other things that John and I have managed to gather over the years..I loved being in my house this Christmas, especially when the lights were low and everything shimmered in the Christmas lights...)   The last few days have found me riding a wave of momentum and I have found myself inspired to prepare for a fresh new year.

But because "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" I wanted to take the time to reflect on this year that will soon be ending so as to go into 2012 with a feeling of closure and contentment.

Being outside...

It's something that has always been important to me and one of the things that I have made happen just as much for me as for my boys.  And this past year provided some very good outdoor opportunities:

*Eagle watching on the Missouri River
*The ThunderBlizzardApocolypse in February that my boys will be talking about for the rest of their lives
*Several hikes in the woods and fields around our house, the Spring ones being among the best because of the hope and joy they bring after a winter full of weather phenomena (see aforementioned weather event)
*Taking turns guiding paddles boats and kayaks around our neighborhood lake...many an afternoon was whiled away in this manner.  I highly recommend this activity.
*Finding new trails and Conservation Areas in the state to explore and discover color in forms that are never old or tiresome.

But despite the many pictures to indicate otherwise, we didn't spend as much time outside this year as we have in the past. I'm not sure why.  It is always good for us.  Always.  I want my boys to be connected to the natural world through experience, especially when so much of the world is connected by way of electronic and artificial means.  This is one of those items that I will be tweaking in the coming year (that will be a different blog post).

The Learning Rooms...

This has been an interesting year, homeschooling-wise.  Even though we have always homeschooled, it still amazes me how much I continue to think/analyze/critique/tweak/completely reconfigure/start over/try on new styles/abandon said new styles to return to what we were doing to begin with/question/question again/oh, and, once more, question...EVERYTHING.  It can be exhausting...if I let it.  But as I close out this year and look to dance into the next, I'm beginning to feel a little more comfortable in my skin.  I am continuing to learn that what sounds and looks good for another family may or may not sound or look good in our family.  I have been spending more time quietly and unobtrusively observing my kids, watching for the things that make them shine and, conversely, what dulls and diminishes them.  I'm tired of trying to fit my round shaped kids into other people's square shaped spaces.  We've spent more time "off" than "on" so far this year and I'm okay with that.  My kids have still managed to grow and learn and expand in unique and awesome ways.  One decision we made this year was to stop participating in the larger homeschool group's Co-Op and, instead, gather with a few close friends for our own "Mini Co-Op" twice a month.  It has proven to be a good move for us.  Friendships have been strengthened (between the kids and the moms!) and we've been able to do some things that we wouldn't have done on our own (frog dissection!).  I have some new ideas about how we might spend our time together in the coming year and I'm excited to try on some new outfits, again.

More posts to come...

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