A new helper around the house

My sister and her family are in the process of moving back to Ohio from Seattle! We are all so excited to have our family back together again. The journey to Ohio is happening in stages. The first person to make the trip is my nephew BJ, or as I hear he now goes by William. He got in Wed night and we have already put him to work on the house.

There was one section going into the kitchen that still needed that dreaded plaster and lathe board knocked down. In an effort to not cover the kitchen in black dust I put up tarps on all 4 sides of the space and I was hoping the boys could just stick their arm in the sheets with a crow bar and pull it all down.


That worked, kind of…they managed to get a bit of the plaster to fall down.


But eventually BJ just had to climb in and really go to town on it.


Yeah it was really that dusty. But he did have a breathing mask and goggles on.


This is only about half of the debris, I cleaned up half way through to try and keep him from stepping on any nails (that didn’t quite work he did step on a nail that I had to pull out of his shoe, oops. He was a trooper he never even complained.)


Here’s the finished area, all the plaster down and ready to be dry walled….


I love having some fresh blood to help around here. I think we’ve worn our own kids out. Poor Daniel never even comes to visit anymore for fear that we’ll put him to work. Will this renovation ever be done?????

Just a little bit of Ginger…

At the beginning of 2009 I decided to make big changes with the food we eat, the cleaners we use and the products that we put on our bodies; and the rest of the family has had to come along for the ride no matter how much they’ve complained about it. One of my favorite changes has been to quit coloring my hair with chemicals and to use only natural Henna.

In the past 2+ years I have hennaed my hair (with the help of my mom) many, many times. I’ve also slowly brought on some henna converts. My sister 1st hennaed her hair when she was out for a visit and now only uses henna. I also had a group of friends over that were curious about hennaing. A couple were brave and let us henna their hair while the others watched and laughed at the mess we made.

I started with Rainbow Resources henna which I can buy at Whole Foods, it’s convenient and inexpensive, but recent readings about henna have got me wondering if my all natural henna is maybe not so all natural after all. After reading the free eBook How to Henna Hair I’m wondering if there is maybe a better product I should try. I’ve since switched over to Light Mountain Natural Hair Color. I like that it doesn’t make my hair quite as brassy red as it was getting with the Rainbow Resource henna.


Yes, it does smell just as good as it looks, much like a barn.


So that’s what I would look like with dread’s, hmm….


Once you start hennaing you’re kind of committed to it since there could be a reaction with other less natural coloring. I do sometimes miss being blonde but I don’t miss the chemicals, the expense and having to deal with the constant grow out.

***Hmm I just realized I’ve used these pictures before in my post about the first time I henna’d, I guess it has been awhile since my hair was quite that long and I guess I’m due for some new hennaing pics.

The end of an Era

It is a sad, sad time in the little town where I live. The local Caribou coffee shop is closing it’s doors. A neighboring restaurant is taking over the space. I’ve spent so many hours of my life in that homey little shop. Not only did I love the coffee but that has been a meeting spot for friends and family.

Back in 2005 after finishing massage school I spent every morning for weeks (maybe months, it seemed like forever) over there studying for my State Boards. I would meet my friend Paulita and she would work on writing her novel while I studied human anatomy. I think a lot of time was also spent talking but we really tried to stay on task. She also laments the loss of this landmark in her blog.

When my Aunt was still living in town, my mom, Aunt and I would meet on Friday nights to play Mahjongg on one of the big tables.

For years my mom and I would meet for coffee on Sunday mornings. Eventually my dad started joining us and sometimes Dan or Paulita would also stop by. It was a nice way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning.

There are a few other coffee shops within walking distance, and I guess until May we will have to try them out. But in May down just 2 doors from Caribou, will be a new coffee shop opened up by one of our favorite Caribou barista’s. The Grandview Grind will hopefully be our new hangout. It will be much smaller than what we’re used to. All of the Caribou regulars are already heading over to claim their seats (even bringing their own coffee to sip on while the shop is still just an idea on paper.) Paulita thinks I need to show some of my art work in the new space so maybe I will bring over some of my stained glass windows and see if they are worthy.

I’m excited about supporting a local small business instead of a chain. I think this will turn out to be a good thing. I just hope I still get my .50 off for bringing my own cup!

A good day

Yesterday was a good day. One wouldn’t think having 2 back to back Dr. appointments spanning over 6 hours could make for a good day but they were good apts.

The first one was with an awesome Naturopath. It was our first time going to a Naturopath and I thought it was a great appointment. Her name is Jennifer Ball and she practices at the Center of Naturopathy in Victorian Village. She took a very thorough history and explained her plan to help us get to a healthier more balanced place. I think it is going to be a wonderful addition to the other treatment options we’re looking at.

The other appointment also went well, we liked the Dr. a lot. But I’m not sure that their level of care is exactly what we’re looking for. We still have 1 more place to look into. I already know that I love the last place. I have been going to family meetings there for the past several weeks and it is a very serene healing environment. I know that is where we are going to see the biggest turn around.

The change has already started, the secrets are all gone and that takes away their power. The healing has started and the desire to get better is there. Its going to be a long uphill battle but at last we are all on the same page and we can work through this together. Yesterday there was a glimpse of the life we used to have. The normal things that you don’t think about until they’re gone. Something as silly as watching a TV show together or stopping at Wendy’s for a frosty. Those are the monumental events that make me so happy now.

just a breath

Sometimes it hits me out of nowhere. I’ll be walking across the room, making dinner, sitting by myself or driving; it happens a lot when I’m driving, alone…It takes away my breath, literally. I actually have to stop and catch my breath, consciously remember how to breathe. It’s the memories of what is happening in our life, right now and for the past several months. Sometimes I forget, I get busy and it’s not in my thoughts. Then it returns and it takes away my breath. How did we ever get to this place? How could this be happening to our family? We practiced attachment parenting, we let our kids sleep with us, I nursed for years, we had a homebirth and we homeschooled. If they went to school it was their choice and they were free to leave school at will. We eat organic, healthy food as much as possible. I shop at CSA’s and food co-op’s and Whole Foods. How did this happen to us? Didn’t homeschooling and living a child-led life protect us from the darkness? We’re liberals, not just democrats but far left wing liberals, aren’t our kids supposed to be well adjusted? They’re loved and accepted for who they are. We don’t care if they’re gay, in an interracial relationship, with someone that actually has a religion. Our only expectation is for them to be kind to others and happy.

But then it returns and I can’t breathe. If I stop and think about it I can’t stop crying, so I don’t think. I let it wash over me, I remember how to breathe and I try to move past it without thinking. But every time it takes away my breath I’m surprised. Surprised that a feeling, a memory can do that. There are worse things happening in the world but there have not been worst things to happen in our family. How did this happen? When did we let down our guard and let in this darkness? We were happy I know we were, I think I can remember, it couldn’t have been that long ago. But it feels like a distant memory.

I want that life back, that time before, before all this was a part of my thoughts. Before I would just lose my breath.

A Day in Cleveland

On Friday we left the house at 6am to meet up with some friends and drive 2 hours north to spend the day in Cleveland.

Our first stop was The Playhouse Theatre to see Red, a Tony award winning Broadway Play about the artist Mark Rothko. This show was amazing! If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. It is pretty intense and there is some bad language, it is meant for older kids and adults. Besides the show being completely amazing two other things I took away from this were always go early for the preshow talk, it gave so much more insight to the production and really helped the kids (and myself) better understand what was happening. And always stay after for the talk with the performers. It’s so interesting to see what they have to say about their experience doing the show.


Next stop was lunch, we thought we would eat at the Westside Market, but instead we just picked up dessert. As Thomas said it was all meat, cheese and pastries…It did remind me of a cross between the North Market in Columbus and Pike Place Market in Seattle, not quite the same as either of them but the same cool market vibe.


After buying our desserts we headed back to a little Mexican place, Ohio City Burrito, we had passed on our walk to the market.



After lunch we spent the rest of our day at The Great Lakes Science Center. Since the kids volunteer at COSI they spend a lot of time at the Columbus science museum, it’s fun to see other science centers and compare them to COSI.


The kids had fun in the Goosebumps exhibit, learning all about fears. Thomas does not have a fear of falling…


But he does have a fear of clowns.


Thomas and Molly struggled to build the Canterbury Arch. Poor Molly she is just a little too short to reach the top…


Hmm Kristen wasn’t too much help, they definitely needed Thomas’ height to get to the center up. Thomas claims that he can do this by himself at COSI, I’m not sure how that would be possible.


I loved the view of Lake Erie from the museum.


Such a pretty walkway down to the water.


It was a whirlwind day, 14 hours of driving and exploring. We had so much fun on this little road trip. This is what homeschooling is all about. The flexibility to take a day and go explore. I love our homeschooling life!

You can see more about this trip on Kristen’s Blog.

Plenty of field trips

Besides all the shows we’ve been going to it’s also been the season for field trips. Luckily we hang around with some highly motivated people that plan all kinds of cool things for us to do.

In the past 2 months we’ve…

gone ice skating during the lunch skate, it’s the best time to go if you can. Only $4 and the rink is practically empty.

A lock-picking class at The Columbus Idea Foundry, apparently Thomas is a natural. He often has his lock-picking kit with him, so if you’re ever locked out of something and he’s around, he can probably get you in.

Learn how to solve the puzzles provided by common pin tumbler locks and wafer locks, defeat security mechanisms, and generally enjoy the intrigue of popping a lock open without the key. Locks are just puzzles waiting to be solved.

OHAYOCON 2012 at the convention center. Ohayocon is a 3 day event that focuses on the art, culture and community surrounding Japanese Animation.

Hockey game with friends.

A tour of the The American Whistle Corporation and then a tour a the The Flag Lady Store in Clintonville. Two field trips back to back, way to pack it all in to one day!

American Whistle Corporation is the ONLY manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States! For approximately 45 minutes, we will show you a thriving, small, American manufacturing plant and entertain you with interesting information about whistles and fascinating machinery—some state of the art, some dating back to the beginning of the company. Best of all, everyone leaves with a shiny new “American Classic” whistle!

I am so glad I wasn’t driving that group of kids home, I hate whistling!

A visit to the Franklin Park Conservatory along with a class about the importance of environmental knowledge about personal energy consumption and conservation, the global carbon cycle, and the carbon sequestration power of trees and plants.


After the class the kids got to watch the butterflies being released.


Then we went to the playground for a picnic and some time to play in the waterfalls.


During that same week (man we’ve had amazing weather in March) we went on another picnic at The Topiary Park in downtown Columbus, then a visit to the Columbus Museum of Art.


The art museum now has a kids area complete with a space to climb on and in. I’m surprised by the lack of rules surrounding climbing on the structure. There are no signs saying not to climb up on the play house and it is even set up to make it look like they want  you to climb to the top.


And, of course, our trip to Niagara Falls. The grand-daddy of all field trips!