Sometimes I fantasize about a post-apocalyptic lifestyle

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The Walking Dead #TWD will start back up in October. The show always sparks something inside us that makes us believe we are invincible. Survivalists. We talk a big talk.

So we camped out for 3 days, trying to experiment with what life would look like “Post-apocalypse”. We tried to make our meals without the use of the refrigerator.  We slept in #ENO hammocks in the trees and keep all activities outdoors. The truth is, CAMPING is hard! Even when we are only camping 50 yards from the house!  We soon realized that we are no match for zombies.

1. Food:

Living off the land is a lost art. I can’t imagine trying to find food while being on the run! The first night, we cooked a delicious feast of meat and potatoes on the fire. Made monkey bread for dessert.  We discussed our meal with the children.  If we were survivalists, the meat we are eating would have to be trapped or shot, skinned, and cleaned before we could even put it on the fire.  These potatoes MIGHT be available to us, if we stayed in one place and could tend a garden.  Oh and forget about the monkey bread! The next morning I woke up at sunrise, went to the hen house and collected eggs (plausible), stoked the fire back up and prepared scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Then it hit me, I NEED COFFEE.  So, I went upstairs, got my coffee pot, and plugged it in at the camp site.  Hardly the way a survivalist would make her coffee! The rest of our meals, while consumed outdoors, made use of the fridge, oven, and microwave. It took me 3 meals to realize that I very much rely on the convenience of my kitchen!

2. Sleep:

We love our hammocks. We love setting them up, swinging from the trees, competing to see who can get their hammock the highest and tightest.  However, when it comes to sleeping in them all night for 3 nights… wow.  Not only did it get cold, but it was also creepy!  I would have to get used to all the night noises.  I kept two of the dogs outside with me, which helped me feel secure. They kept watch over us all three nights. But still, the places my mind wondered off to – it’s amazing.  I had all kinds of visions of how we might die if I close my eyes.  Needless to say, I did not get very much sleep!  Lastly, I desperately missed my bed.  Each morning, I got up and hobbled around like an 80 year old woman. Humans need rest!  I began to understand how living on the run would not only be exhausting, but without good rest, everyone would be grouchy and on edge!

3. Higiene:

We did make all three days without a shower or bath. But we sure were foul when we finally came in!  As I scrubbed the soot from my face and washed the sticks and ash out of my hair, I marveled at how someone could live this way everyday, for weeks, months, years. The children and I laughed at all the gunk between our toes and behind our ears and under our fingernails.  And we each enjoyed a long HOT bubble bath.

As a homeschool mama, I am always looking for opportunities for learning.  This 3 day camping experience  gave us much to discuss.  Our discussion generated three main themes.  1) We realize that the only way to get good at camping, is to practice.  2) We have a huge new found respect for survivalists.  3) We are immensely grateful for our creature comforts.

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Like a girl

I have raised my children intentionally to see girls and boys as equals- equals in voice, intelligence, and potential.  My husband and I have always been extremely careful about our words and actions regarding differences between boys and girls.  For example, we have always bought gender neutral toys and games for both our boys and our girls. We have encouraged and allowed the children to play with whatever they might find around the house. If the boys carried around my purse, or pushed a baby in the stroller, no big deal. If my daughter played with balls or trucks, no big deal.  Our goal in modeling gender mutuality has been purposeful and calculated.

You can imagine my shock yesterday when I heard my daughter tell me a story about how “when Daddy snuck up and scared Canon, he screamed like a girl.”

I’m sure that she was equally as shocked by my extreme response! “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”, I interrogated. “I never want to hear something like that come out of your mouth again.” Poor child probably had no idea what she even said!  We talked more about it and I encouraged the children to come up with some other simile for the intensity and pitch of scream she heard. We all giggled as we went through a whole host of options and then came up with, “Canon screamed like a howler monkey!”

What is the big deal? 

It is a big deal to me that we make insulting distinctions for boys and girls. The language we use shapes their image of themselves. Everyday. All the time. Girly girl. Tom-boy. Princess. Like a girl. If we only paid attention to the gravity of our flippant classifications.  Last year I confronted a 9 year old boy when he ridiculed his friend on the playground after being beat in a race by my daughter, “You got beat by a girl!” AH no. Mama don’t play.  Don’t worry, I was kind, but what I really wanted to do was kick him in the shins. The phrases we think are ok in referring to boys are a big deal as well.  Boys will be boys. He’s a mama’s boy. He’s all boy.  Man up. Really people?  These cliches are both dismissive and damaging.

Influence of culture

We don’t even realize the sludge that slowly seeps into our psyche. My daughter could not even remember where she heard the phrase, “like a girl”. She doesn’t know who first told her that she was a “tom-boy”. What does that even mean?  You may think I am overreacting, but I steer my family away from the tween and teen trash that hollywood cranks out.  I can not shield them forever, I understand that. But I can for a while at least, while they are in my care, and while their mind, will, and self-understanding are still in development. With fierce effort, I kick out the walls of the boxes that american culture tries to stuff my kids into.

Under normal circumstances, I would not necessarily commit free advertising for a panty liner company, but #ALWAYS has made a brilliant commercial on the subject of #LIKEAGIRL. Enjoy!

Back to school.

We have been back at it for a couple of weeks now.

I can honestly say that as I begin my 4th year of homeschooling, this is the first time I have felt confident and non-anxious about school.

If you are new to homeschool I want to just give you a shout out to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!  I was a wreck for the first two years. I compared myself to every other homeschool mom I talked to. I compared my kids to every other homeschool kid I saw.  I battled discouragement and self-doubt. I sat online every Monday searching for jobs and for private schools.

Think you’re not smart enough?  Nonsense.

Think you’re not patient enough? Breathe, smile and count to 10.

Think you are not organized enough? We are all in process.

I remind myself everyday that I have been given a gift, three to be exact. I finally stopped fighting my own insecurities, and started celebrating my strengths. I finally took my eyes off of what everyone else is doing, and turned my heart toward what is right for us.

Back to school: Back to simplicity. Back to focus. Back to schedule. Back to one day at a time, one morning at a time. Back to one breath at a time.

Happiness

Sitting with my family on the 5th of July, 2014, pondering the feeling of happiness.

Happiness for me, is contentment, pleasure, connection, fun.  I am simple people, with simple ways.

I feel happy each morning when I make my coffee and take the dogs for a walk on the trail.

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I feel happy when my flowers emerge in spring.

IMG_3216I feel happy when I watch my children charge through the woods like wild mustangs.

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Tonight, I feel happy playing guitar with my dad, singing #MerleHaggard and sipping wine by the pool.

First official selfie with my dad

First official selfie with my dad

Flexibility

IMG_8990I bend so I don’t break.

Inflexibility is a symptom of short-sightedness.  When we are rigid, we can not see past our own fear and control.  Often it is the flexible who experience a deeper understanding of problem-solving, creative expression and success.

But we are all in process, are we not?

As a yoga practitioner,  I frequently go head to head with inflexibility. You can not get through a yoga sequence without being challenged in physical flexibility. The temptation is to get frustrated and plunge into self discouragement. The truth is, the efforts of my practice will always be in process.

Each day of our lives shapes up. Lengthening, strengthening, stretching.  Examine your own flexibility today.  Are you afraid of losing control? Do you trust those around you? Are you open to possibilities? Do you trust yourself?

Forever stumbling forward toward completion,

Nikki