“Full Darwin” in the laundry.

laundry pile, primus. Gotta love the mops, too.

laundry pile, secundus. This is clean.

So, for those who don’t know, the term “Full Darwin,” as applied to laundry, means the stage where everyone just does a couple of items that are their own personal emergency without supervising a load for the collective good. In a large family, like this one, we “must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately,” particularly when it comes to housekeeping, so the “Full Darwin” approach just totally doesn’t work. As you see, here.

Nota Bene: I took pictures of other messes, and unmade beds, etc., but that was mostly for my own amusement, because, really, the mess around here is mostly of my making, any given day, and for some reason the children believe enough people read this blog that they’d be “famous” as untidy children. lol.

It’s that time of the year again!

Holiday meal at Disney's Vero Beach resort

And, no, I don’t mean the time of Peace and Goodwill towards men (or women, if they mattered.)

No, the time of the year I refer to is the semi-annual appearance of my TigerMom doppelganger. Without being too Three Faces of Eve about it, I must admit that occasionally I suffer from a sort of evil possession that turns me into the Type A person I was raised to be, before extensive therapy made me almost suitable for human contact.

This cat does not live here. However, cats don't care.

At those times I become like River, from Serenity, except not adorable or waifish and without a supportive brother. Lethal, crazy, and not all there.

The most recent occasion was our run-up to Standardized Testing. The 2 high-schoolers are taking the ACT in December. So we’re doing pre-tests, and writing exercises, and, in general, turning our curriculum upside-down to give the kids an opportunity to experience success in what I believe to be a stupid exercise. See? I’m conflicted.

Because, while part of me wants to walk away from the whole pointless business

( because a three hour test that assesses, what? Your “academic potential?”  Writing an essay on “What personal character trait has the potential to be most negative?” in 25 minutes tells us something important about how someone will manage themselves in college?}

the other part of me wants the Payoff. I was a class A, named, lab rat in the school system. I KNOW what’s on the other side of that maze. Goodies. Lots of easy goodies. So, let me show you about that maze….

Internal Conflicts like this are the sort of opening TigerMom loves. While I’m in a schitzophrenic Quaker meeting, trying to assemble a consensus, she starts whacking grammar books on the desk and hollering, “WRITE THE ESSAY! JUST WRITE IT! NO ONE HAS A BLADDER THAT SMALL! YOU CAN HOLD IT!”

Ah, yes. Not pretty.

Look at that woman. She's clearly unwell.

I’m just betting on the notion that a young adult without any major parental conflicts to complain about will be mocked and derided by his or her peers. :p

It’s not the destination

Here is a story about big ideas.

Have to tell you, I’m a fan of big ideas. I’m that gal. It’s one of the reasons I like young people, and actors, most of whom have big ideas.

Homeschooling, was, for me, a perfect place for big ideas… and they tended to get bigger as my number of students increased. However, there are a few tricks to surviving the cross connection of big ideas and homeschool, and a great place to start there is in your approach to field trips.

If you’re a homeschooler,particularly of an infant or some toddlers,  you probably know what I’m talking about. YOU are going to go on field trips. Your whole family will cross the Americas in a campervan, updating your podcast at least weekly, and compiling the material for your book. The children, all fluent in Latin already, will easily pick up other languages as you travel.

But if you’re lucky, you’re married to a man ( or woman) kinda sorta like mine, who has a rooted stick-in-the-mud attitude about steady incomes and health insurance,

My husband Steve, prior to 1st aid & haircut. Broke his head open wrestling shelves in the basement.

and you turn your attention (temporarily) to shorter field trips. It’s easy. You start a field trip co-op (unless someone beat you to it) and every Friday you meet up with the group to visit museums, historical sites, and cultural activities. On the other days you’re geocaching.

If you have given birth exclusively to extraverts, have no regular work responsibilities, and just a few children, I look forward to hearing about this. 😉 I will live vicariously through your awesomeness. However, at a certain point I had to ratchet back on the extra field-trippage, mostly because we could never find enough matching shoes to get out the door. We committed to a FEW things and occasionally made an appearance at area activities, but we live in a neighborhood where the kids have friends and activities of their own, so we did more school-type stuff during school-type hours.

We take vacations. Did I mention Disney? 😉

And last Friday we took a field-trip to the opening public day of the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011, because we have a big focus on sustainability in our curriculum and household. http://www.solardecathlon.gov/

Here we are. What do you notice? Take your time.

some days are more solar than others

I drove through torrents of rain to get there, 2 1/2 hours, most of the kids slept the whole way. My husband and I had the longest uninterrupted conversation we’ve had in 6 months, easy.  We saw a few of the houses that were open (weekdays are short, and they all close at intervals.) We got soaked through, they had to rope off areas of the walkways because they FOUNTAINED foul-smelling water when you walked on them. It took me 6 hours to drive home, in unholy conditions of traffic stopped and blinding rain.

We loved it. The building from Calgary was particularly super awesome.

on we go, Canadian turtle straight ahead

We have to go back and see all of them. Forecast is rain.

Ugly approach, I thought, but valuable idea

That’s the thing about field-trips, and much of parenting. It’s not the destination that matters.

Five reasons to be glad you’re older.

Decided to start this blog with my five reasons, this morning, to be glad I’m older… maybe they’ll inspire you to have your own list..

  1. I can’t see the dust on top of anything, and I’m not climbing up to look.
  2. I’m less afraid of being disliked. Oddly, this probably makes me more likable, since I’m more consistantly genuine. And if not, too bad. 😉
  3. As a young person, I thought I was the center of the universe. As a Mom, I sort of am.
  4. There are more clothes in my size at Goodwill.
  5. Life still surprises me, mostly in a good way, and I’m more compassionate. Even to myself.

Have a lovely weekend.              

And feel more than free to add items from your own list in the comments.