Sunday, November 22, 2009

On Break

I am taking a few weeks break from the blog so the posting will be at best very sporadic. G-d willing, I'll be back and recharged afterward and share all kinds of great stuff with you. RG:)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The many lessons of weather

I was talking to someone the other day and was telling her that the weather this winter has really been erratic. It keeps switching between summer and winter and spring. So that got me thinking that there are many life lessons one can learn from this kind of weather. Sometimes there are long stretches when the weather is the same everyday. Just like in life, sometimes it seems that things are just monotonous, every day is exactly the same as the one before. Nothing much happens things kind of drift along. But if one looks carefully one would realize that really there is no such thing as sameness, every day has some small treasures and joys to offer no matter how humdrum. Imperceptibly day by day things happen and change. Also, sometimes one looks out the window and there seems to be just sun bleached brown yellow scenery on the horizon and then even after a short period of rainfall suddenly one notices that everything is suddenly alive again, there is green grass coming up everywhere and new plants peaking out out of the earth. So too in life sometimes one feels all dried out, nothing feels inspirational or one just doesn't seem to be getting anywhere with one's plans and aspirations and suddenly something suddenly appears like a surprise rainstorm and all of a sudden things are happening and growing and developing like you wouldn't believe. It works like that in education too, sometimes you try to teach something but it doesn't go, you try and try and then something happens and things click into place and suddenly there is unbelievable movement and growth and progress. So it goes, sometimes things are smooth the skies are cloudless and it's sunny and sometimes it can be grey or even black and fill one with fear and foreboding but then suddenly the sun appears again and all is joy and light and serenity. I love just watching the skies with all different kinds of clouds on any given day, with birds soaring above our heads or rushing off to somewhere. I love the new growth coming through and the old more mature brown look. I like the stillness and the blue grey skies before the rain. And it is nice to have so much sunny weather even though I wouldn't mind an occasional snowstorm which is what I grew up with. Really any weather has its' own gifts to offer, its' own lessons to teach if one is open enough to see them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The goings on

The weather has temporarily flipped back to summer, but they are promising cooler temperatures and yay!!! rain. Thanks to the rainfall we had this far, new green growth has been detected in the yard, much to everyone's delight. We've been busy with the usual things plus visits by the in and out of the country relatives, always really nice. I got some rolls of gold leaf paper very cheaply, I think a cast off from some publishing company that used it for book embellishment. The kids had a real ball with it. You color or write on one side of it and whatever it is comes out on the bottom paper in gold. We've been doing a lot of reading. We have discovered a new or rather old British story series called My Naughty Little Sister, it was old-fashioned, very cute and wholesome. Just the way I like children books to be. We really enjoyed it, I hope we can get more from the same series. I've been unable to do as much writing as I'd like. But what can you do, sometimes life forces one to slow down. We've been playing and cuddling and learning some new things. I've been rereading various parenting books I have, I read a few great novels. We've been dealing with various minor domestic crises such as leaks and other exciting things like that. The other day my husband said, that the peeling paint on one of the walls came off in a pattern that looks very much like a really long dog, maybe a greyhound. Once he pointed that out to me, I must say that my attitude towards that particular wall ornament has softened tremendously. It's all in the eye of the beholder I guess. I've been finding lots of projects I'd like to get to some day but until then we are very much busy with the business of normal living. Much like this somewhat rambling post, a little bit of a lot of things.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Available in limited quantities

When one reads anthologies of writings by women there are usually at least a few articles on facing one's limitations. Parents are particularly prone to the super-parent syndrome, especially mothers, when the parent in question feels he/she has to do it all, often without much outside help, that he/she must be perfect, in order to be considered a good parent. Perhaps it's because being a parent is a very complex and multifaceted task. As the children grow and challenging situations arise, one has to keep readjusting one's priorities and coming up with practical solutions for the family to continue functioning at its' best. As much as we might want it, it's not always possible to do it all, or to do it all right away or to do it all without help. As my husband once pointed out to me, that as the family and the accompanying responsibilities grow, there is still only one of you, so something has to give. As the person grows up, he or she begins to realize that one has to make choices, that there are limitations on one's time, energy level, financial resources, etc. There is no need for parents to feel guilty about being human and it's good for children to learn to respect that their parents are people and have needs too. Every family has to make the adjustments and arrangements that are right for them. Just like people are different, family dynamics are different and therefore they will need different things. There is no one solution that will work for everyone at all times. One has to play it by ear, such is the nature of this most difficult (and most rewarding) job.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A barbecue for breakfast

The mornings are pretty cold now and this one was no exception. So I guess the kids decided to inject some summer spirit into it. There were plans made for an early morning imaginary barbecue. Shopping lists were meticulously put together and the quantities needed were discussed in detail(Do you think eight grills would be enough? And don't for get those black things for making the fire). The person in charge of shopping went off to the imaginary store. The menu was the next thing on the agenda. The chief organizers decided on imaginary hot dogs for the main course with imaginary ice cream and roasted marshmallows for dessert. Everyone was in high spirits as the party set out for their early morning celebration. The door bangs and bits of happy conversation and laughter told that everyone was having a wonderful time. But alas all good things must come to an end and soon there were non-imaginary matters to attend to. Imaginary breakfast only fills you up that much so a non-imaginary one had to be eaten. Imaginary finery is good for imaginary barbecues but some real clothes had to be put on. Non-imaginary parents insisted that non-imaginary beds had to be made for the morning to commence properly.
But who would let such mundane trivialities dampen one's spirits? So with a shrug and farewell hug they were off to discharging their morning duties and getting on with the activities for the day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Feeling crafty?

Every now and then, I feel this itch to make something.  The internet is full of great projects.  There are really too many to try but here are a few interesting ones.
Mobiles and Wind chimes - a collection of very creative crafts from Crafty Crow, I am particularly taken with the xylophone wind chime idea.
Young Craftsman - a vintage collection of over 400 projects form Popular Mechanics, very cool stuff.
Here is a what looks like a very neat t-shirt dying craft idea, there is more good science stuff there as well.
This link is not craft related, but it's for very nice english grammar learning program and I think one can use this program with books of one's choosing, using the examples of the kind of questions that are asked. Thanks to Frugalhomeschooling blog where I've been discovering lots of good links.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The winter of our contentment

At last winter has arrived.  The long awaited for rains are finally here.  I love rain and I love winter.  I love grey.  I love the contemplative mood that this kind of weather always inspires in me.  I love the ethereal grey white light that seems to fill the world during winter.  It's nice to be safe and warm inside with the winds howling and the rain beating against the window panes.  It's nice to put on the warm winter clothes. To bundle up everyone in their winter regalia. I love fat little legs in tights.  I love the cheeky  faces peeking out of hats and hoods. To read books together and do indoor things.  The smell of rain and winter always gets me somewhat nostalgic.  It brings back so many sweet memories.  Waking up as a child and looking through a frosted window to see the world all covered in white.  The fall leaves.  The new begginning of another school year.  Going to class. Looking through library stacks.  Being lost in a book and in my dreams. Going home to a nice warm home in the end of the day. Walking through the dark, wet , sparkly streets.  Starting out our married life.  Our first apartment.  Setting up shop.  And on and on. Oh that smell of late fall and winter.  But I digress.  In Israel there is really no fall as such, we kind of go from summer straight into winter, which makes it even more special for me. Rain is a sign of blessing and it's a good time to pray for all our needs.  Torah is also often compared to water.   We could all use more blessing in our lives and we all need physical and spiritual sustanance.  So here is to the winter of our contentment. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interesting stuff

We are attempting to work out various technical issues with our internet so here are a few interesting things until I can get together a decent post.
A very important article about watching what your kids are reading and interesting social commentary about literature and society
I went to a women's event from our shul last night, part of the evening were various drama improvisation games.  It was really fantastic and so creative, so I figured it would be a nice something to do with the children as well.  Good idea for parties too so here are some links for drama improvisations games.
Creative drama lessons for kids