Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The goings on

Spring is here
As always there is so much going on here.  It seems to me that life just gets more frenetic as kids get older. We are really behind on many things and the house desperately needs attention.  It's a real struggle at times to keep things together and not lose it.  But it seems that spring has come to Israel.  All of a sudden, everything is blooming, the spring flowers are out.  I just love this time of the year. I no longer find it surprising that everything starts turning green in February.  I guess I am becoming more Israeli:)  We had some great rains and they say the Kinneret has risen nicely.  It's such a blessing, these rains, a divine gift of love, all the more appreciated considering the crazy stuff going on in the region  around us.  It's just so beautiful outside, the nature waking up, the azure skies, the puffy clouds, birds' graceful flight.  It's hard not to feel joy in one's heart when seeing all of these.  There has been a lot of outdoor baseball playing.  But aslo all kinds of elaborate indoor activities.   Some days are more tame and some just push one to the limit.   Change is in the air.  The three year old turned into a little girl overnight, seemingly, instead of just an oversized fluffy baby.  The baby is teething, I think, he hasn't been sleeping so well and neither have I:)

Beautiful spring flowers

I love to see how everyone is growing up, but part of me longs for those days of babyhood when some things were simpler, when I didn't have to convince anyone to do their math, or explain why one cannot get along fine without grammar or
Our pinbroidery string art projects
impress upon them the importance of discipline and  good study  habits.  I like to have them snuggle up to me on the couch, so everyone can pick a story and we can just read the day or night away.  Some kids have been a little under the weather, and I have been tired and therefore more irritable.  But we are trying to get back on track and the older ones are catching up on some of their work.   The pinbroidery string art project was a great success.  They all loved it, so I think we'll be doing more in the future .  The kids expressed a desire to do some sewing projects.  So today we got started on making oven mitts and I am hoping we'll do some more useful sewing for the house.  I saw a nice idea for pot holders and dish draining cloth.  It was a bit of a bumpy start but generally they are enthusiastic.   There were some spontaneous art projects, math of all sorts, writing and reading practice.  The eight year old is into boy detective stories and adventures.  Otherwise we've been reading Winnie the Pooh, the original one and many of the picture books we have .   Geography, history and current events tend to make their way into our lives on
Another lovely view
daily basis but in informal kind of way.  There are lots of discussions and questions.  Sometimes they look for specific things on the map to illustrate a point and sometimes they randomly ask to be shown a location just because.  I hung up some prisms, so we all enjoy the rainbows at different times on a sunny day.  They've been trying to figure out how to use binoculars and loupes, so that was exciting too.   I think unschooling ideas have grown on me some over the years, even though I am not at all an unschooling kind of person.  But when pressed for time, it does work for us with some subjects.  I took the boys to a Shlomo Katz concert, we wanted to show them what real soul music sounds like.  It was really nice and I think they got what we were trying to tell them.  I do appreciate classical music, but there is something about this very spiritual Jewish music that moves on to the very core in a way, that classical music just can't, it just doesn't reach the same place in one's soul. 

Gorgeous skies
I did make the lemon marmalade, but the folks here, I guess are just not marmalade people.  I wish I could do more cooking and baking with kids in the coming week.  It's just so hard to fit everything in:) I went to a book sale and got some really great books - pretty gardening books to look at, some books on education, history books, a book of classic board games with boards and instructions, history books, picture books, and a very interesting cookbook I can't wait to use.  There've been some really challenging days.  But I just have to keep reminding myself to appreciate all the small successes, the steps in the right direction, the days when more things go right than wrong, all the good qualities that are all still there even when we are not at our ideal selves.  I think I understand G-d a whole lot better now that I am a parent.  All the G-d as a father metaphors suddenly make a whole lot of sense.  Just today, I found myself thinking, that sure they were disobedient but at least they are nice to each other, so maybe I should cut them some slack. And so it goes, in this whirlwind that is currently my life.
Book sale finds
So thank G-d for all the messes and struggles and craziness and chaos and love and joy of a large family and endless opportunities for growth.


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