Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paleo truths

Oh, never a truer word was spoken:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Passing of Glenn Doman

This spring the man originally responsible for my becoming a developmentalist passed away.

Glenn Doman was one of the pioneers of the neurodevelopmental model of treating children.  Through his intensive courses I found answers for the questions no-one else would listen to.  Through his passionate disciples I found support, programs and hope for my child who was hurt and stuck. Through his deep belief in mothers I found the drive to become the parent my children need.

Thanks, Mr. Doman, for your commitment and vision. It has forever changed my family's world for the better.

Remembering Glenn Doman

Glenn Doman often said that mothers are the best teachers the world has ever seen, and the parents that he inspired and taught continue to prove that each day. Champion of every child on earth, he never gave up on any child, and his dream of better kids for a better world lives on.

When Glenn founded The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in 1955, he was a young physical therapist who, as an infantryman, had led his men through World War II. He had seen men destroyed on the battlefield and set about to save people. At this point, Glenn had begun to formulate the groundbreaking concept that brain injury is in the brain-not the arm, leg, or foot-and that brain growth and development is dynamic and ever-changing, a concept broadly accepted today as neuroplasticity.

Sitting on his mother's lap, Glenn learned to read before he went to school. His philosophy of learning was shaped by love and nurturing, and he always remembered that mothers were the key to the future. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Coming Up for Air

We're just back from a family trip to New York City.  Meeting Bill at the end of a conference, we spent 5 days exploring the city and exposing the kids to his childhood world.

Highlights for the kids included both FAO Schwartz and Toys R Us, the huge toy stores.  An exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of El Anatsui's Gravity and Grace show intrigued and moved me.  Bills says taking the kids to FAO Schwartz and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge rated high in his experiences.

Weirdly, in the middle of some crowded subway somewhere along the way, I was struck with the sudden knowledge that there was one thing I could do to make my family's life more smooth and comfortable: return to my habit of weekly meal planning. 

For years meal planning grounded my week.  I'd spend an hour Sunday writing down a menu and the associated shopping list, doubled checked against the family's schedule for the week.  Monday, we'd trek to the grocery store, list in hand.  I can't  remember why I started making menus or when and why I stopped.  What I do know is that the ease of checking the menu for the next day before heading to bed releases me from tons of stress - the need to figure out what to cook on the fly, the hassle of realizing the dish I figured I'd make on Wednesday can't work out because I forgot about soccer practice.  It saves us money and time, many fewer last minute runs to the store, fewer wasted items that slink to the back of the fridge because they were purchased without a plan, and fewer excuses to order take out because no adult can figure out what to cook.  And of course, healthier more balanced meals get consumed when my clear-thinking parts drew up the menu instead of just slapping something onto the table.

In the past, I've written up a full plan for 3 meals a day plus snacks.  As I ease back into this and build up my muscles, I've started with just lunch and dinner as breakfasts are pretty standard around here and I just don't have it in me to figure out snacks.  Maybe next week?

For lunches this week we'll be eating: kielbasa and kraut with sweet potato chips, smothered pork chops with kale chips, pork medallions with smashed sweet potatoes, left overs. I ran out of steam, so we'll see what the weekend holds.

For dinners: seared tuna, crockpot chicken tikka masala, fried chicken nuggets, cross rib roast with veggies, left over roast fajitas, roast salad.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What's on the Coffee Table Now

A quick glance at the coffee table entertained me for its sheer range this evening.  Everyone's been on the couch read and then piling their books on the table when they head off for more.

Here they are starting from the one closest to my lazy, propped up feet:
- Toward The Fullness of Life: The Fullness of Love by Arnaud Desjardins (spiritually, relationships - Sara)
- Gladiator: the Roman Fighter Unofficial Manual by Philip Matyszak (history, Theo)
- Magic Zero: Dragon Secrets by Thomas E. Sniegosky and Christopher Golden (fantasy, Theo)
- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (fiction, Rosie and Theo)
- Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess by Phil and Kaja Foglio (audio book, steampunk, Theo)
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu (history, Theo)
- When Life Gives You OJ by Erica S. Pearl (audiobook, fiction, Rosie)
- Twenty Poems to Bless Your Marriage and One To Save It by Roger Housden (spirituality, relationships, poetry - Sara)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Soccer Mom

Pretty quiet over here in Sarablogland for the moment.  However, I did write for the Seattle Neufeld Community blog this week.  Let me know what you think.

Soccer Mom
My 12 year old son Theo can’t get enough soccer this year.  He plays for a select team which practices twice a week, plus at least one game per weekend. Since September he’s also had weekly one-on-one lessons with a coach he admires and likes. Over the cold rainy winter, Theo participated in the local indoor soccer league to keep his foot in the game. 
This spring break season, I find that I have agreed to thregWD4IWMmXpeWjiGNIgLzn7iXXO8KElrXS9dXO_AJACMe weeks of soccer camp in a row – one of the possibilities of being home schoolers is moving our school work to the afternoon to accommodate mornings of scrimmages, hilarious drills, and skill building games.
 For all this time spent on the turf, Theo’s not a top player.  He’s not at the bottom, just somewhere near the middle.  Currently his visions for adult life start out as a professional soccer player. Once he gets “too old” to continue in pro soccer and is forced to retire, he plans to shift careers to work as an engineer and start a family.
Besides driving him all over town, paying for his various soccer pursuits and gear, and adding skills practice to his daily homeschool routine, I’ve watched his passion and wondered how else I can support him to become the player he dreams of. Standing on the sidelines during the final game of the spring season, I listened to some of the team’s best players talk while they waited their turn to go back on the field. I found myself surprised by unexpected insight into what was needed.  Read the rest of the post here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mattering Most Means Frustrating Most

Hi all,

Cross posted from Seattle Neufeld Community blog. I hope you like the post.

“We get most frustrated at the people we love the most because of course those are the ones we want to make it work with.” (Common Challenges, Session 5, 34:12)
At the moment, I’m watching Neufeld’s Common Challenges course from the Power to Parent series.  This quote about who frustrates us really caught my heart.
Gordon goes on to give this lovely example of validating and normalizing a child’s frustration with their parent.  “That’s why mommies are the ones everyone gets frustrated with the most.  They’re the ones that are supposed to be the answer to life.  They fix everything.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mason Monday: Party Dog

Really, we have a VERY nice dog. Give him a blinky ball and he'll boogie with the best of them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Focus frustration

I've experienced huge amounts of frustration with my own blog writing recently. Posting here is a delightful way to share what I'm thinking and learning about, and it is a great way for me to see and track my own growth over the years.

However, what I learn and think most about is barely showing up in my writing here - developmental attachment and our growth to our full human potential.  In pondering my frustration with myself, I've been watching what drives my writing and posts here.  It turns out, I spend huge amounts of time elsewhere writing about what I know and am learning via the Neufeld paradigm.  I think this means when I come here, I've essentually used up that part of my brain - I'm out of gas. The blog becomes a place to share all the other fun stuff in my day.

Knowing this hasn't given me any answers - I can't really stop writing there to write here, and I can't push myself to do more when I'm used up. It does have me thinking about my frustrations in a different light.  I'm still in the process of seeing how I spend my time and energy, and I'm sure I'll come up with a solution that delights me - at some point.

In the meantime, thanks so much for sharing in my adventures.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm Elmo and I Know It

In our early dating, one of the shared interests Bill and I discovered is our tendency to take songs and create our own words for them.  This has become a family past time, and youtube is full of inspiration.

My favorite right now is a take-off on "I'm sexy and I know it."  Check out Elmo!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Absurdist Quinoa

Quinoa field image from
My college years were spent at the University of Puget Sound earning a degree in French Language and Literature.  During my senior year, I became fixated on the existential theories of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.  In particular, my 21 year old brain and life understanding was captured by the idea of "absurism."

Absurdism, as I remember it 20+ years later, focused on the idea that the outcomes of our actions might have very little to do with our intentions. As a sort of morbid example - I might, hoping to make the world a better place one life at a time, hand a snack bar to a homeless person. Unknown to me they are illiterate and deathly allergic to peanuts.  So my act of generosity and goodwill would kill the very person I was trying to help the moment they opened my gift.

Somewhere in my mid 20s, existentialism and absurdism lost its magnetic hold over me.  I do find it popping into my thoughts from time to time as I'm sure the universe is laughing at my impotent human attempts to control the world around me.

Yesterday I came across a clear example of absurdism in everyday life.  It turns out those of us enchanted by the wonderful properties and health benefits of quinoa have inadvertently been destroying the cultures that survived on it for so many years. The Guardian reports about it here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Theo and I are in love with a new potential pet - miniature pigs!

Pocket pigs weight about 30 pounds, get to be about 12-16 inches tall, and are extremely clean and intelligent.  They live 15-20 years

Here is possibly the cutest little piggie video ever.  Meet Hamlet!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Busy Cindy weekend coming!

Our Seattle Neufeld Community leadership team has been sooooo busy recently.  Honestly, sooooo busy.

One of the exciting outcomes is a list of sure to be incredible events with Cindy Leavitt, faculty member of the Neufeld Institute.  We also now have a beautiful new website and a fancy and deeply useful registration tool.

Cindy is coming Valentine's Day weekend.  Her presentations focus on our children's and our own hearts.  In a world where keeping hearts safe is so underappriciated, I think her talks will be both refreshing and inspiring.  
Wed, February 13, 6:30pm - Heart Matters-Winning, Safeguarding, and Strengthening Your Child’s Heart
Sat, February 16, 8:30am - Growing Together-Relationship as a Vehicle for Transformation

And because my fellow team members are so creative and brilliant, we're having a date night event! Music with both Paul Durham and Miss Rose & Her Rhythm Percolators while sipping drinks with friends and supporting our growing community - how fun is that?!
Sat, February 16, 8pm - Date Night Fundraiser

Join us!  Or if you live far away, humor me and click on the link to admire the glorious work that is blossoming here in Seattle!

Scheduling Disaster

Something I struggle with as a homeschooler, or maybe this is just a trick for parents in general these days, is managing our family's schedule.

When the kids were little our time was so simple.  Mealtimes, naps and bedtime defined the structure of the day, we had to go to the grocery story once a week and maybe we'd throw some playtime with friends (aka Mommy's social time) into the week.

Now with older kids who can and want to do more, plus my taking on classes and business work, it all seems very complex.  There is a whole stack of things we need and want to do. Homeschooling time, foundational classes and extra activities.  Field trips and adventures.  Time with friends.  Family game night. Date time for all the various combinations and permutations of the members of our family so we all get one on one connection time.  We still need to go the grocery store.  Time to cook and enjoy meals as a family.  Time to relax and get to know ourselves. Daddy work time, Mommy work time. Walks for the dog. CrossFit time for the mommy.

My iCal is a fantastic mosaic of colors and activities. I have separate calendars for Sara, Kids & Family, SNC work time, Bill's travel, birthdays.  I'm also subscribed to calendars for US holidays, the Seattle Sounders and the Seattle Public Schools. In hopes of keeping everyone where they need to be and all the balls in the air, I even make sure to put in appointments for meals and bedtimes.

Getting everything onto the calendar and making sure I'm not committing to being 2 or even 3 places at the same time seems like building a house of cards.  So many elements, I proceed slowly and delicately until I have a beautiful towering structure that is surprisingly solid and sound. For months or even entire quarters the structure functions beautifully and our household hums along peacefully.

And then, one day, some scheduling wind whips through my iCal and whole house comes fluttering down.

Yesterday that wind went by the name "Soccer Practice." In one small blow, something that happened on Tuesday and Thursdays for years moved to Monday and Wednesday.  Suddenly, nothing works anymore - work time, choir practice, childcare time, board meetings, bill paying time, personal Sara time are all up in the air.  I find myself now reluctanly staring at a game of 52 card pick-up. 

I'm sure my creative parts will kick in again soon, and a new and even better iCal structure will arise from the pile.  But for right now, I'm just going to mourn the loss of something that worked and the need to start over again.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing time!

This month I've signed my kids up for a writing class with BraveWriter. We'll be working on mini-reports.

Theo and I did a class with them last spring and I was beyond impressed.  A friend recommended the cirriculum to me a few years ago and I cherry picked the parts I thought Theo needed and was ready for: copy work, dictations and reverse dictations.  Once he got comfortable with those, we added in freewrites.  As freewrites became easy, I realized I didn't know what to do next.  The Kids Write Basic class was starting, so we tried it.

Funny, but the most important things I learned from the class weren't specific steps to take, but the posture I need to have to best coach my children in writing. Things like (in my Neufeld words) being warm, creating a huge invitation for their ideas, making lots of space for joy and frustration in the process and keeping in mind that writing is its own maturation process. 

Julie, the founder, has such an amazing eye for our goals of raising children (homeschooling or not).  Go check out her blog and sign up for her newsletter for regular breezes of delight and inspiration!

Yesterday, Theo decided to write his report on an antique foosball table he played on in Ecuador.  Rosie will be doing a report on animals in Ecudaor.  I'm looking forward to learning a variety of formats for helping children record and integrate the material they learn on at least some of our amazing adventures being homeschoolers affords us.

Maybe I'll be able to post their finished work here next month.