Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Secret Door

"Don't you just love this secret door? What would you like to see when you open it?" --a guy named Don who is mending his old barn, Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op blog.

Just ran into this today. It left me so much to think about. I love letting that question role around in my conciousness. It keeps my vibration up, appreciating, focusing on my dreams.

Successful Messes

Here's a project Joran and I worked on together.

When it comes to some things, like paint, I have to be involved, because I'm not quite ready to deal with the mess that happens when I'm not right there to wipe up, direct and control the mess as it's happening. And I'm not okay with nagging Joran or using punishments, threats or rewards to be less messy.

This particular project will be memorable for me, because as I was working on one of the firecrackers, I told Joran that I would love to take an art class someday to learn how to paint well. He said to me, "But Mommy, you already paint really well." Aaaawww!

There is one place where I've totally let go. This is the construction site Joran has made of our back balcony.

And this is the washable rug I'm so thankful for where he leaves his boots. This rug has been everywhere I've lived since my beautiful friend Ayesha gave it to me in college, and it still looks great... after a trip through the wash. Thanks Ayesha!

Life is messy!
Jolene =)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Alien Alphabet

This evening, Joran wanted to play with letters. We have these beautiful Eric Carle ABC cards. I love playing with them, too.

Joran brought the cards out to us and started telling Jasmijn that the animals were aliens. Sometimes, Jasmijn would say (with my voice) "Oh, that one looks like a monkey." Joran would reply, "No, no, no. It's an alien." And then he would explain that you could tell what kind of alien it was by looking on the other side. "See the letter M, now you know this is a Malien alien." And on and on they went. Joran got an especially big belly laugh out of the sound O made with alien. I thought it sounded like an alien call: Ooh alien?

I love unschooling! We get to play with letters whenever we want to and take our imaginations to the outer reaches of the Universe!

Math? I make homemade juice popsicles. Joran had just finished two the other day when he asked, "Mom, can I have 2 more popsicles? I already had 2, so that makes 4." I was doing a little dance in the kitchen, because it's so exciting to watch my child learn naturally!

May The Force be with you,
Jolene =)

It's all okay

I'm not frustrated anymore. I'm going to be brave and try editing the Html. I am already a bit lonely, because John just left for a week in London. I promised him we would spend the week giving new definition to FUN and be ready to share it with him when he gets back!

Thanks everyone for the help and encouragement!

Feeling jittery,
Jolene =)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Frustrated with blogging!

Why can't I delete photos after I've published a post?
Why aren't the spaces showing up between paragraphs in my first post?
Why am I so illiterate?

Official Introduction

This is who we are and what we're up to. "We" are me, my wonderful husband John, a delightful 4-year-old son Joran, and an angelic 4-month-old daughter Jasmijn.

We love that it's spring! The weather has been beautiful throughout Switzerland, and what a great area to enjoy spring and summer! We've been out in it, as the pictures reflect.

In general, we love the outdoors. I'm the one who loves gardening, but the whole family seems to get involved. Unfortunately, we don't have a real garden right now, so I've filled the front balcony with plants and Joran has recently covered the back balcony with mud and construction equipment.

We also love to travel, so living in Switzerland is perfect for now. With children, however, we choose a destination and often stick with what we know. Our favorite destinations are Disneyland, any castle with a forest surrounding, beaches... and of course, The Netherlands.

A little background on John. We met in Redmond, WA, but he's from Gouda, The Netherlands. He moved over with Microsoft, marketing. Games are his passion and he's so excited to have a career in the industry!

Joran loves gaming, too. And trucks, trains, guns and swords and other paraphernalia that his mother is still learning to appreciate, puzzles, jokes, tricking people.... And he loves his sister even though he would try to trick you and tell you that he's not her brother.

Jasmijn smiles and laughs a lot, sleeps well, and tries to keep an eye on her brother.

Finally, one of the biggest defining parts of our lives and lifestyle includes unschooling. In other words, we believe that learning is everywhere, opportunities abound, life is good, children are perfect in their way, deserving of all the respect we can offer them and teachers to us all.

Any questions?

Jolene (oh, sorry for the kind of thrown down way of this blog so far... I'm learning)

Joy Embraces Jealousy

There was a recent idea floating around one of my unschooling parenting lists: true joy includes all emotions. I can identify with this, because one must be able to feel a full range of emotions before truly knowing joy. I like to take it even further that feeling "negative" emotions such as anger, frustration, irritation, embarrassment, fear, etc... are part of simultaneously feeling joy.

For that reason, I embrace jealousy. As I feel jealousy, I am able to identify things that others have that I want in my life and I am able to identify aspects in others that are a reflection of me. So, the jealousy turns to admiration. During the whole process, I can feel joy, knowing that such "negative" emotions lead to enlightenment when I follow them.

Loving it all,


Friday, April 17, 2009

Not from this world

Here is Joran in front of the HR Giger museum in Gruyere. HR Giger won an Academy Award for visual effects in the movie Aliens. Joran loved his work! As soon as he saw the alien sculptures outside, he wanted pictures with everything and then just strutted right on into the museum to see everything else. The museum staff tried to discourage us by saying that the works were too grotesque for a 4-year-old, but Joran would not be deterred.

Inside the museum, I spent a lot of time thinking about the choice to follow Joran's lead rather than letting someone else decide what was appropriate or inappropriate for him. Joran knows himself best, and as his mama, I want to facilitate further self-discovery and discovery of the delightful world around him. I don't want to make choices for him based on my fears or prejudices or anyone elses.

It turned out the art was not scary at all, but fascinating for Joran. I'm sure it's a passion we'll be exploring more of. This was not the first encounter with grotesque art. Joran didn't want to leave during a recent trip to the Phoenix Art Museum, and one of his favorite pieces was covered with a dismembered head, blood and a few monster images (painted, not real).

I've learned so much as Joran's parent. He's an intense little man! He teaches me a lot about personal power, reclaiming it, asserting it. He teaches me about freedom, letting go and maintaining my own well-being regardless of others. Now I have a little girl as well, and so far, I can see that she has other lessons to teach me. While her will is similarly strong, it is more quiet. With her, I am learning more about joy, self-worth, and again about keeping my own happiness independent of others.

So, this blog will be mostly about my parenting journey. I chose the title simply because I love the name Saoirse, which means "freedom." I've combined it with "fearless," because that's how I want to live -- fearlessly, powerfully, with freedom.

Live well!