Sunday, August 30, 2015

Injera Sundays

injera sundays

Every Sunday, we take part in a family tradition involving food. My daughters are Ethiopian, and Ethiopian food is one way we keep a bit of their culture as a central part of our family life. Unless there is something unusual afoot, every single Sunday, we gather around our dining room table and eat injera and wot off a communal plate. It is one of the best parts of our week.

Friday, August 28, 2015

So Long, Summer


Today marked the end of our last week of summer break. On Monday, we begin our fourth year of homeschooling. I keep thinking that each year things will become more and more normal, with few surprises, but I'm usually wrong about that. This year, the surprise is that we feel very much ready to begin book work again. I didn't see that one coming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Only Fitness Goal

pretending that i am ready to go
2006, about to run the Pikes Peak Marathon, like a lunatic.

I've been a runner for a long time. I spent years telling people why other modes of exercise were superior, but then I tried it, and I liked it. I'm not sure exactly what sold me on it, but there's something to be said for those rare runs during which everything seems to go right, and I feel as if I am sailing down the sidewalk instead of trudging away, waiting for the endorphin payoff at the end. Running was something that I hoped I'd always come back to, but that I feared I'd lost for awhile. After running the Pikes Peak Marathon, three times no less, it was hard for me to admit that I was at a point in my life during which I couldn't manage to run at all. But once I admitted it and allowed it, I was able to find my way back.

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Personal Style, Glasses Edition

new spectacles
Oh, hi. This is me, wearing glasses.

Long ago, or  two cities ago, at least, I used to get dressed up on Tuesdays and visit an elderly friend with poor eyesight who insisted I was a fashion model. She'd based this opinion purely on my winter outerwear, but when the weather warmed, I didn't want to disappoint, whether or not she could actually see what I was wearing. And thus was born my habit of photographing and posting what I wore every Tuesday for my visit. It has been requested that in this new space, I share a bit about my style and post outfit photos again, even though I am far away from my old lady friend and no longer dress up. Though I don't consider myself to be a particularly stylish person, I do enjoy wearing things that make me feel good, so here we go. I'm just going to kick it off by talking about what goes on my face. Specifically, my glasses.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dessert for Lazy/Busy People (Recipe Included)

lazy dessert

There are two things that I should tell you about my life as a stay at home mother/home educator/manager of family life that will help a lot of other things make sense. First, that I am often very busy, and second, that when I am not busy, I have given myself full permission to be lazy. When I don't take the opportunity to embrace the down time, I end up with the flu. And do you know what happens when you have the flu and you are the at home parent/home educator/manager of family life? Nothing. Okay, in our house maybe takeout happens, or my surprisingly capable eight-year-old makes dinner. But other than that, I still have to do my job. My job is way easier to do when I am not ill.

I've finally embraced this reality this past year, and so I've spent a lot of time figuring out the easiest way to do a lot of things, which leads to the third revelation about myself in these two paragraphs, which is that I love homemade dessert (okay, all dessert, but homemade most of all). And because I love dessert so much, it's obviously been a priority to figure out how to make it is easily and well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why We Homeschool

new chalkboard!

Like many other home educators, I come from a past in which I spoke things aloud like, "I think homeschooling is wonderful, but I believe in public education, and I'll send my kids to school." I remember wanting to be homeschooled myself, but when I started to think about what I wanted our family life to be like, taking our children to school was part of that fantasy. And then we actually had a kid in our family, and that changed everything that I thought about school. Homeschool was what she needed, and so it's what we did. Now I've been drinking the homeschool Kool-aid for three years, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Like most people, we have multiple reasons for choosing the type of schooling we did, and for choosing to keep doing it year after year. I'd say there are four main reasons we prefer to home educate, with about a million more little reasons that make it just right for us right now.

These are our four big reasons:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Current Favorite Mom Trick

my favorite mom trick

I am not a morning person, and neither are my kids. You may think that this means that things work out fine and dandy, and we all sleep in, but it doesn't exactly work that way. My kids do sleep later than most, but E wakes up hangry nearly every morning. I might wake later, but I am awakened abpruptly. E stumbles into my room, and before my eyes are even open, she barks, "I'm HUNGRY." Sometimes I can get to her to come and snuggle with me for a few minutes before we go downstairs together, but mostly she wants food, and she wants it ten minutes ago. You know, so she wouldn't wake up hangry in the first place. What is my problem, anyway, not being considerate enough to feed her while she was sleeping?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Less Busy, More Awesome

my inspiration
Our cat is an inspiration for our lives.

One thing I've been working on for our family, especially for the time I spend each week on my own with both girls, is a peaceful life, both at home and in general. I think that in our culture, there's both an immense amount of pressure and a huge amount of temptation to be very busy. There are so many options of things to do, and places to go, and people to meet. Just this week, someone in a local home education group asked what sorts of activities our kids do on a regular basis, and I was shocked to hear how many activities a lot of families are engaged in. It would be easy to look at those lists and feel inadequate as an activity planner, or to think that we should add some more things to our list. Then I remembered that, actually, we used to have that many things on our list. And we hated it. We just didn't realize it at the time.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Why London?

at russell square gardens

By far the question we get asked most is, "Why London?" Most people who ask it are fellow residents of our borough, which we love, but which isn't in any way the kind of borough most people expect Americans to flock to. They can understand choosing the neighborhood for economy's sake, but that we moved to London on purpose, and then chose this neighborhood, also on purpose, is beyond the scope of their reasoning. Surely we are just here for a short time because we were forced by my husband's job circumstances? They seem confused when I say no. Sometimes I just give a weak little, "Oh, we like it, we want to stay..." and allow my voice to trail off as we exit wherever we've been trapped under the questioner's skeptical gaze. But sometimes I explain.

Here's the explaining bit.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


my people

While I've no doubt that some readers will find their way to this space from one of my former blogs, I still feel it might be useful to those who are new to make some introductions. In the past, I've used first names when writing, but I think it will serve my little family better to go by first initial instead. I'm not sure just how I'd like to handle privacy in this new space, but I feel that as my children grow, it becomes more and more important to limit images and other identifying information. Their lives are their own, and I want to respect that. There may come a time that we all agree that certain photos and videos are just too good not to share, but for now we'll keep it to a bit of a profile and the backs of their heads.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Year Right Here

everyday glimpses

This weekend marked one year of our family living in London. It feels like it's been longer, while at the same time feeling like we are still so new. I still get excited every time I see the Tower Bridge, even though I see it at least twice a week. I don't know if it will ever stop being a wonder that we managed to end up here. We wanted this for so long, tried for it, thought about ending up elsewhere, and kept coming back to this being the place for us.