Category Archives: traveling with children

The Wandering Market Family is Expanding. This is the beginning.

Yesterday I stared into nine month old Aayla’s potty of her morning excrement. A bright pink balloon was staring back at me as if saying to me again “what are you doing?”.
Even though we were careful, she had somehow found and eaten and thankfully pooped out a balloon.
It reminded me of the video I watched of The Midway Project where they photograph carcasses of birds decaying, exposing their insides full of plastic. This video really affected me as I thought about all the plastic trinkets we have had at birthday parties, festivals, camping and on and on. A party often feels like an exception to be less mindful as we bring out the plastic toys and disposable cutlery to celebrate the event.
I think a lot about discontinuing my use of plastic as a way to support the earth. I know others are doing it and I could too but I haven’t yet.
But this post isn’t about feeling guilty. It’s about finding what inspires you to be better and do better as it leads towards our ultimate fulfillment.
Stick with me.
I have been sitting with these feelings for a while. I ponder them as I haul out massive garbage bags to the back to magically be taken away and be buried into the earth. I can see the overflowing dump from the edge of town. It is surrounded by fields of food growing around the massive heap. Garbage that has flown in litters the wheat and peas and barley and we see each other at the post office and smile as if it doesn’t exist.
This is only a small drop of polluted sand in Saskatchewan compared to the other problems like the chemical runoff into fresh water which is also the water we drink.
My neighbour doesn’t live there anymore but she comes back once in the summer to douse her yard on a windy day with chemicals. It’s just a few feet away from where we grow food. What are we doing?
I’ve sat with this for a long time, waiting to feel empowered by love and not my anger.
The time has come.
I love watching my children playing with such easy joy in the sand. We went to the lake yesterday. I sat with Aayla while she slept. I watched our future unfold as Michael walked around picking glass and other garbage out of the earth where they were playing. I noticed the children begin to follow him around and Nova even began to help him pick up. She came to me curious about things that biodegrade and things that don’t. She began putting various collected garbage in water to see what would break down.
These events inspired in me the thought

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Life Rocks Unschooling Conference 2013: Supporting one another.

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It’s been a week since we left Life Rocks. I’m feeling ready to start writing about it more in depth. Everyone has been asking me about it. I’ll break it down into topics and moments when they strike me.
While driving home, I have been repeatedly asking myself:
What has impacted me the most?
The answer is clear and easy.
It’s how much we need each other.
The week at Life Rocks was not only fun and inspiring and joyful, but it was healing. I could feel myself opening up and releasing fears and deep seeded beliefs in such a free atmosphere. I felt like I could walk up to anyone and ask them for help. I felt supported to express my flaws and dysfunction, and I did! I saw many other people go through this as well.
For many, the usual fears would come up surrounding our children’s behavior. There were a few “fights” in the beginning between children. I could sense within me that old feeling of “I should leave. Disconnect. Feel shame.”. Life Rocks proved for so many to be the perfect place to work through these. There were many inspiring speakers who touched on this and morning mom’s groups where it could be discussed freely with a person designate to keep the group on track. It was said repeatedly that freedom is NOT treating our children in a way that is intended to change their behavior. That’s a hard one to learn, especially if your child is aggressive.
But what do you mean? Do we accept their bad behaviors? Oh, it’s so much deeper than that. It’s about acknowledging where someone is at and loving them regardless. It’s about being our authentic selves regardless of another’s actions. It’s about offering clear and open support for the child, or anyone. Forcing someone into joy or peace is NOT freedom. I learn to live this mostly with my acknowledging words and with silence. I am loving being there with my child and understanding and I can say peacefully “You really wanted to smash that window with a rock.” And he looks at me and nods and cries.
I don’t feel that I’ve totally developed these thoughts. I mean what do you do when there is danger? You stop it. You change the outcome, right? I’ve learned that I don’t really need rules or guidelines. I can take each moment at a time and ask it “what do you need from me?”
These revelations come when in an open and beautiful coming together of love and freedom. It happened. It felt so natural. It felt safe.
I told people things that I’ve never spoken and they did the same. We had moments of tears and stress and releasing “what do I do now?!?” Because it is not always easy or comfortable to take children from home and put them with strangers and foreign foods and activities. We worked through it and it created bonds that will continue to grow and last a life time. We know how we are all going through a lot of the same stuff. It’s not easy to be different. Or rather, it hasn’t been easy. But we’re working to make freedom and joy easy. Future generations won’t have to fight for it because it will be common and feel natural.
These Life Rocks feelings have translated into all of life as we journey home. We’ve been meeting people along the way and I am continuing to share wonderful connections. We’ve stayed with two Unschooling families. One which we met at the conference an another that I met online. I’m so in awe of their generosity and openness.
As I write this, I am seeing a mom point to one of those huge, chemical ridden hotel make-your-own waffles and she tells her child “Eat this or you’re not swimming!” And “People won’t like you if you talk like that.”
I breathe and smile at her. I can appreciate the journey it takes and I can see her pain and fear. I can also see her kind intent and human nature.
It really makes me think about how much we need to fully support and love one another.

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Big Family Trip: Many Days Passed…

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It’s been days and days since I’ve last documented our trip. Mostly just because I didn’t feel like it. And I don’t do what I don’t feel like.
“It’s kinda like stopping in the middle of amazing sex to discuss how good it is.” Says Michael.
And We’ve been tired. So tired in such a good way. We pass out face down on hotel beds while the kids jump on the other bed and explore hotel hallways and open doors.
We left the conference and went to Quebec; Old Quebec. We took many walks, swims and frequent naps. I love Old Quebec. I feel the nostalgic presence of canons going off, people walking in streets, children around the corners and the smells of real food wafting from windows. I bet they had fresh bread and hearty soups. And there would be horses. There’s horses now! The thing that struck me the most about Old Quebec was the gigantic stone wall I drove under to enter the “city”. They’ve kept it so old. A restaurant on the corner was a house built in 1627 and they serve wild game. $60 a meal and we didn’t eat there but I sure enjoyed taking in the aromas and the menu posted outside. Sometimes a menu is enough. It fills my heart and crowds out my belly, especially when they use words like “slowly roasted wild boar”.
We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac in all it’s glory. It’s mighty glorious with the cost to match. I knew the hotel would be a bit more but what I didn’t factor in was how expensive it would be to sustain ourselves in such a place. Parking, valet, eating are all a lot and everyone needs a tip. 🙂
The pool was nice with its free apples and loving acceptance of our child with the anarchy symbol spray painted on his chest from a Life Rocks Dance past. Michael danced so hard with that symbol and no shirt that he injured his neck. I love it all.

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This was where they use to train all the horses for war.

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Big Family Trip: Radical Unschooling Conference, day three and four.

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So ya we ate bugs. The silkworm went on and on in my mouth. I had to lick some of it out of my molars. Water would have been a good idea. Most people really enjoyed the bugs. Nobody puked. Emmett came to me at one point with little legs and parts all over his stuck out tongue and fingers.
It’s late and it’s Thursday. Nova is drifting on while sounds of drums beat right outside the window. Children’s laughter and adult conversation are below us. I love this. I love going to the townhouse and people are there. People who were strangers a few days ago. I’ve shared more with them than I have with anyone. It’s amazing how collective consciousness can open us up to what wants to come through. I cat really distinguish the last two days so I will speak about individual events. Yesterday seemed emotional for everyone. I was ok but I felt a Heaviness that I just sat with. It would be so easy to spiral down and ind things to blame. Instead I located the pain as a pounding heart and chest under pressure. I focused on that while breathing and not allowing any thoughts to come through.
I love to observe. I see many children without shoes, even outside. At one point I saw a child crawl on top of one of those push cars and stand. Lots of freedom going on here and no one has died.
The talent show tonight was very emotional for me. A girl with a dancing ribbon had me teary eyed. By the time the hula hooper came on, I was full on choking back tears. I’ve never seen children so in their elements doing what they love and everyone cheering them on even if they are tone deaf. Passion is what counts.
The bigger thing I’ve noticed here is that there’s no divide between teenagers and parents and everyone else. Here’s a video of a family singing, the boy is very obviously close to his mother.

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This girls performance was so heart touching and uncommon as you can see her older brother in the blue cheering on.

This is Chaz’s new friend, Crewe Recroad. What a cool name. He says he doesn’t know any more of the song, watch what happens…

Big Family Trip: Day 6, little Falls to North Conway, New Hampshire.

Last night we stayed at The Overlook Mansion in Little Falls, NY. It’s an 18,000 square foot mansion built in the 1800’s by the man that invented the first working oil furnace. It’s impressive. The new owners tell us the story of how it was left abandoned for years until they bought it in an auction and fixed it up. I love old houses especially ones with big porches and wood work. It makes me ponder all the lives that have inhabited it. I question their thoughts, desires and habits. It connects me to a time I have never known.
It’s hard for me to write about yesterday. It’s actually day one of the conference and I’m in unschooled heaven. I’d like to write about that. Cheek the next blog…

Big Family Trip: Day 5, Willoughby to Little Falls, NY

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Five to six hours of driving a day is not proving to be too much for any of us. There’s minor irritations and tingly legs, but nothing unbearable.
Willoughby, Ohio was so warm. When I got out of the van last night, in the dark, I could smell spring. The morning welcomed me with green tulips well on their way poking through. Emmett found a stick that even had buds on it.
Now we are only one hour left until our destination for the night. We didn’t do much today but stop to pee (a lot) and look at a camera in Buffalo, NY. The sight driving in was unbelievable. Enormous building after building, falling apart with broken windows. It Ominous to see a dead industrial area for mile after mile. What happened?

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Omg. Nova’s self portraits

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He’s a mess! Lo

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Finally! The Overlook Mansion! And a real supper.

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Will post more pictures of the mansion tomorrow.
GOOD NIGHT NEW YORK!!!