Saturday, January 31, 2015

Art, Movies & The Blizzard that Never Was ~ January 25-31, 2015

To Move or Not to Move?

This seems to be the biggest question on my mind these days.  

Last year, with some advice from my dad who had a HUGE garden when I was a kid, gardening came together for me.  I have been starting to think about and plan our garden for this year.  We have greens down, but I want to try some other things.  The problem is that we get a lot of shade in our backyard.  So then I start thinking about moving to a house with a big sunny yard where we can have a bigger garden.  Jason and Allie would love to have chickens, I would love the fresh eggs.

Then, the next day, I go down to our basement for something and remember when Jason and I re-finished the basement and think of how perfect it is for our family--perfect spaces for Jason to play guitar and Allie to create and all of us to watch movies together.  I have memories of my girls having their playroom down there when they were little and all of the birthday parties and sleepovers and playing Wii with my uncle....  I really don't want to start over.

A couple of years ago our neighbors put in a pool and that can get noisy sometimes in the summer.  They have also spent more than two years putting on an addition themselves and they are not done with it yet--although we haven't heard a peep out of them in months, I find myself bracing for the sound of power tools and banging and the deep thumps of bass from their radio as they work.  I don't want to live like that.

We've been working with a realtor since last summer (and looking at for a couple years before that) and what we have seen, in order to get the land we want, the house is going to need some work.  Jason's handy and that's not a problem, but I just don't know if that's where we are at anymore.  In our thirties, we wanted to spend time and money on our house; in our forties we are thinking about our kids' education and saving for retirement and doing fun stuff and the house is no longer a focus at all and I don't know that I want it to be.
I like pictures in blog posts.
Here are some of the houses that had made it to a short list at one time in the last few months, that we looked at with a realtor.  All were on 2+ acres of land.  One had toxic mold, one had renovations that were not done to code, one was on 2 acres but was very close to the neighbors' driveway and pool on one side and we just didn't like the layout of one.

We keep saying that if we find the perfect house, we will move.  Before all of these thoughts of moving started we were going to remodel our kitchen, but the realtors have advised us not to bother if we are moving because we wouldn't recoup the cost and it's not worth the headache.

I guess I just kind of want to know and feel settled.  Feeling settled is a big thing for me.  I hate feeling like things are up in the air.  But, I guess sometimes that is just how life is.


I finished the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  I am not going to lie, even though I have a regular practice, I don't practice every single day.  There were days when it was tough getting on the mat, but I did. Sometimes I got up early to practice and somedays I was on that mat at 9 or 10pm because that was the only chance I got all day (fortunately, Allie volunteered to practice with me those nights which made it a lot more fun to get on the mat late at night!).  But I am glad I did it and stuck with it and I do feel stronger and I am more flexible and I know I have improved in some poses.  Still not able to stay up in crow or do a headstand, but my tree pose has improved and my heels are on the floor in poses where they were not on the floor before.

I am in the habit of finding a guided meditation or Savasana in another tab before I start the yoga video and then just switching over as soon as I complete the yoga.  The meditation is grounding and calming and I feel like I am getting deeper inside myself even as I sit there and try not to think of anything but my breath or the suggestions in the video.  Very powerful.

My Other Obsession ~ Nashville

I love Nashville.
I've been mainlining it for weeks, determined to catch up before it comes back on in early February.
I love this scene from the last episode of Season 2 where Rayna (Connie Britton) thanks God for everything she has.  We don't see enough of this on TV.  I might not be a fan of organized religion right now, but I do have a strong faith and believe in giving thanks and tapping into spirituality.  Something about this scene made my heart feel full and understood and I had to share it.


  • Skiing/Snowboarding - Jason and Allie went snowboarding Monday. Jason is loving it;  Allie not so much, she is going to switch to skiing and take skiing lessons starting this Monday, February 2 and she will have to stick it out for the season--hopefully she will like skiing better!
  • Chemistry - Jason finished Chapter 4.5 with the girls and because he was home in the "Most OverPredicted Snowstorm of 2015" he also completed 4.6 with the girls, used the Elements book his brother gave us for Christmas to learn more about the structure of the Periodic Table and the numbering system of the Periodic Table.  I sat in on this lesson and it started coming back to me---electron vibrations and shells and orbits....oh my! The girls worked together on a project to illustrate how to read/find elements on the periodic table, how the elements are organized and what the numbers mean.  Since they completed Chapter 4, I created a test for them using Google Forms--we feel that learning to study for tests is an important part of middle and high school.  
  • Math - After working with me for a few weeks, Piper was confident to finish the chapter on Adding and Subtracting Fractions on her own and she did well on the end of chapter quiz.  Allie continues to do well with Algebra, something that I seriously give thanks for because I struggled through Algebra in COLLEGE and I just don't know how much help I could be with it.
  • History -  We took a break from History this month so that the girls could read some contemporary fiction (our history program has been centered around historical novels) but we started getting back into it when I found that the movie Hester Street was on youtube!  I looked all over for this movie in the fall--even subscribed to different sites only to find that they didn't have it (even though the advertised that they did have it)...but a professor uploaded it to youtube for a college class a couple of weeks ago and we were able to catch it!  It was wonderful!  First of all, I adore Carol Kane.  The girls did not like the story, but they did like the glimpse into what Hester Street may have looked like and what life may have looked like in the 1890s on the Lower East Side;  additionally, we felt the film did a really good job of capturing the struggle of immigrants to retain their cultural identity and the pull to become "American". This movie was also very interesting in terms of film analysis -- it seemed so authentic to the time and we loved the music that the filmmaker picked for the film, Piper loved the sets and Allie pointed out how at times it was almost like a silent film with a lot of gesturing but no words.  In terms of hours, I counted this toward history, but we did spend a fair amount of time also discussing the film in terms of aesthetics and appreciation for our film study class.
  • Writing - The girls designed fantasy houses last week--Piper designed a beach house and Allie designed a house for a family.  This week, they wrote detailed descriptions of the houses; after we edited the descriptions together, they were sent to my mom and dad to read and then to draw the floor plan of the house based on the description.  I think this is an interesting assignment and will show the girls how important being precise in your words can be.  I can't take credit for this assignment, it came from Writing Strands, Level 4, Exercises 9, 10 & 11.
  • Vocab - The girls got a 91% on their Quizlet quizzes for Lesson 1 of Word Up Vocab and we started on Lesson 2: Scribe and Scriptum.  They both said that illustrating the roots is their favorite thing.
  • Italian - The girls and I are working on Lesson 2 of Rosetta Stone Italian.  We have learned the names of animals and begun to put sentences together--so far I am incredibly impressed with this program and it seems to be much more intuitive than the two years of French I took in high school and the two years of Spanish I took in college!
  • Film Study -  What better time to do a film study than during a {predicted} blizzard?  As we braced ourselves for the "storm of the century" (which ended up being a few inches of snow, yet shut down our state) we watched Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and discussed camera angles and clues that film makers give with music and camera angles.  
  • We also watched Being John Malkovich--I had reserved it through an ILL hold, but I wasn't sure if the girls were into Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind last week because they said it was "trippy" and Being John Malkovich is probably the trippiest movie ever--but they wanted to watch it, so we did.  We discussed symbolism (John Malkovich was successful and self-possessed something many people strive to be) and what we thought the movie meant (life is not always what it seems; people aren't always what they seem; you don't really know someone unless you walk in their shoes) and if we thought it was an important message (we did), worth making a movie about (we did and we felt the film maker--Michael Stipe of REM--did a good job).  There were a lot of layers to the movie and we did our best to peel them away and talk about each.

  • Art - Piper has been exploring macro photography.  She set up an IG account for her photos called
  • Art - Allie's godmom owns a mixed media supply company, Art Anthology.  She sent the girls a box of her awesome paints and stencils.  The box was waiting on our front steps when we got home from e3 and pottery on Wednesday, the girls immediately went down to the art studio and spent the rest of the night and a good portion of Thursday and Friday playing and creating!  
  • Friends - On Sunday we went to see one of the girls' good friends' perform at the iconic Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park.  If you are in a band in New Jersey, playing Asbury Park is a BIG DEAL.  One of the girls' friends is part of an amazing music program--he's homeschooled--and he had the opportunity to perform in Asbury Park, so we went out to support him!  We all had a blast and their friend did a phenomenal job!
  • E-Cubed - Someone asked me why I don't include this every week and I guess it's because I don't physically do it with the girls, but I decided to start including it anyway.  This week, they did Improv and Skills.  In Skills they learned to screw things into drywall and also to spackle or "mud".  I am not really sure what they did during Improv because it sounds like Allie spent the time talking to friends ;-)
  • Pottery -  Piper is working on a set of mugs (the students had a choice of any kind of pottery but it has to be a set with something that links it but something different about each piece) which all have a chevron design, but the design is slightly different.  Her teacher gave her permission to go in early this week to work on it more.  Piper is LOVING this class and I am LOVING this studio!  We get a photo and a report from the teacher of what they did each week.  This is what we got this week:

It is so funny to me.  
Every week when I sit down to write this post I am always surprised at how much we accomplish!  It doesn't seem like that much during the week when we are in the thick of it...but when I put it all down seems like we accomplished quite a bit!