Friday, December 26, 2008

We have peas and carrots for Christmas!




Now, you (I) can say all the negative things you (I) want about Texas, but we went out to the garden this morning and picked peas and carrots and had them for lunch. I made some couscous and dropped the veggies in there fresh with a little olive oil and salt. We MUNCHED out!
Y'all stop by and we'll pick some food!
Love,
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And to all a good night.

One little boys sleeps, dreaming of snow and Santa and Daddy.
One mama stays up, wrapping and loving and being still.
I wish all of you love and peace and pure joy.
Merry Christmas, dear ones.
Michele

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bold The Things You've Done

This has been going around blogworld for some time. I love this kind of stuff so here's my Bold The Things You've Done list:



1. Started your own blog. Obviously. Joyfully.

2. Slept under the stars. Oh, my, yes.

3. Played in a band. In my dreams.

4. Visited Hawaii. Can you believe I lived in LA for 10 years and never went to Hawaii?

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Yes, often.

7. Been to Disneyland/world. Disneyland as an adult with my mama and brother.


8. Climbed a mountain. Nothing impressive, but, yes.

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang/played a solo

11. Bungee jumped. I can't imagine ever doing this.

12. Visited Paris. Oui! Oui!

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Glorious. I miss sailing so much. Wonder why I don't just do it?

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. I guess. All my art is from scratch, really.
15. Adopted a child. I truly, truly hope to someday.
16. Had food poisoning. Blech, yes. I've also had "food poisoning" many times on Monday mornings.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. What a beauty she is.

18. Grown your own vegetables. Joy Joy Joy!

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. So tiny! REad the DaVinci code, if you haven't.

20. Slept on an overnight train. Mmm, yes. I LOVE trains.
21. Had a pillow fight. Every day.
22. Hitch hiked. I've watched too many horror films.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. I've taken sick years!
24. Built a snow fort. Just wood forts.

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping. Whenever possible and at the drop of a pants, er, hat.

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse. I remember it so well.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Both. Some of those sunrises were not so great, if you get my drift.

31. Hit a home run. I've scored a home run though. Hee hee.

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. No, but Finn really wants to go so, maybe this year?

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Erin Go Braugh!

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language. The language of a loving heart is what I'm learning right now.


37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person. He drives a Humvee, if you know what I mean.

41. Sung karaoke. Documented, even.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant. Buying food for the homeless is one of the greatest pleasures known to mankind. Try it sometime!

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance. I don't remember it though.

47. Had your portrait painted


48. Gone deep sea fishing. Absolutely broke my heart to see these great fish caught. I'd never go again.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. I grew up going to Showtown USA. No kidding.

55. Been in a movie. Ahem. AND on The Price Is Right, in case you're not impressed already.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business. Several. In my mind.
58. Taken a martial arts class . Qi Gong with Master Li.

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies--I've eaten plenty, does that count?

62. Gone whale watching. Saw them too! Life changing, indeed.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

4. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check. Oops!


68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. I found 2 old dolls of mine when I was in college and then lost them again. Boo hoo.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt. No, but I've tried to learn to knit for about 20 years.

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job. Not that I can think of. It's possible that it happened during some "lost years" though.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London


77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person


80. Published a book. You can too. Blurb.com

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. I've cooked crabs before. I could never do it again. Having a child made my heart absolutely destructable.

88. Had chickenpox. No, but I have a natural immunity to them.

89. Saved someone’s life. Supposedly, I saved Sam Magee from drowning. I have often thought that perhaps Sam "wanted" to be saved.

90. Sat on a jury. Got the boot due to my "history".

91. Met someone famous. ML + MG = Love 4ever. Hee hee.

92. Joined a book club. I'm in one now.

93. Lost a loved one. My Daddy and my sweet babies.

94. Made a baby. I made some, but only got to have one. I miss them all every day, every minute, every second with all my heart.

95. Seen the Alamo in person. Go Vols!


96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. Nope. But the first time I flew over them I thought the plane was going the wrong way and we were over the ocean. Really.

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone. Blah blah blah.

99. Been stung by a bee
The End

MERRY SOLSTICE, Y'ALL!








Merry Merry Solstice!


My favorite day of the year. I think I shall always regret not getting married on the winter solstice. Why didn't I? Hmmm. Good question with different answers depending on whether I'm being positive or negative that day! Oh well, maybe we'll celebrate 10 years of marriage on the solstice.

We started our day by helping with our neighborhood's annual Lighting of the Luminaries. We have a big, long ditch (Arroyo Seco) that runs through our hood (and sits right outside my windows too). Every year at Christmastime, we collect hundreds of plastic jugs, cut the tops off, put sand in the bottom and place a little tealight inside. Then, at 6pm every night we light them and at 10pm we extinguish them. It is sooo beautiful to see an entire street lit with lovely white lights. Really dreamy. It was so cold today that Finn and I volunteered to drive our truck up and down the street and place the jugs on the arroyo. Finn got to ride in the front seat and I got to stop and start and stop and start and stop and start. It was fun.

We were starving afterwards so we went to our secret IHOP. It's just crazy that no one is ever there! Even on a Sunday at 11am it was practically empty. Then we came home and did our annual decorating of the trees in our yard. We usually decorate some of the trees on the arroyo too, but it was so darn cold and windy that we just did one and called it a day. A delicious long winter's nap followed and soon it will be time to go to the airport and pick up Uncle Roo. At last!

Hope y'all are having a wonderful holiday season and don't forget to say a little thanks to the earth and sun and moon and stars.


Love,

Michele and Finnigan the Curious


Tomorrow: Tales from the bus stop at 11PM! (ugh) and some pictures from Jackholt.




Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Most Bestest Dream Ever


Finny woke up this morning and said, "I had the most bestest dream ever last night. I dreamed Daddy came home and gave me a present. It was a Daddy toy that I could keep here while he was gone."
Sniff.
We miss you Daddy. Glad you're showing up in our dreams.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Polar Express



There are some things so magical they defy description. Taking our boys to ride The Polar Express was one of them. If you've never seen the movie, watch the trailer HERE
The movie is an amazing rendering of Chris Van Allsburg's book by the same name. It's one of the first movies Finny ever watched. I found out this year that all over the country passenger trains are turned into The Polar Express for a few weeks during the holidays. The Austin trains were all sold out so I went digging around and found that Palestine, Texas has a Texas State Railroad system and that tickets were still available. I decided to make it a surprise for Finny. I found a pocket watch on Craigslist just like the one the conductor uses in the movie. It even has a train on the front! I found him a robe just like the boy in the movie wears (although he refused to wear it, he does claim to really like it). I wrapped these up and gave them to him the night before we went. I was SURE he would know what the surprise was as he is such a mastermind, but he didn't. Because we were going with Bowie and Autumn he kept thinking we were going to the beach for Christmas (wishful thinking!). The drive took 3 hours and we all had a wonderful time talking and being silly. We stopped and bought crap to eat and drink. We stopped to pee. We stopped to think about peeing. Such glorious fun with 2 babes who are not babies anymore, but fun, fun people. We got a hotel room, ordered pizza and ransacked the room properly. I finally told Finny where we were going and he was VERY excited. The whole thing was just picture perfect. The train depot was very big and gorgeous and totally decorated to the nines. The boys got their "golden tickets" and we boarded car #46. The ride was JUST like the book; staff dressed like chefs doing cartwheels and back flips, hot chocolate and candy, the music from the movie playing, all the children in their pajamas. The train rides for about 30 minutes while they serve the drinks and candy and a taped voice over reads the book aloud. THEN, all of the sudden, you hear a murmur then a rumble then all the kids start yelling and everyone runs to one side of the car and you see...THE NORTH POLE! A huge lights display with Santa's house and Santa with elves waving from the porch. The train stops and everyone dances in the aisle while you take pictures. After the train starts up again, the workers start coming up and down saying they THINK Santa is on board. Oh my...he IS! He comes down the aisle and gives every child a silver bell (just like in the movie) and signs books (he signed ours: Merry Christmas! Love, Mr. C). The conductor comes and clicks your ticket just like in the movie.
I am not kidding, I had to turn away a handful of times as I was just downright weepy with the love of it all.
I absolutely ADORE with all my heart being a parent and being able to provide my child with such magic. I am so grateful to Jack for working like he does so that I can stay home with my child and live a totally FREE life. I never, ever want this to end. Living the life of radical unschoolers is a gift I could have never imagined for myself in a million years. And, yet, SOMEhow I manifested this and here we are. Our life together is not perfect, it is hard at times, BUT it IS magical and it IS free and it IS a way of living that I would not trade for anything in the world. Ever. I do hope, at some point, we can find a way to share the experience of earning money so that Jack can be at home more. I continue to believe that we will and I continue to ask the Universe to keep me open to the possibility of it.
Y'all come over and we'll pop some corn and watch The Polar Express.
Love,
Michele and Finnigan the Curious

From Austin to Antarctica


It's just so weird to me that we are here and he is there and it's still the same planet. It is hot and muggy in Austin today. Not in Antarctica even though it's summer there. These are some pictures from Jack's photo album
You can go there and peruse pictures of Antarctica and the many thousands of pictures of airplanes and vehicles (my boys LOVE things with wheels).
We've been able to communicate quite well this year via phone, email and the coolest thing ever - Skype. It's a kind of computer telephone and we also have the camera thingee so when Jack calls we both turn on our cameras and we can see each other! It's just so neat and crazy. I'm such a technology recluse, but I really like Skype.

For those of you who have asked:
Nope. Polar bears live in the North Pole.
Ditto for Santa.
Yes, he will get to see some penguins.
It's summer there, but, no, it is not hot.
That is true, the sun stays up 24 hours a "day." No nighttime at all. Boo.
Yes, they do pee (sometimes) through a hole in the wall to avoid having to go outside.
Yes, your snot will freeze.

More later, the babysitter is here and I must run some errands.

Love,
Michele and Finnigan the Curious



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day Two











Today Finny and I went hiking with the dogs at Turkey Creek. We took a backpack full of holiday ornaments and hung them in the trees here and there along the trail. Last year, during the winter, we saw some ornaments hung on this same trail. At the very end of the trail was a little altar covered with the most precious assortment of winter/Solstice/Christmas things. Little gnomes and Santas, acorns, pine cones and moss. Homemade snowmen and bits of tinsel. Just the most lovely thing. I wanted to do something like that for someone else this year and we had SUCH fun deciding where to hang each ornament so that it would be most appreciated.
Afterwards we were starving so we headed over to a restaurant in our hood called Fuegos. We'd never been there before, but had heard great things. I had WONDERFUL fish tacos. Turns out the owners are from Orange County, CA and have been in Austin just 3 years. The tacos had that great California feel to them. Mmmmm.
The coup de grace of the whole day was our venture over to the south side where we spent several hours (and quite a bit of money, gulp) at a CARNIVAL! Oh, I have such wonderful memories of being a child and going to fairs and carnivals. My parents were wonderful about taking us to these things. I think there was one every year at the Gateway Center. At least that's what I remember. Finny and I are SO much alike that it is just a joy to do these kinds of things with him. He and I both wanted cotton candy right away and then to walk around and scope it out before deciding what to do. We rode the caterpillar roller coaster, we did the Wacky Shack and some kind of crazy obstacle course bouncy house extravaganza thing about 30 times. Whew. He "fished" for a prize and won a coveted Batman dude. He also netted a rubber duck which got him a plastic whacking bat. We rode some crazy fire truck thing that goes high up in the air and then just sits there. He didn't want to ride any of the baby rides by himself. I asked him if he was scared or worried. He sighed, "Mom, I'm not SCARED of the baby rides. I just like to be with you all the time because we're fun." Oh my. We do have crazy fun and we are crazy in love.
I asked Finn if he wanted to drive home on the highway or through town - he chose town (my boy!). We were forced to stop and eat pizza on the drag. The had organic root beer in the bottle AND board games to play. Finn routed me at Candyland twice. I'm so grateful for the growth I've experienced with parenting. There was a time when I would have had judgemental apoplexy seeing a mother and small child in a pizza joint at 10:30pm getting root beers and pizza. Now I know that carnivals only come once a year, root beers get 1/2 drunk (at most), pizza makes a great nightcap and one should never turn down a game of Candyland.
Day Two was awesome. Finny is awesome. My life is awesome.
Y'all stop by and we'll play some Candyland.
Love,
Michele and Finnigan the Curious




Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day One













And so, Daddy is gone. We are so sad. It was hectic and stressful and overwhelming, but we all muddled through with tears and laughter, as usual.
Finny and I had a lovely day after we dropped Jack off. We went to Taco Deli and had our favorite breakfast followed by an awesome hike on Barton Creek Greenbelt. We went on the Spyglass trail in a direction we'd never been before. We played "Uncle Roo" and "lost boy" for a long time. Tis involves me being Uncle Roo and Finn being a child lost on the trail. Uncle Roo finds him and is his Daddy until Finn's real Daddy comes home. So bittersweet for me. We played Inigo Montoya and Fezzick forEVER. We watched some guys rock climbing. It was a lovely Texas winter day.
We also ICE SKATED today! Woo Hoo! Whole Foods puts up an outdoor ice skating rink each holiday season and Finny really wanted to go look at it. We had a delicious lunch out by the the stream and then headed up to the rink. We watched for a bit and then Finn declared that we should just try it and that "it won't be hopeless!" LOL. Where on earth did he get that from? So, we tried and we did it! It was wonderful fun and we felt brave and daring.
We've ended our night with calls to Daddy and watching a few Blue Planet documentaries. We're both tired from a healthy day of fun and adventure.
Good night, Daddy. We'll talk to you tomorrow.
And to you, too.
Love,
Michele and Finnigan the Curious


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nautilus










Our Thanksgiving was so nice and normal and lovely. Before I was married and had a child, I used to dream of holidays with a full house; recreating family traditions that I grew up with; making my own family traditions.

One of our favorite new Thanksgiving traditions is going camping. Last year we missed our annual trip because our sweet hero dog, Beau, was so sick and dying. This year, with Jack's impending Antarctica departure looming, we decided to do a simple trip to Plantersville for the Renaissance Faire (more on that in my next post). We also took a wonderful family hike on Thanksgiving day, right here in our own neighborhood.

We live in the BEST neighborhood. I just can't possibly explain how wonderful Brentwood is and how grateful I am to live here. Running right down the middle of it is the "Arroyo Seco." It's a big ditch that runs the length of our part of the neighborhood and it is an endless source of fun and discovery. We headed out with dogs and wings. We made a marvelous discovery: a really big nautilus fossil! Austin is limestone city and we've got amazing fossils everywhere. Speaking of nautilus - we also rode a great ride at the Rennaisance Faire called the Nautilus Swing. I really love that - when a word that we don't usually come in contact with finds us twice in a weekend.
I'm so grateful that we're all here, happy and healthy, through another Thanksgiving. I wish we could all be together next year. I always really miss my mom and brother on holidays, even though I'm cool with us all doing our own thing. Life goes on and times change, but my heart is still a little bit empty without them.
Stop on by and we'll go take you to the ditch.
Love,
Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious
PS Photo of Jackholt by Finny

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My cunning linguist superhero...

Finny, like most children, says SO many hilarious things that I can hardly keep track. I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you.

1) The other night I was looking at SouleMama's blog to see if she had had her new baby yet. As I looked at the picture of her new little boy I got all teary. Finny asked me if I was "happysad." I said, yes. Later, while we were in bed talking and talking, I told him that looking at pictures of new babies made me want another baby. He was silent for a bit and then let out a huge sigh and said,"OKAAAAAY MAMA. I'll give you one of my seeds and you can just go on and make yourself another baby." As if it were that easy.

2) One day we were in the car with the radio on. Finny started laughing and laughing in the backseat. I asked him what was so funny. He said, "That guy on the radio sounds like he saying 'Sandwich what you need to say'." (He was actually saying, "Sayyyy what you need to say.") I was just beside myself because my brother and mom and I used to always think that songs were saying something hilarious and completely different that what was really being sung. I'm glad to know that Finny inherited this trait from us. Remeber, be brave and always sandwich what you need to say!

3) Finny and I were on the trampoline talking about superheroes. Finn said that if Stretch Armstrong's penis stretched as much as his arms and legs he would be called Stretch Armpenis. This is hilarious as is, but even more hilarious when you realize that what he meant was that his name would be Stretch Penisstrong. This story about sums up life with a 4-year-old boy.


4) Jack and Finn and I were playing board games the other night. We were setting up for Battleship when Finn asked, "Why are they called board games? They're not boring." Jack and I looked at each other and before we could comment Finn said, "AND we're not boars! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH"
HOW ON EARTH can a 4-year-old child figure out all these homophones? Crazy quick, our boy.

5) One evening Finny came out onto the patio where Jack and I were. He had on some goggle thingees. He said that they were his "invisibility glasses" and that he used them to see things that were invisible like space and the future. We thought that was cool...the future.

6) Jack has started "teaching" Finn to play chess. I use the word teaching lightly as it is next to impossible to "teach" Finny anything. However, one night Jack set up the chess board and they started. Two nights later Finn asked to play again. Jack said that he had to go do something in the garage and when he got back they would play. Finn said he would set up the board. You guessed it - after playing ONE time (and Jack NOT showing how to set up) Finn set up the board almost exactly right. He missed about 2 pieces. HOW am I going to survive with TWO rocket scientists in my house?!

7) And, on a tricky note, Finn cheated at Old Maid for the first time. He got dealt the Old Maid at the beginning of the game and when Jack was not looking (he thought), Finny took the Old Maid and stuck it in Jack's discard pile. He argued that that way no one would be the unwinner. Hard to argue with that logic. Course, we did, because I can't stand to play cards when someone cheats. Just a thing for me. We did think it was hilarious though. Human nature, I guess.

This picture is from a recent family hike. Finn never leaves the house without a costume on. I thought this picture was so cool.

Y'all come on by and we'll play some board games and not get bored.

Love,
Jack, Michele and Finnigan the Curious

BOO!







The 3rd Annual Holt Halloween Party has come and gone, again. I was the White Witch of Narnia, Finn was a Power Ranger at the last minute (we also had a ghost, a skeleton and a partial Shark Boy costume in the waiting) and Jack was a long, tall cowboy. (Several of my girlfriends commented that Jack should dress as a cowboy more often. Wink wink.)
The yard was totally full of friends and neighbors, the trampoline was a big hit and too much candy was eaten by all! After trick-or-treating we came back and showed outdoor movies. All the babes cozied up with pillows and blankets to try and calm down. There was a LOT of sugar coursing through veins by that point though.
Finn had a hard time this year. Hosting such a huge party takes days of getting ready. By the time the party gets here he's pretty worn out. I spent a lot of time this year in his room with him just chillin' out. My heart was heavy knowing that my boy would have preferred that we be "just us three." He also wanted to spend more time trick-or-treating than partying. I think that's the last one we'll do for awhile. Of course, the next day he was adamant that we do it again next year. I think that, perhaps, Halloween is thriling enough without throwing a party into the mix.
For the 3rd year in a row we forgot to bob for apples at the actual shindig. Finn and Jack and I bobbed for a few days afterwards. Bobbing is not just for Halloween anymore. I highly recommend it, it's so FUN!
Y'all come on by and we'll bob!
Love,
Jack, Michele and Finnigan the Curious



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And now he reads...

Finny has been "beginning reading" for ages. He could read his name when he was in his twos. He's been actively trying to read for several months now; sounding out letters, reading contextually, writing letters, asking questions, etc. It's so marvelous to watch a child learn absolutely naturally - we've never "taught" him a thing, only modeled for him and answered questions.
Last night as we were all cuddled in bed getting ready to read. Finn picked out an old Star Wars book that we hadn't read in awhile. I read the first page. I turned to the next page and then Jack and I were talking about something. A moment later Finny said, "I know what that word says." I looked at the page and he was pointing to the word Obi-Wan. I asked him what it was and he said, "Obi-wan." It occurred to me that he had probably seen that word so much that he was reading it from memory, but I complimented him wildly anyway (of course). But THEN he said, "See, it says O (he pointed to the letter O), B (he pointed to the letter B) and ONE (pointing to the "i" which he mistook for the number 1). He was actually looking at the letters and sounding them out!
Then, today, as we were driving to the library he was counting all the Obama signs - something we love to do. He was quiet for a minute (rare) and then said, "Obama is just an O and a B and then MAMA." HOLY COW! SO right!
This is real reading. Understanding that each letter makes a sound, putting those letters (sounds) together makes a word.
SO EXCITING! What a marvelous, magical world awaits him. I feel the door creaking open and am picturing all kinds of characters tumbling out to welcome him to glorious world of STORIES! Sort of like a Disney movie when the magic portal opens and all the storybook characters come frolicking out.
This picture was taken in our tepee (yet another wonderful gift from Grandmary). Now that the weather is cool we've been climbing in there and having tea while reading The Dangerous Book for Boys (Grandmary again!). Yesterday we had tea, made paper airplanes and read some of Prince Caspian.
I must be dreaming...it's all so fabulous...my life...his life.
Y'all come over and we'll make some tea and climb in the tepee.

Love,
Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shakespeare wrote...

"When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars
and he will make the face of heaven so fine that
all the world will be in love with night and pay
no worship to the garish sun."

This is one of my favorite pictures of Finn. It captures his beauty so perfectly; those ruby lips, skin like peaches and cream, eyes like a deep and ancient forest dappled with sunlight. He has such an old soul and such old-fashioned beauty to match. Whenever I look at this photo I think of this quote. I used to know it by heart as I love it so. I found it almost impossible to even type the words, "when he shall die..." But, die he shall someday and when he does the face of heaven will be so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.

I find it hard to breathe when I think that I almost went through my life without this child. What would my heart be without him? Nothing. Nothing at all compared to what it is now. I love him so.

How do planets float?

Mama Holt
Oh, um, well,
it's because, well, they're not
really floating.
I think...
What do YOU think?
Finnigan the Curious
I think it's because of gravity.
Mama Holt
Right! I actually think that the planets are not floating. I think it's because they are orbiting the Sun and they're going really, really fast so it looks like they're floating. So, maybe that means that they look like they're floating because there's actually NO gravity and it's the pull of the Sun (or maybe the other planets) that keeps them in order and moving along?
Finnigan the Curious
Is that true?
Mama Holt
I'm not sure. Let's go look it up on the computer.
Finnigan the Curious
Nah. I'll just wait 'till Dad gets home and ask him.
Seriously! Isn't that hilarious?
And for those of you still wondering how planets float:
They do not "float." The planets are in motion, and that motion is governed by the gravitational pull of the Sun. The position of the planets and their respective velocities is such that there is a balance which keeps the planets in their orbits, as opposed to either flying out into space or being pulled into the Sun.Everything in space floats because there is no gravity. Gravity is produced by objects in space, so when something in space nears an object, it begins to "fall." It's speed depends on the size of the object.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My man.

Photo by Autumnfawnphoto.com

Not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful that Jackholt is my man. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

He makes me a delicious latte every morning on his fancy espresso machine.
He is generous with his money.
He has now assembled, unassembled and reassembled an intricate bunk bed (now fort) for Finn without ever batting an eye or acting grouchy.
He still tells me I'm pretty.
He always says, "love you" before he hangs up the phone.
He gets up in the middle of rain storms to roll up the car windows or bring in things that we left out.
He acts like it's OK when he comes home from work hungry and there' s no dinner and Finn and I are jumping on the trampoline and we've already eaten.
He's a great cook.
He drives cool, old cars, but is willing to give them up to spend more time (and money) with us. Ditto for cool, old airplanes.
He's got a scientific brain, but is always open to listening (and often believing) my alternative, radical ideas.
He's down with unschooling even though he's as educated as they come.
He cries in movies, especially when they involve children and families.
He knows how to fix, make, create, build ANYTHING. ANYTHING!
When he comes home from trips he always hides a gift for Finn in his suitcase.
He has a great mind for navigation and can read any map with ease. I always feel so safe traveling with him.
He's so dreamy and I'm so lucky.

Love,
Michele




Friday, October 3, 2008

"Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar."



Isn't that a wonderful quote? It's by Bradley Miller who founded The Humane Farming Association.
We were THRILLED to find this caterpillar in our garden, chowing down on the milkweed! After he gets his fill, he'll turn in to a pupa and then a Monarch Butterfly! Isn't he gorgeous?
I had to thin out the lettuce last week as they are growing so profusely. The seed package suggested eating the baby shoots. What a great idea! I pulled them all up and showed them to Finn who promptly tried one. He said they were DELICIOUS and then proceeded to eat them voraciously. He said he was just like the caterpillar. I asked him if he was going to turn into a butterfly. He said, "No, just a superhero."
I'm telling you, there's nothing more exciting in the world (other than having a baby, I suppose) than growing your own food. It makes me so happy and makes me feel like everything is going to be OK. Despite all the untoward things happening in the world right now, the garden still grows, the sun still shines and little boys still want to be superheroes.
Soon we'll have our own spinach, lettuce, carrots, peas and potatoes. Y'all come by - we'll make some corn bread and pick some fresh veggies together.
Love,
Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Love Tree


I saw this Love Tree on The Sparkling Martin's blog and I just had to make one with Finny.
You simply find a tree branch and strip the leaves off. Then you make little hearts and write the names of those you love on them and hang them in the tree. We had a little stuffed bird that we added to ours. This project was so cute that Finny even worked on it for, oh, about 10 minutes which is a crafting record for him. He thought that folding the paper and then cutting half-hearts out (which unfold into full hearts) was the coolest thing ever. I think Dayna and her babe, Ivy, made the hearts out of felt and stuffed them. I had to go for quickie hearts cuz my boy wanted me to jump jump jump on our new trampoline with him. But, really, it's the sweetest little thing ever. I just love it. I think we'll make them for Valentine's Day too. It will be hard to top the Love Boxes I made last year, but the Love Trees just might do it.
Here's who Finny put on his Love Tree:
Finn
Mama
Daddy
Grandmary
Meema
Uncle Roo
Aunt Mara
Mimi
Bridget
Bowie
Coston and Braeden
Gus
I'm SO grateful he could think of so many people that he loves. His life is just full of love.
I have been feeling so close and tender with my family of late. We had good, good friends who lost their homes in hurricane Ike. They lost everything, really. Every little thing. I am so grateful that they are safe and sound, but my heart is so raw for them. I hope they know how much we love them. Maybe a Love Tree is in order for them too?
We sure love y'all,
Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh, Bridget, I love you.



What's better than spending a Friday afternoon taking a mud bath with your best pal? Spending it in a warm, outdoor shower with your best pal! Oh my, I will miss these moments of pure, muddy joy. As hard as they seem some days, I know they are absolutely perfect in every way. When I think what I would have missed had I not had a child...gulp.

When Bridge got out of the shower Finny sighed, "Oh, Bridget, I love you." And he really does.

And we really love y'all,

Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious

Rethinking Education Conference


We just got home from the Rethinking Education Conference in Dallas and WOW! I don't even know how to begin to convey what a magical and meaningful week this was for us. Connecting with people who are living consentually, peacefully, lovingly and joyfully with their children (and grandparents! Oh, the lovely grandparents there) was simply awe-inspiring! We were able to hear speakers such as Dayna Martin and Sunday Cote talk about trusting the Universe, peaceful partnerships, finding the "YES" in everything, following your passions, etc., etc. Jack got to connect with some Dads and he also got to hear some unschooled children who were kind enough to answer adult questions in a panel format. Amazing! We all came home peaceful, loving, excited, enthusiastic...downright changed, really.

Even though Finny didn't attend any sessions with us it is clear that he feels the shift that took place. Jack and I are calmer, kinder, centered. We know that Radical Unschooling is right for us, but what an amazing gift to spend a week with other families who feel the same way. Finny had the MOST marvelous time running wild with new friends - Levii, Coston and Braeden, to name just a few. The hotel was gorgeous and so tolerant of the free children.

Choosing a path that is so unconventional can be hard. Over and over again people would ask each other, "How did you come to unschooling?" Many people come to it through homeschooling; a natural progression for lots of families who begin with a strict curriculum and find it just doesn't "work." I know for me, and then from me to Jack, it was just a matter of knowing that compulsory schooling was not what I wanted for my child (I thought this long before we had Finnigan). I read and read and read and asked question after question after question. As much as I find the computer to be an akward medium for me I just cannot fathom where I would be today, on this path, without it. SO many wise and thoughtful and brilliant people who shared their journeys with me so that I could begin mine. I am so grateful to each and every one of them. And now here we are - further along the path that I ever imagined and happier than I ever thought possible. And just when I thought things were fine the way they were, along comes this conference and we get riccocheted into a new paradigm altogether. Jack got turned on to (and I got more turned on to) the Law of Attraction and that is really, really working for us.

One of the most meaningful messages that I got from the conference was one of gratitude and acceptance. Where we are right now is perfect and I totally trust that wherever we go from here will be perfect too. We're a team and our goal is love and trust and enjoy one another as much as humanly possible. Jack and I feel that our job is not to make Finn obey, but to bring him joy and happiness whenever possible. And we wish to offer that to each other as well. And to you!

Thanks for being on our journey with us.

We love y'all,

Michele, Jack and Finnigan the Curious

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Naked Tree Climbing

Need I say more?

The Unwinner

We played Old Maid for the first time a couple of nights ago. Finn was AMAZING! He got it right away and really enjoyed playing. I LOVE card games and board games. I just can't believe he's old enough for us to start doing these things. Anyway, while I was explaining the game I used the word loser. As in, the person who had the Old Maid card at the end of the game is the loser. Finn told me not to say loser as that was a "mean word." He has heard it in movies and was using it for a time. We talked a lot about how calling someone a loser might hurt feelings. If someone loses, that's one thing, but to call someone a loser could make them feel bad as most people like to be complimented on winning or just trying hard. Well, Finn didn't like me using the word loser and he said "the person holding the Old Maid card at the end of the game is the UNWINNER." Isn't that just a marvelous word? And so clever. Then, later, Finn was waiting for his turn and he said to me, "I just can't stop looking at your beautiful face." Could you just melt? I did. Jack did too. Our lovely boy.
We love y'all,
Michele,
Jack,
and Finnigan the Curious

Roo Roo Rassenfelder!


Uncle Roo was kind enough to drive all the way from Denver, Colorado to come visit his favorite nephew (and his favorite sister and mama). Finn was absolutely hysterical to see him and we sat on the front porch for almost 2! hours waiting for him. It also prompted us to spend some time in front of the map. Finn really liked seeing where Uncle started from and how far it was down to us. His point of reference for driving is "is it as far as it is to Grandmary's house?" That, to him, is the max amount of time that one could possibly drive. When I told him it was like driving to Grandmary's 5 or 6 times he almost blew a gasket. He immediately said that Uncle should take a jet airliner next time and "NEVER drive that far ever again." He's not a big fan of the car, as you can tell.
Uncle Roo was wonderful as ever. He played endlessly with Finn; let him crawl all over him; played batman and guns and swords and who-knows-what-all. I came in the house and found the bedroom door closed - they were hiding guns in the closet so no one could find them.
Poor Roo was exhausted upon arrival and just played his heart out. We are so grateful to have such a wonderful uncle. I'm also so grateful that Roo has a nephew to love.
Whenever we're all together I can't help but feel a bit of loss that Daddy is not living down the street as planned. I always hoped that him living close to a real family would make him feel better about life. He was so lonely. I think the next time Roo is here we could sit together with Finn and look at pictures of Daddy and talk about him. I will make a little photo album for us to sit with. Maybe we can bake a cake in honor of him - that man LOVED sweets JUST like his grandson. To me, Finn is like Daddy in lots of ways. Just little things, but I definitely see it.
We love y'all,
Michele,
Jack,
and Finnigan the Curious

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FINNY CAN SWIM!!!

Today, August 5, 2008 is the day Finny started swimming!

Just a few days ago he still didn't like getting his face wet and now, voila, swimming! He told me that he just kept watching other people and thinking about it and then he just told himself, I KNOW I can, I KNOW I can and he did. We never did swim lessons because he didn't want to. We never pushed him to try anything - not even to blow bubbles or get his hair wet because he never liked it. I was really reluctant to get him floaties or even a float because I think children learn to depend on them instead of themselves, but he wanted them and so I did. He LOVED them and I now believe they were exactly what he needed to feel comfortable.

He and I were at Brentwood Pool (our neighborhood pool across the street from our house) and we were playing and having a great time. He said he was going to go all the way under water (which he never likes to do) and he did! He did that several times, staying under longer and longer. Then he said he felt like he was just going to swim. He asked me if I thought he could. Of course, I replied, "OF COURSE!" He then started doing a kind of dog paddle thingee. He asked me if that was real swimming. I said that I thought real swimming was when your legs were out straight behind. He said, "Oh, yea, that's right." He then lifted his chin, kind of threw himself out and started swimming! It still looks like a burro swimming, but, bgosh bgolly it's real swimming. He was absolutely delirious with joy as was I. He wanted to surprise Jack so when Jack got home (in record time because I told him there was something really important to see at home) we were waiting on the porch for him with his bathing suit and a towel. He was a little confused because Finn told him that he had learned a new Jedi trick but that he had to show it to him at the pool. We ran over (NO ONE else there) to the pool and Finn and I went into our previously rehearsed dialog. I acted bummed out that I had forgotten his floaties. I said I would go home and get them. Finn then said, no, no that he could go in without them. I had strict instructions to act worried and tell him he could NOT go in without his floaties (which I would never really say). At that point he jumped in and started swimming! Jack was so surprised. The pool closed just a few minutes after we got there so, in Holt family fashion, we hopped in the car and drove to another pool that stayed open until 9. Jack and Finn swam and swam and swam. Then we got cheapo Mexican food and went to bed on full bellies. Well, poor Jack had to go to the lab and check on some equipment, but Finn and I passed out.

Our boy can swim!

We love y'all,

Michele

Jack and

Finnigan the swimmer

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh, Daddy



Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Daddy,
Happy Birthday to you!
I'm late in posting this as Jack's birthday was on July 27th. He turned the ripe young age of 43 this year.
Finn and I made him his annual chocolate cake, but, poor Daddy, didn't get any icing this year. It was sad. We just ran out of time and had to go to a birthday party for our friend, Zoey. Jack also tried to go soaring in a glider airplane and that didn't work out too well either (although he did get to go up). Kind of a bust of a birthday. We gave him 43 lasers of love light though, so maybe that helped.
Love y'all,
Michele,
Jack,
and Finnigan the Curious

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grandmary comes to town



The Corgeys came to town in the big RV and fun was had by all! Grandmary and Charlie came to Bastrop for a few days and we had SUCH fun at the RV park with them. We spent most of our time swimming in the saline pool and trying to keep Finn from drinking all the Cokes and Dr. Peppers in their fridge. Oh, but it was good old-fashioned summer fun...swimming, running around the playground, exploring, meeting new friends (with Nerfs and lightsabers!), eating junk food, staying up too late. That's what summer and grandparents are for, right? Finn asked me several times if we could just live there. It was that cool.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's 103 degrees in Austin...


but we don't care cuz we have our outdoor shower!!!! Oh boy, is Daddy happy or what? The seemingly never ending "Holting" (that's my name for reconstruction) of our dreamy house got a little closer to the end this weekend with the activation of the outdoor shower. It's SO beautiful. Hot and cold water (we have faith that it will get cool again someday) and a cute little shower head just for Finny.

Now, just need to install the outdoor claw foot tub, put flagstaff all around the area, plant all the tropicals, build the bamboo wall so the neighbors can't peek, build a cool wall for the back of the carport, etc., etc., etc. For now though, heaven, pure heaven.

Come on over and check it out!

We love y'all,

Michele,

Jack,

and Finnigan the Curious