Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Avoiding Patriot Day 2012

September 11th will always be a horribly sad day for me.  My dad worked at the World Trade Center just months before the attacks and on this day in 2001, I couldn't for the life of me remember if he still worked there. I couldn't get a hold of him. All lines were down. Where was he? All I knew was that he was in the city. Would I ever hear from him again? Hours and hours past with too many questions and emotions to bear. Later that night we connected on the phone. He told me how he made it out of Manhattan on foot through smoke and over bridges while chaos and fear surrounded him as densely as the thousands of people trying to escape for their lives along with him.

I can't even look at the lower Manhattan skyline nor the 9/11 Memorial without tearing up. Those are tame compared to images of smoking towers, people running, rescue attempts at ground zero and everything else that just gets more graphic from there. Forget about video footage of that day. It's too much.

Honestly, for 11 years I've actively avoided most news coverage about the attacks because I just can't wrap my head around idea of how such an event could happen, and the media's spin on it makes it worse. Being from New Jersey, I have friends and family too closely connected to those events. I respect  and appreciate hearing and reading their personal stories, remembering both tragedy and heroism. It's not like I don't think Patriot Day is important, I just want to remember the day quietly and through loved ones with true ties to that event.

As a homeschooling parent, I've also decided to postpone covering this topic for a while. There is enough other history and social studies out there for my kids to learn, and we already have to discuss tragedies such as war and slavery at a most basic level just to understand other things. It is difficult to learn about innovation without also discussing war, because they are all too often so interconnected. And I refuse to teach about American history without also teaching African American history, and emphasizing that the current injustices today have roots in American slavery. So Bean knows what war and slavery are in general, but I've spared him the details of rape, lynching, brutal violence and the unnecessary loss of innocent lives that tend to go along with those atrocities. 

I just can't think of a way of explaining 9/11 at a basic level to young, optimistic and sensitive children. There is nothing in their world to remotely compare it to that would help them make any sense of it. Then there is the question, of "Why?" I don't think I can begin to touch on that. It goes deeper than the greed, power struggles and selfish desires that they understand even in their own lives and I can use to help explain why war and slavery exist. Books won't help. I really don't want my kids seeing those images from that day that I still have visceral reactions to. Video documentaries would just haunt their thoughts, as both boys are highly sensitive to visual media. This topic is just too intense to just touch on without opening a can of worms that I'm sure would leave my kids questioning humanity.

So for now, a remembrance of 9/11 by our family is on the back burner. With the kids not in school and us not big TV watchers, today is a typical happy and simple day like any other for the Eaglets. With cooler weather, we anticipate the coming of fall and the special blessings that has to offer. Today we enjoyed extra snuggles under warm blankets in the morning and we made our first batch of squash soup of the season. 
Bean shaves nutmeg for our first squash soup of the season
There is a slight guilt I feel for not even mentioning that today is Patriot Day to the kids. Greater is the relief that I have control over what they are exposed to at this young age. They only have a short time to be kids and not have to worry about such things. There will come a time when it would be ignorant of them not to know what happened on this day eleven years ago. I just hope that I can be a good judge of when will be a good time to discuss it and that I have the words to help them understand this most tragic of days. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Video Highlights from the Summer

For some reason, if I don't frequently and repeatedly do tasks that have steps that need to be followed in a specific order, I just can't remember it. This is the case with storing our pictures and videos on our external hardrive. Bo ends up doing it each time because I can't remember how to do it and he hasn't taken the time to write up instructions for me. Now that our memory card is about full, he'll be doing that for me soon, which brings me to the reason for this montage-y post.

I also can't remember how to take pictures OFF the hard drive to upload onto blogger or facebook. So, I'm putting a bunch of unrelated videos all in one post, before they are out of my reach FOREVER! Ok, not forever, but basically to me, they are gone. So here goes!

While we do try to emphasize manners, Tey takes saying "Excuse me" to a whole new level. He'll say it even if you are in the middle of a one-on-one conversation with him, and even while circling around on a carousel at Indianapolis Zoo. (5/22/12)

Summer memories with siblings. Melts my heart. (5/26/12)

When we decided to homeschool, one of my biggest worries was how to teach Tey to read (Bean already knew how by the time we pulled him out of preschool). In some ways I feel like I can take no credit for Tey's reading. We didn't use a curriculum or anything, just read together a bunch and it seemed like one day he could do it! Here he's reading a library book for the first time with Bo, so it's not memorized.  Hopefully teaching Mei to read goes this easily. (5/28/12)

In this video, Bean wanted Mei's attention. Trying to get it was proving futile. I asked him to look as boring as possible. He kept giggling about it, BUT IT WORKED! She went right for him. (5/31/12)

Bean just adores his little sister. He specifically remembers praying for her a little sister and having his prayers answered. He frequently tells me that he thinks that she is the most beautiful in our family and in the whole world (he never hears this from me, I try to never talk about her beauty). Here's more big-bro-lil-sis love. (5/31/12)

Mei has been doing pretty well keeping up with two bring brothers. She has a pretty good roar as you can see here. Bean also demonstrates the strength of a dragon by picking up a brachiosaurus. Pretty impressive stuff, huh? (6/8/12)

Bean has been enjoying Rudyard Kipling. Here he's reading Just So Stories, specifically, How the Whale Got Its Throat. (7/2/12)

Speaking of reading, here's another of Tey. While I'm sure we had read this before, it was not recent enough for him to have it memorized as you can tell because he skips a line and then as to go back. (7/2/12)

Some Tae Kwon Do highlights from his last belt test. (7/14/12)

We had our church's first vacation bible school and it was our kids' first too. It was INSANE because it was during the week of our move. Still, it was an amazing experience for our whole family. Bean was very timid in doing these songs during the week, but for the performance on Sunday, he rocked it out! Tey opted out of performing. (7/15/12)

Mei loves "Tey!' Excuse the boxes and random junk everywhere, we just moved in. (7/24/12)

This clueless fawn visits daily, sometimes as close at 10 feet away if you are still and quiet. This video also gives you an idea of how big our new backyard is. Thankfully, our neighbors mow for us. (7/30/12) 

I've become a brave soul and these shells don't bother me any more. It took much courage on my part, convincing myself that they are empty and lifeless and won't hurt me. Meanwhile, the kids love them, especially Bean. (8/3/12)

There was a picture of the final result of this, but here's Mei falling asleep at lunch. (8/3/12)

In another life, Bo and I used to teach dancing together. Starting simple with Mei, I cheorogpraphed this little number for her. (8/30/12)

Tey and Mei covered a box with paints outside one day. We actually spent the whole day outside because Hurricane Isaac was about to hit us keeping us indoors for a couple days. Torture! My kids have really grown accustomed to getting out every day. (8/31/12)

Yay! Now we're all caught up with videos. I'm going to try not to get so behind anymore, but I make no promises.

Dreaming of Chess

Last week Bo taught Bean how to play chess and one night they went to the library together to pick out some books on the topic. Since then, Bean has been OBSESSED with the game.

Every night he can't wait until Tey and Mei go to bed so he can have special time with his dad to play chess. During the day he's reading chess books to learn strategy. Yesterday, during quiet time, any time I peeked in on him in his room, he was playing chess by himself. Then he told me that he's been dreaming about chess every night. No surprise!

On Sunday night I went to to tell him "lights out" and this is what I saw. He had fallen asleep reading one of his chess books. The others were close at hand.

This morning I went into his room to wake him up for our homeschool co-op orientation and I found that he had gone to bed with his chess pieces. There were more under his blankets!