Will Pedal for Sardines, Slides, and State Parks

Dear Family,

I don't think that Jem's and my bike adventure will make it into “Bicycling” magazine. I (this has at least something to do with having with my breastfeeding toddler in tow) got passed by every single other cyclist we met on road, without exception, and we didn't go very far. Also, our journey contained very little Risk (and additionally, “Bicycling” doesn't usually go for boobs on the cover).

Mama Sentimental

By the time he's done being two years old, he's not going to fit under my jacket in the baby carrier anymore. I hope at that point Jem will also stop waking up well before the sun, but I'm not putting any money on it. And meanwhile, we have our best talks in the morning, when I've dragged myself out of bed and out the door, and he's snuggled into my chest. He likes when the cars go by ("More come cars!"), when he sees a school bus (a "butt"), and he points every time he sees a mailbox ("my-bock").

Train Watching

(Originally published in the March-April issue of "Life Learning" magazine http://www.lifelearningmagazine.com/)

We heard the train just after our car began the uphill ascent, away from the train tracks. Ben struggled to hold back real tears, while I struggled not to feel guilty for not turning back into rush hour traffic to see the train. "Do you think," Ben said, between sniffles, "we'll EVER see another train?" Yes, I assured him, I really thought we would.

Thoughts on Unschooling, Television, and Sugary Snacks

(Originally posted to the Unschooling Basics Yahoo Group.)

I grew up in a household with no TV (until my brother bought his own, for video-watching, when he was a teenager), few processed foods purchased with family money, and no computer games (there weren't any!). BUT, my parents placed no restrictions on my or my four younger siblings personal spending money, or on foods we ate outside the home, and we all talked--a lot--about health and personal desires and "voting with our dollars."

Winter Camping, and Why Soup Isn't Good for Breakfast

Dear Family,

Ben is VERY interested in law and order. Police officers--what do they do? Why do they drive faster than everybody else, even if their lights and sirens aren't on? Do they get arrested or get tickets? Why “not usually”? What happens if a person steals something? Have WE ever had anything stolen? What happens in a courthouse? And tickets – what do they look like when you get one?

Treasure Hunting, and Other Subversive Acts

Dear Family,

It has come to my attention that one of the habits of Highly Happy People is that they do not dwell on the imperfections in their lives. Therefore, I deleted a whole bunch of text pertaining to my children's sleep/wake habits, and instead I have inserted: NO COMMENT.

That took a whole lot of self-restraint, and I'm proud of myself. Welcome to the New, Happy Me!

----

mommy is Missing a Capital “M”

Of course I knew there would be a baby. The baby was in the middle of
everything, tiny and oblivious. And then afterward, I knew that she was
perfectly healthy and had dark hair, that she was barely older than my
baby, and that her name was Lila Jen.

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But the first time I heard, my own morning sickness started to feel like
stomach flu. "Aren't you crazy?” I asked. “You're nuts!”

“Yeah, it's crazy. I didn't think we could even _get_ pregnant. The
high-risk OB says I'm the highest-risk case he's seen.”

Super Condensed Summer

Dear Family,

In mid-day in spring and summer, our window placement prevents direct sunlight from entering our living room. But on Friday I saw a sliver of light on the floor, signaling the winding-down of the season.

Jeff is already in mourning.

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It's been such a good week. And it's strangely true that sweetness and fun just don't make for good jokes. If I really do meet my goal this year, of becoming a happy person, I might have to stop writing update letters.

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Full Head Syndrome

Dear Family,

There is nothing quite like taking a big fat sit on your ass while
rethinking some of your oldest, most deeply held beliefs. I've spent the
better part of my waking hours doing that this week. Result: at least a
few cornerstones of my being a Person Who Is Right have been shaken. See
below for details.

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Other news: a skunk ate one of the teenage chicks last week--it got into
their box at 2:00am. A sad day followed--Graham felt like she'd let them
down. But the other ~26 or so are growing rapidly and ate their body

Little Lila's Mama

by Sarabeth Matilsky

I had a major big-girl-crush on Jen. She talked about drugs and sex with me like I was an adult, and wore clothes only if they were comfortable. She came up with quick retorts when strangers commented on how thin she was. I knew her kidneys didn't work right. Once she told me, like it was no big deal, “The doctors said I wouldn't live past twenty-one. They don't know anything!” People thought Jen and I were sisters all the time—same dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin, and she _was_ tiny. Sometimes we'd pretend right along with them. Jen loved my family, especially my dad. (Hers left when she was four, and now she said she wanted a new one.)

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