- "SIMPLICITY means to be free of desires and attachments, and supremely happy within... It entails neither hardship nor deprivation, but the wisdom to work for and be content with what you truly need." -Paramahansa Yogananda
- I'm a married mother of five. Two are homegrown, and three are adopted from Guatemala, India, and Ethiopia. All seven of us live in a tiny house on the Kaw river. Sharing our journey through blogging is therapy for me, and a great way to archive our kids' lives through my eyes. I've also met a lot of wonderful people in the process, so please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prasad, age 10
Sky, age 9
Amelie, age 2
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CategoriesAmelie Andrew Prasad Biking & Hiking Career Chickens Daniel Gardening Holidays Homesteading Liam Meditation mental health Parenting Personal Growth Pets Pictures Prasad Projects Realizations Relationships School Seasons Simplified Living Sky Bear Sorin Spiritual Transcendence Uncategorized Weather Yoga
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The Dervaes Homestead
He did it! I’m so proud of Prasad for being able to sit through an hour long kirtan service at our local meditation circle last evening. It consists of alternating periods of 1o minutes of chant, and 10 minutes of meditation. Daniel took him, and we expected some difficulty (squirming, fidgeting, restlessness). Instead, he sat quietly and had zero problems sitting in complete stillness for each 10 minute segment of meditation.
SRF recommends waiting until age 12 before taking children to services and kirtan events, but Prasad is almost 11, expresses a strong desire for attendance, along with an ability to meditate. When he came home afterward, he walked into the door with a look of peace and bliss on his face that I will never forget. I know that feeling, but to see it on my boy’s face (a child who is normally quite restless) was such a sweet sight. He was so quiet, and almost didn’t want to speak. He said softly, “Oh, Mom. It was so nice. I got where I couldn’t even feel my hands any more. It’s like they disappeared.” He experienced some really deep relaxation. I informed him that his whole body can feel that way, too… it’s heavenly.
Last night he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow… that was the first time he’d ever been able to do that. A miracle. The benefits of meditation in children are huge, and I’m not surprised he’s hooked. My little yogi is a natural.
It’s happened, and it seems like it hit overnight. Sky is really noticing girls now. Well, not just noticing them, but really having serious crushes that are apparently occupying a lot of his thoughts.
“Laura”… he whispered secretly to me. I said, “Huh, who?” He had a bashful smile, and looked around to make certain no one was in the room, “Laura. That’s her name. The name of the girl I like a lot.” That was the big ‘name’ reveal after he’d come into the kitchen, saying he needed to speak to me alone, in private. I thought he might be having a problem at school, or something embarrassing that happened. Instead, he told me that he’s liked a girl in his class for a long time, and that a friend of his finally asked her if she liked him. It made Sky’s day to find out that she reciprocated his feelings… he was on cloud nine big time! He kept talking about what a perfect day it was at school, and he was all dreamy-eyed and floaty. “She likes me” was the mantra he muttered so joyfully under his breath. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. For the first time Sky is really head over heels for a girl.
I kept my composure because I want Sky to feel comfortable confiding these things with me. It meant a lot that he turned to me with such trust right after school. He thanked me for “not making fun of him” and and gave me a big hug. Inside, I was asking myself if he’s even old enough to be feeling this way. I know he’s nine, but he’s my little boy! This is the first taste of anything like this with any of my boys, and it’s a strange feeling. Sky went on, saying that two other girls like him also. He gave me their names and said one of them likes him “just because she likes me”, and “one of them likes me a lot becacause I’m smart.” I chuckled and told him “oooh, she only loves you for your mind”, and explained that a lot of girls like smart guys.
Anyway, it’s happened. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but it’s happened. I’m not the only woman in his heart any more, and I probably never will be again. Instead, I’m the one fixing his rooster tail hair-do when he wakes up in the mornings because he wants to look good for “Laura.” Never before has he cared about that large cowlick that stands up on the back of his head every morning, but it’s happened and he does now. Where is my little boy going? For Prasad it may be starting, too, but he’s not verbalizing it as well or may be keeping it more secret. Yesterday, after Liam’s home care assistant, Michelle, came over he was talking incessantly about the pretty blonde girl that waved to him from inside her car. He told Sky “Her name is Jessica, did you see her? Did you see her?? She is nice… ohhh.” He sounded eager, almost fiendish, and had that same strange and entranced look in his eyes. I swear they get spirals and become zombies! God help me. The teen years and manhood are lurking just around the corner for both of them, but I’d like to hold on to my little boys a bit longer.
It’s official- our family is pregnant with baby chickens! Due date is March 14, 2011! After a lot of thought, we went with ordering them online because we want a specific variety of hens to add to our flock. If we went local again, I’d have a very hard time finding the specific breeds we’re looking for. Variety/diversity is what we’re looking for, and it looks like we’ll have it.
We ordered four baby chicks. They’ll be shipped via Express mail at 1 day old, and they’ll be together in one box to keep each other warm. We planned on having only three more hens, but ordered four in case there is a fatality during or after shipment. We’re looking so forward to the experience of holding and rearing these little birds, and they’ll be even more friendly and people-oriented than the three hens we have now. And what a fun experience for the kids! below are the breeds we purchased:
These are a very docile and friendly breed, and are extremely good egg layers– laying well through Winter months. They’re considered large hens, getting up to 8 pounds. They originated in the UK, and do quite well in colder climates due to their fluffy plumage. I love the “buff” honey-like color.
These hens have an attractive curvy figure, a sweet disposition, and are very good layers. They’re a medium weight breed and have such pretty lacing on each feather… striking girls! Their smaller combs don’t freeze as easily as other breeds, making them good in colder climates.
This is one breed I have really wanted for a while. I saw one at a neighbor’s house and they’re very striking in person. I’ve heard from other chickenistas that this is a particularly friendly breed, scurrying to your feet as you walk into the pen. They really like being near humans, and aren’t as skittish as some other chicken breeds. I hear they’re a joy to raise as chicks, too. They’re a large breed of chicken so they’re slow to mature. Reliable egg layers. They have feathers all the way down their legs to their feet, tiny combs, and are very heat and cold tolerant. They just seem like an all-around perfect breed.
#4 SILKIE BANTAM
Last, but far from least is the Silkie Bantam that I just HAD to order. I chose to go with one picked for us from an “assortment” of Silkie Bantam breeds. It’s a mystery which one we’ll get, but one thing is for certain- she will be gorgeous, unique, and really stand out in our flock. Their feathers feel more like soft, fluffy fur, and those ornamental heads and fluffy feet are to die for! They’re extremely docile and friendly, will sit in your lap and can give you a lot of laughs (they’re clumsy due to limited vision). She is the one I’m most concerned about during shipping, but I’m thinking she’ll be fine with three other baby chicks to snuggle with for 24 hours. They’re small hens, and have certain egg laying cycles, so don’t lay as prolifically as many other breeds. I don’t want her for the eggs, but for her odd beauty!
We are all so excited for March to arrive. It’s going to be an incredible first Spring here!
We had our State’s early intervention agency, Tiny K, at our house this Tuesday to fill out some paperwork on Amelie. We’ve had some mild concerns about her speech and language development, and wanted to get a hearing test done just to rule that out. Unfortunately, their hearing test equipment didn’t work, so they’re bringing a different device next week.
Our concerns? Well, Amelie has been right on target for everything we can think of- except language. She’s enormously bright, perceptive, aware, inquisitive, and her receptive language is excellent. She’s even able to follow one and two-part instructions. She babbles, but only when she’s ‘in the mood’ and then it’s A LOT. When she does babble, it’s clear she’s trying to say things, but we never knew she was actually trying to use specific words. The woman with Tiny-K has worked with toddlers so long that she was able to do a lot of translation for us. After her visit, it was clear that Amelie has a much bigger, more colorful vocabulary than we first thought. She has trouble with pronunciation, like any 27 month old, but she is using far more words and phrases.
Next week we’ll have Amelie’s hearing screening completed, along with her first developmental check. They’re going to determine her level in all areas of development, and then decide if she qualifies for services. For now, we’ve been paying very close attention to what Amelie is actually saying… now that we understand “Amelese” a bit more, we’re thinking she’s a bit better off than first thought. Here is a partial list of of her words and phrases used during the past two days:
“Go!”, “Go away!” “Get down” and “Get out of there!” She mainly says this to the dogs and cats.
“Move over” “Come here” and “Here I am”
“Hello!”, “Hi!”, “Hey there!”, “Bye guys” and “Seeya!” I love it when she waves and says “seeya!” after I tuck her into bed.
“There you go”, “All done” and “I did it”/”I’ll do it”
“Don’t have it” and “All gone”
“Doggy”, “Kitty” and “I love you” I love you is pronounced “I voooo!”
“I’ll get it for you” , “Mmmmm, good” and “A bowl?” She says “bowl” (pronounced “bool”) when she is hungry, and we’re trying to use the word “food” more. She called the actual food on my dinner plate “Mama’s bowl” yesterday
There are so many other words and phrases we’re noticing if we just decipher them. She’s a very quiet girl most of the time, taking things in, studying people closely, and imitating like crazy. She loves helping me do laundry– I hand her the wet clothes from the washer, and she throws them into the dryer for me. If she sees dirt on the floor, she gets the broom and sweeps it up, and opens the trash can to empty the dust pan. Whenever she sees bits of paper or empty wrappers lying around she’s quick to throw them away… quite a helper! Her favorite thing to play lately is “kitchen” with her new little pots and pans, and toy food. She’s teething (cutting her 2nd molars) and it’s horrible for her– drooling, painful, and chewing things a lot. She’s still a marathon sleeper, and naps 2 hours a day. She’s got the greatest sense of humor, and she’s the easiest of all my kids to make smile. She radiates so much happiness, and the woman from Tiny K pointed out that she’s an extremely patient girl. I’ll keep posting about how the Tiny K visits go.
Someone asked what type of spiritual guidance I received to help me have a more sane and bearable reaction to my kids’ negative behaviors. I have to start by saying that I’ve only been through one test so far, so I’d hardly say I’m over feeling disgusted… you know, the kind of disgust that lingers with you for hours and then mutates into guilt and an overall sense of “what the heck am I doing?!” All I can say is that I didn’t feel that today, and it was a first. I felt as if I was watching what was going on, more from a distance. For some reason I didn’t take any of it personally. I stayed focused on how Sky must have been feeling, which was pretty terrible. Like I said, I truly felt sorry for him even though he was extremely angry and borderline abusive.
It’s next to impossible to explain or convey subtle experiences and realizations that happen purely on an internal level. I think people have to be at the end of their rope, practically on their knees, and admit they can’t go it alone before getting anywhere. In that state we become highly receptive to guidance and support. Desperate, a couple weeks ago I consulted with a monastic that a dear friend of mine recommended. He was very sensitive and understanding to the situation, but most importantly he quoted my guru’s teachings which seemed to put me back on the right path. He got my mind focused on the here and now, which is something most parents do not do– we’re extremely focused upon the future, our kid’s teen years, and how they may, or may not turn out as adults. We cannot make progress that way because it causes a lot of fear and anxiety which bleeds over to our children.
How do we NOT obsess on the future with our kids, especially during the times when they’re being extremely naughty? For me, it has helped to have a mantra going in my head. It was one of the quotes the monastic gave me: “Everything in the future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” It’s part of my guru’s favorite quote from his autobiography, and they are not his words, but his guru’s words. It’s taken from what my guru considered to be the most important quote in his entire autobiography: “The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.” It sounds so simple, but I can feel and hear my guru saying that last sentence to me, over and over again. It’s all I have to do– trust that truth. It’s a breath of fresh air- everything in my future, my relationship with my children, my own spiritual unfoldment, my understanding and compassion, the caliber of my dreams and goals- everything will improve if I continue to make a spiritual effort to the best of my ability, here and now. Remembering that, repeating that, and trusting in that brings me such peace. It brings me into the moment, knowing all that I can do is focus on my spiritual efforts, now, and all things will unfold however they will… not according to my will, but God’s will. You could say it has helped me to surrender, almost completely. I say “almost” because I have no doubt there will always be tests and I have a long way to go.
I’d like to add that the second sentence has really helped me cultivate more compassion for my kids, and for humanity in general. Unless anchored in the Divine, all behavior is unreliable. It helps me to more easily forgive myself and others. Powerful stuff when experienced and known on a level beyond the intellect.