We've just come back from February Vacation--one of those quaint New England traditions that is as mysterious and unappealing to "outsiders" as Town Meeting and Boiled Dinner...I mean, what's the point (unless you happen to be of the means to escape to some warmer clime--however most of us in Maine are decidedly NOT)...The week started out well, and I found myself a bit in awe of my eldest son--in the first few days he: drew all of the Egyptian figures from his plastic set of them; drew a self-portrait from a picture on the wall; drew the British Soldiers in one of our terrariums; began to teach himself cursive; looked up the source country of all his foreign currency in the atlas; read lots of Calvin and Hobbes; and started working on the fourth grade math workbook C got him for Christmas (what a pair of nerds!). Along with lots and lots of sledding. Tuesday we went to Science Day at the local university, where he made slime, identified (correctly) all of the bones and skulls in the bone room, poked and prodded fetal pig guts, and built a wind turbine with a straw and construction paper.
I was finding myself feeling converted to the "unschooling " philosophy. Here is a kid that is just driven to learn! I could quit my job (come on Obama, appoint a Health secretary and get us universal health care already!) and stay home watching him teach himself everything! Then he went away to stay with one of his Grandmothers for a few days, and instead of M coming back to us Saturday, we got Mr. Hyde. He immediately went ballistic on seeing his brothers had re-built some of his Lego creations, and from then on acted like the house bully. I was none too thrilled to have him home an extra day after we got 10 inches of snow yesterday, and am really glad he's at school today (I'm starting to sound like my own mother!) even though I'm at work. I really come unglued when he picks on his little brothers...and I'm at a loss to figure out why he does it or how to encourage him to be nicer to them.
In other news...today is Mardis Gras, which as far as I can tell is not a big celebration event around here (I believe there was a parade or something Saturday, but that's not Mardis, now is it?)...there are a few people sporting plastic beads around the office. I have in years past given up sugar for Lent, not out of any kind of religious conviction, but mostly to see if I could do it, and how it would affect me (the first year I tried I lost tons of weight, but I was also breastfeeding and chasing around an almost-one-year-old at the time, so the results were likely skewed). This year, inspired by Salt & Chocolate's Vegan 'til six plan and a co-worker's detox diet, I think I will establish a healthy eating plan that includes no refined sugars or processed foods/snacks, and whole-grain and fruits and vegetables for breakfast and lunch during the work week (e.g. oatmeal with fruit; quinoa and steamed veggies for lunch), and then our normal dinner (which is usually pretty healthy anyway, if sometimes heavy on the carbs and/or cheese). I haven't quite worked out all the details (I have until tomorrow!!), but I want to develop a habit of eating well, reduce the number of processed and snack foods (sniff, sniff goodbye Barbara's Cheese Puffs!!), both for my health and physique and for the environmental cost of all that processing and packaging. But, I'm not giving up all sugars, because C plans to sugar this year, and I don't want to miss out on hot maple syrup right out of the evaporator! Wish me luck!