Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch

Once upon a time the kids did not have school and the weather was perfection so we spent the day on a farm.  A wagon took us to the patch where we picked pumpkins still attached to their vines.  We bounced in the bounce houses. There was funnel cake and pumpkin ice cream, and an apple cider slushi, and a 3D alien haunted warehouse, and a corn and hay bale maze.  I am certain the Great Pumpkin would agree that we found the most sincere patch of them all.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trunk or Treat 2015

The PTO put on our school's first Trunk or Treat on this fine October evening.  For those unfamiliar, this is an event where trunks are popped, decorated, and children travel from car to car to Trick or Treat.  A DJ, pretzels and pizza added to the fun.
"I want to be a fox and a pirate," Helena declared weeks ago and she stood by her plan.  

I donned a witch's hat, Alexander was an alien from Alien vs Predator and Sophie went as Doc McStuffins.

Mark arrived after working late and helped us set up our bubble machine.  He discovered that taking flash photography of bubbles mid-flight produces quite the image.

Despite Alexander and I having pneumonia (and spending a bit of time in the van in front of the heater) we were glad to have gone to witness the benefits of inclusion in action.  Sophie was interviewed by the high school tv kids who knew her from summer camp.  Her friends from class came and spirited her away from me for most of the event.  Would this be the case if she remained unknown to them?  I know in my heart it would not.  This is why our advocacy, promotion of inclusion, acceptance, and respect do not get sick days.  We do it for Soph and for all of us who happily reside outside of "normal."

 My little Hamlet

Friday, May 29, 2015

No Pity. No Charity.

“Children with disabilities are amongst the world’s most marginalized and excluded children.”
---World Health Organization, World Bank, 2011

I will never give up.  Out here in Philly we have formally declared an Inclusion Revolution

I am a revolutionist.  Are you?  #InclusionRevolution

Here are the thoughts of revolutionary educator Torrie Dunlap at a TEDx Talk.

Isn't it a pity? The real problem with special needs

What do we gain when we build a community where everybody belongs?
What do we gain when we separate kids and what do we lose out on when we do?

How do we want our children to be regarded? As something fragile, broken, and special? Or as people who have a right to fully participate in our communities? I believe that when we examine our own mental models around disability we will no longer default to pity and charity but instead we will put our efforts into building communities that are accessible to everyone and everyone will benefit.

#InclusionRevolution Pass it on!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Joyous May Day 2015

The winter was long and hard and we are limping to the finish line of this school year. 

For thousands of years when Spring was in full bloom the people would pause to celebrate the coming of the warm time and changing of the seasons.  May Day or Beltane as it is also known begins at sunset and continues through the next day.  This is a celebration of fertility and life.  It is a holiday of hope, beauty, and new beginnings. 


As a child in the USA I have memories of making May Day baskets filled with treats.  We would deliver them to neighbors by ringing their doorbell and then running away so that they would not know who left the goodies.  I have thought of this every May 1st since becoming a mother and decided this year I would introduce my children to this tradition.

The screech of the school bus’ brakes preceded little girl giggles that filled the air like music.  We celebrated the return of dirty bare feet on soft green grass.  White paper cups, a roll of twine, a hole puncher, crayons, and stickers would be used to create our May Day baskets.  M&Ms, Sweet Tarts, Life Saver gummies, and popcorn were the filling.  Alexander popped in for a moment or two for treats before going off to do his own thing. 


Traditionally the people would dance around a pole with ribbons woven in merriment signifying fertility.  Flowers, incense, feasting, and bonfires marked their celebration and ours.  Inspired from a scene in Alice in Wonderland, our Mad Hatter hat topped the pole which we secured in our umbrella stand wrapped in red, scrap fabric.  It turned out beautifully.

Neighbors shared long forgotten stories of their childhood May Day celebrations and I was dubbed the May Queen of Garrett Hill, which I quite like.  Our dinner was grilled and we feasted outdoors by candle light.  The last hours of the day were spent mesmerized by the dancing flame of our back yard mini bonfire and the sweet smell of vanilla incense smoldering on the log.  The girls fell asleep in the night air.  Only when the last of the embers had died out did their daddy carry them one by one to their beds, perhaps dreaming of magic and fairies.

A larger version of the video can be found HERE.