Fire away Mummas
I know you live in Montana now, did you grow up there? Are you an outdoorsy person? What are your passions (besides your wonderful kids, of course)?
Oh, an intro!
Yes, we live in Whitefish, MT - a sweet little ski resort town in NW Montana, about an hour and a half from the Canadian border. No, I don't ski or do any other winter sports beyond sledding - I was talked into moving to Montana about 6 years ago by a best friend living there and by the incredible hot golden summers. NW Montana, for anyone who hasn't been there before, is not cattle or cowboy country. It's very green and forest-y with lots of pristine blue glacial lakes that actually get warm enough to swim in after enough hot summer days. There are long, beautiful hikes and lots of summer huckleberry picking - it's my favorite place that I've lived so far. (Alaska, Olympia and Seattle WA, and Pittsburgh PA)
I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, out in the woods, in an unfinished house w/out running water. I wouldn't say that I'm outdoorsy, but the way I grew up makes me kind of inherently outdoorsy I guess. I grew up hauling wood and water, and playing out in the woods with my brother and our dogs. We didn't ever go "camping" because we already kind of lived that way, and my dad had a mining claim up in the Brooks Range that we took a float plane up to every summer and spent a few week living really rough - a wall tent on a platform, no civilization of any kind; just fishing and reading books and hiking around and taking river trips in the canoe. So even though I'm not big on camping as an adult - I love *living* out in the woods and I love going on hikes and being anywhere where there aren't a ton of people around. I think growing up the way I did made me pretty down to earth and able to enjoy and appreciate simple living.
My family make-up is that I have 4 kids, and we live with my boyfriend and his now 13-yr-old son (plus Boris, Truffle, Lilly, Miette, Kamehameha, and Black Marshmallow - our shi tzu, kitty and four bunnies). I had Saoirse (16) when I was just 22 and living with friends in Seattle and then attending Evergreen in Olympia - his dad was my sweetheart/best friend at the time. My other 3 kids' (dd6, ds11 1/2 and dd just 13) father and I got together when I was 25 and stayed together for about 11 years. We split up after spending the last two years of our marriage fighting. My current partner, true love;), beau, etc. is Dave. We had been acquaintances/slight friends for about a year before we started spending more time together, and then fell in love. We've been together almost two years now and are both so excited to be having this baby together! I never thought I'd have more kids - but being in love made me want to, and we'd been trying (ie - not using protection;) for about a year - so when I finally got pregnant it was actually a big surprise! I did have this possible theory that the baby was just waiting for the right astrological sign to roll around though - she must have been meant to be a Capricorn!
Passions: unschooling/homeschooling, travel, art and printmaking, dressing up/dancing/sushi dates, singing with our make-shift girl band, fancy and bubbly drinks, cooking and eating good food, sewing and fashion, everything handmade, reading, writing, etc!
(oh, and I did an interview not too long ago for anyone more interested in my local shop and/or Waldorf-esque doll making business: http://www.woodlandwoolens.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-05-19T23:17:00-04:00&max-results=7&start=19&by-date=false - you just have to scroll down a bit.)
Hi! Please tell us more about this girl band. Also, how/when did you learn to sew?
How do you pronounce Saoirse? I've only ever seen that name once before, how did you come to choose it?
And, with such a cool oldest's name, what are your other kids' names if you are comfortable sharing?
Saoirse is the Irish word for freedom. It's usually pronounced Seer-sha, but I've since spoken to a girl with the same name, from Ireland, and she said it depends on what county you live in. We pronounce his name Sair-sha (which she said is the pronunciation in some areas). My dad is 3/4 Irish background and Saoirse's dad's family is pretty much entirely Irish background, and when we came up with the name - at the ages of 21 and 19 - we were both really in love with Ireland. (In highschool my "dream" was to live on a farm in Ireland and have 6 kids!) I'd visited there twice already by the time I was pregnant with Saoirse and had heard the word/name and loved it. The other kids' father wasn't into as "unusual" of names - next we have Madeline, then Gus and Gretel - lovely names that other people can pronounce without having to repeat them 5 times! Dave and I have some fun ideas for this baby's name, but I like to hold on to them until the birth.
The girl band started out, oh - at least 4 winters ago. It was at the beginning of winter when I came up with the idea of a girl band with three other friends who also lived out in the woods in Montana - just for something to do all winter. (None of us being winter sports fans.) Two of the girls could play almost anything - T is really good at piano/keyboard and banjo, S plays tons of stuff, but for the band usually played the melodica, L could play a little electric guitar, and I liked to sing (but never had in public). We practiced a couple songs for a couple months to start off with, and then finally got up the nerve to play them at an open mic in Whitefish that a friend hosted every Wed. It was fun and we've just kept playing together. We do mostly kind of off the wall covers, but some originals, too - we definitely want to do more of that, but it's more work of course. Two winters ago Dave joined the girl band as drummer, and another guy friend joined as bass player, but we still call ourselves a girl band;) I Found a New Cowboy is the band name.
Sewing - I just taught myself I guess. My mom was an artist and would always sew my brother and I fantastic Halloween costumes from scratch - whatever we wanted to be that year. But that was about the extent of her sewing. I'm sure she taught me how to work the machine though. I really started sewing a lot the year after high school. I think this enormous furry pink backpack was my first project - I still have it after all these years and use it for trips, so it held up pretty well! I was just so into clothes that I started making a ton for myself. I would just look at something of mine that I liked the general fit of and then start cutting and sewing - which is pretty much what I still do. Patterns have always been a bit of a bore and a challenge for me - but I do use them occasionally - esp if I'm altering them quite a lot.
Very cool that you went to Evergreen - I know so many Sudbury & unschooling people who went there (and one current student!). So it sounds like you will now have your 6 kids, do you have much of a farm/garden?
I loved Evergreen. When Saoirse was just a babe and I first started thinking about and studying education, I never thought that I would homeschool. But then I read John Gatto's Dumbing Us Down (a popular title floating around Evergreen at the time) and I was immediately convinced to *not* put him in school. I did a semester studying various types of alternative education after that and kind of took what I loved from all the different schools of thought and incorporated those into our life and my "homeschooling". Saoirse has really been unschooled all of his life - he has always been a super self directed learner - the other kids I've ended up structuring a bit more of their homeschooling as they've gotten older. But compared to most homeschoolers I am incredibly lax (or lazy - depending on how you look at it!)
We have a garden - I always do! I love gardening. My love for it definitely exceeds my time unfortunately. But every year I add a little - a few more perennials, a few more self seeding annuals, another climbing rose, a few more herbs.... I'll move the tomatoes to a better spot, and transplant the strawberry plants to a sunnier location, etc etc. The hard part has been moving every few years. Whenever I get a good garden foundation started!
I met him about a year before we started seeing each other. The first time I met him was actually out at an open mic night - he asked me to dance and I said no thanks. That actually happened a few times over the course of a month or so. But the first time he remembers meeting *me* was a couple months later at a bar in town when he came up and introduced himself (again;) - supposedly the reason he never remembered me before that is because I'd never said yes. So we ended up talking that night - mostly about our kids and art and music - and kind of became friends. After that I kept seeing him out and about - we even had casual plans to hang out and make some art or something, but it never ended up happening. According to him he was crazy about me. About a year had passed when I asked to him to go out dancing one night to my friends' funk band (he's a really great dancer;) and that was the night. Nothing happened - we just had a lot of fun. I didn't know he was the one *that night* but that was the beginning of it all and within about a month we were pretty much inseparable. But it was weeks of friendly dates before we even kissed and I love that it all happened so slowly. (Was that too much? I've been told recently that I gush about him!)