In the heart of winter I start feeling it. The ocean, from half a continent away, starts licking at my ankles. This week I have been indulging the call of the blue. In shared school, (that's where I teach home schoolers who come to public school two days a week) we are studying the ocean and in particular, whales. It's a lovely unit. A part of this unit is also service oriented, as we look at the different types of whales and their dwindling populations, and try to do our part to make a difference.
We decided to 'adopt' a Right Whale mother and her calf and had a bake sale to raise the money. Right Whales are thusly named because at one time they were the 'right whale' to kill. They are slow moving, swim close to shore, and float when dead...making them an easy acquisition or the 'right whale'. They live in the north Atlantic, off of the Eastern Seaboard and are now primarily killed by boats and nets. Our adoption money will go towards legislation to help change shipping routes and greater education for fisherman who fish their waters, in order to protect their habitats. We get photographs and an actual, tagged Right Whale, to track and follow. Is that awesome or what? There are so many ways to learn and help and get involved.
How was the bake sale, you ask.
Welcome to Durango, home of the vegan, organic, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, dye free, Whale of a Bake Sale! We raised enough money to buy a damn whale pod, thank you very much!
Here is Della desperately trying to save a whale via cupcake inhalation. Do you see those super-bad (as in good) bobby pins on her head? You can help my darling friend Ko adopt a BABY, if you hop on over to her blog and check out her shop!
In other fishy news, we spent more time than usual underwater this past weekend. Lewis inspires us all to dream big when it comes to the ocean and all things marine related. I would highly recommend embracing your children's passions. Lewis loves the ocean. This love is a gift that he can share with the whole family. We all went scuba diving this weekend as a result of Lew's interest and curiosity. And we are hooked. It was a free Snowdown event, which explains the odd costumes.
Max (age 13) was registered for the adult session and was vehement about not wanting to go. Adamant. Yelling at me.
"This is Lew's thing, not mine." he said.
We discussed his reasons for objecting. I found them to be lacking and insisted that he try it. Sometimes it's my job to push through the resistance, because I'm an adult and all, and sometimes, believe it or not, I have insight that may be useful and a bit more comprehensive. I said that we'd do it together. If fear was an underlying factor then there I was....although I didn't think this was the case.
Guess what? He sprouted gills and we haven't seem him since.
He loved it. They all did. They are ready to go again.
A few more words on supporting your children, if I might. Children are awesome. They are wide open and so receptive to the world around them. Sometimes they latch on to things like a pit bull and when they do, it's an opportunity. Let's take Lew for example. And the ocean. We live in the mountains. The ocean is far, far away and we are not made of money. We can encourage and talk and investigate. Matt ordered him this book. When your dad orders you a book and it comes in the mail it means something. It's a small thing, but powerful.
Last year we got him a snorkel and fins for his birthday. I would love love love to take him here. Who knew that there was a warm spring, beehive crater in Utah that is perfect for scuba diving? Our instructor this weekend told us all about it. Wanna meet us there?
What I'm saying is this. In small ways we can lift our children up to their dreams and show them how to press on in the right direction. He may forget the ocean by age 12, who knows, but hopefully he will remember that there are simple ways to delve deeper and learn more about whatever it is that intrigues him.
What else? Della says to read this book.
More ocean. More whales. A little magic. I love this book. It talks about clam chowder and oyster crackers, neither of which have I ever fixed for my kids. And so I did. Very cozy and rich, and they thought the crackers were genius...especially after they got a starring role in the book.
And lastly, we just finished a wonderful family read-aloud that I would highly recommend. For the past few weeks, on the couch, by the wood stove, in south west Colorado, we have journeyed to Rass Island with the book Jacob Have I Loved. It's the story of a girl who doggedly finds her way through disappointment, wartime, self doubt, and the limitations of poverty. She works on a crab boat. She wins. It's beautifully written. I'd say that it's for older kids (10 and up), but Della loved it, too.
Coincidentally, Rass Island is in the Northern Atlantic, probably surrounded by Right Whales.
In the book, the heroine's dream is to move to the mountains, islands unto themselves. She does.
Do you believe that everyday life is like poetry?