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It doesn’t happen every day: ideas, fun (and weasels) from Nancy Blakey

September 10th, 2005 · 2 Comments

It’s not every day I discover a writer, mother and blogger whose inspiring ideas I want to copy in my own family.

Thanks to Bainbridge Buzz and its compiled list of local bloggers (thanks to the Buzz too for starting a weekly report on local blogs) I’ve enjoyed Islander Nancy Blakey’s blog The Way From Here.

On her website, Nancy Blakey described her blog:

These essays and journal entries reflect the lurching, joyous process of raising four children. It is a place where terrible birthday parties are thrown, tempers are lost and found, and the ways of a child bring the whole world into perspective.

One of my favorite posts this summer was Mom-n-Me Breakfasts: (here’s a short excerpt)

In this big family of ours we have a strategy for stretching that precious listening time. On Thursday mornings before school I rouse one of our four children and we go to breakfast at a local diner on the island where we live. It is a school day. We have routines ahead of us, but what makes the day special is life set aside for a few hours. We eat an extravagant breakfast and I listen to each child, one Thursday at a time, with undivided attention. I say little about table manners (although it is tempting), and I don’t take advantage of the warm feeling between us to discuss the friction or issues I may have with a child. I simply listen.

One Thursday morning at the diner I watched our thirteen-year-old son jitter his knees and roll his neck to some weird inner music. He dropped silverware on the floor, speculated how to make earrings out of empty Tabasco jars, and wiggled a loose tooth over and over. Ben ordered soda pop instead of orange juice and a huge ham and cheese omelet that he tried to cram into his mouth in three bites. I didn’t say a word. I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or scream SIT STILL! But then something happened: the ghost of Norman Rockwell whispered in my ear asking me to look at this live wire half-grown boy as if he weren’t mine. As if he were the subject for a magazine cover. I saw a lovable knucklehead with big feet. The image made me smile.

“MOM!! A HUGE WEASEL!” Ben yelled around a half a piece of toast stuffed in his mouth.

It’s also not every day that Bainbridge Islanders see weasels. The girls and I on one afternoon July down at the dock saw these weasels splashing in Eagle Harbor (but no camera!) and Beth Freeman this week was able to capture some pictures of them (a whole family!) with her camera – go look!

Other favorite posts include Alaska Time and The Dishes Can Wait (I can’t seem to get permalinks to these archive posts – try scrolling through the blog) Here’s an excerpt from The Dishes Can Wait – a must-read for moms! I wish I had received this encouragement years ago…

During my baby years, the years our four children were between the ages of newborn and five, I divided the world into ‘permanent’ and ‘impermanent’ things. The daily mountain of laundry, washing dishes, grocery shoppping, all fell into the ‘impermanent’ side of life. These things seemed necessary but dull. Anybody could do them, and they would be done today, tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that. Impermanent, as I saw it, would not change the world or leave a trace of my performance.

Permanents, on the other hand, left an impression in the slippery slide of my life. Reading a book, writing in my journal, making something: a sweater, an arrangement of flowers, a slingshot, meant I was alive underneath the fatigue.

Both on her blog and her website Nancy Blakey inspires me with her honesty, experience and practical suggestions. Look at these projects to try! Great ideas for homeschoolers or anyone who wants to have fun with kids and use her mind too!

Coincidentally at the library one day my daughter selected Nancy’s book Lotions, Potions, and Slime Mudpies and More. My older girls went through the book and used yellow stickies to mark each idea they’d like to try…

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Nancy has four other books, filled with fun ideas from her years as a mom of four.

At the Eagle Harbor Bookstore website earlier this week, I discovered Nancy Blakey will be appearing on September 22 at 7:30 pm to speak about her latest book: I Wanna Be Sedated: 30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers. She’ll be reading her essay Sex Education: The piece has its origins in conversations with her daughter Jenna about Jenna’s sexual activity. Other contributors to I Wanna Be Sedated include Anna Quindlen, Dave Barry, Barbara Kingsolver, and Louise Erdrich.

I think I’ll be there!

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Yule Heibel // Sep 18, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    Yow, that “wanna be sedated” event sounds like something I should get to! My two are 14 and 11, … going on 29. And a half. Plus a day. If you please. (Actually they’re great, but I can relate to this…)

    Nancy’s practical activity links make me think of “instructables” (see http://www.instructables.com/), and the treatise on raising teens makes me want to recommend the excellent Susan Musgrave (care of north of the border on another island, called Vancouver), who has pretty hilarious stuff to say about parenting teens.

    Have fun at Nancy Blakey’s Sept.22 presentation — wish I could be there!

  • 2 Julie // Sep 22, 2005 at 4:08 am

    Thanks, Yule. Instructables is excellent! It looks like one of the major people involved is Saul whom I met at Foo. I was able to find the instructions for a marshmallow shooter!


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