Tags: Family



I expected to feel it a lot sooner after leaving. And when I didn’t, I wasn’t sure it would come. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Homesickness is kinda bumming me out.

I miss having friends near by who have known me for years. I miss our families. I miss the kids’ friendships. I miss my doula clients and the birth work I was doing.


I do not miss winter. Not yet anyways…

East Bay Hikers


The girls are becoming quite the eager hikers. Elise now initiates hikes periodically. She and Olivia get themselves ready. They find their hiking shoes, thick socks, snacks, water bottles and backpacks on their own. Cressida still argues with me about footwear. She insists that she is supposed to be “fancy” at all times, even though she has had serious footwear issues the couple of times I have let her wear her mary janes on hikes. After much cajoling I can usually get her to wear her Keens, but it usually involves tears and 15 minutes devoted to the this argument alone. I’ve even tried some peaceful parenting and clever tools like letting her color all over her Keens with sparkly pens, but that did’t help. So I have just resorted to heavy-handed force in the form of, “If you don’t put on your hiking shoes you will be on fancy shoes restrictions tomorrow.”

Once we get out on the trails though, no one complains about footwear, not even Miss Sparkle-toes. We’ve been systematically hiking the East Bay region, one park at a time. So far we’ve done Pleasanton Ridge, Sunol, Redwood Regional Park and Mount Diablo’s Summit Trail (starting at Juniper Camp Ground)

Here are the girls exploring a burned area on the top of a ridge on Mount Diablo. A couple of weeks after we moved here we were at a homeschooling park day and the moms were talking about how they could watch the wild fire burning on the mountain from the park. The fire was just a couple years ago. It’s interesting to have moved from such a lush green diciduous region like the Cuyahoga Valley where there are muddy spots year round, to a place like California where the waterfalls are seasonal and wild fire alerts are posted year round.

 I’d like to do a hike at least every other week with the girls. And I’d also like to get some chances to solo hike. I’d like to do   Mitchell Canyon to Eagle Peak as a solo hike, or with Rob if we can find an all day babysitter. Back in Ohio we were able to drop the girls off with family and go out all day, or hit the trails when the kids were in school. But those days are long gone. I need some Aunts or Uncles to move out here… Any takers?

The Brazier Academy


I’m taking a break from the Gold Rushing series to write a bit about our homeschool. Moving to California afforded us the opportunity to try a whole new life. With the girls still so young, it was not so risky to pull them out of their traditional school experience and see how home education would serve us.

Now that we’re a whole month in and some of the first hiccups are past, I’d say that we’re doing quite well. Just like with every kind of lifestyle choices, I’m never squarely into one philosophy or another. So our school techniques are reflective of that eclectic dynamic. We’re using a montessori-based math curriculum called Shiller Math. We’re reading aloud as a family every afternoon. And using the Common Core to keep track of what skills/concepts they’re expected to know in Science for their grades and doing the work with books from the library and websites. For Spanish we’re going to work through Rosetta Stone together, and for History we’re using The Story of the World. 

Is this the best plan? I have no clue. But it’s the plan for now. It took me this long to get our weekly routine in order. But the daily ebb and flow was worked out very quickly. Daily we start before 9 and school-at-home our way through the morning seat work. Then in the afternoons we do a more un-school, screen-free education method. By 2pm we’re pretty much done with “school” and head out for errands or to the park. We enjoy hiking, biking around town as a family, or watching a show to two together.

We have park days two or three days a week with other families who are either homeschooling, or live in our town and have preschoolers Cressida’s age. On Thursday we have swim lesson. And I plan to add a couple more activities for the girls as our schedule settles in a bit more.

So that’s the quick and to-the-point update on what’s going on with The Brazier Academy. Stay tuned for more as we get some photos of our work, and have some fun projects to share… like the sun model we’re making out of paper machè.