@Sarah, Gei and I are hoping to be up in Portland in 2013. We are working on paying off debt and hoping that the housing situation improves enough that we can sell ours. It is a goal for us and we look forward to joining our friends...as we consider you extended family :)
@Tenacity, Your question "what ecological principles do you teach your kids, why, and how? Same question with gender and sex norms.. I love it :)
As far as ecology goes, we try to teach by doing. We have a recycle bin and trash and show the kids which goes into which. We have just started a compost bin and have talked about how those work and why we use one. I have explained the chicken cycle to them (birds eat the weeds, eggs for our food, waste into compost, compost into future gardens, repeat). We talk about conserving water since we live in a desert, turning off the lights to save electricity (I only ran the heater this winter when it was very very cold). We take our shopping bags with us to the stores, etc. I try to teach at an age appropriate level. As the get older, it becomes easier to explain the why behind why we do things.
With gender and sex norms, we have open discussions. They have a mother who is in a "traditional" housewife/mother role and a father who works outside of the home. They have grown up with a father who is quite involved in parenting (no he does not "watch" the kids when I am not home, he is their father, he parents) and they see a division of household chores. With regards to gender and sexual identity, we have talked about how some women like men, some women like women, some men like women and some men like men. We have talked about how some people are born men or women yet they don't feel like that on the inside, so that they choose to change what their outside looks like to match how they feel on the inside. We tell them that it is ok to love who they love. Again, we keep it at an age appropriate level, adding more information as they get older. The girls have come and protested with us at marriage equality rallies :) I feel that it is important to teach and model acceptance and to stand up for what is fair as a member of this human experience. It is my hope that they grow into adult who love themselves, and find partners who are secure in who they are, open minded and treat my daughters with respect. There is so much more to this...gender, sex norms, relationships, sexual identity...I would love to talk more on it with you :)
@Virginia, I love The Red Tent. While I am not particularly religious, the story resonates with me. I feel that god did start as a woman, and the rituals and festivals fell away as worship of a male deity emerged. I wonder how close the fictionalized story of Dinah is to the truth. Her story is given such a sort explanation in the Bible. I also long for a sort of community of families that live together, where the women help and support each other in daily tasks, child rearing, etc. As a mother, I feel that we are not meant to to this job alone and yet so many of us are. It is our job then too to create our tribe.
@Steve, African or European?