Sunday, January 19, 2014

Just overheard behind me

8yr old Tyren to his dad: "You don't say funguses, you say fungi."

43yr old Adam (aka "Dad"): "Quit being smarter than me!"

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Why I no longer believe in college

I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Just saw it in a friend's feed on Facebook, and it got me thinking, again, about how ridiculous we've gotten about college nowadays.

College education used to be the end all and be all. It's not anymore. Says the college graduate. :)  But I did it without spending my life chained to student loans. My parents said they'd match me dollar for dollar...(and they didn't save ahead of time for me...probably because they couldn't afford it) I know in reality they most likely paid more than 50%, but my dad has long since paid off the small loans he took out here and there to help me out...I also had working scholarships and worked my ASS off to pay most of my own way. My parents helped some with tuition/school expenses...I paid what was left and all my own rent, bills, food, necessities, etc. with the money I made working various jobs the entire time I was in college. I had one $5000 student loan that I paid off during my time at SCICON, when I only made $500/month but all my room/board/utilities/etc were provided.

Every summer when I was still living at home I worked and saved my money for college the next year...after I moved out I juggled jobs and small loans from family (which were paid off quickly). I worked full time through pretty much all of my college education. And I got it done in 4.5yrs. (Not sure how I did that!) And honestly, I pretty much hated college. Not much about it was enjoyable to me. It was a means to an end...but that was the way things were done, so that's what I did.

After graduation, I eventually went into a field that made practically no money...I made a bit more because of my degree...but since my degree was something that I use every day as a mother (child development), and since it's something I still thoroughly enjoy (I yearn to eventually do preschool classes again, someday, once my kids are older and we have a better suited house for doing it at home)...I don't think the money and energy was wasted...but I do not at all think college is the way to go for everyone. In fact, I tend to think it's a waste of time for so many. Maybe even most, since there's so many ways to learn skills for free on the internet these days.

The jobs for college graduates just aren't out there anymore...ask my brother. I have known SOOOO many people that are not working in the field they paid boku bucks to get a degree in. I mean a LOT. And many are still strapped to ginormous student debt. WHY???

So my advice for my children and every young person out there. Do NOT go into debt for your college education. If you must go to college....and don't assume you must...take the longer route and pay your way as you go. You will be grateful for the lack of debt later, and you will learn so much more in work ethic in the process. And work ethic is very important. Listen to the last 3 episodes in Dec 2013 of the Busy Mom Survival Guide podcast for more info on teaching children a work ethic. I'm going to be using more of her advice in the new I agree wholeheartedly with her on how important it is for my kids to have a good work ethic.

If you must go to college, try for financial aid and scholarships, things that you will not have to pay back. And work. Work hard. At school, and to make money to pay your way. Because I saw so very many kids in college who's parents paid for everything and they didn't have to do a thing but go to school...those were the kids that tended to party all the time and appreciated none of what they had. Not all, but most. If we hand them everything, how do they learn to appreciate what it takes to make it in this world? That's not what I want for my kids, even if I could afford it.

And if you are drawn to a field that could be had by technical training or just learning on your own via the internet and such... DO IT! There's just no sense in making college the end all and be all anymore. I actually hope my kids DON'T go to college...just because of how friggin expensive it is nowadays. But that, of course, will depend on the field they, of course, there are some that simply cannot be had without college (doctors and lawyers come to mind).

Ok, stepping off my soapbox. Time to go back to life. :)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas is just not my thing

I don't enjoy Xmas. I really don't. It saddens me because it was such an important time of year for me years ago. During my single days, pre-children, when there were only 3 people in the world I had to think about for gifts. And nothing else to do but decorate a tiny apartment and only one place to go on Xmas day.

But honestly, I am not at all interested in going back to those times because even though the holidays were lovely and stress-free...I really wasn't happy in general with my life. I suppose that's why Xmas was such a special time for me back then. Because I had an external reason to be happy for one month a year that just filled me up completely during that month. The rest of the year it was much more of a struggle to feel that kind of happiness.

So Xmas is a small price to pay for the joy I feel the rest of the year for the blessings of my much fuller life now. I just have to remind myself of this. Regularly.

So right now, while I'm thinking about this, I'm writing this down so that I can reread it regularly this month and remind myself that Xmas doesn't have to be dreaded. My children adore it...what child doesn't? And I need to work at making it special for THEM. I don't have to go nuts and fill every day with special things...but just spending special focused time would be enough for them. Even though I homeschool...I find it hard to focus on one-on-one special time with my kiddos. Because there's SO much to worry about at any given moment of every single day. So many things I need to be teaching them or exposing them to. So much work to be done on the house, so many struggles to get them to help out. Its friggin exhausting!!

But lately I've been really thinking that this is ridiculous. I spend every day...most days every minute of every day, WITH my kids...I need to figure out a better way to BE with them!! It's ok for them to have their own things to do...and they should...but I need to find better ways to bring us together for special 1-on-1 and 1-to-2 (both kids) time. I know they'd appreciate it. So THAT is what I need to be working on with them. NOT working on whatever to-do list I have for the day. I need to do that as well, but I need to also devote time to put it aside and just do something special to show them how much they mean to me, and build those special childhood memories that I so very much want for them.

And this time of the year is the perfect time to try something like this out! So, now I'm going to go get my day started and see what I can do to schedule time into our days to doing special things to just BE with each other...not just getting stuff "done".

So today I'm going to start with getting all the Xmas stuff out and start working on Xmas-i-fying the house. I know they will like that, and I need to work on not being such a grinch. I'll put on the Xmas music and put up the colorful lights, and that will help. And I'll not worry about allllll the stuff I have to do, because the most important thing I need to be doing is just spending special time with my children. Turn off the tv, turn off the computer, and just BE. And maybe we'll even get some cookie dough and make something sweet. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Silly girls

Overheard in my kitchen, conversation between my 12.5yr old and her dear friend Brooke....

Brooke: How'd you remember that?
Maeven: Uh, my brain.
Brooke: Oh cool! How'd you do that? I want one of those!
Maeven: I know! They're cool!!
*preteen giggles all around, plus some Mommy giggles, truth be told*
Maeven: They're half off at Walmart!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why do you keep calling me that?

Just heard in the Smith home:

12.5yr old Maeven: Dad?

42.5yr old Adam (aka "Dad"):  Why do you keep calling me that?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The silence is golden

Just tickled pink right now! I turned the tv on a little while ago, thinking that the kids hardly ever get to see some of the morning shows on PBS because we just haven't been turning the tv on lately except in the afternoon when their favorite shows are on. Frankly, *I'VE* missed Curious George! Lol! So I just looked and after less than one show, Tyren moved into the big room (away from the tv) to read his current book. LOVE it! And since Maeven's no longer in there watching, I just turned the darn thing off.

Most of the time I'm the only one that turns the tv on and I just haven't been doing it much lately. We kicked the network tv habit years ago when we used to have it on ALL.THE.TIME when the kids were little and apparently we've kicked the PBS habit now and only watch deliberately for specific shows.

I'm not anti-tv. I'm just anti-keeping-the-darn-thing-on-all-the-time.

I had a serious tv problem when I was single. I literally couldn't go to sleep without the tv. Well maybe not literally...but it was a bad habit I started and never tried to stop. I was ok with it. And back then, living alone, it was fine.

But I got a job in the woods (SCICON Outdoor School) for a year at a place where we lived and worked where there wasn't ANY tv reception. NONE. Anything we wanted to watch had to be on VHS. And I got used to not watching tv EVER. And when I went home to my parents house for weekend visits, I always felt weird watching tv. Awkward. It wasn't really enjoyable anymore, it was insidious. And just dumb. The advertisements were so creepy how manipulative they they were shaping our tastes and our desires and I don't like being manipulated! I never noticed how bad it was until that year when I didn't see ANY, except on rare occasions. Then they irritated the crap outta me and I thought "How the HELL did I watch this crap all the time before??"

Then I moved back to civilization and fell back into the habit. Because that's exactly what it is...a habit. And for some people that are fine with the habit, that's fine...but I wasn't. Especially after I had a taste of what it was like without that habit. And what a world it opened up for me. I read more books than I'd read in years! I wrote so much in my journal, and I socialized a LOT with friends and family. Had I lived that life longer, I probably would've started pursuing hobbies. But I didn't, and I got sucked right back into the lifestyle once I had access to tv 24/7 again.

But I never forgot how truly wonderful it felt without it. And I never forgot how much more REAL my activities were without tv.  And then I had kids. And I had a reason to kick the habit again, but not the willpower.

I've learned that for me personally, willpower really doesn't work. I can't will myself to do what I want or feel I need to do. Something has to click somewhere and then it just naturally seems to fall into place. And I just wasn't getting there with my tv "problem"...because to me, that's what it was...I really didn't WANT to feel so compelled to have the darn thing on all the time. Something else was in control of me...I literally couldn't NOT turn the darn thing on! It was sorta like an addiction. Though not exactly because I never had any sort of withdrawals when I went off of tv for that year...but I truly felt COMPELLED to watch when I was around it. I didn't like that. I don't like something else having control over me. That's just a yucky feeling, seriously.

It took me years to kick the habit again...and it wasn't a deliberate process. I had a second child and I was still watching Oprah and Dr Phil...and for a time I watched soap operas! UGH! Who WAS I?? But when I started realizing my children were old enough to be taking in the content...when I started to realize that I could no longer get away with watching Two and a Half Men and never have any questions about the jokes they made...when I realized that my children were going to eventually ask me what a 3-way was or what sex was....I realized I had to start being more careful about what I watched...and I stopped watching inappropriate sitcoms and crime shows when they were awake.

Then I'm really not aware of how it happened but tv just started petering out of our lives. It wasn't some big thing, it just fizzled out.  It just became unimportant. The control wasn't there anymore. No idea how I reached that point, but it just happened. I guess there were just too many other things in my life pulling at me for me to even deal with having time to sit and veg like I used to.

Then I was limiting my children to only watch PBS or something I rented or streamed online that I hand picked. For awhile we did have PBS on all the time too...but at least it was quality programming, I told myself...but eventually that started to bother me too. Why do we need it on all the time? Why do they need constant noise? What's wrong with silence?

So I started just not putting it on. And they almost never asked for it! I would get really angry with Adam if he dared to put the damn thing on...and luckily he never was a huge tv guy to begin with, so he stopped putting it on or even sitting by it. And the kids found other things to do. (Like playing on the computer...don't get me started there...but that's a whole 'nother thing and I do have a good handle on it, for the most part, with the Times Up Kidz timer and rules about having to earn time.)

They really do find other things to do. And tv isn't a big part of their lives. But it's not NOT a part of their lives either. I'm ok with tv being in their lives in moderation...all things in moderation. But obsessions really bother me. Unhealthy habits bother me. Especially when they start to rule our lives. And having to have the tv on all the time (MY obsession) was really making me feel bad about my life and what I was providing for my kids.

Others are fine with it...and that's fine, of course. I wasn't. I didn't like how it made me feel like my brain was melting and oozing out my ears. (I used to say that a lot, LOL!)

Something just occurred to me....I know that I don't like obsessing on tv shows...I am ok with a handful, but I just feel like there is SO much more to life than the make believe on tv. I need to live MY life, not vicariously through all the fictional characters and plots out there. And there's not enough time in life to begin with!

This is what I've just figured out:  What am I saying about MY life, if I have to always escape? What's wrong with my life if its entirely built around escaping my life??  A little escape now and then, sure, no problem. We all need that. But constantly?? Too much. Just too too much for me.

So I was very happy to see Tyren choose a book over tv today...and I'm happy that he's very excited to go play with friends today and so am I. The tv was on for a total of about 30min today, and it's sitting silently again. And I can hear the wind chimes outside my door, and I can hear my son digging in lego in the other room, and I can hear the silence that is making me do this thinking. Sometimes I like to put music on, and that's a wonderful thing too...but sometimes you just need to have silence. And be ok in the silence. I don't want my kids constantly having to fill in the silence with artificial things. I want them to be ok with silence and sit with it and be with it be ok with just being with themselves and their thoughts. I'm not sure exactly how that works...but it feels good, and I follow what feels good. :)

Prepare to see defeat!

Tyren and Maeven are roughhousing and I'm cracking up because Tyren is saying:
"Prepare to see de feet...see? Prepare to see de heel...see?" And on and on, lol!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Still with the sense of humor

Background: I just had a nasty stomach bug yesterday, and my kids seem to be following suit...

Maeven just now up-chucked in the sink after eating chicken noodle soup, and after cleaning out the sink, Adam asked Maeven: "I saved most of the noodles, Maeven, do you want them?"

Yep, that's my hubby, always the comedian.