Sunday, December 31, 2006

Free-Thinking Freak

That's me, I'm a free-thinking freak, lol! I was just thinking after my last post about how some people will think I'm a nutjob because I question the medical establishment. Well so be it. They can think what they like. I'm just not one to just believe things without reading up on it myself. Particularly something that can so incredibly affect mine and my little ones' health. Actually, I don't get how anyone could just trust and not read up on things too. Not when you're talking about your children. I can't and won't blindly trust when it comes to my children. I research. And I've found out a lot of interesting and scary info about what the medical community and our culture in general is pushing on us and our children. I don't just trust, no way. I don't believe the medical community to be evil, not at all! They do a lot of good as well. But they have a different goal than me. They are interested in the common good, I am only interested in MY children. They are willing to take the risk of a small percentage of children in the interest of the good of the population. I'm NOT willing to risk MY children! So I research. I don't understand how anyone could NOT research what is being injected or given to their children. I don't get it. But everyone is different. And so, as I tell Maeven all the time...they get to make the decisions regarding their children, even if I disagree with them...and WE get to make the decisions regarding OUR children. That's only fair. I don't want anyone telling me how I should parent my children, as I'm sure they don't want anyone telling them how to parent theirs. That's fair. Actually, it sure would be nice to be in the dark about all the dangers of the vaccines and medications and other things that are pushed on us to give our children...it sure would be easier to be ignorant of it all. But I'm not one to just blindly trust. I have to know what's going on. And I don't regret it. I am glad to be an educated mama.

So, yes, I'm a free-thinking freak. I think for myself. I question, I research, I learn. And I'm tired of people looking at questioning the establishment as freakish behavior. Why in the world is being a follower, rarely questioning the establishment the better way to go? I don't get it. But hey, to each his own.

Oh, I love this quote...Dayna Martin, radical unschooler and recent Dr. Phil guest...and recent guest speaker at one of my Mothering Magazine sponsored chats and a new friend of mine....said this on the Dr. Phil show:

"We’re not raising worker bees here; we’re raising free-thinking entrepreneurs. My unschooled child will hire your honor student."

I LOVE that quote!! That's so true for me. I am not raising my children to just blindly follow, but to be free-thinkers. On the flip side, I don't believe in questioning anything and everything just to question...and I don't believe in paranoid living on conspiracy theory all the time either. But I want my children to be free-thinking "freaks" as well! LOL!

The worker bee part of that makes me think of Robert Kiyosaki. I saw him on PBS awhile back and really enjoyed his special and went out and got his Rich Dad Poor Dad book from the library and read it and it made a lot of sense. He talks about how if you want to be rich you have to change your thinking. That the whole mentality of "go to school, get a good education, graduate, get a good job, work really hard" will only keep you poor. You can't be a "worker bee" and be rich. Makes sense. Its the entrepreneurs that are the ones that are truly rich. But that doesn't mean they don't work hard. And I certainly do not want my children to ever think that life should be easy and they shouldn't have to work for things. Of course they do. I think there is GREAT value in being willing and able to work hard. And I certainly don't want to be putting down hard working worker bees...the world certainly needs them. I just want more for myself and my children. But I DON'T want my children to feel that you have to work your butt off at something that you absolutely hate in order to get ahead in life. I don't think there's any reason why you can't work your butt off at something you LOVE. Perhaps there might be short phases of life that you have to do things you hate just to stay afloat and get where you want to be...but I don't want my kids to ever feel like they are stuck anywhere. They always have options. You do what ya gotta do to get to where you want to be. Work hard, yes, but not doing things you hate forever. Just as a step to the next thing. Free-thinking doesn't, to me, me that you think everything should be easy and you question anything and everything. There's more intelligence to it than that.

Anyway, I AM a Free-Thinking Freak. Always thinking, always looking for new ways to bring joy and MONEY to our lives, LOL! Someday I will find something that will REALLY set us up financially and I will enjoy at the same time.

Yikes! It's True!!




This is actually only some of the nasty ingredients they put in the flu shot. Then there's the whole issue of the fact that the dang thing doesn't actually work! I recently read that the way they pick the strain of flu to put in the shot is by capturing migrating birds (from Asia, I think?) and taking the virus from their bodies. Doesn't mean that will actually be the strain that YOU might get...it's pretty much hit or miss.

Here's some interesting facts straight from the book "The Vaccine Guide" by Randall Neustaedter, OMD (oriental medicine doctor), who, incidentally, is on my site Mommy Chats every month sharing all kinds of holistic medicine information that is very very interesting. And there are transcripts on the site.

FLU FACTS:
  • Flu vaccine manufacturers are notoriously inaccurate at predicting the appropriate viruses to use in an individual year's vaccine, rendering the vaccine ineffective.
  • Flu vaccine is relatively ineffective in those patients most at risk of flu complications.
  • The vaccine has caused GBS (Guillain-Barre syndrome) in recipients during several different flu seasons.
  • Those most at risk of flu compications probably share a higher risk of adverse reactions to the flu vaccine as well.
Dr. Neustaedter actually has an entire book on the flu...I plan to get it soon. His vaccine book is awesome! I HIGHLY recommend it!

Anyway, the mercury alone is enough for me not to get the dang thing...they may have taken that out of regular vaccines but they haven't yet taken it out of flu vaccines and there are dangerous levels of it in the flu vaccine (not that any amount is safe)...And its been proven that its pretty ineffective anyway.

I've never in my life had a flu vaccine. I've had the flu ONCE ever, in my life! If you are generally healthy, you can handle the flu. It's not fun, but you can handle it. I'm not risking the risks of that darn vaccine for basically nothing. There are ways to keep your immune system up and running well to fight this sort of thing...I take vitamin c and echinacea off and on during cold and flu season and myself and my kiddos (I give it to Maeven too and Tyren is still nursing so he gets it from me) rarely get sick and when we do its very very mild. Haven't had the flu yet. Wash hands a lot too. And I have recently learned of some more ways that we can help our immune system from Dr. Neustaedter that I'm going to be heading to Whole Foods to buy...No vaccine for my kiddos and me!

The thing that REALLY gets me about the flu shot...that they are pushing it for pregnant women. When I was pg with Tyren, Adam got scared because of all the hype on the news (incidentally...there's always hype about something on the news...I personally find it silly to freak out about it all because they are so often just blowing things out of proportion...I tend to research before I freak out. And the flu is not something to freak out about unless you have a very weak immune system...in which case you should be doing things to boost that immune system not damage it with vaccines.) and was pressuring me to get the flu vaccine. I said NO WAY IN HELL!!! I explained to him that there is a large dose of mercury in that vaccine and mercury is known to cause birth defects...so why in the HELL are they promoting this in pregnant women? Hell if I know but that to me is just evidence about how friggin stupid these media and health professionals are on this topic...pushing a known toxin on unborn babies because of their stupid agenda. Ok, I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but it IS all about the money I think. They make a buttload of money on vaccines. So of course they are going to push them! I mean, DUH!!! They are really really good at their commercials and scare tactics. They've got the general public really convinced that we need this crap.

But think about it, people...who should you be listening to? The people who are making money off of this stuff? (and so greatly benefit from scaring you into thinking that you need to have their vaccines? And don't get me started on how they've got the doctors doing their work for them, spreading their propaganda to their patients, argh!)...that's like listening to a car salesman tell you why you HAVE to have HIS car!

OK, I'm not even going to keep ranting here...I could go on for days...I'm not letting them inject their useless poison into mine or my children's bodies, plain and simple. That's a very simple decision on my part.

I should make a final note that this rant is specifically about the flu vaccine, not all vaccines in general. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of all the rest. For me personally I find both the diseases AND the vaccines equally scary, so I don't have simple answers to all the rest of that stuff. *sigh*

Friday, December 29, 2006

Smith Family Xmas 2006



My Little Monkeys




Halloween 2006.
Finally got around to scanning the photos we had taken of the kiddos at Halloween. Tyren was just about a week before turning 16mos and Maeven a few days before turning 6yrs. They were monkeys because Maeven decided that she wanted to have a jungle theme to her birthday this year (her bday is just 4 days after Halloween so we usually have her tie her theme and Halloween costume together)...and she's totally into monkeys this year so my mom made them both monkey costumes. They were SOOOO cute! While trick or treating Maeven was hooting like a monkey at anyone and everyone and soon Tyren picked it up and was doing the same! Too funny!

They were chimpanzees, hence, no tails...in case you're wondering. :)

I'll get the Xmas photos scanned next chance I get.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

another happy HO-HO-HO day :)

had another really great xmas! what a nice time with family! we spent most of the day here, although that wasn't planned that way...we planned to stay here til after tyren woke from his nap. my parents and brother came here to be with us after we had a little time just the 4 of us...then they came and brought presents and food. we hung out and opened presents and really enjoyed each other's company...

then tyren took his nap and everyone slowed down and a few more of us napped a little (me and dad, lol) and then mom started lunch and it took longer than expected...so when tyren woke up we still hadn't eaten. so by the time we got the food on the table and sat down to eat it was pretty late, like after 3pm...then hanging out and eating and then adam's mom came over to eat with us...it was a really nice time though. we really were enjoying ourselves...finally got out the door to go to adam's sister's house at like 6pm...MUCH later than we had planned....but we hung out there a couple hours and that was nice there because by then it was a small intimate crowd.

and as far as presents...wow! we got some really really great ones! with the exception of a few duplicates and a handful of "uhoknotsurewhyigotthis" gifts, lol, there were some really neat things we all got...particularly the kiddos! :) now i just have to find homes in the house for all this...my goal for this week is to start weeding through it all...sorting out the giveaways and take-backs (not many, luckily!) and finding stuff we already own that we can get rid of to make room...this could be fun if i look at it the right way and i'm going to do my darndest to not make it stressful experience for any of us. maeven really hates decluttering so i have to figure out how to try to include her in this without her feeling traumatized by getting rid of her old stuff...*sigh* not an easy task. not even sure i can do it...but i'm gonna try! i need to teach her about decluttering...she NEEDs to see/feel the value of it. so....we'll take babysteps towards that this week. see how it goes. :)

ok off to do some more work while i can!

Monday, December 11, 2006

my girl can read!

i'm so dang proud of maeven! she is really reading well now! she's been reading a little for awhile...but i just didn't go very far in teaching her more...i keep neglecting to do her reading lesson (i use teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons) ...although we've done enough of them for her to have the basics and she's really taking off on her own!

yesterday she read an early reader (level 1) book on her own! a little bit of help here and there but mostly on her own! then today she read the same book to her bompa with no help and only a tiny bit of stumbling! i was so proud! and so was she! i definitely need to take her to the library soon and check out some early readers for her so she can start reading to herself more and get a lot of practice! i know that's the best way for her to learn...just do it!

of course, this is something that goes against enki for the most part...well, maybe not so much cuz they do encourage following the child's lead. maeven is set up for being a reader genetically anyway i tell ya. she comes from bookworms. :) both adam and i were before we had kids...now its harder to find time. but i LOVE to read! i wish wish wish i had time! i guess i just need to start making time again. i get spurts of time where i just obsess on a book.

well i guess i should start looking at some of those homeschooling books again... i have so many of them. some really great ones! i moved them recently to a bookshelf in the living room so that i could have them where i could access them better (and free up space in maeven's art area)...so now i am going to start working on going through them again. i have these great books that my bro gave me last year for xmas that i asked for that i need to use... games for math and games for writing ...really awesome books! i totally forgot i had them til my brother asked me about them on the phone yesterday...then i dug them out and now i'm so going to read them now...find some fun things for maeven and i to do.

anyway, i got off topic, didn't i? i'm rambling (what a surprise)...ah well...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

am i old??

i say this amusingly...because i really don't feel old. i can't believe i'm now 36 (just had a birthday in nov)...not that 36 is old, but i don't know, i just don't feel 36. then again, some days i feel a hundred! LOL!

but i was just looking up some music on itunes and thinking about how i have no idea what today's popular music is! i don't listen to the radio at home ever and rarely in the car...and when i do listen in the car i listen to classic rock. (we always listen to cds...i don't want to deal with commercials) i have no teeny boppers in my life on a regular basis to expose me to new music, so i just don't know what's going on in the world, popular music-wise. so funny to me because i used to be so on top of what was current. back in the day. when i was young. LOL!

so is this what happens when you get old? or shall i say....mature? that ends up sounding like an insult to those that are up on the popular music though...like if you know popular music you are IMmature and i don't believe that by any means.

anyway i just think its funny cuz i just got a list from my sister in law of what her family wants for xmas and one of the things on one of the nieces' lists was a cd by fergie...and the ONLY reason i have any idea who she is is that i saw a commercial on tv where she's mentioned...but i haven't a clue what she sings or anything. and i would hazard to guess all the popular music would be completely new to me. even madonna, who i happen to like. i don't have a clue about her new stuff. although if its something that made it to commercials or in tv shows or somethign like that i may recognize it but wouldn't know it was her.

so who do i like to listen to? same old thing, lol! and i don't actually get that many opportunities to listen because we listen to a lot of kid stuff around here...welllll, not so much lately...maeven is more into "mommy music" lately so now i get to listen to my music. we mostly only listen in the car though....right now we listen to xmas music. i just recently bought the putumayo christmas cd and christmas with the rat pack. really awesome cds!

guess that makes me old now too...i like crooners now. back when i was a kid and my dad listened to frank sinatra, bing crosby, dean martin, etc etc etc....i didn't like crooning. but now...old ager that i am...i really like them a lot! the christmas cd really is such a relaxing cd to listen to. i need to get some non-xmas crooners cds next.

and the putumayo cd...i just love international music. and i particularly love exposing my children to it. we really like teh world playground cd from putumayo that my mother in law bought me awhile back and fell in love with the putumayo series...so it jsut made sense to get the xmas cd. pretty good stuff! :)

so what do i listen to when its not xmas? indigo girls, van morrison, kenny loggins, india arie, simon & garfunkle, frente, that sort of thing...those are some of my favorites...but i also like lounge music...borrowed some from my brother who has an ENORMOUS music collection. i like jazz, all kinds really, though i don't own any...i am starting to appreciate big band because of the crooners....and i will always love love love 80s pop. hell even country is starting to grow on me...although i don't know that i'd ever say that i really liked it...just that it is growing on me.

the only music that i can't stand still is rap. although, i have to say...some of the rap from the 80s wasn't so bad. that's when i fell in love with will smith (back when he was the fresh prince) and i just came across some of his music recently on itunes and i can handle his rap. there's nothing disgusting, so far that i've heard, about it. and i just LOVE will smith the person. i've seen many interviews with him and he really seems like such a good, kind person.

i don't get the whole appeal of the "gangsta" rap and the attitude and style that goes with that. to me that is just stomach churningly offensive and i don't understand how anyone would want to emulate such a disgusting lifestyle. but to each his own. interesting that 99% of the time that you hear someone blasting music from their car (there ARE exceptions of course...), boom boom boom...rattling the windows of my house or car...that they tend to be playing some sort of raunchy rap music. not sure why they think the rest of the world wants to hear that garbage, and its beyond me why that is "cool". i called it "rap crap" in the 80s as a teenager when it first came out and i continue to feel the same way about it now....it's even worse now. and i especially do not want my children exposed to it. not the raunchy stuff. will smith is an entirely different story. well but i don't know all his songs...some might be pretty bad too, but i haven't heard but a couple of his songs. i just like him.

guess that makes me old. LOL! i just don't get the "in" things, LOL!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

hopscotch geography?

ok i just had to share this way cool neato way to learn about the geography of the US!!!

check it out!!

teaching the concept of time

well now, the more my brain goes in this direction, the more ideas i keep coming up with. this is fun! it came to me that the concept of time is a tough one. maeven has been asking how long a minute is, how long a second is, how long a half hour is, etc...we've been trying to explain but realizing that EXPERIENCING things first hand...hands-on, as much as possible, is the best way for children to learn...it occurred to me that a stop watch would be very very helpful with this. so then i remembered that i had seen a klutz kit with a stop watch. so i went on ebay and found it and got one! pretty dang cool! it looks like this. it's the old version, they have a new fangled stop watch now but the old one is fine so i found it on ebay for 10cents! LOL! pretty good deal. anyway i figured this could really help her learn all about time if she's timing herself and us all doing different things and the book gives her things to try to beat her time at. neato! can't wait to give it to her. i may wait for christmas though. we'll see.

learning numbers

so i have to toot my horn when i find something that really works. i have to because this blog is often a big whine fest so i have to put up the good stuff when i can too. :)

so a few weeks ago i just grabbed a piece of paper and told maeven we were going to play a counting game. this because i was realizing she really needed some work on her numbers, because she just wasn't quite getting the concept of counting very high yet. she could, sorta, but not good enough by my thinking...so i wanted to give her some practice and i figured writing practice would be good too because she still does many of her numbers kind of garbled and backwards.

so i wrote 1 and she wrote 2 and then i wrote 3 and so on...we kept alternating...oh we used 2 different colored pens to distinguish the numbers more too. so then whenever we got to a point where she was unsure what was next i went ahead and did it for her and she picked up when she felt she could. usually i only had to do 1 number and she would figure out what was next.

also interesting, and something i'm proud of myself for...i don't like correcting her. it just feels yucky. i don't like to say "no, honey, that's backwards"...it just feels like a slap in the face. but at the same time i don't want her to get in the habit of writing backwards or incorrectly. so what i figure out was that doing this game, all the numbers come up eventually. so even if i'm doing the evens i do eventually get a chance to write some odd numbers because when we get to the 30s, i'm doing 3s and in the 50s i'm doing 5s, and so on...so what i found out is that i don't have to say a word if she writes them wrong. we just keep going and she eventually sees what i'm writing and follows suit. so for the beginning she was writing all her 5s backwards...but once we got to the 50s, and i was writing a lot of 5s with her, she figured out that her 5s didn't look like mine and switched to the correct way about halfway through the 50s. pretty clever girl! :) and clever mommy to just let her figure it out, eh? :) *pat self on back* worked that way for a couple different numbers, i noticed.

and i also figure...that the more practice she gets, the more she will notice when she's doing them backwards. so i just don't say anything. she'll get it. :) so we've played this game twice now and both times she enjoyed it. another benefit is that she can SEE the odds and evens because we've written them in different colors. and when we remember to stop at 10 and start a new line with 11, stop at 20, new line at 21...then she is really seeing the pattern in the numbers. and i know the more we do this the more she'll see the pattern, without any prompting (other than maybe "hey, look at that" from me) and no drilling and no (UGH) worksheets! pretty neat!

i think the 5s will also be obvious this way too...we'll continue to talk about them and...oh i just thought of another idea...perhaps we will try patterning with more than 2 colors...with each of us alternating 2 colors or something like that...have to think about that. that could be really interesting.

Monday, November 20, 2006

unschooling unintentionally

this is a bit of a reiteration of the last post, but bear with me...

so i was thinking about how frustrated i am cuz i'm failing my daughter because i'm not officially doing anything with the curriculum that i bought... it's a great curriculum, it just requires me to do a lot of preparing and learning how to use it and i simply don't have the time...add to that that anytime i try to do an activity with maeven, tyren gets in the way. he literally will not let me leave his sight these days and if i'm doing anything with sister, he has to climb on me, usually crying, and make everything damn near impossible. our first (and only) "wet-on-wet" watercolor painting experience was pretty much a nightmare experience with me trying to keep him literally OFF of her and out of her paints. i even did as was suggested by another mom in my online enki group...i set up a tray for tyren with his own water and brushes and paper so he could "paint" too...but ooooohhhhh noo! not my boy! he would have nothing to do with it. he was totally on to me! he wanted what sister had an ONLY what sister had! so the entire experience was just a stressful mess for me...and loud an particularly annoying for maeven. and frustrating and sad for tyren. so needless to say, we haven't done it since.

"why don't you do it during his nap?", you say? ahh, well that would assume that he actually stayed down for any length of time OUT of my arms. this, sadly, is not the case. i've even gotten to the point that i often don't even attempt to try to put him down, but make my life far easier by just counting his nap time as my computer work time and maeven's quite independent play time. seems to work far better than the cursing under my breath stressed out time of getting involved in something with maeven just to be torn away from it 5-10min into it and not being able to get the baby to stay put long enough to accomplish anything. why even bother trying if its going to not work out?

well so i think we are finally at the point of just giving in to the natural "rhythm" of our day these days...which does not include much of anything that i had envisioned for our first year of homeschooling but is actually, upon further reflection, turning slowly into quite an unschooling experience.

i have always been interested in unschooling but didn't consider myself 100% for it. i can see the value of it but i like planning things too and i do feel there's value in some actual teaching...but since one on one teaching experiences are really pretty much impossible right now with this little spitfire of energy i call my son...things are turning out to go a different direction...

i was recently thinking about how our "schooling" experience seems to be going and have realized that i've turned into an unschooling without meaning to...and i think maeven is the one reaping the benefits!

so her "school week" begins with a science class at the discovery center early mondays, where she just finished a 7 week session on ants (after which she can explain the life cycle and living habits of ants far better than anyone i know and reproduce a quite life-like representation of an ant, complete with all the appropriate body parts!) and just started learning about penguins...then a little socializing with friends, then running around town running errands with Mommy, learning about waiting in line and taking turns at the post office and grocery store or wherever else we have to go that day...finding things on lists and reading street signs and labels and words anywhere and everywhere (yes, she's really getting into reading lately! self-initiated!) and will often make her own list to bring with us and gather her own items...back home so that Bompa can pick her up and take her to his house for "Bompa Woodworking Time"...where they've together completed a birdhouse/feeder and a Maeven-sized woodworking bench, complete with "my own"(Maeven's) tools that Mommy joyfully pointed out she herself used in Bompa's workshop when she was a little girl too! (ahh, the memories...i made quite a cool squirrel feeder when i was not much older than maeven!) their next project is in the planning phases...a toy wooden car for brother for xmas!

tuesdays are more errands and housework, library, and whatever pressing needs we have until nana time, when maeven either goes to nana's house or nana comes to ours...so far they've been doing baking projects...made cookies one week, shortbread another...and are planning on making chocoloate and peppermint dipped pretzels for wrapping and giving as gifts this next week....eventually they will be working on making more crafts such as crocheting, knitting, sewing, and whatever nana and maeven's hearts desire...nana is a jack of all trades so the sky's the limit...

wednesdays, more stuff around the house, going on neighborhood walks, playing in the backyard, until the afternoon when bompa comes to get her to take her to her weekly art class. then home again in time for daddy home from work for play.

thursdays are "nature day" and i try to take the kids to oakhurst (we're just starting this tradition finally...pre-empted by thanksgiving this week) for a hike and exploring oakhurst...a really cute little foothill community less than an hour from here. last week we discoverd a super little nature trail where the lady bugs are congregating by the THOUSANDS in preparation for the winter! maeven was literally scooping handfuls of them! also trying our hand at letterboxing. maeven made her very own stamp and we've found 2 out of the 5 letterboxes in oakhurst already! i swear i'm as excited as she is to find them! we're hooked! can't wait to find the ones in town! there's at least 12 of them!

fridays are our day for our friends play time...we do what errands and housework are needed in the first half of the day til tyren's nap then when he wakes up we eat lunch and head to margaret hudson's property to play with thea, clem, brooke and emma. thea and clem are margaret's grandchildren and the children of my friend jen...they all live on the communal property/gardens that surround margaret's home. lemme tell you this is SUCH a fantastic place for my children to grow up playing at! i'm just thrilled to have this opportunity for them! and i get some mommy time with the other moms, in between keeping tyren from eating dirt and falling into ponds, lol. it's a really fun and relaxing time for all of us. it really rounds out our week. then after daddy comes home on fridays maeven's nana and bompa come and get her for "nana/bompa nite" and its daddy and mommy date nite (which really means, order in and watch tv or a movie on tv...once tyren's older we will get to have our time to ourselves again.)

so after thinking through maeven's basic week...i'm realizing that there's more happening for her than i had originally felt. hence, "unschooling unintentionally." and there are a lot of other things that happen here and there that i didn't mention...like games we play and songs we sing and reciting numbers and writing stories and measuring things and creating art projects (well she does them, i coral tyren)...its not what i had envisioned once we started officially homeschooling...but for now, it is actually really going pretty dang well! now that i stopped fighting what i simply cannot do right now, with this need toddler...we all were able to destress a little and enjoy what we CAN do and are back to learning and enjoying life naturally again.

AAAAAAAAH *huge sigh*

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Update on us...

I haven't been able to find time to even think about this blog lately. I'm so busy with everything. I just finished up an event at Mommy Chats the beginning of November and then started another.

I also am still pretty much floundering at home with housework and homeschooling. Tyren keeps me constantly busy and has been driving me absolutely bonkers. He literally will cling to my legs when I get up to try to do anything at all...throw something away, do some housework, go pee, whatever...he becomes a sobbing mess. I have taken to wearing him in a backpack sometimes, to help me to get anything done. But he's now 30lbs and even the backpack wears after awhile! Forget the sling for housework, it just makes me far too sore. It's great for when we are out and about town...I can't survive stores without it! But my frame backpack is my lifesaver at home. When I remember it. I often simply forget I have it. I just end up resenting the little monkey, and getting more and more stressed out by all the things I simply cannot do these days. My house is always a wreck and people, who shall remain nameless, are always criticizing me for my lack of housekeeping skills...which only adds to my stress and resentment. ARGH! I haven't gotten the nerve to ask them to BACK OFF yet, but I tell ya, someday soon I am probably going to just EXPLODE and they will hear it all! I know they mean well...but how in the world does snide remarks and constant critiques help? They just don't get it.

And my poor Maeven. I've been doing all I can to make up for the lack of time I have with her. I can't even usually do anything with her during Tyren's naps because Tyren will usually wake up when I try to put him down so I end up holding him the entire naptime, working on the computer so I'm getting at least SOMETHING done. (Mommy Chats work...which, incidentally, is bringing me in a nice little profit these days, so it's way more than a hobby...this is a BUSINESS...wish I could get that into SOME PEOPLE's heads...because all I get from them is a dismissal of my work as just unimportant silly fun stuff I do, when there's SO much more to it! *sigh*). So to try to make stuff up to her I make sure we have activities for her to do...well they are things I want for her anyway...science class weekly at The Discovery Center (it's a class specifically for homeschoolers, with an ongoing theme, with a teacher I absolutely ADORE)...art class weekly (She's been going there since she was 3! It's handsdown the best thing I've ever invested in for her! She's SUCH and artist and it really helps her bloom!)...weekly Nana time, where my mom is helping with the homeschooling by teaching her things like baking and sewing and eventually knitting and crocheting and such (for now, they are holiday baking)...weekly Bompa woodworking time, where my dad takes her and works with her on woodworking projects (really an awesome thing for her, I'm very pleased that he's doing it! They are working on making her her own woodworking bench, so cool!) ...and then we have playdates weekly with our friends...standing time on Fridays to go to our friend's house that lives on a communal lot of a famous local sculptor and the grounds are just gorgeous and very child-friendly...so she's developing her friendships with the little girls we meet there weekly and getting to roam and explore such a wonderful area...

I also try to take her places like Oakhurst, to go explore nature (have only been once, but we're going to try to go again today...every week I try to take her) and try (key word--try) to read to her more (this is super hard with Tyren, he just makes everything more complicated)...and I REALLY REALLY want to start doing projects with Maeven, but every time we try to do something Tyren makes it impossible and so they've been scratched a lot. We also occasionally do some baking...something I really want to do weekly.

I'm really trying hard to do more for Maeven. I feel good that even though things are not working out with me doing one-on-one with her lately (not for lack of trying! And I will NOT give up!) she still has had a lot of great things going on regardless. Today we are going to try to make it to Oakhurst and dive into the world of letterboxing. There are 3 hidden in Oakhurst and we just love going to that town anyway. We made a kit for her to take with us to San Francisco last week, but never got a chance to search for any of the boxes we had clues to.

Oh did I mention Marine World/San Fran? Woops! Last week was Homeschool Day at Marine World Africa USA (now 6 Flags too). So they were only open to homeschoolers (tickets had to be purchased in advance) and price was greatly discounted. It was AWESOME! The lines were so short, the group was all homeschoolers like us...really really wonderful! Then the next day we went to San Francisco and did all the touristy stuff and explored with my brother (Maeven's favorite uncle) who lives in SF. Really great time had by all! It was Adam, Maeven, Tyren and I and my parents, and my brother. Adam's family was supposed to come too but had work things come up at the last minute, unfortunately. Maybe next year.

Anyway we all had a really wonderful time on our trip and the length was just perfect. We left late on Thursday, came back early evening on Sunday. Only about 3-4 hour drive too. Perfect.

Well I hear crying in the other room...better go supervise.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

update on tyren

just posted this on my local mommy group...thought it was relevant here too:

ok so the poor little bugger's rash doesn't LOOK bad anymore...but now he's scratching like CRAZY! constantly! so i've started taking dairy out of my diet and his recently... just a few days so far...and he's still having pretty bad nites (though not like before) so i called dr sue stone's office this morning...the issue being money...i needed to see if they took healthy families...which i figured was a long shot.

well it turns out they do! well we'll see if its really true because i still feel its too good to be true...but she says they have one other patient who has healthy families and they are paying for it...so i'm excited!

i'm calling them this morning to get my packet of info and i'm taking this little guy in asap! he's just miserable! this has gone on WAAAAY too long! he's mostly fine when he's distracted but resorts to clawing the hell outta himself in between. and forget leaving him diaper-less to help with the diaper rash...he claws so bad i swear he's going to rip his penis off! luckily i've been managing the diaper rash pretty well with the creams and very frequent diaper changes...but if i slip and leave him in a diaper for just a little too long, it comes right back...so this is just all not right and he needs help, bigtime.

my poor little guy! i am hoping once we get to the root of this problem that maybe he'll be happier again...i know its absolutely maddening itching so much!

i'm still very frustrated with mary graves...because in 2 visits she never once mentioned that an allergy could be behind this...and its very obvious that it is an allergy! she just recommended all the creams and ointments and baths...but none of that solves the root of the problem! ok, that's allopathic medicine for ya, i know...but how can it be so blatantly obvious to me and yet they continue to practice band-aid medicine? well, i can't say THEY, because i feel like dr k would have probably mentioned allergies...he's not hollistic but he seems like he would have talked about that...

you know, i like mary graves for being able to talk to someone when i'm frustrated with parenting and what's going on and such...but i just don't have a whole lot of faith in her medical abilities lately. plus she keeps pushing vaccination. not that that surprises me.

on a side note...i'm reading a REALLY fantastic book all about vaccinations, if anyone wants to know...it's by dr randall neustaedter, who, incidentally, does a monthly chat on my website www.mommychats.com and there are transcripts available. here's a link to the latest transcript and there is a link to his books there and all his other chats as well. and his next chat is next week!

this book, "the vaccine guide" is just what i've been looking for...it is definitely slanted in an anti-vaccination view, but at the same time i think he very well gives value to the other view that the diseases can be scary too...he offers alternatives to the all or nothing approach...talks about full vaccination vs no vaccination vs selective vaccination vs delayed vaccination...etc etc...and talks about how each parent needs to make their own decision on their own situation...really great info! plus he goes into all the issues around vaccinations, history, etc and goes through each and every disease and vaccination currently available...explains the risks of the diseases AND the vaccines, so you can make an informed choice for your children. i am really so thankful to finally have gotten it and i think it will finally help me and my husband make an informed decision...which is his whole point. that parents NEED to be informed on all this stuff before they choose. to go blindly into it is just not wise...there are SOO many factors involved in vaccinations. wow, this book is just REALLY good! i can't say that enough! just thought i'd mention that.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

rated M for mature

i love halloween! i do! not as much as my good friend beckie, but i really do love it! its a fun time of the year...i think dressing up is way fun and fall harvest decor and activities are fun...and candy is fun, lol! its all fun!

i don't, however, particularly enjoy the spooky side of halloween...welllll...i don't NOT like it...spooky is ok with me...its the gory that i don't like. i never have liked gory. and now that i have children...i like it even less and get downright annoyed at how much it is thrust into our faces every year. not everyone likes the gore and creepy stuff...so why is it fair to have it bombard every visit to every store this time of year?

they are having a discussion about scary halloween displays in stores right now on my local mommy egroup...and i will tread lightly on this topic because i know, beckie, that you and i have differing opinions on this and i dearly love you and don't at all want to offend my dear "right-hand mama!"

i do have issues with the creepy, scary stuff bombarding us every year at halloween...i don't have a problem with its existance...nor even that stores sell and display this stuff....i just would prefer that it was kept to a separate section so that those with sensitivities to it can avoid it. i don't think that's too much to ask.

now i do have a very sensitive child...others do not.

and on a side note-- i firmly believe that i did NOT create this in her. its innate. i get so sick of others suggesting i'm to blame for her sensitivities and so, yes, i am sensitive to comments that make me feel that is being suggested. so my advice to all my friends is don't suggest it if you don't want me to get pissed off, LOL! i think most of them know this...but perhaps not, LOL!

but yes, i do have a sensitive child...and so i do avoid the scary stuff or things that might be interpreted as scary. but honestly i'd avoid it anyway because i personally don't like it and i don't feel it appropriate for my children. MY children...i don't claim to know what's right for other people's children, of course! :)

and so yes, i would have a problem if i went into a store that had a big scary, gross halloween display in a place that we couldn't avoid upon entering...i don't have a problem with there being a halloween section...we can easily avoid that.

i also have a problem with PG and R-rated movies being played on tvs at stores! and seriously violent video games! there are reasons for the ratings! research has proven time and time again that these shows and games are inappropriate for young children... go to the lion and lamb project to see scads of articles and research on the topics of viewing violence and children. its totally up to parents to decide what their children can and cannot watch...i respect that in others...so all i expect is the same in return...

it's disrespectful and inappropriate to bombard families with images that many might find offensive. yes, you can just choose not to go to the stores with the offenses...but its happening all over the place these days so what are we supposed to do? stay home all the time? we have stores like target and walmart, that sell pretty much everything (and i shop at regularly), that have the scary displays up and sometimes inappropriate shows and games playing...becomes a game to get away from it all! and not a fun one! we have grocery stores with scary halloween displays...electronic stores with very LOUD inappropriate shows and games playing...and on and on and on...so how are we to avoid it all? we have to shop for things! i need toilet paper, food, clothes, etc....i can't buy it all online, nor should i have to!

and do people even realize how hard and how awkward it is to have to keep avoiding places and displays and such? yes, i believe in freedom and that those that enjoy that stuff should be allowed to enjoy it...but not at the expense of those that don't enjoy it...and definitely not at the expense of the sensitive children who may even be literally traumatized by it. my child can sometimes have nightmares about this stuff...i don't think the joy of others should come above her possible emotional injury.

that's just my belief.

make it easily avoidable...and maybe even give us some warning signs to help us avoid it. that's all i'm asking....

if you have scary halloween displays...put it all in one place and point signs towards it so those that want to enjoy it can find it easily and those that want to avoid it can avoid it easily.

put the PG & R rated movies and video games in a separate section where it cannot be viewed or heard by young children...separate room would be even better! but not necessarily realistic for most stores...so just put it somewhere where it can be avoided. and mark it for those that want to avoid it. "warning, movies and games in this area may not be suitable for young children"...they do this for tv and movies...why can't they do this for stores? mark that section rated M for mature!

i really don't think that's asking too much.

i respect other's rights to choose what their children are exposed to ....i expect the same respect. let ME choose what my child is exposed to.

do know-it-alls REALLY know it all?

*sigh* this is a personal pet peeve of mine. perhaps because i've been bombarded with it pretty much my whole life by a person who shall remain nameless, lol. so i'm very sensitive to the know-it-all, braggy type person. i even have had my moments and struggle with bragginess myself. i am so ashamed when i catch myself falling into that kind of talk...i try very hard to not be like that...i find it so very ugly. but i'm not perfect...it happens from time to time. hopefully not so often that others notice too much.

anyway, there are people i'm forced to interact with in my life that are like this and it really drives me nuts. it makes me want to say to them "don't you realize how incredibly stupid you make yourself look when you talk like that?" and "don't you realize you are so completely transparent when you talk like you are the expert on every topic that comes up...it's so blatantly obvious you are overcompensating for an incredibly low self esteem?" why is it so obvious to the rest of us but not so obvious to the braggarts?

well recently i've started going to some parenting classes...and there is one person in particular in one of the classes that is like this that is really so irritating to me that i just really come away from the experience more annoyed than having learned something. i have been to both classes, so those that are reading this that are local to me and know this class won't necessarily know specifically which person i'm speaking of unless they are as annoyed by her as me and happen to be in that specific class. lol! is that vague enough of me? LOL!

anyway, this person has always been like this as long as i've known her and actually its something that is well known about her by pretty much every mom i've talked to about it. not that i talk much about it...but when the subject comes up about this particular annoyance...the braggy, know-it-all attitude of this person...i have heard time and time again from others that they notice it too and are also irritated by being around this person. anyway...i guess its just who she is and i don't suppose it will ever change. but its someone i prefer to not have to be around because of this...it's just something that irks me to no end and makes me want to shout "shut UP!!!"

i used to work with a person like this...awhile back...and again, it was well known about this person. in fact we had jokes about it...."so do you suppose this person will find a way to squeeze her sky diving experience into the conversation today?" and she usually didn't disappoint us! LOL! i swear, it was so friggin amazing how many times in a week she would be able to bring up the fact that she went sky diving once! it was so laughable!

she also managed to put a damper on my birthday one time...i couldn't believe how blatant it was...but she apparently didn't know...we were spending the day in san fran and my friend and i had spent the day together and this annoying person and another friend of mine had spent the day together separately...we hooked up and were sharing how our day went...so we would talk about what we did and how fun it was and she literally kept butting into our sharing with "oh well WE did this this and this and it was sooooo fun!" on and on and on...it was like out of a movie...everything we did, they did something even better! i finally just blew up! (and those who know me, know that this really doesn't usually happen with anyone other than family...i'm not a big blower-upper...not with friends) i pointed out how friggin annoying it was thatshe was saying everything we did, they did better...and "happy fucking birthday to me!!!" LOL! everyone was a bit shocked. (oh did i mention i had a potty mouth back then?) LOL!

anyway, i just cannot believe how transparent these braggy people are and just don't realize it or refuse to face it. they seriously think that everyone can't tell how insecure they are? how sad for them! what a sad existance.

and for this particular mom i'm talking about today...how sad for her children to be raised by someone with such low self esteem...modelling this sort of behavior as normal and ok...it will certainly make its way into their personalities as well.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

a new partnership!

so i had this idea to create a website for rotary storyland/playland. they don't have a website and they really should have one. i talked to my friend jen of four little ducks and she is willing to create the site with me. she's a graphic designer...i'm good at content, she's good at making it look pretty. :)

so i left a message on the voicemail of storyland/playland's executive director (found the number in the phone book) this morning...and this afternoon he returned my call! he's excited about it and so now i'm super excited!

i will be working with jen and the rotary club to create their website and then i will maintain it for them. i have all sorts of ideas. the best part is that it could be really great publicity for fresnofamily! storyland and playland have been in the news a lot lately because of all the problems they've been having with funding and so getting in on things with them, to help them out...could get my site in the news! and also they have agreed to link back to my site from theirs. so this could really help me out a ton! i really hope so!

i'm really excited to get going on this! jen and i are meeting with the executive director on tuesday morning...i am anxious to see where it leads! how fun!!!

tyren update

i never did update how tyren's going...woops! yes he's sleeping better...that last post was after a really hellish nite. he's back to his normal restless sleep. which is not easy, but much more tolerable.

i switched him to disposable diapers at nite...i'm still not entirely certain they help...but they don't hurt and i don't feel so inclined to jump up and run to the other room to get a new diaper for him now in the middle of the nite when he wakes up crying. he's also waking up crying less...more just stirring and less crying...and when he does cry...not so hard, usually. he is still itching though. poor baby.

i haven't been putting lotion on him so much cuz his skin really looks ok now. still feels scratchy on his back and belly...but his legs are mostly healed now and his diaper rash is usually gone. every once in awhile it will get red again but most diaper changes it looks pretty normal. if i know i'm not going to be able to change him for longer than normal i put aquaphor on him and that seems to help ward off the worst redness.

i have had a lot of advice to take him and myself off of dairy and i am so not wanting to do that but i suppose i should at least try it. its really hard though because i am a total cheese addict. i will have a really hard time staying off of cheese. most everything else would probably be ok...i'm not usually eating tons of dairy every day but the things that i do eat with cheese i eat frequently and can't eat them without. like tacos. how the heck do you eat tacos without cheese? yuck.

so i'm thinking of trying to do it for just a week...that will be hard enough. if i do notice a significant change i'll think about it further. but man, its going to be very hard. i sure hope its not dairy doing this to him.

i've also gotten a lot of other advice but frankly haven't had time to think much about it all. i'll sort through it when i can. i keep getting sidetracked by other things.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

tyren's skin

so my poor baby boy has been having issues with his skin. last week i took him to the dr and they said he has eczema and to put these 3 ointments on to heal it because its infected...that's why it's so inflamed...and give him baking soda baths and slather him all over with aquaphor (a moisturizing/healing cream that's frickin' expensive!)

so i've been doing this but within a few days i ran out of the ointments and only had the aquaphor left. and i wasn't convinced it really had helped much but i did seem like it did help some.

today i took him back to the dr's office again because he is seriously sleeping like crap. last nite he woke up crying and thrashing literally every 30-60min or so and it went on most of the nite...happening about 10-15 times! i even got up and took him to rock in the living room and that just made him thrash and cry more. i was seriously feeling sleep deprived this morning. like i got hit by a truck.

so i took him back and mary graves (pediatric nurse practitioner at dr kratzer's office) said that i need to keep doing the ointment and also that the thrashing could be because he's started walking and that its normal for babies to have restless sleep for like 6weeks around a big developmental milestone like this. oh and also that his pee might be burning his rash and that might be why he's waking crying.

so tonite i bathed him in baking soda, slathered him with all the ointments and creams, put him in his new pjs and a disposable diaper and am crossing my fingers that he'll actually sleep tonite.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

ok so i'm "routine-challenged"

i've decided i'm just routine challenged. i think i'm just too ADD to consistantly keep a regular routine. doesn't mean i'm going to completely quit and not ever even try and just let our day go where the wind blows...just means that i'm going to stop beating myself up for not being able to do what my enki curriculum says that i need to do for my children.

yes, i do agree that both of my children would benefit greatly from a consistant routine. but the fact of the matter is that they have a mom that struggles so greatly with trying to maintain a routine that it constantly stresses me out and is making me so grumpy all the time. that's not healthy either. i think that might actually be worse than no consistant routine.

so i'm going to hack up my routine again and make it very loose...i mean everyone does SOME routine in their day...we all eat 3 meals and go to sleep at nite...so at the very least they can count on that...in our family we do have more than that that can be counted on too...our mornings are going pretty well...we get up, we watch a little tv to wake up (i'll eventually try to eliminate this but frankly i need it right now to entertain the kiddos so i can run around and do a few things that i see need doing and start breakfast...its much more peaceful right now if they watch a little pbs while i do that)...i change tyren's diaper (another reason i need the tv on because he nearly always pitches a fit for diaper changes and the tv can often distract him)...i read my email and start breakfast. that's pretty consistant and i can make a concerted effort to make it more consistant. say, have a specific time that the tv goes off...so like let them watch one 30min show or something and then it goes off. (otherwise maeven will sit there all morning in front of the damn thing if i let her).

after breakfast we try to tidy the kitchen a little...at the very least, clean our spaces at the breakfast table and sweep tyren's throwings. and then we get dressed, put tyren on my back, and we go for a walk. that's something new the past couple months and its going really well. especially now that its cooling off finally. yesterday maeven asked to ride her bike and that went really well so i think i'm going to encourage her to do that every day...she needs the practice and exercise. (she WHINES if i make her walk the whole short walk...usually rides in the wagon and that defeats the whole purpose of getting exercise...i mean i'm getting exercise but she needs it too...especially since she complains so much about her legs hurting if we walk just a short distance!)

after our walk we come back home and that's where i need a little work. yesterday we had a snack as soon as we got in and that worked out well...on our schedule we are supposed to have a circle time (which we haven't done yet because i haven't gotten it ready yet) and then maeven is supposed to have some creative play time while tyren and i shower...but we had such a late walk yesterday that i decided we could all use a snack right away and so we did that and i read her a couple bobbsey twin chapters during snack and that really was nice. nice and relaxed. i think i like that a lot better than coming home and splitting up right away.

and i don't think i'm going to have circle time ready for awhile still...actually, my curriculum says it might not work for some families to have a formal circle, but instead do the songs/movements throughout the day...i wanted to really try doing the circle but just haven't had time to sort through it so for now i'm going to try to just learn one new movement song and add it to our day. then once we get that down, i'll add another. that might work better for us. maeven's never enjoyed circle times anyway...although i was thinking that when its circle with just her, me and tyren she might not fight it so much. with other kids she tends to not want to participate.

at that point in the morning, i need some work...because what i have on my chart i haven't been doing...then pretty soon the morning is over and its lunch. time flies! so i think i have far too much crammed onto the schedule between bfast and lunch. i do need to find time in there for my shower and maeven's project. but tyren goes down for a nap before lunch often...so i think what i'll do is hold off on the project until tyren is asleep. maybe even hold off on lunch til then...it seems to happen that way anyway. its not unusual for us to have a fairly late lunch because it can sometimes take awhile to get tyren down. he will be cranky and obviously sleepy but he will FIGHT going to sleep! so i spend a lot of time rocking and nursing while maeven does her own thing. not a bad thing, because she needs alone play time. but it just wasn't working with the routine i had on paper because it threw everything off. so i need to work that in somehow.

after lunch the afternoon has pretty much been just falling where it goes...but we do have different things for our afternoon "adventure time" that have dictated the days...mondays we have errands/shopping, tuesdays nana/bompa time (my folks come from about 2-4 to play w/the kids so i can catch up on housework)...wednesdays are maeven's art class and baking day. we try to get the baking supplies on monday shopping day then do baking before her 3:30 class. thursdays we take a nature adventure...this week we packed up a picnic lunch and ate at woodward park and fed the ducks...and fridays we go to jen's house and maeven gets to play with the girls for the afternoon on margaret hudson's beautiful property...social time for all of us! so the afternoon adventure time has been going quite well!

maybe i'm not doing so bad afterall....LOL

i do need some work on getting dinner ready consistantly cuz evenings just sort of happen without structure...daddy's home and we just play/relax...dinner is often very late. bedtime routine for maeven is very set though...9pm starts pjs, teeth brushing, stories. adam makes sure of that.

well i'll have to get all this on paper later today because it really doesn't look all that bad now that i detailed it out. LOL

to sleep perchance to dreeeeaaaaammmmm....

will i ever get real sleep again???? *BIG SIGH* at this point it feels like no. argh.

tyren is the world's worst sleeper, i swear. i knew i was spoiled with maeven and i was destined to have a horrible sleeper the next time around, i knew it! this child doesn't just toss and turn...he cries out LOUD at least 5-8 or even 10 times a nite! and actually has a little hissy fit each time usually...like a little tantrum because something is either bothering him or he didn't like what he was dreaming about or something...he kicks and kicks and throws around his whole body...multiple times a nite, ALLLLL nite, EVERY STINKIN' NITE! he's done this off and on nearly since birth but the last couple months just seem to be getting worse. sometimes he even SCREAMS!

this week i took him to the ped to see about a rash he's had for weeks and it turns out he has eczema, and its infected...so it could be that he's been worse about this because he's itching. but he doesn't usually scratch. so i'm not really sure. he scratches his head but there's no rash on his head. he just does that with sleepiness. its mostly all over his legs right now but he doesn't scratch there. he will grab at his crotch, through his diaper and throw a fit sometimes so i will jump up and run and get a new diaper...thinking the wetness must be bothering him. and if i let him he will claw the hell outta his crotch while the diaper's off. but i try to not let him because he can do some real damage! but i can only imagine that he must be itchy and uncomfortable in his diaper area because he has been fighting a rash there as well...

i've been really really good about changing him regular because of this rash on his diaper area. i keep him in only a motherease diaper with no doubler and no cover when we're home...so that i can tell right away when he's wet and change him immediately. i even let him go diaper-less (despite the puddles) to help his rash get some much needed air. and slathering with oinment that i was told to use on his eczema...seems to be working well. but at nite i guess it would be an issue, being in a wet diaper so long.

anyway, i can't believe how badly this little boy sleeps and i'm really surprised that i'm not going insane with sleep deprivation yet! but somehow i manage and i'm surviving but man its hard! i just keep telling myself that he won't sleep like this forever.

i have even tried putting him in the cosleeper, thinking that maybe he's one of those rare babies that needs their space to sleep...but no, he FREAKS out when i'm not right next to him. *sigh*

Saturday, September 16, 2006

new friendships

i've actually been friends with jen renzi for awhile (VERY sweet, cool mama!)...we just never could find time to spend a lot of time together....so now that we found out our girls hit it off very well, we are planning on getting them together weekly...maeven (mine, 6 in nov), thea (jen's, 6 and a half, i think), and brooke (cindy's, 5 and a half)... the 3 of them had such a good time and so did we moms! we met at jen's house, which is on margaret hudson's property because she is jen's mother-in-law. margaret is a very famous local sculptor and i finally got to meet her officially on thursday! it was very exciting! and touring her gardens on her communal property was sooooo neat! the kids led us all over...it was only my 2nd time there. i had been there with maeven when maeven was a baby...but it was at nite and we only walked quickly through the garden to the barn for the drumming circle. they have drumming circle every full moon. it was way cool! the only thing was that not a single person approached me to say hi or introduce themself so i ended up feeling very unwelcomed. :( but it was such a cool thing, all those people drumming and some people even belly dancing, that i would still do it again and hope to get a better response.

anyway, the gardens...there were, of course, margaret's sculptures everywhere! it was soooo beautiful! and the gardens are very wild... very child friendly. i was so completely in awe of it! lots of land and lots of great play places to explore! maeven had an absolute blast! all the kids did!

and it was so sweet because jen's kids are so shy...i've known them since they were babies (well not very intimately, since i didn't see them often) and i swear i don't think i ever heard either of them talk! but when we were on their turf they were a hoot! both of them just talked up a storm and were such a delight!! it was so fun!

the only downside to the whole thing is tyren, again...poor baby...he wanted to get down and crawl everywhere and i did let him for the most part but he kept wanting to crawl into spider infested forts, slimey ponds, and other places that didn't feel safe to me...i just don't like him crawling around when there's things that can hurt him...i'd rather he walked, but he's just not quite there yet...he walks mostly at home, not so much in public yet. not when there's unfamiliar and uneven terrain. although i know i'll be chasing after him once he gets better at walking and that will be exhausting.

but we did finally settle at a little mini-ampitheater for awhile that was a great digging place for the kids...and shady and great seating for us moms. he proceeded to dig madly, throwing the sand/dirt onto his head. LOL! i finally gave up trying to get him to stop throwing and just moved him far enough away from any of us, so we were out of the line of fire. and decided that a bath would be absolutely necessary when we got home, lol! i wish i had had a camera. he had quite the dirt-filled head. LOL! but boy it was fun for him!

anyway, we are planning to return every week and i am very jazzed! my goal is for maeven to have the opportunity to really bond with some children her age...and so thea and brooke, fellow homeschoolers, seem to be a great fit! and luckily, i WAY like their mamas too! :)

oh i should also mention that i find it so incredibly fascinating (she really doesn't see the big deal, which i also think is fascinating!) that jen is the daughter of famous sculptor clement renzi...married to the son of famous local sculptor margaret hudson. she says that for a time it was very confusing to her kids that other people made sculptures too...because they'd see something and ask "did grandma make that or did grandpa?" and not get that there are other people other than their maternal grandpa and paternal grandma that are sculptors. LOL! too funny!

i'm very happy and excited to see where maeven's and my new friendships will lead! stay tuned!

ahhhhh cooler temperatures!

FINALLY relief from all the gawd-awful heat! its been 2 days now of cooler weather! YAY!!! i can't believe how much the weather affects me! well perhaps it affects everyone. but 2 days ago when the weather did a gigantic switcharoo (it was thursday, today is saturday...) we were playing outside at margaret hudson's communal garden (we're friends with her grandchildren) and halfway into our time there the clouds started forming and a very autumnal feeling breeze started blowing. suddenly, clem, 4yrs old, said something like "it feels like fall!" and he was right!

next day it was feeling cool most all day...we even went to the river (i think kings river?) and it was very pleasant, not hot! awesome!

i'm so getting in a better mood with this weather! now if only we could spend unstressful time outside...but noooooo....i have a toddler that wants to crawl around in the dirt and eat bugs and such. very hard to enjoy the outdoors. at the river he kept trying to crawl out to the middle of the river. screamed his head off when i redirected him to the shore. very very stressful and frustrating and finally i got tired of wrestling with him and we had to leave. *sigh* i hope we can ride out this phase...this is so not fun.

Friday, September 15, 2006

a-purging we will go, a-purging we will go

am i weird or what? i really like purging...i love decluttering...virtually and IRL. (that's In Real Life, for you non-internet savvy folks.) the more the merrier! unfortunately i cannot seem to ever do enough and clutter keeps piling up...

but here i am this week purging my old chat users. people that haven't logged into mommy chats chatware for 6months or more are getting a couple email reminders from me and then hasta-la-pasta! if they don't respond, i'm guessing they're not interested in chatting.

silly the little things that give me a boost...but i am so proud of myself for figuring out how to do this. i may seem super internet savvy to some...but really i'm just learning it as i go. all the stuff i know now i learned trial and error after years of experience. this latest endeavor i didn't even know was possible until fairly recently. i didn't even know i could export the user list from the chatware! then i looked in there and noticed that there was a column for "last signed on" (it downloads as a file i can open in excel)...and i was looking at HUNDREDS of users that hadn't logged on in literally YEARS! i started the site the end of 2003...didn't really pick up til 2004...i had people who hadn't logged on since 2004! so needless to say i had a lot of users that had dead emails and hadn't been back ever.

so i sent out some emails to let them know i needed them to log on or be deleted. pretty dang silly that something so trivial could make me feel so good, but i really was so excited to discover that i can email all the registered users...i'm going to figure out some ways to make good use of this at some point, but right now i'm just purging old users. i only want people on there that are staying current and regularly using the site. or at least interested still.

so anyway...purging away again! i had started this a few months ago then got sidetracked...but now i'm back to emailing those that haven't logged on in months. i have purged up through august 2005. i am now contacting people that haven't logged on since sept, oct, nov and dec 2005. once i get them to log on and make their account current i'll start with the people from jan-mar 2006. i'm requiring the accounts to stay current. no bouncing emails and must have logged on at some point in the past 6months or out they go. hopefully this will help to keep things fresh and interesting.

and with fresh and interesting in mind...i'm also working with my new chat manager, juliet, to come up with new ideas to make the site more interesting and get people back into the chat rooms. things have died down recently and i needed someone new to come in and help me out with staying on top of things because i just don't have so much time for it these days...but i'm jazzed with juliet's enthusiasm and ideas and she is keeping me on top of things! i think we are going to come up with some really fun things! we already have a few things in the works...i just need to try to find more time!!! that's always the problem...time...never enough of it! and then there's my other site, fresno family. i have so many ideas for that too...just not enough time!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

i'm a firefighter!

that's what i am alright! i put out fires ALLLLL-DAAAAAY-LOOOOOOOONG.

i forgot how hard it was to have a child this age...tyren is wearing me out! i could actually probably handle it...or at least feel like i'm getting ahead from time to time...if both kids were older...but with one toddler tornado tearing up the house faster than i can organize and clean it... all i have the energy and the ability to do is just put out fires here and there as i can.

and he's been so cranky lately. i don't know what's going on with him...i think i need to actually hold him more. i'm feeling pretty guilty about how much i put him down and expect him to play...now that there are 2 of them, and he's tearing things up so fast, i have so much more to do and so he doesn't get as much of the holding time that maeven got. i guess that's just inevitable. still sad though.

i do wear him a lot...just in this heat and when i'm trying to work around the house, i prefer not to at home. he's HEAVY! he was 27lbs at his last dr's appt...and that was a couple months ago! it's very hard to do lots of bending and picking up of things with a nearly 30lb-er strapped to you.

anyway, i hear the little tornado screaming about something again...i better go don my firefighter's gear and go tackle some more fires!

Friday, September 08, 2006

soooooo sad!

i just received the link to this article on my local homeschool group and i find it so incredibly sad!!

see now THAT is just the sort of thing i'm going to avoid by homeschooling. its just absolutely insane what they do to little kids in school these days!!

it's all about the testing and the things they push on kindergarten and 1st graders these days. not just public school but private as well!

and it's not just the schools...it's the parents! why is it that parents just don't see what it is they are doing to their children? that article talks about the push from parents to have highly successful children... what's happening to childhood?

it's just so sad... i hear people say all the time how children now are not the same as children from their childhood...they don't play like they used to...most blame it on tv and video games and absolutely that is a big part of it...and a perceived fear of the world by the parents...maybe the world is more dangerous, maybe it's not...i don't know but i do, as a parent, worry a lot about my children's safety...from child predators and the like. so i can relate. but i think the schools are really adding to this loss of childhood.

when i substituted in our local public schools i did 3rd grade and under...and in the 4 months or so that i subbed, i remember just being so surprised that in nearly every classroom the only things that we did were revolving around reading, writing and math. no music, no science (only a couple teachers, who presumably went above and beyond, squeezed some science in), no art...no real art, that is...just crappy, developmentally INappropriate photocopied crapola.

these kids souls are seriously starving to death! i can't see how anyone can ever make it right to take away the arts and music out of any early childhood program. it's integral to a young child's whole self! i just don't get how the schools can't fathom this. and you wonder why so many children do so poorly...besides the fact that many have really crappy home lives...the schools don't properly educate them, in my mind. i know everyone has their own philosophy on education and there are so many different takes on it...but that is mine...that the classic method of education really isn't a good one.

i don't believe in testing...there's so many flaws in that...i don't believe in teaching to the test....what are you learning? nothing. its wasted energy. nothing gets internalized.

what is education anyway? is it just learning random things to be able to spew out for a test and then forget them forever? the schools seem to think this. that's what's being promoted. if they seriously think that the methods they use are supposed to be teaching children in a way that the info will stick, they are dead wrong. i can't remember much at all from my education. hell, even in college most of the stuff didn't stick. i got my degree in child development and i'll be damned if i can remember much of it. the basics, yes, but not the depth that i dove into through 4.5yrs in college. what was the point in my learning all that stuff just to forget it?

cram as much in as quick as you can and move on...that doesn't work. but that's the way most schools do things. i would rather learn something slowly and really get to digest it and chew and maybe even remember a lot of it. (oh i know you can't ever remember EVERYTHING...i'm not unrealistic...but forgetting most of the stuff isn't acceptable either).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

in the sleeping house

well i can't call it a napping house because its late and everyone's out for the nite...except me.

this is really actually quite cool but i do know i need to go to bed soon because tyren will probably have me awake about a zillion times again tonite and i need to get all the sleep i can while i can. but i feel like blogging, so there ya have it.

why's tyren waking me up so much, you ask? well who the hell knows but he's been doing it for what feels like weeks now. not really sure exactly how long. but he thrashes a lot. he's always done this off and on. lately he's on more than he's off.

whimpers and cries and rolls around and thrashes and kicks and kicks and nurses ALL NITE LONG! drives me bananas! but then i do know he's working on some molars. not one, not 2 but FOUR. poor baby. i think that might be at least some of it. 2 on top have already broken through...i don't think the bottom ones have...but they look close.

he's been pretty cranky at different times of the day lately too. so i just keep trying to remember that he's a baby and he's in pain. well but i don't know for sure he's in pain but he might be. i guess i should give him some medicine but i feel like i shouldn't unless i'm sure he's in pain. i can't say for sure so i don't want to medicate him if he's not needing it. then again, i'd hate for him to needlessly be in pain. this sucks. i had the same dilemma with maeven. neither of my kids manifest your typical symptoms for teething. ah well...this too shall pass.

lets see...what happened today? oh we had a trip to the grocery store and many people commented on how cute tyren is. of course he's cute. he's mine! LOL! both my kids are gorgeous! (yes, proud mama here). as my mother-in-law says... "we don't do ugly." LOL!

one lady even came up and squeezed tyren's thighs. yes they are very very chunky. he's my fat little bubba. man i never thought i'd use that word. i always detested that nickname before we had him. i thought "sissy" and "bubba" were the lamest nicknames. well i "sissy" still makes me cringe a bit...but maybe it'll grow on me... anyway i swore there's no way in HELL my kids are gonna use those nicknames for each other and you'll NEVER hear it coming out of my mouth! so what do i hear coming out of my mouth often when i am talking to tyren? "bubba", "bubbas", "bubbers"...you name it...any variation on the word, i've used it. *sigh* well i guess if you can't beat them, join 'em. :)

too many opportunities, too little time!

aaaaaaahhh! i'm having a dilemma of having too much to choose from for maeven right now! i am making it a point to get her involved in different things so she can get the socialization that all the non-homeschoolers always seem to be way more worried about than the homeschoolers, LOL! (i always see it referred to as "the dreaded S word" on homeschooling groups...its become somewhat of a joke because we all are bombarded with the question repeatedly...which we all know is just ridiculous because school isn't the only place to be socialized! but i digress...lol) anyway there are some really great opportunities coming up...

  • a spiral scouts group is forming
  • i'm organizing the beginning of an ongoing homeschool science class at the discovery center (i won't be teaching it...i'm just helping to get it started).
  • maeven's art classes will be starting up again next week (she's been doing it for nearly 3 years now and these classes are so important to her...being the extremely obsessed little artist that she is)
  • i'm forming a very small intimate playgroup for her to meet weekly with (to form intimate bonds with a few children...i feel this is very important for her and so i'm seeking out people to connect with and see how maeven and them relate to each other...if they click or not)
  • and also, maeven has been expressing a desire to start going to gymnastics again. so i'm looking into the possibility of forming a homeschool gymnastics group at gymnastics beat, a place we used to go to but stopped for awhile...otherwise we'll just maybe check out the regular classes again...though they are late in the day and i'm not sure that will work for us.
there's also:
  • kid yoga--on hold because they changed the class day and maeven hasn't been all that interested in it lately
  • regular girl scouts--i've just not tried getting her involved yet because we didn't need one more thing to do and i'm not sure i really want her to do girl scouts...not sure exactly why but now that spiral scouts is starting, i think that might be a better fit for us.
  • lots of friends her age we can set up playdates with weekly...just not enough time in the week!
anyway, there's just too many possibilities! we were really enjoying not having any weekly activity on our schedule these past few weeks and so i'm hesitant to end that. at the same time...all these activities are potentially wonderful experiences for maeven. i definitely don't want to overwhelm her though...so we're going to have to pick and choose. well, perhaps some of them won't pan out and will make the decision making easier.

Monday, September 04, 2006

against the mainstream

been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things lately (well, always). in the shower today (one of my best thinking spots, when i actually get to shower)...i started thinking about what it means to go against the mainstream and how i fit into that.

i've always been a little against the mainstream. i say a little because i really don't feel anything i believe or the way i live is so extreme. but anyway, my mom reminds me sometimes how even as a child, particularly in high school when everyone wants to fit in normally, i would buck the trends and not be interested in the prevailing clothing styles. if everyone else liked it, i tended to not like it--simply because EVERYONE else liked it. i have always detested trends. seems like a brainless way to live...following what everyone else does and likes, just because everyone else is doing it.

but at the same time i didn't go against EVERYTHING just because everyone liked it...that would sort of be doing the same thing, in a way...the mainstream would still have been choosing my likes and dislikes. so it was still pick and choose. i didn't rebel against all things mainstream. and still don't.

i do have a real distaste for letting companies and magazines and tv and movie personalities decide what is "in" and not, though. or just doing things because that's what everyone does. just seems so much like living life as a sheep. i've heard people who really get sucked into being followers like this called "sheeple"....i would agree that's a good term.

anyway back to the now...i definitely parent against the mainstream way of thinking. (the term "attachment parenting" was coined to define this style of parenting.) ...in my personal life mainstreamers are the minority. because i choose to surround myself with like minded people, where i'm able to choose.

i have very definite values on all things regarding my children. and those tend to buck the mainstream thinking. one example: my children aren't enamoured of disney. for the most part we don't do disney...with the exception of winnie the pooh and the heffalump movie. oh and mary poppins. but man, you should see the looks i get from people when i say we don't do disney. like i'm depriving my kids of their childhood or something. come on! give me a friggin break. disney does not equal a quality childhood for pete's sake! we do go to the park...i'm all for the magic kingdom...avoiding the rides that would scare my daughter...we just don't watch the movies, which i think are way too violent and i think its horrendous how disney nearly always kills off the moms...what message does that send? moms are expendable? moms are unimportant? anyway, we don't do disney, that's just something i feel strongly about. i'm not saying NO ONE should do disney. do what you want with your own kids...just please respect what i choose for my kids. my husband is with me on this one. disney films are violent and we don't want our children watching them. period. i have friends that DO do disney. i don't have a problem with that as long as its not put on when my children are there. then it gets sticky. trying to get maeven to another room so that she doesn't have to see it...without making a fuss because i don't want to make a fuss. i really don't. but i also don't want my kids watching what i don't want them watching.

this gets really sticky sometimes...because not everyone has the same values on tv watching that i do. i don't expect them to go out of their way to change their lives just because my kids are around...but at the same time it gets really hard when my kids are at someone's house where there's something on--tv or video game--that i feel is inappropriate for my children. ack! it makes me feel so many things! on the one hand i don't want to be a bitch and tell them they need to change it (i would never do that at someone else's home)...but at the same time...i REALLY feel strongly that i don't want my kids seeing whatever it is...so we work on keeping away from view and earshot as much as we can without making a stink...but it makes for some really not fun times for me and my husband trying to juggle this. argh! juggling our beliefs with wanting to be good guests. *sigh* there doesn't seem to be a good solution either. i'm probably already viewed as a pain in the ass to those that feel differently, so i certainly don't want to make things worse by confirming it, lol!

and then there's toys...i probably fall in the category of against the mainstream there too. because i just can't stand the vast majority of the crap that is popular for children these days...

i feel strongly about not having violent toys, electronic toys (for the most part), and non open-ended toys. so i try to avoid anything that is designed to emulate a weapon and would encourage violent play, most anything that requires batteries (with a couple exceptions), and anything that is designed to be used a very specific way. i feel disgusted walking the aisles of toys r us and dept store toy depts because its very hard to find toys that don't fall into these categories. the hardest thing is just finding toys that are not electronic! for pete's sake! that just really annoys me! anything and everything has to make noise these days! my kids know that "noisy toys" stay at the store. they are welcome to play with them in the cart at the store, or at friends houses...but they stay there when we leave. i hate to admit it but i usually exchange them when my kids get them as gifts. i hate to admit this because i never thought i'd be one to do that. but i feel that strongly that i want the toys my children to have to be developmentally appropriate and there's just not room in our lives or our home for what i feel is inappropriate. i am trying to create a high quality environment (key word--trying...ugh, i'm not always good at this...we still have far too much clutter...but i'm trying to change that!) to raise my children in and so that means that i need to follow my belief system and values.

i've taught my daughter (tyren's too young still) to be thankful of gifts, though...say thankyou and value that someone loved you enough to give it to you. that not everyone gets gifts...not all children have toys...we talk about not hurting feelings if she receives something she doesn't like or she knows mommy and daddy won't like (luckily she agrees for the most part with us so far). so she's getting that it IS the thought that counts. i don't want her to think otherwise. and i don't FEEL otherwise. it's the thought behind the gift, and i do appreciate that. but i also won't keep things that i feel won't be good for my children.

i know people who don't see things the way i do scratch their heads at me. i know they don't get it. and i don't know how to help them get it. its not my job to help them get it. i'm not here to convert anyone. i'm not about proselytizing and making people see my way... this is just who i am and how my husband and i have chosen to raise our kids. all i want is respect. i try not to be judgemental of other people's choices (again, key word is "try"...because this is a constant struggle in my life, being judgemental and i hate that. i really really really am trying to change that aspect of myself. because i find it so very ugly.) and i would like the same in return.

its so frustrating to have to deal with knowing that i'm being judged. i want to be able to have relationships with people that are mainstream and not have to feel the differences so strongly all the time. i'm still learning how to do that. why is it such a big deal that i do things against the mainstream? why does that make me a "hippie"? LOL! i'm actually take that as a compliment when someone calls me a hippie...because i am so not a hippie. though i would love it if i was. anyone that calls me and my husband hippies has never actually met a real hippie, lol! i'm not strong enough in my environmentalist beliefs to be categorized as a hippie...plus i'm a carnivore! LOL!

ok, out of curiosity i looked up a couple terms:

mainstream: the principal or dominant course, tendency, or trend.

hippie: a person, esp. of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love, and expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, headbands, used garments, etc.--ok that one doesn't fit me...

but here's another for hippie: A person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society, especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles.--i guess that one does sort of fit me. although i don't get into politics so i don't really know if i'm an extreme liberal or not. i'm definitely liberal, just don't know how extreme, lol.

my definition of a hippie in the 2000s would be a vegetarian or vegan that dresses organic and eats organic and is strong in their convictions against war and animal and human rights violations...living their beliefs by protesting when able and teaching their children...also living with very little of the mainstream trappings...especially little or no tv...that would be my view of what a hippie is and i have friends that are in this realm. so when someone calls ME a hippie i just laugh. because i am very far from that. i'm away from the mainstream but i'm not THAT far. i wish i was! i think that you have to be a very strong person to be that far from the mainstream. i'm not there.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"prayer works" horseshit

i was just going through some old emails and stumbled upon a response i made to a yahoogroup i'm on... one for those that have suffered the loss of our precious babies...

and i was rereading what i wrote and i felt it was very poignant so i wanted to post it here, to keep for posterity:

"your post made me think, for some reason, of that stupid phrase "prayer works", which i hear thrown around all the time and absolutely INFURIATES me.

i don't believe prayer works in the way they imply with that ridiculous phrase. like miraculous things happen if you only pray hard enough. or you have enough people praying.

if it worked, then my baby would be alive. and nothing anyone can say to me will convince me otherwise. i think that saying is a load of crap because believe me, every one of us was praying our pants off during those minutes right after my precious little baby boy was out of me and not showing signs of breathing. and i refuse to believe that god is a cruel, vicious god that requires a certain number of faithful followers praying together in order to answer a prayer. why does one baby live and another doesn't? certainly not because the survivor's parents prayed harder, or were more faithful! no way anyone can convince me of that. i refuse to believe god would be so heartless.

the answer, in my mind, is that there just isn't an answer. sometimes people live, and sometimes people die. that's just life. don't get me wrong...i still believe in god and i do pray, even though i don't consider myself a religious person, nor a christian...but i personally wholeheartedly believe in god and praying feels good so i continue to do so. but every time i hear someone spouting off that crap about "prayer works" i want to strangle them.

sorry...don't know where that came from but this seemed the appropriate place to say it."