Tuesday, December 25, 2007

another merry christmas

this year's christmas is essentially over now. we had a pretty nice one, i must say. not that we don't usually. but another nice, merry christmas. :)

it was a little different than last year. every year we usually do christmas eve with adam's dad (his dad and mom have been divorced since he was little), and then christmas morning here, then off to my parent's and then to his mom's (where all his siblings usually are...he only shares his dad with 1 out of his 3 siblings, so xmas eve is just his sister's family and dad)...the order will sometimes change, but usually that's how it works.

THIS year, things went differently...xmas eve was at his sister's, where his brother's family was, as well as his sister's...his other sister was out of the country so we didn't see her this year. then christmas morning here...and then off to his dad's where we saw his sister and family again and then lastly to my parent's, where this year my brother wasn't there. also missing this year was his mom. so we were missing 3 close relatives this year. :( 2 out of the country (my brother tim is currently in the country georgia helping with an election and adam's sister sarah is in the czech republic where she lives.) and 1 out of state (adam's mom is currently in chicago visiting her sister).

anyway, still just the same amount of running around but just a different order. its ok but i still hope we can streamline it all better someday because i prefer to not have to have so many commitments of places to go.

when i was growing up we didn't leave the house all day and in fact didn't get dressed even...it was always a jammies day. and we liked it that way. but now it feels a bit hectic with so many more people and with all the running around. i'm mostly used to it now, and its not a huge deal to me anymore but i still would rather not have to run around so much. in a perfect world.

i know the thought of others is "what's the big deal? we had to do all the running around, why is it big deal to her?" well...its not what i grew up with. i didn't grow up in a divided family, nor a large family. that's just not what i experienced. and what's ok with some people isn't for others. my philosophy is just because someone else had to do it doesn't mean everyone should. but hey, that's me. at one point i was really bothered by this running around to the point that i really wished that i could just have everything here and not have to run around all over the place. but the reality of that is that there's still a crazy running around because there's the preparation of getting the house ready for everyone to come here. and there's no getting around all the extra people when you blend families through marrying someone from a big family. no way to avoid that. he doesn't want to be deprived of seeing his family on special occasions anymore than i want to be deprived of mine. and i wouldn't dream of expecting that of him. that would be so wrong.

anyway i digress...this is kinda an old issue because like i said, i'm mostly ok with the running around at this point and my kids will just grow up dealing with it. and i guess if i think about it i can find some good in it because when we divide things up like that its less chaotic at any one gathering. with the exception of the one big gathering at my sister-in-law's house, where there is all his siblings and their families and now my sister-in-law's husband's family too...the rest of the gatherings are quite small in comparison. so that's nice. i like smaller. the larger gets a bit much for me. but my kids seem to be handling it better. i prefer intimate but my kids will just know how to handle this because this is all they'll know. i guess that's not a bad thing. i prefer them to get to know people on a more intimate basis, but we have to figure that out for other situations, not christmas. christmas is just always going to be basically a madhouse. and i just have to deal with that. ok. i think i can do that. it wasn't bad this year. it was actually pretty nice.

another merry christmas! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

i've lost touch with my way with kids

i used to be so good with kids. before i had them.

i was an awesome preschool teacher and camp counselor and trail guide (to 6th graders) and nanny, and on and on...i've had a LOT of experience with kids before i even had kids!

so now i'm a mom to a 7yr old and a 2yr old and i'm starting to notice that i just don't have the touch or even the interest in having the touch with other people's kids that i used to. i'm sure its like riding a bike and i can get it back anytime...but honestly...other than close friends' kids, i really don't have an interest in children other than my own these days. the conversations i have with kids other than tyren and maeven are few and far between.

i've never been the kind of person to get in a child's face immediately and be all chummy with them on first meeting them...friendly, sure...but not over friendly. but i have always been good at being able to carry on a great relationship with children during situations like when i was their caregiver or teacher...was even a favorite teacher at places i've taught...and before i was a mom i tended to strike up conversations with children regularly most places i went, if the child seemed to be up for it. (i usually let them approach me first...if they're shy with me, i tend to keep my distance, as i don't usually like to push myself on children)

but i guess i'm just tapped out now that i'm a mom. i just don't think of it much anymore. talking to other people's kids or really being too concerned about interacting with them...unless they initiate. i don't have a problem with a super friendly child that wants to talk to me...that's adorable...but shy kids and i don't really get to know each other cuz i just don't feel comfortable trying to draw them out of their shell when it's not something that is part of my job.

weird to realize this.

i've always loved kids so its odd to not be really acting on that anymore. i guess i have my own so now i don't need to interact with other people's kids so much anymore. i do like to be chummy with my children's friends, however, so there are exceptions to the rule...but still...i'm not the same tina i was as a teacher. mom tina is SOOOOO different from teacher tina. bizarre.

and yet, i know in a second i could switch to teacher tina mode again if the situation calls for it. when i teach classes in my home...i've done the mommy and me classes and the xmas crafts classes...then i tend to switch into teacher mode. its a good feeling doing what i know i'm good at. i'm a good teacher...to kids in groups...and i know that for a fact. i've been a good teacher for a long time. not perfect, by any means, but damn good if i do say so myself. but most of the people in my lives nowadays wouldn't know that because they've never seen me in action.

my husband has never seen me teach! i mean groups of children. when we met at scicon where i was an intern and leading trails (teaching 6th graders), the week he was there i wasn't in a trail guide position. i was lodge chief. so he never saw me teach then. oh well he saw me teach and lead campfire songs to like 200 kids. so that's something...but never an instructional class. and whenever i have led classes since scicon, adam was never there...he's never once (that i can think of) seen me teach! my teaching time at discovery center was during his work time...my mommy and me classes and my xmas classes...all during adam's work! i haven't done anything on weekends, so he's just not seen me in action. :( i plan to change that someday.

anyway, its weird though because i was just thinking how i don't have any kind of a relationship with some of the kids in our lives...maeven's cousins, for example. most of them are pretty shy and so i just never was able to feel really comfortable with them (i tried before maeven was born, but now i just am totally sidetracked with my own kids i guess)...weird. i don't know why that is. i do enjoy maeven's friends...especially since we spend so much time with them that they are very comfortable with me and talk up a storm. especially brooke and thea. so sweet. heck even clem, who i remember as this painfully shy child before we developed a relationship with their family, is a chatterbox with me sometimes. so that's something. :) but we do have alot of contact with them. so that has to do at least somewhat with this.

its funny because i remember my first week teaching preschool at harmony day school in sacramento (the school doesn't exist anymore, sadly)...that the director, shellie, was concerned because i was kind of stand-offish with the children. she didn't get it because she was absolutely the kind of person that is very in-your-face (in a good way) with children...very outgoing and super friendly with children. well i had to explain to her that i am slow to warm up. but once i warm up i'm fine...but just give me some time to get to know the kids. and them me. that's just how i am. i love kids but i am not in their face immediately. just not me. still not me. but now i don't even really warm up to them ever, some of them....but now that i'm thinking of it....maybe its not so much that i've changed but that some of the kids in my life i don't have much contact with them.

so maybe i've not lost touch...because i do feel like i can feel comfortable with maeven's friends...so maybe i was wrong...especially since i KNOW that when given the chance, i would have no problem dropping right back into teacher mode. i love that. its so comfortable to me. i love teaching, i love love love leading circles and campfire singing type stuff. in fact i had a huge compliment from a person in a position of power at a place i've taught at before...awhile back when she said that she should hire me to lead my campfire songs with the kids at a certain event because she's seen me in action waaaaaaaaay back when i did discovery center summer camp (before adam and i got married and had kids) and was impressed and thought i would be better than some of the children's performers here locally. :) that was such a warm feeling to me to hear her say that!! i can't tell you what a high i got from that compliment! wow! so unexpected too! especially since the conversation was in reference to a certain children's performer we were saying we weren't so impressed with and that's when she said she should have hired me! LOL! i love it.

well anyway, i don't know what's up but its weird how now that i have kids i just don't feel so much like i need to have relationships with other people's kids like i used to. i guess it makes sense in a way. still weird to me. kids have always been my life. guess they still are...but now its just MY kids! :)

*note: i should mention that when i'm talking about teaching in this post i'm specifically talking of teaching GROUPS of kids. because obviously, as a homeschooler, i'm still a teacher. its SOOO completely different at home with your own child though. especially since this month has all gone to hell and i think from here on out december will just be a vacation month because it just ends up being that anyway. there's just too much going on around christmas. from thanksgiving to christmas is just too hectic. and we don't even do that much! i still feel so stretched regardless. too much pressure around the holidays. too many things to do and buy. anyway i digress.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

and the rain rain rain came down down down

it poured rain all day today. and we still have furniture outside. *SIGH* luckily i covered it up with tarps...UNluckily, the last rain had wind with it that moved some of it from an entertainment center that's out there and one side of it has been exposed ever since...LUCKILY its a piece of crap that we got handmedown from a neighbor moving, but UNluckily i don't have enough bookshelves for all my books without it.

and UNluckily, the other 2 shelves that are out there are sitting in puddles. ARGH ARGH ARGH.

why is my furniture outdoors, you may ask? remember my mold situation? hmmm, that doesn't seem to have a whole lot of info on it...well ok so here's the brief rundown....

our garage was converted to a family room. and apparently the flower bed on the front of our house (front of that room) was added later WITHOUT putting any sort of barrier between the dirt and the wall. so one day a few months ago when i forgot to turn off the hose (the batteries for the timer for the soaker hose had died so i just made a, useless, mental note to remind myself to turn it off after about an hour. haw!) ...i drenched the flower bed for like 14 hours. the next morning i realized it was still on and frantically turned it off but the room was under water. ok not UNDER water, but the carpet slushed.

so we sucked the water out and got some help later to dry it out and when the walls wouldn't dry they took off part of the dry wall and discovered mold. this started the toxic mold nightmare that we still haven't recovered from.

the mold took over that entire wall and our insurance wouldn't pay for it because it was old mold (pre-existing), so we had to pay out of our window money (money we had taken from our mortgage to replace our 50+ yr old single pane windows with dual pane) about $4500 to fix that mold situation. the guy that tested our mold said it was the highest mold count he'd ever seen in all his experience (and he wasn't a young guy) and it was the 2 most toxic kinds. so that room was blocked off for months as we dealt with it. and we had to wear a face mask to go in there.

everything had to be pulled from the room and bagged. and we still have it all bagged because we can't put it back in yet because even though the mold is gone, there's carpet and dry wall gone too and carpet tacks and exposed outlets in there.

sooooooo...there's stuff outside. we brought the oak shelves in and most of the bags of stuff i crammed into our shed (lots of books)...but there's still some bags out there and several shelves that i hope aren't going to be unsalvagable. we've no place to put them right now. well i guess we could wipe them down and bring them in but its a royal pain in the ass and we'd have to move them back out again to replace the carpet and the walls anyway, so i had hoped it would stay dry out there. but nooooooo. of course not.

and now we are just about at the end of our money and not only do we not have our windows or any money left to even attempt to do any...but we don't know if we will even have the money to redo the entire room. so we are trying to figure out how to do some of it ourselves...but the holidays are upon us so its all on hold. again. *sigh*

i hate hate hate being in limbo! there's been stuff in bags piled up next to my side of the bed in our bedroom for literally MONTHS and i've had no access to the books and art supplies i like to use for our daily homeschooling and such and no space to play that is separate from our living space. the house feels so small without that "big room" (as we call it).

i'm hoping out of all this severe inconvenience that we will have a beautiful new room soon. its going to all be completely remodeled so it damn well better look good.

so frustrating on every level...and the WHOLE reason we had done the new mortgage in the first place was to get the cash out to fix up our house!!! and then this happens! money GONE!!! DAMMIT! i could friggin SCREAM!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

shake your groove thing!

this is my favorite "that 70s show" episode! and my favorite part of my favorite episode...soooo cool!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

maeven's christmas


maeven is growing up so much! this year for christmas i was thinking of how i want my kids to be giving and caring and thinking of ways to help enforce that...so adam and i talked and decided to let maeven have $50 to spend on all the people she would like to get gifts for this year. i want her to be able to understand the value of money, as well as the value of giving. and i want her to learn how to stretch her money and how to carefully choose presents.

she and i started a list of people that she wanted to get gifts for (or make for) and we started thinking of ideas. i told her she could choose if she wants to make or buy gifts for the people on her list...making gifts being more special and able to stretch the money more...but of course buying gifts is exciting for her as well. so i took her to big lots and dollar tree to see if she could find things to buy. she had a blast!

she was so excited! bouncing around and looking at things carefully and just having a grand old time! i would point out lots of different ideas to her and let her make up her own mind about things...and suggesting that since she already had 10 people on her list and only $50, that she might want to not go over $5 a person...or maybe a little less for some and a little more for others. tough concept, so i figured the best way for her to learn it is first-hand. so we'll see how it goes. she's about halfway through her money now, and got some neat things, i think! she's very carefully thinking everything through. i love to see her thinking like this. so fun to see.

she's also very excited because i told her that if we got her bedroom cleaned up (it was beyond a wreck) that i would go into the shed and pull out xmas decorations for her to use in her room. so we worked together (it was tough, but we did it) and got the floor completely cleaned and put most everything away. there's still stuff piled on top of surfaces we need to work on...so i'm going to push that today...and then i'll get those decorations out. should be fun!

its so fun having these moments like this with her. she really can be a lot of fun! :) gawd i love my children! both of them!!! sooooooo much!!! :)

my genius toddler



ok this doesn't actually qualify as true genius material...and honestly i wouldn't want him to be a genius...above average would be fine, but true genius would be too much cuz i think that he would be happier just being normal...but he really shocked the heck outta adam and i yesterday!

tyren was being cranky so i remembered that i had the magnet letters from the fridge put up on top of the fridge for months and months, so it would be like a new thing, so i brought them down...and sure enough he was very pleased to play with them...

and keep in mind i have NOT worked with him on letters at all! he plays computer games all the time (like starfall and all the stuff on pbskids and such), and he has an older sister...so i supposed he's just picked it up via osmosis...

i was working on dishes (which NEVER ends! argh!) and i hear him putting letters up on the fridge and naming them as he puts them up...curious, i look to see what letters he's putting up as he's saying them....and he's RIGHT EVERY TIME! he did like 5 or 6!!! i started asking him what letters were and he got the first few right and started to falter after that...but he knew like 8 or so total that i could see...i think i may have caused him to get confused by making a big deal outta them too cuz when i excitedly called adam into the room to see, he started getting some wrong that he had originally gotten right...but WOW! adam got some of it on tape. some of the ones i remember offhand that he got right... M, S, Q, O, B, I...can't remember much else...bad memory here.but wow! he only turned 2 in july! that just seems really incredible to me! to be able to actually identify that many letters! or really, any letters at all, because its not something i think is important for him to do at his age so i haven't worked with him on it at all! he does know all his colors...the entire rainbow, no problem, and even brown, black and white. most of the time he gets every color right every time. has for awhile. we've started sorta working on shapes...but i just haven't thought letters were important yet. wow, he just amazes me!

he also, just about 3 days ago, started saying his name. he used to say it sorta mangled. never sounded anything like TEER-en. more like teh-den, or something like that. but just a few days ago all of a sudden he says "TEEW-wen" (love that his Rs are Ws, LOL!) adam said something about baby and he said "no baby, TEEW-wen"...and later, adam called him a monkey "no monkey, TEEW-wen", LOL! too cute!

my little imp! he amazes me all the time!! he's just so friggin adorable! now if he could just lose the knock-down, dragout tantrums, LOL! they must be a sign of intelligence, right? ROFL!! ;)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

this is your brain on violent media

brand new study out that confirms even more how bad violent media is for you. not specifically about kids, but seems like it says a lot about that as well in its findings.

this just is a duh thing to me. i'm amazed at how many people continue to fight these findings though.

i took on the lion and lamb project's website awhile back because i feel so strongly about children and violence (media, toys, games, etc), and their organization had shut down but i wanted to make sure the site didn't disappear since there's a ton of great info there.

but this study is about everyone, not just kids. and i think it could help explain, at least a little, how our culture just seems to keep getting more and more violent. its so disturbing to me, i cannot even watch the news.

i live in an area with lots of gang violence. i cannot watch a single news show without hearing about something violent happening, often gang related. i don't get how people get into this lifestyle. i don't get how people who are not gangbangers still think the style is "cool" and teach it to their kids and dress their kids as mini-gangbangers. i don't get how they think its "cool" to talk the talk and walk the walk and emulate gangbanger behavior. i think it makes them look incredibly juvenile and uneducated and thuggish. but then they like to be thuggish. i don't get it.

i don't get so many things. i don't like to watch extremely violent tv or movies. i have seen plenty, but i don't LIKE it. i usually close my eyes because i find it disturbing. i don't get the slasher type films at all. there's not even a plot to those type of movies other than the extreme violence. i don't get how anyone can enjoy that. i don't get it!

i'm not a prude...i watch plenty of R rated stuff...but the extreme stuff...extreme fighting, wrestling, slasher films, horrifically graphic games...i don't get! i don't enjoy, and i feel like you have to be seriously disturbed to enjoy that stuff. but yet people i love love that stuff. i don't get it. my brother is into watching some of the most horrific movies that have been made...not the slasher stuff but the even more disturbing films like clockwork orange (*shudder* i couldn't get very far into that movie, it made me physically ill!) and we had the same childhood so i don't get why the appeal. its not like he had a traumatic childhood...and i can't help still finding him disturbed because he likes that stuff. and my husband likes to play some pretty violent games...luckily he knows better than to let the kids see it (doesn't play til after they are asleep), but i don't get the appeal of all the bang bang shoot 'em up stuff.

there is MOUNTAINS of research out there (the above article just the latest in that) that supports that violent media is BAD FOR YOU. seriously bad stuff! how can you enjoy watching someone getting maimed and killed? i don't get it!

someone recently said something in a chat about their kids laughing about a computer generated bear that lost half of his face in a movie they watched...laughing! children, laughing at a living thing being maimed. i don't get it. that's ok? that's ok for children to view that sort of violence and LAUGH at it, even computer generated violence...(i KNOW its not real, but its very realistic!) ...i find that so disturbing. i just don't get why this isn't disturbing to everyone. i really don't.

but oh well, to each his own...there's probably tons of people out there that are disturbed by some of the stuff i enjoy or the stuff i am ok with my kids viewing (yes, i DO let them watch barney and teletubbies, LOL! though they don't particularly enjoy them).

*sigh* oh if only the whole world agreed on everything, LOL!! oh alright, i know it would be a boring world. but man oh man, this stuff is just disturbing to me! ugh!

bird serendipitous day!

well today we had TWO bird encounters that were exciting and surprising!

first, i was outside with the kids, and i noticed a large bird in one of our trees...naw, that's not a hawk, yes it is, no it can't be, its just a fluffed up jay, no that's too big to be a jay...HEY MAEVEN!! COME HERE AND LOOK AT THIS!!! she runs over and it scares the bird out of the tree...MAEVEN! LOOK UP! LOOK UP!!!!! we both are in awe...yup, it's a hawk! but what kind of hawk? i only got a quick look at it but i do know for sure that it had black and white stripes on its tail, which it had fanned when it flew off...sooo, i have decided i'm 95% sure it was a red-shoulder hawk:

then.... later in the day, i look outside and i see a bright yellow bird and think how odd that is, then i see a green bird next to it and i know that's not a wild bird...2 parakeets have found their way into our yard! very sweet, they stuck together, seemed to know each other, and stuck around for a little while then off they went.

what a funny day. how fun! 2 special bird encounters in one day! too bad i didn't get pics of either. :( i got one of the parakeets but they were too far away by the time i got the camera.

anyway, fun!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

pet peeve #592

ok i don't have THAT many pet peeves...but i do have a lot.

this just annoys me.

when people make comments, however innocent, about all that i do. i get this over and over and over and OVER. even from friends. thankfully most of my closes friends don't do this, but some not so close friends.

more specifically...when i do something, like organize something or build something (a website, whatever) and someone makes some kind of a comment about how they don't KNOW how i find the time! and HOW do i find the time???? and ya wanna really piss me off, tell me that i need to relax and stop doing so much. that REALLY irks me.

i'm not sure why that rubs me so wrong, but i've never taken well to people implying i'm not doing what i should be doing...or doing too much or too little or whatever...anyone saying "you need to..." will immediately get my hackles up. i guess its the little kid in me still ("don't TELL me what to do!!!") good lord, maybe that's where maeven gets it from! aaaaaaaaaah!!

its really hard to put it into words...but sometimes the way its worded makes me feel like they are implying that i'm crazy and i shouldn't be doing so much cuz in order for me to be organizing things and making so much more work for myself that i must be doing wrong by other parts of my life...particularly my kids.

and maybe i do, and maybe i don't. but casual acquaintances, in my mind, don't have any right to judge me...and people close to me shouldn't judge, but just love me the way i am.

i just get so sick of getting complimented and thanked and patted on the back for all the activities and fun stuff and events and all the stuff i organize for families to enjoy and then in the same breath get, in my view, criticized cuz i'm "doing too much." don't tell me i'm doing too much! I'LL decide when i'm doing too much!!! true or not, its not your place to tell me that!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!

not sure where that just came from...but i was just thinking about this when i was writing the simplifying post because it immediately made me hear all the voices in my head from all the multitude (and trust me, i hear it aaaaaaaaaaaaalllll the time from eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevvvveryone!) people that hear of all i do and tell me i "do too much". casually, off-hand, innocently, but every one digs into me and adds up to where i may just snap some day at some poor unsuspecting person. :(

anyway, this is me. if you met my dad...if you knew him during the past 37 years that i've known him...you'd know where i get it from. some people just have to be busy. some people just aren't able to sit still. i was raised in an ever changing environment...dad in the navy, we moved constantly, all over the world...by a dad (and mom, but particularly dad) that constantly was busy with 5million different things (usually all involving helping or giving to others) so this is just how i've turned out as a result of my environment and my genetics.

i LIKE organizing and creating things! its like a drug to me! i get emails and comments all the time from people who LOVE my sites, who are SO appreciative of the activities i organize, who THANK me for all that i've done that they've benefited from...and i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that! it gives me a rush and makes me happy to be alive!

when my children enjoy what i've created for them, what i've set up for them, what i've arranged for them...i am in heaven! when someone sends me an email thanking me for creating one of my websites (and i should have saved all these because i swear i've received HUNDREDS over the years and every one is just so wonderful), i am on cloud 9! when someone tells me at an activity that i set up that they are SO glad that i did it and thanks me...i get a high that no drug could create! it's my joy. its what i love. and i don't only do it for others, i do it for myself too. i like doing it and i like that others like me doing it. so why would you then criticize that and tell me i'm doing too much? it's like you compliment me and then slap me in the face. especially since 99% of the people saying this don't really know me so they don't really know if i truly AM doing too much. they just know i do way more than they do, or would want to do. and that's ok. we can't all do the same things. so why criticize me for doing what i love? i don't get it.

ok i feel better. i've gotten my vent out. i'm sure i'll have to come vent again sometime though. its not ever going to end, these comments. so i just grin and bear it and ignore it as best i can til i explode here and get it out of my system. thanks for "listening."

simplicity

there are so many books written and things said about simplifying our lives and living simply. i really would love to learn how to do this. i'm getting better about not diving into a zillion new things all the time...keeping things at bay when i am still absorbed by something else...not great, but getting much better at it.

but now that the christmas season is upon us again...i find myself wanting to do more again...to help us to be able to really revel in the season, but then stopping and taking a step back "woah, we DON'T need more stress..." it needs to be simple. nothing huge, nothing complicated. i like huge and complicated but not now...not when my life is so chaotic. maybe again when my kids are bigger. right now i'm trying my damnest to simplify.

maybe i'll do a search on the library website and find a good book on the subject. but i've already got sooo many books i'm trying to get through. a couple from the library.

you'd think you wouldn't need to read up on how to simplify. it should be simple. LOL!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

upside down

gawd i SOOOO love this song! the words AND the music! and the curious george movie is one of my favorite kid movies...so cute!

enjoy!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

brags about maeven


in the midst of a lot of stress and turmoil with maeven lately, i feel i must point out 2 really wonderful moments i had with her recently.

first, we were heading home and were in the parking lot where there's a goodwill store and she BEGGED me to stop and shop for some new clothes for her cuz she REALLY needs new pants (she really does! she has outgrown nearly everything from last year). so i concede because i had been meaning to do that sometime soon anyway and now was as good a time as any. i just had hoped to not have to take tyren with me, but i thought i'd give it a try.

anyway, we get inside and maeven is positively GIDDY looking through the racks and keeps bringing me pants that she LOVES! (most of which wouldn't fit her) and she's just bouncy and giggly and just REALLY enjoying the shopping for new pants, at a thrift store. i love that!

thinking about it later i was particularly proud of the fact that she was so excited about getting "new" clothes that are not new. she doesn't insist on brand new, trendy clothes because she's just not been exposed to that. i'm not into anything trendy (actually i HATE trendy stuff...have always tended to go the opposite of trends, since i was a teen even)...and she's not in school where all the values of other kids families would be bombarding her and conflicting with our family's values...where value is placed on what you wear and how much money you spent on it. i'm not saying that that will never happen with her...she may progress to an age some day where she becomes aware of that sort of value system, but for now she's happily oblivious.

we narrowed it down to 4 pair of pants and she was just ecstatic to try them on and we went to the dressing room where she proudly modeled each pair. she was just so cute!

and in between, when i was scouring the racks some more, i asked her to help with her brother (who i had strapped to a stroller to keep him close at hand) and she happily pushed him up and down the aisles and under racks (carwash!!) and played happily with him to keep him busy. it was a wonderful moment! she was my helper girl again. so nice to see the sweetness coming out. and so nice to see her appreciate used clothes and mommy taking the time to get her something new. it was just so heartwarming! :) i love this little girl!! :)

the second moment happened that same day or the next, can't remember which...when she came with me in the evening to go grocery shopping. left tyren home with daddy. she was such a helper! had her own list she wrote up and insisted on carrying a basket (would NOT let me put it under my cart even when it got heavy with fruit...but then finally conceded when she could no longer carry it, LOL!) she skipped around the store and helped me out tremendously for the whole trip. got a little wild at the end, but nothing too much and she calmed down again and just was really fun to be with. and very proud of being able to help me. i need more moments with her alone like that. making a mental note to set aside more mommy/maeven time (sans baby).

its nice to have had those moments being that we've been at odds so much lately. i won't go into that now because i want this post to be about good stuff about maeven. :) i need to remind myself of this sometimes.

i love that maeven seems to have an appreciation of the fact that we can't buy lots of things (being a one-income family with the one income not particularly high)...she doesn't usually ask for much...and when she does, its not big expensive things. she's ecstatic just getting stickers! i attribute that to the way we are raising her...not having the money to spend on stuff left and right and also the fact that we very rarely watch commercial children's programming (mostly only pbs or dvds/videos)...so she's not bombarded with the advertising to kids that i know many kids get. plus i've trained her from the time she was very little that the commercials are trying to get her to want something...and we've played "what are they trying to get us to buy" game for years. she does watch shows like reality tv shows and such in the afternoon/evening that have commercials but those aren't aimed at kids so they mostly aren't items of interest to her. so she's not saturated in the environment that i think really adds to the "gimme's" not to say she never gets the gimme's ...she certainly does! but its not particularly common.

not only that but i've been trying to instill in her that giving our old and no longer used things away is something that is very special. she's slowly coming around with that...she used to fight giving stuff away tooth and nail (even hated ME giving MY stuff away!) but now she will even come up to me and give me a piece of clothes or an old toy and ask to give it away. i usually have bags by the front door for putting give away stuff in and we are forever culling our stuff and she's gotten better at parting with things. in fact, just before thanksgiving i told her we were going to go through our clothes to find clothes for our friends tiffiny and seren, because tiff had blogged that they were low on clothes and seren is a little younger than maeven so i thought we should offer her all the stuff that maeven had outgrown...and i even went through my closets (which needed culling anyway) and found some stuff for tiff. we always have tons of stuff that, for whatever reason, we just never wear...so we thought we'd share with someone we knew that needed it! and she actually got a little into finding stuff for seren...and has even found some more clothes after the fact to give to seren! (tiff, if you're reading this, i got another bag i'm working on for seren that you can go through sometime. i'll let ya know when its full) anyway, i'm trying very hard to instill giving to my kids (tyren's a bit young still), so this has really made my heart glad to see maeven embracing this value.

there's more i could go on and on about but i digress...my kids need me to get breakfast for them now. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ode to adam

ok its not an ode. but it sounded like a good title.

i had to write a little about my darling husband.

this is a pic i took of him on thanksgiving...see his raised eyebrow? he does that when he looks at me sometimes...that's his sexy look for me. it cracks me up!

things have been really wonderful with adam lately. oh we've had plenty of problems...i'm sure every married couple does. even recently we've had some doozies, i'd say. but all of a sudden we seem to be in a really good patch. we worked through some things and i am reveling in just adoring him again. its SUCH a FANTASTIC FEELING!

you know how when you've been with someone for awhile you no longer fully gaze at them with that tickly feeling in your tummy anymore and you just don't see them the same way? at least, there are patches of that i suppose...well i'd been stuck in that for awhile and i'm happy to say i'm currently out of that rut and really giddy with love for my gorgeous hubby!

i can't keep my hands off him! (and him, me!) and on thanksgiving i felt he was looking particularly handsome and kissable! got distracted by all the family and kids and such but i just wanted to eat him up at times! that pic of him above i took during one of those moments where i just wanted to wrap myself around him and kiss all over his handsome face!

its such a good feeling to really truly love someone. and to not only love them but to like him. this man who so often drives me crazy, also makes me so very happy and makes me laugh and laugh and laugh like no one ever can. he's such a good, kind person and cares so deeply. and he makes me feel so loved and desired and cared for. i couldn't ask for anyone better. i feel so deeply connected to him lately. its a wonderful feeling.

i could go on and on and on about adam. i find myself kissing and hugging him more than ever (and him, me!) lately. its so fun! all this started when he made it known to me that i wasn't giving him enough time and attention...which i wasn't. i get so caught up with kids and all the "stuff" i do that i had put him so low on my list of priorities and that was so unfair to him. good for him for bringing it to my attention! and thank heavens for something clicking in me and allowing me to see what i was missing out on and appreciating him again and really getting that spark back! oh its just marvelous!

i know i'll get overwhelmed again, as always...but hopefully i'll remember to find my way back to this place i'm at right now...and for now i'm reveling in this good feeling. and feeling like we are on our honeymoon again (but with constant interruptions from children, LOL! the other nite our "time together", *wink*, was interrupted no less than 4 times by a waking baby! ARGH! now THAT tests patience and perseverence! LOL!)

anyway i wanted to toot my horn about my marvelous hubby for a bit. i am in a place right now that i could go on and on about him but not many people would want to hear it so i'll just write it here, where i can write whatever i want! :)

i watch a lot of dr phil. i have seen a LOT of dysfunctional relationships on there. it blows my mind how people treat one another. i'm not proud of how i had allowed my husband to become such a low priority in my life, but i have never treated him as badly as some of these families i see on that show, wow! name-calling, for one, or just plain meanness...intentionally saying and doing things that hurt. that's just mind-boggling to me. that's not something that adam and i have ever done and will ever do. we have our moments of lashing out at each other...but the downright nastiness that some couples have for one another is just unfathomable to me! never in my life have i witnessed THAT firsthand, i'm happy to say! not in my parents, and not in MY relationships, ever! i'm very proud of that. my husband would never even think to call me names or intentionally try to hurt me, or me him!

and the yelling and constant fighting that so many children witness. not mine. oh adam and i fight, but not yelling and screaming at each other. and we don't fight every day. we don't always solve things, and we don't always talk kindly to each other...but we are not nasty to each other. thank heavens, even at my maddest, or at his maddest. him especially. he has a lot more patience than i. he tends to stay calm and reasonable when i'm going off. and my going off is pretty mild in the scheme of things. i feel bad about it but then i see some of the maniacs on dr phil and i don't feel like my "losing it" even warrants that term really, LOL!

i'm pretty happy about how this relationship of ours is going these days. and i've never once thought for a minute that we weren't going to make it even when in the midst of difficulties. when the chips are down, adam is there for me like no one else. and always has. and for everyone else in his life too, actually...family, friends, etc. he's such a good person. i can't say that enough.

i may complain about stupid little things with adam that at times might feel large...but in the scheme of things...all the biggies...he's really right there for me.

i just had to gush a little about my adam. did i mention how much i love him? and how loved i feel for the fact that he was so extremely upset by not getting enough attention from me?...i'm so glad! it means he really truly does care about ME! god what a wonderful feeling! i'm so blessed!

Thanksgiving 2007

pics have been uploaded here. it was quite a nice thanksgiving. its taken a few days for me to finally get the pics uploaded to our shutterfly album.

we spent the first part of the day watching the macy's day parade, of course. its a tradition i've been upholding since childhood. i literally get all excited and choked up when it starts! my kids seem to have caught the bug and were hooping and hollering as we cranked up the music of the beginning of the parade as it started! it was so heartwarming to see them enjoying it too! of course, the parade IS long, and as usual, i lose interest before its over...but its fun to have on in the background as we get breakfast and enjoy the beginning of our holiday.

before we left the house we took a little nature walk to the office parking lot about a block away where i knew they had pine trees and collected pine cones for a craft project i intended for after thanksgiving dinner. we actually had a very nice time at this! me and the 2 kids walking happily around the parking lot, finding pine cones here and there (they had obviously cleaned their landscaping recently so there wasn't much) and finally landing upon a corner near a bank that had some great ones that had been missed...and tyren and maeven both so excited with every find. very sweet and fun!

then we were off to nana and bompa's where our friends tiffiny and her daughter seren were already and we enjoyed a very nice, relaxing thanksgiving together. the girls had a lot of fun playing together.
that pic of adam and tyren is tyren saying "cheeeeeese!" and daddy joining in. no idea why tyren felt the need to have his hands like that but it was funny!

then off to adam's sister alisa's house where his family was. a few hours there and tyren had had it, napless as he was. maeven enjoyed playing with cousins but tyren was starting to get more and more difficult to handle. headed out of there and home with tyren falling asleep in the car.

it was a nice holiday.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

affirmation

i was organizing my itunes today and came across a bunch of savage garden songs that i don't even know where i got them (i don't believe i bought them)...and found this song, "affirmation" by savage garden from their album with the same name...i am SO LOVING IT!

i am one of those weirdos that really seriously gets into my music...to the point of literally choking up and getting goosebumps (not joking, i do! real goosebumps) regularly when i hear really good songs like this. the lyrics and melody are just incredible! check it out! and i'm putting the lyrics below too.



Affirmation--Savage Garden

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe forgiveness is the key to your own happiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse tv evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye(Repeat 2)
Until you say goodbye
Oh no no no no no ( Repeats itself many times fading)

working my way through a migraine

i've never blogged during the aura part of a migraine before...this should be interesting...i cannot see properly right now so forgive any typos. luckily i am a pretty good typer so hopefully this will be coherent.

dammit i have been getting more migraines again lately. it comes in spurts. i am waiting to take a vicodin til i feel the pain coming on...sometimes the pain isn't so bad and i'd rather not waste a pill if i can help it. i don't have that many and with no insurance, i won't be able to get any anytime soon.

sucks not having insurance. i was just thinking the other day how good we are basically doing financially...to that point that we are able to eat out (nothing fancy or expensive, mind you) quite a lot...only because adam and i both HATE HATE HATE to shop for food and cook, bleh. but then i remembered that part of why we are able to afford things is because we only have the one car to pay for cuz our van isn't ours. its my parents and they pay for it and let us use it. and also cuz we don't have insurance for me. the kids have healthy families and adam has health insurance through work, but i don't have anything unless i'm pregnant and on medi-cal. and since that's NOT happening again (just discussing vasectomy again just today actually...something that we are going to for sure do very soon here)...i'm pretty screwed because that's a lot of money to get individual health insurance. argh.

also i really hate to scrape, so we just don't go buying frivolous stuff for the most part...we're not big shoppers...and the only thing we really waste money on is eating out. now that's a lot of waste, but i figure it balances out with the stress it reduces by not making me cook so much. i mean, i seriously HATE to cook.

so anyway, maybe i'm rationalizing, but oh well, that's our life. i do plan to change that soon though cuz i really want us to start saving money and eating better. but i can only handle so many issues at a time so first i want to get through this rebuilding of our big room. the mold is now gone and we have to start reconstruction on the room now.

we'll be replacing the carpet and rebuilding the walls, since half the carpet had to be thrown away and the walls torn apart to get the mold out. insurance isn't paying for much either. still waiting to hear if they might pay for the carpet afterall...the mold guys said that it was ruined actually by the water and wouldn't have been cleanable, but insurance guy heard from the first people to the scene that it WAS salvagable so he didn't give us any money to replace it. well now that that's changed, hopefully he'll change and give us some money for it. we'll see. crossing my fingers over here.

so anyway, i feel like i have to make it through rebuilding this room before i go changing anything big in our life. and changing habits like eating is a biggie, so i'm going to make it through the room rebuild and maeven's birthday party (which is on hold til the room's rebuilt) and then by then it might be xmas, so maybe i'll make it a new year's resolution to get our eating habits changed. gives me some time to work up to it and not stress any extra right now.

i'm also working right now on another holiday hoopla for mommy chats. that's fun but a lot of work, so i need to focus on that because people pay me money to participate as a vendor in that. its dec 2-8 and i have much work still to do on it.

well i have other things i'd like to blog about so i'm going to start a new entry for that.

Friday, November 23, 2007

me need milp

i just have to share what my darling 2yr old just did...i had gotten him a bowl of panda puffs, but didn't yet get him the milk and spoon...so he took it upon himself...

i came into the kitchen to find he had gotten into the fridge and had the rice milk and was putting it on his high chair tray as he says to me "me need milp" (milk) ...and then he goes over to the drawer and says "me need poon" (spoon)

SOOO friggin adorable! LOL!!! i swear i have the cutest and cleverest 2yr old ever! LOL! well of course i do! every mama knows that theirs is the cutest and cleverest, right? ROFL, he's just too cute for words sometimes.

he's been talking up a storm lately...become quite the little chatterbox...even if some of the time we have to really work to figure out his words. he's still not entirely clear on pronouncing things but he has the ability now to say full sentences (well full for him) and express himself quite well! its amusing to us every day! just could eat him up!

and he's the cheeriest and most caring little 2 yr old i know! anyone gets hurt and he's immediately "you otay??" and giving hugs and kisses. and he's always doing something silly to make us laugh. my little comedian. definitely taking after his dah-ee (daddy).

everywhere we go he charms people. unlike maeven, who still is quite shy with strangers...tyren tends to be a charmer. they are both sweet in their own ways...don't get me wrong...my little girl is just friggin adorable too! LOL! i just wanted to toot my horn about tyren for a minute....everywhere we go everyone falls in love with him. not hard to do. people love to run their fingers through his curls. he's finally got a head of hair and its quite curly! so cute!

tyren tends to be very smiley and happy. oh he still drives me nuts with tantrums and incessant requests to nurse and not doing what i want him to do...he IS 2, afterall! but i have to say his personality more often then not is cheery and friendly. he says "he-wo" (hello) to most everyone we see. runs and gives hugs and kisses when daddy or nana or bompa arrive. and he is such a little helper. he actually tends to pick up after himself!! what a shock! he tears through the house, but then he will put stuff away sometimes too and if i ask him to help, he usually does! shocks the hell outta me!

my little imp! this is a very often seen look on his face.


he's just so cuddly and huggy and kissy and adorable and funny! i have to remember that when he's driving me NUTS! LOL!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue 1

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Monday, November 19, 2007

on this day in 1995

i thought it would be neat to dig out some of my old journals (i've been a journal writer for YEARS and have BOXES of filled journals) and find entries from this exact day of the year in past journals...

so i found an entry for 11/19/95...a little background history on where i was at at that point in my life:

i was living by myself in a one-bedroom apt in sacramento, teaching preschool fulltime (head teacher of the afternoon program at harmony day school) and spending a lot of time dating losers and even more time alone reading books and trying to figure out my life. not a huge social life at that time, but i was actually pretty happy with the way things were for the most part. although i was desperately seeking a real relationship instead of a purely sexual one.

at the writing of this entry my mom was still dealing with breast cancer. i believe she had finished chemo but i'm not positive on that. this entry was just before going on a vacation with my dad and mom to palm springs and i recall that trip being pretty stressful for me because of the health of my mom and i had a ton of migraines during the trip.

so on this day in 1995 (a sunday, at 9:28am) here's some of what i wrote:

"just finished writing my christmas list. i'm asking for alot of stuff for decor. i really wanna fix up my apartment.
i put away alot of clutter yesterday, but i didn't do any cleaning yet. so, today is my major cleaning day. i'm determined to REALLY CLEAN! right now i'm slistening to my new CDs. i bought yesterday a bunch of used CDs. and one new one--"friends" sndtrk. they're all very good. i got--amy grant (heart in motion), jack wagner (new one), bobby mcferrin, frente!, melrose place sndtrk, midge ure. pretty cool!....
...today, my first focus is to clean and organize! ...well, i should probably goet moving and get this day started! i'm pumped to do alot!i just need to go hop in the shower first. bye bye!"

LOL! well, that was probably the last time i actually had so much time to clean and organize, LOL! this was PRECHILDREN, of course, LOL!

it got me curious about whatever else was happening around that entry. reading back a couple days, apparently i was in the middle of this thing with these guys i was involved with. one that was a dear friend that totally ditched out on me when i told him my mom had cancer. he was supposed to come be with me and spend the day with me and i even called to tell him that i was desperately waiting for him to come because i had just found out my mom had cancer and i could really use a friend to just be with me. he never showed, never called and i never heard from him again. this was someone i considered my best friend! i was devastated so at the time of that entry above, i was still smack in the middle of shock over that. (incidentally i reeled over that whole betrayal for years and was still hurting over it when i met adam and finally got up the nerve to call michael, the loser friend, years later and talked to him about it and he apologized but frankly, i don't buy it. he's a loser. i just finally got closure on the whole thing by finally talking to him and telling him how he hurt me).

anyway i also apparently was in the middle of ditching this guy nick i was dating that i was starting to have serious feelings for because he was going back to his ex-girlfriend and i decided i didn't want to share him. that was hard too cuz i was really getting some serious feelings for him and could have seen a future with him. oh well, it was probably best anyway cuz he was my ex-boyfriend's (todd, who i blogged about here and here) best friend. lol ya, it was a really bizarre situation...

in fact, actually, i was involved with all 3 of the guys....nick, mike and todd...all of whom lived together in this house, all of whom were friends, all of whom i dated, with some overlap even. did i mention i was a little crazy back in the day? LOL! i never was really super wild, but those were my wildest years...well i was in the tail end of that when i wrote that entry.

well this has been a fun trip down memory lane. wonder what all those guys are up to now? i know that nick married the ex-girlfriend and they had children together...i know todd married the chick he hooked up with right after we broke up (and actually i always figured he probably cheated on me with her too, but i don't know that for a fact)...mike, i don't know what happened to him. the last time i saw him he has super long hair and adam and i, right in the very beginning of our relationship took a trip up to sacramento for some reason and looked him up and he spent our visit trying to impress us with his singing and guitar playing. i think he was really uncomfortable. at one point he had feelings for me and i was sorta on the verge of that for him, but definitely had deep deep friend feelings for him, as my best friend for a few years...and there was peace between us over the thing with my mom but i think it just was never really fully made right and i never bothered keeping in touch after that. no idea where he is or what he's doing now. and his name is michael martin so not like i can google for him with a common name like that! i know he graduated high school in a town called escalon, but that's about all i have to go on looking him up. sometimes i do wish i could find him though...not sure why but i tend to hold onto friends forever and its hard to let go. even when they hurt me. and i think i can safely say that the way he hurt me was the deepest and darkest betrayal i've ever experienced and it still shocks me to think about.

anyway, back to 2007...

online photos

ok i finally got some online albums up, check them out here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

back from marine world

i will not call it six flags discovery kingdom...it just doesn't stick in my brain. LOL! they need to stop changing the darn name!

anyway, we left sunday afternoon (much later than planned, of course, as always) and stayed overnight at a vallejo motel 6, got up in the morning and went to the park and NO ONE WAS THERE! it was like 9:30am and we thought they opened at 9. so then i was worried cuz we were LITERALLY the first people there and i thought if they opened at 10, that there should be people there! early homeschoolers, people setting up the park, etc...but NO ONE WAS THERE! we drove right into the parking and there wasn't any way to pay for parking cuz of no one there...so my dad walked to the entrance and found some workers finally while we sat in the parking lot scratching our heads and double and triple checking our tickets (yup, right date, but no time on them)...one other family arrived and was as confused as us...they had just heard of it and drove out from sacramento so didn't really know for sure that they had the right day/time either.

finally dad found out that they didn't open til 11. ok so phew! so we were the first ones there. adam ended up having to drive back around to pay for parking when they finally had people at the gates. but we just hung around til they opened, no biggie.

what a fun day though! we talked to a worker there at one point and he said there were like 2000 people there! but they normally have around 5 or 6000...so he was bored, with not much to clean up, lol! they didn't have everything open, but they didn't have a lot closed either...i think they only had one of their big roller coasters open though...so that was probably disappointing to the olders. there were a lot of groups of teens wandering around. i was thinking...how cool that would be for maeven and tyren when they get older. i would feel much much safer with them wandering the park when it was homeschool day, with not so many people there and presumably not all the weirdos that there might normally be. not that there aren't any weirdos that homeschool, LOL! i'm sure there are! there are all kinds of people that homeschool! but i don't know, it just feels safer when its a small private party like that. people that are MY people. :)

dang it! i was going to add some pics to this entry but the stupid rechargables are dead and i don't have any other batteries for the camera. damn rechargables never hold their friggin charge! argh! so much for trying to save the environment!

well i'll post pics later.

anyway...so we spent the day at marine world (six flags) in vallejo and had a blast, as always. tyren was so funny cuz initially he was really scared of the rides. we went straight to thomas town (he's crazy about that train!) and thought he'd be thrilled to ride on thomas but nooooooooooooooooooooooo. he was really freaked out! so i didn't force him and then he watched me and maeven go on harold the helicopter and a bus ride too...did NOT want anything to do with them! but he wanted to stay in the gift shop and play with the thomas trains all day!

so then we took him to their looney tune playground and he played on the structures for awhile and saw the looney tune train go around a bunch of times and finally decided he wanted to go on it. went on it, had a blast, and the rest is history...we went BACK to thomas town (it wasn't far) and he went on thomas and harold and threw a fit when we had to get off!! LOL!

the rest of the day he didn't want to leave anything. had to go on some rides over and over. oh he LOVED the "hoppy frog"...he went on that with daddy while the rest of us watched the tiger show, which he wasn't interested in. then back on it again with me when the show was over...that was a fun ride!

anyway, so we stayed til they closed and just had a really nice time. then the next day we couldn't leave right away to go home cuz the "check engine" light had come on in the van on the ride up to vallejo the first day so my dad had made an appt at a local honda dealer to have that checked out...so the appt wasn't til 1pm so we had to kill time...found a park and played there for HOURS while my dad took the car in. found out that the damn thing was messed up and so we had to get a rental to replace it to go home in. by the time we were FINALLY ready to leave town it was like 5pm. *sigh* so we got home right around 9pm. not too too bad cuz i was worried tyren would sleep the whole way and be up all nite...but he only slept like a little over an hour in the car and then watched dvds the rest of the way.

the kids were all cranky and tired (especially maeven) by the time we got home but went to bed pretty easily in the scheme of things, once we were all happily home. so all in all it didn't go too bad.

glad to be home! but now we have no transportation! the van won't be ready til like thursday, when my dad will have to drive out there to get it back! fun stuff.

and we are back to normal life again and happy to be here. :)

vacations are always fun but always nice to come home from. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Birthday Song!



thought this was too cute to pass up. there's more of their videos at their website. too cute! tyren absolutely loves these little guys and keeps asking to watch them over and over, LOL!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

yes, i am 37 today! and its just me and the baby awake right now...my parents called and sang the traditional bday song on the phone to wake me up (but i was already up)...now i'm playing around on the computer til i gotta start getting ready to go on our 2nd annual marine world africa usa (except now its called six flags discovery kingdom but i don't like that name as much) homeschool day trip. very exciting! tomorrow the park is open ONLY for homeschoolers! we had a blast last year and expect to have it again! :)

so watch this silly video of adam sandler's funny birthday song and think of me and how old i'm getting. LOL!



actually i never really feel like i care much about my age...i'm not one of those people that stresses over getting older. never mattered to me. seems silly to stress over your age since you can't do anything about it anyway. *shrug*

Saturday, November 10, 2007

random acts of kindness

i just found this site... and i'm inspired! i stumbled upon it when i was looking for volunteer opportunities in our area...i remembered this was a catch phrase for awhile and wondered what was on the net about it...imagine my surprise when i found an entire organization!

anyway, it started with me reading the ccparent mag article about family volunteering and how rewarding it is. i grew up experiencing this and so i know it to be true...and really want my kids to experience this as well... and i've been trying to think of ways to expose maeven specifically to more acts of kindness, to encourage her natural kindness to come out more... so here we have it!

i got a lot of work to do to organize my thoughts and figure out what we will do...stay tuned! i'm planning some big things! :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

OMG HYSTERICAL!!!

i gotta get back to life...too many funny things out there!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

dumbing us down pt 1

man! i just finally got this book from the library. "dumbing us down: the hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling" by john taylor gatto. i've been on the waiting list for months so i guess its pretty darn popular.

i think i'll start blogging when i can about it as i go...its a fairly short book but very very fascinating already!

mr gatto was a new york city public school teacher for 26yrs when he wrote the book...and voted the new york state teacher of the year. the book is a serious criticism of the public school system.

his first part of the book, "biographical note", about himself...i found this part really fascinating:

"...teaching is nothing like the art of painting, where, by the addition (emphasis his) of material to a surface, an image is synthetically produced, but more like the art of sculpture, where, by the subtraction of material, an image already locked in the stone is enabled to emerge. It is a crucial distinction. In other words, I dropped the idea that I was an expert, whose job it was to fill the little heads with my expertise, and began to explore how I could remove those obstacles that prevented the inherent genius of children from gathering itself."

i think this is really enlightening! i'm going to try to keep this in mind while homeschooling. pouring knowledge into children, like they are a blank slate, is something that i don't want to get sidetracked into thinking that's what education is or should be about. its one of the problems i think as to why so many children learn so little...at least in comparison to what they COULD be learning, in public and private schools. forcing kids to learn stuff they don't understand or are not interested in. it doesn't stick. so much wasted time because the stuff doesn't stick. i tell maeven all the time...there's no point in reading (or talking to her) about a topic if she's not listening. she won't retain it. on the one hand, i don't feel completely comfortable with her being completely in control of what she learns because i think adult guidance due to life experience is definitely beneficial...but on the other hand, force-feeding information is something i've never felt comfortable with. i think of all the stuff i was forced to learn in my own schooling experience and i know very little of it stuck. wasted time, as i said.

forgive me for scattered thoughts today...i have a nasty migraine...but i really wanted to post about what i'm reading while its on my mind...

anyway...the other reason i think this quote is so telling is because of the response so many people give to moms and dads that are not credentialled teaching their kids at home. for some reason so many people think that one must have this special training to teach. nothing could be further from the truth. in fact, i think its possible that that credential could actually hinder home education. that training teaches the teacher what i call "assembly-line education"...something that is completely not relevant at home. and frankly, i don't think is all that appropriate in public and private schools either, but i digress.

right now maeven is young enough that the topics we are covering are easy for me because they are fairly simple. when she gets to topics i'm not so knowledgable about (actually, the history lessons we are covering are pretty new to me...don't remember learning much at all about ancient egypt and such when i was in school!) i will seek out people to help or i will teach myself. either way, i don't need a credential. i think a teaching credential is a waste of time and money and a lot of stress, if you're not teaching in the public schools. (i can see where it would be useful if you are in the schools though, i just don't agree with it so i would never want to be in the schools.) i decided against getting one a long time ago (i had been going in that direction and changed my mind) and i know a lot of people that are homeschooling their children that have a credential that don't really use any of what they learned, so that kind of contradicts all those people who seem to think you need training to teach children. in fact, there was that article recently that proved just the opposite.

anyway, my kids need me now and i also have more to read in this book...and my head hurts...so i'll write more later. :)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

tidal homeschooling

i've just joined the tidal homeschooling egroup...i had heard about it awhile back and had read a little...it sounded interesting...i'm reading more now...just read this...and i'm very intrigued! what she says makes a lot of sense and really feels like its inline with what i feel. i'm excited to learn more!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Pics

Here's my cute little unicorn:



and my adorable baby dragon:



And here you can see the back view of their costumes and also Daddy! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

i'll be posting pics of my little dragon and unicorn shortly...but for now i just wanted to post a little about halloween. first of all, a fantastic article that i like to share at this time of year. its highly enlightening.

i'm always amazed to hear of people that are so ridiculously UNeducated on the true roots of halloween that they think its an evil satanic holiday. i even overheard a very dear friend a few years back talking about just this topic and that they don't celebrate it and i was SO torn. because i wanted so bad to educate her so that she would let her children enjoy this fun holiday...but then i decided against it because i really don't want to mess with someone else's religious beliefs...thought it might put a wedge between us so i kept my mouth shut. but it seriously makes my skin crawl to hear people spreading horrible misinformation about halloween.

i've done a ton of educating myself on world religions. well i used to, not so much anymore (no time! but maybe when my kids are older i'll be able to find time again)...and i only just scratched the surface. but at one point, not that long ago (in fact i was smack in the middle of it when i met my hubby), i was really gung-ho about neo-paganism. i've since decided that its not the path for me but for awhile there i really was keen on it and still actually am, just not for me. not that i really have a path, but paganism just wasn't fitting me. anyway, so during that time of my soaking up all things neo-pagan (met some really great friends during that time and learned there is quite a pagan subculture in the fresno area...adam and i even got to attend a yule circle one time! really cool!) and of course the subject of halloween did come up. especially i got to hear about all the silly ideas some people have about halloween.

so read the above linked article to set yourself straight if you have any ideas of the holiday being evil or whatnot. i suppose it still won't help those that are so one-minded that they think anything NOT what they believe is evil...because there's no convincing those people of anything. but i like to try to educate those that are more open-minded, so they don't continue to spread misinformation. that's one of my biggest pet peeves--people who spout off about stuff they very obviously have NO idea about.

so anyway halloween is definitely celebrated in this house...and we talk about how the witches that we see at halloween in all the decorations and costumes are the FICTIONAL ideas of what witches are and that real witches are real people and we even have one friend that is a self-proclaimed witch that my kids will understand as they grow up (tyren's nowhere near ready to understand and maeven's only just starting to learn) that witchcraft is just another religion, like all the others out there and there's nothing evil about it and that its actually quite interesting and beautiful and halloween is a special day for real witches but the witches that we see on halloween in cartoons and such are make believe. and we trick or treat because its fun. and dressing up is fun. and halloween is fun.

i just feel really sad for children who's parents don't let them have halloween. not the end of the world, of course...but it is sad. give me a break about the evil origins...those parents need to educate themselves and let their kids be kids and have fun. *sigh* but of course they get to choose what's right for their kids just like i get to choose what's right for my kids. and i'll just vent here because i would never approach anyone in real life and tell them i think they're ridiculous for thinking ill of halloween. not my place to say. there's a lot of ridiculous stuff out there and depriving their kids of halloween, i suppose, is just a very small thing. but still sad. :(

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mom Song

OMG this is so insanely funny i cried when i first saw it!!! you just try not to!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

new project

so i just FINALLY finished the revamp of the babyfest website. BIG change from what it looked like before, in pepto bismol pink.

and there are some that thought the site looked fine as it was....pshaw, LOL! it looks AWESOME now! if i do say so myself.

it was an ENORMOUS project. took me months to get it all done. glitch after glitch after glitch solved and improved on. i'm quite proud of myself, i am!

and the biggest thing for me is that now i have a new system that automates the vendor sign up...which is really really fantastic because it saves me a buttload of work.

before i used to have a form online for all vendors to sign up and then after they submitted their info they were taken to paypal to pay. then the form was sent to me and i copied/pasted their info onto the website. well that was a HUGE job...especially since we typically now have 70+ vendors. so now i am using a directory program. the same kind i use for my fresno family online mall and my mommy chats mommy biz directory. the new babyfest vendor directory will automate the whole process so i don't have to put any of the info online, it does it for me. woohoo!

so now that i've done the babyfest revamp, its time to move on to something new. i have been putting off another huge revamp. i bought a new domain name and was planning on combining my 2 websites, fresno family and mommy chats. into one big family info site. so i guess its time for me to get working on that! :) hmmmm, where to start?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

oh THANK GOD!!!

af (that's "aunt flo" to the uninitiated, LOL! that's an online forum term) arrived this morning!! we're NOT preggers! i can't tell you HOW FRIGGIN RELIEVED I AM!!!

this is the scaredest i've been. i've had other pg scares before...but with all the peeing...which, by the way, has slowed down...i guess i just was drinking alot for awhile there. dunno *shrug*. but anyway it was pretty nerve-wracking.

just really shows me how done i really am. there was NO excitement. i was trying to not freak out too much because i realized that it would just make matters worse if i really was pg. and i didn't want my possible future child to start the world out with mommy full of disappointment and negative feelings towards him/her. so i was trying to stay calm (not succeeding real well, but trying)...but i kept going over and over in my head all the stuff i did NOT want to experience ever again....pregnancy and all the aches and pains and discomfort and tiredness and how hard it is to parent other kids when you're that uncomfortable and tired and sleepy....(oh and how it would affect my relationship with tyren, being the "baby", which we call him all the time and he calls himself...and knowing that he would have a REAL hard time adjusting to not being the baby anymore and where our nursing and cosleeping relationship would go) oh the hip pain, ay yi yi!!! don't want that ever again! and then what in the HELL would we do for birth? after all the complications we've had in all our births in the past...i would NOT want another c-section (would be my third), but i don't think there's an OB here in town that will do a vbac after TWO c's. and so i would probably lean towards another homebirth but possibly just not make the decision til its too late to change our mind...and maybe finally heal all the hurt i still feel after all our really sad birth experiences (that's the only real positive i could find in this possibility, other than another beautiful child but knowing i really am not doing all that great with 2...i think i'd have a nervous breakdown if i had another)...

then the reality of 3 kids. i am so stressed daily with all i have to do with these 2. i don't feel i'm doing all that great, i really don't...although maybe someone not me might say differently, but i really am not living up to my own expectations with things NOW...if i had 3 i think i'd just be a basketcase. well hell, i already am one! i just don't have enough patience for 3. and it would mean a lot more of a delay til i am able to have all older kids that are less dependent on me. something i'm really looking forward to...my kids being older and me not having to jump every 2minutes to do something for one of them. mostly tyren at this point but maeven is pretty danged demanding too...working on that...

anyway it just freaked me out cuz i really don't enjoy the toddler years with how friggin chaotic and stressful it is...and how i cannot keep up with everything i really need to do...my house is always a wreck and there's really no way for me to make it otherwise because i seriously spend as much time as i can on it now and its not a lot of help. perhaps i could spend less time online (i'm not on a lot except when the kids are sleeping these days...they fight me for the computer during waking hours) but then i think that would just be the straw that broke the camels back. the computer is my coping mechanism. if i couldn't use it i would lose it even more than i already do. i destress when i work on my websites and egroups and other projects. i need it.

so anyway...if i had 3...ugh...it would just be way too much for me for soooooooooo many reasons.

and maybe i'd find a way to make it work...and maybe i'd learn patience i don't have now...but honestly, i just don't want to have to go through it so this morning i am SOOOOOOOOOOOO RELIEVED!!

now i'm going to call and schedule adam to get snipped!!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

my mud munchkins

we're digging out a sandpit in our backyard. for those of you who know my yard, its where the circle of stumps used to be...the stumps got really lose because of how much of them was eaten up by termites and so we pitched them...and we're really excited about our new sandpit-to-be!!
we've had to soften the soil to make it easier to dig...it worked great the first day when we hadn't dug down that far but on the second day i put the sprinkler on it we had dug down much further and there apparently is a fair amount of hardpan or something similar that causes the soil to not drain so much, so there was a lot of standing water still in the pit the next day when we went out to work on it some more. the kids had a BLAST playing in the mud!!



i'm really looking forward to getting this sandpit finished...we're nearly done with the digging. i think it will prove to be very popular with the kiddos. and in the process of all this (with all the dug-out dirt), we've also created a great pile of dirt for a fun dirt play area in the back of the yard where they are having a blast digging and creating adventures with our little people and animals.

i remember as a child that my parents had bought a bunch of dirt to fill ammo boxes to make planters...that dirt never made it to the ammo boxes...the boxes never made it into planters either, LOL! my brother tim and i and all the neighborhood kids had SOOOO many hours of fun with that pile of dirt and those ammo boxes (separately). i'm glad to be creating similar memories for my kiddos.