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."


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!