Monday, March 30, 2009

this is SO STINKIN COOL!!!

Just do the math!

wow wow wow...just followed a link in a comment to the post i linked in my last post (did you get that?)...and WOW.

here it is.

this is just what i heard on gena's show recently...about how some kid learned all the 13 years of math in just 8 weeks. i was going to ask where that came from...and here it is!!

wow, just read it. its amazing! it really is true! so what are we all stressing about math with our kids for? maeven's already ahead of the game, as far as i can tell. :) she is doing math in head just for fun using the grouping technique i showed her from the right start math program. slowly, but the point is she's doing it. and she'll get faster the more she does. for her its fun. as it should be!

math IS fun! i've always been of the mindset that its fun...despite the schools, i always saw it as a puzzle to solve...fun! but then some of my classes killed it for me. but i still remember how fun it was to sit with my dad (this being a fairly rare occurance with a very busy navy chaplain for a dad) and have him show me in an excited way how cool it was to figure math problems out...he really seemed to enjoy it and hence, so did i! right on, dad!

THAT's what i need to remember for my own kids. show them when they are ready (as the article shows) and show it with the enthusiasm that is infectious (which shouldn't be hard for me, since i do like math.)

here's a great quote from that article:
"the subject matter itself isn't all that hard. What's hard, virtually impossible, is beating it into the heads of youngsters who hate every step. The only we way we have a ghost of a chance is to hammer away at the stuff bit by bit everyday for years. Even then it does not work...Most of the sixth graders are mathematical illiterates. Give me a kid who wants to learn the stuff - well, 20 hours or so makes sense.”
wow. read the article...he goes on to calculate why it would take just 8wks to learn all math from k-12. really enlightening. like WOW!

funny cuz i recently was thinking about this (forgive me if i am repeating myself...i may have blogged this already)...and shared with adam that i took a basic math class my freshman year of college...it was a general ed requirement. it basically went through all math that i had learned from K-12!! faster, mind you, but geez...if i hadn't learned it earlier, i could have just learned it in college! not that i'm saying that i should just let my kids go and not do anything to try to help them learn any math at all during their "school years." but just that it seems that it is sort of assumed that we hadn't properly learned it all and had to be retaught it all. it was a breeze for me, but not for everyone in the class. i found the class actually fun! LOL!

makes me feel much better about my stance that she'll get it when she's ready. she will. there's plenty of time. and really, she's already ahead of the game! :)

wow, great quote!!

"The object of primary education is to teach a child to read, to write and to be able to do simple arithmetic. This can be achieved by any parents in a few hours per day (for a few months at a time) at some point before a child is ten or eleven years old. It does not require five or six years of full-time school work."

found at this blog post here. its from the book “One-to-One: A Practical Guide to Learning at Home Age 0-11″ by Martin Williams

i really like the rest that she (the blogger) has to say about this quote. check out the link above and read for yourself. i think she's spot on. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Proof of a peaceful morning!

It's true! And I have proof!
This morning the kids were busy...Tyren playing Zoo Tycoon on the computer, Maeven reading a book...and I finished the dishes! It's crazy, I know! I wouldn't have believed it either, if I hadn't seen it with my own 2 eyes! Here's the proof:


Notice Ottmar Liebert in the background (not sure if you can hear it that well, but its Spanish guitar music...and the sound of the washing machine going when I go into the kitchen. I really have become a domestic queen this week!

And that's not all! I've been doing pureeing of veggies to put into recipes that I've put on my new menu this week. I know! It's crazy! ME, the domestic flop! Not only did I make a plan, buy the ingredients, but I actually have been putting them all together!

The past 2 days I've spent much time learning how to steam veggies and puree them to hide in meals for our family! I'm using these cookbooks:


Did breakfast ice cream yesterday morning for breakfast...complete with hidden avocado (can't taste it!) and made mac-n-cheese with hidden cauliflower for lunch (YUM!)

Got these veggies cooked and pureed and bagged and frozen:
  • cauliflower
  • carrot
  • yellow squash
  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato
  • avocado
And more to come! I actually had a lot of fun doing this! I feel so domestic! :)

Yesterday when I was working on the avocado, Maeven decided she loves avocado and ate a whole one! They were very ripe so it just slid right out of the skin, it was wonderful! I have very little experience with veggies...especially the ones that I'm working with now...so this is all very new to me!

I told Maeve about guacamole and she decided she wanted to make some. So I showed her the recipe and she made some and it was YUMMERS! Just avocado, lime juice and salt...eaten heartily with crackers by all of us. Still have some in the fridge. The rest of the avocados went into breakfast ice cream, and one left, pureed and frozen, for the next batch.

It's just been a very productive few days! My brother came over yesterday because I asked him to help entertain the kiddos while I mowed the lawn. Adam is out of town for the weekend (actually should be home in the next hour or so) for a shoot...so I got the front lawn all mowed, looks very nice! Next I need to work on the backyard, but I wanted to continue work in the kitchen first.

As the video attests to, I got all the dishes washed or loaded in the dishwasher (will run and put away later)...and the counter is clear of piles of dishes for the first time in idontknowHOWlong! Really, I'm horrible about dishes.

And the laundry is mostly done as well. I just don't know what's gotten into me! LOL!

Friday we had Brooke over here and when her mom came to pick her up, she saw the tray of nutritious snacks I put out for the kiddos:

and saw that I was working on pureeing veggies and said "What's gotten into you?" LOL! Really, its shocking! I just hope I can keep it up.

Actually, I've decided that it is time that I stopped proclaiming loudly to anyone that will hear that I "HATE HATE HATE everything about cooking...I hate planning meals, shopping for food, and preparing the food." And hence, eating out so much and having very little variety in the food that we typically eat at home. I'm just tired of it all. So I've decided to take the approach I think I read by Flylady awhile ago..."Act as if..." (I think it was from her, not sure)...act the way you want to be/feel/do/etc...and eventually if you pretend long enough you might actually enjoy it!

So I'm going to pretend that I don't abhor everything about cooking. And I'm going to get my butt in gear and really do well by my family for the first time ever.

Well so far its going quite well. I do realize that I might peter out...there's always that possibility...but I'm hoping I'm able to get enough practice in this to actually find out that I do indeed enjoy all this and might be able to maintain. All I can do is try. We'll see how it goes.

I'm tired of getting all fired up about a new routine or idea I have to improve our home life and then petering out after just a short time. So I'm going to try not to go TOO crazy here, and keep it all doable. So far so good. I actually have enjoyed learning about these "new" veggies.

As a rule, I don't like veggies...so this is as much for me as for the kids. *I* need the veggies too! I found it absolutely fascinating yesterday when I noticed the smell of my roasted sweet potatoes smelled very much like regular potatoes...just with a hint of sweetness (DUH, hence the name, LOL!) I guess I never had them before. I think I was thinking of yams...since I was thinking orange. I've never cared for yams. But sweet potatoes seem doable to me. I tasted it and it wasn't bad! Hm, learn something new every day! I think our family will be exploring veggies more these days! Beyond pureeing them and sneaking them into things...I may just be steaming some here and there for us as well.

Another funny thing...I have this pasta pot with a steamer in it and I never knew what it was for! I thought it was a collander for the pasta! LOL! How dumb am I??? I have used it the past few days and have been just OVERJOYED at how stinkin easy it is to steam veggies! This is all NEW to me! Can you believe it??? LOL! I'm laughing at my own inexperience here...and really enjoying what I'm learning!

I got a food processor for my birthday last year (November)...and only every used it to slice carrots...and only once or twice. Now I am getting a lot of experience with it and loving every minute of it! I even shredded a whole ton of cheddar cheese for us! Bought a huge block of it at Smart and Final and shredded half of it. What a cool thing! I'm just turning into a domestic goddess! LOL! I'm very proud of myself, can you tell? :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

blueberry milk

so i'm on a bit of a healthier food kick right now...and while talking about healthy food at the table the other day, maeven asked for blueberry milk. well, i just happened to have blueberries and milk, so what the hey?

so i popped some in the blender and voila!!



it was a little chunky at the bottom cuz my blender sucks...so today i tried again, but this time with my food processor...much better! no chunks! and they love the foam it produces in the process.

happy kids

tree cozy--all i can say is... wow


check out more info and more links to more info, here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

what if?...

i was just doing some thinking while doing laundry (i do a lot of thinking while doing housework)...

i recently had this thought, i think i posted here about...the "what if..." thought about most of us being stuck in public school for 13+ years might have set us up for feeling "stuck" in dead-end jobs, or jobs we hate. i wondered on the radio with gena a couple weeks ago...wondered if that was a by-product of being "stuck" in school for so long that many of us then went on to feel "stuck" in jobs. an unfortunate point of view, since as adults we always have choices.

so this morning i thought of another "what if?"...this one is what if another unfortunate by-product of being stuck in school for 13+ years, against our will, is learning to live in a stressful environment and thereupon recreating this in our adult lives. i mean, think about it...school is an INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL environment! just to list a few things...homework & all the myriad of assignments always heaped upon even the littlest schoolers...bullies and peer pressure...having to follow someone else's schedule constantly, even when you want to do something else...teachers who are not always nice (some that are downright nasty!)...not being able to understand something that you "should" (feeling dumb, frustrated)...parental and school pressure to get good grades...studying for endless tests...being forced to sit and listen to subjects that are of no interest to you...the constant mad dash every morning to get ready for school and out the door...

the list goes on and on...school IS stressful...i don't think anyone could argue otherwise.

so what does this teach us? that life is stressful. and to be used to living in constant stress, perhaps? i wonder.

to be engulfed in this life of stress starting in the most formidable years...that can't be a positive thing. i just don't see how it can create anything BUT adults that are prone to living lives full of stress.

i'm not saying that there's no stress in life nor that there shouldn't be. there's no avoiding a life with stress. i don't believe that for a second. but to saturate my children in what i see as needless stress for their entire childhood? i'm not buying into any part of that being positive.

contrast that life to the way my kids normally live their lives...not normally having to get up at a certain time...not normally HAVING to do all that many things at a set time or a set way (there are some things, of course...i do make them do things here and there, but not every minute of every day.) my kids are free to choose what they want to do for much of their days. and i am not hovering over them checking their work or telling them what they need to do next, or testing them, or forcing them to write things they don't want to write...

one could argue that then how will they learn to do the things they will HAVE to do in adult life? how will they then be able to get up on time to get to work? how will they get assignments done on time for their jobs? this, to me, is about as silly as asking how will they learn to stand in line? this isn't brain surgery. these aren't the sort of things you need to have an entire childhood to practice to be able to do it. if you have to get up at a certain time, you set an alarm and get up at a certain time! i don't for a second believe that you have to have had 13+ years of experience doing this to be able to do it. remember they'll be adults at that point and they will have the maturity to understand things that have to happen. you don't have to practice at setting an alarm and getting up to it. if that were true, my husband would be a pro at it...and yet he STILL manages to be late (often VERY late) every single morning for work! and i was the same way when i was working outside the home. so i don't think that that's an issue.

and as far as getting things done on time...i think because my kids have had an entire childhood to follow their passions...they will be able to pick jobs that they enjoy and are passionate about and thus will be able to get assignments done in the time required simply because they WANT to! and also there's the adult factor of knowing that things just have to be done, and having the maturity to do it. that's not something you need to "learn" either, in my mind. you just do it. perhaps my kids (and perhaps most unschoolers) would be even better prepared for assignments because they haven't already burnt out on them...and they haven't had the experience and time to learn to hate them.

perhaps. perhaps not. but i don't see yet any reason why what i'm doing is setting my child up for anything but success in adulthood.

and i'm not saying i'm a radical unschooler, by any means. i still do not really buy into the whole philosophy that kids SHOULDN'T be ever "taught", or that they should always be able to just do whatever they want. that just doesn't feel right to me, in my life, with my kids. if it works for others, more power to them! i can't say what's right for others. only myself and my kids.

and i don't know that i'll ever be fully unschooling because i still will probably inject some of my own agenda in from time to time. some would say that's not a contradiction to unschooling and some would say it is. i don't know that any specific lable fits what i am seeing these days as my personal philosophy of education...i'll probably always be eclectic. and i'll probably always do some curriculum here and there...as long as its enjoyable to my children. if they don't mind doing an assignment or project or activity or whatever, i see no harm in it...some unschoolers would, but that's why i probably am not a true unschooler. i am probably more of an "eclectic homeschooler with strong unschooling tendencies." LOL! how's that for a label?

anyway, what i can tell you for sure is that the environment in my home has relaxed considerably since i've relaxed about what i felt i "should" be doing. i'm not stressed so much and hence my children are not. i had a conversation with a friend of mine about this yesterday...she's come through a similar metamorphosis lately and landing squarely in a life of unschooling, after having one of her kids in school for a short time)...we both agreed that our lives now are much more relaxed now that all the "shoulds" have started melting away. and without the "shoulds" (i should be doing this subject now, i should have her do this once a week, i should have her read this every day...i should be working on this with her...etc etc...) our mommy brains have more time to enjoy our kids. and a beautiful by-product of that is just a happier home all around. the kids definitely pick up on our mommy stress...and things get worse when i'm stressed because i'm snappy. and then they are snappy and then we all fight like crazy. its horrible.

not saying i don't still have my moments...for sure i do! and i probably always will! i'm only human, after all! and so are my children!

but i can tell you that despite the fact that i'm not forcing maeven to read anything ever (any more)...she is DEVOURING books at an alarming rate! always looking for the next book to read! and despite my no longer pushing her to do copywork during the week...she is writing her own things in her own way in her own time...and i'm having to throw away a lot of it because there's just SO much! and she is ENJOYING what she's doing! and she's not freaking out like she used to, as much. (we still have our moments, of course)...its just a calmer house all around. and we can listen to the story of the world in an enjoyable environment, instead of "oh great, this again." because we are listening to stories for the pure joy of listening, and with no hoops to jump through afterwards to make sure that they've gotten what i want them to get out of it. we just listen. it's really remarkable.

so i continue on my journey of understanding this thing called mommyhood, LOL! and probably in another month or so i'll have completely new revelations! and maybe by the time my kids are grown i'll have figured out exactly how to do all this! LOL. (yeah, right)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

sometimes i stumble upon things in the strangest way...

i was just reading a post in a blog i subscribe to, and part of her post led me to the google search page she was referring to and down the page, this page caught my eye. wow. something really powerful to think about!

it's really making me think...i've never been comfortable around handicapped people. i'll admit it. the only exposure i had to them really was all the charity trips we made to crippled children's hospitals and old folks' homes as a child (mostly in okinawa, japan...but some in the US). we did a LOT of this. and i remember hating every second of it. and being really creeped out by all the children with severe disabilities...and being like 12 and not having a choice to go. and even having workers in the hospitals pose me with one of the children for pictures...putting a teen with severe brain damage or cerebral palsy, not sure exactly, on my lap for a picture. this was completely freaky to me as a child. it didn't sit well with me and i suspect this might be part of why i have a hard time dealing with handicapped people as an adult.

i want my kids to be comfortable with all types of people...the hard part is teaching them this if i'm not. i know enough not to force them into exposure in the same way i was as a child. i'm sure my parents really meant well...probably thought they were showing me to be kind to differently-abled people and such. but the institutions we visited were for some really severely handicapped people and left such deep impressions on me that were not positive. i fight this, though. i actively force myself to smile and act like its not weird for me. and someday maybe it won't be.

i remember having a little girl with down's syndrome in the nursery i worked at a few times...that was really precious. she was really cute and special and it was just a normal thing really...i surprised myself in that i learned to be mostly comfortable with her. but she was a child. a little one, at that. and it was a normal setting...not an institution. perhaps that's why it was easier for me. and perhaps that's the way to get comfortable with this sort of thing...is in normal every day living. which i've had pretty much no exposure to, as far as being around handicapped people in normal everyday living.

so the solution? hell if i know. i'm not going to go searching out a token handicapped child to befriend just to help myself over this uneasiness i feel and expose my kids to it as well. but i welcome it if it happens naturally.

i'm trying, but i don't really have any way to change this unless someone comes into our lives. and honestly, i don't know that its that important to me. i mean, it IS important to me to fight the feelings i get when i am around handicapped people...that's important. and i struggle to help my kids feel ok with it as well. but its not like i'm going to go out and volunteer my family for the special olympics or something like that. i don't really spend much time thinking about this to that degree. but posts like i just read just make me think. i'm glad i read it.

i think maybe its going to end up being like my dad and racism. he was raised to be racist by extremely racist parents. it was just natural to them. as an adult he realized it was wrong and struggle very hard against it. as a parent, he kept it hidden and managed to not at all impart these feelings to his children. i never knew at all, as a child, that my dad had any racist thoughts! in fact it shocked me when i learned later in life! he's about as anti-racist a person as i ever knew! and he taught us to love all people! so he kept those feelings hidden well and while he still may struggle with it, he knows its wrong and has pretty much managed to overcome it.

that's, i think, what i'll be doing in this situation. keeping MY feelings under wraps because i know they are wrong and i know where they come from (my childhood experiences). so i'll just do my damndest, like my dad, to not teach them to my kids and maybe through so doing i'll change my own feelings, as my dad did. :) good plan! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

no-forced learning, aka unschooling

i've been doing a LOT of thinking about education again since listening to some radio shows about it...i've mentioned them in a few posts recently, i believe (i never can remember what i've written after i've written them)...

i just was thinking some more about it...i don't know where i'll end up or what adventures we'll still have in homeschooling...but i tend to go with what feels right and good, and steer away from things that don't feel right or good. forcing my child to do anything "educational", against their protests, just doesn't feel right or good to me. i'm not putting value on anyone else for their educational practices...just stating how it feels to me.

one of the big reasons (out of about a thousand different reasons) that i chose to homeschool is that i wanted to ensure that learning was fun for my kids. i'm not saying that every single thing has to be a hoot and a holler...i mean, it has to be enjoyable. i read somewhere (forgive me if i'm repeating myself here...dain bramage, remember, LOL!) that whether or not you retain info can be dependent upon your mood at the time you are "learning". therefore, if you are in a good mood, with positive emotions going through you (not necessarily pure delight, but not negative)...you are much more likely to understand and retain the information. Whereas, if you are in a fowl/negative mood (i.e. throwing a tantrum or fighting it tooth and nail), when you are presented with the information, it just isn't going to stick. how could it? i mean really!

therefore, i've always tried to back off if i get a negative reaction from my daughter when i'm trying some sort of lesson or activity with her. i've not always done this right away, i must admit...sometimes we end up with a battle of the wills...and then after we finally get away from the situation i realize there just wasn't anything positive that came out of that.

oh sure, there probably will still be some tidbits of info that make it through...some new skills even...but how much damage am i doing to my child's ability to love learning if i persist in this method of education. i wonder. i really don't know the answer, but it just doesn't feel right to me.

just take a look at any public or private schooled kid. how many do any of us know that can honestly say they enjoy school? oh i'm sure they can be found, i'm not saying its impossible...but by and far, children HATE school! i did. my husband did, my mom did, my dad did...i'm pretty sure i'd be hard put to find anyone in my life that didn't hate school. why? because school, as it exists currently in our mainstream form of education, isn't enjoyable. it really isn't.

therefore, if i'm going to take those same methods and apply them at home, a.k.a. "school at home", then how am i doing anything different? well...sure i've taken out all the negative factors of the environment and the massive amounts of children, etc etc...that's awesome, and i would say that a school-at-home homeschooler is definitely still better off than a public or private schooled child. (in a private school that uses the same methods) but what about that love of learning? perhaps this isn't important to some people. its crucial to me.

because if you don't enjoy learning, you will then not only not retain the info you are getting (which, if you don't retain or understand it, what's the point of even spending the time working on it?)...but you will tend to shy away from anything that even remotely resembles learning, in your every day life and later after school.

all this thinking is because i'm realizing that i am probably going to have to let go of more of the things that i have wanted to make work. the curriculums i chose (single-subject) for maeven are wonderful, but they just haven't been working for us. she really is resisting anything forced. and i don't want her to reject learning.

she's such a bright and beautiful child, and i want to keep that spark alive in her...that spark of interest and love and joy in the things she's able to pursue on her own...its really a beautiful thing. and i really feel like forcing her to do any "learning" against her will, is really a damper on that spark. i don't want to extinguish that...

that's what most schools do...you see the kids enter school just so excited to learn and within a matter of just a few years, that fire, that spark, is going out and then it eventually gets extinguished. i fear that using a "school-at-home" technique with maeven will do the same thing, and i don't want to see that happen. that goes against why i'm doing this!

i'm not saying school-at-home doesn't work for some families...i'm sure there are children who's personalities are quite right for that method. they probably find a delight in it. but not maeven. she has started to sound like so many public schooled kids, groaning when i say we are going to do some lesson or whatever... getting grouchy when i push the issue. that's not what i want. this is not a positive learning environment.

i asked her the other day what she thought about learning...you know what she said? she said she didn't like it! that she didn't like someone telling her she had to do this and that. wow, major important moment for me to hear that. she's telling me that's not working for her. she's telling me that spark is in jeopardy when i force activities and lessons on her.

so then another day, not long after...i asked her about the story of the world stories...if she liked those? and if she would be happier if we skipped the map work? she was visibly relieved by the idea! she hated the map work! but she enjoys listening to the stories. so, we are now just listening to the stories...and i'll continue to get books from the library out on whatever we are learning about in those stories, and we can casually read them. and instead of making her do the map work, i am going to just have us both take a look at a globe from time to time and find out where this area is that we are learning about...maybe even copy the map, but not do the mapwork, just look at it. and maybe she can pick out some activities from the activity book to do, if she thinks they look fun.

i'll just keep offering her ideas of fun activities...but not force the issue. if she feels like it, great, if not, that's fine too!

and she will continue to learn. she always does! i stopped doing copywork because she didn't enjoy it. but now she is doing her own writing constantly. she is writing her own books, even a chapter book! and she writes letters to all of us all the time and she writes emails and types to her friends in toontown...and she started spelling words when talking to us...instead of saying her words, she'll spell them...too funny. i am pretty sure that she would NOT be doing all this if i was forcing her to read/write, do spelling, etc, every day. it would take the joy out of doing those things, and she wouldn't want to do them anymore unless she had to.

that's not what i want.

i want her to find the joy i finally did, years after school (YEARS) when i finally started to develop an interest again in learning things...learning them on my own, in my own time...i even enjoyed going back to college for a few classes...because i had been out of that grind for quite a few years, and had enough of a break to enjoy it the second time around. it would have been fully enjoyable to me if it hadn't been for the assignments, papers and tests, though. i remember thinking that. that if i could just go and listen to the lectures (many of which i found fascinating) and not have to do all the busy work, i would have enjoyed the classes even more!

anyway, just doing lots of thinking on this lately and wanted to post my thoughts. its possible i may continue to change my mind and my views and continue to learn better things that work for me...for now, i'm really digging the idea of "no-forced learning." it makes a lot of sense to me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

some cool links

very interesting article on vaccination rights. very good stuff to know!!

here's a fascinating article on an outdoor daycare in britain. way cool!

and lastly, here's a good article on the roots of st patrick's day. i'm not irish, so i've never really celebrated this holiday. but knowing the true history of the holiday makes me even less inclined to do so.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

random thoughts, killing time

tyren is behind me on the couch, watching "little einsteins", hopefully getting sleepy. this is our night time routine for him...he falls asleep on the couch while i work/play on the computer. tonight has been hard to get either one of the kids asleep though. i just had to do the "heavy game" with maeven...she's been in bed for awhile and can't sleep...so she likes me to do this game where i start at her toes and touch toes, shins, thighs, hips, etc...all the way up to her head...while telling her that part is getting very very heavy...she really likes it, i've been doing it with her for years. hopefully it worked to help her get to sleep.

our schedules are all out of wack with the change in time (daylight savings) and just in general we've been sleeping later lately, which means we are up later...and so on. vicious cycle.

tyren, incidentally...is not only mostly potty trained now (woohoo!) , but he's been waking up DRY most mornings! not sure how that happened at the same time...i didn't expect it yet. pretty dang cool. potty treats is what worked for him (for potty training, not the night time thing)...giving him a (non-sweet) treat every time he would go pee or poop...not only that but maeven got a treat for encouraging him to go. so its just worked like magic!

i have always had the theory that if they are later learning something, that they will learn it more quickly...and that's almost always proven to be true with my kids. so i guess i just have to keep reminding myself to relax and things will happen when they happen. i just didn't want to have a 4 or 5yr old in diapers. wouldn't have been the end of the world...but i really wanted him to be done with diapers. i'm so ready to be past the baby phase completely. although i will miss his cute toddler-ness. he's just so darn cute the way he says things and the way he dances around when excited and oh so many things!

and check out the curls again!!

i just can't get over them! LOL! and neither can anyone else, since he gets comments about them still everywhere we go. :) i do hope he gets some length to his hair eventually, though...i have always wanted to have a little boy with long hair...just like daddy's.

anyhoo, here's some recent pics of maeven too:

maeve and one of her best friends, brooke.


hangin' in the hammock

now there's a child on my lap, so i guess my blogging is over.

Friday, March 13, 2009

i was on the radio yesterday!

i've become a regular listener now of gena kirby's "progressive parenting" radio talk show, locally at 88.1FM on thursdays from 1-2pm...and yesterday i finally called in...not once, but twice! :) i was so nervous at first, but it worked out really well and gena asked me to call back again and so i did!

they were talking about education and homeschooling and unschooling and reggio emilia and montessori and such...and the first time i called in i commented that i often have wondered if an unfortunate by-product of compulsory education is that people often feel they are "stuck" in jobs.

i have so often heard people say that they are stuck in a dead-end job, or hating their job but feeling they have no choice but to stay...when really they always have a choice! and it just makes me wonder if so much of our society now think they are stuck because they were, indeed, stuck in school for all those years and so they've been trained to be complacent and feel trapped even when they no longer are!

gena agreed that that could very well be and it was something interesting to think about, that's for sure! :)

then i called back because she asked me to call back later and i got to plug fresnofamily.com and fresnolearningvillage.com and the babyfest and talk a little about all of them. :) pretty cool! maybe i'll become a regular caller, who knows? :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

my life, in a nutshell

i just was wanting to update what's going on these days over here in tina's realm...

things have been actually going pretty good around here lately...i'm not feeling such a heavy blanket of stress that i can barely breathe...i actually am more at a managable level of stress, i think. there's always something that needs doing, but i am trying to just keep plugging away.

there's always things that make me frustrated, like the house...and homeschooling (because its not looking like i would like it to)...but i'm learning to take joy out of the little things that are going well...like i have been doing pretty good at staying on top of things lately in the house (not in total control of the house, but i don't expect that to ever happen, really, LOL!) just plugging away at laundry and dishes regularly makes me feel like i'm not doing too bad. trying to ignore that nagging feeling that tries to tell me that i'm a failure because i never have cleared counters and rarely do any deep cleaning...i'm trying to just take pride in what i HAVE done...and that seems, for the most part, to be working. i'm not feeling like the house is the way i'd really like it, but at the same time its been WAY worse...so that feels tolerable.

and homeschooling...i'm coming to an epiphany with that. after listening to gena kirby's "progressive parenting" (local) radio show the past 2 weeks, with my friend dayna martin as guest...i'm really thinking a lot more about educational philosophies and what really speaks to me. unschooling is back foremost in my mind and is making a heckuva a lot of sense to me. i doubt that i'll ever be what she calls a "radical unschooler"...but its making more sense to me. i do tend to pick things from so many philosophies and i really am feeling like unschooling has a lot to offer us as a family. there just has been so many "a-ha" moments while listening to those radio shows (and over and over and taking notes...luckily i've taped them both)...and sharing it with adam. i suspect there'll be a lot that will be happening to my thinking and our lives as a direct result from this thinking.

the biggest thing for me is just the release of what "should be", and just allowing things to be joyful and relaxed. i really want that for all of us...so i've been enjoying some wonderful relaxing days with the kids lately. and the weather certainly helps...its been gorgeous and sunny and green in our yard lately! :)

i will have to write more on my awakening later, though...i'm not really feeling in the mood to dive too deeply into it right now...there's housework to be done and food to be eaten and children to be attended to. i just wanted to write a quick update on things.

oh one last thing...it IS babyfest time...but i am feeling less stressed over it than i have, perhaps ever! there are still many things to get done...but its not all-consuming me this year. YAY! it is still a lot of my time, though...so i've just put a lot of other things on hold til its over. not trying to do everything at once...see, i CAN learn! :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

i want my "big room" back!!!

most of the time i try not to think about how long its been since i had a separate room for art projects and play and homeschooling.

but its really hard when i think about all the stuff i'm NOT doing with my kids simply because of not having the space for it. i know, i know, i really should just make do with the space i have. but i don't.

we used to have art projects going on in the big room all the time. well, maeven did. we haven't had use of the room since tyren was barely walking. yes, its been that long. going on 2yrs this summer, as i recall! unbelievable. i doubt tyren even remembers anything about that room other than chaos and mess.

i HATE HATE HATE using the kitchen table for projects. our table seriously sucks. its all wood, and not the kind that cleans up easily. and it has leaves that go down, so stuff gets stuck in the cracks all the time. it seriously sucks for daily eating with kids, forget about it being anywhere close to good for projects. i know, i can just put a plastic table cloth over it, but i rarely do. my kitchen is ALWAYS a wreck, so doing a project at the kitchen table requires cleaning it up first. something i am obviously bad at in the first place or the kitchen wouldn't always be a wreck! and then there's the hassle of cleaning it up after we've done a project so that we can eat at it again. too much work, really!

anyway, i KNOW that i should just grin and bear it and use it anyway. but i don't. rarely, at least. there are still times when i do. just not very often.

and i read all these absolutely wonderful blogs about how rich other homeschooler's lives are with projects and exploration and hands-on activities and i think..."oh if only i had our big room!!" i know i need to make it work in another part of the house. but i just can't seem to get myself to do it often enough. it just adds to my work! ugh ugh ugh. and then i feel guilty all the time for what i'm NOT doing, and then i get moving and do stuff and it doesn't last.

that's not to say that we never do ANYTHING, because maeven's room can attest to all the projects she's done in there. until it gets totally trashed and then her projects slow down considerably because she hates going in there. (gee, i wonder why? don't talk to her about it, though, because its a losing battle.)

and i do set up stuff in other areas of the house sometimes...i just hate to do it.

so i have it in my head that homeschooling is seriously suffering because of not having that room. and that makes me very very bitter. because its taking so damned long to do anything in that room! its still as torn apart and as far from complete as ever it was!! going on two years!!!

and now we have run completely out of money. not only that but we can barely pay for the day to day things, so the room is, out of vital necessity, on hold. indefinitely probably. because we have no more help for it and we have no more money.

and right now we are fighting to just feed our family. money is so tight that i felt guilty buying 2 small books (just $10 each) at the book store today (they were AWESOME books!! i couldn't resist! i can see us using them a lot!!)

and

probably shouldn't have, but its been awhile since i bought any books for homeschooling, and i had taken maeven to the store to get some books with her allowance and i just couldn't resist when i saw these. i'm really excited to use them! :)

anyway...i just HATE the situation we're in without that big room. i get really overwhelmed by it every once in awhile (like right now) and have to vent about it. because we were FINALLY on a roll! things were happening! and then they just came to a halt again! UGH UGH UGH. it really upsets me when i think about it too much so i guess i should just not think about it anymore.

i need to figure out how to make do with what i've got. i did start to get things out of the shed and brought out the bookshelves that used to be in the big room and started de-molding (have to use a special mold killer to clean everything all over) the books that i wanted for those bookshelves. there's still a TON of stuff in the shed and in bags around the house though. *sigh* and i cannot access so much that would really be cool to use.

at this rate its beginning to feel like its never going to get done. because right now we are just fighting to survive in this economy. the $2000 that we borrowed from adam's mom to help with the big room is now gone...some of it did go to buying supplies for the big room...but most of it went to just paying for things like food...because of adam's pay cut, we've had to dip into that money a lot. and now its gone. :(

and there's a fair amount of money out there that is owed to us by various different people...but god only knows when we'll see any of it. *sigh*

i just need to stop thinking about it...i keep telling myself this and yet i keep wallowing in the dispair of the situation about every month or 2. *sigh* because my kids lives would be truly enriched if ONLY i had that stinkin room back! and i'm ANGRY about all the crap that happened to get us in this situation! ARGH!!

ok done venting. time to focus on other things.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I wish...

i'm watching 20/20 right now...they are talking about internet scams. people getting ripped off by work-at-home scams.

i so wish i could figure out some novel idea for a true work-at-home business. something that i could make a good amount of money and also enable other moms to do so as well.

i've pretty much decided that product sales, where you have to make your own products, doesn't make any real money unless you hit it big. and its a LOT of work, usually.

the best idea, i think, is something that you make once and then sell forever. like writing a book. they call that residual income.

maybe i should write some more books. :) anyone reading this that doesn't know yet, i wrote a book on creating and running your own in-home mommy & me classes. short ones on things that i know how to do. have to think about that...but there's nothing that i could think of that would give other moms a way to make money too. :(

oh well, someday i'll think of something.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

feeling like hell

and i know this is probably just the beginning.

you know when you start to get sick, really sick, and the first thing that happens is you have a whole day of aches and headaches. my joints hurt, my head hurts, everything hurts from the top of my head right down to my ankles.

you know the weird part? i kind of see this as an opportunity for a rest! LOL! if i get really bad, adam will have to stay home with me. i'll have to rest. how sad is that? LOL!

well, time will tell...we'll see what tomorrow holds. but i'm anticipating a hum dinger of a cold coming on here. i'm overdue...its been a LONG time since i was really sick. i don't get sick that often so every once in awhile i have to do it right, LOL!

in the meantime...life goes on...babyfest planning, mommying...but my businesses are on hold. have been pretty much for awhile. i'm not even thinking of them, much, these days. i am starting to learn to slow things down. right now is babyfest planning...so that's the priority...after family, of course. no mommychats. no family palooza. and i'm even putting on hold discovery center ideas right now. not for long...but babyfest is the important project right now. well, after i get better. :)