About Me

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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I have held my tongue long enough, and cannot keep quiet anymore!

For AT LEAST 3 years, I have been pissed off by something, but have held my tongue. I was worried about insulting or pissing off my friends. Regardless of the current "Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you." attitude that is so prevalent in, at least, my area, I have chosen to be above it. But no more! A story on the local news this evening changed my mind. Some people, in my opinion, clearly do not have the correct perspective going on and are QUITE vocal about it. Therefore, I should no longer refrain from voicing my opinion. And here it is:

I am so GOSH-DARN FED UP with the people who have been inundating me with flyers/literature/guilt/commercials/calls-to-action to save the pets in the USA! We have CHILDREN - HUMAN BEINGS - in this country who are STARVING, HOMELESS, PARENTLESS. But I don't see a SINGLE commercial on TV, nor flyer pasted to the mirror in my gym, about THEM! Oh, sure, there are plenty of commercials to save the children in 3rd world countries, but what about our own?! I do, however, see PLENTY of commercials and posted flyers about the abused and abandoned pets in our own country since the recession began. I am not a cold-hearted person; I am the exact opposite. I feel for and cry over all creatures.....OK.....maybe not ALL creatures....I don't like the ants in my house during the Summer. And I can't even LOOK at a picture of a snake without having nightmares.

I do not wish harm on the abandoned animals of this country who have been victims of families who can no longer afford to feed and take care of them. However, I will worry about and take action on the plight of the pets in this country AFTER ever child in America has a home and a full belly! Why do animals receive more sympathy, press and actions then children?! WTF is wrong with us?!

What set me off today was a story on the local news about a new smart phone application. It's a game about dog fighting and it has the animal rights activists all up in arms. Where are the PEOPLE activists all up in arms about the video games whose objective is to carjack people, rape women or kill public servants?!?! All they have to do is provide a rating on their games to warn buyers about their content but we have to pull dog fighting games off the shelves?! GIVE ME A BREAK!! There is SERIOUSLY something wrong with us!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Please Start Writing Obituaries

I am an avid reader of obituaries in my local paper and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I cannot stop myself from reading them. Every week when the paper arrives, I open to the obit section hoping that, THIS time, I am going to read something that will make me smile through my tears. Most weeks, however, I am just saddened. But those rare occasions that make me smile are so worth weeding through the rest. So, I have to speak up about this issue, because everybody deserves a great obituary.

There are so many great things about obituaries. The lovely, full names, some of which have not been used in decades or generations. The number of years this soul lived here on Earth. Anything over 80 gets an automatic smile and no tears from me, because I tell myself, "they lived a good, long life". But I don't really know whether they did or not. Some can accomplish their life's purpose in a few years while others may coast through decades, expecting to have plenty of time until time is no more for them. But I still hope, so I read on to see what this stranger's life was like. I rarely find out.

What I do know about 99.9% of the souls written about in the obituaries is the name of every relative who preceded them in death and every relative left behind. I understand the main purpose in this part - you might not know the full name of this soul but you may find that your friend/neighbor/co-worker's loved one has past away and you can now offer them some comfort or take a burden off them for a while. I don't begrudge such lists but I am angry for the departed soul when such lists are the ONLY details we receive. Everyone deserves more than that.

Each one of us has a life or many lives. We experience joy, disappointment, accomplishment, heartache. We have dreams, goals, setbacks, comebacks, fights for what is right or what we believe in. Some of us make a difference in the life of another, some in the lives of many. And everyone of us deserves to have our story told in the paper at least once in our lives, even if it is only in our obituary.

My "smiling through tears" moments have come when I read about her prize-winning pie that everyone looked forward to at the church social. His volunteer work as Santa visiting a shelter. The business he started as a teenager, worked for 40 years and passed onto his son. Service to our country and countrymen as soldier, sailor, nurse, riveter, bandage wrapper, teacher, spiritual leader, greeter, usher, parent, foster parent, ice cream maker, singer, bringer of sunshine and smiles to everyone they met. Doing something when no one had ever done it before, whether it was landing on the moon, standing up to the bullies of the world or hugging the outcast in town. I'm proud of my fellow citizens, I rejoice in their lives, their happiness and their achievements when I read these things. It gives me hope for humanity, that there is better in my neighbors than the indifference and rudeness I see in the living.

But when you have to write an obituary, you can't always think of these wonderful things. You are grieving; in shock; just want to draw the curtains to the world, curl up and drown in your loss. But you have things to do and people to notify and with every call you make it gets worse. Something is released to the local paper to assist with announcing this soul's passing to those who cared about him or her. You've done the best you could under the circumstances. So let's change the circumstances.

Everyone, please start writing obituaries. Now. When you don't HAVE to. Write one for your parents, spouse, best friend, yourself. Get in the habit of reminding yourself about this person's life - THEIR life, THEIR story. If you don't know it, ask them. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen to their story. Remember it; write it down; save it, so that when the Holy Spirit comes to usher your loved one into the presence of the Lord* you will have this loving honor to them already taken care of. You'll read it and remember their good, long life. It will help you and the others who have been left behind. It will honor those who have moved on. It will touch the lives of strangers reading about them in the local obituaries by giving them hope.


*Paraphrasing a description I read in one of my favorite obituaries.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Love Means To 4-8 Year Olds

I received this as a forwarded email at the beginning of the year and just now read it. It is so wonderful, I wanted to share.

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine - age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

A four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

I decided to ask my own 8 year old B what love means and this was his answer: "Love means the truth. And huggy things and kissy things and squishy things." He then climbed into my lap and hugged me. "See," he asked. "This is love."

Ask your own children and see what they say.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life's Questions

One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is that B is able to ask all the questions he wants as he thinks of them. We've had a lot of rain and sunshine come and go throughout recent days and I told B to look out for rainbows. He asked, "Why do rainbows appear? I mean, I know HOW they happen; but WHY do they show up?" That was a great question that led to a science discussion as well as a Biblical one (God's promise to Noah).

Divorce is becoming more prevalent in B's life because of friends and family. A couple of weeks ago he asked the hubs if we were going to break up. Breaks my heart he is aware of the issue and worries about it, but thankful he comes to us with his questions and concerns, instead of continuing to worry about it.

I was watching the show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" the other day. Josh and Brett were in NC on business and Josh wanted to stop and see Brett's family. Brett said no b/c his family does not accept Josh. B and I had a discussion on why Brett's family would not be happy for Brett and why they do not accept Brett for who he is nor Josh. That night was the hubs' turn to put down B and evidently B brought the subject up again with the hubs. My son mulls things over for a while and then comes back with more questions. Once again, so blessed that B feels comfortable talking to both of us and that both of us are made aware of what issues the other is talking about with him.

I teach 2nd grade Sunday school at my church once a month. My students informed me recently that they are taught cursive in 2nd grade. Ooops, haven't been teaching that at home. Oh, well, something to add to the list.

B's asthma flared up in February and he had to be put back on a sterroid daily. >:o( I have not given him sterroids in a couple of years b/c he had some roid rages when he was younger and attacked me. My only complaint with the insurance plan we've had for the last 7 yrs has been that B's primary physician does not believe roid rages even exist, in anyone. So he would not offer me any alternatives to a sterroid. This time I sent the hubs with B to the doctor when he got sick. Although the doc still held the position regarding roid rages, he did offer a different sterroid and a lower dose. How come that option was never offered to me?!

Anywho, sterroids can make my already "sensitive" boy more "intense" emotionally. I.e., crying more often over little things, his Irish temper flares more frequently and he is frustrated more often. Two other side effects, though, is that he is eating more and he is cold all the time. The thing I love about kids, including mine, is that they are born with the instinct to eat only when their bodies' NEED food and they listen to their bodies when they are full. I wish I was still like that...Anywho...the sterroid "provides" extra, nervous energy and increases his appetite. Luckily, the 2 cancel each other out, so there is no weight gain; just strategizing on mom & dad's part to funnel the energy into things that don't annoy the heck out of us! ;o) He is old enough now that he is aware of what is going on in his body and is taking control of his reactions instead of just letting his body take over. It is amazing the maturity and changes in him this year!

B has been showering himself completely without any help from us (not even to adjust the water temp or dry off), he now does his own laundry and finally goes in the basement alone to play. He wants to take on so much and be more independent that we are ready for. I came downstairs to find him heating something up in the microwave one day. Although he was smart enough not to overcook it (he only put it on for 9 seconds), he needs to ask me 1st, so I can tell him what to do and watch a time or 2 to make sure he's got it. He also pulled a santoku knife out of my knife block last week b/c he wanted to cut up some fruit for himself. It's hard for the hubs and I to switch gears so fast with B's new independence.

We had a Couples' Pampered Chef party last month. We did not have a big turnout, but I completely get that. If you are going to hire a babysitter to go out, chances are you want to be alone with your spouse. But I have a small house and an even smaller kitchen, so the turn out we had allowed all the husbands to participate in the cooking with the PC consultant. Us wives just sat back, learned all about the new tools and went through the new cookbooks. :o) We had such a great time together, we're entertaining the idea of a cooking club. Not a dinner club, where each family is responsible for a course, but a cooking club, where we all bring the ingredients for an assigned course and cook it together. It would be nice to start something like that with the warmer weather here. We'll see what happens!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The "N" Word and KidzBop

In my state, homeschoolers need to provide evidence of progress at the end of the school year. I recently received the 2nd grade test I will give to B and found myself in a quandary as I reviewed it. The 1st section is on definitions and B may not know the definition of all the words. I don't think it is right to coach him on those words. The hubs reminded me that since "No Child Left Behind" doles out federal funding to public schools based on standardized test scores, our county's public school kids, at least, are taught to their tests and if we chose to do that, we would be doing nothing different/worse than our public school. Interesting POV...the hubs LOVES playing Devil's Advocate and always shows me a POV I had not thought of before. However, we both decided to NOT coach him on words that we may, wrongly, think he does not know. We want to gauge how much he has or has not learned this 1st year of HSing to assist us in our level of learning.

I have a part-time job at a local karate studio. I pick up elementary and middle school kids and bring them back to the studio for after-school care. I love listening to the conversations that occur in my vehicle each day. They make me cringe, cry, laugh and shock me. The mob mentality among such young people is especially scary but I am glad I get that insight to help with raising my son. I drive five days a week and my route changes daily.

I pick up kids at all elementary schools in my town except one and I pick up at one middle school. The students I pick up at one school in particular are very fond of "potty" words. In fact, when I pick up at this particular school, I actually time them to see how long they go before the potty talk starts. It usually occurs within one minute of pulling off. The shortest time was eleven seconds and the longest time was eleven minutes (that was a rare and true shocker!). The most popular potty words are butt, poop, pee and penis, in that order. However, occasionally there is the "bad word" discussion.

Recently, one of my 5th grade students was talking about another student who knew and used every bad word there was. The animated discussion began about which bad words the boy in question knew and were compared to what words the 1st - 5th graders in my vehicle knew. But none of my kids actually say any bad words; they just use the 1st letter of a word followed by the word "word". (If you are a parent of a school-aged child, I know you can keep up with that last sentence.) One 1st grader declared, "There is only ONE bad word that we cannot say and that is the 'F' word!" The 5th grader said, "There are plenty of bad words besides that one but the 'F' word is the WORST of the bad words!" An innocent 3rd grader said, "Why is the 'F' word the WORST word? It just means 'fart'!" Luckily I have trained myself to not burst out laughing at these kids; thank goodness they cannot see my facial expressions!

On another trip, a 3rd grade girl and a 1st grade boy got into an argument about who knew more bad words than the other. "I know what the 'F' words is!" said the boy. "So? I know what the 'N' word is!" countered the 3rd grader. "So do I," replied the 1st grader, "Nagina!" LOL!

I have not listened to pop or Top 40 music since grunge moved in in the early 90s. I switched over to Country music then, b/c "pop" had died, as far as I was concerned. In 2009, I dropped Country and started listening to a contemporary Christian station. We got our 1st taste of KidzBop when McDee's added mini disks to Happy Meals in 2009. Both B and I enjoyed them. We were both happy that we were finally listening to something (remotely) hip and I was pleased that there were no bad words. At the time, I could not understand all the "haters" of KidzBop.

Then my brother gave B KidzBop Gold and 80s KidzBop and I now understand the "haters". Whatever version of a song you hear 1st, most times that is the one you like the best and the rest will never measure up. B asked me to put the 80s KidzBop in my car's CD player. I had an Oprah light bulb moment. I cannot listen to KIDS singing Quiet Riot, Bon Jovi and The Go-Gos!