Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 Year in Review Meme

There's this little meme going around the blogs, though I would play along too...

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? Started my very own blog! Started writing a book. Fought a family infestation of head lice without chemicals and won the battle. Started a book group through my library.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well, the only one I can remember is that I wanted to lose weight. Although I did lose some, it wasn't anything close to what I wanted/needed. So, that is still on the list for 2005, along with eating healthier, finishing the CNHP, starting the ND program, and a bunch of others. Why not aim high?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Brenda had a baby girl after 4 boys. And my dear friend Marla is expecting her first baby in April and that is **thrilling**!!

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? Just the USA. I don't get out much, as I've told ya.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004? Enough money to afford a better/bigger/more suitable vehicle for my family. (We are now driving a 14 year old van with nearly 200,000 miles on it, that seats 7 when we have 8 in our family, and now has a big fat dent in the front and side from the deer that hit me right before Thanksgiving.... Contributions, anyone?)

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Not sure of the exact date, by the lice infestation is definitely memorable, as is the day my back went out.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Taking time to evaluate my life, think about my priorities, make necessary changes, invest in myself.

9. What was your biggest failure? Gladly, I don't have any failures that I'm dwelling on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yes, in February my back went out in a really bad way and I spent 2 weeks or so bedridden and in terrible pain, months of recovery, and still have residual twangs of OUCH from it.

11. What was the best thing you bought? new elastic-free clothes, new bras and undies (the maternity wear HAD to go!!!)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My own when I stuck to my guns and got Doodles Bin Peein and Izzy Bin Poopin potty trained!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? Izzy Bin Poopin and Doodles Bin Peein when they persisted in poopin their drawers after they knew better!

14. Where did most of your money go? Just living expenses. That's where it all goes, pretty much!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Getting to attend the Certified Natural Health Professional seminar and learning so much.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004? I can't think of one at the moment.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? thinner (just barely!)
c) richer or poorer? about the same, I think

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Reading out loud to my kids.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Laying in bed in pain with an injured back.

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? I'm spending it right now! The hubby is at work, the kids and I are having a party. We put on the Shrek party CD, ordered pizza, Doodles peed on my bed while snoozing, Squiggy Magoo puked on me at the dinner table, then I did laundry, we ate ice cream sundaes (my last junk food hurrah for a darn long time), and watched Eloise. Do we know how to whoop it up, or what?!

21. Did you fall in love in 2004? Nope. I was already in love!

22. How many one-night stands? None ever!!

23. What was your favorite TV program? I watch no TV, unless you count what I can get from Netflix, in which case it is SURVIVOR! I loved watching Rob and Amber fall in love!!

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No, I have worked to get rid of hate. It's too toxic to hold on to.

25. What was the best book you read? Oh, man, I have read so many books this year. I am currently loving Frugal Luxuries and Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons both by Tracey McBride. Also loved Feng Shui Your Clutter Away, because it's way more than a home organization book.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? My 2 sons playing the trombone. Also, a 15-year old young lady with an amazing voice, Renee Olstead.

27. What did you want and get? A Dell Axim. Also, a Green Star Juicer that will arrive next week!! (healthy living here I come)

28. What did you want and not get? Time/energy/stick-to-it-tiveness to exercise and lose weight/get in shape. But my life circumstances, including hurt back and 6 young children could be construed as a reasonable excuse....

29. What was your favorite film of this year? I watched so many, thanks to Netflix..... I guess I'll mention Ella Enchanted (for the soul-singing scene especially). Capturing the Friedmans because of the fascinating look at a complicated story, such that I couldn't really decide who I thought was innocent, guilty, sane, or crazy. Just Married, because it had me laughing within the first 30 seconds.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33 this year, and my husband sent me to a day spa for half a day.

31.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? If I had had all the money, time, and energy to make all my dreams (and those of my family) come true. Oh well. I'll have to appreciate character development instead.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004? Turning my back on the Lands End elastic-waist pants, and actually getting things that are in style. Even if they were from Lane Bryant. A girl's gotta start somewhere.

33. What kept you sane? Taking care of myself for a change.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I'm not too into the celebrities, but my favorite actors are Reese Witherspoon and Heath Ledger.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Wishing people would think outside of the box and consider third parties more seriously. Other than that I didn't get stirred too much.

36. Who did you miss? My mom, gram, brother, and sister. I didn't see any of them for an entire year. Too. Darn. Long. Now I've had a fresh dose of them, and hopefully it won't take a year before I get another one.

37. Who was the best new person you met? I got to talk to Sherry, Mother of 7 Boys, on the phone. That was fun!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004. Taking time to invest in yourself is a step toward investing in everyone else who matters to you as well.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Oh be thankful for the good things that you've got
Oh be thankful for the good things that you've got
The good things that you've got
are for many just a dream
So be thankful for the good things that you've got.
(from an Evie song, circa 1970s or early 80s--still love it!)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Uh oh....I'm in trouble now.

I've discovered the game Text Twist. I may never get away from the computer. This game is almost as addicting as Blog Explosion once was.

So...join me in irresponsible holiday cheer! Go check it out. (You can play for free online or download a free demo.)

So did you resolve to get your home organized??

Other than weight loss plans, I think home organization is one of the most common New Year's Resolutions. I love to organize things around my house! I have tons of ideas, and would love to share them with you. So, I'm getting ready to start a series of How-I-organized various things in my home. If you have specific areas of interest, let me know and I'll talk about those first. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2004

So how was your Christmas?

It's been fun to meander around the blogosphere are see what some of my favorite bloggers share about their holiday.

The always entertaining Very Mom shares my lack of enthusiasm for Santa Claus, and tells about her son's impression of The Christmas Man.

The Genuine family got an extra special gift for Christmas this year. Go over and read all about it. He almost made me get teary!

Have you seen Mom to 7 Boys photo of her 7 little men visiting Santa? They are so adorable!

I learned about a great-sounding product called d-skin from The Zero Boss. It's a way to cover your CDs, DVDs, and game discs to protect them from scratches. WE NEED THIS!

I'm feeling a little bit bah-humbug-y myself. I was thinking so gleefully of how I was not running the pre-Christmas rat race since I had to have all of my stuff done by the 16th, just happy as a clam to Have It All Over With. More than one person shared my sentiment. And then it occurred to me that I don't even think of Christmas as a religious holiday. I mean, I acknowledge it as such. I'm a Christian and so I believe in Jesus' birth and so on. But, Christmas is just so far removed from that for me. It's a family holiday, and I think that I was brought up to think of it that way. In my husband's family they always went to Christmas Eve service at church. Mine always went to my Grandparent's house to have dinner and exchange gifts with our extended family. My childhood Christmas Eves are some of my best memories and I have no inclination to go to a church service instead. It just seems wrong to me. Seems like it doesn't fit with my internal sense of what the holiday is for.

As a child and teenager it seemed to me that although everybody at church said the stuff about Jesus is the Reason for the Season, that it was kind of a lame cover up for what it really was: Stuff Fest 1985!! or whenever. In other words, to my way of thinking, there is almost no connection between Christ's birth and what we Americans do for Christmas. Yes, Christ was born, I am glad, but it was not in December, and us getting all frazzled for a month and spending tons of money buying each other things and stuffing ourselves full of unhealthy treats has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Some people would feel bad about this, but I'm not sure that I do. To me it seems that Christmas is a runaway train and nothing I am going to do is going to stop it. So, fine. I can choose to embrace it as a family holiday in which we make strides to spend time with those we love, and give them gifts as tokens of our esteem.

As for Jesus' birth, those of us who believe in Him can choose to be thankful and aware of what His coming to earth means to us all year long.

It seems that some people feel guilty if we don't keep "enough" Christ in our Christmas, yet I can't recall anything in the Bible that would compell us to celebrate His birth in a specific way. Maybe this is just because we celebrate so many less important things, that we feel kind of guilty and think that we need to have a big Yay Jesus blowout once a year. Don't send me all the links to the origins of Christmas. I've heard it all before. I don't see any reason to be down on Christmas per se, I am just trying to come to grips with my feeling that it is family-oriented rather than Jesus-oriented in my life.

What do you folks think? Does Christmas have a deep spiritual significance to you? If yes, what makes it so? Anybody feeling something like I do, thinking that it almost makes more sense to separate the holiday and the Christ? I'd love to get some feedback.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Firecrapper Lives!

So hello again to all my faithful readers. I wanted to let you know that my husband is fine after the big fire. 5 or more fire departments came to lend a hand and it took over 8 hours to put out. It wiped out a block of the downtown area and there were some dangerous moments and a few injuries, but overall everybody is fine. He was home in time to help me get the kids to bed and set up the gifts and stockings. Yay!

We had our little Christmas shin-dig this morning. The kids were thrilled and it was nice to have it just be a few things. Now I've got pies baking, ham in the crock pot, and so on. Unfortunately, the fire dept. is very understaffed right now and so my husband will be going in to do some overtime today and tonite, and then tomorrow is his regular 24-hour shift. But, really, we're all done with our festivities and it's fine for him to go. We're just enjoying being home and all the kids are running around playing with their new toys and setting up their stuff.

I'm already looking at the rest of this school break and trying to think of things to do during it to make it meaningful and well-spent. I'm hoping to do more reading with the kids, playing games that we got for Christmas, and so on. Just simple family life, I guess.

I hope that all of you experience a beautiful and safe Christmas tomorrow. May the memories you make be wonderful ones!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

'Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas....

So have you missed me?? My family and I traveled from Kentucky to North Carolina to celebrate Christmas with my mom and her husband, my grandmother, brother, and sister. It has been a year since we saw any of them, so it was a rare treat. We spent 3 days (and some change) together which worked out well. I think that we would like more time together, but it's just pretty tricky with 6 kids to live out of the proverbial suitcases, plus I imagine it's intensely crazy for all the people who are not used to so much noise and action in their lives as 6 young children bring.

So, anyhoo, a good time was had by all. My 21 month old seemed to catch on that it was somehow noteworthy that he was nursing, which got him thinking of a little shtick to pull at just the right time. When I was sitting next to my sister, Squiggy comes along declaring, "I want some milk!" So I put him on my lap and was getting ready to oblige, when he decided that my sister hadn't paid close enough attention to what was going on. He leans over to her and says, "Didja hear that?! I want milk! MILK!" It was hilarious.

I really like it when our Christmas is spread out. We celebrated at Thanksgiving with my husband's side of the family, my side on Sunday, and then just a little shin-dig here at home for our family tomorrow. (My husband has to work on Christmas day.) One year we had all of our gifts at the same time and it was positively insane. I am one of those people that likes for the gifts to be opened one at a time. I hate the big chaotic tear-in that some people do, with the kids going berzerk and not even taking the time to thank people. So, when you take 5 or 6 kids worth of gifts plus the adults, and open them one at a time, it can take a looong time. That year when we had the avalanche, I think we opened before breakfast, after breakfast til lunch, and were still opening after lunch. By the end the kids were like, "Do we have to open more?" It was kind of overwhelming. So, years like this are great. They get three Christmases, and time to enjoy and appreciate what they get.

I loved having all of my Christmas stuff done by the 17th. Next year I am seriously thinking that we might try to go on a trip instead of getting gifts. My kids are very interested in a visit to Disney World, and I was just checking out family-friendly cruises. Our littlest kids might still be a little on the young side for it, but eventually I think we would love to do something like that.

My hubby is off at a 4-alarm fire right now. These are the ones that always cause me to revisit my what-if-I-become-a-widow-tonite plan. I mentally evaluate our life insurance, my contingency plan, and so on. It probably sounds terribly depressing, but this is how I cope with the fact that my husband has a dangerous profession. I know I can't control any of the emotional losses, but at least I can have a basic plan of action. Who knows if I would be able to even remember it if I ever needed it. Maybe I should create a little Word document in my Axim entitled "Death." Hopefully all my planning will amount to nothing and my husband and I will get to love and annoy each other til we're 100 or so.

We watched Dodgeball last night, which was peppered with laugh-inducing jokes, but overall was stupid and by the end we were totally grossed out. My husband commented that it seems that as time goes on, the movies include increasingly bizarre sexual issues. For this one it included jokes about bestiality and a display of bisexuality. Not exactly stuff we appreciate around here.

Soon I'l be tucking the kids into bed and then getting the surprises put under the tree. I always love the night before Christmas when the kids are all asleep and the gifts are all out. Seems rather storybookish to me or something. Turn down the lights. Sit and look at the Christmas tree lights. Have a drink, light a candle or two. Snuggle with the hubby if he's home. Hopefully mine will be.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Well, all of the people that I would normally call and VENT to are not available, and I've already vented to the kids. So now it's your turn, blogosphere!

I. Am. So. Ticked. Off.

You might remember our ill-fated trip to JCPenney portrait studios way back in October, thinking we could get a nice family picture for Christmas cards and gifts. And then none of the photos turned out even remotely good enough, so we didn't get any that day and planned to return at a later date.

As time went along, our schedule was getting tighter and tighter, and the 3 hours that would be spent going to and from JCP seemed like too much. So, luckily (Ha!) I found out about a local photographer. I saw her work and although it wasn't as nice as some of the better photography I have seen, it was nice and I felt like she could probably do a decent job for us. The big plus here was that she would take our pictures only 5 minutes from our house, thus making the whole shebang a whole lot more doable. AND she was going to be able to get our pictures back to us in plenty of time before our trip.

SO, we went. We got pictures taken. She had us go outside and freeze for pictures that were only destined to stink due to the temperature and the wind.

The proofs came back to us 3 or 4 days after she told us we would have them. Fortunately, some of the shots taken indoors turned out quite well, and so we placed our order. She assured me that the photos would be back and in my hands by Monday. As in, 3 days ago.

And so, Monday comes with no pictures and no communication from her.

Tuesday comes with no pictures and no communication from her.

Wednesday comes and I go into her business to see what's up and she tells me that some of my pictures are 35 miles away, and the rest are 100 miles away. But, no fear, she'll have them the next day. Well, not day exactly. Evening. Um, like, could I come and get them after 6?

Yes, lady, that's *just* what I want to do. Interrupt my fervent packing for a Christmas trip in order to shlepp out in the freezing temperatures to get my pictures that you promised to me days ago.

I think my expression must have given my thoughts away because she then offered to actually bring them to my house, which was smart of her.

So today is the day I have to pack for the trip that I am leaving on tomorrow at noon. My husband is working his second 24 hour shift in a row. My kids need homework done, baths, etc. And of course, I need these pictures not only because they are for gifts for the people I will be seeing on my trip, but also to send as gifts to grandparents, etc. And so I am already under the gun way too much because now I have to not only get 3 kids to and from school, pack a van, etc. etc. but also make a quick trip to the post office to mail out the photos that I do not yet have. Uh huh. I needed one more thing to do tomorrow.

And so does she show up around 6pm? Or 7 pm? Or 8 pm? No. 8:30pm is when the knock comes at the door. Great. I have been putting off getting kids to bed and showering and other stuff, all because I was stuck waiting for her to get here and I am the only adult at home.

So, she apologizes, tells me that when she got to the printing place they didn't even have the prints done so she had to wait, the traffic was terrible, blah blah blah. And so she leaves.

And then I look at the prints.

And there they are.

The biggest one NOT the size I wanted. And too dark. And cropped badly.

ALL the 8x10s blurry! And with blotches on some of the faces.

ALL the wallets blurry!

The 5x7s of the boys with blotches on the faces.

In short, only 4 photos, none of which were for gifts, came out the way they should have.

(Can you hear me scream and stomp my feet?!?!?!?!?!)

And so now I have $150 worth of crap photos and NO PHOTO GIFTS for my family and nothing to send to some people for whom the photos were the only gift.

PLUS, of course, now I get to go in to see her tomorrow and show her this crap and get her to get them reprinted or give me my money back or both.

I. Am. Not. Happy. About. This.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

How to get it all done

So I've got all this *stuff* to do. Getting ready to leave for a big trip in two days. Kids with homework needs. Gifts and cards for all the teachers. Christmas needing to be ready to take on the trip. Other gifts needing to be mailed before the trip. The annual Christmas letter needing to be written, printed, and mailed. Plus of course the "little things" in life like getting caught up on the laundry, paying bills, cleaning the very messy house, and working on beloved projects that always seem so much more interesting than all of the usual things that need to be done.

And of course once I get through the Christmas rush, I still have 6 kids to love on, a husband to dazzle, a nest to feather, books to read, books to write, exercise to be done daily, businesses to launch, and an education to be had. Just to name the top issues.

In thinking about all of these things I've, of course, wondered how on earth I can fit all these things in. Really, I want to do all those things. Most of them make me feel so happy when I can do them. Even the cleaning! A sense of accomplishment is a real thrill for me after all these years of shoveling while it was still snowing, so to speak.

I used to do this schedule that I developed with the help of a book called Managers of Their Homes. Although this book is geared toward homeschooling families, it could be used by anybody. The author directs the reader to list all of the things that need to be done, the time needed for each task, and then you work on assigning times to do each thing, and eventually develop a schedule. For big projects and hobbies she suggests that for very busy people, they just allow for something like 15 minutes once or twice in the day to make some progress. Those of you who have been followers of Flylady know all about the wonders that can be done in 15 minutes, don't you?

Well, I have found that a surprising amount of things can get done in 15 minutes. But.....when I think about only allowing myself 15 minutes to read or to work on developing a business brochure, it feels like it takes the fun out of it. Maybe I'm just immature, or still battling (unsuccessfully!) my lack of self discipline....but if I'm going to do something that is for fun and fulfillment, I want to be able to do it long enough to really enjoy myself!

Of course, I've been having a grand old time tackling house projects around here....but you should see my messy kitchen!!! There has not been an adequate balance.

So, I come back to the schedule idea and think that maybe I need to give it a try. Maybe I can have something like an hour a day for some fun project, and just rotate what cool thing I get to do with that time. Surely with a schedule I can fit in all the needs and all the goals and be the most wonderfully balanced and self-disciplined gal this side of the Mississippi!

Too bad I'm such a free spirit and even the word schedule makes me feel kind of nervous and constrained!

I guess the only answer to gaining self-discipline is to do it. If I flex those muscles, I should get better and better at it, right?

I'd love to hear practical tips from any of you that manage to successfully fit in lots of stuff to do and still include things like feeding your soul and taking good care of yourself. Bonnie from Belle on Her Toes (Have you ever visited her blog? It's lovely!) has 11 children (you GO girl!) and is always writing cool posts about her yoga lessons, kids activities, and awesome jaunts into Seattle to art museums and other cool things. Maybe she can help me out. Bonnie, are you out there?!?! (just went to her site and see that she is taking a break from the computer--oh no!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Death for Scott Peterson

I am glad. A person this evil doesn't deserve taxpayer-supported life in prison. Good riddance.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Thoughts on Blog Explosion

OK, so I told you all about Blog Explosion. I added a little BE banner to my site. I was happy to see my counter stats going up. And it was fun to see that some new people came and liked Dolly Mama Strikes Again! enough to add it to their blog rolls and favorites. Very nice.


I'm not sure it's worth it.

When I go to surf other blogs to earn my credits I usually find a blog so annoying that I am finding other things to do while I wait for the 30 seconds to pass so I can click on by. Most of the blogs I'm seeing aren't anything that I'm interested in reading, and a good deal of them really, truly stink.

So I've been thinking to myself, Do I really care if my numbers go up? So what if I got 2000 more hits? That's great that it produced maybe 20 new people that want to actually come back and read some more. I hope they enjoy what I have to say. But I don't know that I'm going to bother much with racking up those credits so that others can come and ignore me for 30 seconds while I go over to their blog to ignore them for 30 seconds.

I guess you could say that I'm over my very brief crush on Blog Explosion. I'm glad for the authentic readers I have, and love it when they like what I write enough to mention me on their blogs. But mainly, I'm writing because I enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Today's Accomplishments

After several days of flitting around the house with my Mrs. Home Organization hat on, I had to turn my attention back to the kitchen today. It was suffering from neglect...and something smelled funky in there too.

I baked bread (which I haven't done for probably 2 months), made 2 pumpkin pies, and got a crock pot lasagne cooking away for dinner. I was brave enough to try another internet recipe (remember last month's soup that my son declared resembled something that might be served in a prison camp?) so I'll let you know how it turns out. (I know all you blog explosion people can't want to come back and see how it goes!!)

Hey--about the pumpkin pies--have you folks noticed the new ready-made pie crusts that are shortbread? I am now using the shortbread crusts for pumpkin pie and sometimes for apple pie. I am also using the graham cracker crusts for more things. Traditional pie crust seems kind of pointless to me. If we need a crust, why not have it be tasty?

Only a week and a half until we leave for my mom's house to celebrate Christmas. Ah, yes, 8 people stuffed into a 7 passenger vehicle for 14 hours with all our Christmas paraphernalia on board. Should be *quite* a trip, don't you think? Maybe I'll audio blog from the van just to make you all glad that you're suffering in long lines at the crowded malls, rather than being me. Anybody got any frequent flyer miles they want to donate to our cause???

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

There is a saying:

"Once your consciousness has been raised,
it cannot be lowered."

I've found that to be true in my life. Have you?

These days the thing that has me thinking about that is home education. I homeschooled my oldest children for 6 years before deciding to put them into our local schools last year. We hadn't really expected to make that decision, but then we had 3 babies in 3 years, and, uh, well, babies getting good care and kiddos getting good home educations were mutually exclusive goals.

This year we have 5 of our kids attending school, and mostly it's going well. The trick is that once you know about the many benefits of a home education, it's always lurking in the back of your mind as a possible solution for the sometimes disappointing shortfalls of traditional at-school education.

My first grader and 6 year old, Jake the Great, is the one that has me concerned. He's always been.........a child who needs more *time* for things. He's SO sweet and dear, SUCH a cuddler, loves his family and is just darling. He's also always seemed to be on the younger end of the maturity spectrum for his age. If it weren't for the overall need for him to be in school and get speech therapy last year, I would have preferred to not put him in Kindergarten until this year. Instead, he's with his agemates in first grade, but it's really tough on him.

There is a TON of pressure for kids to read very well in first grade. Don't want any of the children to get "left behind" I guess. Please---leave him behind! He'll catch up! All this rushing is doing him no good. He's already the monkey-in-the-middle at home, with 2 older siblings who have already been there and done that. He doesn't often get to be in the position of being a WINNER, and I fear that his current school situation is breeding more of that.

He's working hard and I am spending nearly an hour with him many evenings helping him with homework plus giving him extra help with reading and spelling (basically, in those 2 subjects I am doing much the same as I would be if he were homeschooled this year). I think he will be able to pass first grade (barely), but I don't think that is going to serve him well in the long run. He'll just go on to be a struggling second grader, if his life-long trend continues.

What I believe he really needs is to be given a year to mature and for all that he has been given to learn has a chance to "jell." (Or is that "gel" as in gelatin? Jello or gelatin? I'm just not sure....)

I'm also very concerned that because of how much of a struggle school has been for him both last year and this year, that he is dangerously close to not developing a real love for learning, which is something our oldest child got so much of and has benefitted from so much. It always saddens me a little when a child thinks that learning is equivalent to school work, which is equivalent to all that should be avoided.

So, I'm watching and waiting and thinking over some possibilities for sweet jake. We could have him repeat first grade next year. Or we could have him stay home for one year, and then the year after that put him in second grade. Giving him the homeschooling year would afford him the break he needs and the time he needs without crushing his spirit, plus would accomplish the same goal of holding him back a year. I would like to put him at a grade level that will be more meeting with his maturity level, and give him the opportunity to be a real winner in his grade, rather than a struggler.

The question is: Will I be ready and able to homeschool him next year? Squiggy will be 2.5 then. I'll have a 4 year old that goes to preschool four half-days. Seems like it might be able to work out. Except of course that I also want to
Become a Certified Natural Health Professional
Become a Doctor of Naturopathy
Help others with my natural health knowledge and develop it into a wellness practice
Write a book
Plus get and keep my home organized and also keep my sanity.


So, you see, the fun of having an inescapably raised conscious! I am pretty sure what will be best for this son. It is not the same as parents who had no homeschooling option in the past. I know what options I have and I know the benefits it can afford us. I also know the price it costs.

Ah, the wonders of being a mother. The love and concern for one's children supercede so many personal wants and needs, doesn't it? I guess I could see this challenge as some vehicle to my personal and spiritual benefit. That's probably the truest thing about it.

So, for now we shall wait and see how first grade progresses, and in the mean time I will try to do what I can to meet my goals and care for myself. That means doing the home stuff now since it's right before me, freely available, and this is my chance to get it done. I can also continue to enjoy my fun time with Squiggy as the only kid with me full time. And of course I'm loving my book group and my opportunities to think and dream, and the time I get with my husband. All of that is mine until mid-May. After that, there's no telling where life's needs and pathways may lead.

My, I'm feeling a little poetic tonight.....

Like a Rolling Stone....

ain't no moss growing on me. No sirree! After my weekend of house projects, I have continued on in that vein. Yesterday I tackled the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Tupperware cupboard which was so full that things would fall out of it when we opened the door, and we couldn't fit anything else in. My dear daughter and little boys helped take everything out of there and I was able to purge a ridiculous number of old butter and yogurt containers and such. I guess when I was being to thrifty and nifty saving all those fabulous containers to reuse, I didn't notice that there were already a million of them in there.

Happily, one thing lead to another, and I found many containers to help organize some very out-of-control cabinets as well. So, I ended up with 3 perfectly organized cabinets and one lovely, manageable Tupperware cupboard.

Since I was on a roll I decided to find a project to do today. I've been organizing book shelves where we keep videos and DVDs and playstation games and books for the whole family. I've almost got it done! Yee haw!

It's amazing the things a stay-at-home-mom can get happy about, isn't it?

My 8 year old daughter wrote this story at school yesterday. We didn't know whether to laugh or cry or get her to counselling...... (By the way, we have no dog named Eddie, but we did have a dog die from getting hit by a car when she was 4) Posted by Hello

Eddie is a dog and he is faster than abolt of lightning. He is the best of all dogs in the world. Posted by Hello

And his owner is very fast too because she rides a bike. It is cool. Posted by Hello

But one day we were on the road riding on our bike and Eddie ran across the road and got run over. I was crying. Posted by Hello

We buried my poor dog. It is so sad to see him. I miss him. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

It's a Momentous Day!

I could spend my time telling you about all the 2 projects I accomplished this weekend (overhauling the little boy's room and cleaning out a dirty junk closet to create a walk-in coat closet). I could tell you about the free babysitting we got on Friday night and the friends we double-dated with and how we laughed and laughed.


I'm going to tell you that

Today is a Momentous Day

because I have decided to write a book. Actually, I didn't just decide. I have begun. I AM WRITING A BOOK.

No, it's not going to be an Erma Bombeck-ish book about my life with kids. Instead, this is a book about something I have not yet seen discussed, and it is about something I think is extremely important.

It's a book calling for balance and moderation in the Christian homeschool community.

This is a book born from my own experiences and observations of this group, and about the unhealthy extremes that seem to abound among the High-Up proponents of home education. I'll be saying things in this book that will make some people hate me, and others will cheer for a book that encourages sanity and true thinking. They will cheer for a book that validates what they have been thinking but have been afraid to speak.

This thing has been gestating within me for years, and this morning I knew that it was time to let it out.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It might've been a bad night if....

the first word out of your mouth upon waking is


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Montezuma's Revenge and Other Miseries

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Izzy Man had been striken with a terrible stomach virus? Well, this has continued on ever since, passing back and forth between each of my 3 youngest sons. One of the more horrible distinctions of this illness is that, although the ensuing diarrhea and vomit are so foul smelling that it makes one's eyes water, the burps and farts that pop up are every bit as vile. I was just reminded of this as Izzy Man came up to me just moments ago.....wonder what kind of fun I'm in for with Him tonite....

To make matters worse, Mr. Firecrapper (my husband) is working his 24 hour shift. AND, Squiggy Magoo is in bad shape with his usual cold-that-turns-into-breathing-distress. I have given him every medicine and breathing treatment option that I have available, and he's still miserable. Actually, I think he is somewhat improved, but this still has the potential to be a looooooooooong night.

Squiggy LOVES to nurse every chance he gets, but when he is not feeling well this turns into an angry obsession. And not only does he want to gnaw away at my breasts for hours on end, but seems to find a particularly satisfying thrill to also pinching and scratching lightly at me at the same time. Needless to say, The Girls are greatly dismayed at what they may be called up to do tonite....

I actually just overheard myself say to my 20-month old
"I am sorry. I cannot nurse you right now. My boobs are killing me and you are just going to have to respect that."
(insert studio audience laughter)
See? I'm already losing my mind.

Since the Jehovah's Witnesses just came to my door, I will have to share the joke my brother-in-law told me last week while he was visiting:

Have you heard about the Jehovah's Witness that converted to Unitarianism?

He was still in the habit of going door-to-door, but didn't have anything to say.

Cotton-eyed Joe and other tales from a middle school dance chaperone...

Last night I had the fun of being a chaperone for my son's middle school dance. I've never even attended a middle school dance in any capacity at all, so this was all new for me. Our child has never attended a dance, either, and not wanting to make him feel like The Big Nerd and not let him go, we decided to let him go, but to go as helpers in order to see what the dances are like and how safely it was run, etc. Of course I promised to not embarrass him by trying to dance with him, take picutres, or introduce myself to everybody as "sullen's mom."

It was an interesting psychological study, watching 6th, 7th, and 8th graders interact at a dance, especially since I am also currently reading Reviving Ophelia for my book group. (an excellent and important book about adolescent girls in our society)

First of all, one shouldn't be fooled into thinking that because it is called a dance that the kids will actually dance. Many, like my son, spend the entire time walking around as if they have some very pressing business to attend to on the other side of the gym, and others spend the entire time huddling into suspicious-looking groups, nervously eyeing adult chaperones who walk by or stand near them. Some (like my son) actually bring a walkman and sit in the corner listening to their own music, rather than listening to the DJ-provided music that is blaring all around.

Secondly, it seems that dancing in any individual style is *not* a thing that many middle schoolers are willing to do. If they dare to do this, it is usually only in the context of a small group of friends huddled up together, so that if you do your little dance moves, your friends are the only ones who will notice. More often than not, they don't even dance in these groups. They just have little spurts of trying a particular move. They kind of do their move for 10 seconds, and then stop and giggle.

The dancing that they *will* do and that seems very safe to them are the group dances. The songs that have a specific dance that goes with them, such as

The Electric Slide (seems to be getting a little old and stale)

The Cha-cha Slide (new to me and very cute--even a mom could learn it and not look like a fool!)

The Chicken Dance (I was amazed that kids would even consider chicken dancing. No surprise, though, the black kids run off the floor immediately upon hearing the Chicken Dance song come up. Smart kids!)

some train song (hey--maybe it's called The Train Song! I don't know.)

Incredulously, they didn't do the Macarena. Boo hoo..I actually know that one and have the hips to do it justice. ;)

and then there was "Cotton-eyed Joe." Now, maybe I'm the last one to know about this song, but it was new to me and it was Hi-Lar-I-Ous. It's a song where total hickster tune meets techno funk. And there was an appropriate hick/techno cool dance that went with it. *Very* funny. Loved it. I simply MUST have my very own copy of the Cotton-eyed Joe song for Christmas. I will have much fun dancing to it in the kitchen....

The couples dances were pretty amusing. Most often they featured a girl dancing with a boy approximately 8 inches shorter than her. (my husband tells me this is actually a Big Plus for the boy....) His hands on her waist, her hands on his shoulders. Sway back and forth a little, decent amount of distance between the two of them, and pay no attention to the actual beat of the music. Do not look at each other. In fact, look very bored and as if you'd rather be someplace else.

At the last slow dance it seems the kids get up their courage to finally dance with the girl/guy they like, before the dance is over and they miss their opportunity. I observed a whole line of farmer-type boys (camo or carhart jackets, baseball caps) slow dancing with girls, but all the couples were lined up side-by-side, and the guys all talked to each other as if it didn't mean a thing to them that they had some girl in their hands. Huh.

I saw no groin-grinding or dirty dancing or salsa-ing or backing-it-up as I feared I might. Well, except for the odd pairing of girls that would give it a try for that quick 5-10 second range. Never between boys and girls, though. I was told by the boy we gave a ride to that the high school here isn't even allowed to have dances other than the prom because of past problems with way-too-sexual dancing. Thank goodness for small town conservativism!

The music was kept clean, except for the inexplicable choice of that country song that says "Save the horse, ride the cowboy." Um, excuse me?! Is *this* the kind of message we want to promote to 11-13 year olds? Ugh. Fortunately, although we do have a lot of farmers here, we're mighty low on cowboys.

I thought it was a crying shame that the adults would make a spectacle of themselves if they dared to dance. I used to be quite the dancer in my college days (snicker, snicker) and I really wanted to Get Down. ;) Actually, I did succumb to my dance fever when the DJ kindly provided a blast-from-the-past for the moldy-oldy adults that were there when he played the B52's LOVE SHACK. I even had some kids cheer me on and come dance with me. I have no idea if they actually thought I was cool or if they were making fun of me. Probably the latter. At least I was a source of entertainment, and enjoyed myself in the process.

Other oddities include noticing once again how, uh, "backwards" (as they say around these here parts) even the adults can be. Has it somehow gone out of style for adults to introduce themselves? Do people not know how to greet one another in a civilized manner? Tell me, you folks who live in other parts of the US and the world--is this just a rural Kentucky problem, or are people socially retarded everywhere?

What I mean is, to me, if a new person comes into the school and contacts the first fellow volunteer that she finds, the appropriate thing for that volunteer to do is to say something like,
"Hello, I'm Marge. I'm in charge of the volunteers. Glad you came."
and I would say something like,
"Hi, I'm Dolly Mama. Nice to meet you." and probably include a hand shake in the deal.
Instead, it was more like a half-smile and a grunt, followed by some vague directions and a general cluelessness about what we were supposed to be doing.

But around here it's more like if you don't already know their top-secret name, then maybe you are not to be trusted with it. Seriously, hand shaking and name-giving are RARE. I'm sure I must seem like some big-city corporate dynamo to some of these souls because I commonly meet people and use a normal introduction process.

It's just little old me trying to change the world one hand-shake and introduction at a time.......

time for another....

Public Service Announcement

If you've recently learned a wonderful new health-and-wellness technique such as using peppermint essential oil on your temples and under your nose to help with headaches and to perk you up, please remember to wash your hands after applying the oil. If you forget and inadvertently touch your eyeball, it will be a very unpleasant experience.