Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm over here too, now, in a succinct sort of way. Please come and enjoy a little something each day: exquisite bits

Thursday, January 3, 2013

resolution concept 2013

Not one for concrete goals, I have chosen my 2013 Resolution Concept. Here it is:


I want to find a way for our family to be involved with community volunteering (I'm thinking the local food pantry is a good place to check out), and I want to have more people over for dinners. (That hubby will cook.)

It has become crystal clear to me how important it is for children to be woven into the safety net of their communities, and that means adults committing to, engaging, and investing in their lives. I'm going to be intentional about doing that for the kiddos in my life. It's the only sensible thing to do, and I'm praying that my efforts to facilitate that for my own children will be fruitful.

See? Concept. I can handle that. No deadlines or checklists, hallelujah! I am free to craft as I see fit and as God leads me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I resolved, I accomplished, I reflect, I plan.

In January, I resolved to stop pretending that I care about countertops. It's actually about more than countertops, and you can read more about it here if it sounds interesting (or you're bored).

Guess what. I totally, resoundingly, successfully accomplished my resolution for the year.


Working on my resolution for 2013+.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Meme: Fifteen vocalists that will always stick with you.

in no particular order:

  1. Sting
  2. Kathleen Battle
  3. Josh Groban
  4. Steve Perry
  5. Annie Lennox
  6. John Denver
  7. Neil Diamond
  8. Julie Andrews
  9. Kate Bush
  10. Nat King Cole
  11. Cindy Lauper
  12. Bono
  13. Natalie Merchant
  14. Peter Gabriel
  15. Sinead O'Connor

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I don't know what to do.

Pretty much every study tells us that kids + screen time = detrimental. Imagine my horror. Not only do my children have zero interest in the things I enjoy*, they seem to love only one thing: the screen.

You may be saying, "Oh what's the big deal? Many kids, left to their own devices, will spend the whole day on the computer. You have to set limits! Simple!" Sure. If I want to police them ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. Which I do not.

Uno truly has an ability with computers/systems/technology whatnot. I'm 99% certain he'll end up working in the field. How to temper a burning desire? It's his thing.

This week is fairly schedule-free, so I decided to see what they'd do. Sure enough, all day.

When I was 9 (and/or 11), I did not need my mother hovering over me, prying me from a crack pipe. I did not need my mother to ENTHUSIASTICALLY LEAD ME IN MANY ACTIVITIES! Or GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS! I did the things I liked. I read books, drew pictures, played with friends, wrote stories, climbed trees, stared at clouds, whatever.

What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks has happened? I feel like a terrible mother for not figuring this out. I feel like failure on my part has allowed them to become computer addicts. What does this mean for them down the line? If it were only a pastime, I'd put the kibosh on it. Take it away from Uno, though, and he'll spend all his time thinking about it: ways to improve things, ways to modify things, things I don't understand. It's not just a pastime for him.


I hope that this is just a bad day and my perspective (questionable) will return tomorrow.

*P.S. I do not think kids have to share the same interests as their parents. I merely mentioned that because it's been a hard realization recently. That plus the crack computer issue has resulted in a small dark cloud coming to visit.

Friday, July 20, 2012

the awkward business of raising adults

And thus we enter a new phase of Chaos.

I remember when chaos meant diaper blowouts, unexpected nursing needs, and generally any sort of mess that could be wiped up with a wet cloth. Oh and those times when the toddler laid face down in the entryway of the grocery store and screamed. About something or other.

We are past those early days of screaming, sticky, smelly chaos and have entered new territory, the kind of territory that can be described as subtle, nuanced, and downright tricky. No diaper wipes or popsicle rewards will work here. While the boys have had responsibilities around the house for some years (they are 9 and 11 now), it is time to step it up a notch. This became clear to me yesterday morning.

"Grumpy" and "harpy-like" haven't suited me well, and the boys don't enjoy screechy mommy either. I don't blame them. It was time to get ready for day camp again, but I couldn't bring myself to list off instructions one more time. Something in me shifted (thank you, God) and I suddenly (literally) understood.

"Hey guys, let me know when you need a ride to camp," I chatted in a surprisingly relaxed manner. And then I sat down with some coffee and chocolate to browse the web while I waited. Quite lovely. We were only 15 minutes late to camp, and the boys' sunblock was mostly rubbed in. Poor blotchy ghosties.

I've known about the "Love and Logic" method since before my kids were born. [That's some clever packaging, but let's admit that learning responsibility is a concept that's been around for eons.] Okay. So I'd considered this approach before, but the timing didn't seem right. Uno, while highly competent in some areas, has taken a bit more time to come around in the Awareness and Focus departments. Coupled with a low frustration tolerance and propensity to be hard on himself, I wanted to wait until I felt sure he could succeed with the new parameters. It's hard enough to learn without added difficulties.

Getting to camp today went more smoothly, but not without bumps. We only arrived a couple of minutes late, however Uno failed to apply his sunblock before we left. He solved the problem by pouring a large puddle of sunblock in his hand to apply during the ride. Unfortunately, he ended up with sunblock blobs on his clothes and lunch bag too, but hey! We did it. I stepped back, they stepped up, and really, sunblock on clothing is not an issue. Learning to take care of yourself is.

This phase seems awkward upon first glance, but I like it. It's a necessary awkwardness. While I would have loved to delve in earlier, I think this timing is right. Previously, there's a good chance that Uno would have ended up on the floor in a flood of tears about the sunblock, but today, after he uttered a panicked shriek, he thought of a solution and did it in a timely manner. Major. WHEW. (Dos, in true second-child fashion, picks it all up by observing and then runs with it.)

I think we may be on to something here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

caw caw

Contrary to popular (cosmetic industry) notion, I don't think crow's feet are terrible things. I think they're kind of nice; they say, "Hey. I know some things."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is that bad?

There is a lot of talk this time of year about back-to-school supplies. Homeschool moms speak of their excitement and the traditions they have built with their kids in the School Supply Aisle.

I do not understand this. Perhaps, after four years of buying prescribed lists of supplies for public school classrooms, I'm a bit jaded. It seems like we don't need much in terms of supplies, and I end up buying bits and pieces through the year. Here's what I bought this week:

-pencils (a box of 24)
-erasers (a pack of 4)
-two composition books
-a pack of notebook paper
-a pack of graph paper
-a compass

I wish I had the desire to go on a big school supply shopping bonanza (complete with ice cream treats afterwards with the kids), but I fizzle in that arena. I'm a sparkler in the land of M-80s. I think, "Oh I need some pencils. Might as well get some paper too," then I run out of the aisle.

That is all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One is the loneliest number.

Yesterday, for the first time, I felt how lonely it can be when one's children are of the opposite gender.

Not only am I the lone girl here, but no one really happens to share any of my natural interests. The boys take after their dad in that way. (Hello technology, mechanics, etc.)

I think I didn't notice until now because, without realizing it, I've been happy to enter their world and enjoy it as much as I can. Except I think I've sort of hit a wall. I'm tired of extending myself. It's a bit of a one-way street.

I'm not sure how things will play out, but shoot. I'm a little sad. Books are about the one and only passion the  boys and I share now (which is a lovely, life-long hobby), but discussion isn't high on their list...

Perhaps we'll find other things, but I can't deny that it would be nice to have someone in my immediate family to share my interests with, namely art and making things.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

because i said so

"Never let a quarrel get in the way of a good argument." -G.K. Chesterton

I have always lacked a certain confidence when it comes to defending my viewpoint against unfair and/or unreasonable assertions by others. I long to possess a facility with words, the ability to remain unruffled in the face of hot challenges, unflattering insinuations, and downright false accusations. Instead, I freeze up and keep quiet. I shouldn't.

In Susan Wise Bauer's "The Well-Trained Mind," I came across the idea of making critical thinking an integral part of education. I teach the boys informally through conversation as we read history and novels, but Bauer suggests brain teasers and logic problems as a part of daily learning for elementary-aged students. I like this idea.

For middle and high school years, Bauer suggests logic lessons beginning with informal fallacies and moving to formal logic lessons. "Logic 101" made me shiver as a college student. You couldn't have paid me to take it. I was an arty girl; arty girls have no business hanging out in logic classes, right? Not unless she wants to develop confidence in making and arguing her point, which she does.

So here I am at age 43 cracking a logic book. It's one that Bauer recommends, a student text and a great introduction to the art of argument. Finally, I'm able to put a name to the faces of the fallacies I've often sensed but never been able to articulate and properly rebut.

Relevance, presumption, clarity. Ad fontem, ad hominem abusive, ad hominem circumstantial, tu quoque. I've only just begun, but by golly I'm on my way to being a Calm, Cool, Effective Discusser of Things.

In addition to understanding fallacies and how to respond, I believe listening and attempting to understand an opponent's true viewpoint (underlying any fallacies) is vitally important for productive discourse. Freeing one's own viewpoint from fallacy is the starting point. Not easy, but necessary.

If I knew the Latin phrase for "forward ho!," well, I'd say it right now. (Also, comma rules make me crazy. Always have.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this.

Me: I just finished drying my hair and I'm hot. Ugh.
Him: You are hot.
Me: I'm not hot, I'm a crone.
Him: You're my hot crone.
Me: Criminy.

I know. But that's how we roll.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

things of beauty

Dos has always been a Hot Wheels kid. I find the "tracks" he makes things of beauty. He works quietly and diligently then races his cars through. You may not be able to tell who is winning, but he never forgets.

Friday, April 6, 2012

an outing

A science-y outing with a homeschool group. Very cool facility. All about habitats. (Pardon the occasional blur. Lighting was tricky.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I must speak to this.

So some tailwinds blew my way today, unexpectedly.

Uno worked hard yesterday to help his brother earn money for a Skylander character. Today, Uno worked hard (and Dos helped) to earn money for his own Skylander. He scrubbed pots and pans, loaded the dishwasher, spent an hour weeding the lawn, vacuumed the whole first level AND THE STAIRS, helped switch, sort, fold, and deliver laundry, and hauled in the trash and recycling bins. (And did all his school work.)

We loaded up in the van and headed to Wal-Mart where just yesterday he saw the very character he wanted. And of course it was not there tonight.

So we checked another store.

And another store.

And another store.

We called another store.

And another store.

There were tears, but this kid is so unbelievably gracious.

"Thanks for driving me all around," he said multiple times (a couple of times through the tears).

He decided to go to one more store (despite a phone call that yielded another "no") and choose a different character. Such a good sport, good grief.

We walked in. Dos spotted the display. Right in front sat the holy grail of Skylander characters that Uno had his heart set on. (Cynder, for those interested.) The only one we could find in the store.


Then? Just a few minutes ago at 1:00 a.m. our time? I got a reservation for our summer vacation. I was afraid there was no way I could get us in, but I did. The reservation lady said over 12,000 people called the first day registration was available last year, and that didn't count online attempts. But the lady also told me to stay up and reserve online the very second registration opened, so I did. And I got it.

The place I went as a kid. In the mountains.

A minute after my reservation went through, the website was flooded and a "please keep trying" message appeared. Our confirmation e-mail is safe in our inbox. (I keep checking because I kind of still can't believe it.)

Praise the Lord for tailwinds today.