Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The End (?)

Today’s prompt: What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?
Its not so much what I learned, but what I remembered.  I really enjoy blogging.  Its funny, though, because when I did NaBloPoMo last year, I can’t say that I enjoyed it nearly as much as I did this year.  I think the big difference this time around (besides the fact that I don’t have a two month old like I did last year) was my reliance on the blog prompts.  And it wasn’t so much not coming up with the topics on my own—it was forcing myself to think about a topic someone else had chosen.  It’s a more valuable writing exercise than I would have thought.  And I enjoyed it so much, I’ve considered following the prompts through out December.  Perhaps…
I also remembered that if I don’t put prep into doing NaNoWriMo before October 31st, it just doesn’t happen.  I’m a planner and an outliner.  Writing a novel off the cuff just isn’t how I create a story.  I really love the challenge of NaNoWriMo and love doing it.  I just need to go in with a plan.  Which I didn’t this year.  So, we’ll give that a go next year.  Or, if I can get my act together, I’ll do Camp NaNoWriMo over the summer.
That is all. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

*yawn*

Today’s prompt: What is the last thing you do before bed?
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a creature of habit.  So, it will not shock said people to know that I do the same thing every night before bed. 
1. The husband and I read scripture and pray together.
2. I drink a glass of water.
3. I wash my face and brush my teeth and doing any other necessary grooming.
4. I pee.
5. I get into bed with my iTouch and read until I’m ready to fall asleep.  Or play Angry Birds.
It’s mostly the same every night.  There is often a space between Step 1 and 2 where William goes to bed and I say in the living room enjoying the quiet.  When every one else is asleep is the only time of the day when no one is asking anything of me and there is otherwise no immediate pressure on me to care for others.  I relish it.  And, though I know I should go to bed and get sleep, I often spend way too much time relishing that quiet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Am I missing out?

Today’s prompt: Describe an heirloom that has been passed down through generations of your family. What is its significance to you personally?
This would be an awesome question to answer if I had one.  I actually don’t have anything that has been passed down through generations.  Unless you count my red hair.  Does that count?  My great grandma had red hair, and lots of my cousins have red hair.  It’s a fun connector.
I do have some of my parent’s things that I enjoy.  Perhaps I can pass those things down to my children with instructions to give it to their children.  Hopefully future generations can create some good stories…

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Simple Woman

Find it here.
FOR TODAY
Outside my window... Its dark.  And the leaves are going away, but I have no snow yet.  Where is the snow?
I am thinking...  about the end of the holiday week-end.  Its too bad about going back to real life.
I am thankful... for the internet, which allows me to research random topics at my heart’s desire.  Up this week-end was corn allergies.
From the learning rooms... we totally didn’t have school this last week.  At all.  I had intended to do some things toward the beginning of the week and then take off the end of the week for the holiday.  But we just ended up taking the whole week off.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling, right there.
In the kitchen... we’ve recovered from Thanksgiving dinner.  All the leftovers are gone (except for some pie) and the dishes are washed.
I am wearing... pjs. 
I am creating... a list of things to give people for Christmas.
I am going... to have to reorganize the boys toys, since Thing 1 got into my organized boxes and dumped them all out.  This time, I’m going to make them less accessible. 
I am wondering... if I have a corn allergy.
I am reading... I just finished City of Fallen Angels a couple of hours ago.  That was one freaking frustrating book and I hated the ending.  I’m starting to regret starting the Mortal Instruments series.  I haven’t decided what to read next yet.
I am hoping... a good night’s sleep.
I am looking forward to... Christmas!
I am hearing...Thing 1 is kind of freaking out right now.  There may be a time out involved.
Around the house... Thing 2’s favorite snack these days is saltine crackers.  I could vacuum every 5 minutes to no effect.
I am pondering... bedtime.  I am thinking it might be time to start moving Thing 2 out of our bed and have him and Thing 1 start sharing a room.  But, it makes me sad. 
One of my favorite things... William and the Things running round the house with the Things screaming at the top of their lungs.  Its one of their favorite games. 
A few plans for the rest of the week: Back to the normal grind. 
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
DSCN1525

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Priceless Things

Parenthood is a crazy thing.  I love my Things dearly.  They are, quite simply, the center of my universe.  There are moments, also, when I wonder how much I could get for them on e-bay.
Thing 1 is at a pretty awesome stage right now.  He’s so smart (as he always has been) and has reached a whole new level of creating in his play.  You should’ve seen the robot he built with his blocks the other day.  (The battery in my camera is dead and I keep forgetting to charge it, or you would be seeing that robot right now.)  And it was SUCH a moment when he finished it and proudly announced it to us.  And then the intense look of pride and joy on his face as we praised it (we were sincerely impressed) is one that I will never ever forget.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna work my whole life to see that look on his face as much as possible.
Thing 2 is not, so much, in a creating phase of play.  He is in the dismantle everything and study its parts phase of play (also known as search and destroy).  Its endearing in its own right because he is so inquisitive and such a wicked problem solver.  He can get to the heart of a thing so quickly.
The problem, of course, is when these two try to play together these days.  I go back and forth between trying to get Thing 2 to let Thing 1 build creations uninterrupted and trying to convince Thing 1 that bopping Thing 2 over the head with whatever toy is involved is not an appropriate expression of his frustration.  Sometimes I feel like we go over these lessons so many times, that…  well, you know.  The e-bay thing.
Thing 1 is also in a phase of boundary setting.  Its maddening.  I recognize the behavior as his expression of establishing safety, control, and boundaries in a world that he’s starting to recognize changes quite a bit every day.  I just wish there was a way we could work on this that didn’t involve dumping the contents of my purse all over the floor every time I leave the room. 
That is all.
DSCN1515DSCN1523

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving is Better than Receiving

Today’s prompt: Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?
Definitely ahead of time.  I like to find just the right gift, ya know?  Not just anything will do.  I love the moment, when you’ve found the perfect gift for someone, and they are opening it.  You see that look on their face and you KNOW that they love it. 
You can’t generally find that gift at the last minute.  Generally a gift bought in such a manner says, “I don’t really care enough to think about the things you enjoy or what would make you happy.  But, it sure makes me feel better to hand you something—anything—all wrapped up.” 
Its not that I’ve never done that.  There have been times when I’ve been the last minute gift giver.  Usually when it comes to baby or bridal showers.  Those things have registries anyways – and I’m a firm believer in using a registry if there is one available.   But, that kind of gift giving isn’t nearly as fun.  That’s what makes Christmas and birthdays so awesome.  They rarely have registries and its an opportunity to find the right gift.  One that lets the receiver know that you care enough to actually think about them when finding a present for them.  In short, one that lets the receiver know that you care.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I’ve seen lots of people doing the 30 days of thanks this month.  Listing something they are thankful for every day.  That’s too much upkeep for me.  So, I thought I just list 30 things, today.
1. William
2 Thing 1
3. Thing 2
4. My family
5. My faith
6. My friends
7. My home
8. Technology.  More specifically:
9. The internet
10 Books
11. Curious George
12.  The Library
13. The local park
14. A fenced in back yard
15. People who are want to buy used things for a discounted price
16. Lotion
17. Mine and my husband’s cooking skills
18. My husband’s job
19. To not be living in Tallahassee, FL
20. To be living in such a beautiful area in VA that has SEASONS
21. Good health
22. Nail clippers
23. Pillows and blankets
24. Humor
25. My sewing machine
26. Airline frequent flyer miles
27. My running shoes
28. My washer and dryer
29. The baby gate
30. Pie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ahhh, 80s music….

Today’s prompt: Write about a piece of music that changed your life forever. What do you feel when you hear it now?
Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.”
I know what you’re thinking.  Its something like, “What in the…?”
When I was in 5th grade, I decided I wanted to play the flute in band.  So I joined.  5th grade was middle school, along with 6th and 7th grade.  For those first three years that I was in band (I continued until I graduated from high school) we played One Moment in Time every year.  It was like, the middle school band’s thing to do. 
I pick this song as the one that changed my life not because the song itself actually did (I couldn’t choose just one song for that – but I bet if I did it WOULD be from the 80s) but because of what it represents.  Schools are clicky, we all know that.  (Its one of the reasons I want to homeschool).  So, when I chose to be in band, I was choosing a social path.  Now, I’ve never really let that box me in.  I was friends with all sorts of people and from all different groups when I was in school.  But, I still was part of a group, and all through high school it was the band/drama/choir group.  That path began when I first decided I wanted to play the flute. 
I don’t complain about that trajectory or the stereotyping of it.  Mostly, I fit that stereotype.  In high school, I could often be found lounging in the hallways after school somewhere between the stage and the band/choir room.  I’d be with my other band/choir/drama geek friends.  And we’d usually be barefoot.  I don’t know why we were always taking off our shoes…
But the thing is, I had great friends and we had great fun.  I never drank, smoked, or did drugs.  We were just good kids for the most part.  But we did things we enjoyed and we worked really hard at getting good at them.  And there is a certain type of freedom that goes along with being one of the “geeks”.  If you learned to embrace that, you learned to not care about it.  And the less I cared about what other people thought of my choice of extracurricular activities, the more friends I made from all different social circles.  And I learned that people don’t actually care that much at all about the differences.  We’re just all so worried that other people care we let it separate us. 
And all of that went on for me during those special formative years of growth called adolescence.  Its a big part of who I am now.  So, you know, deciding to play the flute in the5th changed my life.  And when I hear the song One Moment in Time, I think of that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cornucopia

So, for some reason there was no prompt for today from NaBloPoMo.  I wasn’t prepared for this.  I tried digging deep to come up with something on my own, but I think I’m just too fatigued.  Thing 2 is sick again and so neither of us slept well last night.
The good news is that we always have plinky.com.  Today they provided me with: What does wealth mean to you?  What kinds of wealth do you strive for?
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t stop reading.  I’m not going to talk about Occupy Wall Street.  That’s really not how the question struck me at first so I’m going in a different direction.  OWS did, obviously, occur to me eventually—but that’s just because I am who I am.
Wealth means two things to me, really.  One is, of course, money.  Wealth in that sense means not having to stress about the bills.  It means living a comfortable life that is able to balance both needs and wants.  Most of my wants involve travel, and so wealth to me also means getting to see the world.
But that definition of wealth is really less important.  Its not that I don’t strive for it, but I don’t sacrifice the other kind of wealth for it.  You’ll see what I mean:
The other thing that wealth means to me is abundance.  I have a wealth of love in my life.  I have a wealth of people who care about me and my happiness.  I have a wealth of laughter.  I have a wealth of joy.  I have a wealth of books.  I have a wealth of hobbies.  I have a wealth of wealth and this list could go on and on.
I think that is the wealth that really matters.  I strive for that. 
Although, I wouldn’t turn down the other kind of wealth if I could get both.  Am I right? Winking smile

Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Answer

Today’s prompt: Are you pursuing a passion project?

Yes.  I am raising my children.
So…  I guess that’s all for today then.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Woman

Find it here.
FOR TODAY
Outside my window... Its cloudy and cool.  But not too cold.
I am thinking...  about taking a nap.  But, to be real, I’m almost always thinking about taking a nap.
I am thankful... for the opportunity to cuddle on the couch in warm blankets.
From the learning rooms... remember what I said last week?  We did that , and it was awesome.  Totally did blow Thing 1’s mind.
In the kitchen... today I was thinking, when you’re home starts smelling like a diner, magical things are happening in the kitchen.
I am wearing... a blouse and skirt. 
I am creating... nothing right now.  I will soon be embarking on Christmas presents.
I am going... to make cornbread tomorrow.  Gotta get ready for the stuffing.  You know, THE stuffing.
I am wondering... why my wrist hurts. 
I am reading... City of Fallen Angels.
I am hoping... for an awesome Thanksgiving.
I am looking forward to... Thanksgiving. I’m thinking this will be the answer to this question until Thanksgiving. And then the answer will be Christmas.
I am hearing... My Things play happily in the other room.  Thing 1 is kind of bossy, but Thing 2 is just happy to have his attention.
Around the house... somebody has GOT to get the vacuum out.
I am pondering... doing more yoga.  I used to be quite the yogi, but then had babies.  Lots of things have changed physically for me since then.  I’d like to get back to my former self.
One of my favorite things... is cheese.  Its why I could never be vegan.
A few plans for the rest of the week: THANKSGIVING, yo!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
WEREWOLF
I saw this guy in the Kroger parking lot yesterday.  I felt kind of awkward about taking the picture, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.  If I’d been more brave I would’ve leaned into the car so I could’ve gotten his whole body in the shot.  He. is. HUGE.  I saw him just after seeing Breaking Dawn, so my first thought was, of course, that I’d found a werewolf.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking Dawn

This post isn’t so much going to be about the movie.  But, I did go see it today, and liked it very much.
Mostly I’ve just been thinking about an phenomenon lately because of the release of this movie.  The manifestation of said phenomenon this past week was the fact that more people on my facebook newsfeed were talking about how much they didn’t like the Twilight Saga (books or movies) than people were expressing fandom.  I don’t get that.  If you don’t like a book or movie, fine.  But why are you TALKING about it so much?
This leads me to the phenomenon.  It would seem that a thing’s popularity is proportionally related to the appearance of the type of person who doesn’t like it, just because everyone else does.  I think it may be because they feel like this puts them on a higher plane, or something.  And the more popular something gets, the more people there are that just really need to let you know they are not one of the adoring masses.  Over the last decade or so I’ve seen this with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Twilight Saga, and a smattering of books and TV shows.
I think another contributing factor might also be people who are fans of one thing, and are insulted that someone might think another thing is better, or even just as good.  Like an uber Lord of the Rings fan making sure that everyone knows that there is no way Dumbledore could best Gandolph in a wizardy battle. 
I know there are some people who just not interested in these things.  If angsty teenage fantasy novels are not your gig, that’s fine.  But, see, there are a lot of people who don’t dig that kind of thing…  and they’re not talking about it.  I gather its because they have more interesting hobbies than discussing the things they don’t like and why they don’t like them.
For the record, I am a Tolkien fanatic, I am expecting my acceptance letter to Hogwarts any day now, and I am a Twihard (Team Edward!).  And I’m proud of it.  I do my fair share of reading and studying more enlightening things, and I enjoy escapism just as much.
And like I said, I liked Breaking Dawn, Part 1 very much.  I actually had to fight the urge to throw my arms up in glee at several different moments.  It was a good time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I heart my Things!

Today’s prompt: What has been the happiest moment of your life thus far?
Well, cliché as it is, it was easily the day I became a mother.  The moment would be when they placed Thing 1 into my arms for the first time.  He was beautiful and perfect and just fit perfectly there.  I was euphoric.  The days and months that followed came with the ups and downs of getting to know a new born (and a first born at that) but that one moment was the sweetest of my life.  It was similar—very similar—the day Thing 2 was born, but you only take on the identity of motherhood once.  And then there is no going back.  The memory of holding Thing 1 for the first time symbolizes all that is the joy of motherhood to me.
John, 12/22/2008
John
Wesley, 09/15/2010

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4 months from now…

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is kinda dumb.  But that’s cool, because I’ve been waiting for a day with a dumb prompt so that I could fill it with this:

Fan girl mode: ON

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Awareness

Today’s prompt: What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?
I don’t think there is one moment.  I think there are a series of things that happen to you that bring you from being a young child to an older child to a young adult to adulthood.  But, I do think that there are key moments of awareness that help us down that path.
Madeline L’Engle described the first kind of moment in one of her books – I can’t remember the title right now and am not stopping to search for it – wherein the main character, who was a young girl at the time, looked out the window of her home into the window of a neighbor’s home.  It was just in passing, but all of the sudden she had a realization that the neighbor she was looking at didn’t know her.  That neighbor was living a life that had nothing to do with her.  It was about an awareness that there is a whole world full of people that don’t know that you exist.  It is, in short, the recognition that you are not the center of the universe.  I think this plays an important role in one’s ability to grow up.  Sadly, lots of adults I know don’t seem to have had this moment yet.  They have COTUS (center of the universe syndrome). 
The second key moment is related to the first, in that you have to have had the first to have the second.  It is the realization that not only is there a world full of people that don’t know you or have anything to do with you – but many of them also don’t think like you or see the world the way you do.  They have different cultures, different belief systems, different problems, different symptoms, different families, and—most importantly—a different world view.  If you haven’t come to this realization, you might be going through life thinking that the solutions to your problems and the keys to your happiness are also perfect for the other 9 billion people in this world.  And you might not have realized how arrogant that is.   Which would mean that you still have some growing up to do.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Giveaway. And, I heart Disney World.

First, I want to share a give away.  You can find it here, which is a favorite blog of mine.  I am not, however, mentioning this giveaway because I am philanthropic.  Its just because it gives me more of an opportunity to win.  Winking smileThe prize is a pair of books that I’ve really been wanting to read.  Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie.  Hopefully they’ll be mine soon.

Today’s prompt: Describe a favorite place. Focus on how that place affects your sense of taste, touch, sight, sound, or smell.
The first favorite place that popped into my mind is Disney World.  Although, I’m not sure which park I want to pick.  I’m just gonna go with all of them.
Sense of taste: By way of food, there is a lot I love about Disney World.  The Lobster Burger you can get at the Grand Floridian restaurant is worth dying for.  The German restaurant in Epcot is possibly my most favorite place to eat.   Those are just two places on a very long list of places to eat that I love at Disney World.
Touch: The cold metal touch of that bar in front of you on a ride.
Sight: Disney World is a beautiful place to be.  I think the loveliest of it is Animal Kingdom.  But, there is kind of nothing that beats the feeling of walking up to and down Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom.  It is, indeed, magic.  I would try to describe it to it, but I can’t.  If you haven’t been you need to go.
Sound:  The sound of children having fun.  Its just part of the magic of it all.  Also, the sound of people screaming on rides.  Oh, how I love the rides.
Smell: There is an amusement park smell.  You know the one.  Its like a combo of fried food, sugar, and wet asphalt.

Monday, November 14, 2011

There is no Reason!

Today’s prompt: Have you faced fears and overcome them?
Well, yes.  But I kinda want to ask, who hasn’t?  That’s kind of what life is, isn’t?
For me, it seems to happen fairly frequently.  I don’t know if its because I’m brave, or easily frightened.  I know one thing, and that is that I hate change.  I’ve learned to deal with it as a part of life, and consider myself fairly flexible.  But, when it comes to the big changes, I really do have to psych myself up for it.  Moving, starting a new job, making new friends…  These things strike fear into my heart.  But they are unavoidable so… yes, I’ve faced those fears and overcome them.  My other option is becoming agoraphobic and that just sounds boring. 
Thing 1 has recently learned that the dark can be scary.  He woke up one night crying, and when I went in there he was very adamant that I not leave again.  I brought him into the living so we could cuddle on the couch in the hopes of calming him down.  When he stopped crying he started to talk about an episode of Curious George wherein George went  into a cave and was scared that it was dark.  HE is the one who brought it up.  We talked at length about that episode and how George, with the help of the man with the yellow hat, learned that things are the same in the dark as they are in the light and there is no reason to be scared.  So, now when he talks about the dark, he will definitively claim, “There is no reason to be scared!”
Brave little man.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Simple woman

Find it here.
FOR TODAY
Outside my window...  it’s a beautiful, sunny, cool fall day. (This is exactly what I sad last week.  It just happens to be true again.)
I am thinking...  about Christmas presents.  I am doing mostly homemade things this year and I need to get everything in order and get started.
I am thankful...  for people who are willing to pick up the ball when you need to drop it.
From the learning rooms... this week I’m doing a “two colors become one” lesson with Thing 1.  I’m going to put water in glasses and with coloring.  And then combine the glasses to change the color.  Its going to BLOW HIS MIND.
In the kitchen...  we’ve made lots of bread the last couple of days. I love the smell. 
I am wearing... jeans and a blouse.  It was my turn to stay home from church today with the sick boys.
I am creating... window curtains, still.  But not the same ones as last week.
I am going... nowhere today.  Its kind of nice.
I am wondering... why so many people have such strong opinions about things they know so little about.
I am reading... Parenting with Love and Logic and City of Ashes.
I am hoping... to get some of my cloth diapers sold.  If I can do that we’ll be able to afford to visit my family for Christmas.
I am looking forward to... Thanksgiving.  I’m thinking this will be the answer to this question until Thanksgiving.  And then the answer will be Christmas.
I am hearing... My Things watch PBS.
Around the house... I’ve worked on getting things more in order this week.  The Things are still sick, but they are doing better, which has allowed me to get more things done.
I am pondering... NaNoWriMo.  Its, um, not going well for me this year.
One of my favorite things... has become listening to audiobooks while I do housework.  I’ve listened to them while exercising for years, but just recently started to do it while doing the dishes or folding laundry or whatever.  Its actually pretty wonderful.
A few plans for the rest of the week: I’m just gonna keep monitoring the Things and hope at some point they are better enough that we can at least, I don’t know, go to the park or library or SOMETHING.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
10 Bum Genius, OS
Anyone want to buy these?  Open-mouthed smile

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit disorder by Richard Louv
I read this book over the summer.  And by “read” I mean that I listened to the audiobook.  Often while hiking, which I felt was pretty appropriate.
The premise to this book is pretty great.  Its all about the importance of loving, experiencing, and engaging with nature.  The importance, especially, for children.  I was drawn to this book because I feel pretty strongly about the idea of my sons having an appreciate for the world around them.  And by world, I mean earth. Nature. 
There was a lot about this book that I really liked, probably because it was in line with the opinions that I already had.  He talked about how kids who play outside are happier, smarter, healthier, etc.  Kids who are allowed to have free play in nature are even happier, smarter, healthier, than kids who get to play outside in play grounds or other super structured areas.  These kids grow into adults who are active, healthy, and respectful of the physical environment they live in. 
However, I had a couple of problems with this book.  For one, while everything in the paragraph above was something that was discussed in the book, the authors claims were supported by only vague citations… when he used citations at all.  He made a lot of definitive statements about what happens to children without providing definitive evidence. 
And this carelessness lent to something even more annoying.  He was ever. so. melodramatic.  I almost stopped reading (listening) to the book several times.  He kept making these sweeping statements about what will happen to future generations if we don’t cure our children of “nature deficit disorder” (a diagnosis pretty overly dramatic in and of itself).  I think he envisions something pretty similar to the people in movie Wall-E, if you follow me.  Admittedly, sometimes the melodrama was kinda fun.  I rather enjoyed the idea that you could never really appreciate nature if you weren’t willing to hunt and eat the animals in it.  (Mmmmmm, meat….) 
As is common with arguments that are melodramatic, he also kept contradicting himself.  “Technology will be the downfall of our nation!” versus “If you want to send your kids into the woods alone, be safe about it and get them a cell phone!” 
“If a child is to learn about nature, they have to experience it, live in it, touch it or they’ll never understand it.” versus “Go on road trips so that your child can learn about nature by looking out the window of the car!”  (that was a weird one on several levels)
These aren’t direct quotes, more of a paraphrasing of themes, but you get the idea. 
When it comes down to it, this book got really irritating after awhile and was hard to finish.  But I did finish because it was, like I said, a premise that I really agree with.  I think I’m just not as extreme as Louv is.  I think you can get your child an X-box or Wii or whatever without damaging their ability to love nature beyond repair.  As with most things in life, moderation and discipline are just required.  And these are also valuable skills to teach our children.  Skills apparently lost on Louv, who seemed very all or nothing.
I do think that children in general don’t play outside enough these days.  I think its sad that the streets aren't crowded with children the way they were when I was young.  Children live all around us in the neighbor we are in, and I just never see them outside.  My Things spend hours in the back yard, and often never see anyone else while they’re out there.  I know far too many young children that have never been hiking, camping, fishing, built a tree house, climbed a tree, etc.  These kids are missing out, and I certainly want better for my kids.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Upon a Star

Today’s Prompt: It's 11/11/11, make three wishes.
1. I wish to live closer to my family.
2. I wish for snow.
3. I wish Thing 1 would adjust to daylight savings time, already. 
Also, Happy Veterans Day. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reasons for Living

Today’s Prompt: What is your secret (or not-so-secret) passion?
First of all, I don’t have any secret passions.  How do you keep a passion a secret?  If you able to keep something you are passionate about compartmentalized to such a small part of your life that no one else knows about it, you can’t possibly be all that passionate about it, can you?  Perhaps its possible to have secret “I wish I was passionate about this” things.  And maybe I have some of those, but that’s not what this questions is about.
I have several passions.
I am passionate about my husband and my children.  I am especially passionate about caring for them.  I am passionate about raising my children to be happy, well rounded, educated, and healthy men.
I am passionate about my faith.  Even when it wavers, I am passionately engaged in discerning why it wavers and what strengthens it.
I am passionate about politics.  Too passionate, if you ask some people. And I have the student loan debt to show it.
I am passionate about food.  And I have the squishiness to show it.
I am passionate about reading, and passionate about the books that I love.
I am, sadly, pretty passionate about reality TV.  Perhaps that SHOULD remain a secret…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dropping the ball

Today’s prompt: When was the first time that you realized that your home was not like other people’s homes?
This question is silly.  Nobody’s home is like other people’s homes.  I don’t ever remember thinking that mine was like other people’s.
Instead I’m going to talk about something else all together. 
I am SO frustrated with myself right now.  The Things had been sick for two weeks(ish) and so I took them in on Monday to make sure that there was nothing more sinister going on.  I was told they both had bronchitis and given an Rx for antibiotics for each of them.  I don’t know much about bronchitis since I’ve never had it and the kids had never had it before now.  I took it for granted that what the pediatrician was telling me to do was appropriate.
Because apparently doctor trusting aliens had taken over my body.
I *never* do that.  I always research things to death before trusting what any doctor has to say.  Why did I drop the ball this time.  Why?!?!
When I finally got around to researching bronchitis last night, I discovered that 90% of the time it is caused by something viral.  That means that only 10% of the time is an antibiotic an appropriate treatment for bronchitis.  Now, Thing 2 also had two nasty ear infections, so he needed the antibiotic anyway.  But, there is a 90% that I am giving Thing 1 a round of antibiotics for no good reason at all.  Which of course, will lessen the likelihood that when he does need them someday, they will be effective.
I’m mostly just furious with myself.  I mean, it was certainly sloppy on the doctor’s part.  A simple test could have determined whether or not the cause was viral or bacterial.  But, I am responsible for the care of my children, so it is ultimate my job to make sure its being done right.  I’m seriously just so mad at myself.  I’m gonna loose sleep over this.
Thing 2 is doing much better.  He is clearly feeling better, and screaming much less – which is awesome.  But both the Things still have a cough.  Of course, because the antibiotic is not. treating. anything.  Its fine though, from what I can tell bronchitis generally resolves on its own after three or four weeks. 
You live and learn, I guess.  I just wish my learning curve didn’t damage my child’s long term health.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So, anyways…

Today’s prompt: Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.
I’ve thought about this all day.  I don’t think I have a traumatic experience to divulge.  I’ve had experiences that certainly seemed traumatic at the time… but as time passes they just really seem more like life experiences.  I could speak about a good friend dying in a car accident but I can’t really pick out one traumatic scene or event to describe that situation.  It was a roller coaster for a long time.  I could talk about miscarrying my first pregnancy, but since that was actually the beginning of the long road of infertility that I went down – again, it just doesn’t seem like one event in my mind.  Like I said, these were all just life experiences.  I have a hard time picking out a defining moment that was horrible, if you know what I mean. 
And, just so you know, I’m not mad about it.  I’m glad I don’t have something so horrible that I would immediately think of it when someone asks this question.  I live a blessed life, really.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life’s a Great Balancing Act

Today’s prompt: How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life?
The balance between caring for my children and my relationship with William is a tricky one. We’d love more alone time, but there are several obstacles to that. One is Thing 2’s resistance to going to bed at night and staying there. It would be lovely if William and I could count on post bedtime as alone time, but it just rarely happens that way.  Sometimes it does, and that’s nice, but not always.  I take consolation in the fact that this will get better as the Things get older.
We’d also love to have a regular date night, but the main problem with that is money.  Money is super tight for us right now.  Even if we could go on some nice free/super cheap dates, we’d still have to pay a babysitter.  Its just not feasible too often.  This, too, will get better one day. 
It helps to have a healthy sense of the transience of this phase of life.
I chose to balance my work life with the rest of it early on by mostly eliminating my work life.  I was just about half way through my PhD program when Thing 1 was born.  A few months after he was born I started back into it.  It was about a month later that I knew its not what I wanted.  I feel confident I will finish the PhD one day, but I think I figured out that at this point  - while my children are young – I didn’t WANT to balance that with the rest of my life.  There will be time for it later.  And I’ll be doing it then instead of looking back and wishing I’d spent more time cuddling my babies and less time writing a dissertation.
I am a lactation counselor, of course.  But that doesn’t keep me super busy, so there is not much balancing needed there.  Any other jobs I’ve had since becoming a mother have all been from home, and very flexible.  I like it that way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simple Woman

Find it here.
FOR TODAY
Outside my window...  it’s a beautiful, sunny, cool fall day.

I am thinking...  about sleep.  Daylight savings always messes with our schedule.  My Things were up awfully early this morning.

I am thankful...  for my running shoes.  I’ve been using them a lot lately, and they are really holding out.

From the learning rooms... John is learning to write letters.  You should see how cute he is trying to do it.  Wesley is loving books these days, which is fun because he didn’t seem to take to them as young as John did.  Now that he is digging them, its fun when the three of us sit down together to read a book.

In the kitchen...  we’ve been loving fall foods.  Squash soup, chili, corn bread, etc.  This is the best time of year to eat.

I am wearing... my Sunday best.  I just got home from church a little bit ago.

I am creating... window curtains.  That’s been my latest project.  Not so much creating as adjusting.  I’ve got two windows down and have three to go.

I am going... to have to put my hair back in a pony tail.  I thought I’d try wearing it down today, for something new.  But, Wesley keeps trying to pull the hair from my head.  It hurts.

I am wondering... how long it will before I get to play with snow on the ground.

I am reading... Parenting with Love and Logic and City of Bones.

I am hoping... to finish Parenting with Love and Logic before the friend I borrowed it from needs it back.  Its taking me forever to get through it.

I am looking forward to... Thanksgiving, already.

I am hearing... William and the boys playing with blocks on the floor.  Also, we’re watching Next Iron Chef.

Around the house... don’t ask.

I am pondering... getting new shoes.  I need to try and work it into the budget.

One of my favorite things... Indian corn candy corn.  I’m almost out and won’t have it again until next year.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Nothing specific until next Saturday.  Some exercise, hopefully a play date or two, reviewing what sounds the letters I J and K make, and trying to write those letters, going to the library… hopefully finding time to work on the curtains.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
100_2390
This is Thing 2 a year ago.  I miss the stillness.  Smile

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Autumn

So, the NaBloPoMo site doesn’t give prompts on Saturday and Sunday.  Apparently I’m on my own.  I’ve decided I’ll do the Simple Woman blog on Sundays.  Surely, I can think of something to discuss every Saturday.  There was a day I blogged on my own all the time, hopefully I can handle one day a week. 
Today I’d like to talk about the beautiful season we’re in right now.  I haven’t had a proper autumn since the fall of 2005.  And, that was in Boise, ID.  It’s a lovely city, but not incredibly picturesque as far as the season goes.  Before that I was living in Provo, UT, which was quite lovely.  The mountains there make every season worth while.  But, I think we can all agree that there is no autumn like an autumn on the east coast… north of Georgia, mostly.  So, I haven’t had an autumn as fantastic as the one I’m experiencing now since the fall of 1995 living in Westford, Ma. 
Here is a picture I took while I was out on a run last week:
DSCN1491
I really am in love with Virginia right now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mightier than the sword…

Today’s prompt: When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?
While I appreciate that penmanship is quickly becoming a lost art, I have to admit that I’m doing very little to keep it around.  I got into calligraphy awhile back, and got pretty good at it, but that’s not really something one does on a regular basis.  Obviously. 
I do put a lot of stock in a person’s signature, as well.  Its like a fingerprint.  I also had a stint of studying graphology, and found that fascinating.
And I sometimes wonder if I would do better writing with pen and paper.  Perhaps it would be less distracting?  But then, who is going to keep track of my word count?
In reality, I just type way faster than I write.  I prefer that.
How boring was this question?
I’ll tack this on so that this post isn’t a total waste:DSCN1498
How cute were my lumberjacks on Halloween?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

William says, "Music is good for you."

Leah Marie's post made me think about something that she and I have started to do. We like to take road trips, and sometimes driving for long periods of time produces boredom. We came up with a plan to combat that boredom: we talk about music. We have a goal to make a list of the top ten rock/pop songs of each decade from the 1950s through the first decade of this new century. After we do that, we will determine what the top ten or twenty such songs of all time are. Granted, this is based upon our preferences and what we feel are important criteria for good music. When we took a road trip to Tennessee a few weeks ago (I had a conference) we spent hours going through decades and compiling song after song until our heads hurt. It's going to take a lot of work, but if we ever finish it, we'll let you know.

The Power of Music

Today’s prompt: Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?
I can listen to music and write.  In fact, I find it very helpful.  Getting inspiration from a song is a good way to get past writer’s block.  Last time I successful completed NaNoWriMo one of the tools I used was creating a soundtrack for the novel I was writing, as I was writing it.  The theme songs helped me keep the story going.  It would be a great ending to this story if I told you that book was awesome.  It wasn’t.  AND, I stored in on an external hard drive, which has since been broken.  So, that book is gone along with its soundtrack. 
As for music I’ve heard today—that would be some Christmas music.  And, it was a rather pleasant experience.  My Things, you see, are going nuts.  They’ve been sick for about 10 days now with the nastiest cold ever and I’m pretty sure they’ve had it.  So, at 9am this morning we were already having meltdowns all over the place.  It was so awesome. (</sarcasm>)  On a whim I decided to play some music as background noise to see if I could mellow everyone out.  I put on the Carpenter’s Christmas CD.  Suddenly I had the most charming two year old.  Truth be told, I don’t know if it worked because it mellowed him out, or because it mellowed me out.  Either way, our morning got a lot better. 
BTW, before you try to tell me that its too early for Christmas music, you should know that you’re wrong about that.  I’m allowed to start listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween.  I’m ALLOWED, I tell you.  I don’t go all crazy and get out the Christmas tree or anything.  I believe that November belongs to Thanksgiving.  But, I also believe that Christmas music is totally appropriate to listen to while celebrating Thanksgiving.  ‘Cause its FUN.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

William says, "Food, glorious food."

My last meal? One slice from each of the best pizzas I make: taco pizza, BBQ chicken pizza, buffalo chicken pizza, and perhaps one other. Then as many as I can handle of the chocolate chip cookies I make. After years of perfecting these recipes, I trust them in no one else's hands when my life is on the line.

Fried stuff with cheese…

Today’s prompt: If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?
I find this another awkwardly worded question.  Why not just ask, “What would you choose to eat for your last meal?”  Why do we have to assume I’m dying after lunch?  Morbid.
Its so hard for me to choose such a thing, either way.  I. love. food.  I think I can narrow down my choices by acknowledging that its silly to make healthy choices for one’s last meal. So, surely it will be something fried.  Or perhaps just something that involves lots of butter.
And, cheese is, of course, a given.
So, I have some options.  I could go with a nice Tex-Mex platter.  Lots of cheese, lots of guac, lots of grease.  OR, I could do something like fried raviolis.  Mmmmm.
But, I’d also like some sentimentality in the meal, I think.  So, I must consider my mom’s awesome cooking, and the foods I grew up with.  Since being fried is a criterion, I think of chicken fried steak.  Now, when YOU think of chicken fried steak, you might picture something like this:

Which is fine, I’m not mad at you about it.  But, its just not the best way to do it.  My first issue is that white country style gravy.  I don’t hate that kind of gravy, and would happily eat it on lots of different things.  It seems pretty traditional to serve it with chicken fried steak though, and that’s something I just don’t understand.  You’ve just fried steak.  You have a pan somewhere that has the drippings of frying steak in it, begging you to please make a gravy of it. That, my friends is the best way to eat a fried steak.  My mom serves fried steak all sopped up with the gravy it was made in.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I could totally have that for my last meal.  It would look more like this:

So, I’d still need some cheese.  Perhaps I could do some cheesy mashed potatoes.  OR some kind of awesome appetizer (which still leaves room on my entrée plate for the cheesy mashed potatoes).  Hmmm, I’m thinking perhaps a spinach artichoke dip.  And I could dip something fried into it.
And then for dessert, chocolate fondue.
Perfect… if only I weren’t dying after.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

William says, "I back, baby!"

It's that time of year again when I need to step it up in the world of blogging. I will start with the same writing prompt that Leah Marie used just so I can get the juices flowing again. What I like most about writing is that I feel like I can say whatever I want. I am a passionate person, and that passion comes out better in my writing than in any other way. Also, I feel like I can express myself beyond want the spoken word allows me to express. Put a keyboard in front of me, and I am in my element. And now I have run out of things to say.

NaBloPoMo/NaNoWriMo

NaBloPoMo is a program that began as an alternative to NaNoWriMo several years ago.  They used to just hold it in November along side NaNoWriMo, but now they host it every month.  I’m doing it in November again this year, because its just what I’ve always done.  This year, though, I think I’m going to follow the prompts.  It could be fun.  Who knows where my thoughts will stray to?
So today’s prompt is: What is your favorite part about writing?
First of all, I’m not sure what this question is getting at.  I feel like it should read, “What is your favorite part of writing?”  or  “What is your favorite thing about writing?”  Perhaps I’m being to picky…?
Either way, my favorite “part about” writing is the ex nihilo factor.  Now some would argue that writing doesn’t come from nothing: There are ideas, and words, and themes, etc. etc.  But, when you write a new work of fiction you have the opportunity to create new life, new people, new relationships, new landscapes, new worlds, new universes.  You get to decide how the story ends.  Even though I’m not an awesome writer, that’s what keeps me coming back to it.
Which brings me to NaNoWriMo.  Its nearly 3pm on day one, and I’m still not quite sure if I’m going to do it.  I need to decide quick, ‘cause if the answer is yes, I need to write 1667 words today to stay on track. 
I think I might do it.  I love NaNoWriMo.  It challenges and engages me.  Gives me a project all of my own to work on.  I don’t know if I’ll tackle a novel though.  Maybe 50,000 words of writing exercises to get my brain working.  That counts, right?

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