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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gotta Do What I Can...

In our house, on any given day you will find at least 5 animals . I'm not counting my kids either...(though I probably should ;-). There is the very large and regal looking plot-hound named Stash. We didn't name him, since he came to us at a ripe old age of 7...but we think he was so named because he likes to hide his toys in a certain corner of the room (thus, his "stash"). Then there is SweetTea (pronounced sweetie), an obnoxiously adorable pup that weighs maybe 8 lbs and will probably not get any bigger. She spends the majority of her days antagonizing Stash by hanging from one ear or another, which he handles with incredible dignity. The Mocha Kitty has been with our family the longest, since Josh brought her home just one week before Taylor was born (I don't know what he was thinking...a cat was the LAST thing I needed at that point!). She has traveled the world with us; Colorado, Germany, North Dakota, Mississippi and Georgia; on airplanes & in cars...I'm thinkin' she deserves a medal for all we've put her through. And she still loves us, though she's not terribly enthusiastic about her new doggie companions. Theodore the Dwarf Robo Hamster, who is as wide as he is long, is the living counterpart to Mortimer who lived up to his name & died a few weeks after coming home with us. (You'd think we'd have known better than to name him that...especially after what happened to the first Mortimer Mouse. Chloe still walks by his cage occasionally and asks: "Mommy, did Mortimer get squished?" "Is he in heaven?") Upstairs in Taylor's room is Coda the baby ball python, who actually belongs to Josh's cousin, Kyler. They didn't allow snakes on the Greyhound bus when she went back to Michigan, though...and so he remains with us. This is perfectly fine with Josh, who has begged me for a snake since we got married, but I always told him "No constrictors around my babies!" Chloe is 3 now, though...and she adores Coda...all the kids do. He's actually a pretty cool pet, I have to admit.

So that's our main menagerie. Most of the time there's at least one more and sometimes 5,6 or 7 more. At one point I had Donnie & Marie who were 6 month old pups, and the 5, 6 week old, Spice Pups (our now re-named Sweet Tea was originally "Baby Spice"). My parents think we're insane. I'm sure most of our neighbors think we're insane... I doubt we'd argue with them much. When we adopted Stash, though, we didn't just fall in love with him...we fell in love with the wonderful non-profit animal rescue called "Mostly Mutts" that took him when his first family didn't want him anymore, and put him in a loving foster family until we, his "forever family," came along. So when the economy started it's downward spiral and animal turn in's began to climb out of control, Mostly Mutts sent out a call for help. We decided to answer.

I know there are larger problems. I wish I could wave my magic wand and fix the tragedies occurring all over the world: starving children, wars, abuse, drugs, gangs, the national deficit, etc... I have 3 kids to raise right now, though, and trying to keep them fed & clothed is a struggle. My resources are limited and so is my time. But I do have a large fenced in back yard and an unfinished basement...the perfect place for doggies to run & play until they find their "forever homes." Small though it is...it is something I can do to help, and I gotta do what I can.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Purpose of Education

It seems to me that the human decisions are made on the basis of two distinct processes; one is our primal, instinctual, "gut" reaction, usually based on emotion (fight or flight), and the other would be our rational mind which is capable of overriding emotion based decisions. I think (and this is plain old personal opinion here...I'm no expert) that the purpose of education overall is to train the rational mind to make decisions that are based not on feelings, but on logical thought processes and a body of knowledge.

As far as comparing the radically different methods of homeschooling...I prefer to see it as a spectrum of approaches, as opposed to different sides of an argument. The reason for the many "radically different approaches," can probably be attributed to the radical differences between one human and another. Different personality types, different learning styles, differences in breadth or depth of interests...all of these come into play when you begin considering the education process, and there is no "one size fits all". Any homeschooling parent of more than one child can tell you that none of their children learn in the same manner...which can be difficult, but it's also one of the strengths of homeschooling. A ratio of one parent/teacher to anywhere from 1-10 kids is still better than any ratio you're likely to find in a public or private school, and it allows the parent to customize the curriculum to the individual child by encouraging their strengths and building up their weak areas. Some children need a very structured environment, and others thrive with a bit more freedom. I can tell you that at different points in our education process we have varied from unschooling to a very structured classical curriculum, and many other methods in between. When I find something that "clicks" with a particular child, we stick with it...if not, we move on to something else.

"Why is it important to read the classics? Or to know basic science? Or to know math?" That goes back to the importance of building a body of knowledge that we can refer back to when making decisions. Life is too short for us to learn from just our own experiences...we must make use of the knowledge & experiences of those who have gone before us. I can tell you that from the classics I learned how to think & write clearly; I gained glimpses into history...and into the psyches of the different well-developed characters; I learned from their triumphs and from their tragedies. From basic science I learned about the inter-connectedness of all life; I gained a great respect for the universe I live in and every life around me. By studying math I gained the appreciation of(and ability to duplicate) pattern and balance...whether it's in my bank account, a well designed landscape, or the universe itself (okay, I can't duplicate that part...but I sure do appreciate it ;-).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Statement of Parental Purpose



To Encourage, Affirm and Respect the identity and worth of their unique individual qualities;
to express condition-less love, genuine concern, and delight in their very being.

To engender in them the resilience that comes from being well-loved and a deep sense of being fundamentally adequate: that they may be well-rooted in their spiritual natures while bearing fruit in the physical world.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Angel Flyby

I walked out on my back porch this morning with a cup of coffee and was greeted by this view...

Is it just me-or does this cloud look a bit...angelic?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Kidisms

Out of the blue this afternoon Taylor walked up to me & said:

"Mom, you know how some phones let you take turns talking to people?"

Me: "Yes, it's called 'call waiting'"

T: "Well, does God have something like that... 'prayer waiting' or something?"

Me (laughing): "No honey, God doesn't have prayer waiting."

T: "Wow, that must get confusing!"


On a more irreverent note:

I had to go get Taylor from her classes on Wednesday afternoon so I fed Chloe & Bear (PB&J and applesauce) quickly & got them loaded into the car.

We were a few minutes down the road when Chloe lets loose with this HUGE belch, smacks her lips, and then says:

"Yum! Applesauce good Momma!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chloe's Mess of the Week....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Writing About My Day....

So just a few minutes ago I finished shampooing the carpet in the playroom. It certainly wasn't on my agenda today, that's for sure. As a matter of fact, since I'm fighting off a case of the winter crud-complete with sore throat, chest congestion and annoying hacking cough, I had absolutely NOTHING on my agenda today besides survival. It didn't need to be done either...I mean, we've only been in this house for 2 months and though 3 kids, a dog & a cat can create their share of messes, the carpet was really only in need of a vacuuming. To be honest I'd probably never even consider shampooing the carpet in there, I was just going to wait until the kids ruined it before I replaced it with hardwood & turned it into the dining room it was designed to be. Anyhow, I digress...

I went to get the mail. It's not a long or difficult process by any means. The mailbox is literally 8 feet from our porch. It took maybe a minute to slide on my shoes, get the mail from the mailbox and walk back into the kitchen. As I placed the mail in its spot on the kitchen island the smell hit me. It was a nice clean smell, as if someone had just finished washing dishes in the sink...which I haven't done in months since this house came complete with dishwasher (Yay!). Like I said, a nice smell...but completely out of place. Then I glanced to my right and noticed "the rotten one" standing in the playroom door with an upside down (and almost completely empty)bottle of dish detergent in her chubby little hands. She's quite artistic, that one. I could tell that she'd initially just squirted it into a puddle, but quickly found that if she moved the bottle in circles she could create nice blue swirlies in the carpet quite easily. Fascinating.

(In the unlikely even that you are confronted with a carpet soaked with dish detergent sometime in your lifetime, here's a tip: I used a dustpan & spatula to squeegee as much of it out of the carpet as I could before I added water to the mess. Another tip: You'll need LOTS of towels.) On the up side, I used the soapy towels to clean the kitchen floor, which did need to be mopped. "The rotten one" was placed in her second bath of the day. Interestingly, she was completely self-foaming, and came out squeaky clean...just like the carpet.