Friday, November 30, 2007

Friends

I am richly blessed in my life with many good and true friends. I am so grateful for their support and love. These past few days have been interesting. I expected to be feeling in mourning for our loss for a much longer period, and while I don't believe I am totally done, I have been surprisingly joyful and overall happy the past few days. I know I have been buoyed up by the prayers of those who care for us.

I am so glad to have many people that I know are good friends in my life, including some who get to be related to me. I have a newer friend in my life whom doesn't feel that way. She feels she has been floating thru life, with friends here and there, but not a single one has been around for any long period of time. No friends from her childhood still adorn her Christmas list.

Friendships are a fascinating thing, and I am not a beautiful writer who can expound beautifully on all the parts of friendships and what they provide us with. But I do know that I try to cherish my friends. I don't always succeed as well as I wish, and I hope they forgive me when I am not verbally grateful enough or when I break one of the many etiquette rules that I am always learning.

One thing about friends, is that their physical presence is not easily replaced by a computer or phone. And most of my dear friends are not here with me in my new home state. I hope to find a bosom buddy here, (or multiples!) and have some good candidates that I believe I can call good friends at this point. I don't know how long it takes or what essential ingredient is necessary to make a friend into a bosom buddy, the type of friend you can tell anything to and discuss anything. Because I am blessed with friends and can think of 5 people I can call on the phone and tell anything to and discuss anything with, I wonder if I have reached my limit of real bosom buddy best friends for this life. How much I miss them! How much I crave such an individual now!

Perhaps the thing I crave is a bosom buddy who unschools. Because friends meet different parts of who we are. Is that what it is? My dear bosom buddies I have now are supportive of me in what I am doing, though they are personally not following the same paths.

I think that there is a voice inside of me that laughs snarkily at the changes I've made in my home and family - changes that have made our home a happier, more joyful place - changes that I love - I think that the voice is waiting for me to fail. Waiting for me to give up and revert to what is "normal" and be part of the mainstream again. And I am afraid of that voice. Very afraid. I am continually reading and studying and improving our unschooling home and my own parenting and everything, but that voice...it keeps telling me I will fail, that I will quit, like a thousand other interests that have waxed and waned thru my life. I hate that voice. Where is the new unschooly bosom buddy friend that will somehow help me conquer it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SpongeBob Monopoly

Kids learn from play. Tons. It is really cool to occasionally really see them learning, and I've got to write it down so I remember it later.

For L's birthday recently, I found a brand new copy of Spongebob Monopoly at a thrift store for $5 and quickly bought it and managed to keep it hidden until present time. It was a big hit and we have played a lot of monopoly since then.

What is cool about it is how much he has learned from it, as evidenced by how much he can do himself now, compared to needing help at the beginning. We play by all of the rules. All of them. This includes mortgages and rent and improvements...of course it is in a fun, spongebob theme. :) When he plays with his dad, I think there are slightly different rules, but isn't that the joy of monopoly?

What has he gotten, besides having a lot of fun and quality time with family? Tons of practice counting the dice, learning the values of different monies and how to count them. (Can you say TONS of arithmetic practice?) He recognizes the symbols for all the different cards (reading skills), and knows where the rent information is on the titles. He's learning to deal with not always winning. He's learning about random chance. He's learning to make deals to buy and trade properties.

During today's game, I had to run help H on the computer and when I came back, I asked him what had happened, and he said he'd landed on my property and had to pay me $26 but he didn't have any $20's, and was making change at the bank! :)

To hear him counting the money, see him reaching for the right denominations...be still my math teacher geek heart! :) I restrain myself from giddiness on seeing new understanding. :)

I realized that he learned the names of most of the dinosaurs he knows from last summer when we played Dinosauropoly at Grandma's house. There are many fun variations on monopoly and they are all awesome for learning. (Except maybe the new debit card version. Shun it!)

My favorite game as a kid was "Life". I loved to play it over and over. I'm sure I learned many things from it. I loved it, b/c we would pretend to be having the pretend life that you lived on the board. Sometimes we had tons of kids, other times we "chose" careers over kids. Sometimes we went to college to get a better job, sometimes we stayed single. The end result of the game wasn't the most important part, the imaginative play was much more satisfying and fun.

My current favorite game now is Blokus Trigon. I love the strategy and fitting in the shapes best I can. It's simple and challenging. It's a great game. :)

What was your favorite game as a kid? Why?

What is it now? Why?

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in case you didn't know. :) This thanksgiving was a whirlwind of entertaining visiting family and taking them to some of our favorite new places in Texas and cooking up a big Thanksgiving Dinner. (Our best yet I think.)

I finally added pictures! :) We have Aunt H1 pulling Aunt H2 on the old plow at the Arboreteum frontier town, manatees having lunch at the aquarium, H riding on Grandpa on the way to the Aquarium (he only wanted Grandpa to carry him most of the way, very cute!), and L & H playing lacrosse with Uncle M & cousin R.

We took my family to the Arboreteum, to see the Chocolate tree exhibit and learn about my favorite food group, and then picnicked at their Texas Frontier Town and explored the garden. Later we went bowling and the boys loved it! I was very surprised.

We took them to the Aquarium (the jungle aquarium according to my kids), which was PACKED (Oh how I hate sharing it with people out of school...its so much more fun to be there alone while everyone else is in school!) but we had a good time. It is an awesome place. The free flying birds were a bit more crazed, maybe b/c of how many people were there, and flew right over our heads several times, causing us to duck. The bird carrying the pretzel bag was amusing too.

Thanksgiving dinner was awesome and when I upload pics I will update my food blog all about it. We had 2 pastured, free range turkeys, one fried and one roasted traditionally (which was the better bird IMO). We had pies, cheesecakes, salads, sides, soups...I really love making thanksgiving dinner and it was great fun this year too. Plus the fridge has all my favorite foods in large quantities in it, so not much cooking for a while!

I have many blessings to give thanks for, and today's lessons at Church on Gratitude were uplifting and inspiring. Thanksgiving the holiday is really about the food feast for me, so I feel better since we should have gratitude in our hearts all year round! :P

Hope your thanksgiving was awesome too!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bad mood

Why I’m in a bad mood currently and will probably stay in one for the next while:

It all starts with a late cycle and a home pregnancy test that was negative at first and another one that is positive 3 days later. Yay! A new baby is on the way! Time to expand the family! What names should we use? The ones we’ve talked about previously are still good, don’t you think? Hugs & Kisses all around! Of course we can’t tell anyone until we’re further along and we have heard a heartbeat, but that’s just a speed bump right? We have two healthy kids; those other two miscarriages last year were just flukes, our turn in the statistics.

The symptoms start to rear their ugly heads. Frequent trips to the bathroom, sore chest, nausea, tired all the time. I joyfully accept them, glad to have the chance to be pregnant with our next bundle of joy.

But then disaster strikes. I wake up and the toilet paper has pink on it. Climb back in bed and pretend it was a hallucination from being tired. Go back to sleep. But the hallucination becomes reality and I am spotting blood, not a good sign. The spotting turns into cramping and a bit more bleeding, no hemorrhaging, no reason to go to an ER. We’ll wait until morning to go to the doctor. But the cramps are bad. It feels like a miscarriage. Hold on to some hope and pray as hard as you can, or cry and accept reality? Which is the best option? Some combination of both.

Go to the doctor this morning, cramping hasn’t stopped, be angry at all the pregnant women you see and at the receptionist who keeps talking about billing throughout the pregnancy. Explain that you are most likely miscarrying and this is a one time visit. Go thru annoying patient history with perky nurse. Tell her you aren’t peeing in a cup, would she like some blood? Wait for the doctor and explain your history to him. Get a sonogram and have him ask if you’re sure on your dates. Yes, I’m sure. I mark it on my calendar every month dummy. It’s not hard to keep track of! Shows me there is nothing there but a thickening of the uterus. Apparently what was to be a baby is already gone or never developed. The miscarriage is almost over. We’ll do blood tests to verify. Don’t forget to pay us $$$$ for confirming your worst nightmares.

Go home and try to be flippant about it. Fail miserably. Decide to not be ashamed or judged anymore. Try not to sound angry. Fail miserably. Why don’t I have more kids? Lucky me, I’ve won the worst lottery ever! I’m now part of the 0.34% of the population who has secondary infertility, which means 3+ miscarriages after successful births. Great, I’ve joined another infamous statistic. I hate being in a statistic. Statistics are unfeeling & unhuman.

Why am I sharing? Knowing that there are others out there who have experienced similar loss strengthens me, and maybe me being open about my loss and pain will help strengthen someone else one day if they should be so unfortunate as to experience it as well.

I don't think we should hide these experiences from one another. Pain isn't as much fun to experience or write about as trips to the park and museums, but it is a real human experience. It is something that shapes who we are.

Want to read an interesting post by someone else that discusses a lot of how I’m feeling? Go here.

Or see my poem I wrote last time we took a ride on the miscarriage coaster o’fun. Here

I'm not asking for pity or words of wisdom. Just sharing. I will take large quantities of chocolate, good ice cream or other food donations though. :P

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who killed the electric car?


If you haven't watched this documentary yet, stop everything, and go get it. Now. At least put it in your queue for blockbuster online or netflix! You need to see it.

I am fired up and angry after watching this documentary. I have been wanting a hybrid car for several years now, but we can't afford a new car. Now I find out that there were totally electric cars being produced and sold, but not marketed. And then they were all taken back and destroyed to hide evidence of the technology. (The picture is of brand new EV1 cars, after being crushed.)

Before you say, oh, they had short range, watch the movie. They didn't all have short range. Tested models existed that had a 300 miles range. Big Oil & the car companies crushed this technology. It is ridiculous! They lied to us and hid it.

Write your congressmen, your senators, the car companies, and tell them what we want. Blog about it, write editorials! We want the electric car technology put into cars now. We want plug-in hybrids that give the best technology there is!

Letterboxing


Because I don't have enough hobbies in my life... ;)

Well, this is a great one to do with my kids. They love the "secret" treasure hunts, and the STAMPS! I love figuring out the clues and the whole stealth issue.

Letterboxing is following clues from websites like letterboxing.org or atlasquest.com and finding boxes hidden in public places with a hand carved stamp in them. You get to make a stamp of it to show you found it and put your own personal stamp in the logbook to show others you found it. It is an interesting hobby, but the kids love it alot more than I thought they would. Try it!

You get out, walking, exercising, enjoying nature...and having fun without electronics! What a novel concept. :P

Monday, November 12, 2007

Horse riding and other fun things


We went to a park day with friends and also to their house to ride their horse. H wasn't really interested, but L was excited. He was very excited, as were many of his friends.

DH bought me a punching bag on Craigslist, it is a lot of fun. :) What a great way to relieve tension! The boys also like to beat on it, I usually only get short turns.

We were given a train table by a friend, and H loves to play with his trains on it. He is getting to the point where he'll leave them without a fit, but when it was brand new? Woo!

I spent last week doing a Weekend Cookbook challenge, which you can read all about on my food blog: Duff ABC's. During that, we had a minor crises when the microwave rice cooker I have decided to try and start a fire.
Several days of cleaning, spraying and airing out later and the carcinogenic smell is mostly gone (except for the shelf that the microwave was on, and I think it will need repainting. (What the rice cooker originally looked like: here)

I am so excited for Thanksgiving! We are having my family down to visit and DH's sister's family too. I love cooking for a crowd and preparing a big thanksgiving feast! It is a great holiday!

Not just for the food though. I am really blessed in my life with a wonderful DH, amazing wonderful kids, a nice place to live, plenty of food to eat, the opportunity to stay home and be with my kids, a big & loving family, a car, DH's good job, the gospel in my life...when I go to count my blessings, they seem innumerable. I love thanksgiving, for the chance to remember all these blessings and see how great life is.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

October highlights

Things I haven't blogged about yet in October. :)

The Pumpkin Patch in early October was a lot of fun. We went on a hay ride, played with our friends and had a great time.



We spent half the month house hunting, thinking we'd be moving soon, but that isn't the case. But we had a lot of fun in the process.



We went to the Ft Worth Zoo with some friends too. Here is a photo of some friends on the giant iguana statue.











L had his birthday this month,
DH took him to the go cart race track.
L had a blast!











Then we went to several halloween parties
with friends groups. The boys were Buzz & Woody for halloween and had so much fun!

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