Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little Irony

I was on my way home from the grocery store when I drove past a minor car accident. Nothing unusual, really. The SUV was up on the median, tire blow out and the small car had a nice dent in the drivers side.

I'm just ticked I didn't have my camera with me. Why? The sign on top of the car read Driving School. Heh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Believing in Santa

I knew the day would come, and I actually thought it would have happened before now. My oldest is a very logical child. He thinks everything through before he does it. It does not accept "just because" lightly and normally demands a thorough explanation for any question he might have.

The fact that at almost 10 years old, he hasn't questioned the legitimacy of Santa is beyond me.

I'm sure the fact that he has been homeschooled since 2nd grade has something to do with it. He is not surrounded by kids that are too cool to believe in Santa. I know there is also a want to believe in things that are magical when you are a child. It makes anything possible.

Yesterday, after watching old repeats of "Tim the Toolman Taylor" (blanking on the actual title of the series.....I'm blaming hormones), he asked my why some kids say there is no Santa.

Oh great, here we go. I have made up all kinds of crazy excuses to overcome any questions the kids have had regarding Santa.

Them: "Why can't we ask for a Wii?"

Me: "Because they are all sold out"

Them "Can't Santa's elves make more?"

Me: "Oh, honey, the elves have to outsource electronics. Something to do with magnetic energy on the North Pole."

Them: "OH! That makes sense"

I've been quite creative in preserving the Christmas Magic. I eat and crumble half the cookies they leave out on Christmas Eve for Santa. I use a different kind of wrapping paper for Santa's presents. I tell them about the special mail drop for late lists to ensure it gets to Santa on time. We've thrown Reindeer food from the balcony, had Santa visit our Christmas Eve parties (how they didn't notice it was really Grandpa, I'll never know) and make up all kinds of magical answers about how Santa gets into homes without chimneys.

Now N wants to know why some kids don't believe in Santa.

I told him,"Sometimes older kids think they are too cool to believe in Santa."

"Why would they think that?" he asks.
"I don't know honey....it just happens when you get older. I hope you aren't one of those kids."

He didn't say much more about it and I didn't want to dwell on it too much. But I think deep down he knows the truth. I think he's known it for quite a while.

I enjoy making the Christmas magic for the kids. I find it fun to give them hope for particular items on the wish list....the ones I know Santa will bring. I love the look on their faces when they receive something from Santa. I love the innocence of it all. It warms my heart.

I just hope he continues to play along for a couple more years. For my sake For his brother's sake.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vegas Snow Day!

Yes, it snowed, really snowed here today! This is our 12th winter here and we have seen snow stick maybe three times before (although it happens annually in the foothills). Of course by the term "stick" I mean it stuck to the grass for about an hour or two. We had snow falling all day long today and it was really beautiful. Forcast calls for more snow tomorrow!

Go Fireballs!

My kids have been playing soccer for 4 years now. Each year they play in the fall and the spring. It is a "non-competitive league", which just means there is no official score and no standings at the end of the season. Once the boys get to the U10 (under 10) level, they do have regional playoff games at the end of the season to rank the teams. The top three teams go to Area Playoffs.

Two teams per year, two kids, we have encountered a lot of coaches......14 so far. Being an all volunteer league, we've been fortunate to have some really wonderful Dads coach the boys. There have been some that were more skilled at coaching than others, but all in all, we've enjoyed the parents, kids and coaches over the years.

That said, this fall was absolutely over the top! Coach Henry has gone over and above with the boys this season. We lucked into a great mix of a committed coach, a group of boys that had a great attitude and heart, and parents that showed unlimited support of their kids. Mix that together and you get a team of 8 and 9 year old boys who played some REAL soccer!

I really can't say enough great things about Coach Henry. My younger son had him as a coach last spring and when I got the email in August that N was on his team I was jumping for joy. Henry is kind, yet expects the boys to pay attention and be disciplined. He is former military, and also used to be a conditioning coach for a women's soccer team when he was in college. He never yells at the boys, and also never lets them get away with not putting forth their best. He insists they work as a team.....and if you know young boys, you know how hard that is. They tend to be very egocentric which can be a hindrance in a team sport such a soccer.

He has not only taught the boys skills, he has conditioned them so that they can out run the other teams. They never seem to run out of energy and if you could see some of the little guys run, you'd be amazed. Imagine big kid on opposing team dribbling the ball up the field getting ready to take a shot when out of now where come this little punk from the back of the field to get in his way. Our forwards run like the wind and manuever in and out of the larger kids on the other teams. I equate it to a bunch of little gnats that just keep getting in your face.

Over the season, the boys only lost one game: they had 3 teammates that were out of town or sick that weekend and had to play the field with one man down and no subs. It was torture because the team they played that week was the only undefeated team in the region. But guess what? Last weekend, they play the same team again and held their own. The game was still tied at the end of overtime and had to be decided by goal kicks. It took a few kicks, but the opposing team finally won. The Fireballs took second place in the region.

So this past Saturday was the area tournament. The Fireballs had an early game Saturday and another at 1. It's been a beautiful fall here in Vegas, but Mother Nature changed her tune on early Saturday morning. A cold front blew in and it was miserable! The wind was blowing with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, it was cold and the whirlwinds picked up dirt, leaves, grass and garbage spewing it across the soccer fields. The kids had to wear shorts with a long sleeve shirt under their soccer uniform. They were freezing!

They played their little hearts out! But unfortunately due to a couple of bad calls and the power of the wind, they lost 2 to3. The afternoon game fared better and they won 2 to1.

Sunday morning we woke to 29*. Yes, 29* in Vegas. It was clear and no wind and by the time we got to the fields, it had warmed to a muggy 41*. Much nicer than the day before, being that there was no wind.

The teams met on the field and sized each other up. How do I describe the scene? Our boys tend to be smaller than average....other than my son who stands at least a head above all but two of the boys and is still a few inches and 20 pounds bigger than those two. The average kid on the opposing team was the size of my son. On top of that, we heard that this team was ranked first in the tournament. Yikes!

The whistle blew and play began. Our boys ran the field twice as fast as the opposing team. They passed the ball, they made plays, they marked their man, they two touched and controlled the ball. These little guys played the best soccer they've played all year and WON 2 to1!

After the game, a referee cam to talk to the boys. She told us she was also from Bullhead City, where the team they just beat was from. Apparently this team had never lost a game and generally wins by many points. Just the day before, they won a game 7-0. She congratulated our boys on such great play!

Coach Henry came to the boys with a good news/bad new scenario. The good news is that they were the highest placing team in Summerlin (placing above the team they lost twice to in our region)! The bad new is that they did not have enough points to move on to the final game.

The boys didn't seem too disappointed. They wanted to know what time practice was on Tuesday. (Season's over guys...sorry). They persisted....all the boys wanted to have practice!

Coach Henry suggested that after Christmas, we have a parents' vs the kids game. That will be a ton of fun.

I'm really sad to see the season end. The boys have had a wonderful time and we've met some really nice families.

Go Fireballs!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Wonderful Week

I've had a really great week. it's been lots of little things that add up to one big nice week.

We started last Friday spending the afternoon at a friend's house. The boys have bonded with Jake and Will and could spend 24/7 with them without incident. It's so nice they have such wonderful friends...and also that their mom and I have become good friends as well! (You know how hard it is to find both parents and kids who get along?)

Last Saturday, my son's soccer team won second place in the region. It was an amazing final game that went into overtime and was still tied. They had to do goal kicks to secure a winner. We also had their pizza party that evening. The area playoffs are this weekend after which I will write more about what a great experience the past 4 months have been.

Sundays we normally go to my parent's house for dinner and play cards. They haven't been here for a while.....in the summer we swim at their place and lately Dad's back has really been bothering him so it's more comfortable for him to stay home. But I had them over last Sunday. I made a simple baked chicken with baked potatoes, salad and brocoflower. Nothing fancy. But it was nice to have them here for a change.

Monday was our Christmas Craft day for our Co-op group. We have 4 families that gather on Mondays for a co-op class. We have covered dinosaurs and fossils, election process, and world geography and maps over the past 3 months. For December we decided to do Christmas crafts. Last week we decorated gingerbread houses and cut out salt dough ornaments to be painted next week. My friend Tara and her son joined us. I haven't seen her in a few months. I really enjoy her company; it was good to spend some time with her.

Tuesday brought a field trip to Fitwize 4 kids. Its a gym for children with all the traditional equipment but on a small scale. The kids got to do circuit training and had a lecture on good nutrition. They learned a cool way at looking at food: they were given a list of foods categorized as "go foods" (healthy, eat them all the time), "slow foods" (not so healthy, eat them less often) and "whoa foods" (for rare consumption). All I've heard all week is "Oh, I already ate 2 slow foods today, I better not have a whoa food!" I'm very happy with the reinforcement. N and I have a plan to turn French Toast from a whoa food to a go food. Success! N also had soccer practice that evening.

Wednesday is my DH's day off. He has had serious shoulder pain. He had an MRI a week ago and took it to a specialist today. He was told he most likely could be cured with physical therapy. Good News! We spend the afternoon at my In Laws and had a quiet evening. My aunt underwent a lumpectomy for breast cancer this day as well. She came out of it just fine and the tests on her Lymph nodes came back negative, so more good news.

Thursday started early. We attended a field trip to the Regional Justice Center. It was a small group only 4 children. We got to sit in on Traffic Court, talk to the guy who handle house arrest (and the kids got to try on the ankle cuff, blow in a breathalyzer, wear handcuffs, etc) another woman spoke to them about the dangers of drugs, we saw the Nevada Supreme Court, and then went back to the Traffic Court to speak with the Commissioner. But then came their favorite part. We got to go into the holding cell where the Marshall let the boys wear the waist chains and shackles! She was very nice (as was everyone involved in the tour) and also took the boys out to see her car. They crawled all over the Marshall's Squad car, turned on the lights, used the loudspeaker and buckled themselves in the back like prisoners. I just hope that's the last time they wear shackles and are in the back of a squad car!!!!

We also had soccer practice Thursday. I picked up one of the boys because his older sister had a concert at the same time. I visit with his Mom all the time, but haven't spent time with the boy. He was so polite! We went to Taco Bell after practice and his Dad picked him up there. It's so nice to be around polite kids. I just hope mine would behave as well in the same situation.

And now it's Friday again. We are going to the park this afternoon with friends. And I have to go to Trader Joe's...I suppose a trip to the pet store is in order since the toads haven't had live crickets for a few days.

So that's my wonderful week.

N is calling. The day has begun. I'll post after the soccer tournament this weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

.....and March Them Right out the Door!

My friend Tasha posted this on her blog. It's a must see.

The modern schools are doing a moral disservice to our children and the ONLY way to combat this is to march them right out the door and teach them ourselves or in private and parochial schools.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have been homeschooling my two sons for two and a half years now. When I began, I jumped into it quickly and with out much consideration. It felt right and it was something I always had in the back of my mind as an alternative education.

I purchased a couple of math workbooks and grammar workbooks at various stores and jumped in with both feet. My boys were 5 and 7 at the time and were already reading well and ahead of their peers in math. That made it an easy transition for me given the fact that I was the one that taught them to read and set the foundation for math in the first place.

Over the course of the first year, I joined homeschool groups, asked a billion questions of the seasoned homeschool moms and read a whole bunch of books recommending various types of instruction. I read about learning styles, brain wiring, and fine motor skills all of which can effect a child's ability to learn.

I settled on A Well Trained Mind as a guide to education. It is a classical approach, and I like the idea of learning through history and literature. Teaching young children Latin also appealed to me (I had never learned myself).

As I began to follow this approach, I found that it was a bit heavy for my energetic boys. I have a solid two hours of attention span to make use of. Copy work and hours of dissecting sentences was not an option.

I adjusted my curriculum to include minimal textbooks and writing. They recite as much of the work as possible. We do some unit study, and I try to teach as much as I can through real life. I called it Classical lite.

Today, I was perusing a homeschool website. I have heard many people discuss The Charlotte Mason Method. Long ago I asked someone what it was and she must have told me it is a type of classical, like Well Trained Mind. Fine, no need to research, that's kind of what we do anyway.

But today, I thought, I should see what the difference is.

Guess what? I've been doing The Charlotte Mason Method all along. What I call Classical lite, is in essence, Charlotte Mason. The short lessons, reciting, whole language, living books, putting off much writing and grammar until later, plans to study Shakespeare: I was right in line with out knowing anything about Charlotte Mason.

Geeze, I'm brilliant!

I'm off to the library to secure copies of her books. I'm so excited to have an official name for what we do. It makes it so much easier to discuss when I have a label for it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Wow, such neglect! With the run up to the election, my brain was in political overload; and after, just not in a mood to write. I didn't even post much over at Right Wing Chick.

And although my life gets pretty boring at times, I am determined to post more often. Of course, without any comments, I don't know if anyone is reading (hint hint).

Soccer season is about over for the boys. My eldest made playoffs, so that should give me some material.

Promises, promises, I know. But I intend to improve the frequency of my posts!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Root Canal!

OK, so one Survivor recap and I already drop the ball. I have an excuse.

I suffered from a toothache/sinus pressure all last week. I tried to convince myself it was just my allergies and sinus pressure. I HATE going to the dentist (although I have always liked my dentists). Avoidance has resulted in this predicament, I suppose!

This all started last Tuesday and by Friday I was numb to the pain. Naproxin seemed to help, but that dull ache was always there.

My friend Susan's DH is an medical doctor and she offered to have him give me a call. Although he is an endocrinologist, he could help determine whether I need to see a dentist of internist.

He called and we went over the symptoms which made me realize I was trying to fool myself into thinking I had a sinus infection. I don't.

I spent two hours at the dentist's office on Saturday afternoon, in between the kid's soccer games. Dr Galimore is nice enough to squeeze me in, prescribe antibiotics, and tell me I need a root canal.

The point of all of this is that I had a massive headache last week and I did not feel like looking at a computer screen, thinking or typing. I will try to be more diligent this week. Can't promise anything.

As for the root canal, I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to schedule it. Since I do not have dental insurance, I have to plan it into the budget. That's going to be a challenge.

PS That's not MY tooth up there.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Survivor Recap?? Really???

Although I've been a Survivor fan since half way through the first season, I'm late to the blogging party. What if I do weekly recap of survivor? Just for myself, really. Do I want to commit to this? Would anyone care? Would anyone else actually read it? Well, we're gonna find out.

First things first. I deleted last night's episode off the DVR. So anything I write is from memory and I already forgot the old gal's name that got voted off second! Also, I haven't read anything about this years season. I haven't read any spoilers, which I usually do just so I know who the characters are ahead of time.

This first recap is going to suck a bit since I don't have the reference and I didn't decide to do it until after the fact. But here goes.

Starting out the traditional way, showing up in street clothes (don't these people know by now to leave the suits and dresses at home and wear comfy shoes even if the producers say "We're going out for some promo shots"?) The elders picked teams. Seems there was very little thought put forth, but it's hard to judge some one's potential based on a quick into and their profession.

Ending up at camp, I'm sure everyone was ecstatic that they didn't have to build from scratch. A few patches on one roof and a frame in need of walls seemed to be the worse of it.

Challenges were the same ol', although I really thought Michelle showed some spunk. Reminded me of last year's Courtney. Of course I can't remember the tribe names....told you this would be lame. (Promise better next time!) But her tribe lost and Michelle went home. Strictly because she wasn't overly friendly.

At tribal, it was discussed that there was not leader. So who steps up? One of the youngest men there. What an idiot. Does he WANT to go home? Unless you are an older male with the cred to be the leader, don't step up. Every time a younger guy steps up, he's thought of as a threat. And if a woman steps up, she's thought of as Mom or a bitch.

So then blah blah blah another challenge, same tribe looses and "mom" gets voted off.

So here's my take.

Pretty standard first episode.
No one too interesting, although the gay guy with the crush on the young Dr could stand to be a bit soapy.
I like Ace, and the young Dr.
Also Sugar seems to have some charm as well as the Olympic Athlete. I also think the Physics teacher will be around a while. People like him, and he has legit knowledge and leadership skills without being an ass. Reminds me of Yoa-man. (sic)

OK, any survivor fans are required to leave a comment. It's not fun unless we can talk about it. I promise I will pay more attention to names next week....and not delete the DVR before I post!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mosaic of Me

I found this idea on another blog. It is a mosaic of ME. You answer 12 questions. Using the answers, you search photos on flickr. You must choose a photo from the 1st page, and place it into your collage. Using the mosaic maker, on the flick site, you put it all together!

Here are the 12 questions:

. What is your first name? (Pam)
2. What is your favorite food? (Mediterrranean)
3. What high school did you attend? (Rogue River)
4. What is your favorite color? (Reddish Brown)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Orlando Bloom)
6. Favorite drink? (Cabernet)
7. Dream vacation? (Italian countryside)
8. Favorite dessert? (Fallen Chocolate Cake)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Architect)
10.What do you love most in life? (Hugs)
11. One word to describe you. (Warm)
12. Your Flickr name. (Pammy)

Now when you look at mine, I must mentioned that I inadvertently put my pics in from bottom to top! So the answers start at the bottom right hand corner. Call me original........

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Pet Menagerie

We are not pet people. Oh, we want to be. The kids REALLY want to be. But I don't want to have the energy to train a puppy. I won't have rodents or snakes in the house and I am allergic to cats. I hate the noise and mess birds make. We had some goldfish. I ended up cleaning the disgusting tank. Spiders freak me and the kids out and turtles are boring.

It doesn't leave us many options in the pet department.

Fortunately, my mom, who lives a mile from us, got the cutest puppy last year and she has filled the pet niche for the boys. This is Lily.....

About a month ago the boy's buddies, Will and Jake, were going on vacation. They had recently adopted a gecko and needed a babysitter for two weeks. N and A were asked to do the honors and we soon had a really cute gecko named Shadow and a habitat of crickets in our midst.

The boys had a great time taking care of Shadow. We would feed him a live cricket each night and watch him hunt and capture it.

The next week, Grandma had the boys over for an afternoon. She had acquired a tadpole environment and was planning to order the eggs online. Unfortunately they can only be sent in cooler weather. So off to the pet store they went.

And they brought home these:

We are now the proud parents of two fire belly toads. We have a cricket habitat and fixed up the little terrarium with rock and driftwood. I do enjoy watching the toads aggressively go after the cricket and chow down on them! (not sure what that says about me?)

We also adopted a guppy last week. A friend was moving and felt better about giving us the guppy than flushing it down the toilet.

We were at the pet store the other day purchasing more dinner for the toads. There were some cute geckos hanging out in a little pool. We already have to buy crickets each week. I started thinking "A gecko wouldn't be any added trouble." I stopped my self. For now.

I see our classroom soon becoming overrun with small animals.

And only a month ago I was breathing a sigh of relief that we were pet free..........

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Olympics

Having two young sons and a futbol/football loving dad in the house, you would think we would watch more sports around here. But we don't. DH does make a point of watching the Steelers play and uses the DRV on boxing matches and the World Cup. But that's about it.

This year the Olympics have caught our attention. I think the boys are at the ages where they can start to appreciate the strength and abilities of the athletes. They also are showing a sense of patriotism in rooting for the American athletes.

It has also helped us reinforce nutrition, endurance and commitment. Both boys play non-competitive soccer. We have made a point to teach them that what goes into their bodies will effect their performance. N has been working on his endurance by running on the treadmill each day. And we decided that they would pay the fees for soccer and we would reimburse them if they showed commitment through the season.

I know what you are thinking: they are awfully young to be in training! No, that's not what we are doing. We are trying to teach good nutrition, importance of exercise, fiscal responsibility, and follow through. These are life lessons and we are using soccer as the vessel.

Anyway, as we watch the human interest stories about the athletes, it enables us to reinforce all these things. We also have been able to talk about genetics as the commentator analyzed Michael Phelps' body. Long upper torso and short legs makes for a good swimmer. We looked at the runners and noticed that long lean bodies make good runners. The gymnasts were smaller, but extremely muscular. The boys analyzed their own physiques and we decided A has a runner's body and N would be a great swimmer or weight lifter!

So we have enjoyed the swimmers and the gymnasts over the first part of the week. When we sat down to watch the Games on Thursday, women's beach volleyball was on. Nick was excited. "I like volleyball!" he said

"I didn't know you knew what it was."

" Yeah, Mommy. When I was in school I think we played it once."

(I think they hit a balloon over a net. Potato, potahto.....)

Soon A shows up. First thing out of his 7 yo mouth:
"Why are those girls wearing bikinis?"

N just giggled. And giggled. (Usually bringing up the subject of girls in any fashion results in anger or denial of interest.)

I said, "N, is that why you wanted to watch this?"

Again giggles, giggles and no denial.

Hmmmm.....I think my 9 1/2 y.o. is on the brink of puberty. I thought I had a few more years.

Yes, The Olympics have been eye opening in many ways.........

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saturday Movie!

Tonight I watched "Little Children" by director Todd Field.

I have a bit of trivia. I lived in the same dorm as Todd my freshman year of college. He dated a girl named Sharon ( who was really good friends with a girl named Heather) who lived on my floor. He played trombone, he was cute, he was creative. We all lived in Diamond Hall, the "arts" dorm.....lots of people form the theatre, music and art concentrations. It wasn't a huge dorm, I lived on the ground floor, well the basement really, and we had maybe 16 girls on that floor...probably 20 tops on each of the other 3 floors.

Anyway, I never had much interaction with Todd, but my two close friends, Janet and Tricia knew him from theater classes. When Twister came out, we all recognized Todd as one of the scientist. Then he was the piano player in Eye Wide Shut. After that, the big break in directing In the Bedroom. Well, that's my brush with fame, I guess....not that he probably remembers any of us!

Now to the movie. It was different in that the movie was narrated, not by a character, but the author, if you will. It was third person narrative. Very different for a film, and it really worked. It helped give the characters depth in a few seconds.

It is about suburban life. Mothers who take the toddler to the park everyday and have not much to look forward to. Families who look perfect on the surface, but are not. Families who have apparent problems. Men and women, some crushed male egos, aching to be young. The film is touted as grown ups who haven't passed adolescence. Yes, that about sums it up. and there are a couple of scenes that you could have stuck in the middle of a teen film and yet it would no seem out of place in either. There's even the bully and the kid whose picked on.

I can't tell you too much or it gives it all away. If you like characters and observations of people you will enjoy this movie. I think I will find there was more to it that I saw tonight. It's always movies like this that catch me be surprise the next day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Strength Within

I have written about my boys and the struggle they have when they get angry. The testosterone rages and it's real tough for a young boy to learn to control his anger.

The other day, I was talking with A about the importance of what's on the inside versus what's on the outside.

He was pretty articulate in telling me that popular people think the outside is more important than the inside. He also understood that the strength of confidence came from within. We expanded on the conversation.

Since he has been trying to get his way by throwing a fit lately, I decided this was a good time to talk about controlling one's temper.

I said to him: You know, it take a really strong boy to be able to control his temper. (Strong is something he strives for these days)

My skinny little boy, whose waist my hands fit around, says to me: Yeah, when I get mad it's like a SUMO WRESTLER trying to get out!!!!

Knowing my boy, he's right on target. I'm glad he understands the enormity of anger.

The ability to control one's anger shows more strength than giving into the fight.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Saturday Afternoon Movie Time

I love to watch sappy chick flicks alone and cry my eyes out. I think most women do every now and then.

Yesterday I watched P.S. I Love You. All I can say is I'm real glad I didn't see it in the theatre. I would have been an embarrassment. The tears flowed from the beginning straight through to the end. There were funny moments, but the whole thing was bittersweet.

It's about a young woman who married young to the man of her dreams. They absolutely adore each other. Then he dies early and he has left her a string of letters to help her through his death.

Just the synopsis is enough to get the water flowing!

Anyway, it's OK as a movie, but excellent for a cry. Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler star. Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon are the best friends. Kathy Bates is mom and Harry Connick Jr is the love interest.

I'm rating this movie on the chick flick cryability scale. I give it 4 out of 5 tissues.

I also watched Life is Beautiful the Oscar winning film from 1997. Roberto Benigni won best actor for the role of Guido. It was sort of corny in the beginning...I was thinking of turning it off. But because I only have 250 channels there was nothing else on TV that interested me. So I continued to watch.

It turned into a sweet love story....but no tears. Then in a flash the whole movie turned. With the back drop of a concentration camp, the humor of Guido endured as he protected his son from the realities they face.

Talk about a love story!

This is an excellent film definitely a five star, but only a two box on the cry meter simply because the tears don't come until the end, although you may have residual tears when you think about the movie the next day. It's the kind that stays with you.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

So today is the 4th of July. Hubby is at work and one of the kids is still asleep. We have a party to go to tonight...the kids are super excited to see their friend Z.

I did alright over the week, a couple of slip ups, but the diet is coming along. Those first few days without sugar, carbs, etc. are hard. Yesterday I wasn't missing them and I think by tomorrow I will have the energy to start the exercise program. Feeling a little less bloated, but not willing to take measurements as of yet. (I want to feel like I've actually accomplished something, so I will wait until Monday

I just got the boys back on track with "school" but we always take holidays off. I think I will suggest watching the Revolutionary War DVD in honor of the 4th. Fits with the day and is not "work". That will keep us going.

The kids willingly (meaning without a bribe) helped clean house yesterday. Yes, take your time, read it again. We made a list, turned up some rockin' tunes and cleaned for a hour together. They did a great job. N is usually willing to help to an extent, but A really got into it yesterday. He cleaned up his games, watered the garden, picked up toys from all over the house and got on his knees and cleaned all the baseboards! He thought that was FUN! Let's hope we can make this a regular event.

I'm making some homemade chicken broth right now. Smells so good. I've been out for a while. I make a huge batch, drain all the bones and spices, then reduce it until its about 1/6 of original. After refrigeration, its like broth jello. I freeze in small portions, then reconstitute. Takes up a lot less room by doing it this way. And so much healthier that the store bought loaded with sodium crap.

Well, N just came in a said "You're STILL on the computer???" Guess a shower would be in order about now.

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting My Life on Track

So the past few months, for reasons beyond my control (yeah.... someone else's fault, I couldn't have got off my butt) I have been really lazy about school, housework, and my eating and exercise habits. This past week, I've been taking the bull by the horns and began to get this things back in order.

Since I've been doing next to nothing the past few months, cleaning has become a form of exercise. As I was "exercising" this week (in two hours stretches..pretty good eh?), I realized I had been "exercising" even less than I thought. I have a plan to get the house back in order. Included in this plan is the"no snacks in the playroom" mandate.

The kids are not happy about this plan. Its reasoning is two fold. I have one son, A, who is messy. If he spills a bowl of popcorn, he will walk through it before he will clean it up. Unfortunately his brother, although much neater than he, refuses to acknowledge messes that are not his.

The second reason for this mandate is to help N from snacking mindlessly in front of the tube. He is developing habits that could become an issue if we don't find a creative way to limit them. I figure this way, if he's really hungry, he'll take a break form the tube (without my intervening). I also don't have to put limits on the snacks....he will have to be willing to leave the program he is watching to munch. I think it will put natural limits on both sides of the issue.

I have also become very aware that my body has acquired some additional girth. Since I have about 3 outfits to wear and am longing to get into my cute jeans by fall, I have committed to eating better and exercising (almost) daily.

I feel that stating this commitment to the world gives me some accountability. I would post my weight and measurements, but it's just too ugly. Let's agree that I will update on how many inches and pounds I loose each week. No need for the embarrassment of the starting numbers!The final goal is somewhere around a size 6....so I guess I'm losing a good 3 dress sizes.

I do have a membership at a gym, but it's probably 10 miles away and between the gallon of gas and the fee for 2 at the Kids Club, the $11 a day is out of the question. I have a (dreaded)treadmill, so that will have to suffice. I plan to do a short yoga session 3 days a week and free weights the other 3 days along with 30 to 40 min of cardio. I think I should see results shortly.

And then there is school. We are back on track already, with a unit study on the Revolutionary War and the Constitution. We have math books to finish and some Latin to catch up on. I'm reading the Rats of NIMH to the boys, and I think we will read Narnia next. Although they are quite capable of reading these books themselves, they love having me read to them.

Yes, I make my kids do school in the summer. It's so dang hot here, it makes sense. I'd rather hang out in the spring and fall when the weather is great, and take a long break at Christmas. It's the beauty of homeschooling!

OK, so here is my commitment to get my stuff back on track. I have more plans for the fall including some art projects (hopefully to become a business) and to catch up on all that scrapbooking! But for now, the basics.

If you see me, I hope you will bug me about my progress. Embarrassment is a good motivator for me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Blog

OK, it's done! I have a new blog for politics only. If you want to read it you can find the link on the right. I hope my politically inclined friends will join me there, whether you agree with me or not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Change I Can Believe In

I'm thinking of starting a separate blog for politics. When I started this blog, I just didn't realize how often I would write and how much of that would be political.

And I'm sure there are people out there that would enjoy reading posts about the kids, but really don't give a rats ass about my political opinion!

So I need to come up with a title for a political blog. Once I think of something awesome, I will separate the homey family stuff from my wingnut rantings.

Be patient, sometime this week I will separate the two.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

School of Rock

For two summers we have been at A to get out of the shallow end of the pool and hit the deep waters. He can swim, but is reluctant to be anywhere he can't touch the bottom. Until last week. He finally swam across the pool and as a reward, I promised a trip to Gamestop, our favorite place for preowned video games.

The kids just got their first platform this past Christmas. Playstation 2: affordable, good selection of games, and decent graphics. Excellent choice for a 7 and 9 year old. They have been shooting Storm Troopers and kick boxing mutant centuars for months now.

To my delight, this trip to pick out a new game concluded with Guitar Hero as the selection du jour.

Later that day, I found the boys playing GH with Surrender as the song of choice

ME: your mommy's alright, your daddy's alright, they just seem a little wiiieeerrrrd.... surrender....... surrender......

THEM: When did you hear THAT song, Mom?

It just kills me that they think all these songs are new. Yes, kids, your mom know how to rock. And she did a damn good Joan Jett Airband performance in the day. And a decent Cindy Lauper, too.

A now bounces around the house singing "Fee Fi Cherry Pie" (I LOVE when they miss hear the lyrics....its' so adorable!)

N is really into Message in the Bottle. How happy was I to introduce my son to my all time favorite group in high school, The Police.

Although I listen to music often in the house and always in the car, they just haven't taken much interest in pop music. N usually asks me to turn it down (I'm tallying all the times I've "turned it down" to use on him when he's 15).

I'm excited to make this part of our summer curriculum. I think having a broad knowledge of music from classical to pop is important in being well rounded. This seems to be the perfect opportunity.

Or maybe it's just an an excuse to crank up all my old tunes and reminisce a bit........

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friendship Legacies

I’ve been thinking lately about friendships. I’ve been feeling sentimental about people I have known through my life and I begin to wonder why is it certain people fall into our lives at certain times. Is it because we are looking for them and they were always there, or were they dropped into our lives at certain times by a higher power? Whether it be God, karma, or coincidence, it has become apparent to me that people are there when we need them.

This has happen to me many times over the years. Seems friends have fallen into my life just when I needed them time and time again. Then, there are those that I realize I have been passing by until finally fate puts us together just when it matters most. Only recently have I began to notice that I have been place in people’s lives when they have needed me. I am realizing that my friendship to others is also important (kind of a It‘s a Wonderful Life epiphany).

Let me begin with the first friend that some higher power insisted be in my life. In the summer of 1983, only a handful of freshman showed up at the SOSC orientation as a journalism major, but there was red head there that I couldn’t help but notice. She had a cool confidence about her. After the orientation she complimented me on my pink and white saddle shoes. September rolled around and I moved into the dorm. First morning there I step out of the bath and practically run face first into the cool red head that I met briefly two months earlier. She lived across the hall form me. Janet and I were immediate friends and have been for 25 years now. We found that there were other instances where we should have met. We hung out in at some of the same places and we knew some of the same people, yet never connected. It seems to me fate was insisting we meet. Although she and I see the world differently and our lives have gone in different directions, we were meant to be friends. We have always been there for each other, although I will say, I think the profound reason for our friendship has not yet arrived.

When I decided to home school, I didn’t know anyone who did. It was scary, but I was jumping in with both feet. A few weeks after the decision, the boys started soccer. The first day of practice as all the moms are getting to know one another, I find that one of the moms also home schools…her five boys! I feel Laura was put there at that place and time to help us through the initial process of home schooling. I had never met anyone who home schooled…how weird was it that I signed up late for soccer and ended up on a team with a veteran home schooler.

Five years ago I reconnected with a high school friend. She and I had been close for years but drifted apart late in high school. We were instrumental in planning our 20th reunion and ended up spending hours on the phone finding we were at the same place in our lives. I went through a couple of tough years after that. Although I didn’t hear from her everyday, it seemed that every time I had a really atrocious day, I’d get an email from her. Usually it was a simple forward with a cute joke or a spiritual word. Ronnette’s prayer and support helped me through a really tough few months. In turn, I nudged her to start home schooling and our friendship is full circle. I hope it continues.

I recently made a new friend. She and I hit it off quickly, which these day doesn’t happen the way it did when I was younger. As we spend hours talking we have found that I have been through some things she is experiencing today. This is the first time I really felt like I was dropped into someone’s life for a purpose (at least that I am realizing ). I think Shelly and I will be friends for a long time.

I have so many dear friends. Some are always there no matter the situation. That would be Tricia…we’ve been there for each other over 25 year, no matter what. We met in college and in many ways our lives have been parallel. She lives across the country and we don’t speak as often as we should, but we are there for each other at the drop of a hat, as it’s always been.

Then there is Kristen who’s words of faith helped me through a very difficult time that she wasn’t even aware of. Unbeknownst to me our kids had played together at the kids club in the gym and we had common friends. We were introduced through some mutual friends and would run into each other here and there. We didn’t really connect until a time when I needed her support.

I have a friend that influenced me to start this blog. You can all thank Tara. I feel she and I are kindred spirit. And although I’m old enough to be her mother (OK, a young mother) I admire her sense of self and she inspires me to see the world a little differently then I normally do. She gets me back to basics in many ways.

Friends of different cultures have come and gone that helped me appreciate the world (Ort, Tmira, Nur, Maggie, Alexandra, Haley, Susie, Rosie, and many more acquaintances from around the globe).
Also, in the past year or so I have shared a passion of mine by encouraging about a dozen people to knit.

And there are friends that are here, for some purpose I am unaware of. These are the people of whom I am suspicious. Am I missing the purpose of our friendship? These are people that I suspect God, karma, or coincidence have brought to me. How is it they need me, or will I need them?? Who will be the next person that will give me the words of wisdom I need? Who will be the next person I influence? Why is it we have met?

I wonder, what is my friendship legacy?? There are those who give words of faith, those who are relationship support, those who are there to just be a girl with. What kind of a friend am I??

Only time will give me these answers or maybe I will never know. In the mean time I am grateful for all my girlfriends; past, current and future. Thank you for all you’ve given me. I hope I am as good a friend to you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Emmulating Daddy

As I stated in an earlier post, my oldest is trying real hard to grow up. Now his younger brother has decided that he wants to do big kid stuff, too.

I'm using the "if you are responsible, you may do more big kid things" line with him. He is my laid back child. I have to keep on him about picking up his toys, putting away his laundry, using a garbage can, etc. I figure this is a good way to get him to be more responsible.

The past few nights, A (as he will be known here) has taken to wearing just boxers to bed. My boys have been wearing the boxer/tshirt combo as jammies for a while, but they have never wanted to wear JUST the boxers.

So this morning I questioned him on why he want to only wear boxers...especially since he complains that he is cold.

His answer: It makes me LOOK more rethsponsible. {lisp intended, as his front teeth aren't all the way in yet}

I'm looking at my skinny little 7 year old in a pair of boxer briefs, shivering in the kitchen. The logic of it all escaped me.

I tried to explain that responsibility is an action, not the way you look. He wanted nothing of this explanation. He went on to inform me that since Daddy is a grown, responsible man and HE wears boxers to bed, A should too.

I love the simple logic of children.

I'm sure the boxers to bed will be a short lived thing....in the mean time I'll just throw another blanket on him at night.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Knitting Update and an Attempt to Add a Picture

OK, so first things first, if you've read previous blogs you know I'm technology challenged. This is my attempt to add a photo (digital, even!) to this blog. If you are reading this and see an image, I guess things worked out OK.

This is also an update on my summer knitting. I have two bath mitts made and six face cloths. I need to make a bunch of mitts for gifts, so I have a feeling my stash will be lighter by the next update!

BTW One of these days I'll quit playing with my layout, color and template. I haven't found one that satisfies my every changing moods. I think I like this one.

FYI A second attempt was needed, as I didn't check the "terms of service" button. I'm still learning!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Grounds for Growing Up

My eldest son, who recently turned 9 (and will be referred to as N in this blog), has been aching to do “big boy” things. Of course it is natural, and if you looked at my kid you might think he was 11. He is 4’9’’, and 91 pounds. He’s grown out of the size 4 ½ shoes I bought him just a couple of months ago. I think he feels older than he is and he wants to be grown up yesterday. Over the past month, he has asked to order pizza himself (and pay for it), shift the gears on Grandpa’s pickup, make and grill his tuna sandwiches, and work out on the treadmill.

After running on the treadmill for about 20 minutes, he announced to me that he had sweaty armpits and would require deodorant. I went along with it and let him use some all natural stuff I had stashed away (read: all natural=does not work in desert heat). How cute, I thought, he’s itching to be a big boy!

Well, the need to be big just keeps coming. Last night, he was moping around and I asked him if everything was OK.

“I want to do more big boy things,” N tells me.

“Like what?” I ask, bracing my self for having to explain why he can’t go swimming by himself or have a credit card.

“Mommy, I want to drink coffee.”

Thank goodness! This is something I can say “yes” to! I know he won’t like it, and even if he does, so what? A little caffeine will hurt him a lot less than the potential of danger in other things he has asked to do.

“Sure, honey, I will make you a cup of coffee in the morning,” I say with relief and enthusiasm.

“REALLY?” (he was expecting a NO) “ I can have coffee?”


“Will you pour it for me about the time you think I will get up and, Mommy, will you put in in one of the red cups?” And off to bed he goes knowing in the morning he will magically be a big boy.

I pour him a half a cup about 8:30 so it will cool off a little before he gets up. He greets me in the kitchen and I tell him that his coffee is waiting.

“I really get to have coffee?”

“Sure, do you want some sugar in it?”

“Yes, Mommy. I think that would be good.”

I put a spoon and a ½ of sugar in and give him the coffee. I settle back to answering emails as he sips at he coffee. He makes comments:

This is a little bitter. (I add some cream and a little more sugar)
Hey, I think I’m waking up!
I think I would like the flavored kind.
This is kind of bitter, ya know.

It’s been about 20 minutes now. I walk past the kitchen table and see that more coffee has evaporated than N has drank. Obviously, he does not have a taste for coffee.

“Ya know N,” I say “drinking coffee does not make you a big boy. There’s lots of grown ups that don’t even like coffee. (Here comes my mistake!) Lots of grown ups drink tea instead.” Immediately I see his eyes light up and I realize I've opened a new can of growing up worms.

“Mommy, tomorrow, will you make me a cup of tea?”

“Sure buddy, tomorrow, you can have tea.”

Now I have to get to the cupboards and put away the 3492750235 different kinds of tea I have, or I see hours of tea tasting in our future!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Need for Very My Own Washcloths

So as you now know, I have two sons who are in the stages of icky gooey boyness (7 and 9 years old). I also love knit. It is summertime in the desert. These three things that I love do not intertwine. I need a project to knit over the summer. Because I live in a desert climate, even a cute cotton cardigan is out of the question in the summertime. My boys will wear the occasional knit hat in December, but that's a 2 hour project the night before the cold hits. So my project for the summer is to knit myself a set of washcloths and bathmitts. And yes, the need for these does intertwine with my boys.

I know, it's soooo old lady. Dishcloths, washcloths, bathmitts...it's the kind of stuff Grandma used to knit or crochet. What I have to take into consideration is that my wonderful boys get very dirty and have yet to learn to clean themselves properly all the time in between bathing. (Don't give me that look......if you have kids you know full well that skid marks are a common occurrence on laundry day!) I need a set of washcloths of my very own!

I have purchased some inexpensive (over 900 yds for $8.00) yarn to make a big ol' stack of washcloths for my evening face cleansing ritual (and because I have been doing this religiously for 25 plus years now, I have the skin of an angel...well, not an angel, but of a chick that used to have the skin of an angel!). I also will be making a big ol' stack of bathmitts for my self and also for quick gifts for friends (be forewarned).

I've tried in the past to have MY OWN SET of washcloths. It would only last until I forgot to do laundry and one of the kids was already in the bath. I figure this way, they are hand made and I am much less likely to share. Yes, I am selfish. As a mother, there are very few times I get to be selfish. I have to give up my fries when the boys want more. I'm the last one to sit down to dinner. I'm the last one to sit down at the end of an evening...and there's probably still a load of laundry to fold. I have to give up the last glass of wine when my husband is tired from work (unless I promise some hanky panky....then he's happy for me to have the last glass!) And I am happy to accommodate my loved ones.

But for now on, I am now declaring my refusal to give up my lovely hand knit, pure cotton washcloths and bathmitts. It is my prerogative to have something special, just for me in the house. I am very excited about my new special things. I think it will give me that sense of simple abundance. I will share my progress.

Thus far: 1 bath mitt for my mother on Mother's Day
1 bath mitt for me
1 washcloth

Its only been a week. I figure by the end of the summer I should have stacks in all kinds of cute stitch patterns!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Some Thoughts on Technology

Technology. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love when it simplifies my life. I hate when it’s just one more thing I have to learn when I was completely happy the way things were before! Seems most the time the latter is true.

I say sometimes that I’m a little Amish when it comes to technology. I don’t mean that in a prejudicial way….it’s just they have chosen to live in a time before technology was king and I can relate. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE electricity and don’t get me started on the wonders of indoor plumbing! I can‘t imagine my life without the internet, the cell phone is my friend and my relationship with Tivo is one I should be somewhat embarrassed about.

About 3 years ago I won a digital camera in a raffle. I took it out of the box, loaded the software and took a handful of pictures. Then it sat in a drawer for two years. I thought about getting it out, but why should I when my old friend Olympus was here. You have to understand, I was a bit of a photography buff when I was younger. I loved setting the camera functions and developing my own film and photos. The darkroom was quiet and serene. In high school I found a way to spend 4 hours of my school day in some form of photography. As a mom, I fell in love with scrap booking all those pictures of my babies. Accepting a digital camera into my life seemed to be disrespecting of something I loved. I love real photos and the smell of film fresh out of the canister. What my printer duplicates is just not the same. If I happen to shed a tear while looking through old photos, it could well ruin that printer inked memory for life.

So after two years in a drawer, a vacation looming, and a dead battery in the old Olympus, I broke down and learned to use the digital. I thought I was all smart and hip until I learned that my technologically advanced camera only held about 20 pictures and I would now need something called a memory card. What? Isn’t that what film is for? To hold our memories? So I hustled on down to Target and bought a memory card for all my digital memories. *sigh*

Now I can take pictures and I figured out how to load them into the computer. I can even send you a picture via email, but I would warn you: it will take up the full screen. I can’t seem to figure out how to make them small! My computer savvy aunt sent my a digital organizer for all my photos. I loaded it up and organized my photos by theme, date, people, pose, holiday, good smiles, bad smiles, with teeth , without teeth, at Grandma’s, at the soccer field….the list goes on and on! Honestly, I think a shoebox works better. Even so, when it comes to cameras, I have reluctantly come over to the side of technology.

Another area that I have slight problem with is that $2000 map in your car they call a “navigation system”. Who am I, Captain Kirk? Navigation is for sailors and pilots. I’m going to the store, it’s down the block. If I get lost, I probably shouldn’t be driving anyway. If I don’t know where I’m going, I look at a map first and jot down a couple of notes to help me get there. OK, I will admit the map I look at is called Mapquest , and I have it bookmarked, but I think I already clarified that I do love the internet.

I learned to read a map when I was fairly young. We took a lot of road trips, Sunday drives and moves across the country as a family. Since reading a book in the back of the Plymouth Fury made me a little nauseous, I took pleasure in glancing at a map. I loved getting out the Rand McNally, figuring the mileage to the next Stuckey’s rest stop, and telling my Dad which exit to take. $2.95 at the gas station, free on the internet, or 2 grand to be recessed in my dashboard…..hmmm, that’s an easy place to be Amish!

I like things that I can use for more than one purpose. Multitasking…good! But a phone that is a camera, a music player and can send email? I’m overwhelmed at that much technology in an 1/8 inch thick metal box. To begin with, you already know how I feel about cameras. Putting into a phone, just twists the knife a little further. I still haven’t completely gotten over the fact that I had to replace all my albums with CDs. Now I’m supposed to download my music?? AND put it in my phone? That means I have no cover, no art, no liner notes, nothing too hold onto that relates to my music. It makes no sense to me.

I’ll tell you a little secret. Back in the recesses of my closet, I have a stack of albums. Every album I ever owned (except the few that a roommate’s boyfriend permanently borrowed) is stacked in the back of my closet, with liner notes intact. I have the art from every album cover memorized. And thanks to all the bands who printed their lyrics, I can sing along confidently (although not in key). I’m still not sure about the second line in the chorus of Blinded By the Light, but that’s because I own the 45.…(that’s old speak for a single, you youngsters). Unfortunately, lyrics didn’t come with 45‘s. Which bring my to another deep dark secret. I also own a large box of 45‘s .

As you might well have guessed, my phone doesn’t take pictures and I don’t know how to text. I do not own any form of an MP3 player. A blackberry is something I pick along the creek on my Grandma’s house.

I do like modern conveniences. I like progress. I think it’s cool we can fly far into space and send pictures back to earth. I’d just prefer that technology be used to make things simpler, not more complicated; that it stay out of my art and music; and, until it can figure a way for me to eat anything I want without gaining weight, it better get out of my food! (that’s a line for a future post, I think!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On The Modern American Classroom

Somewhere in the early stages of homeschooling, most people will be introduced to John Taylor Gatto, either through a friend or pure chance. I read Dumbing us Down last fall, along with a bunch of stuff by Holt. That was the point when I became more than just a mom who taught her kids at home. That's when I came to understand the real problems with the modern classroom, the politics involved, and the need to keep my children out of the government's little conspiracy. When asked, I simply tell the rest of the "schooling world" that I homeschool because I think I can give my kids a better education. No one can argue with that, although the "socialization" comment is soon to follow. I try not to get into that, because for some reason most people think that getting teased on a playground is supposed to be a part of life to be savored.

When I requested from the library the books I read last fall, John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education was not available, and that is true today. Yesterday, I stumbled upon this book at his website: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ . You can download the whole book for free on this site.

I spent hours yesterday reading and am even more convicted in homeschooling my children.The problem now is, when people ask about homeschooling, do I educate them on the real reason for the modern classroom? Do I let them in on the fact that the curriculum is designed to keep the masses dumb? That children are intentionally not encouraged to question or challenge ideas because it would be undesirable to the powers of industry? And should I tell them that the American school system is nothing more than an always expanding Government Jobs Program?

I seriously think that information is too much for most people to handle. What has been ingrained in our lives for generations as something good is simply nothing more that a way to keep the elite in power and keep the masses under their thumb. I have never been one to join in conspiracy theories, I generally trust that our government has our best interest at heart, and I am a capitalist. But I am the first to be willing to say I was wrong when the facts are so overwhelming. I believe that our modern school system does nothing to advance our country and is in direct conflict to the basic freedoms on which this country was founded.

The questions raised here will be discussed at length in the future, I’m sure. It’s a subject I am passionate about.

But for now, this question remains: as homeschoolers, do we share this tidbit of information about the real reasons for the modern classroom with the masses? Or do we keep it to ourselves and, within a generation, become the elite?

On Raising Boys

I have boys. Two energetic, rambunctious, scraped kneed, noisy, sword fighting, rock throwing, pig tail pulling, quick tempered, potty humor appreciating, outdoor peeing, authority challenging, sleeve-instead-of-a-napkin-using, chest pounding boys.

This was not my plan.

When I though of having children, I envisioned my girly girl self with two or three perfectly coiffed daughters, hand in hand smiling sweetly as they follow my through the store. Primping, cooking, knitting, sewing, flirting, gossiping, giggling, and just plain being a girl….those things I know. Those are things with which I am comfortable. But God thought having boys would be a better plan for me. Instead, I have two little mussed up monkeys, climbing, running, touching everything in their path while defeating some imaginary alien as they follow me through the store. In the beginning, I questioned that plan. But once I go over the idea of raising boys with the same mindset that I would raise girls, I came to embrace all them in all their goofy boyness. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them even before they were born. I just wasn’t sure I’d understand what I was supposed to do with them!

As we have learned as women, men’s brains are not the same as ours. They think differently, they emote differently, and many times they seem very hard to understand. As wives we learn to cope with this and if we are lucky, we unlock the secret code. I’ve been told by men that it’s really not so secret. They are simple creatures and have simple needs. Ask your husband. If you feed him, love him, keep his ego intact, and don’t erase sports, The Godfather or any Bond movies from the DVR, you’re probably going to have a fairly successful marriage. Unfortunately, far too many mothers forget to apply this same theory to raising their sons. We are pretty good about loving them and feeding them. But it’s keeping their ego intact that gets tricky.

As strong as it can be, the male ego is a fragile thing. I want my boys to have a strong ego. Not egotistical, but a strong sense of self. I see boys all the time who have a broken spirit. You’ve seen him, too. He walks with his shoulders rolled forward as if to hide his wounded heart. He has sadness in his eyes. Many times a mother has broken his spirit. The person who is supposed to nurture him, is threatened by his natural response to challenge her authority. He end up being nagged and berated until he does what he is told so she doesn’t scold him any more. Sure, he is obedient, but at what expense? They sigh deeply and watch the ground while they walk across the playground, aching to be able to be a little man. There are other boys out there, chasing, wrestling, challenging each other. He doesn’t get a chance to release his frustration, to learn how to interact with other boys, to challenge authority in a safe environment. He is afraid of being beaten down, again. When he is older, he is the child with pent up anger. He releases it in one fell swoop and the expense of many. Or he is the weak father, whose wife and kids see failure in his eyes every time he walks through the door. He is the man who trudges through life trying to avoid conflict and goes unnoticed.

I want my boys to become men. Real men. Not wimpy, browbeaten men afraid of the world. I want them to feel comfortable standing up for themselves regardless of who may be challenging their manhood. Sometimes, that person is me. It is natural for a boy to feel that his mother is threatening his manhood. His nature says he is the protector, the provider. His environment and age say different. I try really hard not to let it get to me when their feathers ruffle and they challenge my authority. I know it is their nature. I know I have to absorb some of it if I want them to be strong men. They argue, they negotiate, they try every tactic to get their way. I have to say, I admire their tenacity. If the situation allows, I let them argue their point and at times they get their way. That is fine when we are at home, when judging eyes are not present. When they challenge my authority in public, it’s a different story. I don’t want them to be afraid to speak their minds, but it’s a fine line between that and being disrespectful. Although it is slower to resolve the matter, many times I let things go until we have a chance to calm down about the matter. I give them the look, or I whisper in their ear the consequences of their actions . It has taken a while, but these days a look and a whisper usually puts an end to the challenge. I try to do it while respecting them as little men. After a challenge, I usually get a very big hug and sometimes a tear and I know they are sorry with out saying the words. While to some I may look like a weak mother, I have let them save face. I try to keep their ego intact.

Right now I am here to come to after they have been challenged by other kids, schoolwork, the mystery of the world, or a just a soccer ball. Just as I don’t always understand why certain things are funny to my boys, I don’t always understand why certain things make them angry. What I am learning is not to deal with their anger in the heat of the moment. Why? Because once a boy has that adrenaline running through his body, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Talking does nothing when a boy doesn’t hear you any way. No, they don’t hear you. With boys you MUST make them look at you before you speak. I forget this all the time. I catch myself getting angry because they “don’t listen”. The plain fact is that they are listening, just not to me! When the distraction of emotion is afoot, they are listening to their inner alpha male, their blood boiling, the steam coming out of their ears. That’s some pretty noisy stuff! There is no way I can compete with that. So we talk after we are all calmed down . We talk about what we learned from each experience, what we could have done differently, how we would want to be treated.

I could handle these incidents differently. I could brow beat them, nag them, scream at them, force them to say sorry when they are not, or spank them until they completely submit. Mind you , I have tried most of these tactics on occasion but I was not happy with the outcome. Sure I won the fight, but when would I look in their eyes, I would see sadness. Not a sadness for what they did wrong, but for the fact that their ego was crushed. I feel fortunate that I caught myself early (with the help of my husband’s eyes) and that I could change that path. I slip up more often than I like, but I’m getting the hang of it all. I have to be a firm and loving mother…. in the background. I have to let them make mistakes. I have to let them take the fall. I have to let them learn how to deal with the opposite sex (girls are a huge mystery to them….not having sisters and all). I have to let them size up other boys. Sometimes they emerge as a leader, and other times they fall in line with the pack. Sometimes they fall flat on their faces. They have to live these things in order to be strong men.

I want my boys grow up to be wonderful husbands, the kind who love and support their wives while still remaining strong. I want them to be the kind of father who oozes with love and pride over his kids and isn’t afraid to show them. I want them to love and provide for their families and be proud of doing so. I want their families to know that their Dad will protect them from everything he can. I want them each to be a man’s man….the kind who other men respect. I want them to be passionate about whatever they do in life whether it be their career, a hobby, or the latest music they have discovered.

I like the direction I am going with my boys. At times, this may seem like an uneasy path to some. I like to let my boys be boys….but it’s not what we are used to seeing. Things have changed over the past thirty years. No longer are we supposed to get our feelings hurt. Kids are not aloud to work things out on the playground (which sometimes includes a physical encounter). We can’t play games where someone may be the last to be picked. Children are not aloud to find out what it feels like to lose. If you don’t know what it feels like to lose, how can you learn to be humble when you win? Boys are medicated when they are just acting like normal wiggly inattentive boys. They begin to believe it’s not right to follow their natural instinct. They are taught to always bow down to women, not out of respect and chivalry, but because of an agenda that crushes the male sprit. From this, girls learn that their being matters more than a boy’s. Children have a sense of entitlement never to have a hurt feeling, never to have to lose, not to face reality. I think we see the unfortunate results of these things everyday.

I used to buy into some of that….before I became the mother of boys.

My two compassionate, angelic, chivalrous, helpful, inquisitive, humorous, mama spoiling, strong, best of friends, hugs and kisses giving, intelligent, silly, sweet, lovable, snuggly, authority challenging , growing up waaaay to fast, wonderful little men.

And if your daughters are lucky, (far in the future) they may meet one of my sons.


Today is Thursday. Today, I figured, was as good as any to open my heart, soul and grand opinions to the word. I haven't written in years. My typing is atrocious. My life isn't too complicated. The things I will write about will be simple, I suppose. Homeschooling, knitting, politics, observations on everyday life. That's all it is. Grand opinions about simple things, so I this why I thought that Thursday's Good.