Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Me on Monday!

Over at Never Growing Old there is a Blog Hop going on and it's called Meet Me on Monday which I think is a pretty cute name.  Five questions are posted for you to answer on your own blog.  Then you put your blog post URL up on the list over there, and it's  just a fun way people can get to know their fellow bloggers  just a little bit better, and to meet some new ones, too!  Anyway, I can never resist anything with questions, so here goes....

1.  What are you wearing right now?

Well, thanks to the iPhoto Booth, I can show you!  This is me, right now, right this very second:

in my most favorite tan shirt that is so soft and comfy....I've had this thing for years.

and in my most favorite jeans that are all broken in and just perfect....again, I've had these for years and years.  Aren't those the best kind of jeans, afterall?

and last but not least, the BEST ever boots in the whole-wide-world that I think everyone needs a pair of -- my UGGS...which really aren't mine, but Afton's.  I call them mine because my size 10 foot stretched these size 8's out so now they are too big on her, and she keeps reminding me that I owe her a new pair.  Which I do.  I selfishly made these mine.  (bad mommy!)
one funny thing about this photo (besides the expression on my face) -- do you notice the blur right below my boot?  I know what you are thinking, but no...that isn't an apparition.  As far as I know there are no ghosts in this house.  Instead, this is my two year old, Aria, who ran by naked just as the photo flashed.  And you know, this is a G-rated blog, so I had to blur her out.  

2.  Do you have any freckles?

Oh my gosh, YES.  Everywhere except where the sun don't shine.  I've had freckles all my life, the little Irish girl that I am.  When I was young, I tried the old "Jan Brady" remedy with the lemon.  Didn't work for her.  Didn't work for me.

Jan, I feel your pain.

Apparently it worked for this girl, though...what's up with that??!!

3.  What is your favorite Lifesaver flavor?

Well, wild cherry, of course.  Isn't it everyone's?  Isn't that why they made the " wild cherry only" pack?

4.  What is the last movie you saw in the theater?

I had a Girls' Night Out with a few friends, and we saw Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow.  It was pretty good.  On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, I'd say it was a 7 or 8.  

Above is a photo of Gwyneth in her "Country Strong" persona.  But when I look at it, all I see is Phoebe Buffay singing "smelly cat".   I think I watch too much of the FRIENDS reruns.  I own the entire DVD collection, afterall.

5.  Would you rather live without tv or without music?

As much as I love my FRIENDS and SIENFELD reruns,  I'd have to say I would choose the tv as the one I would rather live without.  I can do without our tv.  I barely watch it as it is.  But music?  How could one ever live without music?  Music is an instant mood booster.  You put it on during a house cleaning session and before you know it, the house is clean and you practically had fun doing it.  How could one ever jog or do exercise without music in their ear to keep them motivated?  And the piano in our house...never being played...I just couldn't imagine that.  

Nope.  The tv would go.  The piano, our CD player, and the many, many  iPods in this house STAY!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm not a restaurant

Some people assume that just because I've been a mom for a while now (going on 20 years if you count Anthony, which I do!!)  and because I have more than the "normal" amount of children (thus, more practice, I suppose)  that I must have this whole "mom thing" down, and well...for the most part, that would be a little true, in that I know all the ins and outs of newborn care, and I do pretty good with the diaper thing and potty training stage, and I can handle a two year old's temper tantrum without breaking into a sweat.  But there are still things that I remain clueless about.   And here's one of them:

What do you do  when you've made a meal for the family dinner, and you have one child who does not like what you've served?  Do you ....

a) make that kid a special meal all for herself?  Or   
b) let that kid look in the fridge for something else to eat, even if it's cold cereal?  Or 
c) do you say  "Tough.  This is what we are having tonight, and if you don't want to eat it, that's your choice.  But I'm not a restaurant."

While I do NOT make a "special" separate meal for the picky eater...I have up to this point allowed him or her to go look to see what else they might like to eat.   I don't want the kid to go to bed hungry.  I mean, afterall, we all have our own likes and dislikes...and if when I was little my mom served FISH for dinner, I could not eat it without getting sick to my stomach (I hate all forms of sea food)  so would it be fair of me to expect one of my children to eat something that they do not have a taste for?

This is how I used to think.  But lately, it is becoming a problem.  Tonight for example.  I made chicken enchiladas for the first time.  They came out really, really good.  I only had one kid look at it (before tasting it) and said, "Ewww."  This was Andrew.  I told Andrew not to say "Ewwww" because that's RUDE...and to please TRY IT before you say you don't like something.  So he took a bite, and then a big smile spread across his face.  He loved them, and actually had a second helping.

All the kids loved this meal, which made me happy.  All except Avery.  She took just two bites and then said she didn't like it.  Not at all.  Not even a little bit.

"Can't I get something else to eat?"  she asked.  "I'm so hungry."

So I told her yes, to go ahead and look in the fridge to see what else there was.  The rest of us went on to eat the enchiladas.  Soon Avery joined us, with two slices of pizza on her plate.  This caused quite the uproar from two or three other kids.

"What?  How come SHE gets pizza!"
"I want pizza, too!"
"No fair!"

Pizza, by the way, is our family's most favorite thing to eat.  All around, everyone loves pizza.
Avery, of course, had taken the last of the left-over pizza.  But that wasn't what got me frustrated.  What got me frustrated  was that had I made a special meal, and THIS was our dinner tonight -- not the two left-over pizzas in the fridge; not the cold cereal in the pantry; not the granola bars or the canned peaches, and not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I just want to make ONE dinner and that's IT.  

When someone gets a special meal all to themselves, it creates a problem.  Inevitably, one or more of the kids all of a sudden will claim that they do not like the dinner I made, either...and will ask if they, too, can get a special something else to eat.

So, then, do I just lay down the law that they ALL eat what I serve...or go hungry?  I just have a very hard time doing that.  I can understand if I had two or three things on the table (such as meatloaf, corn, and mashed potatoes)  -- if they don't like mashed potatoes then they have the other two  foods to eat.  But with the enchiladas, that WAS the meal.  There were no side dishes.  It's like if  we have spaghetti one night, then that IS the meal.  There are usually no side dishes with spaghetti, either.  And so if Andrew claims not to "like" it -- do I let him eat something else, or does he go to bed hungry?  If he gets to eat something else, then I run the risk of others claiming they don't want the spaghetti, either.  I can't play favorites, right?  What's good for one should be good for the others, right?

But yet...I am not a restaurant.  And I don't want to be a restaurant.

You'd think that I'd have this all figured out by now, right?  But I don't!  It's one of those things that I go back and forth on, not really knowing how to handle it.  I don't want to be the "EAT IT OR BE HUNGRY" mom...but then again, sometimes I feel like I'm being maybe they don't really care for the meal, but they could eat it just fine.  We all have our favorite and our not-so-favorite meals, right?  So in that case, they need to just deal with it   and eat the meal that I've prepared.

But what if they REALLY don't like it?  Is it then fair to make that child go hungry for the night?  

How does everyone else handle this situation?  I'm curious to know.

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Friday, February 25, 2011



Last weekend Rich took Alex, Avery, A.J., Aislynn, and Andrew on a 3 day camping/dirt bike riding trip in our local desert.  A bunch of families from his fire department were going.  I decided to stay home with Aria and the three older teens (who didn't really want to go) and enjoyed a quiet, peaceful house!

I was a bit nervous about Andrew going on this trip, being that he's only four years old.  This was the first trip I allowed him to go on.  Normally I keep him home with me. But Rich convinced me that Andrew would have the time of his life, and he promised me at least 20 times that he would be very careful and watch him closely, and not let him get hurt.

Well, I'm here to tell you that Andrew DID have the time of his life, and he DID NOT get hurt!  Yay!  I'm so grateful for that.

Believe it or not, this little guy rode his own dirt bike.  It did not have training wheels.  It was a two-wheeler.  It was a DIRT BIKE, people!  The kind with a motor! I still can't believe it.  Rich says that he must have rode that thing for 5 hours straight each day, if not more, only stopping to use the bathroom and to eat a meal.    

Of course I have no photos of this because I WAS NOT THERE and I am the ONLY one who takes photos!!!   Grrrrrr.....

I'm hoping that someone else who went on the trip has a video or something where I can witness my four year old riding a dirt bike.  Rich says he even crashed a lot, which is good.  Good? !!!  How can that be good?  He says that when you crash, you learn.  So it was all good.  I don't know about that, but I guess it makes sense :)

Changing the subject here -- I am so excited that my Follower's List is just 11 away from 100 followers!  For my little old blog, this is quite the accomplishment! Yay me!  

So today is Friday, and another weekend is upon us.  For us here in southern CA there is much rain in the forecast.  If you find you are stuck inside like we are and you want some good blog reading,  head on over to Amanda's Blog to check out her Weekend Bloggy Reading Party:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Have a GREAT weekend!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

am I pro-choice?

I know that no one will be surprised to know that I don't agree with abortion.   Just come into my home and you will see my opinion on the subject:

Note the two signs on our fridge --  
one reads: 
ABORTION? What part of Thou Shall Not Kill don't you understand?   
and the other reads:  
Heart is Beating 24 days after conception

The first sign:  definitely spiritual, as it refers to God's commandments.
The second sign:  factual. science. It's a beating heart, people...not just a clump of cells.

I feel to be equal to all who enter our home, both arguments should be represented, because it's a fact that not all people who enter my house share our same religious beliefs.  But it's hard to argue the facts of biology, you know what I'm saying?

Not that it matters to some, but still.  I gotta try.

My personal feeling is that abortion is not the right answer for an "unwanted" or "unplanned" pregnancy.  Nine months isn't all that much time (in the scope of a lifetime) to sacrifice for another human being to have a shot at life, to be adopted by a mother and father who will give it love.  The abortion "option" in my opinion is the most selfish choice of all, mostly made for convenience  (not ready to have a child, it's not the right timing, not the father I would want for my baby, etc)   How women could choose abortion over adoption -- would rather kill their baby than to give it up for adoption -- is not understandable to me.  And I'm not saying this to be mean or judgmental.  I'm really not.  I honestly just cannot understand the logic in that way of thinking.

That being said, I'm not quite sure that I would vote to end the legality of abortion.  I know, that seems quite contradictory, doesn't it?  But the fact is this:  the practice of abortion has been around long before the passing of Roe vs. Wade.  When it wasn't legal, desperate woman (and young girls) would pay the "back alley abortionists" to do the job, or they would attempt to do it themselves....and many of them had complications or even died because of that.  We cannot convince all people that abortion is wrong, so there will always be those who choose it.  And the thought of a scared and confused 15 year old in the care of such butchers, putting her life at risk,  doesn't seem at all right to me.

But on the flip side of that, perhaps if it wasn't legal, more women would choose to carry the pregnancy to term?  Maybe the fear of the "back alley abortion" and the possibility of DEATH would be enough in itself for the woman (or young girl) to seek other options?  Adoption, maybe?

I don't know if my conflicted feelings means that I man "pro-choice" -- I'd hate to think I am pro-choice.  I don't believe I fit the description of someone who is pro-choice.  Afterall, don't pro-choicers believe:  "It's MY body, MY right."  ???    I definitely do not believe that!  Those who believe that it's their body and they have the right to do what they want with it  (getting an abortion)  are actually being very hypocritical.  If you truly believe that it's your body, your right...doesn't that same right apply to everyone who has a body?  Shouldn't everyone have that very same right that you are claiming to have?  If so, the baby inside you  should have that right.  At just 8 weeks gestation, it has a beating heart, arms, legs, fingers, toes, that not a body?  A person?  Even science cannot deny that it is.  So, in keeping to "your right" then you are  in fact taking away that very same right from someone else.   So no, I don't agree with the "It's MY body, MY right"  defense.  Once there is someone else living inside of my body, my decisions with MY body do not just effect ME.  So how could I make the decision to destroy someone else's body, if I TRULY believed the "It's MY body, MY right" claim?

Do you see the contradiction there?  I know that not all do.  Most people don't WANT to see the contradiction there.   Either they are in denial, because having had a past abortion, the pain of realizing such a thing would be too painful.  In  that case, my heart truly goes out to them. (I don't condemn those who have made that choice.  I do not judge at all.  Instead, my heart hurts for them and for their lost little ones.)   Or there are some who simply refuse to believe that a child as small as an 8 week old in the womb has the right to life, even with a body that has a beating heart, arms, legs, fingers and toes.  Oh, and eyelids.  Undeniably human.  They should not have the same rights as us (the MY body, MY right) because they cannot yet speak for themselves?  How unfair is that?  We were all that small once.  There was a time when we all could not speak for ourselves.   There was a time when we were all dependent on our mother's body to keep us alive.  Were WE any less human at that time in our development?

Anyway, I'm just wondering if I would be considered pro-chioce if I did not vote to end legal abortion.   Would it mean I defend a woman's right to CHOOSE?  Because I don't.  I don't believe women should have the right to kill a developing, unborn baby -- no matter if its in her body or someone else's. (isn't it strange how if you kill a pregnant woman, you are not only charged with her murder but the murder of her unborn child? Two counts of homicide.  But's considered O.K. to kill a baby through a planned abortion.) I don't WANT anyone to choose abortion.  I don't AGREE with the abortion choice. I don't believe that IT'S MY BODY, MY RIGHT --  But yet I don't want women to DIE when trying to rid themselves of an unwanted pregnancy.  So then, I guess I believe that they should have the option to have a medically safe abortion available to them.

The option?
A choice?
Pro-choice, then.
Ugh.  I just don't know what to call myself.

"I am a hitman.  I take pay from somebody to kill their child."
 quote from an abortionist, admitting that what he does is, in fact,  murder.

I think that if I could, if it was all in my control,  I would change the rules a bit.  If a woman chooses abortion, I would like for it to be a rule that before the procedure begins, that she have the chance to make a last second change of mind.  I would like for her to be given an ultrasound right before the procedure starts, where the doctor show hers, " you are 9 weeks along....and there is your baby, right there...see the arm?  and...let's see...there's the head and, oh - right there -- you see the eyes?  and over here is the tiny feet...."

Project Ultrasound

and then I want the doctor to print a photo of that little one, turn off the machine, hand the ultrasound photo to the mother and ask her, "Okay.  We are ready to begin the procedure.  Are you sure you still want the abortion?"

How many of those women would still say YES?

I wonder.

At least this would be, in a way, giving that little baby a voice, if only for the minute.  A chance to say, "Hey look!  Here I am!  I have fingers and toes and eyes...I'm a person!  I'm your baby.  I want to live."

Some people will say it would be too cruel and conflicting to do that to that to a woman, when she is forced to make such a difficult choice.  Hmmmm.     Isn't it just as cruel, if not more so,  to destroy another human being without at least letting him/her be "heard" first?  Even  an evil murderer gets a trial, gets to plead his case, before being sentenced to execution.  

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Monday, February 21, 2011


When Audriana was in the Intensive Care Unit all those years ago, I remember taking breaks in this one hallway where other parents would gather when they took a break.  (and by a break, I mean when Rich and I would trade places by Audriana's bedside so that the other could catch a nap or get something to eat)  This hallway wasn't busy, it was off to the side of all the hustle and bustle of the hospital, and the sunlight would come in from a very large window.   It was a very peaceful place to be.

Anyway, whenever I was in that hallway, there was always at least one other parent there, too.  And when you walked over, you would do the polite "hello" head-nod to each other, or perhaps the half-smile that said "I'm a distraught, stressed-out, worried parent, too".   But that was about it.  You kept to yourself.  There was no chit-chatting.  No one who has a critically injured child usually feels like chatting to strangers, me included.  

But this one day I was standing there  by the window, looking down at all the busy people coming and going below, and another woman came over to look out the window, too.  She was holding a cup of coffee. We looked at each other and politely did the half-smile thing. Her face looked as if she hadn't slept in weeks.  I knew my face looked similar.  She was the mother of a hurt child, all right.  I knew the look. 

A few minutes passed, when suddenly she spoke.

"Why is your child here?"  she asked.  She wasn't looking at me, but still looking out the window.

I was a bit bothered that she spoke to me, to be perfectly honest.  I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts.  I just wanted to think and to pray.  I didn't want to have to talk about it.   But then again, I'm not a rude person, so I answered her.

"Car accident."   I said.  "My daughter.  She's four.  She was hit in the head.  She had to have brain surgery."

"I'm sorry," she said, and she turned to face me.  "How is she doing?"

"Well, it's been almost two weeks now.  She is just starting to wake up from the coma, you know, and she doesn't respond much.  But today she opened her eyes a bit, so I guess that's a good sign.  They say we just have to wait and see."

We were quiet for a second or two, and she went back to staring out the window.  Although I didn't want to pry, I also didn't want to seem as if I wasn't interested in her child, too.  

"Why is your child here?"  I asked.

She took a sip of her coffee, swallowed, and then let out a long sigh.   "He has a brain tumor."  she said.  "We've tried everything.  It keeps returning and growing.  Now it's wrapped around his brain stem and can't be operated on. He can't walk anymore, or talk anymore.  It's slowly taking him."  

She was still staring out the window.

I didn't know what to say.  I mean, that was just awful.  I had never met a parent whose child was dying.  I was young and had barely any life experience, and I honestly just didn't have the words.  I think  I said something like, "Oh, wow..." because I was so taken back by what she was dealing with.

She continued, "We are trying to arrange respite care in our home.  We've had enough.  He's had enough.  We want him to come home."

She went on to tell me that they were having trouble with insurance, that their insurance would pay for him to die in the hospital, but they wouldn't pay for the respite care for him to live out the rest of his days in his own home.  I thought that was terribly unfair.

He was just 9 years old, and his name was Christopher Reese.  I say "was" because it's been 14 years now, and I'm sure he passed away a short time after I met his mom.  I suppose I remember his name so well because it's so close to "Christopher Reeve" in sound.  I remember thinking that when she told me his name.  I asked her his name so that I could pray for him.

Before we parted, Christopher's mother said to me, "You are here, and your daughter will get better.  I am happy for you.  I am here, but my son won't be getting better.  My son is going to die, and I have to get ready for that."

I don't know if she said that to me because she was facing her reality and saying it out loud helped that, or if deep down she was bitter that her child was dying while someone else's was not  (which would be a completely understandable emotion to have)  or if she just said it to say it.  I don't know, and it doesn't really matter why she said it.  I am glad she said that because it put things into perspective for me, at a time when I really needed it.

It's been so many years since that conversation but yet I still think of that mother.  Her words have stayed with me, all this time.   And the lesson I have learned from them is this:  no matter how bad your circumstance is, there is always someone else who has it worse.


My daughter had been hurt, yes.  She had been changed, and her life was not going to be as it was before.  But she was coming home with us.  And she was going to live.

I was very lucky.

me and Audriana,  5 months after her accident
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Formal Photos

My two oldest daughters went to their high school's Winter Formal dance last weekend.  It is customary for the girls to ask the guys to this particular dance, and both girls asked a friend to be their "date".    So just to be clear: the "dates" are not "boyfriends" but just friends!

Audriana and her date

a photo with dad

a photo with mom and dad

group shot with friends 

Afton (on the left) with her date and friends

Afton with her best girl friends

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Field Trip

Homeschooling is something that I thought I would never do.  When I began homeschooling back in 2001, I did not know another person who homeschooled their kids.  None of my friends, none of my family -- no one.  And I wasn't on the internet back then, either.  At least, not like I am now.  I knew of the internet, but I wasn't too interested in it.  (can you believe that?  I know! what was I thinking??)  

Anyway, I remember feeling so alone.  And I was wondering if I was doing the right thing by my kids.  That first year was....productive, but yet I was full of doubts.  Did I teach them enough?  Were they learning all that they should be learning?

Then the following year I joined a local charter school.  I was still able to homeschool them, but I had the back-up of a school with a teacher assigned to us.  The teacher met with us just once a month to collect some of the kids' work.  And this opened up a whole new world for me.  I was able to connect with other homeschoolers in our area, and it was at that time that I actually started to explore the internet and began reaching out to other homeschoolers.  I remember that second year as one of my most favorite years, only because everything was so new and exciting, and I wasn't "unsure" or doubting myself any longer.

We still belong to a charter school, and there are field trips that we can go on with our charter school anytime we want to.  This was the Sea World field trip.  It was just A.J. and myself (along with other kids and parents, of course)  and we had so much fun!

One of A.J.'s favorite exhibits was the starfish -- you could pick them up and handle them but just not lift them OUT of the water.

Isn't this just about the biggest fish you've ever seen?   It swam right up by A.J. and I just had to snap this picture of the beast.  It's HUGE!!

 This bird was not afraid of us at all.

The park had barely any visitors when we were there (early in the morning) and that was so nice.  No crowds!  No lines!  A.J. and I were able to take our time at each exhibit.  A.J. read all the educational postings about the animals there, and he learned quite a lot.

He was a bit bummed that our educational pass to the park did not include this ride -- bummer!  Oh well, just means we have to go back on our own next time!

And when it was time to leave, we left through this special gate instead of the main gate.   I thought I'd get one last photo of him, and this seemed like as good of a place than any.  It was a fun time with just A.J.   You can't beat that one-on-one time, you know?  It's so special.

Changing the subject:  did you notice that my followers list is just 11 away from reaching the 100 mark?  For my little blog, this is quite the accomplishment!

So today is Friday, and another weekend is upon us.  For us here in southern CA there is much rain in the forecast.  If you find you are stuck inside like we are and you want some good blog reading,  head on over to Amanda's Blog to check out her Weekend Bloggy Reading Party:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Have a GREAT weekend!

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Stylish Blogger Award

Angie from Sunshine & Lollipops gave me this Stylish Blogger Award!!!
Thank you Angie!
I love your blog too!

The rules of the Stylish Blogger Award are:
Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.  
Share seven things about yourself.
Award seven recently discovered new blogs.
Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award. 

So here is my 7 things  about me!

1)  I don't watch any tv -- ever.  My kids do, but I don't.   I don't want to get hooked on any shows -- there's just too many other things I'd rather be doing.  The last time I was hooked on a tv show was when the NBC Thursday line-up was:  Friends, Seinfeld and E.R. -- what was that, back in 1999?  LOL  Seriously, it's been that long.

2) If I won a few million dollars in the Lottery -- I would buy a HUGE house, hire lots of help to maintain the house and yard, and I would adopt children.  I would adopt a few special needs children, too, because everyone always wants a "perfect" child, and I think the not-so-perfect ones are pretty special, too.

3)  My favorite days are rainy days.  I love the smell of rain, the sound of rain, and  being cooped up inside my home, all warm and cozy.

4)  I hate windy days because of two reasons:  it blows my hair in my face and little strands get stuck in my lipstick, and wind gives the air static electricity, and I hate getting shocked whenever I get in and out of the car!

5)  I like changing diapers.  Even the poopy ones.  There's just something about taking a dirty bottom and making it fresh and clean that makes me feel good.  (sidenote:  I only like changing MY baby's diapers!  It's not like I go around asking, "Hey..can I change your baby's diaper?"  No, I'm not that strange, LOL)

6)  I would much rather be submerged in a box full of tarantulas than a box full of snakes.  Snakes give me the creeeeeps!  I fear getting bit by a snake.  Those fangs....ugh...they just seem so painful.

7)  When I am in my 50's and 60's and 70's ....there really is nothing that I want to be doing except enjoying my family.  I hope that my children live close enough that I can help pick up my grandchildren after school, help out with doctor appointments, babysitting, driving a carpool -- just daily involvement.  I don't want to ever "retire" from what I'm doing today.

The 7 blogs I am giving this award to are ...

Enjoy your award I can't wait to read more about you all!

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