Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Spring holidays, the house, my health and creativity.

Well, Easter came and went. This year there was very little hoopla. Last year there was a family barbecue, this year nothing. So we colored eggs, and let Aidan look for them. Well, we actually kind of forced him to look for them. He was not very interested in it at all. He wanted to eat them though, so we peeled one and he walked around the yard with it in his hand. It got dropped several times until I finally took it away and gave it to the dog.

So far there has been no news about the bigger house. I can't wait to get out of this one. I'm hoping that the deal will still go through. It would be so nice to have something go right finally. I think it's about time that our lives took a turn for the better. We've been at the bottom for almost 3 years now.

I've lost 5 pounds since I started to see the health educator. (I think its 4 or 5 months now.) Not a lot of weight, but a start. I'm making slow progress in reducing the amount of food I eat. I have noticed a difference. For example I used to eat 3 or 4 tacos (taco bell or home made) and now I feel over full with only 2! I'm reducing the amount of sugar and fat that I eat, but I know that I can't suddenly give up my favorite foods. So instead I'm trying to make some of my favorite things with more healthy ingredients. I bake with less sugar, and use splenda whenever possible. I've been looking for more healthy cooking oils, and using less fat of any kind all together. I haven't been walking as much as I should, partly because of my healing ribs and partly because I am so heavy walking puts a lot of stress on my back. I am out of shape, of course, but I've noticed that as the pounds slowly fade away I can walk faster and longer. No one but me will notice the difference, but I do notice and it's encouraging. I still have almost half my body weight to loose, but I think I can at least see the way.

I started to do some editing on the pictures we took while in Oregon. I had cropped them down and had some of them printed. Unfortunately some of them didn't print out well because they were/are off size. So now I have to re-crop them to either 8x10, 5x7 or 4x6 standard size so I can have prints made. I'd do them on my printer but it's not high enough quality for that and we are out of ink. I've also heard that home prints don't last as long. So I'm going to try to do some scrapbooking soon. I have done some digital scrapbooking lately. It's not the same as the ones I've made with real paper, but in some ways it's better. Because you can resize the pictures to fit the layout, you can change the color of your papers, frames, and other decorations, and journaling is quicker. But I don't like it as well either, because I don't have a real page to look at. Even though I could print the page it wouldn't be the same. It's fun though. Now all I have to do is figure out how to share them with people.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Theories of raising children.

I've just been over to The Zero Boss, where he has been talking about a book written by a couple called The Pearls. I checked out this link and read some of what they have published there. I've heard that there are people who are doing what the Pearls suggest, they are "training up children". Some of the methods taught might seem to be perfectly rational and reasonable, but on deeper thought they are seriously flawed. There is a story about a little girl, under a year old, who loved to climb the stairs. Did the Mother and Father, I hesitate to call them parents, put up a gate to protect their child? No, they took a willow switch and "switched" her little legs every time they caught her on the stairs. This little girl was about 4 months old. Then they put the switch on the steps to remind her that she would be switched if she climbed the stairs again. It worked, she didn't climb the stairs any more. Did she learn to obey her parents? I don't think so, I think she learned to fear the switchings and that fear extended to her parents.

I've discovered that spanking doesn't work very well. All it does is teach kids to fear their parents, and that hitting is an acceptable way to deal with people who don't follow the rules. Once kids get older they would choose spanking over being grounded for the week-end most of the time. Because it's over so much quicker. (I know that there are parents who beat their kids badly enough that they feel the pain for days after. That is not what I'm talking about, when I say spanking I mean a few swats with an open hand on the child's clothed bottom.)

I may not be the best Mother in the world, I've used spanking from time to time. I've been inconsistent with punishment. But I always tried to be there for my kids, I always tried to let them know how much I loved them. And somehow they turned out to be pretty good men. Not perfect, by any means, but they are loving and intelligent men. I am trying to do better with Aidan, I hope I learned something from my experiences with Christopher and Allen. I know I have and will make mistakes, but hopefully not the same ones I already made.

My theory about raising children, even though I don't always follow through with it, is fairly simple. Protect babies and small children from getting hurt by either removing things from their reach, or by blocking access to those things. Once a child can understand things you can tell them "No" when they reach for some thing they can't have. Explain why they can't have it. "It's hot and could burn you." "It's glass and will break easily." "It's not yours." It might not work the first few times, because the child hasn't quite grasped the full concept, but the older a child gets the easier it is to help them understand why something is wrong. Having a place where the child can sit, away from the action, and think about what happened can be helpful too. Some things, such as politeness and respect are best taught through example. If you say please and thank you, excuse me and I'm sorry, your child will pick up on it and start using those phrases too. When you treat others including you child with respect, your child learns to treat others with respect as well. Children will occasionally push their limits, it's a normal thing. I try to remain firm and consistent about those limits, but I'm afraid that I'm not always. Find logical consequences for behaviors, both good and bad. Older kids can sometimes be involved in deciding what consequences fit best for what behaviors. Stick to the consequences once you have developed them. This is hard sometimes, kids will react more strongly to the more meaningful consequences, and it's easy to give in and do something else.

There are probably as many ways to raise kids as there are parents. I just don't believe that beating a child into submission is the choice.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The passing of my young adulthood.

I just read that one of my favorite authors, one of the first writers whose name I remembered even after I had finished the book, I think she may have even been one of the first fantasy/sci-fi writers I had ever read, has died. Andre Norton was like a gift to the young woman, hungry for adventure, that I was some 25 or so years ago. My youngest brother, Mark, can be credited for starting me on the adventures I found in her books. (Thanks little brother.) I was probably older than many of her avid readers, I think I was about 20, but I needed those books in the same way that those teen age boys needed them. I was a young stay at home mom feeling bored and overwhelmed with my daily life. Reading became a way to cope, a way to take a break from that life. For the most part I enjoyed my life, but now and then I wondered what I was missing. Reading allowed me to have adventures while taking care of my child and home. I'd like to thank Andre Norton and all the other writers I have spent time with for helping people like me to get a fun, interesting break from our mundane lives.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Tiredness, tea and health

I don't know why I'm so tired these last few days. I want to take a nap, but Aidan hasn't been napping for the last 3 or 4 days. We moved him into a twin sized bed and he won't stay in bed during the day. He goes to bed just fine at night, but naps are out. Maybe he will get back into it later. I hope so.

I got the samples of Adagio tea a few days ago I got a 4 pack of herbal teas. They are mostly for Howard, I drink coffee most of the time. He likes all but one of them. I guess they haven't been as good with their customer service as they should be though. Over on
Zero Boss, he's posted about his experience with them. Their representative actually posted in the comments, he comes off kind of rude. Things went fine for me, but I"m not sure if I'll ever order from them. I want their ingenuiTEA Set because it looks like it would help making tea easier, and it looks cool. LOL

My ribs are almost completely healed now. Thank goodness! It's allergy season here, yesterday my nose started that itchy - tickly feeling it gets during this time of year. I sneezed a lot, when my allergy pills wore off. If this had started a couple of weeks ago it would have been very painful, now it's only a little bit uncomfortable.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

What I miss about my life without children.

There's been a discussion over on Metro Dad about the things parents miss about their pre childed lives. I think that I miss adult conversation the most. Because I'm a Stay-at-home-Mom I don't talk to anyone but Aidan most of the day. The first 3 hours that Howard is home is spent with Aidan, and then he is usually catching up on his e-mail and stuff. We do talk, but it's usually about Aidan or our family stuff. Important stuff to be sure, but not the stimulating conversion I used to have when I spent all day with Adults. We do have conversations on an adult level, they are just kind of infrequent. You know?

There have been days that I wondered if I made a mistake when I had my kids. When I wondered if I could manage to raise them to adulthood without major damage to them or to me. I have sometimes felt like they would be better off living somewhere else, away from me. Sometimes that happened when they were having particularity bad days. I can, of course, remember Aidan's bad days easier than Allen's or Christopher's. Sometimes they were MY bad days that caused those thoughts. It wasn't until Allen and Christopher grew into their teen years that I wondered if they were doing it on purpose. Until then I always wondered what I had done wrong, why couldn't I understand what they needed? Because I didn't believe that children misbehave to be mean to their parents.

I love my boys, they are my whole life. I enjoy spending time with them, I feel lucky to know them. Oh there were times, and I'm sure there will be more, when I didn't like them very much. And once they were old enough to understand the difference I told them so. "I will always love you with all my heart, but today, because of how you are behaving, I don't like you very much." Was that a bad thing to say to them? I don't think so. I'd have to ask them if they were hurt by that.

I am very happy that I decided to have each of my three sons in my life. I'd never trade my life now with a life with out them. No, it's not easy to be a parent of a toddler, or a teenager, or even an adult. You always worry about them, and hurt for them when things go bad. But I, personally, enjoy being a Mom. I can still have adult conversations, if given the chance. I can still read any books I want to, and I can still enjoy the arts and crafts I like to do, I just have to arrange my schedule to fit them in. And for me that is fine.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Saddness, anger and guilt.

Today I'm feeling, guilty, sad, frustrated, and stressed in turns. Early yesterday morning my Mother-in-law passed away. It seems that she stopped taking her medication for her liver just after she came home from a trip with her church choir at Christmas. We don't know why she stopped taking it, or wasn't taking it correctly. She knew that if she needed it, and couldn't pay for it, someone would get it for her. Part of me thinks she did it to get sick so that she could guilt her sons into a reconciliation. I really hope that isn't what happened.

We talked to the funeral home today. It was decided to have her cremated so that someone could take her to Oregon and bury her ashes with her husband. The Memorial will be on Thursday at her church, the final arrangements haven't been made yet but it will probably be around 11 AM or so, with a BBQ at Donny's afterward for the family.

Part of me is relieved that we won't have to deal with her any more. She was not an easy person to know. I feel very guilty for feeling that way. I'm sad that Howard has lost his Mother and that Aidan has lost his Grandma. I'm stressed and frustrated with all the details and the interpersonal relations in this family. I'll be glad when it's all over so that we can get back to normal, what ever that is. I feel guilty for that too. I'm angry that she died the way she did, because Howard feels guilty about it.

Thank you, everyone, for being here for me.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Free Tea

While reading Catawampus I discovered that you can get free tea just by posting a link to their site on your web page. So here it is Adagio. It looks like there are some interesting things on their site. I haven't gone through the whole site yet.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


My Mother-in-law is in the hospital. She wasn't taking her meds correctly and got neumonia. She wants us to believe that she is close to death, because she thinks that Howard and his brother Donny will reconcile if she is on deaths bed. So, for now, we are all playing nice while trying to spend too much time in the same place. I won't forgive Donny until he admits what he did and says he is sorry, but I can be civil to him. She keeps trying to put me in the middle of Howard and Donny's problems, but I won't let her do it. They have issues that have nothing to do with me. So we will probably spend an hour or two at the hospital every afternoon until she gets out. This is uncomfortable for me physically as well and emotionally. Oh well, it will most likely be only 2 weeks or so.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A MEME I found.

Over on Catawampus I found this, she calls it a MEME. Any way here it is.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

She feels, and I agree, that the instructions are a little strange. I'm going to take them literally, and only post the 6th, 7th and 8th sentences.

I actually had to go find a book with more than 123 pages, most of the ones closest to me are little kids books. LOL The first book with more than 123 pages I found was London Bridges by James Patterson.

" At a little before midnight word began to circulate that HRT surveillance had turned up something else, About one in the morning I was called to a small bookkeeping room that was serving as headquarters. It was getting close to put-up-or-shut-up time."

It was actually a whole paragraph. I could have picked up something else, after all I have lost of books around here.