Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spread the Love, Y'all!

Hate makes me sad.

As I have aged, I have discovered an awful thing. Hate never goes away. Anger and hurt and meanness and hate are always lurking, waiting to bring the content and the happy over to their side. I've lived in big cities, medium cities, and currently live in a very small, lovely town. Hate is here. Meanness is here, in this gorgeous, quaint, beloved town. Why is this? Why do some people refuse to let go of their sad, soul-sucking hatred?

Can't they see what we see?

Don't they understand that hatred will never, ever lead to happiness or contentedness or wholeness?

Hate leads to hate. Unhappiness leads to unhappiness. Meanness leads to meanness. You will never have a light, happy heart if you have crushed someone else's. You will never be content in your job if you have hatefully grabbed it away from another. You will never trust and truly love your 'friends' if you have won them over with falsehoods and hateful behavior.

I truly do not understand the anger and malevolence that flows through some people's veins. I don't understand what it is to hang on to every perceived slight. I want to be happy. I want my family and friends and acquaintances to live full, happy, content lives. Heck, I even want people I don't personally like to be happy. Why not? Happier people equals a better world for my kids to live in. Years ago, I could hold a grudge like a champ. That was then . . . way back then. This is now. Now, I let them go. I wish the best for pretty much everyone around me. Don't get me wrong. Some people I absolutely wish the best for in the same breath as I wish they would take their best elsewhere, but I pray for them and I want goodness in their lives. Because, guess what? They are me and I am them and we are both just shmucks trying to make the best of our lives in this scary and often sad world we live in.

Time spent unearthing and spreading ugliness about others is time NOT spent sharing love and light to those around you. When I see people I care about caught up in hatefulness and grudge-holding, it literally makes my heart hurt. I worry about them, I worry about those around them hearing the seemingly unending ugliness being thrown out, and I worry about my children and the world we are sending them out into.

So, for all you haters out there . . . do me and the rest of the lovers a favor. Let it go. Drop it. Find thine enemy and give them a hug. I dare you. I bet your heart will immediately feel lighter, freer, happier. Because THAT is doing the right thing.

End the hate. Spread love.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Perfect I Ain't . . . But Defective I'm NOT

“All adopted kids are defective.”

“I can't believe he is their favorite. He isn't even really theirs. He is adopted.”

Oddly enough, these statements were both made to me, a very open adopted child, by two close friends, obviously forgetting in their hasty judgement that they were speaking of a matter near and dear to my heart. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't claim to be perfect by any means. I, however, must protest the title of 'defective.' And, last I checked, my parents consider me very much their child. They have raised me, kept me safe, educated me and loved me, and they deserve the credit for a great parenting job.

I have always known that I was adopted. There was no big dramatic reveal. The circumstances of my birth were just another part of me. For that, I am grateful to my parents for having the foresight to understand that I and my brother would want to know about our adoptions. Growing up, I felt that being adopted made me special. My parents said it did, and who was I to question those wise folks? I never realized how very divisive the subject could be. I never realized that many people actually think less of me because I am adopted. The two friends who made the above statements are sweet, caring, funny, moral women who I would never have dreamed would think such a thing. But, sometimes, a person's deeper thoughts and prejudices have a way of flying out of their mouthes before they can stop them.

What makes people think less of infants and children who just need and want the same love that everyone else takes for granted?

Why shouldn't we be 'the favorite' just because we are adopted?

Why am I less than you?

According to the National Adoption Attitudes Survey by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute,

Forty-one percent of Americans think adopted children in general and almost two-thirds (62%) think children adopted out of foster care are more likely than others to have problems at school. A similar proportion--45% and 68% --think adopted children in general and adopted foster children in particular--are more likely to have behavioral problems. A third (32%) believe adopted children in general and more than half (53%) believe children adopted out of foster care are less likely to be well-adjusted.”

Again, I must ask why? Do people assume that a biological child would not have problems at school? Does being kept by biological parents automatically make you well-adjusted? Having met one-half of my biological parental unit, I am fairly certain that I am far more well-adjusted as the child of my 'adoptive' parents than I would ever have been as the child of my biological parents. Frankly, from what I have observed in my lifetime, behavior and adjustment is a complete gamble no matter what your birth circumstances are.

I have had people ask if I know my 'real' parents. To that, I have a standard answer.

Yes. They raised me.

You see, a 'real' parent is the parent that is there for their children. A 'real' parents gives their baby all the love and affection they have been saving up for that special child of their heart. A 'real' parent is there for the crying, the fighting, the messiness, the illness, the everything that a childhood is made up of. Having been fortunate enough to give birth to three fabulous children myself, I can honestly and without any doubt at all say that the easiest part of being a parent, by far, is conception and birth. The hard parts come later. The first skinned knee that needs a 'real' mom or dad to kiss it and bandage it up. The prayer at bedtime each night to protect your babies through the night until you can hold them again. The first time your child's tender heart is broken. The teenage years . . . now that is some hard stuff. These are the things that 'real' parents are there for. 

Yes, I have biological parents. But, I am blessed beyond measure with real parents too. How lucky am I?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Happy Little Trees

You know how one project leads to another project, which leads to another project? Yeah, it's been one of those kind of weeks. I started off experimenting with black gel stain over our ugly, worn pickled bathroom cabinets. Love!

Well, once the stain was on there, the walls looked icky. So I got out my leftover gray bedroom paint and went to town. Once the walls were all fresh, and everything put back into the room, I decided that the wall behind the never-used tub (we haul water, you know) was big and blank.

That led to an evening painting my very own happy little trees.

First, I freehanded the trees on the wall.

Next, I started tearing off little pieces of masking tape and randomly affixing them to the trees for that lovely aspen/birch look. (Not the greatest photos, but you get the picture.)

Then, I very tediously painted the trees. This took many hours, but I love the result. Oh, and a note to all the lovely and talented builders out there. People really don't like odd-shaped windows as much as you think they do. Just don't.

I love how my happy little trees turned out!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

K5 Academy - 2013/2014

The kids all started back to school this week, and I wanted to take a few minutes to let you all in on our course schedule this year. This is our third year home schooling, and I have to say that this is the very first year that I have been pleased with all of our curriculum. Well, science was a stressor for me for a bit, but we got that all worked out.

And without further ado . . .

Growing with Grammar 7
Jacob's Algebra
The Write Foundation: Sentence to Paragraph
Ham Radio Science (Physics and Electronics)
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Fly Fishing (through 4H)
Woodworking (through 4H)
Poultry (market turkey, market chicken, show)
Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Growing with Grammar 4
Singapore Math 4A and 4B
Writing Tales
Vet Science 1
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Fly Fishing
Poultry (market turkey, market chicken, show)
Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Soccer

Little Miss
Growing with Grammar 2
Singapore Math 2A and 2B
Cursive Writing workbook
Science: The Human Body
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Cloverbuds (Oceans and Seas)
Ballet, Skiing, Snowshoeing

We have finally found a grammar curriculum that I like. G-Man and H-Man are usually self-instructed with their grammar. They read their texts, then complete their workbooks.Little Miss needs a bit more teaching time, of course, but she picks up on things quickly.  I feel like other grammar curriculum was just overkill with the amount they were trying to shove down the kids. This curriculum seems to take the teach it and move on approach. I like that. This will likely be the last year that G-Man takes a separate grammar course, as his writing course is a 3-year course, and the next year will be amping things up a bit.

We are loving our writing programs. There is quite a bit of work for G-Man to do when using The Write Foundation, and we work on writing every day. We have loved the program, though, and plan to continue through the next two years. H-Man adores Writing Tales. He is able to use his imagination in re-telling stories, and that is his very favorite part.

G-Man's science program makes me giggle. I have to admit that both the hubs and G-Man had to convince me that this would be a good science program. We bought a workbook on Ham Radio Operation, and it is full of physics and electronics. G-Man will be working through the book, as well as reading a text on Ham Radio, then taking an operator's test in April. The joy of homeschooling is being able to align an interest with a class! H-Man is super excited about his Vet Science course through our local 4H program. While all the kids love animals, H-Man seems to have more of an affinity for all animals.

Through 4H, G-Man and H-Man are taking their second year of fly-fishing. The kids spend the winter learning to tie different flies indoors. Once the thaw hits, the instructors take the kids out to local lakes for fly fishing. My boys loved this class last year! The boys are both also taking woodworking through our 4H program. Their teacher has awesome talent making period furniture, and we are excited to see what they boys learn. Both boys will once again participate in the poultry group, raising turkeys and chickens for fair. Little Miss will be participating in a study of the Oceans and Seas with our local 4H Cloverbuds group.

All of the kids continue with our fabulous violin teacher. The hubs has been going through bass guitar lessons with G-Man also. He has a talent there, just like his Daddy. H-Man received a drum set for Christmas and has begun a beginner lessons video. He will take formal lessons with a local musician in the summer. Little Miss continues with her piano lessons also. We seriously have fabulous local music instructors here in our tiny town!

As far as physical education, both boys have fallen in love with mountain biking. During the winter, we participate weekly in either skiing or snowshoeing. Once things thaw out in the spring, the hubs will find some local trails to explore with the boys. They are excited for that adventure! Little Miss has weekly ballet classes that she adores.

Our schedule looks like quite a bit, but the kids get up and get their work done (usually) without too much prodding from mom. Certain classes, like Spanish and History, are only three days a week. The kids are usually finished with their schoolwork by 1, and then free to romp and roam the land! Each child has to read for at least an hour a day. I am not too picky about their books, as they all love to read and I never have to force the issue. We are regular fixtures at the library.

That's our story!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Somebody's Got Some 'Splainin' to Do!

The package very clearly states 'Bun Length.' Apparently, they don't necessarily mean every bun.

I feel cheated.

The Christmas'Didn't Quite Get to it' List

All who know me well know that I love the holidays. I love the decorating, the gift-giving, the baking, the eating, the everything. This year, we have been busy with this and that, and Christmas has kind of snuck up on me in many ways. We did get our trees up and - not to worry, loved ones - the gifts are mailing out this week. But, some things on the usual list just did not . . . and more than likely, will not . . . get done.

Outdoor decorations . . . you know, lights and inflatables and such. We have them . . . in the attic. I even looked at them and brought them out of the attic, then immediately walked right back up those stairs and redeposited them in the attic. I just couldn't face it. My excuses? It was cold outside. Frigid, really. Like the negative degrees kind of frigid. We live on the dead end of a dirt road, with the nearest neighbor a few acres away. Who is really going to see our lights? I have since decided (upon decorating our living room tree, which stands in the window) that the living room tree is all the decorating we need for outside. As you can see from the above photo, eight strands of bright blue LED lights will absolutely light up the exterior of one's home, making it seem to the distant eye as though we have indeed lovingly strung lights around our home. The blue glow is something to behold indeed.

In previous years, the holiday baking has already begun. Sausage balls, white chocolate cranberry shortcake cookies, pies and yumminess have always been happily munched on throughout December. Not. There. Yet. Oh, I have thrown in the odd pre-formed cookie dough into the oven, but no baking has happened in awhile. The ingredients are there, and I smile at them as I open (and shut) the pantry door. Must. Bake. For. Christmas. Can I just mention right now that I have found the time to feed the self-proclaimed starving children each day. As they are starving ALL DAY LONG and I am shoving food into them ALL DAY LONG, there is no time for excess baking. That's my story . . .

We have a collection of Christmas CDs that we typically have playing around the house all December. Well, yesterday, I dragged myself up the attic steps once again where a tremendous and eclectic collection of CDs is stored and grabbed a few Christmas discs. I've yet to pop them in, but - by golly - they are out of the attic. In my defense, every so often as we drive to town, we pick up a Christmas station on the radio, so we do tend to get a daily dose of some sort of Christmas fun. For that matter, Christmas recitals for violin and piano have been on the schedule, so there HAS been much practicing of both. There. That makes me feel way better.

Monday, December 16, 2013


"Mom, can I give you a makeover?" she said.

"Sure," I said.

Definitely feeling made over . . . and shell-shocked.