Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleep, baby Josh

Josh is sleeping.

Or maybe not.
He's in his pack and play, playing and yelling occasionally.  He's exhausted, but I can't convince him to let go and go to sleep.  My fault--I let him have a late afternoon nap so I could do some things around the house.  I'm in the middle of my annual minimalist longings again, where I walk around my house with a box and find things I don't want anymore.  I always get rid of more than I should, and find out a few months later that I really did need whatever-it-was, and buy another one.
So far I've sold my LG Chocolate Touch, working on selling an Ipod, and sorting through baby clothes to sell on Ebay.  And tomorrow I get rid of my gall bladder.

I'm not thrilled about surgery.  I have a hard time with anesthetic--I don't come out of it well.  Hopefully tomorrow is just a peaceful sleep, they don't have trouble intubating(my husband says he will come do it if there's any problem), and I wake up when it's time to wake up.
On the other hand, the alternative is pancreatitis, which I absolutely don't want.  So surgery before my pancreas becomes any more inflamed is necessary.

But...blah.  Four weeks off work(Christmas time isn't a great time to be off work, but fortunately I already bought most of the presents), recovery, pain, all that yucky stuff.

I just keep telling myself that I will be able to eat again, and not wake up so nauseous, and sleep through the night because my back will stop hurting.

So this is all tomorrow morning.  Until then...Josh, Mommy loves you, but please, please go to sleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Joshua's book

For Christmas, I wrote Josh a book.  I figured that bachelor's degree in creative writing should come in useful somewhere.  Wal-Mart's photo lab has a program where you can put together a book online and get it printed for $20.00 or less, so I wrote this little story, found photographs to go with it, and sent it off to WalMart.  I plan to write books for each of my nephews and my niece as well, but here is Josh's story:
Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman.
They lived in a big house all by themselves, and even though the man and the woman had everything they could ever want, the house was still very empty.
Maybe, the woman said, we need something cute and cuddly.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up down, and in and out, for something cute and cuddly.
And do you know what they found?
They found a kitten.

And they wrapped the kitten in a blanket and took him home.
But the house was still empty.
Maybe, said the man, we need something that will run and jump and play.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up and down, and in and out, for something that would run and jump and play.
And do you know what they found?
They found a puppy.

And they wrapped the puppy in a blanket and took him home.
But the house was still empty.
The man and the woman were very sad and they thought and thought and thought.
Maybe, they said, we need something cute and cuddly and will run and jump and play.
So the man and the woman looked high and low, and up and down, and in and out, for something that was cute and cuddly, and would run and jump and play.
And do you know what they found?
They found a baby boy!

The baby boy had blond hair and blue eyes and ten fingers and ten toes.
His name was Joshua and the man and the woman loved him very very much.
So the man and the woman wrapped him in a blanket and took him home.
And the house was finally full.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A firefighter's wife

A Fireman’s Wife

A Fireman’s wife, the Padre said,
has nights of fear and days of dread
as she hopes against hope
that she can ably cope,
when the dark visions arise
from their blackened night guise
to tell of the dangers that he befell
when he answered the call of the bell.
And in her heart she hides a dread
that the day may bring a car of red
with the Padre wearing eyes full of sorrow
that say that upon the morrow
her husband, her life, will not return
and her soul will burn, her soul will burn.
Burdens more than a wife should endure
but her motives purely simple and simply pure.

She Loves Him.

Or in tears she will quietly be by his side
that day when a comrade has fallen, has died,
because it was his friend, the one who fell
and did not again hear the ringing of the bell.

She must show him her love but not the hurt that she does feel,
or the pain that she quiet suffers when from his grief he does heal,
or nary tell him that she kneels every dark night
after sunset, before the morn’s dewy light
willing his return to their happy home.

(Come home, come home, oh please come home.)
To the wife, the Padre quietly went on,
I vow the fear and the dread will be gone
when the morning sun comes with no car of red
and he is home safe, safe in his bed.
Show him your love and show him your pride
held within your heart that you feel inside
because he is your husband and he is the one
who does a hard job, one that must be done.

The Padre said to the fireman’s wife
“A woman who chooses to live such a life
must accept times full of fun and also full of pain
as well as times full of sun and times full of rain.
But know that the yoke that you quietly wear
is also a great burden that he too must share.
Be content with some comfort, for it be true
and do not be troubled nor your life should you rue
for your husband though he leads a valiant life,
holds higher than the heavens, you, his wife
and he would be resolute and first to agree
that you are the much braver, far braver than he.”


Friday, November 12, 2010

What they did right(homsechooling part 2)

There is nothing I love more than watching my son explore his world.  Everything, at five and a half months, is new.  He delights in discovering new sounds he can make, playing with his toes, and working so hard on crawling.  I love this, and it's one of the reasons I want to homeschool.  I want to watch him discover his world all through his childhood, and I want to be the person who explores it with him.
So this has made me re-evaluate my homeschool experience, and identify what was done right.  There were four main things that, looking back, I could identify as making our homeschool experience a success:

We were individuals.  There was no canned curriculum in my home.  My mother spent countless hours over the years researching and studying out the best books to use.  And simply because it was good for me, my mom was wise enough to realize it would not necessarily be best for one of my sisters.  Our curriculums were tailored to meet our own needs, right where we were.  My mom also stayed away from going with the flow and using what ever curriculum was currently popular.  Just because something was popular didn't mean it was the best thing for our family.

We were flexible.   If something wasn't working, we found something that did.   Just because we owned the textbook or curriculum ddin't mean we would continue on with it.  If it wasn't the best thing, my mom found something that was.

We were not isolationists.   It is a wide world, and there is a lot to learn and see and do and be.  We never felt segregated from the world at large.  We were not super-sheltered, not isolated, and had large birthday parties.  We spent a lot of time with others, whether it was a homeschool gym class, Bible Quizzing, missions trips, snowboarding, plays, or merely spending the weekend at a friends' house.  Even though my sister and I may have been best friends, and are still close, we had plenty of other friends outside the family.  Why is this important?  I have seen many people who grew up very isolated, were not allowed friends outside the family, and now I watch them struggle to cope in a rapidly changing social environment.  Also, we were able to see the way other families did things, whether wise or unwise things.  There were things that other families did that perhaps were not allowed in my family, or were simply foolish.  We were able to see that, to know how what kind of adults those children and teenagers became, and know what we want in our own families now.  There were many things that I will probably be more lenient on than my parents were, and many things that I will probably be stricter on than many of my friend's parents.  And there will be things I will be stricter on than my own parents were.  But because we were not isolated form the world, we have a lot of experiences and knowledge to draw from now as we raise our own children.

Education was a priority.  While I am making a concerted effort to not criticize anyone here, one of the things my sisters and I observed in other homeschooling families was that school did not seem to be a priority.  Waking up at 11 am after staying up half the night does not make education a priority.  Training your daughters how to sew, can, cook and clean while neglecting literature, history, math and science does not make education an priority.  Not requiring your children to finish their workbooks/textbooks/homework does not tell them that you think education is important.  And not striking a balance between good and worthwhile activities and staying on course with your schoolwork does not make education a priority.  Requiring your older children(usually daughters) to run your household and take care of your young children does not indicate to them that you think either parenting or education is important.  
None of these were factors in our homeschool.  Our schoolwork was of the highest academic quality.  It was finished.  It was important.  Why, after all, would you make the time and financial sacrifice to homeschool, if you didn't think education was important?
I have a child now.  A goofy, wonderful, happy, lovely little boy.  He may not be as academic as I am.  He may want and need to spend lots of time with his dad learning how to fix things and build stuff.  He may not be able to sit still very long and need lots of time to run and play.  Every situation is different, but I truly believe that if I stay flexible, accept him as an individual, allow him time to be and learn from others, and make sure he knows that he and his edcuation is so important to me, I think he will be fine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Josh at 5 months old

Lots of people say they have the cutest baby in the world.
I really do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

College...for everyone?

I wanted to clarify something in my last post. I am a huge proponent of higher education. I do not believe that every single person needs a bachelor's degree. I have a B.A. in philosophy, writing and drama. My husband has an associate's degree in criminal justice and is a class or two away from a second associate's in fire science and is one class from an associate's in paramedicine. He also has carpentry and construction skills, and does not need a bachelor's degree. He hated school, hated classrooms, and about gave his dad a heart attack when he announced that he was going to college. It wouldn't surprise me if my son has no interest in classrooms and college, and if so, I don't think he needs to attend.
Some people need to go to college. Some people don't. What everyone does need, whether male or female, is a way to financially support themselves. For some people that's a bachelor's degree, for others it's a paramedic certification.
What I completely and totally disagree with is this notion that I keep running into in homeschooling circles is this concept that higher education is somehow worthless. I don't disagree that a home based business is valuable, but I also know that a lot of times, being your own boss can take more time and money than working for someone else. I saw a great deal more of my father when he had a job for someone else's company than when he had his own engineering firm. I also believe he probably made more money, especially once taxes were factored in. I think this is probably true of many businesses--it's the owners that work the longest hours. This isn't what we're aiming for.

I also disagree, totally, emphatically, forever, with the concept that women only need certain domestic arts and have no need for college. I love being home with my son. I have no interest in pursuing a career this time. I am forever thankful that I have a bachelor's degree and that I did not marry until I was 27 and did not have my first child until I was 28. It's not for everyone, but it was great for me, and I am sorrowful when I learn of other women who never had the opportunity to postpone marriage and children to pursue education, travel, and other interests. I firmly believe that my son will benefit from semi-older parents with a lot of life experience. Again, this is not for every woman. But saying that staying home until marriage, learning only what is needed to run a home and do the basic homeschooling, and not working after marriage is so so dangerous. Why? Because it pigeonholes women. It is just as dangerous as saying that every person should pursue higher education. Not every person should. Not every woman should be a stay at home mom. Making a blanket statement based on generalities is never right, and no one lifestyle will ever be right for every family.

So what do I believe? That education is important. That college is often a wise decision. That some people should pursue trades and careers that don't require higher education. That my son is the greatest thing in the world, and I am thankful I am financially able to work only one or two days a week, or none if I choose. I believe that putting my son in day care is not a wise choice for my family.
I believe that every family and situation and person is different. Should my son want to go to college, I will support that wholeheartedly. Should my son want to finish formal schooling at 16 and become a carpenter, I will support that wholeheartedly, too. Should I have a daughter, I will support her efforts to be self-sufficient and able to support herself, without relying on a husband, whether that involves college or not.
No one thing is right for everyone. And I truly believe it is very dangerous to say that it is.