Monday, April 23, 2012


Isn't it interesting how all worlds seem to connect? Lately a lot of the blogs I follow have been talking about goodbyes. Specifically with family members. I was going to write about something totally different this week and then I experienced my own goodbye, and my heart has compelled me to write about it.
A few weeks ago I said goodbye to my brother-in-law. He is moving to England. He will be the furthest away of all the family members.  It will be so strange to go home to visit and not have him there with his quick smile and witty observations (always said under his breath)  there will be a definite hole there. 
     My brother in law is a quiet person. He comes from quiet people, as I have discussed before. He is also shy, so I felt a kinship with him, since I am shy myself.  But his spirit/aura/presence, call it what you will, has always been there quietly and gently announcing him.
A constant gentle and loving presence, never forceful or overbearing.
     You know what I mean, something that has always been there and now it will be gone. Obviously not forever! The hope is to see him a few times a year, but after having been there will be WEIRD.
He has been there from the beginning, and by beginning I mean my beginnings with my husbands family. 
15 years. I have known him for 15 years. In that length of time he has become my family, my brother, as real and dear to my as my own brother is. We have been through good times and bad times. Extreme grief and Joy. And I am not even going to mention the time when...well let's just say he is probably scarred for life. ;)
     He is closest in age to my husband and their youngest sister, so he was always there, around the house.  He keeps me up to date on the latest pop culture trends, because honestly other than knowing that Yo Gabba Gabba is the hottest thing for the under 12 set I am pretty out of the loop. His love of Marilyn Monroe is legendary.  In fact I watched Some Like it Hot the first time with him.  We share a love of The Beatles and he makes the BEST bread pudding on the planet, at least in my opinion! 
     Now he will be an entire continent away.  And it makes me quite maudlin.
     I console myself with the fact that he is going to be with his fiance. He is the happiest I have ever seen him, and he now has a quiet confidence he never had before. This makes my heart so happy. Knowing he is so happy and in love and the wonderful changes it has brought about in him. On the other side of that coin of course is the worry that he will have his heart broken, but he is getting married and I must believe in his happily ever after as much as I believe in my own!
So we hung out, talked about his upcoming new life in his new home, and in the end we hugged tightly knowing it would be a year before we saw him again. There is of course Facebook and Skype and email, but it is never really the same is it? However I am grateful for these technologies which allow us to connect over the vast physical distance that separates us.
   And no goodbye is final, not even the last and greatest one. We all meet again, eventually. So we look forward to the day when we can embrace him again and ply him with questions about England over a cuppa. 
Until then we will have to fill that missing piece in us with the memories and laughter and Skype dates. 
And hey now I have a far more compelling reason to visit England, a country I have always wanted to see!
How do you handle tough goodbyes?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Looking at hobbies, obsessions, and a few things in between...

     I was sitting on my couch, reading a few of the blogs I follow and wondering "what in the world am I going to write about this week?" I don't have much on the home school front this week, we are currently fighting off some sort of nasty infectious germies, needless to say it has been a laid back week. So I decided that this week I am going to write about a few of my hobbies (read obsessions). Hobbies keep us sane right? Allow us to be creative and have some time to ourselves to think, to re-engage with our heart space. Now some of my hobbies/obsessions are more of a window shopping variety. As in I love to look but know I can't, and won't buy.  Because with some of my obsessions-what would I do with the stuff? Case in point my first, and probably strangest (unless you are a stage manager) Office supplies. Yup, office supplies!
     When I walk into an office supply store, I get all giddy. I usually say something like "OOOHHH (giggle giggle)" I want one of everything, even if I have no idea what it is for, even if I don't need it. I want it. All those pens and pencils and paper and other stuff that the store easily convinces me I can't live without makes me breathless. Weird? Perhaps. You have to understand when I was in college I was pursuing a degree in Stage Management. It is sort of a prerequisite to be in love with office supply stores they are an essential part of the job. So, for me, I guess it worked out.
      Now however, I am a stay at home-home schooling mom. Now I go to stores like Utah/Idaho Map Supply, it has all those amazing classroom essentials you remember from grade school. The big calender with all kinds of pictures-apples, suns, clouds, birthday cakes, you know the ones! The handwriting paper, the craft supplies, the borders for the bulletin boards...sigh....I lust after it all. In fact if I were rich, and if my husband would let me, my whole house would be decorated with it. Of course I realize how ridiculous it would look to have my entire house look like an elementary school exploded inside it, but it is a nice thought. What else would I do with all of it? LOL So my obsession has gone from office supplies-I don't get to office supply stores much anymore, to Classroom supply stores. My husband is shaking in his steel toed boots!
     The same thing happens to me when I walk into a craft shop, or a yarn store. I get giddy, my heart starts to beat faster, what will I find? What treasure will I see that I can't live without? I love to crochet, knit, cross stitch, and sew. The funny thing is I didn't learn some of this until my early 20's. And sewing is a totally new obsession that I have only begun to explore in the last few years. So no I didn't take Home EC in school. It wasn't required and I had better things to do than learn to be a homebody. I had THEATRE. Yeah I know, pretty pompous, but that would be my 16-17 year old self speaking (Cringe). If I hadn't been such a snob about it I would have had more time and willing teachers to show me how to do things that I now struggle with. Things I have to look up on YouTube to figure out.  Ah the follies of youth!
      My grandmother was an amazing crocheter. She made table cloths, doilies, blankets, she made all my Barbies clothes while growing up and they were way cooler than the stuff at the store. I remember my favorite one looked like that dress Scarlet O'Hara wears, the one made from curtains. Yeah my sister and I fought over that one a time or two. She made me a king size blanket in my favorite color. The thing is huge! Weighs a ton, is super warm and I love it. She made blankets for my babies, in fact she made a whole lot of baby blankets for the great grand children she knew she would not be able to meet.
      She always had bags and bags of yarn, two or three projects going and two or three she was going to start.  When I took up knitting she gave me some antique knitting needles. She had a grandmother, or great grandmother, not sure now, from the old country who made knit lace. She gave me the needles in the hope that I would learn and continue a tradition that had all but died out in our family. My plan was to become good enough to make her some knit lace with the knitting needles. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.
     If I had paid more attention when she tried to teach me things I would be a better crocheter now. My sister-who had the advantage of living close to my grandparents-learned so much from her about crochet, different stitches, how to read patterns. Things I have had to figure out for myself.
Whoa I digress, and am getting all misty! Onward!
     My Doctor introduced me to cross stitch when I was 17, (yeah sounds strange but she was probably the coolest Dr. on the planet and a friend) and I love it! I always have a project or two going, and they usually take me awhile (read years) to finish, but I do love it.
     When my wonderful mother-in-law passed away suddenly a few years ago, I was given her sewing machine. I was touched. It was something I had wanted to try for awhile, and now I had the chance. I put it to good use too. I suppose I felt that I had to prove that I was deserving of such a gift. She did a lot of sewing. Quilts and clothes, Halloween costumes. So I taught, well am still, teaching myself how to sew. I have made several baby blankets and lots of nursing covers in the past few years. I have not been brave enough to try clothes, except for one dress I made for my son's baby doll. LOL. Soon I will try to make a dress, maybe a few Halloween costumes, but not until after my sisters wedding this summer. Too much else to do!
     Not that I am making any clothes for that! I thought about making my own dress, but I am not confident in my ability and I don't want my first attempt at clothes to be for my sisters wedding. How sad would it be as I walked down the aisle with a dress that has three arms or something! LOL Okay so I am not that bad, but I will wait and do something that doesn't need to be that perfect.
Again I digress, sigh...
     Where was I? Oh yes, yarn stores. All those rows of yarn, all different all so colorful! The spark of endless  project possibilities peeking out at you from the bins. Sigh...good thing my hubby took the car today! I am wanting to buy a bunch of yarn just talking about it! And it isn't like I need it. I have two, maybe three big plastic bins of yarn. All just waiting for me to figure out what I am going to do with them! I have several projects I have been working on. A scarf for my husband, yeah I know it is spring time now! I am a slow knitter. A Darth Vader granny square blanket for my eldest son. (It was due on his birthday-a month ago) a shawl for me. And soon I will be starting a cool bracelet for my sister. Oh and lets not forget my nephews cross stitch baby blanket, he will be 1 in May! And his brother is due in June!! Yikes! And my own son's cross stitch baby blanket that I haven't even started on. And the samurai cross stitch to go with my geisha cross stitch. The geisha is finished the samurai just started.
And that is usually how it goes with me! A whole bunch of projects going on at the same time, and a whole bunch of projects waiting in the wings!  Are you like that?
     And I am always looking for new patterns! My favorite website is I love it! They have thousands and thousands of free patterns for everything from hats to food! They also have a lot of patterns you pay for, but for the most part they aren't very expensive. It is free to join and you can keep track of your projects, put up pics of the finished products and follow other crochet/knitters and their projects. They are also super helpful if you have questions. If  you love to crochet or knit or if you are just starting you should check it out.
       My other obsession is makeup. For years I never wore any. Oh I would buy it. I would wear it for a few months and then throw it all out and go without any, sometimes for years at a time. Then I started wearing it again a few years ago. The problem? Every time I wore it I got a huge migraine. Weird? Coincidence? Maybe. I did a few experiments. You know, wear it for a few days, go without for a few days, etc...and yeah it was the makeup. Something in the make up was giving me migraines. Can't function, light hurts your eyes, you want to puke migraines.
     What to do? I consulted my friend who is a Homeopath and Chinese medicine practitioner (is that the right word?) and she suggested mineral makeup. I looked into the big name brand Bare Minerals. I wasn't too impressed with them, they added stuff in the make up that I wasn't thrilled about. And then I found Alima Pure. (Cue the  trumpets, choir and flying cherubs.)  There is nothing extra in their make up just pure minerals, and they have the most magnificent colors!
     I was at first take aback at the price of mineral make up in general. "20 bucks for foundation!! You're kidding right?" But I took the plunge ordered some samples and fell in love! 20$ for foundation, but let me tell you, I have had mine for over 6 months and it is still mostly full! It lasts forever! Now I admit I do not wear it all the time. There are days, sometimes weeks when I don't wear any make up at all. But I wear it more often that not simply because it doesn't feel like I am wearing anything at all. Which I absolutely love!
     Now here is where the problem comes in. They have a beautiful range of colors in their eyeshadow, just gorgeous, and sometimes-I just can't resist. I think I have enough eyeshadow that I will be leaving it to my sons when I die! (Hopefully they have daughters!)  And I love their brushes. They usually have a new one on sale every week. I have been refraining from buying any, because well, I have what I need. But we have been bred to be consumers right? It is really hard to draw the line between need and want sometimes, especially with your obsessions! :)
     But I am trying to cut back, being a grown up can be such a pain sometimes! LOL. I haven't bought anything in awhile because well, I don't actually need it. And that is what I tell myself every time I get a new email from them. would be nice but...I don't really need it.  (I am on a mission to consume less, trying to become better at distinguishing need from want.  Anyone else out there working on that?)
     The other thing I love is that they send you samples with every purchase. If I already have them I send these on to my mother and sister, who I have now corrupted with my love of Alima! If you are interested you can check them out at but I warn you it can become an addiction ;) (Come over to the dark side heehee.)  So proceed at your own risk.

*I am not a spokesperson for Alima Pure, they don't pay me (I wish LOL) and all of the above is just my opinion. Nor am I a paid spokesperson for, I just love their website*

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sweet boy

My oldest boy made this for me yesterday. He said if I smelled it my migraine would go away. How sweet!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yesterdays post today

     Today has been one of "THOSE" days. 
You know the ones? The kids are screaming, and whining from the moment they get up, they fight, they cry, the lack of milk in their sippy cups is an all consuming world catastrophe, drama drama drama! (Who knew boys would be such over dramatic divas!?) I think I have played referee more today than anything else. In fact I know my husband is going to say "What!? Didn't you do anything today!?" the minute he walks in the door.
     Honestly it has taken almost all my energy just to keep the kids from destroying each other and the world.  Housework was the furthest thing from my mind. For the record I did manage to get a load of dishes going and the corned beef is is in the oven!  And school you may ask? Well I took a cue from another Home school blog I like to read and decided it would be a "bare-bones" school day. We watched documentaries on the universe and did a bit of Spanish language practice. Yeah pretty laid back today...but then most of my day has been divided between the refereeing and cleaning up after my two year old. He has a horrible habit of throwing his food onto the floor if he decides he is either 1) done, 2) not going to eat it period, or 3) bored. And while my dog is in heaven I am not. ;-)
       It doesn't matter what I do on days like today, they will fight regardless. The oldest wants a "secret hide out" so I make him one. Then they proceed to fight over it. So I make the youngest a "secret hideout" of his own, and they still manage to fight over it! There is still crying and screaming and hitting and spitting, and occasionally biting. And don't forget the classic, "Nobody loves me, I want my daddy!" It is enough to make me pull my hair out, except that I'm a wimp and that would hurt! 
     So needless to say my patience, which I have never been blessed with an abundance of, was wearing very thin.  Some days it is all too much and I end up doing a lot of yelling. (Ahem, Today.) Which I know, in my more rational moments, is never helpful.   I am a loud person who comes from a family of loud people who do tend to speak, well, loudly. I also come from a theatre family and have been trained so that I may be heard all the way to the cheap seats. Is it my fault I have an overdeveloped diaphragm? All kidding aside, I do yell far more than I like.
     This is something I have been working on for many years, and I am definitely better than I used to be, but I forget more often than I remember. My particular religion is very much about loving kindness, compassion, and not doing any harm, as most religions are. But growing up in an environment where raising your voice was not out of the ordinary does not condition one to talk softly, nor did I learn how to deal with my anger effectively. (I realize that this makes it sound like all my family does is yell and scream, which is not the case, as my sister so eloquently put it "we just make sure we are heard even if it means escalating our volume to do it") My problem is it is my default setting when my children misbehave and that is something I wish to change. 
     So for 9 years I have been trying to retrain myself.  Sometimes I feel like I am doing really well and other times I am back at square one. Trying to recondition 20-some odd years of projecting ones voice is really hard to do! My husbands family is exactly the opposite. They are probably the quietest people I have ever met. (Truthfully they were probably scared to death the first time I opened my mouth!) I would like to be somewhere in the middle. Not too loud, not too soft, just where I need to be, the middle path.  But how in those moments of insanity when the kids are screaming and crying and spitting water all over the place (true story) do you keep it together enough to not give in to that first initial response:  raising your voice? How do you maintain a peaceful center in the midst of the storm?
      I have tried all sorts of things to find/maintain a peaceful center on days like this. Anything from, singing, to playing video games, to eating large quantities of chocolate, to the much talked about "Mommy time out". The truth is none of these seem to work. When I come back into the room I do not have a true sense of peacefulness. It is as they say, only skin deep, and quickly disappears in the wake of another trying situation.
What does help is meditating, but that takes time and sometimes, especially on days like today, there just isn't any.  So what do I do?  Well I stumbled upon something today, quite by accident, that I hope provides the answer, at least for me. I was close to exploding (again) and knew I was going to start yelling if I didn't find some sort of calm when I suddenly visualized myself meditating. I am not sure why, I didn't do it on purpose it just sort of popped into my head. Me sitting on a cushion and meditating, in a quite, peaceful place. And suddenly I felt grounded and focused and better able to handle the situation.
     Is this some sort of weird fluke? Will it work again? I have no idea! I only know it worked this time. I am feeling a bit superstitious about it, so I will definitely try to sit down and meditate tonight after the kids are asleep, don't want to mess with the meditation mojo. And I will be trying it again in the future to see if it will indeed still work.  I'll let you  know, in the meantime what works best for you on "THOSE" days?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

     I have, recently, turned 34 years old and this is my first blog. 


     So why now you may ask? Good question. I suppose because I am going to begin homeschooling my oldest son and it is without a doubt-aside from the day I brought him home from the hospital and thought OMG now what do I do?-the scariest thing I have undertaken.
     I mean, I am in charge of my child's education! It is more than just a job, if I fail, well lets just say I have nightmares about my grown children having to work in some burger joint for the rest of their lives, or worse.
So I guess I thought well let's just get it out there. The trials, the triumphs, the failures, and maybe in my own way I can help someone else who is trying to take that terrifying first step.
     On top of that I am not the greatest house keeper ever. I am sure there are worse, hey I have seen those shows about hoarders, and I know there are much better-those houses that make you feel like you have walked into some sort of gallery or something.
     Yeah so I'm sloppy, house keeping is not my favorite thing and I freely admit that I would rather play with my boys than do the dishes. And don't even get me started on laundry!!! Worst. Chore. Ever! Laundry and dishes are a never ending cycle of evil! Like taxes.
     But I am trying to get better. I even bought a book. Yeah I bought a book on house cleaning. It's called No Hassle House Cleaning by Christina Spence. I love it. I carry it around with me while I clean my house, (okay WHEN I clean my house) in my cleaning kit, and refer to it as needed. Come one how can you not love a book by someone who runs a website called the happy slob!? So I am slowly working on the house cleaning and integrating it into my boys routine-can we say "Life Skills!?"
     So getting the house cleaning figured out is the easy part. The home schooling is the terrifying hard part.
I have been asking myself for the past week, "Am I doing the right thing?" "Is this the best choice for my children and myself?" "Can I do this?"  Honestly, I don't know.
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. We played school all the time and I was always the teacher. My father was a teacher, and he was an inspiration. He still is although he has retired from teaching. So here is my chance right? Teach my own children. And yet....those nagging doubts. I didn't start to having them until recently.
     I took my oldest in for his 5yr wellness check. They did all these extra tests: eye site, hearing etc...all, the nurses told me, so he would be ready for kindergarten. Then when the Dr. asked my son if he was excited about going to school and riding the bus-the excitement on my sons face...well that is when the doubts started. Even though I informed the Dr. we would be homeschooling, that we had a curriculum all picked out, and were part of a local home school support group, I still had those dang doubts creeping around.  Am I doing the right thing? That whole socialization argument popped back into my head. I have read all of them for and against, and I have heard it from just about everyone I know who does not home school. Honestly, after my own experiences, I would rather not expose my children to the "socialization" of the public school system.
     I am a child of the public schools. I have in my past thought that home schooled children are strange weirdos who have zero social skills and are emotionally retarded. Yeah all those stereotypes were like gospel. And then in college I had the opportunity to take a theatre education project around to different local schools and work with the children. I also went to a woman's house, she home schooled her children and was a part of what they call a home school co-op. When my group arrived there were about ten kids in all ranging in age from 10 to 17ish. They were the best group we worked with. They were not afraid of sharing their ideas, of using their imaginations or of being laughed at while they participated in the exercises. they threw themselves in wholeheartedly.
     Afterwards I chatted with one of my friends about the experience and we were both amazed at how smart and open, intelligent and well mannered they were. They had excellent social skills  and were in no way emotionally retarded. I began to re-evaluate my thoughts on home schooling.  Going to college in Utah I have made friends with many people who were home schooled and none of them fit the negative stereotypes that so many people think of when they hear the words home school.
     Then I had children. And I was a hesitant to send my sweet sensitive boys out into the harsh world of public education.  The final course of events that got me on the home schooling band wagon was two-fold, my sister-in-law began home schooling her daughter and the public education system seemed to be in a nose dive. Now my niece was a junior in high school at the time they started home schooling, and they had their reasons for doing it.  Talking to my sister-in-law about it and the curriculum they were using really got me thinking. So I started doing some research.
And lets not forget the fact that public education was being attacked. Their budgets are non existent, teachers can't even buy the basics for their classrooms anymore and instead have to ask the children, or rather their parents, to foot the bill. Class sizes are going up, teacher pay is going down. The no child left behind laws, were to me, ridiculous. Now teachers are teaching to the test. I am not saying that there aren't amazing teachers out there. I know there are, in fact I know a few of them, I am even related to a few! But the public school system appears to be broken.
     I read article after article about how the system teaches to girls and boys get left behind. They learn differently because they are a different creature than girls. Their brains develop differently so how can we expect little boys to learn the way little girls do. And on and on it went.
And it is true. Boys do learn differently from little girls, and they are being left behind in the classroom. I did not want my boys left behind. They are bright, eager to learn, and exceptionally sweet, though I admit I am a bit biased! And I didn't want to hear a teacher tell me they need to be medicated because they are too hyper, when they are just being little boys.
Now I am not out to say this is better than that or all teachers and schools are out to get little boys or medicate them all or anything like that. After all I am a child of public schools as I said before. And I had several amazing teachers, which is what inspired me to want to become a teacher. I also had some down right horrifically bad teachers, but I try to remember the good instead of the bad :-) So I thought why not. Why not teach my boys at home. The school will not have the burden of having to teach two more children and really, who can teach them better than I can? I know them better than anyone else ever will. Why not?
     Sounds so easy right? Yeah well, it's not. And perhaps it shouldn't be. Perhaps the fear of failure will keep me from, well, failing.  I honestly have horrific nightmares about this. I am pretty sure this is normal, at least I hope it is. And I also hope it will eventually pass or at least get better as we find a groove that works for us.  That is what all the home school blogs I have read say. "Find a groove that works for you" and then everything will be better, not smooth sailing necessarily but better.
       So here my journey begins. My journey into the crazy world of home school, and housewifery, which I have been told is an actual word! I think I am going to start putting that on anything that asks for  my occupation-I love it!
     It is going to be interesting and I am sure there will be days where I will just want to go back to my room and cry on my gigantic pillow, but as I read recently, the days are long and the years are short. So I should take advantage of these long days while I can! And as this is my first blog please forgive me if I start adding in other aspects of my life. I have a few hobbies that I love and may be sharing with you as this blog develops. 
Constructive criticism and support are always welcome, and remember if you don't have anything nice to say, don't post it. ;)