Friday, July 29, 2011

The Hippie ... born Activitst

I know I am supposed to be on hiatus.  I am, really.  I have no time for this computer thing.  But, hey, I'm sitting here, drinking my tea anyway.  No reason I can't write and drink simultaneously, right?  

After my tea I can take care of the post office and picking up the key and cleaning the new place and dropping off the donations (for the umpteenth time) at the Humane Society Thrift Store (we like that the money goes to the animals) and take the Princess to her annual well check (Hippie had hers yesterday ~ perfect health, as always) and get more boxes and keep packing and ...

But, for now.  I wanted to tell you the latest venture my little activist has started.  

I told you about our adventure with a Momma Cat and six kittens here.  Well, ten weeks later, we still have Momma Cat and four kittens (not to mention the dog and cat we already own/claim).  

I have been driving the kittens to our local Petco each Saturday and Sunday to be shown for adoption.  Two were adopted on the very first Saturday ~ woo hoo. 

I must say the whole experience is bitter-sweet.  Difficult, to say the least.  No matter how old and responsible you try to be, it's only human to get a little bit attached to animals you care for for ten weeks!  Babies that could barely walk ... you watch them grow and develop little personalities all their own.  Especially if you are an animal lover, as we all are in this house.  

The girls were told (and me) from day one, "We are NOT keeping any of these kittens" ... "We are NOT keeping them" ... "We are NOT keeping them" ...

Why?  You may be asking. 

Well, we've always had and done well with two cats and two dogs and two kids and two parents.  It works for us.

Yes, our other cat had just died.  But, we are in very tight financial times.  

We are recovering from my husband being laid off and unemployed for four months.  Things are tough. 

Caring for an animals should require more than just food, water and love.  It should at least require flea and heartworm prevention and annual shots/check-ups, too. 

It should also require that you can afford to take them to the vet when something is wrong.

That is where we struggle.  I'm working on that.  Hubs has a good job, a career and we are working to understand the amount he will make (it changes by the week, based on work, not hours).  I'm learning to budget and have been doing a lot of educating myself.  We will be setting up a new budget once we get settled in our new place.  I will make room for savings and for animal care.  

But ...

At the time we found these kittens, things were not looking especially promising.  It would be unfair to the animal and irresponsible to take responsibility for any of their care (permanently) and not be able to afford more than the minimum.

That doesn't even prevent a 34 year old woman from getting attached.  How do you think a 6 year old handles that?  

Needless to say, we all love the kittens (and the Momma).  But, we are smart.  We are working hard to find them homes.  But, we are invested ~ we've spent so much time with them, so much money on food and litter, so much care and love and stress and cleaning out litter boxes and ...

We want them to find homes, but we want them to find good homes because we care about them.  


Wow, I went way off topic from my original post idea.  Let me get back to that.  

So, I started taking the kittens to Petco three weeks ago.  This wonderful organization is helping me by showing the kittens at their weekly adoption events.  

It was difficult to find help.  Most places I'd call would not accept any animals.  But, Jennifer (at TARAA) agreed to help immediately.  She does not euthanize ~ she rescues animals from being euthanized at the local shelters.  We love her!

Well, the first Saturday that I took the kittens with me, the Hippie fell in love with one of the dogs available for adoption.  Her name is Stella, and she had been saved from being euthanized.

The Hippie cried and begged and pleaded for us to adopt her.  

Obviously that is not an option at this moment (coming soon ... we do want another dog, a playmate for Sweet Pea, but not until we are moved and we want a boy because Sweet Pea is a girl and same sex dogs don't get along as well).

She begged and cried and begged and cried.  She understood the reasons and eventually accepted them, but could not wait to go back to Petco with me to see Stella. 

They noticed a limp on Stella that day.

The next time we went to Petco to take the kittens, the Hippie ran right up to Jennifer, asking where Stella was.  

They'd left her at home.  They'd x-rayed her and discovered that she needs a new hip.  It looked like someone had kicked her and shattered her hip (precious baby).  

It is going to be a $1,000 surgery. 

They are trying to raise the money.

The Hippie came home and made a poster and took our family's "piggy bank" (a giant plastic jar that we cut a slit in the lid) to begin raising money for Stella.  

The next time we went to Petco, she took the stuff in and said they should set it up for people to make donations.  

Anyway, the Hippie decided to leave the piggy bank, money and poster with them for the week in hopes that they could raise some more.

Of course, that hasn't stopped her from raising money here at home!  She's got a TON of change to add to the jar tomorrow when we take the kittens again!  

She makes me so proud.  I just know she is going to change the world one day!

Stella on the right, that's Tessa on the left

Friday, July 22, 2011

Short Hiatus

I wanted to apologize to my faithful readers.  There has been (and most likely will be) a short hiatus on blogging.  We are in the process of moving, so I really just don't have the time at the moment.  I hope you are all enjoying your summer.  We'll be sure to catch back up with you soon.

A look ahead ... some of the things we are looking forward to this fall ...

Football season resumes  

Spanish Club for the girls

Zoo School

Spending time with a new Homeschool Group ... not a co-op, just good old fashioned FUN (field trips, park days, activities, etc.) with a group of Attachment Parents

Handwork Wednesdays resumes

A new house with a big front and back yard for the girls to play in (as opposed to the townhouse we are in now)

Settling in, organizing, making it home

Bike rides, walks to our new nearby playground, the beach 

Daddy being a bit closer to work so home a few minutes earlier

And all other wonderful things that come with fall ~ better weather, holidays, hoodies, baking, pumpkins, windows open, aaahhh

Have a beautiful summer.  I'll try to check in as often as I can and will get back to regular blogging as soon as possible.  I have all kinds of school-related things swimming in my head that I'd like to get "on paper"

Love and LIGHT

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

** Warning:  LONG POST ... grab a cup of tea before you begin! **

Why do I do what I do?  How does it help my family out? 

If I were to try to list the reasons I homeschool, it would take me days to write this post and it would take you just as long to read it.   It would be an ongoing, never-ending list.  I would think I was ready to publish the post ... then, I'd think of another reason.  This would go on forever.  I'd never get it published.  And, if I did get it published, I'd regret it five minutes later because I'd think of another reason I do it.

When someone asks why we choose to homeschool our children, it always smacks me in the face for a minute.  For me, the choice is so natural, it is akin to breathing.  Why do I breathe?  Why do I eat food and drink water?  Why do I sleep?  Because they are natural parts of life.  My children being at home, living and learning as a family is as natural to me as breathing.

I understand where it comes from.  I guess, if you're not "in it", it is difficult to understand.  I get that.  We have all been raised in a society that takes away our freedom to live our lives the way we truly want to or that we see as best for our own families.  When someone goes against the grain, it can be difficult for others to understand.  But, when you are "in it", it becomes second-nature.  As natural as going to bed each night.  Of course my children are home-educated.  

People often think it is only because of the school system of the area in which you live.  "So, then when you move, are you going to put your kids in school?" 


Sometimes they think it has only to do with moral upbringing.  "You know, you can still teach them right from wrong and what you believe when you are together."

That may be true, but when they spend the majority of their time with their peers, how much influence would I really have in the long run?

Sometimes they think it is religious.  "You can still teach them about your faith on the weekends."

True.  But, when your belief system is more about choices you make all day, every day than about what you do on Saturday or Sunday morning, it is important that you are together for those teachable moments that arise all day, every day.  

Sometimes they totally miss the boat and think you want to shield your children from the rest of the world and keep them inside some sort of bubble.  "Your children would benefit from being around other children." ... or "It is not healthy to protect your children so much from the outside world.  Eventually they will have to deal with and live around other people."  

Ha Ha.  Because that child who sits in a classroom with 25 other children his same age 35+ hours a week instead of dealing with and living around other people all day and all week as mine are doing is going to be so much better prepared to survive in this world.  Because that institution that we call school, where they are told to be quiet and sit still and listen and behave and only get 20 minutes on the playground (if they are lucky) and have to scarf their lunch down in less than 20 minutes of "silent lunch" at 10:50 am in the cafeteria is doing such a better job of preparing children for the real world.  Isn't it possible that the children who are living and learning and playing in the world every day might be better prepared to survive out in it?  

My children are already comfortable dealing with the post man who comes to our home each day, telling the post man at the post office about their day, talking to the cashier at the grocery store and asking the librarian for help locating materials they are interested in.  They know where their food comes from, they know how to ring it up and pay for it in the self-checkout aisle at the grocery store.  They know how to weigh their vegetables and fruit and estimate how much it will cost.  They see me adding things up in my head as we go along inside the store.  They see the importance of keeping to my budget.  They know how to do the dishes and the laundry and scrub the toilet and vacuum the floors and take care of the animals.  They know how to deal with the neighbor who is in her 50s as well as her elderly mother and father who are living with her.  They know how to interact and play with children of all ages because their homeschool groups are not limited to children who have a birthday in the same year as they do.  They know how to handle babies and toddlers because their homeschool peers have younger siblings.  They know how to handle the adults because Mommas and sometimes grandparents participate in the things we do.  

My children know more about how to deal with all types of people, all ages and professions, because they are out in the world all the time.  The myth that homeschooled children are not socialized is probably the biggest lie of them all.  The total opposite is true.  When you encounter a group of children and most of them will not make eye contact with you or talk with you, but there is one girl who walks right up to you and talks to you while actually looking into your eyes, not afraid or uncomfortable, I guarantee you that if you were to ask around, you would discover that that child is homeschooled.  

So, why do I homeschool?  

I absolutely wouldn't have it any other way.  And, neither would my husband.  And, neither would my children.  

The Bible says that we should train a child up in the way that he should go and he will not depart from it.  God gives us these children because He has faith that we are capable of taking care of them and teaching them to live in this world.  We as humanity were designed to be centered around the family unit.  When family is the center of everything, things just work better.  Homeschooling is about family.  

Homeschooling is about natural learning, natural living.  We do not have to wake our children because of a schedule.  They can naturally rise when their sweet little bodies are finished doing the hard work of growing at night.  

My children do not have to spend 7 to 8 hours stuck in a desk in a classroom being talked at.  They are free to learn about their world be exploring it, playing in it, reading about it, watching videos about it, visiting museums and cool places to learn about it, drawing pictures of it, observing it, painting it, baking in it, being the children that they are. 

In the afternoon, they can continue to play and enjoy freedom and space and time and wonder while their schooled counterparts are busy doing endless amounts of homework and getting ready for the drudgery of doing it all again the next day.  While my children are chasing butterflies and watching the manatee swim under our nearby bridge, their counterparts are busy memorizing facts to be spit out on Friday's test, only to be pushed out of their brains next week to make room for more facts to be memorized.    

Our society is moving at an ever-increasing speed.  It is too fast-paced for even adults, and it is taking a serious toll on every one's health!  Children are over-diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and over-medicated for it while adults are over-diagnosed and over-medicated as well.  The sad thing is, if everyone could just slow down and simplify their life a bit, the issues would ease themselves.  Children aren't truly getting ADD/ADHD more and more.  They are simply over-stimulated.  Their lives are too busy.  With school and homework and dance and soccer and gymnastics and scouts and church groups and ... and ... and ... and ... Fill in the blanks with whatever comes to mind.  The end result is the same ~ their childhood is lost.  

I, for one, am choosing a life that will not do this to my children.  I want my children to have the freedom and the time and the space to explore and play and learn and just be.  I want them to find and appreciate the beauty in God's Creation ~ how can they do that if they never get the opportunity to be in it? 

So, do I homeschool because of the school system?  Yes

Do I homeschool for the moral upbringing?  Absolutely

Do I homeschool because I believe that they can learn more and actually enjoy it if given freedom and time?  Yes

Do I homeschool so that their little bodies can sleep when they need to, play when they want to, run and jump when the mood strikes, eat when they're hungry, sing when they are inspired, read when they feel like it, paint any day (not just on Art day), bake and cook when they get an idea and so on?  YES

Do I homeschool because I believe that the best possible place for my children to be is with me?  Without a doubt

Does homeschooling in my home mean that my children have no interaction with the outside world or that they don't have any other children to play with or that they are secluded in my own personal little bubble?  Absolutely not!  We have pool days and park days and Spanish Club and Zoo School and Handwork Group and Circle Time and field trips and we sing Christmas Carols in retirement homes and we give food to the homeless and we go to the post office and we go to the grocery store.  Homeschool should really be renamed EARTHSCHOOL.  The world is their classroom!

Do I homeschool because I respect their childhood and want to protect it and allow them the time that they need to play and explore?  Absolutely!  I do not want my children to start the rat-race at 5 years old like so many do today.  Shoot, we are trying to raise children who will never join the rat-race.  They are FREE to choose the life they want to live... just like their parents are doing!  

So, you may be able to argue one point to me and convince me to take pause and think for a minute.  But, you'll never convince me to put my children in school because if you make me rethink my views on one point, there will be 1,999 more reasons lined up behind it.  

You may convince me that we need to find more income, but you will not convince me to put my children into school in order to make that happen.  Contrary to what I've heard multiple times, homeschooling is not a luxury reserved for those who can afford it.  It is a decision, a choice, a life filled with many sacrifices made by the families that choose it.  Rarely will you meet a family that is wealthy and homeschools.  We are all scraping to get by.  But, we choose to, because no amount of money or ease in life would be worth changing the one thing we hold so dear.  

As I said, my family living and learning together is as natural to us as breathing.  It may make some areas of our life difficult, but what others don't seem to understand is that we choose and accept that struggle for the good of our children and our family. 

Could I get a "real job" (as if the one I have isn't "real") and bring in an income to help my family?  I could.  But, I believe with every fiber of my being that the most important thing I could possibly be doing right now is exactly what I am doing.  I am loving my children each and every day.  I am guiding them in this great big thing that we call life.  I am teaching them to make good choices in all things that they do.  I am showing them how to maintain a household, because no matter what path they choose, they will each have to do that one day.  

I am loving and supporting my husband as he makes this life possible for us each day with all of his hard work.  I make sure that he can go to work and concentrate on his job and nothing else because he has full confidence that I am handling everything else.  Not to sound like June Cleaver, but I have a scratch-made, whole-foods dinner on the table when he gets home each day.  I make sure he never runs out of the things he needs to be successful.  I make sure his children are happy and loved and educated and cared for.  I make sure the bills get paid and the errands get run.  I do all those things so that he can focus 100% on his work when he is away from us.  And, he works hard so that his children can have the life that he and I want for them.  We are a team.  We work together.  We each are helping the family each and every day with the things that we do.  

So, while I do realize that the hugs and kisses and drawn pictures and cuddles and sweet little notes and the AHA moments that I get "paid" in will not pay any bills, I know that there is not a single job on the planet that is more important than this one at this time in my family's life.  

Children are only young once.  They are only this small for so long.  I intend to protect it and cherish it with every ounce of my being. 

Let me leave you with one of my favorite homeschool quotes ...

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."  

I am trying to light that fire ...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Guest Post by THE HIPPIE

I  loooooooooooooooooove  Nim's  Island.    It  is  my  most  favorite  book  ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

I  have  read  it  two  times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I  am  reading  it  again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read it,  please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   It  is  really  good !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The  first  time  I  read it  in  2  hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tattoos all around ...

I'm afraid there is a high probability that one of my children will be a tattoo artist.

Or both will.

A favorite past time in this house is tattooing ... 

A few good sharpies and my girls are 100% content.  

They draw on themselves.  They draw on each other.  They do it in the car.  They do it in the bathroom.  They do it at the kitchen table. 

As for real tattoos?  Daddy has several ... Momma has zero, zip, zilch, nada.

I continuously tell my children that tattoos are permanent, forever.  They will be there when you are 89 just as when you are 18, only a little droopier.  :)

Daddy's tattoos are all spiritual, have deep meaning.  That is him.

Momma is not one to have or ever get a tattoo. 

And, that's okay.  We can be different and still love and respect each other for who we are.

Meaning, no one needs to get a tattoo, but our own personalities and creativity will be loved and respected.  No matter what.  

So, why do I mention all of this?  Well, our home has been a seriously busy "Tattoo Shop" these past few days.  I thought I'd share some of the work with you.  

As in real life, I successfully managed to remain photographer and not client.  :)  

On the Hippie, by Daddy

On Daddy, by the Hippie

On the Princess, by Daddy

Tattoo Hour

On Daddy, by the Princess

On Daddy, by the Princess

Daddy's back piece, by the Hippie

On the Princess, by the Princess

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