Wednesday, June 30

Never Mind

Janet, I realize now where the dead comment came in. I hadn't blogged about it b/c I don't know who reads my blog, and I'd forgotten about leaving a comment elsewhere.

Ah, I am now laughing at myself hard enough to make my cheeks hurt.

Zorak says that he still loves me even though I messed up our credit by having a death. I did get the required proof that I am, in fact, still alive. It's going in the mail tomorrow. Gotta get that cleared up because banks aren't terribly anxious to give home loans to dead folks...

Anyhow, didn't want you to think I have completely lost my mind. LOL.


What day is it?

June 30th! Holy... wow.

Well, we blew our collective time online last night helping this drunk guy home... check it out. Directions are in German, but you just use your mouse to help stabilize him. Turn the volume up- he's funny, especially if you've ever helped get an inebriated buddy from point A to point B.

The past two days have been incredibly less frenzied than last week's days were. I'm amazed. We get to swim on time, run errands between lessons, get back to swim on time, and then enjoy a leisurely afternoon together. I do believe we can cancel the previously discussed nervous breakdown! WooHoo!

We took the time to dawdle and meander yesterday at the Environmental Education building on base. Sometimes it is so good to dawdle. We got to witness the incredibly voilent beheading of a fish by a Blue Crab (it was already dead, and was fascinating, but we certainly didn't see it coming!) We were invited to bring a mouse in to feed to their king snake. We got to watch a black widow spider in action. (ewww!) We counted rings on tree specimen, and read all the latin names of the many insects on display in the hallway. It took us an hour and a half, and all we'd really gone in for was to find out what was going on with the homeschool science field trips we'd been trying to organize. How's that for a great day! And people wonder how children learn when they aren't in the g-schools...

Not much else, but I wanted to touch base. Tomorrow comes early.

Edited to add:
Jordan- you are a DOLL! Thank you for the wf link! YUM!
Janet- Was there some concern? *wink*
Amy- WOOHOO! You're back! Fortunately, the leader of this house is just as much for chaos as I am. We are leaning quite heavily in that direction. See you back at your blog!
Jess- think of it as "practice" for building the commune!

Have a great week!

Monday, June 28

The Little Blog That Could

This is my fourth attempt at blogging since my last entry. I was tempted to draw Stephen King parallels, but opted to go with the whole, "I think I can! I think I can!" approach... yes, much better. So, this post may see the light of day! Whoopie!

It's been a busy few days here. Wonderful, full, beautiful days. Today the boys and I played hangman, read stories, wrestled our way through math, rode bikes with the neighbors, picked dandelions (when do these things stop blooming, anyway?) and had, in general, a great day.

Yesterday we went to the beach. James discovered that he can, in fact, swim! John worked tirelessly in the shallow water, practicing his back float. He was very serious about the whole procedure, and quite tickled with himself when he did manage to float! There were over 300 families there- very family-oriented people, and even though the beach was absolutely jam-packed, it had a great atmosphere.

For the record, Point Lookout State Park is officially off my "recommend-to-visit" list. Argh. The park is decent, and the beach is great (though by no means do the phrases "pretty" or "clear water" come to mind). It's not the park, it's the newly instituted fees for entering the park! Five dollars per person! Not per vehicle, not per axle, not per day- per person, per day. Children are no-charge only if they are still in car seats. If you leave the park without making an extra stop at a "hand-stamping station", you must pay to re-enter the park on the same day (even if you have your receipt). There are extra fees, in addition, to fish, to see the prisoner of war camp, to use the boat ramp, etc. Bah. That's just ridiculous. Even the Grand Canyon National Park only charges $20 per non-commercial vehicle- and that's good for seven days! Crimminy, what a rip-off.

Sunday... oh, yeah, I have blocked Sunday from my mind. With a little more caffeine and a lot more effort, I think I can completely wash it away. Let's just say that when I heard a woman telling her approximately 8-10 year old son, "Fight for it! You gotta earn it!" as the children gathered candy from a pinata (at a four year-old's birthday party, no less), that pretty much explained a lot of the behavior we'd dealt with that day. *sigh* I would really love to know just who out there read Lord of the Flies and thought, "Yessiree! Now, THAT'S the way to raise kids!"

Tomorrow begins our swimming lessons, Week Two. We will be careening along at breakneck speed for the next four days, lamenting the fact that I can't find a Nutri-Grain Bar substitute in a wheat-free version (those things are just so handy for snacking on the go!) The boys are anxious, and I'm hoping (can't believe I'm saying this-) for hot weather so the pool will warm up! Please, be warmer this week!

Zorak and I are crunching the numbers on the Goal Grande for 2004- buying a house. We don't know if we'll be better off buying or building, or sticking our heads in the sand and pretending none of this is real. (The more of the fees we unearth, the more appealing the ostrich-housing approach becomes!) It is, though, rather exciting. Zorak's reading list the past few weeks has consisted of building codes, wiring diagrams, cross-sections of frame designs, and all you never wanted to know about percolation tests! Fun stuff!

Have a wonderful week!


Friday, June 25

Capillary action and candle light...

Today started off about half a step off the beat. We made it to swim right on the cusp of being late. We went to the library at nine (it's normally open at eight), only to find that on Fridays it does not open until eleven. So we went to Chick-Fil-A for some ice cream and play time... to find that their ice cream machine wasn't on yet (after all, they were still serving breakfast!) Had to pick up Zorak before John's swim class (b/c the Mistress is a persnickety thing that requires a battery we couldn't locate locally) and couldn't find him! John closed his eyes to nap as we pulled back into the pool parking lot. ARGH! No! Please, everyone take a deep breath!

We never did catch up, but it's ok because we did take a few deep breaths and plodded along in spite of our poor timing today.

The boys wanted supper by candle light, and why not? It's such a fun way to eat (provided there are actually enough candles to cast ample light onto the table so Mom doesn't accidentally scoop up a yummy spoonfull of mashed fruit to go with her bell peppers!) Talk led to the "how" and "why" and "what if" of candles and flames and, of course, a wonderful experiment on capillary action and vapor. Good stuff.

Jacob said, "Dada" today and clapped for all he was worth when Zorak heard it and looked up. Yes, Jordan, eye contact really is an incredible thing. He's also trying fervently to say, "more" and "yes". He's got the head nod down, but starts giggling before he can actually say anything.

It is Friday. We have two glorious days together and I am so very thankful. Cinnamon roll Saturday coming up! A neighbor girl's birthday party tomorrow afternoon (she is also turning four), some swim time, church, and at some point I simply must shampoo the carpets! (Don't know when yet.)

As for tonight, the boys are in the tub and will be out cold in about twenty minutes. The supper dishes are cleared. Zorak and I are going to watch The Mothman Prophecies and then clear our adled brains with a few episodes from The Family Guy. I'm hoping to get a foot rub out of it, too. We'll see how that goes. ;-)

Have a wonderful Friday night, all!


Thursday, June 24

Snippets and Such

It's not "Johnathon"... John's legal name is "John". It's a family name. It's a short name. I would have thought is is an easy name. Evidently not. There is one instructor in John's swim class who insists on calling him "Johnathon". I've told her, repeatedly, "It's just John, not Johnathon," but she evidently doesn't believe me. The thing is, she gets frustrated with him because he doesn't answer. Well, no, of course not! She might as well call him "Bob" for all the good it's going to do! Sheesh.

James swam the length of the pool today with a lifevest on. He wore himself out because he was dog paddling, but the look of sheer and absolute joy on his face when he made it was worth every ounce of sweat and determination he put into it. He was so proud that he not only went to "the deep end" (5 ft.) but he floated while he was there and he did it all on his own! John stood poolside and cheered him on. It was very cool.

Jacob had a well-child visit with our pediatrician today. We don't normally do them, for various reasons, namely that we have yet to find a doctor who actually does anything at a well-child visit to make it worth our time. However, with a new doctor, I think a baseline visit is important, so in we went. He's a little over 27" long, doing well and a very well-developed little guy (shocker, huh?) The one thing we didn't expect, though, is that he weighs a mere 15 pounds! Wow, how'd that happen? We've never had a child who hadn't tripled his birth weight by nine months! Even the doctor was surprised, and we re-weighed Jacob just to be sure. He doesn't look skinny, doesn't show any signs of a problem. He has the two chins and roly-poly arms that are typical of our babies... all his other developmental milestones are good-to-go. Anyhow, Doc and I agreed that since everything else is fine, it's not an issue. We did go ahead and schedule a follow-up for him for September, though, to keep an eye on things.

That's about it here. We are enjoying the boys thoroughly, and the weather has been downright heavenly. This swim schedule is going to be the death of me. I am serious about hiding when it's over. I'm sure the boys will keep me stocked with cookies and Zorak wouldn't mind putting the coffee pot by the nightstand...

A few quickies before I head out (Zorak needs to track down a new battery for the Mistress):

Krista- your blog is once again refusing to load on my server. I'm going to call my ISP b/c I really, really miss reading your blog!

Kolbi- ok, your Nation is gone, your blog is dormant, and you aren't emailing anyone. Shall we call the Search & Rescue team? You ok? Tap once for yes...

Donna, I love the deet-filled memories!

Jess, we keep missing each other. I love and miss you- kiss those kiddos for me!

Check out the blogs in the sidebar- there are some great posts there today!

Talk to y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 22

Mommy Blogging: birthdays, government, education, and coffee

Well, it's been a whirlwind week. Still no jacket. Tonight's the first real online time I've had this week, and I'm going to blow it checking email and reading my favorite blogs. :-) So this will be quick:

John Baby is four now! His birthday was Sunday, and he had a lovely day. He awoke early, we had leftover pizza and junk-food cereal for breakfast, then read and played until James got up. The kids and I played while Zorak slept in (Happy Father's Day!), then we went shopping (had to get the peripherals for John's new bicycle!) John picked out a chocolate brownie cheesecake for his birthday cake. WOO HOO! Good taste, Sweetie. All the neighbor kids were out of town this weekend, but he didn't seem to mind not having a party. Several neighbors came over while he opened his presents and then we all migrated out front to play catch and ride bikes for the rest of the evening. That's a great day when you're four.

Today the boys began swim lessons. We got up, fed, dressed and out the door before seven thirty, for lessons at eight (yes, AM!). James did stunningly well in his class. (Or, at least, I was stunned.) I think he's hit a real milestone in his atttiude toward bodies of water, and this is going to be a great summer for him. John's class was a few hours later, so we ran errands and grabbed a bite to eat. He screamed bloody murder getting into the pool. I have to admit, I wanted to scream, too. It was COLD! Once he got submerged and warmed up a bit, though, he had a splendid time and did well. This routine will continue four days a week for four weeks. After which, I can be reached via cell phone only, as I will be hiding under the bed, whimpering and sipping coffee at an accelerated rate.

OK, *swig o' coffee* education, and the role of government.

Basically, as I see it, it is the role of the government to protect rights and it is our responsibility as a free nation to provide opportunities. America is not the land of equal achievement, regardless of how many people would love to see it as such. That is simply not feasible. Not going to happen. Not worth attempting, because in the attempt, many people will be brought down so that the playing field is "level" and there will STILL be those who just refuse to achieve or are incapable of achieving.

Education is a wonderful thing, one which every child in America has the opportunity to attain. It is a priviledge and a responsibility, but it is not a right. If education were a right, then it would be bestowed upon everyone upon either birth or reaching the age of majority. *poof* There ya go, you can now vote, own real estate, and oh, yes, here's your education. It doesn't happen that way. Education, the act of attaining an education, is something that a person is responsible for doing (at whatever age, learning is not confined to the years from 6 to 18), and the parents of a minor child are responsible for guiding and facilitating that endeavor. Notice how the government doesn't factor in here? I wholeheartedly support educational opportunity, and support (to some extent) our public school systems. For many children, public education is the only education they will receive in their primary years. I'm glad it's there. What I do not support is the idea that we are beholden to look to the government as some staunch paragon of standards by which we must all prove ourselves or else be deemed "unfit". NO. Again, I say, NO!

As for the the cry that we need these measures (oversight, review, mandatory testing, etc) for the poor homeschooled children who need this government protection because their parents are not advocates for the children... um, this is basically what I call "feel good" legislation that makes people feel warm and fuzzy about what's being done "for the children" while in effect, it does nothing for anyone but the overloaded, overpaid, and overconvoluted Government.

First of all, the vast, overwhelming, amazingly large majority of families who opt to homeschool ARE advocates for their children. I don't care if their goals are college track, developing an entrepreneurial outlook, vocational training, or a lifetime on the Amish farm... homeschooling families tailor their educational philosophy and goals to fit the needs of the student. We have college firmly entrenched in our plans for the boys. We have friends who do not. So who is to determine the "standards" by which we should plan? Which one of us is WRONG? Anyone? Anyone? (Bueller? Bueller?)*

If every person who is convinced that the children whose parents are not "there" need some help would get off their collective butts and DO something about it (teach a child to read, take a child to the ballet, take a child for hikes and get him out-of-doors... DO something rather than demand that "They" do something), we would see much greater results with much fewer invasion into our own homes. We would not only have greater freedoms and a greater society, but we would have a greater investment in our Future Generations. Anything worth having is worth investing our own time and effort into, isn't it? Let me ask you this: is the reviewer asking me inane questions about whether little Johnny is "capable of sensitively handling multi-cultural identifications in stories" truly concerned about little Johnny? Perhaps. Let's quit paying Mr. Reviewer and see how long he's willing to tow the invasion line.

I have seen personal involvement in action, and can attest to the fact that a little goes a long way. Children are our greatest resource. Government is known far and wide for bungling things, raising the cost and lowering the output. So why does everybody seem to think it's such a great idea to trust our greatest resource to those who have proven themselves least competent to nurture and develop those resources wisely? That strikes me as lazy or weird, probably both.

*The correct answer to that one is, "neither"- we are all doing what we see is best for our children to fulfill their roles in society. Hallelujah!*

Anyhow, that's my take on the big hype of "for the children". We do a lot for the children, and would do more if the government would get out of the way and let us. But as long as the rest of you are willing to kick back and demand that the gov't do it instead, not much is going to happen. We'll be too busy trying to keep from drowning in ridiculous regulations and useless feel good legislation to be able to help many other children.

And so, another day begins tomorrow. Fight the good fight. Do it for the children. Anyone up for a tea party?


Saturday, June 19

Still no jacket...

So still no blog time. But he's narrowed it down!

Anyway, quick update:

We got our Eagle's Nest Homes catalog in today. Zorak and I spent a few hours going over floor plans and financing options. This might be the way for us to go about doing this... still scary, though.

The boys are great. We did light lessons today, met Zorak for lunch on base, and then spent a few hours at the beach.

Then, believe it or not, since it was too late to wax eloquent, I uploaded pics! So, here's tonight's blog:

Enjoy your precious children!


Wednesday, June 16


Well, it seems that the Mistress, and the ongoing search for a "really cool jacket" (unanimous definition of "cool" still pending...) took up a large chunk of Zorak's evening, seeing as it's nearly one A.M., and I have just now snuggled into the still-warm computer chair... So any picking of the brain tonight would be, admittedly, slim.

Hence, I will spare you the attempt to finish the gov't spiel this evening, but will instead work on getting it written out so that, in the event that "the jacket" still hasn't materialized by tomorrow, and I am once again not on until tomorrow has ended, maybe I can cut 'n paste and still turn out something semi-worthwhile.

In the meantime, keep talkin', and have a wonderful night!


Government Intrusion Part 1

Alright, I think this is going to have to do. Now we are all inundated w/ a green goo. I have a deep and abiding appreciation for the mongo warehouse size boxes of tissue!

Briefly, let me say that if I ever wondered how Maryland became the Police State it is (and it is, believe me), my questions have been answered in the past weeks. It's the Sheeple. It is the individuals who are actually convinced that the State-mandated invasion processes are somehow benevolent and that we need them to be looking out for our "best interest". Well, I guess when you're too inept to run your own life, perhaps that makes sense, but I truly do not believe that people are too inept to run their own lives. They may not want to, and hey, who is going to do a job that someone else will do first? But most people are capable when called upon, or permitted, to answer the call. Therefore, this philosophy of the Benign Big Brother is pretty well null and void. Today I'm just going to stick with my homeschooling tirade, because the whole thing is too big for one post.

So, here is Government Intrusion Part I:

You cannot homeschool freely in MD. You must inform Them (in this case, the County) of your intent to homeschool, "15 days prior" to getting started. (Or what? Nobody seems to know, but they quake and quail and make certain to meet that useless requirement. And why? Again, nobody seems to have a clear reason "why" this is a necessity.) Then you must re-inform Them yearly because, well, we just can't have people somehow being left in peace, can we?

You have three options: use a State-approved correspondence school, use a "religious" umbrella school, or submit to the County's review up to three times per year. You must cover the classes that they teach, period. Many people have opted for the umbrella school because they don't want to deal with the County. I don't blame them. I do think it's cowardly, but when the government holds your own children over your head, it's hard to be noble. The State knows that. The people have forgotten that. That's why we're running into tyranny.

The county reviews are a joke and are nothing more than an outlet for the educational powers-that-be to strut their prowess like little old Banty Roosters, and a means of keeping a ready-to-go roster of homeschoolers when They need to crack down on this dangerous subculture of homeschoolers. But just in case you get uppity and stop thanking the reviewer profusely for his/her suggestions and feedback (a custom which is highly recommended here- be sure to thank them for their input, whether you asked for it or not!), They can request to "observe instruction". This doesn't seem to bother anyone! Or, not enough to say anything about it. Well, I am NOT letting the State into my home! No way, no how! Oy!

And yet, I cannot so much as request that people STOP giving the State more than it is already requesting or they break into the "Don't Oppress Me" skit from The Life of Brian! PUHLEEZE! Y'all are handing over your rights and responsibilities as fast as you can, but when I ask that you please not set dangerous precedents that could lead to further legislation affecting the rest of us, I'm the Oppressor. Shyah, ok.

Oh, and in case anyone is thinking that perhaps Maryland's public education system is so well-run that it can afford these extra expenditures to keep the homeschoolers under their thumbs, think again. Regularly in our local paper (and our crime rate here is far lower than in the northern counties) we read of assaults, poisonings, poor academics, aggression from faculty, arrests on school grounds. The schools are failing on every front. They cannot tend to their own, but by golly, they'll make sure WE don't make any missteps. All Hail Big Brother!

And the people actually do not mind! I'm just floored! I have been continually floored by the mentality that we need to "play nice" with the government and not anger it. In an attempt to try to circumvent a big brewhaha that's bubbling up here in our County, one group has suggested a tea for the educational heads, to show off our curricula, our kids, our portfolios. You know, show them that we're really A-OK. What?!? My jaw hit the floor when I read that. Why would I do this? I have nothing to prove, nor am I clamoring for the "approval" of this giant, control-freak father figure.

You know, I am just not accustomed to living in a culture that is afraid of its own shadow, and I'm alternately enraged and disheartened by this attitude. It's naive to think that if we can just be good little subjects, the King will leave us be. Hello? We threw off that mantle a long time ago! Why are we now donning it for tea parties? What in the WORLD is wrong with people today? My vote goes toward a mass rebellion tea party... you know, the kind of tea party that WORKS. Let's invite them to tea and let's put their forms through a shredder and pour them over the tables. Let's refuse these abuses and invasions en masse. Then let them try to arrest every single homeschooling family that is willing to stand up and say, "You do not represent me!" Ah, but that would not work out here, because so very, very few are willing to do so. So very few think there is a problem.

Yeah, so I cannot protect my family. I cannot bear my children in an environment that my husband and I deem best. (I'll cover these two tomorrow.) I cannot educate my children in peace. I'm paying huge taxes for services I don't want and won't receive (talk about taxation without representation!) And people wonder why I giggle cynically when I read that Maryland is "The Free Line State". That is just rich. What's really scary is that Maryland isn't the worst state out there!

So, tomorrow I'll finish up with Education: Right or Responsibility? Probably not worth the four-day wait, I know, but hopefully some of my readers (more articulate and well-versed than I!)will join in the discussion.

I am going to find a new box of tissues...


Sunday, June 13

Stinkin' liars

OK, Jacob is still in high-need tree frog mode, so we're still holding off on the gov't intrusion post (but it IS in there!) Tonight, I'd like to share with you how people like Sarah Brady and Katie Couric will flat out LIE TO YOU in order to get you to believe what they want you to believe. They, and others like them, want what they want, and to hell with the truth. Read on:

Exploiting tragedy for political gain is nothing new for the media and the Brady Campaign, but this morning's appearance on NBC's Today Show reached a new low. Katie Couric and Sarah Brady used the tragic occasion of President Reagan's passing to shamelessly forward the gun-ban agenda with deliberate misinformation. Led by carefully crafted questions from Couric, Sarah Brady claimed that President Reagan wasn't actually an NRA member, and that he "worked hard" for passage of the so-called "assault weapons" ban.

In fact, President Reagan, the owner of an AR-15, was a strong and consistent supporter of the Second Amendment and the NRA. He was a long time member who actively courted the NRA's endorsement in both of his presidential campaigns, and was the first presidential candidate in history to receive that endorsement. He appeared on the cover of NRA magazines four times. In 1983 he was offered, and accepted, an NRA Honorary Life Membership, the highest honor bestowed by the NRA.

He was the first, and to date, only, sitting president to speak at our Annual Meetings, saying, in part, "The NRA believes America's laws were made to be obeyed and that our constitutional liberties are just as important today as 200 years ago. And by the way, the Constitution does not say Government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution says 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'" In 1986, President Reagan signed the landmark Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA), and he never blamed law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals.

Don't allow these offensive lies to go unchallenged! Please immediately contact Tom Touchet, Executive Producer of the "Today Show," to express your outrage and demand that equal time be given for a rebuttal. Mr. Touchet can be reached by phone at (212) 664-3222, or by e-mail at

*sigh* I guess to some it doesn't matter what is true as long as the end goal is what they want. But if you care one bit about truth, please seek it out. Don't let others tell you what to believe.


Saturday, June 12

ACK- no great blog, sick baby

Of course. I forgot that children only become ill on weekends. At the earliest, Friday after five, right?

So, it's been a giant, sleep-inducing (for me, not him) nurse-a-thon for the past umpteen hours. I have a hot, miserable 20-pound lump of tree frog-like snuggle baby plastered to me right now and haven't been able to shower, let alone put together the gov't intrusion post- it is waiting in a skeletal form in my drafts, though, so if I forget where I put it, you can flick me in the head, hand me some coffee, and remind me where it is, ok?

In the meantime, we are off for a lavendar bath and... well, more snuggles. I will leave you with my butchering, er, rendition of The Snuggles Song, with apologies to Tigger:

The wonderful thing about snuggles
Is snuggles are wonderful things
A touch can be so healing
Incredible comfort it brings!

They're soothing, calming, healing, balming,
Neat, neat neat neat NEAT!
The most wonderful things about snuggles IS...

Snuggles can't be beat.

Hoo hoo hoo hooooo!


Thursday, June 10

Some Days

Some Days are sweet, like the scent of a honeysuckle blossom that lingers long after you've closed the windows and put away the supper dishes...

We had our sweet little neighbor girls over for a couple of hours this afternoon. I tell ya, if we had any hope of having girls like these two, I wouldn't panic before each ultrasound. These girls are just the greatest. The boys adore them, too, and treat them with such deference, such kindness. I love it. We did crafts and built things with the pvc pipes. I pretended to be a growly bear who wanted to eat children. The boys pounced upon me and gave me quite a squishing when I chased after either of the girls. I am really, really sore. Still, we had a really, really great time. Jacob followed the action with glee, laughing and giggling as the kids ran laps around the downstairs, smiling and clapping when one of the girls stopped to give him snuggles.

Jacob is getting the second tooth (of eight that are currently jockeying for position). It is the other canine. Oh, I do hope we can get some pictures of that once they're in farther. He's clapping now. When we say "Yea!", he smiles and claps with such a savory, intentional delight that it's intoxicating. He is also waving hello and goodbye to people, mostly his favorite people.

John has been out cold by seven PM three times this week. I'm not sure why he's so sleepy, but he's very sweet about it. He simply announces at the supper table that he's feeling a little sleepy and would like to go to bed. He brushes his teeth and falls into bed- sound asleep before his head hits the pillow.

James has been absolutely thrilled to be helping Zorak with the motorcycle and is just chomping at the bit to invent something that will help make motorcycle maintenance easier. He's still in his face-making mode when we break out the camera and to be honest, it's been a year and I would like, just once in a while, to get a nice picture of him when he's not doing his Jim Carrey impression.

Today Zorak completed the tweaking and fine tuning on The Mistress. She has a lot more umpf than he suspected, particularly once he replaced the spark plugs and had her running on both cylinders. I had to laugh, as my mechanical experience is mainly with the Chevy 350's- I've had that puppy running on just four cylinders before and done quite well, thank you. (Not that I'm proud of the fact, but simply to illustrate that the two cylinder engine is an amazingly simple, yet totally foreign animal to me.) He also got (not to start a Jim Carrey theme tonight... this is the last one, I promise) a Me, Myself and Irene helmet! (Only, Zorak's is all black... and he doesn't usually have that goofy look on his face.)

Tomorrow, a fresh new can of worms to open: government intrusion into private homes and how Sheeple are giving away their rights without having a CLUE.

Tonight, well, hey, it's almost three. I'm goin' to bed.


My way-too-early response on Ezzo

Wow, I have to say first of all, thank you guys for sharing your viewpoints and info on Ezzo's Babywise/Raising Kids God's Way issue. I'll include at the end of this post the links that were shared with me. I also plan to check out the book from the library in order to give a more detailed account at a later date, but for right now, here are my thoughts and my concerns.

Before I dive in, though, I'd like to address the issue of posting comments anonymously. Please don't. Like I said before, they create a hostile environment, and if anyone's going to bring down the property value around here, I'd rather it be Zorak and me hanging out on our front porch, drinkin' beer and doin' the redneck thing, ok? If you have thoughts you'd like to share, that would be great, and I'd love to hear them (yep, even if you don't agree w/ me!) but if you do have something worth saying, it is worth putting your name to. Thanks!

The first, and probably my biggest issue w/ this program is that I truly believe in breastfeeding on demand. It is God's plan for mothers and their babies. We are designed to be able to communicate with our children on a genetic level and the supply and demand system is part and parcel of how we are designed. It is not manipulative. It is not a "modern" machination to keep women "in their place" or part of a "permissive parenting" approach or anything else. It is how we are made!

You can breastfeed your child exclusively for two years without your child suffering any harm at all! It's wholly acceptable. You are designed that way. Your baby is designed that way. Is it easy? No. Does the mother have to do her mongo whopping part to keep up the milk supply and be available to her child? You betcha. Have I managed to do it? Nope. We usually begin feeding our babies solids when they turn one. HOWEVER, that does not negate the fact that a woman's body is designed to respond to her child's needs and when you don't mess with that, it'll work just fine.

The impression that a six-week-old infant who "sleeps through the night" is somehow a banner of glory on the part of the parents just ticks me off no end. Namely, most people don't realize that "sleeping through the night" means FOUR HOURS! Four. Not eight, not ten, FOUR. Secondly, in Biblical times our babies were in bed with us. If they awoke and were startled, the mother was there, with her warmth and rythmic breathing, to comfort them and lull them back to sleep. I'm not even going to go into a co-sleeping debate, but it does play a role in how children traditionally developed and if we are to attempt to emulate "God's Plan" for our children, then let's not pick and choose that which is most "convenient" for us, ok? If you want to get "back to basics", then do it, but don't try to force a baby into your modern idea of basics. That's like people who don't eat pork "b/c it's not Biblical", but then also don't bother to observe the periods of uncleanness with respect to their homes and husbands, and ignore a laundry list of other point, as well. C'mon, here, don't be pickin' and choosin'- pick a path and start movin' down it, ok?

Breastmilk is digested in approximately 90 minutes. It takes an adult approximately three to four hours to digest a meal. Think about this. How often do we, as adults, need to eat to keep up our metabolism? Doctors recommend "six small meals a day" to keep up our energy, to repair tissue, and we don't even have to worry about making synaptic connections or growing and developing at an exponential rate the way infants do! Yet we eat about every four to six hours. I have a real problem with someone telling mothers that their newborn, the baby with a stomach the size of its fist (look at a newborn's fist!) is supposed to do all that work off feedings that are spaced three hours or more apart. ARGH! What is that?!? And Ezzo says if the baby doesn't eat at a scheduled feeding, you don't feed him again until the next scheduled feeding. Oooo, talk about raising my blood pressure. This is an INFANT, people, not a petulant teenager, and providing ample and regular sustenance when your child needs it is not going to turn him into a petulant teenager! Believe me, there is more out there to worry about than whether your infant starts getting haughty over when he can eat.

Attachment Parenting. This is one of those things that I believe falls within the "good parenting" category. This doesn't mean at all that non-AP parents are in the "bad parenting" category, not at all. It's easy for us to forget that parenting is just as personal as it can be, and there is a huge choice of non-deal-breakers that fall within the "acceptable" category. Some people love to sling their babies. (I do. You couldn't pay me to buy a stroller.) Some don't. (Zorak would rather carry both older children on his shoulders all day long than have to sling the baby for ten minutes.) We're both ok with that, and the boys aren't traumatized by either approach. The point against Ezzo, however, is that there is nothing manipulative or inherently sinful in keeping an infant close and responding to his only means of communication. What if you taught your toddler to "use your words" and then ignored him when he did so? What kind of a lesson will that teach him? Babies' words are their cries. Don't ignore them.

Do y'all realize that the brain of a human infant is, at birth, second only to the kangaroo's brain for being underdeveloped? Even the kangaroo can climb into its mother's pouch to work on developing. A human infant's brain has a lot of work to do on just getting all cylinders to fire in line before it can go to work on pushin' the proverbial envelope and trying to "get away" with things. Picking up a crying baby isn't spoiling him, it is responding to him. That's something I am pretty passionate about.

OK, now with all that said, I think my concern is not the mother who has a good head on her shoulders, who knows how to glean, who can make notes in her notebook along the lines of "well, this part is useless" and move on. My worry is the young, inexperienced mother, perhaps one who is new in her faith and unfamiliar with discernment, who ends up with her newborn in the pediatrician's office, suffering from malnutrition and diagnosed as "failure to thrive" because she listened to this guy. It has happened, so I'm not being paranoid. Children have been hospitalized because their parents, in trying to do "God's will" have starved these precious children! That is indicative that there is something seriously wrong: either inherently wrong with the program, or dangerously wrong with the presentation by the teachers.

I know that there are so so soooo many parenting choices available, and none of us wants to get into a cry-it-out/never cry debate, or the co-sleeping debate, etc. I don't think the issues against Ezzo's books and philosophy are divided along those lines. I think they come down somewhere between those who take responsibility for thinking for themselves vs. those who are so afraid to trust God's real plan that they will follow anyone like a mindless automaton. I've received plenty of notes from mothers who have used Ezzo's methods without harming their children- their children are now well-adjusted, happy, loved children. The key among each and every one of them, however, has been discernment: these women have known how and when to draw the line and throw out the garbage, rather than the baby, with the bathwater.

So, perhaps my suggestion is not to completely do away with these classes, but for the older women to take on their God-instituted mentoring role. Talk with the new mothers, assure them that God built them to do this, if they will just listen to Him. I don't know. It still makes me twitchy, and I'm still going to pick up my children when they need me. I'm still going to encourage every woman I come across to nurse on demand and not to try to tie her tiny infant to an adult's concept of schedules. I think that's the right thing to do. I believe that being a mother is more than just running the regiment through its paces, it's teaching and nurturing, giving them a safe space to learn to trust us and how to discern who to trust and when.

I have also learned, from those who were willing to share, that the program's presentation is dependent in large part upon the church itself and how the instructor presents it. Thank you for sharing that information. We may try the church anyway. I will still most likely discuss the program with the church leaders and ask the questions I have. It's important to review what we believe and why, and I feel that the church is no exception to that. ;-) I'll probably be a thorn in their side, but what else is new?

So, here are the links that were shared- happy browsing!
A site about Ezzo's excommunication, medical data, and other issues.
An article written for about Ezzo (he was contacted for the article, but refused an interview. The information he did send in was included with the article.)
Also, Tulip Girl has written often on Ezzo- if you go to her blog and do some searches, she has linked extensively to news releases, tidbits, and medical information. She rocks.

And I guess that's enough blogging for the morning!


Tuesday, June 8

Heading to bed

But I wanted to say...

We finished Return of the King. This was my second time watching it this week. Great movie, but I still think I liked the second one the best. Maybe I'm goofy. Well, I know I'm goofy. Anyhow, tons to share, but it's late and I'm out of coffee. Will do it later.

Also, Mandy and Jill, thank you for sharing your thoughts on Ezzo. I am not ignoring you, certainly, but like I said above, I'm out of coffee. I'll share more of my thoughts tomorrow after we brave the DMV and I'm feeling energized.

Latin, Latin, Latin, this is a lot of fun. Today while doing vocabulary, when we came upon "habito" (I live/dwell in), James said, "Ah, you mean like 'habitat'!" Wow, he does catch on quickly. I think we'll go back through w/ John at a slower pace in a couple of years, once he's reading. In the meantime, though, I cannot recommend Memoria Press' programs highly enough. Wow, oh wow, what a great program!

Time for some beauty rest. (Hee hee! As you'll note the time is after one AM, this is a total joke.)


Quick Howdy!

Good Tuesday Morning!

*whew* We are making it. Nearly finished clearing up some issues that had sprung upon us like rabid pit vipers whipped up by a stinkin' tropical storm... oh, look, there goes Auntie Em! Bye, bye! ARGH. (I'll blog more about it when all is said and done, but for now, please pray for peace and wisdom for me.)

Boys are great. Weather is gorgeous. We are going to President Reagan's funeral on Friday, as Zorak has off and we will be able to attend as a family. I'm thankful that we can observe this day together.

The Mistress, as I have dubbed the motorcycle, is doing well and getting more attention to her wiring and overall care than I have lately. Huh. Who knew? Actually, I hope this doesn't sound resentful, because I don't feel that way at all. It's really, really neat that Zorak has something that is his, something to work on and tinker with and enjoy. He's let so many of his passions and hobbies go by the wayside in order to provide first for us. This is a good time for him.

AND, the boys got to learn about wiring diagrams and how to rewire a bike yesterday! They had such a great time helping Zorak, and he is so incredibly patient and involved with them. I enjoyed watching the bonding take place and enjoyed letting the boys show me how to use the volt meter and explain to me how the wires work, which ones are grounded, which ones are hot. I'm surprised by how very much they learned in the whole process.

Busy week coming up. New driver's licenses tomorrow. Cicada talk at the library on Thursday. Trip to DC Friday. I don't even want to think about this weekend. Possibly a new church. Still wavering over that one. Unfortunately, it turns out that the one I had so wanted to attend offers Ezzo's "parenting" (and I use the term loosely) classes, and while my knee jerk reaction is that I do NOT want my children in a church that will support that mentality, Jess pointed out that it's quite possible the pastor is unaware of the truth behind it and perhaps we could positively influence a change. *sigh* I don't know. I was a much more effective crusader before I had children... now I just want to focus on the boys. (Yes, I know, set an example, fight the good fight... we'll see.)

Jill, Oh, Jill!! You need to email me, lady!

And while I'm putting out pages...

Laura in Korea or in the US or... where are you?

Kolbi, did you get lost in those North Carolina mountains and refuse to come back out?

Alrighty, all the business calls have been made today, and now I've decompressed on the 'puter, so it's time to go play with my sweet boys and remember why it is I haven't gone postal yet. (They need me. That's pretty much it. I need to go love on 'em and let them know what a wonderful blessing they are in my life.)

Talk to you later tonight!

Sunday, June 6

Back at the Ranch...

Zorak is now the proud owner of a shiny kinda-new motorcycle! Yup, Friday we drove to Philadelphia (yes, 481 miles round trip, in one day, with three small children...) to pick up the bike. We arrived in Philly with a few hours to spare, so we cruised down to the Historic Waterfront district and enjoyed some of the museums and history of the area. Although the wall-to-wall people, the unheard-of traffic, and the absolute level of chaos there reminded us that we would rather have our toenails removed piece by piece sans anesthesia than to live in a large metropolis, the opportunities and experiences available for the occasional weekend trip do abound. We had a lovely time and would like to go back to spend a full weekend there sometime. We picked up the bike and arrived back at home around three Saturday morning.

There is now an incredibly well-maintained 1980 BMW R-something or other motorcycle (with a horizontally opposed twin engine- I do know that much! But that's probably what the "R" is for, huh?) residing in our vehicular family. It isn't exactly what he wanted, but it will serve his purpose, is in phenomenal shape, and with what we saved buying this one we can fix it up quite nicely. Zorak is a happy man. The trip was definitely worth the effort.

Then it was up bright 'n early *yawn* Saturday to return the trailer we'd rented. The boys and I dropped Zorak off for a "dudes only" fishing trip (that's another blog- maybe next week?) and then we went to the Marine Museum to check it out at the boys' pace. That was truly wonderful. We took the marsh walk- a nice boardwalk discovery trail that winds through the marsh grass (eww) and makes a full circle back at the otter tank (wee!). Some truly disgusting things live in the marsh. But like I said, this was for the boys... and they loved it.

Picked up a crib, heard the news of President Reagan, came home and spent the rest of the day crying and sharing stories of the President with the boys.

Zorak returned to base camp a little after midnight and our wonderful neighbor came over to watch the boys while I went to get him.

Today we attended our church's annual church picnic. It was so nice to worship on the beach. It was the first time we've ever been overdressed for church. The BBQ was catered, and the turnout was huge! (This was also the congregation's 50th Anniversary). We all had a nice time, and I was absolutely filled to the gills with happiness at having my four guys sitting there with me in service. Jacob in the sling, John on my lap, James leaning against me, and Zorak's hand resting on my back. *happy sigh* If it wouldn't be so traumatic for the kids, I'd say that's just how I'd like to die. ;-)

Tonight while we played out front, the boys befriended two new neighborhood children. *unhappy sigh* This week we are going to study the importance of choosing friends wisely. We'll see how it goes.

We've been so incredibly blessed with the wonderful neighbors we have in our little corner here, it was quite a shock to get smacked with these two. I guess what makes me so sad and angry about it is that I know these girls started out just as kind and decent and loving as our good friends' girls, but when a girl is left to grow up without her mother's guidance (or if her mother guides her in a less-than-encouraging direction), the results are immediate and sad. I am praying that if we can be a positive influence on the girls, the Lord will show me how to do it. If we cannot exert a positive influence, then I'm praying the backup plan to help me provide a buffer between the girls and my boys.

Schooling is going well. Last week was skewl-lite, as Zorak had only a three-day work week. So this week will be back to the laughingly-named "grindstone" (as if to imply that we ever work our little fingers to the bone!)

Had tons more to blog about, but it will have to wait. I am going to try to finish ROTK tonight before Zorak returns from his Wal-Mart run.

OH- that was it- WALMART! So, we did more research on the place that had the lowest camera price. SCAM ARTIST ALERT on every point. *sigh* We looked and looked the rest of the week, and you know, for all-around value, you just cannot beat Wal-Mart. Even shopping online!


Saturday, June 5

Today we lose a hero.

President Reagan passed away today, having lived a full and service-filled life. He left his mark upon America's history, upon the world's history, and quite indelibly, upon my heart and home.

There is a wonderful photographic essay of the life of Ronald Wilson Reagan, which is of interest.

This is, for our country, and in honor of the office and the man, a time of mourning. You may love his economics or hate them, claim his legacy or not, but I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on, and show respect for, the life and service of a man who loved and served his country far better than most of us today could possibly hope to do.

Our prayers are with the Reagan family today.

Wednesday, June 2

Motherhood *sighs*, Routines and Homes.

James and I had a "brain stretching" pow-wow tonight. He asks the most incredibly intricate, exhausting questions. I don't know how to answer them. Sometimes I'm afraid to answer them because I am terrified he'll actually try one of the things he's come up with! So tonight, after supper, I called him to the couch and said, "Hey, buddy, let's stretch Mommy's brain." We came up with silly, outlandish scenarios and explored them. He snuggled and giggled. He laughed. He was really, very, very sweet. Then he went upstairs and messed with the electrical plugs, playing musical outlets w/ his lamp and nightlight. (A constant source of contention since he's been moved to his own room, along with the "keep out" sign and the hoarding of goods under the bed. *sigh*) Argh.


John lost his sword this week. Oh, he knows where it is, but he cannot have access to it for a week. It is far too handy to use as a retaliatory tool on your big brother. It is far too convenient to use it as a pre-emptive strike on your big brother. So, the sword is on sabbatical. *sigh* He asks for it no less than every fifteen minutes.
"Can I have my sword?"
"No, you may not."
"Do you want me to remind you, or do you remember why you may not play with it."
(He sighs heavily and goes off to play with the myriad other things at his disposal, or brings me a book and we read. Fifteen minutes, repeat.) Then tonight he asked me to read a book to him. I was en route to the Suburban to get a paper for Zorak and promised to return to read the book. Got the paper, went upstairs, and *zzzzzzzzz* he's drooling on his pillow. I feel so bad. I even tried to wake him up, but had no success.

Motherhood is chalk full of ups and downs some days.


OK, ok, I will admit it. Routines do make my life much simpler. I hesitate to give license to myself even to utter that statement in the darkest recesses of my closet, let alone commit it to eternity in cyber space. Still, as stubborn and hard-headed as I can be, er, um, tend to, no, AM, when I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and I am totally (well, mostly) ok with admitting it.

It's true that my soul remembers with fondness the bygone days I spent as Zorba; my gauze-dress clad, toe ring wearing, barefoot, nymph-like alter-ego. The braids and beads, crashing at a friend's "pad", arguing the finer (? yeah, ok) points of civilization on the veranda at a wine tasting... free of structure, routine, and obligations.

But you know, I really didn't accomplish much then. There is no way I could have actually developed the sticktoitness required for motherhood (or wifehood, for that matter). It took a change, not of garments (for there are still funky gauze dresses hanging beside my Rockies), and not of activities (one day I will attend another wine tasting, oh yes, I will!) but of mind.
Point of view.
It's not about me, and it's not about the grander schemes of my youth. It's about God's purpose for my life, whatever that may be, and having the fortitude to look at the oftentimes overwhelming list (was going to say "laundry list", but then the washer hit the spin cycle and that seemed a little too cheezy, even for me) of things to be done and saying, "Uh, yeah. OK, this is going to take some organization."

Again, what it's not. It's not the three-ring binder fetishist's four-day binge on double stuffed oreo's and coffee, *sip* furiously rearranging the lives of everyone else within a 100 mile radius in order to "get organized". Not that coffee is a bad thing, mind you, *sip* Ahhhhh.

But what it is... it is being able to say, "This needs to be done. I don't necessarily want to do it now, but it must be done and that's OK." It's the "that's ok" part that usually makes me stutter like mad. Just as my son is learning, so am I. When we balk, there are consequences: in my case, an unkempt home, unorderly days, harried Mommy, confused and cranky babies. When I suck it up, do what it is my job to do, maybe even smile about it a bit (you know, sing a song, dance like you think you're alone in the house), the converse consequences are blessings that far, far outweigh the insanity of shirking my responsibilities.

And that, for me, my friends, comes in the form of a routine. A routine doesn't mean you are caught in a trap of a deadlines and strict hours (although if that works for you... well, if that works for you, then just reading my blog probably gives you hives.) It's about not being idle, about doing your utmost in the best way you can given our natural tendencies to slack off and hide from the unpleasant. Routines teach us to make the most of those three minutes between points A and B, to do something productive and loving for our homes and our families when we just don't have the time to plan a black tie gala to show our appreciation.

I caught myself telling James yesterday, "Honey, you have had the same exact bedtime routine every night for nearly six years. I would think at this point you would understand that it's easier on everyone when you do your part." Hmmm, funny, God whispered the same thing in my ear when I went to bed. Every night after supper, Zorak takes the boys upstairs for bath time. I am alone, just me and the kitchen. Our eyes meet. I used to scamper off to the back porch with a book and a cup of coffee. "I need this break," I'd tell myself. Pfft. No I don't. I need to clean the kitchen, need to tidy my home and then I need to enjoy a quiet evening- maybe even all evening- relaxing with my husband. He needs to have a nice home. But, nooo! That's a routine, that's responsibility, that's haarrrrrddddd. (That would be my "inner child" whining there- you know, the one that would rather take twice as long to do something after being told all day to do it than to just get on it and do it right the first time.)

Lately, with thanks in large part to the encouragement, humor, wit and insight of the wonderful blogbuddies I have here, I've been better about it. I don't don the pearls and touch up my makeup before Zorak gets home, but I do tell the boys, "OK, Daddy will be home shortly. Let's tidy up!" We've talked about how good it feels to Daddy when he can tell we have been expecting him. We talked about how much work we put into the home when company is coming, and how much they appreciate it, so think how good it must feel for Daddy to see that we've blessed the house 'specially for his arrival!

Yes, all this to say, "I did my job today". It's not looking for accolades, as this is really the bare minimum of it all. I'm sharing this to encourage others who have a petulant 17 year-old Inner Child. *wink* I've done my routines most of the past month and a half, in fact, and the difference has been wonderful. The boys are reacting positively to it, Zorak's happier when he gets home, and I feel like I have more time (imagine that) to really enjoy the rest of them!

So now, the dishwasher is running, a fresh load of wash is going, the house looks, feels and smells great... and I have the rest of the evening to enjoy my home. What a great routine! Maybe I'll go braid my hair...

Tuesday, June 1


Me: What are these little orange, leaping bugs?
Zorak: I don't know, but they sure are good in coffee!

Yup, the leaping, the flying, the climbing, the miniscule and the moderately-sized; we have 'em all. Even in our coffee. I'm starting to think Napalm is in order...

James: I think being a kid is average. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don't. So that comes out to be average.

Hmm, I guess it's a sliding scale.

Not much to blog about here. The storms lately have been beautiful, but they have also turned our normally somewhat marshy back yard into a veritable biology lab of nasty, biting insects. Ewww.

Ya know, when things are happening that you can't blog about, that pretty much just creates a total flatline when you try to think of topics. Funny how that works. LOL. (It's nothing serious- boys, Zorak and I are all fine.) Anyhow, I'll think of something and will blog again soon!

In the meantime, have a great day!