Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

This year many of my family and friends are celebrating milestone birthdays - my daughter turns 5, my husband turned 30, a cousin turns 18, and I have friends turning 50 and 60. They all have or will celebrate with a party complete with friends, cake, ice cream, and lots of fun. I decided that I would do the same even though it is an "off" year for me as far as numbers go. I hosted a BBQ at my house for all of my friends and family and had the best day! From late afternoon until bedtime, friends came and went, bringing food and smiles to share. I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the company of some wonderful people without the normal distractions. This day was the best gift I could have given myself. I think I have started a new birthday tradition. I have to say thank you to my family who helped with everything and my friends who made the day so memorable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Three Rings

I recently lost a ring that I purchased while on vacation with a friend during our senior year in high school. My finger did not feel or look right without my ring but I wanted to find just the right ring to replace it. Yesterday I found the ring. Three actually. I was at the store to purchase a couple of things, armed with some birthday money just in case I found something extra. While looking at earrings, this set of rings caught my eye. I added the set to my purchase. When I got to the car, I took the rings out of the package and placed them on my finger. It instantly struck me that there were three rings for my three girls.

One ring had a smooth, polished finish. The largest of the three, it reminded me of my oldest daughter. She has an amazing innocence and a simplistic view of life. Fashion, boys, makeup, and popularity are things her peers think of often, but she is a free spirit. She is more content to dig in the dirt, sleep in late, and spend time with her younger sisters.

Another ring is a slightly thinner band made of a braid. This is my middle daughter. Although she is tiny in stature, her personality is bold and a force to be reckoned with. She will not be left out nor forgotten. She is a complicated person, always keeping those around her on their toes.

The third ring is a tiny band with bumps around the circumference. The first thing people notice about my tiniest girl is her curly hair. It drives me nuts because it is never in place, just like my curly locks. Like her oldest sisters, she will leave an impression on anyone who crosses her path.

I think I found the perfect rings with which I can adorn my finger.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Apology Necessary

My 8-year-old daughter told her babysitter's teenage daughter that she didn't have to listen to her because she is not the boss. Well, actually she was the boss at the time because the babysitter left momentarily and left her daughter in charge. My daughter apologized when the babysitter returned. When I found out about it, I told my daughter that she needed to write a letter of apology to deliver tomorrow. She expressed her opinion that she has already apologized and is finished with the situation.

After some time sitting on her bed thinking, she now sees things my way and is writing her letter. Ugghhh...

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children. That statement was for my sanity.

I suppose God feels the same way about me on a regular basis. I do something I know I should not do and then do the least act I can to remedy the situation. I feel like it should slide, just this time, and He says no, not good enough, go back and fix it.

It's amazing what we can learn from our kids.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Choosing an Education

I have always wanted to work with kids, and by the end of high school I knewI would end up teaching. For many years I was against homeschooling and private schools. I felt that it is most beneficial to all of our children if we all supported public education. If we as parents poured ourselves into public education as we often do into homeschooling and private schools, then public schools would be so much better. I became enlightened when my own daughter was in first grade.

I have always known my chid is intelligent aand the school confirmed that when we received a letter inviting her to participate in GATE for the following school year. By that time, I had already begun the process to enroll her into CAVA, a charter homeschool program. It was not that I didn't pour myself into her education nor did I dislike her teacher. I was frustrated that my child spent all day at school, studying reading, writing, and math and came home with several pages of homework every day. I wanted to spend time with my daughter at night doing something other than homework. I did not understand why there was no time for social studies, science, art, or music.

I considered transferring her to another school in the district where I substitute taught on several occassions and liked what the teachers got into their classrooms. Around the same time, I spent some time with a friend who homeschools through CAVA. It is the best of both worlds. This public school allows parents to teach but provides all of the curriculum and materials needed, including language arts, math, history, science, art, and even music. There are many families that use this program and they meet regularly to meet the social needs of children. The children have time to do things other than school.

Without hesitation, I enrolled my daughter and she will successfully finish second grade with CAVA. When I say that is an individual choice, I don't just mean for each family, but each child. I would not consider homeschooling my four-year-old until she is at least in first grade. I know that she needs to be in a classroom, even if she has rough days dealing with the other kids. She needs to learn to be part of a group, follow directions, and other social skills that she would not get in a homeschool setting. And then there is always our baby who may do something entirely different from the others.

For more info on CAVA, click here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who, Me?

Growing up, and even now, I always felt like I didn't quite fit in. My friends were popular but I was not. My friends wore the right clothes, but I did not. My friends had it right, but I did not. It didn't really bother me, I wasn't interested in the "right" things. I had my own idea of what was "right." I didn't want to be the life of the party, I didn't want to spend all of my money on expensive clothes, and I loved my old car. I enjoyed being home early so I could sit and talk to my family before going to bed and I enjoyed being the "good girl."

Even while I dated one of the popular people, I stayed the same. While he was the life of the party and did his thing, I remained the same. Sure, he drug me into the spotlight when we both ran and were elected to district offices for our youth group, but I did not change who I was.

After several years, we married and moved away. We have been married ten years now and recently went back to our youth group for a reception honoring one of the adults from when we were involved. With our children in tow, we journeyed back many years and were shocked at what we found. Several people who were involved when we were came to us, excited to find out about us. Individually, they expressed their admiration for us and shared that they looked up, our values, and our accomplishments. That was shocking enough, but it was not the end of the surprises. Later in the evening, some of the current members came to us and asked if we were that couple they heard about that set the standard for appropriate behavior. With a smile, we acknowledged the reputation while inwardly questioning this legendary status.

I find it amazing that although society has gradually loosened its morals, high standards are still valued. Those kids looked up to me, of all people. Maybe they also looked up to the girls with the prettiest dresses, but they looked up to me for who I was, and am. Apparently, actions do speak louder than words and people do still have some traditional values. I am thankful I never changed who I was to please someone else or I would have missed this moment that will last much longer than that temporary popularity.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What a Way to Start the Day

While perusing the paper this morning, I read the most delicious news. Fosters Freeze in Barstow will celebrate it's 60th anniversary by selling hamburgers, sodas, and ice cream for 60 cents. For a person like me who would be completely content to live on ice cream alone, this has made my day! Don't miss out, it will only be from 11 am to 2 pm! I will definitely be there early.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Houston, We Have a Flat Tire

My husband and I had it all worked out. I dropped the kids off with a friend and was on the freeway, on my way to the dealership to drop my car off for warranty work. My husband was about twenty minutes behind me and was going to meet me at a restaurant where we could have some alone time before getting the kids. I pulled up close to a semi and began to hear a loud noise. After a brief moment, I realized this noise was coming from my car and it suddenly became difficult to drive. I maneuvered to the shoulder and got out to see that my front passenger tire had blown out. I got back into the car and pulled my phone out of my purse. Just then, it began to ring. Looking at my caller ID, I saw my husband's face. When I answered the phone, he asked what's happening. I explained my problem and he said he would be there soon. Shortly after, he arrived, changed my tire and sent me on my way. We continued our evening as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. After all, no one had to visit the emergency room.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Broken Head

Our family hosted a yard sale on Saturday. We did well considering the wind and my husband and I considered the many ways we could spend the extra cash. Towards the end of the sale, our four-year-old was jumping on the sofa. I was busy with a last-minute customer and not really paying too much attention. This level of activity is normal for my girl. So is the stunt she pulled when she jumped off the couch and landed head first in the dirt next to the couch. I heard no screams so I continued with the customer. A moment later, the screams came from my older daughter when she saw the blood running down her sisters face. I yelled at my husband and he came to see the problem. He carried our daughter into the kitchen and pulled out the peroxide and cotton balls. Under all of that blood was a fair-sized cut, not too deep, under her bangs. Ironically, she and I decided last week that we would let her bangs grow out. While I looked on and held tightly to my child, my husband cleaned the cut as best as he could. An uncertainty about how clean the cut was and a concern for scarring, we decided a trip to the urgent care clinic was necessary. Upon arrival, my husband was told that because she landed on her head, they would need to go to the emergency room. Fast forward to the two of them sitting on a bed in the E.R. hallway talking to the nurse. The nurse asked my daughter what happened and my daughter replied, " I broke my head." Later my daughter asked her daddy if there were pieces of her head laying all over the place.

Thankfully, she got through her ordeal (third hospital visit for a head injury for the record) and is healing happily. She got ice cream on the way home and shared with the teddy bear the hospital volunteer gave her. She proudly wears her hospital bracelet and is excited about picture day tomorrow with her forehead glued shut and bandage protecting the wound. I, on the other hand, am mourning the fact that I will be sending my "extra money" from the yard sale to pay the hospital.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Refreshment in Amboy

Our family went to beautiful Amboy for a few days of relaxation and refreshment. Anyone who knows Amboy is probably thinking I am crazy, but it was a wonderful weekend. Driving through Amboy, you see the remnants of a small but liveable town. There once was a restaurant, hotel, gas station, school, and other unrecognizeable buildings. Now, only a few residents remain but no businesses. My husband works just outside of Amboy and stays in a travel trailer on a coworker's property during the workweek, along with several other coworkers. The girls and I joined him for a quiet time in the desert. While he worked, the kids enjoyed digging in the dirt while I caught up on my reading. Wen he got back to camp on Friday, we ventured down a long dirt road to see a ghost town (remnants of houses and a mine) and sand dunes. When we arrived at the point where vehicles must stop at the sand dunes, we got out of the car and found nature at its finest. The ground was peppered with white flowers that looked like poppies. At closer glance, giant caterpillars, 3 inches long, were munching on the flowers. The kids were enthralled with the sight. On the way back we found a lemon grove where we picked enough lemons to make lemonade when we got back to the trailer. The following day we slept in, leisurely packed up, and headed home, stopping at Dairy Queen for ice cream on the way. We ended the "vacation" with pizza and movies at home. I doubt we spent more than $100 (gas being half of that cost) but we all had a great time.