Wednesday, March 25, 2015


When I was 8 we lived in Salt Lake City.  There was a girl across the street that came to church sometimes.  Her mom smoked and was not active, as I recall, if a member at all.  We hung out with the girl quite a bit.  I don't know if we just really liked her or if this was encouraged because she was in need of fellowship.  Through hanging out with this girl we were exposed to a wide array of inappropriate from Days of our Lives, to actual porn.  Great!

I've always known that none of those things were appropriate for anyone, let alone children.  But today when I remembered that came to church, it reinforced my thoughts.  No sleep overs, ever.  No hanging out at people's houses without a parent, that I know shares similar values.  No playing in bedrooms. 

Sometimes I'm all about letting my children have more freedom and competence.  But it is the experiences of knowing that girl, that make me most protective of who my children associate with.   They're not going to be exposed to horror movies buying bread on their own, or cooking their breakfast. 

I think society has gotten concerned about kids' safety in all the wrong ways.  I'd rather have my child fall out of a tree and break bones, than play violent games, or read/see pornographic material. 

My sister recently said she felt that kids should be allowed to be kids.  Since I homeschool, I can let my kids be kids quite a lot, and still expect a lot of them.  They aren't in school having to follow school rules all day.  So most of their day is just hanging out being kids.  And in the name of being kids, I think that kids should be allowed to play without the pressures of romantic relationships, materialistic comparisons, and social hierarchy. 

And if someone ever wants me to encourage my kids to be friends with someone from church, in need of a good influence, I'm probably going to have a problem with that. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


We've rescued the girls room from the pit of despair it was in.  M has had this changing room and shelves for about a year now.

 She's the hoarder of the family.  Everything is so precious it must not be gotten rid of.  And all these treasures generally sit on her shelf and never get played with.  It is what it is.  She keeps her clothes in order mostly and the orange bucket is for dirty clothes.
 The mess that takes over the room is usually lP's clothes and toys on the floor that nobody claims.  So I created a dressing room for lP.  She's much more likely to say "Let's throw it away." when something is repeatedly left on the floor.
Even cleaning the room from the pit of despair, we didn't even have a full shelf of things she wanted to keep in her room besides her clothes.  She also has an orange bucket for dirty clothes.  I used to have the girls share a laundry basket but it's easier to have them be responsible for their clothes when they are responsible for their laundry.  And it's awesome when they are responsible for their laundry.

M is such a beautiful girl.  She is kind to lP most of the time.  She is over affectionate to B.  She loves G and always wants to hang out with him.  She's doing so well with reading, piano, and writing.  She cooks breakfast for herself most days, and for me sometimes too!  Sometimes her hair is askew and it bugs me.  But hair is not as important as being kind.  So I'm glad that we don't waste too much time or attention on our appearances.  Because M is beautiful.  She's a lovely person.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring break

We got to go bowling because G's scout troop earned so much money selling camp cards, they've got money to do fun stuff.  Someday I will remember that 1 game of bowling is plenty for anyone.  Once you have to drag them back to the lane for every turn, they're done.  My kids only like about 5 turns, then they're happy to be done.  I like bowling.  It's like a game of chance in that I don't have the skill to determine the result, but sometimes I get lucky and that feels like magic.  Maybe P and I will go on a date sometime.

Like a sunrise on a cloudy day

We'd been planning to go see the sunrise for months.  But we didn't want to actually wake up any earlier than necessary.  So we went today to experience the Astronomical Twilight, Nautical Twilight, and City Twilight.  I never even knew those terms existed before.  P has such a gift for sharing wonder with the children.  He's the one that gets us out to see the 3AM shuttle launch.  It's him that sets up chairs and then carries the children out to the porch at 2AM to watch a meteor shower.  He was the driving force, literally and mentally, for our grand trip this summer.  I'm really impressed at the childhood he is crafting for the children.  I get to just come along for the ride and look good.

 Notice how we're bundled up because we expect 7AM on the beach to be cold on the first day of Spring in Florida!

 Everyone was happy when I pulled out the biscuits and cheese.
 G eats colby jack cheese lately.  He also is willing to eat a sliver of vegetable matter to get more bread products.  It's a huge improvement.
 lP looks like an explorer on a new planet.  She's got her biscuit and her galaxy blanket.  Ready to go.
Great job P.  Even though there was so much fog, we didn't see the sun, we enjoyed a morning together.  Thanks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

nurturing and educating; errand of women

The plight of women in the work force has been on my mind a lot.  Many women want to work.  Many need to work.  But why are so many spending time away from their children to earn low wages at jobs that do not value them?

Women have always worked.  Managing the entire household while their husbands go out and shoot some meat to bring home, that's work.  Raising children, that's work.  Growing all the food for the family to eat + some to sell for cash, is work.  Teaching your children, nurturing your children, it's work.

When Horace Mann was pushing for universal education, he targeted women becoming teachers.  Do it because it's noble, he urged.  And as a wise politician, he knew they would be able to afford universal education on the backs of female teachers that would be paid less than male teachers.

The child care and education system have a class of employees that are minimally trained, acquire years of experience, but still get minimal pay.  It's rare to have parents that see teachers as anything but babysitters.  So while it can be a rewarding endeavor, if you're going to leave your children in the care of others, you may as well do something that will provide better financial security for your family.

I was telling P this in sort of a rant.  P is a teacher.  P loves teaching.  P is a great teacher.  P supports our family.   P is not a mother.

Digging deeper I realized that I come from a family that does not value teachers at all.  The worst villains to our family have been teachers.  In particular, Grandma H who left her small children in the care of her mother, so she could be a teacher.  So that's the dynasty of contempt for teachers I come from.  Having heard stories of contempt for teachers all my life, it is hard to realize that some people actually value teachers.

P's family has a long line of teacher, male professors, and Grandma L taught elementary school.   But it seems they also don't particularly value any teachers outside of higher education.

It's interesting that we would marry each other.  It's good.  We're ducks of a feather.  Except that I didn't really like teaching.  I couldn't handle the haters.

There is no magical career of easy living, with adoring fans.  Very often, the most rewarding careers are not well paying.  Not everyone can afford the lifestyle they want, doing the work they want to.  There is a compromise.  But I'd really like to help my daughters get degrees in fields that if they need to leave their children to work, they will be able to make some money, not just pay for daycare.  Because raising their children is the most important thing they can be doing with their time.  I hope they marry men that understand that and are willing to support them in that if at all possible. 

I think one of the worst things our current society tells parents, is that they are replaceable.  We're told our children will miss out on socialization if they aren't in day care.  We're told that if our spouse isn't satisfying in every conceivable aspect, in every moment, get rid of them. 

Parenting is a sacred work.  Of course the world wants to degrade it.  We're better at noticing how the world degrades the value of individuals and marriage.  But we don't like to tell people that their children deserve better.  Their children deserve them, fully present, engaged and as committed to their eternal progress as any other milestones, and more.

Monday, March 9, 2015

parenting teens when they aren't teens

Our children are young.  But we're trying to teach them now, the things we know they won't care to hear later.  Gems like:

If you don't like how someone is treating you, don't hang out with them.

You get to decide who touches your body. 

It's ok to be mad but you don't have a right to hurt people.

Doing laundry


If you don't have the money, you can't buy it.

People are more important than things.

Practice is how you get good at something.

Be on time.

Be kind.

Ask for something nicely.

Keep your mind on the goal and don't get in trouble because you got bored waiting for the goal to happen.

Keep trying.

10 Commandments

These good old gems become more and more relevant as I raise my kids:
  • Thou shalt have no other gods: not even your children's activities
  • No graven images or likenesses: not even your photo albums
  • Not take the LORD's name in vain: not even when you children ruin some thing
  • Remember the sabbath day: take your kids to church, it's more important than disney
  • Honour thy father and thy mother:  because they didn't kill you
  • Thou shalt not kill: your children
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery: because your children need a stable family
  • Thou shalt not steal:  because society breaks down and that's bad for kids
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness:  even if you want to impress the other mommies
  • Thou shalt not covet:  all the stuff other families have

Saturday, March 7, 2015

the competition

This is G's last year of pinewood derby races.  Thank goodness!  P has always emphasized that G is to do most if not all the work.  We don't have a ban saw, so G has to cut the shape with a hand saw.   Every year G has lost every single heat.  With only 4 boys in the pack G never placed.  So he was often the only child that didn't get any recognition.  Great!  So he learned to be a good sport.

This year G sawed his car so thin that P had him Spackle it instead of sand it down.  Instead of the time honored tradition of letting him hand paint designs on his car, we learned to decoupage.   When the finished car was only 2.5 oz, half the allowed weight, P cut out a hole and put in pennies and soldered them in.

G won a few races this year.  He also lost to the child that lost every other race and looked to be headed to a sad end.  After each race, he shook hands with the other boy.

I have heard that some parents make their kids cars.  Oh well.  I think that leads to anxiety disorders.  I think everything leads to anxiety disorders.  But something I thought was funny was that the husband of one family told us that he'd done the cutting, the sanding, the prime coat, the weights, and the wheels, but that the boy had done the paint job by hand.  The mother of that family told us that the boy did the whole thing himself. 

We combined with the other ward's pack this year so there was 8 boys participating.  Hurray for G not being the only boy that got a participation ribbon.  And hurray for an awesome cub master and committee chair that did the whole thing with me just sitting there looking pretty.  Sheesh, I've been primary president for 3 years now.  I'm getting so good at it, I'll probably get released tomorrow. : )

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Note for parents of kind kids

We had a nice experience with a boy G met at the park.  His mom asked G if he'd like to play with her son.  They had a nice time playing.

Today G saw some boys kicking a ball at the beach and asked if he could go play.  At first I said no, but then later said he could.  But I reminded him that he didn't have his ears on so he needed to keep a good look out for their faces and if they were trying to tell him something.

It turned out that one of the boys was the one from the park.  As I watched from a distance the boy seemed willing to motion to G or tap him on the back to get his attention.  Kicking the ball at the water and racing to get it isn't too complicated a game.

We stayed longer than I otherwise would because it was so nice to see G included with a pack of boys running around.  We moved here so he could have friends like that at school.  We don't often see it "in the wild".

The boys mom approached me as we were leaving to ask our number.  Her son was hoping to get together for a playdate.  

Because we've had so many years of kids that don't include G, this meant a lot to me.  We're finally to the point where G is included in some b-day parties at church.  We don't have to hear all the kids talking about it in primary.  I just want to give a shout out to parents that give a thought for including G.  Maybe those that didn't include G in birthdays just figured G was not their kids friend, so why invite him to an event that was all about their kid.  But maybe they could have taken 2 seconds to imagine how they'd feel to have a kids that is fundamentally different.  And when it costs you nothing but an invitation, why not include someone.

The mom of this boy G played with invited G to play with her son.  So I know 2 things about them already.  She chooses to be kind, and is modeling it to her son.  I'm grateful for that.

G can be annoying.  He's gotten a name lately at church for being a bit of a know it all.  A hearing boy that has a deaf dad, but that ignores G, has said "Everything is so easy for him."  Yeah...

P never had friends as a kid.  I never had friends until HS because we moved a lot in my early years, and because of my own personal flaws.  I really want for my children to have a friend or two that sees them as a kid they like to be with.