Friday, July 18, 2008

Growing Pains

It's rather fun to watch as the kids put lessons I have been teaching them for years to the test with their friends.

I know they don't realize that in helping them deal kindly and appropriately with each other, I am giving them tools for dealing with the outside world. And most of the time, I'm not even sure they are listening to me.

But Rebi has both accepted and given some excellent advice in recent days. She has also navigated a gossip minefield, going straight to the other person involved and setting things right. I would be lying if I didn't say I was relieved. We all know what happens when gossip runs out of control.

For the past two weeks or so, we have been without television of any kind. I told them they could watch TV again if they could go and entire day without fighting. Interestingly, it is taking this long to fully sink in that I mean no bickering at all. And today, one of them said, "This not fighting thing is hard. I'm really working at it!" And they are. And the relative peace is a little slice of Heaven.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Surfing = Torture

Really, after 5 summers of "forced" beach day, I should know better than to expect my kids to jump out of bed and make sure they have everything they need, right? Which should consist of:
1) a swimsuit
2) a towel
3) drinking water
4) lunch
5) shoes

Too much to ask? Apparently, although I would like to be the first to point out that the boogie boards, surf board, and beach chair all made it to the car. Shoes were too much to ask of Nate. Of course, we didn't know that until we got turned away at Denny's for dinner 10 hours later.

And somehow, even though she had her ipod, several magazines, makeup, a brush, and a full change of clothes, Rebi realized after she got done surfing that a towel would have been a nice addition to the party.

And even though I packed the food and drinks and harped on them to get all of their stuff and get in the car, we were still an hour later leaving the house than we had agreed upon. Because Rebi was texting and Ellie was madly folding clothes so that she didn't have to stay home with Dave, Tyler and Evan were playing a game, and Nate was busily burying all of his shoes in the backyard so that I can never force him to wear them ever again. OK, not really, but honestly, it feels that way most days.

And they force me to abuse them all the way to the car because surfing lessons are so evil and mom tortures them so very much to make them go out in the balmy water on a nearly perfect Southern California day, with two teenage boys who exactly fit the surfer profile. Which, of course, is not how they really feel- although I don't think Ty cares much what the boys looked like- and not how they acted once we got there and got surfing.

Sometimes I wonder just how spoiled my kids are around other people. Because I am obviously not instilling a sense of gratitude. I did instill some pretty good exhaustion today. This is the quietest midnight I've heard all summer.

Tyler, no surprise, was a natural, learning to surf on a short board very quickly. Ellie and Rebi were both able to catch some waves and now just need beach time. Just. Getting a hotel room is probably less expensive than driving back and forth to the beach from our house.

Evan's had lessons before so he didn't go out today. And as far as Nate goes, does anyone know what the risk of a broken arm that might need a green non-waterproof cast is as a result of surfing? Until I know that, I really just can't feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Escape from Alcatraz

Nate: Mom, do you know that Alcatraz was the hardest jail to escape from? Because it's an island. And sometimes prisoners can't swim so they can't get away. But I could get away. First I would have to get the keys from the guard and I could do that if I knocked him down first. And then I would unlock my cell and get a ladder and climb up over the wall. But I would have to have a boat waiting for me so I could jump off of the wall and right onto the boat and then it could hurry and get me away before they know I'm gone.

Mom: Nate, why are you worried about escaping from Alcatraz.

Nate: Because Mom, you wouldn't want to be in jail. . .

Mom: Well, than maybe it would be easier not to do bad things that might land you in jail?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Speaking of the Therapy Fund

I forgot to blog about this last month, when it happened. Because I was such a well of funny and interesting posts, I didn't have any room to fit it in. . .

While Tyler was at his friend's house, his friend's sister was limping around from an unspecified knee injury. She had seen a couple of different doctors, and no one could tell them why her knee wasn't working. She and her mom (and Tyler) had a little conversation.

Mom: Come here and let me massage your knee. Let's see if we can get it working again
A: Why?
Mom: Because if we don't and your knee doesn't heal, you're going to have to go to physical therapy and it will probably hurt.
Tyler: My mom has a physical therapy fund. She puts money in it for us all of the time.

Hmm. . .close. Very very close.

Monday, July 14, 2008

From the mouth of Nate

Also known as "7 year olds do not appreciate their moms. AT ALL!"

Nate: Mom, your "about me" profile isn't really true anymore."
Mom: Why do you say that?
Nate: Because you don't do the laundry anymore.
Mom: Shut-up, you turd bucket!
Nate: What? You never do laundry anymore!

(How much money should I put in the therapy fund for calling him a turd bucket? How much should I take out to punish him for not noticing me slaving over laundry???)

Sunday, July 13, 2008


As a part of a unit study for homeschool, the kids and I started looking at the economics of our nation, and in particular the shift to a consumption based society. It's clear that lifestyle is over for as long as housing markets remain severely depressed, and food prices continue to rise. Even with the government going into debt to send out stimulus checks, there just isn't enough money to fuel a consumer lifestyle right now.

As all of this was beginning, and before I started paying attention to the current events, the kids and I decided we would try to consume less. Less electricity, less junk food, less clothing, less everything, except gas because we are still learning much of our curriculum via field trips and experience.

This is my other blog, dedicated to occasionally writing about the journey. And the truth is, deprogramming is a hard thing. Luckily, I was blessed with a mother who knows a thing or two about avoiding pointless purchases. And, as a result of marathon back-to-school shopping trips as a child, I believe I have been blessed with a life-long loathing for shopping. So, my journey might be easier than others'. But it's still a journey, and one that becomes more necessary with every day.

Feel free to comment about your own experiences weaning off the consumption cycle, or how you really feel about the non-consumption movement. Even dedicated shoppers are welcome here. . .