Monday, October 31, 2011

When stubborn determination pays off

About a month or so back in September, I blogged about some MAJOR I-didn't-buy remorse I had after seeing the most perfect wrap ever during the Stitches Midwest Convention.

After reviewing dozens of vendor's websites and emailing a handful of them, I did indeed find the vendor offering the pattern/yarn for the wrap, and within a week I had it in my hot little hands.

Hours spent knitting my little heart out in airplanes, on Granny's couch in Seattle, in the car on my and the Mister's weekend getaway, 4 Knitty Tuesdays, and nearly every evening on my couch in between, and voila! My wrap is finished!

And I am In. Love. With It.



The colorway consists of 8 colors, wool-silk blend, knit two at a time in a grading color scheme, all in the linen stitch.


I am so pleased with the turnout that I'm even willing to break my own rule and post a picture of me taking a picture of myself, in a mirror, in my wrap.

I don't know why, but taking pictures of myself in a mirror makes me feel like a huge a$$hole. BUT, it's a burden I'm gladly willing to bear when it's taken in the name of determined knitting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Worth every minute

Coming off of two weeks of back-to-back, away-from-the-kids vacations, last week was a doozy.

Predictably so, but a doozy, nonetheless.

And just because you can predict, sister, doesn't make it any easier. I bet I get a few Amen's with that statement.

After a long week of flat-out disobedience, errant p*ea, sneakiness and crazy-ass lies, we've regained our foothold on our very own special flavor of Normal Life.

Chores, School, Play/Family Fun, Meal. Rinse and Repeat.

My Haitian Sensations thrive best with a simple, predicable routine. Even the whole "you can't play until you finish your math sheet," can upset them to such an extent that they'll stall on a simple, easy-peasy 5-problem sheet, angry that they are missing playtime (so often they're angry before anyone has finished and when playtime hasn't even started), yet not able to move forward in that if they just do the darn sheet, they'll get to play immediately thereafter.

These constant struggle with natural consequences are a daily occurrence in our home. I'm getting better with handling it. It's just where they are, and the struggle is likely one we'll be dealing with for years.

I walk that tightrope between helping the boys move forward (positive) and getting sucked into a vortex of control issues (negative.) It's a fine line, somedays. I'm learning to simply refuse getting sucked in, and instead of playing control games, I am redirecting all my time and energy towards the kids who aren't stuck at that moment.

Yet, progress, however slow, is being made. What used to be a 3-hour stall-out is slowly weaning down in time. Interestingly enough, they take turns in the Stalling game. One stalled yesterday, the other today.

I'm pretty sure that they must confer or something after Lights Out.

Happily, though, the stall today was only 12 minutes. That's amazing progress, and I'm proud of these little guys. Hey, you take what you can get.

And you know what? No matter what type of homecoming I received, every minute of both vacations were worth it. On principal alone I refuse to succumb to the notion that going away isn't worth it due to payback.

It is. I have earned this time away to recharge. My neuro-typical children have earned this time away to recharge. And the Mister has earned the time away. No excuses, no guilt. Just gratitude that we had these opportunities.

:)

I'm a bit disillusioned as to where summer went, and the beginning of Fall, for that matter. Last weekend the Mister took the boys up to Camp and closed up shop until May '12.

Always a bummer of a time, because closing Camp is pretty much writing "The End" to our Summer. And the ridiculous--and I'm a mother of 5, so when I write ridiculous, I mean RIDICULOUS-- amount of laundry generated by the return of all the bedding, sleeping bags, clothing, etc.

I suppose I could leave it up there until Spring, but I hate the thought of some sneaky vermin getting in there and cozying up for a long winter's nap in a closet. *Shudder*

So, I get all freaky and make the Mister remove every single piece of clothing and paper products, as well as place a fabric softener sheet (to deter mice) on every piece of furniture, air vent, cupboard, and other random nooks and crannies in the trailer.

I purchased a jumbo-sized box of Downy sheets, and he returned home with at least half of them. "You didn't use them all?" I nearly screached.

"I could have covered every square inch of flooring and furniture if I used all of those," he replied.

"SO!?!?!?!?" People who do not have a fear of mice will never, NEVER understand those of us who nearly pass out at the mere mention of them.

While I slaved away in the laundry room, the Mister and Boppa installed these in our garage:
The lockers are from my folk's new house, which used to be owned by a Packer's coach, so it is probable that the lockers could come from one of their training facilities. I bet if I marketed them as such, I could make some money on eBay. Amazing what Packer fans will pay for things, like rusty, used lockers.

Honestly, who would have thought that lockers could make kids so darn happy? I suppose it's a homeschool thing, as my kids have never had lockers of their own.
The girls set to work at decorating their garage lairs. The boys just stuff their belongings in and hope that the door will close.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Point of View


The Mighty Po is going to be a Unicorn for Halloween.

The Mister, being under Mighty Po's spell, has big plans (aka paper mache) to assist his girl in her endeavor for the perfect home-made unicorn costume.

This is His Idea:

This is Hers:

And Never the Two Shall Meet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kids Lie. Including Sweet, Kind and Devout Ones. Really.

There are two types of homeschooling moms who cause me to grind my teeth.

1) The moms who publicly declare: "We take a "real life" approach to math. We tripled a cupcake recipe this afternoon for today's math lesson. And tomorrow we are going to figure out how many $1.69 songs the kids can each by with a $40 iTunes giftcard. Because, you know, when are they ever going to use trig or calculus in real life?"

Seriously, I do not enjoy taking public scrutiny for these people who clearly are failing their children in the area of mathematics. And seriously, I know many people who use advanced math in real life: engineers, chemists, mechanics, etc. . .

I believe in allowing my children to have EVERY education/career option available to them upon turning 18, and that means that I have to provide them with some serious-ass math & science education (which also includes me getting them to the right teachers/schools/etc. if it is something that I myself am not qualified to teach.) And I'm tired of taking guff for the failings of others.

2) "Christian" homeschool moms who think their middle school aged children can do no wrong and would Not Never Ever think of lying or being mean or lying or doing anything other than holy and God-inspired actions.

This story is about the latter.

On Monday morning, I received a phone call from an *upset* Christian homeschool mom. Our daughters belong to our association's Tween Group (ages 11-13). The woman was dramatically upset and explained to me that Hatfield led a group of older children in a "bully charge" against a group of the newer, younger girls. These charges included:

* Using the "L" Word.
(insert her dramatic pause for this to take full effect)

The "L" word? Seriously? I am SO ASHAMED of myself in that I failed to think of a single good "L" word to question her with. If she had said, 'Hatfield used the "c" word," I would have dropped the c word. If she had said the "tw" word, I would have dropped that in questioning her. Same with the "f" word or the "a" word. But the "L" word? I had nothing.

Side story: I told Essie about this and she looked at me said, " Sarah. . .'lesbian.' That would be the L word that would spark fear and shame in the hear of any devout Christian homeschool ignoramus."

Doh! Man! I wish I had Essie's bad-ass, quick-on-her-feet, Dark Art of Snark.

Anyways, the "L" word that so shocked this woman and troubled her daughter to the point where she was now scared of attending future homeschool events was:

Loser.

Yes. Loser. Seriously. But more on that later.

Charge #2: Hatfield pushed a younger girl, pinning her up against a tree, all the while yelling and screaming, necessitating an older "sweetly devout and innocent" (I shit you not, that was the descriptor) girl to have to intervene to prevent Hatfield from hurting her.

My Hatfield? Seriously?

I asked the mom if she spoke to any other parents of the children involved (other than the mother of the sweetly devout and innocent girls), and she said "no." She even badmouthed another woman (who happens to be my friend), saying that the Mom was "aggressive and confrontational" and refused to call her.

Okey dokey.

Now, I'm not about to think my kids can do no wrong. And I was not about to think that Hatfield was innocent of all charges. But I can tell you that unless she was trying to protect another children from an assault or prevent an assault upon herself, the likelihood of Hatfield doing that to a child is pretty much nil.

And here's the thing: If you are going to make up nasty lies about my kid, yeah, you're going to piss me off. Big time.

So we talked to Hatfield about it. She totally admits that she, and everyone else she was with, were calling each other's Losers when one group disrupted the play of another group. But it lasted about a minute, and they all went off onto the next activity and got along as a group for the rest of the evening.

Which, maybe I'm not a good Christian mom, but, eh. If that's the worst thing my kid is involved with, I'll consider myself lucky and will do a cute "I have a decent middle schooler" happy dance.

But, Hatfield became TREMENDOUSLY upset over the accusation that she pushed her friend up against a tree. And screamed/yelled in this girls' face. Or was involved in anything that required a girl to "break it up."

She couldn't figure out why these girls singled her out as the big bully, or why they would make up such things.

So, last night, we saw this family of the said pushed/bullied younger girl. A family that we've been friends with--and our kids have been playmates with--for nearly 5 years.

When we talked about the accusations, their kids laughed. One even suggested that those girls had a "short term memory loss." They defended Hatfield and were upset that someone would even accuse her of such a thing.

So, armed with that information straight outta the horse's mouth, I emailed this mother:

Now, it seems to me that this is a case of kids with differing personality types in a large group setting. I think it's perfectly normal for a group of middle school age kids to struggle while they learn how to get along with different types of people.
Not everyone is going to feel the same way about different people. Some people don't mesh well. For instance, you explained to me that you felt ***** is an aggressive and combative person and therefore you would not call her. I, however, find her to be a completely delightful and charming woman and am puzzled by your callous description of her.
I get the fact that some of these girls probably don't mesh well. However, just because your girls don't care for Hatfield does NOT make it okay for them to make up a vicious rumor about Hatfield.
Making up and spreading lies about someone assaulting another child IS bullying. Hatfield is TREMENDOUSLY hurt and upset that these girls would do such a thing. The other kids we spoke with couldn't believe that such a lie would be told within a Christian group.
If any other families or children were told this lie about my daughter, we expect it to be redressed immediately. Because it is absolutely NOT okay with us that anyone spread a lie about my daughter assaulting another child.
Beyond that, I am done dealing with this issue. I'm sorry that some girls in the group do not care for Hatfield or the way the evening went. But honestly, after taking with other Tweens at the party, and now having to deal with this terrible lie that was stated about my daughter, I can't say that I find credibility in anything that your daughters say or do.

Now, you don't know just HOW BADLY I wanted to end the letter with:

"And you know, I'm not really certain of what types of games your family allows (her daughter was in the group of kids playing Ghosts in the Graveyard; my kid was in the group that messed with their game), but I find it both shocking and shameful that such a pagan-ritualistic game would be played at a CHRISTIAN homeschool event. My sweet, devout girl was incredibly uncomfortable with such a game being played, and maybe your girls didn't mean to make up lies about her but instead was possessed by whatever demonic spirits their heathenistic game conjured up. I propose we know get ALL activities at these gathering pre-approved by the Board so that my innocent girl won't be further subjected to such witchcraft."

just to mess with her and her high-brow, we-are-so-much-holier-than-you-Christian-bullshit-attitude. (We're all about Harry Potter and Halloween and Scary Movies in our house, so don't get the wrong idea there.)

But I didn't.

Of course, within moments of the letter, this woman telephoned me.

And you know what she had the balls to say to me? She said: "Really, this whole thing is about the name calling for my girls. The whole pushing thing was just an afterthought after we talked about the namecalling."

WTF?!?! "No, I'm afraid that the moment your daughters told a lie that Hatfield assaulted another child, then that lie because the WHOLE BIG DEAL thing to our family."

She constantly tried to backtrack on the whole pushing thing. She even went so far as to begin to question whether she may have recalled the pushed child's name incorrectly, until I informed her that she questioned her daughter as to who the "hurt" child was while I listened on the phone.

Met with an uncomfortable pause on her part. I refused to let her back down. She apologized, but just kept on saying, "I can't believe my daughters lied to me."

Well, believe it. Because they're kids. And kids lie. Not because they are inherently evil or hateful. But because it's part of the growing up and learning process.

But you know what the absolute worst was? From this Christian woman, whose own son had to be kicked out of their home due to erratic behavior? Was she said to me: "I know you've all had a lot of . . .changes.. . . in your home lately due to the boys' arrival, and I was wondering, you know, if maybe all that stressed changed Hatfield into a more aggressive person."

The fact that I did not Roar, Hang Up or drop the "F" bomb at that moment in the conversation is a testimony to. . . well, I'm not sure, but something good, right?

Instead, in the iciest voice I could muster was: "Now, really, I'm sure you more than anyone understands that just because a family has one troubled child in it doesn't mean that the sweet nature of our other children are compromised or changed. That would be a terrible thing to insinuate."

Very. Uncomfortable. Pause.

In the end, the woman went on (and on and on) about how she likes it when things are Happy and Friendly and for all the kids to be friends.

I explained that while I expect my daughter to be kind and respectful of all people (and we'll work on that, I assured her), I think it's silly to expect her to be friends with or like everyone.

Because if I make my daughter grow up thinking that she has to like everyone and everyone has to like her, then I am handing her a Life Sentence of Misery.

MISERY.

And I refuse to do that. My wish is for My children, to please be kind. Be respectful. And be wise enough to keep far away from Homeschool Moms who loudly acclaim their pre-teen daughters to be as devout and sweet and kind as Jesus himself. Far, far away. Because they're the worst of all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Excuses,excuses

Haven't posted in forever,
because I've been too busy
biting
my
tongue.
I'm pretty sure it's close to severing,
but God forbid I take off the pressure
lest I can't stop it from flapping
once
I
do.

Given that this is a public blog
(yeah. . . what a stupid idea that was)
and given that I am trying
very,
very,
VERY
hard to keep quiet when I have nothing nice to say,
I have found just avoiding my blog is
the most surefire tactic to keeping
the
hell
shut
up.
I used to
go to a gym
where I would
Punch
and
Kick
the hell out of a bag.
While repeating different
cathartic
and
profane
mantras in my head.
Repeatedly.
Several times a week.
Now, with 6 weeks of complete shoulder/arm rest,
I have lost that outlet.
I need that outlet, people!

Life would be SO much easier
if God had attached a
Bullshit Meter
to everyone's forehead.
Then we would know
when a pile is being dumped
on us
looonnnnggg before the
smell
hits
us.
I apologize if this is a
tedious
melodramatic
or
cryptic post.
Those suck, I know.

SO,
here are a few tangible things
I promise to post about
soon:

* The Dark Art of Taking the Low Road

* Christian Homeschool Children who. . . gasp. . .lie to their mothers
who have never left the prairie and think that their
precious, innocent angels would never yell or. . .
worse....
say a certain word


* Me Kicking a Lying Christian's Homeschool Mom's A$$
when she falsely accuses my daughter

* A potential podcast involving
knitting
wining
wit
&
creative profanity

So stick around!
PLUS!
There's always the potential
if my therapist cannot help me find a way
to process all this bullshit I've been trying to deal with
I just may go back to the
tried
and
true
method
of blogging it,
fallout be damned.
(But srsly, that would not be the adult way to handle it.)

This Weeks' Theme Song
(because everyone should have a weekly theme song)
is:
Dammit
by
Blink 182

(And srsly, I AM NOT REFERENCING my marriage
by posting this song.
It's just a damn catchy song
and the chorus "I guess this is growing up"
and "I turn to a friend who sees through the Master Plan"
is my theme to help me get through this week
because I'm doing a whole bunch of stuff
that I really
really
really
don't want to deal with.)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Frayed ego

Generally, I like to think of myself as a healthy person.

I eat a primarily vegetarian diet, which doesn't mean that I binge on non-meat options like Doritos and Girl Scout cookies all the live-long day. I truly love veggies and fruit, so I eat a lot of those each week.

I work out multiple times each week. Long, hard, sweaty workouts that get my heart rate soaring and require a shower before I can further venture from my home. Granted, I work out more for my mental health than my physical health, but I'm happy to reap the benefits of both.

I have a high pain tolerance and doctor office's give me the heebie jeebies. Which is why I'm able to ignore an ever increasing pain and crunchiness in my shoulder for, oh, I don't know, a good 3 months.

See where this is headed?

Over time, I have strained/possibly torn tendon in my rotator cuff, responsible for the pain with repetitive motion, along with fraying of some ligament thingy or something, which is causing the crunchiness.

Which equals 6 weeks of complete upper torso rest, and I can't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk (and even that I should do left-handed.)

I. Am. Ready. to. Scream. And not from the pain. This is a major blow to my personal sense of pride (which I know is totally wrong to have, but whatever) at being a healthy person.

But, you know, a healthy person addresses health issues as they happen. Not ignore them for 3 months.

A lightbulb moment, for certain.

Oh well, at this point, what can I do? I'm thinking a glass of wine would be kinda nice, but the Mister hasn't brought back my script from CVS, and I'm unsure if alcohol will be a no-no.

And while 6 weeks of reduced motion and yucky shots and pt may not be enough to get me to drop the whole personal pride issue, you can be certain that a 6 week wine fast will.