Thursday, April 26, 2007

Turn off school week

This was posted by my sister, Ren, on her blog. I just had to re-post it, I just thought it was really good!! Sorry, Ren, for being a copycat, you just say it so well.

"You know all about "turn off tv week" right? How mainstream America seems to think this is a grand idea and everyone thinks it's so positive to limit a child's access to something in yet another coercive manner.I looked at the points being made and couldn't help but replace the word "tv" with "school". So here ya go:

School cuts into family time, harms our children's ability to read and succeed in life, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

Here are just a few of the facts:On average, children in the US will spend more time in school, than interacting in their families and community this year.

Americans frequently or always let school interfere with family time and true, rich connections with their passions.

As Anne Ohman, unschooling advocate says, "Real, natural learning is in the living. It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It's in the joy."

Who Participates?Anyone and everyone. Millions of people all over the world have participated in School-Turnoff Week since it began in 1995. Children and adults, rich and poor - people from every background and all walks of life - take part through schools, churches, or community groups, as families or individuals.

What's So Great about School-Turnoff Week? Turning off school gives us a chance to think, read, create, and do. To connect with our families and engage in our communities. To turn off School and turn on life.So turn off your school, turn off that schooled mentality and LIVE!! I proclaim next week, school turn-off week. Maybe after a week of living without school, a month or a year or a lifetime of it will seem completely natural.:) But hey, then you'd be an unschooler. Cool!"

Ironically, my son, Kev, has decided he is going to highschool full-time next year after being an unschooler his entire life. I've struggled, inside, trying to figure out why he would want to since he has the freedom to pursue anything he wants outside of school. I've already mentioned on this blog that a lot of it has to do with curiosity. I'm beginning to see other reasons emerge, and it is really neat to see his perspective on it. For him, it is a tool, simple as that. It is not an end-all, be-all where grades and fitting in with your peers are important. He sees things there that fit in with some of the things that he wants to do and has decided to use those things to his advantage. He knows if he doesn't care for it that he can walk away at any time so there isn't that same pressure there that most kids have to contend with.

The difficult thing now, for me and the rest of the family to deal with, is that it is messing with our lifestyle. We no longer have the freedom to come and go when we please, and have the schedule of our choosing so it is going to be an adjustment. In real life, even if you have an 8-5 job you still get to choose when you take your vacation time. With school, that is not an option..........they tell you when you can take vacation and when you can't. Ohhhh, even typing that is painful, that box again- it is suffocating!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Busy Weekend

Yesterday was fun, exciting, depressing, and exhausting all-in-one. We volunteered at the Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue clinic again yesterday. There were 24 puppies to be adopted! It is a little depressing how many puppies there are that get abandoned every week. There are actually a total of 51 puppies right now that need good homes. The sad thing was that only 8 found good homes yesterday.

They were short on foster homes so we went ahead and took two home with us for the week. So we have five dogs in our house right now. The two new puppies we set up downstairs in an empty room in the house that will one day be my laundry room. It has no flooring yet, just cement, so it works good. We have a pen set up with newspaper so it isn't too hard. We take them out once in a while and give them attention here and there but they entertain themselves pretty well so it hasn't seemed like too huge a task yet.

My sister and I took my dad out for dinner on Friday, as planned, and then my sister and I went to Barnes and Noble for a while. It was a very nice evening out for me!

So the pictures are some from our week. Adorable ones of our dogs (we have a million pictures of them), whom have become center entertainment in our house. The one of Calista is of her SLEEPING, yes sound asleep, on our way back in from town yesterday. The dog clinic pooped us all out! The other one is of my dad's wife, my dad, my sister, and me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This week

This week has been fairly uneventful. The kids are enjoying the warmer weather and you can usually find Tristan rollerblading up and down the street. Although, today it is only about 40 degrees and cloudy. The Honglso kids spent the night on Monday night. The kids had a blast but stayed up most of the night and then woke up early so they were pretty wiped out on Tuesday. Both Tristan and Calista took naps and went to bed earlier than usual.

I've been trying to get as much physical activity as I can also; doing yoga still, joined the running team and meet with them on Tues. nights with trail runs on Thursday evenings. I've also been trying to walk the dogs at night so they get enough exercise too. I went rollerblading with Tristan once but would like to include that in my daily routine. I love rollerblading and so does the rest of the family so it is a good thing we can all do together. Kev needs new ones though because his feet have grown about 4 whole sizes since we bought his.

We have several house projects looming over us, hard to know where to start and what needs to take priority. Martin and I are ready to finish up the main things, sell the house and build a tiny, energy efficient house but our kids are really needing the security of knowing we are going to stay put for a while and they enjoy having a little more space so we will stay put for a while. When we bought the house I don't think we were as aware as we should have been of the maintenance on an older home. I love my house though so onward we go.

Martin is still tremendously enjoying his job. Still pending and closing things weekly so we are doing great that way. Still hard for me to get used to not knowing when they next paycheck is coming, hard to budget month to month. I don't often spend frivilously anymore so I guess that is a good thing.

Tonight Robin (my sister) and I are taking my Dad and Stepmom out to dinner for my Dad's birthday, which was last week. We are going to Simon and Seaforts, in Anchorage; a great steak and seafood restaurant. I know, I know, why would a vegetarian be excited about a seafood restaurant? Well, it is my dad's birthday, not mine, and they actually have a few good vegetarian dishes. I can't believe my dad is 64!! It makes me feel old :) My kids told me last night that you don't start getting old until you turn 40 (I've got a little over 5 years) and that you ARE old at 50.......................well! I asked them if they thought my good friend, Sheli, was getting old and they said no. I told them that she is 41. "She's 41?", Calista asked. "Well, she isn't old." Phewww! Sheli, you are safe!

Friday, April 13, 2007


I got a tattoo yesterday - a beautiful butterfly. I have been thinking about it for a while now and it has a lot of meaning to me.

These last few years my life has been through so many changes, all for the good. Not too many years ago I lived under the fear of religious legalism; always trying to live up to something and never quite measuring up, constantly worried about what others thought of me and trying to be what others wanted me to be (or at least what I thought they wanted me to be) and in the process learning to place judgement. I didn't really like myself because I was more concerned with making sure that other people liked me and that I "fit in". Two years ago I probably wouldn't even have gotten this tattoo simply because of what I feared others would think. I had gotten so lost that I didn't even know who I was anymore, didn't understand the unique purpose that God had created me for in the first place. I was trying to live "societal norms" that I didn't agree with but had somehow made an agreement with. I hadn't learned to think for myself because I was somehow okay letting what others think be my own thoughts and opinions. I was discontent with my life.

I now no longer live in fear, or at least am very aware when I begin to. I no longer worry about what others think of me because it really doesn't matter. God loves me unconditionally; I'm perfectly imperfect and I'm good with that. I've learned not to pass judgement, not COMPLETELY but off to a good start, letting others be who they are too, albeit different than me. I know who I am now, know the purpose that God birthed me into this world for. I know and embrace my unique gifts; they are my unique gifts, not others, and I don't expect people to always understand and like me from every angle. I certainly am no longer worried about "societal norms"; I can think for myself, thank you very much, and a lot of what society does just simply doesn't make sense to me and I refuse to make agreement with it. I am very content with my life, I have SO much to be thankful for. I have been blessed in ways I cannot begin to understand and I really like where I am at. And above all else, I have learned to love ME, and because of that it has allowed me to unconditionally love others. There are still lots of ways in which I can grow but I feel good where I am going. I am like that caterpillar, turned into a beautiful butterfly!

The thing even more ironic is that it all started with my mothers death; an experience that was so difficult that I am still grieving in ways I didn't expect, but, on the other hand, so many good things have come out of that experience for me that wouldn't have happened had she not passed away. I've learned to appreciate the difficult experiences that bring me closer to who I am supposed to be.

And every morning when I step in the shower, I will turn and look into the mirror, and when I see that butterfly sitting on my shoulder I will be reminded that today is a "do-over", a fresh start, a new beginning, and I will choose to give thanks for the beauty all around me; the beauty in me, in those that I love, in those that I don't care for so much, in God's awesome creation, in those ah-ha moments, in the bad experiences- I will choose to see the beauty in everything.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm significant

I rarely watch daytime TV but just happened to catch about 10 min. of Oprah yesterday. The subject of the show was being happy and what makes happy people....well, HAPPY. It was mentioned that life shouldn't be about success but rather about significance.

I just love that! Success is measured in lots of different ways but, generally, in our society it means a degree, status, money, being first and best at something, etc. I THINK you are successful if you are HAPPY. But the significant is something I have thought a lot about this last year, realizing that every choice we make has an effect on the rest of the world. We are all connected in some way and every choice we make has a ripple effect. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US IS SIGNIFICANT. Every single one of us has been born for a reason, our being here is very planned and deliberate.

What I want to be is significant in a very positive way. I want to make a positive difference in people's lives. Even a simple smile can change someone for the better. My friend Heather today blogged that I was an out-of-the box thinker and a very dedicated mom. That made my day, what a compliment. I'm walking a little lighter today because of it. Every thing we do and say can make a positive or negative effect on the world because we are significant. And we can make a difference in this world.

I am very HAPPY! I have so much I am thankful for! I am thankful too that I am perfectly imperfect but I am still beautifully and wonderfully made. I have gifts to offer this world and then I have things that I am not so very good at, which is why someone else is good at those things to pick up the slack for me :) It is a wonderful life!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Drivers watch out, teen on the road!

Well, we have entered yet another phase in our parenting journey! Kevin got his drivers permit yesterday. He is very excited!! I let him drive around the neighborhood yesterday with me and when Martin got home he got to take another couple laps with his dad. He is going to be a very careful driver. He is very cautious but I should have known that, he has a good head on his shoulders.