Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Panic

"Using new and improved statistical models, CDC scientists estimate that an average of 36,000 people (up from 20,000 in previous estimates) die from influenza-related complications each year in the United States. In addition, about 11,000 people die per year from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a virus that causes upper and lower respiratory tract infections primarily in young children and older adults. "

And why are we freaking out over a handful of deaths from the swine flu? And the above stats are just for the US!

I think the media just loves to see everyone panic.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I know I'm having a terrible time lately keeping up with my blog, just been busy I guess, other priorities. So I'm sure you will all laugh when I say....................I'm going to try really hard to get my vegan blog back on regular postings. I posted today and will make an enormous effort to post something every week:) There is a new post today so for anyone interested in healthier, vegetarian fare come visit.

Everything I post are things that I make on a regular basis and most of the recipes are not complicated. I don't post recipes either unless MOST of my family rave about them. If you try any of them I would love your feedback about how you and/or your family enjoyed them.

The address comes from the fact that when I first started the blog I was trying one month of veganism. I went on a few months later to live six months being vegan. I now am back to lacto vegetarian- I only do eggs if they happen to be in a baked good and I try to limit my dairy so it's not every day. All of our dinner meals, for the most part, are vegan as I always seek to honor my children's choices (Kev is vegan).


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This week has been a very interesting week for me- a week of reflection and some deep digging from within. I was "caught in the act" of doing something that did not jive with the spirit of joy and cooperation that I have worked so hard to create with my children and in our home life. I am lucky to have people in my life that love me and walk beside me through our unschooling journey and who are honest enough to tell me when they see me reverting back to using old tools, tools that I thought I had long given up and replaced with better ones. My mothers voice was loud inside my head this week and I couldn't get it out until someone who knows that voice well (any guesses?) was able to snap me out of it. And I don't mean that as disrespectful to my mother- we had a wonderful relationship once I was an adult but we struggled often when I was growing up and she didn't always use tools that led to cooperation, joy, and a healthy self-esteem.

This "digging" has shown up in interesting ways in my yoga practice but that is a whole 'nother blog. It's just interesting that about the time I think I have it all figured out and my life is perfect the Universe lets me know I still have things to learn and there are still ways I can make my life better and more joyful. It's been a letting-go-of-ego week for me to say the least. But that's what my yoga practice is all about so it's all good:)

Because of all this schtuff I've been dealing with I've been getting online and reading more blogs and trudging back to the basics of unschooling and what brought me to this path in the first place. I just wanted to share these two things that I really enjoyed this week.

A little snipet from John Gatto at a blog I visit every now and then:

And a piece of an interview that Sandra Dodd posted on her blog recently in regards to showing other parents how to unschool:

"What it takes is the parent has to change. The parent has to learn to see the learning in things. And that's hard. School trains that out of people. School tells you that you need teachers, and you need books, and you need someone to tell you what you need to know, and you need to have proof that you know it by taking a test. I don't think anyone has been to school and taken tests can remember......very little, of the actual facts. And a lot of the facts changed anyway. They changed their minds about this and that, scientifically, and words have changed, and Tanganyika and Soviet Union are no longer worried about.........."

Anyway, not that these things are necessarily directly related to my week of "digging" but connected, as all things are. Good reading though:)


Friday, April 17, 2009

This is a quote I came across in one of my yoga books, Meditations From the Mat:

The human individual is equipped to learn and go on learning prodigiously from birth to death, and this is precisely what sets him or her apart from all other known forms of life. Man has at various times been defined as a building animal, a working animal, and a fighting animal. but all of these definitions are incomplete and finally false. Man is a learning animal, and the essence of the species is encoded in that simple term. George Leonard

This is exactly what we, as unschoolers, deeply believe- that we were born with an inherent desire to learn about the world around us. We don't need force and coercion to learn the things we need to know to move us through this journey of life. The only thing that compulsory learning does for an individual is zap that natural curiosity right out of him. There are a few individuals who can survive it unscathed but not too many.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the high level of high school dropouts and how do we remedy that? More testing! Ludicrous! They are dropping out because they are bored to death and they are tired of people telling them how to live their lives, as if all the adults in their lives know better than they do what they need for their own, very personal journey.

The kids that drop out are actually the smarter kids! They know when they are being fed bullsh** and decide to run! Yay for them! The government has convinced everyone that if you don't have a high school diploma that you will never make anything of yourselves, yet look at the most successful (based on salary and money making businesses) people in this country and you will see that a LARGE amount of them are high school or college dropouts.

Some other crap that the government is trying to feed our kids is that they NEED college to have successful lives. We tell OUR children that if college will get them to where they want to go, great! Go to college. If there is a different or easier way to get them to where they want to go then do that. College does NOT guarantee a bigger salary and it does not guarantee success. What it does guarantee is a big fat student loan, unless you are lucky enough to have someone else pay for it, and even then they've spent how much? It's ridiculous. And what is success anyway? We measure success on how fulfilled and happy our children are with what they are doing. Unfortunately, most people measure success on how much money a person is making even though so many of those people are pathetically miserable in what they are doing.

My husband has almost always made a very large salary and he only did one semester of college. And beyond the salary, his happiest years were when he was doing something that wasn't making that big of a salary but was doing something he loved to do.

Anyway, just a little venting on my part. I wish the country would wake up and see what we are doing to our children. It makes me sad that from 5 years old most kids are spending their days doing things that they are barely tolerating, what an awful way to live your life. It brings me so much joy and satisfaction to see my own kids living the life I could only dream of at their age, to see them happy and fullfilled, full of zest for living, and so excited about learning new things! They are living the life that THEY are choosing to live, not what someone else is choosing for them. We are not perfect parents, nor do we live perfect lives but my measuring stick is "how happy and healthy are my kids? And how healthy is my relationship with them?" and the answer is almost always the same- they are healthy and happy, and we have a very good relationship with our kids (which always comes first by the way, regardless of what anything else looks like) what more could you ask?


On another note today:

Have you all seen Yes Man yet? Great movie! I just love this whole idea of saying "yes" to everything! Of course there is a happy medium, which the character in the movie discovers. The whole lesson in the movie though is that most of us say "no" to life far to often and when we say "yes" to opportunities we really start living life.

I have found myself saying "no" to opportunities WAY too much so I've set an intention today to start saying "yes" to as much as I can! When I am inclined to say "no" I'm going to start saying "yes" just for the hell of it and see where it leads. I will post on those things as they present themselves.

One tiny example lately is our weekly homeschool swim session. Usually, I tread water for the entire hour so I can stay warm and still say I went swimming with the kids I guess. They usually don't really want me to do much because all of their friends are in the pool with them so I'm not particularly important at that point but they do like me to be there. Well, the other day Calista asked me to jump and dive with her off the side. Not really my thing, I think in some ways I've temporarily forgotten how to be a kid, I go through waves of that. But on Wednesday I was like "what the heck, sure I will jump and dive off the side with you" It was so much fun! Except for all the water in my ears, but no biggy. It felt good to just play. So my intention is to do more of those things!

So come join me and start saying "YES"!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's been a crazy fun-filled week! We got to go to Fairbanks for a few days and stay with the Hajduk's and see all of our wonderful Fairbanks family members. I helped Sheli get some of her house painted and we did some yoga. It was full moon and shining right into her living room window where we were doing yoga so the living room is Heidi's Full Moon Yoga Studio:)

Martin's sister, Jenette, is up visiting. We haven't seen her much so hopefully this next week we will get to see more of her. Lois (Martin's mom) and her have been coming to my Saturday Hot Yoga class and we have had a couple of coffee dates. Everyone is coming over for dinner tomorrow night and we will celebrate my dad's 66th birthday, which is actually today.

We are still working on organizing and cleaning the house after pretty much finishing our remodel project. Martin put countertops and shelves in the home office, which allows him to be a little more efficient. He is working at home so the home office is pretty important.

We had a great Easter at my sister's with a treasure hunt AND an egg hunt and delicious food.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my life?!

And, as promised, pictures of the remodel. This room used to be Tristan's, it was red and now it is four different bright colors and is Calista's room.

And this is Tristan's new room. This used to be one half of a garage. The other half is Kevin's room but I didn't take any pictures as we are in the process of re-painting after adding a closet. We finished his room last year.

This area is in front of the boys room, was part of the original garage also. The back wall is open concrete block so I'm going to put some faux brick wallpaper up and let the kids grafitti all over it.

Dying easter eggs at my sister, Robin's, house.

Kevin displaying his first paycheck! He thought it so strange of me wanting a picture of this. Mommies are just strange that way:)

Betty and Veronica. They got three fun-filled days together but, of course, it's never enough time. Best friends since birth and it's so fun to watch them in action.

Those smiles are at me!! This is Porter who was born 7-8 weeks prematurely. This is my cousin, Jason's, little boy. They were in Anchorage at the Providence Hospital Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit for 54 days!! I got to visit him every week while he was there but now he is a totally different baby than the one that was in NICU two months ago. So fun to hold him, without all those wires and tubes, and to interact with him. He is just yummy!

I think I sat just like this for about two hours. I would have been quite happy to be there all day!