Thursday, March 24, 2005

Do You Have ADD?

Before going back to more serious subjects, I wanted to share a story told by my sister about my beloved nephew/godson. He recently had a friend over, and was so excited, his behavior must have been ramped up a bit. The friend looked over at nephew and asked if he had ADD? Sure, replied my nephew seriously, they had ALL the cable channels: HBO, PBS, ABC.......

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

You Can Have It All

When I was growing up, the message most often imparted to me at school was that I could be anything, achieve anything, as long as I wanted it enough and worked hard. The emergence of women in the work force meant that young girls were taught that any profession was open to them. I dreamed of being an astronaut, a doctor, a scientist, a veterinarian, an archaeologist. The message was "you can have it all". Perhaps because the teachers were nuns without familial responsibility and young single men and women, just out of college and with no family yet, very little was said about how to balance these dreams and goals with a family.

The message imparted to my generation has had an impact. Many women hold degrees and careers that our parents' generation could not have imagined. It has taken a toll, however, and I think it is having an effect on the next generation. While certainly a whole blog could be written about balancing a career and family responsibilities, another impact of the message is the busy-ness of the American family. Our family is no exception and we are struggling to find balance.

A wealth of opportunities and possibilities are open to the children of this nation, all with an undercurrent of competition to be the best. In our homeschooling life, we have been struggling to find balance because so much is available in the outside world, that soon we found our lives driven by external schedules, the opposite of one of the attractions of homeschooling. I find myself driving from one activity to the next, fitting each into the timetable like a piece of a puzzle. Often, the pieces would fit neatly together, and I'd find myself spending even more time in the car.

My childhood refrain "you can have it all" kept me going "if you work hard enough". I want wonderful opportunities for my kids, and of course, they are all good experiences, but at what cost? I will explore this in my next few blog entries - bringing home the homeschooling. The message I was taught by the culture of the time missed the end of the sentence, which I hope to teach my children. "You can have it all, if you so choose - just not all at the same time."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Lime Green Shoes Part II

As any woman will tell you, sometimes the best looking, coolest shoes are also the most uncomfortable. I have actually been asked several times for a peek at the lime green shoes while driving about, so here is an update:

On Saturday, we drove L and two horses to Lexington to compete in the Bluegrass Open Mounted Pony Games. We left very early in the morning, and I couldn't find his gym shoes. On the way out the door, I spied the dreaded lime green shoes. I thought of all the people who had suggested that at least the shoes could be hosed off when muddy, and the day promised rain. So, I grabbed them and off we went.

When we got there, we tied on the green shoes and got out of the car. W just stood there, complaining that he could not walk. This is often the complaint of a toddler though, who hasn't yet realized that Mommy's body wasn't designed to carry around thirty extra pounds all on one side. He persisted though, finally admitting that his shoes hurt. I looked down and gasped when I saw bright red blood all over his white socks. The blasted shoes had cut into his ankle just below the knobby ankle bone. I am afraid this will be the end of the lime green shoes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Lime Green Shoes

Lime Green Shoes

My son, W, suddenly grew out of his new gym shoes, as children will and so, we made a trip to the local superstore. For some reason, young W loves to try on shoes. The most colorful catch his eye first. He admires greatly the red sparkly Wizard of Oz shoes for girls, the flowered sandles and yesterday, the plastic lime green shoes with bright yellow soles. As I scanned the rows of shoes looking for just one pair of size 9 boys' gym shoes, W had made his choice. He had his shoes and socks off and was trying on the pair he had to have.

I tried to distract him with the boys' shoes that lit up when the wearer walks. Uninterested, he asked me to tie the lime green shoes. He proudly walked the aisle. The shoe clerk who had been helping me walked up with an "oh, my!". At $5 on sale, I decided that the easiest course would be to buy the shoes, and let him wear them around the house, getting the light-up Thomas the Tank Engine shoes for real wear. But no, he wanted to wear these home, and the helpful clerk said that it would be allowed, as long as I kept the tag for checkout.

So, we made our way through to the front of the store, my son sporting undoubtably girls', lime green shoes. Amusement fought with shame in my mind. What were people thinking of me to put my boy, decked out in grey sweatpants and a navy windbreaker, in lime green shoes?? W walked proudly, enjoying it all. Amusement won out. People definitely could see him coming. I briefly thought that if I lost him in the store, at least he'd be easily located by the color of his shoes.

We went on our way to pick the girls up at their horse riding practice. The reactions of people we met cheered my day and made it well worth the $5 purchase price. I laughed all day.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Paris and Whitney

These are the Good Old Days

I was listening to an old Carly Simon tape. (My daughter was amazed that I knew the words to these songs that she'd never heard before.) One song reminds us that "these are the good old days". Sometimes, it is hard to remember that, but I try to daily. Yesterday, I found that W's shoes no longer fit, another reminder that he's growing up so fast, and before I know it, they'll all be off on their own, doing their own thing. I am trying to work on being really present in these days - focusing on remembering, enjoying. So hard when you hardly have a moment to yourself all day, eh?

I have moments when I wonder if I haven't contributed to a female "brain drain" or that I shouldn't be contributing more to the world. At the same time, how could I miss a moment of "the good old days?"

Friday, March 11, 2005

Jorgen - L's Pony

"I'd rather ride than eat." - L

L, dd#1, was early to her practice for mounted pony games this week because of a schedule conflict and it was the only way to get everyone where they needed to be on time. I asked the instructors if she could come and eat her packed lunch there, and if they wanted, they could give her some small jobs to do to fill the time.

When I picked her up around 4 p.m., she was eating her lunch. When asked why she didn't eat it at noon, she told me that the instructors had asked if she wanted to ride one of their horses and, she said, "I'd rather ride than eat." I suppose she has "horse" in her blood.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Home Schooling??

Who took the "home" out of homeschooling? Thursdays are always jammed with activities for us. Dd#1 works at a nearby stable for a few hours and has practice at Mounted Pony Games. While she's there, I take dd#2 to art lessons, then return home to retrieve dd#1. After a quick check on dinner, I drive dd#1 to R.A.C.E. class for piano. Dh picks her up on his way home from work, while I am at home putting together dinner. Starting next week, dd#2 will add soccer into this mix. All very good activities, yet impacting the relaxed stay-at-home vision I originally had of homeschooling.

One of the biggest challenges anymore is the overwhelming number of activities available to homeschoolers, or children in general. There are so many wonderful opportunities, it becomes difficult to be good at any one thing because of the flurry of activities.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Whitney wakes up.

Top O' the Morning

I haven't even had my coffee yet. Yawn!

Every morning, a mockingbird comes to my bedroom window. She pecks on the window and then hops up and down, fluttering her wings. She appears to be trying to sit on the lattice work, which is between the glass. When I get up to look out, she regards me with one eye from the deck of our pool, and then flies off. It seems she thinks it is her job to be my alarm clock. We counted her "repertoire" of bird sounds one spring and we know she has over twenty.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ready for Spring

The ground was so wet that you could hear the grass crawling this morning. Tiny rivers ran through the mud, taking with it more of our land. Not one inch of our property is flat, due in part to the spring in the front which starts a stream that is fed from more streams along the way. Each stream digs deeper into the soil, carving a waterbed and destroying the trees in the wooded section.

Since we've begun living here, three new streams have developed. Our local conservation agent at the Extension Office says that there is nothing to be done without spending millions we don't have. The land around us was once wooded and was stripped to be farmed. That changed the main creek that winds through the back of our property. Lately, however, I've noticed a bigger change in the creek. I am certain that this is due to the recent development of subdivisions nearby.

Our house sits up on a hill, overlooking the bowl-shaped front yard with the spring. After a field trip to Mammoth Caves, we learned that springs and sink holes often mean caves. Because we have a sink hole in the back, and because we know our house settled some since construction in the 70's, I envision sometimes our house sinking to the roofline into a hidden cave below.

We moved to the rural area, to an existing house that we remodeled, to avoid the crowded subdivisions. It seems they followed us, and there isn't anything we can do about it.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Toilet Paper

This normally isn't a polite subject, but with two girls, we go through a lot of toilet paper. What I can't understand, and I've seen jokes about it so I know it isn't just me, why it is that only a mom knows how to thread the toilet paper on the spring-loaded toilet paper holder??? I mean, the roll would sit there for-EVER until it invariably fell into the toilet ruining the whole thing. Arrggg!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Horses - Part II

Everything I wrote in the previous blog today is horse manure. The horses ate peacefully for most of the day. We checked on our new horse, Stealth, frequently. I was startled when my doorbell rang, which it almost never does, to find our new neighbor from across the street. We hadn't met yet, and at that moment, I didn't know who he was.
"D'ya have a white pony," he drawled. Instantly, I mobilized, as I knew he'd only ask if Stealth had escaped. I ran outside, no shoes. Where was he?

The man had caught him across the street and brought him safely home. Big sigh of relief.
We walked him to the pasture, myself still in stocking feet, thinking that he just didn't see the wire fence and ran through it. That it was laying on the ground broken confirmed my suspicion, but not why he ran through it.

That was answered quickly when Stealth trotted through the pasture toward the other two horses. Bay bared his teeth, head lowered and ears back. He chased Stealth to the fence. This made no sense to me as earlier in the day Bay had driven Jorgen off and enjoyed Stealth's company. Clearly, I've missed some drama sometime today. I had no time to ponder this though as Stealth jumped the wire this time, clearing it. (We didn't know he could jump, either.) He ran down the road, stopping right at the crest of a hill, and stopping my heart. I'm too old to run after a horse with no shoes.

I got him to run back the other way and into our yard where he stopped and casually ate grass. See, he seemed to imply, everything's cool - I'm eating grass! A small car pulled into our driveway, and three bajo (I'm learning Spanish) Mexican men emerged. One moved forward carefully, speaking quietly in Spanish. I was in the meantime fixing the fence as our other two horses were threatening to leave the pasture as well. The man stealthily moved up to the pony, touched his back and grabbed his halter. I was very grateful.

Stealth was a bit worked up, and so to the barn with him. Tomorrow, we will divide the pasture in two, putting Stealth and Jorgen together, and Bay where he can see but not touch. Huh! The lessons I learn from horses.

I also had the opportunity to meet our new neighbor, though I still don't know his name as he went home before I knew who he was, and I met some of the Mexican workers from a horse farm down the road. Interesting day.



"Stealth" joined our horse family this weekend. He is a 9 year old Welsh Gelding that we are leasing for dd#2. He is a perfect size for doing Mounted Pony Games (see that the girls are learning.

We enjoyed introducing him to our 15 year old Tennessee Walking gelding and our 5 year old Gotland gelding (see Horses are so straightforward. They have their fights right up front and determine the societal order. "Bay", the bigger TN horse, quickly re-asserted his rights as boss and kept the newcomer near him, seemingly shunning his Gotland buddy. But after a time, they all went back to a gelding's first passion - finding the perfect blade of grass.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Teaching Tomorrow's Doctors

My son and I were used as guinea pigs yesterday when we went for his well checkup at the pediatrician. Interestingly, or maybe unfortunately, when these young medical students are sent in to "play doctor", the patient is not asked for feedback on the performance.

A haughty, unfriendly man introduced himself with a serious visage when he entered. He did not smile, I kid you not, the entire visit. This man, who most likely had no children, quizzed me on a mundane list that I am subjected to each visit, and which though I find it boring and overdone, realize that they are just doing a job and perhaps someone might not find the information so obvious.
Does he wear a carseat? Yes, yes.
Can he draw a circle? Yes.
Are you teaching him colors? Yes, of course.

When he began to ask my son, at that tender stranger-phobic age, to perform for him, I began to lose my patience.
"What is your favorite color?" he demanded with his intimidating stare.
"No," my son refused to participate. He does know his colors, I said, somewhat intimidated myself. We were failing the quiz.
"Can you hop?" he stared some more.
"No," my son replied.
Taking matters into my own hands, I got son to do stupid pet tricks like hop, stand on one foot and open the door. I minded the performance, but it was more the man had the demeanor of a dead fish.

Was he potty trained? Oh, yes, number two since he was two years old. But not number one yet. I know that ds does not yet have the muscle control for that. Play Doctor suggested that I try taking him more often, even when he doesn't ask. Hair is now starting to rise on the back of my neck. I've potty trained two so far, I am thinking, how many have you???

How much milk does he drink? Juice? Oh, 8 oz. a day milk. Not much juice. I sense disapproval. He eats lots of broccoli and spinach, I offer. Okay, now it comes down to - do I admit I'm one of those weird people who believe in extended nursing? Not yet. It's none of his business, but then maybe it is and shouldn't I educate him?

We continue. My son is 15% on height, so Play Dr. predicts he is going to be short. But, that's only a prediction, right? I've been told before it is too variable and that height prediction is difficult. Okay, now I'm getting on Play Dr.'s nerve. He's here to tell me stuff, not listen to my weird ideas. Perhaps if he drank more milk......I am now getting the idea that I don't care what he thinks of me.

"So I see from your chart that you haven't been here for a whole year? He hasn't been sick for a whole year? No ear infections, nothing??" Well, I venture, he's still nursing, and so he gets my antibodies. Play Dr. says not a word. Silence fills the room.

He checks son over, worrying that he's not "descended" to the point I was on the verge of telling him THAT'S ENOUGH! when he gave up and said that perhaps the boy was just cold. Duh! The goosebumps MIGHT be a clue.

This whole thing did make me realize how wonderful our pediatrician is. She is like visiting an old friend. Perhaps I will write and tell her so. As for Play Dr., I hope that he is headed towards a successful career in Pathology.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Keep Blogging

Most days, I consider myself lucky to have had time for lunch. Today, for example, I ate lunch in the car driving from a pediatric appointment to a horse back riding lesson. This involved stopping at the house along the way to pick up the horse trailer, as we were to bring home a horse we are going to lease for dd#2. After the lesson and loading the horse, we dropped the horse home, picked up dd#1's suitcase and took her to our church to rendezvous with her ride to a weekend retreat for Confirmation candidates. Then, off to two stores to try to find food for this new horse. Everyone was out of it. Back to the farm from which we leased him to borrow food for the weekend. Return home to unhook trailer and unload 50 lb. bags. And, now, I am home.

Having been gone all day, really I should be doing housework and preparing dinner. Ds is taking his afternoon late nap. I am having my tea and decided that I really miss writing and need to continue to blog. I have lots of thoughts that would be fun to write down, and I will try to make a few minutes a day to write.


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