Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge


OK this photo is for the self portrait challenge. As anyone that has struggled with weight knows, this is the worst item to have in your bathroom, but one you are drawn to over and over again. I covered the actual weight read out with duct tape because even I don't want to know what it says. I thought about repainting my toenails a cute red color but that wouldn't really be me. This green color was painted on them like 2 months ago and as you can see if peeling off, oh well. I have never been too concerned with how my feet look. And this was the first time in years I have actually painted them at all. And Yes, I am still in my pink PJs at 5:00. Actually if I am not going anywhere I prefer to spend all my time in PJs, too comfy to wear only at night.

Halo 3

OK the game Halo 3 was released last night at midnight. Of course we were there. Wouldn't miss that event.

It started earlier in the day, I blogged a week or so ago about our XBOX 360 being broken. Phil and Dallen were totally OK with sending it off to be fixed, under warranty so not out of pocket money, the company even mailed us an empty box with instructions and return postage to mail it in. That was good. We had pre-bought Halo 3 way back in July as a birthday present for the boys. So it was disappointing for them that the game system broke right before the release date of the game, not enough time to get it repaired. They still wanted to be there at midnight to pick up the game though. Even though they couldn't play the game, both of them thought picking it up at midnight would be exciting (and it was for Halo 2 as well).

During the day Phil made a couple of comments like "I am not as excited, we won't be able to play the game tonight, probably not until we get back from Hawaii". Then he would say "at least the PS2 is fixed so I can play on that." Just little comments. So when Jackson finished up at the office and came home I approached him. I just said ya know, I know we have Hawaii coming up and are saving for a new heating and cooling system. I know all of that. But wouldn't it be really cool if the boys could play Halo 3 tonight, after they pick up the game.

I just ran with it. Acknowledging that "moneywise" it might not be the "best" move to make, but my gut told me it would be worth it to see the boys so filled with joy. I mean we HAVE the money. Both of us realized that Jackson would have to work an extra call day to make up that money. I was so nervous approaching the subject, not knowing what his reaction would be, knowing it was now 8:00 in the evening. But he was right there with me. I MUST HAVE THE COOLEST HUSBAND IN THE WORLD!! He actually made a few phone calls to see what places had systems available, how late they were open etc.

He went shopping early, like at 9:00. Drove 30 minutes away to go see if he could pick one up somewhere. I didn't tell the boys because I didn't want them to be disappointed if we couldn't find a place open that late at night that had a system for sale etc. Jackson arrived back home and we immediately all got into the car and went off to wait in line to pick up Halo 3. When the boys got back in the car with the game, there was the system sitting there waiting for them.

I was right, the joy on their faces (another light up moment) the excitement, the anticipation of getting home, playing the game, was just incredible. It was so worth the extra money spent. Every penny. Now in a few weeks time we will have two systems. So I guess they could each have their own or whatever, they will work out that detail.

They were up until well after 3:00 (that was the time I went to sleep) this morning. Then came to bed at some point because I could hear Dallen moving in bed this morning, then Phil woke up and I heard Dallen say "great Phil you are up...lets go play Halo 3". Then I opened my eyes and it was 9:00. Dallen said "mom when you get up could you get me a bagel?" I responded "yeah". And laid in bed for another 30 minutes.
They have been playing the game all day so far. My job today is to revel in their joy, bring them finger foods every few hours, and tea, water etc. And listen when they occasionally break for air (or to use the bathroom) and need to tell someone what is going on in the game at this point in time.

Life is great. Being a mom is cool. Being THEIR mom is wonderful. Having a husband who is on the same page is "priceless".

Monday, September 24, 2007

Commit to Sit


Well I started the "Commit to Sit" 28 day challenge today. Been reading about it for the past week getting ready. I meditate on and off, but nothing that is regular. I would like to, but it seems like other things take that priority spot in my life. So today I made the commitment to meditate twice a day, morning and evening, every day for 28 days.

It was tough this morning. I had so much to do to get ready for an FLT Gathering coming up starting Thursday and running through the weekend. But I did it, maybe a little closer to noon than morning, but hey, for me noon is still morning. And I did it. Seems harder to meditate when I am making it a priority. Harder to relax, harder to focus. This first week is focusing on the breath, easy subject, I can do that. Done it before, will have no problem with it. But my mind was exceptionally busy today. I kept drifting off to the things I had left to do on my "to do list". The great thing about Buddhist meditation is no guilt, just bring your thought back to your breath and move on. Gotta love it.

A little excerpt from the web site: "Our twenty-eight-day Commit to Sit challenge puts that daydream of an intense daily practice to the test. How different will you feel when you meditate every day for a month? " The answer is "I don't know" but will let you know how it is going, and maybe have an answer to the question at the end of the 28 days.

The Tricycle Magazine has a great page dedicated to this, it is for anyone wanting to experience meditation on an ongoing basis, to see how it changes their life. So join me if you would like.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

As If I Were Your Mother


I have posted before about trying to approach each new situation from a place of love and each person with admiration. Well I was reading my Tricycle Magazine this morning and there was an article with the title "As If I Were Your Mother". As a mother, this article made so much sense and is along the same lines as approaching each situation from a place of love. Let me quote just a piece of the article by Sarah Aceto:

" What if I remembered that every sentient being has at one time been my child? If I could imagine everyone being as precious to me as my son, perhaps I could finally recognize the shadow of a Buddha within me...So we can listen to the person in traffic, the person who smiles, the person who never glances our way. Listen through his words and actions. Listen for the echoes of your crying child. What does she need? Go to her. Pick her up. Wrap her in your acceptance and rock her to sleep."

How amazing is that. I am really working on that this week especially. I have a meeting coming up and am nervous about it, about the whole situation. I generally don't like conflict. And am trying to NOT anticipate any conflict at all. But I have to lead this meeting, and want to keep in mind that in another life each individual was a child of mine.

Approach each situation from a position of love. Approach each individual with admiration and as a child of mine.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The View From My Computer

We had a wonderful day bowling with some friends and are now back home. I am just checking some e mail on my computer and looked around. It is so nice to see the boys on either side of me. They have had their own computers for some time now. It would have been easy to say "no" to the request for a separate computer some 5 years ago. After all how many 5 and 8 year olds have their own computers. But we worked it out saved up money and now they have their own computers and computer desks. I never questioned the why about it those years ago. For me it was enough that it was important to my boys, that makes it important to me. I see how much they enjoy having their own computers, playing their own games or writing their own stories, when they want. They have even decorated their desks in their own fashion. My oldest keeps his chewed gum collection as a permanent fixture of his desk, just part of the architectural interest.

It is nice from time to time to be able to look to the left and look to the right and see both my boys, enjoying their passion. In their own little world, but never far away.

Self Portrait Challenge-Bathroom

OK I am dabbling in the Self Portrait arena to see what comes up. I love taking pictures and what better subject than "me". LOL

Here is my first picture. I know it isn't as cute as little feet on the edge of the tub or the reflection of a smile in the mirror. But as the mother of two boys and wife to one taller boy, I feel like most of my time in the bathroom is dedicated to this task. So what better self portrait. :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dreams

I haven't posted about this, was thinking about it last night, but needed a little more distance. Every couple of months I dream about my parents, both have crossed over. It isn't the same dream. Night before last I dreamed that we had all flown somewhere for a vacation of sorts, I remember thinking I hadn't seen them in a while. We did the touristy thing, then in the end we all had to fly home. My mom was saying that she was flying to a different place, it really had this feeling that she knew she was going to die. My dad wasn't going with her. He was going home, home like in Maine, I don't think I ever knew exactly where my mom was going but we all went to a different place that day. I am fuzzy on details now, should have probably written them down. But I woke up at that moment and just had this overwhelming feeling of loss. Just a sadness deep in my heart that wasn't going away.

I jumped up out of bed, the boys were still sleeping, Jackson had gone to work and the house was so quiet and I felt so alone. I immediately got online to see if anyone was there to talk to, but none of my friends were online yet. So I sat there, kind of frozen, waiting for the fading to take place, you know when dreams fade away to only a vague memory.

FINALLY a few minutes later Teresa popped up online. I was so grateful she was not too busy to check her e mail this morning. So I IMed with her and felt better. Just talking about nothing really. But the dream was so vivid and left me feeling so alone.

I can make guesses at what the dream meant. But don't know for sure. I wish my mom would come out in a dream and just tell me what I am supposed to be learning from all of this. Why it is so important for me to keep feeling this loss. I have mentioned in posting before that I feel like it is a hole in my heart forever. Oh I don't dwell in the loss. I remember the happier times, and share things with my boys so they will know their grandparents. And in a day or so I won't even remember that this dream happened, until another dream pops up in a few months.
Anyway it does make me very thankful for good friends.


Here is a picture of my brother, my mom, and I from 1973!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Frustrating Moment for Phil


Phil has just been having a tough couple of days. We did find out that the XBOX 360 was still under warranty so we could ship it in and have it fixed. Disappointing in that it will take about 3 weeks to get it back, so the boys won't have the 360 when Halo 3 comes out. Jackson also did some research to figure out just what was wrong with the controller port on the PS2 and found a place to buy the part online at a minimal cost. So Phil helped Jackson with that, it is being shipped out today so hopefully by the end of the week they will have the PS2 back in working order. A satisfactory substitute until we get the 360 back, so Phil was happy again, and looking forward to helping Jackson fix the PS2.

This morning was another story. As I was reading e mails, both boys still sleeping, the cable went out, no Internet, no TV. Phil woke up a few minutes after the demise of the cable and was again disappointed. Not with the cable being out exactly, but more about it being out of his control. He had no choice in the matter at all, and that irritated him and set him up for a "bad day" scenario. In his frustration he did ask me to try to help him find "something to do". OK so I do have a list to get us started thinking. Play games, or build a puzzle...."no". We can read, or watch a movie, maybe pop some popcorn...."no". How about something arts and crafty, we have plenty of that around....."no". Do you want to go outside and play or go out the chickens or help in the garden..."no". What about playing ball with the dogs or playing on a game system, listening to music, cooking...."no".

Nothing seemed to appeal to him. I really think Phil was stuck on the cable being out, that he had no control over that, and he couldn't get past that. So we talked just a minute about letting the one event control our day, our emotions etc.

Well we ended up working on Sea Animals trading cards for an ATC trade, then I started playing with the pattern blocks making designs. Phil quickly joined in and started making his own design. That was a BIG help in him moving on. Then he wanted to pop popcorn and watch the movie Garfield. A great laid back 1 1/2 hours. He had moved past the cable incident. Was now moving forward with his day. When Garfield was over we noticed that the cable was back on. He turned the TV off and kept working with the pattern blocks. He didn't "need" the TV, he "needed" the choice to watch it or not. Having that choice taken away was really big for Phil. But he moved on, difficult at first, but he moved past the incident...That was BIG for Phil.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

XBOX 360 or Consensual Living

Wow. OK my youngest son was so disappointed yesterday. He was wanting a new game to play. You know how it goes, you play and play on a game then it is done, you reach the end. So yesterday he was wanting something new. Jackson happened to be running errands and so Phillip went along to stop by the store and see what games were in stock.

Bought a new XBOX 360 game. Started playing it and the system froze up completely. He was so devastated. So he and Jackson read over different web sites to see if it was something fixable. Turns out that many people are having the same problem. It is under warranty, but if you try to fix it yourself, of course, you void the warranty. So Phillip is so upset, not only can he not play the game he bought now but if we send the XBOX 360 off it probably won't be back in time for the release of Halo 3, a game they have been WAITING an eternity for. We stood in line at midnight for the release of Halo 2 and were planning on doing the same for Halo 3.

OK so now the dilemma, we are also going to Hawaii in a month and really can't afford to spend a whole lot right now, we need to have some cash for Hawaii. So we are trying to decide what to do, what options we have. Should we look for a used system, send this one off, try to fix it ourselves, will they be able to fix it, what is the turn around time? We do know that if we send it off we NEED the receipt so we are off to Best Buy today to get a copy of the receipt and see where we are at from there. Phil is opposed to buying a new system because it is too expensive and he does want to have a great time in Hawaii. But we plan to look around see what other gamers have to say and go from there.

On a lighter note instead of him playing his game yesterday we make more cool things with the Perler beads, used some of the air dry crayola clay stuff to make some miniature buildings, made guacamole and cheese dip and watched a movie then played "Scene It". So we had a fun day, jut not the exact day that Phillip had envisioned.

Could have gone so differently. And probably would have when I was a child. So many people think living consensually is so hard. And it might be when you are changing, starting out, making it work. But the more you make it work the easier it gets. And when your children really trust the relationship, the environment, and you, when they know that every one's thoughts, ideas, needs are treated as equal, the process is so smooth, and sooooo easy.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Joy




Phillip finished up his day yesterday with Perler beads. You know the beads you make a design with and then melt them together with an iron. We haven't had out the Perler beads in a long time. But last night he was looking for something cool and he found those. Jackson was playing his guitar in the background and Phil said that was just the thing to get his creative juices going.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Balloons


OK we had a couple of bags of balloons left over from the balloon funshop at the Live and Learn conference. I thought that our cabin couldn't get any fuller with those balloons so assumed the boys had used them all. WRONG. LOL. We had some balloons and one of the smaller pumps left from the Live and Learn Conference, and today Phil got those out and had so much fun blowing them all up. It is amazing what those long skinny balloons will do when bent just so. It has been a beautiful, rainy day here and so this brought a ray of "sunlight" into an already amazing day.


Thanks for the balloons!!

Regrets

I try not living in regrets but really think I can learn from them as well. So my thought is to process my regret this morning and move on and make the changes I need.

The Live and Learn Conference is over. My regret is not engaging in conversation with more people. I have always been an introvert. I know many people don't believe that but I am, deep to my core I am shy. That is why I volunteer so much, I get to meet everyone, share my gift of organization, hopefully make a positive addition and keep busy. Maybe the volunteering is good, maybe not. Maybe it is an excuse for me to meet people but never really "connect" with people. I am usually too busy to make those deep connections and really engage in conversation. I have a couple of friends that are so great at just starting a conversation and running with it. Not my forte.

So that is my regret. And something for me to ponder upon. And a goal of next year when I have a minute to engage more people in meaningful conversation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Altered Journal


For the last couple of days I have been working on an altered journal for an Imagination Tribe trade. We are trying to be tight with our money right now, we have a trip to Hawaii coming up in October. But I still wanted to participate so I went out to Staples and bought a really inexpensive "composition book". And have been painting and decorating and making it just really cool. It will be hard to part with this. The goal was to altar a journal that could really be used in the end. So I hope I have hit the target with this one.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Following Your Instincts

My boys are very perceptive children, I have always encouraged them to follow their instincts, something my parents never thought of doing. It shows itself in many ways but a couple of really cool examples presented themselves recently.

The last day of the Live and Learn Conference ended with a picnic and the Nitro Ice Cream they so love (thanks James). I had a cold and was a bit tired and ready to go home whenever they were ready. Otherwise I was just sitting and chatting a bit. We only live 45 minutes away from the camp so I was also thinking of what I needed to do at home...feed the chickens, do laundry, figure out what we have in the house to eat, etc....

So the boys said they were both ready to go we headed off to the car and about halfway there Dallen said "you know it just doesn't feel right to leave now". I know he was thinking that it was the end, he didn't want it to ever come to an end, he was going to miss all the fun, friends, and acceptance. So we turned around and headed back to the picnic for about another hour. Cool. He talked with friends some more and we left when he felt he was ready.

That could have gone so differently had I been a different parent. I COULD have said, we are almost to the car, I don't want to stay lets get in the car and go. He would have started crying and been so sad, and we COULD have left with all of us in a bad place and a negative feeling.

BUT WE DIDN'T

My youngest son last night was feeling some of the post conference let down. Realizing that his friends have gone home, he won't see them tonight, the activity is over. He was sad, so I listened to him talk about how he was feeling, and he decided that today he needs to do things with me more and he made himself a mental list. He wants to go out to the chickens with me today, and watch me as I plant some fall seeds, and he wants to read with me and cook with me. So today is going to be a reconnection day. At the conference it seems like they are having so much fun I rarely see my boys. We touch base in the morning and evening and at meal time. Now we need to have some time and space to reconnect.

ALL IS GOOD, When we listen to our instincts.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Light Up Moments



I am back from the Live and Learn Conference, relaxing and regrouping until next year. Processing everything that happened, everything that was shared and how it felt overall. I want to write about one particular moment for my son that was what I call a "Light Up Moment".
I help organize the conference and people often ask me why I volunteer my time to do this. I would love to say it is some philanthropic desire to spread the word of unschooling to as many people as we can reach, and that would be partially true. But the REAL reason is my children. My boys love the conference (as do I), they have so much fun and look forward to it each and every year. This year, as with past years, they were looking forward to James and his Nitro Ice Cream. It was down as a funshop so the boys wanted to stop by the funshop to see what was happening. Well James engaged them in a deep discussion of the Nintendo DS and all it's capabilities. My boys being avid DS fans, were so thrilled with this.

I wasn't there but Jackson, my husband, came to me at supper and said "you should have seen Dallen's face light up when James started talking about the DS and some site called DS homebrew."

That is the real reason why I love this conference so much. That is why I love living and learning so much. Those "light up" moments. When I see other adults talk to my boys like people with thoughts and ideas and engage with them in conversations on topics that they are passionate about, and listening to their ideas. You gotta love the "light up" moments. And it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Those are what make it all worth the effort. Watching them light up with overwhelming joy. Moments that they will NEVER forget, that help foster their passions and encourage them to think outside the box. The moments, the people....all worth every minute of my time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Live and Learn

Off to the Live and Learn Conference today. Will be there for most of a week. Looking forward to seeing everyone, having fun, just exploring everything with my boys, making new friends etc. But my stomach is in knots this morning for some reason. Not sure if I just feel like I will be too busy to enjoy it all or what. We will see.