Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So Jelly Bean turned 7 recently . . .

which I showed here, but now I have to turn into into a Simple post. We had Jelly Bean's pictures taken recently, and here are a couple of them.

Now, isn't she just SO cute!! But besides that, in this picture, she is wearing a jacket from Goodwill ($1.75), a turtleneck from TJ Maxx ($1), and hand-me-down jeans ($0). (She is not wearing socks or shoes.)

Total for her outfit $3.75

I love this outfit even more than the first. The sweater is from Goodwill ($1.75), the turtleneck is the same one from above, the skirt is from Goodwill and was not a set with the sweater AND I bought them at two different times! I couldn't believe my luck! ($1.75), the tights were a gift, and the shoes were a big splurge a few months ago (on clearance for $9).

The total for the outfit ($13.50, if you count the turtleneck again. $12.50 if you don't.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

So do you think

that it is easier to be a better mom to less children because you have more time to spend with each child, less places to be, less variety to various moods and personalities?

Or is it easier to be a better mom to more children because you have more variety to various moods and personalities and so you learn more about how to deal with them, more help with the family because the older ones can help with the younger ones, and just having more mothering experiences?

I think I've decided that having 3 children is the hardest amount. LOL Too many to be able to spend lots of time with all of them, and relatively busy with their activities, and each child is very different than the other, but there isn't really enough of them/wide enough spread to help me, and three children doesn't give me a TON of mothering experiences.

But three is what I have given - and I'm going to try to teach them the best that I can, and try and be the best mother I can be too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Facebook - Or Confronting My Past

I know that many people, myself included, are on Facebook. I hadn't even heard of it until last summer, and didn't sign up until late last fall. I don't even remember why I decided to sign up. But it looked like it was relatively harmless, and didn't give me the heebies like MySpace, and there were ways of avoiding becoming "friends" with people that I wasn't that close with, or people that I had no interest in reconnecting with, so I went ahead and signed up.

I quickly became "friends" with approximately 100 people. And started telling people about the little silly details of my day, and reading about theirs. Again, pretty harmless, but I kept wondering "Do people really care that I just baked cookies or that I have had bangs all of my life?"

Mr. Simple joined around the same time, and initially became friends with about the same number of people, but then he started to reconnect with people that he went to elementary school, high school, college, etc. I noticed that many of my Facebook friends were doing similar things. And I think that using Facebook is a good way to be able to connect with people that you haven't had contact with in awhile, or people that you are geographically far away from, or both. My problem is that my friends are people that a) I have regular contact with and we live in the same area, and have "in real life" conversations with a very regular basis or b) are people that I don't live close to, but I have regular e-mail/electronic communication with on a very regular basis. Out of my 100 "friends", only one is someone that I hadn't spoken with in a few years, and even with him, I think I've posted two comments to him since I joined.

But I look at other people's pages, and I see all the pictures from their past, and all the activities that they did, and all the people that they hung out with, and it just makes it so glaring that their childhood/teenhood/young adulthood was typical, and mine was not. And it makes me sad to see all the opportunities and possibilities that people have during those years, and that I didn't try any of them. So I started to wonder "Why am I on Facebook?" And I started to think about my past.

It started off during my childhood - I was liked at school, I suppose, but just had one or two good friends. I always did well in school, and loved it until sixth grade. It was in sixth grade that it all really started. I moved across town. I went to a school that my best friend, who went to my church, attended. I started hanging out with her, and her friends. It was great. I was part of a group, and we were popular. There were six girls and five boys. By that spring, we were together constantly, and we started to only hang out with each other. My parents thought that it was phase, and that it would pass. Sigh.

By 7th grade, we all moved over to the junior high. We were still very chummy, but it was seventh grade, and everything else was new and different, and so it was comforting to be in a group of kids that you knew so well. By eighth grade, one of the boys decided that he was going to become our group "leader". It was up to him to decide what was cool and what was not, what was allowed and what was not. It was also when people in the group started pairing off. I still didn't really like boys, so I avoided any activities with the group when they were going to be doing anything that might include hand-holding or kissing. By 9th grade, my best friend decided that she no longer wanted to be restricted by the group, and she left. We still saw each other at church and in the halls, but that was it. I was so sad when she left, but I didn't have much time to worry about it because the group had gotten even more restrictive. It wasn't "cool" to be involved in sports, except for football, and there was only one boy out of the group who would be big enough to play all four years. Basically, any extracurricular activities were strongly discouraged. I had always wanted to be involved in music and theater, maybe debate or student government, or swimming. I tried out for none of them. (Although I did rebel and do track!) I just did things with the group. I only saw people from the group. We only wore grey hooded sweatshirts and jeans. We only talked to each other, about each other, and there were "punishments" for doing things that were not allowed. There were other weird things going on too, but I didn't know who to tell. Certainly not my parents, or teachers, and I didn't have any friends outside of the group. I went to a large school, and I "knew" other people, but yet, I might has well have gone to a school with 9 other people. The only thing that helped was that I had a boyfriend from outside the group, but he was also a year older than me, and didn't go to my school, and I didn't see him that often. And he broke up with me over the summer too.

By the middle of tenth grade, things had gotten to a breaking point. I had just gone out with and broken up with the "leader" and it had not been a good situation, to put it mildly. And finally, the group did break apart. Three boys and one girl left, including the boy who had been the "leader". And although I had wanted to get out of the group for years, I found myself lost and sad when it did break up. And now that I "could" do activities at school, I was too nervous, or I felt like it was too late. Everybody at our school was already labelled as being a "criminal", a "princess", a "brain", an "athlete" or a "basketcase" (a little homage there to Hollywood's version of high school, The Breakfast Club) and I was labelled as "one of the girls from that weird group." I did reconnect with my boyfriend and that helped, but mostly, I just bided my time until I could go to college. Despite the fact that I hadn't enjoyed school for years, I was a very good student. I looked forward to the fact that I could reinvent myself at college.

After my junior and senior year of high school were finally over, I got accepted to my first choice for college. My best friend, from way back, was also going to the same school. We would be able to reconnect, and we could do all those fun, stereotypical college things. My boyfriend was going to the same school. It was going to be perfect.

Except that she fell in love with a guy during the first week of classes, and was married by the following summer. I hardly saw her. My boyfriend died in a bicycle/car accident the first month of school. I discovered that college was not the time to be trying things just to try them. If you were doing things, even extracurricular things, in college, it was because you were good at them. I hadn't had/taken the chance in high school to find out if I was good at anything, and didn't even really know what I was interested in. I had 5 roommates (in a 3 bedroom/kitchen/bathroom suite sort of thing), and 4 of the 5 had all gone to school together. And then we met five guys during that first month that we hung out with all year. It was like being in the group all over again. By the end of the year, I had to leave.

And I left. And wandered. I spent a year at a junior college, not because my grades were bad, but because it sounded interesting. It wasn't. I went back to my original college, and dropped all my classes. Did the same thing the next semester. And then I dropped out of college by 21 and worked full-time for the next four years as a police dispatcher. I did go back and finish my degree, in a different state, different school after that, but as I sat in classes as a 25 year junior, it was just more of the feeling like I had missed my chance AGAIN.

So if you have made it through this epic tale, what I was trying to say is that Facebook is really making me look at those old days, and the old me. Not surprisingly, not one of my Facebook "friends" are one of my "friends" from the group. I have contact with my best friend from those days, and I exchange Christmas cards with another girl. The rest of them I don't have any contact, don't know where they live, or anything about their life since we graduated in May 1984. I don't have any contact with any of my roommates over the years, with the exception of my grad school roommates. 95% of the people that I have contact with on Facebook, I have known for less than 10 years. And I'm friends with most of them because they have a life similar to mine - a busy mom, wife, and usually someone is working, either in or outside of the home, full-time or part-time.

Do any of these people care that I was in some weird group in high school, and that I never tried out for a play, never had a boyfriend at my own school, that I was 27 when I graduated with my bachelor's, that I don't have scrapbooks full of pictures of me from all those wacky things that kids were doing in the 80s? I'm very sure that they don't. They are friends with me because of the things that we have done or said or shared in the last 10 years.

Do I care? Hmm. Complicated question. Care, well, probably not. Things happen, it is what it is, what are you going to do about it now, sort of thing. And I don't sit around thinking "Wow, if I'd only been on the debate team in 1982, my life would be SO different." But would my life had been different if I hadn't been in that group? I think yes. Would I have been a different person now if I hadn't been that group? I think yes. But who is to say that my different life/different person would have been "better?" Hmmm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Daybook - A Day Late Again

January 20, 2009
***
Outside My Window ...

A little snow, a lot cold. The sun is very bright today. It always seems like if it is that bright and sunny that it should be warm, but alas . . .

***
I am listening to...
music loaded onto Itunes, but through my computer. I do have an ipod, but I don't use it much anymore. I use to use it, but it just isn't fitting with this season of my life. But Mr. Simple uses it on his many trips, so it still gets plenty of use.
***
I am thankful for ...

that I went out into the FRIGID cold on Friday night, and went to the Women Living Wisely meeting and made hats and scarves with some of my favorite women.
***
From the kitchen ...
I did Once a Month cooking this month, and I have SO enjoyed it. I did mine over the first weekend instead of one day, and I did it mostly in the evenings, but it has been such a lifesaver this month. Tonight we are having some old fashioned ham and bean soup. Soup is the only thing that I've found that makes winter bearable. Oh, and Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows.
***
I am wearing ...
a red cardigan, white camisole, black slacks, black socks, and slippers. I'll be forever grateful that I work from home and that wearing slippers every day if I want to is an option.
***
I am creating ...
lots and lots of preschool activities. Another way that I'm trying to make winter tolerable is to create activities related to the winter, so I'm making all kinds of activities related to snow, snowmen, and mittens. I'm also working on crocheting another dishcloth.
***In the Schoolroom ...
Flower is working on a Presidential unit this week. The preschool kids are working on snowball activities this week. There are also many kids that are working really hard with activities from the language shelf.

***
Bringing beauty to my home ...
I'm still trying to purge items, and I'm working with the girls to see if they can keep their room clean for longer than 3 hours at a time.

***
I am reading . . .
lots to all the children. Super wants to start Peter Pan again (the Barrie version). I've read the entire thing to him three times already last year. But I'll probably agree to it.
***
I am hoping ...
for peace in my home, and peace outside of it.
***One of my favorite things ...
is watching Flower dive. We started swimming lessons (for all of children) yesterday. I often, in case you hadn't noticed, feel so conflicted about the amount of activities that my children are in, and the fact that especially Flower would like to be involved in different, and more activities than we can afford, and that we have time for in our lives. But Flower is a good swimmer and diver, and does enjoy doing it, and it makes me smile when I watch her dive off the diving board with such ease and skill, especially since I was never a good diver because diving scared me (but I loved swimming, and was a good swimmer.)
***
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
We will watch the inauguration, go to swimming lessons, and go with the girls to sell Girl Scout cookies.
***
Here is a picture thought I am sharing:



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

White Space

No, I'm not talking about the snow outside (although I'm sure I will in another post).

When I hear the word white space, it takes me back to my days of desktop publishing courses back in the early 90s. Here's a quote about white space from "Looking Good In Print", a book that I used often back when I started as a technical writer.

"White space - or blank space free of text or artwork - is one of the most undervalued tools of graphic design. White space provides contrast, as well as a resting point for readers' eyes, as they begin moving through the publication."

I read a blog called Camp Creek, and it discusses applying Reggio Emilia philosophy to homeschooling. I use some Reggio Emilia ideas with my children and with the preschool children. Anyway, I was reading this post the other day on her blog called "White Space" and it really made me think, yet again, about mine and my children's daily lives.

She said:

"When we talk about overscheduled kids, I think about white space.

When we cram too many experiences into a child’s day/week/life, we don’t leave time for them to think about what they’ve experienced — they just move on to the next thing, letting the previous thing drop away.

Refilling the well, being inspired, making connections, reflecting … these aren’t things that are easily acknowledged and checked off a list. They need time — empty, unfilled, unscheduled time.

White space. Without the white space, there’s no balance.

Rather than thinking about quantity — of ideas, of experiences, of work produced — we need to think about quality. Spending more time doing less, so we can do better and appreciate more. A single experience, really and truly had and understood, is more valuable than weeks and weeks of rushed, unconnected, random experiences."

This is one of my goals for this year: To spend more time doing less, so we can do better and appreciate more.

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Daybook post for 2009

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Monday, January 12th, 2009


Outside My Window... there are grey skies, and a little bit of snow on the ground. More snow is expected tomorrow, along with cold temperatures the rest of the week, especially Thursday.

I am thinking... about how much I don't enjoy cold weather, or winter really. I keep trying to find ways to at least appreciate it, and I haven't been able to find anything. I just don't like it. I guess for me, it is just one of those "opposition in all things" sort of things, so I guess if I want nice weather, I'll have to live with the bad.

I am thankful for... that I did Once A Month cooking this month. It has really helped me be able to have a more relaxed day since I'm not scrambling around trying to figure out what to cook, and get it prepared, and cooking it, etc.

From the learning rooms... we are getting back on track after our Christmas break. The preschool children are learning about mittens, snowflakes, and snowmen. These are incorporated in environment with counting, patterning, matching, art, language, and pouring. Flower is starting a number of new units (most at her request): US history in the 20th century, whales, acrylic painting, Shakespeare, as well as math, poetry, botany, artist study, geography. She also will have a spelling test and a math test every Friday this quarter.

From the kitchen... I'm defrosting Chicken Tortellini Soup.

I am wearing... jeans, blue turtleneck, blue cardigan sweater, striped knee socks, and slippers.

I am creating... my themes list for January and preschool materials for January.

I am going... to Jelly Bean's Daisy Girl Scout meeting tonight. They will be talking about Girl Scout Cookie selling techniques at tonight's meeting. Both Jelly Bean and Flower are Girl Scouts. Cookie Sales in our area start on January 17th. So if any of you need cookies, and you don't know anyone who will be selling, please contact me and we'll get you hooked up!

I am reading... actually, nothing right now. I did read a couple of books about simplifying Christmas over the holidays (Unplug the Christmas Machine and The Hundred Dollar Holiday. I preferred The Hundred Dollar Holiday.) I also finished all the books on my November bookshelf. I'll give a review on them in a post sometime this month.

I am hoping... that 2009 is better for me and my family than 2008 was.

I am hearing... one of the daycare children working with modeling clay, and Flower doing something upstairs at the dining room/school table.

Around the house... I'm finally getting the house cleaned up from Flower's American Girl party on Friday night. She invited her sister, and seven other girls and the party went from 5 pm to 10 pm. They played an American Girl Mystery Game, had pizza and cake, watched the American Girl: Kit Kittredge movie, did a hair salon for the girls and their dolls, and did some karaoke singing.

One of my favorite things... is Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. Have I mentioned that before?? LOL

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Not much. Trying to stay warm, and fully get back in the swing with school.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...





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Go to Peggy's website to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook project.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Christmas Dresses


I posted way back in this post back in September that I had purchased the girls their Christmas dresses for the year. Well, here is a picture of the girls in their dresses. Aren't the girls and the dresses beautiful?? They both love their dresses! I think that the dresses might fit next year too, so you may see them again for Christmas 2009.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jelly Bean's birthday party

Jelly Bean's birthday is December 17th, and usually it is difficult to try and do a birthday party before Christmas, so this year, we opted to do it last weekend. She wanted to do a bowling party, and everyone had a great time. I didn't get any action shots (the lighting at the bowling alley never makes for good pictures, not to mention, they are usually a bunch of backside shots! LOL) So I've got pictures of the cake and of us eating. Jelly Bean also got a bunch of wonderful presents, but I didn't include those shots, because they included other people's children, and I didn't want to invade other people's privacy. But Jelly Bean says Thank you to everyone!

The cake - Baked by me and frosted by Mr. Simple. Jelly Bean is allergic to milk, and so all of her cakes are homemade with mixes/frosting tubs because they don't have milk in them.

Jelly Bean eating pizza - again, her piece doesn't
have cheese on it.


Mr. Simple

Flower

Super
Happy Birthday Jelly Bean!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We celebrated at around 9 pm with the kids.

Jelly Bean and Mr. Simple doing "cheers"

The girls actually stayed up until midnight!
Here's to 2009!

Christmas - Part 3

Merry Christmas 2008! We had a lovely Christmas. We went to church with Grandma S on Christmas Eve, and then we woke up early Christmas morning.

The Christmas Tree - I took off the Advent ornaments on the 24th
and put on our "real" ornaments.

Checking out the stockings to see what Santa brought

Super kept saying that all he wanted for Christmas was a
bubble gun. Well, Santa came through!
At 4, shouldn't Super be past finding the packaging more interesting than the present?

Apparently not.

Santa also brought the girls digital cameras,
and brought Super a great tricycle.

Grandma N was in town helping take care of Aunt Lisa.
She gave Jelly Bean a Cupcake Maker, and they had so much fun making cupcakes together!

The finished product!


There were plenty of other gifts, and there was much thought and effort put into them (Mr. Simple loves his homemade pillowcases from the girls!)
Hope everyone had a wonderful day! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas - Part 2

Next we celebrated Christmas over at Grandma S's house on Christmas Eve.

All of the kids and Grandma S

Flower got the American Girl book pack that she has been wanting FOREVER

Jelly Bean got an American Girl Card/Scrapbook craft pack.

They got a classic game.

Super got a Thomas book pack.
Thank you Grandma S! We love all of our presents!

Christmas - Part 1

We celebrated Ellie's birthday and Christmas with Aunt N and Uncle D on December 14th. Here are some pictures from the day. (We were at Grandma S's house.)

Aunt N looking at the ornaments that the kids made

Uncle D looking at an ornament

Opening presents

Super's outfit. He also got a magnetic toy.

Flower's outfit. She also got a cookbook.

Jelly Bean's outfit. She also got a game.
She got a dress & sweater for her birthday.
Thank you for all the presents! We loved all of them!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jelly Bean does Basketball!

Jelly Bean decided to play basketball this fall, and they started playing games in December. She had lots of fun. Here are a few pictures of her and her team in action.

JB is to the right of the girl wearing shorts

She shoots, she scores!

Music Concerts


Flower performed with her Homeschool Choir in December, and Jelly Bean was in the Kindy-2nd grade Music program. (Sorry about the video quality. JB is in the middle/upper left wearing a red dress with a black jacket.) They both did an outstanding job.



video

Jelly Bean Turns 7!

Jelly Bean turned 7 on December 17th.

Making a wish

Eating at our "birthday" restaurant - A Japanese restaurant


Happy Birthday Jelly Bean! We love You!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I didn't mean to take such a long break

But we were busy with Advent activities, Jelly Bean's birthday on December 17th, helping to take care of Mr. Simple and my sister, Christmas, New Year, plans for life and school for 2009.
I'm going to work on getting some photo posts up this week, and then next week, I'll get back to daily/almost daily posts about our Simple Life. I've got lots of news on that front!

But I'll leave you with one picture to entice you to start checking back in again.

Flower dressed up on St. Lucia's Day