Friday, November 30, 2007

Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceptive...and I haven't changed since I first took this in High School.

You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller!

In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart.
You often don't follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. And you do break a lot of hearts.

At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do.
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding

When other people don't get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused

Being judged for being an Unschooler


(Above is a picture of a fabulous book, Homeschooling With Gentleness; A Catholic Discovers Unschooling by Suzie Andres. I encourage all those skeptical of unschooling to at least read it through before making any more rash judgements. Click the pic and it should take you to Amazon.)

A couple of days ago I was installing the Mass readings widget on my blog. You can get it by going to http://www.catholiccontent.com/. While I was there I noticed I could put a widget in that would let people search CatholicBlogs. Not knowing how one gets added to CatholicBlogs, I searched myself...hey,Catholic is the first word in my title. Well, what should come up but a woman's blog (who shall remain nameless coz I don't want her to get any mean comments) who wrote, "I know unschooling is wrong." Admittedly, she went on to to list a bunch other things that she, as a Catholic homeschooler, thought were wrong. Then, she went on to say that she still shouldn't judge someone's devotedness to Catholicism based on what she thinks is wrong because, unless it is morally wrong, it's just her opinion.

What is everybody's problem with unschooling? Geesh! It drives me crazy. Where in the bible does it say, "Thou shalt make thy children sit at a desk and practiceth language arts, math, science, and history"...huh? Argh! (yes, I made a pirate sound...it ticks me off that much!) I know people who are very school-at-home homeschoolers. Secretly, I am slightly envious. But the envy is a misdirected kind. I am utterly stunned they can get their kids to actually do the work they put in front of them without balking. Heck, if I were a homeschooled kid today I wouldn't want to do, much less be truly interested in, half of what I was 'supposed' to do.

Why do so many people (religions and not religious) get education confused with discipleship and parenting. I am not, as I have said before, and unparent. There are unschoolers out there who's learning philosophy extends to how they parent. I am not into it. God has told me that I do need to train my kids. Not in a psychotic "Pearl" way (remember those authors? shudder), but in a "we're the parents and you're the kids" kind of way. I am not ashamed to say that I was here first, and yes, that does naturally extend to me more life-experience-wisdom if you will. Do I think that I can't learn from my kids? No! They teach me stuff all the time. I just don't believe they are my equals as some of the more secular unschoolers do. On the flip side, however, dh and I don't rule this house with an "iron-fist-50's-style-Nun-smacking-you-with-a-ruler" authoritarian style either.

We have expectations for our kids' behavior and "we" mostly have to model it, coz let's face it, the whole "Do as I say and not as I do" parenting style just ain't gonna cut it in the long run. Yet, when we have to take a more hands-on on approach and basically lay down the law, we always try to do it in a way that is loving and non-condescending. Now, I personally, fail woefully at this because I have the temper of a petulant 5 year old at times. So, I end up having to apologize to my kids sometimes. But that is good for me and them. Then they see that I am not perfect just because I am the mom, and they see that I know I need to ask forgiveness because I really need forgiveness. We all do.

The problem I have with the more structured and authoritarian style homeschoolers is that just because it's the parents job to set the rules and guide their children's behavior doesn't mean they have to do the same with the way their kids learn. If the most important commandments Jesus gave to us (which sum up the 10) were from Matthew 22 vs36-39....

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'
This is the great and foremost commandment.
The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "

...then how on earth does one extrapolate from that that unschooling is morally wrong or that schooling-at-home is morally right? Because if someone calls unschooling wrong that is tantamount to calling it a sin. How on earth could it be that my kids learning what they want to learn when they are ready to learn it possibly be a sin? A sin would be me not talking to them about their Catholic faith and why it is important and true, not helping them to see what it means to be Catholic, and even worse not taking them to Mass and nor allowing them to avail themselves of the Sacraments.

As a member of the fabulous apostolate FAMILIA, of which I am in my 4th and final year, we have studied the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II. He wrote so wonderfully and eloquently about the family being the domestic church and how real love is a sincere gift of the self and about the inherent dignity of each human person. Well, if my and dh's family is our domestic church, if we love our kids, and want them to grow up strong in the Faith, we have to respect our kids for who God made them and how He made them. They are as much a part of the Body of Christ as dh and I are...but we are not all meant to be 'eyes' and as such shouldn't all be trained or taught to be' just eyes'. God wants me to see my children (and really everyone) as the unique individuals they are. God is not a cookie-cutter God, so why should I expect myself or my kids to be stamped from the same mold as everyone else?

As a Catholic, all I have to do is look to the different charisms of the different Orders through history: Carmelites, Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans, Benedictines, Legionaries etc... All so different, but never the less, completely devoted to Christ and His Church.

I am giving a sincere gift of myself by staying home and letting my kids learn the way they learn best. Yet, as we all know sometimes days are good, sometimes bad, but the way we handle it...if we turn toward or away from God...that's is what my kids will learn without me saying a word. And the only thing God wants me to teach them is "To love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind." And I am doing that. Plus, don't forget what St. Francis of Assisi said:


"Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words."



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gal Pals part 2


This is Autumn with our next door neighbor, Minaz, and a couple of American Girl dolls. Minaz's family moved next door last Spring. You can imagine Autumn's elation at having a little girl next door her exact age to play with. They get along just wonderfully. Minaz's parents both work. But today, since Minaz's mom works halfday on Wednesdays (she is a Family Practitioner), Autumn will get to see Minaz early. Of course, this makes Autumn very happy.

Kitties catchin' a breeze

I just love this picture, I took a few days ago, of my pride of little lions at the window. I love my kitties. From bottom to top is Baby Kitten (she is neither), Toonces & Milo.


John MacLane and Jack Bauer 2008




How I wish this was the real 2008 ticket! If only these 2 fictionalcharacters were real, they are who I would want for President/ Vice President. We wouldn't need a fence for illegal immigrants,or have to fear terrorists (wink-wink). They'd take care of everthing. Including ending the war in Iraq with their own bare hands.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Advent is upon us






Which means that here in our household we have completed 90% of our interior and exterior Christmas decorating. Above are Ben and Autumn on the deck playing with light sabers on Thanksgiving. It was cold, rainy and fabulous. I did just notice that Ben has a picture of Jesus on his shirt while he is ponting a light saber at Autumn's neck....nice touch, huh? Next to them are the faux Christmas trees upstairs. The one in the foreground is in the hallway and the background one is in my bedroom. In our house we can't have too many Christmas trees. The only one we decorate, tho, is the real one. The rest we just have lights on. I'd light my cats if I could! :-)Below is a sampling of our ever growing collection of Rankin/Bass 1960's Television Christmas Specials. Robert and I are completely hooked on these TV specials from our youth. So far, we have figures from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and The Year Without A Santa Claus (how many of you can sing the Heat Miser song?)












Yesterday we finished the last of everything...except for the final touch which is the real tree that we will get this Saturday. We will probably decorate the tree on Sunday, the first day of Advent. Which reminds me that I need to get a new Advent wreath, my old one is so bent it won't hold the candles properly. So, why do I get all this done early? Because I can then enjoy the Advent season ( or time leading up to Christ's birth) relatively stress free. As a family we can focus on making Christmas cookies, find special gifts for those we love, singing along to Christmas songs on the stereo, reading Christmas story books, watching beloved Christmas movies (and the shows mentioned above). And all the time we are doing those things the house looks beautiful, festive, cozy and even smells like Christmas thanks to Yankee Candle and their awesome Mistletoe candle. None of us have to worry that on top of all the fun family stuff we want to do, we still need to decorate the house. So, it is nice to have most everything done by now. The stores may decorate early because of consumerism. We do it because we LOVE Christmas and everything it means....most of all...that God gave us Himself in the person of his Son. We can't think of a better thing to celebrate around here.
Below are Andrew and Robert putting up the giant inflatable Santa and Christmas Tree and to the right of that is Robert and Autumn during what they call their "Daddy and Tumnal Time" at the Mall waiting to see Santa. (Tumnal is Autumn's nickname...it's a long story). They even have a Daddy and Tumnal Time song. It's adorable. Below them is Toonces in the Christmas garland.


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Seven facts about me (aren't you sooo curious?)

I have been tagged by Wendy.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you. http://wendyfairfull.typepad.com/wmf/
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Here are my 7 things.

1) My favorite weather in the world is a cold, snowy, overcast day. Snow is rare here in Atlanta. I love cold, wind, rain and generally any weather that would make you think you were on the moors, in England, with Jane Eyre (my favorite book). As I write this it is about 50F outside, foggy, raining and AWESOME!!!

2) I have met the B-52's, Echo & The Bunnymen, Flesh For Lulu, The Fixx , some members of the cast of Happy Days ,the comedian Carrot Top, and Don Johnson when I was an Extra in 2 episodes of Miami Vice.

3) I nursed all of my kids until they were 5 years old. ( I must have been pumping out heroin!)
And speaking of breastfeeding, I was a post-partum doula and WIC volunteer Breastfeeding Peer Counselor too. (Yeah, I'm a former La Leche Leaguer.)

4) I was a model (not a famous one, in the 80's) and on one of my shoots I worked with Michael Michelle (the beautiful bi-racial actress who was recently on the show House. She was the doctor who worked for the CIA) . We and 2 other models were in NYC being photographed by the photographer who shot the Cosmopolitan covers.

5) When I was in highschool and early college (which I dropped out of) , I was a New Wave queen. I had a purple chin length bob haircut. I wore black leather mini skirts, low-healed red leather pumps and usually some "new romantic aka Duran Duran style" shirt. My favorite groups at the time were The Police, Smiths, Cure, New Order, Duran Duran, U2. I spent all my free time going to New Wave dance clubs.

6) My mom's family (the Herricks) had their geneology done in the 1950's and I am descended from Robert de Pierrepont ( who fought alongside Willam Hastings in the Battle of Hastings of 1066), Sir Robert Herrick, Cavalier poet from the 1500's and the Rev. Jonathan Edwards (through his wife Sarah Pierpont), the great Fire and Brimstone preacher from the period known as the Great Awakening. In fact, my little brother's name is Jonathan Edwards Moore.

7) I am originally from Southampton, NY. The oldest English settlement in New York state. My mother's family, the Herricks, arrived there in 1653. I was baptised in the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton, NY which was the first Presbyterian church built in the United States. There are several streets in Southampton named after our family.

Now, who am I gonna tag.

First my Hunny at http://www.therosses.net/templar/
Then my friend Sara at http://thosethatwonder.blogspot.com/
Leonie at http://livingwithoutschool.blogspot.com/
Pisces Grrl at http://piscesgrrrl.blogspot.com/
Laurie at http://seaglasshearts.blogspot.com/
Marie at http://lift-up-your-hearts.blogspot.com/
and Madeline at http://barn-raising.blogspot.com/

Have fun...gotta run.

Last one, I promise...my mini obesession with BlogThings is over (for now).

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

This is pretty spot on

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you're the first to say "let's go!"

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Here's a look inside my brain

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Coming out of the (padded) closet

(View from my front door)

No, I am not gay. This is about me having Bipolar Disorder. And you know, I am not sure if Bipolar (as a title) helps, and I sure as heck know that Manic-Depression (as a title) doesn't help. But, I guess if one went running around saying "Hey, I have Mood Instability" they may not want to get to know you. So, how did I figure this out? I didn't. Ben's psychiatrist did. I should not say that Dr. C is 'just' Ben's doctor...because he really watches out for the whole family.

Ben was diagnosed, by me, as having Bipolar 4 years ago, when his current psychiatrist was telling me I was dealing with atypical Aspergers. I knew I wasn't and when Ben had his first "break" and started rapid cycling through the Summer of 2004, I was desperate for someone to help our boy before we might end up having to hospitalize him (which almost happened July 4th weekend 2004). Literally, by the providence of God, my husband's friend's husband (got that) worked in the same little cottage turned office as Dr. C. Dr. C wasn't taking any new patients, as he had a boatload to deal because his reputation as "the" doctor to see if you're suffering from a mood disorder was known around Atlanta. I knew about Dr. C from Georgia Bipolar Children yahoo list. There were a few who were fortunate to have him, and their testimonials as to his level of care were all glowingly positive.

So, you can imagine my surprise when Ellen (my husband's work colleague and wife of the other doctor who worked across from Dr.C) called and said her husband told Dr. C about Ben and asked if he would just call us. Ellen confirmed to us that we would be hearing from Dr. C really soon. You can imagine how stunned I was. I had no idea that Ellen's husband worked in the same office as the doctor I had been reading about for months. Also, little did we know, that Dr. C lives a mile and a half from our house!!! We were so grateful to God for this chance to save Ben. Because, by this point, he needed saving. We got the call and Dr. C talked with us by phone several times until he could work us in to see us. He never charged us during that time. He believed I was correct in what I thought about Ben and apologized on behalf of his fellow psychiatrists that we and Ben and been dragged through the ringer of misdiagnosis.

Dr. C absolutely saved Ben that Summer from being hospitalized. Ben was becoming a danger to himself and had it not been for God"s intervention via Ellen, her husband and Dr. C, there is a very strong possibility Ben would not have lived to see 8 years old. (It was THAT BAD).

So, fast forward to now. Dr. C spend a good 60-90 minutes with us, when we see him now, which is about 2 times a month. We are on a first name basis with him and he really loves our family. He loves how we parent our kids and that we ultimately want Ben homeschooled again. He fully supports homeschooling, but felt this year, because Ben was becoming extremely obsessive, that the special needs school he is in is helping shake him out of his obsessive thought pattern and helps him deal with the transitions of life. I fight against this, but after Thanksgiving, and seeing how Ben has a total inability to just chill and go with the flow, I see that this "school" situation is actually positive...for now. At least, in his IEP he doesn't have to be at school until 8:30am and he doesn't get homework. I also take him out of school in order to take part in fun homeschooling field trips that come up throughout the year, but I do have to make up "stories" so the school will excuse his absences. Hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right?

Okay, okay back to me. So, Dr. C has Robert alone during one appointment, as I couldn't make it that day. And Dr. C take the opportunity to suss Robert out as to things I had been going through (for the last several years , every Summer, I have a complete breakdown...I cry, yell, scream...get in the car and drive and sob and pray...and basically feel like I want to disappear).

Okay, so that is the thing that makes one say, "Hmmm, there could be something going on here." But when you add in how manic I get in the Fall and Winter...staying up late to alphabetize all my books, or clean out all the cabinets from 1 to 4 am, to complete research binges on whatever my interest is at the time with accompanied by erratic sleep patterns. And then there are the times when I want to sleep til noon and 3 hours later I am ready to sleep again. My energy level is completely unpredictable. All of this has been with me my whole life. I used to stare at the ceiling for hours as a kid because I wasn't tired. When I fell asleep you couldn't get me up. I still don't 'wake up' in my head until about 5 at night. This is why school completely exhausted me. I have suffered from crippling anxiety until , about a year after my mom's death, I consented to go on anti-depressants (they help alot with anxiety, but only slightly with my bouts of depression) and that is just what they are...bouts. I have always had cycles of depression, but they never lasted more that a few weeks so I thought it was nothing. After growing up with a mom who was depressed chronically, I thought nothing of my bouts with it.

My mom was classically clinically depressed most of her life. Alot of it had to do with a co-morbid eating disorder. But mom was never manic. She could be happy, but was almost always dealing with an internal level of sadness (breaks my heart to even write about it). My dad should be on the frickin poster for Bipolar disorder. Life with Dad was a total roller coaster...ohman...and the temper he had (it's getting better as he ages). Yikes! After Mom died Dad first became depressed and then manic and has been cycling severely between the two ever since . He was wildly angry at me, spent all mom's life insurance in a year, later married a wacky woman on the west coast, then a year later divorced her and during this time drove from the east coast of the US to the west coast of the US at least a dozen times over the course of 5 years (because he couldn't decide where he wanted to live), constantly threatened suicide, borrowed a credit card from me and put 8 grand on it in 2 months. There's Bipolar for ya!

So, I am thinking, I am NOT as nutty as my Dad and certainly not continuously depressed like my Mom was...but then I thought that I couldn't live with my parents and not get some of it. I do have my Dad's temper. I have since I was tiny. What is even weirder is that I have never been afraid of conflict. "Bring it on!" that is me. Then there was my Mom who was conflict intolerant...just like Robert and Andrew.

So, Dr. C and Robert are talking all this through and then they pitch it to me. At first I was like, "No Way". Then I started thinking about how I have felt on the inside. Outwardly, I am a total extrovert. People tell me I should be a public speaker. I am loud, funny, quick witted and friendly. But on the inside, I am extremely distractible, hot tempered, unfocused, late, forgetful, internally disorganized (my house is very neat and organized as it calms me to be in a clean house). When I say I live by the seat of my pants, that is no lie. If I could just sleep all day and stay awake all night I would have it made. I am not a day person.
Oh, and I know there are lots of wonderful things about me too. I am not my disorder.
I don't believe that crap. But, when I realized that my ups and downs had a real pattern to them, and were more extreme than a typical person, I had to take notice.

Am I rushing out to get on another medicine? No. I have been living this way for many a moon. And though I would not have a house this large as clean as it is without real, honest to goodness MANIC energy, as I age, the DEPRESSION cycles are scary and horrible. Being up is great...but being down is becoming harder to bounce back from. If I can keep track of triggers and have an idea when I am heading up and when I am crashing, I can maybe put in some support systems to get me through. My husband, of course, is amazing...but I want to be able to be there for him too. However, I am not against taking something more "stabilizing" if the depression hits me even harder next Summer. I really didn't think I was going to be able to climb out the one this last year. The end of January sucks too, but not because of the weather, I love the cold...maybe it's the cyclical thing and it's 6 months from July.

Well, that is about it. I don't know how many folks will actually read this. I think I just needed to write it...oh and of course I had to be writing at 2 in the morning!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toonces the Driving Cat



This is Toonces. He is one of our 3 cats, and my personal favorite. He jumps from the second floor balcony onto the couch below...for fun. He opens doors (we have handle knobs). He is cuddly and purrific and just cat perfection. We named him Toonces after the famous SNL skits. Our Toonces is not driving yet, but I wouldn't put is past him. He does, however, love shoes. We call the above: Toonces on his shoonces.

Click on the title of this post and it should take you to a plethora of YouTube Toonces videos. The first one is my favorite: The Tooncinator!

Christmas Clean


Well, things are looking a right Christmasy around here. On Nov. 1st, my Mom's birthday, I start decorationg the house for Christmas. Then I started to feel pretty cruddy, so I stopped. Yesterday, my darling hubby, put up the 2 faux trees that we have upstairs. One in the hallway (it's a wide hallway and you see the tree the minute your halfway up the stairs). The other one is in our bedroom. We will get the real one for downstairs in December. Sooooooo, I really need to mop the floors...which means the doing the entire downstairs (wood) and upstairs hallway (wood)...darn it and the bathrooms...ugh! The fun thing is that I get to do it with a new present given to me this morning by my best buddy Kathleen (that is her up there to the left of me). I dropped off Ben and we had coffee and cinnamon scones (she made while I was there...yum!) and she got me this little 4 pack of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day stuff, which I love. It's Gingerbread scented. So, since Robert is off with Autumn to see Santa arrive at the Mall and Ben is at Kathleen's playing with her kids and Andrew is off in a Fencing tournament (Go Hornets!).....I am going to clean my Christmas house and make it smell like Gingerbread. I love cleaning when no one is around to bother me. It's very contemplative...even if I am listening to alternative rock turned up to ear-splitting levels. :-)

A dozen handsome men (Hey, a girl can look can't she?)
























































Friday, November 16, 2007

Autumn Rocks!


And I am actually not referring to my daughter, Autumn, who does , in fact, rock. I mean the season (which is the reason we named our daughter Autumn). Atlanta has just exploded in Autumnal colors these last few days. I had to go to the doc today because this icky cold actually turned into an ear infection. I am a grown up, I didn't think that could happen. Anyway, I took the scenic route (aka local roads) to the docs because it is just soooooo beautiful out. It is sunny and 50 degrees. I think the 50's are my favorite temperature. I love it cool. Actually, I really love it cold and snowing, but living in the southeast doesn't always give me that. I will have to start praying for snow while I am praying for rain. Hey, maybe that is how we will get over this drought...by having a blizzard. That would be awesome!

You see, I was born in Long Island, New York in a little (very happening) town called Southampton. My parents moved to Palm Beach county Florida when I was 8. Pretty much ruining my little life at the time. I loved my small town, and hated the big, perpetually hot city. I also desperately missed the 4 seasons. I lived for 20 years in south Florida until I was able to escape by getting married. To this day, sunny, hot weather with palm trees doesn't make me swoon. Though I do love the ocean, as Southampton is a beach town. My idea of a vacation is to go back to Southampton, or Alaska, Scotland, and maybe Iceland...in the Fall or Winter.

Well, it is time for me to hit the pharmacy and get my meds. I need to get better by Thanksgiving because we are always the host family.

Peace,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rain, Rain come and stay

never, never go away.

It has been raining for the last 20 minutes. I am so happy. Georgia has been in a terrible drought and how we need this water. Apparently, for once, I, the news junkie, was not on top of the news and our Gov. Sonny Perdue amassed a group of people of the cloth and had a prayer meeting for rain. From what I heard alot of fun was made at the expense of us silly southerners praying for rain. I, btw, am a born-again Southerner. In otherwords...Yankee defector. So, I am all for us silly southerners praying for rain. I love the sound of the rain, I love the feel. Thank you, God, for sending us some water. Please send along some more.

An odd thing to complain about...


is that I don't have enough of these (above). I mean babies. That was Autumn at a few weeks old. The fact that I have only 3 kids depresses me because I want more! "Only THREE kids!", says the world. "Why that's plenty, probably one too many!", says the world. But not to me. And now I feel the sting of what those women who wait until now (I'm 41) to even have just ONE baby feel: the ticking clock. I have wanted another child (I'd take more than just one) for 5 years this Fall. I remember about 2 years after my Mom, Melissa, died, that I started feeling this nudge. Now, at the time my dh would have rather had his head repeatedly smashed into a cement wall than have another child. His real words, not mine. I figured baby #4 would be inevitably a lost cause.

Interestingly, I was not Catholic, but a practicing conservatve Presbyterican (PCA) when Autumn was born, in early 2000. I had planned on having my tubes tied after her birth. However, the OB assigned to the task said I should wait. (Let me tell you that God definitely intervened there!) Then, shortly after my Mom had died (when Autumn was 7 months old) I was scheduled to have my tubes tied. Again God intervened by way of my dh who, though supportive of the tubal, didn't want to risk something going wrong...seeing as we had just lost Mom.

So, we let things go, by which I mean I didn't get "fixed". Then when Autumn was around 2 years old, I not only felt called to Catholicism (and, trust me, it was a calling, because I was a very anti-Catholic Christian...You know, the kind trying to "Save" Catholics out of their Church) but I also felt strongly about having another child. It was also somewhere around this time dh decided that he would get evaluated for a sterlization. The doctor had to schedule dh out several weeks and God intervened a third time because dh decided he didn't want to do it...even though dh still didn't want more kids.

Fast forward a year and I am sitting in the RCIA room with Deacon Lloyd (father of 10) and he is taking my last 2 concerns about becoming Catholic. 1) Confession and 2)No "artificial" contraception. Now, I wasn't Catholic yet. I had never heard the term "Cafeteria Catholic", I assumed that all Catholics actually followed the Church's teaching. Afterall, when you come from outside of Catholicism, that is what you are asked to do in RCIA if you want to walk down that isle Easter Vigil (or whenever...as in my case it was 11/11/03). So, thanks to Deacon Lloyd's exceptional understanding of the Catholic faith, the Bible and Church history plus his personable style (okay AND some help from the writings of Scott Hahn) we tackled Confession pretty quickly and painlessly.

The birth control thing had me confounded. Personally, I loathe contraception. I didn't need the Church to tell me it was wrong. I mean, what is to separate me from any other woman my husband could be with? Why I on earth should I be protected from my fertility or his fertility? Is there something wrong with us? Contraception is so misogynistic at it's core. You take a perfectly normal, functioning woman and drown her with hormones or insert her with gadgets to prevent her body from doing what it is supposed to do...create life. So, women, being reduced to not even man-ness is what we get? For what, to be at the beck and call of men who are continually fertile. So, for their sexual appetites, we supress our own by medically inducing ourselves into eunuchs. And that is Feminism? Ha! Yeah right. No thanks.

Seeing that I had already loathed contraception because I have used (and hated) it ALL. Plus that it made me feel no different than any other woman. In that, with contraception you can be with whoever, so what makes being a wife so special if I still have to protect myself from my husband or my husband has to protect himself from me. I had resorted to NFP on my own. I used it get pregnant with Ben and Autumn. But now, coming into the Church I was told it would be my only conception preventing option and though I was well on my way to wanting another child (so I was fine with it) my husband wasn't too thrilled with the idea of nothing but NFP, because he didn't really trust that it actually works (he knows better now). Deacon Lloyd (and my first year of Familia) helped me to see how God really wants us to give of ourselves not just spiritually but physically...just like Christ did. I don't protect myself from receiving Christ in the Eucharist and all the spiritual fruit that births into my soul, so why would I want to protect myself from receiving my husband and all the physical fruit that could birth into my life?

After I finally got the "total, faithful and fruitful love" concept of my communion with Christ and his Church and my communion with my husband, NFP started to work it's real magic on me. And that is that NFP actually makes you want to have more babies because you start to see what a miracle fertility is and how spiritually powerful sacramental-marital sexuality is! Because as I charted those months and years, and abstained because dh wasn't ready for another child, I became brokenhearted at all the possible opportunities for bringing another immortal soul into this world. I read other moms blogs and got a pang of sadness when I read they are expecting #4 or 5 or 6 or.....

So, women of God out there, rejoice in your womanhood. Take pride in the amazing way God made you. Bring more immortal souls to this earth to grow up and glorify God...oh yeah...and pray for me that I can have another baby.

Gal Pals


Autumn has her good friend Joy Beth over today. This morning was our parish Familia meeting (http://www.familiausa.net/) of which Joy's mom, Sara (an unschooling Catholic friend) and I, are both members. We met at my house today. Sara had to take her older daughter to a Challenge meeting so I suggested Joy Beth stay here. I love these kind of days for kids. The 2 girls are just having a great time using their imaginations and just playing, playing, playing. It's so good for them. I just don't thing kids get enough of real play anymore. Even with homeschoolers there is this seeming need to have any kind of kid get together mean something more than just playing. UGH! It drives me crazy. Most of the time when I try and get together with friends, I have no motive other than to be with them. Why isn't that good enough for our children?

Synthetic Animation....on pause

This is Andrew's band, Synthetic Animation. They are alternative rock. You can find them on their my space page listed below.

From L-R is Eric on guitar, (with Superman laser eyes) Andrew in back on drums, in the front middle is Will (vocals, keyboards), Steven on bass guitar; who was later replaced by Jake (not pictured). Will was in a car accident the first weekend in October. For several weeks no one was sure Will would make it. Will is doing remarkably well now. Andrew finally got to visit him Monday. He's talking, laughing, and reading. He is going to have to relearn how to walk, and his short term memory needs help. I think, though, he will recover. So, things are on hold for the band...and it's very quiet in the basement where they practice. Please continue to pray for Will and all the boys in the band. Oh..and thank you God for keeping Will here with us. For updates see www.caringbridge.org/visit/willcarter

Below is a picture of Andrew and Will being the goofballs they are (during lunch at school) just a couple of weeks before the accident. Oh, and here's their band's website
www.myspace.com/syntheticanimation

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cleaning out my purse.


Robert has me devising a budget. He named me QuADD a long time ago...and rightly so. BTW, QuADD stands for Queen of Attention Deficit Disorder (don't forget to add hyperactivity in there too...I'm always goin' a mile a minute). I digress...back to the point. So, Robert wants me to make a budget. This is something I am not good at and loathe to do. Well, I have kept ALL receipts in my purse for a month, and now I am going to plug it all into a spreadsheet and see how much damage I actually do in a month. I have to say there were ALOT of Trader Joes receipts . However, I found this beautiful prayer card (not a picture, but the words)which the very first priest I went to confession to gave to me. His name was Fr.Frank. I really liked him. He is in a different parish now, but once he sang a Simon & Garfunkle song during his homily and it was awesome. Okay, okay I'm digressing again (do you not see the QuADDness). Here's the text on the card:


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not actually mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am
doing. I hope that I will never doing anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, willI trust you always, though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

+Thomas Merton+~Thoughts in Solitude~

Okay, so back to my budgeting. BTW, Andrew took the picture of Jesus at my mother's grave.

Happy Anniversary to Me


Today I celebrate two momentous occasions: my marriage to my hunny and my coming into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The first took place 12 years ago. The second, 4 years ago. I am very happy about both decisons. Here is the picture taken on our actual wedding anniversary which was also the day our marriage was convalidated and I was brought into the Church, November 11, 2003. (The wedding was 11/11/95). Andrew came into the Church the following Easter Vigil, April 10, 2004.


In the top picture are our (A list...private joke) friends, who were also our sponsors.
Left to Right: Rhett, Andrew, Sean (Rhett & Kath's ds), Fr. Adam, Robert, Me, Deacon Lloyd, Claire (Rhett & Kath's dd and Andrew's best friend) & Kathleen.

In the bottom picture is just us: Robert, Me, Autumn, Andrew & Ben

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I finally figured out how to put pictures on my blog!


Here is a good one of me with Autumn at the 25th Jubilee of our parish.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Things I have learned about myself regarding homeschooling


Okay, so last night I couldn't sleep. I got this horrible cold going around. So, I prayed, offered up my suffering for my husband (who life at work has really sucked lately) and started thinking about things I have learned about homeschooling after having been at it for over 10 years.

1) I am drawn to curricula. I find it fascinating. I even like to buy it. However, in all reality it barely, if ever, gets used. There is saying someone told me comes from AA that goes "insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again but expecting different results". Clearly, I have been insane many times over the past decade buying curricula that I thought my kids would like to use, but they didn't. Because no matter how pretty it looked from the outside, or how well laid out it seemed on the inside, it was still contrived lesson plans that someone thought my kids should know. Well, the kids DIDN'T want to know it. Not then, and/or not in that way, so it unded up being a waste of money. Today, I say goodbye to that. Good, real books, cool reference materials, neato toys and projects; those will be the things I will spend money on from here on out.

2) I really LOATHE the institution of school. The more I read about the history of compulsory schooling the more the very thought of it just makes me want to hurl. When I think about how historically UNNATURAL it is to have little kids sitting around all day, at a desk, and told what to do, where to go, when to go, how to do things, what to think, the social bullying and general cruelty of (schooled) kids.... UGH!!!!...all I can think about is PRISON. I really cannot stand schooling. It goes against the very gift that God gave us; the gift of free will. I mean where do people make the connection that somehow being in school helps one to form their free will? If anything going to school ends up turning people in sheeple.

3) I love unschooling but get really mad that some who take this same approach think that unschooling is synonymous with "un"parenting. That whole TCS (Taking Children Seriously) crowd are a bunch of wackos. (I can say that it's my blog). Of course, we should take our kids seriously, but not the extent to which some of the more idealistic TCSers do that is patently ridiculous and downright dangerous to kids. Conversely, I resent those who think that because I am an Unschooler that it implies I let my kids do whatever they want...and call my dedication to my faith into question. Heck, I can't even do whatever I want, so I know they aren't. There is a difference between mindfully parenting (which I do) and learning (which we all do).

My kids are allowed to learn the way that they want, but they have chores, responsibilities, expectations for good behavior etc (which my dh and I better be modeling for them first!) . The Bible and Catechism are remarkable silent in expressing a method of education. They both state that it is the job of parents to raise their kids in the faith and that we are their primary teachers (if you will). The Bible states that we are not to exasperate our children. Man, how many kids are beyond exasperation with school, yet we keep making them go?

Most modern Catholic schools teach exactly the way our Prussian based public schools teach, they just add Religion, Mass and Prayer. I don't think that is necessarily a better alternative. Not when you finally learn that breaking things into subjects and starting kids in formal academic learning (that they have not asked for or chosen) is actually an impediment to real learning...and an encouragement to "learning disabilities". I would rather have unschooling, Mass, prayer, Adoration etc... At least, then, my kids are living the faith withing the context of life and not school. When faith is another subject at school, it runs the very real risk of becoming just that, another subject to get through with. I never want my kids to view the most important thing in life (their faith) like that.

4) I am really bugged by people asking my daughter what she learned today regarding homeschooling. Most people can't think outside the box enough (thanks, school) to try and really understand unschooling. It makes so many so very uncomfortable. So, they ask what did you learn today. What is that about? When I ask my highschooler (his choice to go ,not mine) what he did in school, rarely does it have to do with any academic subject. When I ask Ben about school he's virtually nonresponsive. And most kids are. You ask kids who go to school about what they did or what they learned and alot of them just shrug their shoulders. Surprisingly, no one takes much notice. They assume (and rightly so) that the kids are exhausted and just want to go home and play or veg in front of TV. BUT, when my daughter is asked about what she is doing or learning, as a homeschooler, she (and I) are judged far more harshly than her "schooled" peers and their parents. The time has come for that to stop.

5) All this being said, I really want my son out of his special needs public school setting. Yes, he can drive me completely mad, but he's my boy. I am so sick of the school administration treating me like a second class citizen. Like they know what is best for my Ben. I am sick of having to lie (to prevent a social worker from sending a nasty truency letter) everytime I want to take Ben on some homeschooling field trip that his sisters group may attend. I'm sick of having to talk Ben into going to school everyday, when he doesn't want to. He's there because last January, after homeschooling him (but trying, for dh's sake, to be more structured) things didn't work out and then Ben just became mentally unstable, so we all needed a break from each other. However, I realize now that I need to be more firm in my stand regarding unschooling both Autumn AND Ben ( for I have seen how it works in my 18 year old highschool senior). I have to stop vascillating for the sake of others and stick to my convictions. (Again, thank you school for undermining my confidence in myself and giving me that never ending need to get approval by those who are so-called "experts:!) The truth is I am not the "school at home" type of homeschooler, and neither are my kids...and that is just that. Time to accept it and move on. By fighting my convictions for the sake of others I just go crazy, the kids become little monsters, and I waste alot of money.

Okay, so my self reflective rant is over, for now.

Hopefully, I will get to take a nap today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Heart Huckabee

Today I added a Mike Huckabee blog sticker.
Even though (and Ron Paul does seem pretty darn cool) Mike Huckabee is the real deal conservative I have ended up rooting for. I have checked his record and he's never wavered or flip/flopped. I love that he says his Christian faith doesn't influence his decisions, it DRIVES them. If only the other Republicans could be like Mike Huckabee. Mike makes pretty much most of them look like screaming Liberals. Oh, if he could only lay waste to Mitt, Rudy and John (flippin' Centrists that they are) snag the nomination, and then win the election this Country might snap back to reality or better: morality. God forbid we end up with Hilary! Oh Nooooooo!!

Check Mike out by clicking on the banner top right.

Rach