Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Monday, July 31, 2006

Vaccination and Circumcision

My parenting views could definitely be catagorized as "crunchy", I'm ALMOST litmus test crunchy. There are only two issues that set me apart. One is circumcision and the second is vaccination. I believe in both. Crunchy parents believe in neither.

I vaccinate because I don't want my children to get a serious disease. I don't see a clear link between vaccines and medical problems. When my Wolfie was a baby he had some autistic tendancies. He avoided eye contact much of the time and like to bang his head on the wall. It concerned me enough to delay his MMR vaccine for several months - as it is supposidly "linked" to autism. But he was fine. And that is the closest I've ever come to distrusting vaccines.

Several months before that incident a vaccine may have saved his life. When he was a new baby, and newly vaccinated against Pertussis, my mother and Grandmother came down with it (Whooping cough). Their immunity had worn off. It was very scary. They said that they were unable to breath during long coughing spells. I was so grateful that my baby had been vaccinated.

As for circumcision, this was a no-brainer for me and my husband. He is from Cambodia, where they do not practice circumcision. He was never comfortable with it (said it felt like it was tearing). When he became an adult with good health insurance that was one of the first things he did. It's just so much cleaner for both partners. An uncircumcised penis can hold STD's and yeast infections so much easier, no matter how clean you are. I know several other uncircumcised men who got it done once they reached adulthood. And finally, as a Christian I find it hard to believe that God would require something of the Jews that was actually bad. All of his other commands are medically sound.

So I guess I'll never be fully crunchy and that's OK. I also shave and listen to rap music so that doesn't help my case either. But I do wear long skirts around the house 90% of the time so I should get bonus points for that.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

My future family fantasies

My beliefs about family do not come to a sudden halt when my kids turn an arbitrary age like 18 or 21. It goes against the postmodern point of view, but I plan on cherishing my grandbabies and helping my daughter in law with the transition to motherhood. I am already making plans for the near future when my boys grow up. For starters, I am planting seeds in their heads. I tell them all the time that they should look for a nice Christian girl to marry.

Besides my goals of staying close to my children as they age, I believe I have a full understanding of todays financial reality. It's different today then it was even a generation ago. I just read several books on the topic including Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead by Tamara Draut. and Generation Debt by Anya Kamenetz. I'm also living this life personally. What's different about today? Less student grants, more student loans. Significantly higher real estate, college and medical costs, higher credit card debt, to name a few. But I am prepared to lead my boys through their 20's successfully. For starters there is the principal that "Today's college diploma is yesterdays high school diploma". This is true. So if my boys are bored at school and want to get on with life I have no problems with homeschooling them at an advanced pace or allowing them to drop out and get their GED. Then they can start right away at the community college. I'm also against taking out student loans. I regularly tell them that they will be expected to get a job at UPS or a similar company that will help them pay for college.

Finally, I hope they choose to live with us for a long time. Timmy and I are thinking of building an "in-law" apartment on the side of the house and perhaps one on a third floor for our sons and thier wives. We'll charge them a $1000 a month until they show us that they can afford a mortgage payment. Then we will give them all of their rent money as a downpayment on a nearby house.

So that's my fantasy. And on a separate note, I also look forward to training them at the gym when they hit their teens (right around the corner!!) Timmy is a weightlifter and I'm a former personal trainer, so we know all there is to know about working out. Our boys are going to be JACKED! I can't wait.

Oh, and also, it's appropriate to mention here that Wolfie has already decided what he wants to be when he grows up: a movie director. Isn't that cool?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

After a good day, a bad

So Sunday was a perfect day. I suppose I used up some amount of luck with that because it was followed by a bad day. Oh well. That's life I guess. The kids and I had plans to go to the free movie showing of "Curious George". The price of admission is a book report. So we got up early and got all ready, but when we got there it was sold out. :-( Then we ran out of gas. :-( Then I couldn't find my lisence and my bank hadn't yet sent me my pin number for my new ATM card, so that meant I couldn't access my money. :-( The whole day was pretty much a wash. Oh well, like I said, that's life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Husband above children?

It is a common Christian belief that the "marriage relationship" is above all others in the family. I've bought into that belief myself even though there were times it just didn't seem right to me and I couldn't put my finger on it, but I ran across an article at that NAILED it. It is by Rebecca Prewet if you want to look it up.

Let me clarify by saying that I agree with the statement that the best thing you can do for your kids is to love thier father\mother. But there are some "Christian" beliefs that circulate around the Christian community at large that just are not true. For instance it is sometime said that new parents should go out on a date every week as a way to put their marriage first. (Dr. Dobson preaches this). This seems ridiculous to me, that you have to leave your newborn child to get alone time with your mate to maintain a healthy marriage.

The truth is that a family is an ever morphing group of loved ones. Everyone is always a different age, no one is ever in the same phase of life for very long. Sometimes one of the family requires more energy than the others. Sometimes the marriage is the focus of the family and sometimes it is the sick child or the newborn baby. As long as your love for each other remains healthy and strong I don't see one relationship taking precedent over the others in a family.

A similar misguided belief is to "present a united front" to the children. This is usually in reference to discipline. I have to disagree with this statement too because it's important to step in when a spouse over reacts. Lets face it, we all lose our temper and over react sometimes. And in the case of a person who is borderline- or full on abusive, it's obviously, important for the spouse to stand up to that. So there are some Christian messages that very much undermine the fight against domestic violence.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

If I could repeat one day...

If I could pick one day of my whole life to repeat it would be today. It was perfect and yet unextraordinary at the same time. We woke up and went to church as a family which we haven't done in a while. No one fought as we got ready. Other Christians know what a miracle that is - it's like, Satan LOVES to attack families on Sunday morning. Maybe he didn't see it coming. Church was nice and short - a few songs, a good sermon, a few hugs from friends. The kids were good, half way through Wolfie and Dimitri went downstairs to the nursery with a nice older lady.

The rest of the day was just as a Sunday should be... a quick stop at my mother in laws to eat, later some scrapbooking and a GREAT workout at the gym. In the late afternoon I spent an hour watching funny video clips online with my husband. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

The night ended with a family walk to the convenience store to buy some candy.

It was peaceful. It was happy. It was perfect. Maybe I can do it again soon.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A liberal concern

There has been a lot of talk in liberal circles about the last two presidential elections that were supposedly "stolen" by the Republicans. I have read up on this issue to some degree because if there is any truth to it, then I agree that it needs to be addressed. Before I am a conservative Republican I am a democratic American. The accusations generally claim that black votes and Democratic votes were illegally denied. This happened in a variety of ways, for instance targeting black overseas servicemen whose mail-in ballots were denied due to a "bad address". Another accusation is that Nader votes were somehow switched to Bush votes. Many of the accusations seem very plausable. HOWEVER, the conclusion that the election was "stolen" seems very far-fetched to me. The last election was not nearly that close. Also, it may be news to the outraged liberal, but "stolen elections" are not a new theory. The truth is, many years ago when the Rupublican's were losing, they frequently complained about similar acts of voter fraud, for instance large numbers of felony and non-citizen votes. Each time this subject is addressed the peice ends with the warning that the 2008 election is already on the way to being stolen. I suggest however, that there is enough media attention on this issue to prevent that. I myself will be observing the next election more closely to see that it is fair. I also agree that there should be a more universal, fool-proof voting method.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Opening my big mouth

At work we have a fundraiser called the "United Way Cafe" every Friday you can buy some food for $2. Well this week they are doing keilbasa and rice again and I opened my big mouth and complained that their rice wasn't very good. Which naturally lead to them asking me to make the rice. And how can I talk the talk if I can't walk the walk? SO here I am on a Friday afternoon making rice for 60 people. oops. Next time I'll think before I open my big mouth.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Teaching my boys not to shake a baby

Yesterday we had a lovely trip to our Aunt's house about an hour and a half away. It was our cousins graduation party. I made my first ever three tiered cake. It turned out AWESOME. See recipe below. A good time was had by all. However, Dimitri was over-tired and cried the whole way home. Not just cried, but wailed, shrieked, hysterically cried. There was nothing we could do to comfort him. The cries grated on all our nerves, but Timmy and I continually reminded everyone to remain calm and ignore him (other than when we tried to comfort him). It was about an hour straight of this torture, but I'm proud to say we made it home and in good spirits and it was a lesson for the older boys about how to handle the situation if they are ever with an inconsolable baby.

mix a box of white cake mix
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
8 oz coconut milk
8 oz sour cream
coconut flakes to your liking

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Ah debt, the scourge of life. The theif of joy. The plague on America. I've been coming to some conclusions on debt recently. The first one struck me when I watched a show about a family with something like 15 kids. They were the kind of family I really look up to and want to emulate... well behaved kids, all homeschooled, Bible believing. Anyway, on the show they talked about how they could afford so many kids and the answer was that they never incurred debt. Not even a mortgage. I really respect that. And I decided that that is how it should be. It's how I want to live my life too. And in my opinion, it's the way to move up in society. I mean granted there are exceptions, but in general debt is handcuffs keeping the lower class down.

Many of my friends and I are struggling to get off that roller coaster and I have some thoughts about that too. First of all, there are no easy answers, no quick bail outs. The only way to see results is to stop incurring new debt and wait out the payments on the old. It sounds simple right? But to really REALLY stop incurring debt is a life changing move.

My second thought is that your goal for life can't center around being "debt free". You can't have the mindset that you are going to start enjoying life when that day comes. Because it could be years and years down the road and in the meantime precious life is going by. You have to find your peace and your meaning NOW. What is your purpose and your happiness now?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Passing the egg milestone

My two year old, Dimitri, has officially passed the egg milestone, which all two year olds must at some time pass, in which the child dumps a dozen eggs onto the floor.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

If you teach your child to believe in everything...

There is a saying regarding bringing your children up in the faith that goes "If you teach your child to believe in everything, you teach your child to believe in nothing". This played out before my very eyes this week. Brandon's good friend, a neighbor child comes from a family that doesn't have a faith. They kind of believe in "everything". In fact sometimes the boys get together and pretend to meditate; which is obviously new age, but at the same time, I beleive, a somewhat healthy practice. So I let them do it, but instruct Brandon that he should be praying to God during this time.

Anyway, the boy's mother asked if we could sign the kids up for camp together. I thought this was a great idea, but I told her it was important to me that it be a Christian camp. (I think when you're at camp, close to nature, it is the PERFECT time to talk about God). She thought this was a good idea, and in fact she mentioned that it would be good to introduce some sort of religion while he is still young and open to it. (The boy's are nine).

Well, Monday was the first day and they had a blast... there was swimming and archery and boating, and a lesson about the armor of God and grilled cheese sandwhiches. A good time was had by all. The next day I went to pick up our neighbor (we car pooled). He came out of the house with his mother to tell me that he didn't want to go because he was uncomfortable with the emphasis on the Bible (my words) because he didn't believe the same thing and was afraid he would be treated differently if he let on. I thought this was so sad. And his mother was quite upset by it because she really wanted him to go and learn more about it, even if it wasn't for him. I said it was OK and the boys would be back next week to play.

The situation really touched my heart. I am praying for the family that this is a wake up call to the parents to become more grounded in a real faith. And I hope that Brandon's friend see's that we don't treat him any differently just because he doesn't believe. And of course we pray that the holy spirit would reveal himself to the family.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Learning not to worry

The Bible says not to worry. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Matthew 6:24-26

Imagine if you were God and you had all these good things planned for someone but he spent his entire life worrying and not enjoying it at all. So I understand that command, but at the same time, it's not an easy one to follow.

But I'm getting better at it. By far the biggest worry is money. My husband has been out of a job for a couple of months and we haven't been keeping up with the bills including the mortgage. Of course it's scary to think of worst case scenerios. But I can't let it get to me. So I fight the worry and the stress. It's not good for me and it's not what God wants for me. So I just try to enjoy what I currently have.

One technique that I've come up with to fight worry is to take a moment to envision the worst case scenerio that I so fear and imagine how I would embrace joy in even that horrible situation... like lets just say we did lose the house and had to move into some cramped little place. I would still have my loved ones. I would still enjoy the simple pleasures in life like sharing a meal and reading books with my kids. So it wouldn't be the end of the world. So I can go on.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Making deans list

I got a letter from Middlesex Community College that said I made the deans list this past year. It was a moment that would have passed unnoticed, but I am proud of all I did so I thought I would share it with all of you and perhaps relish it for a little longer. I worked part time, raised three kids, and got 17 credits this past year (20 as of next month). This included a grueling Anatomy and Physiology I and II. It was hard work, but so worth it. I feel proud and I'm one step closer to my ultimate dream of being a nurse.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006


There's a Christian book series called "Boundries" that is rather popular. There are some really good points in the book, but I take issue with it because I have seen Christians justify unChristianlike behaivior using that book. I don't have a problem with healthy boundries. I think I have healthy boundries myself. The problem is that people can push loved ones away and lose the heart of a servent in an effort to put up "boundries". Jesus taught serventhood. That is the basis for Christianity. Boundries in that twisted sense of the word is not really a Christian value, but rather an American one. Because really it's about independence, which is a western value.

I propose that instead of pushing people away to create a boundry, you should instead teach them how to recipricate. It's an art that is being lost and I think should be reintroduced to American's. Perhaps I'll write my own book.

I learned a lot about relationships from my mother in law. She has spent her life sacrificing for her children. After raising six of them herself she has spent much time lovingly raising her 10 grandkids. She lives with some of her kids which means there is no "escape" no "break" from the little ones. But unlike most Americans who are annoyed with children, she never sees them as a burden. When she cooks a meal she calls the kids who don't live with her to come eat. Does she cook for us because she wants something in return? Other than our company, no. She cooks for us because she loves us. How is this an example of reciprication? Well, her adult children would do anything for her. And as she ages they will naturally take on more and more responsibilities. When she is elderly they (we) would never think about putting her in a nursing home. She has always been here for us, we will always be here for her.

That is how I envision family reciprication should be like. Friendship reciprication is the same idea on a smaller level. Good friends talk. They take turns sharing stories and listening. They take turns helping out when times are rough, comforting as the other mourns, rejoicing with each other's joys. It seems so simple, but it seems to me that it's a dying art.

Life is meant to share.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Christian message from a funny movie

The whole family went to see a matine of "Nacho Libre" which was a movie that I knew we would enjoy. It was everything I hoped for; very funny, happy ending, and a Christian message, which was: use all your gifts for the Lord. Nacho struggles with the desire in his heart to wrestle even though it is not a Godly activity according to the church. I was thinking about my own God given desires that sometimes seem ungodly. Specifically I was thinking about my competetive nature. It often seems to be an unwholesome attitude, but it's who I am and the person God made me to be, just like Nacho Libre. And so I pray that God would use my competetive nature for his glory.


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