Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gas prices and the fate of the USA

I can't say for sure if we've hit the peak of the amount of oil available on this planet, as some have suggested. But it appears to me that life in America is changing fast and may never go back to the way things were. Prices are skyrocketing on everything. Most notably on food and gas. I remember when we could fill up the tank for $10. Now it takes about $50. And feeding a big family is becoming a real concern. Food banks are in record need.

It's true we're nowhere near the highest in gas prices. Gas in most European countries is much higher. But that's due to taxes. (So the silver lining there, is that at least it's going back to the people). As prices climb, America faces a crisis. Unlike Europe, America was designed with a sprawling layout. Virtually nothing in America is within walking distance. Not grocery stores. Not jobs. Not doctors. Sometimes a school is. Though, many schools have unusual and large district lines drawn to ensure proper racial makeup. (And strangely enough I find myself linking to Brown vs. Board of Education for the second time this month). Often the distance isn't even bikable.

Remember a few weeks ago I was considering moving somewhere, where housing prices were more reasonable? Well, I've scrapped that plan. Frankly I'm nervous to move because we're lucky enough to live right off 3 major highways (meaning access to jobs) and in a small city so we could walk to the shopping market if we had to. So even though our gas and food costs are already more than we can afford- at least I know we have that buffer. The large families in rural areas will be hit extremely hard.

Our low density living is really hurting us (and is another reason I think that population control is ridiculous). I don't blame our forefathers for their decisions. I know we come from free spirited pioneers who each wanted their 160 acres of land. or their 40 acres and a mule. They had no way of knowing what it would lead to. But now we're dealing with some serious ramifications. We're gong to have to switch over to a more community way of living, like Europe. It will probably take a generation or two. And in the mean time the standard of living is going to suffer. But in the end, it will probably be for the best. I think people will be better off living in tighter knit communities. It could mean a very different and much better way of life.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Wolfieism

This morning Wolfie asked me: "Why is an orange called an orange? Why isn't an apple called a red?" I don't know, Wolfie. I don't know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Loan forgiveness for large animal vets!

We are nearing a crisis level in the shortage of large animal vets! New veterinarian graduates now tend to specialize in small animals because it is easier to recoup their large student loans that way... ie. more money in pets than agriculture. This should be a concern of the public because it effects our food supply. One of the major causes of antibiotic resistance is the antibiotics fed to animals in "factory farms" to prevent illnesses instead of treating illnesses and providing humane living conditions to the animals. A lack of veterinarians is only going to fuel this problem. Since this is a major public health issue I support loan forgiveness for large animal vets!
"Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different." ~Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I've decided to homeschool!!

My 8 year old had disability testing at school and I went to the IEP meeting. It went really well. I got so much good feedback about him and felt so much support for him. Although he doesn't have any Learning Disabilities (it was nice to officially rule out dyslexia, I've always wondered), it was unanimous that he has symptoms of ADD. So I'll talk to his doctor about that. The real eye-opener for me though was the descriptions of his interactions with the other kids. He's kind of a loner. (I knew that though). He's not getting along with other kids. And in fact, his teacher said he would rather talk to the teachers at recess then play with the kids. As a result, he's miserable. It seemed so obvious to me- why torture the kid with 12 years of public school when he will obviously be a healthy, happy, contributing adult without the stress of public school socialization?

So I decided right there to dive back into homeschooling next year. I always knew I'd come back to it, I just didn't know when. I told the kids and kind of left Brandon the option of joining Wolfie. I was nervous about taking them both on... until today. I discovered some great online learning programs that would fit in very well with our family. We're very computer friendly. It would only be natural to integrate it into homeschooling. A program like that would give me the confidence to do both kids; supplemented with books, dictation, field trips and a YMCA membership. (Can you tell I'm getting excited?) I also had the great idea that my Dad could take one or both of them occasionally for lessons. He's a college professor - and I learned so much about faith and critical thinking from him. What a blessing if my sons could get a piece of his wisdom too.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Legislating from the bench

Conservatives are outraged. Angry. Even scared. Because judges in California just overturned the ban on gay marriage. This also happened in Massachusetts in 2003. But I would like to allay the fears of these conservatives. The court is doing no more or less then it is supposed to. What is the purpose of the courts?

"Often called the "guardians of the Constitution," the federal courts exist to fairly and impartially interpret and apply the law, resolve disputes and, perhaps most importantly, to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution."

Conservatives fear that judges have overstepped their roles. But did they? In both cases they looked at the recently passed law to see if it violated the rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitution. And both times they deemd that the law did violate the constitutional rights (of homosexuals). This might be disappointing, even frustrating, for gay marriage opponents. But the panic over the "legislating from the bench" is really unfounded.

This legislation is no different then
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) in which the Court determined that separate but equal school facilities violated the Equal Protection Clause. This overturned many laws in the land.

I am curious how the supreme court will rule in the upcoming case about the Washington DC ban on handguns. Will they overturn the law and uphold the constitutional interpretation of the right to bear arms? Or will they interpret the right to bear arms as meant to be only applied to the militia. (That's the arguement. I didn't just make that up).

Many of the same people who are hoping the DC law will be overturned are horrified that the courts overturned the MA and CA laws. You can't have your cake and eat it too. (wink) Anyway, my point is that conservatives need to step back and take a deep breath and realize that USA is still running smoothly as it should be. Yes, the judges are making sometimes unpopular decisions. But that is why they are granted life-long seats. Because if they were elected officials they wouldn't be able to make the necessary but unpopular decisions that they sometimes make.


Saturday, May 17, 2008


It's amazing to me how you can see their personalities from the day they are born! Saphira is very needy. She's my little cuddle bug. She had to be held 24/7 for the first 7 weeks. Just yesterday she started letting me put her down for a few minutes, as long as she could see me. I know that as she grows older she'll be one of those girls who's always clinging to mommy's skirt. Maybe a little shy. Maybe sensitive. Mommy and Daddy's little girl. Honestly, I'm so excited. She's so different from my boys. She'll be my little partner.


Friday, May 16, 2008

5 years ago today

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My totally awesome Mother's Day gift

Look what Wolfie made me for Mother's Day! I LUUUV it!

My favorite word

You already know my least favorite word. Now learn my favorite word: extrapolate. I just like the way it rolls off the tongue: ex-tra-po-late.

It is four years later and I have decided to come back to this post and add to it words as I discover my love for them. The sound of them. the feel of them:

  • linoleum
  • turpentine
  • Hanoush (It's a jewelry store)
  • Clusterfuck
  • Roux
  • Beretta

Monday, May 12, 2008

A crazy weekend. (Why is my life so much drama?)

Saturday night I went to bed around midnight with "heartburn" (I've never really had heartburn before). I tried to sleep for two hours, but at 2:00 it was getting unbearable. I took some antacid and gas-x in case it was one of those two things. Then I sat down to google "heartburn" but couldn't sit. I woke Timmy up from his drunken sleep and started crying. It escalated really fast at this point. The baby was crying but I was in so much pain I couldn't care or do anything. I begged him to take me to the hospital. He started getting dressed but the pain was excruciating. I thought I could be dying- of maybe a heart attach or a lung clot. I called 911. It was one of those typical hysterical calls you might hear on the news. I crawled to the front door. The lady was begging me to put someone else on the phone. I was screaming "She doesn't speak English!" Finally I just gave my mother in law the phone (she was holding the baby too). Apparently they had a Khmer speaker for her. That was cool. Timmy was trying to get me in the car but I was undecided if I wanted to wait for the ambulance or go with my (drunk) husband. At one point I was actually laying in the street, clutching my chest, my sister in law standing over me asking what's wrong. I really thought it was over at this point. I thought my kids won't have a mother any more. So I got in the car with Timmy, having nothing to lose but precious minutes. We raced to the hospital, going through red lights and passing the ambulance on the way. My foot even fell asleep in the car and I thought it was because my heart had stopped and my blood wasn't flowing and I was almost dead. Timmy was screaming "stay with me". I was rubbing his hand to show him that I was still alive.

This is the sickest part of the story. The moment he stopped the car, the pain went away! I was dumbfounded. I went in anyway and felt really stupid saying in a totally calm voice "I'm here for chest pain". I didn't really want to wait for several hours to be seen, with my new baby at home. I got my "out" though. Timmy, (keep in mind, drunk) started swearing at the receptionist because they wouldn't see me fast enough. They called a cop and it escalated a bit and we decided to leave. I drove home. We were still really shaken up though so Timmy called my parents. They came over and it was good to see them. We prayed and wondered if this was maybe spiritual warfare because my daughter's baby dedication was supposed to be the next day at church. I still went to church, but we post-poned it so we could all be there, well rested.

I am so embarrassed to have caused that much drama over "nothing". I'm thinking it was either gas or a gallstone, so I'll get that checked out, but anyway, the whole thing was bizarre and not fun.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sooooo cliche

Years ago, I learned how to make the perfect omelet from (drumrole please...) Martha Stewart. ha ha. Is that cliche or what? The mistake I was making before watching her is I assumed (in the paranoid American fashion) that a tiny bit of uncooked egg would surely kill me with Salmonella poisoning. But Martha Stewart taught me to thoroughly cook an omelet on one side. You repeatedly scrape it back to make room for all the liquid to roll off the top. But once that side is cooked, it's done! Then you fold it nicely and put it on a plate. Voila. It tastes delicious. So now you know too. And knowing is half the battle. (real American hero. G.I. Joe)


Sunday, May 04, 2008

HOW TO: make parenting complicated

I am blessed that God has given me four babies. I am thankful and hope for more in the future. The main reason I am able to consider having such a big family is because I've taken a "natural" approach to childrearing. Really. The way people raise babies these days is far more difficult than need be. Modern parenting is a How To in making your life more complicated. For example:

Sleep deprivation:
Make sure you put your baby in a separate bed from the day he is born. Since he has spent the first nine months attached to you he'll feel alone and scared. He'll wake up frequently, causing you sleep deprivation for months, ney, years later. Don't consider actually sleeping with your baby. A position which would be a constant comfort to him, making feedings easily accessible, and natural breathing regulator.

Feeding: Make feeding as complicated as possible. Worry about sterilization of bottles and the less than nutritious breast-milk replacement. Force yourself out of bed (or a complicated pre-bed routine) to feed the baby at night. As the child gets older buy expensive baby food or spend hours making your own instead of supplementing your breast milk with table scraps from your own plate.

Bathing: Scare your newborn by placing him naked and alone in a bath. Don't bring him into the bath and shower with you where he will peacefully enjoy the water while being cradled in your arms, staring in your eyes with adoration.

Traveling: Make all escapades a really big expedition requiring large amount of baby stuff. Even though your baby will do fine with just an extra diaper and some wipes and your breasts, make sure you bring half the nursery with you.

Baby holders: Buy all sorts of contraptions to hold your baby. They'll not only be expensive but take up tons of room and difficult to bring with you if you go anywhere. All of these things could be replaced by a simple sling, but that piece of cloth, which held babies in most previous generations, is not complicated enough for modern parents. Or you could just hold your baby with your loving arms, knowing that this stage should be cherished and will be gone before you know it.


Saturday, May 03, 2008


Well, I failed this weeks certification: IV medications. So I'll have to practice again and retry. It was the hardest one so far. One cool thing that happened though was that I was assigned an imaginary patient who is allergic to penicillin and I was asked to give her Cefoxitin. I said to the professor "Cefoxitin is bactericidal... soooo I would want to check before I'd give it to someone with a penicillin allergy." The professor played along and handed me a drug book. Sure enough, it said not to administer to patients with a penicillin allergy. And the professor's jaw dropped and she's like "we've been using this example for years. I don't think anyone's ever caught that before". tee hee. So I felt special. But obviously I've still got work to do.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Cohousing Communities

That will be me at my hippy commune. ha ha.

We're brainstorming where we want to live when I graduate. According to the local paper our city is the 6th highest housing cost in the country (I think in relation to income). I totally believe it. If you saw where we lived and what we paid you would probably faint.

Anyway, since I'm open to just about anything (in America) I've been researching online different places to live. I'm really interested in joining a co-housing community because I would love a place where the kids can run around outside without worry. I found a great directory that I've been searching through. This place in Michigan is kind of what I'm looking for. (Except I'd rather a warm climate).

Even though my faith is dear to me I'd almost rather not live in a Christian community because I feel like that would be sheltering myself from non-Christians. How can I be a salt and light if I'm not interacting regularly with non-believers? Ya know? Not that I'm intending to proselytize. Another way of describing it is this: the biggest reason I would want to live in a Christian community is to "raise my children" Christian. But my God is bigger than that. He doesn't need me to cram Christianity down my kids' throats for Him to win their hearts.

I'm also looking at regular old towns with good economies and cheap houses. My favorite so far is Branson, MO. I already have an online friend there. :-)
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