Just another mom blog…

For this child, I have prayed. (Samuel 1:27)

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

Pottery Barn Home

I recently flipped through the super-cute fall edition of Pottery Barn Home decorating catalog.  I drooled over gorgeous fall fireplace mantels and envisioned my own home with a magazine worthy display.  Then reality hit me as I realized that A- I don’t have a mantle, and B- I have a toddler.

Then the idea occurred to me that Pottery Barn should come out with a Pottery Barn for Homes with Kids edition! They can make durable versions of their decor. For example, those adorable, multi-use lanterns will be made of metal and plastic instead of glass.  Those cute glass pumpkins? They will be made of look-alike rubber! The linens will be scotch gaurded to high heaven. The furniture will come with it’s very own repair kit for knicks and chips, you know, for when the kid gets a hold of a screwdriver and beats the table up in the midst of a tantrum.

Anything that is not made of fabric can be wiped down with industrial strength bleach following the kids bout of the stomach flu.  Oh! And everything can be wiped with fingernail polish remover just in case they doodle with a sharpy marker or two. In general, all items will stand up to falling, being thrown, kicked, ran into, spilled on, hammered, and whacked with the occasional golf club or hockey stick.  🙂

Can you imagine how awesome this would be??? *sighs dreamily*

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Our cat, the mountain

Our old, black cat is put through the ringer with Nathan.  We don’t let him hurt her, but we can’t always stop him from annoying her to death. There’s just something about a ball of warm, silky hair that draws Nathan to it like white on rice.  At various times Lilah has served as a pillow and a blankie-holder.  Her tail has been a jump rope more than once. She is his favorite wind-up toy- wind the tail and off she goes!

She  has been a mighty slumbering mountain for his little toy tractor to conquer. She has served for many an anatomy lesson as Nathan poked pointed out her eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. He learned the meaning of gravity as various small objects rolled from her head onto the ground. He hugs and kisses her like a favorite teddy bear. He always offers her a sip of his drink and a bite of his snack, and she’ll wake up to a pile of fish crackers and carrots by her carnivorous nose. They play hide and seek throughout the house. Lilah hides and Nathan seeks.

It’s not all annoyances for Lilah. She enjoys chasing him down from time to time. She likes it when he throws toys for her to fetch. Every now and then Nathan will offer her a bite of something good for once- like bits of hot dog or chicken.  She loves sitting on a kitchen chair hidden by the skirt of the table cloth. When Nathan walks by, she’ll enjoy her revenge and lunge from under the tablecloth to give him a generous swat on the head with her clawless paws.

I never in a million years would have thought that Lilah would be as patient and gentle with Nathan as she has been.  She’s fat and old and mostly likes to be left alone so that she can sleep. Yet somehow those two formed an amazing, very sweet bond with each other. It touches my heart to see them play together.  I think that she doesn’t mind being his very best furry friend, as long as he keeps the hot dogs coming that is. 😉

Nathan turns TWO!!!

Yesterday we celebrated Nathan’s second birthday. I did a Dr. Seuss theme and it turned out to be really cute! We all had a wonderful time and it was simply a wonderful day.

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Here are some side-by-side pictures of Nathan eating cake at his 1st birthday (left) and 2nd birthday (right).

Hatching Dinosaurs

Nathan and I are hatching “living fossils” called triops for our Science Mondays.  We’re going to watch them grow, feed them, count them, and talk about the different phases of their life cycle. 🙂

Mainly I want to introduce to him that some animals live in water and others on land. For one activity for Review Fridays, I will print out some pictures of different animals and ask him to pick out the ones which live in water.  Next week I’ll post more details about our homeschooling plans. 🙂

The Case for Homeschooling

I am super-excited about getting started with homeschool preschool for Nathan next week.  That being said, something that has really surprised me is how controversial homeschooling is.  At the mention of the word, people make all kinds of assumptions which are not true. They assume that I must be a religious fanatic when this decision has nothing at all to do with religion. They assume that I am going to raise a socially isolated child when that simply isn’t the case.  I try not to take it personally, but after awhile it gets to me.

Lots of stay-at-home moms (SAHM) keep their toddlers at home and may or may not enroll them in a preschool type of program until they are 3 or 4 years old.  Nathan isn’t old enough to be in those programs yet (he’ll be two this weekend), however, he is very bright and is intellectually ready for preschool types of learning activities.  I am simply trying to provide him with mental stimulation and teach him in the process while I am staying at home with him. I am labeling my efforts as “homeschooling” because I am following a Montessori preschool curriculum, and a school curriculum taught as home qualifies as homeschooling.  It should be a GOOD thing that I care enough about him to provide him with the attention and these opportunities instead of doing whatever else stay-at-home moms do, yet people flinch at the mention of homeschooling. Why is that so controversial???

That being said, and I am about to stand on the soapbox for a moment, but people really should support a parent’s option to educate their child through homeschooling or through the public education system, whichever one they choose.  Do I have total faith that the public education system (PES) is in line with my goal to raise a child into an emotionally healthy, well-rounded, productive member of society and family oriented husband/father?  No, I do not. Here’s why:

The public education system is NOT an “ideal social environment” for young, vulnerable, developing minds.

In the PES, there is a serious epidemic of school bullying. People argue that “bullying helps them grow.” They argue that kids need to be exposed to this to learn how to handle difficult people and that this helps them be well-rounded.  Really? I think that is a bit like saying that you should put your child around drugs without adult supervision to “learn how to handle” drugs.  I do not define being ‘well-rounded’ as saying no to drugs, sex, and surviving the playground bullying/abuse and sexual harassment experience as the pro-PES folks do. I define being well-rounded as having a solid, thorough educational foundation, a realistic sense of self/good self-esteem, being of solid character, good work ethic, and approaching life with a good attitude.

Bullying, like drugs, is a negative thing that they should not be exposed to during childhood.  The thing is that bullying is largely a problem with immature adolescents, not in the adult world/workforce, so all this is teaching them is how to deal with difficult kids as kids themselves. Its just not necessary.  Those adults who DO use bullying, guess where they learned it? Either at home or the PES.  A child who is not exposed to these experiences will recognize that these people are emotionally toxic and to stay away from them.  As an adult, if they are exposed to bullies, they will at least have the capability to avoid them or take positive action against these bullies in the workforce in stead of being victimized like they are in the PES. Consider this:

“1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 43%of kids have been bullied while online.  Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get.

Bullying Statistics

• 1 out of 4 teens are Bullied.
• As many as 160,000 students stay home on any given day because they’re afraid of being bullied.
• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some “Bullying.”
• 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
• 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.
• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.
• 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the information to do it.
• Playground statistics – Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention -4% Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention –   85%.”

Bullying at school is a NOT a “childhood rite of passage.”  For those who were bullied in school, I am sorry your parents allowed that to happen to you. Teachers of the PES are grossly outnumbered by kids and it is impossible for them to prevent this kind of peer abuse.

As the folks of Stomp Out Bullying sums up that, “There will always be conflicts between kids, but bullying is intentional cruelty, harassment, and emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. This behavior can set the tone for a lifetime of intentional cruelty or worse. And the consequences to the victim can seriously affect them for the rest of their lives.”

The middle school aged years are a time of many changes and experimenting.  We all know that newly minted teens are not exactly prime examples of great decision-making skills.  Neuroscience backs this up, stating that the area of a teens brain responsible for impulse control and logical thinking skills is not yet fully developed. This makes them vulnerable to the pressures to try drugs, sex, and other things that kids (Kids!!!) should not be exposed to. Consider this:

Around 20% of seventh graders, 30% of ninth graders, and almost 40% of 11th graders reported that they had been offered an illegal drug at school in the previous year. Even more have been offered alcohol.  In high school, around 50% of them gave into peer pressure and tried illegal drugs and almost 70% have sexual experience, with 50% of them having had sexual intercourse.
The PES is NOT the ideal education system for kids:

Aside from being distracted from learning by bullying abuse, peer pressure, and other negative social experiences and fears, there are several issues with the education system itself. The fact that kids grossly outnumber teachers in the classroom creates several issues.(It is not the teachers’ faults!) The system is designed to maximize the group of kids as a whole instead of maximizing each child’s potential individually.  The teacher spends a lot of time simply trying to manage the average of 20 kids or more under his/her care. This means that lots of kids fall through the cracks educationally, so to speak.  The bright ones spend time waiting around and unstimulated, and the slower students end up feeling pressured, ‘stupid’, and often do not learn the lessons well enough to move on to the next topic. Furthermore, if a child has a strong potential in one subject and advances quickly, they are held back from learning more because they have to stay on par with the group of the same age/grade level.  To prevent a bright, curious mind from advancing their natural-born potential in a subject is nothing less than a tragedy. Experts all agree that one of the biggest flaws in the PES is that the “one size fits all” approach to education is not effective at the individual level.

The price for this so-called “social learning experience” is simply too high between bullying abuse, drugs, lack of proper adult supervision and guidance, the potential to be left behind or forced to slow their learning. The price is just to high for my child.  He deserves to have the opportunity to experience an un-adulterated childhood without being bullied or pressured into bad, potentially life-altering decisions.  He deserves the chance to fully develop his educational interests and have the resources to do so. He deserves the best, and I can provide the best for him through various homeschooling options.  So please, before you judge me or label me for our homeschooling decision, realize that I am intelligent enough to do my research and thus made an informed decision as to what is best for my own child.

Updates

This week has been insanely busy.  I’m really glad though because I am usually very emotional because my mom died two years ago this time. So on Monday, a bunch of awesome ladies and their little ones met up at a local farm. The kids got to pick out pumpkins from the patch, see and pet chickens/horses/goats/pigs/turkeys, and they got to navigate through a corn maze.  Nathan had a blast and is not in the least afraid of animals. In fact, he loves them.

We had a great time and I hope to go back soon. It also made me appreciate how hard C works so that we can give Nathan opportunities like these.

The birthday party decorations are all in. The invites did not get sent out because I was able to hand-deliver or email all of the local people who could come.  Plus, I cannot find my address book anywhere.  For the folks who live too far to come, I plan to just include it with the Christmas card so that they can have a copy.  I hope to find the address book by then.

There are a few little ones coming to play and I know he’ll be so excited. Unfortunately, 3 of the kids can’t come due to the same birthday, and 4 will be out of town this weekend.  I am still waiting to hear about two older ones. However, there will be 4 little guys the same age group as Nathan there.  I am not sure what we will be doing as of yet. I did try to find a few farm animals, however, the costs for a traveling petting zoo starts at $200, and I’m just not going to spend that kind of money.  So I got creative and started asking farm animal rescues if they could bring an animal or two in exchange for professional pictures of the animal for their websites and a small donation.  I don’t think I’ll have any luck, but I thought I would try anyhow. I am still waiting to hear back from them. I plan on making some good, kid-friendly food for the kids as well.

Tuesday morning we had the Mom 2 Mom meeting at church. I LOVE this huge group of fellow mommies! It gives the little ones a chance to play with each other as we do bible study as it pertains to our roles as wives and mothers and do crafts.

Wednesday night I am going to go to a small christian group of similar aged adults called Life Groups.  Nathan will play with the host’s kids and I am hoping C will make it home in time to go with us.  I think it will be an asset for us as we try to put God first in our marriage.

Finally, I am getting Nathan’s homeschool schedule planned out, and I am really excited about it.  I think he’ll enjoy the activities that I am planning for him.  🙂

 

Anyhow…that’s all that I can think of at this moment.

Toddler Rooms

Lately I’ve been playing around with different ideas for Nathan’s big boy room.  Here are some ideas that I have put together so far. The first one is kind of a vintage, warm, rustic farm-inspired room:

The second one is also vintage-inspired but is more contemporary and mod styled:

 

In both images, I like to do mixed prints full of color.  I like the jute rug because I can re-use it in other rooms later on.  I love combining raw wood with painted recycled furniture.  I plan on making his curtains and comforter myself.

 

While I have fun doing his room, I put together a different room for kicks. It is peacock inspired.

Castile Liquid Soap Recipe

Liquid Castile Soap

Ingredients

– 1 cup grated/firmly packed down Castile soap (about two 4 oz. bars)
– 4 cups water (preferably purified water)
– 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin

-essential oils (if desired)
Shred the bar soap using a cheese grater. Simmer the pan of water on medium-low. Mix the grated soap into the water and stir occasionally until it has dissolved. Next, add the glycerine to the mixture and stir until dissolved.

At this point, you can add essential oils to the mixture and transfer to a jar (or several) and cover tightly.

You can use ready-made castile bar soap such as Dr. Bonners, or make your own.  Making your own is actually really easy.  It just requires three ingredients (olive oil, lye, water). 

Be sure to read up and become familiar with the safety of using lye in soap making. There are some rules which must be followed.

Technically,to be a true castile soap, the oil used must be a good quality Olive oil.  However, I’ve made mine out of everything from a mixture of various oils to even using regular Crisco shortening!  The lye changes all of the oils into soap, but the oil you use can affect the way the soap feels and lathers when used. To be honest, I really like the lather that the Crisco makes.

The good thing about this liquid castile soap recipe is that you can take a unscented, basic bar soap (like the Crisco recipe) and then add various essential oils and other oils to make it into something fabulous.  When I do my batches, I make a few jars of the following:

  • Eucalyptus/tea tree/jojoba oil for personal care purposes (shampoo, body wash, on cloth baby wipes).
  • Lemon/orange for general cleaning
  • Hawaiian citrus for laundry/linens

I pour mine into clearly labeled, empty soap dispenser bottles. The solution is concentrated, so I just mix in a few squirts with whatever the dilution calls for and I’m all set to go!

 

 

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Day in the life of a Deaf mom…

This morning my son climbed up on the couch with the sweetest smile on his face. Propped on his knees, he reached around me to give me a loving hug. I told him how much I love him and how sweet he was for giving me a hug. Hug finished, he started to get down and then I was completely drenched in lukewarm coffee. 

It turns out that the child wasn’t trying to give me a hug after-all, but just trying to get to my mug of coffee behind me on the railing.  Sighs.

So began my morning.  While folding a mountain of clothes in the living room, I noticed that I had not felt the vibrations of little feet in several minutes time. Alarm bells started to go off in my tired head.

“Wait,” you ask.”What do you mean by feeling vibrations? What are you talking about?”

The good thing about being deaf is that sometimes we develop ways to compensate for one sense by being extra sensitive with a different sense.  For me, I am extraordinarily sensitive to vibrations.  So sensitive that I have been awakened before from the vibrations of my own heartbeat while asleep on my belly. I once sat on a floating dock across from my dad in chairs as we talked to each other.  While gazing across the river, I felt a strong vibration travel toward me, up my chair, and through my body. I jumped in alarm and asked my dad what the sound was (because vibrations almost always mean a sound). He looked totally shocked and began laughing.  Apparently the source of vibration was from him farting.  We laughed until we cried on that particular event.

The ‘sound’ of my cat jumping down from a counter usually hits my body like a wave.  A motorcycle from down the street stopping at a stop sign feels like a series of waves hitting my torso at decreasing and then increasing strengths. Its uncanny.

As you can guess, my poor son doesn’t stand a chance.  Unlike hearing mothers who unconsciously keep tabs on their kids by listening, I keep tabs on him by feeling the vibrations.  For example, I can tell by the strength of his quick steps where he is in the house and where he is going.  I can feel him if he is anywhere upstairs, on the stairs, foyer, or if he hits a wall from anywhere in the house, both upstairs and downstairs, even if I am on the opposite floor.   I know by feeling which door he is slamming. I can tell which toy he is using based on the pattern of his steps or the vibrations that the toy makes. I can feel him move chairs or furniture, and thus what he is getting into. I know when he is bothering the dog and when he is quietly reading his books in his room. I can feel when he is emptying his dresser drawers not by the feel of the items hitting the floor, but rather by the feeling the drawers make when he slams them shut again. I can even tell if he is getting into the tupperware/glassware cabinet or the pots/pan cabinet. All of this purely from feeling vibrations.

Anyhow, like I was saying, the lack of vibrations set off alarm bells for me.  I got up and went to investigate him in his room, since that is where I felt him go last. When I got there, that child had somehow gotten his hands on some candy I bought to give out for Halloween.  His face, hands, shirt, pants, and even his LEGS were covered with the chocolate from 3 mini kit-kat bars! He used his many chompers to open the packages, and then he went to town on the chocolate bars.  He startled when he saw me, and then gave me the biggest, most mischievous smile he can.  He looked at me, held out the last candy bar, and said, “MMMM! Yummy!”

A day in the life…

 

Sew Fun!

I have been having fun with little sewing projects lately! I recently made Nathan a trick-or-treat bag for Halloween:

The letter N on the bag glows in the dark!

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