Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Hello All,

A newly rediscovered friend has reminded me that I don't post enough pictures online. So, thought I'd put a couple of old ones out that I liked. Enjoy!

Reveling in spring, ~Peacemom

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Few Things That Disturb Me

Hello All,
Been a heck of a week here at the Peaceable Kingdom. All four of us have come down with the second round of spring cold/flu/bubonic plague. It's not a pretty site here, folks. We're all coughed out, exhausted from not sleeping and fever wracked. But, life must go on and so it has. The boys are off raking the baseball field as opening day for our little people is next weekend and we are required to volunteer a couple of hours to get the fields ship shape. A good cause, so we'll rake a bit and let the boys feel involved as well. I'm home, enjoying the first peace and quiet I've had in a while and I'm spending that time changing beds and washing bedding. Lots of fun for you to hear, I know, but with my little-to-no personal time since starting my job, I've gotta fill it with what I can get done.

A few things have struck me as disturbing as I'm spending some time cleaning. Like gardening, I get some thinking done while I'm cleaning. Here are a few things that I just want to keep my head in the sand about our youth of today, but alas, I can't.

1. I don't want to know that the 11 year old girl that lives next to us (shares a wall actually as we're in a condex) wears see thru pink shorts with a black thong underneath. I don't want to know that a thong is considered okay for an 11 year old. Nor the amount of makeup she wears or the bra straps always showing under her little skimpy spaghetti strap tops. Don't wanna know.

2. I don't want to know that at 4 years old, my son is expected to be "self sufficient" at preschool. He's FOUR, right? The fact that he can't open his ziploc sealing containers by himself does not make him helpless. The fact that he has trouble with his zipper on his coat does not make him less of a big boy in my eyes. The zipper sticks, help him with it, is it that hard? And another thing, not all kids like water bubblers, just give him water in a cup, is that so hard either?

3. I don't want to know that the kids next door to us also have drug use in their house and we are powerless to get it OFF of our property unless the police catch the older brothers in the act. I also don't want to know that these two 10 & 11 year olds are being basically raised by these two deliquent older brothers and what chance do they have in life at all when that's their example to follow. When their 21 year old brother will smoke a joint while kicking the soccer ball around with his little sister, what chance does this girl have for a cleaner more innocent life?

4. I don't want to know that girls in school as young as 11 and 12 are giving boys oral sex in the bathroom at school. Apparently, according to Oprah, this is a very common occurence these days. When I was a kid, I didn't even think about boys in any way other then yukky until I was at least 14, and then we're talking kissing, nothing more. Where are the teachers??? Where is the school administration that this is allowed to happen? Where are the rules set and examples to follow and family foundations for these children? How is any boy taught that it's okay to victimize young girls in this way, or their peers to victimize them into these actions? I'm not saying that all boys who are doing this thought it up on their own, peer pressure is tremendous. But as an adult, I wonder how they are handling the emotional fall out from this. I don't care how mature you think you are, 11 is too young for this kind of activity. Just too young. Makes me want to homeschool my boys until they are in college, I'm telling you.

5. I don't want to know that there is such a lack of respect for adults by children anymore. Some of the things I've witnessed and been told would make you want to regress your children's lives to about 40 years ago. When I was a kid, if a neighbor was driving up the street and you were riding your bike or playing street hockey or what have you, you got the hell out of the way. You might have given them a shy wave or looked away because they were watching what you were doing and your parents would definitely hear about it if you misbehaved yourself. Now, I witnessed above said neighbor kids riding skooters and bikes in the street with a hoard of their little deliquent friends and when my neighbor drove towards them, they looked at her with defiance and did not move out of her way. When they decided they finally would after making her stop and wait for them, she told them they needed to move when a car was coming (which at 11, they most certainly already know). They just laughed at her and made some rude comments. That would have gotten me smacked 6 ways to Sunday when I was a kid, I'll tell you that. I would never have even dreamed of speaking to an adult like that. Where has the respect been allowed to go?

6. I don't want to know that another neighbor's son is considered weird because he's got some delays in his development. I don't want to know that the teachers would forceably pick this child up and carry him out of class if he's yelling (a frustration response for him, he really can't help it). If my child were ever picked up and carried from a class room, I would be so up and down the school staff. It's degrading and demoralizing for him and embarrassing him in front of his classmates just plain sucks. He's not acting violently, he's just yelling. He's actually an incredibly sweet boy who socially is about 3 years behind his chronological age due to some birth injuries. But the other kids pick on him on the bus and in school and I really hate that this wonderful family who have big hearts and kindess abounding have to have their son treated this way because he's "different" then the other children. It hurts my heart to learn this, it really does.

6. I also don't want to know that there are so few programs in place in our schools today for children who are above the "normal" in development. My son, who is 6, but reads at a 5th grade level and is academically so bored every day in school, has no real resources that we don't provide for him. And I've met with the kindergarten coordinator several times regarding this and what are they going to do and they come up with some stuff and then it falls through. Why are there all the resources in the world for children who can't keep their standardized test scores up, but when you've got a child who's exceling and thursting for more knowledge, they sweep him under the rug. Why am I paying all these taxes again? Someone, please tell me! So, it's left up to us, his parents to make sure that he's challenged outside of school enough to keep him learning and not complacent in his abilities. How else will he learn that not everything in life comes easily? Please tell me this is going to change once he hits elementary school, but I fear in my heart it will not. We will be advocates for him throughout his schooling to get what is rightfully his. If he were not able to read at all they would have him in special reading group after special reading group, but when he can basically teach reading to the other children, he's put in the holding pattern. Makes me and Music Man hopping angry.

Well, these are a few of the things I've been pondering today. Perhaps it's my fever addled brain, but it's been getting to me lately and I thought I'd share some of the things that scare the heck out of me as a mother.

Not able to keep my head in the sand, ~Peacemom

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blustery Easter Greetings!

Hello All!

Happy Easter to you! Today we celebrated Easter with my sister's inlaws. I know, it sounds a little strange to do that, but if you knew these fine people, you would not wonder why. My own parents live about 3 1/2 hours away and we could not be with them today due to time constraints. Music Man's mother is a snowbird, currently down in Texas enjoying the holiday with her youngest daughter and family. So, we got the invitation to come to my sister's parents-in-law's home, where we spent last Easter as well, and jumped at the chance. They are truly wonderful people, so kind and generous and sort of surrogate grandparents for our little guys. We enjoyed a lovely meal accompanied with grand Easter baskets for the boys (they were VERY spoiled) and an egg hunt in which the boys had a rousing time with their cousin hunting up eggs. Pretty fun. And the topper of it all is the company. We all enjoyed each other's company and had a great time connecting.

It's been really interesting to me to see that they have become part of our family, and we part of theirs. We see them several times a year at functions for my sister's family, and they are always so warm and welcoming. They have great, positive energy and are always upbeat. They've had their share of challenges, but they never let it get to them, or don't seem to. I very much treasure that my boys can spend time with people who are like this in their lives. They engage the kids and make spending time in their presence a pleasure, and make them feel special and cherished. The boys have their own set of wonderful grandparents and a grandmother that loves them very much as well, but since she's gone a chunk of the year (and the busiest retired person you'll ever meet when she's home!) and my folks are far away and can't travel, it's nice that the boys get the chance to have other older people in their lives that they can connect with. I'm thankful for their presence in our lives on many levels.

And, my sister's father-in-law races drag cars, so for my car-loving boys, that's an amazing feat! He lets them sit in his race car and pretend to drive it and everything. I don't think that two bigger or happier grins could exist on two little boys faces as when they are strapped in, real racing jacket and helmet on, brrrmmmm-bbbrrrrmmming away while steering that car in their imaginations. Really, truly a fun time for them. We all feel blessed to know them. No strings, no challenges, no dramas, nothing needed from one to the other, just the pure enjoyment of knowing. How many relationships in your life can you say that about? Kinda neat and unique, I think.

The other fun thing we did today was when we went to "get Brownie's", we got the chance to meet the new baby goats on the farm. OOOhhh, was Little Red happy about that, this kid LOVES his baby goats. And they are so cute and wobbly and adorable. Long ears and little noses, so soft and cuddly. The mamas were pretty good natured about us petting their new little charges. Surely spring is in full force when the paddock and barn are full of baby goats. We also saw their new chicks, which are actually quite a bit bigger then the last time I saw them, and they were so cute also, getting their not-so-downy-more-scruffy-teenager feathers, looking a little gangly. The farm owner tells us the next to arrive is piglets. And anyone who has ever seen little piglets has seen cute incarnate. I'm not sure I'll be able to stock the freezer with one if I get too attached to them, so not sure how that's gonna play out, but man I love to scratch behind a piglet's ears. Those little grunts of pleasure they let go are sooooo daggone cute, it's pretty hard to resist.

Well, off for now, hope you and your's had a wonderful Easter celebration today yourselves.

Wishing you too much candy and a new awakening of your own, ~Peacemom

PS, pictures to follow, I promise...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gardening, Easter Eggs and Sunshine

Good Sunday to you all,

Today has been a good, spring inspired day here. We took the boys to the annual town Easter Egg Hunt that is put on at our local soccer field. It's really more of an Easter "Gather" since the eggs aren't actually hidden, but there are thousands of them laid out on the fields for the free for all-ing hoard of children to run out and pick up. It was a lot of fun and a great time to see others in town that have been spending the winter tucked away in their respective houses. We got to meet two of Maestro's friends and catch up with some good family friends as well. It was a blast. And to see all the kids just smiling and running and gathering, well, that was a treat. The police department does a great job putting this on for the kids, it's a good time.

A couple of other things had me feeling an extra spring in my step as well. One was that I was out in the garden bright and early on this blustery spring morning. I was adding soil to the beds and just checking out the overall condition of things our there. If you remember, last fall I spoke about the mouse tunnels we found under the compost spinner. Well, they branched out and I found 3 balls of grass that were obviously their little homes throughout the garden. Kinda fun. The thing that I didn't necessarily love doing was pulling up all my strawberry plants. I let them get completely out of control when the runners started producing babies, and the bed was so overburdened that last year the strawberries didn't taste very good. Some of them were highly perfumey tasting and some were just downright bitter. So, I decided to just dig them up and replant some and do a better job policing those babies. I will miss fresh organic strawberries this year, but it had to be done. Hopefully next year I'll have a good crop to be proud of.

When I'm working in the garden, I usually get to musing about things in my head. Lots of ideas, thoughts and sometimes dialogues come to me. I do some of my best working things out in my head when my hands are deep in the soil. It's my church really, as is the rest of nature. I would be a person who would most certainly go insane if I could not have access to soil and nature. How do people living in high rise apartments in big cities do it? I don't know, and never want to find out.

So, I was raking the grass around the beds, generally neatening up the joint when I bumped into a board on the ground. Now this board has been in the garden since early last spring, pretty much in the same spot. I don't know how it got there, most assuredly one of the boys left it there from some adventure they were engrossed in. I've moved things over this board many times, it's in the corner of the garden plot. Never once did it occur to me to move it. Strange, because I'm a person who likes things in their place. Not much in my world works that way with the three men I call my family, but in my own surroundings, like my office, or garden I need things to be orderly. So, it's kind of strange that I never thought to move this board before today. But, I decided to pick it up and when I did I got a glimpse of a whole little world unto itself. I saw some dead grass, mud and lots of bugs and things. I spent a good 5 minutes examining the little world that existed right under that board that I never knew about. One of those moments of musing that are very cool to me. To make me connected to a bigger (and smaller!) world around me in just an instant. A snapshot of reality if you will.

I also had to take a run to pick up the eggs and milk at the farm. Sunday is the day we get our allotment for the week. The boys have dubbed this run "Getting Brownie's" as you'll remember Brownie is the cow we get our fresh milk from. When I go to get Brownie's, I always love the ride. It's through a neighboring small town and brings me back to my hometown and the beauty of fields and woods and peace. I love this old farm and the barn. I love old barns anyways, especially ones with animals still residing in them. The quiet of mornings, the hay underfoot and the gentle crrruuukkk, crrruukkkk of a chicken as it peacefully goes about it's business. Like they are having conversations with themselves, it's fun to watch. I love the big old beams, the smell of well tended animals and hay mixed together. Unless you've experienced this joy, I'm not sure you'd understand the thrill it provides.

When I got to the farm, there was no one around. But, I got my blue tub filled with quart jars, we buy 1 1/2 gallons of milk a week and a dozen eggs. Since I really do need to get some 1/2 gallon jars and have not as of yet, found the ones I need, I use quart mason jars. I walked up the flagstone pathway to the front door of the house and when I got there found a cooler on the porch with my name on the cover. I opened it and there was my milk and eggs for the day. I knelt on the porch and transferred the milk from their 1/2 gallon jars to my quarts. I took the full egg carton and left my empty one. In the empty one, I tucked the money that I pay for these these bits of heaven and left it inside the cooler. As I walked away from the house, my heart was singing. This is the kind of life I want to be living where the farm owner leaves me my fresh milk in the cooler when he's not home and I in turn leave the money for his product and hard work. This kind of transaction is honest. This kind of transaction shows the trust we have in each other. This kind of transaction is exactly where I want my world to reside.

It's been a good day here at Casa de Peaceable Kingdom.

Wishing you chicken conversation and spring smells, ~Peacemom

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where have I been?

Hellllooo Everyone out there!

I know, I've not been around. I've been hearing about it, people wondering when am I going to get a new post up here. I promise, it's for a very good reason that I've been away. And way too preoccupied and way too tired. I'm pregnant.

Okay, so perhaps that wasn't so funny, but I made myself chuckle. Everyone seems to want this to be a big cliffhanger, so thought I'd humor my loyal followers. Of course, I'm not pregnant. I did tell you, I'm 40 right?! And those who know me know that I've more then got my hands full with the two little cherubs already graced to me by God. Sorry, didn't mean to startle you. Music Man and I did have a way of just springing that news on people when we were at the stage of sharing such news.

No, the real reason I've not been around much is that I've started a new job. It's been exhausting so far. I had to go into the office all last week for training and then this past week I started my real schedule. I work from home 4 days a week and I'm in the office one day a week. My hours are mine to set, so I work 5-10am and then again from 6-8ish at night. My title is "underwriters assistant". I'm basically doing the grunt work for the underwriters at an insurance company. It's all computer work, so I'm on my butt for 6 hours a day, not something I'm at all used to now that I've been in the world of stay at home mom for 6 1/2 years. That's going to take some getting used to because I rarely sit during the day usually.

This job has been a long time coming. I have been diligently hunting for a job I could do from home for almost 3 years now so I could be home for the boys. And finally, staring into the abyss of a recession, I've obtained this job. And, it's a good job. And the people I work for and with are great. And I feel very blessed and more then thankful for this opportunity to help our financially struggling little family unit have some monetary breathing room again. And it allows me to still be home with my boys during the day, getting Maestro off to his bus, fixing them breakfast, lunch and dinner just like always, allowing me to still bring Little Red to his beloved story time at the library and volunteering for the multitudes of PTA happenings and Maestro's classroom, and sitting down to dinner together as a family. And, best of all, I get to kiss them goodnight...EVERY NIGHT. I'm not off working while they are getting into their jammies and reading with Daddy. I do not take these things for granted, I do not overlook the specialness of these occurences in our days. I am so thankful to whatever planets finally aligned (and a little help from my guides in life and sister who tipped me on to the job). I feel very humbled to be able to finally add some more money to our mix and do it in a way that allows me to still be here for the boys just like I've always been. I am sorry that one day a week they are in day care and Little Red has not been adjusting to it well, for that I am sad, but the other 98% of things about it that are wonderful do not get ignored. My heart is proud, humbled and thankful. Grace does happen sometimes when we least expect it.

Anyways, I have been getting up at 4:45 am (thank goodness I'm a morning person, huh?) to take my long commute across the hall, log on the computer, go get a cup of tea and sit down to work while the house is still quiet. I have been working for 2 hours already when Maestro makes his appearance. His inner clock works like mine and he wakes up at 7:00, if not before, every day, no matter what time he went to bed, no matter how tired he is, just like his ol' Ma. I turn on some music and sit in my jammies and work away. I really could not ask for more right now in my life, except for about 6 more hours in the day to replace the time I used to be able to spend on other things that now take a backseat to working.

I will figure out the balance, I'm trying to be patient with myself. It's not easy for me, I have lots of patience with everyone else, but not myself. It's a work in progress. I need to get back to exercising, which I've not had the time to do since I work 6 hours a day now. I will figure out how to still manage the housework, cooking, laundry, running the kids around, all that stuff. I will figure it out, because if there's one thing I am, it's resourceful. I will make it work because I have to. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up. I will make it happen, just like I did finally getting the job.

Anyways, if you've been wondering where I've been, that's it. Happily figuring out my life now that I'm gainfully employed. Just hoping the fatigue gets better soon, too.

Feeling useful again, ~Peacemom