Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nearly Fall

Here it is, down to the last couple of weeks in August, and I am starting to think about Fall... Cooler weather today (dipped to the upper 80s here) has me thinking that it might just get around to being Fall sometime soon. Though we don't really have "Fall" in this part of the country, we do have a few days of really nice weather. Today was one of those days that I am sure that there is a God in Heaven, and he has sent a couple of days of cool breezes to promise that change is coming.

With Fall, there is change. We don't see the leaves change until nearly Winter, but we have the kids going back to school, Football, the Corn maze, Pumpkins in the stores, and all that goes with the coming of October. I am most excited about the month of October, not for the spooky yard decorations, and not even for the cold spell that comes the week of Halloween... I am excited about the 31 Days Writing challenge!

I'm signing up again for the challenge... I know, I know, last year I probably said something like... shoot me if I ever do this again... but... even with all the crazy  stuff that happened last year, and even though I complained that I was behind... I want to try it again this year!
I am going to really have it organized better, and now that I have decided early... not like 3 days before it starts... I will have my outline really concrete and stick with it (last year, I think I tore up my outline after the first day... nearly changed topics, and did cry a few tears). This year... I'm excited to say... I am determined to finish each and every day!!

Visit the new home for the challenge blogs, at My 31 Days  and the blog list at My Blog Series 
If you have any suggestions on making the site more navigable or more readable, please leave me a comment. I appreciate any comments!

See you in October!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Wanting to paint!!!

I've been wanting to paint for a while, every day it seems, but life and work always get in the way... sometimes I just can't stand it and will paint something that I have made just to fulfill that craving... I can't seem to find time to pull out my easel though.

You know, I might just have to today...

My son went to camp yesterday, and while we were driving to and from we were able to see what the recent rains brought to our arid region... bodies of water that normally would be fields of corn, cotton, or sorghum! What a treat! I didn't get a good picture, since I'm not driving... I can't just stop the car and take pics like I normally would... that and we were running a bit tight on schedule...

but I was able to take a few pics on the way home of some sunflowers... that would make a beautiful painting, but I really wanted to capture the water that we saw... and I came acros this article today, how timely!

How to paint light on water - How To - Artists

So, I visited the site and thought, wow... I need to get my paints out!

I really want to, but I know in my heart that I will just pine away and want to paint and just never do it unless I make myself...

I always say that I crave oil paint... and I think it is addictive... the smell, the feel, and the 'high' you get when you are creating... it is a drug for me!

OK, I've talked myself into doing it... just step away from the computer... take a break on working on jewelry, and remember that I don't have to make dinner tonight... and I'm going out onto my back porch and setting up my easel!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Pioneer Woman... again she's giving stuff away!!

I usually start drooling when I go to The Pioneer Woman's page. There are yummy treats that will make you do that... but also the weekly (or so it seems, sometimes it seems daily) giveaways that are drool worthy capture your attention in no time...
Today, it is this beautiful mixer... and you know how i love this color!!!
Pretty, Pretty Blue Mixer.  What on earth can you say???

Give a look at some of the recipes, or gander at her beautiful and enchanting photos of life on a ranch, homeschooling? there's that as well, TV shows, Cooking of course...Home and Garden, got you covered... and well.. just go look!

Ree Drummond is multi-talented and just the person that you wish was your best friend. She's that nice.  Funny? you got it, she would keep you in stitches, and I know she is more than intelligent, she's got a bunch of kids that she's homeschooled... all the while she runs a business and household, and... well, she's a go-getter.

I've signed up for this beautiful mixer, you should, too!

Friday, June 05, 2015

End of school- for the 7th grade

It is always with deep pleasure that I write about the end of the school year. We start a countdown weeks in advance to the minute we are free... free for the Summer that is... and we have been in countdown for several weeks this year. The school year included time in June, which in my day was unheard of... and this year it included a makeup day on one of our countries sacred holidays. Well, I say that, but you know, it is fast becoming just a day to have the first bar-b-que of the year... Memorial Day.
Traditionally this day has been to remember the dead of the War between the States. but it grew into remembering all our fallen soldiers. To many, it is a day to remember that we aren't free without the shedding of blood... and that takes on such deep meaning.

a few of my son's awards... I am very, very proud, but the medals
 don't have anything to do with it!
So, We are officially in Summer now. But this year has been a bit different from all the past years. I suppose it is because my son is getting older, but there seems to be a bit more in there. Maybe that he isn't in elementary any more, that makes a huge difference, but that he is not being awarded a lot for being one of the good kids. I mean, they kind of created an award system for kids like him in elementary. Giving "leaves" on the "Kindness Tree" and "Good Citizen Award" for those kids that didn't get anything else, but were so good in class...He's one of those kids that you just don't really have to discipline... he's not one of those kids that will ever make the perfect attendance, or the most outgoing... or even the most athletic. He's pretty average I guess. I do think he's terribly intelligent. He, at 12 years old, has already taken the college entrance (ACT) exam, and he is in the Duke TIP, and he received the Presidential Achievement Award last year.. but that is simply from me and a few people that really loved him a lot pushing him and pushing for him.

It has been hard with his dad passing away so early in his life. Without that bit of manly guidance, he has had to learn many things from me, which I know is embarrassing for him and for me. He has taken a long time to get over his dad passing. I say get over... to heal is a better word. He will never 'get over' him passing away.  We were talking yesterday morning before he got out of bed. We do that a lot. I think of his father when the boys were young and wanting to get him up because they were bright and shining and he was slow at waking... the boys would go and jump on him and start a wrestling match, each taking turns at crawling around, over, and under (his bent legs) and flopping on his belly... We had a good laugh talking about that, yesterday. These are the things that I want my son to remember about his dad. I want him to remember him climbing onto his arm and hanging like a monkey for dear life. I want him to remember when we went to the ball games or the hockey matches. I want him to remember the walks in the park, the camping trip, the picnic under the tree...

So the end of school this year was kind of bittersweet. My son was really ready for school to end, but was really going to miss the other kids... and when it was award time, he did get one award... the  A-B Honor Roll..which was an honor, but there was nothing about him being a really good, quiet, hard working, really good kid.... and I guess I was kind of let down. I think about the sadness when he found out he wouldn't be allowed to have the award for no absences... because his locker stuck and he was late for class several times... he had a substitute teacher several times when it stuck and that teacher couldn't help him, so he was unexcused to his next class. One day, a substitute counted him absent when he was there. He got detention for the tardies, I handled the absence through the principle. But for getting detention he was given an absence for his tardies... which put him out of the running for never missing a day of school.. which you might think is nothing, but to him it was crushing.
I can tell you a bit of how my son feels about school. He has always been excited about going to school. From a couple of years before being able to go to school... my son has begged to go. He has cousins that are older and he always wanted to go to school like they did. My son wanted nothing more than to have friends and teachers and to be in a school building. He was so very excited about going to kindergarten, he was ready to go weeks before it started officially.  He had a rough start though, one of the kids in his class got his lunchbag and ate his sandwich and snacks.... my son got in line because he couldn't find his bag. He had no money, no idea how to go through the lunchline, and I didn't go to eat with him, thinking it would be better for him to have the first day alone as just that... One of the teachers told me that he was standing there, holding a little tray of something... not knowing what to do next... he didn't have money or a lunch ticket, since he was so excited about taking a lunch bag... It broke my heart. I felt like he was probably lost and scared and I wasn't there to help him... ugh!

The boy didn't talk the whole year in class. All the other kids liked him, but he wouldn't talk. His teacher liked him, because he was never a problem. He loved the class, and was ready to go every day, but he was terrified of the main hall bathroom. He said it was dirty and dark and that it never had soap or paper towels. If they didn't go to the bathroom before leaving their room (which had a bathroom that was shared between two classes of kindergarteners) they had to use the hall bathroom, which he refused to do.  If they hadn't washed their hands in the classroom, they weren't allowed to go to the bathroom, they just ate with dirty hands. His class came straight in from the playground and went to the cafeteria...
Needless to say, my son got sick pretty early in the school year. He had a stomach virus, he had a cold, he had some other virus, he had another stomach virus, and another 'cold' and another, and another...
I complained to the school about the washing hands thing... about the bathroom being dirty, no soap, no handtowles... I complained about the filthy state of the desks, I complained about the hand washing again...He missed 17 days of school due to illness.

First grade was basically the same...Just add in Whooping Cough... yes he had his vaccinations....we found out the hard way that they don't completely prevent this... just make the case less severe. Many, many other kids had it as well.
Second grade, ditto...
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth... all the same.
I had to go to a mandatory counseling session because he had missed too many days... I complained to them... and was excused...
I mean, we had doctor's notes for each time...and in 6th grade, my son's grandfather passed away, I called the school and explained the situation, they told me it would be excused... it wasn't... I took the writeup in the paper to the counseling session and told them my son was not only a good student, he was in the Duke Tips and that he was really not just skipping school... and that he was sick so much over the filth in the school... I know, I know... I am not liked much by the school system, but from all my griping, they did implement a hand sanitizer dispensing routine before lunch... don't even get me started about this... I think I have gone over it a few times in my blog somewhere. 

You can see, however,  how it would have been a wonderful thing if my son had been able to finally have some sort of award to show that he made it to school every day... but, well, the school knows best, right?

I had to stop myself. WHAT was I thinking? What did I just say???

There is not anything that I should be upset about.

My son actually got an award... Hey, the A-B Honor Roll is a good award.

There are so many kids that were sitting in the stands that didn't get any award. A couple of my son's friends are really good kids, but they never get awards... They have struggled day after day and never have been singled out for an award... They are good kids and they really try at school...ok, one I can think of is a good kid, but he doesn't really try... but you know what?

There are kids that have parents that are drug addicts... that have been tossed around, who have been basically on their own... there are kids that are in hiding from one parent or another because of violence... there are kids that are in violent situations... there are kids whose parents work all the time, that aren't there for any function...

Why should I be so worried about a piece of paper or a medal... when my son has been so blessed. Yes, blessed.  Yes, he lost his father, yes he has lost his grandfather and has gone through so much with my mom... Yes, he has been terribly sick and has had to struggle, and we are broke, but hey! He is a very intelligent and kind, loving kid... He will make it without something to "prove" that he is special.

I had been moping around for a week before I realized this... and then I came across this today: For All the Parents Whose Kids Won’t Get an Award . Sara Borgstede wrote this poignant blog that made me stop in my tracks at wishing for more...Why is it we are so blind to what is really important?
It made me want to cry.
You see...
I know what it is like to not get an award.

I was one of those kids that moved a lot,
I was one of those kids that didn't have a parent come to much of anything...I love my mom, but she just didn't have much time for that sort of thing.
I was one of those kids that was sick all the time, that had more days out of school than in, some years. I was the kid that wanted to go to school...
I was that High School kid that worked at the fast food restaurant, and struggled because my dad had died when I was 14.
I was that kid that was bullied for years. I protect my kids vehemently.

Is that the reason that I push my kids?

That is the reason that I worked hard to be able to get my kids the things they need and the things to help them get ahead... I pushed my daughter for years to do better, to get out there, to work hard and be a part of anything she could.
I have tried to push my son, into doing better in academics, but I haven't been able to push him socially. I mean, he is never going to be outgoing... my daughter isn't either, but she is better than she used to be. I made sure she was in Girl Scouts, Church Groups, Ballet, Gymnastics, Tap, Jazz.... She was in Band, and I tried to get her out there... to be able to have some sort of foot up even though we weren't wealthy or socially acceptable...
But with my son, it has been so difficult to push so hard. I mean, he's doing more than some kids... but we didn't do Boy Scouts. He wouldn't talk to the leader... and they have to to get their badges. It was just after my husband passed away and he just wouldn't talk, and I didn't have the energy, quite literally, to be present and to coax him...
He did play football, but got a couple of hard, hard hits...
He plays tennis now, and he's pretty good at it, but he won't get an award for it...
He plays in the band, and he's pretty good at it... but he won't get an award for it...

I need to know that it is ok... that he won't die because he doesn't get recognized... it could be so much worse. There is no reason to wish that our kids are recognized or even to be upset if they don't excel to some high set goal... What is the mindset here? WE are blessed.
We are truly blessed.
Blessed beyond what we need. We go through such trivial things, and are not in true need. There are so many examples around us of need, true need. Throughout the world we see people living in strife, squalor, pain and suffering, with fear and famine... All the while:
We eat, we have shelter, we have clothing, and so much more. We have love.
Our family may be dwindling, but we still hold on to each other. WE are a family, my kids and I. And we can choose to let others in, and to let others be part of our family, and we can, as a family, face most every problem there is... and that is probably the best comfort, and best reward there is.
We don't need no stinkin' award!