Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent V2

Yesterday's Advent Activity

I got this suncatcher kit at Hobby Lobby for like a buck. I totally remember doing these as a kid!

So intent on making a big mess :)

The finished product :) (Don't mind the trashy Volvo in the background. Josh is trying to make some extra money buying Volvos and then fixing them up and selling them.)

Besides the Advent Activity yesterday was a supremely productive. I love days like that!
I made a big batch of caesar dressing from V-Con. I thought it was going to be so great based on my taste test, but I HATED it. I choked down my salad in total disappointment. I also baked bread and pizza dough, baked a pizza, made homemade pesto with Basil from our garden and baked muffins. Aaaand I finished an order and cleaned the apartment. Hooray!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent Countdown v1

Today was the first day of our Advent Celebration. Above is a picture of the start of our advent "countdown" calendar. It doesn't have any numbers yet, I just didn't have the time, so this is the basics. He will go in order, starting from the bottom left, and draw one card per day.

Today's card...

I put a little basket of ornaments out for him to place on the tree. He was so sweet about it, studying each one. Then he put them all on the same two or three branches :) He was very attentive to decorating until he came to an ornament that lit up. After that he abandoned decorating and just started searching all of the ornaments until he found ones that lit up or made noise. He confiscated each of those and told me that he was going to take care of them :)
The finished tree...minus the topper. My dad said we have to wait until Josh gets home because decorating the tree is a family job and he has to be a part of the finishing touch. Sometimes my dad melts my heart a little.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Advent Calendar/activites

In some of my wanderings through blogland, I have come across families who use advent "calendars" as a way to countdown to Christmas. I guess for some this advent has religious and spiritual backgrounds, a way to celebrate Jesus's birth. For me it is going to be something different. Christmas is a holiday that I look forward to as a time for tradition and love. However, we don't have many traditions in my family. I long to have traditions with my children that we can look forward to and celebrate from year to year. I think that having our little advent adventure every day will be one of those things and it will be a fun way to count down to what I am sure will soon be John's favorite holiday.
Here are the things that John will be pulling out of our calendar on each of the 28 days.
1. Decorate the Christmas Tree
2. Make glitter cards
3. Pinecone hunt
4. Pinecone birdseed feeder
5. Christmas Book - Maybe The Night Before Christmas...whatever I can find used I guess :)
6. Set up our Christmas Train
7. Paint a shirt for a picture with Santa
8. Visit Santa
9. Small Lego set (gift)
10. Make a cottonball beard and felt hat
11. Make a Christmas snowglobe with a baby food jar
12. Handprint painting
13. Watch Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
14. Visit a tree patch
15. Make a plate for santa
16. Go see the snow
17. Matchbox car (gift)
18. Make a salt dough ornament
19. Go see holiday lights
20. Make Christmas cookies
21. String popcorn garland
22. Make paper snowflakes
23. Make a gift for daddy
24. Make a gingerbread house or gingerbread man
25. Letter to Santa
26. Slippers (gift)
27. Pajamas (gift)
28. Peel carrots and bake cookies for Santa and reindeer

I still have to make our advent "calendar" to hold these activities and gifts. I have the cutest advent garland that is little knit stockings and mittens, but I don't think it will hold everything. I am thinking that I will probably just get some paper bags and decorate them, but who knows...I may get more creative.
I will post pictures as I work on these projects :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder?

Sometimes I wonder...what is my identity, really? What is the most defining characteristic of who a person is? Is it race? Gender? Sexuality? Is it my job or spouse or being a parent? Is it all of those things and more?
I mean, if I had to list the things that I define myself as, I would say...
1. Mother
2. Wife
3. Daughter
4. Vegan
5. Liberal
6. Pagan

I am sure the list could go on and on if I really thought about it, but I look at it and I have questions. The first three things are all defined by my relationships with other people.What if, by some horrible occurence, those things changed? Would I lose my whole identity? The last three have only reeally come to be in the last 3 years. Who was I before that? Am I still that person?
I guess I wonder because I really love this me. I love this person that 29 years has helped me become. I want to keep growing and changing, but I never want to leave any of these factors behind. I just want to grow this list and grow myself.
If you had to list the top five characteristics of your identity what would they be??

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Long Rant

 I know that I have been fairly open about some of the "alternative" parental decisions Josh and I make, but right now I want to really share some of the reasons.
1. We raise John as a vegan - I chose a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons. To me it is the only way that I can live that supports my beliefs. We chose to raise John in the same manner for two reasons, one is health. John will have the amazing benefits of never having consumes cholesterol, a much lower sodium and fat intake and far fewer processed foods than most children his age. We also chose this lifestyle for him because, as his parents, we have to make his ethical and moral decisions for him until he can choose for himself. It would be so foolish of me to say that it is ok for John to consume animal products when I absolutely believe the opposite. What kind of mother would that make me?

2. We don't allow John to watch television or 99.9% of the movies out there. I say 99.9% because he does have a box of Scholastic books on video that we watch about once a week. Along with this, we don't allow him to own branded, commercialized or tied in merchandise. - First of all, let me say this, he doesn't NEED them. John has plenty of toys and clothes. Secondly, advertising and marketing to children is disgusting. Businesses are preying on children's desires to have fun and to love. These companies count on the fact that children fall in love with their characters and then sell them cheap, disposable toys until they can find something else to make kids love. Third, almost all toys in the typical market today, ESPECIALLY those that have media tie-ins have almost no educational or imaginative value. Small children like John learn and grow through using their imaginations. That is just not possible when a toy is designed to imitate something that a child has seen on tv or when the toys talk and act things out leaving no real room for imaginative development. At least with his tractors, Legos, cars, wooden toys, etc he has to come up with scenarios for them to be involved in. He builds them carwashes, garages, barns, silos and workshops.

3. We don't let John "cry it out" - It just doesn't feel like the right decision for our child. The same goes for spanking.

4. I don't force him to do things just because the books or other parents tell me he should be able to - John is 2 and a half and he isn't potty trained. Do I think my son is smart enough to be potty trained, absolutely. Does he want to go on the potty, no way. I flat out refuse to force him to sit on a potty at scheduled times, it doesn't help me and it doesn't make him "trained." It works for some parents, it doesn't work for us.

Along with these four decisions, he will be homeschooled/unschooled. He will attend church services with his father while learning pagan spirituality from his mother. He will sleep in a crib until he decides to move to a big bed or outgrows the crib and he will have long, crazy hair.

Now, and here is a little rant (I know, hasn't it all been a rant so far), is it reasonable to say that Josh and I may reevaluate a decision at some point? Maybe we will decide that Disneyland is something he just shouldn't have to miss or that there is a great show on TLC that he could learn from. Do we have that right? YES, we are his parents! Does anyone else have a right, just because they are related or babysitting or well-meaning? NO! We do these things because we believe in them and we think they are best for him. No one else can do that for our child as well as we can.

We don't make these decisions to hurt people or to make it difficult for them to have fun with John. We don't do them because "extremism" sounds fun and romantic. We certainly don't do them to get back at anyone or to prove that decisions they make are bad ones. Nope, we just want to raise our child the way we feel is best.

So, if you have a problem with the way we are raising our kid then Fuck Off!!!! He is ours, not yours. If I decide to put him in nothing but pink clothes for the rest of his life then I will do it. If we decide to sell every non-wooden toy or change his diaper until he is 15 then that is what we will do. I am sick and tired of people who "care" making us feel like we are doing something wrong.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Day and A Funny Quote

Today is one of those days when I feel so blessed and happy to be me. I know, we should have those everyday, but who really does?
It started yesterday when one of my awesome blog firends emailed me and asked me about making her some handmade goods for Christmas. Of course I said HECK YEAH!!! I am so excited to make her a customized gift and help her put a smile on someones face. Her order also made me realize that if I want to start selling goods I need to get my butt in gear and update my little blog, so that is high up on my list of priorities. If you are interested in seeing what kinds of things I make, take a look here :)

Today Joshua and I were talking and we decided that we want to throw a little holiday party. We have literally NEVER thrown a real gathering, other than John's birthday, in the 11 years we have been together. Oops, I guess we did have a wedding, but I don't know if that counts. So we are going to have our friends over to our house and have a bonfire, some vegan treats and booze. Soooo excited :)

Then I went to my new friend Leah's house. You know how sometimes you meet a person and you just know you are meant to be friends? That's how I feel about her. Actually, this is the second AWESOME lady I have met recently that I just feel so excited to have connected with. Anyway, John and I went to her house and hung out for a few hours with her and her cool kids. John is totally obsessed with her boys. As much fun as he had, it just felt so good to be able to sit and talk for two hours and laugh.

This afternoon John had an appointment with a pediatric surgeon. It was just for a little hernia, but I was feeling very nervous at the thought of him having surgery. Anesthesia is something that scares the crap out of me. Well, we went to the appointment and she said the type of hernia he has really has no risk associated with it. It is totally safe to just watch and wait. If it ever hurts at all and we want to have it fixed then that is an option later. As for now, not surgery for my boy!

Random John quote of the day..."Mom, you are jacking my style." I almost fell out of my chair when he dropped that one on me. (Backstory: one of my awesome family members shared the Black Eyed Peas song Boom Boom Pow with John. In his mind they are saying Boom Boom Plow, and we all know how much he loves tractors. Any song about plowing must be great, so we had to listen to it 756 times today. In the song she says something about jacking her style and John picked it up.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

English - The Trick 
I posted pictures last night of John Trick Or Treating, but I didn't post this story.

We live in a really conservative town, very religious and judgemental. I am used to dealing with a lot of criticism and judgement from various religious groups. I think that is a big part of why I have such a chip on my shoulder about religion. When we went trick or treating, we knew that A LOT of the homes in our neighborhood would be off limits because Halloween fell on a Sunday. I can understand that and respect it. However, when we went to a house that was lit up, and VERY decorated, I watched the woman slip this pamphlet into my two and a half year old son's bucket. Right away I figured it was religious, BUT the house was decorated with skeletons and witches so I figured I must have the wrong idea.
When I got home I found a religious tract published by an "evangelical" company. Here is a little idea of what I saw inside.

Page 5

Page 8

Page 13

Now, let me just say that normally I might find something like this slightly amusing in its absurdity. The problem is that this person gave this "christian" flyer to my child. Thankfully, I saw it and caught it. Thankfully, he cannot read. Thankfully, he has no idea that this even ended up in his bucket. This woman should also be thankful, because had he seen this and become upset, she would be suffering a wrath of shit from a VERY angry and protective mama.
I don't understand how this woman can decorate and hand out candy, allowing her children to enjoy the holiday, but try to take the fun out of my child's night. I don't understand what kind of rationale allows someone to think it is ok to hand this to a complete strangers child. If she had given it to me I might at least have a small amount of respect. As it is I am just baffled and pissed.
What do you think? How would you feel? I know I have some awesome Christian friends on this blog...what do you think about doing something like this?
Here is the link for the site that puts these things out if you want to read the whole flyer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Can I Say??

When I started this blog in January, I started it for a lot of reasons. Probably the biggest being that I was looking to make a connection with people. At that time I felt like I was sort of drowning is self doubt and uncertainty. I was really questioning who I was and who I wanted to be. Since then I am amazed at the course my life has taken. I have been reading and talking and discovering, and I have realized who I am and who I am going to be. I have been working at becoming the person that I want, instead of just sitting around and letting life pass me by. I have been taking risks and meeting new people, amazing people who I feel so blessed to have in my life. I feel like I have hoestly been connecting with people and letting them see who I am, flaws and all. I have been taking risks and dreaming bigger dreams, something that I had questioned if I was even capable of doing anymore. I just feel better and happier than I would have ever dreamed possible less than a year ago.
I guess the only downside is that I have been neglecting my blog and the connections that I have made through it. The people that I have met through this blog have inspired me to be strong and keep moving. You showed me that I have worth and that I can be interesting just by being myself. I thank you so much for that.
I have been debating, since at least August, whether to keep this blog alive or not. I think it would be such a shame to let it go. So I am going to keep it, sporadic as the posts may be. I am going to allow myself the freedom to post what I want, when I want. I love reading everyones blogs and even if I never get another comment, it is pretty amazing to have a little time capsule of this journey I am on.
Here are a few pictures of life right now :)
John was a farmer for Halloween, and daddy decided to dress up as a farmer for work that night :) John loved Trick or Treating, particularly saying, "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet"

 My dad turned 60, so we had a few pictures taken.
You can tell that John just totally adores his Pappy. I asked Josh why he looked so stiff in the pictures and he said, "To be honest, I was just really worried that my shirt was going to get dirty." So typical :) I guess when you don't have much for dry cleaning you have to make sure stuff stays clean.
I guess it's pretty obvious that I adore my dad too. I feel so lucky to call this man my father.

But this is the man who has captured my heart and given me love and life as I know it.