3.22.2011

Spring Break '11

Spring Break was never a big deal for me.  Not in the "road-trip-with-people-less-mature-than-six-year-olds-entrusted-with-condos-autos-and-keg...-os, at the beach" kind of a way.

My mom's compulsive cleanliness was at full bloom.  I had a reliable, pre-owned, Datsun I wanted to fill with gas.  My spring break consisted of helping my mom with spring cleaning, working, and talking on a phone that was connected to the wall by a cord (yes, my young friends, I am that old).  It was just a week in the spring that I didn't have to go to the school for five days and I didn't have homework for 10 days.

Fast forward, 26 several years.  My daughters believe Spring Break is some sort of mandatory thing like vaccinations or infant car seats, so if we aren't traveling I have to fill their days with fun.  You know.  Fun.  Like Middle Schoolers are in any way qualified to define fun.

Bless their hearts.

Not only are we homeschooling and accountable to our state standards to complete 180 (four hour) days of school between July 1 and June 30* ,they also have "What-In-The-World-Is-Spring-Break?-Girl" for a mom.  In the final analysis, I think they will do fine.  I will reach my goal.  They will believe they have reached theirs.  For their quick reference, I have developed the...

ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO REALITY CONCERNING THE SPRING BREAK TO WHICH YOU FEEL ENTITLED

1) It is Spring.
2)You are correct in discerning that your friends who attend traditional schools are taking breaks this time of year.
3) The aforementioned breaks are most richly deserved as these people are up and out of bed at 6:30 or so.  Have their breakfast, style themselves and are in first hour Spanish at 7:59:45 a.m. five days a week for the last 7 months.
4) They work hard all day and most of the evening on homework.  They can't go to the bathroom when they wish and can't ooze through the kitchen for a quick 'nosh' at the top of the hour.
5) Many of your age mates are responsible for themselves from the time they step out the door for the bus stop until their custodial parent arrives home at 7:00 p.m. or later.  Meaning, that in addition to academics, they have an adult's share in household responsibilities.
6)You are having a break every day of your life.
7) I dislike an entitled attitude.  Just to clarify.  Love you.  Like you.  Dislike the "Gimme-All-The-Privileges-Without-the-Responsibility" attitude.  Pick. Up. Your. Stuff.
8) You are currently enjoying a break in the form of two days of standardized testing, a break from household chores, excellent weather outdoors and a house full of food.
9) You are big enough to 'get' that household finances are mightily stretched.  I know because I have watched one of you step up and act like an adult when the answer has had to be 'no', all winter.  I know you also 'get' that I am sadder than you are that amusement parks and/or hotels, are out of the question.
10)  You get to find out early, that life is not always served up in trips to the beach and mani-pedis.  It is a great life skill to be able to make your own fun. You can learn to give yourself a great mani-pedi at home and we can haul the lawn chairs out and you can slather yourself with sunscreen right in your own backyard.  When night falls, we will go down to the "trendy drinking district" and let you watch an inebriated young woman make the first of a series of bad decisions she won't remember until "Mr Right Now" posts photos on a social media site.  We'll go out to eat in the evening. Voila. Spring Break in a Can.
11) My dad would have said something, like, "Spring up off the couch and take a Break from the TV."  I don't say stuff like that.




*some people may or may not have taken some unauthorized time off while their mom was out of town earlier this school year.


3.17.2011

That Great Theologian: Garth Brooks

I must have been absent the day they passed out the rule book.  Stay with your group.  Stay with the people whose skin matches yours.  If you are smart; stay with the national merit scholars.  Leave the athletes and the musicians alone.  Choose a musical preference and don't hang out with people who listen to something different.

Years ago, Garth had a big hit that was all about tolerance and when we all agree there will be Peace on Earth.  It won't happen.  If everyone's right; no one is and I'd rather deal with someone who can admit to my face they differ with me and feel sad because they think that if I don't get my spiritual ducks in a row I'll come back in my next life as some organism that feeds on urine, than someone who just won't be troubled to think and just believes whatever the news tells them.

Believe me, Chief, if there is a minority to take issue with, we got one in my family.  Black People, Asians, Native Americans, Caucasians. 'Christian' Denominations that think the other guys are going to hell (yes, even within a family); got some.  Murderer; got one.  Pedophile; got one.  Addicts; honest to God, you can't "swing a dead cat" we have a few. GLBT; got some.  Yeah.  I love all of them.  (No really I don't.  I don't know what to do with pedophiles. It just makes me mad.) But because of Jesus Christ, I have to see them differently.  As people who are...people.  When we say, "I'm not perfect; I am only human."   We are admitting the need and even reaching out for grace.

Grace, by definition, can only be dispensed by the offended party.

So again.  We are back at the plain and simple fact that humans disagree.  As a Christian.  I am to love humans.  In the book of James, the writer tells them to stop putting rich people in the good seats and making poor people sit behind the pole, at the back of the room, on the floor.  That really does describe EVERY type of discrimination there is.  Cheerleaders and AV Aides...same lunch table!!!  Democrats and Republicans...same pew!!!  Biker Nuns and Fashion Designers...same lifeboat!!!

There is a "good" side of town(West) and a "bad" side of town(everywhere else) here.  I live on the "bad" and shop on the "good"(seriously, that's where stuff is).
My children have brown skin.
When I shop with my children, I am ignored by staff and my method of payment is subject to excessive scrutiny.
When I am alone, I can find help easily from friendly, concerned staff.  I can pay however I want and get on with my day.
Yes, America.  I get profiled.

It is not limited to my shopping in nice stores.  It happens at church.  With the kids.  I started out taking this up with the parents..."That will not be tolerated in our home.  I teach my kids to be color blind.  I see your kids as white."

~sound of record scratching~

They aren't white, Jackass.

It is easier for you to choose not to see them as 100% of who they are.  Because you don't have to teach your kids the whole of what racism is.  Like this joke: "They said we'd have a black president when pigs fly.  When Barak Obama became president, Swine Flu." -- as told in Sunday School.

Need I go on?

If we didn't have other cultures, we wouldn't enjoy the rich texture and blended flavors of life.  Denying your prejudices is as backward as the ubiquitous rebel flag on bumper stickers and wearing apparel available in our region.

Come on.  Just say it.  "I can't see my own prejudices.  I think I don't have them, but I don't have any real relationships with people who aren't like me."

Believe it or not, there was a point to bringing up Garth Brooks. The following is probably my misguided, mistaken, misinterpreted understanding of how life is supposed to be lived.



It is not okay to possess prejudices, but we can't help it.  We are human and at our very best will still tussle over who gets to be first in line.  What is really NOT okay is to not deal with the difficult piece and confront and demolish wrong attitudes, behaviors, and character.  You can't take a pass.  It will be a lonely walk. You will feel wild and free.  You will feel the touch of grace.

This post is linked to...Let's Start a Movement@




Momma Made It Look Easy


Let's Start a Movement.







3.16.2011

Another Word for Mother

In January, while in the middle of the homeschooling day...

Daughter: You're Madea.



Me: Um, 'Heller'. Do you smoke crack?

Other Daughter: You're Madea, Mom.

These children have only seen severely edited portions of "antything" having to do with Madea.  I don't smoke, I am not 6'7", or a man underneath my clothes.

I don't carry a gun and I am not a an ex-convict or a grandmother.


And yet, I couldn't help but notice the resemblance.




"Holla Lu Yer"

All I want is for my kids to see past outward appearance to what is on the inside.


Now.

If they would just

"STOP POPPIN' THAT GUM!!!"


      This post is brought to you by the letters M and D and by Wordful Wednesday @

                         parenting BY dummies                






3.10.2011

Don't Tempt Me!!!

I am generally not a bare naked blogger, where I let it all hang out about my life circumstances and my joy and pain and medical needs and romantic disappointments escapades.  More and more I find that if I am going to move forward with the blog (and the cheap substitute for desperately needed therapy, it provides) I do have to be a little more candid.

Ima vent.

We used to live in a major city.  Gigantic house, for which we paid practically nothing.  Great relationships.
We now live in what I consider a small city. It considers itself 'whatever-will-make-you-love-it'. Doesn't meet the definition of 'urban'.  We lived here right after Mr. S. graduated college and moved to be nearer to family after the kids came along(learned a lot...like, 'family' is 'who has your back'). Through a series of circumstances, we moved back here in 2006.

Since then.

Dance Camp... My kids excluded from play at "free time" because of skin color.  Teacher's reply, "Some babies are born yellow; some people turn green when they are seasick. Some people are blue when they are not getting oxygen. So, you just happen to be black."  Official line to me, "We can't dictate what is taught in this child's home.  We are sorry for your daughters' experience and hope you won't hold it against us."

Private School... My kids got put back a grade because of a math placement test.  They consistently had a hundred average and I was asked to speak to my children about slowing down in their work so that they didn't have so much free time in class. Again, skin color was not a non-issue in class.  (Our fault for having been involved in a cross-cultural church before we moved and the girls really didn't realize that skin color is a dividing line.  Fortunately, the schools are willing to teach values that are not taught at home.)

The Job... We had been back just about two and a half month, when a mom at the pool, asked me how was my husband liking his job.    As I considered how to answer, I realized hated his job and was trying to be the grown-up and give it a chance.  I told her I would have to ask because I didn't know.  She looked right in my heart, and was as horrified as I was.  She's cool that way.

I think there has not been one day that the job has been awesome. My husband's personality is changed.  I think he is seriously depressed.  He is like a man in chains.  For fifteen of the last twenty months he has taken a 25% cut in salary in order to help the firm survive.  I am trying to teach the children that we need to be grateful Daddy has a job. We would be equally grateful for the ordeal to be over.

Digression, the first: One of the partners said, "People who blog are morons," when I had been blogging about 9 months.  I did not flip her off tell her she is number one. One day, I will send her a link.

The House...historic.  Flipped by folks who had clearly never lived in a site-built/stick-built single family dwelling.  We were going to renovate/restore it.  WITH WHAT FREAKING TIME WHEN THE JOB DEMANDS HIS SOUL?  'Nuff said?  No.  We believed the drug house across the street would be swept away in the gentrification of the area.  But, no.  The non-resident homeowner makes more in a month than anyone is willing to give him for the property.

Digression, the second: We found out that our house was the scene of horrendous child abuse. A little girl used to crawl out on the roof to cry, so they would not hear her.

Why...Had we remained in the other city, we would not have our son*.  That, in itself, is a miracle story.  Miracles are made out of hard work and letting go.  We got the lesson...sometimes what looks like a terrible accident(clearly, you 'screwed the pooch' were mistaken.) is really accomplishing God's design(bringing orphans into families.  Trials make us more mature if we let them).

Last week, our best friends, whom we left behind when we moved, told us they may be moving three hours away.  I failed to rejoice with them. Or even for me.  In my selfishness, all I could see was that they get to start fresh with a clean slate.  They are getting the only thing I want in the world.

What would it take for me to pick up and move?

Boxes.

This post was written due to the very welcome inspiration provided by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Everyone is welcome to participate.


Mama’s Losin’ It


*or a lot of other really great things like being a doula, the girls success in track,  or my dog.



3.09.2011

WW: One of These Days

Just a few weeks ago, my daughters were invited by a group of friends to go to a Masquerade Ball.  Without going into the long part of the story, I'll just say, I took this...





and this...



Devoted nearly all of my Saturday to this...
and this...







and this is who went to the dance...







Yes, like fairy tale princesses.  Just little girls, really.  Perhaps that is why I didn't realize the group wasn't a group together (why would I think anything like that?).

One of these days, 'boy', you will realize the princess stood right there and you missed your one chance to ask her to dance while you danced with every other girl in the room.

One of these days, 'boy', you will learn that beauty isn't who looks good with your costume.  Some princesses are not blonds.

One of these days, 'boy' your little princess will come home from the ball...

and you will know how I feel right now.

This post is being linked up with Wordful Wednesday; for more photo fun hop over to:


parenting BY dummies
         





3.08.2011

I Won, I Won, I Won.

WOW is my face red.  I have lost the key to the trophy case, because it has been something like a year since I have won anything blog related.  So.  In the interest of credit where it is due...


Several weeks ago, I entered the I Heart Faces Photoshop Makeover Giveaway.  There were a number of sites to sign up on and I won at Tator Tots and Jell-o. The prize was that you send one photo of yourself to Amy and she would do a photoshop makeover of your mugshot and make you look moviestar.  I won.  I did. She did.




As a result, you may begin to see a whole new me popping up.  I am very thankful both to Amy and Jennifer.  They were just doing their thing, and had no idea what a difference this would make in the way I see myself.  Thanks, Ladies.

Additionally, I have also to thank Jennifer@Always in Wonder for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award. 

I have been slow on saying thank you and getting this sleek button up in the sidebar.  Thanks, Jennifer, and my apologies for my slowness!!!  As you are stopping by AIW, don't miss the Egg Yolk Facial.
This is one of those fun, friendly pass along awards that some pass along and some don't.  Here is the way it works:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers. (I am not sure I have 15, but I will try to come up with a fistful.)
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Here are my 7 things, in no particular order.
1. I can't have Lucky Charms Cereal in my house.  I will eat it all.  I won't share with my children.  I won't be nice.  I can't imagine what might happen if I got ahold of a harder drug.  Just writing this makes me want to run to the grocery store.  The small box is currently on sale for $2.18.
2. I prefer reality TV and sitcoms to"drama".  Reality TV is criticized because it usually isn't a reality situation. In my reality, I have to rely on my own real life attitude, behavior, and character.  On reality TV, it is ALWAYS a test of the participants real life coping skills. How low will they go?
3. My children are adopted. It is no piece of cake, but I dig it.  I recommend it.
4. I think God does mini-miracles, because He wants to keep our undivided attention.  For example, I left a comment on Parenting By Dummies about my shopping friend being half a continent away, and a day or two later found out she is moving to a nearby city that has better shopping.  No biggie.  I just wish I had mentioned it sooner.

5. I don't have a freebie list because that is wrong and Mark Wahlberg is not on it.
6. I love to read.
7. My family thinks I am a good cook.

If there were an eighth, I would have to say that I discovered blogging just a little more than a year ago, and have a great time getting to know people that way.  Here are my bloggers that I would give the award to.

Little Bit Quirky
Grown Up For Real
Whimsy
Super Mom Blues

These are my newest favorites, of course there is always In the Mommy Trenches, but she is having her SITS day today.  I don't want there to be any confusion.

Thanks again ladies; I'm for the grocery store.