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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bras & Homeschooling

Let's be honest, dear Reader, your "girls" are not where you want them to be (if you haven't had them enhanced, reduced, or otherwise reconditioned by a surgeon).  Chances are, after X amount of children and perhaps breastfeeding, your girls are a bit more toward the southern border than you want them to be.  They are tired, worn and just not what you remember them to be.

Every morning, you wake up and IF you shower, look in the mirror and go: "ugh". Then, you begin the hunt for the right bra. I'm guessing you have at least 3 sizes of boob holders in your drawer. Probably some left over from nursing. If you are done nursing, is there truly any reason why you still need quick access to your nipple? Perhaps, they are your husband's easy access non-sexual bras? There is nothing sexy about a nursing bra, ladies. Nothing. Or, perhaps you have the old stretched out ones which have wire poking through and covered with a band-aid because you know we are never in a Target or Walmart where they actually sell bras in another department. Or perhaps you just hate them because they are uncomfortable. They don't fit right. They cause you to have back boobs or front quadruple boobs or maybe they cause you to have no boobs at all! Maybe they are too big and you float around in them and when you buckle your seatbelt across your chest you are left with this huge open expanse of what USED to be your breast and is now simply open air bra!

Homeschooling is like a bra. What?! How can I say that? Let's get real ladies (men, if you are reading this, insert Moobs for Boobs and play along). A good fitting bra makes us feel empowered, sexy, good, comfortable and most of all like Wonder Woman. Oh come on, be honest. WE all envy Wonder Woman!

I went bra shopping last night (didn't buy a thing but I'll get into that in a moment). I had the band-aid bra fix going on and only 1 bra that "fit me right."  I went to be measured. I am proud to say that picture is of my ta-ta's in a Target bra. I'm a 32 C! I am finally out of training bras!!!! OMG! Yes! At 42 I have graduated out of training bras: only to now have one problem. Most manufactures figure only little kids wear a 32 and therefore trying to find a 32C leaves me, in the mall, at only 1 God forsaken store: Victoria's Secret! Want to know that b*tiches secret?! She charges $50 for a 32C AND $50 for a 40DD!  WTH? The material to cover a 40DD nipple is the same as my 32C! REALLY?  Oh wait, I digress.

Point is this: bra shopping is difficult for us all. Whether you are large breasted, small breasted, lopsided breasted, irregular shape breasted, one breasted due to breast cancer surgery or two breasted but one is larger than the other breasted-no one likes to go bra shopping because we fear two things:

1) They will hurt and not feel good.
2) They will be expensive.

Let's take on Fear #1: They will hurt and not feel good.

Okay, so you're on bra try-on number 5. You're tired of taking off your shirt and whipping on and off the over the shoulder boulder holders. There are so many choices to chose from : T-shirt, lacy, push-up, demi...how is a woman supposed to make a choice?

Ever feel like your homeschool choices are like bra shopping? There are SO many choices to chose from! Classical, Waldorf, Montessori, Eclectic, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling. How do you know which is best for you?

Let's apply the number one rule of bra shopping to the rules of homeschooling:

It must offer the right support and feel good
Easy enough to apply to homeschooling. Does your style of homeschooling offer you support? Do you find you have friends with like views? Do you find you wake up feeling refreshed each morning and look forward to starting your day (after that ever needed cup of Joe to wipe your bleary eyes clear)? Do you find that you can embrace your life, with all it's ups and downs, good and bad days and over all feel you are supported?

If not, change it!

That is the beauty of homeschooling. You aren't locked into one way of life. You can take off your "over the shoulder boulder holder" of whatever technique you are using and change it. Find one that is a "push up" style for YOUR way of life. You don't need to wear that "minimizer bra" for you and your child's education. You CAN wear that "increase by a size" bra for your homeschooling. Pump it up a notch! Go for it! The worst than can happen is Fear #2!

2) It will be expensive.
Okay, who said education was cheap?! NO ONE! Who said a good bra is cheap? Me. LOL Sorry. I hate paying $50 for a nipple cover on a  larger breasted woman. Point is this: there are choices! Maybe if you are big breasted, you have to pay the bigger prices for better support and coverage. Cool. Me? I can go to Target or Walmart and buy the cheaper one because that will work for me. I'm only looking for some push-up and Mommy-Nipple Coverage.

That's the joy of homeschooling. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. Yes, you are going to buy some supplies, some memberships, some workbooks which are a waste of money when you look back on it.  Haven't you ever bought a bra and thought later: wrong purchase? Damn it, I can't even return the bra because I've worn it once or twice and it didn't wash right, etc.? Of course you have. Well, homeschooling is the same way. Great news is, you can try on others and try again.

Now, go for it! Go through your drawers of unused, unwanted educational things and run it by the kids. Maybe they've forgotten what's there. Maybe it will spark another passion for them. Maybe you will learn it didn't work for them int h past and it won't now either. That's okay. Throw it out. Throw out what doesn't work in your life (and your underwear drawer, btw..don't forget that).  Make new choices. The worst thing that will happen is it won't fit and you will need to keep trying on new styles.

Ladies, your ta-ta's are not limited to only one style or color! Don't let your homeschooling be limited, also.  Go for the gold! Go find that sexy, racy push-up homeschooling education which makes your kids cry out for more experiences and you wake up and grab the day by the horns and say to it: "Bring it on, life! I got this because I have the right support!"
















Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Do I Do?

As I read through my Facebook feed each morning, coffee in hand and dogs back to sleep next to me, I see post after post after post of women asking for advice on everything from How Much Is It Okay For Them Eat to They've Trashed My House! What Do I Do?

I love that people take the risk and ask these questions and others are able to help them (you're waiting for the but here, I can feel it...) yet, I wonder why they can't answer these questions inside themselves if they would just be still with themselves for a moment.

Somehow, people seem to think Unschooling is about unparenting. It's not.  Unschooling isn't about having no boundaries.  It's not about not having respect for others in the home. It's not about having a free-for-all all over your house/your food/you fill in the blank...unless you want it to be and allow it.

We have a monthly budget for food, medical, clothing, etc. When we were living on food stamps, the kids learned not to waste  food. If they ate all the food in one day, they didn't have the treats for the rest of the month.  It simply wasn't there. I couldn't go out and repurchase the food.  The money was gone. The item was gone. Plain and simple.  There was no punishment enforced by the adults. There was no shaming. There was no blaming. There WERE discussions about sharing, about budgeting our food and about respecting others wants in the home.   

Our youngest was 5 when that journey began and 7 when it ended. We sat her and the then 14 year old down and explained our budget to them. We brought them INTO our world. Hubby was flabbergasted. "Oh my! Children should never know what happens with the money and how much we have!" Um, excuse me..how are we supposed to get their respect about how little we have if we don't explain and share the information? 

I showed Honey Bunny how to create pie charts and showed Boo Bear how to read them. We took this opportunity to learn how to use a spreadsheet and input numbers and spit out charts on everything from our income to our debts, from how many carrots we had and how long they had to last over how many meals and snack to how many packs of Annie's Gummy Bunnies we had and how long we wanted them to last. 

Guess what happened because we brought our children into our world rather than shame them? Not only did they learn spreadsheet skills which were kinda cool (pivot tables and pie charts) but they also learned the VALUE of what we ate and were able to budget their own eating against it. The shortages stopped after that. They then asked if anyone else would like something they were about to eat and/or finish. 

We are now 8 months out of that crisis and my kids are respectful about food. They don't waste it and get upset if they have a friend that does. All scraps which are usable (untouched) to go into a ziplock bag in the freezer for soup when it's full.  Most containers for shelf stable things get turned into art projects and up-cycled to reduce our trash bill.

I didn't let our kids go crazy on my $50 a week budget while eating a Celiac gluten free diet. That would be absurd. I am still the adult and the one who makes the ultimate decisions. Yesterday, I was at Aldi's and my food budget for the week was $100. I had a pretty full house of groceries, so when Boo Bear asked if we could get GF ravioli and pizza and pepperoni pizza pockets, I could say yes. I bought $55 worth of pre-made "crap" and guess what? It was NOT expected.  Boo Bear was so excited at the extra treats she came home and proudly told Honey Bunny that she added up the 11 items and each was $5, so Mom spent over half her budget on pre-made GF food as a surprise to everyone and they must be smart with it and not eat it all in one week.  

I also don't let my kids trash the house. We all live here. They may like living in a  mess, but I don't. I respect their need to be creative and they respect my need to contain the mess. When doing beading, they work on cafeteria style trays. Not only does it keep their beads from rolling away, it contains the clean up. When painting, the same thing. I ask they clean up as they go when possible. Boo Bear gets easily over whelmed when there is too much to clean up and then does nothing. 

It was really bad about 3 weeks ago. I was frustrated. I felt imprisoned to picking up after them and not being able to join in on what they wanted me to do because I was constantly picking up after them. I'm not neurotic, mind you, we have a 4 month old puppy that will eat/chew/mouth anything he can get his mouth on and that can be dangerous! Fluff left out and on the floor, beads around, bottles of paint, bottles of nail polish, etc. can all damage Major (and my vet budget!). 

Once I calmed my inner bitch down, the next time Boo Bear asked me to do something with her, I simply replied: "Honey, I can't right now. I'm busy cleaning up after your last project. If you help me, I can get there faster. I'd really appreciate the help because I'd love to see what you've been up to and share it with you."  You guessed it, she came right over to help. She wanted my attention. I wanted to be there for her. Together, we were able to pick up her latest crafting adventure and go off to do something else without fear of the puppy getting hurt. I asked for her help in a respectful tone, as I would my friend or my husband. 

Reader, do not get lost in the minutia of unschooling and questioning every move you make. Understand that if it feels wrong for you, it is wrong for you. It feels wrong for me to do the clean up all by myself. For Sandra Dodd, a large figure in the unschooling world, she feels it is her gift to her family and happily picks up after them. Neither is wrong. 

Do what feels right for you and your family. Be still with yourself for a moment. Feel what you are feeling. Ask yourself what would feel right...then act on it in a gentle manner.

Doing what feels right will always lead to doing the right thing. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Week In The Life of Us

Sunday:
We went to church.  This is the heading of a topic a few months back, but what a great question.  It made me begin to think: DO you hear? If so, WHAT do you hear?


Monday:
 Made a Paleo based quiche for the girls and myself for breakfast. It was yummy and I let them sleep in a bit. :)



 Honey Bunny tried her hand at chopping onions. She's not big into cooking but she's taking a class from BYU on nutrition and eating disorders and wants to try more in the kitchen to become a friend of food.  She felt that handling it, touching it and learning more how to prepare it means she will embrace it better. She's working on her favorite soup: Butternut Squash with a Cranberry Swirl. 

 Honey Bunny even chopped the butternut squash! Here, she is adding the squash to the coconut milk on the stove. The soup was delicious, by the way.

  
Boo Bear took it upon herself to learn about coins; how many pennies make up a nickel, dime and quarter as well as how many nickels make a dime, how many dimes and nickels make up a quarter, etc. She spent 3.5 HOURS on this concept and counted up to $38 on her own. I didn't ask her to do so, btw. She WANTED to.

She is listening to C.S. Lewis' The Magicians Nephew while doing this exploration of money. If you aren't familiar with that story, it is the story BEFORE The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe; where Narnia is born.

 Honey Bunny is creating a shirt stating there is "No Place for Homophobia, Hate, Racism" while listening to Tom Sawyer on her iPhone. She's on chapter 38 and discussing the irony and symbolism in the book and how it relates to our modern world.

Tuesday:

 Honey Bunny is working on her Oceanography class and had to create imaginary sea creatures and name them in Latin based upon their characteristics and species they would belong to.



video
video
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The first two videos are Boo Bear talking about the clothes she is designing for her American Girl Dolls. She is measuring the dolls and the fabric to create outfits using a hot glue gun. Notice her attention to detail with the button perfectly centered.

The last video is our daily lunch dance party. We had family therapy a few hours later. The rest of the day was spent on crafts.






Wednesday:
 We hung out at the pool in the morning and discussed when we should close it; maybe the end of the month would be the best time. We relived our memories and decided we had to do some research on how to close the pool and what is needed to do so.



 Hubby and I were having some heated discussions about tunnel gauges for Honey Bunny's ears and he is feeling frightened of what it will mean for her future. I am not. This is the quote I sent him.

 Honey Bunny sent me this picture of a tattoo she would like to copy on my back to test her artistry.  I love it.


The dogs lay together peacefully. I used this example of how acceptance and patience can lead to friendship and a wonderful relationship with Hubby to better understand Honey Bunny and what she is looking for from him.

Boo Bear had her first fillings. She was frightened, so Honey Bunny and I went in with her.  I performed reiki and reflexology on her while the dentist worked in her mouth. Honey Bunny held her hand and made sure Boo Bear's headphones were in deep into her ears and the right music was playing.


Later that night was youth group for Honey Bunny.  Hubby, Boo Bear and I went out to dinner where our waitress had gauged ears. Hubby took it upon himself her ask her pointed questions and learned that society has accepted the body modifications better than he expected.



Thursday: 

9/11 is a VERY hard day for Honey Bunny and I. We didn't live far from the Twin Towers and it is still raw for us 13 years later. We took the day to be good to ourselves and listen to our bodies.
 Boo Bear is making more AGD crafts after listening to Julie, the American Girl Doll. She is inspired by Julie's mom having a shop which up cycles items.  While working on these crafts, she is listening to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. She mentions to me that Asland sounds like Jesus. Hmmm..go figure. Deductions on her own which she's never heard before.

 Boo Bear decided she needed to clean the windows with a little help from Major Moo.

 Listening to my body meant having chia seeds, soy yogurt and kale for lunch. Honey Bunny had therapy about an hour away and we stopped at a health food store for lunch. We sat outside on the ground, warming GF glazed donuts on our windshield in the parking lot. Honey Bunny ate a 1/2 block of Colby cheese. Boo Bear ate a yogurt and some potato chips.  We did what felt good to our bodies. We sat in the sun, then the shade. We commented on how our life allows us to honor our feelings and be free. 


 Later that night, we ordered gf pizza. I wasn't up for cooking. I went home, had a glass of wine and a piece of vegan gf pizza. It was what I needed. 

Honey Bunny went to a homeschool teen meet up where I picked her up early because a boy was being a butt-head spreading rumors about her. I had a....pointed and directed....monologue with him and told him he chose the wrong girl to mess with. She's not out here on her own, but instead has a strong family behind her and will not be his victim. I then picked her up, drove to his house and told his mother what happened. She and I are friends and I didn't want her to hear it through the grapevine what happened and how I handled it.  I wanted her to hear it from me. She appreciated that. We hugged at the end of it and now it is in the hands of his parent's to take care of their son. But Honey Bunny learned (as well as the other kids at that group) that my girl isn't one you get to pick on b/c she has blue hair and a lip piercing. She is important, loved and supported.

Friday:
I had a DDS appointment which lasted 3 hours. Honey Bunny woke up not feeling well and Boo Bear woke up 30 minutes before I had to leave. It was a flurry of breakfast and hydration. While at the DDS, a friend texted me and asked if she could pick up Boo Bear. Of course she could!  Boo Bear spent the morning crafting with her big sister, I mean making up cycled items like Julie's Mom, and Honey Bunny spent the morning and afternoon resting, watching movies and taking care of herself. 

I spent 3 hours with the friend's mom after the dentist, lost my wallet, found it and then went to Lowes with Hubby to pick out paint colors for the bathrooms to be painted this weekend. While there, he shared he's fine with the gauging of the ears and will be bringing Honey Bunny to the store to get them tomorrow as a surprise (if she's feeling better).

He has realized that agreeing with something and accepting it are two different things. That his opinion is valued, but is not allowed to control someone else's choices. He has learned that unconditional acceptance is more important than being the one who is "right and in the control position" as that has destroyed relationships in his past with his other children and he doesn't want that to happen again. Hubby has realized that relationships are a choice, not a given.

That's a week in the life of our clan.

It's been a good week of living, learning and loving.



Monday, September 8, 2014

RECALCULATING! Finding Your GPS



You're backs against the wall. It's another night of no sleep because you have a ton of laundry to do, dishes in the sink, a house to pick up, kids to console, a husband who also wants your attention, maybe throw in some animals here and there, a house to run, appointments to go to, school work to attend to, oh wait..and maybe a shower in there would be nice too. Your mind is racing a mile a minute. You toss. You turn. You lay on your back looking at the crack in the ceiling waiting for the proper hour to get up and make a cup of coffee to start your day, all the while watching the clock as if it is your mortal enemy.

Newsflash!  Hello people, you CAN'T do it all!!! No one can! 

We need a GPS in our lives, to help point us in the right direction and when we get off course, shout out: "RECALCULATING"  to get our attention. I bet you have a  GPS in your life and you aren't using it. I would guess, right now, you have at least a half-dozen GPS's that you aren't using. I bet you never plug them in, either. I bet you charge them all the time but never use them. Want to know where your GPS is? (Hint, it's not in the car under the seat....)

It's your Girl-Partner-Skill, a.k.a. GPS. 

Don't be ashamed to ask for help. Are you ready for this? It makes others feel good to help! As females, we WANT to help others. It's in our genetics. I have a wonderful friend who moved about a month ago. She has an 8 yr old, a 3 yr old and an 18 month old. She barely allowed anyone to help her pack. She was a mess! She was over stressed, over worked, strung out and living on coffee.  Poor thing probably burned a hole in her stomach and all her friends could do was stand by and watch her.  It was horrible. We all respected her need to be in control, but we all also only wanted to help. We know what it's like to feel that desperate, over-tired and over-worked. We visit that place often. She wasn't ready. 

Three weeks later, she called me (she never calls, only texts), so I knew something was wrong. She needed a place to have a pool party in 2 hours because her back was against the wall. Where she was going to have it wouldn't have worked out. Oh, it was so exciting! Here was this woman, a strong woman, asking for help! I was so happy to be trusted, I did a jig! Literally, I danced and clapped. I ran right over, helped her pack up my car and we decorated my yard and had 40 people, many of whom I didn't know, over and everyone had a great time! 

My dear Reader, asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. It shows you trust your GPS and that you've chosen the right ones.

Last week, I was a stressed out mess having to drive Honey Bunny to therapy on hour away, 2 times a week, as it took 3-4 hours out of my day. It meant that Boo Bear was being dragged everywhere and that Honey Bunny's dysfunction was taking control of our family. I was burnt out. I was angry. I was annoyed. I considered putting Boo Bear in a Montessori School to relieve her of the stress of being exposed to this craziness (until I saw tuition was $1200 a month. That stopped it). 

So, what's a Mom to do? Call on her GPS!  I put on my thinking cap and tried to decide what I COULD do to make life easier: 
1) Private school? Too much money. 
2) A babysitter for Boo Bear while I drove Honey Bunny around? Less money than private school but that put Boo Bear on the back burner and would teach her that acting out or having anorexia gets you exclusive attention from Mommy. Yeah, didn't want to go there!
3) Hire a driver for Honey Bunny? YES!  But who? A stranger? No. A friend? Who?

Then it hit me! We have a friend in her 70's who lives off of Social Security. She is a dynamic woman who loves photography, a retired welder, wellness coach and an amazing woman I would be honored to teach my teenager some lessons. I asked if she'd like some extra cash off the books, the ability to use our car which has air conditioning (in the south, that is important as her's is broken), and to drive roundtrip to a town an hour away 2x a week, waiting an hour in between. She said...YES!  

Now, I'm not running all around. Boo Bear is learning that anorexia doesn't get you more attention from Mommy. Honey Bunny is expanding her photography skills and forming a bond with a very strong woman. And me? I feel a sense of peace. Why? Because I Kept Calm and Asked For Help.

Reader, don't ever be afraid to ask for help from those you've chosen to be in your life. They are there for a reason. They love you. They want to be there for you. Ask yourself this question: "If my friend called on me for help, would I be there?" If the answer is yes, then don't forget to call on them.  Friendship is a two-way street.