Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another Year...another photo album

Every year I do a small photo album of Might Mouse to send back to her orphanage.

Originally, it was meant to be sent out on her birthday. That just didn't work out. I read all the books on "anniversary grief and birthday grief", so I expected that. But I didn't expect that I would suffer from it also.

So, it takes about 2 months before I can sit down and sift through some pictures to put together. I send the director and nurses/nannies a snapshot of our little girls life. They were so good to her. She was well taken care of. She was more fortunately than so many of the orphans are.

I keep it small and portable so I can find someone traveling to receive their new child to hand deliver the album. This way I don't have to worry about it getting lost in the mail or the orphanage being charged some kind of duty or tax on it. So far it has worked perfectly.

MM asks questions about where she came from. She likes to watch the video of our visit to the orphanage. She knows they took care of her when she didn't have a family of her own. She also knows we don't know why she no longer had a family. She understands that China selected her for us and told us we could come get her and give her a family.

So far, we haven't seen any grief manifestations around her birthday. Maybe that is because it isn't right? I don't know. The birth date is a guess. One day, all too soon, she is going to figure out that she has LOST so much. Then, we are prepared for the grief and feelings of being unwanted by her parents.

For now, I feel those pains for her. I wonder WHY. Was it the one child policy? An unmarried woman? The grandparents being unhappy that she wasn't a boy? Does she think of MM? Does she ache with the memory...or has she replaced her with another? Is she the first and only that they have left? Or does she have other siblings living in other adopted homes while they try for a boy over and over?

I don't know.

What I do know, is that our lives have been enriched beyond measure. Our family is forever changed for the better. We also have complicated our lives by adopting a child of another race, that we have taken from her culture and birth land. We took it all from her.

My daughter is anxiously attached. She must touch me, sit on me, be right by me about 50% of her day. But this is better. Its not as frantic as it used to be and I believe she is ready for school and the day away from mom. It took alot of work to get here; but we are here.

If I am cross with her or raise my voice to her.....she comes apart. It is not funny. It is not pretty. It makes me angry - that she has lost so much, so many times, that she has no confidence that it won't happen again. Adults did this to her.

So doing this album every year is pretty much gut wrenching for me. It brings alot of thoughts and emotions to the forefront of my mind.

And I'm thankful for this. Why? Because when it does start to sink in, and she does start to ask those questions, I will have the slightest glimmer of what she's thinking and feeling. And I hope this lesson teaches me to handle her with the grace, love and understanding that she deserves.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Boy's Quilt

I finished my second quilt. Yet another crib quilt that I made for a new momma. These are just so fun!

But, as I confessed to the recipient -- this one gave me a run for my money.

It's the same stacking coins pattern.

Last time I took it to mom's to have her show me how to finish the quilt. So she tutored me and it went smooth as silk.

So I was all excited to get home and start on the baby boy quilt now that I know how to do it all on my own.


Note to self: A quilting table and a walking foot are musts before your next quilt project.

The boy quilt found me on the kitchen floor to put it all together because I didn't have a surface big enough to handle it.

I also had to rip out my quilting more than once because I didn't have a walking foot for my machine. A walking foot makes sure the bottom fabric and top fabric are moved along at the same time. Without this you have some slippage...which results in pleats and puckers on the back side. Seam-ripper hell.

So, with painstaking care and slow going I finally finished!!!!

I had a much harder time finding fabrics I liked for a boy. Girl fabric is a dime a dozen...boys ... not so much.

I have some more sewing projects I want to try now....but I guess that is pretty much out of the question until we have a contract on the house. Keeping up with all the clipped threads and other sewing mess really would not be easy at this time. Darn.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Autumn Asks: So What Happened to My Garden Plans?

I started the spring out wanting to plant a garden. We have a very expensive tomato and pepper habit at my house. And in Nebraska we managed to grow a few tomato plants...and they were fantastic.

So I looked at seed catalogs and tried to talk hubs into gardening. He was all for it as long as there were tomatoes. So I told him I needed him to build me a raised bed. I was pretty intimidated by the thought and so was it looked like it was all going to fall through.

About that time I decided maybe I could do a few plants in pots on the patio and see how that went. I knew it would take some care with the Texas sun and heat. Pots tend to dry out pretty fast around here. Still, it was worth a shot. So, with the help of my mother, I acquired a couple of half barrels and pots from a house that was abandoned 6 months prior, due to the whole mortgage mess. Very frugal. And we stuck some tomatoes and such in the pots.

Also, while talking to a friend (who lives on a little bit of land, not in a neighborhood) she told me how she loves to plant a garden, but they lose it every year when they go on vacation so it never really does them much good. After putting our heads together, we decided we could work together. So, they doubled their garden size, and we both bought plants/seeds and started working together. With lots of help from her husband, who grew up on a farm. He laughs at us. Alot. Because we are CLUELESS.

Then, I showed hubs a plan for a simple raised bed garden that I found in one of my magazines...and he says lets do it. Really? Well, I didn't give him time to change his mind. We went down to Lowes and purchased what we needed and came home and did it.

So I went from being intimidated and giving up to patio plants, a raised bed and part of a real garden just up the road.

That's about how my life rolls.

To date we have eaten several things from these two places. In the big garden we harvested the baby bok choy first. LOVED this. Will grow this from now on. I think I'll only plant about 3 at a time about a week apart for as long as I can. This was good not only in stir fries but also in salads as a lettuce.
My patio cucumbers are GOOD. Wish I'd planted more of these. Hubs and I fight over them. They are a smaller veggie for growing in pots. Love these.
One of the patio tomatoes. We are very impatient to get our hands on the ripe stuff. It takes too long!!!!!
The raised bed. Cucumbers, peppers, tomato, squash, beets, lettuce. This poor guy has a story. We planted it and it was doing so great. But our yard had some brown spots. I asked if hubs had fertilized in the fall. No? Well, that was probably the problem. So he goes and buys fertilizer and proceeds to broadcast it with a hand broadcaster. About two days later my tomatoes and peppers start to die. So I ask hubs EXACTLY what was in that fertilizer and did any get into the beds. Needless to say the plants and soil on the far end were replaced and we now have new tomato plants...which stinks as I already had tomatoes on the others. Lesson learned.

My miniture roses must love all the company because they have doubled in size and are beautiful this year. I have yellow, red and pink. I have a new one that is called plum but I'm not sure he is going to make it.
The big garden. Corn, beans, beets, bok choy, squash, peppers and tomatoes. And they are taking off! I went out today to check to see if it needed any weeding and came home with.... go with the other bag of beans from yesterday.

So the garden is a sucess. But. For those things we covet the most (tomatoes and peppers) -- we will probably miss out on most of that because of the move. Doesn't that just figure?

I wonder how hard it is to garden in Ohio?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Priced to Sell

I HATE that phrase right now.

As of today the house is on the market.

It is actually laughable at the moment because the garage is STILL not organized and cleaned up and the front bedroom is stacked 4 feet high with garage sale donations for the Girl Scout garage sale coming this weekend....and will remain there until Friday. You can't even get into that room.
(And its even worse now!!)

So - priced to sell. That means listed at a price that is going to cost me $1600 at the table. That's if it sells for list price.

I guess I'm having a hard time with that because we under priced a neighbor with a smaller house and less work (storage building with loft on cement slab, extra side drive, extended patio...etc). So yes - it is priced to sell.

So why couldn't we list it $1600 higher to break even????

I know, I know. Because we want it to sell. Today. Or tomorrow. Not sit on the market. $1600 once is better than paying a $1100 a month mortgage after we are gone. But still. And yes, I know we have only been in the house 2 years so we sort of expected this. But still.

The good news? All that extra stuff and serious cleaning......I no longer feel COMPELLED that it must happen.

Fix the gate? No thanks. We'll leave you the fridge.

Professionally clean the carpets? Um, I have a green machine in the garage...that shall do.

Scrub baseboards? Not.

Move all appliances and clean underneath? Nope.

So, in a way its freeing. Because if we were selling to break even I'd do all this and more. Right now, I don't want to do a thing extra -- the house is clean and uncluttered. For a loss, the buyer can do the small details.

Wish us luck. I'd like this thing sold before we move. Life will be pretty unbearable otherwise. Paying a mortgage and renting will put us in a pretty ugly place.

On a fun note....after updating the bulletin board, I decided to tackle the mouse pad. It was bad ya'll!! I was going to take a before picture and couldn't do it. It had tea stains and who knows what. But now its fixed thanks to a tutorial on the internet that I had printed off about 6 months ago...and meant to get to. So, I used left over fabric from the board and now its all matchy-matchy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Autumn Asks: Are You Honoring Those That Served/Serve Our Country Today?

I'm quite sure most are at least having a cookout or little vacation or some such celebration. I can only hope everyone takes at least a moment to stop and think of those that have protected our country over the years.

Today I think about my father, who I lost at Christmas. He was a retired Army man. He served in Vietnam as a young man and then stayed in many more years until retiring after 20 years of service. He loved his job and believed in his country. He lived by a strict moral code.

For the funera.l my sister, mother and I went through their pictures and put together a picture CD to run at the funeral home. We found so many gems! My sister then made copies of the CD for all of us to have.

Today I am sharing some of dad's service related shots. Fair warning: He's got a wicked different sense of style....

Dad started out as an MP (Military Police). Perfect place for him. He was also a Game Warden in Georgia (where I was born) and maybe one other place also.
Dad was sent to France for a year when my parents were in the first years of marriage. It was an unaccompanied tour but that wasn't acceptable. Mom went to work and made enough money for a plane ticket and then flew to France to live with dad until it was time for him to come back to the states. Aren't they all stylish, partying in France?
No ideal...... but these shots crack me up. Reminds me of those photo booths in the malls.
After 5 years of marriage, along comes myself. Love our mansion. The custom steps are really something. Yes, the military pays BIG.
Look at that smile! So posed! He didn't smile like that!
Doing very important military work. Bowling. Almost as important as his playing on the basketball team or softball team. After seeing this picture I realized just how much my dad's ear DON'T stick out. Crew cuts are not kind to all.
The Criminal Investigation Division decides to start a pilot program letting enlisted people in. Dad was selected for the first test group and sent to school with some others. Up until that point the job required that you be an officer. If I remember correctly, when all was said and done, dad was the only enlisted one that made it through all the schools and worked the job until he retired.
Do you know I can't remember seeing my father in uniform? In CID they wore coats and ties...and that is what I remember.
When I was about 5 my dad was sent to Thailand for a year.....without family. This time mom stayed at home with my sister and I. The guys he worked with on the Fort we stayed on watched out for us. That's what our servicemen do. They watch out for each other.
When he returned he had a mustache. My sister wanted nothing to do with him. Oh, and see the shirt? I'm telling you, he had some serious shirts and coats.

I wish I had some cool stories to tell you. But, like so many of the military, what he did was not really talked about. There was a need to keep his activities quiet. I can tell you that we were moved after a bust high-up in the ranks. I didn't know that as a kid....he told me things later on as an adult. For the civilians that don't know.....they DO police their own and put them away.

I miss my father. I miss my grandfather, who also served over 20 years. I'm thankful that today my husband is home enjoying his family.

I thank all of those that are separated from their loved ones. We are thinking of you today. My God bless you and watch over you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Command Central Gets a Facelift

Of course we are working on getting the house ready to put on the market. I am not thrilled. Actually, I am the only one so far working on this. Like a full time job and college courses is reason enough to be too busy. Some people.

Anyway. In the "office" I have a bulletin board that we slap schedules, coupons, kids art, birthday lists, addresses of friends the kids are having sleepovers or whatever on. It pretty much is a mess. But it is not a mess I am willing to take down to stage the house.

I do have to admit that it was looking kind of ratty. I got it from Freecycle in Nebraska. It's seen a few families, a few moves, and several different coats of paint. Some of the cork was beginning to bubble in a couple of the corners.

A few months ago, during my morning blog reading, I came across a crafty site that had a bulletin board covered in fabric. Since that time I have been watching for a black and white fabric that I could use to do the same thing. I have my pencil drawings and all the office equipment (which tends to be black, silver, grey or white) in this room so I wanted to keep it low key and not too bright.

So, we started with this:
I found the fabric at Joannes and used a 40% coupon. Unfortunately when I laid it all out to start putting it together I found that the ends were not cut straight. Now I had a problem. I didn't want to buy more fabric so I ended up slapping some fabric ribbon around the boarder to cover up the bad cut and cork showing through. Not delighted, but it looks ok.

I used elmers spray glue to attach the fabric and ribbon.

The picture didn't come out that great. The pattern is not real clear like it is on the wall. But, I really like the end result.

Now I need to clean up the desk underneath.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Autumn Asks: Have You Ever Done a Pantry Challenge?

Nope. Not me.

Yes, I'm nerdy. Yes, I'm frugal. But to date I have never done a pantry challenge.

If you check sites around the internets, you will see that it is usually a month you pick where you by the very basics only (like milk and what fresh veggies you need) and everything else you eat that month comes from your pantry. (This is also to get rid of the old stock so you can buy new.)

But then again. I guess I have done these....unintentionally....every time I move.

And here we go again. Sad thing is that I had just finally reached the point where I considered my pantry stocked. And we aren't even talking natural disaster or zombie attack stocked.

Having watched all the problems in the states this last winter and with the economy as it is, we are going to try to do a more stocked/3 month pantry....but thankfully I hadn't gotten there yet when we were handed orders.

Anyways....I'm wandering again.

So. We are trying to eat up all the food from the pantry. And I have a bigger pantry than I've ever had before (and will miss so very much) so there's a bit of food in there.

We've had some interesting and new meals this week to accomplish the emptying. Right now I'm working hard on finishing up a bag on coconut flour. I had only tried one thing with it so its a full bag. This weekend Songbird whipped up a batch of coconut flour brownies for a picnic/potluck we went to out at a friends place. And they were good. Keeper. And yesterday I stopped at a farmers roadside stand and picked up strawberries fresh picked from the field. So I found a recipe for coconut flour strawberry shortcakes to eat the strawberries on. Keeper again. Anybody else have coconut flour recipes (with no wheat products in it)? You see, 1/4 coconut flour is the equivalent of 1 cup of wheat it goes a long way. Help.

Also, I have a bag of dried kidney beans I need to use up. Suggestions anyone? I don't even know why I have these as they are our least favorite due to their thick skin. Anybody know what I can do with these that does not include making chili?

Speaking of dried beans...anybody know what to do with split peas that does not include split pea soup??? I tried a google search and all I got was soup. Really?? Then why do these even grow?
And do you have any good lentil recipes?

Another thing that is stumping me is the vast amount of asian noodles I have. They range from rice sticks to bean know, pasta with no wheat. I can't make spaghetti sauce that many times so I need some help. Some good Chinese recipes would rock.

To those that are wondering why I don't just pack it....Do you know how much weight that racks up? We have a limit and with three kids we reach it without foodstuffs. Not an option. I don't want to turn around and have to pay an overage cost for food we could have eaten prior. Just doesn't make sense. (And is also why it takes me 2 1/2 years to restock to my satisfaction.

So here's my cry for help. We love trying new recipes -- but they need to NOT include strange or new ingredients that I would have to go buy. Maybe you know a really cool recipe site? Any suggestions are welcome!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A snapshot...

Sometimes, the most simple moment is also the most profound.

Maybe its looking up and seeing two miracles walking across the grass.

It can bring a love and sadness and joy so strong it will bring you to your knees. In public. Surrounded by so many others. Others that see your face and know so many of your thoughts. And will get down on their knees with you and bless God, or fate or whatever power they believe in.

A look to the left. A quick glance. A child that survived cancer. A child that was left in the darkness of the night, just before dawn.

They shouldn't be here.

We should be broken by loss. Or aching with empty arms for a child that never was.


Their arms are here. Wrapped around us.

Their hearts are ours - for loving and safe keeping.

Their laughter and tears are a part of our days and nights.

What they add to our lives is not measurable.

And mostly, we forget, in the everyday sameness of life, just what an astounding blessing this day brings.

Until we look up. And catch a glimpse out of the corner of our eyes.

Of two miracles. Walking through the grass.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Autumn Asks: How Do You Lock Your Car?

I just read today about a new device.

One that helps thieves break into your car and steal you blind in seconds.

If you want to read the entire post please go to Thrifty Ways and Ideas.

Straight from the post:

How to Lock Your Car and Why

There is a device that robbers are using now to clone your security code when you lock your doors on your car using your key-chain locking device. They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. They know you are going inside of the store, restaurant, or bathroom and have a few minutes to steal and run. The police officer said to manually lock your car door-by hitting the lock button inside the car, that way if there is someone sitting in a parking lot watching for their next victim it will not be you. When you hit the lock button on your car upon does not send the security code, but if you walk away and use the door lock on your key chain - it sends the code through the airwaves where it can be stolen. Something totally new to us...and real. Be aware of this and please pass this note on...look how many times we all lock our doors with our remote...just to be sure we remembered to lock them....and bingo someone has our code...and whatever was in the car...can be stolen.

So, if you are like me you have been guilty of hitting that button to make SURE you locked it while wresting with a kid and getting out your purse, and throwing the toys back in the car because you can't take them in the store......

Not a good idea.

Use the lock on your doors friends.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just a quick clarification....

...about yesterdays post.

After a few comments I realized that it came off that I was real upset about our sermon. That is actually not the truth of the matter.

I spent a week with one event, comment, action, etc. after the other that viewed Mother's Day as negative or put it in a light to make mother's out to be selfish for not thinking of others pain on that day. I was feeling very beat up before attending church. So it was with a great sigh of relief that I entered the church, feeling that at least here I was safe.

So I was saddened/shocked/surprised when it didn't work out that way. I was expecting a sermon on being a Godly mother or some such thing. The sermon we got applied to mothers, but it was started with the statement that he wanted to talk to all wives, because not all wives are mothers. Nothing wrong with that. It was just a surprise that even at church we were going to skip over honoring mothers so as not to leave other wives out.

It was the tail end of a very long laundry list that led up to my post.

The final push was a comment by a family member....not the church sermon.

We need compassion always on any day we celebrate for those that either don't celebrate also or who associate that day with loss and pain. ALWAYS.

What we don't need is to have our joy or happiness stolen because of unfairness, or the pain of others. It is not SHAMEFUL to be honored on Mother's Day.

I also read and heard some great comments about Mother's Day. It's just that this year they were far outnumber by the negative.

Why are we trying so hard to murder the backbone of the family? Why do we want to strip mother's of a day of honor? That's what I want to know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Defense of Mother's Day

I tried not to post this. Really I did. But, I have a big mouth.

Personally, I thought Mother's Day stank.

Not for me. I got exactly what I asked for (which was small and practical and perfect). My kids were great and excited to celebrate. Hubs grilled/cooked dinner and it was fab. It was a perfect day at home. I even got a call from my son.

But I felt like there were all these tiny darts coming at me for the days leading up to it, and even until now.

And they really have nothing to do with me.

Where to begin?

How about church?

So, we go to church and the sermon starts out on a great note. Basically a description of the job of mothering. Right on. And then he gets past that funny part and switches gears. He doesn't want to bring this message to mother's, instead he wants to honor wives. Cause not all wives are mother's and not all the women stood up when he asked the mother's to stand.

Did I miss something?

For some reason I thought it was MOTHER'S DAY. Not wives day. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for wives - heck, I AM one. Maybe we should have a Wives Day.

Should we rearrange Secretary's Day to celebrate the trash collectors also? After all, we are leaving out lots of hard working and important people. Actually, maybe they shouldn't have their own day since we could never possibly honor all the other working fields also.

MOTHERING gets honored exactly one day a year. Should we be ashamed of that because not all women are mothers?

Should we not celebrate or rejoice out in the open because of the women who have lost children - whether already born or miscarried? That is a huge loss. I can't even imagine it. So, since its a hard day for these women/mother's, should we stop honoring those currently mothering or those that have mothered? Should we be subdued in public because of their pain? And they are in pain.

And how about adopted people? Some have terrible emotions or scars because of being adopted and not raised by their birth mother. And how about the women that gave up those children? Can you imagine some of that anguish? Should we not have Mother's Day out of consideration for them?

I am a mother. By birth and adoption.

I am so honored by Mother's Day. It's the day everyone stops and thinks about the mother's in their lives and what they do/did. I am not ashamed to love this attention once a year. It's not about the gifts. It's not about flowers. It's the one day a year we are not invisible to the rest of society.

Infertile women, birth mother's, wives without children, women who have miscarried or lost a child after birth and the pain of adopted children usually don't get recognized on this day. They are invisible - all the time. Some people don't even think about where they fit in on Mother's Day - other's just don't know what to say to them. All of their pain is very real and very valid. It is heartbreaking to even think about let alone live through. My heart aches for them. I would never want to be deliberately hurtful or dismissive of them. I remember them on this day even if society in general does not.

But I still want to celebrate Mother's Day. Out loud. With no shame for my blessings.

And since it's getting politically incorrect for me to enjoy this because of those that don't, I wonder if its even worth celebrating any more. How can you celebrate when there are so many people pointing fingers and telling us about how insensitive it is to do so?

I hope my pain over anything never steals anyone's joy or is used as a tool to steal anothers joy. This Father's Day, I don't expect anyone to not talk about honoring their father because I just lost mine. I just want to honor all those dads.

So maybe that makes me a really bad person. I don't know.

What I do know is political correctness is out of control.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Autumn Asks: Have You Ever Dropped a Grenade in Your Living Room?

So. Yeah.

Remember last week or so when I said how I was happy in my current home and situation?

And remember how last week we got the call the Mighty Mouse made it into the school we wanted to send her to?

And, have you ever seen what happens when you tell a soon-to-be 14 year old that has her whole life planned out in your current location.....that daddy just got orders?

Oh my, it is ugly. Uglier than anything I've seen to date. Blood curdling screams. Tears, tears and more tears. Screaming in agony. The only thing that could have been messier would be an actual grenade. What carnage!!!

And remember how I said this is a 4 year CONTROLLED tour?

How about how happy I was to be back in Texas...or anywhere HOT?


So how does Ohio sound? I say cold. With snow.

Have I mentioned lately just how much I dislike snow? I'm trying not to use the H word...but its very hard.

Lets also throw in a report-no-later-than date of August 30.

Can you say garage sale? House on the market? Where do I start?

I'm saying it all.

So. I'm assuming everyone will understand if posts get a little sketchy or you don't hear from me for a bit.

But. Although there is lots of smirking and irony in the above post, please know that it is actually said in sarcasm not panic.

God's hand is all over this one. I'll probably share some of that at some point.

With the exception of the fact that I have become a season in my coffee friends lives instead of a lifetime, all is good.

Well, maybe you can pray for Songbird as she's over-the-top upset.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Autumn Asks: Have You Had Your Chocolate Fix Lately?

I want to hurt Dairy Queen.

They are evil.

I have had my chocolate beastie under control for about a year now. Maybe once every 5-6 months I'll grab a Snickers in the check-out line....but for the most part I have had a handle on this problem.

And then....

I made the mistake of trying it.

O. M. G. I don't know if its just our store that goes overboard on the truffles, but I sure won't be shopping around to find out.

Now, I have had 2 of these in the last month.

Some of you might be saying to yourself that two really doesn't sound that bad.

Except I have issues with diary products.

And when I ask my 13 year old if she wants to go to Diary Queen and get a Blizzard, the sparkle jumps up in her eyes. She loves anything sweet, but has a special love affair with all things ice cream.

Yet, quickly on the heels of that sparkle, the light begins to fade out of those big beautiful eyes. You can see the visible struggle written all over her face. And then she asks. Mom, are you having one too?

The fear of being shut in the house with me all night after eating diary products is enough to make her think hard about how bad she wants this.

But I know her well. The roar of the sweet tooth is mightier than the threat of death in the gas chamber. She caves every time. Yep, those are my genes running that show.

And now all I can say is that I'm rather good about not getting into diary when hubs is around. Not only the pain and other effects to myself, but out of consideration to him, I don't get tempted often when he's home.

But hubs is out of town.

And summer travel rotation is just kicking in.

See you at the local DQ!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

She Got In: Or, A Tale of Two Schools

We got the call today that Mighty Mouse was selected for a specific Charter School we applied for. This is fantastic....and a pain all at the same time.

So - from this point, if you are not interested in transracial parenting or adoption or such, skip this post.

Here's where we start....

We live in a good school district. A rather good school district. This was great when we moved here and enrolled Songbird and began sending her off to class.

The schools have good test scores. The Middle and High schools are practically brand new and not shabby (yet small). The schools aren't huge. There is all kinds of tutoring available...for free. Lots of little benefits. No gang/violence problems or serious/huge drug problems beyond the norm.

Now, it is time for Mighty Mouse to start school.

So we should be thrilled, right?

So not.

(Here we go again.) The school district is BEYOND white. Worse than the Omaha schools we came out of. Shockingly white - which I did not expect from Texas schools.

So the dilemma of race rears its head. What do we do about it?

We can ignore it. After all, we are in a great school district! The class sizes aren't that big (although that is constantly changing as we are in a growth area). She will get a great education! They are already familiar with her and vice versa as she went through about 6 months of speech the first half of this year. They already have an IEP in place for her even.

What is my problem?? (This is where other parents shake their heads at me or roll their eyes and elbow each other.) It. Is. Too. White. And newsflash....Mighty Mouse is NOT white.

But her family is all white.
And her church is predominantly white.
And the grocery store we go to has mostly white patrons. (I tried to change this but the produce is the deciding factor.)
Our neighborhood is mostly white (yet not as white as Omaha, thank goodness).

So where is my daughter's racial identity validated in all of this???

How about nowhere?

So this specific Charter school came to my attention when Songbird was invited to tour and learn about it as an alternative to her district when she participated in a science fair. She was having problems with some girls at the time and thought she wanted to change schools so I took her to check it out (knowing fully well she wouldn't switch). I liked the brochures and the promises of diversity and classes based on other cultures.

So, we took the tour. Songbird realized there was NO choir. No go. As predicted.

And I got what I wanted. A look at a school where white is the minority and browns of all kinds are the majority. The class sizes are about 15 students. The test scores are off the charts. No child is allowed to fall behind in any subject....required Saturday tutoring if this begins to occur. Home visits by the teachers. Parents required to be involved.

The ONLY drawback is that I am required to provide all transportation. This means twice daily trips into town. It's going to cost.

And hubs was NOT happy about this one point.

I look at it like she's going to a private school...with the cost of gas and miles on the car as the price.

It is so worth it.

For her.

Even though just about everyone, including my better half, think I'm nuts. Why should I worry about that at this young age? She's fine with being with mostly whites! Who see's color nowadays anyways????

Well. I'm excited for MM anyways. I know she's going to love it. And we will still have racial incidents - human nature pretty much guarantees it. But its the only front I have been able to make any progress on since we moved here.


Guess I'll celebrate by myself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Autumn Asks: Has Your Blog Reading Changed Any?

I've only been reading (and writing) blogs for about a year now.

In that time, its been interesting to see the change in my blog roll. I tend to find myself rearranging or changing it about every 4-5 months.

When I first started reading I put all my sites that I wanted to keep up with in the blogroll here on this site. Then I had to click through each link to check on my friends.

Then I discovered Google Reader and everything started getting stored and checked there. My blogroll began to be outdated and have broken links, etc. I'm a bad blog mommy.

Recently I did another purge and collection. The blog party last month introduced me to many new sites...that I just finished going through and adding onto my Reader.

I have WAY too many sites I love to visit. And I'm slowly paring them down or it will take up too much of my time.

So today I want to highlight a few of my old and new favorites.

My Favorite Simple Living, Frugal Type Sites:

Down to Earth: This is a lady in Australia. They garden and have chickens and make so much of what they need. A true gem on sharing knowledge on how to be a content housewife and do it well. Very practical and gentle spirited lady.

Living Off the Grid: We were your fairly typical homeschool family of 7 (soon to be 8) living on a hobby farm in the rural midwest... But as of October 15, 2008 we changed! Join us on our adventure of purchasing and moving into a 40 acre Amish farm with 9+ outbuildings, a pond and more. Oh yes, did I tell you we are living "off-grid"...? We have no electricity and all that goes with that... The outhouses too...

Recession Depression Therapy:

During a hungry time in my home, I chose to change the way we lived to accomodate our meager resources. What follows are some of the things I learned along the way.

Oh! there were many mistakes that served to teach and entertain…such as why you don’t let an adolescent rooster out for the day in your flannel, granny nightie… or why the first time you cut your own hair you should schedule a professional cut for that very afternoon.

Please, feel free to add your perspective or question my methods. Goodness knows I do! If we face economic hardship as a learning experience and not as a cross to bare, then perhaps we will find some cheer along the way. (More down to earth, practical mentorship for those of us trying to live a simpler life.)

not the jet set : He's a spender, she's a saver. Together, they're Not the Jet Set.
Fed up with working too hard to not have any money, we made the decision to take control of our finances. We began a mission to get out of debt and stay out of debt - forever. On June 23rd of 2006, we completed Baby Step 2 by paying off over $42,000 in 20 months. During that time and ever since then, we've seen it as part of our calling to help others achieve what we have - financial peace.

not the jet set . net is a blog about money, stewardship, and frugal living - personal finance for the rest of us: one family's story. We don't claim to know it all. We won't claim to make you rich. But we may get you to think a little differently about money and how it affects your life.

Just Another Mom! These are ladies that I find I have something or a lot of things in common with.

Want What You Have: My name is Heather, and I'm a happily married, stay-at-home mother of two daughters, ages six, and two. I'm a Christian, and I strive to live deliberately, in a way that brings glory to God, and shows respect for His Creation. This journal is about frugal, simple, more meaningful living. I love hearing from my readers. Thanks for visiting! (I love Heather as we seem to have alot in common -- with the exception of all that organization! You go girl!)

Suburb Sanity:
I'm a 46 year old married mom to 18 year old boy/girl twins as well as 15 and 12 year old sons. I love blogging about the crazy things in my life...and yours. (Wins my Most Humorous Award. Be prepared to shoot coffee out of your nose. )

Military Spouses:

Diary of a Stay at Home Mom:
I'm a Christian SAHM and wife to my Air Force Husband. We have 2 extremely active kids, Jasmine and Nicholas. It's a crazy and hectic life at times with the kids and the dogs, Lola and Bella (the pugs). We live a good, simple life surrounded by chaos at time, but always in the hands of God.

A day in my life...
I'm a champagne sipping, chocolate eating, camera carrying, crafty, shopaholic mummy to twin toddlers and a home schooled teenager. I'm also an Aussie, living in California, and a military wife. Please leave a comment if you've stopped by, I'd love to see who's been visiting me. (I love this site because she is an AWESOME photographer and I love the pictures she takes of her kids. I get lots of ideas from them!)

Adoptive Parents or Adoption Related:

Our Little Tongginator:
life with a Tonggu girl can be pretty wild, fun, tiring, demanding and crazy ... it's also a tremendous blessing from God!!! (Very funny writer! Life as the parent of an adopted child with challenges is not for the faint of heart!)

FRIENDS: Sites I won't miss reading because I am personally involved in these lives and love these people.

a bit more than a journal: I am a single mom of two beautiful girls. Our life is complex on the best of days. This blog will explore my thoughts on where I am in life, where I have been, and where I hope to go. My highest goal is to serve God with all of my heart. You are welcome to join me on my journey. ( One of my very very bestest of buds! Love ya!)

Adventures of a Supermom:
I love Jesus. I love my husband and my girls. I love designing and creating. And I love that the Lord is not done with me yet..... (Horribly funny with just the right twist of sarcasm. And so well put together. Now if she would just post more.....)

Sewing and Crafting Sites:

Confessions of a Craft Addict: Mary Abreu has been crafting most of her life, although she admits that sticking to one or two is a challenge (hence the “ADD crafter” moniker). She is an award-winning journalist, most recently adding a Bronze award from the Parenting Publications of America for a story published in January 2007. During her nearly two decades in journalism, she has worked as an editor, writer and art director at newspapers and magazines throughout the Southeast United States. After a brief stint as editorial director of one of the oldest regional parenting publications in the country, she has returned to freelance writing and editing — although running a household and parenting three kids (17, 15 and 3.5) are her first priority. (Mary has kids spaced kind of like mine and loves to sew for her little girl, who is about the same age as Mighty Mouse. I get lots of ideas from her and she always encourages me. )

Sew, Mama, Sew! :
Looking for sewing projects to do? This is the place.

Religion based:

Conversion Diary: Five years ago I had never once believed in God, not even as a child. I was a content atheist and thought it was simply obvious that God did not exist. I thought that religion and reason were incompatible, and eventually became vocally anti-Christian. Imagine my surprise to find myself today, just a few years later, a convert to Christianity who loves her faith (my husband and I both entered the Catholic Church in 2007). This is the chronicle of my journey.

The LPM Blog: For the Beth Moore junkies.

This is obviously not all inclusive. By the end of the week I hope to have my blog roll all redone with some new and fresh stuff! Enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Public Service Announcement.....

....for all my gun toting, Bible carrying, America loving/country serving friends soon to be on the Big O's terrorist list.

Important Notice

Now is your chance !!!!

NRA membership is now FREE. Strength in numbers.

If you value your right to bear arms, consider this offer.

The NRA is giving
FREE 1-yr memberships to everyone that wants to join. Please join and pass it around as the NRA is trying to build up its membership to fight pending legislation that impacts our right to bear arms.