my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

October 27, 2011

raising kids these days

i recently saw a commercial advertising a math program for your preschooler. it's supposed to help teach them counting and basic addition. it says it's supposed to "give your kids a jump start," to make sure they're ready for school.

when my boys entered kindergarten, they weren't required to know any of that. in fact, in the beginning, they just worked on writing and recognizing their numbers and shapes. it was only at the end of the year that they touched on basic addition. in fact, lumpy is in first grade and they're still just working on basic addition.

i know there is a lot of competition in school these days, that kids are being pushed farther and faster than when i was in school. i've read articles about how america is behind the rest of the world in maths and sciences, about how are schools are lacking and something needs to be done if our children are going to be competitive in tomorrow's world market. i've heard about all of the challenges that they'll face, trying to get in a good school so they can get a good job, and how if they don't start early they'll be on the wrong track for the rest of their life.

i've also read articles and studies about how kids just need to be kids. about how playing games and using their imaginations are just as important for their development as all the studying that is recommended. about how they need to be silly and have fun and there's no reason to rush the growing-up process.

with all this contradictory advice, what exactly are you supposed to do? i believe all of the pressure put on kids equates to pressure for parents. aren't we responsible for their upbringing? don't we help to make sure that they succeed? then too, aren't we responsible for their failures? how do you know if you should push your kids harder or just let them have fun? how early is too early to push the fundamentals of learning? is it ok to let them watch educational tv shows and play learning computer games, or is it more important to restrict screen time?

the bigger question for me is what do you do when you child is average? that no matter what you've done, how much help you gave, what expenses you went to, they are still as good as they will ever be. are we becoming a culture where being average is looked down on, and exceptional is the new standard?

seriously, if anybody has any answers, please share, because all of this is making my head spin.

October 25, 2011

home for the holidays

there is so much i want to talk about. like visiting all the inlaws over the weekend because my sister-in-law finallly got married. or all the crazy fun halloween plans that we have for this week. or how amazingly grown my fishie seems. or maybe about some of my worries for my dear bumble.

but no, instead i'll talk about what is forefront in my mind at the moment, how i just want a house of my own again. and about how i don't think i'll have one in time for christmas. and how that thought is like daggers in my heart.

a bit of backstory is probably necessary for those that don't know me in real life: at the beginning of september, tropical storm lee parked his lazy butt right over central pa, which is where i happen to reside. there was much craziness and flooding, we were forced to evacuate, and it was a week before the waters went down enough to assess the damages and figure out exactly what it all meant for us. the flooding damaged my house so that we had to move out until we fixed everything. after talking with my husband, we decided that the house we had wasn't really worth fixing, that it would be better to try and sell it as-is and find a new place to live. this wasn't a decision we made lightly, but we were outgrowing the house, and though the flooding from the tropical storm was as high as i've ever seen the waters get, it wasn't the first time we had to leave because the roads to my place were underwater. all in all, we decided it would be best for us and our children to find a better, safer home.

the selling of the old house is a saga (and a post) all it's own, but this post is about trying to get a mortgage. about how my husband and i made some terribly bad decisions, about how we didn't understand how all our bad choices would really affect our credit for years to come. so getting a mortgage wasn't as straight forward as we thought it would be. i know now how silly and naive our outlook was. i'm beginning to understand now how long the financing process is. how we'll be lucky to be in our own house in six months.

the wait and frustration is just getting to be too much some days. filling out forms, making phone calls, getting all the required information together, at least all of that gives me something to do. it's the waiting that's the worst. right now i have to wait until november 8th before we check to see what else they need, what more forms there will be, what other hoops we need to jump through.

what this all really means is that we probably won't have a home of our own for the holidays. my moms are wonderful, letting us live with them until we get our situation all sorted out, but they have their own traditions and we have our own. and it just won't be the same staying at somebody else's house. it won't be our tree, with our ornaments. i'm not even sure which box has the kids' stockings in it, where "twas the night before christmas" got packed, where the plate for cookies for santa is.

every year i feel like i let my kids down around the holidays. there is so much i want to do for them, want to get for them. there is always a long list of things that don't get done. but this year i already know it will be so much worse. because all i want to get my kids for christmas is a home of our own, so they can have their own place. so i can unpack all of their toys and games and crafts. so that we don't feel like guests staying somewhere, but are actually living somewhere. and i already know that i am going to fail.

October 20, 2011

a new kind of normal

i know i know, it's been a good long while since i've posted anything here. my life has just been absolutely crazy. you know, what with all the things and stuff that have been happening.

or i just let myself get really lazy.

anyway, i'm back! kind of and mostly. really, i've been falling down the rabbit hole of the bloggy world again. i used to follow like 20 blogs a day. and it started taking up all of my time. so i tried to cut back, and only follow the ones that i really liked, or that were really interesting, or that i really connected with, or were written by interesting people that i liked. which meant i was still following like 15 blogs a day. way too many for me to follow and still get my day to day stuff done.

so i did what was the only reasonable option to me, i quit cold turkey. i stopped following all blogs, even my innocent little foodie blogs.

and because i wasn't reading other people's blogs, i didn't feel the need to write in mine.

and now, seven months later, i find myself with a bit more free time. fishie is older and can entertain herself. i can trust that if i leave the room she won't have caught the house on fire... probably. so i've started back up with my blog reading. and as makes sense in my own crazy head, that means writing here again also.

a lot has changed in the months that this blog went into a holding pattern. the basic day to day of my life has totally changed do to unforeseen circumstances. and of course the kids have grown and changed, as kids will do. but mostly my outlook has changed. i really care less about living up to other people's expectations. because i have realized that there are some people i will never please, and some people that will never be happy with what i do and how i live. people are giving me advice and their suggestions, and i totally have the option of not listening to a word they say. i can do my own thing, and my children aren't going to suffer for it. because really, who better than their mother knows what is good for them and how to make them happy?

so i'm changing things up in my life. a change that is long overdue. because when so much else is changing, what's one more?