Monday, December 31, 2007

2 posts in one day...oh my

okay, so CG did a post about christmas music recently and i made a comment about having to listen to "delilah" when she came on the station here that plays all christmas music all december long. i have been mulling around in my head a post about something that woman said that got under my skin.

on the "delilah" show people call in and request music or tell a story about their christmas traditions, etc, etc, yadda yadda yadda. this kid calls in because he wants her to play his and his mom's favorite christmas song. and she says "i'll play it for you if you tell me what you hope santa will bring you for christmas." the kid says he's hoping for a particular video game for his particular gaming system. and she's like "oh i don't allow those things in my house, no video games! is there anything else you want?" ooookay. well, i can comment on this because i have BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. when my kids were very very little we had lots of NOs. we had no tv, no video games, no sugar, etc. that lasted longer than i'd like to admit, but i'm glad to say i've learned an awful lot since then. anyway...

a day or so later, christmas eve, my mom and i are working in the kitchen prepping for christmas dinner and we're listening to the all christmas station when 7 pm rolls around and it's time for delilah. ah well. it's christmas music still. so someone calls in and tells about their christmas tradition as kids to sleep under the christmas tree. delilah thought this was really neat and then went on to say that her kids wouldn't be able to do that because they would get up and throw christmas ornaments all over the room. okay, i almost cut myself at that point. i was like "wait a minute...these same kids that can't have video games would actually do WHAT?" so i'm thinking, what if they were allowed to have video games...maybe they wouldn't feel the need to chuck decorations all over creation. but i think it probably goes much deeper than that. i don't think my kids would ever dream of being so destructive or disrespectful. not that my kids are perfect or anything. they can be as wild as any kids, because kids can be wild and that's part of being a kid. but trashing a place. nope, not gonna happen. and not because i ever said "hey kids, don't trash places...that's not allowed." but because it just isn't something they would do. i do not know why. kids learn all sorts of behaviors from all sorts of places. i wonder where her kids learned that it would be okay to trash the christmas tree? well, you can bet it wasn't from any video game.Share


ren memed me and i'm late getting to it, but here goes:

here's the meme:
1) Post a note about a blogger you would like to see something wonderful happen for. Maybe one whose posts have touched your heart in one way or another. Include details as to why you admire them and what you wish for them. Be as supporting and affirming as you can.

2) Post your favorite memory around selflessness, giving or doing for others. Something that has actually changed you.

3) As a postscript, name one thing you will actually do for someone in your life before December 31 that is born out of joy.

4) Tag 3 other bloggers who will play the game and find the spirit. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blog so they continue to share the good feelings.

1) a blogger that i love and have only met once personally is heather. she inspires me with her quest for unschooling information and her desire to unschool her children. she is also sparkly and creative and fun and i admire her art work. what i wish for her is that she learns to let go of the struggle. that she will just dive right into this unschooling life and ENJOY it.

2) i think most days as a mom are selfless. BUUUUUT, if i have to pick any one moment, it would have to be the moment i realized i can say YES more. this relates to my last post about food as well as just more yeses in general. this could easily get long so i'm going to try for brevity. life has changed a lot since then. saying yes requires me to be more available. not that i've been unreachable but i have had moments of "not right now" and getting away from that has been freeing. i haven't been as anxious about food as i thought i would be either.

3) i already did this one. the other day scotty was saying how much he loved the gogol bordello cd i got for him for christmas and how he really wanted more. so while he was in the shower i downloaded "super taranta!" from and burned a cd with a cool picture of them that i found for the cd cover. he was really excited about it. it was unexpected and it made me happy to send him off to work with a big smile.

4) i tend to not tag. and given that it is the 31st already, well...Share

Sunday, December 16, 2007

food freedom

i talked with my lovely friend tracy yesterday. she called to find out if we might be able to make it down to charleston for her winter solstice party. sadly, we can't. BUT, we ended up having a really good conversation about one of the big things i've been struggling with for years. and that is letting go of my food control issues. she encouraged me to write about it. so here goes.

as a radical unschooler, i trust that my children will learn what they need, when they need. i also trust them to decide how much tv they watch, how much video games they play, who they choose to play with, and many other things that i would trust myself to do. i have worked towards learning to give them the freedoms i enjoy as "the adult." but there has always been one thing i struggle to trust them with, one thing i can't seem to let go of. and that is freedom to choose what food they want to eat. sure, i ask them what they want to eat, but their choices have always been limited to what i choose to buy. but there are lots of times when i buy junk food as well. i thought i had gotten to a good place where i was exercising moderation. i wasn't being too strict about food. at least that's what i thought.

before we moved, sadie had been playing at her friend's house. they came over and both had the obvious "kool-aid 'stache." i asked if they'd been having kool-aid, and they both very quickly denied it and said it was lipstick. i knew it wasn't but i didn't worry about it. after we moved, sadie told me that they really had been drinking some sort of red drink. she cried and cried because she had lied to me. she said she didn't know why she lied and she was so very upset. i told her she never needed to lie to me, i wasn't mad about it. and that was that.

since moving here i've had to come face to face with all my food control issues. i'm living with my parents and even though my mom is a raw vegan now, there are still a lot of foods in the house that i wouldn't normally buy. and since i have always given my kids a choice of what's available they have been able to choose these things. i did not always say yes though. i found that more and more i was becoming frustrated about food. the weekends that my niece stays over are the worst because my mom buys food she knows she will eat. which is wonderful and considerate. but i have noticed that those weekends are when i go over the edge emotionally and fall apart.

in the last few weeks i have been trying to let go completely, but i hadn't done a very good job. i was still falling into the habit of saying "no, that's not a healthy breakfast" or "no, you need to eat something good for you." i was completely frustrated. so were my kids. so i started reading more about how other unschoolers have handled this. sandra dodd's website helped immensely. especially the section on food issues. it opened my eyes wide. the idea of letting go has been gut-wrenching. i am not being dramatic, i am not exaggerating. the feeling inside was so strong, i almost felt like i couldn't breathe. if i let go, they might become unhealthy, or overweight. i felt like i was going to puke. but as i read, i found things that rang so true i could not ignore them. i found there are other women with the same emotional food issues that i have. and i realized that i could say YES and my kids were going to be okay. they would not end up with all the issues i have about food. but was it too late for them?? were they already caught up in my issues. they refer to foods as "good" and "bad." would i be able to undo that?

after reading several things about food control that i printed from sandra's website, i talked with sadie again about what had happened before. again, she cried. she was still hurting about this. sadie has lived with a lot more of my extreme control times than the boys and she is the one who resists me the most and is the most frustrated about food. interestingly, as a side note, samuel lived about half his life with no television in the house and he is the one who needs to gorge on tv the most. so we talked about her feelings about my food control. she says she mostly wishes we could have more yummy drinks, something besides water. because she knows that we have other sweet treats occasionally but drinks are even more rare, she wants that the most and doesn't seem frustrated about other treats. drinks are her holy grail. she was still very upset about having lied to me. i knew that what we discussed before was not helpful at all for her. my saying it was okay and that i wasn't mad did nothing to start the healing process for her. this time, i talked about the situation that i alone had created that caused her to feel the way she did and to feel like she couldn't trust ME, not the other way around. she had felt like her lying would cause me to not trust HER. that was why she was so upset. plus the fact that she was still feeling deprived and didn't know what to do with those feelings. didn't know how to NOT want those drink treats. she just wanted them. after talking this time, she seemed happy, completely relieved, peaceful.

yesterday was my first big day of saying yes. i cannot describe the way i felt all day. i felt lighter. i felt free. i realized in this one particular moment that by saying yes to them, i could also say yes to myself. i no longer had to deny myself. i could begin to heal too. i did not feel the need to eat all day like i usually do. it was very weird. i tend to eat out of boredom an awful lot. yesterday i just kept feeling okay. just calm and okay. i wanted to go to the store just so i could say yes when the inevitable asking for candy in the check out aisle came. and when i thought about that i was even lighter. i realized that i CAN say yes ALL THE TIME. there is no reason whatsoever to say no all the time. it's not like they are asking for a $40 video game, or a $20 doll. it's a 50 cent piece of candy. or sometimes it's a $2 box of mac n cheese. or a $3 bag of doritoes. why can't i say yes to that?? my reasoning before was that if i said yes once that they would always ask, would always expect a yes. that i would set a precedent. why didn't i see that even when i said no all the time, they were still asking?

my kids were all breastfed on demand. i trusted my tiny little babies to know what they needed, when they needed it. and i gave it to them willingly, joyfully, freely! of course, that was easy because what is healthier than breastmilk, it's easy to say yes to "good" food. but thinking about this has helped me make more sense of this letting go process. i'm reminded of reading about how people mistakenly weaned their kids by saying no more and setting limits on when nursing could take place. the saying no only made the kids ask more. they were increasing their odds of getting a yes. little kids doing probability and statistics, imagine that. they are so smart.

and now i'm going to share something i have never talked about to anyone. not even scotty. it is something i have always felt frustration about towards myself. i have always had a feeling of scarcity about food. especially when it comes to things i crave. like potato chips. when we have them, i want them all. i hate seeing them disappear. i feel like there will not be enough of them to satisfy my wanting them. it is the reason i ALWAYS use a bowl. if i don't, if i sit down with the whole bag, i will eat them all!!! i have always thought that this was because i was greedy and selfish. i feel so embarrassed about it. it causes a lot of anxiety for me because i am so intent on "eating healthy" yet i want all these "bad" foods. when i read the other moms' stories about this very same thing on sandra's site, a well of emotion opened up inside of me and i wanted to just cry and cry. i was not alone. i don't remember a lot of details about my childhood. what i do remember though is that my mom was always struggling with her weight, she was always on some diet or other. nothing seemed to really work for her and it made her unhappy. i think i worry about food because of this. i have a lot of fears about gaining weight although i've never been overweight. i think i transfer those fears to my kids. i want to protect them from all the difficulty that comes from being overweight and unhealthy. scotty started gaining weight when he was about 9 and has never been thin. i see how he struggles with his body image and it just reinforces my need to protect my kids from that. i remember talking to ren about this craving i always have for chips. we weren't even talking about food restrictions, it was just a regular conversation and something or other about what foods people crave came up. and she said to me "i wonder how many bags of chips you'll have to just eat and eat before you feel like you've had enough and feel satisfied and no longer deprived." at the time, i understood what she meant because we had also been talking about how kids need to gorge on tv or video games when they've been controlled/limited. i never really thought she was seriously suggesting i do that. i thought she was making a joke and referencing the other discussion about limitations. i think now that she was serious. i hadn't considered that letting go of food control would help with my own need to gorge. or my kids' for that matter. i hadn't gone there yet.

another thing i'm doing is letting go of my judgements about what my kids choose. letting go of my labels of "good" and "bad" or "healthy" and "not healthy." so i'm on the path to letting go. to healing us all. scotty has been talking about after the holidays getting on a strict diet. i think what i'd like for him to do instead is stop feeling guilty about his food issues and to just let himself have what he wants until he no longer feels deprived. and just see what happens. i don't know if all days will be as easy as yesterday was. i think i will probably have moments of still wanting to control. but i know i'm on the right path.Share

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

music, sweet music

i want to start a radio station. i have always loved the idea of being a dj. i have always loved making mix tapes (and cds now) of what i think would make great playlists. there are just no good radio stations here. i hate it. and i have no cd player in my car so i will often listen to really old tapes. which means i am forever getting nostalgic (like that's unusual for me). i find lately i'm listening to stuff that brings out the teenager in me (again, not really a stretch) and i've taken up my old fashions and put my mommy costumes away pretty much.

i've had some people suggesting some good music to me lately. and that's awesome. thanks guys. i tend to get stuck though. i love my old stuff. and i don't have the patience or time to fall in love with any of the new stuff in the same way i did the old. i watched an awesome 4 hour rockumentary about tom petty last week. oh it was so good. where are all the really talented musicians like that these days. will any of these new guys be around in 30 years?? are there going to be any songs like "refugee" that come on the radio in even 10 years and still sound so amazing you just have to turn it up full blast. tom petty had a big influence on me musically, not to mention my fashion choices...hats, vests, cool glasses, color. but then i grew into another genre of music later on and forgot about all that good music. until i saw the show, and it all came back. so i've got to add him to my playlist of old and new faves.

i was reminded of an old passion recently at the ARGH gathering. we were talking about turning passions into profits and we were just randomly naming our different passions. my friend, ren, and i had quite a few up there and many were very similar. one thing we both wanted to do was something along the lines of a teen/community center. it brought back the memory of a time when i was in high school and my boyfriend and i got this idea we would start an "alternative" teen club. we would call it "the snakepit." gosh, we were so cool. we put up fliers, even did one issue of a newsletter. but the biggest thing we did was when we tried to raise money for it. i borrowed $100 from my sister and we went and bought krispy kreme donuts to sell. well, we sold them door to door telling whoever would listen what it was we were raising the money for. my boyfriend, tired of people not getting it, started telling them we were raising money for a church teen trip or something like that. so we sold them all. i gave my sister back her 100 and with the rest, well it sort of sat around for awhile. long enough for us to realize we probably weren't going to get this thing going. and i went and got myself some kickin' boots. ah well. at that time, a teen center was already open and it was pretty mainstream, but we went anyway and the few times they played INXS we took over the floor. i'm not kidding. we would start slamming around and everyone...everyone...moved back and made a circle around us to watch. ah, glory days. we went to that teen center this past halloween. i guess it had been almost 20 years since the last time i was there. and i danced my ass off...again. i still want to have a great place to go and dance. but i'd just want to dance to MY music. ya know?

anyone want to help start a radio station?

or a cool FAMILY dance place? wouldn't that be something different!!??Share

Saturday, December 01, 2007

my latest obsession

okay, i just stumbled across the best site. i thought projectplaylist was ubercool...until i started playing around on this site:

it's just a lot of fun to find music and create playlists. you can even journal. actually it's real similar to projectplaylist. but new toys are fun even if they're a lot like your old toys!!!

i think this is the link to my profile there:
it's not done yet, i just started it. i'll have to come back and work on it more later.

check it out and enjoy.Share

Thursday, November 29, 2007

what have we been up to?

it's been a long couple of weeks and it seems like we've been just busy busy busy all the time. silas turned 10 this month and we also celebrated our 13th anniversary (both events are on the same day). we had a nice thanksgiving with family, i helped my mom in the kitchen as much as possible without getting in the way too much. after dinner with my family, we went to visit scotty's brother who recently became a father to a beautiful baby boy...and got to see him for the first time. that was wonderful and emotional for me. a new baby always takes my breath away.

the weekend after thanksgiving was filled with meeting new people and learning new things at the ARGH get together (autodidactic radical gathering of homeschoolers). it was excitement from the minute we walked in the door of the rec center on the first night. we hadn't seen ren or her family since halloween and the kids were excited to play with them again. it was refreshing to spend time with other people who are trying to live an unschooled life, who are struggling with the bigger picture where it isn't just about "education." i learned a lot. one of the big things i have been struggling with is control where food is concerned. i came away from the weekend with renewed energy to focus on that issue and to know that it's MY issue and not anyone else's. and to let go just a little bit more. the first night was all about just meeting and playing some games. that was really really fun. i often have a hard time learning new games, it's a good thing there were so many kids and adults willing to tell me just one more time how to play them. finally, i just have to play to really get it. the next day was held at a different location where we had an ATC table, a video game station, lots of toys to choose from and rooms to play in and a kitchen for making ice cream in a bag. the structure was organic and we made it up as we went along. the kids saw the adults sitting around talking and writing on sticky notes and white boards and decided to go into one of the other rooms and do the same thing. it was awesome. the next day was a more informal gathering (is that possible?) at ren's house just to hang out. poor little jalen was sick but consented to have company. the kids played in and outside, playing dress up and board games. scotty got there around 7 or so and finally got to meet everyone, then we played the bean bag toss game which he loved. steve did our human design charts and explained them to us. we didn't leave until almost midnight. i was pooped out the next day and thought i was getting the flu but just needed to rest all day long.

so that's our life in a nutshell the last few weeks. just the highlights. because, of course, there's always much much more.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


i was emailing my bff and i thought "this might make a decent blog entry since i've been so lazy and not done one lately." i had this long rant in my mind of a post that was going to be really interesting about having gone to a homeschooling talk and how i got irritated and walked out. but i just got over it and didn't feel like it anymore. maybe some other time when my feathers are ruffled again, i'll share that story. but here's a bit from my email about dreams:

back to your question about dreams. "i have so many dreams. do you ever feel that way?" yes, i feel that way so often it hurts. i just want so much this life or that one. paths i might've taken. things that maybe i could still do on this path as well. i dream of having land. to build a house with my own two hands and have a garden. i also want a store front, a retail and gallery space for local arts and crafts. there's a space for rent and another space for sale in downtown jonesboro. i think about that a lot lately. i have a food wagon idea. i dream about being a singer/performer of some kind. i want to dance and being in this space right now i can't really. i danced my ass off at rascal's halloween eve though. fun dancing not lyrical/serious dancing. i dream of building cabins for a retreat of some sort but then i imagine it would be hard dealing with people in that way and i'm not sure. i dream of living completely alone. in a little house. with very little inside of it. a bed, a table, a lamp. and a studio room. and lots of flowers. i dream of having more children, which i won't but it comes to me sometimes that i might like to. i dream of writing. stories, songs, poems. i even dream (real ones while i'm asleep) that i've written an amazing song and i'm singing it and i've gotten it written down and at some point i realize it's a dream and i tell myself to try really hard to remember it when i wake up. but i never do.Share

Friday, November 02, 2007

our busy first month back home

well, i thought i would start off my coming back to blogger with a little bit about our first month back home again in tennessee.

we started out enjoying the mountains again right away. it is amazing how quickly (if you can call 3 years quick) that i forgot how beautiful it is here. the rivers and mountains took my breath away.

spending some quality time with friends and family was a long time coming as well. our 2nd week here we went to our first sofh group in years. and it was almost as if no time had passed. a new building and kids that did not really remember each other didn't stop everyone from feeling right at home.

the kids have gotten to spend tons of time with their cousins again. sometimes a mixed blessing, but always an experience to remember. and being able to grow up around family is something i really want them to have.

going hiking again is something we looked forward to but i was unsure whether we would actually get out and get back into that habit again. i shouldn't have worried. we have gone to the mountains almost every week, sometimes twice a week since getting back. i now realize how out of shape i've gotten walking around on perfectly flat ground.

next we met some new friends that we had only known briefly through email. and we are so glad we did. we have so much fun with them! we got together once at rock creek, played in the very dry pond making obos and taking lots and lots of pictures.

another big adventure was the cutting of silas' hair!! something i hadn't thought we would be doing so soon. but it was time. and he feels a lot better. and if this is even possible, he has more energy now!! he's enjoying being able to play with gel and spike his hair ocassionally. he's even talked about dying it blue sometime.

we made cookies with sofh and had a really great time meeting yet another great family (beth and her daughter elise, who decided that silas would be her boyfriend!) and got all sugared up!! i think i had just as much fun as the kids did (if not more) rolling out the dough and making cookies to decorate!!

and then there's the day we became slug and snail pet owners!! not much i can say about that except, it was more interesting than i thought it would be. we now have 3 cages of them, one has eggs in it and we're waiting to see what happens there.

and then FINALLY, FINALLY, we got together with our best friends in the mountains. the CG clan! and as usual, they made awesome food for us. cornbread that was all fresh ingredients right off the farm. beans that tasted so good i was almost sure there had to be lard in it...but there wasn't especially for us!! the kids played games and ran around outside and when it came time to go home, they didn't want to. i came away from the day with a very eye-opening lesson on what it really means to conserve water and it has been something i have carried with me every day since. implementing new ways to do things that i would not have thought of before.

halloween was celebrated in two days. on halloween eve we went to a family event at rascals teen center in kinsport. i hadn't been there in almost 20 years and i had just as much fun dancing as i did back then. the kids dressed up and had a really fun time running around the place, eating free pizza, doughnuts, and sodas. i ran into a friend from college AND a friend from high school and traded email addresses. samuel won the costume contest for his age group...very cool! he was the grim reaper, silas was a zombie, and sadie was a witch.

on halloween night, we got together with ren and her gang again for a wandering about in downtown jonesborough and then trick-or-treating in a nearby neighborhood. the kids got so much candy, and shared some with we big folks too old to go door-to-door. at ren's house the candy sorting began as they traded and organized their candy loot. we ate yummy bread and deliciously rich beans (you can't beat having so many friends who will feed you bread and beans!!)

we've gone to my nephew's baseball games and had backporch-firepit banana roasts with grandma. we've eaten at pal's at least 5 times already (we went without it for 3 years, so we had to catch up!). i've helped my dad fix things here and there, started a compost and recycling bin for them. we've learned how to live in a multi-generational home, and see it's benefits as well as it's drawbacks (mostly having to do with space). it's been a full month. i can't wait to see what's next!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

coming back to blogger

okay, i've decided that i'm going to try out blogger again for awhile since most of the people i know are on here as well. it's changed a lot since i last blogged here so i think it will probably be just as good as, but we'll just see!!Share