December 17, 2008

Escaping Reality

We're goat sitting through Christmas break for some friends of ours. They live only about 5minutes from us, but honestly, it feels like a whole 'nother world over there. They found a lovely little house that sits on a private lake, and is fully enveloped in tress.

It's heaven!

We love going over there. It's like a little retreat. An escape. You drive up the very hidden driveway, surrounded by trees, and instantly all the stresses of the day seem to melt away.

They told us we are more then welcome to stay there the entire time they're gone if we'd like, and actually, we just may take them up on that!!

We got the blood work results back. Larson's levels are absolutely spot on, no deficiencies whatsoever!!!! And since he was the one this report alleged was malnourished - well, is it absolutely clear now that the report was filed simply out of hateful spite?!?? Both Rylan and Owen are ever so slightly anemic (really, very very slightly - just a point and a half off for both of them). The Dr wasn't concerned in the least. Anemia is not at all uncommon in younger children (even the meat eating ones, lol). The younger a kid is, the more likely they are to be picky about their food, hence, not getting as much of a certain vitamin as an older sibling may be getting. She told us it's nothing to worry about right now because both of their numbers are SO close to the "normal" range, most likely they'll outgrow it as they get older. There are many raw foods that are loaded with iron, and several of them both of the kids really like, so I'll just give them each an extra helping of those things, and I'm sure we'll be good to go. :-D

Even though I knew my children were all healthy, this whole situation had me SOOOO stressed out, so it is SUCH a relief to know the results!

Still no word from our caseworker!

Still unsure whether or not this drs physical, along with the bloodwork results, will be sufficient enough for dss.

Still not sure when this mess will be over.

So, yes, I think we will spend atleast a few days over at our friends peaceful sanctuary. Unwind, de-stress, and have some much needed quality bonding time with my family ... reading books, walking through the trees, going on the boat, having a bon fire! Ahhhhhh

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE goats!!! I've wanted my own goats for YEARS now, but we've never been anywhere with enough room. So, this will be a treat. Woot!

December 16, 2008

Is there an end in sight?!

My birthday was yesterday, and my sweet husband decided he would throw me a surprise party at a friends house. The kicker is - he actually kept it a surprise, as did ALL three of my kids! Now, I knew something was up, they're not that good - haha, but I wasn't sure what. I was thinking possibly a surprise party, but then I thought "nah, it's a monday night, he wouldn't do it on a Monday night". Haaa, yea right!

I had a good time. I am so SO lucky to have such great friends around me. I looked awful (crying on and off for the entire day), and I'm sure I was a bit distant at times (I just can't stay focused lately). It sucks! This dss bullshit is sucking the life right out of me (yes, that's right, this mess isn't over with yet). I had a therapy appt earlier in the day, so I was a huge puddle of tears during that. Then I got home to find out our caseworker has yet again tried to sabotage us (he'll tell us one thing, and then he'll tell his supervisor something else). He told us, again, that he would be making a drs appt for the kids, and to wait for the information on when they would be (and this time we actually called him every stinkin day to get the information, however, he never answers his phone, and we never once got a phone call back!!!!). He then tells his supervisor, as well as the social worker on post that is now also involved, that he has been waiting on US to make that appt, and we haven't yet done so. WTF!!! I can't take much more of this. It's stressing me the hell out. And see, now it's interfering with my partying .... this shit has GOT to end! haha! (ok, ok, I know using humor to mask pain wont make it go away, :-P)

The social worker that is now involved ... dss contacted the family advocacy center on post a couple of weeks ago, and they called Nicks command to schedule a mandatory mtg with Nick. He went in and said he would really prefer his wife be present during the mtg. She agreed that would be a great idea.

Sooo, we went in to talk to her. She basically just wanted to know what was going on. She heard the side from dss, and she was interested in hearing our side of things. So, we explained everything to her. We gave her the run down on our family, what we believe in, the things we do, etc. We explained the way we've been treated by our case worker, the lack of information we're getting, and our feeling that the report was filed simply to hurt us.

She met our children, very informally, and then expressed to us that she didn't see anything that would be cause for concern regarding them (they're all very outgoing, friendly kids who were talking her ears off, haha).

She said that we could go ahead and schedule physicals for all three of the kids through the hospital on post, and she would get in touch with her poc at DSS (our caseworkers supervisor) to see if the information gathered in those physicals would be sufficient enough for their investigation ... so the kids wouldn't have to go through a DSS dr. Wouldn't that be great!?

Those appts were scheduled for last friday. We don't yet have the bloodwork results back yet (hopefully today. The dr who saw the kids is on leave, so it's been difficult finding another dr to read us the results. Sounds like such a simple request, right? I don't know why they have to make it so difficult!), but the regular physicals went very well. My "malnourished" son fell in the 50th percentile for weight. Now, I don't put much stock in those charts - but I know a lot of people do, so... that's a big deal.

Baring any shocking report in the blood work - this better damn well be enough to bring this investigation to an END!!!

This has been such a hellish nightmare.
One that HAS actually caused my children to have nightmares.
How friggin sad is that?!

December 2, 2008

A Family on the Run: We'll soon be a lifetime movie!

No, we're not actually on the run.
Not yet anyway!

The irony in all of this is that JUST yesterday I let myself breathe for a minute. I looked at the calendar, realized that Dec 21st (the 45 day mark - the day this investigation would be over by, unless they filed to extend for 15 days) is getting closer and closer, and I let myself breathe a sigh of relief. We hadn't heard ANYTHING more from DSS after that initial visit. I was taking that as a good sign. I wasn't letting myself get excited about it, but in order to calm myself, I kept repeating "no news is good news" ... over and over and over again.

Haaa, not so much

Our case worker, lets just call him Dick (it fits him - he is SUCH an ass!!!), stopped by last night. Nick answered the door, and Dick shoved a stack full of medical consent forms into his hands and said "we need to get these signed". That's it, that's what he said. No desire to explain, just an abrasive "sign these". Nick took the papers and said "I'd like to take these to JAG (military legal aid) tomorrow to let them look over the wording before we sign anything". Dick, again, just as he did that first day, became very impatient and agitated with us. He grabbed the paperwork back from Nick and said "Since you guys are being uncooperative, I'll be filing a petition with the court first thing in the morning", and he turned to get back in his car. Nick was like "wait a second, we're not being uncooperative, we just want to have some legal advice before we sign these".

The paperwork that was given to us, BY HIM, in the beginning states, very clearly, IN BOLD LETTERS, that we should NOT sign anything that hasn't been fully explained to us, or anything that we don't understand or know our choices for. THAT is the right we were trying to exercise last night. Dick wasn't allowing it. Since we didn't sign right there, on the spot, he's petitioning the courts this morning. Probably already has, I don't know, we've been unable to get a hold of him or his supervisor this morning to try and clarify some of this crap!

I stepped outside when Dick was getting ready to leave again last night, and thats when Dicks co-worker came out of the car as well. She took the paperwork back from Dick to look through it. She asked what it all was, and why there were so many forms. Dick informed her (not us!!) that the clinic faxed over all of the consent and medical record forms to fill out at home, as opposed to in the office for the actual appt time, because we (neither nick or I) will be allowed to take our children to their appt... someone else will.


He never fucking told us that! He doesn't tell us ANYTHING!! He doesn't answer most of our questions, in fact he often cuts us off before we can even finish asking whatever it is we are asking.

So he's talking to his co-worker about "the perpetrators" (oh, isn't that really fucking nice!! I'm now referred to as a perpetrator!!!) not being allowed to take their children, and I interjected with a "Why?" Completely and utterly dumbfounded here, because seriously, WTF! I could understand such policies if there were sexual abuse, or physical abuse, or mental abuse, or other charges of the like. I could understand the need to make the child feel more safe and comfortable without the parents (the perpetrators) there, in order for the kids to talk more openly and honestly about their situations ... but in our case?! In a case about educational and nutritional neglect?! Why???? They'll confirm with our homeschool association that we are in fact registered and lawfully homeschooling, so that should clear up the educational neglect charge. And the nutritional neglect charge will be based on a standard head to toe physical examination... I mean, really, how is our being present, even if just in a waiting room, going to hinder that in ANY way?! UGH UGH UGHHHHHHHH!!!

He wouldn't answer me as to why. When I asked who would be escorting my child, he simply said "I don't know". Nice, thanks!! The co-worker gave us the number to the clinic if we had any more questions. Nick called them this morning - I'll get to that in a minute.

Dick again told us if the papers weren't signed, he would be petitioning the court this AM. We again explained that we were not going to sign them until we had legal aid look over them. We're trying to make sure our family's best interests are being protected, and to do that, we want to run everything through legal, get advice, and know our options before doing ANYTHING! One of the first papers he gave us to sign the first time he was here was worded in a way that sounded so self incriminating. He explained that the form was simply to waive our financial responsibility for things like medical appts etc that they schedule for us. Seems harmless, right? and it very well may have been, but like i said, the wording was just so sketchy. We didn't sign it, and never received a copy of it, so I'm not sure of the exact wording, but it said something to the effect of "I am financially unable to provide necassary medical care for my children" ... I mean, doesn't that just sound self incriminating?! Like admitting that we can't afford to take care of our childrens medical needs. Again, sure, it may have been innocent, but we're just not taking any chances! So, no, we didn't sign it.

The co-worker, noticing the date that our case was opened, asked US why it was taking so long. WTFFFF!?!!! Like we have ANY control over the length of THEIR investigation! Dick announced, just then, that he didn't have our phone number, and as such, has been unable to get us pertinent information regarding our case. He went on to say that he had already scheduled Larson an appt, and that it was actually scheduled for earlier in the day yesterday, but since he didn't have our number, he was unable to let us know about it. Mind you, this was all said in a very "blame-ful" (yes, I'll make up words if I want to, ha) fashion. Like it was our goddamned fault that he didn't have our phone number. I had no effing idea! I could have sworn it was on the initial paperwork that we filled out, but I could be mistaken. Making sure there was a box on the form labeled "phone number" was not really my focus at the time, ya know. It was HIS responsibility to get all the information HE was going to need in order to do HIS investigation. When I pointed this out to him (in a nice, polite way. I know I can big an extremely opinionated, loud mouthed, cussing biatch when I'm blogging ... but I know how to reign it in if need be, and I do. I'm good at it, haa) He went on to say that we should have called, and proceeded to judge us as parents. Saying that if it were him, and his family were being investigated, he would have made several calls to see where they were in the investigation.


The very LAST thing he said to us during that initial visit was "ok, I'm requiring that larson be seen by one of our drs. Wait for the phone call about when that appt will be"

Sooo, that is EXACTLY what we were doing. WAITING for that phone call. Believe me, it was hard. I handed Nick the phone THAT very next Monday (they came on a Thursday) to call to see what was going on, but then I said "No, never mind, I need to force myself to be patient (I can be extremely impatient, and I didn't want that to be detrimental). Dick said to just wait, lets listen to him and just wait". And now he is fucking judging us for that and using it against us!!!


They eventually left, after again reminding us he would be petitioning the court first first in the morning.

Sooo, I had a HUGE freak out session last night after they left. I mean, seriously, I'm at my brink!!! The idea that someone would be coming here, loading my kids (or just larson, we don't know, our caseworker absolutely refuses to inform us of anything) in their car, and taking them to the dr. What if they just don't bring them back?! I'm not letting it happen. I just can't. I cannot hand my kids over to someone. I can't. I wont.

Nick called the clinic this morning to find out why we weren't being allowed to being our children, and what we could do to dispute that. The lady he talked to was at least nice. Informative. Answered his questions. She explained that it is their policy, backed by the county of Richland, that for dss cases like this (where there are any kind of reported charges, no matter the type), the accused are not allowed on the grounds during any examination. Sooo, there really is no way around that. Nick asked who would be taking him, and she said it's usually the caseworker. So first, if that's the regular policy, our caseworker damn well knew it, and just didn't want to explain it to us. Secondly, since it's usually the caseworker that takes them, Dick also fucking knew that, and again, didn't tell us, and didn't feel the need to answer when questioned. I am so pissed! Nick asked if we could arrange for a family member (my grandma is ready to fly here within a couple hours of a phone call telling her we need her), or a friend could take them, and she said that that does happen often, but we would have to coordinate that with DSS. Coordinate with the jackass who is SO unwilling to work with us... yea, I can just see how far we're going to get with that.

Nick has our caseworkers supervisors number, and he has been trying to get a hold of him all day. No luck yet. We're hoping that we can find someone who is willing to work with us at DSS, and not just try to bulldozer over us.

We want to cooperate. We're not trying to be shits. We really want to do what we can to help this investigation move as quickly as possible, so we can move on from this. But we just wont sign any ol paper that gets thrown at us. THAT wouldn't be responsible. I'm also not ok with just anyone taking my kids out of this house for ANY reason. I'm perfectly ok with the full physical that needs to be performed. I understand. I can even make myself ok with the fact that policy states we're not allowed to take him ourselves. If we can't work out a solution that allows a friend or family member to take him/them ... I just don't know what we're going to do. Really, I don't.

Nick went to JAG again, and they quickly and emphatically advised us to get a lawyer as quickly as possible. So, I guess that's what we're doing now. I was really hoping it wouldn't come to this. We just don't have the funds. But, we'll find a way. One of the head ladies at JAG as a list of attorneys that work closely with military and are well versed with DSS cases. She's getting that to us this afternoon, so....

I am really feeling lost right now.

If the person who started all of this is still reading (I have my ideas) ... is this what you hoped would happen? Did you think far enough ahead to know all of this was a possibility? Are you consumed by guilt yet? Then CONFESS!! Come to me and talk to me about it!

December 1, 2008


don't you sometimes feel the need to just

yea, that's about where I am ...

November 11, 2008

We have been invaded

My myspace blog was the victim of my immediate raw emotions. Now that I am somewhat more calm and collected (haa, yea right) I've decided to blog here as well. I don't feel as though I've gotten it all out yet (though, I probably never will, and I'm sure this post will be just as scattered as I start getting heated again!)

DSS is investigating our family right now!

Last Thursday, while the kids and I were enjoying an afternoon of cracker making and smoothie drinking, DSS came knocking at the door. Apparently someone called in a report against us. The allegations ... threat of harm to the children in the house by lack of education, lack of nutrition, and neglect.

The report specifically said that the children aren't in school, and they know for a fact that Melissa does not homeschool (yes, that's right, JUST Melissa. Not both Melissa and Nick ... just ME). It goes on to say that Melissa has a radical raw vegan diet that she is forcing upon her children, and because of that, Larson (the oldest) looks extremely malnourished.

If I weren't so well aware of many stories, JUST like this, not ending well ... I'd laugh at the pure absurdity of it!

The level of spite some people can have. The report was just sooo ... mean spirited and vindictive. Filled with details about our lives that some nosey neighbor wondering why our kids weren't in school (we just moved, so we have new neighbors) just wouldn't know. So, it's someone that knows us. Probably not personally, because anyone that has been around my family knows how completely ludicrous this is ... it has to be someone who follows my blogs, and that just makes my blood boil!!

I follow the homeschooling law in SC to the letter. We chose a method that isn't as "mainstream" as your typical homeschooler, but we ARE within the boundaries of the law. If someone had a concern, a real genuine concern for my children, I would have gladly tried to answer questions to put their mind at ease. If their concern was for my children, they should have tried to talk to us first. Perhaps get to know my kids to see if their fears of "educational neglect" were even founded, before sicking the wolves on us!

Same with the food situation. Everyone needs to eat to survive, simple as that, we just happen to chose to eat differently then the majority of Americans. THAT alone shouldn't be basis for a criminal investigation, and I find it completely and utterly ridiculous that it is!!! If our family ate meat, and this report happened to be filed by a Vegan, ridiculing our decision to eat chicken, and the harm that such a decision is having on our children ... you can bet your ass it never would have gone this far. Discrimination is astounding.

Again, if you have concern for one of my children, talk to us about. Get to KNOW Larson, and then try to tell me, or anyone else, that he looks or acts even slightly malnourished. Yes, he's skinny. Extremely skinny. He's a VERY TALL LANKY kid, just like I was when I was younger, just like his father was when he was younger (although, Dad wasn't nearly as tall and was actually much mroe skinny that Larson, haha)... it's just the way he's built right now!

I get concern. Really, I do. I'm glad there are people out there who are concerned for the well being of children. However, before you put a family through hell, before you scare the shit out of the children involved, before you start the process that could very well end in devastation (we all know how close-minded our country can be) ... why not make sure your allegations are valid!!!! Especially when you know there is no immediate harm being done - take the friggin time to try and talk to the family, get to know the kids, and then see if you still feel the same way.

The fact that this report was against JUST ME, along with the vindictive wording used ... it's very possible this was just someone trying to hurt me. I wish I could figure out who would do such a thing, but I keep coming up empty. When our case is ruled unfounded, since we have reason to believe the report was filed simply to hurt us, apparently there are steps we can take to "counter - attack" so to speak. They came into my home, looked through my fridge, my cabinets, my pantry, checked to see where the kids sleep, and then talked to Larson, outside, alone. Larson is going to have to undergo a physical with one of their Drs. All three of my children are afraid that DSS is going to try to take them away (I continue to try and reassure them. Telling them that the workers at DSS are wonderful people who do everything they can to help protect children that are being hurt. I tell them that we have nothing to worry about it, because we haven't done anything wrong" But they're smart kids, they know anything is possible. In their words " you never know what people are thinking, even if it's not true"! They are absolutely correct! Add even if the charges are unfounded, this will remain on my record for FIVE years!!! So, you bet we're going to take the steps to counter attack. If we can only get so far with DSS, will bring it to our lawyer and take it as high as we can.

Like I said, I am very well aware that a lot of these cases (families straying from mainstream America) do not end well. DSS has up to 60 days to investigate the charges against us, and determine whether they're indicated or unfounded. We wait, for up to 60 days, to find out what someones OPINION of our family will be, and what the ramifications of that opinion mean for us. An OPINION!!!

Ughhhhhhhhhh!!! I am feeling so completely hurt and betrayed.

November 5, 2008

Change is in the Air!!!

Can you feel it? Can you taste it?

Hopeful, optimistic, grateful, joyous, encouraged ... all great feelings to wake up with. I'm feeling so - sunny!!!

I am so very optimistic about the future of this country.

I cannot wait to get started, and see where we go.

Obama is a very inspiring man, with brilliant ideas, and a character that will work tirelessly to make those ideas become reality. I am proud to have supported him throughout his campaign. I am proud to have cast my vote for him. I am proud to call him my next President.

As soon as the race was called for Obama, my children all squealed and let out whoops of joy for Obama! What a wonderful memory for them to have.

For the McCain supporters, again, I'm sorry. I know how disappointed you must be feeling. I've felt it for the past 2 elections. I poured my heart into Gore, and wished beyond words for him be elected. I believe in that man so entirely, his vision, and to have that taken away - it hit me hard. I also supported Kerry. He wasn't the candidate I would have liked to have been chosen for our nominee, but once he won that position, and I got to know him, and his stance, I fully supported him, and again - that ended in utter disappointment. So I get it. And I'm sorry.

As for the bitterness that just doesn't seem to be dying down, only worsening, it's just not helpful to anyone. Jumping on a piss box, and spewing hate and disgust isn't helping this country that you claim to love so much, is it? Be disappointed, be unhappy, even be discouraged ... but also get to know Obama. So many of the things I hear nay sayers saying are just so completely inaccurate, or so skewed that they no longer hold any validity. So much speculation and uneducated guesses are being thrown around as fact, and the majority of them just aren't true. So that leads me to believe that many of you haven't fully researched Obama. Perhaps you completely disagree with one or two of his positions, and so you determined he wasn't your candidate, got behind McCain, and refused to learn anything else about Obama. Look into it, I am fairly certain you'll be able to find some common ground. Not 100% I'm sure, even I don't stand on 100% common ground with the man, but I would wager a bet that you'll find a piece there that you can agree on, and that's a start, right? You love this country, well here is your chance to not abandon it. You may not like the elected official, but you are still part of of our nation ... jump off the pissy soap box, and lets find a way to work together!

As to answer a few very specific grievances that I've been hearing/reading that sort of relate to me in one way or another.......

The first is that the vast majority of votes for Obama were cast for no reason other then he's black. I did not vote for Obama because he's black. That wasn't a factor in my decision whatsoever. He had my support and my vote in the primaries, but there were a few months before that where I was unsure if I would vote for him. I was up in the air between Obama and Clinton (and no, not because she is a woman). It wasn't until I found out exact where they stand on every issue, the ones important to me, as well as the ones that I didn't really care much about, that I got fully behind Obama. I support and voted for Obama because I agree with most of what he believes in. Because I admire, trust, and respect him, not only as a person, but also his politics. He is the man that I fully believe will bring respect back to our country. He's the man that will inspire pride to return to a lot of us. He is the man that will set us back on the road that we strayed so far from. I fully researched him, his position, his voting record, etc ... and THAT is where he earned my vote. The color of his skin is irrelevant to me. The color of ANYONES skin has always, and will always be irrelevant to me.

The second greivance is about military pay suffering. I am a military wife. My husband has served this country for almost 11 years, so this issue effects me directly! Although this is all just speculation, I'll play along and answer ... I really, and I do mean REALLY could not care less if we don't get the yearly pay raises that we were seeing with the Bush administration. Yes, more money was nice, and yes, I do think that on a whole, the pay system in the military is no where near sufficient enough for the sacrifices we have to make, but I would gladly have not accepted those pay raises if it had meant putting that money to alternative fuel and renewable energy. If it meant that the future of the polar bears, and every other living being on this planet would be protected by fiercely working to overcome the effects of global warming. If it meant funding for schools didn't have to drastically be cut, forcing many elective and art programs to be canceled. If it meant many programs within the military itself, for family support, didn't have to be cut because there was just no funding available. If it meant children didn't have to die of curable illness and disease simply because their parents didn't have health care available to them. To be living in an economy that is teetering on the edge of utter disaster, in a debt so huge it's hard to see a way out ... really, a steady pay raise is the last thing on my mind. I could go on and on, but I think I made my point.

More pay is nice, yes, but at what cost? For me, the sacrifice was far, far too great. I am grateful that my family has a steady job and a constant income, if it means our income will not be going up at the rate it once was - that's fine with me. Really, it is. There are real huge problems in this country that need to be addressed, and the cost to ignore those problem because there is no funding available is just way to great!

I know that concept is probably hard for a lot of Republicans to understand. I know one of your biggest platforms is to lower taxes, and raise pay. Sure, in theory, that all sounds nice. Make more money, sweet! Not have to pay as many taxes, friggin awesome! But once those dollar signs leave your eyes, and you actually see the impact of decisions such as those, it's just not worth it! Again, the sacrifices to make that happen are far too great, and I will be the first to say I'll be HAPPY to restructure our family's budget without those pay raises in order to help our country take care of itself, to give my children a world that is thriving, not dying.

November 4, 2008

We have spoken!!! We have been heard!!!

We are ready for Change! And damnit, we are going to get it!!!

GO OBAMA! The next President of the United States!

I am so unbelievably excited and hopeful. What a great night in our history. One that even my children are relishing.

** it really is a shame that all the nasty bitterness is already flooding the web (we're watching the live coverage online). Even Rylan, my 6 yr old is noticing it, and wondering why people were being so mean spirited.
Pretty sad!

An edit really quickly to add a response I left to address the people who have read this blog, and have told me they ARE disappointed, upset, and bitter, and feel they have every right to express it, just as they are sure I would if the results went the other way. I want to post my response to that here in order to clarify, and possibly end the msgs I've been getting, haha ...

You are absolutely correct, I would have been very disappointed if Obama had lost. And you are also absolutely correct, you have every right to feel and say whatever you please, that's the biggest reason I love this country as much as I do. I share my very opinionated voice all the friggin time, haa.

I would like to think if Obama had lost, I would have been disappointed, yes. And disappointment doesn't even seem like a strong enough word for what I'm sure I would have been feeling, but I honestly don't think I'd go off on the McCain supporters, saying things like "you people just sent us all to hell", or "way to go, liberals (like that's a bad word or something), you just took my military pay with you on this wave of change, good luck with that". Etc...

That's where it gets sad to me. McCain showed a whole lot of class. For the most part, I respect him as a person, I always have, I just don't respect his politics - he wasn't the candidate for me. So, I don't think I would have gone on to throw personal attacks around on the people who support him.

I'm truly am sorry for the McCain supporters. I truly did feel heartache during McCains speech. I know he loves this country. I know he wants nothing but the best for America. It just isn't the image that the majority of the people in the US want, and that's ok. They were both very different, and only one could win.

All of that to say, being disappointed, of course that is entirely understandable (even if it drags on longer then just tonight ... I'm sure I would have had a deflated sail for a while) ... but the constant hate and meanness is something that I just don't appreciate.


My children are almost excited as I am about Election Day. If you ask them, they see no reason why people their age aren't allowed to vote. According to them 'We're part of this world, too. We should be able to pick who we want to take care of us, right?"

While they weren't allowed to legally vote in this election, they did throw their support to Obama, and quietly wispered their hope that everyone else in line was going to vote for him, too.

While in line, Larson was reading one of his new Magic Tree House books. He brought it with because, in his words "this voting thing will probably take a while". Once he was finished reading it, Owen quickly grabbed it, upside down of course, and started laughing hysterically. Apprently he opened up to a very funny section of the book. Haa, everyone in line got a good chuckle out of that. Rylan was quite content to hang by myside and take it all in. He knew the enormity of the day, of the outcome, and he was just as in awe as I was.

At some point I stepped in a glob of paint - where it came from, I have no idea. It was all over the bottom of my shoe, shoved up into the arch and everything. Ugh. Critical Thinking to the rescue ... "Mom, go stick your shoe in that puddle over there". Great idea! It worked to get some of it off. Rylan advised that I use one of the pinecone to scrape of the thick glob. What another great idea. It actually worked to get most of it off, and then back to the puddle I went to rinse off the rest. Ahhh, my thoughtful children saved the sidewalk from becoming speckled with white paint.

Once up to the machine, all three of them were eager to be involved. Rylan and Owen went with dad, and Larson came with me. He was reading the screen right along with me, and let out an excited gasp when he finally got to Obama/Biden. "There he is, Mom, there he is, push that one". I did. He and I went through the rest of the ballot, and then very carefully looked over the review screen. He checked, double checked, and then triple checked to make sure that it was infact OBAMA we were voting for. "You never know when those machines might mess up, so it's always best to look a lot of times, Mom". He's absolutely right! We hit the cast ballot button, smiled, gave eachother a fist bump, and went to wait outside with the other two.

What a wonderful process to share with them.

The rest of the afternoon, after Dad had to return to work, was spent making election day cookies (all three of them helped with ingredient ideas (we didn't use a recipe), measurements, blending, seperating into even balls, and dehydrating), talking about past presidents, talking about the changes we hope come to this country when and if Obama becomes elected, and coloring our own US Flags.

We don't have tv programming in the house, so we watched the election coverage through cnn/live online. I had printed out a US map for us to color the states either red or blue as they were called, but in the excitement I completely forgot about that. Hmmph! Will have to remember to use that in another 4 years, haha. As soon as Obama was the projected winner, they all let out a squeal of excitement. "We DID it! WE DID IT"!!!

An absolutely amazing night in our country's history, and my children were able to be a part of it.

Jesus was a Left-Wing Radical Jew, Murdered by People like you

I'm not a Christian and I don't believe in God. I'm agnostic, so I'm not denying the possibility that one may exist, it's just not something I really choose to believe in. I am, however, very schooled on Christianity and the Bible, and while on a whole I completely and utterly disagree with the teachings, there are a few stories (and yes, I do think the Bible is nothing more then a compilation of fictional stories, much like Harry Potter or the Sneetches) that really resonate with me. This song describes the version of Christianity that see when I read the stories in the Bible, or when I hear people talking about God, Jesus, Religion, Etc ....

Listen to it (I have almost nonstop since it was released, haha, I love it!) And I mean really listen to it, hear the words.

Jesus Was a Democrat, by Everclear

Jesus Christ didn't have blue eyes or blond hair
He looked just like all those people that you want to kill
You can spin your hell into a heaven you can sell
Make it look like California with a bible belt
Jesus didn't look like the boy next door
Unless you lived in Palestine
I wonder what you mean by the golden rule
I think it is a scary play on words
I wonder what they taught you back in Sunday school

I bet you think of him
As a nice clean long haired Republican, nah
He'd be all locked up in Guantanamo Bay
If he were alive today
He'd be a revolutionary
Wanted by the CIA

I picture him in all the wrong places
Finding diamonds in the dirt
A star of David tattoo
And a Che t-shirt
Jesus was a left wing radical Jew
Murdered by people like you

If Jesus was a Democrat
Like the bible says he was
I don't think he'd take the blame
For the awful things you people do and say in his name

If Jesus was alive today
He would be sad to see it's no different then it used to be
He is going to call you out
I'm pretty god damned sure .....
That he's going to be angry
He's going to be angry

You want to know what I think?.......

I think Jesus would have been a card carrying liberal
If he were a young man born in the USA

Wouldn't be "fiscally conservative"
And he wouldn't vote for John McCain
All those so called Christians that you see on TV
Maybe they scare Jesus like they scare me
Kick em the hell out of my temple too
Too many elephants in the room

If Jesus was a Democrat
Like the bible says he was
I don't think he'd take the blame
For the awful things you people do and say in his name

If Jesus was alive today
He would be sad to see it is no different than it used to be
He is going to call you out
I'm pretty god damned sure......
That he's going to be....mad
I think he's going to be....angry
I think he's going to be....mad
I think he's going to be....mad

You say Jesus loved the little children
And I say I know that's true
I say he loved all the Muslims and the Jews
All the addicts and the porn stars too
You say Jesus died to save us all from a fiery hell
I say Jesus died to save us
Save us from ourselves
Will you save me from myself?

If Jesus was a liberal
Like the red letters say he was
I know that he'd have big love for all the killers and the racists
And the bullies in this world

If Jesus was alive today
And you had a chance to meet him face to face
I am God-damned sure that you and your friends
Would find some way to kill him all over again
I think you'd kill him all over again
Again and again and again
Just like you always do
You do just what you always do

October 30, 2008

Even the Elephant are turning

So, what do you do when even your mascot crosses the isle?! Perhaps they'll start robo-calling zoos, now?

Yes, posting this was absolutely necessary!! If for no other reason then my own amusement, lol :-P

Hey, I've had a really, Really, REALLY bad day ... this helped!! haha.

October 29, 2008

Rekindling an Old Flame

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom ~Albert Einstein

We're an unschooling family. I used to just love talking about this lifestyle. I was filled with so much enthusiasm and passion, and I just wanted to shout it from the rooftops! But, not lately. I've gotten so used to *not* talking about it. Tired of the condescending looks that just dripped with judgement, I suppose. I can only take so many of those encounters before I retreat a little bit.

I've also had sporadic moments here and there where I've really struggled with our decision to unschool. Even with our decision to homeschool, period. It's not easy... stepping outside of "mainstream" and forging our own path. Especially where our children are concerned. It can kick up many moments of doubt and insecurity. During those times, it's especially difficult to find yourself in a situation where you being looked at as though you've sprouted an extra head. You're already feeling insecure enough all on your own, you certainly don't need judgement that confirms all of your worst fears.

So, I've lost the enthusiasm and passion that I once felt so strongly. I still entirely believe in this way of life, in this way of learning, I just haven't been eager to share it. I've been questioned a bit lately, out of pure curiosity, and I haven't really been elaborating too much.

I don't like that!

I want to find the fire, so I'm going to blog about unschooling today, as scattered as my thoughts will probably be right now, and hope that gets the flame really burning again.

Why do we unschool? So many reasons, but let me start with ... we are letting our children have a voice in their own lives. We're not forcing them into an institution for the majority of their awake day. An institution that embraces uniformity and discourages individuality. We wont allow them to waste their entire childhood conforming to what everyone else thinks they should be doing, only to spend the next several years trying to find out who THEY are, separate from everyone else. It's a practice that just does not resonate with me. They are able to fully and freely explore themselves, as individuals NOW, without the pressure of "being like everyone else, knowing what everyone else knows, doing what everyone else does".

The idea that each child needs to know how to read by age XX, or should know multiplication by age XX, or should be able to recognize world geography by age XX, etc, etc, etc ... it's just absurd to me. We're each so very different, and as adults, we're quick to jump to that conclusion, so why are we trying so hard to force our children to be exactly on target with everyone else in their "peer group"? What happens if they're not? They fail, right? What kind of life lesson is that? If you're not like everyone else, you're a failure. WHY would we want that for our children?

Our children are learning because they WANT to learn, not because they are being FORCED to learn. They don't memorize facts that they could care less about, just to pass a test. My kids learn facts because they are interested in the subject matter. My children have an internal drive to want to learn, to want to accomplish things, to want to do the things that make them happy. They are doing it for themselves, not for anyone else. They are becoming the people THEY want to be, not the people society says they SHOULD be. They aren't having their natural, instinctual passion for learning beat out of them with teaching to pass tests, standardized anything, grading scales to show "how smart you are", ridicule, etc.

My kids are still pretty young, so they may want more structure when they're older, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. Right now we are letting them pursue whatever passion they have. Larson is 9, and he has been into human anatomy for several years now. He far surpassed the knowledge I had on the subject quite a while ago, lol. Now we learn it together. Rylan is 6, and he has a love for dinosaurs that is borderline obsessive, haha. He has since he was 2. He knows all of their names; even I struggle with remembering those darn names, lol. There isn't much at all in the house that the kids can't touch, play with, learn from. One day Larson decided he wanted to learn how a vacuum cleaner worked. We let him take apart our 1200 dollar kirby, so he could get that knowledge for himself, hands on, rather then out of some text book.

They seek out things that he wants to learn about. He taught himself how to read, because he loves books! We have read to our kids since they were all still in the womb, so they've always been exposed to words. One day it clicked with him, and he took off with it. He loves reading. Rylan is learning how to read right now for no other reason then to be able to copy my picks in football. Each year our family does football picks (we have a list of all games played each week, and we each pick who we think will win each game). At the end of each season, I have come out WAY ahead EVERY year since we started this tradition, haha. Rylans knows this, so he is determined to read my picks before it's his turn, so that he'll be able pick the same teams, and then he'll win, too! Smart kid, lol! Larson is learning math, not because he has an interest in math per se, but simply because he wants to be able to calculate his allowance, see how it all breaks down, so he'll know how much he's able to spend (they are only allowed to spend 50% of their earnings. 25% goes into their savings, and the other 25% goes into our charity jar that we give each month). He didn't really have much desire to sit and learn math until a situation came up (money, haha) where he found he needed to know how to work with numbers. Simple as that.

Think about everything you were forced to learn in school. Do you even remember a fraction of the stuff?? Or was it more of remembering facts, short term, in order to pass the tests? When my kids learns things... they WANT to learn them, so the information actually sticks. They aren't wasting their time learning things they'll never remember, or don't care about. They are learning the things that will help them pursue the lives they want to lead.

Sure, they may be behind in some areas that public school kids are expected and forced to know by now. Larson struggles a bit with spelling/writing words. He can read them just fine, but when he tries to write the same words down, he struggles some. He is making marked improvement, however, not out of fear of failing or being made fun of, but because he WANTS to. But they're also advanced in some areas that public school kids their age aren't even being exposed to right now, because it's out of their grade level (like the human anatomy and dinosaurs ...).

A lot of people give me the argument of "well, if they want to learn about something not yet covered for their grade level, why can't they just pursue them out of school".

When Larson spent those 4 months in kinder, he had to wake up at 6-6:30am for him to be to school by 7:30, and then we got home at about 2:20pm. After a snack, homework, dinner, chores, bath .... it was almost time for bed again at 7 (we had to move his bedtime to 7, from 8:30, because he was just so exhausted). There wasn't much time to pursue the things that he wanted to. On the weekends, he didn't want to do anything that might even resemble learning, because it had become a chore to him. It was work. It was something he was forced to do for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, and it wasn't fun for him anymore. Before he went into Kinder, he LOVED learning new things. In kinder ... I could already see that fire in him diminishing. In just 4 months! Sure, he had a really crappy teacher that put him down and made him feel like he wasn't good enough, so perhaps on average it takes longer then 4 months, but why put your kid into a system that causes that kind of damage - no matter how long it takes? It's really very sad.

I've been told, many times, that I'm setting my children up to fail. I've been lectured (yes, with a wagging finger and everything) "shame on me, I'm letting my boys slip through the cracks". I've even been told parents aren't qualified to teach their children. Wait, What? How are parents not qualified? Would it be fair to say, that as a parent, we know our children better then anyone? Fair to say that we love our children more then anyone else could? Also fair to say that we want the absolute best for our children? Assuming all of that is accurate, please tell me how we would ALLOW ourselves to let our children slip through the cracks with unschooling? We wouldn't! We're in tune with our children. We know what our children's passions are. We help them pursue those passions to the depths of their souls. Slipping through the cracks? No, I don't think so.

I've also gotten the argument that we're "babying" them by not sending them to school. That we're not letting them face "the real world", and when they are finally turned loose "out there", they'll be completely lost and unable to take care of themselves. I've even been told that being bullied is an important part of growing up! Why is that again? And this "real world" that they talk about, are my children not living in it now? Apparently not, because it seems only adults can be in "the real world". I guess it's their opinion that children are just in dress rehearsal waiting for "the real world" to come along. In any event, how is going to a school relevant to being ready for "the real world"? In "the real world", are adults herded along according to age group? Not allowed to talk or communicate with one another? Ridiculed if they get an answer wrong? Of course not. Life involves people of all ages, all backgrounds, living and learning together. If you encounter a bully in the adult world, you can do some thing about it. Call the police. File a report. In a school system kids are made to feel as though they have to "suck it up", "it's part of life". Why? Why is bullying part of life?

I also get the college argument quite often. How our kids wont possibly be prepared college. Or "if unschooled kids only do the things they want to do, they wont succeed in college" (pre-requisites and all).

Believe it or not, we don't have expectations of our kids going to college. If they want to go, great! If they don't, great! Our only expectation is that they pursue a life that will make them happy. But because we give them the freedom to exercise their internal drive to learn, instead of suppressing it, and letting external forces be the drive for their knowledge, I truly believe my kids will forever seek out knowledge. They enjoy it so much. They love learning. And they'll already be so self driven (rather then being pushed along by outside forces) so college shouldn't be as big of a shock to them as it is with so many public schooled kids.

As far as pre-requsites, if they have a goal in mind, they'll accomplish it. Just like the math/money example I spoke about above. Larson wasn't interested in math, but when he found out that he needed math in order to work with his money, he became interested in learning it. If Rylans goal is to become a paleontologist (that dinosaur obsession of his, haha), he'll know exactly what steps need to be taken, prerequisites and all, in order to get to the nity grity of dinosaurs ... so it WILL be something he wants. He'll do the math, the english, etc because it will be working toward his goal - dinosaurs.

It's a pretty simple concept, actually.

all photographs are of my lovely unschooled children, living life the way in which it was meant to be lived - FREE!!!

October 25, 2008

Controversy Loves Company

12 Questions to stir up a little Controversy!

do you believe in abortion:
I don't believe in abortion, no. But I am (somewhat recently turned) pro-choice.

do you believe in the right to own a gun:

do you believe in equal rights for homosexuals:
ABSOLUTELY!!! This world needs more love.To deny a couple the right to express their love, as everyone else is allowed, simply because of their sexual preference is absurd, it's sick, it's hateful!

what do you think about the welfare system:
I think it's a sad sad system in our country. It needs to be completely revamped! There are some people, some families out there that need help. Honest people that have hit hard times, and they just need a little assistance to help boost them back up. Our government does nothing of the sort! A family of 4 in need of financial assistant will be granted appox 500$ a MONTH to live on, along with food assistance. And they don't just hand you that money, you are required to work for it (rightfully so). A total of 60 hours must be worked each week, split up between the two adults in the house (rotating shifts, so one is always home with the kids - there goes the time needed to search and interview for another job, right). 60 HOURS of work a WEEK, and our government will give them 500$ a MONTH?!?? WTF is wrong with that picture? A month or two and that family will be homeless, dependant even more on the government that helped push them there. It's really very sad.

do you believe in the death penalty:

do you feel the drinking age should be lowered to 18:
I do think it's ridiculous that a person is seen as responsible and capable enough to sign up to protect, and possibly be killed for this country (the military), but aren't seen as responsible and capable enough to drink a beer. Whether that means lowering the drinking age to 18, or raising the age of "adulthood" to 21 - I don't know. But, the two should be the same!

do you believe in premarital sex:
I don't really care one way or another what a person does with their virginity. I didn't wait. If I had to do it over, I'm sure I still wouldn't wait, haa. I have absolutely no fantasy of my children waiting until marriage. If they choose to, fine. If they don't, fine. My only hope is that when they do decide it's the right time for them - they're respectful of themselves and their partner, and that they practice responsibility.

do you think marijuana should be legalized:
Yep, sure do. The idea that a PLANT could be illegal - it's just insanity to me. Alcohol causes a lot of more damage to people in this country then marijuana ever could, however, our government would never again ban the consumption of it. The practice makes us too much money.

Obama or McCain:
As if you didn't know - Obama!!!!! I'm sure if I was ignorant, and decided to believe every youtube video that floated around myspace, depicting Obama as some muslim extremist, baby killing, playbook giving, healthcare socialist I would probably vote McCain, too. However, there's this handy little thing called "research" ... and instead of believing every POS news clip thrown my way, I decide to research truth and facts.OBAMA '08!!!

do you believe in God:
I don't. I'm quite familiar with the bible, and I have never read a book more filled with hate. Hate isn't something I want in my life, and I choose not to believe in Christianity for that, and many other reasons. I'm spiritual, yes -- just not religious.
I do find it odd that so many Christians think atheists are going to "hell". If you think about, Christians are atheist, too. There are so many practiced religions and worshipped "Gods" in this world, yet Christians are denying the possibility that any of them are real ... any of them except for THEIRS, of course.*shrug* (of course this is a SWEEPING generalization! I am in no way suggesting that all Christians fit into a this specific category).

what is your opinion on rights and services for illegal immigrants:
I've always had the attitude of "the more the merrier" ... so I'm sure I'm quite flittery about this, haha. If they're here working, they should be allowed the rights and services of our land. If there is such problem caused, it's the people that offer the jobs that should be held accountable. If the roles were reversed, I'm pretty damn sure most of us would be doing the same thing. Illegally gaining access to a country that promises pay so you'll be able to take care of your family. You know you would! These people are desperate for a way to take care of their families, desperate for a better life, and our country preys upon that desperation, offering jobs for little pay ... and then chucking them to the wolves when the shit hits the fan and someone finds out.

do you believe in spanking:
Nope, I sure don't! If it were your spouse that you were hitting, in the name of "teaching a lesson", it would be considered abuse, charges could be pressed, and you'd likely end up spending a few a jail.Why do we lower our standards when children are involved???

October 24, 2008

The Sound of Rain

We're enjoying a beautiful rainy day here today. I've decided to use this blog to list

10 reasons I am blissful today ...

-The Rain. I am just really enjoying listening to the drops of rain hit the ground. It is a peaceful, soothing sound.

-My Children, of course! They're magnificent! Really, they are, and I'm not just saying that because they're mine *grin*

-Cats! Is there anything better then being snuggled up in a big blanket, reading a book, while a warm furry kitty sleeps curled up in your lap? I think not! I have always been a cat person, and probably always will. My absolute favorite animal - ever (big cats, small cats, and all of them in between) ... I have a kinship with them.

-Big Hand-Knit Warm Socks! Nuff' Said!

-Painting. I adore painting, especially with children. Have you ever just sat and watched a child create a picture with paints (especially water colors)? It's fascinating!! There's no thinking involved, just feeling. You can see everything they are feeling being put down on paper. Spend an afternoon painting with your child(ren). Be sure to become 100% totally immersed in the activity with them, body, mind, and spirit - and it'll be an experience you will hold in your heart forever, I promise!

-Raw Foods and Uncooking! I am seriously in love with the Raw Vegan lifestyle. Right now we have "cheesy" garlic bread in the dehydrator, making my home smell oh so lovely. We also have freshly made warm Almond Butter sitting in a jar on the counter, while my 3 little honey-pies lick the spoon, the spatula, and the bowl ... and the food processor is whirring away making Peanut Butter right now. To my left I have a bowl of bananas, a bowl of oranges, a bowl of asian pears, and a bowl of apples. To my right there is a bowl of peaches, a bowl of pomegranates, a bowl of tomatoes, one of garlic, one of potatoes, one of onions, and a bigger bowl of all the apples and asian pears that didn't fit in these bamboo bowls to the left of me. I absolutely LOVE being surrounded by fresh, living foods! It's makes me feel so ALIVE!

-Tatum, my Pooch. She's such a wonderful, faithful companion. Always right there, under my feet, to remind me I always have a friend near by.

-The Army. Ok, now pick your jaws up off of the floor, and listen to my reason, haha. We have the security of a consistent paycheck, and these days, that is not something to be taken for granted. My heart goes out to all of those people struggling in this failing economy. We are very fortunate to not have to worry about losing our income right now.

-Blogging. The ability to put my thoughts out there into this giant neighborhood we call the World Wide Web is just - wonderful.

-My Honey! We've been married for 10 1/2 years, and although we have had an extreme amount of turbulence along the way, we are determined to stick together.

October 23, 2008

Homesick for Wisconsin

I was born in Racine, WI, and I lived in/around the area (Cudahy & Oak Creek mostly) until I was 14. At age 14 my Mom and I left, rather abruptly, for Nevada. For the first few months I missed Wisconsin, terribly. I think it was mostly the way in which we had to leave ... I was unable to say goodbye to just about everyone I had come to know and love. It was hard, and I longed for some sort of closure.

I missed my sisters (all of whom lived with my Father), and I hated being so far away from them. I knew our relationships would never be the same, and I harbored deep resentment over that fact.

After a few months, I missed WI less and less, and then at some point I didn't even think of it as "home" anymore.

I still felt immense sadness over losing a close relationship with my sisters (I still have terrible heartache about it), but other then that, there was nothing in Wisconsin that was appealing to me. I've said, numerous times, there is no amount of money that could influence me to EVER live in WI again!

I have loved being in warmer weather, year round ... citing how I'd "never go back to that frozen tundra - ever"!!! And I meant it. With every fiber of my being, I meant it!

And yet, here we are, 14 years and 3 months later, and for the first time I am missing it so entirely right now (and have been for the past couple of months). I miss seasons. I really do. Especially this season, Autumn. I've traveled coast to coast, and back again (a couple of times) since leaving Wisconsin, and I can say without a doubt, the Autumns in Wisconsin are some of the most beautiful Autumn scenes I've ever witnessed! Absolutely breathtaking! I miss it!! I miss all of it. The chill in the air that has you bundled up with warm knit hats, scarves and mittens, the smells of chimney's and hot apple cider, the crunching sound as you walk over leaves that are just bursting with color.

I haven't even been back to visit in over 10 years, but right now I'd pack everything up and move back there if I could...

Ahhh, I am completely homesick for Wisconsin!

October 22, 2008

An observation

I frequent both Obama and McCain sites daily, and am subscribed to both party's headquarter news. Not because I'm undecided, but because I like to be informed. The whole "know you're competition before you begin, while you're in, and after it's over" type thing.

I have yet to find any consistently positive message coming from the McCain camp. Most of their efforts are spent on Obama. What kind of person Obama is. What lies in Obama's past. Obama's policies. Obama's family. Obama's this, Obama's that. Really, most every bit of news put out by the McCain camp focuses NOT on McCain himself, or even Palin for that matter, but instead on their competition - Obama/Biden.

Of course a certain amount of effort HAS to be spent on the competition. I'm not naive, I get it, thanks. But when the MAJORITY (and in this case the VAST majority) or your time, your finances, your campaign as a whole is spent on the OTHER guy ... don't you think something is wrong with that picture?

Don't you McCain/Palin supporters ever ask yourself why your candidate chooses not to focus on himself, on his own campaign ... other then the inconsistent crumb dropped here and there, and instead chooses to talk mainly about Obama?

Manipulation? Scare tactics? A weak campaign?

You decide.

October 21, 2008

Two Weeks until ELECTION DAY!

Can you feel the electricity in the air? A Change is a'coming!!!

I know so many of you are turned off by politics for a number of reasons. The lies so many politicians are known for. The empty promises. The *slaughter* campaigns that can show such an ugly side of people. The election process all together (the completely out-dated electoral college system, the no paper trail computerized voting machines, the idea that no matter how many people vote, the outcome is and will always be "rigged", etc, etc, etc). Maybe you just don't really care who the leaders of this country are, so why get involved. There are a million and three reasons people give for not getting involved.

Whatever your reasons are, I'm sure they haven't changed much, have they? I bet you still think all politicians are liars, so what's the point? I bet you still feel it doesn't really matter - it's just one vote, right? I bet you're still just as discouraged about the voting system, and just don't really want to waste your time with it, right? So all of the "not caring" hasn't done a thing for you, has it? Same feelings, same outcome. So why not just TRY something new. VOTE! You have nothing to lose, but you could have EVERYTHING to gain.

Imagine a country that evoked feelings of inspiration. Imagine a country that evoked feelings of encouragement, hope, strength, and state of mind that WE CAN DO IT!!! No matter what "IT" is, we CAN do it.

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World!!!

Visualize everything you hope for this country, for yourself, and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Have hope, have faith, have encouragement, and inspiration, and strength --- and then get out there and VOTE to get us one step closer to having our visions for a better world become reality.


Obviously, I support Barack Obama. But my message works for you McCain folks, too. Just vote! Get involved! USE YOUR VOICE!!!

October 1, 2008

Register to VOTE!!!

Any fellow South Carolina readers here??? If so, this message is for YOU!

THIS Saturday (Oct 4th) is the LAST day you can register to vote in this upcoming election!

We all know how HUGE this election is (no matter which candidate/party you support)

Give yourself a voice - MAKE THE TIME TO REGISTER!!!

September 15, 2008

Sarah Palin

Adding Palin to the ticket was probably an ingenious move by McCain. Not because of her politics, or her experience, or McCains trust in her ... but simply because it's an easy way to get votes. Right there should tell you a little something about McCain. He wants to win at any cost. He'll chose someone who will get him easy votes over someone much better suited to lead this country. What a coward!

McCain VS Obama - while it may have been a somewhat close race, I'm pretty confident Obama would have pulled out a definite win against McCain on Nov 4th. With Palin on the ticket, I believe that margin will be all the narrower. You see, our country still isn't past that "vote for the guy (or girl as the case may be) that you'd feel comfortable having a beer with". Palin, minus her extreme fanatical positions, is "one of us". A mother. A wife. A "friend". You see her standing there... young, witty (in a demeaning, sarcastic, over the top obnoxious sort of way), holding her baby, talking about everyday life, and trying to become "friends" with the American people ... and to an extent, it's working. People WOULD enjoy having a beer with her, and therefore, no doubt, she WILL receive votes based SOLELY on that fact. McCain knew that. McCain took advantage of that. McCain is banking on your stupidity (yes, electing a president simply because they pass the "beer test" is stupid!!) to get him elected.

Lets get real ... Face it, McCain is old. If the McCain/Palin ticket wins, Palin very well COULD hold the position of President. Move PAST the beer issue, America, and dig deeper!

It's pretty pathetic, really. Let's just hope that those of us who actually care to scratch past the surface, and want to base this election on leadership, on values, on morals, on political positions and views ... lets hope that WE come out in droves this Nov 4th!!

I could write on and on about reasons not to vote for this woman, but a very solid list has already been started by Eve Ensler, so I'll just copy & paste her words here, and link a credit over to her article...

Eve Ensler writes for the Huffinton Post:

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.??

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."??

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.??

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.??

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.??

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.??

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.??

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.??

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

September 9, 2008

Brett Favre

It's September 7th. A Sunday. The time is 12:45pm ET. I have a knot in my stomach, and I feel tears welling up. Today is the Jets first regular game of the '08 season. The day Brett Favre will walk out onto the field donning a jersey that may look a bit similar to the Packers (it's still green), but is certainly not that beautiful Green and Gold we are accustomed to seeing him in. A picture we all took for granted. A picture we all assumed would last forever.

I don't know if I can watch. The thought of watching is making my stomach turn. I purposefully avoided all of the Jets preseason games. I just wasn't ready to let go of the Packer that I grew up loving.

Could I really watch him in another team's jersey? Could I really watch him take that first snap for another team? Could I really watch him running around the field, picking guys up, smacking their butts, their helmets, their shoulder pads, firing up the officials like only Brett can do... could I really watch all of that happening with another team?

I am a Packers fan. I was born in Racine WI, and I lived in the area until I was 14. I was only 12 when Favre became our starting QB. I don't remember another QB occuping the position before him. Of course there were others, exceptionally great ones as I learned about years later, but they weren't on my young radar at the time. Favre awakened my love for the game. My love for my team. A fan was born. A Green and Gold Groupie. A Packers girl, through and through. Good times, bad times, wins, loses - the Packers are and always will be my team!

But, I am also a Brett Favre fan. Most say he is arguably the best player to ever play the game. I say, "what's to argue"? He has a certain charisma about him, the "it" factor, a Favre-ness if you will, that makes it almost impossible not to fall in the love with the guy. He's admirable, he's respectable, many call him a hero ... and he is one helluva football player. He has a way of inspiring the players around him to push past their limits, to stretch their boundaries, and to make near impossible plays happen. He has a way of inspiring the fans around him to shoot for the stars and never give up. He just has a way!

It's time! 1:00pm ET. I hit the pause button on my DVR remote. I'm not ready yet! I want to support Favre, but I don't know if I can. I take a deep breath and try to choke down the tears. Ok, it's now or never. I hit the play button. There he is. That familiar #4. The tears start rolling. I try hard to reign them in, but it's not working. An overwhelming feeling of immense sadness falls over me. Seeing my beloved Packer surrounded by another team; wearing another green. I embrace the feeling. I let myself feel sad, mad, hurt, disappointed, let down. I let myself wallow. And then, I see his face ...

He's happy!

Brett Favre is a football player. He has a love for the game that is like no other, it's invigorating. He wasn't yet done with his game when the Packers moved on. The New York Jets gave him a home, stocked with a brand new family, and a chance to continue to play. He grabbed that chance, rightfully so!

As hard as it was to watch Brett play for the Jets for the first time, as much as I tried to wish it away, I am happy for Favre. He's able to continue his game, and that's all that matters. I support that. I support the man who gave his team and his fans one heck of a ride for 16 seasons as a Packer. He left his blood, his sweat, his tears, his laughs, and his heart out there on Lambeau field, and gosh darn it, that wont EVER be forgotten. He may not play for my team any longer, but Brett Favre will always be a Packer.

No matter where Brett Favre's football journey takes him, he WILL have the support of this loyal cheesehead!

August 21, 2008


I love books. The way they feel, the way they smell, the way they sound as you crack open their binding for the first time.
Ahhh, books.

There's something so special about immersing yourself in a book. An adventure, really, filled with new friends to learn, new places to explore, new experiences to relish. A great escape. Just you, and the wonderful pages that lie before you, filled with hope, with disappointment, with love, with heartbreak, with courage, and with cowardice. Life, all wrapped up in a few hundred pages.

I invest myself completely in the characters. I feel, quite deeply, everything they are going through. It's magical, really, being able to just fully delve into everyone and everything the writer chooses to explore.

However, it's such a bittersweet experience to finish that last page of a book. More bitter then sweet, I might add. Excitement and pleasure knowing that I've reached my goal. I know where the characters, my new friends, will end up, and how. Satisfying on some level. But more then that, I feel sadness. Sadness that the people, the places, and the experiences that I fully threw myself into have now come to a complete and absolute end!

I am in mourning ...

July 26, 2008

Cooked Food Blues

Another update.

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that we were adding a little bit of cooked food back into our diets. Our reasons for doing so were centered around the kids. They were beginning to become obsessed with cooked food. Talking about it all day, wishing they could have some, playing "chef" and making many cooked options, pretending their raw foods were cooked alternatives, etc. So, we decided to add a bit of "healthy" cooked foods back into our lives in hopes of preventing them from rebelling against healthy food all together. Nothing crazy or extravagant, just a little bit. Sandwich things (vegan deli slices, vegan condiments, organic bread w/no sugar), rice, beans, and that's really about it.

Well, that was about a month and a half ago or so, and we're all sick! After that first week or two, we all started sniffling and coughing. Mucous overload!!! And it hasn't gone away. We were raw vegan for a year, and none of us were sick during that time. Add in a bit of cooked food, and bam, we're all stuffed up with snot and phlegm for the past month. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I just don't know what to do. Nick and I haven't said anything about it, because we don't want to influence their thought pattern right now. We want to know honestly how they are feeling about this. All three of them do know that it is the cooked food that is making them sick, and we want to hear how they feel about that, without any urging or influence from us. Larson, our oldest (9 1/2) says he's over it. He doesn't want any more cooked. His words... "This whole cooked food thing sucks, it made us all sick, I don't want it anymore". The other two, however, are not ready to be done. When they're having a coughing attack, they're all for giving it up, but as soon as that passes for a 20 minute stretch, they decide a little bread wouldn't be so bad.

As parents, it's our job to make decisions, no matter how tough, in order to keep our children safe and healthy. If you know there is something that is making your kids sick, you make sure to avoid it, right? We know, without doubt, that cooked food is causing sickness.

Maybe it really is that easy. Then again, maybe it's not.

Our reasons for adding cooked foods back in haven't changed. We really do not want to give our children a complex about food. We don't want them feeling so deprived and obsessed, so that they start to lie, sneak around, and rebel.

We have a lot of thinking to do... as for right now, we haven't had any cooked for the past week. We'll see what happens.