Friday, May 23, 2014

Moving my Blog

I'm going to start blogging again (can I get a *whoop whoop*? Just kidding.). But, I'm going to be doing it over at WordPress. I prefer their website, their layout and just the general feel of them.

My new blog will still be called Adventure in Mommyland. I hope to see you all there!

Why I Don't Believe

This is a post I wrote over a year ago and never published, because I wasn't quite ready to "out" myself. Now, a year later, I'm still not sure if I'm ready, but, here goes...

So, I’ve been doing a lot of studying and thinking lately. The main thought I’ve had was this: “Had I been born in to any other time or culture, my beliefs would have been completely different, and I’d have been completely convinced that religion was the only true one, the only way to god(s/esses)” When that thought formed fully, I was left with a few choices – change my beliefs, decide to blindly follow what I’d always been taught, or start questioning everything. Being who I am, naturally I chose the questioning.

I realized that if I was going to scoff at the miracle claims of all the other religions, I’d have to subject Christianity to the same scoffing. There’s absolutely no way to claim that any of them are true, and if you insist one of them is true, then you have no basis for saying a different one is false. You’ve opened Pandora’s Box, so to speak.

Then, as I was studying, I saw that nearly every miracle in the bible was in other religions, and usually the other religions miracle claim predated the claims in the bible. Nearly every great prophet was virgin born, most of them were crucified or otherwise killed for the sins or good of all, a lot of them descended in to hell, and all of them rose again, most of the then ascended in to heaven, where they sit at the right hand of the head god (who was also their father) and judge humans. Oh, and all these other stories? They predate the Jesus story by a few centuries. And one other interesting tidbit, most of the virgins’ names were some form of Mary.

That left me with one option – non-belief. It also meant I needed to study real science – you know, the Big Bang and evolution. Growing up, I was only taught the straw man arguments against both theories. Now that I have rejected all myths and superstitions, all creation myths and any help from a supernatural being, I get to see how strong, overwhelming, really, the evidence for the big bang and evolution really are.

After that, I decided I was going to read the bible from beginning to end. I have to say, God is a particularly nasty character. Everyone (including god himself) say’s god is just and merciful. But was it just or merciful to like Abel’s sacrifice better than Cain’s? Cain brought the firstfruits, just like god said. So basically, god caused the jealousy between Cain and Abel, ultimately leading the Abel’s murder (supposing that any of the account is factual). Also, that whole Eve and the forbidden fruit story? Besides having parallels in every other religion (myths that predate the Hebrew myth), why would god give a human free will, curiosity, and a rational brain, tell them that this tree will make then know good and evil and then forbid them to eat it? It’s like he wanted little robots instead of people who are curious about the world around them, people who want to know, to understand. If we were created in god’s image, why are we being punished for being like him? For questioning, for wanting to know. Supposing god to be like us, he wants to know, he wants to understand. And supposing us to be created like him, we’re just being like him in questioning. Therefore, it follows that we shouldn’t be punished for it. Also, how is it JUST for people who didn’t commit that first “sin” to be punished for it? If one of your kids breaks something, you don’t punish the other kid. Or that kids kid. But god claims he does (punishing down to the third and fourth generation)…how, I ask you, is that merciful? Or even just???

Then, as you get further in to the bible, god killed EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON. simply because they were exercising their free will - WHICH HE GAVE THEM. Well, everyone but Noah and his family. Oh, and the animals. There’s nothing loving, kind or merciful about that. It’s horrific. Babies, children, pregnant women, men, women, everyone. Drowned.

Later, god says “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated.” Why? Definitely not because of anything either one did. Just because, arbitrarily. It’s like he rolled a dice and went with whatever came up. And then the plagues in Egypt – does no one else see the gross injustice in punishing pharaoh and all his people because god hardened pharaohs heart just so he (god) could show off? Because that’s what it boils down to. God even said “I will harden pharaohs heart” and then he said “I will kill you livestock/firstborn sons because you have hardened your heart” According to this story, pharaoh didn’t even have a choice about hardening his heart or not! And then he was punished for doing exactly what god wanted!!!

Then, the genocide. OH, the genocide. It’s truly horrific, barbaric. Everyone in the circles I grew up in seemed to blame the natives of the land for fighting against the Israelites, when in reality, the Israelites (according to and supposing the biblical accounts to be true) came in and just invaded and started killing literally everyone. Another thing that has always bugged me, and I’m finally allowing myself to think and say, is that whole thing with Acsah and taking some plunder. God had told the Israelites not to take anything for themselves, but to give it all to god and the tabernacle. But Acsah took some for himself and hid it in his tent. God got mad so started killing random Israelites, even though they hadn’t done anything wrong. Moses pleaded with god to stop and god did and exposed who had taken the spoils. Then, he told everyone to step away from Acsah and his tents, then the earth opened up and swallowed the WHOLE family. Even though the women and children hadn’t gone to war, and none of Acsah’s people had stolen anything, the entire family got punished. That story has always bothered me. So did the one with the golden calf and the Levites rushing over to help kill their fellow Israelites. Then they got rewarded with the priesthood and working in the temple for their eagerness to kill.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this little post, is that I don’t understand how anyone can say god is loving. I know, I know, the New Testament does away with the Old Testament. Only it doesn’t. Jesus himself is purported to have said that he “did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it. As long as heaven and earth remain, not one jot or tittle shall pass away”. Which is basically saying Christians are still supposed to be following Old Testament Law. So those crazy people you scoff at? The ones calling for the death penalty for rebellious teenagers? Yeah, they’re just following the bible literally. Also, Jesus was the one who brought up the whole hell issue. And that is one place where the punishment definitely does NOT fit the crime. Is gods ego so fragile and tiny that he has to punish people by burning them for all eternity just because they used their intellect and followed the evidence wherever it led, and they didn’t grovel at his feet and worship him? .

And now to touch briefly on the morality issue. Biblical morals aren’t that great. Genocide. Polygamy. Rape. Murder. Sure, there are a few good things (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you), but for the most part, in our day to day lives, we’re not following biblical laws so much as cultural morals. All of us, whether we want to admit it or not. Humanist morals are more relative, sure. But that’s because we look at the situation and try to figure out what the best thing for the most people is. What’s best for humanity in general? What causes the least amount of suffering? What causes the greatest happiness and ease? And we try to go from there. We don’t think there’s only one way to live, only one way to be right. Because there isn’t. Everyone, and every situation, is different. Different actions are called for in different situations. There’s no “one size fits all” solution to anything. Life is far too complicated for that. But that’s part of what makes life so beautiful. So incredibly precious. There didn’t have to be any life at all, but there is. The odds of you being here were pretty slim. Yet here you are. Living, breathing, reading, thinking, reveling in the beauty around you. Life is so fleeting, blink and you’ll miss it. Knowing that this life is all there is, that I’m around for such a short time, makes life so much more precious, each moment is to be cherished. Every second is so important. Knowing that this is all I have, it makes me want to be a better mom; a better, kinder person; take better care of our precious, life-giving earth; take good care of our animal cousins; and leave this world a better place for me having been in it.

I know most people won’t agree with me on anything I’ve written, and that’s OK. All I want, is for you to accept my story, accept me for who I am and what I (don’t) believe, and please, no proselytizing. Remember, I grew up in all that, I know most of the tricks and jargon, and you’re not going to change my mind. Believe me, I’ve read and studied BOTH sides. I’m not the type of person to make any decision lightly. I study everything thoroughly before deciding what to do. It’s just how I’m wired, so I’ve definitely done my homework on these issues. And, thank you for reading this incredibly long post and sticking with me to the end 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Leilani has been wanting to do school since before Kindergarten was out, so we've been doing a light load over the summer. This week, we've started a regular work load. So far in our school, we've made a model of the Nile (the grass is growing, now!), made the Pharaoh's crowns and scepter, and written our names in Cuneiform on clay and Hieroglyphs on paper. We've read about the first nomads, wandering around and how they became farmers, how Egypt became united, and, of course, the first writing. We've learned a little bit about Egyptian myths. Leilani was quite fascinated by Set killing Osiris and Osiris coming back to life, by Isis getting pregnant off her dead husband (Osiris) and having Horus, who was born on Christmas. Actually, it's quite fascinating, because all the solar gods are born at the Winter Solstice. I find all the religious myths incredibly fascinating. (We're using The Story of the World Level 1 and the activity book that goes with it)

In science we're learning about all kinds of different animals - we started off by learning about habitat, migration, defense, camouflage, communication and conservation. From there, we briefly talked about how to know what a mammal is - if it's warm-blooded, has hair/fur, gives birth to live young (excepting the platypus) and has milk to feed it's young, it's a mammal. Leilani has been going around naming all the mammals. She, very wisely, deduced that we're mammals, since we have hair all over our bodies, are warm-blooded, give birth to live young (she has first-hand experience with this, having seen Natalia born last year) and have milk to feed our young-as she made that statement, she looked quite pointedly at me, since I was nursing Natalia at the time. I tell ya, I have one smart little girl :) We've also learned about Cheetahs, Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos and Horses.

Leilani loves her math. She'd do the entire book to the exclusion of all else if I let her.

In English, she's doing phonics, spelling, writing and language. I started off using Spelling Power, but it was a bit too advanced for her, so I found a list online. After I wrote out the list, I lost the link. But it's much better, more her level, and I think it will advance her to be abe to use Spelling Power next year. I got Hooked on Phonics, which she's loving - mainly because it's partly on the computer. We're using First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, we've learned the poem "The Caterpillar" and we're learning about nouns - common and proper. For writing we're using "The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Level 1"'s quite simple, days 1 and 3 are copying out sentences in her best handwriting, and days 2 and 4 are narration and I write it out. This is to help her learn to write well and learn to put her own thoughts into words, that way she'll be able to put her thoughts into words, then onto paper.

We're going to be reading a good number of chapter books out loud - we finished Little House in the Big Woods on Monday and started Charlotte's Web yesterday. The girls love me reading out loud.

So far, we're loving it, having lots of fun, and most importantly - learning lots of stuff.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

School Choices

When I put Leilani in school, I knew that we'd keep evaluating how it was working for us. Each year, I plan on seeing how our choices are working and adjusting so we can keep growing, learning, and making the best choices we can.

With that in mind, I'm not sure if public school is our best choice anymore. With Leilani being, well, Leilani, I think she'll learn better with one-on-one teaching, lots of hands-on learning, and being able to do her seatwork at her own pace. She also needs lots of breaks and snacks throughout the day. She eats a very little bit at a time, so gets hungry really often. She also likes - needs - to move a lot so she can concentrate to get her work done. She can't just sit down and do it.

What I'm trying to say is, the reason I'm planning on homeschooling her for first grade is for academic reasons, to help her learn at her own pace, help her be the best she can be. There's also the issue that every state has different standards, so if she were to stay in the school system, by the time she graduated she could have many gaps because of being in different states.

I've spent months researching, reading, and studying on the subject. Picking peoples' minds to get ideas, help, and advice.

After all that time and research, I've decided to use the Classical Education model. It's very hands-on in the younger grades, incredibly comprehensive, uses real books, and by the time Leilani graduates from high school, she'll have gone through the history of the world three times. She'll also do two research papers and two thesis papers in high school. I'm going to be doing lots of lesson planning, but fortunately I find that rather fun. I got most of my books already and I've started the planning. It's probably going to be a month long process. By the time the girls graduate, they'll have a far better grasp of grammar than I do, and a better grasp of science and history. Of course, I'll be learning right along with them *smile*. I'm also going to be keeping meticulous records.

It took me a long time to come to this decision.

I looked at the Charlotte Mason method - I love that it uses real books and art studies, but I don't have the inclination to put that much time into creating a curriculum.

I looked at Sonlight, too. After the Classical Education, this was my next choice. It is, however, very cost prohibitive. What I loved about it was that it came with everything - all the books, the stuff for experiments, etc - that we would need for the entire year. And it looked like a lot of fun.

I looked at textbooks and lifepacs, but I don't like how they don't have real books, but only excerpts for the reading. It's a bit more cost-effective, true, but not as much fun. And I believe that learning ought to be fun, to foster a lifelong love of learning. It's also no where near as academically focused.

And that's my goal - I want Leilani well-educated, but I also want her to LOVE learning. To want to keep learning all her life, because it's impossible to learn everything there is to know in 12 years of school. Well, actually, it's impossible to ever learn everything there is to learn, but if you don't love learning, you won't want to keep learning, growing your mind, expanding your knowledge. And that is my goal for my girls.

And that is why I've decided on the Classical Education model - it's comprehensive, systematic and looks like it will foster a love of learning. Leilani has been begging me to homeschool her, and with all our moving - and at the most random times of the year - it seems like the best option for us right now. We'll definitely be anything but cloistered. I plan on us being involved in whatever homeschool group is near us, being involved with Girl Scouts and whatever else catches our fancy. It's going to be a fun and interesting journey, and I can't wait to see where we are at the time next year!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monthly Check-In: March

So I slipped a bit on the raw foods this month, but we did have color every day. Leilani had raw fruits and vegetables in every school lunch, so I was pretty good on that front. I made an outline for my book, I decided that would be a better way for me to write - keep me on track and all that. I started working out more seriously towards the middle/end of the month, trying to work out a bit more often. It helps that the weather is finally getting nice again. Hopefully I'll notice a difference in the way I look and feel soon *smiles*



Raw Foods:25

Color in Foods:31

Both girls had doctors appointments, and we got a referral to get Leilani tested for SPD, ADHD etc, I can't wait to get help so I can help Leilani. I got mastitis around the middle of the month - hot flashes followed by chills, achiness like I had the flu, (thank goodness it wasn't the flu!) - I had a nice bacterial infection, which meant antibiotics. The first day was brutal - I was so sick from the meds, it was terrible. Natalia got diarrhea thanks to the meds. Basically, there were pros and cons - it got me all better, but it left both Natalia and me a bit nauseous.

We went to the Museum of Aviation for the Women Fly! event, celebrating women in flight. They were taking girls up for flights, so Leilani got to go up (I went with her). Leilani had a blast. As we were taking off, Leilani declared that she "wasn't afraid of heights" and as soon as we leveled off, she changed her mind. I think it was more the straight, level flying that bored her, because as soon as we did some banking and a teeny "dive" she was loving it!

The next weekend was the Daddy-Daughter Candyland Ball, Leilani had a Cinderella-type dress and Jeremy wore his dress blues. Leilani had a blast and wanted to "go back there everyday!"

I got Natalia a little walker so she could start walking forward instead of sideways using the couch. She's been pretty unstoppable since.

Leilani's gotten in to Star Wars (this is one happy momma!). We've started reading the young Boba Fett series out loud and we're watching the Saga in order (minus episode one, since mine's all scratched up and won't work). Leilani's super excited about that.

Next month is Leilani's sixth birthday, and she has decided she wants her own birthday party, so on her birhtday we're going to use some Strawberry Shortcake plates and all that I found at Goodwill for $2.50 (fantastic price, right?) Then the Saturday following (which is the weekend between the girls' birthdays) I'm planning on us going to the mall and Build-a-Bear, going out to eat and just having fun.

I started my spring cleaning Easter weekend. Pulled out all the spring/summer clothes and put away (most) of the winter clothes. I had the girls try on their swimsuits - I had gotten Leilani a green, white and pink tankini last year, but she was too small for it so I wanted to see if it *finally* fit. It did! She wore it most of Easter afternoon. Natalia has a teal and pink-purple Dora one we were given. The girls LOVED being in their suits, so I filled up my big tub and let them "swim" for a bit.

We had a good Easter. Started off the day with an egg hunt (pictures to come later after I get them downloaded on to the computer) and cinnamon rolls. Then we watched Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol. For dinner I made baked sweet potatoes, green beans, a Field Roast (which is vegan) and crescent rolls. Now I have to figure out what to do with the leftovers tomorrow :). Something April Fools-y, of course :).

Happy Easter, everyone!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Leilani Screened

This process of getting Leilani screened is really difficult. I got a referral from our doctor, called the therapist to get an appointment, and they told me we need an IEP to get an appointment. The school counselor told me they need an official diagnosis before they can do anything. It's almost like a catch-22. Fortunately, the therapists receptionist gave me the number for the district special education office to start trying to get this rolling. Unfortunately, with it being so close to the end of the school year, I'm not sure how much is going to be able to be done. And then, to top it off, we're moving in around six months, so by the time anything gets started, we'll be moving.

All in all, it's getting really frustrating, but I'm going to keep plugging forward, because anything I can do to help get this moving in the right direction, I'll do.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Post-Partum Depression

I've been suffering from Post-Partum Depression (PPD) since Natalia was born. Actually, looking back, I think it started before Natalia was born, making it Peri-Natal Depression, but that's far less known than PPD.

Every day is a struggle. Most days, if I've made dinner, done dishes, and kept the girls emotionally fulfilled (for the most part) I count it as a success.

Some days I can't even do that.

I've started using paper plates because I just can't keep up with the dishes.

I do keep the living room vacuumed because Natalia eats in the living room and is constantly dropping food on the floor, picking it up and eating it. So naturally, I want the floor to be clean.

I try to workout (and the other day had a great one!), but most of the time it's of the ten minute variety (better than nothing though, right?)

I make sure we have lots of variety in our diet, so I'm getting the nutrients I need. I add flax seed to my smoothies so I'm getting essential Omega-3's, which are supposed to help with depression.

But it just doesn't seem to be enough. I can't keep up with the housework. I can't keep up with dishes.

Then on top of it all, I have to make doctor's appointments (have you ever tried that with ZERO motivation?), get Leilani tested for Sensory Processing Disorder, make decisions about vaccinations, get Leilani to school, make her lunch, go grocery shopping - really, not that much to do, I just have ZERO motivation to do it.

But, and I count this as a success every day, I do it. I get Leilani to school. I make her lunch. I make appointments and decisions. I go grocery shopping. I make dinner (most nights). And some days, I don't do dishes because I only have so much energy and the energy I do have I decide would be better spent on my girls.

Sometimes, it feels like I'm at the bottom of a huge hole, so deep I can't see the top. I am trying. I'm going to talk to my doctor about medication, because exercise and diet aren't pulling me out. Just haveing a positive attitude just doesn't work, I can't shake this on my own. I think I have to get medication. I, as you've probably figured out, am not crazy about meds, but I know they have their place and can be very important and helpful.

I will continue, and I will defeat this. Whatever I need to do for my kids, so I can be here fully, I will do. If that means medication to give me the help I need to start up out of the hole, then that's what I'll do.