Friday, June 13, 2014

Why are boys bad?

Headlines from today's Washington Post:

Boys are bad at making friends. And it’s at the heart of their violent behavior

Female-driven movies bring a welcome shift in tone to theaters

Do Father’s Day cards that portray dad as an incompetent boob reflect today’s fathers?

It's been said over and over, and I have no new way of saying it, no new revelations nor wisdom, but the fact that boys (and men) are being seen as superfluous, may I even say dangerous, in today's "enlightened" society mightily grieves this mom of two boys and wife of one amazing man. 

Are boys truly bad at making friends or do their friendships not look like what we, their moms, think they should look like?  Men were created to protect and defend, would be be willing for our boys to make friends at the local shooting range or hunt club?   Men are competitive, perhaps we should allow them to learn to play sports in an arena that actually keeps track of who wins and who loses.  
Where did the idea that there are "no winners or losers" come from anyway?  Everyone on the sideline knows which team wins.  Why not celebrate the hard work of the winners and give the losing team something to strive for?  

Do we really just want to see just "female driven" movies? There aren't enough bad romcom movies already? Really? Any woman who is honest and who has spent time in groups of all women/girls knows that there is often no more awful, judgmental, catty place to be.  When we dress to go out, or diet to lose weight if we're honest about our intentions we know that we are doing so to impress or be accepted other women. Most men could care less about what we wear or if we're carrying an extra 5, 10 or 20 pounds.  They just don't notice. I love my girlfriends and I mightily love my daughter but I know that we are better for having our personalities balanced by the men/boys in our lives. Why must one sex be "better" than another?  Why are we not allowed to compliment rather than compete with one another?

Why are boys not allowed to be boys? Sometimes messy, sometimes loud, lover of what seems to me to be disgusting or not-even-the-remotely funny but also helpful, respectful and loving.  Perhaps their love comes in the form of killing spiders, digging holes for my garden or changing the oil in my car and not bouquet's of pretty flowers, dusting the living room or romantic, candlelit dinners but it is love. Just because I  may have come home and found one of our children's diapers held together with duct tape doesn't make my husband an incompetent boob.  He changed a diaper, ran into a problem and solved it.  I am grateful. I am loved.

I am worried that the boys that we are raising to be Men of God will be beaten down in this society.  I am afraid that the only young men my daughter will meet will be feminized versions of what they could be.  I pray continually for the young christian men and women I know.  That they will look to scripture and not society for their gender role models.  I pray for the unknown spouses of my sons.  May they be women who love men.  Real men.  Real men who love God. Because that is who we're raising them to be.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Too Much Change!

I am someone who likes change.  I like new places, new foods, new arrangements for my furniture, etc. But I can't stand disorganization, it's too much for my ADD mind to process. Organized change may sound like an oxymoron but it's not really.  I can usually control the new places to visit, new foods to try and I've reorganized, reshuffuled and moved the furnture in my house so often that the change isn't really all that surprising. But now, in my little world there is disorganized change and, even though I've agreed to some of it (and even requested some of it), it's making me slightly crazy.

 Five years ago we were blessed enough to be able to purchase a summer place in a bucolic location next to a peaceful river.  The house is a mishmash of eras beginning in 1828 with the last addition being constructed in 1978.  We love the house, but...
  1. My husband spends every weekend here fixing the latest "old house issue"
  2. There is no central heat or air.  It's okay duiring the summer when we can cool the place fairly well (summer days here tend to run 80-90% humidity) with window unit a/,but there are not enough portable heaters in the world to heat it's cold floors once the temperatures dip into the 40's at night.
  3. We are totally underwater loan wise.  While we didn't buy at the top of the market, we did buy before the economy tanked in 2008. We have found ourselves in the position of either having to improve the property with hopes of someday selling it or walk away and default on our loan. 
Hence new construction.  Very exciting in theory, but in addition to homeschooling three kids, entertaining a 4 month old puppy and keeping life in general going in the right direction (clean laundry, semi-nutriious meals at semi-regluar intervals, a quick vaccum now and again, library books returned within at least two weeks of their due date, etc...) it feels very much like disorganized change.

I know this is only a season. I know I will be thrilled with the end results. I know it is the best decision and course of action.  But aaarrrgghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!...................My yard is a mess, the dog can't be let out on her own as she is in the way of the construction and she always comes in covered in mud, the whole process is a major distraction for homeschooling.

Big, deep breaths.....

Monday, July 9, 2012

I knew this would happen!

The "bits&pieces" of life have overwhelmed me again. Almost a month has passed since my last post. In the past four weeks:

- The boys finished their academic career at St. Rita's. Last goodbye's to the few we will miss and loud cheering for those we won't ensued.

- Lindsay finished her first year of homeschool. We survived (more or less)! Next year there will be three students in our little school... What could I be thinking?

- We have traveled to and from our river home and winter home. Twice. With the cat and gecko and many other things that need to be transferred each time.

- Oldest son has had a birthday. Only one more year till a second teenager enters our midst.

- We've added a puppy to the familial mix. So cute, yet so much work as any of you who have a dog know. The kids had no idea....

- Teenager has been to beach week with the church youth group. Despite multiple bus incidents, she says she had a great time, met some great girls and can't wait to go next year.

- We've spoken with three builders about either restoring or knocking down and rebuilding on the site of our beloved river place. While we love the charm and warmth of our current aged home, the lack of a central HVAC system, the cracking foundation, and the need to replace the roof necessitate some sort of action. Question is, which action fits our pocketbook?

- The East Coast has suffered a major 11 day heat wave accompanied by long stretches of loss of electricity which we have "enjoyed" along with everyone else. Thank goodness for generous friends with both a pool and a generator (which will be included in our new construction/renovation project) who helped us all survive the worst of the heat.

- Husband's annual vacation coincided with aforementioned heat wave. Not a happy occurrence. Poor guy, he so loves to work outside and it was just too darn hot to do so safely.

- Celebrated the 4th of July with good friends and fireworks. And got a bonus fireworks display on the 7th when the local town had scheduled theirs this year. Extra, extra bonus? Got to watch the second display from the end of our dock while eating watermelon sorbet.

All the little things added together make me too distracted to be witty or coherent. Very, very grateful though for all the many blessings that do distract me and weave the fabric of my life. Though they produce a product that may look more like burlap than silk, it's all precious to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just a normal day through someone else's eyes

So when the Home Depot deliverymen come in to deliver the washer I'm (1) wearing a dress (because most of my "regular clothes" are dirty after not having a washing machine for a week), (2) baking a chocolate layer cake (because Jack's birthday is in two days), (3) have bread rising on the counter (because I'm too lazy to go to the store to buy any) and, (4) the kids are watching "Leave it to Beaver" (because it's raining and they like it). I've been caught in a Donna Reed moment.

I laugh a little when they leave, but it makes me wonder how many times I've made a snap judgement on someone else when I've only caught a quick snapshot of their life.  Have I been irritated by someone's bad-dream-induced-lack-of-sleep, jealous of someone's one perfect moment in a month, taken offense at an off the cuff comment and then refused to let that moment go?

Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes" needs to be more than just a song that I like, it needs to be the way I live my life. Perhaps if I could see the lives of those around me through the eyes of Him who created and loves them I would offer more compassion.  After all, maybe next time I won't look so much like a model 1950's housewife and more like Cruella de'Vil.... 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Budgie in the Backyard

Among the usual finches, chickadees, blue jays, titmice and cardinals visiting our backyard feeder is one unusual addition. A pretty, little blue, yellow and gray budgie (have to confess I love the British word for him rather than the American "parakeet") has joined the crowd. He arrives with a flock of small brown finches every day and, while clearly not a member of the family neither is he a total outcast. I wonder where he's come from. Is someone mourning the loss of a pet or was he a lucky escappe from a not too attentive pet store employee? No way to know, but he is a delightful surprise each time I see him.

He also reminds me of myself. My colors may not be as bright nor am I as cute, but most of the time I feel an outcast in my own world. A Christ following, homeschooling mom with one child on the autism spectrum is not exactly what the rest of my metro D.C. neighbors look like. Ours is an environment where intelligent people are "tolerant" and "coexist", parents who "truly care" about their children either go into great debt to send them to exclusive private schools or prove how open minded they are by sending them to multi-cultural public schools. And forget having a child with special needs. Triple scholarship athletes and outstanding AP classes are the bench marks for local progeny.

Hence my love for the budgie. An anomaly among the other birds, he reminds me that's it's okay to be myself. Ruffled feathers and all.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The beginning of the end and beginning

Today is the last Monday of the school year for my sons who attend a small parochial school. It is the only school my boys have ever known and this is their last week there. Next year they will be homeschooled along with their older sister who has just survived (dare I say thrived on) her first year of homeschooling. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up this week. Goodbyes to be said, teacher gifts to be purchased, one last field trip, a birthday party to attend, a final day of car pool and then the end. Right now any sadness they (and may I say I as well) may feel is completely overshadowed by the euphoric relief signalling the end of the school year. We're almost free!

As for next year, right now we're all looking forward to it. Sure, it will be a little strange when friends and neighbors are uniformed and headed back to class (Im sure we'll remember them as we're enjoying the beautiful September sunshine and lounging by our fellow home-schooled friend's pool...)but I am very much looking forward to this next adventure that we are headed on. God has provided both a passion and opportunity to school our children in this manner and I know that as this is His plan it is best for all of us.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Perfect Job

5:30 a.m. - wake up

5:45 a.m. - alarm goes off

5:50 - 7:25 a.m. - shower, wake the boys, make coffee, make breakfast for boys & gluten-free husband, feed cat, referee breakfast bickering, give meds, get dressed, wake daughter and remind her of day's homeschool assignments, shoo the boys out to the car for school

7:28 - 9:30 a.m. - drive boys to school, run errands at Target and Trader Joe's, catch up with best friend via speaker phone while on the road

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. -put away groceries, miscellaneous other items, start a load of laundry, oversee home school assignments, chat with daughter, switch laundry to second load, make bed
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - mow, trim, weed, water front and back yards

12:40 - 1:10 p.m. -LUNCH!

1:12 - 1:45 p.m. - shower (again) and get ready for round two of carpooling

1:50 - 4:15 p.m. - Marshall's to look for new swim suit for oldest son, end of year teacher gifts and maybe shoes for me (leave empty handed), to school, pick up boys and other carpooling family, listen to other siblings squall annoyingly in my car, drop off carpoolers, pick up dry cleaning, arrive back home

4:20 - 4:50 p.m. - distribute snacks, help youngest son do quick report on Patrick Henry (which is due tomorrow but he's swearing was just assigned today...), remind him to put on lacrosse practice clothes, remind him again, and again....

5 - 5:50 p.m. - help oldest son complete social studies project due tomorrow

6 - 8:47 p.m. - make dinner for 5 people to eat in two different shifts, with several different nutritional requirements, and clean up same

8:55 - 9:02 p.m. - pray with boys and kiss good night

9:15 - 10:30 p.m. - start movie with husband and daughter. Actually make it through the first 45 minutes before nodding off

10:40 p.m. - off to bed

I have the perfect job for someone who has a short attention span or low boredom threshold!