Last night, Cat-cat FINALLY had her kittens. She looked like she might explode! She has 4 sweet little gray and white babies. So far, everything is great, except she took a swipe at the WonderDog's nose when he got to close!
I am SUPER PROUD of the graduates in my life! They have survived (and done well) in a hostile atmosphere that does not help or support the true love of learning--e.g. The Public School System. So, as my gift to them, I am rerunning most of my graduation blog from last year!
We are sneaking up on graduation season again. Since I was raised in an unschooling family, I was spared a whole bunch of really boring graduation ceremonies. I have still attended more than my fair share for the MANY aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that populate my life. Out of the many, only one was really exciting and different--that was the graduation for GED students, many of whom were MUCH older and more experienced than the average callow High School Graduate, and most of whom had worked REALLY hard to get to that point. They really appreciated what they had worked for--and it showed!
But mostly graduations are the same old, same old. However, just like in almost every other area in my life, I just don't do graduations the way most people do. The very best reason, is a specific set of song lyrics.
They are a parody, set to the tune of Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance"--what is commonly referred to as "The Graduation March". I learned LOTS of parodies as a child--many to popular classical tunes. Most of them came thanks to a certain uncle and aunt of mine (and they know who they are!)
So, as a very young child, I learned words(!) to Pomp & Circumstance--
My reindeer flies sideways, he is better than yours. My reindeer can cha-cha, he can open doors.
My reindeer’s a girl scout; he can dig a latrine, Your reindeer likes purple, my reindeer likes green.
Your reindeer is far away, my reindeer is near.
I would love to give credit for these brilliant lyrics, but alas, I have no idea who their author is. If you start humming the Da,da,da,da,daah, da, of the graduation march, you will see how perfectly they fit.
It was a favorite song, and spent a lot of time on my, and my siblings "personal hit parade", being belted out in enthusiastic and off key tones.
One of the more humorous outcomes of this is that at different times, in different years, not one, but two of my unschooled siblings attended a friends graduation ceremony, and came home to announce in tones of shock and horror that the Graduation March they used was "My Reindeer Flies Sideways"!!!!
Now, my own brilliant children (on a long car drive) made up additional verses! So, for all of you who have a graduation or two looming on your horizon--Quick! Memorize these! You will be stunned by the difference it makes (or doesn't make) in the interminable ceremonies!
My reindeer cuts firewood; he can dance in ballet, My reindeer is awesome, he can cook a soufflé.
My reindeer is perfect; he will look at the stars Your reindeer is trouble; he will steal your cigars.
My reindeer flies backwards, he can knit and crochet.
My reindeer drives semi’s, he has wrestled a shark, Your reindeer eats donuts, mine can parallel park.
My reindeer paints portraits, he can play the trombone, My reindeer likes softball, he can dial the phone.
Your reindeer is stupid, my reindeer is smart.
With SPECIAL KUDOS TO ROBBIE, JENNY, ELYSCE AND ALISSA!
SmallDaughter just dressed herself! I put on her underlayer, but she put on her long sleeved shirt (first on her legs, just to be silly!), then when I had to step into the kitchen to reset the timer for dinner, she put on her coveralls-ALL BY HERSELF! Including fastening them! And she just put on her snowboot (She has the concept! WOWEE Wow Wow!!) I am rejoicing!
Today involved a tow-truck, and pouring rain, and lots of jobs that needed to be done RIGHT THIS INSTANT, and a very whiny SmallDaughter. Sometimes, I really like getting to go to bed knowing that I won't ever have to do this particular day again.
There were some really nice blessings mixed in with it, but I am still tired and ready to go to bed.
Here are some movie recommendations (that I received from others, and enjoyed, so I am passing them along), for some fun quirky movie watching.
Lone Star State of Mind Raising Arizona My Life in Ruins
I think they are all PG-13, so you have been warned!
I have been filling out the questionnaire for my 20th high school class reunion. The question that actually made me think the most was "where have you lived since graduation?", and the answer was: Idaho, Utah (for college), California (for an 18 month Spanish Speaking Mission for my Church), Ohio (My family moved there while I was serving my mission) , Utah (again), Idaho(again), Ohio (again!).
Even with all of my notes, it is hard to compress all of the memories invoked by those words. Utah (again) was moving for my brand-new husband's new job. Idaho (again) was finding a job for him to enable us to live with my Grandma, so she could stay in her house and maintain her independence for a few more years. Ohio (again), was moving to be near our families, especially for the last few precious months at the end of my Mom's life.
There were a lot of friends and experiences compressed into those words. The births of three children, and the loss of another. The deaths of many people I loved dearly. The miracle of watching my children grow and learn.
The next question was "What is the most interesting place that you have traveled to?" The answer is "England and Wales", but that doesn't explain that my beloved brother and his awesome wife provided me with the resolution of a lifelong dream. How will I ever be able to adequately thank them for an experience that simultaneously checked off a biggie on my "bucket list" (which has only ever had 5 items on it!) AND simultaneously changed my life in a fundamental way?
LOTS of pondering.
And it also got me thinking about how beautiful all of the places I have lived are. But--they are very different types of beauty. If I had expected the green, leafy beauty that surrounds me in Ohio (where I can't plant my garden because it keeps raining on the days I am home!) while I lived in Idaho, I would have been disappointed every day.
And, if I had expected the huge 5000 acre fields of waving wheat that surrounded me in Idaho while I lived in Utah, I would still be waiting.
Now, in Ohio, I occasionally get wistful for huge bright blue skies, and mountains, but I have to remember how important it is to be able to recognize the beauty that you have around you for what it is--without expecting it to be anything else.
In other miracles, my funny, adorable nephew is completely fascinated by octopus. Which, is a tiny bit difficult since he lives thousands of miles from the ocean. But, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, he has showed us some pretty amazing miracles! We live in exciting times where we can see such awesome stuff, so easily!
The IEP went well. And, it was really good that we were there. The school officials could see how truly awesome the WonderDog is in action, and we answered a lot of their questions. WHEW! They are not as scared to face a new situation, and I think that lessening their fear will make the transition smoother for everyone. YAY! So, the fightin' boots are back in the closet--until the next time!
I was planning to write about beauty--specifically about the beautiful places I have lived and the different types of beauty this world holds.
HOWEVER, in an abrupt change of plans, I am putting on my fightin' boots, and getting ready to go help a friend at an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting for her severely disabled son--the school doesn't want to provide the services he needs, because he is expensive. I understand that we need to take care of all of the students, and that special needs are expensive--and I am going to smile sweetly, and (in much politer terms than this) tell them to "Pull up their big-girl panties and deal with it".
One of the things about being the mother of a disabled child is how it brings out the latent Valkyrie tendencies in women.
This picture is not fierce enough--but it is really hard to show the level of protectiveness we are talking about!
The songs are better if you listen to them in order--especially if you need prepare yourself to kick some tushes and take some names!
Technology makes life interesting--I think we have less meaningful interactions per day than we used to, but we make a lot more noise doing it (think Twitter). HOWEVER, it also makes it possible to reconnect with the people who were a significant part of our lives in the past, who (for those of us who moved a lot, and were never really good at staying in touch)--got lost.
This week I have had a lot of that. I became aware of happenings in the lives of five people who were important to me in college--three roommates, and the two most significant guys of my college career. The roomies have big life changes happening: Children arriving (Welcome Selena!), Parents hospitalized (my prayers for Sherry), Children Growing up (Me, too, Leslie!).
The guys were: A)The guy who was almost my first boyfriend, and B) the dude who was my first kiss. NO--they are not the same guy. My first kiss was a silly, unemotional fling, mostly just to get it over. The guy was a doofus in college, and guess what--all these years later--he is still a doofus. The other one, (who chickened out on getting more serious!) was a really good friend, who I was able to laugh and talk with, who broadened my horizons and who is still my friend, and still makes me laugh.
I rejoice for him that he married a good woman, and that they are living a good life together--one which oddly parallels my own (three children, born at home, home schooling...weird really!) It is very sweet to me that I can re-discover and touch base with the ones who have shaped my life.
My little sister V passed me a note during Sacrament Meeting at Church yesterday. Her brain was obviously going faster than her pen, because the note said "Have a Mothers Day". Which was startlingly accurate!
I surely DID have "A Mother's Day"! It was pretty much like all of my other days--only more so. I was more tired, more sick and stiff (had a pretty bad fall in the driveway on Friday--bruised my knees, finger and dignity!). More stuff to do for people, more whining, crying and spitting on the floor (mostly from SmallDaughter, some from me!) Just, you know--MORE.
In the middle of all of this I pondered on MOTHERS DAY. A day that is simply fraught with emotional booby traps. Directly below the frothy pink surface of sticky kisses, Hallmark cards and brunch buffets is a seething mass of difficult emotions. While most of us have pretty good (or even outstandingly fabulous!) moms, there is still a lot of pain there:
The Hearts that hurt because this is their first (or thirtieth) Mothers Day without their Mom.
The Hearts that are lonely in quiet houses or nursing homes, where children "can't be bothered" to visit those who raised them.
The Hearts that carry the burden of having parents who are not (or were not) "kind and dear"--sometimes passively, sometimes aggressively abusive or downright evil.
The Hearts that ache because they long to be mothers, but because of many circumstances (unmarried, infertility, illness, whatever) they are not able to fill their lonely arms.
The Hearts that are mourning miscarriages, stillbirths, abortions, babies placed for adoption, children that died, children who have rejected their parents teachings and are busy making heartrendingly bad choices...
The Hearts whose beautiful children are given tremendous loads to carry in this mortal life--who not only won't watch their child graduate, but will never hear that child say "I love you, Mom".
And in all of this pain that mortal life offers, the sweetest answer is that God does care, and the amazing power of the Savior's atonement can heal every broken heart, and wipe away every tear. He suffered ALL of our pains, so he could succor us perfectly. Amazingly (to me, with my limited understanding), He cares about everything that matters to me.
The best part of my Mothers Day? Watching my Handsome Husband place his hands lovingly on the head of our Handsome LargeBoy, and, using the power of God, given to men on earth (with a group of good, strong men that we love) ordain him to the office of a Deacon, and give him the Priesthood.
It is a good thing that I was in too much of a hurry to put on makeup (and I think I lost my makeup bag, too) because I cried so much I would have washed it all off, anyway!
I just reread the post on last year's mothers day --wow, most of it applies perfectly! I did have another yard sale (please kill me if I EVER say I am going to have a Yard Sale again, for ANY Reason!) The weather (which has been so nice) was gross--@#$%^&*! cold and rainy, with big wind gusts.
My garden is sitting all lonely and unplanted back there. Don't know how much I am going to do, since I am going to be traveling all summer.
Also, I have been fighting off a chest cold, but I seem to be losing. Sleep has been eluding me, because my bedroom sounds like a tuberculosis sanatorium. Who can sleep when they are coughing like this?
On a more cheerful note--The Art & Dessert Show came together beautifully. It was a great success--which comes as a great relief since my last offering as the Ward Activities Chairperson was not.
This week I will recover from the last two weeks and try to dig out from under all the projects that got put on the back burner from the big stuff going on!
Sometimes being SmallDaughter's Mommy feels like more work than any one person can do.
Yesterday was very long. We drove about and hour and a half to see her doctor (which went very well.) She was very good for her blood draw--although she did start signing "owie" when we walked into the lab.
She has a very good memory. She always makes her many doctors laugh--she knows exactly what to do with a stethoscope, a reflex hammer and an otoscope. She has to have a checkup and a blood test every 3 months to make sure her meds are not damaging her liver.
After that, we had a delightful time getting lost (I am not being sarcastic--the weather was lovely, we were in a beautiful part of town, we were playing fun games and when we found a place to turn around--it happened to be a McDonald's so I got SmallDaughter some apple dippers and the rest of us parfaits to keep us happy. Good thing, too--it took us another hour to find where we were supposed to be, and to locate someplace we could get some "real lunch". Fortunately we had plenty of time before our next appointment, which was:
Getting the WonderDog's eyes checked.
Seriously. I didn't even know Veterinary Ophthalmologists existed! However, the national group of Veterinary Ophthalmologists offer free eye exams for Service Dogs once a year! Very Cool! WonderDog's eyes look healthy and wise (as always) and the folks there were very nice.
However, we had a very bad night. I had so much I had to do--(I am preparing for our Ward's "Art & Dessert Open House" this Friday--which I am in charge of, and have a TON to get done) so I was up past my bedtime--until 11:00 to be exact. Yes, I know that doesn't seem horribly late, but my alarm goes off at 4:40 am, and we all know how I am about needing my sleep, so trust me--that is late.
But as I stepped out of the bathroom from brushing my teeth, LargeBoy informed me that SmallDaughter was not only awake, but that she got out of her room and was downstairs. This is not good.
Once she is up, she is UP. There is no gently tucking her back in and having her drift back to dreamland. So, I changed her diaper (which was probably what woke her up), gave her another melatonin, and snuggled on the couch for a little while. We walked outside to look at the stars, and then we went up to my room for a snuggle.
It was now 12:30. Having her in the bed with me is like trying to snuggle a ball of eels (that smell faintly like pee). She eventually climbed out of bed, and being thwarted by my having locked the bolt on the door (too high for her to reach) and unscrewed the light bulb in the lamp (so she couldn't turn it back on), she lay down on the WonderDog, and was quite noisily angry for a long time. Sometime around 2:00am she fell asleep.
This morning, of course, she was tired and grumpy. And so was I. She was picking her skin worse than usual--it is definitely worse when she is angry, frustrated or bored. I was attempting to get bandaids taped into place before she could peel them off and lick the gaping wound ("how are they supposed to heal if you keep doing that?!!!") and she got the left hand bandaid off 4 times before I could get the tape on over it!
All this while she was screaming, wiggling, spitting and pinching me.
My frustration runneth over.
Finally I got her loaded on the school van (I could hear her shrieking until they were past my neighbors house!). Sigh. Often she has a much better day once she gets to school. I hope so. Big Sigh.
However, I came in to the computer to check my email, and found this article in Meridian Magazine that totally resonated with me.
Then I checked the blogs I follow, and found this video, which reduced me to tears, mostly in gratitude for the blessings that I have been given so abundantly.
Once, when I had been describing some of the details of living with SmallDaughter, someone asked "but what makes it worth doing, if it is that hard?"--and here is my answer:
Once again, I am reminded of how much Heavenly Father loves "even the least of these".
What do you call someone who contributes nothing material, who consumes without replacing, who cannot express their thoughts, or hopes, or fears, or what hurts them in the night?
I am the proud, mellow, homeschooling mom of three children,
(BigGirl, LargeBoy and SmallDaughter)
who are as perfect as any reasonable parent could ask for, AND the Wonderdog, who is an Autism Service Dog (and a LIFE and SANITY SAVER!). I am also the stay at home wife of My Favorite Gentleman, who is helping me learn love, patience and selflessness.
I believe that we should build up, not tear down, that we should protect and defend those who cannot defend themselves, and that life is intended to be joyful and beautiful. I believe that God lives and reveals Himself in our lives, if we are paying attention.