Category Archives: Uncategorized

Funschool Sunday

What’s been going on in our little corner of the homeschooling universe.
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1. Collections
2. Sculpting
3. MagnaTiles and Light tables
4. Face painting
5. Being a veterinarian
6. Learning about circuits
7. Learning about vogue-ing
8. Learning about air pressure
9. Learning about aerodynamics
10. Learning about electrical currents
11. Building
12. Clay
13-14. Swings
15. Cooking
16. Glazing

Ashes in my Pine Tree

This morning my doorbell rang and I found an old woman on my porch who announced herself with the phrase “Good morning, I’m about to ask you the strangest question you’ll be asked all day.”

Just for the record, if you’re trying to spark my interest that intro is a pretty damn good way to do it.

She then proceeding to hold up a big ziploc baggie full of ashes and asked if I would mind if she laid her mother to rest in my front yard. Yes, you heard me right, she wanted to spread her dead mother’s ashes on my seldom mowed lawn.

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Apparently this whole part of town used to be one farm, specifically her family’s farm. They’d lived there for generations and the morning her mother was born (in what is now my neighbor’s house) her grandfather planted the giant tree out in front of my house in honor of her arrival into this world. As her mother grew she spent huge swaths of her childhood under/in that tree as it grew right a long with her and had always said that she wanted to spend eternity in it’s shade.

The whole property had been sectioned up and sold to people building city property some time around 1930, so this lady had been going through the neighborhood for I don’t even know how long with old maps, property deeds, and county land records trying to figure out exactly which house her mom and grown up in and subsequently which tree she wanted her ashes under… and was pretty sure it was this one.

I, of course, told her to go for it.

And that’s the story of how there came to be a really old lady spending eternity right outside my kids’ bedroom window.

Sex Ed aka What It’s Really Like To Have Kids

I have a new idea to improve public school sex ed classes and reduce teenage pregnancy. They should have me come in and give a talk… a very honest talk. It will go a little something like this.

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“Good morning children. I’m sure your teacher has already thoroughly gone over all the teenage pregnancy statistics with you. How much child support costs, how much less likely you are to graduate or even go to college, the health risks… that’s all true. You’ll have a lot harder time in life if you get pregnant right now.

And I’m sure since you’ve all seen babies you’re aware of how adorable they are, and how fun they are. Babies are crazy fun and adorable and wonderful to have… that’s also true.

But since you already know it’s hard and expensive and fun and rewarding to have kids let me tell you what it’s really like to have kids… the part nobody tells you about.

When you have little kids there will always… ALWAYS… be one thing in your house that smells like pee. Maybe nobody else can smell it, but you’ll be able to. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO. And you’ll search and search for it and spend what feels like half your days just wandering around your house like a senile old dog sniffing random objects, searching for the mystery pee smell which may or may not actually exist. Yeah, you heard me, sometimes THERE WON’T BE A SINGLE FREAKING THING IN YOUR HOUSE that actually has pee on it at all… BUT YOU WILL STILL. SMELL IT. ANYWAY.

And it will gas light the shit out of you. That, THAT is what it’s really like to have kids.”

*drops mic*

*runs back over and grabs mic off the floor*

“And also your entire bathroom will always be covered in tooth paste.”

*throws mic back on the floor and leaves the room*

And all those little teenage girls will raise their hands furiously screaming “Get me an IUD! I need an IUD right now!!!!” and the next day they will all get them. And there will be substantially less unintended teenage pregnancies in this world.

You’re welcome America.

I Fail At Writing Books

I currently have multiple books that I’m “writing”… by which I mean the idea has been thoroughly born and now nobody has actually started any real writing. I’ve been saying for years I’m going to write a parenting book called “The Zen Art of Chilling the Fuck Out”, my friend Erinne and I have been planning to write a children’s version of the Martyr’s Mirror for a while (sometimes we actually get together but then end up just drinking coffee and running after our kids instead), and Kristen and I have no less than 5 children’s books layed out in story board form and then abandoned.

Well now I have one more to add to the list. My sister Tricia and I decided we should write a book about how to be an adult. The idea came about when we started talking about people we knew in high school and realized, wow, even though we always complain we feel like we don’t have our shit together we’re apparently very good at being grownups. At least compared to a lot of people our age we used to hang out with.

So look forward to our new book, “Adulting: You’re Doing It Wrong”, coming to the very back shelf off a bookstore near you. It will include such amazing adulting advice as “bills do not have suggestions as to when you could probably pay them if you get around to it, they have due dates”, “just because someone is really fun at a bar doesn’t mean their friendship is worth having in your life”, and “being an adult means embracing basic grammar… nobody is going to get all grammar nazi on you here but it is not that hard to capitalize words that need capitalization and throw in the bare minimum amount of punctuation to make your words readable”.

I <3 Really Bizarre Fashion

I’m back! I didn’t have internet for the first month we were in the new house… at least not enough to really blog (blogging from my phone makes me want to fall over and die) but we got into the new house (an adventure that will absolutely find it’s way into a belated blogpost), went back to Phoenix for the Free To Be unschooling conference (which was hella awesome), and shot Phoenix Fashion Week again.

Which brings me to the actual point of this story… how much I love Rocky Gathercole.

People who know about fashion and who are into fashion like designers who make clothes you could possibly wear somewhere, things that aren’t too costume-y. But I am not someone who knows about or is into fashion. I am a gal who wears dresses from the Target and Ross clearance racks on my fancy days and dress like a pregnant college student on all the other days (I may or may not be wearing maternity yoga pants and a tattered tshirt I got in the 7th grade as I type this… only God can judge me) and the designers I like are huge and ridiculous and bizarre and make you raise one eyebrow and say “What the fuck?” with every new look that comes down the runway. And I LOVE ROCKY GATHERCOLE.

It started out with this…
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I am not even kidding.
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And to that I say HELLZ YEAH! Then he busted out a little bit of this…
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And ended with his daughter… in a Hello Kitty dress.
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Yep… that just happened.

And that, that my friends is why I loved most of the things I saw at Fashion Week but I ADORE crazy balls-to-the-wall wild ones like Rocky Gathercole. Seriously.

(Click HERE to see the rest of my pictures from the week.)

So My Dog is Definitely Racist…

My dogs are sweethearts. They’re big, they’re chaotic, and sometimes they’re very very noisy, but they’re sweethearts. Daisy (the pitbull) also tends to be fiercely protective of the kids and I… the time someone tried to break into our house in the night while David was gone I was only about 40% scared for me and the kids, the other 60% was scared for the poor robber because I knew the second he managed to jimmy that door open Daisy was going to end him. (He got the message from her snarling at him through the window and decided to move on to another house. Lucky for all of us.)

10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.
10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.

The family next door to us in this hotel are conservative Muslims who also happen to all be completely terrified of dogs. TERRIFIED. So every time we’ve run into each other while I was out walking the dogs it doesn’t matter how far away we are from them or how calm and friendly the dogs are being… they see the dogs and lose. their. shit. Specifically the dad who usually runs in front of his family yelling at me to keep the dogs away and generally panicking all over the place.

What I see is a man who has probably had VERY bad experiences with dogs in the past. I get it. My response is to turn around and walk the dogs the other way until they’re gone so they’re not uncomfortable because they’re a very nice family.

What Daisy sees is a large man acting erratically, running towards me (to get in front of his family), and yelling. Her response is the same as if he was trying to kill us all.

Which, as you can probably imagine, only makes them freak out more. And then it’s this chaotic spiral of increasing noise and panic and general chaos. It’s not awesome.

It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen them while I have the dogs (which is awesome) but occasionally now Daisy will just start barking at people. Just random people. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, she’s never done this before. But then I put it together. She barks at anyone dressed like a conservative Muslim. Her only experience with people who look like that has been this family.

So just like my neighbor sees a dog and thinks it’s going to kill him and his whole family (regardless of how it’s acting) because that has been his experience… my dog now sees someone brown wearing a hijab and thinks they’re going to kill her and her whole family (regardless of how they’re acting) because that’s been her experience. And there is probably no way at this point I could ever convince them to interact with each other long enough to realize their preconceived ideas are not based in reality. Ta da! That’s how racism happens!

And that, dear readers, is the story of how my dog became a racist. The end.

Funschool Sunday

What we did this week in the great land of homeschool. 

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1. They wanted to have sushi so we tried a new place and some new kinds we’ve never had. 
2. We went for lots of nature walks where the kids found sap. So I told them about sap, they touched/poked/squished/explored it and tried to find more, then we read about it at the library. 
3. They did lots of art on my phone. 
4. Big Truck Days in Beaverton. They had semis, tractors, firetrucks, ambulances, cranes… you name it. All that the kids could climb on, climb in, and explore. The people who drive those trucks were there too to tell them all about each one while they explored. 
5-6. This week’s NatureMobile at the library was all about earth worms. We learned all about earth worm anatomy, what they eat, how they move, and who eats them. They plastic spoons and popsicle sticks (“Spoons of Science” and “Popsicle Sticks of Perpetual Discovery” as they called them) to dig through tubs of soil to find worms and watch them move and learned about what’s in soil and composting! They also had a mole (picture 6) which are natural predators of worms. It had these tiny back feet and massive shovel like front feet to burrow through the ground. 
7. Swimming! This week Verona got comfortable jumping in from the side by herself. Now she can’t be stopped. 
8-9. Saturday there was a Polynesian Festival in Beaverton. We heard music from different islands, saw hula dancing, and explored a new cuisine. The kids chose octopus balls and I got poke, a dish of raw tuna and onions tossed in a spicy sauce and served over rice, then we all shared.

What did you learn this week? 

Kids are Cooler Than Grownups

Being in a hub of technological companies (this suburb is the hub of Intel and about five other large Intel-related companies) the hotel we’re staying in is very multi cultural. Since being here I have met more people from more countries than I can even begin to count, just off the top of my head in the last couple days I’ve hung out with people from the Poland, France, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and spend time almost daily with a guy from Spain my dogs have made friends with and two kids from the Netherlands my kids have made friends with. It’s a fun place to be. 

There is also a lot of conservative Muslims here which has been interesting. I’ll sometimes see the little girls at the pool wearing their conservative swimwear which consists of ankle length pants, a long sleeved tunic top, and hijab… all made out of swimsuit material. It’s like the extra serious version of the rash guards you see rich white kids wearing. 

Anyway yesterday was the first day we actually ended up at the pool at the same time as them. All the kids in two large families came bounding into the pool area, ready to swim and one little girl runs up next to Verona.

Verona looked at the little girl, then pointed at her head to toe swimming getup and screamed “YOUR SWIMSUIT!!!!…”

I immediately cringed. What was Verona going to say next? Anyone who has kids is vividly remembering their own moment when their child announced to a stranger in the grocery store that they were fat, or asked someone with severe acne in an elevator what was wrong with their face or why it looked so messed up. Kids are not known for their ability to distinguish what is and is not appropriate to say to someone they barely know… and Verona has enough racist relatives that I had the added fear she’d overheard something once when I wasn’t there to immediately counteract it (even though I really really try) and was going to choose this moment to repeat it. 

The other little girl looked down at her own swimsuit, then over at Verona’s, and Verona continued, “IT’S PINK JUST LIKE MIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEE!” Then both girls squealed with glee over their commonality, grabbed each other by the hand, and jumped into the pool together. 

And that, my friends, that is why kids are cooler than grownups. 

Remember How I Might Be a Hoarder?

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The packing process is (mostly) done and all this shit’s going to Goodwill. I don’t know if this picture accurately reflects exactly how much stuff this is… cause it’s a lot of stuff. And all stuff I don’t need. *shakes head in shame*

That blue thing to left is a humidifier in the shape of a penguin. Problem is the head has been missing for I don’t even know how long. No idea where it went.

Do you know who keeps headless penguins? People with a problem, that’s who.

The post where I admit I haven’t been super healthy lately.

I can’t think of a good way to start this so I’ll just jump right in.  I haven’t been very healthy for a long long time, mentally at least.  Without going into any of the gory details I have a really warped relationship with food and my body… like, really pretty messed up.  It hasn’t been fun, it hasn’t been good, and it hasn’t been healthy.

Everybody suspects the super skinny girl of having a messed up self image, people usually expect the same of the morbidly obese girl.  But that slightly overweight chick?  People don’t worry about her.  Which made it really easy to hide what was going on.

The weird thing is, I really didn’t hate my body.  I mean, I have ‘cry in the bathroom because the jeans barely fit’ days just like anyone, don’t get me wrong… but over all I was always pretty happy with myself when I was truly honest.  I didn’t hate my body, I felt guilty for NOT hating my body.  Because as that over weight girl I’m suppose to, right?  How is anything ever going to change without a healthy sense of self loathing?  Nobody gets skinny by appreciating the amazing things their body can do… right?

It was all a really bizarre clusterfuck of competing emotions and it spilled over into my actions which got more and more unhealthy as it went on.

About two months ago my brain seemed to suddenly snap back to normal and I could clearly see what had been going on and how messed up it was.  So I started being proactive about getting better, taking care of my body the way something this awesome deserves to be taken care of, and going balls to the wall about developing a good relationship with my body again… namely giving myself permission to love it and tolerating nothing less.

Does that mean I wouldn’t be healthier losing 20lbs?  No, I totally would be.  But right now I have other things that need fixing before I can tackle that.

Almost a year ago in the midst of it all I realized I had an entire pinterest board just of grilled cheese sandwich recipes and decided I was going to have a grilled cheese month, where I made different grilled cheeses every day and tried them all. I thought it would fun culinary adventure, something great to blog about, and who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese?

Then I thought “But I’ll do that once I lose some more weight. Fat bitches got no business eating grilled cheese every day.”

And now it’s a year later and my weight has gone up and down and round and round and I’ve never gotten to a place where I felt like I deserved the right to tell the world that I’m eating a grilled cheese.

Now how messed up is that?  How outrageously sad way to live life is that?  My worth and what I can or cannot do is not contingent on whether or not I can get those size 7 brown pants buttoned… it’s not.  I’m done telling myself “I can’t do that until I’m skinny.” or thinking I’m somehow unworthy of awesome-ness because of a number on a scale.

Not to mention, there’s no reason a healthy diet cannot accommodate one grilled cheese a day, my issues with it are 100% mental bullshit.  A truly healthy diet can absolute include grilled cheese… the warped nonsense I was involved in before is what couldn’t accommodate one grilled cheese.

So today I’m coming out. My name is Jenna and I’m overweight.  I currently wear a size 10 or 12 depending on the brand, and my stomach is so covered in stretch marks from baby making if I lifted up the bottom of my shirt you may very well think I’m wearing a tan and purple stripped tank top underneath it. Verona calls them my tiger stripes and says I’m a tiger woman.  I have not, nor will I ever have a thigh gap. Unhealthily skinny 17 year old Jenna didn’t even have a thigh gap so fabulously curvy post baby Jenna is absolutely never going to and I’m 100% ok with that. I’m over weight but I’m in pretty good shape physically.  I sweat like a crazy lady on the elliptical (because it makes me feel good now, no longer because I want to make myself waste away), I can hula hoop like a rockstar, and last night I did three sets of 130lbs at the gym like a motherfucking badass.

My name is Jenna, I’m fucking awesome, and pretty soon I’m going to start my month of try-all-the-grilled-cheeses… and I’ll blog about every single one.  So be ready!