Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Year everyone, may your year be filled with joy!

Here are some holiday images...

Before opening gifts on solstice~

Kyra eagerly awaiting gift opening.

Alec and Abbi got gaming t-shirts :)

Have a safe and happy new year~

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yes, is it Blessed.

My friend Mary posted this picture on her blog titled "Blessed Winter Solstice"
I love it. :)

I had how blessed I am driven home yesterday . And funny I should say driven...
Kyra and I were driving home from our friend Patty's house and decided to go a different way. I'm not as sure about the road there and it was dark and I suppose icey. I think I must have looked down momentarily, but when I looked up I saw a sharp curve that I struggled to make and then a stop sign that I didn't make. I ended up crossing a pretty busy highway, missing oncoming cars, and going into a ditch and taking out a no trespassing sign.

I yelled to Kyra "hang on!" and I'm not even sure how the front right corner of the Highlander got smashed. As I hit the little sign right square in the front. I know I saw an electrical pole and knew I had to miss that our we would of been in trouble. I might have grazed it.

Anyway, we're OK. The airbags didn't even go off, phew. Kyra was in the back, scared but ok.

We were sad that our new hybrid truck was damaged, but we feel so blessed and fortunate that we're OK. So, more money out for repairs, but our wonderful blessed lives are intact.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


We've started our holiday celebrations. Last weekend we had my family's get together. Kyra with her cuz Brenna.

Me and my honey. :)
Grandma and Grandpa

And even Saddi!

More to come!

~Happy Holidays everyone~

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I've always been a morning person.
This is my view from my computer this morning.

the trees were covered in fresh fallen snow.

Here's out front:

Then just a few hours later.

Kyra IMing with Sierra.

And Abbi IMing with Devon.

Its all good.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WOW part 2

Destinycloud, Abbi's roleplaying character on WOW. She's close to level 55 now. ( I had to say that ;)

OK, so lots of learning takes place while playing World of Warcraft. I guess I knew that. What I didn't know was how people learn different things. Or how different people find different things to do and learn with the same game.

Alec totally gets into the strategic side of things. He contemplates the armor he wears from the stats (attributes) it has, would it benefit his hunter's performance. He reasons with a very strategic mind.

Abbi, on the other hand, enjoys the game in a totally different way. Her way is a more imaginative way. She did start out on a regular realm. Meaning you talk to people just like you are,, a person at a computer. :) Yet, she quickly found out she liked a role-playing realm better.

When she picked her race,, what type of character she wanted, she picked an elf. She (and I) thought the elves looked pretty cool. And you get to be a druid as an elf. A druid is a cool class for several reasons. First off you get to turn into animals! :) How cool is that if you do role-playing??? You can turn into a bear, cat, porpoise type of thing , moonkin (which kind of looks like a bear standing up with horns) and now with the expansion introduced a healing druid can turn into a mystical tree. :-D The druid is a cool spiritual natural type being,, anyway, she and I were both drawn to the druids.

So, Abbi plays mostly on a role-playing server and has met many friends there. Its pretty interesting, I didn't really understand how it would work but here's how it does:

On your character you can indicate that you are a either a serious or casual role-player, also you indicate if you are looking for contacts. People can then send you a message or just start interacting with you. Some people will just start talking with you (in character,, of course ;), others will read about you if you have rsp. RSP is an add-on in which you can write up some type of description about your character.

An add-on is something you download to your game to enhance your game playing. Abbi's add-ons will help her to remember details about other people's characters or help others to read about her character, oh and one cool add on is she can click on something and it will change her whole outfit *g*. Of course Alec has that add-on too but he does it for different reasons, his armor changes would be for possibly fire resistance or frost resistance changes. Abbi's outfit changes would be ones like --her pretty purple dress or her all black outfit or her silly outfit. Alec also has some add-ons that help him with group play. He's doing raids now with up to 40 people and they all have to have add-ons to help them manage all the people. Examples of the use of add-ons in this case would be you can see everyone's health and mana, or you can see who is doing the most damage or who has the most aggro (aggro being the monster is attacking that person).

Back to role-playing. So someone may read your RSP and use that info, or they may just say something to you independent from that. They might totally bring up something random and you can just go with that. I had one person comment on my staff and I went into what I had done with it or how I found it,, some adventurous story. Its very much like improv. Abbi really gets into some elaborate storylines with other people. Where they'll even end up continuing it for days. There is also a way to talk to these people OOC (out of character) They just send messages like this ((this means I'm talking OOC)), so they can tell if they are still role-playing or meaning real life things.

This type of play really fills her need to act and create, its very cool.

Another way her creativity has flourished from WOW is writing on the role-playing forums. Right within WOW's website there are role-playing forums. Its where someone will start a story and then others can make contributions. Its also very cool. She loves to write very descriptively and loves reading other's writings. I've been amazed at her writing abilities. I never wrote anything like that until I was maybe in high school. She now types faster than me and can probably spell better than me. Which is also amazing to me because when she was 9, only 3 years ago she was asking me how to spell everything. Now I ask her *g*.

Some people have asked if its good for such a young girl to be interacting with others in a place like this. We can't say that she hasn't ran into some jerks. But there have been more nice, generous, fun people than the other. I have seen her handle people who make her feel uncomfortable and I've seen her modify what she does so she meets people who she'd like to play with. She now has a very good friend who she met through role-playing. This girl is the same age and is also a homeschooler. :) They've also gotten to know each other through IMing and their myspace spaces. She is very excited to hear about our unschooling. They have slowly been getting to know each other more and more. They don't divulge personal info very quickly, I've seen how this works. ( She's very choosy about what she shares with others.)

We've had nothing but good experiences with our WOW playing. Fun and learning abound!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Living the life of joy

And today's daily groove by Scott Noelle was right in sync. Maybe he explains why it does work. Makes sense to me. Although he refers to it as the pleasure principle or creative pleasure--that sounds good too.

There are 2 parts, they're short. :)

Here's Part 1 of The Creative Pleasure Principle:

Imagine you're in a choir, singing a difficult piece, and it's not coming together. But you persist, and eventually the ensemble achieves perfect harmony, emanating a sound that gives you chills from head to toe!

That's a dramatic example of creative pleasure: the feeling of coming into alignment with your heart's desire.

Creative pleasure is a universal principle. It's related to the Law of Attraction, by which similar thoughts and experiences are drawn to each other. As thought and desire come into alignment, pleasure is felt and creation unfolds.

You could say that atoms and molecules "feel pleasure" when they come together to create higher orders of complexity and intelligence. Thus, the Creative Pleasure Principle informs all of nature, from the smallest flea, to the tallest tree, to the human parent and child.

Today, notice that you feel better when your thoughts are aligned with your desires — when you believe you can have what you want.

And part 2:

Since the Creative Pleasure Principle informs every level of creation — matter, body, mind, and spirit — the most natural way to create a wonderful life is by simply "following your pleasure."

Being pleasure-oriented empowers you and your child to co-create a mutually satisfying relationship. Children are innately pleasure-oriented, but they can become "dis-oriented" by the anti-pleasure aspects of our culture.

Some parents think that if they were totally pleasure-oriented, they'd abandon their children! This arises from confusion between authentic pleasure and pseudo-pleasure — the shallow pleasure of aligning with the distortions of the dominator culture.

One such distortion is the idea that suffering earns you the "right" to feel good. A parent who believes that may feel "good" about attending to personal desires at the child's expense: "I suffered as a child; now it's MY turn to get what I want!"

Thus pseudo-pleasure perpetuates the win/lose, dominator culture. Only the authentic pleasure of aligning your thoughts and actions with your heart's desires can create a win/win, partnership culture: "My child and I can BOTH find satisfaction... I don't know how, but there must be a way."

Today, as you make parenting choices, wait for the feeling of authentic, creative pleasure before you take action.


I think if we breathe and take the time to get to know our kids, it can happen.

Pause, find that mindfulness and (maybe) groove, you can find a joy and so can your child.

We can forge a partnership with our children and I really think joy is the way.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Just making sure

I just wanted to make sure people know that I don't justify Alec's video game playing on the sole reason of how much he's learning. (I actually wrote that out for some people who might like to see the "schooly" or "academic" type of learning that can go on while playing.) I know deep down that what he chooses and what keeps his attention and gives him so much joy is the right thing for Alec. :)

Really, it is the joy. Like Pam Sorooshian said one time "if its not fun, we probably don't do it" . It might sound somewhat flip, but its so true and anything but flip. This choice of ours to live this way was a well thought through decision. What a wonderful gift to give our children right now. This opportunity to find what speaks to their soul.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Learning through World of Warcraft (WOW) Part 1

My mage :)

OK, so just to warn you, this will be a long one *g*.... and technical. This is a hard post to write because there's so much information, but I'll do my best and take it a step at a time. Just like Alec does when he's leveling his characters. :) (Oh and most of this makes sense to me from him explaining it to me)

This is just a touch of what type of thinking/learning goes into playing WOW.

For those of you not familiar with World of Warcraft or WOW, it is a MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Roleplaying Game). Meaning you take on the role of some sort of character. And you also play with lots of other people who are sitting at computers just like yourself.

This will be an extensive explanation of playing the game. You really don't have to play this seriously but I'm going to go into this depth because this is how my son has played it. When he plays a game its pretty thorough, every detail is important to him. I will also touch on other things we've learned from the game in following posts.

First off, you have to choose which type of realm(world) you want to be in, it depends on what style of play you like. These are the types: Role-playing (RP), Player vs Player (PVP), regular (our choice with the characters mentioned later) and RP, PVP together.

After choosing what realm you're going to play in, you get to then pick your character that you want to play. These characters have certain qualities and certain classes that they can be. For example, Alec picked a dwarf because he wanted to be a hunter(class) and dwarves have the highest agility stats starting out. Agility is a good attribute for a hunter. You can also be a night elf hunter but the dwarf will have 24 agility and the night elf only has 20. (I'll explain that later.) I knew I wanted to be a mage so I had the choice between gnome or human, I chose human. She's prettier. *g* Stats aren't as important to me ;) We also have other characters--my priest, hunter and druid are night elves. Alec's warrior is a human and his shaman is a Tauren. The Tauren are a race on the Horde side.

Most of our characters are on the Alliance side, but there is also the option of playing with the Horde side. These 2 sides can battle and you can choose to be on either one. The horde side is a little scarier looking, yet its debatable whether they are the "bad" guys though. ;)

OK, so Alec has a dwarf hunter and starts to level him. Which means you pretty much run around killing things, (different mobs) which gives you a certain amount of experience points. You also do quests which give you experience. Quests can be running errands, helping out a npc (non player character/a character in the game not being played by a person) or a lot of times looking for a lost person *g*. A LOT of map reading, which I'm not so good at ;) my kids help me. :)

So you get experience and you level up. Math coming into play here- you want to know how much exp (experience you need to get to level 2) You have 30 exp but you need 300 to get to level 2. Also you want to know how many monsters you have to kill to get to that next level--lets see you get 50 exp for each kill and you have 270 points left.. do the division, and voila. That's pretty simple but when you get up in the level 50s,, sigh, you need like, (I just looked and I need 173,900 exp to get to level 55 and I'm at 77,992) You do get more exp per kill now but it take a lot of work to level up in those higher levels.

Next would come equip (how Alec terms it) it would include your armor and weapons and different ways of making your hunter better. As you are killing these mobs (monsters) you will get drops from them. You kill a certain monster and they might drop any of the following: a piece of armor, weapon , a crafting material, money. You might be able to use the item, you might not. A hunter can wear leather, and at higher levels mail. My mage can only wear cloth.Certain classes use certain types of weapons also, like Alec's hunter can use swords, axes and bows or guns. My mage can use staves, wands and can get trained in a sword too, (I just found that out!) So you look for certain things. Also as you are looking for drops you want to look at the stats or attributes on the items. Like right now my wand is this:

Wand of Biting Cold
67-125 Frost Damage
(64.0 damage per second) speed 1.50
Equip Increases damage done by frost spells & effects by up to 16.

This wand is good for me because I'm a frost mage. I raise my frost talents with skill points. (I don't even go into skill points in this blog post ;))

My wand right now doesn't have any added attributes though. I think I could have +Mana regeneration put on it or +Spirit but I can't afford it right now. :)

Attributes would include these things and certain attributes are better for some classes over others. A list of Attributes:

Strength-Modest Improvements to Melee Damage
Stamina-Higher Hit Points
Agility-Minorly Increases Chance to Dodge
Intellect-More Mana, Raise Critical Hit with Spells
Spirit-Improves Hit Point/Mana Regeneration

(Hit points are your health points, and Mana is your magic points. Not every class has mana, but all have hit points.)

A hunter would want agility(having this attribute will raise your chance to get a critical hit, dodge and increases damage done at range and in melee) so you'd look for armor with +agility, or you might even want some +spirit too so you can use your special skills with markmanship. :) This is where it gets complicated for me,,(well there are other places too but this is one *g*) Alec will advise me on what armor is better for me, as a mage. He ends up advising quite a few people on what pieces (armor and weapons) are the best choices. I see him getting tells(messages) all the time, "bro, what piece is better?" hehe..

Here are my mage's Attributes right now:

Strength 29
Increases Attack Power by 19
Agility 33
Increases Critical Hit Chance by 5%
Stamina 93
Increases Health by 750
Intellect 296
Increases Mana by 4160
Increases Spell Critical Hit by 5.82%
Spirit 229
Increases Mana Regeneration by 34 per sec
Armor 758
Reduces Physical Damage Taken by 13.16%

Lots of math here too because you can also alter the stats on your equip with enchanments, enchantments are enhancements that can be added to things. Like you can have +15 agility put on a back piece or you can have +30% added damage bonus on your weapon. So as you are evaluating your equip, all these things come into play and it will ultimately play into how much damage you do or how well your character does in the world of Azeroth. :)

You can get your items from drops but you can also get your items from the auction house (the AH). That is the way you can make money,,oh yeah,,here's more math. You usually will have an amount of money on you, you can find money on the mobs you kill or you can sell items you find to make money. Using the AH is an amazing learning experience. You can put up items, you set the low bid price, you can put in a buy out price, and then you wait. Lots of economics principles going on here. People will put things up for just a bit lower to move things quicker or not put in a buyout price at all, if its really rare,, they'll let people bid it out. You are actually bidding against other players and interacting with these people. (Socializing)

As you get higher in your levels the equip, obviously, gets better-- usually cooler looking too,, keeps you wanting to level. :)

So, lots of math going on,, lots of evaluating, remembering what means what--- it's amazing.

Just a note: Most of this knowledge was gathered by playing and researching online. Alec can spend hours reading about how to make his equip better and also how to bring down the mobs. The stategies to be successful at these higher levels is pretty complicated. You do a lot with big groups, 20 man and 40 man. More on that later...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

W.O.W. what a life.

We've had WOW (World of Warcraft) in our life now for about a year. And its been a blast. Most of our family plays and have thoroughly enjoyed our life in the world of Azeroth!

Below was our set up last weekend. We just got a laptop that has the capability to play it too! :) So Ben, our nephew, is playing there also. Alec is playing his dwarf there and Abbi is probably roleplaying in a roleplaying server. (More details about that later. :)

Alec right now is enjoying the status of level 60. 60 is as high as you can go right now, I say right now because in January an expansion is coming out and then you can level to 70. Wow! And I mean Wow! ;)

Alec's game play has changed quite a bit in the last couple of months. At level 60 you can group with other people and do large group instances. At earlier levels you could do 5 man instances but now at level 60 Alec can do 20 man and 40 man. This larger group activity is usually called raiding. You usually get together with your guild and do these very organized (organized if you want it to go successful) instances. An instance is an area in the game where only people in your party get to participate. Others walking around will not see you or your party members. The experience is created just for the party (your group).

Here's a picture of Alec's guild looking at Onyxia. He did this last night and was sooo excited about it. This group activity(instance) is designed to be done by a 40 man group. Alec's guild is just getting going on the end game instance so they only had 26 people. Which was amazing, they almost brought her(Onyxia, the dragon) down. Their FIRST time! They got her down to 23% of her health before everyone wiped. (Alec's term,, wiped --everyone getting killed)
You can't really see Alec's character (Brincamian) because he's a little guy, a dwarf. His red little head might be up at the top but I'm not sure if that him or another dwarf. They are all just standing in awe of her. :) It is so fun to watch/listen to all of this. The use teamspeak so the members doing it can talk to each other, beside typing messages too. Although they only allow the raid leader, usually, to talk,, you can imagine the chaos that could ensue if all 20-40 people were talking. Its amazing, the organization it takes to do one of these things, the patience and thinking that goes into it all.

Their guild is called the riders of pern, you'll see that below each character's name.

Here's another picture. This is Brincamian, doing his dwarf dance. We love having the character's dance. My character which is a human does the macarana. :P I'll post some more pics later with of all of our characters together.

Oh, and if anyone is interested the game itself is very resonably priced right now, under $20.00. You have to pay a monthly fee, but we are really enjoying it and its been worth the money. I'll post later, all of the things that I've seen that have come from playing WOW. From reading skills to socializing. :)

WE DID IT ! :)

Yep, we got the lights up on it. *g* It was a bit challenging, but worth the work! I just love sitting in that room now. We turn off all the other lights in the house and just stare at the holiday lights. I have lights all over right now, up the stairway and also above a closet with a little tree up there.

Here's Tim working hard.
And the decorating. :) We also got to have 2 of our nephews stay with us this weekend. We love having them here. Matt is helping Kyra in this pic.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What do you do for fun?

I'm constantly amazed by these kiddos of mine. OK, I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again.

I'm amazed.

This week Abbi was voicing her frustration with not being in a play for a while. She so wants to be in one but our town really hasn't had much to offer her lately. There will be try outs for a musical in a couple of weeks but she was feeling like doing something now.

So she starts thinking about maybe memorizing something. Hmmmm,, what could it be? She really likes V is for Vendetta and had memorized his V speech for the Live and Learn Conference,, hmm. I suggest maybe a Shakespeare play, because I have the complete works of the bard right there in the living room. :) She jumps at that. "YES!" she exclaims. *g*

But what should she memorize? She decides on an excerpt from A Midsummer's Night Dream. She likes monologues,, long ones. She can go on and on with stuff that she's memorized, and she does it so quickly. It blows my mind. I've never been very good at memorizing so I am in true awe. :)

This is what she decided to memorize:

Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,--O, is it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.
I am amazed at your passionate words.
I scorn you not: it seems that you scorn me.
Have you not set Lysander, as in scorn,
To follow me and praise my eyes and face?
And made your other love, Demetrius,
Who even but now did spurn me with his foot,
To call me goddess, nymph, divine and rare,
Precious, celestial? Wherefore speaks he this
To her he hates? and wherefore doth Lysander
Deny your love, so rich within his soul,
And tender me, forsooth, affection,
But by your setting on, by your consent?
What thought I be not so in grace as you,
So hung upon with love, so fortunate,
But miserable most, to love unloved?
This you should pity rather than despise.
I understand not what you mean by this.
Ay, do, persever, counterfeit sad looks,
Make mouths upon me when I turn my back;
Wink each at other; hold the sweet jest up:
This sport, well carried, shall be chronicled.
If you have any pity, grace, or manners,
You would not make me such an argument.
But fare ye well: 'tis partly my own fault;
Which death or absence soon shall remedy.

Yep, all of that. And we thought we'd maybe do it up good. Have someone record us doing it (I'll do ALL of Hermia's lines *g*) and I told her maybe we could put it on youtube or something. I'll share it once we do it.

I think she had it down in about a hour.

Gotta love this unschooling.

Oh,, and below is the beginning of a poncho she decided to make this week.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas..

We received a tree from my parents. They needed to clear some space around their cabin and wanted to know if we could use a tree. "Sure!" I said.

Little did I know that it was a HUGE tree, we thought it was maybe going to be about 12 feet,, it measured around 18 but after we got it trimmed up its about 14. :)

Yeah, its big, but beautiful! Not quite sure how I'm gonna get lights on it. *g* "Bring in the ladder!"

Grandpa had to take a break after getting it in the house!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Feet, not happy?

Last week we went to the movie Happy Feet and I was going to write a blog about it. I really liked it and everyone in our family really liked it. It had so many good things about it. I ran into a lady I knew after it and she asked me how it was and what came to my mind was--profound.

Maybe that's why this columnist from the USA Today didn't like it? Hmmmm..

I guess I didn't realize that talking about things with our children is propaganda. That being aware of our planet is propaganda. That being accepting of individuals differences and respectful to those things is a horrid thing?


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

And it goes around

I've had some really nice couple of days. :) Not that most of my days aren't nice, but I've been able to enjoy some daytime hours with Alec and Abbi. In a past blog, I wrote about how they had been staying up through the night and then I would spend a few hours with them here and there. Well, they decided this week that they wanted to be up during the day.

They struggled a bit, the first couple of days were hard. Their bodies were tired and not used to it, but now on about the 3rd day, they're on a daytime schedule. We've been hanging together, talking, playing, reading, cooking, shopping, and laughing a lot. :)

Its so amazing seeing what these 2 kids are becoming. Alec, being 13 soon 14, is starting to look and sound like a man and Abbi , 12, continues to amaze me with her wisdom beyond years. I am so enjoying them.. its very cool.

I ache so bad in my heart when I hear people cutting down teens. People often say,, "just wait, it'll happen," and we look at them in disbelief. They're saying that my kids are going to revolt, become a "problem" or something. One lady even said it right to Alec! "Just wait...." and Alec turns to me with the questioning look. He asked me later, "what was she talking about, what am I going to get?" It was like a disease or something. I explained it to him that a lot of people think teens almost always have to have issues,, or struggles or have to rebel. He kind of laughed and said,,"what would I rebel against?"

I wish people saw that it really doesn't have to be like that. You can have an open healthy relationship with your teens. And it is so amazing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Flexing my Wii muscle

So my arms are aching me. Not from working out or lifting weights, but from playing our new Nintendo Wii. We are having sooo much FUN! Hehe.

The sports games that come with the system are a blast. Up to 4 people can play at once so yesterday afternoon, Tim and the kids were all playing doubles tennis! Its amazing! You hold the wireless controller just like a tennis racket and you control the little person on the screen. The ball comes near you and you swing the controller and hit at it just like you were playing real tennis. It even has you program it so it knows if you're using your right or left hand. Its so dang real its scary and its awesome! You should see my amazing back hand! :-D

The other games look fun too but I haven't tried those yet--bowling, baseball, boxing and golf.

We've been talking about how we HAVE to stretch our arm muscles before we play,, pretty funny. Or not,, as my arm aches right now. *g* Its a good ache though.

Another game Alec tried out but didn't really like on the bigger screen anyway, was Call of Duty. He thought he might like the shooter aspect of it,, aiming like a real gun, but it seemed way sensitive. He didn't have fun, but thought it might go better on a smaller TV.

The biggest reason we got the Wii though, is for what Alec is doing right now,, drum roll.... The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess! :) So exciting to see Link again *g*. And he's all grown up! He's having a good time with it so far and its so good to hear all the Zelda music again.

Dianacised this morning ;)

My horoscope this morning:

Your sensitivity to people's feelings can be
overwhelming. You must find a way to maintain
awareness without letting your own judgment be
suspended. Endeavor to stay centered and

I'm not sure how much I believe them, but from my friend's
reading of hers I thought I'd subscribe. :)

Pretty funny with some things that have been going on in my life.

I've had some local unschoolers questioning my calls on my
Minnesota list. So of course I also question what I am saying.
I go back and forth (in my head) on the things that
I believe, but it comes back to this--> this life is really
working for us. We are so happy and it works for others
too, (maybe just not so many in MN *g*).

I'm just trying to share it with others.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

life is messy

I really like Scott Noelle. :) I've been getting his daily inspirational e-mail lately and I'm really enjoying them. I got one today that was so in sync with my life right now. I do better with this than I used ;) but its still so good to keep in mind.

Scott Noelle:

:: Life Is Messy... Get Over It! ::

In man's quest to conquer nature, our culture has
developed an unhealthy aversion to the natural
messiness of life.

Heaven forbid you should eat an apple that isn't
and round and free of bug bites. Those get made
applesauce so we never have to see their

And if our high-tech, Star Trek fantasies were
we could avoid the messiness of birth and simply
"beam" babies out of the womb -- without a drop
blood in sight.

Even if you're a "crunchy" parent who's not
of nature's messiness, there may be other kinds
messes you abhor, like the messy ways children
explore, and process emotions. Or the messy way
grow through parenthood.

Today, whenever you feel bothered about anything,
yourself, "What 'messiness' am I resisting?" Are
not allowing your *own* process to be messy?

Well, get over it! Life IS messy. :-)

Let life's messes remind you how good it is to be

Have a great messy day :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

making a killer? Nah,,,


Will playing video games make a person more violent?

Does playing video games make a person desensitized to violence?

Do I worry that my kids play video games?

These questions come up all the time. Just recently on an unschooling discussion list, a person was talking about how she didn't want her 9 yr old playing Grand Theft Auto (GTA). She worried about it desensitizing her son. She knew he learned a lot from video games but she wanted him to wait for a few years before he played this one.

I didn't always allow my kids to make their own choices. I used to say that we'd never have a video game system or cable TV. I've come a long way, haven't I? I now know that allowing my kids to make their own choices and talking with them as they are making decisions is a much better way to go. Instead of an adversarial relationship we have a partnership. I'll help them to what information they need and tell them what I know about different things, but ultimately its up to them.

GTA did show up in our lives, pretty quick after we decided to unschool. I decided that I wasn't going to censor their viewing of things or playing of games. Now, that being said, it doesn't mean I just leave them to their own devices. We do things together. I'm always there, part of their life. So if they see something they want to watch or play, I'm usually along for the ride. I can help them to find out about it. Remind them of previous choices, give my opinion, but try not to judge what they are looking into. Which is sometimes hard, but I'm getting better. :) We'll often look things up to see what reviewers say, a good objective viewpoint.

When Alec decided he wanted to check out GTA I was a little apprehensive but I thought,,"OK, here's my test, can I walk the talk?" I brought him to a video rental store and we rented GTA. I knew that there was going to be car theft (obviously) but other people had also warned me about the prostitutes and other stuff. So I was a little worried about that. We sat down and he played it. He enjoyed driving the cars around, but that was about it. We didn't even see the prostitutes and that was the end of that. Wow. It really didn't keep his interest. He likes to do a lot of problem solving and strategy type stuff and it wasn't there for him. Maybe it was over his head, he was around 9 at the time, I don't know, but I do know he got bored with it really quickly. It even went back to the rental place before it was due.

So that being said, while playing the game he did run over people with the cars. Now, maybe that would bother some parents. Is that encouraging violent behavior? I don't think so. Its a game. He hasn't gone out and tried to steal a car or even tried to hurt anyone. The times when people/media has linked certain violent behavior to video games you have to stop and look at those particular circumstances. Don't you? Did those people who committed awful crimes have loving homelives? Did they have parents who were involved in their lives? Did they have positive role models in their lives? Nope. No, no and no.

Being violent or aggressive in real life has a lot more to do with how that person is being treated and the life they are leading than an easy out as blaming a video game.

Back to the discussion that was going at the discussion list. The person said she knew how much video games can teach people. Can't a flight simulator teach a person to fly? Can't math games(and other games) teach a person to do math? Yep. If that person is interested in what they are doing. So then we could ask--Do you think your son/daughter is going to pick up a video game and think, "now I'm going to learn how to blow a person away, cool, then I can go do it to someone in real life"? I know, no, of course not. These kids that actually went and killed people were very troubled. They had very disturbed lives. So different from homes where kids are respected and loved.

Why do so many people fear video games? Is it because they are so new? So popular?

Do I think video games will make a person violent? Nope. Does playing a video game make a person desensitized to violence? Nope. Am I worried that my kids play a lot of video games? Nope again, not a bit.

We have to trust our children. We have to know that our kids won't want to hurt someone else. If there is anger or resentment in a child I hope that the parent would try and figure it out, try and change something. Something isn't working, find something different.

Our different was unschooling. And it has lead to 3 very happy, joyful, even gentle kids.


a little "lite" reading this morning. nah, not me ;)

**warning** for anyone who hasn't read Daniel Quinn before~ he will get your brain a goin'

what does this have to do with our joyful life? lots of reasons why we unschool are right there.

and what have we been doing lately?

--returned from moorhead, my mom went into the hospital, but is now on the mend.

--playing new games Final Fantasy 12, Sims Pets, Sims University and an upstanding moral boosting game-- Desperate Housewifes PC game *g*

--going to bake our own French bread today and do some other baking

--and as usual continually making all those connections as they occur, meaning google and are our constant companions :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

stuffing any doubt

Here's a post that I did at Unschooling Discussion this morning.
I wanted to share it here too. :)

I felt like sharing some thoughts that I've had floating around in my
head lately. :)
My oldest 2 kids are on the nightshift right now.   I  stay up
with them as late as I can  and then I get up early to see if they
need anything (and to be up with my youngest). They also know they can
come and get me and wake me up if they need anything.  That being said,
I'm usually fine with them being up, yet I still have little voices in
my head telling me they should be sleeping when I'm sleeping.
I sometimes start questioning if I'm doing enough for them.  Maybe I
should be right by their side more?  I make sure they have easy to warm
up food, and snacks they like.  I make sure I spend a chunk of quality
time with them when they are awake, but I still worry.  I'll ask them
if they're happy (they look happy, but I want to make sure, my doubt
again) and they'll enthusiastically answer "YES!".  I ask them if they
want to be doing some other things,,(I'm thinking,,, like stuff during
the day) and they'll answer "but Mom I'm doing what I want to do"
and they laugh at my doubt.
So I go back and forth, being confident in what I'm doing and then also
questioning it.  I think because I'm not around anyone in real life who
lives their life like this its much more difficult to remain confident.
 When I do question it I need to stop and look at my kids, see the joy
and see the learning.
Ok, so what are they learning?    A few, off the top of my head
things:  yesterday Abbi HAD to find out if the poem "ring around the
rosie" came from the Black Plague.  She loves snopes and looked it up (don't know if
that'll transfer or not).  She really didn't want to believe that a
beloved kid poem would be associated with that.  She was happy to find
out that Snopes believed that that claim is false.  She sat there for a
couple of hours reading and researching.
Then this morning when I got up she was just bubbling over with
enthusiasm, that's the way she usually is when I see her in the
morning. :)   She comes to me and tells me that her new favorite word
is Antidisestablishmentarianism.   Apparently some people were
talking about big words and threw that one out there.  She had never
heard of it,, she loved it.   She also told me that when people were
throwing that word around someone said, "how about sesquipedalian?"
(which means the use of big words, I had to google it, I had never hear
of it ;)  So she had been looking up different words, reading about
long words (she loves  She also had to share this new
word with her friends on myspace and made a bulletin about her newly
found favorite word.
She continued to talk about this and that, different things that she
had done in the night, commenting that it was nice to talk to me
because Alec (her older brother)  had been in some raids last night
(groups with other people on WoW) and not as talkative as she would
have liked.   Usually she has a couple of friends that are up with her
on IM through the night and some will be on WoW (World of Warcraft),
some not.  Last night apparently her friends weren't around so she
ended up doing some other stuff.    So she's talking and talking and
then she stops and says, "OH, I HAVE to ask you this!  I've been
meaning to talk to you about this then I get sidetracked."  I'm
thinking oh my gosh,, getting myself ready for something deep and
serious.  And she asks me "what was the Black Plague?"  :)
So the research we were doing yesterday morning resurfaces and we get
back on the computer and look it up.  How many things can you learn
when you look up the Black Plague/Bubonic Plague?     Wow!  Its a
lot.  Tons of history, science, biology, toxology, pathology,,, it
keeps going.  Disease, geography of Europe and Asia, rat info, flea
info, history of diseases, even warfare (they believe that it may have
been spread by one army catapulting infected corpses onto its enemy,
the disease spreading and those people leaving their country and it
coming to Europe).
Finally after reading about the Bubonic Plague for about an hour she
decides its time to lay down for a while.  Its 8:00 and she wants me to
get her up at around 2:00-3:00.  I had told her about a couple of
artists that are going to be showing how they do their artwork in one
of the art studios in town.  She won't be getting a lot of sleep today
but she'll probably make up for it tonight.  When its something she
wants,  she makes it happen.
I continue to be amazed at this life of ours.  Even when I sometimes
question myself or have people questioning me, I know deep down inside
me that its the right thing.  The energy, happiness and joy I see in my
kids is so proving.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


wE'Ve Had A FuN haLLoWEen tIme

HeeHEE Hee heeeeeE

We went to a Halloween party at our friend Patty's house. :)

we bobbed for apples :P

we had treats :-D

from a pinata!

and we made some mummies!

and a double mummy! :-D

its been a fun time!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Make a Ripple

After I read that article on "spoiling" (my previous blog:) I found this on his site. Cool poem by Scott Noelle:

Make A Ripple
Make Waves
Shift Happens
Embrace Life Fully
Embody Your Vision
Transcend smallness
To Realize Your
Soul Size

Are Way,
Way Bigger
Than All The
Reasons Why
You Can't Or
The Kind
Of Parent You
Truly Desire
To Be

A birthday wish

Yep, today is my birthday :) and I have a wish. I wish for all parents to say yes to their children as much as they can. Throw out those thoughts of "spoiling" their kids. Love in abundance and attention to your kids will only benefit your child and enrich all of your lives. Amazing things can happen if we allow it.

Here's a great article that a fellow Minnesota unschooler brought to an unschooling discussion list (thanks Amy!)

and Sandra Dodd has some related thoughts on it too,

have a great day and spend some time with your kids!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why would they do that all on their own?

Suggesting to take the dog for a walk and learning to subtract are 2 things I saw happen today. Both are things that my kids are doing of their own free will. Choosing to do something is a lot more joyful and fulfilling than doing something out of guilt, pressure or coersion.

Alec suggested we take Saddi for a walk. Its a beautiful fall day and he felt like getting outside, "lets take her for a walk mom". Cool.

Kyra and I were playing Monopoly (Lord of the Rings Monopoly, of course *g*) and she passed go and landed on Bag End. "Yay!" exlaimed Kyra,, she had been wanting that property. The price of Bag End is 60 power (in this monopoly its power instead of dollars) I'm just about ready to say, "OK Kyra just give yourself 140 because you passed go and that's what 200 - 60 would be" but I paused a second and she says "hmm, lets see 200 - 60 is 140". She happily reaches over to the bank and gets her money. Wow. I don't think she's ever done a math worksheet, maybe 1 out of a workbook we have downstairs, but we've never "done math" and she's figuring it out.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Seeing the joy

I just love listening to people talk about what excites them, what brings them joy.

2 weeks ago we had an opportunity to go to a presentation at our local science center. We were told the presentation was on wildlife from the Sonoran Desert area. And we heard that the man doing the presentation had the cutest little owl with him. We had to go, we love owls (ever since Harry Potter) and since we had just been down in that area of the country for the Live and Learn, thought it would be cool.

Well, it was cool. It was so much fun to hear this man talk about these animals. They are such a passion of his. He has ended up with these animals from different situations that hadn't worked for the animals or the people that tried to keep them. He also had another owl, a falcon, a spider and snakes besides this adorable owl. Oh,, and had such interesting stories about each of them.

Above is a picture of Ben/Bubba with Tut (Tut is the owl, named that because he moves his head like an Egyptian *g*) And he was the cutest owl I've ever seen. That's his full grown size too.

Here's an article with more information about them both ;)

One of my hopes is that in doing this unschooling life, my kids will find joy in their lives. As they find their joy each day, it will continue into their adult life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Imagination and Creativity

I'm just blown away, daily, by the imagination and creativity that I see in my home. Kyra draws things pretty much continually. In various directions these drawings go, as far as one interest then on to another. A couple of days ago she was drawing various Halloween images and super heroes. Yesterday it was more super heroes and what her Halloween costume is going to look like. (Above is Kat Man and his arch enemy Mighty Mouse)

Another thing she did yesterday was create a haunted room and scared her older sister and brother. We all had fun with this extra room that she made scary with spider webs and candles lit. She also dressed me up in the Scream mask, as her dead person laying in a bed. *g*

Abbi's imagination really amazed me last week when I read through her book that she's writing. She's on chapter 5 now and to me it seems like a science fiction type thriller. I couldn't believe the action, descriptive passages and style that she's showing in her writing! Wow! I was like,,"where did this come from?" LOL Amazing. I'm going to help her today in finding out the process behind getting a book published and all those details. On the way to Duluth she was just full of questions and thoughts on the whole process.

Alec, at first glance from me, would seem to be the least creative of my kids. (mark the words at first glance) He has never enjoyed painting, drawing or wanted to make a whole lot as far as crafts. But one look into how he thinks and problem solves,,,, so creative, so imaginitive and original. He looks at things in such a unique way that I can only describe it as imaginative or creative. At first glance you wouldn't see the products, the crocheted items, the paintings, or the writings, BUT in looking further and deeper you see the results in solved problems, answers to questions and accomplishing results. His creativeness is much more internal, so much always going on in his head. I love his view on things and most likely he is correct and accurate in his observations. Again, amazing. :)

**WAIT** More obvious imagination goings on in him, that I totally had forgotten,,,*DOH* dueling make believe fights with sticks, light sabers, swords with his friends. Running around the yard as different villians and good guys. Imagination running amuck and I forgot.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mansion, Murder and Tube riding?

Ok, so that doesn't quite go together, but it does describe our last week. We made yet another trip. This time a short one, up to Duluth, (ok, over to Duluth *g*). Tim had a conference there so we tagged along. We've been there lots of times but never have toured the Glensheen mansion. We thought it was time and thought the kids would get into it too.

Here's a picture of the mansion, this is the view from Lake Superior. That's Abbi sitting on the lawn. If you ever get a chance to check this place out, do it. It was so cool to see. It was built right at the turn of the century and we were all amazed at the innovativeness that was evident through the house. Yeah, they have a LOT of money but also had a LOT of thought and creativeness going on too. They have a central vac! In 1903??? wow.. oh and very cool recess lighting in one room that looked like stain glass covers over the lights. Wow!

OK, now to the murder. Before leaving for Duluth I decided I better look up what had happened. I had heard that a murder had taken place in the mansion, but didn't know the details. Pretty sad scenario. (Well,, what murder isn't sad, but this was especially,,)An elderly woman was murdered along with her nurse by her son-in-law and her daughter was probably part of the plot too. Some of the details are here:

I picked up a book on it to get more details.

Pretty interesting read. Very sad. The kids and I had a lot of talks about sociopaths, mental illness and greed.

Here's another picture out front at the fountain.
And tube riding. :) We stayed at a hotel that had a cool water park in it. Water slides with tubes and without; and also a lazy river tube ride. Kyra LOVED it. Alec and Abbi enjoyed it but Kyra really loves the swimming stuff right now.
Relaxin on the lazy river~
Abbi too~

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Abbi!

I can't believe you're turning 12! 12 years since I had my first sweet daughter. What a gift you are.

Man,,its been 10 years since these pictures. The one on the left is on her 2nd birthday. And the one on the right is at the beach, the summer before her 2nd birthday.

So sweet.

Happy Birthday Abbidoo. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back Home

I don't know if I'm happy or sad to be home. Nice to be home, yet, so miss all of our unschooling buddies.

What an amazing adventure we had. Not only did we go to the Live and Learn Conference, we then got to hang with unschooling families longer and continue on to the Grand Canyon. :D Nice.

The conference, as always, is one of the most amazing experiences that our family has each year. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed, there are lots of people, but the kids just love it, so we will be travelling to NC next year for it. :D I just have to find some quiet time amidst the excitement. We will be at a YMCA camp in the Black Moutains next year, so that'll be a cool change.

The hotel this year was awesome. Big enough facility and really cool/nice to all of the attendees. We even had a security guy bring sodas to the kids who were up late. No clucking or complaints from the hotel at all! :D

Here's Abbi with some friends.

More later....

Friday, August 25, 2006


Well, we've had some amazing days- emotional, happy, sad, stressful, invigorating. Amazing.

We celebrated Hayden's and Hannah's birthday, and also recognized Hannah's passing from this life to her next phase. I have a really hard time putting into words the awesomeness that accompanies this experience. The friendships around it all. The love felt through the people. The sadness, yet happiness in the memories. All so amazing.

The ceremony I held for us was beautiful and seemed to be exactly what we all needed. I'd like to share one part that was really sweet. We were all offering to Hannah parts of the earth that we would want her to have with her for her journey. For example, I said "I am the beautiful sunrise. I offer this to you Hannah." Other things included were the fire, birds, flowers. When it was Alec's turn he was a little hesitant, not sure what to say and then he said "I'm a rock". Diana and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Amazed that he would think of that.

Alec was wondering why were in such awe.Alec didn't know that Hannah's last words were,,"don't worry Mom, I'm a rock".

This life is amazing. It can sometimes be sad, difficult, and even outright sucky,, but if we can step back and see the awesomeness that is present. What a gift. Diana always talks about how she's so blessed; I have to agree. I am also, so blessed. :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy Day

That's what's written on Kyra's Bratz calendar today. Its a happy day today because Hayden and Diana are coming up to stay with us for a couple of weeks. We are all excited about it, been counting down the days. :) After those couple of weeks, we're heading down to Albuquerque for the We're sooo excited.

Also on Kyra's calendar are 2 gifts drawn on the 22nd and 23rd of this month. Its Hayden's birthday Tuesday and Hannah's on Wednesday. We're going to do some special things with Hayden on his day, then have a special ceremony for Hannah on her day. We'll have fun on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we'll be remembering and honoring Hannah. I found an amazing book called Ceremonies For Real Life by Carine Fabius. Its full of beautiful ceremonies to have on special days.

"Passing Onward:Making Peace with Death" is what we'll be doing, outside around our fire ring. Hannah loved the fire. :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Our Inspiration

Tim's happier. He's still doing the same job, but is finding joy in other things. I truly believe that this is a gift that our children have brought to us.

Alec has really brought Tim a lot of joy lately, especially over Yu-Gi-Oh. Big time bonding over that interest right now. :D

One night they were dueling each other and I guess Tim was looking particularly serious so Alec said, "smile, Dad". lol We all had to laugh. Competition can be an issue sometimes. One might feel it and the other will say,, "can we just have fun?" And vice versa, it comes and goes. But its been a good ride, the Yu-Gi-Oh experience.

Alec will read and read at the computer about different cards, strategies,decks.. all sorts of things. Most recently he's been learning all about e-bay and bidding. They've been building different decks, which have different strategies, (different attributes) so they've been looking for particular cards to complete these decks. Its been great finding the cards at E-bay, some have only been like $3.00 and no shipping. :D He's figured out how to bid at the right time, I've offered to set the timer on the stove so we remember when to check but he hasn't needed it.

Its such a switcheroo,, this unschooling thing. :)

A LOT of people would think that you need to guide your children to what they need to learn/do. What a paradigm shift. That you can actually follow what your child likes/wants. I'm not saying that we don't offer things too, making suggestions; a partnership. But the world that our children has brought to us is startling. So inspiring.

My deep down inspiration right now is -- Alec, Abbi and Kyra. :D

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quiet Time

Yep, I have quiet time.

Don't always know what to do with it though. *g*

Kyra is in Moorhead for a few days with Tim. She loves being able to see her friends and cousins over there. Tim's work brings them there so it works out well. She packs up all her Bratz and Yu-Gi-Oh cards and she's off.

We've had some busy weeks, lots of driving here and there.

My dad had back surgery so we went to Moorhead one weekend. (He's fine :) and feeling much better than he was. And then last weekend we had a wedding. My niece Natalie got married! It was a beautiful wedding. An outdoor garden venue, which was just heavenly. The girls had a blast dancing at the reception/dance, while Alec was happy to get down to the cities to also visit some card shops. Always thinking about those Yu-Gi-Oh cards ya know!

I've been doing some reading, crocheting, henna tattooing and learning Yu-Gi-Oh too, phew, its really complex. But I did duel now,, wahoo.

We are getting ready for our trip to Albuquerque and the Live and Learn Conference -- So Excited! And Diana will be coming up here this next Monday so its getting close. She'll be caravaning with us down there. Following the conference, we'll be taking in the Grand Canyon with the Lovejoys -- adventure is a comin'.

I'll blog more later when I get my other computer back. The one computer that I can download pictures from is in Fargo getting worked on by the Geek Squad. Our video card choked so we HAD to get that fixed,,,MUST--HAVE--GOOD--GRAPHICS. *g* We're such a gamin family. :D

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time and passions

Wow, a week since I last blogged. O.O Time really speeds by, I think my life must be good. :)

We've been doing a variety of things the last week. Swimming being one of them. I picked up a new pool a couple of weeks ago and that's been a big learning lesson for me. Wow! Talk about a learning curve. ugh,,,There's a bit of maintenance to figure out when one gets a big pool that you can't dump out! Doh,,,

So, we've been looking up ph stuff,, chlorine levels, algae stuff and learning that well water isn't the prettiest when you add chlorine :P~~~~~ OK, so it looks like pee water right now but its clean. :D We did figure out that if we put in a bit of clarifier the iron and minerals look as if they've gone away! Yay,,, well it looks like it anyway. *g* Gotta love chemical reactions.

Alec continues to be fascinated with Yu-Gi-Oh and figuring out ways to get more cards. He and his dad are having an awesome time dueling,, soooo complex to me. I'm so glad I have a husband who balances me so well. He loves and understands all the strategy games; I'll play them but it is really hard for me to *get* them.

We also seem to balance each other out quite well when it comes to calmness and peacefulness. About the time I start grumpin' about buying more cards for them, Tim reminds me that it is his passion right now, and it really isn't that much money. I examine my feelings.

What if his passion was the cello still? How much would lessons be each week,, what about needing a new, bigger instrument? Adding those up would put things in perspective. Its funny how if its what you think is worthy, the money isn't a question. If its not,,,, well,, that must be why I started stressing out.

Reminder to me: I'm NOT going to dismiss his important interest in this card game. I am going to see it as VALUABLE and just as AMAZING of an interest as playing an instrument.

Sure I can spend $2.00 on another booster pack. :)

An on again off again interest for Abbi, well I suppose practically her whole life, has been horses. Just the last month or so she's been talking more and more about them. I think it became more evident to her when she saw some in the 4th of July parade. She came home from that wanting a pony really, really bad. :) Ponies,,,,hmmm,, we looked them up on the internet. They sometimes can be mean, from the inbreeding, and you aren't going to be able to ride them as you grow into adulthood. Maybe a quarter horse would be better?

We can't have a horse at our house right now but we could board one. Yet,, they really are very expensive and a very big commitment. I really don't feel like I have it in me to take care of another pet,,let alone a horse. So we talked about it and thought that riding lessons might be a good idea. She could maybe go and help take care of a horse, see all it entails,, learn all about them---during all that we could think about purchasing one.

This morning I finally got a call back from a lady I know who does riding lessons. She said Abbi could start next Monday.

Abbi is psyched!