Monday, March 21, 2011

Exciting new little adventure

For a while now I've been seriously considering adding a foreign language to the kid's homeschool curriculum. Recently I became more serious about it and my husband and I decided on Spanish. We knew we wanted to add it sooner than later because the younger they are, we know the better they will pick it up. We decided we wanted to get Rosetta Stone, specifically the homeschool program and I started to make a little savings for it. When I found out it was on a decent sale, I scrambled to get it before the price goes back up! Thanks to some family chipping in, we were able to get it! The kids and I are pretty excited!

I really think this will be a good investment in their education and future. I would love for them to become fluent and maybe even move on to other languages as they get older! Becoming multi-lingual would be amazing. I wont get too crazy yet though, we'll take it slow with Spanish and go from there ;). I think adding this into the regular curriculum and keeping it fun, will give them great odds of picking it up well though!

I have it all installed and set up for each of the older 3 boys to start tomorrow. I'm just a little bummed that it can only be installed on one computer. I guess they'll just do their lessons 1 at a time while the others are doing other work :).

Friday, March 18, 2011

How could I not?

How could I not want to have a bazillion of my husband's babies!? He's absolutely one of the best Daddies ever. Of course he's not perfect, none of us are, but he's a great father and really does try.

I look at all of the little things he does and I'm so grateful for our children to have him. They will have so many good memories of him when they grow up. He rolls around on the floor with the boys, helps them with video games, teaches them how to play football and baseball, reads to them, hugs them, tells them often how proud he is of them. He brushes our daughter's hair, he plays with her on the floor with her little blocks and baby dolls, sings to her, he picks her up when she just wants her daddy told hold her. She is such a daddy's girl already at 16 months old. This morning I listened to him sing one of his silly songs to her as he brought her downstairs for breakfast. He does this all of the time, despite having a terrible singing voice. She loves it! It makes her smile and laugh. It always makes me smile too.

He's a real father and man. He changes diapers without hesitation. He cooks meals for them. He gets up in the middle of the night when they have a bad dream or they are sick. He gives them baths and showers. He tells them he loves them, hugs them and kisses them all of the time. He carries the diaper bag, even if it is covered in pink skulls... He does everything. The most important of all, he truly loves them with everything he has.

My husband tries so hard to provide for the kids and I the best he can. Money is tight and things can be tough, but he always finds a way to make sure we have what we need. Providing for our family is the most important thing to him and he does a great job. We're always taken care of. We might not go on vacations or get to eat out often, but those things aren't what are important. We have what we need, the children have all of the curriculum they need for their schooling and we have each other.

I am thankful to have him for all of these reasons and many more. I hope he realized how much I really do love and appreciate him, because I do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Morals and Values and then Religion, or the lack there of. A Secular Upbringing.

This is a subject I felt compelled to write about after a conversation with my sister. Having strong morals and values and raising your children to have strong morals and values, does not have to mean you or your children have to have Christian values (or any other religion for that matter). They do not have to go hand in hand.

Not being Christian or religious people has been a thing that has often gotten my husband and I looked at in a negative way. We have had a range of different judgments from comments to silent but obvious disapproval. We are not religious but we respect those who are. We always appreciate when we get that respect in return. It's very unfair and even a bit hurtful when people assume that we can't possibly be raising our children to be genuinely good, moral, well rounded people with great values, if we aren't instilling Christian or religious values into them. That is a very judgmental and close-minded thought as well as being flat out wrong.

My husband and I have very strong morals and values. We do not have them because we fear God's judgment or because we believe that this is what the bible says, so we will follow it. We are the people that we are, because we expect it of ourselves. We take our marriage seriously, not because we were married under god, but because our marriage is a contract and promise we made to each other to remain faithful and to be there for each other through good and bad, thick and thin. We treat other well, we try to be kind and we try to do good deeds. All of this we do because it is what we feel is right. We don't have to be religious to be good people.

When it comes to raising our children, we do not have to teach them all of the things that are right and wrong from a religious standpoint. We do not have to teach them how to behave, how to treat people or how to act from a religious angle. They don't have to believe that we are supposed to be good people because that is what God expects from us. They can believe that it's just the right thing to do. As they get older, we can teach them how to have good judgement, to try wait for marriage to have sex, not to do drugs, not to drink etc. without having to do so with religion.

We do not think it's wrong to be religious and this is not by any means an attack on religion! We do not think it's wrong to raise your children that way. It is just not what we personally believe in for our family and we do not believe our children will be any less moral, any less respectful or any more likely to do wrong than those who are raised with a strong Christian/religious background. Religion does not equal Morals and Values. There are seemingly religious people who do terrible things and Atheists who are amazing people. Making rash judgments based on religion or lack of religion alone is unfair to everyone. We may not be cookie cutter homeschooling parents or the cookie cutter parents of "lots" of children that many people envision, but we have children who are smart, obedient, respectful, kind and genuinely caring toward everyone. It's not about the Christian or religious base to the upbringing of a child, it's about what the parents instill in them as a whole, Christian and Secular alike.

With all of that being said, I do not discourage my children from learning about Christianity if they choose. My oldest son has asked questions and we've given him a Children's Bible as well as more in depth background on the Christian religion and beliefs. We will do this with any religion they want to know about. They are free to choose their own path and discover their own belief's or non-belief, if that's the case. We even purchase our homeschool curriculum from a Christian company (Timberdoodle) that incorporates some Christian material in their curriculum. We just adapt it to a more secular teaching and choose alternatives for the very strong creation based materials, like Science. We are not against Christianity, we just don't set out to teach it as fact, when it's something that we don't necessarily believe to be.

I'm sure much of this blog entry mildly pains my religious father lol. Sorry Dad!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My "attack" on the High Fructose Corn Syrup Is Safe In Moderation Ads and others

I'm sure many of us who watch a little TV have seen one of the defense ads for High Fructose Corn Syrup. "It's safe in moderation", "It's the same as sugar". The statement that it's safe in moderation is absolutely true, however what they do not tell you is that High Fructose Corn Syrup is unnecessarily in so many foods! Most of the time unsuspecting consumers have no idea that they are purchasing product after product with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it.

As a parent of a child with severe food allergies I read every label of everything we buy and even labels of things we don't buy, out of curiosity. It is mind blowing some of the products you'll find High Fructose Corn Syrup in. Bread, so many brands and types of bread have it as an ingredient! WHY??? It is completely unnecessary. You have to actually look for bread without it. Canned stewed tomatoes (we do almost NO canned food, but that's a topic for another day!), several brands have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them... WHY? Seriously, it doesn't freaking belong in stewed tomatoes! I think you get where I'm going....

Many families who are not hardcore label readers can be very much unaware of how much High Fructose Corn syrup is actually in their daily diet. When it's an unnecessary ingredient in so many everyday things you wouldn't expect it in, how are average families only consuming it in moderation!? They aren't. THIS is my problem with the defense of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It's just flat out in too many products that it does not need to be in.

Lets not forget the alternative names they are using for it on labels now, such as "Corn Sugar".

Now, my other rant while I'm at it. Cereal commercials marketed toward our children talking about how healthy their cereal is, pointing out the great things and neglecting to mention the not so good (of course they do, they are trying to market their products! lol). Yes, your cereal has vitamins! BUT, it also has large amounts of sugar, artificial ingredients and artificial food coloring. Some also have High Fructose Corn Syrup. Hmm, so how about those vitamins? There are many options that don't have high volumes of sugar, has natural ingredients and NO artificial food coloring. Those are the options we go for. This is a big gripe of mine. Marketing your product as healthy, highlighting the one healthy aspect (Vitamins, Whole Grain etc.) while it's loaded with a bunch of other things that are lousy. It sort of feels like false advertisement in a way to me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

That day I said would never come.... It did...

Yesterday was "That day" that would never come. The best part about it, I was actually excited!

Probably 2 kids ago I said that I would NEVER have more kids than we could fit into an 8 passenger SUV or mini van. I would NEVER own a passenger van. It just wasn't going to happen. 6 children was my limit regardless of how I felt about having more. That was it. At the time, I clearly didn't realize that I wouldn't like having no extra seating and I clearly didn't realize that my strong desire to have more children would be, THIS strong. Here we are now, pregnant for our 6th and needing a larger vehicle because our 7 passenger van is soon to be too small. And you know what? Despite things not always being easy, we love where we are. We love the family we have.

Yesterday, "That day", we traded my husband's car in and purchased a 2010, 12 passenger Ford Econoline E-350 Super Duty XLT. Excellent condition inside and out, only 18k miles and still under factory warranty. We were able to get such an amazing deal on it, we just couldn't pass it up and we're thrilled! We are stuck with the Town and Country (when it's repaired from the accident) and Tony's car is old and needed to go, so this was perfect for us! Never had I imagined I would ever be excited about purchasing an Econoline, but I am! Things will be even tighter now, but we'll make it work, we always do.

Since we're driving such an "uncool" vehicle, we figure we should have fun with it right? I ordered a license plate frame that says "The Bus" "Big Families Rock!". I'm also trying to get skull family decals (instead of the ever popular stick family) for the back window. I'm hoping to make it obvious that it's not the base duty van, taxi or a business vehicle.

That day that would never come, did... and I'm happy it did.