Monday, September 28, 2015

Random Thoughts - Fall 2015 Edition

 
If "choosing good friends" is so important for teens and adults,
(and I truly believe that it is)
 because their behavior and choices tend to influence us,
 that certainly applies for little kids, too.
I don't think we can easily dismiss the qualities
 and characteristics of those we choose to spend our time with.

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Our family went outside yesterday after 10:30pm
and we all laid down on blankets in our driveway
and looked up at the sky to watch the blood moon
and lunar eclipse. We watched in wonder,
ate snacks together, and laughed and joked while we talked.
THESE MOMENTS.
I love these moments. They are the best.

--------------------
 
As a homeschooling family,
we often travel to neighboring counties for various educational,
fun, and social events and opportunities.
We've taken to listening to podcasts together
and we really enjoy that.
Our favorite show to listen to (especially Max)
is NPR's "Wait, Wait. Don't Tell Me."
Our next favorite is probably NPR's "Pop Culture Happy Hour."
(And I would LOVE that job - being a podcaster/writer for that show).
We also listen to the TED Radio Hour, 
Dear Hank&John, Fresh Air, Radiolab, etc.
 
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There are 3 houses for sale around us.
We live on a corner and the houses across both streets are both for sale.
And there is one 3 doors down that is also for sale.
It's kind of exciting to get new neighbors!
 
--------------------

We got to meet the buyers of the farmhouse at settlement
and they were GREAT. 
While it was bittersweet to sell the farmhouse,
meeting them helped.
 We're excited for them to make their own memories there now.
They are super excited.

--------------------
 
There is almost ALWAYS a board game out somewhere
 (and sometimes in multiple places) in our house.
I always walk by and smile.
It's a game all set up and ready to play!
And we love playing together.
Happiness.
 
--------------------
 
We have incredibly supportive friends
 who I can tell truly value our children.
I'm very grateful.
They take the time to truly get to know them,
and they send us information they find
 that they believe our kids would enjoy.
We've learned of writing camps
 thanks to our good friend Sherri
and Kate has enjoyed all of them.
We've learned of educational camps
 and writing opportunities
 and all kinds of things!
A friend of ours sends us information on
 books and authors that Max enjoys,
and also told us about a local game making contest coming up.
Sherri visited us before our trip
 and had made individual packs for both kids
for our flight to CA - how sweet is that?!?
Another friend recently took the time
 to write her alma mater and tell them all about Kate.
The college then wrote Kate to tell her
 and to send her information about their college
and writing camps.
We are VERY grateful for these people
 and all who take the time and energy
 to get to know and love and support our children.
It takes a village.
 
--------------------

I love our new house. 
It is FLOODED with light and beauty all around us.
So very grateful for this openness and environment.
We feel like we're enjoying it even more
 with the farmhouse sold! :P

--------------------
 
I was thinking today that
 there is an argument to having a bigger house
 and things like stairs.
Ever since we bought our townhouse in 2003,
 we've always had a home with stairs.
It's natural exercise!
It's a small hike to get places, 
so you naturally walk A LOT all day long.
I don't love exercise so this helps. :P
I even have this unspoken game with Scout,
who follows me everywhere.
She is FAST,
 so whenever we're climbing the stairs together,
I always try to race her to the top
(no easy feat!).

--------------------
 
We tend to eat a lot of vegetarian meals.
We're not big meat eaters and more and more,
 our cooking is lending itself naturally
 to a pesco-vegetarian diet.
That being said, we're not opposed to eating meat
 (just not lots of it),
and as I type this,
chicken and dumplings are cooking in the crockpot.
Welcome, fall!
 
--------------------

We've wanted to talk with a financial planner for years,
but have always been scared off because they charge you
 either a fee or a percentage of your investments
 or a commission, or they try to sell you products (I hate that!).
Well, we're in the process of refinancing our home mortgage
 (now that the farmhouse has sold),
and we found out our local bank
 has a guy who does financial planning
as his job there and there is no fee or percentage
 nor does he try to sell any products.
It's simply one of the things the bank has to offer. Woot!

--------------------
 
It has been a busy past few weeks
as we're into the new registration period
 with our homeschool group.
13 new families joined up this year
and many of them are all plugging in so well!
We're thrilled!
 
--------------------
 
Our kids both won pretty great prizes this year
for the library summer reading program.
 
--------------------

We got season passes to the Renaissance Faire
 for Christmas this year from Mark's parents,
as well as tickets to some other fun events.
The dinner was great and fun as always!
And the Ren Faire has been AWESOME.
With Kate working there,
it's handy to have the passes
(first year we've ever done this)
and go here and there for shorter bits of time
or for lunch or dinner or a few of the shows or whatever.
Such a fun place and welcoming environment.

--------------------
 
I am really wanting to sit down
 and write posts about
the foreign exchange students,
our trip to CA,
and our annual trip to the beach.
I keep meaning to do it, but we've been swamped
between work, the clinic, Kate's work schedule,
the kids' volunteering,
 different social and educational events,
homeschool group registration, etc.
A busy time of year, but a renewing one as well.
Trying not to have palpitations
 when I think of how NaNoWriMo
 and the holidays and Max's birthday
 are all around the corner.
Why does time fly so fast?!?
 
--------------------
 
Homeschooling older kids
 is a very different kind of adventure.
So different than with younger kids.
It's more involved, but there's also so much
 they can do independently.
There is a ton we do together, too,
 because let's face it,
it's fun!
We can talk about so many topics
 and enjoy things together,
like lectures and articles and museums.
They're involved in more, so there is a lot more
enrichment and coordination.
It's work, but it's also awesome
 and I'm grateful we get to do this!
 
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The other night, we had no food made
 and we were resisting
 the ever-strong siren call to eat out.
As much as we LOVE to eat out,
we try to do a lot of cooking at home
 as it helps us save money.
So, we whipped together a PHENOMENAL meal.
Mark and I ran to the store for ingredients
while the kids started chopping and cooking.
Max made a delicious side of cheesy, Mexican rice
(that he created and made up himself),
and Kate made a big batch of homemade apple crisp.
Mark and I got home and made chorizo and potato tacos
with cilantro, chopped onion, and hot sauce.
Our meal was INCREDIBLE.
I love working together in the kitchen!

--------------------
 
(Though I must admit that
 cooking at home is so much more
time and mess intensive,
 and sometimes I wonder about the savings.
You do save money, but the HOURS that go into
 shopping, cooking, cleaning up . . . 
it makes you wonder when you're already busy
 with so many other things!).
 
--------------------
 
Our next-door neighbors have kids
 and Max LOVES to go outside and play with them.
It is fantastic to be in a younger neighborhood
 with kids who play outside.
The neighbors often tell us how much they enjoy Max
 and how much their kids love his made-up games.
Well, the mom's parents are often there
 visiting their grandkids
and they are friendly and jolly and warm.
The grandpa is SO kind to us
 and speaks very highly of Max
(which is so nice to hear).
They're often there on weekends
 and we've seen them there after school daily
 to greet the kids when they get off the bus.
Well, now they drive 20 minutes daily
 to be at their house at 6:30am
and they drive their granddaughter
 to school (another 20 minutes away)
every single morning.
And they're not young
 and they have health issues and move slowly,
but always, always, always
 with big smiles on their faces and lots of love
for those kids.
 
--------------------

I really want to see the movie "End of the Tour"
with Jason Segel.
It's on limited release right now,
so it's mostly playing at indie theaters
that aren't near us.
Hopefully it gets to more theaters soon,
because the reviews are fantastic.

 

8 comments:

Dr. Mark said...

I REALLY enjoyed our family time last night, watching the eclipse. Those are the kinds of memories that last.

I always love reading these posts. There are so many things we've been talking about, as well as great insights and thoughts that are new. And whenever I read them, I think of how happy I am to be on this crazy journey together with you.

Boquinha said...

Thanks. Me, too.

Jimmy said...

Always amazed at how busy you are. The cool thing is--you're busy together, as a family.

We enjoyed watching the red moon, too. It also caused me to recognize one good thing about Facebook. I'd completely forgotten about it, then casually checked Facebook and was reminded. So we all ran outside and watched.

I like your neighbor's grandparents. That's how I hope to be when I reach that stage.

Of course your neighbors love Max!

Boquinha said...

We are, too! :P And yes, that is the cool thing. I love that.

I imagine that is how you'll be at that stage - very involved and very loving.

Thank you! :)

Emily Foley said...

YOU SOLD IT! YOU SOLD IT! YOU SOLD IT!!!!! I'm so excited for you guys! What a RELIEF. PHEW!!!!!

I have this dilemma about picking good friends. I totally think it's important to surround yourself with good friends with similar values. If a kid is mean or hits Zoe at the playground, we don't play with that kid. But it gets trickier as kids get older. My niece came out last week, and there was a huge mormon backlash as I'm sure you can imagine. Parents calling my sister telling her she's a terrible mother, parents requesting that they don't bring her to church or let her go to Young Women's because they don't want her "bad influence" around their kids. And I know this isn't what you were talking about but this is what's on my mind: shouldn't we also try to bring those "bad" kids up to our level? (I'm not saying my niece is bad. She absolutely is not. She is living a good and moral life no matter which way you look at it (meaning through mormon glasses or regular world glasses) and we love her no matter what sexual orientation she is. I'm just using this as my most recent and personal example.) So why would people try to ostracize her from the very place we WANT her to be? We want her at church, we want her at Young Women's activities because as Mormons we believe that as long as you live a morally clean life you get to go to heaven, right? Your sexual orientation doesn't matter as long as you live the standards of the Gospel. I had friends in middle school that smoked and I would often take their cigarettes from them and throw them away in an effort to help them quit (which didn't work by the way). But I think now, how would I feel if Isaac was hanging out with kids who smoked? I would question his choice in friends and not so gently suggest he not hang out with those kids. But I wasn't influenced by my friends smoking and I think I actually did influence my friends in a good way. So choosing good friends is so tricky. What does that mean? Take the "gay" out of my niece and insert anything else--smoking, drugs, alcohol, you name it--and these people would want her at church so they could "fix" her. But you can't fix gay, so they don't want her there? It's not fair. So what does choosing good friends mean, and how do you do it without being completely unfair to the person who isn't up to your standards? I'm not saying YOU as in YOU doing anything wrong, I mean the universal "you" as in all of us. What do we do? It's a hard question and not one I intend as harsh on the Mormon church, but on the judgmental people that are around my sister and my niece during this awkward and hard time. And for all of us, who judge others sometimes unfairly. It's just tricky.

Sorry about the novel. It's just really on my mind and your random thought got me going. :)

Emily Foley said...

YOU SOLD IT! YOU SOLD IT! YOU SOLD IT!!!!! I'm so excited for you guys! What a RELIEF. PHEW!!!!!

I have this dilemma about picking good friends. I totally think it's important to surround yourself with good friends with similar values. If a kid is mean or hits Zoe at the playground, we don't play with that kid. But it gets trickier as kids get older. My niece came out last week, and there was a huge mormon backlash as I'm sure you can imagine. Parents calling my sister telling her she's a terrible mother, parents requesting that they don't bring her to church or let her go to Young Women's because they don't want her "bad influence" around their kids. And I know this isn't what you were talking about but this is what's on my mind: shouldn't we also try to bring those "bad" kids up to our level? (I'm not saying my niece is bad. She absolutely is not. She is living a good and moral life no matter which way you look at it (meaning through mormon glasses or regular world glasses) and we love her no matter what sexual orientation she is. I'm just using this as my most recent and personal example.) So why would people try to ostracize her from the very place we WANT her to be? We want her at church, we want her at Young Women's activities because as Mormons we believe that as long as you live a morally clean life you get to go to heaven, right? Your sexual orientation doesn't matter as long as you live the standards of the Gospel. I had friends in middle school that smoked and I would often take their cigarettes from them and throw them away in an effort to help them quit (which didn't work by the way). But I think now, how would I feel if Isaac was hanging out with kids who smoked? I would question his choice in friends and not so gently suggest he not hang out with those kids. But I wasn't influenced by my friends smoking and I think I actually did influence my friends in a good way. So choosing good friends is so tricky. What does that mean? Take the "gay" out of my niece and insert anything else--smoking, drugs, alcohol, you name it--and these people would want her at church so they could "fix" her. But you can't fix gay, so they don't want her there? It's not fair. So what does choosing good friends mean, and how do you do it without being completely unfair to the person who isn't up to your standards? I'm not saying YOU as in YOU doing anything wrong, I mean the universal "you" as in all of us. What do we do? It's a hard question and not one I intend as harsh on the Mormon church, but on the judgmental people that are around my sister and my niece during this awkward and hard time. And for all of us, who judge others sometimes unfairly. It's just tricky.

Sorry about the novel. It's just really on my mind and your random thought got me going. :)

Boquinha said...

Emily! First, let me start of by saying I've been horrible on keeping up on your blog. I've read things here and there and enjoyed your recap of the reunion and I must catch up!

Now, for your comment/questions. I'm really sorry to hear about what's happening to your niece. That's horrible and heart breaking and should absolutely not be happening. People calling your sister to criticize her? People not wanting her around their kids? That's despicable. She's gay. She doesn't have the plague!

I guess I wasn't specific in what I meant by "choosing good friends." I mean, all of us, individually, must choose who we associate with and it makes sense to associate with those who lift us up, those who make us want to be better people, those who inspire us. That's what I mean. I know people get into judging someone by how they dress, if they smoke, if they have tattoos, if they swear, (in your example, if they're gay), but to me, those things are externals. None of that looks at the heart of a person. I can be inspired by someone whether or not they have a tattoo or smoke or regardless of who their heart loves. It's a bigger picture view. I feel bad for people who automatically exclude someone amazing from their lives because of some aspect of their being that they don't agree with. That's really sad.

I think things really cross a line when we tell others they must live a certain way. Everyone has the freedom to choose and it's not ours to impose our morality on others. It's where I start to get uncomfortable. Everyone can live their own morality, but forcing it on others . . . that's not okay. I spoke with a friend once and he boiled it down so simply - don't do something that hurts myself or others. That simple.

You're right. It's not fair. And I ache for your niece and all kids who have been in her shoes. Honestly, it's one of the big reasons I left the church. It breaks my heart to hear about kids killing themselves and going through unspeakable emotional pain in a place they've otherwise felt welcome. And I feel like the doctrinal and cultural emphasis on condemning it hurts and endangers people. Jesus said love others - again, that simple. But people/religions muddy that up with extra rules and expectations. One sexuality is a big deal. It's a part of who we are. I love being married. I love being with my best friend whom I love. I love being intimate. It's a BIG part of life. I couldn't abide by the idea that someone who is gay should go without that. The other day I was out to eat with a friend when I saw a lesbian couple leaving the restaurant. I'm not gay and even if I swung that way, neither of them would be my type. But I looked at them and felt happy for them, happy that they had each other. And the thought came to me, "Everyone should have someone." I'm not okay with denying someone that. It's heartbreaking. If this world were one where homosexuality were the cultural norm and heterosexuality were less acceptable, I'd be livid and despondent if people tried to stop me from being able to be with my husband. I don't want to do that to anyone else. Love is beautiful and anyone should be free to have that chance.

Continued . . .

Boquinha said...

One of the biggest differences I've seen in my life since leaving the church is that I've felt an actual shift in getting away from a very judgmental atmosphere. I know that's not how churches are "supposed to be," but that's sadly how they often are. People say it's cultural, but the doctrine feeds the cultural. And when doctrine divides and focuses on rules and nitty gritty do-this and don't-do-that, it naturally follows that judgment ensues.

So, to answer your question, to me, choosing good friends means looking at the whole package and asking myself if I feel like I want to be my best self around that person, not so much looking at their life choices or inborn characteristics. I have friends who are Mormon, friends who are atheist, friends who drink, friends who don't, friends who are straight, friends who are gay, friends who have tattoos, friends who swear like sailors. All those things I just listed are aspects of who they are, but it does not define them. If they have good hearts, that's the overriding thing for me.

We're influenced by who we hang around with, so I like to be around people who look at others and see the person, not the judgments. And I think we all need to decide for ourselves what we're okay with and what we're not - that's different for everyone, so it can't come as a mandate from an organization. It comes from within. It's an energy thing for me. How do I feel around this person? If I'm caught up in criticizing things about them, that says more about me than them. I try to step back and see it all. I'll admit that some things are more challenging for me. Smoking, for instance. That smell makes me positively sick to my stomach. But that's not a judgment on those who smoke. I just can't be around it because it makes me physically ill. So I probably wouldn't hang out at a bar or a club or with a bunch of smokers, but not because I think they're bad people. I don't go to friends' houses if they have cats. I'm allergic. I don't judge THEM. I give these examples to illustrate the part about how we all have to decide for ourselves what we're okay with and what we're not. In neither case am I signing off on a person because they smoke or have cats.

And that's my point. Choosing good friends means choosing to be around people who make us our best selves. And whatever that is is going to be different for everyone. I've made many friends these past several years who help me be my best self because their character inspires me, because they challenge me with their knowledge and perspectives, and that is all regardless of if they're hair is blue or if they cuss up a storm or if they go clubbing, you know?

I hope this is making sense. I understand what you're asking. It's hard to articulate a simple answer, but I tried. :)