Not-So-New Tattoos

So, I’ve been inked several times since my last tattoo post! I’ve added a celtic G-clef, a Zim/Gir tragedy-comedy mask for Moira my thespian*, a quote from Song of Songs for my husband, and a family tattoo on my inner forearm that STILL isn’t finished nearly a year later – it hurts like crap to get it worked on, and it’s hard to find time when Kris and I are both free to work on it. I am planning a gamer Princess Peach for my nerdling Tae and a Lego Starwars Luke for Duncan. Fiona isn’t sure what she’d want mama to ink for her (actually, probably Dora, but noway nohow is Dora gracing my skin). I don’t have a good pic of my forearm, and my hubby tat is a bit private. Here’s the pics I do have for now:



*I’m told that thesbian isn’t probably the word I was looking for there . . . .rofl.

Hello, my name is Jema, and I’m an NF

Do you know anything about the Meyers-Briggs personality types? Us ENF’s, we’re the life of the party, but sometimes (unless we have a J attached), we really struggle with carry-through! I know, you’re thinking “No, not YOU, Jema!!!”

So here it is, months & months after my last post, and I’m back. Lots of things have changed. I am now a homeschool mom AND a public school mom. My oldest two girls are back at home, mostly due to bullying issues in school — and not because the school did not address it. I plan to post on bullying in the near future, because this is a topic that has lots of rah-rah surrounding it, and VERY little in the way of practical solutions. That is because there are very few practical solutions to the issue.

Anyway (look! A squirrel!), my younger two are finishing up school today, and will begin at our local public school in the fall. I’ll also be posting soon on our experience with charter schools. Let’s just say I was underwhelmed.

As a working mom, I can’t be there all day to work with my kids on their schooling. YES I KNOW it doesn’t take all day. But it does take being there, and I’m not but for 3-4 hours in the evening and I’d rather spend that time on things other than schoolwork. So, the littles who are not self-directing are at school and the bigs who are [more] self-directing will be doing either K-12 or another online-based homeschooling curriculum. I AM WIDE OPEN FOR SUGGESTIONS for middle-school online curriculum.

And that’s us, for now. I want to revisit my educational philosophy that I posted below, now that we’re half home and half at school, but the basic thought remains the same. LIFE is our school. I’m just here to walk them through it.

Introducing Humphrey Cornelius

Actually, the amalgam of all the kids’ suggestions would be Humphrey Cornelius Jim-Bob-Fred-Joe Num-Nums. But we’re going with Humphrey Cornelius for short.
He’s a bookwyrm.

FTR, it is REALLY hard to get a picture of your own shoulderblade. It’s a mirror image, so he’s actually on my left shoulder.

Laundry Dresser

How awesome is THIS?

Not much to say about it except — Jim’s GOTTA build this for me!  Or I’ll try do it myself & he’ll have to fix it.  Brilliant!

It’s life, it’s learning . . .

On my favorite message board today, there was some pretty intense discussion between homeschoolers & public schoolers, on the subject of whether or not public school mamas teach their kids, or if they merely turn them over to the system daily to be dumbed down.  I liked my answer so much, I thought I’d share it with you.

OK. I can totally see both sides of the fence here. As a
homeschooler, I was often asked “But how can you DO that? Do you have
desks? Do you have a school room? How do you know what to teach?”

My answer was EXACTLY the same as it is now that I am a public-school mom (whatever that is).

LIFE teaches my kids. I’m here to lead them through it. We talk, we
learn, we write, we read, we study, we watch, we observe, we write some
more, we sing, we play, we act, we dance, we laugh, we cry . . . It’s
life, it’s learning.

LIFE right now is my kids sitting at desks by kids they don’t like, by
kids that annoy them, by kids that call them stupid and belittle them,
by kids who are their BFFS, by kids who love the same things, by kids
who hate everything, by kids whose parents are there, by kids whose
parents are never there . . . There are papers and lessons and classes.

There’s home. They work on lessons started by someone else, they finish
them, they take them further. They do drama, they study lines, they
learn songs, they practice them. We read, we talk, we write, we talk
some more. We laugh, we cry.

It’s life, it’s learning.


Back to school . . .

I *really* hate sending them off to school in the dark, all sleepy and grumpy. We are not morning people, not any of us. Duncan physically cannot fall asleep before 10pm, no matter when he goes to bed, no matter what the routine. His body does not work that way. The girls have a hard time too, although they don’t have as hard a time waking up as he does. And me — anything before 7am should just be against the law. I know, I know, I’m mostly libertarian and do not want the gov’t nosing in my private sleeping arrangements, but really what is so goldarn important it needs to happen that early?

Getting kids up after only 8 hrs of sleep (most need more like 12) is just wrong. Sending them off to someone else to learn is just wrong. Not being with them all day, missing them as I sit at a computer screen all day is just wrong.

Don’t misunderstand. I love my job. I love the people I work with — literally. My boss is my preacher, pastor, mentor the other ministers are close friends. This is a dream job for a working mama — if you want a job. News editing and camera work is getting thinner and thinner for Jim. His 3-4 days/week is one of the heavier schedules up on the wall in the breakroom at his station. He has told me he’s committed to me coming back home, but I just don’t see that happening. He’s almost 50 — I’m not sure what kind of career move he can make at this point that won’t be several steps backward financially and would still keep me working.

I just miss my kids. I miss watching them ‘get it’. I miss snuggles & waking up slowly together & just BEING with them. I hate rushing & scheduling & homework. I hate stupid assignments that make them cry to even contemplate hurdling them, even if they do get it eventually. I hate that IF they want to do any kind of activity, we have to be out every single night. I hate that we are very rarely together as a family. I hate that the limited time I’m home with them is spent griping and nagging and cleaning and fussing and complaining.

I hate how much I hate it all. Because it is our reality right now and I *need* to find a way to make it work better. THEY need me to make it work better. I can’t spend their childhood wishing things were different. It’s not fair to them.

Another New Year . . .

. . . another blog post!  Nothing pithy, introspective, or particularly wise here.  No grandiose proclamations of grand resolutions.  Just a quiet resolve to be better to people, to hug my kids more, to yell less, to keep up on the cleaning more, to invite people into my home more (made possible by the aforementioned cleaning), and to make sure there is always clean underwear and socks in the dresser drawers.  Also, to spend time at work more wisely, to keep my heart tender with compassion with those who come seeking help either financial or spiritual, and to stay my quirky, strange, open-book self – remembering to leave the ‘church face’ in the desk drawer.  I think that’s enough to aspire to for the next year, don’t you?

Grandma got . . .

OK, the idea of a parody of Grandma Ran Over by a Reindeer is funny enough.  But when it involves the TSA . . .

Grandma Got Molested at the Airport

(Thanks Ron & Liese!)

Holiday Humor

Me: Yeah, I know it’s a hokey sweater; I only wear them once a year. Besides, at least it’s not a giant snowman!

Jim: No, just his testicles hanging from the zipper.

I removed the pom-poms.

Getting Fit, Getting Pretty

As an avid non-workout-type-person, I’ve figured that having 4 kids, one of whom is nearing 3 years old, is enough workout for any mom, right? Except that I don’t eat particularly well — not particularly poorly, but not particularly well. And I sit at a computer for 8 hrs/day for work, and a couple more hours for fun. NOT a good equation for optimum health and fitness. There was that year or so about 12 years ago that I played around on the Bally’s LifeCycle circuit, but that doesn’t count as a workout really either.

So, when Michael O’Neill of His House Fitness sent out an email to local churches looking for a space for his latest class, I figured “Hey, I should do that!” Our church (my workplace) wasn’t really suited for what he needed, but he ended up going with one that is literally 3 blocks from my house. Perfect. So, Monday and Wednesday this week I got up at 5:30am, ate a banana, and headed over for my 6:00 torture session workout. No, I didn’t walk, I drove. Yeah, I know.

WOWZA!!! Monday morning was beyond tough. I almost hurled. I did cry, but I finished. Monday daytime wasn’t too bad as far as pain, but becoming upright Tuesday morning was a bit of a challenge. This morning was not as hard as Monday, but still beyond my abilities. That’s OK, by the end of the month, I’ll be able to do it all. I’m hoping to lose some weight, but more than that, just FEEL better. We are modifying our diet for the month — and most importantly — it’s all about working on God’s temple. So it’s all got a spiritual side to it as well. I’m loving it. Well, moaning & groaning & loving it!

So that was getting fit.

About the same time I got Michael Beau’s email, I started reading on GCM about Carol Tuttle and Dressing Your Truth. It’s all a little sketchy to me — I don’t have a lot of time to watch the videos — but it is VERY intriguing to me. Some of the ideas, I have always implemented by instinct, but some — let’s just say I’ve admired & tried to be something I am not way more than my clothing budget could really afford.

Today, I happened across this giveaway at Thrifty and Chic Mom on Facebook, so I wanted to share it with the couple of readers I have left. The whole DYT thing is a very interesting concept — why not delve into it with a free profile system?

I’ll be back to blog more about my health, fitness, and beauty journey!!! Just wanted to drop these links and say HI again!

I love The Onion

All 7 Deadly Sins Committed at Church Bake Sale

All 7 Deadly Sins Committed at Church Bake Sale
(why can’t I imbed it using the imbed code from the site?)

My kids’ favorite things . . .

I decided a few weeks ago that it was way past time for us to get some pictures done of the kids. We’d done the church directory photos, and a Wal-Mart shoot with my mom and sisters and their kids when Fiona was just months old, but we hadn’t had our kids’ picture taken since Duncan was born! A friend of mine posted some beautiful shots taken by a local photographer (incidentally, her neighbor), and I decided to take the plunge.

She was running a special on sibling groups, as she built her portfolio, and did I have a group of sibs for her!!! Yesterday we packed up a few props and drove one block over to our little local “cultural center”, an old farmhouse and barn from the early days of the town complete with gardens, old wagon wheels, picnic benches, all kinds of neat background items.

We went after Fiona’s nap to capitalize on her non-crankiness. But when you’re 2 months away from 3 there isn’t a lot of non-cranky time, lol. And Moi had just gotten back from a middle-school church retreat; she was overtired and not just a bit cranky herself. Tae had ideas of how she wanted the whole thing to go . . . which of course it did not. And Dunc just wanted to play with his Legos.

It was a beautiful day for October in Michigan. In fact, it was a beautiful day for August in Michigan — and we were dressed for October. That is to say, it was a bit warmish. Again, adding to the cranky factor.

I was convinced by the time we went home that she was really going to have to work to find any usable shots . . .

And then I saw the first shots she posted.

How can they get any better?

Let’s Try This Again

I’ve been pretty much a Facebook gal for the last couple of years. Working and parenting full time doesn’t leave much time for blogging. But sometimes an idea or discussion starts rattling ’round in my brain, and I need a little bit different outlet than FB affords. I’d like to start doing more blogging over here. Let’s see how it goes . . .

Book Giveaway!

Really quickly, because I’m at work and shouldn’t be on here — Carrie over at Books & Movies is giving away the children’s fantasy novel The Purloined Boy. Head over to get your entry in!