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31 July 2010
Sparrow split my lip open this evening using the back of his head.

It bled for 20 minutes.

This is not an excellent fashion statement.

A tragic day

28 July 2010
Poor, poor Sparrow. Yesterday we went outside so he could play in our wading pool. I sat on the porch and read a book. When I looked up, there was a hornet crawling up his back.


I went over very slowly and tried to use a pool toy to swipe the hornet off. Alas, I was too slow or something because the hornet stung poor Sparrow twice on the back of his neck.

He cried for about 2 minutes, but then was okay. Still, there were about 15 hornets having a field day with the pool, so we came inside and I fixed him a bubble bath. As he was playing in the bath, one of the cats jumped in and sliced his leg open.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch, with blankies and popcorn and juice, watching movies. It was just safer that way.

Thoughts on Education

25 July 2010
As an only child, Sparrow will likely attend a private school, mostly because we think it is important that he learn how to act around people his own age and also because we'll be able to afford it.

Hawk attended a charter school for his junior and senior years of high school. Since his family lived out in the boonies of North Carolina, Hawk was able to be a boarder at the school. So basically, the school he went to was Hogwarts for math and science geeks. As a teenager I think this would have been awesome, but as a parent, I don't think I'd want Sparrow to leave the nest that early.

As for my education, as I have done research and thought about this subject, I find myself wishing that my mom could have stayed home and home-schooled me, or else put me into a private school. I do remember taking a private school entrance exam when I was in first or second grade and passing with flying colors, but my family couldn't afford to send me so I just did public school. I did all right. I never really applied myself, because I just didn't care that much. Looking back, I wish I had worked harder on most everything. I got mostly As and Bs because I am smart and I have a good memory and I do the homework, not because I ever studied even once. In math (which I still hate) I got Cs and Ds, until my junior year when I actually listened to the lessons and tried my hardest and applied myself. The third quarter I got a B and the last quarter I got an A. I remember crying because I was so proud of myself for getting an A in math.

I am pretty sure my lack of challenge is what contributed to my failing out of college. I had no idea how to study and I had even less of an idea how to be motivated to attend class so I failed. I didn't care about "rising to the occasion." The semester I spent in England helped a little, if only because I was surrounded by students who were between 2 and 10 years older than me and I learned from how they worked. I will be taking 2 credits at BYU starting next month, and I hope that as I work my way up to attending school full time, I can figure out how to be a good student and a hard worker. (For the record, I am taking a Preview to Nursing seminar and a violin class. Why yes I am excited, thanks for asking.)

Let me also just say that had I not attended public school, I would have never met my BFF Dove, who I now consider my sister. So there's that.

I have been researching the methods involved in classical education. I just ordered Charlotte Mason's series on education and I look forward to reading them. I really like and agree with what I have read about her ideas. What I know is still limited because I am waiting to read her series to learn most of her stuff, but here's what I have gotten out of the limited things I have read.

First, the child works alongside the parents in the home. Second, when the child wants to learn something, they approach the parent. The parent does not pressure or approach the child (this part I am not sure I agree with totally.) When the child wants to learn to read, they ask the parent to teach them. If at any time the child is disinterested or skipping lessons or whatever, the parent says "well clearly you do not value my time as your teacher, so I am not going to teach you until you are ready to pay attention/work." And the lessons stop. The parent teaches the child using the "best" books, which are classical works. Reading is highly emphasized, especially the reading of classics. Through reading the classics, the child learns science, history, maths, grammar, punctuation, spelling, writing, etc. When the child gets to be a teenager, they enter a "scholar phase," where they study a subject they are interested in with a mentor.

That's what I have taken from what I've read around the Internets. I really, really like these ideas. However, I am not sure that we will rely on all of them. If Sparrow is 12 and he still doesn't know how to read because he doesn't care to learn, we have a problem. While I agree with having classic works available to the child at all times, I don't think that classic books are the ONLY books they should be allowed to read. There are modern books that some might view as trash that have taught me and helped me through hard times in my life. Fantasy books, ones that are well written, are important to me and have truly saved my butt a few times as I could escape into a world that did not suck as much as my life did at the time. As much as I hate comic books, I do think that Calvin and Hobbes is pretty decent. As an LDS pre-teen, I really enjoyed reading Chris Heimerdinger's Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites and reading those books inspired me to read the Book of Mormon. Some of the books and series I read as a child and teenager (primarily The Boxcar Children, Goosebumps and the Animorphs series) inspired me to want to become a writer of young adult fiction, a dream I still aspire to. I can't imagine a teenagehood without the Harry Potter series. Oh man, how I love(d) those books.

I'm also not going to ban movies altogether. Hawk and I both love to watch movies as a bonding activity, and I'm not going to take that away from us. We bought a Wii last year because it's a gaming system that allows for cooperation between family members. We only buy games that require two players, and our TV and Wii are in the main family area so nobody gets to go off and be solitary with them. While I am totally in favor of limiting the amount of time spent on the TV and keeping a close eye on what we watch, I am never taking Star Wars out of this house! We don't own all the Disney movies and never will, but we own several "classics" like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. We may never have normal television, and I am totally okay with that. When we did have TV channels, we spent way too much time watching and scheduling our lives around shows we wanted to watch. We've been without regular TV for 15 months now and we've all survived.

My main point is this: for our family, home schooling might not work. We might try it, we might not. And that will be okay. We are not going to bribe Sparrow to get good grades in school, but he's also expected to work up to his potential (and unfortunately for him, we already know how smart he is. Little turd.) He is expected to read more than he watches movies, and learn more than he plays the Wii. As a family, we are encouraging both private reading and family reading. Watching movies together as a family is an important bonding activity for us, but not to the detriment of anything else, and we need to do physical activities too. Sparrow will always have access to excellent books, will have some access to fun books and no access to books that I think are total crap (such as Captain Underpants.)

As a family, we are each expected to learn about things that interest us. I want Sparrow to see that it is important and fun to keep learning always. When he gets older, I plan on taking him on extended vacations during his summers - maybe one year we will live in Italy for the summer, and the next we will live in Germany. I want him to see and become involved in the world, because I think that that will foster a desire to learn in him. Heck, it already creates a desire to learn in me. I need to get learning some languages and history here!


19 July 2010
  • I have been feeling stagnant, bored, unfulfilled and dissatisfied with my life.
  • I have been whining about the (ridiculous) temperature and wishing there was a way for me to go live on the Oregon Coast during the summer.
  • I have been missing the companionship of women - Dove moved, and Owly has always lived far away, and I miss both of them deeply. I miss having that bond and friendship and, well, the fun!
  • I have been moping a lot, being a brat, nagging and berating and belittling Hawk.
  • I have not been working on my mental health issues as much as I should have.
  • I have been putting off working or being the slightest bit productive for playing on the Internet.

I really hate the summer. I mean seriously. I don't sleep as well, I don't like to go outside, I don't even want to move for fear of getting hot. I would kill for a little cabin or even tent somewhere on the Oregon Coastline.

My tentative plan for fixing all these latelies? I don't know. Two things I really am setting in stone are that I am going to pray, for real (meaning not just in my head) every day, and I am going to read my scriptures every day.

As for the things I am not really setting in stone, for fear of overwhelming myself and ending up with my butt fused to the couch again, I am going to try a few things.

  • Get some form of exercise every single day, even if it's just taking Sparrow for a short walk to the mailbox and dumpster
  • Work on keeping my house clean, or at least cleaner
  • Shower before 11 a.m.
  • Limit Sparrow to one movie a day
  • Get one project done a week, whether that be decluttering an area or making something.
  • Work on saving some monies so we can take a trip to California in November
  • Maybe...MAYbe... get Hawk to set up a time limit on our wireless, so that I can only be online after 2. I tried this before in our apartment, but it didn't work because people had unsecured wireless I could steal. There's no unsecured wireless here.
  • If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

I don't know. Writing that list was really hard, and kind of painful. It's hard to be a good person and parent and wife when you don't feel well mentally. I am down a lot, and I don't know what else to do to fix that. Argh.

I do also have a goal to get us out of the house four times a week. Mondays we have Antigravity Yoga, (a parent child class!) and Thursdays we have Music Together, so there are two things down. Maybe we will aim to get to the grocery store on Tuesday and then a random field trip on another day.

This week I want to take Sparrow to the aquarium. He has been really interested in sea animals since we visited SeaWorld. I took him to see Disneynature's Oceans at the dollar theater last week and he really enjoyed it.

I thought it was boring, but whatever. Pierce Brosnan narrating just didn't do it for me.

Anyway, let's hope we can get back to a happier life soon.

Our trip to Oceanside, California

13 July 2010
Sparrow and I visited Oceanside/San Diego last week. It was awesome! Here are some highlights from our trip.

Drivin' thru Vegas!

On the 4th of July we went to church with Aunt Owly. First our church (we found an LDS ward in Laguna beach) and then Owly's church on the beach!

Sparrow at "cheech"

We went to Seaworld and saw this poor exhausted, depressed polar bear. It was pretty hilariously cute.

Great Grandma rescued Sparrow from the weird walrus.

Nana pulled Sparrow all through Seaworld in his wagon.

Great Grandma and Nana at Old Town in San Diego.

With three Mommies on the trip, things got a little...violent.

We threatened to leave whiny Sparrow with this cactus. Seriously, he had a hard time because he was so spoiled for most of the trip, dang kid. Plus he ate tons of crap and got very little sleep.

Luckily Nana still loves him.

We saw a sweet random little concert. Sparrow enjoyed the fiesta music.

We were all pretty tired. Except Sparrow. That kid runs on no sleep. It's ridiculous.

I spent like 20 minutes watching the wolves at the San Diego Zoo. I have about 50 pictures just of the wolves. WOLVES.

Sparrow preferred the polar bear.

We visited the grounds of the Newport Beach temple. I have about 50 pictures of this temple too. It was gorgeous, and such a pretty day to visit. We spent as much time on the grounds as we could before Sparrow started to get antsy. He tried to swim in the fountain. It was embarrassing.

Aunt Owly works very close to the temple, so we went to visit her for a few minutes. Sparrow was SO excited to see her, and was totally bummed after she left. Me too. We can't wait to visit her again soon!

The boy has got it made.

The last day, Sparrow woke up at FOUR THIRTY in the morning, so we left Las Vegas (where we stopped for a night) by 8 in the morning. We got breakfast from McDonald's. Sparrow decided his pancakes were better as hats than food. He is a strange child.

We had a good time and wish we were still there! It was all in the 60s last week and man, it was PERFECT. Now back to the Utah desert, where it has been 98. At least we're not in Baker, Nevada. We stopped there for gas and it was 119 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought I was going to die.

We love you California! See you again soon!