Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Difference

"I aspire to grace, I aspire to generosity, I aspire to kindness. I have my moments -- shiny and effortless.  But then, I stumble and fall.  I don't write the letter, I don't reach out the hand, I don't give up the grudge whose sense evaporated long, long ago.
And so I'm vowing to try harder to become the person that I want to be.  The person worth remembering in big and small ways.  And soon.  Oh, soon.  Before it's me to whom the doctor turns and says, I have bad news.  And I'm confronted with the cold truth that a paper hospital gown is poor protection for what lies underneath. "

It's not the kind of inspiration that I expected when I went here this morning, but I was inspired none the less.

When it comes to who we are, it doesn't really make a difference who we wish we were, or even who we intend to be, does it?  No, the difference is made by who we try to be.  The difference is made by the effort.  We may never fully achieve our goal, but we are never closer to it than when are to trying to achieve it.

And so I'm vowing to try harder to become the person that I want to be.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Home again, Homeschool again, Jiggity Jig (Part 1 of 3)

It's not how I hoped it would turn out,
        but probably how I suspected it would.

Asha started a special needs preschool 3 hours a day when she was three.  She moved on to full day Jr. Kindergarten the next year to continue receiving speech and language services.  This year she is still receiving services in Kindergarten.  School has always been good for her in more ways than one.  She loves school!  She loves her teachers, she loves her friends, she progresses and blossoms there.  She had a hard time with our move to Korea this summer, but I knew all would be well as soon as she started school.  And it was.

Daniel went to preschool when he was little, but it was not much of a structured place.  More creative if you please.  He didn't really play with the other kids.  On the playground he often stood next to the teacher talking.  Talking, talking... and the questions, ohh.  This kid has never been at a loss for questions!  His first word was 'Dad', but Lord help me if his second word wasn't 'Why?'

While he enjoyed the creativity of the preschool, he didn't really learn much there.  He knew his letters and numbers back when he was 2.  He was reading at 3 and skip counting at 4.  He was very excited to start Kindergarten but I knew it would be a lot of stuff he already knew.  After the novelty of going to school wore off, he started to dislike going.  He would beg me some mornings not to make him go.  I assumed it was because he was bored.

We stuck out the year but the next year I purchased homeschool curriculum and gave it a go.  He was an easy student and finished all his school work in 2 hours a day.  I knew this meant he was not challenged enough.  I knew he needed more.  I heard about a school for gifted students nearby.  We applied for the next year and he was accepted.  He attended the summer session and loved it!  They did a lot of science and math.  Both of those were right up his alley.  I found it interesting that even though he was now around kids who were just like him, he still did not play with them on the playground.  He mostly stayed to himself.  I found it interesting because he lived to play with his friends in our neighborhood.

It didn't matter much though because the school did not come through with financial aid for the regular school year and their tuition was much higher than we could justify paying for a 2nd grade student.  I need that arm and leg, thank you!  We already knew the local public school did not work for him, so back to homeschool it was.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fess up Friday: Possibly ironic

Technically it is already Saturday here in Korea where I am writing this, but since it is still Friday there in the US where most of you will be reading it... it still counts, right?

With all the moving that we do, I kinda keep waiting for us to be somewhere for a while before we go get nice things.  Ya know, so I know they'll fit into the house that we'll finally be in for more than a year, so they don't get messed up in the move...etc.  But it never happens, so I'm left with a mish-mash of stuff that is left over from decades ago, and careers ago, when we lived in tiny apartments as young people with no money to buy anything nice thing anyway.

And it looks like that.

Factor in my lack of decorating skill and after 3 months of arranging,
this is the best I could come up with for my living room.
                             Pretty darn sad.

And yes, the TV is sitting on top of a coffee table...
the one the movers put the end table legs on.

My new friend came over the other day to provide some much needed help.  In a few hours, she had done what I could not.  She made my crappy furniture look not so crappy!

I still have curtains to hang and decorations to pull out of boxes,
and please ignore the toys, books and the wreath stashed on top of the bookcase,
but its already 1,000% better.

It got me thinking though...
I wonder if it would be considered 'ironic' that I am pretty bad at decorating yet pretty obsessed with decor related blogs and magazines.
I think I've been tearing images from magazines for 15 or so years.
I've got a big fat file of them.
And now I scour 'shelter' blogs like nobody's business.
But why?  It obviously has not helped me.
The only time my house has looked nice is when friends have helped me out.

I'm thinking what I should start scouring instead is gift magazines :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Before and After: Sitting Pretty

It is well established that I am not good at decorating.
I'll have a spot or two in the house that looks right, but that's about it.

I'm not very crafty either.
But every once in a while I do have a project that works out well.

We recently moved from a house with a huge patio.
I loved sitting out there.  It was my happy place.

Now we live in a highrise with a patio that is 1/4 the size of the old one.
I still love sitting out there,
but all of the furniture we had on our old patio does not fit.

Since we don't have enough storage space for the extra chair from the set that won't fit, and since I didn't already have an office chair, I decided to use it for that.  But it would not work as is.

Besides the fact that the current outdoor fabric didn't match the indoors,
it had also been outside for years, so I set about trying to remedy that.

 I decided on new fabric and ordered it.
I was so excited that as soon as it came in, I sewed up the new cushion covers and new pillows right away.

I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Now what to do with the rest of the house...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moving On (Part 2 of 3)

One year after our 3rd move in 3 years,  it was already time for our next assignment.

Back to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The housing at Vandenberg was split into two locations.  One group of houses were on base, the other group of houses were just outside the base gate.  This was the group we ended up in, way back in the back.  I loved it because we were on a corner lot just across from a nature preserve.  I could see the mountains and trees from my kitchen window and thoroughly enjoyed the occasional encounter with the wildlife.  We lived here undisturbed for 3 whole years!

And then...

The base decided to close down the housing outside the gate so they moved us to the housing on base.

And then...

The military decided to turn the housing on base over to be run by a private company, and that private company decided the street we had just moved to four months earlier (and just finished painting) would be the first street of houses to be torn down for new ones to be built.

So then...

They moved us to yet another street.  On Christmas Eve. 
My husband left for a 6 month training in Nevada a few days later.
We already knew we would be moving to our next station when he returned.  UGH!

This would be 3 moves in 1 year.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Growth Chart

There are the obvious times when we are proud of our children.
Like when they learn to tie their shoes or score a great goal.
Those are times when they have learned to do things
that others may see and take notice of.

But then there are the more subtle moments.
Like when you overhear your toddler saying,
"Yes, please." and "Thank you so much."
- completely unprompted by you!
    Or when your children,
who normally fight loudly with each other,
instead quietly say to each other,
"I don't like it when you do that.  Please don't do it again."

While I am certainly proud of big moments,
like starting 4th grade,
I am more proud of little ones,
like learning to solve conflict with a classmate.
Because when it all comes down to it,
I am not as proud of the kinds of things my children learn to do,
as the kinds of people they learn to be.