Category Archives: kids

He’s Smarter Than He Knows…


It was one of those days, with all the details and “have to’s” coming down on my head.  Too much demanding my attention, too many things vying to converge on the same space-time continuum, too many worries and nothing I could ignore, put off or say no to.  And it all required a lot of concentration.  I stare at figures and paperwork and bills, trying to apply a sense of logic and peace to it all.

My son runs into the kitchen (my office).  His enthusiasm about a funny incident at school gushes over me. Then he notices I’m already sitting there in tears.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry honey, things are not so great right at this moment and I have a lot to figure out.”  Caught off guard, I’m not very good at choking back tears.

“Well, but things are going to be so much better now that you are here,” he tells me.

I smile.  “I love you very much son.  That was sweet.  Thank you.”  There are times he’s amazingly sweet and his belief in me catches me off guard.  Changing subjects and pulling myself together though I add, “But I do need you to do your homework.”

“No…” he declares.  “First I’m going to come over and hug you right now!”  He loom tackles me in my chair.

Sigh…..  It’s one of those sighs where I love his hugs, wish I wasn’t so stressed and am trying to refocus so I can do what I need to do.  My son never hugs lightly.  It’s always a tackle and a bear squeeze.  And in effort to comfort me he hangs on a little longer.

I hold on to the moment just a bit and then pat his arm.  “I wish I could just live on hugs dear.  But there are just so many things coming down on me right now and I need to think.”  He lets go.

“So…” he says lightly, “just use an umbrella.”

I know I am here to teach my kids and guide them in life, but so often it is they who teach me. I stare at my son as he walks away, his words striking a tone.

And I realize he’s right.  It’s so simple.  Just use an umbrella.  And there’s always time for hugs.

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“Mommy: Which Would You Rather Have To Fight In A Tank – A Tarantula Or A T-Rex?”


I take my head-phones off.  My son just came barreling into the kitchen.  “What?” I ask. 

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sipping coffee at the table, enjoying the quiet while typing.  I’m working on a blog post.  Well… I was.  Until now.

It’s another one of those convoluted questions he throws in my lap when my head is completely dedicated to something else already.  And I’m not even really awake yet. 

He repeats the question.

“Wait,” I ask. “So the tarantula and the T-Rex are in the tank?  And I’m outside the tank trying to fight them?” I’m trying to visualize a tarantula and mini t-rex in a tank.

“No!” He says.  “You’re in the tank! It’s for the game I’m programming.”

“Oh, so I’m in the tank with them, trying to fight them?”

“No! Only you are in the tank, they are outside.”

“Wait, so I’m in the tank and a giant tarantula or T-Rex is trying to attack me?” 

“Yes!”

Since my brain was literally torn from the job it was tasked with when he popped his question, I’m struggling harder than usual to visualize and a scene from Honey I Shrunk The Kids comes to mind.

“Why am I trapped in a tank trying to fight a giant Tarantula or T-Rex? Shouldn’t they be in the tank if there’s a tank at all? Am I miniature or something?”

I clearly do not understand.  I see no logic in this game scenario. 

“No Mommy! You are in a military tank – shooting at them!”

….Duh…. 

Oh….

New light is dawning on my morning coffee brain.

“I thought you meant something like a fish tank.”

Well… when you’re talking about a tarantula and a tank, of course I thought of pets!  And of course I was way off base.  No wonder it seemed so illogical to me as a game.

“No Mommy!” He puts his hands on his cheeks, staring at me incredulously.

Yeah, I don’t care for that look and my inner self pokes fun at me.

“Hehe.  That’s the look that says: ‘Am I really related to these people?‘  I thought you never wanted your kids to have that look.” 

You know what?  Shut up self!  I’m just tired, OK?  Now get on with answering your son!

“Oh.  OK, well I guess I’d rather fight the tarantula,” I say.  “I know more about them.”

“Too bad!” he quips.  “You’re fighting both!”

 


My Surreal Life on Sunday morning: October 7, 2012

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Saving Vision…


Not everything is about money.  Being wealthy doesn’t always mean stock piles of cash.  Living abundantly doesn’t always mean you never have worries.  And being rich doesn’t always mean it’s at the expense of others or that you don’t care or donate or serve. There are many ways to measure happiness and wealth and I have always been a proponent for getting outside of the media box and ancient/out-dated religious outlooks on these things.  Money is not evil.  People who have money are not necessarily evil or happy for that matter.  People without money are not necessarily unsuccessful or for that matter poor.  “Money” is nothing more than a tool.  Many people really don’t realize where their beliefs come from and I often challenge them.  Believe what you want, but life is always better when you choose your beliefs, eyes wide open, deeply with thought and without emotional fervor, instead of falling into them.

However, there are times when money is the only barrier between you and a calling, between what’s right and what’s wrong.

As a mother I am at one of those impasses.  There are a few things right now that only a monetary income can help me with.  I’ve fought a great fight, I’ve been a good person and parent and I’m very successful in many, many ways.  That said, finances remain a concern and it’s time for me to grab the bull by the horns and get more serious about marketing myself online.  And if I’m really in business, to get out there and ask for that sale.

What’s changed?  Why am I suddenly ready to wrestle with this less gently?  My children need me.  Even if I can’t succeed for myself alone, I have to for them.

It’s my son.  And my daughter too.  It’s a lot of things.  But right now, something big is in my focus.  Though we’ve managed to get far with our son’s vision therapy, managed to actually improve his eyesight, we still need more funds to finish his treatment.  Funds we don’t have and that insurance apparently no longer covers.   Managing insurance petitions, etc. has been a full time job alone.  And I just cannot express how entirely stressful and discouraging at times.  Insurance we pay for, but that will not help my son with funds that will give him back the vision he needs to succeed in life.

So it falls to a mother to find a way.  When the future can be changed, when your child doesn’t have to live the life of someone legally blind enough not to be able to drive, when you have found the right doctors and the right treatments, when 90% of his vision issues are correctable and he doesn’t have to struggle through the rest of his school years for comprehension just because his brain and eyes are different – how can a mother not do everything in her power to find the money to make it happen?  The difference between right and wrong.  If you know someone needs help who cannot help themselves and you turn away when you could make that difference, how could you live with yourself?  And how much more so for a mother?  Blame it on the government; blame it on God?  Whine for fairness but never act?  These are not things I understand. I don’t have the time or the luxury.

I imagine in 20 years this kind of vision recovery treatment will be easily insured, just as it took time for chiropractic care to receive any respect or medical coverage.  It’s just too new to be there now.  His type of vision deficiencies too rare.  But the treatment is effective and life altering. The great news is that we have proof – our son’s vision has already drastically improved!  But we’re not done and the funds we managed to gather thus far have run out.  The tool that I need is currently missing.  His present growth could cause him to back-track if we don’t stick with and finish the therapy.

Medical bills, deployments….  There have been no extra funds in a long time.  (Were there ever?)  Smart, frugal decisions have kept us going along with a lot of hard work.  But sadly, hard work and a good heart doesn’t seem to be quite enough right now.

So it’s time to turn up the business a notch.  I’ve had to pass on local shows I would normally work and rely on for income, because most of my “studio” and supplies are necessarily packed away while our house is on the market.  Business goals for the year are having to be postponed to make room for other foci.  I had thought we’d be set with the sale of our house and able to start the next segment of our son’s therapy by now.  Instead, we’re having to wait.  And school starts in less than two weeks.

Which means my answers have to be found in more attention to my online business presence, planning and marketing.  And perhaps even in asking for help.  I meet with my son’s doctor in a couple weeks to discuss a revamp of his treatment plan, retest for new glasses and payment terms.  Terms I have no concept of how I will be able to meet right now.  We are alone in this.  There is no family to help, no funds from elsewhere, no doting grandparents with ample wallets, just whatever self-made outcomes John and I can produce.  We are two hard-working first-born, forging our way on our own.  He’s keeping us afloat on the bills we’re paying off.  I have to figure out the medical funds.  And I have to figure it out now.

Up until now, I’ve been a successful business owner largely via face-to-face sales and public speaking.  Not enough to be comfortable, but enough to help make ends meet, time and again.  Online, well that’s a different energy somehow.  I’m socially successful online, but have as of yet to make a financial dent equal to my physical face-to-face accomplishments.

So I guess it’s time to stop putting online business on the back burner to local shows.  It’s time to switch for a while from producing physical goods to creating an effective online network and plan.  It’s time to finally take full ownership of offering my services online and getting my voice heard.

All of it? In exchange for my children.  So I can have the schedule I need to see those doctors and seize those opportunities, and so I can have the income to pay for them.  I can’t be hesitant to market myself anymore.  And I can’t be worried about how others take that either.

I have a child’s vision to save, and I suppose as well… my own.

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Don’t Put That Spoon In The Microwave


“Don’t put that spoon in the microwave,” I tell my 12 year old son.

“Don’t worry,” he says. “Unfortunately I’m not a moron in that way.”

“Ummm…” I say. “You mean to say ‘fortunately’ son.”

“No, I don’t,” he tells me.

“I mean unfortunately. Because I really would like to see what would happen.”


Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )

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Filed under Conversations From the Passenger Seat, Friends and Family, Humor, It's An Aberrant Life, kids, Random Thoughts

The Gift of a Mother


I don’t often share my poetry and prose.  But today, I finally share this as my Mother’s Day Gift to you, dear reader.  If you like it, please thumb it up and share the link back to my blog post.  Thank you for sharing.


The Gift of a Mother
06-10-2005


It just happened,
The Way
She was lying in bed
When I chanced
By her open door,

That her silhouette
Suddenly appeared
Just as that
Of her 3 year old self. 

I was about
Morning Chores

When Suddenly
Out of the Corner
Of my Eye,
I caught Her
Sleeping Visage. 

Back turned,
Laying sideways,
Head buried
In her pillow

Bedclothes piled around,
There she was…

My Toddling Little Girl. 

 I stood There,
Caught. 

The lighting
Trickery
Brought out her short
Tousled Curls,

Back when
It was just finally
Starting to grow. 

Head turned,
Her Face appeared
Smaller
And Younger. 

I felt the pangs
Of Beauty
Of Sorrow
Of Fear
As I turned to continue. 

Sorrow that Time
Seems to pass so quickly

That I Haven’t
Held
My Baby
As Much
As I’ve Desired. 

Fear that Time will
Escape
From my grasp
Completely

And I might
Forget
Or Lose
This Moment Forever. 

Beauty because a single Glance
Holds an Infinity
Of Joy
And Knowing. 


As I passed on
Through the house
Capturing
The Reflection in my Mind,

I Saw that it was
The Gift
Of a Mother

To see Her Child
So. 

To Know Her
So. 


For a Mother has the Privilege
To See Her Child in Ways
Even her own beautiful Child
Will never See. 

 To watch Her Child
Grow and Develop.

To Remember
The Quirkiness,
The Sweetness,
The Sheer Innocence,
The Purity of Heart. 

To Remember
Their Boldness,
Their Courage
And Determination,

Their Worries,
Their Challenges.

The Privilege to
Nurture them,
Teach them,
Guide them,
Protect them,
To Set Them Free… 

It’s all Summed
Within a Glance. 

As I came back
By her room…
There She was again.

Face returned,
Angelic in her dozing,
Cuddled into blankets,

Transformed
In a second

From
The Toddler
To the Girl. 

All that She Is,
Flooding Back
To Me
In Pride
And Joy. 

A rare Moment
Of Experience;
Remembering
With Feeling
Yet again,

How our Time
As Parents
Of Little Ones
Is so Small. 

I have Seen
Beauty
That no one else
Will See,

Nor ever can. 

I have the Privilege
Of the Truth:

You don’t know Her
As I Do.
You haven’t seen
What I have Seen. 

It is My Prize.
My Gift.
As a Mother. 

It is the Gift
Of my Mother. 

To See
The Face of God.

Copyright © 2005 by Julia Meek Chambers, All Rights Reserved.

She turns 14 soon, but it is still the same as 6 years ago.


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A Roomba for the Lawn…


Sighing, I gaze at the lawn after pulling into the driveway.

“I wish I had a Roomba for the lawn,” I say.  “Only to cut it, not vacuum it.  A Roomba lawnmower…. yeah….”

In his completely genuine, yet most logical Spock-like tone, my 11 yr old son quirks his eyebrows at me from the passenger seat.

“You do realize that if you did, someone could hack into it and go on a killing spree.”

Blink.

No.  That was not the first thought that came to mind Son.

Not at all.

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“It’s Life Blood…”


“What… the hell…!” My hubby bellows.

He holds up the near empty coffee carafe with an incredulous look on his face.

Oh no,” I say. “I only had 2.5 cups of my mug’s size.” I display my best “don’t even go there” look.

John’s notorious for his “manly size” mugs.  I’m not exactly sure how much they really hold, but it’s gotta be more than 16 oz.  And our coffee maker makes 12 cups.

“But there is always enough left after my two cups to take a travel mug to work!”

Sitting over at the table, our son throws his hands to his head and exclaims,  “Would you all please stop arguing over COFFEE?!”

All cool and nonchalant, our 13 yr. old daughter responds aside with a slight smirk.

“You have to understand –  it’s life blood…”

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Musical Hair…


It’s Monday morning and I’m cracking up. Must be a good sign of starting the week off right!  I never start a Monday off laughing!

We’re watching the morning news shows, drinking our coffee, and one of the anchors mentions Jefferson Starship. A clip of “We Built This City (On Rock & Roll)” is played.

After the musical clip our son pipes up.

“Daddy? Why is it that people who played good rock and roll in old bands always have weird hair…”

I just about spit out my coffee.

“….and poofy heads?”

And then I nearly choke.

John always has a ready answer though.  And that’s when I died.

“Because Son… Aqua Net was a very popular product back then.”



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When You’re Finally A Rock Star…


My darling daughter came home last Friday with the request that I just had to make a hat for her classmate for her birthday yesterday. Say what…? I have four shows this month that I’m trying to get ready for and a deadline to meet tomorrow.

Over the years, several of her friends have received one of my fun hats for their birthdays, usually when we attend a party. I don’t know any of these kids’ birthdays unless I’m dragged to a party.

So anyway, someone in her circle who hadn’t gotten one of my hats yet in all these years finally approached Jess and actually asked if she could please have one for her birthday too, even though she wasn’t having a party. (sigh) They’re in middle school and they’ve all practically grown up together since they began school.

So I said **NO**.

Of course I didn’t! My daughter picked out the yarn and I made her friend an ear hat Sunday night. Had her wrap it though.

I have to admit, it can be flattering when your kids and their friends think your stuff is so cool they just gotta have it. Though I wish the timing were better since I’m trying to get ready for shows.

Then all the girls decided they would all wear the hats I’ve made them to school today. And they actually did. I think even Coach wore hers. I just wish I had a photo.

Then my daughter comes home and tells me, “Oh Mommy, it was great. Everyone LOVES your hats. And oh yeah, the boys are feeling left out too. Michael wants one that says Texas Tech for Christmas. Even Zach said he’d wear one.”

“And which kind would that be, the one that looks like it has a pony tail, or one with ears?” I ask.

“I don’t know. And there’s also Marley (in the rock band) and…..”

“Jess! Do your friends know how much my hats cost?”

“Well, no, but they are hoping you’ll be at the school Christmas bazaar….”

errrghh….

Yeah, always awesome when your kids volunteer you for birthdays and Christmas.

If I end up making hats for the entire 8th grade, they better model for me and drop my name around a few times…..

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Have You Heard of The Five Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Kids Do) – From The Tinkering School?


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I was recently introduced to an educational concept I’m completely in love with, called The Tinkering School. It’s right up my alley in a Maker Faire kind of way, calling straight to the heart of my inner child. As well, it sweetly validated a general sense of parental philosophy when it comes to learning what I call essential life-skills and the duty of parents to expose their children to the real world and humanity’s natural state of innovation.

Started by Gever Tulley, The Tinkering School concept provides an exploratory environment using real tools and real materials to get kids directly into the mix of experimenting and learning how to take an idea and simply make it. But also it stimulates kids to learn how things do work, might work and could work. A rather organic way of learning if you ask me – very, very natural.  I love it!  (Or is that just the steam punker in me?)

Though I’m new to the knowledge that such a wondrous “school” (official title and expert’s books and all that) exists, I am not new to the philosophy. If anything, it’s a part of the

Jack's Key Blade (Kingdom Hearts)

code of life I carry in my heart. You can see an example of this in my daughter’s creative efforts pictured here. I didn’t design any of her key blade (based off a magical weapon in a popular video game called Kingdom Hearts). She did the whole thing herself. Hers was the spark, hers was the plan. About all I did was take her to the lumber store for the dowel rod and the dry cleaners for the cardboard tubes from hangers. Aside from a little cutting Daddy really had to do, this entire project, even down to asking a thrift store to help her find a piece of wood in their scraps so she could cut stars out of, was all her. On the one hand, I’m adamant about taking care of the things my kids can’t do yet, like driving themselves to the store. One the other hand, I’m adamant that if they have an idea, they should get creative and make a plan themselves too. Even down to “What kind of materials and how will I acquire them?” I love supporting them even though my pocketbook is not very thick, and I know better than most that where there’s a will, there a way. Figuring out how to afford things is a life skill too.

So as you can imagine, finding the following video on Five Dangerous Things (Kids Should Do) just made me feel incredibly happy, validated and empowered in my principles of parenting! #1 on his list just flat out made me giggle. Then again, they all kind of did.

Austin is lucky to have it’s own version of the school called Austin Tinkering School. Though related in concept, the two schools are actually independent from each other. My son had the exciting experience of attending their boat making workshop (big enough for a kid or two to sit in) on his birthday and LOVED it. As my little engineer, it helped make for one of the best memories he’s probably had in getting to just get right into the materials and try to make something without someone trying to lecture him first or slow him down. I haven’t seen the boat yet, since he went with a friend’s family, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post a photo. For now the hard part is finding a date to have the truck to pick up the large boat and find a body of water to haul it too and let us test his thing out!

So all the links are here – go check it out!

If you’re wondering how I found out about the Austin Tinkering School, I had help from some friends of mine from our half-day charter school who keep up with the Austin Area Homeschoolers. If you landed on my page because you’re looking for alternative educational approaches and life enrichment, etc., I do highly recommend AAH as a great local resource, whether you are a traditional homeschooler or not.

So Happy Tinkering Ya’ll!

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