Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Father the King of Debating!

My father was the KING of debating ... he would take the opposite side of any subject just to have a good debate. As a teenager this sent me crying to my bedroom many times, I thought he was so mean and did not understand me at all! As an adult I found myself doing the same as my father, what I realized is that I knew a whole lot about BOTH sides of a lot of things! My father believe in order to truly understand a topic you need to look at it from different angles and actually know those angles enough to 'take that side'! He read everything and was able to take which ever side was opposite to me!

I was thrilled in college when during a class we were going to debate a subject which many were very passionate about. The professor asked each student what side they wanted to be on and to the disappointment of many he put them on the opposite! I aced this assignment, this was easy, I had already really looked at both sides, just like my dad taught me!

So, my father passed away 14 years ago and I miss him dearly. As much as I thought this was one of the traits of my fathers that I disliked the most, I now believe that I miss this the most. There are very few people (at least in my life) who can just take the other side with such passion.
So recently I 'played like dad' and posted to an online group an opposite opinion about something to just get people thinking, BIG MISTAKE! The moderators closed down the topic because everyone was getting 'mean'. Well, that is what trigger the thoughts of my dad and debating so I did a little research and found this great website on debating. And I posted a quote and the link with the group because I think it is so important and I will share it here with you:

Taken from:

"If we don't want to live in a dictatorship, we must be vigilant to preserve our freedoms. If we wish to preserve our freedoms, we must be informed on the issues. Being informed on the issues requires that we become acquainted with alternative points of view. The history of the development of civilization can be seen as the history of debates on issues. In democratic societies, there must be public debating. Newspapers have served this purpose and still do to some extent in this country. However, we seem to have lost awareness of the importance of debating since the days of Thomas Paine. The sixty-second sound bite has created the illusion that the important issues are all brief and cut-and-dried. The importance of debating issues is fading from the public consciousness. One principle aim of The Truth Tree is to increase awareness of the importance of rational debating. But constructive debating is an art. "

The link will take you to the website which goes on to give information on effective debating!

I think the internet is a great resource. It has become a HUGE way to communicate and with so many people from so many places! But there are challenges because with written word it is much more difficult to read ('hear') tone and so I think we frequently take a hostile approach to differing views.

So my point, well I am not sure I have one ... that is a funny thing about me, I can talk forever and never make a point (just ask my dearest hubby) ... no really I think we should all brush up on our debating skills, be passionate but not defensive and listen to ALL sides of the story!

I once heard someone say: "listen well ... listen with the intentions of what the other person is saying is going to change your mind."

Caitlyn's Photos

Well, it has taken me three days and lots of frustration but I have finally been able to add Caitlyn's slide show to my side bar. Caitlyn has been taking pictures for along time and recently she has enjoyed flowers. I thought these were beautiful. When she looked at it she thought it look like an advertisement, very professional, which makes her proud. I too am very proud of her!

I have always encouraged my children to take pictures. I have to say that I am very thankful for digital cameras ... otherwise I would have gone broke developing the five million photographs of things like the inside of someones nose, the corner of the rug and oh yes, I have a whole series of pictures of television shows! Just yesterday Rick and Jacob took 175 pictures, maybe one or two are worth keeping.

Sometimes when we are going through pictures on disks, everyone says why are you keeping these, they are blurry or of craziness ... well they were taken by my children and as they really are not taking up much space and they provide lots of funny entertainment when we look back on them! The picture itself may not mean much but often a memory is sparked and a story told!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Here is a video that was forwarded to us from my mother-in-law! I thought it was worth sharing! We have watched it several times! Just think what the world would be like if we could all dance together! For more interesting tid bits check out Where The Hell Is Matt? website, it is fun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

When Life Takes You By Surprise

Some of you may have noticed that on the right side bar there is now a "baby ticker". Yes, this is true. I am sure that all of my friends and family are sitting there saying "oh my god" and actually that was my first reaction! Having a baby is a wonderful thing, I cherish my ability to have children and love them all deeply. Dan and I have been asked by many "just how many children we planned to have" and I know that our family worries greatly about our ability to 'survive' with the economy and 'all these children'.

I am going to be very honest, a couple weeks ago when the thought of being pregnant hit me I was just overwhelmed with emotions. Actually, Dan and I had decided that we were not going to have any more children. We had made this decision based on the current economy and just logistics relating to money. Well, what we later discovered is that we were too late ...

Okay, so this really was difficult for me because there is this little thing called guilt that seems to creep up ... first of all there was the guilt that maybe, just maybe I did not want to have another child and then what on earth would our families say ... well after lots of conversations with myself, I have come to realize that I have to allow this to be what it is ... I was not planning on another baby but honestly I believe that all things happen for a reason. Many years ago when I was pregnant for the first time, with our oldest daughter, someone asked us how many children we planned to have. At that point I had no idea, Dan answered "six"! Well, maybe somethings are meant to happen.

No matter what anyone else thinks I know that this child will come into our family with much love and we will survive! As much as it has caught us by surprise, never will it be a mistake or unwanted.

So to our family and friends who worry about us, thank you for worrying and thank you for being our family and friends. But we do not want this to be a sad time, it is a new life that is precious and should be honored and although we respect that logistically not everything is perfect ... we are happy and hope that you can be happy with us!

PS. Because I am a great big chicken and don't dare to tell anyone I am posting it here!

Hanging Laundry Out To Dry!

My mother-in-law sent me an article, Airing his Laundry about Alexander Lee who has been advocating less dryer usage to help curb rising energy costs. Lee is the executive director of Project Laundry List, a nonprofit organization working to save energy and the environment by promoting clotheslines. I liked the above picture advertisement so much I thought I would share it!

I too believe in line drying. When we sold our house almost a year ago, our dryer went with it. We were very generously offered a dryer from family members but decided that we could do without. We are a family of seven and laundry is an ongoing task, but we decided that the trade off was worth it.
We could save energy, which inturn saves money, all for just a little effort.

Which brings me to the second reason I support line drying clothes. It is a respect for the things we do ... for me when things become too easy we over indulge ... when we had a dryer it was used a lot, wasting precious resources ... now we are more respectful of our usage. I also believe when you have a 'hands on' connection it builds more respect. So sometimes we have to plan ahead to make sure the things we want will be dry on time and sometimes, when the rain is pouring down, our house is decorated with laundry but most of the time we just have fresh line dried clothes at no cost to us or the environment!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer CSA - YUM!

Thursday was our first pick up of the year from our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). This year we moved so we are participating with a new farm, Maplehill Community Farm. We have been greatly anticipating the yummy fresh veggies. For the past few years we had participated with Wellspring Farm and we loved it, everyone there was wonderful.

It is our family ritual to pick up our shares and then go home and spread everything out on the table. We then identify (with use of the wonderful internet) anything we do not recognize. Think of what we want to do with everything ... while preparing it for storage. Sometimes bright orange carrots, crisp peas and beans and bright red cherry tomatoes never make it to storage ... with five children, these become snacks while we work! CSA night dinner usually consists of salad of wonderful fresh greens and whatever delicious veggies were in our share. Yum! Yum!

For eighteen weeks this is my favorite dinner night! It is easy and delicious! The rest of the week we munch on the remainder of our garden share, preparing some things for longer storage, and finding new and exciting recipes to try!

In addition, the weekly visit to the farm is so wonderful. Much to my children's pleasure, Maplehill Farm has two pigs we can pet, a whole lot of chickens and some cows. They are pleased to let us walk around and visit the animals, look at the gardens, etc... Each week we have some 'pick-your-own' flowers, veggies and herbs. And at last there are fresh eggs for sale!

For everyone who participates in a CSA, I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do and if you don't ... it is worth checking into your local CSA programs. Fresh, local veggies, supporting small farmers, and just a wonderful sense of community. I have much gratitude for the farmers, volunteers, and supporters of these programs ... they are so great! Actually it is my dream to some day have our own small CSA program but until then I am very thankful for everyone who shares!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Playing in the rain!

The other night a sudden down pour came through. The children were outside playing with the neighbor kids. When the rain hit they all came running in. Apparently the other children’s mom said they had to go in. My children wanted to know if they could go back out and play in the rain. I said “yes”, unless you hear thunder or see lightening … then you must come in. So they ran around playing in the rain and mud, having a great time.

When they came in and everyone was drying off and changing Ally asked, “Why do you let us play in the rain?” I said, “Did you have fun?” She said, “Yes” and I said, “Well, that is why!”

When I was a kid I loved playing in the rain. There is nothing like running through puddles and squishy mud in your toes and then the sudden chill of being soaked to the bone! Sometimes we forget how these little things can be so much fun. Who needs video games? A good rain storm and mud puddles is worth hours of fun and great memories!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Creepy Crawling Baby

There was a little baby who swallowed a spider that wiggled and giggled and tickled inside him!

Well, almost. The kitty had caught this spider --- eeewwwhh and Sam thought it was breakfast!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What? Where? Why?

Mommy: “Good Morning Rick, how did you sleep?”

Rick: “Where?”

Mommy: “In your bed.”

Rick: “Good!”

Mommy: “Let’s go down stairs.”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “To start our day.”

Rick: “Where?”

Mommy: “Do you want breakfast?”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Please do not hit your brother”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Please do not pull the cats tail”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Please do not throw food at the table”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy; “Let’s put our shoes on to go outside.”

Rick: “Where?”

Mommy: “Let’s play with the cars.”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Do you want some water?”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “How about a snack”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “I’ll be right back, I have to use the bathroom.”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Please do not take that away from your sister”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Please do not yell your brother is sleeping”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Are you watching the movie?”

Rick: “Where?”

Mommy: “On the TV.”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “It is bed time”

Rick: “Why?”

Mommy: “Because mommy is tired from answering soooooo many questions today!”

So my precious two year old has entered a new stage of his life … the inquisitive stage. He follows everything I say with either “why?”, “what?” or “where?” and sometimes a combination of these! Rick never does anything half heartedly, it is all or nothing! This is just a quick glimpse of a few minutes of our day! Needless to say be the end of the day I am tired of explaining everything I do and/or say! I think I once said something about raising my children to question everything … oh how I am eating my words now!