Tuesday, December 25, 2007

50 things I'm thankful for...

Ok, prompted by a post by Patty at Morning Ramble, here are 50 things I'm thankful for in no particular order.

1.My family and I are all healthy.

2.The gift of sight so that I might truly appreciate everything God has created.

3.The gift of hearing without which I wouldn't be able to enjoy the laugher of my kids.

4.Baby laughs each of our kids has had their own little baby laugh and now H. is finding his.

5.A wonderful husband who willingly helps out around the house and with the kids.

6.A good job for my husband that provides both a good income and flexibility.

7.Having finished my B.A.

8.Great bosses at dh's job that gave him increased flexibility to adjust his
schedule as needed to take care of the kids while I worked on my B.A.

9.The patience that I've gained over the years since I've become a mom.

10.Becoming a better mom now than I was at the beginning.

11.The ability and strength to follow my heart when it matters most.

12.Taking on the often challenging and rewarding work of homeschooing.

13.Having a husband and family that support the decision to homeschool.

14.My in-laws, despite cultural differences and occassional miscommunication, we get
along pretty well.

15.Finding good books that I can't seem to put down.

16.Passing on a love of reading to all of the kids.

17.Our new house which has just about everything we wanted but didn't think we would ever be able find or to afford.

18.Spring breezes.

19.Watching the waves.

20.Wonderful memories of summers spent with my grandparents.

21.My best friend, Monica

22.The chance to spend a year in Iran

23.The internet, which has really brought people so much closer.

24.All of the inspiring and educational blogs I've stumbled upon in the last year and a half.

25.TV and movies-Yes, there is some junk out there but there are also some very good things as well.

26.Netflix-I just love that I can rent movies so easily and now even watch them on the computer. (Can you tell I like movies?)

27.The willingness to try new things.

28.The messege of life long learning in Islam which says that humans should continue learning new things from the cradle to the grave.

29.Having a wealth of opportunities to follow the path of life long learning.

30.The women that open up their lives and homes through their blogs. Often I just lurk, but I'm so thankful for their willingness to share their knowledge and wisdom with others. They have proven to me time and again that there is so much we have in common and that we can learn from each other despite any differences.

31.The plethora of information and resources available to homeschoolers now.

32.That I was born in just the right time and place for me. I can't imagine how hard life was/is for women in previous generations or those living in very poor countries where the things we take for granted would be considered great luxuries.

33.Modern medicine which gave my niece the chance to hear with a cochlear implant.

34.The smell of brownies baking. (or just about any sweet for that matter)

35.Learning to let things go.

36.The lessons I've learned about accumulating too much stuff after moving 3 times in a year and a half. I'm getting much better now that I've seen how easily things add up.

37.God's influence in my life. I could never have imagined how my life has turned out so far.

38.Being a stay-at-home mom. Yes, there are tough days and evetually I'd like to get my Master's and start teaching at a college but I'm where I'm needed most right now and that what I do is important.

39.That marvelous, relaxing feeling of the sun's warmth on my skin

40.Peace found in quiet moments

41.The diversity inherent in our world

42.Cushy couches

43.The tension-relieving sounds of a rain storm.

44.Chocolate-in pretty much any shape, size or form!!!

45.All of the modern appliances we tend to take for granted. Try to imagine what life would be like without refridgerators, stoves/ovens, sewing machines or washing machines. Eek!

46.The experience I've gained from being a mom.

47.A great imagination.

48.Ice water.

49.Books that educate, entertain or both.

50.Warmth in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

There's so much to be grateful for in life but these are just a few things to come to mind. Why don't you try coming up with your own list? If you do, leave me a comment. I'd love to see what others are thankful for.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I've been meaning to blog for the past week and I have several things on my mind to blog about but life has been busy lately and although I've been able to keep up with reading other people's blogs, I just haven't been able to post anything here. It seems that the only time I can get on-line is when I'm feeding the little guy and it's a bit difficult to type one handed.

On top of that we've had two celebrations this week. Wednesday was the second Eid (festival) of the year. It's called Eid al-Adha and it is the celebration of the end of hajj (the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca). It's not as big of a celebration as Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan but still big enough. For comparison, celebration size-wise you could probably compare it to Easter in relationship to Christmas. Our second celebration was tonight. Iranian families get together on the longest night of the year (sort of like celebrating New Year's). So tonight we had Mohsen's relatives over for tea, fruit and sweets. It seems one of the main fruits of the evening is watermelon. This time last year there were people everywhere selling watermelons from their packed trucks. I wish I had taken pictures. I've never seen so many watermelons in winter before but, at least in Shiraz, they're everywhere this time of year. The picture above is a selection of some of the things I served this evening-zucchini bread, triple chocolate cookies and cream cheese snowcaps. I also had snickerdoodles and brownies for sweets and we had oranges, tangerines, bananas and watermelon for our fruits. Dh picked up some fresh corn while he was out today and roasted that in the wood stove while they were here. Tea is pretty much a given whenever you are hosting Iranian guests. I'm not a tea drinker so I made myself some hot chocolate to enjoy while they drank their tea.

Despite the rather varied assortment of sweets on our menu this evening, Iranians aren't really that much into sweets so the snowcap cookies turned out to be a good choice. I got the idea to make them from a picture on Quilting Chatter. They looked so yummy that I decided to look up the recipe. The recipes I found for them included either almond extract or lemon extract. Both of these contain alcohol which I won't use in my baking so I substituted orange zest and they turned out quite tasty. I made extra cookies because we have our Homeschoolers' Sewing/Needlework Day on Wednesday. Here's hoping that people actually show!

You'll have to forgive me ladies for not being more interesting tonight but it's (Egads!) almost 2 a.m. and I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. (How'd it get so late???) I promise I will make time soon to write about some things that have been on my mind lately that I'd really like to share. In the meantime, take care all and Merry Christmas to those that celebrate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pay It Forward

I'm once again going to offer up a Pay It Forward opportunity. This one I found at Quilting Chatter. Just like before, be one of the first 3 people to comment and I'll send along something handmade. I'm not sure yet what it will be but I'm sure I can find plenty of inspiration in blogland. I can't promise when since right now demands on my schedule vary a great deal but I promise it will be less than 365 days from now. In exchange for you patience, I'll even try to accomodate any color preferences you might have. How's that? :)

In exchange, you promise to make a similar offer on your blog.

Feeling much better now

I'm feeling much better now. I've learned a few things about myself, my dh and how technology is affecting social graces.

I only heard from one of the women and that was only after my dh called her dh to find out what had happened. I wasn't about to but he felt it necessary to take them to task for how they had made me feel. Her excuse was that she didn't know that that was the day and she had not gotten either of the two emails I had sent her. Now, I had told each and every person invited 2 weeks in advance, in person. I trusted that they were smart, capable women who could hold a date in their minds or mark it on their calendars without constant reminders. Apparently, I'm wrong.

It seems we've become so dependent on technology that we no longer exercise our memories as much as we should. Have you noticed that most dr.'s offices will now call and remind you a day or two in advance that you have an appointment? My library even e-mails me 3 days before our library books are due as a reminder complete with a list of everything that is due. That's in addition to the printed receipt that you receive when you check out. I don't think it was so very long ago that we were expected to remember such details of our lives on our own.

Technology is certainly changing our social mores and expectations in other ways as well. People get annoyed when told that dh and I don't regularly carry a cell phone everywhere we go. Dh and I share one cell phone of the pre-paid variety. I carry it when I'm out with the kids in case something happens (at his insistance) or when I'm out on a "free" morning in case he needs me. He'll carry it from time to time when he goes out, especially if he'll be out for awhile and going to a few different places but not always. If he hadn't programmed the number into our home phone, I wouldn't even know the number since I've rarely if ever called him on it. Just last week, a man ranted over the fact that my husband was "unreachable" and hadn't gotten into contact with him less than 24 hours after leaving a message with me and he did the ranting at me, much to my annoyance. It seems technology has made people rude in more ways than one.

On a decidedly lighter technological note, there is a great website that helps you feed the hungry while you exercise your brain. Go to http://www.freerice.com/ and test your vocabulary skills. For each correct answer, you win 10 grains of rice that are donated to the UN World Food Programme. How cool is that?!?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Depths of Despair

Ok, I'm not quite in the depths of despair but I'm incredibly disappointed at the moment.

What do you do when you extend a hand of friendship and get the cold shoulder in return? Two weeks ago I invited several women that I've known for a long time to come here today for a couple of hours of sewing/knitting/whatever craft and just hanging out. At least 6 enthusiastically agreed to come and had no problem with the day. It's now an hour and a half after we were supposed to have it and not one person showed up! :_( I was so looking forward to this and no one even bothered to call. For the last two years, it seems like I don't have any friends to talk to any more. I thought I had found a good way to start building friendships again but this is just too much. I worked so hard getting the house all nice and clean and setting up a nice assortment of tea and sweets and it was all pretty much for nothing. (Not that I'd complain about the house being clean.) (Oh, and the last sewing session I had set up for homeschoolers-only one mom showed up and she hadn't even brought anything to work on. It ended up just being a playdate to see if her son would be comfortable enough around my kids. This and the other mom not showing up at all just totally threw me off kilter so I probably wasn't as good of a hostess as I should have been. Not that I think I was rude or anything, we had a nice conversation and I did what I could to get her son warmed up to my kids. She even ended up staying the full hour and a half despite initial indications she'd only stay for a little while. But she is Iranian and she's related to many of the women that were supposed to come today so maybe she didn't like my hostessing abilities or I caused some slight offense that I'm not aware of.)

The picture above is sort of indicitive of my mood right now-rather grey and soggy. I don't know if anyone out there can understand how I'm feeling right now but I just had to get this out. Inspired by Patty at Morning Ramble, I intended to post a list of 50 things I'm thankful for but I'm just not up to it right now. I am grateful for a lot of things but lack of good friends isn't one of them. Maybe later.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Black Friday

I know alot of people out in blogland don't even like to step out their doors on Black Friday but I love it. You see, I love to find good deals and usually I can find some pretty good ones on this day. So, I have a standing arrangement with dh that he gets to watch the kids while I shop in the morning. I don't normally like crowds and/or standing in line to check out but it really doesn't bother me on that day. Now, that being said, I'm not about to stand in line before the stores even open or for an hour or more inside the stores. No deal is worth that kind of time wasting. And the stores this year opened at ridiculous hours with the outlet malls opening at midnight. Sadly, one mother was arrested in the area because she left her 2 year old in the car while she shopped in the wee hours. The news reports said the little girl was taken out of the car at about 2:30 am. That's just insane. I take any nursing baby I have at the time with me when I shop but I would never risk my children's health or safety like that. No deal is worth that risk.

This year the deals weren't nearly as good as some years but I did get some bargains. I only spent money at 3 places this year-Jo-Ann's, Walmart and SuperTarget. I did go to two other stores but at one the line was too long and at the other I didn't like the style of the jeans I had come in for. The funny thing is that at Target, I only spent about $10 on non-grocery items, but, hey, I got pretty good parking on the grocery side of the store and I practically had the grocery aisles to myself. ;) I spent a bit more at Jo-Ann's than I probably should have but it was all things I would use at a much lower price than I would normally spend so I think it was justified. Walmart's only really good deal for us was skate shoes for the kids. No these are not necessary items but it seems that 75-80% of the kids we've seen lately have been cruising around on these and the kids have been asking for months to get some. I wasn't about to pay the $60 or more per pair that I've seen them for but Walmart had them for $20 so I considered that reasonable enough. And the kids love them. They've spent an hour or more most days since they got them skating around inside the garage or in the driveway. They're getting extra exercise and enjoying themselves so I consider it money well spent.

How did my colicky baby do? Amazingly, except for a diaper change and two feedings, he slept for most of the 5 hours we were out.

Our Turkey Day

I just thought I'd share how our Thanksgiving Day was spent. The weather all morning was so warm that we spent a good chunk of the day outside. DH and the kids took care of some yard work including bagging or chopping up about 8 billion leaves. (the one big drawback of having so many trees) I spent part of it sitting in the sun going through the next day's sale papers to plan my day. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. It's not that we're not thankful for all that God has blessed us with; it's just that it doesn't feel right to give thanks by me working all day then stuffing ourselves silly. I'm also descended from Native Americans so that has played into my thinking about how the day is spent.

Growing up we did celebrate Thanksgiving but I think it was more because that's what society expects everyone to do. As an adult I've been blessed to have my DH, who didn't grow up with these traditions. It's led me to question the why of what we do rather than blindly continuing to do them because it's what's "expected". Now, in case, you're wondering, that's a two-way street where I've questions some of his traditions as well. Because if this we've truly become a blended family, taking what is good from each side and leaving out what no longer feels quite right and making something new for our kids. Now that the kids are older, we talked about the origins of Thanksgiving and included some history about both the pilgrims and the Native Americans. Since popular history is written by the victors, I want my kids to be able to dig a little deeper and try to see both sides of history, or at least at this age to understand that there is more than one view to consider.

It's important that we remember to be thankful every day for the blessings both big and small, whether it's a new job, house or baby or just the ability to spend 5 min. outside feeling the sun shine on your face and soaking in the beauty of the world around you. Even more importantly, we have to teach our kids to do the same.

The kids helping with the yard work.
Z. enjoying more time to practise her newfound jump rope skills.
The kids playing on the swings DH made for them.