Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Sometimes I feel like a lot of things happen and inspire me to write, but I often feel like I can't throw out a whole bunch of words about most individual subjects, since I'm no real writer.  I'm also a new homeschooler, an entrepreneur, a Mom, a wife, and a person who likes time to myself, so my blogging is hardly a daily activity... :-/  Let's just call this a smorgasbord!

Standing up to the Bully and FOR "Big Phil"

The other day Jon and I went to a haunted house.  We went at the earlier, advised time to minimize our wait and were having a really good time.  While in line, we were in front of a moderately sized group of teenagers.  Overall they were good kids, but at one point, I overheard this: boy: "Oh shit, big Phil's here." girl: "Who's big Phil?" boy: "Dude he's like 400 fuckin pounds man and he's so fat.  He runs so slow and always makes us run more laps, he's fuckin fat."

This was clearly an athletic boy based on his conversation and his build.  He was very healthy, probably 6.5feet tall or so, and confident.  Reminder of this for you.  I'm the "bullied" not the bully.  But, it's true what we were talking about a couple of weeks ago.  It is the responsibility of the adults to change what's going on.  I didn't do exactly as I should have, but I did my best given the adrenaline-charged shaking I had going on: "Excuse me, boys..." boy: "Yeah?" me: "I'm sure you've heard of these teenagers who are literally killing themselves over words like that.  That shit hurts people, for real.  Find different words." boy: (With snide and embarrassed expression)"Okay" me: "Please" boy: (Same expression)"Okay" girl: (to me) "Thank You"

It wasn't *much*.  And I really think I could've empathized more with the boy.  But, again... I was actually shaking.  It was SO.SCARY. for me to say anything to the boy.  Terrifying.  I don't know if it's the general idea of standing up to someone or if it was because his words were so chilling in the first place, or if it was because I was standing up to things in my past as well, or if it was the "embarrassment" of acknowledging to myself that I am, in fact, the old lady who tells teenagers to "cool their jets" so to speak.  Whatever it was though, it was a rush.  I felt good, I felt proud, I felt accomplished, I felt hopeful.  I felt a little bit bad about calling him out in front of the others, but it's not quite like I could say, "Hey, come with me, please..."

I also felt like the girl who thanked me might feel more courage to do something similar in the future.  I don't know for sure, but it's like nursing in public.  Every time someone sees it for the first time it affects them and let's just hope she'll walk away from that feeling that it's better to speak up in the future.  I hope so.  I kinda' wish I could've given my phone number to the whole group of them and said, "If you ever need anyone safe to talk to...call, please."  But, yeah... not quite there yet.  :-P

It's kinda' chilly! Brrr.

I live in the mountains, ya know.  It's the time of year when it starts getting quite cold little by little.  Our house has a "no furnace till November" challenge.  If a blizzard comes we'll turn it in, but pretty much anything else won't warrant a change-of-plans here.  Why?  I can't really tell you...  I'm not certain.  Partially because I like the idea of allowing our bodies to move into the next season.  We must be a little chilly to recognize what's coming and I think internally, we expect it.  So, we let ourselves get a bit brisk.  Also, it's a good way to check what sweaters do and don't fit, who has enough socks for the winter, how everyone's stockpile of warm clothes is.  Even during the winter, we don't turn our furnace more than 62 degrees F so we need to keep our stuff in stock.  Currently, it's 59 in our house. Brr.  :-)  It's also a nice way to ring in the season with cuddling in front of the fireplace and embracing whatever kinda' lovin' comes next! ;-)  More than anything, I guess it's just a fun way to be in a little bit of denial that winter is really almost here.  Until we hear the furnace fire up, we can pretend it'll be 70 tomorrow (okay, Friday... but we'll make it!)

Have you ever thought of doing a furnace challenge?  Or, more so, an A/C challenge?  Tell me about it if you decide to join in the game.  If you've already turned your furnace on, it's okay.  Go turn it off and join us now.  Join the wintertime bandwagon and keep your furnace low all winter, too.  I'll touch back on that in several weeks.

Super-Great-Awesomely-Fun-Random-Neat Challenge for the CO Roots!!!!

I thought about it the other day and I'm so stoked!!!!!!!

We aren't going to be buying anything that's brand new (other than groceries, supplements, and the like) through the month of November.  If all goes well (which that is the goal) we'll continue this new way of shopping indefinitely.  You see... I was thinking the other day what big consumers we are.  Any of you who know us know that we are pretty modest folks.  We prefer it that way (aside from gizmos and gadgets).  Even with our modest ways of living, we buy a lot of stuff brand new that we don't actually need to buy brand new.  Can you imagine how many dishes are thrown away every day?  How many dishes are made in factories(not in America, either of course, but that's as far into politics as I'll get right now) every day?  How many bras are thrown out?  How many dog leashes?  Candles?  HAIR BANDS?????

We can find all of these things and a boatload more at second hand stores, on Craigslist, at garage sales, etc.  It's so easy for me to thrift store shop for clothes, but I rarely think about all those other things I "pick up" all the time.  So, I thought how fun it would be to change the way I think about getting what we need.  It all started with our need for a new dog leash.  Rootie eats through his every few months or so.  We're always getting new ones.  So far we've gotten the one we got with Rootie, a hand-me-down from Jon's parents, the freebie that came from the Humane Society when he gotten taken in by the doggie truck, and a lost-and-forgotten one we found at the off-leash dog park.  He just ate through the latest last week and we need to get him a new one.

The Universe hasn't plopped one in our lap yet, the way it has so far, so we went to the store to buy one.  As we moseyed around we were surprised at the price of a new leash (that Rootie will have eaten by spring, I'm sure) and we were equally surprised that Martha Stewart has a line of pet products.  But, anyway...  My eyes were also being drawn to every dog in there, both in puppy school and not.  I realized than... we've gotten all of these used leashes before...  We can EASILY get a used dog leash from someone on Craigslist or at a secondhand.  So, we looked at the silly things in Petsmart, had some fun, googly-eyed some puppies, and made our way on with our day.  As I was thinking about my whole train of thought I realized that there's a whole aspect of our lives that we're more wasteful than we give ourselves credit for being.  Yuck!  Thus, the idea was born.

Buy used.  Duh.  But, buy lots of stuff used.  Yay!  I'm really excited about it.  I'm going to search for an inner tube for my bike on CL now.  Keeping my fingers crossed for this one.  You wanna play too?  Think about how many things you bring in your house each week, each month that you could get just as good not straight from a package.  Play with me!!!  Tell me all about your good finds and your good sales, too!  :-D

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bye Nipple... Bye Breast... Bye Mama Milk.

Stori said this to my breasts as she was nursing for the last time and directly thereafter.  It's kind of a big deal.  You see...  I'm a believer in child-led weaning.  I'm also a breastfeeding advocate.  I literally walk up to nursing-in-public Mommas and say "Right on, sister!", I cheer on new Moms with the desire to breastfeed, and I'm straight forward about the false claims by those in the medical community and in grocery supply who state that women can't breastfeed or that formula is an equal.  That's not to say that I'm anti-formula, because I'm not.  But, I definitely am pro-breastfeeding.  The reasons why are endless and some can't even be explained.

But, *I* have chosen to stop breastfeeding. GASP!!  If it were Stori's choice, she'd be hanging on all day like my little chimpanzee baby.  The girl is a "nursing Nelly".  But, I'm done.  I've been mostly done for quite some time, but again...  I'm sensitive to her needs and desires and my plan was to let her choose when to stop.  So, I put some limits on it several months ago.  I cut it down to 3 times per day.  We were there for a couple of months then I decided a couple months back to cut it down to just in the morning after waking up.  I've not been enjoying it anymore.  After all, it IS a relationship and I'm kind of part of it.  :-)

So, I found myself talking to Jon about my decision to just be done and he supported me.  Then I realized, as I was talking...  I'm done breastfeeding.  Really done.  Done.  Not done breastfeeding Stori.  I'm done breastfeeding.  We're not having any more kids and while I'm happy to provide milk for ANYONE who wants it for their child, the likeliness of me happening upon this type of opportunity any time soon is pretty slim.  Which means that my career is over.

I've nursed two kids.  I've spent 3 years 4 month and 27 days nursing those two kids.  Zane spent 1 year, 3 months, and 15 days at my breast and Stori spent 2 years, 1 month, and 12 days.  Yeah, I know.  How.many.days.  It's a big deal, like I said, to be done.  Countless midnight trips to the crib side, immeasurable hours of cuddling, numerous times of frustration.  Breastfeeding is a way of life while it's happening.

There are a few things that only a woman can experience and I am so grateful and blessed to be a woman to experience these things.  I menstruate.  Lots of women complain about it, but I think it's pretty stinkin' neat.  I can carry babies inside of my body.  EXTRAORDINARY!  I can breastfeed.  ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, I say!  Not only did these two people begin in me, but they developed outside of me because of what was coming from inside of me.  I really don't have the words that are adequate to explain even a glimpse of my passion for this stuff.

Even though this choice is self-made I'm experiencing loss with it.  The fact that God made me a woman and provided me the opportunity to experience all of these gifts made only for women is something that overwhelms me sometimes.  The completion of my time as a breastfeeding woman is over.  Breasts are the truest life-giving gift of all time.  I kinda' feel like mine are about to lose their meaning.  Of course Jon'll disagree! ;-)  And while we all know that Mom's breasts make the best pillows during tough times I guess I'm just dealing with the idea of no longer lactating.  In some amount of time it won't matter what I do to them, I won't be pulling milk from them.  I'm trying to deal with that.

The plus side is that this has ROCKED my world!  It's rocked Stori's world and it rocked Zane's world years ago!  It's even rocked Jon's world as he learned his own feelings about watching his child and his wife share milk.  While there are lots of humps along the way and breastfeeding is not an all-out easy path, I've been blessed to have two relatively chaos-free experiences with full term breastfeeding.

I've come to the decision somewhat slowly and am certain that this is the end.  I'm so happy about it and am feeling free and liberated.  I'm excited for under wire bras and colorful bras.  I'm excited for the future to get here and the 2 year-old groping to be a thing of the past.  I'm excited to wake up and be able to comfort Stori in new, different ways.  I'm just really, really excited!


Bye Nipple...  Bye Breast...   Bye Mama Milk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

All the bullying going on

It's everywhere right now.  The talk of bullying.  Brought upon because all too many kids killed themselves after being bullied so ferociously they felt they had no value.  Because they were gay.  Good freakin' Lord, y'all.  Because they know they like people they get tormented?  Not 'cause they're bad in any way.  Because they like people.  And those people happen to have the same sexual organs as they do.  Tormented.  Verbally assaulted.  Beaten down.  Drawn to death.  Bullshit.

I could never find the words as eloquent as this dude who's awesomer than awesome in his ways of speaking.

And I won't try.  Most of the people I know will say they were bullied.  I don't know if it's a general perception during any given time in our lives or if the problem is so fierce or if everyone lives bullying in a different way.  Frankly, I don't care.  I do think that if we all could live as more of a community we *might* not have the same issues so young in life.  I can hope, right?  Just as so many other people do, I have a story.  Mine isn't of how I wanted anyone to die.  And, I've never been quiet.

I had no problems when I lived in Oklahoma.  That came to an end, however, when my Mom decided that screwing our Karate sensei was more important than ya' know... us.  So, my sis, Dad, and self moved to a little town in Illinois.  My Dad had a job available to him there so that was our landing spot after escaping the divorce.  On my first day, I got my locker assigned to me and went through the uncomfortable "I'm Shannon" introduction stuff.  I had a couple of people who were nice and reached out to me and helped me out on that day.  At that stage in the game, lockers came with locker buddies.  Unfortunately for me, my locker buddy was an elitist and the 2nd day at my new school I was informed that my locker buddy was no longer my buddy.  She wasn't very good at being sly and soon I found out that it was because my -fake- fur coat smelled bad and/or was ugly and took up too much space in the locker.  I was definitely off to a great start.

Since having Zane, I've thought a lot about childhood bullying, both my receiving of it and my giving of it.  (More on this in a minute...)  I've apologized to one person that I was really mean to after seeking them out on Facebook for that exact reason.  I still have a couple more.  It's such a scary thing to do.  When I did apologize I got a response that I didn't expect at all.  I got a "eh, it's nothing we were teenagers, nobody meant anything they did." Now I'm scared to do more apologizing.  I'm fearing that this stuff I've been holding onto for YEEEAAARSSSSSS (my guilt over my own behavior) is nonsensical and that what I did didn't really hurt or affect anyone.  I hope I didn't really hurt anyone, but the fact is that I believe I did.  And I believe that even as a grown woman the recipient of that apology may still feel that her feelings aren't important.  But, they are.  So, I'll do my other couple of apologies because it hurts to know that I hurt others and I don't know how it affects these people as adults, but I know that I am STILL affected by things done to me as a child.  I think it'd be just grand to hear from David, Anne, Billy, Mr. Culbertson, and Mrs. Spivey and find a real, raw reason for their disgust of me.  I think it'd be great because it wouldn't undo anything, but it'd help us all get to the point of why this happens.  It'd mean that those people are thinking about themselves in the meaningful, hard ways and they're seeing themselves and understanding who they are and who they have been.  It'd mean they're finding personal growth.  It'd mean that we might have one more approach to a kid who's bullying, or worse...to a teacher who's bullying.

I didn't endure physical brutality or endless days of torture like some other have.  I think I was the "average bullied" kid.  It was general knowledge that I wasn't liked and no one hid it, but only on certain occasions was it deemed fun to exploit my sense of self worth.  Like when a boy was my boyfriend and his friend asked him how he could go out with me and referred to me as "it" directly in front of my face.  When the same boy made fun of me for being "flat" in 6th grade.  When the same boy came to my house for my birthday parties but escorted a huge group of people away from my house until it was time for parents to pick up then they all swarmed back.  When a different boy in a higher grade asked me to be his girlfriend and in my naive adolescence I cooed "yeah" to him.  He got me on the phone with his friends listening in on the other side a couple of times and 2 or 3 days after the prank began he finally ended it by publicly announcing the whole thing was a joke at the school play.  When my basketball coach opted to not teach me how to do a drill properly, but rather had everyone stop and watch me do it wrong, because I kept messing it up.  In 7th grade.  Not freakin' varsity basketball here.  When that same teacher taught algebra and told the whole class about how bad I was at basketball.  When my 5th grade teacher mocked my last name during class by chanting "Rumpshaker" (my last name was Rumps) repeatedly when I finally got a good enough grade to throw a foam basketball in her class for a prize.  When that same teacher stopped the whole gymnastics class one evening to find my smelly feet and make me smell someone else's feet that didn't smell, rather than recognizing that I was too stinking poor for new shoes or enough socks and that maybe my Dad didn't wash my laundry and all I really needed was a $5 pair of Keds given to me quietly by someone who cared rather than laughed.

Yeah, all those times...  They were some of the random times that I was bullied and while it wasn't ongoing torture and no one was throwing me in trash cans it was still enough.  Enough to prove to me (right after my Mom left the country for a dude) that no one, in fact, gave a rat's ass that I was around.  I never fantasized about killing anyone or wishing they died.  I've always been an internalizer, not an externalizer.  So, I'd sit in the brush on the side of Foley Dr. and visualize myself jumping in front of the next car to drive by at 55MPH. I'd try to gain the courage to do it.  But, I was so afraid that I wouldn't die and that I'd be hurt instead that I never did it.  I always knew that even though it felt like the whole world hated me my Dad and my sister wouldn't be okay with me killing myself.  There were plenty of times that those two things kept me alive.

I retaliated in my own ways.  I got really good at making fun of myself FIRST.  I figured if I beat 'em to the punch then it'd seem like they were just playing along.  Of course that never happened.  I just annoyed my friends who really did like me and I formed an internal dialogue that I'm still fighting to this very day.  I also kept friends who weren't so good to me and who were my best friends only because they were as sad and lonely as I was.  I was still their whipping boy though, receiving loogies on my forehead and getting chanted to through a window after I got squeezed out of a sleepover "Homeward Bound" like I was the dog in the movie.  I was still her friend the next day, too.  Shame.  I found people "lower on the totem pole" than myself and I teased them.  I remember getting in a heated argument with one girl in the computer lab and just being mean to her.  Coming up with all sorts of really harsh insults such as "Can you come over for dinner?  We're having spaghetti and I need to rub my toast on your head to grease it up"  Totally lame.  Terrible "joke".  And, yet... people laughed and cheered me on during that.

And that felt good.

I hate that I did that to her.  I hate that I pretended to like a boy who I actually did like and I think he liked me but he was more of a nerd than myself and so I dared not expose my true liking for him and instead teased him for liking me.  I hate that I resorted to drinking and smoking cigarettes with the outcasts similar to myself at such a ridiculously young age.  However, I found a place there that was safe.  I had my boys and none of them treated me poorly.  I was never pressured into sex stuff or...well... really anything.  But, we all got together and drank away our 12-14 year old problems.  Chaos.

I think that guy has a good way of telling us what we can do to help, especially when he writes directly to the young people.  It's true.  We do have the responsibility of talking to kids, asking them questions, and putting our arms around them no matter what the stupid school rules say about no touching.  We have the privilege of speaking up when we do hear something inappropriate happening and not by doing so forcefully but rather with compassion.  I can absolutely guarantee that the only reason I was mean to others was that I was trying to defend my place in the pecking order.  The bullies really do need us to be their safe place, too.  Not their excuse, not their silent witness.  Their safe place.  We should provide, to them, a person who can be spoken with and trusted.  A person who will point out their most positive qualities and still hold them accountable for their negative behaviors.  We've got to open our hearts to ALL kids to show them that they ALL matter.  They are ALL struggling in similar ways and we are here for them.  We can stop telling them they're "bad" and start showing them that they're good.  I betcha' they don't even know it.  And, we can share all sorts of writings (especially responses to the recent suicides) age-appropriately-edited with them so they can see that we really get it.  We're not just grown ups who are telling them things but that we are grown PEOPLE who have experienced things.  We can even speak up when we see parents bullying their own kids.  But, that's an entire area to explore...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today, it happened.

Zane had a tough time at school.  I came to pick him up.  The principal said (with Zane present), "He said something about home schooling?" I asked Zane what he said.  He told me, "I want to home school 'cause I don't feel good here."  WOW!  That's fucking powerful from a 7 year old RAD kid!!!!  He's been really fighting the idea of home schooling and Jon and I have been really supporting him in school, but we have made him aware that if he ever changes his mind he's welcome to come home anytime.  I read this last week.  I've been applying it to our daily doings.  Really being okay with what is happening.  Finding authentic reasoning when I'm noticing I'm fighting something because of my conditioned reasoning.

Such as: We rode bikes to Wendy's after dinner to enjoy a free Frosty coupon Zane got today at school.  Zane was eating his as slowly as absolutely possible.  I've never seen this child eat anything sugary as slowly as he was.  Barely nibbling snippits off the tip of his spoon.  So, I told him, "Hurry up so Stori doesn't get bored."  Immediately I recognized what I was doing and said, "Never mind dude, take your time and enjoy it."  He should enjoy it.  This type of event is so very rare, why should he rush it if he actually isn't.  If he's savoring the moment why should I rush him to not be present in the moment?  Duh, Shannon.  Whew!  Glad I caught myself so quickly.

Tonight I'm seeing that the same thing happened when I accepted school for what it is.  His desire to be there and my desire for him to succeed.  Even if it's at something I don't want him to succeed at, I still want him doing well.  And now... he realized his own feelings.  And his worth of feeling better.  Woot!

So, tonight we applied for the COVA program and I'm pretty excited.  Less afraid than I was a couple of weeks ago when Jon and I were going to decide for him.  We'll still have transition, but I learned a few things this summer about parenting him, keeping everyone safe, and establishing boundaries that he will not cross.  I guess a benefit of parenting an emotionally disturbed child alone(well with Jon, but you know...we don't exactly have a community of people who have invested in learning about him) is that I've given myself a crash-course in RAD parenting.  Thanks a TON to ChristineCoreyAlicia, and others.

One of the things we did learn this summer is that Zane and I need a focal point.  We need it to be lighthearted and not too heavy or demanding.  We need flexibility, but we DO need something to focus on.  So, our initial idea of unschooling won't work for us.  There's just TOO much to choose from in that arena.  This is why we're signing up with COVA.  The principal also offered to allow Zane to come to school for music class (he said as we were leaving "I get to go and keep learning to sing really good so I can be a music teacher when I grow up!") and allow him to be in either game club or chess club when they start.

I'm feeling good and hopeful about the way we'll be approaching home schooling at this point.  We still very much parent in the philosophy of love which encompasses the theory behind unschooling.  Our brains just work differently and we've learned that.  Sweet!  I'm so incredibly proud of Zane to recognize his feelings today. So! Proud! Of! Him!

Many thanks to God and many thanks to us being us.  We could choose to be a lot of different ways (like the lady who was yelling at her daughter that she is BAD, BAD, BAD at Zane's school last week since her Mom had to sit in class with her through the day).  But, we do choose to be who we are.  I'm glad for that.

**If you really knew me, you'd know that if I call my Dad while he's watching a DVD he will tell me he's watching a movie and can't talk and you'd know that my Mom has repeatedly told my sister and me that she has other things to tend to and can't handle us, even when we're offering to pay for family counseling with her.  My parents have never put us first.  I don't think we've ever even been second.