Monday, November 30, 2009

Teenagers Augh!!!!

There are many, many things to love about teenagers. It just so happens that at the moment I cannot think of any of them. Mmmmm, o.k. they come up with really funny pictures like the above, but that is it for today.

Several weeks ago I had a talk with my teen and we made it very clear that there would be three hours of school work done every day. Well that lasted about two weeks and here we are again, sleeping in, getting up whenever and then swimming or running and hanging out with friends. I am all for "unschooling" but there needs to be something going on upstairs for her to even develop the capacity to think!

Now she is very angry because she wants to go on a date with a boy she met on the internet. Now she is very clear that it is not a date because she is paying her own way, so that makes it o.k. to go alone with this boy and hang out.

We have a policy that the kids don't date until they are 16. With the boys you don't have to worry, they can't drive until they are 16 and are not into picking up girls on bikes. With the girlies that is a little tougher to enforce. Especially when the 16th birthday is exactly one month away. What a mean mom I am ha?

I guess her 21 yr. old brother will be going to hang out with them tomorrow afternoon, woo hoo!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After

Our family has a tradition of decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. I believe that we should give thanks before we start worrying about what we may be getting! This year Thanksgiving was a little later, so we won't have to worry about that beautiful grandson of ours taking the decorations down too often.

I do hope everyone had as enjoyable a Thanksgiving as we did. My great friend here, Sally invited our family over for dinner and great conversation. Most people shush me when I start talking politics, it is great to hang with people who can, and will talk back.

The only rival for the company was of course the great food. More roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegees, and pies than anyone could ever eat. But we all tried our hardest and made a bit of a dent in it for sure.

Of course the fact that Obama declared, with the power invested in him that is, that it was a national day of Thanksgiving. Whew I am glad I had his permission to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving! It is my favorite holiday of all. Mostly because I am a pretty grateful person on the whole, but also because it is close to my birthday :) That counts for lots.

This year I am especially grateful for my family and friends. Our family has been extremely blessed with excellent health, happiness and joy this year. Even Micah has received a few blessings along the way.

Just going running this morning in the beautiful green place that we are blessed enough to call home. Making it home from the store before the rain hit. Being healthy enough to walk and not have to have a car.

Having a son who is celebrating two and a half years sober, and is happier and healthier than 10 years past. A daughter who has found a great way to realize her dream of being a nurse, even though she has to work and struggle to get there. For a son that finally launched his web site and is sharing his beautiful art work with the world. Another son that has made Costa Rica home and is being invaluable in the growth of our massage school here. For a son that calls Coconino County Jail home, and still laughs and cracks jokes with me when we get to talk three times a week on the phone. A daughter that has finally discovered the joy of reading and is making quick work of the big stack of books we bought at the used book sale. For a baby that was able to survive a whole year of pre-kinder, and the anxiety that finally maxed out her tummy, but still smiled and struggled through. Even though she did not understand much of what was said.

And last but the most, a husband who has learned to accept living without the security of the P.O. and still smiles and makes the best of life.

With that list I can never complain now can I? Life is good!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sarah Palin Myth

Am I the only "soccer mom" that resents being represented by Sarah Palin? I of course resent being represented by anybody, but especially someone that does not share any of my values or principles, besides babies are great and large families rock and abortion sucks!

I really don't know if I am more surprised by the success of the Twilight movie, or the fact that the Sarah Palin book is looking to be the biggest non fiction seller of all times. That is a toss up in the whole shock department.

Just what is it about Sarah Palin that makes people care what she has to say? Now don't get me wrong, I am not a liberal or anything like that, more like a very Independent. I just listen to her and read what she has to say and it is like the most dumbed down, dumb rhetoric that I have ever heard. It is totally emotional and non factual.

As for the Twilight movie, while I am bashing, I cannot believe that the teenage girls of the world are actually buying this crap. Do they really believe that the "bad boy" is going to take care of them? I guess nothing should surprise me in that department. Since going to jail my son has received three marriage proposals and the girls line up and fight over his visits every Sunday morning.

What the heck is this world coming to?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tis the Season

I love the Holidays. It all starts with Thanksgiving, a wonderful time to count our blessings and feel really thankful for everything we have been blessed with. Then it just gets better because we get the opportunity to share what we have with others. Don't you just love that? How could you show your Thanks more than by sharing?

I am always looking for ways to help, even if it is miniscule, I still like to give a little. In the other life I would take the kids down to Mexico the day after Christmas and stay for 10 days building a house for a needy family. It was awesome.

Since we moved here we have not been able to share as much, mostly because of not finding the people, but also because we have not had much to give.

Today I found this great organization Kiva that gives micro loans to enterprising folks in countries all over the world who want to start their own business. The best part is you only have to loan $25.00. You eventually get that back and can turn around and loan it again and again! The coolest idea I have ever heard. I signed up today and plan to make a couple of loans over the holidays.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Ideas

When you talk to baby you may be surprised when she starts telling you that her sister is a pig, or that her brother is a dragon, or her and her dad are goats. The deal is she knows everyone in the family (and that is a lot of people) Chinese zodiac signs. We have a great book about it and she has memorized everyone's signs. We even bought Dad a shadow box for Christmas last year with all the animals in it.

I have been wanting a "mothers braclett". Because I do massage I do not wear rings too much, because I lose them every time that I take them off. So therefore I decided a charm braclett as a mothers braclett. The deal is I want all the Chinese zodiac animals for my kids on it instead of the stones. The reason I don't want stones is that I have three kids born in Jan. that would be three red stones. One born in July, another red stone, and two born in Oct. In other words not a whole lot of variety on the whole stone thing.

When I was doing some searching for Christmas gifts I found the perfect gift for me :) I found Chinese zodiac bracletts at John Hardy, a jewelery sight. They have some really cute baby bracletts also with the Chinese zodiac signs on them. I may just have to buy baby one of the cute little baby goat bracletts, she would love it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Me Pay for Abortion?

I will not pay for any abortions! If it means not paying taxes, well I guess I will have to stay under the maximum of eighty nine thousand as an expat so that I do not have to pay taxes. I absolutely refuse to let one penny of my money go to pay for any part of an abortion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Decisions, decisions!

It is so nice to be able to have choices about our life. It is an amazing feeling to be able to say, "well I think I would like to try this out for awhile." For over 25 years we were tied down by the JOB and now have the freedom to actually learn and grow.

There is this false thing called "security". There really is no such thing as we have all seen by the demise of some so called secure jobs and even secure money. We have had the awesome opportunity to learn that in the last three years.

We have tried out our massage school, teaching English, going back to the states to work, and just plain ole' doing massage here in Costa Rica. It is so cool to be able to do and try all these things with no worries about what the repercussions would be for the family.

When we quit, and sold the jobs in the States we had no idea that life was just about to get very, very exciting and at times challenging. I am so glad that we made that choice. I have seen both hubby and I grow in ways we would never have grown planted in Flagstaff.

I read recently an article about how living abroad made people more creative. All I can say is thank goodness for that, the ride has been worth it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Brrr! We are into winter now, and it is cold. We have actually been into the sixties in the nights and only up to the seventies during the day. Time to get the sweaters out. I have begun to prefer the rainy season as it is at least hot during the morning until it rains in the afternoon.

Today we took baby to Ropa Americana to get some warm shirts. She about freezes because of no body fat! Good thing we live in Costa Rica where she is able to stay somewhat warm. Of course I believe we have just become really wimpy. Considering the brutal winters we have suffered from for years in Flagstaff.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Backwards Weather

It did not rain this rainy season in Costa Rica. Now it is dry season and it has rained everyday for the past couple of weeks. I even went to the gym and did a quick spin this morning for fear of getting wet if I went running. Of course it did not rain while I was spinning and the sun was shining when I walked home.

I tried to back workouts off to four a week and started gaining weight very quickly. It is six or nothing. Actually that sounds weird but it is true. If I do not work out six days a week I tend to start packing on the pounds. It does not have to be hard workouts, just some type of workout.

The good part is I love working out. In fact if anything I have to reign myself in when it comes to working out. When I was doing triathlons I loved going for a good two hour run, and a four or five hour bike ride. Here I could cross half the country if I did a bike ride that long.

Of course there is always the option of eating less. Nah.........

Friday, November 13, 2009

Safe Kids

Tonight I am thankful that all my kids are safe and sound for the moment. Yesterday I could not say that, so today I say it with joy. It is hard to believe when the kiddos are young and you can actually do something to keep them safe that one day you will not be able to do a darn thing in the world to keep them safe except to pray like crazy.

I once read in a book that mothers prayers go straight to heaven, like before all others. It has been my experience that this is true. I have had some pretty intense periods of prayer for my children. From not knowing where they are at all for days at a time, to knowing they really are in trouble.

I am reminded of a time my son just disappeared. He got angry at a party with friends and stormed out of the house. He turned up three days later at a truck stop in Chicago. He had gone out to hitch hike to Florida because it was warm there, and woke up in Chicago. He had a great friend who actually went there and picked him up. Oh yeah and he missed his sisters wedding in the meantime.

My daughter taking both kids on a 19 hr. bus trip to travel across Central America to visit their other grand parents. The bus got a flat and they got home about two thirty this morning, another good chance to hit the knees!

A son that decided to go check out a job in a really shady part of CR, being Jaco, the slimiest beach town around. He was gone for three days and returned today, safe and sound and determined that no job is worth selling your soul for!

As a mom all I can do is pray like crazy and know that my prayers are getting there faster than anyone elses!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Friends

Yesterday we met some new friends that own the potpurria on the corner. I had gone in last week to buy baby a snack on the way home from school. Here in Costa Rica they have these little stores on every corner, pretty much. These folks really found a great corner to put theirs on, as there was not one close. Anyway so baby and I went in to grab a snack. The owner guy asked me if she was cheena and if she was mine. I told him yes she was cheena and yes she was mine. I did not think anymore about it.

That evening the teens went over to buy something. When they got home they asked if I knew that the owners wife was cheena. You don't see that very often so I was surprised. It also made sense why the owner was so surprised to see us. So yesterday when hubby was walking baby home from school the owners waved him over. They went over and met the owner and his wife, their daughter was still at school and they wanted baby to come over later and meet her.

After changing her out of her uniform we walked back over to meet her new friend. The little girl is very shy and a year younger than baby. It took a little while for them to warm up but soon we were invited up to their apartment above the store. Now I know the people here are poor, but I am always surprised at how little they actually live with.

In their apartment there was only a bench to sit on, and a few cooking things in the kitchen. They did have beds and a little table and chair for their little girl to sit at to eat. She did have a few toys to play with and they had a good time with that. We talked the best we could as the mom only speaks mandarin and spanish.

When we got ready to leave the girls were looking at some cheena dresses the little girl had. Her mom asked me if baby had any cheena dresses. I tried to explain that no she had not gotten on yet. She went into the bedroom and brought out a new one, still wrapped and gave it to baby. Baby was so thrilled she insisted on wearing it home. Boy did she get stared at on the way home, as you can see by the picture she looked stunning! Of course she did not have the cowboy hat for the walk home, kind of Jackie Chans it don't you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today is a great day to remember all our soldiers who have given of their lives and time and energy to try and keep us a free nation. Having had a hubby in the armed forces I know that they are really subject to many things they would not have to put up with in a "normal job".

It is a sacrifice for them to leave home for deployments, pull cq duty, and all the other extras that are required of them. And for some of them they are even called upon to give their lives.

So today I remember them and salute them and thank them with all my heart for sacrificing for me and mine!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Books! Books! Books!

Saturday was the used book sale by the womens club in Belen. It was awesome and we had a blast. The bad part was there was only two children's books and we bought both of them. The above picture was our bus ride home, reading of course. We ended up buying 25 books and I have already finished off about five of them.

We have a huge surplus of books and I am thinking about having a book swap here at my house. We could just have everyone bring books they want to get rid of and everyone go around the room swapping. I think it would be great fun, and it would help us even the score with all the thousands of books we have here.

When you go to someone's house do you check out the books? I do. I have to say I judge people by what books they have in their home, if they even have books and how many. That sounds really weird, but it is true. I can't even imagine life without books.

All our children have been readers. Not having a t.v. in the home certainly helped cultivate good reading habits also. In fact the younger kids did not read as much as the older ones. Until Micah went to jail he had never read a whole book. Now he just finished Crime and Punishment and is reading Pride and Predjudice. He is always reading something and due to lack of something better to do enjoying it.

The only problem for me with reading is my poor old eyes. I have reading glasses but never take the time to dig them out. Hence red and tired eyes. I guess I am just waiting until the big five oh catches up with me and then I will get them out for good. Until then better go and work on the thousands of books that need reading.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reviving Ophelia

I have been reading the book "Reviving Ophelia" by MaryPipher. It is a really good book, and actually I believe I have read it before about ten years ago when daughter number one was 15. It makes many good points about teenage girls, the dangers we as mothers try to protect them from, and the growth we want them to experience.

The world is such that we have to literally protect our teenage daughters from many things. In the olden days they could make mistakes that were just that, mistakes. These days these same mistakes could get them killed, or addicted for life or any myriad of things.

With our sons we were not quite as protective as we are with the girls. Sometimes it does not seem fair that there is this double standard for girls versus boys, but there it is, it is there. After the recent rape of a 15 yr. old girl at her high school after a dance I was just amazed. Like I said these days if girls are not careful they can get hurt very bad, even killed.

I am maybe a little overprotective, but I really feel that you cannot be too careful these days!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Movie Night

Woo hoo! Movie night! We usually try and have at least one movie night a month, more if we can get together. Tonight was ordained a movie night and now the trick? Trying to find a movie everyone likes. Usually we end up with an animated one, like we really liked the Ice Age movies. The last couple were the Monster Versus Aliens ones, they are really cute.

As far as family movies that would appeal to kids aged 6 to 21, now that is a little tricky. Usually like I said we end up with an animated one. Though some of the cute ones like Daddy Day Care and the one about the Dad using his kids blanket with Eddie Murphey were pretty cute.

And of course part of the fun of movie night is the food. Usually popcorn, but occasionally we will break down and have ice cream. I don't eat ice cream though, so Hubby does not like to do ice cream. I think I ate too much ice cream as a teen and have sworn off it! Now if you talk cookies, I am all over that!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Kids

I have heard it said that a mom can only be as happy as her saddest kid. While I would not totally agree with that, I would say that happy kids can really make us feel happy.

There are days when I think "wow, no one is in distress or drama at the moment". I should not even think that with seven kids. It is like just opening the door and saying, "come on in trouble, we need a little humility". Or something like that.

Today my son called from jail to tell me he had the best day in 15 months! That made me feel very happy for him, and just made me feel like it was a great day all the way around. It also helped that I got off my butt and went to the gym and worked out. It also helped that the sun finally peeked through the clouds for about 30 minutes this afternoon.

All things to feel really thankful for and have a glad heart!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I am trying to figure out what the heck is with this weather? We are actually having fall weather. Our poor student is from a really warm place and had to go shopping tonight and buy some sweaters, she is freezing! Last time we had class our student had to work in our quasi outdoor clinic during a hurricane. I am beginning to think we are somehow attracting this lousy weather.

Supposedly this is just a front moving through and will clear in the next two days, yeah! In the meantime I am enjoying a little bit wearing long pants and a sweatshirt, that is a first for a long time. Maybe we will even have hot cocoa!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So Much for Healthy Kids

I really should have known better than to write my post yesterday! Sure enough last night the baby started complaining about her neck and jaw hurting. I took a good luck at her and her jaw was swollen! I had her rest and stay home from school today. Now she looks fine and is just a little sore in the jaw. All I can think is it was some kind of gland infection. The thing is she kicks back awfully fast and will probably be back at school by Thursday.

The thing to think I guess, would be that good thing she is so healthy, or she would not have kicked back to quick and be bouncing off the walls already. I am so thankful for healthy kids!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Healthy Kids

True health is a gift. It is probably the greatest gift as well as responsibility we as parents have to pass on to our children. Our children will develop their eating habits as well as likes and dislikes in their formative years, under our care. We can determine whether they are junk food junkies or gourmet lovers.

When our kids were young we were very strict about our diets. We went from vegetarians, to eating some fish and chicken occasionally. We also kept all refined sugar and sugar products out of our home. I was a little oc about this, but that is really the only way to keep on top of that one.

As the kids got older, and I got tired of fighting we let little junks creep in, until they totally took over. When most of the kids were teens we had pretty much adopted a SAD or standard american diet.

Now it is interesting to watch the kids grow up and raise their own kids. None of my over 21 kids drink soda, or eat junk food. They are all getting through their "trying everything" phase and going back to the way they were raised. My 23 yr. old was laughing the other day on the phone about not being allowed to go trick or treating. He at the moment was dressed up and ready to go to his work party.

All of my older children work out and try really hard to stay healthy. I look at them and it makes me feel that we must have done something right. Now if I can get the 21 and 15 yr. old to give up the energy drinks and sodas that will be real process.

The really cool thing is the baby does not like sweets. She loves candy, but we never buy that. She does not like cakes, cookies or ice cream. I don't know why, but it makes it much easier to get her to eat healthy. Right at the moment she is eating popcorn and drinking her special milk. She gets her raw milk boiled with a little honey and cinnamon in it to make it more digestible for her. Next to boiled eggs this is her favorite snack!