The 29 Day Giving Challenge

Mary at Everyday Baby Steps posted about the 29 Day Giving Challenge and I have decided to see if the kids want to join me in making it a family challenge.

The basic premise is to give something away every day for 29 days…

Why? Because to see the world change, we have to do something to change the world. Plus, the best way to attract abundance into your life is to be in a perpetual state of giving and gratitude. Be an important part of the global giving movement that inspires more generosity on our planet.

Sounds good to me! I think this would be a wonderful thing for the kids to take part in on their own terms, too.

I think we may start Monday. Tomorrow is opening night for “Beauty and the Beast” and then it’s on again Saturday. We are likely to be running around like mad for the next couple of days and may forget our own names, much less projects we want to start. We’ll start earlier if we can though!

Their goal is 2,000 participants and so far they have around 700. Anybody else want to join in?

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When Mama Doesn't Get Enough Socialization

We’ve been homeschooling long enough that the socialization thing is years past laughable around here.  My kids interact with other kids at the pool, the park, community theater, library club, friends’ houses and on and on.  The phone never stops ringing for the girls.  They are veritable social butterflies.

The same can’t necessarily be said for me.  I am the weird homeschool mom who doesn’t get enough socialization, who isn’t in all the mom clubs, dresses goofy and is just plain different.

I don’t have anything against being different.  I like it, actually.  I’m an odd duck and I can’t imagine being normal.  But I do wish there were more odd ducks, or at least more people around who liked weird people.  🙂

We live in a tiny, tiny town.  The population is around 700 and half of those are senior citizens who moved here after retiring from farming nearby.  Almost everybody grew up here.

We moved here 15 years ago when we got a chance to buy our house for $2,000 cash.  It was a dream opportunity and we changed our lives to take advantage of it.  We’ve made this town our home and we’ve come to love it.  In most ways, anyway.

There are ways of fitting in here if you’re a newbie.  I’ve watched new women slide into place here and I know the drill.  You join the Women of Today club.  You volunteer for the school.  You join one of the local churches and attend every function.  You join the country club and golf when the weather is nice, and you play bingo and join the bowling league when winter comes.

The problem is that the Women of Today club bored the enamel off my teeth.  We have nothing to do with the school, I’m partial to the UU church an hour away, I don’t golf and I’m not into bingo.  I tried the bowling thing and gave it my all, but the bowling alley closed down so my one and only social opportunity went south.

I used to take the kids to ECFE and I tried to make friends there.  I always felt a bit like a nerdy school kid again, though.  I read too much and talk too much about things that other people find boring, I think.  They’d bring in a speaker about nutrition and I’d happily talk about phytonutrients.  Too late, I’d notice the other moms looking at me like I’d sprouted horns.  Oops.

And I frankly didn’t relate to them.  One of the leaders said she counseled teens not to take part in PSEO (free college classes during high school that will fulfill high school and college credit at the same time) because “high school is supposed to be all about fun.”  Hmmm.  I guess I’m really odd if I say that I took PSEO and thought it was fun.  And since when is a program that will help your child finish college in half the time and pay for 2 years of tuition and books a bad idea?  I kept quiet.

Today I walked up to the high school auditorium to meet the girls after play rehearsal.  I was sick so I slipped on something that met my only requirements– clean and comfortable.  That happened to be a black and white, polka dotted halter dress that shows a lot of cleavage.  (Hey, I spent 29 years without boobs until this breastfeeding thing came along and I enjoy these things! Wink)

If you’re going to wear a black and white, polka dotted halter dress that shows a lot of cleavage you had better look okay.  I put on sunglasses, red lipstick and high heeled sandals, and Jack and I took off.

Lately we’ve been letting our ancient cat out during the day since the end is near and she loves it so much.  The cat trotted along with us.  When she got tuckered, I carried her.

The nearer I got to the auditorium, the more conscious I was of being a wildly dressed, bright red haired, oddball woman with a barefoot boy and a cat tucked under her arm.

Then the cat got spooked and took off, and Jack followed her home to make sure she was okay.  I crossed my arms in front of my chest and tried to be inconspicuous.

I slipped into the back of the auditorium to wait with the other moms.  A few made polite conversation and averted their eyes.  Then they went back to talking with each other.  The director (a 26 year old woman from Chicago who happens to have red hair) said “great dress!”.  Too bad she leaves Sunday to mentor the next group of children.

The thing is, I wasn’t sorry I was wearing the dress (or the sunglasses, red lipstick or shades).

When I was a kid, I was always weird and oddly dressed.  It took years of teasing in school to drill it out of me.  I was 14 before I succombed and bought Lee jeans, polo shirts and Nike shoes.  I hated them.  By the time I was a sophomore in college, I was back to dressing my own way.

I want to wear low cut, polka dotted dresses and have flaming red hair.

I want to be fascinated by phytonutrients and to think learning is fun.

I want to take walks with my barefoot boy and an elderly cat tucked under my arm since she enjoys being outside so much.

And I really don’t want to join the Women of Today or take up golf.

The good news is that my kids think I’m fabulous and my husband quite enjoys me.  And there are online friends, and people to go visit.  There are some moms I’ve befriended in nearby towns.

Still, I miss having girlfriends nearby.  I would so love to have friends who drop by several times a week to hang out.  I’d love to take the kids to the park and talk politics, philosophy or even reality TV with the other moms.  I’d like to feel free to be my nerdy, goofy, sarcastic, opinionated, sometimes tacky Pollyanna self and have someone even like me for it.

So I’m adding socialization to my goals for next year.  Not for the kids, they’re fine.  For me.  I’m going to open my mouth and talk even when I think people will think I’m an idiot, since it’s the only way to find people who’d like the real me.  I’m going to ask questions and try to excavate some people I’d like to learn more about.  I’m going to venture out when I feel like hiding in the house.

And okay, I might even go back to the Women of Today.  Maybe.  Although I’d so prefer the bowling……

Wacky August Holidays

Brownielocks has a fun list of Bizarre, Crazy, Silly, Unknown Holidays and Observances for each month.  August has some interesting ones!  A few of my favorites….

World Breastfeeding Week 1-7

Simplify Your Life Week 1-7

Weird Contest Week 10-15

Be Kind to Humankind Week 25-31

Friendship Day 3

Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day 7

International Left Hander’s Day 13

National Men’s Grooming Day 15

Bad Poetry Day 18

Kiss and Make Up Day 25

Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day 28

The site author has links to some of the days and assures us that every observance is officially recognized/sponsored by some organization somewhere in order to be listed.  Some are serious, some are ridiculous (I won’t love litigating lawyers even if there is a day for it!) and some are just fun.  Smile

Fantastic Science Site

Have you been to OLogy yet?  This web site run by The American Museum of Natural History is so much fun!  There are sections on everything from genetics to biodiversity to astronomy, with experiments, crafts and tons of online activities.

I looked around and barely scratched the surface.  It looks like the type of site Victoria could lose a day in, and with all of the horse information it’s likely to suck Anna in as well.  🙂  Other features like the games would be great fun for Jack.

A really cool feature is the collectible cards, though.  Every day there is a different virtual trading card to collect.  Create an account to start your collection, and then you can view and sort your collection by different means.  Today’s card was Mars.

Members pick a user name out of a choice of a bunch of silly adjectives for the first name and animals/minerals for the second.  For instance, you can pick Silly Sea Horse as your name (though you’re likely to be Silly Sea Horse 277).  Members can also submit projects that may be published on the site.  The projects consist of choices like Stumpers (you answer quiz questions about that card), creative grouping of cards or Story Starters (they start the story and you insert your card and finish it), plus more.

The girls are off swimming but I’m going to set Jack up on it now and see what he thinks.  It looks like a fun way to learn about lots of neat stuff.

A Lazy Day Learning Lines

Say that 10 times fast! Smile

I took the kids to audition for the local production of “Beauty and the Beast” this morning. Jack decided it was a little too scary and didn’t try out, but Victoria and Anna couldn’t have been dragged away.

They had the kids stand in a semi-circle on the stage from tallest to shortest, then step forward and say “When will it end? When will it end?”.

The oldest girls started out fairly loud and theatrical for the most part, but the voices got quieter and the girls got more bashful as they moved to the youngest ones.

For Victoria’s turn, she stepped forward and thrust her arms out as instructed and delivered her lines in a rather small voice. She did it exactly as instructed, with a bashful grin.

Anna was two children down. When it was her turn, she took a giant step forward, thrust her arms out and exclaimed “When will it end?????”. Thank goodness there’s a place to channel all that drama! 😉

Victoria was cast as Gypsy #7.

Anna was cast as Claire, Beauty’s nice sister. Apparently all the rest are rotten!

Both girls get to sing, dance, deliver lines and otherwise fulfill all their creative impulses for the week. Anna gets to do quite a bit of it.

They have to learn their lines by Wednesday morning and Victoria has been helping Anna run through hers. I gave them bottles of sasparilla (like old time root beer) and sent them out in the shade to watch the baby in the sandbox while learning them. It worked out well for everybody!

sasparilla.jpg

Rehearsal is every day this week from 8 a.m. to 12:15 and then the show is Friday night and Saturday afternoon. It’s a neat little traveling theater company that helps communities raise money while giving kids a chance to take part in a real show.

In other news, the city is replacing our curb and sewer drain. They started construction today, which involved lots of bulldozers and big machines. The kids are getting a kick out of watching the work and Victoria got some pictures…

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It should be a fun week!