Monday, July 30, 2018

School Uniforms- Are They Really Necessary?

 

  Ok, so it's almost back to school time and that means that I have to get my kids new school uniforms. Two of them are in grade school and the youngest in preschool and each child has to wear a uniform.

    I suppose that I should be happy that, at least, I don' have to order from a catalogue and can purchase them at places like Walmart or Kohls, deciding how fancy or nice I want them to be and also can control the cost a little bit, but I'm not happy at all and here's why:

       Growth- Kids- especially younger kids, grow at different rates. What might fit my child at the beginning of the year, may not fit my child in the middle of it. That means, if they grow, I'll have to purchase more. I also just can't hand down the uniforms because my boys are built differently. One has wide hips and the other one hardly has a hip to hold his pants in place.

   


       Unavailability- If I have to purchase more uniforms during the middle of the year, guess what!!! It's very difficult to find them. My kids have to wear navy blue pants with a light blue, dark blue, or white collared shirt. It's a little easier to find the boys collared shirts, but it's almost impossible to find shirts for my daughter.  If you're going to make parents buy uniform clothes that you don't personally sell, strive for khaki or tan colored pants. Those are out year round. No one wears navy blue pants unless you're shopping a colorful aisle in the adult section. Kids get kind of stiffed for things they need.... like raincoats.  (That's a story for another day).

       Price and Clutter- It isn't very cost effective. Instead of just having to buy your kids regular back-to-school clothes, you have to buy your kids clothes for home and clothes for school. If we never went anywhere, I could just let my kids wear pjs when they get home, but momma needs to get out of the house or she loses her sanity and people like to comment on the things your kids wear all the time.... that one time my daughter paired a pink Minnie Mouse dress shirt with red, plaid bottoms comes to mind. It's also hard enough to do laundry and put clothes away. This just piles more things to do on us. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who can work while I can do housework stuff whenever I want to, but there are single or working parents that don't have time to do it when it should get done.

      Uniforms as an Equalizer?- I know that Uniforms are supposed to be an equalizer, but they really aren't. Uniforms are expensive and for those who thrift shop to save money, they aren't really going to find something nice for grade school kids. Everything is going to be faded or have holes in them because grade school kids play rough and chances are, those uniforms get worn more than once in a week, so washing multiple times fades them too. I've never found a nice pair of uniform clothes in the boys section, but I have found something in the girls, it was just stretched out and hung on my daughter like a poncho.

     Some kids are going to go to school in really nice uniforms, while others are going to go in looking frumpy and out of place. IF kids were able to wear regular clothes, it's so much easier to find nice, hardly been worn, clothes at a nice resale shop, and no one has to know they weren't bought new.

     Yes, I know that there are programs for parents to be able to get their kids uniforms funded for them, but not everyone meets the requirements and those who make just a little more than the top line, have to pay an arm and a leg.

     Personalities Still Shine Through- When you use the argument that uniforms reduce the attendance in gangs and stops kids from dividing into clicks, I think you're delusional! Kids have personalities that draw and attract other kids. EX: My oldest son is a social butterfly with ADHD. Kids are drawn to him and he could make friends with anyone he wants, but the friends that he wants to make are the kids who keep getting themselves in trouble because they are the ones who grab attention, too.

       You can see this example in movies. Have you ever seen Princess Diaries? Superstar? Students are still divided and kids can still be hurtful.

     Even if uniforms stopped the segregation in school, neighborhoods, relatives, and family friends are probably the BIGGEST influence when it comes to how children behave. Kids still see others outside of school, too, and so there is still the chance of gangs gathering together. Think of the Mob- You had some who were dressed in fine Italian suits while others were dressed more casual. They still looked like ordinary people and even though they may no acknowledge each other in public, things still happened behind the scenes.

     


      A Call to Action- While buying uniforms probably helps the government because it causes families to purchase extra sets of clothes, it may not always be cost efficient for a family. "Well, keep you kids out of private school and you can avoid that!" I wish it were that simple, but ALL of the public schools in this area require uniforms and it's just a regular, not upscale area, too. "You can homeschool your children." - That's not so simple either. I don't have the patience of the motivation to educate my children the way that they should be educated. We make them read at home and help them with the homework that they have EVERY NIGHT (Not sure when sending a kindergartener home with homework everyday became normal), but I'm not someone who was called to teach. That's why we have teachers. I think the one good, unarguable reason to have uniforms in the school is to differentiate if a person is a student, parent, teacher, or outsider. But you know, anyone could pick up an outfit and fit right in. (Ask all of those people who go to Target in red shirts and have to explain to a customer that they do not work there). I guess it wasn't unarguable at all.


     What do you think about uniforms? Do you agree with these points? Do you disagree? Comment in the section below and don't forget to share or subscribe if you like my posts!



Left: Two kids in uniform on a cool morning- Right: Pjs all day!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

I'm a Mom Who Plays Dungeons and Dragons

 

    I wasn't really a nerd-type person when I was growing up, but I always enjoyed things that were considered nerdy. I liked to play video games like Ages of Empires or hack and slash games even though they always made me feel sick from all the motion. I also liked to write fictional stories with my friends. We had a made up alphabet that we used when we passed notes and created a land called Freesia that had fairies and elves.
   


   

     So.... When I got the chance to play games with actual adults, we started to play D&D. My first player was a half Elf Bard who liked to sing and dance and act out scenes. We have since changed campaigns and I'm now a Tabaxi- which is a cat- humanoid who like shiny objects and learning new things. 

      If you've ever played D&D or any other roll playing game, there is usually a world map involved as well as little game pieces that are used to be your character. While everyone usually choses a figure that resembles their character like this: 

This is the one that I've chosen to work with:





     It's Pikachu and he's adorable!!! While he may not be a cat person, he certainly looks like he has a cat personality. If I don't get to use him, I feel down and am sad if I have to choose a different figurine to play with. 

      So.... that happens a bit because this is my son's toy. He takes great pleasure in hiding Pikachu from me... Sometimes, I hide him from him. It's pretty childish, isn't it? Here I am, a grown woman, hiding my kid's toys just so I can play with him later. (I'm laughing as I type this)

      I've heard of parents hiding snacks from their children and this isn't the same thing. Shame on me!

How many moms or dads out there play D&D? Do you improvise with your characters? Do you have to hide things from your kids? 




Friday, July 27, 2018

My Wedding Ring Doesn't Fit

     About two, maybe three years ago, I had lost a lot of weight. For the first time since having kids, I had gotten below an important weight milestone. I was super stoked and happy. Then, after maintaining that weight, Christmas came and went as well as all of those other holidays that encourages holiday eating. I gained some weight and was back to pregnancy weight- ewwww.

     I was still able to wear my wedding ring until I hit a weight that was past pregnancy weight. I've been there for a while now and haven't worn my wedding ring in a little over a year. It's very frustrating, and sad, and mortifying, and leaves my hand feeling naked and weird.

     I could go on and on about how sad my life is, but it really isn't. Life happens, people gain weight. Clothes fit, then get too tight, and then loosen up again. I've been rotating between 3 different pant sizes for the last year.

      The good news, now is... I've lost almost ten pounds. I'm tired of being so heavy. I'm tired of looking at pictures of me, but most importantly, I'm tired of looking at naked fingers as I type. It's time to take back my fingers. Water weight is a real thing and I'm going to shed it, even if I have to go to the bathroom 103949183748317 times a day- ok, maybe that's to many times and pretty much impossible. How about 10 times a day. That's more realistic.

      My garden is flourishing- literally, not metaphorically. I have more cucumbers and zucchini than I know what to do with. My Pinterest is overflowing with zucchini recipes. I'm going to eat healthy and exercise more! (I've promised this before in a different blog, but this time, it's true!) I'm not sure I believed that with the laughing I heard in my head. (Ugh! the tomatoes haven't even begun to turn red, yet. #SaladsForDays)

     It's time to don those rings! Who's with me?

               
OMGosh!!! They're tight.... I don't think I can get them off! Do I really need a ring finger?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Momisms


Hello everyone! I've written this before, but I was hoping to make it better for social media. As parents, we have learned that things don't always mean the same thing to those who don't have kids. I had a little bit of fun making up some Momisms. What do you think? Are there any more that should be added?


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

     I just read a book by Jennifer Fulwiler that literally could have been about my life, called One Beautiful Dream


     

 In this book, she writes her story about her journey to becoming a published author while being a stay-at-home mom of six children. She writes about feeling inadequate with being a mother, a teacher, and a writer and how she overcomes those feelings by including her family in her decisions and how thinking differently helped her home life. This is a book that I recommend anyone who has ever done anything to read.

     As a mom who stays home, I've wondered if what I do matters. I see my kids and I wonder if the way that I'm raising them is going to help them in life or make them little serial killers in the future. (Since they are playing nicely and aren't skinning animals, I think it's safe to assume they're going to be ok). There really isn't a right way to raise kids, especially when they all have their own individual personalities. My daughter, for instance, wants to be a mother when she grows up. (One good parent point for me) My oldest son wants to be a video game designer (maybe I let him spend too much time on video games) and when he's done with that, he wants to be the president of the United States. I'm a creative person and not a teacher, I find house cleaning abhorrent, (I get cleaned what needs to be clean, I just detest it in the process), and I don't like to play toys with my kids the way that they want to play. That doesn't make me a bad mom, though.

      Jennifer explains many of the things that I've talked about and have wondered in her book and says it better than I could. I highly recommend that you read it!

      I've had this blog for over a year and still don't consider myself a writer. My whole life I've written stories and have started writing books and am almost finished, but still don't think of myself as an author. In the book, Jennifer says that everyone has something that fuels them whether it be arts and crafts, writing, organization, or hospitality. She calls this your blue flame. This is the thing that energizes you and gives your life fire. You see, the blue flame in fire is the hottest source of the fire and is where it originates. We can be stay-at-home moms or women or men who work, but we all need something to fuel us. Even if we are good at what we do, we can still burn out, which is why she says to find that thing that fuels you.

      Find your niche- that's something I've been reading about when creating a blog. My blog has been a smorgasbord of topics, therefore not quite how it should be according to the "blogging experts", but this is my life and things that I enjoy. I may not think of myself as a writer or author because someone hasn't said, "Girl, you're a writer,"but that doesn't mean it isn't so. Jennifer wrote and kept writing and she called herself a writer even though it took her five years to finish her first book. I just need to keep on doing what I love. I'm writing, (Ok, maybe typing) I'm publishing online, I'm getting the things in my brain on paper and into words, I'm a writer.

      Keep on persevering, keep doing what you love! If you keep doing it, you are it. I'm a writer, you're an artist, you're a teacher, you're a caregiver, you're a minister. Embrace who you are, weirdness and all. You don't need someone to tell you who you are, just DO IT!

Have you found your blue flame? What gets you energized?


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Friday, July 20, 2018

Do You Worry About Being Remembered?

     I don't know if it's just part of being a woman or maybe every human feels this way from time to time, but sometimes, out of nowhere, I get into a weird funk. Sometimes it happens when I'm reading a book or when I'm listening to old songs (this is usually what gets me) and I get taken back to a time years ago. Sometimes it happens when I try on a pair of clothes and they no longer fit or when I see a picture of myself and think, "That's not what I look like in the mirror." I can get really down and I start thinking about what it was like in school.
 
     I used to be a very outgoing introvert... I think the terminology might be ambivert, now.... or maybe I'm wrong about that. I was the type of person who liked to go meet people, but after a while, I liked to just be by myself because I overwhelmed myself from trying to get popular. I was the type of person who tried to befriend everyone! I was the person who followed the calling, "Go forth and make disciples" (especially when it was competition time in the youth group.) If I knew you, you probably were getting invited to church all the time.

       I used to be cute and skinny and had many boyfriend prospects. It was nice to know that people liked me and that I could make friends so easily. Perhaps that's why I get into funks now. As a stay-at-home mom, my priorities have changed. My friends are my kids and my family members. Yes, I wonder from time to time if someone thinks about me and has great memories of me just like I do them. It can be discouraging when I think about how large my group of friends were, even though I still had my close group of friends too.

      I thinks its natural though, to separate from each other. We're all at different parts of life, right now. I've been blessed to get married right out of college and have kids right away. At some point, we had to grow up. We went to different colleges because that was what was right for us. We had to move away because we had better opportunities. When I get into my funk and I wonder if I'm thought of often or even on occasion and hope that I'm thought of fondly, I should be glad to have had those experiences at all. We weren't dumped by our friends, time and life just happened and we should be glad that our friends are happy and wish the best for them.

     Here's my challenge for you: If you think of someone from the past, pray for them. Let them know. It's funny how we have this thing called Facebook. Send them a message; a word of encouragement. Don't be shady about it, because that's just weird. Say "Hi, I was thinking about you today. Remember when....?" It might brighten their day, and if they're like me and feeling down about their weight or feeling a little lonely, it can turn a funk day around to a good day. So let's encourage each other, today!







Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Never Bite Off More Than You Can Chew- Procrastination

     I'd hate to admit this, although if you know me, it really isn't a secret... I'm... a procrastinator. When it comes down to it, like the important things- you know, work- an actual job, I can get myself motivated and work extremely well. Unfortunately, I haven't had to work in four years, so motivation has escaped me, most days.

     Around last Thanksgiving, I thought that I would start crocheting again. I had posted some pictures of projects that I could do and even put up prices. I thought that I could crochet enough that I would be able to start doing craft fairs and bring in a little extra income without really having to leave home to do it, giving me more freedom to watch the kids, but also work. I had gotten a couple of orders and did really well until I got one really BIG project. Someone I knew wanted me to crochet a queen size blanket. I figured, "How hard could it be?" Well the answer was- mediumish hard.

     I spent weeks crocheting this blanket. The stitching was beautiful and it came along wonderfully. Unfortunately, our family became plagued with a stomach bug and then the flu. It took up my time because I didn't want to be working on this blanket and then have kid throw up on it, so I didn't work on those days. When the kids got out of school for Christmas and New Year break, I worked day and night to finish the blanket... and I did it! The only thing I had left to do after doing the body, was to put together the extra design- something that I thought could be done easily, but it wasn't. Everything I tried looked stupid. It ended up taking me about four extra months to get it together to a point where I felt that maybe, it was ok and sent it along with a family member to give to the person who wanted it. It didn't have to take that long, especially since the bigger part of it was the actual blanket base, but I got overwhelmed. I didn't want to work on it, because I wanted it perfect and it just looked stupid. I've tried a project here and there afterwards, but I'm just not into it anymore.

     I'm a creative person and since being home, I have written three complete children's stories. I started of with great motivation and even tried to work with someone to get them published, but it was a bust when they wanted $1,500 to illustrate and publish just one. Without an extra income, I figured it could wait. I have, since then illustrated one of my own, but haven't put it together. Right now, it's overwhelming. I don't know where to start; so instead of moving forward, I put it on halt.

     Last year, I started an adult Christian novel and have paused at chapter 11. I started working on it again, the other day after a few months break. Will I be able to continue writing it? It probably won't be very long and really, it will probably be finished with just a few more chapters. It only took me a few days to write the first three. If I put effort into it, I could finish it. I could officially call myself an author. Would I have enough determination to get it published?

     I did, actually, publish a short story a couple of months ago. I went through Kindle Direct Publishing, just to try it out. If you look up "All Hail the Repairman" or my name, Brittany Vantrease, you'll find it there. I had joined an online writing group that sends you writing prompts. The winner of that prompt received $50 and got their short story published. I didn't win, but that's ok. I had actually written something and then got it published. I finished something.

     When we procrastinators pick up something big, it's overwhelming. It can make something we enjoy turn into a chore. I have a friend who told me once, "I'd like to help you, but you know what its like to do something when you don't have the motivation for it." - I paraphrased that a bit, but it was along similar lines. This is from the same friend who always had straight A's when I had C's. She's always been able to work when she needed too, but like procrastinators like me, extra projects can really bring a person down. 

       When you procrastinate, it's better to do the small things first and work your way up to the bigger thing. This blog was something small that I started out with. I may have taken a break from writing, but this is something that I have been able to pick back up, easily. Since my kids are now home for the summer, I'm going to try to work better on not procrastinating because it really makes more of a mess and gives me more than I can do. When I see that there are plates on the table, I'm going to try to pick them up. When the sink gets filled with dishes, I'm going to try to run them through the dish washer before I end up having to just hand wash everything because the spaghetti from two nights ago has dried to the plate and the dishwasher can't touch it. 

     If I do this, work a little at a time, then I won't have to be overwhelmed by the mess that gradually built up and I'm too overwhelmed and anxious to clean, therefor causing me to be anti-social because I won't want anyone to come to my house. I will try to adhere to the schedule I made last year so my kids don't spend the whole day watching tv. I may even exercise and lose the weight I've been saying I was going to for years. But! I will take baby steps and I won't try to bite off more than I can chew. 

Paint In A Bag- A Mess Free Activity For Your Child

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