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Friday, December 30, 2011

Learning vs Schooling

Hello. Nice to meet you. My name is not important, you can just call me “Mother”. I am crazy. I do not hide from who I am and what I believe. I know I am crazy, I don't think like other people think I should. That's quite alright, I don't mind. I have learned through years of experience that I would much rather be crazy than depressed, and thinking the way they want me to think is depressing.

My life experiences are a big part of what led me to being crazy. I was raised in a traditional, conservative middle class home. The youngest of four children, and the only girl, I had a fairly “normal” uneventful childhood. My own Mother repeatedly told me I was the smartest person in the family, and then went on to tell me that I should become a secretary or a bookkeeper. It was made quite clear to me that there was no way in Hell I would be going to college. They certainly were not going to waste their money on it and since they made far too much money for me to qualify for any grants, I shouldn't even consider the option. I should just look for a nice man with a good job and “marry well”.

Now this might be an understandable if I was 20 or 30 years older, but I was born in the late 60's, and even in the 1980's when I was a teenager, they were still telling me this. While Gloria Steinem and other strong women were telling women across the country and around the world they could be and do anything they wanted, I was being told that my goals and dreams were “unrealistic” and that I should learn something “useful”.

Since I knew college was not in my future I started on a path of “self-education”. With all the information in the world out there waiting for me, I didn't see any reason to limit my learning. I knew at an early age that if I waited for a school or teacher to educate me, I would never be allowed to learn everything I wanted to know. So I never waited. At 4 years old I made my youngest brother (who was 12 at the time) teach me to read. From that day forward I read everything I could get my hands on. By the time I got to High School, I was so bored at school that I couldn't take it anymore. In my quest for learning, I was constantly finding examples of things that they were teaching at school that were either just plain wrong, or blatant lies, the hypocrisy of their claims to be educating children when what they were really trying to do was indoctrinate children was overwhelming to my fragile psyche. I dropped out. I wasn't going to college anyway, what was the point?

I did go back to school a few months later, when I found a school that would let me learn the way I did best, alone. I was given all the coursework at the beginning of the class, and told that I only had to show up to class to take the tests or if I had questions. My experience at the time was that if I wanted my questions actually answered I should never ask a teacher, so I showed up to take tests and did my “learning” in restaurants and parks. I finished 2 years of High School in 6 ½ months. I had two credits left when they decided to change the school rules and require daily attendance in class. I dropped out again.

It was just before my thirtieth birthday before I finally took the test for my GED. I didn't “study” for it or do any preparations whatsoever. I just went and took it, my oldest son (who was 10 at the time and home schooled) could have passed the thing if they would have let him take it with me. I started college that Fall.

When I graduated (Summa Cum Laude) from college (by the way, at the time, I was the ONLY member of my immediate family to EVER graduate from college), my parents did not come to the ceremony. They lived less than 200 miles away, but couldn't be bothered to take the time to show up. They gave me a used desk that they didn't want anymore as a “graduation present” several months later. My ex-Mother-in-law (not ex at the time, but shorty thereafter), with whom I had a relationship based on mutual disrespect and extreme dislike at the time, actually not only showed up but also was extremely supportive. The woman was a “raptor bitch from Hell” when it came to her attitude towards her own children and grand children (yes I actually called her that, to her face, some years before), but she closed her business, gave her employees the day off, and came to sit front row center for my graduation.

As a result of my life experiences with public education, I hold a different view of it than most people. I do not expect the government to educate children. It would be fabulous if they did! But I don't see it happening.  Public schools are designed to "school" children, they are not designed to help children learn.  The only time my kids have ever gone to public school is for Kindergarten and when I have had no choice in the matter. Every one of my kids went to Kindergarten, because they wanted to. But even when they were “in school”, I didn't depend on the school to educate them. To me, life is a learning experience, is not a metaphor, its fact. From the time I found out I was pregnant with my first child I started making everything a learning experience. I talk to my kids about everything. There is no subject “off limits” because of their age. If they want to know something I help them find the answers, and I help them learn to use their own minds to think through the answers we find to decide which one is correct or at least, most true. I teach them how to learn. Once you know how to learn, no one can stop you from learning but you.

Now there are some things that you probably just shouldn't try to learn completely on your own. I'll be the first to admit I do not want a completely self-educated neurosurgeon operating on my brain without some kind of extensive certification process. And I don't know if everyone is really as capable of it as I think they are. I believe if you start young enough and give kids a solid love of learning the vast majority will do far better than they do being force fed information that is, at best, irrelevant to their lives. But this is just my thought on the matter, I don't have huge studies or statistics to back me up, I don't need them because I am not trying to change public policy, it doesn't really matter whether I can “prove my theory” or not. It seems to be to be pretty much basic common sense to me though, human beings are the most inquisitive creatures on the planet, we are born to learn. When you put limits, or restraints, on a child's ability to learn you limit their ability to become fully human. To be all they can be, as it were.

I do know that what they are doing in our public schools isn't working, there are plenty of studies to prove THAT! Bubble tests will not solve education problems. And teaching FOR the tests is a ridiculous waste of our childrens' precious childhoods. I do NOT blame teachers for any of this, please do not think I do. Almost every teacher I ever had tried their very best to make the best of a bad situation, but they were even more stuck than I was. They had to follow the guidelines that they were given. They were not allowed to answer all my questions, or let me move on to the next thing when I was finished, everyone had to do everything at the same time, that was just the rule. Stupid fucking rule if you ask me, but totally not their fault. I had some AWESOME teachers who encouraged my learning and went out of their way to help challenge my mind, and I had a few shitty teachers who got mad when I corrected their “facts” when they were clearly wrong. I am sorry that I was not capable of keeping my mouth shut when the 8th grade science teacher told the class that “the electrons of an atom can be found in the nucleus”, but ... seriously?!? But, as I say, the bad teachers were few and far between fortunately.

I know most people depend on public schools. I understand the need, and I would never judge anyone for sending their kids to school, even if they didn't have to. But most parents HAVE to send their kids to school. They have to work to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. And too many parents have been brain washed into thinking they are “not smart enough to home school” their own kids. And quite frankly there are plenty of parents who probably SHOULDN'T be the sole educational facilitator of their children, but unfortunately I do not think other people should be able to tell me I shouldn't be allowed to educate my kids so I would never say it to someone else, no matter how much I believed it. I am not suggesting public schools should be eliminated and replaced with private schools or online schools, or anything of the sort. I am suggesting that just because a child goes to school does not mean that the school has to dictate what or when they learn. The world today is truly awe inspiring in the amount of knowledge and information that we have at our fingertips 24/7. There is no reason to be dependent upon the public school system for learning anything.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Look back at 2011

I don't do New Year's resolutions. I find them to be little more than yet another excuse to beat ones self up over failures that were never going to be anything more than failures to start with. There are some things I would like to do next year, but I will make no resolutions to do them, I will either get to them in the next year, or I won't. Either way I'll end up doing whatever I have the time and motivation for at the moment, and that's about as good as I can hope for.

What I have been doing for the past several years is making a list during the last week of December of my major accomplishments for that year. I find this to be much more fulfilling and inspiring than making resolutions ever could be for me. So as I look back upon 2011 with fondness and despair, join me for a look at all that I have done! Actually that would be impossible, there is no way to list all of the accomplishments for the past year, it would take years just to type out the list! So we will just be focusing on what I consider my major accomplishments for 2011.

Mother is a quilter. First and foremost, I love to make quilts. Nothing in the world is more enjoyable to me (besides my husband and kids of course!) than taking big pieces of fabrics, cutting them up into little pieces of fabrics, and then sewing them all back together again to make something new and beautiful. There is such a peacefulness, such love and pure joy that comes over me, that I just cannot do enough of it. And this year I found a whole new layer to explore in this all-consuming hobby of mine, dyeing and embellishing my own fabrics. And all of the possibilities that have come from this one simple base layer are just mind numbing in their scope for me.

So most of what I consider to be my major accomplishments revolve around my quilting, no surprise there. But this year I added a whole new “hobby” into the mix, as well with creation of “Mother”.

So I have counted 8 completed quilts (made start to finish during 2011) :

“Nine by Four” 

  “No Fences in the Jungle”

“Forever Wild and Free”

 “A Trip Around the USA”

"Waves of Happy"
 
“Breaking the Chains in High-Heels”


“Running Wild and Free”
Plus 1 more utility quilt I made that I don't have a picture of or a name for, it is a simple strippy scrap quilt that I actually gave to the dog when I finished it.  He loves to "help" me quilt, unfortunately he is not as helpful as he thinks he is.  So I gave him his own quilt to lay on while I work on new ones, it seems to have helped a little.


And I still have two quilts pinned and ready for quilting:

“Oriental Dreams”
  “Jungles Stones”


And I have three more quilt tops which are in progress, a scrap quilt made of my hand dyed fabrics and a landscape quilt in progress, along with this one below...


“The Journey Back Home”


 And 1 quilt top just waiting to be pinned and quilted:


“Baubles, Beads & Butterflies”
In the completion of the above mentioned quilts I have also completed my tribute to my Grandmother that I started 2 ½ years ago by making the last of the quilts for her Great-Great-Grandchildren, at least in my Mother's line of the family, which was all I ever intended to do. The ones I shipped off this year before Christmas will be the last quilts I ever give away for free to relatives (except to my own children and grand-children).


In June I started learning about the art of hand dyeing fabrics, and all of the possibilities that lie therein. Over the course of the Summer I dyed over 100 yards of fabric, mostly a ¼ yard at a time, in a rainbow of colors. I played with making batik fabrics, which was lots of fun, until it came time to get the wax back out! I am hoping my experiments next year with soy wax will alleviate at least part of that hassle. I played with the Shiva paintstiks and some dye sticks, and hope to do a lot more with them next year. 




I also started learning about the process of screen printing and hope to put some of that knowledge to work next year as well. The only problem I have is that all of these things have to be done outside. Our home is not conducive to messy or smelly projects, carpet in every room doesn't help either. Whoever thought that carpet belongs in kitchens or bathrooms obviously never lived with it for very long! Now where I live, for me there are about 4-6 months of the year that I can handle being outside for more than a couple of minutes, so needless to say my time with these pursuits is quite limited at this point. But I have been using the winter weather to learn as much as I can so that I have an even better starting point when the weather does warm up enough.

And in August, “Mother” was created. Since then I have created almost 1,000 silly pictures, and started this blog to rant at the world. I have “met” thousands of new Facebook people, and made people giggle from here to Timbuktu, and back again. I have laughed and cried and gained both inspiration and self-confidence from all of the Love I have found on Facebook.

Last Spring I reconnected with some old friends and this Fall I closed the door on the family members who care more about what strangers think than they do about the people they claim to love. I stood up for myself to them for the first time in my life, and it felt awesome! I just can't see ever going back to sitting in the corner biting my tongue, while the people who say they love me proceed to tell me how I am unworthy to even live much less have a home of my own or even raise my own children because I don't care about money as much as they do. Fuck that shit! So growing a backbone is another of my accomplishments for 2011.

What else did I do this year? Well, there was the anxiety attack that sent me to the hospital for two days, I eventually overcame that, and survived. So I call that an accomplishment. And there are all the hours I spent editing products and listings for my business and my husband's business.  I know I don't spend enough time on “work” but I did get a lot of things done this year for it.   And there is the kids, and while we probably didn't do everything we should have done this year, we did a lot.  We learned a lot, we had a lot of fun, and we are even better prepared for more fun and learning next year!

While I didn't finish as many quilts this year as I might have liked, I did spend the vast majority of my time constructively in one way or another, so I will call 2011 a year well spent.  I am certainly glad it is coming to an end, and I am hoping that 2012 will be a kinder, gentler year for everyone ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The beginning of a new obsession

The beginning of a new obsession



This is where the obsession started. My very first quilt. Growing up I spent a week or two with my Grandparents every summer. I remember watching Grandma hand piecing her beautiful creations as she sat in front of the television each night. Everyone loved Grandma's quilts. Each of the Grandchildren received at least one and everyone wanted more. My oldest son had a particular quilt that my Grandmother had made, it was made as more of utility quilt. My parents had used it in their camper for years, and after they sold the camper I had confiscated it and had also used it for years.  Then my oldest son at some point ended up with it on his bed. It was well over 20 years old and had been washed probably hundreds of times. It was worn out! Stains had turned the white fabric a dull yellow and the fabric was disintegrating. I tried to buy him a new quilt at the store, but he refused. There was no way he was giving up that quilt unless he could have another home-made one like it. Grandma was no longer with us, and there was no one else, so I ended up volunteering for the job.

First I had to design a quilt that was similar to the original, but with no "girly" fabrics. At this point I really didn't know anything about quilting.  I had been sewing for 20 years, but the closest I had come to a quilt was some pot-holders I had made for Christmas one year. I didn't know you could buy quilt patterns, or where to look for them. I just took out a piece of graph paper and started drawing. Once I had a basic idea of what we were going to do I had to start collecting fabric.  I had a large stash of cotton fabric, but most of it was flowery "girly" fabrics. After collecting the fabric and cutting out all those 3 1/2" squares our life was suddenly and dramatically turned upside down and the quilt pieces were put away before I could sew a single stitch. A few months later we had moved into a much smaller house (almost a third the size of the house we left), most of my stash was listed on eBay and sold I had started selling my machine embroidery designs and life was starting to calm down again. I found the plastic baggies with all of those little squares and decided that sewing them together might help me deal with all the emotional upheaval. I found I really loved sewing the patches together. If my seams didn't line up perfectly I didn't really know enough to care. When I made mistakes of which fabric went next in the row, I didn't really think anyone else would notice, so I didn't really care. I was enjoying myself and that was really all that mattered.

When I finished putting the top together I had to quilt it. The original quilt was a queen-size, but this one turned out to be a large King-sized. I bought the batting and fabric for the backing. I had a basic idea of how I was supposed to put it together, but I did not have an open space anywhere that was that large (this was before I figured out the driveways are an awesome placed to pin quilts). So I laid out the layers on my queen-sized bed. Now this in itself would probably not have been that bad, but our bed is not like a normal queen-sized bed, the top of the mattress is over three and a half feet off the ground (I have to use stairs to get into the bed)! So here I am, on top of an unstable step stool, trying to get the whole thing laid out straight on a bed that is considerably smaller than the quilt. After several hours I finally had all the layers pinned together, now I had to figure out how to actually quilt this monster. I had a little cheap Brother sewing machine with a throat space of about 4 1/2" maybe 5". I knew I was supposed to start in the center of the quilt and go out towards the edges, but how in the heck do you get to the center of the quilt? I ended up rolling up the sides and fighting, stuffing, shoving until I had the whole thing quilted. If you turn it over and look at the back it is a mess! Puckers and pleats everywhere! But it was done and I was never going to make another big quilt like that again, that was for sure! My neck and shoulders hurt like crazy for days afterward!

But as the days passed I thought about all I had been through to make that quilt and I was happy I had done it. I really enjoyed the piecing, and maybe the quilting part wouldn't be that bad if the quilt was smaller. Within a couple of weeks I was drawing up a new design and planning out the next quilt.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Greed - *WARNING* This post contains massive ammounts of explicte language! You have been warned!

I consider myself to be a pretty easy going person.  I am highly emotional and do tend to get charged up about certain issues, but for the most part I try to not get too excited about most things because its just not healthy for me.  There is one thing that gets me going like no other though, and that is the subject of GREED!  Now before anyone gets bent out of shape let me say quite clearly, I have absolutely no problem with people being rich.  I like rich people, I want rich people to buy my art, if there were no rich people who would have the disposable income to pay me $1,000 for one of my quilts?  What I do have a problem with are GREEDY people!  I hate greed. It makes me sick that people think it is acceptable for one man to have a gold fucking toilet when there are people in this world who work hard every day just to put food on the table.  FUCK YOU!  Sorry, but that is just fucking sick!

Greed has caused the destruction of every civilization that has ever existed.  Look it up, I am not kidding.  And yet somehow greed is not only tolerated in our modern world, it is exalted, worshiped even!  This is fucking sick.  I don't care who you are if you cannot see the problem here there is something seriously wrong with you.

I will never understand people who try to tell me that rich people work harder than poor people so therefore they deserve to have whatever they want.  EXCUSE ME?!?  Are you fucking serious?!?  I mean, you CANNOT be serious, can you?  First off, the VAST majority of rich people have never worked a day in their lives and have no clue what the word even means.  Second, about 90% of the poor people I have met in my life do work, they work very fucking hard, every fucking day just to survive.  I would LOVE to see Donald Trump try to survive for a week on what the average American lives on (we won't even get into what the rest of the world has to try to survive on), without using his connections or his name to "buy" him favors he couldn't make it three days.  And MOST importantly, just because you have accumulated wealth in whatever fashion you accumulated it (we will get into the lack of "hard work" involved in screwing other people out of their hopes, their dreams, and their money in another post) does not mean you are any fucking better or more deserving than anyone else!  FUCK YOU!  The real problem with "entitlements" in this country is with these rich asswipes thinking they are "entitled" to special fucking treatment because they are fucking rich!  FUCK YOU!

Sorry, as I mentioned I tend to get a little worked up over this issue.  I just don't get it.  Our government wants to make laws over every fucking little thing I can or cannot do to my own body, whether it effects  anyone else or not, but there is no law against greed.  Greed has destroyed more lives, more families, than any plant or drug or behavior that has ever existed.  It has destroyed whole civilizations, and continues to bankrupt us financially and morally to this day, but yet there is not a single law against it?  What the fuck is wrong with these people?  Not only do they refuse to outlaw the greatest evil to ever afflict man-kind, they continue to make laws to protect and promote it!

Seriously, am I the only person who is just so fucking outraged that I cannot sit back and keep quiet anymore?  I know I am crazy, I have never tried to hide or deny that fact, but COME ON MAN!  Can't anyone else see what is so crystal fucking clear to me?  Until we step back and look at what the real problem is we ca never hope to solve the financial crisis our world is falling into.  If we do not stop it NOW we will all be living in a Hell of our making and dooming our children's children to forever being slaves to pay for our sins against each other and against them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I didn't feel like doing anything today - so I wrote you a tour of my home! Enjoy!

I have a serious case of the "I don't want to do shit"s today. Now, this may not be a problem for many people, but I am incapable of not doing anything so it presents me with a serious conflict. And since I cannot handle conflict (it makes me physically ill - that's why I don't let people start shit on my Facebook page - they literally make sick!), this presents me with even more problems.

I have to be doing something all the time. I can't just sit and watch tv, it drives me crazy. I have to be using my hands and my brain all the time or I just don't know what to do with myself.  Sometime I can kill a little time playing on Facebook, but I can only take so much before someone is stupid and I have to go do something else before I get overly irritated.  So I decided I would write today, now what to write about?  I know, I'll write about how my obsessive compulsive attention deficit disordered brain affects how we organize our home.

That is part of why our home is a little unorthodox in its layout.  The other reason is that it isn't just our home, its our school, our place of business, our art studio, and when its cold outside its our playground.  We have organized our home to fit our life, not the cultural norm.  We have decorated it for functionality and certainly not fashion! In our living room we have our 3 computer workstations and my sewing cabinet along with the usual TV, electronics and furniture.  I sit in my desk chair most of the day and evening (unless I am up doing housework or whatever), I have my computer on one side and the sewing machine between me and the TV.  My desk holds my basic sewing tools and office supplies, along with candy and stickers. The shelves over my desk hold other quilting supplies and books, the ones beside my desk hold software, more books, my quilting magazines, two of the 6 printers that are in our living room, and the boys portable video games. The boys have their computer on the other side of my desk, and all of Father's computers, printers, and assorted business supplies are on the other side of the room.  We have a couch and a recliner, but the dog and cat spend more time on them than any of the people do,

All of the console video games, along with our school books and supplies, board games, science equipment, basic art supplies and my good embroidery machine, are all in the "Master" bedroom (along with the big Christmas tree this time of year).  We have two TVs in our bedroom, one we can see from bed and another for the video games.  Our bedroom is actually larger than the living room, it is an addition that was meant to be a family room, and I guess that is what it really is, we just happen to sleep in there.

Our kitchen doubles as our dining room and our shipping center, so along with the usual dry goods and kitchen wares we have a case of envelopes and other shipping supplies in the kitchen.  

The boys share a room by choice.  They have a TV (a very large TV) in their room, along with about 70% of their toys, and their bunk beds and dressers and such.  The rest of their toys are usually either in the garage or (surprise!) our bedroom.  There is an additional bedroom inside the house which actually does NOT have a TV in it, we call it the "bonus room". Its a small room with an attached bathroom (Father's bathroom), so we use it for a linen closet and I have my cutting table set up in there, along with the cat's paraphernalia and the boy's shoes (its the only place in the house where the shoes don't seem to be able to grow their own feet and walk away).

There is  an enclosed "breezeway" between the house and the garage, it houses the spare refrigerator, some storage, and Jack (our dog) has a bed, and food and water out there for when he wants to come in from the cold, but can't come in the house for whatever reason.  Next to that there is the two car garage, which is so full of stuff that it has no room for a car to park inside. Someone closed off the back of the garage and created an additional  room.  It is about 8 feet wide by however long a 2-car garage is wide. That's my "sewing room".  When it is cold outside it serves as more of a "storage room" than anything else as most of my fabric stash,  my sewing machines and supplies, our craft supplies, my eBay inventory and my non-fiction books.are out there, but its too cold to actually work out there.   

Damn, for poor people we sure have a lot of shit!  Most of our shit would probably be trash to a lot of people, but it works for us. And as I started out this post telling you that I have to be doing something all the time, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have a lot of freaking hobbies and interests.  And since I have a lot of freaking hobbies and interests, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have a husband with a lot of freaking  hobbies and interests, and it probably logically follows that we have kids with lots of freaking hobbies and interests.  And all those freaking hobbies and interests require lots of shit.  We have been working on thinning down how much shit we have, but it doesn't seem to work as we continue to find new freaking hobbies and interests!  OK, ... I keep finding new hobbies and interests.  And I keep trying to hoist new hobbies and interests upon the boys, but that's my job as I am not only their Mother but their educational coordinator as well.  So we need a lot of shit.  That's my story and I am sticking to it. 

I mean it is not like that "Hoarders" TV show or anything!  Our home is cluttered, and usually dusty, but there is no garbage outside of the garbage cans, there is plenty of room to walk safely through all of the rooms, with open floor space to play, and it is generally fairly clean.  We don't "entertain" guests.  My parents come by a couple of time a year and my oldest son comes down to visit when he can.  Other than that I think we have had maybe half a dozen "guests" inside our house in the last 4 years.  We are not people people.  We don't have many friends, and none within 100 miles. So our house is organized to fit out needs.  Other people might find it unconventional, but they aren't living here, working here, educating here, creating here, growing here, and they will probably never be invited here, so it doesn't really matter what they think now does it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday! Which is funny coming from an atheist I suppose, but I just love all the lights and decorations, the gaudier the better! Mother LOVES gaudy! Christmas - to me - isn't about religion (yes I know its supposed to be, but Hell the Christians stole the holiday from the Pagans in the first place, I am just re-stealing it), Christmas - to me - is about sharing the Love. There were a few years, when my older children were little, when we didn't celebrate Christmas at my house. After I left my first husband I gave the kids the choice, they all spent Christmas with their fathers' anyway, so I told them that we could either do the whole gift giving thing once a year at Christmas, or we could skip Christmas and whenever I found something they wanted, and I had the money, I would just give it to them then. They opted for the later, and for three years we didn't do Christmas at all. I missed the decorating though.

But sharing the Love is what my life has always been about I guess, its who I am, its what I stand for, what I believe in. I know its silly, I should be focused on important things, like making money. But showing people that someone Loves them has always been more important to me than money. When I was a teenager, I had a best friend that I loved dearly. She had led a hard life and had some pretty crappy shit to deal with. I used to bring her flowers every week or so, whenever I could. Her boyfriend couldn't afford them, and generally wouldn't have thought of it as important. So I did it. I was always finding stuff to give to my friends, and I hated the idea of waiting for an "occasion", so it was always Christmas. No matter what the calendar said I was probably wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" at some point on any given day.

We started celebrating Christmas again as a family after Father and I were married and the boys were born. We have always told the kids what we are really celebrating and why. We call it Christmas because it makes it easier for the rest of the world to understand, but we aren't celebrating anybody's birthday. We are celebrating our Love for each other, and my love for pretty colors and shiny things. If it was up to me we would have Christmas lights up all year round, and actually we do - the boys have them as nightlights in their room and we have a few strands that stay up all year round outside, but I would have them all up all the time. Father thinks that is a bit excessive, so we compromised.

I also cheat on Christmas shopping if you want to know the truth. Every year I take the boys to Toys-R-Us and tell them they have whatever amount of money I have to spend, and let them pick their own presents. I do the same thing for their birthdays. I know when I was a kid, my Mother gave me the Sears Christmas catalog every year and told me to mark the things I wanted. And then she made sure she did NOT buy a single thing on the list. It drove me crazy! For a lot of years I hated Christmas because I knew I was just going to get a bunch of crap I did not want and I would have to act happy about it. I promised myself I would never do that to my kids, so I don't. They pick out what they want and I bring it home and wrap it and put it under the tree. Father and I both get them other things that they do not know about ahead of time as well, so the element of surprise is still there when they unwrap their gifts, and no body is disappointed by what they got. It works well for us. And now I make sure my parents just get the boys gift cards so their is no let down there either.

So I am very much looking forward to Christmas again this year. Every Sunday from now until Christmas I will be sharing vintage Christmas cards all day on Mother's Facebook page as my way of sharing the Love with all the Facebook people who share the Love with Mother. I hope you enjoy your Holiday season, whatever Holidays you may choose to celebrate for whatever reasons. And always remember, Mother Loves you