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Dear Icelandic Volcano…

…I see you took my warning seriously. Wise decision. I’m going in 2 days, so please behave yourself. Now, once I’m there, if you feel the need to let loose with some ash, be my guest. I wouldn’t mind being stranded there for a few extra weeks.

Goin’ home to Ohio for 3 weeks…see ya’ll later! ♥

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Dear Icelandic Volcano,

Please stop spewing out volcanic ash. I know it’s a bit like asking Mathew Mcconaughey to stop taking his shirt off, but I beg you to just *try*. I haven’t seen my family in 3 years, and I’d really like to see my mother before she gets too old for me to recognise. I mean, you already threw up all over us last year for crying out loud! How much ash can one little hole-in-the-ground produce?!!?!?! Never mind, forget I asked; I don’t really want to know. I’ve got nothing against Iceland, really, even if you did produce Bjork and inflict that madness on the rest of us…but this volcano business is enough to make me think really poorly of Iceland. And don’t start whining about forces  of nature and give me this “it’s not our fault” nonsense…put a cork in it. If my flight, which is in less than 2 weeks, gets cancelled, you’ll be receiving a very strongly worded letter of complaint from me. I mean it. I’ll be using words like “inexcusable” and “furious” and “boycott everything from Iceland,” (which may be quite a short list of items, but that’s *not* the point.) If you can’t stop all the spewing ash, then you’d better gather up all your electric fans or wind turbines or whatever and start fanning it towards Greenland or something. Nobody lives in Greenland, anyway…only vikings and the like, and they prefer to travel by boat. They won’t mind.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Family Life, Michelle

 

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To Jab or Not to Jab

Vaccines are a hot topic for many parents, especially here in the UK, and especially amongst homeschooling families in the UK. I know many homeschooling families who have chosen not to have their children immunised, and one mother even claimed that the rise in measles was due to immigration. I had to bite my tongue and go to my happy place to avoid responding to that.

I know immunisations aren’t without risk, and I’m well aware of what those risks are, but not immunising is also full of risk: brain damage, paralysis, heart failure, and death. Yes, for some children the immunisations don’t ‘take.’ But if all children, who are able to be, are immunised, their immunity provides protection for the unprotected ones, as they will not catch and pass on the illness.

I feel that many parents have become complacent because we don’t know what it’s like to live in an age full of communicable, deforming, deadly childhood diseases. We don’t know what it’s like to worry that our child will catch polio or diptheria…and this is because vaccinations have just about wiped them out. We now fear the result of the immunisation more than the disease itself. That’s understandable; I always felt a little nervous whenever Esa had another vaccination, and I, too, worried about any long-term damage. But I knew the risk of him catching measles and suffering complications was higher than the risk of a severe reaction to the jab. I also didn’t want to put other children at risk but leaving my son unprotected and allowing him to not only catch a disease, but pass it on to another child who is not immunised.

I’m not posting this to spark debates or condemn parents who don’t immunise; it’s just one of the many tough choices we parents have to make and to each their own. I’m just voicing my own opinions on vaccinations,  and I wanted to post a link to an article that may be of interest:

Doctor Behind Autism-Vaccine Link Study Accused of ‘Deliberate Fraud’

It turns out the data in the study linking MMR to autism was fudged and Dr. Wakefield’s been banned from practising medicine.

After the study was published,  many parents stopped administering the vaccine to their children, and the cases of measles increased, as did measles-related deaths.

This passage, in particular caught my attention:

“We had a measles epidemic in Britain, a drop in immunization rates in [the United States]. I personally know of children who were brain-damaged as a consequence of their parents deferring immunization as a result of this concern,” Wiznitzer said. At the same time, he said, “[autism] research monies were diverted to disprove a hypothesis that was never proven [in the first place] rather than invested in exploring issues that would be of benefit to the public and to children with the condition.”

Not all children who are immunised actually gain immunity, so he can’t really prove that all the children he’s come across have suffered brain damage because of not being immunised, but surely some of them could have been spared such a horrible outcome had they been immunised. Not only have many children suffered from preventable illness, but autism research has suffered, which is such a shame.

What are your thoughts on vaccinations?

*****

Since posting the above, I’ve had a comment that I wanted to share:

HI, Michelle,
Oh, I agree with you!
Yes, there is risk in any immunizations and for that matter in taking any medications.
But, as a Polio survivor, I know what it is like to live a life after getting one of the diseases that today we have an immunization for. I lived in a time when many, many children came down with Polio every year! Our parents lived in constant dread that their child would be the next victim. I was one of the very must lucky ones: My experience with Polio as a four year old child left me to learn to walk all over again and then with little or no problems until I hit age 50 and became one of the generation of Post Polio Syndrome victims. No one knew about PPS and no one predicted its results. I went from being an active adult to walking with a cane, from a practitioner of yoga to one who could not get into the most easy pose, from an independent person to one who has limited mobility. Yet, I’m still one of the lucky ones: others suffer breathing problems, depend on wheel chairs and scooters, or have great difficulty swallowing food or liquids. Almost every family had one or more polio victims when I was a child: our family had three. One cousin spent her life in steel braces, on crutches and in the end in a wheel chair. Children spent years in “iron lungs” just to stay alive. All life has risks, yet we have polio immunization now, we no longer have whole hospitals filled with children and teens with polio.
My mother lost two little sisters, one in the morning and one that same afternoon, to diphtheria when Mama was a child. The whole community was hit. My grandfather dug the graves and buried the girls himself as no one else would for fear of the terrible disease. (early 1900′s)
My grandmother lost two siblings with in one week to scarlet fever, in her childhood. We NEVER want to go back to that time. There are risks in taking ANY medication, but to go back to a time before immunization we just do not want our children to do that!
Keep Esa safe as our medical level can!
Love,
Elsie

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2011 in About Us, Family Life, Hot Topics, Michelle

 

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A Very (Mr.) Happy Birthday

I was feeling a bit low last Friday. Our two weeks of holiday were coming to an end and I really would have loved to have another week (or 3) off. But by Sunday I was looking forward to resuming lessons and trying out Song School Latin.

Saturday was Esa’s seventh birthday. I decided to throw him a real party. In the past we’ve either done something as just the three of us; stayed home, ordered pizza, and watched a movie; or just had a cousin or two over to play for a bit. I’ve always made him a cake and made a fuss over him, but he’s never had a real party.

It was, however, still a modest affair as birthday parties go. We played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (homemade), musical chairs (which made me a little uncomfortable because I don’t like games where children get “out”…they always look so sad, and it’s supposed to be a party after all…), pass-the-parcel, and the piece de resistance: a piñata (again, painstakingly homemade.) The piñata was filled with fantastic goodies: party crackers, mini Mars bars, Kinder hippos, Pop Rocks, chocolate coins, Love Hearts, and loads more.

The piñata took nearly an  hour to bust. Initially, the children were blindfolded and allowed 3 swings (they were allowed to feel for it first). After each child had had 2 or 3 goes, we did away with the blindfold. At one point, the piñata broke away from the string, and the children shouted with joy, but my husband, who was enjoying it more than anyone, shouted, “Wait! It’s not open! I’ll reattach the string and you can keep bashing it!”

Men.

So, the fun went on for another 30  minutes. By the time the piñata was well and truly busted, the stick they used to bash it was broken and those poor kids barely had the strength to gather up the goodies.

Not really. The sight of chocolate was like reviving salts- they dove after the stuff.

As I’ve mentioned before, Esa loves Mr. Men. We decided to do a Mr. Men-themed party, so we had plates, cups, napkins, and banners all in Mr. Men. He requested carrot cake, which I iced and decorated with Mr. Happy, his favourite Mr. Man.  He also received a Mr. Happy mug, a SpongeBob calendar, a Lego annual, Tonka trucks, some money, and agamefor thexboxthathegotfromhisdadandIknowIsaidI’dneverallowhimtohaveonebut theyworemedownandreallyhe’sbeenveryrestrainedandI’mnotallowinghimto playittoomuchsopleasedon’tshootmeeventhoughI’mahypocrite.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Family Life, Milestones, Second Grade, Time off

 

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I’ve Been Tagged…

…by Suji.

The rules of the game state that I’m to write a post answering the 5 questions she’s set for me and create 5 questions for 5 other bloggers to answer.

Here are Suji’s questions for me:

1. If you had one super power to wish for (X-ray vision, invisibility etc.), what would it be and why?

I’d like to be able to fly (who wouldn’t?) 🙂 I’d love to be able to fly to America to visit my family whenever I wanted, visit some of my blogging friends, meet a few people I’ve always wanted to meet, and see certain sights.

2. What is the one book, resource or homeschool curriculum that you feel you will not sell or give away, and maybe even want to save for the grandkids?

Hmmm…this was a tough one to answer. I love lots of our books and resources, but none of them, so far, is so special that I’d keep hold of it forever. I think that will change as we go. But there is one book that I’ve used for myself to learn how to draw and when Esa’s older I’ll teach him using the methods. It’s called The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and it’s got to be the best book for teens and adults who want to learn to draw, and I’d never part with it. (You can ignore the right side/left side brain theories if you like; the book will still teach you to draw.)

3. If you had a chance to learn one European or Asian language, which one will it be and why?

Arabic. Partly for religious reasons and also because I love it. I can read Arabic, meaning you could place an Arabic sentence in front of me and I could pronounce the words (mostly), but I’d have no idea what they mean.

4. When time is short and/ or when chaos reigns in your home, what is the one task, family routine or household chore you prioritize?

This is a difficult one to answer, too, because there isn’t one thing that takes priority. Every chaotic situation is different, so I assess the situation and decide what needs the most attention. Could we all do with a nice, home-cooked meal at the expense of no clean socks? Or would my time best be spent mopping the cat’s muddy paw prints off the kitchen floor? Or should we abandon chores all together and spend some quality time together? In short, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

5. What does your dream learning environment (study/ den/ school room/ kitchen/ outdoor space) look like? If you’ve found something similar online, post a link! If you have broken the bank remodelling your home to achieve it (lucky you!), post a photo!

I would love to have a school room and an art room. My school room would have a table with a few chairs and a small sofa, tons of book shelves, a long worktop with sink and cupboards above and below, a large world map on the wall, a dry erase board on the wall, a stereo and computer desk. It would be light, cosy, and free from fluorescent lighting. I love the one at Angie’s. Hey, that looks like my cat…

My art studio would be an addition to the house so that I could have windows on 3 sides. It would consist of a very large table with a small but comfortable swivel, armless chair. It would be mostly white, with wood floors, lots of windows providing a nice view, and maybe a set of French doors.  A chest, with several large, but shallow drawers would store my different papers. Here is a nice one that I found online.

Now it’s my turn to do some tagging (in no particular order).

Michelle from An Organised Mess

Sheila from Greenridge Chronicles (if you want to…I know you’ve already been tagged, but hey, my social circle is pretty small…)

Sara from Headbanger Homeschool

Neo from Our Learning Journey

Angie from Satori Smiles

Here are my questions for my victims blogging friends, if they want to play:

1) What is your favourite book of all time?

2) What is your idea of the perfect day?

3) If you weren’t homeschooling, what sort of career would you have?

4) If you had the chance, what one famous person would you meet and why?

5) If you could possess one talent (singing, painting, writing, etc) and be truly proficient in it, what would it be?

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Art, Blogging Fun, Meme, Michelle

 

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Ha, Ha, Very Funny

I was in the kitchen when I heard Esa cry out, “Mummy, there’s something really heavy on my back and I can’t get up!” He didn’t sound particularly distressed, but I can take a cue.

When I entered the living room, this is the sight that greeted me:

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2010 in Family Life, The importance of Play

 

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