Spank-out Day

ILLUSTRATION from the No Spank site: Gregory Nemec, from "Teachers College Reports," Columbia University, Vol. 3, No. 1, Winter 2001

Today is National Spank-out Day, the final day of a full month devoted to Child Abuse Prevention. How many public service announcements have you seen/heard about this? I have not seen or heard any! I have encountered many messages for the protection of animals and the environment, to help orphans in Africa, to support breast cancer research, but none directed to the general public that proclaim the damage that hitting children causes to them and for ALL OF US. There is a very clear picture of all the ramifications that hitting children causes.

I believe in "doing small things with great love" (thank you, Mother Theresa), and that every little bit counts. You know, a pebble thrown in the water creates far-reaching ripples, that kind of philosophy. So I support all the above-noted causes in whatever small (or big) ways I can. But I am amazed at how blind people are to the dire ramifications of hitting children. Where is the public outcry for this?! Where are all the support ribbons on the cars? I'm just not seeing it.

What I do see is a more violent, angry world than the one in which I grew up. I see a world where people feel the need to carry concealed weapons to work. I see a world where families are so disconnected that teenagers are sent to boot camps where they are further abused and sometimes killed. Can anyone really deny that we are perpetuating and endorsing the lesson of "might makes right" when we rule over our children using physical punishment?

I think one of the things that prevents people from seeing the truth in this matter, is that it calls for many of us to admit what being hit has done to us. I've hear many say, "I was hit as a child, and it didn't damage me." Really? Do you remember how you felt being hit? It didn't bother you at all? You weren't physically hurting, afraid, confused, angry? Nothing? If you were hit by your parents, most likely you weren't given an opportunity to convey all your feelings about it to the perpetrator. So where did those feelings go? Did you suppress your feelings, believing the lie that your feelings were insignificant, allowing others to abuse you in the future ? Did you act aggressively to peers or those smaller than you, because you could? Did you keep a stiff upper lip, and know that your day would come, the day when you would be in charge, and you would be the one doing the hitting?

When an act of violence is committed against someone, there has to be an effect. It requires self-examination to determine what that effect is. It requires an honest appraisal of the beliefs we have had since our childhood and of how they impact our behavior and choices today. That is too unnerving for some people. The problem is that we cannot solve problems with the same tactics that caused them in the first place, and that by ignoring this we suffer the consequences reflected in our present day society. When we are so practiced at denying our own pain, it becomes easy to act as if it doesn't affect us when we cause our own children pain. And if we can do that, it is even easier to ignore others' children who are suffering.

It's time to give up the delusions that violence towards others is acceptable if the "others" are young enough. It's time to learn that self-control is better than attempting to control others, and it is best learned through example. It's time to speak up against violence toward children in your corner of the world. Let people know of the alternatives. Show them by your example. Offer your assistance to those at risk for hitting/being hit. Do your small part however you feel led. Spread the word: love, compassion, understanding can do more to heal our broken world than "spanking" ever could.


From: mwa angelic-AH

Well im not very good at drawing but i enjoy and its a great way to express myself ^_^


It's a Webkinz World!

We went to our local Hallmark store two days in a row this week for the special give-away of a free Webkinz for every purchase of ten dollars or more. For us, that meant buy one Webkinz, get one free! This was all part of Webkinz celebrating their two year anniversary. (If you haven't heard of them yet, or don't really know what they are, check them out here.)

My kids only started collecting Webkinz about seven months ago, but there were birthdays and quite a few holidays since then. That made gift giving pretty easy for some, and the collection of Webkinz grew by leaps and bounds. This is the most recent picture of the whole gang:

These little critters have lots of adventures, on-line and in real life. They've all enjoyed bouncing on the trampoline with my kids, and in the picture above they were getting ready for their guided tour of our house. The last two days have been all about Webkinz fashion. Two of my children and their friend created many new fashions for their animals, using scrap material, tape and safety pins. A runway was constructed from a game box lid elevated by potholders, and of course there was music to accompany the models. My husband and I got to be the judges. We had a slip of paper on which we had to write our score for each constestant and then hold it, as if on a TV show. Their creativity was inspiring! They crafted ties, hats, belts, sashes, "tail veils", vests, capes, and more! Here are two of the contestants:

At first I couldn't see the appeal of Webkinz, but thanks to my kids, I now see that Webkinz are much more than just another line of cute stuffed animals. To my kids, these toys are some of the many raw materials they use in their never-ending, often surprising, creative approach to enjoying life (and coincidentally learning too!)


Friday Fill-in #69

1. When I fell in love with my husband, it was 1982!

2. I love it when the flowers bloom and it heats up outside!

3. Oh no! The internet connection is down, I'll have to go to the library to use their computers, because I can't wait until it is fixed.

4. I can't decide which is the craziest tv show ever. I think pretty much all of the "reality" shows are crazy, and nothing like the reality I live in!

5. Cheese (melted into a fondue) and crusty bread make a great meal!

6. Someday I will successfully grow a garden.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to playing some games with my family. Tomorrow my plans include checking out a nearby farmer's market and Sunday, I want to make something delicious to eat with my fresh produce!


Delightful Day at Disney

We joined some friends of ours who were visiting from Arizona for a day at DisneyWorld. It was the best day we have ever had there. Typically, I dread the crowds, the heat, and the stress of trying to remain "centered" in such an overstimulating environment.

This time, though, the crowds were manageable. The weather was delightful, and my kids are old enough to not need a stroller. It was relatively easy to get around. I couldn't believe that we actually got to see everything we wanted, and even went on several rides more than once! I may even consider going to a theme park again. :)

Angelica's first time on Splash Mountain. She also conquered Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain all in one day, which is a pretty big deal for someone who previously feared the "kiddie coasters". ( There is much to be said for allowing our children to try things in their own time and their own way, but that could be a whole 'nother post!)

Joseph in his Goofy hat, waiting to see Monsters, Inc. show. We didn't end up seeing the show because Joseph changed his mind. He much preferred to go on rides with his friend. He had a blast blasting aliens on the Buzz Lightyear ride. It's like being inside a video game, where you ride a spaceship through and use your laser-gun to shoot at all the targets. I really liked it too, until my trigger thumb got tired. ;PAngelica and her friend with their faces painted, Genie and a butterfly.

While nature certainly isn't the main attraction at Disney, we were happy to see quite a few birds that enjoy all the commotion there. This little guy and his friends flew into the bushes right behind where I was sitting for a few moments. They were making all kinds of noise and jumping around like the groups of children throughout the park who couldn't wait to get to the next attraction. Then there were the great white egrets who kept eyeing our lunch as we watched the passengers on Splash Mountain come down the chute. We also got to see a group of sweet baby ducklings with their momma. Those sightings were just the dose of "reality" I needed to enjoy the day as much as I did.


My youngest son was intrigued by the idea that pickles start out as cucumbers. When we saw pickling cucumbers at our local green market last week, we decided to try our hand at making our own pickles.

I had saved an article about refrigerator pickles from Family Fun magazine a while ago, so that's where we got our recipe. My kids were somewhat surprised to hear of all the things that can be pickled, especially eggs. ;P I'm glad to say I know what a "brine" is now. It was so easy and fun, and the results were delicious. They're a little on the sweet side, but I'm sure you can tweak the recipe to your personal taste. Maybe we're ready to take on canning next.

Friday Fill-in #68

1. The last time I lost my temper I was stunned and instantly regretted it!

2. My propensity for weight gain is what I'm fed up with!

3. The next book I'd like to read is The Omnivore's Dilemma.

4. Not having any more debt is what I'm looking forward to.

5. If you can't get rid of the skeleton[s] in your closet, shine a bright light in there and they won't be so scary anymore!

6. The best thing I got in the mail recently was art trading cards.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having all my kids home. Tomorrow my plans include food shopping and laundry (yipee!), and Sunday, I want to alter a t-shirt as demonstrated over at Threadbanger!


Friday Fill-in #67

1. I love springtime in the morning and early evening!

2. Almost all *breakfast foods* are foods I love to eat for breakfast.

3. It seems I'm always searching for something for someone in this house, most often my youngest son's shoes.

4. Sleeping is a great way to end the day.

5. I think I can! (Chugga, chugga, choo-choooooo!)

6. I'd rather not disclose what I've been craving lately. ;)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to making up for the sleep I lacked last night, tomorrow my plans include checking out a nearby farmers market and Sunday, I want to do whatever I feel like doing!


If the President of the United States, many governors, mayors, and other leaders publicly proclaim the need to end child abuse, WHY is "spanking" still allowed in our country? WHY is it that the word "spanking" makes hitting smaller, more vulnerable people acceptable to some? WHY do we call ourselves one of the most advanced countries in the world, when many others have recognized the negative personal and social repercussions of hitting children and have outlawed it, before us?

This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and April 30th is National "Spank out Day". If you are interested spreading the word about more positive alternatives than spanking, as well as information to help prevent child abuse by supporting parents, check out the links I already included and these too:

* Ideas from the Blue Ribbons for Kids campaign

* An international resource for legislative change

* Resources for my Christian friends

I know from experience that one of the most difficult things to do, but which can be immediately helpful in preventing child abuse, is to speak up when you publicly witness situations where there is potential for abuse. Here are some tips from The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, which I hope will help in such a situation.

 Praise the parent or child at the first opportunity. Think of something positive to say and say it! It helps to hear others are supportive of you.

 Identify with the parent. You can let them know you’ve been there by saying, “My kids used to do the same thing when they were that age. Is there anything I can do to help?”

 Blame the environment. “This is such a bright and colorful place and filled with things for children to want to touch. I swear the supermarkets have really done a great job at creating a place where children just want to run around.”

 Offer assistance. “You seem to really have your hands full. Can I help you?” Or, “Can I find someone to come and help you with something?”

 Empathize with the child. “You don’t feel like sitting in that stroller anymore, do you? Well just a little longer and Mommy/Daddy will be all done and you can get out.”

 If you are concerned about the physical safety of the child, then offer assistance. For example, if a child is left unattended, stand by the child until the parent returns.

Any assistance you can offer a stressed parent will help them take a few seconds to take a deep breath and calm down.

When I witness mistreatment of others, especially children, I definitely need to take lots of deep breaths! I hope we can all learn to breath and be more peaceful!


Friday Fill-in #66

1. Tonight I saw lots of smiles.
2. Seeing Broadway shows makes me wanna dance!
3. Splitting a few appetizers between friends is the sensible thing to do, but we usually over-order anyway!
4. Maggy is someone I'd like to get to know better.
5. The smell of hyacinths reminds me so much of springtime!
6. I learned to not worry as much, and that made it all better.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my step-dad's 70th birthday surprise party. Tomorrow my plans include enjoying a visit with all the family that will be in town, and Sunday, I want to savor every last minute with our family before I shuttle them to the airport!


March Marching By

I don't know exactly how it happened, but over a month went by without me posting anything! I guess it was just one of those times when I feel more like observing and absorbing the world around me than contributing to it with my ramblings. ;P

Here's a few pix of some of what kept us busy in March.

Enjoying the view of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, from Hobe Mountain Observation Tower at Jonathan Dickenson State Park. It's windy up there on the highest point in southern Florida - 86 feet above sea level. The "mountain" is actually an ancient sand dune.

We hosted our first foster pet, Metta, for about a month total. We also hosted three ATC (Art Trading Card) trades.

We dyed eggs while hosting one of many sleepovers, including our friends visiting from Arizon.

We enjoyed the snow and sunrises over Long Lake in Bridgton, Maine, as well as some skiing at Shawnee Peak.

I also did lots of reading this month, on-line and "real" books. I really loved and was inspired by this book:
So......what is your favorite March memory?