Thursday, May 26, 2011

How selflessly loving I am

So, for a very different sort of desert fun altogether, we bought my husband an Early Father's Day/ birthday present today. It was a very selfless gift and took a lot of sacrifice on my part. Or not... :)

As so many times in my haphazard flexible days, it started with a simple outing. We went peach picking at a local U-pick orchard, something that has become a yearly tradition for us. If you live in the area, don't miss the peaches - they are the best. The picking season will likely end next week, or so they told me. See, even if you hate me, you can glean some valuable information from my blog.

By the time we were done picking, it was past noon. Solomon's piano teacher lives on the way home, and since he was supposed to have lessons this afternoon I thought it would be nice to stop there on the way home, rather than having to back-track a 20-minute drive to her house. Only problem was, the lesson was not for another hour and a half. Suddenly, it struck me that my good friend L lived on the way to the piano teacher, and I figured she probably would like some peaches.

We stopped at her house, the girls napping in the van while we talked in front of her garage for a bit. I was admiring their totally awesome outdoor toys, such as kayaks and every kind of camping gear imaginable. Then I mentioned that I had thought about getting my husband a kayak as a joint gift for Father's Day/his birthday, but that we would not be able to transport it without a trailer so I had given up on the idea. She was like "Duh, you have a luggage rack on your van!", although she didn't quite say it like that. :) Then she pulled out an ad for Dick's Sporting Goods that had a bunch of kayaks on sale on the front page, some for as much as 50% off. Apparently, it was a special Memorial Day sale. You would think she works for the store, especially judging by their cool outdoor gear. 

We devised a plan whereby we would buy a kayak for my husband, as well as one child-sized one, and hide them at their house until Father's Day. I figured one adult and one child kayak would allow us to have one parent kayak with one child, while the other parent took the rest of the kids downriver a bit, so we could switch off every couple of miles and thus "leapfrog". Anna is just too young for me to leave her for a full day of kayaking by myself. Since we only have two kids who are strong enough to swim in a river, I figured one child-sized kayak was all we needed (or could afford, for that matter) since we'd be switching off. 

The only problem was that I don't just go out spending money on kayaks and gear without first getting my husband's permission. I had some money from translating sitting in my account, and the two oldest boys were willing to drain their savings accounts and pay 80% of the cost of their kayak. My friend L had coupons for Dick's worth $35. I still came up a bit short, for which I needed my husband's approval without telling him what we were getting. He is such a stinker. Anytime he knows I am getting him a present, he just guesses what it is before I even have a chance to buy it. It's uncanny. I would have hated being his mom and trying to hide Christmas presents from him as a child. (S, in case you are reading this, I'm pretty sure he searched for and found his gifts every year before Christmas. If he seemed surprised, it must have just been fake. I know he must be tired of living this lie any longer.)

So, because his second guess was that I was getting him a kayak (after guessing a new instrument first), I went ahead and admitted everything. After a lot of cajoling, he agreed to letting me buy the gift, and we took the kayaks home instead of hiding them for another month.

We pulled onto our street just as the school bus was leaving. It was nice to think that in addition to doing our daily school work (early this morning before leaving, as well as in the car), we had gone peach picking, hung out with our friend, and bought all this awesome gear. Our poor homeschooled kids truly are so underprivileged. Judging by their smiles, you would never guess how miserable lives they really lead! :) I for one love being able to live life WITH our children, rather than us having to share what we did all day over the dinner table or, worse yet, just veg in front of the TV together.

And oh, what a selfless, sacrificial gift on my part... because I totally don't enjoy kayaking on the many lakes and rivers in our beautiful state. Oh no, not AT ALL! ;)

As soon as we got home, we launched the kayaks in the pool for a little test run, and it was so much fun! We will be going kayaking on the Salt River this weekend, hopefully with our friends who got us into all this trouble to begin with. That's what happens when I make a quick stop to drop off something - L just likes getting me into trouble! We should all have reckless friends like her! :)

And yes, I will be packing a comb, just in case.


  1. Looks like FUN!!! Your poor underprivileged kids! LOL :D Whatever will become of them...learning all these life skills and having fun, as well as doing their academics???!!!

    They're gonna grow into decent law abiding citizens who are smarter than everyone else and take over the world!!! ROFL!!!

    Sorry, I was having too much fun with that I think! Seriously, people are just too concerned about what everyone else is doing. ;D

  2. I learnt to just say 'maybe' with a blank face for every guess :D but I suppose kids make it a little harder! My husband is terrible that way, but he is good about, when it's coming up to a holiday of some form, not asking any questions, simply setting an upper limit if there needs to be one, and even avoiding looking at his bank statment before the holiday incase he sees the store name (he asks me to look at it if he needs to)

    As far as little things go, We set aside a small amount of money for myself each week from the budget so I needn't ask his permission for everything, it feels good not to stress or worry about whether I can buy something small like a CD or hairbow, which is what I used to do. I would never buy ANYTHING for myself, even things I needed (a new pair of shoes as my old ones fell apart) because I worried we didn't have the money. I'll get used to it I suppose :)

  3. Wow~ those look fun! My sister-in-law just bought one last week. And then we saw the Dick's ad and showed her and I think she was a little disappointed. They were such a great deal there!
    Your pool looks awesome!
    And Yes~ a vacation to Maine is a must :) It's beautiful here in the summer!!!

  4. You have a beautiful Arizona backyard.

  5. Do you feel like you're treated as a child since you have to ask permission to spend money?

  6. Wow, your pool is very big and looks like tons o' fun!! Perfect time of year to buy kayaks - what a great gift your whole family can enjoy. Question - does your husband still find his Christmas presents early and then fake surprise on Christmas morning? Just wondering. Some boys (my hubby included) never truly grow up! :)

    And Zsuzsanna, I think it is great that you homeschool your kids. You seem to enjoy it and do a fantastic job. But please, please stop assuming that children who attend school outside the home are somehow underprivileged and unfortunate.

    I know I have mentioned it before, but our two girls attend a public school, and this is a decision my husband and I made after much, much praying, and we feel it is the right one for our family. My chldren are done with school at 2:30 in the afternoon, and my hubby is home by 3:30, so we have many hours of the day to spend together, not just a couple hours in the evening. And nothing wrong with sharing stories over the dinner table - it is one of several highlights of our day. And for the record, we don't "veg" out in front of the TV at night either. Our kids are allowed to watch only one hour of TV per week.

    We believe that teaching our children how to balance responsibilities like school and family time is an important part of stewardship. And trust me, we manage to sneak in plenty of time together. It is just a matter of balancing our time. But we have never missed out on anything we want to do because of school. The kids have plenty of days off during the year, we make the most of our weekends, and of course summer vacation is coming very soon! I know how quickly time flies (how I wish I could grab it and slow it down), so every minute with my family is precious.

    I am glad for you that are able to enjoy so much time with your family. How quickly they grow!

  7. my husband has the same gift. You could wrap a chocolate bar in the biggest box and he would be able to guess it. I know he doesn't peek because I hid the gifts for him at our friend's house. we have the same policy about the money, I ask first before making any purchases that are not in the grocery budget. He also gives me a limit for birthday or christmas presents and it works well for us.

  8. my husband is the same way but he also can't stand to not tell me what he bought and he's way worse than the kids about trying to get me to let them open christmas presents early.

  9. Question: What kind of pool is that? It does not look like a traditional in-ground swimming I wrong?!

    Fun time! Hope you enjoy your gift!!! :)

  10. I'm sure the kids on the school bus are happy too.

    When I see kids getting off a school bus, they are laughing and chattering.

  11. What a fun idea. The boys are so cute! I laughed at your last post, you are BRAVE to load up your children and take them to the dessert. What a funny story! :) I remember when we were there, visiting you guys, and Pastor A said, "don't you just love the vegetation here?" and Chad and I looked around and were like, "what vegetation." LOL!!!!! You are ambitious. Well, wish you could stop by here on your way home from peach pickin'!! Take care. Tell Pasor A thank you for his amazing preaching. We have grown and learned much!!!


  12. p.s. I am sorry for all the hateful comments you recieve, as well as questions that some anonymous coward is trying to pose as innocent. Like "do you feel like a child"....................

    Anonymous~ Zsuzsanna is being respectful to her husband by being careful with the money he works hard to earn. She is not a child, nor treated like one just because she respects him enough to see if that was okay with him. If you are married, you ought to understand this.

  13. To clear up two points:

    (1) Unless we are in a "don't spend any money without talking to me first" situation, I don't ask my husband about almost any purchases. He knows that I am frugal. If I am buying clothes, shoes, books, etc he knows I need them and they are a good deal, otherwise I would not be buying them. My problem area is cookbooks - I seriously cannot get enough of them! For something like that (not necessary, just something I enjoy) I would not ask his permission first. Either we have the money, or we don't, in which case I would never buy it.

    For a big purchase like kayaks, I will obviously consult with him first and get his permission. I expect him to earn enough money for us to live off, and he expects me to be careful with what he provides. Is that so radical?

    I think it is funny how some people (like anon above) think that I should be able to spend infinite amounts of OUR money indiscriminately. But if I said that my husband gets to spend however much money he likes, whenever, on whatever new toy he wants (not that he does), those same people would be outraged and call him a selfish jerk. So wives asking their husband is belittling them, but the husband better check with the wife first before spending large amounts of the money he earned?

    My husband always asks my opinion before spending larger amounts, and he really values my input and often takes my advice.

    I wonder if the anonymous haters do not factor in "love" into a functional marriage because their own marriage is lacking that ingredient? If my husband told me "no" about an extravagant purchase, he would not do so just to be mean. He would do so only if he thought it would be in our best interest not to spend that money, because he LOVES his family. If I want something that he does not give his blessing on, I don't go around with a grudge because I LOVE him and realize how hard he works to provide for us.

    (2) Homeschooling: come on, everyone. Nowhere in this post did I say school kids are unhappy, or underprivileged. I said I was glad that we got to spend more time as a family, and nobody can deny that fact. I gave "reconnect at the dinner table" as the good example, since obviously not everyone pops their kids in front of TV every night. Our kids do more fun stuff, because they have more time. Today, for instance, we went kayaking down the Salt River for a couple of hours. It was fantastic!!!! We got home just past noon, and the kids are still swimming outside in our pool. The kids that just got dropped off on the bus for "early release Friday" (which sounds like they were serving time to me) didn't have near as much fun, I am certain, unless they just really love going to school more than outdoor adventures. As far as I know, kids are always THRILLED to be on vacation, as opposed to being in school. We just have tons more time to do day trips and short vacations.

  14. Unrelated to all the questions, PLEASE tell me you have life jackets for the kids. The family pool is one thing, but I wouldn't let a child within spitting distance of those kayaks and a river without them.

  15. Here's what my kids did at school one recent day:

    --made masks out of paper machete for their upcoming play
    --made models of the animals they are studying out of paper machete
    --worked at their school store selling pencils and other school supplies
    --watch baby chicks hatch out of their eggs
    --watched a magician perform at assembly
    --practiced singing a song they will be singing at an upcoming concert
    --dressed up in period costumes and acted out skits they had written themselves

    I don't know what school was like when you were being educated, but kids today have lots of fun at school. More than I ever did!

  16. What a thoughtful, fun gift- and it's great that the kids are getting old enough to join in, too!

  17. I was way off on this one. It's life jackets, not the nap. *sigh*

  18. Ha, I seen that free jinger site. What a bunch of wack jobs! Most of what they say is so untrue, its laughable! They read into every little sentence a "fundie" writes. They hate you for being hateful lol! They go on and on about hate, but all they do is spew hate about people they don't like. They are a bunch of bitter people who seem to have no life, if it wasn't for picking apart every post of yours, and turning it into something eles they would have nothing to do! They act like 14 year old girls making fun of peoples hair, weight, dress, even peoples children! Then they have the gull to try and tell some people how a Christian is to act! Lol!!! Don't waste anytime there, unless you want a good laugh at how ignorant and stupid people can be!

  19. Your poor children just look like they are having THE worst time ever! You and your husband should be locked up for "making" them have fun...shame on you! :)

    I am so glad that you also cleared up the "concern" that anonymous had...surely ALL married couples should discuss finances before making large purchases?!

    Such a cool fathers day gift! Hope you guys have lots of fun using them!

  20. Anonymous- to bad your not there to see any of that fun stuff your kids do. The teachers you hardly know will get most the time of your children's childhood. They also will teach them all sorts of stuff you don't know about, and you won't unless you sit in their classroom all day, every day. Also I read and hear all the time about teaches who are abusive or molest kids. Just because they are teachers doesn't mean they can be trusted completely. Why can't Zsuszanna talk about what she likes about homeschooling, without people giving a bunch of reasons trying to prove why public school is ok?

  21. I was the one who mentioned the word "underprivileged", not Zsuzsanna. And the word was actually directed towards homeschoolers. As a fellow homeschooling mom I get that a lot. People assume that homeschoolers don't get as many privileges as public or private school kids. At least to me they do. I was totally being facetious! Sorry for getting you in more "hot water" Zsuzsanna :D

  22. Latraviata~

    Since you have an obsession with me and Zsuzsanna for some odd reason, and it bothers you so badly, that I mis-spell a word on her blog, I just had to come over here to clear it up for you! I do realize dessert is a sweet, have you heard of a typo? Even if I did mis-spell it, are you the spelling police? You say how it is scary I should I throw my children in to the public school system, because that is where I learned to spell? You say I am stupid and can't spell so I should not be teaching my children, but the public school does such a great job huh? Did they teach you to go around criticizing people who mis-spell, and how to be cold and mean? Anyhow... I didnt mis-spell this time, just a typo but for all the other mis-spelled words you are obsessive over, well you can thank my public schooling for that! lol! I am not being rude either, I am just really tired of people that have nothing better to do than be hateful and cruel. I mean you are the one who was all bent out of shape about a recipe I posted and had to let me know how gross it looked. You have a real problem!

  23. I just want to know how you make a mask using a paper machete!

    On first glance asking for your husband's permission to spend money does sound archaic. But, as Zsuzsanna knows, I am not a Christian and I ask my husband's permission for 'big ticket' items and he does the same. For little things for myself I save up the money and buy them and he is none the wiser, and like Zsuzsanna, I will buy things for myself and the kids either on sale or at an opshop. For big items we will talk about whether we want them or need them. Our last big ticket item was a new TV (sorry, bad family here LOL) which my husband really, really wanted. I thought the one we had was fine so I made him find one sale. So, who was repressing who in that situation? ;)

  24. Oh for the love of are far too defensive of your homeschooling efforts. It smacks of insecurity or superiority. Not all children thrive in a homeschool situation just the same as not every child thrives in a public school. There are benefits and drawbacks of BOTH situations. To suggest that your children's every need is catered to through home school is just as obtuse as someone claiming public school can meet every need their child has.

    Every family is different, just as every child is different and every parent is different. Just because you feel something works for your family doesn't mean it will work for everyone.

    You're in for a big fall, lady. A big one.

    Enjoy your superiority while you can.

  25. My husband and I share an account--he works, I cannot, due to a disability. I have a credit card on which I buy petrol, groceries, and any secret gifts, and we pay it off at the end of the month. However, we have an agreement that any major purchase be discussed between us. I don't have my own account, Zsuzsanna does--and before the question is asked, the lack of a bank account of my own doesn't make me feel like a child, no. Each couple has their own system, and no one has the right to question anothers. Long, long story short, it's up to each couple.

    I'm sure the children were properly looked after in the car, in the pool, and will be when they take the kayaks on the river. Everyone just relax.

  26. Now how in the world is a wife consulting her husband before making a large purchase something wrong? Why should she feel like a child about that? That is just about the stupidest question i've seen here and if you're married (anon poster of that comment) I feel very sorry for your spouse.

  27. @Jessica:

    Not everyone is a great speller, no matter how hard a teacher tries, some people just can't grasp some concepts. Apparently you are one of those people who can't spell. So yes, it is scary that a person who can't spell is going to be teaching her kids to spell. They'll write down a word incorrectly but because you don't know that it's the wrong way to spell that word, you'll say that it's correct. Get that?

    Just like if you don't know how to do simple math, you'll be trying to teach your kids and you won't be able to because you yourself are unable to grasp the concepts.

    Do homeschooled kids have to take standardized tests in order to graduate from 8th grade or high school? Or is it just up to the parents to say that their kids have passed all the required tests?

  28. Anon 5:11pm

    Hav u ceen howz da kidz is spellin theze dayz?

    I'm sure a few small spelling errors that were made by Jessica will not even close to harming her children. For crying out loud.

    If it's not one thing it's another.

    Jessica, don't let them bother you so much. You are doing just fine

  29. Anon @ 5:11pm, you might want to check your writing skills before throwing stones. Clean up your own house before complaining about another person's.

    And homeschool laws vary in each state.

  30. Kayla, I'm all for home schooling if a parent wants to and that's the best choice for their family. But you realize that some parents also abuse and molest their kids, right? Some of those are home schooling parents.

  31. Anonymous- you shouldn't criticize home schooling when you know so little about it. Yes home schooled kids have to take test just like public school kids. Home schooled kids almost always score higher on them also! 9 out of 10 spelling bees are won by home schooled kids. Guess what if you are teaching your kids spelling, the home school program you use will have the words spelled correctly in the teachers book or worksheets. So even if you don't know some words it doesn't matter, your child will still learn them correctly. I have never met anyone who can spell everything, and if it wasn't for spell check, I'm sure your comments would have more spelling errors. Get a life and stop the obsession of peoples typos or misspelled words.

  32. How fun! My husband can't surprise me either. I always wanted to be a detective so I tend to figure stuff out. Tee hee....

    The trick is to never ever give any type of hint. NONE

  33. @ Jessica, I don't mean to be mean. I just need to point out that mis-spell is not correct. You can either choose to "spell wrong" or "misspell".

    It seems like your homeschooled kids will miss the opportunity to learn another language. It's a pity, but in your case, you should focus on teaching them English.

    After reading your words here, I feel sorry for your children. After all, English is my third language and I understand that I would do a better job teaching your kids English than you do.

    I was taught in public school in Europe.

  34. @Kimmie - I had to laugh at how completely accurate your comment was :) Texting is def having a detrimental harm on the next generation(s)!

  35. You said : "See, even if you hate me, you can glean some valuable information from my blog." I hang out at the Free Jinger site you know I am one of THOSE wackos but I still enjoy reading your blog. It gives me some insight into your culture/religion and I love learning about things like that. I also get useful ideas on frugality and recipes. I disagree with lots of your ideas but I do love a good debate and I hope I am never (either here or at Free Jinger) impolite or mean.

  36. Izabella, did you learn how to be so humble in school, too, or did it come naturally? Maybe you should consider homeschooling YOUR children so you can pass that great attribute on to them.

    Anon with the paper machetes, like someone else mentioned, it's not that your kids necessarily do less fun stuff every day. It's just that you are not there to experience it with them like homeschoolers are. These years are so short, and someone else is getting to enjoy your children during most of their awake time.

    Katy-Anne, that is a common, but no less silly argument. Kids in public school still live at home at night and on weekends, so they are exposed to their parents whether or not those parents are abusive. Homeschooling is hard work. So is being home all day with kids even if they are not taught anything because they are loud, make messes, break things, etc. - Kids are sent to school to give parents a break, so deadbeat parents are the first to want to drop their kids off.

    Statistically, the kids are MUCH more likely to be molested by people who are NOT their parents, so keeping them home is safer statistically.

    Misc. commenters (no time to look up who said what),

    - All kids, as well as all adults, were wearing life jackets in their respective sizes.

    - Our pool is a regular pool as far as I know. The inside lining is made from "pebbletech" (you may want to check on the correct spelling for that with Izabella).

    - We used to have a joint account. After my identity was stolen some years ago, we switched to it being in my husband's name only. I only have my own account so I can cash checks with my name on them.

  37. Okay..a few things:

    1) Thanks for the reply about the pool. I think it is BEAUTIFUL, that's why I was asking. My parents have a pool that my son and I have the luxury of enjoying each summer. (I am, in fact, a school teacher! lol)
    2) I think that it is COMPLETELY normal to "ask your husband for permission" when you are about to make a large purchase. I do the same thing. Neither of us spend money without first talking to one another about it. I think it is called POLITE and RESPECTFUL. It certainly is not because I am a child. I'm sure it's the same in your case.
    3) NEWSFLASH: Everyone makes spelling mistakes! Thank goodness for spellcheck, right?! However, it doesn't catch everything. Jessica, I read your blog too and thoroughly enjoy it! Grammer and all!!! You have a beautiful family!
    I guess that's all. Due to my husband's extensive medical history, we both work and have to have health insurance. I am a teacher in the public school system, but I also will congratulate and "take my hat off" to mother's who homeschool their children. It's certainly not my business what you do. However, it's very clear that you, (and Jessica), have done a wonderful job! Keep up the good work! ;)

  38. "Statistically, the kids are MUCH more likely to be molested by people who are NOT their parents, so keeping them home is safer statistically."

    That's not really true. Statistically, children are most likely to be molested by a blood relative, which includes their parents. If a homeschooled child is molested, there are no adults to intervene. I'm not against homeschooling--I have done it in the past with my children and they received a GREAT education--but there are definitely drawbacks.

  39. I don't mind the misspelled words as we all hit the wrong key from time to time. For me it is the conjugating incorrectly "I seen" instead of "I have seen" or "I've seen". That will make you appear backwards and uneducated more than anything.
    I have homeschooled and sent my children to public schools. To say one is superior to the other is unfair. Children learn in different way. My youngest is special needs and it would be wrong for me to withdraw him from a place where he receiveds therapies that I could not provide. Blanket statements are almost always meant to be inflammatory.

  40. @Mrs. Anderson looks like a fun time! Didn't realize that you all had a pool, what fun! Course in Arizona I guess it is almost a must have during the summer.

    @Jessica if you are reading the comments on here still, please don't let the bitter people on here dis-courage you! I enjoy your blog, and would love to continue reading it! I know the comments can get annoying for the FJ-ingers! They harped on me for homeschooling too, mostly for the same reasons that I am not ejukated :0)enough to do a good job. The saddest thing to me is they sure like to pick on our Hubby's and call them "controlling" and "creeps". They are most likely jealous they don't have a real man! I pity them:-( I am sure your hubby is like mine, the best.... for you!!!

  41. Oh, I always ask my husband before I make big expenses. It wouldn't be right for me otherwise. There has even been times I've returned stuff because my husband wasn't happy with a purchase. He works hard at work so I'm not gonna abuse the money.

    You're doing awesome, Zsuzsanna. :) A true Proverbs 31 woman.

  42. Bobbin Aubins

    They are most likely jealous they don't have a real man! I pity them:-(

    Really? Jealous?
    Define a real man, what exactly do you mean?
    More body than brains perhaps, a man I have to submit myself to?
    An uneducated sod who cites bible verses by heart?

  43. Dear haters,

    would any of you deny that if my husband took money that ***I*** earned without checking with me first and spent it on something totally unnecessary that he would actually totally love to have himself, that you would get upset and call him selfish? Wouldn't you say that he shouldn't spend "my" money without asking me first?

    We actually don't think of it in those terms - whatever money comes in is "our" money, and I am the one who spends 95% of what is left after we pay the bills.

    And - why do you care how I feel about our arrangements, anyway??!?

    How many spouses have you gone through with your "liberated" ideas?

  44. Freejinger is a group of bitter, unhappy people who exist only to attack people who are different from them. They claim to be liberal but are truly only out to tear others down so that they feel better. If they spent half the time on self-improvement that they spend bad-mouthing other people, imagine what they could accomplish.


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