Amy and Simon Blog

The Natural and Healthy Lifestyle we Discovered Along the Way…

18 years ago… July 24, 2017

Eighteen years ago, I had this brand new, sweet and healthy, blue-eyed, chubby little girl. After her first round of vaccines she stopped growing. At four months old I was told to start solids early to try to get her to gain weight; that just weakened her immune system and she got sick. She was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive soon afterwards. At this point she was so tired of throwing up after each feeding that she would nurse as little as possible and suck her fingers instead to avoid it.

On my own accord, I had began weeks earlier trying to change our families diet for the better to fix some issues. I took away dairy, then wheat, but it wasn't until I took out gluten that I noticed that the baby stopped throwing up after nursing. It only took three days of that and it was gone. After my daughter was no longer reacting to the food I ate, I worked several months to wean her from sucking her fingers and taught her to be a good little nurser. She was able to maintain her weight and slowly gain weight, she was weight checked every month and continued all her scheduled "well" visits. At a year old, she was only sixteen pounds, but she had good muscle tone and was content. She didn't start to gain weight at a more normal rate until I stopped vaccinating her after eighteen months old. She had a growth spurt years later, when I started detoxing her body of the vaccines.

At the same time my daughter stopped throwing up, I also noticed that our new gluten free diet had cleared my two year olds infant acne that he had since he started solids. This started the long journey to where I am today and the decisions I make about food, medicine, doctors, child- rearing, education, etc.

Over the years I have gone through times that I doubted what I had learned and I tried to just forget about it all, but there was always a physical or emotional side effect from someone making me go back to it. Believe me, it is not easy to be the odd one out, never fitting in, and having very little support.

So before you try to educate me with the latest research, please consider that I have already done the research and have seen the results myself. You can find research out there to support any outcome you would like to believe, but how do you know what is real? I live with the results everyday. Please don't try to dis-prove me, all you end up doing is discounting the last eighteen years of my life, with or without realizing it. We all try to do what is the very best for our children, I am no different. Please respect that and the things I do and I will do the same for you. I am all for knowledge and research, but do your own research, or at least research where the research is coming from. You'll be surprised at some of the sources and who funds specific research. I trust what I have learned from my own experiences as a mother and as a volunteer who has helped many new mothers. I've seen the results myself, not in theory.

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What’s a mom to do? June 24, 2015

The education system in America is broken, it must be. How is it that a child, a highly intelligent child, that just graduated high school with a true thirst for knowledge and whose main desire is to go to college to learn more, is unable go? And the reason being that, said child can’t go because the parents are new to the game, don’t have the prestigious contacts and the finances to send the child. How do we expect to build a better country if most of the people in the higher education system are there because they were told to go there, not because they want to be there?

As a parent, what do we want for our children? Ultimately we want them to be happy, right? And what do the experts say that makes up happy? Doing what we love. So it can be said that finding what you love and developing it your whole life would cause someone to have a happy life. Right? So what do you do when you have a child whose passion is learning? Well, you foster that passion like you would for the the child that has a passion for music, or soccer, or horses; you do what you can to make sure the child experiences all kinds of learning and continues to develop that passion.

This fostering of passions does not apply to only one child, but to all your children. Well, what if you have nine, like we do? Do you only do this for the first few? No, of course not. Well, at least, I thought not. But now I have to reevaluate. You see, it is my first child that has this passion for learning and now that he has graduated high school and I can’t give him the one simple thing he desires (to continue his education), I am thinking maybe we went about the whole thing wrong.

Maybe we shouldn’t have allowed him to explore his world to the extent he wanted to. Maybe we shouldn’t have let him just read the encyclopedias and dictionaries. Maybe letting him study a subject to his heart was content wasn’t a good way to go. We knew early on that this child was very intelligent. Using words well before his first birthday, singing recognizable tunes at a year, knowing his colors and counting soon after a year. By eighteen months he had over a 300 word vocabulary in two languages and had been speaking full sentences for months. I was told at that point I could easily teach him to read, but I didn’t. I waited until he decided he wanted to read. Which when he decided that, it was only a couple months before he was off and reading real books. But maybe that was the wrong approach.

Because he was so far a head and had this natural thirst for knowledge, we decided to homeschool him so he could develop this passion as far as he wanted. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do. When he took his first standardized test ever, he was not prepped or shown how to do well on it. He just took it and received a 97 battery (CAT test, 4th grade level, given at the end of what should have been 3rd grade). Maybe I should have prepared him, given him practice tests, shown him what to expect. Taught him concepts instead of letting him understand and learn them all himself.

When he asked for more formal schooling because he felt that other kids were starting to know more then he did, I found a hybrid classical school (two day a week) for him to give a try. With no formal schooling they put him in a grade based on his birthdate and a lower grade math. He did beyond well. On the Iowa testing that year he scored 13+ on all but maybe one area. He took the next year to do a few years of work so his grade would better reflect his level. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him do this. Maybe I should have let him stay where he was, or maybe I should have put him in a “real” school at this point.

Now he is ready for the high school years and we go with an accredited homeschool co-op, knowing full well, he wants to go to college so transcripts would probably be a good thing for that. He, of course, excels. His worth ethic and genuine interest in ALL of his subjects is nothing but commended by his teachers. He discovered his knack for speech writing and reciting those speeches, as well as his love of drama. The next year, the same, he continues to excel. Starts the year off with the PSAT, no prep and scores a 186. He decides at the end of the year to take the SAT so he can dual-enroll his junior year. He takes the SAT with no fancy prep course, studies for a week. Once again, as with all his standardized testing, no prep, he does well (1910 overall, 740 in writing). His junior year, he dual enrolls for science (college physics, receives an A) and designs his own English course as he continues to take classes through his accredited homeschool co-op. Starts the year with the PSAT, no prep, except for previous standardized tests, and gets just over a 200, qualifying for the National Merit Scholar honor. He applies for GHP (Governor’s Honors Program) in Communications and won at the high school level and represented our local public high school at the state competition. At the end of the year he takes the SAT again (increasing his overall to 2140, 740 now in Reading too) and a week later, with just that week to study, the ACT (31 overall, with a 36 in English).

At the beginning of his junior year he decided he wanted to attend a more intensive high school for his last year or two of high school. He had his goal set to get into one of the most prestigious in America, Philips Exeter Academy (PEA) in NH. Yes, a forty-six thousand dollar a year, high school. No he did not get in, most likely because they would have had to foot the bill, they knew very well that our family of ten (at the time) could not afford their school. But they did offer him a nearly full scholarship to attend their summer school that summer. Which we drove him to and once again he excelled. He took three classes, receiving passing grades in all and two with honors. He tried out for and received a role in the summer play and also participated in a sports program while there.

For his senior year, since PEA did not come through, we enrolled him in a local college prep high school. He signs up for four AP classes since he never had access to them before, as well as environmental science, public speaking, drama, chorus and tried to continue his weight training program on his own at school (which was stopped by the school within a few weeks unfortunately). He also decides to take two SAT subject tests at the beginning of the year (no prep, of course), one in English (710) and one in French (670) Not only did he excel in school and enjoy learning in all his classes, he also got to compete against other students from other private school in drama, chorus and model UN. He got a major role in the school play. He got to use his French for teaching kids at an international school, as well as participate in a French immersion weekend. He was inducted into the Thespian society, received an award for have over a 3.5 overall GPA. But did he graduate with honors? No. Should he have? You decide.

So here I am. I have this kid whose passion is to learn. He wants to go to college for Economics, a course he feel in love with his junior year. His love for it strengthened at Philips Exeter, where he received honors for it. He wants to work in the government, as a diplomat or what have you, and I can’t even send him to college. Although he fits the main description for most of the prestigious colleges, a true love of learning, he can not get into most of the colleges he has applied to. He can not compete with other high school graduates who have had eight or more AP classes, who are in the honor society, who have been trained to get good grades on the SAT, who have the connections and most importantly who have the MONEY. So I have to sit by and watch my son watch all his classmates from PEA and this prep school get into colleges he would like to go to and some he wouldn’t, with big scholarships that most of them don’t need and some of them DON’T EVEN CARE or appreciate. It breaks my heart to watch this.

We were so relieved when he would finally have some guidance for college, as we obviously knew nothing.  The college counselor at the high school obviously didn’t know what to expect with my son’s past experiences. He didn’t get into most of the colleges he applied to and the back-up school, he still remains on the waiting list. He wanted to go out of state; we were not told that would be nearly impossible to afford, so the colleges he did get in to are impossible to send him to. A $36,000 a year scholarship doesn’t mean much for a college with a $70,000 a year cost, for example. Since completing school my son has started applying to local public and private schools, giving up his dream for an out of state liberal arts school that excels in economics. Of course, he has gotten in with no problem, but all the merit based scholarships that he would have received are gone for the public ones and the private ones are still too expensive, even with the scholarships. The Hope scholarship will cover all of tuition, yes, but tuition on a public school is a fraction of the cost of everything else. And the Hope scholarship only covers a small portion of the private schools tuition. The bill will still be over $10,000 and my son can only qualify for a $5,500 unsubsidized loan. Our only option seems to be to do a gap year and see if he can qualify at these state schools for some merit based scholarships to help reduce the cost so he can pay the rest with an unsubsidized loan. A GAP YEAR for a kid who just wants to go to school and learn, truly, that’s all he wants.

So did I go about this all wrong?  Was letting him experience all ways of learning a bad thing?  Should I have put my child in the school system all along?  He would know how to take a test and get an even better grade. He would have all the classes his classmates had access to. He would have all the honors he deserves. His college counselor would have been better able to gauge where he could go to school. BUT would he have this genuine love of learning, the desire to really want to continue his education? That thing that all the top colleges are supposedly looking for.  Or would he have the same indifference towards college as most of his classmates?

I did my best to foster his passion, is that wrong? Now what?

What’s a mom to do?

 

Planting fruit trees and getting the garden ready… September 9, 2012

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From “Stepford” to farm… August 31, 2012

Filed under: Family,Healthy Living,Natural Lifestyle,Natural Living — Amy and Simon @ 2:27 am

So we finally did it, moved from the cookie-cutter neighborhood to this:

It’s been an interesting journey and will continue to be for many years…

Stay tuned…  Hope to share our stories with you soon.  If we can’t get away from the babies long enough to write a blog, we will try to share pictures as we try to plant a garden, raise some chickens, etc, etc, etc.  It is a funny site to see the ten of us trying to become farmers…

 

Hukin gives winning speech February 13, 2012

Filed under: Education,Family,homeschool — Amy and Simon @ 3:48 pm

Hukin gives winning speech

Monday, February 13, 2012 – 10:54am
Submitted by The Citizen

Fayette County Post 105 of The American Legion conducted their Oratorical Constitutional Speech Contest recently. Matthew Hukin, a Peachtree City home school student representing the Soaring Eagles was selected the winner from among six competitors. His winning prepared oration was entitled “The Constitution, our instruction manual.” Hukin, left, is congratulated by Denny Leander, Post 105 Commander. The oratorical contest encourages study of the Constitution, public speaking skills and the ability to think on one’s feet. Fayette County Post 105 meets at the Log Cabin in Fayetteville the second Monday of every month. Photo/Special.

 

Why My Big Family Is Not Overpopulating the Earth Share by Jennifer Fulwiler February 5, 2012

Filed under: Family — Amy and Simon @ 2:44 pm

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/why-my-big-family-is-not-overpopulating-the-earth/
BY Jennifer Fulwiler

Now that our fifth baby is seven months old, my husband and I are often asked: “So…are you done now?” I usually share my thoughts on how we approach the question of future children, which everyone understands is a long way of saying “No.” This is inevitably brings the conversation to an awkward end, my acquaintance mumbling something about not knowing how we do it and changing the subject to the weather.

But there is often an unspoken question that lingers in the air, one that I only hear articulated by people who are drunk or commenting anonymously on the internet, but that many others wonder silently:

Aren’t you worried about overpopulation?

It’s a fair question. Certainly if I’m doing something to contribute to a future that looks like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie, except with Fulwiler descendants in place of zombies, I should be called out about that. But I don’t think that I am, and here’s why:

1. Our lifestyle is necessarily simple

As Simcha Fisher has pointed out, big families tend to have low carbon footprints per person, usually because we’re broke and don’t travel much. For example, my rough calculations show that the average American family home has about 500 square feet per person; our family has 250 square feet per person, which means that each of us also consumes less in terms of energy used to heat, cool, and light the house. We naturally tend to re-use what we have rather than buying new stuff, simply to make our budgets work. The difficulty of getting everyone out of the house means that we don’t run around in our cars as much as other families, and air travel is also less common (did you know that a flight across the U.S. produces three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger?)

2.  It’s unlikely that all of our children would go on to have big families themselves

My husband and I feel like it’s the right path for us to have a relatively large number of kids, but that doesn’t mean that will be the right path for all of our children. Some might get married later in life, or have lower levels of fertility, or simply feel like a smaller family size is best for them. Also, as Catholics, there is the option of celibate religious life. When we talk to our children about their futures, we don’t assume that they’ll get married; we encourage them to remain open to the call to the priesthood or the consecrated life, in which case they would not have children.

3.  Self-sacrifice is a fundamental part of our belief system

I’m glad to see that living a green lifestyle has caught on in popular culture. But I think that the pro-environment messages in secular society are fighting a losing battle against a another dominant message, which is that life is about seeking your own personal happiness. And, specifically, we’re bombarded by the idea that the way to find happiness is to consume: Buy this tech gadget, get this car, own this house, take this trip to a foreign country, and then you’ll be happy. Like many families, our openness to a larger-than-average number of children was influenced by our Christian faith—but this is the same faith that also teaches that the very meaning of life is service and self-sacrifice. Of course we may not live that out perfectly all the time, but rejection of a consumerist, wasteful lifestyle is at the very core of our belief system.

4.  Population decline has serious downsides too

There’s a lot of discussion in popular culture about the downsides of increasing population levels. Fair enough, but we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we ignore the fact that declining population growth has serious downsides too. For one thing, it cripples economies: The number of children being born at any given time is directly correlated to a nation’s future prosperity. This is concerning, considering that by 2050 Europe’s population will experience a drop similar in magnitude to that which happened during the Black Death, and Japan is on track to lose 90% of its population size within four generations. Also, not having enough young people in the workforce to pay into the tax system has devastating consequences for the elderly. At best this would lead to widespread loneliness and poor standards of care, but at worst it would put pressure on senior citizens to end their lives through euthanasia to ease their “burden” on the already strained system.

5.  Populations tend to correct themselves as resources get more scarce

So what if everyone followed our same path and started having big families again? Wouldn’t that lead to mushrooming populations and horrible, Malthusian scenarios of mass starvation and chaos? I doubt it. When demographers began to study population patterns throughout history, they discovered that people are not rabbits. Even in societies that didn’t have access to modern contraception, people didn’t just breed and breed and breed, see people starving to death all around them, then keep breeding uncontrollably. (For example, during the Great Depression, birth rates dropped 26% between 1926 and 1936.) There have been plenty of horrible times in history when there weren’t enough resources to go around, but the cause can usually be traced back to political corruption, natural disasters, wars, etc., and not overpopulation per se. I’m not convinced that worldwide resource shortage due to overpopulation alone would ever come to pass, but even if it did, it would likely be a gradual process. Based on what we’ve seen throughout history, if people all across the globe suddenly had a difficult time affording even the most basic goods and fuels, you could expect to see a dramatic fall in birth rate.

6.  Every child has a Hope Footprint

There’s a tendency to judge our fellow human beings by the amount of resources they consume, and not factor in what they can give back to the world. Johann Sebastian Bach was the youngest of eight; Celine Dion was the youngest of 14. Thomas Edison was a seventh child, and Benjamin Franklin was his father’s fifteenth. If the brave bystander who pulled you out of a burning building was an eighteenth child, would you still wish that his parents had stopped at fewer kids? If the scientist who invents an energy source that renders fossil fuels obsolete was baby number 10 in her family, would she still be considered “overpopulation”? Yes, each new human will consume the planet’s resources; but each new person also carries infinite potential to change the world for the better. And I believe that every new baby’s Hope Footprint far outweighs his Carbon Footprint.

So, for those of you who have wondered, “Aren’t you concerned about the environment?” but have been too polite to ask, that’s my answer.

Yes, I share your concern about the future of our planet. And I understand that your heart is in the right place when you shudder at the thought that I’m not “done,” even though I already have five kids. You probably adhere to the worthy and admirable philosophy that people should not take more than they need, and perhaps see parents of large families as needlessly creating more consumers. You think of the earth’s resources as being a static number that only goes down, and worry that every new life that’s added to the world brings that number a little lower.

But the fact is that the amount and type of resources that it takes to support human populations is constantly changing. New, more efficient ways to grow food and create energy are springing up all the time, and it’s all thanks to human innovation. More people means more ideas, more workers, more love, and more hope. And so, I don’t see my children as adding to the problem; I see them as contributors to the solutions of the future. Who knows? One of them might be your future employee, your nurse, your neighbor, or your son- or daughter-in-law. And together, I believe we’ll make the world a better place.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/why-my-big-family-is-not-overpopulating-the-earth/

 

A Christmas Carol Dinner Theatre Event November 8, 2011

Filed under: Family,work/life balance — Amy and Simon @ 3:37 pm
Please join us for an afternoon or evening of Theatre Magic and a Delicious        Holiday Feast
As A Company of Friends Productions
In Association With City Tap of Peachtree City
Presents

A Christmas Carol
By Tammy Jane Barton and Gayann Truelove

A new vision of Dickens’ classic yuletide tale! Full of sentiment, powerful images, Christmas Carols and even some laughs! A Wonderful holiday event for the entire family.

Saturdays, December 10 and 17 at 1:00 p.m.
Sundays, December 11 and 18 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

At ~CITY TAP
273 Commerce Drive in Peachtree City
In West Park Walk on the corner of Hwy. 74 and Hwy. 54

Holiday Feast Included in Ticket Price
*Hot Rolls   * Tossed Salad w/Dressing   *Roast Turkey and Stuffing
*Buttered Asparagus   *Holiday Dessert   *Coffee, Tea or Ice Water

*There will also be a Cash Bar for our guests 21 years and older.

Seating is VERY limited and making reservations is a MUST!
Payment is NOT due at time of placing your reservation…Full payment is due at the door prior to show.
 

  THREE WAYS TO MAKE RESERVATIONS
1. Call 770-251-7611
2. Visit us online at www.fcft.net/ACOF <http://www.fcft.net/ACOF>
3. Reserve your table at City Tap in Peachtree City during regular business hours.