31 October 2008

My Dining Room Hardwood Floor

This picture was taken behind the table featured a few posts ago. When we first moved into this house, we quickly discovered that every carpet in the house REEKED of dog urine. I don't know how, but we never noticed it on our tours, perhaps because we never sat on the floor. Next time I buy a house, I will leave the a/c off for an hour and roll on the floor, sniffing in the corners as part of the inspection. Yes, I will. I'll also interview the neighbours and ask them what they think about the area. That saved us from buying a beautiful old place with lots of bedrooms and huge cement lions, gates and the whole works. The school next door let us know that well, the police try, but kids like to hang out and cause trouble over there... Usually when someone nicely tells you um, THEY sure wouldn't buy a house there... you know it's probably not going to work out well. After we moved in here, we ripped up the carpet in most of the rooms and this is about the quality of the hardwoods underneath throughout the house. This is the quality... AFTER cleaning and scrubbing. This is as "clean" and shiny as it gets. We had a lot of gum and paint and cigarette butts under the carpet and padding. And a lot of sandy dirt! I don't know how, even with diligent vacuuming, floors could be that filthy underneath. I don't think I ever want wall-to-wall carpeting again. It hides far too many sins.

30 October 2008

The Artist At Work.

Woodjie looks a little tired in this short clip, as well he should. He had two therapy sessions today and was just finishing a play-doh and paint marathon as well. He enjoys play-doh very much although he seems to think it doesn't taste particularly good. Neither do the raw noodles I give him to make impressions in the dough. Wagon wheels are a lot of fun to push in sideways and look at the patterns after we remove them. Woodjie made a beautiful painting for me, although I think he enjoyed painting himself more than the paper.

Ladybugs!


If you eat prepackaged foods at all, you may want to try the Healthy Choice portable kind that steams the rice. I found it AWFUL. I won't buy it again. But the container is the PERFECT size for ladybug-catching. It has nice BIG holes on top, but not quite so big that your ladybugs can escape. Freak your children out as they watch the ladybugs poke their faces out of the holes in a vain attempt to escape. Blush as you attempt to explain why the nice ladybug is giving her friend a piggyback ride. Yes, Elf, I think you're right... they really DO like each other. We also looked online and found out that ladybugs eat aphids and are good for roses. That's where we'll let them go when we're done with the entertainment.

29 October 2008

Stanley Goes to Liberty!

We took Stanley into Liberty, Missouri, on this adventure. See our travels to the Jesse James Bank Museum and the town square right here! We had a lot of fun hosting Stanley. I think he should have arrived back at his home by now, or will very soon.

28 October 2008

Neo-Nazi Plot to Kill Obama.

Welllll... what is UP with that. I know there are some kooks out there. (wait. Is "kook" a racial term? Hang on... wikipedia... AH! Good. It's a "pejorative" for a skateboarder. I think it's safe. I'll leave it. I coulda sworn "kook" was a bad word, but I'm tired of saying "crazy" because there are lotsa nice mentally ill people who aren't so... kooky. Ok, on with the post.) Actually I'm surprised some doo-doo head hasn't thought of doing something like this before.

The thing is...

As I read this, I think something to myself. I'm wondering who these people are that join stuff like that. And howcome? Weren't people friendly enough at their local church / synagogue /mosque/ whatever that they feel like having some fellowship SOMEWHERE and those are the only pickin's left? It isn't like people wake up one day and go... "AH! The sun is shining brightly, the birds are tweeting in the trees, and I think I'll tattoo a swastika on my right arm." Something went wrong somewhere in their proper socialization. Maybe they weren't homeschooled or had all their vaccinations or something (j/k, but you get my point).

And the plot...? I mean, I'm glad they came up with such a STUPID plot, but it was still a plot. I think the people around that area need to know which school was targeted and a little about why these people have this beef against black people. I mean, I'm guessing they have one or why else would they do this? And is there anything that can be reasonably done about it by just regular ol' people?

I think regular ol' people ought to know what's going on. They targeted a SCHOOL? And which children would have been in danger? Hey, just because your kids might not go to a "black" school doesn't mean you shouldn't be up in arms (ok not literally) that this is being kept back from the public and their right to know things that pertain to their personal safety and that of their CHILDREN.

And...? Why is hardly anyone blogging on this? What does it mean if (if) Obama is elected? I mean, I hope he isn't, but I'd also like to know what to expect from people like this. Oh! For that matter, would we have riots in mostly "black" areas if he is not? I've seen other blogs say YES, but I don't know if it's like a stereotype thing or a knowledge these people have of those areas and that's why they say that.

OK, are you seeing stuff on this little news tidbit and what do you think about it?

My Living Room.

You don't see the couch or coffee table I'm standing by, but this is my living room. Someone likes me a whole lot and got me some flowers for my very favourite table. I blog from over there on the right. Yes, in a rocking chair. I got it from my neighbour for $25 and it's great. We keep thinking of buying office chairs, but then we never actually do. A long time ago, the lamps you see to the left used to have monstrous shades. These originals have regrettably been lost. (Woo-hoo! I mean, boo-hoo!) So I updated them. The windows used to have buggy cigarette-smoke-stained "valances" and three bare bulbs with some glass "thing" over 'em hung from the ceiling over this table. Also updated ($). I tried to disguise the computer area a little bit with the huge plastic plant from Wal-Mart. See? Now you don't notice my printer or the other things that keep piling on my desk. Ok. Tour's over.

It's a Major Award!

From Maddy! Thanks, Maddy! I want to pass this one on to my buddies: First, to Julie. I've learned so much from her blogging about her struggles in adopting two cuties from Haiti and parenting a special-needs child more than qualifies. Next, Terry. She's my special iron-sharpens-iron "chatting about things" friend who encourages me to think things through. Then, I've got to tell you about Mrs. Darling. She keeps me accountable on the weight loss boards even when I don't wanna be. I'm going to be posting a loss this week, ya know, in part because of her candor and inspiration. It's always good to blog with someone who is going through similar struggles. Now I know some of you ladies DON'T do memes. It's kewl with me if you don't pass these on. In fact, sometimes it's nice just to get something without any obligation to do anything with it. Just a little "thinking of you" to perk up your day.

27 October 2008

Homeschooling in 2012?

What will the laws in YOUR state look like four years from now? From Spunky Homeschool:

"Something that might affect homeschoolers in a future administration would be the passage of national testing and standards. In the past, homeschoolers have successfully fought and won exemption from such requirements, but with every new administration comes new uncertainties.

Who the next president appoints as the the Secretary for the Department of Education will tell us quite a bit about their priorties and the adminstration's education agenda. Both Obama and McCain currently oppose national standards. That doesn't mean that we're safe from national standards, the pressure on the next president to accept national standards is mounting. "

You know, I was really hoping to be a purist and vote third party. But the more I hear on the homeschool blogs about Obama's being an NEA favourite for a reason, the more I think it's time to bite the bullet and vote McCain. Because McCain is just a little less unpalatable than Obama. Really the clincher for me was some arguments Terry had been putting forth for months combined with Spunky's recent posted "response" from the Obama campaign about where he stands on homeschooling:

"Q. Do you support home schooling?

A. Barack Obama respects the decisions reached by some parents to home school their children, provided those parents are conforming to the laws and regulations set forward by their states governing home-based instruction."

Holy crap, Batman! You've gotta be kidding. The parent's "right" to homeschool is determined by the state, and he'd be OK with states like Vermont and Massachusetts continuing to stomp on PARENTAL RIGHTS to educate their children as they see fit?? Or it's OK with him that parents in New York have to submit stuff to the state QUARTERLY and provide lists of all curriculum materials used? AND an annual "norm-based" assessment? That's just nuts, considering the number of public high school graduates who can't read well.

Side rant: You know who determines the "norms," don't you? Well, it isn't me or my children... I've seen how they scan for children to be models in these tests and it's flat-out racist. To imagine, they wouldn't let MY kid help form one of these testing standards JUST because I was white and had been to college and/or my children aren't signed up for handouts. As if that has anything WHATSOEVER AT ALL to do with whether my child or yours reads at grade level. Racist. Classist. STUPID.

Really, when you handpick students to be just what you want them to be, you're going to get just the result you want. I mean, why don't you just fill in the bubbles yourself with a number 2 pencil if you're gonna be that picky? I haven't decided if this "national norming" is an insult to me because I'm white and *happen* by the absolute grace of God Almighty to do well financially, or if it's an insult to the other races out there on God's green Earth that their races are singled out for special "helps" on these idiotic tests. And last I checked 'round my house, all children aren't neurotypical. Here I have Woodjie getting LOTS of help from the state and do you know how often he speaks? I haven't heard a word from him yet today, and usually we might hear ONE before "nigh nigh" at bedtime. Mayyybe if he's feeling chatty, we might get two "done"s after dinner. HE is supposed to do well on a stinkin' "nationally normed" test? The pigs. Would I have to justify that "Woodjie doesn't talk and therefore can't read aloud well enough to master state standards of proficiency," quarter after quarter with them if I lived there??? OK, another day. But a thought in my head that isn't quite formed yet. When I think it out all the way, I'll let you know.

In any event, do you see one party more than another as being more homeschool-friendly in this election? Um, and not just the Presidential election, either. There are, like, ya know, so TOTALLY more people to vote for than just the president. Realllly. FYI. :]

Jesse James Farm - Souvenirs


Each of us picked a souvenir in the gift shop. Guess which one is mine??

25 October 2008

Third in State!


Congrats to Patrick for placing third in the state at the 2008 Missouri Grade State Championship in Columbia, Missouri!! He went with his friends from the school's chess club.

The Jesse James Farm and Museum in Kearney, Missouri.

**


***************This tour and museum is worth it. Kids under eight are *free* as well. The tour begins with a wonderful short historical movie about Jesse and his older brother, Frank James. Then you can wander about the exhibits featuring the boots and feather-duster Jesse James was using when he died. His wallet. His letters written under a pseudonym. Some coins and saddles. BTW, *real* outlaws have flowers embroidered on their saddle blankets. Yes, they do.

Jesse James Farm - Outhouse.


Brr... this is not a place I'd want to have to go to the bathroom in the winter. Fifty feet from the house in the wind in the middle of the night. Bleck, but I wouldn't want my home to smell of "chamber pot," either. It isn't like Jesse's mom could have lit candles to disguise the smell, either. Or used air fresheners. Thank God for indoor plumbing, would ya?

Jesse James Farm


You can take pictures and touch things, but they ask you to please not sit on the furniture. A chamber pot and other "personal" items are still around the house. It seems that the work is not done well inside or that they ran out of money halfway through. Possible, as our guide informed us the back porch was JUST replaced as a child fell through. I guess that's how they know when to make repairs. The inside is dusty but the overall value of the tour is such that I'd still recommend it. In the second picture, you can see the "original" sides of the house and the window next to the door is the one the Pinkerton people threw a bomb into the home, fatally wounding Jesse's stepbrother and making it necessary for his mother to get her arm amputated. The guide told us that this was probably because the mom had her arm around her baby and the blast came and got him full in the chest as she was holding him. I didn't take pictures inside because everything is out for touching and Elf and Emperor... I was afraid someone would bump into something and my hands needed to be free.

Jesse James Farm - Slave Cabin.







This, unlike the farm which was carefully restored using the original materials whenever possible, is a reproduction of a slave cabin that was on the premises. It would have been absolutely miserable to spend a winter in these conditions. There is no insulation and no chinking between the boards. The shack is about the size of a medium-sized modern bathroom.

Jesse James Farm - View From the Creek.


Jesse James Farm - Running About.




We were permitted to take pictures just about everywhere except inside the museum. The boys ran up and down the paved path from the house to the museum and tired themselves out. Elf and Emperor had races and rode their "horses" all over. There were shouts of, "I'm Jesse and you're Frank!" heard from all about. Eventually poor Emperor became exhausted and sat down to rest.

Jesse James Farm - Nature.




This place isn't too far from where we live, but we found amazing numbers of daddy longlegs, ladybugs, birds, butterflies and other animals. We wandered down to the creek about twenty yards from the farm where Jesse and Frank must have played as boys and found this snake. It's going sideways across the picture and is near a big stick. It was only about a foot long, but an exciting find. One could easily imagine the James boys taunting snakes with sticks and leaves as we did over this bridge. Nearby were several very small fish or tadpoles. It was hard to tell which as as wet as the ground was that day, we didn't want to slip into the creek because we got a closer look. As I was buying some souvenirs, a staff member led the boys out to pet a woolly caterpillar. I'm thinking they would LOVE if Dad were to buy some of the moderate acreage near the James farm that is for sale right now. The countryside is simply gorgeous.

Censorship is Wrong.

Sometimes when we censor things, people wind up saying things they didn't mean to say. Watch this and see what I mean. Oh. Can I add I also feel the "sound byte" does the same thing? Pull a few words out of context and we have all kinds of crazy things going on. That doesn't mean that I necessarily want a free-for-all in which people can be verbally threatened and pornography is blatantly visible in the checkout line next to the candy. But... you know. I had real reservations about including this video because it is NOT lovely, pure, and of good report... the things that God commands us to "think about." But it's important, I think, to note that in most TV shows, etc., when a word is "censored," you know EXACTLY what the word really is. The reason takeoffs like this on YouTube are so popular is that eventually, your mind will FILL IN THE BAD WORD in place of the beep. It's almost like we're trained to think of certain words depending on where the beep is placed. If I were to say "What a (beep)ing beep," you would automatically make up something really bad in your head now, wouldn't you? So... what's the point of censoring it? Either it's speech that is reasonably edifying and important despite a few bad words, or it ought to be scrapped entirely. Sure, warn people bad language is coming up. But what's the point of beeping out words...? What do you think...?

23 October 2008

Assorted Jumbled Thoughts.

Emperor thinks perhaps the Bible is wrong because God can't die. No, wait. The Bible has to be right. So howcome Jesus died? (I'm not really too clear, either, on how you can kill God.)

Jesus hung out with sinners. A lot. Which means sinners hung out with Him, right? So let's not assume that *just* because a person has a sin problem that they don't know Jesus. His character is still rubbing off on his peeps, yo. While I'm at it, I should clarify that I don't think hate and intolerance are the same thing, though of course sometimes we DO find them both in the same person.

Often, there are more than two opinions on any given issue. It's my opinion that the "experts" interviewed for a story speak more about the prejudices of the organization doing the publishing than the person being interviewed. You want a Christian viewpoint on something? Do we have to interview Rick Warren or Fred Phelps? Bleh.

I keep seeing odd things in thrift stores. I always wonder about the stories behind them. The half-used package of Depends? Did Gramma die, or get a miraculous healing, switch brands or what? And those skirts. I'm thinking half your butt MUST hang out the bottom of most of 'em... did mom make Little Missy donate this stuff after she brought it home from the mall? And the books. WHY would you ever donate nearly-new $50 retail value teachers' manuals instead of selling it on Amazon or e-Bay? No matter. It's mine now. Um, the teachers' manuals, not the Depends and the butt-hangin' skirts. What a frightful combination that would be!

Two Days' Mail.

I'm not even counting the zillions of "send us money NOW or liberal nut-jobs will teach YOUR children how to perform sex acts in kindergarten!" letters I'm receiving from various organizations.

About the Mail.

A sad little boy has been robbed by Luann Ridgeway in one of the recent political ads in my mailbox. Yes, friends, this eeevil Republican woman robbed little Mister Freckles of his chance to get ahead because she supports school vouchers. According to the advertisement, only the "wealthiest people in our state" would be able to benefit from this arrangement which also somehow takes "vital resources from our public schools."

I'm sorry. I thought "vital" meant "necessary to life." Is public school "vital?" Um, ok, not going there. But the backside of this ad displays several doe-eyed children who look like they're hungry for my kids' fluffernutters way more than a good education. I didn't take a picture of it, but you missed it. It's important, the ad informs me, to vote Democratic "to help our kids. Because Luann Ridgeway doesn't."

Here, I thought Ridgeway and our other state rep. voting for an accounting of our mismanaged district's funds to be gone over by state auditors was a *good* idea. I mean, we're already missing $2,500,000.00 (yes, you read that right), so why pay an auditor perhaps 60 grand to find another million or two? Why should we waste taxpayer money on that, right??

I notice that they don't eeeeven try to tell the voters that she's against illegal immigration, for English as our national language, against gay marriage and abortion, and the whole nine yards. That would make her a shoe-in! Better hush up about that.

Or this ad. This one's great. It has glitter all over it and talks about how Kay Barnes is an "elite" and a corrupt politician. Yes. It came right out and called her a corrupt politician. I dislike her, but... coming right out and calling somebody "corrupt" is really something else. You'd better have something to back that one up. Paid for by the "National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee"?? I'd imagine it wouldn't be. What candidate would want to be associated with such smear?

Oh, and on the flip side? "missouri" with a small "m." Silver trays, butlers, and high class digs. It's just WRONG for a politician to have any kind of money whatsoever. And she's friends with convicted felons. WOW. I thought Jesus was a "friend of sinners." I bet you Jesus would have given a job to a convicted felon if it didn't put someone in danger. I notice that there is no specific accusation against the "convicted felon" in his specific dealings with Barnes. Hey, so if it's true as the ad purports, that he's really "a convict who went to federal prison for wire fraud and transportation of stolen property," does that mean that any deals he EVER does for the rest of his life are automatically shady?

I mean, I'm not voting for the lady, but I can give her some cred that she doesn't need to be treated that way. And I got three fliers on her within two days. The Republican Party must be really threatened by her.

Soon, I think these fliers won't stop at just telling us that "so and so voted AGAINST seniors" on a drug bill. Because most people know that it just because so and so voted against a drug bill doesn't mean she personally HATES Grandma. That's the next step. Yes, they've already started to pay actors to be destitute or senior citizen, or poor robbed little baby with no good funds for public education. Soon that won't be good enough.

Soon we will need paparazzi angling for the worst photos of candidates. I disagree with the way Clinton was treated in this presidential race. The google-eyed pic is funny, but overused and past a certain point, mean-spirited and not even real criticism. Maybe Clinton makes a speech about an issue and then a blogger would post the google-eyed pic and say something stupid in the caption for a "response."

Is this the level of political debate I should expect? Because if it is, I'm DEMANDING a campaign reality show. I mean it. We need to have Republican and Democrat seasons. Stupid questions from focus groups. Eyebrow waxing. Reporters taking unflattering photos. Kind of like Survivor or something.

I think sometime soon we'll even see photoshopped Nazi stuff in with our political photos. Instead of just seeing Obama in "ethnic" garb, he'll also be carrying a "Death to America" flag in his hand. It will just be parody and people will get away with it.

I don't like Obama, but this isn't the America I want to live in. I seriously doubt the guy's a Christian, though, and I don't see why churches ought to have to keep silent on the issue because of a tax code, but politicians can do about anything to anyBODY and it's ok.

Don't you think your pastor ought to be able to tell you who he's voting for and why? I don't see why, say, the Southern Baptist Convention shouldn't be able to send out its own fliers. I'm not getting how "tax-exempt" and "shut up" have to go together. I suppose that would mean more mail for me.

I think the TV ads are worse, but thankfully the only time I've seen "TV" in several months was when I was getting very painful dental work done. It would figure.

Swearing?

An excerpt from a recent post by Jove:

"For me, the particular words are of less concern than the intention of their use. Swearing I don’t have a problem. Even swearing while teaching. Swearing at students (or anyone, really) is another story altogether. I am sometimes struck by the way that parents who would chastise their children for swearing might leave them alone if they use made up words to express the same emotions. In particular, if a child is name-calling with the intention of making another child feel bad, I don’t think it matters whether he calls him a shithead or a boobledeeboo. The intention to make another child feel bad is what is wrong with the scenario, not the choice of vocabulary to execute that intention. And I think sometimes objections to “bad language” are standing in for objections to the emotions they express."

I do see her point; I really do. But if my baby J were to up and call someone an S-head I'd about flip. Well, for joy. We want the kid to say ANYTHING, SOMETHING, please! We can work on controlling our language once we have some extra to put away in the "do not say" file. I would have to say I'd really wonder where the kid got it from because we don't speak that way around here. No, not getting uppity. Just saying we don't. So I would be just as surprised if J spoke French suddenly.

How You Found My Blog.

Some search words leading you here, apparently:

Group 1:

find porno
find pictures children porno
granny porno boy
sexy child photo

(I find most frightening those of you who type these things in, and then STAY AROUND to view pages for twenty minutes. Ick. [Like it should take that long. Ick again!!])

Group 2:

homeschool kids nerdy
homeschool child abuse
homeschool stupid
school like prison
I hate school
homeschool cirriculum

(Yes, I suppose I review a lot of cirriculum. Not that anyone is typing their biases here or anything.)

Group 3:

worms eaten
pumpkin seeds
making hats
household cleaning disaster
mom tired

(I'd call you guys my "regular searching for something" - God knows why - and here you are, reading something different than you probably expected.)

Are you in any of the above groups? Would you ever come out and say, well, I came for the "granny porn love boy skating" but stayed for the snarky homeschool commentary? Can I ask how you wound up here really? If I remember, I could tell you, too. Usually it's me looking at a friend's website and then seeing who their "friends" are and going there. Sometimes, as in the case of Eileen, I was looking into something odd for a completely different purpose. With her, I was looking into whether George Washington were left-handed and found an incredibly fun blog about teaching in the Middle East. I never did find out if he were left-handed or not...

Ahhh... the internet.

Cute Links.

The story-starter. Hat tip: Why Homeschool.

Ancient Greece.

Crayola. Colour country flags, get craft ideas and MORE!

Hoops and Yoyo teach manners. Funny, funny stuff. Hat tip: Life in a Shoe.

Lewis and Clark travel across Missouri. LOTS of detail. More than you'll use. I'd imagine it could be used from high school down.

Oh, we used this site all the time when we started homeschooling. Printed calendars and other nifty items.

Going to be using this one later when we do weather. Fish around the BBC website and you'll find all kinds of games, reading, counting, etc. Look out for English-isms. It took us a bit of time to figure out some of the things they were asking.

22 October 2008

Bug-Catcher.


G is here with his ruler (spider-webby) and his container. Inside? A VERY LARGE brown recluse that would hide behind the toilet until you sat down and then slowly... slowly... would creep out. How could I have missed this thing two inches wide until the children brought it to my attention? Ohhh... it was hard to catch, too. If it knew you were coming for it, it would hide in a crack where the walls meet behind the shower. If you sat on the toilet it would come out slowly... slowly... (shudder) Patrick is hoping to capture a spider in the next day or so so that the spiders can be set free AT each other outside and the boys can watch the ensuing spider fight. By the way, Patrick also had to go to the doctor. Brown recluse bite, infected with icky drainage and the size of a tennis ball. Um, Patrick said it wasn't that bad and he could just squeeze it regularly to keep the swelling down and he wonders why I was SO INSISTENT on taking the kid to the doctor. Just when we got the upstairs (hopefully!!) bug-free, the downstairs is full of brown recluse spiders creeping up to bite your legs while you pee.

I Had a Dream.


... and it wasn't about blacks and whites living together in perfect Coca-Cola harmony. It was about Barack Obama stealing my butterscotch candies. I had them all in a huge crystal bowl. They were the really great, super-tasty gold-wrapped kind. He kept talking, popping some of these in his mouth but yet never really seeming to EAT them. More candies just disappeared entirely. They weren't even savoured; they were just GONE. My bowl had only a little gold at the bottom when I woke up, annoyed at him.
*
I've been reading on several blogs about this idea that people who don't vote for Obama must be racist... and... wow. I'm sure there are a couple weirdos out there who think that way, but really, I'm also sure that there are people who will vote for Obama mostly BECAUSE he's partly black. Did you hear the YouTube radio interview of black folks in Harlem? WOW, the black people voting for Obama because of his race has GOT to more than offset any "n-hater" jumping over onto McCain's bandwagon *just because* Obama is black.
*
But what do you think about where the "line" on polite political discourse and parody might be? How about the "Obama Bucks" bill pictured above? (Hat tip: Holy Coast blog)Does it qualify as polite satire?
*
NO??
*
Would it qualify if I were to tell you that a "liberal" made it to mock Republicans? The watermelon was a really nice touch for the racist/not racist/ some of my best friends are black crowd. But I'm just not very savvy. I would have thought the "welfare money" comment on the bill would be more a criticism of his wealth redistribution plans than a jab at the idea that blacks collect lotsa welfare (Ugh... don't make me drag up statistics about more whites collecting than blacks. Because I'm just discussing the idea that it's a stereotype that blacks collect welfare, eat watermelon, or... chicken? Obviously white people would never eat fried chicken... sigh.)
*
So, watermelon, ribs n chicken aside, what do you think? I'd have thought, if the watermelon weren't there, that it was kinda cute. There he is on the money, looking like the other Presidents. It's welfare money. The Kool-Aid I took to symbolize the Jim Jones "drink the kool-aid" idea that I've seen on other blogs, even those of people who claim African ancestry. I didn't think of the welfare and watermelon thing as going together until someone pointed it out.
*
And if the watermelon weren't there, I'd have taken the fried chicken to be a "chicken in every pot" sort of comment. Maybe I am slow on the uptake with the racial jokes. I don't know if that's good, or maybe very bad because then I could be manipulated by some "racial" thing and just think it's a political commentary (like the "welfare" thing).
*
Hm. Some post soon, I'll chat about stupid political ads.

Palin For President!

Click all around and see what changes she'd make if she were in the Oval Office.

21 October 2008

Patrick Playing in the Orchestra.

A short video snippet of Patrick playing in the orchestra last night. You can see him next to "Sarah Palin" on the cello.

At the Concert.











We brought our new book about the orchestra, purchased from Sonlight. This book has everything, including a CD to listen to each instrument in the orchestra. It has charts to help you "locate" each instrument as it plays. It arrived literally minutes before we took off to watch Patrick play in the orchestra.






Elf was so excited to hear the music playing, I thought at times he might fly out of his seat!! Emperor enjoyed himself well enough, but kinda slumped toward the end.

Kewl. I'll Go Play Lotto.

"There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Probably? Where did this group find the statistics it's quoting? "Probably" no God... what are the probabilities? How would you ever know? And have you considered the consequences if you're wrong in taking your chances?

Well, an atheist group managed to scrape up enough money to advertise on four "bendy busses" in London for four weeks. I've seen a "bendy bus" at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, and it's basically a two-part car with an accordion-like middle so it can get around corners well.

"Stephen Green of pressure group Christian Voice said: 'Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large.'" Who says only the religious are looking for converts?

20 October 2008

Sarah Palin.

... appeared at Patrick's concert and played the cello. This was the "monster" concert the children do every year and all the kids dress up in costume. Cute.

EEEEwww...


This picture is really of Woodjie eating cake, but I wanted to illustrate my previous post somehow. What do you think? Is he kissable?

Poop.

This is a "free blog therapy" post and you've been given the TMI warning.

Woodjie had really rock hard poops this morning. Lots of little ones that flew everywhere as I was changing his diaper. He jumped all around as I was changing him. If we ever move the furniture and find little poo-balls up under the desk, or three months from now are going, "What's that *sniff* smell???" you know why already. I hope I got them all, but my carpet is black-speckled to begin with... and that stuff really went rolling three different directions. Maybe four.

So I give the kid apple juice to help him out. Poor guy. About an hour later *something brown* is all over his face and hands and clothes. Apparently it's fun stuff to mush and flick around, kind of like smelly play-doh. While he was eating cheerios. I mean, it was IN his nails, which I had to cut to get all the poop out. He's waving his poopie hands around, objecting to being changed and (ick!) smearing me in the process. Then he splashed bath water all over me. Oh... that kid was double-bathed if you know what I mean. Two sets of tub-water and a special soon-to-be-sanitized washcloth scrubbin'. All those cheerios are in the trash (gag) and the floor will be vacuumed later.

Woodjie is now in jammie sleepers. If you see that he is only allowed to wear jammie sleepers for the rest of the winter... and you wonder why it always is that J is pictured in jammie sleepers... or you wonder if he has other clothes in his wardrobe, remember this post. Jammie sleepers make it hard to stick your finger into the wearer's diaper and smear the contents all around.

So how was your day?

Go, Kristina!

Kristina Chew is interviewed for Newsweek in this link. I don't know that I would agree with her synopsis that we need MORE funding for teachers and public schools. That would just give public educators more money to lock kids like mine in the closet. Thank you, but Elf has had enough of public education for now. I could use the money I'm paying in taxes to support "special" education (yeah, it's special, all right!) for our homeschool. I suppose Elf might take a more advanced web class as he ages. A long time from now. Mayyyybe. Otherwise, I think we're staying away if we possibly can from public education. More money for "them" is not the answer. Just hope D doesn't lose his job or anything like that!!

She touched on the fact that Sarah Palin, as the mom of a disabled child, doesn't really know all there is to know about the disabilty yet. We do change and grow as parents, and our understanding of the disability grows and changes with the child. Trig is a tiny baby, and can be taken about in a stroller and oohed over. He isn't 14 and making weird noises in a crowded restaurant and receiving "looks." Just saying. It's something I know we will face with Woodjie unless he is able to speak and attend soon. It's hard to put into words, but he is not able to be "civilized" just yet. Good luck taking this kid on a plane; there is just no way.

But I appreciate educated, informed people like Kristina way more than curebies like Jenny McCarthy. I'd like to see "us" have an advocate in the White House, but it doesn't look like that is happening this election, to be honest.

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

I don't usually participate in bloggy giveaway things... but... this is one of those beautiful things that is worth blogging about even if I don't win. Which I probably won't because there are about 5 million comments on the thing. But...

Look at photos of this dress here, because they're truly incredible:

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

I'm thinking if we win, baby S will have to wear this whenever we exit the house once she fits it.

19 October 2008

Bars! Smoking! Bikers!

New friends! A post about not judging a book by its cover. Bless ya!

An Award.

Lisa gave me the Perfect Blend of Friendship Award. To claim my fabulous prize of four cyber coffee cups full of mysterious liquid, I must answer the following questions and provide links to five unsuspecting victims:

1. Do you have the same friends since childhood? We moved often, so no. I do have some friends from high school I keep in touch with on rare occasions. It's been a while. I actually keep in better touch with my ex-boyfriend's WIFE than him because she has a blog. Go figure! And she has cute kids, too.
2. What do you value most about your friends? The ability to keep secret that triple-murder I committed in 1998. Shh.
3. Are your friends your sounding boards? No, they usually join in my folly. We can always repent later. (Did I just hear thunder?) But really, I think there's a balance between being a wet blanket and being a voice of caution. I appreciate voices of caution. :]
4. What is your favorite activity to share with your friends? Coffee and chat. Sometimes food or walking about the neighbourhood.
I'd like to share this Bloggy Love with my sweet friends:
Thanks, Lisa! It's been fun playing.

18 October 2008

Pictures at My House.


A few weeks ago, I was trying to take pictures of all kinds of everyday items for a "rec id" book for J. It would be a book with his bed, toothbrush, pillow and other things he uses every day. This was my attempt at a "TV" picture. Somehow, someone ALWAYS gets in the way when I'm trying to take pictures. This time it was the girl's fault my picture didn't turn out well.

The New Invention.

Elf is very impressed by Emperor's new invention. He thinks we need to market it. It makes old toys NEW again! He was so excited to share this.

Mm-hmm, yup...

Ever get distracted and do that to your kids? I do that sometimes. One of the boys will say something like... Oh, there's this story I want to tell you about Ampinman and Baikinman and they're going to the movies again. Are you listening?

Mm-hmm...

So, Ampanman and Baikinman want to go to the movies in a flat-bottomed boat like Lewis and Clark? and Baikinman ate all these cookies and then there were these astronauts that didn't think that the dogs ... well, because the dogs kept coming over to where they were in the grass and wouldn't you think that the bug was there listening to all this near the other duck I told you about three days ago and it didn't like all the noise they were making especially since MOM...

ARE YOU LISTENING??

Ack! You caught me not listening again. Yes, you did.

So... I need to listen more. This invention was apparently very wonderful and really DID make old toys new again. It involves a large Lego box. Elf danced all over the place showing me this amazing breakthrough in science. You put the toy in and shake it.

Then you take the toy out.

Ta DAAAA! The toy is new again.

??

It used to have all this dust all over it and now it doesn't. See, mom?

Well, he thinks it's some sort of scientific process they discovered themselves. They're so cute. Emperor was SO proud of himself, inventing a thing like that. He's too cute.

17 October 2008

Pokemon Guy.

I bought some of these and embedded them in cakes this year for the older boys. I can't pronounce most of their names. It seems these are either very cute or very demonic-looking. This one is pronounced "soo-do-woo-do" or something like that. And he isn't a tree, he's a rock. The boys could tell you all about each character, its unique properties, and what it would best be suited to fight. It's actually very complicated.

Party At Davey's Place!

We went to parent-teacher conferences recently at Patrick and G's school. These things are pretty much my only opportunity to say "hi" to the childrens' teachers without feeling like I'm hounding them. Patrick and G came with me. I'm thinking it's their education, and they can hear whatever the teacher has to say about them right then. I think the only exception I make to this is when I'm brainstorming with special-ed teachers about how to handle G's behaviour at school and what kind of incentives to give him. He's just not at the point where he can be rational during these conversations on most days. I'll be including him soon, though, whether he's ready or not when he's a bit older.

In any event, at the PTA tables and the various little stands where they were selling "spirit gear" and the like was a table about responsible drinking. Apparently, in order to promote responsible drinking, parents can be issued large yard signs, T-shirts and other paraphernalia just like the presidential campaigns give out. There is an entire cadre of identically-clad women handing these out to the "responsible parents" who dutifully line up, sign some hokey pledge and join the club.

"Not at my house!" the signs proclaim.

"Yeah," I snickered, "some parents just make you go to the back porch to shoot up." I wondered what would happen if lots of kids started walking by and saying that the party wasn't at their house, it was at "Davey's?" And that "Davey" is too cool? I could just imagine school authorities chasing its own tail, looking for "Davey." When really it isn't their concern outside school hours. They can stick to school safety (yes, please follow up on rumours someone's bringing a gun to school!) and academics. WHY are they handing out yard signs and trying to give me leaflets on how to tell if my teen is stoned? I told the boys I thought the signs were dippy and no way I was getting one.

OK, probably not the best way to instill respect for authority, but HELLO, that is nuts. What kind of mom and dad feels the need to advertize that certain illegal activities are NOT permitted at home? I mean, shall I pick up my "No child abuse at my house!" and "No wife-beating at my house!" and "No drugs for sale at my house!" signs as well? "No murder and tax evasion at my house?" Or, "No, the big screen TV and $2,394 missing from 123 Falley Street is NOT at my house in the living room! Don't bother with that warrant!" I think it's ... odd...

To my mind, and you can disagree with me if you want, but the best example to a child is your own lifestyle. I don't drink. At all. Other than a few alcoholic beverages I took when I wasn't allowed to take painkillers after MAJOR SURGERY, I haven't had a drink in about 16 years. I just don't see the benefit in my own life, let alone in a society if "everybody" did it. I feel the same way about illegal drugs. Sure, doctors ought to be able to prescribe whatever they want and I don't get the big hangup over pot when this "oxycontin" stuff is legal. That doesn't mean I should just grow a pot-patch in my yard and self-medicate. Duuuuude, as fat as I am, how bad would it be if I got the munchies every day?

But what's the point of making alcohol some sort of adults-only thing and instilling the idea in children that booze is the forbidden fruit? Satan's right there, I imagine, telling these kids if they guzzle the whole bottle they will be "like adults" and their eyes will be opened to the cool and avant-garde. Really, though, they'll probably just barf in the toilet and repeat the experience several times until they become of legal drinking age and decide it's starting to get kinda old. I think there are several angels being stretched rather thin protecting these young adults during these experiences. Sometimes bad things happen to these folks who are learning about how to handle themselves in the world.

I'm concerned about underage drinking in that smoking, drugs and gambling are supposed to be "for me but not for thee." Holding it up as one of those things "only grown-ups do, and you're too little" doesn't really bring out the best in people in my opinion. I'd prefer all drinking, gambling and smoking be outlawed, but I know I'm in the minority. If alcohol's availability is a given, however, I'd be in favour of lowering the drinking age to 18 and taking licenses away completely (no plea bargains, no second chances) for two years on the first DUI. Why even bother waiting until people rack up a bunch of DWIs or DUIs before action's taken? No drinking with your driving. Ever.

Problem solved, or at least it's about as solved as it will get when you deal with the larger public. There is always one nut in the bunch that ruins things for everyone. The consequences for drunk driving are too grievous, I think, to be sitting around posting "Not in my house" signs and shaming your teen by showing everyone what an uncool parent you are. How about you leave the sign at the stand, live the "not at my house" lifestyle and expect your teen to do the same?

Good grief. Does this sort of thing bother you as it does me?

16 October 2008

Here's Half the Story.

I'm not sure how wise it was for Nebraska to pass a law allowing parents to drop off their children and relinquish care of them at any point until they're 18. Sure, it might prevent some child abuse in theory. Tough to tell. There are also some stories about concerning parents of older children dropping them off and leaving. But what is the point of a safe haven law? Is it to encourage parents to drop off their children before they do the unthinkable and kill them? I thought it was.

And yet...

Here's a story of a mom who drops off her older kid. OK, so she's not the greatest mom of the day and all that. But now they're looking into taking her other children away? When she lives a day's drive away? And it's supposed to be a "safe haven" sort of situation?

Um...

That hardly seems fair.

I'm not about to defend the mom because I'm not sure exactly what she did or what the circumstances were that led her to drop off JUST this one kid. Could he have had a mental disorder or drug problem and parents are just not sure what to do? Could he have been destructive or abusive to other family members? The article doesn't say. I hardly think that the kid just got sassy and didn't clean his room that night.

I think that if the state starts prosecuting these parents, it won't be long before word gets out and people stop bringing their children when they've reached the end of their rope. And that defeats the object of the law in the first place.

It drives me crazy when news stories leave tons of facts one needs to know to make some sort of objective opinion up about an issue. We also don't know if the boy came in with horrible tales of being tortured by his parents.

We just don't know.

Aargh. Why even print this stuff? Because it's interesting to read half the story, make the other half up in your brain without realizing it, and come away thinking that you're an informed reader? What is up with this reporter and editor? Couldn't they at least say they *asked* whether the child had emotional or substance problems and were met with "no comment?" Or that they *asked* whether the child gave investigators a harrowing epic about his life at home?

Bleh. Stupid news stories. Maybe I should just make up the news and print that. You know, I think I'd at least make some plausible lies. I'd get all the "facts" in there and won't leave you wondering. I know how to ask all the salient questions of my imaginary characters.

You know, waaay way back in the very old days when we manually counted out headlines in setting copy (oh! and we actually SET copy, as in pasting those little stories down), I was taught the mantra, "When in doubt, leave it out." I think this whole story could have been left out. There are just too many gaps. Or the news story could have simply said that "a boy was dropped off from out of state and authorities were considering taking the other children in the family. No word on what the difficulties were that led to his relinquishment."

Your Children Are Not Yours.

Mary Grace is a foster parent and a homeschooler. She's writing a series of posts on why families should consider fostering. One of the ideas parents put forth as to why they can't foster is that the children wouldn't be "theirs" under the system:

"The difference between God's idea of loaning and the state's idea of loaning is that God doesn't give you a timetable for how long you have to look forward to those little mouths at the table. If you are truly blessed, it will be until the day you see them walk down the aisle. Or until you die. You will never deal with a teenager who rebels and walks away from you for good. You will never be one of the crushed souls who visits at grave to mark birthdays and holidays. You will never have a child who speaks to you only on the rarest of occasions.

You may get this. God willing, you will be so blessed.

But you may not be counted among these parents. You may be one of the ones who has loved and who seems to have lost.And if you knew right now, this instant, that the little one who is laughing down the hall at this instant was going to completely walk out of your life in fifteen years, would you love him any less today?"

It's a good post. You should pop by and read it in its entirety.

Woodjie Dancing

Woodjie (J) loves Veggie Tales. You can tell he really wants to sing along with the song as well. His favourite guy seems to be Bob the Tomato.

15 October 2008

Yer Kid is NOT Autistic...

"Comedian" Denis Leary, as quoted on the Autism Vox blog:

“There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”

Hurtful words from an uninformed mouth.

"Natalie" commented, "I've been reading about his uninformed, disgusting rant on other (non-Autism) message boards and I can't believe the replies -- while most people think he was "slightly" out of line, they agree with the premise of overdiagnoses and 'whining' mothers. (aka Jenny McCarthy) One comment that I found particularly disturbing was: "Autism is the new ADD" Sadly, as more people try their damndest to bring attention to Autism Awareness/Acceptance, I see that most people are backing down with their "concern" over it. Autism Awareness is slowly becoming Autism Unawareness. P.S. I support a full boycott of anything Leary has done or ever done. I sincerely hope this "rant" kills his copy-cat, anti-comedic career."

What do you think of her comment? Do you think that it's possible that autism is the new ADD? I think, perhaps, that because more neurotypical-appearing children are diagnosed with autism (such as my older children who only have problems in certain situations or areas), it will seem as though most autistic people are regular guys whose moms didn't smack them hard enough as children to make 'em mind.

By the way, Emperor was diagnosed as classic ADHD. And despite my best training, he smells people and jumps all over them often when we meet someone new. We're REALLY (really really really!) working on this when we go out in public. But I couldn't see using the label as an excuse for his behaviour because he isn't affected by the ADHD *enough* to do so. Hopefully that makes sense to my readers.

But you know, with autism in my older sons, I may tell someone that the child is autistic and THAT is why we need a little extra care in Sunday School or "whatever" so that we can ideally head off problems before they begin. I'd imagine most parents don't enjoy "labelling" their children for strangers. It's just that sometimes our kids act strangely enough despite our best training that out of courtesy some form of explanation is required if I'm not going to apologize for Elf hiding, or G getting upset about things being different, etc.

Quotes like the above from Leary show that he's looking only on one aspect of the entire person. Did you know my middle children write stories and enjoy mathematics? Did you know that they draw comics and like to cook? Did you know they're very pleasant conversationalists? Their entire lives are not summed up in the silly thing they said to the strange lady at Wal-Mart last month. Though if you are the strange lady we saw at Wal-Mart last month, you'll remember that I apologized pleasantly and said that we're working on things. And you told me that you used to teach special ed and that you understood.

That felt nice.

On Jesse James.

We took Flat Stanley into the town of Liberty, Missouri, yesterday. We went to the fountain near where slaves were sold on the square downtown and peeked at the Jesse James Bank Museum. The first daylight bank robbery took place there. A post detailing our adventure should appear here soon.

Elf and Emperor are VERY interested in learning more about Jesse James. I don't get it. I suppose some other time we could trek to nearby Kearney (pronounced CAR-knee) and see his house or even go to St. Joseph and see the bullet holes in the wall where he was shot dead. Elf and Emperor say they want THAT for a field trip... looking at hideouts and houses and whatnot. And they wanna see his gravesite, too!

Well, I kinda would rather have gone off looking at the pumpkin patch again, but there you go. What is it about outlaws and bad guys that little boys want to hear about? Because if I could make up characters like, say, the Number Nine Bandit and the Division Desperado Gang somehow relate to their maths, they'd be doing college-level stuff now. D has sarcastically informed me that we missed an entire Jesse James FESTIVAL in Kearney about a month ago. It's true!

I just don't get it. An entire festival, complete with boy beauty contests, all for an outlaw murderer. Well, they call them Jesse James "look-alike" contests. But still.

How to REALLY Make Ice Cream

Oh, well, I thought I had followed directions. BUT, inspired by Tammy's comment about the cheap way to do this in the freezer using SEPARATE BAGS, I did a little investigating on YouTube. Turns out you are NOT supposed to put the salt and ice in with the ice cream stuff. I was wondering why I didn't have enough room and why the "ice cream" tasted like water and salt. It was awful stuff. Now we've made another batch and it's the best you've ever tasted. Well, better than that. And the boys are so excited about the process as well. This counts as an hour in home ec as well as a real-life learning process.

14 October 2008

Yuck!


Here Elf and Emperor are in the "enthusiastic" phase of trying to make ice cream in our ice cream ball. Two hours later, we were all very dejected. I had ripped the skin of my knuckle off wrenching that thing and it never froze. It tasted like salt, but not like the salt you use at the table. Much, much worse. I literally felt sick all afternoon just from that one taste. Elf and Emperor had horrible faces after tasting the stuff as well. I won't be cruel enough to post pics of that. But we followed the recipe. What went wrong? I'm guessing it's the cream, perhaps. The salt we used specifically said that it was for ice-cream making. Hm.

Homeschooling Children Abused and Hidden?

Um, more likely serious abusers will use the shield of homeschooling against abuse and neglect investigations. Anytime you have a freedom, some sadist is going to use it for evil, or some dork is going to use his liberty as a license for stupidity. Anyone who's ever driven on the highways could tell you the latter!

Most often homeschooled children actually have some sort of contact with the community. Most children have friends or go to church or co-op classes, or go shopping with their families. And I think most people, homeschooling or not, don't abuse their children. But like any other "right," the right to homeschool can be taken away from parents who have been proven in court to have physically abused their children in the past. That makes me a bit nervous, because all it takes is a person employed by the state with a vendetta against your religion or family, but there it is. Your rights are not absolute.

Julie discusses the case of a 14-year-old "homeschooled" girl being starved on this blog post:

"Like almost every case of abuse tied to homeschooling the children in this case were not 'hidden' from the watchful eyes of government employees as the first article implied. The girl’s plight had been reported to Child Protective Services. A caseworker had visited their home and found the girl thin and confirmed the abuse. The kids had been being homeschooled at the time of the first allegations."

In other words, a homeschooled child came to the attention of CPS as being suspected of abuse. Personally, I would imagine that unless one were plotting ahead of time to radically starve a child, most "bad" parents would go for the free-childcare aspect of public education. I'm not saying that's what public education is about - don't get me wrong. I'm just saying the thought of foisting one's child on someone else to raise for eight hours daily, 40 hours a week has to be appealing to someone who is not together enough to do a good job him/herself right then. That's all.

I also think we ought to be very, very careful before we even think to ourselves that someone might be abusing their children. I know in Elf's case, he has autism. He just does. And he went through a time where I followed the wisdom of James Dobson on dinnertime. You eat what you're served, or you'll eat enough at a later meal (of whatever's served) to make up for it. Left out of the equation? Elf was not being manipulative, and he was going hungry. Don't judge our family for the fact that the child was losing weight for a while, OR for the fact that now I serve a lot of junk foods. While Elf was losing weight, he was under a doctor's care and I was very forthright about exactly how mealtimes went.

Sometimes parents make mistakes. I took the doctor's suggestions seriously, added a few ideas of my own and now the child is actually a little on the chubby side. YES, we serve cookies at our meals often. Beats being too thin. If there were a way to get him to eat a balanced meal of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, you bet I would. But meal after meal being served and uneaten should worry any parent. I **HOPE** any doctor would listen to Mom's concerns, take them seriously and brainstorm about what to do instead of assuming abuse. Though I should think that just about any doctor would hospitalize a 14-year-old well before the 47-pound mark if she were losing weight. These are some parents who almost certainly shouldn't be left alone with their children just yet. I'm leaving open the distinct but remote possibility that some other medical problem is going on. But it's doubtful if the story is accurate in relating the child had very little water and had not seen a doctor in YEARS.

In any event, stories about homeschooled children being abused abound. There are quite a few about public school children being abused as well, but it sure seems to me that people just shrug those sorts of stories off as being just at "that" school. With homeschoolers, it isn't just "that" family; it's the whole "hiding your child in the basement and teaching him the Bible" thing that gets people reeling. It's all of them-thar Fundies hiding out and preparing for Armageddon what done make 'em secular peoples nervous.

By the way, teaching your child Biblical principles is also abusive, but that's another post entirely...

Homeschool Update.

English
Bob Jones English and Grammar, Grade 3. We're up to Chapter Three. I am finding that the third grade curriculum is very much like the second, but tweaked up a notch. Now, we're going over singular, possessive and singular possessive nouns:

puppy
puppies
puppy's.

Ok, that can be tricky! Just wait until they throw in the plural possessive nouns and watch their little faces rumple!

Math
Completed Everyday Math Unit 1. Working on Singapore Math, Grade Four Unit 1. It's very similar math, but difficult to teach in that one must find the "factors" and "multiples" of numbers alone. I find even I miss finding some "factors" in that four is also a factor of 48. I'd remember 1, 48, 6 and 8. But not four. I keep missing stuff like that. Now we're jumping into finding "common multiples" of numbers. For example, a common multiple of 3 and 4 would be 12.

Science
Different animals live in different regions of the world. The climate of a place is affected by temperature, the amount of water there, the type of soil and other factors. We're just doing a brief overview of this subject.

Social Studies
Lewis and Clark passed through by following the river about ten minutes' drive away. Before their exploration of this area, it was full of wild animals, Indians and a few Frenchmen. No Wal-Mart, so packing carefully is essential. We're learning about the Voyage of Discovery. I have lots of stuff on this topic so it will take a while.

Reading
We've been reading silly math puzzle books as well as our ABeka readers. We had left these readers alone for a little while so that we could look through some library treasures. Now that we're returning to the second and third-grade readers, I'm finding the boys are more fluent and have more understanding of what they just read.

Home Economics
Our ice-cream ball cooking experiment was a disaster. I'll have to post pics later, but maybe I am doing something wrong, or have used the wrong ingredients. We've made pies and other fun things over the last month, though.

13 October 2008

Logic.

From Holy Coast blog, McCain is a racist because:

John McCain said he'd "whip" Obama.
Barack Obama is half black.
Slaves were black.
Some slavemasters used whips to punish slaves
John McCain wants to use a whip.
John McCain wants to be a slavemaster.
John McCain's statement was racist.

Ok, that's... interesting. Guess he must be into S and M, too, by that logic. Because we know all Republican men are secretly into something weird, right?? OH! And Republicans are all racist pigs deep down, and that's why they're not voting for Obama. It's because they don't like hope, people! *sniff*

I am disheartened to read so much absolute venomous hate on both sides of the political spectrum. You know what? I dislike Obama. I wouldn't be in tears if something bad happened to him, but I'd feel sorry for his family. Same for McCain, come to think of it. I'd really be worried more about the voting process and American political stability if "God forbid" happened. But I think both candidates ought to be talking about the fact that America is bigger than any one political party. And even with a really awful president, American will survive just fine by the grace of God. With choices like McCain and Obama, you know we're going to get one. :p

11 October 2008

The Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart


Ok, so it has a couple bad words in it but it's awfully cute. I keep getting emails from the GOP in my inbox. "Another debate win for John McCain" or "Talking Points for this week" or "Local Party - You're invited" subject lines. You know, I spent maybe three hours last election making some phone calls for the Bush campaign and everybody seems to take that to mean that I'm some sort of dittohead Republican yes-man (or voting chick, or whatever). You've got to admit that watching Palin debate, you start to cringe each time she says "maverick." Ick.

A Wedding.

I went to a wedding of my very good friend. We both have children on the spectrum (well, she has "only" one on the spectrum) and other strange coincidences in our lives. She was married before, and almost everyone there seemed to want to allude to the fact and the reason for the breakup.

"Sure hope this one works out," was something I heard more than once. Once from a very close relative of the bride! I got tired of trying to be cheerful to these people and say in a semi-naive way, "Oh! Sure hope so! 'Person' is very smart and I'm sure she made a good pick." I left before the cake was even served. I just couldn't stand the people at the reception.

I met the groom for the first time at the wedding and do you know what he said? He's very happy with her, but he knows soon the scales will fall off of her eyes and she'll see what she's done and be sorry. But he "hopes it will work out" so that she doesn't figure it out until after the ceremony.

Good grief, people can be toxic. What did they put that poor man through? He seems like a nice guy. 'Person' is very smart, and beautiful, and together. 'Person' makes good choices. It takes two people to make a marriage, and I'm sure she's careful about things. Hmpf. I sat next to her best friend, who was more upbeat and cheerful. Please, somebody take me aside and pray over me if I ever get that negative and judgmental. I'm evaluating whether there was anything I said or did that could "attract" that sort of comment because gossip usually only happens when someone is willing to hear it. I couldn't think of anything, but I need to think about this some more. Because that's not somewhere I want to be.

I'm sure glad the pastor didn't ask if anyone had objections during the ceremony! *Sigh.* Come to think of it, bet you these people wouldn't have said a peep about it except to each other.

I think this couple is going to make it, but no thanks to some of their relatives and "friends."

10 October 2008

Watch This Video VERY CAREFULLY

Got this link from my uncle D. Watch this and see how many times the white team passes the ball. Then hit the comments button to see if you are right. Sorry I can't embed it, but it really is worth the extra click. Tell me how you did!!

09 October 2008

About Nana.


Not my Nana, though I had one, too. This is about Dianne's Nana. See her picture? She's posted on Nana and what women have had to go through to get the vote. Dianne is my political opposite but close to my heart. Pop by and read her post on women voting. A short excerpt:

"I just learned that Nana tried to register to vote and was intimidated and ridiculed by the workers at the Board of Elections. They made fun of her broken English; her combination Yiddish/Russian/English and her appearance. Nana had very bad circulation problems and wore heavy stockings to ease the pain and to hide the veins she was so ashamed of. Being so small the stockings always drooped and gathered.

I never thought to ask her why she didn’t vote. I wish I had been older when that happened, I would have had a thing or two to say at the Board of Elections."

Be sure to say "hi" to Dianne; I know she loves company just as her Nana did.

Try This at Home.

Former public school teacher Elizabeth Blake has a blog in which she occasionally posts mini-science projects. I think we're going to try the penny-cleaning one soon. I have some icky pennies that could stand a shining.

We're Hosting A Guest!!

Please pop by and see what Flat Stanley is up to at our house! We're having a lot of fun with him!

TV Watchin' Outfit.


Diaper. Shirt. Shrek ears. Note the happy stim because Bob the Tomato is on. Bob is our friend. "TV" is one of the few signs J still does. It's really just a sideways "V," but you'd better catch on fast. And break out the Cheerios because this monster is hungry.

...Speaking of Illegals...

What do you think of this? (Some bad language, etc.)

Hellooooo, This is NOT About Race. Or Politics.

This is about fairness. Lenders ought to check the information they're given before handing out huge chunksa money to people. Because someone's going to be responsible for that money. Can we please at least be certain the person signing for it IS in fact the person whose name appears on the loan document?

"The problem began years ago when banks were forced to give mortgages without confirming social security numbers or borrower identification. As a result, illegal immigrants were able to obtain home mortgages which they could not afford." So who's stuck paying the bill that a large group of Mexican citizens stole from our country? Not Mexico. Guarantee you if a BIG bunch of Americans (pick a colour, any colour) ran south and stole land and goods and services, it would be an international "incident." But if you don't like the fact that not a few, but thousands of Mexican citizens steal from our country, you're a racist. Aargh.

Lenders also were giving out money left and right to American "qualified buyers" as well, let's not forget. I remember a few years back being told by a realtor (not mine, thankfully!) that "this house is going to go way up in value soon" and that it's being offered at an extremely low price due to the out of state relocation of the owners.

Yeah, right.

I also remember lots of mail solicitations until recently. Mortgage this and home equity that. D has remarked on more than one occasion years ago that JUST BECAUSE the mortgage company wants to give you that money, doesn't mean you can comfortably make those payments. And what if I lose my job? And what if the house doesn't increase in value? "X" price needs to be "worth it" to you regardless of the market. D is a pretty smart fella, because there were a few times when I seriously wished we could bend a little and buy in the $300,000 range. Nope, he said.

Those houses sell for $220,000ish now. We'd have lost $80,000 and realtor's fees as well as the expense of moving if we'd have made the jump. Not to mention having a much higher payment with the mortgage company. As it is, we're paying several hundred a month just for the privilege of having borrowed a hefty sum years ago.

Beats renting, though! I know it sounds crazy, but we're trying to pay the house off in the next seven years or so. Then perhaps, God forbid, our cars need replacing we'll have money to make payments comfortably or buy outright. Well, given the price of a new car, "buying outright" probably won't happen.

Hat tip for article: Holy Coast blog.

08 October 2008

Confession About Doo-Doo.

Yes, I'm richly dwelling in the land of God's grace; however, I find that when we make lifestyle choices that aren't the best, the "doo-doo" follows you around forever.

You know, David made that little mistake with Bathsheba (D'oh!), and it kinda wrecked a lot of lives. Just one little indiscretion leads to another and another, and before you know it, then you're *really* sinning. You know, one of the BIG sins that gets people printed up in tabloids. "Who Secretly Gossips," I suppose, isn't even worthy of comment, but "Closeted Celebrities Livin' the Gay Lifestyle" does. We have this sort of *range* of acceptable sins, you see.

It's all pretty black when you get down to it, though. We shouldn't enable each other and encourage sin, disrespect or other vices. I'm guilty of this often, so I'm speaking with some conviction here.

And...

You know...

I'm not going to say that my sin is the worst in the world, but I'm going to tell you this in all seriousness: DON'T buy Captain Underpants for your children. Not only is it, like, really bad "liturachur," but it will influence your children to say things you never thought possible. They will discuss talking toilets and poop. And they'll do it while you're on the phone with the nice public school science teacher who has called to discuss an older child's classroom behaviour.

Oh, yeah. We done gots ourselfs some klass.

I bought these stupid books about seven years ago at a Scholastic book fair. I was still drinking the public school kool-aid pretty heavily and went to spend a few hundred bucks in "support" of our local PTA. What was I thinking? To this day, I couldn't tell you. The series probably cost me $30 and would have paid for an entire team of missionaries to completely evangelize Antarctica. Or at least one of them could have bought a Frosty while he was on furlough here in the States. Whatever.

And why is it that my older, public-schooled children don't have a problem saying "doo-doo" and other assorted "almost really bad" words? They also do not discuss toilets and bad principals even though they must have heard such language at ages 13 and 15. I'm sure on a day to day basis, my older children are exposed to this and MUCH WORSE at Belteshazzar's Public School of Evolution and Other Magick. I mean, the bus ride alone must contain about five volumes of the "bad words" such as those contained in these "novels." Words that rhyme with truck are bandied about as adverbs, adjectives, verbs AND NOUNS, all within the same sentence. Grammar.

Do you think public school innoculates children against saying such shocking things at home? I'm not sure. I remember, despite myself, laughing at Patrick and G when they would sing the "OOops, I did it again, I pooped on the floor and I peed in my pants" song when they were about this age. It was just so goofy! Where do they get that stuff from? And the "Scooby Doo Pooped in a Shoe" song is a classic! Surely the authors of this stuff are about three feet tall, and yet they're able to write the songs that make the whole elementary sing... they write the songs of poop and iiiiicky things... (for you Barry Manilow fans. Are you reading, MOM!?? Because you never comment!)

Can I share with you honestly? I have taken these books away about three times, and given them back when I thought Elf and Emperor were "mature" enough to handle it. Now I think I shall have to ask D to throw them away completely. In the past, I was foolish to think that since we spent money on the stuff, that we ought to hang on to it because it was wasteful to throw it away. Now I'm hoping D will just pitch the stuff or give it away.

I'm also secretly concerned that my children will discuss Mr. Krupp and poop at church tonight. The teachers (some of whom have been public school teachers) will be shocked and amazed and think, well, that's just homeschoolers and their lack of socialization for you, because *my students* would never say any such thing. During class, anyway. They're socialized better and discuss this only during recess...

Oh, I'm cringing already.

But

Here's what I'm thinking. I really need to let God deal with this in Emperor and Elf's life. Sure, I'm planning on pitching the books. But Mom is going to make a mistake later. Probably several. Maybe even really bad ones. How should we, in Christ, be speaking? In the end it's not about embarrassing Mom at church. It's about pleasing God.

OK, that sounds sappy but I really mean it. I feel badly that I have made this mistake, but I also acknowledge that it sure won't be my last unless God strikes me de

*poof*

LOL

07 October 2008

Star-Spangled Tea




Back to Tea on Tuesdays with Lori! Our theme today is the Star-Spangled Banner. The boys are trying very hard to learn this, but some of the guesses they make at some of the words are interesting. We made hot dogs and star-spangled apple pie for lunch. American as it gets. We also read a comic book on Francis Scott Key.

06 October 2008

The Bug-Squashing Party


Is now underway. Look what we're finding on Elf's arm. SOMETHING in that bedroom is sinister and hungry! I hope we don't need to take this one to the doctor as well. Too late today to bring him!

Spider Bite?

You can't tell from the picture, but Emperor's foot is also knobby and hot and swollen. He has a doctor's appointment in two hours and I'll tell you how it goes.

04 October 2008


From Nancy.

See, I copied all this from Nancy's blog so I could just answer the questions myself. Hopefully I can be high-tech enough to remember to delete Nancy's answers from the response section correctly. If my answer seems a little "off," you know why!

Where is your cellphone? Ok, this question is strange. Not because it's a strange question, but because I'm wondering what sort of strange answer I'm supposed to give that would make it interesting. My cell phone just lives in my purse except for the times it gets charged. I never use the thing. Cell phones aren't really meant to be used... they're only there for emergencies.

Where is your significant other? Ok, this question is also strange. I mean, what if my husband weren't a great guy? Would I have to be honest and answer something like, "getting drunk with his friends and ignoring me AGAIN" or "viewing his magazine collection?" Bleh. My answer is boring. He's in the garage, cleaning nails off the floor. An entire shelf fell out of the garage wall and there are containers, nails and tools everywhere. It's worse than a real mess as we keep old mattresses, tires and garbage in the garage. Really. I don't know when I'll ever see him again. No pictures. Once we had an entire mouse family in there. That is D's area and I'm not going in there. No pictures. Nope.

Your hair color? I wanted to dye my hair BLACK when I was a teen to show how rebellious I was. No one noticed the change. So I guess my hair's a bit dark.

Your Mother? I assume she's in Florida. That's where she lives.

Your Father? Same.

Your Favorite Thing? I have a large table I like very much. However, once I was without a clothes washer for about three weeks, and ... if I had to live without one or the other I'd say goodbye to the table first. Reluctantly, because I enjoy this "flip top" table. But six kids make a lot of dirty laundry as you can well imagine. And not having a convenient stream and boulder in the back yard, I'm not hand washing.

Your dream/goal? This is enlightening. I guess I don't have one. I just exist.

The room you're in? Dining/living/office. We have a three-bedroom house so a lot of rooms are multipurpose and have stuff stacked in them up to the ceiling. :] I'm serious. I will laugh about this time in my life later, and you can laugh *now*.

Your hobby? How awful. I guess I don't have one of these either. What happened to me?

Your fear? I don't want to blame my children for my crummy marriage, but if you have special-needs kids (note plural noun) you understand how wearing things can be... I mean, you can work around one kid well enough. How about juggling three special-needs children and three regular ones? And one of those is an infant? We haven't been away from the children overnight in over 12 years, and I'm concerned that we'll *finally* get these children semi-independent, turn around and realize we don't really like each other. And who are you, anyway?

Where were you last night? Were the VP debates last night? No? Ok, I can't remember what happened last night. I was probably home doing laundry.

What you're not? Boisterous. (Am I boring you?) Can I use Nancy's answer here?

One of your wish items? I want J (aka Woodjie McOnion McGillicuddy with Cheese) to talk more. As it is, he has lost the few words he spoke and only says "nigh-nigh" at bedtime. OK, I'm crying now just thinking about it. Just forget it.

The last thing you did? Blubbered all over my keyboard. Didn't ya just see me?

What are you wearing? Thong bikini (just kidding! LOL!)

Your TV? We have one and it's a big screen measuring 18 inches diagonally. I know. You're jealous. But I'm thinking it's not going to be stolen in the event of a break-in. The Teletubbies DVD might wind up missing, though. Somehow.

Your Pet? Really it's the boys' pet, a cat named Mopsy who is 15 years old.

Your Computer? My best friend. Awww.

Your Mood? Yes, I have a lot of them.

Missing Someone? Person I used to be. Size 5. ;]

Your Car? Sexxxy minivan. In beige.

Something you're not wearing but love to wear? Did I mention size 5 before?

Favorite Store? I like shopping for homeschool stuff.

Your Summer? Hernia surgery. Six kids. Long summer. The end. Poor Patrick worked very hard and was paid accordingly.

Love Someone? Yep, a lot of people. It does NOT follow that I'm a loving person. Just being real with ya.

Your Favorite Color? For a car? A phone? A tan? I mean, I like my tables to be a different colour than my ceilings. So I don't know the answer to this one.

When was the last time you laughed? One of the children made a business proposal this morning. It was silly.

When was the last time you cried? Didn't you just see me bawling over the keyboard? *honk*

Are you willing to do this meme? You can have the award I'm posting up above this post if ya do. Be sure to link back to me and leave me a comment so I know you're playing.

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...