31 July 2008

Muffins at My House.


Who would like to come over and clean up after dinner? If I have help, I might just serve spaghetti, chocolate pudding and sticky soda floats. I'll even let little J feed himself. So... how 'bout it?

30 July 2008

Extraneous Stuff.


Does anyone else have a problem with "extraneous stuff" in pictures? This is a picture of Elf's sixth birthday. What is the empty egg carton doing on my countertop? And the spaghetti?? I can tell you that the Anpanman doll was just laid down so that the children could eat without getting it all messy. I can also tell you that the toiletries zipper case is there because we had been preparing to go to Disney and were packing medicines, which are located in that cabinet. I could also tell you that under that plastic bag was Elf's nebulizer. I kept it under the bag so it wouldn't get all dusty between uses, but it does look kinda crummy on the countertop. I *like* the focus in my pictures to be on the children. Or maybe D took this one? Look how tiny Elf was in this picture. And G was a good foot or so shorter!

Birth Control... Evil?

I'm doing this post for Terry because she was brave enough to ask me what I really felt about birth control and why. Please understand that I am not a biblical or ethics scholar, nor am I an expert on historical matters. Everything I say is open to interpretation and disagreement. (If the disagreement is on my blog, however, it WILL be polite disagreement, or it will be deleted.) So, here we go... I think birth control is "bad," generally speaking, because...

It has a bad history.

Usually when we think of "eugenics," we think of Adolf Hitler. He was a bad guy and wanted to rid the world of the Jewish race and other ethnicities he considered inferior. We have people like this everywhere, in all times and in all places. Why it is that we think usually of *just* Hitler is a bit beyond me when we discuss topics like these. But, in any event, "eugenics" or "racial cleansing" or whatever name it goes by presumes that some people are better than others. Get rid of the people who aren't as great and we can breed the super-race with less disease and other problems.

Wouldn't it be nice to be rid of alcoholism from the gene pool? Homosexuality? Cleft lip or club foot? How 'bout autism? Yep, just kill 'em all and we'll do better next generation. Keep killing off the infirm or disabled and eventually the gene pool will improve. We'll just breed people like puppies!

Do you know what the real evil is in my opinion in thinking along these lines? It's that Hitler was not alone. Hitler had a nation behind him. Today's "Planned Parenthood" was actually founded by a eugenicist named Margaret Sanger. We don't want those underclass, infirm or Negro to have too many kids. Let's help them so they don't breed so much and muck up our country. Now, of course, Planned Parenthood wants to distance itself from its history, but it is history nonetheless. Birth control becoming readily available is thanks in large part to people like Sanger. I just have to point that out as one of several reasons I personally find birth control repugnant... as the mom of two autistic children, when a doctor tries to foist birth control on me, I am personally offended. I wonder at their getting into my personal life when it was NOT requested, and I also wonder if they don't think I shouldn't go off and have more "defective" autistic children. Either way, the doctor needs a good smack, but I don't want to go to jail because I have too many kids at home who need me. ;]

There are also some methods of "birth control" like abortion and the IUD which actually kill living children, but for the purposes of brevity I'm not discussing those here. I will close by saying that you can't judge every product or position on a political subject by its history... I like Volkswagens and think they're cute... but the historical context DOES matter.

Deception: lack of "consequences" (pregnancy, disease, emotional)

Unfortunately or not, sex is all bound up with pregnancy, disease, emotions and morality. I feel that birth control, especially as it is discussed in public school, seems to give the idea that "consequences" like pregnancy can be avoided through its use. Most teens have good brains in their heads, but they're receiving some very conflicting messages from peers, media, school, parents, etc. Throw in some overwhelming hormones and there's bound to be a problem every now and then. Pregnancy is the least of them! I have to wonder if birth control weren't as available if we wouldn't see fewer teens having premarital sex.

Just think of the diseases and emotional heartache teens can get into. I've heard somewhere that about one in four women has the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer. There are people who have DIED from cervical cancer. People aren't perfect, and even if *some* were, their husbands or wives might not be. I'm concerned that an overabundance of birth control, readily available without even asking (like I said, it's almost forced during every doctor visit!) is leading us to no longer seriously consider the consequences of sex outside marriage. Within marriage, I believe this leads people to believe they can time their babies perfectly as they wish... and we all know stories where this is NOT necessarily the case!

No mention of it in the Bible

Ok, like I said, I think Volkswagens are cute. Just because they aren't mentioned in the Bible doesn't necessarily make them evil. But I do see verses about many children being a blessing, verses about being knit together in a mother's womb and verses about children being like arrows in the hand of a warrior. What kind of warrior goes into battle with just one or two arrows? Thinking out loud here.

I'm not militant

I'm not militant about it, though. I can't say anything like, "Mrs. X is not following the will of God because she had her tubes tied!" Hopefully I never came across like that. I'm just sharing some of the reasons why *I* don't think that birth control is God's ideal for marriage, based on my limited understanding of God's will and the Bible. My getting into someone else's marriage or second-guessing person X or Z is just as bad as the doctors and their pushiness at my appointments. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I know some folks that think that if you prevent a child from being there in the first place by NOT trying for a child when you think you MIGHT be fertile, it's just as bad as aborting a child because you're limiting the will of God and the child that "should" have been there. Which I don't follow. Actually, we're not planning to have any more children but of course God has sovereignty over all our lives. We're just not using birth control to prevent them.

So we'll end the post by saying that folks who believe birth control should be used by almost everyone at some point are probably angry at my post, and people who think you should NEVER stop trying for more children are probably mad, too. Sorry to disappoint everyone. :]

29 July 2008

Clothes, Girly-fied




I took one of J's old T-shirts and a dress that no longer fit S.

Then I cut them both in half. The top of the dress will not fit S anymore. The bottom of the T-shirt also went into the trash. But I sewed the bottom part of the dress to the top part of the shirt. They don't quite "go" together, but I thought it was a cute idea anyway.

Warning: Crude and Disgusting Post

Well, if we're having a discussion on birth control in general, I'd tell you that for the most part I'm against it. If you just got your tubes tied because you're overwhelmed and overburdened with three, that has to be between you, God and your husband. But if you *ask* me, I'll tell you why I don't believe in it and why. It isn't a huge "salvation" issue, even if I do have some pretty strong feelings on the matter. I should hope that in any event I'm nice about it, though.

But why does it all seem to have to be the other way 'round when someone happens to have a buncha kids? What seems to make normally rational people get that huffy "I know what's best for you and your life and you're ignorant for not listening to me" tone when they hear someone's having a large family? This story of a family that has just welcomed its 18th child sure drew some nasty ol' comments. And no, it isn't the Duggars.

I didn't read through all 5 million or so comments (not much of an exaggeration; take a look for yourself), but the ones I did read mostly had a nasty, disgusting and moralizing tone... all at once! Boy, I could sure understand someone writing, "I sure don't want to be there on laundry day!" or "That's more kids than I could handle!" or even "I believe that God wants us all to have three or fewer children so that we don't negatively impact the earth through global warming." You know, go ahead and have an opinion and we can talk about *that.*

But, um, the fellow needs to strap a board to his butt so he doesn't fall in?? Cretins reproducing like rabbits? Vaginas shouldn't be clown cars? Or, they believe in God because they're idiots and you can see the proof because they have too many children? Or:

"If she has college funds in place for all of those kids and the kids have been allowed to play sports and activities and if they haven't been stuck giving up their childhood to babysit for her lazy @$$, then hey I'm cool with it. But something tells me the Bit$% doesn't have enough money to afford all of those kids and give them a normal childhood. It's not like she's got Oprah's money or Angelina Jolie's money, where all the kids can go to school and have normal lives. Anyway, if she covered those things, then hey more power to ya."

Aw, yeah. So if you're super-rich and traipse across the globe with your unmarried lover and pick up a stray orphan of every colour and crank out a few of your own while you're at it, it's all kewl. But the married lady, if she doesn't have enough money for "sports and activities" AND college for each of the children, she's a B*. Because Ms. Jolie's kids are going to go to school and have "normal" lives. Because the millions of kids starving in the Sahara? Not "normal" lives. Normal is what you see in the Dick and Jane books, people!

I do wonder if half these people would have the guts to say stuff like this to the couple's faces. I do blog under a pseudonym, but many of you know my "real name" and know these are my real photographs of my real family. I'm a real person, and while my name is not Mrs. C, I DO live in Missouri and the facts I relate about my family are true. If you saw me shopping at the store or going to church, I'd be the same person there as I am right here. I guess I'm amazed at the nastiness people display when they think they're anonymous. I guess I shouldn't be.

Do You Understand Television?

Growing up, I had a great deal of difficulty understanding "The Jeffersons." I could understand "Helen" and "Lionel" when they spoke. I could understand all the white characters and I could also understand "Wheezy" (is she really "Louisa?") most of the time. The rest of them, forget it. They spoke strangely and the things they were talking about made no sense. The sassy maid certainly should have been shown the door in the first episode.

The Flintstones and Bugs Bunny were shows I *thought* I understood until I got older. Then I realized what sexist, racist, idiotic things were on the TV when I was a kid. And Tom and Jerry? When did they get so violent? And when did Ginger on Gilligan's Island become so... disgusting? Patrick literally runs out of the room when she starts the smooch thing. And I'm sure if I were to re-watch a Brady Bunch episode, that I'd be very ill or have to leave the room myself.

Now some of the things I used to think were "boring," I enjoy. Things like the Andy Griffith show are actually funny to watch. I also like several of the Twilight Zone episodes. Davey and Golliath are kinda preachy but cute as well.

Today, though, I'm glad we don't tune in to the TV very often at all. D likes to watch "America's Got Talent" each week. I still go into fits every time I hear the title of the show. It makes no sense!! Argh!! "America Has Talented Performers" might be a better title. Or better yet, "Talented Americans Compete for Cash Prizes" makes the most sense. But noooo... America done gots itself some talent. True, D has to flip off the TV every five minutes because they have some doozie acts on occasion. But I liked the puppet guy they had on last season.

What are some shows you can't stand, or maybe enjoy too much? :]

28 July 2008

A Heavy Matter

I'm fat. Ok, I'm *really* fat. All this sitting around and not even vacuuming really doesn't help. It's been a real struggle to keep the gain post-surgery under five pounds. So, I understand how tough it is to be fat. I do! I weigh 217 right now. If I can get down to 180, people won't notice how thin or fat I am. I'll just be there, if you know what I mean. When I get down to about 165, people say I look really great (well, for being me, anyway) and ... you're not going to try to lose any more, are you? At 150, I start to hear about how I'll get sick if I get too underweight. Seriously. The cutoff *officially* before I'm underweight is 118 pounds. I think I'd be in some serious trouble before I got there. I'm thinking a healthy weight for me would be in the 170-175 range which would technically be about 11 pounds overweight.

I think the BMI is an interesting guideline, but I'm not really getting where the powers that be decide what "overweight" really is, especially if everybody seems to be getting fatter. Wouldn't a "healthy weight" go up as well, if we're working on averages and measuring ourselves by ourselves?? How would they know what the ideal weight for health, given a certain height, would be?

Um, but we all know when we're hugely fat. We really don't need anyone else telling us. Have you ever known anyone to truly feel helped by shouts of, "Hey, lady, go on a diet because you're fat!"? Me neither. So why would people think that sending reports home to parents of fatties is gonna help? HELLO!! We know the kid is fat already. I've heard of stuff like this happening in various public school districts and I think it's the nanny state being danged nosy. It's mean to the kid, mean to the parents, and plain old not what people send their kid to school for.

And can I add that requiring classes on "diet and nutrition" for the younger set is humiliating to those with problems? I well remember the classes on "wash your face every day" to be extremely excruciating when I was a teen as I had a face full of acne. As if my washing, buying a million products AND going to the dermatologist and *still* living with that hell weren't enough. I had to deal with the other kids looking at me during the lesson as if to say, "Is she taking notes? Because she sure could use this lesson!" Stick to math and English in public schools, please, wouldya? Most of these children actually HAVE parents at home. Not that it's any of your flippin' business if they don't.

On the other hand, you do have to wonder about people sometimes. If a ride has a weight limit of 700 pounds, and you're seriously overweight, don't hop on it with a bunch of your friends! I don't usually judge a book by its cover, but the kiddo pictured is about as close to 120-odd pounds as I am. Bet you they're not suing because they know good and well if they all got on the scale and the law of addition were applied, this family weighs over 700 pounds. It isn't the ride operator's job to check out your fat rolls and make a good guestimate of your weight. You know how much you weigh. Come on, people. What really killed me in reading the article was the idea that the family itself thinks the RIDE OPERATOR should pull people who are obese out of the line so no injuries happen:

"I think that if they had made that determination, if there was a weight issue, they would be more careful and scrutinize and not let a family on that exceed it," said Manners, whose daughter Samantha was riding the Raging Rapids slide with her parents when their raft went airborne and slammed down on the slide, bruising her back. He and his wife, Frances, also had minor bruises.

You've gotta be kidding!!! If the ride operator pulled them out and made a great big public announcement about how the people about to get on were too fat and couldn't ride, you know very well somebody might just sue for the resulting public humiliation. And besides which, as I had pointed out before, you don't always know who's overweight and who isn't. I know extremes are pretty hard to miss and that I weigh twice as much as it says on my driver's license, but still.

25 July 2008

My House is Quiet.


G is gone to his aunt and uncle's house in Ohio. I'm sure Woodjie misses him as he is usually the most zany kid and most creative in playing with toys.

24 July 2008

Girlie, With Bow.


Special Needs Education - Homeschooling After a Bad Public School Experience.

Summer writes about the student "voted" out of his public education kindergarten class and about another who was insulted by his teacher. I'm sure there are plenty more tales of woe out there. What do you think you should do after a bad run with public education?

"It is cases like those that really bug me when people say parents who choose to home school should just be trying harder to make the schools better. How exactly? Not only can we not change the teacher:student ratio, or the curriculum, or the hours, or the politics, or any other number of the negative things, we also cannot fire the bad teachers," she writes.

Yes, I sure hear ya. The whole system is stacked against you. Even if you have the money to hire a lawyer to stick up for the rights of your special-needs kid, the case can drag on forever. Your child will continue to suffer. Eventually you have to come to the place where you ask yourself if what you're doing is worth it, and whether it's going to bring about any lasting change.

I suppose that we should all be very proud of the mavericks who fought against race-based segregation, went to court, and allowed their children to go through a tough time so that things in our country would change. As a parent, though, I don't know if I could put my child through that. Looking at these schools now, they're inner city cesspools of hell. What was gained? People fought for admittance to THAT? Bleh. They finally get their rights but find most of the students and staff are against them.

Anyway, that's kinda how I felt with Elf. They were against him. They didn't WANT to help him. If they did, they'd spend actual real American dollars on his education by giving the child the aide he needed and a smaller classroom instead of claiming that he was "manipulative" when he found large groups challenging and tried to hide, etc.

I know that there are special-needs warriors in the trenches trying to fix what's broken. The people at MPACT are the most awesome and dedicated workers for these children I've seen. There are whole-day seminars on IDEA law and what-not, free to Missourians. Some basic counselling on the phone (and no, I don't mean the "how do you feel about that?" kind of counselling). There are so many parents working to ensure their children get the best education they can.

Unfortunately, I think the struggle for equal education for special-needs children is going to be much more difficult to see through than the struggle for racial equality in a given district. First off, because it costs extra. Second, teachers don't want more "problems" than they already have. Just being real with you. Third, there is no real accountability for the schools because the accountability seems to happen when IEP items don't get done, NOT the fact that, say, a child who HAS autism should have x, y, and z in the IEP in the first place.

Writing an IEP is *worse* than negotiating for a new car. At least when you negotiate for a new car, you know you're working in dollars and cents. You know if you have the dollars and cents and if you feel you're being jerked around too much, off you go to the next dealer. Sure, they have all kinds of psychological intimidation tactics like making you wait while the salesman "checks with his manager" to see if you can get this incredibly low price (snort) on the vehicle in question. Sure, there are little mind games like them making small talk with you and trying to leverage you by calling you by your first name. (It's MRS. C, thank you so much. Even when I was 20-something, it rankled me to have some "dude" just call me by my first name. Respect, yo.)

Not so with an IEP. You don't even KNOW what products and services might go with this package. The staff at the school Elf was in claimed to have NEVER HEARD of ABA therapy. Never! But they'd be danged insulted if you told them you weren't sure that such-n-such test might not be ideal for our situation, because they're the professionals. You want an IEP, this is the test you HAVE to take. Yes, they *lie* to you. They manipulate your answers to their questions and the things you've revealed in their nosy "social survey" against your family. They are truly evil from the pit of Hell. Not that I'm resentful or anything. ;]

I enjoy home educating immensely and wouldn't want to give it up any time soon. I'm concerned for the parents who feel they have to leave their special-needs children in the system. I'm just not convinced that sending my child into that system is going to do any good. Perhaps this is a local problem, but our public special-needs preschool is so wonderful and excellent that unless things have drastically changed, I would consider sending J there if he qualified. They really do care for those kiddos and try to help them learn, and speech therapy and the like is available to the children who need it. Emperor and Elf I think learned a lot there. Unfortunately, the elementary school (regular ed) doesn't seem to have the same "outlook" on serving the needs of the individual student.

Family Update. :]

Patrick has just bought a new Nintendo DS with the money he has saved over the summer! He's very happy with it. I don't know why he wanted this, though, since he already has a Wii. These video games are very important to him. Things like new clothes, other toys and etc. are not significant right now. He works about eight hours a day watching baby J or helping me with small chores like vacuuming or lifting laundry. He'll be paid $150 total for this, of which he's received $30 last week.

I have tried to start caring for S during the day for most hours and am hoping to find an easy transition for J when Patrick isn't his personal entertainment committee any more. It will be hard for him, though.

We'll be homeschooling as well, and S will be crawling soon. I am not "borrowing my troubles," but I do believe it will be a difficult year in terms of keeping the house neat, the children all safe and fed, and the homeschooling finished. I'm hoping for "quality" homeschooling, too, not me shouting math problems over the toddler screaming that he wants something (like my pencil that he can't have), and doing an angry dance while generally being a distraction.

Have you noticed that those parenting magazines and other sources of "wisdom" simply advocate that you get this or that done during the child's nap? Um, J sleeps for one hour from the time he shuts his eyes to the time you'd BETTER wake him up or else. All the vacuuming? Oh, you can get that done in an hour, right? Homeschooling? That can "just" be done while the baby sleeps. Shower? You do have a whole hour, you know. Relaxing time for yourself? Fit that in, too.

GOOD LUCK!

I find those parenting magazines more funny than anything. Usually they feature a stick-thin lady with perfect highlights and largeish breasts holding a baby and sitting near a toddler. The article marvels that she cares for not one but TWO small children during the day and still has time for applying mocha-berry fo fanna lip gloss, available at SnootyPalace.com for only $85. And her tip for other new moms? "I try to get a little exercise in every day and eat only organic food grown by Pygmies in the South Sahara. It's just the socially responsible thing to do."

*
OK, I just checked to make sure that there is no SnootyPalace.com before I published. The web browser was oh-so-helpful and wanted to know, since they couldn't find it, did I mean the "booty palace dot com?" No, I didn't click it, but I did briefly wonder what the Queen looks like and how she holds court. Bleck.
*

In other news, I've been hitting the back-to-school sales even though four of my children really aren't going back-to-school. Good stuff, though. And I was compelled to purchase sneakers for Patrick in size 13 because the 12's he had didn't fit anymore. Well, they fit if "footbinding" is the goal. His toes were all scrunched in the front. I was pretty scared for a bit because he tried on a pair of 13's that were TOO TIGHT and I thought that is not a good thing. Can you imagine shopping with a picky *teen* shopper for 14's in the local mens' department? I could, briefly, and it was not a fun imagining. Thankfully we learned the magic of "try a different brand if the first doesn't fit" and I was able to escape with only a $64 singeing.

I also bought him two BRAND NEW pairs of pants from LL Bean, purposely in too-long size. He loves them. He probably will have a hard time wearing thrift store pants again. He likes pants that are all the SAME colour with no holes or wear marks on them. He's particular and would probably have fared well in the era when boys tucked in their shirts and ironed their jeans.

G is still off at his aunt's place. I imagine he'll need a haircut, a deep scrubbing and a couple of new pairs of pants as well. Last time my children were at their aunt's, they came home wonderfully tired and refreshed, but their fingernails! You know, the first time I saw Lord of the Rings on video, I was relieved that someone else had fingernails as grubby as those boys' the day they returned home.

23 July 2008

Was it Worth the Cost?

Six million dollars. The privacy of 10,000 children. All in order to net TWO (2) steroid users in high school sports. But you see, the folks in Texas are really glad to spend the money because by doing so, they helped all the children who *would've* done the steroids if the program weren't in place. Article.

I think this is so successful that maybe next we need to institute a house-searching policy, nationwide. The cops can come by anytime and check that you're not abusing your kids, that you have no illicit drugs and while they're at it, they'll make sure your refridgerateds are fresh enough to be safely consumed. Just think of all the salmonella cases we'll prevent each year just by having the police check the "best by" dates in your fridge alone! Not to mention all the illegal drugs they can confiscate and resell - OH, I mean... prevent from getting into the hands of children.

I guess what I'm trying to get around to saying is that stuff like this ruins the fun for everyone. Most people in high school sports enjoy playing for the fun of it. I know Patrick enjoys Chess Club immensely (he tells me that's a sport, so OK, that's his sport). I don't know that it would be so fun if some sadistic nurse with a syringe were waiting for him on the sidelines before his next tournament. BUT if no one takes his blood, how will you know that he's not taking a drug to help his game? Um, I guess you don't. You'd get a little suspicious if the kid grew to be ten feet tall and looked like the Incredible Hulk. I also hear tell that in private, the fellows themselves would see the effects of said drugs because your weenie shrivels up like a raisin. I don't know if that is true (so don't ask!!), but Patrick tells me that's what they teach in health class. Then again, I've seen all kinds of fanciful movies in "health class" as a teen, so I don't know if I'm buying it.

22 July 2008

I'm Converting to Islam.

"Allah" has personally signed four cuts of meat at a restaurant. See, the Jews *used* to have those Ten Commandments on stone tablets signed by Yaweh and what-not, but now they're out of favour and so yesterday. Same with the Catholics and their tired old "Virgin Mary in a tortilla" routine that occasionally makes the evening news. Now Islam is the hep-happenin' thang because their god is doin' the miracles now! From the article:

"When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind," he said. Yes! It has convinced me. You know, I wasn't going to believe before, but now that there are a couple ridges in a piece of meat that YOU say spell out "Allah" in Arabic, I know that Allah is the only one and true god and I will convert immediately. Even though I can't read Arabic, I just *know* that Allah was putting that message on a steak for me.

The restaurant has kept the pieces of meat for visitors to see. A special service for the community to bolster their faith. Till the meat rots, anyway. Thousands of people have already gone to the restaurant to see them since they were discovered last week. See folks? EVERY religion has its share of weirdos and people ready to cash in. People are the same all over the world. And what with this happening in Nigeria, the first thing I thought upon reading this story is, why hasn't the prince sent me my money yet??

Cute Lemonhead


Too bad; yet again you are subjected to "cute baby pictures." J's therapist is making a receptive ID book and it will include pictures of his booster seat, his cup, his bowl, his bed... just about everything. We're supposed to do everything with a white background so I got all high-class and got a TOWEL for one of the children to hold behind him. Do you think he looks like a Lemonhead?

Carnival of Homeschooling!

Tiffany is hosting the Carnival this week, and I was absolutely SHOCKED at the number of entries. Seriously, go on over and check some of them out. I really was impressed. It looks like I'm going to be here reading all week! Arrg! There must be a buncha great entries if I'm stuck on the first one I clicked: all about whether it's morally right to cheat on video games. Ok, I could talk for a whole post about that too, but not as well as she did! *And* she included pictures that were really relevant to the story. See, I just submitted my "Trojan Horse" craft into the carnival 'cuz I thought it was a cute, summery sort of homeschool thing LOL!

21 July 2008

Your Geography Lesson.


My Fellow Americans, how much do you know about our country? Do you know how to locate Masisushits on the map? How about Misses Sippy and Oaklahomea? Just thought I'd mention that that state of Mexico can also be forgotten by the young and impetuous. We'll be learning the names, capitals and locations of all 50 states this year. I thought it would be interesting to know how much the boys know off the tops of their heads before we began, however. I'm sure if I sat down with them and asked questions like, what state does Grandma * live in? that they would get several more states. But I wanted this to be a no peeking at the map, no hints sort of a quiz.

Authority?

Over at Terry's, we're talking about blogging, our reasons for blogging, and whether BY blogging, we're setting ourselves up as authorities to others. Wow. These are some deep issues, folks, because it's asking us to consider why we blog AND why we blog WHAT we blog. She talked about a blogger who quit blogging because she was concerned that she had inadvertently set herself up as an authority on child-rearing and the like when her children weren't grown, and so she quit.

See, usually, I'm blogging something that happened that I would want to share with friends, if I had them. Then all my blog friends come over and say hi and I read their posts about whatever is on their mind. If I find the "tone" of a blog I'm visiting not to click with me, I'll usually just move on. No biggie. Sometimes it's because I'm simply not interested in the subject or the method the writer uses 2 rch hr audience dsnt lk 2 gd r sumthin. I have trouble reading numbers as words and leaving out all my vowels. I have tried texting once on a friend's phone and gotten frustrated that I was unable to find the semi-colon. I need semi-colons to make myself understood. Whether that's because I lack creativity or training in the new communication method, I leave for my readers to decide.

I don't really have a problem with the "setting myself up as an authority" idea. Not so much. I'm a Christian, and I believe in the Bible. But I'm just a person and I think you know it. I'm not even a "good" person, so far as people go. Now, mind you, I'm not going to delve into the full extent of my badness on my blog. That would be silly! Nor am I going to paint an extremely rosy picture of myself sitting at the right hand of God and what-not. Maybe something in-between.

To me, blogging is like having a friend over for coffee, but somehow being restricted to typing what you want to say to the friend and maybe including a picture or two each day. Sometimes you want to tell your friend that you are MAD MAD MAD about something. Other times you want to exhort your friend to holiness. Other times, perhaps you're especially proud of one of your children and you'd like to brag. I wouldn't think that those are necessarily contradictory sorts of posts, though I suppose an exhortation to holiness followed by a rant about the stupid neighbour up the road would point out an inconsistency in character I think we *all* have.

I've seen anonymous blogs about eating disorders complete with food intake numbers and how the writer induces herself to get sick. The clothes. The deception of family members. Wow.

I've seen other anonymous blogs about people getting some counseling for sexual abuse, or recovering from an abusive relationship. Naturally, these people are not going to put this stuff on the SAME blog they put Junior on that all Junior's classmates might see. Have you seen people with different blogs for different aspects of their lives? I don't find anything wrong with that so long as the main objective is not deception. It isn't appropriate for someone to discuss their recovery from alcoholism on the "family" blog, and anonymity is (I think) a perfectly ok thing so long as it is not a cloak for inappropriate behaviour.

So, to relate that to my blog, if "anonymous" wants to come to my blog and comment about abuse in public school and his experience, that's fine. If "anonymous" wants to come over, cuss a lot, make nasty comments about the blog author or commenters, it's not. Those get deleted. "Anonymous" is always welcome to disagree cordially. "Anonymous" might not realize it, but I can sometimes actually figure out who the person is by IP address, where they're visiting from, and the nature of the comment. Sometimes.

But back to the topic at hand: writing as an "authority." I've seen several Christian blogs with this sort of tone, and frankly they make me angry. I look at blogs like this and know I *should* have some sympathy for the author. It isn't that I think they have some great secret to hide. It's that they probably don't. It's that they don't know what it's like to be a hypocrite. They just don't have those struggles most people in this world have, so their blogs can come off as a bit syrupy or holier-than-thou.

Can I be transparent here for just a moment? I used to be VERY judgmental of other people in the parenting department when I had just one child. Patrick has been very easy to raise all his life. If I had *only* had Patrick, I could easily believe that most other parents are overly permissive and/or purposefully raising the next generation of brats. I know better now because I've had bitter, awful experience in this particular department. Then I had to deal with the judmental attitude of others on top of THAT! That hurts! And here I thought I had it all together and was used to hearing compliments when I went out!

So I can't blog here and come off as the perfect parent, but maybe if I just had Patrick and no other children I might. I wouldn't have the same friends, but that doesn't mean that I'd be a liar in the things I'm blogging about. It doesn't mean I'm hiding a big secret. I'd genuinely think I have it together in that department because I wouldn't have my autistic children and/or several different personalities to deal with at once.

And while I'm not going to reveal ALL my struggles in EVERY department on my blog, I can at least relate that having a struggle in the parenting department makes me more sympathetic to people struggling in other departments. It makes me want to offer any advice I can "for what it's worth," and be perfectly ok with someone ignoring my advice because their children or situations are different from mine.

Have you thought about why you blog and whether you're setting yourself up as an "authority?" I had never really considered it before. God bless you! :]

20 July 2008

Dear Chad Carter:

Out of respect for your privacy, I have not published your email and contact info which you left. Out of respect for mine, I'm not sure that I want to be in email contact with every member of his extended family. True, I was rude and disrespectful in the tone of my letter. I probably shouldn't have been. But do you know what? If I'm on the "do not call list," your campaign is rude and disrespectful to call me in the first place. Just because it's LEGAL to call me umpteen million times, does NOT make it polite or right. Common sense would dictate that you RESPECT the wishes of the voter and not call those who have already made it clear they don't like being bothered at home by people they don't know by placing their names on said do not call list.

Oh, and by the way... the calls themselves informed me that Mike Carter is pretty well supporting public schools. As the mom of an autistic who has been abused in school and NOT GIVEN an IEP despite a diagnosis of autism from a prestigious children's hospital (you're smart and you can guess where), I have really been through it with "quality public education." It's an oxymoron. I'm quite sure I FLIPPED OUT and overreacted in my letter to Mr. Carter, but if you would be so kind, please read this post to understand the background from which I was hearing these calls:

http://homeschoolnetc.blogspot.com/2008/05/this-is-what-public-school-did-to-my.html

You can write whatever you want in my comment section. I'll certainly consider publishing it. I had pulled the entry you spoke of to work on it a bit, but then I got sick and forgot. So I'll just leave it as-is and you can reply as you see fit.

Sincerely,
Mrs C (not my real name)
KC metro area

Latin in 40 Minutes?

(Click post title to see article.)

I read this article believing it to be a resurrection of the teaching of Latin in public school. I took Latin for a year in high school, and it's a tough language. You don't leave after a year able to make fluent, basic conversation like you would in Spanish. After Spanish class, a native speaker would think you sound ridiculously slow and notice you can only speak in the present tense, but you would be understood (well, and probably mocked, but you might get points for trying to learn their language).

Not so in Latin! Latin takes a long time to learn and even after about five years, I've seen students able to translate portions of The Iliad but not speak to one another in the hallways. Latin is a strange language. You have about five declensions for everything -- subjects, verbs AND objects. Your own NAME changes when someone is speaking TO you rather than ABOUT you. This is NOT a subject that you can learn in an hour. I don't know how the article writer could be so easily fooled:

"'Oh, I get it!' cries one of the students. 'That word solus means alone, like in solitary.' And video means see, and retro means backwards. Soon, the cries of recognition are breaking out all round and, after just 40 minutes and two rounds of chocolate flapjacks, the group finds itself translating its first solid chunk of Latin text."

I see the article touts the teacher as a wonder-worker, but nobody's that good. Sorry.

19 July 2008

I Hate Going to the Doctor.

In January, we welcomed a wonderful little girl into our family. Baby S is just beautiful. She seems a relatively calm and pensive sort who likes to stick her tongue out while she's smiling. D took two weeks off from work and pretty well burned his vacation so that he could be with her as she acclimated to our family.

Well. Wouldn't you know that I'd need two MORE weeks' time off for this umbilical hernia surgery? I didn't think I'd be down and out that long. Still now, I cannot lift my children but must hire Patrick for the remainder of the summer. We're very grateful for the timing, and the bills will catch up to us later. So far we're at about $11,000 and counting just for the initial surgery (not counting anesthesia fees, doctor fees, etc.). If we have to pay 20%, it's still gonna hurt. 'Specially since D didn't work for pretty well a full month so far.

I've been having coughing and feeling achy since my surgery. Last night I started getting shaky and feverish and the old white spots appeared in my throat again. It seems every two months, I must get a shot for strep throat. Sure enough, that's what the test came back as. Like I didn't know. The doctor I saw today was not my regular as it was a Saturday; he's in a totally different office altogether and he was kind enough to see me on short notice. He says that if I get strep so often it's time to...

get ready...

think about surgery for getting my tonsils out! Like I have time for that! Just give me a shot every couple months, would ya, or better yet how about once a week just in case I'm starting on that infection? You know? Be proactive! Prevention is key in all y'all's medical circles, right?

Apparently not. They don't like giving antibiotics all the time, I suppose because it's cheaper than surgery. He says that an ENT would do the surgery, and he HAS seen people die of allergic reaction to antibiotics. Um, and have you also known of people to die on the operating table? He laughed at that one. (Because I'm sure it's true LOL!)

So now I have to "follow up" (more money) with the regular doctor in three weeks and do another strep test (more money) because he thinks I'm "colonized" with strep and probably never really get rid of it. Bleh. No way I was going to tell him that I'm very well acquainted with knowing when I HAVE strep. "Strep" happens only when I get a cold. Conversely, whenever I get a cold, I get strep.

I'm not feeling much better yet. I've spent yet another day doing nothing and not helping with meals, changing children, etc. It's not much of a break when you're feeling so crummy. If I could enjoy my computer time, that would be great!

Adventures in The Odyssey

Well, I remember it being an adventure story, but I don't remember it being quite so bloody. Elf and Emperor love these stories... maybe a little too much. So far they've acted out the story of the Cyclops, made Ancient Greek paper dolls, and constructed a replica Trojan Horse. They keep studying the map at the back of the book and comparing it to our maps. They're not the same! That's right. Our maps don't have "The Land of the Dead" and the "Island of Apollo" clearly marked, do they?

18 July 2008

My Note to Mike Carter

Yes, I was rude, obstinate and mean in my writing. Jesus would probably be ashamed of me. I am SO TIRED, though, of these automated phone calls from his stupid campaign office. I'm sure this note will go into the "crazy lady, look out for" file. However, after looking on line and finding at least 30 other people who are hoppin' mad about this campaigner and his tactics, I think my letter is not the only one along these lines he's received:

Dear Carter campaign:

I've received three automated calls from your campaign office. NO WAY I am "registering" my phone number, name and address with you in exchange for your leaving me alone. My data is not for sale.

And do you know why I bothered registering my number on the "Do Not Call" list? It's so people "do not call" me! It should be obvious! You are peeing off voters by not only cold-calling them, but doing so with an automated system. You don't even have the guts to have a live person listen to what we think about all this on the other end of the phone.

Your first call really angered me. My autistic son has been locked in a closet on several occasions by public school officials. And you want me to believe teachers are "overworked and underpaid?" And vote for you so you can throw MY money at them?? NOT.

We're homeschooling now. Not a word from you about anything except public school. Are you pandering to the teachers' unions for votes? Just wondering. I got that phone call TWICE... you know, just in case I missed the irony of your asking me to vote for YOU because of your esteem for an institution that abused my child the first time you rang.

By the third call, in which you let someone blather on about how some privately-owned company shouldn't be allowed to be sold to one of them-thar furriners (I thought only Republicans were afraid of those? funny.), I had to investigate for myself and see who this inconsiderate clod really was.

And on your website you proclaim you're going to help stop robo-calling? HA! *AND* you want me to register give you my data so you can help? DOUBLE HA!

Please understand that most often, I have a very respectful tone to all my public servants, be they Democrat or Republican. Serving our country and our local area is a great honour and respect should be shown to those who have undertaken looking out for the rights of the people.

So far you have proven that the next Lt. Governor should not be YOU.

-- Mrs. Angry Voter.

Math Wars? Stop the Hate!

This news article makes it sound as though parents of public school students should be secretive about teaching their own children how to do mathematics in the traditional way. It had a silly parents-being-persecuted sort of tone, and yet after reading this several times I've yet to see where the problem might be. In fact, I saw no hint of criticism from the public school whatsoever:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jIknLQBhUVOj_QjvWRCm2sxwA4JQD91UHBDG0 Got the link from a post on Joanne Jacobs' blog, which you can view by clicking my post title. I think. Not being mathematically inclined, I'm still not sure how to link posts without the long nonsense. I'd like to say, at "this" blog, and if you click "this," you go right there. I haven't figured out how to do that, so if you're a smartie, would you leave me a comment and clue me in?

So... I'm no math expert, but I imagine the silly methodologies some public schools use to teach mathematics leave much to be desired. I don't understand how with "state standards" and NCLB laws that substandard (by any standard) math programs would be in place for long. But whatever. You know what? I really don't care how you teach your child math, or what they're doing in the public school to teach math so long as they aren't counting condoms in kindergarten. (Yes, I was being ridiculous on purpose, so no flaming in the comment section, please!)

Does the child know how to do the math? Does the child have a good grasp on how math works and how to apply the principles? I'm concerned about those two things. As an aside, I have one "gifted" child go through the public school's math silliness of adding left to right and whatnot. Strange, strange methods are used in these classes. It would be NICE if the schools at least endeavoured to have short classes for the parents so that they can help with homework when the kid doesn't understand why Mom is doing it "wrong." When Patrick would bring home multidigit addition and subtraction problems, I'd sit there perplexed. Thankfully, he could do all the math himself and didn't need help often. And G is in special ed and almost never receives homework.

To hear some tell it though, we need to pick up our Math Swords so that we can slay the Math Dragon in our Math Wars. Good grief. How about you teach the child the way you think he'll learn, and then if it doesn't work, try something else? I do have a problem, though, with skipping over learning some rote facts and methods altogether, though. From the article:

"... Long division wasn't on the agenda. As many parents across the country know, this and some other familiar formulas have been supplanted, in an increasing number of schools, by concept-based curricula aiming to teach the ideas behind mathematics rather than rote procedures."

"They call it the Math Wars: The debate, at times acrimonious, over which way is best to teach kids math. In its most black-and-white form, it pits schools hoping to prepare kids for a new world against reluctant parents, who feel the traditional way is best and their kids are being shortchanged."

In our district, some of the sillier aspects of the Everyday Mathematics program are alleviated because children are required to drill their times tables and learn division. I've said this before, but some of the worksheets are very interesting and force children to think of mathematics in everyday situations.

17 July 2008

Trojan Horse Craft




Replicate the horror and fun of the Battle of Troy with your very own wooden horse! It's made of a shoe box, four paper towel rolls and a folded sheet of paper. Add a little paint and duct tape for that realistic effect. We carved a trap door in the bottom for added authenticity, but left the flip-top on the TOP of the horse so we can look at our action figures as we load them in. This has proved to be hours of cut-throat fun.

The Limits of Friendship?

Are you always a friend? Are you always understanding? When your friend hasn't called in two months, do you start to think maybe she's avoiding you? Or do you have the opposite problem... a friend who calls daily to chat when you're busy?

I'd like to talk today about the limits of friendship. We all have them, but maybe we've subscribed to the idea that if we're *really* a friend, we'll put up with quite a bit. And that may be true. Perhaps more likely, though, we haven't outlined for ourselves where our true limits lie.

In the past, I've let friendships die when I've figured out that our priorities are different or that *I* have a problem with gossiping around a certain person, etc. Occasionally it has nothing to do with the other person! I'd perhaps not call as frequently or allow busy-ness to settle in. I've a feeling sometimes this friendship weaning is a mutual process with no hard feelings, as we're happy to see one another again (or at least pretend to be happy) when we bump into one another around town.

It's the grey areas that are difficult to negotiate. I think, though, that it's very theoretical. I've had friends over, though, at least twice in the last year. I just don't think I have close friends at present. I homeschool during the day, attend church and go grocery shopping. That's it. I imagine that other ladies in my situation (having several children, or autistic children) are isolated as well. It's not as though we can all get together for play group. It's not as though our husbands aren't already stressed out and not particularly keen on our finding and expending ENERGY on keeping a new friend.

I'm able to drop by your place anytime, though, if I have your internet address. And the thing with internet friendships is that our personalities don't get in the way. You can read my THOUGHTS and I can read yours. You don't get hung up on the fact that I dress sloppily and am overweight. Or that my kids jump all over people and hug them while they discuss their life stories. You can't get a word in edgewise if you come to my house, be warned!!

Or maybe you figure out you hate my thoughts and move on to another blog and vice-versa. That's ok. With internet friends, the exterior is mostly gone, though I *do* have a pretty nice template provided by Blogger. You know, plain, simple... and I added a dash of colour to the title. Not too busy or cutesy.

Another thing with internet friends is that you don't have to worry AS much about boundaries. I'm probably really busy while you're reading this, but you go ahead and read it at your leisure, and in your own time, and leave me a comment when you jolly well feel like it. You won't inconvenience me by "calling" right now. I will check my messages later and come back when YOU are busy with other things and comment at your place.

What did we ever do before internet?

Well, I **still** have a penpal I've been keeping in touch with for about 12 years now. She has a daughter a day younger than G. Every few months I will get a long letter in my mailbox. That's pretty nice, too.

Have a great day and God bless ya!

16 July 2008

Can You Feel The Excitement??


Things Younger Than John McCain.

The York Peppermint Patty. Dirt. The horse n buggy. It's all here on http://www.thingsyoungerthanmccain.com, though I may have made up the dirt and horse n buggy part. Thanks to my uncle for a cute website link.

Oh, They Shouldn't Print That!

Oh, no! Obama and his friends are upset about cartoons! Who would have EVER THOUGHT that running for public office would get you lampooned in a cartoon in a way you don't like!?? Waaah! I'd have to say that Obama must not be a practicing Muslim because while he's getting *upset* about the cartoon, he hasn't quite beheaded anyone about it yet.
*
(OK, that wasn't fair, because there are nuts in every bunch. But read the news and understand that part of me wants to just say inflammatory stuff like that because I CAN and feel that right may be taken away soon... don't get me started on Europe, eroding ideas of human rights and acceptance of Christians... this would be the article that has no end, yes, it goes on and on, my friend... )
*
Does Obama REALLY want to dispel the "Muslim" myth? I'll bet you he DOESN'T, because the idea of being a Muslim plays really well to the liberals who think they're somehow an oppressed people group. I don't buy that he's a Christian, though, but he could become one. I know he CALLS himself a "Christian," but you know, I could call myself "thin" all I want, too.
*
I don't really know about Cindy McCain. I really haven't seen anything in-depth about her other than the fact that she dresses nicely and has a lot of money. Big whoop. But Michelle Obama... you can't say that fist thing doesn't mean something sinister. I have NEVER NEVER NEVER seen anyone do that sort of greeting in seriousness. I think it's a Black Power thing and I'm very suspicious of this woman who isn't proud of America blah blah blah. And what kind of submissive Christian wife goes off and speaks FOR her husband in interviews and says that he'll basically force you to confront your attitudes and work hard?
*
Um, no, he won't. See, as a Christian, I respect the power and authority in the presidency. But as an American, watch me get all independent and revolutionary-minded on you and subvert the authority you weren't meant to have in the first place.
*
May God (that's Jesus!) bless you.

Homeschooling in July?

Yes, we do! We're on a relaxed sort of schedule, but we school year-round. Most of the reason we do this is because Elf is autistic and has decided that this is part of the weekday routine. We take a little time off here and there, but mostly on weekdays we spend at least a few hours on math and reading.

In mathematics, we're learning the different ways to express division. We're also doing equivalent fractions in that 3/4 is the same as 6/8. Now we're learning that it's because we're multiplying the fraction by 2/2. I've taught the boys since they were bitsy that 1/1, 2/2, 3/3 and etc. are all variants of ONE. Because if I have one piece out of a one-piece pie, it's one pie. Two pieces out of a two-piece pie is... one pie. Three pieces out of a three-piece pie is ... one pie. And so on. But in real life, the little pieces get so messy and the fruit slops out. The children know well enough that evenly dividing pies is a very abstract concept.

And even though four is bigger than three, cutting a pie into MORE pieces means the pieces are smaller. This seems to be the most difficult concept to grasp, but the children caught on quicker than you might think when I passed out food items this way. Just show them the fraction of a bowl of Teddy Grahams. Do you want 1/2, 1/8, or 1/4 of the bowl? They didn't ask for 1/8 again when 1/2 was a possibility next time.

In English, we're reading the Mary Pope Osborne renderings of The Odyssey. Odysseus strikes me as a rather bad commander. He just left 11 ships to the rock-throwing giants and has sent half his men to be turned into swine by Circe. He's only going to outsmart her because Hermes has shown up. Their theology is a little strange in that no one seems to question, well, where was Hermes *before* the 11 ships' worth of men got eaten up? Hmm? Looks like all the books on "When Hermes Doesn't Make Sense" have been lost to the mists of time.

We've printed up some Ancient Greek people in their tunics, and then printed up some paper doll clothing to go with them. This will be a fun colouring project, and they can act out the story. Paper dolls are very doable for boys when they happen to have removeable armour and spears. The boys have plans for an historically accurate battle later, which will take place in their Fisher Price English castle against some Bionicles and a stuffed tiger. I'm going to log the hours they play this game as an elective "Creative History" course in my logbook. (kidding. But the "art" part where they make the dolls counts.)

In science, the boys have FINALLY FINISHED their unit on the human body! I don't think I've ever been more happy to pack a book away. We all just hated the unit for some reason. I don't think it's the material. Somehow we all just built a dread up to doing this work and it literally took us months to get through that Lifepac. But we got it done and they do know the material. Usually we're pretty happy about learning something new and I can't figure out why this particular unit was so troublesome.

We'll actually start social studies once we have learned a bit about Ancient Greece. I keep meaning to get 'round to the Bob Jones curriculum I carefully purchased with all the kit items, special timeline, listening CD, additional texts, etc. etc. etc. and here we go off writing notes for Flat Stanley and reading the Odyssey. We're having a lot of fun, and we can get away with that sort of thing now, but later we're just going to have to be more determined to do the stuff that goes with each year during that year. I can't say I'm scatterbrained per se, more that I see an opportunity where the boys are excited about learning something and we just do that for a little while.

God bless ya and happy summer!

You Need This Product! Not.

The USB Port "Humping Dog." http://www.wowzzers.com/product_info.php?products_id=463?GoogleImgAdUSBHD&gclid=CNuxquK8xJQCFQ4YQgodTXCxTA

From the ad:

"The world would be a very dull place if it wasn't for there being inventors out there with enough time on their hands to come up with something so stratospherically stupid as this, the USB Humping Dog. Well you've got to do something with your USB ports, so you might as well have a laugh with them. Pop this excitable pup into your PC's USB port and watch as he starts high-speed-humping your machine, yes really. This pint size version or our worryingly popular Humping Dog may not be the next best thing since sliced bread, but it's a lot funnier. USB Exercise Dog is also just as funny if not funnier!"

And the testimonial: "...the dog humping your laptop has to be one of the Greatest Inventions of 2007."

I thought this was a sick joke but apparently it's REAL and they're REALLY SELLING this stuff. I usually am pretty laid-back about how other people spend their own money, but seeing this ad got me on full blown "there are starving kids in China and people are buying this??" mode.

Twenty bucks. Then there's shipping and tax. No fair telling me the economy is bad if people have money for oversexed plastic dogs.

15 July 2008

Mean, Mean, Mean!!


My mom won't pick me up and bounce me! She won't carry me up the stairs. And I get no more milk in my bottles; only water. Then she pretends not to know what I'm talking about when I get mad! She says if I'm going to be all attached to the bottle, that that's what I get. No fair! She knows what I want! Come on. These are just baby teeth anyway, and I can stop this habit any time when I get around to feeling like it. I'm good and mad about it. See how I've banged my head already? Ow.

Woodjie Update

J has been very angry and has lost some of his signs. I suppose you'd call this "regression," but I think it's more that his mom hasn't been picking him up and carrying him about. I'm surprised at the number of forced snuggles the kid must have gone through in his lifetime, because of all the times in the day I *know* I would have just ignored his whiny protests, lifted the kid and smooched 'im.

I'm starting to see, now that I CAN'T lift him, that the interaction I've had with him before has usually been me chasing him down and finding something to *make* him attend to. Here's a book. You ARE sitting on Momma's lap and we are reading. (Usually this works, when you hold him tight enough and deal with a little "protest.") Here is your drink and food. You ARE going to sign. Do you want drink? Sign "drink." There you go.

Now that it is not possible for me to chase him down, lift and carry all the time, I worry more for him. Even mealtimes are much harder. He can be buckled into his booster, but if he gets upset enough he CAN topple himself. If he gets too upset, you need to decide whether to just give the kid what he wants or make him leave the table hungry. Either way, long-term he loses.

And where before, I'd be rolling him around and giving him octopus noogies and he'd still bang his head on occasion... well, now he does it much more frequently. He has bitten a chunk on his tongue. He has bruised his legs jumping off the couch constantly despite Patrick's best intervention. Our therapists would call this "seeking sensory input," but of course us old folks would call it "acting like a barbarian."

I have spoken to our services coordinator for First Steps and she's so great. I now am going to have the "play therapist" coming out once a week as well as the speech therapist. These things had to be put on hold as D is not comfortable having charge of all the children, food, cleaning AND therapies. He has limits. My limits are just a bit different.

I have moved (with of course, Patrick doing the lifting and carrying!!) J's bed upstairs and he will sleep in what used to be S/girly's room with D 'till he's a bit older. Girly will be in the master bedroom with me. So D and I can't share a room yet, but at least we're on the same floor.

I would feel very guilty about J "regressing" except for the fact that S has not. She is making some distinct vowel sounds now. She looks at people and can tell "family" and "not family." Woodjie has a preference for Patrick right now because Patrick lifts him, but he has never NEVER protested at being left at church nursery like S.

The very good news is that J's speech therapies start again tomorrow. The OT comes on Thursday and the play therapist on Friday. Hopefully we will help convince J that things are "OK." He has only in the last few days been a bit less angry with me for not picking him up, and will very occasionally crawl into my lap for a game I call "push-push" where I rub him with a pillow as the OT therapist showed me. That is supposed to decrease his "sensory seeking behaviour" (banging his head and giving himself carpet burn) and he seems to like it. Plus he's so soft and cuddly and I can sneak a little kiss in sometimes. Aww.

My Grandma Loves Me


My dad didn't tell my grandmother we were coming out to visit her. We drove about 11 hours to go see her and I was tired. But when my grandmother saw me, she snatched me away from my dad for kisses and fusses. Am I that cute??

Lookit What I Got!


Thanks to Chris for my award! You can find her at http://diet-coke-rocks.blogspot.com. She's been a great blog friend AND a New Zealand hostess of the Flat Stanleys!
I get to pass this on to five people. So... Here they are!
Kim http://frogpondsrock.com always has such beautiful pictures on her blog and any award even mentioning art would be fitting for her. She lives in Tasmania and has hosted Stanleys as well.
And you know, I'm an impartial judge and all, but you know the award has to go to three little boys who have just started blogging and are learning to post pictures and tell you stories.
http://gnetc.blogspot.com G is on vacation with his aunt and uncle in Ohio, but when he comes back, he's going to have to learn to post this award.
http://emperornetc.blogspot.com Emperor is going to be seven next month. Already he has over a full week of blogging under his belt. I'm sure a post is upcoming in the next few days.
http://elfnetc.blogspot.com Elf is currently very into the Odyssey and would like to discuss literature and his life as a Keebler elf.
Finally, Casdok www.motherofshrek.blogspot.com always has an artistic and off-beat way of presenting her posts. She could use our prayers as her autistic son is now grown up and moving out. Hopefully she'll be back to blogging regularly soon! I've missed her!

14 July 2008

All About G's Vacation


G is seen here unloading some groceries at his grandparents' house. D dropped G off there in the care of his sister, who then loaded him up for another trek to her house in the country. Since then, G has been fishing. He's been picking blackberries. He's been swimming. He's been camping. He's been riding "four-wheelers." He's seen his long-lost friend M. He's done everything he ever wanted to do over the last six years. Ahhh... He misses his "comfy blanket and pillow" though. Well, he needs something to look forward to returning to. It isn't like "exciting family life" is at the top of the list, once you get to pick blackberries, ride four-wheelers and hang out with friends all day.

Bad Spin on a Good Story.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25589588


OK, the birth mom in this story is allegedly a 23-year-old drug user who knows she can't take care of the child. Far from being "given up" on, this child has been given a REAL SHOT AT LIFE by the mother's actions. Maybe it's true she's a druggie. Maybe it's true she's off having sex with a fellow she's not married to. But to my mind, she did the right thing by the child by giving her up for adoption. The news story makes it sound like she was dumped without a care, and I highly doubt it's true. In my opinion, biological moms who VOLUNTARILY give up their children for selfLESS reasons (no money changing hands, etc.) deserve at least a modicum of respect no matter the situation. I think it's counterproductive to what should be everyone's goal (healthy child in healthy family) to villainize the biological mom when there are so many other "choices" she could make such as abortion, abandonment and keeping the baby without changing her lifestyle.

It's the first potential adoptive mom I have hard time reading about. Very selfish. She's 48 years old, and basically says she doesn't want to deal with the heartache when she finds out her prospective child is defective. Sorry to be harsh, but there it is. As the mom of two diagnosed and possibly three total autistic kids, I find this beyond heartless. Here's a woman who has the means to adopt and has passed whatever "test" has been thrown at her (financial, home study, etc.). Here is a person who is in a POSITION to become a parent and who declared her readiness. Well, 'till things got tough, anyway. Or maybe she'd have stuck around for this baby if it weren't for the fact that her in vitro worked and she'll get a real kid of her own instead of someone else's castoffs.

(Can you tell I'm a little steamed and being sarcastic?? I hope so. I'd hate to be flamed in the comment section for nothin'.)

Yes, I'm judging the potential adoptive mom more harshly than the bio mom. Maybe that's just me. Maybe there's much more to this story than we're told. But sure sounds like they're trying to paint the bio mom in a bad light and I think at *least* we can recognize that she realized her personal parental defects and yes, "gave the child up"... in the hopes of a better life. Who knows, but maybe the prospective adoptive mom did the same thing. Sigh.

God bless ya. Thanks for dealing with this probably over-opinionated post but I felt like sharing.

13 July 2008

Wal-Mart

I hate it.

But I got a circular advertizing 70-page lined notebooks for a nickel each! Crayons for 22 cents! That's less than a penny each! Starting Sunday! Yayyyy! You bet I was there at the door at about 6 a.m, though technically it's a 24-hour store. I just don't like to be robbed at gunpoint and strongly prefer the daylight, safe shopping and whatnot.

I know, I know. Usually I'll go to Target just across the highway, even if it is seven times more expensive. The staff is moderately more helpful there and I've never been asked for money in the parking lot by dirty druggies less than six inches from my face when I'm alone with small children and a big purseful of keys and credit cards like I have been at Wal-Mart. D thinks I shouldn't have given the guy some money, but he doesn't fully comprehend the concept of "intimidation" like I did at that moment. I mean, he's an intelligent guy and knows what "intimidation" is, but it's different when you're BEING intimidated and you have tiny children you love with ya.

Well, anyway...

So we've established that I hate Wal-Mart. But I *HAD* to get some notebooks for a nickel each! Just *HAD* to. Soon as it was daylight, I was off.

Of course, while I was there getting my notebooks and crayons, I also got socks for Elf and Emperor. You know it's sad when your six-year-old is borrowing YOUR girly socks because his are too tight. Time to buy socks. And underwear. Oh! They have index cards on sale. And coloured pencils for 88 cents a pack! 24 pencils for less than a dollar! Into the cart it all goes. Along with cans of apple filling and pie crust. How did that get in there? And coffee filters? This is school shopping stuff? Apparently so. Did I tell you that Wal-Mart is evil??

I've noticed on my rounds that they've carefully positioned the nickel notebooks near the ones that are $2.82. If you aren't specifically looking for the nickel ones, you'll pick up the nearly-three-dollar ones because they have a nicer front cover. Same idea with the pencils.

I think this year I spent about $45 less because I'm doing things like buying the nickel notebooks and cutting the paper out. That's "loose leaf paper" now, thanks, and quite literally more than ten times cheaper. I'm also not buying the specific 82-page college lined notebook or whatever. If it's that big a deal, the teacher will figure out a way to send a note home saying it isn't acceptable. Too often I've busted my hiney looking for the crayola brand 13 pack with built-in sharpener, and gone to several stores, only to find I can't find it anywhere.

I've learned. I'm just going to buy the 12-pack on sale instead of the 13-pack and if the teacher pitches a fit, I'll throw in another pencil from somewhere else and pretend to be brand-name ignorant. My apologies to public school teachers who carefully construct their lists each year, but it would just be nicer to pay a "supply fee" to the school and then we can all stop pretending that public education is "free." Know what? I'll bet if the teachers saw the big to-do we parents went through, jumping from store to store to store to store to store looking for the 82-page notebook, they'd say, just buy a 100 page notebook or two 70's! Or whatever! When we get close to running out of paper, we'll let you know!

I've also learned something else.

It's kind of a mean secret. The teachers, I think rightfully, ask for EVERYTHING up front. Or at least most everything. But DON'T give your public school kids all 98 million pencils for the first day of school. Give them five each, three or so pens, and so on. They can come back every few weeks and ask for more.

I gave Patrick TWO pencils at the beginning of the school year last year. I told him that you know, you can come back and get more pencils and paper when you need it but keep in mind this stuff isn't free. I told him this because I don't want to lose an entire box of pencils per week. What I DIDN'T mean to happen is for Patrick to become the pencil Mafia boss.

From the first day of school, Patrick has picked up forgotten pencils on the hallway floor. He sells these to forgetful children in class for a nickel each. He tells me, with the voice of experience, that the longer pencils with the erasers sell better than the stubby ones with the empty metallic eye-gauge-cups on the ends. He also has fished in the trash (!!) for discarded notebooks and sold sheets of paper to forgetful children over the course of the year. He made, nickel by nickel, about $20 last year between classes.

I'm proud that he's determined not to take too many pencils from home, and I do admire his capitalist spirit. But we're not *quite* that poor, folks. I'll admit to reusing aluminum foil and Brillo pads, though.

12 July 2008

G is Away.

D has packed up baby S, Elf, Emperor and G and travelled about 600 miles away to Ohio to visit his parents (their grandparents). He will drop off G with his sister who has acreage in rural Ohio. G loves the outdoors and will love his visit with his uncle and aunt. He last went about six years ago (!!) and has been talking about it ever since!

We've been shopping for his farmer overalls. You would think overalls would be easy to find in his size. I find things very difficult to find in the super-fat size, so you would THINK being 5 ft 8 and having a 26-inch waist would mean it's easy to find clothes. NOPE! We found a nice pair of overalls at the local farm store, but they had a big oil stain on them! Bleh. The only one in that size, too. We negotiated for some money off and wound up paying about $15.00 for them. Yay! Best part is that the oil washed out. But we didn't know that then and I'm NOT going to pay a ton of money for something "new" and already stained. G also bought some size 14 boots because the 13's fit, but he wants room to grow. Um, well, you can't blame him for being ambitious, I suppose. He'll never grow out of the 14's though, so I can't say I've bought them too small!

So now it's just me, the Woodjie Pumpkin Muffin McOnion McGillicuddy with Cheese, and Patrick. (I get to make up as many nicknames as I want for J and he can't stop me if he can't say anything about it. Doesn't Woodjums know that Mommy wants him to talk and will goad him any way she can to do it???) Do you know how quiet it is? Even with a toddler in the house? Well, the toddler makes noise, but I suppose the advantage to his not speaking yet is that he doesn't *quite* talk back yet.

I've done ONE load of wash, and ONE load of dishes. Even the dishes wouldn't need to have been done, were it not for the fact that D and the boys all had breakfast here before heading out. J got some sprinkler time I've had THREE chess games with Patrick. I have looked at ALL the blogs I want to look at. I did a sewing project. Well, a little one. But I got it DONE in TWO days. Oh! I even slept in until 7:30 a.m. today. Can you believe it??

I would have missed everyone by now, but I'm marvelling at how little work it takes to be a "mom of two." What do those people do all day? I mean, I thought of SOMETHING to fill my time because I was a "mom of two" for several years before Elf's arrival. I was busy! But now, with "only" two children, the house is empty. There is no laundry. I read AN ENTIRE CHAPTER in the Bible without getting interrupted once. Can you believe it?? It makes *so* much more sense that way! I also got to see two movies with Patrick. These also make more sense without the constant interruptions. Mmm.

Well, D called to tell me he's on his way back and he'll be home in a few hours. I'll have three more kids (since G is gone for a bit) again, and more laundry. More little hungries and people to clean after. More people to keep me company. I can almost hear the house waiting! :]

11 July 2008

This is Real and Not For Play

Are you goin' vote Obama way? I saw this video and I'm not sure if this is REALLY a supporting-Obama-type video. I mean, ALMOST every bad stereotype about black people you could ever think of is in this video. The rap music. The silly clothes and jewelry. The skankily-attired females. The men with their twitchy hand moves. Grammatical constructs such as, "We hood. We votin'." Missing are some of the "older" stereotypes like fried chicken, watermelon and blackface. It would be nice to vote on the *issues of the day* rather than see this clownish parading about and talk about "Obama girls" and whatnot. I find this extremely insulting to black folks, and what's worse is that I've seen it featured on other blogs as some sort of positive black cultural experience!! And no, I'm not linking so you can look LOL! Please, guys, Obama is not "hood." I think he's evil, but I also can recognize that he's extremely intelligent and can speak in full sentences. Good grief.

Wonder What Your Soul is Worth?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25626294

If you're an American, your life is worth 6.9 million smackers. Just statistically speaking. The EPA has figured this out for you, so that when things are planned by the government they can do a reasonable cost/benefit analysis. You know, so that when something harmful to human life should be cleaned up, perhaps they'll consider how many people live there vs. how much it would cost to clean.

Now, if we're going to put a dollar figure on "human life," and be that crass, may I suggest that all y'all high school dropouts are worth less than graduate school students? And you folks in the inner city aren't worth much except to political candidates, and that's only at election time. Folks in rural towns who aren't farming? Worthless. And, finally, people over 70. Let's be real about this. You've already finished being useful to society. Now you're just sitting around, sucking up all that "savings" you acquired that someone else could be using. Or worse, you're sitting in a home eating up my tax dollars! If I'm calculating the worth of a human life in dollars, I'm thinking you guys are all negative. Statistically speaking. You know, nothing personal.

"Other, similar calculations by the Bush administration have proved politically explosive. In 2002, the EPA decided the value of elderly people was 38 percent less than that of people under 70. After the move became public, the agency reversed itself."

Well, yeah! You don't want "moves" on the part of any public agency being, you know, public and all. Why don't they just come up with a detailed analysis on who's worth how much and why? Maybe we could just figure out who the "best" people are and save those. I'd say that it reminds me of Hitler's regime, except that Hitler's regime was not alone in thinking along these lines. We do it all the time here in America except we don't call it "eugenics." We call it "Planned Parenthood" or use slogans like "every child a wanted child" (drives me crazy, because obviously God wanted the kid there). Or media run stories about missing white college girls and totally ignore the black ladies from the 'hood who have disappeared! Because who cares about those? We run what sells.

While we're on the subject of the "value of human life," how polite are we to those who are unloveable 'round town? Do we place a higher value on the polite people? I'll admit I do! BUT that's not how Jesus worked, and He was very specific about saying that even the worst people in the world can be nice to the people who are nice to them. The unloveable and the woman at the well have value. He even put a price tag on them and died for them. They're worth that much.

One More Month.

That's how long the surgeon says it is going to be before I can lift my children with my arms extended out (you know, like from a crib, or any other "usual way" of picking up kids?). One month. This is a VERY GOOD thing to have happen in the summer, if it had to happen. I have contracted with Patrick to be my helper all day every day for $150. It's a lot of money, but it's a MONTH of work; vacuuming, lifting children, laundry etc. Basically he'll be doing about 3/4 of my manual labour. I am very blessed to have him at home. I have been praying that he will get to see mountains by the end of high school, too. I mentioned this to him and it seems like it is a dream he has just thought too much to be really real. That makes me so sad. I told him to start praying and see what God does.

10 July 2008

Baby Green Eyes.


The Bible Causes Emotional Distress!!

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=69147

Oh, I'm so sorry for this fellow. I sure hope that Obama becomes president so outrages like this DO NOT HAPPEN anymore...

Bradley LaShawn Fowler , a homosexual who has a blog linked to Obama's website, is suing publishers for their horrible, mean, awful translations of the Bible like the King James that liken homosexual activity with words like sin and abomination. Big money from the publishers, to the tune of 70 million dollars (yes, you read that right!), will help him put the broken pieces of his life together with a beachfront house and money in the bank. That poor fellow!

Can you imagine what rotten, mean people these "translators" are? And these "publishers?" Doing their best to stay true to, you know, what God really meant when He gave divine insipiration through people like Paul? I think they should pay every last penny to this poor, distraught soul. Imagine the nerve of those people, wrecking his family life like that with their homophobic Bible translations:

"Fowler, who is representing himself in both lawsuits, says in his complaint against Zondervan that the publisher intended to design a religious, sacred document to reflect an individual opinion or a group's conclusion to cause 'me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence ... including murder.'

"Fowler alleges both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, with its King James Bible, manipulated Scripture without informing the public by using the term 'homosexuals' in a New Testament passage, 1 Corinthians 6:9. He told the Grand Rapids TV station in an interview he wants to "compensate for the past 20 years of emotional duress and mental instability."'

I think I'm having a hate episode right now! Eek! It's those Bible translators' fault for putting those thoughs in my braaaaiin. And I haven't even gotten 'round to telling you all the damage listening to rock music and seeing television over the years has done to me. I need some compensation, folks! Waah! (Ok, how much do I get for that tirade?)

In Obama's defense, though, there's a nutball in every bunch. I'm sure the McCain people have some weirdos, too.

On Homer's Odyssey


Well, the elementary-school version anyway. The sex and stuff cleaned up a bit. It isn't in iambic pentameter rhyme like the old versions I remember, full of olde vocabularie and the like. This version, covering just the first part of the adventure, was a thrilling read for the boys. We were introduced to the gods on Mt. Olympus and this idea that if you made one god happy, other gods might not like that because they fight with each other. Athena is Odysseus's friend, and the men pray constantly to Zeus, the king of the gods or the god of thunder.

The best part of the story was the skewering of the Cyclops's eyeball. Wonderful description of the heated spear sizzling in his eyeball, too. We finished with the story in a day (like I said, it's the kids' version and doesn't even cover the whole story).

Elf was jumping and stimming through the whole thing. Emperor wanted to act out the eyeball popping part. We read a bit of an explanation on the gods and goddesses and I talked about how people REALLY worshipped these gods and godesses long ago. The apostle Paul talked with some of them. So don't expect Odysseus to start praying to Jesus instead of Zeus at the end of the story, because he wasn't a Christian.

Elf's jaw dropped. He wasn't a Christian? You could tell the kid is wondering how such a horrible thing could be. Um, Elf... didn't you hear the guy praying to Zeus and Athena the whole time? Yes? Ok... and you thought he was a Christian... ? You did?

??

Sometimes you think these little ones understand so much, but then you realize every now and then you have to go back and re-explain stuff. Elf was VERY UPSET when I told him what happened to Persephone. Elf... these are STORIES. You know, made up people? How could Persephone spend only "winter" in the underworld when you know that "winter" happens during our summer in Australia? This is not possible unless there are two Persephones. It's a pretend story, like Spongebob. You don't think you're really going to meet Spongebob, do you?

09 July 2008

I Wish I Understood Japanese!



So... is it racist? Is it a mockery of Obama? Does it mean the same thing in Japan? Do they just like monkeys as much as their technology gadgets? What does it mean? Hat tip: The Democrat=Socialist blog http://www.dequalss.com/wp.

Updates

First off, THANK you to folks commenting on Emperor and Elf's blogs. Incidentally, G has a blog, too, about Pokemon, which you can find by hitting my profile. He has a lot of trouble writing. I'm giving him help with remembering the capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and the idea of common and proper nouns. It kinda steams me that he's going into eighth grade and can't structure a sentence, but it isn't the school's fault he has autism. Many mixed feelings. I know they're trying. I always wonder though if he could have had a better outcome if we were really rich. You know, hire an ABA therapist to practically live with us and send him to special private school? Then again, I think it really forces you to learn certain "social skills" when you have to live with lots of siblings and share the last cookie. That's what I tell myself anyway, but I wonder what if... Well, I think we do that with everything concerning our children. Anyway, Pokemon is his new thing and he wants to collect eggs and what-not. Then he hatches them like a Mama chicken!

I had been a bit leery of the whole Pokemon thing, and I still don't like it, but seeing as how my boys are 14 and 13 and have been asking for YEARS can they have them... I just gave in. They need to make decisions about "questionable" things themselves as they grow up. I know one mom of 11 kiddos tell me, well, I let my older daughter bring home awful music with ungodly lyrics so long as she listens to it on headphones. Once you pass a certain age with your kids, it needs to be about maintaining your RELATIONSHIP with them more than the RULES of the house. That there needs to be a BALANCE between respect for your home and respect for the fact that the kid is becoming an adult.

I don't mean to say that my boys will have girlfriends alone in their rooms anytime soon! Though I do know parents who have allowed that with their adult children and then been surprised that pregnancy happened "somehow." I'm not talking about silly extremes like that. I mean more that you can't have as tight a leash on a 16-year-old as you did on the kid when he was five. So in any event, I have given in on the Pokemon but the Harry Potter is still not happening...

We're trying to get back into something resembling a new normal. I want the children to be able to play, but they can't all play at once. One of the big kids has to stay in and help me. That big kid always winds up to be Patrick. I can always count on him, so I find myself counting on him always. Which isn't fair, but when you have little kids crying and something that *MUST* be done a certain way for safety, you just tell the kid he has to deal with it and he does. If we had family nearby I would ask them to take Patrick somewhere for a trip. He ought to go somewhere special for a bit and have a break. He told me awhile back his dream vacation would be to see a mountain, so that he can see how big it is. And I told him for this hypothetical situation that he could have all the money he wanted on the vacation, too. Go figure. But he says that he has to be able to TOUCH the mountain, so that probably costs extra.

Elf and Emperor are getting a bit stir-crazy. They're either getting along famously, or literally slugging each other. I've employed the "how Jesus treated his brothers and his mom" talk too many times to count. In the old days, we just thwacked the kid on the head a few times and didn't have to resort to emotional manipulation. But I enjoy being nice most of the time. You know... because my ideal is family harmony?? We're working on it. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact we're not going anywhere or doing anything. I know they're not busy-busy people, but just a trip to the store or church a couple times a week helps. In fact, I'm sure some of the nit-picking on each other (no, not literal... yuck) will stop once I'm back at 100 percent.

In other news, we've been very blessed with a ton of catalogs this week for homeschooling stuff. It's a shame they all seem to come out in June or July instead of December or January when I have money and buy stuff. But I LOVE looking through catalogs. Mmm. There are so many wonderful things out there I just NEED need NEED to teach my children or they just won't be educated adults... I could spend about a billion bucks on this year's stuff alone! Unfortunately no one sells the "time to teach the lesson mega-pack" complete with the "distraction-free" option. If someone finds it, let me know because I am willing to spend on a good brand-name for that product. I'm sure it's one of those things that make you wonder how you ever lived without it, once you have it.

I have a new science catalog. Mmm. I could dissect cow eyeballs and everything with the stuff it contains. But I will stick with the curriculum I already have for the year. We're still on the first unit, on the human body. TOO BAD my own human body got in the way of my teaching! And here I'd been teaching the children that intestines go INSIDE the body. Looks like we had to learn the exceptions before learning the rules LOL! Anyway, soon after the human body unit is over (and it's taking forever...), we will do one on weather. The great thing is, when I looked in the science catalog for good Christian books on the subject, it sold several. I was able to reserve two of these at the library for free.

I'm also looking through the CBD homeschool catalog. Ever make a wish list from catalogs like that? Then you go online and find that there's even more stuff not listed, that's even better than the stuff you originally wanted?? And it's on sale? So you want to buy a bunch of stuff??

I *twitch* had better stay away from that right now, at least until I find that "mega-pack" of time. Have a good day, folks, and God bless ya!

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...