30 September 2008

Morning Jump-Start.

Two rounds of this and I'm good to go. Lack of sleep doesn't matter doesn't matter once the daily caffeine intake requirements (CIR) have been reached. I add a little flavoured cocoa powder and milk for some extra kick. (OK, that's the second random thing, Catherine! Stay tuned.)

What We're Reading Now.

Silly me, I never bought a full reading program past second grade. I figured once we past the "learning to read" stage, that we could pick up pretty much anything the kids or I felt like that week and start reading.

Our last book was The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene DuBois. I have to wonder whether the fellow was being silly when he wrote the book or was trying to comment on some sort of Utopian form of government. The plotline goes like this: a mathematics teacher decides to escape from teaching children by embarking on a year-long balloon cruise. He winds up marooned shortly after on an island full of children the exact age he had been teaching at home.

Their parents have all named themselves the letters of the alphabet up through T. They each have one boy and one girl child and are part owners in a very productive diamond mine. If they were to leave the island permanently, the value of the diamonds they'd bring out would bring down the market. If they stay, the volcano may blow up at any time, rendering their diamonds more than useless.

I'd recommend the story for readers a little older than 7 and 8, the ages of Emperor and Elf. Much of the social commentary went over their heads, though they were able to enjoy most of the story.

Next up on our list is "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl.

Help Me Help You.

"I need a bailout. Someone help me please. I have a nice house and two cars, but a huge mortgage. Without a bailout, I can’t buy a Porsche or a castle. And if I can’t buy another car or a bigger house, the dealerships and real estate agents will go out of business. That in turn will cause other businesses to go out of business. The economy will sink even more and you’ll lose your job. Please help me help you. Bail me out. If you don’t help me, I’ll have to live within my means instead of on your hard earned money."

That Daddy Forever is hilarious. And his "Forever" kids are fodder for some pretty cute posts.

29 September 2008

Homeschooling. On a Footboard.

I heard Lincoln did his learning on a dirty shovel. Our children learn on a used footboard from a bed. We put it on the floor every morning and they're ready to work.

28 September 2008

Parade Flag.

Wave it and be proud of your country!

Truth. Oh, But I Get to Decide What "Truth" Is.

You had better not say that Barack Obama is not a Christian during this election campaign. You had also better not think that his campaign promises contain the slightest hint of falsehood. You must speak the truth. The Obama campaign has hired goons (I mean... lawyers) to decide what the truth is on His behalf. Thou shalt not lie and say that He, the Great Obama, is not a Christian who plans on cutting taxes AND giving all sorts of money away in great social programs.

I'll say that some of the attacks on Obama have been unfair. I don't think he's a Muslim in the way that most Muslims would think of other Muslims. If my understanding is correct, once you're a Muslim, other Muslims think it's a sin worthy of death to embrace another religion. You and I should agree that that's unfair and people ought to be able to change their minds. And do you know what? Last I checked, Jesus didn't have a brand name, and Obama can call himself a Christian if he likes.

Well, fine for Obama. If he wins the election, God help us, it means that he was foreordained from the foundation of the world to do so. We need to pray for him.

But by the same token, because Jesus doesn't have a brand name and stamp "Holy Spirit-approved" tattoos on our foreheads the moment we're saved, I'm thinking that who is a true Christian is up for interpretation. The only one who really knows the Truth (capital T) is God Almighty Himself.

HELLO... It might really be True that Obama is a Christian who has not been convicted on certain issues. Let's be fair.

But HELLO AGAIN... It's more likely True that he is not a Christian based on his works. Jesus told us Himself that by the fruits, we'll know the True Christians from the false. So... can the Obama campaign punish dissenters for their spiritual judgment and call it slander and libel? Are those the days we're living through now?

I'm seeing the stupid mud-slinging and word-twisting from BOTH campaigns, but the lawyers dragging your butt to court because you disagree with a candidate or think he's a liar and say so should scare everyone.

Please Read!

Autistic abuse at an elementary school. I am so sick and tired of hearing these stories. But I hope my linking here and your reading this somehow helps. God bless.

27 September 2008

I Only Left For a Minute.

Just long enough to put a load into the dryer, and another into the wash. Then I walked up the stairs and found this little angel looking like he could NEVER do a thing wrong. Sigh. That was a lot of rice to clean up. It gets everywhere.

26 September 2008

Clubhouse Jr.

Elf and Emperor are VERY delighted when the monthly issue of Clubhouse Jr. arrives. I think I shall have to continue this subscription until J is old enough to read them. Every month, the children read the corny jokes sent in by the other readers and I get to hear a missionary story. For some reason, little boys love missionary stories. To my mind, going into unknown territory where you may not know the language so well... and facing the possibility of martyrdom... um, count me out on that one. But the boys think that's great. YEAH! Adventures with Jesus!

25 September 2008


We have ourselves an infestation. Wanna come over and share a comb?

Outside Day

The boys are playing with rice and chalk. The rice in a container, with things inside to find and scoop the rice with, is supposed to provide "sensory input" for J. As you can imagine, it also tracks all over my house. I've tried to contain the mess outside and shake the children out when we come inside, but it gets inside diapers and EVERYWHERE. It's a lot of fun, though. Even the bigger boys had a lot of fun scooping this stuff up and pretending the rice is "dubloons."

24 September 2008

Sonlight and Singapore Math.

I think the people at Sonlight were specially waiting for my order. I think the second I hit that purchase button, about five of the employees there started screaming, "Order in the hoooole!" and scurried about gathering supplies from hither and yon like crazy squirrels at a nut festival. I mean, it arrived at my door about 48 hours after I placed my order. That's insanely fast. But they got the order right anyway. I think my favourite part, though, was being able to check with their "curriculum advisor" to make sure the stuff I was getting was the right stuff (she was precise about it right down to the pencil in the triangle set case, I think because I told her I HATE hate hate HATE ordering stuff only to find out I need more stuff...a CD this or reading book that...). I could figure out the math stuff with a little help, but if I ever wanted to figure out "core" this or that and select stuff from the head-spinning variety of things in the catalogue, I'd have to have a ten-minute exchange back and forth for sure. Have you ever been on their website? Their choices are kinda dizzying. Right now Emperor and Elf are very enamoured of their Vroot and Vroom programme for "maths." Emperor is now known as "Ver-oot" and Elf is "Vroom." (There is a bit of a disagreement as to how to pronounce the names.) They're little space men who do math problems. If I could rent a Vroot and Vroom costume and have them appear at a party, I don't think you would ever find two happier little boys.

Faces of Autism.

My bloggy friend Casdok has launched a new blog titled "Faces of Autism." It features photos of autistic folks, short descriptions, and links to their blogs (or where their parents blog about them). G, Elf and J are featured as well. You may want to pop by sometime!

23 September 2008

HSLDA Stuff.

Free coffee for teachers at Starbucks. You can present proof that you're a homeschool teacher with your HSLDA card, but there are other ways you can take advantage of this offer. More info here.

And are you interested in a survey on homeschooled teenagers? I love HSLDA and the work they do, but methinks they may be a weeeee bit biased on the issue. I am, too. I know my kids are missing out on all kinds of great socialization at the local school, but they were able to make stupid comments during school time here at home and fill in "wedgies" instead of "widgets" in their unit boxes during math time. They think Mom won't notice?? Yeah, I think we'll miss out on the surveys when the children are older. They made it pretty plain that the purpose is to prove how well-rounded homeschool kids are, not hear about how my Elf would freak out if he had to get on a school bus and can't handle groups of more than about five people very well. I'd send a link to the extremely convolutedly-worded notice I got, but it arrived in my inbox and I can't find a link on its website. If you're a member, you probably have one as well.

Tea On Tuesday.

We usually do some cooking and extra reading on Tuesdays, but I haven't posted anything on the topic in about forever as we haven't cooked anything unusual or different in quite some time. Today, we used a recipe in Clubhouse Jr. to make streudel. The recipe calls for preserves, sprinkles, and refrigerated crescent dough. We also ate some apple slices with some hot chocolate as the story characters drank hot chocolate with their snack. We read a story while the food was cooking.

22 September 2008

Creationist Videos

Found this link on the MOMYS board. Have fun watching!

Trip to PetSmart.

One of the pics the boys took at PetSmart. They've written a few updates on their blogs and would probably love a few visits and comments.

Do Unto Others.

Well, I can understand *just a little* about the plight of the homeless. Often there are addiction or mental health issues there as well. I know that my own son G just might fit the profile in a few years because his autism literally doesn't allow him to see clearly when someone is acting in his best interests. He doesn't "get" things and often goes on screaming, destructive rants. I could very easily see him as being homeless in ten years, and yet I couldn't see myself allowing him to live here when he can be so belligerent when he's upset.

It just hurts my heart to think about. (And I try not to, but I'm having a burst of honesty this morning.) I've known folks who were previously homeless, too, and have been able to learn how to handle finances and get a job while they were being helped by various community organizations. (Then again, despite what they might have done to their own bodies with drugs, they were neurotypical and able to "recover." Short of a miracle or a new drug, G will never be well.) It's important to note that Jesus didn't ask us to help the poor based on how "deserving" they were. While I'm going to say we need to be careful not to enable, we also need to be sure we're not using enabling as an excuse not to help someone and treat them as we'd like to be treated ourselves.

These people are somebody's children. I love G. I think G knows when he's calm and rational that what he did yesterday or last week was wrong. But he will NEVER "learn better." It's hard for people with neurotypical kids to understand. Next time he's upset, he's not going to remember what happened last week. If you remind him then, it won't work and may just serve to get him even more angry and destructive. Best to let him alone and deal with whatever consequences fall out later. He is not rational when upset. You can't argue with a crazy person. I'm not saying that to be funny. Not at all.

I know when he is older and married, his wife may call the police. I wish I could help him, but we are doing everything we can for him. Yes, fellow Christians, this includes taking him to the psychologist and getting him drugs. You have no clue how much WORSE he is without them, so critical comments on that aspect of my parenting will be immediately deleted. Have enough crap going on without being criticised as well. I just do. But anyway, I wrote what I did to say this: if there were a new drug out that we thought would help G, we'd let him try it, even if it did have some scary side effects. When you know your child would never be able to fully function in the world otherwise, you'd probably take chances as well.

So how should the homeless be helped? And what should the church's response be to their problems? This church allowed some homeless folks to live on its grounds, and the zoning people got upset. I see both sides of this issue, but I can't help but think that there ARE organizations out there -- good ones -- that deal with this issue professionally. I would rather homeless folks be referred there. They would know more about how to truly help depending on the problem. I live within two blocks of three churches and can't imagine what that would do to my neighbourhood if one of them decided to house, say, 24 homeless guys with various problems.

Please hear my heart on this. Because as a mom, I understand these guys are someone's kids. And I know that could someday be my kid, too. But I'm having trouble seeing that, if the parishoners aren't comfortable with taking these guys into their own personal homes, why the neighbourhood should have guests it didn't invite. "Do unto others" isn't just about the guy you're helping in the church, but it's also about the people who live nearby having their interests looked for. If you're not comfortable taking this guy into your house and having him live with your three-year-old, do you expect the neighbours near the church to be happy with this arrangement? They have children who play outside, too.

I don't see why the church in the story can't go through a zone change process, or go to the zoning board for special permissions. The church in the story is in an industrial neighbourhood, so perhaps it's near places the homeless folks could find jobs? That would be wonderful and everyone would win. But what little I see in the article indicates to me that everyone is digging in his heels and not thinking of the other side's arguments.


The Gospel of St. Luke: 20:21 et seq. – And they asked him, saying … "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?" But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, "Shew me a penny, Whose image and superscription hath it?" They answered and said, "It is Lincoln's."

And he said unto them, "Never mind that, but render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and keep rendering until I say enough; and render unto God the things which be God's through federally funded, faith-based social programs."

Cute, huh? More here.

21 September 2008

The Mad Scientist Look.

Woodjie keeps pulling out her hair doodles, so Rose has to do without. We can't give her a buzz cut like the other children, so she will have to look like a crazy mad scientist complete with hair static. Poor kid.

What's REALLY Wrong With Public Schools?

I know on Dennis's blog and in other places, we see the heart of educators who really want to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. They work for a system that isn't anywhere close to perfect, and most of them admit it. But how rotten and wrong is the system itself?

Usually the argument for public schools goes something like this: We need to educate the masses. Sure, YOU can homeschool, but not everybody can. We pay taxes so that every child gets at least a shot at a decent education. We want every child to have a chance to learn to read and write and get a job later on. Yes, some schools are way better than others and the system is broken. But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, or millions of American children will do without their basic need to learn to connect with the world by becoming literate, socialized and useful people.

Any educators who want to pop on and add to that synopsis are welcome. I don't want to misrepresent the argument they're making and create a strawman for knocking down in the next paragraph LOL! I'm looking for reasoned and rational discussion.

But I found this article on Kelly's blog and thought I'd submit it for your perusal.

"As Christians, we do not argue against abortion simply by citing the dangers of malpractice; nor should we consider it sufficient to oppose state education simply because of its evil consequences. [teaching of evolution, sex ed, and the immorality in public schools was mentioned previously] We do not work for safer methods of abortion; nor should we work to improve public schools. The basic biblical argument, you see, is that the very existence of state schools is immoral — regardless of the level of 'morality' contained in them." [emphasis and parenthetical note mine]

Ok, so we should not even try to fix a system built on a bad foundation. I get what the author is trying to say. It just bothers me that there are a bunch of children with souls IN the system we're supposed to allow to deteriorate and then vote out of existence. (Um, not that we're allowed to witness to those souls anyway, come to think of it.) It would be almost a violation of the social contract to say guys, no school next year. Enjoy it while you have it!

I'm sure I'd feel the same way about state-mandated health insurance if it were to be implemented. I'd hate having the state be in charge of my medical plan, but somehow telling Grandma to go get her own stinkin' policy because I don't want to pay for hers seems a little mean if she's been planning on being on the public dole -- I mean, receiving her rightful share of benefits after she participated in paying taxes "in." Because cha-chiiing, it's payback time now with interest and inflation. We've come so far with these medical advances, too, that Grandma is going to have a lot of expensive medical procedures totalling several million before she finally kicks the can at 94 in a taxpayer-funded nursing home with round-the-clock care.

I think the trick may just lie in not allowing stuff like this to creep in in the first place, and in not allowing our "poor so-n-so... we need the government to help him because it's the right thing to do" feelings to overtake our common sense. Because when was the last time that ANY government program or tax was discontinued? Hmm... maybe someone can dig up an example or two, but overwhelmingly, once you start coughing up money for a given good cause, you're stuck forever and I can almost guarantee costs will go way up "unexpectedly." I find it particularly interesting that during the real estate boom, our taxes went way up... but now that it's over, well, we *need* that tax money. Sorry. Why aren't you happy paying your fair share for your less fortunate brother?

Yep, I'm dogging public schools for being way too expensive. They're never, never, NEVER satisfied with the money they have, let alone returning funds to the taxpayer or setting them aside for when the school roof leaks. And "education" is such a... oh... vaporous goal that I have to wonder if there isn't a whole lot of graft going on that such good money after bad must be spent. Sure, teach the kid to read and write. But I honestly think most jobs can be done with a fifth-grade education if you truly make those first six years count and you allow businesses to hire teens at a reduced rate during their apprenticeships.

Part of me wonders if "the public" doesn't just like public ed because they don't want to see kids in restaurants, shopping malls and the local swimming pool during the time kids "should" be in school. Imagine if all the teens had no school to go to each day! I can see about five of my neighbours freaking out if I were to speak that sentence aloud in their presence.

But I also have to say the anti-public school crowd that goes around quoting strange statistics like 90% of Americans were literate before public school happened were smoking crack or something. Maybe they twisted that statistic to reflect the fact that the slaves weren't considered Americans? Or they didn't count first-generation Americans, maybe? Hm.

Actually, I think both sides to the debate are smoking a whole lot of crack, or just under the influence of some very stupid ideas. Any public educator who can look you straight in the eyes and say "free and appropriate public education" with a straight face is deluded at best, or at worst, is a total sellout lackey needing a swack on the head. Whoever heard of a "free" public education? Where on earth could I go and see this animal in the zoo? Because between "student fees," student supplies and "fundraisers" that really aren't optional, everyone knows that most public school parents spend PLENTY on their kids. Yeah, it's a little cheaper than homeschool. But give me my tax money back and I'm sure that I'll even have money left over if I had to do it myself. And I have six kids! Does the local public school really need THAT MUCH MONEY from every family regardless of whether that family has children or not? Take a look at your local school's budget and wonder aloud to yourself if you're getting a good value. I'd guess not.

And I haven't even gotten to the argument that it's not a Christian idea to allow the state to educate children... Well, I think that some of the upper-level courses are unbiblical in the extreme and oughtn't be funded by the taxpayer. I think we as Americans can all have common ground in teaching children to read, write and do basic arithmetic. It would be nice to get the kids out of state school before the condoms and bananas get passed around in health class, though. What's your opinion?

20 September 2008

They'll Do Anything to Increase Church Attendance Some Places

Well, I've heard of people running by with mugs or balloons after service to make people feel welcome and introduce the pastors. I've heard of some churches giving Bibles out to people who have made a commitment to Christ. It helps them read a version the church leaders feel is reasonably free from error and whatnot.

This church is different.

Yes, friend, if you live in Pennsylvania, you can go to this church and experience something different at the swingers' church. What's really sad is that I have to wonder what happens to the old churches when they go off to die. Did the original parishoners split the church over who gets a TV in their home? King James only versus those heathen NIV-ers? Folks in the church quit giving enough, or just a lot of them die from old age? Sigh.

Well, the new "church" there is having a little trouble convincing the ol' zoning authorities they're the genuine article. One of them stopped by and claims his experience wasn't really religious enough. OK, I'll leave it at that.

19 September 2008

The Name Generator

Oh, thought it was cute. Sarah Palin has some unique names for her children. What would YOUR name be if you were her kid? Now you can find out. I'm "Fire Patriot Palin." What's your name?

Educating Elf, Emperor, and J

It was just such a cute photo that I had to include them all in one post. Going to separate them, though, in the post.

Elf went to special-needs preschool and did well in kindergarten. He had a lot of extra help in kindergarten, though, that wasn't provided when he reached first grade. When he became a first-grader, it became necessary to do most of the schoolwork at home in addition to sending him to school each weekday. It was so much work to teach him at home AND send him for a couple hours each day (of course not during the same time Emperor was at school; that would be too convenient) AND be ready for those phone calls each day ... that when we finally made the decision to homeschool Elf, it was actually WAY LESS WORK. And, I have to add, that I enjoy teaching little Elfie at home. He's decided that he likes school and is ready to learn every weekday. Sure, it gets a little old to homeschool through July and August, but we have a lot of fun together.
Emperor made it into special-needs preschool because he wouldn't do the test. Well, he meant to, but as he walked over to start he went, "OH, FIRETRUCK!" and jumped over to look. Then he jumped back and did part of the test, but launched into a monologue about "other things that are blue" in the middle of a timed matching test. Which means he flunked, thus qualifying him. The teachers and others mostly really liked him. He'd remember everyone's name and a few things about them, but he is a bit... energetic, so people who don't like rambunctious children really don't like him much at all. In fact, those people just despise the kid, but he didn't pick up on that very well. In kindergarten, after the first two suspensions in the first two weeks for silly things like splashing water in the bathroom and not standing properly on line, we pulled him out to homeschool him as well.
I can't say homeschooling these guys is always easy, or that they're "socialized" properly. Yep, they're a little odd. We're working on things, though.
Currently, J has been refusing to speak and throwing more tantrums. We've been trying to get him to bounce on his big ball and helping him with massaging his head and arms, etc., but he's having a hard time. We'll try to incorporate more "sensory" things this week and try to get him to make eye contact. The pictures I post are *extremely* deceptive, as the child rarely looks you right in the eye. It's been very hard.
I'm not going to do a post on educating baby S just yet as she pretty well is educating herself. She thinks we're all pretty funny.

Educating G

Yes, I know that's an old picture. G began his schooling at the local public preschool for special-needs children. He's since been diagnosed with autism, but has done reasonably well in school with help with things like finding his papers and making sure things are turned in. He does have a little trouble understanding what he's reading, but his self-esteem on this issue is way lower than his abilities. Emperor was remarking the other day that he thinks G reads quite well. G is ashamed of his reading, which makes me sad because I know how well he can do, and what he misses out on when he only looks at the pictures. I'm happy to report that his teachers this year seem to take an interest in him, and his science teacher has asked, "How can we get this kid to read?" Hey, think of an answer to that, and educators from all over the world will want to hear your method. :] I told him stuff with pictures might help. I don't really know. I wish I could make him see that he really can do a good job when he tries.

Educating Patrick.

Thought I'd do a short piece detailing a little bit about each child's education. Of course, we have to start with Patrick. He's always been a sweet and compliant child. He still (sort of) is except for the fact that he's bigger and starting to get "his own" (um, yeah right) ideas. But he's a great kid. He started reading before kindergarten, but I regret pushing him to learn a bit early with too many flash cards. I was deathly afraid the child would be behind in school when he began kindergarten. So I taught him to read. He could read and write almost fluently by the time he was ready to begin his formal schooling, and so I asked them to test him to see if he wouldn't qualify for a pass to first grade. Might as well. On the way home, Patrick told me the test went GREAT until they asked him to count to 20. Oh, no! I had never taught him numbers. At all. I'm sure I'd have gotten 'round to it eventually, but I guess that's a requirement to enter first grade. Now he is in ninth grade and doing very well. He's quite serious about it getting good grades, so if anything, I'll have to try to comfort him if he does poorly.

Are You a Pirate?

You Are 5% Pirate

Arrr, yer nay a gentleman o' fortune, an' ye dasn't make like yer one.

Ye rather stay on dry land than take to the seas lookin' fer booty.

Peg legs an' eye patches really aren't yer thing. And parrots scare ye.

So stay away from the Caribbean, unless yer prepared to walk the plank.

Ok, so Kim tells us it's international "Talk Like a Pirate" day today. Guess I'm not so great at it. I can't read the heading on the little blog thing I put on, but it says on the website that I'm a whopping 5% pirate.

17 September 2008

Homeschool Field Trip

Well, OK. It was just a trip to PetSmart and I'm counting it as a "science" hour. We're looking at the animals and noticing the beak and claw types on the birds as outlined in our Lifepac workbook. Birds with long pointy beaks usually use them to dig grubs or insects. Short beaks that aren't sharp usually indicate seed or berry eaters. You can also tell where the bird spends lots of time by the type of foot it has. Webbed feet, of course, mean a water bird, but did you know that three forward-facing toes and one backward usually means it lives in a tree? That backward toe helps it hang onto branches. We saw fish of many kinds and spent the obligatory big bucks after ooh-ing and aah-ing over all the animals. Now at PetSmart: Halloween costumes and porcelain dishes for your animals. Yep. We got a pet toy we didn't need and a couple of birthday cards. Thankfully the boys did not ask for any new animals as they sell about everything you could think of there. While we were browsing, a man came in for his daily purchase of CRICKETS for his toads. Can you imagine doing that every day? I can't imagine you can board your toads at the local vet's when you go on vacation. In any event, expect a short blog post from the little boys soon on their excursion. They have taken several photographs, and I'm sure they'll pick the best to share.


Parents of special-needs kids (or caretakers of special-needs adults for that matter!) will appreciate Hammie's blog and her latest post on "unloading." A short excerpt:

I got the message that unloading all your problems on your nearest and dearest, including siblings or friends that you see very regularly, is not a good idea. Because next time they see you (or the person/people you were whinging and bitching about) they will view you a little differently. Maybe even as a little bit of a victim, which I simply cannot stand the thought of! achgh!The other problem I can see with "unloading" is: who is going to carry it all around if you don't?I don't mean to stretch the metaphor but seriously, if you get it all out there in the open, it doesn't mean that anything is going to change. There simply isn't the infrastructure to take over what is worrying you, and it will always come back to being up to you.

If there is anything I learned in the first years of having my kids diagnosed, is that there is NO guardian angel watching over you, ready to swoop down and take over while you zone out and have some nice duvet days. Maybe even a short term depression.Nope, you quickly learn; If it is to be, It is up to me, so GET on with it.And what if having released it all, you can't fit it all back in?


"A 17-month-old baby boy was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend despite being on a council "at risk" register and having already suffered a catalogue of injuries including eight fractured ribs and a broken back that left him paralyzed, a British court heard Tuesday."

I'm usually one of those "let the kid stay with the parents no matter what" sort of people, but even *I* have to admit that once the kid has eight fractured ribs and is paralyzed, it just *might* be a good idea to remove him for a little while and check out the story at home. It sounds more like the social agency investigating this sort of thing ought to be on trial, as well as the parents.

In another part of the article, however, it stated that the flap of skin between the upper lip and the gum was torn, indicating abuse. It's "highly suggestive of non-accidental injury, usually by forcing the teat of a bottle into a child's mouth or by a hard glancing blow across the mouth." I'd disagree. I think about three of the six children I have managed to bump their frenulums at one point or another. Usually it's because the child in question jumps up and runs away with a sippy cup in his mouth, or is running away with a toy in his mouth and then falls on his face or bumps into a wall. It isn't *necessarily* a sign of abuse, in my opinion, because I know jolly well that I wasn't slugging the kids or force-feeding them at the time of the injury. Um, but I guess when you couple it with a rather suspicious situation like broken ribs, removed fingernails and other trauma it might just be "highly suggestive" of abuse when you see a torn frenulum. By the way, a torn frenulum BLEEDS TERRIBLY, and is enough to freak any parent out pretty badly.

I just read stories like this and almost wonder if it isn't a blessing for the poor little baby to go be with Jesus, where he can't be touched any more. It just brings tears to my eyes to think of what this child's life may have been like day-to-day.

Math Craziness.

I am BAD, awful and terrible at mathematics. I think it was all downhill after about second grade. I wanted to be a scientist until about fourth grade, when I figured out that scientists are not allowed to wear red lab coats. Well, that wasn't the only reason. I also discovered after one of the 11 moves we made during my childhood that I was behind and stupid at my new school in Australia. I THOUGHT I was smart, but I really wasn't. I was way behind. I don't think I stayed in any one place long enough to really master the lessons. This is just as well, because like I said, I'm terrible, awful and BAD at mathematics. It's one of the reasons D was reluctant to allow me to homeschool the boys.

But my sons Emperor and Elf think I actually can do math. Shh. Don't tell them the truth! Emperor even admired that I was able to help him with one of his math problems a bit ago. Yay for me... I'm able to interpret a word problem better than a seven-year-old! Whoo-hoo!

Seriously, though...

I know it's my weak spot. I've tried using the public school curriculum but I'm *not* going to teach it with lattice multiplication and other backwards methods that there is no WAY I can figure out myself, let alone pretend to explain. I teach with the answer key. Oh, um, you wanted to know about that line segment? Hang on (cough cough, turn around and look at answer book)... OH! I can explain that... What is sad is that I have learned several new concepts in this third grade math book. Did you know that when you talk about volume, area and perimeter, you're really talking about three different things? Did you? Come on and admit it now. You are not alone. You're safe here. OH! And when you measure these three different things, you talk about them three different ways. "Volume" is measured in "cubic units" because they like to pretend there are cubes of stuff there. Really!

So, anyway, then I bought Horizons because it's supposed to be a "spiral" curriculum as well. That means that if you don't master a concept the first time, it keeps sneaking up on you and biting you in the butt on subsequent lessons. You'd better get it the first time, or the teacher will pick up on it either the second, third, or fifteenth time you miss it when it comes around again. Sooner or later, it will haunt you badly enough to where you go and expend a little energy to learn the "how to" and get it over with.

I like Horizons. But I'm not enamoured of the teaching manuals. I have been, over and over and OVER AND OVER again, exposed to this idea that "Singapore Math" is really great. And it seems to be a consensus among math educators.

I'm really scared of it, though, because by the middle of fourth grade, they're covering things I don't know how to do. I have taken geometry in high school, but all we really learned was which colour pen to do each line segment in. I'm not kidding; our geometry teacher had seven different chalk colours and we had to have nice, neat little books and we also learned to draw a circle.

I was in *those* classes in high school. Yes, I am ashamed of myself. It was PUBLIC SCHOOL, though, so all y'all talking about how certified teachers teach so well need to shut up because it produces math stupids like me, ok?

And do you know what? Sending Elf and Emperor back to public school, where Elf was abused, is not an option right now. I'm going to have to learn this math stuff with my children. And it's time for me to go the next level and get the Singapore stuff and learn it already.

I'm so scared!!! I get headaches just thinking about numbers. No, really, I'm not kidding.

I keep putting making the actual purchase off. I finally found a distributor and figured out exactly what I wanted and enquired about why this company didn't have the "standards" version. They wrote back and said, well, "standards" version is made for California schools.


Suddenly, maybe the US version sounds better. I need to think more about it and dally some more though. Maybe it will go on sale while I think about it? Maybe some "how to teach an old lady some math" lesson will pop up on YouTube and be free? And I can watch it in five minutes and be over my math phobia?

Ok, I know that this is my weak spot and that I just have to go ahead and learn the stupid math. Though I don't wanna. I'm going to publish this and then I'm going to order it. I'm going now. Ok, here I go. Mmmm... going...


All right. #publish# already.

Because I Like This Post.

Madame Monet has an interesting post on khattera, or underground tunnels, I think you'd be interested in. It has pictures, too, and some really neat historical facts. Go on over and learn about Morocco. I think you'll like her blog. Short excerpt:

Khattera are an ancient underground system of tunnels and wells, built several hundred years ago, to transport water long distances. It’s too bad they are being destroyed now. They can be found from Morocco to India, throughout dry regions of North Africa, the Middle East and into Central Asia. They were typically used in areas without any large rivers. Scholars think the technology originated in the Indus Valley civilization of Pakistan. They are known as khattara in Morocco, qanats in Iran, and suranga in India, with a few other names in between.

16 September 2008


OK, we love him, but he's weird. He told me today he'd like to marry a chicken so that his children could hatch out of eggs because that would be SO COOL. Um, you can't do that. "Well, show me where it says so in the BIBLE, Mom!" (so I did) "That just proves you can't have SEX with a chicken, but not that you can't marry one or have babies with it." Yep, I've been put in my place by Mr. Logical there for sure. I won't even relate what he said when I mentioned what a "eunoch" is. This is a family blog.

Joe's Journey

An excerpt from Joe's blog, about his autistic son "Buddy Boy"'s difficulties in school:

Due mostly to an idiotic curriculum not suited to him, and probably partially to lack of self control (in the face of being taught by idiots) Buddy Boy trashed the classroom one day. He first threatened to trash the classroom (“I’m going to throw things”) to which they responded with their direction of “Sit down, Buddy Boy” three times, dutifully recorded on their chart that he had refused to sit down, then stood back when he started pulling things off the shelf.

No one acknowledged that he was angry and/or frustrated. No one tried to find out why he was upset. Just a command to sit down repeated three times.

Mom was called to come and get him and take him home.Buddy Boy was suspended for three days for that, and moved to a “resource room” where he was the only student. We were warned at that time that if he continued to be violent and a threat to others and himself that the police would be involved. Despite our convening another IEP (which they kept delaying) and attempting to get a much better behavioral intervention plan in place, the staff continued to do things to set him off (deliberately, I suspect, but have no way of knowing other than their e-mails obtained later which intimated that they had a plan for a solution in place, while during this time they were telling us that everything was fine).

They had him “taught” by as many as 7-8 different “teachers” per day, on no consistent schedule. They would print up a schedule and show him on the clock when he would have a break, then another teacher would come in and cut the break short. Still, all they were teaching was compliance with rules, and repetition of busywork. He lashed out a couple of times at them (slapping and kicking), and each time he got “written up” without suspension. The disciplinary write ups had these check off boxes on the form for reasons they thought the behavior occurred. Almost all of the boxes had to do with the student (acting out, seeking attention, secondary gain, etc.). There maybe was one for the environment, and none at all for “provoked by idiot staff”, which was what I would have checked off.

Well, as I said, this is just an excerpt. People wonder why I'm so down on public education when obviously my oldest son is doing quite well. Um, it's because of stuff like this. And that I'm NOT ALONE in having "stuff like this" happen. Yes, there are a couple of posts together on the same idea. I just keep bumping into the same sad stories over the internet. I also can tell you I have seen several stories where the moms and dads are going to keep fighting the idiocy. Well, good for them. We just reached a point though, for us, where we decided we were finished fighting for Elf's sake. I do liken this bad treatment of autistics in public education to the civil rights movement. Where is our Little Rock going to be? And I'm thinking just like those children entering school for the first time with the white kiddos, community feeling is just not "for" our children right now. Take a look at the comments under the news stories about the "brats" who get kicked out of kindergarten classes and aeroplanes and see if I'm not right.

Hell. Nationwide.

Documented on this blog, some of the problems and ongoing reports on restraint and seclusion of students in America. Elf has been through enough of this, but it happens not only in public schools, but hospitals and other places that are entrusted with the care of people who are disabled or otherwise incapacitated.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, stuff like this is almost never needed. If we'd make changes in the environment that our disabled and/or autistic children are dealing with, or help train THEM to cope with various situations... you know, actually SPENT MONEY or time on a problem, the need for "safe rooms" would be almost nil. The very fact that there IS a room, I think, means that it's going to be used. If you build it, they will come. They will not only come, but they'll stick a child in there instead of searching for a better way to handle things because you know what? Locking a kid up is easier than negotiating, disciplining, or trying to figure out what is upsetting him. Maybe they should teach that at parenting classes instead of gentle discipline since it works so well for "certificated personnel" at our local schools.

I don't want to come off as totally idealistic on this issue, because if there were zero need for seclusion rooms or restraint, we wouldn't need police officers or jails at any time. But surely we can be reasonable and state that little tiny first graders don't need to be locked into closets by the people who are supposed to be taking care of them. That's what happened to my Elf. Too many times.

Hat tip: Missourians Against Seclusion and Restraint.

14 September 2008

Look at Me!

Sorry. Being Christian to Someone Else.

One thing I've noticed in my own personal Christian walk is that there are so many opportunities we miss. We really need to miss some of them, so that we can go for the one we feel God's called us to accomplish right now.

For example... Once I was out with the four littlest children getting shots for J and S. They were two and a half hours waiting in a no doubt germ-infested room. They were tired and crabby and hungry and Elf and Emperor were tired and crabby and hungry. I had to go to the bathroom, I felt dirty and I was picking up screaming, tired infants and going on my way into the house.

That's when my very elderly neighbour started to come over to say 'hi.' I told her she was welcome to come in with me and have lunch with us, but that everyone was really hungry and crabby and needing of a peanut butter sandwich. I felt awful seeing her walk away, knowing I could have spent a bit of time chatting with her, but she knew she wouldn't have my full attention and went home. But if I did that, and put the children downstairs and really spent the time she'd wanted right then, I'd have HAD to ignore my children and their very immediate needs. She's one of those people, God bless her, you have to have QUIET to hear, and you have to watch her carefully because she forgets things and she's unsteady on her feet.

I still don't know that there is any good way to handle such things.

Or the church nursery. You know what? I've signed up for monthly nursery duty because having two of the ten or so children under four kinda obligates me. It really is the least I can do. I know I "ought" to volunteer in childrens' church and in the youth group since I also have two children in each of those areas. But I don't. I must be lazy!

Honestly, every day, I just think I have one more day to get through somehow. I don't know... Then the next day I think I just have one more day to get through somehow... I have just spent EVERY bit of energy constantly changing diapers, feeding children, homeschooling, disciplining. CONSTANTLY. I sit around for maybe 20 minutes in the morning, and another 20 at night. Otherwise, this is life. I leave my internet up alllll day long and as I walk by I can see if someone left me a comment, a lifeline to the outside world. Yes, I am that sad. Yes, that is the entirety of my social life. Thanks for enabling me. ;]

Or, you know, in order to help THIS child and change his poopy diaper, I must ignore the other one with the math problem or another baby howling for a bottle. Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out which comes first: bottle or math? "Both" I find too hard to do simultaneously because I'm a crappy parent. Should it be "make lunch" or "pull J off the wall for the 5,000th time today," knowing that the second I turn my back to make his stupid lunch, there he goes again standing upside down on the couch with his feet in the windowsill? Or J has just kicked or stepped on the girlie again. Comfort the girlie or make J sit in time out? Something is very wrong with me that I can't do "both" effectively at the same time. And when is the kid going to "get it?" I'm frustrated!

Am I less of a Christian that I must prioritize my deeds every day, all the time? Because guess what, sometimes I eat my lunch and let Elf and Emperor work out their differences alone. Sometimes I've just had it. Am I less of a Christian because I don't live for Jesus any more? I just live for my children. Because that's all I really am. ALL I really do. Or perhaps I am not a Christian at all if I don't see "greater purpose" to my life. I could tell you about everyone else's. Maybe, just as I am blind to my own faults, I am blind to my own good qualities as well.

OK, so here I am complaining more... to describe it... I am swimming. I can't stop or I will drown. Every day, I tell myself I just have to do this for today. I can't think about what will happen tomorrow. If I think about it, it becomes too much and I don't know how I'm going to cope. I don't know how other people do two things at once. But I wish I could. Sorry.

So how do other parents manage their children *and* volunteer for stuff? Maybe just because their children aren't autistic and don't flip out in public, it's easier? Maybe they have a better biology than I do and don't get stomachaches when they think of being in a crowd or leaving the house? Maybe still better, they have more of God than me? Does it work like that? I pray about it, but still feel like throwing up when it's time to get ready for church. I will say that church is better for my health than "public school," because going there made me dizzy, headachy AND wanting to throw up.

Am I allergic to places where good works need to be done? What is wrong with me? I'm sure not going to ask a doctor. Last time I mentioned offhand that I don't drive on highways ever because I'm sure I'll die if I do and I get so nervous I do stupid things, the doctor said they have a prescription for that. (???) How on earth can you prescribe away the fact that my intestines will wind up on the highway because all the OTHER cars are going too fast? Just as an aside, if there were a national speed limit proposed I'd vote for "30" with strict enforcement. All you people make me nervous :]

Perhaps this is a phase. I don't remember feeling this overwhelmed when I had "only" four children. Maybe when they get bigger, it isn't as hard to handle? Well, that's my hope. This post has been very difficult to write and taken me several days. I wonder what you are going to say about it.

Are You Tired Yet?

Is anyone even listening anymore to the McCain-Obama battle of 2008? I'm thinking by the time November rolls around, I'll be so accustomed to hearing jabs, jokes and who's endorsing who updates that I'll forget to vote.

Just a cute aside, did you know that the Obama campaign is ripping off the poor? Yeah. John McCain's shirts and hats are cheaper, and here's the research to prove it. You know, I really don't see where it would be a copyright violation to print up shirts that say, "I'm voting Democrat" or "Republican 2008." Sell 'em for $6 at your local hot dog stand and make a profit. But I guess to show your loyalty, you must purchase these collectors' items now.

12 September 2008

A Useful Tool.

It was so handy for my macaroni and cheese that I think it's necessary to use on my bread as well. I will scream and cry if you try to take my spoon away. It's MY spoon.

The Church Mafia Website.

No, really, I think you'll like this. I stumbled on it through seeing friends of friends of friends and I kinda forget where I started from so it's hard to give a hat tip. But the website has several articles of interest like "how to help your pastor" and quizzes on how to know if your church is a cult or not. Suffice to say, if you feel you need to take the test, the answer is probably YES, and your family has been trying to tell you for years...


From the website, a short but sobering snippet with my own comments in blue:

Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people. Good gracious! "People" would be the number one reason I would never go into the ministry. Living in a fishbowl like that, AND my family too? Yuck, no thanks. Number two would be that I'm a woman (LOL ya reading, Daja? I love you! *xo*), so I could never be lead pastor and would "just" be the pastor's "wife," but work just as hard as he does for zero pay and having to say HI to all the visitors even if I *was* just on my way to the bathroom or lunch and do NOT want to deal with people right then... and number three would be that I can't dress well or say anything out loud in front of people or make good eye contact IRL. And you need to have a special pastoring suit for funerals instead of dumpy mu-mus. You need to look good. You know, if I'm going to work my fanny off for uncooperative people who never listen to me anyway at all hours of the day, I'm going to be a doctor so at least the riff-raff can't come to my house in the gated community. And I say that with all the Christian loooove in my heart.

Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid. Yup, that's what happens when you accept a job with grossly low pay LOL! Sorry. Had to say it.

Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked. Eighty percent of pastor' wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members. Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession. OK, seriously, I can only imagine this, as I've outlined above. What a crappy job. You get lots of spiritual benefits, though, after you reach heaven. Maybe.

Eighty percent of pastors' wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not. The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry. OK, that's positively awful! Aren't all you guys glad you're not pastors? Me, too. If even half the statistics are partially true, it's a wonder anyone does this job.

I am Following You.

I think I am, anyway. I'm using some time to explore this "follow" option on Blogger. I don't know really all the benefits and drawbacks to using it, but it looks like it might be fun. I will start loading some of my friends into my follow list soon and see what happens. If you follow me back, your photo thing will show up on my sidebar. Kewl, huh? See what happens when I get some free time?

Day Off.

Elf and Emperor homeschool year-round. I was reading with them yesterday about an old man who was a teacher and wanted to play hookey. It occurred to me that the little boys will never get a chance to play hookey and learn from the experience. D told me that even if they went to public school, they take attendance first thing and give phone calls to parents, so the children would never be able to do that in any case.

Party pooper.

So how else are we going to get an unscheduled day off? Well, I just decided that we would take an unscheduled day off. Today. D told me I was NOT allowed to call it playing hookey, because that would teach the boys to do wrong. (sigh) So I just told the boys this morning that there would be no school. Emperor was very glad; I think he's starting to show some signs of school burnout, and it's just time for a break. Elf was about in tears. He is autistic and changes in schedule he isn't anticipating can be pretty tough. Even though we went to Panera bread this morning for breakfast, he still wasn't entirely sure that taking a day off from school is a good idea.

He will miss his reading, he tells me.

He will miss the math and Bible time. He will be sad that he has no chance to do his spelling. I actually felt sorry for him, but I felt it would be good for him to have an unscheduled day today. Now he has decided that he would like to go fishing LOL! Well, sorry, not today. Maybe I can get a deck of cards and play Go Fish with him later. Maybe that will be good enough.

Woodjie Pumpkin (J) was up in Elf and Emperor's room for a little bit playing with castle warriors. The boys got out their Game Boys. I think they will be OK just for today. D says that I should log this in my teacher book as an "inservice" day. I don't know what exactly teachers do on "inservice" days, but this one is eating too much cinnamon bread with butter, drinking cocoa and coffee and catching up on the blogs. Mmm.

11 September 2008


People who write political news stories are just brilliant. I'm glad this lady is able to tell us that Sarah Palin isn't a woman (somehow?). She's also literally pontificating at us, and letting us know that we can believe anything we want as long as it doesn't involve forcing our beliefs on others. Glad to see that column on September 11th of all days... this lady doesn't know what the hell she's talking about when she speaks of forcing beliefs. I wish I had the money to send her to Yemen or somewhere really warm, and see how she feels when (if) she returns home. But perhaps her editor knew stupidity would get her links (as, of course, I'm doing right now. See? Yeah. I think I posted earlier about how I'm a hypocrite, but some of y'all keep coming back and reading anyhoo.)

And other concerns I'm reading about... I just have to share this tidbit with you. I've seen it on several other blogs and we really need to be worried about that-there Sarah Palin encouraging people not to kill their unborn Downs Syndrome babies through her own example of actually carrying a child like that to term. The nerve of her! Accepting and loving the kid for who he is, just the way God made him. Damn those intolerant conservatives. Wonder what the liberals would say if he were born homosexual? OK, we won't go there. Today, anyway.

Yes, I'm reading the news and the blogs and getting a bit miffed.

You know, it's ok to examine the candidates and the things they do and even take a peek at the family life. Obviously if John McCain were a wife-beater it would have an effect on how the American people viewed him. Ditto for Obama. You know? But there's a point at which the act of getting the story ought to be the story itself.

Did you hear about the Obama slip-up about his "Muslim faith?" I think we should cut him some slack. How many times has something stupid slipped out of our own mouths? I have to admit it's a very funny joke, but reading too much into it isn't probably helping Americans pick the best candidate. It really doesn't have to do anything with anything, except perhaps prove that the "Muslim" attack on Obama must be bugging him something crazy. I have my own questions about the legitimacy of his Christian faith, but the mini-video didn't really give me any new information. I got a chuckle out of it and then thought, "The poor guy. Bet he's playing that moment over and over in his head all day today."

I think if we're going to microanalyze the candidates, that we should really do it. Really. Somebody go swab the candidates' hands surreptitiously during a meet-and-greet and we can do a germ analysis. Whose hands are the germiest? Or do a toilet paper use analysis. Which candidate uses the most squares, and, if this difference were multiplied so that every American used this much more (let's say, three squares extra), how many more trees would we have to cut down? What shampoo is John McCain using? (Because it isn't working.) Sarah Palin's hairspray brand name? Also a must-know. We also need to seek out the B-52's ladies and see if they'll give an endorsement, since they all have similar hair. (OK, Palin's is much nicer, but whatever. Just for fun.)

And forget this high school yearbook pic thing that goes on in the news. We need third grade or kindergarten shots, especially during the years that candidates are going through awkward or fashion-stupid spurts in their development.

Maybe I am looking for news in all the wrong sorts of areas. It seems I find news that is carefully constructed in simple, "See John Run" sentences, or it's full of math-y stuff and charts that I don't understand. Suggestions for websites a moderately intelligent person might look at for news is appreciated.

Maybe I'm oversaturated with so-called "news." I want to make a YouTube video and tell America to just "Leave Sarah ALOOOOONE. You're lucky she even runs for you guys... *sob*" Because the criticism isn't really criticism, this stuff that I'm seeing lately... it's just... oh... sort of a high-school rumour-spreading bonanza thing. It's just stupid.

Am I a Nerd?

I am nerdier than 15% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Apparently not. I really thought I'd outgeek a lot of people, but I'm getting suspicious that lots of extremely poindextrous folks are taking this test and skewing the results.

10 September 2008

Thanks, Stacey!!

I won $20 in Amazon money, just for leaving a comment on Stacey's blog. She values my participation *that much.* I have never been to Amazon.com as a serious shopper, so it was a new experience for me. I remember clicking on strange "stories of interest" on other blogs in the past, however, and the website remembered what I looked at last time I was there and brought up its strange assortment of garden gnomes and Latin textbooks. You know, things that I clicked on while I was browsing other people's websites? Like, six months ago? It *remembered what I looked at,* months ago, even after I forgot?? OK, that kinda creeped me out. The folks at Amazon national headquarters now probably think I have a thing for garden gnomes, Latin, and Bob Jones textbooks. In that order.

I think that I've placed an order. I also think that I should receive it sometime in the next month or so, too. I paid about $5 after I used the gift card. I got a Bob Jones Bible curriculum teaching manual for fourth grade Bible study. If this really is what I think it is, I've just saved around $50 because all I'd still need would be the workbooks. I have a timeline from second and third grades, and it isn't really necessary (though it's helpful; I wouldn't spend $20 extra on it). The tests can be made up, or I could use the "review questions" AS the test if I wished to just give an oral exam to each child. No reason to spend an additional $15. For that matter, I might have fun making up my own tests.

I'll have to show the stuff to you all when it arrives. I'm buying used but through them. Has anyone ever done this? If it works, I might do this again because I could probably save a fair bit of money each year.

Obama = Jesus.

Ya know, it doesn't really matter who you're voting for this election when you see silly things like this. Obama is a community organizer *just like Jesus* but Palin was a governor *just like Pontius Pilate.* And while we're at it, let me mention that Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah... just like Satan is a lion seeking whom he may devour. Oh, and Jesus was a king, just like Ahab. The point? While we're at it, perhaps I should mention that Jesus never held an elected office and that His foreign policy seems to be extremely Zionist. (Good grief!) So who would Jesus vote for? What if the answer were something like, "Jason Zigglesnork of Toggleston, Georgia?" Would it make any difference? Why is "Jesus" a campaign thing? On both sides of the aisle, they're assuming Jesus is one of them. Last I checked, you need to bring YOURSELF into alignment with HIM, not the other way 'round. Some of my Christian brothers and sisters disagree a bit about what that's gonna look like, and that's ok. But I'd have to ask you, are you at least trying? Bless you today as you think about that one. :]

September 11, 2001

Do you have a "September 11, 2001" story to share? Rick Moore of the Holy Coast blog is collecting them. You can pop over to his blog and leave a comment or email him your story.

My story is not very exciting. Little Elf was a toddler and Emperor was my snuggly baby. We took a nap together in the morning. It was so peaceful. September is the month when things start to get cooler and a nap with a sleepy baby is one of the most blessed things in the world.

The phone rang.

D asked me if I've been watching the news. Um, no... What's going on?

He told me a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City, and that a second plane just hit another tower and the buildings collapsed.

Yawn... huh? OK, this is not possible for the buildings to collapse. And... with two planes, it couldn't be an accident?

Duh! Just... turn on the news, ok?

Um, ok, but D... you are not understanding because you have never been to New York. Those buildings are really big.

It's on the news...

No, see... the buildings, they're REALLY BIG and they can't fall down...

*sigh* Just turn on the news...

I did, and it looked like he was right, though of course I was quite sure that the news people had fallen for an elaborate hoax. Any moment now, some clown with a cell phone camera will break in to the news on air and show us the buildings are JUST FINE. Imagine the nerve of these newspeople, broadcasting all this stuff! You see, it isn't really true because the buildings are really big.

I think it took me about two days to believe the news was real. And what convinced me that it was was a flag flying at half staff. I looked around town. Other flags were at half staff. Looking more, other people had flags everywhere.

So it *is* true. The flag told me so. Looking back, it's strange that I would not believe all the people on tv. I mean, really believe them deep down. I had to look around to see that other people believed it first. Patrick and G believed it, and within weeks I had little drawings everywhere of planes flying into buildings and Islamics being blown up by bombs. I don't think I saved these. I don't think I'd want to.

What are your memories?

09 September 2008

Hey Babe, Can I See Your Card?

From Catherine's post titled, Official License to Fornicate:

"Forget heeding God's word about the consequences of sexual impurity, there are ways around that! Introducing the "Safe Sex License". I thought they were joking when I saw this on the local nightly news. If I am understanding correctly, this is how it works; you meet someone at the local bar or whatever other high class establishment you happen to be at and decide that you'd like to go ahead and engage in sex acts with them. To put your mind at ease, they show you their Safe Sex License. You call the number on it and are prompted to enter a pin at which point you will hear a list of information related to their past year of STD testing."

I have to wonder about fake IDs though. That's just the cynic in me talking there.

Yup, there's some sexy stuff goin' on at Catherine's place. Her posts are always thought-provoking, or honest, or controversial. Sometimes even all three at once. Go say "hi" if you'd like to read something different today.

Me, Size 8

Obviously this is not a recent picture. But I'm hiding my face because I'm "too fat" to have my photo taken. See how little Elf is? He was in preschool at the time. He still loves me just the same and will still hold my hand in public. I get hugs, too. He draws the line at being smooched and called "Elfie McMelfie" in front of all his friends, though.

Changeable Truths?

I sure don't share *all* the strange things I come across on the internet (before you say it, shut up LOL!), but I thought this might make for an interesting discussion. A Catholic website discussing the idea that it's the Protestants, not the Catholics, who have distorted and changed the One True Faith:

"A Protestant elder of the 17th century looking at many protestant churches today would be astounded and appalled. He would see "Signs", "wonders", and "miracles" supposedly manifesting at nearly every service. He would see big-name evangelists rating themselves by the number of miraculous healings that took place at their meetings. He would see people "baptised in the Holy Spirit" and "talking in tongues". All these things would be entirely foreign to him. Not only would they be foreign to his view of Protestant religion, he would probably see them as deceits and abominations!

"If the Reformers preached one thing consistently, it was that the time of miracles was long past. The Reformers considered that the age of miracles had ended with the Age of the Apostles, and that in the current dispensation miracles simply did not happen. All miracles and healings that took place at Catholic services and Holy Sites were obviously feigned and deceitful - a sign of ignorant catholic "superstition." In England, orders were issued to, "utterly extinct and destroy all shrines... and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry and superstition, so that there remain no memory of the same". People were punished for claiming that miracles had taken place. The greatest miracle of all - the real presence of Christ's body and blood in the mass, was denied.

..."it is they, not the Catholics or Orthodox, who are continually changing and rejigging their beliefs."

I would imagine that if I read Scripture, or realized something from Scripture in a new way, that I would have to "rejig" my beliefs accordingly, no matter how stupid it might make me appear to others. But I have to admit one of the advantages the Catholic church would have over the Protestants would be name-brand recognition. I don't mean to be trite in that statement, but don't know how else to put it. Under Catholicism, to my understanding, you either are or you aren't. You're either in the "Church" or you are not. With Protestants, it's a bit more tricky. Does Protestantism include Mormons? Maybe some Mormons would say "yes," but there isn't a central Protestant church to tell them to go take a hike.

Do you count the likes of Benny Hinn as being Protestant? Who gets to decide?

I find it interesting, however, that the Catholics I know personally are not very strong in the area of reading the Bible for themselves. In fact, one called me not too long ago to ask how to look up stuff in the Bible. Another person from this family came to borrow a Bible and D asked, "Which version?" and the fellow had no clue there were different ones, let alone which version his church teaches as being the truth. And these are very nice, kind-hearted folks. I was the same way before learning how to read the Bible myself. Except I was worse off... I didn't even realize there were separate "books" within the Bible. That's a public school education for ya.

But like Protestants, I've noticed something about Catholics. The ones who attend Mass regularly seem to be more conservative than the ones who do not. I could not tell you *why* that would be, whether it is because conservative people like going to church more or because churches ARE more conservative and only the conservative ones seem to stick around because they feel welcomed.


Thank You!

Tiff emailed me a few moments ago.

The paediatrician rang her.

Ivy has been approved for her IVIG.

She will be admitted to hospital at 10.30am tomorrow morning for her first round of treatment.

All of Ivy’s doctors had seen the petition, so they fast tracked the decision.

Thankyou to everyone who blogged about it. Thankyou to the 1100+ people who signed the petition. Thankyou so SO much to everyone who banded together to help.

It has all been so worth it to see her get the treatment she needs to be a normal little girl.
Thankyou from the bottom of my heart for helping. Just, thankyou.

Guest-blogged by Veronica at Sleepless Nights.

07 September 2008

For Ivy.

Guest-blogged by Veronica (links below).

Ivy is beautiful and Ivy is sick. Ivy is only 2.

And yet, at age 2, Ivy has seen the inside of a hospital more times than anyone should have to. Ivy has a rare immune deficiency IgG. Because of that, she has Pemphigus which is an autoimmune response to the IgG [please note, these are photos of Ivy's pemphigus blisters and they may be a little graphic for some people].

These are horrible conditions that no adult should have to deal with, let alone a child.

Ivy is currently on Prednisone and Mycophenolate to help control her symptoms and blistering; however, these drugs suppress her immune system, on top of the deficiency.

Ivy’s mum says “…she was never good at mounting a response to infection but the meds make it worse.”

She frequently ends up in hospital on IV antibiotics, just to help control the infection in her ears that never seems to completely disappear. She cannot be exposed to a simple virus in fear that it will land her back in hospital for days at a time.

She can’t go to the playground to play.

She can’t attend playgroup.

She can’t head to the supermarket with her mother.

She might never be able to go to regular school.

She is only 2.

However, there is a treatment that would give Ivy a good chance at normal life.

It’s called IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) and it is a transfusion of immune cells that would bolster Ivy’s own immune system and help her fight infections in a normal way.

Think about it, a chance at a normal life. A life that doesn’t involve frequent hospitalisations.

Unfortunately, the officials at the Australian National Blood Authority have denied the request for Ivy to have this treatment. This treatment that could very well keep her out of hospital. So far, all appeals have been in vain.

As Ivy’s Mum says on her website:
“My little girl is going to have a life of hospital admissions and illness, some chronic, some life threatening, because some guy in an ivory tower decided she could survive without this medication.”

How is this fair?

What if it was your child? What if it was your sister’s child? Do the rules change for daughters of the officials? How come someone with a big stamp gets to say yes or no to this little girl’s chance at a normal life?

It shouldn’t be like this.

All I am asking for is 2 minutes of your time. If you could just head over here and sign our petition, we might be able to get enough support to convince the National Blood Authority officials to change their mind.

Ivy is only 2. She deserves a chance to be normal.

Please, a minute of your time could make all the difference for Ivy.

Sign Petition

If you have a blog and you would like to help spread the word, please feel free to copy this post and link back here to me at Sleepless Nights [so that I can follow where it has gone].

And if you would like to follow Ivy’s story (and that of her twin brother and older siblings) you can find them here, at My Three Ring Circus, written by the talented Tiff. All photos were taken by Tiff as well.

Update by Mrs. C: Ivy has over 830 signatures on her petition. She and her family are known personally by a fellow blogger who has sent me an email to my private account. She's a real person. Please help if you can.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.

Elf and Emperor have finished with the Story of Doctor Dolittle, and we're now taking turns reading chapters in the next book. Doctor Dolittle is off on an adventure with his animal friends, Bumpo the African prince, and Tommy Stubbins, his assistant and the narrator of the book.

Doctor Dolittle has managed to trick the people on a Spanish island to give up bullfighting by speaking to the bulls and throwing the match. He became matador for the day and had the bulls pretend to be very frightened of the Great Doctor. Elf and Emperor have found an old baby hat shaped like a bunny and Elf is wearing this so that he can be a bull. Emperor will wave a pink burp cloth to complete the effect. Sometime I'm *required* to film this and put it on one of the children's blogs.

The animals and the Indian peoples have strange ideas about the "White" people. They are seen as being very backward and greedy. It even feels backward to read the book, but it's a funny adventure story. Bumpo has been to Oxford and is now using his educated white man's vocabulary. (He pitched the shoes and is trying to forget the Algebra, though. I admire that Bumpo takes what he wants out of the culture and literally throws out the rest.)

I could imagine a movie on the books, and what a strange character Bumpo would make. Even the children think he's hilarious when he says, "What discourteous pagans!" about the Indian people who threatened them. Bumpo's people weren't exactly courteous or Christian in their reception of Doctor Dolittle, either. I think Bumpo is my favourite character.

06 September 2008

Being Frugal. Because I Won't Spend $10 on Pizza.

Sam's Club loves us. We use MEGA pizza sauce from the big can and scoop it into old apple sauce jars, where it keeps nicely. MEGA mozzerella cheese and MEGA pepperoni. And a 25-pound bag of flour. Elf and Emperor cook something every Tuesday, and lately it's been pizza. We've been reading Doctor Dolittle while we eat our lunches as well.

05 September 2008

Stereotyped News Flash: Homeschooled Kids Not Socialised.

Oh, it's a big disadvantage to homeschooling. Because where else but in public school would a child meet a wide variety of other folks from various backgrounds and ethnicities, etc. etc.? Interesting question. I think the high school I attended until my junior year had, like, four black kids in it. Out of 500-something kids. Oh, and two of those children were the identical twins Ronald and Donald, who dressed identically in their little Members Only (tm) jackets. Remember those days? (Hey, they were nice guys, though, and really, we ALL dressed alike as teens.) I think the school paper made a crack that we had diversity because we all had different coloured "Benetton" shirts. Yeah, you could learn a lot about other cultures there fer sure.

Another huge disadvantage is the blurring of lines between being the "mom" and being the "teacher." You know, because being the "mom" and doing the "teacher's" work for two hours a night under the guise of "homework" doesn't count.

I can't believe this stuff passes for journalism. It's all nothing but stereotypes of homeschooling, written up as an article. Couldn't they at least interview some guy saying they heard from his barber that someone's cousin's best friend tried homeschooling but it didn't work?

Maybe this outfit will let me do a piece on skiing. Oh, I've never been skiing, but I'll write about how the disadvantages of it involve too much money going out for the sport and the fact that it's cold. Oh, and people's noses can turn red when it's cold and I heard some guy died in an avalanche once. How much money do you think I could get for that? Mama needs to buy a new curriculum kit instead of shoes because we never go anywhere.

(kidding. Well, it would be nice to have a new curriculum kit, though.)

03 September 2008

The Newest, Greatest Game

Elf and Emperor are studying the French Revolution in Social Studies. Now, of course, the Sydney Funnel-web spider attack game is just old news. The newest, greatest game is to jump out and shout, "Le Guillotine!!" and chase the other boy while shouting, "CHOP chopchop chopchopchop!"

I hope no one asks about the little "chop" marks on poor baby J at church tonight. I would hate to have to explain that the marks on ANY of my younger children were actually caused by, "Le Guillotine!"

I think all nouns in our house currently have a "le" attached to them. Le pencil. Le test. Le calculator and le math. Pepe Le Pew must approve.

Le Au Revoir!

Super Mario!

Stupid Question?

Dennis Fermoyle is a public school teacher, author and fellow blogger. We've been bloggy friends for some time. He's just written a post on some of the idiocies of NCLB you might want to check out. He says with impossible goals of 100 percent proficiency, people get around to wondering if 80 or 90 percent is good enough and who we can leave behind. The answer: we don't know.

"I am often amazed by the things that are done in modern medicine," he writes. "They have made great progress in so many things. For example, the survival rate for breast cancer has continually increased. But I doubt very much that they are going to have a 100% survival rate by 2014. To set that as a goal, and to tell the medical profession they are failing if they don't reach that would be the height of stupidity. But if you ask, "Well, which women do you want to die?" no one is going to say, Betty Jones and Sally Garfield. We don't know which women will die, and we don't want any of them to, but we know that some probably will."

His blog is titled, "From the Trenches of Public Ed." Clicking the link will bring you directly to the post in question.

02 September 2008

How Mean.

Can you believe a hospital went and called the police because someone applied for a job using a stolen Social Security number? I mean, how dare they tell on Maria Martinez when she practiced the CRIME of identity theft? Now she's going to be deported and it's all the hospital's fault. Boo hoo hoo. The whole family is all upset.

Good job, Trinity Hospital of Carrollton, Texas. If that were my Social Security number, I would want to say thank-you personally. Why can't other businesses see that identity theft is a CRIME no matter what the colour or family circumstance of the person perpetrating it?

01 September 2008

Pumpkin-Picking and Jail Storming.

Visit Emperor and Elf's blogs to find out more.

UK "Under Five Learning Goals"

Coming to a nursery near you soon, if the British are implementing it. Children being watched with state money will be expected to count to ten, write their names and short sentences on their fifth birthday. It won't add any work for the childcare providers, though, don't worry. It's just an extra goal that they're going to just plunk in there and it will magically get done.


I'm NOT writing this to be critical of those parents who find themselves needing to use state-funded childcare or those who truly believe that having their children interact with other students on a part-time basis is beneficial for their social development. But can we agree that children seem to be perceived as "left behind" at earlier and earlier ages?

Just for a moment, as an aside, let me tell you a little bit about Emperor. I'm not trying to be scientific, or brag, or anything like that. I just want to tell you the story of one little boy. Emperor had delayed speech and got help from First Steps. Not nearly so bad-off as baby J, but he had delays that the state saw fit to fund ABA and speech therapies every week. Then he went to a "special needs" preschool. He missed the kindergarten cutoff by one week and I was terribly sad for him. But instead, he decided he'd like to learn to read at home. By the end of his final preschool year, he was adding multidigit numbers such as 129+154. Yup, with borrowing and carrying. Now he is learning to do multiplication with several numbers on the top and bottom and is in the middle of the public school's third grade curriculum.

Technically, that means he has jumped from being a special-needs child to being two and a half years "ahead." But he's the same child. What a shame if we had given him a special "learning disabled" label in preschool and limited what we thought he were capable of! He's just fine, thank you.

I don't want to brush aside those parents who have genuine concerns with their child and his development. We sure have some with baby J. But I do want to say that this pushing to fulfill goals at earlier and earlier ages when the child is not quite ready may be very detrimental in the long haul. For whatever reason, in Emperor's case, he was "behind" for quite some time but now seems "ahead." Perhaps later he will only be "on schedule." That's ok, too.

Maybe parents and educators just worry too much unnecessarily.

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...