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Showing posts from May, 2011

How to Play Bug House Chess

The Anpanman twins and their friends are demonstrating how to play Bug House chess. It's a team game. One teammate will play white, and the other black. It's pretty much a regular chess game, except if you take a piece from your opponent, you can give it to your teammate to use during his next turn! Here, we're demonstrating how Anpanman got a black queen from his teammate and has placed it on the board. Now, mind you, you can't place a pawn in the promotion row or anything like that. When the other team is checkmated, you win! More detailed rules here. We're going to play in a friendly Bug House tournament tonight ourselves. Enjoy!


A very intelligent and well-educated friend shared this on facebook. She's hardly the panic-y vegetarian/organic only type. I thought I would share it with you and see what you think about it... I'm afraid that if she is concerned, that this is very, very bad stuff.


In the summer, it's tornado season. A friend of mine had no idea about tornado sirens! I thought everyone had those, but maybe not. So I'm posting some pics of our closest one and chatting a little bit about our "season" so far.

When the siren goes off, it means to get into your basement or best cover right now. It could be the result of a county-wide warning, or it could be specific to where you are. Just get into the basement and tune in to your radio from there to see what's up.

 The siren goes off every Wednesday at the same time. Eeeven though it was a Wednesday yesterday, I knew it was a for real siren. It was turned super loud as if to tell everyone that people, this is not a drill. And it went on for I'm thinking an hour and a half or so.
Emperor was already freaked out about Joplin. He understands. He is very, very afraid. I distracted him by making him match my huuuuuge collection of single socks. I mean, why not. I told him I would give him a nick…


'“I just wanted a multigrain bagel,” Professor Rosenthal said. “I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese’. When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want. Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English.”' Article.

Honestly, I could see this sort of thing escalating easily with a number of my own children. It ended up with the cops coming in and ejecting the customer from the place. How about the people in Starbucks just give her a plain ol' bagel, and if she wanted something with it she could ask for it?

The other day we had a horrid fight in the doctor's office. Horrid. We were trying to pass the time and G's idea of a game is to think of a thing and we would get twenty questions to ask ("Is it an airplane?" and so on.) The odds of getting the "thing" are pretty slim, the universe being as vast as it is, but there you go.

Emperor guessed things like "freedom from sin" and "lib…

Disabled Parent Rights.

Hey, parental rights isn't just for homeschoolers. Did you know you could lose your children in Missouri *just* because you're disabled? It's true.

Now there is a new law, going into effect in August, that would change that. The state can no longer take away your children *just* because you are disabled. Umm, but note that nowhere in this blog posting did it say that it could not be a major, major factor in a judge's decision? Thought I'd mention it. According to the post, between 40 and 60 percent of children of disabled parents are removed from their homes in Missouri!

"Me Happy"

Sometimes I'm surprised at the times Rose tells me this. Often it is when things are quiet and not much is going on. You'd also be surprised at the things that make children UNhappy. Recently there was a very big fight about "My sun!/ No, MY sun!/ No MYYY SUUUN!" going on between Rose and Woodjie. I kept trying to break it up but I swear off and on it lasted an hour. Notice: the sun now belongs to MOM, but she shares it sometimes because she is NICE. :)

A Post in Which I Whine a Little.

Let's face it. One of the really hard things about having a special needs child is this thought that he will never have a normal life.

Oh, we have great kids. Yeahh, we would never trade them in for the whole world and blah blah blah. Think parents of standard issue children would look at our "giftings" and go, wish I coulda had some of THAT in my life and I would sure trade my kid in? HELLO, the "I wouldn't trade my kid for anything" issue only comes up when we have a problem going on. No one else has to even feel the need to justify that they love their children as they are.

These parents can drop their children off at a friend's house and LEAVE. Oh, nevermind that. Their children HAVE friends who invite them over, how about we start there?

Not trying to grouse here. Just being real with you: it's not fun. "Love my children/ cherish them as they are" does not equal "fun and glad things are the way they are." My kids are missing ou…

When I Get Bigger/ Become an Adult

(A Guest Post by Not Mercer Mayer)

When I become an adult, I'll be able to do lots of things. I will be able to drive my car whenever I want. (Oh. I will somehow magically get money for this car. And the insurance. And the gas.)

I will have lots of free time on my hands. No one will tell me what to do with my time ever again! Especially when I am a parent. I will make money off my kids (lots of it!) when they make mistakes and have to pay for something they broke or that kind of thing. I will say that it teaches them responsibility, but really, I will have my kids wipe up the kitchen table and do odd jobs because I am too lazy to do them myself.

I will be able to make calls on my very own cell phone, use my very own laptop and take pictures with my very own camera! I will be able to blog about my own experiences and I will be able to say whatever I want with no repercussions. There never are any of those when you are an adult. I think that's in the First Amendment.

I will have a …

Science is Racist.

Ohhhhkayyy. Black ladies are less attractive than white ladies.

No, this isn't Bob's personal preference. Or Jason's. It's a scientific fact that black ladies aren't as cute as Asian or white ladies. It's evolutionary, even, that they evolved to have bigger butts or something. Go ahead and click on the link. It's BET discussing a new scientific study and being a little snarky. It's ok.

Here's the link they're outraged about and I think rightly so. Psychology Today deleted it from their servers, but I think you should check it out on the cache before it disappears entirely. It's very nice to get all scientific and try to find the differences in the races (and yes, there are some!) to find the cure for cancer or how to prevent heart attacks or whathaveyou. MAYBE it is that black folks or Asians or Irish people all respond differently biologically to a given medicine... I dunno. Let the science lead where it may. We already know sickle cell affec…

You Misunderstand.

Maybe you misunderstand on purpose.

When I decide that I want to send my child to school, or attend a certain church, it doesn't mean that I agree with EVERYTHING the pastor or teacher has to say. I might not even agree with EVERY nitpicky point of doctrine in the 20-page church charter. I get that past a certain point, it's time to leave, go find another church or school if you don't like how things are run, that kind of thing.

But, really. Leave church because I homeschool? And it's "cultish" of parents like me to not agree with this whole Sunday School/youth group fad? Cultish? Because I don't subdivide my family by some arbitrary state-imposed grade level during Sunday morning church? *I* am cultish? *I* am following some new theology? Um... apparently.

Let's see. Paul Wilkinson's blog goes off on Christian unity and all that stuff in other posts. Just not this one. I don't get it. And he let stand a comment that basically says that it isn…

The Happy Elf

I don't get it. Elf LOVES school. The school people are nice to him. Here he is in his "1st Class of Oak Tree Elementary ALUMNI" shirt that was distributed at school. Elf's name is printed on the back under Mr. McC's class column with the other students. Aww! Why couldn't we have had this wonderful experience when Elf was in school before? Ah, well, I have been *very blessed* to have him home all this time... though I must say, I was scared to death and upset about the very idea of this "school" thing for a while there. So was Elf. But now he has a friend he is meeting at recess to discuss existential questions such as, "What if there were no recess?" Might as well. Poor kid is not allowed on the equipment for a good while; the orthopaedist has dealt with G and his shenannigans and doesn't want to take a chance on Elf being silly and injuring himself. That means he stays home from the BIG FUN fieldtrip on Monday. A full day of PE/climb…

BABY Robins!

There are at least three in the nest, but this one in front is the pushiest. I don't know how this little thing could STAND for a second and get a raw worm from its mom. It has eyes shut, I think, and is fluffy. Aside from the beak, it doesn't really look like a robin at all.

Homeschooling :)

Just a little smile for you this morning. Homeschooling gives parents a lot of flexibility and helps them to tailor the curriculum to meet the individual needs of a child. There's just no way that most high schools would let a child graduate at the age of ten, don't you think? Doesn't matter how gifted she is. This homeschooler is, at 16, now a college graduate. You read that correctly.

Often we get into these happy-happy homeschool posts and ignore the flip side of this, which is that children with profound special needs can ALSO be homeschooled. Maybe they learn to use the potty before graduation and that's really important to Mom and Dad, who spend several hours working on this one skill every week.

Sigh. Ok. Not gonna borrow my troubles.

Emperor is zooming along in his algebra, and I guess I ought log it some special way since it is a high school level course. BUT that being said, likely he will go to public school at some point and they'll take one look at this j…

Guest Post!!

(And now, a guest post by justGeorge. You can find justGeorge's blog here. I warned you that I might be publishing some guest posts...)

The sun rose up slowly over Semi-happy-people Land. The sunrise created a beautiful rainbow sky, glorifying gay pride in the most obvious way (apparently the Sun God was Greek). The birds were singing without being autotuned, and thus unable to compete in the music industry. The citizens of Semi-happy-people Land were waking up, and they weren't happy about it.

One of the most angry of these semi-happy people was a man by the name of Crazy Bob. Crazy Bob was always angry about something. If the air had too much oxygen in it, he would get angry at that. If there were too many fish in the ocean, he would get angry over that too.

So pretty much he was always angry.

This day was no exception. Today Crazy Bob was angry about being angry. So he decided to take his anger on pedestrians as he drove to work.

Listening to the soft thumping sounds beneath his…

How We Work at Home

Woodjie has a little drawer full of coloured plastic animals, flash cards, his Game Boy, and a Boggle timer. As you can see, his worksheet is a laminated picture of him with five velcro buttons. There are real buttons with sticky velcro on them we use as tokens. When the board is full, Woodjie gets to play with his Game Boy until the timer runs out.
I have flash cards from school that I laminated (smiley face = "happy," or we have "heart" and other common words). I show some of these to him and after I feel he's done enough to earn a token, I give him a button. There really are no rules as to how many he must answer correctly. Sometimes I give out buttons when I see he was frustrated but did a good job on a card. Other times he's zooooming through his cards and perhaps I give him a button when he finally pauses for breath!
The girl is usually nearby doing her own activity (today it was stringing plastic beads). Woodjie is very proud of his work and is show…

Crazy Comment Monday!

"As a practitioner of the healing arts, I believe that a child's Autism can be erased ... without a pill ... IF the child supports living without it. If the child no longer wants his/her Autism, it really can be shifted out... How can these children tell us that they want to keep or give up their Autism? We check in with their energy field, and that tell us everything."

"I recently started working with differently-abled children using energy work and other interesting modalities, and have seen promising results: After a few days after a session with a severely Autistic 9 year old boy, he connected with his Mom for the first time - a heart connection. She cried with joy."

-- excerpt from a comment following a blog post on whether parents should give a hypothetical cure pill to their autistic children.

I read stuff like this and think you know, she's checking in with the "energy" of that poor family's wallet. Ommm, I think I'll pass on this. Oh…

The Retirement Party

"Guess who's retiring, Elf?" I asked.

"DAD?" Elf said in amazement. No, not Dad. It was his first grade teacher, Mrs. Old. Mrs. Old probably is an excellent teacher of complaint little girls, but of autistic elves? Not so much.

Elf was OVERJOYED to hear that Mrs. Old would be retiring. "Can we make a cake to celebrate??" he asked. He said this was a great day for *all* the little children. I don't think a politician could make a more declarative statement. His pudgy little face just beamed.

Actually, Elf, Merriwether and William Elementary is having a BIG PARTY and the public is invited to celebrate Mrs. Old's retirement on Tuesday night.

"If they knew she was that bad a teacher that they had to have a party because she is leaving, they should have gotten rid of her a long time ago," he told me sternly. Well, that's sort of one of those things people do... they have parties when someone retires. (Come to think of it, why do we do tha…

The Internet STAR.

Well. Not long ago, he was just a friend of my older children, discussing graphically how he'd like to torture and kill small animals. My children were somehow not all that available to play with him after that. We just get so busy! I know, I should have just out and told his mom the real reason but there you go.
But now this child has grown up and become an internet STAR with actual fans and admirers. Really. He even has his own YouTube channel and gets PAID when he posts dumb crap. This kid posts whatever he wants. And he has THOUSANDS of people following... some crazy number like 265,000 views. He's there to answer YOUR questions. You know, questions like, "Can you fold your **** when you get a boner?" The answer is no, in case you were wondering.

Just as a side note, yep, I do feel a twinge of jealousy that the ****-folding guy has more viewers than my homeschool blog ever could. I do try to make my blog interesting but apparently it is not interesting *enough.* R…


Junk drawer post. I have some DS chargers, bulletin board tacks, old McDonald's Monopoly papers, and a few elastic bands in this somewhere...

Ok. First, do you want to hear a nice story about a nice family? They're nice people. They wanted to buy a house in a nice neighbourhood. They kept getting outbid by other families, so they did something different this time. THIS time, they stapled a picture of their beautiful family and a note about how much they will enjoy the house and sent it along with their offer on the place. Not only were they able to buy the place from the seller, but the seller rejected an offer of $10,000 more than this family was offering!

Nice, huh?

But maybe not all of us are nice people. I know I'm not. I'm fat and old and I don't photograph well. I have teen boys and sorry, when I'm shopping for houses and see evidence of teen boys I think loud music and dangerous driving and go somewhere else. My letter would be about yeah, we like your hous…

Looking Forward to Summer!

The only big bad thing about summer break is going to be the fact that preschool is not in session. The children LOVE their preschool.

I'm not sure what to expect for the teens. One of my teens is going to summer school part-time and the other wants a job. Whatever... but sounds like a lot of driving for poor old haggard MOM. In terms of friends hanging out at the house, that hasn't happened for a bit, mostly because tennis practice lasts until 6 p.m. or so and weekends are spent shopping or going to tournaments or (at least for me last weekend) getting sick, grouching at everyone and guzzling the Ny-Quil.

I was looking over some of my old posts and fondly remembering our buddy Q. Q actually seems to have grown up nicely and has his own lawn-mowing business. Funny how those things turn out.

Osama in the Mosh Pit

"The hottest band out of Saudi Arabia, featuring wahabi and hip-hop influences, Bin Laden and the Jihadis features extensive vamping and sitar solos, in addition to the occasional suicide vest crowd surf." (comment after article)
There are questions popping up on twitter about Bin Laden and his band, why is he famous, that kind of thing. And yahoo is reporting that 2/3 of people searching for "who is Osama Bin Laden?" are teens. I don't know how they know they're teens, but if true, a large number of children were kept ignorant of current events when they were five or six years old.

And I mean entirely ignorant. I don't know that I agree with the commenters that we should entirely "blame" the previous generation. But I should imagine by the late teen years that children will be surfing the web and picking up the news as they go along.

During the elementary school years, I know that often parents are very overprotective about letting their childr…

New Radical Sport: Snowplow Parenting!

You heard it here first, folks: parents are no longer content to hover like helicopters. Now they bulldoze into anything and anybody who gets in their way.

In an article that qualifies as Crazy Comment Monday material, Ole Jorgenson not-so-deftly psychoanalyzes all of us "GenX" parents and says well, it's all Nixon's fault. Or all our latchkey parents' fault and also due to the housing bubble. Well... ok... he wasn't so deft at the psychoanalysis. But I'm feeling that I *should* feel traumatized by all this stuff after reading about what a hard 'nuff life I have...

"Gen Xers orchestrate every move of their preschoolers, from perfect play dates and obsessively healthy diets, to instructional flashcards and hypoallergenic socks," he muses. Then the kids get older and parents are still super-bossy. Not only that, but unless we can get these parents to sit down, shut up and listen to what educators are saying, we can never have meaningful educati…