Saturday, January 31, 2009

In Honor of the Super Bowl

In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.

Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.

He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."

She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.

Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a different mindset.

That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.

A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added two more kids.

So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona, where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals in the hunt for a possible appearance in the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.

It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Daddy's Biggest Fans

Sweetie works for WazooSports, which is a very cool job (all sports, all the time... how much cooler can it get for a guy?) and this was from last night when we went to a big event they were putting on. I just love it and wanted to put it on here so daddy can see it and show it off!

Good-bye Mr. President

I know many may disagree with me, and I'll admit, maybe as President he didn't do everything the way I wish he would have, but I have to say, as a person I have always really liked George Bush. He just seems to be a down-home good ole' boy who enjoys hard work and would be so friendly and enjoyable to sit down and talk with, he and Mrs. Bush as well. Who wouldn't love to sit and talk with her?

I always hated when people would make fun of George Bush and those who would be ugly or disrespectful to him really irritated me. The love and honor he showed our troops, the high respect he had for the Oval Office, and sticking to his beliefs and what he felt was best no matter what opposition he received just made me like him all the more.

I'll tell you this, although we may not agree with what they do, none of us know what it's like to literally have the weight of the world on our shoulders so we should be much slower to speak and much quicker to pray for our Presidents,e. no matter WHO they are. So as a final good-bye to a man I'd love to meet but never be, here's a video that nearly brought tears to my eyes...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Be Fair and Balanced

To prove that I am indeed fair and balanced when it comes to President Obamb (see, I can now say it without cringing too much), I thought I would share some of my thoughts over the past few days.

First of all, we watched the Kid's Inaugural Concert the night before the inauguration and I have to say, I thought it was a pretty cool idea. It's very important to get our children involved in what's going on in their country, but in a fun and interesting way. I thought the concert, mixed with Presidential trivia and lots of exciting stars, was a great way to get kids involved. We had a lot of fun watching Malia and Sasha dancing and singing, along with their mom and the Biden grandchildren, to the Jonas Brothers It showed my kids what normal kids they are, just like them. Good for Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden for hosting this event.

I loved hearing that while the Obama's were out dancing the night away at all the Inaugural Balls, Malia and Sasha were on a scavenger hunt at the White House, helping them get familiar with their new home and ending with finding the Jonas Brothers in one of the rooms. How exciting for those beautiful little girls! Another awesome idea.

And while I really like Chief Justice John Roberts and am so glad President Bush appointed him to the Supreme Court, I actually felt bad for Obama that, at the highest moment of his life, Judge Roberts flubbed the oath causing him to stumble as well. That had to be embarrassing and nerve-wracking and I don't care who it is, I hate to see that happen to anyone.

And when Joe Biden made a comment, trying to be funny, about his memory not being as good as Judge Robert's (when he was getting ready to swear in Obama's new cabinet members and asked for a copy of the oath), I appreciated that President Obama did not even snicker or have a hint of a smile. In fact, he looked a bit irritated. I take things like that very seriously as well. In my opinion, you just don't poke fun at the highest judge in the land. (Although his wife, Jill, is one awesome fashion diva! She's gorgeous!)

And we did focus on Obama and him becoming President with our Five in a Row Fold & Learns...

We watched the entire inauguration, from the time everyone got into the cars that took them to the Capital until the parade. Baby Girl was so fascinated by it all she slept in the living room that night, staying awake until 1:30am watching the Obama's dance at each ball. She absolutely loves American history and I didn't mind one bit for her to watch history in the making. She'll never forget that day.

We even made one of Barack Obama's favorite desserts, Peach Cobbler. It was our first time making this and it was YUMMY!

Ok, now that I've said all of that, let me just say this one thing. What really got to me about the inauguration was what I saw and heard from every single person they talked to or had the camera on. When Obama walked out you would have though God himself had arrived. The cheering and crying and worst of all, the chanting! O-bam-a, O-bam-a. Oh please is more like it. Everyone was acting as if Brack Obama is the greatest thing to ever grace the face of this earth! The man hadn't even done anything yet for goodness sakes! (I wonder if he looked more like his mom than his dad if everyone would be going so ga-ga over him? That's not meant as racist at all, for there is not one racist bone in my body. Just a curious observation on my part.)

Don't get me wrong, I understand the significance and importance of our country finally getting to the point of electing an African American as our president, and I am very, very happy we have come so far. It's long overdue. But my goodness, give me a break! The millions of people were awesome. I'm thrilled so many were there. AWESOME sight! Seeing the joy and celebration of all the African Americans was fun to watch. I'm thrilled for them.

But the near hysteria of emotions from so many, including the media, was so far over the top that all I could do was shake my head in disbelief. It breaks my heart to see so many put all their hope and faith in a mere mortal man. Oh if only they would have those same emotions for their Lord and Saviour, the only one who can truly save them from all that's wrong in this world. I'm afraid millions are looking through rose-colored glasses and are going to wake up to a very cruel reality one day.

Fun Ways to Memorize Presidents

We've been having fun learning about Presidents this week. Our oldest memorized all the Presidents on her own a few years ago with a book we have called Yo, Millard Fillmore! (And All Those Other Presidents You Don't Know) so I thought I would use that with the younger kids as well. It's working great and the kids love it.

We also found the YouTube video above and we now have four rappers in our house! And let me tell you, they rap just like a bunch of white boys! LOL! It's so funny to listen to them. We're planning on letting them perform it for the grandparents in a week or two.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Data Dismal for College-Bound *Our County* Seniors

And people wonder why we homeschool?

Only six percent of *Our County* high school seniors who took the ACT last year were ready for college-level coursework in English, algebra, social science and biology, according to data presented to the *Our County* Board of Education Tuesday evening.

Though that number sounds low, it’s not terribly far behind the state average of 19 percent.

The estimates were released by the ACT — a non-profit organization that provides the test used by many colleges to determine student admissions — and was based on the company’s established college readiness benchmark scores. According to charts presented to the school board this week, 46 percent of the 180 *Our County* seniors who took the ACT last year were categorized as being “ready” for college-level English composition, compared to 68 percent statewide.

In social sciences, 41 percent of *Our County* students (compared to 53 percent statewide) were considered ready.

But the lowest numbers came in algebra and biology — in both subjects, only 13 percent of *Our County* students who took the ACT were deemed “college-ready.” That’s compared to 35 percent in algebra and 25 percent in biology who were college-ready state-wide.

Only six percent of local students were deemed college-ready in all four assessment areas.

The “college-ready” determination is based on ACT’s research which indicates that students who reach certain testing benchmarks have a high probability of earning a C grade or higher in first-year college courses.

The average composite ACT score for *Our County* students was 18.9 — below the state average of 20.9 and national average of 21.1. A perfect score is 36.

The 2008 numbers reflect little change in *Our County* students’ scores. This year’s composite score for local students reflected a 0.1 drop from last year’s scores.

*Our County* students fell below the state average in each of the ACT’s four testing areas, scoring an average of 17.9 in English (compared to 20.5 state-wide), 17.7 in math (compared to 20.2 state-wide), 20.0 in reading (compared to 21.5 state-wide) and 19.3 in science (compared to 20.7 state-wide.)

School Board Chairman **** questioned the low results, noting that these were students who elected to take the ACT test and were likely the “best and brightest” who considered themselves college-bound.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Vent

Yes, I know my last entry was all about how we need to teach those things we don't necessarily agree with... evolution, Hitler, Obama becoming President... and it's true. We do have to teach about those things. But just as I have plenty of thoughts and feelings about evolution and Hitler, can I just vent about this Inauguration for a second? (Warning: I have a feeling this won't be the last time I vent regarding this presidency. After all, 4 [maybe 8?] years is a long time.)

Anyway, I just read a story on that already has me rolling my eyes.

The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun.

In 2005, Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., asked Bush to show a little less pomp and be a little more circumspect at his party.

"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake," the two lawmakers wrote in a letter. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."

The thinking was that, with the nation at war, excessive celebration was inappropriate. Four years later, the nation is still at war. Unemployment has risen sharply. And Obama pressed Congress to release the second half of a $700 billion bailout package in hopes of rescuing a faltering banking industry.

Obama's inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive.

"That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it," said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values."

Douglass said the campaign sought to keep costs down by having the same decorations at each of the 10 balls, eliminating floral arrangements and negotiating prices on food.

"Those at the Obama administration are trying to be reflective of the climate," McDermott's spokesman, Mike DeCeasar, said Saturday.

I hate to rain on their party, but yes, that IS the way we're looking at it. It IS excessive when we have people in our own country struggling to keep their homes, pay their bills and feed their families. If it was good enough for Roosevelt, Wilson, and Bush, then by golly Obama isn't any different! I would love to hear what our founding fathers would have to say about today's spending of the people's money and the state of our nation as a whole.

It's not that the spending for this inauguration is just 'excessive', it's 'record breaking' for goodness sakes! Tell me, what in the WORLD does putting a new president in the White House have ANYTHING to do with rock concerts? And 10 Inaugural balls? Good grief. Who are they really for? Do you really think anyone, including Obama and his wife, really wants to try to attend 10 balls in one night? What's the point?! Isn't that just a bit over the top? Oh, but how intelligent and frugal of them to have the same decorations at each ball, eliminate floral arrangements, and negotiate food prices. GRRRR!

It just angers me so much when I have personal friends losing their jobs and homes and struggling to buy groceries to feed their children. And don't even get me started on our homeless in this country. I'm sure they're all for 'celebrating our common values'. Nevermind their empty bellies and cold fingers and toes. As long as our country parties and celebrates excessively over a new president they'll be fine. Please. Common values my foot!

Sigh... getting down off my soapbox. For now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inauguration Study

As homeschoolers we need to take advantage of every opportunity to teach our children about the real world, the world outside their own little one they naturally live in the majority of the time. That's the great thing about homeschooling. Our children are not confined to learning only what's in a textbook, but we can give them real, hands-on, personally-involved learning.

In regards to politics, we have always taken our children with us when we vote, explaining to them before hand what we're doing, and then taking them behind the curtain with us when we vote and letting them see exactly how it all works. After all, they'll tend to do what they've always seen, right? For presidential elections we have election night parties and color in maps with blue and red, depending on who wins each state. This year we did our first Election Lapbook study and learned a lot about how the Electoral college works. We have even taken our oldest daughter to see President Bush when he was campaining close to us several years ago!

The history of our country and how it's laws and government works is very important and we feel it is vital to teach our children as much as we can about it. They are, after all, our future and watching our leaders and most adults we come in contact with today, it terrifies me to think what lies ahead for our country. We HAVE to teach our children what this great country was founded on, the morals and ideas and intentions of our founding fathers. We have to make sure we are raising our children to be leaders and not followers.

Now, what do we do when we do not agree with what's going on in Washington or who is in leadership? We do exactly what we've done all along and what we SHOULD be doing. We teach. We train.

Just because we don't like or agree with something does not mean we can ignore it and pretend it's not happening. Our children have to know both sides to things and have an understanding about what's going on in their world. That's how you raise level-headed, think-for-themselves children. That is what's going to help them grow into understanding, compassionate, problem-solving, intelligent leaders as adults.

So, having said all of that, we will be doing an Inauguration study on Monday and Tuesday as well as watching the Inauguration Tuesday. I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't even considered doing anything until I saw this Five in a Row study come out. It's not that I don't want to do anything, I just hadn't even given it any thought, and that's unusual for me. I've always tried to take advantage of every teaching opportunity that I could for our children, but with this I hadn't. I guess I've still got some learning to do as well. It's not just about what I enjoy and what I think can be fun learning. It's about teaching my children about the world around them, about THEIR country.

No, we are not an Obama-supporting family, but, he is now the leader of our country and as so commands our respect. We have tried to be fair and honest about Obama's views and beliefs while explaining to our children why we feel the way we do. We try to line everything up to God's word and show them that that's how we vote in our family. At the same time, it's just as important to teach them that we are to respect those in authority over us while continually praying for them to have wisdom in their decisions and leadership duties.

So, this week will find us learning about the Inauguration process, a bit of presidential history, and taking advantage of watching history in the making. Oh, and just for fun, we'll also be making President Obama's favorite dessert! Want to know what that is? Then you'll have to purchase the Five in a Row study! At only $7.00 it's a great way to introduce this important event to your children. I plan on adding to it just a bit for our 12 year old, but without it I wouldn't have even done anything. *blush*

Welcome Back Blogger

Once you get out of blogging on a regular basis sometimes it's hard to get back to it. There are so many things you'd like to blog about, but where do you start? Some things you'd like to blog about you can't until you blog about other things. It's a vicious circle.

So, what else can one do but just jump right back into it?

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past month or so...

We are part of a Christmas ornament exchange with our Five in a Row friends every year and these were the ornaments we received this year. This was our third year doing this and we look forward to it every year. These ornaments have become so special to us that this year, after Christmas, I bought a tree just for our FIAR ornaments. I look forward to having an entire tree just for showing these off next year!

My two computer guys. I think they're making a list, and checking it twice!

This is Sweetie's family. Just parents, brothers, sister, brother- and sisters-in-law, neices and nephews, including one neice-in-law. Oh, and one-great nephew! We always get together every Christmas Eve and Santa comes to deliver presents to the kids. Coming from being raised as an only child (my half-brother lived with our dad), gaining a family like this when I married Sweetie was just an added blessing. I LOVE it! That's the main reason we wanted several children.

Our own legion of clone troopers! Aren't grannys just the best?! Such cool presents! (This is the only way my sisters-in-law will let me post pictures of my neices and The previous picture I snuck in because I'm just so darn proud of our family, but no names, no locations, and you can barely see any faces, so I'm hoping I won't be in too much trouble. *kiss kiss*)

How cool will this go with that clone trooper helmet?! This is a 'real' light saber, one much too expensive for mom and dad to buy. But leave it to Santa. He's just the coolest ever!

Our little Miss Hannah Montana!

Papaw and Handsome playing Star Wars. (He never played like this with me when I was little! LOL.)

This picture just cracks me up for some reason. Like the big bad clone troopers are going to speed away on Reece Cup's new electric scooter!

I just had to add this picture. This is my mom and FORMER step-dad. You see, they've known each other for 32 years (I'm 33, so basically my entire life). They'd been together since I was 5, married when I was 9, divorced when I was 23, and are now back together after ten years of being divorced. What a love story. They act just like a couple of teenagers courting each other. It's so cute.

And thanks to my mom and Wal-Mart's Black Friday sales, our DVD collection is added to every Christmas. But those 6 seasons of Gilmore Girls, those are MINE! Sweetie bought me those because it's just the BEST show EVER!

And finally, last but not least, how cool is it to watch all those new movies on Sweetie's new 61" DLP HDTV!!! Yeah, I'm Wife-of-the-Year, what can I say? (In case you're in the market for a new TV, Sweetie is an electronics nut and researched all the different kinds of TVs and decided that the DLP's with LCD bulbs have the brightest picture and will last the longest. Plus you can get a much bigger screen size for a lot less money.)