Monday, November 17, 2008

To Wii or Not To Wii


To Wii, or not to Wii: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler as a parent to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous pleading,
Or to take arms against a TV of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To spurn—to scorn,
No more; and by scorning to say we end
The twitches and the thousand natural tics
That kids are prone to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To spurn, to scorn;
To scorn, perchance to play — ay, there's the rub:
For in that rejection of video games what envy may come,
When we have played Guitar Hero with friends,
This must give us pause—there's the fun
That can bond a family while strumming "Livin' On a Prayer."
For who could blame the parents who would join
Their children in revelry and laughter
As the adoring crowds applaud the avatar to Star Power!
The mirth of play, and the merrymaking
That patient dexterity of hand and eye!
Oh, what then when Rock Band calls to you?
Not only guitars, but drums and microphone join
To make music and fun together as a group!
But that the dread of something after playing--
The tantrums, the craziness, the hyperactivity which,
When endured, can cause the parents' hair to grey.
The refusal to settle down and sleep in a room
From whose bourn no parent well escapes, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience (together with economic recession)
Does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great fun and merrymaking
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the act of purchase.



To Wii or Not To Wii?



Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Stuff

Look at me, catching up on blogging. Good times. Oh, and is Blogger loading pictures in reverse order for anyone else?

Our kids LOVE these books and LOVE doing different activities from them.

Here are our cuties working on Japanese shadow drawings and poems


We attend classes as a homeschool group at a local wildlife preserve. Here is our teacher pulling out varous bird feet to identify. Yes, they're real. And yes, the box says "Feet are Neat."


M and his buddies work on identifying bird feet


K and her friends work on identifying bird feet

It was a gorgeous fall day so we took pictures in the leaves and threw leaves all over one another:


The ubiquitous light saber

Laying in the leaves

Cute smiles

I love my kids!

Happy Fall!








Playing in the leaves is so fun!! We love where we live! It's GORGEOUS!


I love this picture of my good-looking husband and cute kids watching some Clone Wars episodes online together. We have SUPER basic cable and don't get a lot of channels, but they upload a lot of shows these days so we watch these that way.

Our mudroom--we're hanging bunches of parsley from our garden to dry and use.
I love this picture.

In our clinic waiting room (which is all part of our farmhouse) on the day of our ribbon cutting to celebrate our first year of business -- we set out teas, cocoa, and yummy cookies. And hey, we got our picture in the paper, too!
Me and my sweetie celebrating our first year in business

At our Government Club (run by that guy in the suit . . . he's an attorney and also one of our homeschool dads), the kids debate the issues!


And because Physics class, lunch out together, and government club just wasn't enough for one day, why not go to Chocolate World with your friends, too?


Who cares if you've ridden the ride a hundred times, it doesn't get old to get free chocolate!

And hey, why not eat out with friends for dinner that night, too? The owner came by and gave each of us a HUGE free shrimp appetizer "just because." How cool is that? What's really funny is that we returned to Chocolate World for dessert. :P

Yet another picture I couldn't resist . . . our book club is a food club, too.

And, because we're so proud of him, check out how well Thing 2 is doing with his reading! And he's 5, so you know--read a book and then stick your smelly feet in the camera with glee.


video

A Sunday BBQ and Games

(I'm so behind--I wrote this like 2 weeks ago) . . .

When you get beautiful weather in October, what better thing to do than have a BBQ and play croquet! I didn't know how fun that game could be.




And to continue the fun? Games and more eating, of course!

Ticket to Ride -- where Matthew decided to sightsee and travel around Europe seeing all the places he'd like, regardless of what the cards said.

Ticket to Ride -- after sending the sightseeing journeyman off to watch Star Wars . . . and we also added yet more food to the game playing.

The girls put on a magic show


Good Little Buddies - "See? This is Anakin 3! Just like me! Jedis tuck their shirts into their underwear, you know."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I forgot to mention . . .

Last night, I dreampt that I was appointed the "White House Press Secretary." And I started bonding with the journalists on a family vacation to Disney World. And because I was speaking Portuguese to them. And I think I woke up thinking about adoption.



What do you make of that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Something Fun

I came across this game today by chance. It's kind of fun to see how much world geography you know. Watching 13 seasons of The Amazing Race sure helps, too!

(For the record, I only spent about 7 minutes playing this game. But my competitive side wants to keep playing!)

The Obamas

This post is dedicated to the Obamas. The family. The Husband, the wife, the kids, and soon, the dog. That dog likely isn't payment enough for what that family will go through for the next 4-8 years. I wrote about Michelle Obama in a comment on another post and there are so many cool things out there I want to share, so here goes.

This short video is a cute and funny one about the Obama Fist Bump. Try as I might, I can't figure out how to embed this one. We've always enjoyed Jeanne Moos's pieces. This one is no exception. To see it, click here.

They also strike me as genuinely in love and I LOVE that. I actually teared up a little the first time I watched this video at the thought that there are hateful people out there who would ever consider hurting him just because of the color of his skin.






What would the world be like if everyone could be this in love? All political couples try to come across as in love. But with this couple, it's effortless. I absolutely believe they're the real deal.

This video that I posted the other day won an Emmy and I can see why:



I was going to post other videos of the two of them in love, but I can't choose--there are so many!! Browse YouTube. Some people have put together some very beautiful tributes.

As for Michelle, she's absolutely stunning. Beautiful inside and out. I love that she's our new First Lady (though her first commitment is to being "First Mom"). There is a wonderful write up about her on DailyKos that has a lot of pictures and background and really, fun personal tidbits. The post also links to many great articles about her. I think it's a great place to start learning more about her--a lot of what's said there is what I love about her, too. She's down to earth, strong, articulate, educated, hard-working, family-first, beautiful, open . . . I haven't EVER personally seen a First Lady quite like this one and I'm EXCITED!!

The story can be found here.

I highly, highly recommend it. Seriously, read it. Stop, go back, click the link, and check it out. You can see what a match she is for him. And the girls are both beautiful and adorable. They're trying to keep life as normal as possible for them, but it's not easy. They're the youngest kids to be in the White House for some time! It's so exciting.

We're attending a couple of neat things in the next few months. This week, we're going to Valley Forge and Washington's Crossing. Next week, we're going to Gettysburg to celebrate the 145th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Check out the events there that day and look who's speaking:
145th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address - Dedication Day
An annual observation with brief memorial services in the Soldiers' National Cemetery starts with a wreath laying at 10:15 a.m. Sponsored by the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, and Gettysburg National Military Park. Keynote speaker: Ken Burns.
11:15 a.m. U.S. Colored Troops Graveside Salute at the Soldiers' National Cemetery; Speaker: Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Associate Dean and Director of the U. S. Pluralism Center at Hartwick College. U.S. ALBC Signature Event.
Next month, the Philadelphia Mint. And in January, President Obama's Inauguration. Whoever you voted for, no one can deny this is history in the making. The demand for tickets to the event is unprecedented. Buses are being charted all over the country--Florida, California, and more. Hotels are booked in D.C. for that day. We're lucky we live so close. The tickets are free and distributed through our local Congressmen and U.S. Senators. We've called and are on a waiting list with our Representatives and Senators as well. Anyone can attend the event, even without tickets, but tickets will get you closer. It's going to be PACKED! There are various events planned, including a parade, the speech itself (which is held outside on the steps of the Capitol), music, and more.

There is a really neat cartoon you can look at here:



President-Elect Obama's website says that the theme of his inaugural address will be "A New Birth of Freedom," words right from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, as President Lincoln's 200th birthday will be celebrated just weeks after the inauguration. So, the two events (Gettysburg Celebration and Inauguration) kind of go hand in hand. We're so excited!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Random Things

Here's what we've managed to get from our garden before the first frost. Our friend Ronnie told us that if you wrap up your tomatoes and peppers in newspaper and put them in the basement, they'll ripen for use. So, we're trying that. We've also frozen a lot of veggies. The rest are being used for compost on our soil. We love having our own garden and compost pile!
It's really thrilling!

Here are our two cuties snuggling on the couch. I couldn't resist taking this picture after hearing Thing 2 tell Thing 1, "K, when you get married, I'm going to marry you back!"
I love them so much!!

My AWESOME blogger friend bythelbs sent me this consolation prize from a contest on her blog celebrating the season premiere of The Office! I love it!! This package seriously had me GIDDY with excitement! I got AWESOME sticky notes that say, "Dunder Mifflin, This is Pam" on them, a VERY cook Office magnet, 2 mechanical The Office pencils (which I'm really thrilled about since I haven't used a mechanical pencil since like 4th grade!), and an awesome The Office Dwight Schrute pen that tells you a different Schrute fact every time you click it!
Lbs, I LOVE this package. Again, thank you SO SO much!! YOU are awesome!

Thing 1, of her own accord, on a beautiful fall day, decided to do research on The Great Depression. She's been reading A LOT of American Girl Series books and one of her favorites is the Kit Series. She and I saw the movie on a mommy-daughter date and we HIGHLY recommend it. It's fabulous! I laughed, cried, it's a great movie. Anyway, she got this book from the library all about that time period and she has been making a lot of lists of ways to be thrifty and resourceful. She's even written a book of tips about it! This is one of the things I love about natural learning. This was not an assignment or a request. She did this because she wanted to and she absolutely LOVES learning! The thrill and joy of learning! Look at her smile. We love it!

Thing 2 and I played some games while she did her research. It was such a gorgeous spring-like October day, so we played outside for much of the day, because, well, why not? Why be cooped up inside when we don't have to be?




These pictures are from our Geography Game Day. We all got together and played LOADS of geography games. We all played for two hours and everyone wanted more, more, more! So, we started an extra-curricular Geography/Government club! We meet once a month and one of the dads (a lawyer) in our group leads us and teaches us all about politics, various forms of government, and so forth. We enjoy debates, interactive maps, interesting lectures, discussions, quizzes, you name it. We have SO MUCH FUN! The kids also get to create their own countries and laws and governments. It's a wonderful group! We've been having fun with the election especially.

The Story of Stuff

I've been wanting to post this for a while. This is a great video and is absolutely worth watching. It keeps your interest and teaches a lot of fascinating things as well as makes you think and really consider more of these things when you shop, etc. We highly recommend it! Hope you like it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

NaNoWriMo

Every year I think of participating. Every year I remind myself that it's in November. Every year I wonder why they don't make it a different month. :( I totally applaud all those participating. I think it's a fabulous venture!

A Home Business

You know what else I love about a home business? Besides the short commute, besides getting to spend lots of time with my husband, besides getting to do so much as a family, besides awesome flexibility, besides it being one of our dreams?

That I can sit in the Living Room doing school with the kids and hear curious noises in the kitchen and wonder what's up and then Mark walks in (dressed in scrubs) with a guilty look on his face and says, "Open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise!" and then I smile and do as asked and get some delicious cookie dough popped in my mouth and the kids enjoy some, too.

That, right as he goes in to see more patients, he tells me there's one more tray to bake while he's in there, timer set and everything.

That when, upon hearing the timer, I go in there to switch out the trays, I see dinner in the crockpot and cooking.

Seamless.

I love my husband! He is THE BEST!!

High Councilman Talk

We had a weird high councilman talk yesterday. I don't want to get into the topic itself nor the controversy surrounding it--I've avoided having it on the blog and, other than the purpose of this post, I'd like to keep it that way for now anyway.

I just want to point out three things he said that I thought were weird (if entertaining), one of which was quite honestly a little inappropriate for the meeting. I can only imagine how Sacrament Meetings were in California this past Sunday . . . Anyway, Californians, please jump in on the 3rd one (1st one, too, if you'd like) and fill me in in case I'm misinterpreting what he said.

1. He apologized for being from California.

What?? Mark looks at me and says, "Why does he have to apologize for that?" I happen to be married to a man from California and I see no need for apologies. Geesh. Talk about us-them. This just wasn't necessary. My husband's side of the family is ALL from California and they're very nice people, no apologies necessary, thank you very much!

2. "My wife pays attention to politics, but not me. I go in the other room and read my scriptures."

Does this one really need any elaboration?

3. "At least California got one thing right in this election" (and then he went on to talk about Prop 8 and then onto Polygamy). Good times.

The implication here was that California got other things wrong. I'd love to have someone from CA tell me if it had to do with any more propositions (I understand they're quite easy to get on the ballot), but I suspect he was talking about the election of our new President and I wasn't amused. Besides this, all the chatter in the hallways afterward were pro-McCain and anti-Obama. And this has little to do with the fact that I support Obama. I've also attended Sunday School lessons where the person for whom I voted was praised with the words, "Thank goodness a man of God has been elected President." And it bugged me then, too.

But what's really funny is that, whatever your stand on Prop 8, the High Councilman's whole speech on Polygamy reminded me of a funny John Stewart clip--(just watch the clip from :37 - 1:07):



And on a related note, I think John Stewart is hilarious. But I don't see how Stephen Colbert is funny and I think I need Greg's help with this. We don't have extended cable or satellite so we don't have this channel. We get most of this kind of stuff online through funny posts on blogs or via email. Maybe I just haven't seen good clips of Stephen Colbert. I tried reading his book, though "America" by John Stewart was much funnier. Help me, Greg!

(Then again, I think Craig Ferguson is WAY funny but fail to see the humor in Conan O'Brien). I know I'm scoring big points with my brothers-in-law here (who, by the way, are also from California, no apologies necessary). But seriously, send me funny clips! I'm open to the idea that I just might be missing something. Please try to convince me! (Or are there others out there who feel similary?)

Stewart vs. Colbert?
Ferguson vs. O'Brien?
Letterman vs. Leno? (Letterman, hands down!)

Yep, just steering us away from the controversial. Kumbaya. California is great and so are funny late-night talk show hosts.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Posts

I've posted a few new ones and more are coming . . . enjoy! :)

Learning and Field Trips

I feel very grateful to have such a hands-on husband who is such a great father, too.

You know, funny story. When Mark and I started dating as freshmen in college, we quickly figured out how nerdy we both were (are) and that while we both really enjoy English and Music and the Arts and History, Mark does better with Maths and Sciences than I do.

Well, being me, my mouth often gets ahead of my mind. (Seriously, there's no filter. It's a blessing and a curse.). Anyway, one night, I off-handedly remarked out loud, "Great! I can teach our kids English and history and you can teach them math and science!" I couldn't believe those words had come out of my mouth! I shocked myself. My eyes widened as I looked to see if I'd freaked Mark out with my comment. I don't remember much else after that other than the fact that I got really embarrassed. I might've even said something like, "I can't believe I just said that."

Anyway, we've laughed about it for years. And it's even more ironic given that we homeschool and Mark really DOES teach the kids math and science! :P I'm very grateful for all he does to help make our home a house of learning.

Here are Mark and Thing 2 looking up info for a great lapbook (I'll be doing a post on these soon, too). Reptiles and Amphibians!

Putting together the lapbook. Thing 2 loves crafts.


FIELD TRIP
All About Coal and Energy

Our homeschool group has a wonderful field trip coordinator who does such a great job lining up great places for us to visit every month. She does it with a committee of kids who help arrange the field trips, making phone calls, sending out emails, etc. This field trip was no exception. It was really neat how the 3 places we visited all went together so nicely.

Part 1
We went into a coal mine and also on a train trip along the side of a mountain.

Into the dark, cold mine (seriously, this is NOT for the claustrophobic). I had to not think about the fact that we were DEEP inside a mountain. I kept thinking about the book How Green Was My Valley during our trip to the mine and the miner's village. It made me incredibly grateful for all the advantages we've been given by our ancestors, parents, etc. to help us get educated and not have to work jobs like this. Coal miners work REALLY hard and it's NOT easy. And they don't get paid near enough.

Getting ready to enter the mine

In the mine--our tour was lead by a miner with a very thick regional accent. He told us so much about the work, the mines, the lifestyle. It was fascinating. He also turned off the lights so we could see how dark it was in there. It was REALLY dark!!

Explaining about "Robbing the Pillars" and how mines are set up.

Checking out the mine and learning A LOT!


Then we enjoyed a train ride along the side of the mountain. The trees were just beginning to change colors. It's looking even more beautiful now. We took this field trip earlier in the month of October. The beauty of this state never ceases to amaze me.

Part 2
We visited a coal-powered energy plant!

This was a fascinating tour as well. There were safety signs EVERYWHERE. It was amazing to see what goes into us having electricity in our homes. Ever since this trip, the kids are even more energy conscious and are constantly turning off lights and making sure to not have the fridge open for very long and they keep reminding us about saving electricity!

This field trip and our trips this past year to the landfill and water treatment facility have been especially eye opening for me. I love learning about all that goes into things we tend to take for granted. Everyone should visit their landfill to fully appreciate how we handle our trash.


What a cute husband and kids I have!


Hard hats and safety goggles and ear plugs required

Learning on the tour--we got the plant manager as our tour guide. He was really nice and very informative.

He even took us up on the roof--what a view!

Our group congregated outside after our tours (they put us into several small groups for safety)


Part 3
Visiting a Miner's Village

This place was also very interesting! We started out watching a film in the auditorium of the visitor's center and there was TONS of memorabilia and displays about the time period. It was so interesting to see their tools, toys, wedding dresses, etc.

Then we were lead around the village by a tour guide.

We started in the Catholic Church

We walked around the village and saw the houses. Some people still live there. It felt so isolated and lonesome to me.

Whenever we visit places like this, I can't help but think how COLD it must've been for them! Brrrrrrr!


This was a movie prop at the village--it's huge. They filmed the movie The Molly Maguires there. It stars Sean Connery and other big names.

Mark sitting on the country doctor's porch

These field trips are so much fun. I love that we get to pick where and when we go and that we get to set up and enjoy such fascinating places that go along with things we're studying. Our state and surrounding states have SO MUCH to see and enjoy. We love it. It's beautiful and educational and we really love where we live.