Sunday, March 30, 2008

Proud Mama Moment

My son just got back from a scout camping trip with his Boy Scout Troop. This was his first camping trip with this troop since we moved here.

I spotted him climbing out of one of the vehicles and walked over to chat about the trip. The man who had been driving the truck from which Ben had just emerged came over to meet me. He said, "Your son is just great! He climbed in the truck, introduced himself to everyone, and got all the boys playing games on the way there. He's really a fine example of a scout!" My first reaction was to say, "No, this is my son right here.....I don't know which boy you are talking about." Actually I didn't say that, I managed to stop the words before they leaped out of my mouth. I did give Ben a "look" and he gave me a huge cheese eating grin. I wanted to tell that scout master that Ben's favorite game to play with his sisters is "Let's See How Much I Can Aggravate You Before You Scream" but I'm assuming that's not the one he played with the scouts on the trip.

I'll admit, he's one of the most social kids I've ever known. As much as we have moved, I guess he has learned to just waltz into a group and make friends with no inhibitions. I still can't do that. When we moved to Virginia (two years ago), he was elected Patrol Leader over the entire Husky Patrol only three months after we arrived. I've often wondered if there were other boys in the troop who had been planning on being patrol leader some day only to have this new guy come in take over. But he is just one of those people everyone seems to just like. He's got a great sense of humor and I think that goes far in winning people over. Even I can't stay mad at him for long because when someone makes you laugh it's hard to keep fussing. If I could just figure out how to get him to quit trying to boss his sisters around...................Ah well, I'm sure if I could find a cure for that I'd be richer than Bill Gates!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our Love Affair With Ace of Cakes

My kids and I love to watch the show "Ace of Cakes".

We DVR every episode and usually find time to watch it together during the day. The cakes they make on the show are amazing works of art! It is amazing to watch them create motorcycles, stadiums, animals, trains, etc. - all completely edible!

My youngest daughter (age 7) is absolutely consumed with desire to order a mermaid shaped cake from Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD. I've tried explaining to her that (1) a cake from their shop would probably cost hundreds of dollars and frankly, we just can't put that much money into a cake and (2) we live in Kansas, baby! The logistics of getting a cake from there to here in one piece - with all the icing still on it - would be a nightmare (and my husband is a logistician too, so he would know!) So, yesterday, after watching the show, my little Smidgen starts in again coming up with ideas about how she wants "Ace of Cakes" to make her a mermaid cake. Finally, I tell her, "Okay honey, I tell you what. If you get a horrible disease and the "Make a Wish" foundation decides to grant you a wish, you can wish for a mermaid cake from Charm City Cakes." She clasped her hands together in absolute ecstasy, delightedly chirped, "Okay!" and skipped happily away, secure in the knowledge that she might die, but it won't be without her mermaid cake.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm a homeschooling mom!

I've been homeschooling my kids for over 9 years now. While I don't live in California, I have been paying attention to what is happening in the homeschooling community there. My mother happened to call me and mention that Glen Beck had discussed the situation on his show. I looked it up and found a transcript of it. It is absolutely hilarious, and he makes some very good points (pointedly). I'm going to cut and paste it here for your viewing pleasure.......

GLENN: (Laughing). Oh, my goodness. California, what are you doing? Recent decision in California does two things. It removes the parent as the primary decision maker as what's best for their own children. You love that. Two, it gives the state the sole power to decide what it is able to teach your children. There are 166,000 students in California alone that are homeschooled. Courts have a long history of telling parents what they have to say or how little they have to say in what is taught in the public classroom. Even the liberal ninth circuit court ruled that parents -- I'm quoting, parents have a right to inform their children as they wish on the subject of sex. However they have no constitutional right to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines it is appropriate to do so. So not just sex but anything. Anything. The Sixth Circuit held that parents do not have the fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child. Now, you wouldn't know that these 166,000 parents who have loved and cared for their children by reading Judge Croskey's opinion, and here it is, he said parents shouldn't homeschool in part because "Keeping the children at home deprive them of situations where, one, they could interact with people outside the family; two, there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives; and three, could help develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' cloistered setting." Keeping children at home. Keeping them at home, keeping them at home. Deprive them of situations, yeah, I think I can stop there. It does. It deprives my children of situations and I think that's a good thing! That's what I'm trying to do. They could interact with people outside the family? Wow, you're right. Parents who homeschool their kids have absolutely no friends that their kids can interact with? None, none. We all know that interaction takes place exclusively at school, doesn't it? Never at church. I don't know about you, but I beat my kids into silence at church: "Shut up or I'll give you something to talk about." That's what I like to say. There's nobody to talk to, no friends within the family or extended family or at church. "Children at church, no talking, praise the Lord!" That's what happens with us religious zealots. There's no chance in making any friends or, you know, being able to develop relationships when you're in Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts! Those hate mongers? Or Girl Scouts or Person Scouts. Maybe we should have Persons, don't you think? There's no interaction with other kids when you enroll them in sports leagues. Just at school. That's it. Just at school, and they have to say exactly the right thing in school. Of course, we all know that the only people who love children can only be found in school. The ones who love children, who are the most compassionate or the easiest to connect and care for the child, those are the ones only in school, sure. I mean, who else would ever think of reporting something, quote, amiss in a child's life? I mean, I certainly wouldn't, you know? I find out something is happening in, you know, a family member's life in my house, you know what I mean, my family member, something's going on, there's some abuse, something's amiss? Oh, you Betty sure -- no way I would admit that. No way I'd report that, uh-uh. Something is happening next door to the kids, they come over with bruises? Yeah, no way I'd call the cops on that one. Only a school official would do that. Because they care. In a true showing of his ignorance, the judge decides that the parents of these 166,000 kids in California all live in cloistered settings. That's right. That's right. We only watch The Flying Nun as well. I have all of them on beta. I don't want my kids using that evil VCR. What other technology is coming out? We just use beta because everything else comes from the devil. And we watch The Flying Nun and, in fact, I think my girls should be nuns and so I dress them up as nuns. I don't -- I just use that white medical tape. I don't have the actual hat and stuff that the nuns, you know, wore in The Flying Nun. So I just take that white tape and just put it all over their head and my son I want to be a priest. So I just take black electrical tape and I just tightly put it around his neck and then I take a little bit of the white surgical tape and I put it in the front so it looks like a priest collar. And then I force them to recreate The Flying Nun thing. And by the way, I think my kids can fly. That's why my child's up on the roof right now. I'm going to tell her she can fly because I'm a crazy person! Because I want to homeschool my kid. Isn't it very telling that the judge doesn't tell parents that they should send their kids to school to get a better education? Nowhere in here is "Because public school could provide a better education." Well, why wouldn't the judge say that? I mean, isn't that the greatest reason to send them to public school? Because it's a better education? Yeah. Can't really say that, can you? No. Because generally speaking, nationally speaking on the national average, homeschool kids do better on tests. Homeschool kids do better in college. Homeschool kids do better at work. Why? Because homeschooled kids haven't been coddled, haven't been talked down to, they've had rules that actually make sense and apply. They're enforced! They've got to get the job done. They're held accountable. They're what I like to call in the real world.

Now, maybe it is possible that some families, maybe even the family involved in this lawsuit, aren't effectively homeschooling their kids. There is the possibility as there is in all families that there is abuse going on, except I'll bet you -- you know what, Stu? Do a search on this. I bet we can't find a single schoolteacher that has ever abused their own children or a single school official that has ever abused their own children. That doesn't happen because those in school, they're completely different. STU: Yeah, that's confirmed. GLENN: By the way, oh, it is confirmed? STU: Yes. GLENN: Could you also confirm that there's never been a case of a child being abused by a teacher? STU: Yeah. No, not one case. GLENN: Never, that's never happened, right? STU: Yeah, there's a whole -- uh-huh. GLENN: Never. It's a safer place for your -- do me a favor. Just check because I think there might be something, maybe one story on maybe a firearm accidentally going off in some classroom by one of those crazy people that had a concealed weapons permit, was carrying it legally, had no intention of doing anything but living by the law and the Constitution but you know how those guns are. They just go off in the classroom. Is there ever a case where somebody came in and had one of those evil guns and killed a child in school? STU: No, no, that's never happened. In fact, there's never been one crime committed anywhere on school grounds. GLENN: That's amazing. And no drugs or anything there. STU: No, no drugs. GLENN: No sex between the kids and all of that stuff. STU: No sex, no alcohol. GLENN: No alcohol. And they can't get condoms or anything there, can they? STU: Well, I mean, that's -- GLENN: They should. They should be able to get condoms. STU: Yeah, yeah. GLENN: Because, you know, kids are going to do it anyway. The State would love to trumpet the failures in homeschooling but they can't. They would love to trumpet. They will find somebody, somebody -- "Did you hear? In Omaha, Nebraska there's this guy who was homeschooling his kids. They're at a third grade level." "Oh, you're kidding me. How old are they?" 7. Wait a minute. Isn't that about where they should be? Let's not think about it too much. God forbid we would hold the kids to the same standard that, you know, people want to hold individuals who are homeschooling their own children. How many public schools would remain, how many of them would be open today if all we had to do was find one student or a handful of students at any particular school who are academically failing or socially struggling? How many public schools would be open today in America? You know what? If giving parents limited or no say in public schools is such a great idea, then how come so many of our elected leaders decide to send their kids to private school? It is the socialist Progressive, communist attitude of, do what I say, not what I do, from our elected officials, "I know better than you." 2007 there was a Heritage Survey found the percentage of members of the 110th congress who practice private school choice is disproportionate to the general populous. 11.5% of the American students attend private schools but over 37% of the House members, 45% of the Senators either send or sent their kids to private school. Why is that? Why is that? Is it because they are elitists and they are rich and they can afford it? Is it because they're in a dangerous job and they need to make sure that their kids are safe? What, public schools aren't safe? What is that -- what are you talking about? What? What do you mean public schools aren't safe? That's crazy talk. They're perfectly safe. Stu, have you done the checking? There's never been a killing or a kidnapping in a school, has there? STU: Never been one, never. GLENN: It only gets better. The House and Senate committees which actually have responsibility over our public schools, the ones who set rules on what can and cannot be done, well over 23% of those House members who actually sit on the House Education and Labor committee and 33% of the Senators who actually sit on the Senate Health Education and Labor pension committee opted to send at least one of their children to private school. They're the ones trying to fix it! They are the ones running it and yet they are over double the rate of sending their kids to private school. I say the parent who home educates their kid is a saint. This is a move that should scare anybody who knows anything at all about history and the history of Progressives. Three-judge panel in California ruled that it is the state, not the parent who has the ultimate decision making power when it comes to how any child will be taught. Well, you know what other state did that? The Soviet state. The German state. The Italian state. The Nazis, the communists, they recognized right off the bat: You control education, you can control the future. Leaders of the Nazi party from the very beginning stressed the primary importance of education in popularizing the new state, in creating habits and attitudes conductive of, quote, loyalty to the state. They asked the minister of education in Nazi, Germany. He admitted, quote: The whole function of education is to create a Nazi, end quote. Now, that's clearly, we're not trying to create Nazis here in America but we are trying to -- we are doing our damnedest to promote somebody who understands world government. The United Nations, how great it is. How great Progressives are. That's fantastic. How bad our founding fathers are. What a racist country we are. We're doing our damnedest to create the idea that the new deal saved the country. This is fantastic! Did you read about George Bush? He's evil. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton! Karl Marx said in his manifesto, free education for all children in public schools. One sentence later he added an education should be combined with industrial production. Why turn the youth into assets for the state? He said it was the intention to destroy the most hallowed of relations and have it replaced with education by the social classes of government. This was necessary to Marx, to destroy the most important, most hallowed of relations and that is the relations of the parent, replace them with the relations of the state. Not on my watch. Come take my kids right after you get my gun.

You go Glen!

Gotta run! The kids have their first guitar lesson today! It was supposed to be Monday, but the teacher lost his keys and couldn't get to the studio!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My first blog entry!

Okay, this is it. I've finally decided to jump into the world of blogging. My kids already blog and it seems as if half the moms I meet on message boards have links to their blogs. The first thing I notice about blogging is that I mispelled "first" in the title. Let me just fix that real quick......

Mainly, I guess I'm using this as a way to keep track of our lives for my kids. I'm not great about filling out their baby books, and I haven't scrapbooked in almost eight years (since the day my youngest child made her debut in the world). So, if I can manage to do this, they will have something of a record of our days.

I'll expand this later,

Gotta run. Time to pick up my son from youth group!