Monday, May 29, 2006

Summer days drifting away to uh-oh those summer nights.

Last "Grease" reference for a while, I swear. Really, I'm getting too old to be quoting "Grease" every other post.

Speaking of getting old, I turn 30 this summer. Not until July, but still...this is the year I turn 30. Thirty. 30. So here is a short list of what I want us (me) to accomplish this summer. So I can say, "This is what I did the year I turned 30. I was not sitting at my computer working on my blog the entire summer. I actually did some stuff."

1. Organize some sort of family volunteer project. I haven't worked this out yet, but I want the kids to have some sort of sense of obligation to help others with their time and efforts. Liberals aren't the only ones who want to help people :)

2. Go horse-back riding. Earlier attempts at being adventurous (I'll tell the disastrous skiing down a bunny-hill incident another time) have not worked out for me. But this can't be too bad...nothing's worse than my ski pants falling down to my ankles as I cling to my husband and his co-worker's helpful wife on Schweitzer Mountain. What's the worse that could happen?

3. Play some tennis. There's a tennis court 15 feet from my bedroom window. I've never played tennis. But I signed the kids up for some lessons this summer so maybe we'll figure it out together. Another way to get my lazy behind off the computer.

4. Plan and execute two successful birthday parties. Let me say that getting kids to a birthday party in a town where you don't actually know anyone is no small feat. It involves serious networking and schmoozing worthy of a Hollywood PR master. And without our family here to be the party guests, I've got a big task ahead of me. I'll be carrying my sad little address book everywhere I go, just in case I happen to meet moms with kids who'd like some free cake and party favors. And don't think I'm above actually calling strangers and inviting them to our parties. I'm not.

5. Knit something. Anything. Everything I attempt turns out raggedy looking. Like the stuff those guys wear in the Matrix. So I never finish anything. My thoughtful husband purchased some knitting lessons for my Mother's Day gift. So maybe I'll learn how to actually read a pattern and make some booties or something. It's been silly calling knitting a hobby when I end up unravelling everything I attempt.

Five goals are enough for now. We mustn't over-extend ourselves. I will be working on other goals as well... mastering some sort of chore/incentive system for my lazy kids, planning for the new school year, reading as many books as I can manage, go camping, becoming a better person, the usual drill. Maybe finding a Bible study with other like minded moms. Or getting more into Christian apologetics. Whatever I do, my biggest goal is to not get too attached to the internet and all these great blogs I read everyday. Because the more time I spend writing for my blog, and reading other people's blogs, the less time I actually spend in the real world. So it's time to go and actually do some stuff.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm too mad to even come up with something to say...

Don't read this if you're in a good mood and don't want to get angry.

Here's why the Republicans are losing their minds...

They think they should alter The Constitution to prohibit gay marriages. Not just create a law. Not just issue a strongly worded statement. They want to add an amendment so judges won't have the leeway to interpret the Constitution differently. They don't want the states or their legislators or (God forbid) individuals to be able to determine the legitimacy of gay unions. So if the Republicans can manipulate the Constitution to ban gay marriage, the Democrats could manipulate the Constitution to ban anything. And since when do we use the Constitution to ban things, anyway? I thought we learned something from Prohibition.

No matter where you stand on the issue of gay marriage, I respect your opinion. And I respect the right for you to teach your children what you believe without interference from the government, the church, your child's teacher, whoever. This is how morality should be done. In the home. Because as soon as we let legislators define marriage, they are going to try to define other areas of morality for us. If you think I'm wrong, check out what Hilary thinks about who knows what's best for Americans.

The funniest part is that congressmen are operating under the assumption that they are on some moral higher ground than the rest of us. Even as the FBI are raiding their cash-filled refrigerators. Even as Dennis Hastert is screaming his head off over the sanctity of the Congressional office. Apparently his office has a few more rights and privileges than American bedrooms.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A fuel injected cut-off and chrome plated rods oh yeah.

It was "Lost in the50s" weekend in Sandpoint. This is us at the classic car show on Saturday. So the funny thing about these pictures is that we're the only ones in a 50 mile radius wearing 50s garb. It turns out all the natives wear their poodle skirts on Friday night at the classic car parade. Only the idiot Texans wear them on Saturday at the classic car show.

Despite Will's mean guy face we had fun. Notice how sinister Ava (the little one) looks in her picture with Will. Like she's fixing to take off in one of these hot rods.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ten Months and Counting

Ten months ago we moved to Idaho from Texas. Before we left Texas, I told Will I wanted us to do some things differently in our new life. The biggest change was the abandonment of cable or network tv in our home. So we've gone ten months without tv. And I don't think we'll ever go back.

I was prompted by this article to write about our life without tv. Let me first say that I have lived my whole life addicted to television. I was watching MTV back when they were running Monkees marathons. I remember watching 'You Can't Do That on Television' wondering why they always said 'abote' instead of 'about'. My first imaginary friend was Ritchie Cunningham from Happy Days. My sister and I would fight over who got to be Belinda Carlisle when the Go-gos came on. I've got more commercial jingles in my head than I can count. So why would I decide to completely eliminate something from my children's lives when it was such a major part of my own life?

Because tv is so different than it was when I was growing up. I used to watch stuff like 'Family Ties' and 'Growing Pains' with my family. They were made as family sitcoms. Sure, they weren't all that funny and looking back the laugh track sounds a little pathetic, but we could watch it together. I don't know of a non-Disney channel show on today that our family could watch together. And what about the Disney channel shows? They're great, except that the primetime ones are more for tweens than 4 year olds. So my 4 year old was prancing around singing Hilary Duff and Lindsey Lohan songs about love and romance. See my Bratz post to find out why this was unacceptable in our house.

Even the sports were out of control. I remember changing the channel or putting the tv on mute during the commercials of the Spurs playoffs because of all the sexy commercials. So we concluded we weren't getting enough out of tv programming to make it worth the constant censorship. And in Idaho we'd start fresh without tv.

So what is our life like now? I promise my kids aren't sitting around doing crossword puzzles and discussing literature all day. They play. And the phrase 'I'm bored' can get you manual labor in our house. And of course, they watch videos. I'm at the library a couple of times a week borrowing videos and dvds that I know are age appropriate. They watch a video at lunch and one afterschool. And sometimes at night now that our days are so long. This is a far cry from our San Antonio days, when entire Saturdays could be spent in front of the tv.

So that's our tv free story so far. I'm hoping to not sound preachy because I know we're all doing our best for our kids. But if anyone's ever thought of booting the tv out, I'll testify it's one one the best decisions we've made. And not just for the kids. Here's another link that lists what doctors think about tv and kids. I'm horrified at the idea that these television guys are targeting our infants. It's just a matter of time before "Embryo TV" is launched.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Neighbors, fences and poor immigration policies

Let me frame this post by saying I'm a recovering republican, currently a libertarian. Libertarian beliefs, as I understand them, can be boiled down to three statements:

1. Big government is bad, bad, bad.
2. Big government is immoral, immoral, immoral.
3. The phrase "There ought to be a law" should be illegal.

Ok. There's more to it than this but for simplicity's sake I'll say that forced taxation on anyone in order to solve someone else's problems doesn't have a Constitutional or moral foundation. As my husband likes to say, "I can't come into your house and force you to give me part of your paycheck to buy my groceries or whatever. If I can't do it, why should the government be able to do it?"

Now, about immigration. I used to believe, back in my republican days, that illegal immigration was a major problem, something that required drastic measures. Like say, a long big wall to keep them out. I thought it was a major problem because I had a few other false beliefs. First, I believed illegal immigrants were a huge drain on our already bloated social service programs.
Second, I believed that entering the country illegally made you a criminally minded person. And goodness knows we don't need more criminals in the country.

This is where my whole thesis fell apart. As of 1996 immigrants are not eligible for any social services. Furthermore, immigrants are paying into these programs through their taxes. So they're paying into programs they are ineligible to benefit from.

And they're all criminals, right? The underlying assumption is that there must be a reasonable means for law abiding people to enter our country legally. I don't know much about the work visa process but I do know that millions of people aren't coming into our country to deal drugs. They are coming to work. They are working the backbreaking, labor intensive jobs we wouldn't let our native teenagers work. There is a reason they are coming here. And there is a need for their labor. How many middle class white, 16 year olds are scrambling to get the good grape picking jobs this summer? But the competition from illegal immigrants keeps the rest of our wages low, right? Not really. Of course there is a lot of evidence that supports the contrary opinion. So it's a matter of who you want to believe.

Illegal immigration is a tough, tough issue. It's heartbreaking to think of the thousands who have died on their journey here. I keep thinking, what would I have done? What if I were a Mexican mom with little prospects for work and fewer prospects for a good education for my kids? What if visas were only granted to people who had paying jobs waiting for them across the border? What would I do?

My personal experience in the immigration issue comes from my work at a elementary school on the southside of San Antonio. Our grade level had 3 english speaking classes and 1 spanish speaking class. These kids were from Mexico or their parents were from Mexico. Every holiday we would assign the kids a family art project to decorate our bulletin boards. Getting my kids to return their projects was like pulling teeth. Invariably, less than half of mine would bring their projects back. But down the hall it was a whole other story. All the spanish speaking children would bring their elaborately decorated projects back. All of them. and the projects were beautiful. What does this say about those parents? What does this say about the parents in my classroom?

So is this a massive case of xenophobia? Let's not forget that we were all immigrants. And at various times in American history we've decided we had too many ____________ and limited their entry into the country. Somehow I think that is what this might really be about. Too many Mexicans. And what does this have to do with the libertarian party? Libertarians say no government has the right to prohibit the entry or exit of law abiding individuals. Controversial, I know. But I see the logic. Who are we to say 'you don't belong here? '

Ok. That's the end of my first political post . Comments are long as they're nice and friendly. :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mother said, 'Come what may, follow the path and never stray'.

I get a call this morning from my husband. Mystery woman at his work is looking for prospective teachers at mystery private school. Would I like to interview?

The pay is X. X pay is Y more than the public school teaching salaries and X more than what I make right now.

Temptation. Money. Money to pay for my impending wisdom teeth extraction. Money to pay off debt. Money to buy plane tickets to visit home. It doesn't help that Will is whispering X amount of money in my ear as I speak to him on the phone. "No," I say. "We're committed. Gotta go." Click.

Temptation thwarted. But at what cost? So I try to remember why I'm homeschooling and why I would turn down the chance for X. Why am I doing this?

Because my son spent countless nights in tears too frustrated to do what amounted to busy work (work that I, too assigned to my kindergarten students). Because he got red "sad faces" on his behavior folder when he couldn't focus to get his work done. Because elementary schools don't teach world history. Because some schools prohibit recess, centers and naps for little ones because of test preparation. Because I experienced firsthand what happens when a curriculum company gets exclusivity in a school district, and the curriculum nazis are in and out of classrooms monitoring if teachers are following their script. Their script.

X would be nice. But I found a higher calling when I started homeschooling. And we're committed. But X would have been nice.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When you're good to mama, mama's good to you.

So I signed up for a few mama blogs. I've been reading these blogs for a few days so I'm glad to add my name to their rosters.

Raising daughters and why I don't have any Bratz

I have no contempt for any moms who don't have any problems with Bratz. And I let my girls play with the dolls at other people's homes. But I do think that there might be a link, somehow, between Girls Gone Wild, the rise of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers, and the acceptability of letting our girls play with sexy dolls. Being a pro-life, libertarian Christian, I'm not a feminist by the contemporary understanding of the word. But I want my girls to grow up smart, confident and free-thinking enough to reject the idea of showing their boobs for a swig of beer and a free t-shirt. And I want my boy to reject any girl who thought showing her boobs to strangers was a good idea. So how do we do this when girls are playing with hookerfied dolls at the age of 5? I'm not sure...but with all the heated discussion generated by the Mommy Wars, I would love to see some more rhetoric about the kinds of kids we're raising, not just the means by which we're raising them. So here is a much more articulate article I came across that prompted me to write this whole anti-Bratz rant. And yes, my children can be brats with an 's' sometimes.

Take a little trip, take a little trip, take a little trip and see...

So we took a little trip to Couer d'Alene and then to Spokane on Sunday. And to my great joy and astonishment a new Sonic is being built on Division St. in Spokane!!! I use exclamation marks to demonstrate the extreme happiness I felt when I saw the little nearly constructed drive in. Not to mention the large gasp of air I sucked in, prompting Will to conclude he must have hit a person or small animal, for me to be freaking out so much. There is not a Sonic in Sandpoint. And for a girl who used to use her teacher conference periods to drive to the Sonic for a large Dr. Pepper, this is nothing short of a miracle. San Antonio had a Sonic on every corner. No lie. Look it up here up if you want. I've been monitoring that freakin' website since we got to Idaho. And now my patience and diligence is being rewarded. At some point this summer I will get a large Dr. Pepper and a chili cheese hot dog and some tator tots. And this northern place will feel like home.

(See Will's blog on why this is not, in fact, a miracle).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mommy's alright. Daddy's alright. They just seem a little weird.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Here's a picture of the reason I get to celebrate myself tomorrow morning. And if 'celebrate' just means I don't have to clean the kitchen, I am all up on that. And if 'celebrate' is really a code for 'undisturbed nap' then I am up on top of that doing a tap dance.

Here's my quick note on Mother's Day: for those of us still in the trenches of potty accidents, whininess and all round chaotic living conditions, I bet most of us would love to call the holiday "Mother's Day Off". We'd get to huddle in a quiet room with a book that doesn't feature an A.A. Milne character or talk to (not type towards) other grown ups face to face. We'd take our own bathroom breaks. We'd tell each other "What do you saaayyy?" when someone handed you something. You'd say, "Thank yooouuu." We'd enjoy our Mother's Day Off because really, c'mon, everyday is Mother's Day for a mom of young kids.

For those of you who have fought the good fight and are waiting for the phone call from your adult child, I salute you. This is your day to laugh at the young moms and reflect on how much you accomplished with your kids. And wonder how much time these young moms are actually spending on the computer and if Child Welfare services should be notified on behalf of the neglected children of mom bloggers everywhere.

I wouldn't mind Child Services coming if they could take my kids for just the afternoon. Then I'd need them back because my husband might make me go out and get a job.

Oh wait...I have a job. Happy Mothers Day!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My idea of a good time. And why I don't like Catcher in the Rye.

I got this from Mental Multivitamin. You're supposed to boldface the books you've read, italicize those you might read, cross out the ones you won’t, put an asterisk beside the ones on your bookshelves, and place brackets around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
* To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
{His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman)}
* Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J. K. Rowling)
The Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (George Orwell)
Catch 22 (Joseph Heller)
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
* 1984 (George Orwell)
* Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J. K. Rowling)
{ One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)}
Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
{The Secret History (Donna Tartt)}
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
{Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)}
{Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell)}
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
{Atonement (Ian McEwan)}
[The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)]
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
Dune (Frank Herbert)
Sula (Toni Morrison)
Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier)
{The Alchemist (Paulo Coehlo)}
{White Teeth (Zadie Smith)}
The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)

Ummm....I thought I was an avid reader until I looked at this list. And I don't own anything because I'm too cheap to actually buy a book...I just get everything from the library. But I am willing to try to read almost anything. But I won't finish everything. Like Catcher in the Rye...which in my opinion is the most overrated rubbish ever printed. I got halfway through and said, "If I wanted to read random adolescent incoherent thoughts I'd look up some college kids on Myspace." I didn't really say that...but that was my sentiment. I'm sure Catcher in the Rye is a completely amazing book and I just didn't get it. The entire global literary community can't be wrong, right?

I'm a great disciplinarian

And this fine lady is my role model. Today I noticed how completely random I can be in my griping at the kids..."If you don't pick up those Barbies right now, they're going into the garage and you can't play with them ANYMORE!"

"Who made this mess???" As if anyone is going to confess. But I'm not done.

"WHO made this mess??? Clean this up or I'm going to _____"(insert random punishment here. And then a growl) If I keep this up I"m going to become an object of ridicule among my own children. And even before they're supposed to be ridiculing me. I can just see my 3 year old walking around with wire hangers threatening her giggling siblings. I need to relax before they start staging puppet shows satirizing their crazy mother.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Will's blog and why he's bloody brilliant

I have a link to Will's blog. We debated including a link to his blog because he's soooo....unique on his thoughts. He's definately a far cry from our religious, conservative, southern roots. But here's what I have to say about Will: years ago he started telling me his ideas about Libertarianism and I thought he was crazy. Many of you might think he is crazy, also. Then, last fall, I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Will had not read this book yet but most of his ideas had already been articulated by this brilliant author. That's when I realized he's not crazy...he's just a free thinker. And he's really smart about this stuff. And I wouldn't have him any other way. So for family members who are shocked to see what he can be shocked but don't be too disapproving. He is still evolving in his theories and ideas, as we all should be. He just doesn't accept anything that he can't prove to himself. I'm not worried. He may come around yet. And someday Will and I will be the basis for a HI-larious odd couple type sitcom.

Cold cereal vs. warm pancakes moms

I really want to be the mom who wakes at the crack of dawn and fixes the whole family fresh pancakes from scratch. Actually, I don't want to be that mom at all. I have a friend who had something like 4 dozen eggs in her refrigerator because she never does cold cereal for breakfast. Good for her. Not for me. And my kids like our generic Lucky Charms substitute. They like the mashmellows. And I like sitting at my computer for half an hour before we start our school day and the work begins. Every now and then I get ambitious and scramble some eggs. With my luck that will be the day the bird flu sneaks into the US and into my organic eggs. I don't want to wish the bird flu on my innocent kids. They like cold cereal.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The point of another blog

I guess this is for me and my family. I don't have any cool skills or particular interests worth showcasing on the internet... and I don't think a blog about my family could be useful to anyone else but us. So Texas and North Carolina relatives will be able to watch the kids grow and keep up with us. And so I can keep a little online journal of our first years away from home. An online journal available for the entire world to see. The whole wide world. Realistically, though, I imagine that maybe dozens of people will see this. But for the sake of those dozens, I'll try to avoid the most mundane postings possible: pictures of the kids brushing their teeth, posts about new shoes, grocery lists, etc. It's hard though...there's a fine line between ridiculously trivial and the-most-important-thing-in-my-life-EVER. So I'll do my best to keep this simple and worth reading. We'll see how it goes.

This is Who I Am

Kristi From Texas
Site Feed Site Feed

Site Feed

This is What I Write

Here In Idaho
School House Rock

This is What I Wrote

This is Who I Read

Chicky Chicky Baby
Miss DQ
Eva Las Vegas
Minivan Mafia
Suburban Turmoil
Izzy Mom
FlipFlop Mama
All Rileyed Up
Frog and Toad are Friends
Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual
Sanity, Interrupted
Miss Snark
The Daily Hasselhoff
Midnight Therapy with Crystal

Image hosting by Photobucket
Join BloggerChicks
Top  Blogs

This is Paying Me Nothing