The New Look

Last night I got a wild hair and decided to change the look of my blog.  There were not a whole lot of colors and backgrounds that I liked when I started it, so I picked a plain navy and orange and forgot about it.  But I want to grow my readership and my blog and and I want to add more things to it.  I started poking around and found all this stuff that wasn’t there before!  I changed the theme and the colors, added pages (Recipes, Movies, Books, Favorite Things), figured out how to jump break and added some gadgets.  Some of the pages are still empty, but bear with me.  I’ll work on filling them up!

First Day of Third Grade

Last Thursday, the hubs and I decided B had to go screen-free. After sleeping on it, we changed our minds and just went TV-free, letting B earn 30 minutes of educational computer or DS time each day. I have placed locks on ALL channels on both TVs.

The main reason we’re doing this is b/c his watching TV is negatively affecting his communication. He is not having real conversations; he is merely repeating lines from movies, TV shows, computer games and even books over and over and over… However, I’m not taking away books. But we are going backwards and losing ground we gained over the last year. This has proven to me that it is time to start teaching 3rd grade now. If he is going to memorize and repeat everything, it might as well all be education-related. It is not healthy to go the rest of the Summer like this.

When I told B on Friday morning he was not going to watch TV the rest of the Summer, I gotta hand it to him, he took it very maturely. None of the expected reactions – no growling, dirty looks, storming off, crying, yelling, attempts at negotiations. 5 minutes later…

B: Can I finish watching The Goofy Movie that I started to watch yesterday? I recorded the rest of it.
Me: No.
B: Why not?
Me: Do you remember me telling you 5 minutes ago that you were not watching TV for the rest of the Summer?
B: But you said TV. THIS is a MOVIE.
Me: It’s recorded on TV.
B: Well, can I put one of my MOVIES in the DVD PLAYER?
Me: No. No TV shows. No DVD movies. No streaming shows and movies on the Wii from Netflix.
B: Blink. Blink, blink. Flung himself onto the couch.

For the next hour, he spoke gibberish, non-sense and made lots of noises, very loudly and constantly, hoping to get a reaction. I am the queen of the battle of wills. My mom and and I fought them for years and I will not give in. When he stepped it up to potty words, I thought about stepping in and saying something b/c we don’t allow that talk, but I chose to ignore it. Those words only lasted a couple of minutes before he gave up. Phew! Friday afternoon, B and the hubs went away for the weekend to visit my sisters-in-law, so I had no TV battles to fight nor sounds to hear for 51.5 hours. :oD

I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up this morning tired, cranky and with a headache. Faced with no TV inside and a code orange day outside, I realized my options were to go to the gym or start teaching 3rd grade. So we started school. It took us 3 hours to do History, Geography, Spelling, Language Arts, Reading – I read to him from 1 book and he read to me from another one, and Science. It took longer than it should have, I think, b/c I was not prepared to start today and had not read through the lesson plans. I will spend time tonight going through it all and getting my ducks in row. After we finished Science I told B that we were all done, but then remembered we hadn’t done Math. I decided to skip it. I wasn’t going to push it; we’ll work in tomorrow.

We had a good time. B and I both enjoyed the readings and learned new things (i.e. the difference between monkeys and apes is that monkeys have tails). B’s least-liked part of learning was, of course, writing, but I knew that would be an issue. He loved Science and when our short lesson was done, he begged me to learn more. I told him no b/c I don’t what to finish Science by Christmas and have nothing the rest of the year. But, leaving Science for last is a good thing; it will motivate B to work through everything else first.

Extreme Home Makeover

Paul and I used to watch this show together the 1st season it came out. Then the 2nd season began and we soon lost interest. I’m all for helping people out, but what turned us off was the gluttony, for lack of a better word, on the show. I tuned into a recent show, however, because Atticus Shaffer of The Middle was going to be on. The preview for the show said that Atticus and the child of this week’s family had something in common and I wanted to find out what that was. Turns out they both have brittle bone disease. Nine year old Patrick was a hoot and has a wonderful outlook on life. His parents work opposite shifts and homeschool Patrick. Loved the family; loved the awareness that Patrick works to get out about the differences and similarities between all children.

But they are only a family of 3 and don’t need a McMansion! They just need a safe, soft, even floor and certain things at Patrick’s level to allow him as much independence as possible. I kept waiting to hear what the square footage of the new home was, but I never heard it. I wondered if other viewers had expressed their dislike for this over-the-top show so they don’t release that info anymore. Turns out, I am not alone.

I read an article this morning about a previous EHM family who have recently had their children temporarily taken away from them. The parents are under investigation for allegedly making their daughters sick in order to qualify for the show. Evidently, there have been other families who had not been truthful in their submissions to ABC, as well. The article went on to say that there has been criticize for quite some time about the show going too far beyond meeting the needs of people.

With companies contributing so much money and materials to this show for free advertising, did no one think to worry about who they were aligning themselves with? Did no one think to take some of that money to hire a decent background checker? But more importantly, I would love to see the houses and decor scaled back! People have had to give up these new homes b/c they can’t afford the upkeep. How are you helping them? Usually the comments made to online articles are garbage, but these readers had some good input. One person claimed they lived in the same town as an EHM recipient and that the family had to sell the house b/c the taxes went up so much. This person also said the neighbors’ taxes went up, too, due to the value of the new house on the street. Another reader suggested that instead of making 1 huge home they could help to rebuild some of the thousands of homes recently destroyed by tornadoes. Very good point.

I think lots of Americans have made changes to our lifestyles during the recession. We’ve cut back, scaled down, focused on needs vs. wants. Some of us because we have to, some of us b/c we want to. I think it would be nice to see EHM reflect these changes.

Who cares about the royal wedding? I DO!

First off, I need to tell 2 quotes Ben said recently:

“Freedom and Jesus is all that you need.”

“Mom, could you please TRY to say shoot instead of shit?”

Now, onto the wedding…This post is looooong overdue but I have been crazy busy over the past few weeks. And the royal wedding haters are going to pissy to see this post b/c they don’t want to hear anything about the wedding. And I want to address those haters. As much as I wanted to see the wedding itself, I was not interested in the daily countdowns and speculation on who’s wearing what and who is or is not invited, etc. But some people do. Just like I don’t care to hear about sports news or which famous person wore a particular outfit better or the 300 days of the year that most people complain about the weather. And the great thing is we don’t HAVE to listen to, see nor read about the stuff we don’t like. And it was interesting to discover people who said, “Who cares about the royal wedding?” and “I don’t care about the royal wedding!” beforehand, actually watched some of it and commented on it. hehehe

When I was 9 years old, I got up in the middle of the night in my grandparents’ house in Vermont and watched Charles and Diana get married with my mom and my nana. I was a little girl who wanted to grow up and get married and have 13 children. I believed in fairy tales and wanted to see a prince marry his princess. Five years later, I was up in the middle of the night, again, to watch Andrew and Fergie wed. I was 14, had frizzy hair and was nervous about starting high school in a month, especially since the freshman class was 4 times as large as my eight grade class. Sarah Ferguson was completely different than Diana. She was outspoken, clumsy at times and did not have Diana’s fashion sense. I loved her! It gave hope to sometimes-clumsy, outspoken and fashion sense-deficient girls everywhere. :o)

I remember where I was, what I was doing and who I was with when coverage of Diana’s accident broke on the TV, and cried at the announcement of her death. I was so sad that she died as she was finally gaining some personal happiness. And sad for those boys left behind. It was exciting to see happiness in the family last month.

I watched ABC’s coverage and Diane Sawyer said it was estimated that 1/3 of the world was watching the wedding. Regardless of what is on TV, that many people, around the WORLD, watching the same thing is impressive. Barbara Walters and I had something in common – this was the 3rd royal wedding we have both “covered” ;o) and I agreed with her – wake up the kids and have them enjoy this with you. I think it was awesome that London turned a park into a free campsite for wedding watchers. Not something I would expect from the English. But it is wonderful that they got how important this wedding was to people everywhere. We all needed to see a happy occasion, to get some hope and escape from our own realities for a bit, just like going to the movies b/c you need to see a happy ending. I though the quote from Winston Churchill in regards to the queen’s wedding in 1947 was very relavent now, too: “This joyous event is a splash of color on the hard road we have to travel.” And who doesn’t like weddings? A chance to dress up and party with free food! And cake!

The guests were so close to each other filing in, I am sure plenty of them got wacked with hats repeatedly and some of the hats must have prevented guests behind them from seeing.

I loved that both William and Kate were excitedly nervous. When the 2nd officiant came out, the one with the big hat and the white beard, I heard in my head, “Mawwidge. Mawwidge is what bwings us togeddar, today.”

I loved the roaring cheers of the people outside watching the jumbotrons! And the sea of people going down the road to the palace behind the procession to watch the balcony scene was unreal.

It was fascinating how William and Kate mirror each other and William really does have so many mannerisms of his mother.

They showed footage of previous royal couples on the famous balcony. In 1973, Princess Anne looked like Princess Leia from Star Wars. The same dress and hair! Google it!

The kiss. I didn’t think it was the big deal that the press made of it. I get that they kissed twice, which had not been done before. But it was sterile, and I was hoping for more feeling. I think William should have taken Kate in his arms for the kiss, or they at least should have turned towards each other instead of just the turned heads. That would have put some feeling into their simple kiss.

I don’t think either one of them slept much the night before the wedding. Both of them appeared to be spacing out and even trying to keep their eyelids open during the sermon. Poor things.

I think Kate’s dress could have been better or more modern, but I think she did the best she could within the required parameters. She and Pippa looked beautiful!

I have held my tongue long enough, and cannot keep quiet anymore!

For AT LEAST 3 years, I have been pissed off by something, but have held my tongue. I was worried about insulting or pissing off my friends. Regardless of the current “Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you.” attitude that is so prevalent in, at least, my area, I have chosen to be above it. But no more! A story on the local news this evening changed my mind. Some people, in my opinion, clearly do not have the correct perspective going on and are QUITE vocal about it. Therefore, I should no longer refrain from voicing my opinion. And here it is:

I am so GOSH-DARN FED UP with the people who have been inundating me with flyers/literature/guilt/commercials/calls-to-action to save the pets in the USA! We have CHILDREN – HUMAN BEINGS – in this country who are STARVING, HOMELESS, PARENTLESS. But I don’t see a SINGLE commercial on TV, nor flyer pasted to the mirror in my gym, about THEM! Oh, sure, there are plenty of commercials to save the children in 3rd world countries, but what about our own?! I do, however, see PLENTY of commercials and posted flyers about the abused and abandoned pets in our own country since the recession began. I am not a cold-hearted person; I am the exact opposite. I feel for and cry over all creatures…..OK…..maybe not ALL creatures….I don’t like the ants in my house during the Summer. And I can’t even LOOK at a picture of a snake without having nightmares.

I do not wish harm on the abandoned animals of this country who have been victims of families who can no longer afford to feed and take care of them. However, I will worry about and take action on the plight of the pets in this country AFTER ever child in America has a home and a full belly! Why do animals receive more sympathy, press and actions then children?! WTF is wrong with us?!

What set me off today was a story on the local news about a new smart phone application. It’s a game about dog fighting and it has the animal rights activists all up in arms. Where are the PEOPLE activists all up in arms about the video games whose objective is to carjack people, rape women or kill public servants?!?! All they have to do is provide a rating on their games to warn buyers about their content but we have to pull dog fighting games off the shelves?! GIVE ME A BREAK!! There is SERIOUSLY something wrong with us!!

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