TIme With Daddy: Part 3 The Rodeo

The Annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo was wrapping up while Mike was here. The children had been longing/begging/wishing/praying/hoping we would go. So, I used some of that overtime money to buy tickets online just before I knew I had repairs to make :)

We went in the early afternoon and the kids had a grand time. We saw the bird show and Sierra got to feed a bird with a big knot on it's beak. I can't remember the name of the bird, but I can remember some cool details about it. After it lays it eggs, the males wall it up inside a tree until the young are big enough to come out. Or something like that. I definitely remember there was a wall.... Anyway, Sierra fed a big bird fruit.

After walking around looking at things for a while we headed over to the rides. It was dollar day so all the rides were $1.00 a piece. We decided to spend $20. Plenty we thought. But, people kept giving us more tickets! If we had known, we wouldn't have bought any at all. We would have just traipsed through with our crew hoping we looked like a family who could use a few tickets. I recommmend you try it before shelling out the cash ;) So the kids got to go on lots of rides. To Hailey's supreme disappiontment she couldn't get anyone to go on the upside down rides with her. She finally gave up and rode a few alone. Where does she get it????

We spent a long time on the rides, and it seems that was the only place I took any pictures. But the real highlight was the rodeo.

Ezra's in here somewhere too!

Our seats were definitely in the nosebleed catagory, but it was set up so that everyone could see quite well and there were also t.v. screens. I think the highlight was the bucking bronc riding, but kids riding sheep was pretty fun too. Mutton something or rather...
Fun times, wish you were there!

Time With Daddy: Part 2

After our our hike we took our lunch and headed for the picnic grounds. They were really pretty and clean, and right on the water. The kids could not have been more thrilled. They ran down to the water, rolled up their pants/lifted their skirts and waded in while we made lunch. It was really beautiful and relaxing. I can't believe we didn't go earlier.

There were other people there, playing in the water and fishing. One little boy went a bit downstream from us and cast his pole in the water. Eli ran over to see him, wading exuberantly into the water very near the boys line. The boy told Eli, "I'm Fishing!" Eli: "I Know!!", all smiling, and happy. Looking around like he might see a fish on the line. Also looking completely unconcerned as the boy marched off.
It was Titus' 6 month birthday too. I can't believe he is 6months old already. He weighs 19.4 pounds and is just getting in to a size 12 months! He has gotten up on his knees a couple of times, and is doing the ol' combo roll/scoot to get where he want to go. He as one tooth in, one very nearly in, and two very swollen top gums.
Look at that tired boy, can you tell he's had a good day?!?
Skipping rocks with daddy.

After a really nice couple of hours at the water we went home to a dinner of tacos and chocolate pie.

And daddy gave Sierra her belated birthday blessing. She thought he forgot, but he surprised her.
All in all, a really nice day!


No Child Left Behind

I have often said that with No Child Left behind legislation they would have to come after homeschoolers sooner or later. We can't have a national curriculum without getting ALL the children on board. Huckabees support of NCLB is one of my big issues with his candidacy. NCLB currently has a provision excluding private and home schools from its tentacles. So, they are coming in the back door.

Tennessee homeschoolers are facing the most serious threat to their freedom
since the homeschool law was enacted 23 years ago. House Bill 2795 would
subject non-public school students, including homeschool students, to
additional state testing. It would require them to take subject matter tests
based upon state-approved textbooks. It would also require them to pass the
Tennessee comprehensive assessment program tests before receiving a high
school diploma. These new testing requirements would also apply to students
being taught at home through extension or satellite programs of church-related schools. Your calls to state representatives are needed to stop this dangerous legislation! If House bill 2795 passes, it will essentially mean the end of homeschooling in Tennessee. Parents deciding to teach their children at home would have to conform their curriculum to the material taught in public school in order for their children to be able to pass the state tests. The Tennessee Department of
Education, not parents, would determine whether a student taught at home was
eligible to receive a high school diploma.

A bill very similar to this one is in the works in Nebraska. Even as public school teachers around the country complain about the need to "teach to the test", legislators are trying to impose the same requirements on homeschoolers. I hope the homeschoolers, and everyone else in Tennessee who believes in the constitutional pursuit of liberty, will fight. And I hope this is a lesson to homeschoolers everywhere. We do not exist in a bubble. The direction being taken in the public schools does effect us. Not only will there be constant attempts to trickle down the regulations to our homeschools, but most of the next generation is being educated there. I think it is right for Christians to leave the public school system. I truly believe our children have no place there. At the same time, I don't think we should turn our back on those children that are there. We should fight bad legislation and take a hard look at the people we elect.


Isn't She Lovely

Miss Hailey got a haircut today. It's the first time she's had more than a trim in many years. She was a little nervous that they were cutting too much off, but she really likes it. I think it's really pretty :)


Time With Daddy: Part 1

Mike went back to CA on Tuesday morning after a wonderful 10 days here with us. We were so glad to have him home! It's been so long since we have all lived in the same state that having him here seems like vacation time, rather than real life. School stops, fun commences :)
He did some handy-man stuff that had flummoxed and exasperated me for weeks on end. Like the circuit breaker that blew every time I tried to use a stove top burner and the turn the oven on at the same time. I had been cooking everything in shifts. I love how he's so handy. I think I'll keep him :)

The fridge died while he was here too. Actually it began it's death throes before he arrived, but I was still livin in the land of denial and wishing/hoping/praying that the milk had always been a little warm... A new compressor and a couple hundred bucks and we were good to go. We also had to replace the coil in the HVAC unit cuz the buyers home inspector found a leak. He actually found lots of things. Wish we had hired him instead of the "see no evil" that guy we got. Ah well, live and learn. The coil was lots of hundreds, even with the generous help of our good friend and trusty HVAC guy.

All that didn't leave much money in the kitty for fun while Mike was here. But, he has been working like a dog racking up the overtime hours, and I paid for a few fun things before I knew that repair men were going to claim the lions share of all those O.T. hours. It was also his birthday while he was here, so that demands a bit of a celebration. If anyone deserves it, he does. And if anyone wants to celebrate him, it's us!

We celebrated his birthday a day late because it fell on a Sunday. Or maybe I should say we celebrated small on Sunday and bigger on Monday. We went for our traditional birthday breakfast out. Mimi's seems to be the birthday breakfast hot spot of late. Then we took a picnic lunch and went to the Guadalupe River State Park. It is about 8 miles from our house and we had NEVER been there. Amazing.

We did an almost 2 mile loop trail that was just about right for the kids. They were just starting to make noise about food and rest as we were reaching the end of the loop. Mike carried Ty in the backpack and he loved it. Ty, not Mike. Although Mike might have loved it too.

Hailey said it was so fun, it seemed like her birthday. Funny, that's the same thing she said when we went to the Bass Pro shop the week before :) Ezra kept asking where we were going...They all ran down the trail, picking up rocks, singing songs, making bow's and arrows and just generally enjoying themselves.

We even got to see a few wild pigs running past us in the brush. It gave us a bit of a pause, but they didn't have any interest in us.


Dead Animals

Last month Chance had the opportunity to go to Covenant Ranch with some of the Vision Forum staff for a few days of hunting and fellowship. He was able to bag a doe, along with a bobcat that was apparently much coveted by all in attendance.

So, we now have a big bag of deer meat, along with a beautiful bobcat in a black trash bag in our freezer. He wants to have the bobcat stuffed, but has had a host of unexpected expenses that have delayed the planned for stuffing and left the cat in the bag so to speak :)

I wanted to post a couple of pictures from his adventure, so I got his camera to download some shots. I was thinking of him holding the deer's head triumphantly. Perhaps standing beside the cat... Something, I don't know, a little less...yucky! Instead, we have...dead animals. The only shots of the deer are of it being gutted or showing it's hollow belly. So, here they are. But you might not want to look :)


Health Care for All??

It's an election year, in case that bit of trivia escaped you :) Time to be thinking about the direction we hope this country will take, and how best to get there. I could write a post on who we support and why, and maybe I will another time. But it is easy to be apathetic. Paul isn't the perfect candidate. I have strong libertarian leanings, but his solid libertarian thinking causes some problems. Huckabee isn't my guy. At all. McCain...Let's just say if I wanted a Democrat I'd vote for one :) But I digress.

On at least one issue I do think we would be better served by any of the Republican candidates than by either of the Democratic candidates, and that is healthcare. It sounds good to say "Everyone is entitled to health care" (Hillary), or "All children must have health insurance" (Barak). But even ignoring the fact that federally mandated health coverage is patentently unconstitutional, universal health care will spell disaster for not only the quality of our care, but also our ability to direct that care.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. If the government is paying for your "insurance" (albieit with OUR money) you can bet a federally mandated "right to die" won't be far behind. In Canada, the "right" seems to be becoming an obligation.

A Winnipeg case currently winding its way to its grim conclusion pits the
children of Samuel Golubchuk against doctors at the Salvation Army Grace General
Hospital. According to the pleadings, Golubchuk's doctors informed his children
that their 84-year-old father is "in the process of dying" and that they
intended to hasten the process by removing his ventilation, and if that proved
insufficient to kill him quickly, to also remove his feeding tube. In
the event that the patient showed discomfort during these procedures,
the chief of the hospital's ICU unit stated in his affidavit that he would administer morphine.

Mr. Golubchuk is Jewish, as are his children. But the fact that this assisted dying process is against their wishes and religion has thus far fallen on deaf ears. I urge you to read the article. And to pray. Not just for the Golubchuck family, but for our nation, for it's people, and for our leaders. This is the logical course of "free healthcare for all". Be careful what you wish for.


Ethan Can Read!

Yay! Ethan is reading. We have turned the corner and he finally understands how to put the sounds together to make words. He is reading three letter words with short vowel sounds really well. He still gets hung up on the sight word "the", but that will come with repetition. Eli has just begun reading as well, he is just a tad behind Ethan in his ability. Can't remember "the" at all yet and occasionally confuses a couple of the letter sounds. But we are well on our way! We'll move on to silent "e" next. As soon as the next video is available from the library.

Yep, video. We did flashcards and letter tiles for months. Ethan learned all of his letters and most of thier sounds this way, but it was slow going. Eli was still doing "R" - hmmmm that's an "A" and is sounds like hhhhh. Not fun for anyone. Enter the Leapfrog Talking Letter Factory and they quickly and painlessly learned all of the letter names and sounds.

Next we moved to the Talking Word Factory and they were taught to make those letter sounds into three letter words. With seemingly no effort and a lot of fun. Yay for the boys! Yay for me!! I LOVE these videos!

Next is Code Word Caper for silent "e" and then I think there is some sort of storybook one. We are also doing the Explode the Code workbooks now for more phonics practice and will be working on blends soon. But they get it, we are off and running! They know that all those letters combine to make words and they go around sounding out everything they can find and asking what does wtlaf spell as they try to make up words in their minds. It's so much fun to see the lightbulb come on. And so great to be freed from banging my head against the wall with flashcards.

We owned Talking Letter, but Ezra broke it. Now we get them from the library. I would really like to own the whole collection though.

So, if you are struggling with teaching basic reading skills, I really suggest the LeapFrog videos. I will definitely be using them with the next two.