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Friday, May 29, 2009

 

Bank Laughs

I'd much rather laugh with the banks than at them. Check out this first of three funny ads from the new Ally Bank (used to be GMAC). The look on the boy's face is priceless.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

 

Father and Son

"I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not."

- from Father and Son, by Cat Stevens, a song that I consider to be a nugget of musical and lyrical perfection. He says so much, just with simple words and a pleasing melody. The best songs are like that.




Tuesday, May 26, 2009

 

To The Man Cave!

When we first moved into our new house four years ago, I claimed one of the extra rooms as my office. I'd always wanted a place where I could write, work on computer projects, organize files, and pay bills.

Ah, who am I kidding. I really just wanted a "man cave." A little corner of the house where I could let my personality fly free and unbridled, which basically means I wanted to pin my old Star Wars and Beatles posters on the wall without somebody saying, "Even if those were framed, I wouldn't want them in my house!"

So, I got my man cave. I filled it up with an oversized desk/hutch combo, a La-Z-Boy recliner, color TV, and shelves filled with all my favorite books, DVDs, CDs, and knick-knacks from a lifetime of being a pack rat. It turned into a very cool space, one which I could retreat to at night after the kids get to sleep.

It's funny, but as I glance around my office now, it doesn't look much like a man cave anymore. The La-Z-Boy is covered with laundry. The floor is littered with piles of Junie B. Jones and Goosebumps books. There are two large cardboard boxes in the corner that my daughter is making into a fort. The shelves are packed with Scooby-Doo and Barbie DVDs.

It hasn't been my space for years. Everyone else in the family, including the cats, quickly discovered my manly domain and started hanging out in it. I guess I made it too cool.

But that's okay. I don't need a cave to hide out in. However, I am still stubbornly clinging to one small corner of my desk hutch where my Yellow Submarine action figures live. I'll call that my "man shelf." Nobody's taking that space away from me.

Do you have a man cave? What's in it?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

 

Wordless Wednesday



No respect for the clean laundry!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

 

Dogs vs. Babies

The kids and I had a good "March For Babies" last Saturday, strolling about three miles before we had to cut it short to get to a soccer game.

I'd like to thank the three people who donated $25 to our efforts for the March of Dimes. Two of you were anonymous, but the third deserves a public pat on the back. Thanks Dan!

We were part of a small group of around 75 walking along the Centennial Trail on a beautiful Saturday morning. I wondered why more people couldn't come out for a good cause.

Wrong cause, I guess, because the very next day a group of 150 people gathered to walk their dogs in a fundraiser for the local humane society.

Homeless Dogs 150, Premature Babies 75.

Ah, but how much money did they raise?!

Premature Babies $17,000, Homeless Dogs $15,000.

We'll call it a draw.


Monday, May 18, 2009

 

This Ain't No Party

There will be no streamers, cakes, or balloons.

Honestly, I'm too busy finishing up our last two weeks of the homeschool year to think about any kind of celebration of this blog's 5th anniversary.

Yup, it was five years ago today that I wrote my first post. Things have changed a lot since 2004.

What started out as an informational blog about family life quickly changed into a more personal parenting journal, only to change again as we became homeschoolers and I added that to the mix of blogging topics.

Life has never been busier, and that has definitely had an effect on how much time I devote to my blog of late. But, at the end of a hectic day, it's still fun to sit down to share a few thoughts and opinions with other parents, homeschoolers, and whoever else might end up here.

So, I suspect there will be a tenth anniversary. Maybe I'll have a party for that one.

Anyone out there been reading since the beginning?


Friday, May 15, 2009

 

Marching For Babies

The kids and I will be marching for babies this weekend. It's a fundraiser for the March of Dimes. If you'd like to donate a dollar or two to a worthy cause, click on the image below and I'll walk an extra 100 yards for you!




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

 

Wordless Wednesday



My daughter set up a store in her room.

Not everything was for sale.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

 

Scootering



The amount of work around here is on the rise. Schoolwork is doubled up so we can finish by the end of the month. Yard work has re-entered our lives with warm weather. The housework is calling to me constantly. My many projects are works-in-progress.

But still, on a beautiful North Idaho spring day, under a mesmerizingly blue sky, the priority is to go scootering with my kids.

And that's what we do.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

 

Kroc Center Coeur d'Alene Grand Opening

We just returned from the opening ceremonies of our new community center.

After five years of waiting, my family was excited beyond words for this day to come. Alas, we still have to wait until Monday to start using the facilities.

But what an awesome afternoon we had. Thousands of people turned out to tour the building for the first time. My kids got to meet an Olympic Gold Medalist, and shake hands with the grand-daughter of Ray and Joan Kroc, to whom my son declared his undying love for the Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

It was too crowded to get good photos of the facility, so I decided to play paparazzi and focus on the people. Now there's a job I would not want. At least nobody threw eggs at me.


Major John Chamness is all smiles before the ceremony begins.


Amanda Latimer, granddaughter of Ray and Joan Kroc.


Olympian Tom Malchow signs autographs for the Kroc great-grandchildren.


Tony Berns and Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem


Major John Chamness and his mother.


Major Lani Chamness and Ballard Smith, son-in-law of Ray and Joan Kroc.


Wow, Glenda the Good Witch was there! The Wizard of Oz will be the first theatrical production in the Kroc Center's new theater.


Friday, May 08, 2009

 

Stop The Bickering

My son and daughter like to bicker with each other.

It's always been a mild form of pestering, poking and finger pointing. Kind of like how Congress works with each other.

So, it hasn't been the quality of the bickering that was wearing me down, but rather the sheer quantity of it.

I was just plain tired of hearing them constantly pick at each other over every little inane thing.

And I let it get to me.

I turned their bickering into anger and stress, and they couldn't understand why I was getting so mad for what was really rather innocuous behavior on their part.

One day a few weeks ago, I read an article in Newsweek magazine titled "In Defense of Bickering", and all sorts of lightbulbs went off in my head.

Just like that, I was a changed dad.

For the past two weeks I've barely even noticed the kids bickering. The funny thing is, I don't think they are. At least, not as much as before.

Which makes me think all that fussing and feuding was just a show for me. Part of the ongoing conspiracy against my mental health, perhaps.

Whatever it was, I'm done with it. The bickering has stopped in my house because I decided to no longer give it any weight or significance.

I encourage you to stop the bickering in your own home by turning your attention away and pretending that it doesn't exist.

Now if we could only do that with our politicians!


Thursday, May 07, 2009

 

New Schoolhouse Rock

Who doesn't love Schoolhouse Rock? Last month, in celebration of Earth Day, Disney released a brand new DVD collection called Schoolhouse Rock - Earth, featuring 10 new songs about things like solar energy, water conservation, and recycling.

Here's "Save The Ocean," written and performed by Sean Altman (you might remember him from Rockapella and Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego). I love how the new animation is done in the style of the original Schoolhouse Rock episodes.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

 

Wordless Wednesday



What is my daughter doing in this picture? Seriously, I have no idea.

Looking at the photo later, I asked her why she had thrown her arms up and her leg out, but all she could answer was, "I dunno."

So, help me out with this "wordless" picture... What do you think is going on here?


Monday, May 04, 2009

 

Clean Getaway



Our city beach is a little bit cleaner today after my daughter's Girl Scout troop joined with several others to pick up trash along the shoreline.

I've seen enough butts to last a lifetime. Cigarette butts, that is. What is it with smokers who think they can stand and flick their garbage out onto a public beach? Does the sand look like one giant ashtray to them?

There's never any reason to throw your waste on the ground. Well, except maybe because you're a selfish and lazy slob. That may explain your actions, but it doesn't excuse them.

My punishment to people caught tossing a cigarette butt in public parks would be to have them pick up ten more with their teeth.

This would also be a fine punishment for dog owners who fail to remove their pet's droppings from the Tubbs Hill trails.


Friday, May 01, 2009

 

Ten Cool Things In Yellowstone

I've had guys and hot tubs on my mind lately.

No, wait. It's very late.

I mean, I've had geysers and hot springs on my mind.

So I wrote Ten Cool Things For Kids In Yellowstone National Park at Uptake, the travel discovery website.

Go read it, and start planning your next family vacation to Yellowstone. We've been there three times over the past ten years. It's by far my favorite National Park.