Thursday, January 31, 2008


Homeschoolers rock! See, I told you I was opinionated! I don't homeschool. Mainly because I lack discipline and I'm selfish! This is a shout out to one of my dearest friends, Cheri, who is also opinionated, but not selfish. I'm honestly not sure how disciplined she is, but I know she is a great Mom and teacher to her four amazing children, Hannah, Grace, Charlie & Kellar. She sent this to me today and I loved it so much that I had to share. Not very original of me, I know, but hey, I can't come up with great "wart" stories every day!

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List
By Hannah Russell-Davis

1. Please stop asking us if it's
legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp ofboth concepts.

3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she evergets to socialize.

4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling forthe same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives byhomeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering tos uccessfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my childto school.

12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours everyday, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side ofeducation — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class,you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. Ifyou can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly doa worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who goto school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beetle Juice

Adam has a wart on his foot. I honestly wasn't sure what it was when it first showed up because it was in the same spot we had removed a splinter a few months ago. So, I was actually worried that a piece of the splinter was still in his foot and that it was infected. I took him to our pediatrician and after she diagnosed the wart (apparently this is pretty common in kids, especially on the feet), she gave us three choices. We could freeze it off (no thank you, too painful), use an over-the-counter treatment method or (now, this is where it gets weird) we could have her treat it in the office with something called Canthacur. Now this is not a naturopathic doctor, witch doctor or any other non-traditional type of pediatrician...just your run-of-the-mill, everyday, average, ordinary pediatrician so you can imagine my surprise and you'll understand why I thought she was kidding when she told me what Canthacur is. Long story short, there is a South-American beetle who shoots out this juice or venom which produces a blister on its enemies. That substance is what Canthacur (blister beetle extract) is made out of. So, of course, given the choices, Adam was all for the "beetle juice". She warned us it might not work the first time and sure enough, no blister formed with the first application so we went back today for a second application. I think Adam's favorite part of the treatment is that he can't take a shower or bath on the day of application.

In case the beetle juice doesn't work this time, I found this treatment method, suggested by Mark Twain, on the internet:

"Why, you take your cat and go and get in the graveyard 'long about midnight when somebody that was wicked has been buried; and when it's midnight a devil will come, or maybe two or three, but you can't see 'em, you can only hear something like the wind, or maybe hear 'em talk; and when they're taking that feller away, you heave your cat after 'em and say, 'Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I'm done with ye!' That'll fetch ANY "wart."

Doesn't sound any stranger than beetle juice and we have a cat!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Children's TLC Groundhog Run 1-27-08

SubTropolis is a 55,000,000 square foot, 1,100-acre manmade cave in the bluffs above the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri, that is claimed to be the world's largest underground storage facility. The mine naturally maintains temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, which made it a great place to do a 5k run in the middle of a freezing cold Kansas City winter! My Mom, Jacob and I probably ran about 3/4 of the distance and walked the rest. It was lots of fun and we definitely plan on doing it again next year.

I found this whole SubTropolis thing pretty fascinating so in case you do too, here are some other interesting facts about it:

  • The complex contains almost seven miles (11 km) of illuminated, paved roads and several miles of railroad track.

  • Currently 5,000,000 square feet is occupied and 10,000,000 square feet are "improved."

  • About 3.2 acres of available space are added each year as active mining continues.

  • The United States Postal Service leases space in SubTropolis for its collectible stamp operations.

  • SubTropolis is at places 160 feet beneath the surface. It has a grid of 16 ft high, 40 ft wide tunnels separated by 25 ft square limestone columns. (The limestone columns are all over the place and make it feel like you're lost in a huge maze, except for the signs that are posted everywhere).

Sorry if that was way more information than you wanted, but it really intrigues me (and makes me feel a little bit claustrophobic!).

We're not in Arizona anymore

So, what do you think of the view from my front door today? Occasionally people quote the Wizard of Oz when they say, "We're not in Kansas anymore", but now that I live in Kansas, when the weather does crazy stuff, I usually find myself thinking, "We're not in Arizona anymore". And that's ok because I LOVE Kansas and all the crazy weather that comes with it. For example, this morning when I drove to work at 8:30, the temperature was in the 50's and there wasn't a flake of snow on the ground. When I left work at 12:30 to pick Adam up and come home, the temperature was around 12 degrees (6 degrees with the windchill factor), there was a blizzard and I could barely see the car in front of me! This picture really doesn't do the weather justice because the wind is blowing the snow all around and making it really hard to see in front of you.

It's so bad on the roads that I just went up to the elementary school early and picked up a carload of kids (including my own!) and brought them home to avoid the after school carpool mess. I don't think it made me very popular with the school secretaries, but it sure made my life easier and the kids thought it was pretty cool too!

I won't lie; as much as I love having four seasons, with as much snow as we've had this winter, I'm dreaming of a tropical get-away. Rocky Point, anyone?!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Free Shoes

In October of last year, Willie, the boys, and I went to Rack Room Shoes. Willie bought a pair of shoes and entered a drawing for a shoe shopping spree. When the call came that he was a winner, we almost thought it was a joke. There were 87 winners drawn out of thousands of entries at over 300 stores! Once Willie knew he was a winner and had a date and time scheduled, we made plans to go to the store a day before the big event for a "strategic planning session"! About two hours after arriving for this little strategy session, I was more sick of trying on shoes than I thought possible. Besides the 87 second time limit, Willie could only get as many shoes as he could carry without putting them down. Because the box was so large and provided a good base, he started with a pair black boots for moi! Next he proceeded to gather six pairs of shoes for himself, one more pair for me and one pair for each of the boys for a grand total of 10 pair! This was back in December so I don't remember exactly what the total was, but I know he ended up with about $800 worth of shoes! I didn't really like the boots so I sold them on eBay for $114 and bought some boots at DSW that I do love. That's what I like to call being "resourceful"!