Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another interesting movie coming up. . .

I hope this movie actually gets distributed and into theaters. I'm sure there are many who will try to keep that from happening.

hat tip to Sabastian over at the Percival Blakeney Academy (who would certainly get my nomination for "best blog name").

Friday, December 7, 2007

Planning now for May 16th. . .

With all of the controversy around "The Golden Compass" of late, I was wondering if Walden Media was going to continue with the Narnia series. Then, this morning, I found this link.

Looks awesome! (coincidentally, I just started re-reading Prince Caspian last night.)

We're just ready to start a new family chapter book. I think it's time to start them on the Chronicles of Narnia.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Now that Thanksgiving is past; now that we've lit the first Advent candle; now that we've lined the front hall with boxes of decorations; I feel like I can finally say "Merry Christmas!"

I just realized that I haven't posted since before Thanksgiving. I have several "not just rambling about my day" posts brewing, but haven't had / taken the time to get them written. I'm not traveling this week, so maybe I'll get at least one done and submitted to next weeks Carnival.

Speaking of travel, I made a day trip to New York City last Friday. I'd never want to live there, but I love visiting. The flight up was awesome. First class upgrade, window seat. I had an amazing view of Manhattan as we came in. I grabbed a cab into the city like a veteran and made it to my destination. Visited with colleagues and clients at the IT conference I was attending, spoke that afternoon (the purpose for the trip), and then headed back to LaGuardia. I couldn't find a cab that took AMEX (I hate it when I leave on a trip with no cash; why do I do it so often?), so I called a car service and found a Starbucks to wait in. 20 minutes later I was in the back of a Lincoln Town Car riding up Central Park West looking at the sights. Note: if you ever find yourself in this situation, make sure to call you Mom and tell her where you are. They love to have a good "son makes good" story for their friends. Back to the airport; made an early flight home; got home in time for the last half of "Numbers" (one of the few network shows we watch).

The next day, I was cleaning the litter box and taking out the trash. It was good to get back to reality.

Til next time.

A Worthwhile "Use of Time"

Between Jonah Goldberg (National Review's "The Corner") and Dave Barry's blog, I have saved up a tremendous library of timewasters productivity enhancers in my favorites file. These come in extraordinarily handy during long boring conference calls. I'll make a point to post some of my favorites over the next week.

This one, however, not only tests the intellect, it's also for a good cause. Sponsored by poverty.com, free rice rates your vocabulary level AND donates rice to poverty-stricken nations for every word you get correct. My wife is addicted. I, on the other hand, could quit anytime! That's why I can proudly say I made it to 45 on the rating scale today.

Have fun. Oh, and please share your favorite timewa productivity enhancers back. I'm always looking for a new way to pass the time between slides 54 and 78 in the online presentation. . . zzzzzz. . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Steyn on Thanksgiving and Coffee

Mark Steyn is a fantastic columnist who hails from Canada. I first discovered him while working on a lengthy project in Calgary. Since then, I've followed him online, primarily via National Review Online.

His most recent article is on our American Thanksgiving. The whole article is thoughtful and certainly worth reading. I bring it to your attention, however, primarily because of its hilarious second paragraph. Being a coffee lover (a grande-white-chocolate-mocha lover, at that), I laughed out loud.

Well, Americans have a lot to be thankful for. Europeans think of this country as “the New World” in part because it has an eternal newness which is noisy and distracting. Who would ever have thought you could have ready-to-eat pizza faxed directly to your iPod? And just when you think you’re on top of the
general trend of novelty, it veers off in an entirely different direction: Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress “Gimme a cuppa joe” and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato. Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!

Genius indeed!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ah, Autumn

Despite the dry weather here in Georgia (well documented in national news) , we have actually had a spectacular fall with amazing color throughout our community. Those of us who live here full-time sometimes get irritated by the tourist "leaf-lookers" who prefer to drive 5 miles an hour down the middle of the road while gawking at the beautiful scenery. But, the upside is that it forces us to slow down and enjoy the view, and the moment, as well. That old saw about "familiarity breeding contempt" can certainly come into play if we're not careful. Fortunately, we still drive past the lake and around the golf course exclaiming "we get to live here!" to ourselves. I hope I'm still saying that after 5 years.

I posted a photo of the view from our upper deck some time back and promised an update for the fall. This picture was taken last week. It doesn't begin to reflect how stunning the colors have been, but it's at least attempts to get the point across.

I'll post another one after all of the leaves fall and our view is expanded by about 150% and encompasses 2 or 3 more mountaintops.

Every time I start to grumble about the long commute home from the airport after a late (and often delayed) flight, I look out the window and immediately shut up. This is worth it.

In another post, thoughts on why we chose to move to the mountains, homeschool, work from home, and in general live a life that is so counter-cultural to the wonderful world of suburban, commute to work and school life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Online Scrabble!

Some dear friends of ours from Birmingham (home-base prior to moving to North GA) have gotten us hooked on our first online game. Prior to now, my perception of online gaming was the stereotypical "let's all play serial killer" types that I've never been attracted to (much to everyone's relief, I'm sure).

But now! Online Scrabble. Play with 1, 2 or 3 other people. Play with people around the country or around the world. Check your words automatically in 5 different dictionaries. Ah, bliss.
Check it out for yourselves. (disclosure: there is a one time fee of $10 per person; they take pay-pal).

In the meantime, we're starting to expose Belle, Tink and The Boy to the real game. That and Boggle. You haven't had fun til you've played Boggle with a 6-year old!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For those of you fascinated by backyard siege machines. . .

(and you know who you are), check out this link. Hat tip to Dave Barry's blog.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The 97th Carnival of Homeschooling . . .

is up over at Principled Discovery. Welcome to Homeschool U does a wonderful job taking us through the carnival entries designed as a college curriculum. It never ceases to amaze me how well done these carnival's are. I've been too busy with work to submit an entry for the past two weeks, but I'll try to get something submitted for #98.

Homeschool Blog Awards

The 2007 Homeschool Blog Awards are now taking nominations. Take a look at the categories and see if there is one that strikes your fancy. Nominations are being accepted through Nov. 17th. I know I've already submitted several nominations (eg "Best Dad Blog" = a sometimes coherent bloviator)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Another "cultural" weekend

So a few weeks ago I blogged about a very busy and cultural weekend here. In our relentless effort to expose our kids to a wide-ranging variety of cultural events we trekked back into Atlanta last night for another show.

High School Musical - The Ice Tour

I'll pause for a moment to let the irony sink in.

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

So here's the deal. We want to make sure our kids grow up with a rich appreciation for the symphony, for the theater, for choral, orchestral, and even marching band music. But we've also agreed that we want a broader range than that. What about The Beatles? Other "classic rock" bands? And, what about current "pop" hits? We're already "outside of the norm" in homeschooling. Shouldn't we at least let our kids have some of the same experiences that their non-home-schooled friends are having?

And thus, High School Musical.

We don't get the Disney Channel at home. Our kids watch precious little TV. However, they do watch video's in the car when we're shuttling back and forth to Atlanta. For Belle, one of those favored DVD's is HSM 1.

With Belle's 8th birthday approaching in a few weeks, we had a chance to celebrate a little early by taking her, Tink and two friends into the city for the ice show last night.

Picture if you will. . .

Phillips Arena - home to the Atlanta Hawks (basketball) and Thrashers (hockey). Filled with 15,000 or so screaming, squealing 'tween-aged girls (along with parents and quite a few long-suffering brothers). It was certainly an event.

The girls LOVED it.

And, I have to admit, it was well done. Great skating; clever transition of the movie to the ice rink; typical high-quality Disney fare. We don't need to do it again, but it was a big moment for Belle.

Now, let me see if I can find another great deal on Symphony tickets!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I'm traveling on business this week, so blogging has been light. However, I wanted to jump in while still in my hotel room to post a quick quote / thought for the day.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

- Emily Post

Talk amongst yourselves. . .

Monday, October 22, 2007

This Weeks Carnival. . .

of Homeschooling is up. Kris did a great job of sorting things out alphabetically in the ABC Edition.

By the way, this is my first entry in the Carnival. Or rather, that of my alter-ego, Russ. :-)

A good day

As previously noted, I work from home. As a result we typically have lunch together as a family. Frequently it is leftovers or quick sandwiches.

Today, however. . . .
  • Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque (with sour cream and fresh thyme)
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Hearty Wheat Bread

All while watching the rain (oh bliss!) and fog enshroud the mountains.

Life is good!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Conversations with Prince Charming

Friday afternoon:

(knocking at my office door) "Who is it?"

the knocker: "Prince Charming."

me: "Come in."

PC: "Um, Daddy, can we go to China?"

me: "What? Oh, do you want to go get Chinese for dinner?" (and since we only go out to eat about once a month, where did that come from?)

PC: "No. Can we go to China? I want to ride an elephant."

pregnant pause. . .

For some reason, an intensive look at the globe, talks about long plane flights, and "it's on the other side of the world" didn't seem to phase him. After all, the globe sitting in my office doesn't seem that big; daddy flies on planes almost every week, so what's the big deal with that? And we drove to the "other side of town" just last weekend; what's the difference? After all, Mimi and Papa have ridden on elephants (in Thailand, by the way, not China); why can't we.

Every 4 year old should have had a chance to ride an elephant by now. By the way, his 6 year old sister feels the same way about helicopters. Surely she is the ONLY girl in town who STILL hasn't ridden on one.

They are so underpriviledged!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Whose job is it, anyway?

My wife read a fascinating column in the Boston Globe yesterday that she kindly forwarded to me. "Big Brother at School", by Jeff Jacoby, addresses the amazing shift in attitudes in our country regarding whose responsibility it is to educate our children. The first paragraph begins with a quote.

"FREEDOM of education, being an essential of civil and religious liberty . . . must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever," the party's national platform declared. "We are opposed to state interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental . . . doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government."

Staggeringly, this quote is from the platform adopted by the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago. Unfortunately, the quote is from 1892. I can't even imagine today's Republican Party making such a strong statement in support of a parents right (yea, responsibility) in the education of their child.

Instead, we live in a day where many increasingly look to someone else to relieve them of their responsibilities. Health insurance too expensive? Demand the government provide it! Worried about education outcomes? Implement federal mandates to ensure that "no child is left behind". "Parenting" your child too demanding? Let someone else be the heavy. I'll just be his/her best friend. In the meantime, as the column notes, we certainly wouldn't want to try to "impose" our values or beliefs on our children. Oh no! They should be able to decide for themselves.

One of the reasons I enjoy reading homeschooling blogs is the reassurance I receive that there really are other parents out there who realize that their children are their responsibility. Don't get me wrong. There are many many parents who send their children to public or private schools who feel the same way. I'm not judging them at all here. But it sure does feel like we, regardless of our educational choices, are in the minority.

I've often talked about the "pendulum" effect in any trend. In business, the pendulum swings from "focus on your core" to "diversify" and back with amazing regularity. Swings from left to right and back are pretty consistent when looking at the political landscape.

I hope that this particular pendulum is about to turn and start heading back toward "personal responsibility" again.

In the meantime, thanks to all of you who realize that in your own lives already. I'll close with another quote from the column:

"Free men and women do not entrust to the state the molding of their children's minds and character. As we wouldn't trust the state to feed our kids, or to clothe them, or to get them to bed on time, neither should we trust the state to teach them."

UPDATE: The link to the article in question has been fixed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Naming Conventions

For those of you paying attention, I've made some changes in my profile. I realized that referring to my daughters as DD1 and DD2 was pathetically boring. Thus, new nicknames have been assigned.

Due to our recent family trip to Disney, princess-oriented nicknames are quite the fashion around here. Thus, the eldest is now "Belle" and her sister is "Tinkerbell". These names are actually quite fitting. As in the movie, our Belle loves to read. Similarly, our Tinkerbell is a bright and sparkling light who is nonetheless prone to occasional fits of moodiness and tears.

Meanwhile, "The Boy" is still an entirely appropriate name. He is in fact ALL boy (even when playing tea party with his sisters). However, he was quite the charmer with all of the princesses in the Magic Kingdom. Hence, his alternate name "Prince Charming".

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Invasion of the Pod People

At least, that's what it looked like.

As mentioned on a previous episode, my lovely and talented DW is the Brownie Leader for our local troop. This past weekend was the Georgia Koman 3-Day March for the Cure (my apologies if that isn't the exact name). Apparently, every year these great folks provide tents for marchers / walkers in cities-towns-villages all across the state. After the march is over, they donate these tents to another worthy cause. I guess that's easier than storing them and redistributing them again next year. Plus, keeping tents to use only once per year results in a pretty poor utilization rate. This year the receiving organization was Girl Scouts of America. All the various troops had to do was sign up and say how many they needed.

When we received the tents after the march this weekend, it was suggested that we set them up pronto to let them dry out (they kindly hosed all of them down before passing them on). Hence, the tent city that you can see in our front yard above. There are 16 girls in our Troop, so we requested 8 tents. I guess they had extra's, so we ended up with 10.
The best part is that the tents come in the Koman Foundation's signature color - pink. No, no "blush" or "bashful" (cite the source movie and you too will have admitted to watching too many chick flicks). Pink. Pepto-Bismol pink. What 6, 7 or 8 year old Brownie wouldn't LOVE to go camping in a pink tent. Plus, they are guaranteed to never be poached by the local Boy Scout troop.

It's important to note that we live in a gated community in the mountains that prides itself on very strict architectural controls. "Natural" is the operative word here. "Woodsy", "rustic", etc etc. There are about 8 shades of brown and gray that we're allowed to paint our houses. White wicker porch furniture is strictly verbotten. Clearly, pink tents stray somewhere just outside of acceptable exterior fixtures. We glanced nervously at each other everytime the phone rang. No one called to complain (thank goodness), but we did notice that traffic on our street slowed dramatically as it passed by yesterday.

Fortunately, the tents are now dry and packed away for some future camping adventure in the deepest darkest forest to be found. Or, perhaps back in our front yard again. We'll have to see how adventurous the girls are.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thoughts on blogging. . .

So I've been a citizen of the blogosphere for half a year or so now. In fact, according to Blogger, this is my 25th post. Gee, I'm really blazing along, aren't I?

Anyway, I've done far more reading of blogs than posting on this one. What else to do during a hotel-room evening while traveling. There are some pretty amazing people out there who are kind enough to share their thoughts, their funnies, and their life experiences with all of us. I've learned a lot (and laughed even more!).

If it hasn't been done already, I'm sure someone will someday the effects of blogging on our culture as a whole. Blogging, along with other web-based tools / services such as YouTube, MySpace, etc are radically changing everything from dating to elections. The impact of these tools probably won't be truly appreciated for years.

One personal impact I've seen and observed in others is the opportunity to do some "creative writing". For years, all of the writing I've done has been work-related. Trust me, a proposal for some innovative technology offering rarely offers an opportunity to wax poetic on anything. Now, all of the sudden, I have a chance to write for fun. And because there is a remote chance that someone might actually read it I actually WANT to write. My niece is in college and is a very talented developing writer. Her blog gives here a chance to test-drive that talent in a far more "real world" environment than English Comp 101.

It makes you wonder what the "next big thing" will be and what it's impact will be.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What a Cultural weekend!

Last week Timothy Power over at Sometimes I'm Actually Coherent posted on the ever popular subject of socialization. He covered some excellent ground, so go read it for yourself. I particularly appreciated his closing thoughts. If we homeschool parents assert that our children end up much more well-rounded because of the breadth and diversity of their experiences, then we therefore must step up to the plate and give them those experiences. In his words:

"We must expose them to the real world, and show them how it works. We must get our kids involved in the community if we are to give them the experiences and perspective they need. "

And that's the hard part. Because that means we have to find opportunities (especially those of us with "young 'uns") and then work them into the schedule, provide transportation, chaperone, facilitate, etc etc etc. Who's got that kind of time?!?

To whit, let me tell you about our world last weekend. Note: this is not a "normal" weekend by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we're still so tired it may be a decade or so until we do it again. But, some variation on this theme will certainly occur soon.

Friday: DW is on several Atlanta-area homeschool list serves and gets regular emails about special Homeschool events. A few weeks ago she got one we actually took advantage of. Homeschool night at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with tickets on $5.00 each. Did you see that? $5.00!!! So, Friday night we were in downtown Atlanta to hear the ASO perform Chopin and Berlioz (magnificent). Downside: we didn't get home until 11:40 pm.

Saturday AM: DD1 and DD2 are both Brownies (DW is the troop leader). Every year, the Brownie troop marches in our local town's Fall Festival parade. That happened to be Saturday morning. So up and out we go at 8:45 to go march in the parade. (The Boy and I watched and caught copious amounts of candy)

Saturday PM: After badly needed naps all around, we ate dinner and then headed down to our church for a concert by an Atlanta-area children's choir. They were fantastic. The kids liked this even better than the symphony. The upside: church is only 4 minutes from home; we were home by 9:00.

Sunday AM: Everyone up and out to Sunday School where I took my monthly turn teaching The Boy's class (singlehandedly wrangling 8 three- and four- year olds, thank you very much; thank goodness no one needed to go potty!). I vaguely remember the lesson being about Samuel and Saul, but quite honestly I don't know how much actually got covered with the youngsters. But they DID have a snack. Some things aren't negotiable. After church and lunch, a quick nap and then some 1 on 1 music practice with DD1 because . . .

Sunday PM: We drove baaaaack into Atlanta (50+ miles one way) to attend a covered dish dinner, dessert auction, and beginning of the year concert for DD1's children's choir (not the same one as last night, in case you're paying attention). In a middle school cafeteria. With no appreciable source of air conditioning. Crowded into an over-heated room with hundreds of other people, eating extremely random samplings from the buffet (some tasty, some not-so-much), paying $48 for $5 worth of dessert in a silent auction. Having fun yet? But, we did get to see and hear DD1 sing in her first concert. There's a mastercard commercial in there some where (priceless). And all three kids loved seeing and hearing other kids performing.

We're still tired, but the kids are still talking about various parts of the weekend. The Boy really liked the Stringed Basses (symphony). DD2 loved it when the Saturday night childrens choir sang "When You Wish Upon A Star". DD1 was so proud of herself for performing like a big kid.

It's hard work, but it's worth it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Apples, Pumpkins, Falling Leaves, etc

I love the fall. The crisp, cool air; the brilliant colors of the leaves. It's so incredibly beautiful here on the mountaintop. (OK, the leaves haven't all changed yet, but we're getting close!). The picture at right is actually our "summer" view from the deck. I'll post another one soon to show the difference just a few weeks makes.

As I write, I remember that I love the change of any season. Perhaps I (or "we", if this applies to you) are ready for fall because we're so tired of summer. The heat of the summer has sapped our energy. We're ready to be revitalized, and the shift into fall does just that.

Likewise, fall ends with bare trees, cold dark mornings and piles of dead leaves cluttering the ground. Suddenly, the pristine beauty of a winter day seems so appealing; even better if you get to cover everything in a dazzling layer of snow.

Eventually, though, the long dark nights of winter get dreary and tiresome. At that point, those first hints of spring remind us of what is coming. From our schoolroom windows we can watch the dark tree branches gradually turn the palest green, then darken as the leaves unfold. The daffodils peak through the ground cover and suddenly there is color in our world again.

As spring progresses the flowers fade, the grass grows, and we're ready to swim, to run, to play. Any excuse to just be outside rejoicing in God's world. Until, eventually, we tire of the heat and anticipate the restorative coolness of fall.

Perhaps God provides this continuous cycle of change to keep us fresh; make us feel alive; remind us of his awesome presence and (most importantly) his love and grace. How blessed we are to be a part of this cycle.

For right now, I'm just going to enjoy Fall and get ready to jump in some piles of leaves with the kids.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

School is in session

I've been looking over my past posts and realized that I spend most of my entries rambling ("bloviating", as one of my fellow bloggers puts it) on random subjects other than the alleged subject of the blog - homeschooling. To whit, an overdue post on subject.

School officially started a few weeks ago. DD1 is pleased to be in 2nd grade while DD2 is the cutest 1st grader you've ever seen. They could not be more different, and yet each so wonderful. After a few weeks of struggling with what to do with The Boy (age 4), we decided that our church's 4K program was the best place for him (and the rest of us). He has fewer opportunities to "socialize" with his buddies than the girls do, and DW was struggling with keeping him engaged while still actually getting some work done with the girls. He's extremely happy to be back at "chapel school" Tues - Thurs and likes the fact that he still gets to "homeschool" on Mon and Fri.

I'm still in charge of History lessons and still struggling with that. Both girls absolutely love history and we're all enjoying our SWB "History of the World". However, we're only 3/4th the way through Ancient History when we should be barreling our way through Medieval right now. I take comfort in the fact that, at this stage, I primarily just want to enbue them with a passion for history and a passion for learning. I'm sure we'll absorb far more the second time around (I love the whole Trivium concept). However, I definitely need to conquer my schedule and technique before then!

Meanwhile, both girls are continuing to love math. DD1 struggled with reading last year, but suddenly it clicked and now she's reading at every opportunity. DD2 has seen this happen and is really working at it now. Even The Boy is sounding out words and trying to read.

All three also LOVE learning about animals. DD2 has announced that she is going to be a farmer when she grows up and is going to have ______ (fill in the blank with random animals). While at Disney last week, we spent a day at the Wild Animal Kingdom. Here are all three bonding with the sheep and goats in the petting zoo. (yes I know, those hardly qualify as "wild" animals, but work with me here).

It is such a blessing to actually see the growth in all three.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v7)

Men have become the tools of their tools.”

- Henry David Thoreau

“Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says "Go!", a leader says "Let's go!”

- E.M. Kelly

“If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.”

- Unknown

“The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”

- Andrew S. Tanenbaum

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of a national emergency, even if I am in a cabinet meeting.”

- Ronald Reagan

“There’s never just one bad employee; there’s the employee and the manager who keeps him.”

- Michael Josephson

“The 7 Modern Sins: Politics without principles, Pleasures without conscience, Wealth without work, Knowledge without character, Industry without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice.”

- Canon Frederic Donaldson

“If you stay humble, you will not stumble.”

- Unknown

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

- Daniel Webster

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”

- Ecclesiastes 9:10

“If you want people to blindly follow you, chances are their blindness extends far beyond their following you.”

- Friedrich Nietzche

“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.”

- Unknown

“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,

We fell them down and turn them into paper,

That we may record our emptiness.”

- Kahlil Gibran

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

- G.K. Chesterton

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

- Charles Austin Beard

Monday, September 17, 2007


OK, we're back. My a bsence from the blogosphere is due to a long overdue, badly needed vacation. However, instead of one of those, we took all three kids to Disney World for a week. 6 days, 5 nights, 4 different parks, 3 kids, 2 parents, 1 grandmother (thank goodness!). We're all home now, and we're all exhausted. But boy did we have fun.

Don't let anyone tell you different. The folks at Disney know how to do it right. Except for our hotel room (we opted for the cheapest room the Disney resorts offer and we regret it), we had a fabulous week. We also realized that there is much learning to be had at there. We didn't stress it this trip, but future trips (when the kinder are older) will include many more hours at Epcot and Animal Kingdom learning about different nations and about biology.

More posts as time permits. I didn't work at all the whole time we were gone, so I'm not likely to have much spare time to blog for a bit. However, we did get some great pictures that I am willing to post that won't expose my family to the world.

Until later. . .


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Life isn't fair (and Men benefit) . . .

Tuesday's in our life promise to be interesting for the next 9 months. DD1 (age 7.75) has piano, followed by "Atlanta Young Singers at Callanwolde" practice. Time range: 2:30 for piano (in Jasper GA); 4:45 for Young Singers (in downtown Atlanta). Return time to home - 8:00 or later. When I'm traveling, the younger 2 (DD2- age 6; "the boy", age 4) will go along.

The exciting days are when I'm not traveling! Then, DD2 and the boy will remain with me at home and we'll forge onward. All I have to do is pick the boy up from "mothers morning out" (when will they fix that name?), get everyone down for "resting/ reading time", tread water from then until dinner, fix dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner, maybe do a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, and get ready for bed. Oh, and by the way, WORK during that time.

Yesterday was my first experience with the above. Oh, it was sooooooo smooth.

DW left with D1 about the time I left (along with DD2) to pick up "the boy" from MMO (round trip distance - 1.5 miles; round trip time elapsed - 37 minutes; don't ask). We returned to an empty house and both offspring were banished / allowed to return to their rooms for reading / resting time. Books galore. I returned to my office and was amazingly productive for at least 75 minutes. Then, I accidentally walked down the hall en route to the kitchen for water. DD2 intercepted me and announced that she was "done" with reading time. Ergo - bathtime ensued. By the time she finished, the boy was up and cheerful. Reverting to the gut reaction that all fathers have, I planted them both in front of the TV watching a loooooooong video. In my defense, I actually got some work done during that video and prolonged the inward flow of finances into the family coffers for the foreseeable future.

Eventually, the video ended and paid work had to end also. Then, the real work began. In no time flat, I had:
- the boy in the bathtub
- DD2 writing thank-you notes for her birthday presents
- dinner on the stove
- a load of laundry in the machine (and another already in the dryer)
- was unloading the dishwasher, AND

- was thinking "don't get cocky dude, the other shoe is going to drop in no time. It isn't this easy!"

The shoe indeed did drop, albeit very slowly. The evening languished. DW and DD1 did not appear. Instead, I had to actually eat dinner, clean up from dinner, sit down and finish "thank-you notes" with DD2 and the boy, get both into jammies, take relevant medicines, brush teeth, and clean up toys. Any thoughts of "chapter book reading" were banished during dinner. All I could envision was the glass of wine waiting for me upstairs.

The amazing thing is, if my wife had done all of this, no-one would have had a second thought. But when I verbalized the above narrative to a friend, she (note the gender) was stunned. Wow! A man did all of that!? All I have to do is show up and have their hair neatly brushed and I've immediately exceeded all expectations that most people have. Meanwhile, if DW allows my daughters to appear in public in anything less than magazine-quality couture, she has failed in many eyes.

At some point, however, I start to get offended. When "the boy" was still in-utero, DW was on bedrest for 6 weeks (his wasn't an easy pregnancy). For 6 weeks, I admittedly had tremendous help from Mon - Fri from my mother-in-law. From Fri pm - Sun pm, it was all me. On Sunday mornings (for 6+ weeks straight) I managed to get both girls up, fed, dressed, brushed, bowed, shoed, and off to Sunday School only to be greeted in the parking lot by amazed friends (both men and women) who couldn't believe I managed to do all of the above single-handedly. If DW had done all of that while I was out of town (which she does 3 weeks out of the month on week-days), no-one would have even noticed. When I did it once, then twice, then again, they were continuously amazed. Why is it so amazing that a Dad can do that?

Two concluding thoughts:
1) there are a lot of Dad's out there who contribute to that stereotype and they should be ashamed of themselves;
2) this isn't 1970 (or 1950), and public perception of Dad's should catch up with reality!

I'll now step off of my soap box.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Not exactly a restful weekend . . .

So our "Labor Day" weekend was spent doing exactly that. Well, not "laboring" as in "giving birth to a baby" (yikes!), but rather "laboring" as in "working our butts off around the house".

Twice a year DW volunteers at a huge consignment sale for children's clothing/toys/furniture/etc at my parent's church. It is a great opportunity to 1) clear out everything our three have outgrown and 2) buy a lot of barely-worn clothes (especially "dressy" stuff that kids never wear out) for same. In fact, DW helped take the idea for the sale to our old church in Alabama and basically ran the sale for about 7 years there. The sale is extremely well organized and a big win for the seller (who keeps 70% of the sale price), the church (which keeps 30% and uses for children's programs)and the buyer (who gets a great deal).

Anyway, we haven't sold anything since we moved in early 2006. It takes a lot of effort to get your clothes sorted, washed, organized by size and gender, inventoried, priced, tagged, etc. Then you get to do the toys.

That would be how we spent our Labor Day Weekend. In preparation for the sale coming up this week.

The good news is that we have about 225 items to sell. While the extra money coming in will be great, the fact that all of this stuff is out of the house is even better! (We're suffering from "crap creep" around here; there is "stuff" everywhere!) Now if we can just keep from bringing toooooo much new stuff home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v6)

“Never grow a wishbone, where your backbone ought to be.”

- Clementine Paddleford

“Nobody rises to low expectations.”

- Calvin Lloyd

“The horror of that moment’, the King went on, ‘I shall never forget.’

‘You will, though,’ the Queen said, ‘if you don't make a memorandum of it.”

- Lewis Carroll

“It is only reason that teaches silence; the heart teaches us to speak.”

- Jean Paul Richter

“After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.”

- Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman)

“Where the river is deepest it makes the least sound.”

- Italian Proverb

“Conceit is God's gift to little men.”

- Bruce Barton

“Conscience is, in most men, an anticipation of the opinions of others.”

- Sir Henry Taylor

“It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked.”

- Warren Buffett

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.”

- Abraham Lincoln

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”

- Proverbs 27:2

“Diseases of the soul are more dangerous than those of the body.”

- Cicero

“Where your will is ready, your feet are light.”

- George Herbert

“Perhaps nobody has changed the course of history as much as the historians.”

- Franklin P. Jones

“Pray devoutly, but hammer stoutly.”

- William G. Benham

“You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”

- Doug Floyd

“People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

- Victor Hugo

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.”

- John Wesley

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm not quite sure what to think about this, but. . .

What book are you? Some people get nice fuzzy books like "The Hobbit" or "Watership Down". Noooooo! Not me!

You're Anarchy, State, and Utopia!

by Robert Nozick

If it were up to you, there would probably be no government at all.
But then you'd have to deal with there being no government, and nobody likes that. So
you've decided that hiring a few security guards is okay. Getting rid of that nasty
tax collector would sure be nice, though. He keeps getting in the way of you making
the money you so richly deserve! Everyone who believes in you happens to be fairly
well off.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Hat tip to The Tutor at Apollos Academy

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v5)

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
- John Maxwell

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.”
- Don Wilder

“The hardest thing in the world to open is a closed mind.”
- Unknown

“Good timber does not grow with ease;
The stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”
- J. Willard Marriot

“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.”
- Josh Billings

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to achieving your dreams.”
- Og Mandino

“Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.”
- John Updike

“You can build a throne with bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long.”
- Boris Yeltsin

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
- Psalm 46:1

“The best kept secret in the global economy today is this: When your service is awesome you get so stinking rich you have to buy new bags to carry all the money home.”
- Tom Peters

“One of the strange phenomena of the last century is the spectacle of religion dropping the appeal of fear while other human interests have picked it up.”
- Harry Emerson Fosdick

“You don't just luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities.”
- Barbara Bush

“Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
- Roger Staubach

“There is no better exercise for your heart than to bend down, extend a helping hand and lift up a friend in need.”
- Bernard Meltzer

“What is morality?" she asked. ‘Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price’.”
- Ayn Rand

“If Darwin's theory of evolution was correct, cats would be able to operate a can opener by now.”
- Larry Wright

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We did it!

We had some work done around the house this spring and summer. Most of it was outsourced, but DW and I did do one BIG project ourselves. I'm proud to say that not only did we complete it, but we were (and are) still talking to one another after completion!!

1) research outdoor playsets online; find best deal
2) order online with "guaranteed" delivery
3) find out that delivery wasn't guaranteed afterall and complain to all who will pretend to listen
4) find out that the playset will be delivered in two days on the very day you've decided to cancel your order (and thus cancel your cancel)
5) find out that the delivery is coming on an 18-wheel semi that can't get to all the way to your house because of the curves, hills and (most importantly) community covenants preventing such nonsense.
6) agree to meet said truck at the gate to the community to transfer the entire playset into the back of your minivan. Pray that it will all fit and that the delivery guy will actually be willing to help make the transfer. Take second car (small SUV) just in case.
7) meet truck; load thousands of pounds (or so it seems) into the back of your faithful minivan and put the slide in the SUV. Pray your way back up the mountain.
8) stand in the driveway and try to figure out how to unload the stuff!

Now you've assembled your ingredients; time to start assembly.

1) find the instruction manual (all 62 pages including diagrams). Thank the Lord that it appears to have been written by technical writers who actually speak English as their primary language and have actually seen what they're describing.
2) rough sort the parts and pieces to get a handle on the scope of project.
3) start putting parts together
4) get to step 5 (out of 112) and discover that you're missing 5 little metal brackets that are critical to moving forward beyond current step.
5) wait until Monday morning and call manufacturing company; request said brackets.
6) wait until brackets arrive
7) wait for your calendar to allow you to start assembling again.
8) laugh about the fact that the instruction manual says this should take" two moderately skilled people 16 hours" to complete
9) finish 6 days (spread out over 2 weeks) later.

And then you have the masterpiece pictured above!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v4)

“Don't bargain for fish which are still in the water.”
- Indian Proverb

“There are two kinds of men who never amount to much: those who cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else.”
- Curtis Cyrus

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
- Mark Twain

“The eagle doesn't hunt flies.”
- Latin Proverb

“Nothing will content him who is not content with a little.”
- Greek Proverb

“The tragedy of life is not death but what dies inside a man while he lives.”
- Albert Schweitzer

“It is the province of knowledge to speak and the privilege of wisdom to listen.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.”
- Antoine de St. Exupery

“Where pride is, there also shall be reproach: but where humility is, there also is wisdom.”
- Proverbs 11:2

“Liberalism regards all absolutes with profound skepticism, including both moral imperatives and final solutions. Insistence upon any particular solution is the mark of an ideologue.”
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

“Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
- William Penn

“If you stay humble, you will not stumble.”
- Unknown

“I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all.”
- Joni Mitchell

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.”
- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wall Street moment in the mountains

Last week was certainly a "bear" market on Wall Street. In retrospect, I should have realized that I had a hint it was coming on Monday morning.

So there I was, sitting at my desk working diligently (both at my computer and on my third cup of coffee) when my phone rings. It was my wife, calling from upstairs. (that's not the punch line; happens all the time!).

"Look out your window!" she yells. "There's a bear coming."

Sure enough, a few seconds later an "adolescent"-sized bear (not full grown, but certainly no cub) wandered around the corner and strolled between the house and the kids play area. He paced back and forth a few times before climbing up on the railing around our lower deck (just outside my office) and jumped down. He smelled the dog-food I had given our dog that morning.

By this time, the whole family is in my office watching while dear wife snaps pictures with the camera. (yes, I brought the dog inside in time). Finally, it dawned on us that we might want to try to scare this guy away before he 1) makes himself at home and/or 2) starts to do some real damage to the house. DW heads upstairs to the upper deck (right above his head) and starts to jump up and down, yelling and making all kinds of noise. Meanwhile, I banged on the windows and door in my office and the kids yelled their heads off. Job done. The bear jumped over the railing and mozeyed off around the house (pausing to look in the front door before heading through the woods).


As much as I'd like for the market to turn around, hopefully it won't be presaged by a bull wandering down my street!


OK, I didn't intend to take the summer off from blogging. But, you know how it goes. I certainly didn't take the summer off from work, or from parenting or being a husband, or household chores or etc etc etc! Oh well. Let's try this again and see if I can be a little more diligent.

Off we go. . . .

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Yet another benefit . . .

of working from home AND homeschooling. I was in my office yesterday afternoon hunched over my laptop (as per usual). For once, I was NOT on a conference call. I looked up to see Dear Daughter 2 (age 5.5) standing outside the door on the deck clearly holding something in her hands. I waved her in (she very politely waited for an invitation before coming in) and she slowly opened her hands so that I could see her lizard! It was really cute; a blue-tailed lizard about 3 inches long. Actually, it was a tail-less blue-tailed lizard since our cat had already relieved him of his tail.

DD2 was so pleased with herself and couldn't wait for me to see her treasure. If I had been stuck in an office tower somewhere, or if she had been stuck in a classroom at the local elementary school, this could have never happened.

I love our lifestyle!! I am so thankful that I have the flexibility to work as I do.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v3)

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
- Mark Twain

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
- Helen Keller

“It is well that war is so terrible -- we should grow too fond of it.”
- Robert E. Lee

“It's impossible to awaken a man who is pretending to be asleep.”
- Navajo Proverb

“No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”
- Peter Drucker

“They that sow in tears shall reap joy.”
- Psalms 126:5

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.”
- Carl Jung

“He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.”
- Dr. Thomas Fuller

“All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville

“The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you.”
- Unknown

“Insults should be written in the sand and praises carved in stone.”
- Arab Proverb

“Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand.”
- Native American Proverb

“When walking through the "valley of shadows," remember, a shadow is cast by a Light.”
- H.K. Barclay

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Random Thoughts on Raising a Son

As my profile notes, we have three wonderful children. The youngest ("the boy", age 3.5) is the subject of this particular post.

Much to my wife's chagrin, The Boy has been totally enamored with all things "dad" for some time now. He wants to do everything with Dad. I thought at first this may be a factor of my frequent business travel (absence making the heart grow fonder, etc etc). However, two things suggest not.

1) my daughters, while always ecstatic to see me return home, don't lavish attention on me to the point of ignoring their mother. EVER.

2) I had a period of about four weeks recently with absolutely no travel (that NEVER happens). During that time, The Boy never abated in his contant quest to spend time with me / have me do things for him / etc.

Don't get me wrong - - I'm not complaining in the least. I'm just processing and developing some thoughts around this. Please note that I am not a university-trained sociologist or psychologist, so feel free to disabuse my hypothoses and certainly go ahead and try this at home.

Thought One: Girls and Boys are different. (please do not notify any mainstream media types that I have stated such blasphemy in the public realm; I don't have time to deal with them!). I think that The Boy naturally wants to spend time with his Dad because he knows we're both guys. Note: this is not unlike the natural affinity that his two elder sisters have long had for their mother. "Nature" is obviously at work here.

Thought Two: While I've known this for some time, his steady presence has reminded me of the enormous responsibility that I have to role-model for him a responsible man / husband / father. He sees how I act around other adults (including other men as we visit at church, soccer practice, etc). He sees how I act around his mother and how she and I communicate and treat one another. He sees how I treat him and his sisters. Because of nature, but through the experience of nurture, he is learning at least one possible way to fill those various roles. The knowledge of that influence on him has certainly impacted me in how I respond to stressful situations in his presence!!

Thougth Three: There are literally millions of young boys (if not tens of millions) growing up with no consistent male figure in their home. Where are they getting their role models? How are they learning how to be a man, a husband, a father? Please don't get me wrong - I remain in awe of anyone able to be a single parent. But in the end, what is the consequence? There are a lot of reasons for this to happen. I'll not comment on any except one. For the fathers who wake up one morning and decide that they don't want that job and just walk out - there is no punishment too great for such perfidy. And unfortunately, that pathetic instance happens all too often. What jerks.

My, what an uplifting post! I'll try to lighten up next time!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v2)

“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”
- Bobby Knight

“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.”
- Mike Krzyzewski

“I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em.”
- Jim Valvano

“If all I'm remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I've done a bad job with the rest of my life.”
- Isiah Thomas

“Not only is there more to life than basketball, there's a lot more to basketball than basketball.”
- Phil Jackson

“We have a great bunch of outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors.”
- Weldon Drew

“My priorities are family, Lord, profession - And that's not the order it should be, but I think No. 2 understands.”
- John Wooden

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
- Tim Duncan

“Fans never fall asleep at our games. They're afraid they might get hit by a pass.”
- George Raveling

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
- Hebrews 11:1

“It’s not what you tell them that’s important. It’s what they hear.”
- Red Auerbach

“God had a plan for me and I'm just fulfilling that plan, ... Just like HIV. I was the one that was supposed to go through that challenge and go through that period because that brought light to HIV and AIDS. They needed somebody and it was me, and I feel really good about what I have accomplished.”
- Magic Johnson

“First master the fundamentals.”
- Larry Bird

“The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.”
- Al McGuire

“The strong take from the weak and the smart take from the strong.”
- Pete Carril

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”
- John Wooden

Friday, March 16, 2007

What a morning!

My alarm was set to go off at 7:15 this morning. Amazingly, I only hit "snooze" twice before finally getting up. Due to a short commute (down one flight of stairs and through the playroom), I don't have to get up early.

This morning was particularly beautiful. The mountains around us were shrouded in gray mist with a whiteish cloud nestled down in the valley below us. I sat in the living room looking out at the view and listened to the quiet of the house. I was the only person up. It was 7:45. If our kids were in public school, they would have already been at school for 30 minutes. Given the fact that it's a 25 minute drive to the "local" elementary school, we would have had to leave at 6:45, which means we would have ALL been out of be before 6:00.

Instead, I was sipping coffee quietly at 7:45.

Now, school is going on upstairs with well-rested students and a well-rested teacher.

Life is good! Homeschooling isn't always easy, but days like today sure remind us that it's worth it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quotes of the Week

My father-in-law sends out an email blast weekly with quotes. Some great, some good, some so-so. I thought I would start sharing them here.

“Absence of proof is not proof of absence.”
- Michael Crichton

“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.”
- Jeff Daly

“Love thy neighbor as yourself, but choose your neighborhood.”
- Louise Beal

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
- Stephen R. Covey

“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
- M. Scott Peck

“A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.”
- African Proverb

“The real guarantee of freedom is an equilibrium of social forces in conflict, not the triumph of any one force.”
- Max Eastman

“Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.”
- General William Westmoreland

“Do what's right. Do it right. Do it right now.”
- Barry Forbes

“It doesn't matter what temperature the room is; it's always room-temperature.”
- Groucho Marx

“Teamwork is neither 'good' nor 'desirable'. It is a fact. Wherever people work together or play together they do so as a team. Which team to use for what purpose is a crucial, difficult and risky decision that is even harder to unmake. Managements have yet to learn how to make it.”
- Peter F. Drucker

“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
- Mark Twain

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

“If your plan is for a year, plant rice.
If your plan is for a decade, plant trees.
If your plan is for a lifetime, educate children.”
- Confucius

“Possession of the ball is the key to winning in football, basketball, and the game of life.”
- J. Laing Burns

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
- Marianne Williamson

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Life Happens, Part 2

Or, more aptly titled "Life's been happening for the last week and here's at least part of what that entailed!".

DW's car: back from the dealer with new brakes and some new cooling system seals buried deep within the engine (and therefore very expensive to replace). However, the AC is still not cold, so it goes back this week for a boost of freon.

My car is "outa here". Last Sunday, while DW's mom kidsat, we went car shopping in town. We'd been researching online and had narrowed down our requirements. Mid-size SUV, decent gas-mileage, all-wheel drive, three rows, low miles, preferably with leather seats. We're not picky. Plus, DW's van has On-Star and she's a big believer in it, so she preferred that we get a GM that was so equipped. Our choices might have been a little limited.

Fortunately, I drive a lot of different cars when I travel on business. While that has mostly exposed me to a lot of cars that I really don't want to own, I have had several pleasant experiences with the Buick Rendezvous.

Back to last Sunday. We headed to the closest Carmax. Great place to test-drive lots of makes and models of cars, plus they buy your car whether you buy their's or not. While the were checking my car out, we looked over the lot and drove a few options. No Rendezvous' on the lot, but we tested some other 3-row SUV's; no takers. After getting their quote for buying my old car (old Lexus' really do hold value!), we headed to the new Buick dealership down the street. They didn't have anything in the used lot, but we test drove a new Rendezvous and really liked it. Not too station-wagony, not too truck-like.

Back home we started checking out EBay and other auto auction sites. We found a 2006 with just over 2k miles on it; totally decked out with options (even a DVD player). It was in Cleveland (OH), but I figured I could always fly up there and drive it home. Let's sleep on it and make an offer tomorrow morning. Guess what was already sold the next morning. Back to the computer. Look around. There are amazingly few 3-row Rendezvous' on the market; even fewer with less than 50k miles (my top threshold).

Then, I found one only 75 miles away! Almost everything we wanted. No AWD, but we'll survive. We made an offer, they countered, and by Mon night we had a deal. Yeah!!! We headed back to Carmax on Tuesday to sell the Lexus. What a seamless process. If you ever need to sell a car, check out Carmax. Then, we picked up the new one on Wednesday. I'm so pleased. Great car, great price. Mostly, great that the whole process is done! Even if we do own an Oldsmobile and a Buick. What happened to the Porsche I was supposed to have about now?

Tomorrow, maybe we can get back to "normal".

Oh yeah, my parents and my two aunts (visiting from Illinois) are coming to dinner. Never mind.

But, I did get to play golf this afternoon. I love where we live!!! And I love our lives, even when they don't go according to our plan.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Life Happens!

While we always knew this was the case, this week has been a tremendous example of "life happening" despite our best efforts to keep our home (and home-school) on a tight leash.

Background: Sunday was DW's birthday. Coincidentally, I had a business trip to San Francisco last week that was an ideal "go along" trip. With a LOT of assistance from my mother-in-law, DW was able to join me on the trip to celebrate her birthday and (most importantly) give her some time away from our blessed children. As the old adage states, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. En route to the airport I couldn't drive fast enough to get her away from home and hearth. But, by Friday she was missing all three and ready to get home. (Good thing, too, since we were headed there regardless!!)

So, we start the week with a "vacation" under our belts and ready to take on the world. Of course, that means that BOTH cars will start making bizarre sounds and both air-conditioners will die. Hmmm. What to do. First, my car. We dropped it off last night at our trusty mechanic with a written list of aches and pains with instructions to "call first". My car is ancient (14 years old / 195k miles) but has served me well for a long time. I've sensed for some time that its end was near, but that didn't make this trip any easier. The call came today that, in fact, repairs will far exceed the worth and the long-term viability of the car. Ouch. That means shopping for a new (or "new to me") car is now in our future. Meanwhile, DW's van (our primary family vehicle) is at 90k miles and due for some routine maintenance plus a check of the AC and brakes. We've lived in the mountains for almost a year now; the brakes are due for an upgrade whether I like it or not. It's time to bleed money!

Cost aside, this whole episode has also cost time. Driving "into town" to drop off my car last night ended up lasting until 11:00 pm. Then, DW had the priviledge of taking the van in to a local dealer for a check-up while I facilitated school (I dare not suggest that I "taught"). Since the dealer was too busy to see us today, I get to take the van back tomorrow while DW actually teaches tomorrow. Eventually we'll head back into the city to pick up my heap and figure out what to do with it.

Ah, life!! It does move on regardless of what we put on our "to do" list!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Michael C Carlos Museum - Emory University

With a 1st Grader and a 5-Ker (?) enrolled in our homeschool, we're spending a lot of time studying ancient history. (Go, Classical Model!!) The kids have especially loved learning about Ancient Egypt.

A few weeks ago we took a family field trip into Atlanta and visited the Michael Carlos Museum at Emory University. Outstanding! Actual mummies in actual coffins with actual heirogliphics. Plus lots of other cool stuff. I highly recommend it to Georgia homeschoolers who aren't afraid of Atlanta traffic. You can buy a family membership for $75 per year that includes free headsets (for the audio tour) and a 10% discount in the bookstore. BTW, the bookstore is well-stocked with books for all ages focusing on the same areas of expertise as the museum.

Humorous anecdote: the five of us walked into the museum in the mid-afternoon and approached the docent at the front desk. The first words out of her mouth were "so, are you a homeschool family?". DW and I laughed later and wondered if we really had grown flashing signs on our foreheads announcing the fact. Has anyone else experienced this?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

My first official post. . .

When we started homeschooling last fall, I discovered the world of blogging. With the exception of "The Corner" from National Review Online and Dave Barry's blog, I had never bothered looking for or reading them. Suddenly, I had a reason!

Now, after 6+ months of reading, I've taken the plunge to start my own. But what to say!!!???

Perhaps a brief bio. We moved to the mountains of North Georgia last spring. The move was greatly desired and, in fact, totally self-motivated. I am a "virtual employee" for my company and travel extensively. Therefore, as long as I can get to an airport they don't really care where I live. (a nice perk, I must say) This fact dawned on my wife and me about 2 years ago and we started dreaming about where we REALLY wanted to live. At first, we planned on moving to North Carolina. In fact, we made multiple house-hunting trips and thought we had found the perfect house. However, our house in Birmingham didn't sell as quickly as we were convinced it would, so that didn't work. THANK THE LORD! If it had, we would be in a home that was too small, too expensive, and nowhere near where we are now (and where we are certain He wanted us to be).

After taking last winter off (no "for sale" sign, no weekly open houses, etc), we tried again. By now, we had also realized where we wanted / needed to be. Or rather, we realized a new criteria that we hadn't thought of before: "close to family". For my wife, having a husband who travels and three kids at home was difficult enough. Doing this with no family support-system near was even harder.

Now we're settled in a wonderful community 3 miles from her parents and less than 1 hour from mine. (Compared to 3 hours before, that's practically local!).

In the midst of all of this planning, we had a second revelation. We decided, or perhaps we realized that we needed to, homeschool. Wow! Are were we crazy? Some family members certainly thought so (and more than a few still do). But, after much prayer and consideration, we decided that it was the right thing to do.

Well, that's enough droning on for my first time. Maybe next I'll describe how the first 6 months have gone (as well as how the haven't gone).

Blessings. . .