Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sun & Sports

Dad and Ashley arriving Friday night, to watch Sophie on Saturday; and we had beautiful weather in Texas. On Saturday the high was 76 degrees and on Sunday the high was a slightly cooler 65 degrees.

So like many others in Texas, we spent our weekend outside or being active.

On Saturday, we went to the park and played tennis. Later, Ashley, Sophie and I sat on the side-lines while Brian and Dad played.

However, Sophie was studious in doing her duty as "ball girl". She'd even go above and beyond the call of duty, by emptying the tennis balls from the ball bin, throwing them towards "Papa", and then once the bin was empty, run off to retrieve them once again.

On Sunday, we went to the ice skating rink, rented some shoes, and spent some time skating across the ice.

Or in Sophie's case, holding on to Mommy while she skated.

Or in Dad's/Grandpa's case, holding on to the railing for dear life and making his way around the rink hoping he didn't fall down. However, this was his first time on skates and we were VERY proud of Papa!

Or in Ashley's case, slowly making her way around using the rail, while occasionally straying away onto the ice.

Like Dad, this was Brian's first time ice skating as well, but Brian did an amazing job making his way around the rink (only falling once).

I was impressed with his natural ability on ice; although, I don't think either of us are ready for the Olympics.

We really enjoyed having Dad/Grandpa (or in Sophie's vernacular- Papa) and Ashley with us this weekend.

We had a good time... even when it was just bumming around at home in the evening watching a movie.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Budget Cuts

Our federal government and practically all the states in the US are looking into budget cuts, and Texas is no exception. And it seems like every time the state needs to cut back spending, they automatically look towards deducting from the education department. And then our society grouches about how our educational system is declining. There are more High School drop outs and fewer students getting college degrees. So, I've done something that fewer Congressmen and women have thought of doing, I've looked at other areas that the government can reduce the budget WITHOUT laying off teachers and cramming more kids into one teacher's classroom.

1. Significantly reduce the money going to parks, pools, and other maintenance facilities. Really... the existing playground equipment is fine. And the lawn doesn't need to be mowed every week. And nope... don't need any perennials this year.

2. Cut spending on government buildings, such as not making software or computer upgrades. The computers that have Windows Vista will still be ok for a few more years. And no new furniture. Really, the desks and chairs should be ok. And if they break, well, they don't need to be replaced by something new.

3. Reduce the budget for marketing and advertising "energy savings" and other government programs. People realize that when money is tight, saving money equals saving energy so we really don't need those billboards anymore. And honestly, do we really need to "advertise" welfare programs? Isn't that just spending money so the government can find more money to spend?

4. Cut beautification funds and beautification maintenance. Flowers are pretty, but we don't need a ton of money going into flowers that will just need to be replanted next spring. Graffiti, I can live with it for a few more years. My money doesn't need to go towards paint and labor to cover up graffiti. And really, does a school need a sprinkler system or a new coat of paint? Really?

5. Fewer school buses and more children per bus.

6. New textbooks? Nope... not necessary. The old ones should work.

7. Reduce salaries of the education department to those jobs which are not directly in contact with students or their education (i.e. superintendents, janitors, cafeteria ladies ...)

8. Reduce or limit road construction plans. I hate potholes as much as the next person, but really... isn't educating our children a bit more important than some bumps in the road?

9. Cut back on hours of government services (post office, city hall, library, DMV, etc...). This will decrease employee hourly pay AND will reduce the utility bill on the buildings.

10. Reduce the amount of trash services. I mean... does the trash man really have to come 2 times a week? I can get by with them just coming once a week.

I know that several of these options may not appeal to many people, but I'm trying to think of ways that we can save education. If we ever want to get out of this recession we are going to need educated entrepreneurs, who don't want to rely on government services for their living. And these entrepreneurs are going to need an education, a qualified and educated support staff to assist them along the way to self-improvement (aka- teachers), and a society that supports their educational goals and ambitions.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bad for Books, Good for Decoration


Recently on a blog I found this amazing craft idea. It was a wreath made out of book pages. Now I'm not a destroyer of books by nature... but what if it's a bad book? What if it was so horrible that the publisher who actually thought this was a good idea to print should be placed in a mental institution?

So I went and purchased a book I would plan to destroy from the worst place imaginable for an author to find their book- the Dollar Store! And I didn't even bother to read my $1 book, but promptly started ripping out pages. The rest of the material were very cheap as well- a foam ring from the Dollar Store, and a glue gun.

It turned out amazing.

I've already got a place designated for it. Right next to all my books that were too good to destroy.

For those of you who would like to destroy a book and create a wreath, click HERE for instructions.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Silent Holocaust

Abortion is a highly controversial subject and not a light-hearted one either. While I do not write this to anger anyone, I feel it is important that I write down my thoughts on the subject; particularly today. Today several people are in Washington D.C. taking part in the March for Life, which rallies together a diversity of Pro-Life supporters against the legalization of abortion.

These past few months I've read 7 first hand accounts of the Jewish Holocaust thanks to the efforts of Yad Vashem in Israel. The term 'holocaust' according to Webster's dictionary as a "mass slaughter of people". And I've noticed several trends between Hitler's Holocaust in the 1930s and 40s, and our holocaust of unborn fetus' in the United States and the world for that matter.

  • Hitler slowly used propaganda to separate the Jews from the Aryans, claiming them as less than human. Today, our government tells us that the fetus is not human (... yet).
  • The German government did not want to pay and have to provide or support the Jews. And thus, doing the world a favor by removing this blight upon Germany. Today our government tells us that we are saving money because abortion will prevent these children from consuming government funds, like Medicaid, WIC, foster homes, etc...
  • The German government did not only seek to rid themselves of the Jews, but also anyone with mental or physical disabilities. Not only was it wrong to let these people live, but by exterminating them you were doing them a favor and again... saving money. Today, our government informs us that these children could be born with 'disabilities' and therefore, the kind thing would be for the child to die rather than allow them to enter a cruel world full of difficulties.
  • The Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and others were killed and then sometimes incinerated by fire. Today, many abortion clinics come with their own incinerator which burns the bodies of the aborted babies.
  • First it was the Jews and gypsies... and then it spread to include the persecution and death of Slavic peoples, homosexuals, Catholics, the handicapped, and communists. Today, what is preventing us from attempting to euthanize the older generations so as to cut medical costs and retain money for Social Security?
  • The Nazis were not the only "bad guys". During the holocaust there were several Christians (both Protestants and Catholics) who were very helpful in allowing the Nazi's to meet their goal of Jewish extermination. Many people willingly turned over the Jews to the Nazi regime. Likewise, today there are several Christians who will lovingly direct new mothers to Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics.
Now some people say, yes this would apply if we were talking about HUMANS, but we are just talking about fetus'... or a clump of cells... not HUMANS... not babies. Well then... here is another analogy... a tree is always a tree. If you leave it alone for a year it will still be a tree. Now a fetus is what? Is it always a fetus? Is it always a clump of cells? Or if you leave it alone does it not become a human? Then... would that mean it was always a human?

The Jewish Holocaust killed around 6 million Jews, starting in the 1930s and ending in 1945. So in 15 years, 6 million people were killed. If you were to average that per year, 400,000 Jews were killed a year. According to the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, 1.37 million abortions are performed every year in the United States. So from this information, ask yourself, what makes abortion today any different from Hitler's Holocaust? Other than we are killing more and more often.

For information on abortion statistics, click HERE.
For information on March for Life, click HERE.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finally... some Friends

We've been in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 3 weeks and Sophie has not played or interacted with any children her age in a month. The last time was a playdate with Gabriel and Patrick Tomko right before they left for Pennsylvania.

But today we discovered a Mom's Group at the church and Sophie got to meet some other little kids her age. And I also got to meet some other moms, one of them who had also lived in Camden, AR. Small world!

Anyway, I know that we will never forget our friends in Camden, but it will be nice again to have play dates!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

P90S

New state, new house, new year, and a new attempt at trying to get in shape. So we started the P90X program and Sophie got a "kick" out of doing the workout with us. She joined in several times. Here is P90S (Sophie style- P90X)





And had fun climbing on us as well.

And under us to for that matter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dancing Like the Pros

Lately I've been wondering just what happened to my little baby. Sophie has grown up so fast and I've been missing my little girl who loved to snuggle with me and walked on chubby legs. Now she doesn't have much time for snuggling and she doesn't walk... she runs. So I was watching videos of her and I uncovered this gem of a video that I took in October. She's not little, but it's so adorable as she tries to dance like the stars and professionals on tv. I know I meant to post this on the blog several months ago, but somehow this video slipped past my notice and never made it on the blog. So without further ado, here is Sophie dancing with the tv.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More Tunnel Time


The whole family has now entered the tunnel!

Brian was a little too big for the tunnel as well and Sophie had to help push him out on occasion.

My Top Ten To Do List for Texas

Over a year ago I made a list for all thing top ten things I wanted to see and do in Arkansas, which turned out to be pretty successful (completing 9 out of 10). So a new state deserves a new list. Below they are listed in no particular order.

1. The Alamo.
2. Natural Bridge Caverns
3. The Beach (Corpus Christi, Padre Island, Galveston ...)
4. Texas State Aquarium
5. San Antonio River Walk
6. Dinosaur Valley State Park (Sophie loves Dinosaur train)
7. Golida State Park
8. Dallas Zoo
9. Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza (maybe not necessarily go to the museum, but at least go to the area where Kennedy was assassinated).
10. Go to a game at Cowboy Stadium (long shot, but hey... why not?)

Some of the attraction items we have already done in Texas include:
1. Palo Duro Canyon
2. The Stockyards
3. The Steakhouse home to the 72 oz. steak
And therefore (while they would have made it on the list) have been left off the list.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Settled in Arlington

Well we are still unpacking and getting things put together, but here are a few pictures of our new place in TX.

Obviously Sophie's room was one of the first ones unpacked and she loves to show it off. She knows exactly which room is HERS.

She also commendered the closet in Brian's Man Cave (3rd bedroom) and made it her little play area as well. Brian is not too thrilled to be sharing any of his space in the Man Cave for her little girl toys, but such is life.

And then of course there is the kitchen:

And the living room:

Our place is much nice and much bigger than what we were renting in Camden. And so far this place has proven to be pest free since I have yet to see evidence of mice or cockroaches. HURRAY!

We still aren't 100% unpacked, but we've made a really good dent and hopefully by the end of this week everything will be unpacked. Then perhaps we can get rid of some of these boxes. Until then I think we'll continue to find fun uses for the remaining boxes (like the tunnel).

*Picture of the outside of the house yet to come*