Leap of Dave Summer Reading Program

Leap of Dave Summer Reading Program
Summer Reading Program: May 29th Through September 5th

A QUOTE TO START THINGS OFF WITH

I see a young boy Saying He's going to run away. Deep inside, It's already happened. Ronny Dibbern (Grade 8) From Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by young people. Compiled by Sanford Lynne

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Look for a New Year

It is already the new year on the east coast. But it's still 2009 here in the Midwest.

So here are 3 things for the end of 1 year and the beginning of another.

1. Saw Sherlock Holmes with my wife, her brother, uncle and cousin last night. The 4 of us boys liked it, Amy did not. Actually, she hated it.

2. I will be making some changes to the blog in the weeks to come. I will probably experiment with a few looks before hopefully unveiling a more permanent new look next Thursday on my 1 year blog-o-versary.

3. 2009 was a rough year for our family. Losing my brother in April had a profound impact on the entire year. God is still blessing us, however, and I look forward to what's ahead in 2010.
If you'd like to blog about 2009 or 2010 you can add it to Mr. linky below.



Next Time: Maybe This Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hall of Fame Part 3

This is the third installment in my series of posts previewing the candidates for enshrinement in baseballs hall of fame. To read installment one or two click as needed.



Today I will finish previewing those returning to the ballot this year. Again I will not be stating my preferences for induction until the final post.

Continuing with those returning to the ballot, we start with Harold Baines who is on the ballot for the 4th year. Baines began and finished his MLB career with the Chicago White Sox. He actually played for the pale hose on 3 different occasions (80-89, 96-97, 2000-2001) In between he played with the Texas Rangers, (89,90) 3 stints with the Baltimore Orioles (93-95, 97-99, 2000), Oakland A's (90-92), and the Cleveland Indians in 1999. Baines approached the 3000 hit mark late in his career but finished well under with 2,866 hit 384 homers and had a life time batting average of .289. Baines, a six time all star (85,86,87,89,91, and 99) spent most of the 1980's as an outfielder and spent the 2nd half his career as a DH.

Baines first appeared on the ballot in 2007 appearing on 5.3% of the completed ballots. He had 5.2 % in 2008 and 5.9 % last year.

Analysis and Outlook: With 12 elections remaining, it is much too early to write Baines off entirely. However, just a small decrease in his support over the past 3 years would remove him from the ballot altogether.

Mark McGwire is on his 4th year on the ballot. I would generally tell you what teams he played for and the statistics he compiled over his career, but as McGwire infamously once noted I am not here to talk about the past.

Actually I am here to talk about the past so I will tell you that McGwire played for the Oakland A's form 1986 to 1997 and played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1997 to 2001. He hit 583 home runs and once held the single season home run record at 70. The first baseman had 1626 career hits with a lifetime batting average of .263. McGwire was the 1987 Rookie of the year, won a gold glove in 1990, silver slugger awards in 92,96,and 98. The 12 time all star (87-92 and 95-2000) was the runner-up for the NL MVP in 1998.

McGwire entered the hall of fame ballot in 2007 with 23.5% of the vote, had 23.6% in 2008 and appeared on 21.6 % of the completed ballots last year.

Anaylisis and Outlook: With career numbers alone McGwire would probably already be in the hall or be at least 30 - 40 more percentage points closer. Allegations and speculation about steroid use and his aforementioned inability to talk about the past has radically cut off his support. I don't expect his numbers to improve anytime soon.

Tim Raines is on the ballot for his 3rd year. He played for the Montreal Expos (1979-1990 and 2001) Chicago White Sox (1991-1995) New York Yankees (1996-1998), Oakland A's (2000), Baltimore Orioles (2001) and finished up with the Florida Marlins in 2002. Raines had 2605 hits, 808 stolen bases and a lifetime batting average of .294. Raines played in seven straight all star games (1981-1987 and was the 1987 all star MVP. He won a Silver Slugger award in 1986 the year he led the National League with a .334 batting average.

Raines first year on the ballot was 2008 when he received 24.3 % of the vote. Last year he was down to 22.6%.

Analysis and Outlook: Receiving over 20% of the vote on your first two ballots is a pretty good way to start your bid for hall of fame induction. The fact that his numbers took a small dip from his first to second year on the ballot could be a little troubling if the pattern continues downward. I think it's more likely that this was a small course correction that happens to most players in the election process. I also feel that Rickey Henderson's election on the first ballot last year lowered his vote total last year but ultimatelt will increase his chances in the years to come as he is such a similar player to Henderson.

A cool use for a GPS


It's been a while since I posted a Works for me Wednesday post. I thought of one last week that I thought I would share.


If I have a place to go to during the day and I don't want to be late for it instead of setting an alarm clock I set the address in my GPS. The GPS will tell me what time I will be arriving at my destination. I leave the house as the arrival time on the GPS nears the time I want to arrive. Not the most usual use for a global positioning system but hey it works for me.


To see what works foe others head over to We Are That Family.
Next Time: A New Look for a New Year

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hall of Fame Part 2

This is the second installment in my series on the 2010 BBWWA hall of fame election. There are 3 different phases in this series. Phase 1 is the analysis of returning players to the ballot. This is the second post in phase 1. I will continue to review these players in descending order based on their years in the ballot. Click here to see my analysis of Dave Parker, Bert Blyleven, Dale Murphy and Jack Morris. I also want to reiterate that my analysis is based on previous voting patterns and not my view on the individuals hall of fame worthiness. I will be discussing those points in phase 3.

Don Mattingly is on his 10th year of the ballot. Mattingly played his entire career (1982-1995) as a first baseman for the New York Yankees. In Mattingly's 14 seasons for the Bronx Bombers he hit 222 home runs, maintained a lifetime average of .307 and had 2153 career hits. Mattingly made 6 all star teams, won 9 gold glove awards (85-89 + 91-94) and 3 consecutive silver slugger awards (85-87). He was the American League MVP in 1985 and the runner-up in 1986.

Mattingly has been on the ballot since 2001 garnering 28.2 % of the vote that year. 2001 was also the year he received the most support. He has only been on 20% or more of the ballots twice (the other year being 2002). He has actually lost 1 percentage point of support in the past 5 years (12.8 in 2004 and 11.9 in 2009).



Anaylysis and Outlook. Mattingly's 28.2% in 2001 would have made a good point to build on, instead his % decreases for a few years then increase for a few and then goes back down Jack Morris and Bert Blyleven both had less votes than Mattingly did in 2001 but by 2009 Blyleven had 5 times the votes Mattingly had and Morris had almost 4 times more. With 6 elections left Mattingly's only legitimate chance of being voted in by the BBWAA is by increasing his support about 10 percentage points each year and given his up and down history that does not seem likely.



Andre Dawson is on the ballot for his 9nth year. Dawson played for the Montreal Expos form 1976 to 1986. He played foe the Chicago Cubs from 1987 to 1992. He played 2 years for the Boston Red Sox in 1993 and 1994 and finished his career with the Florida Marlins in 1995 and 1996. Dawson was a lifetime outfielder save his 2 years in the American league where he was a designated hitter. Dawson had a career batting average of .279 and had 2774 hits. He is one of only 6 players to have over 300 home runs (438) and 300 stolen bases (314). Dawson won 6 consecutive gold gloves with the expos (1981-1985) and 2 more with the Cubs (1987-1988). He made 3 consecutive all star teams with Montreal (1981-1983) and 5 consecutive with Chicago (1987-1991). Dawson was good at making a first impression as he won the N.L. Rookie if the year award with the Expos in 1977 and won the NL MVP in 1987 his first year with the Cubs.



Dawson has been on the ballot since 2002 where he received 45.3% of the vote. He was voted for by 50% of the electorate in 2003 and again in 2004. He has received more than 65% support in the last 2 elections receiving his highest total last year with 67% of the vote.



Analysis and Outlook: Dawson previous 8 years on the ballot read like a textbook on how to make the hall. He has increased his % in every year but 2 maintaining 50% in 2004 and going from 61% in 2006 to 56.6 in 2007. With 7 more elections left to him he should easily make the 75% he needs. Also very promising is that everyone who had more votes than him in any of his previous elections has already made the Hall.

Alan Trammell is on the ballot for the ninth year. He played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1996. While he played occasional other positions for the Tigers including DH, He predominately played shortstop and did so each season he was in the major leagues. Trammell was a 6 time all star (80, 84,85,87,88, & 90), 4 time gold glove recipient, (80,81,83 and 84), 3 time Silver Slugger winner (87,88 &90) and the 1984 World Series MVP. In 1987 He was runner up for the AL MVP award. Alan hit .285 for the Tigers with 2365 hits and 185 Home Runs.

Like Dawson, Trammel has been on the ballot since 2002. Unlike Dawson, Trammell has never even come close to the 75% needed for election. He was on 15.7% of the ballots in his first year of eligibility, Hit a high water mark of 18.2% in 2008 and was down to 17.4% in last years balloting.

Analysis and outlook: In his 8 past elections Trammels support has been consistently in the teens. This seems to mean that there is no wide spread appeal for putting Trammell into the Hall.

Lee Smith the lone returning relief pitcher is on his 8th year on the ballot. Smith pitched from 1980 to 1997. Beginning with the Chicago Cubs (1980-1987), then playing 2 and a half seasons with the Boston Red Sox (88-90), parts of 4 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (90-93). His later years he played on the New York Yankees (93), Baltimore Orioles (94). California Angels (95,96), Cincinnati Reds (96), and Montreal Expos 1997. He had a lifetime ERA of 3.03, 1,251 strike outs and 478 saves. Smith was chosen for 7 all star games (83,87,91-95). He was second in Cy Young voting in 1991 the year he won the first of his 2 consecutive NL Rolaids Relief awards for the Cardinals. He won the AL version of the award in 94 with the Orioles.

Smith has been on the ballot in 2003 when he received 42.3% of the vote. He dropped down to 36.6% of the vote in 2004 and in the last 5 years has seen that percentage rise to 44.5% in the last election.

Analysis and Outlook: Smith's initial vote count and his current standing bode well for eventual enshrinement when viewed separately. Looking at them together makes one wonder why he has only moved up 2 percentage points in 7 elections. If whatever has been keeping him stuck in the 40's resolves himself there is plenty of time for Smith to get to Cooperstown.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hall of Fame Part 1

January 6th, 2010 is an important day for me. It is the 1 year blog-o-versary of Home School Dad (HSD), my main blog. I will be commemorating it there accordingly.

January 6th also has importance as it is the day that the Baseball hall of fame voting is revealed to the general public.

The Baseball writers Association of America (BBWAA) can vote for up to 10 former players to be inducted into the hall in July of 2010. If a player gets 75% of the writers vote they make the hall. If they get less than 75% but more than 5% of the vote they can return to the next years ballot. Players will be on the ballot for 15 years until they receive more than 75% or less than 5 percent of the vote.

Over my next several posts I will introduce you to the players returning to this years ballot, those on the ballot for the first time, and in my final post I will reveal how I would have voted if given the opportunity.

Phase 1: Returning Players (In descending order of years on ballot). The analysis will be based on previous voting patterns not my assessment of their HOF worthiness. That piece of the puzzle will come in the last installment.

Dave Parker is on the ballot for his 14th year . Parker played for 19 seasons beginning with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1973-1983) and ending his career with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991. In between je played for the Cincinnati Reds (1984-1987), Oakland A's 1988-1989, Milwaukee Brewers 1990, and California Angels (1991).

When Parkers playing days came to a close he had amassed 2712 total hits, 339 homers and a lifetime batting average of .290. He played outfield for his most of career where he won 3 consecutive gold gloves (77-79) and was DH the majority of his last 4 seasons. Parker was the 1978 NL MVP, runner up in 1985, a 7 time all star and the all star MVP in 1979.

Parker has been on the ballot since 1997 his best year came in 1998 when he received 24.5 % of the vote. In 2004 Parker had 10.9% of the vote in 2004 and was up to 15% in last years balloting.

Analysis : Players on the 14th ballot who eventually make the Hall in the BBWWA process generally are increasing in % of votes year after year and closing in on the 75% mark. Jim Rice, For an example who was voted in in his 15th year last year received 64.8 % in his 12th election, 71.2% in his 13th, 72.2% in his penultimate election and received 76.4 % when he entered the Hall. Rice's low water mark of 29.4 % in his 5th election is 5 percentage points better than Parker did in his best year.

Outlook: Parker doesn't appear to have enough time to mount a surge of votes needed for induction.

Bert Blyleven is on the ballot for his 13th year. Blyleven began his career pitching for the Minnesota Twins (1970-1976), spent a season and a half with the Texas Rangers (76-77), 3 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (78-80) 4 and a half years with the Cleveland Indians followed by a return trip to Minnesota (1985-1988) and ended his playing days with the California Angels (89-92). Blyleven retired with a lifetime era of 3.31, 3701 strikeouts and 13 wins shy of the 300 mark.

While Blyleven helped 2 teams win the World Series (Pittsburgh 79 and Minnesota 1987) with a combined 2-1 record and 2.35 ERA his trophy cabinet does seem to be shy of personal accolades. He had no gold gloves, only 2 all star appearances and never finished higher than 3rd in Cy Young voting.

Blyleven has been on the HOF ballot since 1998 when like Parker he received 17.5% in his first opportunity. Last year was his best showing as he received 62.7% of the vote. He has gained almost 30 percentage points in the last 5 years (Blyleven received 35.4 % in 2004).

Analysis and outlook: Looking again at Rice for comparison we find that Blyleven 62.7% last year in his 12 election is comparable to Rice 64.8% at the same time in the process. Combined with the fact that some writers only vote for 1 to 3 candidates each year, Blyleven has an excellent chance of making the HOF in the next 3 years.

Dale Murphy on the ballot for the 12th year played the majority of his career with the Atlanta Braves (1976-1990). He played 2 and a half seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (1990-1992) and played in 26 games with the Colorado Rockies in 1993. Murphy held a lifetime batting average of .265, had 2,111 hits and 398 home runs.

Murphy started as a catcher with the braves but played the majority of his games in the outfield. He was elected to 7 all star games, received 5 consecutive gold glove awards (82-86) 4 consecutive silver slugger awards (82-85) and 2 consecutive MVP seasons (82+83).

Murphy received 19.3% of the vote in 1999, his first year on the ballot. His high water mark was in 2000 where he received 20.8%. In 2004 he reached his low mark only appearing on 8.5 % of the ballots. He has gained 3% points between the election of 2004 and 2009.

Analysis and outlook: A serious HOF contender on his 12th ballot would be dramatically better positioned than Mr. Murphy. While his overall prospects are not as bleak as Parkers, nothing short of a meteoric rise in votes in his last 4 seasons of BBWWA eligibility will get him to the 50% mark let alone the 75% needed to make it in the hall.

Jack Morris is on the ballot for the eleventh year. Morris pitched for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1990, the Minnesota Twins in 1991, the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 & 1993 and finished his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1994. Morris finished with an era of .390, 2,478 strikeouts and 254 wins.

Morris won World Series championships with 3 teams (Detroit 84, Minnesota 91 and Toronto 92) He had a 4-2 World Series and a 2.96 ERA. His individual trophy case is as barren as Bylevens with the exception of the 1991 World Series MVP and 5 all star appearances as compared to Bert's 2.

Morris has been on the HOF ballot since 2000 when he appeared on 22.2 % of the ballots. His best year was last year when he received 44% support an increase of almost 18 percentage points since 2004.

Analysis: With 5 years left on the ballot Morris is in a preferable yet precarious position. Morris is only 2 points behind where Blyleven prior to his eleventh election. Blyleven was able to increase 14 percentage points that year to get to his present favorable position. If Morris doesn't have a double digit surge in one or two of the next few elections he is apt to be on the outside looking in 5 years from now when his 15 years are up.

That's enough analysis for one day. I'll be back today or tomorrow to look at 4 more players returning to the ballot this year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Six words after Christmas



2 New Cameras 1 New Phone





Had a very merry Christmas. We did something new this year giving each other only 1 gift per person from each person. We knew that between grandparents, aunts and uncles the kids would be lavished with gifts and we did not need to pile on.

Each kid spent their own money for the gifts they gave. Allowing Amy and I to get what my dad used to call "the biggie."

Charlie and Emma received cameras. So if you ever happen over to their blogs (Emma, Charlie) expect to see lots of pictures of bunnies and Star Wars Lego Sets respectively.

I wasn't totally surprised to receive a telephone this year. We had washed my last one and I was in need. However the type of phone floored me. We have never had any kind of phone with a contract before it has always been pay as you go. My new Samsung has internet access, a camera (that also takes video, a GPS, a pastry chef, and a word processor. Amy wanted me to have something that I could use when I got a blog or other creative idea that worked better than a Taco Bell Napkin.

I have to go now and register for the graduate school course I will need in order to master the intricacies of this phone. Hope every one's Christmas was as good as ours. Skip on over to showmyfacedotcom to see more of Six Word Saturday.

Next Time: A Cool Use For A GPS

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve at the Bowling Alley

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Amy, Siblings and Cousins on 23rd


One of the things I really enjoy about Christmas is continuing family traditions. On Amy's side of the family there are 2 such traditions that I enjoy partaking in each year.

The first takes place on the evening of the 23rd. It is the celebration of my MIL's birthday. Being born so close to Christmas sometimes can seem like the short end of the stick. My MIL's family certainly made it work for her. They gather the relatives for a great dinner (these day's it's an outstanding pot luck). Then after dinner they gather round the table and the birthday girl is celebrated. She is sung to and she opens a barrage of presents. When that is finished the Christmas presents are handed out and everyone opens presents from youngest to oldest.

My 2 favorite parts of this evening are the themed gifts and the clapping. Not every year, but many years some of my wife's relatives will give everyone the same type of gift. One year it was slipper socks. What is really cool about this is how the family pulls it off. After a few people have opened their gift, and the pattern has emerged, people begin chanting the name of the item while it's being opened. If you've never opened slipper socks while 15 people are chanting slipper socks you are missing out!

After each gift is opened there is a moment of gift appreciation and clapping. This is no golf clap either. These are heartfelt moments of appreciation, the clapping is really more from the joy of Christmas and time spent family and less the celebration of the material.










The second established tradition is also on my MIL's side of the family. Each year on Christmas Eve they go bowling. I am not quite sure how or why the idea started but as a guy who loves bowling I don't question it.











It's such a nice tradition that I just penned a ditty to celebrate it.
Tis the season to go bowling
Fa la la la la la la la la
Gets the Holiday fun a-rolling
Fa la la la la la la la la la
In the peaks and in the valleys
fa la la fa la la fa la la
We have fun in lighted alleys
fa la la la la la la la la
Some have t-shirts with their names
fa la la la la la la la la
Some are bowling Flintstone frames
fa la la la la la la la la
Some are striking some are sparring
Fa la la fa la la la la la
great experiences all are sharing
Fa la la la la la la la la
Here at Home School Dad I wish the happiest of holidays and the merriest of Christmas and the least amount of gutter balls possible.
Next Time: Six Word Saturday

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Great Drum

Hockey Lessons
Life Lessons from the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
This is the first post that I am publishing in it's entirety on both my blogs. The idea speaks to me on both a sports and home school level.

Mark Pavelich was one of the three young men who played on the "conehead" line for Herb Brook's gold medal winning hockey team. Named the cone head line because of the unique perhaps alien style the boys played with as an homage to the popular conehead sketch on Saturday Night Live at that time.

The book "The Boy's of Winter" does an excellent job portraying Pavelich as someone who loves playing Hockey but not the notoriety that comes with excelling. Pavelich is one of 2 NHL players to score 5 goals in a game. 1

That fact notwithstanding, Pavelich was much more comfortable getting the puck to other scores than scoring himself. Most familiar with the Miracle on Ice are familiar with Mike Eurizione's game winning goal. It was Pavelich who got the assist. Pavelich also got the assist on his line mate Buzz Schneider's first period goal that knotted the Russians at one. How appropriate that a player who liked being behind the scenes made the first and final assists in the most important hockey game in his countries history.

As a NHL player Pavelich was known for his poise on the ice, his practical jokes in the locker room and his desire to be and completely comfortable in who he was as a person. Who he was off the ice was not a social butterfly or a clotheshorse. There are countless stories in "Boys of Winter." showing Pavelich's preference to be withdrawn and only comfortable outside of the rink when He was fishing, hunting or other outddorsy tasks. His New York Rangers teammate Nick Foitu described him thusly, "He dressed like a mountain man from the backwoods of Minnesota. Then he would come out on the ice and play his heart out." 2

Joe Devaney a close friend of Pavelich's summed him up this way . . . "He's completely happy and content with what he does. He marches to his own drum and it's a great drum." 3

I really liked that quote because it makes an important distinction for going against the status quo. Some people march to a different drum just to be contrarian. When they hear toe-may-toe they have a knee-jerk need to say toe-mah-toe. Unfortunately, being different just to be different doesn't usually make a difference.

Amy and I march to a different drummer when it comes to educating our kids. We home school our children and we don't do it to be different. We do it because, for us, homeschooling is a great drum. Like Pavelich, we are happy and content with our decision to homeschool.

As a parent I also see the quote about Pavelich as an opportunity to help my children find their drummer. All our children seem to be on their way to establishing their own paths. Emma, the literary giant and animal lover. Charlie, the scientist, explorer, super hero. Lucy, the 1 man wrecking crew/ballerina with an unusual take on about everything. I recently told her that over Christmas Break I wanted her to memorize three state capitols. I suggested Indiana, Iowa and Missouri as they border Illinois. She responded back that she wanted to memorize the capitols of Kentucky, Bethlehem and Arkansas.

As Amy and I help them find their drummer we realize it doesn't have to be the road less traveled, we just want the path they take to be a great drum.
1. Wikpedia article on Pavelich
2. The Boys of Winter. Coffey, Wayne. p. 167
3. Boys of Winter, P. 169

A Great Drum

Hockey Lessons



Life Lessons from the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team



This is the first post that I am publishing in it's entirety on both my blogs. The idea speaks to me on both a sports and home school level.
Mark Pavelich was one of the three young men who played on the "conehead" line for Herb Brook's gold medal winning hockey team. Named the cone head line because of the unique perhaps alien style the boys played with as an homage to the popular conehead sketch on Saturday Night Live at that time.



The book "The Boy's of Winter" does an excellent job portraying Pavelich as someone who loves playing Hockey but not the notoriety that comes with excelling. Pavelich is one of 2 NHL players to score 5 goals in a game. 1


That fact notwithstanding, Pavelich was much more comfortable getting the puck to other scores than scoring himself. Most familiar with the Miracle on Ice are familiar with Mike Eurizione's game winning goal. It was Pavelich who got the assist. Pavelich also got the assist on his line mate Buzz Schneider's first period goal that knotted the Russians at one. How appropriate that a player who liked being behind the scenes made the first and final assists in the most important hockey game in his countries history.



As a NHL player Pavelich was known for his poise on the ice, his practical jokes in the locker room and his desire to be and completely comfortable in who he was as a person. Who he was off the ice was not a social butterfly or a clotheshorse. There are countless stories in "Boys of Winter." showing Pavelich's preference to be withdrawn and only comfortable outside of the rink when He was fishing, hunting or other outddorsy tasks. His New York Rangers teammate Nick Foitu described him thusly, "He dressed like a mountain man from the backwoods of Minnesota. Then he would come out on the ice and play his heart out." 2
Joe Devaney a close friend of Pavelich's summed him up this way . . . "He's completely happy and content with what he does. He marches to his own drum and it's a great drum." 3
I really liked that quote because it makes an important distinction for going against the status quo. Some people march to a different drum just to be contrarian. When they hear toe-may-toe they have a knee-jerk need to say toe-mah-toe. Unfortunately, being different just to be different doesn't usually make a difference.
Amy and I march to a different drummer when it comes to educating our kids. We home school our children and we don't do it to be different. We do it because, for us, homeschooling is a great drum. Like Pavelich, we are happy and content with our decision to homeschool.
As a parent I also see the quote about Pavelich as an opportunity to help my children find their drummer. All our children seem to be on their way to establishing their own paths. Emma, the literary giant and animal lover. Charlie, the scientist, explorer, super hero. Lucy, the 1 man wrecking crew/ballerina with an unusual take on about everything. I recently told her that over Christmas Break I wanted her to memorize three state capitols. I suggested Indiana, Iowa and Missouri as they border Illinois. She responded back that she wanted to memorize the capitols of Kentucky, Bethlehem and Arkansas.
As Amy and I help them find their drummer we realize it doesn't have to be the road less traveled, we just want the path they take to be a great drum.
Next Time: Christmas Eve at the Bowling Alley




2. The Boys of Winter. Coffey, Wayne. p. 167
3. Boys of Winter, P. 169

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Library Week


Six Word Saturday


Library Week with my Intrepid Reporter


Twice a year we have library week as part of our home school activities. We generally spend 5 days going to various libraries. Since Amy gets two weeks off at Christmas time we have decided to take two weeks to visit libraries.


Our first library chose itself as Charlie was invited to a afternoon birthday party 30 minutes from our house. While he sleds and has general merriment with the Bioncle and Star Wars set, we went 600 feet (thanks GPS) across town to the local library.


I have assigned Emma with the task of reporting on each library. I am actually posting this while visiting library #1.


Here is Emma's report:


Name of Library: St. Charles Library. St. Charles, IL.


Something I liked: I liked all the Animal Ark Books they had.


One thing I didn't like: They didn't have one of my favorite books, Bunnies in the Bathroom.


A book I read while I was there: 2 Minute Mysteries by Donald Sobol author of Encyclopedia Brown.


Dad asked me to ask the Librarian a question. Lucy said she would, so I followed her with my notebook.


Lucy: Knock Knock

Librarian: Who's There?

Lucy: Emma

Librarian: Emma Who?

Lucy: Emma Kayrene (My Middle Name)


It's time to pick Charlie up from sledding so thus ends the first installment of Library Week


Head over to showmyface.com for more six word fun.


Next Time: Hockey Lessons

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three Things This Thursday


I am a bit of a procrastinator. Thursday is almost over and I am just getting to Three Things This Thursday. Today is supposed to be a themed edition of 3 Things This Thursday entitled 3 Gifts This Thursday. If my tardiness hasn't put too great a damper on the proceedings I will tell you about 3 gifts I have received in my life time and give you an opportunity to do the same.



Gift 1. When I was in the fourth grade my parents gave me a book called Chippy Chipmunk. It was a fantastic read and I read it over and over. When I think back to my formidable years and my life love long of reading I often think of that book.



Gift 2. A few winters back Amy gave me a fantastic book about the 1980 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team that surprised the world and wrested the gold medal from the perpetual clutches of the Soviets. The name of the book is The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey. I have used it as source material for a segment I do here at the blog called Hockey Lessons.



Gift 3. Most Christmases and birthdays my Dad gives me a bit of money with the general instructions don't spend this on the mortgage or use this to buy something you generally wouldn't. When my Dad this in Christmas of 2004, Any and I saved it for a few months until we figured out best how to use it. One day a co-worker gave me the White Sox group tickets order form. She worked in the mail room and had received it and knew our company wasn't going to use it and thought I might want to look at it knowing how huge of a Sox fan I am. Most of the plans were untenable financially but there was 1 plan the Minnie Plan named after White Sox legend Minnie Minoso. The Minnie plan was for 9 home games. It still seemed like a lot of money to pay for tickets when we generally only went to 2 to 3 games a year.

Amy was adamant, she said we had the money from my Dad's gift and she knew how much I would enjoy it. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and spent the big bucks on an extravagance.

I am really glad I did. It turns out that the year that I attended my most Sox games was in fact the year they won the World Series. We bought 2 tickets to each of the nine games. I was able to invite friends and family and even if the Sox had not won it all the memories of the time spent with loved ones watching my favorite sports team would be worth every penny my Dad spent.

So those are my 3 gifts this Thursday. What gifts do you remember? What meaning do they have? link on to Mr. Linky below and tell us all about it.






Next Time: Library Week

Happy Anniversary Bobby Jenks

It's Christmas time and everyone seems to be on the hunt for bargains. For Baseball general managers one place to look for bargains is the waiver wire.

This time of year baseball teams are shuffling their rosters around and will often cut a player lose as part of a numbers game. In December 2004, The LA Angels of Anaheim decided to cut Bobby Jenks a highly regarded pitching prospect. In 4 years in the minors Big Bobby had compiled a lot of excess baggage including elbow trouble, erratic behavior and accusations of racism. 1

Enter White Sox GM who on this day in 2004 took a chance on the 100 MPH as a reclamation project. The White Sox decided to shift him from a starter to a role in the bullpen. Jenks came up mid season for the Sox in 2005 and won the role of closer late in the year due to injuries to Dustin Hermanson who was also acquired in December of 2004. Jenks saved 6 games for the Sox in'05 in the regular season and 4 more in the playoffs including the first and last games of the World Series. So in ten months time Jenks had been transformed from the baseball scrap heap to a World Series hero.

Alas, not every waiver wire pick-up has such fantastic upside. But on the 5 year anniversary of the Jenks acquisition, I am still glad that this one did.

Footnotes:

1. Baseball Reference.com - Bobby Jenks Article

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Kids Sing

Today was a first and possibly last in our family. All 3 of our children sang on stage together.

Our family loves singing. No one's going to confuse us with the Von Trapp family singers or anything. In fact, if our kids sang as poorly as I do, they'd be the shut your von trap family.

For the past few weeks we have been preparing for the kids to sing at our church's Christmas choir service. Lucy was in the age range for the first year and Emma for possibly the last.
Here is a clip of them all singing.
We'd like to thank all the hard work put in behind the scenes done by so many people in our church. Special thanks must go to our Children's pastor and his wife who do such a fantastic job of heading it up each year.

Next Time: Three Things Thursday

World Champs anniversary edition

When I started this blog did I mention who my favorite sports team of all time is?



Here's a clue . . .






Yes, I love the Chicago White Sox. I am not the typical White Sox fan, but if you read my blog long enough, you will discover I am not the typical anything.


I will delve into what separates me from the normal White Sox fan in later posts. At this time, I'd like to start (with apologies to Kool and The Gang) a celebration that will last throughout the year. The celebration the 5 year anniversary of the 2005 World Series Championship Season.


I know that it is actually only 2009 and might seem premature for the 5 year anniversary. However, I plan from now until October to commemorate important events in the chronology of that histroric achievement.


Today, December 13th, for example, commemorates a move made 5 years ago that went a long way to making the White Sox champions. On this date in 2004 White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams traded Carlos Lee to the Milwaukee Brewers for Scott Podsednik.


In 2004 the white Sox were a team that "lived and died by the home run and the big inning." 1


No one hit more home runs than the White Sox in the regular season of 2004 but that was not enough to get them to the post season. So changes needed to be made to play the style of baseball first year manager Ozzie Guillen was most accustomed to.


The big change was to essentially outfielders with the Brewers. Carlos "El Caballo" Lee hit .305 for the White Sox in '04 and hit 31 dingers, second only to Paul Konerko. Podesdnik cracked 12 homers for the brew crew that year but batted only .244. Podsednik's real contribution came on the base paths where he stole 70 bases, whereas The White Sox as a unit only stole 77!!!

The trade worked out well for both parties. Lee increased his homer output as a Brewer and made the first of 3 consecutive all star appearances in 2005. But the Sox were the real winner of the trade. The acquisition of Podsednik transformed the team. They now had a base runner who was a threat to steal every time he got on base. He stole 59 in 2005 in only 129 games. It's hard to imagine what his total might have been if injuries in the second half of the season didn't keep him out of so many games.

Let me quickly tell you how some of the cogs in the 2005 championship wheel were attained.

  • June 27th 2004. White Sox move Miguel Olivo, Jeremy Reed and Michael Morse to Seattle for Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis. Garcia became a key starter in the White Sox rotation.

  • July 18, 2004. Sox trade pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski to Montreal for Carl Everett. Everett became the DH in 2005 when Frank Thomas went down to injury.

  • July 31, 2004. White Sox move fan favorite Esteban Loaiza to the Yankees for Jose Contreras. Contreras went 9-2 in the second half of 2005. His best effort came on September 23rd against the Twins. The Sox had dropped to only 1 and a half games ahead of the Indians. Contreras pitched a 9 strike out complete game gem and the White Sox never looked back. Man, I couldn't think of a way to work in that I was at the game and that it was my birthday. Oh well, maybe you will figure that out on your own.

Trades weren't the only way this team formed. Earlier in December of 2004, Wiilliams made two key free agent signings:

  • December 8th Pitcher Dustin Hermanson
  • December 9th Outfielder Jermaine Dye

Hermanson stepped into the closer role in 2005 when we learned that Shingo Takatsu is Japanese for 1 year wonder.

Dye had an excellent year in '05 with the Sox, culminating with his World Series MVP award.

So there it is my first of several looks back at the 2005 World Champions. In the weeks to come I will intersperse some more memories but will also be focusing on other teams and other sports.

Until next time, this is Crazy Uncle Dave signing off.

This post is featured in Athletic Alley Blog Carnival – December 17, 2009

Footnotes

1. Total White Sox by Richard C Lindberg. Triumph Books, 2006. P. 121

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Business Like Snow Business



Nothing says "Hello Winter!" like sledding!




Here's a recipe for winter excitement:






Take 1 kid and 1 clone and . . .


Go Sledding!
Have fun and don't forget the Hot Chocolate! Slide down over to show my face dot com for more Six Word Saturday. and don't forget to check out my new Blog: Crazy Uncle Dave's Sport-O-Rama.
Next Time: Our Kids Sing

Hello Sports Fans

I have been blogging for almost a year at my main blog: Home School Dad. Like me, my blog is eclectic. I blog about a great variety of topics. Fow whatever reason, I have not posted alot about sports. This is not because I don't have a lot to say about sports. No, I have plenty to say! I am constantly having sports discussions in my head that are begging to get out. Perhaps Home School Dad is not just the correct springboard for my sports diatribes, discourses, and delusions.

To Read More Click Here

NEXT TIME: No Business like Snow Business

Hello Sports Fans

There's a new blog in town!

I have been blogging for almost a year at my main blog: Home School Dad. Like me, my blog is eclectic. I blog about a great variety of topics. For whatever reason, I have not posted a lot about sports.

This is not because I don't have a lot to say about sports. No, I have plenty to say! I am constantly having sports discussions in my head that are begging to get out. Perhaps Home School Dad is not just the correct springboard for my sports diatribes, discourses, and delusions.

At this time I am happy to introduce Crazy Uncle Dave's Sport-O-Rama. I am not sure exactly what this blog will look like in the next few weeks and month. There will be a little bit of a getting to know you phase. But let me remind you that it took Home School Dad a few months to feel it's way through the blog-o-sphere.

Speaking of which, HSD is not going anywhere. It will be my main blog, and I don't intend as much time and energy here. But when I have a thought or comment or concern within the realm of organized or even disorganized sports I'll talk about it here. I will also be putting the first paragraph or so of each sports-o-rama post over at HSD with a link to the entire article.

For those of you visiting from Six Word Saturday. Welcome! Click here to see what other six words are in play this weekend.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dude! Where's Your Manners!

Three Things This Thursday


1. When you raise children, you spend a lot of time with children. Yours, relatives, their friends, kids from church, neighbors, the list goes on.

Charlie is 8 and is a friend to everyone. So, I spend a lot of time with his friends. I have found this thing out about 6-10 year old boys: they say dude a lot. Charlie doesn't. We used to call him Big Dude when he was a baby, but he never took to using the word too much.

I don't really have any big problem with boys saying dude. But here's a couple things that kind of bother me:

1. Some kids seem to use it so often I wonder if they even know each others names.

2. Some kids address me as dude.

This may not be as rude as it seems to me sometimes as in many ways I act like a big kid. I try to relate to kids on their own level, I talk to them about things that I think they might be interested in like Star Wars, or baseball. But still it does bother me. Sometimes I just want to say to them hey, that's Mr. Dude!

2. Opening another Lucyism

My MIL has a neat tradition with our kid's birthdays. Instead of buying them a present, she goes shopping with them for some presents and takes them out for lunch. The kids really enjoy this special time with Grandma.

Since this year was Lucy's first shopping expedition with Grandma, I tagged along. Lucy thought she might be lonely with just Grandma. Lucy had a great time. She picked out an umbrella, a Lego horse set, and some baby tiger dolls.

On our way to McDonald's, I told Lucy that when we got to Grandma's she could open one of her presents. She replied, "I'll open my umbrella."

It's good to know the Lucyisms haven't come to an end just because she turned 4!

3. Sky High watch out!


Our local high school made the news this week. According to the school district's website they set the Guinness book of World Record for most people assembled dressed as superheroes. With the effort they Smashed the previous record of 1,016 by a fantastic 400 (pun definitely intended). More notably they raised almost $2,000 in cash and almost 1,000 food items were donated to our local food pantry.

Congratulations to the kids at DCHS! I just wish I had known about it before hand, they would have had 4 more heroes to contend with!

Those are the three things This Thursday. Next Week is our themed edition. With Christmas coming it is called 3 Gifts This Thursday. Think about participating.

You can participate this week by blogging about 3 things and linking your post to Mr. Linky below.




Next Time: Hello Sports Fans

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas On The Radio

Amy and I both enjoy the theatre. While neither of us has seen a Broadway show, Amy has seen several shows in London and I have seen fine performances at other cities with a tradition of stage excellence such as Khabarovsk, Russia and Louisville, Kentucky.


We also like to see shows in Elgin, Illinois and it's little sister city, Chicago. Amy will sometimes give her family members the gift of going to a show. Last year, she bought tickets for her Mom and Aunt to see a stage production of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", performed as a radio play. Say that with a cookie in your mouth!


I mean it! Go get a cookie! I'll wait.



Amy's Mom and Aunt both enjoyed the show and I thought it might be a nice one for Amy and I to attend at some point.



So, this summer, when I saw the 2009 schedule for an Elgin theatre, I was glad to see they were putting on "It's A Wonderful Life" on December 5th, I bought 2 tickets for the 2:00 show and decided to surprise Amy with them as an early Christmas present.

By definition, as a surprise, Amy did not know about it beforehand, In retrospect, I should have done some sort of save the date thing. Amy scheduled Lucy's Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party at the exact same time and I didn't notice the double booking until we had already sent out the invites.

Providentially, there were two shows and I was able to switch our tickets to the late show without giving away the surprise to Amy. On Saturday after Lucy's party, Amy and I went out to a dice dinner and then I took her to the play.

The premise of the show is that it's Christmas time in the 1940's and a radio station is about to do a live performance of "It's A Wonderful Life." A snow storm keeps the majority of the cast from getting to the station. We are told at the onset, that if the show does not go on, the radio station will fail. This forces 2 of the support staff and 2 of the actors to play all the roles and to do the sounds.

What followed was a delight for all in attendance. It's one thing to hear a drama on the radio, but to watch actors literally having a conversation with themselves as they play two roles is astounding. Amy especially liked watching the actors make use of facial expressions and other body language while performing their lines. I liked watching the actors running from one mike to another or to the sound table to make sure the scene got properly executed. It was very interesting to be both behind the scenes and in the audience at the same exact moment.

Next Time: Dude! Where's Your Manners?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

74

Jeanne and Lucy share a birthday!

My mom and my daughter were born on December 6th. In different years of course, in fact, in different centuries!

This year they are both celebrating significant birthdays. My Mom is turning 70 and Lucy is turning 4. Now 4 may not seem like a significant birthday, to you, but at our house it has quite a bit of significance. It is affectionately know as the Chuck E. Cheese Birthday.
When Emma turned 4 we had her first kid party at Chuck E. Cheese's. We did the same thing when Charlie turned 4, two years later. 4 is the perfect age for Chuck E. Cheese and Lucy has been looking forward to it for a long time. The party is actually today, for logistical purposes. But Lucy is cool with that.
My older sister flew in from Virginia last night and we had a family surprise party for my Mom at a nice restaurant. The kids did not come, just my parents, their kids and spouses. It felt odd to have Keith's wife there without Keith. While his absence was palpable, it was still nice to celebrate Mom's birthday as a family.
Happy Birthday Mom! Happy Birthday Lucy! On the day that some celebrate St. Nicholas, it is great to celebrate what a gift you both are to me!


Six Word Saturday is brought to you by Cate at Show My Face Dot Com. Head over to see more six words than you can stick a shack at.
Next Time: Christmas on the Radio

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And The WInners Are (Not Me) . . .

It's time for Three Things This Thursday . . .

1. HSBA Winners.



I was nominated for the 2009 Home School Blog Awards at the HSBA Post. I was nominated for Best Homeschool Dad Blog and since the name of my blog is Home School Dad, I thought I was a shoe in.

My victory was not meant to be, as Families Again took that particular category. Congratulations to him, and all the other winners. In honor of all the winners, I will have links to all of them on my blog until the end of the year. I am only halfway through putting them up now, so if you won and don't see your blog, a link will be up soon.

2. Snow!

The kids were a little disappointed when they woke up this morning and there was no snow. They had heard, (or read or seen) a weather report that said it would snow overnight. They don't know what we know that weather forecasters are basically guessing! Well, they guessed a few hours late and it is now snowing. The kids are playing in it now as I had some light yard work for them to do as well. Let me look out the window and see how they are at multi tasking. Not bad, better than I multi-task.

They are excited as this is the first snow of the season here's an as it's happening picture of kid's playing in snow.



I know you see the kids playing, but where's the snow? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The snow is blowing in the wind. It's almost time for them to come in for hot chocolate, so I'll move on to ....

3. Carving out Time

Today after school Charlie and I are going to carve a bar of soap with a dull knife as practice for how to handle the pocket knife he is going to use at cub scouts tonight. Let's see that's Cub Scouts tonight, dinner plans tomorrow, A party and an outing Saturday, Church and Lucy's Birthday Sunday, Awana Monday, Bible Study Tuesday. Wow! We are busy! How do we carve out time as a family among the business of the holidays and just plain everyday life?

Amy heard an idea on the radio of reading one chapter from the book of Luke each day in December. So at dinner each evening after opening the advent calendar, we read a chapter.

How do you carve out time during the Holidays? I would love to hear from you. Consider putting in on a post and linking it below to Three Things Thursday.

Next Time: 74!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My First Tutorial!

You Can Do Better Than This!

Tutorials to show that some people are less crafty than others.

When my wife was teaching two elementary school children and one preschooler at home, it was pretty easy for her to see that crafts work very well for these age groups. The problem is that very few people are less crafty than my wife. Now that we have switched roles and I teach the aforementioned elementary kids and preschooler, it is extremely easy to see that I am one of those few souls less crafty than her!

This doesn't stop me from trying! Last week I was reading a post at Sandwichink.com when I came across several ideas for making Advent Calendars.

I decided that as a class we could make an advent calendar ourselves. You can also try it yourself. Here is what you'll need . . .















1 piece poster board 24-25 index cards or 3-4 pieces construction paper, markers, scissors, tape, glue stick.

Not Pictured: Foil Star stickers, colored pencils and pencil.


Step 1: Fold 3-4 pages of construction paper in half left to right and then fold in half top to bottom then fold again in half top to bottom.

Step 2: Cut out pieces.


Result: you will have 24-32 pieces a little smaller than the size of 3" by 5" index cards. 3 sheets is perfect if you are doing a 24 day calendar and not planning on making any mistakes. We used 4 sheets!


Note: Step 1 and 2 are not needed if using index cards.

Step 3: Fold cards in half lengthwise.




Step 4:. Color inside cards with Christmas or any other pictures. (My students had to include at least some bunnies and Star Wars pictures.)





Step 5. Number the fronts of the cards in pencil and then color with colored pencil. It's as easy as ...



Step 6: When all cards are colored and numbered place on poster board how you want them displayed. This way you can get a preview how it will look before applying the glue.


Step 7: Glue cards in place on poster board.



Step 8. To close cards use tape or stickers. We used green and red star stickers. One sticker did not seem enough to close flap so we used 1 green and 1 red on each flap.



Step 9: When calendar looks something like this . . .


(Cute 8 year old not included)


Tape calendar and display in prominent place in house.




Now that the Calendar is complete it's time to put it to use. Beginning December 1st have a family member open 1 tab.




So, that's our craft and we're sticking to it. I want to hear about your crafts especially if you are as craft challenged as our family is.



Next Time: And the Winners are (Not Me) . . .

Monday, November 30, 2009

A November Keithsake

As most of you reading this already know, the timing of my blogs in November have been a tribute to my Brother Keith. He would have turned 39 this month , so I have been posting every 39 hours. This is the last post of the month

In addition, on November 11th, Keith's birthday I posted every 39 minutes with memories of Keith. By clicking here you can see all the November 11th posts in their entirety (albeit in reverse order). I am also editing these posts into a word document. If anyone would like a copy of that document, let me know.

Now, as my blogging reverts back to semi wheneverly postings that you have become accustomed to, this does not mean I have stopped remembering Keith. I will continue to remember him, miss him and celebrate him on these pages and in my life beyond these pages. I am thankful to have had a brother like him and am glad I will be reunited with him again someday in Heaven.

Next Time: My first Tutorial.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I knew it!


Congratulations, and I told you so!
Before Amy and I moved, Amy and I worked with our church youth group. I noticed a compatibility between our pastor's daughter and a friend of her older brother, who was already in college. Over the past 10 years, I have "hinted" that they should consider marriage to each other. Today, they finally follow my advice and walk down the aisle.
My hints which contained all the subtly of the proverbial brick wall were all but acknowledged and unheeded for nearly a decade. I persisted because their story mirrored Amy and mine that they were good friends who did not see the efficacy of such a match (sorry Jane Austen aficionado) that was apparent to me.

Obviously, they finally got the memo and a few hours ago Jimmy and Beth were married by her father. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who saw this before they did. When they announced their intentions, I tried to remind them that they had me to thank and their answer was get in line. I and now my blogging public know that I should be at the front of that line and that’s good enough for me.
So, congratulations to the happy couple! For more six word Saturday go to Showmyfacedotcom.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Home For Thanksgiving

My cousin (first cousin once removed) Jenna is a typical high school senior. At least she was until she was diagnosed with Leukemia late last month. Her family, friends, church and school have rallied around her at this time of need. Yesterday her school,Benet Academy, hosted a blood and bone marrow registry drive. Jenna's story along with a promotion of the event was recently featured in a local newspaper. There was an amazing turnout, much more than had been predicted.

I spoke with my cousin Amy (Jenna's Mom) briefly yesterday at the event. As excited as she was about the turnout and the outpouring of love for Jenna and her family, she was more excited that Jenna has come home from the hospital for the Thanksgiving Holiday. She will be home until Monday when she goes back to the hospital for her second round of chemotherapy.

Today as I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, I thought what a blessing it is to be home for Thanksgiving. Then I thought of my brother, Keith who was not home with his family this Thanksgiving. I remembered all the Thanksgivings he and I spent together throughout the years. I felt a twinge of longing and sadness and then I was reminded of Kermit the Frog's words in The Muppet Christmas Carol (Yes, I realized he didn't write them. )

Kermit (as Bob Cratchit) : Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it. I'm sure that we shall never forget Tiny Tim, or this first parting that there was among us.

I also take solace in the fact that Keith, is indeed, home for Thanksgiving. He is in his heavenly home. While, we have had a "parting" from him this year, we also can have a "meeting" with him in heaven some day. Jenna's continued progress, the love showered on her and her family, the memories of a brother I loved and the promise of a reunion with him in heaven are only a sampling of the many things I gave thanks for today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Not Even Thanksgiving!

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, so they say. In our house, if the tree is of the Christmas variety this phrase is especially true. Over the past few weeks there has been a proliferation of Christmas decorations everywhere our family has been. They always bring out the same reaction from my oldest daughter, "It's not even Thanksgiving!" Now our youngest daughter has joined in on the refrain.

On October 1st I blogged here about how Halloween displays had been up since early September. It seems that holiday preparation (read commercialization) extends every year. Today, I heard long time Chicago radio voice Garry Meier talking about how it is too early to play Christmas music and suggest to hold off playing them until the Friday after Thanksgiving. He is absolutely right! I was glad to hear someone other than my own family members suggest it.

I don't have the exact dates but by mid to late July the back to school sales had already begun near me. Labor Day was September 7th, and I saw Halloween displays on the 10th! As soon as those Halloween displays were removed they were replaced immediately with Christmas! I often see Easter displays a week before Ash Wednesday. 40 days isn't enough to sell a Holiday?!?!

In my opinion marketing these holidays for such a long time has a number of adverse effects:

1) It takes away from the meaning of other "lesser" holidays. Thanksgiving has been changed from a day to thank God for his provisions and has now been marginalized to an old McDonald's ad slogan: food, folks and fun. Actually it's more like food, folks and football. I ate dinner at an excellent restaurant last night that was advertising their Thanksgiving buffet. But instead of the traditional cornucopia and the like, they are already dressed in full Christmas mode, tree and all. One would hope they won't be piping in the Frank Sinatra Christmas album as they were tonight, but one can never tell.

2) It takes away from the meaning of the holidays they are promoting. The over saturation is so much that some people are ready for it to end weeks before it gets here. I can understand that in a political campaign, but when celebrating such special events as Christ's birth, resurrection or the founding of America we want the days to be special not something to be endured.

3) Running from holiday to holiday creates more stress than good will. Rest is good. A few weeks between celebrations is a good thing. Rest gives us the opportunity to celebrate holidays all our own. Yesterday Lucy declared to Amy you're the best Mom ever. Tonight is Mommy night. When she woke up this morning, Lucy furthered her proclamation and decreed today Mommy Day. Mommy Day so far consists of Lucy coming in our room every few minutes with a new gift or card for Amy. The latest was a folded up piece of blue construction paper which Lucy called a laptop. This freedom also gives us the opportunity to celebrate something equally important, everyday life.

Next year I plan to post about what in my perfect world is the best way to celebrate each holiday as they occur. Let me just say now that getting back to traditional observances and time lines would be great. Advent generally runs from December1st to the 24th. I would be perfectly fine if I didn't see any decorations or hear any carols before then. I would also be okay if "Black Friday" was the official "unofficial" start of the season. Any sooner and hey I've got daughters to contend with! etiquette





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