A Quote to Start Things Off

Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth. I said if that's the case then why should I believe you" -Lecrae - Gravity

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodbye to NaBloPoMO

Each week I tell you about something I have done or I am doing that works for me and link it, appropriately enough, to the Works For Me Wednesday post at We Are That Family. This is not one of those posts. In fact, if you ever see a post for National Blog Posting Month (NABLOPOMO) at Works For Me Wednesday, rest assured, it will not be mine. Let me tell you why NABLOPOMO does not work for me.

Blogging each day, every day, for a month, seems simple enough and it fits some peoples' blogging style to a tee. Life happens one day at a time and for some it is useful, even cathartic to post daily. That's not how I roll. I'm a catahrsis smatharisis kind of guy. My blog is less a journal and much more a variety show. I am part Ed Sullivan, part David Letterman, part Bill Murray making up his own words to show tunes on Saturday Night Live. (Star Wars, The sequel to Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, They're at it again)*

Variety shows are on at most 5 days a week and generally just 1. It's exhausting to put quality infotainment out 7 days a week.

Another reason why blogging everyday cramps my style is that my blog is about my life. Attempting NaBloPoMO made my life revolve around my blog. My wife took me on a secret surprise date, the night before Valentines Day. My first reaction was, when I am going to write my post?? I put something of no consequence together and went out with my wife. Now, if your blog is your variety show, why would you ever put on a sketch that was of no consequence?

Last Saturday morning I did a number of chores around the house. When they were completed, I took a shower and started getting ready for a nice weekend with the family. The first thing I thought of was "I have 8 more posts before February is over and I only know what 3 of them are going to be!!" Showering is about getting clean, thinking of jokes, and calculating the White Sox Magic number (163), when blog panic sets in, that's not a shower, that's a wake-up call!

Finally, blogging each and every day makes me use material faster than I am comfortable with. I generally have 3-5 blog ideas in my arsenal at all times. Blogging everyday has a tendency to leave the cupboard bare. I have heard that people who lived through the great depression, had a tendency to hoard food for the rest of their life. Having suffered in the past with writers block, I tend to hoard ideas for fear of a recurrence. If I continued to blog everyday for the next few months, I'd be doing beauty tips and recipes.

For the most part I enjoyed NABLOPOMO. I ended up posting 29 times in a 28 day month. I will try it again in a few months. Maybe by that time I will find a way to make it work for me.

* Sung to the tune of Star Wars

Next Time: Useless Stats: Face Book

Friday, February 27, 2009

They May Want to Consider a Name Change

My brother is getting out of the hospital today. I could dedicate an entire blog to his medical exploits. For today's purposes lets just say that after a couple week stay in the hospital, he is going home to his family.

I have been visiting Keith about every other day while he was in the Hospital. Monday evening must be a huge hospital visiting night, because there were no parking spaces available in the entire lot. I decided to park in one of the other building lots nearby. The parking lot of the building next to Keith's was about half full, and the building had an inviting name for my intended purpose as shown above.

It wasn't until I tried to park that I saw this sign:

Now many signs like this, have a fine print that gives you hours that you can park without recourse. But not so here, just the old Violators will be towed at their own expense warning.

I finally found a place to park and went on to visit Keith. It then struck me that I was just told not to park in a half full parking lot at 8:00 p.m in twenty degree temperatures. To make matters worse the name of the building I could not park at is called The Share Building.

Now, there are a lot of points that could be made from my paradoxical tale of parking. What first comes to my mind is a lesson I began learning almost 26 years ago.

It was the summer of '83. I was a recent high school graduate. I had been asked to lead my first Campus Life meeting. I had decided to give a small talk based on Paul Little's book "How to give away your faith". I was working at Burger King at the time and was using my break to prepare my talk.

A coworker came up to me. I hardly acknowledged her, instead burying myself in my work. She was not be deterred however, and kept asking questions about what I was doing. I rather begrudgingly explained to her what I was doing. She then pointed out with a rather snide comment that I was acting like a building named Share and not allowing anyone to use my parking spaces.

She was absolutely right. I was like a beggar who had recently found an endless supply of food. Instead of telling every other beggar about the source of the food, I was hoarding the food for myself and those who would get the food from me on my terms. I hope she found that soul food she was craving for. To my shame, she never got it from me.

Next Time: Goodbye to NABLOPOMO.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Reverse Garfield

I would have no problem at all filling a daily blog with just crazy things my children say. And so far the youngest is the most quotable. Today, I was putting on her bathing suit on and then her clothes over them. This generally takes me two minutes because she is a very squirrely three year old. During those two minutes this conversation occurred:

Me: Let's get dressed for swimming.

Lucy: Is today Monday or Tuesday?

Me: No today's Thursday.

Lucy: Oh Man!

Me: ?

Lucy: I love Monday. Is Monday soon?

So, most people might be thinking what is so special about Monday? Monday is a good day for her; she has some classes she really enjoys at our Home School Co-op. I don't think that's why she said it. I think she has my random genes. She just says things as they occur to her. Things that would never occur to anyone. Like the next thing she said:

Lucy: Butera loves me.

Me: You mean Butera the grocery store?

Lucy: Yes, Butera loves me.

The problem is that she says so many crazy things, generally in a 2 minute period, that I can't possibly remember them all to tell Amy when she gets home. Point in fact, she said something very random indeed after the Butera comment, but now I have no idea what it was.

She just marched in the room chanting "Hello Pumpkin. Hello Pumpkin." I guess, that will have to do.

Next Time: They May Want to Consider a Name Change

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Guest Post by Amy Roller - Adoption

Before Dave and I got married, we both had a heart for children, both our future ones, and other people's. I had read an article about prisoners with children, who after a certain period of time, lost the rights to their children. So I thought, hey, let's be foster parents for prisoner's kids, and keep them involved in their parent's lives until they get out, so they can keep the connection. So, we went through foster parent training, along with regular parent training (aka having kids.)

We were advised by some prison ministry workers not to follow through with our idea of helping prisoner's children maintain contact. So, we kind of let that thought go, and just went into the regular foster care system, where you get a call at any time of day or night to come pick up some kids.

Despite many challenges in our lives up to that point, foster parenting is the toughest thing on earth, it just is. Maybe not for everyone, but for Dave and me, it was the hardest thing we've ever been through. The hard parts included, but were not limited to: the amount of time to attend to each foster child's needs for parent visits, counseling visits, doctor and dentist appointments, school appointments (since you can't homeschool foster children in Illinois) etc.; the implact of the foster childrens' behavior upon our children; the significant emotional turmoil the foster children go through, and dealing with that on an almost hourly basis.

Now, God, who has adopted us, does not go through these things. Even though Ephesians 1:5 says he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—, he does not have time constraints, love constraints, mercy constraints, or wisdom constraints. We do, and we don't. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

This past Saturday, we received a letter from a case worker in Pennsylvania, asking us to give an account of a sibling pair we had back in 2002, so they could have this information when they were adults. The letter broke my heart. The last we had heard from these children, they had been returned to their home and their mother and older sister. Apparently, that is no longer the case.

Dave and I both, separately, had the same inclination...get those kids back! Let them know they were missed, and loved, and can have a home here. So, we decided to pray for a month for the Lord's wisdom and guidance about this weighty matter. We took out a pile of photos we had taken of them with our family, and will send copies of those along with the paperwork.

Having three children of our own, and seeing how much they each depend upon us for love, acceptance, learning, daily needs, etc., it's heartbreaking to even think about a child who does not know the stability and love of a permanent home with their parents.

But then again, this is not our permanent home. Philippians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Still, the Lord allows us to have earthly homes and wants us to love and teach our children. So, in Christ, we are adopted, and this is a saving adoption, a redeeming adoption, a life or death adoption. The other kind of adoption, human to human, should be no less saving, redeeming, or life affirming. The only way to do it is through the power of God. James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

So, stay tuned to see how the Lord leads us in this matter…and pray, please pray.

Next Time: Our Reverse Garfield

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A place for gloves

It had been quite the winter already. Because of gloves, it was quickly becoming the winter of my discontent. Gloves are a many splendored thing, and extremely useful in the frigid climes of northwest suburban Chicago. The problem we were having is that we could never find both gloves in a pair when it was time to leave the house. At the beginning of the winter, I went and bought replacement gloves for all our family members. But, by the end of one week, instead of having 10 pairs of gloves,we had2 or 3 pairs and 7 or 8 single gloves. I was right about to teach my kids the
answer to the Zen proverb: What is the sound of one hand freezing?, when I found something that works for me, a place for gloves.

The truth is, we had a place for gloves: in a laundry basket in our mud room/play room, where we keep the rest of our winter gear. The problem was that most of the gloves in the basket were missing partners. So, we would have to spend extra time looking for matches, or go out (gasp!) unmatched.

What I began to do is this: The next time the kids cleaned the playroom, I had them put only matched gloves in the basket. I got a cloth bag and filled it with the orphans and hung it up. As I cleaned out the car and rooms in our house I would find missing gloves. I checked to see if the gloves had a match in the orphan bag. If they did, the reunited pair went in the winter basket; if they didn't, they joined the orphans. Once a week I have the kids straighten up the playroom and put all the gloves in their right place.

Since implementing the system, the glove couples vastly outnumber Gloves without Partners. My discontent is at an all time low, and leaving the house is much less chaotic. If the Herculean winter proves mortal after all, (It's a line from a poem, I wrote, and allusions to my work had previously eluded me) I will put the matched gloves in a basket in the garage and keep the orphan bag through the warmer seasons, just in case the prodigals come wandering back into our lives. When we winterize the house next year, we will start anew with matched gloves only.

That's how I solved my glove/hate relationship with winter hand wear. To see what Works for others go to the Works for me Wednesday site at We are that Family by clicking here.

Next Time: Adoption

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Poem: They drive me crazy sometimes

I, like many people, am a closet poet. That is where my poems remain, in a drawer, next to the closet. From time to time I am going to pull one out of that drawer and share it here. This time to show I am not merely a former poet, I will present one I wrote only hours ago.

They Drive me Crazy Sometimes

She drives me crazy sometimes
Who can win an argument with an amnesiac?
But, no one gets me like she does
She makes our house a haven
And, only laughs when my jokes are funny.

She drives me crazy sometimes
Who made her the third parent, anyways?
But, beneath that bossy boiler
Lies an artist's soul
Skipping and humming. Playful and loving.

He drives me crazy sometimes.
Who can have that many questions about Star Wars?!?
But, he is as adventurous as a pirate.
As giving as Robin Hood.
And as resourceful as Macgyver.

She drives me crazy sometimes
Who wants to be a puppy every single day?
But, she makes cuteness an art form
She's a three year old thesaurus
And she loves to ask God to help people.

They drive me crazy sometimes
But, isn't it worth the trip?

Next Time: A Place for Gloves

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Oscars: Our Super Bowl

My wife loves sports. She really does. She loves to play sports. She likes to see sports played by others live. What she does not love, or even like, is watching sports on t.v., listening to sports talk on the radio, and tracking statistics, magic numbers, and trade deadlines. So, we don't share the same enthusiasm for sports events like the Super Bowl.

Amy and I are movie people. Oscar night is our Super Bowl. The day the nominations come out we always say we have to see all these movies before the award show. We never get to all of them. I didn't see any of the best pictures noms this year. Amy saw a couple. Hello, 3 small children. I did see all the best animated noms. I saw Bolt 3 times. Don't ask.

This year was not the most rewarding of shows. We didn't realize until yesterday, that the show was today. We had a long day with church and visiting relatives and when we did watch the show, it was online while I finished our tax refund on the same computer. Amy is already in bed, and there are at least 5 major awards, a life time achievement award and my favorite, the "hey, look who died montage."

Amy, let's plan ahead next year and go to a Academy Award party or something. Cause watching the Academy Awards without you is as pleasing as watching the Super Bowl without commercials.

Next Time: A Poem,They Drive me Crazy Sometimes

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crazy Dave's Give-a-ways: A final word about encouraging words.

We are midway through my first give-a-way at Crazy Dave's Give-a-ways. Click here to see my original post. Review the sidebar for "official" rules.

I am giving away a copy of Ken Sutterfield's book, The Power of an Encouraging Word. I wanted to post today mainly to remind everyone that my give away ends next Saturday. But also to share another story of when I felt the power of encouraging words.

July 2008. Amy and I were in our first months of attending our new church home in Lake Zurich, Illinois. I had just lost my job days before that. This was the second job I had lost in two years time. Amy and I were contemplating the move which would give me my moniker (aka, "Home School Dad.") She had applied for a job as a School Psychologist, and we were considering, if she was offered the job, her accepting, and me home schooling the kids.

The elders of our church are available to talk to/pray with at the end of each service. We planned to pray with one of the elders once the service was concluded. During worship we are often given a minute or two to greet those around us. We still did not know very many people at the church at the time, so Iwas surprised to turn around and see someone I knew very well.

It was Liz, someone I had worked with at the job I had lost two years prior. She had moved out of state while I still worked there, but was visiting her mother for the weekend, and her mother and I "just happened" to attend the same church.

After service we spent a few minutes catching up. I told her how we were going to pray with the elders about the job situation. Liz then spent the next few minutes telling Amy what a fantastic job I had done when I worked with her. About how I always had a good attitude and I would do the things that no one else would do. As a guy just out of work, I was planning on taking Liz to my next interview. I knew that in all the jobs I have been given, that I have always attempted to do my best for the Lord. The praise of others was not what motivated me. But on that day in July, God saw fit to use those words of encouragement to sustain me and to motivate me for the new job ahead of me: educating my children.

So, my encouragement to you today is twofold: 1) Always look for an opportunity to encourage others. You never know how much additional meaning it will have on their lives. 2) If anyone is ever giving away a book about encouragement, enter for an opportunity to win it.

If you comment on this post you will receive another chance to win the book. All entries are due by 11:00 P.M CST February 28th.

Click here to see other give-a-ways at Around the Blogosphere.

Next Time: The Oscars, our Super Bowl

Friday, February 20, 2009

Eliminate Recurring Charges

It's been a fortnight since my first Friday of frugality (Say that with a cookie in your mouth. To follow the frequency of F's make it a fig bar.)

Last time I was here, I said that a key to frugality is to know when to spend and when not to. Today's post is all about when not to. First, I must say that none that follows is meant to be judgemental or prideful. If you came into my house, and followed how we spend our money, you would see many ways that we either spend or money unwisely, or spend money in a way that you never would. What I am talking about today is about the major ways we save money. These tips are certainly not for everyone.

The main way we save money at my house is on what we have decided to do without, not with what we spend less on. We really only have 5 monthly recurring bills. electricity, gas, home phone (which is bundled with our Internet connection) our mortgage, and our credit card bill. We are on a budget right now that would put us down to 4 monthly recurring bills by the beginning of 2010 when we hope to have our credit card paid off for good.

Now, of course, we fill our tanks and are cars tanks to keep us and them moving. Those are basically pay as you go. We don't have cable. We don't have a monthly cellular bill. We also have a bare bones phone package. We have been married nearly 11 years and in all that time we have not had call waiting, or caller i.d.. I was just at my phone company's website and the cost of those two features is 13.22 per month. That's almost $160.00 for 1 year. And what's the downside? We don't know who's calling us and sometimes people get a busy signal. We are actually not on the phone all that much, and I am pretty good at guessing who's calling by the time of day and other contextual clues. The problem with that is no one is impressed when I guess it's them, they just assume that I have caller i.d.

The one that gets most people, is the no cable. Truth be told we moved our T.V. away from the antenna about a year ago and no one in our family has complained. We watch plenty of television, it's either on DVD, videocassette or watching on the Internet. Many of the DVDs and videos are borrowed from our library at no cost to us. Don't get me wrong we love cable in moderation. Amy and I stayed in a hotel last weekend and there is nothing like watching 4 episodes of Law and Order in a 12 hour period. We just don't like paying for it.

My wife and I do not use our cell phones much. We text each other grocery lists and that sort of thing and when we compare notes with those with monthly plans what we pay averages out to never more than 1/2 of what they pay.

Again, I don't write this to be judgmental, critical, or prideful. I share it because I think, that eliminating or trimming down even one of your monthly recurring charges could make quite an impact on your personal finances. I know it has on ours. Even if we can't watch Law and Order four times a day.

Click here to see other good ideas for saving money at Frugal Friday part of Biblical Womanhood.

Next Time: A final word about encouraging words

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I knew you knew it!

My wife, as many of you know, is a school psychologist. A good amount of her day is devoted to observing and testing kids. She often will just talk with the kids for a little while before she tests them. On one such occasion, one of her students informed her that he had just gotten a new bobble head of a football player. Amy asked what team they played for. Mistaking Amy for someone who followed sports, he said I'll tell you the colors and I know you'll know the team. So he told her the colors and Amy guessed the Bears. It wasn't the bears so Amy guessed the Packers. It wasn't the Packers. "Come on Mrs. Roller, you know this" said the student. Amy guessed about 10 more teams and finally guessed the one the student was thinking of. The student responded joyously: "See Mrs. Roller, I knew you knew it!"

I am constantly overwhelmed with how children are always willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. My daughter met the husband of her Awana leader recently. He's about 6'11. She was incredulous, that anyone can be taller than her dad. I'm 6'1, tops. My son thinks that I can fix or repair anything. I can't. He's always coming up with projects we can do together and he understands how to do them better than I do and he's 7.

SO what's my point, that my children are delusional? They may be, but that's not my point. My point is that our children are generally our biggest supporters. From their perspective, we can do anything. For me, it is a motivator to even at the grand old age of 44 1/2 to continue learning so I can continue to have not my children's awe but their respect.

What does this have to do with homeschooling? To me it means to branch out and step out of your comfort zone. DO an experiment that you are not sure will work. Bone up on a subject that you don't have a huge grasp on and then teach it to your kids. Because they know you know it.
To see morehome schooling posts click here to go to this week's carnival of home schooling.

Next time: Eliminating recurring charges.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Google is as Google Does

So, I googled myself recently. And, we all know how painful that can be. Here is what I found:

I get information on the Rabbi David Roller, The Reverend Dave Roller, The former professional football player Dave Roller (I would have mentioned him sooner, but he played for the Packers), and even a reference to Biker Dave's Roller Derby Blog. If I dig deep enough, there are references to this blog. What I don't see, and frankly I don't understand why not is: Dave Roller, Medicine Woman. Jane Seymour worked really hard to look like me, each week, and I am not sure why Google has forgotten this show.

I do have a few more thoughts on Google and some other things, so let's get right to them, shall we?

If you are doing a Google search on Clint Eastwood, don't you feel obligated to use the I'm feeling Lucky button?

Would Macgyver still impress us, with his compendium of seemingly useless, but life saving information, if google had been available to him?

I live in Illinois, and I must say that I am glad that they have taken the Rod Blagojevich Governor signs off the toll roads so quickly. However, there is another sign I'd like them to remove. Under our emergency stopping signs on the highway, there is a sign that says two hours only. SO, you are driving on the expressway and your daughter says "Stop the car, Dad I have an emergency!" You then have to say, "Well gee honey, how long do you think this emergency will take? Cause here, we have a 2 hour limit."

Along those same lines, I was at my local park district recently, and they wanted me to update my emergency contact information. So, I am filling out the paperwork and they asked for my emergency contact's address.

Could you imagine if sometime in the near future my Dad received this letter:

Dear Mr. Roller,

We wanted to inform you that your son, daughter in law and grandchildren were all involved in what we are officially calling a kick ball avalanche. You were listed as their emergency contact, please advise how you would like us to proceed. We are enclosing A SASE and eagerly await your reply.


The Locality Removed to Avoid Possible Libel Charges Park District

Well, that's about all I have for tonight. You've been a terrific readership. Drive safely.

Next Time: I knew you knew it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I was saving this post for next month. But today I learned that Shannon, at Rocks in My Dryer, is taking a break from the feature she originated some 3 years ago. Instead of shutting it down entirely, she is letting another blogger (Kristen from We Are That Family) continue her tradition. According to Shannon's post explaining the transfer, she recently received so much positive feedback about WFMW, she changed her mind about cancelling it altogether. So today, I would like to tell you all why Works For Me Wednesday works for me.

As a stay at home, home school dad, a few credits shy of his Home Ec. degree, WFMW gives me the first clue on topics I know nothing about, and the next step in areas that I am growing in.

WFMW is also, one of the best formats for me to do my writing. I like sharing what things my family has done that make our life more productive and enjoyable. I love seeing the comments on my blog that there are others who can find them helpful as well.

Here is my WFMW routine:

1) I keep a list in my notebook of future WFMW posts. My goal is to have at least 4 post ideas written down at the beginning of each month, so I am not scrambling at the last minute for an idea. As of today, I have post ideas from now until 4/15/2009.

2) Sometime Monday evening or Tuesday morning I write my post for that week and save it as a draft. This morning when I began to write about gloves, I noticed Shannon's above referenced post and took this idea, which was 3 weeks away from my notebook.

3) When I come home from my Tuesday night home group, I publish my post and wait for Shannon to post hers. My goal is to be one of the first 25 posts on the list. My secret ambition, is to be in the top 10 every week. My dream, is to be the first one on the board. My dream that is so special you don't say it out loud (I am only writing this, NOT saying it out loud), to be asked to headline and be a guest blogger on WFMW.

That's not gonna happen. But, I was #10 two weeks ago. Shannon tricked me last week, I was all ready to link my wife's post when I saw Shannon's post about locating states. I got so into doing that, that I didn't get my post linked until the second 25.

4) After WFMW is posted and I am linked to it, the real fun begins. I read all the posts linked before mine. I always try to leave a comment where appropriate. As a man, I would feel very silly commenting on posts about make-up.

5) When I get to mine, I will sometimes read a few more before retiring for the day. On Wednesday morning, I check my post for comments. I will then read those posts, If I have not already. I spend the rest of the day between school and home stuff checking out as many posts as I can.

6) I am always looking for one idea that I can implement immediately. I don't want to say what last week's was. Let's just say I now have a sink that shines without any dishes in it.

So, that's why WFMW works for me and why I am so glad that Shannon started this tradition that Kristen is continuing. Blessings to you both. If you still don't know how to get to Rocks In My Dryer for Shannon's final pre-sabbatical WFMW, click here.

Next Time: Google is as Google does.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Post-by Amy Roller: Perspective

Back in 2001 when we moved to this town, Emma was two, and Charlie was yet to be born. Lucy was yet to be considered. One thing Dave and I have in common is our love for reading, books, libraries, etc. So, before we even bought this house, we sought out the local library. It's a good one. When Emma was two, she didn't like to go places or leave them. She would cry both times. Going to church: cry. Leave church: cry. Go to grandma's: cry. Leave grandma's: cry. You get the idea. Same was true for the library.

Many hours of training produced little result. "Okay, Emma, we're going to play at the library. When we're all done, we will stand by the lady and wait our turn, and give her the books, and she'll give them back." What? I have to give the books to the librarian? I just spent hours picking them out, listening to you read them to me, and planning how many book parties we are going to have at home, and NOW, you want me to GIVE them to this lady with the long blond hair? She might TAKE them, hide them, put them away, mom, I'm quite sure, I'll NEVER see them again. No, I won't do it. Screaming ensued. Every. Time.

Okay, finally after a year or so, Emma gets the idea. Then comes Charlie, who tended to be calmer than Emma. Same thing. Crying, tears, shrieks, etc. Couple years down the line, Lucy does the same thing, but to a lesser extent. She watches Emma and Charlie's reaction to handing the books over, and discovers that they always give them back, that nice blond lady, especially.

Flash forward to today. I spent my day at the library working on some reports for work. I was tucked away in a far corner, but I could still hear those two year olds shrieking. MOM! I need that book! I LOVE that book! NOOOOOOOOOO! Now, give it to the nice lady, and she'll give it right back, dear, like we practiced at home. Why mom? Why can't I just keep it? I promise I'll bring it back next time? Sorry honey, like I told you at home, I....MOMMMMMMMMM!!! I didn't chuckle, exactly, so much as, said a silent "thank you" for being past that stage...

Next Time: WFMW

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Not Uncommon, It's Not our Problem.

When I lived in Russia, someone sent me a copy of an article from the English version of a Moscow newspaper. The story told of hundreds of bags of undelivered mail being dumped into a lake near Moscow. When some Russian government official was contacted, his comment was: "It is not uncommon, it is not our problem."

As I approach my 45th birthday, it is natural for a certain world weariness to creep in from time to time. When you are younger, you seem to have boundless energy to solve all the problems of the world. As you begin to see the same problems over and over again, it is easy to get the "not uncommon, not my problem" mentality.

Empathy covers apathy in the same way that paper covers rock. As the world and its worries harden your heart, putting other peoples' troubles in front of your own soften it. So, next time you have the opportunity to help someone in need, tell yourself it may not be uncommon, but I can make it my problem.

Next Time: Perspective

Saturday, February 14, 2009

They Call it Puppy Love

Every morning my youngest daughter wakes me up. You know how some people are morning people, and wake up eager for the day to begin? That's my daughter. Other people welcome morning like a warden welcomes jailbreaks. That's me. Yet each morning she scampers in the room with unbridled enthusiasm. Always going to my side of the bed always saying the same thing:

"Let's be a puppy on the floor!"

Every morning, always the same, let's be a puppy on the floor. And every morning, generally against by better judgement, I crawl on the floor with her, barking and yipping. I am not sure how this ritual began, and often, I am unsure why I let it continue. There are only two reasons why I endure this perpetual puppy practice:

1) I don't think she enjoys anything in this world more than playing puppy with her Dad.

2) Some time in the not so distant future, she won't come in anymore. Our time as Daddy puppy and Baby puppy will be through. While I certainly won't miss the interruption of my sleep, I will certainly lament the ending of that season in our lives.

So until that day comes I will spend the first part of my day "ruffing it" with my daughter.

Next Time: It's not uncommon, it's not our problem.

Friday, February 13, 2009

NABLOPOMO Mid month update

This month I have taken the National Blog Posting Month challenge to blog everyday for a month. I planned today to give an detailed update of how my month so far has gone.
I was just told by my wife that she is taking me out for dinner in ten minutes and if I want to blog for day, do it now. So, update yes, detailed, not so much.
That is certainly a negative of everyday blogging: to have to rush yourself and to lack quality for the sake of quantity.
A positive is that blogging everyday has really stretched me in what topics to choose. Wednesday and Thursdays blogs may not have occurred, if I didn't have to produce a post each and every day. Amy has told me that those posts have been some of my best.
Well I am off to dinner with the love of my life.
Next Time: They Call it Puppy Love

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blago

My son thinks Rod Blagojevich was framed. He just cannot believe that the most powerful government head in our entire state would say he was innocent if he wasn't. That's my son, he's seven. Of course, by thinking that Blago is innocent he is definitely in the minority. The only other person I know of who thinks the former governor is innocent, is the former governor himself.

Blagojevich reminds me of Jack Nicholson's character from A Few Good Men. At the end of the movie after he admits to ordering the Code Red that killed Private Santiago, he cannot understand why he is being arrested. Even though he has just acknowledged culpability, he thinks that he is beyond the law. (Just as an aside, thanks to the Pepsi company, it is no longer an illegal action to order a Code Red. I rather enjoy them.)

This is exactly what Blagojevich is doing. He doesn't seem to dispute the facts of the case. He just doesn't think he did anything wrong. He points to all "the good" he did for the state, and thinks that selling a senate seat, like you might sell Cubs rooftop tickets, is just part of the job description.

The former governor also reminds me a lot of Nicholson's "A Few Good Men" costar, Tom Cruise. He definitely has the hair for it. I don't mean Tom Cruise, the actor. I mean Tom Cruise, the couch jumper. Because couch jumping is exactly what Blago has been doing lately. I mean they have actually had to create new talk shows for him to appear on. Network news for the past two weeks might as well have been called, Blagojevich and the weather.

The thing I like best about this entire debacle is that when Blagojevich was removed from office and then banned from holding any office in the state of Illinois, he was out jogging. The reason why I like this best, is that it capsulizes what he became: a running joke.

Next Time: NABLOPOMO, A mid-month report

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Music A-Z

Blog Insider - A look at the widgets, gadgets and whatnots of Home School Dad

Tonight's Episode: My Music A-Z
I am by most accounts a disorganized person. Many people have tried to get me organized, and they have all failed. Sad, really. It's not that I don't have developed storage systems. It's just that none of those storage systems ever get properly utilized. My brother says my organization motto is: a place for everything and everything on the floor.
There is one area in my life that is impeccably organized: my music. My 8-track collection, which gave way to my record (aka LP) collection, which gave way to my cassette and cd collection were/are all catalogued alphabetically or by genre.
I also have in the past established elaborate systems by which cd or which track I would play. So, it should come as no surprise that the music blog is subject to the same blend of order and chaos that I subject all my other music collections.
My music is brought to you by playlist.com. They are awesome. Each Sunday I switch the songs on my blog, generally in accordance to some mad scheme. One week, I had two songs for each artist I chose. Another time, all songs I chose were performed by 2 artists. This week, I went wild, even by my standards, and have 26 artists all beginning with different letters of the alphabet. All of the artists or songs do have a special meaning to me. Until I got to the x's. X-sinner is not really my cup of tea, but it's not like I had a lot to choose from. The music represents a kind of musical history of mine. Amy's message board friends say I look like Donny Osmond, so that explains that. Some songs like Steve Forbert's, "Romeo's Tune" or Rupert Holme's, "Escape" I haven't heard for years. But they were songs I really liked in the late 70's- early 80's when I was an AT40 geek. I was keeping my feet on the ground but I was definitely reaching for the stars.
Amy was a little surprised that I would choose a song like Escape, since it is about a man stuck in a bad relationship, itching to get out. And, that is so not me. That's not how I see the song though. I see it like an O'Henry short story set to music, with a little twist at the end that changes the whole song.
I hope you enjoy the music as you look through my blog. Some time soon: Christmas in February or March, cause ANYONE can do Christmas in July.
Next Time: Blah Blah Blago

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

For reluctant writers!

Guest poster, Amy Roller, aka my wife, takes a whack at Works-for-me Wednesday and the Carnival of Homeschooling for that matter. Amy is an experienced home school teacher and school psychologist

Is your child a reluctant writer? Do they have great ideas when speaking, then are barely able to write one sentence? I learned about this idea from Diane Craft (http://www.dianecraft.org/necraft.org/) at a homeschool convention a few years back. Other educators have called it "Brain Gym" (Paul Dennison.) Occupational therapists have used it, psychologists have used it, teachers and parents have used it.

The purpose of this activity is to transfer writing from the paper and pencil, physical activity, to the creative writing process. It helps the brain's two hemispheres to work together. The left side of the brain is where the beginning of learning new things lies, and then it is transfered to the right side when it is fully leared, and no longer in need of thought (i.e., driving a car, tying your shoes, etc.) We have seen a significant improvment in our childrens' writing skills, and I have seen improvements in the school setting as well.

I sat down with my daughter Emma to demonstrate this method for you. She has demonstrated it for me to general and special ed teachers at the school where I work:

The sideways 8 activity it works for me. If you click here, you will be sent to Rocks in my Dryer to see what works for others.

To see what other home school moms and dads are up to click here to go to the current carnival of home school being hosted this week by topsy-techie.

Thanks Amy

Next Time: My Music A to Z

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beginnings Part III: Now Where Were We?

The Faqs of Life.
My Life in Frequently Asked Question format.
Today's topic: Now Where Were We?

Q: When did you first meet your wife?

A: In the Fall of 1990. I was active in the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter at Western Illinois University. At our first meeting of the year, Amy was there. I remember talking to her at that meeting.

Q: What were your impressions?

A: I can do a pretty good Bob Dylan singing Amazing Grace.

Q: No, I mean what did you think of her?

A: I thought she was very nice. I remember talking to her about being from Lisle, which is where my Grandparents lived.

Q: What were her first thoughts of you?

A: Before the meeting she had seen me at the Hardees restaurant in the student union. I was in line, wearing a ball cap, stroking my chin and contemplating my order. Her first thought of me, was that I was the kind of guy that would be at the Inter-Varsity meeting she was going to. It turns out she was right.

Q: Did you start dating right away?

A: Oh, no. Unless you count "right away" as 7 years later.

Q: So do I have to ask you 7 years of questions?

A: No, ask how we became friends and I'll lead you home.

Q: How did you become friends?

A: I think it started the next week at our chapter retreat. I was trying to get to know all the new people. However, I had many responsibilities on the retreat. So, I would start a conversation with Amy and Vern Vincent would need to talk to me about the skit we were in or someone else would want to know what time the speaker was coming or some such. I would then go back to Amy and say "now where were we?" She would always say "We weren't anywhere, we hadn't started yet." I thought that was terrifically funny.

Amy, it turns out has a terrific sense of humor honed by many years of teasing her dogs and younger siblings. One Sunday afternoon at Golden Corral after she was done eating, she said she was fuller than a Theological Seminary. Anyone who knows me, and heard that joke, would attribute it to me in a heartbeat.

Q: So you could say it was love at first joke?

A: You could say that, but you'd be wrong.

Q: Now where were we?

A: That's my line. But we were talking about how I first met Amy. We became inseparable friends. Before we could become friends, however, she had to give me an IQ test.

Q: How did you do?

A: Excellent. I kept making jokes. Amy was testing her friends because she was studying to be a school psychologist. I would make jokes during the testing. It was great fun.

Q: With all the time you were spending together did anyone ever try to couple you up?

A: Who didn't? I once had a girlfriend who tried to get us together. We didn't date too long after that.

Q: Why were so many people getting mixed messages about you. It's not like you wrote songs for her.

A: No, I wrote songs about her all the time. But they were mostly to make her laugh on road trips to and from school. I did write her what could be construed as a love song when I was in Russia, but that was more of a friendship song.

Q: Well it wasn't like you bought a ring or anything.

A: Actually, I did that too.

Q: You what?

A: When she lived in Peoria she was working hard to get out of debt. She really wanted to buy herself an emerald ring but could not afford it. The next week on my lunch break I saw a circular that was advertising an emerald ring at a very reasonable price. I really thought that was God's way of telling me to buy her the ring. So, I did.

Q: Well at least you never slipped a putter through her hoop earrings while she was wearing them.

A: What goes on at mini golf stays at mini golf.

Q: So when did things develop romantically? I mean they did develop romantically? This isn't just a green card wedding is it?

A: No, we're legit. In December 1996, I was in South Carolina and she was in Hickory Hills. We used to chat from time to time on AOL. One day I could tell something was troubling her and it came to me like an epiphany. She's in love with me and is afraid to tell me because if she does the friendship won't be the same.

Q: So what did you do?

A: Over a long chat I coaxed it out of her. When she finally typed it. It had a tremendous impact on me.

Q: What kind of impact?

A: The closest thing I can compare it to is my conversion experience. I was sitting there, thinking this is my best friend, what would I do without her. Then it was like the lights went on and I realized this is more than my best friend this is the woman I want to share the rest of my life with.

Q: What happened next?

A: I visited Chicago a week later with the purpose of seeing whether Amy and I might be more than friends. I went to church with her and was grilled by some of the high school students she worked with. You know a girl is serious about you when she sicks Amanda Lesmeister and company on you.

We decided to make a go of it. During her spring break she visited me. After that week, I knew. I mean when someone shouts "hey, love interest" to you on Stone Mountain, you know. The week after she left, I put an emerald engagement ring on lay-a-way. She had always told me she wanted an emerald engagement ring. This one was no mere token of friendship.

In July of '97 I moved back to Illinois, In November I proposed,and we were married April 11,1998.

Q: Is there a place people could go to read more about how people fell in love, and perhaps post their own story?

A: They could click here and be sent to the Share your Love Story page at Heavenly Homemakers.com

Next Time: For Reluctant Writers

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crazy Dave's Give-A-Ways: The Power of an Encouraging Word.

This is officially the 25th post at Home School Dad. I thought I would celebrate by having my first give-away. I plan to give something away every 25 posts with every 100th post being a contest. Just comment on this post to be entered to win the book. I am posting all the "official" rules on a sidebar. Without further adieu, here is my first give-away:

The Power of an Encouraging Word

Encouragement - creating hope for the future - Ken Sutterfield from His book "The Power of an Encouraging Word."

From December '92 to November 1994, I served as a Southern Baptist Missionary in a Russian city of approximately 800,000, called Khabarovsk. At the time, they were the best 2 years of my life. (When you get the privilege of being married to a girl like Amy for nearly 11 years, everything else pales in comparison.) In Khabarovsk, I eventually teamed with 4 other missionaries to share the gospel and start a church among the college students. I say, eventually, because I came in November and the first of my teammates came the following summer. My first 6 months, I taught English, learned Russian and went to about 5 Russian Baptist church meetings per week.

I was one of the first Americans living in the region, but was hardly ever lonely. I dived right into my studies and my ministry. I went cross country skiing in 20 below weather. Let's face it, the first few months, I did everything in 20 below weather. I led a man to faith in Christ just by getting in a conversation about Russian Roulette. Like I say, I was hardly ever lonely for America or Americans. I should say, until Easter of 1993.

To the Russian Baptists, Easter is a much bigger deal than Christmas. A Russian Baptist Easter service is a sight to behold, with much singing, preaching and sending of greetings. The problem is that the calendar for Russia's Easter is different than America's Easter. Easter Sunday as I know it, was 1 week prior to Russian Easter. So on American Easter Sunday, it was just another Sunday at my new church and I was homesick, feeling isolated and frustrated with not being able to communicate heart to heart fully in Russian or English

I don't know if my good friend Vladimir Lebedev, one of the young men from the Baptist Church who later became the Pastor of the church we started, noticed my malaise or not. But after the evening service he advised me that there was another American in town and that he and I were going to visit him in his hotel. So we endeavored through Khabarovsk public trans to find that he was not at his hotel, so we went over to Vladimir's house to regroup. His mother made a nice dinner and while we were eating, Vladimir translated for his father as he told me this: "If anyone were to stop by and look at this house right now, they would feel like I have another son. You are part of our family."

Many people have done and said many kind things for me over the years, but Vladimir's father's words ministered to me in a way that no words have before or since. It was one of those moments in early language learning, when you understand the meaning before the translation is given. As in the quote I led off with, an encouraging word had given me hope for the future and I believe that was the last time I was that homesick in the entirety of my time in Khabarovsk.

I am going to give away 1 copy of Ken Sutterfield's book. It is a series of vignettes about encouragement. The author's goal is that the book will promote the act of encouragement. I hope I have a small part in that by promoting the book in this manner. Just post a comment by 11:00 p.m. CST 2/28/09. I will let you know who wins.

Next Time: Beginnings Part III, Now Where Were We?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What would you ask or tell the President?

As part of school this week, Emma, Charlie and myself wrote letters to our new President, Barack Obama. The first day we just decided over lunch what questions we wanted to ask him. I am not sure that all of these questions made our final copies but here are the questions we came up with:

What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite land animal?
What is your favorite ocean animal? (We are fairly fond of animals at the Izola Becker School)
What is your favorite sport?
Who is your favorite player on the White Sox?
Do your daughters have Webkinz?
What do your daughters like?
Do you like being President?
What is your favorite restaurant?
Why did you want to be President?
What's the food like at the White House?

The children including Lucy ( click here for the link to the picture she drew if you missed it the first time) all drew pictures of their favorite animals for President Obama.

It got me thinking with a new president and Presidents' Day coming up that other families may want to do an assignment like this themselves. If you want information of how to contact the president on the computer or by mail click here.

I would like to hear from you what you would ask or tell President Obama. I have put in my first Mr. Linky below, if you would like to post what you woull tell/ask Mr. Obama. Otherwise just leave a comment.
If you would like to see posts from other home schooling families click here to go to Spritibees for this weeks Carnival of Homeschooling.

Next Time: Crazy Dave's Give-a-ways: The Power of an Encouraging Word.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Annual/Season Passes: Deal or no Deal?

It's Friday, and that means that frugality reigns in blog world. This is my first foray into Frugal Friday which appears weekly at Biblical Womanhood. At the end of my post I will avail you with the opportunity to scramble over that way and see what other frugal festivities abound.

I think a key to frugality is to know when to spend and when not to spend. Amy (for those who don't know, Amy is my wife. She's my wife for those who do know, as well) and I have often nickel and dimed ourselves out of money rather than the other way around. One area where we have learned frugality is in knowing when to get annual or season passes and when not to. You know how when you are at a museum, amusement park or the like and the ticket person advises you that you could get an annual pass for another 50 dollars. When do you go for the upgrade and when is enough enough? I have a few ideas that have helped us make those decisions.

Know in Advance Your Plan of Use.

As I mentioned earlier this week we are a swimming family. We hit the local pool in the summer time as often as we can. The cost for our family last year was 18 dollars per visit. The cost of a summer pool pass for a family our size was 199 dollars. So the break-even point for us was 11 visits. We can generally manage that in a fortnight. In order to know whether such a venture would work for you, you would have to know how often you would be using the pass. If our family went only 5 times we would be out almost 110 dollars. Ten times and we'd be down only twenty bucks. If we went 20 times during the summer we would save 160 dollars. As a certain bald headed game show host might tell us, "we made a good deal."

Know What Doesn't Work for You.

A few years ago, our family got an annual pass at a Children's Museum. The particular pass allowed us to have free admission to a variety of other children's museums as well as the original museum. It worked quite well for us. Our children were 5 and 3 and the museums were perfect for them. Last summer the children each received a free ticket to attend that museum. They quite enjoyed themselves. But now at 8 and 6, I don't think it would hold their interest for regular visits, although the 2 year old did love it. The cost of the pass we got a few years ago is 110 dollars per year. The cost for me and the children to go by ourselves is $34.00. Break-even would be 4 visits. I am not sure that we have the interest for 2 visits a year let alone 4. Also we generally get 3 0r 4 free tickets to the place every year. So, I think I'd have to say: No deal.

Don't Let Season Passes Force the Fun Out of Your Fun.

My parents, God bless them, take each of their grandchildren on a pilgrimage to Disney World prior to their 10th birthday, so they can still get the children's rates. Emma went last April. My parents got a terrific deal on a multi-kingdom ticket or some such thing. Every day they went to a new place and had a terrific time. When Emma came back, I asked her what her favorite day was. She said the day they stayed at the hotel and played at the pool there all day. An extreme example of this would be subjecting yourself or your family to something you didn't like just to get your money's worth.

Don't Overdo It.

We generally never have more than one season's or annual pass at a time. The year we had the pass at the children's museum, we didn't renew our zoo pass. Also in this vain, we usually don't automatically renew our annual passes. For the zoo, we buy a new one the next time we go after the pass lapses. This way we get the maximum use of the pass.

Play on House Money.

I often will use money I have received as gifts or tax refunds to purchase passes with. This for us increases the savings and lets us use our regular income on regular items. I hope these tips will help you too to have fun on a budget. For more ideas on Friday Frugality click here.

Next Time: What would you ask the President?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

10 40 Window

When I was in college, I went twice to a once-in-a-life-time event called the Urbana Missions Conference.

For more about the Urbana Missions Conference click here.

At my second conference, Urbana '90, I attended with many friends from the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter of Western Illinois University, including my friend Geoff.

To find out more about Inter-Varsity click here (Do you sense a vast click here conspiracy?).

At the conference, many of the speakers talked about, what is known in missions circles, as the 10 40 (ten-forty) window. For more about the 10 40 window click here.

I don't think Geoff really caught on to what the 10-40 window is. He thought it meant I'll get married and have 10 kids by the time I'm 40.

Yesterday, in my mail, I got an invitation to an open house at Geoff's place. The signature advised that they were expecting again. That's 10 kids, and Geoff won't be 40 until this summer.

Congratulations Geoff and Kim!

Next time: Seasons/Annual passes, Deal or no Deal?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Speaking of Swimming

This week at school, the older kids are working on letters and pictures to send to President Obama. One of the questions Charlie asked him was what his favorite ocean animal was. Charlie told him that his favorite ocean animal is the shark and drew him two pictures of sharks replete with pirate ships ramming British vessels. My 3-year old, Lucy said that she wanted to draw President Obama a shark. I thought it was pretty good. Here is Lucy's shark:

Next Time: 10 40 window.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Swimming Lessons

My children are excellent artists. I don't where they get it but each of them have an excellent gift for art. I will post some of their creations at a later time. When it comes to athletics, well, they are excellent artists.

At this time, none of them have really shown the ability, desire or drive to enjoy, let alone excel, at the sports we have introduced to them. Amy and I are neither what you would call gifted athletes, but we both enjoy playing a variety of sports. (Truth be told, Amy aspires to be the first 40 year old Wimbledon champion, but since she has yet to beat me, not gonna happen sister.) The children have yet to follow in our example. Which is why I love Swimming Lessons

Every summer we spend quite a bit of time as a family at the local pool. During the school year the children enroll in swimming lessons about 1 month on and 1 month off. Today marks our youngest's first foray into swimming lessons as the minimum age is 3.

The lessons run 2 days a week for four weeks. It would seem these lessons add to an already busy schedule. However, swimming lessons work for us because:

  • They all take lessons at the same time. If each child was involved in different activities then the 2 hour a week commitment of swimming could easily triple to 6 or more.

  • Our kids love swimming. It is the one athletic endeavor that has been much more hit than miss.

  • It gives me a time to just be a sideline parent rather than a teacher. I love to watch their lessons.

So swimming lessons work for me. To see what works for others click here to be brought to the Works for me Wednesday page at Rocks in my Dryer.

Next Time: Speaking of Swimming

Monday, February 2, 2009

A "Typical" Week

People often want to know what a "typical" week of home schooling looks like. The answer I hear most often is that there is no such thing as a typical week. Home schooling families are like snowflakes in that respect, no two are exactly the same.

No, I am not saying that home school families are flakes! Focus, people, focus!

Here is what my typical week looks like at the Izola Becker Home School and Grill.

Monday, we have co-op. It is called Christian Workshops of the Fox Valley or CWF for short. Our family just calls it Monday School. I will write an entire post on CWF at another time. This is my first semester at CWF. Amy and the kids were involved previously, so far I really enjoy it.

Tuesday we are involved in a program called G.I.F.T (Godly Influenced Fine-arts training) it is similar to a co-op. Emma and Charlie take 1 class each and work on school with me while the other is in their class. Emma is taking a drawing class and Charlie is taking Chess. On Tuesday afternoons we have our regular library day.

Wednesday through Friday resemble a more typical home school environment. Between 7 and 8:00 kids wake up have breakfast and do their morning routine. At 8:30 we start school by watching the daily episode of Jelly Telly. Jelly Telly is the latest innovation from Phil Vischer the creator of veggie tales. It is a cross between Sesame Street and Sunday School. Here are a few clips from the show:

The Bentley Brothers

God's Amazing Animals

Michael's Ten Best Films of All Time

You can see the daily shows at http://www.jellytelly.com/.

After Jelly Telly we come to the table and work on Awana verses. Emma then begins working on her classes through her Switched-On School House program. Lucy, Charlie and I work at the table until about 10:30 and then take a morning break. After break I finish up with Charlie and Emma continues to work independently. School ends between 12 and 1 when lunch time begins. After School we do chores, run errands, play games, or translate the Bible into Pig Latin. We have not gotten past the en-tay amandments-kay yet.

So that's what a typical week is supposed to look like. This doesn't include things like swimming lessons, field trips and what we do with Emma when her computer breaks like it did at the beginning of this year. For example, today is our CWF day, but the church that allows CWF to use their building, is cleaning up after a Super Bowl party and thus CWF was cancelled making the typical week atypical before it ever began.

To see more home school blogs go to the home school carnival hosted this week at Dewey's Treehouse by clicking here.

Next Time: Swimming Lessons

I Want to try National Blog Posting Month.

One month into my blogging experiment, I am officially a posting fool. Following the lead of a college friend of mine I have decided to try my hand at NaBloPloMO (National Blog Posting Month). Click here to for more info. Each month you agree to post on your blog at least one time a day. February is the shortest month, so a perfect month for me to start.

They have a theme for each month which is optional. The theme this month is want. I want to try to incorporate that in my posts but I might come up wanting.

Next Time: A "typical" week

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Skiing, Swimming, Super Bowl, or Sox Fest.

Have you ever noticed that if you want to do 4 things in one month, they will often occur on or near the same day? This happened to me this week and helped me remember what things are truly important to me.

Today, of course, is Super Bowl Sunday. I love football, commercials, parties and food so I generally enjoy watching the Super Bowl. The thing is that by choice our t.v. works only to watch d.v.d's and videos. So, if I watch the big game I have to go somewhere else to watch it.

This weekend is also Sox Fest, a three day convention in downtown Chicago that celebrates all things White Sox. Plenty of opportunities to meet current and former players and see interesting seminars and talk baseball 2 weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Also, my cousin offered to treat me to skiing this weekend and I would have been able to take 1 0r 2 of my kids and teach them how to ski as well.

Finally, I had the opportunity to take my kids swimming this weekend at the local indoor pool, which I can do any weekend.

I ended up deciding on swimming. The main reason is because Sox Fest and the Super Bowl are things that really, I am the only one in our family of five who enjoys them. I would have gone skiing, but if we did that, I would have had to cancel dinner plans I made with my sister to celebrate her birthday. She's only got one a year, so I'd better not mess with that!

So, I chose the simplest, and most family-friendly things because I love my family. Next year, maybe I'll get back to a Super Bowl Party while skiing on a Wii while checking in at WhiteSox.com. You never know!

Next Time: I Want to try National Blog Posting Month.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip