May 31, 2012

May 29, 2012

Changes (Excuses, Really)

I have to apologize for my lack of activity on this blog.  Several factors have played into it and will probably change when the new baby comes, Lord willing.

Blogger has changed it's interface and it's much less user friendly.  I cannot write many posts at once and schedule them to appear every day, like I could before.

I have reached my limit on pictures and I must go back through and delete some if I'm to post any new ones.  Or I could pay to upgrade my subscription on Picasa web albums to include more storage.  I'm disinclined to pay for anything that I once had for free.  So I will have to be more selective about the pictures I post.

Coming to the end of this pregnancy, being so large and desiring more and more to lay down has made climbing stairs rather unappealing.  I've had plenty to say, but at the end of the day, I try to avoid climbing the stairs or staying awake another 20 minutes.  

Today, I'm 37 weeks exactly.  Only 3 more weeks to go until the due date, 19 June.  The girls all arrived on time: Moriah was 4 days early, Lily was one day early and Shiphrah was 15 minutes early.  My prayers concerning this baby are typical: a smooth labor and delivery, a baby that will nurse easily and sleep soundly.  The baby is moving all the time and I have Braxton-Hicks contractions very frequently too. 

Now that I don't have anything major between now and the delivery, I've begun to prepare for this next little person to enter our family.  I've started packing bags, organizing and washing things and I'll start baking additional bread loaves to store in the freezer as well as a few casserole meals.  I eagerly anticipate not walking around like a rhinoceros and meeting our new little baby.  Let the real countdown begin.

May 19, 2012

May 17, 2012

The Writing On The Wall, But They Can't Read It

I heard about this story on talk radio and considered addressing it briefly here.  The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is given to public school students as are similar tests in other government schools across the nation.  The results showed that only 27% of fourth grade students passed the written portion.  The state of Florida reacts to this by lowering the passing grade!

Everyone knows that the government schools badly need improving, but everyone also believes that their local school ranks higher than the average school.  The government schools are primarily in the business of propagating a socialist agenda by training young people not to think critically, but to become an ignorant mob of factory workers that will push the socialist agenda forward.  These test scores are proof that reading, writing and arithmetic are not taught in the public school, but that there is a greater emphasis on something other than skills needed to lead a responsible life.  If everyone knows that the government schools are failing, why do they continue to allow them to "educate" their children?

Read it HERE.

May 7, 2012

Are You Living Dangerously?


Dangerous housewives are those women who have chosen to stay home and make great financial sacrifices to do so.  Dangerous housewives are those who rear their own children and use their education to better educate their own children within the home forsaking a personal career.  We raise up the next generation of taxpayers and voters with conservative values and morals.  This "choice" is one that the Democrats and feminists don't want you to choose. 

Read Dangerous Housewives HERE.

May 1, 2012

Our New Van!

 2002 Ford E150 in excellent condition

The driver and front passenger seats.  All the seats, including the bench are leather.

From the rear, notice the two TV screens and cargo space.

Taken from the side door.  Notice the two bucket seats in the middle, under the TV screens.  The VHS player (with aux adapters) sits in between these two seats.

Getting Your Children Interested in Music

I consider that there are two scenarios when it comes to parents who want to encourage their children toward an appreciation for music.  The first is that of musical parents, like myself, and the second would be for non-musical parents.  Non-musical parents would be those who do not regularly play an instrument, including voice, within their home, whether they have formal training or not.  For this second group of parents there are a lot of practical and inexpensive things you can do that might spark an interest in your child.  One of the most common ways is to coerce them to begin an instrument or lessons on something they don't initially show inclination towards.  Some parents might wait until the child begins to show an interest in something specific before moving forward toward the research and acquisition of an instrument, lessons, etc.

In my personal experience and after teaching for more than 10 years, I have found that the best students are those who are self-motivated and not coerced.  They love violin (or whatever) because they love it, not because their parents make them take it.  These students practice on their own, they enjoy it, they want to learn, they want to improve and parents don't have to continually nag them to go practice or stand over their shoulder while they do so.

A great way to encourage your child is by exposure.  The more they see and hear music, live and recorded, the more of an interest they are likely to take.  You can purchase music anywhere.  You can listen and watch for free on YouTube or borrowing materials from your local library.  There are lots of movies also with musician/instrumental themes, Music from the Heart (G or PG) and The Red Violin (PG mostly, but there is an R scene) come immediately to mind.  The former is based on a true story and the latter is fictional.

To expose your children to live music, there are a lot of venues that are local and free.  The public school system teaches musical arts beginning in elementary school through high school.  You can check websites to see if those musical events are listed on a calendar where you and your family can attend for little or no cost.  Sometimes these groups may perform outside of a public school building (for those of us who would prefer never to step inside another building again).

Local churches are also a great source of live music.  The larger churches, like First Baptist Atlanta, will have a full orchestra and 4-part choir.  They'll probably have teen and children's choirs also.  They will typically do special programs during high church days, like Christmas and Easter.  These programs often fall on days that don't conflict with your own regular church attendance. 

Conduct a Google search to find out what community orchestras perform locally.  John's Creek Orchestra is located there near Roswell and performs musical concerts for a ticket price.  There are also youth orchestras, like the Atlanta Youth Orchestra, where the kids that play are 18 and younger performing serious orchestral works for cheaper than tickets to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  Many of the local community orchestras will charge for each adult and will usually discount for seniors and students.  They may admit children under a certain age for free.

 Summer is coming and many orchestras around the region may perform free summer concert series at smaller city downtown centers.  Norcross has an outdoor amphitheater at Thrasher Park and Lillian Webb Park and they will have local jazz, bluegrass, etc. bands play there on clear weekend nights and daytime festivals.  Some similar concerts take place in downtown Duluth and Suwanee also.  Oftentimes the concert schedules are posted online on the municipal websites.  Google is great search tool.

You might be able to arrange for a large group of several families to observe a rehearsal of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  Check their website to see if they host any free events too.  Local music teachers may occasionally host recitals as a public venue for their students to gain performance experience.  These will most likely be free too.  The Anderson Music Studio is hosting one such free recital Friday, May 25th at 7:30p.m. at Christ Reformed Church (2209 Sunny Hill Rd, Lawrenceville).

If you have friends who are musical, ask kindly if they wouldn't mind playing something at your next get together and showing your children how the instrument works and entertaining any questions they may have.  

The most important advice I could give as a parent, teacher and former/continuing student is to discover the specific instrument (or voice) your child is interested in and encourage him or her in that direction.  If they love piano, let them do piano.  If they want to try trumpet, don't give them the flute instead.  Sounds simple, but some parents do just that.