Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Holy Nectar

Every week, Nate and I try to do something "different".  It could be going to a new restaurant, visit a book store, go to an event, etc. 

On the way to said "something different" Nate notices I have on pearl earrings.  He questions my fashion choice and I reply with, "Because I can."  He sincerely responds with, "I don't think this is a pearl earring kind of place."  Alrighty then.  I personally believe every place is a "pearl earring kind of place". 

Today, for our outing, we decided to try a place in town that does hibachi.  (On a side note, it was pouring outside, cold and people were in a generally foul mood.)  The entire experience was comical.  First, we get the menu and it's microscopic with nothing listed Nate would eat.  A summation of my conversation with the waiter: Chicken Katsu?  No one in the area even makes that.  Noodles?  We don't have any noodles.  Dessert?  We don't make anything sweet.  Seriously?  Yes, seriously.

Nate says, "I'll just hang out and watch the dude cook, while you eat."  I felt guilty, but ate anyway.  Nate thoroughly enjoyed watching the chef be fancy with the utensils while building onion tower-volcano thingies.  Two guys were seated at our grill as well and for the 30 minutes they were there, neither one of them got off their cell phones-- and were talking at a level where people in China could hear.  (Public cell phone usage is a pet peeve of mine.)  I think the chef was equally annoyed because he kept flinging rice in their direction.  Fun stuff.

So, we left and headed over to Arby's to get Nate some chicken and curly fries. The kid LOVES curly fries.  He got his meal, pulled out the packet of ranch dressing and said, "aaahhh, the holy nectar."  I didn't think I would ever stop laughing.  I pulled out a piece of paper from my bag and wrote down the quote (who wants to forget that?) and Nate says, "did you just write down 'holy rectus'?"  Laughing ensued (again) because I was thinking, "yes, the rectum is a hole"-- I'm not even close to sane at times. I'm sure onlookers thought I was on some sort of medication.  They wanted a piece of my sunshine on this rainy day. 

All-in-all, today was completely amusing.  Rain and cold weather be darned!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Television

I want to welcome my new followers!  I also wanted to thank Little Boys are Made of Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails for hosting a blog hop!  Now, on with the blog...

Not too long ago I figured out I've only had cable/satellite t.v. for six years (total) in my life.  Three of those years was when I was a kid (only one as a teenager).  I find I get annoyed with the conundrum of "1 gazillion channels, nothing on to watch".  Plus, I'm too fidgety to sit for long periods of time, unless I'm not feeling well.  This was not the case when I was a child.

When I had cable as a kid, I would stay up for days (literally-- I think my record was close to five days with no sleep).  I would have rather watched t.v. than do anything else.  I was completely infatuated with Mtv and memorized every song, band, lyric, album and writer-- plus I had a huge crush on Riki Rachtman, the host of "Headbanger's Ball".  Don't get me wrong, I went outside and played, rode my horse, went to school and was an avid reader. But nothing topped my love for the boob tube.

As I grew, t.v. lost it's sparkle for me and I became extremely disinterested in the content.  It seemed to happen around the time the crew from West Beverly graduated high school. The show went on for seven more seasons but I lost interest.  It seemed that all the shows I became interested in were canceled all too quickly-- My So-Called Life is a prime example-- or I found them after they went off the air (yea DVD's).

Fast forward to life as an adult.  There was a ten year period where I had absolutely no clue as to what was on t.v.-- I'm aware now (thanks to the internet and friends) but still have no interest.  "The Marine" sometimes marvels at my complete disinterest in cinematic masterpieces such as "Ax Men" or "Top Shot". How I can  pass up such testosterone-filled rampages is beyond me!

My son is echoing my childhood pattern, in a more mild form.  He loves television, but I really can't say he would rather watch t.v. than do anything else though.  ("The Marine" may disagree with that statement-- and that's a whole other blog topic!)  When it comes to homeschooling I can say I'm glad Nate doesn't follow in my footsteps in that area!

Some days I wish I could sit down and watch all the "popular" shows so I could converse like a normal person.  But alas, I'm not wired that way. (I do watch "Bones"-- what kind of Anthropologist would I be if I didn't?)  I feel there is a lifetime limit for t.v. watching and I must have maxed mine out as a kid.  Maybe one day a show will capture my attention and renew my love for t.v., until then, I have the internet.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Show & Tell: Gela Skins

Last night I got bored and decided to revamp my blog.  I had initially used a Blogger.com template that was barely personalized.  For those of you who know me personally, you know I can't have anything that isn't "mine".  So, if you like the new look, please let me know!  (The same goes if you don't like it too!)  Also, please note we now have a web address!  Yes, we are officially www.theunexpectededucation.com!!  I feel all fancy now.

I also decided I would start a "Sunday Show & Tell" (keeping with my "school" theme), showcasing some of my favorite blogs, websites or other "cool" things I have found on the net.  Today, since I mentioned my obsession with personalization, I'd like to introduce you to Gela Skins.

I "discovered" them a few years ago and have been addicted ever since.  I've only bought three things but I peruse their site often waiting for new sizes/shapes to decorate other electronics I own.  I'd like to find one for my new external hard drive.  I'm including a few photos of my chosen adornments so you can get an idea of how awesome they are!
 My main laptop-- the one I'm using right now. (Ignore my pile to the left.  I need to clean off my desk.)
 My iPod-- this skin is too cute.

My favorite!  This is my 11" laptop (netbook) for traveling.  They have a balloon dog one too.  Funny stuff.

I highly recommend these "skins".  They protect your electronics (most come with clear screen covers too) and are easily removable.  They are 3M laminated vinyl that won't leave any residue when removed.  So, if you have an iPhone or other device that is easily scratched, get yourself one of these. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Discrimination

A few years ago "the Marine" bought me a Nintendo DS for Christmas.  Yes, I'm a video game lover.  One of the games he got me was called "Brain Age".  I love this game.  Through a series of tests (games), it calculates the age of your brain-- basically, the quicker and more accurate your answers, the younger your brain.  One of the "tests" was to read a word like "red".  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Well, the letters were colored "yellow".  Like this RED.  Now, do you see where the difficulty lies?  After about 20 of these in a row you will be yelling out the color of the word, instead of reading the word.  After a few tries, you can "train your brain" to actually see the word and ignore the color of the letters. 

As an Anthropologist, I'm always equating one thing to another.  An incident today while I was lunching with Nate reminded me of this game and how it applies to life in general.  More specifically to the problem of discrimination-- I'm NOT only referring to racism.  I'm sure you are wondering (or maybe not) how I came to this conclusion and I want you to bear with me while I explain.  Do not jump to any crazy conclusions and really take in what I'm writing.

From an early age we are "trained" through peers and media (movies, songs, books, news, etc.) to make snap judgments.  An example, if you see someone covered in dirt and grime at the grocery store, what is your automatic assumption?  (Be honest!) 

So, what incident sparked this post?  Nate and I were at a Mexican restaurant and the table next to ours felt my waiter was probably an illegal alien and why couldn't this place hire Americans.  Oh yes, I'm not kidding.  To add insult to injury, the waiter, unbeknownst to me, was flirting me-- I call it being friendly and trying to earn a good tip.  This sent the horrible patrons into a tizzy, assuming he was trolling me for a Green Card.  So, me being me, I rather loudly explained to Nate that judging someone based on their skin color, job, clothing, etc. is ignorant... and completely unacceptable.  He proclaimed, "I already know that."  And I said, "It was worth repeating." 

I don't know how/where y'all were raised.  I was raised in the South, where we were taught to feel horrible about our past indiscretions-- a past I had no part in but yet, I was supposed to feel extreme guilt about it.  I learned early in life, when I say I'm from "The South", I'm automatically deemed a racist.  That's like saying everyone from Germany is a Hitler loving Nazi.  Does that sound accurate to you?  I didn't think so.

Visual discrimination is a disease.  Mind you, this disease has a cure!  Stop judging people based on their physical attributes.  Stop classifying yourselves into groups-- if you were born in the U.S., you are an American.  You are not Irish-America, African-American or Japanese-American.  If you are black and were born in America, you are an American, not a 'Black-American'.  As Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) once said, "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."  

I'm sure I've made someone angry with my words today.  Maybe they should take a second and ask themselves why.  I wholeheartedly believe in the good in people.  To some, that may be a flaw, but to me, that's just who I am. 


"And each of us can practice rights ourselves, treating each other without discrimination, respecting each other's dignity and rights."~ Carol Bellamy<br><br>

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Defined by Music

Sometimes I find it difficult to "nail down" a blog topic.  There are so many amazing things to discuss or share it can be overwhelming picking just one!  Which leads me to my chosen topic. 

I'm a slave/addict/lover to Facebook.  (I know I'm not the only one!!)  There is currently a meme going around called "The 50 Day Song Challenge".  It sounded daunting when I first read the title and well, it is.  I don't normally follow the latest Facebook craze but I couldn't resist this one.  The idea is to follow the "challenge" each day by posting a link to a YouTube video with a little blurb about the song/album/artist, etc.  An example is "Day 01 - A song from the first album you ever bought".  Searching the recesses of my brain, I remembered buying "Thriller" by Michael Jackson on a .45.  I can't even tell you what was on the B-side.  I wasn't very old when this purchase occurred but I do remember perfecting the dance with hours and hours of practice.

At this moment you may be pondering why I chose this topic.  Well, here is the reason.  Over the last few days I've been watching my friends post their musical history.  It reminded me how much music shapes our experiences and our memories.  Movies don't have soundtracks for no reason!  Think back to high school... do you remember your class song?  (Mine was Boyz II Men's "End of the Road"-- still gagging!)  I think "the Marine's" was "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas (way cooler).  Either way, these songs are "memory mile-markers" and when we hear them, we are transported back to the mid-90's. 


I love watching Nate's musical tastes develop. I'm getting to watch his "musical history" unfold before my eyes!  A few years ago he really loved Rascal Flatts, The Wreckers and Cars soundtrack.  Now he's more into classic rock and some pop.  And of course, he's beginning to go through the "I don't like your music" phase too.  *Sigh*  Regardless of our differences in musical preference, I'm glad he is not just mimicking me and "the Marine".  He is really searching for his own musical identity... which is awesome and shows he's not afraid to be different.


"Without music, life would be a mistake."~Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Unschooling

Spring has arrived in our neck of the woods.  Bike rides are abundant, seedlings are started, housework has become optional (or postponed until dark), the sun is bright and the breezes are cool.  This is the time of year I find it extremely difficult to focus and (un)fortunately, Nate has inherited my love of Spring, along with my ability (or lack thereof) to focus.

So, we've revamped our school schedule to fit our abilities.  We agreed to convert to year round schooling.  This consists of six weeks on and three weeks off.  He also gets the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas off, regardless of where we are in the schedule. 

This past week was filled with LOTS of bike riding, pie making, outside lunches, creative play and laughs.  It's like a normal school week without the book work.  He's still learning, just in a different manner.  I'm pretty sure this is what an "unschooler's" week looks like, and I have to say I really like it!

I'm trying to celebrate the fact that I have such a flexible schedule.  I have been pretty down as of late about not having a specific purpose.  Well, I really do have a purpose.  It just isn't the one I had anticipated.  So, for now, I am embracing my time with Nate and my freedom to do whatever I want!  Until next time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Heart Japan

Over the last week I've had a sort of "blogger's block".  I've been so overwhelmed with what is going on in the world, it has been difficult to formulate a coherent sentence about all the chaos and disaster.  My family and I used to live in Japan, Okinawa to be specific. (They were not affected by the tsunami/earthquake)  Nate and I lived there for 3 years and "the Marine" has lived there (on & off) a total of 6 years-- gotta love separations courtesy of the USMC. 

The barrage of imagery via news and other social media has brought back memories of my time in Japan.  I remember when I stepped off the plane and was completely taken aback by the sights and sounds.  I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.  It was all so surreal.  On the ride from the airport to our temporary home, I saw hundreds of men in little green jumpsuits working one of the many construction sites.  I was so excited I yelled, "Doozers" ( a reference to the show Fraggle Rock)!!  I later learned Jim Henson fashioned the Doozers after Japanese construction workers-- I was pleased to know I wasn't delusional!

I was so frightened, at first, to be in a foreign country.  Especially Japan.  I had read books to prepare myself for the transition, none of which quelled my fears.  Stoic, reserved, homogeneity, intolerant of outsiders, ritual-- these were all words used to describe the Nipponese.  Those were my pre-Anthropology days so I really didn't understand the cultural context.

It took me about six months to be really comfortable off base.  I kept my mind and ears open.  I learned as much as I could about the culture from the people.  What I learned has stayed with me and shaped who I am today. 

They are stoic.  They are the literal definition, "showing admirable patience and endurance in the face of adversity without complaining or getting upset" (Dictionary.com).  If something terrible happens, the keep moving forward.  They don't wait for help, they repair the damage, then help their neighbor.  


They are reserved.  They do not "air their business" to the world.  Family/personal matters are handled discreetly and without Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil's interventions.


Homogeneity... they have this down to a science.  Only within the last 10-20 years have they had colors (other than white) available for their automobiles. 


Intolerant of Outsiders?  Not even close.  I've never felt so welcome in a foreign place.  I felt safe, secure and part of the group.  Despite my obvious physical and cultural differences.


They have ritual.  The Nippon nation rejoices in the past.  Although western civilization has taken a strong hold, the people don't seem to be losing their identity.  That is a difficult task in this world.


These are only a few of the reasons I love Japan.  My experiences there led me to Anthropology.  My heart broke a little when I first heard what happened-- the way a heart breaks when you first hear the news that someone you love has been injured or killed.  Then I remembered all the things that make these people so unique and beautiful and I realized, they will be just fine.  They will clean up and rebuild without a word of complaint, without looting one store... all while helping their neighbors.

The first restaurant we ate at in Japan.  Every local wanted to hold Nate because of his blue eyes.
Nate and me at the beach, the same day as above.
 I sent these hats to my parents as a gift.  I couldn't resist getting a photo first though.
 

If you want to read a great book on Japanese culture try The Chrysanthemum and The Sword by Ruth Benedict.  This book is so right on, the Japanese still use it in their educational system.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi

Today is the 22nd annual "Pi Day". 

"A Brief History of π 
Pi has been known for almost 4000 years—but even if we calculated the number of seconds in those 4000 years and calculated pi to that number of places, we would still only be approximating its actual value."  Read the rest of the article at Exploratorium

I love math, and learning in general.  But, days like today make it fun for the non-math lover (like Nate). Later today we are going to make some pie and I'll explain how "pi" works!  It's always fun when you get to eat your lesson in the end!  

Enjoy your day!  Celebrate the greatness of math and all its complexities.  Eat some pie and enjoy this little ditty about Pi!
 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's 'Gooder'.

So there I was, cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast.  Nate was parked on the couch enjoying cartoons before "school" this morning.  I was barely paying attention to the t.v. until I hear, "Bill's mornings have never been gooder."  I let out an audible, "What the heck did that commercial just say?"  Nate responds with, "Gooder.  What's the matter?"  I sarcastically retorted with, "If you don't know what's wrong with that... I'm failing as a Mom and a homeschooler."  Nate laughed at me, of course.  He says, "it's funny".  I don't think so.

I tend to get "wrapped around the axles" about certain things, grammar is one of them.  I'm not perfect by ANY stretch of the imagination, heck I've been known to end a sentence in a preposition.  I'm a rebel that way.  I also understand that certain dialects make changes in what I consider "proper grammar".  I'm trackin'.  But to blatantly use a "pseudo-word" (to quote Writinghood) in a commercial.  Well, I dislike, disagree, veto, strike, etc.

I was very leery of writing this post.  I have argued with myself about how silly it is that I'm so irritated by a commercial.  In Linguistic Anthropology, I was taught all language should be celebrated, even if it's vastly different than my own.  I sometimes find this a difficult task because English is MY language and it has rules and guidelines.  Maybe I should take Nate's view and just see it as "funny".  Then again, maybe not.  My idiosyncrasies make me who I am.

The commercial is really cute.  I love the song and the "the cows aren't gonna milk themselves" line.  So, bad grammar and all, enjoy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Educated" Automatons

I was perusing Facebook (like I do way too often) and came across this video a friend posted.  I want to make a few comments before you watch.  I agree that formal public school education is antiquated.  There are many "studies" (and live examples) that show those who do well in this world aren't just book smart but have a "real world" education and are able to think quickly and adapt even more swiftly.  College is no better.  Professors push their own agenda and charm students into following said agenda.  A fleet of automaton, if you will.  My opinions being stated... on to the video!

This video is one of the best explanations of why I homeschool.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Next time, lie to me!"

Every homeschooling family knows that grocery shopping is the ultimate educational experience.  You can have the kids doing math, nutrition, economics and science all in one place.  That being said, let me tell you about my grocery shopping experience today.

Nate and I have a normal route we travel through the market.  We start in the organic section over by the veggies and end in the dairy... with only a few side trips down isles.  I try to avoid convenience food and tend to shop around the outer edges of the store. Everything was going great.  We were comparing prices, checking calories per serving, trying to remember what we needed (I always seem to forget my list) and even picked up a basil plant!  Then I had to make a "side trip" down the feminine hygiene isle.  I grabbed my product and put it in the cart.  Nate didn't seem to give it a second thought... until we get to the check out. 

Nate was helping me unload our items onto the conveyor belt and grabbed said feminine products.  He stopped and says, "what are these?"  My internal monologue was saying, "oooh, think, think... quicker, quicker".  And this is the conversation:

Me:  "do you mind if I wait to explain?
Nate: "Do you mean, 'wait until we are out of the grocery store' or 'wait until I'm older'?"
Me: "Grocery store."
Nate: He looks at the "product" once more and says, "how about we wait longer than that?"
Check out Lady: "Ha."
Me: "Whichever you choose."

I finish putting the groceries in my totes and head for the truck.  We loaded up and headed home.  We were unloading the totes and putting things away when Nate says, "Okay, I want to know now."  )I guess the package of feminine products I had just unloaded reminded him of the conversation.)  And here's how that went:

Me: "Okay, remember, I always tell you the truth."
Nate: "I know.  Sometimes too much truth."
Me: "This could quite possibly be 'too much' for you."
Nate: "Okay."
Me: "Do you know what puberty is...."

And well, I'll spare you the rest of that conversation except to let you know it ended with Nate saying, "That's gross" and "next time, lie to me."  I assured him I will do no such thing. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pottery & Paint

I'm always so proud when Nate uses his imagination.  He's constantly repainting/remarking his Legos, and other toys, to make them 100% personalized.  I remember getting irritated at first and saying, "why are you marking up that brand new toy?"  He always responded with something like, "I didn't like the colors" or "it looks better my way."  I'm not sure why I got aggravated.  I assume the adult in me was overriding my inner child-- I should make that stop immediately!  I'm now over it and let my kid create, create, create.
Some examples of his work.  These were both a solid "boring" color, and now they are very unique, like Nate.




This is a build-it-yourself race care kit from Lowe's.  We even got him the apron, goggles and hammer. 


These are some things we do at home for art.  I'm a huge advocate of doing some sort of art every day-- whether it is painting/coloring/drawing/building or even something musical.  I think it is a great outlet for feelings, excess energy, etc.  It's too bad that most public schools don't spend more time on the subject.  We did 16 units on everything from "Art as a Language" (Lang. Arts); "Proportions in Nature" (Math usage in art); "Making Paint" (Science in art); Art History (Social Studies in Art); And the list goes on.  I plan to do a really in depth lesson plan on "music" soon.

Sometimes, I don't have the capabilities/desire to teach about certain techniques.  So, I will send Nate to a class with other kids. (Socialization time doesn't hurt either!)  Currently, Nate is taking "pottery".  It's a basic build-it-yourself type class... no fancy pottery wheels or anything.  I was hesitant to pay the money (they think an awful lot of their classes around here) because it's hit or miss with classes like this when it comes to Nate enjoying himself.  I really lucked out!  He absolutely loves it!  He just finished his second class this past Friday and has three more to go... I can't wait to see his finished products!  Pictures will be posted!  Until then, here are some previews!

Pottery Class #1





Pottery Class #2
Yes, that pinch pot does say "A-Team".  He has a new found fascination with "B.A. Baracas" (Mr. T's character).  What can I say... the kid likes classic 80's t.v. shows. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grown-ups Need Friends Too

The reasons folks homeschool are similar for the most part.  Yet, the methods are as varying as the color scheme found in nature.  Being a homeschool family has its positives :  We get to spend more time with our son, have complete control over what he is taught and our schedule is flexible enough to make everyone happy.  I have learned, in nature where there are positives, there must be negatives.  The negative side to homeschooling, that I've encountered, is difficulty making friends.  This has nothing to do with Nate... that kid has never met a stranger.  He's charismatic and everyone seems to genuinely love him almost instantaneously.

In my (almost) two years of home education, I have yet to make one solid friend in the homeschooling community.  When I lived in Missouri, I was extremely busy and that played a large part as to why.  I participated in events and attended the YMCA homeschooling sessions but was never accepted into the community.  But, honestly, I really didn't try too hard. Still, though, I didn't even make a good acquaintance. I thought moving to North Carolina would be different.  I'm a Southern woman (whose traveled the world) and thought, maybe, I would have more "in common" with the community here.  Well... not so much.

I went to pick Nate up from his pottery class yesterday and was chatting with the instructor and another Mother.  The instructor asked me how long I have homeschooled.  I answered and she followed up with, "What school did he go to previously?"  I responded that we'd moved from Missouri and have only been in the area two months.  She didn't speak another word to me, nor did the other Mother.  I was there for another five minutes, I tried to ask some questions about their homeschooling situation, etc.  Nothing.  I was ignored. I couldn't stand the deafening silence any longer (and the class was over), so I gathered Nate, said, "Have a good afternoon, ladies" (with no response) and left.

Here's the horrible part.... As I walked around the corner I heard the instructor let out a big sigh and started talking ninety-to-nothing... about me.  I resisted the urge to turn around, and went straight to the truck.  I've never felt so horrible and unaccepted in my whole life... and trust me, I've lived some places where my presence was despised.  I don't normally let people like that under my skin.  But, I got to thinking about how homeschoolers are such a small group (in the grand scheme of the population) and it's important to support each other-- regardless of our different styles or objectives. 

I'm not giving up though.  Nate will continue his class because he LOVES it!  I just hope they don't treat him differently.  I'm still unsure why they reacted that way.  Maybe they realized I'm from a military family or not from North Carolina and that displeases them?  Maybe they didn't like the way I said "Missouri"?  Maybe, I'll never know.  I do know this.  Everyone needs at least one friend and right now I don't have any (here).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Outer Banks

A little over a week ago the family took a day trip to The Outer Banks.  Our destination, aside from the scenery, was "The Graveyard of the Atlantic".  (It has it's own website "here")  I was really excited to get my Maritime Archaeology and history fix!  I'm a big ole nerd that way.

We left the house about 6:30 a.m., stopping for some "road breakfast".  "The Marine" always insists on eating inside, so we didn't get back on the road until 7:15.  There are two ways to get to Hatteras.  You can be a slave to the ferry system, making reservations days in advance to ensure a spot-- if you aren't there 30 minutes early to "check in", you are immediately put on stand by (which is bad since the ferry only runs 4x daily).  The ferry people are very strict.  So, we chose the second way to get to Hatteras... drive the few hundred miles to get somewhere that is only roughly half that distance away from our house, if my truck could traverse Pamlico Sound.

Pamlico Sound
We drove through a lot of awesome little towns.  I have to say North Carolina has the most beautiful rest stops I've seen thus far in my travels.  The below photo doesn't do the place justice.  I took it as an afterthought, getting back into the truck.
We finally get to Roanoke Island and Manteo, where we are supposed to turn right on Highway 12.  The road was blocked (it's a bypass) so we had to drive through town.  I grew up in Florida so, I've been to beaches/beach towns my whole life.  But, let me tell you, I'd never seen anything like this before.  House after house on both sides of the road.  They were all three and four stories and had cute little names like "The Crab Shack" or "Ocean Spray".  I assume they were named so folks could identify their house... for the most part, they ALL look alike!  Another thing I couldn't get over... no one lived in these houses.  Ninety-five percent were rentals.
 
I didn't take too many photos that day but there were a few houses I made "the Marine" stop for:

My dream home

The "back up" dream home

 The awesome thing about the above house?  It's from the movie "Nights in Rodanthe".  Yep, the one with Richard Geer and Diane Lane... based on the book by Nicholas Sparks. (I've read the book, not seen the movie).

I recognized the, very unique, house from movie trailers I'd seen.  So, when I got home I looked it up to make sure I wasn't mistaken.  It is the same house... they just "green screened" out all the surroundings.  It was a good lesson in what "movie magic" can do!

So... enough with the houses and back to the main point of the journey.  (And we wonder why my kid has a difficult time focusing.)  We drove the complete length of Highway 12.  It literally dead ends into the museum.
The museum looked promising, even though we were the only people there.  We went inside, made our donation (it's free otherwise) and were amazed by this giant light from a light house.

The lens had been stolen and lost since the time of the Civil War.  Someone had it just lying around and now it's at the museum.  Now, you've seen the most extensive exhibit at the museum.  No, I'm not kidding.  They had a pirate section set up but it was mainly plastic pieces and wax people.  I was quite disappointed with the visual aspect of the place.  On a positive note, it did have a lot to read about pertaining to the major shipwrecks.












I love nautical knots
My family didn't enjoy the museum that much.  Oh well, hopefully I will have better luck picking a place next time!

After we left the museum, we decided to drive further down the island.  If you remember, I said the highway ended at the museum.  Never fear, I have 4WD!


So, if you've ever wondered what the tip of Cape Hatteras looks like... wonder no longer.

It was an awesome day, museum aside.  We really got to "hang out" for the first time since we moved to NC.  The conversation was amazing and laughter was abundant.  We are going to do it again soon... and maybe stay a day or two.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mean Mommy

Not every day, in the land of Kelli, is blissful.  I realized I seem to post the positive aspects of our chosen lifestyle and gloss right over the not so pretty parts.  That's not the case today.

Nate is an amazing kid.  Full of bright ideas, creativity, quick wit and... a streak of stubborn that would make a mule feel completely accommodating.  He gets so lost in what he wants to do, he becomes completely deaf to new direction.  Case-in-point, about a week ago we were sitting about 10 feet apart and I said, "How's the work going?  Do you have any questions?"  Nate did something funny on the keyboard and looked at me nervously, "Fine.  I'm almost finished."  I glared at him and hesitantly said, "Okay..."

My "Mommy bull crap meter" started to ping so I logged on to the parent portion of the curriculum site we use and checked on his progress.  He had done three things in roughly three hours.  So, I went back to double check what I had assigned for the day and realized, he could have finished the entire days course work in three hours!  I got up from my desk, took his laptop in a swoop and found he was on one of his game websites playing.  I looked at his log and he had been on there for... you guessed it... three hours.  I was furious.  I gave him a lecture about how lying is wrong, blah, blah... gave him some horrific examples of what happens to people who lie, etc.  I also let him know that I could no longer trust him.  I think that was the worst thing I've ever had to say to him.

So, when "the Marine" got home, Nate got another lecture and then grounded.  Then "the Marine" & I discussed how to handle the situation.  Taking the laptop away is not an option-- his schoolwork is on there!  My solution was to utilize the "parental controls" on said lap top.  I disabled all games, etc.  Then I went to work on the browser.  That's when I was hit with the ridiculousness that is the Internet browser.  Neither Firefox nor Internet Explorer has a "block all but these sites" function.  It's a "block these specific sites" function.  Hello!?  That would take 5,000 years to enter in each site, manually.

On to the search bar... I knew of some download-able "child protection"  programs whose main function is to block out the smut o' the Internet.  But most of them cost too much money and I'm all about cost efficiency.  After about 20 minutes I found a program called "K-9 Web Protection", and it was free!!  I did a little research to verify it wasn't a scam and all seemed good.  Long story short, I downloaded it, set it up and bam... no more meandering to other pages during school hours.  It even barks if he tries to load a blocked page. That'll scare the wits out of anyone!

It's been a week and Nate has been quite productive-- amazing what removing distractions can do.  Now, if I could just find a program to make him even remotely interested in Math, we'd be set.

On a final note.  I realize the fault does not completely fall on Nate.  There are quite a few "I should have done this or that's" in this story.  Parenting, like medicine, is a "practice".  There is no manual to follow, no "real" guidelines, only our gut and experience.  So, I'm adding this to my list, and learning from it. 

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. "~Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Live forever, move to Mars.

Sometimes the kid asks questions that leave me pondering for a few. Today, we were in the truck, headed to get a coffee fix before we ran errands, and he says, "Would you want to live forever."  I thought a minute and said, "Well, would my body continue to age? Or would I stay frozen the way I am, right now?"  He thought about it a few minutes and said, "Hmm, I don't know." 

This launched into a discussion about if you live forever would you be able to adapt to a changing society.  (Interesting question).  What I'm getting at is, do we have a limitation on our ability to adapt to change?  Nate was less concerned with my proposed Nobel Prize-candidate-of-a-hypothesis, and more concerned that we would have to watch people we love die.  I promptly quoted Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne) and said, "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you."  He laughed and patted my arm. (No doubt consoling the crazy person sitting next to him)

After a few minutes he said, "Well, what if no one ever died?"   The thought is amazing... never having to lose family or friends?  I'd take it!  I told him, "That would be nice.  But, I wonder how fast our planet would fill up with people?"  He says, "Hmmm, good point.  But, I'm going to make Mars and Venus habitable, since they are our closest neighbors.  We could put the excess of people there."  

So, this has spawned an assignment.  He has to present a detailed plan on how he would make Mars & Venus habitable for people.  This should be interesting!  

Man, I love homeschooling!