Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Night Fun

Chase is having swimming lessons this week, and tonight Chad and Maranda kindly gave me a ride to watch him. He did so well!!! I was so proud of him. He's turning out to be a regular little swimmer! The kid would stay in water all day if you let him.

He started out in the five foot end, swimming about two or three feet to the ladder ALL BY HIMSELF!!! After that, they moved to about ten feet away from the ladder. He was a little unsure at first, so they let him use a noodle to help him swim, but after the first couple of times, he bravely discarded the noodle and swam by himself once again. He did so well!
Before leaving the five foot section, Chase's teacher had all the kids use a noodle to do a backstroke. Chase had a little bit of difficulty getting the hang of this, but after a few times, he was doing excellent!!!

After they left the five foot section, they went to the three foot section, where the kids dove for rings. Chase had absolutely no qualms about jumping right in after his ring. They eventually moved the the four foot section, where they had the kids jump into the water and swim all the way to the ladder in the three foot section. Chase enjoyed this part quite a bit; his favorite way to jump in is doing a cannonball!

Right before it was time to leave, the teachers took the kids over to the slides and let them go down them. At first, all of them were a little hesitant, but after a little while Chase and another boy bravely decided to try the slides. Once Chase went down once, he was hooked!! He kept wanting to go down over and over again! The teachers finally had to tell him that it was time to go, which disappointed him; However, he cheered back up when they told him that he could do it again tomorrow.

After leaving the pool, Chad Maranda, Chase, Cole, and I stopped to get ice cream at the Dairy Bar in Hebron. Chase got a vanilla cone, Cole got a strawberry cone (or pink ice cream; as he likes to call it!), I got a hot fudge sunday, and Chad and Maranda shared an oreo flurry. The ice cream was delicious!

After we got the ice cream, we took a little drive around Hebron. We went by Chase's school and Chase was so proud to point out his school to me. It's hard to believe that in just a few short weeks he'll be in first grade!!! This is Cole's last year before going to school; next year he'll be starting kindergarten! I'm starting to feel really old!

Once we finished our tour of Hebron, which didn't take too long because it's quite small, we came back home. I had such a fun time with Chad, Maranda, and the boys, just like I always do. I'm going to miss the boys so much when I go back to school; after seeing them everyday it's going to be hard to get used to not seeing them for several months at a time. :( But Chase has promised to write me, and I get occasional phone calls from them, so I will have to be content with that, because not even my boys can keep me from going back to school.

I took plenty of pictures of Chase's swimming lesson, so I'll get those up here as soon as I get them on the computer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pajama School Review & Giveaway

YLCF.org, a Christian blog that I read regularly, wrote a review on the book "Pajama School," a book about growing up homeschooled. It sounded very interesting. The author's main reason for writing the book is to encourage other people who are homeschooling their children. I've included the link to this article below.

Pajama School Review & Giveaway

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I got this story in an email today from EBC list, the email list that my church down at school has. I got tears in my eyes as I read this. It was a great reminder of what July 4th is truly about.


I wanted to share something that just happened tonight. I was sitting
at the gate in the Washington-Baltimore airport waiting on my flight to
Charlotte. The plane was at the gate. While we were waiting for the
attendant to announce the boarding for our flight, I saw about a dozen
Transportation Security Agency uniformed personnel head to the departure
ramp. I was concerned there was a problem, meaning a delay. Just what
I needed!

Several of us moved to the observation window to see if we could see
anything going on outside. That is when I saw a lone uniformed Marine
standing at the bottom of the ramp leading from the cargo hold of the
aircraft to the ground. I thought to myself how this small delay for me
was nothing compared to the sacrifice a Marine and his family made for our

There were more and more people gathering to see what we were looking at
down on the tarmac. The people were quiet, but not silent. I looked
down the concourse and saw other small groups gathered close to the other
observation windows looking down at the conveyor and the small detail of
Marines that had appeared. They were part of the funeral detail or an
Honor Guard. In the distance there was a hearse, another vehicle, and a
police car. As they drove to the bottom of the ramp, I knew the remains of a
Marine, in a flag draped casket, were about to be moved from the
aircraft and into the hearse. It is customary for uniformed members of the armed
services to salute any American flag as it passes...especially when it
is covering the remains of one of our fallen warriors.

The people standing around me were mostly civilians, but I could tell
they wanted to be respectful, they just did not know how. I had no idea if
that Marine's family was down below in one of the vehicles. I
couldn't have the family, or those Marines, look up and see a bunch of people standing
from above...staring. When I saw the pall bearers (Marines) move to the
bottom of the ramp, I had to do something.

It has been four years since I retired from the Army, but duty called.
I turned and faced everyone in the terminal, and in my loudest command
voice, I told everyone the remains of a Marine were about to be unloaded from
the aircraft, and it is customary for everyone to stand and be silent as the
body is moved. Believe it or not.everybody, as far as I could see,
stood up and the entire terminal became quiet. I then said as loudly as I could,
that all current and former service members, in or out of uniform, were
authorized to render the hand salute, and all civilians were to place
their hand over their hearts. As soon as the tip of the flag draped coffin
appeared, I bellowed out "Pre-sent...ARMS" and you could hear
a pin drop except for the multitude of arms going over their hearts. The entire
terminal was silent...no talking, no announcements over the PA,
silence...only silence.

The casket traveled down the ramp. All the US Air employees servicing
the aircraft and unloading baggage stopped and stood silently with their
hands over their hearts. The police officer was saluting. The Marines picked
up the casket and placed it gently into the hearse, then closed the rear

Inside the terminal, I gave the command to "Or-Der Arms".
When I turned around, there were literally hundreds and hundreds of people standing
silently...all over the terminal...at all the gates on our side of the
concourse, as well as all the gates on the opposite side. I noticed
every woman, of child bearing age either had tears in her eyes, or running
down their cheeks...and a lot of fathers did too.

I was taken back. People still care. During the next 10 minutes, a lot
of former service members, fathers of soldiers, and a few moms came and
thanked me for letting them know what to do. I didn't do anything compared
to that Marine. People want to be led to do what is right.

America still cares. America still has gratitude. The American spirit
is not dead. We don't need to apologize to anyone for who we are.

I don't know who that Marine was, where he served, or how he died.
All I know is that he raised his right arm, took the oath, put on that
uniform, and did his duty. That's good enough for me. I don't know
how he died, or where he was going. All I know is that his dreams for a better life are
over. Somewhere tonight there is a grieving wife, or mother, or
father...and their pain has just begun. I began this evening concerned
that I might be inconvenienced. Tonight I am safe, my family is safe, the
worst thing that might happen to me is a little inconvenience. I am safe
because of the sacrifices that Marine made. I am safe due to the sacrifices
that all our brothers in arms have made since 1776.

His duty is over. Our duty is not. It is not our duty to simply stand
and pay respect as a fallen soldier passes. Our duty is to remain steadfast
that our Armed Forces not be committed to harm's way recklessly,
that they be properly housed, trained, and led. We need to do our duty to provide
our young men and women with the best equipment, not simply with weapons and
armor that is "good enough".

I wish I knew the family of that Marine to say thanks. I wish I could
let them know that for a few minutes, in an airport terminal of one of the
busiest airports in the United States of America, a group of Americans
rendered an honor to their son. I doubt it could take the edge off
their loss, but I think it wouldn't hurt.

It made me think. It made us all reflect for a few minutes. Gratitude.

Thank you brave Marine for one last gift...Hooah...Semper Fi.

Ken Robertson
LTC, USAR, Retired Reserve

Friday, July 3, 2009

God Bless the U.S.A.

Tonight, while I was watching fireworks, the song "God Bless the U.S.A." started playing. I had heard the song numerous times before, but tonight, for the first time, I really listened to the lyrics.

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:

I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Read those words. They bring tears to my eyes. As the last verse and chorus say, "It's time we stand and say: I'm proud to be an American." I don't hear that phrase often enough anymore. I will unabashadely tell you that I don't agree with President Obama's decisions or beliefs, nor do I like what he's doing. But the president is not the country; he's only a man. Just because we don't agree with what he's doing doesn't mean we can't still be proud to be an American!

Like they say in the song, "And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right [freedom] to me." I will never forget those who have sacrificed their lives and are currently risking their lives so that I could remain free.

To all of you who have served or who are serving in some branch of the military, thank you. To all of my readers, next time you hear the song: "God Bless the U.S.A." or any other patriotic song, I challenge you to stop and listen to the words. Think about what they're really saying. If you do so, and you have even an ounce of patriotism in you, it will no doubt make you think about and appreciate the freedom that we have and, the men and women who have fought to give us that freedom, and possibly even bring tears to your eyes, as it did to mine.

God Bless America! Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July!!

Happy Fourth of July!! I think that Fourth fo July is one of my favorite times of year. Fireworks, days off, grilling, parades...well, you get the point. I love seeing everything all decked out in red, white, and blue as well.

I'd like thank all of those that are in the military, or are veterans, for their service. I have several cousins that are in various branches of the military, including one who will be shipping out to Iraq shortly. I also have several friends who are in the military

I am the proud daughter of a United States Navy veteran. Dad never served during a time of war, but he has said several times that he still would have enlisted if there had been a war going on. He served for six (?, not auite sure if that's exactly right) years. The only reason that he did not reenlist is becuase he didn't want to have children while still in the Navy. He was out to sea six months at a time, and he didn't feel that would be fair to children. Thank you, Dad, for the time that you did serve.

Both of my grandpas served during World War II, and one of my uncles served during the Vietnam War. I am so thankful that these men were willing to risk their lives for our country. The reason that we still have the freedom to celebrate the Fourth of July is because of people like my dad, my grandpas, my uncle, my cousins, and my friends.

To those of you who are currently serving in some branch of the military, stay strong! There are still people who support you and appreciate your service.