Friday, April 27, 2007

The Hook

What is it? What is the hook about the computer that some days won't let you alone? You feel this constant draw back to the glowing screen... to mindlessly browse the internet. What are you looking for? What is drawing you back here? You don't even know, but it keeps calling you and bringing you back....

Conveniencing Ourselves to our Demise part 1

I believe our society is plagued by our modern 'conveniences'. Not only do I think it will be the undoing of our society, but it is leading to the destruction of our ecosystem as well. Of course these are all my opinions and are not founded on any research but I think I'm onto something here...

Of course there is my previous blog/rant on disposable diapers. But thats just the tip of the iceberg. Lets consider fast food. First off there is the ENORMOUS amount of waste generated by the fast food industry. But thats not the big issue. The bigger issue is what fast food does to our bodies. The over-processed, very far from the farm type of food those restaurants are feeding the American public. Obesity rates in this country are at an all-time high, over 50% of our population is considered 'obese'! Why? Convenience foods! Its a lot easier to swing through the McDonalds drive through on your way home from work than to get home and slave over the stove.

But is it worth it? What are we feeding and TEACHING our children? For one, we're perpetuating the obesity crisis. The number of obese children in the US is growing at an alarming rate. Today, 15% of children between ages 2 and 18 are overweight. And that number is sure to grow. Secondly, we're teaching them to be lazy. Sounds harsh but it is the truth! Homecooked meals are not that difficult to make. They're healthier AND cheaper. They enhance family togetherness when the family sits at the table to eat the meal you've prepared. What do you do with fast food? Throw a bag of food at each child in the back seat?

I know I sound critical and self righteous. I have realized the error of my ways and I'm determined to do something about it. I'm hoping to convince a few others as well. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir, and if so, KUDOS to you! But to the rest of you, cut out fast food. Skip the drive thru and feed your family some real food and feel GOOD about it.

Our impact on Planet Earth

Lately I've been giving this a lot of thought. I truly feel that we are destroying our ecosystem with all of our 'modern conveniences'. This morning I started pondering the disposable diaper issue. We use cloth diapers but haven't always and still use some disposable diapers. I decided this morning to crunch some numbers.

The US Population is approximately 300 million. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those 300 million people wore diapers til an average age of two. A portion of the population, the over 50 crowd, were born before the modern 'convenience' of disposables, so we'll assume they were cloth diapered. So a rough 'guesstimate' would be 50% of the population, or 150 million people wore disposable diapers. Lets assume that that their parents changed them every 3 hours, until age two. By their second birthday each child has used 5,840 diapers. Multiply that by the 150 million (half the US population) and thats 876 TRILLION disposable diapers. TRILLION!

I was just searching the internet to find out a weight for those 876 trillion diapers but to no avail. Instead I found a few 'studies' citing that the environmental impact between cloth and disposables is negligible due to energy and water consumption in the care of cloth. Now I'm no scientist but that sounds plain ignorant to me. Nothing can convince me to believe that washing diapers in my home and line drying OR drying them in my dryer is more detrimental to the environment than dumping 7000 disposable diapers per child into a landfill.

Maybe the same people who wrote those studies should start advocating disposable clothing, since the environmental impact should be the same whether we wash and reuse our clothing or toss them into a landfill and buy new ones. Thats what I got out of it, ignorant rubbish. I wonder how much the disposable diaper companies paid them to publish their 'studies'.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thoughts on Homeschooling

Jason and I have decided to homeschool our kids. Originally, I was on board and he wasn't. My mom had been working on me, trying to convince me that homeschooling was the best option for our kids. I was convinced but he wasn't. Then HE started working on me about sending Hunter to school for the 'socializing' aspect. As I started to get more convinced his direction, he started leaning more towards homeschooling.

Several factors came into consideration:

First of all, the thing that is on everyone's mind in light of the recent shootings at Virginia Tech is safety. Granted, school shootings are few and far between and I'm sure if you take a look at statistics many more children die in car crashes than school shootings.

Then there is the issue of different learning styles. Take my ridiculously intelligent brother David for instance, couldn't hardly pass a class in school to save his life. So they administer standardized tests and he tests on a near genius level. He takes the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery) and scores a 99, the highest you can score! To look at his grades you would think he should have been in special education. The fact is he's a hands-on learner who soaks up knowledge like a sponge but given homework and worksheets he gets bored and therefore fails. Classrooms, textbooks and flashcards aren't necessarily the answer for all kids. I want my kids to be able to learn by doing, to be able to explore where their interests lie, not by what 'unit' their teachers curriculum dictates.

Another issue is time. Kids are only kids once. They need a chance to be KIDS. When a child spends 6-7 hours a day at school, 2-3 hours commuting to and from school and then hours upon hours of homework each night, where is the time for play? Where is the time for the REAL learning that comes natural to children? Kids LOVE to learn, thats their full time job. How much more will they actually learn if instead of spending their day regurgitating curriculum they spend the day playing at the Science Museum, then come home and read books about Einstein, because they WANTED to?

More importantly is the INNOCENCE of our children that is lost in public school. We take great care to ensure that our children don't witness violence on TV, don't hear curse words and are surrounded by loving parents. I am saddened by knowing that there are parents out there who don't treat their children the way we do, who allow them to watch whatever they want on TV, play violent video games, curse and argue in front of their children and create kids that mimic themselves. When my 5 year old child is exposed to other kids who have had an upbringing so very different from their own, he isn't old enough to discern right from wrong. The 'foreign' words he hears from other children are easily incorporated into his developing vocabulary. The violent acts other kids act out on the playground are permanently emblazoned in his mind. His innocence is lost!

Some will argue that we are planning to shelter our children. You're damn right.

It shouldn't be that hard....

It really shouldn't. To log on here every once and awhile and post a blog! I guess I feel like whatever I want to say isn't blog-worthy, but come on. How many people might actually even be reading my blog? Not many, if any!!

My latest mission in life is to make sure my kids don't watch more than 2 hours of tv per week. Yesterday they had about 45 minutes due to my not timing my shower correctly and therefore allowing another tv show to start before I went to turn the tv off. Unfortunately Hunter is old enough now to be able to say HEY! I'm watching this! But he's really good about turning it off when the show is over. So basically I AM using the tv for a babysitter, but only to babysit the kids while I shower and thats ok right?

So yesterday I did a major amount of housework. I don't know what got into me, and I'm not sure how I did it either. I also did a fair amount of sitting on the internet, which makes it all the more surprising at how much housework I did. I also weeded the garden and played Memory with Hunter. Super productive day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kids and attachments

I admit, I've encouraged my kids becoming attached to objects. I guess because none of my children have ever been "teddy bear" type of kids, none of them have ever shown a remote interest in stuffed animals, blankets, or really ANYTHING. So of course when Hunter, at 18 months old, wanted to take a toy tractor to his nap I was elated. I thought it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen and I encouraged it, making sure the tractor accompanied him to bed every evening and insisting that he bring it along whenever we left the house. Well, the tractor was just the tip of the iceburg. The toys that were required at bedtime became more and more numerous, and eventually he was running out of room to sleep. Now I said my kids aren't teddy bear kids, and they aren't. These weren't soft, cushy toys, he was taking die-cast metal airplanes to bed. I still don't know how he managed to sleep through the night as I'm sure he spent many a night with a prop or vertical stab in his back. Luckily, he's outgrown that stage and now is pretty content to just get in bed and go to sleep.....

Then came Nathan. Again, no cushy cuddly toys for this boy. About 5 months ago he became OBSESSED with trains. Mainly Thomas the train, not necessarily because he has a thing for trains with faces, but rather due to the fact that there is an endless array of Thomas toys and videos for parents of future-conductors to purchase, and at a premium I might add. Matchbox cars cost about $1.00, depending on where you buy them you can get them for half that. Thomas the tank engine trains, however, are a COMPLETELY different story. ONE matchbox car sized train costs $5!!! And shamefully I admit, Nathan has more of them than I know what to do with. Luckily he's lost most of them (they come and go, under the bed, between the couch cushions, cruising the yard..) because they accompany him to bed! At one point he was taking so many trains to bed that every time he moved one would fall out and I'd hear his most-used phrase "I DROP IT! I DROP IT!" So we (Jason and I) are expected to come running and pick the train up. We'd try and ignore him, but he's a persistent little bugger and would just get louder and louder "I DROP IT! I DROP IT" so we would eventually give him. I ended up giving him an empty baby wipe box to keep his accessories in during bedtime. Luckily now he's lost so many of the trains he's usually only got one or two in the bed and rarely does he drop them.

Sooo here we are, boy #3, not showing any sign of a "teddy bear" syndrome....... but he doesn't seem to have an affinity for trains or airplanes....... Oh no, this one is special. His "thing" is the dog's toy basket:
I actually bought him his own because the dog didn't like sharing.