Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When I Get Upset

As a rule, I do not get that upset at what I do in a day. No. What really upsets me is what I don't do in a day.

Sins of omission:  Any sane person would think I have it backwards and that the things I don't get done shouldn't bother me. Well that sounds nice until visitors come by. For me, as a mom, the things that don't get done in a day lend themselves to unsanitary conditions, fire hazards, stupidity, chronic misbehavior, and insanity. You'll forgive me if I seem upset with myself at the end of the day when the house is still a mess, and people are hungry and freaking out because I took a day to relax; a day I will be paying for for the next week or so.

No! Not one more "emergency" until I finish this blog!
Sins of undervalue: Society expects me to define myself and my worth by  a career outside of the home, and makes no secret of its disdain for my decision to stay home with my children. That wouldn't be so bad either if the doctrine had not been drilled into my brains and emotions all my life by a liberal school environment and popular media. Thirty-odd years of consistent secular indoctrination and reinforcement can not be shrugged off at will.

According to the above theories I am expected to be a career woman at the same time as a child care expert, nurse, cook, hairdresser and fashion consultant, teacher, housekeeper, therapist, referee and coach, administrator, and lover, among every other duty motherhood and married life entails.

I just want a day or two to myself to get the house clean. Is that so much to ask?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Who Controls the Children

Watch this video, or at least listen to it. If you love your children and have an interest in their education, morals, ability to acquire a job, you must see this video.

It's grainy, a bit low tech, and about one hour in length, you'll probably want some popcorn for a few minutes (after a few minutes you may not want it anymore because you may feel like throwing up).

The video is about federal educational standards and outcomes and it made my blood boil. It connects the dots about where American Education is going, why, and how THEY intend to make it happen.

You must watch this video, please.

Who Controls the Children

Uploaded on Jan 9, 2011

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt was Former Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) in the US Department of Education under President Reagan. Due to her unique perspective she was able to observe firsthand the methods the Federal Government used to deliberately dumb down the American public education system with Soviet style "brainwashing".

Disgusted with the American Government's policy to use a behavior modification system designed to churn out unthinking, uncritical "citizens of the world" trained to accept socialism, Charlotte set out to wake up her fellow Americans.

This documentary is a MUST WATCH for any home-schooler, teacher, parent or anyone interested in methods of education or anyone wondering why we as a people seem to grow less intelligent and less able with each passing generation.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

This Is News?

AJ is safe! Call the cops! Alert the media! USA Today
What kind of news is this? A child got overlooked during a fieldtrip to a museum and was subsequently left behind. The museum staff found the child, called the schools that visited until the correct one and was identified, the parents were alerted and they picked him up from the museum. Mom was freaking out, but the boy was fine. The end.

The mom is such a whiner in this story. If it were my son, yes I would be concerned, but seriously calling the cops and alerting the news after I'd been assured that he was located and safe?

My son disappeared yesterday. I didn't notice for over an hour that he was gone. When I went looking for him, he called out to me from the trunk of the car that I had cleaned that day and I left open to air out. Good thing the weather was mild. Little Colin was upset and needed to snuggle for half an hour before he was himself again, and I felt bad that it took me so long to notice him missing and find him, but you won't see me filing a law suit against Ford Motors for failing to make a child friendly trunk release. Chalk it up to experience. I learned not to leave the trunk standing open, and Colin learned not to play in the trunk of a car.

Perhaps this family in the news has a lesson to learn to, such as: AJ, don't get separated from the group, and, don't freak out when your child's safety is assured.


I Don't Keep Pets

Dogs are Better Than Cats, but I'm sure that's not the source.
I love animals, I really, really do. Some day soon I hope to get myself a big black mutt and name him Baskerville; but right now, the answer is no, I'm not keeping animals. I don't have the time, means, or space for them.

Perhaps my saying so will rub people the wrong way, but I have trouble understanding people's compulsion for the company of pets that overrides common sense and compassion. If you don't have the income that supports pet
food and veterinary care, and the time or space to take the dog out walking, or clean the cat's litter-box every day, then why have one?

Also there are people out there that put animals on the same worth level as humans. I can't understand that either. If Spot can not be cured (within reason) and is suffering and dying... or a danger to human life and property, let him go already and get another dog. It's true it won't be the same, but life goes on, so should you.

I suppose part of my coldness toward pet-kind stems from the fact that I've never had a dog or a cat for more than a year or so at a time. Call it bad luck. My first dog was dangerous to little children, my second dog was sickly as was my third, and numbers two and four were donated to a guide dog association because we were moving. I've had five cats at various times each. One was a stray and strayed off, one went for a ride and didn't come back, the others went back to the shelter either because we were moving or they needed a more suitable home.

All in all, I've never had a pet for longer than a year, if even that long.What a tragedy  I'll have to remember to try and keep some sense of continuity with my own pets in the future. Try living some place permanently and make sure we have a good match between family and pet.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Colin Surprises Me

Most days of homeschooling are mediocre at best. Colin makes apparently slow, but steady, progress. Some days are not as good and Colin make it clear he has no interest in reading, writing, or math. Today was fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised with him.

Colin applied himself today and showed that he reads far better than what he showed me yesterday. In fact he tells me he is ready for the fourth lesson of the McGuffy Eclectic Primer and I'm inclined to believe him.

Practicing addition didn't go very far today. He seems to understand the concept of adding 1, but he likes to guess at the answer without thinking it through, and usually gets it wrong. 1 + 1 does not necessarily equal 2 yet in Colin's mind. It's a little disappointing, but he is five after all, and there is plenty of time. In the meanwhile, perhaps I could try teaching with a number line and see how he takes that... or I could just make some flash cards and give him a rote memorization base to rely on while he learns the pattern.

What Colin does very well, math-wise, is understanding relative amounts. This came as a big surprise to me.

Just to see how he would answer, I wrote down two numbers, 1 and 2 and asked him which represented more or which one was bigger. Without hesitation, Colin answered "2", and I had him circle it. Then I wrote down 5 and 3, and asked the same question. He answered "5" and circled it. He got correct for 6 and 16, and especially surprising was that he understood that 31 is bigger than 27 (I only introduced those numbers just this week). He didn't need to pull out manipulatives or, or visuals, or require an explanation from me; he just understood intuitively which one was bigger.

I guess my teaching methods are working, either that or Colin is further above average than I previously thought. I have no reason to believe that Colin has genius level intellect...
 but he does surprise me from time to time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

No Fruit Salad in Math Class!

This tasty image was lifted from Fruitmagic
When I was a little girl in the second grade in California, I received a math question to this effect, "Ronnie has 5 apples and George has 3 oranges. How many pieces of fruit do they have together? Answer 8 pieces of fruit". That problem stuck with me for years and caused a lot of issues in my studies of math.

A variation on that question came up again in the fifth grade in Michigan. "If Sandra has 12 oranges and Jim has 7 apples, how many pieces of fruit do they have combined?" I answered 19 and to my great astonishment, was struck down with zero ceremony or explanation.

It came up again in the seventh grade. "What is the sum of 39 apples and 23 oranges?" I answered 62, and was wrong again. I wondered if there was some unexplained prejudice against fruit.

In high school Mrs. Warnaar brought it up again, "Calculate the sum of 3 apples and 5 oranges". Of course I hadn't learned my lesson yet, and answered 8, but this time my teacher kind enough to explain that the correct answer was, "The sum of 3 apples and 5 oranges is 3 apples and 5 oranges". I felt appalled that trained professional math teachers would set up such a dirty trick.

By the time I got to college I was ready to slap the professor for again using fruit as a metaphor for an algebraic concept; at least this time I was wise to the trick and would substitute other things no one groups together like monkey wrenches, socks, batteries, rubber erasers,... and maybe steaks when I got in a food mood. Many problems in algebra were cleared up for me when I threw out the convention of mathematical fruit salad.

I won't be using fruit to teach my children math. Never again will I visit that chaos on a child's mind.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Problems

Things that bother me today include, but are not limited too:

My long, dark, luxurious hair falling out by the handful and getting everywhere. I'm thinking of stuffing the couch with it.

My older son is ignoring me again. I'm thinking of stuffing him in the couch too.

My walls need washing, but I'd rather sit on the couch.

I don't have an infinite supply of money yet to pay someone to fix my hair, babysit the kids, wash the walls, and replace the couch.

At least I have hair, normal children, sturdy walls, and a couch to sit on. The money will come, but until then I'll still count myself rich.
So comfy!  image lifted from dog.community

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cold Hearted, Mean Mommy

I've never met anyone who openly questions me when I don't drop everything and run whenever I think one of my kids has the slightest booboo. However, I have gotten a few questioning looks and one or two "evil eyes" when my children fall down and hurt themselves to the point of crying and I don't immediately pick them up. Maybe I should explain why I do that.

There are two reasons why I am slow to answer the cry of pain:

First is that I took a babysitter's certification course when I was eleven. They drilled into  my head the importance of observation. You don't rush in when you see someone hurt, or in some kind of physical peril. You see what may have caused the trouble first (electrical wires, sharp objects,...). Determine, if possible, what the problem is, if it will endanger you, and whether intervention is actually necessary or wise. Observe, observe, observe. Pausing ten seconds to take in the situation and make an appropriate judgement can prevent many evils.

Second, is that I have a life. Mommy is not always going to be there with a Band-aid and a bottle of Pedialyte to "make it all better". The kids better cowboy up.

I've seen some kids melt down into a puddle of neurotic goo because they tripped and fell in the sand, and then the mommy goes into EMT/physiatrist mode. I feel bad when my kids get hurt too, but seriously, most kids are not made of fine hand blown crystal. What's more, going overboard like that contributes to other problems, like making them think the injury is worse than it is, or that deliberately hurting themselves will get attention.

One night when Colin was about 6 months old, Aaron and I put him to bed and walked out of the room. He of course cried for a few minutes then was quiet. Suddenly we heard a "thunk" and "WAAAAHHH!!!". Thinking he was seriously hurt, I ran in there fearing the worst. He was fine. He just tried to sit up, I guess, and lost his balance and hit the bars of the crib. No big deal. The slightly pink welt faded away before he even finished crying. I put him back down, and left again. Five minutes later, "thunk", and "WAAAAHHH!!!". I thought to myself, there is no way I'm playing this game, and I stayed right where I was. He cried for a few minutes, but Colin never hit his head on the bars of his crib again.

What I actually do when my kids are hurt and crying: I make myself available, but keep my distance. If they need a hug, or a band-aid, they can come to me for it, not the other way around.

So far, the results of slow response have been positive. Colin and Karyn are confident, coordinated, and relatively independent (sometimes too much so). They take calculated risks, pick themselves up when they fall, only come for comfort when it bleeds or really hurts, and recover quickly.

I may be a cold hearted, mean mommy; but Colin and Karyn seem to be doing alright.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Home School Non-event

My heart goes out to all those suffering in the tragedies of this week, but I can't focus on that. I'm a homeschool mom of young children. If I read too much into these kind of things I'll almost literally be paralyzed with depression.

I'm happy to report, that everyone at home is healthy, my husband is employed, and my children are doing well in homeschool.

Image lifted from: http://blog.hsoi.com/tag/homeschool/
Yesterday was a challenge. Colin, being five, frequently can not hold still to read. He did try, he tried hard, but every time he got under control enough to sound out a three letter word, he would suddenly lose focus and jerk, dropping whatever he had in his hand to help him hold his place while reading. He and I both got frustrated, and I could see we both needed some time to blow off steam and regroup, so I sent him outside to run around or practice riding his bike on the back porch (it's about 10' x 20'. small enough to need to practice turning or he would hit the fence) and I sat down to get my mind off my stress. After I called him inside I decided we could adjourn for the day. He did well with the numbers a math portion of school, so I figured that it balanced out.

Today Colin did well in all portions of school. Before school I let the kids watch some videos about where apples come from. Beginning school we had 15 minutes of quiet study. I practiced my penmanship and wrote goals and affirmations, he practiced writing and drew pictures of apple trees and peach trees, and Karyn also drew pictures. After quiet study, Colin and I talked about his pictures went over his writing practice and read it together. He was pretty thrilled to find that the writing worksheet was also his reading practice. After that we talked some more about addition. He doesn't get it on paper yet, but with manipulatives, he understands it better.

So far, today has been a non-event and I'm glad of it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I am Christine Hancock

I am Christine Hancock. I own a mall and I write
a blog; but most of all I am the devoted wife of a worthy man who is an aircraft nerd; and the Mom of Colin, Karyn, and Gideon, three of the finest children to ever grace the Earth.

I enjoy playing video games and watching movies about superheroes. I will read almost anything that passes under my nose. I listen to classic rock, country, classical, instrumental, and hymns.

When I sing, I don't care who is listening or if they like it. When I write I try to keep it light and happy. And when I speak I try to keep it short, simple, and to the point.

I've served an 18 month mission in Idaho, worked in grassroots politics, and have done fundraisers. I am very used to being told , in so many ways, "No", and "Go Away"; but I also know that about 1 in 4 four people will say yes to something I have to ask, say, or offer.

I'm not a very good listener, but I'm looking for opportunities to improve.

I like a clean house and good cooking and look forward to the day I can pay someone to do those things for me.

I genuinely believe that my family will become very wealthy one day and I'm already grateful and happy about it.

I know he Book of Mormon is true, that there are prophets on the Earth today, that Christ will come again and he will rule as King. There are those who are convinced I'm going to Hell for it and I can't help but smile at the irony. Imagine a heaven full of people convinced I've gone to Hell, and a Hell full of people like me... It must not be that bad of a place.

I am Christine Hancock and I thank you for reading this blog.
There is a conflict of interest in the Hancock house this morning. I woke up to the back porch looking like a war zone. In the shed we keep a large box full of  smaller flattened cardboard boxes, which of course they took and interest in this morning. It all got dumped out on the back porch so they could play with the big box. Now that box is smashed and no one wants to clean up the mess.

I'm not sure what the right thing to do is. So far most of the ideas I've had have not been good or effective, or too much work on my behalf: Lock the kids in the shed... No. Burn the pile of cardboard where it is... No. Clean it up myself... Definitely not.

The best idea I've had so far is to dress them, send them back out, tell them to pick up the cardboard, then lock the door and not them in until the mess is clean. It would be a great idea if they were teenagers, capable of getting bored with packaging and able to put things back as they found them. However, this is a five year old boy and a three year old girl I'm talking about. I'm not prone to delusions about little children being responsible or very well able to clean up the mess they've made.

Most likely they will get creative and play until they get hungry, then maybe they will at least round up the cardboard and put it back in the shed. I know I'm probably going to have to reorganize it in the end. Oh well.

image lifted from: Ernest Packaging

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Life Chosen

My husband and I, before we married, decided that after we were married we would have children. We chose life... of course we also chose responsibility. You know that wonderful thing people do that produces children... yeah, that. Sex is too sacred and special for having outside of marriage.

Anyway, our first son was wanted and welcomed. Our daughter was wanted and welcomed. Our second son was wanted and welcomed. These children are our treasures and we can not even think of what our life would be without them.

This is not the most eventful or sensational story, but lately there is too much in the way of ugly stories. It would be beneficial to let the world know there is beauty, responsibility, and happiness.
A family portrait. Where am I? Taking the picture, of course!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Teach Common Core! Says Korihor.

Inspired by Green Eggs and Ham, by Doctor Suess (which would probably be outlawed under Common Core standards for being too much fun).

"Teach Common Core!
Says Korihor"

That Korihor, that Korihor!
I do not trust that Korihor!

You must teach them Common Core!

I will not teach them, Common Core.
I will not teach that, Korihor.

You must teach them here, at school.

It will not teach it here, at school
I will not teach it. It's not cool.
I will not teach them Common Core,
I will not teach that, Korihor.

You must teach this in your home.
You must teach this as you're shown.

I will not teach that in my home.
I will not teach it as it's shown.
I will not teach it here, at school.
I will not teach it. It's not cool.
I will not teach them Common Core.
I will not teach that, Korihor.

But they must think within the box,
En-tre-pre-neur-ship is the pox!

"Within the box"?
This is a pox!
Not at home,
Not as I'm shown,
I will not teach it here, at school,
I will not teach it, It's not cool.
I will not teach them Common Core.
I will not teach that, Korihor!

They will, they must
Take this test.
Test them, test them!
S'for the best.

I will not
make them
take this test.

You must test them,
and we'll see,
We can make them
more like ME!

I would not, will not, test them, see.
This is not good! You let them be.

They must not learn "within your box".
Common Core, here, is a pox.
I will not teach this in my home.
I will not teach this as I'm shown.
I will not teach it here, at school.
I will not teach it, It's not cool.
I will not teach them Common Core.
I will not teach that, Korihor.

The Change! The Change!
The Change! The Change!
You must teach Man's Climate Change!

No Climate Change! No test, you see!
The test's no good. You let them be!

They must not learn "within the box"
Common Core, here, is a pox.
I will not that in my home.
I will not teach this as I'm shown.
I will not teach it, here at school.
I will not teach it. It's not cool.
I will not teach them Common Core.
I will not teach that, Korihor.

It's the Law.
It's now the Law!
You must, you will, follow the Law.

It is not, can not be the Law.

You don't believe that it's the law?

You've circumvent the House and Senate,
Went around the parents' tenet
No proof it works. No peer review.
We can see what's taught ain't true!
Not in our homes! Not in our Schools!
Not as it's shown! We have some rules!
You can not break them, or you'll see,
Just how angry we can be!

You will not teach them Common Core?

I will not teach them Common Core!

You must, you will
Dumb them down.

I would not, will not
Dumb them down.

Now I know that you're a clown!

I would not, will not dumb them down.
I am a parent, not a clown.
I will not teach this, it's no law.
I will not teach this tripe at all.
Won't give the test! It's not the best!
You do not see! Now let them be!
They must not learn "within the box"
This Common Core, here, is a pox.
I will not teach this in my home.
I will not teach this as I'm shown.
I will not teach it here, at school.
I will not teach it. It's not cool!

I will not teach them Common Core!
I will not teach that, Korihor.

Will not teach it.
So you say.
Then we might take your kids away.
Teach them,
or you'll lose I say!

Say that again!

(Imagine something that would frighten a bureaucrat)


Alright! Okay!
You may teach them your own way.
And I was wrong, you are no clown,
You do not need to dumb them down.
And if it's voted 'gainst the law
I must not bring it back at all.
So if you teach, and if you care
Common Core will not be there.

You may teach outside the box.
En-tre-pre-neur-ship is no pox
You may teach, as pleased, at home.
You don't have to teach as shown
It will not be taught here, at school.
If by laws it's not the rule.

Please go away now, Korihor.
And thanks for dropping Common Core.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Playtime At Home And Nearby

I've been writing a lot of serious blogs lately  Right now I'm listening to my older son (five years old) screaming and crying and raising holy heck because Karyn (age three) doesn't want to play the way he wants her to play. Karyn just a minute ago came in the front door and locked it behind, then ran out onto the back porch, which is fenced in with the gate locked. That's my girl. Colin hasn't detected that he's locked out of the house yet.

I wonder if I should interfere. I read articles saying to let the kids work it out if no one is getting physically hurt, yet I also read articles about when the police or CPS get called for parents doing just that. As far as memory serves me, my mom didn't interfere that much when Matt and I got into arguments, as long as we weren't hammer fisting each other, she seemed content.

I think today's disagreement has to do with the fact that Colin wants to take Karyn "sledding" in a cardboard box out in the field, but she wants to play on the back porch with sticks.

Now it's been 20 minutes since I started this article (yes, my time and occupations are highly interrupted) and I've unlocked the front door, Colin has calmed down and decided to go through the house, onto the porch, and try to persuade his sister to come out and play instead of screaming at her. Hmm. That worked much better. Now they are out front playing with the box.

Five minutes later: Now Karyn wants to return to the back porch and they are in the house fighting over it again. Colin is unarmed, but Karyn has a stick. It's coming to blows, I guess I should say something.

2 minutes later: Colin has run screaming out the front door and Karyn is on the back porch again and still has her stick. I didn't get to separate them. I was about to when Colin ran off. Maybe I should have him take a nap when he comes back in.

Another five minutes later: Colin again is trying to persuade Karyn to play with him. He is calling her by her nickname "Samus", but it isn't working and he's getting mad again.

One minute later: They've reached a compromise and are alternating between playing on the back porch with a laundry basket and hitting each other with the basket.

Days like this make me wonder why I get toys for them, or why I haven't elected to have my eardrums amputated.

Things We Should Tell Kids About Sex

Taking age and maturity into account, kids need to know that sex is wonderful, but it has it's place, and that's within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. Why is that so?

1. Because God decreed it so. God made a simple commandment that anyone can understand and follow: "Thou Shalt not commit adultery". He doesn't make commandments that are impossible to follow or that are intended to make us unhappy.

2. Unchastity is next to murder in severity. Think about it, how are STD's spread and how do the victims die? Then there is the rare tendency for the break up of a sexual relationship to result in suicide. Not to be ignored, of course, is the glaring dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy. How many children are destroyed before birth? Is the destruction of human life not murder? Murder is so heinous because human life is of inestimable value. Is an unborn child of no value? Tell that to the myriad of infertile married couples pining for children of their own.

3. Girls need to know, boys always tell, and sex doesn't mean the same thing to boys as it does to girls. How will a girl feel when she gives sex to a guy and it becomes the dirty joke the football team is laughing about? How will she feel when she sees that same guy she had sex with kissing another girl? Sex outside of marriage is a recipe for misery.

image lifted from Picky Wallpapers
Now lets talk about the good stuff. Sex in marriage is absolutely fantastic. It's fun and it makes you feel good. It really does draw a husband and wife closer together. Sex brings children into our families; and while they are a challenge, they help us become the happiest, most responsible people we possibly can be. Of course with only one sex partner, the chances of disease are substantially reduced. Why not wait? Sex in marriage makes people much happier than sex outside of marriage.

One more note: Somehow, and for some reason, our society is completely obsessed with sex. Sex is important, in fact, it is so important that the drive to sex is only superseded by the instinct to survive; however, it's not something we should obsess over. No happy person obsesses over their next meal, or whether a murderer is lurking around the corner; so why are justified in such a fixation on sex and sexuality? The sum of one's character is not measured by how much of what kind of sex that individual is or is not getting. It makes no sense, so stop obsessing.

By no means is this information on sex comprehensive  I'm sure as parents we can find many other healthy things to tell our children about sex, but we need to start being honest with our children about sex.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Am Homeschooling My Children

That's it! I've made up my mind, homeschool is in my children's best interest.

It's healthier:
I choose the meals, they can get as much sleep as they need, their exposure to pathogens is not as extensive, AND THEY CAN RUN OUTSIDE AND PLAY WHENEVER THEY NEED IT!!!!!

image lifted from a blog on wordpress
It's Academically Better:
As their instructor (and mom) I can ascertain their individual strengths and weaknesses and tailor the lesson plans to fit. They will not be held back by a one-size-fits-all approach. If they are strong and interested in math, I can give them more math and broaden their horizons by introducing related subjects. If one of them needs extra practice on grammar, we can slow down the pace on that subject.

It's Better For Social Skills:
It's seems counter intuitive that homeschoolers would have better social skills, but the freedom from desks and schedules give us a greater opportunity to meet other people and hold real conversations. My children will be required to use good manners, become skilled in speaking with adults and other age groups, learn to listen when others speak, and disagree respectfully when hearing an opposing viewpoint.

Supirior Academic Skills:
I do not actually have all day to stand and lecture, so they will need to become skilled researchers and students. After the basics in Reading, Writing, and Math, they will be primarily responsible to use the textbooks and do the learning for themselves. I'm there to check the work, offer guidance, and make sure their education is balanced; but ultimately success is their own doing (hmm, just like it was when their grandparents were in school).

Classics! Classics! Classics!
It is impossible to live with me and not be familiar with the King James Bible. They will be reading classic literature: Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, Doyle, Hemingway, etc (I got stuck in an American Literature class for losers once in high school, and we never read anything above sixth grade level. I thought my brain would die and rot. There will be no such punishment for my children).

History. Real American History:
We will cover both the bad and (most especially) the good of the American experience, not just the "History of the Evil White Man".

Real Science:
I called a teacher out once for this is high school (he was cool about it and even gave me extra credit). Teaching and test questions that confuse the difference between theories and facts drove me crazy then, and it bothers me to this day. I have no problem with teaching a child about the Theory of Evolution, theory of the Alaskan Land Bridge, or the theory of manmade climate change (ha ha). As long as my children understand that these are theories and not established facts, and that there are other scientific explanations for life on Earth, how indigenous people and species arrived on the American continent, and what causes major climate changes and weather patterns.

I full well intend to indoctrinate my children. It is my right and responsibility to transmit the values I love and live by to my children. No school can teach them faith, love, or honor; much less the Ten Commandments.

May my children become their best selves. May they grow to contribute to society in a positive way. May they love freedom and responsibility. May I stand before God at the last day, confident that I executed my duty to my children.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Role Models I Want For My Son

I've been reading news articles that say liberals in California have been trying to strip the Boy Scouts of America of their tax exempt status for refusing to allow openly gay men as leaders. That's not news to me as they've been trying to do that for over a decade.

It got me thinking about what kind of role models and scout leaders I want for my sons. What kind of values do I want to transmit to them and who will fulfill that need?

The values I want them to reflect include:

Painting by Norman Rockwell
Temple marriage
Respect toward women and children
Abiding law
The sanctity of human life
Honoring parents
Worshiping God
Sexual purity
Fulfilling priesthood duties

That list is hardly comprehensive, but it's what comes to mind tonight.

What kind of man can I think of that would make a good role model or scout leader for my sons?
Ideally, he would be...

Straight and LDS
Married in the temple
Law abiding
Respectful of his own wife and children
Able to speak well of his own parents
Attending church weekly
100% faithful to his marriage (that's probably one I'll have to guess on)
Fulfilling callings in the church

I don't see it as bigotry to select role models that have the same values as myself, nor would I be comfortable letting my sons spend a substantial amount of time with someone of differing values.

Openly gay man as my sons' scout leader? Not if I can avoid it. There are higher aspirations in life.

Homemade Honey Wheat Bread

3 cups very warm water
1/3 cup honey
4 1/2 tsp bread yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour + extra

In a large bowl, dissolve the honey in the water, sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, cover bowl with cloth and let stand ten minutes or until the yeast becomes puffy. Add the olive oil and salt. With a wooden spoon, mix in 3 cups wheat flour. Add all purpose flour one cup at a time until incorporated. At some point, if you are working by hand, it will become too stiff to continue stirring. Turn it out on to a large floured surface and knead the dough, adding more flour to build it up and keep it from sticking. Kneed about ten minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable, and not too sticky. Pull a small piece off to test. Holding it up to a light source, stretch it between your fingers to form a "window". If you can see light through the dough before it tears, the dough is ready to rise; if not, knead five more minutes and test again*.

Grease a large bowl with shortening and place the dough in it... now it it back out, turn it over and put it back in so that both sides of the dough are greased. Cover with a cloth and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. Punch it down and knead lightly, put it back in the bowl, cover and let rise until doubled again. Take out and knead lightly, divide in half and shape into 2 loaves. Place in two loaf pans greased with shortening. Cover with cloth and allow to rise for 1/2 hour to 1 hour, or until about 1 inch above the top of the pans**.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The crust should be dark golden brown, and when tapped the bread should make a hollow sound. Remove from pans and let cool on rack. Store in refrigerator no longer than 5 days. If you need it to keep longer, store it whole and uncut, wrapped in plastic in the freezer.

*The purpose of this test is to determine if the wheat gluten is active or beginning to break down. Gluten is the protein in wheat that allows dough to trap the carbon dioxide the yeast produces, causing the dough to rise.

**Why does it need to rise three times? Again, it has to do with the gluten, which needs time to break down. Otherwise the bread might not cook all the way through... that, and raw wheat gluten is difficult to digest. Basically, if you want the bread to be edible, give it enough time; however, don't give it too much time or it will come out tasting "yeasty" and/or be too fragile for slicing.

What I Like to Use Honey Wheat Bread For:

MIDNIGHT SNACK!!! Freshly baked, still hot! In the middle of the night (which is the only time I can do this without having to fight for it). I take the heel, still crunchy in the crust, cut it an inch or more thick, slather it in butter, and enjoy it almost to the point of brainless stupor.

Toast. There is no better breakfast than homemade honey wheat bread toast.

Sandwiches, of course.

TOASTED TOMATO SANDWICH!!! When I make lunch for myself, I toast two slices of this bread, spread mayonnaise on both, layer in between them a slice or two of tomato, swiss cheese, and leaf lettuce or romaine, (and maybe some bacon if I have any on hand). Then I ignore my children's immediate requests for identical sandwiches, and have a great lunch. Afterwards I might make a couple more for them, but only if they behave.

Stuffing. I keep the heels, if they don't get eaten, in the freezer for use in stuffing. Use 6 - 7 one inch heels, cut into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl combine bread cubes with 1 cup each sliced celery and onions, 1 tbls fresh ground paper, 2 tsp salt, 4 eggs beaten, and enough stock to moisten. Bake at 350 F covered for half hour, then uncovered until brown, 15 minutes or so. However, I like it best cooked dangerously ie. in a bird.

After Thanksgiving Pot Pie: Assuming you kept everything and made stock from the turkey bones. This is the best. Have two pie crusts prepared one in the pie plate, one ready to go on top. Make gravy from the stock (get 2 cups boiling and add 1 heaping tbls of all purpose flour dissolved in 1/2 cup milk, stir until, thickened). In a large bowl combine with gravy leftover stuffing, turkey cubes, cut vegetables and potato cubes, maybe a few cranberries for fun, and whatever else you think would be good. Ladle the mixture into the pie plate lined with crust. Cover with the second crust and seal (do a good job of it or you may get a mess) cut slits to vent. Bake at 425 F 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown. Serve warm.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Feel Wealthy and Energized

I feel wealthy and energized when...
my knives are sharp.

the roll of toilet paper was not only replaced without my asking, but facing the right direction (you know with the end facing outward).

I find my special hat where I left it.

the kids all sleep in.

my breakfast cereal is crunchy.

I remember my keys.

Aaron remembers groceries I forgot.

I get three things done in a day.

Basically, I feel wealthy and energized most of the most of the time when I allow myself.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Whose business is it?

For those of you conservatives who think marriage is no one's business, you are wrong. This is one of the deciding issues of our day. The 2nd Amendment might be overruled, but it can be brought back. Bad policies and bad laws can be defunded and thrown out, and the originators removed from office. We have laws and systems to reverse nearly every bad policy we know of, except same sex marriage.

Once the bridge of same sex marriage is crossed, there will be no going back and its proponents will push and push until the definition of marriage and family is so broad and inclusive that it means virtually nothing in the court of law.

Image by Donald Nicholson
Our government, as it stands, places high value on families and endorses marriage because of the ability of married partners to produce and rear future generations. Same sex couples cannot reproduce. They can only adopt or artificially inseminate. What's more, it's no secret that same homosexuals have higher than average rates of depression and suicide, and higher incidences of drug and alcohol abuse; not to mention the lack of both male and female role models that children need for healthy emotional development  What sane person can claim these environments as good for children?

Let's talk sex, disease, and money... some rather taboo talking points in the debate, but ones that need to be addressed. Marriage implies monogamy (sex with only one partner). I don't know about lesbians, but I do know that as a rule, gay men are not monogamous. That's why AIDS runs rampant in the gay community. If they are given marriage as a right and start asking for health insurance, that industry is going to be hesitant to give insurance at an affordable rate. So guess what, married gay unions are going to be charged a higher premium. You can imagine the whining that will bring, so what happens? To be fair, insurance on all married families will increase. Now more people will be either out of work (what employer wants to hire and insure an expensive married person), out of cash, or out of private insurance and on public welfare, therefore everyone will be paying more in taxes to support the health of married couples.

Who now thinks gay marriage is no one's business?

Not convinced? Here's some further reading:




I will not be able to stand before God at the last day if I do not defend the most important and fundamental unit of society. So far God has not condoned same sex marriage, in fact has condemned any sexual relationships outside of legal marriage between husband and wife. What else can I do, but make my position clear? I am on the LORD's side. What side are you on?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gender Role

I'm seeing this sign that is driving me crazy. This red equal sign and what it apparently stands for. Something about same sex partners wanting to be legally married, as if marriage is about romance or legitimized debauchery. What is missed by this small minority of society (and much of the majority too for that matter) is that men and women are fundamentally different and complementary  One cannot exist without the other.

I teach my daughter that she is unique and special and important. That she is a girl is a large part of what makes her unique, special, and important. I tell her she is beautiful, smart, and loved. I dress her as a girl and give her dolls and tea sets to play with. Her sweet, feminine nature is welcome and encouraged in our home. One day she will become a woman and hopefully meet a special man and have the choice to become a wife and a mother.
This image lifted from: http://predictingbabygender.info/less-conventional-tests-for-guessing-baby-gender/

I teach my sons that they are unique, and special, and important. That they
are boys is a large part of what makes them unique, special, and important. I tell them that they are handsome, strong, and loved. I give them cars and tool sets to play with. Their strong willed, masculine natures are valued and sustained in our family. One day they will become men and hopefully they will each meet a special woman and have the choice to become husbands and fathers.

How can I not tell my children these things? It would be an act of hate on my part to deny them this basic knowledge.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Asteroid or Death Star?

I was reading through a few news articles this morning when I found this bit of information:


Nuclear Deterant? lifted from: toptenz.net
I couldn't help but be reminded of a popular petition requesting the federal government to build a "Death Star". The response was the most sensible thing anyone in the current administration ever wrote:


Someone tell me please how lasso-ing an asteroid is any less ridiculous than building a Death Star. What economic or even technological benefit will hauling a 25 foot asteroid back to Earth bring us. It's not as if the Earth is having a shortage of iron and rocks at this time. And what, pray tell, will the science community do should they miscalculate and lose the asteroid in the atmosphere?... All their work and funding literally up in flames... WHOOSH!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Colin!

Colin Hancock is now five years old. Today he recieved his first bicycle. He previously knew the mechanics of how to peddle, but today he really began to learn to ride.

We went to the playground about a mile away. Before we got half way there, Colin wanted to get off and walk per-the-norm, but said, "We got you that bike to ride, so get on it and ride". It was slow going, but by the time we got close, he was keeping up with my walking pace.

Tomorrow, weather permitting we will go down to the park again and Karyn will get her own bike. We got her her own so soon for two reasons: first, that Colin would want a riding partner; and second, that it wouldn't take long before Karyn would want a bike to ride too. It seems we were right.

It is a Hancock family tradition that the person whose birthday it is cuts the cake with the biggest knife available. Tonight after Colin blew out the candles on his cake, I gave him the biggest knife in my collection, an 8 inch vegetable knife and let him cut the cake himself (I served after he made a few cuts). Perhaps there are those who think I'm a little crazy for letting a five year old handle a sharp knife, but we've worked with him and he knows what to do and (more importantly) what not to do with sharp knives.

Now that Colin is five, he's old enough to take out the trash, and help around the kitchen. He's also old enough now that I should regularly enforce the daily need to pick up his own toys and clothes, and make his bed.

Because he is kindergarten age and I intend to homeschool him, I need to make the final selection of what text I will use to teach him reading and and what math program I will use. I want to use the McGuffy Reader series and see how far he will go in to it this year. Not sure yet if I will use a formal text to teach basic addition and subtraction... might not need one yet. Flash cards and consistent explanation will probably do fine for now.

My biggest concern is where to find a home school support group in or near Oscoda. I live in a small town. I'll find what I can.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dangerous Parenting

I have never told my children not to talk to strangers.

No, I probably won't come down hard on the kids for riding their bikes without helmets, just make them endure, for the umpteenth time the story of how a bicycle helmet saved my head.

Yes, sometimes I let them fight.

No, I don't force my children to share their own toys.

Yes, I let them climb in and out of the cart while shopping at Wally World.

No, I don't feel obligated to accompany my four year old son every time he goes outside. As long as he stays in sight of the house, I'm happy.

Yes, I've been letting him use a sharp knife at dinner, and it's getting about time to teach my three year old to do the same.

No, my house is not "child proofed".

Yes, I let them play with "big kid" toys, kitchen utensils, and even my tools occasionally.

They've experienced cuts, burns, and mild electric shock, fallen down stairs, made friends with strangers, had bumps, bruises, rashes, bug bites, and splinters.

So far my four year old and three year old are both strong, smart, healthy, outgoing, enjoy sharing and playing outside, have a good idea what is dangerous and what is safe, take calculated risks, are self confident, and converse very well both with other children and adults.

They are going to make great leaders.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2010 to Present

I'm not sure what to say for theses years, so I'll put it a simple and succinctly as possible.In February of 2010 Julia Hancock passed away, and on the 17th, just the day after Julia was intered, Karyn was born. I could write a novelette about that month, but for the sake of privacy, I'll let it be for now.

In the months that followed, Aaron got his Airframe and Powerplant certification and we began looking for work for him. I had the greater talent for internet searches and processing the results, so I did the majority of the looking and sent him the applications I thought had the most promise for him. There were numerous posts  (at least one a month on J.S. Firm) for an entry level position in Oscoda, MI. I always sent him that one whenever I saw it, because I thought it was the closest and most promising. Why he hesitated, is his own story, but it's a funny one if you can get him to tell it. In the meanwhile, Aaron went back to work at McDonalds

By June we had decided to move in with Aaron's father and kept looking for jobs from there. It took nearly another year before Aaron was offered a job in Oscoda by a job placement service. I was hitting my head on the wall at the irony, but I guess that's how long it took for him to be prepared to accept it.

I can fix it! image lifted from wikipedia
In June of 2011 Aaron went north for work, coming down to Lansing every other weekend. In February of 2012 my mom and I, with the kids came up and after a week or so of looking around, she left us there at the motel with Aaron. While I kept up the search for a home.

I found us a teeny, tiny, two bedroom cottage just across the highway from Lake Huron. It was nice enough for a spring and summer home and it got us out of the motel; but we needed a larger, warmer place, closer to town for our growing family.

At the end of September we found the perfect place right on base. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a basement, a fenced in porch, and a good size kitchen. We could have fit that tiny cottage in the basement. Also the neighborhood was nice and we were only one mile from Aaron's work.

We moved in and have been very happy here. I am so grateful for a warm home with enough room for our family and visitors.

In January, Gideon was born and we are delighted to have him in our family.

This year I've been working on getting a small online store up and running. Hence, if you've been reading my other blogs, the references to Nutrilite, Perfect Water, and Fulton Street Market. Aaron and I want financial freedom for our family, so there is a clear need to form a number of other lines of income.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2008 and 2009

After Christmas, it was just too much to stay on my feet working, so I left work and stayed home, a decision I never regretted.

In His Light, by Greg Olsen*
In April, Colin was born. When I first heard his cry I had never heard anything more beautiful in my life. Maybe you remember that I had wondered last year whether the Lord knows happiness as great as his suffering. The answer then came to me: Yes. The Lord knows joy. He knows happiness to match His pain.

My experience in parenting is teaching me how to love in the same way that the Lord loves.

Overall, the first year as parents was blissfully uneventful. Colin was a healthy, sweet natured boy who made everyone he met fall in love with him.

There isn't a whole lot for me to say personally about the year as mostly it revolved around Colin. My world became very small.

My dad remarried, which I am sure was an adventure in and of itself, but that's his story. We also met some great family and friends. That's about it.

In 2009, Aaron and I were expecting again. We also decided to move to Logan, UT for Aaron to attend Utah State University. That was a rough summer and fall. Our friends were very generous and patient, but we just couldn't get settled in a place of our own, so we came back to Michigan at the end of the semester.

What was wonderful about the experience was that the difficulty made our little family stronger.

This is not my most entertaining blog entry; but as a rule, simple, normal things happen when you start a family. I like it that way.

You may have noticed, if you are following this blog, that I'm not focusing on the painful parts of life that much. I might make a minor gripe once in a while when it's funny; but for the most part the only times I've mentioned the dark parts are in reference to how my life is better for the experience.

I don't think people like to read whining and complaining. For my part, I hate the "Woah is me" stories that so many people tell online, or worse, over the pulpit at church. There's enough negative energy in this world without my adding to it. When life gives you lemons, have fish for dinner.

*About that picture and link. It is to Greg Olsen's online gallery and store. I can usually tell one of his paintings, and his art is all over the internet, but seldom credited to him properly, which is a dirty crying shame. Click the link and you'll be in his store and see more of his amazing paintings.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Grr! A Manufactured Medical Neccessity

I'm not questioning the safety of vaccines. In fact, I'm willing to say that for vast majority of Americans, the innovation of vaccinations has improved our quality of life and lowered the childhood mortality rate.

What I do question is the necessity of some vaccines. Where will a newborn get an STD like Hepatitus B? Or about that more recent one for the human papilla virus? The commercials are full of lovely, vivacious young women and teenage girls, as if to say receiving this shot will make you beautiful (I forget what exactly the commercials say... some low information sound bites about preventing cancer).

The one I have the biggest problem with is the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. It's positively an outrage.

Among other complications, there is a risk of death associated with chickenpox; but it's small. Annually there are 4 million cases of chickenpox reported, with 4,000 to 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths. To put that in easier numbers to digest that is 0.1% to 0.02% hospitalized and 0.0025% apparently killed by the disease. The larger half of "death by chicken pox" cases are adults (55%), so the chances of a child dying of chicken pox is approximately 0.002%. Wow. That's a seriously underwhelming mortality rate. It leaves to question whether the chickenpox virus was the sole cause of death or not.

Now for the more important numbers. Adults make up only 5% of the four million annual reported cases of chickenpox. That's two hundred thousand cases. So at the rate of 55 adult chickenpox patients dying per year out of two hundred thousand, that's a mortality rate of... uh... 0.03% A small, but significantly higher risk factor, and one that makes it more clear that chickenpox was involved.

This image was lifted from UMHS Newsroom
Thanks to laws that require most children attending school to take the varicella vaccine, childhood chickenpox is rare. Good for kids, bad for adults. If chickenpox were still commonplace in children, I wouldn't bother with the vaccine, just let them have it and get it over with.  However, childhood chickenpox is now almost unheard of, and they have to have the illness or the vaccine by 13 years, or their mortality risk becomes much higher.

Modern medicine has manufactured a permanent medical necessity. Thanks a lot. At least my kids have a few years to find the endangered species before I have to give them the shot.