I wrote the following post months and months ago.  I kept coming back to it to publish but, the timing never felt right.  On this anniversary of 9/11 and our government facing decisions that will certainly alter our futures, I feel the time is right to share my feelings.  If you must comment, please do so with respect in knowing that this post was written with the truest of hearts.  I do not intend to awaken a fire of controversy but, a passion for what is right.

My patriotism is fighting a battle through the bitterness, fear, and disappointment in how I view the state of my Country.  Our nation was established on the beliefs, values, and courage of uncommon men.  Men who went against their heritage.  Men who saw what a country based on freedom could potentially become, such vision!  What passion these uncommon men spilled out into the foundations of The United States of America.  They were driven by the future and establishment of a great nation.

"America is much more than a geographical fact.  It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality." -Adlai Stevenson

The men who founded our nation held firm to their integrity, their beliefs, their character, they risked everything.  They established a government for the people and by the people.  They weren't puffing their chests like angry peacocks to prove their point or to win the fight (well maybe they were but, their intentions and ideals were different than they are today).  These men were driven by something deeper. Something within their morrow compelled them to make a stand.  Where did that passion for justice go? Can it ever be retrieved within our government walls to propel this nation to be more?  More than just Republicans and Democrats who continue to manipulate their sides of the argument best.

"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." -Malcom X
We are Americans.  A people who stepped away from what had already been established through hundreds of generations, to design a new government, a new culture of promise.  To move forward in a new world with unclaimed dreams.  Our rich history has many ups and downs but, that is how we grow.  In the depths of war, recession, and trials comes beauty, power, and resilient unity.  No, we Americans haven't always gotten it right, oh yes, we make mistakes but mistakes bring knowledge.  To ignore the knowledge we are given through our mistakes is absolute foolishness.

"Having no other wish than to promote the true and permanent interests of this country, I am anxious, always, to compare the opinions of those in whom I confide with one another; and those again (without being bound by them) with my own, that I may extract all the good I can."
-1796, George Washington

I am a work-at-home Mom who knows very little of the deep workings of our government. I try to understand, really I do, but I don't know where to turn for accurate information.  Thus, I find myself reading multiple news stories from liberals to conservatives and drawing my own conclusions.  My current government preaches "transparency" and I have come to the conclusion that their idea of transparency is a lot more clouded than mine. One law contradicts another so another law is created to fix the issue only propelling us deeper into complications.  I find myself in unison with Mr. Lincoln when he said,

"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day." -Abraham Lincoln

There is evil running through every level of government on every side.  To deny it would be naive.  Men have lost their way.  We need more Lincoln, Washington, Adams, and King Jr.'s in our world.  We need men who will stick to moral and good values, not cater to the whims and fads of society or their personal gain.  Men who will laugh in the face of any temptation that threatens to alter their integrity.  Men who can be warriors and leaders driven by their passions, not their political agendas.  Men who can speak into the moral decay of our society and stand firm when the opposition comes full force.

John Adams said, "If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and benevolence."
He also said, "I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." (Upon moving into the White House)

Where can we find these uncommon men in today's world? I believe one answer can be found in our homes.  It begins with wives allowing their husbands to be the leaders of their family.  Ladies, let's stop squashing our men, we need them to be strong.  Let. Them. Lead. We also need to be raising boys who can climb trees, get dirty, show off their muscles, and learn what it means to be a warrior.  Real men.

"You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence." -Abraham Lincoln

I feel like a little kid throwing a monumental fit.  Stomping my foot, pounding my fists on the ground, screaming, "I want my America back! I want my America back!"  Please don't misunderstand, our nation has made great strides and progress on many levels. What I want back is that good ole American pride. Where the Pledge of Allegiance is recited everyday in the classrooms, where people get tears in their eyes from singing our National Anthem, where Americans defend and protect Americans, and where our military, firemen, policemen, and teachers are honored like royalty.  Let us support our neighbors, help them when they need help, let's stop turning our backs and expecting someone else to do the job. No more nit-picking at each others beliefs.  Let's all show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  We can agree to disagree.
"I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose."-John F Kennedy


Boredom Buster | Scientific Journal

I hate those words "I am bored."  They are like nails on a chalkboard!  Every summer I try to come up with lots of creative ways to avoid those dreaded words escaping my children's lips.  One of the things we do each summer is tune-in to Africam.com and watch for animals.  It is the coolest thing to watch monkeys, lions, elephants, hippos, and giraffes in their natural habitat.  We have to wait until summer because the "watering holes" don't get busy until 9pm our time.  I have been a fan of this site for years and I love watching it grow in popularity because they keep adding more live cameras and features.  Check out what we saw the other night:
Zebras!  There is this new feature where you can take a snapshot of the live animals you are seeing.  There miiiiiiight be times I am watching without the kids so this comes in handy.  Anywho.

This summer, I decided to make this part of our "summer learning" plan.
(yes, I am one of those Moms who make their kids do school work on their time-off)
This is in our "science" portion.  I created this worksheet for my kids to record their findings:
I think you can click on it to enlarge and print for yourself if you'd like.
If there is a big enough interest, I can put a PDF version on my website.

We don't just sit and watch Africam.com all day.  We use this worksheet for investigating clouds, nature walks, experiments we find on the internet, bugs, and anything else scienc-ie.

Now go getcher science on, People!


Summertime Toneout

I am not a big fitness guru and workouts like "CrossFit" frighten the heckles out of me.  I've trained for marathons and I love being out on the road running with my friends until my legs feel like jelly.  I needed something I could do at home when the weather wasn't cooperating or my schedule was packed.  Something in the comfort of my pajamas when necessary.

I am excited about the daily "toneout" I've created for myself.  I've been developing this for a couple of months and being the designer I am, I needed to make it purdy.

Here is my Daily 20 Toneout:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Squats
20 Second Plank
20 Side Crunches
20 Second Plank
20 Scissor Kicks
20 Push-Ups
20 Sit-Ups
20 Calf Raises
20 High Kicks
20 Tip-Toe Plie Squats
//Bonus Cardio //
20 Minutes of Dancing (or walking, jogging, biking, chasing my kids, etc.)

Without the cardio included, this workout generally takes me about 20-30 minutes.  Totally do-able with my kids around all summer!  If you are just beginning an exercise regimen, I think I'm supposed to tell you to talk to your doctor first, so do that.  You can begin this workout at your own pace starting with only 5 reps of each exercise and work your way up to more!  Try to do the exercises one after the other... the professionals tell me that's a good thing.

Feel free to print, pin, and share my Daily "Toneout" plan but, please give credit where credit is due.  Please and thank you.
Have a great workout... YOU CAN DO IT!