Saturday, October 28, 2006

Happy Halloween

Greetings from Captain Jack Sparrow, a punk-rock pirate, and a killer bunny
A Kalahari Weekend

Suffice it to say, we're all pretty tired this evening. We left the house around 9:00 yesterday morning, and swam till 10:00 pm and then got up bright and early this morning and went at it again. Josh was old enough this year to really be able to enjoy the park ...he even went on the water roller coaster and one of the big tube slides...not to mention, the tree house- his absolute favorite! Marie enjoyed having her cousins come along on the trip for did Cindy and I. We could actually sit around and relax a little while the kids played in the park.

Cody, Adam, and Marie all did the body surfing, but to be honest, it just didn't look overly appealing to me. I watched more kids get flipped over while attempting to do this. Marie, on the other hand, appears to have a real knack for it.

I can't remember how many hundreds of tickets the kids ended up accumulating at the arcade. It always seems like an incredible amount until you go to cash them in and realize that it'll cost you 5000 tickets to get some little cruddy stuffed animal that's worth about $2.00.

I could have hung out in the hot-tub and the lazy river the whole time, but the kids kept us going throughout the weekend.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

This is simply a great movie! Marie got this DVD for her birthday and has been bugging me to watch it with her for the last couple of weeks. So tonight, we sat down and watched it...and I was hooked. This is one of those films that you need to sit on the couch next to your kids and simply experience the story/ message together as a family.

Essentially, the film is about an 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles, who shows a knack for spelling. Despite the initial objections of her mother, Akeelah is tutored for the upcoming spelling bee season by a Dr. Larabee; her principal; and the residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I won't give the ending away, but Akkelah, through her perseverance, is simply a "winner"- in more ways than one.

With Marie having seen this a couple of times already, she went to bed about 1/2 way through the film (we didn't start the film until 9:30), but I was so captivated by the storyline and acting that I finished watching this one by myself...and loved every minute of it. Marie has always had a penchant with spelling...she was the reigning 5th grade champion, and I've got to believe that she wanted me to watch this film to remind me of her accomplishments from last year.

Rent the film, watch it with your family, and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A St. Matthew Royal

So far, so good. Josh has had a very smooth transition from his preschool days to a full day of school at St. Matthews grade school. Much of the credit deservedly goes to his teacher. She is truly a remarkable lady, and not a day goes by that I don't hear about what Josh's teacher said/ did in class today. Josh truly idolizes this lady, and I couldn't be more pleased with his progress in school so far.

Josh will tell you that his favorite parts of the school week are gym, computer class, Spanish class, lunch, singing and story-telling time, and the after-school program, which essentially is an extra recess for him. In fact, each day that I pick Josh up, he's usually sitting at a small table with a harem of young girls conversing about "pre-k life" and enjoying his afternoon snack....what a life! It appears as if he's made many friends already, and each night at supper it seems as if he has a new story to share with us about one of his classmates.

He recently started to have "homework" over the weekend. Apparently, the kids actually asked their teacher for it. With a 6th grader in the house, I've come to realize that it's somewhere between the ages of 5 and 12 that the scale that balances schoolwork and one's social-life begin to change...drastically! Suffice it to say, Marie doesn't share the same enthusiasm for homework that her younger brother does.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thanks Brad!

Funny...but the last time I remember teaching the Iliad to high school kids (4 years ago?), I remember it being a rather tough sell. Regardless of the translation, this epic tale never really appealed to 17 year olds and usually presented itself to be a rather challenging read. Enter Brad and Orlando.

I started the Greek literature unit with my kids this week, and I was initially pleasantly surprised at the interest level in the storyline of the Trojan War, especially the roles of the famous Greek hoplite, Achilles, and one of his Trojan adversaries, Paris. Naively thinking that it may have been my stirring introductory lecture on this topic, I was soon reminded by the young ladies in my class that Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, who played the roles of Achilles and Paris in the 2004 Warner Brothers film Troy, are both quite "fine" and are definitely some serious eye candy.

As we prodded through the class notes on epic conventions, the notion of divine causality, Paris' abduction of Helen, the 10 year war between the Greeks and Trojans, and the ultimate battle between Achilles and Hector, all I kept hearing from the kids was how this scene and that scene was portrayed in Brad and Orlando's film. I would attempt to discuss something about Homer (you know, the dude who wrote this thing...) or the Mycenaean culture, and all the kids wanted to talk about was why Brad dumped Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie- UGH!

I guess, though, that it doesn't hurt having these Hollywood "babes" in your corner to entice the kids to want to read this piece of world literature...although, I don't think they're that good looking!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Witch Monster

How's this for a succinct pair of Halloween costumes? Of course these two would never actually feel this way towards one another...I think...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

No need for trumpets...

I've always been a big fan of Terry Pluto...not only do I think he's an extraordinary sports columnist, but I especially admire his perspectives on faith/ Christian living as he writes his weekly spiritual column in the Akron Beacon Journal. His article today in the ABJ was one that simply made me stop in my tracks and say, " I guilty of that!" In a nutshell, his contention is that while living our lives, Christian charity should be an extremely important part of our lives-without the fanfare. I guess that it's just human nature to want to receive some kind of recognition when we accomplish something of significance, but Pluto contends how greater the reward would be for all of us if we simply did things out out of habit than always wanting something in return. I couldn't help but try to think of the last time that I performed some kind of charitable act anonymously...I shamefully admit that it's been longer than I care to admit.

Pluto quotes a Christian author who claims that Christian maturity means that we don't need to congratulate ourselves because we've gotten something right...We've come to see that giving really is better than receiving, it no longer looks extraordinary to us -- it just looks sane.

Blogging about what I should do to address this issue would obviously be a blatant act of hypocrisy...But Pluto has certainly made me realize that this is not the time nor place to receive a reward for being a good person...instead, we should all look to the day when we get a pat on our backs from the One- who matters the most.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A dinnertime siesta

Hey, when you're tired, you're tired. Evidently, our conversation for the evening didn't hold little Sarah's interest much.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Birthday Slumber Party

So far, so good...It's about 11:00, the girls are still going strong...but the noise level is tolerable, and most importantly- they seem to be having a good time.

Marie has so been looking forward to this evening. She asked us about a month ago if she could have 6 of her closest friends spend the night for her 12th birthday, and they all said "yes" They really are all great kids- a few of whom play on Marie's volleyball team and will also be coming to Hoban with Marie in a few years.

I was very surprised (and proud) how Marie included Josh this evening. He's so funny. Just like Sarah's party from last week, he gets so excited when there's a party- regardless of who it's for! Anyway, he certainly wasn't shy hanging with the gals tonight (the games, Karaoke, pinata, etc...) and again, Marie was very sweet to include him.

I'm guessing that by midnight, they all will decided to call it an evening and fall quietly asleep for the night...yeah, right!

Happy Birthday Marie...I love you!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Kid at Heart

I'm not sure if Cindy shares the same enthusiasm in decorating for Halloween...but I love this holiday...and of course, I simply do it for the kids!

We've lived in this house since 2000, and each year that I've taken Marie and Josh to Walmart/ Target...invariably, some new decoration beckons us from its shelf to be purchased.

The standing joke is that there's been a friendly competition with the guy who lives across the street..and I refuse to lose to him! So, needless to say, I'm not completely finished yet.

Both Josh and Marie already have their costumes...both of whom are going to dress as Pirates with little Sarah tagging along as a ferocious bunny rabbit.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A special day for little Sarah

Pastor Mike Castelli presided over a baby dedication for Sarah this morning. What a wonderful job he did of including both Josh and Marie when speaking about the family's job of replicating a Christian home for our little girl.

At the risk of boasting too much, Sarah not only has a wonderful mother who undoubtedly loves her little princess to no end...but she also has two great siblings. Both Marie and Josh idolize Sarah Kay, and I just know that the two of them will continue to look after their little sis and make sure that she not only feels loved in our family, but will also help to bring her closer to Christ as she grows older. When you think about it, it is such an awesome responsibility that we are all given, as parents, when it comes to raising our children. God knows that I'm not the perfect Dad, and all too often my patience (or lack there of) is not something that I'm always proud of, but listening to Mike's message today really reaffirmed my dedication to my kids...they're my life...and I love them all so very much.