Monday, November 29, 2004

You've got to be kidding

Reuters is reporting that a California teacher was directed by his principal not to give students documents from American history which refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

California Yankee lists the blogosphere's reaction to this event (and the enevibable ensuing litigation), and includes a link to the Alliance Defense Fund's pleadings (PDF file).

As has been pointed out many times before, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not found in the Constitution. And anyway, it's the separation of church and state, not the separation of God and state. I don't belive that a mere belief in "God" is the same as adhering to a particular organized religion. Nevermind that the founders were trying to protect the church from the state, not the other way around.

News Link: Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/27/04

Nothing for me this week, just the kids:
  • Book: Thomas's ABC Book
  • Book: James in a Mess and other Thomas Stories
  • Book: Rooster's Off To See the World, Eric Carle
  • Video: Building Skyscapers
  • Video: Bob the Builder: Building Friendships
  • Video: Alef Bet Blast Off: A Chanukah Mitzvah
  • Video: Snoopy Double Feature: Charlie Brown's All Stars/It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown
  • Video: Big Machines: Road Construction

Sunday, November 21, 2004

"Family Friendly Firms"

My Shingle's Carolyn Elefant has written an interesting piece called "Bloggers vs. the Bar: The Real Story About Family Friendly Firms". Although many firms are offering lawyers "part-time" and "80 percent" schedules, the reality (according to the bloggers) is that many lawyers are working the same number of hours but receiving part-time pay, with no hope of making partner. Only in the legal profession is working 40 hours a week considered "part time". Why do we put up with this?

Ms. Elefant writes: "More generally, most attorneys need to realize that law will come and go, but they'll only have one chance to develop and nurture a relationship with their children. Missing that opportunity, as the standard for TRO's goes, is irreparable." How true.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/20/04 - Thanksgiving Edition

This week's selection:
  • Book: Thanksgiving Day by Dianne M. MacMillan
  • Book: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Elaine Raphael and Don Bolognese
  • Video: Meet Diego! (Dora the Explorer)
  • Video: Blue's Big News (Blue's Clues)

Things I didn't know that I learned from the children's Thanksgiving books:

Nearly half of the settlers died that first year, and only 4 women were left. And on the first Thanksgiving, those 4 women did all the cooking.

In the 1800's, Godey's Lady's Book was the most widely read publication in the country for twenty years. It's editor, Sarah Josepha Hales, was responsible for getting Thanksgiving recognized first as state holidays, then as a Federal holiday.

In 1939, FDR moved Thanksgiving from the 4th Thursday in November to the 3rd Thursday, for the sole purpose of giving retailers and extra week in the holiday shopping season. As a result, half the states celebrated the 3rd week, half the states celebrated the 4th week, with Texas and Colorado celebrating both days. Two years later, the date was firmly affixed as the 4th Thursday.


Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and downloaded Mozilla's Firefox 1.0 browser. It's working pretty well, although my computer is crashing more often. A lot of that stopped when I got the flash/shockwave plugins downloaded properly. Still some bugs. I wholeheartedly agree with Dennis Kennedy of The Blawg Channel who writes, "Firefox has tons of potential, but it's clearly a version 1.0 product, not a version 2.0, 3.0 or even a 6.0 product."

What I like best about Firefox is the tab feature - the abillity to open up multiple web pages in the same window. Tabs are the main reason I was hanging on to Earthlink 5.0 - unfortunately no longer supported by the good folks at Earthlink. I have also just discovered Blog This! How did I ever blog without it?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/13/04

Re memes: it's only a meme if other people do it too.

This week's selection:
  • Book: The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
  • Book: Sweet Expectations: Michele Hoskins' Recipe for Success by Michele Hoskins
  • Book: My Visit With Periwinkle by Alison Inches (Blue's Clues)
  • Video: Wiggly Play Time (The Wiggles)
  • Video: Trust Thomas & Other Thomas Stories (Thomas the Tank Engine)
  • Video: Stop, Look and Listen! (Blue's Clues)

Monday, November 08, 2004

Pregnancy & Childbirth News Briefs

A couple of items of interest in the news lately:

Pre-Pregnancy Multivitamins Prevent Prematurity - A new study shows that women who are taking a multivitamin before they conceive are less likely to have premature babies. Women who took vitamins starting in early pregnancy did not have the same lowered risk of prematurity. (Though of course, getting sufficient nutrients has other important benefits.)

Women's reproductive factors and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis: Study suggests prolonged preventive effect of breastfeeding and links irregular menstrual cycles to increased risk of disease - Women who breastfed babies - regardless of how many children they had - for 13-23 months reduced their risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 20% compared to those who didn't. And women who had breastfed for at least 24 months increased their risk reduction to 50%. "Our data suggest breast-feeding confers long lasting protection against developing RA," Dr. Karlson states, "because the mean time since the last pregnancy among women with RA was 25 years."

Older brother learns truth about storks: "Dr. Devon," 5, as his mom calls him, helps her give birth at home while waiting for the paramedics. - O.k., this one is cute, and needs no further explanation. But a little rant from the Mommy Blawger: last I checked, doctors in California weren't doing homebirths. So perhaps the article should have said that little Devon received "unexpected training" as a midwife, not an obstetrician.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Saturday Library Trip - 11/06/04

Today I'm starting a new weekly feature. Perhaps it's a meme [what's a meme? note to self - research memes]. Anyhow, every Saturday I take the boys to the library. Each week I will blog what we checked out. It's kind of like bloggers who tell you what they are reading, except mine will also include what my husband is reading, what videos my kids are watching, and the books I thought looked interesting and later decided weren't, or didn't have time to read.

This week's selection:
  • Book: Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
  • Book: Dora's Backpack by Sarah Willson
  • Video: Pets in a Pickle, Bob the Builder
  • Video: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  • Video: Building Skyscrapers, David Alpert Associates
So what did you check out this week?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Travelogue: Branson, Missouri

Greetings from lovely Branson, Missouri. We are here for 5 days, 4 nights with both sets of the boy's grandparents. My in-laws booked a time-share at Fairfield Resorts at Mountain Vista which is new and very nice. It has been cloudy, cold, and rainy which is fine since the resort has an indoor pool, although the boys seemed perfectly satisfied with the whirlpool bath tub in the room.

On the way here, we stoped at Shady Beach Family Campground and canoe rental in Noel, Missouri, which is owned and operated by my step-sister's family.

Some Branson attractions of note:

The Chateau on the Lake overlooks Table Rock lake. The hotel has a castle-like appearance, and the main meeting room (huge!) has murals of European castles painted on the walls. The lobby features a 2-story waterfall and river surounded by a variety of real (caged birds, fish) and fake (vines, beaver) plants and animals, including what has got to be the largest artificial tree in existance. I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the stuffed squirel.

Shoji Tabuchi is a Japanese violinist who plays country music. Really. His theater, where he performs twice-daily, has restrooms that can truly be called amazing, are described on the website as follows:

"The ladies' powder room is complete with wainscoting and ceiling reproduced from the 1890's Empire Period. To the ladies amazement, there are live cut orchids at every granite and onyx pedestal sink. Add to all that stained and jeweled glass and magnificient chandeliers! The gentlemen's lounge is no less imposing, with black lion head sinks imported from Italy, black leather chairs and a marble fireplace. The billiard room [in the men's restroom] contains a hand carved mahogany billiard table, a viewing gallery, and a burled walnut mirror that was built in 1868."

Both restrooms also feature changing stations stocked with several sizes of diapers. However, the show itself rated only a 4 out of 10, according to my parents who attended.

Grand Country Inn is an all-in-one entertainment complex, with a hotel, show theater, video arcade, shopping, country-style buffet, Branson's only indoor miniature golf complex, and an indoor/outdoor water park. The buffet is only so-so, but the whole complex is worth a look-see, and great if you have older kids or a range of age groups and interests that all want to do different things.

The Stone Hill Winery is the oldest (150 years) winery in Missouri. Prior to Prohibition, the winery produced over a million gallons of wine every year. Stone Hill makes about 18 different varieties of wine. The actual vineyard and the majority of the wine production takes place in Hermann, Missouri, but two varieties are aged and bottled in Branson. Tours and wine tasting are free.

Broadway it's not, and Orlando it ain't either, but all in all, our time in Branson was a great trip and we survived our first major (8 hrs. each way) road trip with 2 kids under the age of four. Can't wait to go home so we can get some rest...