“The Giver” By Lois Lowry. Reviewed By Ethan

On 6/16/11 I finished the giver. I will tell you what each main character learns. Joanas learns not to run from anything. Asher learns not to be late. Fiona learns to be nice to everybody.

The book has a slow beginning because there was no action. However, the middle had a lot of events. The end of the book wasn’t that good because it left me hanging.

I feel everybody should read this book. Jonas’s dad reminds me of mygrandma beacause he’s a nurse. If you see this book you should pick it up and read it.


Friday Five (a little different)

Five Signs that our Kids are growing up too0 quickly!

1. Walking: It may only be a few steps at a time without quickly grabbing hold of something, but Keira is up and moving and shows no signs of sitting back down.

2. Humor: Anthony is starting to study and master the fine art of Sarcasm.

3. Reading: Ethan is reading and understanding books way beyond his reading level. He is currently reading “Two Towers” by Tolkien.

4. Food: Keira is more and more interested in eating solids rather than her bottle and she LOVES to feed herself and make a mess for Daddy and Mommy to clean up. She’ll at least try anything you put on her plate. She may slip it to the dogs if she doesn’t like it but she’ll at least try it.

5. Girls!! The boys may not admit it, but I know what’s coming. I’ve been there. Girls come around and their pre-teen brain turns to gooo. People kiss on TV and they are no longer covering their eyes and looking away. They take side ways glances out the corner of their eyes at the Victoria’s Secret catalog before I get a chance to throw it away!

Of Age and Adoption

When Anthony was born, I was 17 years old and only months away from graduating high school. And Ethan, he was born when I was 18.

Now, I  might seem weird to some people if they didn’t know the whole story: my boys were adopted.

I get weird looks sometimes as I walk out with the boys or if I’m asked about the age of my kids at work. People are surprised to hear that I could have a 10-year-old at my age. My first response was initially to explain the situation, “oh, well you see, they’re adopted. We just finalized the adoption last Christmas.”

But that came out weird. That makes it sounds as if we haven’t  been raising them for years and haven’t been a part of their lives since they were born. Eventually, I began explaining the entire situation to anyone who would ask.

When I got pregnant with Keira, it added another complication to the age question. “Oh, is this your first baby?”

“Well, kinda.”

“Ha! How can it only ‘kinda’ be your first?” Again, I would have to explain the entire story.

Once, while I was out with all three of my kids, a complete stranger remarked on the boys and how well-mannered they were. “Are they all your children?” I nodded and along came the eye-brow raise as she surveyed my age and surveyed the boys’ ages. Instinctively, I began my speech on how they were actually adopted…. until, I looked over at Ethan.

While he was originally beaming at the woman for complimenting him, he started to look down and shuffle his feet, uncomfortable with the fact that I had called out that he was adopted. He was different. He didn’t belong. I could see these thoughts float across his face.

What was I thinking? Was trying to explain away the possibility that I was a “teen mom” worth the discomfort I was putting on my child? Why was it more important for me to be less uncomfortable than the security and belonging of my son? It wasn’t.

The following week, Ethan, Keira and I went on a trip to our favorite grocery store. I saw a woman baby wearing her baby and immediately struck up a conversation. Her baby was only 4 days older than Keira. She turned and looked at Ethan, “oh, is he your son as well?” I beamed and nodded. She turned to me and I could see that look starting to cross her face….

“I have a 10-year-old at home, too. It’s such a great help to have older siblings! They’re fantastic older brothers!!” She laughed and we talked on for a bit before parting ways. Ethan grabbed my hand, looked up at me and smiled.

Time Capsule #4 (History Test)

It is time to find out just how much history the boys understand with some basic questions. What is even funnier is asking Kirsten some of these questions I’ve included some of her responses as well. Mind you she is putting in 10+ hour work days 7 days a week right now so her brain is a little…shall we say taxed. Afterward she stuck out her tongue and said “what do you know about international tax regulation?” to which I hid under the covers and cowered like a baby. 😉

Question 1:  List in order the first five Presidents of the United States of America.

Anthony : 1. George Washington 2. John Adams 3. Thomas Jefferson 4. James Madison 5. John Quincy Adams

Ethan: 1. George Washington 2. John Adams 3. Quincy Adams 4. George Bush 5. Sponge Bob

Kirsten : 1. George Washington 2. John Adams 3. Thomas Jefferson… Monroe somebody.

Dad: Anthony so Close! number 5 should be James Monroe then John Quincy Adams is 6th.

Dad: Ethan you have two of the five up there. John Quincy Adams was 6th. The other two Bush and Bob are not any of the first five or founding fathers.

Question 2: Which presidents currently appear on the $10 $20, and 100 bills

Anthony: 1. $10 – no idea 2. $20 – no idea 3. $100 – Ben Franklin

Ethan: 1. $10 – Quincy Adams 2. $20 – John Adams 3. $100 – Sponge Bob

Kirsten: 1. $10 – Jefferson 2. $20 Adams 3. $100 Benjamin Franklin

Anthony & Ethan: $10 – Alexander Hamilton, $20 – Andrew Jackson, $100 – Benjamin Franklin

Question 3: Who was in charge of war planing for the British during WWII (hint think Doctor who season 5 in the bunker with the Dalek’s. History learned from Dr. Who folks.)

Anthony: Minster Winston

Ethan: Winston Noah

Dad: You both got half of it. Winston Churchill. Anthony he was indeed a Prime Minster in the British government but he would have been Prime Minster Churchill.

Question 4: Name one of the countries the Nile River runs through.

Anthony: Egypt

Ethan: Egypt

Dad: Good job both of you. Understanding Geography is a key to a good understanding of history.

Question 5: Which came first the Greek Empire or the Roman Empire?

Anthony : Greek

Ethan: Greek

Kirsten: Turkish?!

Dad: Right and Right. Many of the Greek ideas influenced the Roman empire and even out modern republic we live in.

Question 6: What event cause d the U. S. A. to enter into WWII

Anthony: That Bombing…

Ethan: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Dad: Anthony I know you are prenting not to know so I’ll have to take you on a field trip to Hawaii right. 😉 Ethan great job, not only did you get the event, but the players in the event as well.

Question 7: Please put the following wars in correct chronological order: World War II, Vietnam War, Revolutionary War, World War I, Koren War and Civil War

Anthony: 1. Revolutionary War 2. Civil War 3. World War I 4. World War II 5. Koren War 6. Vietnam War

Ethan: 1. Revolutionary War 2. Civil War. 3. Korean War 4. World War I 5. World War II 6. Vietnam War

Dad: Antony you have a good grasp of time! Chronological order of time is the second key to understanding history. Ethan you were so close, but in truth we hardly talk about the Korean War. The Korean war happened after the two World Wars. Maybe we should have a sit down and talk to Papa about it. It happened while he was growing up.

Question 8: Name two of the USA’s Allies During World War II

Anthony: Russia and France

Ethan: Russia and Britain

Dad: Correct! Later the five major countries in the Allies would form the five permeate seats in the security council of the United Nations Charter.  The U.N. Charter is one of the most important documents of our time. People may not see it yet but we are becoming more and more of a global identity through media and technology.

“We the peoples of the United Nations determined: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, And for these ends: to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, Have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims: Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.”

Question 9: What type of system of government do we have in the USA? Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Dictatorship?

Anthony: Democracy

Ethan: Democracy

Dad: Yes are a democratic republic.

Question 10: In what year did Columbus sail the ocean blue?

Anthony 1642

Ethan: 1602

Dad: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. If he had been that late in sailing maybe the native populations might have had a fighting chance.

Question 11: What year did we first step foot on the Moon?

Anthony: 1967

Ethan: 1952

Dad: Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the moon July 20th 1969. I hope beyond hope that we get our butts in gear and get back up there in some way soon. Then we have so many moons around the other planets to explore!

Question 12: What was the first state in America

Anthony: Delaware

Ethan: Delaware

Dad: Ding ding ding.

Questions 13: Australia was first used by the British as a ________ Colony

Anthony: Slave

Ethan: Whalers

Dad: The first colony in Australia was a Prison colony.

Dad: As a Social Science Ed major I’m proud of both of you. Your knowledge of not only what events happened, but also WHY they happened is wonderful. We need to not only remember the past to stop it from happening again but understand what lead up to those events. I just hope I don’t bore you to death with all the history I want to teach you. I’ll always try to keep it interesting and relevant. If you ever have any questions about history just ask. If the question has to do with math go ask your mom.

Time Capsule #3

Part 3 of the boys time capsule:

The Questions then dad’s response in RED!

Question 1: List your top five favorite bands or musicians.

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Beastie Boys                                    1. Black Eyed Peas
2. BonJovi                                           2. The Rakish Rogues
3. Linkin Park                                   3. Taylor Swift
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers                 4. Ashlie Simpson
5. Black Eyed Peas                          5. Riders in the Sky

Anthony: 1. I don’t think their CD come in clean versions, but I might down load some songs for you. 2. OMG seriously I think we have heard “Slippery When Wet” about a billion times already dude!!! 3. Linkin Park is our Pre-sports event music, gets up pumped up. Good work out music and writing music. 4. One day you too can play bass like Flea I just hope you are doing while wearing more than a sock 5. BEP are totally your mom’s influence but they do have some great drum tracks and good production value.

Ethan: 1. See number 5 for you brother. 2. Great sing along songs. I’m just waiting till you finally understand the hidden themes. 3. Just cause you think she’s cute doesn’t make her music good. (just saying). 4. Where is my Ten Foot Pole?? Nevermind make it 50! 5. I don’t even know who they are… (insert quick Google search.) uhmm okay o-O.

Question 2: List your three or four least favorite bands or musicians.  

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Ethan Singing                                1. Bon Jovi
2. Taylor Swift                                  2. Elvis
3. 50’s and 60’s                                3. Red Rover
4. Micheal Jackson

Anthony: 1. Don’t slam your bro at least he dares to sing and sings out load. Although I will agree he needs a larger repertory. 2. Yeah um talk to Ethan, and bring your Nerf sword. 3. What’s up with that? Sunday rides to church in the car with Nana? 4. I don’t even know where you would have heard any of his music.

Ethan: 1. Totally understand dude. I see some ear plugs in your future. 2. Really? You love to shake your hips though. Don’t tell Nana this or she might not buy you old-fashioned doughnuts anymore. 3. Do they still play this at school?

Question 3: List the three next CD’s you’d like to buy.

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Beastie Boys                                    1. Riders in the Sky
2. Linkin Park                                     2. Smashing Pumpkins
3. Red Hot Chili Pepers                   3. Black Eyed Peas

Boys – I think we have all thes in my collections.

Question 4: List your top three favorite TV shows.
Anthony’s Answers:                              Ethan’s Answers:
1. Adventure Time                          1. Doctor Who
2. Doctor Who                                 2. Sponge Bob
3. I-Carly                                           3. Pokemon

Anthony: 1. You know I’m not a fan of you watching this show. Change the channel BBC, Discovery, History, anything else. 2. One of the best show EVER! 3. Should we call it ” I ❤ Carly” or was it Sam you had a crush on. 😛

Ethan: 1. It’s fun to hear you and Anthony running around the house playing Cyberman Vs. Dalek. 2. I’m ready I’m ready 3. I’m lucky that I’ve never been home when you wanted to watch this “show.”

Question 5: List your top three favorite movies.

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Avatar                                              1. Star Wars VI
2. Edward Scissorhands                2. Megamind
3. Wallace and Gromit                   3. The Lighting Theif

Anthony: 1. Well yeah but I still think it was 10x better in the theaters then on our home TV. 2. Possible one of the best movies ever. 3. I’ve only see the curse of the Ware Rabbit and it was very good.

Ethan: 1. I love that fact that you like this better than 1-3. Shows you have a good eye for film. 2. I’m thinking you like this because it was the most recent film you saw at the theater. 3. Great book series, the movie doesn’t really do the book justice, but as a popcorn kind of flick it’s good.

Question 6: List your top three movies you want to see.  

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Family Guy Star Wars                 1. Ghost Rider
2. Transformers                                    2. Transformers 2

Anthony: 1. Not going to happen for a while kido. 2. We could talk about this.

Ethan: 1. The movie is blah, the themes are a little much just yet. If you are looking for scary movie maybe Alien. 2. Both you and Anthony want to see this so maybe we’ll talk. We do own it.

Question 7: What are you looking forward to in 2011?

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:  

1.Halloween                                   1. Anthony’s First Date
2. Keria’s 1st Birthday                2. Dad becoming a Stay at Home Dad
3. The Man Cave                           3.  48 inches of snow

Anthony: 1. ALWAYS my favorite time of year. This year we are talking about having a party too. 2. This will be a blast, make sure to take pictures so you can show her when you are older and doesn’t remember it. 3. This may or may not happen in 2011, but it will 100% be started.

Ethan: 1. Who say’s he gets to date!  You only want to tease him about it. 2. We can only hope. 3. That would rock! sledding, snow forts, watching shovel the side walks.

Question 8: Dream Car.
Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. 1963 Ford Falcon                         1. 2010 Mazda 3

Anthony: This is one of my dream cars as well. It would be fun to rebuild it and then drive it across country. I think we would be required to buy the convertible version.

Ethan: This is a very reasonable car. If you save your money maybe within you price range when you turn 16.

Question 9: Car you wouldn’t want to be seen driving.  

Anthony’s Answers:                         Ethan’s Answers:

1. Minivan                                            1. Mini Cooper

Anthony: I’m 100% with you, but if we end up getting one, guess who’s likely to drive it as their first car. (hands you a mirror)

Ethan: Not sure why you dis-like this car. It’s fun little car to drive, although for guys mine and Papa’s size it make us look like we are getting out of a clown car.

Social Media and Parenting

Imagine, if you will, Billy Mays sitting at a computer…

“Tired of waiting for Billy to bring over the new girlfriend to show her all his funny baby pictures? Do your kids avoid you having any interaction with their cool friends? Does Jane make you park around the corner from the school to pick her up?

“Well, now you don’t have to! You can get all the lovely social interaction with your children and their friends! And even their friend’s friends! With Social Media, not only can you show Billy’s new chick all his baby pictures, but you can share it with all his future girlfriends and their parents! Did Jane dance funny for you when she was 8? Wanna share those sweet moments of Billy and Grandma pinching his checks? Social Media can do all that and more!

“But wait there’s more!! Login today and sign up from all the different forms of social media and you share all those moments with friends 24 Hours a day! That’s right! Your kids don’t even have to be awake to be embarrassed anymore!”

– Okay now the serious note.

After I wrote this, Kirsten had the following conversation with Anthony after school:

Anthony: “Hey mom? Remember that silly picture you put on Facebook?? Well, now the whole world has seen it!”

Photo in Question - Posted with Permission of Tween.

Kirsten: “What exactly do you mean ‘the whole world’?”

Anthony: “Well, Ben’s mom saw it and showed Ben and now everyone at school knows about it!”

There I was writing what I thought was a funny article about how social media allows us a quicker and easier way to embarrass our children. Every parents right and responsibility.  But then Ethan, our nine year old, puts in his two cents:

Ethan: “Dad isn’t that cyber bullying?”

Dad: “Well, it’s different…wait…maybe…not really. It’s really about the intent, honey. Mom and I don’t share these photos and captions with the intent to humiliate you but to rather show how cute you are as kids.”

Ethan: “ohhhhh….but it’s still embarrassing.”

So, as social media grows and changes, maybe we need to step back and look at how it changes the interactions of the family. Do your kids have access to social media? Should they be allowed to not friend you? At what level do we trust them and let them interact with the social world with out us? Do we become cyber stalkers and read every email, every Facebook comment, every tweet?

Luckily, I have some time to think about this. For you parents already dealing with this, what do you think? What have you learned?

A Scar to Remind Me

When I was a child, my mother had once taken me and my sister along with her when she went car shopping. I, a kid of around 9, couldn’t care less about the car buying process while my sister of 15, eager to begin driving lessons, listened intently. As my mother and the car salesman spoke of boring topics of discussion such as “gas mileage” and the “safety features” of this Geo Metro, my mind started to wander.

Eventually, I was spinning around in circles to keep myself entertained. After a couple minutes, my sister noticed me spinning and grabbed me by the shoulders, stopping me from spinning. “Would you knock that off??” She let go instantly and I dizzily fell the ground, hitting my chin hard on the asphalt parking lot.

My mother grabbed me as I laid there crying and bleeding on the ground and whisked me off to the bathroom to get cleaned up. We left there without her new car.

To this day I still have a scar on my chin. I see it every morning as I put on my makeup and smirk at how silly I was as a child. And then I stop and think of my own children and their antics… Anthony getting his finger stuck in the bus seat belt. Ethan running with a sharp pencil and then tripping, only to run that pencil through his lip. Keira has yet to give me such stories but I’m sure it’s coming.

I look at that scar and I’m taken back to how it felt to be a kid, again. How the focus of life was not on how clean the house was but whether life was fun and exciting. So, when I catch Ethan stuffing a slice of cheese into his pocket to hide the snack he was sneaking before dinner, I think of my scar and laugh. “Hey buddy, how about you just eat the cheese instead of putting it through the laundry?”

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