Thoughts

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Wise

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11, NKJV)

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ALL ABOARD! With gold tickets in hand and the boys dressed in their pajamas, we boarded The Polar Express in Tavares, Florida, for our trip to the North Pole…

Polar Express Tickets

Today’s experience was our Christmas gift from the boys’ Godparents, Chris and Sherrie, and is based on the more-than-30-year-old Christmas classic, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsberg, and the 2004 animated movie directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Prairie Dogs

Each car in the train had it’s own steward (ours was named “Hannah”), who directed all of the show’s activities, including the conductor visit, the hobo, the reading of the story by the author, singing Christmas carols, and the hot chocolate song complete with dancing waiters in the isle. She also punched the tickets, of course…

Steward Hannah Tickets Punched

When we reached the North Pole, Santa joined us and presented all the kids on the train with “the first gift of Christmas,” a silver bell…

Santa

The whole experience lasted just over an hour and was well worth the two-hour drive to Tavares! Although Adam questioned: 1) why the trip to the North Pole only took 30-minutes (“because the movie was two-hours”); 2) why, upon reaching the North Pole, there was no snow; 3) why Santa’s gray mustache wasn’t white like his beard; and 4) why he couldn’t have more hot chocolate.

( sigh )

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It’s hard to believe they still sit like this. You’d think it would be uncomfortable, but I suppose after spending almost 9-months as “womb-mates,” this would be considered palatial…

Twin Thing

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You know the Stephen King movie? Alex assessed the phenomenon and determined it was “creepy” (and I’d have to agree).

The Mist

Hope this burns off, so we can spend some time in the pool before we pack-up to leave!

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It was kinda spur-of-the-moment when Cindy suggested we go see Thor: Ragnarok. Considering Mom rarely wants to see these superhero movies, the boys and I jumped at the opportunity, and with popcorn in hand, we settled into our cozy theater loungers…

Movie Night

Thor: Ragnarok is the next installment (fifth film) in “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (this is the period of turmoil and discord that occurs for our hero’s in the aftermath of Ultron’s attack on the Earth), and sets the stage for the battle with Thanos next year in Avengers: Infinity War. The movie was, in a word, “AWESOME”! I’m was in heaven!

And so were the boys…

Movie Night

Even Cindy liked it! 🙂

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The days are getting shorter, but there are lights on the field! Tonight Adam is catching…

Adam Catches

There aren’t many balls that get past him, which says a lot given these fist-time little league pitchers. The balls are just as likely to go wild as they are to go across the plate.

Adam Catches Adam Catches

He’s a leader when he’s behind the plate…

Adam Catches

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This is the life…

Charlie Sun

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I’ve said it before, you can always tell what holiday is approaching by looking at our house. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or in this case, Halloween…

Halloween House

I joke with Cindy about about all of the work she puts into these decorations (both inside the house and out), but they’re really what makes our “house” a “home”. Someday, when the boys have grown and are on their own or raising families of their own, they’ll look back on these Halloween lights (and all the others) with some nostalgia.

Halloween Door Halloween Window

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Boy

Today I read the announcement from the BSA Board of Directors that they’re expanding the program to allow girls into the Boy Scouts. I’m saddened by this turn of events because I can no longer in good conscience support the scouting program. For me, the BSA is about teaching boys how to be good men. I believe in order to do this, the focus has to be on the boy. I believe adding girls to the program, no matter how well-intentioned, will inevitably result in a change to both the curriculum and the structure.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, says,

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

This is a noble goal and I believe the values described in the Scout Oath and Scout Law” represent worthy attributes to develop in both boys and girls. However, executing on this content at the local level is where I see problems arising.

The Board of Directors say the rationale for the change is,

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.”

Again, this is noble, but the Board of Directors says Cub Scouts Dens will remain single-gender, which means for families with boys and girls, there will still be separate meetings. The boy’s den will have their own activities and the girl’s den will have theirs. They may be working on the same adventures, but maybe not at the same time and they will each have their own activities. And if they’re different ages, they will be working on different adventures entirely. How is this supposed to help make things easier for single-parent households or allow communities to participate in activities as a family (incidentally, the BSA already allows this with family campouts, etc.)? I think the only way to achieve this goal is to make the dens co-ed…and that’s exactly where I think this is going. When this happens the social dynamic changes at the basic level and this is where the BSA will lose its identity.

The Board also claims,

“Recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.”

This is great! However, only 10% of boys in the U.S. are currently involved in Scouts. Instead of opening-up the program to girls, why not focus on the 90% of boys in America that could benefit from the BSA’s character and leadership development programs?

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wherein I’m presented with an interesting perspective…

Me: Adam, would you like something to eat?

Adam: Cereal.

Me: What kind?

Adam: The vampire cereal.

Because “Count Chocula” is “The VAMPIRE cereal.”

The Vampire Cereal

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