Sunday, May 25, 2008
Leaving on a jet plane
We are hopping a plane
very ridiculously early in the morning to Seattle. We are starting our summer a bit early and taking the kids to the big city, to do all the things they can't do here in Wyoming. We'll go to the zoo, the aquarium, the Space Needle, Pike's Market, and of course the big highlights - Ella wants to go see the hospital where she was born, and the house we lived in there. We'll take them on the ferry, and we'll spoil them a little. But of all of that, I think they are most excited to fly in a plane! (This will be his first time, and the first for her that she will remember.)
So I'll be out of the office for a little while. Please leave me a message and I'll get back to you at my next earliest convenience. If you have a chance, stop by and visit my SIL, who is new to the blogosphere. Be sure to tell her I sent you!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Seven year old logic
A conversation over breakfast the other day
me: "Have some applesauce, Ella."
Ella: "I don't like applesauce. I do like Apple Jacks!"
me: "How do you know you like Apple Jacks? I don't buy them for you."
Ella: "Because of the commercial."
Bubblehead: "If you saw a commercial for applesauce that said it was really yummy, then would you eat it?"
Ella: "Because, you can't believe everything you see on TV!"
Monday, May 12, 2008
Deep breaths, happy thoughts...
I've had it. It is mid-spring!!! I am so sick and tired of getting a few days of sunny days and temperatures in the 60s to 70s, only to have it plummet back into the 30s and 40s, interspersed with rain and snow. I have a brand new pair of sandals that I've been able to wear exactly once. Ella said on the way to school last week "It looks like Christmas Eve!" - and it did.
Oh, and while I'm complaining about the weather I might as well mention the wind. Now I know I live in Wyoming, so wind comes with the territory. (see this post - very typical here.) But it really is getting ridiculous. My kids had dirt in the corners of their eyes yesterday because of all the dust blowing around. (I don't know how they can stand to be outside in that wind!) I'm really surprised they have any hair left.
Oh, and guess where we're going on vacation in a few weeks....
The weather may not be any better there, but at least it will be predictable!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
I have posted a couple of times just in passing that I'm working toward the Disney World Half Marathon in January. You have to understand what a feat this really is. You see, at my core I'm ...... well, lazy. If I could sit all day at my computer or reading a book without my house turning into the proverbial pig sty, I would do it. My intentions are great, but my motivation is very low.
But thanks to a very good friend of mine, somehow I am now not only exercising, but learning to enjoy it. I am trimming down, and feeling great. So we are going to Disney World in January and doing the half marathon together. (To be followed by a week in the Magic Kingdom - nice reward for all the hard work!)
We've been walking since September. (I say we. What I mean is me. She is in great shape, works out every day, has a personal trainer. Thank goodness she has that motivation that I lack!) We walk "the loop", which is ABOUT 3.5 miles. Just recently we've started walking it twice, with a little running mixed in. I'm now starting to feel like I will actually be able to do this!
I don't really have a point here, except that I am just so proud of myself. This is the first goal I've had for myself since I can't remember when. Something that is just about me, and not about being a good mother or wife or keeping a good home.
Now my next challenge is to find the time to keep my training going over the summer. (Now I exercise while the kids are in school. That will be going away for a few months. And I will be on my own for the month of June, since my friend is jetting off to Europe.)
There is a local half marathon on July 4th, which we will be walking, with no expectations but to finish it. Imagine - me, excited about exercising!
(Thank you, Suzanne!!)
More updates on this to come...
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Mediocrity reins supreme
My son's preschool is closing. It really is a nice school. It is the only truly academic preschool in our community. Yes there is a handful of other preschools in the area, and many do include some learning, but this is the only one that was completely preschool in nature. It's true - it doesn't work for everyone. His teacher really wanted it to be a school and not a daycare, so her schedule was less flexible, and she only kept the kids for 3 hours a day. I understand that for working parents it just doesn't work.
What really floors me about it is some of the comments she has received over the years. She has had parents (educated, well-traveled parents) pull their kids out of her school because she was teaching them, rather than just letting them play. "Why can't you just watch them?" they would ask her. (I can tell you that those kids got plenty of free time, they played outside every day. Oh, and here is a big shocker for you - even when they were learning, they were having fun!) "I would rather my child be at the bottom of their class than the top." Ummm, hello?
As parents, we are the first teachers in our children's lives. We teach them to eat, and walk, and talk. We (hopefully) teach them respect, and how to dress themselves, and good hygiene. We teach them these things not just because they need to know them. We teach them these things in preparation for a whole lifetime of learning. From the day they are born we are setting them down the path to one day be self-sufficient.
So what are we teaching them by keeping our expectations low? What message are we sending when we don't encourage them to TRY to get along with others. What are we REALLY saying to them when we SAY we want the very best education for them, but aren't willing to lend our own time to make it happen?
Our children will learn more from our actions than from our words.
That's all I'm going to say.
I am very lucky that I got both my kids through this preschool before it closed. As many of you know, and many more will learn, the education system in our country is far from perfect. It addresses the needs of only some students. You will spend every year watching what your child is learning in school, and talking to their teachers about how their needs are being met, and what they can do to better educate them, and what you can do for them at home. You will search out books at the library that will challenge their reading level while still keeping them engaged., You'll do flash cards, and find ways to expand their homework to make the abstract lessons hit home in a real world setting. (I hope you will do these things.) Maybe you will even explore alternative ways to give your child the best education you can. Your children are bound to struggle with something at some point down this road. The very best base you can give them is to love learning. If children could just have the mindset that learning is fun, and an adventure, rather than a chore. It changes their outlook on school for their whole lives.
I was raised to value education. It was always just a given that I would go to college. I understood the value of education, even just for education's sake. College was the most fun I had in all my years of school, and it wasn't because I was involved in activities and going to parties and making lots of friends. (Because I wasn't.) And if I can give my kids one thing it would be this - learning is fun, and it is something that never stops. You will learn every day of your life. Learning doesn't start in school, and it doesn't stop there either. Learn everything you can.
As I am planning our summer activities and scheduling swim lessons and vacations, and wondering how on earth I'm going to get some quality me time when I will have the kids home every single day (yikes!), I'm also thinking about where I can take them, and what can I do with them to keep their little minds wondering, and keep the gears turning. What can I do to make them that much better off when they go back to school and have to share their educator with 15 or 20 other kids? And I'm thinking how lucky I was to have had a preschool available to them when they needed it with a teacher that shared my view on education, and how thankful I am that I'm not one of the parents that are now wondering what they are going to do next fall for preschool.
I am not, nor have I ever proclaimed myself the perfect parent. I am quite flawed, and I'm sure I've screwed my kids up slightly more than the next person. I am not being "high and mighty" with this post. I'm just saying...