Tuesday, September 30, 2008

all in good fun

I don't care who you are, who you're voting for - this video is hilarious. It could have just as easily been an impersonation of Barack Obama (Will Smith would be dead on I bet) and I'd laugh just as hard. I still say I'm not going to go political on a post and make stabs back and forth about what candidate is right for this country in my opinion...... but SNL always has something up their sleeve and I laugh every time I see this !!! Tina Fey is HILARIOUS and Amy Poehler is right on too!

Friday, September 26, 2008


I'm grateful for alot of things in my life, and I'd like to think I show that I'm grateful. Nothing makes you more grateful though when someone you love is in danger and ends up being ok....

Little J was in the ER last night, because I made a mistake in medication. It's a long story, and it's not about me. He's fine, and I'm grateful. I hated myself for putting him through it, and have a really hard time forgiving myself when I make mistakes - especially ones that affect my children.

I'm grateful for having a family that cares so much, and that they're available to us when we need them - whether it be for hugs and comfort in the ER while we wait it out, or whether it be to sleep on our couch so that our oldest can come home and try to get some rest. I'm grateful for the ER nurses and doctor that worked as patiently as possible with me (and with little J). I'm grateful that my 9 year old can comfort me with saying 1 sentence when I'm a mess because I screwed up - "We've brought him to the best place possible, it was the right thing to do, bring him here, they can help him." I'm grateful that this morning, when my little man woke up from a long night, he snuggled up to me in bed and he reached his arms out to me and loved and trusted me just the same as he did yesterday before I made a mistake.

Simply put, I'm grateful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

bits and pieces Wednesday

Just a few bits and pieces of randomness...

  • Left for school this morning, already aware of projected gas shortages and on the hunt to get gas. During our school commute I pass appx. 7-12 gas stations, depending on which route I take (that depends on traffic). I passed each station and they were all empty. Just before I was going to turn around and go home, I saw one station with cars at the pumps. The price per gallon was taken off of the street marque and when I pulled in there were people standing everywhere. I found out that we'd be allowed $20 maximum per vehicle. I waited about 4 cars deep and this took about 30 min or so because they required you to pay inside the store, I was fortunate to arrive early and as I was leaving there were lines 6 and 7 cars deep waiting. Later, I found another station in a nearby town which is right down the street from our house, and I was able to top off my tank. Tonight when going to pick up my work, I noticed 2 gas stations near the Concord Mills area with police officers directing traffic.

  • Frugal find - I posted a 'want' ad on craigslist.com for a gently used sandbox. I quickly received a reply from someone who had the exact one we hoped to find for little J - in brand new condition! There was no way we were paying 70.00 for a plastic sandbox!!! I'm not big on plastic anyway, but I can't see us building any cedar sandbox in the near future in our really crappy yard. So I got it for 25.00!!!! I've been selling off some books on amazon.com and so it didn't really cost a dime. I found play sand for 2.99 a bag for 50# bags! It's fall, and he still has time to enjoy this. We decided to look around for one after the beach, he really enjoyed the sand there!

  • Addition to the frugal find.... during the time I was waiting to meet the lady to pick this up - I decided to adjust the passenger rear seat so that it fit flush against the wall. I drive a funky SUV and the back seats do tricks, you can take them out with a quick tug of a rip cord, or lay them perfectly flat then fold them up to the sides of the vehicle interior walls. This was nec. to load the sandbox. I stopped in an area where I wasn't really familiar, so I thought I'd be safe and lock the drivers door while the car was running and I was in the passenger door working on the seat...dumb me failed to remember that locking the driver door on my car locks all doors. I had locked little J in a running car!! Not funny! Thank heavens I left the passenger window about 2 inches down. I bent my arm, barely making it and reached in to unlock the door. The height of the car made this painful, and as a result I already have a black line running across my arm from a bad bruise. It hurts!! I'm just grateful that I didn't have to worry about him being in there alone and wondering what was going on!

  • We most likely will invest in a book bag on rollers for big E. He comes home with a 10-15# book bag almost daily now..... Here's a photo of him hard at work. The homework assignments take less then 30 minutes total in most all cases, and they're a quick review. It's just that the books are just bulky and heavy. I don't remember that from 5th grade! He opted out of one on wheels this year because last year he never really needed it!
  • Heard back from the lawn JERKS - that's another post all together.... stay tuned.

About Misty

I'm not sure who's clicked the "Misty Rocks" button on my blog... but for those who have... Misty passed away after a brave battle with brain cancer. I did not know Misty, or anyone in her family, outside of reading the blog daily for the past several months. I've come to understand cancer better then I ever planned to in my own family and life. I believe that Darren is a tower of strength. Someone sent me this writing when my brother passed away.... I wanted to post it here, today, while thinking of Misty's family and loved ones who are left behind.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
“Gone where?”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

Monday, September 22, 2008

sticks and stones

It's allergy season big time at our house, all 4 of us are dealing with cough, nose, sneeze symptoms.
Ezra told me that today during recess he was playing and he rubbed his nose... this ensued the 'booger picker' teasing comment from another student in his class.
What did he do? Did he cry? Did he get embarrassed? Boy was I on the edge of my seat ready to hear it....
Wise boy says:

"I went to the teacher and told her those two boys weren't acting very mature. I mean, really, is that the best they can do? I have allergies, so what."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

people watching

....or better put - virtual naturalistic observation. I thought I'd use a big word, it makes me sound super intelligent adds flare. Recently I began to wonder "are we normal for parents our age?". We have our own story, our own funky chain of events that landed us right here where we are with two boys and each other. I wanted to figure out, is it really such a odd thing that we don't go on dates w/o kids now? I do have friends who are fortunate enough to have family very close by (some even next door!) and this is where the line gets drawn in the sand. Family doesn't count as a babysitter, both people then get to enjoy something special - time with the ones they love, their family. So that's not where I'm going with this post. I'm talking about having, on a somewhat regular basis, nights out on the town, etc.

I receive lots of quizzes by forwarded email and often a question will be "what was the last movie you saw?" and I think that this is most likely questioning what movie you last saw in a theatre. My answer it was "haven't seen one in 2 years" up until Wall-E came out and we took our youngest along for his very first theatre experience - and it went without a hitch. As for watching movies, we generally wait until the kids are in bed and on weekends we have movie nights together. I like it because I can veg out in my PJ's w/o having to hear some gross person chew on popcorn behind me without closing their mouths, not to mention pause option for bathroom breaks!

I don't have a plethora of friends. I have been fortunate to find a few really good, trustworthy friends. So I did a study of sorts on my friends, the ones w/ children. I will leave their names as their initials only, and anyone who knows me will figure out who they are. This is my general working hypothesis:
  • Friends J and R have two children - both under 4 years old. J&R live about 20 min from me and we I see J on average 1-3 times a month, but we talk daily. J&R are a happy couple with happy kids, and until kid #1 began a 3 hour per day MMO program he'd never been left with anyone other then family, and that was a rarity as "family" lives in another state. So the "babysitting" was/is obsolete, and at this point with 2 kids, still is. J is a SAHM and to my knowledge, her youngest has only been "watched" by me and possibly one other really great friend (tooting my own horn there - HA) on an occasion in which she had to go to her "girl doctor". Otherwise, J&R are alot like us, planning adult gatherings at home and having grownups over for bbq's and fun while the kids are home! As for "movies" J&R have built themselves a quite nifty home theatre room - and I must say, I'm quite envious!! So my final take on J&R (same age group as us) - they do enjoy some time kidfree nights "out" but these are individual outings (possibly every other month), where the other parent stays home to give a girls night or guys night out (night being a few hours - and almost always AFTER the kids are in bed). Otherwise, their movie nights or "dates" are much like ours - at home and completely enjoyable just the same.

  • Friends S&T have one child, under 3. Until recently, S was a SAH mom. There's a special circumstance that sent S back to work. In either case, S&T (to my knowledge) have gone out possibly 2 times w/o child for "dates" since their child was born (maybe only one, I can't remember exactly). Both of those times, to my knowledge, the keepers of the child were immediate family and the time away was for dinner and that's it. They, like us, plan their "grownup" time for AFTER their child goes to bed. They often enjoy a movie together, or just sitting outside and talking - sometimes they even play cards! We've had them over for a bbq at our house - all kids included.

  • Friends J&D have 3 children one teenager and two under the age of 3, and often up to 5 children. There's a situation at J&D's house where their oldest child is friends with 2 kids whose parents are either drug abusers or are in general unavailable parents. So it turns out that J&D leave their house an open door to these kids. J&D have gone out 2 times in the past 2 years for dinner without kids. Both of these times, they only went 10 minutes away from home, and the keeper of their kids was grandma along with the older sibling of the younger children. J is a SAH mom, D works crazy shifts - and they see each other in passing for weeks on end sometimes. However, they still are capable of maintaining a terrific family life for these kids, making time for each other AFTER the kids go to bed as well as making sure that the kids spend time as a family unit when D's work schedule accommodates it. Movie night at J&D's house means piling up on one bed and hanging out together - and usually they end up falling asleep at that!

  • Husband's close friend P is a SAH/WFH dad, I can't remember wifes name to save my life and I see P more then her. P's "guys night out" is ALWAYS after the kids are in bed, and from what I've observed almost always ends up being a guys night out at our house for a UFC fight night. This is the same for husband's close friends N, C and K. All dads who take the occasional 1 time every other month outing to our house for UFC fight night, all occurs after the kids are in bed - otherwise, they're quite family involved and seem to be very happy in their family/marriages.

This trend found in observing makes me feel a little normal. As we do the same as these parents and take individual time out for guys or girls nights while the other parent is at home w/ the kids. I haven't yet made friends with any of the parents who hire babysitters to go out on a regular basis. I have 3 sets of neighbors that I speak with often, all with 2 or more kids, and none of them go "out". 2 of the 3 are SAH/WFH parents, who homeschool. So what I conclude, in my tiny little observation deck at home, is that there is a widespread group of people out there who actually do enjoy the idea of having kids and raising them - themselves. I don't see it as a sacrifice, or even as a selfless act - I see it as parenting 101, and after talking to several of the women I mentioned above, so do they. Maybe it looks like I pick my friends based on similarities, but 3 out of 7 of these people mentioned were our (or my) friends before kids.

We've never felt like we should keep up with the Jones's. We are proud to be the parents of two wonderful boys, raising them "up as they should go", watching them grow every day. We don't feel like we've lost "who we are" because we don't go out at night, we feel like we've been enriched with this family of ours and have more to do because of it. WE wouldn't change a thing, we have never had a discussion of needing a break from our lives w/ kids. We have children, they have us, and that's how it is in this funky little place we call home.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

family time

We spent the afternoon at a nearby spot that has a lot to enjoy. Only 5 minutes from home!!Water, paddle boats, ducks, swans, geese, cranes, willow trees, a fun park, and lots of nice area to walk with many water fountains! We had such a nice time, it was so beautiful outside!!

**Update on the "lawn experts" - we received a nice little letter from our HOA today. Yep. We're on the bad yard list now. Our yard isn't within "code". I forwarded this to the flunkies "company" that screwed our yard up did our recent aeration and seeding.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

lawn experts part 2

About that mudslinging yard of ours...

I sent the company (yes, an actual business did this) an email and made one phone call. My phone call preceded my email, and in that phone call I was belittled, and treated like an ignorant uneducated fool. It didn't go over well with me. I was told that 'in the future we'll make sure we notate your account of your sensitivity to the yard being aerated on such a soft(meaning just rained for an entire day)turf. Here's a snipit from the email I sent - I address how he commented on my past experiences w/ aeration, because every year since we've lived here it's been done by someone else, and evidentally we've never had the job done "right".

The remark that ‘obviously we’ve not had it done right’ came across quite snide and degrading as if I’m not aware that aeration is plugging and digging in my yard. If you google "what to expect after aeration" you'll get 67,900 answers. From the over 20 I read, each and every one says, "Immediately after aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, these plugs of thatch and soil break apart and disappear into the lawn." It does NOT say you'll see tire marks across your lawn, sidewalk and driveway and mud smeared all over your entire property.

I am expecting an immediate response from your company, apologizing for wasting my time and destroying my property. For your poor service and business practices, I also would expect a considerable credit toward this service, if not a full one. If this matter is not resolved professionally and in a timely manner, it will be reported to the Better Business Bureau. I do not want anyone from your company returning to my property to speak with me without calling first.

There's most of it, I left out the amount (hideous) I'm being requested to pay and how I can't get my head around how this is supposed to be 'high quality service'. I came home today after running errands and there was a solicitor in the n'hood, so I quickly posted my 'do not solicit here, Thanks!' sign on my door and started putting our groceries away and within 2 minutes I hear a knock at the door. My living room drapes were open, and little J was playing right there in front of the window... it was this company!! I thought I had asked for a courtesy call. I didn't answer the door, he walked around in my yard leisurely and left me a note that says "the aeration is a good job, however I would have preferred that they be more careful with the tractor, we'll work this out with you." THE TRACTOR!!!! In my less then .5 acre yard!!

I received a phone call within 10 minutes, and I was on the phone with Jonathon when they called so it went to v/mail. The man that came out wanted to 'see the yard for himself', I suppose the photos shocked him. It IS shocking. He said he understood my apprehension to answer the door, and only knocked as a courtesy to let me know he was there. His plans are to have the company reimburse us for having the drive way cleared of red smeared clay OR to have his employees come back to try to do it themselves. I'm thinking we'll likely handle it ourselves with a pressure washer. I'm still not happy with my yard, but it's not like they can come out here and wash the grass of the red mud streaks..... can they???

he shall have his cake...


About that cake..... I sent a short email that basically said we do not agree w/ using food as a disciplinary tool even though cake isn't on the food pyramid - our child is generally responsible in all of his food choices and he is going on a family agreement to buy a dessert only 1 time a week. With that said, and the fact that they served him icecream AFTER denying him the cake he bought with his money, we just don't see where the learning experience is for his mistake of not getting his homework sheet signed. (how does cake relate to homework - period?) Anyway, the teacher called, apologized and said its just "something we've always done when kids don't get their work done, we just tell them they can't get dessert".

I am disappointed in the school system, for several reasons, this time because they've taken control of food choices now - a basic need. Lunch is one of the very few parts of a childs day that they can't be 'wrong' about things... you can't pass/fail at lunch, and for some kids (like ours) this is important to have. A part of the day that is NOT pass/fail activity. If they don't want kids to have the privilege of having a dessert treat - then why serve it at all? There has to be a line in the sand. The teacher agreed that this would not be a problem again, and couldn't apologize more. SO - after a phone call from the teacher (that came appx 1 hour AFTER lunch that day) my child gets in the car to tell me that because he forgot to do 1 of his math assignments at night (he writes them down for himself, he failed to write it down at school) he couldn't order FRUIT. I wanted to ram my head into a brick wall. I had to say to myself, "I talked to her AFTER this happened..... this is no longer an issue."

Jonathon and I were talking about this more, because to be honest we're both baffled at the idea that the educational system has come to this. Taking even fruit away as a way to say 'I'll show you, you should do your homework or else.' What a way to encourage closet junk food junkie syndrome? What a way to encourage the "I have been bad at what I do, so I must deprive myself" eating disorders.... Further, we are quite disturbed that we may very well be the ONLY parents concerned about this!!!
**thanks Julie for the chicken recipies.... everyone else - seriously? you don't eat chicken??? send them on, I need to get some variety with our chicken!!

crayon muffins

I plan to try this, maybe this weekend..... I love the idea!! Anyone tried this before???? I'll take a photo of our crayon creations when we get done!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

creative H20

We are doing art time daily, and today we used the Aqua doodle mat and a bowl of water along with a basting brush (how resourceful is that?HA) or hands and fingers! A Montessori teacher recently told me "a lot of the resources you need to teach a toddler are right under your nose at home, just be resourceful and think outside of the box".

You can tell by the look on his face he LOVES this! Toddler sized handprints all over!

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again. ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

Lawn Experts

We've lived here 5 years and each year we aerate and seed. This hasn't seemed to help, we have erosion, run off, and just in general - crappy environment for grass growing. I've joked with the neighbors (they have similar problems) about how hard it is to even grow dirt around here. What seems to be the problem is we live on top of a red clay mountain, this mixed with basketball sized rocks buried in the ground.

We decided this year we wanted soft, pretty grass - or at least a little better then we have. Yes, there are bigger issues at hand and YES there are other things we could focus on, and YES this is about GRASS. But this is about US, our kids play in the yard. We've been driving toward being outdoors more then indoors - even giving the go ahead to our toddler to play as much as he wants in the rain as long as it's not freezing cold, or thundering and lightening. Do I care that he's muddy and wet? Nope! He's only a kid once!! We just make sure he's not in his best clothes or shoes.

So I researched, and hired a company who's motto should indicate that they do a spectacular job. Their online feedback comments were terrific and I even polled a local mom's web forum to ask other moms if they'd used them and received only positive feed back (though not alot of comments) and I went with that. I talked with the company, they assured me that the grass would be fuller, and healthier. They even explained to me that we currently had 3 different types of grass growing on our lawn, and the 3 we have aren't the 'best' we could have in this area... So I was sold (not an easy thing to do) on the promotional speech, I bought the package. It was a pricey aeration and seed/feed visit, and then 3 'treatments' for weed/feed and 'greening' the lawn. This included insect control and and fire ant treatment, which we desperately needed - at the time of their initial visit we had about 14 mounds in the yard. After losing my brother to anaphylaxis from a fire ant bite, I'm pretty sure about not having them in our yard if we can help it.

Long story short - these photos sum up what happened to my yard. I received a call on Tuesday to confirm my aerate and seed (Tuesday it rained ALOT here and I had water standing in the yard) and I asked "are you sure this is a good time to do this?".... I was assured it was the BEST possible conditions for this to be done...... anyone care to give me their opinion of our outcome?? I'll post more on this as it happens... right now we're disgusted.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mud puddle bribery

We grilled out in the lightly drizzling rain tonight, and while big J was grilling little J played in our natural moat, splashing around and having a blast. After about 20 minutes and the chicken being done (see post below, I need some new ideas with chicken), we thought it would be fun to video our attempt of getting little J inside. We usually have fun and ask silly questions, he always answer's "no" and then laughs because he knows we think it's cute. Tonight we were surprised, and I'm SO glad we got it on video!! It's almost America's Funniest Videos worthy in my opinion!
Volume is needed for this one.... and just in case you can't hear big J's questions, he asked...
Do you want to go eat now?
Do you want to go get a snack?
Do you want to eat now?
Do you want a million dollars?
Do you want to kiss a girl??? (pay close attention here)

boring chicken

I'm on a quest to have as many possibilities as I can with boneless skinless chicken breast... please junk up my comment box with your suggestions!!! We're limited to chicken and fish most of our meals, and I want more options on preparing chicken.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I went blank

A friend called us this weekend concerned, having just had an allergic reaction. His description of the onset was eerily almost identical to the description my brother gave me when he had his first. I'm hoping and praying that our friend doesn't have to deal with this strange monster.

I had my first anaphalactic reaction about 5 years earlier then Mike, and I just knew that he had a severe allergic reaction and told him how similar his symptoms were to my own - but that particular occasion, the ER doctors diagnosed him w/ severe dehydration. It was reaction #2 that confirmed that he had anaphalaxis. Knowing the first episode was anaphalaxis wouldn't have saved him; it's a increasingly more dangerous situation with each reaction. Even feeling sure of myself in knowing that he was up against something bigger then him with this medical condition, and it's completely random onset, I sit and wonder about the 'what if's' way too often...

This phone call brought emotions to the surface, I even excused myself from company for a moment to catch my breath because I went blank, I couldn't think straight when I ran through the events that led up to my brother's death. I miss my brother so much, there are days that it hits me like a car slamming into a brick wall at full speed - and it hurts so deeply at times that I can't talk to him, it literally takes my breath away.

frugal on toys

Remember seeing these pics of our little man at his class?? He loves to slide! I ran across a deal this weekend, and grabbed one of those slides for $20.00! It sells new for 80.00! The one found is in like new condition, and was only used for 1 summer in a backyard full of shade trees - so no fading at all!! We figure 20 bucks for a bit of fun is well worth it... Even though it's totally too small for big E, he still was a good sport and showed little J he'd play with him on it. HA.

The weekend was calm, as the gas stations around us all began to run out of gas on Friday mid-day. We spent most of the weekend at home and had Meme and Papaw over for dinner Saturday night. The only venturing out was locally for a bite to eat for lunch today and a few close errands; it's amazing how quickly the fuel supply was wiped out around here. Our last update on our family in Texas is that they're safe and sound. They lived outside of the major disaster area, thankfully.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

another check mark ....

.... for the homeschool option.

Let me start by saying that we have circumstances w/ our child that prevent us from just saying 'ok' to any school, putting it gently and respectfully - our oldest fairs better in a smaller group setting. His IQ is in the 'well above average' range, he read on a 9th grade level (he is in 5th grade, and the is youngest in his peergroup), and is 1 grade ahead of his peers in many areas of math. However, when it comes to social maturity and social behaviors, he's a little behind the curve and performs at his grade level (socially) as long as he's in a smaller group. Because of this, we take into consideration how large the public school system classrooms have become. Most of the classrooms in our local AND private schools are 25+ students per class with one teacher, and a part time assistant. We hand picked the school he attends and it's an IB school that offers a classroom opportunity to him that many other schools in the system do not, he has a peer group of 10 on average in his classroom, the cultural mix is almost 50/50, the school scores are higher then our other school options, the school is in a community setting (literally in the center of a large neighborhood) and has the atmosphere of school when I went.... downside, it's 17 miles from our home and with the city traffic that's 30-45 min one way on any given day and 25 min at the very best.

The commute alone puts a check mark on the 'pros' of homeschooling, along with the rising gas prices! But we're not weighing our decision lightly, with the sensitive situation with our oldest in general, we are making a very thought out decision for his educational needs....today, I'm completely frustrated with what happened Friday and some force of nature held me back from turning my car around and possibly embarrassing myself and my children. If you've ever read Love and Logic Parenting then you're going to understand our decisions in homework recently. We have had major problems in the past with accountability and responsibility, even on the smallest levels, with our oldest and as a result we've had to re-train ourselves to make sure we're holding him accountable. The best concept in the LL books in my opinion is that when a child is small, the price tag for mistakes is much smaller then those of older children/teens/adults. Love allows children to grow through their mistakes, logic happens when we allow them to live with the consequences of their choices.

So... on to the choice he made. He's given a small homework assignment each day (30-45 min max) and with that, he's to write down in his agenda what assignment he did and then have us sign it to acknowledge that he did his work. The key in this is that he is supposed to remember to do this! School's been in for roughly 3 weeks now, and each day for the first two weeks I said the same thing over and over (Jonathon even got frustrated with hearing it) "each night before bed I expect your agenda to be on the counter for our review, along with any homework that needs signing". Each day for those two weeks, I caught myself using that quote as a way of reminding and rescuing him - old habits die hard. So this past week on Sunday I cut that off, as parents we agreed to stop it all together, because what was happening was we were being trained to remind him and the results are not that he becomes responsible, they're that he becomes co-dependant! Sunday we said to him "we've bought a special tray for things to be signed and it's on the bar, every night before you go to bed anything that needs signed needs to go there, otherwise it will not get signed." Sunday night went fine, he got us to sign (weekend reading assignment) because of that speech. Monday night, not so well. Tuesday morning in the car he frantically remembers that I haven't signed, and blames me. I asked him if he put it in the tray for signing? Once I asked this he became frustrated, but accountable. I did not sign the paper in the car, that wouldn't have helped him be responsible at night! I'm not being difficult, we made the decision of when papers were to be signed as a group - him included. We're holding him to that, with the exception of a true emergency - things are to be put on the bar for signing before bed. Tues night and Wed night he remembered just fine but Thurs night he slipped up again and didn't get it signed as well as didn't complete one of his writing assignments. We knew he didn't complete it, and it wasn't for a lack of time - he bolted out of the dining room insisting he was 'all done' and wanted to go play.... in checking that evening after he went to bed I discovered he didn't complete his assignments. We give him an opportunity (time) to do his work, if he chooses not to use that opportunity wisely, then he has natural consequences.

Fast forward to Friday (this could turn into the longest post I've ever written, sorry - I'm frustrated!), he gets to school w/o his signed agenda and with a half-done homework assignment. Fridays are special, because we give him and extra dollar to buy himself a sweet treat. He makes terrific food choices all week, eats things most teachers won't eat (spinach, greens, etc) at school, and as a weekly treat we let him buy cake or a cookie on Friday. He looks forward to this like I look forward to Starbucks. So he goes in the lunch line, buys his lunch and a slice of pound cake and sits to eat.... when his teacher comes over to tell him he 'cant have cake today' because of his not doing his homework. WHAT?????? We pay for lunch!!! We do not believe in using basic needs as a tool of discipline. Basic needs are a given. True, cake isn't a basic need - but the lunch process is, the choice making for lunch is his and we trust him with that responsibility. I wonder, had I packed his lunch and included a brownie or cookie, would he have been denied that? I pay, my choice - that's how I see it. Secondly, Fridays are 'fun Fridays' in the class for those kids who have accumulated enough 'points' to earn a 30 min break from the regular routine and enjoy a short educational film or activity outside the norm. What was Friday's activity?? MAKING ICECREAM SUNDAY'S!! He had enough points to earn it, and got himself an icecream Sunday. I wonder if the teacher realizes her cake removal process was redundant, as she says "you can't have cake right now, but you can have icecream later" - where's the learning opportunity??

I'm so frustrated right now. We've implemented a system of logical consequences at home, setting limits and allowing mistakes to become a learning opportunity in order to reinforce responsibility. He knows I'm frustrated with his teacher, he could tell by the 'OMG' look on my face when he told me.... further, he told me that he gave his cake to a teacher!! I hate to start cake wars, so I'm really soul searching on how to handle this with tons of tact and not come across like a 'you took my kids cake' type of parent. I do feel this one is worthy of my stepping in, and don't feel it's a helicopter rescue move (from the book)...I'm setting up an email and I'll probably re-type it 10 times over. I'm in 100% agreement that there should have been a consequence, and I'm not even going to give suggestions or opinion in what they should be, that's her job - I will address that we allow our child to chose his food as a responsibility and we aren't in agreement with using food as a discipline measure... even though cake isn't on the food pyramid - he buys it 1 time a week and that's our family agreement! He got to choose the day of the week he wanted a sweet treat, and he chose Friday! Anyone have suggestions???

Friday, September 12, 2008

quick post

  • We have family in Texas, and because of that we're even more interested in watching how this storm plays out.... We're hoping for the best possible scenario in this catastrophic storm.

  • I watched gas prices go up 50¢ during one round trip of commuting to school this morning. I drove past the station on my way out, and it was 3.69 - on my way back home, same station was 4.19. Lines are out to the roads, and many places are completely out of gas. Interestingly enough a friend sent me this link today.... great timing, eh?

  • I'm not going to make a political speech here, or even promote my choice in this race... I will say that I'm a little done with the 'lipstick' wars and more interested in getting to know how the real issues would be handled by either party if they're elected to be president. Right now, it seems that there's a highschool feud going on - and it's disappointing that during a tragic, deadly storm - that we're still seeing highlights of the 'lipstick' crap on TV. Let's move on people... we're wasting precious airtime. Personally I think both parties should be smart enough at this point in the game to understand that some bullying, teasing, and off the cuff remarks are expected.

  • I got my photo book in, I mentioned that here. I'm happy with the book itself, the photos printed nicely and the text/font is dark and a nice size to read. I'm NOT so happy with the delivery/carrier - it arrived in a bent, crushed and partially opened package. The book is a hardback w/ a linen blue cover and would be absolutely great if it weren't bent on the corner!! I do plan to order a few more, even though the software left a little to be desired, it was easy to use overall.

  • One final thing to share.... as I was posting this, CNN was showing video footage of Ike coverage in Galveston TX - I couldn't help but giggle when I saw this photo. At least during all of this disaster, this person found a little humor still...

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    a "lesson" in cleanliness

    I've mentioned it before but here I go again, we're on a mission to determine what is best for our family with school. In that quest we're weighing our options of homeschooling heavily. We've sortof been doing a 'pros v/s cons' everytime we re-evaluate our childrens' individual needs. That being said, there's been alot of emotion put into this, alot of thought, nights of no sleep for me personally... I research, I read, but most of all I try to go on my instinct. I've found several homeschool groups locally, and I'm figuring out what goes on around here! We're not pleased with our local school options in general, and even private schools have a list of 'cons' for us. When an article comes along like this one, I put a big FAT check mark beside 'PRO'S' and add to my reasons to homeschool.

    Article from Ace&TJ (my fav. radio talk show locally)

    Do you ever wonder how some people are able to rise to certain positions of power . . . even though they clearly don't have the necessary skills for the job? Here's what I'm talking about . . .
    On Monday, the principal of Peyton Elementary School in Peyton, Colorado. . . a guy named Michael Auclaire . . . made students handle a bag of human feces . . . in order to teach them a lesson on CLEANLINESS.
    Apparently, the bathroom used by the fourth and fifth-grade girls was constantly a mess . . . and Michael and the janitorial staff were sick of cleaning up after the little brats.
    So to teach them a lesson, Michael collected a bunch of feces and urine in a bag . . . and forced students to put on a glove and look inside the bag.
    According to Michael, the intention was to get the kids to understand that it's inappropriate to defecate on the floor or toilet seat . . . but he now realizes that having students handle a bag of waste was "not the best thing to do.” (Gazette)

    I'm wondering how this managed to become SUCH an issue that this extreme measure was taken... I'm also wondering how this principle would feel if their kid was exposed to someone else's pee or poo?? Why didn't they (the grownups, teachers, admin) step in and fix the problem before it came to this? Another article published by the Gazette documents that the principal is apologizing to the students and parents, and further said that they plan to monitor the bathrooms more closely now.... lightbulb - that should have been step #1.

    not forgotten

    A very dear friend of mine in S.C. has posted a memory of her whereabouts on 9/11. You can read it here; she worked for an airline at the time and had quite a lot to handle during such a tragic time, not to mention that she lost a cousin in this attack.

    I'm spending time today thinking about the families who are alive, who are thinking about their loved ones who aren't.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    green with frugalness

    Random stuff.....

    • I buy Luvs brand diapers for our toddler - we started with Pampers swaddlers when he was a newborn, then while I was buying Stage 1 Pampers another mom gave me the tip off that Luvs are made by the same company as Pampers and I should consider giving them a try. I did, and they worked out great for us, so we've just used them exclusively. I find coupons in the weekly paper for Luvs often - usually $1.00 off (this past week had them).... you can go online and print a coupon here once you register for the welcome pack. Target is selling the Family Pack of Luvs (box) for 15.00 ea AND you get a $5.00 gift card (until September 13th) for the purchase of two. So in my opinion, if I have to have them anyway, it's much better to have them cheaper and get a gift card to boot! Just for frugalness.....that comes to around .12¢ per diaper. Hey - while were buying them, we like to save on them ;)!

    • I came across two green tips for household cleaning and I thought I'd share them. Green Daily posted a Borax article recently, and it included a link to 2 other helpful sources... This one for uses for Borax and this one for Safe Alternatives in household cleaning. I've been making alot of my own household cleaners lately, and this was a great little bit of info! After reading several articles recently about Fire Retardants - it has me thinking about things in general... things that are on my floor, things that my kids are exposed too. So, to hop back on my tree hugging freakbox - I am doing what I can to change our house. It gives ME peace of mind.

    • Lastly - a frugal friend of mine sent me a nifty link to a Free 24 Page photobook - although, you do pay shipping - $5. The software is slow, and I did have to restart the program several times and even thought I'd lost my creation a few times. This isn't one for the impatient, unless you're ok with the 'autofill' on the photos. The freebie is still posted and not marked 'expired' - I'd say it's worth it for anyone who wants to make a photo book. I was able to cram about 80 pictures in mine, along with some text. I ended up making a vacation trip memory book! I have noticed by comments on the forum that the majority of those who've begun receiving theirs are very pleased. I received my confirmation email today that mine was shipped! I'm waiting patiently - I certainly can't print 80 pictures for $5!

    green it up with frugal

    I came across two green tips for household cleaning and I thought I'd share them. Green Daily posted a Borax article recently, and it included a link to 2 other helpful sources... This one for uses for Borax and this one for Safe Alternatives in household cleaning. I've been making alot of my own household cleaners lately, and this was a great little bit of info! After reading several articles recently about Fire Retardants - it has me thinking about things in general... things that are on my floor, things that my kids are exposed too. So, to hop back on my tree hugging freakbox - I am doing what I can to change our house. It gives ME peace of mind.

    green it up with frugal

    I came across two green tips for household cleaning and I thought I'd share them. Green Daily posted a Borax article recently, and it included a link to 2 other helpful sources... This one for uses for Borax and this one for Safe Alternatives in household cleaning. I've been making alot of my own household cleaners lately, and this was a great little bit of info! After reading several articles recently about Fire Retardants - it has me thinking about things in general... things that are on my floor, things that my kids are exposed too. So, to hop back on my tree hugging freakbox - I am doing what I can to change our house. It gives ME peace of mind.

    Monday, September 8, 2008

    curiosity and chemicals


    Ezra's chore today was to empty all trash, and while emptying all trash he came across the small wrappers of my feminine hygiene products. Inevitable, this is bound to happen. Especially with the snazzy packaging designs. I mean, all mommies/women/girls run across the daunting monthly task of using and disposing of these creatively designed products. Right? I'm not going to make this an uncomfortable post(men would not like the ewww-gross factor if I elaborated), although it seems that I have no modesty, I threw that out the window during my pregnancy somewhere between pelvic exams and the 3rd trimester sneeze peeing... if you've been pregnant then chances are you've been there.

    Anyway, back to the curiosity, Ezra comes up and asks 'what are these little green wrappers you keep throwing away?' in a very curious tone, almost as if he feels left out. I simply replied that it was not of his concern, and to please quit inspecting trash. I couldn't help but chuckle as he walked around the corner, because he seemed as if he thought I might be sneaking up to the bathroom to have snacks or chocolate. What gets me is that the branding, and the packaging has changed to become more 'trendy' looking - how is that any more pleasant? Does it make me feel better each month to say - whew, at least the wrapper is cute and green? No. And further, my 9 year old evidently thinks it's a candy wrapper, so I can't wait until my 2 yo grabs a hold of one from my bag and starts launching them like rockets.


    I can't get my head around this, how it is that the makers of all of these chemicals didn't think past the main objective. Why isn't product testing more intense? Doesn't it make sense that if cancer, disease, and behavioral concerns could be directly related to chemical exposure that it should become top priority to eliminate it? The very laptop I'm writing this post from is likely emitting a PBDE. I blogged in the past about different chemicals in shampoos, toothpaste, etc., and how we're trying our best at home to change within our budget in order to buy organic, perfume free, and chemical free products. It's pretty insane how many baby products contain Quaternium at high rates, it's also pretty interesting how many products I found with triclosan in them. I know we're not saving the world in our house by making a few changes, I know alot of eyes roll when I say 'we buy 75% organic' and that is even evolving toward clothing, and other products outside of food... but what I know is that it makes me feel better about my children and their exposure to chemicals. I realize not everyone agrees, and that doesn't bother me - I'm ok with making choices like that and dealing with the eye rolling. I just read alot, probably too much, and what I read doesn't make me too happy lately when it comes to chemical exposure. I also realize that I have lived my life exposed to most of this, and that it's been good enough for me, but I just sleep better at night knowing I'm doing what I feel is right for me and my family. I can't change genetics, but I can check a label for a chemical - in most cases I've ran across there's a 10-20 cent difference in an alternative product, and many times no price difference at all. According to this article, there are some very simple steps to take in order to 'go green' in a simple way. This is all we've done, with the exception of #7 (hopefully at Christmas I can afford to change this too!) - we're doing what I like to call 'simple green' living as much as possible, and it doesn't really bother the budget. It definitely eases my mind just a bit. I'm off my 'tree hugger' freak rant now. Goodnight to all!!

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    over the weekend...

    Nothing major this weekend. We relaxed, enjoyed some time by the lake at our favorite park, and enjoyed outdoor time since it was so nice!
    Above: After cleaning out my container gardens, I decided to let little J play in the soil. After doing this for one afternoon, it's now become a daily fun activity. We're on the hunt for a sandbox now!

    How to create "trouble"....

    • First - get a truck or rolling toy of some sort (train or car works)
    • Second - find dirt... if no dirt is available, pile blocks, boxes, or objects in general
    • Third - ram the truck/car/train through the dirt....
    • Fourth - repeat - over and over and over

    little J says to mommy: "Oh no, mommy, the truck has trouble!"

    changing bits & pieces

    Why the new blog? I decided I am going to make a few privacy changes within the blog content. I made a request on the blog for a couple of hits that I kept getting, and never received a reply. This way I can moderate who see's what I consider an intimate look into our lives. I guess I'm a little particular about who has an open invitation and realized I needed to make a few simple changes that I didn't think about 3 years ago! So save the new blog address to your favorites/feeds and I'll continue to bore you to death with my random posts! I'll delete the other blog address in a few weeks. So don't forget to change it!!
    Why the strange title? Well - that's our life. The play on words is only because I only wanted to feel a 'little' tacky..... Mostly Assbackwards wouldn't really seem so lady like - now would it?? HA!

    Saturday, September 6, 2008

    some changes coming this way soon

    Soon I'll be changing a few things.... I've decided to re-vamp the blog a bit and make it a little less detailed by way of names. SO - for that reason you'll soon (in the next few days) be automatically redirected to the new blog. Please save the NEW link as your feed (if you read it regularly that is) as I will be removing this blog within 1-2 months of the new address being redirected.
    I haven't posted anything in a few days because this has been on my mind - we have a few really great reasons to make sure privacy is kept private :) - no offense to anyone, but we know that random people can read about our lives and there are a few minor tweaks I wanted to make in order to protect the little ones...
    So, yes, I'll still be boring you to death with my random mindless babble blogging just like always, and you'll not have to do anything but save the NEW address once you're redirected.....any ?'s just email me. I should have that redirect link working once I get the rest of the new blog settings finished in the next few days.

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    all aboard!

    We took off to the NC Transportation Museum today; it was Ezra's 2nd visit and Jesse's first 'real' train ride! The day was absolutely perfect for outdoor fun; we took a 25 min train ride around the museum, stopping at the round-house for drop off and exploring historical facts. We were able to see many dated engines, cars, and other parts of the museums history. It was as much fun for us as it was for the kids!

    Sidenote - I've been noticing a few interesting location hits on the blog and wondering who the readers are.... who's in Greenville NC? Who's in Walstenburg, NC?? I'm curious and have some family/friends in Eastern NC... I'm trying to keep up with you too!! I don't broadcast the blog to the world - so I know it's family/friends most likely ;). I'd love to hear from you!!!