January 31, 2011

New Chore Charts

My old system for the boys chores was working great.
I actually loved it.
But I just felt like mixing it up a bit.
So we're giving this a try for awhile.
I printed out and laminated a personalized checklist for each of us.
The top section lists the things each of us needs to do daily.
On the boys cards,
the bottom section is a list of ten House Help jobs--
one for each week day over a two week period.
Basically, the idea is that in the morning,
after they finish the top section,
I choose a House Help job from their list.
We mark it off.
By the end of the two weeks
they've done all the jobs once.
But that does mean that I put empty the dishwasher on there twice
because that needs to be done a lot more than once a week.
On my card,
I listed the cleaning jobs that I need to do weekly and bi-weekly.
So I can have the satisfaction of checking a box when I do the laundry
and help to prevent myself from skipping the showers.

A Little CCR

Without fail,
this is Kacin's response
every time CCR's song comes on in the car
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?,
K: "Yes!! I have seen the rain.
A LOT of it."

January 29, 2011

Unless it Had Been a Blind Dancing Llama with a Mullet

The afternoon couldn't have been stranger.
When we got home,
Eric shook his head in bewilderment.
We intended to find Kyler some new shoes
and then hike a nearby trail.
We stepped into the mall to check out a shoe store.
A stage was set up at the center of the mall
and a local performance studio was putting on a show.
When we walked by we were quite intrigued.
A man was singing a show tune, and he appeared to be blind.
He was blind.
He was really good.
And like fish in a river,
we were lured in.
We saw ballet dancers and singers.
We eventually managed to pull ourselves away for a few minutes,
quickly found Kyler some shoes,
and went right back to the show.
This time we found a bench in a perfect viewing area.
We watched a skit, break dancers, tap dancers, and more.
Eric was highly entertained by the young breakdancer with the mullet.
I think it was the mullet more than the dancing that did it for him.
The boys gave their full attention to all the performers.
Two hours later
we got up from that bench.
"I guess we're not going hiking," someone said.
We got in the car and started to drive
through the parking lot toward the street.
In front of Sears,
a man was walking his dog.
What a nice day to walk your pet.
We turned the corner.
A man and women were walking their pet Llama's.
Who takes their Llamas on a walk around the mall??
Wait, who has llamas??

With visions of performers
and llamas
dancing in our heads,
we got home,
grabbed some headbands,
and put on our own little show
with Eric acting as audience.
There was couch flipping, singing,
and dancing around the room.
If only we had our own stage . . .
Random afternoon?
I think so.

January 22, 2011

Lund's Gulch

A picture overload
from our hike this afternoon.
I think this is by far our favorite shorter trail yet--
A 2.5 mile round trip with lots to see and explore!

In a Vase

Flowers from my E
on MLK day.
How many wives can say they got flowers from their husbands
on MLK day?
Thanks my sweet Eric!

This probably means
I won't get any on Valentine's Day now,
doesn't it?

January 19, 2011

Frustrated Me

I try to be supportive of public education, since I worked in public education.
I try to go into my children's classrooms with open minds.
I don't go in there to spy or search for fault.
But I feel so frustrated sending my son away to school--
a supposedly safe place of learning--
when so many frustrating things are happening.

I generally say don't complain, just do something about it.
But I've tried
and so far nothing's changed.

I see
*Teachers teaching curriculum, and not people. You are not hired to teach your reading program, you are hired to teach kids to be readers. If they are ready to learn and use strategies and skills that are "more than one grade level ahead of curriculum", than by golly why can't they?
*Teachers shaming kids in order to get them to behave, i.e. name on board, "everyone point to the person who is talking", "You are such a naughty kid today."  For serious, I saw and heard all that.
*Teachers speaking in the Third Person. Do you know how hard it is to get your children to speak correctly when they hear things like "Mrs. ___ (refers to self) told Brandon (who she is looking in the eyes and talking to) to get out his book." "Go put it on Mrs. ___'s table." "Mrs. ____ said to line up." all day at school. From someone who is supposed to be instructing children in the language arts. Yes, these are all direct quotes from the teacher, all referring to herself, all things I heard while volunteering in my son's class. No wonder at home he looks at me and says "What does mommy want to do now?" "Can K(himself) go outside?" No more third person please.

I know that not all teachers are like that.
There are some amazing educators out there
who see themselves as professionals
and strive for best practice.
But why can't my son by in their class?

January 18, 2011

On the Court

Kacin is so happy basketball season has started.
He loves it.
He's been talking about playing basketball
for over a year now.
Once he got rid of his first-game jitters,
he had a blast running around
and he was so proud he shot a basket.
Kyler still says soccer is his number one,
but he's loving basketball
and playing well with his team.
He has some awesome coaches
who are teaching him well and helping him have fun.
Go Wolverines and Dragons!

January 14, 2011

Public Transportation

As we stood on the corner,
Kacin kept checking his watch
and announcing
"4 more minutes . . .
3 more minutes . . .
2 more minutes . . .

1 minute . . .
It should be here now!! . . .
Where is it?! . . .
Oh here it comes! I see it, I see it!"
The bus pulled up and opened its doors.
We climbed aboard the empty bus,
dropped a handful of quarters into the slot,
and Kyler led us to the seats in the very back.
Why were we riding the city bus?
Because it seemed like the thing to do with a free afternoon.
Every time we are out in the neighborhood and pass a bus stop,
Kacin is so intrigued and curious.
He has a million questions about the bus system
and checks each schedule.
So we planned a trip using public transportation.
A kind, thoughtful neighbor saw us waiting for the bus
and stopped to see if we needed a ride somewhere.
But our bus ride was strictly for fun and for the sake of adventure.

We turned the corner, and the shops and restaurants came into view.
I nodded to Kyler and whispered it was time.
He reached up and pulled the yellow cord.
Stop Requested lit up in red overhead.
The doors opened.
We smiled and thanked our driver
then stepped out onto the sidewalk.
We started our afternoon with a visit to the library.
The boys each picked a book.
We sat in the window seat as I read the two books to them.
As we were leaving,
Kyler pointed out a bookmark on display on the wall.
It was the one he had made at school
and submitted for the library's competition.
He felt like a famous artist with his work up for everyone to see.
We walked a little ways to a toy shop
to play on their train table and purchase some puzzle glue.
Then we were off to look around at the market.
After all that walking, we sure were ready for a treat.
At the doughnut shop,
Three maple bars, please.
We browsed at the book store for a few minutes
before heading to the restaurant across the street.
To pass the time, we had a Tic-Tac-Toe match.
We enjoyed our chips and salsa, burritos, and tostada
and talked about all that happened at school that morning.

When we came outside again, it was very dark.
According to Kacin's watch,
the bus was scheduled to come in 3 minutes.
No bathroom stops for us,
we had to hurry.
We arrived at the bus stop
only to wait and wait.
I don't know who was more anxious for that bus to come,
Kacin and Kyler
OR the guy waiting next to us
who had to listen to the boys belting out impromptu songs
about buses and mommy's hair.
But it had to be entertaining for him
when my 7-year old boy suggested,
"Let's do yoga while we wait!"
and proceeded to go into tree pose and Warrior II.

We had been waiting about ten minutes
when I saw the way Kacin was dancing around and
began to regret the decision not to make that bathroom stop.
Just when I was debating whether or not to leave the bus stop,
get this kid to the bathroom,
and just catch the next bus in 30 min.
Our bus pulled up and we got on.

To conclude the retelling of this adventure,
let it suffice to say
that there is now a tree,
somewhere between the bus stop we exited from and our home,
that has been watered by Kacin.
I know, I know.
I really have to stop letting him do that.
The world should not be his bathroom.
But we were desperate.

Overall, we had a pleasant experience with public transit
and all really enjoyed our afternoon out.