Monday, January 27, 2014

Study Hall

I am a teacher by trade; my degree is in elementary education.  I taught for two years before moving to our current location and then eventually starting our family.  I fully understand the challenges summer break bring to retention of material.  How challenging it is for teachers over long gaps with no school, be it for breaks or vacations.  Children learn best when material is reinforced consistently.


So due to the multiple snow days we have been having in the tundra  Midwest, the teachers at our school are putting in to practice the very things I just listed above. They are suggesting we work with our children during our time at home so that the children do not get further behind in their studies.


But I need to let you in on something, dear reader.  I would make a horrible homeschooling mom.  And by horrible, I mean terrible, no-good very bad.  Each of the five children had several assignments their teachers asked them to work on over the course of today and tomorrow.  And I'll tell ya what - it was seriously hard to get it accomplished.  The children all had their lists to tackle this morning with chores, instrument practicing, reading etc.  The usual stuff.  But late morning assignments started trickling in via email, and things went a little haywire.  While I was making dinner for tonight, I was instructing one child to work on typing and another to draw a picture of what she had done during the snow days (she chose Daddy walking on stilts, something that has decidedly not occurred the last few days  -- ever).  And then switching gears and assisting piano practicing (which takes a monumental amount of patience), while encouraging another child to write his spelling words 2 times each.

Oh my.  Have mercy!  I am not cut out for this (a fact I most definitely already knew)!  I'm sure if I truly was homeschooling, we would have a much more structured routine and it would be somewhat easier.  But in our current situation, we are lacking in that department.  Tomorrow I will have a better attack on the situation, which will hopefully pull in a higher success rate.  We'll do our best.

In the meantime, I am going to watch reruns of Law and Order and eat cookies.  Tomorrow's a new day, yes?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Six Quick Snippets

1.  Snow Days.  We have had four already this month, and I have a sneaking suspicion we might have one or two more before the month is out! And here's the thing:  As a stay-at-home-mom, school days mean a little less crazy going on in the house.  The mornings and evening are nutty on school days, but that time between 8-3 is generally quieter and more peaceful, even if I'm just folding laundry and scrubbing toilets (blech).  And yet - I still get that excited flutter waiting to hear if school is called off.  Perhaps it is the fact that I spent 20+ years in school myself, plus teaching for a couple of years that causes me to still feel the thrill of seeing our school listed among the closed (or these days, it's getting a text and email!).  It's a complex thing, my emotional state.  Lots of kids home, loud, crazy and messy. . .but still - a SNOW DAY!

2.  Kitchen Aid Mixer.  If we're friends on Facebook, dear reader, then you already know my extreme euphoria over buying my new mixer.  I launched a two-question post on FB (that garnered more than a hundred responses) about which Kitchen Aid was the best, and what one uses the mixer for.  A day or two later, I have purchased online (with a Kohl's 30 percent off and Kohl's cash of course!) my new mixer.  I received it yesterday and have used it twice already.  I am in love.  It is a thing of beauty, so sleek and stylish, yet strong and utilitarian at the same time.  I foresee many baked goods in our future.  And also mucho weight gain.

3.  My son.  My dear youngest son, last night at bedtime:  I had just finished giving him his blessing and he said "Thanks, Mom."  For what, I asked.  "For taking care of me.  When I want juice, you give me juice.  When I want pancakes, you make me pancakes."  I hugged him close and he continued, "I basically wouldn't be alive with you and Dad taking care of me!"

4.  Downton Abbey.  My daughter and I love watching the story unfold together.  Our British soap, as my dad calls it (who also watches, I might add).  The characters, the sweeping landscape, the accents and the drama. . . delicious!

5.  I was in my hometown this week for a doctor's appt. for one of my children and I had the opportunity to drive down the street I grew up.  I drove slowly, taking in all the houses of people I once knew, the memories flooding back.  My old house doesn't look so good anymore, which makes me sorry.  My parents took such good care of it and it always looked nice - it is now shabbier and sadder looking.  But I pointed out all the rooms behind the front windows to the kids in the car and I could picture us all on the front porch or in the family room.  It has been several years since I had been down our street and I (who am quite prone to reminiscing anyway) really enjoyed remembering all the goodness of my childhood.  So many years ago, yet the memories were so close, so vivid.

6.  Sledding.  True confession:  I have been a parent for almost fourteen years, and I have NEVER, not ever, taken my kids sledding.  Nope, not once.  My dear husband has always taken them while I stayed home with whomever was the baby at the time.  Well, our "baby" is 4 1/2 now, and goes sledding too. . .and I still don't go.  I am not a fan (and by that I mean I HATE) of the cold, and my husband knows this, and always takes them.  He is there now, before the temps drop any further.  And I am sitting on the couch, under an afghan, with the laptop on my lap.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Typing 101

Back in the day, I was a speedy typist.  Not to toot my own horn (or ding my electric typewriter, as it were), but my wpm rate wasn't too shabby.  I was quick and fierce and pounded the keyboard so mercilessly that my boss in college was concerned (and probably annoyed!).  Whilst working at Target during high school and college, my boss once asked me my method for using the ten-key on the cash register, so speedy was I.  (I proudly explained my three-finger technique.)

Lest you are getting peeved at my boasting, let's fast forward to the present day.  Now, though I type fairly regularly, much of my transcribed work is done on a teeny, tiny touch screen.  Yes, the dear iPhone gets the brunt of my pounding these days.  I have a unique approach to texting, using my right thumb and my left forefinger (I had to pick up my iPhone and double-check that information just now).  My rapid-fire texting with an odd choice of digits has elicited many a question in the last several years.  Yet I feel strangely proud of my frenetic way of typing and texting.

Here is the point of this post, which I have taken my ever-lovin' sweet time to get to:  I ask an awful lot of my auto-correct.  Back in high school on my Brother GX-6750, I had to be precise with my spelling and punctuation or my wpm rate would suffer.  These days, as I zip away on my iPhone I expect miracles out of my auto-correct.  I type sloppily, assuming spellcheck will read my mind.  I get frustrated when I type some sort of drivel that includes letters in the near vicinity of the word I intend, and my iPhone doesn't quickly change it into the proper word.  Here are some zingers I have presented to my phone, only to be disappointed:

wistoom (question)
locom (loving)
twleith (reality)
shxeudle (schedule)

To be fair, here are a few whoppers where my iPhone has indeed, read my mind, as any other scenario seems implausible:

chskengw (challenge)
orhestea (orchestra)
iptoons (options)
siggeft (suggest)

Nowthat you know what IU have become, I ask you to please have compassion on my if you read my txts with a bit of confusion.  Today's technolgoy has apperntly made me sloppy and lay.  Mea cola.

**The above should read:  Now that you know what I have become, I ask you to please have compassion on me if you read my texts with a bit of confusion.  Today's technology has apparently made me sloppy and lazy.  Mea culpa.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday lineup

The kids went back to school today now that Snowmageddon has (mostly) passed us.

So little K and I:

ran about a bazillion errands

endured horribly cold temps (in the teens - what, you say?  I'm a wimp?  Yes, yes I am.)

enjoyed a chick-fil-a lunch (but not the rude gesture given me by a passing driver as I edged out to see past an enormous snow pile.  I was quite taken aback by it.)

slid a bit on the still much-covered snowy road

persevered through the SQUEAKIEST cart known to mankind at Meijer (I had conversations about it on practically every aisle with annoyed shoppers.  I, too, detested it, but had already committed to it and didn't want to waste time going up and changing it out.  So I busted my rear and got the heck out of dodge as fast as I could.  It was a horrible racket.)

got some fab deals at Target (humor me - 10 smart ones, a pair of men's khakis, two hanging organizers and four over-the-door hooks for $23!  That is less than the pair of pants would have cost originally!  Score!)

ran into an old friend who always makes me laugh and enjoyed catching up before we had to part ways to fetch our little darlings

And let me tell you, dear reader, it felt mighty good, mighty good indeed to emerge from this here house.  Fresh air!  Driving a car!  Retail therapy!  All good stuff (except for the mean driver part).  I enjoyed being with my children those extra days, truly I did.  But it was also very good to be out and about again, I cannot tell a lie.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snowmageddon by the Numbers

So we, like most of the Midwest, have experienced mucho snow and bitter cold temps in the last couple of days, causing all schools and most businesses to be closed.  Therefore, our house overfloweth with children and energy, and a mamma who is going a bit stir crazy herself.  Here are some stats from Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/Great Blizzard of 2014:

15+    inches of snow towering on our deck wall

3!       days home from school

6        viewings of Mulan

1356  pine needles on floor by Christmas tree

5        viewings of Pocahontas (almost 6, as little one is requesting it again)

11       loads of laundry washed, folded and put away

58       times mom has asked children to please oh please not be so rowdy in the house

8:00    average wake time for children and mamma

-39      lowest "real feel" report on my TWC app

20+     games played, many of them Rat-a-tat-cat, as requested continually by a certain 4 year old

28       new gray hairs on mommy's head

Tomorrow is school.  Back to routine and rhythm and order and normalcy.

And also early mornings.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sentimental Journey

I realize I have not blogged in quite some time, busy as we have been celebrating Christmas and New Year's with family and friends.  I ought to have much to say therefore, but don't especially, as I am going on three days of homebound crazy with my offspring, due to the massive cold temps and snow the entire country seems to be experiencing (with the exception of Florida, my dream state).  Due to the cabin fever I am battling, my brain is not firing on all cylinders, so I have a general lack of interesting things to say.

Did you find it as fascinating as I did that the entire paragraph above was all about how I have nothing to write?

I will leave you with this little tidbit, as I attempt to keep my sanity during these snow days:

Last night, we were making the beds in the boys' room and discussing sheets and comforters and how to have an "grown-up" bed (sleep UNDER a flat sheet and UNDER a comforter, with one's head at the SAME place throughout the night - a concept that few of my children seem to employ).  All the talk of maturity must have sunk in to my oldest son, because when I asked him if he'd like to have his teddy bear (you know the one - the one he has had since birth. . .it's matted and loved and worn), he said no thanks, he's fine without him.  My husband affirmed his choice, while I repeatedly suggested he might want him near justincase.  About this time, I looked above the son's bed to my youngest son's bunk, to see him sobbing hysterically.  After much questioning and hugging, I determined he thought we were giving away his brother's beloved teddy bear.  He couldn't bear the thought!  I quickly explained it was simply being put with the other stuffed animals a mere two feet away from his brother.  His tears turned into laughter and blessed relief.

I kissed him and tucked him in, with his precious living room pillows.