Wednesday, September 29, 2010

molly's emotions...

video
she usually does "sad" a lot more dramatically than this shows.  but i wanted to post it anyway.  she's so funny!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

education nation

The nation is a-buzz this week with the special 'Education Nation' forum in New York City sponsored by NBC and others who have lots of money. Educators are listening and the teachers on my team have a lot to say...as usual! I'm not sure why these 6 ladies are not in charge of everything, because somehow in our 20 minute lunch period we sound off our ideas and opinions on most everything that has to do with education in between scarfing down our microwaved frozen entrees.  I teach with rock stars for sure!!

There is a new documentary out called 'Waiting for Superman'. A documentary made by a wealthy filmmaker who sends his own children to a private school in LA. He was on the "education" panel I watched on Sunday night along with singer/songwriter, John Legend. Did I miss something because I never knew John Legend was a teacher or had spent time inside a classroom? And then to my surprise, Oprah jumped in on the bandwagon last week and featured these issues on her show both Monday and Friday with a similar panel, but no teachers were represented.  Maybe we should get rid of all teachers and bring people like John Legend, Bill Gates, the movie producer, and the great Michelle Rhee from DC public schools into the classroom for a long while.

These panels (with no educators present) speaking on education reform is kind of of like having a spokeperson for abstinence who was not abstinent...hello Briston Palin??? I mean I don't have anything against her personally, but don't become a spokesperson and advocate for teens and preach abstinence and true love waits when you couldn't do it not do it yourself! True love waits...it waits until I'm in the back seat of the car with my boyfriend who tells me he loves me and I think sex translates to love. I could be a spokesperson for abstinence and BONUS, I've actually been abstinent! really, I have! but the thought of a 35 year old, single, never married woman being a spokesperson for teenagers would send them all out running for people to do it with! ha!!! but I digress}

now, back to our regular scheduled program~

Some of these people on the stage this week have no platform to speak against public schools...How many of these "reformers" have their own children in public schools? It's so interesting, in the hours and hours of debates and town halls that I've watched or read about so far very few people have brought up the words "parents" and/or "home life". People outside of education say we {teachers} are making excuses, but when do we hold parents accountable for their child's success? When do we work on the societal problems that have a huge impact on children? When do we start holding the children responsible for their own motivation? Everyone wants to blame teachers and while they are a big factor, there are many many more things that go into student success and until we stop this rhetoric and work on ALL the things that affect children, no one wins.

In the teacher town hall meeting that was aired on Sunday, the audience was full of teachers from across the nation. That room of people could have stayed and talked for hours and hours. There are so many problems with the way our education system is run today that nobody can even agree on where to start first! People are passionate about tenure, the length of the school year, charter schools, uniforms, teacher pay, evaluations, standardized testing, and on and on the list goes.

People have compared the United States to other countries around the world and we rank somewhere between 20-30 in Math and Reading.  But, of the countries whose students score above those of the students in the United States, how many of those schools are all-inclusive? We have to education everyone. We can turn no one away from our schools. Do these countries include everyone in their school systems??? Because to me, this would sway the survey results. Also I wonder if I moved to any of these countries if they would provide an English teacher for me if I didn't know the language. Would I even get an interpreter? Imagine the financial resources that our country spends each year providing Language services and interpreters for students and families who don't even speak English! Now, I'm not suggesting that we stop services to these students; I'm only pointing out that our resources are spread very thin in order to "meet the needs of every student".

Tonight on Larry King, Larry asked his education "panel" of folks "what is more important than having a great teacher?"...and THANK YOU to Ben Stein (of all people) for having a clue and answering "great parents"!

The bottom line is so easy to my colleagues and I. Kids will NOT succeed in school if their parents are not involved and pushing them to do so. The best teacher on the planet cannot make a child learn if the parent isn't holding that child accountable. If cheer-leading practice, football, and dance {for 7and 8 year olds} is more important than reading together, completing homework, and going above and beyond what even the teacher asks, then we'll never win this war. If you have no control over your kid, then how can we?   If you bad mouth the teacher at home in front of your kid, how will they ever show us respect?  If you don't know where your kid is at night, if they are involved in gangs, if you don't even know their teacher's name, your kid will not succeed.

Poverty is a huge issue.  Teaching in schools in inner city areas face an incredible challenge for even the best educator.  Teaching students who come from generational poverty and uneducated parents is a very hard battle.  Schools and teachers alone cannot make up for the deficiencies at homes and in neighborhoods. Some of the more recent charter schools are even set up like dormitories or boarding schools so students from underprivileged backgrounds have some hope of success, literally living at school from Monday-Friday. This would obviously be impossible to replicate on a national scale.


I am not trying to point my finger in any one direction here.  I think there is enough blame to go around to everyone.  But, I'd like the general public to know that hey...teachers are just regular people.  We are humans and can only do so much in the time we've been given.  We are not Superman!  I would like to see a huge reform...a real reform of our educational system.

And believe me, as a {new}parent, I'm even more fully aware of what my daughter needs to do in life in order to be successful.  I want her to have a great education, but I know as her mom, it's up to me.  I am the greatest determining factor in her future success.  I will not sit around and blame a teacher somewhere down the road for the cause of my daughters shortcomings.  I'm her parent, if she is lacking something, then it is up to me to teach it to her, fill in the gaps, or find someone who can.  I can't just plop her into school as a Kindergartner and expect in 13 years she will be college ready.  I have to work with her every night, weekends, and summers to take advantage of every teachable moment I can in order for her to compete on a global level with her peers for scholarships, internships, and future job opportunities.  Choosing a career for her...around 16 years from now will be vastly different than it is even now.   She will have to be a problem solver, a technology wiz, quick thinker, and bilingual just in order to be competitive.  While I do hope that her school career will pave the path to accomplish these things, I'm doing my part now also.

I'm hoping for real change, but I fear this week is just a big political stunt to get buzz words about educational reform out in the public's mind.  Next week everything will be quiet again...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

just thinking...

I've been thinking a lot lately about what we (I) subject our kiddos to that basically throws them into screaming, crying fits that make you think your precious child has turned into the excorsist.  With the recent trip to Knoxville, a long wait in the waiting room, an extra long day at daycare, and the general rush of being a working mom again, I've taken extra notice of what can spur on an outburst in my child.  I've always had some sympathy for moms in public with screaming, raging mad kids but at the same time I admit I did pass judgment on them at the same time...why don't "they" go to the grocery, bank, post office, ____ when the kids can be at home with dad or a babysitter? 

Now, I've experienced my own personal embarrassment in public with my own little temper thrower (the most recent of which left me and her in tears at in the doctor's waiting room a couple weeks ago) and I can tell you it's no fun!!  Despite my own attempts to pack snacks, games, and sing through the grocery store it only lasts for a short while and she is ready to GO!  I'm trying my very best to limit the times when I require her to sit still in adult situations (like a grocery cart) and realize just because I love going to the mall doesn't' mean she wants to be drug along with me in her stroller for hours at a time as I window shop.  It's not her thing!  She is 2 years old and she just wants to be at home and have freedom to run and play with her things.

Which leads me to another thing...when we are at home she wants and needs my attention.  It's not constant, but it would be good if I would let the dishes go, let the laundry pile up once, and just sit and be with her.  She needs to see me playing with her.  On the floor.  Not juggling the computer, camera, laundry basket, or tv remote control.  The times that I'm trying to "keep her busy" so I can pay bills, plan her birthday party, plan our weekly menu, and do chores are the times when she gets fussy.  I'm lucky, she's usually pretty good about playing alone when I need her to but I'm just trying to balance it all.

One of my favorite mom bloggers is Clover Lane and just today she has written a great post about this very thing.  I'm going to post an exact paragraph that she wrote so well...

Give them full attention for hours. Look them in the eyes as much as we can. Eat meals with them. Good healthy meals. Slowly. Don't answer the phone. Stop RUSHING. Kids hate rushing, don't they? Especially the little ones. It's not good for them. It makes them, well, screech, and stomp and hit and rebel against the world.


Don't you just need that little reminder sometimes?  I have seen Molly grow and change these last few months.  As she has approached two years old she is trying to become more independent.  She is challenging me (I guess this is good...it shows she is completely normal!), she wants to know who is in charge.  I've had to challenge my own parenting techniques... how am I going to discipline her throughout these years.  I must be consistent. And also, I shouldn't punish her for putting her in situations that are not developmentally appropriate for a two year old.  Sure, sometimes it cannot be helped.  But her greatest JOY  is when I pick her up from daycare as soon as I can get there and we go home for the rest of the night.  When I have to take her along on mindless errands or when I haven't planned dinner that is when she is more likely to melt down.

I think I'm being redundant now, but I've just been amazed at how well she thrives when given routine and order in her life and that makes me so happy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

stuff, stuff, and more stuff...and MRSA again!

for some reason i decided to torture myself this weekend and have a yard sale the day before molly's birthday party????  what is wrong with me???  i think motherhood caused me to temporarily go insane on this decision, but i did have a cohort in my insanity...mom joined me.  we have done yard sales before and every time declare we will never do them again! ha!  this time, i mean it...i will never have a yard sale again! 

mom and i both give to goodwill throughout the year, but recently have just accumulated so much junk we thought we'd try to earn a little money.  it was so not worth it!  yard sales are hard...you have to organize your stuff, price your stuff (to practically give it away), set it all up (mom had to transport her stuff to my house), advertise, put out signs, and then wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. 
look at all of our great "junk"...






most of those large toys in the yard were from mom's daycare.  things she couldn't use anymore.  i had tons of girls shoes and clothing that molly had either outgrown or things i didn't want to store.  my house is really small...a great size for us, but not for clutter.  the older i get the more practical i become in keeping things neat and organized.  i have a few select things in larger sizes for molly in the the upcoming years, but i simply don't have the storage space to keep "play clothes" that are hand me downs unless they are really something great.  i'll keep name brand dresses and shoes that show little wear, otherwise i only buy for the current season. 

as for myself, if i buy more clothes and/or shoes i always try to get rid of something in it's place.  otherwise you just have a closet chock full of stuff you never wear. 

and decorating...now that i have a house i have really had to stop myself from hoarding "stuff".  i love goodwill, yardsales, and consignment shops but i've had to be extra conscientious about what i'm buying to be sure i have a place to put it. 

mom and i gave away 3 great christmas trees b/c they were not pre-lit...a little snobbish yes, but i will not have time to string lights on a tree this year!  it's going to be pre-lit from now on. 

anyway, we sold about 1/4 of this stuff earning a whopping $150ish and loaded every last bit of it up and took it to goodwill.  oh, what i would give to re-do that decision again.  because we were both so exhausted from the yard sale i couldn't even begin to think about the party until sunday and i just felt so rushed all weekend.  i mean, on sunday i was like...ok molly today is your birthday, now go in your room and play by yourself so i can cook and clean! ha!  terrible!  

to top the weekend off, as if we didn't have enough going on molly got a sore on her finger (possibly from a hangnail or cuticle that she pulled off) and it became really infected.  so during the sale i left mom on her own and took molly to the dr. where they prescribed an antibiotic.  she said once you have a history of mrsa, they just treat things like this as if it is mrsa.  her finger looked exactly like mine did in june when i had to go to the er.  we have been keeping it covered and taking her medicine ritually, so i really hope it heals itself and no further action is needed.  

Did you know that almost 30% of the HEALTHY population has the MRSA bacteria in their nose and skin!!! That means one out of three people in your very family, work, or school have the same bacteria.


MRSA isn't easily spread. MRSA isn't an infectious organism, it's a colonizer. It colonizes on the skin, back of the throat, and in the nose. So you have to already have a colony of this bacteria before you can get infected.  MRSA isn't any more dangerous or easy to transfer than non-MRSA bugs, it's just harder to treat...that is the tricky part!

Today I took a sick day because I woke up with a stomach bug.  Thankfully it has passed and I am feeling better.  I am not sure if I was sick due to exhaustion or actually picked up a bug of some kind.  But I really hope that Molly and I both get back to 100% soon!  Between both of our MRSA cases and this stomach bug I feel like our immune systems are not at their best.  I'm normally a very healthy person and I think Molly is too.  We just happen to have caught these bugs at the beginning of school and it has thrown me for a loop!



the apple of my eye


so, i've been looking forward to planning and having a birthday party for my own child for a long time.  i have a folder on my computer where i save websites and great party ideas...things that are beyond the typical themed children's parties.  i love strawberry shortcake and minnie mouse like everyone else, but i just like to plan things that are a little more unique....so i saw an idea on Swanky Tables for an apple themed party and I ran with it.  I've probably been sitting on this idea for about a year so I was really glad to see it come to fruition!!!
The Apple of My Eye
 Birthday invitations and thank you notes
this was one of the only full length shots I got of her dress.  It was soooo cute!  I ordered it from The Uptown Baby on Etsy.  one of the few "green apple" dresses I could find that coordinated with her party theme!


Happy Birthday Banner
Treat baskets...the adults all took home a sack of apples and the kids took home treat boxes...my intention was to also have a recipe printed on the adult treat bags, but i just didn't get to it!
another banner...i loved creating these!  they are so festive!
the candy table...green apple jawbreakers, candy sticks, and gummy candy
the good stuff!!

i found a picture of "apple cupcakes" on the internet somewhere and loved them.  they were time consuming to make, but very cute!


the cupcake toppers, treat bag stickers, invitations, water bottle labels, etc. all matched! i loved them.  I ordered them from Pretty Smitten on Etsy.  They have really cute stuff!!!

candy apples...of course!
Petite cupcakes with sanding sugar
some of the crowd

the birthday girl



 she got some really adorable presents inlcuding this umbrella she loved with matching rain boots!! so cute!





 all the kids...eddie, molly, maddie, kayla, and kelsie
 she loves her cousin maddie!!
and the aftermath...you work so hard to clean up before everyone gets there and then the house is destroyed again within an hour!!

We had a great party, but I was so exhausted when it was over.  I made a really stupid decision to also have a yard sale this same weekend...more on that in the next post! 

molly's daycare party

Whew!!!  I'm exhausted after a full weekend of celebration!  I'm going to start with our first birthday party which was last Thursday afternoon at the daycare.  I made a small cake and brought ice cream for all the kids to eat for snack time.
the whole gang
the birthday girl













I bought the cute birthday dress and matching hat from this etsy store.

she really had a good time celebrating with her friends.  she did not go to daycare on friday because we went to get her 2 year old pictures made at Tucker Photography.  They did a really good job and this is just a sneak peak that he sent over to my facebook page so that people could vote for her for their "cutie pie of the week" contest!  So if you have time hop on over there and give molly a vote!

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