Tuesday, January 1, 2013


     The popular word this time of year is 'resolution'. I hate making resolutions because I, invariably, like everyone else, break that resolution or lose sight of it within the first quarter of the year. Popular resolutions are 'lose weight', 'exercise', 'eat healthy', etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... While those are all fine and good, reality is not many people have the follow through to get those done or stay on the regimen that requires those to be done. Unfortunately, life 'gets in the way' and excuses abound for why we can't do this, that, or the other thing. I have used the excuse all school year that I'm too busy with work, with kids, with soccer to exercise. This past summer I used the excuse that we were moving and I had to pack. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We all have them in one way or another.

     I saw on a friend's Facebook page today that instead of making a resolution, she was going to pick a word - just one word - that would be her focus this year (see http://myoneword.org/ for more info). I like this idea because this one word can be incorporated into all aspects of your life. My word this year is PRACTICE. Why practice? As a teacher, I encourage my students to practice the skills that we are learning in class. Will they make mistakes as they practice? Most certainly! But that's the beauty of practice. You make a mistake, you pick yourself up, and you try again. Eventually, after enough practice, you have mastered the skill and it becomes second nature - you can do this now without thinking. I don't think that resolutions offer that great buffer of making mistakes. They tend to have that feeling of 'I'm going to do this, but once I make a mistake, fall off the wagon, etc, that's it. I'm done.' I want to practice making some changes this year. Will I make mistakes? Fall off the wagon? Stray from where I want to be? Of course! I'm human and we live in a world with a lot of readily available temptations.

     What am I going to practice this year? I'm going to practice living a healthier life. I'm going to practice exercise during the week, making healthier food choices, and getting to bed at an earlier time during the week. I'm going to practice more financial responsibility. Taking care of my family on less money and making better financial decisions for the livelihood of my family. I'm going to practice patience. Patience at school, at home, in public. Patience with family (especially my children 😊), coworkers, and strangers. I'm going to practice humility. I'm in an different position than I was a year and a half ago - my opinion and ideas at school are valued and sought out many days. I don't always handle it as graciously as I should. I'm going to practice love. I have some students that will give me lots of practice in that arena. But I really also need to practice love at home - letting my children know that I love them all the time, no matter what they do, showing my husband that I love him and value him and all he does for us. Will there be other things I need to practice? Probably. But I think I need to master a few of these before I can move on to some of those other areas that need practice. 

     I encourage you to think of a word that you can apply to your life this year and think of all the ways that it fits into your life. It's an interesting concept. Happy New Year. May it be filled abundantly for you.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's Been A While

Life is busy and I've used that as a reason (excuse!) to not write here for awhile. I love my new job, but driving an hour round trip every day kind of cuts into my free time. (Look! Another excuse!) The oldest three kids all played indoor soccer over the winter months - I know, shocking news, isn't it? CED played on 1 1/2 teams throughout two of the three sessions. How 1 1/2, you ask? For the second and third sessions of indoor, there were enough girls from her outdoor team that wanted to play indoor to split them up into two different teams. CED was able to play for her team and sub in for about half of the other team's games. JAD played all three sessions with K serving as coach. His team ended up 18-1 when all was said and done. It was pretty exciting to see them play! JED also had the opportunity to play with his indoor team from last year for the second and third sessions. The boys had a lot of fun and really started to gel over the final few games. It's quite amusing to watch nine and ten year olds swagger down the field (or pitch, as JAD would correct me) and swagger they did - even JED. So, all in all, we were fairly busy during our 'off' months from soccer. Although the true off time is really June. That's it. Never thought soccer was a year round sport, did you? Well, I'm here to testify... It is!

The oldest two started back to outdoor practice mid-January. Yes, OUTDOOR practice. At night. Most nights they were practicing with gloves and hats on and parents were madly walking the track around the field in an effort to stay warm. Our first tournament was at the end of February and it was an eye-opener as far as team play was concerned for both JAD and CED's teams. CED's team ended up tying all three games, which we were quite happy with as ten of the 18 girls are all playing up a year which means bigger girls on opposing teams. JAD's team, unfortunately, went 0-3. It's disappointing as we all know what capabilities these boys have and what they are not living up to - especially those of us that watched them dominate on the indoor field. Both kids have undergone coaching changes as well this spring. JAD's came as not much of a surprise as his coach received a promotion at work. CED's came out of nowhere with her coach backdooring the team and dropping them the week of their first game. That was frustrating, but the girls have come out ahead as their new head coach has been really well received by them and is making some great changes. K has also been given the opportunity to be the assistant coach, which he is really enjoying, as well. Girls and parents are all happy to have him on the team to help out. We are still not thrilled with the changes on JAD's team, but I won't go into my laundry list of all I think is wrong. Let's just say its lengthy and I'll leave it at that. :)

All the kids are doing really well at school and seem happy with where they're at. JAD is a typical teen and refers to school as 'jail', but I know he'd rather be at Vanguard than our home high school. CED is happy as well and wouldn't change back for anything. In fact, she now has a boyfriend. Oh yes, we have entered that stage in life. Fortunately, you have to be a pretty good kid to make it into the school and stay there, so we aren't too worried. Yet. JED and MED both like being at school with me and they are both blossoming and doing well in school. JED has been moved into all of the 'high' groups in math, reading, and writing and even attends reading with the gifted and high achieving kids in the third grade. MED is being given a lot of enrichment work, particularly in reading, as she is reading third grade chapter books on her own time. She is an avid reader and is reading to MAD all the time. MAD is working on reading sight words now and loves to practice writing letters and words, often copying words and sentences she sees in books. This last week she learned to tie her shoes by herself and couldn't be happier to show anyone that will sit for a moment her newly acquired skill.

 We are fully back into our outdoor soccer season now. JAD and CED played their third games today while JED played his first of the season. MED and MAD are beyond excited to be starting practice on Tuesday and play in their first game next Saturday. So, we will be back to our crazy schedules of usually four games per Saturday. At least most Sundays are 'days off'. I think this somewhat catches you up with us for the last few missing months. Maybe if I can get my act together, in the midst of avoiding schoolwork I've avoided all spring break, I'll post about our weekend in Glenwood Springs a week ago. It was a great relaxing weekend for us and the weather - even in the mountains!- was absolutely glorious.

Signing off...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Asylum is Almost Open

This year's Halloween theme at our house is the 'Red Oak Asylum'.  The whole family is taking part in this theme, with all of us dressing as doctors, nurses, and patients.  This is what our front yard is shaping up to look like, with a day left to go before we open for business.

We are looking forward to admitting new patients tomorrow...

Carving Pumpkins

This afternoon, we finally got around to carving pumpkins.  We let the little ones draw their own faces and then we came back through and 'helped' the drawings before carving.  The older three designed their pumpkins, but K and I took over the carving process for all involved.  I did manage to get a few pictures of the process.  Currently, CED is cleaning the gunk off all the seeds so we can roast them.  Yum!

Carving pumpkins is always an interesting experience in our house.  JAD and I had a wrestling match over who could get pumpkin goo on the other person.  Sadly, it was a draw.  The kid is almost as tall as me now.  A couple more inches and I'll start looking up at him.

It's Never Really Over

The fall soccer season is slowly winding to a close.  We have make up games that have yet to be scheduled, but most of the kids have their last games of the season next weekend.  I'm not sure when the make up games will be, but considering I get to reschedule those, hopefully they'll be really soon or they'll just have to wait til the spring season.  Except for JED - I have to get his done in the next week or so.  Yikes!  Anyway... soccer pictures have been taken for the two little girls' teams and, although I'm too cheap to buy the professionally done pictures, I did snap a couple with my phone.  Classy, eh?

Here is MED with her team and coach.  We really enjoyed watching her play this fall.  She went from being this sweet little girl to a fierce competitor on the field.  In her second game on Saturday, she scored four goals!

MAD with her team.  She was part of the Itty Bitty Soccer Academy and she had a ball while doing it.  This past weekend she scored three goals!

MAD with Flavio - the club director and her favorite person at soccer.
Now we begin the segue and overlap from outdoor soccer to indoor...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's My Blog and I Can Brag If I Want To

It's conference time around here and the first round of report cards are trickling in.  In the midst of doing my classroom conferences, I've been moving around to my own kids' teachers to hear what wonderful (and not so wonderful) things they have to say.  I started off yesterday morning with JEDs conference.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he received one B and the rest As on his report card.  He is also being moved up to the high math and writing groups (already has been in the high reading group).  He's showing some great abilities in school academically (which we already knew, but being at a new school the teachers didn't know) and hopefully moving him up will curb his need to be naughty.  I was really proud of him, however, and excited to see that he is doing as well as he is.
Conference number two yesterday was for MED.  Her teacher gushed on and on about how sweet a little girl she is, how mature she is, what a great helper she is... I could go on and on.  MED loves school and you can see that from the moment she walks in to the building.  Her teacher is already providing enrichment in the area of reading and MED regularly gets chapter books to read where most of her counterparts are reading shorter books.  She loves to read - MED will finish a book within days of starting it.  Junie B. Jones are some of her favorites right now.  I knew MEDs conference would be good and I wasn't disappointed!
At the end of my class conferences, I headed off to CEDs conference at her school.  CED didn't want to attend her school at first and she gave her dad and I a really hard time.  For the first week of school, she cried, pouted, argued, gave us the cold shoulder, glared at us, glared at others, snapped at her siblings... I could go on and on.  She finally has given up on trying to convince us to put her back at her old school and she's adjusted and adapted to her new school.  She has lots of new friends and has really blossomed back into the girl and student we know her to be.  In fact, kids regularly tell her that she's the teacher's favorite student and recently she received the highest grade on a history test that teachers there have ever seen.  Anyway, her report card was wonderful - especially considering a pretty serious learning curve with the requirements and methods this school has.  Her teacher couldn't think of anything she needed to work on.  Wow!  Again, I was really pleased to hear all the great things said (who wouldn't be?).
The next conference, for JAD, will be next Wednesday.  I'm not overly looking forward to that one.  My super-bright-son-who-doesn't-want-to-apply-himself will have an interesting conference, I know.  He has decided that being the class clown is more important than being the quiet kid that pleases the teacher and does everything he's asked.  So, I'm sure I'll learn some interesting facts about him next week.  I can't complain too much, however.  He's not on drugs, he's generally very respectful, and he has a pretty high moral code.  All the things we want for our kids.
This past Thursday, MED was part of another community performance through the conservatory.  We were asked weeks ago if she could be part of the performing group, but it was in the morning and I had to be at conferences (can't take off on that day!) and K was in Arizona at a company business meeting.  They were very understanding, but sad that she couldn't be there.  This past Monday though, I received a phone call.  It turns out this breakfast was a fundraiser for CPCD (Community Partnership for Child Development - the governing group over Headstart, which MED attended two years ago).  They were specifically requesting my daughter to be there.  The director of the conservatory offered to bring MED to and from the performance as long as I didn't mind.  Mind?  Not at all!  So, Wednesday night we headed off to the sound check where we met several nice ladies, the event coordinators, from CPCD who informed us that they see my MED as the face of CPCD and Headstart.  Seriously?  That's pretty cool!  Thursday morning, MED was picked up at 6:30 am to head off to shine and hopefully help CPCD garner some more funding for their programming with her cute smile.  She had to be up before 6 so I could get her 'performance ready' - something I think she might be doing a lot in the next few years as she gets more and more involved with the conservatory.  I am so blessed that she is doing this - her confidence level is through the roof... and she is not 'big-headed' in any way.

I do love my kids.  They may do things at home that drive me crazy (to the point of insanity!), but they are good, kind people to their very core and they just bless me immensely every day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Story Continues...

I think my children are secretly and quietly planning a mutiny against me.

Parenting can really, really suck sometimes.

The End