Monday, November 30, 2009

I've got spirit, yes I do! I've got spirit, how 'bout you!

I am in search of some Christmas Spirit. I believe I feel Christmas has become a little too commercialized for me this year for some reason. I think it was the Target commercial about "winning Christmas" that did it for me. I'm not even getting excited about giving gifts to other people and watching them open them. I'm nervous they won't like it, be disappointed, or compare it to their gift for me. I just don't want Christmas to be about the gifts this year.

I want it to be about Jesus and God, and I'm trying to find some quiet time for prayer to prepare my heart this Advent season... HA! HA! HA! I know, I know, I said quiet time!

I think my kids will be key to ridding me of this Scroogeyness. Addie gets that this is about baby Jesus, it's his birthday, miracles happen (like staying on Santa's nice list... that will be miracle for her!). Emily is wowed by all the pretty lights and breakables on the tree, but she also seems to get that that totally breakable baby figurine is important somehow, and she handles it with care. She wants for nothing and seem to appreciate the smallest things, like wrapping paper and boxes, that would be enough. They both give love without ceasing. I need to take their lead more. Faith like a child, right?

Here's a story I loved to read to my confirmation classes during Advent. It's all about putting it all out there, total faith, and experiencing the wonder and blessings of God by being a servant to others. That prepares our hearts for the coming of Jesus! More of that please!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Green Eyed Monster!

I'll admit it, but don't tell my husband, (because I don't think he reads this blog anymore, you may have noticed he has abandoned his blog, "Fat Man Running" or "Everyone's Blogging But Me", and so he doesn't read other blogs)...

I am jealous of him.

Jealous, but also proud. His career as an artist and an educator has really taken off. He comes home, sometimes late, and gushes about how a student of his had an "aha" moment and the in depth conversation they had about the wonders of the universe to arrive at that moment. He has been nominated and elected by his colleagues to chair the general education department. He is revered as the education technology guru by his two co-teachers. He has developed a reputation with the students as a good teacher and his classes are filling up. He has developed an important benchmark test. He hob nobs with muckety-mucks who are important at gallery openings. He is advancing his teaching through new technology and professional development, which might include a trip to London in the spring. He won a bid to create a Corpus for a processional cross of a new church in Hiawatha, and they liked it so much they asked him to submit a design for the large hanging cross over the alter. Our neighbor has asked him to build a cabinet for them. The columns for the chapel at New Vienna have the board interested in other projects they could have him do. And it goes on and on and on!

These are things I used to do... when I had a career, and he was going to school... ah, how the roles have reversed! I can't wait to get back in there and start doing cool stuff with my talent and passion! In the meantime, isn't my husband cool?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Family Transportation Logistics

Our FTL (Family Transportation Logistics) is complicated. We have one patriotic blue short-bus minivan, AKA "the mini" AKA "the Blue Eagle". We also have one red 1994 stick shift, heat only, bench seat, Ford F150 with working tape cassette. Remember those? It is affectionately called "Clifford".

One gets around 24mpg, seats 7 people, has room for our children and all their crap, and I can drive it. The other gets 11mpg, seats 2 people, (3 if you want to get really friendly with the stick shift) is questionable whether it can accommodate car seats, and I can't drive it. I tried once, in New Bedford, with cars parked on both sides of the street, where around every corner is a new game of chicken. It wasn't pretty and I don't think my husband will allow it again.

We have always gotten by with a lot of walking. We are less than 500 feet from Addie's school, and only about 2 city blocks from our sitter's house. But our unpredictable schedules have led us to question if this will continue to work.

The logistics are as follows:
Addie needs to be at school by 8am 3 days out of the week. If I'm working, I'm out of the house with the only car I can drive with the car seats. So Hubby has to walk the girls up to school, and then walk Emily to the sitter, and then walk back, get in his truck and make it to work by 9. Usually works okay, except for those days he has to be to work earlier. On days Addie doesn't have school, one of those days our sitter has to take two kiddos to school, so she walks them up. We don't want to add 2 more kids for her to drag up there or leave with her husband/mother-in-law, so he waits until after 8 to bring them to her, again walking. Then there's pick up at the end of the day.

Enter winter... in Iowa... blowing snow, freezing rain, and 30 degrees Fahrenheit... oh, 30 degrees BELOW ZERO! Add to that no sidewalks in town and walking on the edge of the road made significantly smaller by the addition of snow banks, and those 2 measly blocks seem like an epic battle.

So here we are with essentially one vehicle to share. We need a new one, but we also need a second bathroom, so we're not sure what our financial priority is. We could shove a car seat in the truck, and a booster seat in the middle, for that 2 block time, which isn't technically illegal, but I'm a rule follower, so I don't know. Not to mention the time it takes to get kids into car seats and out again is going to be close to the same amount of exposure to the cold. Logistically speaking, anyone got any ideas?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

P/T Conferences!

This was the first time I was on the other side of a parent-teacher conference. I was not sitting with manila folders full of documentation, nervously awaiting those killer parents, teeth barred, nails drawn, ready to rip your heart out because little johnny isn't acing your class. Truth be told, I LOVED parent teacher conferences. I always had really good experiences at them, because I felt that I was prepared and fought the alligators before they turned into T-Rexes. I had a well planned system of PPSSSF (praise, problem, 3 solutions, feedback), I know it sounds like I'm peeing, and really, I've never named it before and I don't know if that's trademarked or anything, it's just what I end up doing every time. And it worked.

So on a Tuesday night, after parent participation dance class, which was really fun, I found myself sitting across the table from another teacher, ready to hear what she had to say about my baby's progress in pre-school. Addie's teacher had a rating system, with four categories, where she explained our child's progress, what she was good at, and what she could work on.

Without further ado, here are the positives: She's good at knowing how others will feel, which is (bragging) highly advanced for her age! Reading and writing will be her thing, so having her practice writing will be beneficial. She has good comprehension, and a great imagination. She's come really far since starting preschool, and has matured well, as she is almost the youngest.

Things to work on: Mondays are bad. Each Monday, she seems to get a case of the Mondays. Except for last Monday, which she did great, but told us she was naughty and got a yellow light, only to turn around on Tuesday and actually get a yellow light... She gets frustrated if things aren't working the way she wants them to work. At this the teacher gave the example of how Addie couldn't get a puzzle piece to fit in the way she wanted it to fit. My husband and I both point to each other. But then he says, "So, instead of turning it to fit, she would rather take a pair of scissors and cut it to fit the way she wants?" and that's when I knew for sure, she is my child. Because that's totally my kind of stubborn!

Other things to work on were just the next step, not anything she's behind on. She's on track or above where she needs to be physically and academically, which makes us happy. She's a great pre-schooler, and her first PT conference went great!