Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The "Delicate" State

How many people find this attractive?

Yeah, not many.  This was the equivalent of the playboy model 25,000 years ago.  Fertile, bountiful, well fed.  Today?  Not so much!

Guess which I can identify with in my "delicate" state?

There's nothing delicate about the girth of my waist, chest or ankles at this point.

I am like a barnacle clad whale, beached on the couch, like a colossus, standing huge and ominous, like a Zamboni, in dangerous, unstoppable motion.  You know what they say about an object in motion.  My oversized belly can be a dangerous weapon, knocking things over in its wake.  Alone, it could be an NFL pick for a blocker... what are those called?

I am a force that is anything but delicate!  Only 8 more weeks and still plenty of time to get bigger...

and bigger...

and BIGGER!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Valentine's Day, time to be mushy.

Top ten reasons I love my husband:
He thinks I'm pretty, even when I'm not.
When I want to share something with someone, whether it's funny, sad, stupid, or cool, he's the one.
I know if I present a problem to him, if at first he can't solve it, he will put a squirrel on it and it will turn its wheel until it comes up with a solution... see #1.
He's smart...
He's cute...
He shares the child rearing.  This allows me to "pursue my career."  
He talks me up to his friends and coworkers.  They think I'm intelligent and a force to be reckoned with, not just the old ball and chain.  
He cooks... he uses every dish in the kitchen, but it is so worth it.  And the way to my heart is definitely through my stomach.  I will never starve while he is around!
He built me a spa bathroom, complete with separate shower, sinks, medicine cabinets, soaking tub, fancy tile and custom woodwork with his bare hands.  Ah, Calgon, take me away!
Out of an impossible amount of space, he managed to pull a 3/4 bath out of his butt so our little girls can have their own domain upstairs instead of infringing on my spa bathroom.

I love him so much!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love letters to my husband

With Valentines Day quickly approaching, I thought I'd get a little sentimental about my wonderful husband!  He has given me so much in my life!

One gift stands out in my mind as very special.  I'm wearing it today, and I think about all it means when I put it on.  It was actually a topic at an Engaged Encounter meeting where we had to write about something our spouse had given us, and then share with the group.  As couples shared what each had given each other, like undying love, freedom to be themselves, encouragement, I felt kind of shallow because I wrote about a piece of jewelry.

I'm not a big one for diamonds or roses.  Hubby was joking around this morning saying, "Oh, look, I could buy this $100.00 bouquet of roses for you out of this flyer, or I could by two 12oz ribeyes for $18.  Which would you like?"  Drool...  nothing says, "I love you!" like dead cow!  YUM!  So I might be considered "low maintenance" in the gift department.

He gave me a silver necklace with a pendant just like this:

It was a Christmas gift the year I was pregnant with Addie.  Besides my promise, engagement, and wedding rings, it was really the only jewelry he had ever given me.  And it meant so much to me, and still does.  It symbolized that he had given me the gift of children, something I had always wanted, and something no one else could have given me.  Now, with baby three on the way, I still wear this symbol and love it, because of what it means to me.

I guess I'll keep him around for a while!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Education and Character: Another Reform?

I came across this article in one of the blogs I follow.

It's wicked long, but really interesting!  In a nutshell, it talks about two schools who looked at research for what makes successful adults, after school.  They found that those kids that went on to graduate from college and become successful weren't those that had the highest test scores, grades or even IQ, but had a certain set of characteristics, and they set about teaching "Character" in their schools.  Not only moral character like being nice and treating others with respect, but performance character which include values like effort, diligence and perseverance.  They focus on seven characteristics and use "duel purpose instruction", intermeshing academic lessons with character lessons.  

The characteristics they focus on include zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity. The idea is that they try to prepare their students to become people who are going to make it in the real world, and make it well.  

Another key behind it is to challenge the students and get them to learn from their failure.  It mentions the movie "Race to Nowhere" (trailer here: which takes a look at where American education is heading, with so much focused on high stakes testing, and how it is damaging the ability of students to go on and be successful because they either can't cope, or they've never had to deal with failure.

From the article:

" What is good character? Is it really something that can be taught in a formal way, in the classroom, or is it the responsibility of the family, something that is inculcated gradually over years of experience? Which qualities matter most for a child trying to negotiate his way to a successful and autonomous adulthood? And are the answers to those questions the same in Harlem and in Riverdale?"

If you've got time (ha, ha!) it's worth a read.

As a parent and educator, I'm really intrigued with this idea.  First off, is it the schools place to teach character, something that traditionally should be left to the parents?  Don't teachers do enough parenting already, on top of more and more requirements being set on their shoulders?  My father (Hi, Daddy! *MUAH!*) vehemently opposes wasting his tax dollars to teach something that should be left to the family.  On one hand, I agree.  On the other, isn't it the job of the community also?  Isn't their school a big part of their community.  Nowadays, however, the community, including the school, doesn't seem willing to take on the role of disciplining the community or neighborhood children, because many parents have the "not my child" syndrome, where everyone else is to blame.  In this sense, my kids are screwed, as we tend to side with the 1960 cartoon, below, and people in my little community are not afraid to call me up and let me know when my kids step out of line.  

The other question educators could ask is how do you, or even, can you, teach character?  Don't they just have zest, or grit?  Could you get to them while they're young?  What about students with learning difficulties, who need meds to focus or have and self control?  Are people born with the amount of optimism they're going to have in life?  Can teenagers, who are so me-focused, even grasp the concept of gratitude?  Isn't it their God-given right to have things handed to them?  

As a parent, I really, really want my kids to have these characteristics, even if I'm not as steeped in them myself as I wish I could be.  I have some idea of how to get my kids there at their age:  Make them do chores, challenge them to do things on their own to promote independence, cheer them on when they run into something hard, don't hand them everything, lead by example, and the hardest thing - let them fail... ouch!

And here's the thing in education, you can't "let" kids fail any more, even when it seems like they are trying.  The school I'm at doesn't penalize a student's grade for late work, even if it is very late.  Like a month late.  What are they learning from that?  I don't think anything good, and certainly not responsibility.  It allows them to keep their grade up, but creates a cat and mouse game of the teacher keeping track and hounding the student until they turn it in.  A teacher can see if they are understanding the material the homework is designed to help them with, but sometimes after the assessment.  Or, because there are no consequences to turning it in late, they fall behind the rest of the class, who, after learning what they need to from one assignment, moves on to the next step.

There's that, and, as the cartoon above points out, if a teacher doesn't have very explicit documentation to show everything they did for that student to help them pass, they face the wrath of parents, and even sometimes the administration.  They question the job of the teacher first, not the job of the student.  I guess the idea is that students should fail the practice, not the test.  But with so little time to prove kids can get it, and the pressure to maintain good grades, there is no time to learn by failing.

In school reform, so many things are tried, but I think what everyone is really missing is that there is no blanket solution.  There is not a reform that will make a good education policy for the nation, the state, or even the community.  It all comes down to doing what is right for each individual student.  And who can do it better than their teacher, working in harmony with their parent and the student, to decide how they best learn, how to challenge them, how to help them become successful in the future?  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A little laugh for today!

This has been floating around facebook the last couple days:

A grade one teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb.
It's hard to believe these were actually done by grade one kids ('6' year-olds),
because the last one is classic!

Strike while the insect is close.

Never underestimate the power of ants.

Don't bite the hand that looks dirty.

Better to be safe than punch a grade 7 boy.

If you lie down with dogs, you'll stink in the morning.

It's always darkest before Daylight Saving Time.

You can lead a horse to water but how?

No news is impossible.

A miss is as good as a Mr.

You can't teach an old dog new maths.

Love all, trust me.

The pen is mightier than the pigs.

An idle mind is the best way to relax.

Where there's smoke there's pollution.

Happy the bride who gets all the presents.

A penny saved is not much.

Two's company, three's
 the Musketeers.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you put on to go to bed.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you have to blow your nose.

There are none so blind as Stevie Wonder.

Children should be seen and not smacked or grounded.

If at first you don't succeed
 get new batteries.

You get out of something only what you see in the picture on the box.

When the blind leadeth the blind get out of the way.

And the favourite:
Better late than