Saturday, February 19, 2011

March Friday Family Funfest Ideas Week 1

Hello, hello. Let me start by saying Friday Family Funfests are not just for mom's. If you are an aunt/uncle, grandma/grandpa, older sister/brother, just THINK of how many memories you could create with YOUR little one. Always remember, it takes a village to raise a child. And in my case, I think three villages per munchkin.

This blog started out as a photo stop for family and close friends, but my continued frustration on uploading photos with any speed, has led me to ignore it.

But here's a new post, YAY!

March 2011 Friday Family Funfest Ideas:

Over breakfast one day the children started fighting over where they wanted to travel someday. I know, kids, right?! So we are going to spend some weekends discovering new countries. Here are the steps I'm taking and the relative cost of each adventure.

1. If you go to most big box stores they are happy to give you...big boxes! For free! By taking simple scissors, used cereal boxes and straws/sticks/leftover from summer skewers sanded down, you can make pretty good box airplanes. My kids LOVE the boxes and they make great indoor weekend activities for the winter. (we'll be making these February 26th and saving in basement until our travels in March)

2. Our local bank, and maybe yours, still have the old fashion savings passport books that you can make into F.F.F. passports. Also, easily created with inside out cereal boxes, blue paint, gold marker, second side of failed print jobs and stapler. Then collect stickers that match the countries of your destinations and each week they can add a sticker and fun fact about your "vacation". (we'll be making these February 26th and saving in basement until our travels in March)

3. Our first trip is to China!
Dinner: Chicken Helper Fried Rice (under $5) egg rolls bought at the Chinese Restaurant ($4).
Activity: Books on China from library, stamping/stickering passport (FREE)
Movie: The Great Panda Adventure (being put on hold at library this week so available for March 3rd) and Karate Kid (2010) now available on Netflix instant queue ($9.99/mo)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Because I'm lazy...

Because I'm lazy I'm not going to add photos. My posts take 3 times as long just for adding the pics. I don't know why my computer and blogger fight me, but they do and today they've won the battle...but not the war.

Ellis has started walking. Jacob announced that he is only going to read his book at the sitters and speak to no one. And Mena has finally decided to start wearing princess shoes I bought her over a year ago. They are all growing and maturing at their own rate.

Friday night I took Mena on a date to see Toy Story 3. I cried uncontrollably for the first ten minutes, and NO!... I'm not pregnant. Watching the animated Andy pack for college just broke my heart. When it's late at night and I'm exhausted from a day of mindless cartoon chatter, bickering siblings, and the need for a giant cold Diet Pepsi that doesn't exist in my refrigerator, I really do pull out the calendar and start counting down the days until their adulthood.

But then there are nights like last night. Mena fell asleep in the car coming home from Grandma's and had to be carried upstairs to the potty then put to bed. Jacob and I made up a new game "Kiss & Tell" where I kiss his nose, toes, fingers, etc. and tell him one thing about him. After that, those who were awake, went through the scrapbooks to find a page I could enter in the county fair this year, choice made, putting them away. Our sweet little Ellis finally began walking. Those are the nights when our home truly is our refuge from the world and our garden out back is eden.

Ellis then was up through the night with a runny nose and I am reminded that I'm too old to keep trying for more ( a thought this weekend) and that right now my job is to just adore the children I have and be grateful for the time we're given.

So instead of a photo this post, take a moment, close your eyes and imagine:

The bottoms of three, separate right feet belonging to an almost seven year-old, a four year-old and an almost one year-old. Lined up with their cute little toes angling down.

Those three feet belong to three amazingly beautiful, bright children who may cure cancer, travel around the world, or live in space. They may buy a home with their spouses and children in Fremont, Ohio or move to London, England. I don't know. But their mine, and I love them even when I'm screaming.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mommy, Mommy, how does your garden grow?


Cousins, Riley and Ben, were spending the night. The late afternoon sun was shining, the children playing, the plants growing...the perfect photo opportunity!








Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A New Post!

This first photo is part of our traditional documentation of our babies' first Mama's meatball. She of course loved it. Our kids are awesome eaters until they attend pre-school, then they think all meals should be "snacks" and begin a hunger strike that Jacob is just now coming out of.

Well, my dad was in town last week to help us put in our first garden. Poor guy, he was as sick as a dog the whole time. But he persevered even when I asked him to just go in and rest. That's the macho man in him but I wish he hadn't felt so lousy.

We're calling this our practice garden. We've planted potatoes, corn, cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, eggplants, green beans, peas and carrots. I thought I had a big area but it sure got smaller as my paths between veggies became tighter.

I love my house. It's not big but it feels like the right size for us. I love my yard because I have so much dreaming room. This time of year I check out loads of gardening and landscaping books that I pore over. But in the end I only have the time and money for one new project, and this year it's the vegetable patch. I did buy 2 hanging pots and impatiens from daughters of friends that were a fundraiser. But that's just my usual spring, curbside appeal, planting. And so I still have the library books and dreaming of next year's project. I'm thinking it's going to have to be my made from scratch patio planters and bench. I've been waiting on those for awhile.




Monday, April 5, 2010

Jacob




My friend Megan asked me to update her on Jacob's gifted panel results via my blog. So here it goes.

He's a smart kiddo. We already knew that. So I'll start from the beginning of Jacob's story.

The day our son was born, his father picked him up out of the clear cradle that the nurses wheel into the room after birth. Dad puts his son up to his shoulder. Our little baby then proceeds to amaze the nurse and look around. She says she has never seen a baby at 1 hour do that. He then proceeds to stay awake for his first twelve hours of life, apparently another first for these ladies. He has never gone back to sleep. Jacob's never required much sleep and loves to "look around". His Aunt Jean Yowpa, who has two VERY smart sons of her own, told me early on that non-sleeping can be a sign of intelligence. Not much comfort to an exhausted law school widow far from home.

At 18 months I started counting his words because What to Expect the First Year told me too. He was suppose to have 50, he had a 100. Then sign and word recognition began at 22 months, though not true reading, still ahead of the curve. By 26 months he was asking to follow our finger and repeat our words as we held family scripture study at night. While a solid 2 year old he could put together puzzles all by himself up to 50 pieces without looking at the box. He just recognized how the shapes should fit.

We knew he was smart. We knew he was smart when he started reading Harry Potter and the Book of Mormon by himself, half way through his second pre-school year. And when he went into kindergarten testing (one month shy of his 5th birthday) and tested into the 2nd grade. So why didn't the school know it?

They did. In pre-school the principal would come in and work with him one-on-one because the teacher wasn't "allowed" to teach reading. In kindergarten his teacher told us he was the smartest child she had taught in 30 years. But the principal was tried of stealing drugs from the nurses office this past summer and the teacher spoke to the principal who told her gifted programs weren't available until the 4th grade. And every year he was asked to be an "aid" to a special needs child. Which of course I said yes, so as to continue his emotional education.

Last summer I spent a lot of time on this issue, and talked to most of you about what to do. My biggest sounding board being Kristen, who is HIGHLY gifted, hard working and ambitious. As well as having grown up in rural Ohio until sixteen. But after much prayer and meditation last May I thought I found my solution... they can't make him stupid.

I felt that the lessons he was suppose to learn by attending our local public school would be respect for all people, kindness, compassion, humility. He's not the best artist in his class nor is he the most athletic, these too have a place in a child's education. And then we would support his academic interests at home.

For crying out loud, the child read the dictionary and encyclopedias of focused topics for fun! At 5! We spend a lot of time at the library and conducting science experiments at home. As well as a zoo pass and science institute pass.

I was good with this solution, while trying to manage a third child, Phil being gone so much building his business and Church calling, and finishing college, and my returning to work.

Then I learned he was being physically bullied by 4th graders during lunch. Now mom's mad!!!

I went straight to the office and sat down with the principal and vented my anger at what I feel has been a completely wasted year with a nasty old worn out teacher who loves the Jacob sits quietly and completes homework while the other 23 children run amok. AND now his isolation is furthered by these fourth grade punks.

"Isolation?" she asks. YES! He reads at a 5th grade level and doesn't want to play the same games as the other children in his class. "I didn't realize". Well of course she didn't, she's young and new. So she hasd the gifted coordinator call me and he kind of poo-poos me that all moms think their child is gifted and if he was, why isn't he on our radar until the 4th quarter. Good question. Why don't you ask his lazy , sour-puss teacher? Who by the way lives three doors down from us and I have had social run ins with. Even though I thought we were both playing nice while Jacob was in her class.

So they test him.

And the results are in.

Two weeks after the first talk, a panel of five very smiley adults, and one blank face stare, look across from Phil and I. Each take their turn. The gifted coordinator gushes about how much fun he had the couple of days he tested Jacob and what a pleasure he is to talk with. Oh and I'm retiring on Friday but am running a kiddie kollege at the local community college this summer and you should sign him up.

The woman who tested his reading had to stop after the 6th grade levels, but feels confident that he would've passed into 7th easily. The literacy specialist swooned with pleasure at having this conversation with us because usually she's discussing IEP's, instead of how to advance a 5t wearing 6 year old. His teacher? Oh well he does finish his assignments on time.

GAH!!!!!!!

She was of course, a waste of space. The asst. principal relayed how she regularly eats lunch with him because he's so much fun to talk too. And the school psychologist then proceeded to share how his cognitive testing went. She had to score his as average because he didn't complete enough to be bumped into the gifted area. Why? Because he finished each with such precision that the quantity of completed activities were low. He would have scored much higher if he had done more even if they were wrong. So she HAD to score him low even against her personal judgment just to fit the parameters of the test. That's cool, I was ok with that. But she was very apologetic.

They talked, we talked, for two hours. For now, he'll be attending a 3rd grade class for reading, so as to have more advanced conversation than he's getting in the 1st grade while still not being too far ahead socially. He also will be visiting with the school counselor, and two other "gifted" 2nd graders, once a week for smart games. It's something. They can't do a whole bunch because the state of Ohio doesn't provide funding or services to schools until the 3rd grade. In fact he's still not technically "identified" because the tests aren't suppose to be given until the 2nd grade. So he'll have to do them all again next year. Which he's good with because he thought they were lots of fun and of course, he enjoyed the adult conversation during his day.

It was nice to sit and hear how wonderful your son is not only because of his intelligence but because they each enjoyed their time with him on a social level. And again the inspiration came very clearly to my mind, he will always be smart. That is his God given gift to him. But it is my responsibly as his mother to teach him to be a productive member of society who is gives back, who is loving and thoughtful and hard working.

Plenty of smart people end up in the gutter. It's not the numbers, it's the package that contains them.

I love that kid. He drives me crazy. He makes me work too hard as he follows me from room to room with his incessant questions and thoughts. But I'm working to live up to him. Not bring him down to make things easier on my ears. Though a new conversation in our home is....

Jacob please pay attention to non-verbal clues for when others are just not available to listen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello again!

I suck...I suck...I suck...I suck...I suck...

So I bought a new camera before Christmas so as to not miss any more photo ops. But I can't figure out why the exact same brand one generation later doesn't download as easily as my last camera. Which was found at the end of January.

I still have crappy Christmas pics.

We went to Nashville to visit the Gates for New Year's and had a blast and I never remembered my camera, EVER!

We've had great snow storms and kids playing but I think I just have them at the door and one of Rudy.

Ellis has broken her first tooth and is crawling. Still in spurts but definitely crawling. We had a lovely Superbowl evening and mom and Rob's and a sweet family breakfast to celebrate Valentine's day.

Jacob is becoming a momma's boy again. And I kinda like it. He's hurt himself and called for me twice in two days. He's always been so tight with his dad, which I encourage, but it's still nice that he needs mommy to kiss the boo-boos.

Mena is a GREAT big sister and just adores "her" baby. She even likes to play baby school where she "reads" to Ellie.

I like working for Phil and look forward to adding a day when Ellis is in all-day kindergarten and I won't have to pay for a sitter. But I'll always only work 4 days. I'm still going to need a day for bon-bon eating and hulu, am I right my sisters?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Very Sad

Let me tell you how sad I am this morning...I can't find my camera.

Now, let me tell you how happy I am that this is the only thing I'm sad about today.

But because I can't find my camera I can't upload pictures of my beautiful children. I have gone Thanksgiving, decorating the tree, and now Fremont's Holiday Parade without any pics of Ellie's firsts! And I'm close to having a panic attack. I'm already behind on Mena's scrapbook (please don't ever let on that I STILL haven't scrapped her first birthday and have to get pics from Aunt Allie to boot). But now I'm REALLY behind on Ellis. And I love that little sweetie pie and want to scrap it!

Ellis is my pretty, pretty princess. Mena I've always called my little pink princess and now we have a pretty, pretty princess. She totally rocks our house! When she makes noises to be fed at 3 in the morning, you go to get her, and she's kicking and giggling. No joke! It's hard not to like those early mornings when she makes them so pleasant. She only screams when she's super hungry. And well heck, that just makes her a Wylykanowitz...

It's funny, but all she asked from Santa was a cropper hopper 24 drawer scrapbook organizer. And that lucky girl is going to get it! She whispered in my ear to tell Santa that her greatest Christmas wish is to help Momma clean up her supplies so that she can have a super duper baby book.

But I can't find my camera!

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Ohio, United States
Just a mom, doing mom things, thinkin' mom thoughts and wishin' I could look like the models in the Lands End catalog. Except without dieting, exercising, or giving up 3 hour naps.