Friday, May 21, 2010

Lei-lei

Putting Evan behind the camera to get a picture of this cute girl in a cute dress from Aunt Steph




Umm.... Evan... You missed something.

Comments for the school

After reading my friend's comments to the school (end of year thing) which I agree with, I submitted my own as follows:

I feel that ________Elementary is one of the best schools out there. The staff are great! Wonderful principal, great office and impressive teachers. I do have a few little issues to mention that I think if addressed would make things even better:


(1.)Stop rewarding my child with candy. Really. Way too much candy. I'm glad he won BINGO or got the best word or got 100% on his spelling test. Please let that be its own reward.


(2.)Stop showing movies at school, especially without notifying parents first. If they have to watch Magic School Bus every week to learn science then why do I send my child to school? We can watch that at home! And Disney Movies never need to be shown; I don't care if they're rated G. My kids are at school to learn and if not, they should be at home. Plus the teachers always wish they had more time to do things they'd like to do, so why do we have this time waster in the library twice a week?


(3.)Why is it that if I hadn't volunteered to do art in the school, my child might not have gotten art? Also I was led to believe there would be a play performed at the end of the year, and a lot of neat science projects, none of which were ever realized.


(4.)At a parent teacher conference, parents want to hear honestly what teachers think especially if there are problems, but also to be told good things the teacher has observed of the child. Even though my child has great test scores and no discipline problems I still felt no particular notice, nor did I hear any kind encouraging words from the teachers in the conference. It left me feeling really empty like no one really cared for the individual child. Later on I developed a good relationship with one of my child's teachers after I had helped in her classroom a lot, but not all parents can do that. FYI- Parents would like to know what their child does all day everyday! Even observations on the playground since we can't be there to watch! So I would wait for the progress report to come home to find out how my child was doing, and the frustration of reading it almost eclipsed the fact that my child scored very high. Report cards used to be easy to read. List all 6 or so subjects with an A,B,C,D,F, next to each subject, something about citizenship and attendance, and then the teacher actually FILLED IN A COMMENT SECTION so you could feel encouraged! Now there are no comments, but there is a key to help you understand the code. In addition, whenever a graph was listed to show where my child scored, it took 10 minutes for my husband and I to figure out HOW to read it before we could read it. For example, if my child scored really low on a test it actually meant really high, and there are all these ridiculous symbols that you have to decipher making things as confusing as possible as if on purpose. Instead of feeling a connection with the teacher, or feeling like the teacher has any special regard for the child, I just saw a page full of nonsense. I bet the teachers love filling it out too!


(5.)Lastly, the speech therapists can get by without involving the parents at all, periodically sending a letter that states that my child has made "sufficient progress", though I cannot tell what. Towards the end of the school year I did notice a little improvement in my child's speech, but I was never called to talk about how the sessions were going the whole year through, nor was I ever told what my child was working on so that I could help reinforce it at home. I would have done speech exercises or whatever I could to help. I always heard she was so busy and thought for sure we'd have at least an 'in person' end of year assessment. Now the school year is over and I received another letter saying "sufficient progress" and "Have a nice summer!".

I always felt like I was a rather involved parent, and I was at the school a lot, but still didn't feel like there was enough communication going on between parents and teachers as this illustrates. If nothing else, bring back the hand written comments on progress reports!

Another thing I remembered after I already sent the email is:
(6)Please don't ask my child to bring school supplies that you mean to give to others without saying so. For instance, you asked my child to bring 4 folders and 3 notebooks. After letting him choose the ones he wanted at the store, he saw them given to other students who had none. We are not against charity, but charity isn't charity when you TAKE from one person to give to another without telling them what you'll be doing. That is STEALING. My child only saw his first folder and notebook and the others went to other students. Instead say each child needs 1 folder and 1 notebook, and if you could donate a couple extra in case other students are in need that would be great. It IS a hefty supply list with 13 things the students must supply the school with including ziplock bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, school box, dry erase markers, regular markers, crayons, big eraser, pkg pencil top erasers, 12 pencils, package gluesticks, 2 big boxes tissues, and snacks, so I understand that may be hard for some people (myself included!) but we would appreciate honesty.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A few more things that have happened lately...

I went to a class here in the community about the Constitution and the founding our our country. It was put on by the National Center for Constitutional Studies and if you are interested they will come to your community anywhere. It was very educational and shocking how simple the constitution is to read and I do believe it is hanging by a thread. On a related note, I think Glenn Beck is great and believe that he "gets it". I am trying to educate myself on these matters as much as possible and wonder constantly how I was never taught these things in high school or college.
Here are two of our chicken eggs next to one store bought egg.
Here's me and LN on Mothers Day. The flower on my shirt Dal made for me. LN is sporting a hand-me-down dress I got from Lacey I think and I love it. Isn't it adorable!?
Sam filled out a survey in his Sunday class about his mother. His "interesting" answers included my height: 4000 million feet
my favorite place to go: Walgreens (?)
my favorite food to cook: Green Spaghetti (?)
Since I've never made green spaghetti I teased him about it a lot and then the next night I made him green spaghetti. (Spinach noodles, spinach, in a light alfredo sauce). Pat says he's never seen Sam so excited about a dinner. It turned out very good! We'll have to make green spaghetti more often.

And speaking of things that are green...
Two weeks ago on Sunday night Pat and I were listening to music videos on the internet. I was listening to a song I love called "Mary did you know, that your baby boy would someday walk on water..." and then we somehow moved into Andrea Bocelli music as I have loved him for some years. (There is so much to choose from but here is one performance of his if you're interested.)



I said to Pat, "Wouldn't it just be amazing to hear him live in concert? His voice is so amazing I just can't imagine how wonderful it would be to hear him live."
Pat, just to see, looked on the internet for his concerts and found that they were all in Europe this year. Last year he'd been in California but was not expected back... So Pat read all the locations, Spain, Italy, etc... Ireland...
"Oh!" I said, "I've always wanted to go to Ireland! Wouldn't that be neat!", not thinking beyond that.
Pat starts looking so see how much it would cost to FLY TO IRELAND! I laughed and said sure, check it out.
It all didn't seem like an impossible thing. Then we checked other prices and long story short, a couple days later we called Dublin at 2am (9am their time) and bought two tickets to see Andrea Bocelli. They only had 5 left. It's not till late this year, but I am so excited! It felt good how it just all fell together, and is an unexpected awesome 10 year anniversary present to us. So Pat's mom is coming to stay with the kids and, wow, I guess that's that! I've been reading Ireland travel guides and watching movies about Ireland trying to figure out what we should do there. I wonder if there is any family history there. At least we'll get to see a great performance! Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!!! And when Andrea asks who came from farthest away, and I'll say "Me! I came from New Mexico in the Southwest of the USA, he'll say come on up and kiss me, and I will, and then he'll say, sing this next song with me, and of course I will, and on and on...

...on a Sunday afternoon...

I love laying on cement or hard floors. When I was with my mom on an extremely long shopping trip, I would lay down on the hard floors at the grocery store since they felt so cool and good. Today I was laying on the warm cement porch and I felt so luxuriously happy looking up at the gorgeous sky, with the sun shining on me, it was the perfect temperature and my kids were playing near me. I noticed the different leaves and flowers and said a silent prayer to God to thank him for all the beautiful things he has given us and I felt the Spirit so strongly that I couldn't help the tears that came to my eyes.
Last week a beautiful, young (28) mother of four young children in my home school group passed away from cancer. I think it was skin cancer and then it spread. I didn't know her very well, but could always tell that she was a special person. On their family page in our homeschool group's yearbook she put this quote: "If you can't take God with you, don't go."
The families in my homeschool group are choice and wonderful Christians and I'm so glad to be a part of them. This has affected me deeply as well as worrying about my beloved cousin who is also young and has been undergoing cancer treatments. They are suffering so much and face so many unknowns and fears and yet praise God the entire time through it.

Now my silly Evan:
Back to me on the porch... as I was laying there I heard what I thought was a panting dog approaching rapidly. The sound go so close to me that I quickly sat up terrified as to what was about to eat me, and realized in that moment that it was a birds wings flapping not a dog panting. I asked Evan who was near me playing in the sandbox if he saw how close the bird got to me. His immediate response (I guess sensing my fear) was, "Don't worry Mom, it didn't pick you up." 

Last night I had to direct the music for a church conference and then today Pat had to speak at a church conference, Dallas had a talk in primary, and I had two hours of music as usual with the primary children and had to come up with fun games. Add to that my children and baby and I am completely exhausted and my house is in ruins. I did do some spring cleaning this weekend and cleaned out all the closets and got rid of a lot of junk, so I have that to feel good about. And we planted our small garden. I hope it does better than last year!

I was remembering a story that happened when I was young growing up with my Mom. We were on welfare (sometimes church welfare, but at this point it was through the state) and I guess we got a certain amount of money per month. If you got any income from another source you were supposed to report it (on your honor) and they would deduct if from your check. Once my mom got 20.00 for babysitting or something, and she honestly reported it. I remember how mad I was at her because it seemed like our fridge was always empty and if there was something in it it was likely bologna. We always went without new clothes, without school trips, without a lot of things, whatever. It was just $20.00, which we could really use and not worth reporting! But she did it anyway. I will always remember her honesty. I was a great lesson even if I was mad at her at the time. She got her teaching degree and we got off welfare after a short time, and I wish more people were like that today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Remembering why I like it here...

Winter is finally over after yet another few snowy days last week, and I am loving it here! This time of year everything is green , and my perrinials are growing and it makes me so happy! Those darn gophers have eaten several more of my trees (including my two apple trees) which is incredibly frustrating, but just the same, I live in a beautiful place and I am remembering why I like it here...
Yesterday we were all playing on the porch and I was singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning..." and when I finished I asked the boys what they wanted me to sing next. Sam said, "I don't know", in a tone that indicated he wished I would stop singing. So I asked Evan what song he wanted me to sing now and he said, "You can sing the song that you're going to sing next."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Evan's Substitute

I noticed that Evan's teachers weren't there at church today so I asked him who taught his class. He responded: "The girl with the light brown shoes."

Leia's blessing

We blessed Leia today! In celebration enjoy a video (she was smiling just before I hit record and started smiling again just after I shut it off) and some pictures. Karisa was going to use the dress she was blessed in made by her Grandmother, but it was too tight in the wrists, and how shall we say... difficult to manage... and Leia has reflux (like Dallas did) and spits up tons. She covered both of us in spit up by the end of the blessing!








The blessing went well, Karisa got most of it written down, so we'll send it along to family soon.