Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stand by Your Man

I loved Ann Romney’s speech last night.  She was articulate and genuine and  personable and real.  She did what she has done their whole married life…she stood by her man.  Behind every successful man is a great woman and last night I caught a huge glimpse of why Mitt has been so successful in life.  She wasn’t up there for selfish reasons, she was up there to defend her man from the countless attacks on his character.  She is his character witness.  I think how a man treats his wife is more telling of his character than anything else in life.  Last night she spoke volumes about his character.

Makes me think….am I as good at standing by my man and uplifting and telling the world about my husband’s  wonderful qualities??

What did you think??

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bumbos, marriage and school oh my...

Did you hear that Bumbo’s are being recalled?  It’s because several children have had skull fractures from falling off high surfaces while in their Bumbo.  So they have to recall ALL the seats because some parents aren’t watching their kids?   It’s like punishing a whole school class because 1 or 2 kids are misbehaving.  This time it’s the parents misbehaving by setting their baby on a table or countertop and then walking away.

I am not guilt free from setting my child on a countertop in a Bumbo, but I never was more than arms length away.  My baby boy was the Bumbo escape artist.  He could arch his back and squirm in just the right way to escape from it.

I say bring the Bumbo’s back, they are fabulous!  I honestly don't care that much since I'm out of the baby stage and gave my bumbo away a year ago.

My husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage yesterday!!  It seriously does not seem that long, I chose wisely when I married.  How was I to know that he would be the best, most involved Dad I know, as well as so kind and good to me?  That he would always build me up, and he has never spoken an unkind word to me.  To me it speaks volumes about a person’s character when they treat their spouse and children with respect and kindness.   They are the most important relationships in life and yet sometimes they are the hardest people to treat with kindness because there is so much emotion and investment in the relationship.  It is also easy to focus on the negative when you know a person so very well.

Yesterday we were able to go on a lunch date (how I love having older kids to babysit!) and we were talking about some of our favorite memories of the past 16 years.  It was so interesting that some of our best memories are from the really challenging times.  Our college days when we were extremely poor and crazy busy, my last pregnancy and our preemie baby, our infertility issues and other trials.  It was eye opening to realize how much those times have bound us together and how much they have strengthened our marriage.  Interesting to think about.

School starts on the 27th!  I haven’t been ready for my kids to go back until this week.  But man alive I am ready to have some routine and structure back.  I’m ready for my pantry to stay full for more than 3 days, I’m ready for my house to stay picked up for longer than 5 minutes.  It’s stinkin’ hot here and nobody wants to go out and burn off energy,  the kids are bored and when they are bored, they act up.  Bring on school!

All of my kids are wearing uniforms this year.  My oldest son wears any solid colored polo with either khaki, navy or denim shorts or pants.  My 2 middles wear a polo with the school logo on it and either khakis or navy.  It simplifies things significantly I must say!  Now my boys don’t have to worry about matching (they are fashion challenged) because any combination of shirts/shorts/pants match!  Woohoo!

First grade has always been harder for me to send my kids to than kindergarten.  It is all day, they don’t feel like they are “mine” any longer because they are gone from me for so long, HOWEVER this year I have a first grader and I don’t feel that way!  He did kindergarten twice and is so ready to go all day!  I say bring on 1st grade, he is super excited and will flourish!

What are your opinions on the Bumbo recall or marriage or school uniforms?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

School Days

My kids have been attending our local public schools and doing quite well.  We live in the 5th largest school district in the country.  I have loved our school which is literally around the corner from us.  The huge majority of our teachers are amazing and doing their very best to educate and love the children they have been entrusted with.   We have been so fortunate and feel so blessed to have had the interaction with the teachers we have over the years.  Please know my frustrations with our educational system have very little to do with teachers.  I think teachers are amazing and do so much for our kids with all the restrictions put on them.

However, the majority of the policies and procedures that our humongous district has put in place I do not agree with.  We now have bureaucrats and politicians making decisions for my children instead of educators.  Most of the fine arts are being cut in middle schools.  My son has participated in drama the past 2 years of middle school and has loved it, but it is gone this year.  My older children have lived with ONE 10-15 minute lunch recess for most of their elementary school careers.  The teachers are being forced to teach to the test which seriously limits their ability to teach in an  interactive and hands on way.

 It eats me up and I have felt like I have absolutely no voice to make any changes.  Last year I had an experience (rememberthis?) with our administrator that left a bad taste in my mouth and I knew  when that happened we would be looking into other educational options for my children after that.  When you limit the decisions a parent can make for their child when they know best because of policies and it making your numbers look bad there is something wrong.

So after much thought we applied to go to a local charter school which I have heard nothing but great things about.  Unfortunately we didn’t get into the one which is around the corner, but we did get into a school that is in the same charter system, but we will be driving 25 minutes (one way).  It is worth it to me.  I have been to a couple of parent meetings and it is amazing to really have a voice and feel like what I say makes a difference.  There are only 350 students going to this school.  Our principal is phenomenal and is willing to take input and suggestions from the parents.  She is the authority, she doesn’t have to go to the district for permission to implement a policy. 

She was going to implement the one recess rule as well until a few parents spoke up.  Maybe I spoke up too much because she put me in charge of a committee to come up with a solution for it.  But honestly I am so excited because the lack of recess has been a thorn in my side for almost 10 years. I feel quite passionately about it, which is due to my early childhood ed. Background, but also I have a boy who will not do well in school with only 10 minutes of down time.  I have written letters to legislators, school board members etc, but yet I knew nothing I said made a difference. 

But guess what??  I can make a difference here because the principal is listening and not constrained by the district, she said she is willing to look into another 15 minute recess if we can figure out a way to do so with the limited time and space we have. 

We will meet with her next week and talk about it.  In the meantime I am researching about the benefits of recess and plan to share my research in the meeting.  I will keep you all (all 5 of you) posted!

What's your opinion about recess, school policies etc??

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


We are on a family vacation and we spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's cabin.  It is a wonderful place filled with lots of places to explore, sticks to find, dirt to dig in etc.  But the most beloved place at the cabin is far and away the river.  Fishing is a huge activity at the river and nearly all the kids, regardless of age participate.  My 2 year old could have stood on the bank and thrown rocks in FOREVER.  Another favorite activity is tubing down the river.  The river is usually calm and slow moving and not much of a danger.  Above is a picture of my husband and 2 sons before they went tubing this past Monday (2 year old had to show off Dad's fly rod in the photo as well). 

The boys wanted a longer tube ride than normal so they hiked up a ways above where they normally put in.  I decided a few minutes after they left to walk up so I could snap some photos of them.  I was walking with my two little ones and we were having a great time on a little nature walk.  All of a sudden I heard my husband's voice, it had great desperation in it.  All I heard was "Garrett...GRAB THE TUBE!  GRAB THE TUBE!"  With those 7 words dread entered my heart and I started to panic.  You see Garrett didn't have a life jacket on (I know...don't judge) and while he is a great swimmer (thank you swim team), I knew he was no match for a swift river.  I ran to the bank thinking if he was coming downstream that perhaps I could grab him.  But when he didn't come and I didn't hear anything more from my husband I started to panic.  I picked up my 2 year old and ordered my daughter to run.  We got to where the boys were just as I saw my husband and 7 year old getting out of the river.  My son was wet from head to toe.  My 13 year old was emotional. 

I asked what happened and heard this story.  Nathan (my oldest son) went down first on the river.  He went around a bend where he was sucked into a tree.  He was fine and upright, but couldn't move.  Then Garrett went down, that same current that sucked Nathan in, sucked Garrett in too, except it capsized his tube and sucked him under water.  He was pinned underneath Nathan.  Nathan felt totally helpless as he knew his younger brother was under there, but he couldn't do a thing to help him.  Dave said he watched this as if in slow motion.  He got off his tube and ran down there, but couldn't see Garrett under the water.  He then stepped toward Nathan and stepped on something.  That something was Garrett.  Dave pulled him out of the river by his ankle.  He was going down stream.   He was underwater for about 30 seconds. 

I started to cry as I was hearing this.  It could have been a tragedy.  It could have turned out so much worse.  I am so grateful that my son is just fine and it wasn't his time to go.  I am so grateful my husband stepped where he did.  I am so grateful Garrett was able to hold his breath for 30 seconds (thank you swim spite of Garrett kicking and screaming to go everyday, it probably saved his life this week).  That morning my cute 4 year old daughter had said our morning prayer, in that prayer she asked that we would all be protected that day.  I am so grateful that prayer was answered.

I asked Garrett what he was thinking when he was under the water.  He told me he thought he was going to die, but he wasn't scared.  I asked him if he prayed and he said, "Not really, all I kept saying in my head was HELP! HELP!"  I told him that was a prayer and it was answered. 
Thankfully Garrett seems no worse for the wear.  He actually got back on the tube and went down on a very calm part of the river right after this experience.  He hasn't had any bad dreams and wants desperately to go swimming again.  He is one tough kid and I am so grateful for that grit and toughness.  He is one special boy and I told him he has lots of important things to do on this earth and God wants him here to accomplish his mission in life.