Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mom's failing report card

Faith's standardized test report card gives me reason to celebrate and hang my head in shame. I don't mean I am ashamed of her, but of me. While she more than excelled in the high 90th percentile in math, social studies and science her reading grade was about 40 points lower. That is my fault - totally. If only I had read with her more, reviewed spelling words frequently and insisted we study even when she said she knew the material. While she is of good character, I shouldn't have trusted a 7-year-old with her skills assessment. There is cause for optimism, though. She does retain information extremely well so I'm sure her trouble comes in not recognizing words she should already know. My husband and I did drill her on each week's spelling words and she did well on tests but it's the cumulative knowledge that's tripping her up. Summer home-school is in order. I am pledging to take time to go over all vocabulary and spelling words while we tackle as many books as we can over her vacation. Wish us luck. I don't want to let her down again.
- Liz

Friday, May 16, 2008

Missing Mom

Liz's post about Mother's Day got me thinking about the change Daniel goes through when he hasn't had enough "mommy time." He cries, too. And whines. And acts like he's never heard of table manners.
I can always tell when I've been spending too much time away from my boy - whether I've been out of the house or just too wrapped up in myself at home. For example: my grandmother died this week. She lived in Michigan, and I wasn't able to get there. She didn't want a funeral, so I didn't go afterward, either. But it's put me in a strange headspace. Funerals really are a mourning tool for the living, I guess. And Chris has been home from work early every day this week. So he's been picking up Daniel, overseeing homework, handling the bedtime thing. And Daniel has turned into a complete hooligan.
Now, I'm not saying anything about Chris' parenting, by any means. Daniel has been well fed, clean and his schoolwork has been completed. He has, in fact, enjoyed his daddy time. And Lord knows I couldn't do this parenting thing without Chris. But let's face it, too much testosterone does not a civilized kindergartener make. It turns out my boy needs the downtime, the quiet activities, the strict structure I typically enforce. And I do mean enforce. If left to their own devices, my son and husband will revert to bachelor form. It's not pretty.
So, this weekend, Chris will be working and I will be spending both quality and quantity time with Daniel. We'll do laundry and yardwork, then spend some time painting, most likely. Sunday we have a lunch date with a good friend of mine and her little girl. And by Monday, we'll have our balance back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day - Gone with the wind

This year's Mother's Day really flew by. My presents are still wrapped on the table in the dining room. After tornadoes ripped through Central Georgia I left the house at 6:30 a.m. Sunday with video camera in hand. I have only been home with my family in the light of day for a few brief minutes Monday morning. Without electricity, I've been fumbling around at night with little time for anything but getting ready for bed. Sunday night, with Faith already fast asleep, I noticed a card by my dresser. She wanted me to see it that night. With an emergency lantern in one hand and the card in the other, I read: "Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, You're the best Mom of all." It was pinwheel that dialed around to different pictures of us fashioned in brilliant crayons. It is my masterpiece. Mind you, I'm not complaining about missing out after what I've witnessed in the way of destruction. But I am extremely disappointed for my daughter who had a number of surprises in store for me. We have discussed taking a rain check and a special day will be on the horizon. Before the disaster I had planned to take Monday off to go on a field trip with her. Because school was closed it was canceled without the promise of a makeup day. I told Faith maybe I could make it if they rescheduled before Summer vacation. No such luck. When I got in bed last night and checked phone messages, I heard today was the makeup day so I missed that, too. Faith cried when her daddy told her they reset the field trip for today and I was at work. I called her and tried to explain that it was important for mommy to help the many people who were affected by the storms get information. When I get home tonight I'll tell her about the woman in Twiggs County whom I just interviewed. As the tornado ripped off her roof, she held on to the closet doorknob with all her might with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old with her. It's time to count our blessings.
- Liz

Six Flags offers a deal

Last week I found out Six Flags has dropped their prices for the 2008 season. Something about offsetting the price of gas, what my understanding. And with their debut of a "Thomas the Tank Engine Land," we had been planning to go for Daniel's birthday anyway. So imagine my happy when I went online to find an even better deal on tickets!
I don't know how long it's going to last, but Six Flags is offering all their tickets purchased online at $29.95. That's the price usually charged for kids, and about $20 cheaper than an adult ticket used to be. For roller coaster nuts like myself and Chris, that's too good to pass up. And for moms with little Thomas fans, it makes the trip a little more feasible. Thanks, Six Flags.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Suitors already? "Get used to it"

The late afternoon and evening calm as been broken by the sound of the doorbell on recent nights. As our house is up a hill, it's rare someone other than the UPS man comes calling. But lately, the little boys from the next street have been coming to ask Faith to play with them. She eagerly changes out of her "girlie" clothes and scrambles out of the house to go play. It's an adjustment to go from a semi-quiet house to the commotion that naturally comes when three to four young men enter the picture. They are well-behaved boys, but they are still boys. Last night Faith caught me off guard. Because Daddy had meetings Monday and Tuesday, I decided to skip the gym and stay home with the family. Wednesdays are big nights at our house since we discovered "Big Valley" reruns on television. For some reason - likely the lovely Linda Evans in fancy dresses - Faith loves that show almost as much as her father did as a boy (for the same reason, I'm sure). Usually, we all gather around the television as a family to watch before I have to go to bed. Well, Faith made plans to rendezvous with her friends again after supper last night until I mentioned "Big Valley." "I'll have to go and tell them I have to cancel," she said. Later she reconsidered and asked if we could tape the program so that we can view it tonight. When the doorbell rang again, I looked at my husband who said: "Get used to it." I can only imagine how she's going to ditch us when the boys really come courting.
- Liz

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Car safety

Maybe it's because Daniel and I spend so much time in the car, but I am rabid about car-seat safety. It's the one thing that's likely to make me honk at another parent - when I see those kids bouncing all over the car, hanging over the driver's shoulder, or leaning up against the dash IN A MOVING CAR.

So when sent me my daily bulletin and it was about car seat safety, I had to pass it along.

Here's the link, and the topics.

Not using a safety seat consistently
Using an old or secondhand seat
Turning your child to face forward too soon
Moving your child out of his car seat or booster too soon
Not installing a safety seat correctly
Not using a locking clip or using it incorrectly
Not securing your child in the seat
Not buckling a car seat into the car
Holding your child on your lap
Letting two kids share one seat belt
Letting your child ride in the front seat

To the lady in the red Blazer I pass every morning - I don't care if you're just driving in the neighborhood, those kids need to sit down and buckle up! A huge percentage of accidents happen within five miles of home.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Goodbye Rainy and Sparkles

We've had a death in the family - make that two deaths. Our 7-month run with goldfish is over. At our friends' fall festival, we were the lucky recipients of three goldfish that we put in a small aquarium near the kitchen sink. Goldie, the first to go swimming down the porcelain grave in our bathroom, died a few weeks after the homecoming. We were never quite sure what happened. This time, we were having a horrible time keeping the tank clean as Rainy and Sparkles grew bigger and bigger. On the way out for our family reunion, my husband changed out a bunch of water and vacuumed the gravel but it was still pretty murky. We hoped the water would settle and clear, but by the time our house-sitter arrived a couple of hours later, the fish were floating. We've concluded our small tank and filter were no match for hungry-all-the-time growing goldfish. These were Faith's fish but we're all a little blue. Coming into the kitchen, there are no little fins wagging hello and orange mouths opening and closing as if they were saying, "Hello, now feed me some more." We're still not sure where Rainy and Sparkles are in the garden, but Faith wants to know. Our friend promises to take us graveside the next time she visits. We're not giving up and hope to adopt some new fishies soon. This time we'll try some tiny neons or fancy guppies for our own little home school.

- Liz