Shorter breaks…longer school days (I’m a LITTLE ticked!!!!)

So President Obama has laid out his idea for education reform in this country. Longer school days, shorter breaks. As an educator I felt the need to sound off about this one! Let’s tackle the first thing…shorter breaks.

I agree that shorter breaks in this country would be an absolutely WONDERFUL idea! Do our kids really need to be off for 3 months in the summer? Probably not! They spend the majority of the summer rotting their brains in front of the TV, computer games, etc and little, if no, time doing anything educational. As a result, teachers spend the first month or so of school trying to beat into their brains again the stuff that they learned the year before that turned to mush over the summer! I am a big proponant of the 6 weeks on, 1 week off idea. 6 weeks in class, followed by a one week break. It allows for the kids to get time off so that they don’t burn out completely. Other school systems that go year round do 12 weeks, with 2 weeks off. That works too, just as long as the kids do get some break, because they do need it! (And so do the teachers!!!!)

Now, about the longer school days! I think this is a HORRIBLE idea! I have my reasons and they are as follows:

1) Children right now (at least in our area) spend about 6 1/2 hours every day in school. Some of them will also spend 1 1/2 hours EACH way on the school bus going to and from school, adding another 3 hours to their day. So if we extend the school day from 7:30 am to 7 pm as I saw in one suggestion that would mean that our children would have to be up at 5 am, to be on the bus by 6 am, to be at school by 7:30 am. They would be in school for almost 12 hours, to then get back on the bus and be home by 8:30 pm. I’m hoping that homework would be outlawed, but let’s say it’s not and they still have homework to do before bed. Let’s say 2 hours worth. That means they wouldn’t be finished until 10:30, immediately to baths and bed. Here’s my problem: WHERE DOES FAMILY TIME FIT INTO THIS EQUATION!?!??!?! Are you kidding me????Most of us don’t even WORK that long in one day! Why would we ask our CHILDREN to!?!?!?!?!? We want stronger families in this country…so naturally here’s the solution…not allow families to be together AT ALL!!!!! Yeah…that’ll work!!!! It’s absurd…not to mention kind of sounds like child labor to me!!!!!

2) Is congress going to pass some sort of resolution mandating that teacher’s get paid more?!?!? Because we all know that teacher’s get paid CRAP! And we will be expecting them to work more hours each day, and every other Saturday (as one article I read suggested), and take away the breaks that they also enjoy, but still pay them the same amount of money. Not going to happen! You’ll have pissed off teachers, who are overworked, underpaid (oh, wait! They’re already overworked and underpaid!!!!) So they’ll be MORE overworked, and MORE underpaid and then what happens!??! They will HATE their jobs, their attitude will translate into substandard teaching and our kids will learn NOTHING!
3) It doesn’t matter how long the school year, or the school day, is…if you have inadequate teachers, you are going to have substandard resullts. Period.

So here’s the deal, Mr. President…you try to enforce this in our country, and see how many parents will pull their kids out of the school systems and homeschool them instead! Somewhere along the way we decided that childhood was defined by school. Where is the time for our children to just be children? To run, and play, and use their imaginations, and dream about the day that they will go grow up to the President, or an astronaut, or a doctor, or a teacher! We’re so worried about competing with the rest of the world, that we are willing to SACRIFICE childhood in order to be the best! Well, guess what? I won’t play the game! I will homeschool my children, and focus on the things that are really important, like family, and our beliefs, and not wether or not my kids would win a math contest against some kid from Korea! So thanks for playing the “Let’s Reform Education in This Country” game, President Obama! Try again!

Our Big Weekend

We had a very busy, but absolutely wonderful weekend. It started Saturday evening with family night at the zoo for Steven’s company. They closed the zoo at 5 pm and the only ones allowed in were employees of Steven’s company, their families and friends that they brought. It was so cool to be in the zoo after hours, even though it was still really crowded. The kids had a blast, and we took Steven’s mom and dad with us, so that was really fun. It had been a long time since we had been to the zoo, and with as animal crazy as our Jonah is he was on cloud nine the whole time. We were there from 5 until 9 pm, and they were so excited we couldn’t even stop to eat. We didn’t eat dinner until about 9:30 that night…making for some very hungry, very tired, but very happy kiddos!!!

I’m getting me one of these signs made up for our front door! I think it would be hilarious!

Then on Sunday, we had the oppurtunity to have Micah baptized. It took place at St. Joe’s after mass. We had lots of family there with us and it was all wonderful! Micah did really good, until it came time for the actual baptism part and then he started crying. I thought it was pretty funny because he likes to get his hair washed, I thought the baptism wouldn’t bother him but it did! But he did well overall.

This is Deacon Tim Schabell. He also baptized Jonah (who he almost baptized as Noah…LOL!)

Jonah’s shirt was pulled up in all the family pictures! Go figure!!

These are Micah’s godparents- his aunt Michelle and our friend George.

Everyone that joined us at the church! Lots of family (mainly Steven’s!) and our friend George’s wife and children.

After the ceremony we had everyone back to our house for a party. My mom made mostacolli with homemade sauce that was sooo good, but we ended up making WAY too much! No kidding, we have probably two or three nights worth of dinners in the freezer right now! But I’m not complaining…makes for an easy dinner on a busy night! 🙂 We also got to watch the Bengals beat Green Bay for the first time in years so that was really exciting! Who-dey!!!

I spent most of the day on Saturday decorating the cake. My original plan (using the Wilton cross pan) had to be scratched at the store because I couldn’t find the pan. So I used a half sheet cake pan that I covered with buttercream icing (homemade! YUMMO!) and then I decorated it with little baby feet and a scallop edge and icing roses. It turned out so cute, and everyone said it tasted really good, even though I wasn’t thrilled with the taste. If anyone has a recipe for a yellow cake that they like…please let me know 🙂

It was such a wonderful day and I am so thankful for my family and for our wonderful new addition! May God continue to watch over you, Micah, and may He guide you in all the things that you do with your life. Know how much we love you and how happy we are that you are here with our family!

I’ve Had the Time of My Life

And the celebrity deaths just keep on coming! Now it’s Patrick Swayze, whom I fell in love with while watching Dirty Dancing. My Nana loved the movie Dirty Dancing and I remember watching it for the first time…afraid I would get in trouble because it was rated R. LOL! But I loved everything about it and I loved Patrick Swayze! Of course, I’ll always be partial to Ghost as well, and can never hear the song “Unchained Melody” without seeing the pottery scene (you know what I’m talking about!)

My favorite scene from Dirty Dancing comes at the end of the movie with the famous line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” and then they dance the night away! Such a fun scene, and that’s what I’ll always remember- the fun that I had watching his movies. Rest in peace, Patrick!It was a well fought fight and you’ll be majorly missed!

Eight Years Later

Today is the eight year anniversary of the horrific attacks on our country by terrorists In NYC, DC and Shanksville, PA. I am sitting here watching the replay of the coverage from the Today show that morning, and it still makes me cry every year. Watching that second plane hit the WTC live, watching those towers fall, remembering the terror, that as a then 19 year old I had never felt before, brings it all back. I know I’ll be a bad mommy today, sending the kids to play in other rooms, because I do become obsessed and want to watch whatever is on regarding this subject. I think it helps make sure that I NEVER forget what happened that day, all the lives that were lost out of hatred. I fear that too many Americans are becoming complacent. They complain about the cost of the war that has been raging, they complain that our last Administration did nothing to protect us, but it’s because they have forgotten the absolute terror of that day. I never want to be that person, I never want to forget!
Many of you may remember the song “Heaven” that Bryan Adams recorded several years ago. One year after 9/11 DJ Sammy remixed the song with a letter written by a little girl to her daddy. Well, lots of people on Youtube have set that song to pictures from 9/11. Last summer I took a political science class dedicated to 9/11. The professor played this song to open the class (after he passed around a box of tissues) and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. To this day it makes me sob. I will warn you though that there are some graphic images, including people jumping from the WTC towers.

May we never forget the events of that day, never forgot those who were lost, and may God bless our country and protect our troops who are still fighting a war that started this day!

2 months old

Micah is officially two months old, as of yesterday. I can’t believe it’s been two months already. We all keep commenting on how it feels like he’s always been here! He just molds so perfectly to our family that it’s hard to remember a time when he wasn’t here with us. Yesterday was his two month well check up with the pediatrician. He is now 10 pounds 2 ounces (so he has gained 4 pounds in 2 months-good boy!) and I don’t remember what his length was but they said he is now in the 73rd percentile for his height, up from the 37th percentile at his one month visit. We knew he’d had a growth spurt because all of a sudden his clothes were actually fitting him! They said he is doing great and we won’t have another visit until 4 months. The only thing I hate is that he had to get his first vaccines. Even though you know it’s for their own good, you always hate to see them get poked! He did good though, and calmed very quickly. He got three pricks in his thighs and then had an oral vaccine for the rotovirus. He’s too young for a flu shot, but the rotovirus can be just as bad for an infant as the flu so I went ahead and added that one too. He’s not had any major side affects, just a mild fever. I feel very blessed to have such a good, healthy baby after all the scares we had at the end. I thank God every day!

Potty training is going well, although over the long weekend things were a little crazy so we didn’t do that great, but today has been GREAT! Jonah is doing well, although I have to make him sit on the potty most of the time and try to go, or we go through LOTS of underwear! He’s still kind of young for a boy in regards to potty training, but I think he’ll have it soon!

I started “school” this week with Bri. We started on Tuesday and she loves it! We are doing a unit study using the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” to start. With this we are talking about rhyming and the alphabet, and also since the letters are climbing up a coconut tree we will be talking about coconut trees, where they grow, what they are used for, etc. (Even Jonah loves this book and walks around saying “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! Will there be enough room?”) We are also using Spectrum math Kindergarten for math. I don’t believe in trying to make a subject fit where it doesn’t, and math is one of those things that really needs to be learned sequentially. She loves doing the math work and would do it for hours if I didn’t stop her! We are also using a McGraw-Hill workbook, I Can Print, to work on writing our letters properly and to begin writing words. By the end of this unit (which we will probably carry over into next week) we will have completed our first lapbook which I’ll post pics of here. If you’ve never heard of a lapbook stay tuned, because I LOVE this idea and we’ll be using it ALOT!

So that’s the update on our family. We hope you all had a safe and fun Labor Day weekend. I for one am really glad that Fall is rolling in. Stayed tuned for lots of fall fun with our family!

Mommy…Wow! I’m a big boy now!

Well, not quite but getting closer! That’s right, my big boy is potty training and boy did I forget how exhausting this is! He’s been pretty close for a while, interested in using the potty, having some days where he’s done really well, etc. So last night I went to Wally World (aka Walmart) and bought the boy some big boy training pants. No, not Pull-ups. I happen to be anti-Pull-ups. I really don’t think they are very different from diapers so I go old school with the padded training pants from Gerber. Today is the first day wearing them and so far we are 1 for 3 (1 successful potty run, 2 wet pants!) Good thing I bought 6 pairs, but I don’t know if it’s going to be enough! He peed on the playroom floor a little while ago (I’m sooo glad that it’s vinyl!!!) so that was fun to clean up (but I am armed with lots of paper towels and Clorox multi-purpose cleaning spray!!! LOL!)

There is nothing cuter in the world to me than little toddler butts in training pants! So, being the scrapbooker that I am I had to take pictures of course!

If you’re wondering about the scratches on his face in the top picture- he took a face dive off of the swings on the swing set that my mom bought for them over the weekend last night. He was “flying” on his stomach and bam! Face first into the dirt! But he was ok, which was evident when he started saying that a popsicle would help him feel better! LOL! So funny!

And of course I can’t leave out Bri and Micah from this post! Brianna is excited that she gets to go try out dance classes on Saturday at a local dance studio. I was calling around to find out prices, schedules, etc. and one of them said she could come try it out on Saturday to see if she liked it! She is always dancing around this house and I thought this would be a great thing for her to get to do since we aren’t sending her to preschool this year. I’m going to be the bragging mom for a minute, but she is just so advanced I don’t want to bore her with preschool. Instead I am going to do some homeschooling with her this year with Kindergarten level material and see how she does. I think she’s more than ready and I’m excited to try this out with her. It’s not “officially” homeschooling since she’s not technically school age yet (drat those late birthdays!!), but we’ll be working through the skills that they learn in Kindergarten. So dance class will be good for some social interaction. And then of course, there is always sunday school at church for that too! And we have a playgroup that we’re going to be attending on Wednesdays so I think she’s going to get plenty of socialization (as if that’s EVER been a problem for my child!!!)

Micah is growing like an absolute weed! He is FINALLY fitting into “normal” clothes (0-3 month, instead of newborn or premie) which is good since he’s almost 2 months old. We had an appointment the other day and he is 9 pounds 12 ounces! He was 5 pounds 12 ounces when we left the hospital so he has gained 4 pounds in 2 months! You go boy! He’s starting to get chunky checks which I LOVE!!! He’s also starting to smile at people, and coo, and he does great with belly time, although he tends to fall asleep- he loves to sleep on his belly (he’s just like his mommy and his brother!), which I know is a no-no, but I feel like if I’m awake and near him to watch for any problems it’s not as bad as putting him on his belly at night when we’re all sleeping! (can you see how I’m trying to justify this?!?!?!) So, all in all he’s doing great! He goes on the 9th for his first set of vaccinations (sniff! Sniff!) but I know he’ll do great!

Ok, well, sorry for the longer post but it’s been a while since I’ve updated and just wanted to let you know what’s been going on here. I’ll try to be better- and I’ll post about Bri’s dance class on Saturday (and maybe even some pics if I can get them without crying!!! My little girl is growing up!!!!)