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Showing posts from September, 2010

Ying/Yang

Theresa, at Our Life in Words honored me with my first blog award!  Thank you so much.  Blogging is more than a hobby.  For me, it is therapy.  I take the thoughts that I struggle with, put them down and in doing so, release them into my journal.  Once they are on "paper" they are no longer taking up space inside me.  I can process them more easily.  What seems overwhelming becomes manageable.  What was once daunting is doable.  Frustrating becomes challenging.  And so on and so on.  

At times it may seem weird to put all my hopes, dreams, plans, goals and frustrations, concerns and questions out there for all to read but I am so thankful that I do.  For when I am stuck in a situation, I have so many people who have come this way before me to lean on.  The words of encouragement, support, advice and wisdom guide my choices, point me in different directions and steady me.  You are the ying to my yang.  Thank you for taking the time to help me on this journey!
The "rules&qu…

Student or Learner?

When I left my career nine years ago to stay home with Grace I struggled deeply with defining my sense of self.  When I walked out of my classroom and closed the door behind me for the final time, I became “just” a mom.  Where would I find value?  How would others perceive me?  I shied away from parties, especially those me and my husband would go to in Manhattan where his coworkers would ask what I did for a living.  How did I answer that now?.....uh....um....I am just a mom?  How silly, no how stupid I was.  How could I have thought so little of the role of mother?  Sadly,  it took me about a year to let go of who I was and start to embrace the person I was becoming.   I see so much of myself in my daughter.  For seven of her ten years she has been in some form of organized school where she has thrived.  She defined herself within the confines of school.  She received positive praise.  She competed successfully for stellar grades.  She was awarded prizes.  She defined herself as a “s…

The Sound of Music

My Nan loved to play the piano. When I expressed an interest in learning and showed promise, she sent one of her pianos to my house for me to practice on.  I fondly remember my teacher, an elderly blind man, who would somehow know instinctively every time I peeked at my fingers.  When he passed away after a fall I was crushed and I lost a bit of the love I had for my lessons.  That is how powerful a good teacher can be.  The piano remained in my family at my parent’s house until my daughters took an interest in learning to play.  Greg and I my moved the piano to our house and I called a tuner.  I was distraught to hear the tinkling sound of plastic parts raining down on the inside of the piano when the tuner opened it up.  It would have been more cost effective to buy the girls a new piano than to repair the one I had used for all those years.  Given that the brand of piano was made in the 40s and 50s with plastic parts, it was not a good investment to repair.  We got rid of the piano.…

Have Zuca, Will Travel

We discovered Zuca bags when Grace was figure skating.  They are very handy for wheeling skates, guards, jump ropes, water bottles and butt pads into the rink.  Plus on busy days, they double for a place to sit and lace up.  We pulled our bags out the basement, dusted them off and realized they are perfect for hauling our binders, books, journals, pens and pencils to the library!
The library has become our new favorite place for lessons.  I love our library.  The children’s wing is warm and inviting.  There is a reading nook that doubles as a meeting space for the knitting and poetry clubs.  There is a toddler area with board books and duplo blocks, a large bank of computers, and plenty of space for the three of us to work.  The library is synonomous with learning.  At the table I will introduce what I want them to work on whether it’s the next lesson in their math text or the mini-lesson for their writing assignment.  Then they scatter, each to their own place.  Most of the time it is…

Crisis Averted!

I could not find any clothes that fit me today.  I had what we have termed in this house, a “clothing crisis”.  Living with two daughters, we have these often.  Today was not about the actual fit of my clothes.   Well, I should mention that some are a bit snug due to my summer of glorious food.  But I do have some clothes that look fine on my body.  The problem with the fit today was that my clothes no longer fit who I am as a person.  
When I pulled out my fall clothes last year I was at a completely different stage of my life.  I was reentering the workforce full time for the first time in 9 years as a preschool teacher.  My daily clothes demanded flexibility.  Thank goodness we were allowed to wear jeans because life with preschoolers is up and down, literally!  But I often paired my jeans with something like this.  
Very preppy.  Very teacher-y.  Very straight-laced and slightly boring.  But I looked professional and well suited for a classroom of 20 three, four and five year olds…

Our Accomplishments

Our accomplishments this week: My girls can tell me who Ashurburnipal is and why he is significant in world history.  We learned about the collapse of the island Thera and learned about the mythological creature Minotaur.  They have not been interested in reading Percy Jackson, but now their interest is now piqued! Lilah is no longer resisting subtraction with regrouping!  For me, this is a HUGE accomplishment. We decided that we may do more of our lessons at the library as this offers the best of both worlds by giving Grace a location with energy and stimulation, while giving Lilah a quiet cozy nook to work in.  We accomplish more in a few short hours than we would at home.  Home then becomes our place to return to for art projects, history projects, music playing and just plain old play! They published their second piece of writing: descriptive pieces on their pets.  On Monday, Lilah almost lost four of her beloved dolls when they were left behind at a cafe in New Haven.  Thankfully the…

Road Trip Memories

Every Thursday (unless my children we were sick) we would pile in our car and make the two hour drive north to visit my Grandmother in Massachusetts.  It was our ritual.  I would load up with dvds, diapers and bottles and spend three or four hours visiting.  I enjoyed making Gram grilled cheese sandwiches, which for some reason she felt were better than anyone else's.  Her tuna fish was outstanding.  We would drink tea, watch the girls swim or ride their trikes or just build with Lincoln Logs.  When she was well we would take walks up to her church and show the girls the field that bears the name of my Grandfather on the dedication plaque.  When she was not, we would rock and talk on her favorite glider. Then we would pack our stuff up, and head home. The girls would often be asleep before we were on the highway, offering me two hours of peace and solitude, alone with my memories of the day.   I resented school for taking this time away from me when Grace turned 5 and went to Kinde…

The Year I Got My Daughters Back

I am convinced that God has given me this year for a higher purpose.  It seems less and less likely that the purpose is to education my daughters and more and more likely that the purpose is to repair the relationship between my daughters.   I never realized my daughters were lost to me.  How could I have been so blind?  My theory is that for so many years they left my care at 8:30 in the morning, went to two different rooms, with two different adults to guide them through their day, with different sets of friends and different rules and procedures.  They came back together at 3:15 when the school day ended full of stories about their day spent apart.  We would walk home, usually with their friends and went straight to homework, lessons or appointments.  Dinner was the first time since breakfast, 10 hours ago, that we were together.  After dinner came showers, some tv time and bedtime.  In a 24 hour day we spent perhaps 5 hours together.   No wonder now that they are sleeping in the sam…

My Head is Full of Children

A long time ago I saw a great tee shirt in the gift shop at Save The Children Headquarters.  It had a woman's face and all around where her hair would be were children.  The caption was My Head Is Full of Children.  I wish I had that tee shirt.  My head is certainly full of my two children! We are in the process of helping Grace to adjust to home learning. She is frustrated becuase math is not like school.  In school she was at the top of her class, concepts came easily to her and she was very confident.  At the beginning of the summer I bought her Life of Fred Fractions thinking she would love it.  Unless I gave her a calculator, she could not complete the lessons.  She has a very good understanding of computing basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Unfortunately it is still basic.  I thought she had exposure to double digit multiplicaiton and division and fractions with mixed numerals.  She did not.  Today we talked about her feelings in math.  She explained …

A Book on a Nook

Remember before children, when love was new and it kept you up until the break of dawn?  Tired we would roll out of bed, blindly stumble into the kitchen to make coffee and hop in the car to the place we spent 10 hours a day, then come home and do it all over again?  I am there again.    You see, I have fell in love.  Literally.   It was unexpected and passionate.   This is a love that keeps me up until all hours of the night.   Shocking?   Perhaps.  Especially since I am not in love with a person.  I am in love with a thing.....my daughter’s Nook.   Not only have I discovered that have made the switch from paper to electronic reading material, I am loving the books I am reading: The Hunger Game trilogy.  I cannot put it down.  So when my husband of 13 years  wonders why it is that I  fall asleep at 8:30 on a typical night, too exhausted to make it upstairs, this book keeps me up until the middle of the night?  He will never get the power of a good book.  Our love for reading is on two di…

A Family That Blogs Together....

My friend Theresa, at Our Life in Words, started her first blog hop.  Blogging has become a family pastime for us.  My ten year old daughter started her blog, Life In Stories, a few months ago as a way to share her homeschool experience with her friends.  After saving for about 9 months, she bought her very own HP Netbook.   Her desire to become technologically fluent is beginning to rub off on her 8 year old sister, who for the first time, expressed interest in having her own blog.

This is where we blog.....





And Greg reads our blogs and comments on them from his office.  A family that blogs together, connects together!

Leave It All To Me

When my girls were little I would go to bed and want to tear out my hair because the lyrics to Barney would run nonstop through my brain on a continuous loop..I love you, you love me.  Horrid.  Now I have a different set of lyrics running through my brain.  Perhaps you recognize them.... In five, four, three, two I know  you see somehow the world will change for me and be so wonderful live life breathe air I know somehow we're gonna get there and feel so wonderful It's all for real I'm telling you just how i feel So wake up the members of my nation It's your time to be there's no chance unless you take one every time you see the brighter side of every situation somethings are meant to be so give me your best and leave the rest to me leave it all to me leave it all to me just leave it all to me I have viewed just about every iCarly episode on tv, so I don’t pay much attention anymore.  It never occurred to me to actually listen to the lyrics.  
Today was not a great day.  Another morning …

Rollercoaster

I knew that I would have to allow time to adjust.  I did not think the emotions that we are feeling would swing so suddenly, completely without warning, from pleasure and peacefullness to anger and hostility.   Lilah is dealing with the adjustment from a one child schoolhouse to a two child one.  Lilah asked to come home and her adjustment to homeschooling was smooth.  We had some bad days for sure.  She complained about math every single day for three months.  Dispite her aversion to math, she loved being home.  She loved the freedom it gave her, the ability to spend time on things she loves and the quality time we were able to share.  When we spoke of the possibility of Grace coming home she was excited.  Having only one child at home can be lonely at times.  Despite the fact that my girls very rarely play together, she wanted her sister to share her days with. I think she may have learned early to be careful what you wish for!  Now I have my wish, both girls are home learning togethe…

Happy Birthday Gracie

Ten years ago, September 12th, I was about to give birth.... only I did not realize it for I was not due until September 23rd. I went to bed as usual only to awake around 1:00a.m. feeling like something was not right.  Immediately I woke up Greg and told him that I thought my water may have broke.  He laughed and said I would know, so it didn’t and he told me to go back to bed.  Hmmm....he is a man.....never been pregnant....never will be pregnant.....what does he know?  Not suprisingly, he was able to roll over and fall sound asleep.  I however, was not.  No contractions, no back pain.   Unable to rest, I got up.  I watched a little late late night tv, tried to read, all the while wondering where the contractions were.  Where was the pain?  At six am I called my doctor who said to pack a bag and head on over to the hospital.   We strolled through Stop and Shop on our way to the hospital.  I had everything I thought I needed, my favorite cds and walkman, my comfy pjs, my books, my camer…

My Heart is Full

Our first official week of homeschooling is complete.  What a busy, thrilling, exhausting, exciting week it was!   I could and probably should write about each subject and how we approached it and reflect on what went well and what could have gone better. We had great moments and not so great moments that I could and probably should write about ....but this week there is just one thing that I want to share.  
Last night my heart was full. We celebrated Grace’s 10th birthday.   In my living room were 11 children ranging in age from 7 to 11 all piled on blankets, pillows and couches watching the first Harry Potter movie.  Five of these children are homeschooled.  Six of them are not.  Together they ate three large pizzas, three batches of popcorn, countless glasses of juice and water and of course, cake and ice cream.  
The presents my daughter received were thoughtful.  We talked about forgoing presents all together and asking instead for donations to the animal shelter or our local commu…