Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/23/2010 Activity Shopping

I took Julian and Katrina out "shopping" this morning. We checked out a dance studio.

And a Tae Kwon Do studio.

And took advantage of the cloudy day for a brother-sister photo-op.

So different when it's just the two of this what "regular" families are like? People look at me and smile when they see them being so cute together, and I want to disclaim, "but this isn't what it's really like!"

Still not sure how to work in martial arts or dance on the weekends....our week is so busy the last thing I want is any time commitment on the weekend.


Friday, October 22, 2010

10/22/2010 Extra-curriculars

This has been one of the most exhausting weeks I've ever had, physically and emotionally. It's work-related, which makes it all the worse, both to experience and to blog about. Why should work trouble be "emotional" ? In this case, partly because the circumstances are extraordinary. There's an investigative journalist article in my future, but for now, I'd just like to get back to work. I've also had a bad headache this whole week, reducing my energy, interfering with sleep and putting a big damper on everything.

Perhaps work becomes "emotional" because of the cost to the family. It's so so so hard to keep up with just the basic day-to-day activities. This week, Gabriel took a written test as part of a spelling bee elimination, and I had no time to prepare him -- not for the content, but the format, just so he'd understand how it would work. The boys (both, it turns out) had a walk-a-thon, which a "good mom" would have printed their pledge sheets and helped them gather pledges for. Katrina's thank-yous haven't been written. I did manage to update a Facebook photo album, but that falls into the "I'm too fried to do anything else" category.

Tonight, though there's nothing more I'd like to do than just lie down and let the world spin around me, I'm at least looking online for martial arts classes and dance classes, for Julian and Katrina, respectively. It's surprisingly hard to find classes on Saturdays -- plenty at 3pm or 4pm on weekdays, but not so many Saturday mornings, and I'll bet they're all full. Most other kids do things on weekdays.

Tonight, though it's a Friday, I insisted Gabriel catch up on his book report due next week (he's behind in the steps he should have completed). Julian now has a "cultural report" due in a month, and the teacher strongly urges us to start right away. Meantime, the CDC has written up a special behavior "action plan," which they wanted to review with me and talk about strategies at home, because of Gabriel's resistant behavior ("every consequence we give him doesn't work and the whole situation escalates" -- yup, that's'a my boy!). Gabriel's teacher has also started a daily behavior contract, to gather data to present to the school psychologist, with us. All of this requires my attention and thought and time. But I can't even get a Scholastic book order submitted before the deadline.

How will I keep up with all this next year when Katrina too is in school?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10/20/2010 Sharky

Julian has two wiggly teeth -- and permanent teeth behind both of them, showing already! This is the multi-row "shark" effect. Get ready to pay up, Tooth Fairy, it's coming!

Cheesecake and Coffee tonight, yay.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/19/2010 Easy morning

I think we warped into a parallel universe. This morning, not a child to be found in their rooms, putzing around, refusing to get dressed, shouting that it's THEIR life and they should be able to do whatever they want.

Instead, all three were dressed, shoes on, backpacks ready, had breakfast, and were playing peacefully together downstairs. Drawing or something.

All 3 having breakfast means that Gabriel facilitated, since there are some things only he can reach. Julian can reach most things, but Katrina can't reach anything yet, so the boys apparently took care of everything for her. (Except her ponytail, Dave did that when he found them all quietly working together. I would be very amused if they did her hair too, but I wouldn't put it past them -- Gabriel has put her to bed completely before, including washing and combing her hair!)

Gabriel and his pal Parth have been working on their airplane company again. This is what Gabriel would rather be doing than his book reports, and I can't entirely blame him:

So they were all pitching in to the airplane company ("Super Airlines") today. They had Katrina designing and drawing airplanes this morning, praising her like a 6-week-old puppy. The boys compete for her attention and to guide her, and she's come to expect it. One very spoiled little sister!

But this morning it was parents who were spoiled. What an easy, relaxed, and -- dare I say it -- enjoyable morning! Can we do this again tomorrow please?

10/19/2010 (DaVE's 44th birthday today! We had tiramisu cake, mmm :) )

Monday, October 18, 2010

10/18/2010 late to write

Spent much of the night writing ... sound like me? Just wish it were for things other than the increasingly ugly work situation. It weighs on me too much. Since when did I care so much about work? Maybe because of what it keeps me from.

Now I can take care of thank-yous for Katrina's party, submit a recipe for Collins' first cookbook, help Julian collect donations for a walk-a-thon, fill out a survey for Collins CDC, get my Dad's Medicare Rx address straightened out, fill out forms confirming Dad's income for the V.A., figure out why my Nebcom company got charged almost $400 in taxes....that's the tip of the iceberg and it's making me sink!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

10/17/2010 Maple

Julian's class does "Star Of The Week," in which one kid is the "star" each week. This means putting together a poster with pictures, writing your interests, your favorites, and about your family. The "Star" also brings home "Maple," the class teddy bear, and the kid is supposed to take Maple everywhere with him and then write about their weekend in Maple's Journal, with photos.

This is a lot of work for parents, especially when it's handed to us Thursday night due Monday! Going away for the weekend? Good luck with that! Good thing we all have digital cameras and photo-printers at home.

Fortunately, despite some initial resistance, Julian is overall very cooperative and into doing projects. He spent hours today working on his "Star Of The Week" poster, and then the Maple journal entry.

For the journal entry, I was very surprised, and relieved, that he did all the writing himself, with just a little spelling help. I had taken some photos the day before, and much of my afternoon was invested in sizing and printing photos for both the "Star Of The Week" poster and the Maple journal, as well as general guidance, spelling help, and trying to keep him from spending too much time on it.

One of the Maple photos.

Looking through Maple's journal, it looks to me like Julian has some very studious classmates! Their handwriting is all really, really good, and their writing is very coherent and grown-up too. I'd never have guessed these entries to be from a first-grade class, but what do I know. It's hard to say how much help the kids get from parents; the only clear indication of help is lines drawn for writing, but otherwise I'd have to say the kids really did the writing themselves.

Julian's entry was done with no help at all, and no lines drawn for writing (I offered!).


My fun weekend with Maple
By Julian
My teacher gave me Maple on Thusday.
I went slideing on a blanket with Maple. But my dad told me to stop. I played Piano for Maple. Maple liked my music a lot. I sat with Maple. She fell asleep on my lap. She was a lot of fun! Thank you for giveing me Maple!

Julian's is by far the hardest to read of all his classmates; like Gabriel, his handwriting is, er, "outstanding" in his class. Here's a typical example of a classmate's entry.

It's also clear that Julian's classmates have a lot more activities on the weekend than he does!

Today's weekend activity, aside from all this schoolwork, was cleaning up the house for the cleaners tomorrow, and watching a highly coveted Star Wars movie as the incentive/reward. We did the retro thing of going to Blockbuster, in a strip mall where I also checked out a Tae Kwon Do studio. It is time for some activities for my deprived little brood -- martial arts for Julian, and dance for Katrina. Gabriel hasn't stated a strong preference yet, but two is all I can handle right now anyway.

Besides, Gabriel's next weekend -- and likely much of mine -- will be spent finishing his October book report.