Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Successes

For more small success stories click on the link above.

  1. I got most of my Christmas Shopping done last Friday.  It was my birthday and every year my parents come down for a visit and my mom hangs out with the kids all day (this last couple of years they made LOADS of Christmas cookies!) and my dad takes me shopping.  He drops me off at the door, I go inside and buy what I need, and he's watching for me when I come out the door, I don't even need to step off the curb!  
  2. I  took Terese and her friend for a service project across town on Saturday (I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A BLIZZARD!!!).   You know, when you grow up in snow country and you hear reports that there is supposed to be snow, it doesn't stop you.  Well, turns out we got 20" in our city, the 40 minute drive home ended up taking 2 1/2 hours, and the mall I planned to take the other kids to during the time Terese and her friend were busy was closed!  So was McDonald's.  It really made me question my decision to go out in the....ahhh it's just snow.  I guess that's what we get for watching so little TV.  I didn't even know that our Football Stadium Dome collapsed until Anna found out from other kids at her science class.
  3. I finished reading another book (I've discovered that I sleep so much better if I spend 10-20 minutes reading just before bed).  I read The Minds of Boys.  I highly recommend this book for anyone that has boys, especially, but not only, if they are struggling in school.  It explains alot about how when the education system was modified to help girls succeed, it inadvertently made it harder for boys.  They learn differently, for the most part.  Since we homeschool, I have seen first hand, over a number of years, how this is true.  Many of the techniques they mentioned I've already been doing with my boys simply because I've discovered it works well with them (like more Kinesthetic learning, and allowing them to color or draw during read aloud time, which surprisingly enough causes them to remember more of what I read, they just need something to do with their bodies or they are busy fighting the squiggles). 

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's freezing and my boys are hanging Christmas lights

It is 4 degrees BELOW zero and my boys asked if they could have recess outside.  They decided to hang Christmas lights, and everyone driving by stared at them.  It is COLD!

Living on a cul-de-sac provides the best snow plow hill!  The house to the right is a 2 story, the house on the left is a little shorter being a split level.  The hill is big!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

He picks the name, I pick the tie

After a younger child questioned why our last name is that of my in-laws rather than my parents...

Anonymous Child in total seriousness:  "The way it works when people get married is that the man gets to pick the name and the woman gets to pick his bow tie color".  ('cause we do...right?  when we pick those bridesmaids dress colors)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A snowstorm brings out the best in people

My dad and I were just having a conversation yesterday about the lack of generosity among people nowadays.  Things like holding the door open for someone, letting someone go ahead of you in the grocery line or giving up a seat on the bus for someone else.  My dad even experienced it yesterday when he dropped me off at the door of a store to do some Christmas shopping (it was my birthday yesterday and every year my parents give me this dad takes me shopping all over town dropping me off and picking me up at the doors, and my mom stays home and makes sure the kids have a great day...yesterday they baked loads of cookies!).  Anyway, after my dad dropped me off he ran into the store hoping to buy me some flowers quickly before I saw him.  There was only one register open and the lady in front of him had a cart overflowing with stuff.  He asked her if he could go ahead of her since he only had the flowers (in fact, he wouldn't have asked except that he was trying to sneak out before I saw him).  She told him no because she was in a hurry!

Anyway...back to today...

I always knew we lived in a wonderful suburban neighborhood where people help one another.  When it snows, it's not uncommon to see people blowing their own driveway, then starting on a sick, injured, or out of town neighbor's.  When someone else is done blowing their own, they too head over to help on the extra driveway.  In fact, I remember being sent in by neighbor's when I was very pregnant, my kids were too little to be out in the dark shoveling, and my dh was out of town, they did it for me.

Today I got to see this generosity play out in a different sort of neighborhood.  We headed to our state's capital city this afternoon to drop off my dd and her friend for a service project.  I don't really know what the plowing plan is...but what I do know is that the streets were not plowed at all.  The trick, I found, was to stick to the bigger streets where the other trucks/cars had already made ruts (over on the west end...the trick is to stick to the bigger streets because those have been plowed!).  I was driving a vehicle with all wheel drive, so the 12" or so was enough to pull me to the side, but not stop me.  But, what I found amazing were the number of people out walking around in droves pushing cars out.  I don't know if these people were just enjoying a walk during this blowing and drifting snow, or if they were specifically going for walks looking for people who need help.  It was neat to see someone get stuck a block or so in front of us (well, not for the driver!), and before I would even get to the car 4-8 people were there, pushing them out!  I also saw a group of people pushing a USPS jeep, and another group shoveling out a fed ex truck who managed to almost make it to a plowed main road, only he had a 2' pile of snow to get through, courtesy of said plow (no, I'm not complaining about what the plow leaves behind, but for any of you who live in snowy areas, you know what I'm talking about, especially if it's at the end of your driveway!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Small Successes

For more small success stories click on the link above.

1.  Finished reading an amazing book called How to Be a High School Superstar:  A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal NewportI highly recommend this book for anyone with high school age children (and the child).  In a nutshell, how to spend less time padding the high school years with things that supposedly look good  (numerous AP classes and extracurriculars, etc. and have more time to pursue something you are very interested in.)

2.  Took my girls (along with my MIL) to see our home school co-ops play The Best Christmas Pageant EverIt was great!

3.  Cleaned up the tail end of the basement toy room alone.  That's all I should say on this subject lest one of my children read this.  :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Successes

For more small success stories click on the link above.

  1. We survived a bout with the stomach flu.  I had it last week, but for some reason the kids didn't start coming down with it until this week.  I am very thankful for that black box in the corner of my living room that can entertain/distract sick children all night long while their momma sits between them and gets little bits of shut eye.  The 2nd night (and a new pair of sick kids) I got smart.  I picked longer movies instead of those little 20 minute cartoons. 
  2. Took my 5 year old Elizabeth Christmas shopping alone.  She was insistent that no one join us because she didn't want anyone to know what she bought for anyone else. (Every year we give the kids a small amount of money (about $2, sometimes up to $5 if I know it's something the receiver will really appreciate) to purchase gifts for each other.  This is our version of stocking stuffers and it's been a great way to instill in them the giving part of Christmas.  It's fun watching the little ones change from buying things THEY like....uh...your 15 year old sister may like the color orange but I really don't think she'd have a use for that orange hot wheels car.)  Anyway, it was really neat shopping with Elizabeth as she was diligent on finding just the right gift for each person.  It's not easy to do with such a little amount of money.
  3. Made it to the chiropractor 2x this week despite everything going on here (well, maybe the first day should be my dh's success.  He went in to work late so he could stay home with the sick kids and I could get to my appointment.  He reminded me that a sick/hurting momma isn't in the best position to care for sick children).  Sleeping in weird positions on the couch and floor all those nights really jammed my neck and taking Tylenol every 4 hours isn't the best way to keep a raging headache at bay.  I knew I needed a neck adjustment, and sure enough, I was quite out whack.  So out of whack, in fact, that I even went back 2 days later as suggested.
  4. Bonus:  Does this count?  After listening to our pastor urging us from the pulpit to attend daily Mass during advent, and how he'd like to see the chapel so full we need to move into the main church.....I made a firm commitment that we would give it a whirl.  I decided it was only a few weeks and whatever negative impact that may have on our school day would be well worth it spiritually, and we'd make up for it come January.  I even put 2 year old Nathan to bed in something I would deem acceptable to wear to daily Mass (I knew I'd be pulling him out of bed way too early).  But, a couple hours later it became evident we would not be going. that they are all coming out of it......maybe next week?