Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stepping outside my comfort zone

This is not my usual blog.  Sure, I'm still going to attempt to be witty and clever enough to catch the attention of a Publisher, Pinner, or potential employer. But I may get a little bit - political.  Kind of like girls in high school that got a little bit - pregnant.

Without knowing it, I have taken a political stand. Yesterday I opted my children out of all PARCC testing in our school district not realizing that to do so would be committing to a political party.  That I would be taking a side.

Am I taking a side? YES - My children's side! I'm the Mom - that's my job.  To look out for their best interest. I am their advocate, their voice, their representative in adult decisions.

I did not make the decision to opt them out of testing lightly.  This wasn't something I did on a whim. "Hey look cereal is on sale and opt of testing. I'll get two!"  The biggest factors in saying NO to the Common Core Testing this year is that our state is not even going to count it. It will not count against students, teachers, or school districts. The other factor is that my third grader will have taken 3 different sets of Standardized tests, twice-Fall and Spring, by the end of the year. It's part of the Third Grade Guarantee.

This is where it somehow gets political.  Because believing in Common Core is supporting Obama and so I am a Democrat.  Or a Communist depending on who you talk to. Not supporting Common Core makes me a Republican. Wanting to repeal Common Core makes me a Tea Partyist.

Listen people, I am just a mom. Trust me. A very average very ordinary Midwest stay-at-home mom.  I do want reform. I do want overhaul. I like the idea of National standards of education because as one brilliant blogger said - is the math different in Maine than in Texas?  I want to see big changes in how schools are funded.  I want to see changes in how teachers are tenured and paid. 

I want every child to have the opportunity to learn whether they are lucky enough to go to a suburban school, on a warm bus, with a full tummy and their homework finished on a computer. Or whether they got there an hour late because no one is home to wake them up, hungry, in yesterday's clothes, without their paper homework and lunch money.

Do I have to be a Democrat or a Republican to be a Mom? Do I have to pick a side? Then I pick their side - the kids. Because that is my job - advocate, voice, representative in adult decisions.
I chose the kids.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

To color or not to color? Vote ;-)

Should I use colored pencils? watercolors? markers? You decide


My NEW favorite cookie

I think I posted this once before with the Title: Day After Halloween Cookies
but I may have to re-name because these are my NEW favorite cookie by far! Enjoy

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. (+) cut up left over Halloween Candy
REPLACED WITH - wait for it
1 bag of white chocolate chips and 4-5 crushed up candy canes

Pre-heat oven 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with whisk and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the butter white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Gradually add sifted ingredients. Then oats and candy pieces.
Bake 8-10 minutes, do not brown these much or you will have crispy crunchy cookies by day two. I like them to stay a chewy.  So just bake them off they will spread and puff up. You can not get them off the cookie sheet until they are pretty cool or they will tear apart.

Day After Christmas Cookies

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

To my 6th Grade son....

To my beautiful little man-

I just wanted to write this note to you because you are about to make one small step for mankind but one giant leap for Tweenkind. Middle school.  It is a battlefield and you must be prepared to fight. Middle School is littered with broken hearts, shattered self-esteem, misplaced aggression, raging hormones, and drama.

When you came home last night and told me the story about your best friend not wanting to acknowledge you in school because you were talking about playing YuGiOh together I thought I would cry. But what you said next did make me cry - because I was so proud.

Good for you waiting until lunchtime to talk to your friend privately about dissing you and letting him know that you are not afraid of what other people think.  I know he said he doesn't want kids to make fun of him for playing YuGiOh so that is why he ignored you and your answer was brilliant.
"If they make fun of you they were not your friend to begin with."

I know that you had to learn this lesson the hard way, for that I am sorry. But the fact that you already know it going into Middle school may just save your life.  Middle school is when a lot of kids will try on new identities, try out new friends, and try very hard to be cool.  It's one big popularity contest. Knowing that popular isn't everything is the most important thing to remember when the people you thought were your friends let you down, walk away, or worse - turn on you.

You are such an amazing person! And I am not saying this because you are mine. Every teacher you have ever had has commented on how wonderful you are to have in class.  Even your specials teachers, coaches, committee chairs, and your Principals have gone out of their way to tell me that you are awesome.  Do you know how cool that is? I wish someone would have told me going into Middle school that even though it's going to be a battle - they knew I would be fine coming out the other side.

Why you ask? What do you have that is special? Let me tell you ;-)

You are kind, generous, and authentic.  There is nothing fake about you my love.  When you hear music you are going to dance, when you like a song you are going to sing along, when they ask for your help you will give it with a smile.  There is not a mean bone in your body.

You are hardworking, smart, and funny.  A great combo by the way, you get it from your Mom.  Add to this intuitive and sensitive.  When things get tense you know how to lighten them up, when it gets serious you know how to listen, and when it gets ugly you know how to stop it.

You are beautiful, athletic, and talented.  The whole package.  Whether it's playing football, playing the sax, or playing the villain  Whether it is breakdancing, singing, speaking, or leading student council.  Don't ever short change yourself. Remember all of your accomplishments there are all a part of what makes you who you are.

My beautiful baby boy -
Your very proud Mom.

Monday, January 19, 2015

No Name Calling Week

What a great concept. What a wonderful thing. I want to help promote it - but not just on social media.  I think it's needed- please do not get me wrong. Right here in this blog I have ranted and raved about Reality TV and how the US is turning into one trashy trailer park.

This got to my soul.  Way deep down to that 12 year-old girl in me that wanted to die. Literally. I thought being dead would have to be so much easier than living through the hell that was my Junior High experience. The High School years got worse.

My Grandmother tired very hard to repeat over and over again, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

But they did! Oh Grandma, they did. They stuck to me like glue.  I carried them around for more than a decade believing that they were all true. The thing is the words weren't flung at me by my peers - they were whispered by my parents, siblings, family, and friends. They were shouted back at me in my own head.

I just finished the book Wonder because both boys have read it at school with their class.  I loved the book. Maybe this was odd, but I loved the last chapter. I don't want to ruin the book for those of you who ARE going to read it after you read this blog. 

In the book the Principal makes a speech and quotes J. M. Barrie's The Little White Bird....
" 'Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?' "

Yes, I think we should. Starting this week. Starting with ourselves. Starting with this initiative.
a little bit more than is necessary

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where did the Playdate come from anyway?

Friday this week was my Monday. Because it was when I finally got number two son off to school for the week without too much drama.  The kids were off and so was I cleaning the house like a woman on a mission.  Well, technically I was, because I was determined to get it sparkling clean.  Something I have not done since Thanksgiving between working the month of December and then everyone being sick.  Plus the Cable/Internet repair man was scheduled between 8-12 so I was stuck here. yeah.

I dug right in and stripped beds, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed, and dusted every inch of the place.  I threw some windows open while I Lysoled, Frebreezed, and de-funkified the whole house.  The Cable/Internet guy was very impressed by the way.  And grateful, he said, because the last house he was in had 50 cats in it. "Really I couldn't smell? Tell!" Our dog almost tore through the Carhart pants he was wearing she was so freaked out.  I had to lock her in her cage - growling.

After he left I quickly finished the downstairs cleaning and de-funkified really really well then took the poor dog out for a brisk two mile walk.  We both needed it. It took all two miles for me to not smell Lysol.  Back at home it was almost time for the boys to get off the bus which meant I had minutes to check emails, texts, and messages from various Moms, Coaches, and Teams.

The boys arrived, my husband arrives, it's Friday night so everyone is excited and talking all at once.  The husband wants the boys to go to a High School Basketball game with him, the boys whine they want to have friends over to play. That's when it starts.

"Mom can you call Mrs.-"
"Honey do you have a number for-"
"I want to go to-"
"Can I have a sleepover with-"
"I'll take a sleepover baby...."

Who the hell invented the playdate? and why is it Mom's job to organize them - ALL? It was 7:00 p.m. when I sat down to eat a salad after getting everyone organized, everything straightened around, dinner made, boys feed, and those who needed to out the door. That's when I looked around and said no wonder I don't have any friends, I NEVER have a playdate!

I'm too tired to figure it out, Good night!

Boston Sunset - Thanksgiving week 2014