I’ve been offline for months and months. I am going to make a change and start blogging more often. It is good for me, better for my children and life in general.
In the meantime, check out my two hooligans… love them so much! This is on Brody’s birthday.
Where has the time gone? Brody just received his first report card. His first “official” report card for the first grade. Oh sure, he got some scribbles in Kindergarten, but Brody was the teacher’s pet in KG… Brody could do no wrong in Miss Delmy’s eyes. But first grade? They are a little harder on their students and have more kids to deal with (10 vs 40). Brody was late 4 days this semester. I was responsible for 1 of those late days (for those of you keeping track (hence me), 25%). He only missed 1 day. No bad, I’d say. By the time I’d finished first grade, I’d missed 12.5 days.
Not only did we get the report card, we got instructions for the grading system (very helpful) and “guidelines” that should be followed if we were going to share the report card with our child. We were told the report card is written for parents, not children. If we “decide” to discuss the report with our child, we need to make sure we emphasize their strengths and gently redirect their challenges.
Gone is the anxiety, gone are the grades that indicated F for fail, etc. Now, the children are assigned numbers (1 through 5), 1 for “experiencing difficulty with the end of the year grade level standards” and 5 for “advanced demonstration of grade level state standards.” This part, I do not like so much. The number system seems so gentle… so non-threatening. Teachers need to put the fear of failing into a student, what the heck is a number going to do? I guess I’m a little old school.
The report is broken down into four sections; mathematics, cultural studies, language arts and (wait for it) life long learning skills. Life long learning skills include such categories as intrinsic motivation, social responsibility, stewardship, good citizenship and confidence. There are many other categories as well (such as the ability to accept external authority). Apparently, Brody usually works for the apparent pleasure of so doing but rarely demonstrates mastery by showing others. He always completes work to the agreed upon criteria (he gets that from me) but only sometimes replaces materials in good condition when finished (he gets that from his dad). My son is a critical thinker! This is what I love about Montessori! My parents were never told, throughout my entire history of school, that I was a critical thinker. Or that I had social responsibility. Or that I had the ability to accept external authority. Back in my day, you had to accept external authority otherwise our parents would hear about it and then YOU were in real trouble.
Thanks to my mom, I have my first grade report card. The comments on my card said “Melodie is a confident reader. She is also a good little worker. I’ve enjoyed her “down to earth” approach.” And my favorite comment “Dear Melodie, Have a happy summer! Thanks for being such a happy little girl!” Gotta love Mrs. Victoor (and I truly did, she was awesome). Other comments were “study of Japan, nutrition, Norway, pioneers and Eskimos.” Vague with very little detail. In the comments section on Brody’s report, Brody’s teachers mentioned they want Brody to offer more help and take more responsibilities in the classroom. Their goal for Brody is to become a role model for his peers. Comments include “He is comfortable working on dynamic addition and subtraction abstractly” (although abstractly sounds like a made-up word, it’s not. However, I have found his teachers like to make up their own words on occasion). “Brody is going to be working on dynamic multiplication soon.” Really? I am not sure I even know what dynamic multiplication is – never mind accomplishing it in the first grade.
What is truly shocking is the part where his teachers say Brody usually demonstrates concentration, patience and persistence because I have never seen him use these skills at home. Unless he’s playing a video game. It’s kind of like the time I called his kindergarten teacher and asked her how she handled his constant whining. Her response was “Brody does not whine, he communicates with me quite well.” Really.
For the first time, in my entire life, I am done with Christmas shopping early! I’ve been done for a couple of weeks and I couldn’t be more proud! I’m going to be able to enjoy Christmas Eve rather than fight the crowds at the mall! Beerita’s here I come! I’ve decided egg nog is not worth the calorie intake – so I’m switching my Christmas drink to Margarita’s with half beer (hence beerita).
Brody really cracks me up sometimes… he didn’t want to go see Santa at the mall this year, because “he’s not the real Santa – so what’s the point?” Which led to “Well, he’s a representative of the real Santa and it’s nice to have a picture with him.” Which then progressed into, “Nah… I just don’t want to go.” Ok fine. I’m ok with NOT paying $54 for a Christmas photo with Santa – I’d rather take my own photos anyway!
Over the weekend we watched The Grinch with Jim Carrey (a tradition in my house) and will probably watch A Christmas Story on Friday. Last night the boys and I made paper snowflakes and had 2 video skype calls. I love SKYPE!! It was really cool to be able to see my mom, my neice and nephew with hints of my brother! Although the kids did spend an enormous time calling each other names and sticking their tongues out it turned out to be an awesome call!
Everyone at the house has been sick. I’m just starting to feel better (aka less snotty) and the boys are still dealing with mucous and coughing. Evan is the worst child when he is sick. I told my mom it was like having my dad, my brother and Michael (when they are sick) wrapped up into one little body. I know he doesn’t mean to be cranky, but yesterday he cried for 30 minutes over a piece of paper I threw in the garbage. I finally told him he wasn’t allowed to talk to me about the paper. Then… 20 minutes later he said “I really cared about that paper!” and started to cry again. sigh… It’s times like this when I really appreciate children’s cold medicine! I feel bad for him. As a side note… Evan’s bottom tooth has been hurting and Brody said “you know what’s coming right? it’s gonna fall out!” which made Evan very excited! I told him he’s on his way to becoming a toothless wonder!
Needless to say, the boys are super excited about Christmas. I can’t wait to see their smiling little faces when they open their presents! Happy Holidays everyone!
Because, you know, that’s what people talk about when they don’t have anything else to say. Oh I’m sure I can drum up some conversations – but I’ve been so darn busy!
The other day, my friend Amanda was complaining how it was cold and rainy where she is – so I took this picture outside of my office.
This is the view outside of my window. When people think of Oakland, I am very sure this is not the image that comes to mind. It was about 75 F and look at that gorgeous skyline!
I finished school last week, actually earned a degree. Not a fake one either! It’s a recognized degree from an accredited school. I have four more years left of school and should be starting my Bachelor program the week of the 22nd (of November). There are no classes listed on the website yet, so maybe I’m starting later? Who knows, all I know is I am so happy to have some real time away from school. When I told the boys I wouldn’t have homework for the next couple of weeks, you’d have thought I told them we won the lottery! In a way, I guess we did.
Mom and Dad are visiting next week – they will be here for one whole week! Dad has requested a list of chores to do and mom is going to help me pickle beets and make perogies (YUM). May not sound like much to an American, but to a Canadian… those two foods are sent from heaven! I’m hoping they will help me with the inside and outside of the house, I’m hoping they can help motivate me to get rid of all the clutter and old crap hanging around. Mom said she wants to go shopping (and is even bringing an extra suitcase for all the loot). Good thing I like to shop!
The boys are super excited to be able to host their grandparents in California! I’ll have the boys with me the entire week so they can spend extra time with g’ma and g’pa. Luckily, I have a good enough relationship with their dad – so switching like this is easy. The best part about the visit, is the entire week I am taking off from work! YAHOO!!
Michael has the boys for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I don’t really care about Thanksgiving – but I think Christmas might find me under the tree with a case of wine. If anyone is looking to send a present… you know what to send! My cousin Michael and his new wife are going to be in San Francisco sometime during the Christmas season – so hopefully I’ll get to see them and meet the new girl! It sucks to live so far away from family, but I am happy they are visiting. Michael wants to see Alcatraz – you can tell he’s never been to SF before because he will freeze his willies off. However, Mikey is a big Canadian guy (who I have personally seen eat half of a 26 lb turkey, plus all the fixin’s AND dessert) so I’m sure he can handle it. It’s his wife I am concerned about. I told them to expect cold – but Mikey just laughed it off. Laugh it up chuckles!
In the beginning of December, a whole gaggle of us are headed up to Tahoe for some snow fun. I was asked (I shall not name names) if I would be bringing my snow pants for the occasion and I replied “I’m not going skiing or snowboarding.” Which was met with “what about for just walking around?” I, again, replied “Nope.” Then I thought… geez am I missing something here? Should I bring my snow pants? Luckily, the internet was created for questions exactly like this. I was able to see the weather forecasts for the past year and after converting the F’s to C’s determined that the weather in Tahoe is short sleeve weather for all Canadians (-6 to +10 C on average). I am thinking about going tubing – so I’ll bring my pants if the tubing thing pans out. Otherwise, look for me at the outdoor pool! I’ll be the one sunning myself on a chaise lounge chair!
The trip should be really good – except everyone has high expectations. You all know what happens when expectations are really high…. the trip usually sucks! Hopefully, between the free shuttles to the casinos and night life AND the large Costco sized bottles of tequila, we’ll have a good time.
Oh and it’s my birthday next week… so look for birthday celebration shenanigans.
Does anyone say that anymore? Goings on… huh
It rained last night, it was raining this morning when I woke up. I had big plans for the day – the boys and I were going to get out of dodge. We were going to go sea shell searching (say that 5 times fast). When I heard the rain, I knew our plans were done for. You see, where we live, you need a parka at the beach in August. Add rain to that mess and you’ll have a better time in the arctic – it’d be warmer too.
Both boys have settled into school. I wish I could say I’ve settled into the commute but I have not been able to get this together. I drop Brody off at Michael’s house in the morning and then I take Evan to school. The ride home is brutal. I get off the train, go get Evan and then drive 20-25 minutes to get Brody. Then I get to drive 35 minutes home. It’s a nightmare. By the time we get home we are usually famished. With this comes grumpy and horrible and unruly behavior. Not to mention what the boys are experiencing.
They are growing like WEEDS! Brody lost another tooth and he said there is another one loose. I don’t think the tooth fairy can keep up!
School has been going well, I am at the end of Week 2 – only 7 more to go! These are the last two classes until I receive my associate’s degree. I’ll start my bachelor program in November and tuck in for another two years of intensive classes.
My mom and dad are going to come down in November and help me with the house. Home ownership is overrated! I feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into keeping a house and especially keeping a yard. I think it will be different when I am finished with school, but in the meantime, I am struggling. I thought about a landscaping company to come in and keep the yard clean for me, but they wanted $80 a month and I just can’t swing that right now. Plus, I’m going to ask my dad to help me get quotes for eaves (gutters). Michael, as he does, ripped them down but never replaced them. Quotes to women are famous for being over priced and I don’t have the first clue of what to look for in eavestroughs. They are also going to help me plan the backyard. It’s sort of ok right now, but there are some areas that I am stuck with. My mom has a lot of vision when it comes to landscaping and knows tons about plants. She’s got green thumbs, fingers and toes. I’ll post before/after photos.
I’ve been spending most of my free time cultivating relationships with new friends. Suzanne and I have been spending every Wednesday together – it’s been an absolute joy getting to know her better. Together, we have been meeting a lot of people and have formed new friendships with other people in Benicia. They are a group of people who I trust and truly enjoy spending time with. We laugh, we talk, we give advice, we take advice and most importantly – we have fun! So much fun! Ever since the shenanigans with Michael, I have had a hard time trusting people. Especially men. I don’t trust their intentions, I don’t trust what they say. It is definitely something I am working on – but I realize it’s going to take time. In the meantime, I have a great group of friends to help me figure things out. I have a great group of friends to bounce ideas off of. I have a great group of friends to play beer pong (Wii style).
Work has been difficult (to say the least). I thought I was getting more comfortable in my position, understanding more and more about the work I am supposed to – and then I’ll get thrown a fastball. All of a sudden, I’m right back at square one. I like the challenge, I love my boss, I love my company – so I guess it’s not a bad thing. I would just like to be able to participate in meetings and not feel like an idiot. 🙂
He got it into his head that his loose tooth was coming out! He sat on the counter while I bathed the kittens (don’t ask) and proceeded to pull his tooth out. As an adult, this is a creepy notion. Apparently, it’s all the rage for school aged children. Who knew?
His first words this morning (upon finding the blood money, err tooth fair money) was “Now I have 11 dollars!” I love a kid who can add!
So, as most of you know – I have been trying to make new friends. As a 30 something single parent, this is not an easy task. I’m awkward in social situations and am so desperate for friends that I think I may smell like desperation. I know what you’re thinking… “how could a totally awesome person have such a hard time finding people to hang out with?” The truth is, I don’t really know.
I’m pretty simple – laid back – funny – smart. All I meet are losers! I thought I met some girls (potential friends) a few weeks ago, but they turned out to be ridiculous (and so very high school)! I get along better with guys, but all the guys I’ve met want me to sleep with them. Not going there. It’s really difficult to meet genuine people who are truthful and fun.
So here I am… on this quest to figure out who I am and on a quest to find some people to hang out with. Wish me luck.
So, it seems Alice and I are on the same schedule. I’m feeling tired and lazy – plus it’s raining outside. All of this adds up to me lying on the sofa, eating mashed potatoes. I might even get fancy and do roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I have chicken out for dinner and nothing goes better with chicken than mashed potatoes. Unless you are Brody – the irish kid – who hates potatoes. Whatever. I keep asking him “Where do french fries come from?” and he says “the store.” One day, he’ll appreciate potatoes as much as I do.
He prefers rice because of the soy sauce. Just wait until I make him fried rice! He’ll lose his mind!
Seriously, I woke up yesterday and thought “today sucks!” That general feeling has not gone away. I’m sure it will – until it does, I’ll be the one chasing potato dishes with large melted chocolate.
I just heard one of the engineers mutter “piece of shit” to himself over a ladder. I’m right there with ya dude.
Hi, um yeah, so I got new dishes. It took me 5 months to find dishes. I sort of didn’t want to go with plain white – although every fiber of my being told me to choose something plain and white. I had a few criteria… well, one really… and it came from my mom. The plates couldn’t weigh 800 thousand million pounds. I thought I found a set a few months ago and ended up having to call my mom to say “can I really eat off of square plates?” The answer was no… I’m a traditionalist, a purist if you will, about my dishes.
That up there is the salad plate. The dinner plates look similar except there is less white pattern. The picture is dark because my camera had no extra battery power for the flash (really, who needs a flash anyway?). The best part, other than they are pretty and are NOT plain and white, is they fit in my cupboards. YAY.
And here are the bowls… they are sort of weird shaped but after 5 months of extensive looking, I finally had to say to myself “just go with it.” Because seriously… I needed dishes already!
I now have to scour the globe looking for 4 more salad plates and 4 more dinner plates, hopefully in the white pattern. I just want to give a shout out to the Ross store in (the town where I live), someone in the sticker control department thought it best to use brand new price tag stickers with super duper batman adhesive (how do you think he keeps the suit on?) to adhere the tags to the dishes. I would LOVE to meet the brainiac who suggested THAT at the meeting! I suspect the residue (glue) will be completely off in about 1000 washings (give or take).
Sometimes, the hardest part of this blog is coming up with a title. Most often, I write the entire post – then have to read it a few times to figure out an appropriate title. Whatever!
Work has been going well. I had applied and interviewed for another job (same company, etc) and was then told the position was being reposted. I applied again and am now waiting to hear if I got the job. I hope I do. It will be the first time in my career that I will not be working in an admin position. I don’t love being an admin – but i’m really good at it, so it makes my days easy. I am ready for a change. Considering I’ve spent so much time in school trying to better myself and my earning capability, this appears to be a good opportunity to start cashing in on the hard work that I’ve done for the past two years.
Anyway, it’s something different.
Things at home are settling down. Michael and I really need to work on being friends. We go through phases – first we are – then we aren’t. I’m assuming this is normal. He’s been under a lot of stress lately and I’m disgruntled with our living situation, so it makes for a few arguments. Plus, he and I are really different in that he loves to use sarcastic humor to lighten situations (who doesn’t) but he’s using it at the wrong times. Whatever. I’m trying to be more patient and I’ve asked him to stop making jokes out of everything.
His dad is still in ICU so this has prompted Michael into protection mode over his mom. I’m really proud of him for taking this stand on her behalf. She needs him right now, he may not like “living with his parents” but I think in this case, it’s essential. Plus, the boys are freaking out over getting to live at Grandpa’s house! You see, Grandpa has lots of cool things! Lots of stuff they can look through! I know this will be a good situation for everyone. Plus, their cousins are close by which means “new people to wrestle with!”
The other night Evan and Brody decided to wrestle in their bedroom. Basically, they spread all the blankets on their floor, take their shirts off and run around screaming “you want a piece of me” and “it’s wrestle time!” Evan was in the process of whining and crying about Brody hitting him and I said to Evan “well, hit him back.” Evan doesn’t realize his own strength and Brody will continue to push him around because Evan doesn’t do anything about it. Evan is built like a brick shit house. Strong, but in a scary way – like my brother (Bob could life me at my waist without effort). After I told Evan to hit Brody back, an evil grin came over him and he ran out of the office with his arms swinging like a windmill. I recognized that grin (I might have had one myself a few times) so I followed to make sure no one was going to die (not on my watch!). They were locked in battle, Evan was beating the crap out of Brody and somehow, Brody got a burst of strength and pushed Evan off of him. (This wasn’t really wrestling). Badly beaten, Brody pushed Evan, Evan fell back and smashed his head on the bed (which was the worst ‘THUNK’ you could ever imagine) and started to cry. My opportunity for a lesson arrived! I asked the boys who was having fun while they were hitting? No response? Not even one? hmm..
Could I assume they’ve learned a valuable lesson about hitting? Sure, I could assume that.
I would be wrong.
Could I assume they will do this again? Of course!
I would be right.
Boys wrestle. That’s what they do.