family · life

7.5 school days left

And so the countdown continues. It is hard to believe that the boys only have 7.5 days left in school. This year has been such a whirlwind for our whole family.

At this time last year we were wrapping up our last few weeks in FL. The house was pretty much packed up. The school year was almost over and we were getting ready to set off on our grand adventure. We left FL on June 5th and were moved in to the apartment on June 6th. Sometimes it is hard to believe it has been a full year already.

The boys were talking about it the other night and both feel that this move was good for them. They love their school and feel they have learned a lot this year. They have had their ups and downs, but in the long run they are happy.  Richard is settled into his job and I’m just about ready to send off my resume. I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth on what to do, where to apply, should I apply, should I stay home, what is the best thing.

It is such a hard thing to try and figure out what is not only best for me, but also best for the family. The last job I had pretty much fell in my lap and I I hardly thought about it. I took that position more than half way through the school year, the boys were settled and I was going to be in the same school as them. While the boys are settled, I will not be with them anymore. I know they are old enough, responsible enough and more than capable of dealing with the adjustments that will come along with me going back to work, it’s not an easy decision.

I know that the job market for educators is tough in this area. I know that I have a lot to offer still I just need to make sure that I go in the direction that will bring me the most joy. That will bring me the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of children…. that is what teaching is all about.

So, my goal is to get my resume sent out and the process started in the beginning of next week. I won’t share more details at this time, but will as time progresses.

I hope you are enjoying the countdown to your summer, whenever that starts in your life. For me, I’m looking forward to our first summer in our house. Seeing the boys settle into the summer routine of life. 7.5 more school days until life changes for us… again!

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family · life · through my camera lens

Busy week and birds

This has been a strange week. Originally I had thought it was going to be a busy week. I took Monday and plowed through most of my house cleaning jobs. The boys has mountain bike class Monday night. It had rained before that and they came home a muddy mess, but they had fun. Richard got off work early and met up with me to walk. He decided to stop home and pick up Dixie too. I walked around 3.5 miles. Richard and Dixie walked about 2.5 miles.

Tuesday Colby was supposed to have his field day. I had volunteered to help out. I got an e-mail at 7am saying it was postponed until Friday. The weather was calling for storms, plus they said there were field issues, probably flooding.  I went to the grocery store, made another pasta salad and baked chocolate chip cookies (it was national chocolate chip cookie day).

Blake went on a field trip. Chatham University backs up to their school campus. They have been learning about streams, fish and other natural environments, so they went to Chatham to collect water samples. They also looked at the creatures who live in the stream. After that they went to the garden there and helped work in the garden. They at lunch in the University cafeteria as well. Blake said he had a great time and the campus was “really cool.”

Today is Blake’s field day. We were a bit shocked to not get an e-mail saying it too was cancelled. The rain is now forecast to start at 4 instead of noon like it was last night. So I will be heading over there around noon to help with his field day. Colby is going on a quick walking field trip today. His class is walking over to the lower elementary school across the street. They are going over to read poems to the first graders. He had to write a poem that he shared with his class yesterday and the first graders today.

Tomorrow we are back at mountain biking!

Busy is good.

On a calmer note, we have a new visitor to our bird feeder. Baltimore Orioles. We added an orange sliced in half, added the wilting grapes and are trying to convince the Orioles, and other birds to stay. All four of us enjoy watching the birds visit the feeder. It is so relaxing and such a great way to touch nature.

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family · life

May the 4th Be With You

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Today has been a good day. Richard decided to stay home, and it is not because it is Star Wars Day. Today is my birthday. Unlike many people, I actually try to ignore the fact that I have a birthday. Maybe if I could count backwards instead of forwards it would be better, not that there are many ages I’d like to go back and try again.

Richard and I went to Ford to get touch up paint, my car got scratched the other day when Blake knocked the bike rack over trying to put out the trash barrels. Then we went and dropped off 4 bags of stuff at Goodwill. After that we went to new lunch location. This was a local “dive” that we had never been to before.

We then worked on looking at many of the decorations that we have yet to hang up in the house. We are trying to figure out what we can hang up and what will not work in this house. We decided to hang up some of the photos we have of the boys in the living room. This has helped add a bit more home feeling to this room.

For dinner we decided to try another local restaurant. We had ordered Uber Eats from them when we lived in the townhouse, but had never been to the actual restaurant. We really enjoyed the meal there, and will be definitely go back again.

So, now you know why I got a new laptop and my parents gave me a kindle… they were early birthday gifts. I love days like today when Richard and I can just be alone and do a lot and nothing all at the same time.

Hope you had a great Friday… and May the 4th be with you!

 

Education · family · life

Next step….?

My mind is swimming today. I finally got my teacher certification here in PA. I guess it’s time to dust off my resume and figure out what the next step will be for me. In looking at districts nearby, I learned that the application process is different here than I’m used to from my other times applying for positions. PA has a mandatory application process which includes an essay. I also have to get all my background checks done ahead of time. Ugh! Ok I can do this.

I already contacted my former principal to see which of the essay topics she felt I should base my essay on, At least it can be typed! So now I need to figure out how to write an essay that will grab the principals’ attention for the right reasons. At least I’ve been blogging a lot lately so the whole putting thoughts on paper (well the screen) is not going to be the hard part.

Richard and I both feel that if I get a job.. .I get a job. If I don’t, I don’t. I have way too many other things in life to put a ton of stress on this whole process. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m taking this very seriously and I want to get a public school teaching job. I’ve just learned throughout life that you can’t stress what you can’t control. I can not control if I get a job or not. I can do my best, show up and show them who I am and then hope that I move forward.

For most of my life if you asked me to tell you who I am the first words out of my mouth was “I’m a teacher”. But, my life is so much more than that. I’m a wife and a mother, and nothing could be more important to me than those jobs.

So we will see where this process takes me, but for now… I guess I’ll start working on an essay.

family · life

Not BJ’s

There are so many jobs for parents. Think about it from the time they are born until the time they move out of your house (and beyond) your job is to keep this person alive, that in itself is huge! But that is not the job I’m going to talk about today. Today I’m thinking about the job of parents to teach children to learn to laugh at themselves.

Yep, it’s part of my job to get my sons to see that life isn’t always perfect and when you step back at some of those imperfect times you will see that life is pretty odd and funny.

One way we do this in our house all the time is with pronouncing words. When the boys were little there were a few phrases that we loved and didn’t want to fix, but now that they are 9 and 11 we tend to point out these mistakes. I’m not doing it to be mean, but you can’t go to school saying things wrong. It’s just not a good idea. Often times they mispronounce words that they’ve read, but didn’t necessarily hear it spoken. Some words we can understand the mistake like mispronouncing countries on in the the former Soviet Union or Africa or some of the smaller countries even in South America. These are words that people do not go around using in their everyday life.

Many times when they say something wrong it takes me a beat of two to figure out what in the world they were trying to say, and then I’ll say… did you mean “________”. Or if I know the word right away I’ll just fill in the word and let the story go on.

Ok so this sounds like typical parenting, but there are times when we just have to laugh at it and those time tend to stick for a while in our family.

I’ll give you a funny story from the past that has stuck. One day Richard was making breakfast for dinner and Blake asked to help. Richard told Blake to get out the bacon. Blake went to the pantry and then asked where the bacon was. Richard responded by saying “In the cold section”. Well, Blake couldn’t figure this out so Colby chimed in and said that would be the fridge or the freezer, there is no cold section IN the pantry. Well to this day we occasionally refer to the fridge as the cold part of the pantry.

At the time, Blake didn’t think this was funny, but over the months and now years he has learned to find this story about him amusing.

I mentioned in my post yesterday about calling Costco “not BJ’s. Here is how that came about. When we lived in Orlando, we went to BJ’s Warehouse all the time, actually almost weekly. Well when we moved to PA, they don’t have BJ’s near us so we got a membership to Costco. Ok, fine, well and good…. so now we go to Costco, but for some reason I keep calling it BJ’s when we talk about making lists and items we need. The first time I did this the boys said “It’s NOT BJ’s” and without missing a beat I said… ok so what do we need at “Not BJ’s”. This annoyed them and they kept saying it’s not BJ”s it’s Costco. I would say yes it’s Not BJ’s. So now we often refer to going to Costco as going to Not BJ”s. There are still times when this annoys Blake (in his book things are right or wrong and calling it Not BJ’s is wrong), but we joke about it.

I want my boys to see that yes life is busy. Yes life is hard. And, yes you should strive to do things correctly, but when you don’t… it’s not worth getting upset about. it’s not worth stressing over. and more times than not later on you’ll look back and laugh.

family · life · through my camera lens

Busy Spring Saturday

Spring! Spring! Yeah… it’s spring! And we have been doing a lot outside… that is where you should be when it’s spring!

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04_13_c_01After having a steak dinner yesterday, we headed back into the woods. I wanted to show Richard and the boys some of the paths I traveled. We decided to cut down through our own property and see if we could clear out a safe path to use on a regular basis to get down into the woods behind our house. I think there are a few good choices. We just need to clear out a04_13_b_02 bunch of thorn bushes, all of us ended up with cuts from the thorn bushes. One crazy thing… all four of us put tick spray on. Only one person came home with ticks… ME! I pulled at least 6 ticks off and then spent the night thinking there were more on me. Why me? Gesh!

Today, we got up and had a slow morning. We headed to the gym so the boys could go to their “little lifters”. They have really enjoyed this, too bad there is only one more week. plantersBut, the good thing is they have learned a lot of things that they will be able to do on their own. This will be good going forward especially in the summer when I plan to have them workout on the days we head there to use the pool.

After the gym, we went to DiBellas for subs and then to Lowes (if you follow my blog regularly you probably have noticed this is our regular Saturday pattern). While we were at Lowes, we picked up plants, new planters, potting soil, fertilizer and a few other things. Colby helped me pick out the plants to go in the planter and the hanging plant we purchased.  When we got home we set to work. Richard and I worked on getting the new planters set up. Dixie decided she needed to do some digging too.

We then went into the backyard and Richard began digging holes. This is not an easy task. Digging holes should not require more work with the pick ax than the shovel. He planted the Christmas tress that we purchased to use on the front porch for part of the04_14_c_03 Christmas decoration with the intent on planting them in the backyard. Even though it was a lot of work we will probably keep with this tradition next year.

While Richard was working on the holes, I spread out the butterfly/humming bird seed mix that we picked up at Lowes on sale a few weeks ago. I then went and fertilized the front yard. We need to do something to get the grass a bit greener. Since there is rain in our forecast for tonight and most of tomorrow we wanted to get some of these tasks done so the rain can do it’s job too.

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For dinner we decided to head to Red Robin (YUMMM!) Richard needed to go to the hobby shop to get a new motor for his Traxxas truck, so why not go out to eat too? We all splurged and got milkshakes which is a great treat (Richard: Oreo, Blake: chocolate, Colby: Vanilla, Me: Caramel). We figured we had burned a few extra calories today.

So I’d call today a success. We will see how much rain we get tonight and tomorrow, we need it! The big thing on my agenda for tomorrow is making pizza dough for Stromboli. The last few times I’ve tried to make pizza dough it didn’t workout… keep your fingers crossed I figure it out this time.

family · life

The child not the path

I find it interesting when I read about parenting and changes in parenting. I’ve always thought of myself as an old school parent. I try very hard not to shelter my boys. We have conversations about topics the bring up. We have talked about everything from sports, politics, education, conservation and so much more. Richard and I believe that we need to provide them the tools for adulthood.

As the boys get older, we are trusting them more and more to do things on their own. We are allowing them to make their own mistakes and not fixing them for them. We guide, we may even direct, but we can’t do for them. Our job as parents is to help them become adults.

No automatic alt text available.I recently read an article talking about the difference between parenting when I was a child, and before that compared to parenting these days. (Sorry I can’t provide a link because I’m not sure where I read the article, it has just been bouncing around in my brain) It asked the question of why did those parents feel comfortable providing the freedom that many parents today do not. The freedom to go as well as the freedom to fail. The articles answer struck me… it is not the faith or trust in the children that has changed as much as the parents feelings about parenting. Too often today parents blame themselves for the shortcoming and failures of the child. This probably contributes to the fact that many parents do not want to see fault in their child, because then they are in essence admitting failure in themselves.

In many ways this hit me and hit me hard. I often blame myself for the shortcoming of my sons. Just the other day we were yet again supervising cleaning of the basement. Richard was getting frustrated because he felt the boys needed to show more respect for the items they have, which I totally understand. But, my gut reaction was that I didn’t doImage may contain: text my job as a stay-at-home mom when they were younger. I didn’t instill this respect for property, I didn’t foster the desire for a clean living space, I wasn’t able to provide them with the routine of cleaning up that stuck through this phase of life. It is easy to slip into this I failed mode. I was the one who was home with them. If I only did x, y, z better then, my kids would do what they were supposed to do. But, wait they are. Kids are perfect. They will makes mistakes. Tweens and teens are notorious for being messy and not taking care of their space. Is it that I didn’t do my job as a parent, or it is that my kids are… kids?

My sons are good kids, far from perfect, but good kids. Do I think Richard and I are bad parents… HELL NO! Do I think we are/were perfect parents… NOPE! But, do the shortcoming of our sons need to reflect on us as humans, never mind as parents? No. One can not raise perfect beings… it isn’t possible. We model the behaviors expected. We helped them see the errors of their ways and fix their mistakes. We foster an understanding of differences and an acceptance of others choices and opinions. We can guild our children, we can foster their interests and gently guide. We can show them the safe way to proceed with caution when needed, as well as allowing them to throw caution the wind when life allows. We will be there when they fall, but we can not fix the path for them. I do not know what lies ahead in the road for my sons, I can only hope that we have given them the tools to deal with each choice they make. When they succeed and excel we will be there cheering them on. Just as when the stumble and fall we will be there to help them dust themselves off and try again.

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life

blogger laziness and a bit of rambles

Yesterday I was a slacker blogger. You may have noticed that I just popped off a quick post at the end of the day yesterday. I was at the school from 7:20 until 2:00 helping out with the Science Olympiad. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. Colby came home from school exhausted as I’m sure most of the kids did. This was their last school day before testing starts, so that was a fun way to prep for state testing. Blake has testing the next 2 weeks and Colby has testing the next 3 weeks.

I also didn’t read anyone else’s blog yesterday, that is normally a morning time thing for me, so I tried to plow through a lot of them today. I try to keep up with most of the bloggers who leave comments on my blog. I always feel this is the start of a conversation/ a kinship/ a something and when I know that you are reading and commenting on my blog, then I’m more drawn into reading yours on a regular basis. Others, I tend to read if they peek my interest. Am I the only one who blogs this way?

This week has been a revisiting of winter for us. We had some type of snow every day and woke up to a little over an inch of accumulated snow today again. Ok… I’m done with winter now. Can we move onto spring?

This weekend will be a slow keep life simple weekend. We will try to stay on our normal routines and get the kids to bed at a reasonable time. I really hate state testing, yes I know I’m a teacher, yes I know there is a need for accountability, but this still doesn’t feel like it is it. At least here in this school district (or at least this school) they don’t stress the kids out as much over the whole thing. My sons don’t feel the pressure as much as they did in FL.

This coming week also finds me finally going and taking the PA teacher tests. I am not stressing out over this… it is what it is. I am not going to study. I’m not going to do anything but show up and take the test. I’m totally in the mode of if it is meant to be I’ll be fine.  If not… Oh well. (part of me know that I’ll be totally ticked with myself if I don’t pass… I don’t do failure well!)

Well… time to get ready to head to the gym. I wonder what the boys will do this week in their little lifters class? I’m dragging and my throat is scratchy so we will see how much energy I have for working out today. But… I’m going and that is a start.

Happy Saturday!

 

life · through my camera lens

It’s Friday Eve

It’s Thursday. That means it is Friday Eve, isn’t that a great way to look at Thursdays? This has been a fast week for me, but I’m not sure I actually did a whole lot. Yesterday was a productive in house day. We had rain, wind, snow and sun yesterday as well as cold temperatures so it was a perfect stay home day. I put away all the Easter decorations, but didn’t have anything to put out so now the house feels bare, oh well. I also managed to get all the beds stripped and washed, cleaned the bathrooms and swept the floors.

After dinner (leftover chicken and steak wraps… make your own!), we worked on the menu for next week. I think going to the grocery store on Thursdays might be a good day for me, I’ll try it out for a few weeks. Typically I shop on Mondays, but then it feels like we have no food on the weekends, when everyone is home. On the menu this week we have: make your own scramblers, quesadillas, tuna steaks, TBD, meatballs and fish tacos. I’ll make rolls to go with the meatballs, not sure yet if I’ll make grinder rolls or small rolls, time will tell.

Today we woke up to more blowing snowflakes and 27 degrees F. What month are we in? At least neither the snow yesterday nor today stuck so it was just in looking out and seeing snow flying around. While I was having my coffee and then my breakfast I was watching my bird feeders. Over the weekend we moved the feeder again and now I can see it from my computer again. I decided to take some pictures of the birds I could see. This morning I saw: doves, goldfinch, cardinals, blue jays, crows and black birds. We typically have starlings around too. Yesterday we even had a turkey walk through the backyard.

andesI went to the gym and then to the grocery store. While I was there, I picked up some Andes candies and decided to make chocolate chocolate Andes cookies. Yep, you read that right! I haven’t made cookies in a few weeks so it was time. I took this recipe and altered it with peppermint extra, a bit of extra salt and then substituted 1 cup of chips for chopped up Andes candies.

The other big change this week is the lot next door. They have already dug the foundation and then today they began working on changing the topography of the backyard. This is good and bad for us. We wanted them to alter topography of our backyard, but they wouldn’t do it. I think they are doing it this time because the other builder in the neighborhood cleaned up the lot of two lots that back up to the property next to us. Now I wonder what they are going to do between our property and the one they are working on. My boys would have loved this when they were little. They loved construction vehicles so much and would have probably spent hours just sitting and watching dump truck after dump truck get loaded up by the back hoe.

Hope you enjoyed a quick glimpse into my Friday Eve. Tomorrow I’m off to the boys’ school to help with the 4th grade science Olympics. Then it’s the weekend. I’m always ready for the weekend. Hope this week has been nice to you.

family · life · through my camera lens

Snow brings out smiles

So as I mentioned on Wednesday, we got a snow storm to start off the season of spring. Yesterday, Richard decided to work from home. After the boys finished their homework, and Richard finished up his last work meeting they all decided to go outside while I was making dinner.

 

It was in the high 30s, but there was little to no wind. This means that the snow is starting to melt. This didn’t stop the boys from going out on their sleds and snow scooters. Richard went out with Dixie and was tossing snowballs with her. It is too funny to watch this as she doesn’t understand why the ball disappears when she catches it.

 

Richard and Colby decided to make a snowman, but it turned into more of a snow mound. I said it looked like a stalagmite instead of a snowman. They got the shovels out and where shoveling all the snow around the back door and using it to make it huge. This mound was almost as tall as Richard.

There were snowballs, laughter and smiles for everyone. It may have been cold and snowy the last few days. Too many of us may have head colds and be blowing our nose more than we’d want. But, the moments when we can do things together. To have fun and smile… that is what makes family moments worth it all.