Thursday, June 27, 2013

Honda Visit (+ Sweet Cousin Friends)

Hey, y'all.  I've found myself asking, "What day is it?" so many times this week.  This whole no-working thing has made it hard to keep up.

Today was actually kind of a work day, though, since I spent it here:


And it. Was. Awesome.  This workshop was designed for business, history, and economics educators from across the state. Like I mentioned in my last post, I was pretty excited about it.

It was a GREAT experience.  The day was mixed with a bit of history, business, engineering, technology, and LOTS (and lots and lots) of economics. And fun, of course. 

{Here's one of my groups doing a productivity exercise.  I met some neat secondary and post-secondary educators from all over the state.}

Not gonna lie, though -- the coolest thing was not the economics talk or the chatting and networking.  It was the doggone PLANT TOUR.  AH-MAZING.

I can't even BEGIN to tell you how cool it was to experience the processes that go into creating these vehicles. I have a high level of respect and admiration for people who work there.  Everyone from the top-level management to those on the floor. The detail that goes into ensuring the quality of the vehicles is amazing. My favorite parts of the tour were:
  • Watching the engines being produced and all the tiny pieces and processes that it involves.
  • Seeing the vehicle components (bumpers, seats, doors, etc.) before they were put together to make a vehicle.
  • The robots that were a part of the welding process.
  • Hearing that people who worked in certain areas of the paint department are not allowed to wear regular lotion, hairspray, and normal things we never think about (because tiny components could get into the paint and cause premature chipping).
  • The cleanliness of the plant.
  • The number of women who worked there.  I shouldn't have been surprised since some women in my family (including my mother and grandmother) worked in manufacturing for most of their lives.  For some reason, though, I thought a place like Honda would employ significantly more males.  But I was wrong.  (I should add that I don't remember seeing females in the office area where many of the engineers worked.  There just aren't many female engineers, so that didn't surprise me.)
  • Learning how much these people made. I knew Honda had a reputation for paying well, but I was still surprised at what these people TAKE HOME.  And their benefits are also top notch.
  • Seeing all the employees doing their parts to make quality products.
There was just SO much to admire during this visit.  One thing that was a bit disappointing, though, was that I didn't see anyone I knew. I already knew my relatives who worked there wouldn't be there at the time of the tour, but I have classmates and people I grew up with who also work there.  I was expecting to see someone "from home."  Didn't happen.

In reality, the chances of me seeing some I knew was kinda slim.  While I think of Honda as a little plant near my hometown, I'm a bit off with the "little" part. This facility is a huge employer in our state -- employing THOUSANDS of people.  Trying to find a classmate or two in the white uniform, hat, and safety glasses that EVERYONE was wearing was a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack thing.

Oh, well.  It was still awesome.

Now it's time to enjoy the weekend.  M has company tonight -- my sweet, sweet niece, C.  I'm gonna let them stay up late and enjoy each other since they don't see each other often.


We spent the evening in our usual spot -- outdoors enjoying the sunset.


I have to enjoy days like this.  With my niece being six years older than M, one day she won't care to come to my house to spend time with her younger cousin.  She will see M as "too little," and I'll have to wait until they're both older before they're friends like this again.


Sweet girls!  They love each other so much!

Have a great weekend, good people!

Love,
G

PS - I know I said I'd post about our cave visit today, but I wanted to record the details from today's plant visit before they were forgotten.  I'll post the cave stuff in a few days.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Swim Lessons (Progress)

Hey, good people.  Today I want to post about M and swim lessons (the ups and downs).

DK and I learned to swim as children, and have always said our kids would learn, too (even earlier than we did). Drowning is a leading cause of death in children, and one way to prevent that obviously is enrolling them in swim lessons/water safety classes. The age of three is a good age to begin formal lessons (when children have the muscle coordination to learn to actually swim, and can be in the water without a parent).  M was three last summer, but the classes that worked with our schedule filled up quickly (and we didn't get in).  This year I jumped right on it and got her in. Not only that, but we got a great instructor.

The first couple of weeks, she was fine. M is no stranger to water as we go on beach trips with my in-laws at least twice a year (and that includes lots of pool time).  But after a few weeks of lessons (and an unintended break after the stitches incident), something happened that made her afraid.  Maybe it was the growing independence -- not sure. Whatever it was, though, she'd refuse to get in the water at all.

Her daddy trying to talk her into getting in.

When we would finally get her in there, she would not let go of the instructor.  She'd hold his neck so tightly, and would freak out when he tried to encourage her to swim.  It was kinda sad.  She'd cry and cry, but DK and I would not get her out. Mind you, there were other people in the pool.  Other lanes were used by swim/dive teams and open/free swim.  So I'm sure some people there thought we were crazy for watching our baby cry. I noticed one old lady looking at us in horror. As M's parents, we knew what she was capable of.  Allowing her to bail was not going to fix the problem.

After a few lessons like that, we decided to do our own little intervention...help the instructor out by doing some extra practice at home.  So we went to our neighborhood pool and worked with her together.  We did short and sweet drills first, making games out of what we were doing.  Then she'd "swim" between her daddy and me over and over.  At the same time, we were moving farther away from each other as we saw her confidence increase.  And it did -- BIG TIME.  So much that I was able to get out of the water, and she was comfortable working with just her daddy (swimming between him and the wall).

The next day (after her great instructor offered to give her us a complimentary one-on-one lesson -- nice, right?), she was more confident and ready to go.  Exhibit A.




Her confidence continued to grow, and we were able to focus on coming up for air (and swimming longer distances).  Exhibit B.




Yay, M!  My girl's already looking forward to her next lesson, which is a far cry from where we were a couple of weeks ago.  I hope we've seen the last of her water fears.

I'm proud of her, and look forward to watching her get better. We hope to enroll her in the next level so she can learn more skills.  We're serious about water safety, and she still has a lot to learn...

Hope everyone's having a good week!  Tomorrow or Friday I plan to post about M's first visit to a cave. Stop back by to see if there was drama or if it went smoothly (or both).

Love,
G

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Oh, hey there.


Yep, it's been a week since I've blogged. And not necessarily because I've been crazy busy -- I've just been kinda lazy.  Season 3 of Downton Abbey became available for free last week (for Amazon Prime subscribers), so since then, I've watched seven episodes.  In between that, we've been doing our usual -- going outside, practicing our reading, playing around the house. I've only been doing the bare minimum for cleaning the past week (dishes, laundry, the necessary stuff), so everything else has fallen by the wayside. I'll make up for lost time cleaning sometime this week.

On a different note, M had a huge turnaround in swim lessons recently.  I'm proud of her.  I'll be posting a video soon.

And on another note, we recently took M to her first cave visit.  I was a little worried she'd get down there and freak out.  And she DID say something on the way down into the cave that made me believe we were in for a little drama.  Check back later this week to see how it went.

In the meantime, I've got WORK on the brain. Yesterday I attended the training for a new course we're teaching in the fall. I'm REALLY excited about it. I'm about to go through the notes I took and get some things together. Organize my thoughts, so to speak...

Later this week, I'll be visiting our state's Honda manufacturing facility with a group of educators to explore and discuss business, economics, technology, and promotion of our local economy. I'm excited about this for many reasons -- one being that it includes a tour of the plant.  I've always wondered what it looked like inside this facility (everyone wears all white, which makes me think the place is this crazy kind of clean), and how vehicle manufacturing looks in general (this facility makes Honda minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks). I actually have an aunt, uncle, and cousin who work at this facility; unfortunately, neither of them will be there at the time of my visit (boooo). I'm also looking forward to this because of all the real-world concepts, discussions, and experiences I can take back to my classroom -- particularly my Management class.  Unlike the freshman course I teach, Management touches on every aspect of business.  These students are being taught to understand and apply more advanced concepts in business, which means they'll understand and appreciate the things I bring back from the Honda experience.

Anyhoo...


...I've included these pictures today specifically for my DAD.  He called me a couple of weeks ago and scolded me about a picture on my blog -- how my child wasn't wearing elbow and knee pads while she was skating. Ooops - who knew she needed more than a helmet.  My bad, Dad! :-)

Hope everyone has a good week!  Check back again tomorrow or Thursday.  I'm gonna try not to go another week before posting again. :-)

Love,
G

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fun in Learning (+ A "Mama" Accomplishment)

Hey, good people.  Hope everyone had a good weekend.  We didn't get into much -- just stayed around the house.  Spent Saturday evening at the pool.  It was a good weekend. 

Yesterday we got out of the house and went to the children's science museum.  This is probably M's favorite place ever.  We've been countless times (and even celebrated her 3rd birthday there), but the place never gets old to her. 





We were downtown, so we had lunch at my favorite chicken finger place...again.  I've been eating SO badly this summer already (and my waist line is already showing it), but those chicken fingers are GOOOOOD. 

On another note, I got something COOL in the mail over the weekend:


My EdS degree came!  YES, in the mail, because YES, I skipped my graduation ceremony last month.  (I'm not in love with graduation ceremonies*, remember?)

I may have skipped the ceremony, but that doesn't mean I wasn't super excited when I saw the mail that day.  I even had my husband take a picture, despite my hot-mess, sweaty-ness from a run I'd just finished. It was a great day.

Probably because out of the degrees I've earned, this one was the toughest. This time, I was working, wife-ing, mommy-ing, and school-ing at the same time. IT WAS HARD.  

My husband says it's because I'm tough on myself. And he's right.  All of my degrees were completed with at least a 3.5 GPA. I didn't like Bs, and Cs were out of the question (though I did make two in undergrad).  

And NOT because I was necessarily smarter than the next person, I should add.  I've always had to STUDY to get good grades.  I'm not that person who could skip studying and still walk into the exam and ace it.  If I wanted to ace it, I probably had to stay up all night.  And I usually did.

My hopes are that my child(ren) will work hard, too.  Not because I push them (and I will if they need it), but because they personally WANT to.  As a teacher, I know that parental support is major, but it only goes so far. At the end of the day, that kid's work ethic and desires are what makes him/her successful. 

I heard this little saying in undergrad, and even pass it along to my own students today:  

The difference between an A-student and a C-student is work ethic.  

And while obviously this isn't true in
every case, it's a true statement for the most part.  It applies outside of "school," and works for personal/career goals, too.  It's simple -- if you WORK HARD toward a goal, the reward(s) will come. I have to remind MYSELF of this all the time (oh, I'm a "C-student" in several areas of my life)...

But anyhoo, yep, I was thrilled when I checked the mail Saturday.  I actually finished this degree back in December.  Because of some paperwork/state requirement nightmares, though, I missed the December "graduation" deadline. I was a little bummed that my degree would say I finished five months later than I really did, but at this point, I'm like, "Who cares?  I'm DONE." 

I'm DONE. And it's a SWEET feeling.

Have a great week, guys!  I'll be back some time this week!

Love,
G

*  But I DO make exceptions for my loved ones.  Next up: my baby sister in December. I WILL be there!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dads

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  Especially my own. 


These pics are from 13 years ago -- homecoming of my senior year.  Dad was in town to escort me for Homecoming Court.  I remember very clearly a little conversation we had as we were preparing to walk onto the field.

He asked me who'd won Homecoming Queen (they'd announced it earlier at school that day), and I showed him the girl.  

His response was something like, "THAT girl?  Are you kidding me?"  

Mind you, she was gorgeous.  And more importantly, she was probably the sweetest girl in our class.  In fact, I'd personally pulled* for her to win.  

While I remember assuring my dad that I was pleased with the results, I'll never forget that he was ready to assure me that I was the best girl for the title. And today, he is still that kind of dad.  He is so proud of me, and often gives me too much credit.  But I think that's what dads are for. :-) 


   

I also picked a great guy to be my child(ren)'s dad.  And in the process, I got a bonus dad who is pretty awesome, too (my father-in-law). 

We're pretty lucky.  

Happy Father's Day to all.  Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend.

Love,
G

* I probably should explain why I was on Homecoming Court but was pulling for someone else.  At my school, you didn't campaign for Homecoming Queen, nor could you nominate yourself -- you had to be nominated by classmates.  From that came the official ballot, which, to my surprise, had my name on it (I'd shown no interest whatsoever in being HQ). I then made it clear to all my friends and anyone else who would listen that they should vote for the other girl.  She wanted it, and she deserved it. And to this day, I'm glad she got it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Artsy Date

Hey, peeps.  Hope everyone had a good week.  We ended ours with a little trip to the art museum.  


It was beauuuuuuutiful today with temps in the 80s.  So lovely.


And for that reason, we spent some time outside the museum before going in -- enjoying the pretty fountains and peaceful surroundings.


We also walked across the street to a park for a few minutes. We could have stayed out there all day.  Unfortunately, the plans were to do the museum for a couple of hours, eat lunch, and have M napping at her regular time.

And that we did.

Last year when we visited this museum, I told myself I'd gradually show M the REAL galleries every time we visited (versus going straight to the kids rooms).  There's some pretty interesting stuff there. Like any child, she's inquisitive and will have questions about pretty much anything...so the learning opportunities are there.


We visited our first "real" gallery today.  Naturally she gravitated toward this house, which to her looked like a great place for her dolls and dinosaurs to hang out.  I had to remind her not to touch.

I was fond of this one myself.

She was over this gallery pretty quickly, so we then headed to the kids section.  They basically have two rooms for children -- one geared toward baby/toddler/preschool kids, and the other toward school-aged kids. M is at that age where she can enjoy both rooms.


And she did.


Since we were downtown, we went to my favorite chicken finger spot for lunch.  I'm not a big chicken finger person -- unless it's THIS place.  And since they closed the two locations closer to our side of the metropolitan area, I like to go here anytime I'm downtown.

M doesn't really like chicken fingers, either, but she ate two.  They're SO good.

Anyhoo, being downtown was a treat for M...


The restaurant is in the heart of downtown, and right near two hospitals.  So there were buses, trolleys, ambulances, and firetrucks galore.  We sat outside so we could enjoy the beautiful weather and see all the cool vehicles passing by.  

It was a great day.

Hope you guys have a great weekend!  

Love,
G

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will She or Won't She?

Hey, y'all!  I'm here before midnight tonight. The little one went down early (thanks to a no-nap day), and the husband is busy watching the Heat (win, I hope).  That means my "me" time has started a little early tonight. Woohoo!

Tonight I'm posting a funny little video.  M wants to make a jump on the playground...a jump that she's made several times before, but decided on this day that the jump looks "very long." Her goal was to do it without my assistance. Her indecisiveness about the whole thing is what makes it funny...

So will she or wont she?


Yep, she ended up requesting my assistance.  Funny, funny girl. 

Have a good one, y'all. Be back tomorrow.

G

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SUMMER TO-DOs (The House Edition)

Hey, y'all.  I'm PROBABLY not gonna challenge myself to blog every day again since I'm just three days in and I'm already over it.  It's almost midnight (again), and I REALLY wanna go to bed.  Much respect to those of you who blog four to five times a week.  I love blogs that have fresh content several times a week, but clearly I could never be one of them.

Anyhoo, I hope everyone's had a good day. With the exception of a very dramatic swim lesson that may or may not have involved tears, ours been great.  M has been doing great at swim (maybe I'll post a video of her progress soon), but this week she's been afraid she'll "sink."  I think once she realized she was gaining a bit of independence in the water, she got scared.  Which is normal, I guess. (Either way, we won't budge on swim lessons.  They're a must.)

It's getting hot, y'all.  For you southerners, y'all know about that wet, sticky hot.  We're getting there, unfortunately.


We still got out there today and got some sun.


We were sure to drink plenty. 

I also got a quick run in on this beautiful evening.

So anyway, let's get to why I'm here today...to post my "house" To Do list.  I've mentioned several times here how doggone unorganized I am.  Most days my house is in need of some serious de-cluttering. I'm just like that, unfortunately.  I work on being more organized, but at the end of the day/week/month, stuff still piles up.  So here's my list:
  1. Organize my kitchen cupboards, drawers, and pantry.  I did this not to long ago, but they're getting out of control again.
  2. Clean and organize the guest room (and its closet).  The guest room isn't THAT bad.  But it's small, and the little stuff I DO have in there could be organized/removed.  The closet is a different story.  It has everything from my preserved wedding dress to old sorority paraphernalia to craft supplies. Just a bunch of stuff.  Most of that stuff I don't plan on getting rid of, but maybe I can find a new home for it somewhere in this house.  It WOULD be nice if guests could actually USE the closet, huh?
  3. Clean the carpets. Just yuck. My next house will have little to no carpet. Maybe I can find a deal on a professional, or maybe I'll just rent one of those Rug Doctor things. Either way, it needs to be DONE.
  4. Clean and organize the garage.  The garage is getting back out of control, so we've tackle that before it gets too crazy. It's already very close.
  5. Deep clean every room in the house.  You know, baseboards, and stuff. No fun, but needs to be done.
  6. Get rid of clothes I don't/can't wear. I've been really good with this the past few years, so this should be easy.
  7. Clean out files/papers and reorganize.  I'm halfway through this.  I went through files we had in the guest room and got rid of some really old, not-important-anymore stuff. And that felt good.
  8. Create a binder with copies of important documents.  I saw this idea on TV (or maybe a blog?) a few years ago after severe weather had hit an area.  One of the recommendations was to have copies of important documents in a binder (with each page protected with page covers) in the event you need to grab important things quickly/your home is damaged in storm.  GREAT idea.
  9. Compose a will and gather other documents needed in the event of death. Sure this one is kind of a downer, but it is what it is. Something could happen to either one of us any day. I'm embarrassed to say we don't have a will.  We've talked with relatives about what happens with M, and we have life insurance policies that ensure that she's taken care of, but that's about it.  No official will.  We know better.  Hopefully this summer will give us a chance to DO better.
  10. Prepare to sell. No, we don't plan on putting our house on the market tomorrow, but we know selling is in our near future.  So we've gotta sit down and evaluate what all needs to be done to get this house market-ready (and trust me, it's a lot).
There are a lot of things on this list, and I know getting it all done may be a bit tough (especially considering the last two "To Do" lists I posted)...but I'm gonna try.  That's gotta be worth something.

Anyhoo, time for bed.  M has a dentist appointment in the morning, and I need a decent night's sleep in case there's drama.  She's never thrilled about seeing the dentist.


Have a good one, y'all!  Be back tomorrow!

Love,
G

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SUMMER TO-DOs (The Mama Edition)


Hey, good people! I challenged myself to blog every day this week, but that's just easier said than done.  It's almost midnight here. I had to sit down, open this laptop, and not be defeated by my own challenge (at least not on the second day - ha)!

So, yesterday I shared what I wanted to do with my little one this summer.  Today I'm posting what I plan to do for myself.  Let's begin:
  1. Relax.  I put this one first because this is an an area where I personally struggle.  If you've read my blog in the last month or so, you probably heard me whining about NOT teaching summer school this year. I'm sure some of you probably thought I was crazy.  I get this constant need to be busy from my mother.  She has always been a busy body up until recently, when her body started telling her she needed to slow down. Since then, she's encouraged ME to slow down and not make the same mistakes. Of course I haven't had time to take her advice (ironic), but maybe this summer is a blessing in disguise for me.  I have to admit, I'm beginning to enjoy having no obligations.    
  2. Try group fitness classes. Again. Running is great, but I need to add some variety.  I tried a few classes earlier in the year, but wasn't really a fan. Cycling was definitely a good, tough workout, but it was a strain on my knees.  (As a runner, one of my biggest fears is knee injury/weakness. I can't risk it.) And the cardio class was too easy/boring.  So I'm thinking Zumba and yoga this summer. I'm still not as fit as I need to be, and I think this could help.
  3. Watch an entire series of a show I've never watched before.  I'm not a big TV watcher. I'm kinda picky about how I spend the little time I do watch TV. This past season, I watched Grey's Anatomy (because I've always watched it), The Game (because I've always watched it), and went back and watched season one of Scandal so I could watch season two with the rest of civilization.  But that's about it.  As mentioned, I recently started watching Downton Abbey through my Amazon Instant Video app.  It took me a few episodes, but I'm definitely a fan now.  I'm midway through season two. Season three isn't free yet (womp), so I'll have to wait until it is free to catch up with the rest of civilization.  Until then, I'll start watching Army Wives. I've heard good things about it.
  4. Go to the dentist.  I'm good with keeping M's regular dentist appointments, but I'm long overdue for a cleaning.  (This typically isn't something I'd add to my list, but I need to see it it in writing so I can get it taken care of.)
  5. Finish the God Don't Like Ugly series.  Surprisingly I haven't been reading very much this summer.  I think that has something to do with my little party-for-one Downton Abbey marathons.  But I'll get to back to it soon and finally finish this series I started last year (I'm on Book 5 of 6).
  6. Run a 5K or two.  I've got my eye on a couple.
  7. Eat/cook better. Lots of room for improvement here.
  8. Go on dates with my husband (or maybe a weekend trip).  DK and I go through spurts of having a good balance of "us" time, but we haven't been good with that lately.  Gotta do better.
  9. Become a stronger runner.  I began running a year ago, but have sort of mellowed out (and even cut back) on distance and training. I hope to become stronger this summer.
  10. Work on some career goals.   You guys know me.  "Work work" had to be in here somewhere.  I don't plan to get another degree, but there are some other things I'd like to do with my career to get better and/or create more income for my family.  I've got a couple of ideas.
Sooo yeah, that's my list.  Nothing too crazy, but enough to keep me on my toes. 

My house deserves a list of its own, so I'll post it here tomorrow.  I'll be back!

G

Monday, June 10, 2013

SUMMER TO-DOs (The Kid Edition)

Happy Monday!  

It is, indeed, a happy Monday for me since my kid woke up with a normal temp. Yesterday after a trip to the children's after-hours clinic for belly pain, M became lethargic and feverish. I can't remember the last time she's been sick like that.  I knew she felt REALLY bad when she didn't want to play and didn't protest at bedtime (my kid ALWAYS protests at bedtime). I'd forgotten how heartbroken and helpless you feel as a parent seeing your child sick.

But today she seems to be in better spirits. She's playing again and seems to be back to her old self. 

On another note, I'm challenging myself to blog every day this week (Monday - Friday, at least). I've got a few things I want to get up.  I know if I don't challenge myself, it will get stretched out or never done.

I want to begin with our Summer To-Do lists.  Like I told you, these are more for ME so that I don't lose track of my summer goals. Our summer lists are usually long, detailed, and all over the place (see lists from 2012 and 2011). This year I'm categorizing and generalizing so that they're not so overwhelming. So today I'll do M's, I'll do mine tomorrow, and a "house" one Wednesday. 

Let's begin, shall we. This is what I plan to do with M this summer (we're almost three weeks into the summer, so naturally we've already started most of these):
  1. Visit the zoo, art museum, and/or children's museum.  We enjoy all three of these and hope to visit each at least once this summer.  Places that make learning fun always get good marks in our book.
  2. Move M to her own bed.  I confess -- we share our bed with a four year-old!  M slept in her own bed most of her first year.  That changed once she got out of that SIDS-risk stage because we (naively) thought it'd be cool to have our little one in bed with us a night or two.  That turned into days.  Weeks.  Months.  And here we are with a preschooler who hates her own bed and migrates to ours not long after she's down for the night.  Couple that with "I'm scared" and "there's a monster in my room," and you've got bedtime drama every night.  So, it's time to wrap up this little stage.  I know it's gonna be tough (and really, it's completely our fault as parents for even starting this), but I pray that we end this summer with some results.  Because I just really want my bed back.
  3. Visit an amusement park.  We didn't go to one at all last summer (I don't think), so this was something I really wanted to do this summer.  Thanks to a friend of mine, we can already check this off the list. (M had a blast.)
  4. Work on patience and attitude.  I wish I could say my child is the sweetest, most patient child I know.  For the most part, she IS a sweet, patient child.  About 90% of the time, she's adorable just like any other four year-old. But the other 10% of the time?  She's smart-mouthed, impatient, and full of attitude. It's very much like a 16 year-old in a four year-old's body.  It's freaky, and it irks me so much. I don't know where she gets it (and I'm being serious here - I was not like that as a kid), but I'm using this summer to do some attitude-correcting.  Do I expect her to be a perfect angel?  No, but some things just don't need to be ignored. 
  5. Summer reading.  I love the concept of summer reading programs.  Our local library encourages families to start while children are still babies, so we've been doing this since M was six months old. We'll also do the Barnes and Noble program again since it's one of the easiest national programs. (HERE is a list of some other cool national summer reading programs.)
  6. Take advantage of the local free entertainment.  This one's a summer favorite of ours. This would be everything from library shows to city festivals.  Free is good!
  7. Prevent summer learning loss. Summer learning loss is real, my friends. And though M is only in preschool, there's a lot she's learned that I don't want her to lose. While I won't necessarily be teaching her new material (I teach teenagers -- preschool pedagogy is kinda foreign to me), I will be prepping her for the fall by spending a few minutes every day doing fun educational stuff.  Strengthening what she already knows. I'm going to do an entirely separate post on this soon. 
  8. Go outside a lot.  It's so easy to stay inside all day with the iPad, books, and toys, but I try to make it a priority to get outdoors every day. If you ask me, going outside makes for happier kids and easier bed times - ha!  There are a whole lot of other reasons, too, of course. 
  9. Give M more responsibilities. M will be five in December, and there's something about that age that makes me want to give her a few more responsibilities.  I want to raise her to be self-sufficient, independent. She cleans her own room (for the most part), helps me folds towels and washcloths, and even insists on helping cook.  But I think I need to give her a few more things to do this summer -- especially since she'll be home. Small things, but responsibilities, nonetheless.  It's for her own good
  10. Do nothing.  I used to cringe at the thought of doing absolutely nothing, but I'm now wise enough now to know you NEED those days.  They are OKAY.  If there's a day where M watches Disney Junior all day, then she we probably need it.
So yeah, that's my general list of priorities for M this summer. Wish me luck!


(Drop by tomorrow to see what my plans are for myself.)  See ya soon!

G

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hey, Y'all!

What's up, y'all?  Hope everyone's had a good week.

I thought being off for the summer would make me want to blog more.  So far, that hasn't been the case.  I've been sorta BLAH lately. I'm not sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with the missing structure in my life.  Not having anywhere to be every morning. I know I should be really happy to have a career that allows that -- and truly, I AM -- but it's taking some getting used to.  I'm not gonna lie -- I miss teaching summer school. What's wrong with me?

I have been teaching a little, though -- to my four year-old.  M has missed the last two weeks of preschool (I think she needs a break), so I've stepped in as Mrs. Mommy.  Despite the fact that we have to pay whether she goes every day or not, I'm thinking of keeping her out the whole summer. 

DK and my mom think I'm crazy.  If we're paying, she needs to go at least a couple of days a week, they say.  And I agree to an extent, but I also think she'll benefit from the break. Plus I'd really miss her during the day. We do enough public shows and activities for her to still get that social interaction, and she's not missing anything curriculum-wise since their summer curriculum is more of a review. Plus, I've been working with her a little bit every day to prevent summer learning loss. (I'll do another post on that soon.)

Anyhoo, we'll see. I've managed to keep her out the last two weeks without my husband really noticing.  Fingers crossed for next week. I want my baby home!

So what HAVE we been up to?  Well, I've been making sure she still gets that time outdoors that she gets at school every day. I'm a firm believer that KIDS NEED TO BE OUTSIDE.



On this day, she was making me a salad -- deliciously prepared with leaves, twigs, and tree nuts.

We've also been making use of the free resources at the library.  The room for preschoolers is great -- books, iPads, stuffed puppets (M's favorite), toys, and a small outdoors play area.

And of course the free shows in the library's theater.


This week's show was Dinoman, where M met large (inflatable) dinosaurs, held a real dinosaur bone, and declined the offer to hold real dinosaur poop. Ha!

(She's in there somewhere.)

Speaking of the library...


...we've started our summer reading, too.  We're at about 500 pages now.

I think our summer's off to a pretty good start.  I think she can stand to miss a couple of months of preschool. Don't you think?

So...what has The Mama been up to?  

Well, I didn't finish the Big Library Read before the deadline.  The story seemed good, but it didn't pull me in enough to make me want to read it whenever I got the chance. Maybe next year's book will be a little more appealing to my tastes.  

My next reading goal is to finally finish the God Don't Like Ugly series.  I just checked out Book 5 again, so I'll be digging into that this weekend. 

I've been trying to find a good TV series to watch on my video apps. Something to get me through these four months without Scandal

First on my list was Downton Abbey.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  It took about five episodes to draw me in (it started slow, in my opinion), but it finally did. I'm almost done with the first season and can't wait to begin Season Two. It's different from what I like to watch, but I've fallen in love with the characters. I've also caught myself using my British accent around the house. Ha!

I can't decide what I'll watch after I've finished Downton Abbey. I've added Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, and Army Wives to my watchlist.  Army Wives has like six seasons, and that could probably get me through the summer.  I'm leaning toward that.

My GymPact app has been keeping me on my fitness toes.  I haven't been AS active, but I've been getting my three days a week. I'm just hoping that being home all summer won't push me to eat everything in my house.

I did get a run in for National Running Day yesterday.


With cousins!

Other than that, it's been kinda chill around here. Well, except for the bright idea my child got last night to bite into a glow stick.  Naturally they weren't toxic, but the yucky taste and burning sensation it gave her nose and eyes hopefully taught her a lesson.  (Seriously, who bites a glow stick?  After all the tears, she told me she was "taking her temperature." Never a dull moment, people.)

Oh!  And that playground injury from this morning.  It wasn't The Kid this time.  It was The Mama trying to play with The Kid. I don't even know how it happened -- I just remember stepping out onto a ladder/pole thingy, and either my foot slipped or I totally missed the doggone ladder rung. I ALMOST landed on my...ahem...but landed on my inner thigh, instead.  I'm sure it will be nice and blue tomorrow.  I tried to "run off" the soreness today, but I have a feeling I'll be getting a wake-up call in the morning.  I just hope I can WALK. 

Someone remind me to wear SHOES to the playground and not flip flops.  And to not be so clumsy.  On another note, it would have been SO funny if someone had seen it. Lucky for me, I don't think anyone did.

So, yeah.  That's what we've been up to.  

I'll be back in the next couple of days to tell y'all about our goals for the summer.  It's really more for me so that I don't lose track of how I want to spend my time.  I've already been on Facebook more than usual the past couple of weeks, and that's just NOT where I want my summer to go.  So putting these goals in writing helps ME.  I also pretend that you care. :-)

Well...off to shower and watch another Downton Abbey episode until my eyelids close.  The hubby is out watching the basketball game, so I get some rare ALONE TIME. Taking full advantage, people.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Love,
G

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Six Flags!

Hey, y'all.  I hope everyone's had a great weekend.  We've had a really fun one. I got my baby back Friday, and we spent Saturday in Atlanta theme parking with my friend T and her kids.

T's employer sponsored a family day at Six Flags.  She asked me Friday if we wanted to tag along and use her extra passes (complimentary everything -- admission, parking, and food).  She knows us all too well.  She KNOWS we will pick up and go like it's nothing...and we DID.


M and her Daddy (Her First Roller Coaster Ride!)

We rode the Mine Train first. M was barely tall enough.  Though it's one of their smaller (non-kiddie) coasters, I was still worried she'd be afraid and/or jerked around too much.  I was also worried it'd be too loud (she HATES loud noises), but she did great!  

Then we went to the little kiddie land and rode all it had to offer.  She loved these, too.




My friend's daughter, D, was such a great help.  She was very patient with M and rode some of the smaller rides with her.


MELTING while watching the kids play. :-)

It was pretty warm out there.  The bad thing about it is it isn't even "hot-hot" yet.  Poor T was such a trooper.  She's expecting #3, so the warm temps and all the walking were pretty rough for her. At one point we just took the kids and let her rest.  (By the way, that makes TWO of my dearest friends expecting this year. Can you say exciting???!!!  I cannot WAIT to love on this baby.)


We tried to ride as much as possible.  Luckily none of the lines were crazy.




T couldn't get on any of the rides due to her withchild-ness, so I was D's roller coaster bud! :-)

Getting ready to ride her second coaster of the day!


You see that coaster in the background?  My child had a FIT because she couldn't ride the "red" coaster that goes "loopty loop."  I love how she doesn't realize how little she is (except on hot, sticky days at the theme park where the last thing you want to hear is whining).


They had a pretty large water area that I don't remember from all my years of going to Six Flags as a kid.  I'm thinking it's pretty new (I haven't been to SF in about 10 years, so "new" may be stretching it).


I'm glad T told us to bring M's swimsuit because I had no idea.


Of course M loved it.  They had one of those big buckets that dump tons of water every couple of minutes.  M wanted NOTHING to do with that thing.  She'd calculate her moves based on when it made the big drop.   She knew that once it poured, she had a minute or two to go under it to get to where she wanted to go before it poured again.  It was hilarious.


Of course after the water park is when the meltdown period started. She was tired, cranky, and hungry.  Before grabbing a bite on the way out, we stopped by the little gift shop.  She'd been asking for a Scooby Doo since we'd gotten there, and we promised she could get one on the way out.  She paid for it using her own money that she got from her Honey. :-)


What's great about this is we somehow lucked up and discovered their  INEXPENSIVE gift shop...


...so she was able to take some of her "spending money" home.  She was so happy to finally have that dang Scooby Doo.


Anyhoo, we had a GREAT time.  I'm so thankful that we were able to hang out with them for a day.  T and I have been friends since junior high, and she was one of my friends that moved to Atlanta after college.  She leads a very busy life -- kids, works full time, almost done with her PhD. I brag about her every time she's on the blog because she's just so amazing to me.  She's a great, hardworking mother whom I admire tremendously.

Anyhoo, I hope everyone has a great week.  This is my first week with M truly at home, so I look forward to seeing what we'll get into.  I still haven't shared our little Summer To Do lists on the blog yet.  Maybe I'll do that this week.

Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend!

Love,
G

Stuff I Talk About

2011 30 day shred age update AKA animals anniversary appreciation aquarium around the house art museum Atlanta baby/toddler sleep issues baking bama football beach birthday birthday party blog awards blog buddies blogher books camping causes celebrations celebrities cheer days childhood children's museum children's theater Christmas christmas card class reunion college days concert conference cousins crafts dance date night dating days deals decluttering dentist Disney dk easter engagement facebook faith fall fun family family fun fashion father's day favorite blogs field trip field trips football friday flashback friends fun event funny pic Gaylord Opryland genealogy girl scouts goals god grad school grateful graves' disease Halloween health holidays Hollywood honeymoon instagram Iron Bowl key west kindermusik learning letter to my daughter library Los Angeles m me miami mlk day morgan is three museum Nashville national championship game natural hair nature new look new orleans New Years nyc out on the town parks parties phone fun pinterest play days at home playdate playground action pregnancy professional development Race for the Cure raleigh ramblings reading Recipes relay for life school program shows singing skating snow soccer social networking sorority spring break spring fun stress summer summer fun summer reading summer to do list teacher life technical difficulties terrible twos Thanksgiving the girls the park theme park thomas and friends three thyroid tragedy trains traveling tricycle trips twitter valentine's day video walk for autism water play we love being outside wedding wordless wednesday work wrapup Yo Gabba Gabba zoo
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