Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kindergarten Woes

Ok - so when I was in kindergarten (back in the olden days) we had half-day kindergarten.  You either went in the morning or in the afternoon.  Afternoon in my case as my mother didn't like getting up so early to meet the 8am start (no wonder I'm not a morning person...hmm...)

So we went for like 3 hours top, we played in centers and listened to stories, had naps and snacks and then were picked up. And for the most part I think those my age did great - most graduated, went to college have good jobs, etc.  And I haven't ever had someone marvel about how I managed to make something of myself having only attended half-day kindergarten - egad!

Fast forward 2030-something years...kindergarten is now all day. Not just all day, but all day with no snacks and no naps.  Let me repeat myself - 5-year olds, 8am to 3pm, no snacks (not counting lunch) and no naps. They have a very structured day planned out every day. Saxon math, Saxon reading, writing, PE, music, computers, art and squeeze in a 20 minute recess after lunch. By the end of the school year they have to know basic reading skills, be able to count to 100, basic addition, and pass various other 'goals'.

WOW!  I remember each week we got to go search for one of The Letter People hiding somewhere in the school on Monday and that was the letter we learned all week!  Remember Miss A who sneezed a lot? A-A-Choo!

Now, I understand that the requirements for schools have gotten outrageous with all the tests (I'm in Texas so TAKS testing is front & center), but man...can't we bring back The Letter People?

Just a bit frustrated...my strong-willed, high-spririted, 5-year old son, T-Man started kindergarten this year.  We knew he would have an adjustment...and even his pediatrician said at his 5-yr visit that he thought he would do great "as long as he gets a patient teacher"...hmmm...

So we are on our 11th day of school today.  To date, T-Man has received 1 stamp for good behavior all day. His folder has been blank on 2 occasions, and he has gotten marks for conduct (sometimes multiple marks) on the remaining days.  And as a coup de gras, today, the 11th day of school - he was sent to the Principal's office. (Although he argued vehemently that technically, since the Principal was in the cafeteria, he never actually got sent to the office!)

His main infractions are interrupting, talking when he is not supposed to and (my personal favorite) 'Failure to allow others to learn". Apparently today he got in trouble 3 times (the magic number) and when the teacher told him to put his head on the desk he told her no and was promptly trotted off to talk to the Principal.

Most of the traits that are keeping him in trouble are traits that I want him to have when he's in his teens and older.  He is opinionated, he can argue with a tree (let's just call that stubborn), he's also very curious and always wants to know why and how.  That includes when he is told to do something - why? is his first question - and because I said so just doesn't work!

So tomorrow dear hubby is going to stop in and talk to the teacher in the morning and I'm going to give the guidance counselor a call...I really want him to succeed and learn to love school...

At the moment he is hating every minute of it and an experience like this could be a detriment to his eventual love for education...

Anybody have any words of wisdom?  I'm currently reading James Dobson's "The Strong-Willed Child", are there any other must-reads?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Known Unknown? Unknown Known?

"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld

I'm currently working through a known unknown known (I think) - that is to say I know something, but do not know everything about what I know.

I know just enough to be dangerous for me and others! And just enough that, if I let it, will eat a hole in my stomach until I really know what I know I don't wanna know!

I think I am going to take a sharpie and write Jeremiah 29:11 on my hand so it's a constant reminder:

"I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

Or maybe a tattoo?

No worries...right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meow: Out with the Cats!

I just signed on for Facebook a few months ago. My sister was on and really liked it and several co-workers so I decided to see what the fuss was all about.  I had abandoned my myspace page months before - just tired of the 'fluff'.

When I signed on I requested several people that were very close to be friends and over the next few weeks, received lots of 'friend' requests from acquiantences - people I know through my kids, or who were in another grade at school, etc. Not 'friends' per se, but I accepted the requests in an effort to stay up on what was going on and how everyone was doing.

Facebook has been a great place to stay in closer contact with family members and close High School friends and a great way to forge a deeper bond with co-workers.

But it has also highlighted the reasons why I was not close 'friends' with some people in the first place. The apps people take (and then post to their wall) that I immediately Hide (I don't care what your stripper name should be, thank you). The pictures people post (do they realize that pics loaded to facebook become the property of facebook to use as they wish?)

But the thing that jumps out most are the status updates. I'm not talking about most of them - I love reading what everyone is up to, comment a lot on other's updates - especially back and forth talking kids and work and mutually favorite TV shows or websites. I'm talking about the updates that say things like: "The guy in front of me in line right now looks like he stepped out of the 80s. Someone tell him highwaters were never cool!", or maybe one like this: "If I ever get a roll of fat around my middle, someone, please just put me out of my misery!"


adj. cat·ti·er, cat·ti·est
1. Subtly cruel or malicious; spiteful: a catty remark.
2. Catlike; stealthy.

Adj. 1. catty - marked by or arising from malice; "a catty remark"

bitchy, cattish, malicious - having the nature of or resulting from malice; "malicious gossip"; "took malicious pleasure in...watching me wince"- Rudyard Kipling

I usually just ignore the posts and move on, but have decided recently that I just need to remove this kind of crap from my life. None of the posts are from anyone I'm close to, which goes to show that there was a reason they aren't a real friend.
So I've made the decision to unfriend.
I know - rude of me. I should be witnessing, right? Nope - can't do it. They don't really care and probably won't even notice that I've unfriended them. I'm surrounding myself with those who will left me up, rather than tear me (and everyone else) down.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What a Grand New Day!

I'm home from the Women of Faith Conference in Dallas. Three letters - W - O - W!!!

This is my third WOF conference to attend and couldn't be more on target. The Porch Pals manage to make every one of the 16,000 women (and a handful of brave men) feel as if they are being spoken to directly!

Not only did the event re-ignite that fire (exactly what I needed), but I also got to meet some folks I have gotten to know on twitter. A message went out about a 'Tweet-Up' for those following WOF on Twitter - we gathered in a spot and looked at each other's nametags and were humbled to meet those whose lives we've been sharing in! Truly an awesome group of people.

I know I've mentioned it before but Twitter has become a source of strength for me - I pop over and read updates throughout the day and the constant faith washes over me. I don't see people griping about their day or making fun of people - I see updates that are uplifting and encouraging - I see wonderful men and women who use humor to uplift. Just reading a few tweets can turn my day around in an instant! I had been drifting a bit, but those 140 character updates have become an anchor and I'll take this moment to say Thank You to those I follow and who have become important!

I was unsure about how to sum up the Women of Faith Conference - during the event I jotted down key phrases and thoughts that spoke to me, so in honor of Luci Swindoll and her love of lists, here is my WOF List:

* Let go and know that I am God! Let go of control, let go of fear

* If what you are doing isn't working - STOP!!

* section 325, row T is the last row at AAC - seriously the LAST row!!

* Squat on a Stick means nothing - nada - zilch (Sheila Walsh)

* God said, "We're in this together, until you kick the bucket, so go for it!" (Luci Swindoll)

* Even with all the bathrooms turned to women's the lines are still looong!

* You delight my heart in a million ways! (Patsy Clarimont)

* Develop an attitude in the midst of trouble - God is on your side!

* It's not possible to listen to Steven Curtis Chapman sing 'Cinderella' without bawling (blessings on that family)

* God takes the Good and takes the Bad and loves us anyway!!

More thoughts are still swirling through, but it may take a while to process (which will allow for another blog - YAY). Special thanks to my group from EE and our CEO for sponsoring and sending us at his expense. We truly appreciate the loving gesture!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I was reading Michael Hyatt's "We Have More Control Than We Think" blog post from March and began thinking about the topic of control.

Webster-Miriam Online defines the Control as the following:
a : to exercise restraining or directing influence over
b : to have power over

Synonyms include: authority, bridle, discipline, domination, government, guidance, management, manipulation, might, oversight, predomination, qualification, regimentation, regulation, restraint, restriction, rule, subjection, subordination, superintendence, supervision, supremacy, sway, upper hand

Antonyms include: helplessness, powerlessness, relinquishment, renouncement, weakness

I don't know about you, but those antonyms sure make me feel squirmy - I mean, really...who enjoys feeling helpless and weak? But that's exactly how we all feel when we 'lose control' don't we?

We are taught early to control our emotions and actions and even eating habits. As children it seems like everyone, from parents to relatives to teachers, are determining what we can and can't do and we long fervently for independence where we can 'make our own decisions'.

Once we become adults it's like a badge of honor to be in control - so when life begins to careen in another direction, when our best-laid plans are not coming together we begin to experience those feelings of powerlessness: loss of control.

How many of us teach our children how to cope when (in the words of Tammy Cochran) Life Happens? Obviously they are learning from us regardless, but are they learning that when things aren't in our control we fall apart? We give up? We stress and overeat and rant and rave and blame and...you get the picture.

I don't know about you, but it annoys me when my daughter just throws up her hands and gives up - I don't want her to learn that that's how things are dealt with. I want her to be able to handle life's little curveballs. Sometimes that'll be finding a different solution, or making a new plan, or letting go of something that isn't working. Sometimes the answer will be just getting through it. Everytime it will be giving it over to God and trusting in the knowledge that He will be there good, bad or ugly!

It won't always be easy. Sometimes the curveballs just suck (for lack of a better descriptor) - like cancer or death of a loved one.

These are the times our lack of control makes us want to curl into a little ball and cry and find someone to blame. And it's ok to curl into a ball and cry and have feelings - showing emotion is not lack of control - lack of control is when you give in to those emotions.

These are the times, more than any others, when it is imperative to ask Him to help you up and hold you and yours through this valley.

There are so many things in this world we don't have control over, from the weather to how long that dash represents on our headstone. What we DO have control over is whether we give in to those feelings of helplessness or whether we choose to cast all our fears to God and walk on with our head high knowing that whatever trials we face He will be there beside us every step of the way.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." - Matthew 6:34

When you begin to feel out of control - take a look at that word itself:

Off your

Friday, August 7, 2009

Twitter, Baby Gates & Conspiracy Theories

Don't know if you heard.

Twitter went down yesterday, some sort of hacker attack.

They say it's back up - liars.

Also don't know if you heard.

Baby gates are implements of torture.

I tripped over one this morning in a sleepy stupor, fell on my face.

On the bright side, I mangled the gate so badly it will never practice torture in our home again!

Lastly - don't know if you heard.

When they ask you to fill out a detailed job profile for your role, don't panic!

They have to fill those empty cubes in Dallas at some point and this way they know what to look for when interviewing.

Not paranoid - merely acknowledging the conspiracy theory is most likely the truth.

Isn't that the way it usually is? Just saying.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Change of Seasons

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? – Dr. Suess

It’s two-and-a-half weeks until the kids start school. Beans starts 3rd grade (she’s already stressed over her first TAKS test this year), T-Man starts kindergarten (already praying for his teacher) and Lumpy starts 2-year preschool (and pacifier intervention).

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. ~Robert Maynard Hutchins

We’re busy gearing up – trying to get supply lists organized and get sleep schedules back on track. We still don’t know what teacher’s Beans and T-Man will have. Hopefully by next week we’ll find out – and get a chance to meet up with T-Man’s to warn him/her a bit!

Beans is not excited about her brother joining her at school. Monday when we were discussing it she threw her head back and exclaimed, “My nightmare has begun!” (Can we say drama-queen?) T-Man, on the other hand, is thrilled with the prospect – he loves hanging out with his big sis!

I’m excited because with T-Man starting big school his daycare costs are cut in half! YAY! When all 3 kids are in daycare in the summer our daycare costs are more than our house payment – that’s just crazy!

I’m trying to get Beans out of her shell a bit. Her friends have told me that she’s the ‘funny one’ who cracks all the jokes and makes them laugh, but she is also pretty shy – she does not like being in front of people she doesn’t know. I think she would love doing theater or something, so we’ll have to see what’s available.

T-Man doesn’t have a shell – he thrives on attention…like when he and 10 other kids are on-stage at preschool graduation towards the end and he shouted ‘It’s party time!’ and did a little dance. I know the other parents were probably warning their children about THAT boy! (I was secretly pleased that he was the one with the spunk – I mean, him momma was the school mascot so it’s not like he didn’t come by it naturally!)

Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed. ~Robert Gallagher

Anyway – I’m looking forward to getting the kids back into a school routine, seeing how T-Man fits in, watching Bailey blossom as a young lady and hopefully get Lumpy thinking about potty training. The fall brings with it a world of new opportunities and changes.

”I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NCV)

Monday, August 3, 2009

So You Thought You Wanted a Puppy??

Parenting by Design - August 3 - Endurance and Patience

This devotional spoke to me today…directly…to me…like they wrote it for me.

My middle child, T-Man, is (for lack of a better word) spirited. He just turned 5 and is active, talkative, and excitable – like a new puppy. The new puppy analogy really works well with T-Man…he’s completely adorable – has a smile (or smirk) that melts – he’s so darn cute that you can’t stay mad at him, but like any puppy he gets on your nerves like crazy!

About Puppies – they run around without regard for what (or who) might be in the way; they can’t sit still for 30 seconds unless engaging in a favorite activity (eating, sleeping, playing ball); they don’t really care about being dirty or transferring that dirt to every possible surface; they bark and whine and growl until they have your attention (and they want your attention at all times); they will challenge the alpha dog over and over until their ears are raw from being nipped.

About T-Man – he runs around without regard for what (or who) might be in the way; he can’t sit still for 30 seconds unless engaging in a favorite activity (eating, sleeping, watching TV, playing video games); he doesn’t really care about being dirty or transferring dirt to every possible surface; he talks until he has your attention (and he wants your attention at all times); he will challenge the alpha dog (read: parents) over and over until his but is red from being whipped.

Wow – that’s amazingly similar. And most people generally don’t like being around puppies for all of the reasons listed above – they climb on the furniture, they don’t listen to commands, they spread dirt everywhere, they talk back - I’m seeing a trend here…

Let me stop right here and insert a few things about T-Man – he is one spunky fellow! He’s not mean or devious – he is incredibly inquisitive and knows how to charm a gal. He’s also very loving and tender. However people that aren’t around him much don’t see those moments – they see him come over to their house and instead of sitting nicely on the couch he immediately flips upside down with his legs hanging over the back of the couch (apparently sitting nicely in any chair is a challenge). They see him interrupt conversations or repeat himself until acknowledged because his little 5-year old mind is racing with questions and excitement and he absolutely HAS to get the words out or he’ll explode!

T-Man takes every speck of my patience and I’m the lady who carried him – so for those that don’t have that special bond, patience runs out quickly. Hence the reason we don’t go places often. We all end up frustrated to no end – T-Man because he gets constantly reprimanded, those whom we are visiting because we have brought a ‘puppy’ over, and me because it’s tiresome to apologize for your child when he’s doing what puppies, ahem - boys, do. T-Man’s the first boy on my side of the family and it’s obvious they are not ‘puppy-people’. And our quest for a church-home has, thus-far, been difficult – we need one where there are other little puppies to play with ours, where the other members understand them and help in the training rather than just scold, and where my little puppy isn’t expected to sit for an hour in the regular service on Sunday mornings. We just haven’t found the right combination yet.

I’m hopeful that with the onset of kindergarten this month T-Man will begin to get past that puppy stage. It seems like every day I have to pray for endurance and patience, not only with T-Man, but with those who see only a dirty, disobedient little mutt, rather than the playful, energetic, inquisitive puppy that he is.

Col 1:10-11 (Amplified)

10That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].

11[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy

Meanwhile, we will continue to love our little man and work on his ‘training’ – I’m convinced that while he is a trial right now, his personality will only serve him well as he gets older as long as we don’t squash it and we do our best to help him blunt the rough edges and channel his energy in the right direction. We aren’t going for strict obedience training here – I mean, who ever wanted a dog who would follow a ball off the edge of a cliff simply because his master threw it? You want one who will follow it to the edge, stop, assess the situation and figure out how to get at it safely. Now if we could just get him to follow the ball at all…SQUIRRELL!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I was lost but now I am found...

Wow it has been a long time since I blogged and I miss it! So much has happened over the last couple of months.

For starters I discovered Twitter! I am hopelessly addicted to peeking inside the window of people I admire (along with a few celebrities thrown in)!

I am following all of the ladies from Women of Faith - Mary Graham, Marilyn Meberg, Sheila Walsh, Tammy Trent, Lisa Welchel, Robin McGraw, Natalie Grant, Patsy Clairmont, and Mandisa - talk about inspiration! These ladies are as funny on twitter as they are onstage at WOF. Mary Graham has even responded back to a few of my posts - too cool! They are all consistently upbeat and see the positives in all situations. What a blessing! When I'm having a particularly rough day and am tempted to gripe about it I'll read some of their posts and my attitude adjusts immediately. I also follow Michael Hyatt who has wonderful insights on writing and life.

I will admit to following a few celebrities - Ryan Seacrest, Miley Cyrus, Ashton & Demi - just couldn't resist! My daughter thinks it is super-cool when I show her pics and posts of Miley Cyrus!

Haven't been crocheting or knitting as much as I'd like. I've had some nerve toubles in my left arm with numbness and tingling which makes it annoying when I pick up my craft. I've got a few projects in the works though.

Finally our family has been turned upside-down. My dad switched to a new doctor and the doc just happens to require a chest x-ray of all new patients. A repeat test, ct scan and biopsy later and dad, at age 63, has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It's in the lung and has metasticized to the liver, a rib bone and some lymph nodes already. He hasn't felt sick at all so going for that first chemo treatment was difficult. He and mom have been married for 40 years and neither of them were ready for this. Between my sister and I, the six grandkids are ages 10, 9, 8, 5, 2 & 5 months and we're doing everything we can to ensure they spend time with him now and make memories. That and trust in God is all we can do right now.

My daughter has spent the last week with her cousins at my sister's house - she is SO not going to want to come home after hanging with the girls and having fun. But I sure miss her - she's gotten so big and is fun to be around!

The summer seems to be speeding by at a record pace this year - T-Man starts kindergarten which will be interesting to say the least. I've got business trips to Dallas next week and the week after which will keep us all hopping at home and work to stay caught up. We're also looking for a new church to attend that has lots of kids and children's programs and a great music ministry. At our last church T-Man was the only boy his age and sometimes an active 4-yo is too much for the older folks who aren't used to such hyperactivity. I'll be the first to admit he's a lot to handle - he's loud and full of constant movement and hard to rein in, but he's a little boy and that's what they do and while I apologized at first it became clear that if we kept attending all I would be doing is worrying about him. It made worship stressful when that's the LAST thing it should be. So after months of not attending church I am making it a mission to find our spot.

Looking forward to attending Women of Faith in August in Dallas. Our company's founder sends the women from our company and a guest every year all expenses paid - I've missed the last two years due to circumstances, but refuse to miss this one!

So that's the last couple of months in a nutshell. It's going to be a momentous year I can tell - I plan on blogging if just for my own sanity!