Thursday, March 28, 2013

"new" math & more (kids) to love

After spending a few hours in the classroom today & thinking about some of my friends' posts about their kids & school, I realized that there is a disconnect in the classroom-home these days.  I'm thankful for Barclay's job & our decisions on lifestyle/child rearing, which promote one of us (usually me) being in the classroom & connected to our kids' teachers as much as possible.  I know that not everyone can be there as much as we try to be, but I think more parents should try.  I do it for my understanding of L's (he's the one in "big kid school" right now, next year it'll be both) education as well as my feel for his learning environment...and more.
I'll address the learning, then get to the "more."
Langston, Zora, & Isabella at our new children's library

Several folks have commented on our kids' "new math" work/homework.  Read: what are they teaching kids these days?!  I agree that it is different from the way we learned, but that doesn't make it bad or impossible for us to connect with/help our kids.  If you see something that looks strange & you don't understand it--ask the teacher!  Ask your kid. (!)  Most of them are getting it.  And here's where I ask the "big" thing of you: take an hour or two out of your work week and go to the classroom.
Since math is taught differently, that might be the the subject to sit in on a lesson.  Then you might be able to do what I get to do sometimes & take a group of learners who need help in some certain area & help them.  With around 20+ in a class, teachers have children at all different levels (on all subjects) in the room at the same time.  If kids who need extra help can get that help (from a parent!), then teacher gets to move others along while the helper helps those needy kids catch up.

This can happen in other areas, too.  Reading one-on-one, helping with different areas of spelling, learning how to do computer research, playing a math game, just being there to help kids who get "stuck" when they are all in a large group is helpful, too.  You might not be working with your kid all the time, but you will be freeing up your kid's teacher to do his/her job even better.
Here comes the "more" part.  As you get involved and learn about your child's educators, classroom environment, materials, subject matter, specific needs, etc. you will not only become a partner in his or her education, but you will become a mentor to a small herd of other tiny people who need all the examples of caring adults they can get.
I have loved getting to know so many of L's classmates through the years.  What you  convey might be as simple as "reading can be fun," or as seemingly impossible as "you are worthy of attention."  You never know what that kid needs or why.  Encouraging and promoting that child's abilities might help them in ways you'll never know.  I think we underestimate our abilities to touch lives through the simple things.  I encourage you parents, as a parent, to be a part of your child's education as well as his or her generation.  Go to school with your kid.  Not just for a program, but to be present for a moment in a regular day. You might be the one learning--I know I sometimes am.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

15 minutes and no make.up

I've got so much to do with a sick boy, a messy house, & family coming in tomorrow.  I just wanted to take a break & post an update to my thoughts regarding the "no make.up," "no mirror" week. a fitness instructor I guess I should've known the "no mirror" thing was impossible. :/
By the time I taught class I gave it some thought & decided that "no judgement" in the mirror would be  Drying my hair mirror.less was hard.  And I decided that I needed to smile at myself more often.  I smile while teaching, while interacting w most everyone in my life, so why do not smile at or about myself? 
I decided that last week taught me I need to do it more.  Also, I decided to remind myself that I do not have to wear any form of cosmetics, rather to do it when I feel like it might be appropriate (if I get an interview to a job I applied for, you can bet it'll be more than moisturizer & Dr. Bronner's peppermint chapstick. ;)
Yet, I don't want to feel/teach that make.up or curled hair or any "dressed up" thing has to do with my worth as a person.  I am more than my clothes.  I am more than my make.up.  I am more than my   I hope I convey love and compassion and so much more with my very being.  Many of the people I've befriended and found most "beautiful" through the years may not be magazine cover beautiful, but I think they are more amazing than that.  Seeing the light and life in a person exuding joy or feeling comfort from one radiating peace is worth more than any cosmetic covered beauty any day.  I hope I teach and become one with light and comfort rather than one concerned over my looks--physical appearance.  Peace and light to you, readers.
sans make.up, a little tired from staying up with a sick boy, but overall happy me :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Out of retirement

...and back to the blog.  At least for today.  It's been a while but I've been thinking a lot lately about this kind of thing here... & the message I am sending my kids as a recovering beauty queen.  I still care about my appearance--maybe more than I should.  It took me years to "get over" not being __ enough (insert "thin," "smart," "beautiful") after being exposed to media, the South in general (yes, people, I've lived in enough places to say that our hair is bigger, our make.up more flawless than in other parts of the nation), & parades of girls being selected as more __ than I. 
Joni, Lindsay & me (red hair, braces & all)

at our spot in the hall #teenagersbeingcool
I appreciate every phase of my life because each one has taught compassion, understanding, and sometimes an unfortunate lesson in the general shallowness of people.  Take my "grunge" phase for example.  For a few years I dressed in my dad's old jeans, my grandma's shirts and some awesome black cons.  I parted my hair down the middle, wore very little make.up and hung out at Pegasus Records listening to greasy and wonderful boys and girls strum guitars and smoke. 
While my little social circle mourned the loss of Kurt Cobain and tried to navigate all the regular awkward social teen moments, we also had a difficult time with "authority figures."  Not all of them, of course.  There were the few wonderful ones who took the time with those bright kids who dressed a little differently, but not a lot. 
blurry, but there we are:  Me with my Lori
I continued to blossom and attempt to be true  My interests lead to me social extra-curricular activities.  I became a cheerleader and began to notice that when I was in uniform with my ponytail, I got a different response from folks as opposed to when I was kickin' it in my papa's rolled up, baggy jeans.  Age 14.  My concept of social awareness and being "dressed right" began.

By my early twenties my goal was to look like most every other girl who was in her twenties--at least the blonde, thin, popular ones.  I ate very little and exercised a lot.  I did loose weight, but I also lost my period for a few years and myself for while. 
I was processing and pushing through so much at that time.  Controlling my size seemed to be one of the only things I was fully capable of controlling.  It very nearly tipped my brain over the edge and I, to this day, do not know what or Whom to contribute my sanity to (as I Believer, I am thankful).  I do know that I lost a few girlfriends to the demon that is Disordered Eating.  I know a few others who are still in the midst of the battle.  Thankfully, wonderfully, I know a few who, like me, see the other side of that evil. 
Robin was a good friend while I was a little crazy. 

two of the most amazing people I Z & my L
Fast forward nine years, two children and a lifetime of decisions that make me realize life is so much bigger than my never-recovered-from-childbearing-waistline. I am reading articles and pondering how to instill in both my children (my type A, perfectionist boy and my chill, but sensitive baby girl) a guiding light, an empowered confidence, a strong sense of self that no magazine, actor, person they are attracted to or competing against can shake. 
We talk about where "beauty" comes from (inside), what we think is beautiful (they both love babies), and how we eat well and exercise to feel good and keep our bodies healthy.  We certainly try to live as positive examples, but sometimes I find myself fussing with my hair, or worrying about a blemish in front of them and I wonder what message that is sending. 
coolness embodied
How important is all that verses spending time with them?  Where is my energy going at that moment?  What is the frown on my face as I look at my shapeless, growing out hair telling my daughter (or son)?  Why am I so worried about a blemish?  Am I telling her (or him!) that it isn't okay to have imperfections?  
cooking with sweet Z
I've challenged myself a little before by "giving up" make.up for Lent one year.  I'll confess that it was the most difficult thing I've ever done for Lent (which I am mortified to admit).  I also haven't done it in six years.  I think I've been afraid to do it because I can still remember how un-pretty I felt on so many occasions.  I'm not talking about running to the grocery or gym with no mascara, I'm talking about nothing--nada--to work, church, hang out with friends, for pictures, everything.  Barclay said he "loved" it.  I still don't know if I believe that, but he does love a challenge.  So today, as I was soaking my flu infected self in the tub for an hour I thought about all the recent articles I've noticed about people giving up mirrors and I thought, "I don't know if I could do that."  So, I'm going to challenge myself again. 
The most recent pic of me:  being silly with my amazing, Leslie
 No make.up or mirrors (except when flossing--can't give that up!) for a week.  I'll see where to go after that.  I told Barclay in front of Zora, but I think I'll talk to both the kids about it later.  I'm sure they'll think it's funny now, but hopefully they'll remember it later--unless I do something even more strange. Who knows?  Sometimes I feel empowered like that. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I am moving my blog to  Find me there!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Yoga for toning

This article has a few "quick" Yoga moves worth learning.  Yet another reason I love Yoga.  It will work muscles you didn't know/forgot you had. :)  Namaste.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food allergies & breastfeeding

The great food allergy debate:  new research.  I noticed a few things about this article that should be passed of which was the quote,
"Previously, Sampson says, his research in the 1980s looked at whether the problem of allergies could be prevented if mothers continued breast-feeding as long as possible. Laboratory studies reinforced the theory, he tells the magazine."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Black History month: a really busy month when your husband studies & teaches the Civil Rights Movement

A few weeks ago my beloved gave a talk on our local NPR station.  I just thought I'd post so that I could share.  He's slated to give quite a few "talks" in February.  We're going to have to rethink the whole "one car family" thing for those dates. :)  Love you, babe!
the boys in Sept.