Monday, May 27, 2013

Uniform

I pulled the trigger and purchased TR's school uniforms. Buying a bunch of blue, grey and white shirts was surprisingly hard for me. I enjoy dressing my little girl and she enjoys accessorizing. Private school will end our fun with fashion.
I used to see kids in uniform and think it was cute. Now I think it's bland. In my head I had envisioned something more exciting than reality has given me. We lived near at least two private schools in L.A. One school was all girls. I would see the girls walking through Larchmont Village or at the Grove, and think their outfit was cute. Now...... I realize it was grey and white. Then I think back to Facts of Life, they had cute uniforms. Didn't they? Oh well...... we will have to enjoy color at gymnastics, on weekends and holidays. As I think about it, the little gymnasts have to wear the same outfit for competition. The leotards are colorful but they are the same.
Even while dreading the dreary clothing, I am very excited for TR, I expect that she will enjoy school, and as much as I dreaded this phase and the ending of the Pre-school era, I am excited for her to develop. I have slacked on my home school. Mr A has not. One reason I slacked was that TR met each activity so well, and did it so easily that I felt that it was not useful. It wasn't until I thought about this, that it hit me that the appropriate response is to move to the next level.
Now that I realized it, I will do it.
TR and I were in the shower at the club and she asked me how to spell wet. Using my zoophonics, I broke the sounds down. TR spelled it. When we got out of the shower TR spoke to a woman who overheard us. The woman said she was a retired English teacher and our conversation really excited her. She then asked TR to spell a few other words. TR did and then she asked the woman why she was so little. I tell ya........ I have a friend in Jesus because TR has been asking folks questions that could easily get me fought, if Jesus was not looking out. I feel like when an adult starts a chat with a young child, they should also be prepared to have a curious kid ask lots of questions.
I want to be better. That is my goal...... To be better. It is going to be challenging. I work, I am a mother, but my desire to grow and be better is necessary for me. Finding the time will be the barrier I must confront, but I cannot put off my need to be better.
We plan to enroll QT in preschool this fall so we need to get him ready. Fortunately for us, I notice his curiosity for academics is increasing. He asks me how to spell words, he is interested in counting things and when he goes to TR's preschool he wants to do work. Being at TR's preschool has highlighted for me that kids develop at different paces. It may be less struggle to meet the kid where the kid is, and there can be more struggle trying to drag the kid where you think they should be or want the kid to be.
3-4 months can bring drastic changes in a young child, so it's hard to look at the kid in May and make decisions for that child's September. I really want to ensure he is ready because I feel like putting him in preschool at 3.7 is risky. It is a hard decision because one part of me wants this child to be home as long as possible, while the other part of me does not want the future adult he will be, to be 18+ as a high school senior. It just feels like one choice will put him in school quite early and the other choice puts him in school quite late.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A thing

Word of Mouth
The school our kids will attend is quite small.  It has the capacity for more students but it does not appear to market itself.  I have wondered why I do not hear parents talking about it.  Mr A coaches at of the private high schools that students from our future school attend.   The school does well with getting its students into the private high schools.

Today at gymnastics, I was chatting with two parents who have kids at a more popular private school.     So  one of the mom asked me  what school we had chosen and I told her.  They both said they had heard good things and asked how I chose the school.

I provided my reasons, which included the very small classes.  Their reaction to the size of the classes made me question if I should have mentioned that.  If more kids come, the small class are not so small.  I thought that might be why parents are quiet about the school.

The small classes are not a huge deal for me. I hear parents listing their desire for small classes and 1 to 1 attention, but  I think if all of the kids come to school to learn, everybody can learn.  I have recognized how quickly TR picks things up, and how effiiciently I can teach two kids, so I get why parents like small class.
Activities
I have spoken to parents at gymnastics who appear to think it is important to fill their child's time with activities. When they list the gymnastics, taekwando, swimming, ballet, piano, etc that their kindergartner does, I ask if the kid gets tired. So far I have been told that the kid has nothing else to do.
yesterday I telephoned the tennis instructor at the club, to find out if QT could have private lessons. QT sees the people play and he wants to play. The instructor called me back and I could tell he thought I was a 'tiger mom'. He said group lessons were for kids twice QT's age and while he did not want to say QT could not do it, private lessons for a 3 year old could be very expensive because of what they can do.
I plan to get him evaluated for the tennis. I signed TR up for ballet during the month she has off from gymnastics. Then I asked Mr. A if I should sign QT up for soccer. Then it occurred to me that we might be those parents who try to fill up their kids time with activities. I asked Mr A if we were those parents. He said that he isn't but I am.
Interesting. I guess I do like to see the kids doing things. When we lived in L.A. I felt like we had lots of free time. We had to do something. Now I feel like we have less free time, the drives are farther but we are now in the habit. I often think my kids should have more time at home to just do nothing. Once TR is in school full time, her ability to just do nothing will greatly decrease.
Right now I am protecting Saturdays. I do not like to be out with the masses. I like to do activities during non-traffic, SAHM hours.
I cannot remember what year it was, but it must have been 2011 of before. I went to Kmart in L.A. during the summer and saw large groups of kids of around. One group was sitting in the little Caesars pizza inside Kmart. The kids were not disruptive and they appeared to be kids who had parents who cared and were involved. I am sure the kids enjoy it, but I thought that, a group that large could easily get in trouble if just one had a bad idea. The Kmart was directly across the street from the Grove, so I was confused about why they chose Kmart and not the Grove or Farmer's Market. The group made me realize that I want my kids should have something planned for their summers. Even if it's swimming at the club, I want more than just the mall as the summer activity.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Press

Press+Hand+Stand+practice

I have finally got a video uploaded. (I hope it loaded.
 It's always interesting to see my kid learn a new skill. She is disciplined and committed to getting it.

Feel Better



Mr A and I had an interview at TR's future school. I left feeling great about her attending the school. I had been a bit sad that we did not get into the country club school but today's meeting made me happy my 2nd choice said no. (my first choice is in L.A.). The L.A. School was not a country club, it was city and playbased.

When we went to the country club school to tour we asked what accommodations could be made for a competitive gymnast. The director said none. She was firm with her response. She said in the upper grades, the student could skip taking p.e. Mr A and I were making plans to remove her from the country club school and do the homeschool if she got to the level that requires that type of time commitment.

I was very shocked at that response  because I thought a posh school would be flexible enough to accommodate students who may have different needs or even who may travel with parents. I know some schools accommodate bicoastal kid.

Mr A asked the Dean at the future school, the same question and the Dean knew that gymnasts trained 15 hours a week because they had made accommodations for a student gymnast in the past as well as a ballerina and other athletes. One accommodation can be to allow the gymnast flexibilty to do study hall while her classmates take p.e. The student would be allowed to participate in p.e if they wanted to be with schoolmates or the student can do study hall during times they needed more time for schoolwork.
The dean explained how the teachers met the needs of kids who are at different levels. Mr A has been doing informal interviews on this school, and we like what we have heard from others and from the school staff.
I have been school shopping for 3 years. I can finally refocus that mental space. I feel like falling to the groud and curling in a ball because this school search has been rough.  I want to send TR to this school. I am excited for her educational experience.

The dean showed us TR's kindergarten assessment. She did very well.  Her results showed she is developmentally above her chronological age. Her assessment results confirmed that 5 years of play, has her well-prepared for kinder and beyond,  When I read the assessment report it said kids who score in the 5 1/2 range and above have more success in kindergarten.  That was surprising since kindergarten is for people who are 5.  Perhaps this is why school cut off dates have changed. Kindergarten teachers want 6 year olds these days.
I suspect that soon students who attend religious schools will face discrimination. I notice that it's now the cool thing to call Christians intolerant, extreme and even ignorant for believing God created things. The theory of evolution and the big bang theory, are no longer viewed as theories. I have to make sure my kids are prepared to make their own path in light of the way things are going.  Denying God to be accepted cannot be an option.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Keep trying

I am still working on the office.
Today I did this.
The photos are helpful. I can look at them and ponder what I should do with the space. I need to look at more photos of other home offices.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Things

TR and I drove to San Francisco today. It was a beautiful day. I want to start exploring that city. The bridge toll is $6, so we will have to go during carpool times. I think I would enjoy living there if the insanely liberal residents weren't so busy.
TR and I drove through a S.F. neighborhood today and realized how white the city is. They claim diversity but it's just a claim. Being in a car gave me a totally different view of the areas we drove through.
I took a photo while stopped on a hill. TR said the hill was like a roller coaster. I agree. Going down such steep hills is a bit wild. The views were spectacular. I could see the bay and rolling hills from my position.
My office inspiration are desk 1 and Desk 2
our desk
Mr A brought the table he got me home. I love it! I have been searching for this type of table for a while. The home office is on its way to becoming the cozy space, I seek to create.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A day with the A's

This morning I made crepes for breakfast. I love crepes. They are light and easy to make. After breakfast we packed up the children and headed to the club. Mr A and I worked out, while the kids played in child care. The kids love wen they can go to child care. I suspect it's because they have never had to go on a daily basis. The county court has child care, and they demand to go to the child care center, when we go to court. I bring them along because I prefer bringing my kids to work. I have made attempts to take them to trials but QT starts talking so we leave. This reminds me that I told TR we can sit in on a court trial another time and leave QT at home.
Our workout today brought back good memories. Before the children, we would run around our neighborhood park in L.A. and then do lunges up the hill/slope. We used to be young! I still enjoy Mr. A. Our workout now occurs indoors but the club gym has great bay views. If we have to exercise indoors, it's great to look out and see bridges, the bay and the views of Oakland and San Francisco.
After our workout Mr. A gave the kids swimming lessons. I have done my best to contact the swim director for private lessons, but my emails and calls have not been returned. The private lessons are ├╝ber reasonable in price, so the person probably prefers doing the group and hides out from private. We have other activities so the flexibility of private lessons is better for us. I digress, Mr A is teaching them because the swim instructor is invisible.
After the club, we came home and had lunch, and then naps.
I included photos from our April trip to L.A. The hotel was intentional in being kid friendly. The kids loved the kid sized robes, the gifts and how housekeeping dressed TR's dolls and put them on the bed. The hotel staff lit the fireplace when we went night swimming. Room service delivered complimentary cookies and milk. The kids have been taking imaginary trips to L.A. and staying in that hotel. We plan to return this summer and I know what hotel will see us. I had wanted to stay at one of the hotels that had a relationship with American Girl Store but we were happy with Kimpton.
I included a couple of photos of the home office. Mr A bought a table that is similar to one I had on my pinterest. Once he brings it home, I will do a little rearranging. I have a mental and a pinterest photo of what I want the space to look like. I am trying to make the space cozy to inspire myself to freely spend more time in there. I also think the last photo I uploaded was when it was messy. The room has been professionally organized since that last photo.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Floor

TR did a quick floor exercise. It was short enough that I could upload the file without extra steps.
Now that we are at the phase of gymnastics where more skills are being taught, my nerves can barely take it. TR is an excellent gymnast at 4. When she turns 5 and gets to compete, I think she will be amazing. I also think my nerves might collapse. I cannot do a lick of gymnastics, but my body starts trying to pull her through skills.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Loving

I was a fan of The Cosby Show, especially the early years.
There was one episode I was disgusted by. I thought it was the silliest episode. The episode when Rudy had to pack her summer clothes away and a drawn out episode dealt with her being sad about it.
I grew up in Northern California, where people can wear their clothing year-round. As kids our vacations occurred during summer, so I never knew of seasonal wardrobes. As an adult I was in D.C. and looked in my friends closet and realized all of her sweaters were in containers. That Cosby episode came back to my memory.
My sister and I went to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. While there a guy told me California did not have seasons. I was confused by the comment, but in that moment in D.C. I understood.
California looks mostly the same year round. We get a few months of rain each year, if we are blessed.
While we were living in L.A. I realized that region has spring like wether and summer like weather. That weather made me appreciate a cold day or a rainy day.
I prefer moderate temperatures, but I like having a clearly defined and consistent summer.
I love a warm summer. I love mild seasons.
This summer will most likely be busy. TR will be off to full-day kindergarten in the fall, so I want us to get as much enjoyment from our weekdays as possible.
I don't know how I will manage the transition. I ponder just skipping kindergarten but she really wants to go.
So for the summer we will have ballet, gymnastics, football, museum visits, zoo visits, a couple of trips, time at the club, swim lessons at the club.
We will start QT in part time preschool this year. My little babies will both be in school. It's amazing that these little people have gotten so big. They are no longer park kids, they are school kids.
I loved being able to do things in the weekday morning or afternoon. With both kids in school, we will have to do our activities during the busy times, on weekdays and after school.
Once they are in school, I do plan to increase my workload. I won't have kids asking me for hugs, kisses, help or snacks. I will have to do something to pass my time. More for me than the kids, I am grateful that I kept them close these very early years.
Once QT starts kindergarten, I will have to wait for grand kids to get these types of moments again.
My mom told me she remembers being 4 and at her grandmother's house everyday and the family that would stop by. I hope TR remembers her 4th year as a happy time spent with folks who love her.

The Front Lines

We stay on the front lines.
I adore the song Love and War by Tamar Braxton. The part where she talks about still being here after the bomb drops is a great analogy for what I consider to be the goal of a relationship.
You don't retreat, in your relationship, you fight through. After the smoke clears, you find yourself and your mate still standing.
I am a romantic.
I think the interesting thing about having a conflict in your relationship, is the make up portion forces you to return to a place of vulnerability. If you have argued then you put your coat of armour on, to do battle. If either person leaves that armour on, you can't get to a better place.
I remember when Mr A and I had our 'have a relationship' discussion. Prior to Mr A when my dating relationships got to that phase, I would lock my armour on, and pick up arms. When Mr A brought up his desire to move from just dating to being being a couple with a plan, my heart skipped and I pondered my two roads. I knew locking my armour would derail any future of trust with him. Taking my armour off meant, I could either be hurt or I could be rewarded. So I had to choose the known or unknown.
I chose the unknown, I took my armour off and let myself be vulnerable because I felt Mr A was worth the risk.
I don't even know why I was so guarded. Perhaps it was due to my grandparents and parents warning about how men want to use your body up.
I recall the feeling of excitement I felt when I chose to take my armour off. It was excitement because I was making a decision to trust and not defend.
When Mr A and I have an argument and we get to the makeup/resolution part, I return to that same feeling. The battle had me suit up and taking off those battle clothes to get back to peace requires going back to that trust. I have to decide, if I want to derail the relationship or lay my arms down to get to that higher place.
Going back to that place of vulnerability always feels good. It reminds me that I chose Mr. A because I knew i could trust him with the parts of me that are fragile. He has his own fragile pieces. He deserves the same care for his fragile parts, as I need. Remembering that we are both mere humans with our own unique emotions, aids me in waving white flags. Sometimes he waves the flag. The goal is to both be standing, to stay on the fromt lines and to be stronger at the end.
Love conquers a lot. Love has me want us to both be standing at the end of combat.