Sunday, June 30, 2013

..... and doing it well

I had a very good homeschool week. I feel good about myself.
When I did the dolch words with TR I realized she knows uppercase letters and some lowercase. I used index cards to make an alphabet matching game. She put upper and lower case letters together. Now that we have that out of the way, we can go through the list of sight words. I used the same cards to work with QT on identifying letters. .
Prior to home school, we played a spiderman matching game. I think moving into alphabets and words following a game, made things fun. We were in play mode.
In other exciting things, it's our Anniversary! TR and QT have a surprise planned for us. They were making things for us on Friday. If they remember to give us the surprise I will update. TR told me not to come home for a bit while they prepared things. I asked her who would take care of them, if we left, and she volunteered my mother.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Better...... when no one is watching

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
I believe reading my bible requires me to be and makes me a better steward of my time. Tithing requires us to be better stewards of our finances. The simple act of giving 10% makes us thoughtful on how we use the other 90% and if I start getting greedy and thinking I can't do without that 10% it forces me to evaluate my spending.
I want my good to be better. I believe God has placed me into positions I did not earn or deserve. ( I am speaking of grace and favor, not affirmative action). I believe it is my duty to behave wisely and not squander or be ungrateful for his blessings to me. I believe I have a duty to grow and not stagnate. I can't just do enough to get by or stop at adequacy when I know I can be better.
When I reflect on where I am, I cannot identify anything I did to get myself here. It is grace. I may not be Oprah but I recognize that I am blessed.
Kids I know all mothers believe their children are exceptional . . . . . and I am no different!
Just thought I'd share. I am not ashamed to believe my kids are fabulous. It's probably a reflection of me thinking I am fabulous and the belief that I married an outstanding man. I mean could children born of such fabulous parents be anything less than exceptional?
Home School
It is easy- for me- to be on my best behavior when people are watching. I think a better measure of a person, of me, is what I do when no one is watching. Is my home clean when I don't expect guests? Am I kind to my children when we are at home? Do I curse at home and never curse in public? I am convinced that who I know myself to be, is more important than who others think I am. It is good to be accountable to self.
My homeschool program has slacked. I want TR and QT to be ready for school, so I have to get things together. I like this list of 71 Things to Know before Kindergarten here.
I figure that I will blog about my lesson plans, because 1) it's easy to be on my best behavior when folks are watching, and I will do a better job of holding myself accountable if I know my blog will shame me in the future for failing in my home school task.
Mr. A is great with his home school program but this is a dual-effort. I need to do my part.
I feel disappointment in myself for slacking on this important matter. I cannot leave my childrens' education in the hands of teachers. If my kids know I value education, they will value education. How will they know I value it, if I slack? TR is excited and hungry to learn. I cannot let her down or allow her curiousity to wane. I have to be on my best behavior because she is watching.
Home school plan for both kids- 6/25 and 6/26/ 2013
introduction of the Dolch Pre-Primer Word list, matching upper and lower case letters, zoo phonics.
TR- The letter Q, tracing the letter O and T, writing the letter 'a' and a lalaloopsy coloring page.
QT- number identification (he can identify his numbers but I want him to retain), drawing shapes, vertical line, horizontal line, circle, cross, square, V, triangle, copy first name.
The View It's a bit gloomy looking today but I can see the bay and clear across and see the houses and hills of whatever city that is south of San Francisco and west of Oakland (it's not west Oakland, because it's across the bay.) I need to get a map so I can know what city I'm looking at.
I love looking out of the window and seeing the water. TR always asks me why we don't live higher in the hills. I tell her because it costs more money. I would love to move higher in the hills and get spectacular views and a yard. When I hear gun fire at night I wonder if the people shooting ever stop to look at the natural beauty of the city they are killing and dying in.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get it together!

I do not feel like I have summer together. I feel like we should have a plan. Mr A says we should just play be ear.
In the past TR has spent her summer in Oakland and took gymnastics or ballet. QT was a baby so I did not need any formal plans. Last year, we moved during summer, so we were settling in. TR took ballet and QT did football but we had life changes occurring and could not focus on activities. This year, we are all together, in one city and we have no routine set.
TR is taking ballet and tap and her gymnastics. The pre-team kids had been given a month off but the coach fought with the director to bring the Pre-team kids back. The kids had not missed a practice, but the girls were so happy to be back at gym! When they saw each other they behaved as if they had not been there for a month. They were hugging, running and yelling each others names. It was hilarious because I was not aware they liked each other so much. They have been together almost a year, so I guess it's natural. Kids are fun!
TR has ballet and tap, gymnastics, both TR and QT have swimming, storytime at the library and football. Mr A thinks QT should do karate over soccer, so I will look for a martial arts class. We will do museum visits, the zoo, home school, and a couple of trips.
I guess we will go outside and play in the back yard and park, like I did as a kid. I never knew planing for summer could be so rough. TR really wants to do camp, but neither of us are wiling to get into traffic to drop her off at 9 am. We need a camp that starts at noon.
The last summer before TR starts school is huge to me. I really want it to be full of fun and good memories for her. I want it to be spent doing fun activities. Once school starts we won't be able to play things by ear, we will have a schedule.
On the other hand, I wonder if we should use this summer to relax and be still at home. Since we will spend the next decade plus on a school schedule, maybe we should enjoy the ability to do nothing or open the door and play outside.

Monday, June 17, 2013

He's back!

I thought I handled things pretty well while Mr A was out of town. I mentally prepared myself for 4 days without a break.
On the 2nd day of Mr A's absence, I took the kids to get TR's ballet and tap shoes and she told me that she really missed her daddy. She told me that I had to take care of them by myself without a husband and it was hard. That made me think I was not doing as well as I thought, which is okay if they both know being a mommy with a daddy is better. (yes, I said better. My mother was divorced from my father, so I know of what I speak from a child's perspective. I am not speaking financially but of a gender balance I now get to witness.)
The kids and I went to gymnastics. TR's coach gave me a list of skills for TR to work on during the time off. She told me I probably would not know what those skills were but to give it to my husband because he would know. I thought it was hilarious, how correct she was. On other ocassions she has told me that TR lost a skill and has instructed me to tell Mr. A, because Mr. knows how to motivate her.
At graduation the parents were asking me if Mr A had to work. We are the only black family at the school (well there is a brown Cuban he wasn't there either) and I felt a little like we looked stereotypical with only adult women. The school is a parent co-op and Mr. A worked 90% of the work days, so everyone knew Mr A is a present and active father. So I put my head high and enjoyed the event, while also letting folks who asked know that work took him out of town.
The next day was a swim/birthday party of a preschool classmate. Mr A is the family swimmer so the other fathers who got in the water, kept up with TR. I pulled my skirt up to my cheeks and stayed with QT. Only one mother was actually prepared to swim and that was the birthday girls mom. Apparently black women aren't the only ones staying out of the water.
I was recently reading a gymnastics support website and it said how gymnasts had different relationships with each parent and that support/balance was important to the development. It also said fathers usually introduce the child to the sport and mothers provide the long term support the child needs to participate athletically. It pretty much said fathers do what Mr A does, and mothers do what I do. Genders are real. When TR runs off the floor crying, I scoop her up and kiss her and woowoo. Mr A tells her to get back out there. Mr A will evaluate the skill, and I will say wow look at that. Sometimes when Mr A is not around, I try to do what I do and do what I know he wants done. When the kids leave the floor, I hug and kiss and send them back.
I appreciate the balance that masculinity and feminity offer and I see how having both balances the kids. I discovered lots of women think it is abusive when a man is exhibiting masculine behavior and doing things to make his kids tough. I also have discovered that when men see women doing feminine things to the kids, they just chalk it up to what women do.
It is odd to me that so many women cannot appreciate a man's value to a child, even if she does not agree with it. I don't know if this is just a black woman thing. I remember my mother being fire mad at my father for trying to require my brothers do stuff he thought boys should do. He wanted them to run up hills. The craziest thing is when my brothers became adults they ran up the same hills my mother thought were abusive.
I may not like or agree with every child rearing tactic Mr A has, but I know he loves our kids and I trust he has their best interest in mind. So while I might address my concerns to him, I don't (often) object. We had differences of opinions on bedtimes. I did not think a kid who had nowhere to be needed a bedtime. He was firm on his belief that bedtimes should exist and now I am grateful for them. Routine is good.
We addressed most child rearing issues prior to getting engaged and more prior to getting married. I knew who he was and I still like who he is and I am glad that he’s back.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Nightmare in Oakland

One of my dreams was a nightmare.
In my dream I woke up, and heard noise in the downstairs part of the house. I knew Mr A was out of town, so I grabbed the kids and threw us all in the car. My hands were shaking as I unchained the front door.
When I got outside it was daylight and a boat and car blocked my path out of the driveway. I drove my car into them and a car fell off the incline. The people who were outside with the car and boat, spoke to me calmly and the owner of the car cried because it was smashed. I had left my phone in the house so I could not call anyone.
I drove around trying to figure out what was going on. The kids did not think there was anything unusual about the noise in our house and I figured out that I had a new mate. I asked if Mr. A was alive because he would have to be departed for us not to be together. The kids told me where he was and I tried to get there.
On my way there I ended up at church and my mother's house that had all new furniture. I was asking why the house needed new furniture because it was pretty new. I was trying to find someone I knew who coud tell me what happened, but I kept talking to people who knew me but I only sorta knew or did not know at all.
I probably should have looked in a mirror to see how old I was, but in my dream, I had taken a nap and woke to a new life.
I told myself I would just finish the dream, and awake to my real life, but I didn't know if I was in my real life or how to leave the dream. I just wanted to get to Mr. A and I was on that path, when TR woke me up and asked me to draw her a butterfly.
I have not known Mr. A for my entire life, but I feel that my soul is tied to his. It is more than just being used to him. I blogged about being trapped in a dream and being unable to call for help. Mr. A called out to me and woke me up. He told he thought he heard me calling him.
Dreams like that are good reminders to love well, now.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It is well

I stopped working after Mr A and I got married.  There were a couple of reasons for that.  I was in a new area and did not have connections to get new clients, I was scared of how I could build up a client base without connections and I wanted to enjoy newlywed life.

At some point we moved from the house outside of L.A. to a cute apartment in a great part of Los Angeles.  We moved to save money and to start small and have freedom.  In the house, his mother felt led to drop by and spend weekends.  At one point she spent two weeks.  Since Mr A was at world 10-12 hours a day, I spent those 2 weeks in Oakland.   She thought she was going to harass me and all he got was a weary Mr. A.  I still chuckle at that.  The only reason a man's mother comes to the home of newlyweds, is to create trouble.

That 2 week visit caused Mr. A to decide we should move.  Whoooohoooo. L.A. was where I wanted to be.

At that time Mr. A was paying mortgage on two houses and we had to pay first and last month rent, on only 2 weeks notice.  God provided.

Then I went back to work at a slow pace.  I then went back into my own business.  Then Mr A left his job.  Through all of that time God provided.

Since we moved to the bay our expenses have more than doubled. Our income has risen drastically.
This is the silly part. There were times when we started out that our funds would be so low but I knew God would provide as he always had and he did provide.
Now that our funds remain higher than our expenses, I find myself worrying and fretting if my checking account falls below 5 figures.
I think part is self-employment and wanting to maintain cushion but I wonder if I have started to rely on myself and not God. If I can trust God to take a deficit and turn it to a surplus, why do I stress at a surplus? I cannot let anything seperate me.
In other things getting through financial stresses with Mr. A are good memories for me. It has been good for me to build with Mr. A. We both know that money, and things do not define our relationship. We had fun on no funds, low funds and we can have fun on more funds. We have supported each other and we know we have support from the other.
Everything we have (of worth) is ours together and for me that is a great reality.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back Hand Spring

video
TR's coach said TR's ability to do this is exceptional. Apparently most kids need to be a little older to do the back hand spring. On the day of class that TR did it, her coach asked me if I had seen her. I told her I had not seen, and she told me she would have to make us watch.

It is always great to see my kid do the fun stuff.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Arrival

TR's uniform shirts arrived. She liked the light blue shirts and disliked the other colors. I did not get any dark blue shirts because I knew she would be opposed to them. She said the rest of the shirts were not pretty.
I wasn't sure what to say. Mr A was on the phone and he suggested I say, she makes the clothes pretty and school is a place to learn and not to focus on dressing pretty. When I told her that she will be in school to learn and uniforms allowed children to focus on learning without the distraction of clothing, she responded well.
The school has regular free dress days, so she can express her fashion on those days. I have probably taught her to enjoy shopping. She loves to wear dresses that have twirl and she enjoys pulling outfits together. My sister has exposed her to manicures and pedi, makeup, purses and accessories. Uniforms might be hard for her but it will almost certainly benefit and spare her from the distractions of fashion.
She is looking foward to the arrival of her uniform bottoms because I let her pick out the pants/skirts she wanted. I picked up a pair of uniform pants at the Gap. The pants have pink lining so I thought it would allow her to add color to her life.
QT asked the whereabouts of his uniforms and I told him, he will get them when he starts kindergarten. QT is not a shopper, so I suspect he will appreciate simplifying his daily wardrobe. QT stills gives me hugs and cuddles so I am getting them from him while he is still willing to offer them. I enjoy his little personality. Both of my children love being dramatic.
HOME Now that I have a wonderfully comfy and beautiful sofa in the living room, I feel like I have a space in the house. That room stays organized because the kids play in their bedroom or the family room. The bedroom is month white and soothing to me, but the living room is my mommycave.
EDUCATION I am trying to figure out subjects to enhance my kids education. I think I want to get logic games and maye find a Latin for kids program. I plan to remain involved in educating my kiddies and I want them to know we value their education. Parenting is my most important task. I want to ensure they have a foundation. I feel that a foundation gets harder to attain and maintain as technology and educational policy changes enter.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Frugal Mommy in Solidarity

I cannot say I am frugal but I am working on being frugal when I can. It feels good to save money, even in small amounts.
I purchased TR's school uniforms last week because the company was having a 20% sale on the items that needed monograms. I looked online and saw that all of the uniform items were 30% off. I called in and I was refunded the difference. Joy!
I have been wanting to get fancy workshirts and yesterday we came upon a Brooks Brothers Outlet. I bought a shirt I am pleased with and two bottoms. One of the bottoms is a pair of blue uniform style shorts. I plan to wear them periodically when I am going to be at TR's school. Getting Brooks Brothers clothing at 25% off is also great. I like to look professional and fashionable at court so, work clothes at discount is an accomplishment in frugality for me.
In other things I discovered that lunch at TR's school will be a minimum of $6 a day. I am starting my lunch menu planning now. She will be packing her lunch at least 4 times per week. Parents are responsible for providing classroom snacks. We have the same requirement at preschool, so this won't be new. I am going to take notes on what we should bring when it's our week. We also have to give 25 hours of volunteer time each year. It's amazing that a school will make you pay and want your time too. I think public schools would be much more successful if parents were required to give time. A parents' involvement makes the difference in what a school is.
My next order of school business is getting nice socks. Since my sock options are white, navy and black, without design, I want to find nice ribbed ones that go to knee length. I also need to find hair ribbons. I plan to have my girl as cute and fashionable as she can be in blue, greets and whites.
In other craziess, Mr A will be out of town on football stuff, during TR's preschool graduation. *gasp*. When I notified him of the conflict his immediate response was "take lots of photos". *gasp*. I had thought he would plan to fly out late to attend her graduation. When I told my mother and she thought the graduation conflicted with a Pre-scheduled meeting, her immediate response was, " I will see if I can reschedule".
I don't get it. Football is not just the other woman. It is also the other family. Or maybe we are the other family. Football is the first family. But at this point, I have accepted that we are the obligation and Mr A is committed to meeting his obligations. Football is the first love.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Club life...... Tatted on my chest

I am not about the thug life but I am all about the club life.
After a long week of court and hearing, the A family spent Saturday at the club. It was much needed poolside relaxation. Mr A planned our excursion and it was a great plan. We had lots and lots of fun playing in the pool.
Elizabeth from the View was on Rachel Ray discussing her project for playing with your kids and how most people do not do it, because they assume play will just happen. She spoke in support of a campaign to calendar play. The segment caused me to recognize that Mr A is committed to playing with the kids. Child- parent Play is daily in our home.
I appreciate that because, while I enjoy playing once engaged in play, it is often challenging for me to start play. I remember my grandfather teaching me to ride my tricycle and removing my training wheels. I remember him bandaging my booboos. I fully remember early childhood and playing with my grandfather, mother and siblings. I remember my grandmother always cooking or gardening while we were outside. Those memories are fresher in my mind than memories of college. If I can remember those early years, I expect my kids will. I want them to have good times with loved ones and good memories of loved ones. I remember my father in polished dress shoes and slacks, buffed nails, who would but our bikes, deliver them and observe uncomfortably as if he feared playing children would get mud on him. I like that Mr A is a man capable of being professional and unafraid of getting his clothes messy for his kids.
While we were at the club, I saw a little girl who attends gymnastics. The girl comes with her nanny and the nanny and I always chat. Mr A asked the child's mother something about a gymnastics event. A woman nearby joined the conversation because her daughter also does gymnastics. I know of no connection between gymnastics and the club but I see lots of the same kids at both places. The places are in different cities and are not near each other. I find it intriguing that people who do one thing, would do the same types of other things. I guess that is why marketing research is such a huge deal.
Or maybe people with kids of similar ages do similar things. The club was a great addition to our activities. The kids love it and we love it. We can put the kids in child care, work out, we all swim, eat, relax and soon QT will get his tennis lessons.
The swim instructor finally responded to my email. TR is teaching herself to swim. She got her back float back. A 2 year old taught TR how to dive, and once she got that skill she taught herself to swim under water. Mr A refuses to go outside of the club for swim lessons because he says we are paying too much to pay elsewhere too. If the swim teacher, teaches like she responds to emails, I will see about getting a private instructor and have him/her come to the club.
Gymnastics gets a lengthy break and TR will do ballet and tap and maybe I can get both kids in soccer. I am not pleased about the break, because TR loves to workout. Now that I have a school aged kid, the summer is a huge deal for me. We will make good use of these summer days.
In other random things, my love of Target may be unreasonable. I don't buy much there but I like looking at everything. A great day for me is being able to walk slowly down every aisle in Target.
TR has her preschool graduation soon and I am so excited, I can barely contain. I am tired of Pre-school but TR likes it and wants to go. I am glad she likes preschool because it has resulted in her being exuberant about going to kindergarten. Her thirst to learn has pulled me in and I am excited for her to start kindergarten.