Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the A family keeps busy

Today's engineering class was designing electricity and then designing a mini bedroom and installing working lights.

After science was an eye appointment for both kids and park time. Now it is nap time.

Yesterday was a relaxed day.  The kids played outside, did yard work ith Me. A, got wet in the sprinklers, layed out and got some sun and relaxed at home.

We still have not made it to the library.  Time goes so fast.  It is hard to get multiple things into a day, even when we start early.  I like to go places and be there.  There is no fun in rushing to the next place.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week End

On Thursday we had gymnastics and then to football practice.   After 3 hours of gymnastics, TR got to football and designed this obstacle course.  My kids love to move. They don't see exercise, they see play.

We went to the Farmer's Market on Friday.   We got lots of fruit and the kids picked out flowers for me.  I arranged them when we got home.  I am not sure how the drooping occurred.  I am a work in progress.  My flower arranging skills are still developing.  Some people have an eye. I am not one of those people.  My mother and sister are great at flower arrangement and interior design.  I have no idea why I lack those skills.  

This vase came out a little better.  I am going to start buying flowers twice a month.  I enjoyed arranging them.  I felt so adult.  On the side is QT's plant.  He is growing wheat grass and sunflowers.  His science class did a gardening unit and the plants were a couple of his projects.

The kids spent Thursday and Friday night with my mother so the parental unit had date nights.  This had me reminiscing on our newlywed days.  Then we got home to a quiet house.  The house feels so empty without the kids. Fret not, we  managed to pass the time.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

summer break 1st full week

Graduation was 7 days ago.

 TR lost her first tooth on Saturday. 

The 3rd little pig's brick house.
Monday we visited Fairyland. It was lots of fun.  It's a great place for kids to use their imaginations.

Science class on Tuesday.  This was TR's first time attending.  QT has been going almost a year the kids drew what they wanted to build.

The class had to design homes, buildings or bridges and make them sturdy enough to withstand a 30 second earthquake.  TR built a bridge.

QT built a house/building.

TR's bridge withstood the earthquake. 

QT's collapsed and when he had one that stood, he took parts away too ensure it fell.
He likes to construct and deconstruct.

After science was the park.

Today is Wednesday so we did gymnastics.  I had thought we didn't have enough to do, but now I am realizing we may run out of summer before we run out of activities.  We still haven't made it to the public library.  The kids  might like visiting the library more than Fairyland.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What it is.

Today was wash day.  At 9 am, I put a mix of EVOO, extra virgin coconut oil, 2 tsps of honey and a small bit of avocado together, mixed and applied to TR's hair.  She was under a plastic cap for 30 minutes and them we went about our day.  At 2 pm I washed, conditioned, apple cider vinegar and cold water rinse, moisturized with Tressemme, styled and sealed with coconut oil and EVOO.  
I plan to 
deep condition, with heat on then next wash date.  In happy news, I used a denman brush after 
washing and TR's curls popped right back.  Those protein treatments work.

Her parts are intentionally uneven.  I try to switch the parts around  to avoid breakage. 


I am not sure how I feel about TR and QT's future school.  I really wanted to give my kids stability but I am going to keep shopping for schools. I will give this place 3 weeks.  

TR will likely be I'm a combination 1st/2nd grade class with maybe 26 kids.  I do not know the number yet but 26 is the max.  TR's old school had a 20 kid max in lower grades. I think a good teacher can teach a lot of kids and can teach them at various grade levels.  I do not know the quality of teacher TR will be getting.  I know she has taught for 30+ years, so I hope she has her skillset.

I sent her an email asking how she would handle reading since kids would be at varying levels.  She replied:

"The main lesson is taught as a large group.  I do divide the children into more leveled and smaller groups for reading individually.  More advanced readers are encouraged to read classroom library 
books and books brought from home that are more on their level."

That leaves more questions than it answers.  If advanced readers are reading their own books, is the comprehension of those readers being supported?  Will the kids feel like they are doing busy work?  Advanced kids need to be taught too. 

When I asked TR's current kindergarten teacher this question she gave a description. The current school principal also gave the same description and they explained how the entire class benefited from expansion of the lesson to address the needs of the low, middle and advanced.

Choosing an appropriate school is a daunting task.  No school is perfect so identifying the most important components is mandatory.  

I want to tell myself that a child's educational success is a reflection of parenting but if I believed that I would enroll my kids at the neighborhood school. It is frightening to realize a kids foundation cn be destroyed by choosing the wrong school for a chid.


I need people with backbone in my business.  I am not a babysitter. I lack time, energy and the desire to handhold staff.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Unbreak my Heart

TR's wonderful little school closed after 130 years.  I weep writing that.  My heart breaks. The school was 60%+ black and when the economy got sick our people got  pneumonia and when the economy got pneumonia the bulk of us just died.  It is crazy because the schools with working class to poor white people can sustain themselves. 

The church associated with the school is mostly white and they voted to keep the school open but the board closed it. I guess they did not want to fund a bunch of us.  The membership of the church also aged so there aren't as many church kids attending the school.  I think it was maybe 6 kids who went to church and attended the school.

The school indicated that the need for financial aide continued to increase and they could no longer ask the church to keep covering the costs which were in excess of 100k per year.  The school is in the wealthy part of Oakland and sadly the neighbors are mostly "unchurched" so they were not sending their kids there.  The bay is a place that does not believe in God and does not like those who do.  That makes it more vital for me to keep my kids in faith based schools.

TR's school was a wondrous place.  Our family was extremely blessed to have that year there but 8 more years for her and 9 for QT would have been preferred.  On the bright side, about 1/2 of th kids will be going to the school she is going to and a couple of staff.

Last night was 8th grade and kindergarten graduation.  So many of the kids were crying.  The children are sad about leaving their second home. The school offered more than I knew could exist in a school and was so perfect for TR.

TR's kindergarten class had 3 kids. QT's kinder class will have 19 kids, with 1 teacher and an aide.  I 
plan to volunteer because that small environment was a gift to TR.  I think TR had an excellent 
teacher and could easily teach 19 kids. Had her class had 19 kids in kindergarten the school could 
have stayed open.  The school needed 10 full pay kids to fund a teacher.  So 3 kids in kinder meant 
the church was covering the difference.  1st grade had 8 kids.  The other grades were combined.

TR's school was mostly black boys and I loved that.  The school knew how to nuture black boys academically and black boys thriving. That is a great loss.

Her current school was convenient to home and on my mother's way to work. My mother took her to school 2-3 days per week and picked her up 2 days a week.  It was also 3 freeway exits from gymnastics. The new school is the same miles from home but in the opposite direction, so my mother cannot take her and we will be further away from gymnastics.

I have learned a few things from this year of school.  TR loved the full day kindergarten.  It was rough at first but after a bit she was doing the full day plus extra time playing after school. She was ready to read.  She was reading fluently by October. 

I still don't think one-size models fit all and hopefully the new school with nuture QT's love of learning.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

No wire hangers....... Everrrrrrr

Friday of last week was the last school uniform dress day.  It is now free dress for the remaining school days.  I am taking mental inventory to assess TR's wardrobe and determine if she has 3 days worth of school clothes.  I used to shop for her on a regular basis but wearing daily uniforms makes clothes pointless.  It has been a very long time since she got non-school pants or tops.

I think she has four pairs of jeans.  A red Joe's Jeans that is quite snug, a green Joe's jean that is snug but fits, and denim true religion with pink stiching and a pair of light blue denim designer jeans.  I think both denim jeans are too thick for a warm day.  All 4 pair of jeans are probably over a year old.

She has a lot of leggings because she wears them under uniform dresses and they are great for play. I don't think I should send my kid to school in her play clothes.  Shirts are also a challenge.  She has lots of dresses, so maybe we will do dresses with leggings.

Cleaning the Closets

I hung up new school clothes in he kids closet and organized the shelves in the parental unit closet.
The work never ends but it's nice to have things organized and orderly.  I think watching Mommie Dearest left me with an aversion to wire hangers.  I don't like how they bend and poke but I think the wire hanger scene made me feel like wire hangers abuse clothes.

Mr A got kid sized wooden hangers which I love,  I also use thick plastic hangers.  I like thick hangers.  I feel like if the closet gets too tight it means there are too many clothes in it.  I tried slim hangers but I like the space wooden hangers force into a closet.

I purchased a bench with shelves below the seating.  I wanted it to go in the kids room but Mr. A put it together, left it in the foyer and put shoes in it.  The kids liked it and put their shoes in it.
I am going to have a window seat with storage built for their room. I have a carpenter on speed dial and Mr A is on board with ut.  Either that or find a book shelf we can turn on its side and can hold weight of people.

Summer loving 

I'm excited about the summer. TR is excited too.  Yesterday she told QT that I once he starts school he can also have summer vacation.  I am excited about getting freedom to roam.  We'll have kid activites and schedules but it's still freedom from having to be at school at 8:30 am.

Hopefully I dont become totally lazy.  Maybe the first week will be spent doing nothing but after that we have to enjoy our freedom.

Hair stories

TR's hair is my new hobby.  I am still practicing low to no manipulation,  Today, I wet, moisturezed, sealed and twisted.
I also stretched once section to check length.  Her hair is growing and it is growing healthy and evenly and the length is being maintained.  I don't know why I took so long to figure out and properly maintain her hair.  I don't need expensive products. Prior to my hitting up YouTube I had spent $50 on Mixed Chicks producers. I returned those products and read up on hair care and did the stuff that made sense and purchased inexpensive products that can be used to cook with, but also on hair.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

warm weather play

Oakland/san francisco bay area doesn't get hot summery days and we don't have  consistent summer weather.  I am okay with that, because I live in oakland and the hood people act up on the days the temps rise to 80 and up.One day this week we got a high 70 day and Mr A took QT to a park with a splash pad.  I had thought we had to travel to Bakersfield to get a splash pad but a city a bit to the south east has one and that city is a few degrees warmer than oakland.  I am excited to have one close by.

On the day they went to the splash pad it was high 70's in the bay.  I went 50 miles east for work and it was 80+ at 9 am in the morning.  Its amazing how the cold bay waters, air conditions the area. There can be a 10 degree difference 15 miles east of the bay.

I think if we had more hot days my people would get used to hot days and not act so foolish on the hot days.

QT starts school this coming fall.  I am excited for him and for me and Mr. A.  I am also a bit   torn.  His ability to be free will end.  I hope he has enjoyed his early part of childhood and the freedom he has had.  Once he begins school he will be on a clock and he will likely be on that clock for some years.  

TR was 5 when she started kindergarten.  QT will be 4 years and 6 months when he starts junior kindergarten.  I would love to give him until 5 but then he'd be 1/2 way to 6 if we wait. When my mom started school kindergarten started in both spring and fall.  There were spring and fall high school graduations.  You were a low senior or a high senior.  That programming made sense but it was probably cheaper to enter and exit everyone once a year.

I won't complain too much.  I am pleased that we have found a program that will allow QT to do junior kindergarten and determine if he goes to kinder or 1st grade at the end.  It's a nice balance between holding him back or starting him too early.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer 2014

TR has asked to go on a cruise. Her teacher took a cruise to Jamaica and shared the story about all you can eat food, swimming pools and going to towns around the ports. We shall try to make it happen.

I would like to take a 3 day cruise out of So. CA.  I don't want to do 7 days to start.

I would like to host either a beginning of summer party or end of summer party.  The main purpose of the party is to ensure families  we have spent time with know we are thinking about them and to maintain relationships.  Being a parent is work.  I want my kids to maintain friendships with the children of adults who align with my values.  My kids need to know we are not oddballs.

I am making our summer activity list.

So far I have:

California Academy of Science

Gilroy Garlic Festival


Jelly Belly Factory

Cable Cars


I want to do a picnic in Sonoma or Napa and visit the state Capitol.

State Capitol

Adventure Playground

We'll like visit the zoo, fairyland and other nearby places but he above will require that lunch be packed.  I will expand the list as I think about things.