Sunday, February 19, 2017

Around the world in 12 meals

This is going to be quickish 'cause my students aren't submitting their drafts (due in 3 h 29 m), so I'm flush with some unexpected time, and I have a Sunday crossword staring me down from 2 feet away.  My purple pen is all lined up, and I think that I might even have an episode of Grey's Anatomy lined up, too.  In other words, this Sunday night is turning out to be more pleasant than expected.  Let's move along here, doggy.

I gotta share this one.  It's about my best idea ever (take this as you's not exactly Earth shattering or anything).  Once a month this year, we're choosing a different country to explore.  We investigate their food, read a book about them, and prepare a meal to enjoy together.  So far, we ventured to the Philippines in January and China in February.  The Filipino meal - excellent.  The Chinese meal - equally excellent but not received as well.  So far, we're two-for-two on trying new foods (and we had five different, new foods to try out yesterday!) without complaint, which is not always the case. 

Next month, we're going to catch a boat to Ireland because March = all things Irish, and who doesn't need a dose of meat and potatoes after noodles and oyster sauce?  Plus, Filipino cooking often calls for an ingredient called banana ketchup.  Let's return to some semblance of normalcy in the space of my regular grocery store aisles, eh?

The moral of the story here, which I already knew (this isn't our first three-ring circus), is that if you want to try something new, get the kids excited about it, too.  Give them a purpose.  Allow them to have input in the decision.  Find out what they're interested in and gratuitously, shamelessly exploit that.  And, when all else fails, give it a ridiculous name and cross your fingers.  (For a while there, kiwis were known as dinosaur bones around our house.  And then the Elder came to terms with their deliciousness.  Now, she eats them for lunch or snack almost every day.)

欢呼  (Cheers!)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tell me your thoughts. I'll send you cookies!

You know how you sometimes think of that perfect (as it gets) blog topic that you naturally forget because you don't write it down when you think of it?  That's my style, 'bout every day. 

I'll share this thought today, the latest in my stress worrying.  The Younger is turning five this summer, which makes her old enough for Kindergarten in the fall.  We're (mostly me) considering not sending her to K-garten but rather keeping her in a 5-year program at her pre-school and then just skipping K altogether.  It's not required in the state, so this should be an option that the school can't fight us on.

Prior to the Elder's Kindergarten experience, we debated a few options, including half-day Kindergarten, which we're both much bigger fans of, but ultimately decided that we need to suck it up and support the system that we teach in figuratively as well as literally.  So, we I packed her little lunches, tucked her folder in her backpack each day, and sent her on her way.

And she was bored.  And it set a kinda negative tone about school that we're still hearing 3 years later.

I'm fully aware the the Younger is a different little person than her older sister, but for all intents and purposes academically, they're very similar at this point.  In other words, I'm anticipating more of the same, and I'm weighing our options again because we can make a decision.  What a blessing.

I've talked with the pre-school director and the Elder's first-grade teacher, getting a bit of insight from both school perspectives.  Later this week, I'll be picking the brain of her current pre-school teacher.  And folks, I'm still all here and there and every which way about it.  Another blessing is that we don't technically have to commit for about another 2 months yet.  We also live out of district of the school system that we chose for our kids, so a small part of me wonders if this would be a reason that they wouldn't accept the Younger in another year for 1st grade. 

But Kindergarten is not required in this state.  She has had 3 years of a formal schooling experience.  She's learned to socialize with her peers and to follow instructions.  She doesn't need to practice colors ad naseum.  And, she'll get about 9 weeks of a refresher at the beginning of 1st grade that, frankly, makes me think that she'll just pick up whatever she might have not mastered in her alternate-Kindergarten experience. 

I know some that stop by to read my ramblings are likely to have some perspective on this.  I'm very open for thoughts on this, knowing that you all don't really know my child all that well (or at all).  I'll be frank here, though - homeschooling isn't so much an option (though we'll happily supplement if we do choose the 5-year old class, pre-school option).  But please, share some insight!  I'll gladly offer you some thoughts about how the upcoming season is looking for my boys (baseball, my friend, baseball).  Or, I'll send you some cookies.  Your choice.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The skinny around here (figuratively speaking)

Internet people, as I like to do, here's my intro announcement:

I'm still loving my time at the fitness center.  Me.  A treadmill.  Multiple TV screens to flip between as I pace myself.  It's quite lovely. 

I ran for 33 minutes straight (49 minutes in an hour) just the other livelong day.  Little 'ole me.  It feels shockingly good wipe sweat off my face and to tell myself "Just keep going until the next commercials...OK, now just make it through these commercials...alright, now let's make it to when the people get up to the bedrooms" (House Hunters...helpfully formulaic when you're timing yourself by the various parts of the show). 

Things I've discovered so far:
1.  I've had a shocking amount of conversations with the boy concerning Greek yogurt, breathing, hydration, and abs.  If I only have about 15 minutes a day to really wedge in a conversation with the spouse, at least we're keeping it real.
2.  I feel like I sweat less.
3.  I can have a casual conversation until between the 15-20 minute mark when it gets a touch harder. 
4.  My lungs are good until the 30-ish minute mark.
5.  I'm glad that I don't smoke.
6.  I definitely need to stretch out the calves before I start.
7.  Sometimes my back gets stiff...dumb, bad posture.
8.  My abs feel different, which is a new phenomenon.
9.  I don't even mind it when I run into students and I'm all red-faced sweaty.
10.  It's fantastic just doing something else for a couple of hours a week.  That's the best part.

And in other news, my latest thing that I can't make a decision on is whether or not to send the Younger to a 5-year old class next school year and then forgo Kindergarten completely.  Folks - submit your thoughts to me.  I'm all eyes.

In the meantime, the Younger is gaga (again) for Uno, which means that we play games (upon games, upon games...) every day.  And, we added a new game (Sleeping Queens) into the rotation, so there's that, too.  Plus, the Elder is b-i-g into Clue, so we've had quite the winter of gaming.  I lurve it.

Last night at dinner, the Elder was discussing her reading, and she dropped this little nugget of wisdom.

Daughter:  "Did you know that I used to not like reading?"
Me:  "Oh...really?  I couldn't tell."

I mean, seriously.  She thinks that we didn't notice when she read just because.  She thinks that we haven't noticed that she now squirrels away for 45 minutes with books in hand.  Such a 7-year old.

She's always been a math-minded kid, i.e. just like her father.  And I dig that about her.  I don't have to have a little bookworm.  But, goodness, that would be great.  SO great.  Years of education are stretching before her...years of reading.  That will make all of her lives better if we can all just agree that reading is top notch.  Which it is.

And that's the skinny-ish bit of what's going on around here.  Thank you for reading.  You're a nice person.