Okay, heres the deal…. Last night, my parents kept the kiddos and Mike and I got to have date night. During drinks and appetizers I drove Mike crazy obsessing over schools. The conversation definitely ended in frustration. I take full responsibility. I know I am annoyingly analyzing the situation, but until I make a decision, I feel like it is hanging over my head. I feel like it is such a huge decision and a ginormous responsibility to put my children in the situation that best suits their needs and our wants as parents. Mike had the brilliant idea of putting down on paper, exactly what I want in a school. I may not find a situation that fits my every wish, but I need to know what I am willing to compromise on and what is non negotiable.  So here is me thinking out loud (and I need opinions, PLEASE let me know what you think!) ….

My wish list:

Safe enviroment

Quality Education

Small class size

Opportunity i.e. arts, music, language, sports, computer labs, community service etc

I know people disagree with me on this, but I am not a fan of all day kindergarten, in saying that… there is only one private school I know of that does not have full day kindergarten (out of all the public and private)

Teachers that want to be there (I have no idea how that can be measured!)

An environment that is creative and thriving not stagnant and monotonous

A classroom that a teacher can teach in and not just manage (ie. a class of 25 kindergarteners in which 5 have major behavior problems)

That is the jist of it.

There are 3 options for school (at least that I know of) Public, Private, Home school. I have my issues with all three.

Negatives:

Public- Large classrooms, teachers that can’t/don’t get fired when they probably should, No Child Left Behind (teaching to test scores), less control as a parent as to who your child is surrounded by, more behavior problems (emotional and behavior problems are not allowed to be diagnosed until 1st or 2nd grade)

Private- Surrounded by kids whose parents can send them to private school, depending on the school- it can be a public school on steroids, expensive- tuition, uniforms, all the extras, depending on the school- not the same athletic options

Home school- I personally, don’t know if I would be good at it, A LOT of togetherness, don’t get the experience of not being the center of attention, don’t get all the goodies that go along with a school (sports, arts, etc), don’t have the same opportunities to put into practice all that you have taught- tolerance, loving everyone, saying “no”, sharing, dealing with people they may not like, etc.

Positives

Public- free, larger school experience, more exposure to other cultures and families that are different from your own (actually, I am not really sure about this one…, I read an article talking about how school is one of the only institutions left that separates people based on income level, house location (which people tend to live by people that are the “same” as them), which also leads to cultural separation)

Private- more control, typically more parental involvement, smaller class size (smaller school size in general), can choose a school that teaches the same moral standards as your family, can kick people out/not accept people, by paying for school HOPEFULLY (depends on the school) you would get some of the extras that public schools are limited in now – arts, music etc, the ability to pick the school that best fits your child’s learning style

Home school- COMPLETE CONTROL over everything: who your child socializes with, what they are taught, the curriculum used, when you vacation…everything

At this point, I am leaning more towards private school but I am torn. I would love to hear thoughts and experiences from all sides!

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Shut In

December 24, 2009

So I didn’t Menu Plan this week. I totally forgot! It didn’t even cross my mind until Tuesday evening. I have had Christmas on the brain.

As I am writing this, it is 9:22 am. Mike and Nate are still sleeping, Scott is watching a show, I am drinking coffee and watching the rain waiting for it to turn to snow.

It has been an unusual couple of weeks. Wonderful but different. Last week, Mike was out of town and the kids both had pink eye/conjunctivitis (all I know, it was green pus, and it was gross, and it required $70 eye drops). Being true kids, Scott got it on Mon-Wed and Nate Wed-Fri, ensuring that we weren’t leaving the house all week. If your husband travels, you know how important leaving the house is during out of town times.

We are a leave the house kinda family and I am a gotta keep movin’ kinda girl. The first couple of days were rough. Wednesday night I must have shown it because I got a worried email after Mike and I’s (or me’s… grammar genes do not get passed down) nightly phone call. But then on Thursday morning, we all woke up and it was like we actually got used to being home. It was weird. We stayed in our pjs, I drank a lot of coffee, we painted, and played and cleaned together. We watched more TV than usual. At one point Nate was missing, I walked down the hall and his door was shut, I quietly opened it and he was sitting on his floor surrounded by books reading, I tip toed out and left him on his own. It was great. I know a big part of it was my attitude, I always come to the realization that my attitude is what was screwing things up, AFTER my attitude has changed. Kids smell fear and irritation and tiredness and I guess, peace and calm and love.

It made me realize, we don’t do it enough. This week, we have already had another shut in day, by choice, I think I am going to “take advantage” (just being positive) of the winter weather and have more of these days. It is kind of comfy. And despite my greatest fears, Scott is still just as smart as he was before the extra show or two. It also made me realize, what my heart brings into the house, directly effects (affects… again with the grammar), the hearts of my little stink bombs and I am sure the heart of my big stink bomb.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you have lots of comfy days over the break and I wish you a heart of peace and love.

The Gut Squeeze

December 16, 2009

When we hug the kids good night we do normal hugs and we do “squeeze your guts out hugs”. Nate is starting to catch on to the squeeze your guts out kind. Before I lay him down I squeeze him and he grabs my neck as hard as he can and tenses his whole body and makes the cutest little grunt sound.

Today was one of those rare days I didn’t see the kids much. Our babysitter came at 9:30, I got home around 1:00, put Nate down for a nap, woke him up, stuck him in the car, got home, threw his pjs on, hurried through the bed time routine and plopped him down to start on Scott. Then he started crying. My initial response was irritation. I went back in hugged him, laid him back down and left. More crying. Went back in, rearranged him and left. More crying. I have to admit, I was really annoyed, it has been a long couple of days. I told Scott he “got” to stay up late and to play quietly since I might have to be with Nate for awhile (he was thrilled!). I went back in picked Nate up and sat in down in the chair. We curled up together. As soon as he realized I was going to snuggle, he gave me the gut squeeze, looked into my eyes and giggled and then snuggled back in. Then he sighed. It was that baby sigh that means, “Momma is here. She got it.” We snuggled for about ten minutes then I laid him down and he was fine.

He just needed to reconnect. He needed that moment at the end of the day to be able to say, “Everything is okay. I am loved.” I love that about kids. I love that they force us to to remember that the reconnection is worth the time.

Menu Plan Monday

December 13, 2009

It worked! My Get-Scott-To-Eat-Dinner plan worked! Every night last week, I only made ONE dinner for the entire family. I am really happy about this. The plan will continue into this and maybe forever. Actually my grocery bill wasn’t any higher than normal. Steak was on super sale so that helped of course. I have a couple of things from last week leftover, I forgot that Mike had a meeting on Thursday night so things go pushed. So this week won’t be super exciting….

Nothing else is really new. Just getting excited about Christmas!

I am still on a rib hunt. So far, I have eaten them at Billy Rays, Big Daddy’s, and Red River Canyon. (yes, I have ribs 3 times in one week. no, I am not embarrassed.) So far, Billy Rays and River Canyon have been my favorite, but the search continues. I think I am going to attempt to make them. Any good recipes???

Monday: Steaks (I didn’t take them out of the freezer in time to eat them tonight) potatoes, veggies.

Tuesday: Frozen Halibut from WF (YUM!), broccoli and rice

Wednesday: Honey Chicken Kabobs (from last week), noodles, and spinach

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner

Friday: Baked Ham, either this recipe or this recipe, depending on if I find a pre cooked ham at WF or not….

Saturday: Out with cousins, grandparents, parents, etc for dinner

Sunday: Leftovers.

S.A.D. (I have it.)

December 10, 2009

This is complaining. I recognize it  and I own it. I am giving myself the next 15 minutes (or however long it takes me write this) to complain and then I am tucking it all away for until I am able to bust out my flip flops again.

I do not like the winter. I believe Christmas is celebrated in the winter to make the season bearable. Here are the reasons why I wish it was summer:

1. Dry skin. Enough said.

2. Having to wear more clothes.

3. Having more laundry because winter clothes take up more room.

4. Having to add 15 mintues onto the routine in order to bundle everyone up to get out of the house.

5. Less outside time. Which leads to more inside time. Which leads to claustrophobia.

6. The pool isn’t open.

7. It is cold.

8. Having to wear socks.

9. Running with frozen hair is not fun. It takes the entire day to feel warm again.

10. Winter clothes are not as cute as summer clothes.

11. No outside projects.

12. No evening walks or nights on the deck.

13. More TV watching.

14. Uglyer trees and grass.

15. The pool isn’t open.

16. Seeing friends less. (that might be the fault of school but I am choosing to blame winter)

17. Less sunglass choices. Which, I totally don’t get. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean we don’t need sunglasses!

18. No grilling outside.

19. Less day light hours.

20. Less to do with kids.

21. Ice.

22. Humidifiers. Our bedrooms all sound like we are on life support.

23. More eating with less exercising.

24. Harder to have people over. Totally my opinion, but it is easier to have families over when the kids can run wild outside while the adults hang out. If you have two families, that is about 6 + kids plus 6 adults that is a lot of people to be stuck inside. (at least at our house!)

25. More stuff to deal with. When I went to WF the on Tuesday our cart was full before we even started shopping. 2 coats, 2 hats, one puffy vest, diaper bag, and shopping bags. Ugh.

26. The pool isn’t open.

That is all I can come up with right now. I am sending these complaints out into the world to brighten your day.

Menu Plan Monday

December 7, 2009

Okay, why didn’t anyone tell me I was making way TOO MUCH from scratch last week?! I felt very homemakerish, but it got a little old. The good part was I made tons of food! We ate leftovers for two nights so I saved one of my recipes from last week for this week.OH OH OH! The Fish Chowder was great! Definitely recommend it.

My kids are weird little eaters. Scott being the pickiest at this stage in his life. I  mean, he no longer eats melted cheese (only on pizza) who doesn’t like melted cheese???!!!! I usually make him try some of what we are eating and then most of the time end up making him something different. And yes, I know most of you are screaming at the computer, “What is wrong with you? Make him eat dinner. He isn’t going to starve himself.” I hear you. And I know. But that is much easier to do when your four year old actually weighs more than 30 lbs and is above the 3rd percentile. Moving on, I was thinking to myself, what does Scott actually LIKE to eat? Meat/Chicken/Fish, rice, tortillas and various fruit and veggies. The meat can not be mixed with anything or sauced up and the sad part is, we rarely eat “meat” on its own. Organic meat is not cheap so I try to put it in things that will go further than just one meal. But this week will be a test for Scott.

Monday: (this is not really a Scott meal, but I can’t make it to the store until Tuesday ;)) Spanish Chicken Rice Bake (this is the one I didn’t have to make last week!) with salad

Tuesday: Fajitas (does anyone have a good seasoning or recipe they recommend?) with Spanish Rice

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner (sausage, pancakes, eggs) with fruit

Thursday: Honey Chicken Kabobs, grilled veggies, and rice

Friday: Grilled Steak, potatoes for Mike and I, Tater Tots for the kids, and Sauteed Spinach

Saturday: Date Night!

Sunday: Leftovers

Wish me luck in my making-a-meal-for-the-whole-family mission! As always, I love suggestions!