Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To eat or not to eat...

Mean Mommy?

So we've had a little problem with the words "no" "stop" and "don't"

Hannah just chooses to hear "blah, blah, and blah"

The other night she shocked herself when unplugging and replugging Adam's lap top. We comforted her, but an hour later she was trying to do it she found a discarded fan, recognized the plug, and tried to find an outlet.

She also likes to get into the desk and turn off the computer, particularly when we are working on it, she is just too quick.

Today I found a solution to at least one of our problems:

This lovely picture is now taped onto our computer so that when she opens the desk she is faced with this beautiful creature. The first time it happened she quickly closed the desk and hid around the corner--no tears, just caution.

I may be a mean mommy, but at least I know she won't break the computer...?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My kid is too cute!

Hannah, playing and not listening to mommy--she is so cute!

State of Education Part 4: Student or Prisoner, where are the priorities?

The average student in Clark County is 11,420 (about 1,000 dollars less, per student, than the national average)

The average prisoner in Nevada costs about 23,000 dollars per year (National average over 25,000).

If schools spent more money per student, per school, per teacher (I'm not talking about pay, I'm talking about supplies) than I am sure there would be less prisoners. Statistically, students that drop out make less than students who graduate, and are more likely to end up in prison.

My point? It is time to focus more on Education, and put the money where the need is.

State of Education: Waiting for Superman Official Trailer

This is seems pretty bias. I really like the part where the kid goes off the ramp with his bike, and the part where the 6 year old says "I want my kids to have better than what I had."

State of Education Part 3: Why Teachers Should Get Paid More

The average person entering into a profession after acquiring a bachelors degree in 2009 begins at 50,000 dollars a year.

The average beginning teacher entering into their profession after acquiring a bachelors degree in 2009 is 28,000 a year.

"But teachers get three months off of vacation! They should get paid less"

Lets break it down:

At 50k that is 4,100 a month
At 28k that is 2,300 a month

That means that if summer break is the only factor teachers should start at 3,700 a year.

"But teachers only teach from like 8:30-3:00, those are short hours."

True, teachers in Clark County are only contractually obligated from about 8:00-3:30...but ask me how many teachers do that...there is no overtime for teachers and the average teacher I've known/worked with are at school between 8-11 hours a day, not to mention the at home hours they put in grading, preparing, studying, and receiving continuing education.

All the things I've already stated is true, however--none of those are reasons why teachers should get paid is the reason why:

If doctors started their careers by making 30,000 a year, who would be attracted to the field of medicine? Would the best, brightest, most talented? No, because people understand that when you begin a career, you need to start one that is lucrative, that can provide financially for your needs. Think of how many teachers you know personally. How many of them have families and support their families on their teacher's income? I know 2 families. Us, and a friend, who's husband recently lost his job--so they don't really count. The rest of them are two income families with teaching being the secondary income.

So if you bumped up teachers salaries, more people might follow their passion and want to become teachers. More people would work harder to become so. The field would be more competitive, only the best would get teaching jobs, and children would have a wider variety of talent in teachers--thus improving education in America.

Fortunately for us, Adam has a lot of education so he does get paid more than the average teacher--but it is a thankless profession (I talked earlier about how Adam has the highest test scores in his school--yet he received no recognition, no raise, no praise.

State of Education: Part 2: Teacher's Responsiblitiy

One of the biggest uproars targeted towards Educators is their tenure.

The average number of years a teacher is on probation before becoming tenured is just three years. In Nevada it is two years. Adam was tenured after the first year and his administration deemed him highly qualified.

People believe that giving tenure to teachers is removing that responsibility, making teachers lazy, and damaging the morale of the education system.

Many people want to take tenure away from teachers. I disagree (and not just because my husband is tenured).

Tenure is one of the ONLY protections in place for teachers. While teachers are often assaulted with accusation from parents, students, communities for being "bad" their tenure protects them from being unjustly fired or accused.

I think tenure should be given to teachers after a longer probationary period. Teachers have a huge learning curve that needs to be accommodated by administration. Teachers should have ample time to learn the system, develop one on their own, come into a behavior/teaching routine, and be provided with continuing education. Parenting takes time, skill, and experience to become better and more successful, so does educating a classroom.

In my last post, I talked about statistics of students. So how much responsibility does a teacher have to the education of their students? 50%...100%

Think of your children's educational experience, or your own educational experience. What do you believe the teachers should be responsible for?

In my personal opinion this is the break down:

Students/Parents should:
Arrive to school on time, prepared to learn (with supplies, homework, full tummies after a good night sleep).
Focus on classroom behavior and rules
Respect teacher and fellow classmates
Take responsibility for actions
Be an active participant in classroom discussions
Complete tasks and assignments on time
Use classroom resources, as well as resources at home like the library, parents, and the internet
Ask questions

Teachers should:
Arrive to school on time, prepared to teach (with supplies/lesson plans,full tummies after a good night sleep).
Provide and enforce classroom behavior and rule expectations
Take responsibility for actions, and hold each student accountable
Facilitate classroom discussion
Complete lesson plans, activities on time
Provide outside resources (websites, book list, homework)
Know your subject/answer questions

Administrators should:
Provide support for teachers
Provide materials
Provide resources
Enter into each classroom at least twice a month if not more to observe what is going on
Have one on one with teachers

Ridiculous things I have heard:
School is for learning and parents shouldn't have to teach what should be taught in the classroom
"I have to work so I shouldn't have to worry about if my child is receiving a good education--that is the teacher's JOB."
"I didn't understand the assignment so I didn't do it." (Biggest pet peeve ever--why didn't you talk to the teacher, go on the internet, call a classmate, ask a parent?)
Teaching has to be fair so give the same to every student (looks good on paper, but if one student needs CPR, does that mean that every student should get CPR because it is fair? If one student needs reading help, does that mean we slow down the progression of the whole class and go back to basics for one student? There are resources in the school for that)
"I couldn't get my kid to school on time."
"My parent didn't sign my permission slip because they didn't look in my backpack" (students--communicate daily with your parents about your school)
"I didn't sign my kid's permission slip because they didn't show it to me" (parents--check backpack every day).

It is the teachers job to TEACH, to facilitate, to provide opportunity and resources. It is NOT the teachers responsibility to make sure the kids are learning--that is the parent/child's responsibility. It is the parent's job to engage the student in their own education, to make sure your kids are there, to make sure the kids graduate--not the school districts. You may disagree--that's ok.

State of Education: Part 1: Some Statistics

With the release of the movie "Waiting for Superman" it seems like NBC, ABC, and CBS are focusing a lot of their news programs and talk shows on the state of Education in America. I decided to do a series of posts on the opinion of someone close to the Educational system.

Some Stats:

Graduation Rate:

Nevada: 51%
Utah: 74%
California: 71%
Wisconsin (highest in Nation): 90%

4th Grade Reading:

Nevada: 24%
California: 24%
Massachusetts (highest in Nation): 47%
(Adam's class p.s. was over 80%)

4th Grade Math:

Nevada: 32%
Utah: 41%
California: 30%
Massachusetts (Highest in Nation): 57%
(Adam's class over 60%)

Last year, Adam's school had a 53% proficiency rate on test scores. While the school sat at 53% Adam's individual test scores were 76% proficient.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last Year?

Adam is currently getting his second Masters Degree and we have been seriously thinking of what the outcome will be once he obtains it. His degree will be in Curriculum Development in Technology and he will be qualified to become an Educational Computer Strategist (ECS) for Clark County School District.

Basically he would still be in the school (perhaps even two) and he would be in charge of the educational technology and helping teachers and students utilize it in their classrooms.

Adam is so excited about this new prospect and always comes home and talks about how badly he wants to do it.

At the same time I'm a little sad. Adam is a fantastic teacher, and even though he will still be working with students and teachers it would be a whole new job, a whole new world for him. On the plus side, he'd be able to work more one on one, rather than worrying about class size or behavior.

There is something magical about being in a classroom teaching your own students, like having a little family.

I know Adam will do a great job with whatever he chooses, it will be a big change for him and I will support him if that is what he wants to do. He is very smart and capable and PASSIONATE (seriously, you should hear this guy talk about technology, you should have seen his face when we switched internet providers and our computer could suddenly do something I can't even understand but he was beside himself) about technology. He is LOVING his masters program and I know that he will do what is best!

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Why I Hate Jillian:

I'm not the first person to struggle with body image post pregnancy and I'm certainly not the last, however, because I lost so much weight thanks to nursing (I lost 16 additional pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight JUST because of nursing). I didn't really change my eating/exercising habits so guess what happened when I stopped nursing? I gained 10 pounds--almost overnight.

When I noticed this rapid weight gain I decided I should do something about it--that was two months ago and until recently did I actually DO something about it.

I don't really feel like I need to lose weight necessarily. I'd like to trim the extra pouch on my midsection but I'm really focusing on toning rather than weight loss. I started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred twice, both times giving up after days 4 and 5 (way to go) but thanks to my friend Candace and her documentation of the process I've had more motivation and have therefore completed 7 days.

The 30 Day Shred is an intense, 30 minute work out video by Jillian Michaels, one of the trainers on NBC's The Biggest Loser. It really is intense. She says that by sticking with the work out everyday for 30 days you can lose up to 20 pounds. I believe her. I've read the reviews, I've had several friends do it, however, where I'm at right now and my goal to tone and not lose weight, I've also decided to walk nearly 3 miles daily.

I combined this with a Low Carb diet, eating six small meals a day and cutting out many fats and sugars.

I wasn't expecting a change overnight, but I was EXTREMELY disappointed when, much to my surprise, I GAINED 5 pounds the first week. What. The. Heck.

A few people have suggested that it might be muscle, but I don't think I'd be able to build up five pounds worth of muscle in that short amount of time. I'm hoping it is more water weight because I drink about 4 pints of water daily because I'm working out so much more--and HELLO it is September 20th and 105 degrees outside (again...what the heck Las Vegas)

Either way, I'm going to stick with it. I've committed to myself that I'm going to do it. It is a great work out--but it is only the beginning. I'm doing the 30 day Shred to get in shape for something even more physically exhausting: P90X which I plan on starting November 1st. Yes I'm scared but I really want to get in the best physical shape that I can because eventually I am going to once again do something that really requires a lot of physical strength: pregnancy (no that is not an announcement--I said EVENTUALLY and I mean it!


A couple weeks ago I was watching Modern Family. Which is genius by the way. They took off to go to Hawaii and the next night I had a dream about going to Hawaii. No, I've never been, but I had a dream that on our way home from Southern California we took a detour and drove to Hawaii.

Because that's what you do when you are driving four hours from the beach in California home to Las drive to Hawaii.

So I started thinking that I wanted to go to Hawaii, this in conjunction with a friend of mine and a family member recently posting about her awesome trip to Hawaii.

But Hawaii will have to wait.

Adam is currently getting a masters degree in curriculum development in Technology. We are paying for his degree out of pocket, sans loans and a credit card because that's just how we roll. This means no Hawaii for us.

We are starting to landscape our back yard. We had a landscaper come and look at it and tell us that we couldn't do what we wanted to do with our budget--however, if we paid 3,000 dollars over our budget we could do something we didn't want to do either! Great deal? we are doing it ourselves within our original budget (also sans credit card/bank loan) which means--you guessed it, no Hawaii for us.

Then there is Australia. We've been DYING to return to Adam's mission ever since we started dating. Adam has been back once but would love to go back again on a three week trip during his break which would be great...but like Hawaii, Australia costs money that we are pouring in to school and home and life etc.

Sure, we have money in savings just collecting dust--but it is just waiting for the next semester to roll around so we can once again, pay UNLV...we also have a very large credit card limit--and a 0 dollar balance...tempting...yes but worth it, probably not.

My point is, there are lots of things we want but HELLO we are in the middle of experiencing things we want right now! We've been planing for Adam to go back to school, we've been looking forward to getting a back yard that we can relax in! So they are not just expenses, they are the fulfilling of desires.

So why am I complaining?

Human nature I guess.

There is always something worth looking forward to. In the words of a very wise philosopher:

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be a uphill battle Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose Ain't about how fast I get there Ain't about what's waiting on the other side It's the climb it is a Miley Cyrus song. But isn't it true. Once the backyard is done, and Adam graduates in August I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to start saving for Hawaii, or Australia. I'm planning on taking an awesome fun trip in 2012 to one of these destinations. When 2012 comes will I be content and happy sitting on a beach (both Australia and Hawaii have beaches) or will I be thinking about the next step? What is coming next?

I think it is important to feel satisfied and grateful, but I also think it is important to look ahead. It gives us a little motivation, a little determination to move forward and accomplish the tasks.

Today I'm focusing on today, but I'll have a little corner of my brain dedicated to some beach.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Paranormalcy

I first heard about Paranormalcy at book club. The author happens to be a friend of a friend who raved about her work and turned me on to her blog. Her blog is hilarious. I had waited for many months to get the book after following her publishing process.

Overall I really liked the book. It debuted at #7 on the New York Times Bestseller list and the movie rights have already been sold. I did find that it was kind of young for me (and I LOVE YA books). The main character sometimes annoyed me (example: her best friend dies in her arms and the next day she is wondering what her love interest thinks about her hairy legs) but the writing is superb. She is able to capture voice perfectly. Her style is so tight and clean. I found myself engrossed with the plot, wondering what was coming next.

I profiled her on my mommy blog and she even gave me an interview! Check it out!

I would recommend this book for teens. I would say it is not one of the YA books that cross into adult bookshelves much like say, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games Trilogy, or Twilight...but it is a fun, fast read and I enjoyed it. I even bought it for Megan's Birthday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am thankful {love is spoken here}

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
2 Nephi- 25:26

Last night we attempted Family Home Evening. We've done it before, but lack the consistency that we desire. The last time we were completely consistent was when Hannah was between 4-6 months and we did it pretty well. We've tried it here and there but it is HARD.

Last night we focused on teaching Hannah to fold her arms. We'll probably be working on that for the next several weeks. Adam and I are going to focus on the Preach my Gospel manual. Hannah ran around us in circles as we tried to sing a song and have a prayer. I think the only thing she got out of it was when we showed her a picture of Jesus.

Something I love about Hannah is that she knows Jesus. She can recognize him in any picture, any story or book. She recognizes his picture at church and at home. She'll point to him and get a big smile and say "Jessssses." I've decided that if I can teach her anything in this life it is to recognize the image of Christ so that she will develop a strong connection and reaction when she see's a picture of Him. Almost without our prompting, Hannah has always had a strong reaction when she sees a picture of the Savior. I pray that Adam and I will be able to help cultivate that relationship.

I was talking to my mom today and she said "there is nowhere else in the world where 18 month old children receive the lessons and instruction on who they are and where they came from that they get in nursery." It made me so grateful to be a member of a church that teaches basic principles to the youngest of the bunch. I babysit little Sammy and Pepper every week and when he saw a picture of Jesus on our fridge he said "Hey that's Jesus, I'm learning about that guy." How wonderful for Sammy, and for Pepper, and for Hannah to be learning of Christ. I'm grateful for good friends who are wonderful moms, teaching me to be a better mom and helping me to teach my child who she is, and where she came from, and all the potential she has in life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Banned Book Week

I am against censorship. Sure, there are some things that are difficult to talk about with children, perhaps you are even firmly against it, but I am of the opinion that people have the right to say (or write, or read) what they want. I think that people should be given the agency to chose to read what they want...which is why I'm participating in a celebration for Banned Book Week (September 25th-October 2nd).

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.

From ALA:
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

To celebrate, I am going to read The Kite Runner which has been challenged and I am also going to start Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone which has been challenged many times. Yes I've read it about ten times but you can never get too much Harry Potter :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Hannah

Camping with Crystal

Addison's girlfriend Crystal eating a banana with her toes! Hannah thinks it is her banana! So cute!

Addison's girlfriend is really cute. It was nice to have another "outsider" around :) Look how talented she is too!

Hannah Banana {13 months}

It's been a while since I did a Hannah update without asking desperately for advice!

She is really developing a fun personality. She never takes a bite of her food or a sip of her bottle without sharing with Adam or I first. She loves to share which is a wonderful trait and I hope she can keep it up.

I think I've blogged before about what a good helper she is. She unloads the dishwasher with me, she puts her clothes away in the hamper and picks out her own outfits and she throws her diaper away. Now she has started to go through one of my drawers and put my clean clothes in my hamper. I think it is funny that she can distinguish between our two hampers.

At the beginning of last month she had two teeth on the bottom. Now 8 have come through (the top front four and two molars on top) and two molars are popping out of the's been a crazy month for teeth!

She is good to sit and get her hair french braided and it looks so cute!

She loves to laugh and laughs at EVERYTHING! She laughs especially when she is climbing. She loves to climb out of the shopping cart.

Hannah has two friends that come over ever Thursday and Friday. Sammy and Pepper. She loves them both and squeals with excitement when they come over.

She loves having tea parties and playing with Daddy.

She is still the JOY of our lives and we love her so much!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Experienced moms....HELP!

Last time I posted about Hannah climbing I got a lot of great suggestions! Now I'm posting on another problem. It seems to be one right after the other.

For the past two weeks or so, Hannah refuses food. Lately it has gotten worse. She ONLY wants to drink out of a bottle and even then it is iffy. I don't know if it is because she is teething and she just doesn't feel good, or if she is just being picky. She has NEVER been picky before and has always loved foods of all kinds, then suddenly one day everything changed.

She will nibble here and there on something, not enough to make a meal, or get much nutrition out of it. Today she has had two bites of a banana, a tiny piece of peach, and a 4 ounce bottle. Every thing else she refuses. I find myself once again at my wits end. People say "she'll eat when she is hungry" but she's been eating like that for a week! Isn't she hungry yet?

I seriously lucked out on the best baby in the world until she turned one year old. Seriously. She NEVER cried, slept through the night at 5 weeks old, walked at 9 months, was months ahead physically and mentally at every check apparently she has decided to start her terrible twos a year early.

I'm guessing it is the teeth. That is my only conceivable thought. Up until she was 1 she had two teeth, in the course of the last month she has gotten five with her two molars that just cut today.