Saturday, February 28, 2009

The New "Pay it Forward"

Lucky you! The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2. What I create will be just for you.
3. It'll be done this year. {might be a little while}
4. You will have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry or maybe even some creation I haven't even invented yet (but Heaven knows it will most likely be totally fabulous and creative... :). I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yesterday's Nap

We still are in full-scale nap strike, but he does get exhausted around 2 pm. He fussed for around three minutes yesterday after I placed him in the crib, and this is how he fell asleep. Doesn't look too comfortable, huh?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sam's crawling!

Well, Sam's been crawling now for over a week. He started tentatively the day that we were all home sick. For the first week, he would only crawl around the room that he was placed in. It was nice and convenient, because I didn't have to worry about him crawling away from my line of sight. That all ended yesterday when he started crawling up and down the hallway, exploring his new territory. He is quite excited by his new skill.

So excited by it, that he has been on a sleep strike for the past four days. He refuses to take naps (for three days he only had one 45 minute nap from 6:30 am -6 pm), instead he wants to wander the house making sad noises. I tried everything! Yesterday, I finally got him to sleep in my arms, only to place him in the crib and have him wake up. He cried for about 3 minutes while sitting up before he collapsed from exhaustion. This is how he slept for 45 minutes:

Not too comfortable, huh?

Well, I think the strike is over as he is taking his morning nap right now. Hopefully he is getting back to himself!

Monday, February 23, 2009


The other day, as we were preparing dinner and playing around the house, Jacob started talking about moustaches. Nick, taking Jacob's cue, asked Jacob if he wanted Daddy to grow a moustache. Jacob, after waffling about it, finally said, "well, if you had one, I would laugh at you." Nick, not wanting to be the object of Jacob's ridicule, said, "well, then I won't get one."

Jacob's comeback? "That's OK, Daddy. You can get one. I'll just laugh in my head."

Which begs the question: just how often does Jacob laugh at us in his head? Is this a common occurrence?

Monday, February 16, 2009


We've been sick here. Continuously sick. Starting around mid-October, The Cough visited our home with a vengeance, wrecking its havoc on me and Jacob. It subsided, only to be replaced by The Allergies. The Allergies had the decency to spread its love around, touching Nick also. Almost two weeks ago, Jacob came home from preschool with A Fever. A Really Strange Fever that would only stop by between noon and 2 pm everyday, reaching heights of 103 degrees, only to steal away until the morrow. Finally, finally, we rid ourselves of our unpleasant house guests (well, except for The Allergies - that one cannot take a hint).

Yesterday, Food Poisoning decided to visit Nick, Jacob and myself. We are recovering, albeit slowly, from his visit, thanks to an amazing neighbor/friend-for-life Hilary. Hilary, thank you for going shopping at 8 am this morning (a true sacrifice!) for supplies and also for taking Sam this afternoon. We are deeply indebted.

And for the record, our home is now closed to any other visitors of the Sick Variety.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pictures of the boys

Here are some recent (as in yesterday and today) pictures of the boys. Jacob is not the most willing participant in my amateur photography endeavors, but lucky for me, Sam is too young to truly protest.

University of Utah, here we come!

Well, it is official. Nick received a phone call on Tuesday night from the University of Utah School Psychology department, extending a position and grant to him to start on his PhD in the Fall of 2009. So it looks like we are headed to Salt Lake City.

Crazy how life can change. One year ago, Nick was interviewing for internship positions. We were so grateful when he got a position with an amazing district nearby. We started saving for a house, excited to stay in this area long term.

Last fall, Nick received an e-mail from one of his professors at the University about the grant available at the U. After (almost) completing a three year specialist degree (one step up from a Masters - 69 graduate credit hours and 1800 practical hours), the last thing we were interested in was more schooling. Besides who could really afford it?

The real question is, who could pass up a free PhD.? In school psychology, those grants are somewhat few and far between. This grant covers tuition, gives a stipend, and will prepare Nick to be a leader in School Psychology. Pretty awesome.

So, after much prayerful deliberation, we are headed to the University of Utah.

I am so proud of Nick!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Recommendation

"Too often, the behavior of girls is the gold standard. Boys are simply treated as defective girls."
-Michael Thompson

I picked up this book, The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do, from the library last week. It was on the new book shelf and sounded quite interesting, especially as I am the mother of two boys. It sat on my desk as I read through the other books that I had picked up at the same time - mostly fiction bestsellers. When it came time to return to the library last night, I put the book in the car with the books I had finished. Since Nick was driving, I took the time to start reading it. I quickly found myself reading parts of it aloud to Nick.

Here is the synopsis:

From the moment they step into the classroom, boys begin to struggle. They get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls; in elementary school, they’re diagnosed with learning disorders four times as often. By eighth grade huge numbers are reading below basic level. And by high school, they’re heavily outnumbered in AP classes and, save for the realm of athletics, show indifference to most extra­curricular activities. Perhaps most alarmingly, boys now account for less than 43 percent of those enrolled in college, and the gap widens every semester!

The imbalance in higher education isn’t just a “boy problem,” though. Boys’ decreasing college attendance is bad news for girls, too, because ad­missions officers seeking balanced student bodies pass over girls in favor of boys. The growing gender imbalance in education portends massive shifts for the next generation: how much they make and whom they marry.

Interviewing hundreds of parents, kids, teachers, and experts, award-winning journalist Peg Tyre drills below the eye-catching statistics to examine how the educational system is failing our sons. She explores the convergence of culprits, from the emphasis on high-stress academics in preschool and kindergarten, when most boys just can’t tolerate sitting still, to the outright banning of recess, from the demands of No Child Left Behind, with its rigid emphasis on test-taking, to the boy-unfriendly modern curriculum with its focus on writing about “feelings” and its purging of “high-action” reading material, from the rise of video gaming and schools’ unease with technology to the lack of male teachers as role models.

But this passionate, clearheaded book isn’t an exercise in finger-pointing. Tyre, the mother of two sons, offers notes from the front lines—the testimony of teachers and other school officials who are trying new techniques to motivate boys to learn again, one classroom at a time. The Trouble with Boys gives parents, educators, and anyone concerned about the state of education a manifesto for change—one we must undertake right away lest school be-come, for millions of boys, unalterably a “girl thing.”

We have been quite fortunate in the quality of the preschool that Jacob attends. His teacher, Ms. Pat, understands that preschool is not the place to stress the kids out with unrealistic expectations of scholarly performance. When she visited with us at the beginning of the school year, she shared the daily schedule. As a caveat, she explained that this schedule some days just might not work out. Some days the children may need more time at the playground, and less time inside.

Instinctively, I want to protect Jacob's childhood. I don't want to pressure him to be the next Einstein at age 5. I want him to learn, yes, but I want that learning to take place through play. One of the main reasons why Nick and I chose this preschool was because the philosophy of Ms. Pat was similar to ours. She wants the kids to have a positive social experience, and to be exposed to learning in all different manners. This is not to say that Jacob hasn't practiced writing his name there, or that he hasn't been exposed to proper learning. There is circle time, and there are certain expectations at various times in the day. But those expectations are realistic for a classroom of 3, 4 and 5 year old children.

When Jacob was younger, I tried to shield him from playing with guns. We didn't have any gun toys, we restricted violent cartoons/shows and generally tried not to expose him to it all. When he was 2 1/2 years old, he started building "shooters" out of his LEGO toys - he didn't even have the vocabulary to say "gun." We had tons of rules: you can't shoot people, you can't shoot trees, you can only point to the ground or the ceiling, etc. As Jacob has grown older, we have relaxed these rules (even to the point of buying him a pop gun from Cabela's and a star wars gun too!). I don't know why we started to relax the rules - I think it had more to do with me tiring of asking him to stop and redirecting him - "pretend your finger is a fire hose, shoot water out of it." Now? Jacob loves to reenact scenes from Star Wars, his favorite movie (he's only seen the old school ones). He runs around the playground, pretending to shoot Darth Vader and save Princess Laia. Up until yesterday, I cringed when I saw him do that. I felt embarrassed that my child would engage in such violent behavior. I did not want to raise a serial killer.

Tyre addresses this point in chapter 4 (the preschool chapter) about imaginative play and boys. She discusses boys' fascination/inclination/desire to play bad guy/good guy, and to play with guns and engage in imaginative "violence." In the book, psychologist Michael Thompson suggests that rather than outlawing violent play, we should pay closer attention to what it is really about.

Usually, it reenacts the age-old struggle between good and evil, "but" says Thompason, "it's really about something more. It's about courage, loyalty, risking all to save friends in the face of powerful foes." Little boys are playing at being the best, most compassionate, most heroic kind of men imaginable. Thompson and others believe that at least some of that fantasy type play has a place in school.

I am only on chapter 5 of the book, but already I feel excited. This is something that can help me. This can help Nick. And in turn, we can help our boys.

Any thoughts? Oh, and I did not return the book to the library.