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Think DVRs are the greatest invention in the history of the world....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I have many vices, if you will.  All of them are things I think I cannot live without.  Well, I could, but then what kind of sad little life would that be.  So let's talk about my favorite.  TELEVISION!  Since it's fall and the new schedule is in full force, let's talk t.v.  What's on your TiVo or DVR?  How many things do you record?  You can be honest, no editing, even the guilty pleasure ones.  I wanna know. There shall be no judging, no snarky comments from me.  None of that.  O.k. so I might cringe if you watch all the Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and all that self help crap, but I will keep my snark and loathe of those shows to myself!

To be fair, I will share mine.  We have two DVRs so I will only share what's on mine, because my husband's is MuscleCar this and ChopShop that.   Although, I do often watch those too, cause I am a car girl.  Anyhoo, here is the list.

Most embarrassing first:  Daily recordings - The Young and The Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful
(yes, I'm ashamed I watch that trash but I do...and I gotta say, if they can write that crap, I should be able to get a job writing.)

NBC - Heroes, Trauma
FOX - House, Lie to Me
ABC - Castle (one of my favorite shows on t.v.  great writing, great characters, love it!  sooooo glad I got into this one in the off season and that it made the cut)

 FOX-Hell's Kitchen (Gordon's my hero!)
ABC-Shark Tank (I wanna be a Shark when I grow up!) The Forgotten (I set it up to record.  Christian Slater has been one of my favs for like a hundred million years.  I am still pissed that NBC canceled My Own Worst Enemy.)
CW-Melrose Place (Don't judge me, I was addicted before, I can watch the beautiful people again if I want and feel bad about myself.)
SyFy-Warehouse 13 (I think this one is over but I am not through watching all the shows I have recorded yet.)
CBS- NCIS Los Angeles (I set it up and watched, not great, BUT, LL Cool J is so cool, I will give it a few weeks.)

FOX - GLEE (This show just makes me happy.   FAVORITE show of the new season.  Love it.  Smart, clever, musical, it's like Fame meets The Goonies for 2009.)
NBC - Mercy (Haven't watched but it's on there.)
ABC - Eastwick (Hubby says the chics are hot!  He's hooked after one show.  He has a thing for red heads and there is a lead with red hair so we will be watching.)

FOX- Bones, Fringe (I LOOOOOOOOVE Joshua Jackson, he's so dreamy!)
CBS - The Mentalist
CW - The Vampire Diaries

FOX - Dollhouse
CBS - Numb3rs
Cartoon Network - Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Remember no judging!)

NOTHING!  I watch what is taped and dedicate several hours to my favorite Food Network personalities.

Showtime - DEXTER (my favorite neighborly serial killer!) 
ABC - Brothers & Sisters (It's like my family minus the alcohol, drama, drama, drama!)
CBS - Three Rivers (This week starts the new drama with my favorite t.v. vampire EVER from Moonlight, Alex O'Loughlin .  I am still REALLY BITTER about the writer's strike.  It killed Moonlight and Life which were two of my favorite shows!)

As you can see I don't watch most of the rating favorites.  I like quirky off beat shows. I usually am one of the four people watching the programs that get canceled.

So I am sure you are asking yourself how do I have time to do all that I do and watch all this too?  DVRs and TiVo are the greatest invention in the history of the world, well, at least of the 21st Century!  I watch it all commercial free!!  You add that to the fact that I sleep very little and it really isn't that big a deal!

So spill it peeps....what are you watching?

Think Happy Thoughts

I have become a Today show junky.  Not really, but I have a morning ritual.  Get the boys off to school.  Come home, enjoy some caffeinated beverage, be it cold or hot, matters not to me.  Check job postings, check email, read up on my favorite blogs, check the headline news, all the while with Today playing on the chatter box.

By the time the 10 o'clock hour comes around I am just getting through with above said ritual.  Enter Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee.  I have to say, I am not really that into their portion of the programming, but I can't help myself and I get sucked into the train wreck that follows.  They are always drinking happy hour beverages and gabbing, yes that early in the morning. To be honest, usually they just annoy the living daylights out of me, but I never seem to change the channel.  Often I am glad I don't because I come away with some tip or tidbit, but they wear me out.

Having said that, this morning I was very interested in one of their topics.  There were some folks on talking about our collective happiness.  A study shows that women, over the last 35 years have become increasingly more UNHAPPY.  There was a lot of talk about work life balance, career versus family, too much to do, and so much to balance.  It is no surprise in the age of a never sleeping world, where almost everything is 24x7 that we are having trouble finding time for everything.  Information is available on everything and anything, ANY TIME you want it.

I think the problem is we have put such an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves to have it all and do it all.  You know what?  I do not have to do it all.  I am o.k. with that.  I want other women to feel the relief of letting that go.  If the house isn't perfect....o.k.  If my kids aren't taking fifteen classes a week for extra curricular activities....o.k.(Honestly what's wrong with them having some down time to relax and I don't know be a kid?)  If I decide to stay at home and be the proverbial stay-at-home-mom, what's wrong with that?  Does it mean that I am not o.k.?  HELL NO!  It's called a choice people, we make them all day everyday.

It's about what makes YOU happy.  The jury is in folks, trying to do it all, be it all, have it all and look good doing it, isn't making us happy.  Figure out what it most important to you, and do that, be that all the way.  If being a career woman is what fulfills you, then do that and do it well.  Trying to split your efforts between home and work, kids and husband, church and charity work, pets and volunteering, and the gym and current events is too much for ANY person.  In the end, everyone suffers because stress sucks what little bit of umph! you had left.

When we bring the stress of juggling all those hats home we share it with our families.  Our kids suffer, our mates suffer, our pets suffer and worse for wear, we suffer.  So find your balance and make yourself happy!  It's kinda like the old adage "you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you."

36 hours later

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I have been thinking about this post for a few weeks now.  My only daughter is going to be an adult, or at least legal voting age anyway tomorrow. Eighteen years ago, I was in labor, had been for well over 24 hours at this point.  Strangely, it seems like yesterday.  My memories are just as vivid today as if they were in fact, yesterday.  Thankfully though, I am not in labor now!  Whew....I had such a tough time, I almost needed a white padded cell when I found out I was pregnant with my son, some several years later.  I did need consoling, but that is a whole other story.

I should  probably give background on the pregnancy itself.  I was young, and rebellious.  I got married at 18, to someone I barely knew, but nevertheless, we knew everything, and you can't tell teenagers anything about life.  We had been married about four months and then I got pregnant.  We didn't have a pot to piss in.  Seriously, we were living with my parents, my then husband worked at a gas station.  We had no insurance, I was on Medicaid, and I was bringing a new life into this world.  In hindsight, I was such a disaster.  No clue.  I was absolutely oblivous about many things, what was happening, what to expect, where I saw myself in 18 years....I WAS TOTALLY CLUELESS!

I wouldn't trade any of it, I have a beautiful, smart and funny daughter.  I learned life lessons, that being a stubborn, strong willed, arrogant know it all, I would have never learned otherwise.  But, that does not diminish the fact that I probably should've done things differently.  Everything in this world happens for a reason though.

SO....pregnant after four months.  I would find out some 11 years later, after becoming pregnant with my baby boy that each time I go on birth control pills I get pregnant.  But that too is a story for another day.  My pregnancy was not be any means a walk in the park.  I was high risk with pre eclampsia, I got food poisoning while I was pregnant, morning sickness never was miserable.

Because we had nothing, I went through the Health Department Clinic.  I saw a midwife.  She was great.  I had several ultrasounds because of the high risk thing.  Each time I went in, which was a lot, also due to the pre-eclampsia, she would measure, we talked about how I was progressing.  She seemed concerned that the baby was big but that I didn't seem to be spreading out as much as she would like.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME LADY?  I gained 75 pounds.  YOU HEARD ME 7 and 5, 75 pounds.  How much more could I spread?  Of course she was not talking about my ever expanding body, she was specifically talking about my hip bones.  She was concerned  may not be able to deliver without C-section.

So, Monday, September 23rd, after a very loooooooooooonnnngggggggggg hot summer, I was to say the least MISERABLE.  But I woke up that day with a little more energy than I had had in days.  I decided I was going to the mall, to walk, hopefully that would move things along.  I walked that mall up and down, all morning.  I got home around 3:00 p.m.  I sat down to relax, cause let's face it, carrying around an extra 3/4 of my original body weight for several hours at the mall was a workout!  Then about an hour later, I was in labor!  Yeah!!!!  Success, it worked!  In a few short hours I could hold that baby girl I had been dying to meet for what seemed like an eternity.

Yeah, not so fast Missy!  We headed into the ER because my contractions were right on top of each other, I couldn't even breathe.  One would stop and the next would start.  We stopped at the nearest emergency room because my mom didn't think I was going to make it downtown to the hospital I was supposed to deliver in (boy, was she mistaken).  They checked me out and the contractions slowed to about 5 minutes apart.  I was only at 2cm, so they sent me home and said go downtown later that evening. 

Midnight....I couldn't stand it anymore.  It was off to University Hospital.  We get through all the checking and still 2cm.  They wouldn't keep me.  We explained that my grandmother was not able to dialate and required C-section for all of her deliveries.  They gave me a sleeping pill and sent me home, AGAIN.  I was still having contractions 5 minutes apart or less.  I took the sleeping pill, and would doze off in between the pains that were getting to be every two minutes apart or so.  I waited until 8am when the clinic opened and called the midwife.  She told me to come in.  I DID.  She examined me.  She knew the family history, along with her own concerns.  She scraped the membrane.  It hurt!  Damn!  It hurt bad.  She said she had stretched me to 4cm.  She assured me that they would have to keep me now when I went back to the hospital.  And with that we were once again on our way to deliver.

We got checked in.  They gave me a Pitocin drip and a mobile IV pole and told me to walk the hallways.  I get news from family that my girlfriend who had went into labor that morning, had already delivered.  OMG!  She started after me and she is already done?  Do the GODS hate me?  Finally they decide to break my water.  Now, this is 5pm of day 2, some 25 hours after I went into labor.  The lady breaks my water, and says I felt your baby's head, she has a full head of hair.  It won't be long now, we should see her in an hour or so.

So....I am really hurting now.  They tell me they will give me something for the pain while I am waiting for the anethesiologist to come to administer my epideral.  They give me a shot of Stadal.  It doesn't make the pain stop, but I was so high at that point it couldn't see the clock on the wall.  My stupid ass ex-husband, but husband at the time, says during one of the most painful contractions, "Oh, your not in pain they just gave you something for that."  Seriously, if I could've have mustered enough strength to get myself off of that bed, I would never of divorced him, I would've killed him on the spot.  It was at that point, I kicked him out and told him to go get mother.

Finally they administered my epideral.  That was awful in and of itself, but at least it helped some.  We moved from labor to delivery around 1:00 a.m.  By this point, I had nothing left, I was spent.  When they told me to lift my dead legs and butt up to move from one bed to the other I just looked at them like they were as stupid as I felt they had to be at that point.  Really?  I have legs?  We then started to push.  Yes, I finally made it to 10cm.  It only took 33 hours.  I am doing great. 

Oh wait, I forgot.  The first episiotomy.   Push.  The second episiotomy.   Yes, literally, they cut me from one end to the other.  Push.  Push.  Just one more push.  The nurse said just one more push.  Then she said it again, and again, and again.  I looked at my mom.  I swore.  I swore some more.  "If she says one more push, one more time, I am going to rip her F!@&*(&*()* head off!"  She didn't say that again.  Smart girl!  The little asian female doctor that happened to be the doctor on call at the time tried and tried to get me delivered.  To no avail.  She left the delivery room to find help.

She returned with a tall, much larger than her male doctor.  He assessed the situation.  He said that he was going to try to pull her out with forceps, but we may have to push her back up and prepare for a C-section,  She was stuck in my birth canal.  I was distraught!  I screamed God only knows what at him, the other little woman, the nurse, anyone within ear shot.  "You are not splitting my belly open.  You have already cut me from one blankity blank blank hole to the other blankity blank blank hole.  GET HER OUT!"

Finally, at 4:07 a.m., Wednesday, September 25th, 1991, Mykenna Layne Jones was born.  She was beautiful and large.  8lbs. and 12oz, 19in long.  Perfect.  10 fingers, 10 toes, and a head full of black hair.  She had been stuck in my birth canal for so long she was swollen.  She lost almost 2lbs of water weight before I brought her home.  When they brought her back to me the next day she almost looked like a different baby.  If she didn't look so much like her father, I would have sworn they gave me a different baby the next day.  She was tiny.  I brought her home that Friday evening.  She weighed 6lbs and 11oz.  I argued with the doctors, but they finally let me take her home.  I was not leaving that hospital without my baby.  No siree! 

That is the story of how my baby girl made her entrance!  Happy Birthday Kenna!  I love you!

Thinking a break is in order....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sorry I have been quiet folks.  It's been hectic around the Romano homestead.  Craziness I tell you.  Kamden broke his glasses, but we now have a new pair of "indestructible" ones.  Yeah, I will let you know as soon as my little superhero penetrates the indestructible "poly"whatever metal.

We had puppies.  These are my baby Chihuahuas.  Lola-Blu had four of them.  The blue one with the white spot is the only female of the bunch.  All are very healthy and seem to be doing quite well.

Last night I spent the better part of the evening n the doggie ER with my mother and her Chihuahua.  Folks, the emergency pet clinics cost a small fortune!  Sheesh!  But her puppy Laynee was really sick.  Not really sure what was wrong with her, stomach bug or something, but at 4.1 lbs you can't wait till morning.  Dehydration is an issue.  Anyhoo, after tests, fluids and antibiotics we were out the door, albeit with a much lighter wallet.

Mini-me, that's Kamden, has a cold.  He is such a giving sweet little guy that he shared it with Michael.  His mom called to let us know he picked up the same nasty cough while he was with us this weekend.  And, of course, I have developed the same cough.  GREAT!  I woke up this morning with it!

Still no luck on the job front.  It's slim pickin's out there.  Need to figure something out though!

And 18 years ago today....I went into labor!  She took her damn sweet time.  Her birthday is Friday.  Yep, you heard me....THREE DAYS of labor.  Not contractions every thirty minutes either....they were five minutes apart or less.  I can NOT believe my only daughter is almost an adult.  We were looking through college applications and preparation earlier this week and she informed me she would like to stay local and apply to UNF (University of North FL) for next fall.  She won't be going very far! :)

I'll post more about the loooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg labor on Friday when my baby girl turns the corner from the hallway of childhood to the auditorium of adulthood!  Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life! :)

Think I married MacGyver!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

OMG...I married my dream man from childhood.  Seriously, I married MacGyver!  So you saw the pictures I posted yesterday, of one unrepairable pair of glasses compliments of my little mini-me.  It was a long day  Glasses broken, puppies being born, I went to sleep at 4:30 a.m., which if you know me wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, except last night I could've slept.....whew!  I am T-ired. back to the hunky hunk hunk I am married to.  You ladies remember MacGyver, I know you do.  And I know you are wondering how I snagged him.  Well, I am not sure.  He has been incognito all this time.  We have been married/together for like ever and I find out tonight that he is MacGyver????  WTH?  He has been holding out on me. Bastard!  All this time.....keeping a secret like that?!?  At least I think he is, or tell me what you guys think.  Cause I have evidence.  I do not come empty handed.  I also watched Nancy Drew as a kid.

My husband, the brilliant man that he is, told me while we were at Target, getting new glasses for Kamden that we had to pick up a few things while we were there.  That was after we asked the nice optician lady if there was anything we could do with the two pieces of glasses we brought her.  She politely giggled and responded with a quaint, ""  Crap!  It will take a week to get a new pair.  What to do?  What to do?  Kamden is pretty blind without his spectacles.  So we went and picked up some paperclips, epoxy and paper tape, along with a few other essentials.

We get home and MacGyver takes a paperclip, breaks a piece off, and uses the epoxy to glue it across the top of the nose bridge.  He let's that dry and adds another piece of paperclip along the bottom of the nose bridge with epoxy, thus trapping the two pieces that were broken, back together.  The tape will be applied in the a.m. for comfort purposes.  Genius right? all can see how with basic deductive reasoning skills I concluded that after all this time, I am in fact married to MacGyver.

Oh...and I know you guys are wondering.  It wasn't as painful as I had anticipated.  We ended up with some more wire frames that are all bendable.  We tried on a couple of different types and the nice optician lady told us that the solid frames break more easily than the wire frames do.  She recommended the ones we got, which were less expensive anyway.  Kamden is happy with them, they are his "style" he said.  FYI-glasses at Target with their Kid Care program,  GREAT DEAL.  I paid $129 bucks for frames, lenses and protection plan out the door last time.  Because of the program, new glasses (frames, lenses and protection plan) $69.  Sweet!

I will post pictures of the pups in the a.m. for you guys.....they are so cute!  Finally, we got blue!!!

Think it's time for some new glasses....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Well....we tried to repair them, but there was little hope. 

Here is the before picture:

See how they sit nice on his face?

Well here is what they look like now:
He came out of the bathroom after his shower and said, and I quote, "Uh...Mom, I think we have a problem."  I looked up from the computer to see his glasses hanging on his face over each ear in two pieces.  Ay yay yay!  If the poor kid could quit with the constant ticks.  He is forever pursing and licking his lips (i keep Chapstick in business), he crunches his nose up when he is doing the lip moves, and then he arranges and rearranges his glasses on his face (there is a lot of eye and forehead movement too).  He must do those moves, in that order, at least 100 times a day.

So tomorrow will be a trek to get them replaced, which will take a few days but I have to take him to have them sized tomorrow.  He needed a new pair anyway, apparently they somehow managed to end up a dog chew toy at Gramma's over the summer.  So maybe that had something to do with the poor shape they were in.  But, I am thinking it had way more to do with my 52lb 7yr old than it did the 80lb lab puppy!

Pray for me cause I will need it.  My Momma chihuahua, Lola-Blu is in labor as I type, so I will be up with her all night (or the better part of it anyway).  Then it will be off to get glasses with Kamden.  The hubby and I discussed it and no more wire frames for Kamden, so I would imagine that there will be a major melt down in the eye department at Target tomorrow afternoon.  Kamden is quite particular about the way he looks, and I am guessing we will hear comments like "No those make me look like a geek."  "I wouldn't be caught dead in those."  "C'mon Mom seriously?  You wear them if they are so cute."

I will upload the pictures in tomorrows blog of the adventure.  Oh, and hopefully puppies too!

Thinking of the smells of Fall.........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here we are at that time of year again, when the nights start to get longer and longer.  Not that they really are getting longer, just that it gets dark earlier.  Which suits me just fine.  I love the night.  Love it!  It feels longer to me when it gets dark early.  I feel like I spend more time with the family.  Maybe because we wind down much earlier, the boys seem to be in bed and sleeping earlier, and then I have time to myself and the hubby.

My favorite part of this time of the year is the smells of fall.  The crisp smell of cold air in the morning.  The smells of cinnamon and apples.  Thick soups and stews to warm you up because it is cool outside.  The smell of burning fires each time you walk outside.  Pumpkin spice candles from Yankee Candle (personal favorite scent).  Football and the tailgating food.  Golf championships (yes I watch golf!).

I love wearing long sleeves and sweatshirts and being able to hang outdoors without being burnt to a crispy critter.  It's rough for my little pasty white self in the FL sunshine.  And of course, I love the Holidays.  Halloween, and Thanksgiving, Black Friday(that's right I am calling it a holiday) and of course Christmas.  I love all the baking and giving and the sense of family togetherness fall brings.

Now that I have told you what I love....let's talk about what gets stuck in my craw.  What is with the retail market putting out Christmas stuff  Seriously, first they didn't wait until Thanksgiving and it became like some forgotten holiday in the retail space.  Then they started creeping it back further and further.  Then they started putting stuff out for Christmas before Halloween.  Now they put out Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations at the same time?  It's September!!
I love to decorate for Christmas, and always wish I could have my tree up just a little longer, but this isn't what I mean by that.  I like fall decor.  What's wrong with scarecrows, pumpkins, multicolored leaves?  Give me time for my pilgrims and turkeys.  I promise Mr. Retail Giant, I will buy Christmas stuff too, but stop cramming it down my throat so early!  Let me enjoy my favorite season as it comes...that means, first some fall decor, next Halloween, then some more fall decor with Thanksgiving thrown in.  Then, as is tradition, I will purchase my REAL tree on the holiday I deemed so Black Friday.  Then I will decorate for Christmas Saturday and Sunday.

So raise your cup of mulled apple cider to fall!  I feel you coming like a long lost friend I haven't seen in forever!  I've missed you my friend.

Think....before you open that famous mouth

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is wrong with people?  I mean seriously.  And why do celebrities think that their bad behavior is excusable just because they say "I'm sorry".    First, Serena shows her "maturity" on the court, and then Kanye decides to take a microphone from Taylor Swift and basically says, you didn't deserve to win that award.  Both celebs have since issued public statements of apology.  Does that mean we should all say that we excuse your bad example?

I don't know about you, but my momma taught me better than that.  When we left the house, when we went anywhere, we were to be on our best behavior.  I have taught my children the same thing.  So why then, are celebrities, no matter what the forum, just saying whatever the hell is on their minds?  Didn't their mommas teach them any better?  My goodness, I would be so ashamed of myself if I did that in public, not to mention the disappointment and ass chewing I would get from my mother! 

I guess there is no backlash for the ridiculous behavior so why not?  I mean, if Michael Vick can kill and torture animals, go to prison, get out as a convicted felon and still work in the NFL, why not just do whatever you want and then say those infamous little words...."I'm sorry."

The thing is....I want to hold everyone accountable.  I am accountable for my actions.  I make sure my children know they are responsible for theirs [actions].  They know that saying "I'm sorry" doesn't mean that they get a free pass for hurting other peoples feelings.  AND....if all us REGULAR folks displayed any of the aforementioned behavior on the job, or at a party for our job, or committed felonies that required prison time, we would SO have a one way ticket to the unemployment line.

Well....anyway.  That's my two cents this evening.  On an evening when a celebrity who always showed class in public passed away, rest in peace Patrick Swayze, I would challenge others to try and show some restraint.  THINK about what comes out of your mouth.  Throw a fit when the cameras aren't on you.  Behave anyway you want when children are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.  BUT, never abuse animals and please..."if you don't have anything nice to say.....SHUT THE F$%* UP!"

Think I found a gem of a Series....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I am a big reader.  I always have been.  I remember getting in trouble as a small child, like 4 or 5, I was always up late.  I mean really late.......way past my bedtime.  I would get my flashlight out and hide underneath the covers so I could read.  I know my mom always let me read for a certain amount of time (when I was supposed to be sleeping) before she would really get on me, but I had to finish whatever it was I was reading.

I read to my daughter religiously when she was little.  But, with my boys, it has always been harder.  Kenna loved to listen to the stories.  I read them to her, and also made up my own, and added in the stories that my dad used to tell me.  The boys appreciated the made up stories, sometimes.  But reading, they were not found of, too much sitting still and concentrating for my little ADD campers.  I mean I guess that is why I always struggled to get them to listen.  It really has only been recently that Kamden has started to enjoy reading with me.  Kooper never really did get into it.

Kooper started reading more on his own and finding an enjoyment of fiction on his own.  Actually, it was his teacher in second grade that made that work.  His teacher was an older "grandpa" that was ready for retirement.  He retired the year after teaching Kooper.  When I found out who his teacher was going to be my heart sunk.  Kenna had had Mr. Weeks as a teacher in 5th grade, and he was a tough cookie.  I thought, oh THIS is gonna be terrible for Kooper.  BUT, I am not one to OVER react, well, not really.  Oh...who am I kidding, when it comes to my kiddos....I AM A CRAZED LUNATIC.  So, I tried not to run right down and have him moved immediately.  I asked why he moved from 5th grade to 2nd grade, and he explained that the school had asked several of the 5th and 6th grade teachers to move to 2nd and 3rd grade to teach some fundamentals in math and reading, whichever were their strong suits to prepare the kids for FCAT (FL standardize tests that are required to pass 3rd grade).  I tried to keep an open mind.

So hubby and I went to Open House.  We listened as Mr. Weeks explained his goals for our children.  The class size was small.  I mean really small, there were only 14 children at the start of the year.  I think at the end two had moved so there were only 12.  He said he was going to help us get our children to love reading.  Then, he imparted the best advice I have ever received from a teacher, to date.  And that includes EVERY teacher I have ever had, all the teachers Kenna has had, Kooper, and Kamden.  He told us to let our kids read, no, encourage them to read, whatever they WOULD read.  That's right.  It didn't matter if it was a book, a magazine, baseball cards, the comics, the back of the cereal box, it didn't matter.  As long as the material was something that would hold their attention, then let them read it.

Ding! Ding! Ding!  Novel concept I know.  I had been trying to get my boys to enjoy what I loved.  What Kenna had loved.  Not girlie stuff.  Neither Kenna, nor I have ever been girlie-girls.  But, I never let Kenna read anything that wasn't classics or had some kind of seal of approval by all those award winning whatever...blah! blah! blah! to the COMIC SHOP we went.  Kooper thought graphic novels and comics were AWESOME!  YEAH for me!!!!  He found a couple comic series he wanted to follow.  We started picking out books, that in the past I would have steered away "The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Captain Underpants)" and other titles that referenced, butts, and boogers, and words we don't use like Stupid.  And we found "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" which Kooper now waits for each time a new one is released!

Now he reads for his 30 minutes every night, no problem.  I often find him reading to find out what happens next in his series on the weekends!?!  Yeah!  So Kamden, is at that golden age, same as Kooper, 2ND GRADE.  And the bug has bitten...the reading bug.  Kamden has been reading, or has been able to read since he was three, but it was only on his terms.  He is a bit of a computer junkie.  He learned to read playing picture in picture games on the computer with me. But that is a different story and I don't want to get too far off topic.

So...back to the series we are currently engrossed in.  It's probably too easy for Kamden's reading level, but, we are love, love, loving them.  I find as we are reading aloud every night, that the rest of the family is listening and getting into the stories too.  They are My Weird School Series by Dan Gutman.  The series follows a boy named A.J., who hates school.  He is in second grade.  He only likes things like football, skateboarding and trick bike riding.  His nemesis is a little girl named Andrea Young, he hates her, of course.  But here are a few of the titles....Book 1 Miss Daisy is Crazy, Book 2 Mr. Klutz is Nuts , Book 3 Mrs. Roopy is Loopy and we are currently reading Ms. Hannah is Bananas!  The books are clever, and funny.  The first introduces Miss daisy the teacher, Mr. Klutz is the principal, Miss Roopy is the librarian and Ms. Hannah is the ART teacher!  Kamden is really into this one.

If you are adverse to your children saying that they hate anything, these books are not for you.  A.J. certainly hates many things, and has no problem saying so.  They are written in first person from his point of view.  However, each of the faculty has a clever and unique way of teaching A.J. that he does like things he may not have before.  I won't give too much away, but Kamden has taken the first book to his teacher and is going to try to write his principal a letter to get him to agree to the storyline in the first book for his school!  OMG!

Anyway...these are some really cute chapter books for 1-3rd graders.  There are 20 something of them in the series.  If you have little boys, or girls, they are really fun!

Think I am one woman on an island by myself sometimes.....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I must be just as unique in my views and opinions as my little Kamden.  Let me explain.  I was FBing it today, that's short for Facebooking, and one of my long lost highschool-I want to be your friend now-but was never really your friend in highschool-but feel I need to keep up with you now because our 20 year highschool reunion is coming up posted something I was shocked about. 

She posted, and I quote "~ IF our schools take part in Obama addressing our students age Pre-K through 12...OUR KIDS will NOT be sent to school on Tuesday, Sept. 8th"  WHAT THE HECK?  Seriously?  It is an historic moment  for The President of The United States of America to address our children and you would deprive your children experiencing that piece of history because you don't agree with his politics.  Wow!  

Am I missing something?  When did it become a bad thing for ANY one, let alone the President of The United States of America to encourage children to stay in school, and try to achieve goals?  I realize that I am more progressive than many of my friends, many of my peers, and certainly my family members.  Progressive is also another word for "liberal" but I like progressive better.  It sounds "nicer".

I actually would consider myself more moderate than liberal, but most of my friends and family are so conservative that my moderate views are extreme to them.  I don't even agree with President OBama on many of his politics relative to education.  Having said that, I have NO misgivings about him addressing my children.  He is the elected leader of the free world.  Like it or not, he is, and there is something to be said for that achievement.  If he can inspire a love and drive in the children of this country to stay in school and set goals to help them achieve higher education everyone should appreciate that.  

We need something different in this nation relative to education because what we have been doing isn't getting in done at the end of the day.  And I just love that my state of FL has the loudest voice of them all in all the hoopla.  Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party for FL had all sorts of kind words about the planned speech.  Not! can see how I would feel like a woman alone on an island.  I am one lone "progressive" mommy in a state full of haters.  I don't believe this has anything to do with politics.  I don't believe it's good for my children to hear all the Obama bashing on the news.  I think if my conservative public school doesn't allow my children to hear the address on September 8th, because of all the parental protests, I may keep my children at home and watch the address from here, with them.  It's history people, and IT IS IMPORTANT!

Think a little culture goes a long way....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kamden is a very creative minded child.  He marches to the beat of his own drummer as I have mentioned before.   He is adament that he is going to be an artist when he grows up.  So this afternoon Kenna and I picked up Kooper and Kamden from school and headed down to historical Riverside to take in The Cummer Art Museum.  I had mentioned it to Kamden awhile back and he said that we just had to go so he could see "real" paintings.

We drove down St. John's Avenue and I pointed out all the historic old homes on the river.  Each one of us would point out our favorites and which of the large old oak trees we liked the best.  The drive through the most historic parts of Riverside are truly beautiful just along the St. John's River.  All of us enjoyed the houses and the scenary on the drive.  The most votes for favorite houses were the ones with the big white pillars in the front.

We arrived at the museum at 4:00 p.m.  In my quest to share some culture with my children, I did not forget that mommy is still unemployed.  I did some research on-line.  The Cummer Art Museum has free admission on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. until close sponsored by The Players.  Points for me being frugal! :)  In my research I also found out that on Tuesday afternoons, there is a "drop-in" art class for youngsters ages 4-11.  The class has a nominal $5 fee to cover the cost of the art supplies, and I assume the teacher.  Both Kamden and Kooper wanted to take the class.  The class was an hour from 5-6:00 p.m.  Kenna and I dropped the boys at their class and enjoyed a quick sit in the cafe.  Then we went down to the gift shop and perused the wonderful handmade jewelry and hand painted glass.

To my surprise, Kamden enjoyed the bronze sculptures more than the paintings.  I never would have guessed it would inspire him more than the paintings.  He loved, loved The Diving Boy by Augusta Savage.  He stared at it for the longest time.  I watched him from across the gallery studying the little bronze boy.  He hunched his shoulders to mimic the stance of the sculpture.  He cocked his head to the right to peer up at the bronze boy's face.  He walked around admiring the craftsmanship of the sculpture.  I watched in awe.  I was proud.  My little artist in waiting was impressed by the work of a local legend. 

He admired many other pieces in the gallery as well, but nothing touched him the way that piece did.  He studied that one.  Up and down, side to side, he took it in, every bit of it.  Kenna, Kooper and I enjoyed many of the works.  I especially liked the Norman Rockwell painting Second Holiday.  Kenna and Kooper were more partial to the abstract artists.  We all had our own personal favorite pieces.  I enjoyed spending a quiet afternoon sharing my appreciation of art with my children.

After we finished our tour and the boys completed their art class.  (They made mini still water colors and placed them in a small booklet.)  We decided to get some dinner.  We made our way over to European Street Cafe.  It is a quaint sandwich shop near the art museum.  There are several art prints on the wall, and the cafe itself has an eclectic artsy feel to it.  We enjoyed our sandwiches and discussed the fun we had early at the museum.  We made sure to get Daddy some dessert on our way out and headed home.

When we arrived home all my children thanked me for the fun date with Mommy.  I thanked them for going with me and we quickly got homework done.  Well, as quickly as was possible.  Kamden's ADHD meds had worn off, and my patience was worn quite thin as we struggled to get 7 sentences completed with spelling words.  Kamden was having difficulty sitting still, and  "See Spot run." doesn't make the cut with him.  His sentences need at least 7 words.  Hand to God, I am not kidding, the child says his sentences must have at least 7 words.  Not his teacher's rule, it is his.  He says anything less is just too easy and he is smarter than that.  So we get the sentences completed and I am hoping to get him swiftly into bed.  He says we have to read for 20 minutes.  I tell him we can just skip it and use yesterday's chapters because tonight we had to start a log, which is new.  He tells me straight up, "Mommy, that is dishonest.  I cannot believe you would lie to my teacher."  I stutter out..."I..I...I was just kidding Kamee, Mommy wouldn't LIE to your teacher."

Four chapters later, we logged his reading of Mr. Klutz is Nuts and off he went to brush his teeth and get in bed.  Kenna had been there for at least 45 minutes and Kooper too.  Other than the painful homework hour, I had the best night with my children.  We made a memory together tonight that I hope will last a lifetime.