Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Hard Thing About What Our Schools Are Doing To Make Up All The Extra Snow Days

Thanks to Friday’s 7 inches, 2014 is now the snowiest winter on record in Indiana.  And thanks to the polar vortex, it ranks 11th as being the coldest winter in history. 

Our school district has piled up eight snow-days, thirteen two-hour-delays, and one early dismissal.

I’ve appreciated every call (well, at least the first two), and so have my kids.  We welcomed the extra sleep, if not the overabundance of family bonding, and I’ve appreciated that they put safety first. 

Like many officials, our school board has had to figure out how to make up the time.  

Beginning tomorrow and continuing through March, they have decided to add an hour to the end of each school day.

My teens will get home at 3:45 and my third grader at 4:50.

Although this isn’t my first choice for how to make up the time, I’ll do my best to support the school board and their difficult decision. 

I wonder, though, if any of them remember having small school-age children.  I wonder if they realize how hard they are about to make the lives of those poor souls who teach Kindergarten through 4th grade.

Can you imagine trying to escort an entire class of cherubs through the bewitching hour?  

Every mom knows exactly what I’m talking about. 

There is a tiny little clock built into each and every child that springs a sprocket at 4:00 without fail.  It’s so predictable it’s like magic.  Not the good kind of magic.  That’s why moms call it the bewitching hour.    

My youngest still melts down.  Do I blame him?  No.  By four o’clock, he’s tired.  He’s hungry.  He has to pee—badly—because he’s held it all day.  He hates the bus.  He hates the sun.  He hates his brothers.  He hates the car. He hates his homework.  He hates his classmates.  And he even hates me

Although the attitude will pass with a little TLC, it goes without saying that his ability to think rationally closes up shop at four.  

I’ve learned the hard way with my boys not to make eye contact or engage in unnecessary conversation when they get off the bus until they have hit the bathroom, had a snack, and kicked a ball.  In that order.

I was encouraged to see a note yesterday which said all elementary aged students would be given a snack during that last hour.  Thank the Lord someone must have talked to a MOM.

Still, pray for those poor teachers and bus drivers.  They’re going to need extra grace to get through the extended days of the next few weeks. 

On the other hand, for the first time in 16 and 1/2 years, I will be able to prepare dinner in blessed silence.  BLESSED SILENCE.

No interruptions.  No juggling homework, breaking up wrestling matches and conducting frantic searches for soccer gear while dinner sets off the smoke alarm.

I wonder what that will be like?  ;) 

What do you think of the idea of extending the school day to make up snow days?  How are schools in your area handling the missed time?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hope Your Valentines Day is OUTTA THIS WORLD!

valentines box collage

This was my third graders entry in the creative Valentines box contest.  :)  The lights alone have to win him something, right?  Right??

For his flying saucer, he used packing foam, low temp hot glue, permanent markers and two short strands of battery operated LED lights strategically taped in place.  :)

He had so much fun working on this project! 

This afternoon, I’ll be helping out with his class Valentines party and I can’t wait to see what the moms in charge have dreamed up to do with the kids. 

Last year we had relay races with candy sweethearts on spoons, aiming/tossing games with candy sweethearts and  heart-shaped picture frames decorated with, you guessed it, candy sweethearts!  The food police would be horrified, I’m sure, Lol!

sweet hearts

Long live candy sweethearts!  ;)

Have a wonderful day with your family! 

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

Jeremiah 31:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowbuddies!

I sent my youngest out to gather eggs yesterday and noticed an hour later that he hadn’t come back.   It was a balmy 12 degrees (a virtual heat wave for us).  So I wasn’t too worried about the cold—just more curious about what he was doing. 

I found my boy sticking out of a snow mound left by the snow plow.

And he wasn’t alone, lol!  Is there anything more fun than building a snow fort with a friend?

When I was his age, my friends and I would build fabulous forts on opposite sides of our sidewalk.  There would be lookout windows, hideaways, and even shelves stocked with snowballs!  I wasn’t much of a snowball thrower, but I LOVED making the forts!  It was always fun to play out there with my brother and neighbors.  Well, until the ice balls started flying!  Lol!

I’m glad my little guy had someone to build with!  :)  They cracked me up as they both tried to fit into the hole. 

Gotta love my snow buddies!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nice Night For A Walk

During last week’s winter storm, I found myself watching out a back window.  The spotlight my husband installed over the summer gave the perfect view of the blowing snow. 

DSC_0205It reminded me of standing by the front window of our old farm house in Pennsylvania waiting for the blizzards to start.  And then watching the snow pile up.

I wish I knew how to take better nighttime pictures of snow with my camera.  It was a beautiful, though. 

I was dying to go for a walk.  But my crazy boys had absolutely no interest.  They barely even acknowledged my invitation from beneath their piles of blankets in front of the TV. 

So I texted my friend to invite her and her husband.  And guess what?? She loves nighttime snow walks as much as I do!  My husband and I bundled up and set out to meet them on the road.  And my little guy decided to tag along at the last minute.  

The snow was coming down at least an inch or two an hour.  I love how quiet it is during a snow storm.

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We stopped several times to talk to neighbors on tractors who were doing their best to keep our private road open.  They said our city didn’t even own a single plow.  Can you believe that?  No wonder the roads in town are always packed down and icy.  It seems crazy to me!  But it also explains all the delays and closings in our school district.  With roads and sidewalks so slick, the little ones that walk to school are safer if it’s daylight for their trek.

20140204_220025

As you can see, we still have our “party lights” going on, lol!  They stay up till the flowers bloom and I can tackle the job in my shorts. 

It’s tradition!  

As pretty as the snow was for us, the ice is STILL causing headaches in Pennsylvania.   Mom says it may be Wednesday or later till she gets her electric and phone back. 

She called yesterday afternoon to tell me my brother borrowed a generator and hooked it up for her.  She was able to take a shower, run some more water and charge her cell phone.  She also told me she had a walkie-talkie she was using to stay in touch with my brother.  That was such a great idea!  I think that’s the thing I worried about most was her having no way to call someone if she needed help.  I’m so glad they live close enough to each other for this to work!

This winter has sure been one to remember!  What will stand out for you about this year’s winter?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Missing Mom

When we invited Mom to come in December, we told her to stay as long as she liked.  It’s possible that someday Mom will decide to sell her home in Pa to come and live with us in Indiana permanently.

So her visit was kind of a test run to see how things would go.

By things, I mean dynamics.

Two teenagers and a nine-year-old drama king create the dynamics of an ocean.   One minute it’s calm.  And the next there are waves threatening to bash our family boat into the rocks.   

I wasn’t sure how I would feel when a storm rolled in for mom to witness.  In the end, we did weather a few storms in front of her.  

Balance

During one heated argument, Mom quietly left the couch and went to her bedroom. 

I wondered if the irrational waves of my 16 year old were going to drown us all. Or if it was really my white-knuckled grip on our rules that would kill us.  I pictured myself clinging to the anchor as it sunk beneath the surface.  Should I just let go?  

Later, she and I talked about it.  She had wanted to give us privacy and I understood.  But I told her that my husband and I wanted her to feel free to share (or not share) as she felt lead.  Her insight would always be welcome.  She needn’t retreat.  We intended to treat her like one of the family.  Because she is. 

As far as the boys go, the trick is to find that balance where they feel free to be themselves but know the rules don’t change just because Grandmom is visiting.  And to keep my expectations real.

Balancing these dynamics was one of the hardest parts of having Mom here.  

Power-shopping

Thankfully, there were way more fun times than storms.  Mom kept me company through most of the boys’ soccer practices and games.

The Saturday before the Big Freeze, she and I took the hour and a half between games to find her some warmer clothes at a nearby Goodwill. 

We zoomed though the isles grabbing anything warm in her size.  When we had a cart full, she headed to the dressing room where I’m pretty sure she set a record for the most clothes tried on in a ten minute span.  She came out with 5 keepers and about 25 not-happenings. 

We flew through the checkout and sped back to the gym where my impatient and fuming young soccer players jogged in just in time for their next game.

As Mom and I slumped into our seats to watch the game, I looked over at her.  Her hair was still wild from yanking clothes on and off, and I couldn’t snorting a laugh. 

“I’m exHAUSted.” She said. 

And we laughed until tears were running down our faces. 

Pleasant Snowed-In Very Cold Days

The boys had an extra week off because of the frigid temps and snow.  We played some scrabble, put together a few puzzles, watched seasons 1-3 of Downton Abby, and I tried to keep up with Mom as she flew through several good books from our kindle library.

It was so nice having her company those five weeks.  The time went by way too quickly. 

She has a ton of wisdom and life experiences that my boys were only just beginning to tap.

I can honestly say, my mom is the sweetest lady I know.  I wouldn’t trade her for anything. 

And I’m already wondering when I can make the trip to go get her again.  :)

I know she needed to get home. 

But miss her.  It was nice having another female in the house.

With her power and phone lines down from the ice storm, I’ve only been able to talk to her once since Monday.  She is in the area hardest hit in Pennsylvania.  She’s fine.  But keep all those lineman in prayer!  I can’t imagine the dangerous mess they have to deal with.

I’m so ready for SPRING!!  :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How Many Spaces After A Period?

I sat down to finally write a blog post and made the mistake of opening face book instead.   A link to this three-year-old article was at the top of my feed:  Two spaces after a period: Why you should never, ever do it. 

And I had to go and read it. 

You might as well, too.

My 9th grade typing teacher, Miss Sweet, taught me to always put two spaces after a period.  This is the very first time I have ever even heard of using only one.  And I have to admit, although it makes a smidge of sense when you consider today’s fonts, it still feels like I am betraying Miss Sweet.

And my thumbs.

The truth is, after reading that article, I tried to type using only one space after a period.  And I just can’t do it.  My thumbs won’t have it any other way. 

I type a sentence and there it is.  Tap, tap. 

Even when I think about it and try to stop it, my thumbs are too quick. 

And it’s entirely counterproductive to backspace once you’ve double-tapped. 

So, instead of writing a personal update, I’m sitting here trying to defend the way I’ve typed for decades. 

So, I’ve come to a conclusion. 

I’m going to keep right on using two spaces after a period.  No matter who says what.  Because I’m old-school. 

And a little bit of a rebel. 

And my thumbs can’t learn new tricks.

Are you a two-spacer or a one?

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. 

Just don’t try to convert me, lol!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Come Have a Cup of Coffee With Me!

Boy!  The last month has gone by so quickly!  Having Mom here has been wonderful!  It’s the first time in I don’t know how many years that we actually had family at our house for Christmas.  And I think she has survived our chaos with a fair amount of her sanity in tact, lol!  And that’s saying a lot.  Because the kids’ Christmas break ended up being THREE WEEKS LONG, thanks to the polar blast or whatever they called it.  1604470_10202031160054261_192748645_n[1]

We got a foot of snow, followed by the coldest temperatures I have ever experienced.  One night it got down to –16, with a high of –5!  I know it is probably nothing compared to our neighbors to the north.  But it was cold enough for me! That’s for sure!

We didn’t lose power, and our wood stove kept the house fairly warm.  So I have a lot to be thankful for!  The only thing we lost was the satellite signal for our T.V.  The snow stuck to the dish and I had to ask my hubby and oldest son to get out a ladder and pretty please clean it off.  Yes, I did.  DSC_0214 There was no way I was going to miss the opener for Downton Abbey!  Lol!  Aren’t they good guys??

My ladies in the hen house made out just fine.  I worried a little that they might freeze to death.  But we put a heat lamp and water heater in the coop and it kept it decently warm in there.  I’m pretty sure they spent the whole week basking in the heat of the lamp and welcoming every mouse within 20 miles to their house party.  We’re still trying to crash the party.  Sigh.

It was nice towards the end of last week to finally start seeing a little improvement in the roads.  It’s amazing how subzero weather makes the ice just cling to the highways!  Saturday was the first day we made it out anywhere.  Thank goodness there were soccer games to go to.  My guys were more than ready to burn off some steam.  Let me tell ya!

The snow was beautiful.  But I’m almost ready for Spring.  :)

Saturday, my friend and I are leaving to take Mom home.  I’ll miss her!  But she has some things that she needs to take care of and I’m sure she is ready for a little peace and quiet.  :)  Pray for a safe trip if you think about it.  This time of year, a little clipper system can make traveling dicey, and the forecast is for just such a system to follow us east. 

I’m hoping to be home later next week and maybe even pick back up on the blogging.  Gasp!  Lol!  I know, you’ll believe it when you see it!  Seriously, I’ve missed visiting with you all, and I’m truly looking forward to catching up and getting back on a respectable schedule.  Love you all!