Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trophies, Theatre, and my kids

This morning I read this article I found it from one of my favorite places online here. I have a lot of thoughts about this. I feel very out of practice actually writing anything on my blog, so I'm not sure if any of my thoughts will translate into anything blog-worthy. Let's just see where I go with it. I'm one of the few people that gets annoyed with those emails and facebook posts that talk about if you grew up in the 70s and 80s then you didn't wear seat belts and drank from the water hose and didn't wear bike helmets and played outside and drank koolaid and turned out ok blah blah blah. Those emails often talk about when "not everyone made the team". I'm pretty sure everyone who ever tried to play little league baseball "made the team". Some kids just didn't get as much playing time as others, guess what, that still happens. Now the useless trophies that everyone gets? Those need to go, clearly they don't mean anything. I took dancing lessons from the time I was about 5 until the end of seventh grade. I moved once, switching studios, and then switched studios again when the teacher retired. I never got a trophy because my time at other places didn't count and you needed something like 5 years in one place to get a trophy. This was never a huge deal for me, but it's enough of a point of contention that I remember it. These days kids can play a sport for 6 weeks and come home with a trophy. Those things either end up in the garbage, Goodwill, or the attic. Something that is so easily achieved isn't worth very much. This isn't really supposed to be about trophies as much as it's supposed to be about praise. Today's trophies are empty praise. The article talks about "smart" kids often being unwilling to take risks in fear of losing their "smart" distinction. I've told Jake he's smart before (I mean come on, he is!), I'm going to try to use different descriptions in the future, I can see what they are saying. He's not necessarily very motivated, and he's rarely cooperative, but he is extrememly unique and creative.

Theatre is full of rewards and praise. Rewards in terms of "parts", I admit that I get very excited when my kids get good parts. I love watching them on stage and good parts usually mean more time on stage. I'm proud and happy for them when they get the part they want. You know what though, I'm often even more proud when they get smaller parts and accept them with dignity. We are extremely involved in theatre, the kids perform in at least 5 shows a year, they get a lot of opportunities to accept small parts graciously. In life this may serve them even better than the experiences they get as the lead. We've had opportunites for both. In our theatre crowd there are kids who pretty much always get a lead (they have very little opportunity to grow in "small part grace") there are also kids that are almost always disappointed with their part (often to the point of criticizing others). I didn't think this was going to turn out to be a bragging about my kids kind of post, it was really supposed to be about the negatives of praise, but it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to. Yes sometimes me kids get the lead, but even more importantly, sometimes they don't and I usually end up 'even more prouder' when that happens.

The last point I want to mention in all of this is that praise or lack thereof shouldn't have to be so contrived. I was an early childhood education major once upon a time, so I learned all of things you should and shouldn't say like "I love the colors you used" and not "what a pretty picture" and not "good girl", but "I like the way you are sharing". Have you ever spent much time with a kindergarten teacher? I'm pretty sure kids can pick up on the fakey-ness pretty early. Sometimes, it is just a pretty picture and sometimes your kid is just a good kid. Like everything else in parenting and in life, praise is a balancing act. I'm trying my best to stay on the tightrope. Just in the time that I've bragged about my kids' good sportsmanship in theatre I've also yelled at them for playing video games, not cleaning the kitchen, and doing science without even knowing where the book is. That's how we balance things around here. Now we're heading to church so Jake and Madi can practice singing (Jake is cantoring for the first time this week, Madi is helping him) and Jonathan can program the screens with next week's songs and prayers, from there we will meet Mike for dinner at Five Guys and some cruise shopping, like I said it's all about balance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Monday Daybook

Around the house...

It is dark and quiet. Mike left a little while ago and the kiddos are still sleeping.

In the school room...

We're going to need to hit it hard this week in preparation for next week's vacation. I'm not sure what the status is on the two virtual school semesters that should be finishing up. Madi listened to Call of the Wild yesterday (on a digital audio device from the library) she actually had to read it this week for Sonlight core 100 and also for mother-daughter bookclub which is Thursday. It is a total coincidence that it worked out that way, don't you love things like that?!

To remember...

Life is to be respected, all life. Fr Robert had a great homily yesterday about this. It is not to take away the importance of unborn life, but sometimes people get so focused on that that they forget that life continues after birth and still needs to be respected. Then I got home from church and saw this picture on facebook. Another coincidence?

On the table...

I'm loving e-mealz! We had sweet and sour meatballs, green beans, and mac and cheese last night. This week we'll have tilapia, some kind of chicken that involves cheese and sour cream, spinach rollups (sorta like stuffed shells), and more yummy stuff.

Next week's table...

No cooking or cleaning and four nights of dressing up and eating fancy meals on the high seas!!

In the plans...

Dentist and Dermatologist appointments this week, plus Bookclub and Home Ec co-op, this is all in addition to the regular busy plans. The kids got their parts for the 80s Follies...Madi got about 4 parts including a teacher and a cheerleader. Jake is a top gun pilot, pacman, and gets to sing Don't Stop Believing! Gotta love the 80s!!!

On the road....

Just back and forth between church choir, theatre, and above appointments and co-ops.

Next road just the deep blue sea!!

Word of the week....

WICKED! We saw the touring performance of WICKED on Saturday. It was the absolute best show I have ever seen. And I think you know I've seen quite a few shows!!

Prayer for the week....

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will...." Jake and I have a little inside joke and chuckle every week when we sing this. One time he made a comment about it being about people from Goodwill (and he doesn't even know about all those people of Walmart things) but every week at that point we smile at each other and then I send a little prayer up for all the people who benefit from Goodwill Industries.

AND...this was in my inbox this morning, it goes well with my thoughts of late...

We cannot delude ourselves: By our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need, we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which our Eucharistic celebrations are judged.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Daybook

Around the house...

I am listening to Jake and Grandma Marge try to figure out a new game. We had a busy (even by our standards) weekend and the laundry that was as caught up as can be on Friday is overwhelming again. There is a puzzle on the table in the front room that hasn't had any new pieces added all week. Jonathan is working on virtual school right now and Madi is in the shower.

In the school room...

The microscope is on the counter and Grandma got to see some leaf and banana cells. Jake, Madi and I started reading Bonanza Girl today. Last week we read Bound for Oregon and loved it. Madi is still enjoying Sonlight core 100 and the co-op finally started back up last week. Madi's science is down to four girls (including her) and is not meeting this week because two of them couldn't come. She is almost done with the first semester of Spanish. Jonathan is currently writing a poem about Jerusalem for History, he will finish the first semester before our cruise in two weeks. He's on semester 2 in Spanish and English, and has a lot of work to do in math and Biology. Jake's done for the day having completed spelling, lanuguage, math, and History (and even a little high school biology aka microscope). We are having a great time enjoying all there is to learn on khanacademy.

To remember...

MLK day we are not "off" from school but will be watching this that I remember from my school days.

On the table...

We introduced Grandma to our homemade donuts this morning. We had leftover pizza and calzone for lunch and will be back to e-mealz for dinner. Potatoes are in the crock pot and chicken is thawing in the sink.

In the plans...

Heading to the verizon store so Grandma (who is on our plan) and Madi can upgrade their phones. I don't think I have enough patience to stick around while they research this so I will opt to take two year old Landon (who will be with us this afternoon) and Jake to Publix while they do their reseach. Yes, shopping with a two year old is really the easier of these two choices!!

Jake and Madi have choir later.

Jake and Madi have audtions for theatre (80's Follies) tomorrow, Jonathan is just doing tech for this show.

Grandma goes home Wednesday, and Jake goes to the orthodontist.

On the road....

We could not get anyone to take our timeshare week for the maintenance fee, so for $50 extra dollars we moved it to March when we will be able to go.

Two weeks from today we'll be on our cruise ship ready to set sail!!

Word of the week....

I'm thinking patience is a good word for this week.

Prayer for the week....

Our priest when I was growing up always prayed for "Patience and for Peace, in our hearts, in our homes, and in the world", that about covers it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

uh oh

AAAHHHH I just spent an hour composing a very nice post about Jonathan with a bunch of great pics and somehow it has completely disappeared, except for two pictures and one was sideways so this is all I've got!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Daybook-y stuff

In my house...I am currently the only one. Mike has gone to Publix and to pick Jonathan up from his Theology of the Body class, Madi is babysitting down the street, and Jake is out playing with the neighborhood gang.

Bread... is rising, and I even went to the gym today, clearly it is the beginning of a new year. my mother's 63rd birthday!

Tomorrow... we are going to have a productive school day around here.

This week... Mike's mother is coming down for a visit, she gets here on Friday. She flies down with Mike who will be working in NJ for a few days this week.

I finally joined the e-mealz bandwagon, and I am very happy with it. Very soon I will be putting a chicken ranch cornflake yummy meal in the oven. I do e-mealz the same way I homeschool. It is really helpful to have a guide, but I'm just not the type to follow it to the letter (ie there will be no frozen peas as a side dish any time soon {for the record frozen peas are fine in chicken pot pie or shepherd's pie, but by themselves? no thank you} we'll stick to fresh broccoli, carrots, squash, or green beans). The canned peaches mixed with butter and brown sugar though? Yes ma'am I could eat that everyday!!

I still haven't figured out why pictures that I flip right side up won't stay that way on my computer.

I subbed for Jake's CCD class this morning. I learned some interesting things. I told him after class that I'd like him even if he wasn't my kid (there have been times where I've questioned this). It was interesting to watch how he measured up to a bunch of mostly public school kids that I hardly know. He knew considerably more answers (which may just be because he knows the kind of questions I ask), he also can read aloud as well as any of them and better than many of them. He was slow as molasses trying to copy down fill in the blank words that were printed right in his book though. I mentioned this to Madi who had been the helper in Jake's class until this week when her Confirmation class times changed, and she said he's also very slow when they cut things out. Jake pointed out as his teacher it is my responsibility to teach him to do these things well. Guess who will be doing some cutting and copy work this week!

Well now everyone is home and needing me for things like receipts and food prep and to direct people to unload the dishwasher and fold laundry. Time to crack the whip!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Family Pictures

Here are a few of the pictures that we had taken at church last month for our new parish directory. I still can't get my computer to flip pictures, so these are the only ones I'm going to share for now.