School’s Out: Weeks 2 and 3

Temperatures north of the “D” have been hovering between 90 and 100 for nearly two weeks. So, most outdoor activities involve water. My kiddos have been dodging sprinklers, hot-dogging in the kiddie pool next door and taking swim lessons. Plus, both Issa and Riff have tutors they see one time each week. I do not want them to lose skills during the summer months.

At the conclusion of last week, my husband, Tracy, returned home from a five-month project in Dayton, OH. He works for GM and has been out of town, M-F plus some weekends since the end of February. When he arrived home last Friday, he unloaded an impressive arsenal of fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday.

Last night, Tracy and several of our neighbors lit the sky with beautiful colors to commemorate our nation’s birthday. We are all so very fortunate to live in a community where neighbors get along with each other. There were a lot of moments I thought of what others — living elsewhere on this planet — have to endure on a daily basis.

The remainder of Week 3 has yet to unfold.

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — School’s Out

My timing is way off. Plus, I owe you an apology for not writing my Bonus Post in honor of Lyric Status Friday last week. But, the lyrics playing in my head tonight are synonymous with all the young minds that are now free from the confines of school for a couple months. I can identify no matter how old I am and how distant those days seem to be.

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

Alice Cooper

BTW, you really should see Rock of Ages this weekend. If you came of age in the ’80s or were paying attention to what a tremendous decade it was, treat yourself to some fun with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand.

Previous bonus posts from Lyric Status Friday …

Be Good to Yourself — Journey

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me — Billy Joel

We Are Young — Fun

Beautiful Day — U2

Outshined — Soundgarden

Crazy Train — Ozzy Osbourne 

Times Like These — Foo Fighters

Feeling the End-of-School Vibe

Despite my rantings on here, I am a bit stoked to admit there are only four point five days until my children break loose from school for summer vacation. I am not immune to feeling the end-of-school vibe, which started beating through the entire neighborhood at the beginning of May.

What about you? I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia. First, I watched a live production of Xanadu last Saturday, which took me back to the early years of the K-12 education. Then, Rock of Ages trailers have been playing on television all week. The soundtrack to this film contains many fave hits from my junior high and high school days. Finally, our neighbors — who live two houses down — have a son graduating from high school this week. There are quite a few of his friends celebrating their accomplishment with him this evening. Hearing all the shouts, laughter, and cars zooming around brings back a gazillion memories of the same from 23 years ago.

15 Days ‘Til The End

I can’t help it. The countdown is on. It is bittersweet. At the conclusion of each school year I go through this same process. The excitement in my chest builds. I become caught up in the whirlwind of end-of-school activities. Plus, I eagerly anticipate having extra time with my two angels. There will be more time to go the zoo, local farms, beach, nature centers, parks, etc., etc.

Then, reality hits. There are only 15 more days left ’til those 2.5 hours of precious “me” time disappears. My children do not sleep in. They take after their dad; and wake when the sunshine does. My saving vices are an ample supply of caffeine, exercise, and the countdown ’til the start of school in September.

 

16 Days ‘Til Summer Vacation

This weekend served up a preview of what awaits when summer vacation begins in 16 days. My children and I were treated to 80-degree-plus days, outdoor fun, and a firework display from some overzealous neighbors.

Unlike last summer, I am expecting this one to be busy. In addition to swim lessons, vacations, and a mega family reunion bash, both children will see a tutor once a week. Plus, we’re going to make visits to see my sister in Ann Arbor, take some nature center classes, visit the zoo, watch the stars, and go camping.

What are your plans for maintaining summertime sanity? Mine include running some 5ks, scheduling regular outs with girlfriends and my hubby, and keeping the fridge stocked with adult beverages for late-night breaks on the back patio.

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — We Are Young

I love this Friday tradition my cousin, Joe encouraged me to start a few weeks ago. There is nothing like waking up and realizing it’s Friday. I don’t know about you. But, even though I am 40 and have two school-aged children, Friday mornings still make me smile because it’s almost time for some weekend fun.

Tonight

We are young

So let’s set the world on fire

We can burn brighter

Than the sun

— Nathaniel Joseph Ruess,  Andrew Dost, Jack Michael Antonoff, and Jeffrey Bhasker

These lyrics move me because in 17 days it will be time to say good-bye to another school-year. Each day, my children amaze me with what they are able to learn and accomplish. I know they have a very bright future ahead of them. Also, a number of my neighbors have students graduating elementary, junior high, and high school. All these young people are simply amazing. I can’t wait to see what they contribute to the world.

Previous related posts from kateschannel.wordpress.com

Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — Beautiful Day

College Life Replays: Print Journalism Lesson #2 — A Riot Mixing Grain with Grapes

Thanking My Lucky School Stars

Riff’s teacher uses a star system to help students in her class learn accountability for their behavior at school. He is five (5) and is in a special education preschool classroom due to global development delays. Since January, his teacher and I have been collaborating on how to minimize some of Riff’s problem behaviors. This collaboration was prompted from work Riff and I have been doing with a behavior therapist at Beaumont’s Center for Human Development in Berkley, Mich.

Last night, Riff’s older sister, Issa, stepped in with her own helpful idea: playing school. She took it upon herself to take a look at Riff’s daily behavior chart, which tracks his progress through the five segments of his day: table time, circle time, snack time, book time and free choice.

Don’t get me wrong. I assess his daily behavior charts as well; and keep in touch with Riff’s teacher on an almost daily basis. But, sometimes, I believe Riff relates better to his big sister. Instead of being the drill sergeant I can be, she pretended to be Riff’s teacher for the evening. I believed Riff viewed this after-school lesson as fun; not work. Hopefully, fun with sister translates into a five-star day today.

Related previous posts …

Defiance Test (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

The Journey Continues (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

A Mom’s Spirited Journey (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

Life on Friday: A Snarl Unleashed (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

My Thursday Morning Post and a Question Regarding Ageism

The Thursday morning post I promised with an updated blogroll is still in draft form. I’m not usually an advocate of excuses. But, I feel you deserve a reason for why it’s late.

So, here’s my excuse. Yesterday, I started making a list of all the amazing blogs I read; and the list is pretty long. To ensure I list every blog I follow and love, I am giving myself a pass on missing this deadline. Neither qauality nor quantity can be sacrificed here. You will see an updated blogroll along with a Thursday post before midnight Detroit time.

Also, here’s a funny to take the edge off your morning, afternoon, evening or night. After dropping off cookies for staff appreciation week at Issa’s school, I was sprinting back to my car. My thoughts were on making it to the post office and then home to walk my dog, Buddy. Another parent/grandparent comes driving into the parking. The man does a double-take upon seeing me, gets out of his car and asks me if I am a student. My daughter Issa is in second grade. Her school includes grades K-6.

Here’s my question. Would you take this question as a complement? At first, I was a bit miffed. But, then the positive side of my brain started to think that question through. I am short; I barely reach 5′ 2″. Then, the more I thought; the more I smiled. Not that I have any fear of ageism. I appreciate the wisdom gained as I knock another year. But, I didn’t feel it was such a bad thing to still be seen as youthful.

Here’s the kicker to this funny. My son, Riff, asks everyone, multiple times each day how old they are. I have been answering 25 each time he asks me. All he can do is giggle his infectious giggle and say, “No, mom. You’re 40.”

Here are some articles I found that relate well with this post. One new blog I’ve been following, which you can expect to see on my updated blogroll is 400 Days ‘Til 40. She definitely has a great outlook on life and about ageism.

Storytelling with Issa: A Dragon in My Backyard

My daughter Issa and I sometimes opt for storytelling at bedtime versus reading. Last night we pretended a dragon lived in our backyard. For a visual of the dragon, think Night Fury from  How to Train Your Dragon.

The dragon living in my backyard . . .

flies me to school every morning. On the way, he picks up my friends Keefer, Ashley, Ally, Emily, Paul, Brandon, Alex, Gino and Ella. At school while parked in the bus lane he receives curious glances from the principal, teachers and parents. But, everyone stays cool. They all know there is no reason to freak out. My dragon is friendly.

Until school dismisses, my dragon plays hide-and-seek with my younger brother, Riff, and eats lunch. My dragon’s favorite food is fish. His meal includes crab legs, water and double-chocolate cake.

At dismissal, the dragon returns to pick my friends and I up. He drops everyone off and then flies me around the neighborhood. One afternoon we went to Debbie’s Dollar store. My friends Justin and Andrew came along for the ride. We bought him some little plastic dragons to play with.

Before returning home for dinner, my dragon flew us to DQ. Justin, Andrew and I ordered chocolate-fudge sundaes; my dragon ordered fish-flavored ice cream with sprinkles. Yummy!

A WTF Moment: A Call From School You Do NOT Want

I have been battling my two inner voices on whether or not to blab about a WTF moment, I experienced one week ago. One voice keeps saying this is information neighbors need to know. It deals with a rather serious issue — the safety of children while at school — so it’s more than just coffee-break gossip about what so-and-so did at work one day.

A second voice says people make mistakes. It’s not right to blast their errors megaphone-style into the public. I probably would have sided with this voice. But, then, I did some on-the-street interviews at the bus stop. Two of my neighbors, who have children attending the same school experienced similar — but much scarier — WTF experiences, recently.

So, here I am. I am going with that first inner voice. A bonus with  this choice  is linking you to one of my favorite bloggers. Kelly, from Dances with Chaos, posts WTF moments she experiences during her trials as a parent almost each Friday. They are pretty humorous.

While my WTF recount is not humorous, it definitely deserves a replay. So, without further delay …

It’s 10 am on Friday, February 10. I am whizzing around my house taking care of Riff. He’s my five-year-old, son; and he’s been home sick all week. I called him in absent at 8:30 am. He attends a different school than my daughter, Issa.

The phone rings … It’s one of the secretary’s from Issa’s school.

School Secretary: Is Issa absent from school, today?
Me: No, she went to school
Me (thinking and checking my phone number list): I called Riff’s school to report him absent. Did I call the wrong school? I could have experienced a brain fart. I was up until 3 am helping him nurse a bad cold. But, I didn’t call the wrong school.
Me (out loud): She’s not at school? Where is she?
Secretary: Did she come in late?
Me (starting to feel a freak-out coming on): No, she rode the bus with her friends this morning.
Secretary: Oh. Let me double check the (attendance) sheet.
Me: Well, is she at school?
Secretary: Oh. There she is.
Me: Go check and make sure. Call me back.
Secretary: Okay.
Secretary calls me back: Yes. She’s here. I hate it when I do this.
Me (thinking): You’ve done this to a parent before?
Me (out loud): You just gave me a heart attack!

Do you think she’s still thinking about this little mistake like I am?

After considerable research and thought, I have decided something needs to be said to the principal. Here are some additional reasons fueling my blog as well as my fire about having a chat with school personnel.

  • Other parents with students at the same school reported receiving similar erroneous phone calls.
  • Just last week local news reported an attempted abduction at a bus stop, which a bus driver prevented. Also, in May/June 2011, local police alerted school officials about reported attempted abductions in our area.
  • Calls to confirm absences — not called in — are not made until 10 am ish. So, what happens if a child is abducted while walking to school or after getting off the bus. School starts at 8:25 am. That’s a scary amount of lead time to give a predator.
  • Parents said voice mails were left asking parents to confirm an absence. While I feel this step in the school’s process is reasonable and valid, I am questioning whether leaving a voice mail is enough. Perhaps calls to other numbers listed on the student emergency cards would be better protocol. One parent I spoke with said she and her husband were out of town when this voice mail was left. Fortunately, the student’s grandmother checked the voice mails and immediately contacted the school to confirm the child was there. A second parent received a voice mail. But, no one in her family heard the message until 5 pm that day. What if their child had been abducted? What kind of chance would this have given the parents/family of a positive outcome to that type of scenario.