Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grocery Store Parade

Sometimes I get "looks" when my family goes to the grocery store.  The looks vary, between, "Wow, I wish I had thought of that," and "omg, get out of the way already."

But as much as people might not get it right away, our way works for us.

2 Parents, 2 kids, 2 buggies.  That is right, we grocery shop parade style.  We use the small buggies that the girls are tall enough to push and see in front of so they don't run over strangers.  1 parent per buggy, per child.  The girls take turns getting the item we need off the shelf and putting it in their buggy.  If I forget an item 2 rows back, I send 1 kid and her dad back for it.

We used to have 2 bored children on grocery days and most everyone knows that bored children are not well behaved children.  We started using the carts with steering wheels, but they are so rare we would have tears if we couldn't find one.  Then the store got small carts and the new plan was born.

This is a good as it gets until Ginger starts driving and I can send her to the store in my absence.  Ah, the joy of teenagers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The girls take gymnastics.  Sugar started in June.  Ginger has been going for almost a year.  This is our first Olympic Season with the gym and I was happily surprised that they get the kids excited about it.

Parents usually are not allowed in the gym, but they did an Olympics Showcase and we were invited to come watch and take photos and enjoy the feats our girls and boys can now accomplish.

We started watching parts of the real Olympics with them at home.  We focus on the gymnastic events because they can compare what they do to what those athletes do.  We see the stick-its and the little hops that take away points.  We see them fall and get right back up.  We see them NOT give up.  We see their straight legs and their presentations.  We see their focus.  We talk about their determination and their accomplishments.

We are inspired by their drive and their skill and we want to do better at our own skills.  We watch great athletes and we are inspired to be great.  I promise I will cheer the loudest for both of my girls each and every time and I will cheer for your girls and boys too, because every kid needs a cheering section.

You can do anything you put your mind to.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Short and Sweet

Sugar's height re-check went well.  She is now 39.5 inches tall.  We still have a long way to go before she's able to do all the things Ginger can do, but we are still moving in the right direction!

I feel silly that we had to go to the doctor to confirm she is growing well, but whatever.  I now keep a chart almost like theirs.  Only difference is that mine is free to upkeep.



You can see only a tiny difference in the shape of the blue line, but apparently it is a very important change.  I like the way the lines kind of look like I drew them with 2 markers taped together.  Sugar may always be shorter than Ginger, but it's easier to explain who the "big" sister is that way.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Garden Score

We have had some gains and some losses.

These we lost last summer during the drought.  I trimmed them back this year.  I will probably have to remove them and replant with something more tolerant next year.

The girls' carrots are doing good.  We are just waiting for them to be a nickel in diameter at the soil level before pulling.

We get a nice Morning Glory bloom every few days or so.

No Bachelor Buttons. :(

Humungous Sunflowers.  The tall fellow is putting out his seeds.  The girls LOVED this.  This was their major accomplishment.  The pot in the background is empty and they were disappointed that no Blue Bonnets grew.

The birds have loved my tasty tomatoes.  At least I think they were tasty, I haven't gotten one yet.  At least the mockingbirds are happy.

We have done good with cucumbers.  These are #3, #4, and #5.  

My Boxwood Basil did not meet expectations.

I love onions on the window sill.

And this is the first indoor plant I have kept alive.  It is almost 2 years old.

I have used fresh rosemary in many recipes.  Last week I put it in all 3 dishes.  Chicken, potatoes and bread.  It is delightful and I have a lot drying for future use.

I wish I still had zucchini, and I wish I had a couple of tomatoes, but bunnies and birds have to eat too, I guess.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Readers, Then and Now

I know I've talked about this before, but this is a true pet peeve of mine with the publishing industry and those that label elementary reading books.

We look at books labeled Step 1, ready to read. The tag on the back of the book says: Does your child know the alphabet? Is your child eager to begin reading? Step 1 is the perfect step.  Now, let's look at how this book is not a legitimate Step 1 book.

Let's take a book that reads:

"Mix and stir.  Sew all day."

I am on board with the first sentence.  The second sentence blows me away.  Sew? a beginning reading soon?  it looks like 'sue' and is pronounced 'so.'  Also, 'day,' a long vowel and a virtually silent y.  

"Lights that glow."

Lights?  Really?  Sugar reads each individual letter and I can see her disappointed when I tell her, yes, that is the sound of all the letters, but it is pronounced 'lites."  Glow, phonetically is not glow.  There is no reason for that o to be long to a beginning reader.  The best reason I came up with… "it just is, sweetie."

"Birthday candles shining bright."

All 2 syllable words, a little challenging but not awful.  I just have to explain away 'day,' the nearly silent e in candles, the 2 different sounds of i in 'shining,' and the 'ight' sound again.

And finally, "goodies to share"

The double o is challenging, but well worth teaching.  'ies' is another one of those sounds that Sugar tries so hard to sound each letter and looks dejected when I correct her.  And as long as I am content with her sounding the e in share, I only had to tell he she was wrong once in 3 words.

I counted up all the words I had to tell Sugar she did wrong in this books.  Ready for the number?  43 out of 87 total words.  Less than half, that's good, I guess, unless you are just learning to read the feel like you are doing it all wrong.

I read something once that says for every time your criticize an employee you have to praise him/her 4 times to make up for the damage and make them feel productive again.  That is for a grown up. Imagine a CHILD, being told that nearly half of every word they just tried to read is WRONG.  No wonder they get discouraged about reading and give up.

Sugar and I moved back to the books I learned to read with 30 years ago.  

She read, "The dog. The dog ran." and "The cat. The mat.  Is the cat on the mat? The cat is on the mat."  After those few words the damage done by the princess book was corrected and she felt like a winner again.  

At least we knew how to teach reading 133 years ago, or I'd have more problems teaching my kids to read.