Monday, May 31, 2010

As summer begins...

I have some goals.  I'm putting them online so that you can all roll your eyes and enjoy watching me eat my serving of humble pie in August when I go back to work and have to report on their failure.  We all know that public humiliation is more fun than any other kind...occasionally you have to take the brunt of it.

I submit, for your feelings-of-superiority-enjoyment:

1) To help Kamu learn his numbers and colors better.  He's doing remarkably well lately but still needs a bit of help to catch up with where he probably should be at this point.  We're making it a priority to count anything we can with him and make colors into a game, so we're already into this goal.

2) Get Patrick writing his letter facing the correct way the majority of the time.  He regressed in this tremendously over the last year.  Since his teacher did not feel the responsibility to address it even slightly, we're on deck to continue getting him to write letters the right way.  This is especially important because my next goal is...

3) To scan in Patrick's first completely self-written and self-illustrated story and post it!  He wrote a story that he titled "A Fantasy Story" about a baby dragon's search for his mother.  He wrote the whole thing himself using only minor help with spelling--usually spelling help consists of Jason and I telling him to sound it out and telling him if he's right or wrong.  It's cute as can be and really sweet, and I want to share it with everyone.

4) Somehow figure out a work-life balance.  I'm teaching two classes this summer and yes, that IS considered full-time over the summer since the semester is half as long as a regular semester.  One class is online and one is at night, so I'm still home with the kids every day.  As I told Jason, I'm working full-time and home full-time.  I'm not sure how that works with the whole time-space-continuum-thingy.

5) Eat veggies from our own garden more often, and buy local and organic when I can't.  We're going berry-picking sometime this week (hopefully tomorrow) and I'm going to be scouring the area for convenient farmer's markets and local farm stands.  I decided against joining a CSA group because I'm just not sure that I'll be dedicated enough to this one to have something set in stone, but there is fantastic local produce and I want to take advantage of it!

6) The whole host of home-improvement projects that we've got set to do.  Fun stuff includes caulking the tubs, getting the edging down around all the floors we've replaced, and hopefully talking Jason into helping me put down laminate in the dining room.  Oh, and I'm repainting the front porch this week.

7) Bask in the adorableness of my kids.  Summer is always so much fun and I hope this one will be just as great!

Photos coming just as soon as I manage to locate the camera, with its 200+ non-downloaded pictures.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And now for something completely different

As you all know, I teach childbirth classes in The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth®. Even though I’ve only given birth once and am not pregnant (just wanted to get that out there in case people thought I was sending a subliminal message), I try to keep up with new books about pregnancy and birth and parenting. So when I got an e-mail from MomCentral asking for reviewers for The Hot Mom to be Handbook, I immediately asked to be part of the book tour!

I started the book on Wednesday and finished it by Friday afternoon—it was a quick, light-hearted read about pregnancy. The book discussed what you might be feeling during each month of pregnancy, from even before you’re necessarily sure that you’re expecting to when you are two weeks past your due date and everyone’s asking “Are you still pregnant?”

The book was written by a blogger and member of the Hot Moms Club, Jessica Denay. I had not been to the website before reading the book but my interest was piqued and I checked it out after finishing. I found a lot of different sources: sections for communities of pregnant moms, articles, blogs, etc.  It looks like a really nice resource for both expecting moms and dads!

The book was set up in a nice modular format, with short sections and interesting headings. I remember very well the difficulty that I had concentrating while pregnant (in fact, the book talks about “baby brain”!) and think that this setup is probably great to help take in little bits of information at a time, without being overwhelming. The sections for “Bump on a Budget” and “Eco-Minded Mama” sprinkled throughout each chapter were fantastic! You all know how much I enjoy Earth-friendly things and as a mom who had her first baby while in graduate school, I distinctly remember how scary it was at times to think about affording all the things that a baby needs!

I also really enjoyed the little blurbs and quotes from famous people as well as members of the Hot Moms Club website. I’m a big fan of collaborative learning and it’s always great to have more experiences than just personal ones when a book is meant to appeal to a large group of people.

There was a section about how important it is to keep your relationship a priority and since this is something I talk about in classes, I really appreciated it being included in the book. Having a baby can definitely be overwhelming and puts new pressures on both parents but if you are prepared and have a plan in mind for how to keep the two of you a focus, it’s much easier.

Overall, the book was an enjoyable read about issues that expecting moms may be experiencing. It would be a fun book to read during pregnancy, especially if you got it at the beginning and read each chapter as you got to that month of pregnancy!


I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of HarperCollins and received a copy of The Hot Mom to Be Handbook to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Do you ever get bored?

Nah, me either. 

Today we got up and had a kind of lazy day that involved feeding the family, the kids watching TV, Jason taking Kamu to get a haircut, Patrick's last soccer game, soccer team party, and then coming home.  Jason went out on some sort of mysterious errand that he says he can't tell me about until tomorrow.  Hmm... 

At that point, two of Patrick's friends came over so that they could play.  Kamu was supposed to be napping but ended up playing with the bigger boys outside.  It was a gorgeous day and my choices were to either grade outside or do something useful.  I watered the front garden (strawberries, peas, squash, carrots, onions, Swiss chard, lettuces, and flowers) and then decided to go into the backyard to clean it a bit.  Instead, I started picking the wild strawberries back there--and then decided to make wild-strawberry jam.

Who has time to be bored?

I've never made any kind of jam before and decided to start with this uncooked version.  I didn't get nearly enough strawberries to fill a whole jar, but we'll try it tomorrow and see how it tastes.  If it's awful, we haven't lost anything except some time and sugar.  If it's good...well, there are plenty more wild strawberries back there!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The end of the semester is almost here

I can't tell you how excited I am!  As much as I enjoy my job, I really cherish my summers home with my boys.  We'll be going to the pool, to Stone Mountain, to the zoo, to playgroup--all very fun things that we don't get to do nearly often enough during the school year.  I'm going to help Kamu learn his colors and numbers better and since he's already pretty good with numbers, we may start working on letters.  He wants to do everything Patrick and since Patrick is such a good reader now, Kamu wants to learn his letters.  Whenever he does a drawing, he points out the "letters" that he's written on it.  Very cute!

Then there's our cruise in Alaska with the Morrey family in June!  We are so excited about this trip--it will be such a fun time for all of us.  We'll get lots of time together in an incredibly gorgeous setting!

This summer will be different because I am actually working.  I'm teaching a class online as well as a lab two nights a week.  The lab doesn't start until 8 p.m., so Jason will be home and we can still have dinner as a family before I have to leave to get there.  I'm more nervous about the online class than the other one.  While I've taught this particular class before, I've never taught a fully-online course.  I've asked for help from another professor who's taught it many times online and she's got fantastic suggestions, so that brings me some peace.  I'm just nervous because I've heard that online courses are really challenging to teach and require a lot of time.  I sense a lot of work getting done during the boys' Quiet Time and some late nights, which means that the house will just have to stay a wreck.  Alas!  After a year of unemployment, we need to rebuild our savings and this seemed to be one of the best ways to do it since I can still be home with the boys.  Unless we need it for some reason, though, I'm not doing it next summer.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Patrick chooses to read this summer.  Now that he's confident in his reading ability, he reads all the time.  I'm excited to see what books he gets from the library to keep him interested.  He's so fascinated by so many different things.

I'm excited to have some time with just Melkamu.  Patrick's going to be at tennis camp for a couple of mornings one week and soccer camp another week, so we'll get some great one-on-one time.  He's such a fun kid and his enthusiasm for everything makes me smile nonstop.

I'm not sure how it will be with me working this summer, but summers are often less-stressful for our family as a whole.  While my job is a great one, it's still hard having a two-working-parent family.  A lot of the little things get put off until my breaks, so those will get done this summer--car services, plumbing issues, etc.  There's always something that needs to be done but it is really nice to have some time in the daytime hours of the summer to get them completed!

However, I'm signing off for the next week or so until finals are over.  (Next Wednesday at about 7:30 p.m, or 9 days, 9 hours, and about 37 minutes.  Not that I'm counting.)  I have a million papers to grade and final exams to write but once they're all done, I'll be back with more photos!