Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Frustration - Finding the Right Toy

First let me apologize for not posting in so long. I am not sure where all the days go, but they sure do go by quickly. I just had to post today to get out some frustration. This year our money to buy our kids Christmas was dependent upon if I got a Christmas bonus or not. Now it has been a tradition where I work, but with the economic downturn I wasn't so sure. I am very thankful for the fact that my company was generous enough to continue this tradition. So once it was direct deposited (today) I could start my Christmas shopping.

I headed out to the Toys R Us website to get the stuff I had planned on my Christmas spreadsheet. (I know who keeps a spreadsheet of their Christmas presents....nerds like me... that's who!) Anyway I started out and couldn't get my son's GeoTrax Grand Central Rail & Road System Station into the cart. I was finally successful and then went to find that the iCarly 9-in-1 Kit for Nintendo DS for my daughter was sold out. So I instead I replaced it with an iCarly CD player and iCarly CD and went to the check out. I completed the entire process and when I clicked the final button it informed me that the GeoTrax Grand Central Rail & Road System Station was no longer available and had been removed from my order and I would not be charged. My first thought was that is mighty nice of you not to charge me for something you are not going to send me! Then after the frustration subsided a bit I decided to look at other sites for the GeoTrax Grand Central Rail & Road System Station. Upon further investigation I found the only other site was and they had it at TWICE the price! What a racket!!

So I decided to reside myself to a similar, but different gift, the GeoTrax Transportation System Remote Control Timbertown Railway. I knew that this was at the Toys R Us store, so I went over my lunch break to the store. Before I left I noticed at that it appeared the same item was $10 less. So off to Toys R Us I went to see if by chance they had the Grand Central Rail & Road System Station in the store. Of course they didn't and I so I picked up the Timbertown Railway, but then I thought...$10 is $10, so I'll just run over to Target and get it. So I left Toys R Us empty handed and headed to Target. When I got to Target and found the toy department I discovered that they weren't the same after all. The one at Target was not remote control like the one at Toys R Us and the remote control was the whole reason for buying the GeoTrax and not another train in the first place. At this point I had wasted my ENTIRE lunch break and hadn't had a morsel to eat.

I got in the car, ran through McDonald's and headed back to my office. When I got back to my office I discovered they had given me the completely wrong sandwich!! UG!

Ok...I feel better now... venting done. Thanks for listening. I am still on a quest for the GeoTrax and will wait to see if Toys R Us gets it back in stock. Hope all your holiday endeavors are working out as planned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poor Teacher Part III

As I mentioned last Friday we had a meeting with the principal about moving our daughter into a new 1st grade classroom based on the incompetence of her current teacher. Well after a bit of a lashing about how it was our entire fault that he had to move her to a new classroom, he agreed to and our daughter started the new classroom on Monday.

I cannot express in words the difference we have already seen. For starters the new teacher ripped out a BUNCH of pages in our daughter's workbook. Apparently the other teacher had them do the pages, but he NEVER looked them over to see if they were done or if they did them correctly. In her class she walks around the classroom to make sure that they are doing the work correctly.

The new teacher also reads with during class. So our daughter gets reading time in her reading group and with her teacher. The new teacher also sends home additional activities to do with the books she reads. For example, she sent home a sheet where they write five facts about the non-fiction book they read.

I could go on and on, but I must get to bed because I am falling asleep writing this post. In the end we are so THANKFUL that she is moved and in a class that will challenge her and make her enjoy school so much more. I guess if they have painted us the "bad" parents we can take it as long as our daughter is getting what she needs out of school.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I must confess I've been keeping a secret from my blog followers. For about the past month my husband has been going through the process of becoming a police officer in our local community. He got past the application process, which was not small feat since nearly 500 applied and they only passed about 100 through to the testing process. He then passed the test and was moved on to what they call the board interview. Today was his board interview and he did not make it past this round. We are all VERY disappointed.

However, with our disappointment comes a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The gentlemen who were on the board told my husband that he would be a good police officer he was intelligent, and had the necessary attributes, but he just needed a better understanding of what a police officer does. They suggested he go on ride alongs with the local police department. So he is working on scheduling a ride along and learning more about the day to day activities of a police officer.

We are really hopeful that he can get this experience and that they will repost the police officer position in about 6 months. Please keep your fingers crossed that he is able to try again in the near future.

Hope you all are having a good week! God bless!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Preparing for the Holidays.....Step Two: THE Christmas Card

A few weeks ago I began to prepare for Christmas by having the annual family picture taken. Now I have completed step two, I have designed, ordered and received this year's Christmas card. I say "THE" Christmas card, because over the last several years I have taken it upon myself to design out Christmas card. The keys have been to include not only a picture of the family, but also pictures of all our animals. This is a big challenging as we a number of animals to include.

For the past 2 years I have done the traditional 4x8 photo card, but this year I decided to tackle the 5x7 Christmas card. This card included designing the front and the inside. It was a lot of work, but in the end I really liked the final product. I received them in the mail last week and they look great! I got they printed using VistaPrint. (BTW I have not been asked by VistaPrint to endorse they products and I am not being paid to do so.) I love VistaPrint! I always get great quality at a reasonable price.

With the Christmas cards here, I have "spruced up" my Excel list with all the addresses for the people who have received cards, I have ordered and received postage, I have ordered new return address labels (should be her tomorrow) and I have purchased a new pen for writing all the address. The only thing left to complete this year’s cards are wallet size photos of the kids to a few family members, business size card magnets with 2010 calendars and pictures of the kids for immediate family, and the ever popular and desired Canfield Chronicles Christmas Letter that was established in 1998.

I can hardly believe that Christmas is only 5 weeks away, but I am one step closer to being ready. Hope all of your holiday preparations are going well!

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Daughter Moves on Geologic Time

I am not sure if this is all 1st graders or if it is just my daughter, but she just moves SO slow. When you ask her to walk quickly it looks more like a saunter and when you say "Hurry!" she says, "I am!" I have tried getting her up earlier so that we don't have to rush, but she seems to take up every available minute regardless of how early I get her up.

I have put a clock in her bathroom to help her with time. I thought that if I told her you need to be out of the shower by this time and have your clothes on by this time that she maybe could meet those times. Well I was wrong. I put her in the shower and gave her 15 minutes to complete her shower. When I came back in to check on her 20 minutes later she said, "Mom the clock moves faster than I do."

I try to encourage her along and give her ample time to do things, but she is just slow. Does anyone else have kids like this? What has been your solution? I am looking for some help here. Thanks and have a great weekend!

P.S. As a follow up to the Poor Teacher posts, we are meeting with the principal today to hopefully move my daughter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Poor Teacher Part II

So I am sorry, but I must rant some more about the process my husband and I have been going through trying to move our daughter into another 1st grade classroom. After our discussion with the principal, he required a meeting with the teacher. So we agreed to it. Last week we met with the teacher and the principal. In this meeting the teacher:

  1. Admitted he didn't know how the other teachers were managing to fit art into their days and also did not know how they were integrating their classrooms. The new rules the district had placed on him made it so he could no longer include these things.
    ACTION PLAN: Talk to the other teachers to basically learn how to teach 1st grade.
  2. We stated that our plan was to remove our daughter from his class, to which he replied "If you are going to be riding my back all year, then you might as well move her now."
  3. Finally, he changed his story about the incident with our daughter and missing reading group. Our daughter has always maintained that he physically pulled her out of line. When I confronted her teacher the following day he said he didn't pull her out of line he talked to her at her desk. Then when we brought up the event at the meeting he stated that he did ask her to come out of line and over to where he was standing. What kind of teacher lies about these types of events? And if he is willing to lie about this, what else is he lying about or not telling?

The meeting took an hour and 30 minutes. When we were finished my husband was FURIOUS. We proceeded to write the principal an email stating we wanted our daughter moved as soon as possible. We are awaiting the result.

In summary, I am shocked that there are teachers out there just riding the wave, waiting for retirement. This teacher is just doing the bare minimum and calling it good enough. I am mostly sorry for the kids that will suffer because their parents trust the teacher to provide their student with a good education. Unfortunately, in the world today and I venture to guess always, parents must be vigilant in ensuring that their child is receiving a quality education.

I hope you all are having a great week. I will let you know if we succeed in moving our daughter.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mental Wellness

As I write this post I am gathering as much information as I can about the shooting at Fort Hood and I am doing so with tears in my eyes. My brother-in-law is stationed at Fort Hood and to my knowledge he is OK and has not been injured in this incident. We are very thankful for that.

However, I am sickened by the entire event. I am shocked that soldiers could shoot soldiers. Why would someone begin shooting soldiers that were getting ready to deploy at the readiness facility? This is a truly tragic event. So many lives have been tragically changed.

Being a resident of Colorado and at the time attending the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, I was very near to the tragic events of Columbine High School. This event brings back awful memories of that day and the poor families and children who were forever affected.

I am not sure of the motive behind the shooting today at Fort Hood, but it brings to mind a topic that I think is very important and that is the topic of mental wellness. Very often we are harped upon by friends and family to lose that weight or exercise or go to the doctor to get our heart/liver/etc. tested. However, there isn't any way encouraging us or making sure we are staying well mentally. We all stay home when we are sick, but I am a proponent of taking "mental health days". Sometimes we are just not at the top of our mental game, so take some time for yourself. If you wanted to take a painting class, find out where you can take it and do it. I think us as mom's especially feel guilty when we really desire something for ourselves that has nothing to do our family. I know that I personally struggle with this. I have always wanted to do oil paintings, because it is something my grandma did. About a year ago, I found a Bob Ross class. The class was one whole day and when you were done, you had your very own masterpiece. I decided to do it and took the whole day for me. It was very refreshing and made me a more enjoyable person to be around. It just let me relax and enjoy my day without my kids or husband. I want to say that you are NOT a bad mom for wanting to do something for you, by yourself. Please be aware of your mental wellness. If you need to go and talk to your doctor. Believe me you are not the only one and you are not the first. Mental wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Take the time to check and make sure you are feeling well mentally.

I would like to request that all of my followers say a prayer for all of those who are affected by this shooting.

To those of you affected...I am so sorry for all of you! My God Bless and keep you! You are in my thoughts and my prayers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Do You Do With a Poor Teacher?

Since the beginning of the year my husband and I have had misgivings about my daughter's teacher. To begin with on the second day of school he had the students come home and beat on their chests while spelling the word "the". When we asked Makayla why she was doing this she could not explain the purpose of beating her chest and to top it off she was hitting herself so hard she was getting hurt. The next day he proceeded to ask the students which of the parents thought he was crazy. Makayla raised her hand because we thought that the act was rather strange and we could not figure out the point. When she told us he asked the class that, we were quite upset and thought this an odd line of questioning for 6 year-olds.

For this next bit I need to provide some additional information. For her class, the teacher uses green, yellow, and red cards to indicate how the students are behaving. If they have one small infraction, like talking too much they have to change their card to yellow and if they continue then they change their card to red. When we saw this, we thought it was probably quite useful for disciplining students. However, when Makayla came home and told us that if the students had to go to the bathroom during class time they were instructed to turn their cards straight to red, regardless of if they were on green or yellow. Along with a red card you also get 5 minutes on the wall during recess. We did not like the idea of students being punished for using the restroom. I can understand that there may be students that abuse bathroom privileges, but you cannot determine that on the first day of school.

The final straw for me was when we went to reading night at the school. This is an event that you sign up for so that the teachers are aware of which parents are coming. The idea is to allow students and parents to work together in the classroom a few nights a year. I love the idea and we signed up. When we got to Makayla's classroom her teacher proceeded to tell us that he did not know what level Makayla was reading at. Please note that Makayla goes with a Para professional for reading because she is a bit higher than other students in her class, so her teacher is not directly working with her daily on reading. However, if I were the teacher, I would have contacted her reading teacher knowing that we would be there to find out where she was at. Because he did not know her level, I found the contact information for the Para professional she reads with and contact her to find out her level, so that we can get appropriate reading material. She happily provided the necessary information.

The following Monday finished off my patients. Makayla did not go to reading group because her cue all year to go to reading group was when kids showed up at the door to get her. On this particular day no one came to get her and she assumed that she did not have reading. After afternoon recess, her teacher pulled her out of line (physically by the arm) and asked why she missed reading group. When Makayla said she thought she didn't have it because no one showed up he told her it was just like missing the whole day of school because she didn't go to reading group. When Makayla got home she told her dad she "had done something AWFUL!", and told him the whole story. The next day I went into the school and spoke with her teacher and he just couldn't understand why I was so upset because she wasn't in trouble. I know she wasn't in trouble, but she thought she was and that was why I was so upset. It was his responsibility to make sure that she got to reading group. She is just learning time and does not know how to read a clock yet.

In addition to the incidents above there is no art or student work in the classroom or displayed on the hallway bulletins. This was terribly upsetting to Makayla on reading night, as she had nothing to show us and many of her friends were showing off their work. It was so upsetting to her that she commented she didn't want to go to school the next morning because of it. Please note that my husband and I didn't make a big deal out of it, so as to encourage her behavior of not wanting to go to school and being upset.

With all of this, my husband and I decided to go to the principal and advocate for Makayla being moved from the classroom. It appears to us that his teaching style and classroom structure will not work with the things Makayla needs. We have had the initial meeting and go this Friday to meet with the principal and the teacher.

I am hopeful that we can move her into another class. I know some of you may think that I am being a bit over the top here, but I know that Makayla is not getting what she needs to be prepared for 2nd grade and I feel it is my responsibility as her parent to make sure that happens, even if I have to "stir things up" at school.

Hope you all are having a good week!