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Friday, March 6, 2015

Is This The Real Live? Or Is This Just Fantasty?

Remember when I ended that last blog post?  With my little guy not feeling well?  Yah....  About that....  My little bubba wasn't feeling well at all.  Just after school the next day I went to check on him.  He was asleep in his bed, all tucked in.  He was so cute - and then, on second glance I noticed something I've seen before.  Never on one of my own kids though...
Do you see what I see?  Because I see a raging case of SCARLET FEVER!!  Which sounds so dramatic but really, it's a very bad case of strep throat that also causes a red rash that covers the body.  I loaded up the littles and we all took Benjamin to the after hours pediatric clinic.  Aaron and Roo were so very helpful!  They helped gather our things and Roo even carried Benjamin's shoes for him and helped him get settled into the car.  

Here he is (with his blanket) waiting for the doctor to come in.  He let me take pictures of his tummy (and shhh! His secret freckle!) and his leg so we could remember his rash.  Within minutes the doctor came in, did an exam and agreed that yes, it is scarlet fever.  We left with a note for the school (because now we had shared his germs with everyone) and a perscritption for antibiotics.  We were all on lock down (sort of) for 24 hours - or at least Benjamin was on lock down and the other two weren't supposed to be around other kids... and it was the WEEKEND!  So we stayed in on Saturday and rested and just hung out.  Roo was a bit stir crazy, but she survived.  Ha ha.  By the evening my little buddy was eating, talking, laughing, smiling and almost back to himself.  My heart was so happy because after three weeks of being sick (he didn't have scarlet fever the whole time, just kept getting sick) Benjamin was finally feeling better!!!  WHOOO HOOOOOO!  Currently he is 100% awesome healthy and finishing up his 10 days of antibiotics.

Sunday we went to church and then came home to enjoy our weekly movie marathon.  Sophie was snuggling with me on the couch, and Aaron came to sit down on the floor using the couch as a backrest.  Then, before we knew it, Miss Sophie wiggled over to give Aaron a little love!

Now, tell me that's not cute - go ahead and try. Because it is super cute!  I think it's also my first actual photo bomb, too.  ha ha
I passed my phone down so Aaron could capture the moment with Sophie.  AND that kid!  Okay - he is one of my two REALLY funny boys who never cease to amaze me at their wit and character.   In case you're wondering.... Luke is the other one.  Thank heavens Luke wasn't Aaron's twin because THAT would have been INSANE!  ha ha.  Anyway, Aaron took like a zillion pictures!!!!

Like 3 whole screens like this full of these amazing pictures!  What a nutball! 

On Monday I was finally able to send out this birthday box to my MARCH BIRTHDAY GIRL!!
Yup! That IS rain on the box.  It rained all day and I still made it to the post office.  I'm gonna try not to get teary eyed here (too late) because I sure do love this girl of mine!!  I won't be able to hug her on her birthday this year - and it breaks my heart - but I am SO proud of the beautiful young woman she has become!  She is 100% beautiful inside and out!!  I can't believe it's been 22 years! 
             Here's my beautiful girl and I last March. I just love her smile!!!

Meanwhile... lurking inside that toothy grin (on the left) was a broken tooth.  I've loved candy all of my life and I always will.  My molars know how much love I have for candy.  I've had an onlay on my tooth for a couple of years but it fell off while I was eating the candy corn I found on Amazon. (Don't judge - desperate times call for desperate measures and stores only sell the candy gold in the fall).  Well, I put some temporary cement on it and popped the onlay back on, but not long after I was eating my morning granola bar and BAM.  Super crunchy?  Is this food?  Um no.  I spit out chewed up granola bar and chomped up porcelain onlay.  Here's where we praise the maker I married a dentist, and he has a dentist brother who kindly let us use his office, and dentist husband had the day off the following day. 


Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to take a selfie while laying back and holding still?!?!?!? Shoulda taken the selfie stick with us. ha ha. But I got my tooth fixed up and ready for it's new crown. Because the left side of my face is always numb, and I got some mega numbing shots, it was hard to tell if the crown was fitting right. Because I chewed up my onlay and then forgot to bring the piece I kept, there was no way to know exactly what the correct "bite" was. My super numbness didn't help at all and I really thought it felt right and my bite was good. Well, after the injected numbing wore off I could tell that my temporary crown was a little too long. So we did what we do when these things happen...
I call it Kitchen Dentistry.  Here's Benjamin having a couple extractions on the kitchen counter last year.  See? May be funky to most people, but its getting to be a normal thing around here.  Ha ha kidding - only a sometimes thing.  Well, my awesome dentist made another house call (mostly because he lives here anyway) and pulled out the Dremel drill and made some adjustments for me.  Roo was sweet and came over with  "rinse and spit" cups, and she was so cute that we asked Benjamin to take our picture.  That crazy guy didn't take a picture - he took an amazing VIDEO!  So here you go, for your viewing pleasure.... 

            We shall call this video "Drill, Rinse and Spit"  Ha ha If you haven't caught on yet, we're a little wacky and fun around here.  In a practical way. Sort of.                                                                                                                        And here's Aaron popping out of the laundry basket.
     That may seem random, but it's pretty normal around here.  You never know what's going to happen!

 Lastly - in our crazy week of life - Roo was insistent on getting a Lorax costume to wear to school today. It's Dr. Seuss week. It wasn't a thing when I was little, and when the olders were around 10 it started as "Read Across America" day. Now it's Dr. Seuss WEEK. (eyeroll) I told her we wouldn't spend any money on it, so we'd have to use what we have at home to make something. I found some stretchy orange cotton and a picture of what someone else had made.  It was a sweater with a front zipper and the hood that gets pulled down over the head to show the Lorax face.

I copied what this other person did (I don't have permission to share their picture so I'm not going to - but I found it on Pinterest and it looks a lot like this but better than mine.)  Anyhow, Roo wanted it to be a jumpsuit so I made her a jumpsuit by sewing shorts onto the sweater part and then put a zipper across the back booty seam.  Yup - we made lots of jokes about having a butt flap and easy access to go potty. Roo cut out the eyebrows and moustache and I sewed it all on and together.  It got all put together a little late at night and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep a couple of times sewing the blue part onto the eye's but we got it done and now I'm off to pick her up from school and find out how much fun she had!
                                       OOOOHHHHH!  Little Roo Lorax won 3rd place at school!  Yay Roo!

Yes, our week has been RANDOM and CRAZY and UNEXPECTED - but it was pretty fun and included way more random stuff than I wrote about here.  AND don't worry!  Because I PROMISE my next blog post will be a "how to" on how I put together one of my boys favorite things in their new bedroom!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I'm Thankful For Miracles

See that sky?  See those clouds?  That was the sky yesterday.  So clear, so blue with huge puffy clouds as far as the eye could see.  Growing up in Southern California I never imagined a sky actually looking this wonderful.  When we moved to Arizona and I first saw a sky like this I fell in love.  This is my favorite kind of sky, and I am instantly cheerful, amazed and thankful to God for such a beautiful sky.

With that sky yesterday came some cooler weather - which felt wonderful to me!!  However, the chill didn't feel good to everyone.  By the time we were headed for bed, Miss Sophie's left shoulder was bothering her and she was limping pretty good.  Because she's had this limp before and we knew it was because her arthritis acts up in the cold weather we didn't worry too much and we went to bed.

By morning B-jams was telling me he wasn't feeling well (again) and after an eye roll I dolled out some Ibuprofen and Zyrtec and told him I'd drive him to and from school so he didn't have to ride his bike in the cold.  Don't worry - because you may or may not know that one of my biggest pet peeves is when the kids eye roll me... and I eye rolled... and spoiler alert - I'll eat that eye roll by the end of this post.

Meanwhile, my Sophie girl spent the morning with a horrible limp.  Not only her front leg, but BOTH back legs were hurting and my poor girl could hardly walk.  She sat on my lap until it was time to take the boys to school. When I got up, she had a very worried look in her eyes and wanted to go with me.  She hobbled and could hardly even move.  She had a sad little rear end squat walk and a hop on her right front paw.  Daddy took her inside and helped her lay down until I got home.  Poor girl could hardly move.  Again, I wasn't super super concerned because I knew it was cold and that sometimes she gets somewhat stiff.  I found her doggie aspirin and mixed it into her breakfast kibble, which she instantly sniffed and snubbed.  This girl has an amazing talent for knowing when I try to slip her a little something.  After trying to coax her to eat for a bit without success, I chopped up some more aspirin and smashed it into some cubed cheese.  At first she sniffed it and looked at me like "are you kidding me? I know there's something in there".  But then the bottomless Labrador tummy took over and she ate 'em up.  There was about half an aspirin that didn't make it to the party in her tummy, but most got in.  I was sure she would be feeling better soon and able to get around better.   I was wrong.  Twenty minutes went by and she was still laying down breathing funny.  Thirty minutes went by and still, nothing.  I let her sleep and kept an eye on her.  I noticed that when Pops went to get some food in the kitchen she could hardly lift her head, let alone look over or get up to check out what was going on in the food room.  I tried to coax her onto the couch, and she tried to roll over and get up but she just laid back onto her side.  I wrapped her in a blanket and gave her a pillow for her head.
I grabbed a blanket for myself and Roo's stuffed dog to use as a pillow and snuggled on in as close as I could.  After snuggling and petting her and feeling so sad that she was having so much trouble moving I called the Vet.  After speaking with her she asked me to bring her in for an emergency appointment.  I wasn't sure how on earth I would get Sophie in the car as she weighs almost 100lbs.  And I was so worried about her.  By this time I noticed she was slobbering a bunch as well.  And her eyes, her sad eyes were asking for help and I lost it.  I cried and hugged her and cried some more.  I didn't want her to hurt or to be sick, and mostly I was terrified that there was something utterly unspeakable and unthinkable going on.  
When she saw me holding her leash, she forced herself up.  That was a good sign!  But walking?  Walking was very slow and I could tell it was very painful for her.  Austin helped her get into the car and we headed out to see the puppy doctor.  
Poor little lady was poked and prodded getting her reflexes tested along with the ever interesting thermometer in the bum.  Her reflexes were all well responsive and the doctor said we would need to have some x-rays taken to know what is going on.  There was a bit of a wait until it was x-ray time and my baby girl laid on the floor trying to get comfortable.  And then I did something kinda gross - but I didn't even care.  I laid down on the floor next to her.  Yes, in the vet's office.  Yes, in the exam room.  Yes, where who knows how many animals peed,  pooped, barfed and bled.                       Yeah, the laying on the floor part is icky - I mean how many 45 year old women would lay down on the vet floor and snuggle up with their dog?  Well, I don't even care how many because I wanted to do whatever I could to help my fur baby feel better.  And honestly, I had no idea Austin was taking pictures.  But we're cute so it's okay.   Pretty soon it was time for x-rays and little fur baby didn't want to leave the exam room without Mommy there.  I'm pretty sure she's as attached to me as I am to her. :)  
While we were waiting, Austin and I heard lots of giggles from the x-ray room.  A few weeks back Austin's little therapy ball got lost.  We turned the house upside down and couldn't find it.  We joked about how funny it would be if they found the ball in her tummy.  Okay - funny/not funny - but it was a stress reliever to joke about it.  I think there was a hint of disappointment in Austin's eyes when the ball wasn't inside the Super Sophie. Mostly because then we'd know where that darn ball ended up!  Ha ha. 
Funny story... that dark mass shaped like a boomerang?  It's gas.  Toot's waiting to SBD us when we least expect it.  Thankfully she made a big doo-doo when we got home and got rid of the bomb.  

You can see where the "elbow" is. In the image on the right you can see how the arthritis is growing around the joint.  I also found it super interesting to see the bones in her leg and "hand" - because it looks so people like.   The view on the left is her "good" elbow - you can see the difference in the joints on the two x-rays.                                                
Thankfully, Sophie doesn't have anything life threatening.  She does have bad arthritis in her left elbow (that we already knew about) but she also has pretty bad arthritis in the lumbar of her spine, around where her hips meet her spine.  We were sent home with detailed instructions on how best to help and care for her until she's feeling better as well as several prescriptions for swelling, muscle relaxants and pain.  I find it slightly ironic that my furry pal has a similar back problem to mine as well as she was prescribed two of the same medications that I already take. 
 Little lady was more than ready to come back home.  She did great getting in and out of my car and she was super happy to see the littles.  
                                As for me?  I was exhausted.  I sat down to take a little break and help Aaron with his homework before running the afternoon activity carpool rush.  I was so thankful that we knew how to help Sophie so she would be able to feel better and get around.  I was so thankful thinking that everyone was healthy, Sophie was going to be alright and Aaron was zipping through his math pages.  And then I looked to the other end of the couch.  And that's when it happened...
  I noticed that my little buddy was napping on his own, with rosy cheeks, in the middle of the afternoon.  Not playing video games.  Not watching YouTube videos.  Not riding his bike or climbing a tree.  And do you remember that eye roll from earlier?  Here's when I ate it.  Somehow, someway, my little guy was actually sick.

Everyone buckle up - here we go again!
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's Up, Chuck?

This time of year some kids have snow days.  We have perfect weather for kids to play in.  While some kids get to play in the snow, this is our time to really enjoy being outside.  We get to ride bikes, play on the swings and run around at night playing capture the flag.  With the weather unsure if it's summer or winter here in Arizona it's been in the 80's or in the 50's - with a little breeze even!  (Honestly, a breeze that doesn't involve a major dust storm (HABOOB) is unheard of! Sadly, along with this weather (that is really rather wonderful) more icky sicky germs are shared and... my little buddies got the bug.  Aaron started feeling yucky at the annual Blue and Gold Banquet.... He's a super picky eater.  When he told me he didn't feel good I wasn't sure if it was because he didn't want to eat the food, or he didn't like the food, or he ate some and it didn't set well in his tummy.  (just FYI - the food was delish!)

                                                                                                           Benjamin and Aaron look so darn cute in their little Bear uniforms!  I keep calling them costumes though... ha ha oops.  They're standing with our honorary scout, Glen Griffin.  He's 80 years old and spoke to us about how scouting has changed since he was a cub.  His uniform is pretty awesomely vintage - and it was super cool to have him there!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  I should have known something bad was going to happen.  There were signs earlier in the day...Signs like this:
Yes, Mickey's head came off.  It was an omen of things to come...

And then this:
Sophie was sleeping with her eyes open and her tongue sticking out... Okay - I know it's not an omen like Mickey's head being torn off but she was just so cute I had to share.  I mean really, cuteness factor is off the charts here! 

And then it happened in the middle of the night.  IT HAPPENED.  Mom and Dad heard little buddy Aaron coughing and crying in his bed. Mom went up to check on him and he was feeling horrible.  Aaron got to watch some TV with the 'rents, guzzle down some Motrin and sleep on the couch with Momma bear.  Shortly after Pops went to bed, the barf fountain started flowing.  And flowing.  And it was everywhere.  On every blanket, all of the clothes, everywhere.  I'm feeling barfy just thinking about it.  Yuck.   Momma got the washing machine going, attempting to rid the house of THAT smell.  You know the one....
 It was a long night with little sleep and lots of sicky ickies.  Come to think of it - why did the barf start after Pop's went to bed??? It was almost like he flipped the "barf on" switch... hum... 
 Anyway... Benjamin was feeling sick and had been complaining about a sore throat so we kept both boys home from school... and any plans/appointments were cancelled. I spent the day washing anything that could possibly, maybe, perhaps have any microscopic element of barf on it.  I was fetching this and that for the boys and hanging out snuggling with them.  After the second day/night of the sickies - once we were sure it wasn't allergies or some 24 hour bug - it was time for the antibiotics. While we were waiting for the prescriptions to be filled I made some stake and potato's with salad for dinner.  What was I thinking???  I had two little guys with no appetite and in desperate need of nourishment.  I decided we would make a detour on our way to CVS and pick up some Jamba for dinner.
Ibuprofen and Jamba... the dinner of champions... or sickies..

But when we got to the pharmacy we still had to wait a bit for all of our medicines to be filled.  I guess you could say we had dinner at CVS...The kids were feeling horrible, but they were super patient.  Benjamin could hardly stand his sore throat and Aaron was just miserable.  Roo made good use of her time reading magazines.                                                 

There were also adventures getting their little arms stuck in the blood pressure machine - it made for great entertainment.  But I was seriously sleep deprived at this point and a bit slap happy... and full of Jamba.  And really, if CVS is going to have a machine that has buttons to push, lights to light up and something to stick arms or legs into (don't ask about the leg part...) and then label it "children need adult supervision" - well of course I'll just sit next to it while the kids are making use of the electronic toy.  It's way better than listening to them whine and complain about feeling sick.

 Once we were home we got the boys going on the antibiotics... and my little Roo was feeling somewhat neglected.  After all, the boys got to stay home from school and she had to go.  Of course we were having some big fun party without her (or so her imagination told her).  So I played cats cradle with her and I let her do my hair.  She does such a great job doing hair!!!  And most of the time it feels really good.  ;)
I always let her do whatever she wants with
 my hair.  Didn't she do a great job?!!? 
                                                         This is us playing Cat's cradle, and then a picture of how I feel about it... ha ha.

And then... then something really, really horrible happened.  It was so horrible that before I tell you I need to share another super cute picture of Sophie, she was sleeping on my lap hugging her angry bird toy.  
She is just precious.  

Okay.  Now I can share the horrible news.  Wait. Sit down first!!
Day 3 of the boys being sick.  It was a Friday - Roo felt left out because once again the boys had to stay home from school.  I let her stay home with us - at that point I really didn't care if she was staying home or going to school.  Not because it's not a big deal, but because sometime during the night I GOT SICK!  NOOOOOO!!!  SICK, like really sick.  And the sick made my MS go a bit nutty.  Being sick is the worst. Honestly I think I have enough health problems that I should be immune to anything else.  I guess it doesn't work that way.  Ha ha.  
Though I was able to jump right onto antibiotics, I felt like I had the plague.  The boys were starting to feel better but were still needing medications throughout the days and still needed some extra TLC and fetching/finding.  I did my very best to take care of them - and I only lost it to tears once or twice... but I was super happy to hear the boys laughing and playing again!!  And the best thing about it was being in my comfy Jammie's all weekend with my cute, snugly Sophie by my side.   She's usually laying in my lap or snuggled in next to me nice and tight.  She makes me so happy, that little fur ball of mine.  But alas, this isn't about my little lap dog - it's the tale that is most horrible to tell, the one where the kids get sick, the mom gets sick, the kids get well, the mom is still sick, the house is a disaster, the sink is overflowing with dishes, but all is good in the world because Sophie was here to love us all better.   
AND THEN... after I finally got the dishes washed.. I had just a little glimpse to share that describes how much liquid medicine was consumed in a couple of days...

 I'm so happy to say that we are all healthy now.  There's no more barf anywhere.  The kids go to school again.  The weather is great and the kids can play outside without fear of burning up in the summer sun.  Thank goodness!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Homework... oh WHY?!?

Anyone I've discussed this with knows how I feel about homework.  Homework should not come from the school.  It should come from home.  Where parents can one-on-one with the child to work on skills they struggle with in the classroom and practice reading.  I can see from looking at the mountains of papers coming home every day where my kids need a little extra lovin'.  For the past few months two of my kids who struggle with math have been working with an amazing private tutor to reinforce the skills they're learning in class and answer any questions they may have without having to ask the questions in front of the whole class.  The result?  Both kids went from a 2 to a 4 in their math skills from one report card to the next.  (For those of you who don't know Arizona's grading system,  4 is the highest, 1 is the lowest.)

AND my kids LOVE their tutor!!! You may be thinking that you can't fork out the $$ to hire a tutor for your kids, but GUESS WHAT?!?  I'll bet you can!  We hired our neighbors teenage daughter (who is also their favorite baby sitter...).  She is reliable, smart, fun and has all kinds of rhymes and games that help them learn while having fun.  She's also motivated to make some extra cash, and she's not nearly as expensive as an adult or experienced tutor.  You can also trade tutoring kids with other mom's if you're good in one subject and they're good in another.  Bam - two hours a week max and everyone is happy and smarter- for free! Two of my three kids (different kids, different needs) really needed help with their spelling.  I've been working with them to score 100% on their spelling tests each week.  2 weeks ago one of them did just that!  YIPPEE!  The other is not far behind - and they both continue to improve.  See how that works?  Homework. At home.  By home.  No packets to turn in, no rush rush rush to get it done, no more pressure from "school".

Why am I sitting here on Saturday morning ranting on this???  Well, I'm pretty passionate about the subject and very easily frustrated with school district bureaucracy.  I'm not going to be the Home School mom - at least not right now- and there's nothing wrong with home schooling.  For now my kids need the structure and environment of school to excel.  In fact this school year I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the kids teachers!!!! Honestly, I really do.  They are all happy in class. Their teachers really care about them and the kids know it.  I have heard the same from each of my kids, and I've actually seen it with my own eyes.  I pray that the kids can stay with their same teachers when they move up to 4th and 6th grade next year!!  All of that being said... my twins have been slowly coming home with more and more homework since the beginning of the school year.      

Look at the top!! 19/20 on the spelling test!  
Don't get me wrong - it comes in my all time favorite style- "the packet".  It goes home on Monday and it's due on Friday.  Complete a little each day (preferred method) but in the really busy weeks it can all be done on one afternoon.  Preferably not Thursday afternoon... Anyway... it's been bothering me because - well - I'm just going to share the email I sent to their teacher, the email explains it all... and yes - her name isn't "teacher" but I think we will call her "Teacher" here. (names have been changed to protect identity... ha ha) 
Dear Teacher, 
I keep forgetting to shoot you an email about this!  The boys homework packets are getting bigger and bigger... they are twice as big as they were since the school year started.  They (as well as other kids in the class, I'm sure) have several after school activities through the week. They take karate class 3 afternoons each week, (we dropped it down from 4 days in early Jan.), they have cub scouts once a week and take piano lessons.  Though they only take piano lessons once a week,, they do have to practice each day.  The past couple of weeks they have literally had 10-15 minutes of "free" time after school because they have so much more homework to finish.  On top of this, Benjamin has tutoring every Monday and Wednesday afternoon AND I have the kids practice their spelling words every day.  Plus their daily chores (which take 5ish minutes unless they're complaining and dilly-dallying).  On Saturdays they have more free time, but we also need to get some things done for their cub scout requirements and fit in some family time.  I know I've already told you how I feel about homework... and my boys are usually really great and responsible in getting their homework done on time, etc.  I do put a priority on their education (thus the tutor) but I also feel it is important to learn a "sport" (Karate) and a musical instrument (piano).  Being a scout teaches them life skills and integrity.  I get that homework is mandatory per the district HOWEVER - you get them for 6 hours of instructional  time (I deducted time for recess).  I have them for 5 hours between getting home from school and bed time.   The time I get to spend with them is spent helping with homework, teaching and encouraging them in the chores and piano practice, driving to/from karate, feeding them, getting showers and bed time routines in and getting ready for - guess what? - SCHOOL the next day.  So really, you get them all day.  If homework is "mandatory", it needs to take 5-10 minutes TOPS.  That's 1 page front/back of paper plus reading their timed reading each day.  (OH! And I forgot to mention the 20 min of reading we do as a family each day... yah, we're not 100% heathens).  Personally, I feel like our family does more than enough enrichment education after school that sending homework is just plain rude.  After all, I don't think it would go over well if I showed up during school hours to work on chores, or pulled them out for piano lessons/practice or scouts or karate. I get that the "you have 6 hours with my kid so don't interfere with MY time with them" doesn't go over well with the district.  I also understand that many kids do not have the schedule or opportunities that my kids have.  I am also the last person to want to overwhelm or stress them with too much that they HAVE to do.  For the past few weeks I've let them out of doing their chores so they could have more free time BECAUSE they have too much homework coming home. Learning to take care of things and help out the family is not something I want them to miss out on.  I don't know if the homework assignments are coming from the whole third grade or from just your class - but NO!  There is just too much homework! These kids are 8 and 9 and deserve to be kids.  I'm willing to not badmouth homework and encourage and help them if the amount of homework is reasonable.  These huge packets with all of the extra math sheets is not reasonable.  If they need to work on more math - then find the time during the school day.  Yes, I get that in Jr High and HS they will have more homework.  They will also be more mature and able to handle more homework - and if it gets out of hand, I will say the same thing to their teachers as I'm saying now.  I know that emails and text messages can be taken the wrong way - and I hope that you know me and my personality well enough that I am not at all criticizing you as a teacher or a person (because we all LOVE you like crazy!!!) And I get that this may read harsh or condescending - and that is NOT my intention.  I'm just speaking my case so there is no misunderstanding. (and because I like to rant on the things in life that irk homework)  If I just said you're sending too much homework home you'd never know that I do value education and appreciate YOU - I just want time with my kids - and time that my kids can be kids.  Please let me know if I need to address this with the principal or the 3rd grade as a whole and I will gladly share the same with them.  I'm all for high test scores for the school - but I'm gonna draw the line here.  If they come home with more than 4 front/back pages in their homework packet (not counting the daily 1min reading story) then we won't be finishing the packets, and my kids won't be held responsible to finish said pages or punished in any way- nor will their grades be docked.  They will be able to have their full recess and lunch and be able to play with their friends on the yard (vs sitting on the wall), etc. They won't be docked grabbits or merit money or anything like that.  They will be treated like any of the other kids in class who complete all of the pages sent home.  I want to make sure it's clear that his is coming from me and not from my kids.  They don't even know I'm writing this to you or that I feel it's a problem.  Since they have been spending more time on homework, I have noticed my boys being more easily frustrated (in general), extra tired and stressed about getting it all done and not as excited to do ANY of their activities because they're so burnt out.  I have already dropped one karate class per week - I'm not going to compromise any more o our away from school time with school stuff.  Please, please, PLEASE don't read this as a personal attack! Any really, I'm not a problem pain in the booty parent!! I really don't want to be misunderstood in my request, and I want the kids to be excited about school, ready to learn when they get there and not feeling weighed down because there's too much to do. I've been doing this parent thing - honestly- longer than your whole life (and wow that is sad for my side! Old lady parent!) and, according to all of my 9 kids, I'm pretty good at it. And a Momma Bear. I seek balance in the force - and I really, really want what is best for everyone. Please advise me on your thoughts!! I'm open to hearing your ideas and feelings and thoughts and all of that. Thank you. You really are AWESOME and - for reals - one of my very favorite (like top 3!) teachers EVER! And, like I said, I've had kids go through lots and lots and lots of teachers (with 6 kids through HS! ha ha) I hope your weekend is fantastic and I'll see you soon!
Rebecca Willcox

I know, I know... it's one very long email. And if you must know, I actually edited a bunch out of it. I also forgot to mention that after school ART class that two of my kids take twice a week because they BEGGED for it. I mean, heaven forbid we raise more artsy crafty kids.. ha ha. But they LOVE it, and they're learning so much!!

I'm not planning to start a riot or overtake the school district or anything - I'm just sharing what I, personally, feel about homework and what is best for my own kids. Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments - just please be nice. I promise to respect your opinions and views if you respect mine. Rant over - I'm getting off this electronic device and hanging out with my kids. Probably making cookies and fun junk like that. Enjoy the weekend!
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Family time! (That black mass is Sophie - our fearless,
friendly, loving Labrador who loves to be included in any
and all family activities. Including snuggling on the couch)