Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Club - Oh MY!

Good grief! Book club was something this month. I think it was December M- said to me "you could write a book about our book club!" and I had agreed and laughed but really. We ought to have a 5 author blog going and just all contribute our juicy tidbits. S- was on fire last night. She was all dressed up in her cute black skirt and boots (okay, she was wearing skinny black from head to toe set off perfectly by chique blond hair and lip gloss) and ready to go OUT! Sue was hosting in her newly done home - she has such a cozy house it was really fabulous to see it. Her kitchen is just perfect, green walls, red wood cabinets and a large paned window with tomatoes and potted plants and wonderful things on the sill but not cluttered. I am always amazed when people can have their things out and not be cluttered. I am just one big cluttered mess, but anyway... Sue had lentil soup on, and salad and M- showed up with freshly done biscuits (I've yet to meet anyone who rivals M- in the kitchen either in cooking or in presentation.) And she used her fancy dishes and we all sat on the floor around the old colonial blue trunk serving as a coffee table (really just perfect and cozy) and the book was "AWAY" by Amy Bloom but we could hardly get started on it.
S- was just loud and mouthy "f- this and f- that!" a bit unusual for her at book club but you know, what ever. Except Sue's kids came home about 8 ish and S- is going to owe all their teacher's notes of apology on Monday! I couldn't even tell you what had S- going she just had something to say about everything. There was a toy- air- bb gun that arrived at school this week. That was one of the topics, and the bus driver heard "gun" and demanded the backpack. When the child wouldn't give it up she wrestled the child to the ground and confiscated it. The police were called (whether to the bus en route or to the school I still don't know) and the child's mother. My kids go to this school - it is an elementary school - no one was hurt. The child received a 10 day suspension, and my kids have a letter about the school policy regarding weapons and 'toy' weapons in their folders for me to review. Ah...

M- kept trying to get us back on topic. Did we like the book "Away"? Most of us did. Jen didn't, she thought it was depressing. Lisa thought it was like four short stories thrown together. Several of us thought is was absolutely not depressing and really hopeful. M- said she thought it was rediculous that everywhere the main character in the book went people wanted to sleep with her. I thought that was an odd comment. Particularly because M- is very attractive, dresses very attractive, and so I would think she'd relate to that a bit. But I wonder sometimes if sexuality or rather sexual attractiveness is something that is unconciously stated. In the book, the main character (Lillian I think it was?) was willing to be taken advantage of in anyway in payment for food, shelter, and survival. M- I don't think has ever thought of herself as available in that way. She is very smart, very professional, and one of those women who can and do go after what they want. I don't think it is circumstantial, I think in a situation where someone else might feel victimized M- would sit down and figure out her plan of attack and then proceed to implement it and she'd be brilliant.

It was an interesting book. It was entertaining and I liked some of the general statements - "Life makes you do things like that" one of the women in prison says to one of the other women. I sort of got that statement. I'm not M- I don't see what I want and go after it. I rarely know what I want and when I do I have no idea how to achieve it. That is one of the things I hope I'll figure out in time to pass on to my girls. But even if I don't, they have their dad, and their dad is like M. He has a plan. He allows himself the flexibility to change the plan if he changes goals, or attains a goal and wants to go after a new one, but he always has a plan.

"Away" as described by Louisa Thomas for the New York Times
The first half of “Away” is a vivid immigrant tale, and Bloom (the author of a previous novel and two collections of short stories) nicely captures Lillian’s everyday struggles — from battling that stubborn “v” in her English (“won’t, not von’t”) to being a mistress twice over, scratching and clawing for a living she’s not sure is worth it. Other moments are funny and surprisingly sweet: the almost erotic pleasure of Lillian’s first taste of ice cream; the giddiness of whirling in a waltz with the wickedly funny, generous Yaakov Shimmelman (whose business card reads “Tailor, Actor, Playwright. Author of ‘The Eyes of Love.’ Pants pressed and altered”). But such small delights seem hollow to a heroine who can come across as hollow herself. Considering her horrific past, this is perhaps understandable. “ ‘I am a waltzing cadaver,’ ” declares Yaakov, who has seen his own unendurable tragedies. “ ‘You know.’ And she does. ”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tit for Tat - "I like your style"

"I like Your Style" is a consignment shop in Williamsburg Virginia.
Wow. I stopped by today to inquire about consigning and was dismissed as not good enough. I felt like I was in a scene from the '90s movie "Pretty Woman." Remember that? Except this isn't Rodeo drive...
I suppose it is my fault; I stopped by with my two girls in tow, after preschool, they were dirty from playing on the playground an extra hour and in 'play clothes' not the upitty Williamsburg smocked dresses. And I have a cold and dressed in 10 year old comfy jeans and a ski sweater. But still. For all she knows I had treasure in there. I can tell you, the lady who manages the consignment store where I've taken my kids' clothes for the last 8 years would tell you: this "I like Your Style" lady made a mistake. I have some good stuff...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Date with my Daughter- The Lightning Thief


Saturday the 13th I guess it was, I took Beans and her friend, to see The Lightning Thief.
Way Cool Movie!
I love that our hero is dyslexic!
I love that it is about the classical myths. My daughter, in 6th grade now, has not spent much time in school on the classic myths, something I learned in 3rd grade via the Calvert School. She is taking "Latin for Word Power" right now and they will dabble a bit with the myths and the Roman names of the gods and goddesses. I think this wet her appetite. She really liked the movie a lot. She is also a fan of things with dragons, magic, and the Chronicles of Narnia so this was right up her ally. I am now interested in getting my hands on these books to see what they are all about.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waffles & Ice Cream

We broke our lenten 'fast' for a Birthday Breakfast of waffles and ice cream today. YUMMY! I meant to grab a photo of the table for those 'table settings' fans and to link up with Southern Dreamer and the rest of them, but the gang was too fast for me. We did, however, have a fresh pink table cloth and my good china and blue cut crystal glasses and glitzy 'gold' napkins with Christmas gold & silver 'jingle bell' napkin rings (my table setting assistants are in elementary school & preschool you know!) and the real silver silverware and strings of beads hanging from the light fixture. Very colorful, and non of it sounds like it matches but aside from the gold & silver Christmas stuff it worked. My mother, the birthday girl, felt very 'fussed over' and loved it. And then, being my mother, stationed herself in the kitchen to hand wash all the good settings and see that they were put away properly. Don't you love it?

We all agreed while sipping coffee around the table that Waffles & Ice Cream on your birthday is one of the best traditions our family has. We also agreed we need a new one, manicures and petticures on or around mother's day. My mother, myself, and which ever of my daughters deemed old enough not to ruin it for the rest of us!

ten9eight revisited

I editted the previous post on this but I wanted to repost it so you could have the opportunity to find the trailer. I think this is really worth knowing about:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

no they didn't

I am highly offended that my post yesterday regarding dyslexia and special needs services and Special Ed turned up a Google Ad on my blog today regarding medication for ADHD.

excuse me?

For clarity - I get ADHD. What I don't get is why discussing Special Ed somehow sets off to Google Ads and interest in Medication. My kids don't need medication. They need reading skills.

Friday, February 19, 2010

IEP - dyslexia - wilson certification

Tiger's IEP review was today. (Individual Education Plan)

Luckily, things are going well for him. According to his specialist he works with focus and intent at school. She is pleased with his progress. According to his classroom teacher he is "owning" his classwork and is working hard there too. I am relieved, because at home we see a lot of avoidance behaviors. That may be the level of distraction, two sisters running around while you are doing homework can be difficult. That may be that he is worn out by the end of the day and it is too much. Whatever. I am really glad he is doing well when he's at school.

While in there I was talking a bit with the specialist who is also the President of the Virginia Chapter of the International Dyslexic Association. We talked about several things. One of the members has been working on legislature to get the State of Virginia to recognize dyslexia. Currently they do not. {My kids are classified "special ed with a specific learning disability." I am not sure what they plan to do with recognition but in my opinion it would make a difference. I had to defend my kids's need for services because they were 1. hard working, 2. not disruptive, and 3. on grade level in everything but reading so the Special Ed Coordinator didn't feel they required services. HUGELY frustrating. Also hugely frustrating is the concept that since they are Special Ed they are not Visions (our version of gifted). Even though they clearly are. So we've had our battles. By grace and persistence my kids are receiving both services and accommodations and benefiting from Visions too. Whew.} Also they (VIDA) are trying to pass legislature that requires testing for reading disorders in kindergarten and first grade. HUGE! If kids can start receiving services in first grade instead of third think how much could get accomplished! Another one of their goals is to work to get more elementary school teachers in this state certified in Wilson.

Wilson is cool. It is a multi sensory approach to learning to read and spell. I like it a lot. In Colorado my sons kindergarten teacher incorporated into the classroom for all children. It made a huge difference in spelling skills.

What is Wilson?
Wilson is a provider of professional development and research-based reading and spelling curricula for all ages. Its multisensory, structured curricula—the WILSON Reading System®, WILSON Fundations®,WILSON Just Words®, and WILSON Fluency®—have proven highly effective. Wilson also brings to the task two decades ofprofessional development courses and ongoing teacher support.

Why Wilson Certification

The Wilson Reading System (WRS) is a highly-structured multisensory language program based on Orton-Gillingham principles and philosophy for teaching reading and spelling. The teaching plan is based on continuous assessment of the students’ needs.

A critical factor for student success is teacher knowledge. Teachers must have an in-depth knowledge of the speech sound system and must know how our written language represents spoken English. In addition to language structure, teachers also need to master how to teach using multisensory and diagnostic techniques.

WRS is successful with students who have a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia, as well as those who are reading below grade level because of word-level deficits. It is strongly recommended that students who require intensive instruction receive instruction with a highly-skilled WRS teacher.

I have written in the past about my struggle to get my kids the help they needed and what I have learned along the way. Here are some of those links:
Regarding a book the above specialist told me to read: Overcoming Dyslexia
regarding the struggle to get my oldest child diagnosed: I am the mother to a child with Learning Disabilities
Regarding HOW to get a child tested in Virginia to see if they qualify for additional services: Requesting a Full Evaluation

Thursday, February 18, 2010


In my most recent copy of the Alumni Quarterly Magazine sent out by my alma mater, there is a section for media, printed and otherwise, that is either produced by staff, professors or alumni or has to do with the school.

This caught my eye. Ten9Eight is directed by Mary Mazzio. I am excited about this documentary of high school aged children who become entrepreneurs despite the odds. I hope it comes to my town.

If you are interested; there is a facebook page as well: ten9eightfacebook

I couldn't find a 'shareable' trailer, but please stop by the homepage and check it out. I think this is truly worth a look.
Posted using ShareThis

"Get Schooled" said: Among the host of education reform documentaries that have been coming out recently, Ten9Eight is not one to be missed.

Ten9Eight, directed by filmmaker Mary Mazzio, highlights the stories of a diverse group of inner-city teens across the nation as they compete in an annual business plan competition held by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). The idea for the film was borne out of the shocking statistic, “In America, a kid drops out of high school every 9 seconds.” Ten9Eight explores how things could be if they didn’t.

I found a youtube video:
or this one:
unfortunately the embed codes have been disabled by request. :-( but it is worth checking it out.

re-editted Mary Mazzio (as noted in the comments) found this post and shared a different youtube listing with an 'share' code:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sketchers - Shape Ups and so on

So as part of my, I must get my butt into shape(!) crisis I have been running in the AM (except I will be truthful and say the Nor'Easter but a bit of a dent in that) and I'll be in a pilates class on Tuesdays starting in March, and hitting Yoga on Fridays and I bought Sketchers Shape Ups. Some 5 years ago I bought MBTs and loved them. But one cannot just run out and buy ugly $200.00 shoes every day... so I decided to splurge on the Sketchers.

Because people keep asking me if I like them, I wrote about them for Associated Content and so I would love it, love it, love it, if you'd just click here and scan the article. :-) thanks *wink*

Monday, February 15, 2010

Go Cananda! Go Bilodeau

I love watching the winter olympics although I could do without all the commercials and commentators! Just let me watch the games people!!!

I am not that into figure skating (yes I do have plenty of estrogen) I think it is a beautiful sport and the costumes are sometimes a lot of fun, but I don't get the judging or all the drama around it.

I like the downhill and the freestyle and all those high speed crazy events. The luge scares the heck out of me and I am in complete awe of the biathlon - geez, I am in awe of anybody who can cross country ski because it is way too much work for me! And then these guys have to calm down and shoot targets, and the weather played favorites.

But anyway-
I was in tears last night over the freestyle;
go Canada, go Bilodeau. It was a beautiful, beautiful run and it was great watching his reaction and the crowd go crazy and the flags. Rock on.

I didn't get how that last run ended up 6th though. He was tight tight tight in the moguls and FAST. With only one mistake on the arial, and the arial is 25% of the score. Yeah, I didn't think he should have shaken up Canada's gold (Bilodeau was fast and flawless) but 6th? Why not second or third?

Equally fun was watching my own athletes here at home get into it and hop back and forth attempting to time to the incredible pace of these guys in the moguls. I think I'm gonna have to put my kids into gymnastics to get their core strong and flexible to make up for our amazing lack of time on snow.

I 'borrowed' that photo off of yahoo.
Alexandre Bilodeau won the gold in men's moguls for Canada's first gold as Olympic host.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentines... remembering some of my husband's best moments

Love icon Pictures, Images and Photos
I am married to a great guy. Lets just get that out in the open shall we? And every now and then he out does himself.

For instance,

one year he bought freezable hearts (meant to be like ice cubes) and slipped them into champagne glasses, and had pink & red m&m's and filled up the bath tub with some kind of smelly something or other, and lit candels; he did all of this at midnight(!) and woke me up to celebrate our anniversary.

Another year, right after our fourth child was born, he was due to fly out on a Monday early. That Monday was Valentine's Day. Unknown to me he had postponed his flight a day. When I stumbled into the kitchen to start my coffee and get my daughter ready for school and my boys ready for preschool, my husband walked through the back door with a cup from Starbucks. "What are you doing here?" He smiled, handed me coffee and said, "making your breakfast." And he shooed me off to take a shower (if you've ever had an infant and a traveling spouse you know that being allowed to shower is the BIGGEST present ever.) When I came back into the kitchen my man was working over the griddle shaking his hiney to some song in his head. He had heart shaped pancake shaper things and he had added red food coloring to the pancake batter! How totally cute is that?

Another time he was watching a special on Santa Fe on TV and realized Georgia O'Keefe has done much of her work there and got inspired. He planned a weekend away at an AMAZING Japanese Spa just outside of Santa Fe. He wouldn't tell me where we were going. He conviced my mom and his mom to share watching the kids and off we went.

Last year my girlfriends decided to go to Hawaii for a week. We were not in a good place financially and I said no way could I go. My friend called my husband who cashed in some travel points for a ticket and I received an airplane ticket in my Christmas Stocking. I went to Hawaii for 7 days for $200.00 plus food.

Not too long ago we were in the car after a long day and the Sammy Kershaw song "She don't know she's beautiful" came on. My husband took my hand and sang every word to me. sigh.

More recently we went through a tough time. My husband could have reacted in any number of ways, instead he said "Stand behind me" and he took the brunt of it. No one has ever done that for me before. Waking up to realize I have my very own hero was the best day of my life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Polar Plunge Update

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me and the Hula Around the World Tour

getting ready
yes, I KNOW, it is SUPER BOWL SUNDAY and you are all ready to for the big game - we are too. (I'll have to post decorations in another post.) But yesterday was the Polar Plunge Va Beach to support Special Olympics Virginia. Wow. What an event! According to the news, the event raised over $800,000.00 with over 2,000 participants. I am proud to have been a part of that!

It was snowing, which was crazy cool because if you are going to do a polar plunge in February then photos of a bright sunny 30 degree day just don't do it justice. Nope, we had a snowy, icy, Nor' Easter making sure it LOOKED like a polar plunge.

It was my first so I had no idea... wow. There were athletes in attendance, carrying the flag, carrying the torch and they run into the water first. That was really neat and touching and good I think to remind us all that it is about them. There is a costume contest and contestants wore some fabulous costumes. There was 'octo-mom' with enormous fake lips and a floaty tube with eight baby dolls attached (a bit sick actually but funny) and beer girl, and the sherlock holmes detectives, and 'real men wear pink' man in his pink pjs and then full teams: one team was the Wizard of Oz (they won) and they were cool. One was the energizer bunnies and they had some 15 or more team members and they were funny. One was a Chinese New Year dragon - very cool. And there was a group dressed up as Pebbles and Bam Bam and even the dinosaur...
Our Hula Girls were very popular amongst the photographers and one of our team members showed up in an inflatable outfit that was just hilarious. She had paparazzi! And there are pictures of her floating around every where, lots of people took pictures with her.

When it was finally time to run in we had some confusion - about meeting places - and people missing and that really ended up being upsetting and frustrating. We missed the actual 'go!' which bummed me out. I wanted to be part of the energy surge. At that point I was already freezing and couldn't feel my feet.

The feet were an issue because since it was so cold we were required to wear shoes: if you cut yourself on debries you might not feel it and so on. We were not expecting this so I didn't have shoes and we had to go get some. I couldn't find actual water shoes so I bought flip flops but my feet were frozen and I couldn't grip them and they kept falling off and I couldn't get them back on and...

When we did run in I had my eye on the safety line. Because of the winds and surf our safety team (I think they are firemen but I'm not sure) were lined up in the water with a rope indicating where they wanted us to stop. It was about waist level and I initially wanted to run to the line, high five one of the team, and run back out. I made it to my knees and lost my shoe again and turned around.

the inflatible hula girl with friends, see our safety team leaving the water behind them?

I grabbed my bag and ran back to the Marriott. We had gone down the night before and gotten a room (our team captain traded in travel points so we'd have a room) and they allowed us to extend our check out until 3 and promised us access back in after the plunge regardless. They had the door propped open and we went into the pool area. My feet were too cold to get into the water (!) so I sat by the pool for a while with Tabitha who was also really cold. Eventually I thawed out enough to put my feet in for a few minutes.

All in all it was a great experience. One of my friends did a polar plunge in New Jersey a few years ago, and since we had snow, I felt like mine was just as good ;-). It is a neat thing to do, and the Special Olympics are so worth it. The atheletes deserve our support.

And once again, props to the SpringHill Marriott. It is a beautiful hotel and they were so gracious with the pool, and keeping out coffee, tea and hot chocolate! If you ever need a hotel in VA Beach:
901 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451 USA
Phone: Work 1-757-417-3982 | Fax:: 1-757-417-3983

(I believe there was a green hula skirt in there...)

thanks to DataXstream for sponsoring every member on our team

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans...

so I was visiting at A NEW KIND OF NORMAL

and found a link to The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans -
spent a little time snooping around and decided I rather like them.
Rethink Your Shrink!

I try to stay away from posting about my on going size issues. But like most of the women I know, I have them. And yes, every January I get on the scale and write my list of resolutions and they always include weight loss, and darn it, it seems that my body has found a new, 'normal' weight. Not one I like much.


I may be blogging about that a little more because I swear I'm going to be closer to what I think 'my weight' ought to be on my 40th birthday than I have been since I had my first kid when I was 27.

Consider yourself warned.

(oh, and I promise not to go over board and turn this into a weight loss blog. because it isn't. it is just one aspect of it.)