Friday, June 24, 2011

From Left To Write Post #1: The Travel Bug

OK, so here's my first post for my new reading and writing group, From Left to Write. Hope you like it! As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. You can read other members' posts inspired by The Unexpected Circumnavigation: Unusual Boat, Unusual People Part I on book club day, June 28 at From Left to Write. something that interests me, but I don't think much about it. I'm happily raising my kids in CA, 2 hours to the beach and the mountains and San Francisco and of course, spending several weekends in San Diego (a.k.a my children's fav place) during the year. I haven't much thought about leaving the country on a vacation. Though, to be honest, I do sometimes think about visiting Hungary, where my Dad was born and lived until he was a teenager, but it's not something I'm actively planning (or saving for!).

However, after reading this month's selection this book, The Unexpected Circumnavigation and also
360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World (checked out of the library-not part of my group's monthly reading) right afterwards, I am anxious to travel! I have been bitten by the travel bug-and for several reasons. Of course, I want to see the tropical waters and the islands that Christi and her husband sailed around (I am a beach girl at heart). But I also want to show my kids other cultures, other ways of life. I totally buy into the idea that Americans are spoiled, we have too much, too much comes easily...I don't want my kids growing up ungrateful for what they have. Being grateful and thankful myself, as well as raising children who are, is important to me. That's why our family started sponsoring Kalab from Africa. But I really feel now that it would be eye opening for my kids to see the world for themselves, to experience it, instead of Mommy just telling them to finish their dinner-don't you know kids are starving!

I admit, too, I've secretly wanted my hubby to find a job in another country (for a year) so we can experience a new way of living together. As the kids are getting older, I see that hope slipping away, but who knows...I've been eating up all these blogs lately about families making a big change, moving overseas, quitting work for a year to enjoy a new life somewhere...sounds so appealing, even to me, a "responsible-lucky I have a teaching job in CA-feet on the ground type of girl". All I know is that I am starting my travel fund's just pennies right now, but hoping it will grow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

SuMmEr Schedule....

So this year I am not making big plans to have a set schedule.

To be honest, we are so scheduled and rushing around during the school year, that I like to be able to relax and I love having my kids decide how to fill the moments of our days. Play, play and more play. And some fighting here and there...they are brothers after all! But having them work it out and teaching them strategies to deal with each other is helpful. But, being the elementary school teacher I am, I do need a bit of a plan! (I remember making "lesson plans" for my mom and mother-in-law when I would first leave Spencer with them....anyone else do that too???)
So, I read this post: Summer Sanity Schedule and was inspired to have theme days...
Monday will be Library Day. We are in the summer reading program, so we'll go get new books and turn in our reading logs. We spent an hour there today after vacation Bible school looking for books and yes, playing on the library computers! Spencer, who is a big bookworm, just started getting picky with his reading. No more Boxcar Children, no more A to Z Mysteries...he wants more grown up books. We are finishing James and the Giant Peach together, and he and Daddy just started some Dragon series.
Tuesday will be Writing Day. I want the boys to keep a little journal and write letters...we have been sponsoring a boy from Africa, Kalab. We talk about him a lot, have his photo in our kitchen, but we have not been good about writing to him. I want to work on that.
Wednesday will be Cooking Day. This Wednesday I think we will make pickles! I found a recipe in Family Fun magazine that looks easy!
Thursday will be Playdate Day. I will set up playdates for the kids so they can keep in touch with kids from school, as well as our friends and cousins. Though we can have playdates any day, too.
Friday will be Art Day. Unfortunately, with all the pressure to teach standards, art is becoming a forgotten subject in school. So I want to make sure I do art projects with my kiddos.
Of course, we'll still be doing chores and working on our summer workbooks in the morning, as well as daily exercise, but having a theme will also give the kids something to look forward to (I hope!).
We made our summer list of activities-will post a pic later, but you should see what the mom where I got the idea from did this year: Summer List. I so want a BIG chalkboard. Where can I find one???

Saturday, June 11, 2011

HapPy BIrtHDaY, Cooper!

One week later...we celebrate this guy's special day!

Cooper, we love watching you grow! You are so independent-always choosing how to dress, what to do-we love seeing that creative streak! You love music and want to be a rock star! Someday, I know! You are doing great in school-all 4's on your report card (the highest you can get). You are writing, trying to read everything, and love math! This summer you asked for tennis lessons for your birthday, and you decided to play soccer again in the fall (at the last minute). I can't wait to teach first grade with YOU in my class. We are going to have a great year! Daddy and I are so proud of the young man you are becoming!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Summer Reading

So, what are you planning on reading???? The kids are signed up for the library reading program, Spencer is finding new series of books he likes (he told me he doesn't care for The Boxcar Children-which I loved growing up and he's "over" the A to Z Mysteries series).
I am excited to plan my are some of the books I plan to read this summer:

1. Some classics: reread Jane Eyre and read Middlemarch
2. some other more contemporary classics I missed: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
3. Parenting books: I am currently rereading 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know and I'd like to read Growing Grateful Kids. I plan to read 50 Things Every Gentleman Should Know to my boys and have the journal about it
4. Some interesting reads: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, The Paris Wife, Summer Rental
5. Bossypants-heard so many friends loved it!
6. Finally read Water for Elephants...finally
7. and whatever else comes up on my on hold list at the library...make sure you friend me on to see what I end up reading this summer
8. I am currently reading The Unexpected Circumnavigation right now for my new reading group: From Left to Write. We read a book that is sent to us and blog about it-not a book review, but anything you think about while reading. A cool site-if you love reading and blogging, check it out! This month's book is about 2 30 somethings who quit their jobs and decide to sail around the world for 2 years-and they only took up boating a few years beforehand. This book chronicles their first leg-San Diego to the Tahiti area and all the islands they visit. Very interesting...I would like to visit some of the places she describes, just not by boat-I don't have the sailing/boating personality...

I will keep you updated on what my boys enjoy reading, too. Please leave me a comment with what you are planning to read!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

HapPy BiRthDay!

It's my sweet Spencer's *8th* birthday!

8 year ago today we welcomed our first born-excited, nervous, far away from family (though they made it to the hospital in time!). I always tell him that HE made us a family (he loves it!). I'm so proud of the young man he is, kind, creative, helpful, considerate...he got all O's on his report card, earned the Academic Achievement Award at school, and his teacher said she was "honored" to be his 2nd grade teacher. That's my boy! And he's not even upset that it is pouring and cool on his birthday (hard to believe we live in CA right now). Happy birthday, Spencer! Daddy and I love you, and we are so proud to be your parents!