Monday, February 28, 2011

Texas declares indepedence

This weekend, we all went down to Washington on the Brazos, Texas, to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. My dad has, well, we have an ancestor named George Washington Smythe who signed and they were inviting ancestors of the signers to come to the event. Some of it was a little corny with people dressed in period garb, but a lot of it was actually really cool. The best was on Sunday when they did a roll call of all the signers and family members stood up and were recognized. We had good representation with 14 people from our side and another 10 or so that we met there, but some families seemed to have dozens. It was really very moving to see as well as hear the individual stories. The favorite part for the kids? Playing in the pool at the hotel with my sister. Figures.

All of us getting ready for the roll call (thanks to Frances for taking the group photo and providing the blanket that we stole).
Mom helping Meg play on stilts. This was part of the kids section that focused on toys and entertainment kids of that era would have had.
My favorite photo -- dad with a bouquet of meat as we got ready for lunch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

We did it!

So a few weeks (months?) ago, our town was considering rezoning our neighborhood from the elementary where Andy goes now to another about twice as far away. Both are excellent schools, but it would be a bummer for Andy to have to switch. Worse though, he would likely only be one of a few to actually make the move. The other kindergartner in our neighborhood would likely apply for an "in district" transfer and stay because he had an older brother in second grade. I could have done that for Andy, but in a few years, Meg would be coming along and then I'd have them in separate schools. I hated that it would split up the block with kids in different schools. My schedule also allows me to ride my bike or walk to pick him up and I wouldn't be able to do that any longer.

Anyhoo, good news, we fought and we won! Check it out. I even managed to get myself quoted in the newspaper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yep, he's ours

Overheard last night as I was making Andy's lunch for today:

"Andy, why didn't you eat your lunch today? I see you didn't eat your sandwich or your grapes."
"Oh, that's because I was too busy talking."

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Andy's school sent something home a few months ago saying that they'd already picked who they thought from his class was academically gifted, but that if I wanted, I could have him tested. I usually opt for things like that mostly because I'm curious to see the results.

Last week, the results arrived. They were interesting to see.

CogAT- 93 percent (gifted is 95 percent and higher) (note to self - figure out what CogAT stands for)

Reading - 65 percent (yeah, that one's way below 94 percent)
Math - 96 percent

Then we move on to the Qualitative where he had "0 areas" in the Standard Score teacher survey (he would need two areas out of five to be in the gifted range).

We did get a nice note that he's "not recommended for placement at this time.

I'm glad I had him tested though. It's interesting to see that he does have an aptitude for math, which naturally made Bjorn thrilled and me glad that he's got Bjorn's genes on this one. His reading isn't great, but then again, he's just started reading so it makes sense. I have known kids who were reading chapter books at age three so he's definitely not there.

Still, I really dislike that schools label kids with advanced aptitudes as being "gifted." Something about it doesn't sit right with me, as if the others aren't gifted, too. Course, it could be partly because my kid is just above average.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tube top weather

After two weeks with consecutive ice storms, this week has turned out to be gorgeous. High temperatures in the 70s, partly cloudy and breezy. Hard to argue with that. The water in the pool is probably still 40 degrees, but it's warm enough that I'm thinking of a time where I might actually get to use the back yard again. Jubilee!

Meanwhile, in rant mode here, what's with Texas's crazy conservatives these days? I find some of this stuff just absurd. So they don't want kids to have access to information on preventing pregnancy in schools and they don't want kids to have access to family planning clinics outside of school and they want to take away access to abortions.

It seems their only advice is "don't do it," but when that fails (because it will), then they want kids to also have babies, thus likely limiting their educational and financial prospects. It seems to me the best way to avoid abortions is to teach kids how to NOT get pregnant in the first place. This is going to turn me into an activist, I'm afraid.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Super Bowl/Winter XLV

Hey, did you hear, the Super Bowl was in Dallas this year? I know, right? Who knew that? It also managed to coincide with the worst winter storm that's hit the area since the local TV station started covering meteorology in 1989. So that was last week, complete with four missed days of school. Cue this week and we had another, albeit more minor, ice storm that led to another missed day of school yesterday. My current work from home situation is handy for days like that in that I'm set up to do work already and can target special Yo Gabba Gabba sessions for times when I have a conference call. What's less than handy is having everyone home and in my space.

We are truly lucky to have a great neighborhood though. Last week and yesterday, we called each other to let the kids take turns playing with each other and our respective houses to give each other a break and keep the kids busy. I knew Southlake had a good community and was really family oriented and in this respect, it's absolutely true. We picked right and it's so far been pretty awesome.

Several dramatic things have been happening in the kids' lives. Andy has had his first break-up with a girl. That's right, he's six, but his school girlfriend gave him a talk last week about how she wanted Bart (Andy's BFF) to be her boyfriend instead. It was rather crushing for the little guy. He's clearly not really emotionally sophisticated to get all of this, but he likes her and doesn't really get it, especially when the break up means she and her new boyfriend can play blocks together and he can't. I'm trying to be cool, but it's hard to see his feelings hurt.

On a positive note, this kid is really putting the pieces to reading together. My children's author crush on Mo Willems continues as we love reading the Elephant and Piggie books. I didn't really get them before, but now that he's reading them to me, they're actually pretty clever and far, far better than most of the other early readers out there. If you have other favorites, bring 'em on. I need variety.

Margaret is also growing leaps and bounds. She's a bootiful princess and prides herself on getting dressed by herself (some days) and wearing a variety of shoes, dresses and hair accessories. It's adorable.

Both kids are getting into bike riding, which is awesome except for the subfreezing temperatures here. Andy has a bike with training wheels and we love riding the figure-eight of our block around and around. He's got the training wheels on still, but I love to watch it. Plus, I get some exercise myself and I tote Meg in the bike trailer and we ride with him. I just love that.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The great Texas snowpocalypse of 2011

So we've had some unusual weather here in North Texas this week. Freezing rain, thundersleet and snow on Monday night created a frozen ice rink throughout the area -- too much for the one salt truck in town so school has been closed since Monday. I finally got out yesterday, Thursday, after several days and it was still icy everywhere, like at Andy's school below. Yeah, I think they made the right call.

Last night and this morning, we then got four inches of snow which has been a lot of fun as the temperatures warmed up a little and it's been soft and beautiful unlike the frigid teens and ice of before. All the school holidays have taken its toll, mostly on me trying to keep everyone entertained and fed. Poor Meg has come down with a good cold in the middle of this though.