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January, 2009:

Flashback Friday – Elementary School Then and Now

The school choice window opened this past week, and it got me to thinking about what it was like when I was in elementary school. Then it got me to thinking how incredibly different it is for my little Dude now.

On School Choice

Then: There was only one school you went to – the one that the bus dropped you off at. If you were Catholic, you could pay a bit to have the bus drop you off at the church so you could go to school. Mom signed the piece of paper that came in the mail when you turned 5 that said “Yup, she’ll be in kindergarten next year, so save her a seat!”
Now: You can choice your child into any number of schools in your district. Some are regular public schools, some are charter schools, some are private and you have to pay a lot for them.

On Carpool Lanes

Then: There weren’t any. It was called the bus. And if you didn’t ride the bus, you walked or rode your bike to school. And if you did ride the bus but missed it, you walked or rode your bike to school. So don’t miss the bus!
Now: Half the kids on the planet are driven to school and picked up from school. Dude’s school is brand new – only 3 years old. The entire front entry and parking lot were designed specifically for the carpool. And OMG don’t do it wrong or you’ll get an earful!

On School Lunch

Then: You took your lunch money to school with you every day and gave it to Mrs. TakeYourLunchMoneyLady. If you forgot or lost your lunch money, um, too bad. Mrs. TakeYourLunchMoneyLady told you to remember tomorrow because you had 2 charges already. You’d better sit by a friend who remembered their lunch money. Of course they shared with you. You only forgot your lunch money once!
Now: You are not responsible for anything. Your parents can put money in an account for you, online of course, and you just show up and go through the line. When your account gets low, you have no clue because your parents get an email saying “put more money in Dude’s account or he can’t eat lunch at school.” You have no idea how much lunch costs, or that it even costs money.

Then: You grabbed your tray, walked through the line, and Mrs. LunchLadies plopped whatever was being served that day on your tray, including a box of whole milk. Your favorite day was pizza day because it filled the rectangle part of the tray perfectly! Your only choice was when you got to be in 7th grade – you could choose to have 1 grilled cheese or 2 on the appropriate day.
Now: The teacher takes lunch menu orders in the morning. There are 5 entrees to choose from. If you want, you can even request doubles, because you have no clue that your parents are paying for lunch! You have 4 sides to choose from. And heck, you can even PAY for a bottle of water if you don’t want any of the 8 varieties of milk they offer, including but not limited to whole, 2%, skim, chocolate, soy, and goat milk.

Then: If on the off chance you brought your own lunch, you got to sit wherever you wanted to and eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Now: If you’re allergic to peanuts, you have to sit at the peanut free table and eat your sun butter and jelly sandwich.

Then: You got a special birthday treat on the last day of the month of your birthday. If you were lucky, it wasn’t the vanilla cream puff thing that made you hurl in science class.
Now: You get a birthday treat on the last day of every month whether or not your birthday is in that month. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad or left out now, would we!

On Field Trips

Then: You got to take a trip to Mr. Johnson’s dairy farm and learn all about cows and how they’re milked. You might even get to try to milk the cow! WithOUT washing your hands in boiling water afterward!
Now: You get to take a trip to the Air Force Academy and look through a ginormous telescope, one so big that you can see the actual dust on the moon and the clouds swirling around Venus!

Then: You took a trip to the sheep farm and got a lesson on shearing sheep. You got to see Mr. Jones wrangle a teeny tiny sheep, fire up the clippers, and sheer the sheep right in front of you. You got to touch the naked sheep and see how soft its skin was. You even got to touch the dirty nasty wool! And there were no letters written to the school on how inappropriate it was to let the children see an animal abused in such a way, not to mention that the children saw and TOUCHED a naked animal.
Now: On that trip to the Air Force Academy, you get to sit outside and listen to “Taco” tell you all about the constellations, while he points at them with a $400 blue laser pointer that actually looked like it was touching the stars. He would have preferred the green laser pointer because it’s better, but that cost more. You also get to click the mouse on the computer that controls the telescope so you can make the telescope move and look at Saturn!

On School Supplies

Then: You packed all your new stuff up in your new backpack, took it to school, and unloaded it in your desk – a desk that actually had a lid you could open. If you were really lucky, your mom bought you the big pack of crayons, the one with the sharpener on the back.
Now: You pack all of your stuff in a recyclable grocery bag because backpacks are not allowed in school. You take it to school and hand it to your teacher, who puts it all on a table in the room – the community table. You get to put only a few things in your desk . . . NOT including a pencil. Those are in a big holder by the sharpener. Your desk does not have a lid because someone might drop it on their finger by accident and sue the school district.

Then: You were required to do math on a piece of paper, with an actual PENCIL, and show your work.
Now: You are required to bring a $38 calculator to school to do the math for you.

On Recess

Then: We could go out behind the school and play whatever we wanted, including tackle football and tag. The teachers were in front watching the younger kids on the playground. We always came back, with an occasional black eye, but mostly without issue.
Now: You can’t play tag because someone might not want to be chased. Um, in my experience, it’s difficult to get chased if you’re not running!

On Physical Education

Then: We had it every single day. We learned how to play floor hockey, and tennis, and football, and basketball, and softball. We had fun days where we had “bus races” where you all lined up and when Mr. R called your bus number, you had to race the other kids that rode your bus to the end of the gym and back. The same people always won. Dan for bus 4, Barb for bus 5, and John for bus 3. I was on bus 3. Only John and I rode bus 3. John had long legs and ran like a gazelle. I am only 5′ 2″ now as an adult, so not very tall in elementary school, and ran more like a turtle in a full sprint. I always lost by like half the gym. I never got mad. My mom never called the school to complain that I was being singled out. My dad told me to run faster.
Now: They have it 2 times a week. Thankfully, they’re still learning how to play floor hockey, and tennis, and football, and basketball, and softball, and capture the flag.

On School Fields

Then: You could go to the school and play whatever you wanted . . . baseball, football, tennis, whatever you felt like doing on the PUBLIC school fields. You had pickup baseball games all summer, without adults around to ruin the fun and house rules. You played on the fields that your parents paid for with their taxes, and that YOU paid for by helping keep them nice because the school couldn’t afford all the grooming.
Now: The public school fields are fenced in with big signs that say “keep out unless you’re here with a school sport.” They don’t want you to mess them up and make the upkeep that much more difficult. Heaven forbid a kid and his dad go to the field to practice batting when the field might be a little soft from some rain. It might leave cleat marks in the dirt!

So there you have it . . . what’s your “then and now” about elementary school?

What Do Ghosts Eat?

While at girlie dinner with Princess . . .

Princess: What do you think Ghostes eat?
Me: Um, I’m not sure. I don’t think they eat anything.
P: I bet they eat invisible food, just like they’re invisible.
M: I bet you’re right, sweetie.

The mind of a child. I love listening to her talk!

Movie Review – Hotel For Dogs

Rating: PG

Run Time: 100 minutes

Went to this movie with Hubby and the kids last weekend. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised! Thankfully, there weren’t many scenes with Lisa Kudrow in them – she’s not my favorite by a longshot. The kids did a great job acting in the movie. Don Cheadle had a small part and was good with it. I like him as an actor and initially wondered why he’d do this movie, but it worked.

As an adult, you can see how the story is going to end before it even really gets going. As a kid, it’s a fun movie with lots of creativity from the kids, lots of goofy stuff, lots of laughs, and lots of cute dogs. Both Dude and Princess really liked it, and Hubby and I weren’t wishing it would be over 15 minutes into it :-) It kept us entertained. One of the best live people family films I’ve seen in a while.

Plot? Check
Plot Holes? Check
Decent Acting? Check
Cute Dogs? Check
Kid Imagination? Check
Sad Parts? Check
Funny Parts? Check
Happy Parts? Check

Best movie ever? No
Best kid’s movie ever? No.
Prime time, matinee, or rent? Prime Time

Any kid 4-12 is going to like this movie and the adults won’t be bored, either. I totally recommend you go see it.

If you do go see it, lemme know what you though of it!

One Word Answers

It’s MONDAY! I’ve never started a meme before, so I figured why not. Thanks to QT for sending me this in an email!

The Rules: Easy. Write a one-word answer to each of the questions below.

Where is your cell phone? Charging
Your significant other? Sensitive
Your hair? Clean
Your mother? Amazing
Your father? Hardworking
Your favorite thing? Family
Your dream last night? Swimming
Your favorite drink? Whiskey
Your dream/goal? Grandma :-)
What room are you in? Family
Your hobby? Sports
Your fear? Childless
Where do you want to be in 6 Yrs? Here
Where were you last night? Recliner
Something that you aren’t? Thin
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish list item? Motorcycle
Last thing you did? Exercise
What are you wearing? Fleece
TV? Rarely
Your pets? Duma
Friends? Irreplaceable
Your life? Wonderful
Your mood? Content
Missing someone? Always
Drinking? Sometimes
Smoking? Never
Your car? Spotless
Something you’re not wearing? Makeup
Your favorite store? Target
Your favorite color? Green
When is the last time you cried?  Today
Who will respond to this? Pam
Where do you go to over and over? BW3
Five people who email me regularly? Taunya, Hubby, MIL, Mom, Riana
My favorite place to eat? Home
Place I’d like to be at right now? Snowboarding

I’m tagging Pam, Mama Smurf, Leeann, and Ami. Play along if you like and let me know if you do so I can come check it out :-)

I Got An Attitude Adjustment

It seems I’ve gotten an attitude adjustment in the past 48 hours.

I was wondering why I was such a crab the past couple weeks . . . I mean, I didn’t have to get up and go to work or anything. I just had to get the kids to school, then the day was mine to do with what I wanted. Go to the gym, which I was annoyed at not making enough time for. Clean the house, which I was annoyed at not having (OK making) enough time for.

I have a couple contract jobs that were hanging over my head . . . I didn’t do them in December – still had a job and the holidays and all that jazz. I did not make time for them, which was a huge weight on my shoulders.

I was pissed. Seriously, I’m not that bummed about being layed off . . . it is totally the kick in the behind I needed to do something else that I’ve been talking about for months. But it still sucks . . . even though there were a ton of writers laid off, why me? Why not someone else? I couldn’t figure out why I was so mad about it . . . I was OK with being layed off . . . but I was still mad about it. Looking back, I was madder about it than I thought at the time.

I was having a hard time adjusting to being a SAHM. I’ve always been a working mom and wife. I’ve always WANTED to be a working mom and wife. I was pissed that I wasn’t that working mom and wife anymore.

Monday, we had a great time snowboarding with the family and friends. If I were working, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity when the kids had the day off of school, at least not without taking a PTO day.

I woke up Tuesday happy as a clam. Even though I got no sleep Monday night, I woke up refreshed and happy. Seriously, I haven’t woken up with a smile on my face for a long time. Not that I was unhappy, but maybe just dreading another of the same day. My tail used to wag on my way to work – it had stopped wagging. There was more barking and less wagging. Not a good thing. (See, the layoff was a blessing in disguise!).

In the past couple days, I finished those contract jobs. Woo hoo! No longer hanging over my head. And it feels GOOOOOD!!! Huge smile on my face from that one.

My house is clean. My laundry is done. And I don’t have to do it in the evening or on the weekend when I’d rather be playing with the kids and hubby. I saved $8 on my $40 grocery bill yesterday. That made me happy, so I took the kids out for dinner last night.

I reduced our membership at the golf club, so it’s $20/month now instead of $350. Huge weight off my non-income making shoulders.

I signed our family up for a membership at the new YMCA by our house . . . a whoppin’ $80/month. That felt awesome! I’m so happy we can do that. We’re still saving $250/month on the club memberships.

At the Y is where I realized I’d adjusted, after 3 weeks, to my new status as SAHM. I was chatting with the lady at the front desk and she was telling me all about the classes etc. that are included with membership. She asked me when I would most likely come, and I asked “When is it the least busy?” She said “Well, in about 10 minutes it gets really busy after all the other SAHMs drop their kids off at school and come in.”

“All the other SAHMs.”

Someone else had called me a SAHM. I AM a SAHM. I’ve walked around with a smile on my face for the past 2 days. It feels good.

It’s Difficult Letting Go

Ya ya ya – Dude is only 8, so we didn’t actually let him “go” anywhere . . . except up the chairlift with his 7 year old friend.

If you’re a parent of a kid who likes snow sports, you know how tough it is to let them go alone on that lift. Especially when the last time you were up boarding, an adult fell off and had to be taken away in an ambulance!

But, they totally impressed us . . . our young men did wonderfully! They behaved themselves, waited for all of us to get off behind them at the top, and met us at the lift when they got to the bottom, all by themselves. And I must say, they look quite dashing in their matching snow gear as well 😉

He’s Not The Hoff

But we had a great time at the pool messing around with my waterproof digital camera :-)

I’m Totally Eating There Today!

This morning while eating breakfast . . .

Me: Dude, did you check the lunch menu to see if you’re eating at school or taking lunch?
Dude: Nope. I’ll do that now.

Dude scans the menu, his eyes get huge and wide and he gets a big smile on his face.

Dude: Oh I’m TOTALLY eating there! I knew it when I got to the 2nd item on the menu!
Me: What is it?
Dude: It’s SALISBURY STEAK DAY! Yum Yum Yum! It’s my FAVorite!

I swear . . . only MY KID would get that excited about salisbury steak day in the school cafeteria.

It Was A Bit Windy

In December, we spent a weekend up in Breckenridge . . . we took snowboarding and skiing lessons. It was FRIGID . . . 9 degrees with a ton of wind to make it about -20. But we all stuck it out all day, learned a lot, and had a great time. I finally took the pictures off of my camera . . . the white stuff at the top of the mountain? Not clouds. It’s blowing snow! Makes me cold just looking at the picture!

Being Unemployed Is Wreaking Havoc On My Blogging

Ya ya ya – I’ll admit it – I blogged while at work. Every day after lunch, I’d take a good 30 minutes and throw down a post and check on some blogs. Now that I have to actually walk down to my office and turn on my computer, it’s not so convenient to throw out a post. Oh the crap is still in my brain, taking up space, it just doesn’t make it to the rest of the universe. I know, that’s very dissappointing to everyone 😉

Now that I’ve got my ducks in a row (i.e. the Christmas crap is put away, my house is clean and in order, my kids are back in school, and I’ve got my computer ready for home/unemployment) I’ve actually got a schedule of sorts again. I actually showered BEFORE taking Princess to school today! What a concept!

And now that I’ll be on my computer again every day working, I hope to be able to brain dump more often . . . I didn’t realize how much I needed that brain dump! I’m also going to start doing more reviews . . . like all those hikes I take with my fam . . . I was thinking how often I look online to try to find new hikes and good hikes for the family, but come up short. So we’ll see what happens now that my life and schedule have totally changed.

Oh – and to all you SAHMs out there – OMG you are SAINTS! Seriously, my days are so full and scheduled and over before I even seem to get started. The to do list isn’t any shorter . . . it’s just different than when I was working outside the home. Of course, you all know this already. I used to prioritize my to do list based on the date . . . did we have an after-school activity and when was the “to do item” due. Now, I’ve got all this time and this huge list, and I want everything done in one day. Not gonna happen. One thing I must say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE already about not working outside the home . . . evenings with my kids. Evenings that I can spend relaxing with them without thinking about work and when I’m going to make the cupcakes for the class party and how I’m going to get my hours in at work when I need to go to Princess’ school for a program during the middle of the day.

Got any tips for the newbie? Specifically – how do you prioritize your to do list? What’s your favorite “perk” about being a SAHM?