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iceberg ahead!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I don't like confrontation...but a certain teacher, who shall remained nameless, has got me ticked.
I am getting ready to call her out on the carpet...
Or maybe the hall...
Or quite possibly the playground.
Anya's teacher showed her class of fifth graders...
Wait for it....
Titanic. The movie.
Okay...not all of it. Just the last 30 minutes or so. You know, the part with a bunch of frozen dead people, a wacked out guy who shoots another guy before blowing his own head off and then there are the screams from thousands of dying passengers as the ship breaks in two and sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Yea. That one. Because you know...it is SO appropriate as a historical teaching tool for a bunch of 10 and 11-year-olds. I guess I should be thankful they didn't show the modeling or sex scenes.

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Ugh.
So... I'm drafting a letter. Here's what I have so far...

Dear Mrs. F...
Anya informed me of the movie that was shown during last Friday's class. She described in vivid detail the last 30 minutes or so of the movie Titanic. I have to admit, I was not only surprised, I was sickened by your decision.
Consider this description from Focus on the Family's website PluggedInOnline.com...
The terror facing those left behind on the doomed liner is disturbingly realistic. Violent moments find panic-stricken passengers falling from great heights. Other victims are electrocuted, drowned or crushed by toppling smokestacks. A nervous armed guard attempting to control the crowd shoots a man, then kills himself. When the ship's stern is thrust high into the air, its weight causes the boat to break in two, and the rear half crashes down on people flailing in the icy water. Once Titanic disappears below the surface, a lone lifeboat navigates the silent sea of dead, frozen bodies bobbing in the night tide. A grim climax.It could be argued that calamity and death are central to Titanic's maritime legacy and should not be sugarcoated. But what's truly unnecessary is the script's considerable dependence on profanity, including numerous s-words, one f-word, an obscene gesture and more than a dozen exclamatory uses of God's name. Was such language really de rigueur in 1912?
Anya was quite disturbed by the movie. She described in vivid detail the portions involving frozen, dead people, the murder/suicide and the screams from dying people as the ship broke in two and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. It took a long discussion about the difference between movie and reality...which involved, 'Yes, it happened, but the people you saw aren't dead, they are actors' just to get her to sleep. I would hate to think of the children in your class whose parents weren't there to answer those questions for them.
And then there is the subject of children who have trauma-related disorders. While I don't believe Anya suffers from anything that serious...many children coming from her background do. Trauma triggers as simple as this movie often makes these children react in a fight/flight. Anya's sister, Maddie, may in fact, react very differently from the same movie. It is not something I want any of my children (including Nick next year) exposed to...especially without the supervision of their parents.
It's not that I so much opposed to you showing movies to the kids during school - although I'm not crazy about entertainment movies being used as an educational tool. Instead, it is the fact that a portion of a PG-13 movie was shown to my daughter without my permission. We have a very strict family policy of no PG-13 movies until the child reaches the age of 13...and maybe not even then. We have not allowed our 13 year old to watch Titanic...and I don't see that changing any time soon. I certainly didn't want my 11-year-old to see even a portion of it. Now, our family policy has not only been violated...her innocence has been as well. The most violent movie she had seen up until last Friday were PG rated Disney movies. It was that way by design.
I respectfully ask that a note or email be sent home if any more movies are on the schedule, so her father and I can determine if it is one we would like Anya to view.
I appreciate your cooperation.
So...did I miss anything? I'm trying to be the adult here. I'm trying to take the higher ground. What I really want to do is go into their school tomorrow morning and knock some heads together.
But I won't.
Honestly, this teacher is one of the better ones in the school. She is strict, expects a lot of her kids, usually has a high moral standard and engages Anya in a way I have seen few teachers be able to do. Anya likes her...respects her...and responds to those higher standards. I would hate for he to lose that.
Sigh.
Homeschooling is looking more and more enticing all the time.

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news from 9000 feet

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's warm and dry here...well, relatively warm and dry. Like the rest of the country, we're enjoying a mild winter.
Of course by 'everybody' I really mean, 'everybody but the people of Alaska.' Have you SEEN how much snow they've gotten? I'm thinking Shad was pretty smart not to follow up on the job he checked into there. A Grab-Your-Lasso winter may be about as much as I can handle. I mean, it could be the end of summer 2013 before all that snow melts!
But you're not here to hear me talk about the weather! I imagine you'd like an update. Be careful what you wish for! I have a lot of pent-up posts...ones that I've started in my head and maybe even hinted about on Facebook, but haven't actually done anything with. I'm liable to keep you here for hours getting caught up...consider yourself warned! ;)

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Alek has finally started basketball season, which means Blue Mama is doing a lot of running around. Not only does he have practice every evening, we have a lot of traveling to do.
And by a lot...I mean A LOT.
We have a two-and-a-half hour drive in one direction for a game tomorrow. See? I told you I should have been a taxi driver. Thankfully, Shad can go with us...which means maybe the kids and I can get some shut eye on this trip, because we are, after all, leaving at oh-dark-thirty for this trip. The game starts at 9 a.m. Whoever scheduled a 9 a.m. game, more than two hours away from home, on a Saturday morning, needs to be taken out and strung up by their high top tennis shoes.
In other school-related-news...
Can I just say...I hate fourth grade math? You can add fifth grade to that list as well. Actually, it's not so much doing the math as much as it is TEACHING the math...because, despite what my college degree says and my job description with CrossRiver reads, I really am a 4th and 5th grade teacher. And I don't want to be.
Well, that's not entirely true. I wouldn't mind homeschooling my kids. That way I could decide how my kids learn to divide, instead of having reteach my kids the nonsense they're learning at school. Call me ancient, but 'in my day' we learned how multiplication facts and just DID the math, instead of finding six different ways to Sunday to try to figure out the answer.
Oh, don't even get me started.
Speaking of getting started. I got an early start to my family reunion dinner last weekend. The family and I headed out to our first family reunion dinner last weekend. Some of you may remember the last time we were there and the reality check we got on Maddie's bonding. Thankfully, we didn't have a repeat performance.
Speaking of the Madster...on January 10th, we celebrated the 4th anniversary of her adoption court date. Actually, celebrate is a strong word. We mentioned it...and told her how much we love her, but we'll save the actual celebrating until the 26th, which we consider her 'Gotcha Day,' or maybe Feb 2nd which is her actual 'Family Day.' Of course that's quickly approaching and I haven't given much thought on how we'll celebrate it this year.
I need to get to work on that.
Maddie also passed a big milestone on Jan. 5th...and while I meant to post this big, hug, monstrous post to help us celebrate, I just didn't get it done. Sigh. That seems to be my lot in life lately. Maddie has now officially been with us longer than she was in the orphanage...and that feels GOOD! :) We've seen a lot of progress in Maddie over the last four years. A. LOT. But there are still some things we need to work on. Shad and I had a MAJOR wakeup call over the Christmas break, that I still need to fill you in on. It was scary...and sad...and I hope I don't ever have to see it happen again. Sigh.
Enough complaining for now. Let's talk about mundane stuff.
I just spent the better part of the last 45 minutes grating bar soap for homemade laundry detergent. That's what I get for watching my pennies. It took all of five seconds for me to remember why I haven't made homemade laundry detergent in months.
Which is why after this batch is gone, it will take as long as my short-term memory lasts before I try it again.
Excuse me while I go hack up a lung. ;)

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happy new year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My parents gave us a wonderful Christmas present this year.
Time away. It was beautiful. And relaxing. And now we're spoiled.
We spent three days with my parents, brothers and their families in Estes Park. It was JUST what our family needed.
I won't bore you with tales of roller skating until we couldn't move, or basketball games against our kids that left us feeling our age...or eating our weight in fabulous food morning, noon and night. ;)
Instead I'll let my pictures do the talking.
Of course, I couldn't take FABULOUS pictures, because some sons, who shall remain nameless, love to watch videos and look at pictures on my camera every time there is a new battery. And right now a $10 battery sounds like a bit of a luxury. So...all of the photos were taken on my phone. As a result, action shots are impossible, and lighting is once again my enemy. But I think you'll enjoy the scenery and get a glimpse of the beauty we enjoyed.
And if any of you are EVER headed to Colorado and looking for a great place to stay. Consider this one...it has ALL of the amenities that any family with kids could need. ;)



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My parents gave us a wonderful Christmas present this year.
Time away. It was beautiful. And relaxing. And now we're spoiled.
We spent three days with my parents, brothers and their families in Estes Park. It was JUST what our family needed.
I won't bore you with tales of roller skating until we couldn't move, or basketball games against our kids that left us feeling our age...or eating our weight in fabulous food morning, noon and night. ;)
Instead I'll let my pictures do the talking.
Of course, I couldn't take FABULOUS pictures, because some sons, who shall remain nameless, love to watch videos and look at pictures on my camera every time there is a new battery. And right now a $10 battery sounds like a bit of a luxury. So...all of the photos were taken on my phone. As a result, action shots are impossible, and lighting is once again my enemy. But I think you'll enjoy the scenery and get a glimpse of the beauty we enjoyed.
And if any of you are EVER headed to Colorado and looking for a great place to stay. Consider this one...it has ALL of the amenities that any family with kids could need. ;)




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all cracked up

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Whaaaaaa? She's back here now? What's up with that? Is she nuts?
Quite possibly.
Let's just say, I wasn't feeling the love over at the other blog. It was quiet...too quiet.
I miss the feedback...the comraderie...the real stuff. And so I'm back. For good. Oh, I'm still speaking, when asked...but I'm not pushing or promoting. I'm settling back, enjoying the kids, enjoying my work with CrossRiver and taking the time to get to try to discover what I'm really meant to do.
Besides, life with Maddie (and yes, we're back to nicknames...I missed those too ;) is interesting enough.
It's a like the tide. It ebbs and flows...most days are fantastic...others not so much. She literally makes HUGE strides for days, weeks, even months at a time and then WHAMO! She does something that blows you out of the water and leaves you wondering, 'Really, how much progress have we made.'
I need to be able to blog about that stuff...with people who get it.
So I've come back 'home' where it's safe. Where I can be myself. Where I can share the ups and downs without worrying if I'm hindering someone else's spiritual growth.
So here I am. Nuts and all.

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joy of adoption




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