Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Accountability Project

I remember this time last year, sitting in the middle-school auditorium and listening to the PTO President give words of advice to parents as part of orientation: Make sure you get to know your kids' friends AND the parents of your kids' friends. Mixed in with other advice (more like warnings) I was a bit terrified of what I might expect in our freshman year at Middle school.

"We were also told in many different ways that this will be a challenging year ( I believe the term "wild ride" was used once or twice!). The PTO lady also stressed the importance of making sure you were involved in your child's life. Also to get to know all their friends. And the parents of their friends. This was the most important mission of the PTO.

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO! What kind of "Wild Ride" lies ahead????"

Fortunately, last year was a pretty smooth ride. This year looks to be a bit bumpier. Not so much at school but more so in our neighborhood. Between a few new faces in the 'hood and the boundaries of nearby playmates expanding, there are lots more boys, pick-up games of ball and noise filling our street. With all this additional testosterone also more skirmishes and incidents of bullying.

The Turning Point

This summer, after a fight broke out in the middle of a "friendly" game of Kick-Ball, the mom of the house took action. She escorted the fight-starter home and told his mother what had happened that day. As well as some other incidents she had heard about but not witnessed.

The mother of the "fight-starter" took disciplinary action. Once the flow of information started, an amazing improvement in behavior was made.

Making Policy

That day, a new policy was started. From now on, if there was an "incident of bad behavior", the rest of the children were responsible for telling a parent and the offending child (children) would be escorted home. There would also be a ban of a week until the child(children) would be allowed back. Any child that does not report, or takes matters into their own hands, will also be punished. Game over.

Meeting of the Moms

As new boys have entered the circle, the process continues. We are continuing to meet new mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers & aunts and exchanging phone numbers. The process works both ways: we also get reports on our children. While it won't completely put a stop to fights and bullying, I have noticed a remarkable improvement.

At first I was a bit apprehensive about meeting parents of the "problem children" but have been pleasantly surprised. We all share similar goals and none of our children are perfect. I love the fact that if there is a problem, I know who to talk to and conversely as well. It really does take a village to raise a child.

I am also finding that our children make better choices when they know they are being watched. And held accountable!

Dateline: Monday.... found a great article related to this topic:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Snap Shots

Happy Sofa Safety Week - Safety doesn't stop at our doorstep! We also practice Sofa-Safety in our house. Wearing a helmet prevents head injuries from falling off the sofa.

Helmet-Wearing has become 2nd nature in our family due to strict enforcement by Dad. Youngest boy had been watching television for almost an hour when I took this picture. I wish he could apply this kind of dedication to other areas of his life. (like piano practice & homework!)

I had to take a photo of my end of the season salad from my garden. It's a rare occasion where I can get all of these vegetables together at the same time. ( lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber & chives.)

While most of my flowers have bit the dust, Zinnias are in full bloom and are a favorite of Bumblebees. I took another series of photos posted on my photo blog. Loved how it coincides with Rosh Hashanah ( the Jewish New Year)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm O.K., Just a bout of CPS

Just a quick post as I recover from C.P.S. ( Couch Potato Syndrome).

I've had another relapse of sorts where I have been neglecting my blog writing, reading, commenting and Twitter duties. My brief, sad story is this:

A combination of being overwhelmed at work, busy at home with Back to School, and trying to adjust to the new routines that Fall brings, has turned me into a "Couch Potato" at night. Lack of exercise, stress, poor diet and hunching over a laptop just don't mix.

Back, neck and leg pain and the beginnings of a "Dowager Hump" is forcing me to limit my nightly affair with my comfy couch and laptop. I've actually thought about reconsidering the offers of membership to A.A.R.P.!

Bear with me as I figure out a way to work in some exercise while I ease back into the blog world. I feel so out of the loop and need to catch up with my blog-friends.

We have our annual block party tonight. Should be worth a post!

I'll be back! Soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Clothes Buying Olympics - Another Personal Best Time

As I had mentioned in my last post, my eldest son has been is dire need of long pants. He thinks he can wear shorts until it snows and does not see this as a problem. I beg to differ. I am starting to get busy at work and want to not worry about emergency shopping trips. Last year I had to make a run to Target and buy a new dress shirt, dress pants, tie & belt 1 hour before a band concert due to a growth spurt and poor wardrobe planning!

This year it took a few different attempts until I found the perfect technique.

Attempt 1: Mix school supply shopping with clothes shopping. Managed to buy 2 pair with a bit of cajoling ( 1 pair at Meijer, 1 at Target). This was done begrudgingly and pants were not tried on.

Attempt 2: Leave child at home and pick out a pair while helping middle son find proper gym shorts. Found 2 pair of shorts for middle, more cooperative son and another pair of pants at Target for eldest. Funny thing is that my oldest son pitched a fit that he hated the pants and then we discovered they were identical to a pair he picked out 2 days earlier. (he claims he picked said pants out under duress)

Attempt 3: "Kidnap" your child and don't tell them where you are going until they are locked in the car and on their way to store. I did this the other day.

I picked up the boys at a friends house and told them I needed to go to the library. After returning a book, I called my husband so he knew I had my children and were on the way to the department store. My hubby and I decided that we needed 3 more pair of pants and he told us not to come home until we purchased them.

I thought I had a coupon for Kohl's so we went there. In under 20 minutes, Devon found a pair he deemed acceptable. After trying them on in 2 different sizes, we decided the larger size would work with an 1" hem. As luck would have it, the said pants came in 2 other colors. We snatched them up and made our way to the counter.

Bad News : Coupon expired the week before.

Good News: Pants were on sale at almost half-off! ($19.99 down from $36.99).

Bad News: I now have to hem 6 pair of pants. ( not one of my talents).

Later that night, I was so over-joyed at my success, I hemmed 3 pair.

I am half-way done and will use Labor Day weekend to finish this task. I guess this will be a "work" holiday. How's that for irony? (or ironing which I will also be forced to do!).