5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Children's Museum

The girls had an art class at The Children's Museum yesterday. We got to play and have lunch before class. Then, when class was over, we went to visit the glass blowers outside for a while. Kaylee showed Eric (the artist who blew her stegasaurus) all the things she made in class.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I guess this is what you call...

.....an extreme case of "spilling the beans."


I am shocked that the Indy Star online doesn't appear to be running any stories on Indianapolis Public Schools enrolling all its kindergarten students in full-day classes for next year. Every year full-day Kindergarten makes the news here because many parents want it but IPS hasn't been able to afford it. IPS says that the benefits are worth the $9 million cost of the program. They have aparently been able to reallocate some funds to provide the all day option this year. (And yes, for those of you who prefer half-day Kindergarten, it will still be an option. Apparently you will now have to sign a waiver to register your child for the shorter day and promise that you will make up the time at home. That floors me since Kindergarten isn't even required in Indiana!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Parent Hacks

Parent Hacks has picked up my post about the morning and evening routine lists that we made for the kids.


A grown woman is suing for at least $1.2 million for the humiliation she suffered when spanked in front of her co-workers as part of what her employer called "a camaraderie-building exercise."

A grown-up can sue but spanking helpless kids in the name of "discipline" is considered acceptable by our society. How can that be right? Don't the kids deserve the same degree of respect?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

School Art Show

Keithen had a piece of artwork that was chosen to be shown in the school art show tonight. All 11 elementary schools in the district displayed the best pieces by their students. There were really some wonderful creations from each school. (One school even created an entire 3-D pond scene with swans, rabbits, squirrels, frogs, flowers, etc!) What an honor for Keithen to be included! (And we had the added nice bonus of getting to meet the art teacher at the school he will attend next school year.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

No child left behind...academically....but what about health-wise?

The No Child Left Behind initiative has spurred schools to work harder to make sure that students learn the basics.....reading, writing and artithmatic. But what about helping our children achieve the goals of being healthy and physically fit? I think that the special areas like art, music and physical education may very well be getting short-changed in many schools.

At my son's elementary school, students are in class from 8:35 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Once you add on transportation time at the beginning and end of the day, that makes for a long day! (My son gets on the bus at about 8:10 a.m. and arrives home around 3:50 p.m. We live about 2 minutes from school by car.) With homework, chores, meals and bedtimes, not a lot of time is left during the week for kids to play and exercise at home. PE is taught in rotation with art and music at our school, so depending on where they are in the rotation, the students only have PE once or twice a week. Other than that, there is a short recess period once a day.

I was shocked to learn that Illinois is the only state requiring PE classes every day from kindergarten through high school. Alabama requires daily PE classes until eighth grade. Several other states are working on developing standards for health and PE programs.

I think that daily PE classes would be a great thing. Children need exercise. I really don't think it's normal to make elementary school aged kids to sit still all day long in a classroom. Not only would daily PE classes help them to develop good habits, but I also think that getting more exercise during the school day might help some kids be able to focus and concentrate better to learn in class.

Sunflower playhouse

A friend of ours recently posted a pictures of the sunflower playhouse she is planning. It sounds like a really neat idea. I am going to try to talk Matt into growing one for our kids in the backyard.



Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ruby's first soccer practice

Keithen actually took several of these pictures while I was helping Ruby. She was unsure about some of it. She didn't want to pair with another child to pass the ball back and forth. She LOVED dribbling through the cones and kicking a goal though. I think she did that drill 7 or 8 times!

Weekend soccer practice - Keithen

Kaylee and Ruby blew bubbles while Keithen practiced.
The teams got their shirts today. Keithen's team is blue this time.

Keithen got some time in as goalie today. I think this is still his favorite position. I am seeing him work a lot harder at offense now though as well. He did a nice job moving the ball when they split up to scrimmage.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Leafy Dragon Seahorse - by Keithen

What'll we do at the zoo?

We let our zoo membership expire about 2 years ago. I finally got motivated to purchase a membership again a couple of weeks ago. (Thank you tax refund!) Keithen had a half-day of school today, so the kids and I headed out to the zoo after school.

Since we were only there for the last couple of hours, we didn't get to see a dolphin show, but we did get to visit the dome and see them swimming around. It is really neat to see the swimming all around you in the new pool.

The seahorses were a big hit. (I'll share a drawing Keithen did as soon as I get it scanned.) There were artists all over the waters area today and it was fun to watch them working! I was disappointed that the shark tanks are closed right now. Evidently they are re-doing that area and it won't reopen for several months.

The walrus was really ready to put on a show today. He kept swimming right up against the side of the glass in front of people and actually pressing his face and body against it.

Kaylee instantly knew that the big blue bird in the Amazon area was a macaw (thank you Diego). She also stood in a cast of an elephant's foot to show how little she is next to the elephant.

7 years ago today...how our schools have changed

Seven years ago today, I held my newborn and wept as I watched terrified students and teachers running away from Columbine High School. Today, I'm nagging my 7 year old son to finish up his homework in time to catch the school bus. I've just registered my 5 year old for Kindergarten. I can't help but think of the immense grief and anger the families of the murdered students and teacher must still feel to this day. I can only begin to imagine the terror in a parent's heart to see that scene played out at their own child's school.

My son's school wasn't even built yet in 1999. I'm grateful for the attention they have payed to security in the design of our school building. Everyone who enters the school has to pass through the front office in order to get in. All other exterior doors are locked during the school day. I remembr feeling very reassured by that detail the first time I visited the school for a tour. The Kindergarten classrooms are placed near the front entrance and all Kindergarten students could easily exit the building through an external door. When they leave the classroom, the teachers carry walkie-talkies with them so they can communicate. These are just a few of the things that have helped to make our school a safer place.

Sadly, the steps that have been taken to protect our students in their schools have made school so different than when we were children ourselves. I remember my mother walking me to my classroom when I was in Kindergarten. It must have been nice for her to have that opportunity for daily contact with my teacher, as well as some of the other parents.

I remember having free time to play before school with my friends. Now, all car riders wait in the lobby for a bell and go through the doors without a parent's hand to hold. Bus riders must stay on the bus until they are all dismissed to enter the building. That early morning social time which allowed us to "get the wiggles and giggles out" doesn't exhist any more. If you pick your child up after school, now they meet you in front of the building. There is no longer an opportunity to walk through the building and see what kind of artwork the children have on display or ask the teacher how the day went.

I remember so many parents coming to school to help out with class plays and holiday parties when I was a grade schooler. Now, anyone who wants to volunteer in the classroom or chaperone field trips must have a background check on file with the office in advance. I remember all kinds of amazing home-baked goodies being brought in for holidays and birthdays. Today, all snacks provided for class parties must be store bought.

I honestly don't know if all of this is truely progress or not. It seems like there has been a price to pay to insure our students' safety in their school environment. It's certainly reassuring to be able to send our children off to school and know they will be kept safe. But I also can't help grieve some of the things they are missing out on because of all the changes that have been maade to protect them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What the girls do during Keithen's practice

Soccer Practice

Practicing hard.

One week until the first game.

Shot on goal!

Victory dance!

More homework!

The first thing Kaylee wanted to do on Tuesday morning was more of her workbook that they gave her at Kindergarten Round Up. She did four more pages, including drawing our house and writing our address. She had to go outside and sit on the sidewalk to check out the house when she drew it. While Kaylee was busy with that, Ruby practiced writing her name.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kindergarten Roundup

Tonight was Kindergarten Roundup. Kaylee is signed up for half-day Kindergarten and we are hoping she'll get into the morning class. She wasn't too sure about going to school at first. When we got there, Mrs. Wright gave her a homework packet that she is supposed to turn in when school starts in July. That was when she started to get excited. She told me, "I'm not going to be like Keithen. When I get homework, I'm going to do it right away!" Then as soon as we got home, she started working on her packet. (The picture is her working on a page where she had to draw the correct number of flowers in some flower pots.) It looks like she'll probably have Mrs. Servizzi as her teacher. We should get a letter in a few weeks confirming if we got our choice of AM class and stating her teacher's name.

Fire Safety Class

The girls went to a free fire safety class at Broadripple Park today. Mrs. Jamie was the teacher. She is the same firefighter who taught the class the many times Keithen took it when he was little. This time she brought along firefighter Eric to help her and then a whole group of firefighters came and brought a firetruck! The kids got to climb through the back of the truck and sit up front then test out the headsets that they use to communicate on the truck. (Note that Kaylee is holding her Princess Wand in the firetruck.) Three other girls from ballet class were in the fire safety class. Ruby and Marissa stuck together and held hands a lot...they were very sweet to watch.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Weekend

Kaylee and Ruby got a new pink and purple bike! It even has a seat on the back for their baby dolls to ride in.
Keithen got a new green and blue bike as well, but there are no pictures yet!

The Dollar cousins - all ready to find their loot!

Three happy egg hunting kids!

Ruby loved blowing bubbles at Grandpa and Uncle Eric.