Saturday, March 28, 2009

Summer's Piano competition

Summer has been doing private piano lessons for about 2 months at Art City Music Academy.  (because she graduated from group lessons.)  When she started, her teacher had her begin learning a song by JS Bach so that she could participate in the Baroque Music Festival which was today.  In her age division there were about 35 music students who auditioned.  She went in and played her piece in front of a judge.  After all of the students had auditioned, they called back 10 students to return later in the day for a recital and competition.  I was very surprised that Summer got called back mostly because it was her first competition.  So, we went back later in the day for the recital.  She performed  2nd out of 10.  She did wonderfully, but so did a few other kids.  One girl was unbelievably good for her age group and she got a trophy for outstanding performance.  And so did Summer.  I was so proud of her to make it to the top 2 out of 35 students who auditioned.  She was very nervous, but I'm sure it will get easier with each competition.  She is already looking forward to learning a song for the next festival.   

Notice: I don't have a picture of Summer's performance today because Rick's new birthday present has not arrived yet.  (Don't tell him, he'll be so excited.)  see previous post if you're confused about the camera situation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This might be a long one...

And I'm not going to worry about punctuation, spelling or grammar.  If you know me at all you know that it might be painful to neglect the grammar and all, but this is how I do it when I neglect my journal writing for a few days and I want to get caught up... I just type (write) as fast as I can and get it all out there and somehow it all manages to relieve my guilty conscience.

Today is my dad's birthday.  I took flowers to the cemetery.  Happy Birthday Dad.  I know, waste of time, the snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the deer will probably eat the flowers, but that all seems appropriate some how.  I remember a picture of my dad when I was elem. school age.  It was his birthday and he was out shoveling snow.  Lots of snow.  Every time the weather is bad in March I always think, "at least it didn't snow as much as it did on Dad's birthday." So, we can all look on the bright side.  And speaking of birthdays, Happy Birthday to Audrey's new baby girl born this morning.

Next,  My foot.
I went to the dr. on Feb. 23 and he said everything looked good and that I could ditch the ugly black boot and crutches (whoops, I already did that) and start walking on my foot.  His big concern at that point was swelling.  So, I wore a big, ugly, Granny sock and iced and elevated my foot daily.  I went back to the dr. on March 23 and the good news is: my bones have healed very nicely even though he was a little concerned because it was the 2nd time around on the bunion surgery.  Good, right?  Wrong.  The peace toes are still going strong.  I have been taping them together thanks to the advice of my roommate.  Dr. rogers said that was a good thing, but he was surprised that it hadn't helped the peace toes.  Now his concern is that if the peace toes don't calm down then they will have to go back in for surgery and work on the tendons.  That will require a cast and crutches.  Nice.  Since the bones have healed completely, his recommendation was to get out and run, jump, do backhandsprings, whatever I can to use the muscles and tendons.  hopefully it will strengthen the weak tendon and loosen the tight tendon and allow my toe to go back into a normal position.  So, yesterday I went to the gym and walk/ran 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill.  Today was 5 1/2 miles on the eliptical.  Awesome.  It hurt so bad, but probably not as bad as surgery so I will be back at the gym tomorrow!  If you find yourselves on  your knees tonight with nothing to pray about, Pray for my tendons.  I figure if you can beg for birthday cards and wishes, why not beg for blessings...

and speaking of begging for birthday wishes...I did send out a fun little package to my friend Leslie.  Leslie (and her sister) worked with me (and my sister) at AC for years.  She had a baby girl just a few months after Summer was born.  She now has 4 kids.  I can't believe how fast time has flown.  Thanks for the nice letter you wrote and thanks to the rest of you who participated.  (Janey, my mom thinks that you should have received an honorable mention.  I'll see what I can do about that.  She loved the email you sent.  Thanks for all those fun/nice things  you said and thanks for keeping in touch.  I feel like I still keep in touch a little through dave and kristen!!)   
And I think it is a fantastic idea to beg for birthday wishes.  it was fun to hear from so many people.  thanks again.

Oh, and pretty much the biggest reason for neglecting the blog is because, drum roll (use your imagination...)
I pulled my kids out of school 4 weeks ago and we have been homeschooling.  I have received all sorts of reactions from "You are out of your mind." to "wow, that is awesome.  I"m thinking about doing the same thing."  and everywhere in between.
There are about 100 different reasons why we did this, I'll briefly mention a little bit.
I have spent A LOT of time in Sierra's classroom.  first year teacher.  got married over Thanksgiving.  Hopefully she starts a family soon and doesn't have to depend on her teaching career for a living.  She was not made out to be a teacher.  I know they have to start somewhere, but my kid was suffering.  the class was out of control.  I could go on for an hour.  examples would include 4 letter words used by the students on more than one occasion of volunteering.  Sierra was just getting lost in the shuffle.  One kid in the class COULD NOT READ.  How does the rest of the class progress when there are non-readers in the class...
Summer's teacher got married last summer and was pregnant a week later.  She was sick every other day (I can relate).  She was at the dr., ultrasound, or home sick at least one day a week since school started.  I read somewhere that the average high school graduate has susbstitute teachers throughout their school experience to equal one entire  year of school.  Well, with summer, I think she has hit that by the end of 6th grade.  He teacher had her baby yesterday and so now another substitute.     
Then there were the horror stories shared by my visiting teachers about the bus.  My kids are on the bus for 40 minutes getting to school and 40 minutes getting home.  That is an awful lot of unsupervised interaction with who-knows what craziness.
AND,  I was thinking recently about my calling.  I have been in YW's for just over a year which means I haven't been in primary.  I hate not knowing what my kids are learning for 2 hours each week.  I hate missing the songs and the sharing time activities.  And then I thought that if I am missing out on what they are learning at church for 2 hours, 1 day a week.  What am I missing out on 8 hours a day 5 days a week?
Well, I could go on and on about the reasons why we chose this.  but, as for the last 4 weeks...we are having a ball!  We found a school in California where we got their books, schedules, outlines, everything we need.  We basically signed up for a semester of distance learning where the kids will both get grades and a transcript.  Basically, I am their teacher, but I have the luxury of blaming the yucky stuff on the "real teacher" who grades their papers.  So, we are committed for 5 months.  At that point we will evaluate the whole experience and make a decision for next year.  In the meantime we are just enjoying the whole experience one day at a time.
I have found that we can sleep an extra half hour in the mornings and still start "school" at the same time they are used to.  We start with math each day and just work at our pace through the rest of the subjects.  We are usually done by lunch time.  We have been able to spend a lot more time doing things like going to the library, going to a movie, going on a bike ride, and doing family activities.  It seems like I would be busier with my kids home all day, but somehow we are getting so much more accomplished.  It does require me to be very organized, but that's a good thing.
About the whole socialization thing...I don't really buy it.  I went to school with some pretty strange kids who were right there at school with me.  I won't mention any names, but seriously there were some weird kids in my school.  I don't think that homeschooling will make my kids weird.  They still play with the neighbor kids, go to gymnastics, piano, activity days, the library, the store, the bank, the post office (with me, of course).  It's not like we're all locked up in our rooms reading and doing Algebra all day.  I've become acquainted with some homeschooling folks around here and honestly I'm pretty impressed with them and wouldn't pleased as punch if my kids were as responsible, polite, and well-rounded as they are.  it depends on what day you catch us, but i think for the most party my kids are getting a long better and we don't feel so rushed to get everything done.  My kids used to get off the bus and I would have to crack a whip to get their "homework" done, piano practiced, jobs completed, dinner eaten, bathed and into bed.   We don't have as much of that anymore and I really enjoy it.
And, I really enjoy my kids.  Everyone says that they grow up so fast and I believe it.  I'm enjoying spending this extra time with them.  This whole set-up may or may not be permanant , but for now we really like it.  I think we are going to a movie on Friday.
Oh, and there are no pictures because my adorable husband took my camera on a diving trip to Catalina and got water in the camera and it no longer works.  conveniently enough, his birthday is in a couple of weeks and I think he will be getting a camera!

tomatillos are planted and growing nicely in the basement window.  I just need SUN.
Ok, I think I'm caught up for now.  I'll try to not be so neglectful to all of you.  I have had a few inquieries as to my whereabouts and I appreciate it, MOM.