Sunday, October 23, 2011

Get Moving in RE!

I really love my 5/6th grade Religious Education class. They are a group of very bright, and very spirited kids. There is A LOT of energy in this class. At first it was a little daunting, but now that I realized what works - we are have a lot of fun. We have been using Shelter Rock's UU curriculum "The Questing Year." I like it a lot. It is easy to follow, very adaptable and presents the content in a fun way. One of the best aspects are the "Energy Burners". These are breaks in the in session to just move around. Wow - these have been helpful. Today I presented the first half of the lesson and realized that there was NO WAY that the kids would be able to sit through the second half. I made the decision to just finish with the energy burner. It went great and played so well into the lesson. The kids moved and had fun while debating some pretty important topics. We expanded the idea and I think the kids loved it. Sometimes, the best thinking occurs while you are in action!

Gifted Program & Parenting

My two oldest children have been in the gifted program through our school district for quite a few years. My oldest is now a middle schooler, so it is just my middle son who is still in the program. Last Friday were conferences. I guess I don't always realize how we appear to other people. I am fully aware of the drama that is our lives, but must do a pretty good job of hiding it around others. I was talking to his Robotics teacher and, as there weren't any other parents around for the moment, we digressed into parenting issues. I had mentioned how J is probably our hardest child and how we had to sometimes "bargain" certain issues. The teacher looked at me flabbergasted. He was "really?" and I am like, "yes." Now I am feeling completely embarrassed that we have had to do that. Maybe others don't? Then he said, "well, that actually makes me feel really good." (He has a teenager at home that isn't the most motivated and I sensed that perhaps bargaining happens frequently.) Somehow the teachers had gotten the impression that it was all rainbows and unicorns at our house. I definitely have fantastic kids and feel grateful for them, but we are human and have our "moments" too. I am just lucky they mostly happen in the house for just me to see! I am glad, though, that I made him feel better. Parenting is hard enough - no one needs the guilt of feeling that they aren't doing a good job. We all do the best we can with what we have.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween & Sustainable values

Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Poseidon, Yoda, Athena

We love Halloween around here. There is nothing better then dressing up like someone/thing else. I am especially enjoying the kids costumes this year. I really appreciate how my kids are into making and reusing their costumes. Especially after beginning these sustainability classes at SLU, I have been really trying to reassess how we do things around the house. Husband and I have always leaned towards green practices, but definitely get lazy or "cost-effective". I would love to make a more strident commitment to our values and truly living them. Of course, we are human and perfection will never happen, but I feel I could be much more dedicated. A woman in one of my classes always is espousing the need for radical change. While I am more of centrist, I see her point. I need to get out of the middle and try a little harder. The future is worth it and I want to instill in my kids the commitment takes work. And that work has great payoffs. So, we will recycle Husband's (Dr. Doofenshmirtz) work lab coat, re-size Zeus's robe for Poseidon, Luke Sykwalker's cape works great for Yoda and Isis has now become Athena. Creativity and green-living work together remarkably well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Long Weekend

This past weekend we headed up to Minneapolis for a cousin's wedding. It was a good trip, despite the long drive and speeding ticket! Whilst there, we got to catch up with a lot of family (my sister), husband's extended family, and friends. On the way back, we stopped off at my mom's in Iowa. It is just hard coming home. I really miss being near my family. We live next to my husband's family and get along great, but it isn't quite the same. I wish we lived closer together and could just hang out more often, instead of quick visits here and there.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bible Study

Yesterday was my first Bible Study class at church. I was a little nervous to lead it. I am certainly not a biblical scholar, but I was hoping that we would have a nice dialogue as a group. It went great! So much better then expected. I am really excited to lead the class this year. I had five people attend and we had a very interactive introduction class. I asked them what they are most interested in discussing and from that I will map out the future classes. So far, so good!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast Day!

Daisy (aka daisychain)

Tulip (aka tuliptree)

Today is the feast day for St. Francis of Assisi. I have a soft spot for him. Longtime readers of this blog know that I became a vegetarian because I couldn't stand the thought of an animal dying just for me to eat it. Especially when there were/are so many other options. I have been a vegetarian for over twenty years and that feeling hasn't changed. As long as I have a choice, I will always choose to be vegetarian. What I love about St. Francis is that he was one of the earliest people to see the intrinsic value that animals have. They were more then food, workers, and "enemies". They had value to this world and without them, we would suffer. I appreciate him for that. So today, I will give my dogs an extra hug and treat and say a prayer of thanks to all the animals that have been sacrificed for humanity.