Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Career Day

This week I presented at career day at my daughter's school.



I'd heard about Abby who decided to submit her name for career day at her daughter's school last year.   She blogged about it, and said what a great experience it was.  When I heard the story, I said to my husband, "I want to do that!"  But when the form for career day came home, I chickened out and put it in my husband's pile.

But he remembered!  He made a photocopy and submitted a form for both of us, listing my career as "Homemaker".  I've been excited and terrified ever since, even though the school was awesome and welcoming to me.  I somehow felt like I was bucking the system, which always makes me uncomfortable.

But the day came, and I had a GREAT time!  The kids were fun and supportive, and I never ran out of things to say.  I was talking to 3-6th graders, so after introducing myself, I gave a tiny history of the women at home and in the workplace, and told them I feel lucky about the amount of choice I have in what I could do.  We talked a lot about how many roles a homemaker fills, and how I've had to keep learning to know how to do everything I need to, even though I already had my engineering degree.  I told them the most important thing I learned in school is How To Learn.

I had the kids list skills they thought a mother needed on the board.  (One girls shot her hand up and said, "Distracting the kids so that you can get something done!"  I laughed all day about that one.)  Then I put up a poster of all the roles my kids had helped me think of that I do.  Here's the list:

Nanny
Chef
Launderer
Nurse
Stylist
Barber
Chauffeur
House Cleaner
Teacher/Tutor
Alarm Clock
Therapist
Historian
Photographer
Party Planner
Secretary
Pet Groomer
Seamstress
Scholar
Handyman
Advocate
Decorator
Gardener
Personal Shopper
Fashion Consultant
Tax Preparer
Motivational Speaker
Volunteer 
Personal Assistant
Story Teller
Playmate
Auto Mechanic
Scout Leader
Arbitrator
Music Teacher
Concierge
Political Activist
Coach
Accountant
Computer Tech

Then we talked about organizing your time to fit it all in, and I did the time management demo where you fill a jar with big medium and little tasks (I used a 1 qt jar, ping pong balls, marbles, and wheat).  To get them all to fit, you have to put the big ones in first.  I talked to them about how in real life the big tasks weren't just the ones that take the longest, but might be the ones that are just more important, like being there to listen to a child that's had a traumatic day.  

We also talked about how a lot of what I do is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  As soon as you're finished, you have to start over.  But the tedious parts are what we endure to have the good stuff.

I ended by telling them that I think the family is the most important unit to keeping a stable society and country, and that I get to help by doing my best with my family.  I ended by saying, "I love my job."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Stress Relief and Happiness

Here's one more article that shows how knitting and doing other fiber arts reduces stress. I like this quote:

 "Textile handcraft making was associated with the greatest mood repair, increases in positive, decreases in negative mood," she tells KNAU. "People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’."

 I think there is something about "creating" that brings joy. There is not only satisfaction, but a deeper happiness that comes with making something that wasn't there before.

 I once read Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series, and that was a theme in the books that I appreciated.   Whenever they wanted to drive away the enemy, the simplest act of creation would work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

School still isn't out!

The kids are dying because they still have to go to school.  Now we're paying for a school district that mandates a lot of days in class combined with all the glorious snow days of the winter.

We're still having fun, though, and there have been beautiful days mixed in with the humid hot ones.


 Iliana finished up Crew with a chance to race in a 4 person JV boat.  That's a big deal! She did really great this year.



Adelaide had her orchestra concert and got to show off what's she's learned this year on the violin.


And then we had Memorial Day weekend and Mark's birthday!  We had his birthday artichokes early, as house guests were on their way.  It was a beautiful evening to eat outside!


Ellie designed and made this T-shirt for Mark.  She's gotten really good at graphic design in her class at school.

Opening Presents


Dane decided to help make blowing out the candles more exciting!  We would have put one more candles, but they don't stick into pie crust very well!


On Saturday, we war thrilled to have our Utah friends the Huntzingers come to visit!  On Sunday after church, we went to Manassas, site of the first and second battles of Bull Run or battles of Manassas, depending on whether you're from the North or the south.  Manassas is a beautiful place, but very sobering.



We were covered in ticks afterwards, and we even stayed on the mowed areas.  Ugh!



Here are the kids on the stonewall Jackson statue.  It's pretty sad; after all his courage, he was hit by friendly fire, then died of pneumonia a week later.

On Memorial Day itself, Mark's birthday, we participated as a family in the inaugural Baden Powel History of Scouting hike in downtown DC.

At the FDR memorial.

We signed up and got a packet, then had to follow clues all over town and through various monuments.

Hiking along the tidal basin.
 If you did the hike perfectly and never had to search for clues, the hike would have been 7.2 miles.  That's a big "if" because we had several places where we had to search for the clues.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
If you completed the whole hike and filled in at least 18 of the 21 answers correctly, you could earn a limited edition patch and a medal.

Washington Monument, finally free of scaffolding!

Iliana with the Lincoln memorial in the background.

We did various things at different stops, like using semaphore flags to make our initials


WW II Memorial: One star for every 100 soldiers who died.
 Many of the monuments were decorated with memorials to the fallen soldiers of many wars.


Somewhere mid-day in the heat and with sore feet, we started planning ahead, thinking that we couldn't expect Dane to do the whole thing.


DAR Constitution hall
 It was really cool also to see so many scouts all over the city!

Boy Scout Memorial


We got trapped on the wrong side of Pennsylvania avenue by a parade, but we weren't too upset.  The kids needed a rest, and the parade was really cool!



We crossed back over and started working our way further east with the clues.  Dane didn't want to give up, he wanted to earn his medal, so we plowed ahead.

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial


At this point, Dane helped me soak both our neckerchiefs in the water to help cool us off!


Here a clue led us to a place to replenish our water.  Pfew!



After finally finishing the hike, we found out we had to walk further to the spy museum to get our patches and medals!  Those kids truly earned their awards!



We walked back from the museum to the Washington Monument and let Mark and Drake go get the car for us.  It was a great, and tiring day.

A few more events from the last couple of weeks.


Adelaide did a plant experiment with her class.  These are her lima bean plants.  The one on the left was put in a dark closet, the one on the right in a window.  Pretty cool!

Last weekend, Dane had a graduation ceremony to move from Tiger Cub Scouts to Wolf Cubs.  He took it all very seriously.

Crossing the bridge to Wolves

Getting his new neckerchief.

Dane's Den
After the ceremony, we had a potluck dinner.  I asked Dane if he needed help dishing up his food, and his said, "I'm fine Mom!  I'm a Wolf now!"


And some more parent bragging moments:  I was walking down the hall at the high school and saw this banner.  Ellie is in the Crew picture in the top center.  I've never thought I'd have a child on a sports banner in the high school hallway!


And in the elementary school newsletter, I found this listing for in the Virginia Run Olympiad. Dane did the flexed arm hang (like hanging at the top of a chin-up) for 71 seconds!  Wow!  He didn't even tell me that he won!



I also got to go to the High School Awards assembly and see Iliana get the award for best student in Computer Graphics I.  Like her dad and Grandpa, she assures me that it doesn't mean anything, but I think it's really cool!  She has produced some amazing graphic art this year.



Last Saturday, I got to go along with Drake and the 8th grade to King's Dominion, a local amusement park.  It was a beautiful day, and Drake had fun with the girls who all really seem like him.


They had some crazy rides.  This is a picture from the big ferris wheel, which I rode just to get a brake for my poor head.  Roller Coasters didn't used to HURT.  There was one called the Intimidator 305 that went up 305 feet, then almost straight down, reaching 95 mph.  Most of us who rode it had our vision start to black out near the bottom.  Yikes!

The one pictured here is the Anaconda; not as high as the Intimidator.  Drake loved it, but didn't make it on that one!



While Drake and I were at the amusement park, Mark made a sign for the entrance to his Troop's campsite.  It looks REALLY cool!  On Sunday, he painted the letters to make them stand out more.  Mark painted the outline, and Dane filled in the the letters.



Later, Brandt and Julie and Andrew came for a farewell/Father's Day dinner.  It was their last full day here in Virginia before moving back to Utah.  I will REALLY miss them.

The boys of course had to have some fun.  Mark decided to shoot a BB gun at the empty can of clear spray from finishing his sign.  Drake decided to get out his throwing knives and tomahawks.  No danger in our backyard…

Boys will be boys.

Brandt and Julie

After dinner, we opened cards and presents.


Father's Day Cherry Pie

Mark got a replacement for his long-missing 10" crescent wrench, and a 12" one too, just so it wasn't lonely.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Beautiful Weekend Part 2

On Saturday, we had planned to have an outing to the Claude Moore Colonial Farm's Spring Market Faire.  We didn't finish the car repairs and mowing in time, so we stopped in after church to enjoy the fun.


Dane did a little blacksmithing,


 The kids tried a primitive teeter totter,


Adelaide bought herself a bow and arrow,


And the kids participated in a  sack race.  Both kids did really well, but Dane won his "size group", then went on to win second in the finals.  You ought to see that kid hop!


 After we got home, Mark and Adelaide attempted to make Adelaide's signature dish (or signature joke) of Cheese Nugget Chicken Fries.  She made up this name when she was about four, but none of us have ever figured out what they actually are.  Now we've had some!


Brandt and Julie joined us for a fun dinner in the backyard.