Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turner Takes New York

Since he was little, Turner was always intrigued by New York City. I think it has to do with taxis...

He always wanted to know where all the taxis were (we live in suburban areas with out many taxis). One day, I told him there all drove around in New York. There ya go...

So, after weeks of waiting for the right chance, we were able to go. 

Turner inserting his Metro ticket. He called it "zivving" his ticket.
I have no clue, either...
One the platform in New Jersey. 

Aunt Katie was kind enough to tag along as our navigator. 
He enjoyed standing up while the train was moving. 
First taxi ride! He was a little creeped out by not being in a car seat. 
My view while I had breakfast in Central Park. It was the most
perfect day to be in the city: sunny and maybe 70 degrees. 
Turner found this huge rock and kept running back to me to get a bite of his sandwich. He was thrilled
when I suggested taking his breakfast and sitting on the top of the rock. 
More rock climbing. He loved the sticks and rocks...just like at any other park, anywhere...
Handing some change to the sax player. 
We enjoyed a short walk in the park before heading off to see a few more sights.
What's that noise? He loved that he could hear the subway! 

See the teeny tiny writing in the middle? In photoshop, it looked bigger. It says "Right Here!"
There we are, on the jumbotron!
Little Boy in the Great Big City 
Aunt Katie suggested Crumbs, and we more-than-willingly agreed!
All that walking was just too much for almost five year old legs. He crashed with
30 seconds left on our train ride. 
Our visit to NYC was just perfect. It was the first time Turner had never had the option of being in a stroller, even if just for a break. After just three hours we had ridden the Path, seen our lives flash before our eyes during a taxi ride, had breakfast in Central Park, walked in Time Square, perused the M&M's store AND Toys R Us, purchased way too many cupcakes at Crumbs and ended the day with some postcards at a super tacky store. 

It was fun! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The One Where I Finally Make a Decision

*I changed the URL to the link listed for our homeschool blog, click below*

Homeschooling has been on my mind a lot lately: to do it or not. Last October, when we moved from Florida to Virginia, it just sort of happened -the learning at home. It was just preschool and when I was all done teaching ABCs and 123s, the plan was to send Turner off to Kindergarten to learn with a "real" teacher and other children. Then I started reading: a lot. I have been reading for almost a year about public education, private education, progressive education and homeschooling: the pros, the cons and everything in between. What was the best decision for my boys, my family?

While reading I've tried to keep an open mind. What are the BEST parts of a public education (let's face it Uncle Sam pays the bills around here and public is about all we can do with three children)? What are the WORST parts? What are the benefits of homeschooling? What can I see being the downfalls (or, rather, my own pitfalls)? I have been reading and questioning myself over and over and over (Thank you to my friends and family for letting me talk it out!) . John must think I'm a nut because I decided to homeschool and then called the local public school to get a feel (over the phone?). After all of this I decided to send Turner to the public half day Kinder. I did a follow-up call and was told I'd have to bring him in to be tested to see what teacher he'd go to and stopped in my tracks.

What the what?

A test? Already? I get it. It's innocent enough. They want to make sure the class is equal, not skewed. What a gateway, though, testing kids before they've even made it in to a classroom.

I should stop right here and say this: I'm not a "go against the flow" person. I don't like explaining myself, though I might feel passionate about something. I have never been a "question authority person." I was raised to just do things, get the grades and move on. So, this makes me very uncomfortable to even explain myself.

HOWEVER, I feel passionately about this. I really do. My inability to stick to my original decision (though it's done now), was largely based on the fact that I felt supported but not really backed. Does that make sense? My friends, family and my biggest supporter of all, John, were saying "uh, huh, what ever makes you happy." I really just needed the "...and I've got your back, no matter how hard a day you have." When I finally expressed that to John he was sort of side-lined because he thought his support was enough. I needed a deafening "YEAH! I'm totally on board!" We have since been able to talk (he's still in Newport at "become a CO school") and we're on the same page about the goals of this home learning.

It's hard to go against "normal" (even though homeschooling isn't a fringe activity anymore). For me, it's difficult because I wasn't wronged by the system, I'm not doing it for secular reasons, nor am I doing this because I feel like I can do it better than Mrs. X at the local school. I'm doing it because I want to. I feel like this is what I can do for my kids right now and I want to.

Here I am: finally sticking up for my decision.

Is it a good one? I have no idea.

Will it be worth it? Totally.

I will be documenting our trials, errors and triumphs over at Oh! The Things We'll Know. For now it's under maintenance, but I plan to keep a nice record for John (and family) to read up on while he's deployed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ah, Newport in the SUMMER!

Um, er, fall...or spring. The weather up here isn't sure what it wants to do yet. It's very cool and I only have summer clothes for myself and the kids! Oh well... Despite the weather, 
we're excited to spend some time with John. He's in Newport, RI "to learn to be the captain of the ship," according to Turner. 

We drove from New Jersey, straight to the "hotel" (aka bachelor quarters). The room is split in to two areas so its better than I thought it was going to be!

We headed straight downtown for pizza and ice cream. The kids really enjoyed running around on the grassy square in the middle of town. 
How does he do that with his eyebrows?!?

Daddy, always the indulgent one.


Deacon learned to spit and kept doing it on John's shirt. 

Some wrestle time with Daddy.

Rest time.

John's yacht. Uh, totally joking....

Enjoying a chocolate covered marshmallow, after a dinner of pizza a dessert of ice cream.

I'm hoping the weekend plans include a visit to Boston and Plymouth, MA. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and the kids have already learned the art of bouncing off the walls in the room. There isn't much to do indoors with kids here on the island so I bet I'll be doing a lot of driving around! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Eli is THREE!

It's been three years since Elias joined our family! He is an absolutely amazing, spirited and kind-hearted little boy. He's a mess of a train wreck, passionate about everything he does (vehemently), stubborn and always good for a laugh.

This morning, I took them to Hoboken with Grandma to go see Carlo's Bake Shop. Much to Eli's dismay, I gave him the go-ahead to have as many cookies as he wanted and he graciously consumed about six (small italian cookies).

Last night I asked him what he'd like to do for our special date today and suggested ice cream or going for a "coffee." He looked at me and said, "How about we go to a bowling 'ball-y'." It was so adorable, hearing him combing ball with alley for ball-y. I have no idea where he came up the idea for his date, but we went with it. After naps Eli and I went to bowl our hearts out, bumpers and all. After about 20 minutes, the poor birthday boy got his finger squished and we were donezo with bowling.

In three years, I've learned a lot from this little ball of energy: patience and how to give grace freely. He can push your buttons faster than the speed of light, but his cheesy little grin can fix things pretty fast. I'm hoping we guide his zeal for life so he can become a fantastic person and a great leader, in time.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sick Week

Unfortunately, we've spent the last week sick. Just a bad cold, but Eli's turned in to bronchitis so he was a bit more miserable that the rest of us. 

No one likes being sick, but Eli does not physically know how to be sick. Turner would milk it for all it's worth, but this kid still runs a million miles a minute. Something about this illness really knocked him out. I'm not sure if it was the travel or what, but he was down for the count for two days. 

 It was really weird seeing him on the couch. He didn't eat for almost four days and just as I was about to take him to get checked out again, he munched on some graham crackers. 

I think we're finally on the mend, just in time for a warmer week and Eli's birthday tomorrow!