Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Edits in Progress!

Please excuse the mess...I'm working on changing the blog appearance a wee bit!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Question: To Hold Back, or Not to Hold Back?

Today, over at Birmingham Mommy, you'll find an article I wrote about the issue of holding back kindergarten-aged children:

Holding back your Kindergarten-age Child: Will it Really Give him an Edge?

I hope you'll check it out...but in the meanwhile, here is our personal experience with this controversial topic...

Last year while Nate was in 4K preschool, the director of the school asked to meet with me to discuss Nate's academic progression. Within moments of sitting down at her desk, I had in my hands the scores from a recent test he had been given. He had no problem identifying his colors, most numbers from 1-10, and even most letters in the alphabet. He was kind to his classmates, sweet to the teacher, and generally enjoyed going to school three days a week.

But as the director explained the remaining results, I began to understand that my sweet little Nate was slipping behind academically, in a major way. She explained that more than likely his age was one of the most dominating factors. Nate is a June baby, and the fact remains that because of this, he would probably always have trouble keeping up with peers who were born in the same year, but much earlier. At the young age of four, even just a few months can make a tremendous difference in academic, and social abilities.

The director recommended that he stay in preschool for an additional year to give him more time to progress, before heading on to Kindergarten. Pete and I really struggled with the issue, not necessarily because we didn't want to give Nate the advantage of more time, but more due to logistical reasons. When we moved to AL, the school year had already begun. I was frantic to get both Nate and Juliana into the same preschool, and only looked at schools that were close to where I thought we would be buying a house. With great luck, I found a terrific preschool that had two openings. Our plans soon changed however, and we bought a house that was 25 minutes away from their preschool. So, for the remaining seven months, I drove that distance and back home again, twice a day for three days a week. When the time came to decide what to do with Nate this year, it was clear that I couldn't continue taking them to a school so far away. If Nate was going to have to switch to a new, closer preschool anyway, then why not give him the benefit of the doubt, and enroll him in the local elementary school Kindergarten program. You see, I was biased, I had all kinds of faith in my little boy, plus, I spent loads of time working with him at home! Surely he could prevail!

We took a gamble, and sadly, it didn't work. Nate struggled a LOT this year. It became clear within the first two months of kindergarten that his skill level did not meet those of the majority of his (older) classmates.

I can't spend time wallowing over regrets, but I can make a difference with him now. We have decided to hold Nate back this year, to have him repeat Kindergarten. I believe with all of my heart that doing so will give him the time that he truly needs on his side to improve his learning abilities. I don't want him to spend the next 12 years struggling, and hating school. I want him to feel success, and to be proud of his accomplishments, not always as though he is lagging behind.

I like to look at it like a gift. And as his mom, I feel fortunate to be able to give him this incredible opportunity.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yup...Pete's Traveling Again.

Salsa and chips, salad, eggs and toast for the kiddos--it can only mean one thing: Pete is traveling again for work.
This week he's gone to San Diego, CA. For me it's time for some at home craftiness, a cheesy Lifetime movie, and as you can see, very simple dinners!


So this past Saturday we took on a little, no BIG, no huge project...

We decided to take on a little Bob Villa character, and freshen up completely overhaul our badly weathered front door 

We took it down, carried it down the front steps- that's right, all 1000 275 lbs. of it...let's just say that I needed a few breaks on the way to the garage.

Yup, we even made it a family affair! Everyone got involved in some way...

Funny, thing is that she actually did a really good job with that electric sander, I was super impressed!!

We uncovered some incredible wood underneath, it sure was purdy....I almost hated to re-stain it.

With all of that sanding, it got a little bit CRAZY dusty...I know, the dust cloud seemed to have settled a bit in this shot, but it was really bad!! That's right, that's me up there wearing the goofy mask- come on, a girl has to breath, doesn't she?!!

We chose a stain with a reddish tint, and I LOVE it!

Ahhhhh, and the amazing, fantastic, beautiful end result. Yup, to have completed such a cool project, from start to finish ourselves sure does feel good. 

365 Days-Agliata Stlye

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pushing New Limits

This morning I went for my third run this week. I've been bringing along the dogs, alternating them with each run as they both benefit from the added social time. But Sophie in particular, who is currently carrying an extra 15 pounds, could really use the additional exercise.

Feeding off of a friend's motivation today, I thought it would be a great day for both Sophie and I to push some new limits, so I decided to add a third lap around the long path that we've begun running along. Just as we began going the extra distance, we came up behind two women who were walking along the path. They turned around to see us and politely stepped aside to let us pass. But as I continued on my way around them I felt a tug on Sophie's leash. I turned around to see my sweet dog standing at a halt, and panting next to these ladies!

She raised her head up to them, and I swear the look on her face practically SPOKE, "oh please, oh please, let me just slow down and walk with theses ladies instead!!"

The two women thought it was so funny, and even offered to let her walk with them while I finished my run. We all had a good laugh and I thanked them for their kindness, but told them we had to be on our way.

"Come on Sophie!" I called. I thought I heard her sigh a bit, but within a second she took a slightly hesitant step, picked back up her pace, and managed to stay right there along side of me for the rest of the run.

I was super proud of her.

To finish that run today felt awesome, and I can't help but think that Sophie is pretty darn proud of herself too...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rainy Day

365 Days is Back...
check it out now!

Well.... I will try my best to keep her alive anyhow! Keep me motivated with some feedback!


Loving the spring weather, and all that brings to life. Today of all days, it's felt especially symbolic, and I am appreciating life in many new ways.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Bright Side

Lots of Ups and Downs lately...but I'm not complaining.

I started running again-outside, which has given me a new sense of motivation. I kind of like running somewhere, as opposed to running on the treadmill, which always felt as if I was going going no where. My treadmill broke a few months ago, and in many ways it was kind of a blessing. Now instead of running inside of my garage, staring at the concrete block walls, I run amongst the trees and gardens of neighbors homes, up and down the rolling hills of my neighborhood, and have fresh air filling my lungs each time I inhale. I've even started bringing along my dog, Sophie. She could stand to shed a few winter pounds, and she's loving it!

For a long time I was dependent upon the treadmill for running- it allowed me the freedom to run whenever I wanted. The weather didn't matter, nor did the time of day. In fact, I could even run while the kids rode their bikes in circles around me! When the treadmill broke I thought that freedom was gone. Then after a multiple week long pity party, it hit me-if running was important enough to me, I would figure out an alternative way to fit that priority back into my life.

So I did.

And wow, am I grateful for that forced change. Interesting how some changes, although perhaps uncomfortable, really do lead to more joy in life.

Happy Monday everyone.