Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer bucket list!

Summer has officially started in my book...even though isn't it spring for a few more weeks?

Every year I make a bucket list as to what I want to do with the kids and what I want to do with our family as a whole.  I checked off 2 items today!  Woot!

With kids:

1.  Swim.  Swim.   Swim.  My kids love to swim and it is soooo refreshing.  I could hardly wait until the outdoor pool at the Y reopened for the season.  We went today....and have many more afternoons by the pool ahead of us!

2.  Swimming lessons.  The girls wanted to take gymnastics and PE class during the school year, so we were unable to fit in swimming lessons.  The 3 older kids started today and will be taking lessons for the next 2 weeks.  We barely made it there on time today...because my lovely 7 year old neglected to put her swimsuit on (like I had told her). Luckily a friend who lives near the Y had a spare suit we could borrow!  Major mom panic moment. 

3.  Beach.  We have these wonderful beaches with palm trees here in Nebraska.  You haven't seen them?  Huh?  Not sure.  We have a beach 5 minutes from our house.  The kids LOVE sand...so I can't wait to take them so they can play around.  During the day...hardly anyone is there, so we usually have the place to ourselves!

4.  Pick strawberries.  Silly, I know.  But I have taken the kids to pick strawberries for the last 4 years.  It is one of those must do events for us!  Hopefully the crop will be ready in a few weeks!

5.  Run.  For me and the kids!  The girls ran with me over the weekend.  They have a lot of work to do...but we made it a mile.  The girls are signed up to take track this summer.  I hope they have fun! 

6.  Visit the zoo as many times as we can!  We have access to 2 great zoos...one being the ranked as the best zoo in the world.  I would have to agree on that one!  Our local children's zoo has quiet a few fun activities scheduled throughout the summer!  We went to a few last year, but I am hoping to attend a few more this year.  The nice part about the Omaha zoo is that even though there is quiet a bit of walking because it is so big, a lot of their buildings are air conditioned!  Woo hoo!

7.  Waterparks!  That might have to go up with #1, but we have 3 waterparks within an hours drive that I am hoping to go to.  We have been before, but now that the kids are older and it is easier to take them to these places alone, my goal is to hit all 3!

8.  Geocaching!   I have a date on my calendar and by golly we are going to go geocaching...rain or shine!  Never been before?  Try it.  You will have fun!

9.  Spend time with friends and family!  Enough said.  We really wish that people would come our direction...but that doesn't happen very often...so we drive. A lot.  Part of life I guess.  But we are game for get togethers and play dates!

10.  Rest!  I am actually hoping to not over do it over the summer!  We can find something to do every day if we want to, but hopefully we can have many, many rest days as well!

With family:

1.  Bike rides!  It is getting pretty hot...however we are hoping to sneak a few in before the fall.  We have some great trails in Lincoln.

2.  Music at the mall!  Sit an enjoy local bads at our outdoor mall!

3.  Spend time at the lake!  We have a boat...but only took it out once last year.  Boo!  Hopefully we can take it out a bit more this summer.  We have a mini-vacation booked on a lake...so hopefully the weather will be good for that little getaway.

I am sure I am forgetting many, many things...especially on the family list.  Sean is planning on cycling around a million miles over the summer, so I don't want to overwhelm him by piling up things on my wish list.

Sans kids...river rafting.  I really want to go river rafting with the hubs.  Not sure we will get a chance...but that would be nice.

What kind of things are on your bucket list? Want to get together and help me check anything off?  Give me a jingle (or e-mail).  Have anything we should add?  Let me know:) 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My heart is breaking...

My heart is breaking once again this morning after I read a Facebook post about a little incident in a local middle school yearbook.  A kid who was the target of bullying was marked by his photo with an awful acronym...it went unnoticed by the teacher and was sent out to the middle school kids.   

My kids aren't in the trenches every day so maybe I have been living in my own little bubble for some time now.  I rarely let my kids just hang out with kids that I don't know well.  I am "that" mom who doesn't let their kids play with just everyone.  I am there pretty much 99% of the time when they are playing other kids.  I guess I just don't trust other people.  I don't trust other kids.  I was a kid at one time.  I was a middle schooler.  I was a high schooler.  I know what goes on.  I know what has gone on for the past...how many ever years.  It seems like "anti-bullying" has been a topic in many schools...you see anti-bullying commercials, ads, and marches.  I don't remember ever seeing those growing up.

I guess I might have a different view on things.  I am planning on sheltering my kids for as long as I can.  Yes I know that most people are thinking...shame on you.  Let them live in the world and make their own decisions.  Have you ever met a 2, 4, 5, & 7 year old?  Mine aren't the best at making decisions all of the time....peer pressure is at an all time high... especially at the older ages.  They all want to be accepted...what child doesn't?  They all want to fit in.  What child doesn't?  They don't want to report something is going on, with the fear that they will then be the target of bullying.  In these early years, our job is to
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6
I am not expecting my child just to go out in the world and know how to handle every situation.  They are children.  Children aren't equipped and born with good decision making skills.  No I don't make every decision for my children.  I am not a helicopter parent swooping and directing every single step of their lives...but I am there.  I am teaching them as we trudge through the trenches together.  I am training them...so when they do go off in this horrible world we live in...they are prepared.  I have already had to explain why we don't hang out with certain kids in our neighborhood...because of things I have noticed (bullying other kids)...even though my kids think these particular kids are nice.  Would you start a new job without the proper training? 

We don't do the team sport thing all that much...there are several logistical reason...but bullying is high on the list.  Don't tell me "your" kids are immune and it just doesn't happen on your kids' teams.  Every time I turn around I hear horrible stories about what has gone on when kids are left alone...yes their are coaches and teachers...but how can one person watch 30 kids...or even 15 kids and know exactly what is going on...while trying to teach, coach, or direct? I was a public school teacher....I know that it is nearly impossible to know what is going on at every second and what every conversation is taking place.  Please don't tell me it doesn't happen in your school?  Or your kid wouldn't take part in such an act.  I am sure many parents out there have asked their kids and their kids have told them this doesn't happen on their team...what child would admit it...knowing they should have reported something.  Just last week a friend was telling me how her little boy came home from a soccer game asking her what a rapist and a queer were?  Because his teammates were calling him that.  Seriously.  My heart just broke for him.   A few months ago parents left two of their teenage girls unattended at the YMCA's pool.  There was the lifeguard, my family, and a few other families swimming.   One girl was much smaller than the other.  I am assuming they were considered "friends" since they were left there together.  The larger one was practically choking the smaller one and was calling her horrible names. Being the "mean" mom I am, I intervened and the bigger one said they were just playing around.  I responded by saying, I am sorry but if my girls were playing with their friends like that, they would no longer be allowed to hang out with that person.

Part of the problem in society these days (as I see it) is that we are supposed to talk about our feelings. I don't buy that it works.  I know it is the nice touchy feely new age thing....because boys aren't taught to be boys anymore....but back in the day kids just stomped the bully...and then it was done.  Kids aren't allowed to fight in today's society.  Most of the time kids get punished for fighting back against a bully.  Well just a word of warning...don't hang around my kids...because they will be taught to do just that...and they won't get expelled or suspended from school either.  Yet another reason Sean and I would be the worst public school parents.

Off soapbox...now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 Track & Field day!!!

Our kiddos participated in the 2013 Homeschool track and field day this year.  We have been toying with the idea for a few years and it finally worked out to participate this year.  Weston isn't old enough yet to compete, but our 3 oldest were.  Over 300 local homeschoolers participated.  It ended up being a long day...but the weather was nice and the kids had a really good time!

The girls competing in a few running events, the softball throw, long jump, and an obstacle course.  Easton competed in a two running events, an obstacle course, bean bag throw, and tennis ball throw.  They didn't place in any of their events, but we will hopefully try again next year. 

This is part of my little group of 3-4 boys.  Little meaning 28 boys!  Wow.  Luckily there were three of us trying to keep them in order and some other parents that jumped in to help.  
We didn't get any pictures of Easton doing his events except for this running photo.  Sean was busy with the girls & Wes...and I didn't have my camera on me.

Easton and his team waiting for their awards!
 Easton's very first ribbon!
Katelyn running one her races!
 Jocelyn (center of photo w/ black shorts) running a race!
 Jocelyn doing the long jump!
 Katelyn working on part of the obstacle course!
 Joc getting ready to throw the softball.
 Joc working on the obstacle course!
Kate and part of her 5/6 year old group waiting for their awards!
 Kate's ribbon!
Jocelyn with her 7/8 year old group!
 Joc with her ribbon!
Can't forget about the little guy!
 Doing some of his own races along side the track:)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2nd Annual A Day at the Races!

For my homeschool meet-up group, I coordinated our 2nd "A Day at the Races"...yes I gave it an official name.  I should make t-shirts next year.....anyways, last year was fun and this year was just the same. 

A total of 26 kiddos participated and there were many little's just playing on their own.  It was a beautiful morning to be outside! 

I planned a total of 7 games.  If you are ever coordinating a similar event here are a few ideas...easy, but the kids had a good time:

1.  Kick a ball around the cone and back...easier said than done for a lot of the kids.  The bouncy ball (and tall grass) didn't help.
2.  Put a cone on your head and walk to the cone and back.
3.  Simply run to the cone and back.
4.   Put on a helmet and hold a spoon with an egg on it...with a partner.  The egg drops...so does the helmet.  Tricky.
5.  Four people grab a hold of the corner of a towel and run together...but they must keep a ball in the towel the entire time.
6.  Hide eggs in the field.  Each takes turns to find an egg.  After all of the eggs are collected, the team receives point totals for the eggs.  For example pink eggs might be worth 2 points, yellow only 1.  The team with the most points wins that game.
7.  Hide a whole bunch of random objects around the field...shovels, shoes, eggs, balls, flags etc.  The team captain reads off an item and the kids take turns finding the specific item. 

Here is a little picture recap of the morning events!  (thanks Donna R for taking some great photos!)

Me...getting the groups ready to go!
All smiles!
Love this pic of Miss Farrow!
Big kids helping little kids...so sweet!
Cheering on their team!
Joc walking with a cone on her head.
Easton doing the same.
Towel run!
Easton is so cute in his pink helmet....:)
Joc and her friend Gracie getting ready to go!
He found where a spot where he belongs...dirt!
Adding up the point value of their eggs!
Just running!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A fun day at Camp Oasis!!

On Monday, Camp Oasis hosted a fun camp day for homeschoolers!  Around 100 homeschoolers were able to attend...including ours!  Everyone had a blast...even though it was a long.hot.day!

The day was packed with lots of different activities for the kids to do!

 and me in the end....ouch!