I really liked this article:


One thing I think wasn't emphasized enough in the article though was the fact that parents aren't the only ones to blame. Parents have to be constantly worried that if they don't live up to our culture's view of what proper parenting is that we'll lose our children to family services or end up on the nightly news.

Our school district for example seems to have some pretty strange expectations. For example, I just got an email today for an invitation to a meeting about a particular program being offered at our high school. The first line was

"To all current 9th grade and 10th grade households. Attention Parents and Students:
Want to be prepared to compete in the global economy?"

Are you kidding me? My 14-year-old is supposed to be worried about her ability to compete in a global economy? That's after being told in 8th grade that having a 5 year plan about what they want to do after high school is essential to their success. I wonder how many adults had a 5 year plan in junior high and if they did how many of those actually stuck to that plan. I mean I'm not against setting goals, but this is over the top in my opinion.

They give homework to our kids in kindergarten. It's required by the district. Here's an example of one math assignment:

"Children like to be involved in making food choices for family meals. What are some of your family's favorite foods? Take a survey to find out. Mathematics Note: Collecting data helps children sort, count, record and visualize complex information."

They can't possibly expect Nadia to be able to create a survey on her own. So basically the homework is for me. What happened to 1+1=2; 2+2=4?

Anyway, this article gave me hope that maybe people are starting to recogize the weird way we're raising our kids now and that in the future there may be a shift back to something that feels a little more natural and normal.

School Thanksgiving Fun

At Roxborough Elementary they have a special Thanksgiving school lunch where they serve turkey, mashed potatoes, a roll, cranberry sauce and usual some kind of special dessert. It's a sort of tradition for parents to show up and eat lunch with their kids at the cafeteria on that day and I think I've participated almost every year since Andrea was in first grade.

Anyway, so Nadia and I joined Sophia and her friends for lunch. The food was, well, school food of course. But it's always nice to see my kid during the day.

Nadia especially enjoyed going to the big kids school. Our elementary is divided into two locations. One building is K-2 and the other is 3-6, so Sophia and Nadia are in different buildings. Nadia got to go to recess after lunch with her big sister and was in heaven as all of Sophia's friends paid attention to her and pushed her on the swings.

On Friday the kindergarten had their "Thanksgiving Feast" where they wear Pilgrim and Indian hats and they get to prepare some food. They do things like make butter by shaking cream in little jars, or pumpkin pie in a cup (pumpkin, pudding, vanilla wafers). My station was vegetable cornucopias - vegetable sticks with ranch dressing put inside of an ice cream cone. Cute idea, but I was supposed to let the kids help cut the vegetables - with real knives! Yikes! They didn't realize I guess that I am way too much of a worrywart to let the kids handle the knives on their own. So I just let them push down on my hand which was holding the knife. Funny thing was I think I was assigned the same station for Sophia's kindergarten feast.

Anyway, kindergartners are cute. Here are some pictures. They are from my cell phone so the resolution isn't the greatest.

P.S. Just in case someone doesn't realize this, when I post these Flickr slideshows you can view them in full screen by clicking on the little icon with arrows on the bottom right. Also, if you click on the slideshow itself you'll be taken to flickr where you can download a picture in its original resolution.


We had a fun and busy Halloween this year. On October 24 the elementary school had a Halloween carnival. The kids got to ride ponies and play in a jumping castle and go to a "Haunted House". The guy who brought the ponies let Sophia and her friend lead the ponies around for each other.

On Halloween I had an orchstra concert. It was a children's concert so all of the kids got to come. We played Harry Potter and a piece called "The Composer is Dead" that has narration by Lemony Snicket that goes with it. It was actually pretty funny. It was a fun concert and I'm glad all of the kids got to come.

Andrea dressed up all of the American Girl dolls in different outfits. There was Dorothy, a cowgirl, a balleria and some others. Sophia and especially Nadia thought that was pretty neat.

In the evening Dave, Sandy, Marisa, Avy and Max came over to trick or treat and Andrea's friend Sarah stayed with Andrea and helped pass out candy. We had so many trick-or-treaters that we ran out of candy even though I had three Sam's Club bags worth. I thought for sure I bought way too much this year, but I guess not!

Luckily by Saturday evening the sun had melted most of the snow off of the sidewalks so trick-or-treating was pretty pleasant. It wasn't even very cold. We had a nice time, ate lots of food and candy and played Mario Kart.

Enjoy the pictures.

It's too early for this, isn't it?

This is how it looks outside today. School was canceled. This isn't our first storm this winter either. I don't know if I'm ready for this kind of weather yet!

Later in the day:

Trying to make snow angels:

Nadia Rides the Bus and a Roxborough Hike

Nadia decided that she wanted to ride the bus home from school. There is not a bus to take her to school in the afternoon, but she is able to ride the bus home. It's a long story why I haven't had her ride the bus sooner, and I may post that another time, but for now I just wanted to post some pictures of little Nadia getting on and off of the bus.

I'm really pretty nervous about her riding. Both the other kids got on the wrong bus at one point in first grade and it was pretty frightening. But, she really seems to like it so I guess we'll keep trying it. Some very nice volunteers get the kids all grouped by which bus they ride. (Each bus is assigned an animal. Nadia rides the swan bus.) Then they walk them down in a group and make sure they get on. So they do try very hard to make this safe. Still, I rode my bike to the school to make sure she got on the bus and then rode to the bus stop to pick her up. Silly, but it made me feel better.

This weekend Andrea, her friend Shandre and I hiked up to Carpenter's Peak in Roxborough State Park. It's about a 6.5 mile hike with I think about 1000 ft elevation climb. At the top you can see from Castle Rock to Boulder. It's worth the climb. At the bottom we snapped some pictures of some fearless deer. We also saw yet another ladybug swarm. (Not sure what's up the with the ladybugs this year.)

Anyway, every time I go to Roxbourough I always feel very lucky to be able to live so close to such a beautiful place. I mean this is just a couple of miles from our house!

Oh and yes, I decided to start wearing a hat when I hike. I know it makes me look like an old lady, but hopefully it will prevent further sun damage to my skin. You know you're getting older when you start thinking that way. :)

Ladybug swarm

I promise all of my posts will not be about bugs...but this one was pretty cool. We went for a cookout this weekend at Mt. Falcon park. It's a high-altitude county open space park near Dave and Sandy's place - just up the canyon a few miles. Dave, Sandy, Marisa, Max, Avy and Andrea's friend Shandre all joined us. It was freezing cold and a little rainy, but we still had a lot of fun.

Anyway, Sophia found this tree that was just completely swarming with ladybugs. It was pretty amazing looking. Unfortunately I only had my cellphone camera with me, but I think you can still sort of see what it looked like. Very cool and weird looking. Turns out that all of the trees/bushes of this kind in the near area were covered like this.

Decadant American Food at its Best

KFC Double Down Sandwich

I think my arteries are clogging just by looking at this thing. Notice a complete absence of any vegetable matter (other than the flour used to make the breading). Now I'm not a nutrition freak by any means, but wow. I'm not sure I could even finish one of these.

Wild Wild World of Animals - Roxborough Edition

One thing I like about living where we do is we get to see lots of wildlife. The other day I caught a picture of our friend the fox taking a nap in our backyard:

For some reason foxes love this spot in our backyard for napping in the afternoon and I have lots of boring video of foxes napping to prove it. I can't tell for sure if it's always the same fox, but I don't think it is.

One day one of the foxes had a dead prairie dog in its mouth and it brought it into our backyard to enjoy its lunch. Well, I didn't want to have prairie dog pieces scattered around our yard so I opened the back door to try to scare it away. It did run away but it left the gross prairie dog! Yuck! Luckily it did come back for it though.

Our neighborhood also has deer, tons of bunnies, prairie dogs, salamanders, frogs and coyotes. There are lots of big horn sheep that live up in the canyon not too far away. Dave and I are also fairly sure we've seen some bear scat scattered around the neighborhood - especially near the grocery store.

Here's the not so nice side of the wildlife here:

We have these giant sized wolf spiders that end up in our house and garage at times. They're not really dangerous but they are very, very creepy. Notice in the picture that you can see its eyes shining and the other normal sized dead spider next to it (victim of the bigger spider?). That was behind my desk. Lovely. Try to ignore the dust bunnies. The cable is a network cable and that's one of those little bouncy balls for scale comparison. This was actually a mid-sized version of those giant wolf spiders. We had one in our living room which I would say was twice the size of this one. Not exaggerating.

I have seen this in real life on the way home from school.

A bunch of kids had turned over a rock and found one of these monster spiders with egg sac attached and they had coaxed it out of its burrow and somehow got it into a water bottle. The kid said he was going to bring it home to show his mother. What a lucky mom!

Now I think if I ever see one at this condition in or around our house I might never recover:

Starting High School and a Whirlwind Trip to Utah

Last week was busy!!!

Andrea started high school. Here she is getting ready to go on her first day:

She was nervous but soon realized that it's not that much different than Junior high. I wouldn't say we've settled into our school schedule yet. It's been an adjustment for us all to start waking up early again. 5:30 am now. :( Andrea has to catch the bus about a mile away at 6:55 am! I think we're starting to get used to the school routine again though.

On Friday we left early in the morning to drive out to Salt Lake City for our niece's wedding. Luckily our trusty old van got us there and back with no troubles. It was nice to visit with everyone. Crystelle looked really pretty. We got to meet our new nephew Hugo and our grand-niece Eden. It was fun to see all of the cute babies!

We drove home on Sunday. It's hard to get back in the car after only being there one day, but we had to get back to school and work. Here are some pictures from the trip. Yes, we saw the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Nadia's Story

Nadia is enjoying her spotlight on the blog. She said she wanted to make another video. So she wrote this story and had me film her telling it.

Nadia's First Day

I always have a hard time with the first day of kindergarten. It's weird because I'm actually kind of happy to have my kid start school, and I think the three hours to myself will be pleasant! It just chokes me up when I have to drop her off there and I see her going in with all of the other kids. Guess it's the whole "my baby's growing up" thing.

Here we are at home getting ready to leave:

Here she is in front of the school:

Standing in line:

End of the day! I think she might have been worried right here that she couldn't find me.

Here's what she had to say about her first day:

School Milestones

Inspired by the blogs of family members, I decided that having a blog is really a pretty nice way to keep up with family and friends who are far away. So here it goes! Will it last or fizzle out like other good intentions? No idea.

I thought this week would be a good time to start because our family is hitting a few big milestones - first day of kindergarten for Nadia and first day of high school for Andrea! Hard to believe that either of them are really old enough for either of those.

Today was Sophia's first day of fourth grade. Our school district decided to make things as complicated as possible for us overburdened mothers and ended up making all the schools/grades start on different days. Sophia started today, Nadia starts on Friday and Andrea starts on Monday. For high school only the freshman start Monday. Grades 10-12 start on Tuesday. Seriously. It's very complicated. I only figured out this schedule for sure today! I was going to send Nadia to school on Monday one day late until another kindergarten mother kindly pointed out that they start on Friday!

In any case, Sophia looked very cute going to her first day of fourth grade. She was nervous but when I picked her up she was happy. So I'm hopeful for a good year!

Nadia had something called "Tea with teacher" today. I guess for kindergarten they have the teacher meet with small groups of kids to kind of get to know them and to make the kids feel more comfortable. It was pretty cute. Us parents got to label all of their school supplies and put them away in their cubbies. Nadia is really excited, although I realized I've neglected giving her much opportunity to use scissors at home. I think that's mainly because I hate cleaning up big messes of tiny pieces of cut up paper. But I think I better have her practice tomorrow. We'll see how I do dropping her off on her big day Friday!

Yesterday was Andrea's birthday. I made a giant meal which we all ate too much of and then we topped it off with some german chocolate cake. It turned out hideously ugly because I didn't let it cool enough, but it tastes pretty good which I guess is the most important thing. Happy Birthday Andrea!

That's it for now.