Transition time again

>> Friday, December 10, 2010

Another major transition point is on the horizon. We can see it, though there's some stuff along the road that we need to get through before riding off into its sunset.

Transitions annoy me because each time they unsettle me more than the last time, while simultaneously exciting me about new potentials. They exhaust me, fill me with fear, and fill me with joyful anticipation and the ability to satisfy my logical self in planning and organization, though this time I think I'm leaning more heavily on the fear side simply because I can't visualize what's coming next. Less possible planning equals less overall excitement.

Some of these transitions are not pleasant. Our cat, Colin, is still ill and will not recover, though he's soldiering on very well... until this past week, when he started having major problems with one of his teeth. It's falling out, but not pleasantly and with lots of blood, causing him to claw at his face and go a bit insane on occasion. We know it hurts because he started biting us today (firmly, while not breaking the skin) to let us know he wasn't happy. We will be taking him in to the vet this afternoon, but since he's ill and on meds we don't know if he's going to make it through the dental, for which they will probably have to sedate him. So either this transition will happen tonight, or he'll make it through the dental and the transition will continue slowly over the next month or two. Either way, we're trying to keep up with the emotional adjustments.

Some of these transitions are exciting and potentially happy, though also somewhat apprehensive. We received our letter stating that our home study is approved and cleared and we can start the search (again). Our social worker will be (date unknown) sending it on to the county foster care office for their part of the drama, but we're that much closer. Once they're done with it and we know what else we need to do, we'll begin being parents. Theoretically. We're collecting up whatever supplies we can find; thankfully, a lot of our friends have children this age and have been giving us some things their child has grown out of, so we've got a good start. Many foster kids may come here with just what they're wearing, and will take with them anything we give them, so we'll be needing pretty consistent restocking of baby and toddler clothes. We're hoping to go with cloth diapers and mostly homemade baby food (though we're not quite as sold on that one) so it'll basically be the clothes and toothbrushes we'll have to keep replacing. (If you feel led to donate your gently worn baby stuff to a worthy cause, feel free!) 

Finally, I've begun my final class for school. My graduation day is officially the last day of class, though commencement is in July, and that last day of class is the day after my 34th birthday. (Talk about another transition. I feel old!) My course right now is a process of summarizing the last three years, researching a variety of occupations I could chose with this degree, and writing a resume and cover letter for some of them. In other words, this six-week course is mostly a focus on 'what are you going to do next?' Since that's completely dependent on what happens with the foster care, and so far "Foster Parent" isn't a paid occupation available to research, I'm having a lot of emotional upheaval already in the first week. I've gone back to school to actually learn and become a better teacher and person. I get extremely frustrated when my schoolwork can't be applied to my real life, and so I try to find ways to be honest and make it real even when it's a stretch. In this case I'll have to either consider the possibility I will not be a parent OR that I will not have a career, OR make the decision to completely BS this class. None of those sit well with me. And I'm still firmly stuck in the fact that if for some reason there are no children to place with us come January, I'll have a degree that I won't feel safe getting a full-time job with in case we do get a child, and I'll have no idea what the immediate future holds. In other words, all those times we get the question "Where do you see yourself in five years?" is really boiling down to the fact that I can't see where I'll be in two months, and that is really extremely unsettling. It's kind of strange having an exact date for it, too... "On January 17, 2011, I will wake up to a completely new life, and I have no idea what it is." Weird.

So... it's transition time. I think maybe I need to start creating a Plan C so I don't go insane. For now, though, I think I'll go write a paper and get this show on the road.

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The arts in education

>> Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Somewhere I have a blog wherein I have occasionally posted thoughts I've written for school.  Some day I'll figure out where it is and combine everything into something more functional. Until then, I felt that this topic brought up enough emotional heat that I'd just share it with the rest of you! 

Definition: "The Arts" in my textbook includes visual arts (painting, sculpting, etc.), music, movement, dance, and theatre.

The assignment:  "What responsibility, if any, do early childhood professionals have to advocate for arts education in a community’s public schools? Explain your views.  Then choose one area of the arts and describe an argument you would use to make a case for a visual arts, music education, or creative movement program for children of all ages."

This subject is one in which I struggle to productively structure my thoughts because it simply seems too obvious. As educators we must somehow reach into every child and trigger motivation and a love of learning. People, regardless of age, are extremely complex creations. We know that people have different strengths and weaknesses and different ways of viewing the world, and that identifying and strategizing with each of these unique things is the key to accomplishing our goals with our students. To leave out the arts - visual arts, music, movement, dance, and theatre - excludes a significant segment of children from the potential of success. In a developmentally appropriate classroom that meets every child's needs, the arts must be available in equal measures with other styles of learning.


Not only do children often express their conscious thoughts, as well as process learning, by working creatively with their hands and bodies, but research has shown that the arts tap into a deeper subconscious that allows children to process things of which they are unaware. Music and visual arts are often used in therapeutic settings for children recovering from trauma or learning to cope with severe disabilities, emphasizing the vital importance of these methods of interaction (Kozlowska & Hanney, 2001), (Carpente, 2002). Allowing children daily experience with this part of their minds and souls gives them the opportunity to more easily access these areas in times of trouble or difficulty, and feel safe within themselves throughout those learning processes.

In the same way that some people learn best by listening, or learn best by seeing pictures, or learn best by reading text, other people learn best through a connection to music. In infancy, sounds enter the brain before the eyes are able to properly intake vision. Extremely young children are able to process and acknowledge differences in tones and pitches, and learn to identify individuals by their voices before they are able to see them clearly. Sound, and the processes of it through music, relates to our earliest natural abilities to learn. Many people find it much easier to memorize facts as lyrics to songs. The structure of sung speech imitates sound patterns required for developing strong reading skills. Many songs for young children are fundamental early literacy elements, such as rhymes and poetry, put to music.

I was somewhat dismayed, however, to see how little attention our textbook gave to the ways in which music links to more concrete elements. The structures of music follow the same structures of beginning mathematics, providing patterns and repetitions, the abilities to compare, contrast, and serialize in audio form, and the rhythms necessary for counting and number sense. "Early childhood educators, knowing that math and music share similar inherent characteristics, can use simple musical elements to introduce mathematical concepts, interactions, and ideas to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers" (Geist & Geist, 2008, p. 21).

Music also creates a direct link to science learning, as children can study sound itself, experiment with what kinds of substances carry sound and how, and learning about physiology and the ears, as well as developing empathy for the deaf and hard of hearing. Experiments can be done such as at the end of the movie, "Mr. Holland's Opus", in which orchestra music is translated into colored lights for the deaf audience.

Music instruction goes far beyond simply being enjoyable, providing the opportunity to move the body, and putting early literacy to melody. It also goes beyond easy integration into other content areas. Music is another area in which people are able to express the deepest emotions and thoughts, that carries the hopes and dreams of many cultures. By providing daily music education, our children can have another avenue through which they are valued and know that they are able to express their true selves and be accepted.

References:
Carpente, J.A. (2002). Creative Music Therapy with a Boy with Multiple Impairments: Stepping out of isolation into new experiences. The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy. Retrieved from http://www.therebeccacenter.org/library/casestudy1.html

Geist, K., & Geist, E.A. (2008). Do re mi, 1-2-3, that's how easy math can be. Using music to support emergent mathematics. Young Children. National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Kozlowska, K. & Hanney, L. (2001). An Art Therapy Group for Children Traumatized by Parental Violence and Separation. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, January 2001; vol. 6, 1: pp. 49-78.

Prairie, A. P., Isbell, R. T., & Raines, S. C. (2010). Teaching across the content areas: Math, science and the creative arts (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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November

How in the world is it November already?  Seriously, folks, slow down! 

That said, we've only had the heat on for less than a week, and now today's high is 75 degrees, and we're out on the porch in short sleeves. It really is quite lovely, and gives us a great opportunity to air out the house.

I'm feeling a little bit better, but not a whole lot. The cough has changed, so I guess that's a good thing?  I don't know. But it's finally getting to wear on my very last nerve. Ah, well.  At least I can sleep laying down again.

This week is very stressful. Tomorrow morning we have the Certified Investigator coming for our first of two long homestudy interviews (more info on the adoption blog). Lanse is on crunch time at work, and is extremely stressed out from that. We're travelling for the holiday, so I'm trying to work ahead on my schoolwork, which means that Thursday I'm doing a classroom observation two weeks early, which necessitates me getting two weeks of reading done by then. And Colin is still very sick, and we're extremely unsettled about what could potentially happen while we're away, with pretty much every possibility. I also have to finish up creating some things that I need to take with us when we go.

That said, I'm relatively cheerful, and we've been having a lot of wonderful time with the Eastvolds (our goddaughter and her family). We'll be cat sitting for their new cat Napoleon while they're away this weekend, and that should be fun. He's very playful and snuggly. I'm also very much enjoying the reading I have in school, which is about the importance of the arts in early childhood education. Very cool stuff. So over all, I guess things are going well enough. We are definitely blessed.

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Okay, fine, I'll say something else

>> Saturday, October 9, 2010

I have pneumonia; or rather, have had it for the last week and hopefully it's going away by now. I'm tentatively looking forward to bedtime, since it'll be the first time in a week I haven't slept sitting up on the couch.  My body's done a lot of weird things to me this time around which make me nervous, I was on some drugs I haven't been on before and had some side effects, but my husband and friends have been amazing in taking care of me, so it's all good. I'm really, really hoping that my friend Katharine actually enjoys cooking as much as she says she does, because I quite enjoy eating, and they've been feeding us a lot, and that chicken soup they brought me was really good.  I've felt very loved.

It's interesting the ways in which being very sick makes you think about your life. It's one thing to contemplate your mortality, but (and I say this with a relatively healthy self-esteem) when you don't have children or a job or obligations beyond "those people who love you", when you feel miserable it's quite easy to feel dispensable and be okay with it. Like, as a fact, not as a soul-rending emotion or anything. It's just quite logical that, right now, if I were to knock off, lots of people would be emotionally upset, but I don't think anyone would be that physically put out having to replace me. Oddly, I kind of find that comforting, it lets me get on with the getting better without worrying about stupid things. 

On the other hand, it meant that instead of feeling like I had to go make amends to everyone I ever harmed, I spent my sofa time recording logins and passwords to bank and loan accounts and simplifying our budget spreadsheet so Lanse could figure it out if I weren't around. Analytical brain... ENGAGE!  Gotta love it. 

I'm doing much better now, though the cough is still here and making my back ache. One of my drugs ran out though (it was supposed to) so we'll see if I backslide at all in my recovery. I'm praying not, I happen to enjoy breathing and I've got stuff to do.

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Oh, hey, look... I have a blog.

Somehow I forgot this existed for a little bit.  I guess I do go in phases, but I think this may have been my longest silence.  Sorry about that.

I just posted an update on the adoption blog.  Click the link on the header to read it! 

I'm really not feeling that newsy at the moment, so I'll leave you with this photo of Lanse reflecting at the reflecting pool at Drayton Hall.

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A summer summary

>> Friday, July 30, 2010

Well, I was going to split this up so it was easier to tag, but I'm getting tired of typing, so here's the jist:

  • Our eldest cat, Colin, age 13, is in the midst of liver failure. Yes, this is the second time, but this time through we got x-rays, and there's a large mass of something - could be inflammation from an infection, curable, or it could be cancer - that's made his liver twice the width it should be and smooshed his stomach to one side.  Lanse is heroically suffering the three daily doses of sticking his fingers in Colin's mouth to shove the pills down, and we're desperately trying to get food down him as well.  We may be talking days, weeks (the vet gave us 3 weeks worth of pills), or months, but probably not longer than that unless it actually is the very less-probable cureable infection. This has been an extremely difficult few days and we're steeling for the worst.
  • My childhood friend's baby girl passed away after one hour of life. Now it appears that another friend may have lost her grandson. (We're trying to decipher her FB status, but that's how everyone is reading it.) 
  • Less devastating, but still vital, there is something wrong with my computer (Victoria)'s power source at the motherboard. If it's on it will stay on, but if the cord is bumped accidentally and it shuts off (dead battery) it may not come back on again.  So I've spent the week burning disks of photos. Our friend Donna Rae wanted to sell her 1 yr old Asus Netbook for half what it's listed for on Amazon so that she could get an iPad, so we made a deal.  I'm still in the midst of transferring data from Victoria over to Abigail the Netbook.
  • Once again, it's classroom observation time for my coursework. The school that I've observed in before and I'm excited about (and who wants to interview me for a position once she figures out how things shake down for September) doesn't have students this week or next, so they're out. But the director recommended another school that runs year round, extended hours, at the hospital downtown. So we'll go drive the route on Saturday and I'll get more familiar with the local educational system and they'll... hopefully... get excited about me.  Building connections is always a good thing in this field.
  • We spent July 4th week (prior) in Rochester again. Had a wonderful time visiting Lanse's immediate family, uncle, aunt, and cousins, and those we consider heart family. Saw a lot of our prior neighbors Tim, Susan, and four-year-old Sammy, visited a couple of times with our Pastor-of-choice and his wife, drove an hour to visit my bestest friend Ana (prior co-worker), got together with some prior students of mine, crashed gaming night with our prior group of crazy gamers, ate sushi and ice cream with John StRigger, and drove around reminiscing and spending way too much money on food at our favorite places. Over all it was very good, obviously inspiring over-use of the word "prior". It was extremely emotionally stressful as well, but we spent the week discussing the pros and cons of living in various places, and when we were home we realized we are content here until God says "go". So that, in itself, is invaluable.  Photos are currently on Victoria and may not all get over here. 
  • We now like sushi.  I'm hoping my new-food-crazy dies down before we find ourselves with mercury poisoning.
  • I planted our biggest container veggie garden ever this year.  Almost everything has died because of the heat, and for some unknown reason we've only had two tomatos actually grow and turn red-ish out of four plants. No idea what's going on there.  I ordered the vacation pot-soaker hose kit from Amazon to see if it'll do better with more water when I don't want to go out in the heat, but it may already be too late.
  • Our friends, the Eastvolds, had their baby girl (4th child) the day we left for NY.  They have asked us to be her godparents!  We're very excited and have been spending a bunch of time over at their house.  Her name is Juliana Charis Pinkney Eastvold, and she's beautiful, even when she has the hiccups... which is almost all the time. Her three siblings (all age 5 and under) are adjusting as expected.
I guess that's it for now.  Back to listening to the Dave Ramsey show streaming online.  I highly recommend it, if you can get past him insulting people.

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New author: Susan Gilbert-Collins

As one of the many things with which I am procrastinating my homework, I dove into creating the Group site on Facebook for my friend Susan, whose first novel, Starting from Scratch, will be released on Tuesday. Amazon is delivering pre-orders Saturday, three days earlier than bookstore release. Seeing as how that's tomorrow, you may as well support your local store! Here's the blurb from Amazon.com's page:

"Why is someone who just defended her doctoral dissertation still wasting her time at her childhood home, two months after her mother’s funeral, making coq au vin and osso buco? Olivia Tschetter, the youngest of four high-achieving South Dakotan siblings, is not returning to “normal”—or to graduate school— quickly enough to suit her family. She wants only to bury herself in her mother’s kitchen, finding solace in their shared passion for cooking.


Threatened with grief counseling, Olivia accepts a temporary position at the local Meals on Wheels, where she stumbles upon some unfinished business from her mother’s past—and a dark family secret. Startling announcements from two siblings also challenge the family’s status quo. The last thing she needs is a deepening romantic interest in a close but platonic (she thought) friend.

But while Olivia’s mother is gone, her memory and spirit continue to engage Olivia, who finds herself daring to speak when she would never have spoken before. Told with humor and compassion, Starting from Scratch explores the shifting of family dynamics in the wake of shattering loss and the healing power of cooking."

The book is published by Simon & Schuster. At that link, Susan's author page, you can also find a schedule of her book signings in Rochester, NY, (August 5th, Monroe/Pittsford B&N) and Brookings, SD (dates in September). 
 
I will admit that I have not yet read the book (sorry, Susan!). But I do know from other things that Susan is a fabulous writer and a wonderful friend, and professes herself that she doesn't know the first thing about promotions, so I figured I'd lend a hand. I'll be dragging Lanse along to B&N sometime next week to pick up a copy. I urge you all to do the same with a person important to you!

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Sweltering in July

No matter how many times I hear, "Yes, but you don't have to shovel in the winter," it never makes June through September in the South any less torturous. I wasn't ever the one who had to wield the shovel, anyway. This is the time of year that I equate to a Minnesota winter... where everyone (except insane children) close themselves up in the temperature controled house just to dash to the temperature controled car and dash back in to the temperature controled wherever you've just arrived, and back again. Although extreme heat on the coast doesn't come with roof-destroying ice dams and extensive road work, it does come with garden-destroying drought and hurricanes. Not really the kind of exchange I'm that interested in. Plus, sweat makes you smell bad. Chills, not so much. In the cold I don't have to shower as frequently.

For whatever reason, even though I'm holed up in the house with very few obligations on my time, my house is a wreck and I'm behind on the few things that I do need to get done.  Houseboundness of spirit occurs in any weather, apparently, and I've sorely lacked motivation to accomplish anything practical, let alone sleep and eat responsibly.

So here I am, blogging again to procrastinate schoolwork and phone calls. This is how I am and have been.  There will be three posts to come, with more detail. At least that's the plan; we'll see how it goes.

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Living in a space-time vortex

>> Monday, June 14, 2010

If you've ever watched Doctor Who you may be familiar with the opening credits sequence in which the Tardis tumbles through the space-time vortex like a marble in a pinball machine. Last week began a life that has placed me in the role of the Tardis or, respectively, the marble (which is, unfortunately, more accurate and much less fascinating).

I woke up last Monday with the idea that the only thing on the horizon was the annual company black-tie gala on Saturday which we'd been off and on looking forward to and dreading for the past few months. I'd finally decided on a dress and had recommendations of tailors who could probably do a rush job on raising the hem. So Monday's plan was to drop of the dress, drop off due library books, and come home to spend the day studying.

Here was my Monday:

  • Lost in Summerville
  • Had my first auto accident (no one was hurt)
  • Found the tailor, closed on Mondays
  • Library books now inaccessible due to damage on the car door
  • Found a second tailor, it was open... pinned the dress, filled out the form, can't have it done until next week. Took the dress home again... party's on Saturday!

Needless to say, it was a day of insanity. And we ended up not going to the party, so I took the dress back to the tailor who pinned it and hopefully will get it back this week.

During last week I/we also:
  • began the process of switching from Bethany Waiting Children to the local DHS to become infant/toddler foster adopt parents.
  • voted in the local primaries, which then went FOOM. (If you're curious for more information, Google SC Democratic primary and you'll have loads to read.)
  • panicked over homework, which required a classroom observation during the first week of class with no warning or prep time, during a month in which school is out of session
  • talked at length with my best friend who is a pediatric nurse in Minneapolis. I wish there was more I could do to help her; the hospitals are pushing a new contract that is really bad for the patients (having heard the terms, I completely agree given my child development background). Unfortunately, the local media's on the side of the hospital and the nurses are getting a really bad rap. They had to go on strike, which doesn't help matters.  

With all of that in the works and filling up my brain, I'm also prepping for Kids Kamp (VBS)- which is difficult when my volunteer goes on vacation and we don't have a car I can drive to take the stuff to church where the other volunteers are - preparing for Lanse's birthday, and we'll be leaving for Charlotte and, from there, NY the day after VBS is over. I've also been getting interested in the politics going on, and started reading a book our friend Jonathan loaned me about faith and politics. Same friend's wife is now full term and due with baby #4, which we've been following (hopefully not stalkerishly) with concern and interest while we play with their other three kids. I think my brain's covered all the hot topics last week: money, adoption, faith, politics, pregnancies, medical care, homework, employment opportunities... and Mom went to the ER just in case, (but it all ended up fine). I'm also desperately missing my girls Kaylee and Lydia, living life on the opposite coast.

My brain is tired.  When are we landing this Tardis again?  I promise I won't complain if it's Cardiff instead of London.  I expect we'll both get desperately ill when we finally return from NY and things settle down.

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Klockenshoesies

>> Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Also, I got new shoes.

Werner Klocke sculpts miniatures for Reaper Miniatures and is Freebooter Miniatures as well. He occasionally has fun with buckles, as best shown on Reaper's Terezinya figure.

I think he'd do well with my new shoes from JCPenny (click on the shoe for the link):

I call them my Klockenshoesies.

That is all.  For now.

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Our families of origin

I'm geeky.  You all probably already suspected as much, but I tend to geek out a little bit about a lot of things in a small way, so it's not always obvious.

One way I like to geek out is with family records.  Thanks to the kind work of the folks at LDS, their free software lets me have loads of fun.  The rest of this post are two large images which, I hope, you'll be able to click on to see larger.  Possibly not.  But maybe so.  Try it and find out!  [I have more names than this, I have all sorts of sibling information as well as what's shown here... but adding everyone made the images seriously enormous, so I just stuck with the direct lines. Because of that, you may not find all the names on my "favorite names" list on the image.]

If you are family and have more accurate notes (or records for family that we haven't got on here) PLEASE let me know!! I am sorely lacking in records for Bassemirs, Devores, Sabathnes, Nelsons, and Kletzings.

My favorite names:
Women: Zybah, Temperance, Artimetia, Arabella, Appolonia, Isabel, Amelia, Sanna, Lasca, Cathalina
Men: William Imrie (Imrie was also used for Merlin!), Garrit

Oldest dates* in the Lanse Tryon Family:
John Talcot, b. 1562
Rebecca Tryon, b. 1619
William Tryon, b. 1645
*I have the Tryon family going back five generations earlier than this, but none of them have dates.


Oldest dates in the Jessica Sabathne Family:
Lauritz Pederson Brix, b. 1634
William Gamblin, b. 1775

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The problem with kids these days...

>> Sunday, April 11, 2010

Following is the text of what I submitted for this week's Discussion assignment on the status of play.  Free play is required for children to be healthy developmentally in all areas, but many kids aren't given that option. When kids don't get the chance to decide on their own how they will play, they lose the ability to make specific kinds of decisions and navigate diplomacy, a skill called "executive function". This lack causes severe difficulties and behavior problems. This text is my reaction to the articles assigned on the topic. They were really quite fascinating; I'll link them at the end.
***

Throughout our readings there has been a continuing theme that perhaps could use a different perspective. Each article has addressed a similar variety of potential issues that have lead to the situation in which we find ourselves today regarding play. However, these issues have been presented simply as causes, and not truly confronted head-on as the source of the issue. The problem here is not a debate over what is appropriate for our children. The problem really has nothing to do with the children at all... it's the adults.

Many children are no longer allowed to free play because of physical danger; either they have no safe outdoor place to play or the indoor environment is not safe to navigate unguided. In other words, parents are afraid of harm, and therefore assert control over where and how their children play.

Many children do not free play while at home because parents believe they must interact with their child but don't have time to do so, and so they turn on the TV or computer. In other words, parents are afraid of what other people will think if they say no to a request and schedule more time around their children. And so they assert control through where the children are and what they're doing so that they (the parent) does not need to be present.

Many children are overbooked through activities and events to the point of creating stress disorders. This happens because parents may be afraid of what other parents think, or are afraid that they are not good enough parents, instead of being secure in the knowledge that they are smart and intelligent people who can learn about children and be confident about what is right for their own child. In response to that fear, they micromanage every moment of their child's day.

The fact that play is being eliminated from classrooms across the country stems from an adult fear that the children will not meet up to the world's expectations; not only when they are adults, but also as children. Our world is so overly competitive in a way that children don't naturally understand, and so adults push them in a reflection of their own fear of failure. This fear of failure, of the potential of not living up to the rest of the world, causes adults to control academic requirements and school responsibilities to assert the potential to win.

My opinion is that the best way to fix this problem is world-wide therapy sessions! Seriously though, the pattern of fear --> control is one that arises in many areas of life, in overprotective parenting, in disorders and crimes, in dysfunctional marriages, in struggling businesses, in political budgets. While a certain amount of fear is healthy and instinctive, I believe our technological age and city living has led to a loss of real areas in which we were not meant to control, but merely to observe and learn. Living as we do, we have more time for introspection and emotional connection to our fears, and less practice letting things be as nature intends. Humankind has been successfully navigating life for millions of years, but not until recently has living become relatively easy for most. We've become soft and squeamish as a society, and allowed our fears to overtake us.

In order to let our children play, to learn and develop naturally as children were created to do, adults (parents, teachers, and lawmakers included) must step back from their fear and release control. They must allow for the possibility that a child may get poked with the stick they swing, that they might get muddy or bitten by mosquitoes in the creek, or that they might experience the pain of a friend calling them names. As most of our resources have pointed out, living through and learning from experiences like these lead us to understand how to navigate life and to be successful in our future. Depriving our children of these opportunities in the name of avoiding potential harm will instead create a whole new range of developmental problems, and a society in which adults no longer understand how to interact appropriately with one another.


List copied from our "Resources" tab for Modules 1 & 2 from Walden University:
(Sorry for the wonky formatting)

Required Resources
Supplemental Resources

  • Web Article: Taking Play Seriouslyhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/magazine/17play.html?_r=2

  • Web Article: Creative Play Makes for Kids in Control
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288

  • Video: Stuart Brown: Why Play is Vital--No Matter Your Agehttp://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html

  • Web Article: Recess and the Importance of Playhttp://w4.nkcsd.k12.mo.us/~rbeckett/RECESS%20AND%20THE%20IMPORTANCE%20OF%20PLAY.htm


  • Introduction 
    Organized Activities Marginalizing Free Time 
    Technological Innovations 
    Web Article: The Impact of Home Computer Use on Children’s Activities and Developmenthttp://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/10_02_05.pdf
    Increased Focus on Academics
    • Web Article: Another Look at What Young Children Should be Learninghttp://www.ericdigests.org/2000-1/look.html
    • Web Article: Should Preschools Teach All Work and No Play?http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20056147 
    • Web Article: No Outdoor Play Hurts Childrenhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6986544.stm 
    • Web Article: Alliance for Childhood Campaigns to Take Pressure off Children http://www.southerncrossreview.org/35/alliance.htm 
    • Web Article: The Three R’s: A Fourth is Crucial, Too: Recesshttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/health/24well.html 
    • Web Article: Recess and the Importance of Playhttp://w4.nkcsd.k12.mo.us/~rbeckett/RECESS%20AND%20THE%20IMPORTANCE%20OF%20PLAY.htm 
    • Video: Immersionhttp://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/11/21/magazine/1194833565213/immersion.html

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      The Library

      >> Tuesday, January 19, 2010

      The last time I was in a library was when our school staff went to work on a mass mailing project. I did have a library card for Rochester, but I don't recall ever actually checking out books. The Wheaton Public Library was marvelous, and provided lots of fun things for me during college, but they were mostly related to schoolwork. I own a lot of books and don't mind re-reading them; in fact, I get in moods when I must immediately re-read something from childhood. I read a lot of young adult books now, since I use reading and movies to escape the real world. They're interesting and have plots, but move quickly. And that's just perfect. Brain candy that's not sex-related. Brilliant!

      Because I love to read and it's easy for me, something in my brain filed it under 'frivolous'. So I always felt that sitting around reading was irresponsibly ignoring something else I ought to be doing. I mentioned that fact randomly in a self-reflective paper as if it were normal and my prof gently reamed me out. So on my birthday I decided it was time and I stopped and got a Dorchester County library card. Apparently it's good for both Dorchester and Berkeley Counties without an out-of-county fee, but not in Charleston County. But that's okay. Isn't it lovely?


      When I traveled to Minnesota I realized that there are a number of people there whom I admire greatly and would strive to imitate. One thing that these people all have in common is that they are willing to try new things, be adventurous, and are aware of the recent releases or news items or current issues in their areas of interest. I haven't read a new (to me) book in... probably four or five years now, always relying on others to hand me the latest thing they've read. So while I was at the library, being allowed to check out three items on a first-time/new card limit, I picked up a young adult novel that our Junior High students all wanted to read years ago, and then began my self-introduction to Agatha Christie. The Doctor says that she's the best writer of all time and had a copy of one of her novels published in the year Five Billion, so I figured that was endorsement enough.


      I started with Miss Marple short stories; I figured if I hated it, it would end soon. But no fear... I'm hooked!

      The following day we had planned to go site-seeing outdoors, but it was cold and raining. So instead, we both went back to the library and Lanse got his own card. I stood in the rows and breathed in the wonderful book smell and felt at home. Then I curled up on a sofa and read a City of Ember sequel while he browsed. He checked out two books on Victorian history and my book, since I was almost half way into it. He's so nice.

      I hereby tentatively call this Library Excursion a success! But only tentative, because we have yet to discover if we can return them on time. I'll let you know around February 5th.

      Read more...

      11 in 101 update

      Here's how I'm doing (how about you?):

      [begin cut-n-paste]
      My 11 things for 101 days
      (Deadline March 11)
      (in no particular order)

      1. finish the Christmas quilt on the wall Quilt came down off the wall and off the curtain rod and is sitting around in a corner. Haven't cleaned the quilting area enough to get access to the stuff I need.

      2. shred the box of old documents in the attic Moving Christmas stuff in and out suddenly blocked in our document boxes. So now I have to clean the attic before I can do this. One thing leads to another...

      3. buy paint and supplies for the livingroom loft CHECK...ish? I bought for the loft not the livingroom. I can't find the strikethrough font effect in blogger, so tiny and italic will have to do. I plan to blog on the loft painting experiment shortly.

      4. have someone over for dinner I intended to have a Pampered Chef party for this past weekend but realized that most of my guest list is from church, and we're in a fasting month. Not the best time to have a party around food! So it'll be next month some time.

      5. plant all the bulbs in the bag by the door (should be sooner than later) I planted some, but want to see if they'll grow in shallow soil before I plant them all. Previous owners apparently put a very thick plastic weed barrier not too far down in the front garden.

      6. get an eye exam and new glasses (before the new year) I'm a slacker.
      7. get an evaluation on my back (orthopedic?) Again, a slacker.

      8. make good homemade soup CHECK! It was so good that we actually ate it a few days in a row and didn't freeze any for later as I'd hoped to! I'll have to do another one.

      9. add at least two more color bands to my knitting project Back to the "I'm a slacker".

      10. make some money As mentioned earlier, I sold some jewelry. I also have just sold a textbook. And I will be babysitting on Friday. Yay!

      11. brush the cats twice a week With three cats, and some liking the brush more than others, it's been hard to keep track. I'm pretty sure I'm up to date on Kira, and not on the boys.

      *Extra goal that's important: Play the piano at least twice a week Not even once a week yet. Not even once a month. I did run a scale the other day just to startle the cat...

      Other things that could stand to be done that I'm going to list here before I forget them but that I won't count in the list unless I run out of stuff, which is unlikely...

      • clean the back porch
      • clean the house at least once a month as though my mother was visiting tomorrow
      • home cook extra food for the freezer
      • sort large box of old photos into books
      I haven't done any of these.

      [end cut-n-paste]

      Something I realized today about this list, though, is that it's primarily things that I know I ought to do. I didn't put much on there that I wanted to do. I suffer from this odd thing that says when there's stuff that should be done, I'm not allowed to do stuff I want to do. If I am the grownup I should act like a grownup, and that's not any fun. But as I don't want to do the stuff I should, I do nothing instead. Thus this list. However, there are a few things that, in the wake of my 33rd birthday, I decided "Heck, I'm an adult so I can choose! I'll do the things I want to do! At least for a little bit." So here are some things that, the more I think of it, should probably have been added to the list because they're worthwhile:

      1. I got a library card. I will blog on that shortly as well.

      2. I have picked up some books that I had heard of and never read, and am very much enjoying them.

      3. As previously mentioned, I grabbed paint for the loft. This was a big deal, since the original list said "living room", which requires hiring someone for the 15' walls either side of the cathedral ceiling. The loft, on the other hand, is one of those 'under the eaves' rooms, and I may in fact be able to paint most of it all on my own. This is unheard of, and a real emotional risk/fear/thrill for me. So the fact that I've bought the paint... tested it on the wall... and then put up a fuss at the store when the color wasn't right (I'm a huge conflict avoider as far as my own needs go, something about me not really being worth the effort... and yes, I do know better than that)... let's just say that this has been one of those emotionally groundbreaking experiences so far.

      4. Although we've both been in a bit of a slump in this area, I've been trying to do more around the house. I've cooked more, and done more dishes, and done more laundry. Some things Lanse still does, but when I'm despairing I tend to ask way too much of him, and I've been trying to be aware and take more responsibility. (Dearest, thank you, and I love you!)

      I think that's it for now! If you have a list, how is it going?

      Read more...

      Missy Princess Kira

      >> Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      My coworker's husband worked at a military base in upstate NY. The base had a stray cat that the soldiers looked after. One day, they discovered that she'd had a litter of kittens in the wheel-well of a Jeep, apparently right around October 1st. So he brought them all home to be raised to weening point. It was a pretty crazy household: four people, two dogs, nine cats, a hamster, a couple of birds, and some fish. For a while momma and her kittens lived in the laundry room, then were moved upstairs to a guest room. There were two black girl kittens and a few gray ones, a couple with stripes, and all were short haired except two little gray fluff balls. We fell in love with the little black girlies, and right after our January trip picked one up to bring home. They had named her Princess, but we renamed her Kira, "the Gelfling, not the Major".

      Upsidedown kitten girl, about 15 weeks old

      A rare snuggle kitten moment, about 15 weeks old

      I'm not sure exactly what influenced her demeanor, but when she came home she was skittish and terrified of everything, and hated to be touched. She also had trouble with her litter box - she'd enter it and then hang her backside over the edge. When we moved the box out to the utility room, she refused to go out. We figured out since then that she didn't like anything touching her face, and so she wouldn't go through a cat flap.

      But over all, she's been dainty and careful, very much a delicate lady. She started to grow up and lose some of her fear, though any dramatic event would cause her to hide for a day or two. She's still that way, but she's less so with us now which is nice. It used to count for everyone!

      Still a little kittenish, about a year and a half old

      Now we're in SC and she's all grown up! She lets us brush her and rub her cheeks, and since the cold snap this winter she's come up to snuggle on us. She continues to have trouble with doors, and since we have a screen porch we like to let them out on, I spent time training her to meow to go out instead of scratching at it. Her brothers have scratched at the back door often enough that parts of the padding strips were torn off and eaten and now you can see daylight in the gaps when the door is closed. We also got sick and tired of having the litter box in the bathroom and decided, since there's a perfectly good cat door in the door to the garage, it's going out there thankyouverymuch. Box or no box, she continued to go in the bathroom. At least that was cleanable. And then one day, when we didn't notice her standing silently by the garage door, she wandered over and pooed in the dining room. Loooovely. So we upped the 'meow' training.
      Kira, with brother Spook, by the porch door; 3 years old

      So our little Miss has just this week shown how wonderfully well-trained she can be. She now meows at the porch door when she wants in and out, and meows at the door to the garage when she needs the box. She also meows at the closed door to the guest room where she likes to roll on the carpet, and she meows at Lanse's office door when he closes it for a meeting, and she meows at our bedroom door if she has to go out to the garage in the middle of the night. I probably got about six hours of solid sleep between Friday and Monday, because she's so very well trained. She has taught me, based on my mood and attitude yesterday, that I definitely need more sleep than that to be a happy and productive person. But at least she doesn't poo in the house anymore.

      What the princess cares about that. 3 years old

      Read more...

      First post of 2010

      >> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

      Wow. It's 2010. I wrote it on my wet-erase calendar a couple of days ago and it was very strange. But kind of exciting at the same time.

      It's now been a while since I went to Minnesota, and the holiday chaos plus slow internet plus the post-holiday slump means I haven't posted anything new since then. For those who may be concerned, I am alive... I'm doing okay. The cold, the messy house, and the holiday exhaustion left me a bit depressed so I took a few days hibernating in front of the television. I think I'm over it, at least until it snows on Friday and all of The South shuts down in a panic.

      11 in 101 update:
      I fail, at least so far. The only one I've accomplished is #10, "make some money", because I was able to sell some of my jewelry prior to Christmas. If anyone is interested in buying any, please let me know. I've got a website where you can see what I do, and a few photos on Facebook too. I may throw some things up on Etsy, but I haven't decided yet.

      Incidentally, 101 days from my initial post will be March 11th.

      Christmas
      We went to my grandparent's house in Florida, two hours South of Orlando. My folks came down Christmas Eve afternoon, we had dinner and gifts and went to bed early. Woke up Christmas Day and were on the road by 6:15 for the 8 1/2 hour drive. My grandparents are around 90 (Grandpa just over, Grandma just under), and they're trying to clear out their house a bit ahead of time. Grandpa's struggling a bit in mind and Grandma's struggling a but in body, so it was hard from that perspective. My uncle was also there, and we did a Christmas dinner and exchanged gifts and just spent the week hanging out. It was good to see family again. But it was exhausting, and I'm recovering slowly. Here's two of my favorite shots; click for the set.


      Read more...

      About This Blog

      Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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