Friday, April 27, 2007

The public school debate

I have been reading a lot and hearing a lot lately about people's decisions between public school and private school. While I have no problem with parents who decide to put their children in private school or even home school, I do have a problem with those who speak out boldly against public schools when they are not fully educated about the issues.

As most of you know I am a past public school teacher who is married to a current public school teacher and I still do not claim a full extent of knowledge on the subject. I do however want to clear up some misconceptions and down right mistakes that I have heard lately. The people I heard them from may not even read this blog (some of them I know for sure don't even know where to find it) but I will be able to air my feelings and isn't that the point of a blog?

One item I heard was that the "teachers are better in private schools." Why would this be the case when they received the exact same degrees from the same schools as the public school teachers? There are some private schools who hire teachers without the same degrees. Some of them have associates degrees or degrees in a particular subject but not in education. They can do this as they are not held accountable by the same laws as are public schools. In fact, many private schools pay their teachers less than the public schools so wouldn't you assume that the better teachers find higher paid positions? Basically, you're going to get great teachers in both settings and poor teachers in both settings as well.

I also heard the argument that private school teachers are held accountable while public school teachers are not. Hearing this as a public school teacher is simply laughable. Public school teachers are held accountable in a myriad of ways. There are so many checks and balances. Observations, test scores, piles and piles and piles of paperwork that reflects what work has been done and how each student is doing on a daily basis. It is simply ridiculous to state that they are not accountable. In fact, I feel they are held TOO accountable. Is it really my fault if one of my students chooses not to take a test seriously because it doesn't reflect poorly on his record, only on mine? Is it really my fault when I receive a class full of 9th graders who don't know what a verb is? (and don't tell me that wouldn't happen in a private school)

Teachers in the public schools must be considered "highly qualified" with the new No Child Left Behind Act. While I disagree with this act on so many levels you cannot say that your teachers are not held accountable.

It is in the interest of accountability that funding is being taken away from schools that desperately need it because their test scores didn't raise the appropriate level in a year. Who is being held accountable for what happens to the millions of children being left behind because of ridiculous policy being made by those who have never spent one day as an educator?

I would like to see any other profession try and implement the level of accountability along with the low level of pay that the public demands from their teachers and see how well it flies. You would have employees angry and demanding to be treated like adults who have a degree and know how to use it.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be accountability of some sort, obviously there needs to be a system in place. I'm just saying that the more the public claims we are not doing our job and need more accountability the worse this will get.

Perhaps if we paid our teachers more there would be less burn out and more excitement. It is really difficult to stay excited when you have to work another job to support your family. There are states where the teachers starting pay is below the poverty line. That is simply ridiculous and shows the true value we as a society place on education. We can talk all we want about how important it is but until we fight for those who are educating our children it is simply big talk with a lot of hot air behind it.

This being said, I am very glad I am not the one in charge of fixing this very skewed system. Just because a system is flawed does not make it bad or wrong or awful. I feel like there are more good teachers than bad and more educators and administrators working to do their best in a flawed system. That is one reason why I will keep my kids in public schools. I want to do my best to support our local school system. Again, every parent makes their own decision on this issue and I don't think anyone is wrong. This is simply my opinion.


So there is a lot of growling that goes on in our home. Evan is always growling (happily) for one reason or another. When Ryan plays with the boys he growls and "attacks" them. It really is quite cute. Well, Griffin has lately decided to join in the fun and he has the craziest growl I've ever heard. It comes from deep within and seriously is an alien sound.

He did it for a babysitter recently and when we got home she said, "Griffin wasn't sleeping and I when I went in there he was standing in his crib. I looked at him and he grinned and made a really really strange sound at me. It was weird."

We just started laughing because we knew exactly what it was. He usually does it when he is excited and never is he more excited then when we are feeding him.

Here is a fun video of the growling and eating excitement.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh my goodness.....

Life is too crazy lately. I just haven't had a free minute to blog and I am feeling it. I feel like I have so much to say but no time to say it in. I have been working more often (not happy about it) and I also am doing this Close to my Heart open house tonight and tomorrow begins the 24 hour road show that I am in charge of. SO much at once!

Last weekend I took Evan to New York City to see Laurie Berkner in Central Park and it was awesome! It was just the two of us and we had such a fun time together. What a bonding experience it was. We drove up to the ferry and took that to Midtown.

Then we took the bus to 57th St and the subway to 103rd and Central Park West. We got there about 30 minutes before the show and long story short pushed our way close. We had a wonderful time dancing and singing to her fun music.

When Evan first saw her he was mesmerized. Anyone who really knows Evan will not be surprised by this. He really thinks about things and has to process them before he can react. He just stared at her for the longest time. I thought he was having a good time but for several songs I wasn't sure. He just stood there shaking his "shaky egg" in his fist and staring at Laurie Berkner.

After awhile he decided he needed a closer look and said, "Mommy, take me to Laurie Berkner."

"She's right there, honey."

"No, take me to Laurie Berkner."

"This is as close as I can take you. Sorry, bud."

To many random strangers, "Can you take me to Laurie Berkner?"

......"Uh, sorry but this is as close as I can go...."

Too funny. He really wanted to see her up close and talk to her.

After the concert we walked down Broadway and into Times Square where we took a taxi back to the ferry. An hour after the concert he started talking about it. I think he had processed it enough and now could talk about it. He took in a lot more than I thought and went over it again and again. He loved it!

Then he got to see MeMe and Pops (Ryan's parents).

This was the most amazing day for Evan. Laurie Berkner and Pops all in one day.

Here is a video of Laurie singing one of our faves called "I'm gonna catch you."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Test Results

I got a call this morning from Evan's doctor's office. They said that Evan's test looks normal. I have mixed feelings about this. I am relieved on the one hand because they didn't find anything major or that would require surgery. On the other hand I am frustrated because if they didn't see anything, than what is wrong with him? Did the medicine work too well and clear it up for the testing? Is this a correct diagnosis? He must have reflux or why would he feel and act so much better after taking the Zantac, right?

I'm just a little confused and mixed up right now. All I do know is that I really want him to be okay, whatever that means. I want them to figure it out quickly and as non invasive as possible. I fear that since they didn't find anything during this test that the next step will be the endoscopy which they will put him under for. I don't really know.

At least he feels better right now and we have a medicine that works well for him. That is what I am choosing to focus on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


So I put this picture up to demonstrate the most recent love that Griffin has for kissing. The kid can't get enough! He is just a little lover boy. This is him kissing MeMe this weekend. He gives big, wet, open mouth kisses. It really is the sweetest thing.

Well, the other day when he was giving me one of his famous kisses he spit up. Yep! Directly into my mouth. Not a drop was spilled. It all went into my mouth!


This won't stop me from enjoying all the kisses he can give!

Some thoughts

During the sacrament on Sunday Evan folding his arms looked at me after the prayer and whispered...

"Mommy, do you know Jesus? Do you know Him?"

"Yes, Evan, I think I do."

Wow, leave it to a three year old to really make you think on Easter Sunday about your relationship with the Savior. Do I know Him? Do I follow Him? Do I show Him my love and gratitude?

Just a few thoughts.....

Yummy Barium......ugh

Yesterday was Evan's upper GI series at the hospital. It was a tough morning since he had to fast. He just couldn't understand why I wouldn't let him have any food. I kept trying to explain to him that the doctor wanted to take pictures of his tummy and we couldn't have any food in there but he just didn't understand. Every few minutes he would say, "Oh, how about a granola bar?" or goldfish or cereal or yogurt or banana or milk or sandwich or carrots or apples.......It was so hard to say no every time. Finally, around 10:30 he just crumbled into tears and lay on the ground just sobbing. It broke my heart. "Mommy, my tummy hurts"

I picked him up and asked him what I could do. He just cried. I asked him if he wanted to call Daddy,"No." I went through the list until he told me,"I want to call Abbey." That is one of his good friends from Maryland. She is a year older than him and when he was just an infant she and her mom watched Evan when I had to finish out the school year. She has always taken care of Evan and they just love each other so much.

We called her and she was so good. She told him not to be scared and that the doctor would be able to make him feel all better. She said she was so sorry he was sick and that she loved him. It sounded just like a little adult was talking to him. So cute. It calmed him right down and he was fine for the rest of the morning.

When we were walking through the hospital to radiology he kept telling people, "The doctor is going to check my body today." He was melting hearts all over the place. When we got to the room they asked him what flavor and he of course chose chocolate. It was a "shake" and he was so excited. They dressed him in a little gown and had him lay on a table with the xray equipment over top of him. They put the "shake" close by and we waited for the doctor to arrive.

Evan kept asking, "I have that now. Can I please drink that now. Please, I drink that now. May I please drink that now." It was so sad and so cute at the same time. He was just so hungry.

Finally the doctor arrived and while he drank they took all these xrays of his abdomen and throat. It was really cool to watch. I, of course, don't really know what I was seeing but it looked cool. They had him turn all around and drink the whole time. They also wanted to see it go into his intestines. You could see it going all through his body and curve up into the intestines. Then we waited for another 20-30 minutes to see if it was coming back up his throat.

I still haven't heard the results but I have a call in to the doctor. I know he has the results because they told me they are digital and he will get them immediately. Hopefully he will call back today.

Evan was so good the whole time and the ladies there kept calling him the poster child for barium. Apparently most children don't want to drink it.

I feel we were blessed and that he was calm and comfortable the entire time.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, I know they helped.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Thunder Thighs!

I'm posting this hysterical Subway commercial that I just love. I seriously think it may help me on those days when I want to eat something bad for me. Perhaps the lines from this commercial will run through my head and I'll think, "I'm eating thunder thighs!"

Anyway, enjoy...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We love Zantac!

Evan is a changed boy! Zantac, we love you! He takes 1/2 a tsp twice a day of this nasty tasting concoction but he does it willingly because as he puts is, "It makes me feel better, Mommy." Could you just melt....

Evan before Zantac never asked to eat a meal and we had to always count bites to get him to eat. Bribery was a common occurance and I never looked forward to feeding him.

Evan after Zantac is a completely different boy. For example, the other day around around 11:30 he said to me, "Mommy, I'm ready for lunch now."

"Okay, what do you want?"

"I want bread with peanut butter. That's called a sandwich, Mom. And I want carrots and I want apples...Oh, and apple sauce too."


He actually ate all of it. He eats without us asking and asks us for food all the time. I just can't tell you how wonderful this makes me feel. I almost cry every time he eats a full meal. I know, I know, but it just makes me SO happy.

We have his tests next week and I am interested to find out what will happen. I'm hoping that they will find an underlying cause that will be an easy fix and then he will be better without meds. Otherwise I guess he'll just be on meds forever. I'm not really sure.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

How fun is this!

Here are my celebrity look alikes!

The New and Improved Hair !!

Ok, it's the moment you've all been waiting for........Drumroll please........

Here is the before picture taken moments
before I left the house

And here it is, the new and wonderful

I felt more like myself again with the very first cut. She cut off my pony tail but other than that she did the entire cut with a razor, which I think makes a short style look SO much better! I think she is great and I am just so happy with the cut. I wish I had a better picture because I think it looks better than this...I'll see what I can do about that.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Video of Evan dancing....sort of.......

So this video is so funny to me. Evan was feeling like dancing but I think the camera made him a bit shy. He normally moves a lot more than this. I still think it is so cute and funny. What a great kid. He is dancing to another video on our computer that I'll put here. It is a great song by the Steve guy who used to be on Blue's Clues. He now has this kids band that has a really cool sound. I love it.

Ok, so I can't find the video on youtube, surprising. I am instead placing this link here so you can get to noggin and watch the video. There are some other really great ones on there as well. This particular one is called "I hog the ground." Love it.

I'm not fat for my height. I'm short for my weight.