Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poor Alex

Dear Monkey Bars at Alex's school:

Go away! We don't like you anymore! Look what you did....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A message from the children

Dear Barack Obama (or as Sam would say, "Bawok Uh-Bumma"):

A little message of congratulations...

~The Children Responsible for Putting Mom on the Edge :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Our Long National Nightmare...Is It Over Yet?

Dear Harold Ickes:

You have had a lengthy and impressive career in Democratic politics. I respect that, really I do. But I can’t help but feel like you’ve thrown away some giant chunk of your dignity, not to mention your credibility with your most recent ranting and posturing on Senator Clinton’s behalf. It has finally reached a level where I’m not sure if you are actually dancing around questions and playing with the wording of your answers or if you’ve completely lost your mind and truly believe what you’re saying.

In August 2007, as a member of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, you voted to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates for the 2008 primaries. Fast forward to May 2008, you argued vehemently that those delegates should be reinstated completely with no penalty at all. Are we to believe this has nothing to do with the fact that your Mrs. Clinton “won” those primaries?

Let’s begin with your assessment of the Rules & Bylaws Committee meeting on May 31. You claim that the committee “hijacked” delegates from Senator Clinton and gave them to Senator Obama. In reality the committee gave them both delegates they didn’t have prior to that meeting. Those delegates were not supposed to count at all, according to your vote back in August. You insisted to Tim Russert on Sunday morning that “It violates a fundamental precept of our delegate selection rule, which is fair reflection.” Fair reflection. That’s interesting. Exactly how do you divine the “fair reflection” of the decision of the people in Michigan? You certainly can’t base it solely on results of a primary that YOU (and Senator Clinton, frankly) told the people of Michigan would not count.

This leads us, of course, to disenfranchising voters. Can you argue that some of the voters who showed up to the Michigan primary feel they’ve been disenfranchised? Absolutely. But one could equally argue that all those voters who stayed home that day, mainly because you and the committee had told them that it actually wasn’t a recognized primary and would not count, that no delegates would be seated from Michigan, could also feel disenfranchised. Is one group to be more favored than the other? That seems less than democratic to me.

As for the popular vote lead that the Clinton campaign is claiming to have, how did you determine which states to include and which to ignore to come to those numbers? And more importantly, how can you count Senator Clinton’s votes in Michigan and give none to Senator Obama? The committee has seated the delegates, but still is not truly recognizing the primary itself. Therefore it stands to reason that the popular vote count there would be negated as well. And if you believe you can claim those votes for Senator Clinton’s campaign BECAUSE the committee has now seated the delegates, then you must give Senator Obama a share of the popular vote as well, since the committee recognized a segment of the vote as his. You can’t really have it both ways.

I leave you, Mr. Ickes, with your own words to Tim Russert back in December, “"Timothy, delegates nominate. Not states, not popular vote, delegates."

Dear Terry McAuliffe:

Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington are states, too. You can't discount them just to come up with a number you like.

I have heard you (as well as Harold Ickes) repeatedly insist over the last two days that you “expect Senator Clinton will be the nominee.” I just have to ask, really? Do you really believe that? Is it getting hard to say with a straight face? You must have done the math, right?

I recently read an article which stated the following…

Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, who had recently said he thought the race would be over this week, conceded yesterday that the finish line may not actually be the finish line. Asked whether the race would be over when Obama passed 2,118, McAuliffe said, “No, it’s not it.”
McAuliffe added, “We’re calling the uncommitted ones, primarily. But we’ve heard things. You know, you pick up stuff. So we’re following up on leads that we get. Just remember: No superdelegate is bound until they vote at the convention.”

Does that not make you feel the slightest bit slimy? Do you not feel like you’re dragging this on to the detriment of the party itself? If it is indeed your job to help guide Senator Clinton through this campaign, why aren’t you doing your job? The longer this drags on (and on, and on, and on) the more harm is done to the party, to Senator Obama’s chances of winning in November, and to Senator Clinton’s career and legacy.

Dear “Dream Ticket” supporters:

Are you crazy? How can Senator Obama ask Senator Clinton to be his VP? Adding her to the ticket would completely go against his platform of change. He touts the need for a real change in Washington politics. The Clintons represent that very system that Senator Obama claims to want revamped. It’s a laughable concept to me. That’s not even to mention the independent voters that Senator Obama has won over (myself included) who may very well shift the other way if Senator Clinton is added to the ticket.

And let’s face facts, a lot of those voters that Senator Clinton likes to claim she’s won over (you know, those hard working white voters)…well, they aren’t going to vote for a black man whether Senator Clinton is on the ticket with him or not.

Dear Hillary Clinton:

I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll just quote a truly great American, Mr. Ferris Bueller. “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go!”

~Mom on the Edge

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Misty taste of moonshine, Teardrops in my eye...

Dear Jon Stewart:

Thanks for saying what I was yelling at all the political pundits on my TV all of Tuesday night!

~Mom on the Edge

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gods and Unicorns

Pearson and I are atheists. When we met (about 16 years ago) Pearson was already fond of calling himself an atheist. At that time I classified myself more as agnostic. After much research and self exploration, I was swayed. Anyway, we have always agreed that we would raise our children with not only the knowledge of our own beliefs, but of the beliefs of as many others as we could. We also agreed that we would not impose our own beliefs and ideas on our children....though, as with most people, we likely had hopes that the kids would one day come to the same conclusion as we had. Really, we just want them to think for themselves.

We both were raised in Baptist churches and have a pretty bitter taste in our mouths from the Christian experience we were given, so we decided it would be best for the kids to learn about Christianity from people who aren't so biased against it. So we sent them to a Lutheran Church preschool. At preschool they say a blessing, thanking God for their snack. They go to chapel from time to time, where they learn bible stories. They tell the kids that "God made the trees and the flowers..." and that sort of thing. We've always made it clear that while we don't believe that, there are many people who do and that it's fine for everyone to believe what sounds right to them.
Alex is now in kindergarten, in public school. So she's not having Christianity taught to her daily anymore, but we do explain religious holidays when they come around...Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Purim, etc. ***We've mostly stuck with Christianity and Judaism thus far*** But Sam is still in the preschool environment. From time to time we catch him "praying." It's really more like wishing on a star with his hands in the prayer position: "I wish I had a new Optimus Prime action figure and a blue jacket and the Ratatouille DVD..." Alex has never really said one way or the other what she believes, although 2 years ago, she was famous for saying that her teachers knew more than we did and they must be right about God. We don't push to know her beliefs because we aren't really concerned with beliefs as much as we are with her being a critical thinker, a freethinker.

The other day we were in the car, Alex, Sam and I. Sam was saying one of his "prayers" and the following conversation commenced...

Alex: Sam, you don't pray in the car. You pray at preschool.

Sam: No, you pray to God.

Alex: Well, I don't believe in God and neither do Mom and Dad. So neither should you.

Me: Alex, we never told you what you had to believe and you shouldn't do it to Sam either. He can pray if he wants to.

***Sam continues his wish-prayers***

Alex: I guess so, but I don't know why he'd want to ask for things from God. Even if there was a god, he wouldn't be magic. Unicorns would be magic.

Me: Unicorns?

Alex: Yes, unicorns. It just makes more sense.

Me: What makes more sense?

Alex: To believe in unicorns instead of God.

Me: Why does that make more sense?

Alex: Well, think about it. A unicorn is really just a horse with a horn on its head.

Me: Ok, I still don't get it.

Alex: God is some invisible guy in the sky that made everything and nobody can see him, but he watches what you do. How could he know everything and watch everything? That doesn't make sense.

Me: Ok, but what does that have to do with unicorns?

Alex: In all the stories about God in the bible, he has all these powers and stuff and you can't even see him. But in all the stories about unicorns, they're magical, but at least you can see them and know they're real.

Me: Right, but they're still just stories. Unicorns aren't real.

Alex: And neither is God. But if I had to pick one to believe in, I would much rather unicorns be real.

Me: Fair enough.

Freethinker, indeed. I love that kid! :)
~Mom on the Edge

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dear Readers:

I'm having surgery in the morning. Hopefully I'll be able to update soon, but we'll see how things go. Nothing too serious, I don't think. Assuming all goes well, it will be an outpatient procedure and I'll be back to 100% in few days. I'm not feeling too nervous, just a bit anxious. I've never had surgery and am not fond of trying new things. ;) Be sure to think of me and send happy thoughts my way around 10:30 (Eastern) tomorrow as they're cutting through my abdominal muscles...OUCH! Best not to think too much about that.

See you soon.
~Mom on the Edge

Monday, April 7, 2008

Happy birthday, Sam!!!

Dear Sam:

How did 4 years pass so quickly? You have grown into such a smart, funny, compassionate, loving kid. It's so strange for me to think of you as a're not my baby anymore, not a little boy anymore. As you're so fond of telling me, "I'm just a kid!" And you are...a big kid, suddenly.
You are so much fun to be around. You try so hard to make everyone laugh and have a good time. You always want everyone to be happy. You're my constant companion, your dad's shadow, and your big sister's protector. She wouldn't dream of climbing the big staircase to upstairs without you by her side.
You're the most thoughtful kid, too. Today while we were shopping at Target (Dad was at work, Alex at school) you were asking me questions about your family birthday party we were having tonight...
You: Will everyone be there?
Me: Well, all of the family that can make it will be.
You: Will Alex be there, too?
Me: Of course.
You: Will I get presents?
Me: I bet everyone will bring you presents.
You: What about Alex?
Me: Yes, Alex has a present for you, too.
You: No! Will Alex get any presents?
Me: No, it's your birthday. The presents will be for you.
You: Well, can I buy Alex a present then? She really likes presents, too.
Me: But it isn't her birthday. It's yours.
You: I know. But I really want to give her a present. Please???
So you picked out a Littlest Pet Shop toy that you knew Alex wanted and put it in the cart. How could I say no to such a sweet gesture? Alex was thrilled and promised to return the favor on her birthday.
I think that story pretty much sums up who you are, Sam. You're loving and thoughtful and generous. It makes me so proud to watch you grow into such a terrific kid. I love you. Happy birthday.

Happy birthday,
Much love,

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy birthday!

Dear Pearson:

Happy birthday! I thought you'd enjoy this...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

When my mom got her cancer diagnosis nearly 3 years ago (wow, how has it possibly been that long?), my first reaction was to hold her hand and tell her we’d all be ok and that we’d take it one step at a time. Then I offered to get her a drink because her mouth was dry. That’s all she was really saying. She had no real outward reaction to the announcement that she had cancer…even though her doctor’s exact words were, “It’s cancer, and it’s really bad.” I followed the doctor out of the room on my mission to find a ginger ale. Then came my real reaction…I totally collapsed in the ER hall. My mom’s doctor (who I had come to know quite well over the years that several family members had been seeing him) caught me mid-fall and held me up. All he could say was, “I know. I know.” I remember it all so vividly. Mostly I remember the feeling I had. Pure terror.

Fast forward to today, I’m sitting on the table in my new gynecologist’s office wearing nothing but a hospital gown. My mind is racing. How am I going to describe this indescribable pain I’ve been having? Will she take me seriously or will she just brush off my concerns like my last doctor had done? And then there’s the family history…any family members I have reading this right now, you know what I mean; it’s quite extensive and almost unbelievable…how would I even begin? I have to tell her about my mother. I’m not used to that anymore. Everyone knows about my mother. I never have to go back to the beginning. The beginning is the hard part. The rest is easy. Maybe I could write it all down and just hand it to her and spare myself the possibility of completely losing control of my emotions while sitting here totally vulnerable and exposed. I don’t want to cry and get all emotional. That makes me seem irrational. Writing it down is perfect! Paper…I think I have some paper and a pen in my purse…damn! Too late…she’s knocking on the door. Why didn’t I think of this at home? In the waiting room? Now I have no choice. Just hold it together. You can do it.

We make our introductions. She seems nice. She’s fairly young and seems kind and gentle. That’s quite a switch from the brash and overbearing man I used to call my doctor. Suddenly I feel at ease. Then she asks what my concerns are that have brought me in today. I haven’t even opened my mouth yet and she’s handing me a tissue. Why is she handing me a tissue? Can she tell I’m about to….oh my god…I’m already crying! How did this happen? I suddenly realize I’ve been transported back to that moment. Pure terror. I had no idea I was so scared by the symptoms I’ve been having. Denial is apparently a specialty of mine though. So here I am, sobbing on the table, trying desperately to explain myself. Finally I manage to finish describing my symptoms, my fears, my mother, the rest of the family history…all the cancer, the gynecological problems, everything. And this wonderful woman reaches out and touches my hand very softly and says, “We are going to figure this out.”

Why this comes as such a relief to me I do not know. Well, it could be because my last experience with a gynecologist had not gone quite like this. Still, I don’t know why I feel so relieved by such a simple validation. And suddenly I feel horrible.

When my mother died I was so angry with her. I still am sometimes, if I’m completely honest with myself. I was angry because she had so many symptoms for so many years and she kept them all to herself. If she had been honest with herself and had those problems checked out, she might be here right now, watching my babies grow up. Instead my son doesn’t remember her and random memories of baking cookies and shopping for pretty dresses are all my daughter has left of this woman who was her favorite person in the world. I don’t have my mother here to be my best friend and confidant. Our family is forever changed. It didn’t have to be this way.

And now I’m sitting on this table, making a plan to find out what’s causing me so much pain. How can I not be just as angry with myself? I’ve been dealing with this pain for more than two years now. Why did I wait? What will I tell myself, my family, my friends, my beautiful babies, if my answer comes in the same way as my mother’s? I’ll be left with that same pure terror…and only myself to blame.

In the long run, I made the right choice. I am being proactive now. I should have done it sooner and I didn’t. But there’s no way to change that now. It is what it is. We’re dealing with it head on. We will be aggressive and thorough. My doctor made me that promise. “We are going to figure this out.” And I believe her. Whatever the answer is, I am thankful for this experience. It has taught me a lot about myself. It’s taught me a lot about my mother.

There’s no more anger. There’s only love and understanding. Sometimes the not knowing is easier than confronting the pure terror. That’s who my mother was. It’s not who I am. Not anymore.

~Mom on the Edge

p.s. I love you, JoJo…and I miss you.

Spring Break

Dear Spring Break:

Thanks for almost being over! While I've enjoyed not getting up at 6:30 every day, I have lost all of my energy and most of my mind chasing after my kids for the past week. We had some fun, but I am so glad it's almost time for school to start again. Thanks for knowing right when I've had all I can take.

~Mom on the Edge

p.s. Tell your friend Summer Break to take his time getting here. He could really take a little lesson from you on knowing when you've worn out your welcome. He always just lingers long after I'm over him.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Grand Debut of Alex and Tori

Dear talent agents:

They are as yet unsigned...


Please excuse the shaky filming...Pearson is not a professional.

~Mom on the Edge

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Am, I Am Superman!

Dear People of the Internet:

Ever had one of those days where your schedule is so jam-packed that you're not sure how you'll be able to actually accomplish any of what you set out to do? I had that day yesterday. It was a massive undertaking and a horrible convergence of must-do mommy things. I had to get Alex to school by 8am, Sam to school by 9am (this is the easy part, folks). I had to then shop for food, goody bags, a craft and a book for Sam's class Easter party at the preschool. I had to do all of this (including actually making the food and putting together the goody bags) and be back at the preschool by 11am. I then had to amuse 10 preschoolers for an hour and rush out at noon to get back to Alex's school to get her and her cousin ready for their afternoon performance in the Talent Show. The kids were being called down at 12:15 and the show was starting at 12:30. Were they kidding with that timing??? There were no less than a dozen little girls and their moms crammed into a one stall bathroom trying to get dressed. Fun!

At that point was my break in the day. I would have from after the show (around 2pm) until Alex had to be back at the school at 6:45 to get ready for the 7:00 performance. The break never came.

I had just gotten Alex off to school and was getting Sam dressed. We were going to have Burger King for breakfast on the way. Then the phone rang. It was my friend. My 35 week, 4 days pregnant friend. My friend whose birth I was supposed to attend. Guess what? Her water broke! My mind immediately started racing, trying to figure out how to fit childbirth into my day. I told my friend I would do everything in my power to be there for her. Of course, there was no part of my day that I could hand off to someone else. When I hung up the phone I thought to myself, "well, I'll go up there after the afternoon performance and I can stay for a few hours. Hopefully it will work out. And if not, I'll go back after the evening show and maybe it will be time then...without having missed the birth somewhere in that middle time."

I went on about my day, occasionally checking on my friend at the hospital (Yay for cell phones!). All I could think about all day was getting there for the birth. Sam's party went great. Alex's afternoon performance was fantastic! And I was finally off!

I arrived at the hospital at about 2:45. I told my friend that I could only stay until about 5:15 because I had to get Alex ready. She was very understanding. We hung out and talked, watched her contractions on the monitor, laughed...and speculated that it probably wouldn't be time for quite a while and I could probably make it back in time after the 7pm show (around 9). Afterall she was only at 3cm when I arrived, after laboring all morning (already having been at 2.5 when she arrived). As my time grew shorter, I was really sad to have to leave and potentially miss the birth. But the baby must have sensed my concern...he arrived just before 5pm.

It was so amazing. I was so honored to be a part of this huge life have taken the very first photos of this precious little have seen his sweet little face the moment he arrived in this world. Magical.

So, I may have flown around like Superman yesterday. But if I am friend is Wonder Woman. She was amazing and fantastic. Way to go, Jen. Congratulations....and thank you.

~Mom on the Edge

p.s. Video of Alex's Talent Show performance will be coming soon...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Greatest Superfreakiest Show on Earth

Dear Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey:

I just had to ask...which of you was the superfreak? Or are you all rolling over in your graves at the thought of how far your circus has fallen?

I took my kids, ages 6 and 3, to see the circus a few weeks ago. I have to say parts of it were more like a burlesque show or something you would only get to see after inserting your fare into the slot and peeping through the little hole in the wall. Now, I'm not a prude by any means, even when it comes to my kids. But I have to say that the chicks with the short skirts, patent leather hooker boots and motorcycle handlebars around their waists were a bit much. Did you really have to go so far as to have the band play an orchestral version of Smack My Bitch Up? I thought this was a family show!

I hope that next year we get the Bellobration tour instead of the Bunny Ranch version!

This all followed the amazing motorcycle act. This act was toned down on the night we attended since the day before one of the motorcycle acts ended with several circus patrons being sprayed with gasoline. Lovely! At least they got a complimetary trip backstage to be hosed off and have a nice eye rinse.

Perhaps you should stick to lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Today's circus has surprisingly few cool animal acts though. There are elephants, who mostly just walk around the arena, lie down, stand again and walk some more. The most entertaining part of the elephant show was when the largest elephant of all decided center stage was the perfect place to take a ginormous dump. All the children were quite amused. They seemed in awe of the clean up crew's efficiency at quickly removing the offending poo. Other than that, there were a few horses. And there were dogs....yes, dogs. Not very exciting, but better than the tour with the house cats. What happened to the lions? Where are the zebras? I want to see some dancing bears!

At least this year we made sure to have a large meal before arriving, since the prices are insane at the circus. We did get 2 boxes of popcorn (at $8 each!). They were charging insane prices for everything, of course. $3 for a bottle of water. $12 for cotton candy. Unbelievable. They wanted $10 for a sno cone. Sure, it came in an animal head cup, but's just a cup of colorful ice! The children got one toy each...Alex got a light-up-spinning-obnoxious-siezure-causing item for $20 and Sam chose a shiny red motorcycle for $14. We've had worse years.

Did I mention just how much I hate the circus?

~Mom on the Edge

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Put Your Head on My Shoulder

Dear Mr. Paul Anka:

Who knew that your fame was still so widespread? I just thought you'd enjoy this conversation my 6 year old daughter and I had tonight... I'll preface by saying that Alex and her cousin are trying out for their school talent show this week. They're very excited!

Alex: I wonder who the judges will be at the tryouts.

Me: My guess would be either teachers or maybe some PTA people. I really don't know.

Alex: Maybe it will be Simon Cowell!

Me: Oh, I doubt that. I think he's pretty busy these days.

Alex: You're right. It'll probably be Mr. Paul Anka.

Me: *laughing hysterically* I guess we'll have to wait and see.

~Mom on the Edge

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What does "well regulated" mean anyway?

Dear Gun-toting Stranger:

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of the current interpretation of the second amendment. Your "right" to bear arms is arguable, in my opinion. But, I will admit that your actions were well within the law (a law I completely disagree with). Here's what I want to know there really a need for a well regulated militia inside of the local Fuddruckers restaurant? Beyond that, did it seem like a great idea to you when you sat down at a table that placed your gun (which was completely in the open on your hip, not concealed) approximately six inches from the little five year old girl at the next table? Did that seem wise and appropriate? I'm just wondering, since clearly we have very different views on this sort of thing, if you thought it would make her feel safe and secure. Did you think it would ease her mind? Eventually it seemed the child's father had made some sort of comment or shot you a dirty look because you suddenly got up and switched seats with your companion (who was wearing no less than 10 John McCain stickers). The two of you appeared to be about 16, although I would have to hope you were at least 18. I'm sure you think you're very patriotic. But how are we supposed to know if you're the good guy or the bad guy? I'd really just like to know what motivated you to carry a (presumably loaded) weapon into a family restaurant. It's totally beyond my comprehension.

Anyone care to explain it to me?

~Mom on the Edge

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Smarty Pants

Dear Alex:

I was so proud of you today. I helped with the Valentine's Day party for your kindergarten class today. When I got there one of the little boys grabbed your hand and pulled you over to where I was standing. He was so excited and said to me, "Watch what Alex can do!" He pointed to a conversation heart decoration on the wall and you said, "Cute Stuff, " reading it perfectly. He pointed to another and you said, "Forever." Then another, and you said, "True Love." This went on through a few more hearts, all of which you read with ease. Your classmates were looking on in amazement. You seemed totally unphased. It's good to be humble.

I also found out today that you are involved in the accelerated program at school. I don't know much about it yet, but I'm glad to see the school is recognizing your talent and that they are trying to encourage and challenge you academically.

Stay tuned readers....Alex's Talent Show Adventures will be coming soon.

~Mom on the Edge

Friday, February 8, 2008

More on Obama

Dear American Voters:

As I said in my previous Obama post, I have always voted for Republican presidents. I mentioned my reasons were typically fiscal. Lately though I have been thinking about the future of my children. Not just financially, but in terms of what I want for them and for their futures. I want them to have a great education and every opportunity to take advantage of that education. I am fortunate that my children seem to have no disabilities at this point. I do have a family member with disabilities. He has been diagnosed with childhood schizophrenia as well as Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. It has been a nightmare for us, as a family, to try fighting our way through all the red tape and beaurocratic bullshit just to get him the education he is supposedly guaranteed. There's not enough funding. There's not enough support. There's not enough knowledge amongst those who are supposed to be in charge. It's shameful. All this leads me to reason #2 that I support Barack Obama...

In addition to reclaiming America's global leadership on this issue by becoming a signatory to -- and having the Senate ratify -- the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the plan has four parts, designed to provide lifelong supports and resources to Americans with disabilities. They are as follows:

  • First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.

  • Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.

  • Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.

  • And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.

And from Obama's Plan on Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Support Special Needs Education for Children with ASD: Barack Obama understands that children with special needs - students with visual, hearing, physical, sensory, and mental impairments - require meaningful resources in order to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Obama is a strong supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and supports full federal funding of the law to truly ensure that no child is left behind. The current underfunding of IDEA causes school districts throughout the country to deny necessary services to students with ASD and other special needs. Obama will also work to change IDEA's definition of "autism" to Autism Spectrum Disorders to ensure that all children diagnosed with ASD disorders receive the support they need.


These issues are becoming so much more a concern to me. I think it's important that people pay attention to specific plans the candidates propose. There are often differences that seem small on the surface, but in reality make a huge difference. I hear a lot of people saying, "Obama talks a good game, but that's all. He's got no plan." I beg to differ. I think he has some wonderful plans. Plans unlike the other candidates are offering. Plans that could make a real difference for people who are too often overlooked.

~Mom on the Edge

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Big boy!

Dear Sam:
Look how good you're getting at writing your name!!! Daddy loves that you make your M just like the Mopar symbol. :) Keep up the good work, buddy.
~Mom on the Edge

A Wave of Change

Dear American Voters:

I don't often discuss my personal political beliefs and choices. Politics, like religion can often lead to heated debate and disagreement. I like to avoid these things for the most part. From time to time though, I am moved to speak out on one or the other of these subjects. I do so without reservation and without apologies in those instance.

I have long considered myself a fiscal conservative, social liberal who typically leans in the direction of Republican candidates on the national level. My money has always been the driving force in those decisions. I usually find local politics to be a more personal decision, the effects of those results hitting closer to home. This year something has changed for me though. I'm not sure I can even put it into words. It may take several posts to dissect my own thoughts.

This year for the very first time, Pearson and I will be able to put signs of support in our yard, on our cars, on our kids if they'll let us, in support of a candidate. We've never agreed on a candidate before, so we've avoided these symbols of support. But during this primary season (and hopefully beyond...into the general election campaign) we will be going all out to show our support for Barack Obama.

For the very first time in my personal voting history, I have found a candidate who I actually find hope in. I've always felt like I was voting for the candidate that I believed would do the least damage. But this time around I have the opportunity to vote for a candidate that I truly believe could enact some positive changes. It's an incredible feeling to discover a candidate that makes you feel hopeful about positive change, makes you believe in your own ability to assist with that change. Barack Obama is that candidate.

Do I agree with Obama on every issue? No, of course not. But I trust him and I believe he is a genuine and passionate candidate. He's not just passionate about being president. He's passionate about the potential of this country. Optimism is a powerful thing.

Reason #1 I believe in Obama:

Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Amen to that!

So much more to say, but as I said, this will likely take me multiple posts. So that's it for now. I'll have plenty more reasons to share with you in the coming days.

~Mom on the Edge

p.s. Hey Virginia voters (and Maryland and DC), don't forget to get out and vote for Obama on Tuesday!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Expensive tastes

Dear technology industry:

Can you find a cheaper way to make these new gadgets so they don't cost so much in the stores? My daughter has an eye for technology. She gets that from her dad. It seems that at 6 years old, she's already outgrown the average $10 Littlest Pet Shop set, $15 Barbie and $20 board game.

For Christmas the only thing she wanted was a Wii. She insisted that Santa was bringing her that Wii. Lucky for us Santa won a Wii in a raffle at work. Over Thanksgiving, Uncle JuJew (or JewJew, JuJu, JewJu...whatever you prefer) taught her how to use his i-phone. She insisted that she had to have one. Not happening.

Tonight we had the following conversation...

Alex: I think you should buy me a Blu-ray DVD player for my room.

Me: Oh really?

Alex: Yeah, don't you know that Blu-ray DVDs hold way more stuff on them and they don't get scratches, so we can't ruin them. You'd have to be stupid not to have one.


Alex: I'm totally getting one...

Hmmmm.... $50 Philips DVD player for my 6 year old's bedroom or $500 Sony Blu-ray DVD player for my 6 year old's bedroom? I think I'll just remain stupid for now.

~Mom on the Edge

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I flip for no one!

Dear early childhood educators:

Let me start by saying that I know your intentions are good. I know you certainly aren't in it for the money. I know you love my children and I appreciate that more than I can say. That being said, there are just some things I really don't understand.

I know it's fairly impossible to teach to each child's level. The ratio of child to teacher is just too great for that, in most cases. It just really bothers me because in many cases it has meant my kids have to move backwards in their abilities to accomodate others. That seems so unfair to them.

Example #1 ~ The Coat Flip

Sam is a very smart and capable kid. He loves to please others, but can be stubborn when a request seems arbitrary or if he thinks there's a better way. He usually will comply with our requests without argument as long as we allow him some latitude in HOW it gets done. He has always done well at preschool and the teachers love him. When I picked him up today though, his teacher seemed troubled. I asked, as I always do, how Sam's day went. Her concern turned out to be that Sam had refused to do the "coat flip" that they have the children do before going outside. If you're not familiar with the coat flip, it's a method lots of people use with small kids so they can put their own coats on, be self sufficient in that way, feel good about themselves...and save the teachers a lot of time. They have the children lay their coats on the floor, put their arms through the sleeves and then flip the coat over their heads. At first I was concerned that he was just being contrary and maybe was insisting that the teacher put his coat on him. that would have bothered me. But, come to find out...he just put his coat on the way most people do, one arm at a time. Naturally, I wasn't seeing the problem. I mean, that's how I put my coat on. Don't you? I don't know any adults, or even children over 5 who use the coat flip method. The whole time Sam was sitting in the back seat quietly, occasionally whispering, "I just don't flip my coat." So, I told the teacher that he has learned the right way to put a coat on and likes that better. Her response, "Well, the coat flip is the way we do it at preschool. And we want to be just like our other preschool friends, don't we?" I decided silence was the best response I could offer to such a ridiculous statement. My real answer? Hell no I don't want my son to be "just like" all the other kids! I just want him to be Sam.

By the way, Pearson and I had this very same argument with Alex's preschool teacher when she was 3 (same school, different teacher). Alex refused to do the coat flip as well.

Example #2 ~ The Primaries

No, not those primaries. As far as I can tell they aren't discussing the election in preschool or kindergarten. I'm refering to primary pencils and know, the big fat ones. Back in the summer Pearson and I had kindergarten orientation where we met the teachers and got a folder full of forms and information. The teachers told us to browse through the information while we were there so we could ask any questions that might come to mind. I had several questions ranging from why they ate lunch so early (10:50 am!) to if they were able to work with the children on their own individual level for reading and how that was handled. I got satisfactory answers to all of those questions. But then I asked if all of the kids had to use primary pencils and crayons. Their answer was simple: yes. I questioned the reasoning behind this. They informed me that children have an easier time learning the proper way to hold a pencil or crayon if they're taught using the primary ones, then they will move on to regular pencils and crayons. My response was, "Where does that leave a child who already has that skill?" They seemed confused by the question. So I continued..."My daughter has been using a regular pencil and regular crayons forever. Her grasp is perfect and her handwriting is excellent. I just worry about setting her back by taking this giant leap in the wrong direction." One of the teachers replied, "Well, that's how we teach them to do it right." And I replied, "And since she already does it right, then isn't this just a step backwards for no apparent reason?" The answer: "That's just how we do it." Not good enough....

These are just a couple of small examples of a much bigger problem, I think. Schools are really stifling the individuality of our kids...or at least they're trying to. It seems like the education system has taken a step back since I was kid. There certainly were a lot of similar situations back then, but they seemed to be making progress in that area. I had several teachers who encouraged me to be unique, taught me to question authority (respectfully, of course), pushed me to explore and examine life, glorified the unconventional. Maybe I was just blessed with some excellent teachers and opportunities. But it seems like there's more to it. It's all so single minded now. They teach the kids so they'll pass a test instead of teaching them so they can change the world. They teach them to be like everyone else, when most of the people who have made a real difference in this world have been incredibly unique.

I want my kids to do great things, to be great people and push themselves into new and exciting adventures. You can't do that while being forced to conform. So, I guess my point is less about the arbitrary rules of the education system and more about my own overwhelming pride in my children's early abilities to fight the power!

~Mom on the Edge

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On a personal note...

Taking a break from my normal form here today, I want to address some personal issues. Most of my readers here know that I lost my mom to cancer two and a half years ago. It was a difficult journey, the cancer and the grief. But, as with all things, I got through it. It wasn't easy though. It still isn't.

Someone I love very much lost her own mother to cancer this morning. It's left me feeling raw and wounded all over again. At the same time though, I feel strong. I feel powerful. I feel like I can survive anything. And I know she can as well. She may not feel it today, or tomorrow. But she will heal. There's so much I want to share with her...but now is not the time. She needs this time to grieve.

But there are things I want to share here as well. I've never been through anything as horrible as losing my mom. The pain is not something I can even express. However, in so many ways I have been so blessed from the experience. Losing her opened my eyes to how lucky I really am, and always was. I have this amazing group of friends. They are so wonderful. I am surrounded by such strong and loving women. They've always been there...since we were really young. But I think I took them for granted. I didn't realize how lucky I was. Not everyone has that.

They are all intelligent, strong, beautiful, funny, loving, sarcastic, honest...just the best bunch of women I could ever hope to have in my life. They jumped right in and have filled a void in my life that I didn't even realize was there, until my mother wasn't. I don't know if they know how much they mean to me, but I guess they do now.

I love you, girls. You know who you are. Thank you for all the little gifts you give me, and each other, every day.
p.s. I also want to give my male friends a shout out. They are also wonderful, fabulous, amazing friends. I love you guys, too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Such a critical thinker

Dear Alex:

I just wanted to document here how impressed I am with your abilities. You really are an amazing kid. So smart, so funny, so likeable. Today you were doing your homework and I suddenly realized how big you've gotten. You really think through your work. You're such a conscientious and enthusiastic student and that makes me so happy. I hope you stay that way. It will take you far.


Internet friends:

Alex was at the table doing her homework tonight. She was reading sentences and had to choose whether to circle YES or NO for each. She was reading them aloud to me. We had the following conversation...

Alex: This one says Can you ride on a fish?

Me: Well, can you?

Alex: You can't ride on a shark or a whale I know for sure. And you can't ride on regular fish either. People do ride on dolphins.

Me: Yes, people do ride on dolphins, don't they?

Alex: Well, they do, but dolphins aren't fish....they're mammals, of course. So the answer is no.

Nice job, big girl. :)

~Mom on the Edge

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Wii are loving it!

Dear Wii:

Thanks for coming to live with us. We're having so much fun. We play so much and it's such a workout! Even the kids are getting into it. In fact, Alex (who is just 6 years old) has a better record on some of the sports than her dad. She loves that. He does not. She's really good at bowling on the Wii. Her high score is 218. Her dad's is 205. :) It's family fun. Dad will just have to try harder.

Now, enjoy this video of Sam's first Wii boxing match. He knocked the guy out in the first round. Go Sam!

Oh, and for the record, my high score in bowling is 225. I rock!

~Mom on the Edge

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Am I good, or what?

I would like to direct your attention to this post in which I made the following prediction:

And now my prediction for this season. The Redskins will have a winning season. I'm going to say... we're looking at a 9-7 season....but I'm hoping for even better!

For those of you who don't follow football, the Redskins did indeed finish the regular season at 9-7. Nice!

~Mom on the Edge

Thursday, January 3, 2008

No Whammies

Dear 'Skins:

I'm going to be brief because I don't want to jinx anything. So, Come on Redskins! Big money! No Whammies!!!

~Fan on the Edge