Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Best Job In The World

Okay, friends and family...we need your help! We are applying for the best job in the world...to be caretakers of The Great Barrier Reef in Australia for 6 months. We had to make a video interview that was only 60 seconds long that showed our family and our enthusiasm. Our good friend Melodee Cooper helped us (in exchange for dinner!! :)...and these are our videos...including our "mess-ups". The first didn't get past Jason...check it out!!

Island Reef Job Take 1

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The next take stopped at a case of the giggles from Savannah. It's really cute...

Island Reef Job Take 2

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The next take caught Joseph unawares as he tried to remember how to pronounce "records"...

Island Reef Job Take 3

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This take was okay - but you could tell everyone was done. Brigham can't even stay still to finish, having to examine something on the floor half-way through. When he bends over, he displays my big 'ol belly (yes - I strategically placed the kids to hide my tummy)...so this take was obviously out...

Island Reef Job Take 4

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And, finally, the final take that was our success...the video we uploaded with our application. Tell me what you think!!

Island Reef Job Take 5 (It's a wrap!)

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So now that you've seen our video, I need your help. Comment on my blog your thoughts, and go to www.islandreefjob.com, or Goggle "Island Reef Job" and find our video. Rate it and view it as often as you can. E-mail your friends and get them to vote, too, to give us a chance to get this job and opportunity of a lifetime.

We're really excited about it, and hope you cheer us on!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Kaitlyn and Her Camera...

Kaitlyn posted some new stuff on her MySpace...thought I'd share her burgeoning talent...
This is...apparantly...feet. It's titled "Lunch".

We all need a little "Love".

... "Like A Stone" (a tribute to AudioSlave).

Katie and best friend Brianna...as rock stars...

...Best friend Brianna helps inspire Kaitlyn...
...this one is called "Dramarama"...another tribute to favorite bands...
...and she didn't name this one, but I love the Photoshopping...

...this is "Other World"...

...this is "Blush"...

...and, finally, this is "Album Cover".
Thanks for letting me share!! - Shannan

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Homework Revolution

Hey guys - just me on my soapbox again. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am staunchly against homework. I have MANY reasons for my opinion...the crunch it puts on family time, the stress it levels on kids, how it restricts kids from being active, and how it discourages kids from being excited about school, to name a few!!

Now, don't get me wrong...I think kids should read every day. But I find that they are more willing to read if they're not FORCED to. And I see nothing wrong with the occasional school project, like the Science Fair or a country report. But I believe that hours and hours of homework after school is actually detrimental to a child's learning.

I'm a mother of five...but that doesn't really give me the expertise to convince anyone, even though we all know that parents are the greatest teachers of all, but since I don't have a PhD, I usually get eye rolls and the brush off from the administrators that I talk to about the homework issue. And although almost all teachers will admit to me that they hate assigning, grading, and enforcing homework, and they hate dealing with it for their OWN children, in a professional parent/teacher conference, they'll all go on and on about it's supposed benefits (even though their eyes are glassy and they stare over my shoulder).

Well - unfortunately - there is a lot of misinformation out there...and more and more studies are actually proving that homework IS NOT beneficial to children at all. I told many of you about the study that Newsweek broke about the mental health issues that are rising in children (specifically boys), and that one of the Newsweek columnists suggested that the increase of homework and decrease of "creative expression" in schools (as in art, music, recess) is quite literally driving kids crazy, leading to an increase in behavior problems that often lead parents to seek professional help and medication. It was an opinion I agree with. see: http://www.newsweek.com/id/157898

Parenting magazine is has published an article about the homework overload, and is calling parents to a "homework revolution". It's an interesting read...whether you agree with homework or not. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/28624181/?GT1=43001

I feel that these articles are related...what's your opinion?

UPDATE: Here are some responses I received via e-mail...

Kari, a music teacher from Huntington Beach, CA said:

"Yeah, as a parent, I agree. Too much homework takes time away from my limited time with my kids after school, and furthermore causes more tension in our relationship as I am forced to be the enforcer of homework completion. I understand that it takes immersion to completely understand a subject, and it is common sense that teaches us that the more we do something, the better we get at it...but the time is the deal breaker here for me as a parent. As long as my two kids sit and diligently work on their homework with some amount of intrinsic motivation, then some homework isn't an issue for me. It is harder as a parent when the child simply does not want to do the assignments and then we engage in the power struggle. The school say, as you did, that the parent is the greatest teacher...that's a lot of pressure, especially when you're in a parent teacher conference face to face with your kid's teacher and the child's homework is consistently not done or late! The responsibility lies on you the parent. That's a tough issue to deal with, but as you did, I flat out told my son's teacher the same thing. I said, I work full time, and when I get home I want to spend some time with my kid, and yes, sometimes it is homework that is sacrificed. After a day at work, the last thing that I want to do is teach my kids! I guess that I fall into that category of the cobbler who has holes in their shoes!! We also need to teach our children about time management and sacrifice, and sometimes it the lesser of the two evils that you must choose between. I didn't read your attached articles, I have the experience as a parent to submit an opinion about the matter...I think that the premise of the article has it backwards...it is the parents that are being driven crazy by the homework, not the kids! Where's my meds? I am a teacher and I give very little home rehearsal homework and my "company line" about that is, however long it takes you to learn a song or section of a song, from the beginning to the end without stopping, that's how long you should practice. If a kid knows how to spell a word, they shouldn't have to copy it 20 times...that's just busy work..BS...homework should be meaningful, that's where the teachers are missing it. Many default to the book assignments that they can easily photocopy and pass out, teachers need to get more creative and give lessons that the kids need to learn disguised as something that they want to learn! Kids need to have some say in their learning or they will reject it altogether, even if it is a subject that interests them. We need more teachers who look for other ways to teach content, like we moms look for other "jellies to give our kids their medicine". That's my two cents."

Lani, a mom from Provo, Ut said:

Totally agree Shannan...Thanks for the articles. Another benefit of home school...of which I am not being blessed currently. :)

Amy, a mom from Miramar, FL said:

Right On Sister!!

Mellyn from Shreveport, LA said:

I absolutely agree! Loving homeschooling! NO HOMEWORK!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The History of Aprons

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

REMEMBER:

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron ..... but Love !!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brigham's Broken Thumb, Hand, and Wrist

This is the second post in a series dedicated to my questionable parenting skills.

On Tuesday nights, I have Girl Scouts. I host my Brownie troop, of which Savannah is a member, at my home. After meetings, before moms and dads come to collect their girls, the kids go out and jump on the trampoline.

Well - on this last Tuesday, I not only had my 7 Brownies, but also Nicolette, Brigham, Joseph, and Joshua Rosales all jumping on the trampoline. For those of you who can't add numbers in your head, that is 11 children. WAAYYY more than the recommended amount.

I was inside, talking with some moms. I could hear them getting rowdier and rowdier outside, but I was enjoying my "adult time", and chose to ignore them. Without parental supervision, they started to make wild decisions, one of which was to all jump as hard as they could at the same time and see what happened.

Have you ever jumped on a trampoline? Have you ever played a game called "Crack the Egg?" Well - that's essentially what happened...they all came down, went up, and the trampoline, under the immense amount of stress, snapped back up and popped them up so high in the air that they lost control and went careening into each other, crashing and landing in a tangled, quivering heap.

Now - here's the proof of bad parenting. First, I didn't stop something from happening when I knew disaster was eminent.

Second - when I think about what happened, instead of cringing and feeling guilty and dialing the number of CPS to turn myself in, I can't help but laugh. I'm SORRY!!! It's true...I can just picture the look on all their faces as they realize that their master plan is about to result in mass injury, and I can hear Joseph's voice above all the squeals-of-delight-turned-to-panicked-screaming, and he's yelling: "Ohhhh! CRAP!!!!!!"

Well - needless to say, there were a lot of injuries. Jessica cut her bottom lip on her braces. Nicolette and Amanda bonked heads very hard. Katie cut open her heal on someones mouth. But no one was crying as hard as Brigham.

Now - I've told you how competitive Brigham is. He's also a very tough little guy...so if he's hysterical, it must hurt. And he was HYSTERICAL, and cradling his left hand. But as I looked at his hand, I couldn't see any swelling or bruising. So I made him stop crying and gave him a bath, and then I put him to bed. I wrote a note on the fridge reminding me to call his pediatrician in the morning, and I went to bed.

At 10pm, Jason and I awoke to Brigham SCREAMING. We rushed in his room, and found him quivering in bed, huge tears rolling down his face. He had rolled over on his arm. We looked at his hand, and it was swollen almost 3 times the size of his uninjured hand, and a very disconcerting shade of purple. Jason looked at me, and I rolled my eyes and said: "I'll get the keys."

We took him to Memorial West Emergency (an AWESOME Childrens Emergency), and they saw him right away. They asked him how much it hurt, and showed him a chart made of smiling faces that went from happy to sad. He pointed to the middle face. Then they took his vitals, and his blood pressure came back at 124 over 84. The nurse looked at him with wide eyes and said: "Oh my gosh! He must be in a lot of pain. Can someone get me some Motrin?" she called into the hall.

I knew he would say it didn't hurt as bad as it did... just to prove he was tough. But his shivering and blood pressure gave him away. (Just so you know and can compare, after Motrin, his blood pressure went down to 111 over 71).
They took x-rays, but couldn't find anything. Still, the swelling and bruising was bad, and the doctor on call was afraid he's broken a growth plate, so she splinted his arm and gave me a referral for a Pediatric Orthopedic Specialist.

The next day, we got into the Ortho guy, and he reviewed the x-rays. He also unwrapped Brig's hand and looked at it. (And yes - it was still as swollen and blue as it was the night before). Sure enough, he had a hairline fracture that traveled from his thumb, across his hand, and down into the growth plate in his wrist. The crack wasn't big, but he told us that breaking a growth plate is EXTREMELY painful. He illustrated by applying a small amount of pressure on the top of Brig's hand, and Brig almost leapt right off the counter.
Well - after the diagnosis comes the fun part. Brig got to pick the color of his cast, and the nurse let Nicolette help put it on. While the nurse wrapped his arm in cotton, Nicolette soaked the fiberglass cast in water, and then brought it to the nurse and helped her wrap it.
Then she helped rub soap all over the finished cast. It was so sweet of the nurse to let Nicolette help so much, and now Nicolette wants to be a nurse, too.
And Brigham has a brand new, bright blue cast.
And just for further evidence against my ability to successfully mother my kids...this is Brighams SECOND break...in the first, he broke both his ulna and radius when he was 3-years-old by riding his tricycle down the basement stairs...

But that, my friends, is another story....

Fun at the Jungle

I have a confession to make.
I am a bad mother.

I know many of you will disagree...but I am posting two new blogs today that will prove otherwise. In this first blog, I am going to confess that over Winter Break, I allowed my children to spend 4 days in a row in the SAME PAIR OF PAJAMAS (yup - that means no baths, and no clean underwear), and do nothing but watch movies, play video games on the Wii, and further waste time on-line with their new Webkinz. On top of that - I didn't fix any real food. Not once. we ate cold cereal, and potato chips, and those little cocktail pigs-in-a-blanket. We devoured two separate cheese balls and at least four boxes of crackers.

After four days, I looked in the mirror and saw that my complexion had become sallow and unhealthy. I looked at my children as they sprawled lazily and filthy across the couch and floor, and I saw that their eyes were glazed over and their tummies were hanging out over the elastic bands of the jammies. And, thankfully, I felt the tug of consciousness, and the sting of regret...and I leapt up and announced:

"C'mon, punks!! We're going out today!!"

I was met with hissing and gnashing of teeth as I threw up the blinds and allowed the gorgeous December sunlight to flood the dark recesses of the living room. And they actually threw their arms over their faces to shield themselves from the on-slaught of fresh air as I pulled up the windows. They moaned and groaned as I literally peeled their disgusting jammies from their stinky little bodies and shoved them in the shower. They cringed from the soap and shampoo. They glared balefully at me when I placed hot oatmeal in front of them, and protested loudly when I wouldn't allow them to drown it in syrup and brown sugar.
(above: this is what my children resembled after 4 days of nothing but TV and junk food)
Yes - I was a detested woman. A traitor of the good life.

But after a couple hours of rebellious muttering and mutinous grumbling, I was able to pile them in the car and head out to Jungle Island, where we have an annual membership. We only stayed a couple hours, and only visited our favorite spots...like the Manu Encounter, where you get up close and personal with macaws and monkeys and iguanas; or the Tale of the Tiger Show and Flights of Wonder show. Then I stopped at the gift shop and let them all pick out a souvenir...for the first (and last) time. They all picked out new stuffed friends...Joseph got a snake named "Tiger", Savannah picked a tiger named "India", Brigham choose a white tiger named "Winter", and Nicolette christened her Golden Tabby Tiger "Fluffy".
When we got home, I saw my children had color in their cheeks again, and a bounce in their steps. And their tummies didn't look so swollen. And instead of resuming their empty stares at the TV, they took their new friends out to jump on the trampoline.

And I actually made dinner.
What do you know? Miracles never cease...