Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mom, Will You Help Me

That was the plaintive plea, I heard one day near the end of the school year.  It was from a very sad little boy who had decided that our dog needed a dog house and so he was going to build her one.  As he tried to rally the other kids to help him, they laughed at him and told him he couldn't do it.  Sound like any other sibling groups.  Hmmm, but that story for another day.
I asked him how he intended to make one and told him we would need to buy supplies, but he let me know that Dad had already given him the go ahead on a stack of miscellaneous lumber and other similar material in the garage.
And so we got to it.  He had a game plan and a strategy to make the small pieces into bigger ones.  Soon the neighbor joined in the fun.  Eventually siblings came in and out wanting to help with some small part.  And last, Dad came home impressed and excited. 
So my job as mom was done.  Give the boy encouragement, love, support, and a dose of envy from all the other experts and in no time, I was able to leave him in capable hands and get back to the endless work of mothers everywhere.  And so after several days he completed this masterpiece and placed it in between two of our pine trees to give the dog optimal shade.
Love this boy's imagination, dedication and general sweetness!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Feeling the Gigi Love

Once upon a time this girl lived with me....
I love(d) her like she is one of my own.
But she grew up, moved away and had a family.
But one day she came back to visit with her adorable family.
This somewhat unofficially made me a Grandma
or Gigi (my pre-picked Grandma name).
I got to love on, cuddle and play with my cute little Auggie.
Sadly, I'll never get that chance with Sailor until Heaven.
It's made me want to find some other little ones to love on.
Sadly this stage of my life is probably still 10ish years away.
Luckily time flies!

Monday, June 20, 2016

That's A Wrap

Another month in the history books. 
Sometimes I question if I am living or surviving. 
Then I remember how happy and fulfilled I am, just busy - which I would rather be than bored. 
May is over, but here were some highlights:
 Mother's Day
 Such sweet tender care of Owen.
 Raising and releasing trout in 4-S this year!
 High School Girls' Night
 Finally the weather got warm
 Kody won the game ball
 Trixie loves a good car ride
I changed my hair color.
What did you do in May?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Circus Club

My unicycler, Issac.  Both the small and 5 foot one.
My stilt walker/dancer, Dakota.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Building a Ukulele

This year for Isa's class, they had to pick an independent project.  They work on it outside of school mostly and it is independently driven based on their interests.  Last year Bella chose to "learn Spanish".  This year she became obsessed with music.  She decided she wanted to build and teach herself to play the ukulele. 

Well thanks to Travis's arsenal of power tools and some friends, they achieved their goal.  She was a rock star.  And it turned out beautifully.  It doesn't have quite the acoustics of the one Santa got her for Christmas, but it plays and works perfectly.  Her ability to problem solve and work hard amazed me.  Plus Travis and her had many hours together doing this and bonding over it.  I think he was just as excited as she was.  Here is her picture journey...
picking and cutting the wood
trimming it to our CNC's dimensions
doing the specs for the CNC cuts
testing resin techniques and applications
making the bridge and other small parts
wood glued and clamped in its entirety
adding her bling statement on the back - a music note
her music teacher helping her string it
finished product
her last bedazzle, glow in the dark resin
I love that this girl isn't afraid to fail and fearlessly tries hard things!  She exceeds all my expectations!  Special thanks to my hubby who had the skills and knowledge I didn't to help her.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

We Interept This Broadcast...

Normally my blog is family bits that every two years get printed for our family archives.  It's filled with the happy, the mundane of daily living and the reality of our family.  And today we're going to cover that, but without the pictures and with a little more solemnity.

Our world is changing.  I am aware of this and so although the first time a bomb threat occurred in a school, I am sure it was alarming, many ever years later, they are becoming somewhat run of the mill.  You see our school district, a small county school in the middle of Lancaster County - "Amish Country" south central Pennsylvania, hardly worth any mention has had these threats.  Mainly at the high school level and a few at the middle school level.  The first one was bizarre to me, but now they are an annoyance to my children and my schedule more than anything.  You see the instances of actual bombings in an elementary, middle or high school in the United States has actually been less than 10 - closer to 5ish, and so although that is 5 more than it should be, statistically quite small.

Well this year, a whole new phenomenon has taken place...the threat of a bomb in the elementary school.  Not just one, but four in the past month.  The first was shocking, astonishing even, but now honestly it has not only been a major aggravation, but a real eye opener as to the climate of our culture.  So why does it bare mentioning...well as PTO President, the response of parents has been very diverse, but equally intense.  Let me explain to you what I am seeing.

Bomb Threat 1 - shock, alarm, some fear, acknowledgement that child is probably unaware of the severity of the message and the associated repercussions

Bomb Threat 2 - shock, less alarm, general consensus of a copycat mentality, little children realizing that walking to another school to watch a movie can be fun, parental concern

Bomb Threat 3 - outrage, blame, fear, accountability, retribution

Bomb Threat 4 - utter chaos, emotional turmoil, polarization in every area

Now I am not an employee of the school, so all opinions expressed here are mine alone and representative of no one else.  That being said, I am in the school almost daily and consider the teachers not only cohorts of a sort, but personal friends.

So for every parent who is experiencing healthy emotions, thank you for your concern, worry, fear, annoyance, frustration - we (myself and others who spend the bulk of the day in and at the school) echo those feelings.  These events are not okay and we are not condoning the actions of the child(ren) at all.

That being said, those parents with hostility, anger and blame...I want you to know...that you take a hard and emotionally challenging situation and you make it worse.  Worse for the administration, for the teachers, for the volunteers, for the school children and for your children.  I have yet to see a single problem that was made better with the above emotions.

The administrators and teachers are doing their very best to put an end to this, they want these interruptions no more than you do and I guarantee even less.  They want to teach, they want to ignore the beauracratic nightmare of vetting these threats, they want to help the students who are performing these acts of threat and they want them to stop.

But the reality is is hard to predict and prevent the instances of crazy that are becoming more commonplace in our world.  It is often what provides them with the label of crazy that makes them so challenging to identify.  Logic can hardly be prescribed in these situations and intent is hard to gauge.  More importantly, every action to try and stymy the actions of threat can be circumscribed, because the adaptability of humans makes it hard to control another's behavior.

So your angry emails, your accusations, your call to action, (note: each parent has a different solution and call to action that conflicts with another parents) your placement of blame - none of it helps.  It creates an environment of chaos, fear and distrust.  It pits the parents against the school as if they are both not on the same side of this situation.

Truly try to remember that this is not what anyone would want, so even if the response to this situation is not what you would do, trust that the response is motivated by the same interests as your own.  And last, please know that any information regarding this matter is private as those involved are minors.  Legally the school cannot release the names of individuals and disciplinary action.  And hopefully, even if they could, they would not.  Because from what I have seen these children, all age 10 and under, would literally be publically tried and executed if allowed.  That has been intensity of the response of the public. 

I truly believe that these children are not angry individuals who pose a real threat.  Like I explained to my kids, the materials, the knowledge and the ability to carry out a real threat greatly reduces the risk to you as so few, if any, in our school have access, motivation and knowledge to carry out these threats.  Theirs is a crime of stupidity and underdeveloped brains.  So please remember that these children need your support, your ability to teach them and your initiative to educate them so they know better for the future.

PS - Even as PTO President, I am not privy to the information, and even if I were to hear things, I would never disclose it in these circumstances.  You see I have always told our kids we are building communities of penguins.  Protect those who need it in the center until they are at a place where they can stand on the outer edge and protect the others in the center.

Now with one week left in the school year, I only hope and pray that this won't occur again, not only this year, but ever.  And if it does, remember patience and forgiveness go a long way to make the world a better place!