So Random

  • RJ’s birthday is a little over a month away! I thought about doing a party, but I’m not even in the mood to plan a small one.  So, we’re going to take some cupcakes to school and have a very happy birthday there.  Then, we’ll do a special family outing to celebrate.  I figure I’m going to keep it small until he’s old enough to start hounding us for parties.
  • My birthday is one week after RJ’s.  I want to treat myself with a visit to this natural hair salon in Charlotte.  I’ve been wanting to go to for quite some time.  I have to book a consultation appointment before they allow you to book an actual styling appointment.  So, I need to get on that, pronto.
  • Speaking of hair, I’ve been thinking about chopping mine off.  I transitioned for over a year before I had the relaxed ends of my hair cut off.  So, I had quite a bit of hair once I did.  I never really experienced the TWA (teeny weeny afro).   I’m getting the itch for a new look.  Hubby’s not really a fan.  I wore my hair really short my senior year of high school and I liked it .  *sigh* I’m hoping my trip to this salon will give me some perspective.
  • My weekends are pretty busy this month.  I’m mainly looking forward to the Parents’ Night Out/PJ Party next Saturday night at RJ’s school.  For $10 a few of the school’s teachers will watch our kids for 4hours and the parents get a break.  A pizza dinner is provided.  It’s way cheaper than what we pay our sitter and we already know the teachers so it’s a win win situation.  I’m looking forward to a kid free dinner and time with Hubby.
  • We’ve made some progress with RJ’s sleep issues.  We no longer have to rock him to sleep.  However, we still haven’t fully tackled his sleeping through the night.  It’s still sporadic  but when he does wake up we can get him to go back to sleep in his own bed, most of the time.
  • Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner?  We’ve started to focus on travel plans, celebrations and gifts.  First, to kick things off, I’m hoping we have time to make a trip back to this pumpkin patch.  We took RJ last year and had a blast.  I’m also hoping to squeeze in a trip to  Sky Top Orchard.  We’ve never been, but I hear it’s great and their homemade apple cider donuts are to die for!

Pumpkin patch 2011

Thought Process

We’re in the middle of a new student in-take at work.  Last week I conducted an orientation with to adults, a man and woman, both in their 50s.  Both with extremely low literacy levels.  

Meeting these two students broke my heart.  I mean I literally had to hold back tears just talking about them to my co-manager.  I kept thinking, this could be my aunt or uncle.  I just wanted get up from behind my desk and give them a hug.  One of them has a very lofty goal she wants to accomplish.  How do you tell someone that the one thing they’re trying to achieve to improve their circumstance will probably take years not weeks, if it happens at all?  Or imagine if you were in your 50s and couldn’t spell the name of your closest loved one or the name of the city in which you’ve lived your entire life?

I love the humbleness of these two students and the fact that they are seeking help.  My prayer is that they don’t give up.   Sometimes life gets in the way.  I see it everyday.  Students who are so close to their goal get distracted by life or the fear or actually succeeding.  It’s the latter that drives me insane and frustrates me.

A few months ago I watch a documentary on HIV.  They interviewed a doctor who was discussing a patient who was HIV positive but had no plans of telling her partners and wasn’t using protection.  When asked her thoughts on the patient, the doctor working in an inner city hospital, she had to change her thought process.  She couldn’t apply what would be a rational decision for herself, but what was rational for her patient and the lives they live.  That statement really struck me.   I often come home with stories of my students and things they’ve done or situations they’re in.  I’m always telling Hubby how I just don’t understand some of the choices my students make.  He always responds in the same way, “Jen not every one thinks the way you do.”

image source

I want my students to have more choices down the road.  I think obtaining their GED leads them on a path to those choices.  When the economy tanked, many students found themselves laid off and out of work.  Then they were met with a brick wall when they discovered they couldn’t get back in the job market without a high school diploma or GED.  So, they came to us.  Then, jobs started hiring and they quit school, without a GED, yet again, to take a dead end job.  Notice the cycle? I don’t care if they’re working at a fast food restaurant or the dollar store.  I want them to have options. The option of being a manager of that fast food restaurant, the option of taking a job they want to do as opposed to one they have to do.  However, many of my students are more concerned with now and not down the road.  I them to understand there can be a balance between the two.

Let’s face it, times have changed.  Nowadays, it’s very rare, if not impossible, for a person to get a good job making decent money without a high school diploma or GED.   Hell, you can’t be a custodian at a school in my county without a high school diploma AND a  WorkKeys certificate.  I’m not pushing every one to go to college, but I am pushing every one to at least get your diploma or the equivalent.  Changing your thought process can create options.

image source

*In December of 2013, the current version of the GED test will expire and so will the scores of over 1 million people who have started the test, but haven’t completed it!. If you or someone you know are one of those people, I urge you to finish the test now!  You won’t have to re-take any parts of the test you’ve passed.  Only 4 out of 10 current  high school students can pass the GED test in the form in which it is given today.  I’ve seen samples of the new test and…well… it’s not getting any easier.*


Family Day

Over the weekend, Hubby’s job hosted its annual Family Day.  This was our second year attend in the six years Hubby has been with the company.  Last year it was held at Carowinds.  We were a little hesitant about going because I wasn’t sure how fun it would be for RJ, who was just shy of 1. However, we had a blast and kid’s area had lots of rides and entertainment for RJ.

So, I was really looking forward to heading back to Carowinds  this year with RJ being older and being able to enjoy more.  I was very bummed when Hubby sent me an email stating this year’s festivities would NOT be at the theme park, but onsite at the plant, just a few miles from our home:(  My frown quickly turned upside down when I found out Morris Day and the Time would be performing!  Hubby had no clue who the band was, so I had to break out in “The Bird” right quick. *After the show, he said he had heard Jungle Love before.*  As more details of the day came out I started looking forward to it.  *I’m for anything with all you can eat popcorn and cotton candy!*

We were a little dismayed Saturday morning when we woke up to a dreary day, but by 2pm the rain had stopped and we headed out.  The place was packed.  There was a sound stage, a kid’s area with inflatables  face painting, arts and crafts, an acrobatic circus show, a lumberjack show, a BMX bike show, tours of the plant,  cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, and more.  I enjoyed it all, but was counting down to 6:30pm and Morris Day and so was everyone else.

Then, as soon as Morris and the band took the stage the sky opened up and the rain began!  Thankfully, I took an umbrella and jackets for myself and RJ out of the car.  We set him up in his stroller so he would be dry and partied on as the rain played a start and stop game.  The show was great! I felt like a little kid listening to my mom’s records.

The evening and the event ended with an awesome fireworks show.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Hubby has been with six years.  It was just a little over a year ago that I wrote this post about his promotion from contracted employee to an actual company hire.  We are very blessed that he has a job he loves, that’s good to him and provides our family with great benefits and perks. *Hence, our family car that we get for a fraction of the actual cost!*

The Bad Note

Last week RJ got came home with his first “bad” note from school.  In the year he’s been in daycare the only notes on his take home slip have been about him not eating his lunch.  So I was shocked to get the following note:

Hubby and I asked him why he was bad in school.  When we mentioned his actions he gave us a look like he knew what we were talking about but he tried to change the subject and talk about every thing but his behavior.  After calmly telling him he should not behave that way in school and that was not acceptable behavior, I placed him on punishment.  I took away everything he really loves, all toy balls, his baseball gloves and bats, his Thomas the Tank Engine, he wasn’t allowed to use our iPhones, he didn’t get any juice with his dinner or a Popsicle, his favorite dessert, until he came home with a good note.

My family, including my sister, MIL and even Hubby, think I was too hard on him.  My FIL and I disagree.  Both Hubby and I have noticed RJ has been increasingly more hardheaded and apt to “try” his luck when we tell him to stop doing something.  Can you say early terrible twos?!  He will be two in November and I know he knows when he is misbehaving.  I didn’t scream at him, spank him, take away ALL of his toys and send him to his room without dinner.  However, I know there are certain things he LOVES and those are the things I took from him.  Hubby and my MIL both think he’s too young to understand the punishment, and it was his only his “first” note home.   Ok, but he’s not too young to begin potty training and expect him to tell us when he has to poop and pee in the toilet?!   Hmmm…  So at what age does he stop being too young.  3? 5? 10?  And in the mean time, what do you suggest?  We just tell him not to do that again and give no consequence for his bad behavior?  That doesn’t even get him to stop doing little things like tugging on the dogs tail.  And how many notes home do we have to get before we take action. We’ve use 1-2-3 timeout, I know the book says consistency is the key, but some days the boy would LIVE in timeout!  We also use the occasional pop on the leg or spank on the bottom, a method I feel doesn’t work.

I understand that he’s a child and acting out comes with that.  However, I feel as parents it’s our duty to let him know that’s not how he should act.  We should do everything we can to raise a child who knows right from wrong and who is respectful of himself and others.  We’ve all been in a store and seen a toddler who was just downright bad, not just having a little temper tantrum, but downright BAD. Usually, that child is accompanied by a  parent who looks completely helpless.  I will not be that parent and that will not be my child.  I feel uncorrected bad behavior will make us those people.  So, if I have to take away a few toys and treats, oh well.

He hasn’t come home with a bad note since his “punishment”.

The M Spot’s Family Vacation

Last Friday, we packed up our SUV and headed to North Myrtle Beach.  Though, we’ve traveled numerous times since RJ was born, it has always been to see family or friends.  This was our first REAL family vacation.   Upon recommendation from my BFF, we stayed at a great resort.  Since we’ve been travelling with RJ, I like for our hotels to have at least a mini fridge.  This resort was perfect. We had a two bedroom condo equipped with a full kitchen as well as a washer and dryer.   I would also highly recommend beach trips near the end of the summer.  The hotel rates are cheaper and nothing was crowded! There weren’t any long lines for attractions, or long waits for restaurants, the beach wasn’t crowded, it wasn’t blazing hot and the water temperature wasn’t frigid.

RJ LOVED the ocean!! He was a little hesitant at first, but quickly got over it.  For the most part, he was well behaved only getting cranky around nap time.  However, his sleep issues continued.  He would start out asleep in his own room, he woke up every night and ended up with one of us sleeping with him or him in our bed:(

Despite the fact that Hubby got sick and had to stay inside one day, our trip was wonderful!  Here are a few pictures of our beach fun.