Tag Archives: school

Welcome to “Florida” Fall

Well, we had a bit of a change in temperature when fall officially hit last week – 50-degree temps in the morning.  It was a wee bit chilly for this southern girl, and I had to put on a sweater to go out at 7:30 in the morning to feed the animals and get the newspaper.  But by mid-day, it was back up in the 80’s! … Welcome to “Florida” Fall!

We have been non-stop since school started.  The oldest started practicing with the football team just about the time our feet hit the ground when moving here in July.  He lasted through the first 4 games of the season with less than 10 plays total among the games.  Since he didn’t grow up here and was instead being moved around the world with a military father, he is not as well-known here and hasn’t been playing with these kids here, so …  He is a senior and does not need to be standing on the sidelines as there is no “Next year” as the coaches seem to use as the typical excuse when asked by a parent whose kid just stands during lots of games.  So, he switched to cross country and is loving it especially since he is in every play 🙂  He’s trying to better his 5k time from Virginia last year and is getting very close.

Our daughter was recruited by the volleyball team and is playing her first year on the JV team.  She has learned a lot, as have I – the rules have changed a lot since I was in school – and has improved in the short time she’s been on the team.  Her height has been a big factor in some success; but it’s her confidence that is always good to see after being confused at times in the beginning.

The youngest finally got the football position he has always wanted – quarterback.  He’s got such a strong arm, however, that his middle school teammates can’t always catch his passes.  So he’s having to learn to adjust some.  We’ve got one month left with the fall sports season, and then we get to find out what they’ll want to do in the winter.

I am feeling a bit more settled especially since all the boxes IN the house have been unpacked, but then we still have a corner in our garage (covering about 1/4 of the floor) stacked with boxes that I haven’t even looked in.  So that is my next project.  I hope that my master bathroom towels are in there; we’re using guest towels, but I miss the ones that match our ensemble.  Not that my husband could give a hoo-ha, but I am one of those OCD (CDO) people that like certain things in their places. 

This weekend is a rare one – and that is why I am finding time to blog – in that none of the kids had a game yesterday or today, and no one HAS to be anywhere in particular.  I am loving it!  But I am thinking of all the things I didn’t get completed last week – making an appointment with the vet (the dog needs some shots, a couple of weeks ago), calling the eye doctor for my youngest who is saying he can’t see the board in some class rooms (ugh!), balancing the checkbook (6 months in arrears – I’ve never been that far behind!), etc.  But for now, I will breathe and watch some college football and enjoy my family on this wonderful Florida Fall day!

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More on Storms, Sports, and School in Guam

Continued from my previous post Welcome to Guam:2002 (part 12).

“8/21/04 (e-mails from me to family back home in the US):  We’ve got a typhoon headed our way.  We have everything brought inside, shutters closed, and we’re hunkered down, yet once again.  The kids are all excited, but I am just dreading it.  I keep hoping that it will go north, but we’re gonna get something.  We’re enjoying the Olympics, when it comes on.  We get some live and some replays.  I’ve got laundry to do before electricity and water go out.  Love, SR”

8/24/04:  We were prleasantly surprised to be without power less than 24 hours this time.  The kids were happy to miss a day of school and reluctantly went back today with wind and rain.  Hopefully that will be gone soon.  Our yard is a mess, but nothing is broken so far.  Some of the island is still without power and water.  G8r is really busy working 14 hours a day, doing “cool” stuff.  He also moves around a lot.  Last week he was in a tent, this week he says he got lucky and is in a trailer with a bed.  He said the cots in the tents are hard on his shoulder (where he broke his collar bone…about 6 months earlier he had broken his collar bone and punctured his lung in a bike racing accident).  But next week he moves yet again to another tent.  He’s been there (Iraq) a month now, so 5 more to go.  Love you all, SR”

“9/15/04  Subject: Ivan (this was written during the time period when the 4 hurricanes – Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne – hit Florida ) Well, it looks like we escaped this one.  Unfortunately it is going to make landfall (if it turns more to the north – which is what the forecasters expect it to do) in about 36 hours at Pensacola.  It still has a nw path, and we are hoping that it goes on to Texas.  It has gotten weaker but is still a category 3, and that may change again also.  It can go up or down.  After it is all over if we need to go to Pensacola and check on your house, we can.  Everyone from Key West up on the west coast of Florida was very concerned, but Ivan kept on a nw course.  Really tore up Jamaica.  New Orleans is bracing, and if it makes landfall there they expect flooding up to about 20 feet.  That will put the entire city under water.  It has been quite a summer.  More later and love to all, Milly, Mama, Grandma”

“9/15/04:  RE:  Ivan  We’ve been watching on tv here; they seem to have much more coverage on your storms than on ours.  Thankfully we don’t have any right now.   The kids are all having fun playing flag football.  Mr DL’s position is quarterback mainly, and he loves it when his passes are caught; when they aren’t he gets frustrated.  Jay is playing several positions, qb, receiver, and seems to like them all.  Lulu is playing center; she gets to hike the ball.  I think she likes it, but I think she would also like to receive some too.  They’ve only played a couple games each, so there’s still more season to play.  They are all 3 in scouts again – liking it very much.  I got Jay pushed up to pre-algebra at school as I found out a few other 7th graders had been this year.  He is making an A+ so far this year, so I requested he be pushed ahead also.  He started that class today; I may need to help catch him up; we’ll see how it goes.  I am also campaigning for him to be in the gifted program.  If I had not actually gone up to the school several times so far this year to talk to the counselor, he wouldn’t even be considered.  I just don’t get it.  He was 1 of only 2 straight A students last year, and he was voted by all his teachers to be the male student of the year.  Now if that doesn’t say a lot there, why do I need to go up there and beg for him to be tested?  I’ve got chores to do, so better be off.  Love, SR”

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A New School Year in Japan

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 6). 

“10/2/00  Konnichiwa to you all!  I wanted to send a quick message to each of you and thought this would be the easiest way (for me).  If you haven’t heard from us in a while, we have been unusually busy lately.  G8r left the first of September with his new ship, the USS Essex.  I’m sure he would love to hear from you.  He comes home Oct. 15 for a few days for a change of command for the ship’s captain.  Then they are back out until Thanksgiving.  The kids started school just before he left, and I went back to school with them.  The elementary school here in our military housing had hired a new kindergarten teacher, but she was not to arrive for 2-3 weeks after school started.  Lulu was in one of the 4 kindergarten classes (taught by 2 teachers – they have half-day kindergarten here) last year in which I volunteered a couple of days a week.  I also applied to be a substitute last March (you would not believe the paperwork I filled out to do that!).  Well, the other kindergarten teacher asked if I would like to fill in until the new teacher arrived.  And actually, I was a little more than just a substitute; I created bulletin boards and lesson plans, had parent-teacher meetings, etc.  It also lasted a little longer than a couple of weeks.  Today (6 weeks later) was my last day as ‘teacher,’ ‘hey you,’ and ‘Mrs. Wose!’ I have had so much fun doing this, I am rethinking my plans after Mr DL is out of the house in 15 years from now.  The experience I gained as a preschool director at our church in Florida really helped me a lot too.  But I have also learned that I try to stretch myself too thinly.  With G8r being gone, having a full-time job, and taking care of the kids and house has been exhausting.  I am looking forward to the next few days to get the house back in shape.  The new teacher will be having training classes and moving into her new house, so I have already been asked to fill in for her some more later in the month, and I will be glad to see the kids again and see how they are doing.  And that is not all…Jay is still playing with the Japanese Little League baseball team.  He has a big tournament the last weekend of the month near Nagasaki.  He is also playing flag-football on base, which I love watching.  Lulu is on the cheerleading squad, and they cheer for each of the football teams, a different one each weekend.  She is also still going to her dance classes once a week.  Mr DL’s gymnastic classes were temporarily stopped as they are looking for a new teacher to replace our last one who recently moved.  Poor little guy can’t get a break!  He’ll get to play t-ball in the spring and cannot wait for that.  I hope all is well with each of you.  SR”

Wow, to think that was almost 9 years ago!  And now we are looking towards Jay’s senior year next year.  This school in Japan was his second school; next year he will be attending his eighth.

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All Is Calm…

…once again.  As much as I love it when the kids get to take breaks from school (I can sleep in with them, there’s no rush to do homework or projects, we can play games all day or watch tv or do nothing, and there’s a more relaxed atmosphere around the house), I get another kind of calm when they go back to school.  There are no squabbles to break up, there aren’t quite as many messes to clean up, and I don’t have to yell, “Close the door!” every time they go in and out to play.  The best part is I get my schedule back.

I do better when I have a schedule.  When things are in order, I am more calm.  When new or unexpected things pop up, I sometimes don’t initially react well, but I eventually deal and adjust as necessary.  I’ve had to learn to do that a lot in the past 17 years.  This next and last military move has been on our minds since we arrived here in Virginia.  I know things will be fine; it’s going to be a little different, so I have to prepare for that.  I like to have all my ducks in a row, so when I’ve said that I’m nervous about this or that, I’m just getting ready for what’s ahead.

And what’s ahead right now is getting back to the gym.  I’m on my way out for a jog right now.

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Goals and Motivation

Yesterday my kids all brought home their quarterly progress reports from school.  The two youngest had straight A’s for the first time.  They were so excited as they are usually disappointed because they’ve missed all A’s with one close B+.  The oldest has made straight A’s several times, but this year seems to be challenging him a bit more.  Honors English, French IV, calculus, swim team, and a girl friend will do that, I suppose.  I am so proud of all of them, straight A’s or not.  They all three strive for their best, and that’s all I can ask for. 

So now they are motivating me a bit.  With the new year coming, I am thinking of resolutions.  I haven’t made any since I was a kid, but this year may be different.  I haven’t been feeling the best for a little while, and I am hoping that all of that has passed.  Now that I’m moving around more, I am hoping to get my energy back, plus a little more than before.  I need to get back on the work-out wagon and take advantage of the family gym membership that we pay for each month.  My goal is to get back on track with what I was doing in Guam.  I was running 5-K’s, 10-K’s, or sprint triathlons at least once a month.  I don’t think that I will find the variety of races here, but I will start by looking for one to use as a goal in a few months. 

I think I’ll try something I haven’t done in years and put my resolutions on paper for 2009.  Maybe if I post them somewhere and see them each day, I will remember what my goals are and be motivated to work towards them.  It’s worth a try.

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The Wheels on the Bus

Last Friday I got to ride in a big yellow school bus.  It’s been a couple of years.  I’ve gone on numerous field trips with my kids when they were in elementary school.  This time,  it was with my son’s sixth grade civics class.

Initially I thought, Oh, how easy!  They’re not 5-year-olds.  I don’t need to hold anyone’s hand or tell them to stop running around or remind them to keep their hands to themselves.  And I didn’t have to do any of those things.  But I did have get to listen to them talk.  Eleven-year-old conversations are quite interesting.  They want desperately to appear grown-up and yet at the same time can’t quite stop acting juvenile.  We went to an art museum to relate certain works with the topics they are studying about in government.  We looked at photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. and busts of several former presidents and paintings by American Indians.  Sculptures ended up being one of the topics of (whispered) conversations – specifically the nude ones. 

All the students were divided into groups of about 15, and each group was assigned a parent or teacher and then a museum docent as well.  Our docent was a woman of around 70 who did an excellent job of making the tour interesting with her descriptions and explanations;  she kept the children involved with questions and also answered their many queries.  When the question came up as to why there were nude statues, she handled it quite well.  She asked if any of them had ever tried to draw a person and asked if it was difficult.  Yes, some replied.  She explained that the human body is hard to create in art and that ancient artists took the challenge seriously.  It seemed to hush the whisperings, for then.

On the ride back to school, I listened as a boy told his teacher and me about the truck he wishes to have when he is old enough to drive, the body and the engine and how he already knows how to change oil and tires.  He kept us entertained for quite a while, telling us about vehicles we saw on the road as well.  Occasionally, I glanced to the seat behind him, where two boys were whispering and giggling about something.  They would glance back at me and stop until I looked away, and then the whispering and giggling would start up again – probably discussing those statues again.

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Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

Noticing that today is Columbus Day – only because my federally employed husband has the day off while my children got on school buses this morning – I decided to do a little more research on the holiday…or day of observance…or day of protest(?).  First I checked out wikipedia.  I think it’s a great place to start when I want to learn more on a subject because it’s usually simple and to the point.  I remember coloring pictures of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria at this time of year when I was in elementary school.  Reading wikipedia this morning gave me another perspective on the discovery of the Americas.

Apparently not everyone is happy about celebrating Christopher Columbus.  In the US, it’s celebrated as Columbus Day.  Many other countries celebrate (or protest) this day as well but with other names.  It’s Day of Indigenous Resistance (Venezuela), Day of the Race (most of Latin America), and Hispanic Day (Spain).  In Nevada, it’s a day of observance and all government offices remain open (except federal, of course).  In New York, everything closes except the stock markets (I wonder what would happen if they did).  In Colorado, the Columbus Day parades are protested in Denver by Native American groups.  In Hawaii, it’s Discoverer’s Day, and they celebrate more the work of James Cook in the Hawaiian islands than Columbus’s meanderings in the Atlantic.  There are parades and protests all around the world. 

Here in Virginia, it is a legal holiday.  And that makes sense, seeing that a lot of American history happened on the soil here.  So, why are my kids in school then?  I don’t mind; it just seems strange.  Especially since the schools in the city next door are closed.  We live in a pent-city area (is that correct? bi-city, tri-city,…).  In our city, all courts, city offices, libraries and post offices are closed and there’s no trash collection, but school’s in.  Everything’s the same for 3 of the other 4, except 2 of them aren’t opening their school doors today.  And for the fifth city, everything’s open (except federal places).

So even though we are the UNITED States, we still aren’t quite united on this one.  I think, though, that we have a pretty good system of checks and balances here.  They don’t always balance perfectly, but, then, no system is perfect.  When we lived in France, we got to see some of the ways their system works.  We weren’t citizens, but we got to observe for the year and a half we lived there.  And since we’ve also lived in several different states, we’ve seen how the different systems work just within our own country.  Since each state makes some of their own laws and rules, going from one state to the next, we can’t remember if we can drive legally while talking on our cell phones (which is distracting anyway) or who is required by law to wear a bike helmet (I make our whole family wear them no matter what age) or what birth month dictates when a child can start kindergarten. 

Schools have been a big issue for us.  In France, we spoke with a few of the military families that we met there.  We found out, whenever the military transferred their families to another part of the country, their children would know exactly what to expect at school the next day they attended.  The whole country teaches the same curriculum.  If a child is in the 7th grade and is studing world history in Paris then they would be studying world history in Cannes.  Their math classes align; sciences, history, languages… everything is taught at the same level.  And the level is not easy; my children found their studies in France harder than their honors classes here in Virginia, and we are in a very good school system.  It has been frustrating at times for our children to go into yet another school and take the same science class over again.  Or to have to catch up the best they can on that state’s history.  And on top of that, to make new friends and compete with all of the kids who have lived there all of their lives. 

But after next summer, we’ll be back in Florida – permanently – and we won’t have to worry about those things as much.  They’ll finally learn that their state bird is the mocking bird, and the state flower is the orange blossom, and they were born in Pensacola (not Pepsi-Cola). 

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, a lot of things were going on.  Some sad crimes resulted from people expanding around the world.  But hopefully today’s world can learn from all of that history, and we can use that to do better in the future.

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