Saturday, February 1, 2014

In The Snow

So, the nice thing about being busy in life is that, by the time I notice I haven't written in a while, several weeks have passed. The ultra-nice thing? Things have, in general, been quite positive in our lives so far in 2014.

Work has been interesting for me. I'll be moving departments at some time in the next month or so - hopefully sooner than later, considering that I've been training my replacement for the past couple of weeks (and my cubicle is not quite big enough to share). It's a mostly horizontal move, going from one team with neat, friendly people to another team with neat, friendly people, except that the new team has a whole bunch of new skills that I will need to have in order to move up the ladder. My new team specifically requested me to move, and it is certainly nice to be wanted.

Chorus has been kind of stagnant this month because of the weather. We missed two weeks' worth of rehearsals, which will mean some additional rehearsals scheduled over the next several months - contest is in May, you know, and it's coming a lot quicker than anyone wants to see. We have a half-dozen new choruses in our region this year, so we want to make a great impression on them. Biggest thing I was proud of from the last contest: when the choruses came off stage after they performed, my ladies were the first ones who greeted them, with cheers and hugs and pats on the back. It didn't matter if it was the chorus who would win the Region to go to International, or the chorus that finished in last place: we were there to root them on and encourage something greater. Music is NOT a zero-sum event - our success doesn't mean others must fail. We're going to work our tails off, but we will also appreciate the other chorus' efforts. If we win, then I want every other chorus to have performed their best!

The Boy had his gifted testing last week. The tester said to him, "Since you're in kindergarten, we'll skip the multiplication." The Boy said, "You mean, like 1 times 8 and 2 times 4?" They pursued that section. Another neat bit: Grandma made sure to tell the tester about the cancer and the hearing aids. Ms. B's answer: "You don't get extra credit." I'm fairly certain that he'll be an easy entrant into the gifted program. I'm not sure it means anything - the gifted programs are not that inspiring - but anything to break up the day for him. His mindset during class time is great - he has never, apparently, said, "Why are we doing this? My two-year old brother is doing this at home." I'd like that to last by giving him SOME kind of an outlet.

(Side note, politics warning and sarcasm alert: I know - let's take away music and art and physical education for more math and reading classes. Because, you know, the high achievers want nothing more than MORE time in class with the slower kids. Because that will SURELY encourage them to higher test scores.)

(Second political note: the kids have a silly program called "ST Math," which is a set of math problems with a cute penguin in Flash game form. The teachers are, apparently, graded by how much their students play the game. Because, you know, I'm certain that most of those kids 1) have computers at home, 2) can reliably remember the 10-picture password to get into ST math, 3) have reliable, working technology at home (because Flash isn't on iPads, natch), and 4) have parents who are going to make sure they're playing the games and understand how to use the mouse well enough. This is why education is going down the sh*tter, folks: these are the factors that determine whether or not a teacher has a job each year.)

Little Bear is still wearing Superman shirts every day. I bought the first three episodes of the Superman Adventures television show for him - it's a three-part story that tells the origin of Superman. He kind of understands Superman from the Justice League cartoon and Superfriends, but I'd love for him to get a real FEEL for the character. The neat thing about Superman: because he's basically invulnerable, when he's written well, he'll usually try to solve a problem by talking about it before he punches through a building. Plus, he's obsessive about putting others' needs first. I'd love Little Bear to get those lessons instilled at a young age.

The Baby is starting, just a bit, to turn the corner on the whole potty training thing. He's almost entirely pee-trained; he will poop on the potty more often than he used to do. When I took him to Sesame Street Live, I didn't even bring the diaper bag; yes, it was an oversight, but he did great! He's probably the best eater in the house right now in terms of his willingness to try new things and eat a wider variety of foods. The others are good eaters, too, but The Baby might be the widest.

The boys and I and Grandpa played in the snow today, building a snowman and throwing snowballs and such. It was pretty awesome. We hit it at exactly the right time: it was warm enough to have slightly melty snow, which sticks well; ad we were outside just long enough to have a great time without worrying about getting too cold.

Tomorrow afternoon, we have a family portrait scheduled at Rodef for the new congregation directory. Not gonna lie: kind of excited about that.

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