Friday, June 25, 2010


Yesterday was the Michigan Education Association “Enough is Enough” rally in Lansing. It was a rally on the capitol steps with over 10 thousand people to support public education. The whole family went, sans Macy because she had a class at the high school she did not want to miss.

We all took a bus there with lots of other teachers, support staff, even a school board member. The kids were very well behaved. They actually have all been to a few rally’s before so they probably knew what to expect better than some of the adults on board. The other rally’s they have been too were not for public education and there were many differences from the other rallies we’ve gone to.

The other rally’s were for gay pride.

Now, for the public education rally, everyone was supposed to wear red. Now, some people didn’t. They forgot or never got the memo…. But overall there was a sea of red across the state capitol grounds. It definitely signified unity. At the gay pride rally it is a splash of colors, glitter, feathers, skin, leather… people definitely attempting to stand out.

For the education rally, I noticed 2 police officers leaning against a hand rail as we walked in. At the end of the rally I noticed a total of 5 police officers chatting pleasantly against that same railing. For the gay pride rally they are readily visible, about every 10 feet. They do not chat with each other, they look totally on duty. I actually mentioned this difference to a teacher friend I was standing close to. I jokingly said that we teachers must not look as rowdy as gay pride attendees. She said maybe the police feel they need to work harder to protect people at the other rally. That not too many people truly oppose public education. I thought that was a great response.

I think it is important for children to learn ways to be able to show support for their causes when they are adults. Also to understand what we, their parents, believe in and that we are willing to stand up for those beliefs. All the rally’s we’ve gone to have been eye opening for the kids. From hearing a 10th grader try to change state policy by speaking about why the arts program is important to her while standing in front of thousands of adults to understanding that watching their mom’s kiss on the capitol steps with 499 other same sex couples means that they are not the only kids around living in a non-traditional family.

As parents, we need to remember that kids are always watching… questioning… learning. It doesn’t just happen in a classroom or when we want it to. As a parent I feel like I have to stay on top of my own behavior as much as theirs. Heaven forbid I start the car BEFORE I put on my seatbelt or have a drink in a restaurant then plan to drive home. My kids will call me on these behaviors as fast as I would call them on having their elbows on the table. I have learned that good parents rarely get time off for bad behavior. Parenting is tough…. Anyone that doesn’t think so is crazy… and childless!! ☺

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family Vacation: Orlando part 5

One of the topics that we had been tossing around was the age that the kids would do best at the Disney parks. Pepper and I took Dori when she was 3. We went with Jay and her son and a couple of her nieces. Everyone had fun on that trip but it was hard with such young kids. There was whining and complaining. They got tired feet and wanted to be carried. There were strollers and asking for food that they then didn't want to eat.

When my Mom passed away she left us some money which my sisters and I wanted to use on a trip to Disney with our kids. The trip was going to be a gift from "Grandma" and we had discussed what age the kids should all be when we go. We knew that all the kids needed to be at least 5.... but I have to say my new Magic Kingdom number is 8. I'm going to have to talk to my sisters soon about that trip.

Our kids did FANTASTIC at Magic Kingdom. It was a joy to spend the day with them!! They tried things that they may not have chosen to do without complaint. They carried their own stuff. Walked on their own feet. Made reasonable requests and did not cry when they were told no. Our kids noticed lots of younger kids NOT having fun while we were there. Dill stared with wide eyes as a Dad spanked his toddler for whining and complaining that it was hot... Dori made a comment that that family did not look like they were enjoying the Kingdom's Magic! I noticed a young family with a two year old and a newborn trying to locate diapers in the bottom of a huge diaper bag. As we were leaving, all 4 of our kids were tired but they walked out without needing to be carried like many of the kids on the ferry needed to be. In the picture above was a very cool stroller for triplets... but watching the parents steering through the crowds did not make me envy them at all!! Yep, at least 8. We probably did this trip at just the right time....before Dori heads off to college and after Dill was too young not to remember. We are havin' a very good time! :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

family Vacation: Orlando part 4

We spent the day at the Magic Kingdom. It was very hot. With the heat index it was 105 degrees. Even in the shade it was in the extremely high 90’s! Not something us midwesterner’s were used to! We drank lots of water and used lots of sunscreen… we all had a great time. Went to shows, rode the rides, ate lots of great food. Also took monorail, train and ferry rides. There was a fantastic light parade and fireworks… here is a picture of Cinderella’s castle at night.

family Vacation: Orlando part 3

We all went to Coco Beach. This is Dill… also known as a sugar-coated donut!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Family Vacation: Orlando part 2

Here is our place in Orlando. Got a great deal. It is a 4 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms a screened-in underground pool, A/C, washer and dryer, very beautifully decorated. Macy asked if we could just stay here. It also has maid service, lawn care and a pool boy named Trevor. Hmmm…… Macy may be on to something!!! ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Vacation: Orlando

We are on vacation this week. Dad B, Dad D (B&D) Pepper and I have had it planned for quite some time. We started talking about this trip last summer with Jay and her family. We kept it a secret from the kids until Christmas and put Disney shirts in with Santa’s gifts and explained the details of the trip Christmas morning: Orlando.

We try to take a trip like this every couple of years. All 8 of us. Our last trip was to Mall of America with Kiwi… which had been a great success. Macy, Pete and Dill had never flown before so we decided to fly down all together. Sal drove us all to the airport (and I hope she remembers to pick us up!!) and other than a flight delay things went just great at the airport. Here is a picture of the nicest flight attendant on our trip down. More details coming soon…..

Friday, June 11, 2010

School's out for Summer!!

“School’s Out for Summer!!” That is such a great phrase… from a great song! Who doesn’t remember the excitement and the energy they had in school on the last day? There is an electricity in the air that feels like potential and hope. Who knows what the summer will bring. It’s probably the same charged feeling soldiers feel just before a battle. I can remember as a child each year on the last day, my teacher handed me my manilla envelope with my report card. They must have been more trusting back then because it was not really sealed, it had a string wrapped around a circle clasp to keep it sealed shut. Everyone immediately opened them as soon as we were on the bus and the teacher was out of sight. Every year, I would immediately look at the little box on the bottom right hand side that said, “Next year the student will be in grade _______” I breathed a huge sigh of relief each year when it stated that I had been promoted. I immediately sat up a little straighter on the bus and felt a little older. Looking around on the bus I would have noticed that everyone else was feeling and acting the same way.

Around the school building today, everyone had that same excited energy. The kids all looked a little bigger and had smiles that said they were ready to move up and on. Teachers frantically passed out papers and work that had been posted on bulletin boards. Parents came in with cupcakes and cards and small gifts for the teachers. Sealed envelopes in cubbies were glanced at hopefully by the students who would not be able to subtly open their report cards on the bus like I could do years ago.

It is a tradition here at school for all the teachers to wave good-bye to the kids as they pull away from the building in their buses. The buses all pull out at once, windows are down so the warm breeze can blow thru and the teachers all wave wildly and yell “Good-bye!” and “Have a great summer!” I do not know if the kids even realize how much teachers look forward to the tradition. For the teachers here, it is the moment summer begins. To all the students out there, past and present-

No more pencils
No more rule-books
No more teacher's dirty looks

Out for summer
Out till fall
Have a great summer one and all!! ;)