Wordless Wednesday

Okay, I'm doing it again. This post isn't really wordless. But it's too funny not to pass on. In honor of finishing off the first month of the school year, I give you "Math 911."

Techie Teens

I recently read a blog article titled, “Controlling the Techie Tween,” by Gila Brown, parent coach, over at Mamapedia Voices.

I read with interest, her parental coaching tips regarding technology and tweens. She states, “While kids may not be able to articulate their need for gadgetry, parents need to understand and respect it. Trying to control the usage or censor the content, only serves to undermine the parent-child relationship.” And, “The bottom line is that trying to control the techie tween is futile and unproductive.”

Is she kidding?!

Her article stresses that instead of trying to control your child’s gadgetry, your energy “would be better spent on communicating with them to develop a mutual trust.” Um, exactly how are we supposed to do that if they’re plugged in all the time?

Nope, I must respectfully disagree with Ms. Brown.

As parents, it’s our job, to set some limits and controls, until our tweens and teens develop enough self-discipline to manage it on their own. For Christmas last year, we finally got both our teens “real” cell phones as opposed to the $19.99 Tracfones and accompanying 3-month/60-minute phone cards we’d purchased for them at Meijer in 1986. (Okay, just kidding—it wasn’t really 1986!) For an added surprise, we included the unlimited texting feature.

Well, it wasn’t long before the texting frenzy began. Then came the IM’s, listening to iPods while sending e-mails, Internet surfing, requests for Facebook pages and before we knew it—all this techie stuff was getting out of hand.

So my hubby and I established some techie-related guidelines that must be followed, or the privilege of using all this cool new technology becomes null and void. For example:

     -We installed security software on our computer to keep the creepy porn stuff out, then we permitted each of our teens to have a Facebook account with the stipulation that they each accept mom as one of their “friends,” and had to give us their top-secret password for page access.

     -No texting during family game nights, movie nights, meals, or “real life” conversations.

     -Cell phones turned off and turned in at bedtime.

     -Absolutely NO texting while driving!

     - No texting during school hours.

     -No texting or Facebook while doing homework.

     Exception to this rule: AP Physics. Prompted by the following conversation:

     “Mom can you help me with this problem?”

     Leaning over my daughter’s shoulder, I viewed the confusing physics jumble staring back at me from the computer screen. I read it through. Read it again. And again. My mouth hung open for several seconds, before my vision cleared and I was able to turn and focus on my girl’s sweet, hopeful face. “Uh…no, honey. No I can’t. Maybe you should text somebody from your class?”

And finally…

     -No privacy. This one’s a bit more controversial, but once they’re 18, and off on their own new adventures, they’ll have all the privacy they want. But for now, as the parents, we’re responsible for their welfare. If periodically checking the content of e-mails, IM’s or text messages helps us do that, we’ll do it in a heartbeat.

Up until about a year ago, my hubby and I were blissfully unaware of how the world of tween and teen communication had been changing all around us. But the fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not, these techie toys are here to stay. And it’s the responsible parent who does the tough job of learning their way around this new world. And it’s the loving parent who takes the time to set up some boundaries, never tuning out to the fact that their kids are plugged in.

Image by: ydhsu

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, my mother sent me this video of Swan Lake a while back, and I just had to share it for my Wordless Wednesday posting.  These dancers are...simply amazing.  Make sure to note the utter confidence on the face of the ballerina throughout the entire performance.

My Very First Blog Award

I’m so flattered! I just received my very first Blog Award. One of my fellow mom bloggers, Theta Mom, has kindly honored me with the Over the Top Award. Thanks so much, Theta Mom. As I discover more about the world of blogging, I’m learning that each of the various Blog Awards being disbursed in cyberspace comes with a specific set of rules.

As a writer, I’m particularly challenged by the Over the Top Award because the rules in accepting this award are to answer the following questions using only one word.

The Rules
USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you may think. Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on.

All righty, deep breath in. Let it out. Okay…bring it!

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2. Your hair? Spirals

3. Your mother? Interesting

4. Your father? Active

5. Your favorite food? Chocolate

6. Your dream last night? Kaleidoscopic

7. Your favorite drink? CaramelMacchiato (yeah, yeah I know it’s really two words!)

8. Your dream/goal? Novel

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Photography

I am passing this award on to some fellow mom writers & bloggers who I feel are definitely up for this “over the top” challenge. Congratulations go out to:

My Little Patch of Sunshine
ACU’s Stiletto Shoes and Pretty Pink Tutus
Manda Blogs About…
Brickhouse Mama 2
A Simple Wife
Unscripted Life
Gutspilling 101
My Mommy Needs a Life
Think Spin

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Well, it finally came. I’d been dreading the arrival of this past Tuesday for several weeks. My senior daughter’s last-first day of high school, and my freshman son’s first-first day of high school.

It’s not so much the high school part that I was dreading, it was the whole “going back to school” part. Believe it or not, I actually loved school when I was a kid—all the way through my college days. Loved it! And to be completely honest, I’m such a nerd that if being a student actually paid money, that’s what I’d do for a living.

But, being the parent of students—well, that’s an entirely different matter. It’s not nearly as much fun. The way I felt about the start of this week reminds me of an old joke:

Person 1: I don’t wanna go to school, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna!!!!
Person 2: Sweetheart, you have to go to school.

Person 1: But whyyyyy?
Person 2: Because school opens today. And besides, you’re the principal.

Ha, ha! I’ve never been one to subscribe to the Staples commercial’s philosophy about back-to-school being “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Nope. For me, as a parent of students, summer vacation is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

It’s a time to say good-bye to that hectic whirlwind of school-year routines: the nagging to get homework done, trips to the store to get poster board and supplies for an upcoming project, carting kids and myself to games, practices, banquets, meetings, volunteer committees, special school events. Ugh! I’m going into hyperventilation mode just thinking about it.

Instead, summer vacation is a time to say hello to languid sunny days, the sandy beaches and white-capped waves of Lake Michigan, sitting on the deck listening to the crickets, staying up late to watch shooting stars. A time for bike rides, ice cream for dinner, campfires and s’mores. Swimming and sunshine and serotonin. Aaahhh. I’m going into daydream mode just thinking about it.

My kids have always shared my summer joy. But this year, a couple of weeks before school started, my daughter had the nerve to say, “You know something? We need school to start.”

“What?!” I cried. “How dare you utter such curse words in our home, right in front of me like that!”

She eyed me with her best 17-year-old mom look. “Mom, you need school to start. You need the routine.”

Alas, she was right. Over the past couple of months, my entire home and work schedules have literally fallen apart. One of the blessings of being a freelance writer is having the flexibility to work from home. But with summer vacation in full swing, it’s also one of the curses.

My writing projects sit on my desk, untouched, gathering dust, while the summer sunshine beckons. I neglect running weekly errands in favor of joining friends for swimming, and outdoor barbeque parties. My family dines on water, bread crusts, and the remnants of peanut butter scraped from the bottom of the jar because I haven’t quite made it to the grocery store.

When school was in session, I maintained regular work hours. I was cranking out writing submissions left and right. I was adding between 500 to 1,000 words per day to my work-in-progress novel. My errand running was prioritized and routed for maximum coverage in minimal time. There was food in the house.

Then slowly between July and August, everything began collapsing. Instead of arising at 5:00 a.m. like I was, it became 6:00 a.m., then 7:00 a.m., and beyond. Between visiting college campuses with my daughter, and squeezing those summer delights into our days, the weeks blew by and I accomplished nothing.

Well, the party is officially over. I’m getting up at 5:00 a.m. again. (Okay 5:30 a.m.—I need time to wean myself back, right?) I’m back to regular errand-running times, and set work hours. As I sit here and write, outside my window I see green leaves ruffling in the still-warm breezes, and over the hum of the computer, I can hear the crickets chirping. Sigh. Summer is…well, GREAT! But it is good to be back in the saddle again. So here I go. I’ve got a lot to accomplish before…

Christmas vacation! Yeah! My other “most wonderful time of the year!”

Image by: Merelymel13’s

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, technically this isn't "wordless." But a friend of mine sent me this video and I had to share it with you all, especially with those enjoying the gift of motherhood.  However, whether mothers or not, enjoy this feel-good moment!