Should or shouldn’t?

Some visual displays of how well I am handling the quarter at this point:



bad hula

So there is that.

I haven’t talked about it much, but I am the president of the Nico’s school’s parent group.  To be fair, I thought it was a bad idea when I said I would do it.  I think most people who know me would have been like, “Yeah, you shouldn’t do that.”  But here we are.

It is a bad idea mostly because I am just too busy to do it right.  These are the things I need to remember: just because I CAN do something doesn’t mean I HAVE the time to do it right.  These are very important distinctions.  Like today, right now, I just realized that I had planned to go to wordpress to update the website for the parent group.  And I was distracted by my blog.  And decided to write a blog post about how busy and distracted I am.  So, there is that.

Before the next school board meeting, I have to write 5 proposals for fundraisers for the fall semester, so that they can be approved by the school board.  Some of these are for fundraisers that are already underway. A couple are pretty cool though, so that is alright, I guess.  I just don’t want to be the reason why we aren’t successful at raising teh monies this year.


I posted- I swear

So, I was publicly shamed.  Shame to my house!  Shame to my family!! Nicole called me out for not blogging recently.  Since it has been increasingly difficult for me to sit down and actually blog at my computer, I thought I would do more of it from my phone.  So I redownloaded the app.  I wrote some posts- posted them.  And walked away.  That is how busy I have been- I haven’t even been able to read my own blog.  Yes, I do that.  And my own facebook.  And my own instagram.  And my own twitter.  I know.  I know.  But I am just so damn clever sometimes, I can’t help it.

Regardless, Nicole called me out on facebook and told me to post- which I started to do tonight.  Then I saw what I did- so look at that- over a month with no posts and now three posts in one day.  In one day!!

Nico is hilarious lately.  He says some pretty funny things.  And he is starting understand the fine line between funny-cheeky sass and disrespectful back talk.  Which is awesome.  A favorite of late: “It’s getting really boring listening to your annoying face.”

The recently completed the standardized testing at his school.  He was ranked highest in his class- and in the 98th percentile- for math and reading.  It wasn’t really surprising, since we see how easy the homework is for him.  But it was cool nonetheless.

But in case you were thinking that Nico was getting too smart and sophisticated.  Keep in mind that this week I cut the sleeves off of a camo t-shirt for Nico.  Like his mom- Nico is a touch fussy about his clothes going to school.  He obsesses (a tiny bit) when he gets toothpaste or a spot on his tshirt.  Wednesday we discovered paint on the sleeve of his camo tshirt and he was starting to get worked up about it.  So when I walked him into class, I borrowed a teacher’s scissors and cut the sleeves off.  My son wore a sleeveless camo tshirt.  To school.  In Chicago.  🙂

The End of Summer

We had Nico’s birthday party this weekend!  We invited a bunch of his little friends from school and had an olympic field day event at the park.  I broke out the poles for jump the creek.  Nico was in “rare” form.  He apparently misunderstood what it meant to be having a birthday party.  He must have somehow thought it was okay to be a maniac because he was OUT OF CONTROL.  Seriously, we haven’t spanked him, but he came pretty close…

Unfortunately, Dave had a coaching thing in the morning, so we were dragging on getting things set up, and consequently, we ended up not getting very many pictures of the day.  I will say that a highlight included Nico taking a big bite out of the #5 candle that we had for him to blow out candles.  I was busy distributing cake, and didn’t notice, until he had had a go with it.

In other news, we are on the countdown for the last days of summer.  Nico’s school closed on Monday, and so we’re trying to squeeze the last drops out of summer and get ready for school next week.  On Tuesday, I stayed home from work and we cleaned his room.  We got his closet set up and most of his clothes clean.  I even bought an iron last week and pressed some of his nicer long sleeve button ups.  We have most of his school stuff ready to go.

I wish I could figure out what it is about kids feeling the need to be a pack rat.  Seriously, he wants to hang onto every single little crappy birthday party toy, happy meal toy.  Ugh.  I guess I need to start a box to transition toys out of the house.  Although, his memory is so good, I’d be nervous that I transition some of his toys (like the bigger trucks and such) and then, one day, he asks, “Mom, have you seen that bulldozer I haven’t played with in 6 months?”  No good can come from this…

Nico is still having fits.  It was something that I had hoped that he would grow out of by now: but alas, he hasn’t.  I am hoping that this is merely a temporary thing… that there will be kids in kindergarten who are WAY too cool for that.  It could also be due to the fact that he isn’t really napping anymore; but hasn’t fully aged into the age of reason.  Obviously, we need to handle night time a little better- getting him in bed earlier.  Apparently at his age, he needs to be getting 10-11 hours of sleep at night.  Which means, that if we are waking him up at 615-630 to go to school, he needs to be asleep at 830.  It could get very ugly in here.

School Choice

Not much new has been happening.  Nico asked me to help him make an obstacle course last week.

His overhead squat needs some work, but other than that, how cute, right?

JJ came to see us last weekend.  It was a short trip- but he got to see his friend from highschool.  Nico was upset when JJ had to go.  Like for serious.  So I promised him a trip to Michigan when we get back from our trip to Florida.  This works out- because the week after we get back, Nico’s school has spring break.  Might be a good time to sneak away for a couple of days.

We got Nico’s letters about school next year.  For the selective enrollment schools the cutoff was 160 point, and the average score was 100.  Nico scored 144- which is pretty great.  He scored in the 98th percentile for math and 87th percentile for reading.  Which was cool- a bit expected, since we don’t do all that much reading with him.  I know… I am a terrible mom for not reading with him all the time.  But, I’ve taken this as proof that we need to take more time for it.

He got into a STEM magnet school close to my work, which is cool (seriously, it’s 1.1 miles away).  He got wait-listed at several others (including a #2 and #3 spot).  Today, we got the call that he got into the #2 school.  We’re not sure what we are going to do about it, but think we might go on both tours and see what we see.  The magnent school that is close to my work looks cool.  They even have after school chess, drama, and science experiment clubs.  Chess?  For kindergartners?  Yeah, that is my jam!!  I even saw a website that mentioned it might have a community garden.

Dave got the proof of the book he’s written (The Political Almanac of Florida).  He’s terribly excited to be done with it, which I can totally understand.  I think he’s looking forward to doing other things.

In any case, Nico is excited to go to Florida and see the grandparents and his friends Graham and Lydia.  Hopefully Spring will have sprung by the time we get back.

Coldy Woldy

Some images from winter around here: 
Icicles hanging off the roof over the back yard.  

The avalanche of snow leading down to the basement. 

Gordon hanging out in the snow.  
So, it has been interesting around here.  Winter Storm Ion came in and put the muscle on us.  So much so, that I experienced my first snow day (true story: DePaul was closed on Monday!!  Yippeee!)  We ended up with another 10″ of snow over the weekend, combined with brutal cold on Monday and Today, and things are just not back to usual.  On Sunday, we walked to a Korean grocer at Brynn Mawr (which was like maybe 6 blocks away).  Nico walked the whole time and was a champ about it.  
I have decided that Nico’s pink cheeks make me very happy. 
I finished Nico’s hat.  The wheels came off a bit when I was decreasing to finish it.  But altogether, I am very happy with how it came out.  Although, I am not sure I will make him any more, since he whipped if off his head and threw it on the floor (to be funny).  Let’s see how funny it is next year when his giant melon head doesnt have any hats to keep warm because his mom wont make any…
It’s still pretty chilly here… below 0.  But its supposed to warm up substantially this week… like in the upper 30s.  Given that it was -48 with the windchill yesterday and we’re going to have RAIN later this week, I am left with the conclusion that Chicago is drunk.  Go home Chicago.  Go home. I am actually working from home today, in the basement.  It’s fricking freezing.  Like for serious, I have the hood on my hoodie sweatshirt pulled up and I am contemplating finding one of our space heaters to supplement.   
Dave and I took Nico to school on Monday (which was open for a few hours), and we got stuck coming back (and trying to park the car).  I hopped out and pushed the car out.  So yay, for my muscles- made by CrossFit.  Speaking of CrossFit, our gym started a paleo challenge this week.  I know, you all are rolling your eyes.  Paleo?  Really?  But, I am a social person who also is peer pressured very easily.  So, I am doing it.  In all, I think it is a bit of tie really… no processed carbs like bagels and bread, but you can put bacon on everything.  And for some reason, butter is okay, but not milk or yogurt.  
I have been, for six months, been trying to find a paleo blueberry muffin.  Mostly for Nico and me… since I don’t like him eating a lot of processed foods.  I found a recipe for muffins using coconut flour, which isn’t terrible.  You have to not mind coconut, which some people do.  I mostly just use this as a method of getting butter and the tiniest scotch of maple syrup to my mouth.  
In any case, someone ate the last three of these guys for breakfast.  So- they must be alright.  Speaking of food.  Last night I made a spaghetti squash carbonara.  Basically, I fried bacon and then tossed spaghetti squash in the fat (along with sun dried tomatoes and garlic).  Then topped with a fried egg.  Guess who ate that?  The boys!!  I put a little marinara on Nico’s and didnt tell him it was spaghetti squash and he ate 1.5 servings of it.  I know, right?  Mom cooking ninja!!
Before Christmas, we had to make our selections for Nico’s school for next year.  Chicago has this crazy lottery system… where you choose schools you want your kid to be considered for and you might get in, you might not.  But there are also selective enrollment schools, where your kid has to test to get into.  So, we signed Nico up for both.  And his test is tomorrow.  I’m not nervous for him… the biggest obstacle for him is whether he will go into the test (the kid has to be able to separate from the parent to go into the test room by himself).  If he can, I think he would be fine.  Because he is really bright: he’s reading, telling time, doing math, etc.  
In one sense, I understand that Nico is essentially being shafted by the system… since CPS doesnt allow redshirting, we figured that it wouldnt do much good to keep him at his preschool another year (since he would be starting first grade when he starts).  But, maybe being able to separate is a good indicator.  And maybe it would to him some good to go somewhere where he could be the kid out in front.  I dont know.  I just kind of wish it would be over already.  Will keep you posted.  

School choice

With Nico starting his new school, I have been thinking a lot about how we are going to do school in Chicago.  I know, right?  Just what I need, something new to obsess about, right?  Given that we are thinking about having another kid in the next year or so.  And given that not all of Chicago’s schools are that great.  And given that we’re not opposed to moving up to Evanston, Skokie or any of the other nicer suburbs on the northwest side of the city… it’s a lot to think about.

One thing that gives me pause is that CPS doesn’t allow for redshirting.  I understand why, intellectually.  It creates an unfair situation where the kids of affluent parents (who can afford another year of preschool) are at a natural advantage because they are older, bigger, smarter, etc.  when they start.  And therefore will be for the rest of their lives.  As an October baby, I believe that I had a distinct advantage over a lot of my peers because I was much older than most of them… because I turned 5 right after the cut off, I had to wait till I was almost 6 to start kindergarten.  Nico’s case is even more extreme because he will turn 5 about two weeks before he would start kindergarten.  CPS deals with this by putting a kid into the age-appropriate grade.  So even if one did redshirt their own kid (but letting them do another year of preschool/junior kindergarten), CPS would fix that by booting that kid to 1st grade when he started (not kindergarten).  Most people I have heard of have never regretted holding their kid back a year, but most have regretted not holding them back.  And this seems to be the case with boys… since they are so immature anyways.  Of course, this is all part of a crazy conversation about parenting, one that I have no interest in conducting here.

While we have a couple of years to think about it and make that decision, I am looking into our options.  We could enter him into the lottery for a magnet schools.  Chicago actually offers STEM, Language and the Humanities magnet schools… although I am not sure that is a great idea… to start fostering a love of the humanities at such an early age.  I mean, I’d like for him to be employable at some point.  The unemployed humanities major that decides to get a PhD in humanities and still cant find a job is sort of an inside joke in Academia.

The other options are regular school,  private schools, charter schools, and selective enrollment schools (Chicago really is the wild west in terms of education).  The good news is, that two of the best schools in the city are close to us (Edison Regional Gifted and Northside Prep).  The downside is that they are both selective enrollment schools, which means that he would have to test into them.  BTW, I have no idea how one would test into a kindergarten.  I mean, seriously…. what the hell?  However, that said, I am kind of  in love with North Side.  Choice of languages one can learn: mandarin, chinese, japanese, latin, french, and spanish.  And seriously, you can’t swing a dead cat at the course offerings without hitting an AP class.
Of course, this is all assuming that Nico is going to be interested in being all academic.  It’s possible that he’s not able to do the work.  Or that he won’t want to.  I mean, I was burned out of school by my junior year at Ft. Myers.  And if he wants to be a soccer player or a judoka?  I am not trying to have Nico staying up to 3 AM doing school work and trying to be an athlete.

New School

Things are going well.  Nico has started his new school.  And loves it.  The first day, he was clingy and didn’t want to be there- but since, he’s been excited to go every day.  It’s a Montessori school- so it’s good in the sense that he has quite a bit of freedom.  And apparently it’s fun.  So that is great.

I’m hoping to go up to Michigan this week.  Apparently South Haven has a blueberry farm… so Nico and I might head up there and then swing by to see Uncle Scott.  Which could be fun.

The house is coming along.  We have it mostly unpacked.  I got the girl cave squared away.  Dave’s parents are coming up next month- so next up is getting the rest of the basement good to go.

Swimming and May Day!

So, Nico had a pretty terrific weekend.  It started with a going away party at Joe and Kari Follick’s house on Saturday.  And guess what?  There was swimming!!

He has suggested that it is time for him to start learning how to swim.  Which I am completely okay with.  I think we might need to look into swimming lessons up here.  He seems like he’s old enough now where he can go and listen to the teacher and I can lounge nearby in the sun.  Just as it should be.  
His school also did their May Day celebration.  
In this event, there was singing and a party.  When someone (whose name rhymes with Rave) finally uploads the video, I will post a link to some of the performances.  Apparently, Nico knows that after doing a performance and people clap, you should bow.  He was the only kid who bowed.  Which is awesome.  
There were also horse rides, which is fantastic.  Nico has been on a horse more in the last three years than I have been in the last 20.  And I lived on a horse ranch.  Go figure.  
I fly home tomorrow to scoop up my boys and bring them to Chicago.  Don’t know what next week will look like, so I probably won’t post much.  Once we get to Chicago, there will be all the unpacking.  Can I share with you how much I am looking forward to having all my kitchen stuff?  Mixing bowls?  Pans?  A microwave??   Thank god.  If I have to eat another shitty spinach smoothie for breakfast, I was going to have a fit.  Surprisingly, sugar-free andes mints added to the blender, a delicious breakfast smoothie don’t make.