Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking a Chance

This morning I took a tour of the newer, closer school. I must say there is quite a difference in the two schools. Not so much in the staff I met, they were very nice and well informed at both schools. The truth is, the facility itself is so much nicer. Bigger, better equipped classrooms. Nicer cafeteria, library and gym. I know these things do not necessarily equal a better education, but it does make it seem easier to learn with new computers, interactive white boards and such. The school also offers a few extracurricular activities not available at the other school, like academic team (looks like they took first and second place in regional meets most years, judging by their trophy case!) .

So...I have decided to submit the open enrollment form to this school. Their enrollment date for kindergarten is March 3. I will also enroll him in our assigned school, then I will play the waiting game to see if he is accepted. Although I realize schools can't be replaced to match the rapid rate of progress, I find myself wishing all children could attend school in newer, more up-to-date buildings. Everything just seemed more cheerful in the newer school.

After school today, we were invited by a classmate (also named Jonathan) and his mom to go to Color Me Mine and paint a plate. So much fun! It was our first time there. Jonathan really enjoyed being creative with the paint, but he didn't want to have to wait a week to bring his masterpiece home! When the little artists were finished, we went to Cold Stone Creamery for some yummy ice cream!

I didn't get very much done at home today, but it still feels like a productive day. The housework will be waiting tomorrow, right?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday Fun

We are fortunate to live on the "south side of Cincinnati". We are in Kentucky and our area has lots of pretty farms and retains a good bit of the feel of country life. However, living a stone's throw from a major metropolis has some advantages.

We have season's passes to several of our area's top family attractions, including the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium, which is here in Kentucky. I must say that our favorite is the Cincinnati Museum Center. It consists of three museums in a wonderful historic building, Union Terminal, which was the main train station in Cincinnati. Now it houses the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati Historical Museum and the Duke Energy Children's Museum. It also has an Omnimax theater and several gift shops and snack bars.

Yesterday we spent a few hours there with one of Jonathan's preschool friends and his mom. The boys spent some time playing in the Children's Museum, then we saw the movie "Hubble". So much fun to see on the five-story surround screen, almost like being in space! Then it was off to The Natural History Museum for a quick trip to the Trading Post, where kids can earn points to take home some natural treasures, such as minerals, fossils, etc. There is also a large shop, Store To Explore, with lots of unique and cool things for kids of all ages. We had to take a minute to go in to see if anything new had arrived.

It was a fun day, and if you ever visit the Cincinnati area, I highly recommend a visit to the Museum Center!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do You Recycle?

Last spring, Jonathan began asking for a "real" basketball goal. By real, he meant a full size goal like the "big guys" have. They don't come cheap, especially when you are paying not only for the goal itself, but to have someone pick it up and install it for you. That about doubles the cost.

We reached an agreement, my son & I. And trust me, for a 4 year old , he drives a hard bargain! In May, we started saving all of our aluminum soda cans. I bought a special garbage can for the garage, as well as a supply of lawn and leaf bags to fit it. We religiously save every can. Two of our neighbors pitch in with theirs, too.

Today we made the trek to our nearest recycling center with a few bags of cans. We walked away with $9.60. The price of aluminum is up! The guys at the center are always so nice to Jon, and they let him sign the receipt all by himself today. He was so proud!

He now has over $200 toward his goal of a goal! He also gets to keep the money from any toys he sells when we have a yard sale, and trust me, he keeps tabs on what is his!

In this culture of ours, so geared toward instant gratification, I want him to realize some things are worth working and waiting for. I want him to know the sense of accomplishment that comes from meeting a goal. He is already dicussing what he wants to save for next (a computer of his own). It is also good for him to know he is helping the earth at the same time. It's a win/win situation!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Want To Be Old....

In an earlier post, I talked about wanting to be young. Now I am going to address the elephant in the room......I hope I live long enough to see this young son of mine to adulthood. When you are an older parent, it's impossible not to think of dying. No parent wants to leave a child behind, but I don't remember dwelling on that when my older son was younger.
Now, I think about it more than I care to admit, especially since I am a single parent. I know that in the best of circumstances, I am unlikely to be around more than 30 or 35 years for him. My older son is 37 now, and those years went by so fast! I so enjoy seeing him successful in his career, happily married and a father of two. Will I get to see Jonathan do these things? Of course, no one has the answer to that.

The prospect of old age is certainly more appealing now than it has ever been. I want to live to be 100, at least! My dad lived to be 95 (and by the way, he was 50 when I was born, and my mother was 46), so I had him for 45 years. I hope I am around that long for my two boys.

The sweet lady in the picture? That is Miss Dottie, my neighbor for over 20 years. On Feb. 20, she will turn 96. Jon and I visit her at the nursing home whenever we can. She was never blessed with children, and I am sure she would love to have a 46 year old son!

I will continue to focus on the joy every day brings, and to cherish each moment with my children and grandchildren. The future holds no guarantees for any of us, whatever our age. May we experience each day to the fullest, mindful of the beauty of everyday life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tough Decisions

It is almost time to register Jonathan for kindergarten. How is that even possible? Where did these five years go?

I have a decision to make concerning where to enroll him. He will be attending public school, and the one we are assigned is not as close as a newer elementary school. I can enroll him there thru open enrollment in our county, but I have no guarantee he will be able to attend first grade there next year. Or the year after that. Each year I have to reapply and hope they have classroom space for him.

The school where we are assigned is a much older building. I am trying to not judge the book by its cover. I have toured the school and met the principal and one of the kindergarten teachers, no red flags there.

However, I do want the best education possible for him, and a newer facility usually means newer equipment. It's closer to our home, making the drive about 15 minutes shorter. I am calling tomorrow to schedule a tour of that school, and have printed the open enrollment forms from the BOE's website.

Decisions like this are difficult to make on your own. What would you do? Enroll in the newer school and hope & pray the first grade class isn't full next year? Enroll in our assigned school and not run the risk of making new friends, getting used to the building, etc, and then having to switch to this school anyway?

It goes without saying that I want what is best for Jonathan. Sometimes it's just hard to know what that is.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Funny Valentine

Do you live near a Dollar Tree? Do you love them like I do? I am always looking for goodies for Jonathan's preschool class, and I ran across these fun little things for Valentine's Day. They come in a package of four, and I had to try one to see if they did what the package said they would. They do! Take the little packet, shake it, then whack it with your fist--hard--and wait. It will start to grow, and after a couple of minutes, POP!, out comes a cute little Valentine balloon!

All of Jonathan's classmates will be getting one, and they will be tucked into the Valentines I mail my grandchildren. If you are smitten with these like I am, hurry down to Dollar Tree and get a package or two!

Owls & Birds: Monday Preschool Class

Jonathan's Monday preschool class is Thematic Learning. Each class centers on one thing and the kids learn all about whatever the week's theme is. Today is "Owls & Birds". I try to take a little treat for each child that compliments the theme. I just couldn't find anything for owls & birds! Finally I found sheets of owl stickers at the Parent-Teacher store. The gummy worms were actually Jon's idea. Birds eat worms, right? So today's treat will include a "worm" for each little "bird" to snack on.

Here On Hartland We Have Snow!

December and January have brought record snowfall this winter, as well as some very cold temperatures. I'm not a big fan of winter, with its slippery streets and wind chills.

Like most kids, Jonathan loves to play in the snow. He's throwing snowballs at me...but he is outside, I am warm inside, on the kitchen side of the door!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Want To Be Young!

Ok, let's just get this out of the way. I want to be young. Or at least, younger. There are lots of very nice moms at my son's preschool, and we get invited to playdates. It's fun for Jonathan, and usually for me.

It's just that these moms are young, most younger than my oldest son. They are stylish and hip. They don't have wrinkles. I, on the other hand, do. I have wrinkles and lines. I have broken veins. I have a few (ok, more than a few) extra pounds. My knees creak. I look like somebody's grandmother!

Oh, wait!! I am somebody's grandmother! I am an adorable 8 year old girl's grandmother. A handsome and Lego-loving 6 year old boy calls me Grandma. So you see, I can't be young again. I wouldn't have these two treasures if I were young. And apparently, I wouldn't have my 4 year old, either, because I spent most of my younger adult years yearning, and trying, for more babies. He came along just when he was supposed to.

So maybe I could settle for looking younger. I am sure there are ways to accomplish that. The truth? I don't have much time, energy or money left over for me. I feel like I have accomplished something if I moisturize before I go to bed. Cosmetic procedures aren't an option. Neither are pricey potions. I do keep gray hair at bay with regular salon trips, and I do wear make-up. But I look my age. Not movie-star 54, but real-life 54. And most days, I'm okay with that. Just not on play date days!

In the meantime, this is on my bathroom wall to remind me I'm ok just as I am. Some days it even works!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Hello, and welcome to my little corner of the world, here on Hartland Blvd!

Creating this blog crosses one more item off my "55 Things To Do Before I Am 55" list. Here is where I hope to share some of my everyday struggles and triumphs with you. As an older mom to a 4 1/2 year old son, they are many! I am finding parenting a child in today's world is quite different from parenting my older son, born in 1973. That's right, my only other child is nearly 33 years older than his little brother! I was blessed with my little surprise at the age of 50, and trust me, the word "surprise" does not begin to capture what I felt when I learned of his impending arrival. On Feb. 1, 2006, I found out I was pregnant: he arrived on June 18. I was widowed in Dec. of the same year, so to say I experienced many life changes in 2006 is an understatement.

I hope you will return and follow along as I relate some of the challenges and joys of bringing up a child alone at a time in my life when I should be blogging about an empty nest instead of my little baby bird! The joy and fun far outweigh the challenges, but they do present themselves from time to time, mostly in the form of an exhausted mommy with limited resourses. Stay tuned!!