Getting Ready for Reading (in two languages!)

April 17, 2014 by  
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This month's Multilingual Blogging Carnival focuses on teaching reading to multilingual or bilingual children. Since Elliot is only 4-1/2 years old, we're not yet working on reading...in either English or Spanish. But, I'm hoping that I'm doing the right things to set the stage for Elliot to become a reader in both languages: 

Reading, reading, reading: Tim and I are both readers, so Elliot is surrounded by books. Since we live in the US, he has more books in English. But, I've made sure that his Spanish-language collection is sizable and I make an effort to read at least one book in Spanish to him each day. To supplement our collection, we turn to the local library, which fortunately has some non-fiction children's books in Spanish, which are somewhat harder to find.
Elliot also has a subscription to a Spanish-language kids' magazine, which is a great way to continually bring new reading material in Spanish into our home.

Giving him audio books: Elliot enjoys listening to a CD as he drifts off to sleep. Sometimes, it's music, but sometimes, it's a bilingual or Spanish-language book on tape. He's listened to books by Alma Flor Ada so many times that he makes jokes (in Spanish) out of her name! And, when I read the books to him, he likes to chime in, "reading" some of the sections he's memorized.

Teaching the letters: At Elliot's Spanish immersion preschool, he learns the letters in Spanish. We also have several CDs in Spanish with letter, vowel and alphabet song (although I haven't found one as catchy as the classic alphabet song in English.) Although I'm realizing I don't do it as often as I should, I sometimes ask him to identify letters in Spanish from books or in public (but it's not that effective when the letters are spelling words in English).

Telling him I read in Spanish: I'm not sure if this has any effect, but I let Elliot know that I read books in Spanish (even without him) and I go to a Spanish-language book club monthly to discuss them. 

I guess my list of reading preparation is pretty short. But, Elliot is only four-and-a-half. Am I doing enough? Is there something else I should be doing?

For more perspectives on teaching reading to bilingual and multilingual children, check out the blogging carnival on Homeschool Ways on April 27. 








Nokia Lumia 1020 REVIEW

April 15, 2014 by  
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     I have been fortunate enough to be working  with AT&T. Recently, they provided me with a Nokia Lumia 1020 to test out. Knowing that I am not the biggest fan of a Windows...

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Out loud

April 15, 2014 by  
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I have never read my words aloud. I enjoy my safe place behind the laptop, telling stories when they come to me and sitting in front of a blank screen when they don’t.

Since November, I have been working with a team of women who have now become the closest of friends to bring stories TO A STAGE. What was I thinking? I was thinking that other women would read. They would share their stories and we would build the platform for them to do so. Things would be warm and sepia toned with breaks for tissues, hugs and chocolate.

This is all true, until the part of our process where I committed to getting on stage and reading something I had written as well. You see, I had an exit plan since the first day I was told that two of the directors/producers of the show could read. I nodded and took a deep breath and said “ooooookay.” Then I drove home and had a long conversation with my anxiety about how we would tactfully bow out of the discomfort of public speaking.

Sunday was our last rehearsal before the show (May 4th at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit at 3pm, doors open at 2 and you can buy tickets here). I had sent my piece to my co-directors weeks before, fully expecting to execute the Anxiety Plan and never read it at all. But weeks of listening to our amazing cast pour their hearts out chipped away at my crafty excuses for lack of participation.

I was scared and so were they. I might cry and many of them already had. I had never done this before and most of them hadn’t either. My ugly cry sometimes turned into a snort-laugh… that argument might still stand. I haven’t heard a cry-snort-laugh sequence out of anyone else in the group.

So I did it anyway. I stood in the wings of the stage Sunday afternoon and as I waited for my turn to read I was all alone with the reason I started pouring my heart out to begin with, my daughter. I felt Hadley so strongly as my heart threatened to beat out of my chest. The way that I don’t feel her as much anymore, six years removed from seeing her face. I listened to the beautiful, beautiful story read before mine and I peaked at the amazing faces of our cast in the audience and I walked out and read my words for the first time.

I cried and I did not complete the snort-laugh part of the sequence (thank God!) but I did give my voice to the words I’ve been placing here for years. It was humbling and scary and overwhelming but in the strangest turn of events, I can’t wait to do it again.

Saint Andrews Hall

I know I’m biased but Listen To Your Mother: Metro Detroit is going to be an amazing, life-changing event. Tickets are on sale here and we would love, love, love for you to join us. 

The Kindergarten Conundrum

April 14, 2014 by  
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Will Elliot be ready for kindergarten in the fall or would a Young 5s program be a better fit? This question is stressing me out more than you might imagine...unless you also have a child Elliot's age. (And if you do, I've probably already talked to you!)

Kindergarten is not at all what it was back in the day. When I was in kindergarten, it was morning-only. From what I remember, I learned my phone number and address, played dress-up, ate graham crackers and took a rest on a mat on the floor. Today, kindergarten is a seven-hour day and it's not about playing or getting ready for school like it used to be. It is school, with reading, writing, science, social studies and math.

Perhaps that's why the state of Michigan is gradually pushing back the deadline for eligibility from December 1 through September 1. This year, it will be October 1...so Elliot's early September birthday makes him eligible for kindergarten. However, many parents with kids whose birthdays are near the deadline, especially when they are boys, decide to delay the start of kindergarten for a year and give their children more time to develop by attending a Young 5s program.

The thing is: I don't necessarily agree with the trend. It creates a situation where you might have four-year-olds (whose parents signed a waiver for them to start early) in the same classroom as six-year-olds. It means starting high school at 15 and college at 19. And after all, somebody has to be the oldest and somebody has to be the youngest.

But, do I want Elliot to be the youngest? After all, I do often think his reactions to new and unfamiliar situations seem quite babyish. And, he seems quite a bit younger to me than kids at preschool who are six months older. Or is that his personality?

He's very smart...so I'm not really worried about the academic challenges of kindergarten. I worry more about his ability to suddenly be in school with twice as many kids as he's used to for triple the number of weekly hours. On the other hand, I worry that he might not be intellectually challenged if he's the oldest in his class (not right away, but later on).

So, I've attended a kindergarten readiness program and am reading a book. I've visited at least six schools looking for the best option for my baby. I plan to take him to the official kindergarten assessment at the local school as well as have a kindergarten teacher I met at an event give me her opinion.

On one hand, I think: it's kindergarten...relax! On the other, as many people have told me, this will be his formal introduction to school so I want it to be positive. I want him to feel confident and ready to learn.

Is he? Will he be? I'm not yet sure. 





Samsung Galaxy S® 5 Available for Preorder

April 8, 2014 by  
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New Samsung smartphone offering enhances mobile lifestyle. The Samsung Galaxy S 5 is now available for preorder. Customers can purchase the device for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new...

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Happy

April 7, 2014 by  
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For much of my life I had a lot of starting. With just as much stopping.

Maybe it could have been blamed on ADD.

Maybe not.

Maybe it was fear.

Maybe laziness.

Maybe what I would start just wasn’t the right thing for me.

I always began with gusto bordering on OCD.

I would throw myself into something and think that it would be my niche. The one thing I could do that would help produce some sort of income for my family.

The one thing I could do that would make me happy.

When that didn’t happen, I would give up.

You see, I always had this expectation that I would be wealthy.

Not that I would marry someone wealthy, although that would have been a bonus.

I just always assumed it would be my own personal wealth, one that I had created by my own creation.

Whatever that creation was.

And it would make me happy.

Because I would be complete for myself.

Beyond the fullness I feel from my family.

That expectation was unrealistic, I suppose.

My mom used to always tell me that something would come along. Something that I would be able to turn into a career.

A career that I would wake up excitedly to do.

A career that would give me a feeling of accomplishment.

After all, she turned her love of antiques into a thriving, successful business.

She was positive that would happen for me.

She was sure of it until the day she died.

So, I always kept trying.

And stopping.

But when I started blogging, I didn’t stop.

Not really.

Sure, it’s exceptionally inconsistent.

I blame that on my family. They get mad when I write about them.

It’s not so fun to write about myself, I’m not all that blog-worthy.

But, I kept blogging.

Then, blogging turned into this crazy thing called “microblogging”.

Then, suddenly…there was this thing called Social Media.

When people first started talking about this ‘social media’, I had no clue what it was they were talking about.

Then, I found out and was like…whoa, that’s what I’m doing.

I was freelancing.

I had people paying me to manage their pages.

And my mom’s words started coming to fruition.

I found my niche.

Social media.

Granted, I’m no guru.

I just sort of understand how to do it.

My technical words are ‘thingy’ and ‘whatchamacallit’ and I’m sure that half the time, I sound like an absolute unprofessional idiot.

But somehow, I found my way.

I didn’t give up.

I listened to and believed in what my mother told me.

Someday, I’d find my niche and make a career out of it.

And I have.

I’m not going to be independently wealthy from being a Community Manager but I don’t care.

I have this career that makes me so happy.

I’m getting paid to be happy.

I’m getting paid to do something that I love to do.

It doesn’t even feel like I’m working because of how much I enjoy it.

I mean, that’s the best job on the planet.

Even if this job ends in a month, that’s one month of happiness I can add to my resume of life.

I probably wouldn’t be able to add a one month gig to my real resume, though.

But wow, am I happy.

 

 

 

 

Happy

April 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Faith & Life

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For much of my life I had a lot of starting. With just as much stopping.

Maybe it could have been blamed on ADD.

Maybe not.

Maybe it was fear.

Maybe laziness.

Maybe what I would start just wasn’t the right thing for me.

I always began with gusto bordering on OCD.

I would throw myself into something and think that it would be my niche. The one thing I could do that would help produce some sort of income for my family.

The one thing I could do that would make me happy.

When that didn’t happen, I would give up.

You see, I always had this expectation that I would be wealthy.

Not that I would marry someone wealthy, although that would have been a bonus.

I just always assumed it would be my own personal wealth, one that I had created by my own creation.

Whatever that creation was.

And it would make me happy.

Because I would be complete for myself.

Beyond the fullness I feel from my family.

That expectation was unrealistic, I suppose.

My mom used to always tell me that something would come along. Something that I would be able to turn into a career.

A career that I would wake up excitedly to do.

A career that would give me a feeling of accomplishment.

After all, she turned her love of antiques into a thriving, successful business.

She was positive that would happen for me.

She was sure of it until the day she died.

So, I always kept trying.

And stopping.

But when I started blogging, I didn’t stop.

Not really.

Sure, it’s exceptionally inconsistent.

I blame that on my family. They get mad when I write about them.

It’s not so fun to write about myself, I’m not all that blog-worthy.

But, I kept blogging.

Then, blogging turned into this crazy thing called “microblogging”.

Then, suddenly…there was this thing called Social Media.

When people first started talking about this ‘social media’, I had no clue what it was they were talking about.

Then, I found out and was like…whoa, that’s what I’m doing.

I was freelancing.

I had people paying me to manage their pages.

And my mom’s words started coming to fruition.

I found my niche.

Social media.

Granted, I’m no guru.

I just sort of understand how to do it.

My technical words are ‘thingy’ and ‘whatchamacallit’ and I’m sure that half the time, I sound like an absolute unprofessional idiot.

But somehow, I found my way.

I didn’t give up.

I listened to and believed in what my mother told me.

Someday, I’d find my niche and make a career out of it.

And I have.

I’m not going to be independently wealthy from being a Community Manager but I don’t care.

I have this career that makes me so happy.

I’m getting paid to be happy.

I’m getting paid to do something that I love to do.

It doesn’t even feel like I’m working because of how much I enjoy it.

I mean, that’s the best job on the planet.

Even if this job ends in a month, that’s one month of happiness I can add to my resume of life.

I probably wouldn’t be able to add a one month gig to my real resume, though.

But wow, am I happy.

 

 

 

 

Drop

April 6, 2014 by  
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Towards the end of preschool Parker made a rainbow painting at school with streamers hanging down from the end of each color. My love for rainbows hung it no where but the best place. It sways from a hook up high in our kitchen so we can walk under it often because hanging out under rainbows is important. The streamers have held on as crepe paper affixed by a five year-old’s glue stick do. The first few dropped soon after I hung the picture. Others waved as kids raced by or dangled from a quarter-inch shred because I couldn’t bear to cut them.

I’m sure someone who knows more than me about interior decorating (which would be everyone) would tell me the artwork should be displayed somewhere else in the house. It hangs by a threadbare piece of yarn and I don’t look at it as much as I used to, just like all those other things that make permanent homes in our lives. We pass them or they pass us and our heart doesn’t open up as widely as it did on that first day we decided they were treasures.

We are down to one last streamer. It’s orangish although it might have been red that faded or yellow that darkened and the rainbow tilts to one side a bit from it’s weight. I never reach up to straighten it though for fear the whole thing would crumble.

The weary little picture crafted with lips bitten in concentration and paint-filled sleeves is barely hanging on. I walk more slowly under it now and look up to double-check on the piece left because I know what comes next. I’ve caught each strip as it’s tumbled or found a streamer on my slipper when hitting the biggest coffee button on my Keurig, but the last one needs to stay.

My hands are way too full and far too empty to let it go or put it back or know what happens when there’s nothing left to walk below.

rainbow

(photo taken when the sun was warm and there was more rainbow to walk under)

Kohl’s Peter Som Watch & Shop Google Hangout Information!

April 2, 2014 by  
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“I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Kohl’s. I received a gift card as a thank you for participating” Today, I decided to stop at Kohl’s to see if they had...

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Bringing KidLit to Life: Baking Mrs. Peters’ Birthday Cake

April 1, 2014 by  
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"Let's make Mrs. Peters' pink birthday cake," Elliot suggested after the third or fourth reading of Mary Ann Hoberman's rhyming picture book, The Seven Silly Eaters.

This clever book features a family that grows to seven children, each of whom will only eat one food item. In the ending (spoil alert!), the kids make their mother a birthday cake made of all of "their" foods, which then becomes what they eat every day for dinner.

I tried to explain to Elliot that a cake made of pink lemonade, applesauce, bread, oatmeal, eggs and milk would not be very tasty. "Besides, we don't have a recipe."

"Just look on your computer."

After repeated urging, I finally did. To my surprise, the author had the recipe on her website. So, we put on our truck-themed aprons and went to work finding the ingredients.

As usual when Elliot and I embark on our baking projects, I soon realized that we didn't have all of the ingredients. We only had one egg, not three, so I decided to make just a third of the recipe -- although I have to admit that I didn't calculate 1/3 of four drops or 1/3 of 1/2 teaspoon all that carefully. We were out of applesauce, so we decided that a cut-up apple would do just fine. And, I  squeezed fresh lemon juice into the milk (which I'd randomly heated in the microwave, not to the specified 70 degrees) without really measuring the amount. Then, since the cake was so much smaller than the recipe, I set the oven timer to 40 minutes, rather than the 60 in the recipe.

As you might have noticed, I tend to have a fairly casual approach to baking. Lately, somehow, Elliot and I have been making some pretty tasty treats.

Mrs. Peters' birthday cake did not exactly fall into that category. It's not awful..but it's certainly not something you'd want to eat daily. And it's really not pink...which may be because it's somewhat burnt. Nonetheless, Tim, Elliot and I all ate a piece.

More importantly, baking Mrs. Peters' birthday cake was a fun experience and something that Elliot really wanted to try. The fact that it was inspired by a children's book makes it even sweeter.

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