Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Young Americans

 Every three years Norfolk Catholic hosts the Young Americans.  This is a clinic that involves the arts and encourages all students in grades 3rd-12th to participate.  The students involved spend an intense three days learning songs and dances.  Then at the end of three days, they perform a concert for the public.  Young Americans is a group of individuals that travel around the world teaching students the joy of singing and dancing and proving to kids how much fun the arts are to participate in.  This group is hosted by our Music Booster Group at school and requires so much planning and parent help.  The Young Americans are put up in participants homes from our school.  The food for the event is provided, prepared and served by parents.  I prepared two vegetable dishes, a salad and a dessert for Saturday night's supper. 
 This is the first year that Cara and Erica have been old enough to participate.  The Young American workshop started on Thursday afternoon and concluded on Saturday night with the concert.  The workshop was open to Norfolk Catholic students and other students from Norfolk and surrounding towns.  There were over 200 students participating in the workshop.  Cara and Erica were in the orange and yellow groups.  The high school students were in the blue group.
 The first hour of the concert was a performance of singing and dancing by the Young American staff.  Norfolk Catholic had five graduates perform in this group.  To be a Young American, you must be asked to audition, be accepted, and then be prepared to travel all over the world.  One parent commented that he has traveled to England, Germany and Los Angeles to watch his daughter perform with Young Americans.
The second half of the show was a performance by the students with a section in which some parents/staff performed.  This Mom performed in that small selection of songs.  The girls were embarrassed that I would participate, but they were also happy that their Mom would perform.  We had to sing and dance also. 

I cannot put into words how to describe the amazing show that these students put on.  It was so awesome and inspiring.  There were many talented students.  Keith and I attended the concert along with both sets of grandparents.  We all thought the show was simply amazing.  Cara has already figured out that if Young Americans to continue to come back every three years that when she is a senior all four of the kids can be in the workshop together.  To have all four of them in the concert would be simply amazing to see, I can't wait!

I don't have photos of the performance because no flash photography was allowed and the lights were turned off.  Plus no video recordings were allowed because the performance was professionally taped. 

Take care,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Downtown Trick-or-Treating

 Last Thursday evening the Norfolk downtown businesses hosted their annual trick-or-treating for kids.  Cara and Erica were busy at school with Young Americans, but Ashlin and Justin were not going to miss out on some fun of their own. 
 The weather was dreary, cold and very windy all day.  It even rained for awhile, but these two were determined to do something without their older siblings.  Right away after school, they put on their costumes and we drove downtown to start trick-or-treating at 4:30.  Ashlin refused at first to wear a coat because of her cast.  It was hard enough to get her witch costume on, but after walking a few blocks without her coat she put her coat on.  Then after a few more blocks, she took her hat off because the wind kept trying to take her hat and she couldn't hold onto her hat, her coat and her bucket with only one good arm.
Justin started out with his eye patch on, but after a while he gave it to me to carry and his hat kept blowing off in the wind.  We made it up and down both sides of the street getting candy at the businesses.  Quite a few of the businesses had the kids go inside to get their treat because of the cold.  But a few businesses did have employees dressed up outside handing out the candy.

They are all ready for parties at school tomorrow and trick-or-treating in our neighborhood tomorrow night.

Take care,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ashlin's New Fashion Accessory

 Yes, Ashlin is wearing a new purple cast on her right arm.  She broke her wrist a week ago on the monkey bars at school when she fell.  Keith took her to see a doctor last Wednesday.  After x-rays, the doctor said that her wrist was not broken, but only jammed.  She gave Ashlin a brace to wear for a few days.  Then late Friday afternoon, the doctor's office called back and said that the radiologist read the x-rays and determined that her wrist was broken.  We were told that we would have to be referred to a pediatric orthopaedic doctor because the break was in her growth plate.  I asked if we could be referred to a local doctor and she said no because of where the break was.  The doctor's office was supposed to call us on Monday after school with an appointment in Omaha with a doctor from Children's Hospital. 

On Monday, Keith and I called the doctor's office three times to get Ashlin's appointment and no one bothered to return our phone calls or else did not know when the appointment was.  Therefore, Keith called a friend of ours who happens to be a physician assistant for one of the local orthopedic doctors in Norfolk.  Steve told Keith to call the office Tuesday morning and he would get her in.  Keith took Ashlin to the doctor yesterday and later brought her back to school with her new purple cast.  She will have to wear the cast for two weeks and then be checked.
After the wrist was x-rayed again, the break is not in her growth plate.  In fact, the bone is not broken, but it has a bump in it.  Steve compared her break to someone trying to break a green twig.  The twig doesn't break in two if it is green, but it bends.  When you try to straighten the twig back out, there is a bump on it where it was bent.  That is Ashlin's wrist, therefore, she will wear a cast for a few weeks to get rid of the bump. 

She is running out of room for people to sign after two days at school.  She needs help getting dressed and writing out her homework.

Take care,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mercy Meals

 A few Saturdays ago, the kids and I helped package Mercy Meals for a community project with the girls' 4-H Club.  Our shift lasted two hours and the goal was to package 180,000 meals in the course of a day.  Different groups and organizations had teams to work a two hour shift throughout the day.  The event took place at Northeast Community College in their gym and was coordinated by one of our local radio stations, US92, along with the Mercy Meals Organization.  The meals packaged on this particular day were being sent to somewhere in Africa.  Upon arrival, each person must wash their hands.  After washing your hands, you are not allowed to touch anything.
 Next, each person puts on a hair net and an apron.  Then you sanitize your hands again.  Then each team proceeded to a station to begin packaging.  We were separated from our group because we had so many people show up.  Therefore, the kids and I and the Schlomer family were teamed up with another partial group.
 Everyone had a job on the assembly line.  Justin put a sticker on each filled bag of food and I held the filled bags to be sealed.  The girls switched jobs during the two hours. Sometimes they would box goods, hold bags to be filled, and put rice, vegetables or chicked flavoring into the bags.  After 50 bags were filled and sealed, a box was filled and the whole table would yell which signaled to everyone that another box was completed.

 During our two hour shift, our table filled 8 or 9 boxes with filled bags. 
This is a photo of the Needle & Knives 4-H Club members that worked on this community project!  After our photo we got to taste some of the food that is packaged for people in other countries.  It tasted like chicken flavored rice to me and wasn't bad at all.

Take care,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Justin's 5th Birthday!

Notice his birthday boy shirt!
 Justin turned 5 years old on the 14th!  He had been counting down the days since the first of October.  He knew that his birthday did not fall on a school day, but the day after his birthday he would get to take birthday treats to school to share with his class.  He also got to take birthday treats to daycare to share with his friends at Lynne's house. 

 On his birthday, he woke up bright and early and ready to open presents.  He received a new winter coat, snow pants, a Leapster game and boxes of candy from his family.  He received many cards in the mail from aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.  He was stalking the mailman in the days leading up to his birthday.

 We didn't have a big party this year for his birthday.  Justin wanted to have his buddy, Jameson, come to our house to play and spend the night.  Jameson used to live two blocks over from our house and the boys would play together quite often, but his family moved so the boys can't play as often.  They had so much fun playing together and there was no fighting at all.
The day after his birthday, Justin got to wear the birthday crown at preschool announcing to the class that he was "5".  Also, he is holding up the new remote control car that he received from Lynne at daycare.  Lynne lets the daycare kids pick a toy out of a birthday basket of goodies when it is their birthday.  She also makes a special lunch on their birthday.

Take care,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4-H State Fair Checks Arrive

 These are the smiles that immediately spread across Cara and Erica's faces when their 4-H State Fair premium checks arrived in the mail.  Cara earned $9 for her three blue ribbons and Erica earned $4 for her one purple ribbon.
The Norfolk Daily News printed their 4-H Edition to the newspaper this last week and each of the girls had an article in the edition on a project that they exhibited at the County Fair and also at the State Fair.  They both felt rewarded that they were chosen to submit an article for the newspaper.  Also, they were both recognized in their classrooms by their teachers for their 4-H accomplishments.  We are all so proud of them on a great 4-H year!

Take care,

Friday, October 12, 2012

2nd Grade Butterfly Project

 Each fall for about the past 10 years, the 2nd Graders start a butterfly unit/project.  The teachers order Painted Lady Butterfly larvae from a lab on the East Coast.  The students stalk the UPS guy for days waiting for their larvae to arrive.  The students then each get a cup with one larvae in it to observe the progress and development.  The whole grade works on this project together.  They journal daily about the development of the larvae into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly.
This is Ashlin's chrysalis.  When I took this photo, Ashlin's was the only chrysalis in the butterfly net waiting for it to become a butterfly.
Unfortunately, the project failed for the first time this year.  The teachers have called the lab and reported the failure of the project.  The lab said that they would send out a new supply of larvae for the project.  The teachers told the lab to not send the larvae until the spring because the weather has turned too cold for the butterflies to survive once released outside.  The students start this project with so much enthusiasm and excitement and they discuss this project for days.  Ashlin was sad, but the class looks forward to trying the project again in the Spring.  I think the teachers are as disappointed as their students that the project failed. 

Take care,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

6th Grade Reading Project

 Yesterday, I talked about how the 6th Grade has to do projects quite often.  A few weeks ago, Cara had a Reading project due.  The class had finished reading the book, "Where The Red Fern Grows".  I read the book along with Cara so that I could answer her questions and I had never read the book before, but I had seen the movie based on the book.  So Cara had a sheet with 9 boxes on it and in each box were two projects.  Cara had to select three boxes and complete one of the projects listed in each box.  First, she chose to create a crossword puzzle on vocabulary terms from the book.  Second, she chose to create a Vinn Diagram comparing/contrasting the book to the movie.  Lastly, she chose to create a fern plant diorama and label in detail the parts of the plant.
Naturally, she did not tell me that this project was coming and when it was due until a few days before.  Cara was very lucky that ferns were on sale that week at Hobby Lobby because I had to go buy one.  (Her teacher cannot believe that I went out and bought a plant.  Her teacher is also my first cousin)  What a Mom will not do for a child!  We used a pot from the garage and filled it with real potting soil.  Then stuck the fern in the pot.  I cut off a stem to better label the parts.  Then in the bottom of the box we used yarn to show the roots.  Cara then had to take everything to school and give a presentation to the class on her three items for the project.  She received an "A" for the project and the teacher even commented on how well her fern plant looked and was very detailed in labeling.

P.S.  She also had a group Science project due that same week.  It was a video over the periodical table.  Fortunately for Cara, a classmate in her group has parents that own a video recording company and they helped the group with the project.

I can't wait for the next project!

Take care,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Homework Galore!!!

 This is the scene almost every day after school at our house.  After arriving home from school, the kids get a quick snack and then we have to start on homework.  Cara and Erica spend more time at the table than Ashlin, but they are older.  Ashlin actually gets upsets if no homework is assigned.  Yes, Ashlin loves school and is a sponge for knowledge.  She usually just has a Math worksheet and A/R for the night.  This is Ashlin's first year with the accelerated reading program and she loves it.  Since the beginning of the year, she has moved up 6 levels in reading.  But Ashlin loves to read!!!  Her sisters on the other hand not so much.
 Erica is still seeing a tutor twice a week for an hour each time, but we are thinking of getting rid of the tutor and Mom and Dad just helping her more.  She works very hard on her homework and some nights is loaded down with quite a bit.  It seems that on the days when she has her special classes (Library, Computers, PE, Music, etc) that she comes home with more homework.  4th Grade has been another adjustment for Erica, but she is doing great!  Last week she had the dreaded 4th Grade Science test over plants/flowers and their parts.  We studied very hard for that test (some parents could tell you horror stories about that test).  Plus she had a Social Studies test also last week.
Cara is in 6th Grade this year and Keith and I feel like we are taking 6th Grade over with her. (I do not remember 6th Grade being like this at all.) This is the year for many projects.  Cara is having to learn to balance her time and not procrastinate on homework.  Many assignments are given and then not due for a few days or a project assignment is given and then not due for a week or so.  She must learn to work a little each day on these kinds of assignments.

Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for next week.  We can't wait to go and get progress reports on the kids.  The first quarter ends this Friday and the kids are rewarded with only a half day of school. 

I can hardly wait for next school year when we will have four kids with homework.  I have no idea what is even on TV anymore.  Most evenings are spent finishing up whatever homework does not get done before supper.  Some days feel like we are just treading water here with no land in sight.

Take care,