Friday, March 26, 2010

Pre-K, 4K, First Step, K4...does it matter?

Should I concern myself with the fact that I can't enroll Ankica in an "at school, ride the bus two days a week" kind of preschool? Will she be behind?

I found myself at the parents meeting tonight wanting Ankica to go to the pre-K school in Platteville. It sounded fun and it sounded like they did neat things with phonics and math (even if they did have to sleep on rugs and not cots). At the same time I was only minorly disappointed when the open enrollment date was mentioned...January 31st. It already passed and I didn't know I need to know it until about two days ago and even then it didn't register that it was too late for Ankica to enroll for this September.

Ah well. I think another year at the Children's Center with her sister nearby will be good. And if I decide to enroll Lillian next year (she will make the 4K deadline by 2 days), then they will both be attempting the bus thing together and it might make the whole traumatic experience a little easier on their mommy. Might...key word there.

And this from someone that wasn't going to work until it was time to put them in kindergarten. But when I hear Lillian singing the days of the week song and counting to 13 and Ankica spelling Julia's name on a regular basis, well...I don't think I would have thought to teach them those things so early. I know homeschooled kids tend to do WAY better than public schooled kids, but I also know some of the reasons behind it, and I hope I can be more involved in my kids' public school education so that they can reach some of the heights that I aspire them too :-)

(I can't help it...violin, cello, guitar, drums, piano, Spanish, French, Latin...sign language...knitting, crocheting, baking, cross-stitch...volleyball, basketball, karate...riding, swimming, hunting...Academic Quadrathlon, Olympic know...the USUAL kid stuff :-) )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When a heifer goes down...

There's something new every day. Yesterday I had a student come to me in tears because she just got a call from her dad back home that her heifer went down. Her prize show heifer. And she had to leave and wanted to take the exam later. Huh. Sure. Just let me know when you get back. And good luck with that.

I mean, I have extended an exam for someone who had knee surgery and another student who just didn't show up and told me there was an emergency half-way through Spring Break. I let them talk me into a Word Bank and using a note card. All that accomplished was a severe lack of studying and the worst grades on an exam yet. But they can't blame it on me :-) I even let students yesterday talk me into giving them two extra days to study and I am taking time out of my rather busy schedule to babysit them while they are taking the exam on Wednesday afternoon instead of Monday afternoon. And I guarantee you they will do worse than the students who took it yesterday.

I am a very accommodating professor. I could probably win an award for being so accommodating. It would say "Professor Push Over" :-) Not really...but I understand that life happens. I figure that if I can work around the stuff in their lives, then they will work around the stuff in mine. Like skipping a lecture yesterday because I just couldn't talk.

(For those of you wondering what a heifer is, it is a young female cow, specifically one that is probably bred at this point and will give birth at the end of the summer and start milking...a dairy cow if you will. She is important because a good show heifer and her progeny can bring anywhere from $3,000 to upwards of $50,000 and you know why she was crying...not to mention that these kids have their lives and sometimes their educations invested in these animals...they are not just pets...they are hard-working members of the family in many cases...but that will be another post someday...)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Go ahead and add some fat!

Did you know that adding some form of fat to your leafy green and vegetably good salad is good for you?

I am trying to be better about how I eat now that I am attempting this Weight Watchers thing again and I am also doing it for my family (especially the girls).

Doing some research today, I found some information that I should have known but just never made the connection:

Adding some fat (even a small amount of creamy white salad dressing) is good for a salad because it enables you to better absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) in the vegetables!

How is it that I can teach the nutrition section of my Introduction to Animal Science course or talk about what happens when we put milk through a separator in my Dairy Products course and never put the knowledge of fat and the fat-soluble vitamin to practical use in my own diet? :-)

(Eating healthy is so much easier at work than at home! One serving of cheese is all I bring and that is all I can have...but at out! Spring Break did NOTHING for my diet...I mean, "my better way of eating and exercising" :-) )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Confessions from America's Dairyland

We had lunch on the porch today and it was beautiful outside. As we sat there Ankica asked "What's that smell?"

I told her it was the cows :-)

Truth be told, I like that smell. I don't LOVE that smell but it means so many things to me. It is my history, my heritage, and my future (at least as far as my career is concerned). It is where we live and it puts food on our plates from many ways of thinking.

I'm happy to be home, even when the air smells more like cows and less like flowers :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Odds & Ends

Lillian loves Arial. Little Mermaid is one of her favorite movies but she watches other Princess movies with Ankica. She changes clothes about five times a day but is finally keeping clothes on. She loves dress up shoes and can run in heels that are too big for her. She is learning her colors, shakes her head faster than seems possible when she bites into a popsicle and is too cute for words some days.

Ankica is now talking about what happens when the wicked witch captures her. She has a wonderful imagination, a photographic memory for movie lines like her daddy, and is apparently watching too many princess movies. She is officially potty-trained as she now sleeps through the night (knock on wood) with no accidents. She can dress herself most days. She can write her name and Julia's name although she has regressed into the usual backward J that seems to plague many kids. She is getting into Barbies and it is a real insight into what she is learning when I hear the Barbies talk to each other.

The girls love to sword fight with Loran, chase the dogs, color with markers, and take turns praying at meal times. They play well together, especially when they are pretending to clean something. Last night it was sweeping the deck before we sat outside and enjoyed some warmer weather and the yard free of snow.

I bought the girls a wagon so that we could walk to the park. The double stroller still works but just isn't right for them anymore. Yesterday we took a walk and I tied the dogs to the handle. It worked good going up the hill but after that they pulled so hard I thought the girls would fall out of the wagon!

I have off this week for Spring Break but it hasn't been much of a break yet. There is grading to catch up on and articles to write. I am doing weight watchers again (first 5% gone) and I am amazed at the foods that I have been willing to try this time around. As long as I don't get sick I should do fine. That is what tripped me up the last two times I started to lose weight. Well, that and Lillian. I am also trying REALLY hard to make time for walking on the treadmill every day. If I can do other activity besides the treadmill that is just bonus. I really want to work on my elephant latch-hook that I have had since Oklahoma and worked on after Ankica was born for a little while. Of course, I have a zillion projects that just want doing. Lots of good intentions but a constant realignment of priorities and suddenly those projects just aren't important any longer.

I am hoping to have a nice vegetable garden this year. My office neighbor is an ornamental horticulturist and I am hoping to have her over to give me some pointers. We shall see :-)

We are shopping for a grill and a new patio table. I don't miss being able to grill and eat outside for Easter but I do miss the greater opportunity to grill and eat outdoors in general. Of course, there were plenty of days that we grilled and then came inside because it was too hot :-) That won't happen much here, I don't think.

The only TV show we manage to watch is Lost and that isn't until after it actually airs. I want to watch the Big Bang Theory because the clips Jawan posts look hilarious. Our pastor recommends Fringe but we just don't have the time. I even missed most of this season of Heroes which just isn't like me! Let's not even talk about NCAA basketball. That used to be one of the ONLY things I did during the winter/early spring. Now all I know is that Wisconsin was ranked in the top 25 a few weeks ago.

I think about where another baby would fit into this chaos and wonder if the smart thing to do would be to make sure we don't have another. But then again, I don't feel like we are complete as a family yet. We are leaving that to chance (and God) for now.

The house is rented but the rent money hasn't exactly been flowing in yet. There are some issues.

We are still paying for 100% of Julia's travel expenses but have set things in motion that will very likely change that. I fear it could get ugly.

Loran's dad has been in the hospital for the past couple of days. A problem with his ability to process potassium. He seems to be doing well, but he is almost 78 and diabetic. Any time in the hospital is worrisome. We have planned a trip to Virginia at the end of May but I know it is hard on Loran to not be there for his parents and we wonder about the inevitable "when"...

The girls are down for a nap (one of the best things to come from the move...they both nap very well now!) and I am off in search of my shoes for the treadmill.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ankica's tendency

Ankica has a tendency to become friends with girls who have mean streaks. There's B*** at school. There's M**** at church. And there's Lillian at home. (Oh yes, she's a meanie sometimes!)

I don't know if Ankica will be a lot like me but she seems to have some more sensitive leanings like me. So I worry that she will get her feelings hurt by other kids. I am always hoping that she will avoid the girls (and boys) that say mean things for no reason. She always seems to find them. And in church on Sunday, I went to pick her up and she was sitting across from M**** because they wouldn't get along. Ankica didn't cry when the other child was mean. She just wouldn't say she was sorry when asked to.

Turns out she has some of me AND some of her daddy. And the words "hurt feelings" don't really apply to her daddy. So while Lillian might have too much of Loran in her...Ankica might have the best of both worlds.

If she could just pick better friends!

Blog hopping like I tend to do at 3pm on a Tuesday

And this is something I found:

It is a waste of time and energy to worry about what others are thinking about you. because... You can never know exactly what another person is thinking...AND, the wost part is...they are usually not thinking about you at all. They are too busy worrying about what others are thinking about them. So, the truth is, all those terrible thoughts you thought they might be thinking about you, are your own thoughts about yourself. Better spend your energy worrying about that...or, you just might convince somebody to think what you were afraid they might be thinking after all. ~Portia Nelson

I worry about what people think of me. Not as much as I used to, but still I do. And my competitive nature is rearing its ugly head at work. I took this job because of the freedom (yes, freedom). I don't HAVE to do research but if the chance arises I could. I don't HAVE to be involved in every club and committee that comes my way, but if I like the ladder it might take me up, I will get involved. I want my RST file to look AMAZING but I took this job because I knew darn well that they won't fire me if I don't have a perfect file. I don't have to keep up with the guys who have their wives to take care of the house and the kids or the ladies that don't have kids or the people who have been here forever. I just have to be me, do my best with what time I have, and concentrate on making my works hours count more so that my home hours count more.

And another thing I realized? I was a lazy SAHM. The girls didn't eat as well as they should have and they watched too much T.V. They didn't exercise enough. They eat better now and exercise more. Side benefit is that they are picking up some cool skills. My babies might just be better off in certain ways by being at the UWPCC.

I still miss it though.

Did I mention next week is Spring Break?! And those students of mine think they are excited?!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How do I know that teaching is right for me?

When I can't seem to get myself motivated to put my lecture together and I have a massive headache and I want so badly just to cancel class.

Then I get to class, have students chat with me about fun things in their lives, I teach the lecture, and I walk out the door feeling better. No more headache and I am glad I didn't cancel class.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching that class.

Did you know that over 7.2 liters of blood goes through a cow's udder every minute? :-)