Back in the swing of things?

Well, I had hoped to start this year off right and stay on top of posting on my blog. I hardly ever make New Year’s Resolutions as I know they will be soon broken or forgotten. And so it seems it is the same with my “goal” of posting again regularly on my blog. (My last post was Jan 7 – in case you haven’t been keeping track.)

Let me give you a quick round up of things that have kept me busy instead of blogging…

1.) Writing – I have been working a little more on my latest novel. Here is another area that I feel I need to spend more time working on my WIP. It has been slow going and even with no PTA/School taking up my time at the end of December, I haven’t been consistently writing – and I am so close to being done with this draft!

2.) My job – I do work part-time for my husband’s law firm. Over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday I did work on his personnel policy – all 37 pages of it as well as a budget for the new year. We are also decorating a new conference room – which means lots of ordering of items.

3.) The Kids – Of course the new school semester started up for the kids on January 4th. There is driving them to/from school and tennis practice, following up with homework and helping them select their courses for next year. And there is taking Jase driving – it is only 4 months until he gets his liscense.

4.) My mom – She was in the hospital for 10 days at the beginning of the year. No, it wasn’t COVID. She had some swelling in her brain. I went over to visit her three times to give my dad a break (he was there almost all day). I’m thankful that she was allowed visitors as I know in parts of the country, some hospitals allow no visitors at all. She is now in a short-term care facility as she does physical therapy and prepares to return home. But they have stricter visitation standards so I do my checking in over the phone.

5.) PTA – How could I not mention this one? (Especially since I am on 3 differnt boards.) There have been board meetings and general meetings, training sessions, a newsletter, many, many emails, and preparing the agenda and for voting at next board meeting (which I’m incharge of leading). There is a chance some of these PTAs are going to have a “do over” year. Since we can’t volunteer on campus, Texas PTA is letting board members keep their same positions next year. That means I could be President for a third year. (Typically you can’t hold any position for more than 2 year in a row.)

So, I have been busy and as always, I put the blog lower on the rung of things I need to do. Heck, even book club has been higher lately. (We are reading The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian.) But I am vowing to do better. I know I can. I know I can find the time to get back to posting three times a week. Still not a New Year’s resolution. I may not even call it a goal. I’m just going to do it.

My Top 10 Parenting Posts

A new year has begun, and it is time for my annual post of my top 10 parenting posts from the previous year. Now as many of you know even though Monday is for parenting posts, I often post on other topics on this day too. And what a crazy year this has been. And since COVID-19 is all over the news, I decided to try and pick posts that were not about the pandemic.

So here are my top 10 posts in no apparant order…

The challenges of eating out with picky eaters

This summer, I encouraged the kids to try some new foods. They are both picky eaters in their own way. And being non-adventurous eaters, they are usually hesitant to try new things. While this summer’s experiment went well, I now need to expand the items they will eat when we dine out. (To keep reading, click here.)

Hosting a Stress and Anxiety in Adolescence Seminar

Twice a year, our middle school parent-teacher association (PTA) hosts seminars to educate parents on student related issues. In October, we brought in several police officers to talk about drugs. In February, we decided to cover Stress and Anxiety in Adolescence. (To keep reading, click here.)

Celebrating Star Wars Day

Today is May 4th – better known as Star Wars Day. For those of you who are not Star Wars fans, May the Fourth sounds a lot like May the Force – as in “May the Force be with you” or as fans say today “May the Fourth be with you.” (To keep reading, click here.)

The kids are growing up

I know. It should seem obvious. Kids do grow up. But sometimes you just look over at your child and are startled at how much they have changed. (To find out more – about my 15 year old and 12 year old, click here.)

Planning a trip to Disney World…during a pandemic

For over a year, we have been planning a Disney World vacation. Last Fall, we settled on going over Thanksgiving…in 2020. Yeah, who would have guessed we would be in the midst of a pandemic? (To keep reading, click here.)

Disney during a pandemic

Over the Thanksgiving break (Nov 21 to Nov 28), our family went to Disney World. Yes, as COVID-19 cases rose, we took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida. It was a fun trip – and one which felt safe. Disney has taken a lot of precautions, and they are serious about enforcing them.  (To keep reading, click here.)

Oh my! We have a new driver in the house

It is a mix of feelings when you first born reaches the age where he (or she) can learn to drive. I’m excited for him to move onto this new area, but at the same time, I have trepidation about him driving out there with all those other crazy drivers. (To keep reading, click here.)

Shark teeth and having the dentist pull baby teeth

If there was a contest to see who could have the most baby teeth pulled by a dentist, I think my son is winning. I’ve lost count how many teeth he has had pulled but I feel safe to say that 14 of his 20 baby teeth have come out at the dentist office. One of them during a cleaning but the rest we had her pull. (To keep reading and learn about shark teeth, click here.)

Students can and will wear face masks

Back in August when our school district began considering having in-person school, many people wondered if they would be able to get the students to wear masks all day. Would the kindergartners be able to keep their masks on? Would teens think they didn’t need them and keep taking them off? Would teachers spend most of their time telling students to put back on or to stop messing with their masks? (To keep reading, click here.)

Talking about racism, protests, and rioting

With stories all over the news, internet and social media, it is no wonder my son heard about George Floyd, the African American man who died due to police brutality. There is no excuse for the police officers’ actions. And Floyd’s death has sparked outrage and protests. (To keep reading, please click here.)

Starting the new year with change – redoing our bedroom

The bedroom set that we will end 2020 with is probably 20 years old by now. Yes, it has lasted a long time and while I love it, I think it is time for a change.

When my husband was right out of law school and working for his first law firm, we bought this oak bedroom set – a King-size mirrored headboard, two large cabinet nightstands, a 9 drawer dresser with mirror and a six drawer dresser. It probably was the largest purchase we had ever done.

The set we bought 20 years ago replaced a waterbed and the large headboard and attached nightstand/cabinets made shopping for our first house a challenge as we needed to find a master bedroom with 11 feet of uninterrupted wall space. I am sure our realtor thought we were crazy. But we found our first house and then later a rental house in San Antonio when we moved that could fit the bedroom set. And when we built our current house, we planned for this set as well.

But now it is time to say goodbye to this set and start 2021 with a new bedroom set. Well actually the new one won’t be delivered until Jan 12.

What started the idea of redoing our bedroom set is my husband and I decided we are old. Our eyesight isn’t what it used to be and we are now having trouble seeing some of the words on our 32 inch TV. We wanted to get a bigger TV which meant get rid of the armoire and a bookcase to make room. But this means we would be losing some storage space so I began looking at storage cabinet that would go under the TV we planned to mount on the wall. (The other TV had been in the amoire.)

Somehow it went from buying a 65″ TV and a cabinet to us just replacing all the furniture in hopes that everything – or most everything – would match. I found a few bedroom sets I liked online and we narrowed it down to the one we liked best. The day after Christmas we went to check it out and purchased it. Now it will be here in 2 weeks. The cabinet I ordered will be here in 3 weeks. And the TV – well it will be here today. We have convinced my brother to come help us move some furniture and hang the TV this evening. (Bet he is regretting telling me he was free this evening.)

Hopefully, we will like the new set and that it will last us a good long time. It sure will be a change when we walk into the room. I think not having the mirrors on the headboard will be the biggest thing to get used to. I’ll post pictures of the “new” room after everything is here.

Students can and will wear face masks

Back in August when our school district began considering having in-person school, many people wondered if they would be able to get the students to wear masks all day. Would the kindergartners be able to keep their masks on? Would teens think they didn’t need them and keep taking them off? Would teachers spend most of their time telling students to put back on or to stop messing with their masks?

When students started going back to school in the middle of September, these concerns seemed baseless as it seems students are able to keep their masks on and somewhat consistently follow the social distancing guidelines.

Last week, I saw on a social media site a parent complaining about high school students standing outside of a restaurant before school. They were not social distanced or wearing masks. This parent thought it was bad form for the parents to not stress to their children the importance of these important precautions to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

But I think this is more an isolated incident. I pick my high schooler up every day from school. To do so, I park in the student parking lot and wait for him. I see lots of high schoolers walking to their car (or to other parents waiting). And you know what, 98% of them are wearing masks as they walk to their cars. It impresses me as I don’t even do that. Once I leave a store, my mask is off. (I rarely wear a mask while outside and socially distant from others.)

And if I was walking to school as my middle schooler does, I probably wouldn’t be wearing my mask until I reached the school grounds. But the few times I have driven her to school, I see students walking to school with their masks on. Even my daughter wears her mask as she walks to or from school.

Now I don’t have a child in the elementary school so I have not seen how well they are or are not handling it but from what I can see at my kids’ schools, the mask wearing is not an issue. The socially distancing part is a different matter. I know in the classrooms and at lunch, the students are keeping apart, but at school dismissal and when they change classrooms, I know they aren’t keeping 6 feet apart.

Overall our school district is doing a good job of keeping our students safe. The positivity rate for the school has been 1-2% while the positivitiy rate in our city is significantly higher (12% last week). The school does contact tracing and the positive cases have all been traced back to off campus activities. Just look at social media and I bet you can guess where these transmissions occur. There are tons of posts of people gathering – and few if any are wearing masks. It seems the schools are doing a better job of preventing the spread of COVID than the parents and other adults are.

The kids are growing up

I know. It should seem obvious. Kids do grow up. But sometimes you just look over at your child and are startled at how much they have changed.

With Jase, who currently is 15, we have seen many changes in the past year or so. His voice has gotten deeper and occassinally there is a line of fuzz on his upper lip. And while he has grown taller and if you look at past photos you can tell changes in his face as he grows older – and no I am not talking about the pimples that come with being a teenager. Gone are the chubby cheeks and innocent look of childhood.

The changes are even more evident in Jase’s 12-year-old sister, Lexie. Now she isn’t obssessing about her looks or boys – yet. But, her body is definitely changing. She has started developing breasts, growing pubic hair and even started having her period. As someone who was more of a late-bloomer, this all feels early to me. I mean, I was in high school before a lot of this stuff happened. And I was much more introverted about these changes. I probably spoke to my mom about them but few others, if anyone.

Lexie on the other hand texted her best friend when she started her first period. Her friend started really early at age 8 so she is no stranger to this. And while telling her bestie was no surprise, she did tell some other girls at school. I don’t think I would have done that.

It’s Lexie’s physical changes that sometimes surprise me the most. I am just not use to seeing her curves espeically when she always wears her clothes more loose than I wear mine. She is now just a half inch away from my height and can shop in both the junior (teen) or adult section (and technically, the children’s section too). But while our body sizes are getting closer to the same, Lexie will pick medium shirts while I am picking smalls. I guess I should be glad she doesn’t want to wear tight clothes. The time may come just like the time will come when makeup and having her hair just so might consume her time.

It is interesting to see the changes or at least be surprise when I step back and take the time to notice these changes. And it will be interesting yet to watch the other changes that will continue as they continue on to adulthood.