ciroccoj: (books)
  • Our tomatoes grew very well this year, though not as abundantly as previous summers. We also now have a plethora of green tomatoes. As we've done every few years, we made fried green tomatoes with milk gravy (recipe courtesy of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe). This year there were two differences in the tradition: (1) we also made cornbread and creamed corn (also from the book) and (2) the boys loved it. Fully expecting them to turn their noses up at it, I hadn't made enough for everyone to have seconds. Boo.

    OTOH, we still have a lot of green tomatoes. Think we'll try some of the other recipes next week. Okra and hominy grits, anyone?

  • I am reading Justin Fried Green Tomatoes. He loves it. Am pleased.

  • Yesterday's "OMG how can we get rid of Justin's lethal hot peppers" meal was Turkey Chilli, a huge success. We omitted the paprika and chilli sauce. Still scorching.

  • Today's was Craig's Mystic Wings. Another huge success, though we used only 1/4 of the chilies the recipe called for. We'll be making it again, absolutely.

  • Black belt physical this Saturday. I can't wait for it to be over. I know I won't pass, and won't be able to do the test itself next Saturday, but I just want it over with, and I want Justin to not have to worry about it any more. And I want home schooling to not involve massive memorization of patterns and kicks and definitions and lists and all that fun stuff.

  • I'm not just saying I don't think I'll pass the physical out of false modesty. I can do all the skipping, 250 pushups, 250 situps, etc etc, but the 3.2K has defeated me. Justin shaved enough time off his 3.2 to make it. I shaved off almost three minutes. It just wasn't enough. Boo.

    Oh well. By the time I do the test with Chris next May I'm sure I'll succeed. I just wish I hadn't trained five times a week for the last four weeks only to fail anyway :(

  • Turns out it isn't my imagination: Daniel has been feeling a lot better about school recently. He says so too. He's settled into a groove, I think, which is good, because the Land of Stress he was inhabiting didn't look very pleasant. We'd been warned, and we'd expected it, but it was still not fun for any of us to deal with. Happily, armed with his psycho-educational assessment, I had a very productive meeting with his guidance counsellors and ::crossing fingers:: he's got stuff in place to help him deal with the adjustment to high school/IB.

    Supposedly in November progress reports come out and half the IB kids freak right out. We'll see how he does.

  • Daniel and I are both reading The Hunger Games. Both thinking, "So that's what everyone was talking about when they said it was like the best YA books ever."

    Wow. Just. Wow.

  • I'm finally reading Land of Painted Caves. I'm wondering if I actually managed to lower my expectations to the point where no book could possibly fall lower. Then I remember all the bad, bad, baaaad fic I've read and am not so sure. Could it be that the book isn't as bad as everyone said it was?

    Of course, I'm only 30 pages in. Reserving judgement.
ciroccoj: (limitations)
It feels like lately I do nothing but gush about how incredibly amazing my kids are. I dunno if they're both at particularly good stages, or I'm at a particularly good stage, or I'm not home enough to be annoyed by them, or what. Whatever the cause, I'm not complaining!

Not everything is sunshine and roses, though. Below are some updates from school, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and the last bit is... ugly :(

  • The Good

    • Report cards happened, and there was much joy in the land. Gushing praise and very high grades for Daniel from his teachers, sincere affection and praise and good grades for Justin - other than for things which required spelling and/or fine motor skills. A totally awesome B in French, a subject I'd finally had to abandon with him because in three years I had not even been able to get him to remember that "porte" meant "door."

    • Daniel got his report card before Justin, and Chris and I just sort of glanced at it and said, "Well done!" and left it at that. Later, while Justin was busy doing something else, I pulled Daniel aside and said something like, "I hope you don't think Daddy and I don't care about your grades, because we do. We're incredibly proud of you. The only reason we're not making a fuss is that Justin doesn't have his report card yet, and we don't know how well he's done. We don't want him to feel bad if we're gushing all over the place for you, and then tomorrow he thinks we're not as proud of him in case he gets lower marks. Or if we gush and he thinks it's not genuine, because his marks aren't as high as yours."

      "Oh, OK, sounds good," he said. "I don't mind."

      Gave him a big hug. Told him he was MADE of AWESOME. And although I was proud of his marks, his Big Brotherness made me even prouder.

    • Daniel has started a D & D group at his school, with him as DM. It appears to be going well, so far.

    • Justin went to a Valentine's dance at his school last week, because a girl asked him to.

      No, puberty has nothing to do with it. She's in grade three, and she was being bullied at the beginning of school. Justin stepped in and asked the kids who were being mean to her why they were behaving the way they were, they said she was stupid and had no friends anyway.

      "I'm her friend," he said, which was great for her, because for the next little while she had a friend, who was huge, protecting her from the bullies, and she ended up making other friends in her grade. Wasn't great for Justin, as the bullies next turned on him. More on that later :(

    • Justin's having fun and doing great at the learning part of school. A lot of the subject material is stuff he had already learned, but he's not bored. He's taking the opportunity to practice reading, hand writing, and spelling. "Wish I had a lot more like him," says his teacher.

  • The Bad

    Daniel got a bloody nose and split lip. Kid tried to shove him off a snow hill, then punched him, then ran away. Both kids were brought in to the principal's office, the other kid apologized and was suspended for a day, calls to both sets of parents, We Take This Seriously made clear to all parties concerned. Daniel took it in stride - one thing you learn at TKD is how to take a hit without much trauma - and was in no way blamed for what happened. IMHO the school did exactly what they should.

    It's not a major event. Boys will be boys Kids will be kids.

    Can't help noticing, though, that he never had to deal with a bloody nose and split lip while he was home schooled :/

  • The Ugly

    Justin's social situation is... not so good. He has a few friends in lower grades, and some friendly acquaintances but no real friends in his class. And a group of about six or seven kids actively bully him. Nothing physical (they're not stupid; Justin could probably snap them like toothpicks) but lots and lots of really crappy emotional stuff.

    I've compiled a list of what we apparently neglected to teach him, in four years at home, that these kids are graciously letting him in on:

    1. "Weird" and "different" are bad words.

    2. So is "gay".

    3. "Fag" means "gay," except more focused; you can be gay and just be lame and stupid, but fag means you are a homosexual, and therefore gross and icky.

    4. Playing with kids from other grades is just totally weird.

    5. Who but an loser actually wants to listen to teachers?

    6. Loudness is only OK if you're popular.

    7. Four-letter words are our friends. Unless you're a loser.

    8. "Fat", "ugly," "stupid," and "four-eyed" refers to him.

    We have talked to his teachers, who are aware of what's going on and are doing what they can. Unfortunately, what they can do is somewhat limited. There are only so many times they can talk to the class - and to the particular individuals responsible for this - about bullying, and if there is no one really serious incident, there's not much else they can do.

    In the meantime, Justin has been getting more frequent and severe headaches and migraines than ever before. No, there's no direct link; Justin has had bad headaches and migraines since he was very little, and they have about a dozen triggers: hunger, fatigue, too much excitement, crying, tension, the sun coming up... you name it. But they have increased noticeably since he's been at school.

    No, this is not acceptable.

    Nothing against the school, they're doing their best, but their best isn't good enough. Justin will not be finishing the year at that school. I realize many people would say that he just needs to grow a thicker skin, or that if we pull him out we're just teaching him that it's OK to be a quitter, or that he'll learn that the way to deal with bullies is to run away from them, or whatever. Personally I think that dealing with this kind of crap for eight months is probably enough thick-skin-growing. He doesn't let them make him cry, or stop acting interested in learning, or stop playing with the littler kids. He doesn't let them stop him from having fun at school. He doesn't give them any satisfaction whatsoever. But he has done his best in a miserable environment, and enough is enough.

    ...aand it's hard to type this up without getting angry and upset, so I'll leave it there.

Damn, this started out as a mostly positive post. Oops. Let's see if I can leave on a high note...

I know!
ciroccoj: (family)
Some day I'll have to go back and read my previous TWTYTWs.

Some day I'll also have to update my "family" icon; the kids are rather larger now, and Daniel is not looking so round-faced any more.

01. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Got an articling position!

02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I refuse to look to see if I made any resolutions last year, on the grounds that it may incriminate me. ::firm nod::

03. Did someone close to you give birth?
Two online friends had three babies between them, and one online friend adopted.

04. Did anyone close to you die?
A dear friend of mine lost her brother.

05. What countries did you visit?
None, I think.

06. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More money!

07. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Actually, 10-10-10, because it's a great date and because two friends of mine picked that date to get married :) :)

08. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Getting a job :)

09. What was your biggest failure(s)?
Failing to get a job that paid money :(

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Don't think so...

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Girl clothing!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The boys and Chris, for how brilliantly they adapted to life with me working. And the boys for how they adapted to school.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
::thinking:: Can't think of anybody off the top of my head. And, considering I work with (alleged) criminals, that's kinda cool :)

14. Where did most of your money go?
As always, to the kids.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting a job!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2010?
Eight Miles Wide. Mostly because it's so wildly inappropriate to just about anywhere but your own computer screen that every time I found myself humming it I had to remember not to sing it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?
Hard to tell
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter ::sigh::
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spent more time outdoors with the kids.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spent time off the computer. Ironic, considering where I'm typing this :/

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, only Chris and the kids at home, having pies and cranberries and stuffing and duck instead of turkey :)

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
As a married person, this question makes me smile every year :) :) :)

22. How many one-night stands?
And this one makes me snicker ;)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Star Trek(s) or Torchwood. Or possibly Mythbusters, because the boys adore it.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope. Same person.

26. What was the best book you read?
Huh. I have absolutely no clue.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Can't think of any.

28. What did you want and get?
A job!

29. What did you want and not get?
A salary!

30. Favorite film of this year?
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt 1. Not that I thought it was the best thing ever filmed, but it was the best movie I saw all year.

Actually, no, scratch that! Much as I liked HPDH1, Toy Story 3 touched me right to the core.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
40! Spent the day itself with the kids, then celebrated a week later at the Lone Star with 20 other folks :D :D :D

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Immeasurably? Nothing. Probably $ would've made it more pleasant, but then again, seeing what my fellow articling students have to do for their salaries, I would not trade my articling experience for theirs for any money.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
"Oh God - you mean I have to dress like a GIRL?!"

34. What kept you sane?
Chris and the kids. The job also helped :)

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I hate this question. I think I'll start answering it with fictional folks. Which would be... Ianto Jones? Yeah, Ianto Jones. Except he's a bit eye-candyish... but then again he's also got a bit of a brain in there... then again he's also sorta totally taken...

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Damn, I can actually not remember anything. Isn't that awful?

37. Who did you miss?
My mom. My kids, while I was at work :(

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Everyone at my office :)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Let me hear you yell like you mean it!"

Though that doesn't sum up the year; it's just what Justin happened to be singing while I was filling this out. Kid loves Ozzie, and his new iPod :D :D :D


Aug. 24th, 2010 10:23 pm
ciroccoj: (family)
  1. Survived (and thrived!) 7-hour drive to Stratford with three kids.

  2. Indian River Reptile Zoo was having feeding time when we stopped there; all three five kids fascinated.

  3. B&B gorgeous.

  4. Saw Two Gentlemen of Verona; wandered about Stratford; realized I've been there at least six times. Last time was fourteen years ago, so no wonder I'd forgotten a lot.

  5. Pedalo/canoes, wandering, Peter Pan, and As You Like It all on the menu for tomorrow.

  6. Going to bed now.
ciroccoj: (Default)
Today Daniel got up, got dressed, made his breakfast and lunch, checked to make sure he had everything he needed, and set off for Leaders in Training camp. After a full day learning how to be a camp counsellor and how to deal with little kids and program activities and plan for emergencies, he will pack up and come home. I have had no role to play in the entire process. Other than the last thirteen years of getting him to this point.

14 Years

Jun. 15th, 2010 11:07 am
ciroccoj: (family)
And hey, we're doing a lot better than whichever member of Guns N Roses wrote this romantic little ditty. Profanity alert on that one, btw. It is Guns'N'Roses, after all.

Chris is home and we're going to celebrate our marriedness with lunch at a granola restaurant. Not that they serve meals made entirely of granola! They're just local/seasonal/organic & stuff. Can't wait.

Just realized I started a post about the tournament, and never finished it. Summary: Justin got bronze in sparring, Daniel got silver in sparring and bronze in patterns, I got silver in sparring and bronze in patterns, and Chris got gold in sparring and bronze in patterns. Medals don't necessarily reflect awesomeness though; the kids were competing against 10-15 or so kids, Chris' age group had around eight guys, and mine had four for patterns and three for sparring, so the shiny metal is merely an award for not coming in dead last ;)

Difficult day, though. I think the quote goes something like, "To be a parent is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body." And although the day ended with both kids pretty happy overall, it contained some total heartbreak too.

OK, off to wake up Chris and start our day :)

For those who can't see Youtube )
ciroccoj: (family)
Overheard that at CanGames a few years ago - you hear the most interesting snippets of conversation/gaming walking through the place - but they could've been talking about Chris, this year :)

CanGames was a huge success all around. Justin had an awesome time in the kids' games yesterday, and won an award for best roleplaying, being annoying and obnoxious and grumpy but deep down a good guy. Just right for Squidward, from SpongeBob Squarepants, his character. Daniel did his first full CanGames, playing with the grown-ups (and successfully pretending to be one) and impressing the heck out of his fellow players, and winning awards too. Chris had a blast, also won lots of stuff. They all came home with much gaming/sci-fi booty. And I got lots of time to myself.

Well done, CanGames 2010!

November 2012

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