Friday, March 15, 2013

Recap of the 3/14 School Board Meeting

While the meeting was lengthy, the issue that parents may want to know most about is that the last day of school, June 7th, will remain a half day. IF we have more snow days, I am praying we do not, then we will have to revisit.

Another item on the agenda was the school visitor policy. The division has proposed a modest change by adding the bolded words to the policy:

"Visitors are welcome in the schools as long as their presence is not disruptive. Upon arriving at a on school grounds during normal school operating hours, all visitors must report to the administrative office."



We had an interesting discussion, I welcome feedback from the public about this change. The discussion centered on the high school. The change would require anyone using the playground/track or walking through any of the grounds of our schools to stop and get a visitors pass at the office.

I tend to agree with the policy at the elementary schools, especially in the case of folks using the playgrounds while students are at recess. However, I have some concerns as it relates to CHS. CHS is sprawling and surrounded by lovely trails, a park and a neighborhood. The easiest way to get to the park from the neighborhood is to go through the grounds of CHS. Under this policy change, during school hours only, a passerby should let the office know that he/she is walking through (perhaps with his/her dog). I am not sure this is the best use of our staff's time. I would love to hear what you think about the potential change.

We also discussed summer school enrichment funding at length. The 2013-14 budget reduced the summer school budget by $20,000. To make up some of that difference, the division recommended charging an additional $30 for an orchestra camp to prepare rising 5th graders for orchestra. The class costs $25 for instrument rental if the student does not have one of his/her own. The discussion was interesting and led to a 3-3 tie since one of board members was away with an ailing family member tonight. In the event of a tie, the policy is to pass it by until the next meeting. Unfortunately, time was of the essence. Happily, I hope, a resolution came to pass when another funding source was suggested for the relatively modest cost of the camp ($3200). I had a lot to say about the fee at the meeting, so I wont go into it more here.

We had other discussions. Feel free to contact me if you have comments or questions. 

PS- minor editing changes made to this post in the light of day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miscellaneous items

I attended Wes Bellamy's campaign announcement yesterday at Tonsler Park. I really appreciate Wes' energy and enthusiasm; the assembled were just as enthusiastic, I loved it. Of course, Ryan and I spent most of the announcement wandering the new playground at Tonsler. If you havent had a chance to visit Tonsler, you should, it is a great new playground. Ryan loved it.

Baseball practice started this week. Chris is coaching and practice time is from 5:15-6:45- prime dinner and homework time. This is an adjustment. We purposely decided to limit our winter activities, so this transition has been a little rough for mommy. I like to have dinner together as many nights as possible and now we are down two nights a week. If I have school board (like this week), then we are down three nights a week, then if Chris has a meeting, or there is a church thing, we are just out of luck. We will adjust, but this week being the first week has thrown me for a loop.

Baseball starts back soon, but if you have a chance, go see a UVA or high school baseball or softball game. The games are far cheaper and very exciting.

I am super excited about the new Pope. I suppose I have been carried away by the media coverage of the event. I appreciate as an example for me a Jesuit whose commitment to humility and the poor has been so obvious. I also appreciate that he speaks Spanish and is from Argentina.  I went to Argentina in the nineties. I was able to help out at a Catholic Charities in Buenos Aires and had the opportunity to speak to a priest who gave me a Spanish language Bible, a Bible I still have. I treasure the experience.  I know people have a lot of views, this is just mine.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just Write

I find I have far less time to write, clean etc. than I thought I would when I stopped working. I used to respond to emails immediately, but now it can take me days to reply, especially if I need to consult my calendar before responding.

I am reminded of the time I was pregnant with David and thought I would have time/inclination to garden during the time I had off from work after he was born. Um, no. Gardening didnt quite happen, and looking back, David was the easiest newborn.

I know some mothers do have the inclination and time. I have learned that too. My experience is my own. I learned that when I had a two year old and a one year old and we just moved back to Charlottesville. My poor friend who was pregnant with her first baby did not want to hear about the challenges of motherhood. I really felt like no one had ever told me the real deal about motherhood, and I didnt want to gloss over the hard parts for my friend.  It is hard to decide whether a person wants to hear the real deal (knowing that motherhood is hard doesnt mean it's not awesome at the same time) or just listen and nod at the naivety. 

Ryan and I are having a lot of fun. I am so grateful to have this time with him. I love that I am able to understand and translate for him, I could not do that if I was working.  And by not having time to write and clean as I thought I would does not mean I am complaining about it. I am merely adjusting my idea of productivity (which has been defined by the working world) to kid ideas of productivity (playing, laundry, eating, etc.).  It is a much more relaxing pace and I am learning to be relaxed about it.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Snow days

I am so grateful the children are back in school today in the City. I understand many of our surrounding counties have delays or are closed- I am so sorry to those caregivers. David and Andrew are great kids and they were awesome the past two days. No real fighting, not too much whining, in general they were good and not a problem, even occassionally playing with their little brother.

The thing is they want to go outside and play. Do you know how much work that is? David doesnt have snow boots (the oldest one no longer fits into any boots we have and who buys snow boots for the kids every year when we get one snowstorm a year-maybe? OK fine I will get him a pair next year). David also doesnt have snow pants that fit (same rationale- it barely snows here). David is a creative one though, he wore two pairs of pants and multiple pairs of socks with his little Keen shoes that are no longer water proof. He was the only one who didnt cry upon returning home.

Ryan wont wear water proof mittens and only wore his heavy jacket once, so his toes and fingers froze. Andrew wore everything we gave him but his toes froze. There were tears from those two as they defrosted from the cold.  These two both had boots and snow pants (hand me downs).


the one photo w/ all three of them
 I am ready for Spring, did I mention that yet? Even as I hear the wind outside, we are expecting gusts up to 30MPH today, I want to hunker down, make brownies, watch Netflix and get under a lot of blankets. I am ready to have energy, to get some sun on my face, clean the house, and go to the many parks in our town.  With Daylight Savings Time happening this weekend, hope exists that Spring is coming.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Campaign Announcement Season- Democratic Candidates

For the third Tuesday in a row, I will be attending a campaign announcement. Today, I am happy to attend James Brown's announcement. He is seeking reelection to the office of Sheriff. So far he is running unopposed for the seat, it is early in the season. Sheriff Brown has done a great job in his first term as Sheriff.

Last Tuesday, I attended Todd Diver's announcement. Todd is running for Commissioner of the Revenue. Lee Richards is retiring after twenty years as Commissioner. Todd is running in the primary for the Democratic nomination. The primary is June 11, 2013.

The week before I attended Jonathan Stevens announcement. Jonathan is also running for the Democratic nomination for Commissioner of the Revenue. I encourage everyone to learn more about the two candidates and VOTE in the primary on June 11, 2013.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Jason Vandever's announcement.  He has been the acting Treasurer since Jennifer Brown retired early due to health concerns.  The ELECTION for Treasurer is on APRIL 2, 2013. (Absentee balloting is already under way if you will be out of town- it is Spring Break for Charlottesville Schools). I am proud to support Jason in his run for Treasurer. Please vote for Jason on April 2!

I also missed Kristen Szakos announcement for City Council.  She is running for reelection for City Council. She is seeking the Democratic nomination. The primary is June 11th.

Finally, on Monday, March 11, Dave Chapman will announce he is seeking reelection to the office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.  Dave has been a strong and steady Commonwealth's Attorney. I am proud to support Dave for the Democratic nomination. While I personally like his opponent in the primary, I think the office needs Dave's continued leadership. The primary is June 11th.

I suspect March will see more announcements- including more candidates for the Democratic nomination for City Council.

IMPORTANT DATES for 2013:
APRIL 2- Special Election for Treasurer (vote Jason Vandever)
June 11- statewide and local primary
November 5- ELECTION DAY

Monday, March 04, 2013

On the brink of a snowstorm


We have enough provisions to last the rest of the winter. I was at the checkout counter of the store yesterday and nabbed some batteries. My thinking is that I could not imagine running out of batteries for the Wii remotes if we were snowed in by Wednesday's storm.

I am excited at the prospect of snow. However, I am ready for spring and summer, to remind me of such things, I post these fun photos.


Sandbridge Beach, Virginia 2012




Carter's Mountain 2012


Friday, March 01, 2013

First in a long line of apologies

Dear Neighbor Mom,
Remember that time? Ryan was so little, David and Andrew were much younger than they are now (6 and 7, rather than 8 and 9). You have three children. Your youngest is about three years older than Ryan and your older kids are about the same age as David and Andrew.

All of the children are playing near a street, so I was keeping a careful eye out. I am not one to just let my kids run the streets, well back then anyway, now it is fine, David is almost ten.

Anyway, your youngest started pretend shooting at my baby. I was horrified, honestly. I advised gently that we dont pretend to shoot at other people, or something like that. He didnt really listen, but he moved on. I told you about my gentle admonishment to be open about it. You said something like "oh I gave up on that a long time ago." I shrugged and moved on. I did silently think that it was not ok to have the child pretend to be shooting at other children but recognized that the child was only three and he had older siblings.

Now I have a two year old, the youngest of three. His brothers have been playing Harry Potter since they were old enough to. One of the fun aspects of HP is to throw spells using "wands" and of course Ryan is fascinated by it. One of his first exclamations was "Expelliarmus" Ryan now walks around pointing his finger or his wand saying "pew pew pew." It is now my child pretend "shooting" his mommy or brothers or the ball or the TV.

And it is a battle that I gave up trying to fight. And I feel like it is ok, because your third child has grown into a lovely kindergartner. Thanks for the perspective fellow momma, I am sorry for being so judgy. Having three children is one big lesson on judgment, I am learning it well.

Respect,

Jennifer