Punk Rock Parents

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Being "THAT" Mom

of course I took notes
The kids quarter reports card came in last week. Both girls did amazing. We are super proud of them. And us too because Louie is still homeschooled and we still deserve some credit there.

I sent my parents pictures of the report cards and my Mom texted out loud what I was thinking..

"How was Phi's lowest grade in Art?" 

I mean it's art, how do you lose points in art, it's all subjective right?

Plus Phi's loves art. The kid has a sketchbook and pencil in her hands almost 24/7.  I looked over her assignments and grades and the first thing I noticed was that the extra credit that she had turned in was not there. I also noticed a C on a assignment. I went my usual route and emailed the teacher to see why she got a C on a project and why her extra credit wasn't recorded. The teacher emailed back with a reason for the C (she didn't follow all the instructions) and apologized for not recording the extra credit.

I talked to Phi and a few of her friends about the class. They all agreed that it was not what they were expecting. They were expecting to make art. Like every class. I got reports from the kids of being put into groups for the 2 hours class with the teacher sitting at her desk on her computer the entire time. And all the kids agreed that it was just a boring class.  So earlier this week I sat in on Phi's class so that I could get the real deal.

The teacher is teaching the 7 elements of art. The day I went in the class was starting a lesson on color.  I sat there for the 1 hour and 50 minutes and took notes. Not notes for the teacher, but notes on what I wanted to say to Phi.

See the kids were right. The class was very boring. Teaching color with dull videos and worksheets for 90 minutes is probably the least colorful way to teach this lesson. As I sat there I came up with a lesson plan for a fun finger painting project that could have taught the exact same things but with some hand-on fun. Now I can sit here and think of all these fun ways to teach something, but I am not dealing with budgets, or the reality of teaching 18 kids and the clean up required for a messy project. The last 30 minutes of class were used for the kids to get into their mural project groups. The class is working on a design, budget and presentation to see if they can get the principal's approval to create a new mural on campus. Was I upset with the teacher? Nope. This teacher can teach any way she pleases. And as long as she is teaching something related to art than really what can I say.

This classroom observation lead me to have a discussion with Phi about reality versus expectations. She was expecting art class to be like an art studio. With easels and paints and art being created everyday. Her reality is a classroom with notes and videos and quizzes on what makes a primary color a primary color. She also needed to understand that sometimes you are going to get a class that was not what you were expecting or hoping for. Sometimes a teacher is going to have a teaching style that's just dull to you. This is going to happen all through life. Maybe a job or boss is not going to be what you were expecting. Phi needs to understand that she needs to still make the most of the situation. To still do her best and understand that the lessons that she is being taught can be applied to art. To her own personal art at home. She needs to know that just because the art lesson is not on something she is interested in doesn't mean that she should throw up her hands in frustration and turn in something sub-par.

I talked to Phi about how everything in life is not going to be catered to her interests or will be fun and exciting. Somethings in life will be things that are dull and frustrating. Balancing your checkbook or applying for a mortgage for instance.

Yes the class is a disappoint for her, especially after spending the last few years being homeschooled, were all the lessons were creative and fun and geared toward her interests. The school prides itself on being project based and getting away from the lecture and regurgitate information format and this class seems to do just that. I asked her if she wanted to be transferred to a different elective next semester and she is hoping to be able to get into ASB. Maybe she will try an art class again in high school. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dirt Road Diary: Giant Rock Was Calling Us And Didn't Want To Let Us Leave

Last week Louie stopped me in the kitchen and said "Mom, I need to go to Giant Rock". I was not shocked by this. I asked her if it had been calling her. She nodded and I told her that I had been feeling it calling me too. This place is a center of energy and vibrations of the world. It was considered a holy place and also a magnet for UFO's. So on Saturday we wanted to get a good outdoor adventure. The plan was to drive towards Joshua Tree, make a stop at Giant Rock and then head into Joshua Tree National Park, explore a little and settle in for some star gazing. 

Star gazing in Joshua Tree is on my bucket list. 

So we headed out late morning, we packed a small cooler with waters and snacks and hit the road. This was our first off-road adventure in "new-to-us" Landcruiser. We drove into Landers, Ca, passed the Integretron (a sound bath from there is also on my bucket list) and drove about 3 miles off road towards Giant Rock. 

The road is sand and smooth and I love when you take that last turn and Giant rock comes into view. 

This is the 3rd of 4th trip to Giant Rock. You can read more about it and why it's important on this blog post. Super interesting history.

Just a huge granite rock. The biggest in the world at 7 stories high.

When we got there Louie and I walked around a bit until we found the perfect spot to share it's energy. We were recharging. 

 The weather was perfect. Blue skies and 80 degree weather.

Louie took this picture for us. She's getting pretty good.

While we were there bikers kept driving in. It looked like there was going to be a raging party at Giant Rock.

Even big bad bikers pose their bikes and taking photos, no doubt for their Instagram page.

The girls are not always stoked when we tell them we are heading off-road. But when we get there they also have such  good time. Running through the desert.

A few more pictures of Giant Rock. Kids for scale. Yup the kids are in the picture!

We were so excited to take the "new-to-us" Landcruiser on a trip. We got ready to head out and drive to Joshua Tree. We got a few feet and the car just stopped. And wouldn't turn back on. A truck with 2 guys stopped and gave us a jump. The car started up and we started heading towards the road. We got a few feet and the car sputtered and shut down again. 

This people is my nightmare. Now you are never suppose to go off-road alone. But since this was just 3 miles off road we didn't think much of it. As Joey worked under the hood I tried not to panic. Of course inside I was freaking out. We had water and a few snacks but what if we were stuck there for hours. Was Joey going to have to walk to the Integretron for help and leave me and the kids alone in the desert? Who was the closest person who could come get us? What if we were there when it got dark? What if I have to pee?????

 Of course I was calm, cool and collected in front of the kids. We down played the issue and they even started to write a song about it....

Someone came and jumped started us
We drove 2 feet in front of us
And then we broke 

Joey made a call to AAA and thank goodness they serviced off road! We had to wait for someone that could fit all 4 of us in the truck. We probably waited about an hour. The sun was starting to get lower and was hitting me and Louie so we grabbed Poppa's moving blanket and made shade for Louie. The kids drew and had some snacks and thank goodness no one had to go to the bathroom. 

The AAA tow truck arrived and we were so happy to see him. He even looked like Cousin Danny. They loaded up the Cruiser and we all hopped into the rig. 

The kids were very excited to be riding in a real rig. We took the awkwardly quite hour ride home where the driver didn't say much and played some decent classic rock music.

So once again we did not make it to Joshua Tree. I have been wanting to go since May. The day did not end up like we planned but we had a pretty crazy adventure that the kids won't stop talking about.

Oh and for all you car people. It was the alternator. 

Sunday, October 09, 2016

It's Nice To See Some Things Are Still Around

When I was a kid there was nothing more exciting then when the Troll book club order forms were passed out. If you grew up in the 80's you probably remember them....

I would spend hours looking at each book cover, reading each description. I would circle all the ones that I wanted. Then I would sit with my Mom and plead my case for each one. I had to defend why I needed the new Garfield comic book, or why I had to have the Full House: Stephanie Tanner Makes a New Friend. And of course I needed that third book so that I could get the free poster of two puppies in basket with flowers. 

My Mom always seemed to give in when it came to books. My deep love of reading comes directly from her, and hers comes from her Dad. So usually I would end up with a few new books from the Troll Book Club. I would fill out the order form and return it with my money to my teacher. Back then my totals came out to just a few dollars. Probably never more than $5! 

So you can imagine how happy I was when I opened Louie's school work folder to find a Scholastic Reader Book Order Form. (Apparently Scholastic bought out Troll years ago). But it was the same newspaper type paper and pages of books. I let Louie look through and circle what she wanted. 

After she carefully went through the form, twice, we sat and looked over what she wanted. She had circled a bunch of books and the prices were not quite like I remember from the 80's. Just for fun, and a lesson on money, we added up everything she circled. It came out to a whooping $134.00! So we obviously had to bring that number down.

After much debate and deliberation we narrowed it down to 3 books. One of them being the new Elephant and Piggie book in hardcover. Louie has been collecting those. We spent a whooping $11! Even though there was an online ordering option, we went old school ad filled out the order form and wrote out a check. I want Louie to have the excitement of turning in her order. And of course the agony of the waiting for your order to arrive. And then of course the complete exhilaration when you see that book order box on your teachers desk! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

VP Phi

We are almost 2 months into the school year. The excitement of all the newness of everything has worn off. The fun introduction "get to know you" class assignments are done and there have even been a few tests. PE is in full swing and she is playing flag football and running the mile every Friday.

And yet she is still really loving junior high. She is making friends and we are getting all the latest 6th grade gossip every night at dinner. She has had a few playdates. (Are they still called playdates in junior high?) She comes home everyday tired and hungry and happy.

I have adjusted okay. I have only had to email half her teachers about grades and questions about assignments. Thanks to a real-time app on my phone I see her grades all day. I have to tell you that for a Mom like me this was really stressful at first. But over the weeks I have mellowed out and she is maintaining all A's at this point. She is doing really well.

Not only has she adjusted well, but you can now call her VP Phi.

Yup she ran (unopposed) for 6th grade vice-president. She attends class council meetings on Thursday's during lunch. Thanks to her years of Girl Scouts and watching her Mom be a troop leader made her want to take a leadership role at school.

I am so proud of my blue-haired junior high schooler.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sea Otter Awareness Week- Save the Otters

As Otter Awareness Week comes to an end Louie and her guest Sophia, have some really important information to share. They are talking about the things today that are harming sea otters. The good news is that there are things that you can do to help.

Louie's love of sea otters is truly an amazing thing to see. Thanks to all the friends and family who send us links, post videos and pictures on our Facebook wall, and send cute otter gifts and books to Louie. We appreciate it all so much.

Louie's dream is to see the sea otter population grow and grow and grow.

Oh and to hold hands with one!

I hope her dreams come true.

For more information on sea otters and learn how you can help please visit...

Friends of the Sea Otters at www.seaotters.org

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sea Otter Awareness Week- Our Favorite Sea Otter Books

Otter Awareness weeks continues!! Besides collecting plush otters, Louie also loves books about otters. Today Louie and her special guest are sharing a few of their favorite otter books.

There are so many great books out there! Find them at your local library!

For more information on sea otters and learn how you can help please visit...

Friends of the Sea Otters at www.seaotters.org

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sea Otter Awareness Week with Louie- Meet the Otters

As we continue to celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week, Louie would like to introduce you to her Otter Squad.

Talk about squad goals!

Sea Otter Awareness Week with Louie- Wednesday from Elissa Lerma on Vimeo.

For more information on sea otters and learn how you can help please visit...

Friends of the Sea Otters at www.seaotters.org

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sea Otter Awareness Week with Louie- Otter's Special Fur and Population

Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week. Louie hopes that you have been thinking a lot about otters this week! There are a ton of reasons that Louie loves otters. I mean they really are cute and fluffy and the idea that they are endangered is very upsetting to her. 

In this video Louie tells us about the otter population and the main reason these little guys almost went extinct! 

For more information on sea otters and learn how you can help please visit...

Friends of the Sea Otters at www.seaotters.org

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sea Otter Awareness Week with Louie- 4 Facts About Otters

A few weeks ago Louie brought to me a calendar that Sea World had mailed to her. She pointed to September 18-24 and with giant eyes said "MOM LOOK!". Right there on the calendar it showed that it was Sea Otter awareness week! She was so excited and wanted to know what we were going to do to celebrate. I asked her what she wanted to do and of course she wanted to share her love of otters with everyone and tell people how they can help her beloved otters.

Since she loves filming videos she settled on making some Public Service Announcement's

Here is a short video with 4 fun facts about sea otters.

Otter Awareness Week with Louie- Monday from Elissa Lerma on Vimeo.

For more information on sea otters and learn how you can help please visit...

Friends of the Sea Otters at www.seaotters.org

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bass Lake Talent Show- The Lost Footage

So over the summer we had our annual Bass Lake talent show. My parents act won by a landslide.

Well we thought that filmed footage was lost, but not so.

I found it. And so I present to you the winning skit from the 2016 Bass Lake Talent Show

Bass Lake Olympics

Sorry for Phi's cackling throughout but is was so funny!