End of semester and BUSY!

I’ve not had a chance to get on and write a blog. Not that there aren’t things to write about though. I’m an Education/English major in school and what I’ve learned from college thus far is this: You work in spurts. For weeks I’ll not have anything to do assignment-wise and then all of a sudden, I’ll look at my syllabus and within a few weeks I have three papers due, homework due and I have to prepare for oral presentations. This does not mean that my family or my job stops and allows me time to breathe. That would be wonderful, but this isn’t a fairytale. And I don’t want all of that to stop. This is my job, as the head of household, to go to school, work and take care of the family. It should be my responsibility…shared with my wife of course.

Our shoppe on Etsy is doing well. We sold a vintage clock last night and Sharayah is learning how to felt. In the evenings we sit in bed and I read while she felts. It’s a nice system. I believe we are right on track with where we want to be with taking the shoppe to where we want it. Ultimately I would love it if The Little Quirky Shoppe could take over at least half of our needed monthly income so that I could take that extra class which would bump me up to over 16 credits per semester. My goal right now is Associates Degree. Of course I’m going all the way to my Masters, but everything in stages right?

The weather is just wonderful again in Florida. It’s 63 degrees right now and over the night it got down in the mid 50’s. We love that. Honestly, if it were overcast every day and never got above 65 degrees I don’t think I would ever find fault with the weather.

So, we have this baby that is due June 24th. Sharayah is already showing. We were joking the other day, “what if we’re having twins.” Then I was showing Jada how a baby grows in a mommy’s tummy and the first thing that came up on BabyCenter was, “Are you having twins?” We’re hoping BabyCenter isn’t prophetic.
Does anyone know if you just show sooner at number 3?

Alright, I have to get to work. Post office, Kindergarten class observations today and then some Etsy stuff and school. We’re going to a beer and bar-b-q this evening. I think we’re bringing the most unique beer. We made a stop at World Market last night and made our own 6-pack of beers from all over the world. My favorite is the Hebrew beer it says: “Hebrew: The Chosen Beer.”

Later.

-Kyle

NCLB – It’s still happening!

I know Obama hasn’t told us that he is giving No Child Left Behind the axe, but he should. The NCLB program that Bush pushed onto the American people is still doing what it does best, hurting American students and holding them back from achieving to their highest potential. Anderson Cooper did a report on the NCLB program on his blog which can be found at cnn.com.

What is happening now is that American schools are dumbing down the curriculum so that their students pass the standardized tests. If the students don’t pass the tests the Federal Government takes away money from that particular school. There are some gross errors in this system.

For one, a school can be top in the county one year and below the line the next. Why is that? Well, it’s simple. All the kids who were at the failing schools the year before are now switching schools and going to the one that passed. With so many students who are behind, it causes that passing school to fall behind. Threats are made and teachers are put in the crossfire. What happened to a free America?
Teachers go into teaching so they can help shape young minds and inspire students to learn. With standardized tests that President Bush instituted it takes learning out of the classroom and now teachers are forced to teach to the test.
All across America schools are lowering standards so their school won’t be sanctioned, “The federal study found some states had been lowering their proficiency standards which made it easier for lower test scores to qualify as proficient. Isn’t the idea of going to school about raising students proficiency and making kids smarter? It was when I was younger.

What is more important, avoiding sanctions or giving kids a better education? Parents, if you’re reading this, how would you feel about your child’s school making it easier for your child to get by (Anderson Cooper, cnn.com)?”

Something must be done to education today. Do state standards really matter much? Or is there another way?

I think students would like to learn on their own, or at least be in charge of some things they learn. Teachers should be positive role models, but also be more of a facilitator to learning rather than all the focus be on the teacher. How can we expect students to be more responsible if we are constantly telling them what to do, when to do it, how to do it and how to pass?
Is the grading system really beneficial? I think educators should teach (facilitate) their classrooms where everyone is learning together, but at the same time working at individual levels and mastering material. Isn’t that what we want? Are we really ok with a passing grade or do we want mastry of material?

No Child Left Behind seems to have placed the children behind and it’s leaving them there. While Washington fights over test scores and makes their decisions over which schools get more money our nation’s children are getting pushed to the back of the bus.

-Kyle

Emergency!

Posted On November 1, 2009

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We were at a friends house last night eating dinner and having fun when Sariye came walking around the couch crying. We didn’t think much of it because she’s almost two. Crying is a pretty typical sound we hear every day. She stopped, staggered a bit and then leaned against the couch. That’s when I saw it. Blood was welling up under her hair and began to run down her tiny cheek. I felt guilty. I was just sitting there with my hands out to her, not trying to get up and comfort my crying girl, just sitting and saying, “it’s ok, come here.” Of course, when I saw the blood I jumped up and held her. She had a medium sized gash in her head! It wasn’t as bad as it looked, but we still decided to take her to the ER just to be sure. Once at the ER the doctor told us that she should have staples in her head just to make sure that it doesn’t start bleeding again in the night. Poor Sariye. Though Sharayah and I aren’t necessarily toppled over by the genius of most doctors we were impressed by the Doctor at this hospital. He was caring, not pushy and very gentle. He gave us options that weren’t any better than staples so we trusted him. Even the nurses were kind and not impatient like most of them are these days. One male nurse came in not because he was working on Sariye, but just to tell us that his son is in the ER quite a bit with head injuries (those boys). It was a “pleasant experience” under the circumstances.

I am happy to report that Sariye doesn’t seem to even know what happened. She slept through the night (even though we were in there ever couple of hours checking on her) and today she seems perfectly normal. She doesn’t seem to notice she has staples in her head. I know I’d be whining constantly about it.

God kept us calm. He protected Sariye and definitely made it not that painful for her.

Kyle

The Name Game part 2 and The Stork

I wrote the other day about the names we have chosen for the newest bundle of joy we are going to bring into our lives this upcoming June (or so says The Birthing Center http://www.waterbirthbaby.com.) We have Liam Avett for a boy or Ryver Echo for a girl. I was discussing this the other day with Jada, our oldest daughter who turns the big ol’ number 5 in March (man, where does the time go?) And yes, I was having a full blown discussion about it since she’s not only going to be 5, but she’s pretty much 4 going on 25. Jada looked at me seriously and said, “I think if it’s a boy he should be called Shark Boy and if we have a girl she’ll be called Rubber Girl.” I thought about it for a moment and began to explain why we shouldn’t name our new baby Shark Boy or Rubber Girl, but Jada heard nothing of it. She simply shook her head and said her pick for names again carefully and then she turned and went to her room to play.
So, I suppose we have a couple of other names to add to our roster. Liam Avett or Shark Boy, Ryver Echo or Rubber Girl. The choice will be hard, but we’ll manage.

Today while sitting with her on the couch Jada looked at me and asked the question most parents dread, “Daddy, where do babies come from?” She’s 4 remember. I believe I may have stammered. Instead of giving her a silly answer like the age old Stork story I just ignored it and changed the subject. Then I sent my wife a text and told her. It’s not that I am scared to talk about where babies come from, but come on, she’s 4.

We received the window vinyl for our car which advertises The Little Quirky Shoppe. We also got the bumper stickers that certain friends of ours said they would put on their cars (they are magnetic of course). We are constantly looking for the best, quirky vintage stuff to put up in the store while Sharayah creates jewelry, etc…

And to end this blog for the evening I’d like to share a book with you all. A Room for Learning: The Making of A School in Vermont by Tal Birdsey (www.talbirdsey.com). It looks amazing and super inspirational. From what I gather, after reading the book jacket at Barnes and Noble tonight, it’s about a man (true story, memoir) Tal, who starts a school in nowhere Vermont and takes some adolescent kids who know little and inspires them to be great using music, art and literature. I WANT THIS TO BE ME! So, I’ve requested it for Christmas. Actually, I want it before Christmas, maybe around Thanksgiving so that during Christmas Break I can read it because who has time to read for fun while a full-time student, 2 kids a wife and then “work”? Not I.

Have a great night readers! And send your friends to the shoppe!🙂

-Kyle

Turtle and the Name Game

Today I pulled the ol’ mini van into the driveway and discovered that there was a turtle digging holes in our yard. Now, some men would get their boxer briefs in a wad over such an injustice, as many men I know cherish their dear lawn. I however, told the lawn and the rest of the plants when we moved in, “live or die, it’s up to you” and then I’ve had little to do with any of the horticulture since. I found the turtle cute and the girls were absolutely amazed about this turtle that happened into their lives.
Also, my wife and I are choosing baby names as it is that time again. We favor Liam (Ezra) or, my personal favorite, Liam (Avett) for a boy and we have sort of fallen for Ryver (or Ryvre) Echo for a girl. Our prayers are for a boy since we have two girls, but of course, I’ll go ahead and give the typical disclaimer, “as long as it’s healthy” and I mean it.
Pregnancy simply amazes me. How something so small, yet so big can fit in that tiny little space (the womb) and survive there is just beyond me. We watched an animated video the other night of all the different stages of development and I think I held my breath the entire time. For anyone to say that is not life or that a baby in the womb isn’t really a baby or technically isn’t “alive” is absurd. To say something like that is ignorant.

Things in the shoppe are going well. Another sale was made and our advertisement paraphernalia is in the process of being created. Still, we have much work to do. Could those of you who read this tell your friends and family about The Little Quirky Shoppe? We really do have a lot of neat stuff my wife has created and we have some neat stuff in the vintage category (and much more to come). Our dream, which is slowly becoming a reality, is to have this be our main business while I’m in school.
Speaking of school, I created my schedule for next semester. No more driving over 600 miles per month to and from school. I’m only there Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and then one night class on Wed. nights. 14 credits this upcoming semester. I’m excited. And the more things change in our lives the more I really see how this education is going to pay off in the future. I’m at that point in life where everything is still in the “when” and “future” category, but I’m actually on the road to making the future a reality. It’s fun and a little scary.

Oscar Wilde

I learned some interesting things last night, during math class no less, about Oscar Wilde. I didn’t know that he was a homosexual man for one. I also didn’t know that he was arrested for being homosexual. Here’s the setup: Oscar was a struggling writer when he married his wife and quickly they had a son together. Not long after their marriage however, he found himself a boyfriend named Douglas. Douglas was a kings kid. As Oscar Wilde made a name for himself with his writing (plays and poems) he continued his relationship with Douglas while staying married to his wife and had another son. His second son was named Vyvyan.
Then Oscar wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray and it was not very successful at the time. In fact, The Picture of Dorian Gray was much debated in London and thrown out of several public bookstores and education centers. It was too homosexual for that time period.
Oscar Wilde’s life came crashing to a halt, at the very top of his career, when Douglas’ father caught wind of his son’s relationship with Mr. Wilde and under the new law in London, which forbade homosexuality, had Oscar Wilde sent to prison under the charge, “Indecent Acts with another Male.”
His wife left him and moved to Switzerland with their two sons and picked a different last name so she and her children would not have to suffer through humiliation.

And we think the good drama only happens in the twenty-first century.

Monday’s and FedUP oops! I mean FEDEX

We woke up again this morning to a fresh day and even cooler weather than we had Sunday morning. The night was good with the windows open again. I awoke several times in the night and it was always near my opinion of frigid, but I won’t complain about the cold. You’ll never hear me speak evil of the dear colder weather.

I skipped school today mainly because I just didn’t feel like driving all the way there just to hear Professor Lewis complain about the poor fishing conditions, his obnoxious family or the like. Besides, FedEX was supposed to bring us our new computer, the one that is an actual twenty-first century, well manufactured machine that does not have a label on the side that reads, “Dell.” However, I got online (which is a huge deal for us these days to even do. It takes a lot of patience and about forty-five minutes) and I wanted to check and see about what time the FEDEX guy would be here to make our delivery. It said nothing. I called and I was told that our package is there, but the shipment center in Fort Myers our package is stationed at is only open Tuesday through Saturday and they only make deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I thought that the mail system had a motto that says something like, “neither sleet nor snow, rain or shine…” something along those lines that get’s to the point saying nothing will hinder the mail from getting to the people. Maybe that’s just the USPS. So, another day of waiting for the wonder machine.

We did post a few more things in the shoppe. We’re reading a lot on the forums about people who are making a good income from their shops and they did it/do it. We’re encouraged and have several small goals lined up which leads to one large one.

It’s evening and the girls are getting a bath. One of my favorite times of the day because it signals that night is upon us and that means rest time…usually. I think we’re going to have a popcorn night in bed tonight with Jada and watch Charlotte’s Web. Jada’s been dieing to see it for weeks now. It finally came via NetFlix.

That’s our big Monday. Nothing much happened. OH, Adonis did die in that poem by Shakespeare. It’s such beautiful literature.

-Kyle

The Weather and Shakespeare

Posted On October 18, 2009

Filed under Life and Work

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Today it is in the 50’s, our windows are open and my wife and I, after putting the little girls to bed for afternoon naptime are relaxing. I am doing a bit of work in the shoppe and thinking about some Shakespeare that I’ve been working through over the last few days. The book is called, The Complete Poems of William Shakespeare (Gesner, 1982).  Over the last couple of days since I purchased the book, at a gorgeous little bookshop in Fort Myers called Echo, I’ve been going over the poem Venus and Adonis. It is a beautiful poem. Venus cannot seem to leave Adonis alone and follows him into the woods while he is boar hunting with the guys. He has told her repeadedily to leave him be, but she listens not. I’m anxious to see what happens.

It rarley get’s cold in Southwest Florida so this morning we woke up early so that we could make coffee and stand outside in the cold air and enjoy ourselves. This is the first time in ages we’ve been able to stand it outside. It feels nice to walk outside and not feel like you’re swimming. Our windows stayed open all night long. I could hear our a/c unit breathe a sigh of relief.

We’re updating more in the shoppe. We have a vision of the future. And for the first time in a long time I think we’re content being where we are. We went through a tough time there for about 4-5 months, but I think we’re starting to get it. “God has not forgotten me and He knows right where I am. I’m not lost” I was told by a good friend over the phone on Friday. Church as an institution isn’t the worst thing, it is what it is and it’s not perfect. It’s fellowship, encouragement and it’s free, which is the most important thing. Sometimes I get religious trying to not be religious or trying to find somewhere that is not religious. I guess the important thing is the freedom and love of Christ and that He talks to me. I hear Him. I didn’t for a while, but I feel connected again. It’s good.

The cool air is blowing on me from our open bedroom window and my wife is sleeping behind me. The kids are comfortable and quiet and I’ve just finished drinking an Espresso Chocolate Truffle from Starbuck’s. Life is good.

Oh, I wanted to quote some Shakespeare before I go:

“A thousand kisses buys my heart from me;

And pays them at thy leisure, one by one.

What is ten hundred kisses unto thee?

Are they not quickly told, and quickly gone?

Say, for non-payment that the debt should double,

Is twenty hundred kisses such a trouble? (Gesner 22).”

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