Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Touchy Subject

If you're on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, you've probably seen this cartoon already. For the most part, I think it's a true statement. Back when I was in school, parents tended to get more upset with their children when they were misbehaving or doing poorly in school. These days I hear more stories of parents getting upset with the teachers for their child's problems. Of course, I'm sure it's not the case all the time, but those are generally the stories we hear most often ... thanks to the Internet.

When I woke up this morning I checked the news online, just as I do everyday. I came upon an article which was titled, "Eight-year-old receives Catastrophe Award". If you click on the link there's a video to go along with the story, although basically they say the same thing. I'm just curious what other people think of this? Do you think the mom is making a big deal out of nothing? Do you think the teacher was wrong to give a negative award, even though she said it was a joke? What are your thoughts on this?

The reason I ask is because I received a similar award on my last day of sixth grade. The teacher passed out so-called awards to the kids and each one was different. I can't remember any of the actual awards, but I do recall most were positive. Well ... all but mine. I received the "Most Inclined to Keep Banker's Hours Award". Seriously. If you don't know what the banker's hour term is, it means, "Time period between 10am and 3pm of the day, or an easy job especially one with a short working day." So, while my sixth grade teacher passed out awards praising my classmates for all their wonderful abilities, she gave me that. She didn't acknowledge my love for art. She said nothing about my passion for reading and writing. She didn't mention that I often finished all my work on time, in addition to all the extra credit projects I did. Nope. Instead, she decided to insult me in front of the entire school.

You might be wondering why I got that award. The reason was because I was often late for school or absent all together. I came from a single parent household. My father died when I was a baby and my mom raised three children by herself. She worked literally all the time, and often she worked all night long. Sometimes she'd be forced to stay over and work a double shift. Because of this, I was often late for school. And because of her crazy schedule, she was often too tired to argue with me when I put up a fuss about going to school all together. I'm not blaming her, by any means, but it's one of the reasons I was late or absent so often. So, probably as a joke, my teacher decided to give me the "Most Inclined to Keep Banker's Award" in front of my entire school. It was humiliating. My teacher chose to make fun of me, not even knowing my reasons. My mom was a nurse and took care of geriatric patients. You know ... those old people in nursing homes that their own families don't even have time to visit. I probably spent more time with those patients than their own family members ... but that's another story.

So, I have very mixed feelings about that story I read this morning. The teacher in me sees how it could have been done in jest, but regardless, I still do not think it is appropriate at all. I think every teacher should focus on positive reinforcement when it comes to their students. If they want to poke fun at them on their own time, so be it. As a mom, I'd be upset if my child received an award like that, or even the one I got. No parent wants their child to be made fun of at school, especially by their teacher. As a student, well, I obviously see the horror in it. I was humiliated when it happened to me, and obviously it's stayed with me forever. It's no wonder I hated school.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Disney's Fort Wilderness

We've been home from Disney World since Friday night, but man, I'm still feeling the effects of the trip. Ten days walking around theme parks is exhausting. I honestly don't know how my in-laws do it year after year. Last year we stayed at The Wilderness Lodge, but this time we stayed at The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness. They have both RV sites and little cabins. The cabins sleep six, so it was a perfect size for us.

I thought I'd share some photographs of the cabin. Unfortunately, I didn't take any of the outside, but the link above shows some good ones. I also didn't take any pictures before we threw all our junk down, but you'll get the idea of what they're like. The picture above was taken from one of the trash cans by the bus stop, of all things. My MIL loves both The Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness because she says she likes the woods and mountain feel. They're both nice, but a lot like home to us.

This is the kitchen below. Since we wanted to do a lot of our meals in the cabin, this worked out really well for us, especially for breakfast and dinner. The dishwasher was nice, and so was the full-sized coffeemaker, which Rick and I used everyday. Looking now, I realize I didn't get any pictures of the living room. I was standing in it when I took the kitchen picture. The living room had a couch, bench, and a pull-down bed that stored on the wall. My ILs slept there and we were in the bedroom with the boys.

As you can see, housekeeping (I think they call themselves Mousekeeping) left us towel critters everyday. By the end of our stay we had quite a collection going. We even had a big turtle on our bed one day. All in all, the cabins were nice and I'd definitely stay in them again if I could. I think having a car would make it easier because we had to rent one to do our grocery shopping, especially since we were staying so long.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hello from Disney World!

Man, what a crazy place this is. We've been in Florida since Monday and it's been pretty much non-stop "go, go, go, go" ever since. This is day five, but I've been exhausted since day one. I don't know how people keep up with this pace. We went to Epcot today. Right after going through the gate, Nathan said he didn't feel well so I ended up taking him back to our cabin at Fort Wilderness. Just that alone took TWO HOURS. He's resting on his bed now, eating, and watching a movie. I think he'll be okay if he gets some rest. Rick, his parents, and Neil are all at Epcot still. Rick said he's feeling the same way as Nathan, so something must be going around. They'll be coming back pretty soon, as we have dinner at Hollywood Studios.

We've been pushing my ILs around in wheelchairs this time because it's really hard for them to get around the parks now. They both have health issues and my MIL has a really bad knee. They can walk, but not well or fast, so it's helping. I have to say I have a whole new perspective on people in wheelchairs. Not just them, but the people pushing others around. It's amazing how people are either oblivious to people in wheelchairs or just downright rude. I've had people cut in front of us and have had to come to a complete stop. That's not easy when you're going downhill.

It's funny how you gain a new perspective on things like that. As RVers, Rick and I are way more conscious of other RVs and semi-trucks. You have to think differently -- you can't stop or accelerate as quickly, turns need more room, and so forth. When you become a parent and have to wrestle around with strollers, you're more aware of others doing the same. It's the same with wheelchairs. It's just a shame people are so rude and oblivious to them. I was trying to cut across the main road in Hollywood Studios yesterday. There was a huge group of people and only ONE person stopped to let me through.

Regardless, we are having a good time. Last night we ate at Chef Mickey and that was a lot of fun. The night before we went to Mickey's Backyard BBQ. Tonight we're supposed to watch Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. I'm not sure what the plan is for tomorrow, but hopefully everyone will be feeling better by then. We still haven't been to Animal Kingdom yet, which is my favorite park. I think we might hit up one of the water parks on Monday. It's been hot and muggy, but not nearly as bad as it could be. We've had some pretty good thunderstorms also, but somehow we either seem to be inside or waiting in a line when they've come down. After all of this running around, I'm pretty sure I'll be ready for a vacation from my vacation!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disney Critters

I know ... I'm weird. I fly all the way across the United States, from Montana to Florida, only to take pictures of a bunch of animals at Walt Disney World. Those who know me are probably not surprised by this. We flew into Florida yesterday afternoon and spent most of today at the Magic Kingdom. I have a hard time walking past a critter without stopping to take a picture.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Packing Procrastination

Ugh -- this is totally me. I don't know what the deal is, but I just can't find the motivation to pack my suitcase. We're going to Walt Disney World on Monday, so I have to be packed by tomorrow night. Neither Rick or I have any motivation to get it done. In fact, Rick keeps telling me to pack mine so I can do his bag. Yeah right. That isn't going to happen, especially since I had to pack the boy's suitcases earlier this week. Three bags is my limit.

It's kind of weird because when we went to WDW last year, I had my suitcase out months in advance. I guess maybe that was because I had to buy all new clothes because of my weight-loss, so that just made it a little easier knowing what I'd wear. It's not really that I don't know what to pack this year. It's just that I don't seem to have the desire. Packing is supposed to be fun, isn't it? They say the most fun part of any trip is getting ready to go. My mother-in-law has been packed since February. She's a crazy woman!

Maybe it's the weather. Yeah, yeah ... I'll blame it on the weather. It's just too nice outside to be stuck in the house fishing through my closet. I think I'll go make myself an icy, chocolate protein shake and get back on the deck. With any luck, my suitcase will pack itself. Yeahrightsure.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is it Friday yet?

This is a picture of Nathan and Neil, taken in front of the state capital in Helena, Montana. We stopped there recently on our way to get Nicole from college. The boys are holding female versions of Flat Stanley dolls, which we have held onto way too long. We finally got them ready to send out.

Things are kind of crazy this week. We're finishing up our final week of school. I know that's a little early, but we're leaving for Walt Disney World on Monday. The boys have finished up quite a few of their books already. We usually do some school-related stuff throughout the summer, so it will all work out in the end. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I joined Twitter yesterday -- like I needed one more thing to keep track of. If anyone wants to follow me I can be found @RenaJJones. I have no idea what I'm doing, but hopefully it won't be hard to learn. I don't have a smart phone, but Rick does, so maybe I can tweet from WDW. For some reason, I've been getting a lot of invitations for LinkedIn and Goodreads lately. I figured I'd add Twitter to make it even more crazy.

One more day and then the weekend will be upon us -- yay!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Going to see the Red Hots!

I still can't believe it, but I'm going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in November. They've been touring and I've been a little bummed that I didn't think I'd ever get to see them live. Rick told me to go ahead and get a ticket for the show. I was thinking of going up into Canada to see them in Calgary, but that show has already sold out. Most of their shows sell out super fast.

I'm going to see them in Seattle, Washington instead. That's about an 8-hour drive from here. Rick will take me, probably with the boys, but I'm going to the show by myself. That's okay with me. Rick's not into them as much as I am. I'm really into them right now -- I mean, really, really into them. I listen to their music when I exercise and it's really helped keep me stay motivated. 

I honestly can't believe I'm going to see them live. Pinch me!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quick update ...

I apologize for being such a slacker with my blog lately as well as not visiting everyone else's blogs like I normally do. Things have been busy, but I really hope to catch up with everyone's news soon. We just got home from picking up Nicole from college. She goes to school in Billings, which is an 8-hour drive. We left there around 9:30am and got home around 6pm. It's been a long day. I just exercised and I'm about to head to bed, but wanted to post something to let everyone know I'm still alive.

I took this picture of the two deer this evening. I'm not sure how old they are, but they're still pretty young. We had a tree fall down the other morning and for some reason the deer have been going nuts over it. It was a big, dead tree that we knew we'd have to take down soon. Unfortunately, the tree beat us to it and decided to come down Wednesday morning. It was really loud.

As you can see from the picture below, it damaged our deck pretty badly. The good news is that it came down at 4am, so no one was outside. My boys play on that rock everyday, so it could have been much worse. It's still sitting there just like this because we had to leave to get Nicole and couldn't do anything about it. Fortunately, it only hit part of the roof and it doesn't look like it damaged much other than a few tiles. The deck however, definitely needs some work. But hey, at least we have firewood now.