Thursday, May 20

Miss Hurricane begins her 7th year!

Yes, our baby girl is 7 years old now. Going on 17... LOL

Not much of a party per se, but my in-laws did take both kids to dinner last night and we had cake & ice cream here afterward. Poseidon was the photographer of the night! :)

We had a Jetsons kind of party ~ Mom and I both have Skype, so we called her and everyone was able to see and hear everything at both houses, even though there are 100 miles between us. The kids and my parents absolutely loved it; it's the coolest thing since sliced bread now!

The cake, pictured here before the addition of strawberry pieces which spelled her name:

I'm holding my MacBook so everyone at Mom's house can join in the singing of Happy Birthday.  L-R: Miss Hurricane, me, (via Skype) my oldest niece, my mom, and my MIL holding the other camera:

Wish made, candles blown out, and now she's grinning for the cameras:

Time for presents!  She picked out a messenger bag-style carrying/storage case for her DSi (here's an Amazon link).  It's pink, and that's all she requires of things she owns.  Here I'm showing it to Mom and niece:

At dinner, which was eaten at a local place similar to Chuck E. Cheese, Miss Hurricane won some games and earned enough tickets to 'buy' a set of pom poms with a streamer baton.  "I want to be a cheerleader!"  Um .... okay?  (She did ask for poms but we couldn't find any; she only gave us a couple days' notice that she wanted them!):

Our baby is growing up.  *sniff*


Wednesday, May 19

A funny thing happened last week.

The funny story I promised you:

Last week, I think on the 12th, the kids were in their room playing quietly (i.e. not fighting!) while we grownups were reading online. We'd already eaten dinner and everyone was basically relaxing a little before showers and bedtime, putting the time this happened right around 7-7:30 p.m.
The boy was building with Legos, and we thought his sister was helping or at least doing the same thing. We soon found out differently!

I was sitting at the dining room table, reading Fark.
Poseidon was across the room from me, at the desk, reading somewhere else.
Miss Hurricane came into the room and stood by me for a minute, all the while looking back into the bedroom (which is just out of sight from where I sat).
Mister Twister was still in the bedroom... so I asked her if something was wrong.
Being siblings, sometimes they irritate each other - that is what I thought may have been going on at the time. She ignored my question and crept back into the bedroom.

At this point, I thought she was acting a little strange; however she has acted this way before, and I didn't hear any yelling or anything from the bedroom, so I let it go. I figured if she wanted to tell me, she would eventually.

So... she ignored and went back. I went back to reading. Not thirty seconds later, I hear her scream. It was the kind of blood-curdling scream that scares a momma out of her skin. I have heard Miss Hurricane let out this particular scream a few times before, and it's usually only unleashed when she sees a snake in the back yard.

Timeline now is: girl screams - I fly out of my chair - she runs out of the bedroom screaming.

I saw a look of absolute terror on her face. I thought for sure there was a snake in the room. *THEN* Mister Twister starts screaming and he also ran full-speed out of the bedroom, with his own terrified look.

And here's where I freak out, thinking now that maybe there is actually a *person* in their room. I thought I may have heard three screams, but I felt certain that one came from outside the house (neighbor kids, possibly). That did not matter at the time, because as the kids are screaming, I am trying to corral them into the kitchen and Poseidon is freaking out a bit as well.

Now we're all screaming - parents trying to figure out what just happened, kids freaking out over something that terrified them both. Mister Twister's eyes were solid black - he was so scared that his pupils dilated completely! Both kids were crying and even cowering in the corner of the kitchen, with Poseidon and I separating them from the rest of the house.

I took a step toward the bedroom to see if someone was in there, and I couldn't see anything amiss. So I grab the girl child and start the snuggling and asking what happened. The boy has his hands over his ears, eyes still as big as saucers and tears streaming down his face. I felt totally helpless and scared too.

Amid all the freaking out, I heard two words that explained it all: Miss Hurricane's little voice said "scare maze". Dots connected in my brain and I started giggling a little bit. I told their father what she said, and we two were okay and could now focus on calming the children. That is also when it clicked for me - I *did* hear a third scream.

After a few minutes I found out that she had been watching YouTube videos on the iPod Touch. I have always let her use my account (which is why my 'favorites' is loaded with Mario videos LOL), and she's always gone looking for either Mario videos, or funny animals.

**Here's a warning for the faint-of-heart or those who scare easily - also, if you have kids you may want to mute this or use headphones and don't let them see it until you know how it ends.**
Click HERE to see the video that scared our kids nearly to death. It isn't bad, not gory or anything, but for a child who isn't used to seeing or hearing those things it can be frightening!

This entire scene unfolded in a matter of minutes. Maybe three or four minutes, but its effects were felt throughout the next day.

It was a family bed kind of night - my husband slept with a kid on each side in our bed, and I took the pullout couch since I am the first one up on school mornings. Those poor kids... but it was funny in hindsight. The next day while they were at school, I went into my YouTube account and deleted the history so she wouldn't find that video again! I am also going to give her her own account (the boy will have one of his own too) and will set her up with some favorites - and SafeSearch turned ON. (That's my bad, I had it off and forgot... bad momma!)

File this under "Won't Do THAT Again, Will Ya?".

Monday, May 17

How do we look?

I have spent some free time over the last two days trying to rearrange and edit how the blog looks... I still have some ideas I am trying to implement, but for today I have settled on this layout. I think it suits our blog name much better!
A family update will come soon. I have a funny story to tell too, but it is still being written. I hope you have a great week!!


Friday, May 7

Crime and Punishment - Part Three

In case you haven't read it yet, here are parts One and Two.

Mister Twister had that S.A.F.E. day last Friday, the 30th; he didn't earn enough points to get out, and so was given another day. Due to state testing, he was to go to S.A.F.E. again on Wednesday (two days ago) - and again, he did not earn his way out. He was close but missed it by 7 points. So, the procedure is to try again the next day. Thursday, May 6th: according to the teacher, the boy did nothing all day other than to say the pledge and listen to morning announcements. 50 points is the goal to get out of this program - Thursday, he only earned 2 points. TWO. All day, for 7 hours, nothing.

Now, any student referred to S.A.F.E. is given a list of work to do from their specific teachers - Mister Twister here had a full packet of work to be done in those 7 hours. 14 hours if you count Wednesday, which is when the work was first given to him! And he didn't do it? The coordinator basically said that he barely tried to do any of it (and he has corroborated this).

And because of this, the boy was suspended from school for one day - today, Friday, May 7th.

Neither his father nor I were ever *suspended* - what the hell did we do wrong?!? Well, a few things we feel we did right are the discipline for this development, and having today at home run on the regular S.A.F.E. schedule. The coordinator sent home with him all the work from Thursday plus her sheet on which the teachers wrote what was to be done. Our day today was quite productive thanks to this, and he still has one more day in S.A.F.E. for the forgery. He knows - as do we - that he can get those 50 points easily and has promised to do so.

His work was not hard:
-Language Arts - vocabulary from The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle; note major plot points throughout the book
-Reading - read up to p.84 in The Dark is Rising (he was on p.90 already)
-Social Studies - test review (they're in the Asia chapter)
-Math - a packet on integers
-Science - (her class had a test review; he was there, so no work from her was sent home)

He started at 8 this morning, just after I had dropped his sister off at school. I gave him the same scheduled breaks he had in S.A.F.E. and we ate lunch together around noon. [start sarcasm] Amazingly, he finished every bit of that work by 3 this afternoon! [/end sarcasm] He now knows that his next S.A.F.E. day will be the last... he can earn the 50 points *and* finish all the work given in 7 hours. Here's to hoping! :-)

On another note, Mother's Day is here and tomorrow I am having Mom and my MIL over for tea with Miss Hurricane and me. There will be at least one picture from this event! Sunday I will spend offline hanging out with my wonderful husband and super kids. Maybe I'll sew a little bit; Miss Hurricane has a blanket in the works and I think she reeeeeeeeeeally wants me to finish it before we move. Crossing my fingers.

Have a great weekend! Do what you can to thank your favorite moms for being wonderful women. :)

~Mama Amphitrite

Crime and Punishment - Part Two

So, in Part One of this story I said I'd post his sentences for the new vocabulary words I gave him. Here they are, just as he wrote them:

forgery - "Forgery would be like; putting your name on someone else's document[s], or (like I did) put someone's name on one of your documents."

falsify - "One time I tried to falsify my friends in hide and seek by making noises and throwing rocks to the wrong place."

imitate - "In V the invaders' use masks to mak them look like copies of humans."

fraudulent - "I have been fraudulent to mom and dad for about 8 years. (I never do like it.)"

violate - "I have violated my promise to {redacted by me, if you know him IRL you know what he's talking about here} [too] many times."

criminal - "A criminal is a person who commits a crime that defies a law, or rule and is sentenced to jail."

plagiarism - "by the time you read this I will have plagiarised over half the definitions."

culpable - "friday, dad said that and I quote, 'but you're still culpable'."

misconduct - "I misconduct myself at (the majority of the time) home."

misdemeanor - "LAW & ORDER: misdemeanor = selling drugs. felony = killing of 4 cops."
(He watched this episode (S20E17) with us, which aired the previous evening.)

Mercy, this child seriously needs to work on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, spelling, editing... did I miss anything? There are a few sentences above which either make little sense, or he missed the mark completely. (Homeschooling friends - any free links that could help, email or facebook them my way please? :D Thanks in advance!)
Oh, but he's got the smart aleck part down pat. Did you see those? Oh. My. Gosh.

There is a Part Three to this story. I'm writing it now and will link it in this post once it's ready.


Sunday, May 2

Crime and Punishment

Today, I am not talking about the Dostoevsky novel ... no, I mean right here in our household.

Our son, Mister Twister, is in the sixth grade. He's been a great student; a good kid, also a smart kid who usually gets an A or A- on most tests. One problem that he's had since homework started for him a few years ago is not turning said homework in, either on time or at all. Well, around here, sixth grade is the beginning of middle school. (This child will be 12 in August.) So amid the work required for his core classes - language arts/english, maths, science and social studies - we also are dealing with the beginning of pubescence and all the hormonal junk that goes with that.
Currently, we have about a month of school left. I believe I have mentioned before that he has had detention twice since the beginning of the school year; it's worked out to about once every 12 weeks (the year is 4 [9-week] quarters). Per his school handbook, any student who misses two consecutive detentions "wins" a day in SAFE (Suspension And Failure Eliminated - it's like in-school suspension).

Guess who had a SAFE day on Friday?
Also guess who did *not* know about this until after school started?

While Poseidon and I were out running errands around 10:30 a.m., the school's SAFE coordinator called me to let me know about a new development in this story. It seems that, as best she could tell, Mister Twister had given her a paper - which was supposed to have been seen and signed by a parent and returned to her (or one of the student's teachers) - on which the signature looked like it was not signed by me or his dad. "I tried the phone number listed here, and that turned out to be a business; they said there was no one there by the name [my name]. It really looks like forgery by [our clever son], and for that he'll have to serve another day in SAFE. I will send home another sheet for you to sign and he needs to return it Monday."

Really, son? Seriously? Awesome.

So, after talking with her I told Poseidon about this interesting new development. You see, Mister Twister had mentioned *nothing* to us about a detention (to have been served on April 15), *nothing* about the detention make-up (April 22), and not a word about SAFE (April 30). The boy, however, knew about the SAFE paper for a full week - it was sent home Monday, April 26. Honestly, we both laughed because otherwise, we may have cried in frustration.

And it was at this moment that we began plotting a punishment which would absolutely fit the crime.
Luckily for him, we know that grounding and taking away beloved objects and priveleges no longer work.
Unluckily for him, I like writing and have seen his penmanship.

- I wanted to give him a word list and a dictionary, or take him to the library rather than let him use any electronic dictionary or website. I spent part of Friday evening and part of Saturday coming up with a word list for him, which would consist entirely of words related to the incident (listed and linked below if you'd like to see them).

- Friday night, we sat down with him and each of us printed, then signed, our own names. In this way he was able to see that anyone can print anyone's name, but a signature is something you *own*; something by which a person means "yes, this is *my* name in *my* handwriting". My own signature is quite unique, in that I practiced and consistently use an older style of my last name's first letter. It would be very hard to copy - which prompted the phone call in the first place. LOL.

- Saturday, he would help his dad finish the bathroom floor. We have been working on the bathroom this week, and all that was left by Friday night was the floor tile - self-adhesive linoleum. They finished it by dinnertime.

- No gaming for the weekend. This meant only no XBox and no Wii, including not helping Miss Hurricane if she needed help (like she does in Halo or Banjo Kazooie). We did let him use his Ipod Touch for reading or watching youtube videos.

It's just after 6 p.m. now and he's almost finished with the writing assignment I gave him. I looked up the words, chose the fitting definition and gave him the listed origin of each word. After each word, he is to write a short paragraph - a few sentences - using the word correctly to prove that he does understand what it means. Afterward, he also has to write two apology letters - one to the SAFE coordinator, and one to the teacher who referred him to SAFE (they mailed us a letter with her name as the referring admin).

The word list, with links I used:
forgery, definition 1
falsify, definition 1
imitate, definition 4
fraudulent, definition 2
violate, definition 1
criminal, definitions 1 & 4
misdemeanor, both definitions
misconduct, definitions 1 & 4
plagiarism, both definitions

Fun stuff, huh? I'm such a mean mom. Better he get used to it now though. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA

(While I was linking, he brought his finished work to me. Now all that's left is the apology letter. I'll update this in a couple days.)

I hope you had a good weekend - ours was crazily rainy!
Namaste =)