Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another birthday...come and gone...

As far as birthdays go, I don't think Brynnley's 9th will go down in history as "the best." Don't get me wrong...we the midst of school, volleyball game, piano lessons, soccer practice, football practice and a teacher orientation.
Do we know how to celebrate or what?
In spite of all the craziness, B said she had a great day. How lucky we are to have this beautiful (fiesty) girl in our family! Never a dull moment as she is CONSTANTLY singing at the top of her lungs. CONSTANTLY. Surrounded by lots of friends, there seems to be drama of some sort on a regular basis. (Is that typical for 9-year-olds?) She is super-friendly and has a smile that lights up the room. She also has been known to have an attitude that will challenge the most patient of people (which I am not...) She loves soccer and gymnastics...(another constant...cartwheels and back bends in the family room, in the parking lot, on the soccer field, in the grocery store) and going without shoes. After begging for months to take piano lessons, she was ready to quit after the second week. (Turns out, she just wants to know how to play...doesn't want to have to actually practice or learn.)
Ever in awe of her big sister,...she is quite popular amongst Addysen's friends whether at volleyball or basketball...and she has quite the crush on more than one of Addysen's friends.
We are so grateful for this spirited and lively little girl. We sure do love our Boo Da Loos! I have to learn to love this sport?

The 7th grade Rangers are undefeated at the current time. With two games left before the playoffs, we hope to keep that record going. It's been an interesting season. I find it quite painful to watch these boys tackle and slam each other into the ground. I never thought I would say this, but Cannon seems so little when he is out there against some of the kids. (He would hate that I said that, I'm sure.) Of course, I can't remember now, but I think he plays Wing Back and Linebacker? I don't know. I'm quite clueless...and wonder how, if he decides to stick with this game, am I ever going to learn to love it?
Do I even have to?

Volleyball is also in full swing. Unlike last year at this point, however, I do not have a single picture yet. That has to do, in part, with the fact that the refs yelled at me multiple times last year. Apparently, taking pictures is too distracting to the girls playing. (Whatever.) The other reason? This year just isn't so fun. There are a lot of differences....which I won't go into on a public blog...but let's just say that we hope this goes down as a great learning experience. Only time will tell.

A Scout in the house

Cannon is moving forward with Scouts...and, thanks to a campout in our backyard this weekend (in the pouring rain), he has almost completed the rank of First Class. Onward and Upward....

Apparently, I am a fighter.

 I don't really think of myself as a fighter. I THINK of myself as more of a peacemaker.
But, maybe I am not.
I fought with Bank of America for 2 YEARS...yes, 2 YEARS to get our house payment lowered and into a plan that they said we qualified for...then continually kicked us out of. It was only after enlisting the help of my local congresswoman's office that Bank of America finally completed the deal. Given my piles and piles of documentation...I can't even imagine how many people lost their homes due to bank errors and screw-ups.... People who apparently weren't as determined to just accept the answers given and the status quo.

Heaven knows I have fought with more than one renter. Talk about a losing battle. The court systems, the legal system....the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Still makes me sick to my stomach...but I fought...and won in most cases. winnings were really no victory.

And now....

After many back and forth calls and emails...suffice it to say that Kenzie has a new bus stop. Or, rather, the old bus stop is back in front of our house. Although I didn't have to actually use it, I did videotape the bus several days in a it stopped at 4 separate stops on the end of the street (they told me it only stopped once on our street.) At two of the stops, no one even came out. Turns out, the kids that live there go to private schools, yet the public schools have to provide their transportation or pay the parents a stipend. Go figure.
I also videotaped one day when it was so foggy I could only see about 3 houses down the street...and Kenzie's stop was 9 houses down. Again, my issue wasn't so much that she had to walk down the street (.20 miles according to my Garmin. Yes, I am that insane...I did clock it.) My issue was having two kids leave at the same time...from opposite ends of the street. How could I be in both places? And which child should I leave standing alone?
But really, the issue was...since the bus legally stops in front of my house anyway...why in the world couldn't they open the door and let my kids on?
Since they couldn't/wouldn't give me a reason that made sense (like..."we only have one stop on that street," or "we stop within 2-3 houses of each kindergartner or first grader's house") I pushed the issue.
Finally, after the Director of Business Services took a tour around town...and saw what I was talking about....
Kenzie now gets picked up and dropped off at the end of our driveway.
Now, if only the bus ride didn't take 1.5 hours.....

As for how I feel about being a "fighter"....I'm really not sure. I feel like I don't just fight to fight...all good causes...but it is exhausting. Somehow, however, I'm afraid that it will become increasingly important in the years ahead for me to be willing to "fight" for what I believe is right.

I hope I'm up to the challenge.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drama on Day 2

I'm so ticked with the busing's an email I sent to the Assistant Superintendent this morning...after I got off the phone with the guy in charge of transportation. He was ridiculous...and didn't like when I asked whom else I could talk to about the situation. He said, "there is no one else to talk to," to which I replied, "There is always someone else to talk to." It was a frustrating phone call! Of course, our less-than-smooth morning didn't help things. (And no, the letter I sent did not have a bunch of blank lines throughout.)

Dear Mr. Greene -
I am writing to you right now, instead of calling, because my emotions are running extremely high. I just got off the phone with David Leigh at the bus garage and it was not a pleasant conversation. I realize that he is just doing his job, but the ridiculousness of this situation galls me. We have lived at _____ ________Lane for nearly 5 years. We currently have 4 children riding the bus to various schools. We have two kids at the______, one at ______ and one at _____. We have a fifth child who will be riding the bus in a few short years as well. For the past 4+ years, the bus has picked up our kids at the end of the driveway. This year, however, Mr. Leigh says it is impossible for the bus to pick up my kids here. He said that he was forced to take pick up stops away and they he is not allowed to add additional stops to the routes.

I don't know if you are aware, but ________is a cul-de-sac. We are the first house in the cul-de-sac. Legally, the bus has to stop at the stop sign on the corner of _____ and ______. It has to wait there until traffic is clear before turning onto _____ Road -- either left or right. I am simply asking that when the buses stop, as they legally have to do, that the driver opens the doors long enough for my children to get on. It's really that simple. I'm not asking for the driver to wait if my kids aren't out there. I'm not asking for lots of additional stops to be added to the route. I'm simply asking for what has always been…and for what makes the most sense from a time and effiiciency standpoint. It makes zero sense for my kids to walk all the way down to the end of the cul-de-sac, only to have the bus stop in front of our house anyway. Tell me how efficient that is? It would not add significant time to the bus routes and it would hardly be an inconvenience to the drivers. I've already spoken with 2 out of 3 of them and they agree that it would make a great deal of sense to pick up my kids at the corner of _______ and _______ -- rather than all the way at the end of the street.

I realize that there are time and money constraints plaguing __________ schools and everything associated with the school system. However, it's not like I live 5 houses down from the corner and am asking for the drivers to pick up my kids in a special spot. I'm simply asking that they open the doors when they are legally stopped in the first place.

Again, I realize that Mr. Leigh's job is stressful, particularly so these first few weeks of school. But being a parent, of many children who all attend different schools, is no walk in the park either. To be told over and over again that no concessions will be made, that it will not be possible to have the driver's open the doors long enough for my kids to get on…in a place where they've gotten on for the past 4+ years, is extremely frustrating. In light of today's economic situations and the desperate needs we have in our community and our schools, it would make sense for us all to try to work together to find viable solutions.

I appreciate your time and I look forward to speaking with you concerning this matter.


Tacie Kerr

First Days of School 2012-2013

I'm so far behind on blogging...I figured I better just get the basics in. If time permits more detail later...great. But since that seems it is:
Addysen - 8th Grade (currently playing volleyball)
Cannon - 7th Grade (currently playing football)
Brynnley - 3rd Grade (starting piano lessons and playing soccer)
Kenzie - 1st Grade (starting piano lessons and playing soccer)
Cambrie - staying at home with mom.

 The flower bouquet we picked for Kenzie's teacher while riding bikes.

 Kenzie put on bright red lip gloss right before we tried to get a picture. Despite our best efforts to scrub it off…she looked like her lips were bleeding. She and I had her orientation at 2…so we went for a bike ride at the Metro Parks this morning. She wanted to pick some flowers for her teacher…so the bouquet is what we came up with. Personally, I thought it looked awesome. I was tempted to keep it for myself. :) All in all - a good first day. The buses were 30 minutes late….so Addysen's hair was flat after standing outside in the fog and mist for that long. Sitting at alphabetized lunch tables is highly annoying to both A and C. Cannon's team won their football game 26-6. (Addysen's volleyball team barely managed a win yesterday…it was UGLY.) Brynnley had so much fun at school that she didn't want to come home. Cambrie keeps asking when she gets to go to school. Kenzie can't wait for her first "real" day tomorrow. It is going to be a long one for her. (Just a side note…trying to get her natural smile is really tricky these days…as you'll note in the photos.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gardening is a war we are winning!

Ok, so it't not perfection...but I've been feeling pretty darn proud about our gardening efforts this year. (This is one of those moments when pride is ok, right?) We're new to this...and very clueless. So, the fact that we've produced ANYTHING is pretty good. (Ok, let me clarify to state that the fact that we've produced anything edible is pretty goods. We don't really have trouble growing weeds.)
But, although we don't have any official numbers, we've had quite a bit of beans, zucchini (hello yummy chocolate zucchini bread!), tomatoes, cucumbers (although, they were weird looking. Not sure it was because they are hybrids...or just defective looking.), beets, onions, green peppers, radishes (WAY too hot!), basil, cilantro (none of my other herbs grew. :( ), lettuce, peas and even a couple of canteloupe (which, unfortunately, were not ripe when we tried to cut into them...and now the vines are all dying.)
Still so much to learn for next year...but we're considering this year a success!