Roller Skating

1.30.2017

We have a secret... Since February 2015, Little Lewie has been taking roller skating lessons.  We don't have lessons every Saturday morning, but if I had to venture a guess, we've probably been to 70+ lessons over these past two years.

At age 3, Lewie went roller skating for the very first time.  We were so excited to introduce him to Roller Magic because it was the skate rink that both Lew and I went to as kids.  I had roller skating birthday parties there at ages 9 and 10, and Lew went there faithfully every weekend until he was a teenager.  If there wasn't a five year difference between us, we often joke that our romance would have first started at Roller Magic as kids.




When we took Lewie at 3, we quickly learned he was still too young.  He seemed to like the music, but he was a little scared of all the people on the rink.  I was even scared of all the people on the rink! With lots of bad skaters, sooner or later, someone would get into a collision with us.  We attempted to go back when Lewie turned 4 and again at age 5.

In January 2015 (when Lewie was six), I saw flyers at Roller Magic advertising their Saturday morning skating lessons.  For just $15 per session, Little Lewie could have a private lesson and have the entire rink to himself!  It was a no-brainer; I scheduled our first lesson, and we've been back ever since.

Lewie loves his teacher, Ms. Christine, and he loves the individual lessons.   When he first started, he clutched her hand in fear of falling and moved slower than molasses.  Now, almost two years later, he's skating confidently and slowly learning how to do tricks like "scissors" and skating backwards. He's been taking his time (my son is non-competitive and likes to do everything at his own "slower" pace), but he's learning.  (Pretty soon, I want to go for lessons, too, so I can practice skating backwards.)





I'm still searching for Lewie's first video at roller skating lessons; it's fun to see the progress.  Even when Little Lewie was first born, I often dreamed of an opportunity to take him skating.  Now we're looking forward to many family skate nights (especially in the summer when the rink is a little less crowded)!  We're so glad that good ole Roller Magic is around for another generation.

The Kid Behind the Blog (January Edition)

1.23.2017

A blogger friend of mine, Stefanie from Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam, and Dylan Too, recently did a post for "The Kids Behind the Blog."  I thought her post was so adorable that I decided to join in on the fun.

At age eight, Little Lewie is at the stage where he says both really silly and really profound things; he's also at the age where he LOVES being interviewed, especially for a blog.  I can't think of a better way to capture this snapshot in time.


What’s your favorite thing to do or play inside?
I like to play games like Minecraft, Roblox, Train Simulator, Turbo Dismount, and Scrap Mechanic.

Have you ever seen or played in snow?  If so, what’s your favorite snow activity?
To sled.  (We haven't had a chance play in the snow this year since it's been unseasonably warm!)

What was your favorite Christmas or holiday gift you received?
Portal 2.  Santa is just the best.  (This was one of the three items he placed in Santa's letter this year.  It's a game for Xbox; my son has really gravitated towards technology--trains, robots, 3D simulators, etc.)

What’s your favorite winter vacation you went on? Why?
Santa's Village because we went to see Star Wars Rogue One.  (You can read about our family adventure here (http://mommyspirit.blogspot.com/2016/12/santas-village.html); we went to Santa's Village the weekend before Christmas.)

Would you rather live where it’s warm all year round or have the seasons?
I would rather have seasons because then it would just be the same thing over and over again, and I wouldn't really enjoy it.

I'm looking forward to linking up again with Beth of Our Pretty Little Girls on Feb. 8th. Her January linkup is here:  http://ourprettylittlegirls.com/2017/01/kids-behind-blog-january-2017.html/  February should be fun.  Maybe by then, we'll have snow!

Second Grade Homework

1.19.2017

Weekdays are tough.  Depending on my work schedule, I can come home as early as 5 p.m. or as late as 9:30 p.m.  On early days, I make something for us to eat, and then homework begins somewhere around 6:30 p.m.

We usually start with 20 minutes of math, followed by 20 minutes of spelling (Fundations), and 20 minutes of reading.  My favorite part is the reading!  Math and Fundations are foreign to me.  The math, which follows the common core, uses number lines, number bonds, arrows, and bar graphs.  If I learned math this way in the 80's, I suppose it would make sense to me; however, since common core math follows completely different strategies, I'm lost.  I find myself checking my son's addition and subtraction problems for the right answers, but I usually don't know if he chose "the right" way to get there or if there even is a "right way."

Here is an example of some of the strategies he may use; there are at least three more ways he's been taught to add and subtract too.  Most of the time, I'm confused as to which strategy he should be using...


Spelling fundations confuses me as well.  When I was eight years old (now I'm starting to sound like my parents), I was given spelling tests each week.  We were required to "memorize" the spelling of our words.  Now second graders need to know how to dissect the words as well.  Does the word have a closed syllable, an open syllable, or a v-e syllable?  A month ago, my son brought home a spelling assessment that was completely correct.  However, he lost a significant amount of points because he didn't "dissect" the words properly...  In my opinion, Fundations turns spelling into this weird form of word algebra.  As a college English professor that loves to write and spell, I'm not a fan.


Little Lewie and I save our reading for the end of the day.  We both love stories, so reading ends the homework on a good note.  In the past year, he's grown so much as a reader, and I'm happy to say that he no longer needs intervention at school.  (The continuous reading during the summer and the flashcards worked!)  Lewie has taken interest in the Magic Tree House series, so each week, we find ourselves on a new adventure; we travel to far off lands like China, or we visit local places like New York City during the Great Depression.  This week we're learning about Leonardo da Vinci as the two characters, Jack and Annie, travel to Florence, Italy in the early 1500s.  I, personally, like to follow the Magic Tree House series in order--the books are numbered, but Lewie likes to take them out randomly--his decision is usually based on whether he likes the cover of the book.  Since school started, we've probably read about 20 Magic Tree House books in all.  We've learned lots of fun facts, and The Magic Tree House Fact Trackers (companion books to the stories) help us learn even more about history and geography.

Homework is certainly different from the 1980's.  I'm not sure I always see the reason for the change or the benefit, but like most parents, I have to have some "blind faith" that my child is learning good techniques to help him through grade school, college, and life...  For now, in my spare time, I'll continue to "re-teach" myself new math and spelling strategies, so I can be a tutor and mentor to my second grader...

Do you like these new strategies?

A Quiet Start to 2017

1.09.2017

So far this year has been, well, quiet.  We met up with two of my best friends from grammar school (and their families) to welcome in the New Year, and the next day (New Year's Day), my mom treated us out to eat at our favorite restaurant--the G.W. Tavern; (the G.W. stands for George Washington).  

This weekend, it snowed and was bitter cold, but Lew and I took a drive back up to the Northwestern Hills of Connecticut for our bi-monthly date.  This time we treated ourselves to the Boathouse Restaurant in Lakeville, CT--a new favorite.

One thing that I adore about our relationship is that we both love old, rustic places--and there are plenty to be found in New England.  The G.W. Tavern was once a colonial home (circa 1850) that contains a fieldstone fireplace and hand painted murals from around that time.  We love its charm. (Many homes in the town of Washington are even older--from the 1700's.)

The historical ties of the Boathouse Restaurant building is less known.  It appears to be from the 1800's, but the town itself, Lakeville, goes back to pre-Revolutionary times.  Some of the homes around the restaurant are from the 1700's, and the prestigious Hotchkiss (Boarding) School (right around the corner) was founded in the 1890's.

Here are just a few pictures of the G.W. Tavern, courtesy of their website:

The G.W. Tavern


The G.W. Tavern w/ its fieldstone fireplace and tribute to George Washington.
Here we are on New Year's Day at the G.W.




Here are pictures of the Boathouse Restaurant...

The Boathouse Restaurant in the summer... Picture it covered in snow...


Besides being quiet, I guess the start of this year has also brought some great dining opportunities. Rarely do we get a chance to eat at our favorite restaurants two weekends in a row!  It's probably not helpful with upholding my New Year's resolutions, but the ambiance, the company, and, of course, the food is oh so good!