Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Teachers Make Easy Targets

I am livid with the current discussion regarding education. Being an ex teacher I am becoming more and more personally offended for myself and my ex colleagues who are also my friends. Lately the discussion about education has come back to the forefront and many of the reasons the system is failing are being either completely ignored or blatantly lied about. Where the hell are the teachers? Are we as a group so beat down that we’ve just given up and will let everyone say what they will? Where the hell are the unions we pay dues to so that they will represent and stand up for us in situations like this? I am appalled at the current education climate as well as where everyone is placing the blame.

Now don’t get me wrong, as you see in any profession there are bad employees and teaching is no different. It is impossible to have perfect employees all around no matter what the job. The problem is, one bad teacher can ruin many so weeding them out is very important. At the same time, blaming teachers as a population for the downfall of public schools is completely unacceptable. If anyone sat down to think about it, there are many ways to seek out the defective teachers and none of them have to do with “Standardized” testing. As far as standardized testing goes I feel that was the final straw in the downfall of public education. For one thing there is nothing “standardized” about our children. No one person learns or performs in a “standardized” way so why is so much riding on such tests. They use the tests as a means of doling out much needed funds and have thrown around the idea of linking the tests to teacher performance. If you want to know how a teacher performs then you have to SEE it live. There needs to be more unannounced classroom observations done by principles or district officials. Someone should observe several lessons in different subject areas on an unannounced basis throughout a particular week. Then at the end of the week to get an idea of student performance and teacher effectiveness graded assignments from a random few of the observed subjects should be requested. Since the teacher doesn’t know when the observation will happen or which subject results will be required there can be no lesson faking or grade padding. If this is done a few times over the course of a school year (or a school quarter) you will get a view of teacher effectiveness because those students should be performing better over that period of time. The person observing will also see the more visual activities which make an effective teacher such as questioning students to insight thinking, proper lesson planning, knowledge of subject matter, etc. While I appreciate the need for one neat little package that says pass or fail education is not a place where that should be expected.

The other night on the news it was mentioned that it wasn’t the parents or the government taking down the public schools and after my teaching experience I beg to disagree. The school at which I taught was in a low income area with a high turnover rate (many kids moving in and out throughout the year. I had one girl move in and out of my class 3 times throughout the year). During my parent teacher conferences I would work hard to start off with the positives about my students then delve into the areas where they struggled. Many students as we know struggle with reading. I would advise parents that reading is not taught in the manner that math or social studies is, that I was giving them the strategies to help them read but in order for their children to successfully read they would need a platform to practice those strategies. We did some of this in class but I asked all of my parents with struggling readers to read with their kids for 15 to 20 minutes per night. I have to say that almost 70% of those parents told me they didn’t have time and 2 or 3 gave me the great “Isn’t that your job?” answer. I understand being busy and coming from a town with many people working odd hours I offered alternatives like reading to siblings or whatever caregiver that stayed with the child while they were at work. No dice. I also offered to stay after class for an extra hour 3 days a week to offer math tutoring. I offered this to all students then made sure to let parents of my struggling students know because 5th graders aren’t great at making the decision to stay after and get help. Only 2 kids showed up. Even though I hunted my struggler’s parents after school and begged them to make their kids come 2 showed up. One mom told me her daughter (who could not do multiplication in 5th grade and was one of the kids I was extra worried about) just did not have a “mathematical” mind and wanted to be a mom when she grew up so there was no need to push. Another example was this great report I assigned for social studies. Each student was to pick a historic figure they admired or were interested in then study and investigate the person for a multi format report. Only 3 students had parents that were willing to take them to a public library to get information. Since our school library was limited I went to the public library with a list of each student’s choice and checked out as many books as I could to bring to class and check out to my kids so their reports wouldn’t be limited (I did this on similar reports we did on the states). Without parental support, I was swimming against the tide at all times. In addition to teaching many of my students had tumultuous home lives so I spent a lot of time trying to help them focus through the haze of nasty divorces, drug abuse, and violence.

I don’t want to come off placing all blame on the parents because our federal and state governments need to shoulder the majority of the blame. The standardized tests I mentioned earlier have made the local governments go crazy. Here in Las Vegas we have a school district the size of Los Angeles yet we only have 1 superintendent. Now this person (following in the foot steps of his predecessor) along with the assistants and other decision makers in the district have purchased programs to be used throughout the school day which take all creativity and thought out of teaching. My day as a teacher found me with a 1 hour and 45 minute reading program which consisted of a text book that took some of our most loved chapter books and broke them down into 25-30 page atrocities. Then we had to do 45 minutes of math (another scripted text but with less rigidity) and an hour of language arts (text based program also). The students had an hour for lunch and an hour for electives (P.E., art, music, and library). At the end of my day I had to squeeze in social studies and science intermittently. Since they no longer had time to read chapter books I would also squeeze in 20 minutes after lunch during which I read to them. I was able to read them Matilda and Bridge to Terebithia during the year. Because of this, they were motivated to check out books and read at home on their own (I provided the books because they could only use the library once a week so I purchased over $700 in books for my classroom library which I then checked out to them myself).

In college I was taught to make lesson plans based around chapter books like Where the Red Fern Grows or Bridge to Terebithia but here was this one book with a program I had to follow (I had an actual script). Remember book reports, gone. In boxes in storage I have several lessons for all elementary subjects I made up myself according to the district standards. These lessons included tasks that were meant to reach all learners. We were taught everyone learns differently so lessons should include ways to reach each child. There were 7 main learning styles which we built our lessons around; Linguistic, Logical, Spatial, Musical, Bodily, Intra/Interpersonal (to find a description of each go to The 7 Learning Styles b y Stacy Mantle or Google “7 learning styles”) . I was never allowed to use these lessons even though they were written with the required learning. I was made to use the magical programs the district spent a fortune on but offered little support with. If you’re a teacher or parent you know about in service days when teachers go to school for training and kids get a day off. We spent these days with “specialists” of the reading program, constantly asking how to personalize the program without compromising it. They could not answer the questions, advised us to stick to script, and they would try to figure it out later. Teachers used to be effective because they would take the expectations of the district and use it as a framework to create a lesson. I don’t know about teachers in Ohio but here in Las Vegas, we don’t have that freedom. With the day being so full, we also don’t always have the opportunity to go back and redo a lesson the majority of the class may not have gotten. The local governments also have an issue controlling class size. I had 35 students at one time. A private school can usually provide a 16 to 1 ratio giving teachers there the ability to provide better one on one care when needed.

Another very rarely addressed and slightly large problem is the new belief that anyone can teach. Here in Las Vegas and at several schools throughout the country we have a program called Teach for America. It is a program which takes graduates of other professions such as political science or accounting and offers them a full or partial pay off of their school loans in return for teaching 3 years in a struggling school (this financing option was told to me by the Teach for America student I worked with making it heresay so I have included the link to the program's website above for those who wish to investigate). These students get 2 years of “training” and then are sent into really rough schools to try to save the world (and their future bank account). While most teachers have 4+ years of education these folks are coming in with a year of the basics and are motivated extrinsically. People who chose to teach know there is little to no financial reward which is what sets them apart, but you get a psychology major looking to rush through 3 years of teaching so he won’t have school loans and what kind of education do you think is going to be handed out. I worked with one of these students. He was a very young, nice guy who majored in political science and entered our grade level with big ideas for how he would run a classroom. The problem was he was going to run it from a political point of view and the students weren’t having that. Because teaching was not his chosen profession his passion fizzled quickly and by the middle of the year we were doing everything to get him to the end. The poor guy had little to no real classroom management training, did not understand lower income families, and could not relate to his core audience. That guy left the program the following year and sought out a job in his original field. Teaching can not be done by just anyone. Would you allow a program called “Surgery for America” where graduates from other professions got a condensed overview of the field of surgery then were released perform tonsillectomies on the general public for 3 years? Maybe if teachers got some respect back and the profession regained some of it’s public regard there would be more motivated and effective teachers. I know respect is earned but I feel in this case it has been taken so that the public and politicians can avoid their share of the responsibility for the current education debacle.

Understand, I am not saying all parents are bad, the government sucks, and all teachers are greatest people ever. I am trying to speak out on behalf of teachers who at this point and time are taking the brunt of the blame for a flailing school system which we should all be sharing blame for. I have been watching people this week talk about the obliteration of public schooling as we know it. This system was set up for a reason; people have the right to a free and GOOD education. As long as we keep seeing kids in all 50 states as standardized this will never be a reality. I believe teachers need to be held accountable but I also believe they need the freedom to control that which they are being held accountable for. Districts like Las Vegas need to dump these magic bullet programs and go back to old school ways of offering information. By standardizing our way of achieving funds we have standardized the manner in which we teach. I believe funding should be fair and when it’s based off one test for all that is an impossible feat. Here in Las Vegas students in the wealthier areas perform better because they have the mental and physical support system they need which in turn earns them the funding. What about those kids whose single parents work 2 jobs or who have parents who were never worthy of children in the first place. Those children are not going to perform the same. Maybe funding should depend more on real academics. Break it down by state in a more real life way. The information and standards a school district in a rural area deems important is not going to be exactly the same as a district in a metropolitan area so why would we give students from such differing areas the same exact test to determine their worth? Break it down, individualize schools and programs, and then go into the actual schools and classrooms for your results. If Washington wants to judge a teacher they need to back off of the school districts and allow them to empower their teachers to create their own lessons using their own districts standards as a framework. Then, education bureaucrats and district employees need to come out from behind their desks and go observe what is happening in classrooms. As I said, if you watch actual lessons then take the results on a continuous yet sporadic basis you will receive an honest view of what that teacher is doing. If you want independent thinkers with the skills needed to perform in society quit placing them in a standardized box and stop trying to place blame in one place for the failure of all. It truly takes a village to educate our children and for a long time now all inhabitants of our village have been failing to do their part.

I’m sorry this was so long but I’ve been mulling this over for a while. I may take heat for this post but these are my opinions based on my experience in one of several school districts and they in no way reflect the opinions or experiences of all teachers in America. Though, I am guessing they represent more teachers out there than I think.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dudes vs. Chicks; Parenting

I know this topic is not one of originality, but I have decided to blog about my personal take on it based on my experience with my own Mr. Wonderful. It has been said and written about before, men and women are different (duh). I could not agree more. We are different in many aspects, especially parenting. These differences often lead to strife in relations between the sexes because while men are relaxed and seem to inherently understand we all do things in different ways, women believe our way is right and men are unqualified to make their own decisions on how to perform the daily parenting tasks. So, for your amusement here’s some of the parenting differences in my home, Sabreena vs. Dave edition:

Feeding: I am anal about feeding times. My boys eat breakfast upon waking, lunch at noon, a snack after nap, and dinner by 530 (I let up on weekends occasionally). Snacks are not sweets and if they get any sugar it’s after dinner. My husband on the other hand does not subscribe to this philosophy. Breakfast is the same but lunch comes when he gets hungry or if he wants the boys to go take a nap. Snack can be a cookie and should he buy them candy it is immediately consumed with dinner as an after thought. Snacks themselves can be overly frequent under Daddy’s watch as well. Now, I don’t starve my boys, but I keep snacks to a minimum so they will eat their main meals. Dave will feed them snacks all the way up until dinner or lunch. Our ideas on feeding are very different and though I don’t agree I am just thankful he remembers to feed them and usually grateful to get a break from the responsibility.

Servicing the Beasts: For whatever reason though my boys are 2 and 3 I am still in that baby phase of getting them what they need right away (notice I said need not want, I’m not crazy). Should they require beverage service I will usually stop what I am doing to get it. The boys need something that is out of their reach? Mom will get it right away. Dad on the other hand, it could be days minutes before he takes care of it. If my husband is doing something he can drown them out until their little voices grate on my nerves and I end up doing the deed. Don’t get me wrong, he does not neglect them and will eventually fulfill the need, but he makes them wait longer than I would. I actually admire this quality as they are old enough now to wait a few extra minutes and they do need to start sharpening their patience skills. Dave’s like Super Hearing Loss Man and I am constantly jealous of his sound blocking powers.

Bedtime Business (i.e. Prelude to Happy Hour): Now this particular part of the day is almost never done by my husband. He has put the boys to bed maybe 4 times during their short lives so far. When I do bedtime we do “jammies, teeth, story, nigh night” (exact verbiage used in our home). The pajama tops and bottoms always match, I do the teeth brushing to ensure maximum cleaning, and after story they get covered completely with blankets. The few times el Dave has done this chore it has gone much differently. Pajama components rarely match (some don’t get put on at all), he will skip teeth, and his half ass blanket job leaves most limbs exposed. As I said, he rarely performs this part of the day so when he does I leave him to it, happy it’s not me.

Showering: We both shower with the boys most times. I am in charge of baths when we do them but to save me the time on the weekends my husband or I will take them in the shower with us. I wash the boys with their Johnson & Johnson no tears products faithfully. Dave, on the other hand, has been known to use Axe shower gel and occasionally no shampoo. Let me tell you, hair does not smell too good after a shampoo-less shower.

These are just a few examples of how differently things can go down in my home depending who is on duty. Most of the time we’re both on but as with any good team each player has their parts (I play majority of the parenting positions though). I don’t always agree with how my husband does things I am so glad he does them. I am thankful I found a man who not only loves and takes care of me but is also hands on with our walking genetic reproductions. I have sat back and let up on my expectations because he needs to be able to do things his own way in order to enjoy parenting on his terms. If I get in the way or demand he do things in a certain manner he will not have the interest in helping out that he does now. Sure, any man will do as they are told, but my man actually gets to enjoy caring for his children because I am not hovering over him all of the time reminding him of how wrong I think he is. He parents his way and I have mine. His way of parenting is different but it allows my boys to connect with him in their own personal way. We stick together on important things like discipline and rules but as for the day to day stuff we are different and that’s good for us and our kids. I watch too many women micromanage their men around their kids and in turn I see some of those men just going through the motions of care. They love their kids but aren’t getting to enjoy coming up with their own little daddy rituals. Some men aren’t allowed the freedom women have to stumble through parenthood and find your own way of doing things because they have mama hen clucking at them too much.

My point is, I have learned that if I let Dave put his own spin on the day he has fun with my boys and actually looks forward to his portion of the care. As long as the boys survive and are happy (and I get to shrug off some of the pressure) who gives a shit how it was done (except the teeth thing honey, that has to be done even if it’s half ass because the lack of that activity has the potential to cost us mad Benjamins later in life).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I’m Becoming a Poor Man’s Martha Stuart

A running theme for some of my days is boredom. Not every day, but most days, I am straight up bored. I like to be with my boys but their topics of conversation are limited and let’s face it, Play Doh lost its luster like 25 years ago. A recent activity I have found to stave off this boredom is to go to the craft store and find little projects to do (only 2 have been done to date). Now, I am a very creative person. I feel I have a flair for writing when I put my mind to it. However, artistic, I am not. I love to do art but the product is usually reminiscent of my kindergarten projects. I attempted a scrapbook while pregnant with my first son and I have to admit it is in a closet with one page done (the photos on said page are from his ultrasound signifying how far I got). My first project since that failed scrapbook was these name plaques I made last month for my son’s bedroom doors:

The name plaques kicked off my project extravaganza (more ideas than product right now). I felt I did well with those damn plaques even if they are rudimentary (my kids liked them and saw them as a testament of my love). The actual painting of the plaques also had a calming effect amidst my chaos. I realized that I could shut out all of the noise and drama of a two toddler home when focused on a project. Though I am not a crafter in nature and I admit I was one who scoffed at and occasionally made fun of those who were, I can now see why people become crafters.

Once I finished the plaques I began perusing Michael’s website for something else to do and I noticed a link to Styrofoam wall art. Not believing Styrofoam could make art of any kind I looked over it and decided I liked what I saw. The directions were easy enough and I began to believe I could pull it off so I went in to get the materials and began "creating". After several adhesive mishaps (the site failed to add that almost no glue works on a porous surface like Styrofoam) I found the right stuff. How strange the right product was actually named “Styrofoam adhesive”. As for the overall project, that shit was harder than the directions let on and not at all as enjoyable as the plaques. I found myself rushing to finish after making the first square. I wanted to give up several times but couldn’t because the materials cost like 60 bucks and I did not want to be a wasteful heathen. I charged forward and as a result of my buyer’s remorse dedication this is the final product which hangs on my bathroom wall:

I have been looking at my “wall art” for a few weeks now and I guess they’re not that bad. I do not, however, suggest working with Styrofoam to anyone. I have realized that pre-fabricated projects are more my speed (as seen in the plaques) so I think my next project will be along those lines. I’m better at finishing something that has already been started than I am at creating something from several variables. Pre-fabrication, It’s a good thing.

The next project I would like to do and am currently searching for is wooden bookends I can decorate for my boy’s rooms. I am also debating on whether or not to try my hand at jewelry making (just because you can doesn’t always mean you should). As for my homemade home design I may be retiring from that though I have to admit my home is full of temptation. I have a blank wall in my living room that needs a little something and I would like to create a center piece for my dining room table. Decorating these two spots in my home may be best left to a Bed, Bath, and Beyond shopping trip but if this boredom sticks around I will probably get brave again. Maybe I’ll just try finishing a scrapbook because you can now buy those almost ready made which is right up my ally. But then I’d have to select and print all of the pictures and pick a design (ugh) Martha Stuart I am not.

Do you admit to crafting on occasion or are you a proud crafter? Have you attempted to decorate your home with your own homemade stuff?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Super Sweet Birthday/Mother’s Day

If you read my previous post My Impending Super Sweet 32nd Birthday then you knew of my plans for last weekend. Saturday was my birthday followed by Mother’s day Sunday which made for a weekend all about yours truly. Since there was a very important UFC event on Saturday my husband and I made my birthday plans of dinner and a show for Sunday night.

Saturday we had some friends and family over. My husband barbequed some good food and we watched the fights. I am glad we decided to watch live because Sho Gun put Machida down leaving Sho Gun open to fight the douche bag Anderson Silva. This is important because Machida and Silva are butt buddies friends and refused to fight which would have left us fans with a stale mate. Now we can dream that Rua will kick the shit out of Silva someday (a feat which has yet to be done). The day of the fights we went to the store to get the food and my kids helped me get a cake. Now this cake became quite the embarrassment of our shopping trip. How, you ask, can a cake embarrass? Because of what we had written on it. My husband is a lover of nicknames and gives them to pretty much everyone he comes in contact with. My oldest son Lash is referred to as “Baby Vegas” while his younger cohort Remy is known as “Ram it Down”. Some of the other names are “Tea Bags” for our friend Tammy, “Habie” for my sister in law, “Flanders” for my step daughter, and so on. Now his nickname for me is the culprit behind Saturday’s shopping gate. Due to my utter lack of pigmentation my husband has always called me “White People” or “Whitey”. Everyone gets a kick out of it and he uses it so often my children refer to me as “whitey” on occasion. So, out of family tradition this is what we had written on my cake:
Not realizing how this could be taken until I was at the bakery counter, I began to profusely explain this name to the Hispanic baker who had to write it on the cake. She laughed and was good natured but I still blushed and freaked out a little. We collected the goods and moved on to the register where we encountered another Hispanic lady. Again I started to babble my explanation while the lady laughed and my husband told me to let it go. With the whole Arizona thing going on I was mortified that my birthday cake might make people think we were going to a white supremacy rally or something. Everything went okay though and our friends got a kick out of the cake and the story.

Sunday night my husband and I escaped the house and our little terrorists for dinner at Serendipity 3 followed by Peepshow with Holly Madison. Dinner was so good. I read mixed reviews about the restaurant but we liked it. It was a little loud but the food made up for it. I had a NY Strip Steak Sandwich which has steak, eggs, and bacon on garlic bread and it was super yummy. After dinner we walked over to the Planet Hollywood hotel for the show. It was a really good show. Based on several fairy tale females, the characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife were finally portrayed in the way every man imagines, hot with tendencies toward stripping. The music was bad ass. They actually had live singers and those bitches could belt. As for Holly Madison, it could have been any star up there and the show would have been great. My husband and I thought Holly was pregnant at first because her tummy has gotten a little rotund. At the beginning of the show she seemed to be trying to cover it up with a robe (we later realized she was actually trying to play her character as coy because she ended up topless in a g-string sans the robe). My opinion was that all of the late night drinking and buffet diving is getting to the poor girl. My husband says it may have been the contrast between her and the svelte dancers. I decided I am right and Hef’s little ex concubine is indeed showing some signs of hard ass Vegas living. She did okay in her role as Little Bo Peep for the most part, but the majority of the show is held up by the singers and dancers. Should any of you come to Vegas soon I suggest this show as long as you don’t mind partial nudity and suggestive content.

Overall, it was a great weekend. My husband took care of everything and I got to relax. Having access to such great entertainment whenever we need it is a definite advantage of living in the city of sin. I got some great gifts which included jewelry from Swarovski (my husband’s new favorite store). Becoming 32 wasn’t so bad and the past weekend is now going down as one of the greatest weekends in my history (so far).

Monday, May 10, 2010

My First Award

Thank you to my new friend Jacqui over at The Ins & Outs of a Stay at Home Mom and Wife for my first award. I like this one because I like to think of myself as a “Versatile” blogger (gloating is now done). As with most awards there are some guidelines the recipient must follow and they are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!

4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

I have taken care of number 1 in the opening paragraph above. As for number 2, here goes:

1) I have lived in Las Vegas for 16 years. I am now a true local and my kids were born here. An amazing fact to all of those who believe all you can do here is party.

2) Even though I am a chick and a heterosexual, I enjoy a good strip club every now and then (probably a product of fact #1 above).

3) I moved 17+ times growing up and I was not in a military family.

4) I met my husband 17 years ago but did not date him until 4 years ago.

5) I would like to get my Master’s Degree in school counseling and help high school students pick reasonable paths for their future.

6) I’m deathly afraid of spiders to the point of not being able to sleep in a home where I know one is roaming freely.

7) Though I always speak to the contrary, I would like to have a third child. Maybe even a girl.

I have hand picked the following 15 bloggers to receive this award from me (hopefully they take it and play along):

Aunt Becky @ Mommy Wants Vodka

Keely Mann@ Mann Land 5

Dr. Heckle @ Dr. Heckle

As for number 4, I will be contacting my chosen bloggers tomorrow. In the interim go check them out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Word to My Mutha

My mother has been reading my blog recently and demanded suggested that I write an ode to her post. Seeing as mother’s day is Sunday and she gave me a bad ass birthday gift birth I graciously agreed. Plus, my mom is a really great lady. From her I learned what it really is to be a mother and woman. She always loved us and no matter what, stood by us. There was a rough time when she and my father divorced several years ago and my brother and I chose to alienate ourselves from her for a while. My mom could have gotten angry and bitter with us and though she occasionally handled our anger without the proper amount of understanding she hung in there and waited for us to have our emotions out (it took like 5 or 6 years, we be some grudge holding ninjas). When we finally decided to come back around, she held none of it against us and took the relationship right back to what it was before. Forgiveness is always guaranteed with her.

When I was young my mother stayed home with us until we were in school. She did attend college while being a SAHM but never let it get in the way of her duties to us. Watching her get her education later in life while trying to raise two toddlers showed me it is never too late to better yourself and no matter what happens in life you can preserver. My mom was not perfect but she was honest, kind, and educational. She used to take flack from my father about her need to allow us to explain our less than acceptable behaviors. When kids weren’t supposed to have a voice, she provided ears and expected us to put some reason behind our choices (my brother’s bullshit skills are excellent as a result).

As a teenager I went through a very rebellious bitch like period and my mother and I often kicked the shit out of each other argued. She was very controlling and always up in my business. I detested it and at times her. It wasn’t until I had my kids that I understood what the hell she was doing (cliché but true). I was actually lucky to have a mother who was so involved in my life because though I did my fare share of bad things and was far from perfect I had more to fear and someone to answer to unlike my friends with less involved parents. I was also armed with the knowledge and background to choose my sins wisely and work through bad periods without being damaged by them. This also came from my mother. She never hid any of her past from us and in knowing all of her screw ups and wrong turns we were able to understand what we were getting into most of the time (not always, like I said, informed not perfect).

Now that I am an adult I can go to my mother for anything. She usually takes my side, she doesn’t judge me, and she tries her best to help. We still have our issues (especially after long periods of time together or when she tells me something I don’t want to hear) but I completely appreciate her for who she is and all she has given me.

A more selfish and generic reason I am thankful for her is her awsome genetics. She looks great at 56 and I am positive her ass has another 10 good years which gives me hope for my physical future. Looking at her, I have a vision of me at 70 in my beach side condo located in a beautiful yet debaucherous retirement community dancing around to “Baby Where’d You Get That Body From” by the Black Eyed Peas.

All joking aside, I love you mom. This mother’s day my gift to you is thanks. Thank you for being my mom and now my friend. I haven’t always shown it but I appreciate you. If I am half the mother to my boys that you were to my brother and I then I will consider myself successful. This parenting shit isn’t easy but you took it and ran with it and for that I am eternally grateful. So, I would like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all of the bad ass moms out there. We’re all doing a very tough and sometimes thankless job to the best of our ability and though we don’t always feel it, we are appreciated. You go ladies!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Impending Super Sweet 32nd Birthday

  Since I have had very little blog inspiration lately and 2 Cent Tuesdays did not catch on the way I’d hoped I have decided to post about a very big event happening this Saturday. My 32nd birthday!! In fact, this weekend will be completely about me. Having a birthday Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday makes for a very narcissistic weekend. Birthdays are one of the many times living in Las Vegas really pays off. The celebration activities are endless and this year my husband and I will be throwing down Vegas style. We will be issuing this throw down Sunday instead of my actual birthday on Saturday because Saturday night is reserved for UFC 113. Lyoto Machida and Mauricio ShoGun Rua will be having their rematch. If you saw the first fight you would understand the importance of putting off a birthday outing to watch the event live because Shogun was robbed the first time when the fighters allowed the outcome of the fight to be made by the less than knowledgeable judges. My husband, little ones, and I will be joined by a few friends and family members to watch the fights and have some cake while my husband and I reserve our energy for Sunday’s debauchery.
  Sunday night is our night on the town sans kids. My husband and I will begin the night by having dinner at Serendipity 3 located inside Caesar’s Palace. This is a new establishment I have wanted to try for a while now. I have read mixed reviews but as always I will decide for myself. Let’s hope it is good. Amazingly we got dinner reservations for 7pm even though Sunday is Mother’s Day and restaurants become over crowded family mosh pits every year. After our quiet dinner (and cocktails) we will be moving on to Planet Hollywood to catch Peepshow with Holly Madison (and more cocktails of course). If you haven’t been to Vegas or don’t know Holly Madison she has been in this stage show based on Little Bo Peep and Red Riding Hood for like a year now. It consists of a little less fairytale and more of a Vegas staple, bare breasted dancing showgirls. We have wanted to see it for a while and felt that my birthday was the perfect excuse. We purchased great seats right in front of the stage. My husband met Ms. Madison on a flight a few months ago and according to her if you sit in the front the lovely ladies come down and interact with you so we may get VIP access to those dancing breasts. I will let you know.
  Though my kids won't be joining us for Sunday night's outing, they are so sweetly excited because they now truly understand what a birthday is and cannot believe mama gets one too. My 3 year old, Lash, has a list of items he would like to purchase for me which includes a “choo choo train” and a “neck-a-lace”. Luckily my husband will be escorting my little minions out Saturday afternoon to shop for their offerings of mama worship. He is great at leading them to purchases more along the lines of a necklace than a choo choo train.

  I know normally age is supposed to freak us out and make us depressed but I gotta tell you, I am just not there yet (maybe because I’m still relatively young). However, this is the first year I have started to notice the physical signs of my age. Until about 4 months ago I had just completely ignored what age was doing to my face. I have lines in my forehead which have deepened over the years and the skin on my face has taken on a different texture. Even though I have just recently joined reality and noticed the signs of my slow physical demise, my mind still feels pretty young. Now I completely understand the sentiment that age is how you feel. If it’s true my ass is still 25. In yo face wrinkles!!!

  Aside from my new wrinkle reality I am excited to get older. The older I get the more I understand myself. I have gained a confidence that I never experienced when I was younger. To me, this self awareness is well worth the remnants of father time’s exuberant tango across my face. I am now declaring myself a MYLF (mother you’d like to f*c*). I plan to be hot and feel young well into my 60’s. Wrinkles, saggy bits, and all. But, we will just have to wait and see. All of this self indulgent aplomb aside, something tells me those pesky little midlife years may not be as kind and could potentially crush my current expectations. I highly doubt it though. That being said, here’s to me and my 32nd year on this planet.

What are your feelings about your aging process? Do you get depressed around birthday time or do you celebrate like you just won the lottery?

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