24 Oct 2012
in Writing, growing-up, self-reflection, Friendship, education
Tags: Heather Kelly, Lois Lowry, Son, The Giver, great writers, dystopian society, symbiosis
Kyla and Heather get Lois Lowry to sign a copy of The Giver
A little over a year ago, DH made a new friend. It wasn’t a friend for him,it was a friend for me. Her name was Heather Kelly.
DH met her on our daughters’ kindergarten playground. Luckily, in the way children either become fast friends or sworn enemies, our daughters were instant pals: my exuberant, over-the-top, Type A with Heather’s quiet, shy but equally headstrong Cowgirl. It took the moms a bit longer but resulted in a friendship with far greater symbiosis.
Heather has been the jumper cables for my childrens book writing aspirations and I’ve helped hone her athletic pursuits. It’s a very positive and supportive friendship, the type that enhances ones well-being rather than detracts from it in the way that friends you just share vices with do.
The pursuits we share (sports and children’s literature) make us better people. Neither of us depends on the other for inspiration nor survival—like the symbiosis between plant and animal found in lichen—rather, we are motivated toward our mutualistic pursuits just by spending time together and encouraging each other.
Which is why it strikes me as particularly ironic that one of the galvanizing pieces of our friendship is founded on a dystopia, conjured in the mind of Lois Lowry. More
01 Oct 2012
in creativity, education, global, Parenting, self-reflection, travel
Tags: couples counseling, planning trips, realizing dreams, traveling with kids
DH and I once hoped to raise our kids abroad. A few years ago, when DH’s career focus shifted from overseas to California and Texas, that hope dimmed. Such is life, plans change and opportunities arise at mysterious intervals.
So, we have planted our roots in our cozy, New England suburb and begun to blossom. But by doing so, we realize that if we aren’t providing our kids with an international address, then raising them with international outlooks means finding other ways for them to see the world instead.
When life puts up road blocks, come up with alternative routes. More
22 Apr 2012
in education, finances, Philanthropy, Shot@Life, Teaching moments
Tags: childhood vaccinations, Crowdrise, fundraising with kids, Moonjar, Shot@Life, United Nations Foundation
My oldest child turns six today. She’s a terrific kid. Perhaps one of her best attributes is that she’s not at all materialistic. I suspect this is because the only television she’s ever watched is commercial-free PBS so partly she doesn’t even know what’s out there to want.
Whatever the reason, out of all of the presents she’s received over the past five years—dolls, doll houses, Play Mobil figurines and sets, craft kits, puzzles, games—the toy she plays with most, in fact, almost every day, is a set of 10 colorful nesting blocks.
She does all sorts of things with them. They have deep social bonds and alternating pecking orders, depending on their size and number. And while it’s a marvel to observe her playing with them, it’s also discouraging to think of all the toys and things that don’t interest her.
Several weeks ago, I began thinking about and planning for her 6th birthday. People started asking me what she wanted and it occurred to me that I really didn’t know. In fact, it’s entirely possible that she really didn’t know what she wanted herself.
Then the idea dawned on me that maybe this year, instead of birthday gifts, people could help my daughter support a cause. But what cause? More
24 Jan 2012
in bi-racial, Chinese-American, education, Friendship, global, Multi-ethnic, Parenting, Writing
Tags: blogging, Jennifer Burden, Million Moms Challenge, Shot@Life, United Nations Foundation, World Moms Blog
I started blogging 15 months ago as a means to hone my writing skills, find my voice and to process life’s small moments…you know, pretty much for all the same reasons most people start blogging. We’re all a work in process.
Shortly after I started, a fellow blogger, by the name of Jennifer Burden, reached out to me about a new blog she had just begun, World Moms Blog.
In her own words, the blog is about this:
As busy mothers we often find ourselves without the time to jet-set around the planet. So, we invite you to come travel the world with us, through our global writers. We will read about how women across the planet are mothering, how their lives are similar or different from ours, what’s on their minds and expand our horizons into corners of daily life around the world.
Her mission immediately resonated with me. I started following the blog and soon became a contributor. Within weeks of signing on as a writer, I More
29 Dec 2011
in education, growing-up, Holidays, Parenting, self-reflection, Teaching moments
Tags: Happy Christmas (War is Over), holiday music, John Lennon, less is more
And if you’re reading this, I’m sure this isn’t news to you but its news to my kids, both of them, but particularly my three-year-old son. They are totally captivated by this information.
The topic came up quite innocently. And unfortunately, quite early in the holiday music season—which in my house begins the day after Thanksgiving. The song Happy Christmas, by John Lennon, came on and I mentioned how much I love the song. I also, off-handedly, mentioned that the song was even more moving because the singer was singing a song wishing for peace but tragically, was, himself, shot.
The conversation went something like this: Me: isn’t this a beautiful song, kids? It’s so sad that the singer is dead. Daughter: he’s dead? Why’s he dead? Me: he got shot. Son: why’d he got shot? Me: Hmm, I don’t More
04 Nov 2011
in childhood memories, education, growing-up, Parenting
Tags: beginner readers, learning to read, picture books, starting kindergarten, the joy of reading, Wild Kratts
My oldest child has loved books for a very long time. In fact, for her whole life. Before she was born, I didn’t know what to look for in board books and children’s tales, all I knew were classics from my own childhood but the kid lit world had exploded since then and there was so much to discover.
To get me on the path of knowledge, I joined a book club, entirely devoted to reading and reviewing picture books. Through it, I discovered many fantastic books like this, this and this, as well as a whole children’s publisher that I really liked.
Trips to local libraries always result in massive acquisitions. My kids pick books by themes of interest (rockets, trains, nature, school) and we stockpile books, which temporarily reside on shelves, already More
19 Oct 2011
in education, Marriage, nature, self-reflection, survival skills
Tags: capturing a hamster, escaping, getting a cat, roborovski hamsters, speed, worst pets
[Continued from yesterday's post...]
Yet again, I was cleaning the 21st Century Cage. As usual, I placed Butterscotch in his ball and left him to explore the floor. Thirty minutes later, I realized it had been a while since I heard the familiar rolling sound of ball against hardwood. Assuming yet again he had lodged himself between door and wall somewhere, I didn’t panic. I placed the clean cage back on the shelf and though it was merely mid-morning for Butterscotch, I was ready for bed.
A quick glance across the room revealed why I hadn’t heard Butterscotch rolling across the floor lately for there sat his overturned hamster ball, the lid several inches away. It had finally happened: Operation Butterscotch Freedom. More
18 Oct 2011
in asian, childhood memories, education, Parenting, self-reflection, survival skills
Tags: capture, escape, fast moving rodents, life-span, operation butterscotch freedom, research, roborovski hamsters, Robos
[A post in two parts]
Last year, our daughter asked us for a pet mouse. I, who grew up with every ilk of rodentia, found her request charming. DH, on-the-other-hand, whose most exotic pet was a cat, said no. His reasons were simple, you can read about them here.
He and I discussed her request for the better part of a month and finally agreed that Santa would deliver the encampment for her ward, her parents would help her determine the resident. We settled on a Roborovski Hamster. She named it Butterscotch.
In hindsight, I wish I had done a lot more research on Robos than I had. Instead, in my eagerness to fulfill my child’s wish, I concluded: they’re small, cute and from Asia; terrific, so was she. What I discovered, post facto, was: 1. Robos are the fastest of the hamster family; 2. they’re nocturnal (in other words, the moment More