Archive | June 2012

Happy Birthday Lars

Sometimes Lars reads this but either way today is for him.  In other years we have gone out and done cool stuff but with a 1 month old we have more limited options…  He is sleeping late and we are playing Diablo III, going out to best buy for a gift and before he wakes up I’m going to go get an icecream cake for tonight.


The kids and I tried to re-create this for a gift; 

But I think the girls in the picture are a little older then 2 and 4 who did not completely understand the concept.  My picture looks better in composit format so you can see more of the ‘process’

For others doing this, note that using thin cardboard is good for the cutting but not good for the floppyness.  I had to attach lots of structure so it would stay up.  You also have to hold it upside down and backwards – something Niamh was pretty against since she is now very clear on how words should look…  Oh well, I think the composit is cute and very us.  The original plan was to have Fiona in the pic too but she was sleeping and the chance of getting all 3 in the frame was slim to none so she did her own present for Lars;

Maybe some of the letters are a stretch, but, when you can’t control your own limbs what can you expect.  (I’m not sure I would have had better luck with the older two).

Hopefully today is a great day for Lars, if nothing else, he gets to sleep from 7am to 10 without interruption and with a 1 month old that is its own gift.

MOOC – not a video game

In order to not have by brain turn to mush, I try to read my news aggregator.  Since I actually don’t have a lot of time, its usually not the headlines but the human interest stories that are current but not hot off the press (BTW, this is not a hot off the press type of blog) that I read from Time or FastCo.  The one that caught my eye was something semi unrelated but it mentioned ‘MOOC’ and I wondered what brand of new online game had come out.  Sad that all caps acronyms like that, especially ones that start with ‘MO’ for ‘m’assive ‘o’nline instantly scream computer game – hey, if you can’t beat them join them*.  Anyway this time it stands for ‘massively open online courses’ and I think that can’t totally be coincidence.  The other cool aspect is that this is a free program co sponsored by MIT and Harvard.

This could change how people learn, if, the stigma (rightly disserved sometimes) of online learning is fixed by valid teaching and attendance and discussion. Having someone teaching an interesting course online means that anyone in the world can attend broadening the access to learning, the globalization of concepts, and, the feedback from a global audience should be far different then just a local class.

I still like the traditional classroom, but, I can get to one – I like the idea that distance and funding would be far less of an obstacle if systems like this catch on.


* tomorrow for Lars’s birthday his wish is to play video games all day with me and I’m all for that wish

Prof Kate

I’m pressing ‘submit’ on an application for an adjunct professor job at a local community college.  I have references, I have talked to teacher friends so I have a clue what this might entail…  I have an MBA and a big chunk of experience plus no fear of freshman, even hordes of them.  I have no idea if they will want me but if they do I would be very excited for such a different course (ha ha… course)

Anyone have any connections to Century College in MN they want to throw my way?  Any other institutions?  I’m just going to let this one out into the universe and see what happens.

Other Kate update

Ug! I don’t think the Kate I contacted is THE Kate… but, I’m close!  This Kate replied and there is still a possibility she is the Kate, but, I think she is a friend of THE Kate so I’m close.  I just want a solid e-mail for her so I can forward any stray e-mails in the future but the mystery is pretty fun.  Anyway, hi to the new Kate from the e-mail today – she checked out the blog and might be staying.

Update on the Mexican…. apparently Fiona is not a fan and was a cranky pants all night and all day.  Oh well, I can do without mexican for a while more, lets call it part of my diet plan.

My ‘Other Kate’ story is now complete

Friday I got another e-mail intended for O.K. but this one was a reply to her – how I got onto that I don’t know, apparently hitting ‘reply’ was not this guys strong suit since he manually added an address for her.  Since it was a reply I can see the real e-mail and whole name and Kate is indeed a woman and she might be getting married (unclear from the em, she might just be helping with a wedding).  Anyway I wrote to her and related the outline of what has happened over the past few years and now I have a real e-mail to forward misguided mail to.  OR (in a twist) I might have replied to ANOTHER person named Kate that was just on the e-mail trail and the real O.K. is still out there….

In other news, motherhood continues.  This weekend we went to the Zoo on Saturday and hung out locally on Sunday with a visit to a local park and then the mexican place we love but I had to boycott while pregnant because eating anything there gave me very very very bad indigestion.  Fiona had a hard night last night, not exactly up and needing walking and rocking but restless and requiring patting and re-nooking semi constantly all night.  How I’m going to deal with this plus the other girls I do not know but I’ll find out in July…  We are dropping daycare down to 2x a week for them so we can have more time, and, save the many thousands of dollars we pay to daycare.  I wrote up the notes on the change today to give to daycare so we are making real decisions and actually taking action, amazing.

I’m also pleased to say that maternity clothing now looks silly big on me.  I have a pair of shorts that I’ll still wear because they are the under belly type so that translates to a wide elastic band but otherwise putting away the big stuff is now officially on the list.  I have a friend who is pregnant too, due in Oct and as of yesterday our bellies were the same (yes we measured).  My waist 3 weeks post baby is 35 inches…  room for improvement but the bridesmaid dress I’m supposed to wear in September should fit and might even be big.  Nothing like dress shopping 9m pregnant.  Next week I plan on starting to actually exercise more then just leading my life but I’m not ready to go back to Insanity yet at all.

Thats the update for today~

What does a drawing tell you

In a dim recess of my brain I remember my grandfather grading papers on the porch.  This was pretty common really but the one time I remember most is when he had asked his students to collect pictures drawn by children of people (he taught teachers).  The assignment was to assign a mental age to the child based on the picture and oddly the reason I really remember this is the long discussion he had with the other adults (maybe my grandmother and mom?) of a question from a student on if a drawing that had earrings but did not actually show the ear because of curly hair in the picture – how did that count.

For over 20 years this has lingered in my brain…  I never really looked into what the theory was until last month when one of Niamh’s most recent people drawing was notably different then her earlier ones and definitely showing ‘progress’.  I have no doubt that my precious snowflake is smart but I wanted to see what this drawing thing said about her so I queried google and after a mess of search terms I found what he was (likely) using as a guid; the Draw A Person test (DAP).  It is used in kids who can’t read yet and is really used in special needs kids (his area of expertise) but for a 4 year old it is still a decent benchmark.  Basically the test is to have a kid draw a person and then they get a point for each feature.  The points translate on a scale to a mental age based on the real age and number of points.  This is based on measuring perception, you know your 4 year old knows their body parts and *might* have even made socially unacceptable verbal observations of people who are not put together the same way, or, are missing parts.  What they translate from observation into what belongs is what is measured, not what they have learned to draw and thats why this does not work with older kids.

When I did this the first time I really looked closely at Niamh’s drawings and she didn’t have arms on the person.  I dug through her recent pile of art to make sure this was a constant thing and yes, there are no arms on her people, any of them.  She does draw all of us in various scales – I’m usually biggest – and she loves to draw hair. Her early people were Rapunzal inspired and had hair all the way to the ground showing zero body.  Since then the hair is more limited to the head and actually representative of our individual hair cuts – kinda cool – oh, and Lars always has a mow hawk in her pictures even though he has not cut his hair that way in a year.  The sweet thing for a while she was drawing a tiny person in my body (just hanging out in the middle of my armless torso, no bump) and it was the new baby, I think that disserves extra points but more realistically it means she did understand the ‘baby on the inside’ concept.  More recent p ictures I’m back to normal and there is a new tiny figure in the family group.

Yesterday I noticed this picture in the shower (bath crayons are great!) and we have arms!!!  Not just arms but fingers too.

Niamh picture age 4y 2m

This is a big step forward (in a very long march).  My bubble was slightly burst when I asked Lars if he drew it or if Niamh did, I know, sad when that is a real question, and he admitted that it was Niamh’s drawing but he asked about the arms.  So, no points for arms yet, but, she did add fingers.  When I read the article they said that basically no child under 5 will draw more then 3 fingers per hand so its cool to see 3 little fingers…  The real change in drawing is now we have clothing, not just hair, so that is cool.  I know this is basically just confirming what I already know but it is still cool to see a person I made growing and learning.

PS.  I’m not a professional on this nor did I really do a ton of research and there are tons of references out there.  If you interested and find something cool let me know, my goal was to link up what my grandfather was grading to what my kid is doing.