Friday, July 31, 2009


Friday dawned rainy and gusty. Over breakfast Russ and I were discussing what we should do with our day. Russ mentioned that we had talked about taking Aliza to the Aquarium, so, just like that, we decided to go.
Aliza likes animals. She can make all sorts of animal noises; including a cat, monkey and elephant. (As an aside, her monkey face is the cutest darned thing and one of these days I have to capture it on video.) I knew she'd love the aquarium and I wasn't wrong. She spent the entire time we were there pointing and staring at everything around her.
We started at the Beluga whale:

And then moved on to the sea lion (Aliza roared when we told her the name of the animal.)

We saw some penguins and then moved indoors to check out the various tanks. She seemed to like the sharks:

But she also liked watching the fish:

The crab didn't seem to impress her much- I think she was confused because it wasn't red the way it is in all of her books:
She was even a brave little girl who held a star fish and (tried) to touch a sting ray:

As Russ put it; when you go the Aquarium as a kid, you think it's a fun isn't until you become a parent that you realize that the parents are having the most fun!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


During a walk with Aliza:

Aliza: "Stop sign!" (OK, she doesn't clearly enunciate the words stop sign, but she gets two syllables out that vaguely resemble stop and sign and I know what she means, even if no one else does.)

Me: "Stop sign!"
Me: "S.T.O.P. spells stop!"
Me: "That's a red octagon."
Me: "An octagon has eight sides. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8."
Me: "Just like an octopus has eight legs."
Me: "That's because oct- means eight."

(Sometimes, I'll even throw in there that the main character in the book she likes to read in her bath is a blue octopus.)

See what I mean when I say she has no chance at slacking off in school?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Intrinsically geeky

Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm a geek.

I just started my new class for grad school. (Check out the book I'm reading for it in my sidebar. The title alone should give you a hint as to how exciting the class actually is.) The day before class was to begin I went to Staples to buy a new binder and notebook. I actually got excited about my new binder. It's got fun polka dots all over it and my notebook coordinates nicely. I got home and packed my school bag, making sure I had pens and pencils, post its, highlighters and my new binder and notebook.

Driving to class I was even more excited....see, I LOVE being in school. I love the whole act of sitting in a classroom; listening to a professor, reading professional texts, having discussions with classmates.....I love the whole process. I even like homework. Oh sure, I'll grumble about it, but secretly, I don't so much mind. I am the kind of student that throws herself into her work. It comes from not being "book" smart. Growing up, I had to work hard for my good grades. I learned quickly that I had to study for tests, I had to highlight in my books and I had to take careful notes in class. That's how I work and, lucky for me, I began enjoying all of those things.

As a teacher, I often see kids who are intrinsically motivated to learn. They are the kids that try hard all the time. They get their work done and do extra. They hand in their homework fully completed every day. They never slack off. And then there are the others. The ones who try, sometimes. The ones who maybe have a favorite subject that they work hard in but then they slack off in the other subjects. The students who, no matter how hard you try to reach them, just won't push themselves. The students who are not intrinsically motivated to DO their best. BE their best.

Now that I'm a parent, I wonder more and more often what those parents of those intrinsically motivated kids do. How do parents get their children to love school? To work hard? I also wonder what kind of student Aliza will be. With two teachers as parents the poor girl doesn't have much choice I suppose....I hope that someday, Aliza will be just as excited about going to class as I am now. That she loves learning as much as I do. I hope that she truly is that which I strive to help all of my students to be: a lifelong learner.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thought for the day

There are few things better
In this world.....
Then hearing Aliza's
Little girl voice
Calling out--


Friday, July 17, 2009


At only one year old Aliza is, officially, a clothes horse. I finally had time to go through her cabinets and closets and organize all of her 12 month clothes. It took me a solid hour folks. She's one. Thanks to her Nonna, and Grams and super cute hand me downs from her two cousins, she has more clothes than I think she could possibly wear.

Here's her cabinet: long pants and shorts up top, coordinated outfits below. (As an aside, the coordinated outfits really needed to be organized after her Daddy got her dressed one day. He put her in flower pants and a polk a dot shirt and didn't understand why that didn't work. Now, if the need arises again, he can just pull out a ready-made outfit!)

T-shirts, then short sleeve onesies:

These are one piece outfits (also helpful for Daddy). Are you noticing that every drawer is filled to the top?Her overflowing dresser: (I haven't even washed and organized all of her 18 month stuff yet!)

Did I also mention she has a closet? That is filled with so many cute dresses and sweaters that she has to start wearing them before she outgrows them!

I think, perhaps, she's got more than enough clothes!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fantastic Fourth

OK, I know the Fourth of July was well over a week ago now, but I have been too busy playing outside to post pictures. So here they are- belated, but cute! We went down to the beach house Saturday and then headed over to my mom's house Sunday. Aliza had a lot of fun:
Playing in the special pool her Grams and Gramps bought her:Climbing trees:

Watching the parade go by:

Playing with the beads she got:

Eating ice cream at front beach:

Going on her very first boat ride:

Then heading to her Nonna and Grosspapa's house to enjoy some yummy food and some more time playing outside. Uncle Michael made a surprise appearance and Aliza had fun seeing him, although I think she enjoyed the chicken Nonna made even more:

All in all, it was a fantastic holiday weekend!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Closing a chapter

This week was a momentous one in this educator's household. Actually, Monday night was a momentous night.
I finally weaned Aliza.

Let me back up a little here....when Aliza was born I was determined to nurse her for a full year. I didn't expect it to be the easiest thing in the world, but I also didn't expect it to be all that difficult either. I was right on both counts. Nursing is easy in some respects: no bottles to prepare and warm up, no expensive formulas to buy and keep on hand, nothing to lug around with me when I went places.....but it is also difficult: waking in the night while your husband sleeps on peacefully, leaving breakfast, lunch, dinner, parties etc to nurse, not being able to drink or eat certain foods, carrying around a pumping back pack, finding places to pump, disinfecting pumping equipment, and so on.....

I asked around and discovered that no one my age nursed their children. No. One. This still surprises me to this day. I loved nursing Aliza. Even in the middle of the night. Everything about it felt natural, and right, and good.

At the same time, I hated pumping. HATED it. Nothing about it felt good. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that, ultimately, it was the best thing for her. And I did keep going. I kept going when I returned to work and literally had to sit on bathroom floors to pump. For ten months I kept at it and I stopped only when my body made me.

Then I made the decision to let go of the morning nursing when she turned one. It was time, I was ready. But I wasn't quite ready to let go of the nighttime one. She'll cry, I told myself. She needs that snuggle time with me, I said. I think that really, I was the one that was not ready to let it go.

Until is out, it's been thirteen months and the time had come. And here is why I think my daughter really is brilliant: I told her what was going to happen. The night before I was going to wean, I let her know, this was her last time nursing. The next day I reminded her a few times that she'd have milk. I put Russ on alert that night, told him to come and rescue me if it sounded like it wasn't going so well, I prepared myself for the crying, steeled my nerves, got ready to be tough and hang in there....and Aliza had absolutely no problem at all. She drank her milk, snuggled in my arms and fell right asleep. She understood, I'm sure of it.

And I sat there in the dark, listening to her lullabies and cried. My baby is growing up. This is one more thing that will define her transition from babyhood to toddlerhood. And while I am happy she took to the transition so well, and proud of myself for nursing for as long as I did, I am also sad.
She's growing up.
And I'm not sure I'm ready for her to.