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We’ve moved!

Hey everybody watching us over here. Watch us over here, now. It lets us more easily put some ads on there and we could really use any help with our $20/week diaper habit that we can get.

Speaking of, don’t forget to ask for a t-shirt.

The Red Shirt Year

A few weeks back we wrote about the right of passage into Kindergarten. Its a huge step for your kid, but what if your little angel is right on the cusp of heading into kindergarten or being held back a year? Well, we were forced with a decision this year that possibly could make or break our oldest daughter’s future in school. As you can see by the witty title of this post, we are deciding on holding our kid back a year, but want to get some perspective from other parents on what they’ve done.

 

While the above paragraph is wonderfully written, its not enough for a full blog post so I’ll go into our decision on holding our daughter back. My oldest has always been a girly girl since she decided to have a personality. Also like many first-born’s (so I’ve heard) she has been very cautious, shy, and critical of situations before jumping in head first. We have never had to worry about her at a pool and just heading for the water. At times she can be kind of needy, but perhaps she is a bit more than most kids. She constantly seeks reassurance and needs a lot of pushing when it comes to trying new things. Its how she’s wired. We love her personality and can think of 1000’s of situations that would be way worse than our kid being a tad timid.

 

As this school year was coming up we knew we had a decision to make. We had already decided that our kids will go to the local private school* for grade school, but we just weren’t sure that Hannah was fully ready for kindergarten. So the alternative would be sending her to the Public School for kindergarten for this year and then having her do a victory lap of kindergarten next year at the private school. After some thinking, debating, and just going back and forth on the subject, we decided on the “victory lap” theory and will send her to the private school to do kindergarten again next year. We have thought long and hard on this decision and after talking with a lot of parents we never once heard them say that they regretted holding their kid back. On the contrary we ran into a lot of situations where people wished they would have been held back.

 

So with that, we’d like to hear your opinion what you think or stories about the decisions you made as parents.

 

*Disclaimer: Before you pass judgement on the whole public/private decision, please know a few things. 1) St. Louis is weird and a ton of people go to private Catholic schools. 2) We live in an awesome school district that is rated very high and we are big fans of our Public School. My wife is actually an Occupational Therapist in our district. 3) I am not rich by any stretch of the word. Our Catholic school is about $2k LESS a year than day care.

Office Coffee Pot Rules

Below you will find an exhaustive list of rules for office-related coffee etiquette.

  1. If the coffee pot has this much coffee or less…

make another damned pot.

That’s it. Feel free to print this out and post it in your office kitchen.

Merchandising

Shirts are in!

What? We didn’t tell you we were ordering shirts? Awkward.

In any event, we ordered some shirts from our buddies at Knee High Prints (we think globally and wear locally), and they are in.

We’ve only ordered a couple, so if  you are interested, please leave a comment below and we’ll get back in contact with you to sort out the details. We are only asking $12 plus shipping (if necessary) each, which is barely enough to cover our new company cars. If we move enough of these, we’ll start taking orders for round 2.

America’s Pastime

In St. Louis, MO there are few things we do well. However, this isn’t a post about my city and the poverty, crime, or education. Nay, this is a post about stuff St. Louis does well. Well, 1 thing in particular. No, I’m not goint to talk about Toasted Ravioli, Washers, or Gooey Butter Cake. I am going to talk about Cardinals baseball.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s & 90’s I can remember as far back as my mind allows being a Cardinal fan. I had all their baseball cards, could mimic their batting stances, and pretty much ate, drank, slept baseball during the summer. After my formative years however, I moved away from the city and lost a bit of touch with the team. I could no longer recite stats of the 2nd string catcher or for that matter go to a game without it being a big ordeal. When I was in college however, I regained that passion for the game, thanks no other to the drug induced slug-fest that was the 1998 season and Mark McGwire ripped off 70 HRs. While he and others were essentially ruining the game, they were saving it at the same time (well at least for me they were saving it). From that season on, I had regained my love for Cardinal baseball and carried it out through my 20’s. As of the last 4 or 5 years however having kids and all that goes along with that has taken precident over Cards baseball. I will gladly give up the TV now so my 3 year old can watch a show for the 30th time as long as it keeps her happy. With this, I am steadily missing more and more games per year. This is also the case with going to games. It was not unusual for me to go to 10 – 15 games a season when I was in my 20s. But as mentioned above my attendence is declining. So much this year that I didn’t think I was going to make a single game. A Cardinal sin? (yes that was terrible)

Well, that all changed Sunday when my daughter got tickets through her school to go to the game. At first, I was a little weary of it since my wife wouldn’t be going and I was dragging along my Sister-in-Law’s boyfriend. He’s a good dude but what 26 year old wants to go to a baseball game with a guy way past his prime and 2 kids that can scream bloody hell at a moment’s notice? But excitement struck me when I loaded up the car with the girls on our way to the game. You see, this wasn’t just an insignificant Sunday game in late August against the Pirates. No this was both of my kid’s first baseball game. Ever. It is a historic day in their lives.

This is excitement

So with this sudden excitement on my part coupled with the fact that my kids think they are going to see actual Pirates, this made to be an amazing day for them (and me). The game was actually pretty sloppy in the first few innings but therere were a ton of runs and the girls were well on their way to a sugar induced coma. To my surprise they made it until the 7th inning stretch. However, the wheels were falling off pretty quickly. So we decicded to get while the gettin was good. A quick side note, the Cards ended up winning 7-4.

 
This is somewhere around mid-sugar high

Today was an awesome day at the ballpark with my kids (and sister-in-laws boyfriend). I remembered why I loved baseball when I was a kid and I can only hope my kids love it growing up and possibly marry a player so I am set for life.

Speaking in tongues

School is once again in the air, and just like every year I’m completely flummoxed by something my son is learning. This year’s irritation is caused by language.

I should start this off by saying that I love where my kids go to school. It’s private (and expensive) but I like that they get special attention and they go to school with a lot of other good kids whose parents really value education (involved parents — provided they aren’t of the “My baby would never do anything wrong!” variety — are the single greatest indicators of educational success for a school). Most importantly, I feel that they do a good job teaching the kids responsibility and integrity and lots of other things.  And this year, for my fifth-grader, those lots of other things include both Spanish and French.

Let me say that I’ve got no qualms with Spanish. Business is booming in South America and regardless of your feelings on immigration, speaking Spanish isn’t exactly going to be a hindrance around the US anytime soon.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with French (in spite of a couple of Parisian trips that confirmed every single stereotype), but I think it’s a very suboptimal choice to teach American school kids generally and my son specifically. He isn’t going to major, much less work, in French Literature and he doesn’t own a beret. If he ever travels to France, everyone there speaks English, which would only be relevant if people there would talk to him in ANY language. It isn’t (just) that I’ve had (largely) bad experiences with French people (sorry Laure): I just think it’s only about the 10th most valuable language my boy could be learning.

So, what languages would I have my fifth-grader learn? Mandarin and Objective C.

Mandarin is the most spoken language in China and would provide him insight into communicating in a country with far lower rates of English speakers than anywhere in Europe. It would also open him up to other Asian languages, and people often say that learning any language is good because it makes your brain grow and makes you better able to learn other languages (I largely don’t buy that — I don’t want to “practice” learning Language A so I can eventually learn Language B; I’d rather just learn Language B — but if you are going down that route, it makes sense to learn languages in multiple families rather than two in the same family).

Objective C is the computer software language that you can use to develop apps for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc.). That isn’t me being an Apple fanboy by any means, but I think a computer language would be useful and with this one it would at least be fun. And there is a lot more money in Angry Birds than in farting in your general direction.

Not sure this helps my point, but its cool.

Last week I wrote about stressing out our kids and one of the issues that was on the stress radar here was my oldest going back to school. First off I know by relative terms I am young, but if you would like to have a kick in the junk and make yourself feel old, send your first kid off to Kindergarten and have someone kick you in the junk.

This summer has flown by this year, of course faster than every other year it seems, but it is bittersweet. The kids get to go back to their respective holding cells and someone else can watch them for a few hours instead of my pregnant wife. However, my pregnant wife also needs to return to her employer now that the summer is over until the baby is born. As we have been leading up to this monumental event for my 5 year old, there have been some of the typical events for the beginning of school. The most fascinating to me was the school supply list. It was weird. When I was in grade school I remember that I brought my own stuff and if I didn’t have something, that was my own problem. So I would come packed up with the new markers, crayons, folders, etc. Not the same with my daughter’s school. It seems to be a community pot luck dinner for all supplies. I guess that’s a good thing, but its strange to me. Maybe its just the newness of it. I don’t know.

Well there was one item on the list that really took me by surprise. Well it was multiples of the same item. They asked that each student bring in 12 glue sticks PER KID. I have never used a glue stick so off the bat this struck me as odd, but the fact that they need a dozen of them seems silly. Twelve glue sticks. Per kid. It was nice that we were able to go in a few days earlier to drop all the stuff off but still. 12. glue sticks.

Ok, so we arrive on the first day of school and I work from home to witness this right of passage for my girl. Hannah (the oldest) had already picked out and practiced wearing her first-day-of-school dress and she is glowing with excitement. The excitement was so much that she decided to get up at 5am and start talking to my wife & I in our bed for 2 hours. We convince her to eat some breakfast and we get ready to hit the bus stop. It was at this time I realized that I was old and that Hannah was getting there too. It was a bit tough to swallow. Not like I was crying or anything, but it makes you think where the last 5 years have gone…

She can fit in her backpack

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