Monday, October 26, 2009


Last Friday morning, when I went in to wake the kids for school, I found that Sebastian had been sick to his stomach in the middle of the night. Then he fell back asleep, lying in his vomit. My poor boy was covered in dry, crusty, smelly vomit, and I still had to get the older two kids ready for school. I quickly bathed him and managed to get everybody out the door on time. He spent the day a little under the weather, but no fever and no more vomiting. I, of course, spent the day trying to wash dried puke out of his blankets. I was completely unsuccessful and ended up having to go and buy him new blankets and sheets. He was happy, me...not so much.

Around midnight last night, Jason heard Sophia wiggling her door knob, but she didn't come out. He went to check on her and found her standing next to her bedroom door, throwing up. On the wall. She had already thrown up on her bed. Now I know my husband loves me, because he didn't wake me up. He stripped her bed, cleaned the wall, got her cleaned up and back to bed without me knowing about any of it.

This morning, when I went to wake Darian for school, his head popped up from the top bunk and he said he didn't feel good. I asked what was wrong and he says "I just threw up." Great. So, I told him to get off his bed so I could clean it. He said "No, it's o.k. I threw up on the floor." I looked down and, sure enough, I was standing about an inch away from his mess. He apparently felt sick and just leaned over the side of the bunk. Very nice.

Needless to say, I have all the kids home today. Sophia is feeling o.k. - not great, but not sick to her stomach anymore. Darian on the other hand, has a vicious headache and he is still sick to his stomach. And I am working on laundry plus I have to clean the carpet in the boys room. Should be a great day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A few weeks ago, Darian brought home his first 3rd grade progress report. Darian is a great student so most of it was the expected 94%-98% range with the exception of Handwriting. His handwriting grade was 81% (a C at his school). Quite frankly, I was shocked. Darian has always had very neat, precise writing. What I had forgotten was that this was third grade - cursive writing had begun.

So, I sat down with Darian and had him write out some words using the handwriting letters he had already learned. He sat, concentrated, and very neatly wrote out my selection of words. I saw nothing wrong with them. Jason and I told him to just keep doing his best and make sure he was taking the time to write neatly. He insisted that he did, and we just reiterated that he should keep trying his best.

Over the next couple of weeks I began keeping very close attention to the "red marks" (teacher corrections) on his handwriting. The pattern I saw was, to me, appalling.

First, Darian's main problem is that he is super structured. His handwriting is so nice and neat - but the letters are straight up and down. His teacher insists that all the letters be at an angle. Well, I worked with Darian for nearly an hour one afternoon, and the boy can't slant his letters for his life. He just cannot do it. Second, he apparently makes the loops on some letters (like d or e) just a smidgen too wide.

Seriously??!! Poor Darian was getting so discouraged. He would bring his homework for me to check, and I would think it looked fine. Then, we would get it back with all the red marks. Finally, Jason and I told him that his handwriting grade was, basically, not important. We told him that as long as he was doing his best he would not be reprimanded from us on a lower grade. After talking with other 3rd grade moms, I was pleased to learn that we are not the only parents who had this talk with their kids. None of the moms that I talked to (nearly half the class) had kids with handwriting grades higher than 84%.

With so much electronic communication these days, does anyone even use handwriting anymore?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Flu has descended

Since last Wednesday there has been at least one Schalow sick with the flu. It started with Sophia, spread to Darian, then Vibiana, Jason, and now Sebastian. Fortunately, it is not a stomach flu, just fever and aches. It is hardest with the little ones because they just don't understand what is going on. Plus, they want to snuggle and cuddle with me, and I am super paranoid about getting sick. Every few minutes I am either washing my hands or using my Purell (which is being kept in my pocket!)

To really put a cap on the whole thing, Jason blew the engine on his car. He was driving it the to muffler repair place to fix what he thought was a catalytic converter issue, when he heard a pop and then the car died. We had it towed to our mechanic here in Lake LA and he told us the engine threw a rod. Fortunately, he got a line on a good used engine with only 50,000 miles on it for a great price. So, while we await repairs, Jason is driving a fabulous rental "pimp-mobile" - a powder blue Grand Marquis! Ha! At least that gives me something to smile about!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yes, that's all

At mass yesterday, we not only heard about Jonah and his trying to run from what God wanted him to do, but we also heard the story of the Good Samaritan. Our pastoral intern gave an excellent reflection on listening when God calls us. He talked about our need to help others and to think about how Jesus would react to someone asking for help. He ended with, I think, a healthy dose of Catholic guilt to really get everyone to reflect on their own actions.

So, of course, I get to put this into play today. I went grocery shopping and as I was loading up the car, a woman approached me and asked for money. She explained that she was just trying to get a few dollars together to get some food. Now, I had just spent almost $200 on groceries, but that was on my bank card. I hardly ever have cash. So, I begin digging through my purse to see what I can find. With the size of my purse, this is no small task. I know the kids emptied all my change just a few days ago. Finally, triumphantly, I find one lone, crumpled dollar bill. As I pull it out and hand it to her, she looks at it and says,"Is that all?"

Lucky for me, with four kids, I'm used to ingratitude.