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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brooklyn Children's Museum

Our first destination for these Cool Culture season was to the Brooklyn Children's Museum. I really love this museum. Brooklyn is very lucky to have this great space. I can't wait for the Bronx Children's Museum to be complete.

Big Al remember the museum from our last visit there in May. He was our tour guide. He took us all around...I helped with the guiding so that we wouldn't end up in the sand box. I didn't feel like having two sand covered children...so we magically skipped those parts of the tour...hehe.



We were able to visit the Totally Tots exhibit this time around. It was the best part. There was plenty of play areas for tots 5 and under. Big and Little Al ran around and around. In the toy area, Little Al found all the dinosaurs and lined up and did her happy dance. It was the cutest thing. We enter the section where the kids can play with water and water toys. Big Al rolled up his shirt and jumped right in. You can so tell that he goes to a great school. He was on mess play auto pilot. Little Al on the other hasn't been trained long enough... I blinked and she was wet up to her elbows. Big Al don't need any help staying focus but Little Al did. She kept putting all the toys in her mouth. She also tried to climb into the water. They both had a blast with the water. Big Al's transition issues are slowly disappearing. He walked away from the water without a tear.... Little Al on the other hand.... shake my head... she didn't.

We head up stairs for a snack...num yummy. Juice and carrots for all! On our way down the stairs ...not fun. Little Al lost her footing and fell. She fell down a few steps before my husband saved her. She was very scared and has a scratch on her face but she is good. That would have been a terrible fall if he didn't catch. (NYC -EI can't tell me that she doesn't need PT with the amount of falling this girl does.)

You know that the kids had a great time because they were BOTH out cold asleep before we made it the end of the Eastern Parkway. Here's the picture to prove it:

I have one complaint about today.....

Unruly children at the museum. The museum is meant to be interactive not destroyed. As we travelled from exhibit to exhibit, I notice the very popular exhibit were a complete MESS! This is very upsetting. Why would an adult ALLOW their child(ren) man handle the exhibit and leave it a mess? PEOPLE! Teach your children to clean up after themselves. Yes... there are staff members their to maintain .... they are not their to clean up your mess. SMH!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Cultural Wish List

A few weeks ago I was blessed with a Cool Culture Family Pass for 2010-2011. YAY! Here is my wish list for the next year. I hope to make events out of some of my trips and share some of the fun with other families. I put a * next to the places we've been too already.

Bronx
-Bronx Museum of the Arts *
-The New York Botanical Garden*** (12/18/2010) (04/21/2011) (07/02/2011)
-Van Cortlandt House Museum
-Wave Hill (08/20/2011)

Brooklyn
-Brooklyn Botanic Garden
-Brooklyn Children's Museum* (11/28/2010)
-Brooklyn Museum (07/24/2011)
-New York Transit Museum**

Manhattan
-American Folk Art Museum
-American Museum of Natural History**
-Children's Museum of Manhattan* (03/27/2011)
-Children's Museum of the Arts
-Gracie Mansion
-Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum*
-The Jewish Museum
-The Metropolitan Museum of Art
-Museum of the City of New York*
-New York Historical Society
-Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
-Sony Wonder Technology Lab
- The Studio Museum in Harlem (1/16/2011)

Queens
-Museum of the Moving Image (re-opens 1/15/2011)
-New York Hall of Science* (04/19/2011)
-Queens Museum of Art*
-Queens Zoo

24 places on my list.... I am up for the challenge!!

Edited on 07/02/2011

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful for....

Sometimes things in my life great so crazy it is very difficult to see the good. During the holiday season that is tons great things all around. I am thankful for many great things in my life. I have packaged it a neat list. I just love list...

10- Coffee - I know that coffee is something very weird to be thankful for but without it I am a mean zombie.
9- Working for CS50 - There has been a lot of mad slinging lately but I am happy that I am able to be a part of that crazy life at 50.
8- Easter Seals Child Development - This center with its AMAZING staff has helped my family overcome A LOT! There are two many amazing people to list. I like to call them our "Fleet of Service Providers." They gave us coats, hams, Cool Culture and fun times. They also gave us hope and joy.
7- Early Intervention Home-Based Service Providers: Roberto, Garnett and Karen. Roberto and Karen worked with Big Al and did such a GREAT job I request them to work with Little Al  Gernett was new to the crew but worked her behind off with Aly. Without their help all three kids would be lost.
6- Ms. Singleton - She help shape Big Bea's mind to the genius child she is today.
5- My sister from another mother, Roxy - Roxy....Yes you are crazy but that's what I love about you
4- My sister, Katrina - She is the only blood family I have left in my eyes. We may not see eye to eye a lot but we have each other's back. We also make sure that our children will appreciate each other and not isolate them from each other.
3- My blog - I may not be the greatest writer but I love it. I am able to express myself and share it with the world. Throughout my entire school career writing was very difficult for me. Things just never clicked in my head but I wrote journals and diaries for practice. Blogging is apart of my daily life and I am happy that it is.
2- Being right 98% of the time - Yes I am right 98% of the time ... just face it.
1- The trio. They drive me insane but they are my reasons to want more out of my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bronx Children's Museum - Ideas by Big Bea

This morning on our way to the bus stop Big Bea and I were talking about where I was this weekend. See she spends her weekend time after dance with her father. This weekend her step-dad took her to dance which is something that I normally do. I told her where I was going but it didn't click as to where I was until she saw the News 12 Bronx piece I was in this weekend. (Along with the creator of BronxMama.com Nicole Perrino and assembly women Vanessa Gibson.) I was shown writing ideas for the new museum. Maybe next time I'll have an interview....lol.

So this morning I asked her... if you could build a museum with anything that you want in it... what would you have in it? Oh girl, the juices were flowing. Here is the list that she came up with:

1- Large foam building blocks that you can make into a castle
2- Ball pit
3- Science explorer center
4- A mini MTA bus that we can pretend to drive
5- Tunnels
6- Learn about different careers... life sized cutouts of different people...with buttons that you can push to hear about their jobs
7- Craft time with Mom and Craft time with Dad
8- Pretend time as a DJ with turn tables
9- Make a HUGE shoe and pretend you are the old lady that lived in the shoe and a story time area for story time with family
10- Pretend cafe with pretend food with little tables for children to sit at

Community School 50 Forum

Today at our school we had a community forum. This forum was the staff's response to the letter giving to our community re-guarding our school. The letter that I spoke about a few post ago. It was great to see many community members siting in our auditorium today. I was a bit unhappy I was asked at the last member to speak. (I wish I was prepared)

Many staff members were line up to speak. Ms. Singleton (the greatest teacher EVER!) spoke first. She is an educator. She has been a teacher for 32 years. She spoke about the untruths in that letter. She spoke from the heart and was near tears. I was next....how to heck am I suppose to follow the greatest teacher ever. I spoke from my heart.... I think that we all did. Many others spoke and begged for help for our children.We all touched upon taking the community of children and making them our own. In a lot of cases, we spend most of daily lives with the students in the classroom than with our own children and families.

Mr. Gjika was the most vocal in getting the support that our school needs. He, being a second year teacher, knows first hand the lack of support giving to new teachers of 50. He knows why our new teachers do not have a great turn over. As a new teacher, why stay at 50?

Why stay at 50?

We have a unique community.
We have character.
We have staff members willing to change the world to teach the children of 50.
We have each other.

 I hope that today was the first of many forums at we will have to keep our doors open.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Imagine....

Imagine the day when you tell someone that you are from the Bronx and don't: step back, grin or say "oh you don't look like you are from the Bronx."

Imagine the day that the stigma of the Burning Bronx is washed away.

Imagine the day that we can say, "We are going to the Bronx Children's Museum!"

That day is almost here.

The Bronx Children's Museum is set to open its doors by 2013.

SAY WHAT?!

YES!

Today, I attended a forum for the museum at Bronxworks, Inc. (The old C. A. B. building on the Grand Concourse.... I have no idea when that change happen.) BronxMama.com shared the information about the forum on her web-site.

It's was very interesting to see the grass-root group trying to make this museum really happen. It is no longer a dream...

They have found a space where the museum will be created. It will be at the Parks Department Building J off of Mill Pond Park near the new Yankee Stadium and the Gateway Mall.

What does the Bronx Children's Museum need right now?

They are seeking community input.

They are listening to Bronx families to shape the face of the museum.

Go to their website to see how your family's voice can be hear.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

235th United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Ellis Island

What a historic night! Last night, My husband and I attended the 235th United States Marine Corps Birthday Ball. This year it was held on Ellis Island. I've lived in NYC for 30 years and have never been to Ellis Island.  We were there after hours. The weather was great for mid-November. We took the ferry over and back. On the way to the island the ferry was rocking back and forth like crazy. It was too funny. No one had their sea legs on. Hey its the Marine Corp not the Navy. (The Marine Corp is a branches off of the Navy..lol) Everyone was thrilled. It was great to see everyone in their Dress Blues and medals as far as the eye can see. The ladies were dress beautifully. It was like the prom.... again.

The ceremony was touching...as always. This year's speaker was a StgMaj. What a speech! He was so hyped to be at Ellis Island with 1200 Marines, other service members and civilians in attendance. His speech flowed this a song. This was Brooklyn born StgMaj last Marine Corp Birthday Ball. He will be a retired StgMaj after 30 years in the service. He got everyone on their feet by the end of it.  Shoot.... that speech would make anyone want to sign the dotted line. HOOORAH!

It was nice to be without children for the night....which is very funny because it was very quiet. We didn't have a lot to talk about without the kids around. Weird.

The food service was great. The wine flowed all night. I shook a lot of hands too. 

All in all it was a great night. I can't wait until next year.... I am sure next year's venue is not going to bear Ellis Island.

Edited 12/4/2010: You can find the portraits everyone took at the Berish Photography website.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Community School 50 Fact Sheet

Today, I received a letter from the NYC Department as a parent (not an employee). It was a fact sheet about my dear school. You can visit the fact sheet here


The first sentence states, "PS 50 has struggled for years."
 

The last sentences states," Regardless of the outcome, the DOE will work continuously with PS 50 staff and families to ensure that students receive the support they need and the excellent education they deserve."

What's in middle is a whole lot of facts and statements. The facts is the data taken from attendance rates and test scores. The statements says will work with staff members and families. 

Looking at this letter with my parent eyes I see that my child is failing because the DOE says so. I see that the teachers aren't teaching my children the content needed for my child to be successful. WHOA! I need to pull her out of the school.  

My child is apart of the 21% & 31% who is on grade level in ELA and Math, respectively. My child attended PS50 for four years and did not fail. In fact she scored the highest scale scores possible for ELA and Math. Is she a failure because the school is failing or is she holding up the school?

Unlike the other 24 children in room 410, Becky has a parent that sees both sides of the story. I see my staff members begging for help and getting none. I see no support given to green and seasoned teachers. I see children being passed over because the teacher has to deal with the interruptions of unruly students. 

Where is was the support for PS 50 when the DOE decided that PS 50 started to struggle. 

Where is the support right now. 

Where was the support when the school had a massive lose in employees over the last five years. Where was the support when the school had a 400 to 500 drop in the number of students attending PS50.  Where is the support for our new Principal cleaning up the mess left for her?

What am I going to do about this as a parent and a staff member? 

I am going to:

-Support my child's teacher by making sure she is ready of the school day
-Sent my child to school everyday
-Make sure my child has a learning environment at home
-Support my co-workers
-RALLY! 
-Send out letters
-Let the world know that PS 50 will not close. 

Amy Vega Guobadia
Parent
Paraprofessional
Alumni

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crochet Time With Mom

For a few months now, I've been working on my new couch-potato blanket. I am still working on it and the kids can't wait to wrap themselves in it every night instead of when mommy let's them. The colors are very bright and lively. I wanted to share my creation and the steps to get there. Now my directions are for someone who knows a little something about crocheting (very little). Here we go!

1-Chain (Ch) the desired long for your blanket. I crocheted the length of my sofa which is about 243 chain stitch.

2- Row 1: double crochet (dc) in the fourth chain stitch. The three ch will count as one dc.

3- dc in the next three ch

4- cluster 3 dc without finishing the last step

5- yarn over (yo) and pull thru to finish the cluster

6- dc in the next three ch

7- 3 dc in one ch

8- repeat 3-7 until row is complete row

9- at the end of the row ch 3 and repeat 3-7

10- repeat 3-8 until you reach the desired length

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Exceptionally Smart Child ~ Big Bea

Today was parent-teacher conference at Big Bea's school (which is also the school I work at).

I have on going discussion about her progress with Ms. Kirton all the time...at least once a week. Each discussion is usually the same..."Big Bea is a great learner....she just needs help with her handwriting." What more can a mom ask for? No complaints. This conference wasn't any different. She only needs to improve her handwriting and spelling. Which go hand and hand. She eats information up. She knows how to use her brain. I am so proud of my monkey. Remember her face people... she is going to be someone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

I have to say my favorite grade of all time would have to be Pre-Kindergarten. When Big Bea was in Pre-K, I love every moment. The best moments always involved a song. She thought me all the days of the week via sing. Well....Big Al is in Pre-K now and  I am loving it. A few Fridays, I was lucky enough to be able to sneak away to his class for a little while. I was very excited because I was able to stay for rug-time.... In Pre-K, rug time = SONG TIME!!!

His teacher has a tin box with laminated card with the title of songs. The asst. teacher started off today's song session. A card is randomly placed on the rug for every child in the class. This works very will because there is only 12 children in his class. Each child gets to pick which song that the class sings. I didn't realize just how many songs he knew. He sing ALL 12 songs. So that very day....this mom started SINGING!!!! (more) Now I am not the best singer. I know that I can not be on American Idol but I enjoy singing with and to my kiddies.

Now his's favorite song is Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes. I don't know if he pick this song up in school. He has been singing it a lot because he is currently addicted to Your Baby Can Read Videos. He sings this sing endlessly. Today on the way to my sister's, he broke out in a soulful version of the song. Very cute! Little Al is starting to learn the words. Becky just loves singing right along with them. She doesn't care that she's 9 and the song is for early childhood.

I have noticed that singing helps with everything. It helps with:

-calming the Als down from crying moment
-transitioning
-brushing teeth
-waiting around for the bus
-bath time
-and more things that I can't think of right now

There is always time for singing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All That Beautiful Hair!

This post's topic is about HAIR! Oh boy, do I need some help.... It's not for me or Big Bea.

I have a very full head of long hair that I have learned to deal with our time. I have enough hair on my head for three people.  When all else fails a bun always works for me.... It's rare that I go bun-less. tee-he. Big Bea has very thin, long, straight hair. Her hair is extremely easy to manage. She wants curly hair but that's not happening. Now... on to Little Al  She has extremely curly, course, very dense and long hair. The only way to tell that her hair is long is by pulling straight one curl.

Until Little Al was one year old I didn't have to worry about her hair. She has a curly afro. After that her hair changed. It because very dense, course. I ask every person I knew with the same type hair what to do with it. Every person gave me a different answer. Now Little Al's is 26 months and I am very frustrated with her hair. I have run out hair style ideas and different ways to treat her hair.

So now I ask my readers with the same type of hair as Little Al .... What can I do to make it manageable? Is there anything product that you swear by? What other hairstyles can I do?

I love Little Al  hair...I want to treat it right. I can't do the same thing that I do to my and Big Brs's hair to her hair. I've made that mistake a long time ago.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

PS: I can't cornroll to save my life...HELP!