Sunday Salon – September 19, 2010

nose in a book

And here is the age-old question.. does BBAW rhyme with Hee Haw?  Or do YOU say the individual letters B… B… A… W?

I say it rhymes with Hee Haw.

Even though I’ve taken a step back from blogging, I’d have to be living under a rock (I’m not, just FYI) to miss all the Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) excitement.  All the craze and praise has been really fun to watch!  It’s inspiring to see all the enthusiasm for blogging and books and so.. here I am again after a two month hiatus.  Thanks, BBAW, for helping me remember why I love blogging and how it’s just about the most fun you can have on a computer.  And a big enthusiastic Congratulations! to all the winners and nominees, many of whom I count among my friends.  Congrats, too, to Amy, the tireless force behind BBAW, and her hardworking team for another hugely successful awards week!

I marvel at the time bloggers put into their blogs.  I’m guessing (well, actually I know..) a lot of them don’t have kids.  Many do, of course, and it is really THOSE bloggers I marvel at the most..  I’m not sure how they keep up.  Maybe their kids aren’t as demanding as mine or don’t have tons of activities to be shuttled around to, maybe they don’t help with homework, maybe they have no friends IRL, maybe someone else cleans their houses and cooks their meals, maybe they don’t work or need 8 hours of sleep at night.. I really don’t know!  But between blogging and Twitter and Facebook, who has time for trivial stuff like laundry, grocery shopping, or in-person conversations?

I think about that.  I think about the amount of time my children spend online, time that could be spent hanging out with other kids face to face deveoloping their social skills, or time just being bored and thinking.  I remember a lot of time like that as a child- free time where I had to find something to do or where I could work something out in my head- time to be creative or at least creatively solve the problem of being bored.  This is when imagination kicks in.  My children need to be entertained, all the time, and they have zillions of options for that, with 500+ channels on cable, iPods and phones, Wii and the internet.  They can’t stand to be bored.  Which is why I regularly unplug them from everything (my favorite form of punishment, actually).  You’d think I was hacking off an arm the way they carry on about it.  But I look at it as I’m giving them a gift- the gift of boredom.  I tell them, “Go develop your imaginations!” to much groaning and foot stomping.  My husband tells them, jokingly, “When I was your age, we played with sticks and rocks!”  They roll their eyes and say, “Daaaaaaaaaaaad! That was back in the Stone Age.”  But before long they find something to do that doesn’t involve earbuds or keyboards or remotes.

But it’s hard to unplug kids when I’m always online.  I’m modeling the very behavior I’m trying to change in them.

So that’s what the last two months were about.  With my kids home for the summer, I’d work (online) while they slept in or played- I was online only as much as I needed to be. And I think that’s my new plan- no blogging in the summer or during school vacations.  I’d rather feel guilty about ignoring my blog than about ignoring my kids.  Priorities..

We had Back to School Night at my  youngest daughter’s school this week.  This is my 6th grader, my reluctant reader, the one who whines about her 30 minutes of assigned daily reading, the one I have to set a timer for just to get her to crack open a book, the one who claims to hate reading.  So imagine my shock and awe when I was told that based on her Accelerated Reader score she is reading at an 11th grade level.. what?!?!  How can this be?  That’s a full FOUR GRADE LEVEL jump over last year.  She has to get 69 reading points this semester, and if you’re not familiar with the program, let me just tell you- that’s a lot.  She’s going to have to pick up the pace considerably to make her goal.  She grabbed a book from the library called My Fair Godmother– 14 points- and started it at school but has yet to sit down with it this weekend.  The AR books I pulled out of our bookshelves for her are stacked up and gathering dust.  She wants to pick her own, which I understand, but she’s going to have to actually start reading them.

My older one would rather read than eat or do homework.  So we have the opposite problem with her.  She gets in trouble at school for reading when she’s supposed to be listening to teachers or doing her work.  She reads in the car, she reads in bed, she reads everywhere, oblivious to her surroundings.  It’s hard to get mad about it when I understand it so well- she’s exactly like me.

As for my reading, I’m currently enjoying Honolulu by Alan Brennert for book club.  I read Molokai a few years back and loved it, so was thrilled when this one got voted in.  It’s about a young Korean “picture bride” who comes to Hawaii to marry a Korean man and have a chance at a better life and education in the early 20th century.  Naturally, things don’t turn out as planned.  Most of this book is being read while sitting on the bleachers in the hot sun at the pool where my older daughter practices with her swim team 6 hours a week.  She can’t read while swimming, but if there was a way, I’m sure she’d try.

So.. we’ll see how this goes.  It’s nice to be back.  Hopefully this won’t be my last post for another two months!

What are you doing this weekend?  What are you reading?

Happy Sunday..

25 Responses

  1. We’ve missed you, but I totally understand. Your family is much more important than a blog!

  2. I agree with you! I don’t know how bloggers with kids do it! I know that I could not do both.

    Happily, my two sons are grown and independent and my husband only requires a few daily hugs for his personal happiness. Of course, there are the 553 children at my school to lead, surrepticiously, to the joys to be found in reading….

  3. I definitely can understand why you’d rather spend time with your family instead of on your blog. My stepdaughter is ten, but unless she is on vacation from school, she is only with us every other weekend, so we are “childless” much of the time. I definitely get a lot less blogging and reading done when she is here, but that is fine by me! I admire all you full time parents out there who are still able to carve out time for blogging and reading.

    • It’s easier when they’re in school then when they’re home, that’s for sure. I work from home so can work/blog while they’re out of the house.

  4. Cute picture.

    And when I think of BBAW I say the letters in my head. How funny.

  5. I’m reading Molokai right now. I’ll be interested to see what you think of Honolulu!

    I think your reflections about raising your kids and being a mother are really great. I don’t have children, but teach high school, so I can feel your concern over what is best. Your care and concern will translate to them in so many great ways.

    • Aw, thanks, Becky! I think they know..

      I read Molokai 3 or 4 years ago and still think about little Rachel as if she was a real person! I loved the book although remember thinking at the time that it was a little longer than it needed to be. So far Honolulu hasn’t grabbed me in the same way but maybe that will change.. I’m only 75 pages into it.

  6. Glad to see you back again, Lisa – and your hiatus makes total sense. My kid’s grown and on his own, and my stepkids are with their dad and me part-time, so that opens up more time for me; and since my job pretty much keeps me at a desk all day, squeezing in little blog-related breaks isn’t all that hard to do (shhh…don’t tell!)

    But this: “My children need to be entertained, all the time, and they have zillions of options for that, with 500+ channels on cable, iPods and phones, Wii and the internet. They can’t stand to be bored.” Oh my, that sounds familiar, and not in a good way. Glad your kids are finding that unplugging’s not really that horrible after all.

    • Hi Florinda! Yep, I agree it is not good that they need constant entertainment. I’m fighting against the lure of technology that seems to be taking over their generation.

  7. It’s so good to see you back! I can understand that family takes priority though, and I think you made a wise decision to focus on the kids during the summer. I am also thrilled to hear that your daughter is such an excellent reader! Even though it came as a surprise to you, I am sure you are probably pleased as punch with it. Your other daughter sounds more like mine. She will read anything and everything in the house, and doesn’t like to pay attention in class because she’d rather be reading her book. It’s a hard position to be in as a parent because I know exactly how she feels and was much the same growing up, but she has to do her classwork as well! I do hope to see more of you in the upcoming months, and am eager to hear about what you are reading. I hope you have a great week!

    • Hi Heather!! I’ve missed this kind of dialog with other bloggers and am happy to return to it! Thanks for all the positive reinforcement. Parenting is hard work and so is striking a balance with personal wants/needs vs. those of my kids.

      I am thrilled about my daughter’s reading but feel she’s been sandbagging a bit!! LOL NO more of that!

      Have a great week and thanks for coming by!

  8. There is no way I would be blogging if I worked full time. Hmmm…worked. That is the key word. Does cleaning the house, the pool, yardwork, pressure washing the house, cooking meals, shopping, homework, shuttling to sports, events and doctors appts, blah, blah blah count as working? I often wonder how I manage to create a simple post. Anyway, sorry for whining. Glad you are back. I love hearing from you!

  9. Hi Lisa! I was wondering where you went! But I totally get it. If I had kids I’d probably blog twice a year. I’m actually a low energy sort of girl.

    I think giving your kids the gift of boredom is a great idea!

    • HI Amy! Some people with kids seem to be able to do everything and do it all really well.. I’m just not one of them! I want my kids to get the best of me, not what’s left over.

      Thanks for coming by and congrats again on a terrific BBAW!

  10. Lisa, there is so much in this post to comment on, but I’ll keep my comments short!

    One of the reasons I started my book blog was to encourage my kids to read–and I think it’s worked! But you are so right, there is so much more than the online worlds we rely on, and we need to spend time with our children–AWAY from computers.🙂

    Excellent, thoughtful post!

  11. Welcome back! You have a completely understandable reason for not blogging so much. I couldn’t be on the computer so much if my kids were still at home.

    When my kids were young (back in the day!), being unplugged meant turning off the TV. That was it.

    Now my grandson is bored if he can’t play video games nonstop! TV and movies bore him. Although he always wants the TV on.

    I watch him sometimes on the weekend, or some days after school.

    I like your picture of the reading girl. That one reminds me of my 13-year-old granddaughter, who has her nose stuck in Harry Potter books (which she’s rereading).

    So far she isn’t interested in vampires.

    • The reading girl is my oldest daughter. She’ll be 13 next month.

      My kids AND my husband always want the tv on, even if they’re not watching it. I guess for the noise- the exact reason I prefer to have it off!

  12. My son is not a reader. He has told me numerous times how much he hates it. Now that he is in 7th, they are doing a lot of reading. I hope, really hope that he gets over the hump and that it sparks something within him.

    His book reports are totally fun and non-homework-like. He has to make a yearbook out of one and a menu for another.. easy peasy but he is still grumbling. It saddens me because I did everything right. Read to him in utero and all that.

    The girl though? Reads every second and she’s not even 7 yet.

  13. Congrats and kudos to you for getting your reluctant reader to love reading. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! You go mom!

  14. I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while! (sorry) You sometimes wonder how other bloggers are able to spend a lot of time on-line or, even more, how do they get so much done on-line? I don’t have children (just lots of cats!) I am married but I don’t work a full-time job away from the home. I have several major health issues which often compromise my time on-line. But I still wonder how bloggers with children, and those with children & a job, manage to post, comment on many blogs, write reviews and also read! I think I must need some adrenaline shots! lol

    When I was growing up, I was allowed to watch a very limited amount of TV during the school year and in summer the TV was rarely on because my sister and I were encouraged to entertain ourselves in other ways, to get outside, to read etc. I sometimes wonder what my mother would have done if she raised us when there were computers, ipods etc. Although I think I know the answer – our access to such things would have been very limited. I remember receiving ATARI when almost all of my friends no longer played with it! lol

    I think it’s great for kids to unplug, think & read & entertain themselves. But I know, too, that it’s easy for me to say that when I’m not a parent!

    I hope you have a good year! Love your blog!
    ~ Amy
    ~ Amy

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