Thursday, February 26, 2009

Second grade update

After spending a week freaking out about our meeting with Nick's teacher, I calmed down enough to put things in perspective. (Plus I was on vacation in Florida which helped.) It's been almost a month and we continue to remind him to do his best work, to slow down and take his time completing school work, and to always, always check his work.

Is it making an impact? Probably not. But I look at each paper he brings home and his grades seem to be improving. He's missing one or two questions and his homework seems to be going well. (I say "seems" because Nicklas and the Polack usually work on it before I get home from work. And the Polack would tell me if there are any issues.)

So last night I sent his teacher an email to schedule a followup meeting. I think it's important that we're all on the same page and I want to make sure she's seeing improvement as well. I requested a meeting for next week. And here's his teachers response:

Next week, I have a case conference after school on Tuesday and Thursday is not a good day for me to meet. Mon. Wed. or Fri. would be fine; I hope one of those days is convenient for you.

Did Nicklas tell you he had a difficult day in math yesterday? He continues to struggle in math; geometry has been really problematic for him. I can share more when we meet.

I spoke with [the principal] this morning before school about Nicklas and math; I took his math journal to show her. She suggested that we double-check his vision; I had our nurse do so this morning; Nicklas has 20/20 vision in both eyes, so that is not an issue. [The principal ]also suggested that I ask our Special Ed/LD teacher to come and observe Nicklas and do an attention assessment with him. (He would be unaware that she is watching him.) She would compare him with another student of the same gender and come up with a percentage of time-on-task while I was teaching a lesson. This might be helpful because she might see something I don’t as I am teaching. Although this would be very informal and “unofficial”, I need your consent to do the observation.

Let me know your wishes and also what day you prefer to meet.

What???? At this point, I'm confused and frustrated. I have seen no evidence of Nicklas struggling in school, especially in math. I have no idea what math journal she's referring to. None of the papers that have come home suggest he's not understanding concepts. I happened to be the one who supervised homework time last night and he did great on his geometry assignment. He only missed on question and when I told him there was a mistake, he was able to figure out which problem and correct it on his own. He never mentioned have a problem at school (although he probably wouldn't - it's hard for him to talk about failing/struggling with something).

I haven't had a chance to talk to the Polack about all of this yet. He's in parent/teacher conferences all afternoon and through this evening. I'm anxious to hear his thoughts, especially on the homework situation.

On top of this, I had the parent of another student call me a few nights ago. She's very unhappy with the teacher and her method of teaching (or as the parent puts it, shaming and embarrassing kids to produce the behavior/performance she wants). The class is working on a major independent project right now and her son is really struggling with it as well as some other things.

It's always so easy to blame the teacher. But I'm not going to sit here and judge her. Are there things she does that I disagree with? Yes. But I have to respect her style of teaching and her years of experience. I have to encourage her to partner with us in focusing on how to improve the situation. We have to approach the situation with ideas and suggestions and come out with a plan of action. After all, like us she wants Nicklas to succeed.

(Do I sound believable?)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wonky Wheels

As the family was planning our trip to Florida, Bobbie (the mother-in-law) and I decided to make a quilt for Bob and Patty (her nephew and niece and the Polack's cousins), who live near Orlando and are always willing to host us. I choose a new technique to try and wanted the colors to reflect the decor of Bob and Patty's family room.

Bobbie and I pieced it, I did the quilting, and Bobbie did the binding.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend recap

It was a pretty normal weekend for the Kubatski's. We had hoped to make a trip to Michigan to help celebrate Uncle Tom and Aunt Judy's 50th wedding anniversary. But with Freddie still in the house training stage and activities we already had planned, we weren't able to swing it.

Nicklas had his Blue and Gold banquet for Boy Scouts where he received his Wolf and Bobcat badges...
My brother came to visit (under the guise of his birthday but really, I think he just wanted me to do his taxes.) I asked if he wanted me to cook him dinner or go out and decided he wanted to go with Chuck E' Cheese and then to a movie. Afterward, we had cake at home...

Saturday was spent with friends who came over to watch basketball, have dinner, and play some games. Oh and the husbands arranged a play date for the dogs. So cute! It was Freddie's first time meeting Oliver. They had great fun...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Regraining control of the t.v.

As much as I want to slow down time to prevent my children from growing up, I have to say that I'm enjoying Nicklas as age 8. Of course, I enjoy Nicklas at all ages but these last few months has been particularly fun.

Cuz he's getting into reality tv. Oh, joy!!!!

Yeah sure, the fall was spent watching football. But now that the season has ended, I've been able to integrate Nicklas into my reality tv watching habits. With American Idol, Survivor and Amazing Race all airing, I'm in heaven. I'm no longer confined to downloading episodes on my laptop because the boys of the house have taken over the television. They all watch with me.

(I have to give credit to The Polack. He enjoys these shows too and encourages watching them as a family.)

And Nicklas is enjoying this family time. He loves to discuss the contestants and ask us which are our favorites and which ones we want to see go. (For the record, his favorite American Idol contestants are Danny and Anoop. He's really hoping Anoop will get a wild card pick!)

Now if I could just get him interested in America's Next Top Model, Dancing with the Stars, and Project Runway...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What if?

Seeger has been quite the chatterbox lately. Since he didn't talk until after his third birthday, we try to appreciate this quirk about him. Lately, he's been asking a lot of what if questions. It's seems that every sentence out of his mouth starts with "what if". Last night during dinner, I kept track of all his questions. These came at us over a span of thirty minutes:

What if I ate chips and cheese all the t me because I looooooove chips and cheese all the time?

What if we were shape detectives and we found an octogon?

What if Freddie shaked his cage all the time?

What if we were sleeping and Freddie was jumping on the stairs the whole time?

What if a moose got sick?

What if I were a baby?

What if I got a rock for halloween?

What if I could eat candy all the time?

What if I could eat chips and cheese every day?

What if every day was Valentine's day?

What if Freddie was a big dog?

What if it was Christmas all the time.

What if chips and cheese was the only thing I ever ate?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A conversation with Seeger

Seeger's conversation with his Mimi:

Mimi: "Seeger, what is your mommy's name?"

Seeger: "Uh.... Natalie?"

Mimi: "That's right! And what is your daddy's name?"

Seeger: "I don't know."

Mimi: "Yes, you do. What do other people call your dad?"

Seeger: "I don't know."

Mimi: "Seeger, you know the answer. Think about it. What does your mom call your dad?"

Seeger: "She calls him Babe."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love letters to my family

Dear Seeger - While I was away on business, I called you, your dad, and your brother to check in and see how things were going. (And obviously find out how much you all missed me.) It's not cool that after talking to me for two minutes, you interrupted me by saying, "I don't want to talk to you anymore. Goodbye." It's even less cool that after handing the phone back to dad, you proceeded to walk around in circles. That's what you gave up talking to me for? I thought maybe you suddenly remembered you wanted to play with your trains or perhaps Spongebob was on tv or something. But nope, you just didn't want to talk to me.

I'm sure this was just a one time incident. Right? RIGHT?? You'll always make time to talk to your mom. Right?

(At least humor me every once in awhile, okay?)


Dear Nicklas - I love that you enjoy playing your Guitar Hero World Tour game. It's great fun and I understand this. I play too so you know I can appreciate your love of the game. But here's the thing. It's not okay to practice the vocals at 7am in the morning. Today, I was awoken to you belting out Beat It by Michael Jackson. Seven hours later and I still have the lyrics in my head.

You're an early riser. I get that. And you enjoy that time in the morning when everyone else is asleep and you have the house to yourself. I get this, too. But in the future, stick to the guitar if you're going to play World Tour before everyone else is awake.

Thank you and I love you.

Dear Freddie the Puppy - Unfortunately, you live in Indiana. This is where your parents have always lived. It's where you were born and it's where you'll be raised. Indiana often experiences dramatic climate shifts. We have definitive seasons which include days of rain, snow, sun, wind, ice, and heat. Get used to it. You WILL be expected to do your duty outside EVEN when the weather isn't to your liking. Don't worry, you won't be alone. One of us will help you through it. We love you.

(And no, we won't shovel the snowy grass for you.)

the woman who feeds you and plays with you and will always give you a treat when you potty outside

To my loving husband - Thank you for humoring me and learning to play Canasta. Thanks for the great time in Florida. Thanks for letting me choose the restaurant on Valentine's Day. Thanks for playing Boggle when it really isn't fun for you. Thanks for encouraging the Get Fit Challenge. (We both weigh the lowest we've been in ten years - yay us!) And I especially want to thank you for agreeing to install the garage door opener all by yourself instead of making me shell out $100 for installation. I'm sure you're cursing me right now (since as I write this, you've started this little home improvement project) but please know that I really, really appreciate it. (It will be nice to actually be able to use the remote openers instead of just the wall unit, right?) You rock!

Your very appreciative wife

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vlogs, vomit, and a very cute puppy

My previous two posts were recaps and photo's of the family's visit to Disney World. Of course, I had to capture some memories on video. I've decided to include a few in this post. The first two are of Nicklas and Seeger talking about their favorite rides at Hollywood Studio's.

(Note to those reading this via Facebook. You can access the videos by visiting

As much as the family didn't relish the thought of leaving Orlando and making our way back to Indiana, knowing our return home meant reuniting with our puppy made everything a bit more bearable.

After bidding goodbye to the Turners and setting off for the car rental return/airport, we hit the toll road with Nicklas complaining about feeling sick. Yeah, we should have taken him a little more seriously. Just was I was pulling up to the toll booth, I asked him if he felt like he was going to throw up. He barely said yes before the chunks started spewing. Armed with nothing but a list of spelling words and suitcases full of dirty clothes, I did the best I could to clean up him and the rental car. (I'd like to apologize to the state of Florida for leaving a barely worn vomit covered youth Lions shirt and pair of men's boxer briefs on the side of the 417 toll road. And yes Nicklas, I'll buy you a new shirt. I just didn't want to endure vomiting smelling clothing the entire trip back to Indiana.)

After the excitement, we were anxious to get to the airport and get settled. The rest of our trip home was less eventful. After landing in Indianapolis, we made our way to our breeder's house to pick up Frederico Arthur (aka Freddie) the Maltipoo. Can I just tell you how much we are in love with him? And to make up for the vomit story, here is a photo of the newest family member.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Magic Kingdom

Our second full family day in Orlando was spent at the MagicKingdom with my mom and aunt. (The Kubat/Turners were visiting family.) Magic Kingdom is always our favorite Disney Park and despite being there from open to close we still weren't able to do everything we wanted.
(Can I just interject about how much a love the Fast Pass? I love it! It's the greatest thing E-VER.)
Here we are getting ready to board the train and head to Frontierland. Since Pirates of the Caribbean isn't a fast pass ride, I wanted to get there early so we wouldn't have to wait.

Seeger is finally tall enough for the bigger rides. His favorite was Big Thunder Mountain Canyon, the railroad roller coaster. He rode it twice. (Nick's fav was Space Mountain.)

Of course we had to ride Buzz Lightyear, our favorite the last time we went. I would like to point out that I finally beat the Polack during this ride. My score was much better than his!

We rode the spinning teacups. See that look of joy on my face? Yeah, that's not joy.
I was trying to keep from throwing up.

Here are Polack and Nicklas on the Indy Raceway.

A photo-op with my mom and Aunt Kathy while the Polack went to fast pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (again!).
Here are the Polack and Nicklas riding Dumbo toward the end of the night.
And the last photo at the park....

This is how a parent can tell her children had fun at Magic Kingdom....

Ha! I just noticed the drool mark on Seeger's left shoulder. He must take after his mom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hollywood Studios

I realize I haven't blogged much lately. It's because I've been too busy having fun with the family during our long weekend in Orlando. To hold you over until I catch up with work, laundry, house cleaning, and of course, acclimating our new puppy to life in the Kubat household, here are some pictures. These were taken during our visit to Hollywood Studios at Disney World. Mike, the boys and I were very excited to have Mike's parents, aunt and uncle, and cousins join us. It was fun day with great weather.

Here is everyone at the Muppet 3D Show.

Here are the boys right after Star Tours (Nicklas's favorite ride).

Here are Mike and I in line at Toy Story Mania. It was a great ride but I suggest Fast Passing it early!

After doing all the attractions, we let the boys choose which one they could go on a second time. Seeger chose the Tower of Terror (which Nicklas was too nervous about to ride.) He was never scared and pretty much laughed the whole time. He likes to tell people about coming "out of the seat" with his seat belt on while it's dropping. Nicklas rode the Aerosmith Rockin Roller Coaster and I thought he'd want to do it again since he usually likes roller coasters. Instead he seemed nervous and scared which is pretty unusual for him. So his last ride was the Star Tours. I didn't get a picture of Seeger on the Tower of Terror but here is Nicklas after his second ride.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I found my camera cord

So I didn't really need to steal images off of google. I woke up this morning and remembered where I put my camera cord. And just to prove that I actually took awesome photo's on my own...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Exploring the future

I alluded in a previous post that I'm away from home for a few days. I'm actually in Orlando for a conference. The conference has been okay. The weather well, it's not great. Temps have been in the 30's and 40's but since I left 10 degree's in Indiana, I can't complain. Despite the cold, the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

My conference ended early today so I decided to treat myself to a day at Epcot. My mom and aunt tagged along with me so we purchased significantly discount tickets for entry after 4pm. I haven't been to Epcot since I was in 8th grade so it was like a I experienced it for the first time. I definitely had fun, although I definitely missed the Polack and the boys.

No worries though, the rest of the family (including the in-laws) are joining us on Saturday. We're taking a long weekend so we can hit the parks for a few days.

(For the record, I stole these images off of google. But ONLY because I forgot to bring my camera cord. And for the record, the pictures in camera are way better than these.)
As anyone been to Epcot recently? I totally fell in love with the Soarin ride. Test track came in a close second.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 random things about me

The 25 list has been running rampant around facebook and the blogosphere. I'm both annoyed and fascinated by these lists which means I've gone back and forth between doing one of my own.

Since I'm away from my family for the next few days, I decided to do my own list. (I also have nothing blog worthy to write so I figured, what the heck?)

1. As the only daughter with three brothers, I love the attention I received growing up.

2. In kindergarten, my best friends father affectionately called me "Fat Nat" once. To this day, I hate it when people call me Nat. (Side note: there are three people that get away with this, George, Bethy, and Jules.)

3. As painful as it was, sometimes I miss high school. I was involved in lots of fun activities and hung out with some really great friends.

4. In high school, I worked at Wendy's and loved my job. Really. I loved it. I would probably still be working there if there wasn't such a stigma about working in fast food.

5. I regret not being more motivated in college. There are so many on campus opportunities that I didn't take advantage of. (Unless you count taste testing all varieties of the flavored long island iced teas at Kilroy's.)

6. The best concert I ever went to was the Violent Femmes. The worst concert I ever went to was the Violent Femmes. (These were two different concerts.)

7. I worked as a shot girl in a bar during college.

8. One of the best experiences I've ever had was backpacking around Europe for a month. I hope my kids will do the same. Maybe they'll even invite me to come with them?

9. I once had my tongue pierced. That was 12 years ago and I still miss it.

10. I don't understand why people get tattoos.

11. I was a social worker for four years. I am so glad I had this job but I would never do it again.

12. As I get older, my taste in music grows progressively worse. In high school, I listened to R.E.M. and The Cure. Now I listen to Ashlee Simpson and Katy Perry. I am extremely embarrassed by this.

13. I would never want to be a stay-at-home mom yet I'm very envious of them. (Sometimes I take a random a vacation day while my husband goes to work and my kids go to school just so I can pretend I'm a stay-at-home mom.)

14. Sometimes I like to practice my America's Next Top Model Walk and the smile with my eyes look.

15. My husband knows me better than I know myself. Often, I'm still trying to sort through my emotions regarding an incident and he already knows what my reaction will be. Usually, I think this is pretty cool but every once in awhile it really annoys me.

16. I have very high expectations of the people in my life. This usually leads to significant disappointment in relationships which is extremely unfair to those who are a part of my life.

17. I hate Jimmy Buffet. (Not him personally but his music, definitely.)

18. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

19. I'm pretty frugal. I have trouble paying full price for clothes, vacations, etc. I also will spend money on something I don't necessarily need just because I know it's a good deal.

20. When I see pregnant women, babies, or toddlers, I get sad because I'm past the baby stage of my life.

21. I don't like to watch sports on television. I've tried, for my husband's benefit, but I just can't do it.

22. My favorite movie of all time is The American President. It's so cheesy yet I feel a surge of patriotism whenever I watch it.

23. I doubt I'll ever live outside the state of Indiana.

24. I like to shovel snow.

25. I know way too much celebrity gossip.

I know you're supposed to tag people for this but it doesn't seem fair to choose 25 people over others. Therefore, I'm choosing not to tag which means probably no one will read this.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Superbowl Silliness

Mike and I decided to let the boys to come with us to a Superbowl party. Nicklas was pumped - he really wanted to see the game, especially since it meant staying up late. While Seeger could care less about football, he thoroughly enjoyed entertaining the guests.

Both boys enjoyed the Fiesta Bar for dinner but neither liked the Banana's Foster we had for dessert. I did though - it was super yummy.

Seeger would only eat the ice cream and tried to avoid the alcohol laced bananas.

After dessert, he took some goofy pictures of people.

And of course, he had one taken of himself.

Monday, February 2, 2009

That's not what I asked for!

Seeger and I went to get our hair cut over the weekend. I was due for a regular trim and after cutting his hair myself that last few times, I thought it would be better to go to a professional who knew what she was doing and could even things up a bit.

Let's review. Here is a before picture of him. See, it's long on the neck and his bangs are starting to get in his eyes. (This was taken the night before.)
So we go to the hair-cutting-chain-who-won't-be-named and one stylist starts my cut. The other asks me what I want for Seeger so she can start his. I explain, rather clearly I believe, that I want it trimmed. "I want it off his neck, out of his eyes, and a trim all around."
Apparently, a trim to this particular stylist (and I use that term lightly) means she can go ahead and CUT OFF THREE INCHES. She was nearly done before I even realized his hair was gone. Mike and Nicklas came to pick us up as Seeger was still in the chair. They both looked around the place and said, "Where's Seeger?" That's right, neither recognized him.
And here is Seeger after his haircut.

Trim = Three inches.

Lesson learned.