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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The people that are from everywhere to make one place

My 6 year old has entered the Reflections contest this year.
The Title was...Diversity means......?
and she had to fill in the blank.

I would of answered the question the same way. My parents were from two completely different worlds. My dad's parents being born in China and raising my dad in a traditional Chinese way.  My mom's parents being mainly German and French and a touch of Dutch, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English, and  Native American. (They had lived in America from far back. I would love to know from exactly when. or always, as far as the Native American goes.)She had been brought up very stereo typically American. For those two types of people to come together and make a family with such separated traditions is amazing. Or.. as a child "for me" confusing. When I was growing up I wasn't accepted from the Asian kids or the Caucasian kids. I was always somewhere stuck in the middle. Its hard for me to even talk about my nationalities. Or is it safe to say I wish I couldn't see colors. If you lived in my skin as a child it was pointed out regularly. What are you? Is the question I would get asked on a daily basis. I usually would just stare at them blankly. Other days, I would go through the list of countries. Then eventually, I would just say, " I am a human." "What are you ?"

The worst,... is forms that you fill out that you have to check the box of what nationality you are.I had to check "other". How could I pick? I am exactly half Caucasian and half Asian.

But really...... in actuality aren't most people the "other" box? What is Caucasian?
Its a mix of many countries mixed somehow into one?

I am lucky though because I  am part of a big family. So even though I didn't feel accepted in school at a young age. I always had my 4 siblings. So I was part of something family. I am so Thankful for family.

Now it seems that I am more like everyone else. When I look around there is a beautiful mix of countries in so many people. A whole different world then it used to be. But really if you dig deep into most peoples heritages they are more then one nationality. The average American is at least from 2 or more other countries.
Or maybe its always been this way and I just didn't realize it until I was grown.

The great melting pot. The human race.
The people that are from everywhere to make one place.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does she know she's kicking me?

Our flight was booked for a mere 2 hr, evening flight.  Which is nothing compared to the 10 hour flights that welcomed in a new time zone, that my children have became accustomed to. So I felt very confident that the flight would be a piece of cake.

To my dismay, and of course, there I was with a man staring me down because my 6 year old daughter kept kicking the back of his seat. Now… I am a very aware parent and make it a point to teach my kids manners. I had asked her to stop several times. But the irony was that the man had all three seats in his row to himself, but he just had to sit in the seat in front of my daughter. It’s like my 6 year old was also aware of this fact. So it was very comical when the man finally turned around and said, “Does she know she’s kicking my seat?” I paused before I spoke, trying to come up with something clever to say. Finally I said, “Yes she knows, and I am sorry but I have asked her to stop and on a plane there is only so much one can do. You..?... could (I said very slowly) move over one seat since there is no one sitting in either of those seats and then you wouldn't have to worry about anyone kicking your seat. ….(Wow! Did I just say that out loud?)…. He just kind of nodded and then said “yeah I have thought of that.” Then he turned back around and put his headphones back on and did Not move over.  Really? … 

My daughter had it all figured out. Distractions with stories or toys wouldn’t work. Telling her she was going to be in a time out when we got off the plane only seemed to work for 2 minutes, then she was back to dangling her feet..swinging her legs back and forth and  inevitably kicking the seat. Saying she was going to lose items didn’t work… she just replied, “Ok that’s fine”..Then she would go back to singing and talking like she had a microphone attached to her cheek.

The battle of wits was underway…whose patience was going to break first? The isolation hovered, as the flight attendant spoke over the loud speaker and said… “Please stay in your seats for the remainder of the flight.”

Maybe it was the man’s stare or my constant whispering into her ear to “STOP kicking his seat”

Finally (she, my 6 year old) decided to move over to another seat and switch seats with me.

Why didn’t I think of that?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Caution this is not for Everyone:

Caution this is not for Everyone:

Be well advised that my Sensory Art Studio class at Orange Blossom Society is not for neat nicks or clean freaks. I feel like I need to put a Warning label on the definition of the classes, so parents can be aware that when your child leaves he or she… may …or may not… have flour laced through their hair or split peas caught between their toes. It’s certain that they will have paint on the soles of their feet and maybe a splash or two of blue or yellow paint on their nose and cheeks. When you look around the room it will be Messy!

This is the point. I wanted to create a place that children can explore in an unrestrained environment.

Where they can make the mess they want and experiment with cause and effect. Hear the sounds of black eyed peas clanking on metal pots and plastic bowls. Walk in slime and pick it up and let it seep between your fingers. Paint their toes and dance around. Roll in flour. Swim in lentils.

Turkeys turkeys turkeys

Turkeys! Turkeys! Turkeys!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The education and experience come together

The education and experience have come together.

Below I have written an article:
It has been published in Redmond Toddler groups newsletter. I now work for a place called Orange Blossom Society in Redmond teaching my Concept of Sensory art for young children that I had created at my past business called Art Experiences that was located at Redmond Town center.
I am very happy at Orange Blossom Society. It is a place that parents come to connect and relax while their children can play and attend Fine arts classes, Sensory art classes, Yoga, a Math class called abacus, a Language school called Sponge. I really believe in the owner Sharman Ghio's vision.
"Her vision is to create a place for families to come and learn and get support from other parents and educators. A place for sharing and bonding .A community for people to be a part of, that is like a second family." This is not just her trying to advertise her services. I have gotten to know her pretty well and I know that she is very honest and sincere on the nature of her business."Her baby". That she means every word she says about it. I feel honored to be a part of the Orange Blossom Society and the gifts it brings to so many families in the eastside area.

How to give your child a rewarding Art Experience
By: Meagan Buckmaster-Ross
An open ended learning environment is the cornerstone of a child's brain development in infancy and childhood. Parents, grandparents and caregivers can do a number of things to nourish and fulfill the learning process for children. The brain literally is growing new connections on a constant basis. Research has shown that experiences with new kinds of activity or stimulation can generate growth in the brain within only a few hours after the experiences begin. Experts say that Art engages a variety of the brain's areas that help children learn emotion, cognition and memory. It also develops creative thinking, problem solving/decision making skills, provides means of communication and self expression, aids physical coordination, and serves as an emotional release. Children should receive many opportunities to color, draw, paint, and create using many different types of art materials.
Many people have different opinions on the way an Art lesson should be taught. As an artist myself I agree with all of them. There are seven types of learning styles. Therefore, I believe that children can learn from many types of teaching styles. Here are just a few key details when you search for an art class for your child given this information.
Establish or seek out a fun, joyful, safe, and secure environment for children with many forms or ways to develop artwork. The most important fact in my opinion is, that the activity that is set out for the child to do is at a developmentally age appropriate level. This means that the art activity is truly a child initiated, child driven project that the child can do without any help from someone else, especially a parent or caregiver. The tables and activities should be at their height level. The materials or tools need to be open for them to reach and explore and manipulate. Most important is the freedom to create naturally with their abilities and skills.
With this in mind, before signing your child up for an Art class, you may want to check out the credentials of the art instructors. A background in art training, as well as early childhood development or education is very beneficial. These credentials will help the instructor gear the activities to your child’s level. Be sure to also keep in mind that “It’s the process not the product”, that will give your young child the most rewarding art experience.

Meagan Buckmaster-Ross is a mother of four and Art Instructor/Special Events Coordinator at Orange Blossom Society in Redmond. She teaches sensory art experiences for toddlers and children 12months-10 years old. She also creates customized birthday parties and special event celebrations.
Recommended resources:
Don’t move the muffin tins, by: Bev Bos
Before the basics, by: Bev Bos

Healy, J. (1994). Your Child's Growing Mind: A Practical Guide to Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence. New York: Doubleday.

Jensen, Eric. (1998). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va. ………For info on the Seven learning styles: By Stacy Mantle

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Registration began

Registration Began August 1.,2002. And Classes commenced on September 3, 2002.
My concept of Art for young children was really going to happen. I had seemed to find a niche that hadn’t been filled. The idea hadn’t just come to me. It was a natural way that I had been raising my children and people had said to me that what I was doing with them was unique, and I should open up a place somewhere that I could let everyone enjoy. So I worked on a business plan and finalized this Art concept. It seemed to happen so fast and I worried about someone else taking my ideas and using them to open their own art school. I know this sounds egocentric and I know it’s better to be humble. I am just passionate about something I have worked so hard on. This is my baby “my concept”, I watched it grow, I spent quality time with it, nurtured it, had to figure out problems with it, stayed up with it late at night, and spent countless hours worrying about “my” idea. Is this the way everyone feels when they have put their whole self into something? I know I feel this way about my own children and I do know that someday I have to let go and let them make their own way into the world.
The feeling of emptiness, as I watched my oldest daughter get in her newly bought car after she just got her license, and drive away on her own. Wow,.. I have to trust that I have raised her right up until this moment. Eventually all four of my children will grow up. It pains me to think that those children will all someday also make that first drive out of the driveway. My life seems to be filled with so many new beginnings. I have to remember to hold off on that little child voice inside that yells. “Hey that’s mine!” I learned the saying long ago. “It takes a village to raise a child”
I know that if it wasn’t for my family and friends my children wouldn’t be who they are today.
So I need to learn to let go and be in the moment and breathe and know ……
“We all belong to each other and each of us needs all the others.”-Romans 12:3-5

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Drill Team

Drill Team..definition:.…Fond memories of girls giggling, singing, dancing, and smiling.
Drill : She has been interested in being on a Drill team since she was 9 years old. She smiled as she watched her oldest cousin perform at a football game. This is her third year on the Drill team. Drill team has been good to her. When she began the Drill team as a freshman, she started high school with a giant group of instant friends. They worked hard together and built a strong bond.
Today I watched my daughter perform in her second Drill Competition of this year. I was a proud mother watching her. Not just for her performance in her routine but for her courage to stay with her team. This sport has brought so much turmoil in the lives of many girls, coaches, and mothers. I don’t think it’s the sport. I really think woman of all ages have a hard time getting along. Why is this? Why must we be so competitive as women to each other? It would be much better just to help each other out. I will never understand.
As a self admitted true stubborn, strong personality woman myself, I realize I can learn a lot from my daughter. She knows when to speak out. She doesn’t follow the crowd. She smiles even when it’s hard. At a young age my daughter has shown me that she has true determination and knows what commitment means. This being said, I have seen all the happiness and joy that being part of this team has brought into my daughter’s life.

What is a team? What is hard work? What constitutes perseverance? What is friendship?
My daughter has learned all of these things. I am so proud of her. Love you H!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I have the utmost respect


I have the utmost respect for all people in the military. In fact, a lot of my family have served in some way or another. I have a cousin training right now. But let's face it I am a true hippie at heart. Not the get down and dirty, smelly, naked and disrespectful for all things conforming. Just the wanting Peace, love and No war kind.

I wish there was a way to solve all the differences without having to send young men and woman to fight with weapons. After all these years well....Hundreds of years of fighting...humans have not evolved. The weapons have gotten bigger yet the human mind hasn't been able to figure out a way to solve an issue without violence. It scares me in wonderment for the future of my 4 children. History always seems to repeat it self and I am not sure why. You would think doing something over and over again and it still not working would maybe make people think...Huh?? Maybe we should try something new?

I know this obviously isn't a simple problem to figure out. I have posted a photo of a wall in Prague that the youth had fought their war in "their" way. Each night they would cover the wall with paintings of peace and each day the authorities would white wash it away. (for more info you can google the Lennon peace wall in Prague) I love this example of fighting in a peaceful manner through art no less. I wish it could all be this simple.

This post is for all those families who have lost loved ones in in the military. My heart goes out to all of you. Thank You..... Veterans for fighting for all our freedom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Adventure

An Adventure
Through the hormones going up and down between my two teenage daughters it’s difficult to remember those days of the simple things in life. There’s no perfect manual or secret parenting guide that I have found that can soothe the savaged beasts. I have wondered just like every other parent in the world that haunting question of…. Am I being the best parent I can? Am I making the right decisions?
I sit up nights going over in my mind how to take away all their problems. If only I had a magic wand that could take away all the pain and worry. If only for those days long ago when I could just kiss their boo boos and it would be all better. I remember asking my own mother when my oldest daughter was a toddler if you ever stop worrying as a parent. She simply replied, “You will always be a mother”, and “You will never stop worrying” Now as my oldest daughter is on her sixteenth year I can see that answer very clearly. As the years have gone by with my four children and the days seem to go faster. This fact has jolted me into the reality, that my time with my children is limited.

I could see her face looking at me that face that used to be chunky with baby fat and used to be so certain about the world, has now grown to be so questioning yet elegant and refined. There is a question on her lips, “When are we going to go on our next adventure?” She was already a young woman. Where did all my time go?  Memories of long days at the park that seemed to move slowly somehow now moved ultra fast. I am torn by three of my children on the cusp of adulthood and one child age 6 that has just moved on to the reading, exploring stage. My parenting skills have sprung into action leading my children into my natural parenting style.

My list:...... Try and make everyday count in the life of my children. I have come to believe that experiences are an essential part of our everyday life as a family. Three years ago after saving for 3 years, we began our journey as a family going on a month long trip to Europe. One of my daughters then age 10 researched the history and people of the past before we left so that when we arrived at The Tower of London she could name all the princesses, Kings and Queens that had stepped foot into the vast stone building. We explored, as she led us as our tour guide recalling all the trivial and incidents. We spent most of our day there just walking around and trying to picture the past.

What I remember most about that trip is just spending the time with my children. It was as if time had slowed down and we had stopped the rush to just be in the moment. I am not saying you have to start saving and take a trip to Europe with your kids. I am using this story as an example of how an adventure everyday can give your children a crucial and significant learning experience. Not to mention a very important way to nurture and bond with them as well. Whether it’s a simple trip to the park, a ferry ride across the Puget sound, or rolling down those bumpy grass hills at the Ballard locks. The secret of a relevant learning experience is taking time. Most of us go through life quickly. Let’s try and slow the time down by making every moment with your children count.

Slow down and be in the moment. If you are at the beach and they are looking at shells or rocks talk about the textures, shapes, maybe look up what kind of shells they were when you get home and see what kind of creatures may have lived in them. Even, before you go home, make sure to draw pictures in the sand, build sand castles, dig a moat and lay in the sand and make sand angels. You can never go too far into a subject. Sit at your child’s level and see and listen and respond. Read together often. Make sure to make every moment meaningful. Being a parent is a hard yet rewarding job.

Every day I am faced with the task of making sure my children are getting the best education that they can. Something we forget to do that is an important part of learning and development is stopping and slowing down and experimenting with everyday activities. There is an easy and valuable way to keep those connections in the brain happening daily. We have a hard time letting our children just process the information that occurs naturally with all of our busy schedules. It’s so easy to give your child a learning experience or small adventure when you let them go further into any activity that you engage in so they are able to retain and grasp the information more clearly. Be in the moment, spend time somewhere, no rushing, let them look, feel, experiment with the space around them. Answer questions, put the cell phone away, and find out facts about everything. Research a subject then go and see it, and walk around in it.
Pack your car for the day and take a small adventure.