Forensic Fridays

My daughter and I found an amazing forensics class online.  Since my public school day ends at two on Fridays, we decided to complete work for forensics every Friday.  Yesterday we took a field trip to the local sheriff’s office to look at the equipment for lifting prints.

We saw some training pictures and a program to recreate scenes of accidents.

We saw some training pictures and a program to recreate scenes of accidents.

Wynn showed us how to dust for prints.

Wynn showed us how to dust for prints.

He made lifting the print look easy.

He made lifting the print look easy.

Now Bela has a souvenir of a neat learning experience.

Now Bela has a souvenir of a neat learning experience.



We all have dreams, right? My daughter wants to audition for The Voice (as mentioned in a previous post). I look for ways to support her. I take heat sometimes because not everyone agrees with how we roll at my house. We travel whenever possible, and I try to give her every opportunity. I don’t want her to look back on these teen years and think I didn’t support her. I don’t want to be that mom. You know what I mean.

I caught myself going down the dream spoiler path two or three years ago. Bela was still receiving her Pony Packs. Each shipment included a magazine with some horse-related contests. Bela found the answer to one of the questions, mailed her reply and hoped her name would be drawn out of the bucket of correct answers. I tried to prepare her for not winning. I mentioned the odds—lots of kids got the Pony Packs, so I was sure there would be hundreds of correct answers. The prize was a horse clock that neighed on the hour. After my warnings about not getting her hopes up too high, she said, “Somebody’s going to win—why not me?” I shut up and realized what I had done. I wanted to protect her from disappointment, but I could have killed her optimistic spirit. Yikes!

A few weeks later, Ysabela had mail—a box from Pony! Yep, you guessed it. Her entry was chosen for a clock! Every day the neighing reminds me to let her dream.

Dancing or Dancing Around the Truth?

Dear Parents,

This is last thing I wanted to write on a Saturday night, but I had an eye-opening experience and would like to ask you some questions.

Have you ever listened to your child’s iPod playlist? You should. You might be (unpleasantly) surprised by what you hear. If you think you shouldn’t “invade little Billy’s privacy,” think again. Anything in your home falls under your jurisdiction.

Have you ever driven around town while your child is supposed to be at a dance or church meeting? You should. You might be surprised by who you see and where.

Do you verify your child’s story? You should. Sometimes a child will say enough to allow a parent to jump to an erroneous conclusion. The child can then say, “But I didn’t lie!” A deliberate omission is just as bad as an outright lie.

I came home and asked my own child some very pointed questions. I got some enlightening answers. Maybe you should do the same.

A fellow parent

Today’s Music

Teachers and parents, I’m talking to you! Are you listening to the same tunes as your kids (or students)? Are you hearing what they hear? My daughter and I get in the car, and the radio is always on. Sounds normal, right? I’ll admit to being entertained by a catchy beat. Then again, some songs are catchy only if I don’t hear the lyrics. Bad lyrics make some songs unfit for teen listening. I have heard lyrics so bad that I get embarrassed! (That’s hard to do!)

Think of some songs you’ve heard on the radio (or your iPod) lately. Now, sing a few bars of each. Stop singing when the song refers to sex or if you encounter a curse word. You just sing a few minutes and come back when you’re done. I’ll wait for you.

A few songs stand out (at least to me) for their offensiveness. Miley Cyrus songs are, in general, very crude. Rihanna doesn’t do any better. Then there’s Kesha, Pitbull (who should know better) and even Enrique Iglesias. Those are all offensive, but today’s winner for making me gag is Beyoncé’s Drunk in Love. Gross. Really listen to the lyrics and you’ll hear for yourself. Are we supposed to take her seriously? Pardon me while I puke.

What happened to morals? What happened to editing songs for tender ears? Why are we not doing a better job of protecting our kids? What is wrong with society?

Yes, I know teenagers are going to listen to provocative music. I also realize there’s a difference in singing about something and actually doing it. I understand that our kids want to “fit in” wherever they may be. I think we parents and teachers should keep telling them that “fitting in” might be easier than standing up for decency, but easy is not always right. We have to make sure good values are instilled in our children before they go out on their own.

We, the adults, are frighteningly aware of the world that awaits our young when they leave the nest. The media bombards us all with nudity, trashy music and a message that thin equals beautiful even if unhealthy habits create that skinny silhouette. Another message that is loud and clear to our kids is that sex equals love. Not true! Enough already!


The Chicken Chick

All the hype about Prom—is it really worth it? Girls and their parents spend so much for so little, really. Dresses and shoes, of course, are usually expensive. Then there’s a corsage to buy, pictures, hair, makeup, nails, etc. Add in a dose of anxiety about finding a suitable date, and I have to wonder if it’s really worth it. Let me tell you about my experience.

I was so lucky to find a discounted dress at Deb’s in Grand Island last October. It was on sale for about $25. I saw a tiny flaw on the breast and brought it to the cashier’s attention. I received an additional 55% off! HALLELUJAH! Imagine my glee in spending so little for a PROM DRESS! (Sorry to shout, but it was exciting.) Getting Princess Ysabela’s hair done cost me $25 (thank you, Lisa), and a wrist corsage was a little over $17 (thank you, Lynn). Momma was rocking, right? Go me! Anyway, I thought I was rocking too. As I mentally patted myself on the back, I noticed my princess was manifesting signs of stress. Stress? Why ever would that be? How do I know?

Ysabela was smiling, but her silver shoes became her focus once she got to the gym. She complained that they hurt her feet. I suspect that was simply a symptom of insecurity and nerves. It makes sense. Like a guest speaker at school said, “Kids walk on stage and perform every time they enter the school.” I had never thought of high school like that. If I view Prom in the same light, no wonder Ysabela was using her shoes as a focal point for her nerves! It was easier than admitting to herself (or me) that she was feeling insecure. Oh, teen angst! It’s a battle we all must fight—and hopefully win.

Is the stress worth it? Prom is an important event in a teen’s life. As a parent, I think we need to be vigilant and do something if we notice our children’s stress levels escalating. I, for one, will pay close attention to my daughter’s clues, both verbal and nonverbal.

Princess Ysabela

Princess Ysabela

Good Question

Writing Challenge

Writing Challenge

Do I do more for myself or for others? I am not sure, actually. I do a few things for myself. I work a second job, but I don’t sign up for more hours than necessary. Sometimes I feel selfish, especially if I’m asked to work a shift and I just don’t want to work. I am so tired and mentally drained that I need my evenings to get it together for the next school day! I have a house to run and a teenager to parent. I make sure I have coffee in the house, too. (I do that for myself AND my child!) Grad classes take up more of my time and energy, but I’m doing that to increase my earnings to benefit my family. I am a workaholic (I think) because it feels great to be able to buy what my daughter needs without counting change. I love learning new things, but I get bored really fast! Then I move on to the next challenge. I keep learning stuff for ME!

I do things for others when I can. Animal rescue is important to me. My pets have all been adopted or otherwise rescued. I donate money to the Rodeo Club at school, and I have had a collection tub for items that went to foster kids. My students are good about putting things in for the foster kids. My classes have adopted soldiers, and I send coupons to deployed families as often as possible. I have spent time working as a CNA and a foster parent. (I found out that fostering is not for me.) I’m on the volunteer fire department as well. Is that sufficient?

I guess we all do what we can when we can. I just hope that’s enough.