Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Long Week

As most of you know the state of Colorado has been hit hard this last week.  With rain fall totals that have exceeded those seen in a typical 100 or 500 year floods there has been devastation from flooding spread throughout the state.  It is still hitting towns to the east that are further down the river systems.  A cold front from the North and a warm, moist monsoon system from the South collided and stalled over one of the worst possible locations on the Front Range.  With the massive amounts of water that fell in the mountains the rivers that flow through the canyons were inundated and huge walls of water destroyed whatever was in their wake.  Houses, cars, trees and anything else (even bridges) were obliterated.  Thousands of people and homes are affected as well as roads and communities.  Towns were shut off from communication and the rest of civilization until air rescue could be carried out.

How far and wide the destruction has spread is staggering.

We realize how lucky we were.  The system could have stalled lower down the front range above the river system in our area.  Our backyard has a creek/drainage gulch that runs to a nearby reservoir and this system could have been easily overwhelmed.  We came close to evacuation one night - our valuables collected and bags packed sitting by the door.  We tried to sleep as the phone was next to us - waiting for the call that said it was time to GO.  Thankfully we did not hear any rain (or a ringing phone) and we knew we would probably be ok until morning.  The entire week we have been watching the creek rise and fall as the rain would slow and increase.  It also depended on what happened further up in the hills - if it was raining higher up on Clear Creek we would be in trouble.  But it did not and we were ok, unlike so many others.  As we are thankful for our safety we carry thoughts of all the others who were not so lucky - our hearts are with them as they begin the recovery process.  It will be long and hard but they will do it with the support of the rest of Colorado and their communities.

the craziness began last week on Monday when we were hit with a massive hail storm (it all fell in an hour during school pickup)

ominous clouds were everywhere

the creek when it began to recede for the first of many times

we had not idea what the rest of the week would bring, that this was just the beginning

I was very impressed with the boys and how they stepped up and handled everything so well.  They gathered their belongings and packed bags.  They asked questions, showed concern, and were a bit nervous - and that is ok - that is how kids should respond and will respond.  The important thing is to communicate with them - inform them - keep them involved.  When they have tasks to do they do not feel so helpless.

Once again we are left to respect Mother Nature.  Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention and realize the power that nature and weather have and the destruction that can be caused.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Gut

Not the best name for a pretty place
A beautiful spot to hike to
Refreshing water that cools hot sweaty toes
Crawdads to catch
The sound of rushing water
Rocks to climb over
Bugs buzzing (and biting)
Hot summer afternoons
Time with family
We are definitely missing the water here in Colorado

Saturday, September 7, 2013

That thing called BACK TO SCHOOL.........

This post is definitely late in coming - sorry about that.

It has been a few years since our family has experienced the official "back to school" event.  After 3 years of homeschooling while living outside of the U.S. we were all a little excited, nervous, apprehensive and I know I was hoping with all my might that it would go smoothly.
The boys attended a Montessori charter school here in Denver previous to our move and after keeping in contact with the school the plan was to return.  It relieved my anxiety to know that they would be returning to an environment that they would be comfortable and familiar with.  It was also important that their teachers understand what they had been experiencing the last 3 years.
Continuing with the way our life flows after I registered both boys at their old school we got a phone call that Dillon had a spot at another charter Montessori school that we had applied too.  This school has an amazing Farm School program for grades 7, 8 and 9 (This requires a post all of its own) and his friends from his old school had transferred there as well.  After discussions with the boys we all agreed that Dillon and Ronan would attend different schools.  We also found out Ronan would have Dillon's 4th grade teacher Ms. Lynda - it was a perfect fit and we really could not have asked for anything more.

Some have wondered or questioned why we did not put the boys back into school wherever Michael was completing his elective clinical rotations (4th year of med school).  I had always felt strongly that the year the boys returned to the school system that it needed to be at a school or schools that I trusted - or I knew would have the best interest of the boys in mind.  It also needed to be a school or schools that had curriculums and methods of teaching that we believed in.  I am a firm believer that not all children learn in the same way and that educators and parents alike need to be open to the possibility that there is more than one way to learn.  This could not be more obvious then with our 2 boys - the oldest could sit in a desk in a traditional school and probably do just fine (although I do not think it would be to his fullest potential) and the youngest is a strong verbal learner and needs the freedom to learn in different ways (or methods).  It was also important that they were both in environments that valued the experiences they had been through over the last 3 years.  To realize that the experiences from traveling around the world and living in different cultures could never be replicated in the classroom and would lead to life skills that would benefit them through to adulthood.  This is not to say that reading, writing, and math are not important but there are more ways of learning them then in a desk doing worksheets.  Education is not about memorizing material for a standardized test.  It is about learning life skills, learning how to learn, discovering who you are, exploring the world and people around you, and becoming an upstanding citizen of good character.

Needless to say our "back to school" experience has been wonderful.  Ronan is enjoying his classroom that has 3 pets, the freedom to choose his work during work cycle, reconnecting with old friends and teachers and of course four square on the playground.  Dillon just returned from a 3 day camping trip with his advisement group and will be starting his occupation next week.  He discovered today he will be working in Aquaponics his first semester.  This will include earth science, irrigation systems for the farm at the school, and building new fish tanks for the fish whose waste is used for nutrients in the farms gardens.

Although we would love to have Michael with us all the time (and we miss him so much) for 4th year it is a compromise we are all ok with and just like the last 3 years we know it will go by faster then we realize.

Although it has been a windy road with ups and downs the boys have ended up exactly where they need to be and could not be in better school environments.

We look forward to a year full of growing, changing, and learning.
Thank you to all those educators who believe in the world of learning and see each child as a complete and whole being.

The Supermoon in Puerto Morelos, Mexico June 2013