Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

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Losing a Pet: Saying Good-bye To Our Dog (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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loss of dogIt happened.

Actually, we're two weeks past it, but the pain still numbs us.

We had to put our 4 year old sweet dog to sleep a few weeks ago. And while I wrote about it furiously on my personal blog (it's a three-parter), I just couldn't share it here.

Until now.

I have NEVER witnessed such grief out of my children. Ever. The weeping cut my heart in pieces. I felt their groans in my bones. The hurt and despair when we learned the awful truth, that cancer had taken up residence in Scout's abdomen and had continued to spread . . . to every organ . . . was so immediate, and thick ,and raw, that I seriously wondered if they/we would recover.

But, of course we all would. 

At that moment, however? And during the last hours we spent with Scout before the procedure? I wasn't sure. This was new. For all of us.

A little dramatic?

Not this time. 

I am now part of a special club. And if you are part of that special club, you too know the pain of which I speak.

Only during that worst day, the pain was unspeakable - for truly it was hard to speak. And yet:

George and I had serious parenting chops that day.

The teamwork.

How we communicated to the children.

The ability to comfort them while we were falling apart.

We showed them how to make mature, and yet hard choices on Scout's behalf (that being to euthanize rather than have her live in pain or possibly die at home - risking her hiding and being alone in the end). We encouraged them to harness a courage they didn't know existed in order to sit next to her while it took place. We literally surrounded our dear pet as she passed. The end was sad. But the end was also perfect.

There is no parenting textbook for stuff like this.

Still, I give us a "A+". And so did the kids. And that felt good.

Because losing Scout felt, and still feels, so very bad.

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

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Make Believe Play with Harry Potter and Chinese Take-Out

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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harry-02

Leave it to my children to gather up every chopstick in the house, (whether they be of the standard take away variety, or the fancier ones, which my husband and I have collected over the years), and turn them into wands.

Wands. Like the ones on display at Ollivander's shop in Hogsmead. (Translation: our back deck.)

Yes, my children are on the Harry Potter bandwagon. 

I recall teaching a musical theater summer camp back in 2000. During lunch breaks, rather than running around all loud and obnoxious, the kids participating in the camp were either sprawled out reading, or discussing the book they were reading. It was called,  "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone". I remember thinking the book must be something awesome to be captivating the attention of 5th and 6th's graders over their summer vacation.

Little did I know that I would get hooked on the series. Complete with midnight book release parties.

And now, 11 years later, my children are completely mesmerized as well.

Thus, our own wand shop in the back yard. 

I have also found stacks of books in various places around the house - apparently these are "textbooks" left over from a previous game of Harry Potter, during which my two children sit under a sorting hat, are assigned a house, gather up their textbooks, and go up and down stairwells to reach their classes.

"I have Potions. Where are you off too? Wrong way, silly!"

There are spells being practiced - a wand pointed at the chandelier in the dining room - a determined "Lumos!" - and poof, suddenly the light over my head is now bright. Hmmmm?

I hear a lot of "Reparo", which makes me nervous. What have they damaged? And everyone gets a kick out of the correct pronunciation of "Wingardiom Leviosa." But the most fun? "Expelliarmus!" (you may wanna duck around that one - wands go flying.)

No kidding, they can play this for hours. Together. An 11 year old and a 7 year old. 

Make believe play is still alive and well in our house. 

Who knew that an order of General Tso's chicken and "extra chopsticks, please", would turn into something so very magical?

What kind of games do your children invent????

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

 

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To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Make Believe Play with Harry Potter and Chinese Take-Out (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

harry-02

Leave it to my children to gather up every chopstick in the house, (whether they be of the standard take away variety, or the fancier ones, which my husband and I have collected over the years), and turn them into wands.

Wands. Like the ones on display at Ollivander's shop in Hogsmead. (Translation: our back deck.)

Yes, my children are on the Harry Potter bandwagon. 

I recall teaching a musical theater summer camp back in 2000. During lunch breaks, rather than running around all loud and obnoxious, the kids participating in the camp were either sprawled out reading, or discussing the book they were reading. It was called,  "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone". I remember thinking the book must be something awesome to be captivating the attention of 5th and 6th's graders over their summer vacation.

Little did I know that I would get hooked on the series. Complete with midnight book release parties.

And now, 11 years later, my children are completely mesmerized as well.

Thus, our own wand shop in the back yard. 

I have also found stacks of books in various places around the house - apparently these are "textbooks" left over from a previous game of Harry Potter, during which my two children sit under a sorting hat, are assigned a house, gather up their textbooks, and go up and down stairwells to reach their classes.

"I have Potions. Where are you off too? Wrong way, silly!"

There are spells being practiced - a wand pointed at the chandelier in the dining room - a determined "Lumos!" - and poof, suddenly the light over my head is now bright. Hmmmm?

I hear a lot of "Reparo", which makes me nervous. What have they damaged? And everyone gets a kick out of the correct pronunciation of "Wingardiom Leviosa." But the most fun? "Expelliarmus!" (you may wanna duck around that one - wands go flying.)

No kidding, they can play this for hours. Together. An 11 year old and a 7 year old. 

Make believe play is still alive and well in our house. 

Who knew that an order of General Tso's chicken and "extra chopsticks, please", would turn into something so very magical?

What kind of games do your children invent????

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

When a Teacher Calls

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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math-confusion-Hiob-150x150Haha!

No, actually, the teacher DIDN'T call.

But, I'm writing this on Friday the 13th, and that got me thinking about the movie "Friday the 13th", which got me thinking about all the scary movies I saw at way too young of an age, which reminded me of "When a Stranger Calls", which evolved into the title of my post.

Sheesh.

Talk about giving a mouse a cookie . . .

So, no, the teacher DIDN'T call.

However, this will ALL make sense in a few minutes, if you stick with me.

My daughter has striven for straight A's on her report card all year. She has missed straight A's by either one or two classes on each of her three report cards. Just a reminder that straight A's was never my goal for her. Or my husband's goal. We just don't roll that way. We want her to do her very best work. Period. And, while we also know that she is indeed capable of receiving all A's, we encourage her any way we can. (And please don't mess with me as to whether A's should have an apostrophe or not. It's just easier to read that way.)

So, little Miss, "I want all A's" comes home on Tuesday unhappy. Visibly unhappy.

"I failed a math test."

"Really? You have been doing so great in math!" (according to her grades which I am able to check everyday online.)

"I don't know what happened."

"Ok, so what do we need to do about this?"

"I need extra help. Mrs. W, saw I was sad and offered to stay after school with me. I really want to do that."

I really want to do that.

I.

A self-imposed tutoring session initiated by my 11 year old daughter.

Sold.

"Sure thing. I'll email and get that set up for you."

Her report card came home the next day, and sure enough, as averages do what averages do, that F brought Harper's grade down. She was not pleased. 

"Did you call Mrs. W?"

"Yep. All set."

The tutoring session went great and Harper requested two more next week.

Now THAT is a CAN-DO, no, a WILL-DO spirit right there.

Because the whole grade thing was HER goal, it has been interesting to watch how she has approached the school year with that goal in mind. And, as I've mentioned before, even if she does not get straight A's for this last quarter, she can be confident that she did indeed give a concentrated, consistent, and intentional effort into striving for that goal.

Even booking her own tutor.

I give her an A for personal responsibility and follow-through . . . and THOSE are life-skills that I'd love her to hold on to for the rest of her life.



pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.
 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

When a Teacher Calls (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

math-confusion-Hiob-150x150Haha!

No, actually, the teacher DIDN'T call.

But, I'm writing this on Friday the 13th, and that got me thinking about the movie "Friday the 13th", which got me thinking about all the scary movies I saw at way too young of an age, which reminded me of "When a Stranger Calls", which evolved into the title of my post.

Sheesh.

Talk about giving a mouse a cookie . . .

So, no, the teacher DIDN'T call.

However, this will ALL make sense in a few minutes, if you stick with me.

My daughter has striven for straight A's on her report card all year. She has missed straight A's by either one or two classes on each of her three report cards. Just a reminder that straight A's was never my goal for her. Or my husband's goal. We just don't roll that way. We want her to do her very best work. Period. And, while we also know that she is indeed capable of receiving all A's, we encourage her any way we can. (And please don't mess with me as to whether A's should have an apostrophe or not. It's just easier to read that way.)

So, little Miss, "I want all A's" comes home on Tuesday unhappy. Visibly unhappy.

"I failed a math test."

"Really? You have been doing so great in math!" (according to her grades which I am able to check everyday online.)

"I don't know what happened."

"Ok, so what do we need to do about this?"

"I need extra help. Mrs. W, saw I was sad and offered to stay after school with me. I really want to do that."

I really want to do that.

I.

A self-imposed tutoring session initiated by my 11 year old daughter.

Sold.

"Sure thing. I'll email and get that set up for you."

Her report card came home the next day, and sure enough, as averages do what averages do, that F brought Harper's grade down. She was not pleased. 

"Did you call Mrs. W?"

"Yep. All set."

The tutoring session went great and Harper requested two more next week.

Now THAT is a CAN-DO, no, a WILL-DO spirit right there.

Because the whole grade thing was HER goal, it has been interesting to watch how she has approached the school year with that goal in mind. And, as I've mentioned before, even if she does not get straight A's for this last quarter, she can be confident that she did indeed give a concentrated, consistent, and intentional effort into striving for that goal.

Even booking her own tutor.

I give her an A for personal responsibility and follow-through . . . and THOSE are life-skills that I'd love her to hold on to for the rest of her life.



pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.