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

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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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.

Vacationing Without the Children: We're Back!

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

welcome

welcomeWell what do you know?
 
The two people who raised me were quite capable of also taking care of my children while my husband and I lived it up in Atlantis last week.
 
(Our first trip alone since having our first child 11 years ago. This year we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Long overdue. You think?)

Well, go figure. Thanks, Mom and Dad! (wink)

When I wrote my previous post, I was in the midst of preparations. The "to-do" list kind of preparations. I wanted to make everything easy for my parents. I spent two weeks thinking through every detail - down to, "When you enter the house, the dog will either pee or throw up. Here are the towels and spray to use to clean up." (They didn't need them. The dog held out on throwing up until today . . . I got to use the towels and the spray.)

As the day of departure grew closer there was an even larger piece of anxiety spiralling around in my head.

Maybe you've been there before. After 11 years of raising children, my husband and I were going to be alone for 5 glorious days.

Uh-oh. Would we have anything else to talk about other than the children, church (his job), or Beachbody (my job, and the host of our trip)?

We woke the kids early on the day of departure after a late night of hanging out together - even if hanging out meant folding laundry, putting it away, and helping Mommy and Daddy pack. It was fun. They were excited to be going to a friend's house at 6:15 in the morning and had grand plans of waking our friend's children by jumping on their beds . . . not sure if that actually happened. I do think there was some early morning Wii action. Cool by us.

We kissed and hugged. Kissed and hugged again. And then, there were a few more kisses and hugs, and we were off to the airport.

Once at the airport we met up with other friends joining us for the trip, chatted, read a little and boarded the plane.

It was then that I realized I hadn't thought of the children ONCE since being driven to the airport . . . Clue #1 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing the children on the trip.

My husband had attempted to pack a book he was asked to read for work, but I replaced it with the Hunger Games. And, since we'd be international, there would be no texting anyone back, including a few people who had already sent him several work related texts. Clue #2 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing his job on this trip.

But, then there was Beachbody - the folks sending us on our adventure. We certainly couldn't look the gift-horse in the mouth.

After all, they foot the bill to give us total relaxation for 5 days (with a few hard-core workouts thrown in for good measure). So we participated in a bit of company chatter. And then, from noon to 7 everyday it was just us. No agenda. None.Thus, George and I found that our conversations outside of those brief business moments were centered entirely on . . . 

US.

We are now sold on the idea of getting away alone once a year. We know that we can do so without children or careers monopolizing our conversations. After 20 years, you just kind of wonder . . .

I wonder no more.

He's still the one, and the kiddos will just have to deal with Mom and Dad taking off for a bit each year.

If you haven't done so . . . I highly recommend it. 

 


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.

Vacationing Without the Children: We're Back! (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

welcome

welcomeWell what do you know?
The two people who raised me were quite capable of also taking care of my children while my husband and I lived it up in Atlantis last week.
(Our first trip alone since having our first child 11 years ago. This year we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Long overdue. You think?)

Well, go figure. Thanks, Mom and Dad! (wink)

When I wrote my previous post, I was in the midst of preparations. The "to-do" list kind of preparations. I wanted to make everything easy for my parents. I spent two weeks thinking through every detail - down to, "When you enter the house, the dog will either pee or throw up. Here are the towels and spray to use to clean up." (They didn't need them. The dog held out on throwing up until today . . . I got to use the towels and the spray.)

As the day of departure grew closer there was an even larger piece of anxiety spiralling around in my head.

Maybe you've been there before. After 11 years of raising children, my husband and I were going to be alone for 5 glorious days.

Uh-oh. Would we have anything else to talk about other than the children, church (his job), or Beachbody (my job, and the host of our trip)?

We woke the kids early on the day of departure after a late night of hanging out together - even if hanging out meant folding laundry, putting it away, and helping Mommy and Daddy pack. It was fun. They were excited to be going to a friend's house at 6:15 in the morning and had grand plans of waking our friend's children by jumping on their beds . . . not sure if that actually happened. I do think there was some early morning Wii action. Cool by us.

We kissed and hugged. Kissed and hugged again. And then, there were a few more kisses and hugs, and we were off to the airport.

Once at the airport we met up with other friends joining us for the trip, chatted, read a little and boarded the plane.

It was then that I realized I hadn't thought of the children ONCE since being driven to the airport . . . Clue #1 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing the children on the trip.

My husband had attempted to pack a book he was asked to read for work, but I replaced it with the Hunger Games. And, since we'd be international, there would be no texting anyone back, including a few people who had already sent him several work related texts. Clue #2 that perhaps we would NOT be discussing his job on this trip.

But, then there was Beachbody - the folks sending us on our adventure. We certainly couldn't look the gift-horse in the mouth.

After all, they foot the bill to give us total relaxation for 5 days (with a few hard-core workouts thrown in for good measure). So we participated in a bit of company chatter. And then, from noon to 7 everyday it was just us. No agenda. None.Thus, George and I found that our conversations outside of those brief business moments were centered entirely on . . . 

US.

We are now sold on the idea of getting away alone once a year. We know that we can do so without children or careers monopolizing our conversations. After 20 years, you just kind of wonder . . .

I wonder no more.

He's still the one, and the kiddos will just have to deal with Mom and Dad taking off for a bit each year.

If you haven't done so . . . I highly recommend it. 

 


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.