Sunday, July 23, 2017

Teaching my kids how to be successful

At the end of the girls' first competition team summer dance class a few weeks ago, there was a mandatory meeting for parents and kids to review policies and rules.  As I sat in the meeting and watched the girls' faces and reaction to what was being discussed, I realized that I had set them up for success.  Most of what was reviewed wasn't a big surprise or intimidating because it's how I've taught them to approach dance class these past few years.  In fact, it's how Rich and I have taught them to approach other aspects of life, such as school.

Be on Time

When you're late, there's a good chance you've missed something.  You're also probably disrupting the entire class.  A friend of mine told me her rule is that you're late if you show up at the time the lesson/class begins.  Suppose your kid has dance class at 6:00 and you pull into the parking lot at 5:59.  In her book, you're late.  I'm not a timely person - I used to run for the train at least three times a week - but I've really pushed for the girls to be at class early.

Dress for Success

Up until a few years ago, our dance studio had a fairly relaxed dress code (except for shoes.)  However, too many kids were showing up in street clothes (such as jeans) so a written dress code was put in place.  The girls know the dress code and follow it.  

Be Nice

No one likes a bully.

Follow the Rules

Rules are in place for a reason and should be followed.  In my opinion, there are too many people out there who think the rules don't apply to them and it's obnoxious.  (I know there are always exceptions, but you know what I'm talking about here.)

Try Your Best

This doesn't mean you need to be a superstar 24/7 but I want you to try your best.  Don't half ass your way through it.

Suit Up

If the girls are contagious sick or stomach sick, then it's a given that they need to miss class.  There have been a few occasions when someone's been recovering or maybe had a headache or pulled a muscle but she still dresses for class and we let the dance teacher know that she may have to sit out part of the class.  The studio wants kids to do this.  At least if you're there, you can follow what's going on and not be completely in the dark.  (I want to note that I would never send them to school or dance or any activity if I thought there was a chance they would puke or spread any illnesses.  We follow the 24+ hours vomit and fever free before returning to school and activities.  For stomach illnesses, I usually extend it to 48 hours.)  

Parental Involvement

The girls can't do this alone.  They're ten years old.  They don't have the means to travel to the dance studio - I have to drive them.  Likewise, I need to make sure they have the appropriate shoes and dance attire in their closets.  They do their part by getting ready on time and dressing in the correct clothes.


How does one measure success?  Well, that's up to you and, I believe, different for each person.  Success doesn't always mean you win.  Success sometimes simply means that you're happy with the outcome.

(I'll never win a parenting award but at least I've done some things right.  I know, I know.  My children are loved, they know they are loved, they live in a safe home, they've never gone without food or medical care.  I know.)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

(Nauset Light) Shark Week

We head out after cleaning up from dinner at the cottage.  Cottage life means no dishwasher and we cooked (well, grilled) dinner and clean up takes a bit of time.  Our destination is Nauset Light Beach, which is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Although we are going to a beach, we don't plan to swim.  For a few reasons.  The water at Nauset Beach is chilly and while it would feel refreshing on a hot summer day, this is a cool summer evening.  Another reason - sharks.  According to shark safety rules, which we follow, swimming at dawn and dusk is a no no.

As we're driving into Orleans, we pass by a digital road sign which reads "Nauset Beach Open."  Over the past few years, several beaches on the Cape have been closed to swimmers due to shark activity.  Nauset Beach is one of the beaches where sharks are routinely spotted.  While seeing a shark, preferably when no one is in the water, would be amazing, as we told family visiting from out of state, you simply cannot expect to see a shark.

This sign greets us at the entrance to the parking lot.

There are enough shark warnings that you would have to be the most oblivious person in the world to not realize sharks are present.  Never mind the fact that this is the ocean and all.

Check out that water temperature.  60 degrees.  Brrrrrrrr.






Nauset Beach faces east so the sun sets behind you.  The sky surrounding the beach is beautiful at sundown.





Our big shark story.  We're pretty sure we spotted a shark.  As we were walking along the beach, tussling in the water a bit offshore caught my eye.  I thought (as in 99% positive) I saw a fin and yelped for Rich and the girls to look.  They did and Rich agrees that it was probably a shark.  We aren't 100% positive but we see enough seals and it did not look like a seal.  Well, maybe a seal being eaten.  I wasn't taking photos at the time and I sure wasn't going to miss out on the experience by trying to take a photo.







Seal.  Not a shark.

More seals.

A few days after this visit, we were at our local beach, where there have not been any shark sightings, and the girls were swimming as usual.  Suddenly, Allie came running out of the water, looking a bit scared.  When I asked why she was no longer swimming, she said there was a seal in the water.  She'd overheard another group of swimmers point out the seal and then she saw the seal herself.  I looked about and spotted the seal too.  (Maybe I shouldn't have been reading.)  It wasn't too close to shore but close enough.  She knows not to swim near seals and was concerned that sharks could be around.  Shark safety 101.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

(Corporation Beach) Evening beach strolls

I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to post this for three days now.  When we're at the cottage, my time for photo editing and blogging is somewhat limited.  It's a combination of being out and about, yet still having to keep up with cleaning (and sometimes cooking.)  The girls and I had a laid back morning Monday at the cottage because of the fog that was hanging around.  This cottage life is still so new to me that I find it fascinating to watch the fog roll down the street from the ocean.  I also had awakened with a killer headache right in my eyes and then I pulled something in my back shortly after stumbling out of bed, so I really needed to do nothing for a bit.  I sat down to attempt to post this and my mind was foggy.  Blogger's block, perhaps?  Yesterday, we returned home for dance and those days always seem hectic.


So, back to some good stuff.  We really like the food stand at Corporation Beach in Dennis.  There are a ton of picnic tables with beautiful views of the beach and dunes and the food is tasty.  After we cleaned up from an afternoon at the beach, we visited Corporation Beach for dinner and a walk.  The beach shrinks considerably at high tide while low tide provides ample space to run around and there are tide pools are full of little critters.  


All of the items we ordered for dinner were really good except for the clam chowder.  I wouldn't suggest ordering the chowder here as I discovered that it is simply reheated.  It's advertised as Captain Parker's chowder, which I've eaten multiple times at Captain Parker's Pub.  When this chowder was delivered to our table, it was barely lukewarm.  I brought it back up to the counter and was told they would reheat it for me.  They gave me a hot chowder the second time around but it was not anywhere near as tasty as the chowder at Captain Parker's.  Lesson learned.  








  • Parking after 4:00 is free.
  • If a beach is new to you, research beforehand to see if the tide makes a difference.  Tide charts are easy to find online.
  • Get there early if you have little ones to feed.  Picnic tables fill up and it can be a wait for your food.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Salt Life

Last Friday, the girls and I drove down to the cottage shortly before lunchtime.  I wanted to beat the late afternoon/evening traffic plus more rain was moving in.  We were successful in our mission.  I feel like I was on top of the news and weather when I was working - not so much now - so I didn't realize how much rain we were expecting.  Our cottage is located in a flood zone but thankfully, we didn't witness any flooding in our area.  The road looked like a pond but it was only a few inches deep.  Other parts of the Cape were not so lucky and saw severe flooding.


Cottage projects.  You finish one and promptly find ten more to add to your list.  This is the backyard.  One day, there will be grass.


I'm really happy with the pavers we chose for the patio and we're glad that project is out of the way.  It's been nice having useable outdoor space.


And this is our driveway.  Shells!


In case you're curious, shells cost the same as gravel.

After the rain cleared out, beach weather returned.


















Originally, all three girls were in the water when I framed this out.  When they saw me leave (I had to go back to get my camera), they left the water to ask where I was.  Then when they saw me with the camera, there was fake posing.  I'll get them when they least expect it.