Saturday, September 18, 2010

School Pics

I cannot tell you the amount of negotiating that goes on about school picture day. I am not a fan of over-doing the eye make up especially when we have girls that are so beautiful without it. This picture day was no different than any other...ridden with negotiation and some tears. Goodness me.

Aren't they pretty girls!!! Growing up WAY too fast!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Keeping the Memories of 9/11 Alive

Last year Dominique was in 6th Grade at Sandy Elementary School. I called up her teacher, Mrs. Dixon, and asked if she had anything special planned for 9/11. She mentioned that she hadn't given it too much thought. I told her that I had been in NYC on that day and that if she liked, I would be happy to give an age-appropriate presentation for my daughter's 6th grade class. She thought that was a great idea.

I worked long and hard on a power point that described a timeline of events on that day. The presentation is about an hour, and the point of the lesson is three fold: 1) to inform the kids of the facts of the timeline of events; 2) to encourage the kids to think about all of the heroes of that day; and 3) to encourage the kids to "remember" 9/11 in some way.

Last year, I was amazed at how very smart and curious the kids were. Some knew a lot about 9/11, others new nothing. (Seriously, I had a girl approach me and tell me that she had never even heard of 9/11 until that day...which really made me sad, but she was definitely in the minority). I presented the school with two American flags. One has the names of all of the first responder victims on it. The second flag has all of the names of the civilians who died in on 9/11. Both flags are hanging in the school.

This year, Dominique is out of elementary and has moved on to middle school. I was a bit surprised when her teacher sent me a FB message asking if I would be willing to give the presentation again. I was honored. Thankfully, it worked out so that I could do it. (I'm not always in charge of my own schedule, believe it or not!) I took my same ppt and modified it just a bit. I updated it with some images that I took of the WTC site this past July while I was there, but fundamentally, the presentation was the same. This time I brought Dominique back with me to visit her teacher and view the presentation (her school starts at 9:30 AM on Fridays), and Dean was driving the ppt for me. I also invited Dr. David Doty who is the Superintendent of the Canyons School District. I'm acquainted with Dr. Doty through PTA, FB and Twitter interactions. He was able to make it for a good part of the discussion. He took this picture of me (unbeknownst to me at the time).

You can see from the picture that it is the entire 6th grade...not just one class. These kids were 2 or 3 on September 11, 2001. All that they know about this day, they have been told by others. I was SO impressed with how smart they are, how much they know, how curious they are and how much they were trying to problem solve. Dean and I have been talking about their comments ever since.

There was a group of about 5 or 6 kids who were really, really trying to think of how to "protect" the towers in the event that they were to be re-built. It all started when one kid said that even if the towers were rebuilt that the terrorists would just destroy them again. That started all of the kids thinking about how we could protect and secure the towers if they were to be rebuilt.

Here are some of their suggestions:
  • Put a big dome around it
  • Build it under ground
  • Build it in a different city and put a big army around it
  • Build the towers in the middle of the Pentagon
  • After the we concluded, one boy approached me with an three towers so that when the terrorists take out two of them, there will be one left standing.
What was intriguing to me was that they somehow think or know that the towers are 1) difficult to physically defend and 2) that there is a high probability that the towers would be a target of future terrorist attacks. It didn't occur to them that the towers might be "safe." Part of that might be because I had just described in detail how easily the towers went down. Part of that might be because these kids have grown up hearing about terrorists and war. Regardless, I was so impressed at their ability to think, accept or reject the idea based on its merit and move on to the next idea/solution.
One girl mentioned that we should put a park there (actually, a few kids mentioned that). The park idea was rejected because "If a plane flew into a nearby building, the kids in the park would die." See, I told you they were thinking! Another child asked me about the Freedom Tower (I was impressed that he knew what that is!) Another child asked me about the ship found at Ground Zero.
They told me of family members who had birthdays on 9/11. One told of a sister born 6 days after 9/11 whose mother named the child "September." (That really touched my heart!)

They all thought that "a million" people had died. I tried to clear up that assumption. In my ppt, I have pictures of every single person who died. For the record:
  • 343 Firefighters
  • 23 NYPD Officers
  • 37 Port Authority Workers
  • 2819 Civilians
    Each year on 9/11, we have a family remembrance. We go to the Healing Field in Sandy, Utah to observe the flags placed there in honor of those who have died. I think it is so important on this day to teach our children the facts about what tell our children how it felt on that day. They want to know. They are so curious. They will be the decisions makers of generations that will deal with this world and the unfortunate reality of war and terrorism. I feel strongly that as a parent it is my responsibility to teach them. Our kids have come to expect that we do a family remembrance. They look forward to it each year. I hope that they will teach their kids about this and other issues of historical importance.
I hope we all remember!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Swearing in Day...

On August 16, 2010 Bradley officially enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. This was not something that was random or not thought through. Bradley has been considering the Corps for over a year. In fact, as we helped him plan what he might do after high school, he considered a lot of different options. The military just seemed "right" for him. On his 18th birthday, we took him down to the recruiting office, and the serious process really started then.
Joining the Corps was contingent upon receiving a high school diploma. Once that was accomplished in early August, the rest fell into place for him. August 16th is our anniversary, so we'll remember this day quite easily. Dean and I changed our anniversary plans just a bit to incorporate a visit to the military processing center...with time to spare before we witnessed this.

"I, Bradley Alexander Davis, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

This is Sgt. Pottin (aka in our family as Sgt. Harry Potter, but he seriously hated the one and only time I called him that to his face...whoopsie!)

Proud papa. Dean and I are very proud of Bradley's decision. He's had a rough go of life for most of his adolescence. Some rough patches were brought on by himself but others were external factors over which he had no control. He's come at life the hard way. We are proud of his choice and his decision to serve. He will be GREAT at whatever he chooses to do with his life, and for this season, we're confident that he'll be a great Marine.

Mariah really wanted to be there, but unfortunately, we couldn't manage to get from Park City, pick up the girls, get Mariah AND get back in time. She'll be there for the send off and for graduation day, though!

Let me say this in closing. I have spent years of my life writing about the Iraq war and how much I disagree with it. Never mistake my dissatisfaction with an administration as criticism for the US Military. I said as much in my thesis. I am very, very proud of Bradley. His grandfather (Mike) was in the Navy, his great-grandpa Denkins was a career military man, many people in my family have served in the military for generations. I'm proud of them all. I may rant about this political thing or that war, but I will always be proud of Bradley and his involvement in the military. We love you Bradley and are very excited for your future!

First Day of School

I'm shamefully "late" in posting these pictures. To my defense, I was not home on the first day of school this year. That fact makes me a bit sad. It's one day that I really try hard not to miss, but this year, it was unavoidable. Each year the kids get older (duh!), but the realization is that in getting older they'll soon be moving on. They are incredible young women ready to conquer the school year!Mariah: 16 years old, Junior at Jordan High

Elle: 14 years old, 9th Grader at Mount Jordan Middle School in Sandy, Utah
(She is really a Freshman, but this year 9th grade is still at the middle school.)

Dominique: 12 years old, 7th Grade at Mount Jordan Middle School in Sandy, Utah
(Had I been home that morning, this child would have never left the house with that much eye make up on! She's trying to grow up too fast, and it's tough when you have two older sisters who are allowed to do things you're not yet allowed to do. We've got a nice compromise all worked out now with regard to the eye make least for now...)

They're growing up!!!!
I try and try and try to convince these two girls that they are absolutely beautiful without their eye makeup, but it is a losing battle. They so want to wear it, and it makes them so happy. I try to tell them that it is not what is on their face but in their heart that makes them beautiful. They listen, nod...then ask if they can buy blue mascara. AKKKK! ANYTHING but blue! There is a line from the movie "My Girl" with Jamie Lee Curtis. She is putting eye makeup on Veda for the first time and she says, "The number one rule about eye makeup is that you can never have enough blue eyeshadow." That movie took place in the early 70s, and that statement might have been true 3 decades ago, but it isn't true now. There has been an alarming resurgence of 80s styles, though. Stay tuned for more fashion happenings from the Davis girls.