Browsing "family"
Jul 18, 2014 - family, life    4 Comments

Free Range in Real Life

Ingrid turned 8 this spring, and it seems that 8 is the age of learning independence. It’s the biggest shift in our family since having kids, learning to let her spread her wings, but it’s important to do so, and it’s interesting how it’s sort of come about naturally, and all at once.

At the end of the school year, I was walking her to school and we were talking about when a kid can walk to school on their own. Ing’s school is .2 miles from our house, and there is a crossing guard at the busiest intersection, but we’ve always walked with her. “Like those kids, over there,” I asked her, as I pointed to a group coming up the busy street. “How old are they?”

“Oh, I think those are fifth graders,” said Ingrid, but then we heard from one of them: INGRIDDD!

It was a friend in her grade. And in the group were two third graders, and a kindergartener, along with the 2nd grade friend. Walking alone, but together, to school. “Ingrid, do you want to walk with them?” And, she did, and off she went. It was a first, and kind of strange, and as I headed back to the house, I thought to take a photo for posterity.



That was a Friday, and I saw the mom of her friend and told her how Ingrid had been so thrilled to walk on her own with friends, and the mom said that they’d be doing it the next week, too, and to watch for them. We can see the busier street between the houses across the street, so Ingrid was watching for them the next Monday, and didn’t see them, so Dave let her go on her own. We’d talked about it — really, our street she is on all the time anyway, and the crossing guard is the only street she needs to cross, so, even on her own she’d be fine… and of course, she was. The next few days were the last for the school year, but she walked every day, meeting the group of friends sometimes, and if she timed it wrong, she walked on her own. In the fall, she plans to do that by default.

The other free-range thing that’s cropped up is bike riding. Ingrid has fallen in love with her bike this summer, and we’ve gone on some long rides in the neighborhood, and when we ride together, I’m talking to her about what to watch out for – driveways and backing up cars, certain corners that are hard to see around, making sure to ride on the right “like a car” and pointing out why that’s important. (She can also use the sidewalks on the streets that have them, but I think it’s important to learn the rules, too.)

When she asked one day if she could go by herself, around the “horseshoe” (a rarely trafficked D shaped side street in our neighborhood) I thought for a minute, and said “if you follow the rules, yes.” Off she went, and she came back beaming. Then she asked to go farther, down to another neighborhood landmark, “bathtub guy,” which is a lawn ornament water feature in someone’s yard. Off she went. And I got nervous, I thought it was taking a while, too long, so maybe she saw a friend? So Willa and I started walking that route. I saw a woman walking her dogs — I don’t know her name, but I’ve seen her a million times — and she said “Is that yours on the bike?” I steeled myself up to defend my position, and said “yes…” and the woman said “Oh, I just think it’s wonderful! She’s doing so good, stopping at the stop signs, and I just love seeing kids out on their bikes like that!” Phew.

As almost an aside, when Ingrid and I have gone on long bike rides, I’ve let her strap my Garmin to her handlebars to keep track of our mileage and time, and she loved it, and asked if she could use the Garmin when she went on a solo ride, and I let her. A side bonus is that when  I uploaded the data, I could see in Player mode on Garmin Connect that she had followed the rules – it showed her stopping or slowing, and that she was on the right side of the road. Kind of a side benefit that I wasn’t thinking of! I can’t live track her or anything, but it was neat to see she was biking responsibly.

So, how did we get here? For one, I love Lenore Skenazy and her Free Range Kids book and the concept. I also have read “Protecting the Gift,” a great book about practical child safety, and teaching kids how to choose the right strangers to talk to (“look for a mom with kids”) and not just a flat “Don’t talk to strangers.” GREAT book. We’ve practiced in the grocery store — “oh, can you run to the next aisle and get the ketchup, Ing?” and even on our own street, where she’s been free to play in our yard for years without us out there supervising. We’ve practiced at the library — “I’m going upstairs to look for books, I’ll meet you down here when your program is over” and Ingrid browses for books until I return. We’ve also been active in our neighborhood all along. If Ingrid ever got in trouble, she knows where her friends live, she knows where my friends are, and the others that are in our neighborhood regularly, on bikes or walking dogs or running — while we don’t know each other’s names, I feel confident that if Ingrid was hurt, they would know whose house to go to (see above with all the playing in the yard.) And, the librarians know her, and we’ve talked about how if she needed help, to go to the librarians at the check out and they would help her.

And in all of this free-ranging this summer, I couldn’t help but be struck by a pair of articles that came out the same day this week.

In the first, a doctor in DC is prescribing “outdoor activity for his patients:

To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

And in the second, a mom was jailed and her child removed from her custody…. for letting her play in a park alone.

Working Mom Arrested, for Letting Her 9 Year old Play Alone at Park

And I would bet that the conflicting articles are why it’s hard to loosen those reins. I know it’s good for my kid, and good for society, and my biggest worry in letting Ingrid explore is that someone else is going to see it as neglect. Ingrid is loving her solo rides, and is noticing things in the world while learning to be independent. It’s my job as a parent to make sure she is independent as an adult, and practicing that is starting now for Ingrid. For other kids, it might start earlier or later, but it has felt surprisingly natural for it to be happening now, at 8. I would strongly recommend the two books linked above to help put nervous minds at ease, and I am glad to be in a neighborhood that is easily walkable and bikeable — that’s a big reason we live where we do. It’s thrilling to see my kid growing up to enjoy it.



May 12, 2014 - family, life    1 Comment

Ingrid’s Birthday Wish

Ingrid is turning 8 this month. (EIGHT? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!) She is a pretty lucky kid, and doesn’t want for much, and this year her birthday wish is to raise money for the Bangor Public Library, which is about to go through an extensive renovation, including a full relocation of the children’s department. It’s not an entirely unselfish wish – her goal is $1000, because that is what a person needs to donate to get their name on the donor wall. We’ve looked at other donor walls, and Ingrid is thrilled with the idea of having her name as part of the library, forever.

She loves the library – I first took her as an infant, to storytime, and while those visits stopped when I went back to work, we’ve still always loved the library. In the last year or so, that’s been an even bigger love, as she has grown as a reader at a faster pace than our home library (and our wallet) can keep up with. She’s done summer reading, and this year when they shifted after school activities to later in the day, she was able to join the Transformers and LEGO clubs, so we visit on most Wednesdays. She races off to her club meeting and I browse, and when she’s done, she looks for books for herself, and for her little sister.  This winter, when the library was robbed of money and electronics, she donated her “giving money” to the library (about $20 in ones), and she got such a positive response that she wants to do it again.

I emailed them several weeks ago to see if people could donate to her “name on the wall” fund AND get the tax deduction, and the person I talked with said “yes, of course!” and was really tickled to hear that Ingrid wanted to do this. She mentioned it to the Board of Managers and Trustees, and THEY were so excited, they have offered to match any money she donates (or is donated to her effort) up to a total of $500! (THAT made Ingrid’s day!)

Here’s what’s going out in her birthday invitations:

photo (12)

Here’s what it says:

It is my birthday soon. For my birthday I would like money instead of presents. I want money because I want to support the Bangor Public Library. Giving money to the library will help build a new part of the library. I will get my name perminitly [sic] on the wall if I donate 1,000 dollars. The library is important to me because I LOVE books and the Bangor Public Library has tons, millions, trillions, really a LOT of Books.  
Thank you, 
If you would like to donate, you can do so here. In the “specified fund” field, you can mention “Ingrid’s Birthday” and your donation can be added to her goal. (You can also donate at the library in person, or by calling them.) The library is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, so your donation is tax deductible. If you were planning on donating to our library anyway (the new renovation will be amazing!) and NOT planning on donating enough to hit the wall level yourself, this would be a great way to make an (almost) 8 year old bookworm happy. Any gifts of money for her birthday, given directly TO her, will be donated to Bangor Public on the Wednesday following (since that’s when we go). We are pledging to reach her goal in two years, which is pretty doable, I think, especially with the generous match offer from the Board. (so by the time she’s 10, she will reach her goal. TEN? Unbelievable that that’s so close. I promise to teach her to spell awesome and permanently before that time.)
photo (14)
Sep 26, 2013 - education, family, technology    No Comments

An educator/parent wishlist

Today in my class, we talked about the variety of ways that our lens of what school is has changed (or not) dependent on generations. For instance, I never had technology to distract me at my desk – but that just meant that I was distracted by the writing and passing of notes folded into football or star shapes. It didn’t mean I wasn’t distracted. A student talked about hating the laptop in middle school so much that it ended up broken because all it was used for was typing papers, but then in talking about how technology was used in a high school physics class, the sentiment was totally different. Our views change as we see things used, and see things done in new and different ways. The seed for the conversation was from one of our texts, the Connected Educator, where the author talks about being a homeschooling parent who was mystified as to why other homeschoolers just ‘did school’ in a traditional way, only at home. (Desks in rows, books of worksheets, etc.)

As an educator, I have some strong opinions about education. As a parent, I have some strong opinions about my family. As an educator/parent, it can he hard to know where the line is, so I wanted to write up a wishlist of what I would like to see happening in the schools that my kids will attend, and what I hope my current students will take with them when they begin their professional practice. I actually discussed with my own students today that this post was brewing, and then when I scanned through my Feedly, there was a fantastic post at Edutopia that hit on a lot of the things I would add to my wishlist. What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know. Go ahead and read. I’ll wait.

First, this was generated by asking parents directly “what do you want teachers to know?” Start there! Start with that! Schools should ask their families what they need to know. The concept of school is one of great authority, because of the lens most parents grew up with. And yes, we want children to respect their teachers and their classmates, but I do strongly believe that it is okay to advocate for your families needs. I don’t mean “My precious snowflake doesn’t like sauce on her pizza, so please carefully remove any traces of red from school pizza she is served,” but that it is okay to ask if you think that something is amiss, or if you want more information.

The key points in this article that made me jump up and down were these:

Please plan for us

I am active in the PTO, and the drum I find myself beating often is “but what about the working parents?” This has improved a LOT in the few years I’ve been involved in PTO, but so often an event would be held and the only notice would be “we’ll post it in the lobby and make an announcement!” But I am never in the lobby, except maybe once every two weeks when picking up after a club meeting, so I would never see those notices or hear those announcements. Several times, I would find a note in the backpack that says “Event tonight!” and, well, I’m a working parent, so that note would usually be found in the morning, by my husband who makes and packs the lunches. If the only notice of an event is a sign posted where some parents will never see it, or a same day backpack note, you cannot expect to have good turnout or participation. A great way to help with this is by thinking about “Meet us where we are,” below.

Homework must be meaningful — if given at all

I haven’t had to advocate about this yet, but I’m sure I will, eventually, based on conversations with others that have older kids. I read The Case Against Homework when I was in grad school, and used it to back up my own no-homework policies, and wish that it could be read by more educators. Similar to the “please plan for us,” with two working parents, we have limited time that is spent together as a family. Basically, I have about 2.5-4 hours between the end of the work day and my girls’ bedtime, and that will include dinner, special activities (and I am NOT an overscheduler – my 7 year old does one activity that meets once a week, and another that meets once every two weeks) playing outside (when we have the light to) reading, playing LEGO, eating dinner, asking (SO MANY) questions, bathtime (on bath nights), bedtime stories, errands, etc. And we are very lucky that we ARE a two parent family in a stable home, with jobs that align to the school day, for the most part (as opposed to shift workers that might not even be available in the evening). For kids who deal with two homes (or no homes) or have situations at home that are not conducive to learning, the challenges are even greater. Challenge Success (from a little place called Stanford University) has a great whitepaper on homework as well. I am also not fond of any decision being backed up with “but we have great test scores!” That’s great, great test scores, but at what cost? I am fortunate that my kids have recess in their schools (when I have colleagues in other states where recess has been totally eliminated, from K on up) and I would hate to see test scores trump recess and free play and opportunities for critical thinking and exploration and expressing creativity.  See also: Race to Nowhere. I love their Healthy Homework guidelines, and this video (about 5minutes) basically sums up my own feelings about homework.)

Meet us where we are

This one? This one is huge. I teach my students how to connect with their students, and their students families, using technology, but I have gotten push back when I look for it from my own neighborhood school. There is a fear to use blogs “we can’t put up student pictures!” because there is a poor understanding of what blogs are. (I teach my students how to comply with fair use and FERPA when blogging, from the basic “don’t take pictures of kids” to “here’s how to blur a kid/identifying info out of a photo.”) I am envious when I see teachers/schools using 21st century tools to communicate with their community and families. I have had teachers that are very proactive in replying to email, and that is so appreciated, especially by the parent who is not able to take a call (but can scan an email quickly) or who doesn’t want to send sensitive info back and forth in a school folder with a kid who is both curious and a strong reader. In this part of the post, I thought it was interesting that the “Hard Copy Parent” was considered the one to be sure to accommodate, where I find that the HCP is the default setting for many schools. Pew Internet (a FABULOUS resource for all kinds of stats like this) just released a report yesterday that 15% of adults do not use the email or internet. But that ALSO means that 85% DO, and to default to the 15% is leaving out so many people. I’ve also heard “well, not everyone has a computer.” But technologies now mean that you don’t need A Computer to access internet resources. In fact, 1/3 of my students this semester do not own a computer, but rely on a mobile device to do most of their class work (in ALL classes, not mine) and then access a lab or a friend’s computer when they have to. Pew has some info on this, too. Asking someone if they have a computer does not answer the question “do you have access.” Again, defaulting to the lowest common denominator is easy, but I feel strongly that it’s not RIGHT.

One of the things I really stress in my own teaching is that teaching is about relationships. You need to have strong relationships with your students, their families, other teachers, and the community. Teaching can be SO isolating, and embracing the concepts of becoming a Connected Educator have an impact in all of those areas. And YES, teaching also takes a lot of time and energy and thinking about adding ONE MORE THING to someone’s plate may seem daunting, but the benefits are there. If you have connected with the families of your students, you don’t have to spend a parent teacher conference catching up on the basics, you can focus on expanding on what they already know is happening in your classroom. (When I have nontraditional students, I ask them – what does your kid say to the question “What did you do in school today?” and I swear, you could have had an assembly, a field trip to the Magic Kingdom, and ice cream sundaes for lunch and most kids will just say “Nothin’.” The parents I have taught always laugh at this, because it’s true.) When you can share the great things that are happening in your classroom, the bad days aren’t as bad. With classroom access limited more and more due to security concerns and academic concerns, parents still want to know what their child is doing in school. (And again, remember that there are many families that will never see the classroom because they work, and aren’t in the schools.) Blogging is such a great way to do that. With more classrooms/teachers being equipped with mobile devices, it’s easier than ever to do that! When we went to the Common Ground Fair, there must have been fifty school busses, and I saw several middle schoolers using their MLTI iPads to take pictures and video of the various events and exhibits. Imagine the blog post a teacher could make about their day or week!

October is Connected Educator month, and their (TOTALLY FREE!) Connected Educator Kit is a PDF that helps get educators started. (It almost reads like a crash course of the one that I teach – a lot of the resources they use are ones I use with my students, and in my own work.) If you need inspiration on teachers who blog, Kathy Cassidy is a terrific one. Not only does SHE blog, she has her first graders blogging.

I am fortunate that I have kids who love to learn, who love books and exploring and creating, and I am SO fortunate that my kids have low student-teacher ratios, access to art, music, PE, library, and recess, and a sense of community that comes from having a neighborhood school, where their friends are just around the corner or down the street. I see my friends in other states, California, Florida, etc, who have kids having much different experiences – a classroom of 30 kindergarteners with no para supports, for instance, or the Florida schools that have cut recess in favor of more seat time, and I almost don’t want to add to my wishlist. The largest class size we’ve experienced is 18, and that wasn’t til the end of the year when several kids moved into the school’s zone, for most of the year, she was one of 14. But I am also one who will always strive for more, and is always looking to improve on what already exists. I am still pretty early in my journey as an educator/parent, and I am hopeful that the next 15ish years in that role will see a continuing evolution of how our schools foster a spirit of learning and community. I hope that the lens of “this is how it’s always been done, so this is how we will always do it” will be adjusted, and that we aren’t just “doing school” they way we remember it, but embracing change and taking risks and connecting schools and families.

Feb 22, 2013 - family, life    No Comments

5 Things About Me

1) My family is the most important thing in my life. I have been married to my husband Dave for 10 years this October, and we have two little girls. Ingrid will be 7 in May and Willa will be 3 in April. I love them the most. My parents live in Maine, too, splitting their time between the house I grew up in in Grand Lake Stream, and spending winters now at Sugarloaf. I have one sister that lives in Golden, CO, and she is getting married this summer, when I will add a brother in law and nephew (his son) to my family.

All my loves in the hammock after a long week.

2) In the last year or so I have started running. I have never considered myself an athlete, and still really don’t, but have learned as an adult that I enjoy pushing my boundaries and stepping out of my comfort zone. Running is a big leap out of my comfort zone, and I am slow and not very graceful, but I feel so good after 3 miles, I don’t care. I am missing my pre-dawn outside runs now that the snow has fallen (I know plenty of people are running outside at that time, but maybe that will be my comfort zone to challenge NEXT winter), and the treadmill just isn’t the same. My goal for 2013 is to run a 10k, and to make 5 miles my default distance. (Right now I run 3 miles 3-4 times a week.)

I have also returned to skiing after a 15 year hiatus. I skiied all the time as a kid, and stopped as a young adult, and now that my oldest daughter loves to ski, I decided it was more fun to ski with her than that just watch her zoom by. Even after 15 years, my body remembered how to ski! (Although my 7 year old is still smoking me on the mountain, and I have to remind her to wait for me!) Skiing with Ingrid at sugarloaf! Great day!

3) I am really passionate about making sure that girls and women are given lots of opportunities in life, and not marginalized. An organization I support is Hardy Girls, Healthy Women. The 5k photo here is from a race I have now done twice. I was the biggest fundraiser for this event in 2012, and told my donors if I raised $250, I would wear a sparkly skirt (I am not much of a sparkly-skirt-wearing person) in the race. Now, that is my “official race skirt” and I have worn it in other events, too!

The photo everyone's been waiting for.

After finishing the Freaky 5k in October

4) I love to read. Lately I have been on a nonfiction kick – I just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and am reading Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. I have started using GoodReads to track my reading, and get recommendations from others. I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, and Dave thought it was ridiculous that I’d want Yet Another Device, but I love my kindle for being JUST an e-reader. When I read on my iPad or iPhone, I am constantly interrupted by email notifications, tweets, game updates, etc. On the Paperwhite, I can just disappear into a book. I also love using Maine InfoNet’s Download library to borrow Kindle books for free. I also love listening to podcasts, usually when I am at the gym or running. My favorite podcast is This American Life, and the Moth Podcast is a close second.

5) I love to travel, even though it’s slowed down now that I have little kids. In my twenties, I drove cross country 3 different times, and spent a month in Australia backpacking on my own. In November, I took Ingrid with me to a conference in Denver, where my sister lives, and traveling with a bigger little kid was great. It made me look forward to taking my children on adventures as they get older. We visited with Kate and also spent time learning at the zoo, science museum, and other venues. Ingrid also had saved her money for months to buy an American Girl Doll, which was one of the highlights of her trip.

Ingrid LOVED these real experiments @denvermuseumNS today. LOVED.

Jan 5, 2013 - family    No Comments

Recent conversations.

Ingrid, in the car:

“Mom, I know the tooth fairy isn’t real.”
“She isn’t?”
“No, because FAIRIES aren’t real, so the TOOTH FAIRY can’t be real.”
“Oh. Huh. Who brought you the money when you lost those teeth then?”
“I think it was a lady who knows magic that makes her fly.”

Ingrid, after I’ve handed her the wrapper from a sleeve of Willa’s diapers to go throw out.
[Reading stock plastic bag safety warning to self] “Keep away from babies and children… MOM, why did you GIVE this to me? It says KEEP AWAY FROM KIDS, and I AM A KID!”

Willa, after her (first! sob) haircut:
“I big! I like sissy!”
“And you are so beautiful!”
“I bootiful! Like Mama!”

Nov 3, 2012 - family    No Comments

Denver Adventure (Day 1)

Tl;dr: all of my worrying was for naught, and our trip west could not have gone more smoothly. (I have now used up all travel karma for the next 5 years, I am sure.)

Ingrid and I packed our suitcases the night before, I had printed our boarding passes and booked a cab, and after her bath, Ingrid got dressed into the clothes she would be wearing, and we laid out her shoes and coat and packed backpack so that when it was time to wake up, all she had to do was slip into those three things, and we’d be off. Before bed, she told me “just tap me on the back, mom, and I’ll wake RIGHT up!” And at the very early hour of 4 am — that’s exactly what she did. Down the stairs we went, we split a banana and waited for our taxi. I had asked for a recommendation earlier on facebook, and the company I called was one that several people said was always early, not just on time, so when 4:35 came around and no car, I called the company, and there had been some mixup in time (maybe they thought I meant PM?) but they sent a car right over. And it turns out the driver was the same one that was scheduled to pick up the pilots for our flight, so that was reassuring that we’d at least beat them. (And the driver was also very apologetic, and very nice and helpful, and I’d use them again and just make sure I specified AM.) We handed over our bags and went through security, and Ingrid was great. Traveling with a 6.5 year old is so great. She did her own shoes and coat and backpack and got herself put together, and it was so great to have such a little independent kid at my side!

  Ingrid at 4am

Waiting for our first flight!

When we got on the plane, the first thing she wanted to do was work on her math. I had to explain that we needed to wait til we’d taken off to put down the tray table, and as soon as she could do that, that’s what she did. We also played several rounds of Uno, too.

Ingrid on the plane

Ing doing next week’s math before most people are even up for the day.

Cranberry juice, cookies and Uno. Breakfast of Champions.

One of the reasons I had booked our connection through LGA vs DTW was because I wanted Ingrid to get the great views of NYC — our views this morning were different than usual, it was barely 7, and it was dark, and the power outages from Sandy were evident throughout the descent. What is usually such a sparkly, glittery view was just dark and gloomy, and it was hard to imagine what it must be like on the ground.

Dark Manhattan

Dark NYC

Before we landed, the flight attendant gave Ingrid her very own wings, and reassured me that switching terminals would be totally doable to catch our next flight. Still, I warned Ingrid that we had to hustle and that when we came back we’d have more time to check out anything cool she might be seeing. We made it down to the ground level just as the shuttle to the terminal pulled up, and our gate was at the very end of the terminal, and as we arrived, they had started boarding Zone 1, and we were Zone 2, so we basically just walked off one flight and on to the other (and that is the point at which I  finally exhaled!) More math, Uno, some music on the ipod and a nap, and we arrived in Denver.  The train arrived as we did, and  as we got to the bag claim, ours were the first to be spit out, we walked to the Enterprise shuttle ast it pulled up, and we got upgraded a level on the car rental. (Oh, and here’s something some geeks might appreciate — I was offered a Kia or a Ford Fusion, and I chose the Ford in hopes it would have Microsoft Sync, solely based on listening to Leo LaPorte shill it each week on the podcasts I listen to. It definitely connected to my iPhone but I haven’t had a chance to do anything else! If I’d been a passenger and not responsible for driving then I’d probably have been really rocking it.)

Super excited to be ON our Denver flight!

A little nap before we get there.

On the train to the main terminal at Denver

Turned on my gps and pointed us to Golden, and not long after, we were hugging Aunt Kate for the first time in 11 months! She was babysitting, so she led us to her apartment, where she had set up such a sweet welcome — a little stack of treats for each of us, with a book and snacks and such, and a veggie chili bubbling away in the crock pot. She made us a great late lunch, and headed back with her charge to the house she sits at, and Ingrid and I took it easy. I napped, Ing watched some shows on the iPad, and then we hung out in Kate’s front yard for a bit When Kate got home, we went to Whole Foods for some supplies, and on the way home Ingrid fell asleep (by this time it was after 9pm EST, who could blame her?) Tucked her into bed and got to have a glass of wine with Kate and a hot shower and a cozy bed to sleep in. A great way to start our adventure!

Our warm welcome from Kate

Just hanging out in Kate’s yard

Ingrid and her Aunt Kate!


Oct 30, 2012 - family, life    No Comments


On Friday, Ingrid and I are flying to Denver, to stay with my sister and for me to attend Educause, the big national conference for my field. The conference isn’t til 11/7, but we are going to be gone 11/2-11/10 so that we can get in some great Aunt Kate time, and see the sights. When I booked our flights, I opted for the earliest flight from Bangor with the quickest connection — if we make the connection (40 minutes in LaGuardia), we will be in Denver before 11 am MT. For the last few weeks I’ve been stressing about that connection, looking at historical gate assignments via, to see if they are in the same terminal (yes, usually, for the Friday pairing) but now that Sandy has hit, my concerns are all new.

This blog post from Jetblue is making me sweat, a little. I have some friends with friends in high places that think we’ll PROBABLY be okay for Friday, and the Delta update today seems to assure that, but still. That is a LOT of water. A LOT. And the friend of a friend connection said that the damage at LGA might actually be worse than expected so to just pay close attention to my airline’s updates. With that, I used Twitter to reach out to DeltaAssist to see if it would help (all involved) if I switched to the flight that connects through Detroit and gets in later. (Especially now that Kate has to work on Friday, that pre-11am arrival is sort of moot). But, since it’s not in the dates specified for free changes, they can’t do it. Which is kind of dumb — I’m just passing through, and I’d think there are people that NEED seats into and out of LGA more than I need to just pass through, but, ooohhhkay. I’ll just keep checking Delta’s alert page and try to get in touch if things start to look bad for Friday.

But even if we don’t get there on Friday, I had the epiphany today that the worst-case scenario is that we shift our travel dates. We aren’t rushing to meet a boat for a cruise, we won’t lose expensive nights at a resort, the worst-worst case is that we show up too late to go to a magic show Kate got us tickets for on Saturday night. I can adjust my dates because I am in a career and position where that would be fine, Ingrid’s already going to be out of school for a week anyway (and if we had to move it forward a day or two, she’d actually miss LESS school) and Kate’s life as a full time student means that we will still have tons of time with her and she’s not going to have to burn vacation days or something. My conference runs from 11/7-11/9, so I’d frontloaded our trip for the fun part, if it ends up that there is fun on either end — oh well.

I had a similar epiphany many years ago, when I was driving somewhere (I forget where) and realized that if I had a flat tire, I had the means to pay for a new tire. It wouldn’t be a devastating event. And if I had more than a flat tire, I had the good credit to pull through. That’s the thought I have today – but instead of credit, it’s about being in a career and job and place that shifting my days off won’t be a huge black mark on my record, or lost wages, or anything like that. So, I’m trying to NOT angst about the travel issues that lurk just beyond my sight (um, but I do have a saved search in twitter for LGA, so, yeah…) but think about all the fun we are going to have once we get there. I can’t wait to travel with Ingrid, who at 6.5 is so excited for so many things — the American Girl store, the science museum, seeing mountains and the zoo and most of ALL, Aunt Kate. (Ingrid is also wicked excited to have long stretches of time where we HAVE to play Uno, and where her sister won’t be sabotaging the game.)

So, whatever happens, happens, and it will be great to have this time with my daughter and my sister. Even if it’s not on the most exact schedule I’d planned months ago.