Archive for the 'Jack' Category

Brotherly Love

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ironically, Ben’s in his room right now for being mean to his brother.  But, this is great.

Ben’s Book

Things Jack Says

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Over the last few days, Jack’s come out with a new funny comment each day. Thought I should share…

  • Thursday – “I would drink my pee if I had to.”  We’ve been watching Man vs. Wild and saw Bear Grylls do this.
  • Friday – “I like hot stuff…and Anna.”  Anna is one of Jack’s daycare pals.
  • Sunday – While watching squirrels run around chasing each other, “Maybe they’re playing freeze tag.”

Pics from the Hurricanes game

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

We went to the Carolina Hurricanes the other night and I took a few pictures with the new iPhone. Here they are.

Holiday quotes

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Ben on the holidays: “I just love Christmas!”

Jack on our trip to Home Depot for the monthly kids’ workshop: “I want to make Mommy a cuckoo clock.”

Penchuk Boys Update

Monday, October 19th, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything family related and the throngs of followers of this site have been clamoring for it. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little. Regardless, here’s what’s happening with the boys.

Ben – Our oldest is a few months into first grade now and doing well. He’s reading more and more. Both Laura and I have been impressed at how far he’s come. Once in a while it’s a little jarring when he reads something you don’t expect him to (like an email you’re typing). Yesterday we went to the NC State Fair with some friends. Ben and Carter (his buddy) went on a bunch of rides, including a small roller coaster. Last year, Ben was terrified of it and refused to ride it. He’s definitely growing up and getting over some of those childhood fears. He’s also a big baseball and hockey fan – hard to believe he’s my son, huh? Right now he’s not playing any organized sports but come spring, I’m sure baseball will be back on the docket. Over the summer we put bunk beds in the kids’ room and Ben loves sleeping on the top bunk. Ben’s also become something of a card shark. We took a family trip to Lake Lure, NC, near the end of the summer and Ben was introduced to poker. Grandpa Duff is an aficionado and Ben fell in love with the game. He even took all of Duff’s chips in one game. Now, Ben wants poker chips for Christmas. How’s that for a judgment call? Do you get your 6-year old poker chips? Time will tell.

Jack – This kid makes us laugh. He’s hilarious. For example, he’s probably going to be a cowboy for Halloween, but he’s been wearing the hat and boots around the house for days now. He walks around saying things like, “Howdy, pardner.”  He’s also doing well in pre-school.  The other day he sang his ABC’s all by himself.  He’s also fond of telling us, “I had a bad day at school”.  We think he read a book about a kid that had a bad day and now Jack likes to play the sob story.  Of the two kids, this is the independent one.  Jack can go upstairs into our playroom and spend an hour up there with toys and living in his own world.  His brother always wants someone to play with, but Jack is alright doing his own thing.  He’s got such a good nature about him which is countered by the fact that he’s 3 years old.  The good news is that he won’t be three forever.  We’ve started playing hockey in the street now and he’s incredibly coordinated.  It’s been fun to see him grow up in the shadow of his older brother but still carve out his own way.

Check out the photos and see how big they’re getting.  Until next time…

State Fair

Being the big brother

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

The Penchuks’ day started at 4AM CST as we prepared for our flights home from Houston.  We made it to IAH with no problems but then when we tried to check in, only Laura’s ticket was recognized.  US Airways, doing a fantastic job of trying to drive away its customers, had given each of us our own confirmation number, despite the fact that we were all under one on the way down and that Laura had the receipt for all of us with just one confirmation number.

We made it to Charlotte with no problem but due to very thick fog, our flight out was delayed.  Then it was cancelled.  So US Air decided to rent vans for us and drive us to RDU, adding a 2 1/2 hour drive to our already 2+ hour delay at CLT.  So, basically, it’s been a long day.

For the past 20 minutes, Jack has been screaming at the top of his lungs that he wants us to rock him to sleep or that he wants Mommy or that he wants Daddy or he wants his Blue Bear.  He’s over-tired.  But, Ben is doing his part to save the evening from total disaster.  He’s singing songs to him and doing a great job of comforting Jack.  The whole thing is pretty darn cute.

What about the kids?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

This is going to be a serious post and one that I plan to continue to write about as I learn more.  It has to do with the public school Ben attends and the restrictions facing public schools.

Today Laura participated in an event in Ben’s class and got to talking with the teacher.  Turns out that there are two non-English speaking students in the class.  Both of them speak Spanish.  Ben had mentioned something to me about one student that didn’t speak English and I dismissed what he was saying.  To me, it doesn’t make sense.  Why would you have a five-year old kid that can’t speak English in class with him? I thought Ben must be confusing something or not understand something.

Now, mind you, Ben’s teacher does not speak Spanish.  These two kids really can’t participate fully and frankly, they can’t be properly educated by the teacher.  It’s not her fault.  She told Laura that there’s nothing she can do and that she will, at year’s end, HAVE TO promote them to the next grade.  One of my first reactions to Laura telling me all of this was, “what about ESL (English as a second language) programs”?  Laura relayed that Ben’s teacher said the ESL teacher (sit down before you read the next few words) DOESN’T SPEAK SPANISH.  Now I’m totally floored.  I’m really stunned.  So, I started to do a little research.

The Wake County Public Schools System regulations on Promotion and Intervention contain this fascinating nugget:

“Students with limited English proficiency are required to meet the same promotion standards as all other students.  However, in accordance with federal law, English language proficiency cannot be the factor that determines whether or not a student has met performance standards.”

Can you explain to me how a 5-year old non-English speaking boy can demonstrate proficiency to a non-Spanish speaking teacher adequately enough to meet promotion standards?  I would argue that kid has zero chance of doing so.  But, it’s FEDERAL LAW that just because the kid can’t speak English, that’s not a reason he shouldn’t be promoted.  Does that make any sense at all?

It strikes me that the two LEP (Limited English Proficient) students aren’t learning appropriately and that it’s unfair to them.  How must they feel going to school every day and not being able to effectively communicate with their peers and the teachers?  Is this good for them?  Does it cause any damage?

All of this got me thinking about something I read the other day:

“The Wake County Board of Education approved a new academic goal for the Wake County Public School System. The goal states:

WCPSS students will demonstrate high academic growth; by 2014, all students will graduate on-time prepared to compete globally.”

What instantly came to mind was “what was their previous goal?”  Seriously.  Turns out the current graduation rate is 78.3%.  I have no idea what they were shooting for before they decided it was time to graduate every kid.  One other interesting thing was that the goal says kids will be “prepared to compete globally”.  Nothing about reading, writing and arithmetic.  Does competing globally cover that?

Are public schools really this messed up?

Faneuil Hall

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Way back in 1999, I proposed to Laura at Seasons restaurant in Boston overlooking Faneuil Hall.  Laura loaded up on memorabilia to mark the momentous occasion.  One of those things was a Christmas ornament.  Tonight, while pulling all of our ornaments out of the box, Ben, who has been EAGERLY helping, said:

“Mommy, look at this one!”

Laura:  “Ohhh, that’s one of Mommy’s favorites.”

Ben:  “Why?”

Laura:  “Because that’s Faneuil Hall where Daddy asked me to marry him.”

Ben:  “And did you?”


In other news, Jack’s struggling with his cold-induced asthma again.  Three doses of albuterol today and I have a feeling that there could be a middle of the night breathing treatment in our immediate future.  We’ll see…

Happy Belated Halloween

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

The legions of fanatics (you know who you are) were asking for more posts.  Others asked for more pictures.  Here’s something for both of you.  Below are Halloween pictures of the boys from earlier this year.  Click for more.

Halloween 2008

In other news, last week we had visitors. Grandma Sara came in from Teaneck and shared an early Thanksgiving with us. Deep-fried turkey (and chicken, but I’ll save that story for another post)!! Then Alan and Vickie came to visit. It was great to see them. Both Laura and I love living in NC but when we get to spend time with family like them, we wish we were geographically closer. This past weekend we went down to South Carolina to visit with Baba and Epa. We had a typical Thanksgiving and also went on a Hooter Hunt an Owl Prowl. We actually saw one Eastern Screech Owl. Pretty cool.

“Ben didn’t hit me”

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

This morning, as the kids were quietly watching the Danger Rangers, Laura and I were in the kitchen.  Jack came sauntering in, looked up at us and said, “Ben didn’t hit me.”

OK.  Thanks for the update, Jackson.