Sunday, December 31, 2006

6 Hours, 38 Minutes and Counting...

It's almost the New Year. Almost 2007. This year has whizzed by and it feels like so much has changed since this time last year. We're in a nice home instead of the tin can we called an apartment, I'm teaching middle school again, Mason just turned 2, we're much more active in our church and I'm a year closer to 30. Yikes.

I think that since we made the early New Year's Resolution for Mason to quit the binky, I think it's only fair that I stop chewing on my fingernails and the skin around them. We'll see how that goes.

Happy New Year, everyone! Don't party too hard tonight! And let tomorrow be a restful, happy day before returning to the new adventures that await you in the year to come. Ta ta for now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The shirt says it all

Look at it closely. Around here, we agree that it fits Mason. But maybe we're just playing favorites. :)

Bye Bye, Christmas

Christmas is over. And there's no signs that was even here, at least not at our house. We took down all the decorations yesterday, including the outdoor lights and the Christmas tree and all the greeting cards. I even organized the wrapping paper bin and put all the Christmas stuff at the bottom (got some 50% off at Kmart and Target yesterday, for next year!). It was time. And I just threw away all the Christmas dinner leftovers, from when the in-laws were here. We went to Fry's and bought a bunch of healthy food like fruits and veggies and Lean Gourmet dinners. No more crap. We've been eating out a lot and eating a lot of sweets, and it has got to stop. Let's just say, it was tempting to pull out the maternity pants, cuz my regular ones have been getting a little snug lately. Time to do something about it.

And I put away Mason's Gap shirt with a Santa hat on it, since I'm positive it won't fit next year and I probably won't dress him in it anymore this year.

Finally, this is the last weekend before school starts back up again. At least we also get Monday off. That makes next week short, which helps with the transition back to the academic world, for all of us. I'm sure I'll be dragging my feet on Tuesday morning, since I've been enjoying sleeping in, lounging around the house, getting some reading and movie watching done, and most importantly spending lots of quality time with Mason, but I'm ready to return to work. There's been times during the break where I've been bored out of my mind. I'm used to working. I haven't always liked it, but it's what I'm used to. Now granted, I am already excited about taking next summer off to be with Mason at home, I'm ready to return for the second half of this school year. The sooner we start, the sooner summer will come, right?

So, goodbye Christmas, hello New Year! We plan to start fresh and try our best to be healthy and put effort into being good people. I wish everyone out there in the cyberworld a Happy New Year and hope you all have a renewed perspective and high hopes for this upcoming year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

This is a Binky Free Zone!!


Goodbye binkies. You were well loved and will be missed, but it was time for you to go. Mason called you "gingy" and needed you for naptime, nighttime and any other time he felt he needed extra comfort over the past 2 years. But the last of your kind was thrown away on Wednesday and we haven't looked back since.

Mason's had a little trouble settling down and going to sleep, but there haven't been a lot of tears. No tears at all, really. He just wants to lay or sit in his crib and play and sing and look at books, instead of sleeping. We have to keep going in there and telling him to go to sleep and eventually he does. I can deal with him playing in his crib when he's supposed to be sleeping, because at least he's not screaming like a Banshee. And at least we're still getting a full night's sleep.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I think this is pretty accurate

Quite Empathic
You are 80% empathic!
You are definitely empathic a lot of the time. You may not always get it right, but you're pretty good at telling what someone's feeling. You make an effort whenever possible. You don't necessarily want others to know how you're feeling yourself though. You're the kind of person who cares a lot about those around you, and don't necessarily have to know someone to worry about them.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
http://www.okcupid.com/"> alt="free online dating" src="http://is3.okcupid.com/graphics/0.gif" border=0>
You scored higher than 99% on empathy
Link: The Empathy Test written by Audryn on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Our big boy

Our son is two now. Wow. I can't believe it. It seems like I was saying, "He'll be 2 the day after Christmas" for so long, that it kind of just crept up on me. We took him to his 2 year check up at the doc today, and he's 27 pounds, 35 inches tall. He's healthy and right on track, thank the Lord. I just can't believe he's not a baby anymore. It's a blessing and it's part of life, but this is one of those moments where you realize that time slips away so quickly...

Anyways, here's our big boy at Nana and Papa's house on Christmas Day (with his new Elmo music player), and the awesome cake that Grandma made for Mason's birthday:















Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas, Part 3 and Mason's Birthday, Part 2

We are enjoying our visit with my parents. We arrived yesterday and had a nice Christmas. We opened presents and then had a pleasant dinner. Of course, we all made out with awesome gifts. I got cozy jammy pants, fuzzy socks and a warm robe (I should be nice and toasty during the winter!) and together we got a Target giftcard and a Barnes and Noble giftcard and a wicker ottoman. My hubby got the two Pirates of the Carribbean movies. Mason is set for toys and clothes and books for awhile, between Christmas and his birthday. Today, my sister, her husband, their two kids and my nephew's girlfriend came over, and there were more gifts. And more cake eating. Let's just say, we've decided to be gluttonous until the New Year. There's no sense in fighting the temptation, and besides, there's just too much good food around to resist!

Anyways, it's been a good one and we are thankful of how well we've been taken care of by both families. And I think I'm ready for Christmas to be over. It's my very very favorite Holiday and time of year, and I look forward to it starting right after Halloween, but I'm done. We've had 3 Christmases and 2 birthdays for Mason. That's enough. I'm sure we'll still keep the lights and decorations up until New Years, but after that, it's all going away. And we're moving on.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable one and remembered the reason for the season. Lots of love to my dedicated readers (there are maybe 3 or 4), and I will write again when we get home.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas, Part 1 of 3

So, yesterday my hubby's family (sisters, their hubbies, kids and his parents) all came up. It was a little stressful getting the house ready, but after everyone was here, it was nice. It's that warm and fuzzy feeling of having family together, with the laughter of children and people snuggling together on the couch. We had the fireplace going, the Christmas tree on, candles lit (but sitting way up high), presents covering the floor and people everywhere. We ate and ate. And ate some more. And my mother-in-law always makes cookies, rice krispy treats and fudge (chocolate and peanut butter) every year. Oh my lordy, did I eat a lot. I just kept grazing! And of course she gave us a platter of the goodies to keep.

And then there was Mason's little birthday party yesterday afternoon. His grandma made him a Veggietales cake (our son's obsession) AND we had pumpkin cheesecake and apple pie. Yikes. The party was fun though, because his Miss Cindy and her family came over and he got all kinds of neat toys. He's set for awhile, that's for sure. I think after we are completely finished with Christmas, I will put half of his toys away and trade them out later. No sense in taking up the whole living room, especially when he doesn't play with that many at a time. It's like having brand new toys every couple of weeks!!

So, Part 2 of Christmas will be tomorrow. Just us three. We'll wake Mason up early, do Christmas with just our little family. I think Darth Tater will be his favorite, since loves Potato Heads.

And Part 3 will be later tomorrow, when we head down to see my family. My brother is in town and my aunt will be there and possibly one of my sisters and her family. We'll see. I was kind of sad that we had to split up the Holiday, but now I realize it's better this way. It splits up the gift-giving, which is less stress on Mason (and myself), and we get to spend a little more quality time with both families. Should be fun.

Hope everyone is having a pleasant Holiday so far, and that the next couple of days will bless you and make you feel warm and fuzzy. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Have a great one, everyone!!


Merry Christmas Comment Graphics

This one's for you, Mrs. Bluebird!!


Merry Christmas Comment Graphics
I don't know about you, but we've tried putting Charlie in a sweater, and she just glares at us and runs away. I don't know what her problem is! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Things My Students Have Said Part One or Teenagers are Common Sense Deficient

If I had thought of this 5 years ago, I could probably write a book. And even if I had thought to do this from Day One of this school year, I'd still have a hefty list. But I didn't. So, here's what I came up with for most of this semester. Enjoy.

Top 13 (couldn't narrow it down to 10) Things My Students Have Said:
13. Do you have to pay to vote?
12. Can you vote more than once?
11. (When I asked what my student that was assigned Cupid knew about the topic) Cupid was a baby or something, right?
10. Is it a law about wearing white after Labor Day?
9. The difference between a crocodile and an alligator is one's female and the other's male.
8. (In October) Isn't it St. Patrick's Day? I'm not wearing any green!
7. (In November, the week before Thanksgiving) Isn't next week Christmas?
6. All the Presidents have been assassinated, right?
5. (One of my students, talking to me) Did they call you Mrs. Lionhead when you were in school?
4. Who's Saddam Hussein?
3. (While watching a story on Apache Indians in Arizona) What country are those people from?
2. (While watching a news story on U.S. Soldiers playing with Iraqi children) Isn't it dangerous for the kids to play with the soldiers? What if they shoot them?

And the number one quote out of one my ACTUAL student's mouth (who said quite a few of the above genius phrases), is:

1. There are women in the Army??

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And how are you doing?

Thought I'd let you all know that although I'm already running out of things to do, I am enjoying Christmas Break immensely. It's been really nice not to rush in the morning to get Mason to the babysitter and to attempt to fill teenagers' heads with information they don't always want or care about. I've even slept in a little! (FYI: being a mother of a toddler, sleeping in is now any time after 6:30!) I've been to the mall, Target (a couple of times), to the movies (when we saw "The Pursuit of Happyness") and finished Christmas and Mason's birthday shopping. We've visited with friends, and I even met with a former colleague from the school I worked at last year and we chatted and ate at Olive Garden. It was nice.

The plan for the rest of this week is to clean and get the house ready for family, and then Saturday my husband's family is coming up to celebrate Christmas. I'm excited to have guests, but a little anxious about having 13 people here!! It'll be a nice time though, getting to visit with family and know that we don't have to pack up and try to cram Christmas AND Mason's birthday presents into our car, like last year. We're going to have the fireplace going, and it will be nice and cozy...

Christmas Eve, it will just be us, and we will go to church. Christmas Day, we're heading down to see my family, as my dad can't really travel yet. We'll stay there, have Mason's birthday on his actual birthday the next day, and then we'll return home on the 27th. After that, no real plans. And that's okay. I like being bored. It means I'm not working. And although I do miss some of my students a little, I like being home on a weekday.

Hope all is well with everyone out there. I will write again soon. Maybe tomorrow I'll take the time to post the "Things My Students Have Said" entry.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tis the season...

...for talking to friends and family...















...and reaching for presents.

It's a Blizzard, people!!

Get prepared to be snowed in for days!! Hope you have supplies and warm blankets!! Good gracious, man! Get off the computer and get ready!!

Okay, just kidding. The first attempt at snowfall is going on outside right now. It's very sporadic. And slow. And not sticking. I just get excited when it snows. No snowmen or even snowballs today. Probably not until February, like always...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Don we now are gay apparel

"Now we are wearing happy clothes?" Is that what that song lyric means? Does anyone know?

The Pursuit of Happyness

Go see this movie. It's incredible. I liked Will Smith's acting before, but you'll be blown away by this one. If you know nothing about it, the main idea is that it's based on a true story about a guy who struggles to make ends meet, his wife leaves him and he has to take care of his son (which is played by Will Smith's real son), while trying to get a job and pay the bills. Go see the movie. Run, don't walk. It makes you realize that if you really want to do something in life, you can do it. No one can stop you. You'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart. But ladies, don't wear mascara. Unless it's waterproof.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two more days...

At this time on Friday, school will be a half an hour from being over for two whole weeks!! Yippee!! I am so ready. I know the kids are too. We're all sick of each other. There's definitely an advantage to having kids for two periods for Language Arts, but there are days where I just count down the minutes. I've been doing that for the last two weeks. I swear, the kids (and myself!) check out after Thanksgiving. I just want to be home, snuggling with my hubby and little man Mason under a cozy blanket, watching a Christmas movie, and maybe even having the fireplace going, with only the glow of the Christmas tree in the background. Doesn't that sound nice? Forget about Spring Fever, I'm having Christmas Fever!! Luckily, tomorrow in all my classes, I'm showing movies of the books we've read (7th grade is watching "Hoot", and 8th is watching the 1953 version of "War of the Worlds"--the new one's a little too violent), and Friday is an Early Release. I just have to get my 7th/8th hour out of here today, and the next day and a half will be a breeze. At least I hope so.

I apologize to those of you who don't have a school-related job, and have to work next week and the week after. That sucks. I've been there. But for the sake of my sanity, and the sanity of my little angels, I'm glad I get a break.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I see Christmas lights

I can see colored lights in the frame of the window in here. I can see lights through the blinds, 2 houses down (and boy, do they have a lot of them, and one of those inflatable snowing thingies) and I can see the lights from our Christmas tree shining in the living room. Ahhh. I love this time of year...

Hope the season is warming your heart, like it is mine...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bear with me...

I know, I know!! You don't need to start yelling at me or nagging me or ranting and raving about how nonexistent I've been in the past two weeks! Sheesh! School's been crazy, with Christmas Break approaching in one week (yeah, baby!), grades due soon, and all sorts of whatnots, that I just haven't had time on here to share my day. Sorry. I promise you'll most likely get a daily entry, starting a week from Monday. I'll be off for two weeks, with not much to do. So, I'm sure I'll get on here at least once before that, but you just need to be patient. I'm a teacher and mother with not a lot of spare time! We are having 3 Christmases and 2 birthdays for Mason this year, so it's a little hectic, with planning and coordinating. I hope everyone's able to enjoy the season thus far, and I will be back soon!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Kickball, Basketball, and...a Language Arts teacher?

I got to cover 6th/7th grade Girls P.E. today. That was interesting. I got a call during 1st period that I needed to cover the class during my planning, 6th period. I actually laughed. I laughed and said, "Are you kidding?" And the office lady kindly said, "No." Oh, man. So I nervously marched down to the gym a few minutes before the kids were to arrive, to figure out what the heck I was gonna do with them. Luckily I located the Boys' P.E. coach, and he told me what to do with them. They were to play this Kickball/Basketball combination game. They had played it before. It wasn't that bad at all. I just stood on the sidelines and watched. Actually, it ended up being easier than covering a Math class, since the P.E. class is predictable and pretty independent. No biggie.

A fun little anecdote: my pregnant girl (I really don't want to officially give her that nickname, since I'm still not absolutely sure she is) blew my mind today. She handed me her Author Report, since she was suspended when it was due. That in itself was a mind blower, since I honestly didn't think she'd have it. But she did. But there was one teensy weensy problem: I was reading the Final Draft of her report, and something looked funny. Not funny haha, funny strange. Her first paragraph was in different font than the rest of the paper, and it was in bold. And it was worded in collegiate terminology. I have a feeling she doesn't know what half of those words even mean. I sighed, and gently went over and asked her, "Did you really write this?", to which she replied without hesitation, "Yeah, I did. I remembered what you told me when I was writing the Rough Draft that I shouldn't copy word for word, so I didn't", to which I said, "but this looks like you copied and pasted from a website." She nodded and said, "I did, but I moved the sentences around, so they're in a different order." Oh my gracious. I smiled and said as calmly as I could, "Hon, that's still copying." My hubby thinks I should start a blog of just things kids have said to me, or at least in my presence. I'm working on that. For now, I'm gonna have her re-write the paper IN HER OWN WORDS, and tell her that next time it's a zero and a Referral for cheating. I'll let you know how that goes over.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh Baby!!

One of my students might be pregnant. Isn't that nice? She's an 8th grader, but still. This is not that much of a surprise for this particular student though, trust me. Among her offenses, she has been suspended twice for fighting (once at school and once on the bus) and yesterday she was suspended for trying to "stab" another student with a filed down piece of wood from WoodShop class. She's always been nice to me, but she scares the bejeesus out of most of our kids. She has the stereotypical "Latina" girl look--shaved off, penciled-in eyebrows, dark makeup and a bit slutty clothes. Her chin is pierced and she just looks tough. I've never been intimidated or even worried by her, but I see why the kids are. Anyways, her tummy is a bit round and I always just sluffed it off as she was a bit pudgy around the middle. But it's getting bigger. And kids are talking. (Perhaps that's why she tried to "stab" a kid in the hall?) I talked to the vice principal, and they'll look into it. I'm sure not going to go up to a girl and say, "Are you pregnant?" because we all know that if you're wrong, you look like an ass. I just hope I'm wrong. I know it happens in middle school, but you never are prepared for it, as a teacher. I don't know how to deal with that. She's absent enough as it is!! I just pray that if she is, no girls admire her or aspire to be like her. That's all we need.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There's nothing like a good fistfight!

I bet you're thinking, "Oh no! Some students must have gotten into a fight at her school!" Nope. Sorry. Although that does happen around here on occassion, that's not what I was going to tell you.

My hubby and I went to a hockey game last night. What an awesome show.

It all happened very quickly. Not the fight--well, yes the fight, but I meant how we ended up going to the game. I have a 7th grader who's father is the coach of the Minor League hockey team that just came to our town. Yesterday during 1st period, an envelope came for him. He opened it, and brought me a ticket for last night's game. I was surprised and appreciative, but with only one ticket, I didn't think I'd go. I figured I'd just give my ticket to one of his other teachers, so they'd have two. Then my student Hockey Boy's science teacher came up with the idea of one of us buying two tickets in another section and giving their single ticket to someone else so they can go as a couple and so could the other person, and we could all split the price of the two purchased tickets. So that's exactly what we did. And so I emailed my hubby at work yesterday and told him we were going to the new arena (just opened last Wednesday!!). I started getting really excited, because I've never been to a hockey game and I wanted to see the new arena and it was a chance for my hubby and I to have a date night, doing something we never do.

It was a blast. Our seats were over near the corner, but near our team's goal. The arena is pretty small, so everyone has good seats. I'd have to say that even though I'm not really a sports fan at all, I really enjoyed hockey. It's easy to understand and it's always exciting. I found myself cheering like a crazy person when our team scored.

And the fights, oh, the fights. There were a few of them on the ice, but one was really awesome. About half of both teams got involved, and there were hockey sticks and fists flying every direction. It ended up with a player from each team duking it out without their facegear on. Wow. No other game lets that happen. Probably not very Christian of me to enjoy fighting, but when you're at a hockey game, it's just expected. What fun.

It was a blast. Oh, and Hockey Boy is also the Stick Boy for the team, so he was on the ice before the game started, helping prep the rink. And he gets to sit with the players. We sat in front of a row of the player's wives. That's interesting. They're all very pretty and very high maintenance. I can't imagine the players make that much, since it's Minor League, but they sure look like they're well taken care of. It's just funny to see someone wearing leopard print spiked heels to a hockey game.

Anyways, that was my evening. Very crazy and unexpected. Not my usual thing, but I enjoyed it. A lot.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

'Tis the Season...

I know, I know there's still like 6 weeks until Christmas. And I know that there's a conspiracy surrounding the insaneness of stores shoving out Halloween and pushing Christmas down everyone's throat in October. But I can't help it! I love Christmas time!! And I can't wait for it to actually be Christmas! This year is already fun, with a toddler that actually comprehends what he's seeing in the stores. He gets so excited when we walk through Fry's or Target or Sears or Walmart and he sees the big inflatable snowing displays and the light-up snowmen and the sparkly colored present displays and the singing santas and snowmen. He wants to push all the buttons (and I'm sure the store clerks love us for it!) and watch them all dance and wiggle. We can't wait to take him to the local light display at the park. He'll "ooh" and "ahhh" and say "Mommy, lights!" I can't wait!! And it'll be so fun to get out the tree and the ornaments and house decorations so he can gasp at every last one...I think God gave me a child the day after Christmas on purpose. It just gives me another reason to love this time of year, how ever determined the commercialism is trying to ruin it...

And my new love this season: Peppermint Mocha Frappucinos! I had one today at the mall. Yum!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I haven't had time for you...

Sorry for being a negligent blogger. This past week has been filled with the regular antics of working with teenagers, caring for our soon-to-be-two year old and attempting a home existence. But on top of those things that keep me busy as it is, I was attacked with some kind of nasty virus that acted like Strep, but with a cough. I was miserable this time last week. I took off that Wednesday and Thursday, because I could barely swallow, speak or breathe. My throat was so raw that I was in tears a few times whenever I coughed so hard I almost threw up. It was glorious. I went to the doctor last Friday and he gave me some meds, but they didn't help. He even gave me a nighttime cough medicine with Codeine and I still spent all night hacking and coughing and feeling feverish. Good times. Needless to say, I really haven't started feeling better until yesterday. I still cough a little, but nothing compared to what it was, and at least my throat has healed.

So, being off two days last week pretty much put my whole swing of things off for a week after. I hate being out. It's stressful and frustrating. At least I had a real sub (and the same sub!) those two days, instead of teachers covering during their Prep period.

My kids have been my kids. Yesterday, my 7/8 Period kids really pissed me off. I took them to the library to research authors for a report, and they were so clueless. I told them where the Biography section was, and how to find their author. I walk over to a group of my kids and question why they're just standing around. One says, "I can't find my author. He's not in here!" I sigh and say, "You look up Edgar Allen Poe by P, not E." Grrrr.. Sometimes I just don't know what to do with those kids. Hormones shrivel brains, I am convinced. Plus, they preferred to goof around with their friends and talk about whatever they darned well felt like talking about, instead of getting their work done. Anyways, long story short, I told them if they act up this way again, I will have them do all the research and work for the report on their own, without class time. I don't have to give them time in class. Besides, they're 8th graders, they need to learn how to navigate the library, without me holding their hands. I mean, really.

Good news is we get tomorrow off, for Veteran's Day. So today felt like Friday and tomorrow will feel like Saturday. That always weirds me out, but it's a good thing. Daddy still has to work, so Mason and I will probably go over to The Babysitter's house and hang with her and her kids for the day. Nothing else to do. We'll see.

So that's it. Sorry I've been slacking, but hopefully reading my explanation causes you to forgive me. :) Have a good weekend and Happy Veteran's Day everyone!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween Comments for Myspace

Eat lots of candy and be silly!! It's Halloween, it's a must!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's so chilly...

...that my poor son has to climb in the dryer to keep warm...















...and then huddle in the warm clean clothes that just came out of it!!














DON'T CALL CPS!! We're not those whackjobs who justify putting their child in the dryer because "he was cold". He just happened to climb in there after I had pulled out some laundry, and then a different day (today), he climbed into the warm laundry after I pulled it out. And actually, it was up to 70 degrees here today! But aren't they cute pictures??

Sometimes the kids still surprise me

I don't think my kids were as surprised by my unexpected appearance at school Friday, as I was surprised by them, later in the day. Friday was Fantastic Friday, which we have the last Friday of the month. It's where the classes are shortened and the last hour of the day is spent with your team and there are reward activities for those students who got good grades and didn't act up too much. This time around, we made cards and crafts to send to the troops in Iraq (I adopted a platoon through adoptaplatoon.org last Spring). Honestly, because these kids are so separated from the war and from the military (the nearest base is a two hour drive away and I doubt any of my kids know anyone there), I didn't expect them to be that into the activity. I mean, I suppose I assumed most of them would grudgingly make some crap-tastic card just to please us, but I really thought quite a few of them would roll their eyes and just sit there, saying something like, "I don't wanna do this," or "This is dumb," or something along those lines. But they surprised me. As soon as I started sending tables of kids at a time to the table with the supplies, they were at work. They made some pretty darn creative cards and letters, if I do say so myself. No one complained or asked if they had to do this. They just did it. And they did it without getting out of control or whiny. Some of the cards really made me smile too, because they said things like, "You rock!" and "Come home and don't die" and "I bet you're sad to be there" and "Have you seen any camel spiders?" (if you've never heard of them, Google it, they're pretty scary!)

As I was cleaning up the stickers, markers, crayons, construction paper, scissors, pens, paper and glue sticks, I was smiling the whole time. It just makes me happy when the kids do something unselfish and sweet without asking if they're gonna get a grade or extra credit for it. There should be more moments like this. I like it when the kids surprise me. Or at least most of the time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just kidding!!!!

I was supposed to go to a training with some fellow 8th grade Language Arts teachers today. We were gonna drive two hours south (into the heat and traffic), and sit through a seminar on "101 Literature Ideas for Grades 6-12". I had planned for a sub. I had told (which means threatened and bribed) my kids about having a sub today. Then yesterday during 7th period, one of the other 8th grade teachers that was attending asked how set I was on going. There were only 3 of us going and one was sick. And I guess the teacher who came by my room thought that the information might not be that helpful and it might be a bit of a waste to drive down there and lose an entire day. I agreed. Besides, today is Fantastic Friday and so the schedule is crazy and thus the kids are crazy. And I later found out there wasn't a sub assigned, so it would have just been teachers covering during their Planning. No good.

So, it was fun when my 1st hour kids walked in this morning and saw my bright, shining face. "What are you doing here?" is their automatic reaction. Gee, thanks. I told them I was sorry to disappoint them, but there's no sub. I'm here. I'm sure some groaned to themselves and wished there had been a sub, because sometimes they luck out with a sub, and get someone who would rather tell the kids their life story and joke around with them than do the planned assignments. Ha! Ha! Joke's on them! I was here and they had to take their Vocab. Quiz. So sad for them. :)

But since I wasn't planning on being here, I am a day ahead with the plans and stuff that I prepare for next week. That's why I'm actually sitting in my classroom at the moment, writing this. It's my Planning time, and it's really quiet in here. Ahhh...This is actually the easiest time I've had writing my blog, because I don't have Mason at my feet or trying to climb into the chair or getting into everything on the desk; and I'm not writing it at 10 o'clock at night in a sleepy stupor; and I don't have the rushed feeling that Mason's going to wake from his nap at any moment. It feels a little strange to be doing this here, though, like I'm going to get in trouble. But this is certainly not illegal. I'm not downloading porn on the school computers, like some teacher in a nearby district attempted to do last year...

Another reason I'm glad I didn't end up going to the training is because my hubby and I are going to a couple's date night thing at the church. We're watching a movie and it's a cheesecake potluck! Like I'm not fat enough, people! Anyways, so if I had attending that training, I would have been cutting it close with getting back in time. God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?

Well, I suppose I should actually do something productive. Besides, I have another class of kids to surprise in 20 minutes. Ta ta.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I AM ELMO!!!

I took this personality quiz regarding which Sesame Street character you most relate to, and here's my results. This is dedicated to my Elmo-obssessed Mason monkey!!

You Are Elmo
Sweet and innocent, you expect everyone to adore you. And they usually do! You are usually feeling: Talkative. You've got tons of stories to tell. And when you aren't talking, you're laughing. You are famous for: Being popular, though no one knows why. Middle aged women especially like you. How you live your life: with an open heart. "Elmo loves you!"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It answers a lot of questions

We had Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday and Thursday (which meant Wed-Fri we had Early Release!) and it was exhausting, but somewhat informative. Unfortunately, I didn't see most of my 8th graders, because the teachers on their teams had the kids fill out student-led conference forms, that had to be discussed with parents and signed before the day of conferences. This eliminated a lot of the "Why did YOU GIVE my son an F?" questions. They had the answers right there. Each of their teachers had to fill out a comment for them, regarding their academic performance and their behavior in class. When the forms came around to me, there were some I didn't even have to think twice about. They were the ones that I either wrote, "Doing great! Keep it up!" or the opposite, "He/she has potential, but doesn't do his/her work and doesn't apply him/herself."

But the ones that did come to conferences answered a lot of questions for me--good and bad. I would say 95% of the parents I saw have a child that is passing (and really, passing with flying colors) in my class. Those are the easy ones. "Hey, he's doing great. I have no complaints. He does his work and tests well." The end. Quick and painless. In fact, I didn't have a SINGLE PARENT come that was for a child that's failing my class. That's kinda sad. Don't they care? I know there's a lot of factors and explanations of why the parent might not come to conferences, but I still find it sad. I just couldn't see not coming to see my child's teacher if my child was having trouble. Especially the first quarter, when there's still time to do something about it! Especially when they're in 8th grade. Only one more year until they get into high school.

I believe there's a direct corrolation between the amount a child's parent (or guardian or whoever) is involved in their academic life and how well the child succeeds. Now, I'm not saying there isn't a chance that a child won't struggle if their parents are active in their school life, but I think there's a less likelihood, when there is someone around who cares. I can't be that person for them. I can't go home with them and make sure they're doing their homework and getting a good dinner and breakfast and not watching 6 hours of television and not playing video games like Grand Theft Auto and aren't sitting around on MySpace writing in explitives about who they want to get with and who's hot to their friends instead of studying. I care about my kids, I really do. Even the ones who make me absolutely crazy at times. I want them to do well. I want them to pass. I want them to learn. And I want them to care about themselves and their education. But if I'm the only one who's an advocate for them, what happens after 3:30? Apparently nothing in some cases.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Change is scary

The week before Fall Break, I was informed by my principal that I was one of the classrooms that would be getting new carpet. Yippee!! I actually had the original carpet in my classroom, from over 20 years ago! Awesome! So, I was happy and pleased that I was one of THE CHOSEN ONES. But then she informs me that all my furniture will be in the hallways and that I should pack and lock away anything I am afraid might grow legs and disappear. Fun. So, the Friday before break, I was clearing off my desk of framed pictures and knick knacks and whatnots, so that they would still be around in a week. Most of Fall Break I didn't even think about it. Then, this weekend came and I started worrying about what my room was going to look like when I returned. So, I got to work an hour and a half early this morning, and I had mixed emotions. The carpet is brand-spanking new, but now my room smells like paint mixed with flatulence. My desks were in rows but not where they are supposed to be. Nothing was stolen (oh wait, I am missing some red duct tape that I used to mark where the desks go), but it was all kinds of fun to find everything again and try to get it back the way my room was before. I have a lot of crap! The bookshelves were on opposite walls from where they belonged. I elected help from my Homeroom class, to unload the bookshelves (textbooks, dictionaries, etc.) and they helped me move the shelves where they go. It was so much easier than me doing the whole thing. Thank goodness for middle schoolers eager to help. I let the 6 that actually volunteered to help be excused from their Journal, as they were working when everyone else was writing. It only seemed fair.

Anyways, my room is basically the way it was before. And I think having some of my kids carrying textbooks and dragging shelves across the room, that I snatched some of that excess energy left over from Fall Break right out of them! Back to work as usual, kids!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It can't be time to go back to school

I can't believe Fall Break is over. I mean, I had a nice, long, relaxing week with Mason and I got a lot of time to read and just spend quality time at home, but it still doesn't seem like a week has passed. I've gotten kind of comfortable with being at home all day. We ran lots of errands, I got cleaning done, we played outside a lot, I read, among other enjoyable things. I know I have to go back to work some time, but it was sure a week well enjoyed and well deserved.

Oh yeah, and here's some pictures from yesterday's party. As you can see, Mason had himself an awfully good time with all his friends and the wagon and the bubbles...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Aloha, party!

Isn't it true that "Aloha" is the Hawaiian word for "Hello" and "Goodbye?" I don't know. Anyways, the party was good fun. Most of the people who said they were coming came. I took lots of pictures and will get some emailed and posted on here probably tomorrow, after The In-Laws leave. We ate lots of food (I didn't actually eat a hamburger until later, because I was too busy watching Mason running around with all his old friends and new friends and trying to be social with people) and had a good time. It didn't rain as it was supposed to, which is good. I hope everyone else had a good time. Thanks for coming if you came. :) I will write more tomorrow. Aloha.

Friday, October 13, 2006

We're ready to par-tay!!















Even Mason looks ready to be the host with the most! Aloha!!

Is it tomorrow yet?

Well, I've done all the cleaning I can do for now (I plan on vacuuming later, because there's no sense in doing it too soon), and one more run to Costco when Mason wakes up from his nap. The weather isn't looking too chipper for tomorrow, but oh well. Hopefully the people who said they're coming still come, rain or shine. We're gonna have a lot of food leftover either way, I think. We're just those kind of people--over planners. I mean, it's better than not having enough food, I suppose. But I just hope we don't end up with 20 hamburgers to eat after the fact. We'll just see, I guess. The In-Laws will be here late morning, and so will Wildflower and her family (sorry, I just used that name, since your MySpace one changes so much! :)) are coming early too. That's gonna be really nice. I'm just excited to have guests at our new house period, but I'm especially glad it's them. Mason has grown so much since Wildflower and I got together the last time. It'll be neat to see how he interacts with her girls. Hopefully it's not raining at least part of the time, so they can run around in the backyard and blow bubbles and chase the dog and ride in the red wagon. I can't wait.

I know it's just a little Housewarming party, but it's a big deal to me. We've never been able to have more than 2 people over at the same time, since we moved back to our homestate. We lived in that craphole apartment and it was like trying to stuff a bunch of gorillas into a sardine can, which if you've never tried it, it's very difficult. And it was embarassing, because the place wasn't just small but old and we had lame neighbors (that were smokers!) and it just wasn't very hospitable. Now, we're in a house. A real house. With a yard of our own and driveway instead of a strip of parking spaces. It's just nice to be living in a place that we can be proud of, and will fit the 30 or so people that are planning on coming tomorrow.

Don't worry to those who can't attend and are avid fans of my blog (Princess BAF and Bluebird), I will be sure and get some pictures from the shindig up as soon as a I can. Maybe even Sunday? You will be missed, but I will do my best to document the festivities with photographs.

Well, Mason should be up soon, and then it's Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's off to Costco we go! Talk to you all soon. If you're coming to the party, see you tomorrow!

P.S. Did I mention how heavenly it's been to NOT work on any school related projects for the past week? Ahhh...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Our punkin'

Searching for just the right one...













Mine!!!

Can anyone answer this for me?

Okay, I live down the street from a food bank. So, on Wednesdays, I see loads and loads of people pull up and load up their cars with bread, canned goods, etc. I am all for it. If someone's in need, let's help them out. Heck, I was on WIC when I was pregnant with Mason through his first year of life. They provided formula, juice, baby cereal and some groceries. The formula alone was generous and a big help. Needless to say, I support causes that give a helping hand to those who are in dire straights. But here's my question: if you can afford to have a cigarette hanging out of your mouth as you pull into the food bank and wait for your free food, why can't you afford to drive your ass down to Fry's and get your own groceries?? It just seems to me that even the cheapie generic cigarettes are hurting the pocketbook of any chain smoker. How can anyone justify shelling out the cash for those cancer sticks, yet feel that they deserve free bread and canned foods for free? Anyone have an answer?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In honor of Fall...

I changed my background. Thought it was time. Isn't it special. Ta-Da.

Yes, right, well, here is a list of my likes and dislikes about this new change of season:

I LIKE that the weather is cooling off and you can actually enjoy being outside. Mason loves running up and down the tiny hill in our backyard.
I DISLIKE that the girls in my class are still wearing skimpy outfits and complaining about the weather.

I LIKE that my hubby and Mason and I are going to the Pumpkin Festival later today. It's such a nostalgic feeling, just walking up and down aisles and aisles of pumpkins with hundreds of other people. And the smells of the farm. And the smells of homemade treats... (see my blog from October 9 of last year)
I DISLIKE that the farm is being shut down and their land was purchased by homebuilders, so they can build subdivisions where people's livelihood rested for generations.

I LIKE that it's Fall and that means Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner. Food and family...
I DISLIKE that the stores are already shoving Halloween stuff into a corner and Christmas is taking over. In October. Grrr...

I LIKE that it's Fall Break and the 1st Quarter is over. Hooray!
I DISLIKE that I already have kids comfortable with complacency. They don't care if you issue them a Lunch Detention or After School Detention or an "F". They shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Who cares?"

I LIKE that our Housewarming Luau is next weekend!
I DISLIKE that I feel like I need get the house in tiptop shape before showing it off to people. I hate cleaning....

I guess that's it. I feel better, don't you?

I'll be sure to put a picture of our lil' punkin' on here after we go the Pumpkin Festival.

Happy Fall, everyone!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time is just about to get more plentiful...

Tomorrow is an Early Release! Then it's Fall Break!! Can you tell I'm happy?!?!?!?!?


I'll write more after tomorrow...

Monday, October 02, 2006

"I love technology..."

"but not as much as you and me..." (a little Napoleon Dynamite reference for ya. It's at the end after the credits...)

Here's a picture of our little Mason. He got a hold of some headphones and was frustrated because he couldn't figure out how they fit or what they were for. I know the feeling, man! I have a love/hate relationship with technology myself...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Welcome to the Red Cross

I think we're running an infirmary around here: I'm still battling with a "Sinus Infection" (which has lasted for a lifetime), which basically means I'm draining snot all day long and I feel like someone is standing on my face; my hubby has had a tummy thing all day; and our little Mason is getting over a cold. We're quite the pathetic bunch. Don't get me wrong, Mason is still spritely and hanging from the rafters, and certainly not giving us any slack because we're sick. He just runs around the house with his nose dripping and then he says, "Nose, Mommy", but then won't let me wipe it, or he wants to wipe it himself. And if you have any experience with toddlers, then you know they have no clue how to wipe their nose (although he's already pretty good at blowing his nose!). So, needless to say, it it's been a trying day. I hope tomorrow's better for everyone. I will be at work, but it's Daddy's day off and he will be home with Mason, so hopefully they're both back to their normal selves. Maybe after a good night's rest...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hello there

Is it really Saturday afternoon already? Man, things are just whizzing by me in a flash these days. This past week went fast it seems. Work was crazy as always. I swear there's such a thing as Fall Fever. The boys are being sent down to the office for roughhousing, harassing each other and just generally getting on each other's nerves. And it's only September!! Friday was the day we have every month where we reward the well behaved and fairly studious students. This time we had a Field Day outside. I was in charge of the game where two teams race in a relay where you put your head on the end of a baseball bat and spin around 10 times and run back to your team. That was pretty darn entertaining, watching 12 year olds run around a bat and then attempt to run back, but ending up looking drunk or like they just learned to run. It's pretty funny. Last night I went to dinner with some girls from the school I worked at last year. That was nice. I feel so out of the loop with the gossip and insanity that presents itself every day at that place. Good times. This morning, while my husband was at work, Mason and I went to Old Navy (found a bunch of stuff on clearance!!) and Target (for popcorn, of course! It's become part of Mason's weekly diet). I also managed to get a nap in later, but mainly because my head was pounding like a sledgehammer. Pretty soon we're headed to Mason's babysitter's house for a little cookout. We always have a good time with them.

I guess that's it. I'm sure I would have more meaningful and insightful commentary had I actually written after work any time this week, but this is what you get. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. One more week until Fall Break! And two weeks 'til our Luau! Yippee!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I am among the living

I've just been a little pre-occupied lately, with life and all that jazz...Anyways, here I am. I've heard the complaints (or read, that is) how much of a slacker I've become in the blogging world (you know who you are! you may not have said those exact words, but it was implied), so I am trying to make amends.

Teaching 7th and 8th graders that, yes, Language Arts is important to your life no matter what profession you want in life (even if it's a "would you like fries with that?" job, since you have to at least be able to read the menu and read tickets) is hard work. It exhausts me sometimes. Not to mention dealing with the attitudes and general apathy towards learning. And it doesn't help that the school gave me an unfair disadvantage with my class make up. Case in point.

Here's some food for thought, and you can agree or disagree, but here it is:
I think smaller class sizes makes a difference. I have 19 kids in my 3/4 period class, and they are by far my most well behaved. They work harder, stay on task longer and tend to score higher on tests. My other group of 8th graders totals 28 and there's such a difference. It feels like I have kids that get lost in the shuffle and don't get the attention they need. My biggest class are 7th graders, but I don't think it's fair to compare them to 8th graders. I swear sometimes they are a totally different species. Something drastic happens that summer between 7th and 8th grade. Whatever it is, it's a little scary.

My other point: when a class is dominated by little goof-off boys, trouble brews faster and stronger. My rowdiest class (by miles and miles) is my 7/8 period group. You wanna know the figures? 22 boys and 6 girls. Yeah, that's just not right. In previous experience, I would have said that it works out better when there are less girls (less eye rolling and whiny voices), but I have been proven wrong with the 8th graders (I tell ya, 7th and 8th graders are sometimes like night and day). My girls are the calming force. They just want a quiet class and they want to get their work done. My boys (aside from maybe 2 or 3) are goofballs that think everything they say and their friends say is downright hilarious. And they have smart mouths. And they want to say everything they're thinking (think: a 1st grader wanting to talk about his dog and his neighbor's rabbits and his dad's truck, but with hormones and more random information stored away in a 13 year old's head). It's annoying. Granted, they say something that is actually halfway funny at times, but then I'm giving them leverage when I laugh. I try to keep that to a minimum. It just proves my point that a class full of 8th grade boys is harder to handle than a class full of 8th grade girls.

And I hate that they have banned sugar from the schools. I mean, I don't hate it completely. I'm glad they can't get a a Twinkie and Coke in the lunchroom and call it a meal, but not having the ability to bribe with candy is excrutiating. There have been times in my past teaching experiences that I could have asked the kids to jump through flaming hoops like circus dogs and they would have done it, had there been a Jolly Rancher dangling in their view. Now, I can't use candy during review games or as an incentive for the quiet kids or to give them when I get a good report from a sub (I'm gonna be out on Wednesday for my dad's surgery and I sure wish I could tempt the kids with a sugary treat). It's just not fair.

And I'm off my soapbox. Hope this blog fills a special place in your heart until I find the time to write again. There's not a lot of downtime these days, with my homelife (involving a child that I'm convinced is rushing into his "Terrible Two's" early) and my worklife (involving lots of children that are quite settled in to their "Terrible Teens"). So, live with it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The intelligent anecdotes of a 20 month old...

Here's what Mason has to say about life:

gllllll;;;vv22;;/995cwwwwwashkmmikkkkmmmmmm



Yes, that's the word "wash" in the middle. And yes, he actually typed it..maybe he was telling you all that he just had a bath...Hey, it could happen!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

They're not as old and as big as they think they are

So, I took my kids to the library yesterday (we go every two weeks), and something amusing happened. The kids are all wandering around finding books to check out and I come across a pack of my 8th grade boys (I want you to get the full picture: 3 out of 5 of them are football players, and all of them are taller than me) making a bunch of noise about a book. You know what my first thought is? They found something inappropriate in a book and they're all basking in it. But no. I hear things like, "Oh, which one's Bert and which one's Ernie?" and "I like the one in the garbage can. What's his name?" Yes, they are gathered around a Sesame Street book (they keep Beginner Reader books around for ELL kids and Special Ed). I thought about nagging them about finding a book in their Lexile (reading level), but then I decided to just stand there and smile and add some input like, "I remember the show before there was Elmo" and "my favorite was always Snuffy, the elephant". It amused me so. It just proves my theory that middle schoolers aren't too sure all the time if they want to be big kids and get freedom and be treated like young adults, or be little kids and color and read Sesame Street books. And that's why I love them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things I'm learning in the 7th and 8th grade

I was reading my friend's blog about what she's learned since she started a new semester of college, and it got me thinking: I'm learning everyday the in's and out's of teaching middle school are quite the experience--even with this being my 5th year teaching. For instance:

1. ANYTHING you hand the kids, there will be some genius that asks, "is this homework?"
2. Some students need a personal invitation to follow directions. Apparently it doesn't apply to them until you walk up to them and say their name.
3. No matter how long school has been in session (we're going into our 5th week), they will make a comment like, "it's so cold in here!" like I suddenly changed the thermostat. It's cold people, get over it! And wear more clothes, for Pete's sake!
4. Apparently even in LANGUAGE ARTS class, using "i", "cuz", "w/", and not using punctuation at all is acceptable. I hate the IM generation!!!
5. Girls are getting away with wearing shorty skirts by wearing leggings underneath. It's just wrong.
6. Boys are determined to try to sneak by teachers with inappropriate shirts on. Case in point. A couple of days ago, a kid had a shirt on that read, "Save your breath. You'll need it for your date," and it had a picture of a blow-up doll. Nice. And he was surprised when I told him he needed to turn it inside-out!
7. Most kids hate reading and writing. Oh, boo-hoo! Get over it! You need both skills to get anywhere in this world! I just wish they'd understand that...
8. 8th graders don't know what proper nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives are. Are you kidding me?!?
9. Teachers are required to read chicken scratch. If I have to hold the paper at an angle and squint one eye and hold it at an arm's length, it's illegible!
And the last little tidbit of info I have come to realize is...
10. Middle schoolers aren't much different than my 20 month old toddler: they're needy, whiny, unable to follow simple directions, are downright goofy and have the attention span of a gnat.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Castaway

Here's our little Maxie while we were visiting my parents. Doesn't he look like he's in the sequel to Castaway, and that he should befriend a volleyball and name it Wilson?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the 2nd of September...

Okay, that's a weird subject, but I couldn't think of anything else to title it. Anyways, I'm sitting here in my parents' house, waiting for dinner. We came down last night to visit, and tomorrow we'll head to the in-laws'. Thought it would be a nice weekend to see the fam, since it's a longer weekend. We've had a nice visit already. We went in the pool this afternoon and Mason had a blast. I'll try to post a picture when we get home. And I got in a nap and I went with my mom and aunt to their Target this morning. It's been nice to just relax. Yeah for no school Monday! And yeah for next week being shorter because of it!!

Friday went fast, because we had yet another Early Release Day. Of course teachers had the special opportunity to sit in meetings within their departments. My Language Arts one was a bit of a waste of time, but at least I got some journals graded as I sat there. I still have some more to grade, along with Thursday night's homework. This is actually the first time I've taken work home this school year. I find myself very productive, coming in at least an hour before school starts and having lunch and my Prep Period together. Progress Report grades are due by the end of Tuesday, so I thought I should get cracking on getting this stuff graded, so I'm not down to the wire on Tuesday. If I wait, then something drastic will happen and I won't be able to get it done and then I'll get reamed for not getting it done in time.

Well, dinner's about ready and I guess I should get back to being social or something. Hope everyone has a great weekend and doesn't have to work Monday!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ehhhh

I am whining. I've had a headache, pretty much off and on since late Sunday night. I don't know if it's allergy related or stress related or what it is, but it's painful and annoying. I actually stayed home yesterday, to rest and hopefully get rid of the pain in my head (which caused more stress, because every teacher knows that it makes you a little uneasy to leave your kids in the hands of someone else). I returned to work this morning, and found that I only had an actual sub for ONE PERIOD today. Apparently the rest of the day was covered by teachers during their Planning time. That made me feel a little bad. But my guilt quickly turned to grouchiness when I realized that only one of the teachers that covered my class actually followed my lesson plans!! I guess some "couldn't find" my lessons (even though they are in the front of the room on my overhead), so they showed some Alice in Wonderland movie. Great. So, we had to play Catch Up today, and try to cram two days into one. Yippee. And all the while my head was playing games with me. I felt better after school, so my husband and Mason and I went to Chili's to celebrate the fact that tomorrow we turn in the keys to our old place, because it's all clean and ready for inspection. Yeah!

So I took some allergy stuff and I pray to God that it helps. I certainly don't want to be up all night again and obviously I can't trust that things would be taken care of if I called in sick. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We're back in business, people!!

Yay, we've moved! Finally! It feels so good to be here, where it is actually a HOME and we actually have room to move around without bumping into each other everywhere--well, right now, we have boxes every which way, but at least there's potential for open spaces.

About 10 people from church showed up yesterday and helped us move. Now, granted, the move was only .8 of a mile down the road, we were still impressed that the entire loading and unloading of the moving truck only took about 3 hours. We have a lot of crap! But at least now we have a garage and a storage shed and a crawlspace above the house to keep it. And we were able to get a lot of unpacking done since yesterday morning. I mean, hey, the tv and computer are hooked up, so what else do you need? Mason's room's getting there, the kitchen's pretty much done and the living room just has odds and ends that need a home. But we're here and we're settling in quite nicely.

Mason loves having the extra room to run around and ya ard to explore. Max is more than excited to have grass to pee on. And the cat, well, she's adjusting. Normally she takes well to change and being taken to different places, but she is still unsure of this place. She walks hesitantly along the wall and pauses to check out the room before going about her business. She also meows randomly and has this shifty-eyed look like she is plotting her escape. I'm sure she'll get over it, but it's funny to see.

Well, it's back to work tomorrow. I need to go try to rest, as I didn't sleep well last night (not the issue of a new place, just allergies kicking into overtime). So goodnight.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The pride of lions is packing up their den..

We move in a day and a half, people!! Our place is in such disarray and we are sooo anxious to get out of here and spread ourselves out a bit. Can't wait til Saturday...

Today was okay at work. I'm not sure my little conversation with my little class clown's mom really helped. He was his normal self today. He did, however, earn himself a third lunch detention. This time, it was for not being where he was supposed to be. Him and two of his croanies were way past the bathrooms and opening a side door. They didn't have much reason for it, besides that they "wanted to see the rain". Whatever. So, I told them that they lost their bathroom priveleges for tomorrow and I handed them all lunch detentions. Nothing serious, but hopefully it's enough to stop them from doing it again. We'll see.

Well, Mason is trying to drape my head with one of his bibs, so I gotta go. I shall write again when we have relocated. Ta ta!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Revelation!!

I went to the principal this morning before school started, and talked to her about the trouble I've been having with my 7/8 Period block. I felt like there was a handful of boys that were affecting the dynamics of the class, and it was making me feel really tense and unhappy. I have been dreading that group of kids pretty much every day since the first week of school. I mentioned one of the names of the kids that's been giving me troubles and the principal said to call mom. Apparently mom is real supportive and if that didn't work, I could send him to a teacher he had last year. It's all about making an example of one of the students, so the others will be afraid. Very afraid. So, during my planning time today, I gave the mom a call. She was there, and guess what? Her son was out sick today, so he was there when I called. She said she would talk to him and she appreciated me calling. I'm always intimidated by calling parents, because it's a crapshoot--you never what kind of parent you'll get on the other end of the phone. Luckily the odds were on my side and she was happy to hear from me.

And with that particular student out today, something amazing happened: the class was wonderful!! I was so pleased! All this time I thought that 5 or 6 of them were the cause of the problem, when all along it was just this one student who was inspiring the others to be doofuses. It was so peaceful today. The kids even commented that it was quieter with him gone. I didn't say much about that, but I did say, "well, whatever the reason is, I appreciate it." I was even so pleased that I lessened their homework. They worked dilligently on this vocabulary assignment that pretty much took the entire block, that at the end I shortened it and told them it paid to be well behaved. I walked out of there with a smile on my face. It was one of those "Aha!!" moments. The disruption in class centered around one student. That's not hard to deal with.

Let's hope when he returns tomorrow, he gets peer pressured from the others to be good. Or at least the talk with his mom does what it's meant to do.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A new moment in the history of teaching

So, I went to open my classroom door to release my Period 3/4 class at the end of class, and something very strange happened. The handle turned, but it wouldn't open. It wouldn't even budge. I thought, "Hmmm...maybe I locked my door on accident," but then I realized I hadn't locked it, and even if I had, it wouldn't lock the inside. A couple of my 8th graders of course took a shot at trying to open it. A sudden realization came over me: I was locked in my room with twenty-two 8th graders!! I calmly (at least on the outside) called up to the office and informed them of my predicament. The lady working in the office laughed and sent down the custodian. She tried unlocking it from the outside, but to no avail, the door was still shut tight. She told me through the door that she would go and get tools and try to jimmy the door open. At this point, the kids have figured out that they're gonna be in my class awhile longer. And there are mixed emotions about it. Some were excited to be missing their next class, some were afraid that they would miss work in their next class, some were paranoid that there could be a fire (or at least a fire drill) and we couldn't get out, and some were just curious of how we would get out and how long we'd be stuck in there until that happened. I had no answers. After the custodian realized that she couldn't make progress on her side of the door, she goes into the room next door and climbs through the ceiling and drops down an Alan wrench and tells me to try to mess with the door. Yeah right. I am not at all mechanically inclined. But at the moment I start fidgeting cluelessly at the door, a maintenance man from the district is on the other side, messing with it. The kids are getting antsy and hyper and I am so ready for them to leave. Thank God it was my lunch and then my Planning Period, so I didn't have any other kids coming. Oh, and while all this is happening, teachers and students in the halls have noticed the commotion and are walking past and peering into my room with a dumbstruck curiosity, like we're a new breed of caged zoo animals that were just released to the public. Great. Kids were looking in, and I could hear teachers giggling to themselves--probably glad it didn't happen to them. To make a long story less long, the district maintenance guy climbed through the ceiling and ended up taking my entire doorknob off. From start to finish, this entire hassle took just about an entire extra period. Needless to say, as soon as that doorknob was yanked out, I was practically pushing my kids out the door. I had had them 3 periods straight and couldn't have been more glad for the whole fiasco to be over.

Has this ever happened to another teacher, ever, in the history of teaching? I've been locked out of my room, but never locked in.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Puke

So, Mason hasn't been feeling all that well since last night. He had diahrrea, but otherwise was acting fine. This morning, more runny poop and he didn't want to eat. At lunch, once again, no appetite. I gave him some milk and crackers and we all headed to the store for some things. On the way, I hear these gurgling noises coming from the backseat. I look back, and there's vomit coming from his mouth and nose. We veer the car over and wipe up what we can, and then rush home. Yum. It was everywhere on him and his carseat. He needed a bath and every part of the carseat needed to be scrubbed, washed and sanitized. He's still not really wanting to eat, and he apparently doesn't like Pediasure.

This was one of those incidents that they DON'T tell you about before you have kids...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dave Matthews Band in South Park??

I don't know where this came from, but it's pretty funny.


I especially like Dave (on the left)! Enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fine tuning

It's Friday again. Yippee! This week was a little rough, as the kids have become comfortable with the classroom and each other and have decided that it's okay to talk when I'm talking and read their library book when they're supposed to be working. Sigh. I've written some lunch detentions (which as a whole, they don't seem too phased by), and I'm sure many more are in my future. I know that discipline is my weakness. I'm trying to work on it, but it's hard. I'm lazy and don't like dealing with attitudes and crap. I did, however, tell a girl today that she needs to get her attitude in check, and that I AM IN CHARGE (even if she thinks otherwise) and that she needs to keep her mouth shut. She's a teenage girl with an attitude and that smart-allecky smile that makes me grit my teeth. I knew it was coming. And she won't be the last. I know what I was getting back into, with snotty girls and class clown boys, but I still don't like it. And I suppose I never will. Oh well.

I had a boy tell me yesterday that he loves me. And he's not special ed. He's what we will now call The Charmer. He smiles this cutesy grin and says some charming thing and expects that he won't get in trouble. Apparently it's worked in the past with his previous teachers. Anyway. Yesterday, I'm passing out some papers and he says to me, "Can I tell you something and you won't get mad?" (which immediately alarms me. What in the world is he going to tell me that I might get mad about?) Then he says, "I love you." I stopped handing out papers for a second, then I said something like, "why did you feel like telling me that?" And he said, "because you're my teacher and you teach me things and I love you." Uhh, okay. I guess he thought that would keep him in the clear for the school year to come. Sneaky.

Have I mentioned lately that we're moving in a week?!? I am so anxious, but a little stressed about it too. It feels like there's still a lot to do. It will all get done and soon we'll be settled and this tiny tincan of a place will be behind us--smoking, loud, partying neighbors and all. Yeah!!

I guess that's it for now. Mason's fussypants for no reason, so I must go. Talk at you later.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday, Alize'!

I mentioned the birthday party we went to this weekend. I was looking at the pictures, and I thought that she deserved to have her picture on here. So, it's better late than never (even if her birthday was actually a week ago!)!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Busy

This weekend zoomed by. Friday, I was glad it was the weekend. Didn't do much. Yesterday, we went to a birthday party for the little girl that Mason's babysitter is adopting. It was a lot of fun. She got a Cabbage Patch Kid, with yarn hair!! I remember those!! It was very nostalgic. Then, we brought Mason home for a nap and we napped too. Oh, and my husband took the dog to get groomed (we just discovered a place down the street that does the bath, nails, ears and teeth for $10! Totally worth it!). After that, we went back out and took some stuff to the new place. It's so fun to go there, because we get more and more excited about moving. I'm not really enthusiastic about unpacking boxes, but I'll get over it. Then, we dropped some stuff off at Goodwill and went into town for dinner. It's a neat little brewery right in the middle of downtown, so we walked around a little afterwards. Mason enjoyed being on the square, running around in the grass, and they actually had SQUARE DANCERS at the square. Yep, I said square dancing. There were old couples promanading around and the old ladies had on poofy dresses that looked handmade. It was pretty awesome. Free entertainment. Today, we went to church and helped out in the gazebo out front and took Mason home for a nap. I took that time to take care of some school stuff. Later, we met Mason's babysitter's family for lunch (as we pretty much always do on Sundays). Then, we went to our new place to unload some stuff, and to Fry's for groceries. After that, I packed some boxes of stuff in Mason's room. At the end of the day, we went over to some friends' house so my husband could get some help making a nightstand. Mason and his future girlfriend played some, but they're still fine tuning their sharing skills.

Whew. No wonder I'm not sure where the weekend went. It was a pleasant weekend, but it went too fast. As always.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

10 days until my birthday!!

I've had this blog pretty close to a year. I can't believe it. If you look back at August of last year, I had an entry entitled, "6 days until my birthday!" (Wow! Check out the pictures of Mason on the entries!! He was so little!!) I guess it would have been cooler to wait until the 15th and write the exact title again, but I figured I'd forget by then. So there. You have more time to really think about what to get me and you still have time to get it to the post office!! JK I'll be 28. Two more years until the
DREADED 3-0. Holy moly...

Friday, August 11, 2006

And I pause for a big sigh of relief...

The first week of school is over! Yeah!! I'm always more at ease once the first week is over. I know most of their names (need to work on nicknames for them, for the sake of the blog though), I know the routine, I am getting the hang of planning for two different grades and everything is coming along. And I actually don't mind those huge giants they call THE 8TH GRADERS. They're bigger. That's it. They're still silly kids with bodies full of hormones and they still like to talk when they shouldn't be, and they are little whiners at times. No biggie. I've been there, done that. And my 3rd/4th period is quite pleasant. They are quiet and do their work. I know it's the first week of school, so I'm not getting too excited, but I was still impressed.

I am so darned happy to just be teaching Language Arts again. I am in my element. No more science or math or social studies. I get to make kids read and write. And there's not much you can accomplish in life if you can't do either of those things. So, I feel that my job is pretty cool and important. Yeah me! And no more grading math or social studies or any other crap that I don't care much about. I get to give journal entries, word searches and writing assignments. And next week, we start our first novel. In 7th grade, I'm really excited, because I've decided we're going to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (it's actually a book on the 6th grade Honors list, but none of my kids read it last year). And then I plan to show the movie in class at the end. Pretty awesome. We're gonna read The Call of the Wild in the 8th grade. A good book, but not Narnia.

So, in conclusion (or as previous students of mine have written in their conclusions: "I hoped you liked my paper on..." or "This is the end of my report..." or "This is the end of my report..."), I am enjoying being a Language Arts teacher again, and I actually hope to stick around longer than a year this time...

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's good to be home

It wasn't a bad first day, but it was very exhausting--mentally. I came in an hour before I needed to, putting up last minute posters and getting things ready. And even after extra time, I still felt butterflies doing jumping jacks in my stomach. I hate that feeling. I just felt nervous, because it was my First Day of School too.

I met my kids today, and I have to say, it should be an interesting year. My Homeroom (1st/2nd period) are 7th graders and they don't have much to say. Yet. My 6th grader from last year is in that class, but I tried not to pay him extra attention, as I'm sure it would embarass him. He seemed to adjust quickly to the public school environment. I saw his mom this morning and told her that I'd take care of him, and I still plan to. I just feel like I need to keep my eye on him and make sure no one runs him down.

Our Anniversary Day was really nice. We drove an hour and a half north, and went to the teacher store there (romantic, I know. but we don't have a decent one here) and went to their Target (because it's nicer and has a Starbucks) and went to the movies. "Pirates" was really good. Definitely left it a cliffhanger for the 3rd...

Let me explain the picture. While at Target, we bought Mason an Elmo chair, because he loves Elmo (even though he's never even seen Sesame Street), and he loves sitting and watching "Veggietales". But most of the time, Mason just climbs on it and tries to put it up on the couch. And our dog Max thinks it's his own lounge chair. Had to take a picture of it.

Well, we move in less than 3 weeks!! With school starting, I feel like I'm going a million miles an hour. So, bear with me if I don't write for awhile. Ta ta.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eeeek!

This is it. Tomorrow's the first day of school. I swear, I'm more nervous than the kids. It's not my first year ever, but it feels like it. I want to present myself as an authority and I mean business, but that I'll also be a teacher that cares and wants everyone to try their best. I hope I have enough planned. Don't want downtime. It will be fine, I know. And it'll be over in a flash. Wish me luck. I will write again soon, I'm sure.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday night, just got paid...

What a day. In reference to the title of this entry, I got my first Prop 301 check today. Prop 301 was passed by voters, and it's a tax credit to schools, that is divided out to each teacher, in 4 payments during the school year. It's basically an incentive to excel in educating your children, and further inspiring us to push the kids to pass the state tests. Whatever the reason, I got a check that we didn't budget for. Woo-hoo!! It is going directly towards the expenses of our upcoming move (3 weeks from tomorrow!).

Today was my last weekday before school starts. I rode the rollercoaster of emotions today. We had staff pictures this morning, and a meeting on office procedures (which stressed me out just a bit--attendance, write-ups, passes, phone calls, etc.), which I spent stewing about all the things I had left to do in my classroom. For the past couple of days, I've left my room thinking, "oh, I'm almost done. Not much left to do". Haha. Every day I'd return and see this mound of papers on my desk that I still hadn't dealt with, and little things kept piling up. I didn't spend all that much time in my room today, but I was super productive. I was able to get my bulletin boards the way I wanted them, filed some papers, wrote next week's schedule on the board (it's a shortened schedule, because they spend the afternoons in mini classes about school rules and procedures), began working on next week's lesson plan (guess what I get to finish this weekend?), and made a list of things I needed to do before Monday morning. The room looks ready, which in turn makes me look ready. And looking ready and being ready look the same to students. I feel confident about starting school. I'll have first day jitters as I always do, but at least I feel more at ease about getting started. Oh yeah, and I have one of my 6th graders from last year!! As of yesterday's roster, I didn't have any of them. I knew there were for sure 4 or 5 coming to the school this year, but every roster I checked, I didn't see them. Then today, we got updated ones, and there he was. And he was one of my favorites last year, I won't lie. He went with me to the Learn and Serve camp last year, and we just had a good laugh all the time. Should be fun. A little strange having in my class instead of being an aide in his room, but it will be fun all the same.

We got the keys to our new place today. Yeah!! We were so excited to see it again, and start planning where everything will go. Thank you God, for giving this place to us...

Tomorrow is my husband and I's wedding anniversary. 6 years. Wow. A little surreal sometimes. We get to go the movies and spend the day together AND go to dinner. Yee-haw!! I can't wait.

So things are on the upside in my part of the world. Hope everyone is just as blessed as we are right now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Helping us pack

Yes, Mason got up there on his own. He's quite the little monkey. As we're getting boxes packed, we're running out of places to put them. So, this stack is in the living room, right in his view and reach. We have to watch him like a hawk, so he doesn't try to basejump off and take a nosedive onto the carpet that we are convinced has absolutely no padding underneath. Yeah, that would be a trip to the ER...

The Inservice was interesting today. We discussed classroom management, which is a bit of a weakness for me. I learned some approaches that I will incorporate with my students this year, like not arguing with a middle schooler, not giving them a dozen chances to do the right thing and not allowing downtime after a lesson. When they're bored, they're naughty. I am determined to be a more consistent and firm teacher this year. I know it will improve my reputation in my classroom as one to be respected and obeyed. It's worth a try.

This weekend is my husband and I's 6th wedding anniversary!! I can't believe that sometimes. I don't remember a time before I was married, or what is was like to refer to him as my "boyfriend", or to not have a boyfriend at all for that matter. Granted, the beginning of our marriage was mainly spent apart, thanks to the U.S. Army, it still seems like it's gone fast. We are planning to spend the whole day together, just the two of us. We are going to drive about an hour and a half north to walk around downtown, then go see "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and then come back to town and have an early dinner. Should be a nice, relaxing day. And Mason loves being at his babysitter's. And her kids love having him over. A good time for all.

So, after this week, don't be surprised if there's a lapse in the blog. I may have my hands full until I get some time management kinks worked out with my teaching. I'm sure I'll write a few before then, so not to fear! Just keep it in mind.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Last day of July...

and the last Monday before school starts. Kinda scary. In some ways, I'm ready. I've been ready for a year, to be back in my own class, running things how I want to, and teaching only English again. And I am ready to deal with the 8th graders (even the ginormously tall boys). I just feel a little uneasy about teaching two grade levels, planning two grade levels and the little things related to it. I still have 4 days of Inservices, so I'm sure I'll be bombarded with even more information than I would ever want or need. It's just that anxiety and nervousness and excitement and anticipation I feel before every school year begins. I'll feel better this time two weeks from now.

And two weeks from now, we will be two weeks away from moving. Crazy!! We've been packing a little each day. Sometimes it feels like we've already made a lot of progress, and then other times I look around at the full cabinets and the stuff on the desk and in the dresser drawers and the toys scattered about, and I feel overwhelmed. We have a lot of crap!! I know we still have 4 weeks and we'll have plenty of help when the day comes, it's just that this is our first move without the Army. Seriously. The past 6 years (and like 6 moves), the Army packed and moved us. We haven't needed to locate boxes or store the packed boxes or keep track of all the stuff left to pack. It's a nice feeling that we're not moving because of a deployment. We are volunteering to move. That's a really nice feeling. I just can't wait to be settled into our new place. I can't wait for Christmas time, where we can decorate our house with festiveness (not a word, I know), and just have that general feeling of warmth and the love of the Holidays. The little lights of the Christmas tree...the smell of Cinnamon and Pine...the bright colors of presents and decorations...Lighting the fireplace and cuddling around it...Having family over at our house for Christmas...Ahhhh...

On that pleasant and nostalgic and warm-fuzzy-feeling note, I am off to bed. I have a day of training, sitting at cafeteria tables in a high school to look forward to.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thinking inside the box

Mason is a climber, and he loves being in snug places, like the little kitchen cabinet next to the fridge and of course, my cart that I've been taking back and forth to my new classroom. He climbed in, sat down, and started reading a book. I smiled, laughed and took a picture. And this is the result. He's too darn cute...

It's funny, when you build something up in your head

I still seek my father's approval. I'm sure I always will. I'm a big girl, and I can make my own decisions, and I think I'm pretty responsible and make good choices, if I do say so myself. But, when it comes to the big ones, I want my daddy to agree that I did the right thing and that he's proud of me. And I know that some of his opinions don't gel with mine, so when that happens, I feel intimidated to share with him the decision or change. Silly? Maybe. But it'll be that way the rest of our relationship, I'm sure.

He wants us to buy a house and start accruing some equity and stuff. I agree, it would be nice to be making payments on our mortgage, not someone else's. And we had all intentions of buying in the next couple of months. In fact, we were pursuing a meeting with a loan officer that came recommended to us. He hadn't called us back, when we were told about the house for rent. We think that was a sign. Sometimes God's plans for you are a bit skewed from your own. When we decided we would indeed rent that house, I had this childlike fear in the back of my mind that my dad would not approve and I'd have to explain to him our choice to keep renting for awhile.

So, last night, I was returning his call, and it got to the "so, what have you guys been up to?" question, and I had to tell him. I spewed out all the features of the house and how the opportunity just fell into our lap and how we were certainly not soughting after renting anything else. And then I waited. I waited for the comment about how that wasn't the best choice, or how that money could be going towards a mortgage (where I'd have to argue that no, we couldn't afford the mortgage on the house we're renting), or that we should just be sitting still until we find a place to buy. But nothing like that happened. He said he was happy for us and proud and glad we're getting out of our current place. I was a little shocked, to be honest. I suppose I underestimated him. I know he's not some beast that I can't talk to or share my life's triumphs with, but I still feel like a child sometimes and that he needs to approve my every move.

So this was a victory. He was pleased and I didn't get any comments that made me feel guilty or that I had made a rash decision. It's funny when you build something up in your head, and then it's not that big of a deal.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Change is a good thing

First change in the Lionhead den: WE'RE MOVING!!!! Mason's babysitter's husband works with a guy (who also goes to our church) who was selling his house. I guess it's been on the market for 6 months, and he hasn't had any luck with it. So, he decided to put it up for rent. We got word of it, and went to check it out on Sunday. We pretty much fell in love with it right away. It's twice as big as our current place, it has a dishwasher (which I have been without for 2 years now!!), 3 bedrooms, a fenced (actually cement wall) yard, fireplace, security system, vertical blinds, a 2-car garage, porch swing, big storage, and it is squeaky clean for being 12 years old. It's sooo nice. At first, we weren't real sure about it, because it'll be about $300 more a month in rent. And although we're both about to start making more, it's still a little scary to jump into something like that. Plus, we've been in the same place for 2 years. Change scares me. A lot. But we prayed (a lot) and left it up to God. And you guessed it, we told the owner of the house yesterday that we'll take it. We move in on August 26!! Yes, that's a month away. And yes, school's starting in a week. But oh well. We are moving, and we are so excited about it!! We will be sure to give everyone we know our new address soon. And oh yeah, we're having a luau, when we're all moved in, and we want EVERYONE (well, everyone we actually know) to come!! It'll probably be in October or something. Yes, we know most people have luau's in the spring or summer, but too bad!! We're having a housewarming party, and it's gonna be a luau, and it's gonna be in the fall!! Anyone have a problem with that? No? Good!!

And the other change is the upcoming already known change: school starts in a week!! I had my first training today, on some 6 + 1 Trait Writing. I've already been trained and have been implementing the traits in my classrooms in the past, but you never stop learning. And I got to meet some fellow Language Arts teachers and get chummy with my principal. And they gave us breakfast and lunch! And we got paid! And we got training hours!! Can't beat that! Afterwards, I worked in my room for a couple of hours. I'm pretty much done, except for stacks of textbooks that I'm unsure what to do with, and a few odds and ends. Tomorrow we're continuing some more training. And then next week is filled with inservices, I'm sure. Monday I know is a new staff training at the district level. It's all day at the high school, listening to people from the board and district and blah blah blah and filling out paperwork. Fun. I just can't believe before I know it, the school year will be starting. But after all the trainings, I'm sure I'll be hyped up and ready to go. Today I learned a fellow 8th grade Language Arts teachers shows "Napoleon Dynamite" in her class, and discusses character and they do a writing activity on it. That's awesome!! Now, if only I could find a way to use "Billy Madison" or "Son-in-Law" in my class!!!

Oh yeah, and camp was over for me yesterday. It was bittersweet. Some kids I will for sure miss, because I never stopped laughing. Others, (like The Man and Angry Carrot), I am not too heartbroken about. I was sad to say goodbye to Sunshine (my fellow counselor), but I'm sure we'll see each other again, because Old Navy just opened, and we're both big fans!

It's weird that summer's over. It's gone by in the blink of an eye. I guess that's what happens when you leave one job and go to the next twice in 3 months.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mother Nature is so unpredictable


On Sunday we went over to our friends' house. It was a muggy, warm day. Mason and Riley had fun splashing in the baby pool (seen to the left), and had great fun going down a little slide that we had in the pool. It was cloudy, but no rain.

Today, it was hot and humid. Tonight, it rained like crazy and the lightning was frighteningly close to the highway, as I was driving home from work.

Guess you never know what Mother Nature's going to bring. She likes to keep you guessing...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Genius

I was watching Mason this morning, and I realized that he's a genius. He can do so many things he couldn't do before. He loves stacking things; taking things apart; putting things together; turning things on and off; he knows how to operate the remote for the tv and any clock radio or stereo or flashlight; he can feed himself with a spoon or fork (sort of); he can unscrew and screw on water bottle caps; he can brush his hair; he can climb couches, beds, chairs and babygates in a single bound; and he can say like 30 words. Now, I don't plan on starting to drill him with flashcards or making him listen to Mozart and Bach 24-7 or putting him in some specialized school or classes, but I await the day everyone will be amazed by his intelligence and talents. Until then, he will keep training...