Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!!

It's been a really nice weekend. Today, we went to church, which is always a pleasant experience. It's nice to be a part of a place that's so welcome and loving to us. Anyways, then we came home and relaxed. We all took a nap (which is rare and oh-so-fantastic), then watched "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" DVD. Then, because it's been such a nice day, we barbequed. One of my husband's friends sent him Filets from Omaha Steaks for his birthday, so we grilled those up. Pretty darn good. Now, our evening is winding down. The Fox Sunday shows are on, and we have some laundry to put away. It's cooled down outside and the sun will be setting soon. Goodnight to all.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

He's a big boy now!!

Well, the day finally came: My husband's BIG SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY. I had him questioning and trying to get me to give him hints about today. He knew something was up (because I had to tell him to be off work at noon, so he wouldn't plan a full day), but he didn't know what. I made him close his eyes on the drive to Peter Piper, and I drove in circles, funky and unnecessary turns and took the long way. He walked in and saw his family, my family, friends from work, and old friends. It was really nice. Mason was more interested in socializing (mainly with his babysitter) than eating pizza, but he still had a good time. The cake (seen to the left) was made by his mom and it was really cute. If you can't see, it's an airplane in the sky. The plane even has a pilot in a canopy, if you look closely. Real cute. We of course played Ski Ball and tried to make sure everyone knew we were glad they came. I was relieved when it was over, but I was glad it happened. I think my husband was pleasantly surprised, which was the goal. Now he's the big 3-0. Well, really not until Wednesday, but still...

I had bought a pinata to hang at the party, but Peter Piper doesn't allow things like that. Liabilities and the mess, I imagine. Anyhow, so it sat at the table as a decoration, and we took it home. Mason helped Daddy kick it and get the darned thing to bust (it took many tries and a hefty stomp on Dad's part to get it to finally open), so that was a good time.

We're all tired, so I think I'm done. My week was all right and I can't remember anything interesting at the moment. Less than 2 weeks 'till Disneyland. Am I ready? I guess as ready as you can be, taking other people's children to one of the Busiest Places On Earth.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. If you came to the party, thanks and we appreciated it. It's nice to be loved...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I would like to return my head...

I think mine's broken. I had a massive headache yesterday evening, but it went away. Today, right after being outside with all grade levels for practice for the music performance at the end of the year (4 more weeks of school!!!), I started seeing spots. I mean, dark, distracting spots as I was trying to read the Social Studies stuff with the 3rd graders. Then it turned into silver strands in my sight. Weird. Then, at the end of the school day, a headache arrived. Yippee. I actually considered calling my husband to come drive me home, because I was light-headed, still seeing spots and had a freight train headache at that point. I made it home (I'm only like 5 minutes away, thankfully), and tried to lay down and rest. Whenever I'd open my eyes, it felt like I was on the Teacups at Disneyland--everything was spinning. Now, 4 hours later, I still have a dull headache, but at least the dizziness has stopped. I don't know what's going on with me, but it's freaking irritating.

At least Friday I've been invited to dinner with a few girls from work--and Red Lobster no less!! God knows I could use a stress reliever...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Little R & R

Today has been pretty relaxing. It was a relief from last night. We watched "Saw" and it scared the Heebie Jeebies out of me. Granted, I'm a big wuss and a baby when it comes to scary movies (why do I watch them then, you ask? good question. I have now decided to ban them from my viewing), but it was creepy nontheless. If you've never seen it, and you get scared by creepy images and scary voices, don't watch it. So yeah, it caused me to have problems getting to sleep last night. I ended up watching "Coming to America" on Comedy Central at 1 in the morning, and my husband was gracious enough to join me. Nice hubby. :)

Today has been better. We went to church this morning and I took what my husband calls a NASA nap (about 20 mins.), before he went off to play softball with some guys from work, and I stayed home and entertained our munchkin. Oh yeah, and I put away laundry and vacuumed. And got my husband a last minute birthday surprise. (Shhh!! Don't tell!)

Now, the movie "Dick" is on in the background and Mason is struggling with taking a lid off a Tupperware container. I have more laundry to put away, so off I go.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sorry I'm so slow...

Yeah, I've been slacking off in the blog-writing department. Sorry about that. This past week has been crazy with a capital C. Let's see if I can remember what happened: Monday came and went without anything memorable.

Tuesday afterschool I had my follow-up interview at the middle school. He asked me a plethora of questions off this standard list. It was a little excrutiating, but I got through it. He seems to like me and wants to give me 7th grade English, but I have to work on totaling up "points" to be Highly Qualified. If you're not familiar, it's this ridiculous process, involving the verification that you are qualified to teach middle school or high school. You either have to have 24 credit hours in your subject area (English, for example), or you have to have enough training, experience, and involvement in focus groups that pertain to your subject area to be special enough to teach. It's grueling and pointless (well, it does have one point--when this is all said and done, they can only make me teach English--not P.E. or Science or anything else), but it is mandatory. So, I worked on that, and mailed it to the principal yesterday. We'll see what happens next.

Wednesday was the 3rd grade field trip to the big zoo in the big city that's about 2 hours driving distance from the school (hence the picture of the ginormous tortoise). What a trip. I went into it excited and looking forward to getting out of the building for the day. Among the interesting events (without taking an hour to retell), were: the bus was almost an hour late to pick us up, we were 4 seats short on the bus so the 3rd grade teacher had to drive down in the principal's Expedition with 4 students, a student was wandering around by himself without his group, a parent volunteer (the one who supposed to be in charge of the wanndering student) got pissy with me because I wasn't extra friendly to her after telling her I had the student that was supposed to be with her, and we arrived an hour late back to the school (after 6pm). Needless to say, I was tired, sunburnt and filthy from being around wild animals and wild children all day.

Thursday was a typical Thursday. My Secret Squirrel (like Secret Santa, but we switch out every grading period, all year long) has been good to me lately, and gave me a Starbucks giftcard. I used it on Thursday, and got a Black Raspberry Green Tea Frappucino, which sounds weird and gross, but is actually really good. I highly recommend it.

Friday was our Earth Day celebration at school. Another very, very tiring day. It started with my 6th graders giving and sharing books they made for 2nd graders about cleaning up Earth. It was so cute and I was so proud. I love those kind of moments...I organized a presentation with a local recycling company (through my Learn and Serve position), for all the kids to attend. That actually went down without a hitch. The guy was informative and really good with the kids. I learned the average 4 person family uses about 17 trees a year in paper products. That's crazy and a bit sad. Later was a huge inflatable slide and jumping castle, I guess just as a "celebration" kind of thing. Nothing to do with Earth Day, but oh well. The kids had a good time. Later, was a Potluck lunch. SO MUCH FOOD. I grazed in the 3rd grade room (nachos with homemade guacamole, jasmine rice--sweet rice nestled in a real pineapple that is to die for and a brownie), before eating my actual lunch in the 6th grade (fried chicken, mac and cheese, potatoes and cheese, ham and cheese on a croissant and mudd pie for dessert). Oh my God, I gorged myself. Later that night, we went to ANOTHER POTLUCK at church. It was Mexican, and again, I ate more than I should have. Oh well. Life's short and I like food.

Today we went to Target and Payless and Petsmart. And guess what??? We're getting an Old Navy!! Yippee!! This is good news and bad news. My husband just hopes it doesn't open until I start teaching in the fall, or we might be homeless and living in a van down by the river. But hey, we'll have cute clothes!!

Tomorrow will be church in the morning and a softball game that my husband's playing in, in the afternoon. Nice day.

Monday is a Teacher InService Day. I don't count days like that as work, since we're just sitting in a training for 3 hours.

So, that's it, in a nutshell--or tortoise shell, as the case may be. Don't you feel informed now. I hope it made up for my slackerness this week. It's dinnertime, so hasta la bye bye.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hippity Hoppity

The Easter Bunny was good to us. Mason got a basketball, book and bubbles (all "B" words...weird...) from Nana and Papa, which were a hit--especially the basketball. He kept throwing it at their dog and laughing his diapered booty off. He got a big stuffed bunny, Little People Easter toys and a puzzle from us. My parents got me a little bunny decoration and my husband an M&M mug and candies. We ate the yummy monkey bread this morning, after going to church service. Not long after that, we headed home--or tried to. Normally, it takes between an hour and a half to two hours, and today it took 4! There were 3 auto accidents and a lot of traffic. At least Mason slept most of the way. We were thankful for that. It was a good weekend. Now I need to go put my munchkin to bed, and I will soon follow. Have a good week.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter Eve!!

Here I am, at my parents' house. We came down yesterday afternoon for a weekend visit. It's gone pretty well. Today, we went to this new park nearby. Mason loved it. They had baby swings and a slide and all sorts of things. He especially liked watching the kids biking and skateboarding and calling the ducks in the pond "puppy". Later, my sister and two kids came over to the house and we had a cookout. It was nice to see them. It was my niece's birthday, her 13th, to be exact. Can't believe how fast they're growing. My nephew's 16, and taller than me. We were talking today, how I took him trick-or-treating for his first Halloween, when he was not yet 2. He was a cow and he was so cute. I walked him around the neighborhood and he said he was a "steer bull cow". Kinda hard to be all three, but that's okay. Anyways, that doesn't seem like it was 14 years ago. Time flies...

Anyway, tomorrow we plan to get up and go to Easter Service at my parents' church, with my aunt (the one currently living with them), and then come home for my mom's monkey bread (if you're not familiar you're missing out--it's this thing made from biscuit dough and lots of cinnamon and sugar and lots of calories and fat and I don't care because it's oh-so-tasty). Should be a nice morning. Then, later in the day, we'll head home.

Oh yeah, my interview on Thursday for the middle school went well. The principal seemed to really like me, which was a plus. If I get the job, I'll be teaching 7th grade English (right up my alley), in 90-minute blocks. So, I'd only have 3 groups of kids. That's not too many papers to grade. That's definitely a good thing. I have a follow-up interview on Tuesday, at the school. I guess that will be more the specifics and stuff. I really hope I get to sign a contract and have a job ready to go. We'll see. Wish me luck.

Well, it's been a long day and I'm pooped. (Speaking of which, Mason pooped 3 times today!! I guess it was from all the food Nana and Papa kept feeding him!) Nighty Night. And Happy Easter. Hope the Easter Bunny leaves you nice things in your basket.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Quick and Painless

It's morning on a weekday, which means my time is limited. But I do have a few spare moments this morning, because Mason rose a little earlier than his recent norm. So, this is going to be quick but informative. Here goes:

Breakfast with my family on Sunday was nice. Mason got to run around all over the RV lot, which exhausted him to the point of a 3 hour nap not long after.

This week at work has been typical. I'm done with testing, so things are back to normal and nothing real exciting to report (but the week's not over!).

I had an interview for a summer job at the YMCA. It went well, and I just might be employed after the school year. It will involve a lot of physical activity and playing in the sun with a bunch of schoolage kids. That would be good for me. I'd get to go to the pool, the park, the movies not to mention just doing silly things with kids. Could be fun.

I have an interview tomorrow morning for next school year, with a middle school in this district. I'm excited, but nervous. I guess having 2 interviews in the same week can do that to you. I shall let you know how that goes. I'd love to have a job lined up before this school year's even over.

Now I need to get ready and get my rugrat ready. Ta ta.

P.S. I go to Disneyland with the 6th graders in less than a month!! Yikes!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I'm tired

I don't want to write much, because it's been a long day. But, I thought I'd share that it went okay. Started out with Mason and I meeting up with my family at the RV place and just visiting for a bit. It wasn't too awkward to see my aunt, because she's real laid back and has a quirky sense of humor. Guess it runs in the family, eh? Then, my husband joined us after work and we visited some more, as Mason tried with much determination (but not much success) to get to the motorhome stairs and climb out. Everyone got a kick out of him, as always. We came home for a bit, so the folks could rest. Before long, we were back, assuming we would soon head out to eat dinner. Well, it was almost an hour before we loaded up. I had suggested this hole-in-the-wall restaurant right outside of town, which I've heard rave reviews of their steak. Bad idea. An hour or longer wait. No thank you. We had a toddler that was already past his dinnertime. We headed back to town to another popular place. Not much of a wait to get seated, but we waited forever and a day for our food, and it was just average. Very disappointing. Mason did a lot of screaming--screaming for food, screaming that he didn't want the food offered, screaming for his cup (he had thrown on the floor 10 times, mind you), screaming because he was tired, screaming for whatever other reason he damn well felt like. It was frustrating, but not his fault. I have him on a schedule that's pretty predictable. Most of today was not at all predictable. The poor guy was confused, hungry and tired. Anyways, it ended up all right. He collapsed as soon as we got home. I didn't really get to visit with my brother during dinner, because he was at the other side of the table, but we are planning on meeting them in the morning for breakfast. Maybe I'll get to talk to him then. If we keep Mason on his schedule.

P.S. Sorry, I said I wouldn't write much and it turned out to be long. Oh well.

I hate waiting

My parents (and brother and aunt and nephew) are headed up here for a visit. They're supposed to be here sometime between 12 and 1, and it's 12:51. I don't know why I'm anxious. Maybe because Mason's napping so I'm bored. And maybe it's because I haven't seen my aunt in like 15 years. She came out for a visit when I was in middle school and that's the last time I saw her. She has recently moved in with my parents, until she can find her own place, somewhere near them. It's just weird. I don't know why, but I find it awkward to introduce people to Mason or my husband for the first time, if they're people I've known and they've just not seen me in years (or decades). Case in point: there were people at our wedding that I hadn't seen since elementary school, so I was a little nervous seeing them anyways. In their heads, I'm still that skinny runt that practically lived in our swimming pool all summer and looked a little boyish. Now, I've not only grown into my body (and then some. I wish I could give some of it away, believe me), but I'm older and doing grown up things. The last time I saw my aunt, I wore eyeglasses that had one really thick lense (I have one crappy eye) and was a meek 7th grader. Ahh, how times have changed. Now, I'm married, long since moved out of my parents' house and have a child of my own. It's just a strange thing.

Anyhoo, whenever they arrive, I'm meeting them at the RV hookup area a few miles away. It'll be nice to see everyone, but a little odd. Then again, any time there's a visit with my parents, it's odd to some degree. That's just the cards I was dealt. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At least I'm over the hump...

This week has been exhausting. This testing thing is very taxing on special ed teachers. There's A LOT of reading and a hell of a lot of repeating. But hey, at least the kids get it read and repeated, or they wouldn't get but just a few right. Anyways, tomorrow is the last day of testing. I'll be glad when it's over and we go back to regular schedule. There are a lot of make-ups to do, with all the sickling kids that were out (or the kids that fake it, thinking they won't have to take it at all. little do they know that they'll have to take it when everyone else is done), but I don't think I have to help with that. Or at least I don't think so.

Have I mentioned lately that I am so glad I won't be returning next year? They made a tentative plan for teaching assignments next year, and there's a building full of disgruntled educators. Now, of course nothing it's not in stone (or should even be written in anything but sand), so they might be reassigned a few times before next school year starts (hell, my job was changed 4 times before I started!!). I'm just glad I won't be around to watch the tornado hit. Although drama is always entertaining, if you're just a spectator.

I've volunteered to help out at the Book Fair tomorrow night. The theme is "Read in Your PJ's", so guess what? I'm wearing flannel pants and a comfy shirt. They'll be prizes given away and guests that will read to the kids. Should be fun. I'll probably walk away with a couple of things, as I always do at book fairs. I figure, a child (or teacher) can never have enough books. It's better than spending money on gum, right?

I have an interview Monday for a job at a summer camp. I hope that I get it, because it's my only prospect right now. And I already know the in's and out's of working with kids of all ages. And maybe I'd get a tan, playing outside.

Well, a re-run of CSI is on that I've never seen, and the results show for American Idol will be on soon (go Chris!!), so I am going.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Testing, testing, 1,2,3...

So I survived Day One of the insanity that is also often referred to as state testing. I woke up this morning nervous and filled with anxiety over the whole thing. I've administered tests like this before, but to a class of kids that are in the same grade and are all taking the same test. This year is different. And crazy. I get to work this morning, and spend the first half hour or so trying to track down the lead from special ed to see what the plan was (I left work Friday with a slight inkling of my responsibilities and which kids I would be testing). She wasn't even sure. We made some room rearrangements, group changes and got settled right about 10 minutes before testing started. Once I had my groups situated and I started reading the cheesy oral directions, I thought all was right as rain. But I underestimated the capabilties of a certain student. He has a very generic IEP (a specific education plan that is written for every child in special ed), but basicially he's considered special ed because of being distracted and having minor behavior issues. Problem is, he feeds on attention. But, it's a Catch-22, because you don't want to ignore him. And this is serious testing, so I couldn't exactly give him any slack. Soooooo, that leads me to the incident. It wasn't anything serious or even close to his highest level of a behavior problem he's capable of, but it still was a problem. It started with him writing 2 sentences for the writing portion. Two sentences. He's in 6th grade. And he has written page-long stories for me in the past, so I know he can do it. So, we battle over that. He eventually writes 2 paragraphs. Later, he decides he wants water 2 minutes after we returned from a water and bathroom break (where had drank enough water to get him through the last hour of testing remaining), so I say no. He gets whiny. Then he wants to sharpen his pencil, even though it doesn't need to be sharpened. Then, he starts doodling all over his booklet, instead of writing. He's asking stupid questions and generally being distracting to the others in the room. The school knows that mom is Super Responsive Mom and that she wants to know his every move, especially if it's the wrong move. So, I threaten that we're gonna go call mom. He doesn't seem to take me seriously. He acts up again, and again I warn him that mom's getting called. He screws around again. So, I hop up and tell him to come with me. "Where are we going?" he asks, as if he doesn't know. "To call your mom," I say, calmly. He suddenly grabs his pencil and starts writing. "I'm working!" he yells, bothering the entire room. I have him follow me out and off we go to the office. He dials mom's number, but then just sits there with the receiver away from his ear. "What do I tell her?" he asks. I eventually get on the phone and inform her of his actions. She quickly states that she's at home and will be there in a minute. I explain the scenario to the vice principal and I go back to my group. Later, after the test is over, I am walking by the office, and I hear mom in there with her son, ripping him a new one. Yikes. She was royally pissed. And I guess the policy (in the teacher's test booklet) states that if a student is disruptive or a behavior problem during the test, they are to stop the test and not be allowed to continue that section. So, he'll only get a partial score for his essay, since he only wrote half of it. It's fair that he can't finish, but unfair that his score will diminish his teacher's class average. I guess we can't all win. Anyways, the end of the story is that he will be testing with another aide for the rest of the week. He needs to babysat, I guess. Fine with me. He's out of my hair. So, the rest of my week should go a lot smoother now. At least I hope so.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"And it's easy, easy like Sunday morning..."

Well, it's no longer Sunday morning, but I couldn't think of any other title for today's blog. Anyways, the weekend's almost over. It's beautiful outside. It actually feels like spring. Did I spend any time outside though? Not really. We went to church this morning, then hung out and watched tv while Mason took his nap. Then later, I met up with a girl from work and her two sons. She's got one that's 3 and one that's in the 6th grade class. We talked some, but with three kids between us, we spent a lot of the time mediating, problem solving and keeping things at a calm level. We let the kids play in the play area at the mall, which was nice. But, Mason likes to escape and he likes to push his stroller down the mall, like he's going somewhere important. It can be a little tiring. But it was still a nice time.

Tomorrow starts the state tests at school. It's a little stressful. I'm with special ed for it, so there's a lot of multi-tasking, since I'll have 3 different groups at three different grade levels taking 3 different tests, all at the same time. Should be interesting. One group gets the ENTIRE test read to them. One group gets extra time and extra explanation. Another group is just monitored closely and kept on task. How do I do all this at once, you ask? Good question. I have no idea. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Well, Mason's getting into the kitchen cabinets (which are semi-childproof, but not Masonproof, I guess), so I must go. Have a good week to all.