Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So, this is what it feels like to be a Stay-At-Home Mom

Okay, I've technically only been doing it for two days now (since I would have had Monday off anyway), but it's kinda strange to be home with Mason on a weekday. And to know that I'll be home with him everyday for the next 2 months. It's nice but still foreign to me.

Here's how today went:

6:45 Wake up, hearing "Mawwwwwmmmmeeeee" (which is normal for any morning)

6:50 Put Mason on the potty and entertain him so he will stay on there. And yeah!! He pees!! It gets on the potty seat, but who cares? He peed!!

7:00 Put on Veggietales "The Ballad of Little Joe" (just got it yesterday), and Mason sits down on the couch with a Poptart and a sippy cup of water.

7:40 I plop down on the floor and play Potatoheads with Mason. He eventually ran off with the Darth Vader and Stormtroopers ones, and they "fought" on the ottoman.

8:00 Make pictures for Daddy and Ms. Cindy. Mason first drew with crayon (green is his favorite), then put stickers all over the construction paper (puffy dinosaurs for Daddy and Veggietales for Ms. Cindy)

8:15 Went outside for some fresh air. We dug in the dirt, drew with sidewalk chalk and played ball.

8:35 Came back in and Mason sat on the potty. Nothing happened, but that's okay.

9:00 Headed over to Ms. Cindy's to meet her and go to the movies at Harkins (for their weekly Summer Movie Fun)

9:45 Watched "Curious George with loads of other parents and their children.

11:30 Headed home. Mason sat on the potty.

12:00 Mason took a nap. After putting away the dishes, I read The Giver for awhile and also drifted off on the couch.

1:30 Mason woke me with his traditional "Maaawwwwmeee" call. He was yet again put on the potty.

1:45 Mason played throughout the house and I checked my email and made a shopping list.

3:00 Went to a secondhand children's store to take in a pair of Mason's shoes (never worn, but I bought them awhile ago, and now I realize that his Flintstone feet are too fat for them!), and go to Safeway. I have a Frappucino and get some groceries.

3:45 Arrive home, with a new Weeble toy for Mason (from the secondhand store). He plays joyfully with it, as I put away groceries and get online.

4:21 And here we are. Daddy should be home soon. It's hard to believe I get to have days like this everyday for about 8 or 9 weeks. It's great to be home with Mason, but I definitely see emotional obstacles ahead. I guess we'll face them as they come, right? For now, I am enjoying staying at home.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

If someone could interview my 2 year old...

Thought just for fun, I'd let you all have a peek into the life of my 2 year old monkey mover, Mason. Here's how the interview would go:

(The interview would of course need to be held in front of a Veggietales movie and Mason is given unlimited popcorn and juice to keep him happy)

INTERVIEWER: Mason, how old are you?

MASON: Two!!

INTERVIEWER: What number comes after 2?

MASON: Four Five!!

INTERVIEWER: Interesting. So, what did you do today?

MASON: Coloring, outside, good nap, eat cheese, watch Veggietales movie.

INTERVIEWER: Wow! What a day you've had! What you like to elaborate--
(interview is interrupted by Mason belting out the Veggietales theme song, as the video begins)

MASON: Bob! Larry!!

INTERVIEWER: Indeed. Tell me, Mason, what is your favorite Veggietales movie?

(Mason ponders this a moment...or maybe he just can't take his eyes off his movie)
MASON: LarryBoy!! Moe Eccik (Moe and the Big Exit), Bean (Lord of the Beans), Josh (Josh and the Big Wall), Bunny (Rack, Shack and Benny), Guinea (Gideon), Easter (An Easter Carol), Sheerluck (Sheerluck Holmes)

INTERVIEWER: I guess you can't pick just one. That's fair. Would you say you are a Veggietales conneiseur?

MASON: I like Veggietales all day.

INTERVIEWER: I'll take that as a yes.
(before the interviewer is able to ask any more questions, Mason has hopped off the couch with a mouthful of popcorn and his juice cup in hand and goes off to play with his farm animals)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Take time to remember

Today is Memorial Day. Please don't just spend it barbecuing and drinking beer. Remember why we have Memorial Day. It's important to always keep in mind how we got where we are and how thankful we should be that we are free. For a touching Memorial Day blog, please take a look at Bluebird's Page:

God Bless, and thank you to all the veterans and soldiers that have lost their lives to fight for us and protect us over the years. You will never be forgotten.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Was it really the LAST FRIDAY?!?

Yes, I think it was. And what a crazy day it turned out to be. Well, I guess it wasn't that much out of the norm for any last day of school, but it still felt like a whirlwind.

The morning started out as a mad dash to get some end of the year paperwork completed. Then I had my 7th graders for 2 periods (which was 1 hour total, since it was Early Release). We watched most of "Finding Nemo" and they just socialized and signed yearbooks and wandered from my room to other rooms and back to my room. Later, I had 8th graders and it was supposed to be my normal 3/4 kids, but kids came in and out and it wasn't really mandatory that they stayed in their assigned room, as long as they checked in with their teacher and were with one of their teachers. I had kids popping in and out all day. They said hi to their friends, they came by and said goobye to me and there were a lot of tears from some of the girls as they said farewell to each other, especially Klutz girl (she was known to trip and fall or hurt herself on a daily basis). Man, she didn't stop crying. I understand that finished 8th grade can be emotional and bittersweet, but most of them will see each other over the summer or chat on myspace anyways! And 95% of them will be in the same school next year! I felt bad for Klutz girl to some degree, but it just got out of control, as she sobbed incessantly as the students were getting in their buslines after school. And she continued to cry at the dance last night.

The dance was fun. It was like a mini Prom. Some schools even treat it as such and kids get limos and go all out. None of our kids showed up in anything but their parents' car, but you could tell some of the girls spent all afternoon getting ready. The Commons Area was decorated with a Hollywood Nights theme and the PTSO went all out. The walls were covered with stars and a wall decoration that looked like paparazzi and you kind of forgot you were in the cafeteria and where kids sit to wait for the bus. I dragged my hubby along under the terms that other hubbies would be there. Turns out there really weren't. The assistant principal's husband was there, but he mainly hid out in her office. Some of the kids got quite a kick out of the fact that Mr. Lionhead was there. In fact, at one point, 3 of my boys approached us and one of them asked if that was my hubby. I said yes, and introduced them. And they all shook his hand. That was cute. I was just entertained by the whole thing. I love watching my kids attempt to interact with the opposite sex. And at the end, two of my students hooked up and surprisingly, that made me smile. They are both good kids that deserve each other. She's a silly, skinny girl with a quirky sense of humor and he's a genuis level bookworm that gets along with everyone. I told her that she should be with him, because he doesn't run away when she laughs at everything. It was really endearing.

Then the goodbyes came and it took forever and a day. The lights were coming on gradually, and that didn't seem to deter groups of teary, hugging teenagers. There were kids hugging that didn't even know each other. Oh, for Pete's sake! I mean, it's nice that they were being nice to each other, but come on. No one's dying and you'll all see each other in August!! Ah well, that's middle school, right?

And I've signed a contract to do it all over again next year...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The last Thursday

Today felt like the last day of school. We still have a half day tomorrow, but most of the 8th graders look at the last day as "8th grade Ditch Day", so they won't be here. Which meant today was alotted for crying, a mad dash to get yearbook signature, more tears, hugs, pictures, sentimental words and more sobs. I had kids come by my room and give me hugs and want their picture with me. That made me smile. It's nice to feel that you'll be missed and remembered.

We didn't do much besides the 8th grade awards ceremony this morning, play outside and watch movies. Sure felt like this was the last day.

Now I just need to get through the REAL last day...

The last Wednesday

Yesterday was a lot of fun. The waterpark was a lot more eventful than I had imagined. Just to briefly name a few events: 1 of the severe sped kids pulled down his swimtrunks in front of God and everybody when told to change (instead of going to the changing room), I accidentally put my metal deckchair down on the Resource teacher's toe (serious ouchie! luckily all she ended up was a scrape on the top of her toe), right after three of us teachers went down one of the slides a girl from another school apparently had her "womanly cycle" and it flowed down the waterslide, one student was brilliant enough to wear his eyeglasses in the wavepool and lost them, and after we returned to the school at 5:15 p.m. we waited until SEVEN P.M. for one parent to show up.

That was the trip in a nutshell. I only got sunburnt on the part of my back that I couldn't reach, which ended up looking like red angel wings (kinda cool, actually), and I didn't get dehydrated.

And I got to know some of the other teachers on a more personal level, which was delightful.

And oh yeah, I think the 8th graders enjoyed themselves. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The last Tuesday

Things went rather smoothly today. Apparently Hormone Boy got suspended for the rest of the week (aka rest of the school year), for screwing around with one of the school's walkie-talkies. And I heard that he didn't even do it, but he got blamed for it. I don't know. It's just kinda sad that he couldn't make it to the end of the year. And one of my other boys got suspended for giving another teacher a hard time when she was talking to him about dress code (his shirts are always down to his knees and his pants sag so bad he looks like a penguin). In the long run, it doesn't really matter, as most of the 8th graders weren't planning on coming the rest of the week anyways.

Now, it's off to the waterpark tomorrow!! I will write again tomorrow night, as long as I am not burnt to a crisp!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The last Monday

Well, I wouldn't exactly call paper airplanes a mistake per se, but it was a bit too chaotic. The kids were so darned excited to be allowed to make and throw airplanes in the class that they started throwing them within seconds of me passing out the paper. And they kept flying until I called it quits. We did, however, manage to have a contest for furthest distance and most creative. I had one student make a boomerang and another make a chicken out of paper. Pretty fun to watch what kids can make with one piece of computer paper.

Then, they worked on a mega Last Week of School word search I made last night on a whim. I'm glad I did. I had to stop the airplane flying by the first half of each block, so I was glad I had the word search to keep them busy.

This was the last Monday of the school year. Weird.

And tonight's the season finale of 24.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This time next week...

I will be a happy girl. I plan on speeding up this next week as much as I can...wait, what? I don't have that power? Well, I'll just try to make the best of it then. Here's the tentative agenda for the last week of school:

Monday-making paper airplanes and then giving candy to winners (Most Creative, Prettiest and obviously, the Furthest Flight). Not at all related to Language Arts, but it keeps their hands and minds busy.

Tuesday-7th graders are doing an activity about if their lives were made into a museum, and doing a Roundtable Activity (sitting in groups and listing as many as nouns, verbs, etc. they can think of). 8th graders will be watching "Akeelah and the Bee" (which they saw earlier in the year)

Wednesday-going to the waterpark with the 8th graders. ALL DAY. I plan to lather myself in Mason's sunscreen and relax. The 7th graders will be watching "Akeelah and the Bee" while I'm away. Easy for the sub.

Thursday-taking my 7th graders down to the auditorium to watch the 8th grade awards. Later, I think the 8th graders will be outside playing field games.

Friday-Early Release and LAST DAY!! Don't really have a plan. Maybe just playing Heads Up 7 Up and maybe eating snacks. That night is the BIG 8th GRADE DANCE. I'm dragging my hubby along so we can make a date out of it. I'm looking forward to it. Not sure how much my hubby wants to be dancing and hanging out with 13 year olds, but I'm thinking he'll still enjoy himself. It'll be like Prom but without the are-we-dating-or-just-friends awkwardness. :)

Here's to hoping you all have a good week too.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Almost done

Today was the Yearbook Dance at school. It meant that the kids were out of class at 1:30 and then basically had 2 hours to run around in the gym and Commons area to get their yearbooks signed. It was a tad bit crazy.

I don't miss my middle school years. I was an awkward, nervous, self-conscious girl who hadn't found herself and let her friends treat her like a doormat. And the end of the school year meant yearbooks, and it meant the nerve-racking event of trying to approach boys that I liked and try to get them to sign my yearbook. I wasn't at all aggressive or even assertive, so it was a very anxiety-driven process. I would make my friends ask them, or I'd make many failed attempts at walking up to them on my own. Oh, those are days that I am glad have passed.

So, now as a middle school teacher, I get to sit back and observe the hormonal and confused teens as they suffer through the antics of yearbook time. For some, it's a badge of popularity--they get as many people as they can to sign their yearbook. For others, they make a point to save a full page for each of their friends and then MAYBE ask other underlings to sign in some miniscule spot. And then there's those that have 2 or 3 people sign it and then put it away. I suppose that's more meaningful and you have a higher probablity that you'll remember those 2 or 3 people after middle school. I flipped through my 8th grade yearbook the other day (And by the way, there was a current events page, and the favorite singer was MC Hammer and the Gulf War was currently making history!! Yikes, I feel old!!), and it just made me shake my head and laugh. I don't recall 99% of the signatures in that book (except one whom I am still friends with!!), and I don't really care. It's just funny how people sign your yearbook with, "Let's hang out over the summer!" or "Keep it touch!" or "Call me at..." and none of it matters even a year later. Just a weird thing that doesn't seem to change after generations.

It just made me more glad that I was the teacher today and not the student. It's far more fun to be the observer than the participant.

And it was a dance too, so that's always fun to watch. A couple of girls got in a fight (over who knows what), and apparently a group of Mexican boys wanted to beat each other up as the dance was ending, so that's interesting. I tell ya, the natives are restless and they are ready to be out of the confines of the school. And so am I.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thanks for the inspiration, Mrs. Bluebird!

I saw a ticker like this one on my dear friend, Mrs. Bluebird's site, and I thought I'd join her in the Vacation Revolution!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. If you're a mother, God Bless you and you are appreciated, even if you don't always think so. And if you're not a mother, be sure to call yours and tell her you love her.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hurry up and wait

I hate waiting. I've never been very patient with it. It doesn't matter if it's waiting for presents on Christmas morning or waiting on the mailperson to deliver the mail or waiting to get pregnant (which I am currently doing).

But visiting the doctor is the worst. I've been struggling yet again with a sinusy issue and decided that it was time to go see the doc. I don't like any part of the procedure that entails seeing the doctor. I hate finding the time to call. I hate being put on hold by the receptionist. I hate telling the receptionist what's wrong with me, and feeling like I have to measure up to her standards on whether or not I'm worthy to make an appointment, more or less get one for the same day. I hate sitting in the waiting room. You sit there, among other sick people and hope you don't also catch what they have. Today, there was a cranky two year old whose mother looked just about defeated with his sickness (I heard wheezing and coughing). There was also a few other people that came and went (that's another part I hate--waiting longer than other people!!). Then they call your name at the front desk and you think, "Bingo! I've won! It's my turn!" and then all they ask is if your information is all current. Grrr. So I waited another 20 minutes or so and then finally, the magical door between the waiting room and the exam rooms opened and a nurse called my name. Then you are put in a small room and asked AGAIN what you're there for. What was the point in telling the receptionist? Then they leave and you wait some more. And I really hate waiting in there. You're just sitting there, on an exam table, listening to doors open and shut and the chatter of nurses and doctors and sometimes I wonder if they're all just standing out there giggling to themselves, "Let's see how long this one will wait." Or maybe I'm on some sort of hidden camera show and someone's going to pop out and say, "You just got punk'd" or something. But nope. It's just the cruewl process of being seen by a doctor. Which I didn't even get to do. I saw a NP (nurse practioner), which I know is valid and trained, but I just feel a little cheated. So, she examined me, asked me the basic questions and told me I had Sinusitis--which I've had before. I think it's a made-up name. Sinusitis just sounds fake--like what you tell your boss you have when you are calling in to tell her that you're, "cough, cough" sick. Then, the NP writes me 3 prescriptions and sends me on my way. Just like that. I probably saw her for 5 minutes tops. And I still have to wait some more, to stand in line at the payment desk to pay my $15 copay!! And here's the best part--I HAVE TO WAIT SOME MORE AT WALGREENS!!! And to pay $80 for 3 prescriptions!! And that's with insurance covering 90%!! Good gracious.

And that was my day.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pleasant Surprise

After the incident with Hormone Boy, I was really dreading my 7th/8th period yesterday. I was expecting him to march into class and whine and disrupt the class by wanting to discuss why he was sent down to the office and how outrageous it was that he had to carry all those journals to the crate. But I was happy to realize that he wasn't in class. I was just hoping he wasn't ditching. Soon after class started, Mrs. Vice Principal gave me a ring and asked if my class was quieter than normal, to which I replied with a laugh, "why, yes it is." She said that I would be relieved of Hormone Boy for the rest of the week, as he visited the administration office during my class. Fine with me. Things went much smoother yesterday. Not to say the class acted like angels, but there wasn't any arguing or confrontation. In fact, when we were finished with journals yesterday, I said, "Now, it's time to pass them up, and if it isn't too much to ask, could the front of each row put them away?" to which the class laughed. They knew how ridiculous it had been for Hormone Boy to put up such a fuss.

And today I noticed on the absent list (that comes out 3rd period), that Hormone Boy was Home Suspended. Which means 1 of 2 things: he either acted up while in the office yesterday or got his butt in trouble for something else. Who knows. And sad to say, who cares. I mean, I care about Hormone Boy and really wish he would work to his potential. And I feel for his mom, as she is raising 4 boys (with only about a 6 or 7 year span total between them) alone. It's just that I want to get through the last few weeks of school without wanting to strangle a student. Is that too much to ask?

Oh yeah, and we had an Early Release today, for teacher training. Yeah!! The day just zooms by on shorter days. And the Inservice was vertical training (department level) and we got out about an hour early. Hallelujah. Thank God for the weekend.

3 more weeks to go...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What a letdown

Issue #1 today:
I have a 7th grade student I'll call N'awlins Boy (as in New Orleans--his family were victims of Hurricane Katrina), because that's where he's from. He has a sweet disposition and a very thick New Orleans accent. Anywho, he started out the year an average student: he came to class and did his work. However, as the year progressed, he slowly stopped doing both of those things. Eventually, he was in class maybe once a week. We found out he was outsmarting the system. Apparently if a student is out more than 9 days in a row and they are unexcused, then he is automatically withdrawn. So, he'd be out 9 days exactly. And then he'd come back for a day or two. Then he'd be out again. And when he came to class, I felt like I was always playing Catch-Up with him. It got to the point where I just didn't bother telling N'awlins Boy what he missed, because I knew he wouldn't be at school long enough to retain it or actually turn any work in. I guess the attendance issue got so bad that his parents got a letter warning them of the danger of them getting in trouble for not bringing him to school. Well, then he started coming. And I've seen him in class probably 8 out of the last 10 days. He wasn't getting a lot done, but at least he was sitting in a desk and perhaps absorbing a thing or two. But unfortunately, his nonchalant attitude had started rubbing off another one of my boys and together they didn't get much accomplished, besides chatting across the room to each other. Yesterday, I warned my entire class (about 10 minutes before the bell), that if they didn't have their vocabulary assignment finished, they would be coming in at lunch to finish it, because I had given them plenty of time. Quite a few students kicked it into gear and got it done just in time. N'awlins Boy, however, continued to work at a snail's pace. So, I handed him a Lunch Detention and guess what? He didn't show. So, today, I told him that he now had 2 Lunch Detentions (today and tomorrow) and if he didn't show, it would end up being ASD. Well, guess what? He didn't show. AGAIN. So I wrote him an ASD and as protocol, called home. As I am beginning to explain to Mom why he was written up, she stops me and says, "It doesn't really matter, because I am disenrolling him at this moment. I'm putting him in private school." Okay. That's weird. N'awlins Boy did stop by my class later today to get his final grade and he didn't say much. I asked why he was switching schools, but he said he didn't want to talk about it. If it's because they think he won't get harassed about not coming to school somewhere else, they are in for a big surprise. It's just sad, because he has potential. But if no one at home finds it important to be in school, then he doesn't have much of a chance.

Issue #2:
My day went pretty well (excluding Issue #1), and even my last block was being pretty good (partially because I was short like 10 kids, because of a few being sick and it was a track meet). Except for when it was time to pass up journals. In my class, we do journals everyday, and instead of 30 kids bringing journals back up to the crate in the front of the room, I have the person in the front of the row take them up. It works better and it's organized. No one has really complained about it. I switch the seating chart around enough, that no one is in the front for very long. And they've only had their current seats for about two weeks. Well, Hormone Boy sits in the front of one of the rows. And today, he decides he doesn't want to take up the journals. He tosses them on the floor and just sits there. I ask him what the deal is, and he responds with something along the lines that he doesn't think he should have to take anyone else's journal up. And that he didn't ask to be put in the front. I tell him I don't care if he wants to be in the front, and that it is his responsibility. He says (get this--this just kills me!) that he's going to go home and tell his mom that he doesn't think he should be responsible for anyone else's stuff. So what? I hope he tells his mom, and I hope she laughs. We're in this class as a team and we all have to help each other out once in awhile. I tell him that others put his journal away before and he says he doesn't care. It slowly escalates to a bigger deal, to which he eventually tosses the journals into the crate with defiance, and I send him to the office. To which he sits there for the remainder of the period, and no one talks to him. He just sat there and then headed off to go home when the last bell rang. I talked to the vice principal after school and she said that suspending him wouldn't help (because he wants to be home alone) and nothing else works. Okay, but what about the fact that he's distracting the learning of the other students and he's disrespectful to me constantly and he's refusing to do what he's asked to do?? I don't know what's going to happen, but I really don't want to spend the next 3 1/2 weeks with him and I in a battle. I've heard that his 2 older brothers that attended our school never made it to the last day of school, because they ended up suspended the last week. I guess Hormone Boy just wants to follow in their footsteps. I wish some of my students had better role models...