Saturday, August 30, 2008

first day of school

Yay! We survived our first week of school. I know you have been anxiously waiting for first day pictures. I'll just have to warn you, the cuteness factor of these children is completely off the charts. If they get any cuter, I just don't know what I'll do. Lord help us in the teenage years. I'm sure Greg will be investing in his first shotgun to lay across his lap as suitors come knocking at our door. Me? I'll need some valium.

Here they are ~ all ready for the first day. Finding just the right first day outfit turned out to be a quest! We had one after our first shopping trip. But, frankly, I wasn't in love with them so on our next shopping trip I up-talked these outfits that they already liked. Check out Stephanie's shoes. Aren't those the coolest? You will notice their backpacks totally match their first day outfits. I'd like to say I planned that. I didn't. Total accident.

Greg usually does the first day photo shoot. Unfortunately, he was not able to get off work to continue our tradition. So it was just me. The kids were very cooperative all morning. I get kinda stressed the first day of school during the getting ready phase. The kids were warned to be on their best behavior. They were angels. 

Kinda looks like they were going to walk to school. Nope. Just a cute pose. They usually walk with Greg because he doesn't want to deal with the school traffic on the first day. They tried to talk me into walking. I said a firm, "Hell, no!" to that suggestion.

I am in complete denial that Stephanie is in 4th grade this year. There is no way that child is old enough. She has been so excited ever since she found out her teacher will be Mrs. L. I don't blame her. If I were in 4th grade, I'd want her for my teacher too.

Side note: Mrs. L's mom is a retired principal. When I was pregnant with Stephanie & for two years, she was my principal. Small world.

The class theme this year is "Around the World in 180 Days." Coincidentally, we have 180 days of school in our school-year. Each of the kids have passports for their journey.

Heather has been giddy about her teacher as well. Mrs. C is a wonderful teacher. We laughed that we have come full circle. When I was teaching 4th grade, her youngest daughter was in my class. Again, this child is not old enough! Wasn't she just in diapers?

Heather's class is on a "camping trip." Heather found her fish. Purple. Her favorite color.

Here we are ~ the three gals on the first day of school. I absolutely love having the kids at school with me! Mommy even got a new first day outfit too. Along with new school supplies, it's pretty much a requirement in our house. I bet you are wondering what's with those faces, aren't you? The day was overcast (love that) and the sun was just starting to come out. Suzanne told the kids to close their eyes and open them on the count of three. Maybe that didn't work this time. See those windows in the background? That's actually my class.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i have not

  • been lost forever under mounds of dirty laundry,
  • been kidnapped by lustful pirates ready to have their way with me,
  • run away to join the circus (yet ~ I might be awesome on the high trapeze),
  • surrendered to insanity (don't tell the voices in my head), or
  • been tortured to death by small people (there's still time for that).

Instead ~

  • I've been so exhausted at the end of the day that I barely remember my name when I get home.
  • I've been trying to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour so our little first grader doesn't fall asleep in her gravy.
  • I've been trying to convince a new group of small people that it's my way or the highway (they are a good group, really).
  • I've been trying to stay awake in class. 

I promise there will be more riveting posts in the near future. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

a few things i gotta do

As much as I would love to spend more time with you, chatting and all, I've got to get moving on some home projects. It seems that going back to work after my extended (I wish) vacation has left the house feeling a little ignored. I need to go pay a little attention to the washing machine. She needs to know she's still loved and has a special place in my heart. My dishwasher and drying are feeling similarly dejected as well. I'll even make a dinner for the peeps here in the house. No cereal for dinner tonight ~ not that that ever happened twice in the last week. Maybe after I've boosted the egos of the appliances I'll be able to come spend more time with you. Until then, just chat amongst yourselves. 

the neighbor's party

The neighbors behind us must be having a party. I hear the distorted music here in the craft room. You know, where you can hear the beat and maybe one other instrument. You might be able to tell words are present, but for the love of all that is melodic can't make any of them out. Yeah, mostly just the beat, though. At first I thought they were having some sort of pow wow. Really. Lots of drums and grunting. Now it appears to have changed Hawaiian music. Luau? Maybe they are having an Around the World Party. Now how much fun would that be? I'll be sure to let you know when we throw ours. Costumes will be required.

ready or not, monday they are coming

I just spent all day at work, still getting ready for the first day of school. It's about as ready as it's going to be. 

It's all nice and neat, but it is still missing something. 

A classroom really isn't a classroom until there are little bodies in there ~ learning, laughing, being a kid. Not until there is kid work all over the bulletin boards. 

Not until the mailboxes are full of graded work to be taken home.

So, until Monday, the room sits here, still,  with open arms. Waiting with wonder about who will be sitting at these desks.

Who will walk through that door ready to learn?

And children, when you leave the room, don't forget your pass.

I spent some time today adding names to these center magnets, name tags, folders, etc. As I added each name I thought of what I already know about these kids from what I've learned from their first grade teachers. I thought about how I will best be able to help them learn. 

Ready or not, here they come.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

can't you see i'm trying to save the earth here?

Dear Grumpy Target Check Out Lady,

I realize it was almost time for your break. How could I not when you growled that fact to another cashier as you started ringing my stuff? I handed you my Earth friendly reusable bags as you started. I was just a little dumbfounded when you asked me, "You want to use these?" No, really, I just wanted you to see how pretty those are. Give them on back now. OF COURSE I want to use those. I spent money on those! I'm trying to be a responsible Earth citizen! I merely replied, "Yes, please." 

As if that exchange wasn't enough, you just set them on the counter and began loading up the plastic bags. Apparently your auto-pilot cannot be turned off, even if it does mean saving the Earth. Now at this point I will admit I gave you part of the "look" and set things on the counter just a little louder. At this point your memory came back to you because you looked at me and said, "I don't think it's all going to fit in those bags." Ok, I only brought three bags into the store. I bought more than I planned on (surprised?). But still, most of it should have fit. Because of my poor planning, I was ok with using a plastic bag or two at the end of the transaction. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped to the ground when you grabbed one of the plastic bags with only a few items in it, shoved it in my reusable bag then pushed it aside indicating you were done with that one. Then you put a few things in another one and called that one good.

Holy heck, woman, I'm on fire now. I move over to the bagged items and began rearranging the fuller one. Look at how much room was left! I took items out of their plastic bags and put them in mine. I filled it pretty well then moved on to the next one. Apparently  you viewed this a challenge to your clerkship, because you began to bag the one you had appropriately. And I walked out of the store with only two plastic bags. HA!

What you may not realize, grumpy gal, is that not only am I single-handedly saving the Earth, but this also makes my life so much easier. These bags are truly miraculous! They hold tons but don't seem to be very heavy. They have long handles so I can sling some on my shoulders and hold some while unloading the car. Maybe it's left over from my apartment days, but I try to make as few trips in the house as possible while unloading the car.

So next time you see my bright and shiny face coming and cheerfully hand you my reusable bags thank your lucky stars someone is making an effort and give a girl a break. Um, that goes for other people with reusable bags too. 

A Girl Just Trying to Help

Sunday, August 17, 2008

mistreating the class room

The Nester is at it again. This time she's having a Mistreatment Party. For those of you who are unaware, a window mistreatment is a covering that is a little unconventional. Something that would make a professional decorator shudder with horror. Maybe you used a glue gun, didn't hem the fabric, or even used a stapler to put up those mistreatments. Here is The Nester's definition of a mistreatment:

Mistreatment: (n). covering for a window that is quick, cheap and pretty. may or may not need hardware. does not require sewing. a real designer's worst nightmare.

Mistreating: (v): the act of treating a window with dignity and respect without having to use the  following: hundreds of dollars, sewing, time, crying, divorce, child neglect...

I hope she doesn't mind that I copied her definition here for your understanding.

Can you believe this? Not one window in my house has any type of treatment other than blinds! Wait, let me go check. Nope. Not one spec of fabric near a window. What kind of decorator am I? How could I cheat my family this way? Being indecisive about what I want is probably the answer here. I may have commitment issues where window treatments are concerned. I really need to get over that.

But I did mistreat my class room windows last year. Since I'm having the same western theme in my class this year, I can still show them to you. There are a few windows, high up, on one wall of my class. I folded a bandana diagonally and stapled it up there. In a class room, the stapler is the tool of choice. No shame there. 

This window was longer than the others and required two bandanas to do the job. 

The colors alternate across the wall of windows.

See? All nice and westerny. Cheap and easy. Tracking down the ladder from the custodian and lugging it to my class room was more difficult than mistreating these windows!

I think this bandana idea would look so cute in a little boy's western themed bedroom. You could drape them over a simple curtain rod or staple them to a cornice board. Heck! Just staple them right into the wall. You could dress it up with leather cording, conchos, and such.

Now hop on over to the Mistreatment Party to see how others are mistreating their windows. 

now you tell me

When I met Greg, I had shorter hair. In our early days he told me he liked my hair shorter. Over the years my hair has been short, medium, and long. In recent years, he told me that he likes it all the ways and to just cut it the way I want. Ok, Mr. Diplomat.

This morning he asked me what I like and don't like about long and short hair. So I listed the pros and cons of each for him. I will not bore you with those details. Then he told me that he was reading my blog and noticed the two pictures of me on the right so close together. One with long and one with short hair. He said that although both look nice, he misses the longer style. He said he really likes that picture (me too) and misses that hair do. Me too!

Now you tell me! Cuz funny thing ~ I was a little on the fence about what to do with my hair for my back-to-school haircut. I had just about decided to grow it out again, but kept seeing a picture of a cute haircut on someone else's blog. I took the plunge and chopped it all off and now I wish I hadn't because I was really missing that haircut too. Here's the kicker: even though Kristin did a fabulous job and cut my hair like the picture, my hair just doesn't style like the picture. I have to really work at getting my hair straight, really straight. So, on me it looks different ~ not quite as cool. 

I'll be working on growing out my hair now.

it's a surprise

Sometimes we keep the kids in the dark about things. We plan on doing something, but don't tell them in case it doesn't work out. I don't like to see them disappointed when a fun event doesn't materialize. This way there is also no nonstop questioning about the upcoming event. Really, it's better for everyone this way. Much more sane. Anytime I can introduce sanity into my life is a good time.

During this longest break ever (ha ha ha) I planned on taking the kids to see a movie, but kept that information away from smallish ears.  Friday, as we were getting ready to go out of the house, the kids asked where we were going. "It's a surprise," I told them and refused to say any more. They were making tons of speculation about where our destination would be, including but not limited to: Chuck E. Cheese, painting pottery, Peter Piper Pizza (no, mommy hates that place), and bowling. 

As we got in the car, Heather didn't know where we were headed.

Neither did Stephanie. Ooops, honey. Apparently you got green watercolor paint on your arm this morning. 

The movie was playing at only one theater ~ one we don't normally go to ~ which was way across town. They really could not figure out where the heck we were going until we were right in the parking lot. It was really kinda funny.

We saw Kit Kittrege: An American Girl. I very highly recommend this movie. The kids really liked and even said so at the end. It was pretty funny and even a little sad at spots. I may or may not have almost cried. It was set in the Great Depression era. It allowed a good discussion with Stephanie about the Depression and what is going on with the economy today. I tried to keep that conversation as upbeat as possible, though. If you are interested in seeing it, you better hurry. Apparently it came out in early July (where was I?) so it's just about out of the theater.

Friday, August 15, 2008

speaking of school supplies

I made my own journal cover for my meeting notebook for this year. I'll be the one taking notes in style during my meetings. 

chop, chop

It's time for back-to-school hair cuts! This is always an exciting time. I don't know if it's the new hair cut or the back-to-school part. I'm such a geek, I love the back-to-school feeling. I love taking the cart s-l-o-w-l-y down the school supply aisles to see what's there. And since I'm a teacher, well, I need new school supplies too! 

Oh, yeah, we were talking about hair, not pens, notebooks, and pencils!

Here's the before. They were both taken the last week of school. Don't mind the tired in my face, they were taken in the evenings, after some long days.

Kinda boring with no real shape going on.

And now for the new cut! Back to all one color and shorter.

What do you think?

We tried a new girl yesterday. I know, could I be crazier to trust my back-to-school hair cut to someone new??  Well, it wasn't all that daring, she does Suzanne's hair (plus some other people at school) and I've seen that she does a good job. I like her. The kids got their hair cut too, but no real changes there. We cut about 3 inches off Stephanie's and cleaned up her few layers. Heather got just a trim. The kids are still growing their bangs out. Such a long process!


Remember the other night the girls were coloring while I was on the computer? 

And as you can see, Stephanie did employ her finding glasses to find the crayon she was searching for. 

It doesn't matter where they are, they will stop, drop, and color. This time they were about 2 feet behind my chair & on the floor.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

did you know that sunglasses have names and a specific purpose

This week they are all about sunglasses. These kids have several pair each because they are always losing and finding them. Plus they have an indulgent mother. On Tuesday, Heather was wearing a pair of sunglasses that have a band to hold them on. The nice guy who helped me pick out my new glasses and sunglasses gave them each a pair. Heather said they were her cleaning glasses. Well, ok. If that makes you get the job done!

Last night they were sporting these stylish frames. At some point while they were on the craftroom floor coloring, Stephanie said she couldn't find a certain color. Heather told her she better put her finding glasses on. There you go, problem solved!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

spreading a little cheer

The other day, I was walking through the front foyer (sounds grand, doesn't it?) area when I happen to look down and see this:

It brought a smile to my face, as I'm sure it was intended.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I just made this journal cover for my Etsy shop. 

I think I'm going to make one for me to take notes in meetings at school next. :)


Every year since our school opened (6 years) Charlotte and I have a tradition of doing something to mark the end of the school year. It's been as elaborate as a weekend trip or as simple as lunch & a pedicure on our last contract day. Regardless, every year, we do something. It's our tradition. Sometimes it is just the two of us, other times there are others. In most recent years, Beasley has kept our company. Last year we even had two tradition days because Beasley abandoned us midsummer to move to Mississippi.

We also have other traditions. After school we meet in Charlotte's room for what she calls "therapy" sessions. Sometimes our sessions are 10 minutes because of other obligations. Other times we've sat there for hours. I can't tell you how many times I've just about peed my pants sitting in her class because we are having so much fun! We figure we've saved thousands on therapy by having each other. When one of us is on track break we mope sadly back to our own room and actually get some work done after school.

On staff development days we both make sure we have money because we get to actually go out to lunch. When you work at a school you have few options for lunch. 1) Cafeteria - not likely on most days. 2) Bring your own - this is what we usually do. 3) Order out - very expensive delivery charges. So we are giddy like school girls at the prospect of eating out on staff development.

We even dress alike sometimes. On special days (field day, holidays, etc.) we trek to Old Navy and get matching t-shirts for the occasion. Like other traditions, sometimes just us, sometimes others join in. 

After our principal decided to leave for another position, Charlotte rocked the tradition boat by deciding to take a job at another school for the coming school year. What? I know. I was truly shocked by her final decision. I was shocked to find out she put her threats into full motion. 

So yesterday, we spent our last contract day at school together. We ate lunch and got pedicures. Beasley, who is in town for the summer, was even there. But the whole time, there was this cloud over us. Some traditions died yesterday. No more after school antics in Charlotte's room. No more staff development lunches in restaurants. No more matching t-shirts. I think the questions loomed in both of our minds. Will this tradition survive? Will we continue to be as close as we are now when we are schools away?  Will we be ok next year without each other? Will someone else steal my BFF away?

If  you are looking for me after school next year, I'll be in my room. Working.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

school's out for summer

Ok ~ maybe school's only out for two weeks!

Friday was last day of school for the students. All of my students are moving on to 3rd grade (except one).  Teachers have to go back Monday for one more day to fulfill our contract. Then we have to report three days early to get ready for the new year. That's such a joke, right there. Three days is not nearly enough time, especially since half of it will be taken up with meetings and trainings. We will all be back before those three days.

The end of the year could not have come at a better time for me. I seem to have lost my good attitude. Have you seen it anywhere? Over the past several weeks, I have found myself sliding into the dark abyss of a bad attitude. I'm even getting a little mouthy with my badness. I gave the front office staff a whole mouth full of sass on Friday. And not the funny kind of sass that everyone enjoys, either! Now those are people you don't want to piss off. Everyone in education knows you make friends with the front office and the custodians. You just do. I walked away from that situation wondering what was wrong with me. 

Greg and I were discussing my badness last night at dinner. Later he was trying to be funny, but it wasn't working. He asked me if the funny-factor was gone. I told him it was having a hot date with my good attitude. They better be having a nice time!

So over the next 6 work days and 2 weekend days I have off I will be looking for that good attitude. In the meantime, I will be having play dates with my children. I will be finishing my vampire book. I will be doing crafts. I will be going to school to prepare for a new class of students. Believe it or not, this actually helps lure the good attitude back.

I'm certain the good attitude can't be far away. She always comes back.

an apple for the teacher

Or maybe something else. For the girls' end of the year gifts to their teachers, I made these clipboards. 

Once I figured out the shape to cut out around the metal, it was pretty easy. I cut scrapbook paper to the appropriate sizes (don't forget the back of the clipboard) and inked the edges. This I let dry overnight because I wasn't sure how the ink was going to react with the glue if it was fresh. Then I used ModPodge and glued all the pieces on. Wait overnight. Then use the ModPodge as a sealer. Twice. It seemed to take forever to finish because I didn't start them on the same day and had to keep waiting overnight for the ModPodge to dry. Waiting for it to dry completely before going on is supposed to reduce bubbles. Then tie coordinating ribbons to the hole in the metal thingy. The ink ended up smearing a little bit, but it still looked fine since the idea of the ink is to make it look antiqued or worn anyway. Kristin at Grace Violet has lots of project ideas done with ModPodge.

water, water everywhere

Wednesday was Water Day in kindergarten! They worked hard all year long, grew bunches, and put on a cute ending program. What was left to do but play in the water?

While my students were at music, I went to see how things were going. I gingerly walked out the door. Heather saw me right away and came running towards me with a bucket f-u-l-l of water. I screamed and ran back inside. I came back outside with strict instructions not to get me wet. She talked to me for a minute then ran off to get someone else wet. I called her back over for a picture. I tell you, she has little control over a bucket full of water, because I almost got wet again from the momentum of her run. She was having such a great time. Moments like this - fun with pure abandon - just fill my heart with joy. This is how childhood should be!

See what I mean about that wiley bucket? She was running toward me with it again! I knew I had to get out of there quick. She was coming over to tell me to take a picture of her getting her teacher wet with the bucket. 

And did she ever! Of course after she dumped a whole bucket of water on her teacher, she got blasted with the hose in retaliation. Just like she wanted. 

Right after this the kids took a popsicle break on their towels in the sun. Heather needed help opening her popsicle. Next thing I knew, I had a line of kids needing help as well. It's good being the mom/teacher.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

down by the bay

No, we did not go on some vacation involving a bay. Heather had her kindergarten promotion program on Tuesday and they sang that song. Her teacher asked her if she wanted a speaking part for the program. Heather said no. She really can be shy sometimes. She was not too shy, however, to hold up a sign for the Down by the Bay song. She had the sign with the most action since the mom is in every verse. (Stinky picture, I know.)

Heather received her kindergarten completion certificate. She also received an award for Citizenship. She told me that that paper tells us she's special. Like we didn't already know?

Heather has had an awesome year in kindergarten. Heather loves to read, write, and draw. She has learned so much and really loves her teacher. Ms. K adores Heather too! She's always coming to tell me funny things that Heather does or says in class. They were the perfect match this year.

Heather and her buddy, Willow, will be in the same first grade class next year. They couldn't be happier. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

tied with a pretty ribbon

Isn't this fun? A few months ago, I ordered this ribbon to tie around my products as I send them out in the mail. After several months, I finally got another sale on Etsy. It is perfectly wrapped in my pretty ribbon & ready to put in the mail. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

at last

This has arrived on my door step. I'll be busy for a little bit. Don't talk to me until I am done.

last check

Today I wrote the last check to daycare! This is the last week of school. At the end of August when school starts again, Heather will be in first grade ~ all day. No more daycare. Poor Ms. Janice ~ she cried last week when the kids brought it to her attention that this week is Heather's last week. She has gotten quite attached to the girls. She doesn't like to see the babies grow up and leave her. Heather has been with her since she was 10 months old. Stephanie was 3. She is the most loving, amazing woman. We had to promise the kids would come for a "visit" while Mommy goes shopping once in a while on track breaks.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

sunday nights are dangerous

Why? Well, on Friday & Saturday nights I get plenty of sleep. I don't normally have to wake up extra early on Saturday & Sunday. Most Sundays we take a nap (not today) and sometimes on Saturday. The result? A well-rested person who is naturally a night owl. Can you see the dangerous combination here? Even Greg gets to feeling hooty on Sunday nights. Oh crap, then Monday morning rolls around and as I turn off the devil alarm I swear I'll never do it again. I'll never stay up so late on a Sunday. I'll take all that newly gained storehouse of sleep and save it for the week ahead instead of throwing caution to the wind on Sunday night. But then Sunday rolls itself around again. And here I am ~ feeling hooty.

not done

As typical, the kids did not want to get out of the pool to come home. They were not done being wet. When we got home, Greg turned the sprinkler on for them. Pure joy, I tell ya.

And this is me ~ talking to you. :) Not loving that curly look. Who let the poodle out?