Thursday, October 18, 2012

Norman Rockwell Day

This has been a crap school year so far*.  I feel like a first year teacher.  But today I got an email that I had a package at the front office.  It is from the host family for a foreign exchange students, and it was awesome.  They got me an entire box of paper, and a whole bag of fun stuff, like highlighters, and pens and hand sanitizer, and kleenex (name brand even!).  It was like a surprise CDP.  So awesome.  They did this for each one of his teachers, I can't imagine how much it cost.  I guess they did it last week for their own son's teachers.  The mom had been complaining to the teachers that it is BS that we have to buy so much stuff on our own.  As you all know it isn't the stuff, just that she thought of us.  I really needed it this week.

And then as if that wasn't enough, 2 of the 3 children ate a ton of dinner.  I made Chow Mein Casserole, and Owen loved the meat, Maddie loved the noodles so they joyfully SHARED with each other.  After dinner they all played nicely together and made each other laugh.  I could cry it was all so nice.  (ok, maybe my period is due soon, whatev)  Oh, and the cleaning lady came today so the house is actually clean for a few hours.  Seriously, perfect storm of awesome.

* Over the summer an incoming freshman found out she had cancer and died the week before school started.  Five days before school started a student went missing, many others were looking for him and two day later was found dead.  (not putting circumstances to avoid google finding me, but not foul play)  Then a week into the school year a student was kidnapped from her home. (found safe, thank all the deities you want)  For reals this is the craziest thing ever.  We assume this means the school was cursed in some fashion, hopefully it is over.

Monday, October 1, 2012


We have noticed a weird thing with Ellie's eyes lately.  They don't always... point the same direction.  Sometimes it is very subtle, other times pretty noticeable.  So we talked to her pediatrician at her 3 year well visit.  He suggested a pediatric ophthalmologist.  We haven't gone yet for a few reasons.  1) I have to call them 2) we only have one listed for our insurance so 3) does it have to be pediatric or could it be any ophthalmologist? I also am sure that we will take her and they won't see anything weird and once we are in the car she will do it again.

I also worry they will make her wear an eye patch.  Which I am fine with in theory, except she won't do it, and I will have to fight all the time with her about it.  On the plus side, she could be a pirate for Halloween.  Why can't I just send them an email, rather than call them for an appointment?  Or why can't the stay open later so I have time for a fortifying margarita before I call?

On another medical note.  I have a lot of migraines, and headaches blah blah.  Acupuncture?  Should I try it?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Back in April (?) I participated in the CDP exchange thanks to Doing My Best.  It was so fun, I loved picking things out for my person.  It is so exciting, hoping the stuff you liked will be something to bring a smile to someone else.  I loved the stuff in my package, sadly there are no pictures because I ate all the candy, and was too excited about the lip gloss to go get my camera.  There were so many little fun things to open, I am a huge fan of lots of little gifts.  I also found new things I hadn't tried before like cinnamon gummy bears, yummy, I just bought more yesterday.

One of these little gifts gave me an idea, it was a package of cute pens, which I love.  Teachers universally love school supplies. At the beginning of the year, we cruise other classrooms to see what other folks bought over the summer.  Cool post-it notes, magnets, and pens are fun.  Then I put it all together!  Teacher gifts are a nightmare for everyone, even teachers.  Why not make a CDP a teacher gift?  I know it is early for this but hear me out.  By Christmas all of our new supplies are either lost or have run out.  To get a box of fun school supplies that are all fresh and new smelling would be awesome.  Right now all that stuff will be on sale dirt cheap.  You can get a ruler for a penny at some places!  Think of all the random stuff you can buy super cheap, and you probably have more time for it right now than you will in November (or December 17th ish if you are me).  One of the best gifts I ever got from a kid (well his mom) was a huge package of post-its, they are multicolored and I have been using them for 2 years and still have a bunch left. 

I have already purchased little lip balms at Bath and Body Works, and will keep my eye out for other fun things as I shop for the kids school supplies.  I can even buy some of the things in bulk and divide them between the different teachers (and me).  I can imagine the teachers in January, having a bad day, pulling out a little gift and opening something fun to cheer them up.

Editing to add suggestions.  The teachers I know love: binder clips, various colors of dry erase markers, magnets, thumbtacks, stickers.  Elementary teachers seem to need "junk" for the treasure box in their class room.  If you have suggestions leave them in the comments, or if you have seen a great deal on something spread the word.  Remember, some things can be divided, buy a bunch of thumbtacks and put them in a few different containers for different teachers or save some for next year.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just the two of us

Bud and the two older kids are away for a week.  Which leaves just me and Ellie, I am using this time to potty train her.  The other two kids were very easy, we just left them alone and around three they just started asking to use the toilet.  Ellie is not as easy.  So I finally resorted to a combination of sticker chart, chocolate and pretty panties as a reward.  Still no luck, but then we did exchanging stickers from the chart for nail painting.  And bada bing, that was the key.  So far in the last 24 hours, one accident and seven successful potty excursions.  So there ya go, every kid is a freak, you just need to figure out what kind of freak.  Although we have now painted everything, so we will see.  At least it is a start.

It is weird having the two of us here.  I should be enjoying it, but I can't sleep when Bud isn't here.  I go to bed at midnight and lay there for awhile, then wake up every hour or so.  I will be glad to see him and hopefully sleep well.  They are having a blast up in Montana.  It started as a trip for Owen to go see my dad and run around waving sticks.  Maddie was disappointed, so Owen went up then 5 days later Bud and Maddie went.  I think it is good for the kids to get to run around and get dirty without me nagging them about not ruining their clothes or getting hurt.  You need to get away from mom sometimes. 

Well, time to hit the potty again! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I took a variety of classes when becoming a teacher, math classes, pedagogy classes, classes about classroom management, as well as a semester of student teaching.  It doesn't take long to see that there are many things we don't learn in the classroom.  They never prepared me for the emotional toll of teaching.

This year has been especially hard.  We have many students suffering from financial hardships lately.  We have a designated room with donated clothes, food, personal hygiene items to help out families.  Staff members have contacts with different resources, and are able to refer families whenever needed. We expect these things during an economic crisis. 

What you don't expect is to see a former student's obituary in the paper.  It is the third student I have lost in 14 years.  He had two small children.

You don't expect to have a 16 year old who lost her father five years ago to cancer, find out that her mom has cancer...again.  I watch her floundering, because her older sister has gone to college, and she has very little support system. 

You don't expect a girl to get a text in your class telling her that her mother, who she thought was recovering, is dying. 

You don't expect to find that another students parents have spent his entire college fund... on cancer treatment for his mom.  Which didn't work, so now, no college and also mom is dying.  And his little brother is friends with Owen.

You don't expect your colleague to come to you because one of her students isn't returning after spring break because he is in a coma.

I feel so powerless, I can't fix things for these kids.  I have spent so much time crying for these kids, it breaks my heart.  I don't think people understand how emotionally draining teaching can be, both for the good and bad.

I have a student that I first had as a freshman, he is just a great kid.  He isn't the top kid in class, but he is sweet and funny and kind.  I have him now as a senior, I know he isn't 4 year college material, so  I was overjoyed to find out  two weeks ago that he has a great opportunity playing sports in a different country.  He will get paid, and his housing is paid and he will get 2 years of vocational training.  I am so happy for him.  Then Friday he came to me crying because his family had 5 days to move out of their home.  He is now homeless.  He will be staying with friends, and the rest of his family will scatter to stay with various people.  He still has to buy his plane ticket, and is hoping he can get some money from his dad to buy it. 

For a change this is something tangible that can be fixed.  An assistant principal, another teacher and I are going to buy the ticket for him.  I can't keep people from dying but I can throw a few hundred in to help a kid.  I wish I could do more, but I am happy that I work with people who will go out of their way to help kids out.

This is why teachers need summer vacation.  By the end of the year you are emotionally raw, when the next year starts I will have scabs and scars, only to start the whole thing over again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dreams and Update

You know how you sometimes have a dream about your spouse and wake up mad?  I guess Bud had one of those last night.  He dreamt I was in a car accident and had to go to the hospital.  I didn't call him to let him know where I was, and he heard it from a co-worker.  I guess I had a broken nose, and I just went to work when I got released.  As he was telling me about it, he was getting all pissy about it.  Hilarious.

So the Tae Kwon Do class was fun.  There were only eight people there, and there were 5 different instructors so they rotated around a lot.  There was a lot of individual attention which was good.  My issue is that I am an ass.  I just have a hard time with the whole bow before stepping foot on the mat, and all the yes, sirs and what not.  I get a little eye-rolley with that sort of thing.  I understand the purpose, but I just..  can't do it.  I kept making jokes, and they just looked stone faced.  (not stoned face, that would be different)  Also it costs $125 a month, which seems a bit expensive.  But I did go, and talked to people I didn't know, so that was a win.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Owen's school does a family fitness night, we went last week and had a blast.  They have people come in and teach a few minutes of some different classes.  For this reason I may have accidentally signed up for a Tae Kwon Do class tonight.  I am so nervous about the whole thing.

A)  I have to talk to people I don't know
B)  I have to drive there
C)  See A
D)  They will try to sign me up for classes that are expensive.  I don't know how expensive.  Also
E)  See A
F) I will probably fall down

Gahhhh.  I am also excited, it is an adult class so I won't be shown up by a bunch of  7-year olds.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alone Time

I had 2 hours to myself, and I used it to weed out and sort toys.  I also washed everyone stuffed animals. Better luck next time.  Of course, Bud was at my brothers house doing yard work.  We really should look into have "fun".  Also, why isn't there anything good on when the kids are not around?

I should have used the time to read on my new Kindle Fire.  It was my birthday present from Bud, he did a great job coordinating everyone.   His mom got me a cover and other accessories, and everyone else got me amazon gift cards.  My only complaint?  I put one of the giftcards on my amazon account, when our subscribe and save diapers automatically ordered, it was taken off my gift card.  Boooo.  Oh, and I felt that the Fire was over kill, who needs an iphone, laptop and a Fire?  But then my laptop got funky.  It kept giving an error message that no hard drive was found.  But now it's working again.  Who knows?  I hear children in the driveway. Crap

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Money Can't Buy Love, but Maybe Sleep

Ellie was always a good sleeper. From about 5 months you could read her a story, kiss her and put her into bed at 6:15 and she would sleep until 6:00 the next morning. (yes we were aware of our great luck) So awesome, but a few weeks after we put her into her new bed she got sick.  Everyone knows a kid getting sick is the worst thing ever for sleep.  She wouldn't sleep on her own, she woke up early, didn't want her door closed.

  By Christmas Break the shit hit the fan.  We had to sit in her room for an hour or so at night for her to fall asleep, then no one was allowed to make any noise for the rest of the evening.  She would wake up 2, 4, 78 times each night and start screaming.  She was afraid of the dark, being alone, her investment strategies.  I don't operate well without sleep and I kind of had a nervous breakdown.  Bud and I agree in Parental Theory, not so much practice.  If a child is sick I will tend to them as long as needed, grumpily, but it still counts.  However, once I start feeling manipulated, I am done.  I think the dimmer lights on halfway, the mushroom nightlight, the ladybug nightlight and the hall light are enough.  We had put the baby gate at her doorway, same as for her older siblings.  But she would just kick that bad boy down like a cop sweeping a drug den.  Eventually, I told Bud we just had to be tough and lock her in...I know, I know but seriously I can't do my job with no sleep.  (or drive, be nice to people)  Bud agreed in words, but not in deeds.  Then he said he didn't think it would work anyway.  Then one day I lost my mind and started crying in her room from 3:00 am until 4:00 am, she was also keeping Maddie awake all night and a 5 year old shouldn't be complaining to her friends about not getting enough rest.

Finally, we did it and it was freaking awful.  She cried all night, I cried all night.  But the next night she promised not to cry if we kept the door open.  And she kept her word.  But she was still waking up at 4:30.  Honestly, how is a toddler suppose to know when it is ok to get up?  Sometimes they get up when it is dark (6:00) and its fine, sometimes the get up when its dark (3:30) and it is NOT! OK!  Enter the most expensive clock ever:

American Innovative Teach Me Time Talking Alarm Clock and Nightlight
(from amazon)

We set the night light for 7:00 pm and it is yellow, at a time we determine (5:30 we'll change later)  it turns green.  So we remind her every night when the clock is yellow stay in bed, when it's green you can tell us it is morning.  So far we have used it for a week, and she has done well.  She woke up a few mornings, and we could hear her playing until it turned green.  Not ideal, but an improvement.  One morning she slept until 6:15, I nearly made out with the clock.  So as most things with a kid every solution has many parts, and some of those are expensive.

OH, and she is sick again, with a hacking cough.  That totally won't eff up the program we have going.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Breaking Up

We just found out another couple we know are getting divorced.  It feels like an epidemic, but I am guessing we have just reached the age where it happens.  In the last two and half years we know 5 couples that have split up.

First was my best friend.  Their relationship was rocky from the start, but they were together for 18 years.  It seemed like they had gotten past the rough times and things had finally settled, but apparently not.

Next, my cousin and his wife.  The got married at 18, had a baby at 20, and another 2 years later.  They had financial troubles off and on, so they lived with his parents.  Just after they had their second child, she was diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumor in her brain.  She had it removed, but the steroids messed her up.  She gained a lot of weight, which she eventually lost, but she had stretch marks everywhere.  Her joints were all shot, she has had her hips, shoulders  and knees replaced multiple times already.  So you know, he left her after 16 years.  For another woman.  He is an asshole.

Then my aunt and uncle.  They were married 29 years.  He was in Japan for work, when he got a text from a neighbor asking why there was a moving truck at his house. He called is oldest son, who went over ASAP afraid they were being robbed.  When he got there all his mom's stuff was gone.  He had to call his dad and tell him.  My Uncle got home the next day, an hour after getting home he was served divorce papers.  He had no idea.  He had thought the last year had been the best of their marriage, he was devastated.   We still don't know her deal. 

Then Bud's work wife left her husband this summer.  We had just had them over for dinner a few weeks before.  It was so weird, the divorce was final in like 5 weeks. 

And now our friends.  Their son J started daycare with Owen when they were 11 months old.  Their birthdays are 3 weeks apart.  They had a girl, A,  two months before we had Maddie.  When the boys were 4 they went to preschool and kindergarten together.  Now Maddie and A are best friends at the same preschool and kindergarten. I just hope  the kids are taking it ok, I think we might try to have a sleep over soon.

Being a grown-up is stupid.