Saturday, May 30, 2009

175 down....

5 to go!!! The school year is definitely winding down. I am fluctuating between being overwhelmed by how much I have left to do and feeling like the year is never going to end. Yesterday, my classroom aide wanted to start a conversation about how much she was going to miss me next year. She has been my "work wife" for three years and there have been a lot of days that were only tolerable because she was there. I cut her off and told her I did not want to talk about it. I knew that we both needed to stay focused and a conversation in that direction would only distract both of us. I've been thinking about it though.... I am going to miss her a lot too. It really is hard to keep relationships going if you don't put in a lot of work. We will remain friends but without our daily contact and being together in the same building.... the strength and comfort of it will fade.

Change is hard....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just Desserts

We went to Dori and Kiwi's Tennis Banquet last night after school. The kids said it was a potluck and we had to bring a dessert. We ran to Sam's Club to pick up some donuts and cookies. Then ran home, picked up all the kids and headed out. When we got there... it was ALL desserts! At first the kids asked where all the REAL food was. They all looked a little dazed and confused about what they should do. Once we said that dinner was just gonna be dessert tonight the kids all got right into the spirit. Even Dill, who is not a dessert fan looked gleeful at the idea of a dessert only meal. I was very amused that all the kids took fruit and had to show me they did.... like a cube of melon and 3 grapes would balance the brownie, 2 cookies, donut, cake and slice of pie they also took!

The coaches had nice things to say and the team seemed like a nice group of girls (that is code for they were no where near first place finishers!!) It was a very nice evening for all of us and no one asked for a treat when we got home..... guess they all thought I would tell them they had to eat spinach or broccoli!! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rifle River... Day 1

I think camping is something you really have to start as a child. It really is a lot of work. In fact it can be a down-right pain in the ass. Packing the RV, driving through traffic, finding a site, parking it backwards between trees, setting it up, getting it organized and live-able… all just for a long weekend….

That said- I am having a wonderful time.

Pepper and I brought 8 kids. We thought it would be 10 kids but Macy and Pete’s friends backed out and couldn’t come. But there are definitely enough kids around to keep them all busy. We met Jay and her family up here and each of her kids brought a friend, plus Jay brought her niece. We are definitely a kid rich group!! The traffic wasn’t too bad and the weather was perfect for setting up… not too cold and not too hot. The kids have forgotten the routine of whining and complaining about what I need them to do and were as excited as me to be camping so things went smoothly getting it all ready. In the first four hours, all the kids hiked the woods, swam in the pool, sat in the hot tub, took bike rides, had a pillow fight, gathered wood and played ladder golf.

We had sloppy joe’s for dinner… which all the kids said were the best ever…. Since it was just hamburger and off-brand Manwich sauce I think it was the atmosphere and not the taste that really made them great. Xed and Kiwi have never had cattails and rarely ever get to make s’mores… so the campfire in the evening was a definite hit. 4 of the 8 kids stayed in the tent all night… which is 4 more than I expected!

This morning there is a soft rain on the camper roof. I can hear Dill and Pepper breathing beside me and we all have a slight campfire scent that is mixing with the smell of clean sheets. I am going to get up and supervise Pete cook the bacon and Xed and Kiwi make pancakes with chocolate Hershey bar that is really supposed to be for tonight’s s’mores. Everyone will say they are the best ever….

It doesn’t get much better than this. ☺

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Hamster Hunt

Pet ownership definitely has ups and downs in my family. Our dog, although now a valued member of the family started her puppyhood in our house by swallowing the stuffing out of some of the kids stuffed animals and ended up needing extensive x-rays and expensive surgery. The vet ‘saved’ the gross, disgusting material that he dug out of dog’s intestine to show me…. The sight and smell of the stuff is probably up there as one of my top 10 worst memories!

Our cat, a very adorable stray we rescued from an uncertain life as a barn mouser has given us trouble too. How can one little cat have worms and two different strains of viruses… one of which could be transferred to people?! After several trips to the vet, our little cat became much happier, friendlier and HUGE!! It kept gaining about a pound each week and the vet was very pleased…. to a point. Then suddenly he mentioned that the cat was becoming overweight and we should try to get him too loose a bit. (I can’t imagine taking him for walks!) I felt better when the vet’s nurse came in and secretly told me that the vet’s 2 personal cats were WAY bigger than ours!!

I’ve already mentioned the trauma with Dill’s snake in a different day’s blog….. but may the slimy little fellow rest in peace.

Now we have 5 hamsters. Gifts from Dad D’s family. One for each of our kids. I was hoping to leave them at their Dad’s house (share the wealth and all!!) But Pepper caved to the sad little kid faces that wanted to bring the little fellows to our house. This morning Lexy mentioned that the boys cage was empty…. And so was Macy’s. Peachy!!

Once the girls got home from school, they found Macy’s hamster in one of Dill’s dresser drawers (luckily Dill never puts his clothes away, so his clean clothes were not soiled… or nibbled on!) Later, Macy found Dill’s hamster behind the heaviest bookcase we own. It has way more books on its shelves then was probably ever recommended by the manufacturer… and they all had to be removed to even move the case the 3 inches required to grab the hamster, but they did get it. Well, the books hadn’t been dusted since we moved into this house (5 years ago) so I guess a little good came out of the hunt!!

We now hear little feet scratching under the refrigerator. Guess we need to move that too….. why do hamsters hide in places I don’t want to have to clean?!! Oh yes, we do love our pets here at my house! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I want to tell a little about Lexy... Jay's daughter. I have known her since before she was born. She is now in the third grade and is always fun to have visit our house. She almost always comes to visit with her Mom and she loves it when we go to Olive Garden, especially when her big brother does not come to visit too. I think mainly because then she can go home and tease her brother about getting to go. But since I really like Olive Garden too.... I don't mind. :)

Lexy loves to use her Mom's phone and she tries to trick me all the time thinking that messages from her are really from her Mom. When I text back "Hi Lexy" she can't figure out how I know it is her! I will never tell!! Heehee!!

The biggest problem with Lexy's visit is that Dill has had a crush on her forever and unfortunately I think Lexy likes Pete... so it is sort of a romantic triangle between my boys and Lexy. Luckily, they are all good enough friends that they get over those issues quickly and generally all play well together.

I always look forward to Lexy and Jay coming to visit us... and very soon we will start our camping trips together again this year.... I can't wait!!

Love ya, Lexy!! <3

Friday, May 15, 2009

Going Camping!!

I am ready to go camping. Every year around this time I get very excited and start looking forward to our summer trips. I have already put the hitch in the truck and moved the RV into its ‘summer’ spot in the driveway. I have started organizing and fixing up little things and will probably do heavy-duty cleaning this weekend. Jay and I usually plan our summer trips right after Christmas. It drives Pepper crazy because it is usually freezing and snowing and we are checking our calendars for all of our camping outings. Pepper panics if the trips start too early in the spring or go a little too long into the fall. I don’t understand why….... We have heat and hot water. What else do you need?!

We do not usually go anywhere over the Memorial Day weekend because the traffic heading north is horrid! But this year, we have Friday and Monday off from school…. That just screams: “go camping!” So, I planned a trip and told Jay to get her trailer ready too. I knew all the kids would ask to bring a friend, so in a weak moment Pepper and I told all the kids that they each bring one friend. That means 10 kids. I wish I felt worried about feeding that many kids or that they won’t get along…. But I am just so dang happy that we are going camping I am not worried at all. It may work really well….. none of our kids could complain that they are bored, they each have someone to do things with the whole time.

I am sure I will at least have lots of stories to blog about after this trip!! Campfires, s’mores, long walks in the woods, looking up at the stars, swimming, playing in the river, relaxing while the kids play peacefully…. Doesn’t it sound like fun? Wish us luck! ☺

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I took the day off from work today. Yesterday was a bit stressful. But the kind of stress I like. I do not like the 'dread' stress... like when your boss comes to you on Friday afternoon saying (s)he needs to talk to you on Monday... and you have to just wait and worry. I actually prefer to deal with 'surprise' stress... which is good because it is actually the kind I am best at handling. I had too many aides again. I had to quickly assess which one would work better in my room and arrange for the other one to go to a different classroom. It was a bit of a time crunch because once I know which aide is staying, the daily routine and information about the kids needs to be explained and things get hectic once the kids get off the bus. One of my students just started two new medicines. Mom gave the med before she left for work, then Dad (not knowing the med was already given) gave it again. So, I had several quick phone calls to the school nurse, the Mom and poison control. Poison control is one of those things you don't appreciate until you really need them.

Looking at my attendance book I can see that the end of the school year is near. I only have 4 weeks of "present/absent" boxes left to fill out. Of those there are a few half days and Memorial Day weekend. So it is definitely drawing to a close. I have mixed feelings about the end of this year. Our building is being remodeled so everything in the room needs to be moved out. Since I helped Pepper and Skip do this last year, I am very aware of what a pain it is to move everything... especially with a deadline that is also the last day the students are in the building. Since I am changing jobs next year, I would have had to pack all my things anyway, this just means there are lots of extra things to move. I have mixed feelings about the new job I will have. I am absolutely positive that I can do the job. I have actually done this exact job before. I also know that working with Pepper will be fine, although I am sure there will be days that will be easier to work together than others. Skip has told me that she does not think coming to this building is in anyone's best interest. She is concerned that I am coming for the wrong reasons. I think any change brings up a lot of different feelings, especially a change that I was not sure I initially wanted to make. But I am looking forward to this challenge and I will make a positive impact. I learned a lot about what is important to a classroom teacher by being one, and this will be a good thing. There are some people at the new building that I can't wait to work with and I think Megamom has enough enthusiasm about my coming there for all of us. Getting to focus on articulation, language and processing, rather than behavior and augmentative communication will be a nice change. Plus having a bigger variety of students and parents will be refreshing. I will miss my classroom though. I wonder who will take my place. I pray that the new person loves my kids as much as I do. Change is good, right?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Busy Saturday

Some days are just filled with lots of things and trying to choose only one thing to blog about becomes difficult. Today was prom for Kiwi and Xed. They were very excited and spent hours getting ready. We took lots of pictures of them and they said they had a wonderful time. Xed mentioned that in her country, the parents are expected to attend with the kids. Dori thought that was a horrible idea but I thought it sounded reasonable!

It was also Dad D's niece's wedding, so Dill, Pete and Macy went to the wedding and reception. Dori, Pepper and I went to the church Chili Cook off fund raiser for the youth group. It was fun. My chili won first place in the 'mild/baby' category and Skip's chili won best over-all chili. Another guy at our table won best 'hot' chili... so our table was full of certificates made by Skip's son.

I also had a couple of minutes to open up the RV. Camping season is right around the corner so I thought I would assess what needs to be organized, cleaned, fixed and taken care of before our first trip. I have quite a bit to do!

This afternoon, I heard from an old classmate who told me about my third grade teacher. She was very young in 1976 when I had her as a teacher. She was tall and thin and looked like a Barbie Doll, I remember she had a very pretty smile. She helped me write a letter for my Grandfather's funeral. (It is a tradition in my family that a letter from loved ones are written and then sealed into the coffin) I think my letter was something like: "I am sorry you died. It makes my Dad very sad. I hope you get to go to heaven, Ilene" She thought it was a very good letter.

Mrs. Blessing had been dealing with MS for many years. Her husband went out to go shopping and a fire broke out in her home. She was too weak to get out on her own. She died of smoke inhalation. It is hard to remember as far back as 1976, so I pulled out a class picture and she still looked like a beautiful Barbie Doll. Looking at the picture, seeing her smiling and all of us in our funky 1970's clothes I thought, "I am sorry you died. It makes me sad. I hope you are in heaven." I hope she still thinks its a good letter.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Dori and Ned went to prom Saturday night. Dori was running late and stressing me out because I knew other people were waiting for them. It was worth the wait. She looked beautiful. We made it to Ned's house about 45 minutes later than I had hoped, but it was ok. We still did pictures and Dori did a fine job getting Ned's corsage on. She was a bit panicky about his corsage, but all in all it was successful. (read.... she did not stab him with a straight pin!) They went to dinner first then to prom. No after prom party this time but next time they will know what to expect and get things planned out. They had pictures taken with two other couples and then dessert at one of the other boys houses. All the kids looked very grown up and mature. Some days Dori looks like such a little kid to me I just want to hold her hand crossing the street. Then there and other days, like this one, where I know she is ready to take on the world.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jungle Book

Opening night was a success!!! Pete did a great job in the show. Everyone worked their hardest and the result was fantastic!! I can't wait to see it again tonight and Saturday night.

This morning Pepper and I talked about how different our lives would be if we did not have kids. We talked about how we would actually have a savings account and probably even a paid off house.... we were silent for a minute then Pepper said, "But then we would have missed seeing the Jungle Book."

I wouldn't change a thing.