Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bump Envy

Bump Envy: I saw these words on someone else's blog (SORRY! I don't remember who, so can't credit them.) How true these words are! Our Disney trip was 98% wonderful. The other 2% was difficult as I struggled with seeing happy glowing-faced pregnant women. Though not a bump, I also had BIG tugs at my heartstrings when DH was making goo-goo eyes at a baby who was in front of us in line. The baby was SO tiny! (Smaller than I would've brought to Disney... but I won't judge.) And DH was very sweet. :)

This morning as we got ready for school, Emma said, "Mommy, I want a little brother or sister. I don't even care which one. I've never seen you with a big tummy. That would be fun. Why can't we have a brother or sister?" I responded that I would like to have a brother or sister too. I said we'll have to keep praying and maybe God will help put a baby in Mommy's tummy someday. Emma responded, "I hope it's soon!" too, my sweet little girl.

Out of curiosity, I just researched "envy" at The dictionary site defines envy as, "painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage." Yes, that sums it up perfectly. I have bump-envy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I Love Disney World

There was a time when DH and I had Walt Disney World yearly passes. As the park prices have increased every year, and we now have Emma related and household related expenses, we are no longer Season Pass Holders. However, we still visit a couple times each year.

Why do I love Disney World? Let me count the ways...

Saturday morning we left our hotel room around 7:30 a.m. After a nice breakfast (our hotel had a full-breakfast buffet) we headed to the park. Because we didn't pre-plan our weekend more than 2 weeks in advance, we weren't able to stay on Disney property. In the past, we've taken advantage of the Disney resorts. Though the resorts do not include breakfast, they do include free transportation to and from the Disney theme parks. (And we can usually get a Florida resident discount, making the resorts even more affordable.) This time, since we weren't at a Disney resort, we drove ourselves to the Magic Kingdom.

Once there, we caught the "Disney Tram" to the Magic Kingdom ticketing area. This is reason 1 why I love Disney. The parking lots are HUGE and are extremely far from the theme park areas. Disney has Trams to shuttle people to the parks...especially wonderful at the end of the day when we're tired and have the we've-been-walking-around-Disney-all-day feet!

At the ticket area there are 2 options of transport to get to the actual Magic Kingdom: Ferryboat or Monorail. Reason 2: The transportation lines are timely and transport dozens of people at one time. And the view of Cinderella's Castle as you approach from either the Ferryboat or Monorail is wonderful and helps add to the anticipation of spending a day at the Kingdom. Emma chose the Ferryboat. It was chilly and windy, but a sunny and beautiful ride.

View of Cinderella's Castle from the Ferry Boat to the Magic Kingdom

Once at the Kingdom, we entered and were greeted by Cast Members. Reason 3 I love Disney is because nearly all of the Cast Members refer to Emma (and all little girls, of course!) as "Princess" all day long. "Good morning, Princess!" "How did you enjoy the ride, Princess," etc. Em loooves this: "Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a princess with my own castle."

We then watched several cast members dancing and singing, "Right Down the Middle of Main Street, U.S.A." Em and DH (and okay, me too) found it humorous when the horse pulling the trolley car dropped a load.

The royal horse poop

The horse responsible for the royal poo

Em was tickled when the cast members on the train waved and smiled at her.

Em on the porch of Minne Mouse's house

I had to punish DH after discovering the horse poo photo...

Em and Daddy after she rode Thunder Mountain for the first time. Em is exactly 40 inches tall and was ecstatic to be able to ride Thunder Mountain. It is the largest roller coaster she has ever been on. Prior to the ride, DH was concerned that Em might be scared. Not me. I figured she would love the rides. Luckily, I was right. Em screamed with joy the whole ride and enthusiastically responded, "I wanna go on that again!" before the ride was over. Reason 4 why I love Disney: The rides are so well done. From the atmosphere while waiting in line to the cast members outfits that correlate with each ride, everything coordinates into a very appealing package. I also love that the "wait time" is posted outside of the attractions, making it easy to determine whether or not you want to join the line, or wait until later. Disney also has an awesome "Fast Pass" feature that allows guests to get guaranteed passes for rides that have a long wait. For example, at 10 a.m. when the Buzz Lightyear ride was really crowded, we got Fast Passes which guaranteed that we could quickly get on the ride between 1 and 2 p.m.

Em got to pose with Alice. This was also Em's first time with an autograph book for characters to sign. Emma seemed to enjoy getting their signatures. Reason 5: The cast members portray their characters in a manner that depicts their cartoon versions in a true-to-life manner. Example, Alice asked Emma, "You seem rather small, did you eat mushrooms for breakfast?" :)

After hugging and posing with Donald Duck, (I don't have pics. Oops!) Em freaked out when it was our turn to meet with Buzz Lightyear, so DH got Buzz's autograph for her.

We made reservations for lunch at the Crystal Palace restaurant, so that we could dine with the characters from Winnie the Pooh. Reason 6: The layout and decor throughout the park are fabulous. From the "Mickeys" on the manhole covers to the plants, landscaping and decor (such as above) the Disney parks are beautiful.

Though she looks happy here, this is Add Imagewhere Emma spent most of the lunchtime. Yup...under the table. SCARED of the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet characters. Bummer.

I posed with Tigger since Emma wouldn't. :)

Each visit to Disney World, we discover something new. This time, DH and I discovered side-by-side massage chairs. We took advantage while Em was sleeping in her stroller for a mid-day nap. The $$ was soooo worth it! (By the way, we have the Disney-day down to a science. Em rarely takes naps when home with us for the weekend. However, at Disney she knows she won't be allowed/able to stay up late for the parade and fireworks unless she takes a nap during the day. So we recline her stroller and walk around while Emma "rests." Eventually she falls asleep. Thus far, this has worked during each of the three times we've had Emma at Disney World. Makes for a wonderful cranky-free night!)

Though the pic is blurry, my massage was great!

Em snoozed for a good hour. It was awesome! (Note the clip-on Mickey earrings we found. She was very excited by this purchase.)

Em and I waiting in line to meet the princesses. Reason 7: Though usually a 30-40 minute wait in line to meet and pose with the princesses (fairies or other characters are also available for meet-and-greet sessions) I love that they truly spend time with each guest. Each princess hugs Emma, speaks to her for a few minutes, signs her autograph book, and then poses for photos. I also appreciate that they have professional photos taken, but allow guests to capture their own photographs as well.

This was the first time we met Snow White. Em was very happy about this!

Em posing with Cinderella

DH and I agreed that Aurora seemed reaaally tall compared to our last visit. She must have had a growth spurt. ;)

Family portrait

First float in the night-time Spectralight Parade. Em loved the parade! Sadly my camera batteries died, so I didn't get many other pics. Reason 8: The last cast members in Disney parades are workers who reel in the ropes which restrict the crowd from going into the street. This means that literally as soon as the parade is over, guests are able to circulate throughout the park without delay. As with everything else Disney World related, the parades are also well done. The music is piped in through the speaker system, the floats are high enough that even though we were standing 4-5 people back, we could still see them clearly. (Em was on DH's shoulders.)

The glass slipper is a perfect fit! (From the mosaic inside Cinderella's Castle)

Cinderella and Prince Charming ride away to live happily ever after.

Reason 9: Disney has their own recycling center on property. Enough said.

Reason 10: The cleanliness. The parks are extremely clean. It is rare to see garbage, as cast members constantly circulate with brooms/trash collectors to pick up whatever scraps might be on the ground. I have NEVER been in a Disney restroom that was dirty...and they ALWAYS have seat covers for the potty (wonderful since Em is still too little not to sit on the potty!)

Special Occasions: Last but not least, I love Disney because they make it easy to celebrate special occasions. Inside "City Hall" on Main Street, guests can receive free badges that say "1st time visitor," "Happy Birthday," "Honeymooners," etc. Pretty neat!

Two Disney-Emmaisms:
As we were driving to Orlando, she spotted a star, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wished I was going to Disney World, and now I'm going!"

After riding Splash Mountain, Emma was singing "Zoopity doo dah, zoopity day..." Who needs "Zip?"

This morning we went to Downtown Disney (an area with shops and restaurants) before returning to Jacksonville.

Em and DH pose with a Clone Trooper made entirely of Legos at the Lego Store.

Em spent nearly 20 minutes creating a Lego car to drive up and down the racing ramp.

Em and Daddy put the finishing touches on the Lego car

Emma was SUPER excited when her car made it all the way to the end of the track.

Em poses with her finished Lego Mobile.

We ended the day with a trip to World of Disney. This giant store has TONS of Disney World clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and toys. After nearly an hour in the store, Em picked out an Ariel Barbie-type doll. Then we left to return home. Overall, it was a great visit! The weekend get away was a stellar way to rejuvenate!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disney Bound

Disney: What do the Andersons do when tax refund money is here and we need a weekend "escape?" We head to Disney World! This weekend, we'll be going to the Magic Kingdom for a day. I am looking forward to it. The visit will be Emma's 3rd time at the park...her last visit was in March of last year. I'm a little bummed that WDW isn't having the Pirate and Princess Party this year. Last spring we enjoyed it very much. However, they apparently have a Spectramagic light parade followed by fireworks, so we'll try to fit in one or both of these events instead. (Though in the past we've used fireworks time for riding rides---we were able to stay on the Pirates of the Caribbean boat and ride 2x in a row, able to get on Dumbo with no wait, ride Space Mountain multiple times without waiting, etc.)

Emma is finally tall enough to ride nearly everything. I look forward to experiencing Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain with her for the first time. We've been watching You Tube videos of people riding the coasters and she is really excited. She also has a "Disney Land Sing-A-Long" video she looooves to watch before we go to WDW. (The video shows kids singing and riding rides at the park.)

I sooooo love Walt Disney World! (If this makes me pathetic, I'm willing to be on the list.)

February Birthday Shout-outs:
My sister Michelle 2/10
My nephews Summy and Jack 2/15
My father-in-law and cousin Aimee 2/23

Jury Duty: Next Monday 2/23, I have jury duty. I am hoping I am not selected for a long term trial. As much as I think the judicial trial process would be neat, it is the FCAT time of year and I'd hate to miss so much school. (The actual test is the week of March 10th, so we are in "FCAT prep mode" big time.) Also, planning for a long-term substitute would be awful. So, I'm crossing all phalanges that I am not chosen.

Lagging: I've been behind on blogging and on checking my email. Hopefully I'll get caught up Sunday night...

Emotions: I seem less blue and more in the swing of things this week. (Is it the Disney adventure I'm anticipating?) I joined the faculty choir at my school. We are in a school presentation next week for Black History Month. I love's such a pick-me-up. I have a solo in the presentation. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy performing, as it's been a while.

Substitute: We're leaving after school tomorrow to drive to Orlando. We'll stay in a hotel tomorrow night, do the Disney park all day Saturday, stay in the hotel again Saturday night, do Downtown Disney on Sunday morning, and return home to Jacksonville Sunday afternoon. (WDW is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live in Jax.)

I'm at school right now to prepare for my jury-duty-on-Monday substitute. Guess I should get back to work...

In the words of my friend, Mickey Mouse, "See ya real soon!" :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'd Do Anything

Last night I went to see the musical Oliver! with my girlfriend, MEB. She and I have recently reconnected and I have SOOOO enjoyed having a girlfriend in Jacksonville. (MEB and Adrian's mom, Stacye, are my only 2 gal-pals that haven't moved out of state!) The play was nice, but we agreed the acting was a bit amateurish. However, I obtained the tickets from a teacher friend at school who was unable to attend, so I'm not complaining! All day I've had the "I'd do anything, for you dear anything...for you mean everything to me..." song stuck in my head. The song is applying to other areas of my life right now...

Tomorrow is one month since we learned I was having a miscarriage. And while most of me is moving on with my life with a smooth transition, there is a small part of me that has been having twinges of jealousy. I read that a "Peanut is here!" on someone else's blog. The woman has been through the loss of a baby at 8 weeks, and struggled to get pregnant. While part of me is truly happy for her---she finally has a beautiful baby boy--- part of me feels "OUCH" at reading the word "Peanut" and knowing that I don't have my own Peanut anymore. Another moment of jealousy occurred when I saw Anne Curry's "Dateline" interview with the mother of octuplets. How can one person who admits to using student loans as her primary means of finance be blessed with FOURTEEN children, and I can't even have two? Sighs. I just don't get it.

To top it off, Emma has been making TONS of comments about wanting a sibling recently. Students in her class were asked to bring in family photos for a Valentine Family Tree project. She has reminded me numerous times as we pass the Family Tree display in the hallway outside of her classroom, "I'm the only one in my class without a brother or sister." Each time I reply with something like, "Maybe someday we'll have another baby," or "Wouldn't it be neat to have a brother or sister?" or even "Do you think you'd like a brother or sister?" To which Em always enthusiastically replies, YES, though the gender she "prefers" tends to toggle back and forth.

Last weekend I took Emma to the mall. We had lunch and then she played in the play yard for a while. As we were walking through a department store on the way back to the parking lot, we passed through children's clothing. Emma stopped at FOUR different racks asking me if she could buy baby outfits "in case I have a sister someday." OUCH. She then asked if we could buy a playpen "for a baby brother." Ouch again.

I'm not depressed. Or whiny. Or feeling "Why me?" Or even over dwelling. At least I don't think I am. I just want another baby...before Emma is much older. And before I'm in my late 30's.

Yes..."I'd go anywhere. For your smile anywhere. For your smile anywhere, I'd see....yes I'd do anything for you."...for another little Peanut.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vocabulary Test

I have been compiling a list of Emma's vocabulary funnies and's time to share.

Vocab test. See if you can determine which definition is Emma's:

1. Craps

a. What people do on the potty
b. What some people play in Vegas
E. Making projects (As in "arts and craps")

2. Eyetacks

a. A medieval torture device
b. Bulletin board push pins that are oval in shape
E. What Mommy wears on her eyes to help her see better

3. Morote

a. Someone who isn't driving nicely in traffic
b. A 1970's singing group
E. The device used to change the channel on the television

4. Overalls

a. Denim clothing that many farmers wear
b. Toddler clothing by Osh Kosh
E. The undergarment Mommy wears over her chest/breast region

5. Lello

a. A citrusy soda
b. A greeting among friends
E. The color yellow. (Just because I can say "yarn" and "yell" doesn't mean I should pronounce yellow with a "yuh" sound at the beginning...)

6. Lizard

a. Tiny Florida creatures which on occasion have gotten into our home. (ACK!)
b. A hockey team
E. A frozen sweet treat served at Dairy Queen

7. Fink

a. A vermin used to make fur coats
b. A person whom no one likes
E. A deep thought. (Ex. "I fink I would like to wear my purple socks today.")

8. Tail

a. The back end of a dog
b. A fable
E. Male anatomy (Also called "privates")

9. Fuh-ton

a. A silver stick used by majorettes
b. Joey Fatone's brother
E. The futon in our extra bedroom.

10. Yesternight

a. Four score and seven years ago
b. A Weird Al version of the Beatles "Yesterday" song
E. Last night ("Can we read the same bedtime story we read yesternight?")

You can choose the definition you like best. However, all of the "E for Emma" answers are the latest definitions at our house.

In addition, two recent Emmaisms that made me giggle:

Yesterday enroute to her MyGym class the Fray song "How to Save a Life" came on the radio. Emma enthusiastically told me that they play the song at her gym. She then began singing along...stating "how to say good night" instead of "how to save a life." Heehee!

This morning when DH was helping Em pull her PJ top off, "You forgot to unbutton it, you're gonna break my head off!" Ironically, he had unbuttoned it. And no...her head did not fall off.

This post was brought to you by the letter E and the number 4.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yearly Evaluation

School/The Good: Woo-hoo! I'm at school during my planning period. I just finished my post-observation conference with my principal.

As this is my first year at this school, this was my first formal observation by this principal. Quotes on my observation assessment include:
"Noticeable gains" regarding my students' reading levels.
Teacher shows "high fidelity toward Read180."
And my personal favorite, "outstanding rapport with students." Hooray for me! :)

School/The Bad:
Continuing my county's bass-ackwards way of coordinating language arts with reading, I just this morning received the 3rd quarter "curriculum pacing guide" for language arts. (3rd quarter started 2 weeks ago on 2/20.) Sighs. At least it's only 3 weeks late this time...1st quarter we waited nearly 4 1/2 weeks for any curriculum. My department and I are getting good at "winging it" without formal plans.

School/In General:
Florida is making HUGE educational budget cuts for next year. Duval County is voting on many policy changes by the end of this month. I have decided to stay at my current school for 2 main reasons: 1. Job security (I know they need reading teachers here, and I am not "lowest" on the totem pole so would not be cut if a reading teacher does have to be laid off.) 2. As much as the ELA/Read180 combination gets on my nerves, it is more important to me to be at a school with a principal and faculty I believe in. :)
Possible budget cut ideas include:
--Changing student hours so they only attend school 9:30 - 3:30. Teachers would continue to attend 9:15 - 4:15 with all planning periods being held before or after school. This would save $$$ because they could cut teachers. By not having planning periods during the school day, ALL teachers would be teaching at ALL times. There would not be "planning" periods when teachers would be off duty and getting paid. (Note: I think this is ridiculous! Florida is already falling behind much of the nation with regards to public education. I can't believe they are actually considering sending our students LESS time than average. Ugh!)
--Changing bus routes to only students who live 2 miles or farther from school. (Right now it's a mile and a half.)
--Mandated cuts of art and music classes (Note: I also think this is ridiculous. Research has shown how much students benefit from art and music. Why are they always the first to go?)
--We've already been told our school will move from 4 assistant principals to 3. It is possible we'll also have to move from 2 guidance counselors to 1.
-- Possible change of employee benefits to a contributory health care system. (Grateful I have DH for insurance. My single teacher friends are freaking out!)

DH: His first day as a supervisor was this past Saturday. I had to chuckle when he told Emma last night, (after she asked him to "come here" for the 100th time) "I'm not going to get up 87,000 times...I'll be doing that all week long." HAHAHAHA! I wanted to say, "Try being a teacher!" We never get to work without being interrupted... But I held it in.

Gotta run, my planning is almost over.