Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm grateful

4 things I'm especially grateful for the past few days...

1. My team at school.
This year 2 of my 3 classes consist of students from the same team of "core" teachers. Thus, I am often part of parent-conferences and team meetings. In the past since reading is an "elective," I'm often not part of a "team." This year I am and the team ROCKS. While our administration is at times frustrating and not firm enough (in my humble opinion) the teachers I work with are supportive and have an amazing behavior intervention plan we all use. Though many things at my school continue to be difficult this year, I am thankful for the "Cosmic Wolf" team who has accepted me as one of their own.

2. DH
I can count on both hands the number of times I have to scrape ice off my car windows each year. Yesterday was Monday and of course Em and I were dragging a bit... I hadn't seen the weather report the night before and hadn't planned ahead. When Em and I prepared to load my car to drive to school, I was un-pleasantly surprised to encounter super cold weather. And pleasantly surprised to see that DH had already scraped my car windows for me.

3. Emma
Though she totally embarrassed me this weekend when we were at a restaurant...
Waitress: You can complete this card to join our dinner club, if you'd like. But if you don't I
won't cry or anything.
Emma: I'm not filling one out, cuz' I want to make you cry.

WHAT???? The waitress hadn't been rude or negligent. I still don't know what prompted Emma's rotten response. Geesh!

Anyway....let's focus on the positive here...
I am grateful for a little girl who FINALLY cleaned the entire living room herself without grumbling or complaining. There were pillows, coloring books, markers, L.incon Logs, and blankets scattered around from when Em was feeling sick over the weekend. Today she cleaned it all up on her own. How nice to have her pitching in without bribes and/or nagging.

4. DH---again. Yup, he's a keeper!
Yesterday and today DH was home sick from work. (He finally went to Urgent Care yesterday and received a slew of 4 prescriptions to help him kick the phlegmy yucks he's had the past few weeks.) When Em and I arrived home from school today he had dinner cooking for us. Now mind you, DH is always the primary chef in our house, as I hate cooking. However I found it very sweet that he cooked when I know he still wasn't feeling his best.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Random Ruminations

Ending the week with some random ruminations...

We're only 21 days into the year and I've already read 11 books! Yay!

The 39 Clues:
I highly recommend the 39 Clues book series to anyone with 8-14ish year old kiddos. The series is written by a variety of popular childrens' book authors and was a super fun read! The books are about a brother and sister team who go on an around the world clue hunt. They visit many historical places along the way. I also admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed the online activities and games that correlate with the books. (Each book comes with 6 cards that can be entered online to help lead the reader as a "clue hunter".) Fun!

The only downside---the cards that come in each book can only be entered online one time. This means that families with more than one child will have to share their online account, rather than having one for each child...unless they fork out $12 per book to buy a book for each child...NOT cool in my opinion!

The Hunger Games:
An amazing trilogy I finished at Thanksgiving time and never posted about... The teen-lit series by Suzanne Collins takes place in the future. The premise is that there is not enough food to feed the citizens of the country, so every year there is a contest where 2 representatives from each district must fight----to the death---to determine which district will get food from the government for the year. Offers much to think about and an AWESOME strong, female heroine as the main character.

The Missing Series:
Cool young adult series I finished during winter break... The premise is kind of tricky to discuss. But the books include time travel,adopted children finding out who they "really" are, and are written by Margaret Peterson Haddix an author whose works I love!

The Mockingbirds:
LOVED this book which was a Christmas gift. It is a young adult novel about a high school teen who was date raped. Most of the book is about her seeking justice for the crime with a secret student-run organization called the Mockingbirds.

--Today was teacher planning day.... as always I didn't get nearly the amount of stuff done that I had hoped to.
--Principal met with me regarding the quarterly departmental reports I send her. Assured me that she knew I was not at fault for not sending them (as the vice principal had alluded to.) Whew!
--Yearly observation is coming up in February. Should be interesting, as I don't have a stellar class to use this year. (Usually I schedule my observation during my best class. This year, I sadly don't have a "best" to choose from.) Doh.

--DH and Em stayed home sick yesterday. DH with cough and sinus congestion, Emma with the pukes. My FIL kindly kept Emma today while I was at teacher planning day. Fortunately, she hasn't vomited again since mid-day yesterday. And her fever seems to have subsided as well.
-DH just got home with pizza for dinner, so I'm over and out... :)

2010 Book List

Kicking myself for not keeping better track of the books I read last year, as I am pretty sure I read more than I wrote down.

Cutting/pasting the list of books I did manage to keep track of:

Total counted 65....not bad!

Can bump myself to 68 if you count TIMES read. (See #45 on list.)

65. Sabotaged (The Missing Book 3) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
64. Sent (The Missing Book 2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
63. Found (The Missing Book 1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
62. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
61. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
60. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (re-read)
59. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (re-read before seeing movie)
58. Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne *
57. Dinosaurs Before Daybreak by Mary Pope Osborne *
56. High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne *
55. The Knight At Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne *
54. Stage Fright on a Summer's Night by Mary Pope Osborne *
53. Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osborne *
52. Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne *
51. Tonight on the Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne *
50. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
49. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
48. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
47. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
46. Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan
45. Larger than Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall (read 4 times! Once to prep and then 3 times to read aloud to all 3 of my block classes!)
44. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
43. Kingdom Keepers: Disney after Dark by Ridley Pearson
42. Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson
41. The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
40. Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility by Martha Diamond, et al
39. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
38. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
37. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
36. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
35. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
34. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (re-read before seeing movie)
33. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
32. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
31. Like Gold Refined by Janette Oke
30. A Quiet Strength by Janette Oke
29. A Searching Heart by Janette Oke
28. The Tender Years by Janette Oke
27. Love Finds a Home by Janette Oke
26. Love Takes Wing by Janette Oke
25. Love's Unfolding Dream by Janette Oke
24. Love's Unending Legacy by Janette Oke
23. Love's Abiding Joy by Janette Oke
22. Love's Long Journey by Janette Oke
21. Love's Enduring Promise by Janette Oke
20. Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke
19. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
18. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
17. Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
16. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
15. Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne *
14. Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
13. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
12. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
11. Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer
10. Night World: Witchlight by L.J. Smith
9. Night World: Black Dawn by L.J. Smith
8. Night World: Huntress by L.J. Smith
7. Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne *
6. Night World: The Chosen by L.J. Smith
5. Night World: Dark Angel by L.J. Smith
4. Night by Elie Wiesel
3. Night World: Daughters of Darkness by L.J. Smith
2. Night World: Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

* = books in the Magic Tree House series I read aloud to Emma...yes they are kids' books, but they are over 50 pages, so I'm counting them on my list. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lunch Grumblings

Anyone else out there dislike packing lunches?

Due to:

a. The cost
b. Emma and I being finicky eaters
c. I only have a 30 minute lunch, part of which consists of escorting students to and from the cafeteria...thereby making it difficult to travel somewhere to purchase lunch

I pack lunches nearly each school night.

Sighs...... Why do I hate it so much? I don't know, but I do.

What "chore" do you hate to do, Dear Readers?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keep On, Keep On, Keep On Movin'

Remember the Brady Bunch episode where the kids sing on a talent show, trying to win money to purchase an anniversary gift for their parents? They called themselves "The Silver Platters" and one of the songs they sang was "Keep on Movin'." That has been my motto as of late...

School Stuff:
--I teach in the 3rd largest school district in the state of Florida. (I was also recently informed that we are the 15th largest district in the U.S. Wow.) Due to the large amount of schools, things like painting are done year-round rather than just during the summer.

Our school system re-paints the interior of all buildings every 7 years. This year my school is on the schedule to be re-painted. This means that classes have to be held in the Media Center, or auditorium or other creative areas while individual classrooms are being painted. I was fortunate because my entire hallway was painted during winter break. Thus, I didn't have to endure the hassle of teaching in an unusual place like many of my colleagues have.

However, when I returned to school after winter break my classroom was in disarray. Due to my building being painted over the break, all of my belongings were shoved on the window sill/counters and most furniture was shoved together in the middle of the room:

It took two mornings going in early and 2 evenings staying late to get my room re-organized and back the way I like it. I still don't have all of my posters re-hung....

--Our district also schedules two big "Walk Throughs" per year. These are days when district personnel from every department come to tour the school, observe in a variety of classrooms, and meet with the principal to provide feedback. Usually the Walk Throughs are held in October or November and then again in April or May.

My school had the first Walk Through this year the week after Thanksgiving. However, glitches occurred and the representatives for social studies, phys ed, and language arts were unable to attend for some reason. Thus, they bumped our 2nd visit from April to this past week. So in the midst of re-organizing after our classrooms were painted, we had to prep for visits from the big wigs.

Emma and I stayed late at my school 2 different evenings so I could get things "just so" in my classroom before the walk through. Murphy's Law of my life----for the first time ever no one came to my classroom during the Walk Through. (Usually since there are only 5 of us in the reading department we ALL get visited during district walk throughs.) Sighs...

School Reports: The 7th grade assistant principal came to me just after the visits were completed and said there was a "reading department emergency." I worried that one of my colleagues had been hurt. She then informed me that the principal was meeting with the district personnel who had finished the Walk Throughs and they were upset I had not sent her (the principal) any updated reading department reports. I explained that I usually only send reports once per quarter, and as 2nd quarter is still in session new reports hadn't been sent yet. It irked me a bit... I haven't done anything wrong or out of the norm, and didn't appreciate the insinuation that I had.

Books: I've been reading up a storm. One of my New Year's resolutions is to keep better track of my book reading this year. Last year I did not keep close track and I know I read things that did not get recorded on my "Books Read" list.

I received the 10 books in the "39 Clues" kids' series for Christmas and finished the last one this morning. What fun reads!

DH: Said I could read the last novel he finished. 90,000 words, wowsers! I am stoked---he's let me read a sentence or chapter before, but never a whole book. Yay! I will start it this afternoon. :)


While cleaning our computer desk today, I found a few Emmaism's I haven't posted before.

9/18/10 While walking the dog with Grandpa:
"When it's hot outside, hot air comes out of your mouth."

11/11/10 On only wearing socks and underwear:
"Look, I'm a pattern: Naked, not naked, naked, not naked."

1/10/11: "I was just a little bit hot, so I took my shirt off while I was pretend cooking."
(See pics below.)

I think that's all the latest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2 Years

Tomorrow is the 2nd year anniversary of my miscarriage.

I can't help but wonder if I'll ever have the 2nd child I'm hoping for?

I can't help but think how different things could be right now.

I can't help but hope.

The saga continues...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Perfect Moment-New Year's Eve

As New Year's Eve approached this year, somewhere in the hubbub of the season Emma learned about "the ball dropping." She seemed fascinated by the idea and asked multiple times in the days leading up to New Year's if she could stay up to watch the ball drop on TV on New Year's night. I finally consented. (What Mom of a 6 year old DOESN'T let her child stay up until midnight the weekend before they return to school after winter break, right??) ;)

We stayed up watching movies, cuddled under a big blanket with our comfy PJ's on. At 11:30 we turned on the New Year's Rockin' Eve show. Still cozy...still cuddling. Still celebrating family togetherness.

The countdown occurred. The ball dropped....the confetti fell...the people on TV kissed (earning "eeeewwwws" from Emma.) All of the above was "perfect," but more was to come.

Just after midnight, neighbors down the street from us started shooting off fireworks. Emma and I grabbed slippers and went outside in our PJs, coats, and wrapped in blankets. We sat in our yard and watched the fireworks (nice show---lasted about 10 minutes!) During the fireworks, Em turned to me and said, "Aren't they beautiful, Mama?" My heart melted....my little girl doesn't call me "Mama" much anymore. The older she gets "Mommy" and "Mom" are the social norm. But when she was sleepy and happy and lost in the moment, it made a perfect moment for me.

(To read about other "perfect moments," check out Lori's blog at Write Mind, Open Heart.)