Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today is my Birthday

Now I'm an official grown up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

But Can I Find a Snorkel & Flippers that Match My Purse?

Apparently I spoke too soon.

Once the eye passed us late yesterday afternoon, it began to rain. It is now almost 7:30pm the next evening and it hasn't stopped yet - that's over 24 hours of rain, folks. Our pool has not flooded, but I do have about a standing inch of water in the front yard.

The wind has picked up considerably again this afternoon - so much so that I was incredibly nervous driving home, and schools have been closed again for tomorrow.

Fay, GET OUT!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wet With Cabin Fever

Thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay, we've been out of school for 2 days now. Thankfully, neither day was really warranted for where we are (And be assured that our hearts go out to those whose lives have been drastically changed by this storm. There are folks who are going to need a LOT of help after all this.)

But seriously, the storm path has pretty much looked like this:

So the school boards keep shutting down the schools! I can't blame them, but there's only so much time you can stay indoors before you begin contemplating putting yourself on ebay.

A friend and I decided to combine forces. There is some weird law of nature that says the more kids you combine, the more they will occupy each other & stop annoying you. (up to an unspecified limit!). Since our kids are essentially the same ages, it worked well.

We baked lots of chocolately goodies (krispy treats, chocolate chip cookie bar, cheesecake cheeseball, and chocolate pudding pie, pictured here)

The girls played Barbies.

Lots of dress up.

Pop in a movie when we can't think of any more indoor stuff.

Toss the kids outside when we can't take the running around anymore!

They're ingenious - check out their rain shelters!

Checking out the storm that isn't there (this was while the eye was over us).

The storm inside was far greater than the one outside!!

The eye has passed us, so we are back in wet, rainy conditions. Schools are supposed to be open tomorrow, though. Fingers crossed - we are not out of the woods yet, since the storm is going to pass back over us AGAIN (remember that road sign?!), but we are in good shape for now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hurricane on the Horizon

Well, it's starting to look like Hurricane Fay is headed straight for us!! Granted, it's still a little early and she could still head in another direction, but I did stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few things. It helps to be a little prepared. Thankfully, although the stores are full of people, we do not seem to be in panic-buying mode yet.

I think I'm most worried about losing power for an extended period of time. I am slowly emptying our ice dispenser into Ziplock bags & stashing them all around the freezer. Then the icemaker will work all night long making more. We're eating our dinner out of the fridge/freezer tonight!

School has been cancelled for tomorrow, so now the dilemma is... what to spend the day watching? There are Olympics, but a well-selected list of movies could be just as fun. So far, I've thought of The Wizard of Oz, Twister, and Joe vs. the Volcano.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Rest of the Week

I seem to have forgotten that this is MY blog, and that occasionally I do like to talk about MYSELF. Because, quite frankly, it eases the need to endlessly talk off other people's ears about me.

I have all sorts of jumbled thoughts in my head, yet they seem to be unable to come out in a coherent format. The reason for that will eventually become apparent. Therefore, we will revert to a bullet-point list. Without the bullets. Hopefully not without points.

* My first day of school went quite well. Even with five completely different classes. I managed to maintain the light-yet-serious tone, conveying that they are about to have their heads spun in all kind of direction, but that they would love it. Or at least tolerate it.

* Amazingly, I have not lost anybody from my roster during the past week once said speech was made. (The two who dropped before they even got to class don't count.). We are nowhere near the end of add-drop yet, though.

* In an unprecedented move, I convinced a student to JOIN my regular chemistry class. I am still reeling with shock.

* Thursday & Friday were the high school retreat. Once we have the business of Wednesday out of the way, it allows us time to grow together as a group, dig a little deeper, and try to lay a strong spiritual foundation for the year.

* Translated: Retreat involves lots of group games, potentially gross stuff, and lots of bonding because the groups are comprised of students from all four grades. We also have lots of worship times - singing & listening to a speaker.

* Friday night, I chaperoned the all-night senior party, as they needed another female chaperone. At one point, we went bowling. I still have it!! *bragging warning* Scored a 147, 164, 156, 167, and 135. I was pretty tired by the last game. Wondering if I can somehow use bowling skills to start hustling on the weekends.

* I managed to grab about 4 hours of sleep this morning, but even I can't rationalize sleeping past 11am.

* I am continuing to feel very positive about this school year & the new administration. This next week will be the true test of us all, and I know it will be painful. But it has to be done.

* I am not looking forward to doing lesson plans tomorrow. Ouch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First Day

The morning started off like many others - dark and quiet. I heard my alarm clock for the first time in a couple of months. Can't say that I liked it, but it was necessary or I never would have gotten out of bed!

By 6:15 I had woken up enough to see if Bird was up yet - by some small miracle (or is it Murphy's Law?) she was still sleeping in her bed. Naturally, I spent a moment watching her breathe (even though she's five, it's still as pretty as when she was an infant) before pouncing on her.

Amazingly, when she's waking up she still stretches just like she did as a baby. And when I whispered in her ear that "Kindergarten starts TODAY!", she was sunny side up in an instant.

Everything about the day seemed bright and sunny to her. She even ASKED me to take pictures, rather than run from the room screaming "No more!!" A bit concerned over the size of her tote bag, she complained it was too heavy. I suspect the straps are still so new they are slippery, since I'm pretty sure she can handle carrying 10 pieces of paper.

It was very strange having someone in the backseat all the way to school, considering that normally I jettison the kids off partway. But it was nice having someone to talk to.

When we got to school they had the red carpet all rolled out and the music playing. (Really, they did! We try to celebrate the first day as much as possible.) The school mascot was out & roaming about, and we took our picture with him.

The elementary school has a tradition of starting the first day in the gym - it's the only place that will hold all the kids and at least one of their parents. It was neat - we pledged to the flag and sang a few songs together.

Eventually, they began dismissing everyone to their classrooms. They save kindergarten for last. Mainly because they ALL had parents, and we were all armed with cameras.

I was allowed to go with her as far as her classroom door. She had no problems waltzing right in.

I'm amazed at how one can feel joy, pride, and pain simultaneously.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's Either a Really Big Clock or my Heartbeat

Tomorrow is the first day of school. I'm not sure if I'm more nervous about teaching, or about bringing Bird to kindergarten. Pretty evenly split!

To quote the song from Les Miserables that's been stuck in my head all day:

Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store.
One more dawn...
One more day....
One Day More!!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

If this is the Pings, I'm not so sure how the Throbs will feel.

Today I took my baby Big Girl to Open House. We brought her copiously labeled supplies to her classroom so she could meet her teacher and set up her pencil box at her table.

We were not going into the room totally uninformed - Bird's teacher sent a lovely postcard last week, so we (as in Bird & I) looked up her picture on the school's website.

Last year Bird hung onto her Daddy when she went to her preschool open house. This year, I showed her the door to her classroom, she stepped in, glanced around, and made a beeline for her teacher to go say hi. To say I was shocked is a bit of an understatement! Though it quickly gave way to warm pride.

Her friendliness did not extend to her classmates yet; she didn't acknowledge any of them, choosing instead to play by herself in the middle of them.

Seriously, when did she get old enough for this?! And how am I supposed to take her for real next week?!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Part of the 'fun' of preplanning is all the wonderfully long faculty meetings to catch up on policy, protocol, and general information. This year is no different in the sense that we have had a meeting every morning, yet the way in which they are conducted has drastically changed this year. We have a new principal, and the difference between this guy and the last one is.... amazing. Night and day.

It's made me realize how lazy I've been in certain things. Okay, I knew I was lazy, but didn't care - and nobody else did either.

It's made me realize several things about good leaders:

- Leaders create teams, naturally fostering teamwork.
Yes, we all work well within our departments. And yes, many of us are friends across 'enemy lines.' But this guy has us working even harder to improve communication amongst each other.

- Leaders have information, and they share it with you.

We all have questions. He actually has ANSWERS! Sometimes, he even has answers before we ask the question. Not only that, he shares them with us. Honestly, it's nice just to be respected as professionals.

- Leaders do not want busy work.

Paraphrased quote: Do this (yes, he was more specific then) with your lesson plans. If I find I'm not reading them, I'll let you know & you can stop.

Furthermore, our meetings have agendas, and although he is not truncating helpful discussion, he is on a mission so that we can get back to our classrooms and get some work done.

- Leaders ask you to do an incredible amount of work.... and you find yourself WANTING to do it for them.

Seriously. We received quite a pile today, and nobody has complained. Including me!

I have incredibly high hopes for this year. We have a school culture to improve, and it seems like our ship finally has a captain.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He Does Make Me Laugh

Husband: What are you doing?
Me: Labeling Bird's school supplies.
Husband: Didn't you already do that?
Me: I thought I did. But apparently you're not supposed to label the box; you have to take all the pencils out & label each one individually.
Husband: How many pencils are there?
Me: 48. And then there's all the crayons and markers....
Husband: Do you have to label the plastic bags too.
Me: I don't think so. I hope not!
Husband: Because if you do, we could look into nicknaming her Ziplock.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Their Interpretation


Bug: Goodnight Mommy!!
Me: Goodnight Bug. (actually looking up from my book to kiss him) Bug, where's your pajama shirt?
Bug: I don't want to wear it.
Me: Oh honey, you might get very cold tonight without a shirt. Go put one on.
Bug: Okay! (runs off)

(a few minutes later)
Bug: Goodnight Mommy!!

I look up to see a boy in his pajama shirt, but now with no pants.

* * *


Bird: What does my shirt say?
Me: Daddy's Little Girl
Bird: (incredulously) Daddy was a little girl???!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another Beginning

It's that time of year again: Preplanning - preparing for another year of school. No, I have no idea why we HAD to come back to work on a Friday; I would have preferred one more uninterrupted weekend, to tell the truth. One less day to wake up to my alarm clock. But that is not to be.

I thought this picture (which I found here) was singularly appropriate. Mainly because of the 8 tentacles, and how I sometimes wish I had 8 hands of my own. (or should that be 6 hands and 2 feet? whatever.)

Over the summer I learned that I will be stretched in an entirely new direction this school year - mathematics. In addition to the 3 different chemistry and 1 physics class that I already teach, administration has seen fit to "gift" me with a section of Algebra I. Never mind that I have never taught math. Never mind that I really don't understand why people don't understand math. (that's the part that actually concerns me most.) Never mind that without this class, I will not be classed as 'full-time', even though I taught the same classes (and the same number of sections last year) and retained full-time status.

I could start off the year bitter and worried. Truthfully, I feel neither. Not to say that I haven't been angry at the situation, or felt little more than a doormat at times as this mess unfolded, but the situation isn't changing. Therefore, I must change the way *I* look at and deal with it.

I am a teacher. Although I never purposefully set out on this path, it is where I have been lead, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am in the position I am SUPPOSED to be in. For whatever reason, I apparently need to brush up on my algebra skills. This is not a bad thing. I also need to acquire some algebra teaching skills, but that will come. My prayer is that they do not come at the expense of me teaching my other classes well.

I do look forward to today - there are plenty of friends that I have not seen over the summer, and it will be fun to catch up. We have a new high school principal, and although I have met him once, I want to see more of how he acts in groups. There are plans afoot that I wish to know more about.

Besides, there are not many jobs in which one receives a fresh slate once a year. It's my duty to create the masterpiece upon it.