Monday, December 31, 2012

12 in '12

So, it doesn't seem like a full year since I've done this.  Nonetheless, I thought I would give it another try.
12. Favorite movie you watched:
My DH and I went to see the Avengers together.  Prior to that my movie going experiences for the year had been Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Dog Days and Ice Age:  Continental Drift (I think).
11. Favorite TV series:
I've always really liked this show, but this year we decided to go down to the bare minimum channels with Dish.  Therefore, I watch more network television than I did before (if I watch at all).
10. Favorite restaurant:
My DH and I tried this out on our anniversary, and it was quite possibly the best steak that I have ever had.  Ever.
9. Favorite new thing you tried:
I ran my first 5K in October.  It was awesome to run and pray with other believers from my community.
8. Favorite gift you got:
My DH, dad, brother-in-law and two friends moved my piano from my parent's house to mine.  I took lessons from 5-18, and then didn't have a piano until now.  I love, love, love to play.
7. Favorite thing you pinned:
Still no Facebook and no, no Pinterest.
6. Favorite blog post:
I read through the ones I did this year (few and far between, I know).  I think the one titled, "Just How Far" is my favorite simply because it reminds me of who I am.  And while I am not doing exactly what I feel called to do this year, there is opportunity to be a change-agent in my school.
5. Best accomplishment:
I traded in my black and gold for black and orange in a surprise move to my town's district [thereby breaking my losing streak of applications/interviews (if I even got one).]
4. Favorite picture:
I took this one from out of the truck window as we were heading to the State Park for vacation.  The sun was beaming down with the promise of relaxation and my DH and I could feel the calm starting to wash over us.
3. Favorite memory:
Definitely it has to be taking the monkeys on their first float trip.  It was a short day trip, but they had a total blast! 
2. Goal for 2013:
I will apply for the graduate program for a MSE in Autism Studies.
1. One Little Word:
GIVE!  Every day.  Of my time, of my money or just encouragement.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dear Readers(?),

Please excuse my three month absence.  Part of my New Year's Resolutions will be to actually write here.  I don't really know why I stopped in the first place.  I love to write.  I love being read.  Life got busy and sometimes it's just easier to do something else than what you really need to do (like not writing rather than just starting back up).  Unfortunately, I had a lot of really great stories to tell, and just didn't tell them.  So, on the eve of my 37th (gasp...when did I get within striking distance of 40?) birthday, I resolve to write, write, write.

Frau M.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Festivus for the Restivus

No, we did not have a pole nor did we wrestle, but we did have a LOT of fun (by we, I mean the attenders of this extravaganza...and maybe some of the workers).  Yesterday, my church put on a Fall Festival for our community.  In the past it was a Halloween alternative, but has shifted to a full-on festival complete with zebras in the petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games, bounce houses, haywagon rides and of course, free food.  Last year was the first year and it was pretty good.  This year, my church knocked it out of the park.  And I couldn't be more proud to say that my sister is in charge of the whole thing.

She managed to organize (her lists had lists) and execute an event attended by close to 600 people (judging by the number of hotdogs I wrapped, yesterday and the number of times my DH circled the church with his tractor and haywagon) with grace and by all appearances ease.  She did this while successfully implementing 8th grade CCSS and getting observed with the new PBTE model (all teachers are observed 10 times in a year).

Yesterday, I think I told everyone I talked to that she was the one who organized the event.  I can only aspire to be as awesome as she is (and try really hard, too...sibling rivalry doesn't ever just go away).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cubscout, you have a call?

So, the other day the home phone rang, and I answered it thinking, "Dang election...wish it was November 12th already."  But, this time, it wasn't for the head of the household nor the lady of the house.  It was for the Cubscout.  Hold. The. Phone (literally).  I found the Cub and told him with question marks in my eyes, "It's for you."  He took the phone from me and went into his room for more privacy (since when does he need privacy?).  Does this mean that his world does not revolve around his family (particularly his mother)?  When did this happen?  Why is my baby growing up?

Another "wait, what?" moment came when I received the permission slip for him to see "the movie" (you know, the movie).  I knew this would only bring questions my DH has to answer (I'm in charge of the Clover's questions).  So, the other day, the entire 4th grade boy population viewed the movie and now my Cubscout is sporting Umbro Power deodorant (because, "Mom, it's not cool to smell bad.").

It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny baby (actually, he's never been tiny...he was 9 lbs. 6 oz. at birth, afterall).  I really wish I could slow things down a bit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I had a rabbit in my class

(I know, right?).  This story is only kind of sad (because the "had" just means the rabbit isn't in my room anymore, not that she went to the big cloverfield in the sky).

So I got my year off to a rockin' start, so far.  My students have the sense of urgency that they need.  I am loving my new district.  Loving.  So what better way to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing?  Get a class pet, of course.  One day, my next door colleague was telling about how she had a rabbit in her class last year, but now has a guinea pig, and she really didn't know what to do with Nala (weird name, I think...for a rabbit).  I'm not sure what possessed me, but I said, "OHHHHH...I had a rabbit as a pet once, and I loved her."  NDN (Next Door Neighbor) said, "Do you want another one?"  and I said, "Sure."  Then she practically screamed, "OK! No backsies!"  And that, friends is how I got a rabbit.

Nala was the kind of class pet that is extremely low maintenance.  I just opened the cage door, and out she hopped to hang around the classroom.  My class LOVED her.  In fact, she was a better classroom manager than I may ever be because she instinctively hopped back in her cage when the room got a little too noisy, and that did the trick (some teachers use a Yacker Tracker...well I had a living one).  The biggest privilege in the world for my class was to be chosen to give her a carrot treat at the end of the day.  

And then came the sad news...
My principal called me into the office to tell me that Nala had to find a new home because she was a fur-bearing animal in an allergy-free room.  Rookie mistake on my part for not checking.  So, I tried not to cry, and said I would move her out and tell the class in the morning.  Let me just say that class meeting consisted of a lot of tears.

Enter:  my mom.  She said she would take Nala until the end of the year, because I want her.  I loved having a bunny.  So currently, in my old bedroom, is my mom's office and one rabbit.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Who's Up for Some Shenanigans?

Normally, I would say, "Not it!" when asked.  But when said shenanigans present themselves as a nice surprise, I'm all in.

So this morning, I got up and started my routine (if I'm being truthful, I promised myself that I'd get on the treadmill after school, and hit snooze instead...but I did do my quiet time, so that counts for something, right?).  The monkeys' alarm went off, and I heard the grumbly moans of two elementary kids who are not morning people.  They came in the living room and as we were discussing breakfast options (I actually get to cook things in the morning now because of my 5 minute commute), my phone blinged the message sound.  I checked it and GUESS WHAT!?  NO SCHOOL!!!  Apparently, there is no water in town (we are on a we are safe).  It is early in the year for this.  We'll still have to make it up, but the weather is nice and we can go and do things that have been neglected this week.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm Two Days In...

and here is what I know.
  • Parents in my new school are super involved.  I mean super.  One year in old district, I went almost to Christmas Break before I received email from parents (I sent them, along with our newsletter and things).  Here, I get two or three a day.  Not even the kind that a teacher dreads opening because it's negative.  These are the, "Just checking in on so-and-so" kind.  Weird for me.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do any homevisits this year (yes!).
  • My new school's jeans policy rocks because now, instead of waiting for the last Friday of the month (or shelling out $5 for every charity, ever), it is every Friday.  Though, I did buy some trouser jeans because I'm not really comfortable wearing weekend wear at school.
  • School lunch has a fresh fruit bar and salad every day.  Love that!
  • I have the most experience of anyone in my building working with Autistic students (that's not saying a lot because I only have a little training and one year of Sped experience).  Today in an assembly, my heart broke when provisions for our Spectrumy guys weren't made (ear phones, preferential seating, etc.).
  • Second graders at the beginning of the year take a million times longer to do anything than you have written in your planbook.  Seriously.  How long does it take to do an assessment with the suggested time of 15 minutes? (the answer is almost 40).
  • I'm so glad it is the weekend so that I can enjoy my own children.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Civic Duty, Chicken Bandit(s?), Panic Attacks and Dejavu

That sums up my last 24 hours.  So let's go in order of the title. 

I voted today (it's kind of a big deals as my DH's boss is the Sheriff and he goes up for reelection every 4 years).  I left the polling place wondering...Why is it that all election volunteers are octogenarians?  Why don't people look at the ballot before they get there (it saves time if one knows for whom/what office she is voting)? Did I just cancel out my DH's vote on more than one issue?  So I have another "I Voted" sticker for my collection.

We are down 6 chickens (I know...that leaves us with 34...still too many).  But, I don't care for finding the bloody remains of chickens who walked a little too far from the coop.  I stayed around the homestead today watching for whatever is getting the chickens, but the culprit did not show himself (not that I'm too handy with the .410, but I would have made an effort).

I am one week out from Open House and there is so much to do.  So much.  My sleep has been disrupted for the last two weeks while visions of bulletin boards danced in my head.  It's not my first rodeo, but I still get butterflies.

Yesterday I spent the day in a "training" about the new math curriculum.  I think that the textbook distributors should make sure their presenters are former teachers and have a functioning understanding of the curriculum.  Just saying.  I also think that even though I'm in a new district and the faces are different, teaching is teaching no matter where it is.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Trouble with Tapeworms

So I blew off going to my classroom yesterday in the interest of picking up my engagement ring from the jewelry repairman (the prongs were worn down and I was one good knock away from screaming, "NOBODY Move!" to an entire class of second graders).  The jewelry store just so happens to be in one of my favorite shopping areas, so yeah, I did that, too.  Old Navy was having some crazy good sales on kids clothes ($10 jeans!).  The Clover is easy to shop with.  She zeroes in on what she likes, can always find her size and pretty much rocks it (she did once ask me if I thought our cat thought that she (Clover) was fashion forward).  So it was easy finding things for her.  I had to limit it, actually.  The Cubscout, on the other hand, is hard.  Like most boys, he doesn't like to shop.  He just doesn't get excited about all the new polos/socks/underwear/whatever.  I finally got him to pick two t-shirts himself (Angry Birds and Diary of a Wimpy Kid), but then it was back to, "meh".  I asked him at one point, "Do you just want me to pick some things and tell you 'wear this' every morning?"  He said, "That would be fine."  So, with a newfound license to dress my son the way I want, we headed to the jeans.  Now, my son is skinny.  When I say skinny, I mean really skinny (he eats and eats and eats, I promise).  I picked a pair of 12 Slim jeans, but didn't notice that they were relaxed fit.  He came out and they were wearing him.  So I switched him to straight fit.  The same.  The helpful clerk said, "Maybe you should try a slim."  I said, "These are slim."  She was all like, "Wow.  He's skinny."  I fought the urge to say, "Ya think?"  Then we headed to a different store.  Same results.  The 10's are too short and the 12's are too wide.  He has only one pair of pants that fit in his drawer at home.  I asked my DH what he thought.  He said that when he was a boy, he could only wear Wranglers (as lanky runs in the family).  So today, we are off to the Farm & Home in an effort to find some that we're almost out of chicken feed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Girls' Weekend

-OR- How I spent my spending money for the month on restaurant food
-OR- Why attention to details is important
-OR- If I ran a hotel built in 1905, I'd have cleaned the carpets at least once during the century

My sister-in-law, Tex, turned 50 this weekend (I don't know if I have ever mentioned that my DH Is the youngest of 10 kids), so my sisters-in-law decided that we would meet up in a tourist town one state away from her and us for a fun spa weekend.  I wasn't sure if I was going to go.  I hate to be away from home, even for a night.  Plus, I'm not their sister.  But the other two gals who married the brothers didn't get invited and Tex is FUN-NY!  So, I decided at the last minute to go.  Every email I read about the weekend said 28th and 29th.  So I packed my bag and met up with them in the Holler (the people of the town call it's not just me being a city girl...I promise).  So we pile in the car and start cruising south for a weekend of fun.  We're making casual conversation and I ask the agenda for the weekend.  The sister in charge of it all tells me we're going to check in, go to dinner and then out Saturday.  Sunday morning we have brunch at the hotel followed by shopping and then whatever that evening.  We'll leave around 10AM on Monday.  Hold. The. Phone.  I thought that we were coming back on Sunday night...late.  So clearly, I hadn't made arrangements for the monkeys, nor told my DH that I wouldn't be back until Monday.  So I said, "I need to make a call."  I called my DH and started with, "I love you.  We aren't coming back until Monday.  I'll call my mom."  He was disappointed.  I called my mom and asked her to come over and watch the monkeys on Monday when my DH went to work (SURPRISE, MOM!).  Everyone in the car got a kick out of the situation.  They asked me if I had enough clothes packed to which I said, "This is me we are talking about...I just don't have as many options now."

Fast forward to arrival.  We ate at some restaurant called the Rowdy Beaver (I wish I was joking) and as I was picking at my $10 burger that was marginal at best (pink meat and bacon aren't my thing), I came to the realization that I might not have brought enough cash with me, and if I wanted to eat this weekend, I wouldn't be able to shop.  Finally, we made it to the hotel.  It was awesome looking from the outside:  built in 1905 with all original woodwork and tiling.  We got to the room and well...let's just say that housekeeping isn't a priority there.

Later that night, we went out.  Two of the girls got their drink on.  Two hung back and watched/kept the other two out of trouble.  Two left when it got too loud (that was me and my sister-in-law who is also a teacher).  We headed back to the room, watched the Olympics for a few minutes and fell asleep.  Good on us the next morning when we were functioning members of society.  We went to brunch and shopped our way back to the hotel.  The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. 

On Monday, after tearful goodbyes to Tex, we headed back to the Holler where we had left our cars.  I headed out for home, and made it a whole hour before I was expected (I thought we'd be back later...I didn't speed).  I was so glad to be back.  It's not that I had a bad time.  It was fine, good even.  It's just it would have been better if my family was with me. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make that 35

Yesterday, I posted that we have a "farm" at my house due to the number of chickens we are keeping for the moment (hopefully Craigslist will come through for me and we can adopt some of them out as I don't like the idea of butchering anything with a name).  Last night, at gate closing time, we were down one chicken.  The white one we call Missy (as in, "Listen, Missy..." was missing (bringing the total down to 29).  My DH and I looked for her all around the back yard and neighbors field to no avail.  No feathers, no blood, no telltale signs of her demise.  So imagine my surprise this afternoon when I went out to refill their water containers for the 2nd time (did I mention it's hot as blazes around here?) and there she was.  And what was following her?  Five tiny chicks, of course!  The peepers look to be only a day or so old.  That tricky hen knew if she laid eggs where I could find them, they would be omelets in the morning.  So what did she do?  What all smart hens do, she hid herself and her nest just past the poison ivy, waaaaay deep in the honeysuckle bush.  As, I feel my summer slipping through my fingers, I have one more thing to add to the SBL (Summer Bucket List).  So right after the trip to Legoland and Chuck E. Cheese's (not in the same day as I don't hate myself) now comes get rid of 5 more chicks.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Some like it hot...

Some like it when the heat is on, too.  But, I'm not one of those people.  It is all I can do to make sure there are no chicken/cat/dog fatalities here on the "farm" (if one has more than 10 counts as a farm, and we have 30 thanks to the monkeys shoving eggs back under the hens during brooding season).  Notice, I didn't mention the grass (because it has been dead for a few weeks at this point).  I was 13 in 1988 when we had a summer like this here in the Midwest, but I don't remember it.  I do remember going to the pool every single day one summer (maybe that's the summer).  This summer we can't even say, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."  I wish it was humid.  I wish my hair was a little out of control.  I wish I wasn't worried about the water table and its implications for our well.  But, I am.  There's nothing I can do but, continue to pray for rain.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Couch to 5K

Yesterday morning my DH asked me if I wanted to work out with him this morning.  He works out every morning, pretty much.  And because our lives are crazy busy (mine not so much right now) and I like to hang out with him (I know, married 13 years and we still like each other...weird), I said yes.  I don't think he believed me.  Well fast forward to 5:36 (random isn't it?) and up he was changing into his workout stuff (at least I think he was based on the sound as my eyes weren't open, yet).  I heard him go downstairs.  Then, the guilt set in.  I said I would join him, but I hate working out.  Hate it.  So I struggled out of bed, changed into my running shorts and shirt, and down to the workout/family room I went to hit the treadmill.  I brought with me my couch to 5K in 10 (!?) short weeks plan.  I have no intention of entering a 5K, but I do like an organized plan and this was it.  So there I was at dark-thirty...sweating to KLOVE.  I'm not sure if I'll join him tomorrow, but I don't like starting over all the time.  Plus that, I didn't put "add one size to your pants" on my summer to-do list, but have managed to accomplish it anyway (thanks a lot nearby Russell Stover's outlet).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Can Still See the Forest

BUT, not for long.  In a few short weeks we all will be in it (I'm just assuming that nearly everyone who reads this is a teacher as well).  I was talking to my sister before heading to my new room to work (I forgot how time consuming it is to set up a classroom from scratch).  Anyway, I said that summer vacation has two sections...slowing down followed by careening.  Slowing down is the first few weeks where we teachers sleep, laze around, possibly take a vacay, and basically just recover from 180 days of working with small people.  We are on the slow uphill of vacationing.  Then...BOOM!  We hit the summit of vacation and suddenly begin careening toward August.  That has happened to me already.  I am quietly freaking out that there is no way that I can possibly get everything that I want to do done before the 16th.  No way.  I know that I will, but it's hard to feel that when there are still 10 boxes in the middle of my classroom floor.

So far, I've settled on a few things...
Daily 5 and CAFE are a must in my room
My classroom will have a superhero theme
I'm going with PBS and a fancy behavior movement chart for classroom management
In case of apocalypse, I will not be hurting for any sort of office supply (I believe the teacher before me had some sort of supply hoarding issue).

So here's to the last few precious weeks of summer and not having to eat too many Tums.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Times they are a changin'

Have you ever wanted something, but didn't really know it?  So, you didn't try to get what it was?  Well, I did, and here's the story (sorry I couldn't tell anyone until it was all official).

For the past 14 years, I have taught in the same district about 17 miles from my house.  I've taught 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th grades.  This year, I spent the year with the Autism program.  I loved my district (though sometimes more than it loved me).  I got my MSE in administration and said the only way I would leave was for a principal job.  So this year, I applied for the AP job at the Middle School in my town (also where the monkeys attend).  I didn't get it, but they still had my file. 

Fastforward to the end of the year this year.  On the last day of school, my placement for next year was uncertain.  It was contingent on the skill set of a new hire that hadn't been made (I am good at MS Autism but also would like to try out Elementary, but if the new hire was better...I'd stay put).  I wasn't really worried. 

Then, a 2nd grade position opened up in hometown district.  My sister was on me about applying (she came from my district and now teaches in hometown district).  So, my mom called me one day and told me, "You should apply for that 2nd."  I said, "I don't know.  I'm not really feeling it.  But, if God wants me there, they'll call me."  This was in the parking lot of the library (we patronize the college library during the summer because it allows me to check out professional books and the children's collection is huge because of it being an education college).  So I hung up and we went in.  Whilst in the stacks, my phone rang.  I dashed to hit ignore and we proceeded to check out our finds.  When I got to the parking lot, I checked my voicemail.  It was the principal of Elementary #2 in hometown district calling for an interview.  Apparently, the superintendent's secretary (aka my sister's mother-in-law) moved my file from the administration stack to the teaching stack.  I called back and the interview was set up for the following Wednesday.  On Wednesday, I went in and pretty much hit it out of the park.  The principal said she would call on Friday or Monday.  However, on Thursday morning (less than 24 hours since the interview) I was offered the job.  I accepted (my DH and I had already had discussions about the scenario).  Then, I headed to my district to resign.  I made it with 15 minutes to spare before June's board packet had to be turned in (in July, there's a possibility of being fined).

Yesterday, I went in to sign my contract.  I am so excited for this change.  I feel like I was almost recruited to be here (the extra money without the commute is nice, too).  I am a little sad about leaving special education/letting people down, but I know those opportunities may present themselves here later on.  It's just amazing to me how God saw fit to make everything fall into place/open doors that couldn't be shut.

P.S.  Gold star to you if you knew that the title is a Bob Dylan song (two gold stars if you knew that song before it was on the Watchmen soundtrack).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Lazy River...or is it?

My all-time favorite thing at the aquatic center in the next town over is the Lazy River.  Mostly because no one invades my personal space like in the big pool (since when does my foot look like a dive ring anyway?) or the sprayground (you know, with the fountains and big tippy bucket and one jillion small children with their parents).  The Lazy River gives each person her own personal bubble in the shape of an innertube.  The other reason is that there is no work involved (hence the name).  Park your bottom inside the middle, shove off and there you go. 

However, having two second graders with you (one of whom is not your own) is a game-changer for my trusty cooloff with little effort activity.  The Lazy River becomes (insert ominous music here)...the CRAZY RIVER!  Yesterday, my monkeys invited a friend each to the water park.  The Cub and his friend were pretty easy (there was the overall willy-nillyness of two boys who want nothing more in life than to be independent, but nothing major).  The Clover and her friend and the river were another story entirely.  First, there was the, "We'll just push off before she can so we'll be by ourselves."  Then there was the "I will perform gymnastic feats upon my tube." 

But what made it the crazy river?  Getting out.  The reason no effort is involved in floating, is the current.  Said current can't be bested by two young girls whose heads are barely above the water.  So when it is time to switch locations, it's up to the adult to get out of her own tube, while holding onto the other two and pull them out of the current (because if one lets go...the girl will have to go around the loop...again.).  That's what I did and also why my arms hurt today.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Be Still my Mother/Teacher heart!

Yesterday, I took the monkeys to the library at the local University.  I am an alumnus, so I still get to check out books for free (it's $15 for everyone else).  Why the University library?  Well, because our tiny town's library doesn't have enough non-fiction for there's an elevator. 

When we arrived, we made our way to the 3rd floor and settled into the fiction alcove (I try to read all the state award nominees each summer).  I made my selections and we headed over to the non-fiction alcove where the Clover made hers (if you guessed all the books she chose were about chickens, you get a gold star).  Then, the Cubscout wanted to check the card catalog for a Star Wars book.  We went to the computer where he promptly put in the information he needed (Yay for the awesome librarian at his school!).  We found that the only Star Wars books in the library were either special collection for library use or adult fiction.  So, he asked if he could just go look at the adult fiction to see.  So, I said, "Yes." (Mostly because when I was his age someone thought that I should be looking at easier books, when I could read older ones and it really made me mad).  Then, this is the totally cool part...I showed him how to find it.  As an elementary student, he is used to going alphabetically or by Dewey, but yesterday he learned Library of Congress.

He found his book, pulled it off the shelf, held up one hand and opened the book with the other, then started reading.  HE WAS DOING THE FIVE FINGER RULE!!!  Without my prompting!!!  He got to the end of the first two paragraphs without lifting one finger and said, "I think this will do.  What do you think?"  I told him, I thought it would work as well.  Then we decided that because of the length, he should only check out one (too many library books around the house makes me nervous).

I had one more book that I wanted to check out over in the stacks.  Asked me if he could try to find it.  Of course I said yes, because I only showed him that one time how to find a book.  So, he took my slip with the call number and headed down the aisles.  He got a little hung up on the third set of numbers, but after I showed him again, he found the book I was looking for.  It was a nerdy treasure hunt.  I was so proud, I almost cried in the library.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So, last Friday was my last contract day.  I went over to school yesterday to finalize some paperwork with my process coordinator.  So now, ladies and gentlemen, I am SUMMER WIFE (and mom)!!!  Who is Summer Wife, you ask?  Well, she's the one who keeps up with the laundry, vacuums even if people aren't coming over, cooks things from scratch and packs a lunch for the DH in the morning.  Summer Mom has dozens of fun things planned because the monkeys and I cram as much vacay into the days as possible (ala Phineas and Ferb).  Now, my DH will argue that Summer Wife doesn't truly arrive until two weeks after school ends, because Narcolepsy Wife comes first.  But, I beg to differ.  So far, I have made three home cooked meals and the house is relatively clean.  Although, I did fall back to sleep after giving the monkeys breakfast and didn't wake up until 11:30...  (ahhh the life of leisure), so maybe he's right (I only said maybe). 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My friend

One of the funniest people I have ever known passed away yesterday.  We had worked together since 2004 in some way or another.  Most recently, we cowrote and received a grant for trade books to go with the math textbook at my old school.  This year, I moved to another school in order to make the switch to sped.  I didn't do a good job at keeping up with people.  Of course there were the typical run-ins at district meetings and such, but nothing more than that.  I knew the cancer was back, but I took for granted that she was strong and she had gone into remission once before.  So why wouldn't she win again? So I lost touch.  It still didn't seem real on Friday when I was told the hospital had called in her family.  On Saturday morning, one of my friends from my old school called to tell me that my friend had passed an hour earlier.  I took a few minutes and cried for her and the husband with 3 children she left behind.  Then my husband said something like, "She was a funny, funny girl and there is no way your crying would make her happy." So true.  The last time we spoke she told me crying wasn't allowed from me and she needed me to be funny so she wouldn't have to put on a brave face for my benefit.  So I am reposting one of my favorites because it is about my friend Lynn.

Every year we drew names for Secret Santa.  Every year, you hoped someone good got your name.  By good, I mean someone who doesn't think fruitcake is a delicacy.  So when I drew, and got a good friend of mine (who definitely likes what she likes), I saw my opportunity.  I immediately knew that I was going to prank her.  I went to my mom's house and asked, "Hey, do you have any old junk that I could regift to my friend for Secret Santa?"  She was more than happy to help me with my joke, and out from under the bathroom sink, she pulled a package of champagne bubble baths (still in their box).  The cellophane was coming off and the Walmart sticker (old green kind) was still there.  I had struck gold.  I gathered up some other things from my house (to be honest what teacher doesn't have some stuff to regift?).

On Monday, the trick began.  I can't really remember the order of the gifts that I gave (one was a gourd painted like an apple with a chip in the lid), but what I do remember is my friend showing me the "gifts" with an astounded expression and the words, "Look at this, LOOK AT THIS!"  By the end of the week, pretty much the whole school knew what was going on (it's amazing that no one told).  On Friday, I did give her real presents of things she actually does like.  She was a good sport (even though I'm not sure she has truly forgiven me).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So, I have this blog...

It's actually fairly funny.  You know, when I bother to write it.  Recently, I haven't really bothered (obviously).  Let me tell you why (or not because if I vomited the story of everything that has gone down over the course of the last month and a half all over you, I'd be fired and you'd have emotions all over your blouse).  Let me just tell you one thing.  This year has been hard and emotionally exhausting.  But, it is almost over.  Almost.  Because we still have 1.5 more days of surviving (if you think that's hyperbole, then you aren't an ASD teacher at the end of the year).  So with this snippet of a post, I recommit to bringing you the funny (I did still write even though I didn't there'll be some of that, plus family vacay is coming up and hilarity will ensue, no doubt).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Here's your sign

So this week, we started the dreaded state assessments.  Because I am the case manager for all students in the ASD program and I put the modification of testing individually on all of their IEP's, I was the one who got to test them.  Monday morning was committed to talking about what to expect and going over the visual schedule that we would use.  Tuesday, we started the daunting task of the actual testing.  I sharpened my #2 pencils (btw, if #2 pencils are soooo great, then why aren't they #1 pencils?), got my scrap paper ready and put the sign you see to the left on my classroom door.  Right in the middle.  Blown up to take up the whole 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper. Did that stop no fewer than 5 people from opening my door and asking "Oh, are you testing?"  No it did not.  I got so mad.  I asked our process coordinator if I could change locations.  He told me the only place left was in a tiny trailer used for administrator meetings behind our school.  I said, "I'll take it!"  I don't think he thought that I would because of the potential for volatility with my students.  So we moved our testing to the trailer and all was well (for which I am thankful).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Truth be Told

To say I'm a little fed up with a lot of things is an understatement.  On Monday (actually Sunday afternoon), I declared it "Off the Hook Week" (this is much like Shark Week, but waaaaay cattier). Many of my not-so-friendly colleagues got my full opinion whether they wanted it or not.  I really didn't hold anything back.  At all.  But, someone has to advocate for my students (and in one case one who isn't even mine, but needs a little compassion) because they can't do it for themselves or they will end up being written up for insubordination.  Also, on my behalf, I didn't say anything untrue nor unprofessional (although, there were definite words that came to mind).  I'm not sure what next week will hold as we begin state testing so I won't be out and about.  At least no one will have to worry about being quiet when I walk into a room.

In other news...
The baby bunny died today.  Fortunately, I discovered him and buried him prior to the monkeys' arrival home from school.  Still, they were sad and the Clover is currently coloring on a brick for the ever growing cemetery in the backyard.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's talk about chicks, man

That's right, not only since the addition of a new rooster have we been getting eggs each day, but now we are expecting chicks.  To be more specific, it is Quailey who is expecting chicks.  The Cub and Clover broke the news today when they went to tend the chickens after school.  The Clover came flying back to the house yelling, "When I tried to get the egg from Quailey, she went BOCK and tried to peck me!"  When my DH got home, I relayed the story and he went to check the situation.  Indeed, Quailey is a sitting hen.  I'm really excited for the Clover (none of the eggs in her class hatched this year).  I also know that when we got chickens, I didn't intend to start a hatchery.

In other news, we are also nursing a baby rabbit who has been abandoned.  He is so tiny, he fits in the palm of my hand (and his eyes aren't even opened).  I just hope kitten milk is an acceptable substitute for bunny milk (again for the sake of the Clover).

Gold star for anyone who knew the title was a "The Soup" reference.

Monday, March 26, 2012

C'mon Clover

These are the words of my son to his sister when he looked at her Study Island scores.  Yes, he hacked her account (why he didn't qualify for the gifted program, I'll never understand).  When he got in, he saw exactly what she had been doing in class.  And, it wasn't good enough for him.  This isn't the first time he has discussed her progress, though.  The first came a few weeks ago when gradecards came out.  Things come easy to the Clover so she doesn't really try very hard to do a good job.  She does a good job but she could do an awesome job with a little effort.  He looked over her reportcard (after taking it off the table where it was waiting Dad's approval).  He saw that she had scored Proficient on her 3rd quarter benchmark.  Proficient is fine, good even.  Advanced is the top (he had scored Advanced).  So, what did the Cubscout do?  He pulled her aside and said, "Really Clover  Proficient?!  That's all you can do?  Proficient is good for some, but not for someone in THIS family."  I wasn't really surprised at his reaction, nor the fact that his sister still could care less.  I was surprised that although I constantly encourage both of them, he still honed in on the competitive nature of our family.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And we know

All things work together for good for those who love God to those who are called according to his purpose.

Today I am holding onto that one.  You see my assistant principal is leaving at the end of this year.  So I thought I'd put my name in the hat of candidates.  Maybe this would be the year for me.  Don't get me wrong.  I love, love, love what I'm doing and I feel like I'm pretty good at it (well, at least we aren't regressing anyway).  But, I have this MSE in elementary administration and really that is where I'd like to end up eventually.  I found out at the end of the day that the calls for interviews had been made.  I can't say that I was surprised that I wasn't called, but it still hurts my feelings when my own district doesn't grant me an interview.  So, I'm throwing myself a small pity party then I'll put my gameface back on and do my job tomorrow because my guys deserve my best.  And, there's clearly a reason I didn't get picked this time (I just don't know exactly what it is).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How I got nothing accomplished this weekend

by Frau M.

Well, I did get one thing accomplished.  I read the Hunger Games from cover to cover (even going back and rereading some parts).  I bought the book in our book order this month.  I knew I had to save it until after conference week.  So after what will go down in my personal history as quite possibly one of the worst weeks of my life, I thought I should reward myself by reading for pleasure (gasp!).  I wasn't disappointed.  In fact, tomorrow, I am going to either buy or check out Catching Fire (really, it's that good).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whew! Glad that's over!

Apparently in the scheduling world, my administrator's philosophy is "Go Big or Go Home."  Because this week was a doozy.  As in the kind of week that makes every teacher who works with kids on the spectrum cry when they get home (never at school as that's a sign of weakness that vulturelike colleagues would take advantage of).  Add that in with my already hectic life with two monkeys and their various activities and, well...
This week looked like this:
Monday:  Last day to import grades, finish data collection pages, and rushed home only to find out that one of the errands I needed to run wasn't ready to pick up.
Tuesday:  Spring pictures, Lock-down drill, tornado drill, DARE for half my caseload and the other half met with teachers from their school next year to figure out scheduling (seriously, how much can you pack into one day?).  When I got home, we went directly to Cubscouts (the pinewood derby is coming up and the Cub needs to work on his car).
Wednesday:  Taught all day, had the first night of P/T conferences, left early to go teach at the community college (a new addition to my schedule) and headed home to fall comatose into my bed. 
Yesterday:  The school had the 3rd quarter PBS assembly, on-team parties followed by reward party (the kids who don't qualify for the second one go to a room and work...fortunately all my guys qualified because really, changing the schedule that much AND making them work in a room seems like it could go poorly for me), early out and the second round of conferences.
TODAY:  We get the day off to celebrate surviving!  I just put my monkeys on the bus (perk of teaching in a different district) and am headed to the living room to watch a little daytime TV and drink a cup (or 4) of coffee.

So happy Friday to everyone!  I hope your week was great (or at least you came out relatively unscathed).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daylight Savings Time...

is no friend of mine.  Aside from the entire, "Hey it's actually 4AM right now as you hit snooze for, what will be the first of 3 times." (running late and limping from my still sprained ankle is no picnic, btw), there are the obvious complications that come with a time change and ASD.  My guys already hated morning as is was, now add in a loss of one hour and sheesh.  There aren't words for the scene during my first hour (where we come together and get the day started).  Flophouse comes to mind.  I have several mats and bean bags outside the relaxation area (a small room with sensory lighting and pillows on the floor).  This morning the RA, and all the mats were occupied.  There were semi-comatose boys everywhere.  We made it through first hour and the shuffled off to their respective classes.  No one, came back to me for a break today, either (in retrospect, I should be concerned, or proud if I am an optimist).  Tomorrow is another day and hopefully the timechange will continue to go smoothly and all that will continue to result is tiredness.

Friday, March 9, 2012

First Liebster, Then Story

Ok, a while back Melly over at Stapler's Strategies awarded me with this...

It is meant to honor up and coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers (or in my case 20).  So with all the drama and hecticness that is having a car accident, I didn't quite get around to sharing it.  Until today.  I am choosing these blogs to recognize.

Rowdy in Germany
First Grade:  California Style
First Grade School House

So on with the story...As you may or may not know, I work with kids with ASD (hence the contingency-style title).  Part of the package with my kiddos is that they have to be taught the hidden curriculum (stuff we neurotypical people pick up on without being told).  For example, don't say whatever comes to mind is a good rule, but one that needs to be taught.  On Wednesday after school, I got my hair cut.  I had been wearing it up in a ponytail.  A lot (not a good look for me).  So, I finally went and got a sassy stacked bob.  My hair is naturally curly and this style is worn easiest with a little mousse/scrunch action (major time saver in the a.m.).  Yesterday, I walked into my classroom and a few of my boys were already there.  One took a hard look at me and said, "Ohhhhhh Frau M., are you ok?"  I immediately thought he was talking about my sprained ankle and said, "Yep, my ankle's wrapped nice and tight."  Then he said, "No, not your ankle, you look like you were roughed up this morning."  It caught me off guard but I manage to ask, "What do you mean?"  He was concerned about my purposely messy hair.  It also makes me wonder what kind of life he thinks I lead that I might be roughed up, ever.  Needless to say, next week we're going back to the lessons on tact.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where have I been?

Well to make a long story short, my beautiful new car was totaled on the 23rd (and I scared everyone I know).  No, no, no, it wasn't because I had it pegged out at 140 (because it could have gone that fast).  Another driver blew a stop sign and nailed me.  She hit me so hard I was propelled across three lanes of traffic.  Three lanes.  Yes, yes, yes, I'm fine.  I have a sprained ankle, but that's all.  I did get to ride in an ambulance (not exactly something on my bucket list, but hey).  My car though...the one I searched and searched for (and apparently took the dealer to the cleaners on) is history.  Cars, however, can be replaced.  I am blessed to be fine.  So that's where I've been.  I just couldn't write about it until now (without crying, and I hate to do that in front of others).  And nothing else seemed that important.  But now, look out...I have quite a few pages of my writer's notebook filled with things to tell.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

AWOLs, Cleavers and Chopper Jocks: A Guest Post

by Movin' on Up (Frau M.'s BFF)

Disclaimer:  My dear friend, Frau M., asked if I would be a guest author on her blog.  Although quite hesitant at first, due to the fact that I do not consider myself to be even in the same league of a writer as Frau M., I said that I would give it a shot.  I do take Bruno Mars’ songs to heart and truly believe that in all good friendships “You can count on me like one, two, three, I’ll be there.”  So it may not be quite up to par, but I shall try my best.

   Due to the fact that I have taught upper elementary in multiple districts which all had extremely different socio-economic demographics, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with some awesome kids.  Those same kids attach me to a whole other group of people altogether, their parents.  Not that I’m trying to be judgmental, but I have seen many types of parenting over the years.  I have narrowed down my list to three basic types of parenting styles that you may come across as a teacher. 

 AWOLs:  AWOLs are those parents that you try to make contact with throughout the year, but you just can’t seem to reach them.  You can try email, phone calls, notes home, etc.  but nothing seems to get through.  These same parents will somehow make it to conferences where you will finally be able to confer with them that their student is struggling behaviorally or academically.  Of course this is a shock, since they have been AWOL, and they proceed to tear into the teacher and want to know why it’s come to this.  They haven’t quite made the connection yet that being AWOL might be the problem behind everything, but we as teachers cannot actually say that.  These are always fabulous conferences, by the way. 

 Cleavers:  Cleavers are your ideal parents.  Why can’t we have a year with all Cleavers!?!  I name this group the Cleavers because the most famous perfect parents of all time are June and Ward Cleaver.  They help their kids with homework, make sure their child reads at home, send notes when something is difficult for their child so you know to give them extra support, respond to emails and phone calls, etc.  They are there for their kids and support the educational process.  What a novel thought!

 Chopper Jocks:  Chopper Jocks are by far my favorite parents. (insert sarcasm)  I’ve also heard of this group labeled as the hovercraft or the helicopter parents.  I’ve labeled them Chopper Jocks because that’s the slang term for a helicopter pilot in the military (I’m a proud army wife, by the way), and it’s super catchy!  Chopper Jocks are those parents that watch every single thing that you do.  For example, they may keep every single graded paper you send home and put it in a 3-ring, 3 inch binder that is separated by tabs for each subject area.  Then they bring it to conferences, flip it open, and while reading their notes that they have made in the margins ask you why you have graded their child the way you have.  Now doesn’t that sound like a fun time?  But that’s just an example. 

     So here I am pondering the parenting tactics of my own children, as I have three beautiful girls ranging from preschool to fifth grade.  Being a teacher and knowing the labels, you would think that I would fall into the Cleavers category, and most days I would hope the girls’ teachers would agree.  However, I know myself and would say that I could easily be pushed to the other side of Chopper Jock if necessary.  But because I am a teacher, I know the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education and being AWOL is not an option for me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Last Night

I didn't go to bed with high hopes of a day off.  I didn't do the customary flush of an ice cube.  I didn't wear my pajamas backward.  It wasn't even snowing when I went to bed (albeit early because of a full day of assisting with the running a wrestling tournament).  We have had 11 snow events this winter with a snowfall total of 0.7 inches.  So snow in the forecast doesn't really get my hopes up very high.

This morning, the alarm went off and I groggily rolled out of bed because it had started snowing and I knew I would need the extra time to make it to school.  I showered and made sure my legs were acceptable for swimming (the para who usually goes was going to be absent today).  I was running early (for once).  When I got back in my bedroom, my DH said, "Your phone has been going crazy."  Could it be?  The first text was from the Monkey's school.  Cancelled.  The next was from mine.  SNOW DAY!  The third and fourth were from friends whom I didn't text back until I got up again (around 9).

So here I am, lazing around the house because I am, well, lazy.  And I don't have to work.  Yay for the snow (and that this week will be a four day even though we have to go on Friday now).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

Sorry I have been absent, but this week was a little on the manic side of things.  I'll break it down quickly (starting from last Friday because that's when I stopped writing).

Friday:  Cubscout home sick.  He didn't have a fever, but he said he didn't feel well.  My DH had the day off and seeing as the Cub NEVER complains about going to school (he's nerdy just like me), he was allowed to crawl back into bed.  When I got home, he started running a fever.

Saturday:  Cub was feeling better so we ran some errands in town.  However, when we got home, he started back up with the fever.  There was no wrestling this weekend because we were going out of town to visit the in-laws before we totally get disowned (my DH was assigned call-out in addition to the potential illness of the Cub).

Sunday:  The Cub sounded like he had something in his throat when he talked.  Saltwater gargling commenced (I was pretty sure he had strep, but there aren't doctors open on the weekend).

Monday:  Long day at school for me, but not for the Cub as he stayed home with my mom.  At the Doctor's office, my suspicions were confirmed and he started a 10-day round of antibiotics.

Tuesday:  I saw behaviors that I had only read about in anecdotal records.  But, one day does not a failure make.  The Cub stayed home...again. 

Wednesday:  Everyone went to school.  The Cub had wrestling practice and someone pulled the fire alarm in the locker room when the little guys went to weigh-in for Saturday's tournament.  No one would confess.  The Cub and several other boys were eliminated as suspects immediately as they were in the weightroom when it happened.  However, because they are a team, they got punished as a team.  By punished, I mean they ran and ran and ran and did pushups and did pushups and did pushups.  I felt kind of bad for the Cub because until that day he had been on the couch.  Also, at practice the other moms and I did an aerobic routine called Turbo.  It. is. hard.  I (along with everyone else) was sooooooo sweaty when we were done.  It felt great though.

Thursday:  The highlight of my week.  I bought a new to me car!  It is beautiful and shiny and FAST!  It is a Mitsubishi Lancer ES with the body style of the GTS.  I love, love, love it!  The dealership came $3,100 off the asking price (and I got a job offer as a salesman due to my hard bargain driving).

Friday:  I showed off my car to my friends, taught all day and crashed down hard (13 hours of sleep).  The remainder of this weekend will be dedicated to youth wrestling as our club is hosting a tournament tomorrow. 

So, if I don't post again tomorrow, HAPPY WEEKEND to all of you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dear Ms. Walgreens checker,

I'd like to thank you for the huge compliment you gave me yesterday.  When you asked me, "Shouldn't you still be in school?" I was confused at first.  You may have noticed that I immediately reached for where my nametag belongs (it wasn't there).  You also may have noticed the confusion in my voice when I said, "We got out at 2:30."  There was no need to apologize after you told me that you thought I was ditching high school early.  None at all.  In fact, you may now be my hero.  Please don't feel silly, because if someone mistakes me for 18 (instead of 40...which I'm closer to), then they are a truly wonderful person.  Thank you again for the confidence boost.

Warmest Regards,
Frau M.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hard lessons

My church had a interim pastor for about a year.  He was a great teacher, and I probably learned more that I had for the longest time.  One of the best messages he gave was about dealing with when your feelings are hurt by someone.  There are three things you shouldn't do when you get your feelings hurt.
  1. Don't curse it (the person who hurt your feelings)
  2. Don't rehearse it (retell the story of how you have been wronged umpteen times)
  3. Don't nurse it (feel sorry for yourself about how you were treated unfairly)
As I was sitting there, I was thinking, "Well that's so not even me, because I just don't care what people think."  Ha.  The VERY next day someone did something that hurt me very badly, and it took all summer long for me to get to the place where I could even be in the same room with her.  We did finally have a conversation and I apologized for harboring a grudge and the things I had said (believe you me, it was NO picnic for this proud girl).

A while back, I was handed a big disappointment.  Big.  I was much more upset about it than I let on to anyone (must maintain laissez-faire attitude at all costs).  I had to revisit my notes from that message because I was having trouble letting go of it and having a good attitude even though my head knew the decision was a blessing in disguise.  It took quite a few prayerful commutes to get to where I am right now.  The place where I know the right decision was made.  Because really, praying for God's will just as long as it is the same as yours isn't how it works.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Who needs snow?

The winter that wasn't has its benefits.  Like today, it is 11:56...almost noon, and I am still in my sweats.  I haven't showered.  What have I done?  Well, to be quite honest...not much (two loads of laundry, tending the chickens and catering to the Clover who is still at home sick).  Why am I still in my sweats?  Did I take another day to stay home with the littlest monkey?  No.  No I did not.  My district embeds snow make-up days into the calendar, and with the "winter" we are having, we haven't had any snowdays.  So we automatically get the days that were embedded as we come upon them.  Part of me wishes that the district would just take the days off from the end of the year, but the other part of me (the part that is lazy) is really enjoying the benefits of a day without the shoveling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maybe it's me...

The Argyle Sweater

Recently, I've been having trouble using my filter (you know, the thing that keeps you from saying whatever comes to mind).  Like yesterday.  The Clover was sick so we went to the doctor where she was diagnosed with bronchitis (I had a whole freak out after the visit when she had a temperature of 104.7 after she started the antibiotics, but I digress).  We had the prescription sent to Wal-Mart (only because we were out of cat food, too).  I checked in to pick it up, and the clerk said, "It won't be ready for 20 minutes."  I was all like, "Okay, we have shopping to do, so no big deal."  We walked around the store for about 30 minutes, picking up everything we needed (and a few things we didn't because it was Wal-Mart afterall).  I went back to the pharmacy and was the first in line.  The clerk said, "I'm really sorry, but it will be another 10 minutes at least."  I was still ok (but the Clover was fading fast), so I gave them 15 minutes.  The Clover was coughing her head off but wanted to go back to toys  because I kind of rushed her through the toy section and she wanted to choose something small before, but didn't get a chance.  We came back to the window, once again.  This time we were behind 9 other people.  We waited and waited and waited (how hard is it to have your insurance card and proper paperwork?).  When we finally got to the window the same clerk said, "I have to go mix it...just a minute."  I was trying not to fume because it had been an hour.  FINALLY, she gave me the medicine and said, "Sorry about the wait."  I smiled sweetly and replied, "Don't worry, it isn't your fault this pharmacy is grossly mismanaged." And then I walked away. 

Today, I met up with a different clerk while I was trying to get cash without going to the ATM.  I asked for a 10, 5 and 5 ones.  She acted like I was asking her to do something difficult.  She didn't have any fives so I asked if she could give me 10 ones.  She actually rolled her eyes and huffed.  After she reluctantly gave me the cash, I said, "I sure hope your day gets better."  Very passive-aggressivey of me, I know. 

These two instances lead me to believe that maybe it's not everyone else.  Maybe it's me and I'm the one who doesn't play well with others.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Electrical Fire?

Sorry kids (and hopeful adults in my building), no fire evacuation for you today, it was just the stench put off by the oven in my classroom.  Once a month, the teacher down the way brings her life skills class over to my room to make birthday cupcakes for her class.  Why my room, you ask?  Because my classroom is the FACS turned Autism Resource classroom.  Yes, I still have all the cabinets.  Yes, I still have 4 mini kitchens.  Yes, I still have two stoves (only one is hooked to electricity, though).  Yes, there is a tremendous amount of wasted space.  There are pluses and minuses to this classroom.  The major minus to me is the stove.  My principal has thanked me for being flexible with its use, but when it is used boy oh boy does it stink.  So, I put on my friendly face and allow for it to be used for baking.  My direct supervisor has talked to the office about the odor and the overstimulation it causes, but as far as I knew no one had noticed other than my guys.  So today, after the cupcakes came out of the oven (we pulled them early before they could burn to a crisp) imagine my surprise when the janitor and two administrators came into the room to check and see if something was burning.  They asked me if it always made "that smell" to which I replied, "Yes, it does." They seemed surprised about how much it stinks and my vice-principal said, "We'll see if we can do something about that."  I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm hoping it means an edict that there will be no more baking for the remainder of the year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday

Sneaker Teacher had this on her blog andso I thought I would  it looked like fun, give it a try.


If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

  1. Are you a Mac or PC?  PC!  I'm sure if I took the time to learn something new, it would be fine.
  2. Do you paint your own nails?  Yes, when they are actually painted.
  3. Beach or mountains? Beach
  4. What’s the title of the book you’re currently reading? The Bible to my monkeys each night as well as Pride and Prejudice (it's my favorite go-to).
  5. Do you dance?  I love to dance with my husband.  Sometimes we crank up the volume and two-step around the living room (much to the chagrin of the Cubscout).
  6. CNN or Fox News? I like the news and not too much commentary so Shepard Smith on Fox. 
  7. Do you ride a bicycle?  Not well. 
  8. Do you get a yearly flu shot? No, I hate shots.
  9. Best movie you’ve seen in 2012? I watched Morning Glory on Encore (does that count?).  That's the only movie I've seen so far this year.  I probably will only see one in the theater and it will probably be whatever the monkeys have to see. 
  10. Do you prefer to workout at home or at the gym? At the gym (by gym, I mean weightroom while the Cubscout practices).
  11. Last airport you were in?  Chicago O'Hare. 
  12. Married or single? Married to someone who knows me better than I know me :) 
  13. iPhone or Android? Android
  14. Do you prefer to be in pictures or taking pictures? Taking pictures (sometimes, it looks like I wasn't on the vacation with the family because I'm not in any of the shots). 
  15. Favorite brand of sneakers?  Adidas (they fit my foot just right)
  16. Do you like snow?  Not really, and the way our schedule works, there are snowdays built into the schedule.  So in the winter, if we don't use the snowday, we get a random day off (like this Friday).
  17. Do you have/want to have kids?  Two (Cub and Clover).
  18. Summer or Winter? Summer. No school, no on the go lifestyle. 
  19. Do you know how to swim? Yes, but I won't swim out into deep water...too scary. 
  20. Do you prefer to shop in store or online?  In the store.  I like to look at all the options and try things on. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The best sound to a Wrestling Mom

can also be the worst.  I'm talking about the sound of the referee's hand pounding the mat to indicate a pin.  Two weeks ago (prior to the sidelining of the Cubscout due to ringworm), he was the one on the top getting two pins in one tournament.  Today, he was the one on the bottom...getting pinned.

Today's tournament was double elimination.  It was at a big school to our west (we had been going east).  All the city wrestlers were there.  I knew the competition would be stiff, but the Cubscout had been doing really well.  The first indication of trouble was when we were walking up to the school where the tournament was taking place, and he started to get really quiet (that's how he rolls...quiet = nervous).  Then, he asked to go to the bathroom before weigh-in.  He wasn't nervous about weighing in (he had been moved up a weight class so there was no doubt he would make it).  About two matches before his, he looked like he was about to cry.

Then, the first match began.  That kid was GOOD!  The Cub didn't really even know what hit him, and he was pinned within 1 minute.  So, he came off the mat upset and with a new slot in the losing bracket.  The next match came around and it started to look a lot like the first.  This time, though he didn't get pinned, but the referee called the match at 15-0.  It was horrible.  But, it was one of those situations where even though I wanted to cry, I had to be strong so he wouldn't be any harder on himself than he would be already.

I am really proud of the Cub.  I have seen a lot of poor sportsmanship and that's never him.  Kids have quit after a bad tournament, but he won't.  He does it because he loves it and wants to try again.  And that's all I can ask.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I think I miss the GLE's?

Part of my job is helping the gen ed. teachers make appropriate modifications to their curriculum in order to accommodate my students.  This is the part of my job that I love.  So much of my day is spent teaching things like how to be a friend or how to listen.  When I get the chance to dig into the GLE's and help come up with a rockstar lesson, I jump at the chance (don't tell anyone, but I REALLY miss teaching content).  One of the reading teachers came to me for help with a lesson on similes.  He had a really good plan going (he used a Youtube video that had current music videos that highlights the similes).  I asked him if he'd ever heard of Crazy Like a Fox (he hadn't) so I pulled it out of one of my many, many boxes of books.  Then, I went to the best website ever for teachers who use Boardmaker (  I found two interactive activities for the Dynavox to go with the unit.  The only thing missing was the actual delivery of the lesson (and the subsequent grading), but it was still fulfilling, nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why, Wednesday, Why?

Today was just one of those days.  You know the ones (if you have no idea what I mean by "those days", you can stop reading right here).  The ones where very few things go right.  Or in my case the ones that start out with things I can't discuss in an open forum and end with driving the truck like it was stolen in order to meet the bus at home after a "surprise" staff meeting (it is actually not supposed to be a surprise, but I put it in my calendar wrong and if my calendar doesn't say I need to be someplace, I probably won't be there).  So you may be thinking, "Whew sounds like a doozy...good thing it's over for Frau!"  But alas, it is not.  Because now, I'm headed to wrestling practice for two hours in the stinky high school weight room (actually, I don't mind this because my fellow wrestling moms and I sit and chit-chat, so it's kind of like my social time... without appetizers and Diet Cokes all around).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And then there were 5

So, the whole entire "Let's get some chickens" project is not going so well.  We started several months ago with nine chickens.  Nine.  The first to go was Nervous Nellie (killed by an opossum, we think).  Next were Cowgirl and Pecky.  Pecky's body was found but something carried Cowgirl off (we found a pile of feathers in the back field).  The latest victim of farm life was Doodle the Rooster.  We aren't sure what happened with him, but my DH found him lying on the ground dead as a doornail.  It becomes less sad each time (plus I've now compartmentalized the chickens as farm animals and not pets).  I do, however, feel like I am failing the chickens somehow.  Maybe that's why they refuse to lay eggs.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Fungus Among Us

-OR- Why We are Switching Family Doctors

So I have a wrestler (the Cubscout).  Since wrestling began, I have been fairly anal about germs as Coach gave us a big speech about showering and whatnot as ringworm is a possibility when little sweaty boys go onto a mat after they have walked on a floor where regular shoes have been.  We were so careful, but apparently not careful enough because Monday after practice, the Cub came home and he had three red spots on his shoulder, two on his back and one on his ear.  I went immediately into full-on freak out mode.  Luckily we had Lotrimin on hand (although if you have it in your house, someone hasn't been so lucky in the past).  I slathered the spots with the medicine then Googled the heck out of ringworm.  The next day, I made a Dr. appointment with our family Doc.  The Cub has always seen him.  He is great and has always taken a hands off approach by recommending non-medical interventions when possible.  But here's what happened...

We got to the appointment a little early (after I careened from my school to the school of the monkeys in the next town over where we live in order to make it to the appointment on time.  I am very thankful I didn't have to produce my license/proof of insurance, because that would have been expensive).  We got to the office in time, waited for a few minutes, then went back to be seen.  One hour and forty minutes later the Dr. walked in.  He didn't chat up the Cub at all.  In fact, he didn't even talk to him at all.  I told him, "I think the Cub has ringworm."  He took a look and said, "That's not it and left the room."  He returned shortly with a dermatology book.  He diagnosed the Cub with a somewhat rare skin disorder and recommended seeing a dermatologist (who does not accept insurance).  I said, "His wrestling partner has ringworm."  He was insistent that ringworm was not it and proceeded to find the page with the skin condition he was saying.  He flopped the book open and now the Cub has seen his first female full-frontal nudity (covered in boils).  The Cub's eyes got as big as saucers before he covered them and looked at the ceiling.  The Dr. said to me the Cub wouldn't be able to wrestle for at least four weeks.  At this point the Cub was holding back tears because he loves wrestling so, so much (and probably his retinas were burning as well).

We left the Dr.'s office.  I went to my mom's house and she thought that it was probably ringworm, too.  Then, I called the head wrestling Mom (Mom  to the coach, grandma to two team members, keeper of all paperwork and advice giver to all).  She said, "What?" when I told her.  Then she said, "Is it circles?  Then it's ringworm.  Go to Dr. Y and take the wrestling release form with you."  So another copay later, we have a release to wrestle tomorrow and a diagnosis of ringworm (Dr. Y walked in and said, "So you're a wrestler Cubscout?  How's that going?  First place last weekend?  Looks like you got into some ringworm.  Do you have a paper for me to fill out?")  The whole appointment and quick trip to the grocery took less time than the entire fiasco the day before.

The only good thing that may have come of this is that the Cub may be too scared to ever look at a girl without her clothes (for fear that all girls have boils all over themselves).

Monday, January 9, 2012

If I knew how

to fix Monday, I would.  My best laid plans usually end up with scrawly arrows and eraser marks (Never. Write. In. Pen.).  Like today.  At the end of the day I didn't teach even one of the lessons that I labored over last night (we had First Friday at church on, well, Friday, a wrestling tournament two hours away on Saturday...1st place finish, btw and church on Sunday it wasn't like I was procrastinating).  There was no Idiom of the week, How to be a friend lesson, nor drafting.  What there was were a lot of teachable moments and giving kiddos what they need.  And I am exhausted.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Minus Television

So, my family and I decided that this year, we would give up TV for the first week of every month.  My DH and had talked before about it, but this time we are really doing it.  We are in day 5 of this venture and I'd never realized how much it was on until now.  A lot of times, it was just noise in the house.
Here are the pros so far:
  • I am actually doing the work I schlep home each night (instead of my usual MO of taking my school bag on a little trip from my school desk to my home desk and back again).
  • The house is much more peaceful
  • NO SPONGEBOB!!!!! (Nor Dora for that matter)
  • More reading is happening around the house (though I still haven't read anything for pleasure during this school year...only for information. My book list is getting mighty long).
  • The monkeys are finding new ways to entertain themselves (Monopoly, anyone?).
And the cons:
  • The monkeys are finding new ways to entertain themselves (Mom, will you play Monopoly with us?).
  • I have been doing work at home.
  • I don't have anything to talk about at the water cooler (oh wait, that would imply that I have people I talk to in my building).
We have 2 more days until we will turn it back on, and I'm not so sure that I want to (well maybe just enough to get my nightly Office fix).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

During the course

of the last 5 days:
  1. I had my birthday dinner with my family.  We didn't do it on my birthday because of the Cubscout's wrestling practice.   My DH couldn't stay because toward the end of his workday, he injured his foot so when he got to the restaurant, he couldn't put any weight on it.  I made him go home (I should have insisted on the ER).
  2. I took both my daughter and DH to the doctor (him for his injury sustained while playing the role of a patrolman rather than detective, her for a suspicious bite on her hand).  I erred on the side of caution with the holiday weekend (aka no doctor offices are open) with her.  It turned out that my DH severely sprained his ankle, but it wasn't broken.
  3. We took the Cubscout to his first wrestling tournament.  It is an all-day deal.  Weigh-ins were at 7am and wrestling started at 9am.  We didn't leave until around 4:30pm.  Long day.  But, he got his first pin and placed 2nd in his bracket.  He really enjoyed it (even though he was so, so, so, nervous before his first match).  I will probably write more about how my life has become that of a wrestling mom later.
  4. I rang in the New Year (by rang in, I mean...fell asleep on the couch, woke up briefly, nudged my DH who'd also fallen asleep on the couch, watched the ball drop, said to my DH, "Let's go to bed, it's more comfortable," moved to the bed and fell back asleep).
  5. I worked on a tiny bit of paperwork (even though I said I wouldn't).
  6. I took the Cubscout to wrestling practice.
  7. I worked out with a personal trainer.  K kicked my butt, and I hurt today. You know what they say, "It will hurt, but it will be worth it."  
  8. I put my teacher hat back on.  It was nice to lay it down for a while, though.