Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh, to be Three

My dear sweetE has us in stitches these days. Step back if you will to the logic of a three year old.

Every morning I get sweetE dressed. He always wants to wear the Spiderman underpants with Captain America, Wolverine and "Incredible by the Hulk." They are clearly his favorites. And since you only get fun underpants when you are little, we indulge him.

These favorite characters have the unfortunate placement of being on the tushie side of the underpants. The side of the underpants that the three year old cannot see when they being worn. This causes a problem.

In the last week he has solved this problem. As only a three year old can.

When he heads to the bathroom to get down to business, he strips off all clothes on the lower half. Both of my boys have been morally opposed to letting their pants hang out by the ankles. SweetP has outgrown this philosophy, but sweetE hasn't.

Fast forward to the finished part, no one wants to linger anyway. And my sweetE gets himself dressed again. But every time without fail, he puts his underpants on backwards. He knows they are backwards. But since he is in charge of getting himself put back together, he puts those underpants on so he can enjoy Spidey and all his friends.

It doesn't seem to be all that comfortable. But the next time he makes a pit stop in the bathroom he gets to check out his super friends.

And at this point, there is no reasoning with him. So we just have to laugh. He'll outgrow it sooner or later, then it can just be one of those embarrassing stories that we pull out when we meet his girlfriends.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Spring Break Blur

Beware, novel ahead. And I started this post yesterday and then life got in the way.

It was Sunday night and already it felt like spring break was over. The week was filled up before it even started.

It all started with a round of vomit on Monday and that wasn't even on the schedule. My dear sweetE had refused 95% of his dinner the night before. And I didn't realize how little he had eaten for lunch. My children + no food = vomit in the morning. I did get sweetP's book done on Monday though. It only took since August. But it is done, yeah!!!

Tuesday afternoon I broke my sacred rule. I went in to work over a break, not just a weekend, but during break. And I just didn't want to be there. But I had nothing planned for after break and I am starting two new units that I have never taught before. So for my long term sanity I went in. Plus sweetE started getting the cold that Ducky had the weekend before. I stayed up late and got sweetE's book done. It was also started in August and is now done. Double yeah!!

Wednesday we laid low in the hopes that sweetE would feel lots better. He felt better, but lots would be an exaggeration.

Thursday I had to drive to another city to renew my teaching license. It expires on my birthday. I got my paperwork in January and promptly put it in the to be completed pile. The pile that got neglected until a few weeks ago. Then when I finally sat down to get it done, my principal was out of town for a week and it required her signature. Insert cussing here. But it got done. However, I don't have the greatest of faith in my local post office. Things have not arrived when sent from the post office itself. So I drive it down there. No license, no work, end of story. So the boys and I had a grand adventure. They watched Princess Bride and asked if we were still in America about every 20 minutes. And sweetE pointed out every "America flag" that he saw. It was delivered, it was complete, and we arrived home safe and sound via Burger King.

Thursday part two. We had planned a date for Thursday night. We got our "daughter" to come and spend the evening with the boys. We originally planned to have an overnight downtown. But as luck would have it, Ducky has been slammed at work with clients that panic at the mere mention of holiday or break or day off and suddenly that project that has been languishing on their desk must be complete today, five minutes ago. So we decided to just go out for the evening. And wouldn't you know that the moment we left our all time favorite restaurant after a most fabulous meal, I get that tickle. You know the one that says you are getting sick. You have been burning the candle on both ends. You are not going to enjoy the next few days. And it meant business. Before we got home (at 9:30, sign me up for the assisted living apartment) it was a full blown sore throat.

Thursday part three. But we did go shopping for my birthday present. And I picked out a cute chair with a girlie pink slip cover at IKEA (I don't do pink and I don't do girlie, but it spoke to me. It must be the overload of testosterone in my house.). Yup, the big date was at IKEA. I love them. I love them more without children in tow. To top off the date, we hit the grocery store. One of those chores that just didn't manage to get done all week.

So my days off are officially over. Since I don't work on Friday's, I am now back to just a weekend. Friday dawns and my lovely neighbor has planned a movie day at her house. I get a whole hour to myself. Both boys are next door and I am installing my new chair in my room. I carried it up the stairs myself, even in my weakened condition. (I'm too independent for my own good, impatient too.) And got it put together. SweetE wasn't too much into watching movies and he came home after an hour. He helped me with the cardboard. It "needed" to be shredded and made into a sleeping bag. I have the amazing ability to cut myself with very sharp scissors. I never learn. So I cut my finger right where it meets the hand on the palm side. Right where a bandaid is almost impossible to apply. But I manage and then I am sporting what looks like a giant Backyardigans (bandaid one) or Hot Wheels (bandaid two) on my middle finger. I finally picked up some liquid bandaid and look normal again.

Which brings me to today. We had a double header of soccer today for sweetE. I had a "At home" party to go to. We had a birthday party tonight. In between, we go to get kibble for Velcro, a new snail to replace Shelton, may he rest in peace, Target for liquid bandaid, and the florist for a planter. And I still have grading to do. And a mammal unit to plan.

I told you it was a blur even if this post wasn't.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Resolution Progress

I have made significant progress on my New Year's Resolution in the last week. I am exhausted but impressed with myself.

Here are the stairs before I painted.

Last Thursday and Friday nights I painted the risers on the stairs. They don't get to be marked done just yet. I still need to install some trim, but they look much better.

And after I painted.

We paid someone to come in and tape and texture the back wall. So it is ready to be primed and painted.

And I finished the boys favorites books from last summer. We now have a record of what they loved as of last summer. SweetP was wanting to change things in his, but I told him that this was what he loved last summer and that we would make a new one this summer. They look really cool and are so very special. They have already changed so much.

So I am officially marking finished on sweetP and sweetE's favorites books!

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Fondness of Easter

Long, long ago in a land far, far away (in another state), there was a very special Easter. And I have had a real fondness for the holiday ever since. You see, I was an Easter baby. And while my birthday is not until next month, Easter makes me think about it. Call it my birthday season.

We lived in a small picturesque town. There was a small hospital there. My brother was born in that hospital. And the story goes that the doctor who delivered him was drunk. He came out blue with the cord wrapped around his neck. He recovered, some would say completely. My mother vowed to never use that doctor or that hospital again.

So when she became pregnant with me, she went to a different doctor that delivered at the somewhat bigger hospital one town over. My mother wanted a girl. Even took measures to make sure she got one. What those measures are, I don't know and don't want to. But apparently it worked. Because she got me. My dad has joked for years that doctor declared I was a boy and my mother said to put it back. For all of her desire to have a girl, I still can't understand why I am not the favorite.

And one spring day or night, no one ever told me, she headed out of town to have a baby. I was born at 11 something in the morning. I kept that poor doctor from going to church on Easter Sunday. I would like to believe that he got to participate in a miracle and that is better than any church service. My brother might disagree with that whole miracle concept.

After I was cleaned up, the hospital gave me an adorable pink bunny outfit. Their last one. And I was cute too. I would show a picture, except I don't have one scanned in. Sadly, that cute pink outfit was the first of many. I spent my early years dressed solidly in pink. It took me over thirty years to wear anything pink again.

Now, I relish thinking about the boys Easter baskets. I love coloring eggs. And hunting eggs. Easter marks the beginning of my birthday season or the end. My birthday has not been celebrated on Easter since. But one day it will.

This picture is of me and my brother on my third Easter. I was almost or just barely two. I love the big smile on my face. And all those eggs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

I hope the cute, fuzzy bunny visits your house and leaves an Easter treat.

Easter really snuck up on me this year. The boys are excited. We colored eggs and nothing else. A first. Usually someone spills a cup of dye and a leg or foot or hand gets stained. One egg blew its top while getting hard boiled. So there are only 11. But I have a variety of plastic eggs from years past and a bunch of mini chocolate eggs that can go in them.

Happy Egg Hunting!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Can't Think, So BlogThing

Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.

And while this may not seem big, it can be.

It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.

You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

And this is kind of true. Especially if things aren't being done well. I rocked the boat a few weeks ago and am still holding my breath on whether I put a nail in my coffin. I often find where systems break down and stop being effective. One of my favorite lines consists of "If only they would have consulted me."

You Should Drive a Silver Car

You're the type of driver who doesn't really pay attention to other cars on the road.

You are calm, focused, and clear headed. Driving is simply a task for you.

And you aren't one to be too fussy about what you drive.

Basing your status on a car is a little beneath you.

And my car is silver. And I love my car. I would love it better if it were charcoal. But mostly this one is true. Except that I do pay attention to other cars on the road, not what they are but what they are doing.

Bring on Friday. I'm off to paint the stairs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And Then...

Today I managed to get the solar system books assembled. They are not perfect, but they look good. And I got compliments on them. And shock from a few of my colleagues, "When do you have time to do art?"

They look really cool. The covers are made of black posterboard and then they drew with oil pastels. Some of my students are great artists and it is fun to give them a chance to shine.

Tomorrow they fill them with all the facts about our solar system. I know that most of the parents are going to love them.

I also realized that one and half weeks into the new trimester, I haven't corrected a thing. So I have a new pile growing. But I am not going to be hard on myself. Between nineteen hours of conferences last week and two after school meetings this week, I have been busy. My goal, get caught up this weekend so I can enjoy spring break guilt-free.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Strike Two

Every day I leave for work with the best of intentions. That I will get x, y and z done after school.

I am making solar system books with my class to finish off the solar system unit. I want it done before spring break. We have all the pieces done. It is time to assemble.

I need to put the pages together with the covers using a comb binding. Not something I can do at home. Unless I want to lug a heavy machine home. I don't.

Yesterday we had the "Let's mix paint, staff meeting." Fun, but not what I needed to get done. Today we had the 5th grade "at risk" meeting. Students, not teachers. Although, it could be argued that I am at risk of losing my mind, my cool or my lunch. I had completely forgotten that it was rescheduled today (because of me). I had just started putting books together, when over the PA they announced the meeting. I got 3 done, also known as 10%. The meeting got out just in time for me to contain the disaster on the desk so my teaching partner will still speak to me.

So tomorrow's great plan to fill the pages of the books, got bumped to Thursday. After it got bumped to Wednesday because of yesterday's meeting. And I had to make up a solar system test tonight so I had something to do tomorrow. And I still need to figure out what to do with the other part of tomorrow. I am so glad I only work part time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Need for Naps

Today was one of those days that I just wasn't ready for. Ducky and I both felt a little ill this morning. And I was tired. And didn't feel entirely prepared for my day.

But it went fine, except it was really cold and windy when I had recess duty. And I got a headache, possibly migraine. But I had all the necessary medicine in my purse. Then I was just exhausted, barely able to keep my eyes open for the rest of the afternoon. We had a staff meeting today where we played with paint. Fun, but I had so many other more pressing things I needed to get done.

Then the boys wanted all of my attention the minute I walked through the door. It is nice to be so loved, but boy was I tired. We got the homework done. Then I let the boys watch a Backyardigans. And I took a little cat nap on the couch with them. And I feel so much better now. Perky, happy, chipper even. If only I had been able to take it about 5 hours sooner. I could have been so productive.

I am a firm believer that the world would be a much happier place if we all took naps. They do such wonderful things for energy and attitude. We could be productive and pleasant. And maybe even giddy. See what a nap does for me. I should take more of them.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Need for Sunscreen

One person once commented (pre-children) that if we had kids they would be transparent. Ducky and I are pretty pale. Especially Ducky. So needless to say we keep a lot of sunscreen in the house. And our children are just like us. And being the good mom that I try to be, I cover them with sunscreen on a regular basis all summer long.

One day last summer before I came downstairs, my sweetE had come down before me. I keep the sunscreen out in the garage, on the other side of a child proof doorknob. But on this day, Ducky had sunscreened himself prior to leaving for work and left the sunscreen sitting on the kitchen counter.

I'm not sure if he got up before me or if it was while I was in the shower. But he found the sunscreen, aerosol style, and commenced spraying it. All over my lovely, healthy plant. And the kitchen counters and covering a roll of paper towels. The plant was dripping sunscreen. The bottle had been pretty close to full and when sweetE finished with it, it was empty. I'm not sure where sweetP was at the time, maybe next door playing, but it was just sweetE and I in the house. So at least I knew who to blame. Somehow, he managed not to coat himself too much.

It took me over an hour to get all the sunscreen removed from the kitchen. My poor plant has not been the same since. Sunscreen is great for people, very hard on plants. Cleaning the sunscreen off was a an effort in futility. It requires soap, and scrubbing and lots of water. None of which are particularly good for plants. I cut off the worst of it. So my poor plant has been limping along for months now. It is finally starting to look like it might pull through and have a full recovery by summer. But will it ever bloom again.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I've Lost My Brain

Once upon a time, I had a nice, well-functioning brain. And now it is gone.

I used to be able to remember everything. I used to be able to talk intelligently and not work at it. I used to have a wide variety of interesting things to say.

Now if I don't write it down, I forget. Even two minutes later. Do you have any idea how aggravating that is. Half the time I make a list, and then forget to take the list. The odd part is that, the less I need to know something, the easier it is to remember. Random, useless trivia. Got it. Grocery list. Not so much.

I have become a blathering idiot. At times. Those well constructed, thoughtful comments I used to make are an endangered species. They are not extinct yet, but will they make a come back? I hope so. I love making a snappy comeback or an insightful comment. They make me feel smart. (I am smart, but I don't really feel it lately. Can you tell?)

I wonder if all the migraine drugs I take have killed brain cells. They are vascular constrictors after all. Maybe I have deprived my brain of too much oxygen. Maybe if I get an oxygen tank, I can saturate my brain and give it a kick start.

Or maybe my poor brain is in serious need of a vacation. Because lately it is on overload. I wake up with thoughts and songs and stories already running in my brain. And then I can't fall back asleep. Even though I feel exhausted. There doesn't seem to be a moment when my poor brain is shut off. Set on standby. Allowed to relax.

I need a zen activity. So I can become my frog. Be the frog. Become one with my lily pad. Maybe in three months. It will be summer vacation. I will lose all the work stress. And find my brain.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Day Two

Once again I have returned home unscathed. I took my preventative Advil at about 2:30 today as the first twinge of headache emerged. And I am still headache free.

Our room was a snarky-free zone, so that was a relief. Only a few students were ready for conferences to be over before they even entered the room. Generally because they had a lengthy list of missing work. But even those went smoothly.

Half the family is showing more wear and tear from the last two days. Ducky is worn out from being an almost single dad the last two days. He got dumped on by clients while simultaneously keeping the boys out of mischief. SweetE lost it tonight when mommy grumped at him. He had dragged his chair over to where I was going to make garlic bread. And left it in such a way that I could not get the refrigerator open. Normally not a big deal, he would just get down and wait until I was ready. But two days without mommy and I looked over and oh boy. He was looking down, breathing hard and not making another noise. His shoulders started to shake and the ragged cries started. He was dripping tears and unable to talk, and he was just so sad. Ducky offered to take him, but I knew that would compound the problem.

So we spent a few minutes putting the world right again and then he helped me make the garlic bread. That also means that he wants me to take him to the 8 am soccer game in the morning. And I am so tired.

Ahhhh! A just double checked the soccer schedule and our game doesn't start until 9!!! Oh happy day!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day One

Yahoo! I survived day one unscathed. No cranky parents, or at least the unhappiness was directed at the child. No splitting headache. I did take two Advil at 10 when I felt a twinge of headache starting.

So one more day. Then I just need to plan next week and I am almost home free. There is some grading to get done since I don't want to get behind again.

One day at a time. One project at a time. Can you tell the stress level alert has been reduced from severe to merely elevated? It is headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

High Wire Act

Tomorrow and Friday I get to perform my high wire act. The one where I simultaneously have to talk about how great each child is (and they are, each in their own way) while also laying it all on the line about the ways in which they need to improve.

Some will be easy. Some will be very hard. Some parents will be great and helpful and realistic. Some parents will be bewildered by the fact that we (my teaching partner and I) don't agree that their child is perfect.

It is a nerve wreaking couple of days. The worst part is having to be "on" for almost 10 hours straight tomorrow and then almost 8 hours on Friday. It requires a lot of energy. And by the end, we are barely coherent and lose all ability to think and speak clearly. At least I get to do conferences with someone, it makes it a lot easier.

I like meeting the parents. It tells us so much about the child. There are generally many "a-ha" moments. Puzzle pieces fall into place and it reminds the child that (mostly) we work together. So, I don't mind, except I get totally exhausted. And when I am totally exhausted, I usually get a big, bad headache. I already had one that started today. My medication cleared it up and I am okay for the moment. So I have fear for how well I will hold up physically the next few days.

It is on weeks like this that I am ever so thankful that I don't have to work full time all the time. I really don't know how people do it. I know I did it before, but I didn't have kids then.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Car Wash

A while back I needed to fill up my car. So sweetE and I hurried things up and got out the door early on our way to preschool. The boys love going through the car was. And since the car was dirty and we had time I told him we could go.

Got gas, no problem. Drove around to the car wash, no problem.

We were guided in by a former student. There was a problem. I thought I heard a funny noise, but with the windows up and the radio on, I couldn't tell for sure.

I chit-chatted with my student. He was a reasonably smart kid who has made a series of poor choices. Which is why several years out of high school he is working at the car wash in February.

He scrubbed my car and off we went through the car wash. With a strange grinding noise the entire way. I turned off the radio and everything. We come out on the other side. SweetE wants to go through again. As we start to drive off, the scraping, grinding noise gets worse. I open the window to be sure. It is me.

Oh, crap. The previous summer, the belly pan on my car came loose and was scraping on the ground. So pull over and climb out to inspect. I am dressed for work. Lovely. And wouldn't you know it, but there it was again.

As I am trying to shove it back into place, I realize that it has been ripped in two. And seeing that it was a former student, I don't want to go rat him out for guiding me badly into place. And I assume that it will be less than $100 to get it replaced. It was loose anyway, so I don't go let them know. So I get it off the ground and get in the car. And immediately call the mechanic. They hate my car. Only because it is small and must be taken apart to do almost everything.

I need an oil change too, so I thought I would just schedule both. So I schedule the oil change and then mention that the "plastic thing on the underside of the car needs to be replaced." He isn't quite sure what plastic thing I was referring to. I want them to have it for when I come in at the end of the week, so I agree to swing by and let them have a look on the way to work.

I drop sweetE off at school and head off to the mechanic. Which means no coffee for me on the way in. Bummer. They take a look and ask if I have a minute and they will just take it off. Sure. This is why we stick with a mechanic, so they will help us out in a pinch.

He comes back out and tells me that it was a good thing they took it off, it was rubbing on some moving part on the engine.

A few days later, my car is at the shop and they call to say that it needs a belt and a filter. By the end of the day, my oil change has reached $600. A mere $250 is a new belly pan, installed.

I am leery of returning to the car wash. A car wash should not cost over $250, ever. I don't know if my former student is still there or not.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I've Survived

Grades were due at 3pm today. And at this moment in time, I have no grading to do. Until I get to work tomorrow.

Last week was really rough and I even pondered what I was thinking and wouldn't another line of work be better. And those thoughts haven't completely left. But today I did feel better. It felt like every sign in the universe was telling me that change was in order.

Tonight the grand plan was to finish the paperwork to renew my teaching license. As I was getting ready to write the final page of information, I realized that I was screwed. I had hoped to get it into the district office tomorrow. However, it needs a signature from my principal. The one who will be out of town for the rest of the week. And therefore, I can't get it in until next week at the earliest. It is due in the state office at the beginning of April. The district has to do something and then they send it back to me to get to the state office.

Is it another sign from the cosmos? Should I switch to a less stressful, less demanding job? I know that my head would appreciate the break from the steady stream of headaches that I have been having lately.

Should I just quit my whining and get on with making it to June, or at least spring break? Most likely, but at this moment in time with conferences looming in a few days, I am just too tired from the end of the trimester, jumping through bureaucratic hoops, dealing with the time change and life in general.

At least spring visited over the weekend, we'll be having rain all week.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has made its way to my door. And I am so glad. We went for a walk. We played in the park. I drove with my window down. And spring break is only two weeks away.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On The Way to School

I know I'm not blogging this week, but I need to write this down before I forgot.

As we walked to school this morning, my sweetP was telling me that he had to take a math test at school. For his report card. And he felt that he did really well.

sweetP: I am the best at math.. the second best.

me: Who is the best?

sweetP: Albert I-en-stein.

me: Well, he is very good at math.

sweetP: I know, but I am really good too.

And off we went to school.