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Friday, December 28, 2012

My Most Read Posts

These are all from 2011!!  Why was I so much better at this in 2011??  Anywho..EnJoY!  Some will make you laugh out loud, some are serious, but all have drawn quite an audience.  Tell me which is your favorite!  Comment below!

10.  Heroes   A tribute to our military

9.  Quiet Time  The time I escaped :D

8.  Welcome Back  A teacher's reflection of the first day of school...God help me!

7.  More Bang For Your Buck  For all you cheap skates out there!

6.  Marriage 101  Note:  I'm not nearly as sociable as I once was either as stated in this post :(

5.  Blessings One of my personal faves

4.  Summer Vacation, Day Three  Summertime and a drama queen!

3.  Teacher Tip: Getting That Dang Straw in the Capri Sun is a Skill My BEST teacher advice ever!

2.  My First Born  The story of 9/11/01, the day my world and your world changed.

1.  She's Crazy I Tell You!  Hilarious...about my mom and every grandmother on the planet!

Thanks for the Ammo, Santa!

Well, as NORAD Santa Tracker predicted, Santa Claus made his appearance around 11:15 p.m. on the night of Christmas Eve just as soon as the kids were asleep (or at least faking sleep well enough for Santa to begin).
This year proved to be just the same as any other.  One kid had too much, one kid had way too little, and one kid had it just as originally planned.  The lack of communication in this house caused us to spend $$$hundreds$$$ more on Christmas than we originally intended.  I blame Mr. Zembower since he just had to have the new gun for his sweet male offspring.  Our middle child scored big with a new TV for her room so that they finally quit fighting daily over Zac's TV.  She was thrilled.  Our youngest scored what was left on the shelves the day before Christmas Eve.  She's only five and still easy to please, though ((and there were no more KAROAKE machines left in this town!!!)).  Their family time for Christmas also proved prolific in the gift department.
Now, as the holiday winds down, we are getting back into our normal swing of things.  I am doing what any good mom does, using these new possessions as ammo.  ((Don't judge.  You know you do it, too))
 My middle child is losing things left and right.  I've checked her "clean" room three times already.  I've written of her housekeeping abilities before in this post about chores and this follow up post.  She's a disaster.  Picture the child of Pigpen and the Tasmanian Devil.  If she touches it, it remains where she left it...all over my house.  When asked if she cleaned her room, brushed her teeth, took a shower, etc, she responds with a fully believable, "Yes."   Lies...all of them.  It's time for action.  No matter what I am doing, how busy I think I am, I will have to go to her task and double check.  I've started this today.  She was told that each time I checked and she had lied, she would lose a new beloved item.  So far, she's lost her TV and her new Heeleys on my only two checks.  Next is the Nook, then the football.  I will WIN...I will be VICTORIOUS!!  I WILL have a home that I can actually have surprise guests one day without being utterly embarrassed at the state of disarray that our home is in!

Lesson:  The middle child is a tough nut to crack.

In other news, Santa has since found two more bags of gifts (mostly clothing) in the bag of her his sleigh.  I also blame this on Mr. Zembower since he was the one designated to retrieve said items from the back of the sleigh at 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve.  :(


One more note to defend my grammatical intelligence.  This font apparently makes my uppercase S look like a lowercase S in my title on the word "Santa".  I assure you, I have checked and rechecked, and I definitely put an uppercase letter there.  :(

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A to Z: Life is a Lesson: Ma'am I Think You're On Our Team

A to Z: Life is a Lesson: Ma'am I Think You're On Our Team: It has taken me over 2 weeks to admit this to anyone, even my husband.  Actually, I haven't even told him yet.  Once you read this, erase it...

Ma'am I Think You're On Our Team

It has taken me over 2 weeks to admit this to anyone, even my husband.  Actually, I haven't even told him yet.  Once you read this, erase it from your brain.  You are not allowed to question me or ever bring it up again.

Basketball season has begun.  Once again, Catie was ready to try out for another sport.  T-ball was short-lived, having spent most of the time faking a headache or tummy ache, then bouncing back for the post game high fives and popsicles.  Zac and Abby play ((and L-O-V-E)) basketball, so Catie must at least give it a go.  If she takes after me, basketball will NOT be her thang.

Well, for the first practice, we arrived to find a school friend on the team.  I thought, "I don't remember seeing a school friend on the roster?"  I dismissed it and thought he must have signed up late.  I sent Catie to the coach on Court 2, watched him check to see if he had her name, and stayed for her practice.  Truth be told, I usually walked the overhead track and watched simultaneously, stopping at the rare occasion that it was Catie's turn to shoot, giving a quick thumbs up, and continuing on.  That's what Moms of the Year do, right?  We were on time, even early for practices.  We practiced like champs for 3 solid weeks.

At the end of the 3rd practice, just as Catie was getting the hang of actually reaching the goal with the ball and really enjoying her brand new teammates,  the Family Life Center Director approached me and said, "Um, we don't have a uniform for Catie on this team, but that team does."  She pointed to the team we had practiced next to for 3 solid weeks...on Court 1.  The team with a lot of short people, a.k.a. 4-year-olds.

"Is there any chance we can just play with this team?"
"No.  The teams are full, sorry."
"And you think they'd notice?"
"Yea.  The teams are all full."

I stood in the middle of the court staring at Catie frolicking with her new buds on her team, dreading having to break the news.  I lied and told her this new team was so much better and practiced much better than hers.  It would be so much fun.  She didn't buy it.  There was one sweet girl on the team, which was a plus (who has not attended a practice or game since that day).  We finished up practice with our "new" team long enough to get the last minute "1-2-3 Hornets!" huddle at the end.

So there it is.  We currently practice with the Hornets on Court 1...with the short kids.  Games are at the crack of dawn each Saturday.  Catie's 5-year-old maturity combined with her mad dribbling skills have proven an asset to her new team.  Sure, most of practice is spent with half of the team on their backs while spinning in circles, the other half sipping their apple juice, but it has been fun.  She really does have great coaches.  Last game, one of them pulled me aside and said, "I am just so proud of Catie!  She is so shy and quiet, but she got out there and really gave it her all today."  Shy and quiet....sure...and I'm Jennifer Lopez.

Lesson:  Pay attention, Mom-of-the-Year.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Christmas Tree!!

Last week my aunt said she knew someone giving away a NINE foot artificial tree.  The cheapskate deal seeker that I am jumped on the deal, since I have been meaning to buy a fake tree for years.  When I asked what was wrong with it, she said, "It was in perfect condition.  The man and lady are just getting older and don't want the pain of such a large tree."  ScoRe!!

Well, the tree is now up.  It is quite lovely with the exception of one major detail.  The former smell of Christmas that emanated the air is no longer there.  It has been replaced with this smell.  The smell of a fake tree...that sat in the attic for month after month...the attic of old people...the attic that also housed MoTh BaLLs!! 

Who uses moth balls??  There has to be another way to protect the treasures you keep. 

Anyway...the smell.  You know the one, with the live tree...the pine, the fresh smell of the wood, and the sap.  I didn't realize how much I enjoyed it.  Now it's gone.

It's okay.  I am a teacher.  I am completely armed with every Yuletide flavor of candle you can imagine from years and years of thoughtful Christmas gifts.  I could try to be authentic with the smell I choose, but I am all out of "pine", and there is no "Muggy Louisiana Heat" candle on the market.  I settled for "Winter Wonderland" which could not be further from authentic, but what the heck, neither is the tree.

Lesson:  Beggars can't be choosers.

Merry Christmas


Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Can't My Child Spell?

Spelling is like anything in life and every school subject there is.  Some kids are born with an understanding of words and their sounds, and other kids have to work very hard to understand the relationship. 

Good readers are good spellers.  Why?  They see the words often in the books they read, developing their vocabulary, and seeing reoccurring letter patterns over and over.  They may not even be book readers, but they are readers...of cereal boxes, bill boards, signs, menus, etc.  My daughter does not read many books, but she reads EVERYTHING else.  She's also a good speller.

Poor spellers typically don't enjoy reading as much, if at all.  If they do enjoy reading, it's usually more of a take it or leave it attitude.  They don't read the cereal box in front of them; they play the game on the back. They don't read the billboards, but they may notice the art on it.  They may read, but more often, they don't.  Take it or leave it.

I have a BA in Speech Pathology and an Elementary Education certification for grades 1-5.  The reason I had an interest in both of these things is because I was the reader in my family.  My brother and sister, on the other hand, were not.  I was the kid left on the bus hiding behind Charlotte's Web.  My brother and sister hated reading.  There was nothing fun about it.  It was work and it was HARD work.  It made them feel stupid when they tried because other kids could do it, but they couldn't.  My sister would later be diagnosed with dyslexia in a higher grade.  My brother would be diagnosed with dyslexia in 1st grade.  In 1980, kids were not often diagnosed with much, but it was obvious. 

Because of this huge difference between my siblings and I, it made me extra sensitive to others who struggle, and it still does today.  My heart goes out to them, and I want them to be understood.  The following is my theory and my theory only based on my education and experience in my classroom.  This is not any scientific data, but I think I can help.

How do I help my kid learn to spell?

1.  DO Know this.  A poor speller does not mean a child is not intelligent.  Know it, believe it, and drill it in your child's brain.  It's a skill.   Every kid has a weak subject.  This just happens to be theirs.  They can overcome it, but it takes work.  Some of the smartest people I know are awful spellers.

2.  DO NOT believe "Who needs to learn to spell?  That's what spellcheck is for?"  You have to get close for spellcheck to recognize it, and if you use a homophone spelled correctly, it will not catch it.  Grammar Nazis like me will know the difference when they are an executive later in life and have to put out memos for the whole company, or worse, hand write memos for others.  We want our kids to be their best.  They don't get there by making excuses or being lazy.  (Was that too harsh?)  They also go through many years of school and college where they will be graded on such things.

3.  DO NOT MAKE YOUR CHILD WRITE THEIR WORDS 5, 10, 20 TIMES EACH!!  This may BE the reason they cannot spell.  It is also the reason they hate spelling.

4.  Do NOT call out spelling lists in the car to a struggling speller.  You CAN do this to an achieved speller.  The already use the strategy I will get to in a bit.  Struggling spellers must ALWAYS write the word.  Did I say ALWAYS?  Good.

5.  If your school does not already offer a list of spelling rules, find some.  Our school uses the Spalding Method of writing, but there are other methods that offer the rules.  Google it.
This is a link I just found for the 29 Spalding Rules.  It is overwhelming at first.  Don't be scared.  You can do this.  You already know some of them!  So does your child!

6.  Know the sounds that the letters make.  In PreK, kids are taught that X says /ks/ and Y says /y/.  Then they are taught the word "xylophone".  Where's /xs/?  They are taught x-ray.  This X says /eks/, /not /xs/.  X only says /ks/ in the final part of a syllable.  The list should be "fox, box, mix".  For Y they learn "yarn, yellow, yak"  Those all say /y/ as they were told.  Then they get in 1st grade and learn "baby, my, by"  Where's /y/?  Y only says /y/ in the beginning of a syllable. 
THEY NEED TO KNOW UNITS OF SOUND, NOT LETTERS.  Spalding uses these phonograms.  Learn them in order.  After # 45, it gets complicated.  Learn those when they present themselves in a spelling list word. 
These are the videos on you tube.  There are cuter ones, but I teach 4th grade.  You can google that, too. Save these on your computer desktop for easy access for your child to work alone.
Phonograms 1-26
Phonograms 27-45
Phonograms 46-58
Phonograms 59-70

7.  Review these cards (mastering one set at a time and only the first two sets) nightly if you have a struggling speller.  Total immersion is best, not just when we feel like it.  It takes very little time to review.  Once your child has mastered 1-45, they can start finding them in words.  These flashcards are also available in a student set for around $13, I think, at  Find the "store" tab.

8.  The spelling list.  Your spelling lists will typically focus on a rule, like the magic e that makes the vowel say its name.    Spalding lists are different, but you need to adapt this to your child's spelling lists at school.  Underline silent e twice always.  Spalding gets more involved in this, but you'll be fine just using this rule with your child.  "If the letter does not say the sound it should make, underline it twice."

9.  Help your child to mark their spelling list.  Underline phonograms with more than one letter.  See if there is a rule(s) that matches each week in your list.  Learn the rule as it presents itself.  For example if the words end in Y, there are two rules possible.  Words do not end in i, so we use y.  In one syllable words, Y says long /i/.  If the word is more than one syllable, Y says long /e/.  You will have lists with "ai" and "ay", and "oi" and "oy, etc.  Mark (underline) these phonograms and any others that are more than one letter.

10.  Sound out the letters as the letter "should" sound, not the way it does in speaking.  For example, "vote"  sounds like /v/ /o/ t/ /e/, say the e.  Then read it the way we say it "vote".  "Cheese"  would be /ch/ /ee/ /s/ /e/ "cheese".  "ee" is a phonogram. Do this nightly. Read the list once they way we write it all the way through, then read the list once just reading it normally, without sounding.  The more they SEE the word, the better they know it.  This takes very little time as well.  If you are a last minute studier, quit reading, none of this will work.  You have to be honest about the amount of effort that goes into this.  It seems liks a lot at first, but soon they will do ALL of this on their own, without you.

11.  Take a practice test nightly.  Now, they write it.  This is the more time consuming part.  Now, you have to "teach" them to use the sounds to spell.  You can call a word out and separate the syllables.  Tell them to listen to each sound in the syllable.  A syllable has one vowel sound in it.  Not one vowel, one vowel sound.  "Nice" has one vowel sound /i/, one syllable.  Sound it for them as they should learn to sound it.  Have them sound each sound out to you as they write each phonogram always. "dozen"  would be "doz" "en".  /d/ /o/ /z/ /e/ /n/.  Sound the short e here.  The more you do this with them, the more they will naturally go to that strategy during the test (and homework)

12.  Be patient!  They are learning.  The spelling grade may slip at first, but the trade off is that they are learning to spell.  After a bit, they will use the strategy more, and grades will come back up.  They will not memorize words anymore, they will spell them.  They will spell all other words, as well, much better because they have a strategy.

Memorizing has worked for us?  Why can't I just keep doing that?
A kid who memorizes the order of letters, mixes the letters up and misses them on tests.  They also can't spell that same word 2 weeks later when it's not on the spelling list.  After middle school, there are no more spelling tests, and your kid still won't know how to spell.  They've put a band-aid on the wound and it never fixed itself.  You must plan for the future in everything.  One day, they will be expected to soar.  You have to give them the tools.  Without the proper tools, they will not be as successful as their peers.  If my child needs glasses, I get her glasses.  If my child can't spell, I help them to learn how to spell.  Glasses are quicker, but you get the point.  I didn't say it would be easy.
Do not depend on your school.  Textbooks design lists this way.  They are only following what they are supposed to teach.  Since most kids can memorize a list, they let them, give them spelling homework so they write them nightly, and move on to bigger and better things, like reading and math.  Oh, by the way, your poor speller is also struggling in reading which is not just something they need in reading.  They need it for every test they take.  They can memorize answers, but if they can't read the words, they can't figure out the correct multiple choice answer.  They probably bomb every math word problem, too.

My child leaves out vowels where you can clearly hear the vowel?  What do I do?
YOU can clearly hear that vowel, but they do not.  This is my conclusion for it.  Vowel sounds are made with your mouth open.  Your tongue touches nothing.  In the word "cat"  I hear and FEEL the sound in my mouth /k/ and /t/.  The short "a" gets lost because it feels like a transition from /k/ to /t/ rather than a sound that takes up space in a word.  Working on vowels is key for these kids.  Pick up a game of "Vowel Bingo"  They'll love it and it builds the skill very well.

My child puts random letters where they obviously do not belong in his schoolwork?
He's guessing.  Pure guessing.  He has too little an understanding of the letter sounds.  If it's not a memorized spelling word, he cannot spell it.  Sure, he makes straight A's in spelling, but his intelligence is fine, remember?  He can memorize the order of the letters!

This is a seriously long post.  I apologize.  It was much smaller in my head.

Lesson:  I have a lot to say about spelling.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life Lesson

My son has been playing football and baseball during the fall.  This means 2 baseball practices per week, 2 football practices per week.  Games start next week.  His heel has been giving him trouble as boys of the this age will sometimes experience. We plan to call the doctor tomorrow to check it out. Today, when I picked him up from practice, he was not on the field.  He was sitting on the sideline with a "limp".  I was furious.

I know I sound heartless, but he had not limped until I told the coach he had been having pain, and he did not limp at the end of practice during field clean up.  I asked about it when he got in the car, and he said the coach was not very nice.  I knew what he meant.  The coach was tough.  In this world of "let's give everyone a trophy and call them a winner", this is the age where the athletes survive.  So, it's time to make a choice.  You'll suck it up and hang in there, or you'll quit...but if you quit, you can't go back.  Make a decision.

Again, I know it's tough, but our kids need someone to tell them to be better than they think they can be.

It was time for the David Thibodaux talk.....

and so it goes...

My first year of college was an eye-opener.  I realized that my high school education had not much prepared me for what was to come.  I had Dr. Thibodaux for English 101.  As most students know, you scout out your professors before scheduling, getting the low-down on the workload, testing, etc.  Well, I didn't know this strategy yet.  This class was tough.  He graded HARD!  No grammatical error slipped by him, and he had high expectations.  He took no learning differences into account.  He graded everyone as an equal.  I worked so hard for that first-year English class.  In fact, I never worked that hard in any other class for my whole college career.  I hated every second of it.  I had homework all the time.  I could not wait until it was over.
...When it was finally over, I breathed a giant sigh of relief...and signed up to have him for English 102.  Was I crazy?  I just knew he had challenged me, taught me, and I wanted to know more.

You see, this man was not an ogre.  He was gentle, caring, and intriguing.  He had a large family, served on the Lafayette Parish school board for years as a voice for teachers fighting for smaller classroom sizes and higher teacher pay, a political activist, ran for Congress several times while I was his student (and nearly won).  In fact, during one of these campaigns, his opponent claimed that Dr. Thibodaux, an author as well, had written pornographic works.  In fact, it was his dissertation that had earned him tenure at UL, or something like that.  This political trash talking came out days before the election and probably costed him the seat.

I learned more from 2 semesters as his student than any professor taught me.  I am an English teacher today and a self-proclaimed Grammar Nazi all because of what I learned in his classroom in Griffin Hall.

Dr. Thibodaux lost his life in a motorcycle accident in 2007.  It was devastating.  He had so much to offer to our students and community.  Today, he is still remembered as a school board member who fought for his beliefs regardless of popular vote.  Today, there is David Thibodaux Magnet Academy in Lafayette.  A technical school named for the late Dr. Thibodaux.

I had the honor of being his student.  I am so grateful. 

Lesson:  When the going get tough, the tough must get going.  They have to want it.  They have to earn it. 

When my grandmother (and best friend) was fighting cancer, I wrote a note for her and posted it by her chair, "Tough times never last, but tough people do."  We read it together every day when I would visit.

God Bless!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Have I Done?!

This morning, the kids and I took advantage of the beautiful day and took a bike ride into neighboring subdivisions.  I knew it was time to come back when Abby had polished off the last of my water and her face was bright red.  As we victoriously conquered the last uphill stretch near our house, I noticed a man putting his "trash" at the road.
This "trash" was a large fish tank.  I would guess it is about a 50 gallon tank with a convex front.  Next to it, was 2 boxes full of everyting a fish lover would need.  Here is the conflict that wives go through in moments such as these.  Do I tell my fish-tank-loving husband about said treasure sitting for free 2 doors down?  This means that all existing honey-dos on the list will be scratched off and replaced with "GET FISH TANK SET UP".  A fish tank that did not exist before this moment.  A fish tank that does not have to exist at all.
I did the right thing...I told him.  I think I saw smoke behind him as he raced out the door to pound on the neighbor's door, but I told him.  He may not get that garage cleaned today, but I told him.  I may not get that last set of blinds hung, but I told him.  Our belongings may be in storage forever, but I told him.  I'm a good wife, so I told him.
(((sigh))) Now, in our garage, we have this large tank, a smaller 20 gallon tank, a smaller 10 gallon tank, and all of the necessary parts and pieces for them to work.  This neighbor apparently had plenty he was ready to ditch.
We got rid of a very large tank before our move.  I was so happy to be done with it, I had a small party in my head.  Now, as I inherit this family's past hobby, I can only imagine HIS wife doing a small happy dance in her kitchen as I prepare to take on this renewed hobby.
I guess this means I may never get that mantle we need either. [[[stomping foot]]]


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Slowing Down

May 18, 2012 is the day I became a better Mom.  This did not happen because of me or anything I did that day.  It happened because God needed me to pay attention to the blessings in my life. 
It was a Friday, nearing the end of baseball season.  All three of my kids decided to play baseball this season.  This means that each kid has 2 games per week, and maybe one practice between the bunch.  Catie also takes dancing on Wednesday nights, and, of course, there’s  after school tutoring that I do, homework, and studying.  Needless to say, our lives, since March, have not stopped. 
It all began in the school day when Abby’s homeroom teacher pulled me aside and whispered to me that Abby had been nominated by her classmates to receive the David Award.  This is an award given in each homeroom at their school.  It is considered the highest honor a student can receive.  It has nothing to do with how smart you are or how fast you are or how popular you are.  It is based on your kindness to others.  It is awarded to the student who exemplifies a true Christian.  The fact that it is chosen by classmates makes it even more special.  When her teacher told me, I had to leave the room to hide my tears.  I could not be prouder of my middle child who, at times, does not realize the person she can be in life.
After school, I rounded everyone up, beaming with my new secret, and we headed home.  It was dance rehearsal night!  For a 4-yr-old who attends dance from August until May, THIS is the moment she’s been waiting for all year long.  The day she can put on the pretty make up and the sparkly tutu!  While we got ready for the big show, my son dressed for his baseball game and he and my husband headed to the ballpark.  I would have to miss this game, which I never like to do. 
On the way to the dance rehearsal, we were all so excited.  I was so proud, again, that my youngest child was finally reaching her long awaited goal.  I was also anxious to see how much she’d learned all this time!  On the way there, I received a text from my husband. “Zac is PITCHING”. ….Another dream come true.  Zac had been asking me for weeks, daily, if I thought coach would ever put him pitching. I kept telling him to ask the coach, but he never would, since he gets his shyness from me.  I was missing it, but still so happy to be with Catie for her big day.
Catie performed so well, I was so proud.  I was now beaming with THREE major accomplishments:  The David Award, the dancer dancing, and my pitcher pitching. I realized, in that moment, driving to the baseball field after dancing, that I had lost focus.  Our busy lives were taking away from our family.  Since that day, I am more patient, I am more understanding, I am a better mom.  These are my blessings.  This is my one shot.  I get it, God.
Oh, and to add to my pride even more, Zac pitched a good game.  When I asked him why coach finally put him in, he said, “I asked.”
Abby with her St. David medal
My pitcher pitching

My dancer after her recital

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Day With My SLPs

Top Ten Things to NOT do if you suddenly decide to invite yourself to friends' houses the day after a holiday when they have a house full of kids on Easter break amped up on sugar and feel like a train just came through their house in the form of a family celebration:

This day we chose to visit my SLPs, which means some of my friends from St. Landry Parish where I worked before moving.

This may result in the dog deciding to immediately poop in dear friend's yard directly under tree house where your child is playing.  Your child will quickly step in poop with brand new Easter shoe causing you and your dear friend to worry about cleaning poop for about 20 minutes.

He may chase dear friend's neighbor, neighbor's dog, and SLEMCO man.

He may run into your friend's house over and over again because he thinks he belongs in everyone's house.

He may lurk around the table where children are eating lunch causing the entire group to eventually relocate for fear of losing pizza and breadsticks.

He may scare the dickens out of other dear friend's FOUR children, causing them to run and hide indoors, keeping you and your sweet children outside of the house while screaming in unison, "Why are you here??  What do you want?!?"

He may sit outside of the door in the backyard you've just placed him in, barking non-stop, even jumping on the door at certain points.

They may accuse your dear friends' children of not playing fair, keeping gumballs from them, make a mess, and fake injuries for affect.  They may also fight with each other to the point of utter embarrassment.  In this case, firmly clench teeth and give long "mom stare" promising to deal with this when you return home.  This strategy may or may not work for you, but it is all I could come up with.

Your sweet four-year-old will prove to all the drama queen that she really is under this type of pressure.  She will fight with everyone involved and cry to get her way no matter what goods and riches you promise her.  She will disrupt many conversations with these complaints, return to the kid area, start another argument, and immediately return to you.  This cycle is never ending.  For dealing with this type of behavior, see #4.

Your dear friend's sweet, curly haired two-year-old may or may not find the dog's leash and chew on it endlessly.  Hide all evidence of this ever happening.

He may chase your dear friend's cat, causing the feline to run straight up the screened porch to a height no one thought possible.  Feline will eventually come down only to run straight back up each and every time your dog enters through the doggy door placed in both front doors.

Lesson:  Leave Pepper at home when making surprise visits to long lost friends.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Swear We're Nice People

Last night we were invited by some new friends to a much needed crawfish boil at their home.  Finally!  Moving to a new town and making new friends is not as easy at it may seem.  I mean, we'd look a little weird knocking on someone's door and asking them to come out and play, right?   At times,the shy kid comes out in me and I don't quite know how to just say, "Hey, maybe we could all have dinner one night?"  Well, honestly, that's not the only hurdle.  We all have 1,648 kids and have to find sitters, arrange our schedules around baseball games, dancing, birthday parties, sick kids, etc, etc, etc.  There is also my profession.  My son is in my class, so these are the parents a normal mom would meet and spend time with, BUT...I teach their kid.  How weird is it to have your teacher's kid ask you to hang out.  haha!  That just made me laugh thinking of it! .....(still laughing)..........................ehem!

Anyway, we were invited to the home of a couple whom Todd and I both adore.  They have small children and I knew Catie would love it.  After our 5:30 T-ball scrimmage where Catie's team won with an imaginary, made up score of 8-2, we headed over.  The crawfish was incredible.  Kudos to our hosts.  But then, it happened.  As the adults enjoyed each others company in a much needed huddle on the back patio, the kids' Friday Fatigue (as I call it) started becoming apparent.  It started when their sweet 5-year-old son came screaming from the darkness because he was hit in the face with something never really identified, I guess.  My son and the other 10-yr-old there come behind him saying that HE was throwing stuff FIRST!  Really??  You chose THIS NIGHT to defend yourself against a 5-year-old?  That was it, the start of a series of several events that made Zac seem like he and Charles Manson were in cahoots.  Catie was her usual high spirited self and spent her time being social with the little kids, only embarrassing me the one time she came out with some contraption which she put on her chest and called "boobies".  Nice. 

As a mom of three and a teacher of 76, there are times we can't explain why a normally sweet kid suddenly goes postal for an evening.  The night was fun, which is good, since it was probably our last.  I swear we're nice people with nice kids.  Really!  I mean it!

These are my kids 2 hours before the evening crawfish boil.  We dragged them out for more fun with full knowledge of their Friday Fatigue.  What were we thinking?

Lesson:  Simple.  Live and learn.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Embarrasing Mom/Teacher Moment #3452

This morming we arrived at school earlier than ever.  Ever so proud of ourselves, we leapt out of the Expedition cheery-eyed and bushy-tailed.  As we all gathered our 872 things needed for our school day, I realized Abby's booksack was missing!  I looked at Abby and asked, "Abby, where is your booksack?"  "I put it behind the truck this morning," she replied.........................................................................................
(Mental Note: Text Todd to retrieve book sack from driveway before the rain.)

Upon arriving into my classroom, I get a call....................from Todd...............Apparently the neighbor found Abby's book sack in the middle of the road and rang the doorbell.  "Not to worry," Todd said,  "they have a kid in Abby's class and will bring it with them to give to Abby."

Enter mortifying eMbArRaSsMeNt!!!!  Yes, that's right, this morning I backed up feeling like I'd conquered the world since we were so early, not realizing that I was dragging my poor 8-year-old's sweet flowery blue monogrammed book sack SEVEN feet into the middle of the street.  Lurching forward, oblivious to the scene I was leaving for the new neighbors to ogle over.  To top it off, to my rescue comes a neighbor whom I've NEVER MET, WHOSE SON I WILL TEACH NEXT YEAR!

Unbelievable.  If you need me, I'll be hiding under my desk.

**Update:  Just met the Mom in the school cafeteria while she had lunch with her son.  She introduced herself as the one who brought Abby's book sack to school and said it was so nice to meet me. 

Shoot me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Enter Stress

Seriously?  I have not posted a thing since December??  It's not that I've alienated you.  It's just that...{{well}}...sometimes the stress of being a working mom becomes unfunny for a little while.  Oh, I'm sure we've had our moments where we've visited a Wal Mart or arrived at school late that would have been "Class A" opportunity for a funny blog post.  But, when you are living it...not so funny.

Anyhow, so today would have qualified for one of those days.....(I think I just felt my neck tighten just thinking about it.).....................................

3 words...Academy and baseball season.  I know.  Enough said.

It all starts with the general feeling of the day.  Abby was a fighter all weekend.  She was crabby and moody and grumpy.  When asked to do anything, she did nothing.  Well, she needed new cleats for softball.  If she did not absolutely need them to be able to play, she would not have earned them this weekend for sure.  As we were getting ready to leave, I lost my keys.  Sure I lose my keys now and then, but I REALLY could not find them ANYWHERE.  After about 30 minutes of searching, I found them under something on the kitchen counter...duh.  During this 30 minute game of hide-and-seek, it allowed me, the Mom, to look in each room of my house.  (For those that are not Moms, when we do this, we don't see rooms, we see each individual mess in each and every room that was just cleaned YESTERDAY!)...........................anyway.....So, Abby, her friend, and I finally pile in the car and head over.  I was so hoping to be able to dart in and out since I only had 2 kids with me.  Then we could make that stop at Target and Sam's that I really needed to make.

We arrive and go straight to the baseball cleats.  It becomes apparent that everyone in the parish, the baseball tournament down the street, and a few extra people from the highway have also decided that this will be the hour for their Academy visit as well.  We squeeze our way down the narrow aisles, through the crowd (picture Wal Mart on Black Friday here). 

The selection at Academy is vast, they have black, white, pink, red...Of course, we want pink.   Every year, we arrive and think we can pick any shoe from the selection.  How wrong we are.  THIS is the only Academy for miles!  Not to mention, Abby has a small foot, which means less of a selection for some reason.  Do they think that small-footed children do not play sports??  Anyway, we spend the next half hour searching for her shoe size.  We start with the exact shoe she wants, then settle for next best, then finally after tireless searching, we snatch the one and only size 12 1/2 on the shelf.  It's a boys' shoe with no trace of pink or purple :(  We decide that cute shoelaces can fix that.  Did I mention that anything below a size 1 is on the very bottom shelf?  Did I mention the crowd?  Did I mention they were all over the floor trying on shoes?  Did I mention the profuse sweating??  Picture me,  sweating from the sheer stress of the situation, pulling out shoe box after shoe box, trying on countless shoes, a 12 foot metal stock ladder in the middle of all of this madness going back and forth....UPSIDE DOWN!!! as children cry, whine, run and scream around us!!!

Finally, we prevail, settle on a boy shoe, grab some cute shoelaces, and exit the madness.  Abby proudly holds her new cleats in her arms.  We spend a few more stressful moments picking up baseballs and socks for Zac and new athletic shoes for me.  ((Oh yeah, Abby's friend was wearing Heely's, and they were zooming back and forth down random aisles all around me.  I had no control)) As we make our way to the counter, I am frustrated at the amount of time it took to find this single pair of shoes.  It happens every year.  Why do I wait so long to get what we need??

We find the shortest line, I put my merchandise on the counter, turn to Abby, and she says, "Where are my shoes?"....(((breathe)))).....ehem, "I don't know Abby, where are your shoes?" (((remain calm)))
"I don't know," she replies.....(((pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse))))

We gathered our things, spent the next 20 minutes walking, searching, zooming down every single aisle we had visited, which was a lot.  Back and forth, back and forth.  We never found them.  We had to start over.  Yes, you heard me...back into the trenches....upside down.  As we were searching for the second time, I said to Abby, "I am so mad I want to scream."  I noticed that my comment got a "look"  from a woman who had no children with her shopping for herself.  You know the look.  It's the "I can't believe she just told her child that" look.  It's the same look you give other people in Wal Mart.   I wanted to punch her.  I wanted to jump out of a window!  Alas, Academy has no

We settled on a boys' shoe a half size up, grabbed yet another cute pair of laces, paid, and left.  Good riddance!  The next time I mention a trip to Academy, remind me that it's Todd's turn.