Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Made It!

I have officially written a post a day since July 17th, roughly six weeks. I am really proud of myself.

I once read a book called 101 Days of Sex, written by a married couple who committed to doing the deed for 101 days straight to see what they learned from their experiment. Although they gained a lot of insight, they were ready to take a break when they were done.

I feel kind of the same way. I learned a lot, but I think I may take a break tomorrow, although it really has become a habit now to log in daily and write.

I learned to look at my life a little bit differently. I started to view my day in terms of blog worthy topics. When you post everyday you don't always have a major event or issue to write about, so instead I started to focus on the little things. Which is nice, as these little things started to mean more to me, and I think I notice them a little more than I used to. It became therapeutic to blog.

It's also a little funny how you start writing your blog in your head during the day to test out topics, see if it would work. It's like I have a running commentary of my life going on in my head at all times. What's even funnier-sometimes the voice sounds like Bob Costas. Does anyone want to analyze that?

See you tomorrow...maybe.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

3 Day Weekend!

Our tummies are full of donuts, I just picked another bucketful of tomatoes from the garden, and we are off the spend the day at my sister's doing some canning.

Yesterday, my sister sent me an email about our canning date today, and also about how she had found a pattern for us to use on the baby quilt we are making together for our cousin. At the end she said, "Gosh! We should have been pioneers! This entire email has been about quilting and canning." That would have been a lot of fun, minus the no running water, no electricity thing.

The boys and I are hitting the Carter's sale before we head over to stock up on winter pjs. Time to restock the wardrobes!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I think we've started a family tradition...

The last couple of weeks the kids and I have stopped at the store on the way home from school on Friday. We were there for a variety of things, but on impulse both times I picked up some donuts for Saturday's breakfast.

This morning on the way to school, Charlie piped up from the backseat with "Mommy, go to the store day! Get chocolate donuts!" I was amazed that somehow in that toddler brain he knew it was Friday. I thought it was a good idea, but I pulled the bribery card. Today was school picture day, and Charlie is not famous for wanting to participate, so I bribed him with a chocolate donut trip after school.

Lo and behold-he allowed his picture to be taken!

Plus, I'm liking this donut Saturday thing. I think we may have to keep it up.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Watch or Not to Watch

I vividly remember the first time that I watched an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. I was in 8th grade. It was the episode where Brenda volunteers for a teen crisis line. I have no idea how I got our family's one television to myself that night, but I made sure I got it every episode after that. I used many tactics I wasn't necessarily proud of, including throwing a temper tantrum at the age of 13 (as only teen age girls can do) and bossing my younger siblings around. It was totally and completely worth the trouble though. I faithfully watched that show from that night until the last episode, the wonderful wedding of Donna and David we had all waited a decade for.

My favorite was Dillon, that James Dean look alike. I desperately wanted to bear Luke Perry's children. I copied the hairstyles of Kelly and Claire, but especially Donna. I sobbed when Dillon cried after his wife was killed. I LOVED THIS SHOW.

Actually I still love it. I watched it on FX when they first started reairing episodes, and now I watch it daily on Soap Net. All of my boys cringe when they hear the theme music, but they know it is one show the queen bee insists on watching.

And now, on September 2nd, the CW will air a spin off show (called 90210) on September 2nd. It features two of the original cast, Brenda and Kelly. I am torn about whether or not to watch. It could NEVER live up to the original. It can't even come close. But I am curious. I just don't know. I'll probably watch it just to see Brenda and Kelly again. Now, if it was starring the original cast, I would be there in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Running On Empty. Literally.

On the way home from school yesterday, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a blinking orange light on the dash. "Great!" I thought. "The check engine light is going off. Must be why the car is starting to shake a bit." But when I looked down I saw the little gas tank sign flashing at me. Crap. I looked at the gas gauge and to my horror saw that is was below the E. A range I have never been in before! I have no idea how this happened. I am obsessive about checking how much gas is left. I began to imagine the car stopping where it was. I imagined having to walk with three boys in tow to get a tank, and then haul it back. Double crap. I quickly thought back to the last time I had filled up...over a week ago, and...right before we went to Harlan. A trip to Harlan had happened on this tank? Triple crap!!! I began swearing in German, a bad habit I acquired from several of my friends in high school who took German, which actually really comes in handy when you are stressed around your kids.

Luckily, we were blocks from our neighborhood gas station. We rolled in on FUMES I tell you. We have what is supposedly a 16 gallon gas tank in the van (according to the manual). I put in 17.33 gallons.

Thank you God for getting us to the gas station, and please help me to keep my head on straight from here on out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tear Fest

This morning Evan's 4th grade class ministered at our school Mass (meaning they sang in the choir loft, read all the readings, and took up the gifts at communion). Evan's special job was to carry up the bread at communion time. He was so proud of himself, and it was just adorable the way he sneaked a peek at me as he was walking past my class to make sure I was proud of him too.

I cried when he started coming down the aisle. This is not the first time he has done a job at Mass, in fact he has done this since Kindergarten, but for some reason, it just really hit me this morning. I think it is because he is just so grown up lately, so mature. I am so not ready for him to not be a little guy anymore. Watching your first grow up is the hardest. I guess I thought he would always be my baby. And I guess he will be in a lot of ways, he just doesn't look like it anymore. He's starting to look like a young man. Sigh.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family Dinner

Family Dinner was at my house last night, with all of the cousins and girlfriends and aunts and uncles everywhere. Here is some cuteness from the event:

Charlie, Brookie, and Sammy eating dinner on the bench

Showing off their dessert of popsicles

Colin the chocolate monster, after eating a plate sized cupcake from Aunt Christy. Just one more reason I "love him all the time!" (Sarah's kids always say they want to come to my house because I love them all the time. Too cute.)

And here is some more from today...

Snuggling in the laundry basket!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tickled Pink

Last night on MySpace I found a friend that I haven't seen since I graduated from high school. He was one of my favorite people in band, and it was so good to find out how his life is.

That silly but addictive MySpace is finally good for something!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fall Harvest

What a wonderful Saturday!

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home from school Friday, and I picked up a box of doughnuts. This morning, we slept late, and sat around in our jammies eating chocolate doughnuts with "sprinkers" and sipping coffee. Well, I sipped coffee. The toddlers sipped milk sippies.

The air had just a tinge of fall in it today when I went out to mow the grass, so I turned off the air, threw open the windows, and let lovely cool breezes drift through the house. I love it when you can smell the outdoors all through the house.

The best part was when I weeded the garden and found LOTS of ripe tomatoes, and even more green ones on the vines. We are in for a bumper crop. All twelve of my plants are producing well!

I made a date with my sister for next Saturday to start our canning. Every year we make homemade ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and salsa. Actually the last two years I took a break, since I was a baby machine, and didn't have the energy to put in a garden at the new house. This is our first year for the garden at the new house, and our first crop here. I expected it to be a little less than usual as the ground hasn't been built up yet, but it is doing beautifully. I will savor the canning even more having been away from it for awhile. There is nothing more satisfying to me than feeding your family food that you have grown and prepared yourself. It is an art and a feeling that is dying with my grandma's generation, but Sarah and I do our best to keep it going in our family.

I love this part of the year. I love getting to harvest the fruits of the summer, and my labor. We also made a date for mid September to go the apple orchard, where we will buy bushels of apples, peaches, and pears. We will freeze these, so as we go through the winter we can pull them out for pies and treats like baked apples. We'll also make a family favorite-homemade applesauce (it's pink!!)

Now that my babies are a bit older, and I have the freedom, time, and energy to do this again, I feel like I am reclaiming a part of myself I haven't seen for awhile. Hallelujah! I am returning, bit by bit and piece by piece.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Reflection

We've made it through our first full week of the students being back to school. Here are a few things I've noticed...

1. Since Charlie has gone back to daycare, his behavior has transformed. He is a happy, cooperative, polite little boy. In fact, three separate teachers have commented to me in the last week how he is the politest toddler they have ever seen. He always says please and thank you. So-what the hey?!?! Is it because he has the good example of other children to follow? Is it because he is better stimulated at daycare than at home? Is it because I stink in the mom department?

2. I have so far kept up with my gym plan for myself. I go every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It hasn't been too bad. Although when I went in the summer, I relished the hour of peace by myself. Now, I feel a horrible wrenching guilt at spending time away from the kids, since I don't get near as much as I would like when I am working. I don't leave for the gym until about 7:30, so really it's only a half hour out of my kid time, but still. I love those guys.

3. I have a bumpercrop of nosepickers in my class this year. I had to give my booger speech on the second day of school-a new record. Parents, please do not send your child to school as a nosepicker. It makes the teacher forget what they are talking about, which I can tell you results in an inferior education for all.

4. The germs are already flying at the SVdP daycare and of course, a Kleffman kid picked them up. Sammy is down with a barking cough.

5. Now that I am back to the working world, my house looks like a pigsty. When it was just Evan and me, it wasn't that hard to keep up. Now, between the laundry (Charlie and Sammy have had 3 clothing changes each at school EVERY day this week between potty training and Charlie's refusal to wear a bib, as he insists he is "big like Eman!") and the turmoil caused by three boys I am buried. I hose down the kitchen every night because I can't stand a dirty kitchen, we pick up the toys in the living room, and I try to fold a load of laundry, but the rest has gone to heck. I shudder to think of what is living in the bathrooms.

6. Evan is handling the change to 4th grade better than any other grade level. He is so mature all of a sudden. I love it, but I miss my baby. This growing up thing is for the birds.

He thinks study hall is the best invention ever, and his homework load has been greatly reduced because of it. Why the heck can't they do that in 3rd grade?

7. Finally, I am exhausted. The energy required to rear 3 boys on a daily basis and lead a tribe of 30 six year olds is immense. On Wednesday, I fell asleep on the couch at 6:30. Got up briefly to help Jeff put the boys to bed at 8:00, and then crashed for the rest of the night. I wish someone would invent a magic mom pill, ensuring me enough energy to accomplish the day. I would pay them a lot of money. A lot.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Beautiful Kitchen Table



Don't you love it? We do! Can you see the toddlers sitting on the bench?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm In Love...

...with a bra! I ordered from Hanes.com some of their comfort stay strap bras. I LOVE THEM! They are true to their word. Not once today did I have to hitch up a strap, one of my pet peeves. For someone that is up and down and all around all day long working with students, I present quite a challenge to this aspect of a bra. I hate having to hitch things around while in my classroom. No matter how discreet you try to be, those little kids notice.

I realize the male readers are probably retching in disgust, but sad for you. Us ladies need to know these important things. So girls-go get one! It is AWESOME!

Update: For those who care, and you probably don't-we have pictures scheduled!!! Not only pictures of the boys, but a FAMILY PORTRAIT! I am embarrassed to say this will be our first (and Sammy is almost 2!!) I had to break Jeff's arm to get him to come, but it was worth it. Christi-we are going to Picture People!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Inspired

My friend Christi is so on top of the mom thing. She is religious about getting her children's pictures taken. I did a great job with Evan, but Charlie and Sammy? Poor kids. They will think I didn't notice them with as few formal pictures I have had taken of them.

I am off to schedule portraits right now!!! Thank goodness I have Christi for a role model.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pretty Good!

...would be how I would describe my first day of school. I had a good time with my class, and I am excited to see them tomorrow, so that is a very good sign.

As I sent Evan off to 4th grade this morning, I got teary. I didn't do that even when he went to Kindergarten, but for some reason today he just looked so grown up and mature. I was just so proud of him! He looked at me like, "Oh Mother!" and trotted off downstairs with all the big kids. He's such a good kid. I am so blessed to have him! He amazes me everyday.

I just heard from his teacher, and she said Evan had a great day!

Charlie and Sammy had a much better drop off at daycare too-Charlie gave me a hug with no tears, and told me "Have a good day Mom!" Sigh. They are growing up way too fast.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Supporting a Fellow Blogger

I am a regular reader of the blog Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper. If you have a second, head over there and check out Crystal's last weeks worth of posts. Her 9 year old daughter Virginia had a bad experience at a Red Robin restaurant where she lost her beloved Nintendo DS. Long story short, Crystal (the author) has managed to change the whole situation around to the positive (in a short amount of time) into a fund raiser for needy children. Even if you don't want to donate, I think this is an amazing example of how the internet, blogging, etc can all have a wonderful impact on people's lives, and can connect us in ways that just weren't possible even a short time ago.

It's worth your time, I promise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy in Harlan

We all headed up for the day to see Jeff's family in Harlan. We thought it would be a good way to distract Evan (and me) from our back to school nerves. We had a BLAST!

First, we stopped at Jeff's Aunt Sarah's house, where we "tied on the feedbags" (as Jeff would say) and had a delicious roast beef lunch. Afterwards, Grandpa John and Jeff took the boys to the park while I chatted with the family and helped to clean up. After the boys had been gone for about 2 hours, Sarah and I decided to go hunt them down. We found them at Grandpa John's house. I could hear shrieking laughter coming from the backyard, and as I turned the corner I saw Evan zipping around like Speed Racer on a 3 wheeler, and I saw my not quite 2 year old Sammy DRIVING at breakneck speed (or so it seemed to me) around the yard in one of the motorized toy Jeeps. Charlie was riding shotgun, hanging on for dear life. I was stunned. How does he know how to do that? It was so cute though...all five of those boys-big and little-were having a purely male good time.


They were shrieking so loudly that Christi's mom came out from across the street to investigate. When Charlie and Sammy saw her coming they both deserted their Jeep and came running at her yelling, "Grandma!!!" I guess they know a good grandma when they see one! I did admit to Christi's mom that some valium might be nice to calm my nerves while watching my toddlers race around in cars.

We stopped to take this picture, which includes four generations of Kleffmans...

Aunt Sarah then went to Dairy Queen and brought back ice cream cones for the kids, which they loved, but let me tell you they were already brimming with sugar and energy. It served as fuel for round two of running amok through Grandpa John's house. Luckily he loves all three of them to bits, and doesn't care at all. In fact, he is right in the middle of it. That man has more energy than Jeff and I put together!

It was so much fun, and I am so glad I talked Jeff into spending the gas on the trip. A perfect way to spend our last "free" weekend. This was the view from the backseat on the way home...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Poop Olympics

Sammy won the gold today for most poop smeared over a bedroom.

I woke up with the continuation of a migrain headache from yesterday. I spent several minutes in bed after I woke up checking email and such, and trying to convince myself I could handle the demands of two toddlers on top of a killer headache.

I walked gingerly down the hall to collect the boys, but as soon as I opened the door of Charlie and Sam's room I was blinded by the most overwhelming, disgusting, poop smell. Gagging, I walked into a disaster.

Sammy had poop all over his bed, blankie, bedding, Lammy, carpet, Elmo chair, hair, binky, toys, and walls. Why does this always happen when I don't feel well?!! He was sitting in the middle of the floor-now an ocean of crap-and he looked up at me sweetly and said "Sammy a mess!" I started with him, changed him, bathed him, and got him out of the mess. I moved on to Charlie who kept saying "Sammy smells BAD! Poop everywhere!" It took me forever to wash the sheets and scrub the bedroom.

The positive? I don't know how it helped, if it was the smell clearing out my sinus' or what, but by the end of the mega cleaning session my headache was gone. Praise God!! Not that I would want to try that remedy EVER again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No More Roller Derby and Other Tidbits

Our current kitchen table set has been a source of frustration for me since Evan was a toddler. It's not actually a set, either. I inherited the chairs when Evan and I moved into our first house from a friend of the family whose mother had recently died. They were free, and I was VERY appreciative. Although extremely comfy, they are the ugliest things ever, done in poop brown fake leather. Totally 80s. I hate the 80s. The worst feature of all though is that they are on wheels and lean back. Perfect for adults, not so much for toddlers. Evan, Charlie, and Sammy have all wreaked kitchen havoc during dinner time by pushing themselves away from the table and halfway across the room. They have tipped backwards out of the chairs knocking their heads on the hard floor. Jeff and I have taken to eating with one of our legs crooked through the arm rest of each toddler's chair so they can't roll away (and we can't walk after dinner either from sitting so oddly). The table I bought for $10 in college to use in my first apartment. Although many good friends have sat at it, and I have fed all three of my babies from it, it looks like I bought it for $10 at a garage sale in college.

Yesterday, Evan and I were 15 minutes early for swimming lessons. Next door to Swimtastic is a used furniture store called Hand Me Ups. I thought we would browse just to pass the time. On a swing through the kitchen table section, I saw a set I immediately fell for. It has a light oak table top and chair seats, with darker legs and chair spokes. The thing that sold me though was that besides the four chairs, there is a bench that sits along the back of the table. I could just picture my little guys eating dinner, sitting at that bench, legs swinging. Best of all, there are no wheels ANWYWHERE! I sent Evan off to swim lessons, while I haggled for the table, and I paid a fraction of the cost I would in a regular store. Best of all, the proceeds all go to a non profit foundation that helps visually impaired people to find employment. Okay, so it's not new, but who am I kidding? I have three boys who are not gentle with anything they come into contact with. I am afraid to buy new things. This way I won't be afraid to let them do art projects on it, or drive their toy cars along the top. I am in love-with a table! I will post pictures once I get it set up.

On to the other tidbits...When my parents were in Ireland they got each of us a gift. For Sammy, they picked out the softest, most adorable stuffed lamb (as they saw sheep everywhere they went). Sammy immediately fell in love, named it Lammy, and it has been his constant companion wherever he goes. This morning while I was getting Sammy dressed for school he was holding Lammy and inspecting his hooves. After much thought, he asked me "Mommy? Where Lammy's piggy toes?" Is that cute or what? I love it when you can finally start seeing into their little minds. I love that kid.

This morning I was reminded why I love working in a Catholic school. We had a retreat this morning, off campus, and it was so so so nice. The perfect thing to do before Open House and the craziness begins. It was all about how holiness is not just in acts like going to church, or praying. Holiness is in our entire daily life-in smiling at someone, making dinner, doing your job to support your family, taking care of your family, cleaning the house, or spending time with your spouse. It was like someone teaching you a whole new way to see the world. Just what I needed to hear. Because as a working mom, most of those things are all I have time for. It's nice to know I can be with God, and be Holy for God just by living my life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Logging In

I am logging in (or blogging in) today because I am determined to make my goal of a post a day for a month.

I don't have much to say today though except I am pooped. Tired. Exhausted.

But, my classroom is ready. My plans are done. Copies are made. I am ready for Open House!

However, my house is a mess. There is laundry everywhere. The cat needs food.

Blech.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Guardian Angel

Today the 1st grade "crew" and I went out to lunch. On the way out to the parking lot, we were having a discussion about whose car to take. Somehow I won out, which I never do, so we headed over to the van.

Fitting all of us in meant that I had to take out a car seat. I picked Sam's because I thought there would be less fossilized poo underneath. When I reached around to unhook the sealt belt, I realized it wasn't buckled. I have no idea how this happened, but I feel SO THANKFUL that Sam and my's guardian angels were on duty today, guiding us to use my van, and pick his car seat.

THANK YOU LORD!

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day News

We all went back to school today! Although really, only Charlie and Sammy had normal, back at school days. Evan went to After School Care, I had meetings ALL day long.

It went better than expected! Sammy took a nap on his nap mat, without a binky. This was a MAJOR miracle. Sammy also ran right in to the classroom when we got there, and could have cared less when I left. Charlie was able to tell me about his day for the first time ever. When I asked him what he did at school, he reported, "I didn't scream. I had jobs. I went potty." He told the teacher twice he had to go potty, and he went. No temper tantrums, and he was teacher helper. He thoroughly enjoyed helping to do the odd job around the classroom. He was pretty teary when I left in the morning, but got adjusted quickly.

Of course, when we got home they both screamed and cried off and on for the first 2 hours. This seems to be pretty normal for first days. Its almost like they have to get out all the fussiness they were trying to restrain at school. Hopefully that eases up as we go through the week.

In a lot of ways it was a relief to go back to the routine of our regular school day. It was also nice in a lot of ways to go back to "teacher" me. I don't realize it during the summer, but when I go back I realize I miss the working me. That was nice to feel, and made things easier for me. Hopefully next week when things get started with students, I will still feel the same way.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Think I'm Ready

Yesterday I went for a manicure and a pedicure for a couple of reasons. First, because it is so utterly relaxing and enjoyable. Second, because Open House (or what I secretly think of as Inspect Your Child's Teacher Night) in on Thursday. They will be critiquing my clothes, hair, nails, and personality as much as the classroom (and by they I mean the parents). I will feel so much more presentable like this!

I think I am now ready for school to start tomorrow. Relaxing at the spa was my treat to myself to help me get back in the swing of things.

I also published my new classroom website last night. I had to switch to a new program this year since we got our new Mac laptop, and it was a bit of a struggle. I've only used one web publishing program before, and it was hard to get my brain to work in new ways,so I am hoping it looks okay. You can check it out here:
http://web.me.com/christym7
You can tell me if you think it's dumb, because I would actually like to know so I can fix it before parents see it. Of course, you can tell me if it looks good too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Barrel of Monkeys

I love it when kids get words mixed up and what they are trying to say gets totally turned around and funny. Evan doesn't do it too often anymore, so I love it even more when he does. Yesterday was a good one.

Evan and I were swimming at my parents house while the babies slept inside for our last day of summer fun. We were looking across the yard at my Dad's flower garden when a HUGE rabbit popped out from under a bush. It was at least as big as a cat. A few minutes later two smaller rabbits jumped out after him. Evan said, "Look Mom! It's a barrel of bunnies!!"

I thought "What?!!" to myself but I said, nicely trying to figure out his line of reasoning, "You mean like a bucket? Is there a bucket of bunnies?"

He looked at me like I was stupid and said, "Mom. There is no bucket over there. You see where all those bunnies came out? It's their house! A barrel of bunnies!" The light bulb flashed on and I knew he meant BURROW of bunnies. I couldn't help it-the image of bunnies living in a big barrel was too funny and I giggled uncontrollably. I let him in on the joke, and he laughed too.

I'm glad my big kid can still have these moments.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blech

In an effort to extend my healthy eating into the breakfast hour (which I had been skipping entirely, and yes I know that's a bad idea) I bought a box of Kashi Go Lean Crunch at the grocery store last weekend.

It looks like sticks sitting in your bowl. I am not kidding.

It tastes like sticks in your mouth. Maybe more like sticks with a light glaze of sugar.

The after effects? Well, all that fiber was not a good mix with my intestines. I will leave that up to your imagination, but I will say that it was not comfortable.

I am trying my best to be healthy, but maybe not that healthy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Charlie Loves Church

Jeff told me this story about the boys last night.

Jeff was home with the two toddlers on Tuesday while I worked on my classroom. He decided to take them to the park, since Jeff was feeling a little stir crazy in the house (welcome to my world). There are NO parks in our neck of the woods, so he piled them into the van and set out. When Jeff turned left on 192nd instead of right, Charlie started having a temper tantrum in the back seat. Jeff got him calmed down enough to scream out what he was upset about. "Char Char wants to go to church!!" (And apparently Charlie knows which way you turn to get there!) Jeff explained that they were going to go have fun at the park, and play on the slides and swings. "No park you dumb Daddy!" Charlie screamed back. "Char wants to go to church!"

Jeff was stumped. He couldn't picture a child who would rather attend church than the park. Jeff is now wondering if Charlie will want to become some type of religious figure, like a priest.

He'll definitely have to get that temper under control first!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Today Show Reaches it's Audience

On Monday when we were driving to school, Evan and I were listening to the Today Show on the radio. They aired a piece about the caloric pitfalls of kid's meals at fast food restaurants. I listened in horror as they mentioned a Happy Meal at McDonalds has almost 600 calories. As I mentally gagged, Evan voiced my thoughts when he said, "If that's how much a Happy Meal has, how about the adult meals?!" Exactly!

The story went on to explain that if you substituted apple slices for fries in a Happy Meal, you got rid of almost 200 calories.

So, today we went to McDonalds for our annual end of summer lunch. I guess we both had that report on our minds, but I about passed out when Evan ordered a Happy Meal (he usually gets the regular sized meals) and apple slices instead of fries. As I looked at him with pride, and was amazed at his restraint around food, he said, "It's never too early to get healthy, Mom." Exactly.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My Creation

I finished up my classroom today, planned for the first two weeks of school, and plowed through a mountain of small jobs and paperwork. While I was hacking away at the pile, it occurred to me that a classroom is a like a piece of art. The walls and displays, arranging the furniture just so to accommodate the learning styles and traffic patterns of 32 people, making it seem like a little piece of home so it's comfortable, and making it into the home base of a new community. It takes a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of materials, and (I think anyway) some talent.

It is also the one area that no one said ANYTHING about in college. Never once. Not in either teacher's college of the two I attended. They just leave you to muddle through.

I am so glad that I had good mentor teachers to help me through it the first time! I have been watching the newbies spin their wheels this week, and thanking God for putting angels in my path when I started.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back to the Grind

Well, I blasted trough my classroom today like a whirling dervish. I am not exactly crystal clear on what that is, but it sounds like something that moved as fast as I did today. When I came in, the walls were bare, and the furniture was in a pile at one end of the room. When I left, the walls were complete, the desks arranged, and the centers and materials were in their spots. I have a few odds and ends to attend to tomorrow morning, and then I can roll up my sleeves and plan out the first two weeks of school. I am PROUD of myself.

Actually, I had an assistant whirling dervish named Evan. He had 2 hours of Jump Start classes this morning, but I enlisted him into active classroom duty the rest of the day. I am liking the age of 9. He can really be a huge help. He didn't even complain. I like that kid! He may turn into a successful adult yet.

And where were those pesky screaming toddlers you ask? My rock star husband took two days off from work so I could set up my classroom in peace. Didn't I catch the best guy?! I know it!

I am feeling less nervous about school starting, but not any more excited.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hmm....

There are several different blog topics flitting around in my head right now, including my crazy experience at Walgreens trying to go green by bringing my own bag but being thwarted by the overzealous Chinese guy, my absolute horror and depression at having to go to school tomorrow to set up my classroom, and my money hoarding husband (God love him!).

But, I am feeling a bit down in the dumps today, so I am going to stop at that, and later go for some retail therapy to buy some groceries and some new clothes. I might also add there is a little husband defiance in that act, but more about that later. Possibly.

Maybe I'll get up the energy later to tell you those aforementioned stories.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Yesterday Evan invited his friend Nora over, and we headed to the pool for the afternoon. Nora and Evan have been friends literally since birth. They went all through daycare and preschool together, and now up through 4th grade. Nora was my flower girl, and I had the honor of teaching her in 1st grade. She has been a part of our lives as long as Evo has, so we love her lots. Unfortunately, she lives in Bellevue, and it is a bit of a production to get together, so we only manage a couple of playdates during the summer, but they both love and look forward to them. Nora and Evan have planned on getting married since they were about 3. It amazes Nora's mom and I that this never changes, no matter how old they get. Once in awhile we will catch them planning things like what kind of dog they will get, or how many kids to have. Nora's mom and I are always taking pictures and then saying, "Won't this one look good at their wedding reception?"

Anyway, I digress. We went to the pool at Lifetime yesterday for about 4 hours. Evan and Nora went down the water slides so many times, I thought maybe they were going to get a little motion sick. We splashed, we talked, we played, we ate dinner at the poolside cafe. I think I had as much fun as the kids. Jeff came home early from work to look after the toddlers so we could have as much time as we wanted. What a super afternoon.

In other news, Sammy has shed a lot of his "babyness" this week. Sniff sniff. All of a sudden, about 4 days ago, he started talking in full sentences. His vocabulary is exploding, and he can have a simple conversation with me. He has slept for two whole nights in his big boy bed. This morning when I went in to get them up he said, "Sammy stay in the bed Mom!" I guess he took our lecture to heart the night before (a kid that listens to me-Finally!!). We talked for a long time about staying in bed and being quiet. Naptime went better yesterday than it has in forever. Maybe this was just the change we didn't know we needed. He's also started sitting for long periods to read a book, or snuggle with Mom. It makes me happy to see him growing up, but it makes me sad too. Jeff is going to take down the crib today. This is heartwrenching for me. It is the first time in three years our house won't have a crib in it, and when it is the last one moving out of the crib, it's hard. I won't ever lay one of my babies down in a crib again. Sigh. Completely bittersweet. Things are always harder with the youngest.

I finally convinced Recycle Bank to let me use their service without getting the Elkhorn Sanitation trash service, so we were so excited to get our container yesterday. Sadly, it's already half full! I cam't wait to cash in on some rewards!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Chaos in the Bedroom

Yesterday when I went to get the toddlers up for the day, I discovered Charlie in Sammy's crib with him. They were having a grand old time jumping in the crib like it was a trampoline. I had no idea how he got in there, but I brushed it off as cute.

When naptime rolled around, I put the little guys down, and 10 minutes later I heard squeals of laughter. I went in to be stern with them, and found Charlie back in the crib with Sam. I separated them, gave them a talking to, and prayed everyone would sleep. Mothers do not do well when naptime is interrupted, let me tell you. 10 minutes later, more shrieks could be heard. I went back in, and this time Charlie was in the top bunk, and Sammmy had climbed out of his crib and was running amok. I took one look at Sam and thought "Oh crap." Actually you can substitute something much worse for crap, but I won't write it here. I had not had ANY plans to move Sammy into a big boy bed any time soon. The first time your kid crawls out of the crib is not a joyous occasion. The good/bad thing about Sam is that you only have to show him something once, and then he can do it too. I'm betting he saw Charlie climbing the crib, and thought "Why didn't I think of that?!" I had no idea how Charlie got to the top bunk, since we have the ladder turned towards the wall, but he couldn't get down once he was up there, so I left him on top to sleep, thinking this would cut down on the party if he wasn't able to get down to participate. I put Sam back in his crib and crossed my fingers.

Things were quiet for about 2 hours after that until I heard Charlie screaming "Get Char Char DOWN FROM HERE!" When I went in to collect him, Sam was again out of his bed, every blessed item not nailed down in their room was strewn over the floor, and Sammy was asleep in the bottom bunk, obviously tired from his rampage on his room.

After a strategy session last night, Jeff and I decided to move Charlie to the top bunk. We had originally planned on separating the bunk beds, but I think this might provide more calm. We also put Sammy to bed in the bottom bunk last night. Boy, did that kid think he was hot stuff. He went right to sleep though and didn't get out once. It was a quiet night, and I just got them up without a hitch.

My hopes are not so high for naptime though.

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