Thursday, August 31, 2006
As energized as I feel, I'm still very much ready for bed. I will try and get all my thoughts down tomorrow. It was a fabulous day, and much was accomplished. I met many of my parents and saw quite a few familiar faces. Best of all were the excited faces of the babies as the came racing down the hall to give hugs. They so love the Vertical Team because they know who their teacher will be. They spend all summer saying, "I know who my teacher is gonna be". At least this is what their parents tell us =). I never really thought about it before, but it seems that one of my favorite benefits of the Vertical Team is of benefit to the kids as well--I love knowing who I'm getting and knowing how they work and where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and the kids love knowing who their teacher is going to be. There is never any doubt in their minds.
In the meantime, I have to pack lunches, get laundry started and head to bed. Before I do, however, I thought I would post the Preacher Cookie recipe for Kelly and anyone else who may be interested.
2 cups of sugar
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 t vanilla
Combine the sugar, butter, milk and cocoa and bring it to a boil. Boil for one minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Drop the mixture on wax paper covered surface to cool.
Eat with a tall glass of milk and enjoy =).
Monday, August 28, 2006
Okay, so we had less than half a day in our classrooms and then had to go and sit in an auditorium with all the first through fifth grade teachers in the city. Now, under normal circumstances this would just be a minor annoyance, having to try and find parking, etc. But, today, with most of my classroom still sitting in shambles, it was a MAJOR frustration!!
I am certainly able to pick up a teacher's manual and figure out how the book works. Ditto the CD-ROMs that come with them. I know not everyone is like me, but I object to sitting in a room for three hours when my brain is not even remotely on the new math texts. Grrrrrr.
But, I must say, the adoption came with an interesting series call "Investigations" and I'm really looking forward to delving into those units. They take a very hands-on approach to teaching mathematical concepts. They also emphasize problem solving skills, which many children are sadly lacking. I can't WAIT to get my hands on these! =)
I was so stressed I had to come home and make cookies. Yes, I was needing something terrible for me in a bad sort of way. So, Brien helped me make preacher cookies. Preacher cookies have got to be my be all end all favorite cookie of all time. Some folks know them as "No Bake" cookies, but that just doesn't do them justice at all.
You see, "Preacher Cookie" is the Appalachian name for these delightful treats. You mix peanut butter, rolled oats and vanilla in a bowl. You bring butter, cocoa, sugar and milk to a boil and then pour the mixture over the oats/peanut butter mix. Then, you spoon the cookies out on a waxpaper covered cookie sheet--or, you can just use your counter top. As you can see, the cookies are a quick cooking treat. The farm wives would see the preacher comin' down the lane and would whip up a batch of cookies and have them waitin' for him by the time he arrived. Hench "Preacher Cookies". And, let me tell you, they can take the edge off stress better than just about anything.
Now, I'm off to restress myself. I have questions of the day to sort, lesson plans to write, a school year to pace out academically, important dates to get in my calendar, etc.
I may be MIA for a couple of days as Open House is Thursday night and is quickly approaching and I have a TON of work to do to prepare for it.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I have to admit, I thought it a fitting tribute for a Corps member. Here is the sketch the artist created in order to get the statue just right.
If you are interested in seeing the rest of the Gobble de Art Hokie Birds, you can view them here.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Lorie's minister came and gave a little "sermon" on the seven C's of service, and how we needed to reflect upon those "C's" to become even better teachers. Afterwards we went to school where we sat in meetings from 10:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00. There was very little opportunity for me to work in my classroom. I wanted to take some pictures to show how my room looks, but my camera has gone missing, much to my chagrin.
The first meeting was a fairly typical welcome back to school, here is what our focus is going to be this year kind of meeting. We went through the Marshall Handbook, and Lorie told us about a book she has read about leadership. The title is QBQ, by John Miller. It focuses on two types of questions; questions that begin with "what" or "how" and focus on "I" or "me" versus "who" and "why" questions that are the victim approach. The idea is to be proactive.
We took those victim questions and turned them into QBQs. For example, we were given the sentence, "Who will approve or disapprove of me?" We turned them into, "How can I be sure I am showing integrity in all that I do?", "How can I better appreciate and love myself?" and "How can I present my best self to the world?"
These questions are important because they represent a change in the way many of us have been thinking. I like to believe I have been proactive and positive--my little Pollyanna self--but I don't always succeed. I often find myself asking, "When is that department going to get itself together? Do I have to do their job and my job too??" Being positive takes more work than I would have thought.
Two other quotes that really spoke to me today were: "Being what I say I am by acting in accordance with my words" and "If they don't learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn."
The afternoon session was devoted to introducing us to our new Balanced Literacy Handbook--how to teach literacy with a balanced approach to reading, writing, and other elements of literacy which I'm currently too tired to try and remember.
It is going to be an interesting school year, and I will write about my thoughts on the coming year after I return from school tomorrow.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Some quick notes and thoughts from today:
1. 5:00 is WAY early to be getting out of bed--especially if you have been getting up at 7:30.
2. Hannah is most definitely NOT a morning person. She was miserable this morning and when it was time to leave Melanie's today she told me she didn't want to go tomorrow. When questioned why she replied, "Because I don't want to get up that early in the morning." I hear ya, kiddo!
3. This year is going to be hectic trying to coordinate schedules. More to come on that.
4. Lily decided she was not interested in her bottle at Melanie's house today. I received a phone call around 8:00 and Melanie asked, "Has Lily had a bottle this summer?" Uh, no. It would seem Lil has decided bottles are not as cool as the real deal. She wanted nothing to do with it for either breakfast or lunch, even when the milk was put in a sippy cup. Trying to determine what the problem could be, since Lily has always taken a bottle before, I put some water in a bottle when we got home. Lily will drink water from a sippy cup like it's going out of style. Two sucks on the bottle and she was pushing it away. Did you know bottle nipples come in different stages? Lil's bottles still had stage 0 nipples, which are for newborns--Oops! So, I headed on over to Tar-jay and purchased some stage 3 ones. Keep your fingers crossed!
5. I probably should have gone into my classroom to work a few hours this past week. Ugh. Getting a classroom ready is like moving. There are boxes to unpack, furniture to rearrange, etc. I will have been back at work for seven days before the kids arrive. In that time I will need to get my room ready and curriculum sorted and planned. As much as I would love to spend all seven days in my classroom, I will instead be in meetings, staff development, and training sessions for much of the time. I will probably get a total of 3 days in my room before the kiddos come for Open House. I'm beginning to feel slightly panicky...
6. I'm pleased with my resource (Art, Music, Library, P.E.) schedule. I'll have resource from 1:45-2:25 MTThF. Not too bad at all. I LOVE having resource at the end of the day! =) But, I'm going to have to adjust the pumping schedule to accomodate the change in my schedule.
7. It's tragic there is no way for Sarah and I to work out carpooling since we left school together and got to Melanie's house at the same time today. I've been trying to work it out but can come up with nothing as of yet.
8. If Hannah and Lily nap on the way home every afternoon I will be a very happy mommy. This way I can listen to All Things Considered in peace--Hannah doesn't much care for "that news show, Mommy". I remember feeling the same way when I was a kid, so I can't complain too much.
9. I love my job, I love what I do and I'm so very excited to be back in the classroom. My room feels like home after so many years =). Sure, the early hour is stinky and yes, working Hannah's before/after care situation is going to be dicey, but I'm glad to be back at Marshall. They are my family and I love them all! =) I can't wait to see all my kiddos next Thursday at Open House!! I've got 17 students on my class list and I know all but 3. Of those 14, 12 were in Sarah's class last year in the Vertical Team.
10. I start each year fresh and excited and hope to maintain my enthusiasm well past Winter Break and February on into spring and summer. My goal is to be positive and supportive to not only my students and teammates, but to all the people in my building. If we don't encourage each other, who will?
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I know jarred babyfood isn't that great, but it's easy. You drop a couple of jars into the baby's bag and lunch is packed. For Lily, I have to do a little more work. I want her to have nutritious and tasty food, so I have to spend time chopping and trying to figure out what would make for a balanced meal.
This evening I purchased some Boar's Head smoked turkey since Lil likes stronger flavors. I've chopped some of that along with strawberries, greenbeans, yogurt and oatmeal cereal, tomatoes, and Cheerios. I hope this is enough... See, I know how much Hannah will eat so I know how much to pack. I just don't know aobut Lil.
As you can see, I'm avoiding the whole I'm-going-back-to-work thing as best I can. Lunches are packed, I've got the pump and electric cord together, and the smoothies are awaiting ice in the blender. I can do this.
If only 5:00 weren't quite so early...
In an effort not to think about the really early hour at which I will have to awaken on the morrow (ugh, 5:00), I thought I would post some pictures of Miss Lily in her exploring glory.
Here she is under the end table.
Miss silly doesn't seem to realize the saucer is for playing in not under =).
Same end table, different day. The silly baby hasn't learned... Finally, we have big girl under the chair. My favorite part is when she is trying to get out and she tries to crawl over the rungs instead of under. She is suspended in the air like a gymnast over a parallel bar. =)
Every year, Beloit College releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of the world view of the incoming freshmen class. Here is the list for the Class of 2010:
1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
5. They have grown up getting lost in giant retail stores known as “big boxes.”
6. There has always been one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
10. Thanks to pervasive head phones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. “Google” has always been a verb.
20. Text messaging is their e-mail.
21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
26. “Boogers” candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
27. There has never been a “sky hook” in the NBA.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
31. They grew up in minivans.
32. Reality shows have always been on television.
33. They have no idea why we needed to ask “... Can we all get along?”
34. They have always known that “In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups.”
35. Young women’s fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
39. “So” as in “Sooooo New York,” has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
43. They are not aware that “flock of seagulls hair” has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
47. Small, white holiday lights have always been in style.
48. Most of them have never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
49. They have always been searching for “Waldo.”
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
54. There have always been live organ donors.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
62. Acura, Lexus and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. “Outing” has always been a threat.
69. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
70. They have always “dissed” what they don’t like.
71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
72. Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
My life entire life has revolved around a school year calendar. To me, a new year begins in September, not January. When I was a child, Mom was a teacher, so I always went back to (pre)school in September. I always had a nice break at Thanksgiving, had a nice winter break and spring break, and then off in June. It seems as if I have had this schedule forever. Quite frankly, I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't.
Yes, I worked summers during high school and college, but I still had a break from school. And that is what summers are for me now, a break from school. However, since Hannah's arrival, summers have also been spent playing with my main Monkey. This summer, it was the three of us girls. We traveled and played and created and I don't want it to end. Sure, I like sleeping in and letting Han sleep in and not having to work, but that's not the main reason I'm maudlin. I just don't wan to leave the kiddos and go back to work. I know Lily will enjoy herself at Melanie's while I'm working--especially since Erin will be there--but...
I'm beginning to think I sound like a broken record; I'm pretty sure I had these same feelings back in February and March. I know once I'm back in my room getting ready for a fresh crop of shiny little faces I'll be fine, but until then, I'm just a little sad.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Unfortunately it didn't stop there. This man then made a break for it, shot and killed yet another sheriff's deputy, which in turn led to pandomonium in my small town. You see, Blacksburg is typically just a tiny blip on the radar, even during football season (GO Hokies!). Today, it made NATIONAL news!! I was absolutely stunned!
First off, this escape and murder is unheard of in Blacksburg. We're just a small, mountain college town and the biggest news up 'til this point had been an illegal poker ring.
Second, national news?? Come on. It must have been a very slow news day. The biggest piece of news, other than this man killing two officers and wounding another, was that Virginia Tech cancelled classes for the day--this being the first day of classes.
They did finally apprehend the young man this evening, but not without a long day of terror for the residents of Blacksburg.
This was a very significant event, no matter where it might have occurred, and my heart goes out to the families of the fallen and wounded officers. The fact this happened in a small, peaceful hamlet is definitely news worthy, but national news?
I also have to wonder what the young man involved could have been thinking. Sure, going to prision for an extended amount of time for attempted armed robbery is rough. However, it is nothing compared to the capital murder charges he is now faced with. I have to wonder if he thought out the entire situation before he acted. It doesn't seem that way from this end.
I'm sure life will return to normal in Blacksburg tomorrow. But what a ride today!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
After dinner, not only did the kiddos wrestle, tumble, etc. they also rode their bikes and "goudas" as Lydie calls scooters. Here are Miles and Hannah in their protective head gear. Hannah is getting more and more confident on her bike. She is even remembering to pedal back to brake.
Miss Lydia thinks she is big stuff when she gets on Miles' scooter and rides around and around. She is just too cute to watch. =)
As is usually the case here in the summer, it wasn't just warm today, it was horribly humid. Hannah was a hot and sweaty mess by the time we managed to drag all the kiddos in to cool off and rehydrate. Well, actually, they all were, but Han was the one I got a close-up of.
Here's a quick video of some of the action. This clip has taught me a couple of things. One, don't stay inside doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen while the kiddies are out playing. Two, if you want a video of something you really need to take it yourself, otherwise you just won't be satisfied. Three, my husband is a wonderful man for taking these pictures and clips while I was otherwise occupied and I should be grateful for what I have, so I am.
So, for those of you interested, here is a little vignette of today's action. It truly is something only a parent/grandparent might be interested in. You can hear Hannah expressing her views very clearly, even though you can't see her.
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We found everyone out in the backyard, and Lily discovered she too could get to the backyard by crawling through the doggie door from the screen porch to the deck!
We had a lovely meal--Dad grilled hotdogs, hamburgers and chicken--and then the kids had some lovely imaginative play.
Kelsey is ten and a little mother's helper. She keeps the younger kids "in line", and keeps a watchful eye on everyone. She is really invaluable to have around with so many little ones so busy!
Lydie is two and hysterical!! She picked up the sprayer and said, "Hello? No, she's not here. Bye bye." Hee hee hee
Here's Lydie in the process of putting the "phone" down. =)
Here is Hannah in full regalia--ear protection, eye protection, tool belt, and lovely Mork suspenders. Please note the "leash" on Baby Holly. She made it from a carabiner and Mardi Gras beads.
Hannah in full pose mode, "petting" Baby Holly.
A nice close-up of my little goggle head and her jumbo ear protection.
When Hannah wasn't in the shop with her daddy, she was inside creating art. Here she is holding a kite she made and then decorated. She laid all her supplies out in the foyer, rendering the front door unusable.
She has colored pencils, stickers, Crayola twistables, markers, glue, scissors, and many wonderful drawers, caddies, etc. for organizing the materials. This is what made Hannah's other "decorating" earlier this summer frustrating. As a kid who always LOVED art, I have made an effort to provide these types of materials for Hannah's use.
She has been putting them to EXCELLENT use, making cards, banners, gifts, etc. She even wrote a chapter book the otehr night. That's a pretty big undertaking for one so young =).
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Hannah has now been to three zoos--the Knoxville zoo, National Zoo, and the Virginia zoo. Our favorite is National because it is just SO big and has everything! Of course, it's over three hours away, but still a fantastic zoo. The Norfolk zoo, being closer to home is a better choice for a short afternoon out. You can see almost everything within a space of about three hours.
There was a nice barn set-up for those children who grow up in cities--all the local children to be sure. There are some small monkeys and marmosets, a sloth, ocelot, reptiles, and a wonderfully done African exhibit with lions, giraffes, rhinos, gazelles, and more.
Hannah was a delight, leading the way. Of course she wanted to see the monkeys first. =) She adored the spider monkeys and named the lions, giraffes and rhinos =). I think her most favorite of all however were the prairie dogs! We explored for almost two hours before Han had finally had it. It was hot hot HOT Monday and she was pooped!
Lil had an excellent time too. I wasn't sure how much enjoyment she would get out of the zoo, and I was surprised by just how much fun she had. Lily is an animal lover. She began our adventure in her stroller and loudly protested because she could NOT see the animals. So, I put her in the Mei Tai and off we went. She laughed and kicked her legs in pleasure at all we saw. By the time Hannah had had it, Lily was pretty tuckered out as well. Both kiddos slept like the dead on the way home.
While New York has its cows, and Blacksburg its Hokie Birds, Norfolk has its mermaids. Obviously this one is at the entrance to the zoo.
Dani hefting Hannah for a better view.
Hannah petting one of the goats in the zoo area.
This guy landed on the sidewalk as I was finishing taking pictures of the mystery red plant. I thought he was kind of nifty.