Thursday, November 29, 2007

Come ooOON, Friday!!

God, this has been a horrible week!! The 2:45 bell can NOT ring fast enough tomorrow. I had another one of those days where I was ready to walk straight out the door, and never look back. There wasn't even anything specific I could put my finger on, but the whole day in general just sucked. I'm so sick of being in this chaotic atmosphere, with the constant noise, kids running amok, yelling, screaming, fighting, and most of the time, that's the adults! There is just never any peace and quiet. Even rest time isn't peaceful anymore.

The babies are steadily becoming worse and worse behaved. They are learning from the examples that the rest of the school is setting for them. I hate when I have to get mean and grouchy with them. I end up feeling terribly guilty on the way home. But, they are really wearing my patience thin. Today was Day 55 of school, so WHY do I STILL have to say, "NO TALKING DURING REST TIME!" "Keep your hands to yourself!" "Stop jumping on the stairs!" "No name calling!" and the two hundred other things I have to repeat all day? They had no trouble following the rules in the beginning of the year. What the hell happened? OK, I'm not going to complain anymore about my babies. At the end of the day, I love them all to pieces. And, after all, they're 5 years old! They're basically acting like they're supposed to, right? It's just that when you have almost 30 of them to deal with at once, it's a bit trying!

No more bitching about school tonight. Here's another of my favorite Christmas specials from my childhood. I think it's going to be on TV next Friday. Enjoy!

Be sure to cast your vote for your favorite special!

You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut-up. ---unknown

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm feeling a little "Grinchy"

The Hell-Hole has got me feeling like The Grinch! I hate it! Every morning, as soon as I turn down the street our school is on, my mood plummets. I don't want to be there! My Dori and I were talking this morning about how the majority of the staff this year is arriving later in the morning, and rushing the hell out of there at 2:45! It's an epidemic! Although, it does make me feel better that I'm not the only one who feels that way about the Hell-Hole.

Used to be you had to arrive at 7:30 to get a decent parking spot. Now, you can get there almost at our "start" time (8:30) and still find a good spot. And, if you're there past 3:00, the parking lot looks like a ghost town. Weird! How does the Big Cheese not see the drastic decline in staff morale? Then again, does he even care?

The babies were in trouble today. Ms. H. met me at the lunchroom, as usual, to walk them up to art, and I warned them, as usual, to walk properly and behave, etc. But, when I went to pick them up, there were several boys standing because they were in trouble. Then Ms. H. proceeded to tell me about how terribly they behaved on the way up the stairs, and that when they got to the classroom, they went running in all wild.

It might have helped if the damn art teacher was in the room when they got there!! Dori and I ran out for lunch on our prep, and when we were getting in my car, there was Mr. L., standing outside smoking. AS USUAL! Ugh!!! Ms. H. told me that she's had enough of him, always leaving her to 'babysit' classes while he goes outside and smokes every period. And, she's tried to give him some suggestions as to what to do with the kids, OTHER than hand them a blank sheet of copy paper, but he's not interested in listening to any of her ideas. He's almost as big an ass as El Queso Grande!

Anyway, Ms. H. said that after the Christmas break, she's done with him. She'd rather spend her time down in my room, helping with my babies. She's so sweet! I think I mentioned in a previous post that she's been working with T.D. because he needs SO much help. She said she'd rather come down and do that for free everyday, instead of working for Mr. L. anymore.

Speaking of T.D., he wore his pajama shirt under his uniform shirt today. Sounds harmless, right? Well, it would have been, except that his pajama shirt had a Spiderman picture on it. Spidey's head actually LIT UP with flashing lights! Guess what a pain in the ass that was all day. I finally tucked it as far down the front of his pants as I could, but it came out a couple more times. Like, at rest time, when the room was dark. There was T.D.'s white uniform shirt, with flashes of red coming from under it. It actually was kind of funny, but I would never tell him that. Apparently, Mom didn't know he wore it to school, which begs the question, "Who the HELL dressed this 5 year old baby this morning?!" I told her about it at the end of the day, to let her know he can't wear it again, and she had no idea what I was talking about. What the hell?! Ok, let it go, let it go, let it go....

Well, today's holiday specials are Shrek the Halls, followed by How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I'm actually taping the Shrek special for the babies. Maybe we'll watch it this week, if they don't get in trouble again tomorrow!

Here's a cute little video someone put together for YouTube, featuring one of my favorite holiday songs. WLIT plays it several times a day, and if it comes on in the morning while the babies are coming in, we turn it up and enjoy it! I hope you'll do the same :)

Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money. ---Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He's back on my shitlist!

I haven't complained about the Big Cheese (or El Queso Grande, as my good friend KBL dubbed him!) in quite a while, because I've been trying to just accept that he's an idiot, and move on. But, today, he pissed me off big time. I won't bore you all with the details, but once again, he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. He tries to pretend he does, but he doesn't. Everything he threw at me was thrown back ten-fold. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

I started hanging up some Christmas decorations today, much to the babies' delight. They are really looking forward to making some of their own. I always have samples of the projects we make, so I showed them a few, and they were very excited. I'll definitely be posting pictures of what they make.

Right now, the Charlie Brown Christmas special is on TV. I love that movie! This morning on the radio, the morning show DJs I listen to were talking about how goofy we get when one of these specials is on TV. Even though we own them on tape and/or DVD, we get so excited when they're on TV. They were talking about how they did that last week for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, and one was saying she did it when The Wizard of Oz came on. She said she practically cut Thanksgiving dinner short, so they could run to the TV and watch it, even though she owns several copies of it! I was thinking about it, and I think it has to do with the fact that when we were kids, there wasn't the option of having these specials on tape or DVD that we could watch anytime we wanted. We had to wait ALL YEAR to see them on TV. And, it was a huge deal, at least in our house. My mom would make us popcorn, in a pot with oil, thank you very much! No microwaves yet! :( And we would all snuggle up on the couch, in the dark, and watch together. My theory is that these TV specials evoke such wonderful memories of childhood, we can't resist when they're on TV. It actually bothers me a little that our children will never experience that. They live in an "on demand" world. If they want to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas a hundred times, (or in July!) they can. I think that takes something away from it. But, that's just my humble opinion.

OK, I've managed, once again, to drift far away from school talk. I've been tossing around the idea of starting a second blog where I can blather on and on like this, and keep this blog true to school stuff. Perhaps during my wonderful Christmas break I'll finally do it! Until then, deal with my tangents, please!

Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas. ---Paula Poundstone

I liked this one for today, because watching Charlie Brown made me feel like a little kid again!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I have to work HOW many days this week?

This will be the first full week we've had with the babies in 5 weeks. Holy cow! But, no need to worry, the kids are off next Friday!

I started taking the Christmas stuff out today, and the babies are already loving it. I read a Christmas book this morning for our read aloud time called "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell." It was the least Christmas-y of my box of books. They'll get more Christmas-y as time goes on this month.

Luckily, I got busy this morning and didn't take down the Thanksgiving papers in the hallway. I just found out we're having another walk-through tomorrow. Rumor has it they'll be specifically looking for math and science work. The only math work we have posted is out in the hall!

Keeping it short tonight, the Dancing with the Stars Finals are tonight!!

A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education. ---George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I think I've set a new personal record

In the past 2 1/2 hours, I've managed to whip up 4 cheesecakes, a batch of fudge brownies with walnuts (requested by my youngest niece), a batch of frosted lemon cookies (requested by my older niece), whipped sweet potatoes (my sister), a baking dish full of candied sweet potatoes and a chili cheese dip. Whew! Move over, Martha!! NOT!

I'm feeling a little nostalgic...

Those of you who didn't grow up in Chicago may not have any idea what these videos are, but my fellow Chicagoans will instantly be transformed to their childhood. Well, if you're as old as I am, that is. I hope you love these as much as I do!

Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow!!

OK, I know I'm doing it again, and this is not the least bit related to school, but I just had to share a little look at our first snowfall of the year. I'm so happy, I could do cartwheels! (OK, well, I probably couldn't do a cartwheel these days, but you get the idea....) Enjoy!

I realize it seems like there's static "snow" here, but it's real snow!

I was trying to capture the dusting of snow on the roof of my garage.

The deck is starting to have a lovely little blanket....

OK, I took this through my kitchen window like all the rest, but I was dumb enough to take it through the screen, too. DORK! This, however, was the very first thing I saw this morning when I woke up. I took one look at that table, and immediately became happy!

Here's the puppy! Luckily, this is his good side :) I tried to get the picture as soon as he came in, but he was so excited, he wouldn't sit still! You can see he's trying to get back out. Buster absolutely ADORES this weather. His momma was a purebred Husky, and the minute the first snowflake comes down each year, it shows! He looks more like a Golden, so over the years we've determined (with the help of several vets) that his poppa must be a Golden/Shepard/Chow mix. (I was told about the Chow when he was just a puppy. Buster had the craziest speckled tongue, which I was told instantly by the vet meant he has Chow in him. The specks looked like he had something on his tongue, like maybe leaves or something. The first day I had him, I kept chasing him around, trying to get my hand in his mouth to sweep out whatever was in there. It took all day to pin him down long enough to realize it was just his tongue! The speckles have spread over the years, and now he has a mottled purple & pink tongue.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I thought I'd share a few of the Thanksgiving things my babies have made, that now decorate the hallway outside my room. At least until Monday, when we'll take it down, and start putting up the Christmas stuff. Yay!

Fall Counting

Close up of Fall Counting

The Big Picture

The crazy turkeys I mentioned yesterday.

What I forgot to mention is that I traced their feet to make the turkey bodies. That was hilarious! The kids loved that they got to not only take their shoes off in school, but then I had them stand on a chair next to me and put their stocking feet on the table on top of the paper so I can trace them. They all giggled like crazy. "That tickles!" was heard over and over. Too cute!

Thanksgiving Math

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two down, one to go...

We spent some time making the most adorable little turkeys today. They have these crazy, curly tail feathers that made the babies laugh all day. Their favorite book for the past two weeks has been "Ten Fat Turkeys." It starts out, "Gobble, gobble, wibble, wobble, do a noodle dance!"

So, all day, as each baby finished their turkey, I held it up for the rest of the class to see. Then I shook it a little, so the curly feathers went nuts, and we all said, "Do a noodle dance!" It was precious. I had intended to post pictures of a few, but of course, I forgot my camera. Maybe tomorrow...

Today was Day 2 of the after school program. It went pretty much as smoothly as Day 1. I was busy today, though, with a lot of paperwork, which was good because those two hours flew by. I actually have more to do when I get there tomorrow. I'm putting together time sheets for us on my computer, which should cut down on paperwork later. It'll be so much easier to just go in and change the dates and a few numbers, rather than fill out the monthly time sheet by hand. Once those are formatted and saved, I should have much more free time on my hands after school. I may just feel guilty about getting paid to sit there for two hours each day. NOT! I'll have time to get work done for my own class, which will be great. That's an extra four hours a week for planning and preparing. I also started making badges for all the students in our program. These badges will serve as the students' passes to come to their after school classroom. It's been time consuming, though, because I'm doing them on the computer (so they look a little more professional) and each child's information needs to be entered for each badge. I'm almost done, and that's what I plan to work on in the morning. I'm going to laminate them, and put them on a cord so the kids can wear them around their necks. (WOW! Let me apologize now for making you read this last paragraph. BORING!)

Tomorrow should be a fun day. First of all, my beautiful nieces will be coming to school with me. They only had school yesterday, and are off the rest of the week. It's like that every year, so they usually come to school with me on Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They are always very helpful. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I always have a "Charlie Brown" day. We watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie, and then go to the lunchroom to have our own Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Feast. For those of you who may not remember, it consists of popcorn, jelly beans, pretzel sticks and toast. The babies always get such a huge kick out of it every year. They think it's just so totally cool that we're eating the same thing that Snoopy and gang did. They are so easily pleased.
Enjoy!! The best part of this video is the fact that the original 70s commercials are included!

This quote seemed very appropriate in regard to my "easily pleased" babies:

A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm. ~Bill Vaughan

Monday, November 19, 2007

One down, two to go!!

Well, you gotta love a three-day work week! This week can't go by fast enough. I can't even believe I'm saying that, considering I only worked one day last week. This upcoming 4-day weekend may be just what I need to recharge my batteries.

Ms. Jackson, my sub, left me another wonderful note about my class from Friday. Plus, she left them a bag of Twizzlers as a treat. Thank you, Ms. Jackson!
She actually left me her phone number so I can personally call her whenever I need a sub! Too funny! I so appreciate that she actually followed the lesson plans I left. She seems like a dream.
I got ANOTHER new student this morning. He's a twin, so Dori has his brother in her room. Mom was really adamant about not splitting them up, but that's how we normally do things at our school. She wasn't thrilled, but apparently the Big Cheese got involved, because he personally escorted them to my room this morning and introduced me to mom. Little D.D. was fine, but his mom obviously had some issues with letting go, and managed to stand at the doorway, cooing and waving, just long enough for him to start crying. Then she started the whole "babying" thing. She had to take her older daughter to her class, so she asked if she could take D.D. with her. Of course, I said sure, since by now almost 15 minutes of instructional time was wasted with all the disruptions. When she brought him back, he was still a little teary-eyed, but as I kept telling his mom, I knew he'd be fine within 5 minutes of her leaving. And sure enough, he was! Mom asked if the two of them could sit together at lunch. Not an unreasonable request. However, Dori and I played it by ear, and once we got to the lunchroom, D.D. asked if he could sit with his brother (and the brother asked Dori the same). I pointed out his brother, and said, "See, there he is. You can see him and wave to him, but you have to sit with our class, ok?" and he was fine! We did let them sit across from each other at snack time, which made them both happy. So far, they seem like two really sweet, well-behaved boys, not to mention pretty bright.

Here are a few more turkey recipes. I hung them all out in the hallway this morning, and they've been providing some much needed laughs to all the grownups.

This one cracked me up while I was taking his dictation! At the end, he says, "I KNOW how to cook!" so matter-of-factly, I had to write it at the bottom so I would remember that he said it. He had me rolling!

Humor helps us to think out of the box. The average child laughs about 400 times per day, the average adult laughs only 15 times per day. What happened to the other 385 laughs?---Anonymous

Well, C.B. gave me all 15 of those laughs with his recipe :) Actually, thanks to my babies, I always get well over my 15 laughs per day. They keep me young. At least young at heart!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I love coloring!!

"I love coloring!"
Ok, I just totally stole this from Dori's blog. How cute is this picture!? It reminded me of another favorite picture...
This one makes me giggle every time I look at it!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I know it's not a school day, but.....

I've been a busy little bee again this morning, and now I've got some time to kill while the cabinet devils are working in my basement, so I decided to try and post a few of the adorable turkey recipes I mentioned last week. Here goes nothin'.....

Be sure to check out the list of ingredients for each of these. That's usually the best part. This little darling's recipe is a bit complicated, with two different cooking temperatures...

It seems this little one's mom must not cook much. Look where he says to cook the turkey... :)

Interesting ingredients here. Talk about slow cooking....

This baby's recipe is the one that was the closest to actually being right. Too cute!! I'm not sure where the chicken strips, meat and chicken fit in, though.

I'll put a few more up another day. One funny trend I noticed is that almost every baby listed chicken as an ingredient. Too funny! I had to give most of them a million hints before they said "turkey!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shame on me...

OK, so today I stole from CPS. I drove ALL the way to the training I was supposed to attend, I swiped in, then turned around and walked right back out. I should probably feel guilty about my thievery, but alas, I do not. One day's pay doesn't even begin to compensate me for the stress and strife I have to deal with on a daily basis at the Hell-Hole. I'm sorry, I just can't feel bad about leaving.

I've managed to get a lot done today. I went straight to the grocery store and did all my shopping for my son's birthday party Sunday. (Did I mention I had to cancel last week's get-together? My son was sick all weekend.) Then I went to the post office and bought all my Christmas stamps, as well as some postcard stamps I needed. Then I came home, put the 12 bags of groceries away, stamped 40 postcards, did a load of dishes, updated my Christmas card list and baked a cake for the gang at the vet's office. And it's only a quarter after 12! It's amazing how productive you can be when you aren't at work! I even managed to eat a sandwich in there, too. Oh, and I changed two flood lights over my front porch, and 3 light bulbs in the lamp in my living room. Wow, I HAVE been a busy little beaver, haven't I? I'm about to tackle the 5 loads of laundry that are waiting for me, and that I need to get out of the way before company comes over Sunday.

I'll try to come back later and give those that care (Laura and KBL!) a Buster update. He's still at the vet's office, hopefully resting comfortably. I just hope there isn't going to be a lot of icky stuff for me to do once he comes home :( If I have to change dressings or pack his ear with gauze, it isn't gonna be pretty. Let's hope that isn't the case.

A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down. ---Robert Benchley

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The after school program has begun

I was pleasantly surprised to see that yesterday's sub left me a wonderful note about my class. She said they were "excellent" and that my lesson plans were "the best I've ever seen!" She even 'graded' the work the kids did for her. It was so nice to have a sub who actually worked! I did, however, find one thing that bugged me. She let them destroy my library that is filled with brand-spankin'-new books that I haven't even read yet. There's now a huge sheet of butcher paper taped over the two book cases that reads, "Keep Out!" for tomorrow. I was more disappointed with my kids than her because they knew better. And you'd better believe they got quite the lecture about the whole thing this morning. They have a very clear understanding of what they can touch tomorrow. I'm actually hoping the same sub comes back. I left slightly more detailed lesson plans for tomorrow, so things should go even smoother.

After school was a bit of a, dare I say it, cluster fuck. I don't really want to go in to it, but our Reading Interventionist (RI), I guess, oversees all the after school programs. However, she wasn't even aware of our program, and got bent out of shape that I was asked to be the site coordinator. She said she would have asked the Lead Literacy Teacher (LLT) to do it,who happens to be her partner. Oh, well! Too bad, so sad! Mrs. J. in the office was telling me the whole story, and she said that when the man came to our school to pitch his program, the two of them didn't want to have anything to do with him, and called him a flake. He has been dealing with Mrs. J. since this summer, and has been working on getting his program in our school. She was the one who asked me if I was interested in the position, and the rest is history. Now she's ticked at the RI for being such a bitch. Well, guess what. I could care less. I'm being paid to do a job, and I plan to do it, no matter who doesn't like it.

On a positive note, this program seems like it's going to be a piece of cake for both me and the other teachers working it with me. It will be easiest money any of us ever made.

Buster report: The vet's office called and left a message on my cell phone earlier in the afternoon. They said that Buster was doing great, the surgery went well, and that he should be ready to be picked up between 5:30 and 6:30. Then, about 5:30, while I was driving home from work, they called again to say that he was doing fine, but his ear was still draining a lot, and maybe I could come later to pick him up, like closer to 6:30. Then Kathy went on to say that if I wanted, Buster could stay another night, free of charge, so that they could keep an eye on him, and so that he wouldn't be bleeding all over my car and house. Sounded good to me!! Actually, it was a much better alternative because I'll feel better knowing that he's at the vet's being looked after by a full staff and doctor, as opposed to being home alone all day while I'm at work. All in all, things are looking good on the doggie front!

Here's one of my absolute favorite pictures of both my son and Buster. This was taken the week we got him, so Buster was about 6 weeks old, and my son was 3 1/2. Immediately before I snapped the picture, my son said, "Look, Momma! I'm laying down like Busser!" (He had a bit of a lisp as a baby. It was so cute!) That was when I almost always had a camera in my hand, so luckily for me, I was able to capture this cute picture of them. It's been hanging on my wall for 10 1/2 years. (I just took it out of the frame to scan it for you.) Wow, time flies when you're going along with your life.

The dog was created especially for children. He is the god of frolic. ---Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NA na NA na NA Na

(That was my weak attempt at teasing :-/ )

So, Dori and I, and another coworker, enjoyed a lovely lunch at Pompei today. (Yes, I AM trying to rub it in!!) I couldn't convince them to leave immediately after signing in, but over lunch I was able to corrupt them enough to not go back until it was time to swipe out. Good thing my "work" day was so relaxing, because the rest of the afternoon was a bit nuts. I had to rush home because I somehow managed to schedule an appointment for my son at his pediatrician at the same time as I was supposed to be bringing my dog, Buster, to his vet.

Some of you may have read my crazed rant after our last visit to the pediatrician. Well, I wanted to make sure that wasn't going to happen again, so I called the doctor's office as soon as I got home from work at 3:00. I explained that I had to get the dog to the vet, and asked if perhaps they had someone cancel an earlier appointment so I could come in early. The receptionist proceeds to tell me that I can come in early if I'd like, because they're not running behind today. OK, great. "Let's go!" I yell to my son.

Well, luckily, my son is smarter than I am (which is another post all by itself for when I have some time!) and he said we should still take Buster to the vet first, so that he wouldn't have to sit in the car waiting while we were at the doctor's office. Thank God I listened to him. We went straight to the vet, dropped off the puppy, then went to the doctor's, where we arrived at 4:00. The waiting room, however, was almost as full as it was the last time. I had a bad feeling about things. We weren't called into a room until 5:05. Now, I realize that our appointment was for 4:30, so that's only 30 minutes later than our appointment time. But, we still waited a total of over an hour, despite being told we could come in early. I guess I'm being petty, but that's an hour of my life I'm never getting back! Plus, I would have been really upset if the dog had to sit in the car for over an hour! On a positive note, though, my son finished all his homework, and had a 30 minute phone conversation with his best friend while we waited. I'm sure time flew by for him. I, on the other hand, once again sat on an unbelievably uncomfortable hard, wooden, kitchen chair, and stewed.
Now, on the upside, we actually got some good news from the doctor. All my son's blood work results were good. His bad cholesterol is low, his good cholesterol is high, blood sugar is fine, all is well! Yay!

I suppose some of you (specifically Laura and KBL) are wondering what's wrong with Buster. Without going on and on with the whole story, he's been suffering with chronic ear infections for years, and now one of his ear canals is calcified, so he's having surgery tomorrow to cut all that calcification out and repair the ear canal. He's also having his annual "tune-up." Dental cleaning, ear cleaning, nail trim, shots, the works. My vet, God bless him, decided to do it all in one day to save me from having to pay for anesthesia twice. I love my vet, and he and his staff are just wonderful. I have a standing bi-weekly (sometimes weekly!) appointment for this darn dog, so I see them quite often. They go out of their way to do nice things for me, like putting extra medication in the bottles, or not charging me for ointments and such. I don't have the time to explain what I've had to go through with this dog over the past few years, but let me just say, I've spent my son's entire college tuition on this mutt, so he'd better get a scholarship or something! (Let me just point out to my two aforementioned dog-loving friends that as much as I bitch and moan about Buster, and my claims of NOT being a dog person, he is well taken care of. He may not sleep with me, and he isn't spoiled like your furbabies with baskets of toys and homemade goodies, but in my own way, he's given all the love he needs. OK, maybe not ALL the love he needs, but certainly more than I let on.)
A few pictures for the girls....

He looks so regal in this picture

Napping on the back steps

"Why must I be so darn cute?"

Wow, for a day that I wasn't even at school, this is one long post! Sorry. For those of you that care, I'll update Buster's condition tomorrow :)

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." ---George Elliot

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Only one day to go...

Well, today was a goofy day. If you read Friday's post, you know that our field trip was cancelled for today, but I managed to get the trip to come to us. Usually when we have a field trip, those students who aren't attending the trip must stay home because there isn't anyone at school to supervise them. Of course, we always have parents who try to ignore that rule, and send their kids to school anyway. I had about 5 kids come today that were supposed to stay home. I was actually surprised I had that many because I really played up the fact that those kids would have a 4-day weekend, since we were off yesterday. I immediately called all their houses, and managed to get all but 2 picked up.

Nelson Gill was wonderful! We had such a good time. The babies had a blast, singing and dancing with him. Dori and I are discussing having him come back and do a show for PreK-1st. It would be great.

I'm so happy that I don't have to go to school tomorrow. Or Friday, for that matter. It's going to make for a much less stressful week. I really only have to work Thursday, as far as I'm concerned. I did, however, stay until almost 5 tonight to set things up for the sub for tomorrow. Let's just hope the sub actually uses the plans I left. History dictates, sadly, that he won't. Oh well, I know I did what I was supposed to, and that's all I can do.

Dori and I are already planning what we're going to do tomorrow when we ditch the boring, waste-of-time workshop. We're thinking of going to Pompei for lunch. Yum! (I hope I'm making my friends who've defected a little jealous ;-) )

My little darling decided to stay at his grandma's again tonight, so I think I'm going to take advantage of some "me" time and fill my tub. Nothing like watching Dancing with the Stars from a hot bubble bath. Thank you, Grandma! This one's for you....

Never have children, only grandchildren. ---Gore Vidal

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank you!

I was just doing my daily Donors Choose check, and I see that one of my proposals has been fully funded! Yay!! Who was the generous soul who did this? I'm still waiting to find out who made the last donation. Unfortunately, Donors Choose only gives the names of those who donate $100 or more, so I won't get the names from them. Please, if it was you, let me know, so I can properly express my gratitude. Thank you, whoever you are!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thank You, Veterans!

Ah, it's Friday! Finally!! What a long week it's been. But, conferences are over, and we have a 3-day weekend. Yay! I know I mentioned a few days ago that the kids have a LOT of days off in November, but it's nice that we are off, too, for this one. I'll be having my family over Sunday for my son's birthday party, so I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone.

Today was actually a decent day. I did have two of my little girls go home sick, though, with tummy aches, so now I'm worried about a bug going around our room. I just hope I don't get it.

We were supposed to be going on a field trip Tuesday, and at the end of the day, I got ANOTHER phone call cancelling the trip. I was fit to be tied! I'll spare you all the details, but I managed to arrange for the field trip to come to us. So, all is not lost. It'll be nice to go in the auditorium and have some fun. But, it's still going to be a day at the Hell-Hole :( At least I'll be out Wednesday and Friday, so there's something to look forward to.

Well, my mother just called, all excited because she actually got a 30% off coupon for Kohl's, and I told her I'd meet her there, so I'm off to (maybe) start my Christmas shopping. Have a great weekend!!

Oh, and I really do want to say a genuine "Thank You!" to all of our veterans, and those still fighting, and sadly, dying, to protect our country and our rights. You are my heroes.

He who teaches children learns more than they do. ---German Proverb

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where is everybody?

Today was the absolute strangest Report Card Pick-Up Day I've ever had. The school was like a ghost town! I usually have almost all my parents attend, but this year, I only had 11 out of 25 show up. Weird. When I first arrived, I thought maybe the beautiful weather we were having here in Chicago today (sunny and 60s) was keeping people away because they were outside enjoying it. But even after the sun went down, there was no change. After our lunch break, I only had one parent come between 4:00 and 6:00. Part of me is a little disappointed, and a bigger part of me is just glad that I didn't have to deal with all those parents. The ones that showed up were exactly the ones I expected. They're the ones whose children are wonderful, because they have involved parents. The ones I really needed to talk to, because their children need help, are the ones who couldn't be bothered to show up.

Enough about that, because I'm trying not to be negative today. On a bright note, my son received the best report card I've seen in a long time.

I'm keeping it short today, because quite frankly, I'm exhausted. It's weird how basically doing nothing can make a person so tired. I did, however, get a bunch of errands done this morning before going to work. It was quite a full day! And now, I'm ready to put my pajamas on, and watch some TV in bed. Good night!

Children are the keys of paradise. ---Eric Hoffer

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Congratulations! You're the 10th caller!

OK, so it's rest time (as you know, my favorite time of the day!!) and I have my usual radio station playing. You know, the one I complained about the other day because they were playing Christmas music! Anyway, all week I've been letting soft Christmas music play during rest time. I'm only half listening because I was checking and replying to email, but I heard Robin Rock say "(blah, blah, blah)...I'll take the 10th caller." I didn't even hear what the hell she was giving away, but something compelled me to dig around in my purse and find my phone and call. Even as I was dialing, I was telling myself how stupid this was, especially because 90% of the time, I can't even get a signal in my classroom. Yet, I kept dialing. I got a busy signal. You would think that would be enough. But, no, I hung up, then hit redial. Suddenly, I hear ringing, then "Congratulations! You're the 10th caller!" I couldn't believe it!! Now, it wasn't a anything life changing, just a $100 gift card to KMart, but hell, I'll take it! Maybe I'll buy myself something frivolous, like a new Christmas tree.

I have to share with those of you who are not in-the-know, that it seems to my close friends and family that I have a "horseshoe up my ass." I have this bizarre luck when it comes to radio contests. This radio station, in particular, has given me many a prize in the past. A couple of highlights: tickets to see Gloria Estefan, tickets to see Ricky Martin, a family 4-pack of tickets to a Halloween show at Orchestra Hall to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a family 4-pack of tickets to see the musical Grease, $100 gift certificate to Gibson's Steakhouse, and the best one - a 7-day, 7-night, all-inclusive trip for 2 to the Bahamas (it was either Club Med, Sandles, Apple, one of those all-inclusive places) worth over $5,600. Sadly, I was never able to take that trip.(I'll explain in a minute.) I also won a couple of other things that were given away by someone other than the radio. One year, I won a contest for teachers sponsored by Pizza Hut, which was a cash prize of $600. There are some other little prizes, but you get the idea. My brother's girlfriend said once that it was karma at work, and that all these things come to me because of the good I do for others. But it still kills her everytime I win. Naturally, she was the very first one I called after I hung up with the radio station.

About the missed trip, believe me, I was sick about it! There are lots of people out there who like to say "Oh, teachers get SO much time off. I'd love to have all summer off, and all the holidays, blah, blah, blah..." What they don't realize is that our vacation time is dictated to us, as opposed to the luxury others have of choosing when they want their vacation. Of course, that trip I won could not be taken during any blackout dates. Those are usually holiday weeks, or long holiday weekends. Gee, when am I off work? Holidays!!

There was no way to take the trip without taking a full week off of work. There are so many things wrong with that. First, we can't take more than 3 sick days off in a row without a doctor's note. And, I would have to burn 5 sick days to take a week off. (When you're a mom, you can't afford to waste sick days because you'll probably need to take them if your baby gets sick and needs you.) The most important thing is that I could never leave my babies for a whole week! Even if it was a class I couldn't stand (never gonna happen!) I'd have to still leave lesson plans and all the materials needed for them for the sub. Unless you are a teacher, you have no idea how much work that involves! It would have been nearly impossible to do that. Unfortunately, the prize voucher expired after our summer vacation started, so that wasn't an option, either. Oh well, one day I'll get to the Bahamas on my own, I hope!

Let's see, what happened at school today? (I mean other than me calling a radio station, and winning a prize!) I started working with the babies yesterday on some Thanksgiving turkey recipes. I've been just cracking up! I'm going to bring them home and scan them so you can see the best ones. They are hilarious! Until I post them, I'm going to keep you in suspense. Suffice it to say, Betty Crocker has nothing to be worried about.

Well, Dori is here now, we're going to have a margarita night since we don't start work until 12:00 tomorrow. Adios!

Children are the bridge to heaven ---Persian Proverb

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Happy Birthday, My Baby Boy!

There's this completely bizarre phenomenon that happens to me every year on my son's birthday. I wake up at 4am, which was a pretty pivotal point during his birth. I don't really mind, because then I'm awake to give him his "birthday minute kiss," but it's just so weird. I always just wake up completely on my own, without the aid of an alarm. This morning, I woke up out of a dead sleep at 4, and then could not fall back asleep. Then, at 4:46, I went in his room, kissed his little forehead, drank in his face, and went back to bed. (OK, I actually went and kissed him when I first woke up at 4, but that didn't count!) I was then finally able to drift back to sleep until my alarm went off at 6.

Dori and I were talking about this this morning at school, and she decided it must be from the trauma of his birth. It's almost like my body is having a flashback! There might be something to that theory....

Those of you who are moms can relate, I'm sure, to how your babies are always your "babies" no matter how old they are. I swear, when I watch my son sleep, he looks exactly the same to me as he did when I watched him sleep as an infant. There are no words to explain the unbelievable love you feel for your child. It's immeasurable. Sometimes, it's hard to even fathom that you can actually feel that much love.

I've wandered away from school stuff again, although that was partially intentional. It was another day from hell today. Here's the latest B.S. we've been handed. At lunch today, (you know, where we are expected to babysit, and give up our own lunch!!) when it was getting close to our time to go, the lunchroom manager had the gall to come over and tell me that I had to dump the trays and wash the tables!!! I'm sorry, WHAT?!?!? So I said, "You want my kids to wash the tables?" and she replied, "Well, someone's gotta wash 'em." So, naturally, I said, "I'M not gonna do it! If you want a kid to do it, that's fine. It's NOT my job."

What the hell?!?! If I wanted to dump trays and wash tables, I would have saved myself many years of schooling, and tens of thousands of dollars, and not worked hard to become a professional educator. I'd just like to know when maintaining the lunchroom became my damn responsibility, instead of the lunchroom staff's.

OK, I really don't want to get going on a rant, cuz Lord knows, I could go on and on, but I don't want to put myself in a cranky mood on my baby's birthday. I'm gonna just let it go for now... We're leaving soon to meet Grandma, Papa, Uncle, Auntie and Cousins, and (his other) Grandma for a birthday dinner.

One last thing...some wonderful soul made a donation toward one of my Donors Choose proposals, but I don't know who it was! Unfortunately, that information is kept confidential, but I want to know who to thank. So, if it was you, please leave me a comment and let me know :)

Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility. ---Kate Douglas Wiggin

[There was an interesting notation about the author of this quote, so let me share - American children's author and educator who led the kindergarten education movement in the United States. Cool!]

Monday, November 5, 2007

Did you turn your clock back?

Well, not much to say today. I truly appreciated having that extra hour of sleep this weekend. It made the morning go much smoother. I actually arrived at The Hell-Hole in a good mood. The babies also seemed to be in a good mood this morning. Truth-be-told, they arrive in a good mood everyday. It's their lovely teacher that can be a bit, umm, cranky at times.

The morning went so well, that I completely lost track of time. I looked up, and it was 10:50. We were 10 minutes late for lunch!! We did some scrambling, and all was well. The rest of the day was fine, despite missing most of our rest time. We had a presenter come in from the Red Cross to talk about First Aid during what is normally our rest time. Then we had an unofficial fire drill when one of the janitors accidentally set of the fire alarm. By the time we came back in and got settled back down, and the presenter finished, we only had about 10 minutes to "rest" before snack time.

My little buddy, D.J., came in today wearing a big, plastic fake eyeball over his eye. It was actually very funny. Unfortunately, despite being told to put it away several times, he still kept playing with it, so I had to take it away. I didn't realize until I was at the grocery store later that I forgot to give it back to him. Maybe I'll wear it tomorrow when he comes in, just for laughs.

At about 1:30 this afternoon, one of the ladies from the office brought the kindergarten report cards to my room. Now I'm a bit torn. I swore, when they weren't there on Friday, that I wasn't going to even do them now, since Friday was the day we were given to work on them. But, now, I have a feeling I'm going to cave and do them tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of mood I'm in when I get there....

In less than 10 hours from now, my little baby will officially turn 14 years old. At 4:46 am, I will get up, and kiss him while he sleeps, like I've done every year since he was born. It seems like just a minute ago, he was this gorgeous, glorious little bundle of new, and now he's almost a grown man. We spent the afternoon yesterday at an open house at the high school he will be attending in less than a year. Talk about mixed emotions! One second, I was so excited for him, and the next second, I was literally holding back tears. (It didn't help that his father was with us, because that always causes emotional turmoil for me.)

We'll be going to one of our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner tomorrow with all the grandparents to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. I wonder if the weather predictions will hold, and we'll get some snow flurries. The day he was born, we had our first real snowfall of the year. Without getting into all the gory details, his was a very difficult birth, and I needed to have some surgery after he was (finally!) born. So, other than the few minutes he was lying on my chest immediately after delivery, I didn't see him for more than half of the first day of his life. When I woke up from surgery, I was facing the window in my room, and I opened my eyes to see the world covered in a big, fluffy blanket of white. I thought I was dreaming, or hallucinating from the drugs! Then, my next thought was, "What the hell?! Have I been in a coma?!" When I got to the hospital the day before, I didn't even wear a jacket, now we were plunged into a winter wonderland! Anyway, the weather reports have said flurries for tonight and tomorrow, so maybe he'll get snow for his birthday.

Thanks for indulging me today while I wandered far, far away from school talk.

A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on. ---Carl Sandburg

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Feeling generous?

Thanks to my good friend, E.S., one of my proposals is now almost half-way to being funded! Thank you, Girlfriend!! Feel free to check out the proposal, and maybe even give it your own little "bump" toward completion ;-)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Here I am!

Sheesh, I almost didn't get here before my self-imposed deadline! But, it's still Friday night, so that counts!

Today was just a goofy day all the way around. I did sleep in a little like I said I was going to, but I was only about 15 minutes late for work. (On a side note, my favorite radio station, that I listen to religiously, decided that 8:30am on November 2, was a great time to switch to all Christmas music, all the time! What the hell happened to Thanksgiving first!? I was so irritated, I had to leave the house and go to work!) Today was payday, so that was a bonus, although, once I looked at my pay stub, it seemed like a negative!

The Big Cheese had a staff meeting, with almost 20 staff members missing. That's not really that unusual, though. I have to say, the meeting was much more productive than I thought it would be. It was still light years away from what it should have been, but at least he was willing to listen to what we had to say. Unfortunately, he put me on the agenda to present like I was afraid he would. I really didn't have much to say, because quite frankly, if you remember, I went very late to the in-service and didn't really pay much attention. Luckily, I had the foresight to bring back the pamphlet they made and I ran it off for the staff. So, basically, that was my presentation! "Here you go, guys, read the pamphlet, and figure it out yourself!"

On these teacher institute days, we are required to stay until 3:15, as opposed to our usual 2:45, but that's because, for some odd reason, we are allowed to take an hour for lunch. I know, doesn't make sense to us, either! But, you better believe your ass we took our hour. Actually, I think we took a little more than an hour. My Dori and I, and another teacher, went and had a lovely little lunch at Subway, and talked and vented for the whole time. It was nice.

What was even nicer was that once we got back to school, we went back to my room, where my upstairs neighbor joined us, and we sat and vented until it was time to leave!! See, the problem is, despite asking for over a week now, we have still not received our report cards. The board has yet to send the kindergarten version of the report cards out to the schools. So, we did absolutely nothing today that had to do with the point of the day - completing the report cards!! I felt a bit guilty, though, that our friends were sitting with us, since they could have been doing their cards. But, it was just so nice to be able to sit and bitch together. It definitely helped. My upstairs neighbor (hereby known as UN) and I even spent about half an hour talking to the Big Cheese after school about ideas for discipline, but I won't bore you with the details.

UN then came back to my house, where I whipped up some yummy margaritas, and some dinner. We finished off the night with some Edy's Pumpkin Ice Cream (YUMMY!!) It was an all-around wonderful evening. I'm so very glad that UN decided to come over. It was really the first time we've ever really spent any quality time together, just the two of us, and I loved it! I hope she did, too. I was sad to see her go home, but she had report cards to work on, and my son called twice asking when I was coming to pick him up from his grandma's. (Not that he missed me, mind you, but grandma doesn't have a computer, and he was suffering from withdrawal!!) I can't wait for UN to come over again, along with the rest of "the girls" for another margarita night. I'm thinking we should do it after Report Card Pickup, since we work until 6 pm on those nights. Better yet, we should do it the night before, since we don't start until noon, and we can all sleep in a bit. Hmmm, we'll have to work on that plan.

That is what friendship means. Sharing the prejudice of experience. ---Charles Bukowski

This quote perfectly describes our friendships with our fellow teachers. We have all bonded over the misery of working in that hell-hole and working for the Big Cheese. But, nonetheless, I'm so glad these are the people that I work with, and now genuinely love and cherish as my friends. [I realize that this week, I've moved away from the strictly educational quotes, but these have all seem to fit the topic of the day better.] Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Believe it or not, I'm too tired to bitch!

My son had an appointment with his pediatrician today at 4:10. After racing home at breakneck speeds to get there on time, we walked in the office at 3:50. Whew, made it with a few minutes to spare. Well, guess what time we were called into an exam room. Go on, guess! 6-fuckin'-35!!! 6:35! That would be bad enough on it's own, but he originally had an appointment for 4:10 on Tuesday. I stopped home to let the dog out, and decided to listen to my messages, which was lucky because I found out our appointment was cancelled! Shit!! When I called the office, they gave me today's appointment. Then they had the balls to make me wait 2 hours and 45 minutes!!! What the hell is that!!!

All that said, I'm far too exhausted and angry to even write about school today. We walked in the door at ten after 7, I turned on the oven, and just now popped a frozen pizza in for dinner. Mother of the Year here, folks! On the plus side, I'll get to sleep in tomorrow since there's no school for students. That means my son doesn't have school, so I don't have to drive him there, which means I can sleep almost an hour longer. Hell, I may just go to school at 9:30 instead of 8:30 and REALLY sleep in!

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. ---Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.