Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wii Update

Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO think you give a crap, so deal with it!

OK, so I immediately opened the box to set up the system, then realized that I wanted to get the Wii Fit so I could use it ASAP. I had something to return to WalMart, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. Unfortunately, they were out of Wii Fit. No problem, on to the next store. The Wii actually shipped to me from Game Stop, even though I bought it through Barnes and Noble, so I figured I'd go there. There's a Game Stop literally walking distance from house. (On a side note, I had actually planned to eventually buy my Wii from there, but then I was blessed with those gift cards.) I walked in, and the very friendly clerk at the counter asked what he could help me with, and I asked if they had any Wii Fits. Oh, happy day, they had one left! Yay! I also ended up picking up some extra controllers and a game, so my little excursion was a bit more expensive than I had planned, but at that point, I didn't even care. I was so excited about getting home and setting up my system, that he could have sold me the world.

I took everything out of the boxes and set up the Wii unit and the Fit board. It would have taken half the time if I had actually read the damn book correctly, but whatever! I ended up trying the yoga training, and did about 30 minutes of it before I had to stop. I got to a pose I just could NOT do (The Tree) so I decided to take a break. I'm dying to go back downstairs and try something else, but I'm so torn because I'm also trying to watch Dancing with the Stars. (Yeah, I'm a reality show loser, what of it?!)

I think after the news, I'll head back down and try something else. I get to sleep in tomorrow morning because Stud went to his dad's tonight, and CSJ will be driving him to school in the morning. Plus, tomorrow is Report Card Pick-Up Day (CPS's parent/teacher conferences) which means we work 12-6 tomorrow. So, I can stay up late playing. Oo, wait!! I can play Wii tomorrow morning, too! Whoopie!! OK, I really need to get a life, huh?

IT'S HERE!!!!!


At 3:59, (which was about 1 minute ago!!) my doorbell rang, and to my surprise and delight, it was the UPS guy!! MY Wii IS HERE!!! I can't believe it's here already. I just got an email this morning saying that it was shipped, and the expected delivery date was April 2. But, instead, here it is!! I'm so excited! I swear, you'd think I was a 12 year old boy! I'm going to go set it up, or at least try to set it up. (I called Stud, who had already left with his dad, to tell him the Wii is here, and that I was going to set it up, and he said he doubted I could do it. What a little shit!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I keep forgetting...

...to share this with all of you, my Bloggy Buddies. Damn old age...anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Stud was all smiles when I picked him up from school. I'm sure partly because he managed to sneak in some smooching with The Girl before I got there (ugh!) but mostly because of what he proceeded to tell me. He said the girls (at their sister school, where The Girl attends) have a class that teaches them about healthy relationships, and having great self-esteem, etc. I can't remember the name of it right now, but there's even a website where you can go and read the "lessons." So, I guess The Girl must talk about Stud to her friends (like ALL girls do about their boys) and the friend then relayed that information to the teacher of this class. Apparently, there is some grading scale that you can use to score your relationship/boyfriend, and just from what the friend told the teacher, Stud Muffin scored 100% in all categories, and he is The Perfect Boyfriend! He couldn't wipe that shit-eatin' grin off his face while he was telling me the story, but when I said, "Well, of course you did, I raised you!" the grin faded a little and melded a bit into an eye roll. Little shit! But, I was really proud to hear that, and it gives me hope that maybe he won't turn out like CSJ after all. Then again, I though HE was the perfect boyfriend...ah, crap...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Awesome day!!!

Today was a professional development day for CPS schools. Last month, I was sent a letter from the Early Childhood Dept. letting me know that there was a kindergarten-specific workshop scheduled for today. Naturally, I called immediately and signed up for a spot. All my Bloggy Buddies already know what that means - FREE DAY! I dropped Stud Muffin off at school, then drove into the city, fought the morning rush hour, parked in the college parking lot, walked into the building, up to the assigned room, signed in (and OUT!), then repeated the whole process in reverse. I actually drove back home in about 1/4 of the time, since I was going the opposite way, which made it all the better!

Obviously, I knew for a while that I'd be enjoying this FREE DAY, so I had a long list of things to do. I didn't actually go straight home, because I had to take care of the first errand on my list. I drove straight to the DMV (I know, gasp!) to purchase my renewal sticker for my license plate. After standing in the wrong line (!) for 10 minutes, I got in the right line, and was back out to my car in less than 15 minutes. Miraculous, right?

From there, I went to the furniture store because I decided today would be the day that I finally purchase furniture for the basement. I've been looking for the perfect furniture for about 3 1/2 years. I thought I found it back in October, but then it didn't work out. Long story short, they couldn't get it in my house. OK, so I've spent the past 6 months looking for what I want. Wednesday, I found it! I received a sale paper from a local furniture store, and right there on page 2 was what I've been looking for. Oh happy day! So from the DMV, I went straight to Harlem Furniture to check it out. I really liked it, but I just couldn't let myself commit to such a large purchase without another person's opinion.

I called my sister, she was busy. I called my mom, she wasn't dressed yet. She then told me about another furniture store that was having a sale, and said we should go check it out. I told her to call me when she was dressed, and I went home. About a half hour later, she called, we met at the store and of course, she didn't really care for the furniture. I agreed to go to the other store. But first, she wanted to go literally across the street to yet another store. It was the store where I purchased the furniture back in October. I've since gone there at least 3 times, only to be disappointed because they never had anything new. But, my mother was relentless, so I gave in and we went. This story is already wwaaaayyyyy too long, so let me just say, I FOUND MY FURNITURE!!! It's a done deal. The only 'bad' part is that they did not have it in stock, so I have to wait nearly 2 months for delivery. But, that's ok, because it gives me time to look for an area rug that goes with the furniture.

This was the furniture grouping I had purchased that wouldn't fit in the house. I really like it, especially the chair! Oh well...
This is what I bought today! It's EXACTLY what I wanted! It's a 5-piece sectional, each of which is small enough to fit down my dumb-ass basement stairs. I love the color (well, duh, it's the color of chocolate!!) and the fact that it's leather. The set I saw first this morning was exactly the same except it had microfiber cushions, which I was afraid were going to be a magnet for dog hair. This is sooo much better! Thanks, Mom!!

Wow, is anyone still out there? After buying my beautiful new furniture, and doing a happy dance, I came home and made another splurge purchase! I'll spare you the details (you're welcome) and just say that I recently received another Barnes and Noble gift card, which brought my total in gift cards to $150. I used it to buy myself a Wii!!! I've been wanting one for the longest time! I was able to get it for $100 out-of-pocket. PLUS, it's going to be shipped in one day! I plan to get the Wii Fit package, and maybe finally work on getting this fat ass into some kind of shape other than round!!
My plans for my basement finally seem to be coming to fruition. Hopefully, Stud's friends will be hanging out, sitting on my new furniture and challenging each other to Wii games very soon. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Heart ChiTown Weather!

Ok, so last week, it was "warm" by Chicago standards. It was in the high 60s most days, one day it actually hit 76. That's about where my bar is set. I don't particularly care for anything over 75. Well, so far this week it's been in the 50s and 60s (my widget currently says 56) but this morning the weather report predicted snow by this weekend. Now, I don't at all mind the snow and cooler weather, but WTF? It's nearly April. When is this crazy weather going to mellow out? How do we go from high 70s to snow in 10 days? Then again, that can happen overnight around here! Whatever...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can I get an "Amen?"

I just lifted this from my friend Dana's blog. I'd like to make 10,000 copies of it, then drop it from a plane over the neighborhood in which I work! Hell, it should be sent to every household that has a child, just to be safe!!

"Below is an excerpt from CNN commentator Jack Cafferty's new book, "Now or Never." Jack appears daily in "The Situation Room" on CNN from 4 to 7 p.m. ET.

In his new book, "Now or Never," Jack Cafferty says parenting might be on the decline more than schools are.

I never presumed to have any more answers about being a parent than anybody else.
There are no perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect families -- only degrees of dysfunction.
You get up in the morning and do the best you can. At the end of the day you say, "Okay, that wasn't so bad, let's try it again tomorrow." Some of my instincts were pretty good and some of them were awful.


I did stay engaged and didn't say to hell with being a father when my first marriage ended. With the younger girls, I eventually made the choice to clean up my alcoholism before I pushed things to the point of no return. But most of the credit does to my second wife Carol; to the girls; and to God Almighty. Ultimately, I've just been very fortunate.

I don't know the status of parenting in America. But I know a little about the status of education in America. Parents' growing inability to impose manners and limits on their kids when the kids are in school is reflected in record dropout rates, as well as teen drug and alcohol abuse, teen sex, and unwed pregnancies. Maybe it's parenting that's on the decline, more than the schools.

Exhibit A: My wife and I have just been seated for dinner when the maitre d' walks over and seats a young family at the table next to us and the kids start carrying on like orangutans on a leash.

The parents are going, "Timmy, that's not nice, don't throw your food, stop stuffing your mashed potatoes up your nose." Are mom and dad having fun yet, picking food up off the floor, apologizing to people like us, and wiping food flung across the table off their faces?
Some parents still have this attitude that their kids are too special to be burdened by discipline. And the rest of us are supposed to put up with their little mutants. That attitude really pisses me off.


I hate to break it to them, but the kids aren't special, and I don't have to put up with their behavior. If you can't control your obnoxious little brats, leave them home.

They don't belong out in public annoying other people, period. I don't remember a generation of kids ever so indulged and enabled to behave so badly. What's going on?

I remember as a kid I was expected to behave myself out in public or suffer the wrath of one very angry father. And of all the things that used to piss him off, those expectations didn't seem unreasonable. Something's gone terribly wrong here. My guess is it has to do with the breakdown of authority, the collapse of strong family structure, and the abdication of parental responsibility, dictated in part by the necessity that both parents work.
Plus, we have a whole generation of Baby Boomers who are too busy feeling entitled to prolong their own self-indulgent, self-absorbed adolescences to rein in their own kids."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We had a visitor...

...oh, way back in the beginning of February!! My sister-friend (my brother's on-again-off-again girlfriend for the past 9+ years!! But that a whole other post...) came to spend some time with my babies. I don't know who had more fun, her or the babies!!

This little group literally dragged her by her hand to this center to play with the geoboards with them. They just were cracking her up the whole time!

Of course, she had to read to them. I shouldn't even be posting this, cuz you can see how completely cluttered and messy my room is, but oh well...I just LOVE how attentive they're being. They were hanging on her every word, as if NO ONE had ever read to them before! It was so cute!
All the boys were crushing, and the girls were equally enamored. She ended up helping us with our Valentine people project (go down a few posts) and then after the babies went home, she made this one for them. She put it on the board, along with a little message. :)

The babies loved her even MORE when they found out she brought them treats! She brought candy necklaces for the girls and candy bracelets for the boys (they were really cute, they had baseballs/soccer balls/footballs on them), heart-shaped notepads for the girls, car-shaped pads for the boys, and crayons for everyone! She went way overboard!

Of course, when she left at the end of the day, she was going to run and register for school to get her teaching degree so she can teach kindergarten. After I finished beating the crap out of her, she came to her senses!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mental Health Day

Today has been such a nice day so far! This was how we spent some of it.

And, yeah, I won. (Serves Studly right, cuz he knows I HATE this game, and I played it with him anyway because he loves it, and I love HIM!)

Wow, thanks...

...to all my Bloggy Buddies, and the other commenters, who have shared their love and concern for me and my Hell-Hole situation. Actually, I'm feeling a bit guilty that I even mentioned the whole shooting thing. Well, truthfully, I don't really know what I feel about that. The shooting was the LEAST of my concerns when deciding to take today off. It was due more to the fact that I've been completely stressed out from dealing with bratty kids all week. Couple that with the fact that Stud Muffin has the day off, AND his bed is being delivered today, and all the planets seemed to align for a mental health day.

Tuesday, the other Kdg. teacher was out, so her kids were nuts all day, which meant I had to deal with their poor behavior all day and help out the sub who was unfortunate enough to be assigned to that class. They actually act 10 times WORSE when their actual teacher is there, but that's another post.

Then, on Wednesday, the 1st grade teachers were both out for workshops, so the class across the hall was FUCKING AWFUL!!! I have NEVER seen them act the way they were. They were running around, throwing things, fighting with each other, just acting like animals. I could hear them clear at the opposite end of the hall, they were so damn loud. They were so incredibly rude and disrespectful to their sub. I was just in shock. One of the parents stayed all day to try and help the poor woman who was subbing, but the kids were just as rude and disrespectful to her, and she's there almost everyday, as they were to the stranger. Unbelievable. I finally had to step in and take over for a while. They were supposed to have gym that afternoon, so I had the sub take MY class to gym, and I took the first graders into my room for 40 minutes of lecturing. Yeah, I'm a bitch, what of it? I also had them write letters of apology to the sub. If they said they were finished, I had them put their heads down and just be quiet until the period was over. They all knew better than to piss me off, so it was pretty much silent for 40 minutes. (You know what else in unbelievable? That the two "security guards," that sit on their asses all day in the hallway, BOTH commented on how "that class is just off the chain!" but neither one of them made any attempt to go down to the classroom and see if the sub needed any help. You know damn well that the office could hear the noise just as well as I could, but Big Cheese didn't bother to go down there, either. Pitiful!)

For some reason, my own babies drove me nuts yesterday. It was probably a combination of the previous two days of having to be Super Bitch and the fact that I think I'm PMSing. (Plus, I had perfect attendance yesterday, so every one of the babies was there to push my buttons!) The cherry on top was Big Cheese making that announcement at the end of the day. I wasn't scared by it, just pissed off. I mean, for God's sake, why don't you scumbags just kill each other and get it over with, and leave us the hell alone! It's just another inconvenience of working in the ghetto. I've said before that shooting goes on all the time while we're in school, but usually it happens during the day, when the kids are all in the building. I haven't taken my kids out for recess/playtime in years because of all the shooting. The reason Big Cheese even mentioned it now is because the gang bangers are forgetting the unwritten rules, and are shooting it out when kids are around. Assbags!

Getting back to my confusion about how to feel about this, after reading all your comments, I was hit by how numb I've become to all the madness that is Englewood. I should be as scared for myself as you guys are for me, and yet, like I said, I'm just annoyed and irritated by it. There's something wrong with that, isn't there? I don't know, I suppose that's what happens after a decade of working in the ghetto. Whatever it takes, I guess, to come back everyday for the babies. Truthfully, some of your comments made me feel really guilty about not being there today when the babies are there. On some level, I feel like I've abandoned them, even though I know, logically, that's NOT the case. Like I said, the situation is really no different than any other day. Sad? Yes. Fact of life in the ghetto? Yes. Will I be returning Monday, after a long weekend, feeling refreshed, both physically and mentally, ready to give my all to the babies I love? YES!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For the second day in a row...

...the Big Cheese came on the intercom, about 10 minutes before dismissal, to tell us that there has been an unusually high amount of gang activity going on in the neighborhood, and that everyone should basically get the hell out of Dodge! He told the kids they should go straight home, and not linger on the playground or around the school. He told the teachers to go to their cars as quickly as possible and leave the area. WTF? Apparently, yesterday morning there was shooting going on right outside at about 9, which is when school starts. One of my friends/coworkers told me she was standing out on the front steps talking to a parent, and actually saw the shooter. She saw the guy raise the gun, and then saw the flash and gunpowder "puff" around his hand. And THEN she came inside and managed to TEACH ALL DAY! They sure as hell don't pay us enough!

Between this nonsense, and the fact that my kids bugged me all day today (I don't know, I must be PMSing) I decided to take a mental health day tomorrow. My son does not have school tomorrow, so we'll get to hang out together. Actually, my in-laws just bought him a bed, and it's being delivered tomorrow, so now I'll be here to let them in, so it all works out perfectly.

Since I'll have some free time tomorrow, I plan to come back and finish the post about the babies. I have many more cute pictures to share, plus some funny things they've said. I've been trying to keep track of the funnies by emailing them to myself as soon as I get a chance. This seems to work better than writing it down. Probably because I never remember to bring the damn papers home, or I lose them in my purse, or whatever. This way, they sit in my inbox until I get around to posting them.

OK, off to clean out Studly's room to make room for his new QUEEN size bed. He's so damn spoiled!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wait, what was the point of this blog again?

Oh, yeah, school! OK, I've been downloading freakin' pictures for over an hour and a half. I HATE putting pictures on here because it takes so damn long!! As a matter of fact, I've only put about a third of the photos I planned to post, cuz I can't take it anymore. I'll come back tomorrow and post the rest. I figured out a while ago that Blogger posts photos in reverse order, so I've learned to post them in the opposite order from how I want them posted. I was working backwards from the pictures I took today, and had planned to go back to the beginning of February. Maybe tomorrow... Be sure to click on each picture to enlarge it, so you can really get all the details (AKA cuteness!!)

On the 100th Day of School, we put together a Word Worm with 100 words that we can read.

In March, I always have my babies make these lions and lambs for my March board. There were still a few drying, which is why the board looks a little bare.

As we do every year, we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday. The hats came out really cute this year!
The babies are in the library in these photos. I was hoping to give you some idea of how sad our library is at the Hell-Hole. It's so small for a school library!

It isn't much bigger than a regular classroom.

Our librarian has been working really hard to get us some new books, but there's still a long way to go!
The books that are there look pretty good, though, right? Yeah, that would be cuz the kids aren't allowed to check them out!!!
Ah, but we DO have a big screen TV!! Of course! That's cuz the entire library curriculum is watching cartoons! I requested that they at least watch a Dr. Seuss movie on this day.

We made some Valentine people back in February. (I realize this is out of chronological order, but it's just too much of a pain to move it!!)
My girls are obsessed with these links! We take them out during math centers, and inevitably, they always use them to make jewelry. Oh, and crowns!!
Look at how they put them on their ears!! Ouch! They insist it doesn't hurt, but I don't know...
This is from a while ago (I think the date stamp says 2/19/09?) but I took the picture because it was so damn cute. It's a page from one of the babies' journals. When I was asking about the picture, I said, "Oh, is that the snow coming down?" referring to those squiggles. He said, "No, that's God, and he's sending down snow angels!" How freakin' cute is that!??
This was from the same day. This is Twin Boy's journal entry from that day. I could not stop laughing at this because it's a self portrait, and he drew himself so perfectly! He has a green coat, with a hood, and unfortunately, he usually has a sad face. :( But, if you ask, he'll say he isn't sad.
This is an actual note that I received from a parent. Um, WTF? Did somebody snack on the bottom of this paper, or did you pull it out of the garbage? And, apparently, she still doesn't know my name, despite the fact that her child has been in my room since September 5!!!
I couldn't resist taking this picture. This little darling always falls asleep during rest time. This day she somehow fell asleep with her legs up in the air!! How cute is she?! OK, this was exciting!! At some point, either at the beginning of this year, or the end of last year, we were told we could order some "stuff" for our classrooms. I vaguely remember ordering these electronic learning toys. Well, imagine my surprise when a BIG box of things was delivered to my room last week. The babies went ape shit nuts!! They were enthralled for nearly an hour and a half! And, they shared like little angels, working in pairs, with NO fighting, NO yelling, etc. I couldn't help but take their pictures.





OK, this was today. Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I always buy this mylar garland to make these "Leprechaun Prince and Princess Crowns." The babies always love them, and this year was no different. They left those things on ALL DAY!





Damn!! According to the time stamp, I started this freakin' post at 7:48, and it's now 10:21! Perhaps this is why I've been so sucky at updating lately.... Night night!

Ain't Life Grand?


Thank you to my Bloggy Buddy, The Girl Next Door, for bestowing this lovely award upon me today! I'm not really sure of the rules, so I'm going to refrain from passing it on right now. I'll be back....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Really?

Either Friday or Saturday last week, we were still getting snow flurries. Today, it was near 70. (It's 10:30 PM, and my widget still says 50) I stopped counting how many people I saw out in shorts and tank tops, with flip-flops, of course! Tomorrow, it's supposed to hit 70+. I'll be looking for the bikinis! And, NO, I'm NOT kidding. I promise you, there will be people laying out tomorrow, trying to get a tan. Yes, SERIOUSLY! I think Smiley's been gone too long to remember, but 8741 can attest to this. One of the many, many, MANY reasons I LOVE CHICAGO!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Baldies

Before
After
I'm so proud of these two!!!

~~ OK, I posted this from my computer and the pictures looked fine. Now I'm looking at it on my son's computer and the after picture is incredibly dark. You can't even see the kids. Is anyone else having that problem?
~~ I tried to lighten up. Is it any better?

A little more video...

...but not of Stud Muffin. I checked back on the Fox News website, and came across this video, which prominently features "the girl!" Her name is Clare, and she's in the beginning of the video.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pictures!

7:00 am We started our day nice and early! I don't know why I'm always so surprised when I see a picture of Stud Muffin and his best friend. You'd think I'd be used to the size difference by now! They've been best friends since kindergarten, and they've always looked like father & son!

There were SO many boys there early, before school started, that Studly had to come back during his lunch period to get shaved. (The boys weren't allowed to miss class to participate.) I think he had a sudden case of nerves when they finally put him in a chair!

To see what happened in between, check out the boring video! I asked the shaver to go to the skin, but she must not have heard me. Most boys were given a choice of having it shaved to a 1 (what Stud has) or a 0, which is basically to the skin. I think she should have given him a 0. He's still not too sure about the new do...

He got over it pretty quickly, though! (I LOVE this picture of him, his face is so damn cute!!)

I love that they had this set up for photo ops!For some reason, all his friends felt the need to rub his head for luck. It was actually kinda cute.

The boys who participated received a T-shirt, ski cap, button, and some pencils. He likes his hat.

His best bud joined in on the fun. I was going to take a picture of them together, but my battery died!!

Here's Stud Muffin with the local celeb, Pat Elwood. (Go to the previous post to watch some video from Fox News)

Stud looks so much like CSJ now, that it's making me sick to my stomach >:( Especially in this picture. CSJ normally wears a flat-top, but for the 6 months that he was in the police academy, he kept his hair exactly like this. I think I mentioned once before that I used to hold a study group at our apartment every Sunday while he was in the academy, and after it was over, I would shave his and his friend's heads. Every week!

I was able to take some video of the actual shaving, but let me warn you now, it's kinda long and boring. I'm just posting it because I took it!

video

While Stud was getting shaved, the video clip from the previous post was being filmed. When you hear the crowd start to roar, it's because Pat Elwood was broadcasting and getting his head shaved.

I found out today that Stud Muffin can continue to collect donations for up to a year after the event, so you can still help the cause. Yay! You can click on the link to the right and donate when the time is right for you :) I don't know what the final results were at school as far as who the top fundraiser was. Nonetheless, Stud Muffin had a wonderful total. At last check, it was $2,165!! Thanks so much to all my generous friends out in Blogistan!