Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm melting......

I know I've been MIA lately, but let me just tell you that ChiTown went from having weather in the 50s and 60s straight to the middle of summer in about a week's time. The past few days, we've had heat index readings in the triple digits!!! Anyone who knows me (or has been a long-time reader) knows that I don't tolerate heat very well. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to just hide out in the house (preferably the basement!) because Stud Muffin started driver's ed last week, so I've had to leave the house to drive him there, then pick him up an hour and a half later. [8741, has it been this bad by you, too? You're so much further north and much closer to the lake, so I'm hoping for your sake, it's been a little cooler!]

[**It just occurred to me that the weather widget on the side over there must use readings from downtown Chicago, which is always cooler than where I am. Sometimes, there's as much as a 10 degree difference thanks to the lake. Trust me, it's HOT!! As I type this, at 9 am, the widget says 80, but I know it's warmer than that here. Yesterday, one of the banks I passed in my neighborhood said 104!!]

Oo, but one "good" thing that's been happening is that for that hour and a half, I've been walking. Yep, I've finally started doing something about my obese state! There is a beautiful university about 2 minutes from Stud's school, so I've been dropping him off and heading over to the campus to walk. A friend has been joining me on Mondays and Wednesdays, then the other days I've been walking alone. There's a beautiful little pond in the middle of the campus that I've been walking around. Stud starts driver's ed at 8, so it's still fairly early when I'm walking, and the sun isn't completely up and blazing yet. But, hell, it's still pretty freakin' hot! By the time I pick him up, am ready to go sit in a meat locker!

The only down side to walking with my friend is that she always wants to go get breakfast after we walk. Last week, I let myself eat some yummy breakfasts (fresh blueberry crepes, for example!) because it was my first week of summer vacation. (Naturally, I was able to rationalize it by thinking, I would have ordered these anyway, so at least I walked for an hour first!) This week, I made much healthier choices, and asked them to keep the toast and hashbrowns.

Because I've had to get up and out so much earlier than usual during summer vacation, I've kinda been forcing myself to run errands and things in the morning. Normally, those would be done in the evening, after the sun goes down! Unfortunately for Studly, there have been a lot of errands. The worst part of all this running around is that MY AIR CONDITIONER DOESN'T WORK IN MY CAR!!!! Oh my Lord! It's so bad. But, I know if I go home, I won't go out again, so we've been suffering through it. The air will come on sporadically, so we do this interesting little dance of - Open the windows! Oo, air, close the windows! Ah, crap, open the windows!
On another positive note, though, I've also been working out with my Wii for at least 30 minutes every day. Did I mention way back in May that my sibling bought me the Wii Active program? I LOVE IT!! I'm currently doing the 30 Day Challenge, which gives you a daily workout that's about 20-25 minutes long. I've been doing another 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, by using either my Wii Fit, or designing "custom workouts" on the Active. So far, so good. I was able to lose 3 pounds the first week. Now, if I can just do that about 35 more times, I'll be at goal!

I was thinking that I should be put a ticker here on my blog to track my progress, because then it would force me to be accountable. Back when I first got my Wii, I was so gung-ho, then I let things get in the way (well, OK, my foot problems were the biggest obstacle, but I've been working on that) and I didn't follow through. It's easy to lie to myself about why I don't exercise or eat right, etc. But, I could never deceive my Bloggy Buddies, so maybe if I include you all in my "plan," I'll have better results. Not to mention, you guys are the most supportive, kind, wonderful group of people a girl could ask to have in her corner!

OK, it's decided! I'm going to go look for a ticker right now! Then, I'm off to the basement for a little Wii Active! (and then, maybe I'll catch you all up on what the heck's been going on around here that past few week! Don't say I didn't warn you....)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Emails! Oh, we've got emails!

These are pretty damn funny.












The votes have been counted, and it's official - this is the staff uniform for next year at the Hell-Hole!










Oh, this one hits a little too close to home....





The Ultimate Safe Prom Dress!
Random funny videos I've been sent this week:




This is pretty funny, but I found even funnier ones when I opened this. If you have some time, you should click on some of the related videos. Those Europeans are NUTS!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is so cool....

Do you remember a while back when I posted this? Well, I was checking out Melissa's page today, and found these videos. Then I saw that she posted this link. They have their own blog now!





The other night, I was watching World News Tonight, and they did a feature on PS22 and their amazing teacher. If I remember correctly, his program is being discontinued next year, which breaks my heart.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hey, where'd my ass go?!

Oh, that's right...I laughed it off!!!! When CSJ came to pick up Stud Muffin, he was telling him that it was going to be just the two of them tonight because "they're all going to a party." Apparently, HWW's family is having some kind of party. Stud said something I didn't quite hear, but it was apparent that he knew what CSJ was talking about. Then CSJ says, "Yeah, I'm not going there --to that Hillbilly Fest!" Thank God my back was to him so he couldn't see my face! It took every ounce of strength NOT to laugh out loud!! I managed to hold off until he walked out of the house ;-)


Pancakes, anyone?


I just got back from having my first mammogram. Ah, good times, good times....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hallelujah!!!!

IT'S OVER!!! Summer vacation, here I come!!!! I have some things I've been meaning to share, but for now, I'll hold off cuz I need to go take a shower and figure out what I'll be wearing to the theater. We're going to see Mary Poppins tonight! Yay!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At this very moment...

...four girls are playing a game of Candyland.

...Twin Boy is making an AB pattern with counting bears.

...two boys are playing with Bristle Blocks.

...David and a friend are playing with dominoes and counting bears, using a ruler as a diving board for the bears, who are jumping into a domino pool.

...a table full of babies are all making a card for J.K.'s momma, who is having a birthday today.

...two boys are playing with Tinker Toys.

...D.B. and another boy are playing with a phonics game, and I swear I saw D.B. talk!!! (This one is my favorite observation!)



Ok, ok, I know I'm supposed to be packing up my room, which is why the babies are doing centers, but I'm sitting here unable to stop watching my babies. MY babies. I'm so, so sad that this is my last day with them. I can't believe how much they've grown and matured in the last 10 months. It makes me so proud to see where they are now. Just the fact that they can quietly do centers, on their own, while I sit here and type, is amazing. There's no fighting, no yelling, nobody asking me "how do I do this?" etc. They have become the independent little buggers I've trained them to be all year.

I had actually intended to post about this a while ago. There have been several incidents over the past few weeks that made me step back and really look at how far the babies have come this year. I've always thought I had the best class in the school (which is what I say every year, but this year I REALLY mean it!!) and most of the staff would agree with me. I realize I sound like I'm tooting my own horn here, but I'm sorry, it's true. It's not like I have super powers or anything. It's called discipline, people!! (That was directed at the staff of the Hell-Hole, NOT my Bloggy Buddies, of course!) Ok, before I start getting up on my soapbox, I'd better move on...

I couple of weeks ago, I had an old friend visit, with a colleague of hers from the university where they both work. The ladies came to my room around 8:30, and we were still chatting away when my babies walked in at 9. Although I greeting them, and kept an eye on them, I didn't really interact that much with them. They went about their business, following the morning routine, just like they had for 160 days already. Chairs were taken down, book boxes placed on the tables, babies silently reading, etc. As I chatted with my visitors, I noticed that my friend's friend kept looking around the room and watching my babies as we talked. After about 10 minutes she said to me, "Are they ALWAYS this good?!" She was simply amazed at how "well trained" they were, how well behaved they were, and how they followed our routine without any prompting from me. As she was talking, I realized, "Hey, yeah, they really ARE wonderful at this, aren't they?" I guess I just took it for granted, since that's what they're supposed to do.

When the "pledge bell" rang, they continued to follow the routine - books back in the boxes, captains put the boxes away, stand up, push in your chair, get ready to say the pledge. My friends followed the babies' lead, and did all the opening exercises with them. It was a very proud moment for this Mother Hen!

Over the past couple of weeks, I've had to step out of the room numerous times to speak to another teacher, or run to the office, whatever. I am perfectly comfortable leaving my babies for a few minutes, without worrying that something will happen. On a few occasions, someone has walked in looking for me, only to find my babies quietly doing whatever task I left them to do. More than one of those people came to find me specifically to tell me how impressed they were with my babies. All of them said they assumed I was in the room somewhere because the babies were so good. Talk about a feather in my cap!! Most of the time, when I walk back in, they are all on task, quietly doing whatever it is I asked them to do before I walked out. It seriously makes me want to shout out, "I LOVE YOU GUYS!" every time it happens. (They are always rewarded with "table points" on our chart, sometimes several points per table.)

Anyway, I just wanted to brag about my babies for a minute, and say how very, very, VERY much I'm going to miss them. I suppose I should get back to work now, huh? sigh...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's happened again...

...I've lost another follower. :( Why do I even care, right? I don't know, either, but now I'm bummed....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spirit Week, The Recap

I had intended to write this post over the weekend, when I could include photos, but I think I'll just have to come back and add them later at home. Today, only 13 babies showed up for school. Apparently, I never received the memo that stated a pizza party signifies the end of the school year. Hmmm...oh, well. I'll just have to deal with having 1/2 my class gone... ;-)

Ok, so I already shared Monday's festivities. Fun, fun, fun! Tuesday was Crazy Hat/Hair Day, and the babies did not disappoint! The girls had the crazy hair, and the boys wore the hats. I actually only had 3 boys that did not have hats, but as luck would have it, I had three "crazy" hats in my trunk (from last year's Spirit Week!) so it all worked out perfectly! I didn't need the paper hats after all. I'm going to pack them away for next year. I've already thought of a hundred different things we can do with them (including making 100th Day hats! yay! I've warned you all several times now that I'm a helplessly geeky teacher, right?) I tried to take pictures of my hair for you, but of course my camera died! I had the front of my hair up in a ponytail (picture samurai hair?) then I braided that. I put the two sides up in pigtails, and the back was up in a bun. The babies thought it was hilarious, and the adults all told me I looked like a little girl (because of the pigtails). I took pictures of the babies, though, and I will post them later.

Wednesday was Mix 'N Match Day, and it was too cute! Let me first tell you how I dressed. I prayed all the way to school, that I wouldn't get pulled over or in an accident, because I would have a hard time explaining myself! I took half of my hair and put it in a french braid, then put the other half in a pigtail. Because I did this immediately after I got out of the shower, my hair was soaking wet. As I drove, I must have been twisting the pigtail, because by the time I got to school, it was one big banana curl (picture Cindy Brady!) I had one brown eye and one green eye. I had on a crazy patterned top (flowers and hearts) with a pair of penguin pajama pants (navy blue pants with white penguin silhouettes) I wore one orange sock and one red sock, one slide-on sandle (the ones that I adore, that make my foot feel better! smart, right?) and one clog. I looked utterly ridiculous, which was the point, after all! Most of the babies wore two different shoes and/or two different socks. A couple actually wore some mixed patterns.

Unfortunately, the Trail Mix was a big bust! Most of the kids didn't like it, and I watched my $$ get thrown right in the trash. :( I don't understand it. It was all stuff they liked individually. As I told them what each ingredient was going to be, I kept hearing "mmmmmm!" but then once it was mixed together, they didn't want it. Go figure!

Thursday was a cute day. Not all the babies brought Teddy bears, though. Some of the kids, however, brought bears that were literally bigger than they were! It was hilarious! I had downloaded a bunch of teddy bears pages from a website, so we colored teddy bears, wrote our Daily News on teddy bear paper, and made a jointed teddy bear. That afternoon, the Teddy Grahams and Gummy bears were a HUGE hit!

Friday was Pajama Day, always my favorite day! I wore a different pair of penguin pajamas (I know, you're shocked that I have more than one, right!?) and put my hair in pigtails (this time they both were in Cindy Brady curls!) and most of the babies wore jammies, too. All but one of the girls wore cute two-piece pajamas, as did about half of the boys. One little guy, DB, wore his Superman pjs under his clothes, but didn't want to take the clothes off. He had denim shorts on over his long Superman pants. It was hilarious! His mom also brought us cupcakes, which was an unexpected treat. Another mom brought three big bags of candy for the kids (I ended up making candy bags to take HOME!) so we had lots of treats. During my prep, I convinced my friend to go to the grocery store with me, so he could run in for me, (I didn't want to walk around the store in my pajamas!) and get the Popsicles. Turns out we didn't even eat them since we had too many other treats. I'm hoping we have a warm day tomorrow or Wednesday so we can go outside and eat them. It's raining today :(

I guess because we had a week of celebration, my parents assumed that school was over. Um, hello!! Who the hell said that?! I guess I shouldn't be complaining, but I'm not ready for the babies to leave yet. I haven't given them their end-of-the-year gifts, they didn't empty their cubbies, they didn't take their papers home, WE'RE NOT READY!! They didn't even get their report cards yet. And, many of them owe me library books. I'm really pissed about this, to tell the truth.

I have never let my students take my library books home before. Never. I knew I would never see them again. Now don't get wrong, I have hundreds of other books that I let the babies "borrow" because I don't really care if I get them back. Some were here when I came to the Hell-Hole, and the rest I've accumulated over the years, either through donations from colleagues, book drives, or other programs (we have this awesome program every year called Bookworm Angels.) Anyway, I made a list this morning of every child who owes me a book, with the name of the book and the replacement cost, to hang on my door. I'm also giving the office a copy because none of those children will receive a report card until the book is brought back or paid for. Sad thing is, most just won't get their report cards because their parents could care less. But, since today's post is not going to be a bitching session, I'm moving on....

We only have two full days left of school. Thursday is a teachers institute day so the kids are off, then Friday the kids are supposed to come for one hour. What a waste! I actually convinced the Big Cheese to print the report cards out early so we can pass them out on Wednesday, thus eliminating the need for the children to return on Friday. Our attendance is anticipated for the last week of school, anyway, so the kids are already marked present. The teachers only work a half-day on the last day, so we are finished at 11:30. That is, IF you worked both Report Card Pick-Up nights. I don't know why they always stipulate that. Who would NOT work Report Card Pick-up? But, I guess some people don't, since it's in the evening. Who knows!

Traditionally, I meet for lunch with a group of my teacher friends on the last day of school, since we get out so early. Even though we don't all work together anymore, we still try to keep up with this, since we so rarely see each other anymore. I'm really looking forward to our lunch.

Oh, one crappy little thing I realized today...we start back to work on AUGUST 5TH!!! I want to cry. I keep trying to find the silver lining in this year-round BS, but things like this make it really, really hard....ok, I said no bitching, right? I'll come back and do it tomorrow....

Email of the Day

Seniors' Biker Bar

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Email of the Day

Don't let the GINORMOUS breasts throw you...definitely worth watching!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqUkUjeF4-c

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's Spirit Week!

Today was such a fun day. It was the first day of Spirit Week! Today was Sports Day. I'm afraid that because of the field trip last Friday, I didn't do an adequate job of reminding the babies about today, and only a handful dressed. (And, on a weird note, I had 6 babies out today. That's 1/4 of my class!) But, the ones that dressed looked cute. Twin Boy and Twin Girl were my favorites. He wore a "football shirt" and carried a little, soft football toy, and she wore a cheerleader outfit and carried pom-poms. Too cute! (I have to come back and write some more about the Twins later...) Naturally, I wore my Cubs visor and jersey :)

I went above and beyond what I normally do for Sports Day, but that's partially because I only had to worry about my own babies. The other kindergarten class has been doing their own thing all year, and don't see any reason to change things now. I did, however, tell the other teacher about Spirit Week, and even gave her a copy of the letter I sent home so she could do the same with her kids, but I'm pretty certain she didn't.

Anyway, I wanted to do a little something extra for them this year, because I seriously LOVE my class this year, and I kind of let myself go overboard. I thought I would teach them "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and then serve peanuts and Cracker Jack as a snack. Well, from there, it snowballed into bringing in my crock pot and making hot dogs and bringing in my air popper for popcorn, too. I even bought little popcorn bags and hot dog trays. I bought the dogs, paper products and a bunch of other stuff at GFS. (Do you guys all have these where you live?)

The longer I walked around that place, the more I saw to buy. Tomorrow is Crazy Hat/Hair Day. I was able to get a box of plain, white paper hats (like the kind cooks would wear) for the kids to decorate and make their own crazy hats. It's harder for the boys to participate in this one, since the girls can do silly things with their hair, so I always try to have extra hats with me on this day. But, now, they can all make their own.

I also bought a jug of gummy bears for Thursday's Teddy Bear Day. We're also going to have Teddy Grahams that day. We're going to have a Teddy Bear Tea that day, so we'll have the grahams and punch, and then later we're going to do some math with the gummy bears before we devour them. (I LOVE gummy bears!)

Wednesday is Mix 'N Match Day. The kids were told to wear the craziest clothes they can put together (like maybe a striped top with polka dot pants, or two different shoes and/or two different socks, etc.) I was having a hard time thinking of a snack for this day, and the best I could come up with is the trail mix I used to make last year with my babies. Toward the end of the year, Fridays became our Trail Mix Day, and those who had wonderful behavior all week were able to help me make what we called trail mix. I would buy a bag of mini-marshmallows, a bag of chocolate chips, a bag of white chocolate chips, a bag of pretzel rings, a canister of raisins and a can of nuts. (This was usually enough for a few week's worth of trail mix) Then the kids were allowed to add scoops of each to a big bowl, we would mix it all up, then enjoy our snack. The other kids had to just sit and watch us. I know, mean, right? Don't worry, they still had a snack, but it was whatever snack we got that day from the lunchroom. I'll tell you what, behavior surely improved once these Trail Mix Days started!

Anyway, that will have to do for Mix 'N Match Day. However, if any of my Bloggy Buddies have a suggestion, please give it to me! Friday is my favorite day of Spirit Week every year. It's Pajama Day!! We will also be having a pizza party, and probably cupcakes. Wait, maybe I should get Popsicles, just to keep the alliteration (pajamas, pizza, Popsicles). (tee hee, yes, I'm totally a geeky teacher!)

I'm still debating whether or not I should try and get a "themed" snack for tomorrow. What the hell would you get for Crazy Hat/Hair Day? The only thing I thought of was maybe Twizzlers Pull 'N Peel, because it could look like hair. Lame, I know. Normally, there aren't themed snacks during Spirit Week. This is the first year I've ever done it this way, so I don't have any previous years to go back to and reference. Again, if any of you have a suggestion, PLEASE share it!

Ok, time to go watch bad reality television. I'm embarrassed to say that I love the new ABC show, Here Come the Newlyweds. Night, night!