Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Today I learned...

...five year olds can need two bandaids in the first five minutes of school.
...I can tie shoes with my eyes closed.
...a gillion is not a number.
...aloe belongs to the lily family.
...I know who's stomping in line without even looking.
...there are only two lego "humans" in the bucket, but three boys who want them.
...kindergarteners can, and will, cheat at Candy Land.
...casting out 9's is easy once you get the hang of it.
...kindergarteners love guinea pigs more than guinea pigs love kindergarteners.
...if your forehead is hot and you don't feel good you might have a "feber."
...it is possible to say "don't do that" a gillion times in one day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well That's New

I've been teaching for a while. I've taught every age from kindergarten to 8th grade. I've had many, many challenging students and two whole classes that have made me reconsider my choice of careers. (Not to mention the parents!) But I've hung in there because I love teaching and most days the rewards far outweigh the trials. This is my third year teaching kindergarten. The reason I took the kindergarten job is because Josh was in kindergarten the first year and Adam was the second year. But this year it's just me and a bunch of other people's kids. (Except one who feels almost like mine.) And of course I love each one. How could I not. They are completely adorable. And I truly understand that their mommies love them just as much as I love my own boys. And so I try to treat them as I want Josh and Adam to be treated by others. But here's the trouble. Out of the 13 kids in my class, at least 6 of them have to be watched every second of every day. As soon as they're out of sight, they're in trouble. Yesterday is a prime example. I had hitting, arguing, and fibbing. Not all that unusual really. But I also had three things happen that have never happened to me in all my years of teaching. First, one of the boys colored all over my white board with a non-white board marker. Luckily I was quick to catch it and was able to wash it off. Then one of the girl's was chasing another girl around with a push pin from the bulletin board. What?!?! I'm still not sure what possessed her to do such a thing. Then, just in the nick of time, I caught one girl about to give herself a haircut. To this I responded, "I have taught kindergarten for two years without anyone cutting their hair. Do not mess up my record!!" (And then I took away her scissors for a week.) All this and it wasn't even a full moon. Each day I'm having to re-evaluate my management techniques and adapt them to rogue colorers, pin chasers, and hair cutters. So I have to ask myself two questions. What will happen on Monday? And how many days 'til June? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It Can Happen

We have been seeing a sign on our way to school the past week or so. It says:


Lost turtle? It would be funny except that two summers ago we lost a turtle. Some people think that turtles are slow, but I'm convinced that it's all an act to fool everyone. As soon as you turn your back on these wily creatures, they take off running. Okay, so they don't run all that fast (with the short legs and carrying a house on their backs), but they are faster than the average population may think. This fact combined with leaving a 5 year old in charge of said creature is just asking for trouble. But the turtle we lost wasn't your average, everyday pet shop kind of turtle.

The turtle who ran away was a hillbilly, cross country traveling, turtle. When we were in West Virginia visiting relatives*, my uncles thought it would be great fun to bring box turtles for the boys to play with. And it was. They loved them (all 4 of them). And even my grandparents got involved. Grandpa found the perfect box for them and Grandma gave the boys veggies to feed their new pets. It really was fun, so when we got ready to head for home, we decided to bring the smallest of the turtles with us. We didn't tell the boys so that they wouldn't bug us for 2,347 miles about holding it. We quietly put it in a shoe box and hid it under the van seat. Without the boys ever suspecting a thing, we fed and watered our secret passenger and he safely made it all the way across the country to his new home. The boys were of course thrilled when we revealed what was in the box. And this free turtle only cost us about $100 (tank, heater, light, bedding, food). He was a great pet until that fateful day. Josh loved to take the turtle out into the yard to wander around in the grass and eat bugs. So one day in the late summer, he was doing just that. I got busy doing outdoor chores and Josh got busy chasing butterflies and before we knew it the turtle was gone. We own five acres with no fences, so finding a six inch long, very well camouflaged turtle was nearly impossible. We did look though. For quite a while. And still didn't find the turtle.**

So when I saw the "LOST TURTLE" sign this week, I thought of our own lost turtle and wondered if there was any way that they had found our lost turtle and that he had escaped again. Not likely, I know. When I told my mom this story, she told me the way to find out. She said, "Call the number and ask them if their turtle had a southern accent." Very funny, mom.

*The story of this trip would be a whole other blog. Maybe someday.
**Josh got a new turtle for his next birthday. We still have that one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

5 Ways To Tell That A 6 Year Old Is Sick

1. He falls asleep on the couch in the principal's office at school and sleeps through the lunch rush going down the hall.
2. You take him into the store to get some medicine and he doesn't ask for a toy or candy or pop. Just for a bottle of water.
3. He doesn't utter a peep the whole 25 minute drive home.
4. He lays on the couch watching old Tom and Jerry cartoons so quietly that you think he's asleep.
5. His mommy can't even appreciate the quiet because her baby is sick.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Show and Tell--9/14

*a nintendo magazine with all of L's favorite "charavers"
*a coloring picture of K's pet kitty named Princess
*a car, transformers named Jetfire and bumblebee, and a ninja turtle who does "that" when you squeeze his legs
*a tiny treasure chest filled with "treasures" (polished rocks and marbles)
*a pink poodle purse with magic coins (a quarter and penny)
*a stuffed cheetah with a baby doll face and hands
*a guy with "one of these and a belt and a necklace and a green thing on him and a thing to look at"
*a story about catching butterflies while camping (no show, just tell)
*an angel pin that "is so teeny"
*a monopoly junior board game that C loves very much

Ahh, kindergarten.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Sign With Antlers

This morning I chose to take the back roads into town to school. I did this for two reasons. One, to time the trip to see how much longer it was than taking the highway. And two, to avoid said highway which often causes my anxiety to soar first thing in the morning. On the drive I discovered that the trip only takes an extra minute or two. Kind of what I thought, but I wanted to make sure for future mornings. I also discovered that there is a flock of wild turkeys that spend their mornings in a field off Ramsey Road. This was the second time I had seen them there. (Adam called them roosters, but then remembered that they were turkeys.) And the third thing I discovered was that back roads aren't always safer. Here's why.

I almost hit a deer, a big one, just after leaving home. Had she not chosen to run parallel with the car for a few seconds, which gave me time to slow down, I surely would have hit her. Strike one for lowering my anxiety.

And then shortly after that, a truck passed me and a squished pop can flew out of the back of his truck right in front of me. Not a big deal, but it caught my attention and startled me. Strike two. No sooner had that happened than out of the corner of my eye in the rear view mirror I saw a big brown tarp fly out of the back of the same truck. At least that's what I thought it was. Until I focused on my mirror. It wasn't a tarp at all. It was a moose!* A huge moose with huge antlers. And it hadn't flown out of the back of his truck but was tripping and staggering across the road right between the truck and a car going the opposite direction. If I had been three seconds earlier it would have crossed right in front of me. Strike three.

So, here's my dilemma. Do I take the highway and put my life in the hands of all the drivers going 65 mph around me (including numerous logging trucks)? Or do I take the back roads and risk encountering a thousand pound animal who doesn't look both ways?

We have actually been trying to decide whether or not to sell our house and move into town. It's a hard decision because we love our house and living out where it's so quiet and beautiful. But then there's the drive. Rolling your car a few times makes driving a little difficult, so it's been a real issue. So today, as I drove the back way to avoid the danger but had to dodge wildlife along the way, I began to wonder if it was a sign. Either way I go, it raises my anxiety. So what do I do? I just don't know, but for now I'm going to go clean my house just in case we call a realtor in the next few days. And I'm going to pray for wisdom and answers and a big bubble of safety around my minivan. And that all future signs are bunnies or kittens or at least don't have antlers.

*The moose was fine and continued on his way with no more than an increased heartbeat and a story to tell his buddies.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Here's the thing. This is my 100th post on my blog and I've been racking my brain trying to come up with something that would symbolize the significance of that. But I've got nothing. I thought about "100 things about me" or "100 things I love" or "100 things I've done 100 times (or more)." But nothing feels right. I even missed my first day of school blog waiting to have something special for my 100th post. All I can think of is the day I sat in front of the computer and created this blog. It was spur of the moment although I had considered it a few times before. But the truth is, I did it as a distraction. A distraction from the terrifying pain in my chest and my brain telling me that I was going to die. It was right in the middle of the worst of my anxiety disorder and I couldn't do anything but pray and wait for it to pass. I couldn't clean house because of the exhaustion. I couldn't play with my kids because of the pain. I couldn't even take a shower because I was afraid I would have a heart attack and no one was home to find me except the boys. Wow. I was really sick. Thinking about it now it's easy to see. But then I just thought that I was dying or crazy or both. So I sat and wrote as best I could. I don't even remember what my first few posts were about but I'm sure I hid most of what was going on in my writing just as I did in real life. But the writing helped. It did distract me. And that distraction somehow lessened the anxiety and the symptoms it caused.

So, here I am, 10 months and 100 posts later. Mostly well. 100 times healthier. A million times happier. Now the only thing my blog distracts me from is dirty dishes. And for that I am 100% thankful.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Summer 2 School

I have spent the last week or so getting ready for school. I am going to be teaching kindergarten in the mornings and 7th grade math, science, and music in the afternoons. I am looking forward to it even though it means no more days at the beach for a while. I am a teacher. Through and through. I love the feeling of knowing that I have taught a student something new. And there is no better reward than seeing the eyes of a 5 year old light up when they finally realize that t+a=ta. As of today I have 12 kindergarteners, but my class limit is 14 and the numbers usually change the first week of school. I have three 7th graders so far, which will be great and give me a real chance to make sure they are ready for upper level math and science.

I thought I would share a few pictures of my cute classroom with you.

This is the library and reading corner. I also use the table in the back for reading groups, art projects, and other group activities.

This is one of my bulletin boards. On it there are a variety of educational posters, the birthday graph, and yellow felt used for a felt board to do counting and games on.

This year instead of desks, I am trying tables and chairs. I do have an extra desk just in case someone can't quite handle being so close to other classmates. Hopefully I won't have to use it.

On Thursday we had open house. About half of my students came with their parents to see the classroom and meet me. It was great to see so many anxious faces.

But they also saw something that I bet they weren't expecting. This...

Yes, this is Boys 2 Men circa 1986. My "friends" and co-teachers, Kathy and Marci, thought it would be really funny to put this up on the back of my classroom door complete with hearts. Now don't get me wrong. I was a fan of the r&b group back in the day, but I never had posters of them. At least not until now. When I discovered this the day of open house I laughed like crazy and racked my brain trying to remember the words to one of their songs to sing as I walked down the hall. (I didn't think of any.) And when I saw my "friends" I told them what a good joke they had pulled. All the while reminding myself to take it down before parents arrived. Well, guess what. I forgot. I forgot all about it until the last parents were asking questions and their younger child closed the door. Oh my goodness. I explained that it was a joke and we laughed together. But I didn't get to explain to the half a dozen other families who had obviously seen it. I could have told them it was for my music appreciation class. Or that I was encouraging diversity. Or that my "friends" think that they are SOOO funny. Anything other than them thinking that I have some kind of freakish teenage crush on this harmonic quartet.

So first thing Friday morning (well, after I took pictures), I carefully took it down and put it in a safe place. Because you can bet that my "friends" will someday walk into their classrooms and find the adolescent faces of these "boys" staring back at them. And don't be a bit surprised if it's on conference day!