Monday, August 30, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

Here's how I know it's August. Cooler nights. North Idaho Fair. Aisles and aisles of school supplies at Target. And first day of school nightmares.

Since I started teaching 14 years ago, I have had at least one nightmare about the first day of school sometime during the end of August. Usually about the time I start working in my classroom. Two days last week were spent cleaning and organizing my room. So this weekend the dream came. There are a few things that these dreams always have in common. First, I'm never ready: my room is a mess and I don't know what I'm doing. Second, there are way more students than I thought I was having in my class. Third, there are parents around getting in my way and trying to boss me. And last, the kids misbehave, refuse to listen to me, and are just naughty.

Sometimes the dreams are silly. Like the year I dreamt that my class was full of rock stars. Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Eddie Van Halen, and Slash all stuffed into kindergarten sized chairs. But unlike my other dreams, they were all very well behaved. That actually could have been a fun year!

But this 2010 dream was rather disturbing. Messy room? Check. Too many kids? Check. Annoying parents? Check. Naughty kids? Check. But if that wasn't enough, the kids were kindergartners the size of high schoolers. All taller than me. (Not that that's saying much.) And when I wanted them to line up to go to chapel they refused to be quiet and walk in a line. Once I finally herded them upstairs and got them seated, they still talked and played and were disrespectful. Then when it was time to go, they all went running out of the room. As I went chasing them, some of them went into a small room around the corner and started shooting blow darts at me! Not just spitballs. Actual DARTS! Ooh, that made me mad. Then when I got back to the classroom, the rest of the kids had left for recess without permission. Except for one boy named Pheadrus (it said it on his name tag) who was sitting quietly in his desk. Thanks, Pheadrus. Our principal came in and asked me if I needed help. By that time I was really mad, and therefore I did NOT need help. Shortly thereafter the kids all came in and sat down. And boy did they get an earful. Even the dart blowers were scared and sat quietly. I took control and soon they were all sweet little kindergartners. Well, not so little. They were still all 6 feet tall. And all would have been good, if it weren't for that mom sitting in my chair with her feet up on my desk.

Then I woke up. I still felt kind of mad. But mostly I just thought, "What was that about?" And then I sighed a sigh of relief knowing that if nothing else, all the students who walk into my classroom next Tuesday will at least be shorter than me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blessed Sunday

I don't know how many times I've posted about my children being blessings. Because they are. My greatest blessings. But on top of having three of the smartest, cutest, sweetest kids ever, they are also healthy. I say a quick prayer of thanks every time I see a child who is not healthy in some way. Today we had lunch with a family whose youngest son has juvenile diabetes. He has to test his levels 8 times a day. And take shots if he wants to have a cupcake. Wow. That's a lot for a second grader...and his have to worry about.

My kids can see and hear and run and play and dance and sing and eat a cupcake any time they want. They aren't even allergic to anything. They are strong and well. And I don't take for granted for one second what a blessing that is.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fair Pictures

Our family usually goes to the fair two days. One for motocross and one for the rodeo. And we walk around and see all there is to see before those events. But this year we had decided not to go at all. But when Dave at Huckleberries Online offered tickets to go, I took him up on it and took the kids on Wednesday afternoon.

First we went to see some of the animals. Julianna loved the pigs.
I think it was because most of them were pink.
She even got brave and touched a few of them.

Then we went to the Kids' Corner. Julianna did the bean bag toss.

And soon decided it was easier just to drop them in the hole.

She also found this fun sand box and scooped and poured for awhile.

For many years the boys have made pictures on these art spinners.
I was happy that even though they are older, they still made me a picture.

Adam is really concentrating on his masterpiece.

Julianna even made one.

Josh had to show her how to gently touch the paper with the marker
instead of trying to draw her own picture.

We saw lots of animals and Jules wanted to pet them all.
This goat was kind enough to oblige.

We also ate Hawaiian shaved ice, watched the police dog demonstration, looked at the photography exhibit, watched the hypnotist, and looked at lots of other animals. We had a great time and I'm glad we got to go for a few hours.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Things Thursday

I know you have all been waiting on the edges of your seats to know if I actually did everything on my 10 things Monday list. The truth is, mostly. I didn't get to the hall closet and still have a little work to do in our room. But I also did a bunch of stuff that wasn't on the list. And since then, it's been a whirlwind of activity. So here are 10 things I've done since Monday.

1. Went to Chuck E. Cheese's. Julianna does NOT like the giant mouse.
2. Fixed dinner with my sister for family dinner night. West Virginia sandwiches*, chips, salad, and watermelon.
3. Went to girls' night at Alyson's and watched movies. "Far and Away" and "The Holiday."
4. Held a super cute little baby girl and wished for the millionth time that I would stop wanting more babies. I'm almost 40 for goodness sake.
5. Went to the North Idaho Fair. (Thanks Dave for the tickets. The cookies are coming.) Julianna loved the pigs. I loved watching my kids enjoy the fair.
6. Ate a half strawberry, half blackberry Hawaiian shaved ice. Mmmm. Wish I had one right now.
7. Went to Bible class. I learn something new every time I open the book.
8. Went to a staff meeting.
9. Volunteered to teach art to the older grades AND supervise student council.
10. Worked in my classroom. Still have lots to do.

*Ham and Swiss cheese on toasted French bread. Add whatever toppings you like. I like mayo and tomato.

Monday, August 23, 2010

10 Things Monday--Special Edition

10 things I WILL do today.

1. Finish cleaning/reorganizing the kitchen.
2. Empty and remove the bookshelf from the living room.
3. Laundry. Loads and loads of laundry.
4. Clean/reorganize our bedroom.
5. Get Julianna's room ready to paint...again.*
6. Supervise the boys while they clean their bedroom.
7. Supervise the boys while they clean their bathroom.
8. Clean out the hall closet.
9. Listen to music and sing along.
10. Play with my kids.

*I've had it cleaned up and ready a few times, but then Tornado Julianna hits it and I have to start all over.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things that made me smile today.

1. My daughter using the word "bodyguard." Yes, she is two.
2. My daughter asking Kathy if she had any coins when I told her I didn't have any for the candy machine at the movies.
3. Hearing my children laugh out loud at the movie.
4. My niece trying over and over to sneak cups that weren't hers.
5. My sister's jalapeno poppers.
6. Music.
7. A butterfly.
8. Imagining my house perfectly organized.
9. Feeling peaceful.
10. Hearing Julianna sing "Blessed Be The Name of the Lord."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Potty Training 301

Potty Training 101: Introduction the Hard Way

Potty training Josh was an ordeal. Partly because of me and my too high expectations as a first time potty trainer. I think I put too much pressure on him. Partly because he is stubborn. It seemed like it took forever. And then it was a process. He'd do some things in the potty, but not others. He'd do really well for a few days then we'd go back to page one. But eventually by age 3 1/2 he was fully trained and rarely, if ever, had an accident thereafter.

Potty Training 201: If Only It Was Like This Every Time

Adam was a completely different story. Over Christmas break when he was 19 months old I took him to the bathroom and showed him what to do and that was it. Easiest potty training ever.

Potty Training 301: Pink Potty Plan

So here I am again in the midst of toddlerhood with Julianna. I had this brilliant idea about repeating Adam's miraculous Christmas break training with her last December. She knew the process and the words. I thought we were ready. But the whole two weeks of vacation she had this horrible cold and I knew it would be too much for her to add something else. Fast forward to June. The Monday after school got out I pulled out the pink princess potty and pull-ups. She'd sit on the potty happily. We chatted and read and sang. Nothing. Pull-up back on. Wet. Repeat the next hour and the next day and the next week. She's happy as a lark sitting there playing with me or even talking to herself and her bath toys, but always an empty potty. (Except for twice when she "accidentally" went while sitting.) And here we are mid-August having repeated the same thing all summer long. So Monday I went to Target and bought diapers. I know. Diapers. I didn't like it one bit and told her that. She didn't care. And since then she has happily worn diapers and even told me this morning that she likes diapers. I keep telling myself that she's barely two and there's plenty of time. But, oh, the disappointment of not reaching my goal of NO MORE DIAPERS. EVER. But if my first two potty training endeavors taught me anything, it's that it's all up to the kid. And to not force it. So we'll try again later...maybe Christmas break.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Julianna said, "Fine," to me the other night. As in, "Julianna, come get your jammies on....Julianna, it's time for bed, come get your jammies on...Julianna Grace, come get your jammies on now!" "Fii-iine."

She has also started watching tv. Actually she only watches the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Over and over and over.

"Hairspray" was the best show of the summer theater season. Let me just say that it was all I could do to keep my rear in the seat and not jump up and dance. I was sooo happy when they invited us to dance at the end. Are you kidding me? Yes, I want to dance!

School starts soon. That's all. I just had to say it.

This morning the kids and I went and picked green beans in my mom's garden. After we picked them, they wanted to break them so then we did that. It was a great time with my kids and helped mom out, too.

Then we went to the beach. They love the beach. The boys hardly got out of the water the whole 3+ hours. And as I sat and watched my boys dig in the sand and play with their sister, I quietly hoped that they'll still want to dig and play at the beach next summer...and the next...and the next.

I've tried to read "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" three times this summer. It's been hard for me to get into. I think this third time's the charm.

Speaking of books to movies, I went to see "Eat, Pray, Love" last weekend. First let me say that I love Julia Roberts. And I liked the movie maybe even better than I liked the book. And now I want to travel the world. Alone.

Speaking of alone, I went to that movie alone. Some people who know me think it's weird that I go to the movies alone. But it's one of my favorite things to do. I go and sit where I want and drink my Diet Coke without having to share and watch the movie and laugh and cry whenever I want. You should try it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


The Idaho Fish and Game Department has a program called Project Wild. It's to help teachers learn how to include wildlife studies in their curriculum. Many years ago I took WILD and then had a super fun time taking the week long WILD II in McCall. We watched herds of elk, howled at wolves, caught and released salmon from the hatchery trap, caught and tagged bats, and crawled inside a bear den. And we did tons of activities from the books they gave us. I learned so much about Idaho wildlife and had so much fun doing so.

So a few weeks ago when I was signing my boys up for a hunter safety class on the Fish and Game website, I clicked over onto the WILD page and found Project WILD for Early Learners. It's a class especially for kindergarten to second grade teachers. I found out the details, asked my sister if she could keep the kids while I went, and signed up as quickly as I could. I was really excited because I've always loved the WILD program so much. Also, it's an easy and cheap U of I credit towards my teacher re-certification. And they give us lots of great stuff!

So Tuesday and Wednesday I spent the day in the classroom at Cabela's being reintroduced to this great program. There is a new book just for early learners that is perfect for me...lots of pictures and easy lesson plans that include music, lots of art, and snacks! Over the two day class we looked at every lesson in the book in one way or another. The facilitator and IDFG staff led some of the activities. And some of the lessons were taught by us during peer teaching. (There was a mixture of teachers, day care providers, and even a few grandparents taking it just to have the information for their grandkids.) We talked about things from the water cycle to earthworms to salmon to Idaho raptors to bears.

One of my favorite parts was the discussion that the IDFG facilitator gave about bears. Did you know that we have 20,000 black bears in Idaho including up to 4 per square mile in the Priest Lake area? Did you know that when bears are born they weigh only 6-8 ounces? Yes. Ounces. And did you know that after they put radio collars on some bears in the spring they go back while they are hibernating and retrieve and replace them? And that sometimes the bears wake up and aren't happy?!

But as much as I liked the class as a whole, my very favorite part was the raptor discussion. I've seen it a few times before because it's the same program that is presented to schools. But this time was special. Beth, who led the discussion, works with the IDFG and cares for injured birds who can't be released into the wild. She brought four of her birds with her to our class. As she started her presentation, she mentioned that they had four birds and only three handlers. Would anyone volunteer to hold one? Ooooh, me! My hand was the first one up and I got to hold an adorable Western Screech Owl named Ilene. (She was hit by a car and had to have her right wing amputated and tends to lean to the left a little.) So I put on the long, leather gloves and Ilene climbed on my hand. She sat there and looked at me with her huge, yellow eyes for the longest time. I pretty much fell in love with her. Here's a picture of a Western Screech Owl. It's not Ilene, but looks a lot like her.

As I walked out to my car on Wednesday afternoon saying bye to new friends and carrying my bags of treasures from the class, I was so glad I had found out about it and was able to go. It (almost) makes me look forward to school starting so I can share what I learned with my students.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I'm Back...

...kind of.

So much to do, so little time. But I will be checking my email and stopping by my favorite blogs occasionally. But unfortunately the countdown to school has begun (for me at least) and the precious moments that are left of my summer vacation will be better spent away from my screen and keyboard.

Hope everyone else is having a great summer. Enjoy the sun!!

Monday, August 02, 2010


Starting after I publish this post, I will be going "unplugged" for a week. No blogging or reading blogs. No online news. No games. No email.

I have realized that I am slightly addicted to my PC and have been neglecting other things because of it. And it's August. AUGUST! My summer is quickly dwindling away and I have hardly crossed anything off my to do list. So for the sake of that list, I will be unplugged.

See you next week.