Saturday, September 30, 2006

Relax

What a great day! It all started last night - nudge-nudge-wink-wink. Well, technically it was already today, but whatever. Then I got to sleep in until - GASP - 7:30! Colby must've had a party in his room or something to sleep that late on a Saturday. Then the family just hung out all morning. The boys played nicely and didn't make each other bleed, which is always a plus. They took a bath, since they didn't get one last night.

My mom came over just before lunch to babysit. Hubs and I had a date! I was supporting a local high school by buying a couple of lunch tickets to Carrabba's. Yum! Drinks, salad, pasta, chicken marsala... aren't you all drooling? To hell with OLTA! Italian food rocks! [I can still fit into my size 12s so I'm really okay.] We had an AWESOME TIME! We just got to sit and talk. Pretend that we were NOT parents for an hour. It was great! Not that I don't love my boys, but sometimes it's nice to have a little grown-up time.

Afterwards, we went and bought a new bookcase for all Hubs' new schoolbooks. Then we went to the mall and walked around. We got a new watch battery, priced iPod accessories, looked at Christmas (in Sept!) ornaments, books, clothes. I had a great time! I wish every Saturday could be this relaxed.

Shit. We still need to get groceries. So much for relaxed. That is always fraught with dangers and yelling.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I Have a Thinking Problem

What to think, what to think. We had dinner with Pastor R, hubs' mentor. The mentors are seeminly randomly assigned. It happens that Pastor R happens to be the pastor of the church where my mom and her, um, "best friend" go to church. (The "best friend" is a whole different post. I'll go into it later.) She also knows hubs' parents, as they are active in the South Carolina UMC. How fun. She had already met my children also, as they go to church with Nanas sometimes. I was basically the only member of the family she DIDN'T know. Of course, we had to remedy that.

I've had problems with the idea of Pastor R for a while now. She's tried to convince hubs that he should move to Atlanta to go to the "official" Methodist seminary there. She's also told him to really make an effort to balance ministry and family. (Then came the push to move himself to Atl. Is the woman a study in contrasts?) She's also habitually late. For everything. Whenever hubs is supposed to meet with her, she ends up changing the date/time at least once. She's usually then late to the changed date/time. So of course, tonight, she was almost 30 minutes late. We had the kids. In a restaurant. Trying to keep them occupied. It was not pretty. My boys don't do the sit still thing. At all. Sheesh!

So Pastor R finally shows up, and she wants to ask me all the questions: What is the thing that makes you most excited about this new direction? What makes you most nervous? What makes you most excited for your children? What makes you most nervous for them? What would you do if you get assigned to Podunk, SC? What will you do about a job? What will you do if the local schools are sub-par? (We DO live in South Carolina, which is next to last in the nation in school stuff. Thanks for taking last place Mississippi!)

Ummm, what the hell?! What makes me nervous? Moving. Starting over. Making new friends. Being away from my family (mom, sis, etc.). Being a pastor's wife. Playing church politics. The all to real chance that I'll never have a REAL friend again, because they'll be too scared of the whole pastor's wife label. That my kids will grow up shunned and labelled. That they'll never feel good enough, smart enough. That they will inherit their mom's shyness.

Am I excited about this journey? F*CK NO! I don't want to leave behind everything I know! Oh no. Can't say that! That would be the wrong answer, and would make Pastor R think that I'm not 100% behind the hubs. Then she'd write it in some report, and they'd blackball him from the process. So I have some misgivings. Who doesn't, when changing a life completely? And what would she know anyway? She's not married, no kids, nothing. She has no idea what I'm going to face. All she knows is what she's read in articles, or heard secondhand. Please. Could they get us a mentor who at least has been where we are? And one who can tell time?

Enough! I'm going to go do some mindless reading. It's called Specials. It's by
Scott Westerfeld. He's good. My students like it, and now I'm hooked. I don't usually like this kind of scifi-ish book. But these are good. Really good. See you!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

No Hair Allowed

So there we were, sitting/laying on the bed yesterday afternoon. Hubs was working on the computer, checking his school email. I was laying on the bed with Colby sitting next to me. I lifted up my arms to stretch.

"Ewwww!"

"What?!"

"There's hair under there, Mommy!"

Yes, the little guy had caught me unshaven in the armpit area. Hey, I keep it covered during the day. And it's not like it was REALLY long, just about a week's worth. So I began laughing, and had to explain to hubs what was going on. Of course, he has to show off:

"Colby, Look." as hubs pulls down his shirt sleeve to show Colby HIS armpit hair.

"Ewwwwww!"

I can't wait till he's a teenager. And where did he get this hatred of body hair? Strange.

Monday, September 25, 2006

OLTA update

No change from last week. Still at 163 lbs. Still pretty depressed. I just haven't felt like myself lately. Maybe I need to see someone about that. Still don't have time to get active. I've got to pick up Colby every day right after school. And his stupid bag is still leaking. Damn thing. I can't wait till we meet with the ostomy nurse to see if she can help us. She's a specialist. She'll have all the answers. Right????

Week 7: School

Woo-hoo! Have I ever mentioned that sometimes, it is just fun to be a teacher? (I probably haven't, since 99% of the time I hate it.) It was fun last week. Just one day. Just one class. But sometimes that's all it takes.

I've been having some trouble with my 5th period class. They are 8th graders. Their hormones are starting to work pretty consistently. The girls are all into makeup and hair and boys! The boys' voices are changing. That is pretty damn funny. Especially when they squeak. I love it! I digress. The point is, I've been wanting to skip this class every day. I dread going. Really. And I'm the teacher.
So, on Wednesday, two of the girls came to class with nothing (we'll call them Mary and Flo). No books, no notebooks, nada. "Mrs. English said we could leave our stuff in her room. She said she'd be back after lunch." Obviously, their not having their stuff was all Mrs. English's fault.

This was not the first time they'd done this. I said:
"Flo, you have arms that work. You can carry your stuff with you to the cafeteria."

"But it's a lot of stuff. It's heavy."

"Save it! I carry stuff with me from class to class ALL DAY! I don't want to hear it!"

The look on Flo's face was priceless. I think this may well have been the first time that someone had actually talked back to the princess. This is the same child who had the NERVE to put on eyeliner in my class AFTER. I. TOLD. HER. TO. STOP.

Wednesday afternoon, I also sent an email to about 7 sets of parents, letting them know that I'd had it up to here with their kids. Needless to say, the behavior of my 5th period class has improved. There is still one that I just need to beat with a stick. And his momma is a teacher too. Kind of like preachers kids are the worst in church. Teachers kids are pretty wretched in school. I can't wait to see what my two are going to be like. They're getting a double-whammy. Preacher's kids and teacher's kids. God help them.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Greek (and other) Festivities

Greek Festival. Beautiful jewelry. Lovely crafts. Raucous dancing. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD.

We took the boys to the Greek festival tonight. I think it's always good to introduce children to other cultures. They got to see some children dressed in native costumes dancing folk dances. They loved it! They heard some festive Greek music. Bennett had a great time dancing. Well, it was more like running in circles, but it there was music playing at the time. We walked them around to look at the art exhibits and jewelry. There were these cool linen wraps with itty-bitty cymbals on them that made noise. I really wanted one, but hubs said I would never wear it. Whatever.

Then there was the food. Lamb kabobs, seasoned fries, gyros, baklava, pastries, ice cream, Greek salad, potatoes, honey puffs... the list goes on! No, I didn't have one of each. I'm still attempting OLTA. But it was so good! I did splurge and have a baklava sundae. Oh, wow. That was yummy. I shared (a little) with hubs. Mostly I ate it all myself though. I'm allowed a treat sometimes too! Bennett didn't want any ice cream. I don't see how he could possibly be my offspring. Except that he looks just like my brother did at that age. I can't explain the ice cream thing. Odd.

Last night, the family went to a wedding shower. Also odd. A whole family wedding shower? It was at a friend's house, and the kids all went upstairs to play while the adults (ahem) stayed downstairs and pigged out, I mean, talked. It was a good time. I just hope that my sons, who were by far the youngest children there, didn't scare the bride-and-groom-to-be from having children of their own. They (the kids) tend to be GREAT birth control. A couple hours with them will make any girl sit with her legs crossed for a long time. I always said that back in college. I worked as a camp counselor in the summers at a local recreation center. There were usually between 60 and 80 kids on any given day. After 10 straight weeks of them, I didn't want to even kiss my boyfriend, let alone think about sleeping with him. That's the excuse I gave him anyway. Turns out, I didn't like him enough. Who knew?

And while we're on the topic, my husband is the only man I've ever "been with." And before you all jump on the word man, and think I slept with boys before him, I did not. I'd like to say we waited until we were married, but we didn't. We waited, hmm, about 3 weeks after our first date. But I knew then he was THE ONE. No, I didn't. I knew that he made me feel things I hadn't before. Thank God we got married, because otherwise I would have felt like such a slut! A friend of the guy I was engaged to previously (another fun story) used to say that I was the type of girl who would marry the first guy she slept with. Looks like he knew what he was talking about, huh? Because I did just that. Still together, 9 years later. Married for 6. Two adorable boys. Sigh.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tour of Testimonies

Wanted to get the word out for Lauren about her Bloggy Tour of Testimonies. This sounds like a great opportunity to praise God and really get His name out there in blogland. I will be participating on Sunday, October 1. Mark your calendars now!

Monday, September 18, 2006

OLTA: Week 5

Ugh! I did not even want to post today. I am fat. I am so fat. I am gaining weight because I am damned unhappy. Weight: 163. Ugh!

My grandma (dad's mom) passed away last Wednesday. I've been in a downward spiral ever since. All I want to do is sit around and eat peanut butter. Even chocolate doesn't make me feel better. (though I am digging the peanut butter m&m's) I miss Grandma so much! She was such a classy lady. And cool! She loved to watch Jeopardy and baseball. She was a huge Cardinals fan. She volunteered at church, at local charity shops. She liked to watch her grandkids play whatever sport was in season. She never raised her voice, at least not that I remember. But she missed my grandpa, who passed away 8 years ago. I'm glad that they are finally together again. They were married for 50 years. What a legacy to pass on!

Anyway, I didn't get to see her as often as I would have liked. I did go with the kids this summer, so at least they have a fuzzy memory of her. I got pics of Colby snuggling with her. Couldn't get Bennett to sit that still. He helped her water her plants outside though. I'm sure he loved it. So we had to drive up to Illinois. It was a 14 hour drive, one way. (Too much fast food.) Couldn't fly. Don't have the money. Got to see all my aunts and uncles. All my cousins. Including Kelly and Ian, whom I haven't seen in seven and six years, respectively. That part was great! But I miss Grandma. Looking at her at the visitation nearly tore my heart out. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and wouldn't get up. I feel like I won't be me again, without her. But I know she's looking at me from heaven. Looking after me. That's just the kind of grandma she was.

We miss you, Grandma. We love you!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Colby!

Four years ago: There was a memorial service at a local church to commemorate the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Hubs wanted to go, but I wasn't feeling up to seeing people. I was 9 months pregnant and due in less than 2 weeks. About 8 o'clock, I was standing at the washing machine. I was loading the sheets and bed stuff for the new crib. My water broke. I called hubs to the hallway. We didn't know what to do. We called the doctor on call, and she said to go ahead to the hospital. They checked me out and said I was not leaving without a baby. They admitted me and started me on some kind of blood pressure medication. The next morning, they performed a c-section and I had my first little angel boy.

As I write this, I can still remember every feeling that night. I was so scared when I realized that I wasn't peeing myself, that something else was going on. Then I felt exhilaration. I was going to be a mommy! My heart pounded. We drove a little over the speed limit getting to the hospital. Oops. I stayed up all night with my friend Judy, who was also my doula. They tried to get me to have contractions, but nothing doing. I was dog tired in the morning. Judy left for about an hour to take her son to the doctor. Right after she left, the doctor came in and said You need to have this baby now. Um, okay. It was all so fast after that.

45 minutes later, I had Colby. I was kissing his tiny, perfect face. I couldn't see it too well, since I didn't have my contacts or glasses. They took him back to the nursery to bathe him and get him ready for his grand introduction. Hubs went with him. He couldn't stand to be away from his son, even for a moment.

The moment they brought Colby in to me, I knew this was it. I'd been waiting my whole life for this moment. Holding my newborn son. A new person. A miracle. A child of God. He was so little, just 6 lbs. 7 oz. He held my finger and looked up at me with those beautiful blue eyes. I fell madly, crazy in love. No one would ever hurt this little angel. He trusted me completely. And his eyes seemed to say 'It's okay mom. We can do this.' From the first sweet glance, he was mine. All mine. Four years later, and he's still my boy. I've tried so hard to do the right things. To make him a good little person, trustworthy, honest, loving. He's such a little man. Still, when I hold him (the few times a month he'll let me), his eyes seem to say 'It's okay, Mom. We can do this.' I love you, Colby. My angel boy. My sweet angel boy. Happy birthday!

I remember...

Five years ago: We had just bought the house. We'd only been in it about 10 days. The only thing working was the TV.

I was in a temporary classroom, because mine had suffered some damage from a recent storm. My students came into second block saying that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Centers in New York. I turned on the TV in my room and we watched the footage over and over, wondering what was going on. After about 30 minutes, the principal had the cable shut off. She didn't want the students to freak out. Our school is minutes from a major military base. They do a lot of basic training. We had a lot of military families nearby. This could be affecting some of the students, we just didn't know.

When I had a break, I called hubs. He was working for a data access company at the time. He drove around the state doing checks on properties and such. I didn't know where he would be. I didn't know if those people, who were capable of such horror, would decide that South Carolina looked like a prime target as well. I wanted to know that he was safe.

I was coaching cheerleading at the time, and we still held practice that afternoon. One of the girls didn't come, her parents wanted her at home where they knew it was safe. I wanted thought things should be as "normal" as possible for the girls. We didn't do much cheering that day. Or in the days that followed. There was no game that Friday. It was called off, in honor of those who had lost their lives.

When I went home that night, I spent the evening in front of the TV, trying to get the whole story. I couldn't believe my eyes. People jumped out of those buildings, anything to escape the horror within. Another plane had hit the Pentagon. My uncle lives in DC. Was he okay? Then the news about the brave souls on board Flight 93. Fight the terrorists? Wow.

The whole day, and the days that followed, were surreal. It just didn't seem possible that such things could happen here. In the US. That Sunday, our church was filled to capacity. I've never since seen that many folks at a Sunday service. But it seemed like everyone was there, looking for answers that no one had. Not even Pastor Barrett, who always seemed to know everything. Today, five years later, we still don't have the answers. We may never know why. But we remember the lives that were lost that day, and we honor their memory.

God bless America.

OLTA: Week 4

Okay, so here it is, September 11. It's the day of the official weigh in for OLTA.

Weight: 160 lbs. (-1)

Yay! And last week I was all bloated and retaining water and such. Ugh! And I was craving the hell out of peanut butter. What the hell? Not pregnant though, thanks be to God.

I was just thinking about that yesterday, the not being pregnant. See, I'd gotten an email from my future sis-in-law about the upcoming nuptials. She and my "baby" brother are getting married next summer. And she's in the process of picking out what tortuous, um, beautiful bridesmaid's dresses we will get to wear. And she asked if there was a chance that my sister or I would be in need of a maternity bridesmaid dress. God forbid! We absolutely canNOT have more kids before hubs is out of school. I mean, we're spread pretty thin, money-wise, as it is. I mean, even the family at church with six kids has more money than we do!

But we're rich in love, and that's all that matters.

Damn. I have to go get Bennett from daycare now. And cook dinner. Damn hubs for having late classes!
MMeek
AAppreciative
MMischievous
AAmbivalent
CClumsy

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pictures from our Day Of Fun


Colby and Bennett at the zoo.

On the carosel with Daddy.


Jump shot!


Such a silly monkey!

The Fifth Week of School

Only 31 weeks to go! Only 13 weeks till Christmas break! I'm not counting, really. This past week wasn't that bad. It was a short week (yay, Labor Day!), so I only had 4 days of the cherubs. However, I had morning duty this week. What that means is, I have to be at work 20 minutes early to stand in the cafeteria and monitor the students. Most of them are 6th graders, since that is their "official" meeting area before school. Some are 7th and 8th graders who eat school breakfast. They are all LOUD! I don't remember ever being that excited about school that early in the morning. It's probably less that they are excited about school than they are excited about seeing their friends. They are LOUD! This year, however, there is also soothing music playing in the background, like Kenny G. It's pretty funny. I don't think the kids even notice it. And I don't mean to make generalizations here, but I work in a pretty low-income school, with a lot of minority kids. I'm not sure that many of them have even heard of Kenny G. They tend to prefer 50 Cent, Nelly, and Diddy (I think he used to be P. Diddy, but I'm not sure). Those are just the rappers I am familiar with. I know there are others. But I digress. My point it, the music is supposed to keep them calm and prepare their little minds for the day's education. Right. You have to be standing right next to one of the speakers to even hear it. That's just how loud it is.

And I don't get paid extra for this extra 20 minutes either. And I have to do it every other week. Ugh! At least I'm not on car duty this year. That's when you get to stand outside, rain or shine or wretched humidity, and tell the parents "Please pull all the way forward." or "You can't drop off right there because you might get hit." or "You're holding up the other cars, please move on." Or "Are you stupid?! Can you not see the arrow pointing you to turn at this driveway?!" (I made the last one up. We are not allowed to call parents stupid, even if they are. Damn shame.) Morning duty could be worse.

My students are settling down now, except for one class. I think we are going to need a coming-to-Jesus moment in there soon. I'm about ready to meet face-to-face with some parents. I HAVE refrained from using the words "shut up" though. That's a big step for me, as I love to say that. It just gets the point across better than "Please be quiet" or "Hush". I mean, really. These are 13-year-olds. They just don't respond to niceness. Oh for the days of corporal punishment.

In unrelated news, we went to the zoo and Chuck E. Cheese's for Colby's small, family birthday celebration. It would have been fun if he hadn't been a total pain in the ass. He was whiny, he was bossy, he was showing his ass! I think the problem was that we went with the hubs' mentor from seminary, his wife, and their son. None of whom we had met previously, except hubs. So, we're all "getting to know each other" while my little family is trying to celebrate Colby. It was a little awkward for me. Maybe I'm just not good with new people. I didn't have a very good time. Colby and Bennett seemed okay though. Kids are very adaptable. Besides, who can't enjoy Chuck E. Cheese? (I will post pictures later, since Blogger won't let me right now.)

And in other, funny, news: Hubs had to go be psychologically evaluated. It's part of the ordination candidate process. I guess they have to make sure you are not completely psycho before they let you be a pastor. Anyway, he went and spend all day Friday in Charlotte taking test after test. He did one of those Myers-Briggs things. He's an extrovert. Duh. He works well with others. He has his own ideas, but also likes to get the approval of others. But some of the other results were pretty funny, and gave me ammo to use in the future against him. Apparently, he's sarcastic. Well, damn. Who knew? (me too, me too!) He has a problem with authority. Again, duh. I think that comes standard issue with any guy who has gone through ROTC. But the best one, in my opinion, was that he is SELF-CENTERED. Oh. My. God. That just confirm everything I've been feeling about him lately! How perfect! Unfortunately, the psychologist did not see this as a problem in his pursual of ministry. And she didn't diagnose his ADD. Oh, well. At least we know he's not a complete nutcase.

Going to cook lunch now.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I need a vacation

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
Maybe I should check it out. I've never been to Ireland, though I think I would like it. Just around the Mediterranean. I KNOW I love it there. If hubs would let us, I'd move the family in a second. Hmm... a pub crawl. Haven't had one of those since college. I need to get out more. Oh, wait. I'm a mommy. I'm not supposed to do that sort of thing anymore. Oops. Guess I'll just enjoy the bike ride. Haven't done that in years either.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Week 3: OLTA

Ugh! Terrible week! It was the usual stress, then the hubs was out of town. Well, the diet just went to hell in a handbasket, really. I tend to not eat well when he's gone. There's no one to police me, and I have NO willpower. I ate at my mom's a couple of times, and everyone knows how bad that can be. The minute I walk in, I'm like OOOOOO, SNACKS! PLUS, there was the bday party on Monday. Can you say, cake and ice cream? Anybody want some????? Please get it out of the house!

Weight: 161 lbs. (+4!!!)
Attitude: bad :-(

I haven't been to the gym in a week. And now it looks like I may not ever get to go back. Colby's colostomy has been having some issues. The bag won't stay on. So, when he's at school during the day, and the nurse is there, no problems. It seems like every day at 3:30, when the nurse leaves, all hell breaks loose (as does the bag). So now I have to pick him up by 3:30 every day. WEll, I can't even leave work until 2:45, and it's 20 minutes to the gym. I'd have to walk in, turn around, and leave again. Hubs may be able to pick him up on Wed. and Fri., his early class days. That could help. Now, if I could just teach those papers to grade themselves, all would be perfect.

Anyway, I'm not out of this contest yet. I know I feel utterly defeated right now, with birthday cake in the fridge, but I am a fighter. I will whip all your asses! And mine will end up a size 8, dammit! It will!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Let's Get This Party Started

Soooo, we had a birthday party for Colby today. [It's 8 days till his actual birthday, but whatever.] My dad and stepmom, my moms, my in-laws, my sister, her husband, their daughter, and my brother were all in attendance. It was kind of a big deal. The theme: Disney's Cars. Colby LOVES that movie. We had the tablecloth, the plates, the dessert plates, the napkins, the cups, AND a cake. My moms went above and beyond the call of nana-hood for this one.










Look at the large stack of presents. Look at the cool cake.












Colby wants to be a Ninja Turtle. But he can't even get out of a sleeping bag.


Ahh, what a fun day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Them's fightin' words

It occurs to me that maybe I have some issues. I happened across a seemingly harmless question over at mothergoosemouse. I read my response and realized that I need to get this out.

"We fight. We fight a lot. I work full time. Outside the home. With middle schoolers. He is a full-time grad student. At seminary. Studying to be a pastor. We fight about him not spending enough time with the family. About him needing to get off his butt and get a job. About ME having to get another job. About me not wanting to have sex because I’m so tired from working all day then taking care of the kids while he’s in class. But I love him and cannot imagine my life without him.

Our fighting is mostly just smartass comments said half-under-the-breath, then repeated loudly. There usually is a loud discussion next. Sometimes, there is yelling of the word “jackass”. (That’s me.) When I tell my friends about these things, they tell me he is selfish. I say that he just doesn’t look at things from my perspective. They say that is the same thing.

Let me reiterate. I love my man. I long to have him just hold me, because I’m always so exhausted. There is no one I’d rather fight with."

Now, I feel a little bit better. However, it worries me that we keep having these same arguments over and over, and things never seem to get resolved. Is that normal? Can a marriage survive when nothing ever changes. We've been having the sex fight since we had Colby, almost 4 years ago. It usually starts with me telling him no AGAIN for like the 5th night in a row. And he goes into his "you must not love me anymore" or "you don't find me attractive" whiny-thing. Which is totally not the case. I'm just tired! Why can't he understand that I'm just f*cking tired!?!

Then there's the "you don't spend enough time at home" fight. He's a volunteer with our youth group at church. He's in school full time during the day. I HATE that he spends most of his time hanging out with other people's kids, and not ours. I don't understand it. When I don't have to be at work, I leave. I don't volunteer to go back for more! He missed the first "real" Halloween with the kids last year because the youth group was having a pumpkin patch closing party. Both kids had dressed up (we had Buzz Lightyear and Woody the sherriff), and we went with my sister and her little girl. It was so fun! And he totally missed it. [That was last year. See what I mean about having issues?]

And now he wants to go into ministry full time. Allll the time. I know that being a pastor is a 24/7 kind of job. That there will be times when he has to go in the middle of dinner or whatever because of an emergency. I only hope that, by then, I will have learned to live with that. Any suggestions? And if anyone tells me to go talk to him, you know, when he gets back from the youth retreat tomorrow night, I will hunt you down and beat you.

I need a chocoate chip cookie!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I have lived...

You've Experienced 68% of Life

You have all of the life experience that most adults will ever get.
And unless you're already in your 40s, you're probably wise beyond your years.


And now you know. I'm not in my 40's, so I must be the shiz-nit. I tend to agree that I have had a lot of life. There have been some really awesome times. I've had some neat experiences, like:


This is my husband and I on the Spanish Steps in Rome. We led a group of students this summer on a 9-day tour from southern Italy to Rome. We all had a blast! I cannot wait till 2008 when I get to go back!

The Fourth Week of School

Hmmm... This week was pretty uneventful. If you don't count missing half my classes on Monday due to the ever-fun and exciting fundraiser assembly. Don't get me wrong, I understand that the PTO needs money. They do all sorts of wonderful things for the teachers at my school. These include: breakfasts from Chic-Fil-A, class sets of books, various other classroom stuff, little goodies during Teacher Appreciation Week, and a steak lunch at the end of the year. They are super nice people, who always seem to be smiling when you see them. (That part can be creepy, but whatever.) What I don't like about fundraisers is the lame prizes. Oooo, if you sell just ONE item, you get these "cool" blinking sunglasses. If you sell 10, you get to miss class to go out to lunch and ride in a limo. If you sell 20, you get out of class early to watch the BMX bikers. I mean, seriously. BMX bikers? I teach at a school that is primarily low-income. How many of these kids really want to watch a couple of guys do tricks on their bikes? Of course, they DO get to skip class.

And that's another issue. Is this fundraiser stuff teaching the students that making money and selling things (which are cheap and badly made) is more important than learning and going to school? I mean, they are getting them out of class. Sometimes more than once, since the limo lunch and BMX things are actually on different days. Nice. I think it would be different if they held these events after school. But then the students wouldn't be as motivated to sell and raise money, would they? Oh well, I lose.

That was about all for this week. I'm still fighting a losing battle with my 8th graders' mouths. I tried the "stand at the front of the room and glare at them silently" approach. They ignored me completely. I tried yelling "HUSH!" at the top of my lungs. That worked. For about 10 seconds until the shock wore off and I actually began the lesson. Then they started up again. I've started giving them pop quizzes when they won't be quiet. That seems to be working with one class. The other one is beyond hope. There are just too many bodies in one room - right. after. lunch. Ugh!! Again, I lose.

However, this reminds me about a 20/20 special I watched about 10 minutes of last night. I was then so incensed that I asked my hubs to turn it off, lest I attack the man in front of the camera. I believe the name of it was "Stupid in America." It was about how public schools are making students dumber. Oh, man, did it push my buttons! I have no illusions about working in public education. I know that it sucks. I know that the schools are tough, and the kids are rowdy, the halls are crowded, and there are kids slipping through the cracks. These things need to be changed. However, this special placed all the blame on the teachers, and that is where the issue lies.

It is not all our fault. Yes, there are bad teachers out there. There are boring teachers. There are teachers who have no business being anywhere near students, because they are stupid! BUT, there are a lot of really good teachers out there. There are teachers who make almost every day fun and exciting for students. Teachers who love to teach. Teachers who are so brilliant, it almost hurts to be near them. But do the news shows do stories about them. No, because that's not going to sell. Who wants to hear about that cool English teacher who dresses up like a genie and calls herself "Grammar Genie" when it's time to start the boring stuff? Who wants to hear about the science teacher who lets the kids disect a cow's eye and worms and cockroaches? Who wants to hear about the history teacher who has the kids write and perform their own monologues, dressed up as a key historical figure? Who wants to hear about the Latin teacher who has the students make up songs to learn about the imperfect tense? (yeah, that's me)

No one.

And that is sad. It hurts me to the core that our education system is as bad as it is. It is half the teachers fault. But the other half of the blame goes home to the parents. The parents who let their children stay on the Internet half the night, and the other half the night on their cell phones. The parents who send their kids to the local park to play ball instead of doing their homework. The parents who don't sit down and read with their elementary students, then wonder why the kid is reading below grade level a few years later. The parents who can't follow simple instructions like "Not a drop-off area." They are showing their children that learning isn't important. That THEY aren't important. It all starts at home. We need parents to teach their children that learning is important. That respect is important. That THEY ARE IMPORTANT.

And now I will get off my soapbox.