Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday in Fort Pierce


We have had a spell of much cooler weather these past couple of weeks. Kenzie and I especially have enjoyed the chilly weather. It just makes us so happy to be able to wear sweaters and feel the cool air on our faces! On Saturday we spent the morning doing chores and then headed out to IRSC (Indian River State College) to see a program at the Planetarium, fittingly called "The Planets." After that we walked through a little craft/food fair sponsored by DECA. Lots of fun Christmas crafts, but we ended up buying sunglasses for the whole family! Hey, you can't beat $5! After that we drove down to the Fort Pierce Marina to see if we could find any manatees. They are in our area from November through March and we have never seen one. We still haven't ever seen one. Yep. We struck out. But the weather was nice, sunny and cool, so we took a drive over the causeway and went to the beach. It was crazy windy. We even saw some windsurfers and they were getting some major air! It was way too cold (for us wimps anyway) to go in the water, but we had fun watching the tide come in. The sun was setting and hitting the waves just right so it made for some pretty pictures.

Family Literacy Night

Last Thursday (November 20) our school celebrated Family Literacy Night. We had a turnout of about 250-300 people so that was a nice success. Last year only two families showed up for Lit Night!!! It was horribly embarassing and so sad. . .

So this year we changed it up and tried to make it sound like a lot more fun. As the Design Team co-chair, I automatically got volunteered as co-chair of the event along with the Reading Coach. Our plan was to focus on fun and building community. The schools around here don't have much for parent involvement, at least not compared to other communities where we have lived. An average PTO meeting might have 12-15 people and 10 of them are teachers and admin. Keep in mind that our school has 1600-1700 students. Pathetic, huh?
So our theme was "Have a Dog Gone Good Time Reading!" We served hotdogs and chips and all of the events (well, most of them) had a dog theme. There were six activities for 4-8th graders and six activities for the parents of K-3rd graders. The K-3rd graders themselves made doggie masks and performed in a skit, "The Three Little Puppies," based loosely on the Three Little Pigs. It was really cute.


Everyone who came got this cool little kit with a whiteboard, dry erase marker, book, index cards, highlighter, etc. We gave away tons of stuff: craft kits from Lowe's, free kids' meals from Chili's and TGIFridays, coupons for free books, etc. Becca even won a manicure! She is very excited about that.

Turnout was good, not great, but everyone who came had a really good time. And I am so thankful that it is over!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Honor Roll Assembly

Today was Honor Roll day at SLWK8. Both girls made the Honor roll for for the first quarter. Rebecca made the Principal's Honor Roll (straight As) and McKenzie made the A Honor Roll (all As with a B in math). Of course I forgot my camera! I never forget my camera. I got a couple of shots with my camera phone, but it's just not the same! Plus I didn't save them to my memory card, so I can't get the pictures off my phone! Oops.

McKenzie was really disappointed that she didn't make Principal's Honor Roll (she had made it 7 times in a row and then missed it at the end of last year with a B in science). She really struggled with her multiplication fact timed tests at the beginning of the quarter and it sunk her grade. we think it is a good time to learn a lesson. McKenzie would whine about not doing well, but wouldn't spend time practicing so she could improve unless forced to. We reap what we sow. Better to learn the lesson now than later.

Again, sorry no pics. Maybe one of my friends will come through with some photos?

RIP Alice

I just found out my brother's family dog, Alice, passed away yesterday. Just wanted to post some photos of her. She was a really great dog.
Unfailingly patient with people, her fellow canines, and even cats!

Alice has been a part of the family for so long; it will be strange to not have her around.
Good-bye Alice. We'll miss you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stampin Up! Roller stamps

I'm looking for someone who is willing to give my Stampin' Up! roller stamps a good home. I have nine rollers, the handle and two ink cartridges (green and black). I rarely stamp these days and I never use the rollers. I hate to just give them to Goodwill. What if they went to someone who didn't appreciate how special they are??
So first come, first serve. Just let me know that you will take good care of them and I will mail them to you just in time for making Christmas projects! : )

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All Work and No Play

I remember thinking of a good title for this posting when I was driving to work this morning, but now I have forgotten it. . . maybe I will remember before I am done!

Another crazy work week. Monday was a professional development day, so all the teachers spent the day at our third full day of Kagan training (not Kegel training!). Kagan is a way of planning instruction to maximize student participation and engagement. Instead of asking, "who knows the answer to this question?" and one student answers you would have students write the answer, share with their shoulder partner and then have pairs confer with other pairs, etc. It's a way to get everyone thinking instead of just the one or two kids who already know the answer anyway. It's good stuff but I've already had the training before and then another two days at the beginning of this year and then Monday's training. I've got it already!!

Tuesday was glorious. I stayed home with the kids all day and did laundry and cleaned and got caught up on chores and played on the computer. Of course I had stacks of papers to grade but I decided to be a homemaker for the day. McKenzie had a friend over and I helped them with a school project. I was so not feeling like grading that I actually contemplated cleaning out the garage and the kitchen junk drawer! In the end I spent about two hours grading student work.

Wednesday it caught up with me because I had to stay at work until 7:30 grading papers, inputting them in the computer and printing progress reports (goes home every two weeks). Bleh!!! Needless to say I was exhausted by the time I got home. The girls had gone home with some friends from school and Mike and Sophie picked them up and they all went out to pizza. I went to Arby's. That doesn't seem quite fair, does it?

Today the girls and I stayed until 6 o'clock. I finished up a bulletin board and then spent an hour trying to find my desk again. If this keeps up I should just leave a sleeping bag in my closet. I am looking forward to putting my feet up and watching Survivor and going to bed early! Such an exciting life we lead!

Dang! I still can't remember what I was going to name my next post. It was really cute, I promise. . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day


A big thank you to all the men and women out there in the military who risk their lives to ensure our freedom every day!

And, most of all, thanks DAD! We love you and we miss you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pioneer Woman

Do you wanna know what I do when I am procrastinating? When I really don't want to fold the laundry or grade another paper I head over to www.thepioneerwoman.com. You should check it out. But beware, it's addicting.

Stuart Air Show




So on Sunday, we packed up the little troops and headed south to Stuart for the annual Visiting Nurse's Association Air Show. I'd heard about it before, but we had never gone. In fact, I don't think I've been to an airshow in my life (I'm sure my mom will correct me if I'm wrong!). So we got to the airfield around 11 a.m. and found a place to set up the lawn chairs and the blanket. It ended up being a great spot. Who knew?? Beginner's luck, I guess. The day was absolutely gorgeous, south Florida at its best. Seventy-eight degrees, a slight breeze and loads of sunshine. The airshow was open from 9 a.m. to 5:00 with the performances beginning at 1:00, so we had a couple hours to look around before the excitement was set to begin.
Of course we started with food, because everyone knows a hungry kid (or spouse) in a cranky kid. Becca had a hotdog, Mike and Kenzie split an Italian Sausage and I had something called a Chicken Devine. It was "divine" but a messier meal I have never had in my life. Chicken Devine was pita bread crammed with shredded chicken, cooked onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and sour cream type dressing. Before I was finished I had spilled on my jeans, my shoes, my shirt three times and gotten it on my face and in my hair. I kid you not. But YUM!

After lunch we headed over to the airplanes (aka static exhibits, as noted on the map). They all looked different, but I can't keep any of them straight (very sad). We went into a big navy airplane. There were also small and medium planes, but we chose the big one and got to visit with some airmen and look at the cockpit.


We had to wait about 15 minutes or so to get into the planes, so we only went into the one. There were a lot of smaller, private aircraft that we looked at too, but my children were even less interested in the particulars of the aircraft than me. So we took pity on them and took them over to the KidZone (rides!!). The girls were told they could choose one ride and one ride only (what can I say? The rides were $4 each and I'm cheap!). So they went on a swing thing that they both loved! It was worth the $8 to see their smiles. At the end of the day we let them go on another one because we had extra tickets and they had been so very good.



Here was Ride #2, The Rock and Rolla, which rolled on a track like a hamster wheel. It was pretty funny watching the girls fly by, upside down, screaming, with Kenzie's hair flying around. You can see the mixed reaction on the girls' faces: "That was soooooooo cool!"


"I hated that! I can't believe I lived! I thought I was gonna die!



After their first ride, we headed back to our seats to see the show. . .


It was really amazing! There was definitely a patriotic vibe, being Veteran's Day weekend and most of the performer's made special dedications to all the men and women who are risking their lives for us around the world in the name of freedom. I found it very moving and fought back tears a few times. We saw lots of different military jets, old and new, from World War II models to Top Gun jets. The F-16 is LOUD! Crazy loud and amazing to watch. So fast and maneuverable in the air; it really is awe-inspiring to watch. The sun was behind the planes so it was a little difficult to get really good photos. But I tried to capture a few and even shot some video:













video





video





So what did my children think of these death-defying, miraculous feats of airmanship?






Sometimes, a picture says MORE than a thousand words!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whistle while you work!

Two more long days at work. . .

Yesterday I stayed after school until about six o'clock (thank God I have patient children who can entertain themselves for long periods of time) dealing with union stuff. I am one of the union reps at our school and I had invited the union president to come visit so we could share our concerns and she could answer a few questions. All in all, things are pretty good at our school. But it's always nice to have an outside viewpoint. So that took a while. It's one of the only chances I get to visit with teachers in other grades. I feel so segregated! I work in a separate building with only 8th grade teachers and I eat lunch with all the 8th grade teachers, so I really don't see the K-7 teachers except at trainings and faculty meetings.

Today we were at school until 6:30 or so. I stayed until about 5 helping the Reading Coach put together the flyer for Family Literacy Night at the end of the month. It is one of those things that was supposed to be taken care of by a committee but the committee kept shifting the duty to someone else and suddenly it had to be done NOW! We don't have school next Monday or Tuesday so if it didn't get done and printed for tomorrow, it wouldn't go out until next Wednesday and then it would be too late. . . Anyway, it got done and it looks very nice I think. Then there was some visiting. . . one of my vices that keeps me from ever leaving at 4 when the day is supposed to be over. . . and then I spent an hour poring over test results from the District benchmarks and getting my plans ready for tomorrow. I have been playing catch up constantly for two weeks now. Ever since I started my blog. . . hmmmm. . . strange coincidence, wouldn't you say?

So now I am home. Mike made us dinner and is now walking the dog with McKenzie and Becca is in the bathtub, so it is nice and quiet. All I can hear is the dishwasher in the background. Ahhh. . .silence is bliss after a long day at work with hundreds of very loud children.

So tomorrow I go to work early for a Design Team Meeting (I am co-chair) where we will spend one last meeting finalizing everything for Literacy Night. There are 44 volunteers and six committees to oversee. Then a full day of teaching, a parent conference during planning (ethics prevent me from saying any more about that) and then off to McKenzie's Drawing class, the one night of the week where we are not at school until 5 or 6 at night. Whoever thinks that teachers have it easy should spend just one day shadowing me. What I do is hard work and exhausting, mentally and physically.

Ah, Sophie and Mike and Kenzie are back and Survivor just started. Must be time to go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

My students were very excited about the election today. They voted in their U.S. History class and our team chose Obama over McCain 98-20. Young people, at least in our neighborhood, are really excited about an Obama presidency. I was glad I voted with an absentee ballot and did not have to suffer through long lines.

Long day at work. Three IEPS! That more than I attended all of last year! Of course last year I was on an ESOL team and this year I am on an ESE team, but still. . . three in one day is a lot. So I was in and out of my classroom all day which is hard to plan for. Plus I am busy coordinating Family Lit Night and getting ready for a union meeting after school tomorrow. After school the girls and I stayed until 6 so I could get a few grades in the grade book and clear off my desk (it gets out of control very quickly). By the time we got home at 6:15 it was dark out! I hate that. But I must admit I like having sunshine in the morning. It's not fun to get up in the dark.

Mike is finally all moved in to his new digs at work. He has been in the same building on the FAU campus since we moved here, but now the new building, the permanent home, is done, so he has spent the last week coordinating the move. He has been wearing jeans and T-shirts to work and he said he could easily be mistaken for one of the moving crew! I'll have to get him to post some pictures of his new space. It sounds like it has been a pain in the rear moving all the instumentation and making sure that it is all hooked right and with all the safety protocols in place. I gather that Mike was very specific in his requests for what needed to be done and he was very frustrated when things were not done as he requested. I must admit Mike does not suffer fools lightly. : )

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Day in Stuart

Saturday morning we spent at home, playing on the computer, watching TV, reading, doing laundry. McKenzie is reading "Twilight" again. She read all four books of the series in 12 days Z(well over 2000 pages) so now she is rereading since she inhaled them whole the first time through. I was working on genealogy at ancestry.com; Mike was playing World of Warcraft; Becca was catching up on Hannah Montana.


Around one o'clock or so we drove into Stuart (town just south of us, about 20 minutes away) and had lunch at the Ashley. It was fabulous! I had a green apple salad, with spring greens, grilled chicken, candied walnuts and blue cheese. Mike had a prosciutto burger. McKenzie had a smoked salmon and avocado panini. And Becca had cheese ravioli in a bechamel sauce. Very good and under $50 for the four of us.

We had gone to Stuart because the little heritage museum there was having a Kid's Day. There were a lot of volunteers about and they had some special exhibits going; one was about firearms and another was about Seminole Indian dolls. It was fun and the weather was perfect for walking around.




One of the volunteers was quite taken with Becca and commented on her "incredible eyes." He must have mentioned how pretty she was at least three times. A little creepy if you ask me. So I kept her close by. She told me that it made her feel weird to be told how pretty she was, but also feel kind of cool, too. People comment on her eyes frequently, but she's a bit uncomfortable with being told she is pretty. Her front teeth have come in rather crooked and she is self-conscious about it, especially since her baby teeth were so perfect and straight. I'm sure braces are in the near future. About the time McKenzie is done, it will be time for Rebecca to start. So for the next 4 years or so I will be visiting the orthodontist monthly. It's a good thing the office is close to school!

After we poked around the heritage museum for a while we walked out the back to take a short stroll. The museum backs up to the St Lucie River and there is a boardwalk that follows along the river for a ways. It was destroyed during the hurricanes of 2004 (like most of Stuart) and recently rebuilt. We happened to catch a lovely rainbow on our walk.





A little game called "Husband Tag"

I'm stealing this idea from Nicole. Thanks for the idea, Nic!

1. Where did you meet your husband? We were both going to Gonzaga and I had just joined the men's crew team as a coxswain. The first time I saw Mike he was late coming in to practice (Shocking, I Know) and he set his textbooks (why didn't he have a backpack??) before he got on an erg. I can't exactly remember the titles of the books but I think it was Advanced Calculus and Analytical Chemistry or something like that. So I knew right away that he was smart as well as very good looking. I decided to forgive the always late part.


2. How long did you date before you got married? We dated for about 2 1/2 years before becoming engaged and got married when we had been dating for 3 years, 3 months and 5 days. (I'm weird about this kind of stuff)


3. How long have you been married? Thirteen years this past June.


4. What does he do to surprise you? Ha. Ha. That's funny. He doesn't surprise me frequently, but once, for Christmas, he really surprised me by contacting our wedding photographer and buying all the negatives from our wedding so that I could have all the photos that were taken. I had been having a hard time putting together a wedding scrapbook because all I had were a few snapshots. The professional photos were all in an album and didn't copy well (which was against the copyright, too) so Mike decided to get me the negatives so I could do the wedding album the way I wanted. You're sniffling aren't you? That's alright. I bawled like a baby I was so overwhelmed and touched by his thoughtfulness.


5. What is your favorite feature of his? Eyes, for sure.


6.What is your favorite quality? Honesty and deep-down goodness


7. Does he have a nickname for you? Nope.


8. What is his favorite food? Almost anything, but he loves it when I bake for him (peanut butter cookies, coffee cake, apple crisp, etc)


9. What is his favorite sport? He likes to golf and watch college sports and MLB.


10. When and where did you first kiss? March 13, 1992 in Riverfront Park, in Spokane, Washington, overlooking the falls.


11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We like to talk, hang out with the kids, and eat out.


12.Do you have children? Yes, 2 girls


13. Does he have any hidden talents? Hmmm. . . apparently not, because I can't think of anything.


14. How old is he? 36


15. Who said I love you first? He said "I think I'm falling in love with you," and I said, "I know I'm falling in love with you."


16. What is his favorite music? Classic Rock I would say although he doesn't listen to music all that much. I think in the car he listens to talk radio when he is by himself and when the kids and I are with him, he lets us control the radio, which is really very sweet.


17. What do you admire most about him? In 16 years he has never once lied to me. He doesn't have a deceitful bone in his body.


18. What is his favorite color? Red


19. Will he read this? I hope so.


20. People I tag: Carolee, Lisa, and anyone else who would like to participate.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jack-o-lanterns



Here is the photo McKenzie took of her and Rebecca's pumpkins. They created them al by themselves. (Normally I would have helped but I was chained to a sewing machine!) Mike supervised but he was distracted by a coconut, so the girls were pretty much on their own.


I know that you are asking yourself, "What coconut?" so I will explain. . . A few weeks ago Mike found a couple coconuts on the ground. I can't remember if it was while he was golfing or at work or what, but he comes home with two coconuts. The dog thinks they are great fun and has been playing with them in the back yard. She chews on them and pulls the husk stuff off, so they have been put to good use. Well, when we went out to buy our pumpkins this year, Mike said he didn't want one becase he was going to carve the coconut, a Florida jack-o-lantern, so to speak. So while the girls were scooping out pumpkins guts and carving their masterpieces, Mike had out the Dremel and created his very own one-of-a-kind coco-lantern.