Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas Gift

Christmas Eve morning we received a call from a lady at church. She asked us if Addie would like to carry baby Jesus to the manger at mass that night. I squealed with delight! I beamed with pride! I was humbled by the honor! I panicked a little bit... exactly how breakable was baby Jesus?

It was pouring rain this eve of Jesus' birth when we walked into church. The lights were all off, except over the stable, where Mary, Joseph, shepherds and sheep waited for the gift. Wreaths and ribbons and twinkle lights decorated the church, and the choir were singing the classics.

My little big girl, dressed in her new, pink and glittery (of course!) dress with the white fur trim, satin bow in her hair, held her loving arms open and stared in wonder as the statue was placed into her arms. She cradled him as our whole family processed down past the alter, down the middle isle to the back, up the side isle, up the steps to the stable, and she placed him down, ever so gently, into the manger.

She said of the experience, "His arms were out like this," spreading her arms open, "and his feet were together like this," bringing her arms close together, "and he was a really good baby, he didn't wiggle at all!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Glass Ceiling

I didn't used to think glass ceilings really existed, but I think after today I might be a believer, at least in the world of social studies teachers.

I'm starting to notice many of my colleagues are male and coach very manly sports... not all, but many. Conversations in the lounge revolve around the stats and scores of the latest basketball game or wrestling meet. There is rarely discussion of teaching strategies, assessments or differentiated instruction. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it feels to me like an exclusionary club.

Today I subbed for an english teacher, who team teaches an American Studies class with a history teacher. It is one of the positions I applied for last year, and did not get. I met the man who did get it. He is also a football and wrestling coach. I'm sure my impression was tinted green, but I was disappointed.

The class was studying the roaring twenties, and they were 2/3 of the way though F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". I went before school to discuss the lesson plan with him, and he asked me if I had ever read it, to which I said it's been a while, but I could brush up on it. I caught up to the class by the time his lecture began. I would have liked to see connection between the book and the events going on, especially discussion about women, culture, racism and post World War I angst. It was a nice powerpoint lecture, with embedded media of jazz performances, images of ads, and quotes and poetry. But there was no passion about the history, or how it relates to today. Instead, there were sports references, which lost about half the students.

He also provided a confusing and inaccurate definition of the glass ceiling for women. How appropriate, I thought. I could give a relevant example right now.

"Uh... what's your major? Mine's football..."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

When to call the doctor

I never know when I should call my doctor. I always feel like they have much better things to do, being important and all, than to see me or my snot-nosed kids.

And that was the case this week. Emily had that persistent smokers cough that seemed to be getting worse (she was upping the packs for the holidays) with a sieve for a nose and a weepy eye. In the meantime, Addie's eye had turned her favorite color, pink, crowned with a lovely green goopy corner.

Should I call the doctor and drag them both in? Is it bad enough? Are they just going to tell me it's viral, and I have to wait it out? It's Friday, what if it gets really bad over the weekend, and then I'd have to take them to the emergency room and then we'd have to stay home on Monday, and we've been cooped up with the blizzard since Tuesday?

I drug them in... ugh...

There were dancing, singing santas, snowmen, and doggies in the waiting room, and no one else, so that was good. As soon as we rounded the corner of the exam rooms, Emily was on to me. She starts crying, while Addie is smiling, and giggling, and announcing to all the nurses that the doctor was going to make her butt feel better... yep.

These are the questions that I get from the doctor that make me feel stupid...

"So, there's no fevers?"
"They're eating okay?"
"Their eye's weren't crusted over?"
"They're sleeping fine?"
"What's the problem again?"

Well, he didn't actually ask that last one, but sometimes things are just implied. But guaranteed, if I had waited until Monday, I would have gotten, "They've been sick for how long? Why didn't you bring them in sooner?!?!"

We got some eye drops... which is a process that's a whole new post, and they sent us on our way.

Then, (and yes, I'm one of those moms) we went to playland at McDs because we hadn't been outside our house for 4 straight days! And it was fun, and if that little girl who kept pinching and hitting Addie and then crying to her parents that Addie was hitting her gets pink eye, I'd feel bad, but it was so worth it! (and no, it isn't just "not my child" syndrome, I was watching it all go down!)

Next up, my turn for an oil change and tire rotation. Oh joy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I've got spirit, yes I do! I've got spirit, how 'bout you!

I am in search of some Christmas Spirit. I believe I feel Christmas has become a little too commercialized for me this year for some reason. I think it was the Target commercial about "winning Christmas" that did it for me. I'm not even getting excited about giving gifts to other people and watching them open them. I'm nervous they won't like it, be disappointed, or compare it to their gift for me. I just don't want Christmas to be about the gifts this year.

I want it to be about Jesus and God, and I'm trying to find some quiet time for prayer to prepare my heart this Advent season... HA! HA! HA! I know, I know, I said quiet time!

I think my kids will be key to ridding me of this Scroogeyness. Addie gets that this is about baby Jesus, it's his birthday, miracles happen (like staying on Santa's nice list... that will be miracle for her!). Emily is wowed by all the pretty lights and breakables on the tree, but she also seems to get that that totally breakable baby figurine is important somehow, and she handles it with care. She wants for nothing and seem to appreciate the smallest things, like wrapping paper and boxes, that would be enough. They both give love without ceasing. I need to take their lead more. Faith like a child, right?

Here's a story I loved to read to my confirmation classes during Advent. It's all about putting it all out there, total faith, and experiencing the wonder and blessings of God by being a servant to others. That prepares our hearts for the coming of Jesus! More of that please!

http://www.elseroad.com/stories/jesus_is_coming_for_dinner.htm

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Green Eyed Monster!

I'll admit it, but don't tell my husband, (because I don't think he reads this blog anymore, you may have noticed he has abandoned his blog, "Fat Man Running" or "Everyone's Blogging But Me", and so he doesn't read other blogs)...

I am jealous of him.

Jealous, but also proud. His career as an artist and an educator has really taken off. He comes home, sometimes late, and gushes about how a student of his had an "aha" moment and the in depth conversation they had about the wonders of the universe to arrive at that moment. He has been nominated and elected by his colleagues to chair the general education department. He is revered as the education technology guru by his two co-teachers. He has developed a reputation with the students as a good teacher and his classes are filling up. He has developed an important benchmark test. He hob nobs with muckety-mucks who are important at gallery openings. He is advancing his teaching through new technology and professional development, which might include a trip to London in the spring. He won a bid to create a Corpus for a processional cross of a new church in Hiawatha, and they liked it so much they asked him to submit a design for the large hanging cross over the alter. Our neighbor has asked him to build a cabinet for them. The columns for the chapel at New Vienna have the board interested in other projects they could have him do. And it goes on and on and on!

These are things I used to do... when I had a career, and he was going to school... ah, how the roles have reversed! I can't wait to get back in there and start doing cool stuff with my talent and passion! In the meantime, isn't my husband cool?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Family Transportation Logistics

Our FTL (Family Transportation Logistics) is complicated. We have one patriotic blue short-bus minivan, AKA "the mini" AKA "the Blue Eagle". We also have one red 1994 stick shift, heat only, bench seat, Ford F150 with working tape cassette. Remember those? It is affectionately called "Clifford".

One gets around 24mpg, seats 7 people, has room for our children and all their crap, and I can drive it. The other gets 11mpg, seats 2 people, (3 if you want to get really friendly with the stick shift) is questionable whether it can accommodate car seats, and I can't drive it. I tried once, in New Bedford, with cars parked on both sides of the street, where around every corner is a new game of chicken. It wasn't pretty and I don't think my husband will allow it again.

We have always gotten by with a lot of walking. We are less than 500 feet from Addie's school, and only about 2 city blocks from our sitter's house. But our unpredictable schedules have led us to question if this will continue to work.

The logistics are as follows:
Addie needs to be at school by 8am 3 days out of the week. If I'm working, I'm out of the house with the only car I can drive with the car seats. So Hubby has to walk the girls up to school, and then walk Emily to the sitter, and then walk back, get in his truck and make it to work by 9. Usually works okay, except for those days he has to be to work earlier. On days Addie doesn't have school, one of those days our sitter has to take two kiddos to school, so she walks them up. We don't want to add 2 more kids for her to drag up there or leave with her husband/mother-in-law, so he waits until after 8 to bring them to her, again walking. Then there's pick up at the end of the day.

Enter winter... in Iowa... blowing snow, freezing rain, and 30 degrees Fahrenheit... oh, 30 degrees BELOW ZERO! Add to that no sidewalks in town and walking on the edge of the road made significantly smaller by the addition of snow banks, and those 2 measly blocks seem like an epic battle.

So here we are with essentially one vehicle to share. We need a new one, but we also need a second bathroom, so we're not sure what our financial priority is. We could shove a car seat in the truck, and a booster seat in the middle, for that 2 block time, which isn't technically illegal, but I'm a rule follower, so I don't know. Not to mention the time it takes to get kids into car seats and out again is going to be close to the same amount of exposure to the cold. Logistically speaking, anyone got any ideas?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

P/T Conferences!

This was the first time I was on the other side of a parent-teacher conference. I was not sitting with manila folders full of documentation, nervously awaiting those killer parents, teeth barred, nails drawn, ready to rip your heart out because little johnny isn't acing your class. Truth be told, I LOVED parent teacher conferences. I always had really good experiences at them, because I felt that I was prepared and fought the alligators before they turned into T-Rexes. I had a well planned system of PPSSSF (praise, problem, 3 solutions, feedback), I know it sounds like I'm peeing, and really, I've never named it before and I don't know if that's trademarked or anything, it's just what I end up doing every time. And it worked.

So on a Tuesday night, after parent participation dance class, which was really fun, I found myself sitting across the table from another teacher, ready to hear what she had to say about my baby's progress in pre-school. Addie's teacher had a rating system, with four categories, where she explained our child's progress, what she was good at, and what she could work on.

Without further ado, here are the positives: She's good at knowing how others will feel, which is (bragging) highly advanced for her age! Reading and writing will be her thing, so having her practice writing will be beneficial. She has good comprehension, and a great imagination. She's come really far since starting preschool, and has matured well, as she is almost the youngest.

Things to work on: Mondays are bad. Each Monday, she seems to get a case of the Mondays. Except for last Monday, which she did great, but told us she was naughty and got a yellow light, only to turn around on Tuesday and actually get a yellow light... She gets frustrated if things aren't working the way she wants them to work. At this the teacher gave the example of how Addie couldn't get a puzzle piece to fit in the way she wanted it to fit. My husband and I both point to each other. But then he says, "So, instead of turning it to fit, she would rather take a pair of scissors and cut it to fit the way she wants?" and that's when I knew for sure, she is my child. Because that's totally my kind of stubborn!

Other things to work on were just the next step, not anything she's behind on. She's on track or above where she needs to be physically and academically, which makes us happy. She's a great pre-schooler, and her first PT conference went great!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Odds and Ends

Not really feeling the writing urge, I think because I've got homework to do so just a quick update to keep my typing fingers loose...

Homework is going painfully slow, I think because I get so backed up about how long it takes me that I don't even want to start it. I am learning a lot. It's interesting. I'm just not motivated, which is leading to procrastination, which is leading to panic, which makes me want to do it less. That and when I get a large chunk of time is a night when I'm tired. I will just focus on my end goal, which is my dream job, which is why I'm getting the endorsement.

I'm taking a hip hop class. I love learning new dances and perfecting them. The other ladies in the class are all former students of the instructor and friends, so I feel like an odd ball, but I'll work my charm. I wish it was longer too, it's only a half hour. I could use a good hour long brutal session once a week, but I'll take what I can get.

Subbing is still going well and I'm busy. I know this is what I need to do, and I'm being valuable to teachers and students as well as my family bringing a paycheck home. I got to sub a Beckman today, which would be really nice to teach at. I need more days there to work my charm!

My children are doing well, and with any luck this last round of sickness built up immunity and they'll be good the rest of the winter. I both hate and like it when they're sick, because I get to cuddle them, unopposed. But I don't like that I can't fix it right away.

I'm on cruise, waiting for God to point me in the right direction.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A whole lot of nothing

I'm coming down off my high of having hosted a fabulous pumpkin carving party at our house. I've often envied my dear friend Carrie, who is a top notch party planner, and could shame Martha with her organization, cooking, and cleaning skills. I am the antithesis of Martha, I abhor her, and the only respect I have of her is that she is so respected by Carrie, who I very much respect, so I guess she's okay. It went off without a hitch and I will post pictures when I get downstairs to pull them off the computer.

I've been subbing a lot, and some teachers are starting to take note. I had one stop in while I was subbing for another to let me know she appreciates me and that she'd love to work with me as a full time teacher. One teacher by-passed the automated call system for subs and called me directly to ask me to sub because she liked the job I did. She said other people in the building have taken note. Friday I was told by the two aides in the room that I needed to come back if the teacher was ever sick again, and I think they told the principal because she stopped in to watch me for a while.

I am establishing a good reputation and I'm working to meet my requirements for the whole social studies endorsement. I will have it by this summer. This will all help me reach my goal of having my very own classroom, with my very own kids to teach, broaden their horizons, share my experiences with, and learn from. I can't wait!

However, the announcement by our governor of budget cuts across the board has many schools and teachers panicking. Just walking through the doors the morning of the announcement, you could taste, smell, feel the fear. Teachers were huddled in little groups in the hallway, discussing what it meant for them and their colleagues. And I just want to throw my hands up in despair. Can't a girl catch a break? Will I be faced with yet another year of subbing? How can I make myself more competitive with teachers just out of college at a lower pay step?

I keep telling myself not to panic, the right job will come along, maybe this is just what I need to be doing right now with little ones, be patient... but negative thoughts keep popping into my head without warning, no matter how much I repeat those positive mantras to myself. I feel like there's a whole lot of nothing for job prospects right now, but I keep hearing from the education experts, "We desperately need good teachers!" I'm a good teacher! Here I am! Come and get me! I'm smart, I have lots of life and classroom experience, I'm passionate about learning, I have excellent rapport with students and colleagues, and I can walk into any classroom and control it. I just need a possibility!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Making up for being a bad mommy.

I have another child. There are no framed photos of her, her baby hand print is nowhere to be found, and I have not written about her for a while.
Her name is Emily, AKA Beanie Baby, (because she likes beans) Rocky, (because she likes rocks) Tank, (because she will plow through anything and just keep going) Chunk, (she used to be pretty chunky, and resembled Chunk from the Goonies) or Pumpkin (because she's cute).
She is growing so fast! Emily has started to listen and follow simple commands. "Where's your juice?" She will run and get her sippy cup. "Are you done?" She will nod or shake her head depending on what she wants. "Go get your shoes and bring them to me." She will go get them and then plop herself down to get her shoes put on. "No, don't...
...stand on the chair...

...pull all the tupperware out of the cupboard...

...put that in your mouth...
...touch the cat food...

...destroy my living room..."
Well, we have some things to work on!

She still really enjoys peek-a-boo, but the new favorite game is pointing and laughing, with great big toothy grins and large rolling belly laughs. We point and laugh back and everyone has a great time.
She gives the best kisses. She leans in, with a little smirk on her lips, bats her baby blue eyes, and plants a slimy, snot and saliva smooch right on the mouth. It's a kiss only a mommy could love, even though I make her sister give her kisses, because I think it's funny. "Ewwww! She SLIMED me!!!"

She has three new teeth recently, and it's been a struggle. She hasn't been her usual cheery self, but very irritable, with inconsistent eating habits, (not shoving everything in as fast as possible is unusual) and strange and variable poops.

She doesn't like my cooking. I know this because every time I go to do it she screams, clings to my legs, and uses language that I'm sure could rival the filthiest sailor, if I could understand it. She even cries real tears. It's awful! There is no distraction technique that has worked, she is very focused on making an already distasteful chore all that much more unenjoyable. So I can only conclude that she doesn't enjoy my cooking and would rather eat what daddy cooks. Me too, kiddo!

She now has a new passion for reading. The day I spoke my fear out loud to the sitter, my mom and my husband, that this baby does not like to sit still and read books, she discovered she actually did like some literature, and now regularly brings me her favorites. These include the bright and colorful set of 4 we bought from the traveling salesman, titled "My Word Book", "My Color Book", "My Number Book", and "My Shape Book." She also enjoys "How to be a Good Dog", "My Pretty Kitten", which is a little dirty and inappropriate for those of us with dirty minds, but it keeps it entertaining, "One, Two", and her new book from Grandma, "5 Little Lady Bugs." She is constantly bringing books up to us now and insisting that we read to her, which is great. I'm not sure who enjoys it more, me or her.

So, there's the update on Sweet Pickles, along with some pics...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This is me at age 3 right before my first dance recital. It was at the Braille School, to "Let's Go Fly a Kite", and I made my way up to the front of the stage, did an arabesque, and had my pic in the paper. I bet I could request it from the paper. This is my daughter, age 3, right before her first dance class! Looks familiar?Here she is twirling in front of the mirror...


Posing...


Doing a curtsy, her favorite move!








Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday is the best day of the week!

Monday is, of course, just a suck day. There's no way around it, unless it's a holiday. Wednesday is, according to one study, actually the worst day of the week. I can believe that. Right in the middle, not even close to the weekend. And the weekend, honestly for me, isn't all that different from the week, except there is no chance of reprieve for me from my kids with a sub job.

But Tuesday! My favorite day! Do you know why? Because my hell-on-wheels, back-talking, trash-talking, time-out-living, beast of a three year old is transformed into a sweet, flaxen haired, bun wielding, hot-pink tutu wearing, twirling, whirling, smiling ballerina for 45 minutes. And it is pure heaven.

Last week her shoes came in. Amateur mums and dads handled them like raw fish, searching for the label to signify right and left, afraid to tarnish the new pinkness of them. I sat Addie down in my lap and said, "Your very first ballet shoes! These are SO SPECIAL!" slipping them on indiscriminately, because it doesn't matter until they break them in. "Now go jump around in that huge box of rosin and have fun!" Other parents were horrified, with apprehensive glances at that corner of the room. If you're going to twirl on a waxy floor, your feet need to be sticky!

I watch through the window. Sometimes her blonde little head whips around and spots me, and she breaks out in the hugest smile, lighting up the whole room. There are no other ballerinas in the room, just my little girl... until she spots a troublemaker (it takes one to know one) hanging from the barre. I plead silently she will not follow suit and get in trouble. She decides instead to check herself out in the full length mirror and shake her butt, Beyonce style. I love it!

She is excited for winter break, when she can finally put on her shiny, noisy, tap-tap shoes. I'm not so much looking forward to that. For one, the noise, but then there is the challenge of getting them off of her. Once they're on, it's kind of like the ruby red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz," the only way to get them off is to kill her... or, I've found bribing her with food works well.

I get to relive my young ballet days. I'm sure this is how my parents felt when they watched me, and now I watch my little girl. Yes, Tuesdays light up my life! Gone is the sass, the pouting, and the bad behavior, I fall in love with my little girl every time!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Journal Entries

The classroom I'm subbing in has journal questions each week, something I used to love to assign for morning work, along with brain teasers. I feel it really lets you get to know kids sometimes, if you can break past the monotonous answers to the most monotonous questions. This week's question here is "If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?" Oh, I can think of a million different uses!

Those of you who know me would say I would take care of business first... cash it out in new dollar bills, spread it all over my room and have way too much fun!!!

Then...

pay my debts, which would be credit cards, the house and the van. Then take care of future debts... by a fuel efficient car (preferable a 2010 Prius), hire someone to remodel the house (add the bathrooms, level the floor in the basement and put a new floor in, the bedrooms upstairs, air ducts, take out the wall between the kitchen and living room, hardwood floors, deck out front) and replace all existing appliances with the newest and most efficient. Then I'd invest what was needed for retirement and the kid's secret college fund (because I want them to work). I'd give a chunk to our church, to the school, and then maybe start a rural water company to handle our town's waste problem, and put in sidewalks. I'd also research about 5 charities that I could set up funds and give to. I like St. Vincent de Paul society and CASA.

After that, I've always wanted a "kitty car", a hunter green Jaguar, with tan leather interior and the shiny chrome kitty on the front. I don't know why.

That should about do it. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hobbies

I've been in a small funk for a couple weeks, which I mostly attribute to a mysterious illness that has given me headaches, tummy aches, and fatigue. It's not enough to shut down and curl up in bed for a few days, but has affected my energy level to a point where I feel the minimum is all I can handle. My husband feels he needs to fix me by suggesting multiple hobbies I could become involved in.

I don't think I'm very dynamic. As a wife I disdain all things domestic. The only thing that keeps me from hiring a maid is money. Cooking, laundry and cleaning all seem like a never ending epic battle: I just beat back what I have to to get by. I guess he knew what he was getting himself into.

He has suggested watercolors. I turn my nose up. He has suggested gardening. Is that like outside domestic chores? Triathlons, like him... is the water cold? No way. Oh, and I can't ride a bike. How about helping him in the studio? Not really.

I could get into horse riding, but I have no money, and what do I do with the kiddos? I like to dance, but lessons are expensive and what do I do with the kiddos? I could get into hiking, but what do I do with the kiddos? (see a theme?)

I could ask him to watch the kiddos, which he would do, but we don't have a lot of time. And as I've explained often, sometimes it's not worth it because of what I might have to deal with when I come home, making the fun and relaxing I had null and void. It's a lot like coming back to the classroom after having a sub for a day.

I like history, but is that really a hobby? Is teaching? I'm such a nerd, it's really what I enjoy! I like to think and read about it, and learn, and be creative in the classroom, getting "a ha moments" from kids, like points on a video game!

I'm just in this little funk and I don't even know what to blog about. It will pass and I will be excited about life soon. Then maybe this will be more interesting to read!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I don't kill baby orphans for profit!

I don't know that anyone reads this blog any more, with face book and all those immediate gratification sites, but I just need to get this off my chest...

I don't kill baby orphans for profit, nor do I support any corporation that does. I am not a racist. I am not ignorant or stupid or naive. I do not consider myself overly selfish, uncaring or greedy. And I can back all of these statements up with tax records, testimonials and empirical evidence!

I do not support health reform. I know that by saying this out loud (or anywhere on the web) I am setting myself up to be judged with a number of automatic prejudices. Well, I'm tired of being silenced by it.

People say there are greedy corporations out there taking advantage of us. This means we are assuming we don't have a choice, that we are being hoodwinked, that we are too stupid to know what's good for us. Well, maybe some of us are, but not most of us, and I don't think me. We always have a choice. (Here is where some would roll their eyes and sigh and call me dumb... no, really, it's happened... and if you are doing it, just stop it! Go read some other blog, you have a choice!)

For the most needy of us there are systems in place to make sure they are taken care of. I know, because I worked tirelessly for two years to make sure they received the best health care, including preventative. It was Medicaid and SSI that provided the funding, but it was not the system that was helpful. The bureaucracy did it's best to withhold, prevent payment and ration care through complicated paperwork, documentation and back logs of which these people could do nothing against. It was dedicated staff at SAIL, a private organization, that fought for their rights and provided outstanding support, despite the government's shortcomings.

In this sense, for our most needy, they are right, the system is broken. Our government needs to fix medicare, medicaid and social security, before they mess with the private organization. Make sure your own house is in order first. They also need to let the young and able opt out now, so we have a chance at independence in the future. Unless we increase taxes on everyone, we can't support these programs for our generation. Let's call it like it is and be honest, we need to sack up and start paying if what we're going to do is let the government take care of our most needy.

For those of us that can afford or barely afford private insurance, we don't have to pay those prices, we don't have to have insurance. We can forgo other expenses in order to pay for insurance, we can choose to have a job with insurance. As a nation, we spend more of our income on "entertainment" than we do health insurance. Where are our priorities? We can look to churches, co-ops, and already in place government programs to help us. We can appeal to our doctors and hospitals, communities and neighbors.

I don't remember much, but when I was little my mother got cancer. Her insurance covered it, they also spent all of their savings and went into debt, but as soon as she had beat it my dad quit his job because life was too short, and started his own business. This meant they lost their insurance when mom had a "pre-existing condition." They found their own insurance and paid for it, making choices and sacrifices to be able to pay for it. They managed. And I say if they can do it, so can we.

I have a problem with government "taking care of people." (unless your talking "takin' care a peeps" said gansta style with hand gestures, I have no doubt they're really good at that.) It was not designed to do so. Individuals are designed to take care of one another. If you see a need in your community, you need to step up and take care of it. Letting the government do it is inefficient. It takes too much time, creates middle management and oversight, and opens the door for corruption and abuse. The government doesn't care about us. People care about us.

And it's not because the President is black. First of all, he's not, he's only half black. Second of all, he's not the branch of government in charge of legislation or money, so my beefs not with him. And Third, good grief, really? That shouldn't even be an issue in this day and age. Stop giving power to that kind of argument, people!

So no, I don't want to kill baby orphans for a profit. This argument isn't as easy as labeling me stupid or heartless. I just feel the problems need to be addressed on a grass roots level, from the bottom up, and I believe they can be. If you don't believe that, and you think the government can do it, good! I hope you start running for office soon. (Dad, this does NOT include YOU!) Because the ones in there aren't going to be able to do it. We are the people, we need to do it. And if you're a Christian, (another thing you can't say anymore without people assuming things about you) "He has no hands, but yours." So get to work!

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's been too long

Certain events in our town have made me realize that life really is too short and I've been focusing too much on the forest and not the trees, being intimidated and fearful for fear of what people will think of me, and inviting negativity into my zone. I'm done with that!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fishing Take 2

My husband, guest posting for me today, because he didn't notice I was auto-logged in! Check out his blog at http://everyonesbloggingbutme.blogspot.com/

Today marked our second outing into the realm of fishing. After a late night last night both kiddo's were less than stellar offspring but I have determined I DO NOT FISH ENOUGH! So off to McDonald's for a makeshift picnic and off we go to the lake. Shove some grub in the gullets and off we go...to the potty. I am always amazed at how many things get in the way of a simple goal. But wipe and wash and now off we go to the jetty. We left mommy and Ems in the car to nap off lunch and Addie ad I marched to our "hot spot". We baited the hooks(OK i did all the bating as Addie informed me that they tickle). And in we cast and we waited. 25 minutes later Addie had determined fishing poles were so last weekend and she decided to fish with a fish stringer she found under the picnic table. I sat and waited watching tentatively as she would chuck the metal ring on the end of the rope into the water perched atop a rock hanging dangerously far out in the lake. Out it went...in it came...out and in for the better part of an hour.

Amazingly no splash, but also no fish so after a pathetic, "I love you dad but this makes me boring" we decided to let the fish live and go for a walk and maybe just maybe a playground visit! After checking with sleepy and sleepier we headed toward the playground but we also had a nice "secret ice pop" from the concessions at the beach. Best $1.25 ever!!!

Cant wait til next time maybe we'll catch some fish!

j

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Dean called...

I didn't have to call the Dean, he called me and asked me what happened. I told him what I heard and saw, trying to be fair and exact. Then I said the instructor was out of line and shouldn' t have yelled (he did ask if at any point the instructor had said the F word, which he didn't), but in his defense, this student has been rude, disruptive and disrespectful to the instructor and other students, and the instructor doesn't even know the half of it because he can't see him or hear him all the time with the ICN network. Apparently, the instructor was the one who called the Dean first, and told him about what happened and what the student was like, him being a douche bag and all. He said my comments verified what the instructor had said.

Then he asked if there were other students in the class that thought this student was disruptive. Here's where I give pause. 2 maybe 3 others in the class will state how this student behaves, but maybe not even that. They will side with the student because they are students (an us vs. them mentality), it won't benefit them to "nark" on him, and they are part of the society where there is no accountability, the instructor acted worse in their eyes simply because he is the "adult".

Although, I was really impressed with one student who actually told DB that he deserved to get yelled at and that his actions were a lot worse than the instructors. I will probably give names of other students, but I don't know what they will say.

This is a no win for everyone. The best thing that could happen is that they both apoligise to each other for acting, in the words of our president, "stupidly." But that will never happen. DB is still going to be in the class, although after the reprimand from the other student he was markedly quieter. He's not going to back down. He will fight and complain and be a thorn in the side of the Dean until this guy is fired. If I were the instructor, I wouldn't have showed up today, I would have said take this job and shove it, because I'm pretty sure he doesn't need it. Can an instructor even ask for a student to be removed? I don't envy the Dean on this one.

This is one of the things that's wrong with the entire educational system. There is little support from the administration to back up instructors who are being abused by students who think they deserve the utmost respect when they have shown none at all to them. Who knows what will happen, but I intend to stand up for him.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm with you professor.

The macroecon class I'm currently taking from the local community college is conducted through ICN (Iowa Communications Network). It's old school telecommunications. It's an improvement over the last class where I had no ability communicate directly in real time with my professor, but I still can't stand in front of him and demand his attention. I have to push a button and speak into a microphone (imagine NASA's headquarters, 1960 microphone, institutional cream colored) and watch him on a TV.

It's okay. I'm learning quite a bit and doing just enough to get my easy A. I learn best when I explain concepts to other students, and collaborate with them. There are 2 others that I work with often because they are serious. They like that I can teach them things. But the rest of my classmates make it very difficult to learn. They talk through the entire class. They make fun of and swear at the professor. They are rude to him when they speak to him. They make ridiculous statements claiming they know more than they really do.

I have nick-named my favorite Douche Bag. Douche Bag is a pseudo-intellectual, weighing in on the evil corporations, the state of the American economy, and how freaking fabulous France and Argentina are (so, God! When the hell will you just LEAVE and go to your precious euro trash countries and leave us the hell alone?!?!?!?). He's going to Wartburg to become a foreign diplomat and has claimed numerous times that he doesn't even know why he's being forced to take this class (ECONOMICS!) because he'll NEVER NEED IT!!!

The stupidity is almost too much for me!!!

He has been complaining about his grade in the last class he took with this professor, because his participation grade was not what he was expecting. He doesn't know why it took a hit. I know why. He's totally disrespectful, to the detriment of the class. If he acted as bad as he acts in this class (I mean, he even exaggerates his voice when answering worksheet questions to get a laugh from his classmates... how middle school is that? And I should know.) I wouldn't be surprised if he failed. That's what I would want to do if he treated me that way as an instructor.

Today our instructor hit his breaking point, after Douche Bag asked a question in a haughty and rude way. He yelled, swore (if "damn" is still a swear word), and got red in the face as he told him he will do what he tells him to. To which, Douche Bag responded, "No wonder you only teach at a community college." and stormed out. Ummmm, at least he's not attending a community college...

His head will be on a platter. He should have maintained his composure, he should have acted professionally, but I totally understand after putting up with Douche Bag all summer. Students were proclaiming they were going to call the Dean, write a petition, stand against this guy who acted out of line.

But he didn't. He has received nothing but disrespect. You get what you give. He is a relatively okay teacher given what the class is. And he shouldn't have to take that kind of abuse. Why can't the student be held accountable for his actions? I have half a mind to call the dean and defend him, but I don't know if it's my place. But I've been in his place.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Sunday

Today was a glorious day! We played hooky from church because of the dirty looks we would have gotten from Addie's smoker cough. No need to infect the fine God-fearing folk of our town. We drug Addie into the bathroom with us for some vapor therapy as we showered, and then hosed her down. She then went down for a much needed nap. Emily went outside with us to soak up some beautiful sunny rays, and then, that's when we hatched a plan.

Jeremy went to town to get his fishing license and some poor luckless worms, as well as 2 free mocha lattes from McDs (I know, spare me, we can't help it!). Then we ate lunch and headed out to Backbone State Park to find some fish and a grassy spot to relax.

Addie caught her first fish, and we taught her how to exaggerate how big it was. We said it was "this...... big!" spreading our arms out all the way. She looked at us like we were crazy, held her hands up about a foot apart and corrected us very matter-of-factly. "No, not really. It was this big really." It was even smaller when we got home! We're working on it.

We just spent the day enjoying the unbelievably picturesque landscape of lush bright green corn fields under endless blue sky dappled with fluffy whale and bunny shaped cotton balls. More days like this, please!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nature or Nurture

I've been hearing a lot lately about how to develop a little person's mind so they don't grow up to be a serial killer. We all know the standard nature vs. nurture argument. According to two vague guys on NPR the other day, those assumptions are totally wrong and can hinder a child's development, but I couldn't understand what they thought did work well. Something about steps they take along the way of growing up. There's the "it takes a village" theory, which I tend to agree with, because I know if I'm the only one raising them, I can only blame myself, and who wants that? According to the statistics in "Freakonomics" by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, (which they admit, in general, can be swayed to prove any point) it makes no difference, but what does is your socioeconomic status. Uh oh.

Then there are all the rules:
No TV until they are 2, then only limited. Uh oh.
Read at least 15 minutes each day. Check.
Balanced diet. Needs work.
12 - 15 hours of sleep a day. God, I WISH!

If these rules are not followed, they could turn into lumps, or not reach their full potential, or become serial killers.

Oh the guilt! As I type, Addie is laying on the couch, in her pjs, fingers in her mouth, zoned out with the tv on. Now, before you reprimand me, she has a fever and a nasty wheezing cough, and I'm just trying to keep her rested and hydrated, so there's not much she can do. But I still feel guilty.

Do I play with my kids enough? Do I offer them enough stimulating activities? Do they get enough fresh air? Am I developing their brains in a healthy, loving way?

I know that my children feel loved at least. At Emily's 1 year check up they reminded us that they should receive at least 4 affirmative messages a day. Kisses and hugs and smiles count. We do that a lot, but it's amazing that people need to be reminded. And only 4? Really?

And then there are the projections that can mess up your kid. I took ballet lessons from age 3 to age 12 and discussions were held about that being a career for me. Oh, where would I be now had I not wanted to be in track in Junior High? But now, my daughter is three, and all the girls at the sitter are taking dance classes and my daughter has said she wants to take dance classes too. But here's my hold up... it's not dance class. It's tap and tumbling... uhg! And every semester they smother them in makeup and dress them up in hideous little cow girl outfits and have them bounce around stage to obnoxious music. There is no ballet, the basic technique for understanding classic dance as an art form, the building block for all other performance dance.

Yeah, I'm a ballet snob, and if I let myself go I could become one of those full blown ballet moms, ready to push my little prima dona into world class competition! But I stop myself, conscious of my projections onto another human being that has all the potential to develop into whatever she wants to be. I will grit my teeth through disgusting and expensive costumes, cheesy, poorly executed routines, and tap shoe practice in the kitchen, because she will have fun and make friends, and what's really important here?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bragging

Besides being incredibly cute, too cute for their own good, my children are wicked smart!

Adeline starts school in a month, and boy is she looking forward to that! She's so ready. We go to the library for a wee read program every Wednesday. She sits and listens to the stories, responds to the librarian's questions, and eagerly asks for more books to be read when it's over. She has an attention span of literally hours for books.

At bedtime, after reading 3 or 4 books with us, we tuck her into bed, sternly say "It's time for bed, don't get out of bed, you need your sleep!" and then we hear the pitter-patter of her feet hopping out of bed and running for her book shelves. Every morning there are at least 3 or 4 books under the covers with her. There are worse things. She has also started to spell. I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M and W-A-L-K will get her attention, as well as N-A-P. She tells elaborate stories about Scooby-Doo, monsters and ghosts, school, puppet shows or her dreams at night. Her favorite thing to do on long car rides is tell knock-knock jokes. I can see her being an author, journalist, librarian or teacher. Or perhaps an actress as she is quite the drama queen too.

Emily is in love with animals and is very gentle with any she can get close to. The other day I came home from class and Jeremy said "Watch this!" He pointed at a picture of a duck and she said "Duck!", then the same for dog, frog, cow, kitty and horse. She also does moo and meow.

She works hard to get us to laugh. She will hide under blankets and then rip them off and laugh. She will put large building blocks in her mouth, run into the couch, and expel the block making a popping sound and laugh so hard she falls down. She loves music and will sing along or make up her own song.

She loves to explore, and thank God she's pretty much stopped exploring with her mouth. The back yard is fun to explore and she will tirelessly pick up and examine rocks, flowers, clovers, sand and bugs with the analytical eye of a scientist. In the bath tub she will scoop up water and pour it out. She'll either be a geologist, physicist, or veterinarian.

Even though they sometimes grate on my nerves, I do so love my kids, they're pretty awesome!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Next!

Ahhh! The start of a new class! The adventure, the possibilities, the things to be learned! I'm very excited. Microeconomics in Dubuque in a real classroom. I already have the first worksheet printed off.

On a not so exciting note, Addie went to bed with a fever and woke up vomiting in the middle of the night. I also think the motrin gives her verbal diarrhea. She won't stop talking! Very strange.

Well, I'm off to do things now!

Friday, July 10, 2009

B session

There is no reason I should not be getting an A in this introductory online econ class. But chances are I will be getting a B+. I participated, I asked questions, I didn't procrastinate, not one bit. But there was no meeting me halfway. Three times I asked the instructor to let me know what I missed on my assignments and why, so that when I took the test I would be ready. Three times I got a response back after the due date of the test, after I had already submitted it. And even then, I was told I missed one or two questions that had to do with this concept or that idea. Questions on the assignments and test were confusing, with two correct answers being possible depending on a missing word from the question, like "directly" or "indirectly". Double negatives, like "they are similar in all ways except for all these ways except this". Other students in the class did the bare minimum, including using text shortcuts and incomplete sentences. There was no discussion of current events, even though I attempted to start one several times. Okay, so I didn't want to write the 8 page paper for extra credit. And I don't need a great grade, I just need to pass for my endorsement. But come on!
Okay, I'm done now... The next class will be better because I will be a pit diving fool!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day! God bless America!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

If you haven't read the whole thing, do so! As well as the entire Constitution. There is so much to love about our country, it is absolutely unique!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Great Things

Last night we watched Nova Science Now. I love that show! PBS really has some great things going on. They did this profile on Luis Von Ahn, a 30 year old genius professor who invented those annoying morphed nonsense words you have to type in as a password, often to comment on a blog or crackbook. That's to prevent computer generated spam, because a computer can't recognise those words. Pretty nerdy but kind of cool.

But that's not all! You know sometimes you have to type in 2 words, and sometimes you get nervous because one of those words are so morphed and fuzzy you can't tell what it is, but it works anyway? He saw people wasting so much time on these, and decided there had to be a way to put it to work. In our effort to catalog all existing text by scanning them into computers and translating them, a problem occured because some text is so old or morphed that a computer can't recognize it.

So every time you type in 2 of the password thingys, you are actually translating for the computer and adding to the preservation of our human culture!!!

GOOD FOR YOU!

The funny thing was, the presentation started off as showing this guy as a total slacker that only watched TV and played video games. Immediately you start to think, what a loser, he must live in his parent's basement, his only friend a blow up doll. But then you see his gaming system (5 flat screens, lots of cash), you meet his fiancee, and you see him driving his porche and lecturing in a hall. What a misjudgment on my part!

This man is great because he does what he loves. Wooed by all the big IT companies, his passion was to teach, so he passed it up and made himself what he is today. Wow, there is so much hope! So for all the doom and gloom about inequity, hopelessness and apathy, here is a great example of what we are capable of!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My husband is a rock star!

I'm going to gush about my hunk of man for a minute...

I read an article in Parent's magazine written by a single mom who pointed out why husbands are not such a bad thing. My husband does some stupid things every once in a while (before you balk, honey, "I was just letting it dry." comes to mind), but nothing so bad as I'd want to get rid of him. As a matter of fact, he's pretty awesome.

This week was my surgery, which, if I think about it is really his fault due to his very large offspring. Regardless, I am not supposed to pick up either of our children, so I'm at his mercy. He has been great. But every day he goes above and beyond what may be the average man's doing. He cooks 90% of the time. He changes diapers about 50% of the time. He cleans about 30% of the time. I'd say we split stuff almost even. And in this time of need he has been there fully.

I am most proud because in a drunken ramble, his friend Levi goaded him into saying he could do a sprint triathlon. And not wanting him to pass it up, I made sure this plan didn't go to waste. So, during his hangover the next morning, I stood over him as he signed up for the Tri-hawk.

He's been training by biking, swimming or running every day. Today the boys did a trial run, about half of the race. They survived! They beat their sweaty chests and roared man roars! I'm proud of him!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My body is Benedict Arnold...

I'm really quite baffled and irritated with my body. I used to think I was quite resilient and I knew my body well and I could take care of it. But, it is starting to betray me.

What I really want is a plan for after the surgery to make sure it never happens again. I pumped the doc for answers, but he told me like 3 times there's nothing I could have done, and nothing I can do to prevent these things from happening. But I want to be in control.

And I wonder, if this was thousands of years ago, and we were all cave men doing our best to just survive, I would have been darwined-out. Survival of the fittest, and I am not the fittest. In addition to that, my babies would have starved, thus eliminating my sucky dna from being passed on, because I'm pretty sure there were no nipple shields to help with breast feeding in the stone age.

So, I feel betrayed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello my friends!

It's been a while! Here are my excuses:

10. I was on vacation in MA where I saw my awesome friends! Love and miss you!
9. Taking an econ class! Macroeconomics! It is to get my Social Studies endorsement, so I can teach it all. I really like it, I'm learning so much, but sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode, and every once in a while the author of the text book pulls out a "oh, it's all so imaginary!" comment. In addition to that, it's online, and I'm not real pleased with the effort my instructor is putting into answering my pertinent questions.
8. Having surgery on Monday! I know, exciting, right? Apparently, I'm old, my body is falling appart, and my gigantic children burst through my abdomin wall during pregnancy. They will put me back together and I will be better than new! I did ask about lippo while he was in there... he thought I was joking...
7. I have a three year old... so much worse than a 2 year old!
6. I have a one year old... getting better about not hoovering cat hair balls and loose change off the floor, but every once in a while... that just makes it worse!
5. I have a husband, and he has needs... like the need to enter into a mini-triathalon! You go baby!
4. North Korea - what the hell is wrong with that guy? I mean, who does he think he is? Come on!
3. "A-Jad" - hahaha! That's what the ticker on some news station called him as we flicked passed it on our sad way to super why or other equally mind numbing cartoon. Again, what the hell is wrong with that guy?
2. The big town of Petersburg! Yes, we have infiltrated their defenses and are starting to make friends! We have been invited to parties, been privey to gossip, had beer in the back yard with several neighbors, AND I WON a corded drill and free pizza from Casey's Gas in the picnic raffle. I NEVER WIN!!! YAY!
1. Crack book, damn it! I hate how superficial it is, only allowing a quick peek into the lives of loved ones, when I really want to sit down with all 243 friends (okay, I only have 60 something) and really ask how they are doing, and really listen... but I can't help myself! I'm on it too much! It's only a matter of time before I start taking those stupid "what kind of ... are you" tests. Damn you crack book!

So that's it. I hope to write more regularly now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

pics for those of you who don't sign on to crack book

Hollywood diva! Cheerleading

Momma's girl


Birthday cake preparations


Life is SOOO hard.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm a little lost.

I'm starting to irritate my husband. I think I know exactly what I want, but I must be putting out different vibes to the universe.

The three jobs that I applied for; they have all been filled by babies. Not even a diploma in their hands. How does that make me feel? Jealous! What do they have that I don't? So, I'm still waiting for the perfect job.

I believe in boats. You know the story:

Flood. Man praying on top of roof with family. One boat, two boats, three boats refused because he says God will save him. Drowns. Goes to heaven, irate with God for ignoring his pleas. God says, "I sent three boats!"

So, a few weeks ago my babysitter hands me a cutout from the newspaper about a job at a little Catholic School that I had just subbed at for the grade I just subbed at. It is for a 5/6 grade combined class. I'm not certified, but I am more than qualified with my experience at HFHN. I like the atmosphere of the school, very small, community and family oriented, much like HFHN. I really miss that. I might fit nice there. But I let the boat go past, because I'm not really sure I want it.

Friday we went to the Graduation Mass at Divine Word College, and the homily was about a calling. I know my calling is to teach. There is nothing in the world I would rather do. I know I could do any number of things, but I know this is where my heart belongs. My thoughts go to my students who are graduating from 8th grade this year. I miss them! My husband, the heathen, mentions the homily. He thinks this is a boat too.

Then, on Saturday I was invited to a selling party at a neighbors house. I am such a sucker, I go out of obligation and buy crap out of obligation, in the hopes that one day, when I get the courage to host a party at my house, someone will come to my party out of obligation and buy something out of obligation and earn me that free crap that the hostesses always get! It's just common courtesy. And, I have high hopes for this neighbor that she and I will become great friends. I like her, she's very normal.

Anyway, we did introductions, and the woman sitting next to me was telling me about her kids. I asked how old they were, and she showed me picks, and I knew them! I had seen those pictures somewhere. I asked her name and where she worked. She was the teacher I had subbed for at that school that was looking to replace her. I asked about her leaving, she told her story and asked if I was looking for a job. I said I was, and she told me to apply, because the principal wasn't happy with the applications she had gotten so far. Was this the third boat?

I went yesterday and dropped the stuff off and talked to the principal. She is going to ask the diocese about certification. She told me that when she had to get a sub again the kids asked for me specifically. That was nice. She seemed interested.

But I don't know. I'm worried about having to pay to go back to school for another certification, when I really want to start my masters in leadership or administration. I'm worried I won't be using my coaching certificate. I'm worried the school is so small it will close in a few years. I'm worried I will miss teaching history. I'm worried I will miss trying to get adolescents to think for themselves and challenge them. I'm worried about the grammar and spelling, I hate teaching that. I'm worried there won't be enough colleague interaction. I'm worried this experience will make me less marketable for a secondary position.

On the other hand, it would be a classroom of my own, a great environment to work and teach in, and I get to teach, period. Compared to the looming possibility of subbing again next year. Yuck.

Now, the ball is in her court. If I get an interview, I will be interviewing her just as much, trying to make up my mind about what to do. What do you think?

Friday, May 15, 2009

S*#$!d is the newest swear word.

We had just finished a rather rambunctious jungle gym session, aka CHURCH, and Jeremy says something sarcastic and funny to our oldest, to which she replies,

"Daddy, you're stupid!"

I wheel her around toward me, grab her cheeks, direct her eyes at my stern face and say, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?!?!"

She repeats it and I berate her with all the reasons we don't use THAT word, then banish her to sit in a pew and contemplate her actions.

Since then, stupid is now a four letter word, worthy of a gasp and tattle from our toddler. "Ohhhhhh! Mommy said STUPID!!!! That's naughty!" She catches us in the car, outside, or in the kitchen...

Recently, Jeremy was cooking asparagus on the stove top and opened a cupboard above it to get some seasoning. Out tumbled the baking soda, completely covering his culinary masterpiece. He was less than pleased and let forth a stream of EVERY four letter word, as I tried to shoo my daughter out of harms way, ending in,

"This is F*@!ing STUPID!"

To which my daughter looked at me with innocent doe eyes and said "Ohhhhh! Daddy said STUPID! That's naughty!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Habits to live by

From "The 8th Habit" by Stephen R. Covey

Four simple assumptions - one for each part of our nature - to lead a better life:

1. For the body - assume you've had a heart attack; now live accordingly.


2. For the mind - assume the half-life of your of your profession is two years; now prepare accordingly.


3. For the heart - assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly.


4. For the spirit - assume you have a one-on-one visit with your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly.


I like it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Family Planning

Yesterday I had an insane thought... "Is it time to have another baby?"

No, I wasn't high, or drunk. Yes, I am still nursing, so some of my brain power and will to live is being sucked out of me daily.

Here's my logic (or illogic, because, yes, I know it's extremely stupid ((which reminds me, I must tell you the story of the word stupid as a naughty word!)) ):

A conversation was had a while back between my husband and me about when to have another baby.

HIM: Why did we have two so close together? All the diapers!

ME: Wine...

HIM: Oh, yeah. When will Addie ever be potty trained? I will never do two in diapers at the same time again!

ME: Well, there is something to be said for getting it all over with at once.

HIM: Yeah, maybe we should just get it over with.

ME: Wow... is that really a good enough reason to bring a child into the world? But, we are already sleep deprived, and we are used to it, and we'd be younger when they grew up and moved out...

I know, we're stellar parents, aren't we? Besides, my kids are never going to grow up. I'm going to lock them in their rooms with bricks on their heads and cherish them forever...

That night we were woken up three separate times at ungodly hours of the morning by two children... oh yeah.

So, fast forward to yesterday. I am looking at being unemployed again for next year. I'm panicked that I will again have to resign control of my day to a random phone call at 6am and someone else's classroom rules. And, I think, "Well, if I'm not going to be working, I should just get knocked up with baby 3 in July, have him (because if it's not a boy, I'm looking at baby 4, so come on!) in April, and be set to go back to work by August because he'll be 5 months.

Sounds SO EASY, doesn't it! Don't worry, I have time to come to my senses. Just keep the cheap wine away from me!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ignorance is bliss!

I know this is hard to read, but I tried to hyperlink to the article. I think she was exceptionally kind... I'm sure you all could have some choice words for this "friend". :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Right on, smart man!

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."  
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What to say?

I want a job.  I did get an official rejection letter from one school I applied to (although, sour grapes aside, I came to the conclusion yesterday after subbing there that it is indeed the kids who are running the school, it wasn't just that I was a sub.  The teachers tell me "that's just the way it is."  NO THANK YOU!).  

The other job I applied to is the one I had applied to for the full time sub half way through the year and did not get (the one where I should have known I wasn't going to get it when the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director told me he hadn't read my resume and yawned during the interview!).  Interestingly enough, they were very keen to point out during that interview, that it was only for the remainder of the year and couldn't guarantee that an internal candidate wasn't going to take it for next year.  I saw that the person they were hiring turned in his letter of resignation immediately upon hiring.  

This is the job that the Principal went out of his way to tell me in February he thought it was going to be open for next year and to watch for the posting.  And I did with excitement.  Then I applied.  And it's been forever and I have not heard!

I took a 2 week sub job for a small Catholic middle school and was telling the principal that I had applied for this job.  And she told me then to not take it personally, but they were probably going to hire the social studies teacher from the Catholic middle school in that town, because he was the Basketball coach there.  And putting two and two together, I bet he's buds with the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director.  And I bet this has been in the works from the start.  SIGH!  To be fair, I hear he is an excellent teacher, and it does make sense, but come on, I feel like I was played.

So, if they would ever send me a rejection e-mail, like they did last time, I would know what's going on.  But I need to move ahead, so I've been thinking of my next move.  I will be sending a resume and cover letter to the Catholic middle school that the teacher might be leaving.  The principal there knows me and has observed me subbing there, and the principal at the 2 week job put in a good word for me to her.  

I also want to speak to the principal at the nearby Catholic high school.  I haven't heard of any openings, but I want to let him know I'm interested if anything comes up.  I've never subbed there before and I haven't met the guy.  

So I feel like an idiot, because I don't know what to say.  "Hi!  You don't know me, but I would like to teach at your school.  Do you know if any of your Social Studies teachers are leaving, bit the dust, or just generally suck and you want to replace them?"  I'm so shy and bumbling when it comes to this.  

I'm going to give it a go when I get home this afternoon, if the stars align and my children are quiet, and my heart doesn't give out from adrenaline.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chalk another one up for stem cell research!

My opinions on reproductive issues became clearer the instant I saw a plus sign on the first pregnancy test I took. Suddenly the whole, "life begins at conception" idea really made sense. My thoughts on abortion in this country are still a work in progress. I think it's wrong, and the few people I know that have had them deeply, deeply regret them. However, the problem I see with it is not a constitutional issue and the government should keep its morally dejected nose out of it. Dealing with this issue needs to start before a woman feels a need to make the choice. We are missing the point when we focus on Roe vs. Wade and all the freedom of choice rhetoric.

And I oppose fetal stem cell research, and am really irritated that our tax dollars can go to this. However, I don't know what to do with the "left over" fertilized eggs just sitting around. Again, this is an issue that needs to be addressed before it comes to the question. You would think that the scientific genius that figured out how to get a non-working penis to work again would be able to accurately implant the perfect amount of fertilized eggs with minimal loss, but really, what's more important?

I have done a bit of research on this and the biggest problem with fetal stem cell use vs. adult stem cell research is that we are already there and have had several big successes (reversal of type II diabetes, for example) with the adult stem cells. Here is the latest: Horse stem-cell technique to be tested in people

http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssHealthcareNews/idUSLF52502720090415?feedType=RSS&feedName=rbssHealthcareNews&rpc=22&sp=true

The problem with fetal stem cell research, besides the destruction of a life, as small and worthless as some deem it to be, is that even after they figure out how to train them to be what they need to be, they still have to figure out how to get it to work without the body rejecting it. It is the same issue as organ donation today, it has to be a match. So, one theory they are considering is to "clone" a person, take a fertilized egg, strip the DNA, insert the persons own DNA, and harvest the stem cells that are produced, IF they can get it to work, which they haven't figured out yet.

So, even if they use all these eggs, and figure out how to train them, none of them will be saving any lives. And for me, with an alternative already being tested with success, the ends do not justify the means.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter pics

Because I know you all want to "ooh" and "ah" over my adorable children in all their easter cuteness!
Here they are!








Thursday, April 9, 2009

Would you care for a spot of tea?

I am going to take part in an historic event in my own time! That's right! I am going to get my fat lazy ass off my couch (that's for you Trinity!) next Wednesday, Tax day, and stick it to the man!!
Yeah!

How clever a protest is a Tea Party? How frickin' cool is that?!?! My nerd juices are just flowing!

And so many to choose from! I will go to Waterloo, Iowa City, or Dubuque to show my dissatisfaction with our runaway government and their stupid crazy spending!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!!!
I will be taking part in the MAKING of HISTORY, of which, in case you haven't noticed, I LOVE!!!!

I'm so excited!!!!!

Now, what to wear? I'm thinking feathers...


OR



Maybe this...
Or maybe
THIS...
Oh,
definitely
THIS!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Judas

What do you think about this guy? You know the story; becomes an apostle, gets a little greedy, sells Jesus up the river for 30 pieces of silver leading to the ultimate glory of God, regrets his actions and gets his comeuppance, hanging from a tree. (Or falling on a plow, depending which story you read.)

We look at Judas with contempt and ask how he, one of Jesus' closest and most trusted 12, could betray him so vilely. But aren't we all a bit like Judas? This is why on Palm Sunday during the gospel reading, where there is crowd participation, I have always hated the part where the congregations part is to say out loud, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Some years I have refused to say it. I think, if I had been in that crowd, worked into a frenzy by the greedy, jealous, evil Pharisees, I would have said no. But would I have? Do I do it today?

If Jesus is in each of us, and we look for Jesus in each person that crosses our path, are we not shouting "Crucify him!" when we say something or think something against them? When we exclude others or are intentionally mean? When we lose patience, trust and faith? When we turn away from what is right? Are we collecting our 30 pieces at that moment?

Judas went down in history as the most despicable human, but here we are, judging. I feel a little sorry for him. In this story he is the warning, but also the whole point. Why did Jesus even associate with him if he knew all along what he would do? Was it that he was hoping he would change his mind?

Nope! He knew, and understood, and wouldn't have it any other way. Judas is the poster boy for "things happen for a reason" and this was a big reason. The final triumph over death, so that it held no power for us, a bunch of Judases. He was the ultimate sinner, and Jesus even forgave him! In the big picture, love is the reason... for everything.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Deep thoughts

If you lived in outer space, would it change your perception on things? Looking back at the Earth, would you have a different take on God, politics, love or war? Or would it be just like looking out your kitchen window, only a different view?

I would think it would be life changing. Because sometimes, when you are so far away from something, you see it in such a different light. I think I'd like to try it, but I'll wait for teleportation.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Moms

I had a wonderful time on my trip out to Boston and New Bedford. I got to smell a new baby head, visit loved friends, and help a new mommy out. Which is the reason I went, because after I was inducted into the mommy sorority, I had tons of help to do all the non-baby stuff. I was eternally grateful for the food, laundry, company, advice, dishes and shoulders to cry on or hand my babies off to. And what better way to repay that than to be there for another new inductee!

Upon reflection of this journey I was thinking of all the mums I had the pleasure of keeping company. First, the new mommy. How surreal was it to be sitting with one of my oldest and best friends while she held her brand new baby, and I held (or restrained, man handled and wrangled) my 2nd baby? Completely aware that unsolicited advice is annoying to new moms, I tried to restrain myself, but couldn't help it sometimes. I hope she will take what she wanted and ignore what she didn't. Watching her reminded me so much of when my babies were that little, and made me sad, proud, envious and relieved all at the same time. T will be a very good mommy. The love she has for her baby is very evident in the way she plays with and smiles at him, holds him and gazes at him. He will be loved!

I had the chance to visit with a soon to be mommy. She looked really good... you know, the type of good where she is only showing in the cute, tiny, miniature basketball sort of way with a definite pink glow to her skin and no signs of sleeplessness, unease or vomit on her. I'm so happy for her, but I hate her at the same time. And people like me say, "well, she'll have it easy now, but then the baby will come out! Ha!" I know, I'm evil, but I was "all day" sick for 5 months, swelled like Violet Beauregaurd in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, and was generally miserable... it's a damn good thing I think my kids are cute! I think Emily panicked these soon to be parents as she ping ponged around their living room from one life threatening hazard to the next. First the outlet, then the giant ladder like bookshelf not screwed to the wall with tiny choking hazards and breakables perched on its ledges, to the drawing charcoal and oils set up for painting, to the obscenely pointed coffee table, to the coat hanger with long thin scarfs set to either topple or become a noose... 9 months will be here before you can blink, I told them, but it's fun, and you will have time. It will change your life, but it will give you a life you will never want to give back! The joy of parenting far out ways the worry, stress, sleeplessness, and pain. That's why we have more! I can't wait to share that joy with them! This baby is also very lucky to be born to their family.

I visited with a new grandma. My good friend and co-worker from last year now has a grandbaby, and she has such an easy handed way of loving him. I did not get to sniff his head, much to my disappointment, but I was able to take her to coffee and grill her for information. I asked her how she delt with her daughter doing things in ways that she did not do, and how she gave advice. Very wisely she said she gently offers it by saying, "This is how I used to do it that worked." and bowing out when her daughter says, "The pediatrician says to do this." I greatly admire her and hope that she sucks all the joy she can from her grandbaby!

And then there's the experienced Super Mom, Carrie. PTO and town council leading, fund and hell raising, cupcake assembling, kid chauffeuring, supper making, Martha loving, curtain changing, man eating, goal achieving, I AM WOMAN roaring, friend extraordinaire! She juggles all this and more with three children (because, come on, husbands are sometimes like another toddler)! I loved sitting with tea or wine and comparing notes, sharing plans, hopes and dreams, and learning from her. And again I think to myself, her children are so lucky to have her, and any child that blesses their life will be loved. And that is as good a reason to have another, sweet pea, because you guys make and raise great babies!

To all moms; for the things you do that go unrecognized, great and small, that lead to the raising of spectacular kids, that spreads love in the world and makes it a better place, may you find happiness, peace and God's blessings in your accomplishments as the human race's core and foundation!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I still got it!!!

Well, I did it! And I didn't pull anything, although I'm a little sore. It was a great reunion, with a few former teammates and many who graduated before us. My very first dance teacher, who taught in her basement and put on a recital where I wore my first tutu and danced to "Lets go fly a kite" and got my picture in the paper, was there! She is the reason I wanted to be a voyager or dance at all! It was great hearing parenting stories. One thing I have to say about us is that we hold up well. Some of these graduates, from 86, still dancing, doing toe touches and shaking their stuff!

And it felt so good. We were the last routine of the night, and the energy for us from the crowd and from us on the floor was outstanding. Someone did say performing would be just like riding a bike, and it was! The smile, the head, the beat, the kicks and spins. And our mid level kicks, in our pride and love, were higher anyway. My husband said we were the highlight, and I think maybe he was right. That love of dance and of the team and all those great memories just came flooding back.

My dad video taped it, the whole team, and just me! I'm in the very back in the center on the black line. Go to his blog to check it out.