Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had an awesome three-day Halloween extravaganza this year! Friday at school I had a day full of festivities for my students - crafts, dancing, singing - and it all went off without a hitch. In the afternoon we had our parade - no rain! After school, I cleaned my room and set up my sub plans for Monday (I have a really interesting - no sarcasm - professional development to attend. Nice way to ease back into the week!) P and I went straight from working in my room to our school Halloween carnival, where the little one had a BLAST. She was sick last year, so this year there was a lot of 'whooping it up.'

Saturday we hosted a small party for some friends. I cleaned up our office, spooked it up a bit, and turned it into a craft room and game area for the junior set. Big people were upstairs watching the world series, eating, and drinking. Other than the Giants losing, it was loads of fun.

Today, after Sunday school and church, we had a lazy afternoon decompressing and enjoying the sunshine (70 degrees!) Then P and I headed over to our school neighborhood (unfortunately not our home neighborhood), and met her best bud for trick or treating. This is where it became a bit bittersweet for me. Miss P had pleaded with me to let her trick or treat with this little friend. The mom and I are also really friendly, so I jokingly asked when they'd be home so we could pop by, and she invited us to join them. Thing is, they were already invited to a neighbor's party that we weren't invited to. The plan was for us to kind of meet outside afterward. Well, when we got there at the planned time, it was still a little early for the main event, so the host graciously invited us in (she and I are friendly - in fact, I hope she isn't reading this!) Anyway, I joked about us crashing the event, and she said, 'no, no, please come on in!' I knew tons of people there (being a teacher helps) but still felt a little awkward. Part of it is, I like where we live, but being separated from the school neighborhood, you can feel a little like an outsider (or moocher, as I feel I often have to ask my local SAHM's for favors, but rarely have anything to offer in return, other than an occasional play-date at my house). Anyway, then I hear the host's youngest son - Miss P's age - ask her "Who invited you???" Bless her heart, she said 'Uh nobody! I'm just here to trick or treat with ____." Not a bit embarrassed. Then a few people were kind of shocked that E had stayed home to watch the game, instead of joining us. Finally, we were off to trick or treat and had an awesome time. One house was themed after Alice and Wonderland, and featured costumed actors, and an entire performance. We went in the house and it was like being on a ride in Disneyland, it included going down a slide into the rabbit hole, shrinking, growing, playing croquet, and having heads almost chopped off. Magical! It was very much a storybook Halloween, with the streets filled with families everyone knows, everyone having a great time. The miss ended up with about 60 pieces of candy. All in all, probably our best Halloween.

Fear the Beard!

Anyone around these parts (San Francisco Bay Area), is crazy over the Giants right now. It's neat to see peeps who are usually not sports fans at all, talking baseball, watching games, coming together and bonding. Heck, I don't even consider myself a sports fan - I've never posted about baseball on the blog before. It's been a nice little morale boost at school, and a bit of comic relief for those under stress (many people dressed up with beards last Wednesday - not just Halloween). We just won game 4! The Giants have been to the World Series before but have never won. I think everyone is behind this team, as they all seem like 'good' 'normal' guys. No steroid-pumping, big money-making stars. Young, major underdogs. Go Giants!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A peek into my daughter's journal...

I bought this journal (with a slightly different cover) for Miss P for her 6th birthday. It was something that is (as P would say) "right up my alley." One of those things that mom wants for her daughter, that she kind of tossed aside after opening.

Well. Recently, she has been asking to have a journal. She is constantly writing, drawing, and doodling. I reminded her about this one, and it has been a constant companion ever since. It is set up to have a place to record thoughts and observations each day, and then a question or wondering of the day. There is also a section for friends' birthdays and personal info, and finally a sketching area.

She immediately wrote all of her friends names under their birthday months, plus several short personal narratives in the sketching section (with pictures). She also made a list of 'people in my family' and 'things I love' (Grandma Burk-ee, I think you made both lists.)

On the first 'thoughts of the day' page, she mused, "I wish I had an animal that was part dog and part giraffe. Like a diraffe." Under questions, she wondered, "how does God talk to us?" (Although we have to work on her spelling of 'us.' It came out 'a double s.' Content - high. Spelling - not so much!)

She was fully happy to share her journal with me. How long will that last, do you think?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Orange and White Fright

It's raining here and I love it!

A star is born?

Miss P made her stage debut last Thursday and Friday! After much *encouraging* on my part, she joined our school's Starting Arts production of Buried Treasure. (Older students performed in Shakespeare's Pericles, and did awesome!) P played one of five mermaid narrators, and had a decent number of lines. She wasn't nervous at all, and seemed to enjoy herself. In high school, I was Emily in Our Town, and Florence (Felix) in the female version of The Odd Couple. These days my dramatic talents are put to work as a kindergarten teacher (boy, do they come in handy!) We aren't sure yet if my acting chops have been passed down to P, but we sure enjoyed watching her perform!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


What's new with you?

Lately, I feel like a school machine. I work hard to make sure my lessons are engaging and materials organized. Then,I implement my day...After school, I am in meetings, connecting with parents and preparing to do it all again. Since our babysitter quit, I have been relying on wonderful mom friends and E to help out after school. E has been doing the lion's share of after school care (Thank God for his somewhat flexible schedule!) In the evening, it is a lot of chores and bedtime routine with Miss P. A little TV or reading, and then I do it all again.

While I go full steam with this teaching and parenting thing, good dinners and exercise have taken a back burner! Both keep evading me!

As you might have noticed, from looking at my sidebar, I do have a new hobby. Decorating! I have somewhat become my mother. Growing up, my parents loved to go to Open Houses. How boring, I thought. I remember my mom being a nazi about how our house was kept. "It's not a model home, we live here!" I would say. Now, my family is saying this very thing to me, as I cluck over jackets hanging over chairs and shoes left out. Our last home - a condo - remained bare, we never really made it a home. P was little, I was working, and the place felt temporary, and without much potential. In this new house, I've caught the bug.

Our family has been enjoying some Halloween festivities, like watching Scooby Doo and the Lake Monster (scaring ending!), transforming the front of the house, and costuming. We've also been cheering the S.F. Giants. And. that. is. it.

What about you?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coming back to life...

The computer and I are both coming back to life! After a couple of weeks of being somewhat 'on top of things', I was hit by a mac truck of a cold about a week ago. I had been prepping for a big classroom visit , preparing for a Tahoe trip and a sub. I was exhausted Friday afternoon as we drove up north, and the sore throat that had been dancing around me for awhile latched on. I lost my voice and was miserable all week. Finally got some antibiotics (bronchitis) and am *starting* to get my groove back. Meanwhile, my buddy, miss computer, needs a new card or somethingorother. Basically the screen shakes like a Halloween nightmare every other time I turn it on. Tonight, she's with me, so I thought I'd post this pic of me and Miss P at the river watching the 'salmon race.'

In between me trying to survive, we are having fun with Halloween. Miss P and I read the Rainbow Fairies: Trixie, the Halloween Fairy, and we just erected a ghost on our porch. P is constantly trying to spook up the house. She is as into the holidays as me. E is excitedly following the SF Giants. Tomorrow night P spends the night at her Grandparent's house as there is no school Monday, but meetings for the teachers. (We teachers refer to this as a 'no contact' day). I'm hoping E and I can catch a showing of Waiting for Superman, Sunday night, although I'm a little fearful that it will frustrate me.

Can't wait to get back to 100%!

Monday, October 11, 2010

If you want your young child to love books....

.....then you HAVE to stock up on Mo Willems! Best children's author ever!! Kindergarten and first grade student-approved. : )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love this!

I love this Pixi brand energy blush found at Target! It is a two step process. One layer of shimmer and another of color. Gorgeous! Kind of expensive but kind of worth it. Another reason to love Target!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cozy October reads

I am loving these inspirational October reads.....all of these bloggers are doing a post a day throughout October on one of their 'specialties'

The Nester - 31 days to a 'less messy' nest

My First Kitchen - 31 days to an Inspired Table

Life with my 3 Boybarians - 31 days to taking a better picture

Remodeling this Life
- 31 days to living more simply

There are more in the series as well! The Nester inspired the idea and is my favorite. : ) I love to learn and am getting so many tips and things to think about....

For instance, in Remodeling this Life, today's post talks about how we choose what we will make time for. I often say 'I don't have time' for this and that. There is typically some truth to the statement. However. We all have time. We have 24 hours in a day. It's about making choices on how we'll spend the time. Like I often say I don't have enough time to work out. I could get up at 5:15 a.m. every morning and work out for 30 minutes. Instead I choose to sleep or get a jump start on getting organized for the day. I could leave at my contractual time of 3:10 most days and take my daughter to the gym daycare, or work out with her at home. However I choose to spend extra time at work because I have high standards for how I execute my teaching. (How I wish I could let myself leave). So the real answer is....I'm not in a place where I am ready to make working out a priority. I'm OK with that...right now.

Here is what is more difficult for me...and one reason I'm relieved to have just one child of my own right now. I have several students this year, who, for one reason or another, are ACHING for attention from me. Now, it is common for kids to have some form of 'worship' for their kindergarten teacher. However a few of these students are in questionable home situations. Basically, the parents don't have the knowledge, skill or energy to parent their child. Some of the comments the parents have offered to me during parent/teacher conferences: "I haven't read or talked much to my child." "I need my child to be independent at home so I can get my things done. This means he plays video games or watches TV most of the time." "My child attends before and after school care - he is away from home from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I avoid picking him up before 6:00." "My child has never held a pencil before coming to school." "I placed my child in a low-quality daycare prior to kindergarten. He basically watched TV all day." "I do not have time to deal with my child's problems. The school and daycare need to take care of them." These parents send their children to school with toys (today one had an entire arm full of glow in the dark bracelets; another had a WHISTLE), sometimes dirty, and late. I am desperately trying to help some of these kids. I am calling some parents multiple times a week to update them on their child's progress (always with at least one positive thing to say). I am eating lunch with some of these children. I am asking parents to spend more time with their children (which is uncomfortable.) I have one student who is at SERIOUS risk behavior wise, and I am asking the parents 3 times a week to please get involved. I am bending our school psychologist's ear looking for help, I am brainstorming with my student teacher and colleagues. I am trying to get extra counseling support for them. So that is where I unfortunately am spending my time. What would I like to be doing? Exercising, playing with MY OWN DAUGHTER, cooking dinner, and spending time with my husband. For now, I am making my other priority Miss P as much as possible, as I will BE DAMNED if she isn't getting what she needs.

So, uh, anyway, check out those fun Fall reads. : )

Friday, October 1, 2010


It's been a hectic week with parent teacher conferences and then E's birthday (which was tragically under-appreciated) yesterday. We will grab a bite and see The Social Network tonight.

I am excited that we are beginning one of my favorite months and my second favorite time of the year (Oct, Nov, Dec)! In the classroom, I have so many fun things to share with my students. At home, it's a fun decorating time. I'm still on a huge learning curve to get the look that I want, with my newfound surge in decorating....

I made these monogrammed pumpkins last weekend. Cute, yes?

Bring on the cool crisp weather and the pumpkin scones!