Overwhelmed

Summertime is rapidly slipping away.  I start back to work in 12 days.  In 17 days it is Meet the Teacher Night and the students start back to school two days after that.

I feel unprepared on so many levels.

The Classroom:

  • Due to having to move rooms at the very end of last year, most of my classroom is in a state of disarray.  Boxes are opened, some partially unpacked.
  • I have arranged and rearranged the classroom furniture several times.  I am still not completely content with the layout.
  • I have spend countless hour organizing and sorting and plotting and planning.  Some of the time at home, some in the classroom (where the a/c is on the fritz – one day it blew heat and would not stop, another day simply nothing at all).

On the positive side…  I have my name and a cute orange cutout of the sun taped to the window welcoming all who enter.  Cody and Carter helped me organize the classroom library, a task I never got to complete last year.  For those of you who may care, each books has a label F1, F2, F3 and so on, where F stands for fiction.  They are alphabetized by author’s last name, so you would find the A’s and B’s in the bins F1, F2 and maybe F3 depending on how many books fall into this category.  The label is color coordinated and matches the label on the corresponding basket.  I think this will enable the students to keep our library organized and neat.

Classroom Library Collage

Oh, and there is one bulletin board up.

First Hint of a Classroom

There is much, much more work to be done.

Lots of Work to do

The House:

  • Boxes, boxes, and more boxes.  They never end.  We still have a large storage unit full of stuff.  I have decided we have too much stuff.
  • And we need more stuff.  We have never had a bedroom large enough for a bedroom set and as such we do not have bedroom furniture.  Really, we don’t (unless you count a white plastic-ish dresser given to me by some random guy who lived upstairs from me during my first year of college in 1995 (it was hideous then and it continues to be hideous now – but is was free and for the most part it is functional.))  So we really would like to buy a nice bedroom set and ditch the dresser.
  • The little things of homeownership – broken sprinkler heads, drip systems that do not drip or drip too much, ants, a bathtub that does not hold water, a lack of lighting in the dining room.  All these things are totally fixable but they take time (and money).

On the positive side…  We continue to love our neighborhood.  We take the dogs for walks, we chat with neighbors.  We unearthed Husband’s box of Legos dating back to the time when there were no kits and kids simply built using their imagination.

Old School Legos Collage

And our dogs are mostly at peace with the fact that they share a home.

The Pups Together

The Trip:

  • We are taking a family trip to Washington to spend some time with my mom before the summer completely slips through our fingers.
  • I should be packed seeing as we leave soon, but I have yet to locate one of the suitcases we need.
  • I am excited to see my mom and revisit my childhood home and town but I am struggling with the letting go of all that needs to be done and the fact that I can’t do any of it while I am away.  In essences I need to figure out a way to “turn it off” so I can simply enjoy the vacation and my family.

On the positive side…  We have worked it so we leave as a family but return with only one boy.  Then my mom flies down with that boy, stays a couple days, and then goes back to Washington with the other boy.  The other boy flies back solo.  This is awesome (and a bit stressful for me as we have never done this before) in that each kiddo gets individual Grandma time and individual time with Husband and I.

So currently I am feeling very overwhelmed.  I should be packing, or unpacking, or hanging a bulletin board, or trimming bushes in the backyard, or something instead of writing.

But I like writing and at this point I think my “fight or flight” response has taken over. Writing is the “flight” I need to get up above it all and see it for what it simply is – a small moment in time that is manageable, will pass, and will be just fine.

Sasha Relaxing

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Simple Sunday – Calm (with a Photobomb or Two)

Entryway Table

Yesterday we brought into our new house our old entryway table.  I quick grabbed my camera to capture the moment, the one where the table is free from life’s clutter (well, mostly).  The table, its clean lines and cream color against the green wall, provides me with a sense of calm.

Of course, in the process of taking this picture there were more than a couple photobombs.

Entryway Table PhotoBomb Collage

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Skinny Dipping is the Answer

Yesterday afternoon Carter and I were sitting pool-side enjoying popsicles.  His was raspberry.  Mine was lime.  It was hot, maybe 108 or so and the popsicles were dripping.

Try as we might, we could not keep up with the drips.  Small rivers of melted popsicle trickled  down the sticks.  We licked, turned, licked again slurping up the cool treat.  Drops escaping our tongues landed, splattering onto our legs, chest, running down our hands.

I was unimpressed and expressed my unhappiness in the sticky situation.

Carter, ever the optimist, turned to me and smiled.  “Don’t worry, momma!” he said “Skinny dipping will take care of it.  It is the perfect solution!”

He asked me if he could.  I said yes.  He invited me to join him.  I hesitated, wondering how I could explain why I felt he could and I couldn’t (well, at least in the daytime, and without little kid eyes around).   He really wanted me to join him in the pool and so suggested I put on my swim trunks (we will have to work on that swim suit vocabulary so as to be more gender appropriate).

I put on my swim suit and joined him.

And he was right, it was the perfect solution – with or without swimming attire.

Posted in Little Feet, The Great Outdoors | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So they Sew

It all started with a small travel sewing kit I received when I was Maiden of Honor at a friend’s wedding almost seven years ago.  It is a simple kit, one with a few colors of thread, a needle, three pins, two safety pins, and some very tiny scissors.

I have used the kit a couple times over the years and I store it in a drawer in the bathroom.  With our recent move I reorganized my bathroom stuff, purging that which I did not need and keeping only the necessities (yes, five Burt’s Bees lip gloss colors are necessary, thank you very much).

Last week as I was doing my hair and make-up; Cody came in to chat.  He noticed the small sewing kit in the open bathroom drawer and was intrigued by its contents.  He told me he wanted to learn how to sew.

Sigh.

I do not sew and, in fact, am rather intimidated by the whole process of sewing.

But…last Sunday we ended up at a fabric store where we bought two yards each of two different fabrics.  The plan was to make pillows – something even a non-sewer like myself thought I could handle.  Pillows, how hard can they be, I thought.

Ruby, the lady behind the counter, was amazing.  She spend an hour with the boys, teaching them how to thread a needle, how to stitch, and the language of sewing.  When we finally left, each boy had created a small pincushion from fabric scraps, stuffed with bits of plastic bag.  Ruby also gave them each a needle and a pin so they had an immediate use for their creations.

I left with the bag of fabric and the knowledge I did not know I needed, but desperately needed to guide the boys in their pillow making adventure.

I brought in from the garage my Grandmother’s old sewing stool, the one my mom used when I was little.  My Grandmother had embroidered it (is that the word for it?) many years ago.  We took inventory of and organized the eclectic mix of items that I deemed sewing related.

Sewing Stuff Collage

The boys sewed.  An owl named Barney sitting atop a Minecraft book supervised.

Boys Sewing Collage

We bought batting.

Boys and Batting

They sewed some more.

Threading the Needle

Our house is now two pillows richer…

New Pillows Collage

and slightly stronger in the ways of sewing.

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Simple Sunday – Summer Pie Day and a Tetanus Shot

Yesterday we celebrated Summer Pie Day.  Stemming from National Pie Day, in January, we determined that a Pie Day celebration that occurs in the summer was needed due to the distinct lack of fresh berries in the winter months.  We have been celebrating Summer Pie Day for three years.

This year Cody and I made a triple berry pie with homemade crust.

TriBerry Pie Collage

Carter made a chocolate pudding pie with a Keebler graham cracker crust.  Husband made his famous peanut butter pie with the chocolate topping.

Boys PieDay Collage

Holding true to our made-up holiday tradition, there were deviled eggs.  Carter added a bit of flare this year by making a pair of cream cheese, raison pupil, bloodshot egg eyes.  And really, why wouldn’t you?

Deviled Eggs Collage

In all there were eight pies: berry pies – some with white chocolate dipped strawberries some with homemade graham cracker crust, – banana cream pie with chunks of banana, coconut cream pie with toasted coconut sprinkled on top, whipped peanut butter pie fluffy as air, and our pies.  Each one was homemade and each one was delicious!

Oh, and I did make this in an effort to add something nutritious to the day –

Veggie Pie

a veggie pie with lettuce for a “crust” – so technically nine pies.

It was fun catching up with friends and family.

Summer Pie Day Eating

And then, after it was all over and the last guest left, we went swimming.  Sasha our new rescue dog loves the water.  Haley our other rescue dog, does not.  Husband took Haley into the pool get her used to the water and to teach her where the steps to get out are in case she ever falls in.  He has done this before and Haley is getting better with it.

I do not know exactly what happened but after Haley got out of the pool, Sasha went over to her.  Perhaps they exchanged some doggie insults but suddenly it was a full on dog fight.  Growling, flashing teeth, blood, two black dogs became an angry storm cloud rolling across our pool deck.  We yelled.  Husband threw water at them.  I grabbed one of them.  Husband jumped into the mix, pulling them apart by their scruffs.

It was scary.

Husband ended up with two puncture wounds in his hand, one of them quite deep.  He ended up at urgent care, not getting home until 2 am, with a tetanus shot, a ten day supply of antibiotics, and a bandaged hand.

The dogs are wary of each other and it has been more than a bit stressful today.  Haley and Sasha are keeping their distance from one another but so far are being polite.

And so for the first, and hopefully last time, Summer Pie Day ended with someone getting a tetanus shot.

Posted in Food Glorious Food, Furry Feet (and fish), Simple Sunday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Better than Nagging

Husband is a pile maker.  I do not blame him for this because I know his mom and his dad and they are both pile makers too.  It is simply a matter of genetics.  And I knew about it and still married him.

He makes piles of bills, magazines, newspapers – sections to be read, read and ready for recycling, and read but to be saved.  His piles typically start on an empty surface such as a table top, a desk, or a chair.  When there is no longer room on said surface, the piles start their natural migration to the floor.  It is here where they start to bother me.

Ok, that last sentence was a total lie.  The piles bother me wherever they form because these piles don’t just exist for a brief moment in time and then disperse like white fluffy clouds blowing in the wind.  No they stay, hang around heavy, morphing into larger and more complicated piles.

I used to nag, but who likes that.  So I have simply learned to live with the piles.

But then entered Sasha our new rescue dog.  She is not housetrained, being a former stray and never having need for such silly rules.  While she lived at the rescue facility, they put newspaper down in a corner of the floor for her and her bunkmate to do their business on.  So… she learned to potty on paper (well, most of the time.)  This, as you can imagine, has come in quite handy.  It is as if overnight, our house has become pile free (well, at least the floor has).

And last night, another major discovery.  Sasha also deems laundry left on the floor to be a nice place to potty.

I wonder if clothes left on the floor instead of put into the laundry hamper will also become a thing of the past in our house.

A girl can dream…

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Family Growth

We have two new additions to our family – one perhaps more exciting than the other but both mention worthy.  First I would like you to meet Invincible Dave.

Invincible Dave the Desk

Dave is a metal desk of the metal furniture company, Invincible.  He is the desk where I will blog from and lesson plan on.  He is located in the corner of our spacious master, my office nook, if you will.  Both Dave and his sidekick Chair are from the 50’s or early 60’s and look as if they have many years of life left in them.  I searched for quite a while before finding them in an antique store covered with strangely shaped baskets and multicolored spray painted pieces of coral.  I wanted something different, sturdy, and gray.  Yes, I really wanted the color gray which greatly limited my choices.

Now for the other new member of our family.  For her, color was not a concern, but rather temperament and personality.

Meet Sasha.

These are the three pictures the rescue origination had posted of her.  It was the middle one that did it for me.  So, so, skinny.  And matted.  And just plain sad.

Rescue Sasha Collage

She was a stray, picked up by the pound and not claimed.  She was deemed adoptable, so she bypassed the euthanasia list, and moved to a no-kill rescue organization facility.  They knew nothing of her past.  She was listed as being a five year old flat-haired retriever.

We did a meet and greet with her and the boys.  She was gentle and sweet.  We did a separate meet and greet with Haley and the boys and it went very well.

And so, this is Sasha on the car ride home.

The Ride Home

She has kennel cough and can stand to gain ten pounds (she weighs 33 pounds now).  She is also not housetrained, but is smart and showing signs of figuring it out.  She is a water dog, and has already enjoyed swimming in our pool several times.

Here she is after her flea and tick shampoo bath on her first night home.  After getting towel dried she danced around the yard.  I swear you can almost see her ribs in this picture.

Post Bath Wet Dog

Haley is not sure about no longer being an only dog.  Their relationship so far is best described as together from a distance.

Together From a Distance

Cody and Sasha, however have hit it off quite well.

Cody and Sasha Collage

Our strict no-dog-on-the-leather-couches was broken by Sasha within the hour of her arrival.  We were so thrilled she was not peeing in the house and was resting peacefully that we let it be.  Plus she is just so cute.

No Dogs on the Couch

So there it is.  Our family has grown by two.  I love them both.  Sasha is a sweet and loving soul who has been nothing but kind and gentle to the boys.  She is very, very cute.

Feeling at Home

Invincible Dave, however, has the fact that he is potty trained going for him.

Posted in Furry Feet (and fish), Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Right Words

I do not have them, the right words.

I have the boys on a summer school schedule, one that we follow fairly consistently.  We do some store-bought, grade-level appropriate workbooks in the morning after breakfast.  We have free time/time to run errands after that.  After lunch they do Moby Max, a math program on the computer that tests them and places them at their individual level as well as Imagine Learning (an online reading program) and they read out loud to me for 20 minutes each.  We also do some science and art.  On Fridays we go on field trips to museums or to the Botanical Gardens.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.  On Tuesdays our mornings are wonky as we bought the summer pack of super cheap movie theater tickets and our day to see the movie for the week is Tuesday.  Cody, always the planner, asked me if he could start on his workbook tonight so as to be prepared for tomorrow.

I said yes and made sure I was near the kitchen table so as to help him if need be.  The first section of his workbook was multiplication.  Math is hard for Cody.  School in general is hard for Cody, but math is a struggle.  We worked through several problems together but my sweet boy doesn’t even have his combinations that make ten memorized so multiplication of double digit number is grueling, nonsensical.

And then it happened.  Cody, who is usually very positive and optimistic, started to tear up.  “Momma”, he told me “Mrs. W. always came and took me out of class to work on addition and subtraction while the rest of my class did multiplication.  I did not get a chance to learn this.  And no one even asked me, they just took me away!  I want to work on multiplication flash cards tomorrow.  I am still counting on my fingers and the rest of my class just knows their multiplication tables.  I don’t feel ready for fourth grade!”

It was awful.  Awful.  Here I am a mom and a teacher and I want with all my heart to help him be successful and I don’t know how.

I did not have the right words.  I talked to him about my weakness in spelling.  I talked about how everyone has strengths and struggles.  I asked him what we could do, how we could work together to help him feel ready for fourth grade.  I told him I was proud of him. And then I told him to go get ready for bed.

That is when I went outside, crouched down in our side yard and cried.

Posted in Being a Teacher, Little Feet | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

No Longer Worth the Fight

It started out like any other day.

We got up and lounged around on the couch in our p.j.s.  I read aloud a couple chapters of a Jigsaw Jones chapter book, tracking as I read with my bookmark.  The boys, sun bleached blond bookends, sat on either side reading along.  I finished my coffee.

We showered, dressed, and had breakfast.

The boys worked on their summer school work while I cleaned the house.  (School work was briefly interrupted when I requested the boys’ help in catching a baby lizard who was hiding behind a moving box in our living room.  We released him into the wild of our front yard.)

Prompted, I’m sure, by our lack of Cheerios and Lysol wipes, not of course our decidedly low level of tequila due to last nights Taco Tuesday at our neighbor’s house, we went to Costco.

With one hand I shoved my Costco card back into my purse and with the other I held up the receipt, preparing for the fight.  You may know it as the it-is-my-turn-to-hold-the-receipt-so-the-nice-Costco-person-checking-them-at-the-door-will-draw-a-cute-smiley-face-on-it-for-me fight.

Neither boy wanted it.  I was shocked and slightly saddened that this moment had come.

I handed the receipt to the nice man at the door.  He scanned the purchases in my cart and compared them to the receipt, drew a boring line through it and handed it back.

No smiley face for me.

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Moving x 2

Sorry for my silence as of late.  The school year ended, and while I could blame my blogging silence on moving not only my classroom but moving our entire lives into our new house, that would not be entirely true.

I have also been lollygagging, lounging, and loving having time off with Cody and Carter.

Oh and I did put in a week of work last week, collaborating with some of my coworker as we prepare for the coming school year.

I will not try to play catch up, but I do have some memories and photos I would like to share.

The Classroom Move:

LastDayMessage

The last week of school my allergies flared up and I actually lost my voice for three days.  Completely lost my voice.  As in I could not talk.

It was challenging especially since our usual school routine was punctuated by seemingly random announcements and end of the year activities.  My kids did great and I relied on several of them to be my voice.  I would hoarsely whisper to them and they would speak for me.

IceCreamGoodbyes

We did an end of the year ice cream activity.  They got to choose the scoops to go on their cone (each one had an open ended question to answer such as. “My favorite activity in second grade was…”) and we all autographed around them.  There was an end of the year ice cream party and we watched a movie.  One last check to make sure all the desks were empty, all items packed up, and off they went out the door.

It was a blur of a day.  It was bittersweet.

AnchorChartsNoMore

At my school we are adding a seventh grade to our campus.  As such, most of the rooms are being reassigned.  My room is slotted to be the new science room (rather fitting I thought with my background in Microbiology).  During the last week of school, teachers were told to box up their room.  I struggled a lot with this as I continued to actually teach during the last week of school (since there is no funding to pay teachers to stay beyond the school year to pack and move, we had to do it while the students were still there.  ~I will refrain from ranting.~)  Once the kids left, I tore down the remaining anchor charts, charts that we as a class created and had been up on our walls for most of the year.

EmptyRoom

One last look at my old room.  My very first room as a teacher.  Room 316, you were great!

JustSomeStuffInNewRoom

This is only a very small amount of the actually “stuff” moved over to my new room.  Room 225 you are going to ROCK (even if you are smaller and my class size next year will be bigger.  It is not your fault and I will not hold it against you.)

The House Move:

The move from the apartment to the house was a week and a half long process.  Back and fourth we went between the two places – an eight minute trip one way if you caught all green lights (and drive like me, not Husband which would automatically add a few minutes).  At one point during the move we rented a moving truck.

BoysAndDogInTruck

Haley, not to be left out, jumped up inside the truck to check it out too.

OurNewHouse

And here it is.  We are one of six houses in our cul-de-sac, and one of two in the back, making our lot about a quarter acre.  Not bad for central Phoenix.

InsideLookingOut

This is a view from our front door(s) looking out.  I love that we have two front doors!

ViewFromKitchen

Here is the dining room with fireplace that one sees when standing in the kitchen.  It is this fireplace, we have another one in the master, where we will hang our stockings for Santa.

ADifferentViewFromKitchen

Another view from the kitchen – a rather cute one if you ask me.  From left to right: Hool, Carter, Owliver, and Barney.

CookinginSwimSuits

Here is a view inside the kitchen.  The boys are cooking in their swim trunks while Haley supervises, secretly hoping something will fall to the floor in need of a more thorough inspection.

DuckPond

This is one of two duck ponds in the park that is a three minute walk away from our house.  I feel so lucky!

TwoDucksIndeed

Speaking of ducks…  Here is our pool.  And yes, one of them is real.  Our house sat empty for several weeks during the real estate transaction and apparently this duck moved in.  She stayed about three days after we got here and then decided that perhaps this was not the quite oasis in the desert she once thought it to be.

HaleywWilsonBall

And here is Haley hanging poolside chewing on her Wilson ball.  I think she approves.

JumpingIn

And lastly, here are the boys, just jumping in.

So yeah, I have been moving, but I have also been up to other things as well.

Life is good and I hope this finds you well.

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