Pie Day Bust

A lime green Otter Pop, a cup of Earl Gray tea, and a fever of 101+ – not how I envisioned Pie Day.

This morning Cody and Carter got up before us like any other typical weekend day.  With a voice filled with excitement and typically reserved for Christmas morning, I heard Carter whisper to Cody, “Cody, it’s Pie Day today!”

The guests had been invited.  The pies to be made picked out.  The boys love Pie Day and for as long as they can remember we have celebrated it, inviting friends to come over bearing a pie to share and simply hanging out.

I started to feel sick Friday morning and contemplated getting a substitute, calling in to work.  I have two days worth of emergency sub plans written up and neatly labeled on the bookshelf behind my teacher desk.  Even so, it is hard to not be there and so I went.  I was not running a fever and felt I could power through.  Friday night I had the worst chills, shaking uncontrollably, no amount of blankets helped.

And so this morning, I texted out to our friends a postponement of our dearly loved Pie Day.  Right now even with ibuprofen on board my temp is above 100.  I fear there will be no Pie Day tomorrow.

Next week is Parent Teacher conferences.  I best be better by then for I do not know how one, who is a teacher, makes up such a thing.

And Pie Day.  Oh, we will have one.  You can count on it.  Maybe not tomorrow, and perhaps not even next weekend (I don’t think Pie Day can compete with the Super bowl, especially with the Seahawks playing – GO HAWKS!) but we will have one.  And if I am not lazy or forget, I will write to you about it.

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And a Splash of Moonshine

cody (8 years old):  If I were to describe Haley I would say that she is as black as night with just a splash of moonshine.Haley Collage

Haley is our rescue dog.  She is a black lab mixed with what we are guessing (or have been told is a good guess) is border collie.  She is indeed very black, perhaps black as night.  And she does have a spot of fur on her chest that is white and could be conceived of as – if one were to continue with the analogy of night and black and that sort of thing – as the shining of the moon.

Moonshine, however, in my mind is not the shining of the moon (or rather the light of the sun reflecting off the moon).  No, moonshine is white lightening, hooch. And so when Cody innocently and poetically describes our dog as black as night with a splash of moonshine, I struggle to keep from smirking and snickering at a description that, while aptly fitting to her and her personality, is not his intent.

Halley Collage 2

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Simple Sunday – Old School Comics

For Christmas Carter got a Bloom County comic strip book.  The other morning I saw this and grabbed my camera to capture the moment.

Bloom County Collage

Apparently Haley was not feeling included and as such interjected herself into the moment.

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A Gentle Ambush

Today.  Alzheimer’s.

My father-in-law does not realize it, does not know what has been lost even though he has been told.  There is no explaining that can lead to comprehension when the mind can no longer do its job.

We moved back to Arizona for many reasons.  One of the big ones was to be closer to help my Husband’s dad.  And we have – bringing him food, taking him places, sorting our the financial tangle and clutter his life has become, making and attending doctor’s appointments – most of this additional responsibility falls to Husband.  I can not even start to describe how gracefully Husband has handled what is a heart wrenching situation.  He is a rock in the lives of so many people and I worry about him, the weight he must feel.

It is over due and has not been safe for a long time.  But he does not want to go.

Today.  In a gentle ambush, two people will arrive at his house and inform him that he needs some therapy.  They will take him to a house in a neighborhood, a place with staff and others.  A place he can be cared for, where he will be safe.

He has seen this house before when Husband and he visited several of these places – when he was willing to go.  He was excited about no longer having to making meals.  He talked about some of the other residents with interest.  But then he realized that he could not take everything with him.  We told him we would not change a thing about his house, it would still be there.  We would clean it and tend to it and he could go there with us whenever he wished.  He became stubborn.  No, he would not go.

Today.  He will go.  Or not.

And if he does not…

Then what?

Today.  Alzheimer’s.

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“Momma – It Just Runs in the Family!”

Today Husband took Cody to a physical therapy evaluation.  School had ended by the time they were done and so he dropped Cody off at my school to hang out with me in my classroom so he could go back to work.  I prepped for tomorrow’s formal evaluation (on top of the normal lessons and such that will be occurring as well).  Cody was eager to help out.

He was excited to be my helper although if truth be told he was more of a follow-me-around-and-ask-questions type of helper.  I commented to him that things have come full circle.  I went on to reminisce about being his age helping my mom in her first grade classroom.  (I wonder if I was the same type of “helper” that Cody is.  I am thinking so.)  He replied immediately that this sort of thing just runs in the family.

I had to smile at his matter-of-fact reply and give him a nod.  My dad was a teacher.  My mom was a teacher. And now so am I.

Cody in my classroom

Cody was quite the ham after finding the microphone that my students use to share their Writer’s Workshop pieces.


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Business as Usual

The other afternoon during my lunch break – the thirty minutes minus whatever additional time I need to spend at my lunch duty in the cafeteria herding all the second and sixth graders to recess – I was in my classroom eating with a coworker of mine.  Mr. H is also a new teacher at my school and at my same grade level so it is nice to lunch with him and bounce ideas off each other.

I had just finished my vanilla Greek yogurt topped with fresh blackberries and sprinkled with granola when a student of mine came in escorted by a teacher who was on recess duty.  No good was to come of this, but at the time I had no idea how “no good” it was to become.

This particular student, well lets just say is challenging, and so I was not very impressed that he was sent back to the classroom for the duration of his recess (and my lunch time).

But it was much more complicated than that.

Apparently, completely separate from the reason he was removed from the playground, he had stepped in something most foul (read: dog poo).  I noticed it went I went over to where he was, sitting by the door, legs stretched out, crying and angrily muttering in his home language.  His low top black Converse knockoffs had streaked the fecal matter across the linoleum in two long lines and somehow he had managed to plaster a smear or two on a lower section of the wall.  It was completely unintentional.  He was simply upset for getting in trouble and had no idea what he had tracked in.

I took a deep breath and informed him of the situation.

I gave him a squirt bottle of cleaner and lots of paper towels and asked him to tackle the floor.

I took his shoe over to the sink and cleaned off the bottom of his shoe.  Shoe tread and dog poo are not a good combination.  Surprisingly enough I did not feel all that grumpy about it as I tried to dig most of the poo from the multiple shoe crevices with my fingernails (mental note:  keep an old toothbrush under the sink in the classroom).

I cleaned.  He cleaned.  I told him that I had done this many times before for my own children (all the time thinking in my head that I knew for a fact that he had no one at home that would clean the bottom of his shoes for him).  While we cleaned he calmed down and was able to talk to me about the altercation on the playground.  It was easier for him, I think, to have something to do , something to look at and focus on while he talked.  I listened and said nothing.

He washed his hands.  I washed my hands.  He refused to sit at his desk and instead lurked by the door.  I washed my hands again and then squirted hand sanitizer for extra measure.

I finished my lunch as if I had not just moments before had fecal matter under my fingernails.

The bell rang.

and it was business and usual.

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Mismatched Sheets

For Christmas Carter got, among other things, a Lightening McQueen sheet set.  Upon opening it, he asked what it was, and then when told, politely set it aside and moved on to what he hoped were more exciting, less practical presents.

A couple days later it sat, still in its original packaging.  Carter picked it up and after a moments examination, excitedly told me that there were two sheet sets in the pack.  What a deal that was!  The wordage on the packaging stated that it was a Twin Set.  And Carter knows that twin means two of something.

Once the business about the Twin Set was cleared up, the sheet set was again quietly set aside.  Until last evening.  I don’t know why, perhaps the newness of the other Christmas presents had worn off a bit, but whatever the case, he was eager to have is bed made in his new sheets.  His excitement was contagious and soon Cody was ooohing and ahhhhing over the sheets.  I promised I would wash the sheets and make his bed up in them the next day.

Carter noticed Cody’s interest in the sheets and kindly offered to share his sheet set with him.  After much discussion it was decided that Carter would get the pillow case (which when he first took it out of the package caused him distress that the sheets were “too small”.  Really?) and the fitted sheet.  Cody would get the flat sheet.  And so tonight they sleep in beds made up in mismatched sheets.

And I rather love it.

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What’s in a Name?

As I may have mentioned, there are a lot of stray cats that have taken up residency in our apartment complex.  Their lives are fairly cozy in this gated community where all dogs are leashed and the cars putter around at 10-15 miles per hour.  There are many people who leave out for them food and bowls of fresh water – (I am one of those people).

The boys have named a few of the regulars.  There is Gray Leopard, or Gray for short, who we have been trying to tame with no luck.  He is no longer the kitten he was when we first moved in, but more of an awkward pre-teen who shrugs his shoulders and sniffs “whateves” when we put out food and try to coax him in for a pet.  I was hoping to take him with us when we leave but we have caught him spraying his graffiti, as only male cats do, all over other people’s cars.  I do not want such happenings in my house.  I have had such a cat and do not wish to subject myself to that again.

There is Flash, a older black and white cat who, contrary to what you might be led to believe based on his name, moves at a slower pace that some of the other cats.

And then – one more.  She is small and scruffy.  Her long coat is unkempt and tangled.  Her coloring is a dirty white with smears of tan, gray, and orange.  Her eyes are small and deeply set in her triangular shaped face.  She has a tiny meow.  She has shown interest in wanting to come close to me but I am almost always surrounded by either our energetic black lab or two boisterous boys so she stays at a distance.  The boys have lovingly named her Dirty Napkin.  And I guess from their kid perspective she looks rather like a soiled, slightly crumpled dinner napkin.  Poor kitty.

It is an awful name but it is a name that has stuck.  And so we call her Dirty Napkin (and yes I feel some shame and strangeness about calling her this).  If – and this is a big if – I am able to woo her and convince her to make our family hers, we may have to consider a name change.

But for now it is Dirty Napkin.

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Simple Sunday – Simple Discoveries

Carter discovers The Chocolate Chip Pancake…

chocolate chip pancakes

After he had eaten it I had to remind him that it is not polite to lick ones plate.  I guess he liked it.

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Not Quite a Card Shark

One of our friends got Cody and Carter the board game Catan Junior for Christmas.  After we navigated through all the instructions and rules (and figured out that the boats belong on the dotted lines and not where you build lairs) it quickly became one of our favorite games.  The boys love it and are quite good at it.  It takes some level of skill but having luck does not hurt either.

After playing a few rounds, we set it aside and tried out a new card game we got for Christmas too.  Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am rather lucky at cards.  At any game really.  (Back it the day when I used to hang out in dive bars , I considered myself a bit of a pool shark.  Ahhh, good times…)

Anyway, Cody did not inherit my luck (although it appears as though Carter has).  Cody kept loosing and was starting to get grumpy about it, even tearing up with frustration.  I told him about my luck and that it seems that some people have it and some don’t but that the real point of playing games is to have fun and spend time with friends and family.  During this explanation, I must have dropped the expression that I am a card shark.

Cody thought about it for a minute or two and then calmly stated that he was not a card shark – he was a card dolphin.

I rather love this expression and I think it fits him perfectly.

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