Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet Your Teacher Day!

I would just like to start this post by saying that my totally rockin', amazing, kind, talented sister baked the cutest monkey cookies for my class today. They.are.adorable. I have a picture to show you, but my computer and my camera are not currently on speaking terms. I've kept them connected while I'm writing just in case they decide to get over their issues with one another. You cannot fathom the cuteness. And not only did she bake cookies for me, she made cookies that are dairy, nut, and gluten free. AND THEY TASTED AMAZING! (and I would know...I might have had three...just sayin') The moms of the allergy kids in my class were ecstatic. I think it was a great way to show I care about their kids and will take great care of them. Thank goodness I'm related to a baker. I'll let you know as soon as she starts her business!!

My day was terrific. I'm going out on a limb and saying that I'm pretty sure I'm going to win the award for best class this year. Listen, I love kids. And I really love preschoolers. And this bunch? I was ready to squeeze everyone of them. Don't worry. I didn't. I think that might have been a touch overwhelming! I have a whole class of oldest/only kids this year! It was a little like the paparazzi were in my room. Somewhere out there are a whole bunch of pictures of me. Scary.

I have four boys and four girls, and you know what? The Science center was the hit of the day! I'm so excited. Last year I really felt my science center was by far the weakest. This year, I think it's going to be amazing! The best part is, since I moved my room around, we have room to all gather back there and do experiments. Can't wait.

I had a meet-up with my moms last week that was so much fun. They are just the sweetest group. So today it was a little like seeing friends. Of course, some of my last year's kids and moms stopped by and I felt so sad!! I know this all sounds so mushy and probably a little fake. But I'm telling you-the community at this school is unlike anything I've ever seen. I am blessed, blessed, blessed to be there.

Let's not forget that I had my own to rugrats to visit classes. Being a teacher, I didn't really think about taking their pictures during the visits. Oops. I will definitely get a first day of school on the porch shot. It's sometimes hard to remember to be mom and teacher at the same time!! Ha! Both kids are in for such great years. Emily is in class with Miss Cricket. She loves her so much already. That girl was made for school. She is going to have such a blast. And probably boss everyone around while she's at it! Drew is still quite sad about leaving his beloved Ms. Sydney. I'm fairly certain she will always hold top spot in his
heart. They are a perfect match!! However, this year he has two AMAZING teachers. One of them has been at the school for many, many years. She is so kind and caring and such a prayer warrior. His other teacher is my good friend and I know he will feel so comfortable with her in there. I think he is going to love the new things he'll do in a Pre-K classroom. They have some great systems for centers, and you know that kid is all about a routine. He also told me today that "I'll probably have to do a lot of computer work." Wonder if he knows he won't get to play super hero games at school??? All his best pals are in the class-his friends from last year, his big buddy from the summer and his BFF LYLA!!! Katy and I are SO excited they get to be in class together. Speaking of Lyla, you should've seen her today. Gorgeous, cutest pink ribbon in her hair. I'm so glad she still lets me hug her and kiss her!

Ok. Well. A little on the chatty side tonight. All that grown-up interaction today-you'd think I'd be all out of words!! I'm looking forward to several days off. I've got a lot to do before the first day of school...but I am ready for it to be here. This year is going to be full of great things. And lots of caffeine!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Faster, Faster, Faster!

Shew. Ya'll. I'm writing this post with one eye open. I am tired. Or as we like to say in Appalachia-TARD! Pooped, if you will. (Which by the way, is the word Drew likes to say so he can use a potty word without getting in trouble. Bathroom talk?

Today was our final day in classrooms before our little ones come to visit. And before I start full-fledged whining, let me just say that compared to last year, I'm doing amazing! This time last year, Katy and I were in the throes of an almost all-nighter to get my room ready. I know she is relieved that I'm a little more with it this year. I have moved some of my centers around, and added some new pictures and, I don't know, for some reason I'm just feeling more at home in my classroom. More settled in. I have a clue about what might work and what might not, you know? It's a good feeling.

It's still A LOT of work. I've been up to my elbows in glue sticks, and duct tape and sharpies and clear tape. Have mercy, the clear tape!! It doesn't seem like it should be so much work, but it is. Today when one of my co-teachers and I were using her husband's drill to make holes in the cement wall we just looked at each other and started laughing. There are some things they don't tell you when you sign up to be a preschool teacher!

Speaking of things they don't tell you...if you have a weak stomach you might want to turn away...I have a bug infestation in my room. And it turns out it originated in my rice bin. Yummy, huh?? In case you're not aware, preschoolers love to play in rice. At the end of the year I asked, I ASKED, people about keeping the rice and they all said they kept it. Naturally mine turns up infected spreading tiny black bug madness all over the school.

The bug lady came out today and she was a DOOZY. A talker, that one, and by the time she left I was exhausted. And freaking annoyed that I was the cause of the issue. I make a ton of dumb mistakes at work. I.hate.messing.up. I only felt better later when one of my friends realized she accidentally donated 3 area rugs to Goodwill! Oops! Live and learn. And throw away the rice!!!

My kids have been AWESOME for the last two weeks. They have headed back to school without missing a beat. And you should see Emily. She troops along with the other kids like she is four herself. She has not cried for me one single time. And remember the scary Jesus nap room?? She loves it. She calls that scary, gaunt, effeminate Jesus, "My Jesus." Which, to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it has to better than scared, right?? I'd say compared to where we were a year ago, we've all done some growing up over the last year. With Momma having the most growing to do...

It has been weird seeing new names around my table and in the hall. I've spent the summer trying to untangle my heart from my 8 little nuggets from last year. My heart is all about the relationship. And I knew those kids like the back of my hand. And I loved them and I loved their mommas. So, I'm excited for tomorrow. I'm excited to meet the new little crew God is sending my way, and I'm more than ready to get this year going!

Let's just hope they don't notice all the bugs...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Project Monday: Laundry Room Re-do

Hi-ho! It's Monday again. It comes back around so fast it nearly gives me whiplash.

I'm ashamed to say that no new progress has been made on the laundry room. Many a time this week I've looked longingly at the paint and the brushes lying there. I have had zero time to do it. And I can't really see any painting time on the near horizon. I'm sort of hoping I get an attack of the insomnia, and I can pull a painting all nighter. Right. Like I can pull an all nighter...

I almost fell asleep on my 20 minute commute home at 5 p.m. the other day. Seriously.

Ok. I did manage to get a couple of (really bad) pictures of the progress that has been made. And the system is working beautifully. I'll admit I don't have a ton of things to go in those cubbies just yet, but I'm sure as the kids get older, I'll need them.

Here's the first picture. This is looking in the door. How do you feel about the color? Before you answer let me just say that I'm super duper over the moon about it. I love when the color on the wall matches the color in your mind's eye...

The next view is from the far corner of the laundry room. Notice I said "far corner" like it's all very spacious and far away from each other. It's not. It's like maybe two feet away. Anyway...

Ps. Don't mind the little urchin hand waving in the picture...

Finally, here is a picture of the wall in action. You'll notice the outgoing mail in the cubby. Fancy, huh? It is working great having the dumping station in there. The laundry room is a straight shot from the garage. It's so easy to go straight in, leave bags and shoes and what have you and go on your way. I have the option of untangling it all right then, or closing the door and dealing with it later. I'll give you a nickel if you can guess which one I do most often!

I have to tell you I'm rather pleased with myself. My goal was to have the "system" up and going before we started school and I did. By some miracle time stood still for approximately three days in a row and I worked like a machine. Apparently I'm going to need to set a new goal if I'm ever going to get it finished...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to Schooooool...

I'm not even going to apologize for missing my "Project Monday" post. Wanna know why? I'M FREAKING BUSY!! And, just to brag a tiny bit, I have actually put paint on the wall!!! Just one wall, but still. And I hung up my shelf. So, if you close one eye and almost close the other one, my laundry room looks amazing! I promise I'll update you on it soon. I know you're burning to know.

The past week of my life has been completely nuts. Nuts, I say. On last Friday I finished up summer school (have I said that already??) and took the kids to an outdoor movie. Really funny story there because the movie was supposed to be "The Yearling" and it was actually "The Computer Wears Shoes". Yes, it's a real movie. Yes, I'm sure you've never heard of it, because WHO HAS?? I dare you to IMDB it and find out who stars in it.

Saturday I went to my first day of graduate school. In sum, it was very good. I think I might just be able to pull this off...

On Monday, I started back to work. We have spent two entire work days discussing procedure, policy, assessments, and licensure. I'll just say it's a really good thing I met with my classroom moms on Tuesday night. Otherwise, I might have quit. OH, I kid. But I will say the policy is not really what gets me going about the job. Apparently, though, it is for our new DHS evaluator. I'm going to leave this topic alone because she probably has my blog tapped, but suffice it to say, my neck was red the whole time she talked. What can I say? It is what it is.

She said that approximately 6,000 times. "It is what it is."

This time next week I will have had the chance to meet each of my students. I'm super, super excited. And while my room is still in a bit of disarray, it's leaps and bounds ahead of where it was this time last year. So happy to be beyond my first year.

Last night-well, at 5, does that count as night or what?-I was falling asleep driving home. I think this is probably not a good sign. I climbed into bed around 7:35 (which would be 5 minutes after I put Drew to bed) and attempted to finish a movie I started on Netflix about a week ago. It's not good, but it won an Oscar and I feel like I should finish it. It hearkens back to the time I read "Love in the Time of Cholera" and swore to myself I would never waste any more time forcing myself to read a book just because it was critically acclaimed. I think I may need to establish the same rule for movies...

I made it about 15 minutes before I was dead asleep. Nothing like a solid 11 hours of sleep to get you going. Or to make you wish you were still know...whichever.

SO much to catch you up on. I'm going to do a marathon download of pictures really soon. Maybe...

Friday, August 19, 2011

That Day

Yesterday, I had THAT day.

You know the one. The one where the wheels are falling off every time you turn around? Yeah. THAT one.

It probably has something to do with the fact that I started the day in the dentist chair for round two. And I say round two because, oh yes, there will be a round three. As soon as I win the lottery. I took my friend Lana's advice this time and got the gas. Dr. Dentist told me last time it wouldn't make that much difference. Dr. Dentist is a giant liar. On the gas he could've used a ball peen hammer in my mouth and I probably would've thought it was funny. The gas was delightful. I really wish I could have a little nitrous gas around 5 p.m. everyday. I would be a SUPER fun mom then!!

When I got home I felt like I had done a whole day and it was only 9:00. In the morning. Emily woke up super early yesterday and by 10:30 she was a falling apart mess. So, I put her down for a nap two hours early. And then I tried to figure out what the heck the rest of our day would look like. I also attempted to plan out meals for the next week and clip coupons. This sounds like a completely mundane task, but it is not. It is complicated and makes my brain hurt. It paid off though, because I saved $81.00. And earned $0.20/off each gallon of gas. My spirits were only dampened by the fact that my kids acted like maniacs in the grocery store.

First of all, I never need to pay to take them anywhere. Their idea of the perfect outing is to ride in the car buggy and eat a free cookie at Kroger. They sort of make me think of Toonces the driving cat in that buggy. Not to mention the task it is to avoid running into shelves/people while steering that behemoth. Not only is it fun for the kids, it's a total upper body work out for me. Yesterday, they couldn't keep their heads in the cab. I say they couldn't because surely it wasn't that they WOULDN'T. Surely after asking 1,076 times, they would listen. But those little heads just kept popping out. So, Emily ended up in the basket up by me. I'll let you ruminate on how you think that went's a hint: lots of screaming. We finally made it to the check out where the bag boy proceeded to load all my groceries into another buggy. Usually I stop them and ask them to load the groceries into the buggy where my kids are (DUH!) but this time I was too busy trying to contain all the crazy. I thought, "Oh well, when they ask if I need help out, I'll choke back my introverted nausea and say yes." Only they didn't ask. So I proceeded to unload all the bags from one buggy to another. The bag boy did not seem to notice. I think this is the problem when you're 19 and clearly have never grocery shopped with kids.

We got home and I set to work on cleaning out the pantry. I was not, what you would call, a nice mom during this time. I banned the kids from the kitchen (repeatedly) and talked like a coach. It was just that every time Drew walked through the kitchen he picked something up and moved it, usually to the floor and

Finally, the pantry and the kitchen were clean. Just in the nick of time because a storm blew through and the thunder turned Emily into a giant barnacle. After the rain (cue "Nelson") I had to go rescue the outside trash container, which had picked up about 3 inches of rain in the bottom. Nothing like dumping over a trash can the size of oneself and pouring out a load of trash juice. I was outside for maybe two minutes. By the time I came back in two entire bowls of trail mix had been poured out on my floor. Right in front of the door. It's like they put it there on purpose.

Remember in "Kindergarten Cop" when the lady said that kindergarten is sort of like the ocean-you never turn your back? Yeah. That.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Dairy Devil

You may remember, back when Emily was tiny, that we had a few...issues. And by issues I mean, she screamed, a lot. After much working and trialing and lots of phone calls with the ped, it was determined that she had some serious intolerances and reflux. None of this was surprising after my first foray into the world of a newborn. Apparently, stomachaches run in the family.

At Emily's last appointment we talked about her reflux medication and her dairy intolerance and which to tackle first. I took her off her reflux meds and she actually did really good. A couple months later (that would be about a month ago) I upped the ante on her dairy intake. To this point, she had faired really well with dairy as an ingredient. She could have cookies, crackers, etc., that contained dairy. Next, I started letting her have a little cheese. She didn't really like it, which should have been a sign. The only place she really loved to eat cheese was on a piece of pizza. And the girl loves her "piz". Things were going ok, so I started letting her have some regular yogurt. She was ecstatic because she could have the same thing as Drew. This is quite a big deal around here. Finally, I started mixing a couple of ounces of milk in with her soy milk.

This would be when the wheels fell off.

Let me just say that I have no medical/scientific proof for what I'm about to say. I'm getting ready to show my Appalachian American roots and get all mountain medicine woman on you. But, I think what happened is the milk proteins built up in her system and over time caused inflammation and belly aches. She started waking up a bunch at night. And she needed to be held all.the.time. We were gearing up to head to Knoxville for Weston's birthday and her diapers took a turn for the UH-OH.

And then she puked at Weston's party.

It's not a party until the smallest attender hurls all over her Poppy.

She had already eaten an entire piece of cheese pizza and proceeded to poach her Poppy's ice-cream. It wasn't his fault. I was right there cracking up at how much she loves ice-cream. Next thing you know I was trying to discreetly clean up puke without freaking out anyone at the party. I think that qualifies as a dairy trial FAIL.

It took at least three weeks to get her straightened out. I took her completely off dairy. This was not a fun time for her. She spent a lot of time wailing "CHEEZ CRACKA!!" It's always harder to give it up when you know the Cheez-It goodness! Now that she's been "straight" for a week or so, I've let her have a little contraband here and there and she's doing ok. That said, any overt forms of dairy are out of the question until after Christmas!!

You haven't lived until your 22 month old approaches you regularly and asks for a Tums.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Project Monday: Laundry Room Re-do

I'll be honest. Around Saturday it was not looking good for a Monday update. Here is how much motivation I had come Saturday morning: zero. No matter what I did, I could not get going. And my kids? Barnacles. They clung to me with all of their might. It was not pretty.

Somehow, though, late afternoon, I got a burst of energy and while the kids were napping I cleaned out the heinous shelf in the laundry room and took down all the "curtains". I was proud, because typically it is my policy to never do any work during nap time. Like on Thursday when I promptly slipped into a two hour coma during nap time. It's probably very unsettling to be four and to find your mom asleep after your own nap is over (yes, my four year old still naps. Be jealous...) And then even more unsettling when it takes her a solid ninety seconds to get her bearings after you wake her up. "Huh?? Where am I? Who are you?"

So. The laundry room. It sort of has an echo in there now. You would not believe how much stuff I threw out. And then there was so much stuff that needed to be "filed" in a different place. There is tons of space in there now and I really hope I can figure out how to use it in a much smarter way.

I'm bound and determined to get one wall painted before I go back to work on Monday. Determined, I say. And yet, holding loosely, because we all know how well my plans work out. Honeydew, get ready. Mama's comin' for ya!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hey, Howdy, Hey!

Kids, it's been one of those weeks. Hence the no blogging and the already slacking on the Project Monday project. Sometimes life doesn't click along like you hope and instead of spending much needed time in the laundry room, you spend it somewhere else. And it's not really worth blogging about, so you don't.

I did manage to take down about 16 screws from out of one wall. No idea why Steve (previous owner, on whom everything bad is blamed...) had so many dang screws in the wall. But they're out now. It's still up for debate whether I will patch the holes. I'm very non-committal about the whole thing. Aren't you glad I didn't write an entire post about that??

This weekend I am *hoping* to get the laundry room/pantry/cabinets cleaned out. It's a meager hope because we all know how often things go according to plan. I did manage to clean out both kids' closets, including taking out clothes that are too little. I opened Emily's closet today and I had kind of forgotten it was clean. I laughed. And then I wanted to climb in there and stay all day because it's one of the few places I've spent time on that has remained neat and tidy.

Next week marks my last week of summer school. It has been such a great summer. I have built great relationships with some great kids and their great moms. I love the laid back pace of keeping kids here. I have all the time in the world to chat with them at the end of the day. We're going to have a camping extravaganza all next week. I really hope the weather cooperates and the temperature is not in the 100s. Nothing like playing in a tent that feels like a sauna...

In other news I went with my gal pals to see "The Help" last night. Ya'll. It is so good. I am usually very anti any movie that is from a book. I love books. I'm very loyal to them and they are always, always better than the movie. But this movie just about pulled even for me!! Fabulously casted and so well done. I would go see it again tonight if I could. Two thumbs up.

Well, I just stopped in for a sec during rest time at summer school. If I turn up missing, you might want to suggest they look in Emily's closet...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Project Monday: Laundry Room Re-do

First, I have to tell ya'll that I'm pretty impressed with myself that I'm actually posting a Project Monday blog. Because, let's be serious-I'm not so hot in the follow up department.

Second, I'm getting ready to show you the before pictures of my laundry room. And I'm nervous. I've mentioned my pesky pride once or twice, right? I decided to not even straighten it up, so you could see the real mayhem taking place in there. It's a little painful. And also, my embarrassingly shoddy photography is also a little painful. Not to mention the hilarity of me scrunched up in the corner trying to take pictures.

So, with all that over-explaining out of the way, I present: The Laundry Room~Before

This area is where I put the little table (not that you can currently see it...) and hung up the backpacks. I didn't take a picture of what is below the table. I sort of forgot. But underneath the table there is a basket full of shoes and some cleaning supplies.

This is the window area and the sink. I made that lovely valance out of a pair of old curtains. Time to say BUH-bye. There is also a utility sink there. I'm trying to decide how to help make it a little less "garageish". There is also a plastic backsplash behind the sink. I'm fairly certain I've never done anything in there so heavy duty as to warrant a two-foot backsplash. Down she comes.

Here we have the far back corner which holds the laundry hamper. This is a recent new addition and will be staying. The cat box is also back there. Not a recent addition, but sort of key. It will be staying as well.

The shelving situation. It's a hot mess up there. You'll notice the curtains look familiar. I would also like to point out at this time that I don't sew. All those curtains were made with the magic of stitch witchery. So, uh, yeah. They're going, too. I plan to leave the shelf open and just put really nice baskets up there. And maybe someday add a high top shelf.

You can see the issues here, on top of the washer and dryer. And yes, I know they don't match. You might remember the saga with the washing machine in which I finally threw in the towel and got a new one. Turns out "almond" is not so much a hot seller these days!

I haven't done any actual work in the laundry room yet. I was gone out of town all weekend. But, the place I was staying had one of my color choices on the wall and it helped me nail down my decision. So that's something, right? I'll be back next week to let you know if any progress has been made. Let's keep our collective fingers crossed.