Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I don't think I've ever seen my 4 year old son have such excitement for anything outside. Sure, he has a great time at the playground and he will happily dig the dirt out of each and every flower bed around the house. But there is something different about him on his bicycle.
I think he enjoys the sense of freedom while riding his bicycle. He only rides back and forth on the sidewalk between our house and the next door neighbor, it's short enough to be safe but long enough to actually get moving. Even though he rides with training wheels, he has crashed numerous times. I'm not really sure how it happens but it doesn't seem to faze him. Most of the time, he just rides with a big leisurely grin on his face.
This past week, I was able to get an opportunity to ride my bike with him while my 11 month old daughter was napping. A long time ago, I used to race bicycles, so my past relationship with riding is somewhat complicated. But riding with J, I simply loved it. We rode back and forth, along the same sidewalk. Sometimes, for variation, instead of one house down we ride two houses down. Yesterday, we went on a bike ride all the way to playground in my neighborhood, it was so easy for me and yet so hard for him on his little 12'' bicycle. My neighborhood is quite hilly, so I will have to pack up the bikes so that we can find a flatter path somewhere.
My favorite part of bike riding is when we race. J announces the same way every time.
"Mommy, ready? Ok, I'm going to count backwards from 1"
I can't even write this without laughing.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
|Day 31 of 31 - yahoo!|
I want to personally thank Stacey and Ruth for hosting this challenge, which must be a ton of work on their end. Thank you.
I am proud of myself for taking on this challenge that is definitely out of my comfort zone. What did I accomplish this month?
- I think, most importantly, I took some time back for myself. Writing allowed for some 'me' time, something I'm sorely lacking. Next project, getting my exercise routine and diet in check.
- I very much enjoyed reading the other blogs, but found I just didn't have the time to read and comment on as many as I wished.
- I enjoyed the distraction of writing while dealing with the most frustrating month of my professional career (not an exaggeration .
- I really enjoy putting the memories of my family in text. I have always been good at taking pictures and I remember the stories, but having them in writing is different.
- I need to learn how to be reflective on my own teaching. It's an area I want to improve on, but just don't have the energy at this particular moment.
- Will I continue to slice on Tuesdays? Sure, why not! See you all in a couple of days.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
|Day 30 of 31|
I think, that in general, I'm an optimist. I really do always try to see the positive of every day and situation. And I think, that we all have a choice in our attitudes even in we don't always have a choice about our circumstances.
I chose to make this blog anonymous, and it's been a challenge to keep it that way. I have posted pictures of my kids, have made mention of the area I live, and if you put the pieces together, you can probably figure out which school district I work at. But I haven't listed my last name for a very specific reason. 10 years ago, my Mom started the divorce process from my ex-stepfather. It was the nastiest a divorce can possibly get and somehow I got in the middle. So, if you were to google my name, you will see some pretty terrible (and completely false) stuff on the internet about me. So, for obvious reasons, I want to keep this blog anonymous from him.
In many ways, the last month has been good (like always). But in reality, I have dealt with some very real issues involving my job and the labor disputes that we are currently in. In addition, my husband worked nearly non-step from until March 25th, so I was pretty much on my own for the month. But I don't want this blog to be a place about complaining. So maybe I blog with rose colored glasses because it makes me feel better and see the positive of each day. I don't know, still figuring this one out.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Thank goodness the month is over, I fear that I'm running out of things to write about. It was a busy day and I had the kids all day since my husband is working all day. It's tough for me to write when on these days, but right now I'm typing on my phone. Want to know some of what I did today?
-Cook potato dish for potluck
-Make chocolate covered strawberries for potluck
-do a ton of dishes
-curiosity connection at state museum
-bike riding with four year old while baby napped
-feed kids dinner
-go to potluck at friends house
-play a game and read books to J
See, now I know why I have no time to blog on a day like this.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
|Day 28 of 31|
On the way there I heard "Piano Man". I'm sure everyone who follows Two Writing Teachers has their own memory of this song. For me, it was going to see Billy Joel in concert at Hershey Park Stadium. It was July and I was about 2 months pregnant with my son. It was the closing song and I think the whole stadium sang in unison.
On the way home, I heard "Come on Eileen" which I don't hear that often. Between junior and senior year in college, I planned a month long trip to Israel that turned into a three month trip (but that's another story). One of my classmates on the trip was named Aylin (but pronounced Eileen). Since it was 1997, we were still living in the land of mix tapes, so I guess someone had made a mix tape that included "Come on Eileen" and we must have heard it hundreds of times, much to her chagrin.
I have always had an excellent memory, but as I get older, I find that my memory of dates is not as good as it used to be. So I find it fascinating that songs can invoke memories so easily and so vividly. When I hear a song that was once popular, I can remember the year, current events and what I was doing. Does memory work this way for everyone?
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
|Day 27 of 31|
I am an A and a very close family member is a T in the LGBTAQ acryonym. It will be three years in May and you know what, it wasn't a walk in the park for me. It's complicated and it takes a lot of time to make the emotional adjustments. However, from day one there has been unconditional love and support. So, if they are lucky enough to a find a person to spend the rest of their life with, who am I to deny that?
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
We got a new car today! Actually, it's a used car, but it's new to us. I find car shopping overwhelming. There are a gazillion choices of cars and who to purchase one from. I went through a lot of scenarios, but at the end of the day, I though the most important thing was to find a car that would not put me in a financial bind.
I drive past a used car dealer every day between work and daycare, so I decided to check out the stock. I found a car that is from 2009, but only has 24,000. It wasn't a car that was even remotely on my radar, but the miles were low and the price was right. It's got a funny look, but is surprisingly roomy inside. esides, a car purchase is not for the rest of my life, I can always change in a couple of year. So, without further adieu, here she is, my new to me eggplant.
Monday, March 25, 2013
|Day 25 of 31|
It reminds me of the winter of 1994, in Rockland County, NY. I don't think that I would remember a year so vividly, but this one was important, because it was the year I was supposed to start driving. I got my learners permit very early in January (the first week) and I remember that I actually went to get it on a day we had off because it was a snow day. That winter, it snowed and snowed and snowed. In fact, there was snow on the ground until after Easter. There was one big blizzard and the banks of snow were many feet high, making some driving very dangerous. So, while I got my permit the first week of January, I didn't actually drive until well into April. And when you're 16 years old and wanting to learn to drive, every day feels like a year.
I'm sure spring will come eventually, just as it did in that long winter of 1994.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
|Day 24 of 31|
To make the task of hosting 25+ people, we split up the cooking. I volunteered to make brisket, but someone else was already bringing a roast. Unfortunate, because my brisket is really good and this other person's meat is notoriously not so good. Oh well, so I volunteered to bring kugel, which I think is a yiddish word for casserole. Maybe not, who knows.
Kugel #1 was something I had at a matza cookoff a couple of years ago. It's onions, celery, mushrooms mixed with matza, chicken soup, eggs and spices. I think it reminds me of Thanksgiving and Passover put together. It is so good that I made a second one for myself.
Kugel #2 was a potato kugel. Pretty simple, potatoes, onions, eggs, salt, pepper. I used to think that I had to grate potatoes by hand, what was I thinking??? Now it's the food processor or bust. I peeled the potatoes right into the sink since we have a garbage disposal. I turned on the water and turned on the disposal and before I could stop it, I knew what happened, I had clogged the pipes. Same thing happened this past Hanukah when we made potato latkes. When will I learn? I do feel empowered that I know how to undo the pipes and fix the garbage disposal, but it added at least half an hour to the job this morning.
Recipe #3 (that I made on Saturday) is matza crunch. If you have never had this for Passover, you must make it! If you are not Jewish, but like caramel and chocolate (who doesn't), go to the store and buy a box of matza and make this recipe, you won't regret it!! Caramel Matza Crunch recipe
Saturday, March 23, 2013
So, I have a confession to make: I let my kids go to the local Easter Egg Hunt! I went to Easter Egg Hunts growing up, I actually have memories of them from about 4 or 5 years old. I even remember making some strange sort of Easter bonnet.
So, why do I let my kids participate in this? First of all, I really don't see any relationship to the holiday of Easter. We're running through a meadow, searching for plastic eggs filled with candy. Second, it's fun! What's not to like about candy? Third, (and I think this is really the reason why so many neighborhoods do this activity) after a long winter it's one of the first opportunities to get everyone out to see each other again.
Friday, March 22, 2013
|Day 22 of 31|
It's been a long, exhausting week (even more so than usual), so I took a cue from Stacey and made a podcast of 2 minutes of our game.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
|Day 21 of 31|
Countless students stopped me today to tell me that they liked my haircut. Most were students that I currently have, but many were students that I had last semester or last year. I'm pretty modest about my appearance, but I must say that I enjoyed the attention.
It's been a long week, between board meetings and parent / teacher conferences (which mostly involves sitting around since they are poorly attended). I'm ready for our (shortened) spring break coming up next week.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
|Day 20 of 31|
But how do you find a new hairdresser? It's tough. A few weeks ago, the answer was handed to me. My friend and new neighbor gets her hair cut right near my work (30 minutes from home). She has great hair, so I figured I would give it a go.
It was a great move. The salon was beautiful and I got along very well with my stylist. I feel better about myself and I'm so pleased to take back some "me" time.
|My new haircut|
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
|Day 19 of 31|
So once I got started, it became pretty easy to delete old emails. Older than 2012, definitely delete. Items from the year 2012, definitely delete those, too. 2013, mostly keep, but delete some of those, too. In about 20 minutes, I got my mailbox down to 20mb, which felt great.
A few weeks ago, a friend posted on facebook about unsubscribing to stores and their coupon emails. What a great idea, I did that too. Things at Kohl's are always on sale, so I don't need 3 or 4 extra emails a day.
I take a million pictures and used to keep everything (mostly at my husbands instance) but lately, I've started deleting duplicates, blurry ones, etc. For the most part, if I don't want to post it on my flickr page, I delete. I still have half a million, but it's a little less overwhelming.
I feel better now than I did 30 minutes ago, who knew the day could change that easily?
Monday, March 18, 2013
|Day 18 of 31|
Just about the only reason I keep my cable subscription is so that I can watch Shameless, on Showtime. At it's core, Shameless is a family comedy / drama, but it is the most exaggerated and dysfunctional family that you can imagine.
I watch it for the drinking, the drugs and the crime. Because it's a life that I've never had and never will have. But more importantly, I watch it for the humor, because I think it's the absolute funniest show on tv. When done correctly, R rated humor is really entertaining.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
|Day 17 of 31|
Apparently, something new is being built at Chocolate World. Who cares what it is, building something means heavy machinery. I'm not really exaggerating, one of J's first words was machine. Actually, it was "chine" for the longest time. For many months at the library, he would only get machine books. A book of any other genre had to be taken out by me, separately.
|Very large jackhammer|
|Road roller and jackhammer|
As far as machines go, I figure if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I encourage his love of machines and don't mind taking pictures and uploading them to the computer in his own folder "J's trucks"
Chocolate World itself never changes. There is a short ride with singing cows and it tells the story about how chocolate is made, though I never pay that much attention.
Finally, I let the kids have some fun and we went to the dessert creation studio. For $4.95, you get a cupcake, icing and two toppings to build your own cupcake. The waitress also put edible paint "melted chocolate" on the table with paint brushes. J had a great time adding the Reese's cups and sprinkles to his cupcake and painting on some color. Not to my surprise, although he ate the candy, he didn't have one bite of cupcake or icing. Also not to my surprise, the 11.5 month old did a pretty good job of eating what was left.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
|Day 16 of 31|
It's a cold, wet, snowy/rainy day in PA today. I didn't want to waste an entire Saturday, so I headed with the kids to the State Museum. This museum has a great little children's play area on the ground floor, a plantetarium on the 3rd floor and a whole lot of strange exhibits in between.
I don't know when the museum was built, but it was clearly in a different era because it has this enormous lobby with a grand ceiling and all I can think is how much energy is being used just to keep the museum open. Some of the exhibits are pretty timeless (duh, it's a museum) but the floor with the stuffed animals makes me feel as if I went through a time machine to the 1970's.
As we were leaving the museum (in the snow), the St. Patrick's Day parade was just getting ready to start. Somehow the combination of cold/wet weather and a typical St.Patrick's Day crowd was entirely unappaeling to me, so we hit the road.
So, spring is not here today and the forecast does not look good for tomorrow either, but hopefully soon.
Friday, March 15, 2013
|Day 15 of 31|
Here's what I've learned so far:
- I enjoy the process of writing in this blog, I'm not finding it too hard to come up with topics and this process is pretty quick
- I have alluded to the fact that there is major crap at work right now. I'm enjoying the fact that blogging gives me something else to do, something else to think about and most importantly, something else for ME!
- I have enjoyed reading the other blog entries, we come from so many different walks of life
- I find commenting a challenge, mostly because it is difficult for me to access and (especially) comment using my phone. I have spent a few minutes every night commenting from the computer, but I'm usually ready for bed.
- I have read many blogs, but not many consistently. Hopefully I will get to know more of you throughout this process
- I think, perhaps, that I need to focus my blog to something. Parenting, teaching math, I don't know...
Thursday, March 14, 2013
|Day 14 of 31|
As a high school math teacher, this is a question that I'm used to. And I'm fine with answering it. I am well aware that most people will not have to verify trigonometric identities as part of their professional lives. However, I do sincerely believe that learning some higher level math helps develop analytical skills that (hopefully) will be used in the future. Sometimes the concepts are tough, I think of it like excersizing the brain.
In my Algebra 1 class this morning, I had a student really floor me. Instead of the normal complaint, his speech went something like this.
"To me, this is like building a flying hot dog. Why do I need to learn all of the steps to building a flying hot dog when I can just take an airplane?
Like I said, stopped in my tracks.
PS - Happy π Day!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
|Day 13 of 31|
I used to love going to the library, so it seemed natural to me to make it part of my routine when my son was born. I went to the library when he was about 2 weeks old, in hindsight, it might have been a bit early, but it gave me something to do in the middle of winter.
Story time has been a part of my Tuesday routine for the last 2 years or so. I enjoy talking to the librarian. It gives us a chance to get new books, which is really just changing the rotation of construction vehicle books. The local library is not especially fancy, but they have a great selection of puzzles, blocks and cars that J likes to play with.
Last night, the librarian was unexpectedly absent. Turns out, she broke a bone in her foot within the last week and is still in a lot of pain. Of course, my first thought is that I hope the librarian makes a full recovery. Story time just wasn't the same without her, we missed the routine she always does and we missed her!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Luckily, when I got home, my husband was already home from work and volunteered to do dinner duty with the kids. I took an hour off, retreated to the basement and watched last week's Project Runway which involved crafting dresses from duck tape.
|Not my child, but wanted to show the house. This is a fantastic toy, even though it takes up a bit of room.|
Monday, March 11, 2013
|Day 11 of 31|
The wedding was a "no child" wedding which did not really disappoint me in any way. Even though I adore my children (of course), there is not much for them to do in a crowded reception hall full of fancy things. Of course, the children were still one of the main points of conversation and I was happy to whip out my phone to share pictures. I still have trouble leaving them for so long, but I'm thankful to have a babysitter who I trust without reservation.
The wedding was in Philadelphia (about 1.5 hours away) and we left with ample time, arriving in the city with about 50 minutes to spare. But when we turned onto the Ben Franklin Parkway, there was suddenly gridlock traffic. It was the St. Patrick's Day Parade, egads!! We were following the detour and were literally 2 blocks from the hotel but we were stuck in this terrible traffic. Luckily, I spotted a parking spot on the other side of the street, so we made a quick u-turn, parked, and walked the 2 blocks to the hotel. It's been so long since I've lived in the city, I've forgotten about these types of problems!
Sunday, March 10, 2013
I conceived my daughter in July 2011 and I think started showing in August, no joke. Everyone told me that with your second child you "pop" faster, maybe they were just making me feel better about myself.
So, by the first day of school, I think it was pretty obvious that I was pregnant. However, it's a weird conversation to have with high school students, especially students that you've never met. So, I didn't say anything.
And for the next month and a half, I didn't say anything either. At this point, by mid-October, I was wearing maternity clothing and had a pretty substainal baby bump. But now it was a game, who would have the nerve to ask?
When we came back from Columbus Day break, I would have have my winner, but it wasn't how I expected it to happen. I had a boy in my Trig. class who was a real goofball, but I got a kick out of him. Well that day, he started throwing paper airplanes in class. Really? Are you really in 12th grade? Isn't it 2011? What's going on? Finally, he walked up to the front of the room and tacked the paper airplane to my bulletin board and basically shouted at me "Will you look at it already?" Inside was a note: "R U Pregnant?". It was sweet and endearing and unexpected. And a story I will always remember.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
|Day 9 of 31|
The sun is brighter.
The air smells different.
The ground is soft and the buds are appearing.
I don't even live in such a cold place, but I feel like just when we can't take another winter day, spring shows it's face.
Without any doubt, it's my favorite time of year.
Now, off the computer and back to the fresh air.
Friday, March 8, 2013
|Day 8 of 31|
5:50 am - Oh crap, it's super hero day at J's school.
Me: "J, do you have any super hero clothing?"
Me: "Ok, how about a cape? We can use the tractor window curtains that Daddy bought at the yard sale last year. It's not like they're EVER going to get hung on your windows."
5:52 am - Look in the basement for safety pins
5:54 am - Look in the kitchen cabinets for safety pins
5:56 am - Look in the upstairs closets for safety pins
5:58 am - Crap. No safety pins.
6:00 am - Velcro, I think I have velcro. Find velcro in the garage.
6:03 am - Using very fancy scissors, construct the cape by trimming curtains straight across to an appropriate length. Adhere one strip of velcro to J's shirt, the other to the cape. Attach cape to shirt.
I've got this Mommy thing down to a T.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
|Day 7 of 31|
I am, perhaps, an over-poster on facebook. I put lots of pictures of my kids, videos, observations, etc. I like sharing since I have a lot of family that live far away. Recently, my 97 year old grandmother joined facebook and she loves seeing her great grandchildren who she can't see in person (she lives 400 miles away).
I wanted to put a picture of the car on facebook, it happened and it's lousy but it's also a blessing that my husband wasn't hurt. But my overriding feeling was not wanting people to worry, especially people like my grandmother and inlaws who could be professional worriers in their own right. I'm not sure if this action is right or wrong or somewhere in between.
Yesterday was a strange weather day, there was supposed to be a major snowstorm but it turned out to be mostly rain in my vicinity. The accident, though, happened during the 1 hour when it was actually snowing quite heavily. There was a lot of flack against the area schools for closing when the weather turned out to be
not so bad. But the thing, the superintendents are not weathermen and the weathermen are not omniscient. So, if we all end up staying home and no one gets hurt, it doesn't make for a very exciting story, but everyone is ok. If you let all of the buses and student drivers on the road, accidents will happen and it won't be so good.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
|Day 6 of 31|
We are in the midst of a bitter contract negotiation. It's been about 250 days already. We reached the point where a fact finder was brought in to try to reach a settlement. And what did the school board do...they rejected the fact finders report. By an 8 - 0 vote. When I heard the news on Monday night, I was sick to my stomach. To say that I didn't want to go to work on Tuesday is understatement of the year.
I can't discuss the details but let's just say that with 9 years and a masters degree, I am making significantly LESS than a first year teacher in neighboring school districts. I'm not in this for the money, but I do need money to pay the bills.
I teach high school math. It's tough because it requires a lot of higher order thinking. I don't always make it super fun or technology enhanced, I do a lot with graph paper and old fashioned pencils and erasers because I want them to work hard. I am fully aware that students will not have to verify trigonometric identities as part of their every day life. But I am teaching analytical and problem solving skills, just as writing teachers are enhancing creativity I would love for one of the school board members to see what I do every day, perhaps they would think twice. For that matter, maybe they can prepare them for the Keystone exam, too.
So, I'm happy to have the day off. I've already made pancakes, matzo ball soup, cleaned a cabinet and entertained my kids. And short of writing this blog, I'm trying not to think about work for the day.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
|Day 5 of 31|
In 11 months, you have already showed us what a happy, spunky and fun girl you are. I can't wait to see what the rest of your childhood will bring.
A, you are a very happy baby and it doesn't take much to please you. But you let us know when you're not happy, oh, you really let us know. Recently, you've started taking a big breathe in and screaming out with all your might. It's pretty annoying and I hope that you get some words soon!
You are an active baby. You were rolling over long before you should have and at 11 months you are already taking your first, second and third steps. I resisted putting gates up on our staircase, but you've made that impossible. When the gate is left open, you crawl up the staircase with a mischievous grin because you know you're not supposed to.
You love your brother, I can see it in your eyes. He does his best, but like all big brothers he is reluctant to share his things with you. Keep playing with him, he loves you too.
A, I love you more than I can ever express in words.
Monday, March 4, 2013
|Day 4 of 31|
Mommy, put on my socks.
Mommy, put on my shoes.
Mommy, wipe me.
Mommy, carry me.
It never ends.
My theory is that boys love having their mothers do things for them. I overhear the boys in high school talk about how their mothers still pack their lunch, do laundry, wake them up in the morning. Really? And I am leading my son in this direction.
I'm sure at some point he will grow out of his Mommy dependency, but when seems to be the pertinent question.
I also have an 11 month old daughter, she seems to be more independent already, but time will tell.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
On Friday, a coworker told me about a place called Middle Creek Wildlife Area in Lancaster County. I don't quite understand how this works year after year, but it's a known "pit stop" for migratory birds. Now migratory birds are interesting. How do they know where to go? When do they decide to stop for a break? Why do they all fly together?
So, how did it go to go bird watching with a 4 year old and a baby? I think that bird watching requires a little too much patience for us at this time. You stand and you watch and then you stand and watch some more. For a 4 year old boy who is very used to "watching something" on tv, this was not exactly high flying excitement. That is, until we arrived at the meadow where the birds were sitting for the day.
55,000 snow geese in one place is a lot of geese! Mostly they were just sitting, but some were honking and some were flying. We tried to visualize what it would be like when they all took off to fly at one time. I had noticed that there was a goose fight on the other side of the road and J kept telling me which geese were having a fight. He wasn't correct, but once he started to use his imagination, the day got much better. Of course at that point, we were sitting in our warm car and watching the geese out the window!
My migratory bird questions are still unanswered and will probably remain unanswered but I'm happy for the adventure a flock of geese to remember.
|This picture was probably about 20% of the field. It was a lot of geese!|