Monday, June 9, 2008

Surprise Visitor

This morning I entered the classroom and was locking my purse away in a cabinet when I heard a rustling sound.

My first thought was, "oh no! a rodent of somekind!"

But it wasn't a rodent at all.

It was a bird.

The poor thing must somehow have gotten trapped in the classroom yesterday (I share my classroom with one of the Sunday School groups at the church where my school rents facilities) and was now in a cornor under a stack of chairs with no idea of how to get out, as repeatedly flying up and hitting it's head on the underside of the chairs wasn't working too well.

The custodian came armed with a broom to help guide the bird back outside.

And unfortunately, other than knowing that the custodian was successful (there is no longer a bird in my classroom), I have no idea any of the particulars of how he did it. I was called away to be a mommy and go bowling with Tgirl's class as a chaperone.

Great News!

I got a call the other day from the big boss telling me that I will be transferring to the other elementary campus to teach fifth grade, my favorite grade level. I am estatic!

I am a little sad to leave the campus where I currently teach, I love the staff and have a great time with them. Also, Tgirl isn't thrilled about leaving her best friend (she will be moving campuses with me). And the news does mean that now I am having to pack up all of my teaching supplies and separate my books and materials from that which belongs to the school and classroom. This is adding A LOT more time and effort to my end of the year packing up the classroom efforts.

But otherwise, I am very happy. I'm returning to the one grade level that I really enjoyed teaching (I have taught 5th, Kindergarten, 2nd and 3rd in my 11 year career). The kids and I will all be on one campus (Tboy's preschool is located on the campus I am transfering to) making pick ups and drop offs much more streamlined - and hopfully getting me to morning devotions on time since I won't be hoping back and forth across town dropping off kids.

And did I mention that I really like 5th grade? :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our First Family Baseball Game

We went to an A's game, just the four of us. We took BART to the Coliseum. It was free hat day and we must missed the last of the hats at the first gate we tried to enter at. So we went to another gate, got hats, and put on our new hats immediately.

As soon as we found our seats in the bleachers, the kids were hungry. We brought in our own dinner of chicken nuggets, chips, and soda and by the time the game started, the kids were done eating and ready for the Oreos we had brought.

It was a little far away from the action at home plate, but the worst part of it was that the sun was going down directly in front of us and home plate was in shadow while the rest of the field was in sun which made it more difficult to see.

TDaddy passed the cookies off to me to try to get Tboy's attention off of trying to eat the whole package. Which meant, of course, that he had to come sit by me instead of by his dad where he started out. After wandering a bit back and forth in our row and flirting with the women in the group sitting behind us, he sat on my lap and we talked about what was going on on the field.

We lasted through the beginning of the fourth inning before Tgirl had had it and was ready to walk around a bit with TDaddy. Not wanting to be left out, Tboy and I joined them. As we made our way around the stadium we saw Stomper, the A's elephant mascot, and followed him for a bit before he turned around in response to Tboy's calling his name. As soon as Stomper got close, Tboy freaked out, crying and trying to get away from him. So Tgirl said hi and then decided that she wanted to go home.

The walk back to BART was very long with both kids wanting to ride on TDaddy's shoulders at the same time.

We decided that it will be a while before we go to another game as a family.

Potty Training part 2

Well, Tboy has made some progress toward being potty trained. He still is in Pull Ups. Sometimes he goes potty in the toilet. Sometimes. He would much prefer to stand to go potty. And he has yet to poop.

Oh well, he "won't go to off to college in diapers" (or Pull Ups as the case may be) as they say.

I am more worried about preschool this coming September at this point.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Potty Training part 1

Wow it has been a long time since I last wrote a post. I guess I have been rather busy, but when is that NOT true?

Let's see... big news since February...

We started potty training over Easter vacation. It was time to enroll TBoy in preschool for next year and there is no option for the 3 1/2 year old to NOT be potty trained. Panic! But, great idea, Easter Vacation was coming up and we had no big plans... so potty training was planned and TGirl was warned that we were not going to be out and about over vacation time, just staying home and potty training.

On Good Friday we stocked up, bought a new potty seat toilet adapter with handles on it to help him feel secure (the first potty seat TDaddy bought several months ago had a very cushy seat, but a tiny hole in it... and TBoy was totally unmotivated to use it). Then we bought Pull Ups with Lightning McQueen on them (that he had been asking for), stickers that he picked out for a sticker chart for when he tried, and chocolate kisses for rewards for when he produced. We got out the timer, set it to go off every 30 minutes, stocked the bathroom with books and got down to training business.

He loved it at first. It was fun to sit on the potty, have Mama read you multiple books and then pick out a Dora the Explorer sticker to put on the chart. But then, as the day wore on the timer kept going off every 30 minutes and the excitement waned. He started to wet his Pull Up right before the timer went off every time. So we started setting it for every 15 to 20 minutes.

First day... no luck.

Second day... no luck. And TBoy was starting to think this wasn't so much fun anymore.

Third day... Easter. He wore a Pull Up to Sunday School and Grandma's afterward, but we relaxed the training for the special day that it was.

Easter evening, Grandma and Grandpa from out of town announce that they would like to take the kids and I to the zoo. "I know you are potty training, but..."

Well... it isn't like you get to go to the zoo, plus go with Grandma and Grandpa, every day.... so....

Monday, we went to the zoo. No potty training.

Tuesday... we tried a new approach. I had 5 pairs of hand-me-down cotton training pants. Using my aunt's advice given to me Sunday, we put on the training pants with the Pull Up on top of it.

TBoy didn't like feeling wet... but by 1:00 I was doing laundry, washing 5 wet pairs of training pants and 2 pairs of sweat pants that the training pants got wet by somehow ignoring the fact that they were inside a Pull Up.

By Thursday, I had pretty much given up. TBoy now wanted nothing to do with the potty, and really, what am I going to do, spank him for refusing to sit on the potty?? I don't think so. I do believe that would just encourage a power struggle that can only end in constipation. Not a road I wanted to go down.

So.. TBoy remained in Pull Ups. Something I swore would not happen for any length of time. TGirl was in Pull Ups for over a year. Do you realize those things are 50 cents a piece when bought at the grocery store not on sale?!? And he goes through at least 5 a day!! And I simply don't have the time (or the gas money) to be running out to the nearest Target (which is not all that close, a minimum 15 minute drive with no traffic) for Pull Ups every few days!

Arrgghh! I wasn't going to make the mistake of forcing the potty training issue with him like I did with her!

And yet... It would appear that I have done it again.

With TGirl I felt pressure from Grandma ("This little girl is definitely ready to train!") from the time she was about 18 months. And though I wasn't convinced she was all that interested, I caved in.

I wasn't going to do that again! No sir! I was going to wait until TBoy was good and ready and interested himself!

Those darn preschool rules!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gems of Political Wisdom??

Tgirl was very interested in what was going on with the primaries, asking the difference between Republicans and Democrats, etc. (a difficult thing to explain at a second grade level and trying to present it in an unbiased manner) She also told me several things that she "knew" from talking to kids on the playground.

First of all she was rather insulted that one boy was "making fun of Obama" even though "his own mother had voted for him." (Apparently at this point in life, Tgirl is in favor of supporting your parents' political decisions. -not that her own parents discuss or necessarily agree on everything, we did both vote for the same candidate but that was coincidental as we talked a little about the choices but not about who we were going to vote for personally) Making fun of him? Calling him Obama-Mama. Hhmm, 2nd grade level insults. Well, if that was the worse insult Obama actually had to deal with, it wouldn't be too bad.

The other bizarre pieces of "information" she shared with me came from her "friend who is in 3rd grade." "You can't vote for Hillary because she stole things from the White House" and "You can't vote for Obama because if he becomes president then he will persecute the Mexicans. And she knows Mama, cause she is Mexican"!!

OK.... Seriously doubtful Tgirl, seriously doubtful. But makes you wonder what her 3rd grade friend has been overhearing at home.

While I rather wonder about the political scene in this country at times, it is a very good thing that 2nd and 3rd graders are not running things!

Super Tuesday

All I can say is Wow! What a day!

Overslept by 40 minutes but managed to get myself and the kids out the door (with Tboy ready for preschool picture day) and was only 10 minutes late to devotions at work.

It was Visitors' Day and the students were hyper!

It was also Elementary Parents' Night. So I finished getting the room ready after school and picked up Tgirl from daycare at 5pm.

Drove to the polling place, waited in line for about 20 minutes and voted.

Then drove across town and picked Tboy up from preschool before going home.

Made dinner, ate with the kids and bathed both of them and put them in sweats. Then freshened up and left for school at 6:45.

Opened the classroom door at 7 and was there till 8:20.

Went to the grocery store and the gas station and then home.

Put the kids back to bed (Tdaddy had already done this once, but when Mama gets home it seems to mean that you should jump out of bed and run around until physically caught and taken back to bed) then cleaned the kitchen up from dinner, prepped for lunches for Wednesday and did a load of laundry.

I finally dropped into bed at about 10:30pm.

And tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Having an older sister has it's downsides...

Tboy is all boy. He loves everything that involves balls, tools, or cars. He warms up to men faster and would prefer to play with men (grandpas, uncles, etc.) instead of with women (grandmas, aunties, etc.). He loves to tackle, hit, sword fight and shoot (though TDaddy encourages the shooting of water over guns, not being a gun type of guy himself).

So I really am not concerned about his masculinity.

But when the main focus of your admiration and favorite playmate is your older sister who is extremely girly.... well, lets just say that it rubs off some.

For a while his favorite color was pink, just like sister's.

"I ballet?" he will frequently ask (Tgirl has taken ballet for nearly 2 years now).
"No," TDaddy will respond, "you play football!"

When playing dress up with Tgirl, he usually wants to put on a princess dress of some kind and high heels.

He would really like to carry a purse everywhere he goes, usually a pink one.

We got him his own boy doll and blue doll stroller as he loves playing with Tgirl's dolls and taking them for rides in the pink princess doll stroller.

And then the other day the Tboy and Tgirl were watching a video. A Disney Princess sing a long. One of the many songs on it was from Mulan II, "I Want to be Like Other Girls" sung by 3 Chinese princesses who want more freedom in their lives:
"...I want to be like other girls.
Climb up a tree like other girls can
Just to be free like other girls
Get to be..."
Well, you can probably guess what Tboy has been overheard singing to himself multiple times in the last few days as he plays...
"I want to be like other girls, I want to be like other girls, I want to be like other girls..."

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Baby Store

conversation with the 3 year old at bedtime:

-Daniel has a baby sister.

-Yes, he does. You don't have a baby sister, you have a big sister.

-Yeah. (pause) Mama? Someday we go to the baby store and get a baby sister?

-Well, I don't know about that.

-An someday, my big sister will turn into a baby again and me too.

-Oh really? When will this happen?

-When I dis many (holds up 4 fingers).

-But then who will be my big boy?

-(big grin) Daddy!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Child Free Time

I love child free time!

Now, mind you, I'm not saying that I don't like spending time with my children, or children in general (I am a teacher after all). But when you are with them 24/7, well.... it is just nice to have a little child free time.

It doesn't come very often. Partly because on weekdays I am working, weeknights are spent at ballet class or drama class and getting ready for the next day. Weekends are taken up with chores, errands, church, and Sunday dinner at my mom's house. So the amount of time available for child free time is very limited. Combine that with TDaddy's schedule and the fact that I just don't often ask for time off and there you have it. Child free time doesn't come very often.

So today the kids and I went to church and then to my mom's for lunch. But instead of spending most of the afternoon at Grandma's house we came home and they stayed with TDaddy while I went to the mall.

Usually, when I have child free time I head to Barnes and Noble and browse among the books and read for a few hours. Heavenly! Today, however, I had a different mission. I needed pants.

The last eight years I have spent pregnant 3 times and with my weight fluctuating quite a bit. I have been on the slow and steady down slide in my weight in the last 7 months or so (Yeah!) and the result is that I have 2 pairs of pants that fit. Now granted, I do mainly wear skirts to work (They just changed the dress code recently to allow women and girls at my school to wear pants year round. Before we could only wear pants during the winter time). But with a recent cold spell, wearing tights with skirts and bundling up in sweaters, coats and scarves just wasn't cutting it.

Anyway, my mom met me (it is easier for me to shop for clothes for myself with another person, I always feel like I need a second opinion) and we shopped.

It was great! In a couple of hours we were able to find 3 pairs of pants on sale, get new batteries put into TDaddy's watch, and get a cup of coffee and just sit for a bit (OK, so Mom had coffee, I had tea - I love tea, but I can't stand coffee!). We were able to talk about whatever we wanted to with no little ears listening and it was just relaxing not to be minding any children! I picked up a couple of Little Caesars pizzas on the way home for dinner tonight and lunch for the lunch boxes tomorrow and got home in time for a game of Disney Scene It.

The benefit of child free time? A more relaxed Mama! A relaxed Mama, as opposed to a stressed one, is able to enjoy her kids in the stage they are in. A relaxed Mama isn't easily irritated by all the little things that the kids do. I was able to sit and play the game with TDaddy and the kids and enjoy it. I wasn't feeling like I couldn't wait for the game to end so that I could get up and go get something done.

And that is a good thing.

I don't want to spend my children's childhoods wishing the time I spend with them away. And I'm pretty sure that isn't God's plan either.

So, an occasional child free afternoon is a very good thing!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Re-reading a Favorite

For Christmas TDaddy got me a set of Cherry Ames books by Helen Wells (Boarding School Nurse, Department Store Nurse, Cruise Nurse). I read many in this series of books as a child and LOVED them! I found the stories of a nurse during the WWII era and following fascinating. So much so that I seriously considered becoming a nurse. It seemed so romantic!

Then I realized that I wasn't very good at math, didn't love science, and was a bit queasy when it came to blood.

I am finding it very interesting reading them again from an adult viewpoint. I am not as enamored with them now as I was then. Life in general is very romanticized in the books. Life, as it is depicted by Wells, just doesn't ring true. The main character, Cherry, hops from job to job never sticking to anything for any length of time. She has a different romantic interest in just about every book. There are a few reoccurring male friends, but most of the time she has a new beau in each new situation she is in. As the book draws to a close and she solves some kind of mystery (that she has broken rules to solve and been forgiven for because of the results she has gotten), she and the current beau are growing closer and closer. And then in the next book, he isn't mentioned at all.

Now, granted, as an adult, I also understand that in order to write a whole series of books, Wells had to put Cherry in many different situations so that the books would remain exciting for her target audience of young girls. I think that part of the purpose of the series was to entice girls into the profession of nursing, so they had to remain exciting. And as for the men, well, if Cherry had stayed with the same man for any length of time during that era they would have most likely ended up married, had children, and she may or may not have continued in her nursing career. That would not make for interesting books (not if you are going for an exciting career nurse genre of books).

So while I am a bit disappointed in the stories, I realize that it is me that has drastically changed. I am not as romantic-thinking as I once was. A bit more jaded. A bit more realistic.

So I will continue reading them. Remembering the romantic girl I once was. And I will enjoy the books for what they are - exciting, romanticized stories for young girls.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Learning the hard way

Why, oh why do children insist upon learning the hard way? Why can they not simply listen to the wisdom of what I know and have already learned, and obey?

This evening, Tgirl chose the hard route.

She has been having some issues with her attitude lately. Well, that and her tone of voice. Last night she had some consequences for talking smart to her daddy. Tonight she tried it on me.

Dear girl, I give the warning, and I mean it. Really. I do. I don't want to follow through. But I will. Must you really push and push until I have no choice but to follow through?

I told her if she talked smart to me again we would be turning around in the car on our way to ballet class and going home to an early bedtime. Apparently she did not believe me. Probably thought I had too much invested in this whole thing, too much preparation and hassle had gone into trying to get her there today. And she was right-but wrong. Right in that I wasn't happy about doing it, but she talked smart again, and so I pulled over in the turn lane to make a U turn.

"No, Mama, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"Me too, baby. But you may not talk to me like that and you will learn not to."

Smart comment from Tgirl. Much argument from her. Whining. Tears.

I am pleased to say that I managed to stay very calm and followed through. Neither of these things is easy for me to do.

So we got home. She explained to TDaddy why we were home so early and took a shower. Played in the shower a bit too long while I was distracted having conversation with TDaddy. I dried her hair and she went to bed.

And realized that going to bed at 6:30 is no fun. Begged. Cried. Started to act smart again. And almost earned going to bed again early tomorrow.

Thankfully, she is currently snoring. She finally went to sleep at 8:15.

If nothing else, parenting has definitely given me a tiny bit of insight into how God must look at us, his children. We insist we know better than He. We kick and scream and talk back and have horrible attitudes about life and the lessons He is teaching us. So we leave Him really with no choice but to allow situations into our lives so we can learn the hard way.

Somehow I have the feeling that often he feels about this method of teaching and disciplining the way I do. It isn't something that I enjoy. In fact, punishing her (or her brother) really does "hurt me more than it hurts you." Before becoming a mom I never realized how much it could hurt me to just give a simple time out. Never realized how tortured I could feel inside watching my child make a poor choice and then have to live with the consequences.

So I am sorry, Lord. I really am sorry for all the lessons I have insisted upon learning the hard way. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for continuing to mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray that I may become more pliable that I may learn my lessons easily and not insist upon experiencing the consequences. And when I do insist in my poor choices, I pray that I may have the grace to not whine about how "unfair" it is.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Post

So here I am. I discovered blogs less than a year ago and now have a number of them that I read on a regular basis. It is amazing how technology can change your life! This time last year I used the computer at school to create newsletters and the occasional worksheet. Then TDaddy got me a laptop.

What more can I say... I now am able to check my emails whenever I want to (well, whenever I have a wireless connection anyway). And I have to admit that that is one of the main reasons why I wanted my own laptop. To not have to fight for time online with TDaddy and Tgirl! Now that I have it, not only do I check email a minimum of once a day, but I've discovered blogs and podcasts ("friends" all around the world!), put the children to sleep every night using the iTunes on my laptop, and am constantly looking things up, or playing games to earn Tgirl more money for her Webkinz, etc...

Then for Christmas, TDaddy gave me a Palm Pilot - well, he gave it to me near the end of December so that I could stay orgainized during the holiday season. More technology!!

I was always a bit resistant to technological ways of doing things. I love books. I love paper. I thought that I was more a tactile kind of person who needed to touch and feel things for them to seem truly real (outside of matters of faith). Now, I think it is safe to say that I am officially hooked on technology. If you took my laptop, wireless connection or Palm away from me I am pretty sure that I would go into withdrawl. Withdrawl from things that, while I certainly knew exsisted, were not major parts of my life at all just 8 short months ago.

Now here I am starting a blog. I have always thought that blogging looked like a fun thing to do.

...Can I maintain a blog consistently with out letting it take over all of my free time? We shall see!