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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pizza, Games & Fun

A couple night's ago I took my time at school and picked Christian up about 30 seconds before daycare closed their door.  When I took my time getting him out of there and talked so long to our dear dear patient daycare mommy, she actually scooted over on the love seat and I sat next to her.

We took our sweet time getting home only to find Daddy on his way out the door to an estimate I didn't know about.  Even though being with my kids is my most fun thing to do, dinner and bath solo, didn't appeal.  I called 'Aunt' Molly.  Within minutes we had all used the bathroom and we were buckled up and on our way to get her.  Both kids cheered when I said Molly said yes! We were going to our favorite pizza place.  Angelo's Pizza.  They have pinball.  They have a window you can stand on a chair and watch them make each and every pizza.
Sidenote   *I can actually stand on the floor, but little one and little two need a chair.  

We had a blast chatting.  Watching Victoria do her homework so proudly. (yes the child finally has homework.  this is the first week.  no more mommy telling her the work I want her to do it homework)  Watching Christian stand with his little hands and nose pressed to the plexiglass dreaming of being a Pizza Maker.  Unfortunately, they took out the pinball machine -gasp!- but put in a generic little machine where you touch the touch screen and choose one of ten games.  Since I had stole a whole pocket of quarters from Daddy's stash I kept handing them out.  I let them play in between each piece of pizza that needed to cool.  It was so relaxing and so fun.  I really didn't want the fun to end.  Bonus -neither kid asked to use the bathroom!  But it was a school night and already passed their bedtime.  We went outside in the dark and got in the car and headed back to Molly's house.  We started talking about how they chopped down all the huge trees on her street and how much it changes the look.  She said, "You should see 3rd!"

Well, I think we better!  We continued passed her house and ended up driving down Third Street and I drove to our high school.  She started telling the kids Your Mommy and I stories and I was adding my two cents and I was just so happy to have such a good friend that can tell my kids (clean) stories about me from my childhood and growing up.   We were less than two blocks aways from Molly's parents' house so we stopped over to see Mike and Maureen.  I haven't been to her parents' house in years.  More than a decade. It was great to see them, not in Halloween costumes for once:-)

We hung out for a short bit.  Christian and Mike played with the mailbox that leads right into their living room.  Victoria told tried telling knock knock jokes.  Everyone still laughed and she continued to jump around in delight.

It was very fun.  After both kids asked to use the bathroom (simultaneously - saw that one coming, did you??) we really did drop Molly off and headed home.  It was a straight to jammies, teeth brushed, story, kind of night.

It was a perfectly unplanned night too.

Now That's What I Call a Massage

Liv generously got me an appointment at her school for a Thai massage this evening.  She told me a bit about what it would entail.  I'm always up for getting out of the house, especially for a massage any style  day or night.!

We made it to our appointments early.  Met my therapist and liked her right away.  Thank goodness, since less that ten minutes later she was sitting on my bare foot lifting me up by the leg.  She pulled, pushed and contorted me in ALL directions.  When I say all, I'm not exaggerating!  At one point she had my hand pinned behind my back with her knee and then began pushing on my shoulders with her elbows.  It was strange things like that for a full hour.  At one point it felt like she was going to rip my head off with her strong little hands.

Then it was over.

She asked how I felt.  I felt light.  I drank my Dixie cup of water and realized I had no pain in my head/neck.  None.  I didn't realize how the constant stiffness = pain/soreness on a consistent basis.

My jaw was lose.  My head felt great.  I felt energized but completely and totally relaxed.  I felt amazing.  So amazing we sat in the mini-van for 20 minutes talking about all the bizarre body positions we were contorted into and how absolutely amazing we felt.  I gave my therapist a 9.5 out of 10.  She would have gotten the full ten if she had turned the lights down.

It was so good it's hard to call all those other times I actually paid people and all they did was rub my skin - a massage.  This massage deserves a special name it was so amazing.

When Mark asked me how it was I said, "It's something you need to do.  Look, I'm like an owl now!"  Then I proceeded to show him how I can turn my head all the way around.  Well, almost.

Thanks so much Liv.  Sign me up for that again, anytime, day or night.  Please please sign me up again!

Chicago Liv's Style

Liv's blog is laugh out loud (for me, Odelis and Mark anyways!) funny today!  If you'd like to read it here it is! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jenna's 6th Birthday

This is Victoria.
She attended Jenna's 6th birthday last Saturday.
I brought my 'fancy' camera at to help document the day.
Half way through she said, "Give me that thing."
Probably not darling.
However I was more that willing to hand over my 'little' camera that I keep in my purse.
Since she's clinging to independence right now 
(I know I'll laugh hysterically at that sentence in ten years)
I decided to only posted pictures that she took herself of her friends party.

I was a super duper fun party.

If you're lucky I'll post a picture of Victoria's obsession of the plastic punch fountain.
If you're lucky...

Off on a Tangent

The bad thing with blogs is that sometimes they go out of order.

I went off on a tangent with the one prior but I expected it to end with :

Mrs. Devine would be proud.

This is what she does after school while I'm working.
I have the smartest puppets in town!


When I was three my big cousin Chris and I would play school. Often.  A lot.  Our favorite thing to do.  However, she was always the teacher.  I WANTED to be the teacher so bad.....  sooooo bad!  But as she explained she was actually in school and knew what she was talking about.  I mean, for goodness sake, she was in kindergarten, so how dare I think I knew what to do.

Or maybe it was my first grade teacher Mrs. Devine.  That sweet sweet woman who saw something in me. When she figured out I was getting off the bus myself, letting myself in, staying alone for hours each afternoon/evening she figured a way to help me.  She asked me for help.  Clearly she needed help correcting papers.  Clearly one of the best teachers ever couldn't keep up with that herself;-)  She sent a note home and next thing you knew three days a week I was her assistant.

Best days ever!

Even though sometimes I would circle wrong answers in the manual rather than the student's paper and I was so embarrasses, thinking I was doomed to never be able to be a teacher, she just shrugged and said, "Don't worry about it," with a soft smile and then sat at her desk.  She put me at ease.  I've never been more at ease as when I've been in a classroom in my life.  Don't get me wrong, in my pre-student teaching I was a nervous wreck, but in a good way.  In a way as if, I was to understand you.  I want to help you.  I want to teach you sort of way.

I spent alllllllllllll those years wishing and dreaming of becoming a teacher.

I still have nightmares that I missed a class and I couldn't actually graduate with my degree to get my teaching license.  That's how valuable it is to me.

Last Thursday, Friday, and Monday (after teaching all day) we had conferences.
Conferences are a very stressful time for teachers.  Not because of how much we need to assess or how much we need to prepare, but it's the unknown from the parents that is so stressful.

I could do an individual blog just about parent communication.  But that would either get me fired or an pulitzer prize.

I take conferences very seriously.   That's why I usually call parents in several times a year because two just isn't enough.  Granted parent communication is definitely 'my thing'.

After being taken completely and totally taken advantage of and verbally abused for 65 straight minutes I changed some things up.  I was unusually laid back.  Ultimately, it's YOUR kid.  So deal, people, deal.

However, all my communication, heart ache, frustration, hard work, long talks....finally paid off.

I had appreciative parents!!!!  It wasn't perfect.  I can't document the actual achievements, but they're there and it's an amazing feeling.

I have one student who's new to the school and started off strong and has been slacking for about six weeks and has had some back talk and mean talk to friends.  I knew it was going to be a tough conference since I've been informing this mom each week in his Weekly Progress Report about his behavior.  Each student receives this each week.

I didn't expect 'real' dad to show up with divorcing mom since I already had some pretty tough stuff to say. I carried on with my conversation with the work samples I had.  I decided not to go into not being nice friend since it was already tense.  Then mom brought it up.  Then I had little choice.  It is what it is.  This is what he said.  I gave them an example and the mom said, "I cannot believe he said that!"  I didn't say a thing and I looked at him and he looked at her and said, "I said it mom."

Long story short (no that short though) he cried, the dad bawled, the mom was choked up and I ended up on the opposite side of the table rubbing the sobbing students back reassuring him that tomorrow would be a better day. (Which it was)

They finally walked out on a note I couldn't identify as anything but sad then the dad walked back in.  Not good.  Not good is what I was telling myself.  I could not let myself get yelled at again.

But he walked up to me and said direct quote - I hope I never forget it -Shit, "If I would have had a teacher be that brutally honest with me I know I would have been a better student."

What an amazing response.

I wish I could thank Mrs. Devine.  I hope she hears my prayers.

*Note to parents who are going to meet a teacher for a conference for your child.  Treat them with respect and be open to their requests and opinions.  

Once a parent brought me a hot apple cider to the conference and I could have cried at her generosity.   That was seven years ago.  Tell your child if they're making a difference in your child's life.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ice and Plastic Balloons

Last week Victoria snuck away for a very short time on a Tuesday night for a Girls' Night Out.  Unfortunately I turned out to be an ice storm that night.  I am the girl who had plans in Hinckley back in college and continued to drive there from River Falls because I wouldn't let the weather stop me.  Well, I did make it to Hinckley that night nearly 15 years ago, but not until after three 360s!

The other night I didn't have a lot to do, (yes that's what Girls' Night Outs are now - actually a time to run errands) and the storm I didn't think was actually going to happen start to happen.  We hit a couple stores and then we were at JoAnn's.  I needed St. Patrick's fabric for my classroom. That's it.  But we went up and down every single aisle of the store.

It was a pleasure.  A gift.  A chance to look and talk about the colors of the fabric.  The different feelings of the fabric.  The dreams we EACH had of the enormous amount out supplies.  She even said, "This would be the perfect gift for...."  just like I always do.

It was magical because I was slapped in the face of the fact of seriously, "Holy crap!  My girl is so big not only are we having a conversation, she's telling me her opinions and interests and everything else on her mind.  I am the luckiest Mommy ever!"

I'm certain I was beaming.

Then we saw a new 'teacher section.'  I was scouring it for me class.  She was scouring it for my class, her class, her self, her friends and anyone else she could think of a reason to buy one of everything for.  Clearly, my girl!

Then she hit the I Am a Five Year Old Jackpot.  Apparently 'they' make stickers in the shape of bandaids for stuffed animals.  You may not realize that real bandaids stick to fur and need to be actually cut out.

Suddenly she exclaimed, "I can open my own hospital!"  Can you feel for the drama?!?!?  Everyone else in JoAnn's certainly did.

Think I bought them?


I love when my kids really really want something.  Then, I make them earn it.  How?? Whatever they need to work on at that time.  Victoria needs to work on not talking when she's done with her work.  (We'll touch on that subject later...)

Therefore, if she stays on green (best behavior - versus yellow or heaven's forbid red behavior) until this Friday she can earn it.

Too bad for Victoria that I actually work at her school and her teacher told me (without me asking) she fell to yellow for a very brief period on Monday.  What I asked her, she confessed and cried and begged for a second chance.

I am pretty strict but clearly I could not crush the child's dream so soon.  I agreed that yellow was a reminded and we'd continue...but one small stint on red and it was done.

When we left JoAnn's we decided to skip the library and just head to the Dollar Store.  I was/am looking for something in particular.

I told her she could pick one thing.  Goodness gracious...there's a lot of crap to choose from and no longer does she walk in and choose the first thing she sees.  Nope, she checks out each and every thing.  Finally I said, "It's raining actual ice!  We need to go!" Next thing I knew I was paying for plastic bubbles in six little tubes.

I could imagine: mess, heartbreak, mess, mess, and a little more mess.

But, I bought them because the city was in the process of freezing over.

We skated our way to the mini-van and carefully headed home. I did not want the plastic balloon's existence known to the boys.  However,  I was not surprised when V walked in stating, "You'll never believe what I got!!"

Both came a running.

It turned out to be a Stay Up Late Night.  It was adorable.  Mark and I definitely had the most fun though.

It turned out to be so much more than 
Girls' Night Out.

It was a time for us to bond,
rush home,
then share a brand new phenomenon with our boys.
(Turns out daddy had these when he was little- but mommy blew better ones ;-)