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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Victoria

Dear Victoria Mae,

Six years ago I remember standing in front of an empty crib with tears in my eyes thinking about placing my baby girl in it.  You were still in my belly.

We had books ready to read to you.
Did you ever know your room was once this clean?

Daddy spent every Saturday, for months, doing something in preparation to get ready for you.

So many friends were excited for your arrival!
This was at our house at my baby shower with Tess.
Could you even recognize her?

Those are your friends Jack and Jenna.
I bet you really couldn't recognize them!

Our families were so excited!
Here's Aunt Molly and Auntie Sandy at another shower for you.
They were both so excited to meet you they were looking at pictures
Aunt Molly took of you while you were still in my belly.

Even though I had a very easy pregnancy and loved having you in my belly,
by the time April 14h rolled around I was ready to meet you.

That's the chair I lounged/napped in most weekends for the
last month or so.

Finally, finally, finally I met my sweet Baby Girl.
I often tell you about that warm beautiful spring day.
As soon I finish you cuddle in even closer and ask me to tell 
you again.

I dreamt of being a mommy for so long and finally you 
turned me into one.

But next thing I knew....
you were almost two!

Being a mommy gets better and better every year!
You turned into a Big Sister that year.
You loved pigs and Elmo and started loving turtles.

And you started to wear big girl undies.

That year flew by
and suddenly you were

That was the first year we had the farm party with animals in the backyard.
You absolutely loved it.
You enjoy being around people, as much as I do.
You are very social and love to talk and get to know people.
So a huge party when you were only three suited you just fine.

Then I blinked and you were four.
We had a repeat birthday party that year since you talked about the previous one for the whole year.
Here's you and your BFF Jenna.

That year you were in Abbey's wedding and you were completely adorable
and perfectly behaved and received more compliments than I could ever remember.

I am so proud to be your mommy.

Your cute little nose makes me smile.

You seem to actually enjoy getting your picture taken.
I wonder why....

I guess time really does fly when you're having fun because before I knew it
you turned five!

Now that was some party!
Everyone you know came and there were animals and a beautiful cake 
and your mommy stood back wondering what happened to her baby.

I am at awe of you every single day.

This is the year you really began forming opinions and sharing them,
good or bad.

You have very nice manners and you're quite smart and very verbal.
I couldn't count the times when we're out and about and a stranger speaks to you and is shocked at how well you can verbalize your thoughts.

Even the nurses at the doctor's office always comment on it.

This is the year you really learned how to read.
You could read some words when you were four, but once you turned five it was amazing.
You truly love to learn.  You ask questions all the time about everything. 
You can do quite a bit of math in your head.
I haven't been able to spell a word to daddy that I didn't want you to know in almost a year because you can figure them all out.
Even when I spell it backwards you and daddy figure it out at about the same time.

Your brother doesn't have the patience to learn like you do.
That's why we often 'sneak' off to my bed and cuddle and read while the boys watch the Discovery Channel.  You read to me now, almost as much as I read to you.
It melts my heart listening to your little voice read bigger and bigger words.

You were really reading If You Give a Pig a Party to Christian.
After this picture I went to take the book away and you grabbed it and said, "But, we're not done!"

Every year I think you two have such an amazing bond and think how blessed we are that you get along so well.  Every year I wonder if it will be the last year he'll casually put his arm around your shoulder just because he wants to.   You two are just so cute together!

You are the big sister who looks out for him and teaches him.
He looks up to you and looks to you to keep him safe and entertained.

Every year I don't think you can get any cuter.
But you did it again!

You look gorgeous now that you're six!
More proof, you don't mind having your picture taken!

A sweet look

A giggly look

I love your perfect little baby teeth and have a 
strong suspicion this will be the last birthday with all of them. 

Even though you're a big kindergartner, who can read and speaks her mind 
you still love Baby.

She just turned 5.
When you are feeling really sad or hurt or scared Baby always makes you feel better.

Even though I dreamt of being a mommy and having an adorable daughter I could go shopping with, get manis. with, read with, play with and talk to;

I never, in my wildest dreams, ever dreamt I could have a daughter as perfect as you.

Happy 6th Birthday My Sweet Sweet Angel


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Bird Came a Bit Too Early

It's the night before a birthday in our house.  That means a lot of preparation - even though her party isn't for another week.  You see, the Daddy Daughter Dance was tonight.  Plus the Birthday Bird was expected to drop by. 

The Birthday Bird came and decorated.  It looks great.

After all was said and done and Mark and I were watching TV on the couch in the living room I whispered, "If anyone gets up let's pretend we were sleeping."

No less the 30 minutes later Mark started making a weird snorting noise.  I was looking at him and then heard the footsteps.  Christian walked through the birthday streamers and needed to be put back to bed.  He didn't notice a thing.  

Whew!  It was my idea to play sleeping and I missed it!  I am/was tired and knew I'd be heading to bead soon and then WHAM!  The (almost) Birthday Girl came flying out of her room yelling, "He was here!!"  Did she notice the two wide awake parents on the couch?  Yes she did.  But she trusts us so much she believes a bird actually came into our house.

I walked her back to her room to 'check it out' with her.  She stood in awe.  Then I offered an explanation. I got up to go to the bathroom and I was so excited I woke Daddy up.  She didn't even acknowledge it.  I tucked her in and noticed the balloon hanging from her bed with a  6 on it and said, "I am so happy I get to be the first one to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to you!"  Even if it was 45 minutes before her birthday.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two Firsts in One Day

Yesterday was one hell of a day at school.

I have a student who is difficult do to many factors.  Some days she's great.  The next day she's so defiant I have to have my 'bag of tricks' ready at any minute.  Yesterday her day started out bad and got worse and worse and by 11am she wouldn't even write her name on her paper.  She's had a lot of rough days lately and my 'tricks' were getting pretty played out.  With her being out right defiant I called her mom with her standing next to me.  (I obviously know mom well and expected the reaction I got - or I wouldn't have called.)  17 minutes later she was in our classroom and pulled the kid into the hall.  They had a long talk and the student worked for three hours straight (except for lunch).  She got all caught up and mom finally left.  It worked wonders.

That's a crazy desperate story from a teacher.  But the day kept getting more and more interesting.

The previous day one of my darlings brought a Ninjago to school.  This wasn't the first time.  Not the second time.  But the third time, he came to school with so much crap shoved in his pockets he could barely sit down.  I called him to my desk told him to empty his pockets and then he lost it.  Crying, screaming & carrying on as if I told him to remove a leg or something.  I had him fill out a written reminder and watched him put it into his Take Home Folder.

Back to yesterday.  The morning started out by me asking for his signed Written Reminder.  He said with a trembling voice, "Oh Mrs. Humphrey, I forgot it on my kitchen table!  My mom signed it and we talked about it but I just forgot it.  I promise I will bring it tomorrow.  I'm sorry!"

The whole point of the Written Reminder is to remind them and make the parents aware.  I email his mom several times a week and decided this was small potatoes than other issues he has going on, so I trusted him and let it go.

At 3:20 (day ends at 3:40) I went to check his desk because he's been know to hide food and such in there and low and behold I spotted a little corner of a Written Reminder from the bottom of his desk.  I reached in and pulled it out and looked right at him and said, "You lied to me.  Get to the hall."  I said it right to him and very quietly and followed him out of the classroom.  As we walked out the other 25 kids were silent.

I talked to him about losing my trust and all that jazz while my mind was reeling.  It was so late in the day now, how could I give him an effective consequence?  Finally I thought of it.  I wouldn't let him take the bus home.  He'd have to serve time after school and be picked up.  I've never done this before.

I called mom's cell, work, dad's cell....I started to get very nervous.  I knew one of them was there when he gets home and he should be arriving home in about 20 where were they?

Finally dad answered from work - as the first bell rang - I gave him the low down and said I think it's important he faces a major consequence immediately.  Dad agreed.  He'd get a hold of mom and I would keep him until she got there.

During that time I had him clean out his desk and work on hidden late work.

She showed up at 4:26.

Christian needs to be picked up by 4:30.

I sat down with them.  We talked about what's right and wrong.  The importance of focusing during school and working hard.  The importance of telling the truth.  She had him choose a consequence.  He chose no video games for one week.  She nodded and said, "I will record it, but you will not watch Ninjago tonight."  You would have thought she asked for his OTHER leg!  The kid lost it!  Fell off his chair bawling his eyes out yelling, "Mommy NO!" as if she just took a whip out of her purse.

(At this point Victoria took off her head phones and turned around from her computer with a look on her face like, "What are they doing to that kid?!")

I began packing up his things.  I packed up my things.  I turned off the lights and the kid was still crying and yelling.  Finally she got him up and out of there.  We thanked each other and I was nearly ten minutes late picking up Christian.  But I wouldn't change one bit of it.  I bet that's one afternoon he'll remember for a very long time.

Now that, was one hell of a day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ten Years and a Change

Holy crap, that was an emotional day.  It's not even 7pm and I have the kids in bed and I'm laying down.  I'm torn to read and hope for sleep or go to the gym and get it all out.

Today I had my post-observation for my in-depth (haven't been observed in four years) observation that took place last week.  My lesson went very well and I knew he'd have nothing but good things to say about it today.  What I didn't know, was it would, in fact, be me leaving second grade for next year.

After my observation I started to stand up and then said, " life changing news I need to hear?"  Making sure, it was not me.  His response, "Do you want to hear the whole story right now?"  "Does the whole story have to do with me?" "Yes, is that how you want to end your day?"  "I guess," and I sat back down.

"Kelly, I've decided to move you down to first," were the next words out of his mouth.  I flinched with my eyes closed and had the wind knocked out of me.  I was sad.  Mad.  But my mind started reeling about how many things this would change for me.  I've known it was a possibility for a while now thinking about all the different scenarios.  My biggest thing is that I don't want to change rooms.

I asked him if I could stay in my room.  He said he wanted all 1st grades to be downstairs, together.


1. If it's only a one year deal (we'll need three seconds again the following year) it doesn't make sense to move all that stuff twice.

2. What really the difference if there's an 'empty' (it'll be filled with someone/something) room upstairs or downstairs.

3. What if another section of kindergarten has to added at the last minute (just like it did this year)?  They need to be downstairs.

He agreed.  I can keep 214.  That means Team 214 will live on.  They'll just be a little littler.


1. Victoria and I will be in the same grade.  Not sure if that's actually a pro, but for the sake of needing pros right now I'll take it.

2. At exactly the ten year mark it won't hurt me to make a change and start fresh.

3. There's a strong chance we'll get a new reading curriculum.  Good time for a change.

4. I thought I wanted to teach 1st before I got hired at 2nd.  We'll see if I was right.

5. My friend Amanda won't have to change grades again. She's already taught 5, 4 and 2 at our school in the last ten years.

6. I'll be reunited with a past teaching partner who I actually nominated for Teacher of the Year last year.

The biggest con is leaving my one and only constant teaching partner.  One of the best friends of my life.  She and I seem to read each other's mind.  We're always on the same page.  One taking care of one task while the other takes care of something else.  We're always there to remind the other of something.  The only time I've ever taught without her was when she was on maternity leave, then six weeks later I went on maternity leave too.  She's been so much more than a mentor to me.  She's one of the major reasons I want need to keep my room too.  Proximity of a strong team is important.  I need these ladies to help me through this change.

It's going to be way more planning this summer.  Longer hours on a daily basis.  I've got second grade down to a science, now.

It's a change.  It's going to be difficult.  Hopefully, it's one year and then I can loop with some great kids I will come to love.

** Originally written on April 9, 2012 - could not post immediately because the news was not yet made public.**

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Bunny Visits

Each year we enjoy visiting the Easter Bunny.  Well, most of us enjoy it.  Here's a look back at the last four years.  






Happy Easter!