Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!


Happy Halloween, everyone!!

I'm hoping you're Halloween is starting off a littler happier than mine.  I woke up this morning and it's still raining....and shows no signs of stopping any time soon....which means there won't be a Halloween parade this morning.  Boo!  And I don't mean that in the ghost version.

This morning, the kids from the primary school (which includes Jelly) were going to be coming to our school so the K-6th grades could parade downtown and collect candy.  Peanut has been looking forward to it all week long...and now there's a very big possibility that it's going to get cancelled.

It won't cancel the Halloween fun, but it will cancel Jelly's chance of hanging out with me for a couple of hours this morning.

Rain or shine, the rest of the Halloween festivities will continue at school.  Well, we'll have a party at the end of the day today.  That's about it.  Which is a real bummer, because I really didn't write any plans for today.  But an extra day of learning is better than less days, I guess.  And I wonder how many of them will really be focused on math this morning?  HA!

I have to say, I feel really blessed to be working in a school that still allows Halloween festivities.  I know MANY schools have gotten rid of it altogether and have switched to a more "Fall" theme.  That means no costumes.  

I get to work in a school that does both!

My glee is not religiously charged, it's more childishly charged.  Kids, for the most part, really enjoy Halloween.  The gore or scare factor is completely gone, and the most scary costume I plan on seeing each year is a werewolf (that resembles a cute puppy) or a vampire that looks like a preppy kid more than Dracula (thank you, Twilight).  

The school is smart about their Halloween costume restrictions.  No weapons.  No gore.  Age and school appropriate..meaning not too much skin being shown off.  The school pretty much transforms in to a place of fairies and princesses, superheroes and soldiers.  It's such a big deal to many of these kids to get a day that they can dress up in a costume that has been hand made by a parent, specially picked out at Walmart, or creatively thrown together that morning with whatever is laying around the house or in their closets.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the whole Halloween thing.  And, one thing I hear all the time is that it's not appropriate to celebrate such a holiday.  

But, there are a lot of religious festivals that are honored with the day.  Halloween has a Celtic history, being a celebration of the end of the fall harvest and the movement in to Winter.  The holiday is known as Samhain and is the Celtic new year.  But just like many other Christian holidays, the church quickly took over the pagen celebration in the 8th Century by creating All Saints' Day.  The day after was then pegged as All Souls Day, another Christian holiday observed in Europe, where the dead were remembered and honored.

In Hispanic Culture, Halloween is The Day of the Dead.  It is a day of celebration and happiness while those that have passed are remembered and honored.  Colorful costumes are worn, food is shared, and families gather to pay homage to those that have been lost.  

We have a very large Hispanic population in our area, as well as a large Christian population, and many other populations that all have some holiday tradition that falls around this time, so I feel that it's quite fitting that Halloween is still celebrated in our school.  

Unfortunately, though, there are still many people that are convinced that Halloween is a Satan worshipping holiday.  But, then again, many people still associate Pagen people as Devil Worshippers - which couldn't be further from the truth.  And, if you really look at the celebration of Halloween, its history with any culture, and its roots...there's really nothing evil about it.  

Yes.  There are some cultures who believe that the "portal" between life and death is at it's thinnest on Halloween night...that the dead can actually communicate and cross back over.  Which doesn't sound too cheery or celebrationy.

But, I wonder how many of those people who are bitterly opposed to this type of celebration "communicate" with passed loved ones.  How many of them speak to them?  Have celebrations for them?  I honestly don't see much difference.  Most of us know that we're not going to wake up tomorrow morning to find out that ghosts and zombies are walking the roads.  

And yes, I know how much of a risk I'm taking with this stance.  But, if you look back at my posts from over the years... you'll hear the same old story each time.  

It's not about taking a side, it's about not having a side.  

OK, I suppose that's wrong.  I do have a side.  I believe that there should be a freedom to celebrate a holiday.  That's my side.

It's about not getting rid of something just because there are a few people that disagree with it.  And, I know that sounds a little hypercritical.  Why should people be able to celebrate a holiday when there are people opposed to it?  If it were banned, I'd be asking the question Why should something be banned just because people are opposed to it?

But, I truly feel that despite any history or hard feelings or's a day for the kids.  They LOVE Halloween just because they get to dress up, eat some treats, and have a good time.  And that's what I feel it should be about.  There aren't any classes going on at school today that push the cultural beliefs of Halloween traditions.  There may be some historical information shared in the jr. high, but I know the elementary classes won't be going in to all that.  To the kids, it's just another day to have a good time.

And any time we promote kids having a good time, I'm IN!!

I somewhat agree that there should just be four seasonal holidays each year:  A fall festival that includes Halloween, a winter party that includes Christmas, a spring party that highlights Valentines Day and/or Easter, and a summer party that just celebrates the end of school.  

But, for some reason, I don't see near as many people trying to get Christmas and Easter parties banned from school like they do for Halloween.  And, yes, I know that in many schools those parties are gone, too.


Which is my point, here.  As long as HOLIDAYS are still celebrated and appreciated in my school, I am very thankful for that.  Nothing is pushed "religiously", but we decorate our school for Christmas, have a Christmas concert, and have Santa make a visit.  We put up bunnies and colorful egg decorations for Easter.  Heck, I have bulletin decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Independence Day (even though we're not in school then), Black History Month.... you name it, I've probably got the bulletin board decoration for it.

I am a very firm believer that exposure helps create acceptance.  What I mean by that is, many kids create biased opinions on a variety of things that stem from parental or other influential opinions.  Kids often fear what they don't know.  So, other cultures and religions and celebrations are often ostracized or opposed because they are different or outside the realm of what religion/belief system is upheld in the home.

However, when you teach in a school that represents about 20+ cultures and countries, there are bound to be different religions and beliefs that are very much unknown.  To our cultural visitors.

I think it's very important that kids from other countries and cultures are exposed to some of the cultural celebrations of our country.  But, if we are going to share our Christmas and Easter traditions, we can also expose our Halloween traditions.

And, I know there will be some people who read this and believe that the Christmas and Easter traditions should also be thrown out of schools, too.  I just hope and pray that never happens to our district.  I felt like I won the jackpot when I heard that holidays were not only recognized, but celebrated in our district.  Not because of MY beliefs, but because of the fantastically fun opportunities I was going to have with my kids.  More holidays means more days where my kids can have a good time.  And that's what it all comes down to for me.  KIDS LOVE CELEBRATING!!!

So, this morning, if the rain takes our parade away, I'll come up with some fun learning games to play.  We'll have some math games during math time.  Some spelling games during our spelling time.  And so on, and so on.

Speaking of which, I should probably get to getting ready.  I have three kids who are all dressing up BIG time this morning.

Peanut is dressing up as some form of crazy looking doll thing.  Somewhat bringing the scare factor in to her design.  Creepy make-up and crazy hair are going to highlight her fun and colorful costume.  I can't wait to share pictures with you tomorrow.

Butter is going to be a girl.  Very brave costume with the grade he's in.  Long, black hair.  A black dress, and black sandals are the focus for his costume.  And Peanut will be providing make-up assistance.  His coach has already warned him that today will be a day of teasing and taunts.  But, it's good for Butter to step out of his comfort zone.  It's all in good fun.

My little Jelly picked out a pink bunny as her costume.  Simple.  Easy.  Comfy.  Pink sweat pants, a pink t-shirt, pink bunny ears and a fluffy tail were all that were needed for her costume.  But, she's been SOOOOO excited to put it on all week long.  I'm thinking that a pink nose and whiskers may also be in order.

Momma, that's me, will be dressing up in black sweat pants and a black shirt.  Once I get to school, I'll be pinning on some white felt dots and transforming myself in to a domino.  Which is what the entire 3rd and 4th grade hallway will be dressing up as.  Easy.  Simple.  Comfy.  Just taking a peg out of Jelly's book.  Any day in which I get to wear sweats is A-OK with me!!  It's a lot less crazy than I've normally gone this time of year, but as long as I'm participating.. I'm happy.

OK, time to let the transformations begin!!

Have a WONDERFUL Halloween, everyone!!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We Sure Know How to Throw One Heck of a Family Night

Well, yesterday wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

By the time I got to school, some of my voice had returned...and I sounded more like a teenage boy going through puberty than a woman who had lost her voice.  My voice squeaked and cracked... but it was a lot more than just a whisper.

Although, trying to quiet a class of 20 kids wasn't fun.  Once they heard my squeaky voice, though, they were a lot more attentive to my needs throughout the day.

Despite not really having much of a voice, I did have a MUCH better day at work than I did on Monday. The kids still struggled a little through the morning, but by the afternoon they were back to their regular old selves.  I was able to hang up my Cranky Pants for a little while and be a lot more calm.

I did come down on them pretty hard, yesterday morning though.  By the time recess rolled around, all but five of my class were standing a small portion of their recess.  I told them that because I wasn't able to yell to get their attention, or have the voice to repeat myself over and over again, I would just write names on the board to get their attention.  It didn't have near as the effect I thought it would... being that as the list of names started to grow, there wasn't THAT much change in their behavior.

Things started to get a little different, though, when I handed out their weekly reading contract.  

My kids all have a spelling contract and a reading contract each week.  It's basically a list of assignments that they have to do and a few they get to choose to do.  Kind of like a menu of options.  They have set days in which they do some of the work and other assignments are done when they choose to do them... as long as they are done by the specified due date.

One thing I started a couple of weeks ago was making the deadlines according to the grades that were being made in the class.

What I mean is, the kids that are making an average of 75% or higher get a lot longer time to complete their work.  Those students that are making an average of less than 75% have to turn in assignments each day.

The reasoning behind it is the fact that those kids with the lower averages have those grades mostly because of not turning in homework.  When I first started the contract, the entire class had all week long in which to complete their assignments.  What I discovered, however, is that several kids just didn't do the work.  Having that much freedom was too much for them, and they then panicked on the last day when they realized that they still had so much to do.  That, in turn, led to several zeros and a large decrease to their grades.

Now, their work and due dates is more structured.  They don't see it that way, though.  The kids that are making good grades are being given a gift of freedom....something that is coveted by those that aren't.  

Since changing the assignment due dates based on grades, there has been quite a spike in grades.  A couple of weeks ago, when it first started, I only had about 5 kids that had all week long to do their work.  When I handed the contracts out yesterday, it was an even split.  Half the kids had all week, half didn't.  I look at that as progress.

I'm really trying to instill some responsibility in to their learning.  By giving them choice in their assignments, and flexibility in their due dates, I'm hoping to achieve a better level of self dependence and help them understand that I'm not going to chase after them all week looking for assignments that are due.  They are in charge of their grades.  They either do the work or they don't.  Simple.

And once they got those contracts in their hands, yesterday, the atmosphere in the room changed...and it was back to business.

The rest of the day went very well, and they ended up leaving happy.

After school, the teachers all started the preparations for our second annual Ghost Story Family Night.  We served hotdogs and s'mores...and the families were able to roast their hotdogs and marshmallows on open fire pits while being entertained with music and ghost stories.  

We had a great turn out.  About 275 people showed up.

The 3rd and 4th grade teams were responsible for getting the food ready, and we spent a good portion of the evening inside handing out plates.  Once the line started to die down, I was able to go outside and enjoy some of the entertainment.

Thankfully, the weather was perfect for the occasion.  It was warm, but not hot.  The fire pits set the ambiance perfectly.  Families gathered all over the playground visiting and getting to know each other.  When I think of Family Night, it's exactly that scene that I imagine.

Most Family Nights I've attended in other schools feels more like a meeting than an event.  People sit by themselves at tables and listen to a speaker or look at each other uncomfortably while something is supposed to be taking place.

Having a family night where the whole point is to mingle and have a good time was a perfect way to spend the evening.

We didn't get home until after 8:30PM, and it wasn't long before I was in bed.  It had been a long day, and I was ready to get some rest.

Today is the last full day of learning for the week.  Tomorrow will be spent celebrating Halloween all day long.  Friday, we're having a Fall Festival that will take up the entire afternoon.  So, the pressure will be on today to get through everything that needs to be done.

I'm confident that it's going to be a good day.  

My voice has just about returned to normal, so I will be able to take back control of my room.  Of course, I could play it off for one more day...and soak it up for all it's worth.  But, I know I'll end up letting on at some point that my voice really isn't gone anymore...and I'll be busted.

It was fun while it lasted, though.  HA!

OK, that's it for me.

I better run... it's time for me to get dressed....


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Just Happen to All of a Sudden Lose My Voice...No Biggie


I guess it's a really good thing that I blog rather than vlog, or there wouldn't be a posting today.  For the first time in....well....ever... I have lost my voice.

I don't know how or why, it just happened all of a sudden yesterday.  One minute I was talking in my normal voice, the next I was sounding a little hoarse, and by the end of the day I really had to strain just to get any noise at all to come out of my voice box.

Which probably didn't help my situation any.  But when you've got 20 kids you're trying to get ready to go home for the day, a voice is somewhat important.

I don't ever remember a time that I've completely lost my voice.  I mean, sure, I've had the raspy thing... the voice that sounds like I smoke 5 packs a day kinda thing.  That usually comes after spending an evening at a very exciting ball game or some kind of event in which I've spent a great amount of time screaming at the top of my lungs.  But for it to be just about gone, without any yelling or screaming, where I can pull off nothing more than a faint whisper?  Yeah...that's never happened before.

It's also strange being that the lost voice has come on without any other symptoms.  No sore throat.  No cold.  No fever.  The only discomfort I've had is when I first woke up this morning and my throat felt like sand paper.  When I try to cough, that doesn't feel too great...but not from pain.  Just an uncomfortable feeling, like there's something stuck in my throat that I can't get out. It's all just very weird.  I'm thinking it's laryngitis brought on by my allergies, even though I haven't really had many problems with my allergies in the past couple of weeks.  I've had some sneezing and runny nose, but that's about it.  

Under any other conditions, I wouldn't worry too much.  I'd go in to my classroom and milk this bad boy for all it's worth.  Tell the kids they have to be extra quiet because it will be hard for me to communicate if they are being too loud... you know, that kind of stuff.  But, wouldn't you know that today is a day that I have to get up in front of the entire school and speak?

Yep.  Today is our Terrific Tiger assembly.  It happens once a month, and each teacher selects a student from their class to receive the special award of Terrific Tiger.  I'm supposed to get up and share why I picked the student that I did and say some nice things about them.  Well, that is going to be really fun to do when I can't speak.  

Not only that, but tonight is Family Night.  Kids, parents, families all coming for a night of food and fun at school.  I don't remember a single Family Night where at least a couple of parents want to check in and say hi...again, very fun with no voice.  

This all may very well be my pay back for being a Ms. Crankypants yesterday.  Which I totally was.  It was a tough morning for my kids, because somehow being gone for four days made them all extremely tired, unfocused, and unwilling to participate in our discussions.  

By 9AM I'd already asked a student to wake up, and had asked several more to pay attention and stop fiddling with stuff in their desks.  Not only that, but I'd ask questions about some of the content we'd covered last order to refresh their memories...and was met with nothing but blank stares as if they'd never heard anything I was saying before in their lives.  A ten minute review discussion lasted more like 30 minutes while I poked and prodded for them to remember and answer questions about stuff we'd gone in to great detail with just a week ago.

The fuel on the fire was when I asked for the one little homework assignment I'd sent home with them for Fall Break...and when I say small, I mean small.  It was finishing up a handout they'd started working on the last day before break that had maybe 20 questions total.  Which should have had several already completed before they left.  More than half the class didn't do it or didn't bring it back to school.  It probably wouldn't have been so bad had the offenders told me they'd done the paper and just forgotten it at home, or totally forgot about the assignment because they were having so much fun on their break... but all of the attitudes were "meh".  They didn't do it or didn't bring it, no big deal.  No rhyme or reason or explanation, it just didn't get done.

So, yeah, within the first hour of school I was pretty upset.  And it just kept getting better as the day went on.

It took over an hour to complete the spelling pretest because even though we've been doing a pretest every week since school started, they all seemed to have somehow forgotten the procedure for grading their spelling tests and writing their missed words on their spelling contract.  The amount of times I was asked which words were to be written on the contract  (even though they have ALWAYS just written the words they missed) or how to correctly spell a word, when it was right in front of them in their spelling book, just got my blood boiling.  

We then moved on to vocabulary, in which they were to write their NINE vocabulary words in to their reading notebooks.  This was new, but not exactly rocket science.  It took almost 20 minutes to get the class to write the words and then come up with a couple of sentences using the words.  Several had not finished by the time I told them we just HAD to move on.  Our reading block is only 90 minutes long... so with an hour long spelling test, and twenty minutes on one measly vocabulary activity... our time was just about up and we didn't get half the stuff done we were supposed to.

At the end of the day, when my voice was just about gone, I hit my breaking point.  All day long I had been reminding students to write their assignments on their planner.  Something I had told them, that morning, would be something I was going to start checking each day... so the "I forgot I had homework" excuses couldn't be so dominant.  After every assignment during the day, I had reminded them to write down their assignment, regardless of whether or not it was completed.  I want them to get in the habit of writing them all down  and checking them off when they are completed so that parents can start seeing what homework their kids have (per the many requests I received from parents at conferences).  At the end of the day, when it was time to check the planners, about ten students hadn't written a single word on their planner.  Again, no rhyme or reason or even remorse.  Just that "meh" look on their face... as if I had been lying to them all day long about checking it at the end of the day.  So, without a voice left to yell at them, I just started writing names down to spend a little time at recess thinking about their lackluster attitude.

This has to be one of the only downsides to breaks.  Although, I have to say that this is the first break that has been so bad.  We had a break last month, and the kids didn't come back in the zombie mode they returned in yesterday.  Heck, they weren't even this out of it the first week of school...coming back from a three month break.  Not sure if it's the change in the weather or that time of year where they get all focused on holidays... but I hope that they come back this morning as if yesterday never happened.

Apart of me feels like it's all my fault.  I mean, before the break the kids were really kicking it up a notch.  They were focused on making better grades, putting in extra effort to pass their tests, and I went several days without a behavioral issue.  And their hard work and dedication turned me in to Ms. Positivity.  I was spouting out sunshine and rainbows in just about everything we did.  But, maybe because they were being so well behaved, I was getting soft on them.  I was letting my guard down.  I was turning in to Mary Poppins of the classroom, and all of my kids know me well enough by now to know that's not my style.  I'm strict, firm, but fun.  Not offering out spoonfuls of sugar.  Maybe yesterday was a little test on their part... had my old ways gone forever?  Well, they were definitely given their answer if it was a test...and hopefully they don't need to keep testing the waters.

Also, I know that the week after conferences is tough.  A lot of kids get settled in to the mentality that I've met with their parents, I've given good news, and now they can just slack off because they don't have to worry about their parents finding out about it anymore.  Another myth I put to rest yesterday.  I informed all of them that each parent was just a phone call away, and now it was easier to call them because the parents all knew my expectations...that their children were living up to... and would be very disappointed to hear otherwise.

I have a strong feeling that today WILL be much better.  I will get my class back.  They just needed a day to shake off a few cobwebs and remember where they were and what they needed to be doing.

They've had their day, and I am sure that tomorrow's account will be many more roses and rainbows.

But, right now, I have to go and get ready for work.  Minus my voice.


Monday, October 28, 2013

I Get to Wear Sweats to Work!!!


Fall break is over.  Gone.  Finished.  And what do I have to show for it?  Nothing.

Well, that's not entirely true.  

I did manage to get two weeks worth of reading and social studies plans written.  My team decided this past week that we'd break up the responsibility of the lesson plans so that each person is writing plans for specific subjects, and then we can put them all together to turn in as one document.  It saves us all basically writing four versions of the same lesson plans.  I like it.

So, there's that.  

I also managed to do all of my laundry and switch out my summer clothes for my winter clothes in my closet.  Something I haven't had to do in several years.  In my old house, I was lucky enough to have a walk-in closet.  That sucker was big enough to hold ALL seasons worth of clothes.  My new house may be big and fancy, but it doesn't have a walk-in closet in the master bedroom...meaning I don't have room to store an entire year's worth of clothes in there.

It's not too bad, though.  Pulling out all the sweaters and long pants and long sleeved shirts made me feel like I'd gone on a big shopping spree and have all brand new clothes hanging in my closet.  I just hope the weather doesn't decide to warm up again.  

So, there's that, too.

I also managed to get the kids' Halloween costumes taken care of, too.  Peanut is dressing up like a freaky, cursed looking doll.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It will just have to be left at that until there are pictures to show what I'm talking about.  It's cute and scary all rolled in to one.  Butter is going to be dressing up like a girl.  Peanut came up with that idea, and took Butter under her wing to deck him out.  I like it, because all I had to buy was a black wig.  Peanut is providing the dress, shoes, and make-up on Thursday.  And Jelly decided she wanted to be a pink bunny.  That required pink bunny ears, a tail, and pink fleece pants and a t-shirt.  Easy peasy! 

All of the 3rd and 4th grade teachers will be dressing up like dominoes.  We just have to wear black sweats and a black shirt (which I already have), and we're going to make dots to stick on to us.  We're even going to have the kids try and join in if they don't have a costume already picked out.  Simple.  Cute.  Collaborative.  What could be better than that?

So, there's that taken care of as well.

Oh, and lastly, I got a new toy yesterday.  Hubby decided to spoil me and bought me the new iPhone 5C in hot pink!  It's purdy.

Why, yes, those are my plans that the phone is sitting on.  See, I was somewhat looking like I was busy doing stuff.  

So, I guess I shouldn't complain too much about my break.  I got a couple of things accomplished, and the rest of the time I did a whole load of nothing.  Isn't that what breaks are supposed to be for, though?  To rest, and do a whole load of nothing?  If so, then I nailed it!!

Today, I go back to work and thankfully, we're still in the middle of Drug Free Week.  Last Tuesday and Wednesday we started the Drug Free Spirit week, and this week we finish it off.  Today is "A Healthy Me is Drug Free", and we are supposed to dress up in exercise gear.  That translates to "Wear Sweats Day".  And, I couldn't be happier about that.  Wearing sweats to work is almost as good as getting to wear pajamas to work.  I know I'll be good and comfortable today!

The rest of the week will be busy, busy, busy.  Tomorrow night is Family Night.  Wednesday is our monthly Terrific Tiger assembly.  Thursday is Halloween and we'll have a Halloween parade and party, and then I have to take the kids Trick or Treating that night.  And Friday will close out the week with a big fall festival.  Never a dull moment in my school, that's for sure.

It's crazy to think that once this week is over with, there will only be three full weeks of school before Thanksgiving break.  That break I won't be able to sit around and do nothing, because I'm hosting Thanksgiving once again this year.  The first time in our new house.  

Well, I think I've gabbed on enough.  There's no need to start thinking or talking about Thanksgiving just yet...we haven't even gotten past Halloween yet.  

It's time for me to go jump in to my sweats, throw my hair up in a somewhat pony tail, and enjoy a fun-filled day at work.

Have a great Monday, everyone!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why Yes, I Spend My Saturday Evenings Doing Fun Stuff... Like Cleaning Out My Closet!

How does one gauge not having much of a life?

Is it done by sleeping half the day?  Spending weekends home on the couch?  Not just agreeing to, but volunteering to chauffeur and chaperone your teenager and her friends at a teenage get-together? How about spending a Saturday evening doing laundry and cleaning out closets?

I remember back a few years ago.  Not as many years ago as you might think.  In fact, only about two years ago.  I was rarely home on a Saturday night.  If you needed to find me, you'd do so in the company of my friends out at a local club or one of their houses having a good time.  We'd be out until the wee hours of the night discussing our jobs, our schooling, our lives...all while laughing until we cried.

Oh how times have changed.

I don't remember the last Saturday night that was spent that way.  I don't remember the last time I could say "I went out and did _________ Saturday night".  Now, my Saturday nights consist of sitting in front of the TV watching a movie, and trying everything in my power not to claw my eyes out from boredom.

Not that spending time at home is that boring.  It's just that the same old routine week in and week out gets a little monotonous.  It's always the same thing... rent a move, sit down and watch it, go to bed.

Last night, I got really adventurous and decided to clean out my closet at 11PM.  As I stood in my bedroom folding laundry, and getting out all the fall/winter clothes I had stored in tubs under my bed, I couldn't help but wonder when this had become my life.

I folded tank tops and sundresses and stored them away in to the tubs thinking about what I'd done during the summer.  How much time had I spent enjoying that time, making memories?  How much had I done of that since?

Sure, I get on here and talk about how crazy busy my life is with work and family.  I spend a great deal off my time driving my kids here, there, and everywhere so that they can participate in sports or spend time with their friends.  But, how many of those blog adventures that I share have involved me... by myself...or with other adults...spending time having fun?

Not many.

And don't get me wrong.  I enjoy my life.  I enjoy being able to do so much for my kids, and their friends.  I enjoy being the person they can count on to drive them around when other parents have too much going on.  That part doesn't bother me a bit.  

But, there are times when I have to stop and wonder if this is what my life is now destined for.  Have I reached the age where adult fun is no longer on the agenda?  Where my adult interactions are limited to other parents at kid-focused events?  

I'm not OK with that.

I'm 31 years old.  Hardly what I'd consider too old to have fun.  To go paint the town with friends, dance, act like a goofball.  

When my children are all grown, I will love the fact that many of their childhood memories will involve me.  I'm creating memories for them.  I rarely stop them from doing what they want to do, when they want to do it.  And, I'm OK with that.  But, when is MY time?  Has that time passed?  Have I had my chance at making all of the memories I need to make that don't involve the kids?

I sure hope not.

Yesterday, I went to see P-Momma, all by myself.  It felt nice to get out of the house for a little while alone...but then when I did get there, what did I spend the entire time talking about?  Yep.  My classroom, and the kids, and the combination of both.  

P-Momma suggested that we do a girls night out soon.  Just the two of us.  At a local restaurant, where we can sit and talk and laugh and listen to music or whatever...without any kids around.  And just the suggestion of it got me all a kid waiting for their trip to Disney Land.  

And I can tell you right now, it won't be a passing suggestion that goes unaddressed.  I'm already making plans in my head for it to be next Friday or Saturday night.  I'm not sitting on this one, I've had an offer to go out and I'm TAKING it.

I suppose it's understandable that my offers to go out and do stuff don't come very often.  My social circles aren't exactly very wide.  I have my two friends..that I haven't seen since this summer.  They are busy with their own lives, and I haven't exactly gone out of my way to set something up with the three of us.  And other than them and P-Momma, that's about it.  I have a new friend that is a parent of one of Peanut's friends.  We have a lot in common, and would probably have a blast spending some time together... but I'm not sure if that will happen, either.  I'm not exactly the kind of person that goes out of her way to make social connections.  

It's about the only area of my life that I'm shy about.  Putting myself out there.  Making myself vulnerable to rejection.  Sometimes it's easier to sit and whine on the sidelines, because putting myself out there is just a little too scary for me.

I spend way too much of my time caring what people think of me.  Trying to get people to like me.  And what usually ends up happening is that I try too hard, and it comes crashing down around me.  I start to notice the cold shoulders, the quick shuffles to make themselves look busy so they don't have to interact with me.  Sometimes I wonder if that's all in my head.  Which it probably is... but that, again, is my problem.  I worry and stress what people think of me rather than just being who I am and being OK with that.

I spend way too much time on Facebook looking at pictures of what people spend their time doing on the weekends... co-workers that have gone out and done something together, old friends that have had a get together, even minor acquaintances that post status updates about the fun they're having... and I get a little sad inside.  I'm at home, in my jammies, sitting in front of the TV.  Jealous.  Envious.  

I don't want to become the person who's out every weekend.  Family time is extremely important to me.  It would just be nice if every once in a while someone would ask me to go out.  Go do something.  Dinner.  Drinks.  A dance club.  Someone else's house.  I'm not picky.  I'd be happy for any offer.  

Oh well, I suppose I need to quit my whining and get back to my Momma duties.  There's grocery shopping to be done today, and some more house cleaning.  I also need to finish off clearing away all of my summer clothes. Let's not forget the last bit of grading I need to also finish up.

Just another Sunday for me.    

And I should get to doing what I need to get done.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Can I Get a Fall Break Do Over, Please?

I simply can NOT believe it's Saturday.  I mean, I've had two days off work, and now it's the weekend.  Yet it doesn't feel that way.  I don't have anything to show for having two extra days off.  My house isn't clean.  My work isn't done.  Laundry is still piled in the hamper.  

What the heck happened to those two extra days?

I thought the whole point of getting a couple extra days off was to get caught up on stuff like that.  Having more time to do everything that needs to be done, without having to feel so stressed about getting it done...because there's MORE TIME.  

Psh.  That's a load of horse poop.  

Apparently, getting a couple extra days off just means spending two days thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done, and the extra time to do it....and not actually doing it.  Because here I am, Saturday morning, and the To-Do list really hasn't gotten any shorter.

OK, I was able to jot down a couple week's worth of reading lesson plans yesterday.  

I had already decided ahead of time that yesterday would be the day I knocked out all of my school work.  And I spent maybe an hour doing my reading plans for two weeks.  Hardly anything to brag about.  Especially since my team had already decided the content we'd be covering for those two weeks.  All I had to do was plug in the activities we'd be doing.  Not exactly brain power needed for that.  

The rest of the time was spent playing around with Bitstrips, and goofing off.  Yeah, procrastinator right here.  Of the worst kind.    Darn new phone apps that get me all excited and completely take my focus off what I should be doing.

Thankfully, I was able to get away from all of the not doing any work yesterday afternoon when I took Peanut and some friends to the last varsity football game of the season.

Before the game, we met up with Peanut's friend and her mom for dinner.  It was really nice to sit and chat with another parent...especially one I have so much in common with.  It was the first time we had really gotten to talk...other than text messages or occasional fleeting hellos and goodbyes.  We shared some stories, and realized that we actually have a lot more in common than I thought we did.  We have the personality - we already knew that - but even our interests, likes, dislikes, etc. are all the same.  Very weird and very awesome all rolled in to one.  

After dinner, we headed on over to the game, and spent the evening chatting and letting the kids go off and spend some time with their friends.  It was FREEZING, but despite the cold it was one of the best evenings I've had in a long time.  It's been so long since I socialized with anyone other than Peanut and her friends.  I had started to feel like a full time chauffeur for the local teens, so it was extremely nice to be able to spend the evening talking to another adult.

Her daughter decided to come home with Peanut last night, so once we got home they went to Peanut's room and I went straight to bed.

This morning, realization hit that I really need to spend the day getting all of my work done.  No more goofing off.  No more creating hilarious comic strips just to tell the world that I'm avoiding what I should be doing.  It's go time...and if I want to have any hope of getting everything checked off my to-do list, it has to be today.  I just can't roll back in to work on Monday and have any excuses as to why all of my stuff wasn't taken care of.

And that goes for the housework, too.  For far too long, I've been neglecting my motherly house duties.. and I have said for the past couple of weeks that I'd get a handle on it come fall break.  Well, now fall break is half over, and I've yet to lift a finger on cleaning this house.

Shame, shame.

What a hypocrite I am for stressing to my kids the importance of time management and responsibility when I spend half of my time thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done, yet finding something else to occupy my time.

Which, I suppose, also includes writing this blog.  Another attempt at putting off the inevitable for a few more minutes.

I guess I need to suck it up and take care of what needs to be taken care of.  I know I'll feel much better when it's all done.  I just have to get the motivation up to get started....




Friday, October 25, 2013

Life is So Much More Fun When It's in Comic Form


How many of you have seen these types of pictures on Facebook recently?  People showing status messages using funny little cartooned versions of themselves?  

Well, I started seeing them pop in to my feed last weekend, but didn't think much of it.  Then, I started to see more and more of them as the week progressed, so I decided to look in to this Bitstrips thing.  And I was ecstatic when I found out that it was a completely FREE app I could download on to my iPhone.

Basically Bitstrip is an app that allows you to create an avatar for yourself and friends, and then provides funny little scenarios for the avatars to be plugged in to.  The captions are all editable, and speech bubbles can even be added to the scenes if wanted.

I downloaded it yesterday, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.  I started out with something simple...


Then, I decided to add Hubby in to the fun...without his consent, but I didn't need it...


Poor Hubby.  That's actually a pretty decent representation of life in my house every evening.  

The more I played around, though, I noticed that there are HUNDREDS of scenes to create status messages with...and I spent a long time just sifting through my options.

I came across a certain picture that would be perfect for a friend and me.  A couple of weeks ago, I had participated in a Facebook meme that asked friends to make up a way that we met.  It had to be a lie...and the fun began.  My friend had posted that we met in prison.  So, when I saw this next picture, I just had to create an avatar for her and post it on her Facebook wall...


After the whole prison story on Facebook, we joked around with each other about how we are so alike that if either of us ever did end up in jail, the other would be there too.  And, my friend joked around how we were like Thelma and Louse.  So...upon stumbling across another was perfect, once again...


I had so much fun making these little scenes.  While messing around, I thought about what a great tool this could be in the classroom.  The kids could make their own avatars, find a scene to plug themselves in to, and then create a story based on the scene..or even a couple of scenes.  I think kids would have a blast coming up with some stories based on scenes they created.  I've printed out pictures for them before, to use for their writing, but how much more fun would it be if they were the star in the picture?  In fact, they could make their own little books with Bitstrips...and writing in the story on each page.  

Another project I'm giving myself this weekend is to figure out the best way to use this in the classroom.  There has to be a computer version or something like that....or it may come down to me making avatars for all my kids and self selecting scenes for them to write about.  Almost like giving them writing prompts.

The app provides the ability to look up scenes based on feelings, events, and places.  So, when I was perusing the feelings section, I had to laugh out loud when I saw this one...


Of course, this picture probably wouldn't be appropriate to show in the classroom...because I bet a million dollars not a single one of my students has ever seen Risky Business, and so they would just assume it's a picture of me in my underwear.

Even when I was tired and ready for bed, I had to come up with a Bitstrip to tell the world about it...


I've posted more on my Facebook wall in the past 24 hours than I have in weeks.  I don't really post many status updates.  Maybe one a day...or every other day.  I just don't think that everyone I'm friends with cares that much about what I'm doing.  But, it's a whole new ball game when I'm saying it with funny comic strips.

If I woke up this morning and posted "I need coffee", nobody would care.  That's just boring.  But, when I get to say the same status like this...


That makes it a lot more fun.  I can only imagine how many people saw that on my Facebook this morning and smiled or nodded their head in agreement.  The message I want to convey when I post "I need coffee" is given off loud and clear when I look like a zombie scaring the bejeezus out of some poor guy.

And, right before I came on here to write, I made this little strip...


Of course, it would have been more accurate had it been a laptop in front of me...but the message is still conveyed.

For being a free app, it is definitely something worth checking out if you're in the market for something to just waste a little time on.  There are a few minor kinks that I hope they fix...information overload being one of them.  Because so many people are now trying it out, the server crashes A LOT and it takes several attempts to get my status pictures to post.  I have also received a lot of ERROR messages when trying to look at several of the strips due to too many people being on the server. But, I'm sure the creators didn't really know how popular their little app would become.

Also, even though the options to create the avatars can depict a pretty close representation of the person, the options for clothing is extremely limited.  You can pick an outfit, but have no control over colors...and the options that are given are slim pickings.  Also, I was a little miffed when I realized that when you change the color of the hair, it changes ALL of the hair colors.  For example, Hubby has pink hair.  Yes.  Pink.  I can't portray that in his avatar, however, because even though pink is an option to choose from - it also changes the color of his eyebrows and goatee.  He doesn't have pink eyebrows or a pink goatee, so I had to make his hair the natural color.  Again, minor problem and definitely not enough to turn me away from using the app.

I also really love that you can create comics with friends on Facebook...with our without their permission.  If they haven't created an account for themselves, you can create one for them.  You just hunt for the friend you want to use, set up their avatar, and BAM..they are in.  If they have already set up an avatar for themselves, then you can use that one.  

I'm not sure how many people would be OK with that.  There may be some people who don't want a cartoon character made, but if you're friends with them on Facebook...they are open targets.

So, yeah, that's what I spent a small portion of my time messing around with yesterday.  Today, I have to get some work done.  I'm also going out this evening to the last football game of the season, and it's going to be COLD.  Nothing like spending a cold evening sitting on concrete bleachers, am I right?

OK, that's enough for me for one day.

Have an awesome Friday!!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences Part II, Fall Break, And Anything Else IDecide to Discuss

I can't sit here too long this morning, because in an hour I have to take Butter to the doctor for his arm check up.  He got his cast put on last week, so they want to see him back just to make sure that everything is setting OK.

Which leaves me a little stressed to fit in all of the stuff I need to talk about...but I'll get it done.

So, I didn't give my Parent Teacher Conferences Part II update yesterday because I didn't get my behind out of bed until 5:45AM.  The night before was the second round of parent teacher conferences, but I didn't actually get home until midnight, so I was way too tired to get up early to blog about it yesterday morning.

The second night was just as awesome as the first night.  I got to meet all of my parents, minus two.. who I phone conferenced with instead.  One of those parents, however, I've met before so doing the phone conference was fine.  

All of the parents were happy with what I had to tell them, and some were even surprised to hear some of the progress their child had made.  

Hands down, best conference of the night though, goes to the parents of a child who were expecting bad news, because it's been a pretty tough year for their child...and this was not the first time we'd had to meet.

In fact, I've had to meet with the parents a couple of times already this year due to behavior issues or not turning in work or not putting in any form of effort in to the work.  

I decided to take a little risk, and get the conference started exactly how they thought it would go.  I drug out my stack of incomplete work I'd been saving, grade sheets that had a few zeros on it from not having work turned in, and writing samples that showed that there had been no care whatsoever.  What I didn't tell them, straight away, was that the stuff they were looking at I had been keeping for a while...and some of it was stuff they'd already seen before.

There was a reason for my starting the way I did.  It was what they were expecting.  The looks on their faces of disappointment and also not being surprised was exactly what I wanted before I hit them with the bombshell I had planned for them.

Their child had done their end of quarter testing, and had come up over 2 grade levels in both math and reading.  Not only that, but their child and I had made a secret pact a few weeks ago that her goal was to no longer have to go to extra pull-outs for help.  She wanted to be able to stay in the classroom, because she felt that she didn't really need the extra tutoring that she was getting.  And, I found out, was the cause for some of her rebellion that we'd been dealing with since school started.  In her mind, she was performing at the level she was considered to be.  If she was below grade level, her work should show that.  When we had a nice little chat about her abilities, and how she could turn everything around...she let me in on the secret that, in the beginning of the school year, she thought being pulled out for extra services meant she would get out of work.  She had pretty much rushed through the beginning of the year tests in order to get low scores in order to have those pull-out services.  When she found out that the kids that stayed behind didn't get "extra work", but were instead working on projects or homework or in small groups for reading...she decided she wanted to do that instead.

So, for the past couple of weeks, I'd been pumping her up ready for the next test and she was dead set on really showing her full potential.

The looks on her parents' faces when I showed them the new test scores were UNBELIEVABLE.  Shock.  Excitement.  Pride.  All rolled in to one...with a few tears.

Yes, I had been a little mean to them by kicking off the conference how they expected me to.  But, it made the turn around so much more dramatic and awesome when they got to hear how much their child had improved.

We discussed future plans, and I asked them to really push their happiness and show their excitement when they returned home.  I truly believe that we've seen the end of low grades, nonchalant work, and an unfocused attitude.... as long as they do their part to support and encourage her at home.

The last conference of the night was also another great conference to end it all.  A father sat in front of me with tears in his eyes when I showed him his child's grades, and they were all As and Bs...and I followed it up with how hard his child works, the devotion to the school work, and how much I truly loved having his child in my class.  I'm not quite sure if the tears were from shock, pride, or relief.. but he left extremely happy.  And that was exactly the way I wanted to wrap up the night.

After the conferences were all over, I spent a couple of hours in my classroom finishing up some paperwork.  Butter was at his last football game of the season, and I was expecting his return at any time.  What I didn't know what that the team had planned to stop and eat dinner on the way home, which bumped up their arrival time by an hour.  So, by the time I drove the high school, waited for 30 minutes, and then drove home, we didn't get back until midnight.  An EXTREMELY long night.  I was ready for my bed...and like I said earlier, didn't get out of it until 5:45 the next morning.

Yesterday was a great day that lead in to today.... FALL BREAK!!  For the next two days, and the weekend, I'm going to be home.  I have a ton of work to do, but I don't feel stressed or time deprived to get it done.  It's important for me to enjoy some of this break.

Butter is going off to my parents' house today, and will be spending fall break with them.  Peanut and I will be going to the last varsity football game tomorrow night with a couple of her friends that I've agreed to drive.  Other than that, no plans have been made except getting some cleaning done, working on my school stuff, and relaxing.

Right now, though, I really need to go jump in the shower so I can get Butter to his doctor's appointment.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences - Part I


Ah yes.  It's that time of year.  Time for Parent Teacher Conferences.

Last night was my first of two nights devoted to meeting with parents to discuss their child's current progress.  I had parents scheduled from 4PM - 7:40PM, and all but one parent showed up which is pretty good attendance.

I really enjoy conferences.  It's sometimes the only chance I ever get to meet the parents and talk to them about how their kids are doing.  Being that it's early in the school year, it gives me a chance to tackle any issues I may be dealing with and bring to light some information the parent had no idea about because the little notes I send home somehow seem to get misplaced between school and home.

I also enjoy conferences because it gives the kids a chance to shine.  It's amazing to me how many students are scared of conferences, even though they have been exemplar students all year and have absolutely no reason to be worried whatsoever.  And, it's always great to see the looks on their faces when I give them kudos for their hard work.  The kids and the parents, actually.

Last night, all of my conferences went very well.  There was only one scheduled that I was a little nervous about, and that's only because I've had a few minor issues with the child...yet the parent had a few major issues with me.  

That's not entirely true.  What I mean is, the parent had heard a few things about me.  Mostly false information that she'd heard from her older kids about my style of teaching and who I am as a person. I was openly accused of being a bully, and saying very nasty things about her child and some other children that attend the school.  Such as making fun of the way they dressed or calling them nasty names right in front of them.

I was shocked.

I was glad that I got to give the parent my side of the story, but I'm not sure whether she left believing me.  It always hurts my heart when a parent doubts my abilities, but it's unbearable when a parent believes something about me that couldn't be further from the truth.

She'd heard I was mean.  I corrected her by saying I was strict.  They are two different things.  I have high expectations, and I expect students to be responsible for their learning and face their challenges head on.  She agreed with me that it was important for kids to be set to those standards.  She told me that she wanted her child to be responsible and not be coddled along.  I explained my importance of honesty, and that for the most part all of my students were extremely honest with me.  The problem, however, is that the honesty seemed to stop at my classroom door.  It was not uncommon to meet with a parent about a situation and get two different sides of a story.  This was one of those situations, and I think she understood that there had been some dishonesty with her child and portraying some of the events that had taken place at school.

She'd heard that I had said very derogative remarks about a child and that I had blatantly called them ugly.  I explained there was a miscommunication, and that I didn't call a child ugly, I asked them not to be ugly to others.  A situation had arose where a group of kids, one of her older children being one of them, weren't being very well behaved or nice to each other, and I had told them all to stop being ugly.  To each other.  Not near the same thing, but I can see where a few passes of the information in the rumor mill could lead to that misinformation.

She'd heard that I had made fun of a child and the way they dressed.  I was shocked and appalled by this statement.  There was no misunderstanding that had taken place, that was just a bold faced lie.  I would never and have never made fun of a child based on what they wore - or for any other reason as a matter of fact. I'm a big believer in picking on people your own size, and I would never make fun of a child.  That accusation just upset me to no end, and I was firm in my explanation of such.  She seemed to believe me, but it was hard to tell.

Overall, the conference went OK, but it was the only one that left me feeling a little sad.  

Luckily, I had some great conferences after the fact that boosted my spirits once again and made me feel a lot better about what I'm doing in the classroom every day.

At the end of the school day, yesterday, I had each child write some notes that they wanted to be included in their conference folders.  Information that they wanted to share with their parents.  I also made a point not to read the information, and held off until conferences.  A little dangerous, I suppose, but conferences should be the time that concerns are raised and I didn't want any bias from what the kids had to say.  If they wanted to complain about me, they should have the chance to do so...and give me the chance to defend myself or straighten out anything that was going on.

Thankfully, the notes that had been written for parents were extremely honest and shone a nice light in my direction.

I had several students who pinpointed their challenges.  Stuff they were struggling with.  They ALL followed up, however, with the fact that I had been supporting and helping them through their struggles.  Some of the students fessed up to getting in to trouble for minor infractions, and some had concerns about getting in to trouble when they NEVER get in to trouble.  They made goals to listen better, follow directions better, and to make better grades.  And, for the most part, they all do that.  It was nice to ease some concerned looks from parents with explaining that their child had concerns about stuff that didn't apply to them at all.

The whole evening was full of warm and fuzzy feelings, but there was one that really knocked my socks off and caused the Kleenex to come out.

A mother sat and listened to the wonderful progress her child had made.  The look of relief and happiness on the mother's face was picture worthy.  It obviously meant a lot to her to hear good comments about her child.  I had an interpreter with me to translate the conference, and between the two of us, we shared some amazing progress about the child.  We made it a challenge for the Hispanic speaking kids to translate their conference notes that they'd written to their parents.  This particular child had written a whole page worth of stuff, and was a little embarrassed to share it.  She did, and shared how she had only gotten in to trouble one time and it was just a warning.  She shared how much better she'd gotten in all of the subjects and how her grades were a lot better now than they were at the beginning of the school year.  She spoke about her struggles in math.  She shared how disappointed she was in herself for trying her absolute best on a math test, but not making a good grade on it..and then followed it up with how bad it had made her feel.  I stopped her at that point, looked her straight in the eyes, and told her that she gave me her best EVERY single day and I knew it.  All I asked for was that very thing.  She should not doubt herself or feel upset about one little grade.  She knew she needed help, and was doing everything she could to get help with it.  And that in itself was amazing.  I then saw the last sentence of her paper...and it was a thank you to me for always being there for her.  

**Insert tears**

Her mother, who had also teared up just a smidgen by this point, looked at me and in English thanked me for being their for her child.  She told me that she worked very hard, and sometimes felt like she didn't have enough time to be there for her child.  That she had no idea how well she was doing, and that made her sad.  But, she was happy knowing I was caring for her daughter and helping her so much.  

**Insert sobs**

It always touches my heart to hear something like this.  True and utter appreciation.  Not just for teaching a child, but for CARING for a child.  

That's what it's all about.  And another reason why I love conferences so much.  

Not so that I can give myself a big pat on the back.  I mean, that's always nice, but to actually make a parent's day by hearing that their child has made so many gains and has come such a long way in such a short time.  To know that their child is responsible for their learning, and that it means something to them.  It's important for their child to succeed and it's important when they don't.  That they care about their own education.  And how much I care about each and every kid in my class.

I don't care how late I have to stay at school on a conference night.  Getting to spend a few hours meeting with parents is an awesome way to spend an evening.  Especially when it's full of amazing conferences like I had last night.

And, I get to do it all over again tonight. 

I can't wait.

It's appropriate that for the kick off of Drug Free Week that our theme is Happy, Happy, Happy to be drug free! *Duck Dynasty.

I may not have a bunch of camo to wear in honor of our first Drug Free spirit day, but I will get to wear my Happy, Happy, Happy smile today.  And that's all the spirit I need to lead me in to another awesome night of conferences.

Have an amazing Tuesday, everyone!!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Not Sure if I Should Feel Thankful or Totally Panicked

You know that old saying "Be careful what you wish for"?  

Well, I'm feeling the side effects from it.  And I'm not sure whether to feel grateful that I finally got what I wished for, or totally panicked and stressed about it.

You see, yesterday morning I woke up not feeling so great.  My stomach didn't feel so good...but I didn't pay it much attention.  I had a lot of stuff planned to do, yesterday, so a icky stomach was the least of my worries.

I had grocery shopping to do, grading, lesson planning, and preparations for parent teacher conferences that are happening tonight and tomorrow evenings.  I was supposed to have done grocery shopping the day before, but I rescheduled that so that I could take the kids to visit P-Momma.  No biggie...that's why there are two days on the weekends, so that one of them I can spend doing something I want to do rather than stuff I have to do.

Well, I finished up my blog, stood up to go get some stuff started, and felt like I was going to fall down. I was all queasy feeling.  Like if I didn't sit down immediately, I was going to face plant.  When I did sit down, I got the hugest urge to throw up.


I didn't throw up, but I decided that if I lie down for a little while, maybe whatever that was messing with me would pass.

This past week, both Jelly and Butter had a 24 hour stomach bug.  When I got home from P-Momma's house on Saturday, Hubby informed me that he'd spent most of the afternoon throwing up. Apparently, what had plagued everyone else was now giving me my turn.

I went in to my room to lay down for a while around 10AM...and that while turned in to 4 hours!  When I woke up, it was after 2PM.  Unfortunately, when I woke up I wasn't feeling any better and finally threw up.  TMI?  Sorry.  

Anywho, I stayed in bed for a while longer...till almost 3PM.

When I did get up, Hubby and I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to go grocery shopping.  So, I sent Hubby to take care of it, and I took my rear end right back to bed.

And again, I slept.  Till around 5:30PM.

When I got up, I was still very weak feeling.  I threw up once again, and decided to try and sit and watch some TV for a little while.  To make matters worse, Hubby was making brownies for my kiddos - that I've been promising them for a couple of weeks.  I had mentioned something about it to him, and he decided he better go ahead and make them or they wouldn't get make for another week.

The smell, which usually makes me hungry, just made me want to lock myself up in the bathroom within safe distance of my porcelain refuge.  I decided to take a shower to see if that would help make me feel better, but it didn't.

After taking a shower, panic started to set in.  I hadn't done a lick of work, and the stack of papers that needed to be graded were sitting on my desk taunting me.  I started thinking about everything I had to prepare for conferences...and worrying if I'd have enough time to take care of any of it at school.  What if I didn't?  What if I went back to school and nothing got taken care of?  What if parents showed up and I wasn't ready for them?

All of the worrying made my stomach start knotting up, once again, and it was back to the bathroom with me for my last upchuck of the day.  

It was at that point that I decided to heck with it, I was going back to bed, and I'd worry about it when I made it in to school the next morning.

And that's what I did.  I was back in bed by 8PM and slept until 4:15 this morning.  

I'm feeling much better.  No more sick feeling or weakness.  Whatever I had has passed, but the stack of work that needed to get done this weekend didn't get touched.  Any other time, I wouldn't worry about it a bit and just get it finished after school today.  But, my first parent shows up at 4PM.  

Somehow, today, I have to get in all the grades that haven't been entered, print out progress reports, make up conference check lists for each of my kids, and prepare each individual student folder...on top of teaching.  


And you know, teachers have so much free time during the day to get stuff like that done.  

I don't even want to think about the fact that I also have to clean my room, and file a ton of work in to student folders so that there's stuff to show parents when they come.  

This is why procrastination never pays off!

So, for weeks, I've been wishing that I could have one day to spend in bed.  A day full of sleeping and resting.  Well, I got what I wished for, yet it couldn't have come at a worse time.  

It's not as though I can ask parents to forgive me for not being prepared because I was sick.  They won't care.  They want to hear about their child's progress, see their grades, hear about and see samples of what they've been doing.  

But, I will get it done.  I have to.  I will arrive at school this morning and spend my time entering in the grades that need to be entered.  I will start working on the checklists.  I will get everything printed out.  Then, during my plan time, I will prepare all of the student folders. 

I will assign work throughout the day that the kids can work on while I'm working.  As much as I hate putting them to work without constantly monitoring and helping.  I do what I gotta do.  

Besides, they have brownies to enjoy this afternoon, so I know they'll be extra well behaved for me today.  When I explain to them how much I have to get done, they may even be willing to help out.  I don't see why they can't help me prepare their folders for their parents.  

One thing I definitely can't complain about today is being tired.  I am fully rested and ready for the day ahead.  I slept 90% of the day, yesterday, and all night.  If that didn't get me rested up, nothing will.  

I know that I work well under pressure, and I'm definitely going to be feeling that pressure today.  I just pray to all things holy that I can pull it off.  I've had to do stuff like this before - prepare at the last minute.  

I just have to hope that Karma is on my side today, and stuff like the copier breaking down, or something coming up during my plan time doesn't happen.  

Oh well, only one way to find out.  And what I can do is take this 45 minutes I have before it's time to get ready grading.

Here I go....