Monday, September 28, 2009

AJ Reading to Charlie

Because Mom and Dad had read the exact same book to him 10 times already.


But what can I say? We fell for big blue eyes and chubby cheeks too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Student of The Month

AJ had a reasonably fantastic day of his own on Friday. He was Student of The Month, he had an auction in his class (using the "cash" they get for good behavior), he had a mom come in and make a special snack for the kids (pretzel rods with frosting), and he got to have a babysitter with some friends of ours while the parents went out to dinner. He was one happy kid.

Drinking From a Real Cup


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Reasonably Fantastic Evening

There are few perfect nights. But last night was darn close.

I went with 3 other women to a book signing of my favorite author Diana Gabaldon. For the 2 of you out there who have not read her books, she is the author of the Outlander series. They are historical fiction novels with just enough history to learn something, and just enough smut to keep them interesting. Every woman I know (myself included) is in love with the main character, Jamie. He is the perfect combination of grit, tenderness, protector and scholar. But, I think what most women find the most attractive is his complete and utter love for Claire.

Yes, the story is fantastic. Each book is over 1,000 pages. (Yeah, I said a thousand.) But instead of having a feeling of accomplishment when you finish the book, you just simply feel like your family is going away for awhile.

I have read the entire series 2 times.

The book signing was at the Biltmore. We had fancy martinis, wine on the patio and a lot of laughs. It was just like Sex in the City without the $700 shoes.

After drinks we all filed into the ballroom. There was a piper. In a kilt. And the author was just as articulate as you would expect an author to be. But she was funny, and smart. And as down to earth as you could be, when your books routinely open number 1 on the NYT Best Seller List. The funniest part of the whole night was that there were people reading their new books while they sat- in the ballroom. Can you imagine having that type of effect on people?

After the festivities, we went to a Thai restaurant in town. It was very yummy. And very welcomed to a woman whose only access to ethnic food is Taco Bell.

Good food, good drink (expresso martini- need I say more?), good company, and being surrounded by people who "get it". All in all, a pretty great night out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And They Say Boys Don't Communicate. . .

This note from AJ was left on the leather chair in the family room for Shawn.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Soccer Game of The Season

The Game

The Strategies

The Refreshments

The Fans

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Instead of Cleaning Our House. . .

We do this.

Don't Worry, It Was For a Good Cause. . . .

Every year AJ's school has a fundraiser with a pizza joint in town. You call the store, tell them your school and teacher and they tally up all the sales. The school gets 20% of our sales back. And the class that gets the most orders gets a free pizza party.

Our school is kind of famous for its parental involvement. What can I say? We are legends in our own minds. Last year we did this and there was a bit of a learning curve on the restaurants part. The delivery drivers were a little late, the food was a little less than warm. We asked the manager after, "What went wrong? " Apparently the average school has 60 orders during fundraising night. We had close to 200. They were a bit overwhelmed.

But this year the manager has reassured us that they are prepared. It is a great fundraiser, and one night I don't have to cook dinner. It is a win/win.

So, I ordered the usual pizza, but added breadsticks and even dessert to bulk up our order. (Because $6 going to the school is soooo much better than $4.) And as you can see, Charlie liked it all. He is currently in a dipping phase. And he dipped his pizza and breadsticks in marinara sauce with each bite. He even got some in his mouth!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Soccer Season Has Begun!!!!!!!!

Today was AJ and Shawn's first soccer practice. They were pumped and ready to go. Many of the kids that signed up, have been on the team before, so we should be a well oiled machine. Who am I kidding? If we have a game with two consecutive passes, we will be doing well. Go Lighting Bolts!

This Arsenal shirt is for Shawn's birthday from my friends Erlinda and Jose. Shawn was excited to have a shirt he could actually wear to support his favorite team.

Charlie is in the picture because the minute someone pulls out a camera and he sees people starting to pose, he needs to be in on it. See how the front of his shirt is wet? That's because he thought it would be a good idea to drink a bowl of mandarin oranges 2 minutes before this picture was taken.

When Shawn and AJ aren't playing soccer, watching soccer or planing on playing or watching soccer, they are doing this:

Watching AJ

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One More Thing Off the Bucket List

The puke bucket, that is.

Today I walked into a classroom to give a lesson. The classroom was empty. The door was propped open with a chair. It caused me pause, but honestly, not for long. The teacher is reasonable. I figured she had her reasons.

So, I wait. I check my schedule. I wait. I check my schedule again. Soon, a little girl comes into the classroom and tells me the class is sitting in the hall. There was an accident. She said her teacher wanted her to come get me.

I walk to the hall and see the children sitting up against the wall and their teacher is reading a book to them. I wasn't sure what I was expecting. But, I guess I was thinking it would be a little more mayhem and a little less story time.

The teacher pulls me aside and tells me a student has had an accident in the classroom. The door was propped open to air the classroom out. Hmmm. It is obvious at this point, that I have not been teaching long enough to even fathom what type of accident would cause a teacher to clear out a second grade classroom, and then feel the need to air said classroom out. It didn't smell like vomit. And I am very sensitive to that smell. I can't eat swiss cheese because I think it smells like vomit.

So I advise her the classroom no longer smells, and I walk back into the room. The teacher, in a voice that I have never heard come from a human being, shrieks to me: " Stop! Don't move! Stop! Right! There!"

I stop. And soon I have a woman, who I have only known a month, kneeling behind me, wiping poop off the leg of my pants with a tissue and antibacterial soap. I have no idea how poop got on the door frame, or the chair, or whatever it was that I brushed against. Some things you are better off not knowing, even in school. And sometimes- especially in school.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Puppy Love

Charlie LOVES puppies. He notices them anytime we are out. He pants and barks at them on t.v. And he will try to make friends with them whenever he can.

Today, he and I were out and there were these really cute stuffed animals. Now Charlie needs another toy like a hole in the head, but these were too cute to pass up. (They were made of leather- which I thought was kind of cool and different.) I showed him the cat. No interest. I showed him the bunny. No interest. I showed him the puppy and he immediately reached for it and hugged it to him. They have been friends ever since.

Labor Day Appliance Shopping

So, for the past month, AJ and I have sworn that our microwave has been possessed. Every now and then you would turn it on and after a few seconds the light inside would start flashing- poltergeist style- and there would be this horrible buzzing sound. It was truly frightening.

We had told Shawn a few times that this was happening. And it wasn't that he didn't believe us. It was just that it never happened when he was using it. Until today.

And wouldn't you know we (meaning Shawn) had the microwave out, a new one bought and installed within 2 hours of him finally witnessing the possession. Yeah!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This is Charlie sharing his lunch with AJ. He hand-fed AJ half the bowl of pasta.

We Can't Choose Who Our Children Love. . .

Charlie has taken to a new "Lovey". A special stuffed animal? An old blanket? Nope. He has become very attached to my label maker. If he has his way, it goes everywhere with him. And he gets VERY upset when he has to give it up to go to school.

I once heard a story of a kid that became attached to a whisk. Now that is just weird.

Soapbox Alert

I don’t usually do this, but I am so irritated right now, I just can’t get passed it.

I am not really sure why people are so upset about having the President of the United States, address the country’s youngest citizens. Especially since no one has actually HEARD the speech yet. If you want to get upset after the speech, be my guest. That is your right. But, to pass judgment on something that has not happened yet is a little ridiculous.

At the school where I teach, the administration has decided not to show the speech at all. There are so many parents worried that the President would brainwash their kids with his “socialist” ideas with this one speech. Please. I’m sorry, but wasn’t he elected?

I am a liberal that lives in a very conservative state. I do a lot of nodding politely and changing the subject during dinner parties and coffee shop conversations. It is pretty much guaranteed that I will not agree with the political views of 90% of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis. And that is ok. But even when the sitting President and I did not agree on issues, I was still respectful. I listened to his speeches. I rolled my eyes a lot and groaned, but I listened. And at the end of the day I recognized he was still my President. He had been elected to lead the country and we needed to let him speak.

I remember sitting in my own grade school listening to the President speak. And even at that young age, I recall thinking that it was nice that everyone could get a long for a few minutes and get behind a common cause- the nation’s children. Of course my thoughts were not that articulate, but you get the idea. It calmed me. I liked that the adults running my world could come together long enough to think about my friends and me. It made me feel safer in a world I had no control in. In a world I had no voice, or vote, I remember thinking I was glad someone was thinking about us kids.

It has been my observation that the children are often not thought of. And if they are remembered, it is an afterthought. They are a matter that many think can be placed on the back burner. They are not “real people” yet. Their issues can wait.

I live in a state that has had such massive education funding cuts, Shawn and I have seriously discussed moving. And we have had the discussion more than once.

In fact, the other day, Shawn and I went to a presentation about educational funding. The presenter advised us that there is a community a few miles away that is filled with retirees who consistently vote against educational bonds, etc because their children are no longer in school. My question to them would be this: “Who do you think is going to train YOUR caregivers to take care of you, when you are too weak and disabled to take care of your own needs?” The answer of course is the nations children.

And here is the thing. It is always the answer.

As I mentioned, the school where I work has chosen not to show the President’s speech. And as I have also said, the reason given was that we didn’t want to upset parents. But I don’t think that is the true reason at all. I think we are not broadcasting the speech to the student body because we don’t have enough TVs. AV equipment wasn’t in the budget.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sibling Rivelry

AJ may be the one running for office. . . .

but Charlie still thinks he's number one!

I say, let the people decide!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This update is dedicated to my brother, Jeff . He called me the other day and informed me that I hadn't written in a while and he was anxiously awaiting the next entry. I didn't have the heart to point out that he was TALKING TO ME ON THE PHONE and could get any update he wanted at that time. But, I digress. So here it is:

Heather- is actually enjoying teaching art. The paralyzing fear and nausea each Monday morning is ebbing. And Shawn no longer has to push me from a moving car to get me to work.

Shawn- has a birthday coming up. He likes things in small blue boxes with the word "Tiffany" on them. You can just send them in care of me. I will be sure to pass it along.

AJ - loves school. He is running for student council vice president. He had to get a petition signed by 2 teachers and 5 students in order to run. He asked me to sign it. I told him no. I told him that no one would take his campaign seriously if he had his mom sign the petition. He had to get a "real" teacher to do it.

And just to cover my bases, I also let him know that all the singers on American Idol that we make fun of during the auditions, are there because their mothers told them they could sing. I am not one of those mothers.

Charlie- also loves school. His teachers love him. The staff plays with him on their lunch break. If that isn't a sign that his teachers are in the right profession, I don't know what is. He is about to break out into sentences any day now. Keep your eyes open for the Charlie manifesto, coming soon. Not sure what it will cover, but I am guessing blankets, nuks, puppies and importance of snacks will be in there.

So, I think that covers everything. Until next time. . .