Monday, May 31, 2010


I took AJ and Charlie to the town pool the other day in an effort to start getting Charlie comfortable with the water. I went there because the pool is a lot more kid friendly and heated. It did not go well. Charlie wanted no part of the water and spent most of the time sitting on the side or giving me a string of small heart attacks as he walked too close to the edge.

Today, AJ had his BFF over so I decided to see if Charlie wanted to go in the pool too. And to be honest, I was surprised when he said yes. For about 1/2 hour he merely sat on the edge. But then he got brave and used the fish inner tube I got him.

After we did that for a while, he got on the step and sort of leaned into me in the water. And I pulled him around by the hands. I even held him while we both went underwater. He didn't want to do it a second time, but he didn't cry either. He also created a game where he threw is nuk and then "swam" over to get it.

I was just amazed at what a difference a few days has made. Charlie went form being a kid that was afraid of the water to the kid I had to bribe to get out. And the only reason I made him get out was that he was shivering and his lips were blue.

I am glad he seems to be taking to the water. Like drinking coffee and golf, life just seems so much easier if you like it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Surprise From AJ

On the night before the last day of school, AJ calls Shawn upstairs and wants to talk to him. My first thought, as always when this happens is, "I wonder what type of male problem they are discussing?". My second thought is usually, "I am so glad it is is Shawn up there and not me."

After about 20 minutes, Shawn comes back down. He does not say a word and just sits back down to finish watching t.v. I look at him, and decide that if he isn't even going to bring it up and tell me what is going on, I soooo don't want to know. It must be really bad or really gross or both. And I am at peace with that.

The next day I am in the midst of last day chaos. Hundreds of parents show up for the 5th grade promotion ceremony. That kept me busy in the front office checking everyone in and out. It turns out, when you are "Art on a Cart" and don't have a room to clean, you have a lot more free time at the end of the year than most teachers.

I was in someone's classroom relaying a message, when AJ shows up out of nowhere. He has a journal/book in his hand and gives it to me. He had gone around his class and asked all the kids to write me a message about how much they liked art. I was so touched. That was what he had been talking to Shawn about the night before.

The kids said the sweetest things. And a few of them even said they now wanted careers in art after taking my class. It was such a sweet gesture. And I was so proud and touched that he had thought of it all by himself.

Then I went home and slept for two days. I wish I was kidding.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Last Week of School

I've learned a few things these past nine months. Being a teacher is a lot like being a parent. The months fly by and the days last forever. But I really like the job. I can count on one hand the times I have been really upset, mad, or frustrated with it all. And that is pretty good for any line of work.

I love the celebrity status I have when I walk around town. It is fun to hear my name being called out from across the town square, or at Basha's or CVS, ( unless I'm buying tampons or picking up my BCP. Not that that has happened. . . )

And I love that my friends tell me their kids come home and actually talk about what they did in art that day. And they tell their parents about composition, visual texture, vanishing points, horizon lines and how they got to see a painting that was really, really old. (It was done in 1978.)

But my favorite part is how I get to show the students that they have ownership in what they create. There is never a black and white answer like in math. I could tell every student in the class to draw and elephant and they would each draw a completely unique one. And they would all be right. I love how I get to be the teacher that doesn't have to say: "You must do it this way." Instead I tell them that they are the artist and the decisions are theirs alone.

Next year I am going to introduce an art history component to the curriculum. I have this fantasy that my fifth graders will get to middle school and high school and the art teachers there will start talking about Degas or 2 point perspective. And my former students will just smile and say: "Mrs. D already taught us that."

Hey, a girl can dream.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Charlie Sharing His Blankets

Chillin' By The Pool

Literally. Shawn was brave and went in, but it was really really cold. The type of cold that if you stay very still, you get use to it. But if you make even the slightest move, a chill runs through your body. That cold.

Charlie will be taking swimming lessons this summer. Hopefully he will be wearing a suit next time you see him in the water.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tap Tap Tap. . . Is This Thing On?

I am doing a school-wide project making kites. Every kid in the school is making one. There are over 700 kids in the school and about 25 classes. I was in a classroom the other day doing the lesson. Keep in mind, this particular class would be the second to last class in the school to make them, and they had created quite the stir. Most classes cheered when I walked into the class with the kite-making materials.

I get to the front of the room and start my lesson. Below is the synopsis of the lesson:

Me: Today we are making kites.

Blah Blah Blah kites Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah kite. Blah Blah Blah your kite. Blah Blah Blah kites Blah. Blah Blah Blah Blah kite. Blah Blah Blah.
Blah Blah kites Blah Blah Blah your kite .

I then ask the students to bring up their decorated kites so I can attach the string and handle. I ask the class at the end if there is anyone who has not gotten their string and their handle. I look around the room and see one student happily coloring her kite with no string or handle attached.

Me: Can you please bring up your kite so I can attach the string and handle?
Student: What kite?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Not much going on here. I just thought I would post something so that you all knew we were alive and well, out here in the desert.

Mother's Day was nice. Nice and calm. No puking. No ambulance rides. It was actually kind of boring. I did get homemade waffles with whipped cream and fruit made by Shawn. He followed a recipe and everything. It was very sweet. And I also got PF Changs for dinner. Yummmm.

AJ made me a cute coupon book full of chores he will do. He makes one for me every year. I have never cashed any of the coupons in. I think he is onto me and that is why he makes them. I may wait until he is 20, show up at his frat house with 12 years of coupon books in hand, and demand he fulfill his obligations. I crack myself up.

The iPod that I won from the writing contest came in the mail yesterday. It is actually much cooler than the one I have now. Except the one I have now was given to me by Shawn and is inscribed on the back. That is what I get for marrying an engineer- engraved electronics.

But the great thing was that the iPod also came with speakers. I can plug my iPod into and it will play my playlist like a regular radio. Very cool.

The school year is winding down. I get asked daily if I will do the job again next year. I had a pretty horrible day today, so I am glad the principal did not ask me today. Because the answer would have been a big fat "NO!". But most days I do like it. It really is a fun job. And there are the moments like I had today, where I overheard one student say to another "You can't fail art. There is no right or wrong way to do it." And I realize they ARE listening. And then I think I may stay on another week.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ahhh, Parenthood

This has been an interesting day.

We had many things planned, some mundane, some fun. But basically, while Shawn and AJ were at the soccer games, Charlie and I were going to do some errands to prepare for the two birthday parties we were going to this afternoon.

Charlie and I head off to Target to get the two required birthday gifts, some fabric softner so I can finish the laundry, and stuff for lunch. It seemed like such a simple plan. But when I went around to get Charlie out of the car, I was met with what can only be described as a "Charlie shaped puke fountain". So, I try to clean him up as best I can. I strip him down and wipe him off. And then get back in the car to go back home to hose him, the car seat and myself off.

I get him in the bath, then dressed and then down for the obviously much needed nap. I am at the computer when Shawn walks in and starts the conversation with " Now, don't freak out". He continues the conversation with: "AJ was hurt at soccer. He is ok, but he is being taken by ambulance to the hospital to be checked out because he hurt his head. "

AJ apparently got plowed over by another, larger, kid during the game and fell back and hit the back of his head on the ground really hard. He never lost consciousness or anything. But because it was his head, when it was suggested an ambulance be called, Shawn agreed. Poor AJ was strapped to a backboard, complete with neck collar.

After a few x-rays, it was determined that he was just fine. I guess being hard headed has its advantages.

But, I have to say I was very touched by all the well wishes on FB, and the concern of the parents there at the field. All the pacing and hand wringing on our behalf was appreciated.

As I write this, both kids are back to their normal selves. Another day, another bullet dodged.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And, Here is The Link to Vote

Just copy and paste this into your browser each day to vote.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

VOTE NOW !!!!!!! (please)

On a whim last month I entered a writing contest at There was an audio story about a boy with a magic bed who had grand adventures. The assignment was to add another chapter onto the story. So, I listened to the entire thing and then wrote my own very short (I think the limit was 150 words or less) chapter. However, I did try to incorporate some components of the other chapters into mine. I am all about the flow.

Well, I got to the finals. I also won a iPod Nano! Yeah me! But the grand prize winner gets $2,500!!!! And although I am grateful for the Nano, I am married to a Mac addict. That means we have more iPods then most people have drink coasters. I wish I was kidding. And the truly sad thing is I still don't know how to load mine. But don't tell Shawn. I think if he found out he was married to a woman who was almost 40 and still didn't know how to download music, he might divorce said woman. Again, I wish I was kidding.

The contest lasts until May 14th. And the person that can drum up the most votes, wins the grand prize. And yes, I realize that the grand prize winner is not selected solely on merit. And I do realize that it is all about how many people I can talk into voting for me. But, it was a national contest so it was very cool to get picked as a finalist regardless. (I almost used the non-word irregardless right there, just to throw Shawn into another tizzy. But I digress. So many buttons, so little time. . . )

Ok, enough brow beating. Please vote for Iggy and The Bike Bell. You may vote once a day, so keep the votes coming. I appreciate it, and so does Charlie's Wooster fund.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sorry About The Global Warming

After Charlie opens the fridge door, (a new trick- I mean skill) a variation of the following conversation takes place:

Me: Do you want strawberries?
Charlie: No
Me: Do you want cheese?
Charlie: No
Me: Do you want juice?
Charlie: No
Me: Do you want turkey?
Charlie: No
Me: (Exasperated) What do you want?
Charlie: Strawberries

At this point I usually want the wine.