Tomorrow is Halloween, and the kids were already hyper today... We'll be having a "party" tomorrow: a parent will be providing pizza, and then later we'll be making tissue paper ghosts and making edible spiders. I'm guessing it will be a fun afternoon, but a long one too! I hope to post pictures tomorrow so stay tuned :)

In other news, we were robbed today. Someone stole Max's credit card number and pin number--the only reason we noticed is because the bank sent us an email saying we were overdrawn! Apparently the thief had a fun time in Vegas, at Disneyland, and at the mall. I would have liked to have a fun time in Vegas, at Disneyland, and at the mall, but I never would have blown through two thousand dollars to do it! We'll be praying that we get the money back (feel free to join us!), but we are incredibly thankful that we aren't in dire need of that money to pay rent or to eat. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens...


Well, I guess it's time for an update, but I really don't have much to update right now... School has been same ol', same ol'. Actually, this week is our last full week until after Thanksgiving; next week, we have a staff development day (so, no kids), the week after, we have Veteran's day off, the week after that is conference week (early dismissal every day and no kids at all on Wednesday), and the week after that is Thanksgiving! Yea!!
Max has been BUSY between reading his books and writing his papers. You should see our computer desk: there are two piles of books on either side of the computer screen... they kind of look like towers. He peers between them to write. It's quite comical, until you remember that he hasn't had much of a chance to relax because of all the upcoming deadlines....
Well, I got to school early this morning for a reason--there's lots of work for me to do here and right now it's calling my name!

"Ooey-gooey" and other vocabulary

On Friday, I got up the nerve to carve jack-o-lanterns with the kids. I wanted to do it last year, but chickened out because I thought my students at the time would start a pumpkin gut fight and I wanted to avoid that. But with my sweet, gentle class this year, the only thing holding me back was the mess. So... armed with two pumpkins we headed outside. The kids' jobs were to scoop out the goo and count the seeds. My job (and my aide) was to wield the knife and create a fantastic face.

The kids absolutely loved it. I'm guessing all but maybe two had never had this experience before. Some were really into it and even ventured to taste it. At one point, the science teacher asked me (jokingly), what academic content standard I was working on that afternoon :). The thing is, you can't teach vocabulary and language structure in a vacuum--and of course I'm only too happy to ditch the worksheets and do something fun!!
The jack-o-lanterns turned out great, and I think the kids even learned something....

What self-control?

I had a 25% off coupon (for any one item) for our local teacher store that I spent today. I went inside looking for something very specific that was brand new on the market. They didn't have it, so I also spent a whole hour browsing their stock. I kept picking up items and thinking: "Ooh, this'll be great. This will revolutionize the way I teach. This will help my students learn." And then I wouldn't put the item back, I would just keep adding things to my pile. I was going to just pick one thing for the one coupon I had, but I couldn't bring myself to put any of my great finds back. When I saw the clock hit five, I decided enough was enough. I put all of my stuff down on the counter and was ready to get out my card to pay, when some VERY cute Halloween erasers caught my eye--and for just ten cents apiece, how could I resist?
Anyways, long story short: I came in the teacher's store with a 25% off coupon, and one hour later and $57.13 gone, I finally made it back home.
But I got such cool stuff..... It's totally justified.... isn't it?!?

Sick and Tired

Not much going on over here... My aide has been out sick for the past two days (and she just called to say she'll be at the doctors' tomorrow) and it has truly been a struggle without her. Trying to do things with the whole group just doesn't work when you have half the class who can't read, and the other half who can read at about a first grade level. They're all over the place in math too... I'm exhausted from running from raised hand to raised hand. If I hear my name one more time, I think I'm going to scream :). I'm definitely tired of teaching by myself--I hope she feels better soon...

Max has been busy cooking dinner and finding good deals on plane tickets from Michigan to California. He kept asking that I mention him on my blog, so I had to oblige...

I also need to mention my father-in-law: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! Hope you had a wonderful day with the administration leaving you alone and the kids minding the rules ;).

"Have Weekend!!"

Ever since the beginning of the year, when I discovered that my students didn't know that "weekend" meant Saturday and Sunday, I try to use the word whenever I can. On Fridays I always say something like "Have a good weekend!" or "What will you do this weekend?". On Mondays, I always talk about how I had a fun weekend and ask if they had a fun weekend. Well, yesterday (Friday), one of my students had to leave early. Another student popped up and, while waving enthusiastically, said "Have weekend!!" It was too cute...

I had a great Friday yesterday (it made up for all the rest of the days of this past week). For Fun Day Friday, we made pumpkin pie pudding. Since they all finished their homework, they all got to participate and they were SO excited (every kid I know loves to cook!). I mixed two boxes of instant vanilla pudding with four cups of milk--and I made a total mess because I was using a slotted spoon... The kids thought that was quite funny. Later, when they were all enjoying their pudding (with a spoonful of whipped topping), I opened the tub of whipped cream and put some in my mouth. I accidentally got some whipped cream on the side of my mouth, but I didn't wipe it away. The kids all started laughing and pointing--I kept saying "What? What's wrong? Why are you laughing?"--but none of them had the language to tell me what was wrong. And they were laughing too hard. One boy was literally in tears. The closest anyone got to telling me was saying "your mouth!". It was all quite memorable. We took lots of pictures, and I would love to post one of all of my students, but for confidentiality reasons, I can't.... so I'll post this one instead :)

Hanging in There...

I'm not going to lie: this week has been a hard one. After Monday's catastrophes, my ears started to hurt. That's no big deal, unless you're me and have no tolerance for pain! On Tuesday, the doctor said something about sinus pressure, but all I know is that every time I took a step, or leaned over, or bent down, it felt like an explosion going off in each ear. Last night I filled my prescription for my nasal spray and I felt a lot better today. I haven't been sleeping well either which doesn't help my performance during the day (but at least I go to bed, unlike some people who have to stay up all night and write papers... that's Max's department!).

Today, as I rushed home right after the bell rang so that Max could take the car to class, I had the option of dropping him off and coming back to school, or staying home. I chose to stay home. I thought I might go insane if I didn't take a break and get some rest. I've been coming home early a lot this week--I guess I'm just sick of working overtime! At least this week is almost over :).

Monday Madness

Today was going to be a big day for me. I was starting a new thematic unit (pumpkins), a new reading program, and a new math program, and we were writing new stories (which means we had to have a "language experience" then write about it--in this case, making playdoh). I got up extra early this morning to make sure I had all my ducks in a row. I had made carefully laid out plans and had a check-off to-do list so that I didn't forget anything vital.

School starts at 8:35, and by 8:45, everything was already going downhill. Another DHH teacher had a family emergency and the school couldn't get a sub, so I was stuck with three extra kids all day. I didn't even have enough chairs. Making playdoh with the first reading group (they're split into two according to reading levels) went well. But then recess happened and my new kid decided it would be appropriate to tie a jump rope around another kid's neck then step down on the rope really hard. The victim has a rope burn across his neck that is painful to even look at, and none of my kids would admit who did it. Finding the right culprit took about ten minutes and three eye-witnesses. I had to have the speech-therapist watch my kids as I went down to the office with the offending party as my aide was in a 30 minute meeting. I lost about 35 minutes of instructional time and, as a result, couldn't do the playdoh experience with the second reading group until after lunch, which resulted in not doing the new reading program at all today. And I was so excited to start it.

It was a chaotic, stressful day. Add to that the fact that our new vice principal "stepped on my toes" (actually, more like stomped) twice today... I'm discovering that it's quite stressful to consciously choose not to be angry with someone.

But, I came home at 3:30 today (Max needed the car for class) and so I think I'll go and enjoy the extra rest so that I feel up to going back to school tomorrow......

The Reign of Terror and the Sunshine Committee

I feel like I should tell everyone what's been going on this week, but I can't get into too much detail because 1) confidentiality issues with students and staff, and 2) it's not Christian-ly of me to bad mouth my boss.

Let's just say that our new vice principal feels it's her Duty to be involved in EVERYthing, whether or not it's in her job description. And if she's not included in something and she gets wind of it, she'll get her feelings hurt and hold a grudge and not let it go until she's called two additional meetings and asserted her power (under the guise of being a "better support" to us, of course). In the process, she's treating the staff very unprofessionally--like we're students. I didn't realize how angry that would make me feel! Apparently I don't get along well with administrators on Power Trips.

The result of all of this is that the staff is unhappy. No one will tell her how we REALLY feel because we're afraid we'll be blacklisted and miserable for the rest of the time she's VP here. She has already created an atmosphere where the staff has to look over their shoulders before they say something (not even necessarily conversation about her). It's like a Reign of Terror. The solution then is to either 1) suck up, or 2) hide and avoid her like the plague, or 3) pray. I vote number 2 and 3.

But I have to stop myself from being angry with her and show her some mercy. I've never had to pray for my enemies before because I never felt like I had any enemies before. Turns out, it's kinda hard....

IRONICALLY, as fate would have it, I'm on a committee that voted me to be the one who presented our principal and vice-principal with Boss's Day cards and gift certificates at the Flagdeck tomorrow in front of the whole school. Needless to say, Max is coaching me on what to say so that I don't actually lie about how I feel, and so that I don't betray how I actually feel. I wonder if there's glue out there that will hold a smile in place?!?

Lotsa News

I realize it has been a while since I last updated... but there is news!!

On the home front:
Our renters insurance company FINALLY decided to compensate us for our losses from the mold. After almost seven weeks sleeping on the floor, this is welcome news. This is totally from the Lord--for so long it seemed like we would get nothing. We did everything right and were never vindictive--and we were rewarded!! God is good!

On the school front:
Things are busy and stressful. I'm getting a new student tomorrow (he'll be number 10--yikes!) and there is lots to do in preparation for that. I had a huge once-every-three-years meeting with parents this afternoon, and there was a lot of preparation for that (thankfully it went well). I'm starting two new programs in my classroom on Monday--one in reading and one in math.... and things have definitely been busy getting materials prepared and re-structuring our curriculum and our daily schedule to make room for them. I have lots running through my mind and I find myself exhausted at the end of the day yet unable to fall asleep for some time after I climb in bed... hopefully that will change soon!

On the social front:
I think the fact that I have a "social front" to mention is news in itself :). We had dinner with some colleagues last Sunday; we're having dinner tomorrow night with an old friend from our church in Grand Rapids; and this weekend we're probably going to get together with a couple from our current church who we get along really well with. I feel like a social butterfly this week...
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