Thursday, December 27, 2007

She's Engaged!!!

My niece Lauren is now an engaged woman! Her boyfriend George Kinsella proposed to her on Christmas Eve, by putting an ornament on the tree with the ring tied to it. How cute! Lauren and George have been together for a long time. Lauren is in school at Western Georgia University, studying education. She's going to be a middle school teacher. (Yikes! Even I couldn't do that!) The wedding won't be for a while, but I wanted to post anyway.
Hard to believe she's old enough to get married. I was 11 when Lauren Nicole was born, and my parents watched her during the day for several years while my brother and sister-in-law were working. Most of my memories have her in them--the day she was born when the nurses wouldn't let me in because I wasn't old enough, the way she used to sprint away as soon as you unbuckled her car seat, watching cartoons, the way she'd talk with my friends on the phone, my trips to Atlanta to spend time with my brother's family, my wedding where she was a junior bridesmaid, how my mom, sister and she "kidnapped" me right before my wedding, her sweet, impish smile, the infectious giggle that she still has. I wish her and George all the best.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Whew, Christmas day is over! For the girls, there is such a build-up for Christmas Day, and it is just exhausting getting ready and dealing with the endless questions about when Santa is coming, etc. Christmas Eve we had the family over, and we had to keep checking where Santa was currently--Australia, India, Peru...each time the girls acted like they knew excatly where that country was.

Macy had asked Santa for a Hannah Montana guitar--plays three songs, and comes with a headphone and microphone. Here she is when she sees the guitar Santa left:

Kaylin asked for a Cabbage Patch doll that goes in the bathtub. Here she is with it:

Macy sporting the guitar; she played with little else for a long time. The stuffed puppy my parents got her finally took the guitars place, and we all got a break from the "You've got the best of both worlds, chill it out, take it slow, then you rock out the show..." Kaylin hugging the new Cabbage Patch in her new High School Musical t-shirt. She was quieter than normal today; she just seemed to be taking it all in.

It was a fun day. The girls got entirely too much stuff, but that's what happens. I wouldn't have it any other way. My brother sent pink guitars for the girls, so they are set on guitars. I think their new career ambitions are to be in a band, or a singer. Hannah and Josh both got guitars too, and with Rod and Brandon's guitar skills, we're all set!!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

My Christmas Countdown calendar says 2 days till Christmas, so that means I can start shopping for Christmas presents. Yes, that's right, up until this morning I had only a few things for the girls and that was it. So I braved the stores today and got a pretty good start. I can finish up tomorrow. Somehow I like the adreneline rush, and it doesn't feel like Christmas unless I wait until the last minute.

Funny thing happened at Target this morning. I may be the only one who finds it funny, but oh well. When I went in Target, it wasn't raining, so I left my coat in the car. When I came out, it was pouring sleet. Not just a little sleet, but downright pouring little ice pellets all over. I had a full cart, and was walking quickly down the rows of cars. Then I realized I was in the wrong row; my car was one row over. I tried to get over--couldn't do it with a cart. The cart wouldn't fit between the cars! I tried a couple different places to no avail. So I had to go all the way back up to the entrance to get down the right row. Ice pellets smacking me in the face, no coat, laughing hysterically--I'm sure I was a sight. I unloaded packages and thank goodness for seat warmers!! Every car I have from now on will have seat warmers.

Yesterday my newspaper staff had their ChristmaHankuhkwanna party yesterday. I spelled that wrong, but you get the idea. We do Secret Santa's, and the kids get a big kick out it. We had a couple unusual gifts this year. One boy received a live frog--I was terrified he was going to set it loose in the school, but all was well. He did get some worms from a science teacher and fed him. Another boy received two goldfish, who he named JaMarcus and Clyde. He was so proud of those things, and left them in my room until the end of the day. He kept bringing his friends by throughout the day to show off his new pets.

Hopefully this snow will stay on the ground through Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

High school students are people too...

Sometimes I think adults have a warped perspective of what high school kids really are. They hear stories on the news about gangs, murders, drugs, teenagers doing stupid stuff, and they assume all teenagers are bad people who are up to no good. I can assure you that is not true--I have many, many students who are conscientious, hard workers, use common sense, kind, friendly, and many other things, and it frustrates me when adults overlook those qualities and see the stereotypical bad seed teenager. Oh, I have that kind too, but they are few and far between.

For example--yesterday we had a problem with one of our advertisers for the newspaper I advise. As is customary, two students went to see the owner of a local hair salon regarding the issue, which was a small problem but escalated into a bigger deal. She was very rude to them, yelling at them in front of her own customers, saying THEY were unprofessional, being downright hateful to them, accusing them of things she had done herself. The two girls, two of the best on my staff, came back upset. A little while later I called the owner of the salon, to straighten out a few things, and she was as nice as can be to me. I called her out for being mean to the girls, and she said, "well, they're just high school girls; they'll get over it." As if that excuses her behavior.

What if we all used that excuse? We could be rude to the clerk at the grocery store--"Oh, she's just a clerk; " Or the mailman--"oh, he just delivers the mail, he doesn't matter." Or the waitress--"oh, she's just a waitress, I don't need to leave her a tip." Just because they are younger doesn't warrent mistreatment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Check up for Macy

Macy's 6 year check up was last night. She is a perfect square--48 inches and 48 pounds!! The nurse said that's pretty common. She's in the 90% percentile in height (gee, I wonder where she gets that from) and the 50% on weight. Everything checked out well. Macy was very excited to reach 48 inches; now she can ride the Detonator, the Timber Wolf, and the Mamba at Worlds of Fun. She is a major daredevil.

By the way, I turned the comments back on. I'll deal with the porn spammers if I get them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life is fragile...

My mom's twin sister passed away last week, after a car accident. We will never know what happened, but the highway patrol said there were skid marks on the highway, and she hit a light pole. At first we thought it was just a skull fracture, but we learned later she had an injury at the brain stem, and would be in a vegetative state in a nursing home. They learned Aunt Jean had a living will and didn't want to be kept alive with extraordinary measures in case of a brain injury.

Makes you realize how fragile life is, and how quickly it can be gone. Make sure those you love know it, and leave no regrets in your life.

Aunt Jean's obituary:

Jean Libby, RN, CHPN was born January 18, 1945 in Pasco, WA, and passed away on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 of injuries sustained in an automobile accident the previous week. She was preceded in death by her parents, Guy and Eulah Anderson.

She is survived by her loving husband of forty-two years, Virgil Libby of Towanda, PA; son Mark Libby of Towanda, PA, who served in the Army in Germany and Kentucky and which helped fuel the patriotic pride and love of country in which Jean so often displayed; step-daughters Berniece Abbott and husband Dale of Towanda, PA, and Judy Randall and husband Ray of Belle Plaine, KS; grandchildren Loren Bellows and husband Bryan of Troy, PA, Kensey Abbott of Towanda, PA, and Wade Abbott, currently serving in Iraq, and his wife Jenny of Katterbach, Germany.

Jean is also survived by three sisters and one brother: twin sister Jane Newberry and husband Calvin of Kansas City, MO, Carla Anderson of St. Louis, MO and Edna Anderson of Kansas City, MO, and Bill Anderson and wife Joan of Salem, MO. They will cherish the memories of their sister Jean.

She loved serving and helping people. Even if it meant the sacrifice of something important to her, she would always do it with no questions asked. She loved it so much, in fact, that she devoted over twenty years of her life as a registered nurse. She was employed as a Registered and Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse at the Memorial Hospital Home Health in Towanda, PA, where her friends and co-workers displayed the same selfless service by helping and caring for her through her last days on earth. Not only did Jean love everyone but, especially when she needed it most, everyone loved her. All who have known Jean have a wonderful peace, knowing full well her place with the Lord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another snow day!

Once again, I will never turn down a day from school, but today's snow day is ridiculous. Liberty has gone from one extreme to the other. The girls and I have major cabin fever, and will have to do something this afternoon.

Macy's basketball evaluations went well last night. She was better than most of the girls, and some of the boys. One of the other girls was pretty good too, but her dad is the football coach so she has some athletic genes. There will be 25 kindergartners, split into 4 teams. Practices start in January, so we still have a while.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snow (or ice) day!

Today was a snow day for most of the schools around the Kansas City area. It was a much needed break for all, and I will never begrudge a day off from school, but we have deadline for newspaper on Thursday, so we'll have to work at warp speed Wednesday and Thursday to get done. It's also frustrating that we wasted a snow day, because the temperature rose just enough for the rain not to freeze, and the roads are fine. But the schools called off the night before, and I bet next time they wait until the morning.

Today is also Macy's 6th birthday. Fairly anti-climatic, as her party was Friday night and she got all her presents then. She was sad she didn't receive any in the mail today, but I explained that's what happens sometimes. We let her pick where she wanted to eat lunch, and she picked Burger King because of the "iDog" that comes in the kids meal. She was also sad she didn't get to go to school on her birthday.

Her basketball evaluations are tonight, and her dad is her coach. I'm interested to see how she shapes up with others her age--she's tall for her age, and I think she has pretty good basketball skills. I'm anxious to see if I'm just bias, or if she's good.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Super long post...

This is will be a long post! Friday night was Macy's 6th birthday party. Before the party, we went to the mall to get her ears pierced. That's what she wanted for her birthday. Below is the picture right after they pierced her ears. The picture behind the chair is a tad creepy.

Close up of her ear. The earring is a small daisy with a sapphire in the middle. I had told her it would hurt a little. When it was done, I asked her if it had hurt a little. She said, "yes, a whole lot!" She was a champ, though. She didn't flinch, didn't cry, just sat there.

Then we moved on to the party. We ended up with about 15 little girls. Everyone of them was well behaved; I was very impressed. Macy's theme was a "rock star/fashion show." When the girls arrived, they decorated guitars with markers and stickers. Her birthday cake was actually 24 cupcakes in the shape of a guitar. It was pretty cool.
After presents and cake, we moved into the "stations". One station was the nail station, where my sister painted their fingernails and put nail gems on their fingernails.
Another station was the make-up station; a friend of mine's daughter did make-up on all the girls, and some body tattoos. I should have bought more brighter colors for eyeshadow!!

My friend Carol did their hair--lots of funky ponytails, curly waves, etc. Somewhere in there they changed into their rock style/dress up clothes. There were some wild costumes!

After the nails, make-up, hair and clothes were ready, they did a fashion show down a white runway to a Hannah Montana CD. The girls were hilarious--where they had all learned to walk down, stop, turn, and walk back up just like a model I have no idea! Macy liked to run down on her turn.

As I mentioned earlier, there were some wild costumes. Kaylin's was one. Yes, she is wearing a cow girl vest (without a shirt underneath), a Hawaiian grass skirt (without pants underneath) and cowgirl boots. She thought she was the coolest!

Finally, after many trips up and down the runway, they danced to the Hannah Montana CD for a long time. Their "take home gift" was a little pink and yellow microphone with Hannah Montana's picture on it, and they had a fabulous time just singing and dancing.

It was a great party, but I am glad it is over. The girls were great; it was one of the easiest birthday parties I've done, thanks to all my help!
Today was cold, freezing rain outside, so we just stayed home and played all day. I "shopped" for Kaylin's new wardrobe--I went downstairs and got the 4T winter clothes, and basically quadrupled Kayin's wardrobe. I love that I have two girls who were born around the same time, so we can reuse clothes!
Hopefully there will be no school Tuesday this week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow angels!!

We got about 3 inches of snow this afternoon, so we had a good time playing in the snow after school. The girls enjoyed making snow angels and throwing snowballs at each other.

I shoveled my first driveway this afternoon too. Probably my last, too. It was not the best time I've ever had, and I will be sore in the morning. I wouldn't be surprised if I have internal bleeding from where the shovel handle was being pushed into my stomach every push across the driveway.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ah, teenagers today...

I have several funny things to share that's happened over the last few days. At least, I think they're funny! People are always saying to me, "How can you teach high school? I could never do it." Part of why I love teaching high school is the youth and enthusiasm they have...

My Advanced Composition class just finished their 10 page argumentative research papers, and have to do a presentation on their findings. First one on Monday: we should legalize prostitution. The writer is a boy whose dad is a cop. Student said Dad freaked out a little when he started researching. Anyway, first slide on Student's Power Point is: "The Hoe: Friend or Foe?" The students had really been looking forward to his presentation, and they all died laughing. Especially when I had to correct him, that in that particular case, the spelling should be ho. But he really wowed everyone with his presentation, including me, and I gave him 50/50 on his presentation.

Today a rather shy and nervous girl gets up for her presentation. Her topic was the drinking age should be lowered to 18. I hesitate to let people write on that topic, but I let her anyway. My fault. All through her presentation she never once said the drinking age should be lowered, but rather that all teens should be able to drink. Oh, she had decent reasons, but no one in the class really listened to her because they were floored at what she was saying. They kept looking at me with shocked looks on their faces.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bobby's dad got married on Saturday, to a lovely woman named Janet. Bobby Sr. has been very lonely since Margaret passed away five years ago, and Janet will definitely fill that void. Hopefully they will be very happy together. Bobby's dad also retired as a minister and moved to Janet's house in Salem, MO. Below is a picture of the bride and groom!

We also spent some time with Bobby's grandmother, who is almost 90 years old and still growing strong. Her only child was Bobby's mom, who died 5 years ago. She lives by herself, and requires virtually no help from others, but is so lonely. She only recently stopped mowing her own grass, and walks all over the small town where she lives. We spent the night with her, and she was so happy to have company she was beside herself. I was a little worried about the state of her house, though, and might look into finding someone to go over and clean every once in a while.

When we arrived home Sunday night, we found our glass door on the back deck completely broken, with glass shards everywhere. Our first thought was someone tried to break in, but after investigation, it was the just the fierce wind that broke it. Then the dogs decided to jump through the broken door, and sent glass all over the kitchen floor. Bobby had a fun time with the shop vac in the cold.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The dog ate my homework?

Macy was almost able to use this excuse last night. Her homework was to decorate a construction paper Christmas tree, so she was using glitter, markers, and glueing Cheerio's all around. I was keeping an eye on the dogs since food was on the table, as Kobe has been very aggressive as of late. She'll just take food right out of the girls hands as they are eating.

As Macy was working on the Christmas tree, Kobe just reached under her arm and grabbed the paper where the Cheerio's were concentrated and took off across the living room! I ran over and grabbed the paper away from her, gave her a spanking and sent her outside. She knew immediately she was in trouble.

I wonder what Mrs. Fischer would have said if Macy went back to school today and said she couldn't finish her homework because the dog ate it?

Below are a couple pictures of our beloved dogs. Ignore if you are not a dog lover. First is Kobe, the food stealer.

Next is Gabe, the underwear and sock stealer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving is over...ready for Christmas?

It was a great Thanksgiving...busy, but fun. Here's a recap.

On Wednesday, my mom, my sister Natalie and her daughter Hannah came over for lunch. It was spitting snow a little, but the girls decided they needed their hats, gloves and snow boots on to play in this "snow"

Thursday morning I took my usual picture of Macy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. She says, "I am so lucky; I have a store AND a parade named after me!" She really seemed to enjoy the parade more this year then in the past.

Hannah's birthday was Friday, so on Thursday afternoon we had a mini-birthday party for her after we'd all stuffed ourselves full of turkey. We hung this pinata in the garage for the kids to hit. It took forever! I think Macy has a future in softball, because man she could hit that thing! This is Hannah's turn below.

My brother was in town from Atlanta, and it was great to have his family here. Kaylin liked to stand on my brother's feet, and he would push her up in the air. Luckily she's still light enough that it doesn't hurt that bad. She loves it! I thought this was a cool action shot that caught her right in the air.

My dad plays this "don't cross that line" game where he draws an imaginary line in the carpet, then when the kids run by, he reaches out and grabs them. He's done it for as long as I can remember; I can remember my twenty-year-old niece giggling as hard as she could. The kids all got into the game Thursday night, helping each other "escape" from Papa. It really seemed to help loosen up Josh a little.

Friday morning we went to get our Christmas tree. As soon as we step out of the car, there's Santa. Santa's suit looked better than last year's, so I asked him about it. He said Mrs. Clause found a great deal on ebay.

Bobby is very picky about our tree--takes him forever to find one. Then he starts second-guessing himself, then he forgets which trees he's seen and which ones he hasn't. But we finally found one, chopped it down and took it home.
Took a little effort to get it to stand just right, and on Saturday it actually fell over on top of the girls while we were putting up ornaments.

Saturday we took Josh to see Uncle Bobby at the fire station. As any 3-year-old would be, he was pretty excited about the fire truck, the ambulance, put on a helmet and all that. He didn't want to leave.

Uncle Bobby and Josh in front of the fire truck.

Saturday night was the huge MU/KU football game at Arrowhead. I decided to stay at my parents and watch it with my family. When I get nervous about a game like that, I can't keep my hands still. I can partially understand why people smoke--gives them something to do with their hands. I was pretty fidgety, and I'm sure I annoyed the family in the room with me. But our beloved MU Tigers won, and now are #1 in the nation in football. Now if they can just hang on for 2 more games...
Sunday we went to the MU basketball game in Columbia. Pretty uneventful, except the girls got to have their picture taken with Truman. They were beside themselves with excitement.

We came home to find our Christmas tree had fallen (again) and was stretched out across the living room with ornaments and lights everywhere.
Now we begin planning the big birthday party for Macy. We handed out invitations today. We invited 26 (yikes!!!!!!!!) and I hope no more than 24 come so I don't have to buy another dozen of everything.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Americans reading less...

As an English teacher, one who reads constantly, and one who teaches struggling readers, the following report is quite disturbing to me.

A few quotes that I found especially bothersome:

  • "an increasing number of adult Americans were not even reading one book a year."
  • "The percentage of high school graduates deemed by employers as "deficient" in writing in English (72 percent)"
  • "The number of adults with bachelor's degrees and "proficient in reading prose" dropped from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003."

The report says "We need to reconnect reading with pleasure and enlightenment." Very true, but something I struggle with daily. How do you make books relevant to compete with video games, ESPN, cell phone texting and email?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nighttime musical chairs and other thoughts

Bobby was at work last night, and I woke up about 2 to go to the bathroom. Kaylin had brought her pillow, her stuffed animal and was sound asleep next to me. I had no idea she'd gotten in bed with me. I went to the bathroom and went back to sleep. Something woke me up around 4, and I noticed Macy was now on the other side of me, sound asleep too. I had no idea she'd gotten in bed with me either. I also had no idea I was such a sound sleeper. After that, I couldn't fall back asleep because Kaylin is a cuddler--she throws her arm around my neck, snuggles up next to me. Normally I like that, but last night Macy was on the other side doing the same thing, there was a dog at the end of the bed, and I began feeling a little claustrophobic. So I moved to Macy's bed, and woke up with stuffed animals all around me.

On the way home from church today, we ran through Wendy's drive-thru. Macy asked me what french fries were made of. I said potatoes, and she said yuck and spit out her fries. Then Kaylin asked what chicken nuggets are made of, and Macy said "They take the chicken and roll it into balls, and then put turkey all over and cook it." Interesting idea...

I like to take a nap every Sunday afternoon. I told the girls not to bother me unless it was an emergency. They were pretty engrossed in Barbie's Island Princess. Here's Kaylin's "emergencies":
  1. "Macy said my face is dirty, but it's not" (and it really was)
  2. "Can you help me put on this Cinderella dress?"
  3. "Macy hit me in the back."
  4. "Where's my flip flops?"
  5. "Macy poured me some milk. Is that ok?"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Entertainment in study hall...

Every third day I have study hall, and today is my day. On Friday's we usually let them sit wherever, talk quietly, etc. We're in the auditorum, and there are about 110 kids in study hall. Today there is a strange group sitting on the floor in front of me. Three are actively playing chess with a 10X13 mat and actual chess pieces. One boy just got up and ran around the auditorum, not saying anything but punching his fist in the air. I asked the other kids what happened, and they said he had just lost. Apparently he is president of the chess club, and loses to this kid every day during study hall. Interesting...

Then we have the love triangle. Spiky Hair boy was sitting on the floor, Flat Hair Girl leaning up against him with his arms wrapped around her. They stayed like that for a long time, watching the chess match. Flat Hair Girl got up to go to the bathroom, and suddenly Spiky Hair Girl (who earlier was complaining that everyone is copying her haircut--trust me, no one would want to) is leaning up against Spiky Hair Boy with his arms wrapped around her. I can't wait for Flat Hair Girl to come back in, expecting fireworks, but she just sits down and starts playing chess.

Now I've done none of the work I've needed to during study hall today, but have been quite entertained in the meantime.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh, to be young...

What I wouldn't give for a camera right now. (I lost the memory card in mine while transferring some pictures. It's in a machine somewhere.)

The girls are playing in the backyard, and we have lots and lots of leaves. They started making "snow angels" in the leaves, and were just laughing and having a ball. It was so cute! Now they are trying to make a house of the leaves. Not sure that's going to work out all that well for them, but that's ok. They're playing together and not fighting.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Going home today...

When I talked with my mom yesterday, she asked if I'd had a good time in Philly. I said yes, why? She said all my posts were negative! I didn't intend for them to be; in fact, we had a great time! One adviser had her luggage lost, her computer locked and she needed something off the desktop, she had to sleep on a rollaway bed, and a bird pooped in her hair. SHE did not have a great time, but the rest of us did. But I'm ready to go home, and give my husband and girls a squeeze.

Yesterday we walked to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then ran up the steps, Rocky style. There were a ton of people doing the same thing. There's a Rocky stature at the bottom and we used that as a photo op, of course.

This morning three students and I got up early to watch a building in downtown be imploded. There were probably about 100 people watching. The building was about 2 blocks away from where we stood. They counted down to 10, there was a huge boom, pigeons flew all over the place, and then the building started coming down. It started down on the left side first, but then the right side caught up with it. The dust that came after was bad, and my contacts are burning even now. It was incredibly cool, and I'm glad we got up early to go watch it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Etiquette for a convention....

Rules of etiquette for a convention with 4000 high school students:

1. When the elevator door opens, please allow the people inside to get off first.
2. If you are only moving one floor, say from the 4th to the 5th floor, please don't take the elevator, but the escalator or stairs.
3. If the elevator is packed, please don't push your way in and say "Room for me?" No, there is not room for you.
4. When you're in a session, please don't be rude to the speaker by texting, answering your cell phone, or whispering loudly to the person next to you. And when a nearby adult pointedly looks at you, stop doing these things.
5. If they only have enough handouts for one per school, please only take one per school. The people in the back appreciate it.
6. When eating in a group of more than 8, the gratuity is added on. If your meal was $16, you need to pay more than that to cover the tax and tip. We're not trying to cheat you, but you have to pay more than $16.
7. If there are 17 people crammed in a 12 person van, please don't talk about how uncomfortable you are when the others are just as uncomfortable. Is complaining going to help? No.
8. If you get your hair pooped on by a bird, don't rub it on others. They don't appreciate it.
9. When your adviser tells you to check in after the dance, and it is midnight, and she sounds sleepy, please don't carry on a conversation and then say, "Are you sleeping?"

Friday, November 9, 2007

City of Brotherly Love 2...

More things I've learned on my Philly trip...

1. The people in the office building across the street will wave at you if you stare out the window long enough.
2. A giant fiberglass rat in the back of a truck is apparently necessary to help protest a labor organization at the bank across the street.
3. Amish people make the BEST bacon, egg and cheese roll-up, rolled in handmade pretzel dough.
4. Do you think it is against culture for a 15-year-old Amish girl in full Amish attire to be texting on a pretty pink sparkly cell phone?
5. If you had long arms, you could touch the Liberty Bell. No guards around it. A student quote: "It doesn't look real, that Bell."
6.Midwest Airlines only gives $25 a day on reimbursement of luggage, but they do call 4 times a day to tell you the luggage has not been found.
7. We ate Thomas Jefferson's favorite biscuits at the Tavern he, Ben Franklin and Sam Adams went for a drink.
8. Elfreth's alley is the oldest street where people have contintously lived. Someone has lived in those row houses since 1703. It is the cutest street. Students have no regard that people actually live there, and want to look in the windows or touch their pumpkins on the front step.
9. They need a neon sign announcing Ben Franklin's grave so people don't have to walk all over the graveyard trying to find it.
10. Chairs from the 18th century need a little refurishbing, but George Washington's chair has a neat rising sun on it.
11. Ben Franklin's grandchildren didn't want to maintain the upkeep on his house, so they raved it and built row houses. Unbelievable.
12. The streets of Philly are not safe. It is not the city of brotherly love. People are rude.
13. The mint in Philly had a bomb threat, and so we opted not to go.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

City of Brotherly Love?

My thoughts on our Philadelphia trip so far...

1.Overly cheerful flight attendants at 6:00 am really annoy me.
2. As soon as the wheels of a plane touch down, high school students whip out cell phones to text or call.
3. Midwest is not good with luggage, but has nice leather seats. No chocolate chip cookies on flights before 10 am.
4. The Marriott Downtown thinks it's okay to put four high school boys in a room with one king sized bed.
5. Philadelphia doesn't feel the need to start the Christmas season before Thanksgiving, as there is no hint Christmas is coming.
6. Homeless people are too aggressive.
7. Philly cheese steaks are pretty good.
8. The boy sitting next to me at dinner can name any song or band in the first five notes.
9. Declaring cell phone bans at the dinner table works. Students stay off their phones and actually talk to one another. And throw things across the table at each other.
10. High school girls love to shop, even if it is at the same stores they have at home.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Birthday weekend!

Friday was my birthday, so we went to Columbia for the weekend. We got there Saturday afternoon, and shopped around downtown Columbia. I finally got my Chase Daniel (quarterback for Mizzou) t-shirt I've been looking for! We then went to the first exhibition game that afternoon too, and MU won. It actually didn't look good the first half, but they played much better in the second half. None of our group was there, so we were kinda lonely. They had moved the starting time of the game to 3, so at 5:30 they could show the MU/Colorado football game on the big screen. Only about 100 people stayed. We watched a couple drives and then left. It would have been a neat experience if the place had been packed.

Obligatory picture of the girls at the game:

Sunday morning we went to the Rock Bridge State Park, and hiked around for a while. We found a couple caves; one is closed unless you have a permit, but the other you can explore. However, we lacked flashlights, appropriate shoes, and a hard hat for Bobby, so we didn't venture very far. It was cool though, and we will probably go back this summer. This first picture is me at the bottom, shooting up to Bobby and the girls at the top.

And this one is Bobby at the top, shooting down at the girls and I at the bottom. The cave we tried to explore is to the left of where we are.

Then we tried to find a giant sinkhole, but the girls tired out early. We ate lunch, then drove to Rocheport and walked on the Katy Trail for a while. There is a 250-feet tunnel that was gorgeous, and we yelled and made our voices echo. We climbed a steep, steep hill that didn't look all that bad at the bottom but gave us a beautiful view of the Missouri River and the surrounding countryside. It was a nice, relaxing weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Thank goodness Halloween is over! We had a busy day. Kaylin had a party from 8:30-11:30, then I picked her up at 2 to go to Macy's party at school. Then we went around the businesses in Kearney from 4-5, ate dinner, went around around neighborhood for a while, then headed home and they handed out candy for about an hour. At 8 Kaylin fell asleep on the floor in her room, exhausted. Macy stayed up a little while longer handing out candy, then she conked out too.

The firemen were handing out candy in downtown Kearney, so of course we had to stop there.

This is Kaylin, their cousin Hannah, their friend Emily, and Macy. Notice with Macy's wig they are all blond.

This is Macy and her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Fischer.

They're already talking about next year. Kaylin wants to be Cinderella again, and Macy wants to be a devil.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boo at the Zoo!

Saturday afternoon my dad and I took the girls down to the Kansas City Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. It's an annual event that's lots of fun. There are about 25 stations where kids can trick or treat, plus they see the animals and other costumes.

Kaylin was Cinderella, and Macy was Hannah Montana. I've put a couple pictures of just her below, because she just looks absolutely different! She's squinting into the sun in these, but with those big brown eyes sticking it, it didn't even look like her.

I overheard about three people who were walking by say, "oh, look, it's Britney Spears!" I made sure to correct all of them--I didn't want anyone to think I would dress my child like Britney Spears! (Yes, Macy did have underwear on.) But to the casual observer, who didn't see Hannah Montana on her belt, or who didn't know who she was, I guess I could see where someone might think that.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Parent Teacher Conference

We had our first parent teacher conference with Macy's teacher, Mrs. Fischer, today. It was strange to be on the other side of the table, after 9 years of being the teacher at conferences.

I won't brag too much on Macy, but her teacher did not have one negative thing to say about her. Her words: "she is the perfect kindergartner, and I wish more kids would be like her." Wow. She said Macy is way ahead of where she should be at this stage. We brought home 10 sight words to start working on, and she already knew 4 of them! Done bragging.

We talked quite a bit about the changes in kindergarten over the years. She said what they are teaching now in kindergarten is what they used to teach in 1st grade just a few years ago. They used to focus on just learning rules, getting along, counting to 10, and learning the alphabet in kindergarten. Now, because of preschool, kids come in knowing all that, and they have to focus on more advanced techniques.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's in the water?

Normally I have good students. Sometimes there are a few bad apples in the bunch, which must be the case this year.

I currently have three students in out of school suspension: one for stealing a car (took another student's car keys out of his locker), one for stealing things from the locker rooms, and one for bringing a knife to school in his backpack.

What is going on?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fireman Bobby

Kaylin's preschool is studying the letter F this week. Bobby came with all his fire gear--helmet, coat, pants, boots, air pack, everything. He talked with them about fire safety, then put on his air pack and pretended to "rescue" them while they crawled around the room. It was really cute. He also brought little plastic fire hats for everyone, and baseball cards about Shadow, the Fire Dog they have in Kearney. The kids loved it!

And, on another note, Kaylin's preschool teacher took this picture of her yesterday, and the subject line when she emailed it was "crack baby!" For those of you who remember, her sister had the same problem when she was that age too. No butt or hips to hold up their pants!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kindergarten Field Trip

On Friday I went with Macy's kindergarten class to the Red Barn Farm in Weston. They'd spent the week studying farm animals, and we had a great time looking at all the animals and picking pumpkins. Having been on field trips with high schoolers, it was strange to be on the other side as a parent. I quickly learned before we even left there is a protcol for everything: folders go in the red basket, not the blue one, they use the bathrooms on the right, not the left, and the line starts at the door, not the sink.

Below is a picture of all the kids in her class.

Our leader was very cool--Farmer Trish. She did a great job of interacting with the kids, and showing them the farm. In the picture below she was using Macy as a "tree" to show the other kids how to properly pick an apple.

There were 5 other parents that went, and we all had three or four kids in our group to account for. I was constantly looking for the heads of my three to make sure they hadn't jumped in with the geese or the pigs. I had a good group: Macy, Katlynn (who lives around the corner) and Evan. They were as sweet as could be. I felt sorry for Mr. Richter: he had four very active little boys, and he was chasing them all day long. Mrs. Fischer really has her hands full. Below is a picture of my group. Notice Evan has a MU shirt on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's in a name?

We decided pretty early in my pregnancy with Macy what her name was. We struggled a bit later with the spelling: Maci, Macy, Macey were three spellings we kicked around. I can't remember now which one I wanted and which one Bobby wanted, or why we ultimately decided on Macy as the spelling. I looked through my pregnancy journal tonight, and nothing was written about it.

Imagine my surprise tonight as Macy is working on her homework.

Macy: I've been spelling my name differently at school.

Me: Really?

Macy: (writes MACEY at the top of her paper) I like this spelling better.

Me: Why?

Macy: I don't know. It just makes my name longer.

When I was in middle school, 1 out of 5 girls were named Jennifer Lynn. I went through a phase where I said my name was Jenni, Jenny, and then started putting Lynne. Anything to make myself different from the others. That's the main reason Macy is Macy instead of Emily, Hannah, Chloe, Jessica, etc.

It cracks me up that she did the same thing I did, when I worked so hard to pick an unusual name for her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

We had a busy weekend. Friday night my sister had her annual bonfire. The weather was so unusually warm--we went in t-shirts and shorts. Many years we've worn sweatshirts and huddled around the fire.

Saturday Macy had a soccer game, and she was back to the usual just run around the field. Oh well.

We went to a fireman muster competition in the afternoon for Gladstone. The Kearney team did horrible, and took 3rd out of 3 teams. Oh well.

In the evening we made our last trip of the year to Worlds of Fun. Our girls absolutely love going, and the weather was wonderful. Very crowded, though. I would have rather had colder weather so the lines wouldn't have been so long. We had to cut our trip short because Kaylin burned her fingers. She was riding a little motorcyle ride in Camp Snoopy, and touched the headlight briefly. She held her own until she got off the ride, then she started sobbing. Her fingers blistered up, so we headed out. She cried herself to sleep before she got to the car! By Sunday morning she was fine, and was showing everyone her boo-boo.

On the way home from church, I asked the girls what they had learned in Bible class. Kaylin said, "God made stuff." I asked what kind of stuff, and Macy said, "you know, stuff." Right.

Macy had a soccer game tonight, and was playing her best. At the beginning of the second half, she was standing in the middle of the field for the kick-off. She kicked it so hard it went straight into the net without touching another person!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pink Panthers

Macy is playing soccer right now, and her team is the Pink Panthers. Here is how her soccer seasons have gone:

Season 1: stood on the sidelines and sobbed
Season 2: ran around the field, but wouldn't go near the ball
Season 3: tried to play, but didn't want to take the ball away from anyone

We're optimistic this season will be her breakthrough season. She's already scored 3 goals in two games.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cool laptops

All the teachers at the high school received cool laptops this year. They removed all the desktops, and we now use our laptops. They are a tablet, which means the screen swivels, I can close it and then write on the screen with a special pen.

It's really changed the way I grade papers. I now have the students submit their papers to me electronically. I have a site called Blackboard, which is what the colleges use for their online classes. The students turn their papers in, I download them to the desktop of my laptop, and grade them like that. I can use different colored ink just by clicking a button, edit and make comments on their papers. Then I hit a button and email it back to them. They open the attachment and see their grade. No paper involved.

Last night at the dance studio, while I was waiting for Macy, I was grading a paper like that. After I finished, I let Kaylin "draw" with the special pen. Even at 3 1/2 years old, she could changed the color of the pen once I showed her how. She had a ball scribbling all over Mom's computer.

Suddenly I was the coolest person at the dance studio. We had a flock of 12, 13, and 14 year-old girls watching Kaylin, and they were just mesmerized. One little girl looked up at me, and with awe in her eyes, said, "You are so lucky to have this computer." I just smiled and said thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Halloween costumes

We purchased Halloween costumes tonight. Usually a few days before Halloween, we trek to the store to find out that everything in the girls' sizes are gone. Not this year! Thus the fun trip to Party America began.

First, the girls wanted every single costume on the wall. Too much to choose from: cheerleaders, witches, princesses, pirates, you name it, they wanted it. At one point Macy picked a Disco Diva, although I am positive she has no idea what a Disco Diva is. I steered her away from that one. They were also constantly distracted by the neat Halloween accesories: a red pitchfork, a bowl with a hand that grabbed you, a pirate face that stuck its tongue out. At one point, Bobby grabbed Macy and said, "Focus!!"

Ultimately, the decision was made by what costumes were 50% off. Kaylin will be Cinderella, in a pretty blue dress with matching gloves. It will be a perfect dress-up dress after Halloween. Macy will be Hannah Montana, complete with blond wig and rock star microphone.

For those of you unfamilar with Hannah Montana, she is the alter ego of Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus. Hannah/Miley has a hit show on the Disney Channel and a CD. Her concert at the Sprint Center in December sold out in mere minutes, and tickets are being sold on ebay for outrageous prices. I just checked: the cheapest I could find was $70 for 2. I also found 4 tickets for $679--the $500-$700 range was pretty common. Then I saw 4 tickets for $1799.99! Outrageous.

Macy will be content with her blond wig and rock star microphone.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Macy's cheer

Last week Macy did a "spirit clinic" with the Kearney High School cheerleaders and Golden Girls, and then they performed at the football game on Friday. I'm putting the link to watch her cheer before the game. In case you can't make out the words, it was "Bulldogs, get down, and rock it all around." They did that three times.

They also performed at halftime, but the videographer couldn't find his daughter in the sea of kids, so there is no point in posting the link. You can't make out Macy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fireman muster

Last Saturday Bobby participated in a fireman muster at the Jesse James Festival. Kearney hasn't had a team for a while, and he was excited to get out there. There were about 4 or 5 other teams from other fire departments. It was hot, and the girls got bored quickly, but it was still fun. This first picture is Bobby and Nick, one of the part-time firefighters.
This is Nick and Bobby in some sort of hose competition. I won't begin to pretend like I know what they are doing. I think they had to unhook that gasket and that's all I know. I like the action shot, though.

This is Kevin and Dave, two other firefighters. I just think this is a cool picture. They were participating in a "barrel tug of war"--both teams shot water at a barrel hanging on a wire, and the first team to move the barrel over the line won.

This is Bobby and Dave, or "Mr. Happy Face". Dave was blindfolded, and Bobby had to guide him with commands to move the barrel with the spray of water. The team that moved the barrel the fastest won.

Bobby advising Dave how to move the water hose. The dots on the picture are actual water drops.

This is the Bucket Brigade. All 4 of them participated. Dave filled up the bucket, handed it to Nick, who handed it to Bobby, who handed it to Kevin, who threw the water on the roof of a little building similar to a dog house. The water ran off into a bucket, and the first team to fill up the bucket won.

This is the whole group, with Kevin holding the first place trophy. Kearney won the overall competition.

The guys really had a good time, and are talking about going to other fire department competitions around the area next summer.