Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bella's Bathrobe; Handy Husband

Bella's Bathrobe

Handy Husband's Household Handiwork :)

Unlocked, Activated, and fully functioning (Tmobile) iphone

New and Improved (and actually ACCURATE) thermostat

Repaired water heater...with no mess!

New and installed indoor/outdoor wireless thermometer

Laundry Bar

Repaired and programmed garage door code thingy

Leaf bags waiting for bulk pickup (more under tv box)

Detailed Mazda (and F150 as well - but no pic)

Organized garage (and attic, but no pics of that)

House number (Okay, he paid a guy to do this, but he still took care of it)!

WOW....that is one Handy Husband! I'm glad he's mine :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Husband is SO HANDY!!!

Let me update you on the hot water heater situation. Kevin fixed it like a pro! We got the last of the water cleaned up and it is no longer a "situation" at all. In addition, he also hung me a bar to dry laundry on in the utility room, replaced several outlet covers, fixed our garage door, and replaced/fixed the thermostat (which decided to go out IMMEDIATELY after the hot water heater was up and running.

Oh, but that's not all. Remember the iphone he bought me for Christmas? Well we have Tmobile, not AT&T. We needed to get the iphone unlocked to work on the Tmobile network. That was easier said than done. We took it to Apple, who told us that it was taboo to even talk about helping us with that. Then we took it to Tmobile, AT&T, and a plethora of authorized dealers before accepting the fact that no one was willing to unlock the phone because of the contract between Apple and AT&T.

We came home and Kevin got on the internet. He found some instructions on how he could do it himself, downloaded the software, and got to work! That man jailbroke, unlocked, and activated my iphone single-handedly. I was so impressed.

Then the trouble started. My iphone would not sync any applications from itunes; in fact, that was not even an option. I realized that, in order to have apps, you have to be working on the latest version of itunes, 2.2. Without thinking, I "restored and updated" my iphone. That was a bad idea! Not only did it UNDO all of Kevin's hard work, it also locked my iphone into "recovery mode." Yikes. He was so ticked at me, but he searched and searched the internet, diagnosed the problem, and fixed it again! And now I have EVERY SINGLE function that AT&T customers have, but I pay almost $40 a month less.


Today we raked our leaves. We only made it through the front yard because even that took us hours. We used a mulcher to consolidate the leaves to use fewer bags, and we still filled 10 huge leaf bags! We also filled an additional 3 bags with acorns from our oak tree. I shudder to think how long the back yard will take us, since it has three times the number of trees. Yeah, the front only has the one big oak tree (plus a few other little ones on the side), but that thing is a MONSTER. I kept trying to sneak inside for "breaks," aka to play with my iphone, but Kevin kept catching me and dragging me back outside. On the bright side, I must have burned several hundred calories with all the raking I did!


Then this evening we did our 2009 budget. It's stressful when you have a large mortgage, two car payments, school loans, and grad school all coming out of a not-so-great joint income, but we always do the best we can, which is pretty good. We've been eating out and shopping a little too much, so we decided to go with Dave Ramsey's envelope plan. For all discretionary categories (dining out, personal spending, lunch, car washes, dry cleaning, hair-cuts, etc), we'll pull out the budgeted amount of cash at the beginning of each month, place it into labeled envelopes, and stick to it. No more credit cards, no more debit card, no more checks - for things like that.When the money's gone, we wait until the beginning of the next month and do without until then. I'll let you know how it works. I think it will help us with our New Year's Resolution of being better money managers.

What's your New Year's Resolution?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Fun and the Joys of Being a Homeowner

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Kevin and I spent Tuesday evening at his mom's house doing his small family Christmas. We had a wonderful dinner and enjoyed spending special time with our family. However, the fun times ended when we got home. As Kevin was walking down the hall by the guest rooms and bathroom, he noticed that his feet were getting wet. After further investigation, it was determined that we had a leak in a pipe leading from our hot water heater. So instead of spending the rest of the evening giving each other our stockings, as planned, we had more urgent matters to handle (see pictures below). We cleaned up the big mess (to the best of our ability with limited resources), put a fan blowing on what was left, and turned off the hot water heater so it wouldn't continue to leak overnight, as we were leaving at 8am the following morning for Temple.

Oh, you think that looks like hard work? Well it gets better. When we woke up the next morning to get ready to leave, I ran over to that side of the house to feel the carpet. It was EVEN SQUISHIER!!! Apparantly we had not done a good job diagnosing and stopping the problem the night before. So we cleaned again, and ran 2 hours late for Christmas Eve festivities.

Okay, the bad part is over. Let's talk about Christmas!!!

We arrived in Temple and went to his Aunt Peaches' house, who took us to lunch. We spent a good portion of the afternoon with her, and she gave me some pickles that she jars herself when we left! Then we headed to his Town Granny's house for Christmas with his extended family on his mom's side. Afterwards, we headed to his Memommie's house to do our Christmas with her. By the time we left Temple and drove to College Station, it was after midnight!

We woke up and had Christmas morning with my family. We did something a little different this year. We cut out a lot of our big gift giving and just did small, meaningful things for each other. Here, my Granny and Grandaddy are opening the ornaments we had made for their 50th wedding anniversary!

And here, my mom and dad are opening the ornaments we had made for their 30th wedding anniversary!

My mom played "Santa," handing out the gifts. I think this is such a cute picture of her!

Lindsay enjoyed her gifts, too! Here, she's opening a nice reed diffuser from us:

I think Kevin enjoyed himself as well, after the underwear was opened, put away, and forgotten.

My Uncle Larry, Aunt Tina, and cousin Justin spent the time that they weren't opening presents (which was a lot of Uncle Larry, ;) ) cracking jokes and amusing us with their wittiness.

Kevin and I are lucky that our family loves our dogs (almost) as much as we do! They got as many presents as we did! And don't you think for a second that they didn't understand "present" and/or know how to open them by themselves! Here, they're enjoying one of their gifts. They also got gourmet (and iced/decorated) cookies! In the following picture, you can see Bella in her "Naughty or Nice" shirt. Everyone voted on naughty, due to the incessant barking.

Also, we each brought a valuable, desireable gift for a Chinese gift exchange. I brought this AWESOME electric foot massager with heat and all these little metal balls that rotate around. Heaven. I told Kevin when I bought it that I was GOING to come home with my own present, even if it meant being ruthless (sorry Aunt Tina). Needless to say, the foot massager is mine. I teach in heels every day!!!

We arrived home this morning shortly before 11am, and found DRY CARPET!!! Apparantly we turned off the right thing this time. Kevin was about to head to Lowe's to figure out what he needed to buy to repair the pipes when we were presented with a HUGE blessing. Our neighbor was outside, and it turns out that he USED TO BE A PLUMBER! This was amazing, since we had already tried to call a few plumbers with no success. He helped Kevin figure out what to do, and then Kevin took care of it! He is an AMAZING handy-man! He even took on a few other projects while he was in the mood, like hanging me a bar for laundry in the utility room, replacing and upgrading our heater/AC control, and changing out a few outlet covers. I was so happy!

While Kevin was busy being a handy-man, I was un-decorating, cleaning, and organizing like a MAD woman. We already have Christmas decorations down, put away, and replaced with my standard decor. It feels good.

Later in the week we'll be heading to Houston for New Year's Eve, which should be a blast. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oreo Uh-oh

There is nothing better than a clean house. I have this obsession with getting my house spotless, lighting several candles all over the place, and sitting back and enjoying it. Kevin made me count my candles tonight, in an effort to make a point that I have a sickness. I have 48 candles. And no, they are not all lit at once. Only eleven are. Go ahead and judge.

All that having been said, probably my worst fear is a terribly dirty house. Namely a terribly dirty kitchen, which is precisely what I found myself with today.

You see, I had to make 150 oreo balls - 100 for Kevin's family Christmas and 50 for mine, which is considerably smaller. Making oreo balls seems deceivingly simple, since there are only 3 ingredients: oreos, cream cheese, and candy coating. However, it is no small task to crush up 4 packages of oreos into powder, mix them with softened cream cheese, roll them into 150 little balls, chill them, dip each ball into vanilla candy coating, then drizzle each one with chocolate. It is especially difficult when your blender (makeshift food processor) breaks after only two packages of oreos.

Allow me to tell my story with pictures.

Once upon a time there was a young lady who was very excited to make oreo balls for Christmas. Her puppies were excited too, at the prospect of catching a few scraps. They patiently waited on the rug.

After making two batches of the goo, her blender, in a complete lack of Christmas spirit, decided to break. It certainly had nothing to do with the fact that is was being used as a food processor, which it is NOT.

After only cursing the blender for a minute or so, the young lady decided to improvise and crush up the remaining two pounds of Oreos in ziplock baggies with a rolling pin. She soon discovered that she had only 4 ziplock baggies remaining, but decided to use them anyway. The bags ripped and blew Oreo crums everywhere, destroying her efforts to cook without dirtying the kitchen.

Oreo shrapnel was everywhere, but she kept on truckin'. She made it thorough the last two pounds of crushing and mixing, then carried out the rest of the recipe. Unfortunately, by the time she got to the dipping she was so tired that she did a terrible job. Crums, lumps, and drips were everywhere. So she decided to get back into her car and go BACK to Kroger for the third time today to get chocolate to melt and drizzle over the balls. She thought maybe this would disguise the mess. And she was right!

So there you have it, folks. Making Oreo balls is not easy task. But aren't they pretty?

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Yesterday, some friends from work and I went out for happy hour (milkshakes). We meant to only stay a while, but some of us lasted about 3.5 hours. Wow! Let me just say, that was a much needed milkshake. I love the people I work with! It was nice to relax and know that there was only one more day before the break.

Today, being the last day before Winter Break and being filled with all of the fun out-of-the-ordinary activities, was a day that made me very nervous. My class is difficult to manage and control, and a day like this could be very tiring and frustrating. But I went into it with a positive attitude, determined to allow my kids to have a fun day but also to maintain control of my classroom.

It was a wonderful surprise! Today was amazing! I gave not a single color change, which is, in itself, a miracle. We started the day by doing some organizational chores to get ready for the new year. We also packaged up their gifts for their parents, cute little ornaments or magnets. After specials, we drew visual representations of two digit numbers on our desks and wrote them in expanded form. Check this out! I am so proud of how my kids kick butt in math.

This apparantly deemed me the "coolest teacher EVER." Must have been the fact that they were writing directly on our desks.

After that, we cleaned out our desks and got new school supplies. Man oh man, I wish I had taken a picture of all the trash that came out of some of those desks. You wouldn't believe it. I also found like 30 of my missing pencils, hiding in the deep dark crevaces of first graders' desks.

Then we did a little bit of reading, a mini-recess, and we went to our school holiday sing-a-long. It was so cute! Each grade level performs a song and then we all sing and dance together. It is such a fun time! Then we headed back to our classroom for our class party at the end of the day. I had to organize it myself this year, since I'm not sure my room mom is really into being my room mom, lol. I must say (patting myself on the back) that it was the most organized, well managed class party I have ever seen. I had three stations going: a craft with foam door signs and foam stickers, a holiday bingo game, and of course a snack. Since the kids only spent ten minutes at each station, nobody got bored and started acting up. I was so impressed. I had four moms there helping, at it was just wonderful. Here are some pictures:

So anyway, it was a wonderfully peaceful and fun day! Here's a funny quote from the other day:

Jake: "No, T, Santa is not real. He's just fake. Hanukkah is real."
T: "Well, 'Jake,' if you don't believe in Santa you're just a moron. Don't you know that Santa's the one that INVENTED Christmas?!"


I have always been a firm believe in the saying that "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger." Well, I have now made it (not officially, because we haven't made it all the way through the third 6 weeks yet) pretty much through half of the year. I have survived half a year of this class. And you know what? I have enjoyed myself almost as much as I have been frustrated and upset. Okay, maybe even more than I have been frustrated and upset. And now I have the tools and the knowledge of how to deal with a class like this. The last half of the year should be much easier than the first. I am looking forward to a nice break to relax and recuperate. When I go back in January, I'll have a refreshed attitude and I'll be ready to get back to work!

...but it's a good thing I have 15 days off. Because if it was any shorter, I might lose my mind.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. And those of you in the school system, enjoy your (much needed also, I'm sure) winter break!

I'll update soon, since I'll have a lot of time on my hands for a while :) :) :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Get ready for another round of Not Me Monday - created by MckMama! !

Here are some things that I am ashamed that I did did NOT do this week!

1. I did not become hopelessly addicted to Facebook Scrabble. I did NOT justify this by deciding that I was being introduced to new words daily, thus improving my vocabulary for the GRE.

2. My husband did NOT, after wrapping up some scratch off tickets for a Secret Santa gift exchange, decide to put a DISCLAIMER in the box that stated "If your winnings are equal to or exceeding $100, I, as the purchaser, am entitled to half of them." I absolutely did not shame him for his lack of social grace and remove said disclaimer.

3. For said party, I did NOT take the easy way out and bring a no-bake cheescake. I did not justify my lack of effort with the fact that I had three Christmas parties three days in a row and had to bake for all of them.

4. Also at said party, I did NOT discover within 5 minutes of being in the house, that the people had cats. I am defintely not SERIOUSLY allergic to cat hair. And don't worry, because this house was NOT full of cat hair. I did not, upon my nose and throat closing up, start looking around the room for signs of cats. Then, the "psycho" music (eee-eeee-eeee-eee) did not play in my mind when I saw a cat toy in the corner. I did NOT have to suffer through 4 hours of this "party," and then it did NOT take me a full 24 hours to recover.

5. I did not put off making my Christmas cards for so long that they probably will not get done at this point. I do not feel really horrible about it. (Catch you next year!)

6. At Polar Express PJ day at school, I did not spend an entire day reprimanding my students for running and sliding on their feet or their knees in the hall, or for spinning in circles in their sliipery houseshoes. Then, after school, I positively did NOT try all of the above for myself, just to see what all the hype was about.

7. I did not go out onto the playground after school on Friday (in my PJ's) to hunt down three ants to make a student feel good about his "first science experiement EVER." I then did not CRUSH said ants and stick them into a gluestick cap full of liquid glue. I did NOT take pictures, and I did NOT post them here.

8. I did not order "El Grande Burrito" at lunch today because I watch what I eat. I then did NOT proceed to watch it as I ate the entire burrito single-handedly.

9. I am not absolutely JUMPING FOR JOY at the idea of Christmas break starting in just 5 DAYS!!! I also have not been counting down since 25 school days. That would just be silly. I live in the moment.

10. A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to the doctor for a sinus infection. Upon taking my blood pressure, she was NOT alarmed at how high it was (I've never had high blood pressure before, for real). She did not go on and on about how I was too young and at too healthy of a weight to be suffering from high blood pressure. I then did not inform her that I was a first grade teacher with a very challenging class, and it was the most challenging time of the year. She then did NOT look nervously at me and say how that could explain it, but if it was constantly that high, I might need to consider a career change. I did NOT laugh it off, but think...if even for a second...that she might be right.

...but then, I did NOT go back to work the next day, see my students so happy that I was back and okay, and write off all of those negative thoughts! :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Polar Express Pajama Day... and some funny stuff, too

Yesterday was our annual Polar Express Pajama Day at school. We all wore our Pj's, robes, and slippers. We read the book and watched the movie, and then compared and contrasted them. We also made and enjoyed hot chocolate and then wrote a sequencing paper about it. We had so much fun! And do you know what? Not one single, solitary student pulled a buzz card (warning) yesterday. That is super surprising because it was such an exciting day, yet it's the first time that has ever happened. Here are some pictures from our fun (and adorable) day:

I also happen to have some funny things to share with you. I know that you are all very surprised by that.

1. I was standing in the hall first thing in the morning waiting for the kids to make their way to their lockers and into the room. Emily's room is right next to mine and a little girl from her class was at her locker. She said "Mrs. White! My mom could NEVER come to pajama day!" When I asked her why, she ACTUALLY said "Because she doesn't have any pajamas to wear. When my mom goes to bed, she's just naked!"

2. After watching the movie, 'Jake,' who had been complaining all morning about having to watch The Polar Express because it is about Santa and he's Jewish, announced that it was "a BRAVO movie, full of JOYFUL music." I think maybe he's a future movie critic...or something.

3. After centers time, D came up to me very excitedly. He told me that he just started his "FIRST SCIENCE EXPERIMENT EVER!" D struggles in school and isn't exactly the type to take learning into his own hands, so I was interested about this project and I asked him to tell me about it. He took out one of those big glue stick tops from his desk, where is was stored ever so carefully. Inside, he had placed an old dirty crayon (thinking that ants might want to come eat it). Then he had poured elmer's glue all around it, filling up the cap. Now, I don't typically encourage playing with glue, but that was a pretty creative idea for a 7 year old! He had thought of a hypothesis and discovered a way to test it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there really needed to be some ants stuck in the glue on Monday; he needs that encouragement. So yes. After school Denise and I went out to the playground and she showed me an ant pile that her Kinders play in. I stirred them up and smashed three of them, then stuck them in the glue cap. Here's a picture of their white, sticky grave.

I really can't wait to see his reaction on Monday!


Last night Kevin and I went to his work Christmas party at a coworker's house. The guy has three cats, and is not really the best cleaner apparantly. In case you didn't know, I am pretty seriously allergic to cats. My throat feels like it gets really tiny and I can't stop coughing. Also, my eyes get itchy and I sneeze a lot. With all of the activities that the guys had planned for everyone, we were stuck there for almost four hours. By the time we left, I couldn't even breathe. It was miserable.

Tonight we have another Christmas party, though, which should be much more enjoyable. In fact, I'm going to go get started on my Monkey Bread for it right now!

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

funny stuff, tattle tails, and good news!

Hi guys,

I apologize ahead of time, because after previewing this post, I realize that it is ALL over the place.

It's been a crazy week. I apologize for my lack of blogging, but allow me to sum up my week in an incident that occurred today. This is to show you how there is always SOMETHING happening...never a peaceful moment. Today we were about to head out to recess. T decided that he shouldn't have to do the two minutes off that the whole class had earned by being unable to keep their mouths closed ALL DAY LONG. He started crying and throwing a huge fit. I warned him that if he didn't pull it together, he wouldn't be going to recess with us at ALL, especially since just an hour before he had had recess with his class. The screaming got worse, so I got on the phone to call his teacher and have him sent back to class so we could leave. By this time, my kids were standing in the hallway in their "lines" getting really talkative and crazy. T is stomping around, kicking things, and screaming. Then K threw up on the floor in the hallway. Yes. All in about 3 minutes. Welcome to my life.

Anyway, many funny things have been happening this week. I'll share the ones that have pictures accompanying them with you first. How's that?

"husband" and "wife" - 'Jake' and E on the field trip on Monday. (It is pretty darn cute, though, huh?)

This is my "new class pet," according to S. He made it for me at lunch today. It's a crab.

Me: "Take out your glue and your scissors."
En: (gasps loudly)
Me: "What's wrong, En?"
En: (runs up to me holding his glue box) "MY GLUE TAKED ITS OWN TOP OFF!!!!!"
His crayons were floating in white glue. This is after he had been cleaning it for 10 minutes. I guess I should have explicitly told him to take the crayons out before he cleaned it to make the job easier. I forget sometimes that they're only 6!

Some other funny stories:

-Speaking of glue, today I had to take 5 minutes out of my lesson just to teach my kids "proper gluing strategies." This is necessary in order to avoid huge globs of glue that never dry, soggy papers, and things being glued to desks "accidentally." I then spent the next 10 minutes walking around inspecting their gluing, saying to them: "Whoa. Are you using proper gluing strategies? Yeah. I didn't think so. Let's work on that." It's the little things...

-And more about the glue. One of my kids' favorite "table work time" songs is "The Rules Rap" by Dr. Jean. They think it's so cool. Today, S (who was one of the butts-glued-to-chairs culprits earlier in the year, said "I hope one of the rules is not to glue your bottom to a chair!!!"

-D was walking around my classroom while I was teaching (as usual). I have (sadly) resigned myself to the fact that this is just GOING to happen. He was making a really high-pitched buzzing sound, but the students and I were ignoring it (we're getting good at that). Then he got really close to my face after about 5 minutes, clapped his hands together very loudly, and stopped the buzzing sound. Then he said in his high, squeaky voice "I caught the fly!!!" Wow.

-After a heated debate between T (who celebrates Christmas) and 'Jake' (who celebrates Hanukkah), T declared that 'Jake' was a "moron" to not like Santa Claus, because "Santa invented Hanukkah."

-Speaking of Hanukkah, T (who again, does not celebrate Hanukkah), wrote in his journal about how Hanukkah was his favorite holiday: "Hanukkah is my favorite holiday because it has 8 days. In Hanukkah, I get to express myself, and that's all I need for myself. Let it last longer." I said "Hey T, I didn't know you were Jewish." He goes "I'm not. I just like Hanukkah."


And yes - I thought I would wait until next Tuesday, but while I'm in the blogging mood, I'm going to go ahead and share some

with you!

I know, it's not Tuesday. Like I tell my kiddos: "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"

1. D bit R in his reses.
translation: D bit R during recess.

2. Wel K wuz scerrrg O.
translation: Well, K was scaring O. (This must have been the day that someone (I guess who it was now) found my stripes book and teased 'Jake' with it until he hyperventilated.

3. S puted aycorns in his maf and spit them at me
translation: S put acorns in his mouth and spit them at me.

4. A was arguing with me and I did not like it one bit.

5. T is bad. <--------- this one speaks for itself!!!

6.S sed I wus loying wen I wus wriding in the tattle book by A.
translation: S said I was lying when I was writing in the tattle book, by A.

...AND my ALL-TIME favorite tattle....

7. S cold me a big fat ham brgr.
translation: S called me a big fat hamburger. <---------hilarious.

Today after school we had our holiday party and gift card exchange. It was so much fun! I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to work at the school that I do with such awesome women. Tomorrow night we have a party with some of Kevin's coworkers, and Saturday night we have another one with some church friends. This time of the year sure is crazy, but I absolutely love it and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Good news... we had our district math benchmarks this week and the test was pretty challenging, but also fair. 95% of my class met the district standards (1 child didn't), and my class average was a 96%! I was so proud of them. It's so rewarding to walk around as they work on their tests and watch them showing their work and using their strategies just like I taught them. Some of you wouldn't believe some of the questions these first graders are having to answer! I showed Kevin a benchmark one time and it really surprised him. He said "Wow. I have to really THINK about this question. I didn't know first graders had to do this stuff." So there you have it. Those of you who think teaching first grade is "slapping a spongebob poster on the wall and babysitting for a year" are very wrong. And yes, I still hold a grudge about that. I dare you to come teach my class for a day.

...more good news. My rant is over now! That kind of came out of nowhere, so sorry. But once I type something I don't take it back. That's my rule.

...and even more good news. I got a scholarship for my first class to be free for grad school, starting in January! That's a savings of $415! I'm pretty pumped.
I'll definitely write about tomorrow, because it is our Polar Express Pajama day! We're all wearing pajamas, slippers, and robes to school. And yes, I will defintely be wearing pigtails. How can you have PJ day without pigtails?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Funny Field Trip

Today we went on a field trip to the Environmental Studies Center for my district. I took a lot of pictures, but maybe I'll post those tomorrow when I find my camera cord. For today, I'll just share some hilarious happenings of the day. First off, know that this field trip was only about an hour long. Also, know that if I could have hand-selected the most difficult and challenging group of 8 kids to put together for the activities, I would have chosen the 8 that were in poor, sweet, old lady Mrs. Brown's group at the ESC. You see, I was on the bus helping the kids unload as the groups were being formed, and I didn't notice the unfortunate turn of events that was taking place. By the time I did, all of the other groups were gone and poor Kelly (an assistant in the behavior classroom at my school) was just about to take on the role of Mrs. Brown's helper all alone. This group included 'Jake,' his "wife" E, three of the four behavior kids, and 3 other innocent bystanders.

It probably turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and funniest hours of my job. Definitely the funniest field trip ever. I think Mrs. Brown was wondering who she made mad this morning to deserve this group. The whole time she was trying her best to teach them about organisms and habitats, the kids were blurting out, getting completely off topic, and occasionally screaming out about one thing or another. Here are some of the more memorable moments:

1. We knew it would be an interesting day when our first bus pulled into the circle, stopped, and the muffler clanked to the ground. We had to get another bus and ran 30 minutes late (which could have been bad since we were supposed to arrive back right before the dismissal bell).

2. 'Jake' always speaks very loudly and matter of factly. The first crack out of the box:
-J: Is that really G's dad?
-Me (as were walking right on the heels of G's dad): Yes it is.
-J: He talks and he looks like a hobo.
...G's dad chuckles...
-Me: Jake, just because someone doesn't look or talk just like you, it doesn't make them a hobo or anything else. Everyone is different, and G's dad is just different.
-J: Yeah. Because he looks like a hobo.

3. Then Mrs. Brown asked the kids what the rings of a tree can tell us. T yelled out "They tell a beautiful story about how the tree lives."

4. Then we had a bee scare. Sweet Mrs. Brown took the opportunity to teach the kids about honey bees and how they die a terrible death if they sting you, so they have to be really scared to do so. She was really trying to get the kids to empathize with the bees. Then all of the sudden "street T" came out. He started talking all roughly and shouting "YEAH! GOOD! I'M GLAD THEY DIE! THAT'S WHAT THEY GET FOR STINGING ME! NEXT TIME THEY BETTER THINK ABOUT IT AND KNOW BETTER! The rant didn't stop until Mrs. Brown just gave up and walked away toward her next point of discussion.

5. As we were looking at the river (which, judging by G and Jake, has live squids and anacondas in it), T was too busy looking OVER the river at the nice neighborhood in the distance on the other side of the property line. He started telling Mrs. Brown about how he was going to buy one of those houses. Kelly told him he better study hard and get good grades, go to a good college, and get a great job to be able to buy a house there. Then this convo happened:
-Mrs. Brown: "Well, I went to a famous college and got great grades, and I still cant afford to live there."
-Me: "Yes. I suppose it matters what career field you choose to go into."
-Mrs. Brown: "More so, it matters what man you marry!"

6. Then we headed into the little cabin with all of the animals in it, which was so cool but also, as you can imagine, pretty smelly. The first thing we met was a corn snake. She was teaching the kids about how the snake smells with his tongue. She had the kids stick out their tongues and said "See? You can't smell anything with your tongue, can you?" T said "Yes. I sure can. I can smell bad stink!"

7. Jake ran away from the snake screeching because he was convinced that the snake would think he had a rat in his pocket, and thus devour him in one bite.

8. I spent a good portion of my time "slicing" through Jake and E's "husband and wife" hand-holding with my folder. I couldn't keep them off of each other!

At the end of our trip, as we were loading our bus, I looked at Mrs. Brown and said "You've had quite an interesting afternoon, haven't you?" She looked at me with a very serious face and said "Well, yes. It was....fascinating."

At least we had a sweet tour guide with sense of humor! That's what you need to survive those kids!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Mystery Motivator

Earlier this week my class earned our Mystery Motivator by getting all of their letters filled in. I fill in a letter when they receive a compliment, when they work really hard and make me proud of them, when we have no tardies, etc.

We voted on a reward and the kids decided on a popcorn and movie party, so we had it today at the end of the day. I popped a few bags of popcorn, showed a Magic Schoolbus 30 minute video on my Dukane, and let them enjoy it.

You would think each and every one of them won the lottery! And all because of a 30 minute video about baking (going along with our cookie unit), a pile of popcorn, and half a graham cracker!

Sometimes I wish I could go back to when life was that simple. The little things were super exciting, and the biggest things I had to worry about was little Johnny cutting in front of me in line, who my next play date would be with, or how much money the tooth fairy was going to leave me. At least I get to live in 6-year old innocence vicariously through my class!

I hope you have a warm and cozy weekend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Quick Funny Thing

Hi everyone,

I know I didn't follow through on Tattle-Tale Tuesday yesterday. I can explain. I forgot the Tattle Book at school, plus because of the break there wasn't much in there to share anyway. Today I just have one quick story for you. It actually happened yesterday. You need some background info though: 'Jake' and "E" are kind of an item; against all criticism and objection from myself, they call themselves "husband" and "wife" behind my back. They call each other "honey" and "dear," they run their fingers through each other's hair, and they have bi-weekly play-dates. The girl has Jake completely wrapped around her tiny little finger.

It happened when we were doing our math journal problems first thing yesterday morning. Jake said "Mrs. White, you look pretty and beautiful today." This is a common compliment from him so I didn't think much of it. I just thanked him and kept teaching. Then I heard a grunt coming from E's deneral direction. I looked up and she was giving Jake the death glare, then switching to me and back and forth. Then she meanly grunted "You're supposed to say that to ME, [JAKE]!!!"

Jake looked like a deer caught in headlights. He said "Uh...uh....Emilia, you look pretty and beautiful, and ... HOT...today."

Yes. You heard that right. Jake thinks Emilia is hot. Either that, or he just needed something that topped the compliment he gave me. Or both.

E fluffed her dress, flipped her hair, smiled her flirty smile, and went back to work.

Aren't they too young for this stuff???

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Here we are again at another Not Me Monday, courtesy of MckMama. I am so excited to share with you some things that I, in NO way, shape, or form, did this week!

1. I didn't go with Kevin and Lindsay (my 16 year old sister) to Freebirds in College Station for a huge burrito the day after Thanksgiving. And even if I had, I would have never teamed up with Lindsay to build a crab out of foil. And even if THAT had happened, I would NOT have tried to stick all different kinds of foods into his pinchers before finally deciding on a piece of fajita steak and a tomato. I then did not take a picture of said crab, because I did NOT think it was brilliant. I'm an adult.

2. I did not give up on Texas A&M during the first quarter of the t.u. game. Then, I did not start hoping only that t.u. did not make the 35 point spread. I then did not almost cry when in fact, they crushed us by 40 points.

3. After spending a fair amount of time painting mine and Kevin's names onto our Dollar Tree stockings, I defintely did NOT get really angry when Kevin, while making his second dinner, scraped his plate across my name and messed it up terribly. I did not get even more angry when he said "It was just an accident. My plate was laying right there." I then did not take a HUGE amount of pleasure in what I was doing as I took out the scissors and chopped his stocking in half, while saying "It was just an accident. The scissors were laying right there..."

4. Speaking of stockings, I did not already stuff Tex's and Bella's with their Christmas goodies. Why would I do that? It's still 15 days before I even start giving them one each night until Christmas. And if I HAD already stuffed them, I certainly would not have done it in front of them, squeaking each toy in front of their faces and then shoving it in their respective stocking. Then I wouldn't have made a huge deal of placing their stocking on the mantle, just above their reach. I didn't start feeling guilty immediately after and decide to start the goodies tomorrow, either.

5. While getting ready to hang our Christmas lights, I would have NEVER allowed my husband to back his truck up next to the roof, place our 6 foot ladder into the back of it, and climb onto the roof that way. And I POSITIVELY did NOT come up with this idea myself.

6. While hanging lights on the bushes and trees, I did not get scolded by Kevin for "wrapping before thinking," in respect to how my creations were going to be powered. I never get ahead of myself. Pshhh...

7. I did not wrap every single present that is already bought simply so I could place them under my tree, because I felt sorry for it. Whay would I feel sorry for a dumb tree, just because it's so cold and lonely with nothing under it? I do not personify trees, or anything else for that matter.

8. I did not choose not to read an email that was sent to the church listserve, only to find out that it contained some very important info about bible class - namely, that there was none. I then did not show up an hour and a half early to church. Then, I was not called out during the service greeting by a man that said "I would like to give you an attendance count from bible class today. There were two people here. I won't mention any names, but we love our nursery teachers." I did NOT turn bright red and slink down in my seat.

9. I didn't discover today that Kevin wanted me to arrange for friends to go out to dinner for his birthday tomorrow, after assuming that we would just spend it with the two of us like we usually do birthdays. I then did not feel so bad about it that I went out and bought two more presents for him, even though we had agreed on zero presents.

10. I did not open my big fat mouth before thinking about it and invite our friends over for chili this week. I am not regretting this decision because I, in fact, have never made chili in my life and, as a rule, am not particularly great in the kitchen. I ALWAYS think before I speak.

What have you NOT done this week?

Check back tomorrow for Tattle-tale Tuesday! !

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and hanging lights :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families! Kevin and I got home this afternoon from our trip. We started in Temple with Kevin's mom's side of the family. We had a great Thanksgiving day lunch with everyone. I made these excellent things called Oreo balls and they were delicious! I have been instructed to make a triple batch for Christmas.

From there, we drove to Bryan/College Station to see my family. We had leftovers there for dinner and then just hung out. Friday Kevin and I took my sister Lindsay into town to visit A&M. She's a sophomore in high school and plans to go there in a couple of years - good girl. While we were there, Kevin and I took the opportunity to take a few pictures under the Century Tree. Tradition says that "If two lovers walk together under the branches of the Century Tree, one of the oldest trees on campus, they will spend their lives together." Of course, Kevin and I are already married, but it was still fun. Here are some pictures from our visit to A&M.

Saturday evening we went down to "the bottom' for a country meal with our family. My aunt had shot a deer the day before, and her and my uncle fried the backstrap for everyone. I was a little nervous about eating deer, but it was very good!

When we got home today, Kevin and I hung our Christmas lights on our house. It was a lot of work but it was also good time that we got to spend together. Here are some pictures of our lights:

Tomorrow it's Sunday school, church, and then off to Fort Worth to celebrate Kevin's birthday with his family. His birthday is actually on Monday the 1st. He'll be 27!

I'll update later in the weekend, have a fabulous Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A First Grade Thanksgiving

Yesterday was a day filled with Thanksgiving festivities! Our day started with some last minute practice for our play and a "dress rehearsal" during which I recorded the performance. We still had some time to kill before the parents arrived, so we played some Sight Words Bingo, which the kids adore.

At about 10:45 "Mr. Kevin" arrived to meet my class. If they weren't already hyper enough, that put them over the edge for sure! He stayed throughout our feast and performance and hung out with us. As he was leaving, I jokingly asked him "Would you like to trade jobs with me?" With a dead serious look on his face he replied "Not in a million years."

Shortly after Kevin arrived, the parents started trickling in. I found out later that the Kindergarten classes were having their feasts at the same time as first grade, so apparantly there were over 200 parents trying to sign it all at once in the office. Next year we'll have to coordinate better. We ended up with over 60 adults in my classroom for the party! Only two students did NOT have someone come for them, and luckily the other parents were very attentive to them so that they felt included.

We started out with our play. The video is too long to post, so I'll just post a couple of pictures. I wish you could see the whole thing, though. They were AMAZING. So many parents commented on how "polished" they were. I was a proud teacher :)

Then they sang their two songs, which were also adorable. My favorite is a funny one about having too much turkey on Thanksgiving. The other is a spin-off of the Twelve Days of Christmas, called The Ten Days of Thanksgiving. Both are too long to upload and post, but you don't know what you're missing!!! After the performance was over, it was time to feast! All of the parents brought something to contribute to our table. I unfortunately did not get a chance to snap a picture of it before everyone dug in. Several of the kids decided to change into their "fact family headdresses" to eat. Here are some pictures of the kids (and parents) enjoying the food, which was delicious.

The parents had all cleared out by a little after noon. We took the kids outside for a nice long recess to give them a chance to run off all of that sugar from the feast. Some of them decided to sleep instead. Here's 'Jake' enjoying a nap in the afternoon sun, on a nice bed of...rocks.

Other kids took the opportunity to play very silly games, such as the one below, in which a raptor attacks other students on the playground:

When we got inside, we read some Thanksgiving books and watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." Just as I had remembered from last year, it was a crazy day, but also a wonderful day. I really enjoy the opportunities to just spend fun time and "hang out" with my class. Unfortunatly, there are not as many of those times as I would like!!!

I hope you all have safe travel and a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!

Monday, November 24, 2008

(Another) Bad Case of the Stripes

Some of you may remember the story I wrote in September about 'Jake' and the book that he is absolutely terrified of - A Bad Case of the Stripes. Basically he has a paralyzing fear of even SEEING this book. If you weren't a reader back then, or need to refresh your memory, just look here.

Today the worst possible thing happened. I had allowed my kids to go to free centers (I know, brave right?). I was working with a small group when all of the sudden I heard terrible screaming and looked up to see Em running toward me yelling "Something is wrong with 'Jake!!!' He is freaking out and I can't calm him down!!!"

So I sprung to my feet and ran to the library center, where I found him. He was curled up in a fetal position on a bean bag with an open paperback book in his hands. He had his face shoved into the book all the way into the spine of it and had it clamped tightly around his face. He was screaming, yelling, hyperventilating, and crying all at once. Of course I could not calm him down. It took me 2 minutes just to figure out the problem. He had seen the book. He wouldn't take the other book off of his face, either. I know him well enough to understand that, as long as he was in the same room with that book, he was not going to calm down.

I picked him up and carried him, paralyzed with fear, into the hall. I sat him down and he finally removed his face from the other book. He was panting, screaming, and crying so hard that I thought he was going to throw up. Finally he told me what happened:

"I saw the rainbow colors," he said, "and THEN I saw the S. The S that goes with the STRIPES!" He was afraid that someone was going to get it down and show it to him. I assurred him that this book was on the UPPER shelf, and that children were not allowed to touch those books, only grown ups. That's where the story gets even better.

In the most sincere (irrational, but still sincere) little voice ever, 'Jake' asked me the following question:

"But what if you make a machine? A machine that turns little kids into grown ups? And then two kids from our class jump in it when you're not looking and they pop out as grown ups? And then they grab that scary book and SHOW IT TO ME??? Oh I can't even think about it! It's too hard, it's just too hard!!!!!!!!"

Yes. A machine that turns little kids into grown ups. If I had such a machine, I would put him it to make him grow up and not be scared of BOOKS! Anyway, he had to sit in another room while I "removed the book from our classroom." When he believed me that the coast was clear, he came cautiously back in.

But he didn't go back to the library center.

He may never.

Only time will tell.


Tomorrow is our bog Thanksgiving feast day at school! All of the parents signed up to bring different foods and the kids have been working so hard to prepare some songs and an adorable play for them. It will be a crazy day, but one of my favorites all year long, no doubt. Kevin is joining us for our feast, so I'm excited about that, too.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bella's New Spot

Bella has found a new hiding place in our house. She now spends most of her time under our christmas tree. Here are some pictures that are too cute not to share (that is, if you are an animal lover like me)!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!!!

Today Kevin and I spent the day (after Saturday School) shopping and decorating for Christmas. We were so excited because it's our first year in our house! We spent what seemed like forever at Walmart picking out our lights and other decorations, then we headed home to put together our tree. We bought the tree last year in the after Christmas clearance sales in hopes that we would have a house this year, thus needing more than our little table-top tree. God has truly blessed us since then!!!

Kevin doesn't like real trees, but he compromised with me by allowing me to buy a whole set of evergreen scented candles so that I can PRETEND that our tree is real. Haha. Not quite the same, but I'll live.

We haven't gotten to the outside yet, because by the time we wanted to start it was dark and even colder. We might do it tomorrow, or maybe even next weekend. I'm just happy to have my tree up! Kevin wanted to put the tree in the other living room and I threw a pretty huge fit because I NEED my tree to be in the room where I spend most of my time so that I can just look at it. Man I love Christmas!

Here are some pictures of the inside so far...outside to come soon :)

This is our tree!

Here is it from another view, also showing my favorite stuffed snowman and my cute table decor!

The mantle in our TV room with all of our stockings :)

And this is looking over our dining room table into our living room.

The living room and the mantle on the other side of the fireplace. See that adorable sign with our name on it? Kevin's sister gave that to us last year :)

The only thing that IS decorated outside already is our front door. I love this wreath I found for half price at Garden Ridge today!

I hope that you all are having a fun, relaxing, and happy weekend! Enjoy your Sunday!