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???