Monday, April 30, 2012

Moments in Time Monday

Such excitement and anticipation...for the Dog Park. I hope to capture some of that innocent excitement.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mad Men

is my new obsession.  And I got my FF hooked as well.  I am not sure how I missed it the first go around, but Netflix is my friend in instances like this.  I am also not sure what the draw is because it is just about everything I stand against.  I started watching it as a way to pass the time after I was protesting folding all of the laundry with no help.  (Not sure why I do that, I always end up still doing it by myself, just in larger quantities!) But none-the-less, it has sucked me in and I am on Episode 5 of season 4.  

For those of you unfamiliar with Mad Men, it is an AMC show, that has just started Season 5 in the last few weeks.  (Season 5 is currently waiting patiently for me on my DVR!)  It is set in the Advertising World of Madison Avenue in the 60s.  The central character is Don Draper, who is not really Don Draper, who is a drunk, manipulating, chain smoking, man-whore.  But you can't help but be drawn in to his world.  

I look at how the wives and secretaries are treated and just shake my head.  I cannot even imagine living in that world. But, I would have been raised differently and therefore my expectations would have been different.  If the sound goes out, you could tell what role the women were playing.  Every woman falls into 1 of 3 categories - housewife, sexy secretary/temptress and career girl.  You don't have to hear a word come out of their mouth, just look at what they are wearing.  

One think that amazes me is the smoking.  It is everywhere.  There is  an ashtray prominently placed in just about every scene.  Lucky Strikes is one of their major accounts.  The housewives have cigarettes in the rubber gloved hands while they are doing dishes and OB-GYN has a cigarette in his mouth while his patient is in the stirrups! WHAT!

It is an interesting look in a time gone by.  Makes me grateful to have been born a decade later.  So, once my hubby wakes up from his nap, we will continue where we left off, wrapping up season 4 this weekend.  It is like the accident, you know you shouldn't be watching, but you can't pull your eyes away.

Enjoy your day and do something fun with your family.  And put a nipple on that retro Coke bottle.  My kids would have loved this!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Awesome Firefighter

This whole blogging venture started as a quasi journal.  Adjusting to life as a firewife was not what I had envisioned.  Packing up and moving my classroom to a school 2 counties away, with 4 muppets in tow was not a fun way to start.  Then come conferences and open house, while my FF is still in the academy, having to drive an hour and a half both (From school and back - in rush hour) ways to drop the kids off at my dad's, just to drive it again later in the night, was making me crazy.  There was no break.  Full time mom, full time teacher and full time wife to a husband I was beginning to think was a figment of my imagination, was eating me alive.

Sometimes I think I vent too much on here.  Sometimes I think I focus on what is bugging me, just so I don't keep it locked up and let it consume me.  So here is a happy post.

Hubby worked yesterday.  I took the kids to have their pictures taken.  I haven't gotten all four together in quite some time.  I also got a few with me in them, because I have very few pictures of us together.  I am usually taking the pictures.  The kids were AMAZING.  The photographer was amazed. 

Those dang tones...again.

We stopped at the golden arches for lunch on the way and stopped to see Daddy at a new firehouse. He is homeless for a bit.  He starts Tuesday at his medhouse, which is the same house he did his field experience, but until then he kinda goes where he is needed. The kids love that we stopped in to see him. He  ate lunch with us in the bay.  Well, he started to eat lunch...until the tones went off.  Then it was, "Bye Daddy".

The Lt. was nice enough and let us hang out until they got back.  21 is an older house, turn of the century-ish.  I showed the boys the steep stairs and explained that they were so steep to keep the horses from coming up them at night.  

The kids tried to sit politely while we waited in an empty firehouse. They were so excited when the med unit came back, even though the engine was still not back.  And thrilled when they got to play in a new (to them) engine.  I don't think that will ever get old.

We had a lovely dinner at Culver's, started to watch the Brewers absolutely implode and then came home.  When Daddy got off shift, he picked me up for a breakfast date at Perkins - including a Peanut Butter Silk pie, which is mine to do with as I see fit, per Daddy.  But, you know I will share it with my muppets.  He also indulged my desire to pick up a few more paint chips for the new house, as well as look at cabinets for the kitchen, which I know he was not in the mood to do.

It was a lovely start to my weekend.  I can't wait for the pictures to be in.  I am so excited.  I love new pictures!

So, there is my sunshine and butterflies for you today.  Now, I am off to continue season 3 of Mad Men, while my girlies and FF nap and the boys are watching something downstairs.  Happy Saturday!  Hug your kids and kiss your firefighters.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mean Girls

Mean girls are one my least favorite parts of my job.  They are also one of the groups that I find myself having the least amount of patience with.  I am working on that and luckily it is not too bad in the high school, but it still something that I really have to remind myself to be the grown up about. 

Mean girls are the reason why I seem to gravitate  to the males of our species.  Men, if they don't like you, you know it. Women on the other hand, smile to your face and the most horrendous things can spew from their mouths as you are walking away.  The two groups I have observed MGs target are either those deemed not worthy of the presence of MGs or those they feel threatened by because they cannot control or manipulate them.

I am used to dealing with them on the high school level.  D is our oldest girl, if you can even use the word "old" in any context with kindergartners, and the MGs have already reared their ugly head.

My FF was subbing at the Lower Campus earlier this year.  He came home and told me D was definitely her momma's daughter.  My first thought was, "Oh, Lord, what did she say?"  But, it was actually what he saw at lunch.  D, everyday without fail, happily eats lunch with a table full of boys.  He was smiling and amazed because he saw me in that.  I was not smiling and shook my head because I knew what that meant - the MGs have made her find a way to survive without them - IN KINDERGARTEN!

Earlier in the year, she got into the car, almost distraught, over the Barbie center.  I resisted from rolling my eyes and I heard her out.  Turns out, there was a Barbie that a MG had deemed was only hers and some kindergarten style threats (a la ~ I won't be your friend and neither will my friends) were made regarding anyone else playing with said Barbie. D got done her work, played in the Barbie center and had the nerve to play with the coveted Barbie. MG told her to leave it alone due to her claim on it, D reminded her she wasn't done with her work and couldn't play with it anyway.  MG made the friendship threat and D told her she probably wasn't a very good friend anyway.  And there it began, the gauntlet was thrown down.

So far we have attended a few MG birthday parties and D is always amazed at how nice they are to her while she's there.  Usually when we leave I check to see if there are any knives stuck where they should not be as we are walking away.  I have also observed where the behavior is learned and it makes my heart heavy.  At one party I was almost treated as the "help" because I am teacher at the school they pay so much to send their kids to.  All I can do is smile, say thank you for their hospitality and say a prayer.

The inspiration for this post was conferences last night.  I don't usually get to go to our kids' conferences, because I have my own conferences to be the teacher at.  Sometimes it is a good thing, but sometimes you miss out on the proud momma moments.  J shared one of those last night.  And it was about the MGs.  Her teacher complimented her on how well she handles situations with the MGs, she doesn't get sucked into it and she is confident enough to stand up to them when they are wrong.  That made my day.
My goal has been to raise kind, compassionate and CONFIDENT kids.  Our society, especially with girls, does not always make that easy.  I prayerful that I can continue to help my kids on this path as they are starting out in life so that they look at the world and wonder how they can make it better, as opposed to what the world can do for them, today.

So, day #2 of my 30 Posts in 30 Days is completed without much extra effort.  28 more to go!  Happy Friday, everyone.  Hug your kids, kiss your FFs and remind your kids to be true to themselves.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Next 30 Days


I am going to attempt the impossible. I am about 6 months later than the rest of the world, or maybe 6 months early, whose to say.  Maybe it is the leftover adrenaline rush from P90X's Ab Ripper, maybe it is the spring sunshine beaming in my window as I wait for my last workday of the week to begin.  I am going to be good about posting - 30 days, 30 posts.  

Now, not seeming to be totally impossible, remember, P90X is already taking a dedicated  hour of my day.  Then there's the extra life force that it takes to keep 16 and 17 year-olds focused at this point in the year. Don't forget you have to throw in the fact that I am the junior class adviser and prom is in 23 days.  I am heading several student groups' officers in pulling off a huge service message during prom week. Oh yeah, and I have to paint the new house (gotta love the colors I picked - maybe there's a post idea), as well as pack up and move our whole house, again, back to the city.  Throw in finals and end of the year business at school.  Nevermind the day to day chaos that comes, part and parcel, to life with a firefighter, four kids and 2 horses, also known as Great Pyrenees.   Now, suddenly, it seems to be a bit more of a daunting task.  BUT, paramedic school is over, and that makes all things possible.

So, it begins now.  Here is my post for the day, so I can spend my evening after the last night of  conferences for the year with my hubby and Muppets.  I am hoping this will help me keep things in perspective over the next month.  I get the feeling that it maybe a bit crazy on this end until summer. 

But, it will be nice to not spend a chunk of summer doing packing and moving stuff. Instead, I can simply enjoy it.  

For those of you who have to work tomorrow, enjoy your Friday.  For those of you who are enjoying your last of the work week, like me - enjoy your day off and do something fun.  Peace.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Think I Might Be Too Old

The FF and I started P90x on Monday.  He worked yesterday, so I did the next day after the showing of the house and the kids were in bed.  I am nervous about working out without him to keep me from going too far.  BUT...I LOVE it. I am feeling it.  My Obliques, my traps, my triceps - I can tell which muscles have been neglected.  I had to to roll out of bed this morning.  I am going to have to figure out a way to cushion my lower back through the floor exercises, my yoga mat is not enough.  (I am missing the last two disc in my spin - delivery of my first born blew those out in Y2K.)

So, wish me luck as I make my way through this.  Dang, I am old.  I don't remember taking this long to re cooperate from new exercise routines.  Happy Hump Day!  Conferences tonight and tomorrow.  I think I am among all teachers when I say, these  are such LOOOOOONNNG weeks.  Especially at this time of the year, when it is the 3rd round of conferences.  Then off to Shoulders and Arms, followed by Ab Ripper tonight. <Sigh> 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are We There Yet?

Well, almost...
I am so ready for summer, probably worse than my seniors.  There are 17 1/2 days left with seniors and 25 days - including exams - for the rest of us.  And I am counting.  Usually, I don't until we are in the single digits, but for some reason spring fever has lead to need to sing "Schools Out For Summer".  It is sad, really.

But, my hubby just finished his paramedic training and passed his National Registry, so I get him back again.  We are moving at the end of next month, next to another fire family and I cannot wait to get in and paint and get settled.  I am excited about playing with the kids and chatting with our neighbors at the "beer fence."  As much as I loved my big old house, it is not what I envisioned in my mind.  My hubby hates it and our basement is too low for him to walk in, much less create any sort of family room/ rec room space for the muppets to have some space.  And, after the break in, I am ready to go.  We have a showing this evening, keep your fingers crossed.

My FF and I have started P90X and I LOVE it. (I have the "before" pictures, just not sure I am brave enough to share them!) Sad or sadistic, not sure what it is.  But, I am junky when it comes to the endorphin release created by exercise and it does give me a high.  So, anyway, I am excited to have the mornings free to start the cardio workouts that are in the Doubles rotation.  I am excited to go to the park with the kids, to go swimming, picnicking, to head to the Lakefront, to live.  I am just excited for June to get here.  So, this whole school thing, as much as I love it and will be missing it by the end of July, is getting in the way.  One of those moments where I wish my skill lay in a field that lent itself to a SAHM kind of a world.  Never thought I would say that in a million, bazillion years!

Enjoy your day. Hug your kids, kiss your firefighter and enjoy life.

Monday, April 23, 2012

So much for my 21st Century Classroom

I really try to make my class enjoyable.  I lecture with as much vim and vigor as I can muster.  I am a bit loud at times.  I try and teach like a story teller.  I am also a geek, which I have mentioned here a time or twenty.  It is just the nature of the beast I guess.  I love toys. I love computers.  I love technology.  Being in a 1:1 laptop school makes it SOOOO much easier for my inner geek to come out and play.  I have so many cool ideas and I am trying very hard to move away from relying solely on traditional assessments and including more projects that can be included in their e-portfolios as we move on in journey as a 21st Century School.  

So, I have been toying with a Social Media project for a bit.  I settled on Twitter, because it is the least threatening format of mainstream social media.  I got all the kids set up, had them lock their accounts, stressed that they should only included the kids in that class, not even in my other sections.  Everything seemed to be going so smoothly when I left work on Friday.

Sill rabbit, you know there is always as SNAFU.

The panicked emails started coming in on Saturday.  Twitter was suspending their accounts.  
WHAT???  It is a THEOLOGY class!  What could they be posting to get their accounts suspended?!?  The emails just kept coming in.

I spent the weekend trying to figure it out.  It hit me this morning, 6:45, as I looked around my empty (well, aside from the 4 stooges) classroom.  They didn't do their homework.  UGH!  See, this is what happens when you don't do your homework.

I asked the kids to have their accounts set up when they came in to class on Friday.  About half did not.  So, we set them up in class. Because they were all set up from my class, I am certain that I multiple accounts being created from this IP address, sent up a BRIGHT RED FLAG for the Twitter Geeks and they suspended half of my kids' accounts.  UGH!!!

And the thing is, the project relies on the social part of social media to be successful. <sigh>

So, we are posting on the hum drum boring old Moodle forum until we can get this straightened out.  Hopefully Twitter will hear our pleas and reactivate the kids' accounts - FAST!  Wish us luck.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, April 13, 2012


I find myself thinking about home.  Where is home? What makes a home?  Defining home.  I have decided the old cliche is true.  Home is indeed where your heart is.
Last night we went to a tiny UCC church for a concert for the annual Lakeland College Choir tour, which now includes the band.   And it was like being home again.  Seeing all of the kids (and WOW do they look young...maybe I am just old) running around before the concert.  A couple playing on the piano before the concert.  We have all been there.  Four years of choir tours.  Blizzards, bad lasagna, making the Mitchell Park Domes come alive with sound with an impromptu concert, crossing the border before passports were needed, building lifelong friendships, staying up so late watching the sunrise just to sing early in the morning and of course - choir tour romances.
Ahhh, I had one of those.  A choir tour romance.  It seems there was one every year.

Mine was with a quiet guy.  Butterfly city - I never got butterflies.  I had tried to start something with him earlier in the fall, but he had his eyes set on another girl.  One we'll call "FishHead" (story for another day). So he blew me off.  Then on this choir tour, it seemed like every time we got on the bus, the only seat open for me was next to him.  Now, I was not looking for romance.  I had just started seeing a guy back on campus.  By seeing, I mean watching hockey in his room.  It was a young relationship, if you could call it that after a week or so.  On tour, I just kept getting "stuck" with this Mr. Nice Guy.  

We started hanging out.  Everyone started to notice.  My own friends warned me that this guy was nice, too nice for me.  I wasn't ready to settle down, they all told me.  I believe there was a "wild mustang" metaphor thrown in there.  So, I tried to cool things off with Mr. Nice Guy, but somehow we kept getting put together.

Ahh, the memories.  I'll have to dig out the pictures and scan them.  It was long before digital cameras.

Anyway, last night the conductor - a woman who has influenced my life in more ways that she will ever know - dedicated one of my favorite pieces to us, my hubby and me.  It was Biebel's Ave Maria.  Probably my favorite piece of my college career, maybe top 5 ever.  This piece was even more near and dear to my heart, under the baton of this same conductor.  Against better judgement, she lead a men's choir of our most amazing friends performing this very piece  at my wedding.  (I'll have to get it converted to DVD so I can share it!) When she made the dedication to us and shared with the audience that it was from our wedding, it brought tears to my eyes.  I never cry in public.  It was a bit different coming from a mixed choir and of course our guys rocked it even more amazingly.  We were the best, of course!  :D  But, it moved me more than I expected.  

Please take a moment to listen, it is an amazing piece.

I think it was everything last night -  nostalgia, homesickness where we are now and knowing that what we were witnessing was a reminder of where my family got its start.  This choir tour reminded me of our most simplest of beginnings - a choir tour romance that would be over as soon as we got back to campus.  However, what no one saw coming is that I might actually marry Mr. Nice Guy, but I did.  My firefighter and I got our start just like these kids.  Singing in small churches for our supper. 

Lakeland College 1862 ~ 2012If you are around, here are two more performances -
  • April 13 - First Congregational United Church of Christ, 724 E. South River St., Appleton, 7 p.m.
  • April 14 - Union Congregational UCC, 716 S. Madison St., Green Bay, 3 p.m.
There is also a Homecoming concert on Campus at 3 pm. You will not be disappointed.
To the Muskies reading this, we are heading to the Sesquicentennial reunion this summer, let me know if you are.  After the concert last night, I can hardly wait! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time to Move On!

I have been fighting with my blog since I upgraded it.  I know better than to be in the first round of upgrades, but I wanted to see what Google was going to make bigger, better and brighter.  So, I upgraded and started fussin' like everyone on FaceBook after one of their upgrades.  I HATE IT!!

I couldn't make it work or find help.  So, I took my business elsewhere.  I will post in both places until I figure out how to have traffic forwarded to the new site.  I found some links, but I have not yet had the time to look at them.  So, please be patient with me while I work my way around the format.  I also have to decide on free vs. premium and all that jazz.

Here is the new link if you are interested.  I have imported everything, but not all posts transferred. Again, be patient with me.

The Ghosts of Daughters Past and Future

I feel like Scrooge.  I witnessed my past and my possible future all at once.  Our wonderful neighbors have had one of the worst couple of days and there has been nothing I could do, but offer support...and think.