Saturday, August 21, 2010

Read to Your Children. Now.

If you don't think it is important to read to your children. You need to watch this. Too many adults don't like reading so they don't take the time to read to their children.
Well, ask yourself: What do you want for your child's future?
I seriously doubt you answered that question with anything along the lines of poverty, incarceration, welfare dependence, or dropping out of high school.

Watch (if you don't like the intro scroll ahead to about 45 seconds):

Now, Goodnight Moon doesn's sound so bad now, does it?
Go read. Point to the words as you read. Talk about the book when you are done. Sing the ABC song. Point out letters and their sounds when you are out in public. It's not hard to do. 

School has begun.

In case you haven't noticed, I have been a bit preoccupied recently. I moved into a new school building, set up my classroom for a new grade, and begun teaching a new demographic.
The good thing is, I LOVE my new school. The people are friendly and helpful. I have my first parent volunteers, ever. There are several really sweet students in my class.
The problem? I have 25 kindergartners. That is a lot of five year olds. The main difference between my new school and my old school is that my current students apparently did not attend preschool or daycare. This means they have NO idea what a line is, how to follow directions, or how to react when they have to do something they don't want to do.
I feel like I am herding cats. As soon as I get one contained and occupied, I turn around and they pounce back up again.
I only wish I was as successful as these guys:

Would anyone like to volunteer to help me? I think as a tag team we could get the job done.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Favorite Show

The NSRA Street Rod Nationals is the best car show of the year. Not just because it has the best cars (because it really does, 11,000 cars... if you can't find one you like, you have problems) but because it has WOMAN'S WORLD! An entire indoor vendor space just for women. Aaahhhh. It is wonderful. It took me about two hours to go through it. So I thought I would share the highlights of Woman's World.

The first place I stopped was the bra lady, selling Essential Bodywear. This was a first for me. I had never seen anyone selling bras in a vendor booth. But the booth had two little cabana-like changing rooms and everything. The picture was eye-catching:
Who wants saggy gross boobs when they could be perky? They also mentioned other bra issues such as, boob leakage from under the bra, pokey wire, falling straps, straps that dig into shoulders, etc. Well, my girls feel as though I have two bowling balls dangling from my shoulders so I gave it a try.
First the lady measured me and told me I am wearing the wrong size. I am really a 34F. Wow. Most places don't even make that size. F! That is a large cup for such a small band. No wonder I feel like I have two bowling balls on my chest!
I tried on the bra and Whoa Nellie! AMAZING! I could no longer feel the boobs there at all. I can always feel them pulling me forward and down, making me slouch more. I was immediately standing better and felt like I had lost 20 lbs. This bra concentrates on supporting breast weight around your rib cage instead of dangling the weight from your shoulders.
They do a cool demo to make you want to purchase a bra. They put little smiley face stickers where your nipples are on your t-shirt wearing your normal bra. Then you go change into their bra and put your shirt back on. Then you can see the difference between where your nipples were falling and where they should be.
I walked out of the dressing room and the people standing around had their jaws hit the floor. My smiley faces were about 1-2 inches below my boobs!
I wore the bra all day yesterday and by the end of the day my back hurt. The middle of my back. It wasn't because the bra is bad, but because I am used to carrying the weight of my boobs from my shoulders and now my upper/middle back was providing the support. Those muscles were sore from finally being utilized!

Next I came across a booth selling the cutest hair bows and clips ever. Little Pink Ladybug has ribbon sculpture bows:
And more traditional bows:
I have a feeling that when I have a little girl someday, she will have a lovely little bow to match every outfit. Much like someone else I know (me).

I then came across another booth I will need to revisit once I have a little girl. Toodles had petti skirts like I desperately want my future little girl to wear for a photo shoot.

They also have adorable clothing, bows, accessories, lunch bags, handbags, and shoes.

While I am on the streak of all things baby... I came across this wonderful invention, PopATot:
A couple invented this product for their daughter. I thought it was genius. It folds into a small bag just like a folding chair. The bag has a handy little strap so you can take it anywhere! I think this is a great idea for a small place like Sparky and I live. We could pop it open when needed, and fold it quickly when not in use so it doesn't take up valuable floor space.

As I was walking around I then stumbled across a lady with a table of babies. I got excited. I thought she was selling infants. How easy would that be? But, no, they weren't real babies. They called Reborn Dolls. They look extremely life-like. The artist let me hold one, and it even feels like a real baby. They even wear little newborn sized clothing. They were ridiculously adorable. The artist doesn't have a website, but I have found a few others that have the same thing:
Wendy's Babies

And more information about crazy people with their Reborn Dolls:
BBC Documentary
Dr. Phil Part I
Dr. Phil Part II

I then made it over to Mamas Love at Home. She makes all sorts of things, but I was drawn to her reusable swiffer products. She was tired of always going out and buying the replacement pads for her swiffer sweeper and duster... so she sewed her own out of fleece! Afterward, she found that the fleece fabric held a lot more dust and dirt than the disposable version in the stores. So I bought a lovely version of the item below in a soft sagey-green pattern:

The final stop I made around Woman's World was at a little booth called Not Your Mama's Kitchen. Apparently the full website is not up yet so you can only see their cute halter-style aprons. I am hoping they get the website up soon because they had adorable products. My favorite being the chalkboard place-mats and table cloths. Like these below, but with cute patterns instead of a solid border and backing.
I think I can make these myself. I love all things chalkboard and all things oil cloth, so they are pretty much my favorite right now. I just need to find an oil cloth supplier and a chalk-cloth supplier... Someday!

Then I finally met Sparky by the Italian Ice stand. He HAD to show me these really cool swings he found. They are pretty awesome. Serene Backyard has two awesome swings.
The swing on the left has two swings in one. Each char swings independent of the other. They both have a little foot rest that comes out from under the seat, the back reclines, and the headrest is adjustable. You can also move the canopy if the sun shifts and gets in your eyes. It is nice.
The better chair, however, is the one on the right. It is perfectly ergonomically designed to fit my most relaxed state. It elevates my feet, the pillow is adjustable and is the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in. The canopy is not adjustable, but I am willing to sacrifice for the comfort.
My only concern is that my neighbors, who apparently like to use our patio while we are gone, would use it and most likely break it.
That reminds me, I forgot to write about my lovely neighbors.
We got back from Auburn to find a pink cigarette lighter on our patio table and the chairs rearranged. There were cigarette butts littered on the patio. We don't smoke, so it is pretty obvious that they are not ours. I also found the remnants of a firework lodged in the mulch outside our front door and they tried to light the patio lanterns we have out in the garden. I have never lit them, so the wicks should still be nice and white. They are now charred. Because I have yet to put the lighter fluid in them they would not catch on fire (thankfully).
It really pisses me off that my neighbor would have the audacity to come over to my patio, sit in my chairs, use my table, set off fireworks in my garden, and try to light my garden lanterns. Seriously, who does that? 

Nursery Update

I have temporarily finished the nursery! After all of the design decisions were ironed out, I got to work painting while I had the time. I think it turned out pretty good. I will add more pink accents if we are matched with a girl and more blue accents if we are matched with a boy.
I have now added the crib skirt that matches the inside of the bumper. 
Here is a close up of the monogram above the crib. Obviously, I only know the last initial. When we are matched with a baby we will add the first and middle initials.

I still need to get the contoured changing pad to put on top of the dresser.

Close up of the tree so you can see I painted it by hand because I am too cheap to buy the vinyl talented.
Boring picture of the door and closet. Blegh.
What do you think? Feel free to stroke my ego!

My Classroom

I have been moved to a different school for this upcoming school year. This is really a blessing. Although I hated packing up my room, really hated carrying all of the boxes, and now unpacking also sucks... it is really a good move. The principal at my former school can be difficult to get along with. I am just going to leave it at that. I am grateful that she hired me three years ago, but I disagree with some of her philosophies. I am really going to miss my colleagues though. I have worked with some really wonderful teachers who have all impacted my teaching in some way. I got to know what true collaboration is my first year with Cassie and Katie. I learned about how to implement cooperative learning from Christine, a little about everything from Donna, discipline from Anne, classroom simulations from Vicki, remediation for fourth graders from Liesl, KOI from Whitney, and how to incorporate technology from Fallon. I learned better organization methods from Kerry, how to discipline odd children and to relax with farmville from Vivian, and how to laugh at everything from Jamie. The office staff have also had a huge impact on me. Paris taught me how to deal with impossible people, Darla taught me how to deal with kids when they poop in their pants (among other things), and Jann taught me how to get to school when the snow has made my normal route impossible to drive. They all have a special place in my teaching heart and I will miss them a lot.
I have moved into a new school and am thrilled to work with the young principal there. She is very enthusiastic about trying new techniques and methods to improve the school. It is obvious that she truly has the best interest of ALL the students at heart. So far the people I have met while unpacking my room have been very nice.

Raegan's First Birthday

On July 31st my friend Amy had her daughter's first birthday part. Raegan was adorable and happy to see everyone there!
It took her a little while to dig into her cake, and she never really got beyond the icing... but it is her birthday, she can do what she wants!
"Mom, this is taking FOREVER!!!"
 "I don't want that bib."

Time for a costume change!
Raegan was especially cute as she opened her presents. When she opened something really cool (like a toy, not clothes) she would scream like she had been wanting it forever. It was hilarious!

Adoption Books

I mentioned before that Sparky's mom bought us our first adoption picture book:
I would also, eventually, like to get these: 
I Wished for You, an adorable story about Barley Bear and his adoption. 
A Mother for Choco, written by a local author about a lonely bird looking for a mother.
My Family, My Journey- a memory book for adopted children.

I have also been a reading fanatic, reading all sorts of adoption books for adults. So far I have read:
I liked the Complete Adoption book better than The Idiot's Guide to Adoption because I felt like it answered more of my questions deeper. The Idiot's Guide is really for people who are tossing around the idea of adoption and want to know more about it. Once you KNOW you are going to adopt and you need more information regarding the different options, The Complete Adoption Book is a much better source for information.
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew is a great book. I highly recommend everyone read it who is going to have adoptive children in their care (i.e. adoptive parents, grandparents, aunts, caregivers). It is primarily about how adopted children have experienced trauma by not having their birth mothers in their lives. Infants demonstrate this loss in several ways. Older children display this loss differently. It talks about how to address these needs and how to help the adopted child adjust and accept their feelings.
I have borrowed this from the library and plan on reading it next:
And I would like to read these:


Sparky and I left his parents house and began roaming northern Indiana. We ended up at the outlet mall in Michigan City for a little present shopping. As we left Michigan City we passed a sign for a sand dune. So we stopped.
We climbed up the path for Mt. Baldy and sat by Lake Michigan for a little while. The hike was okay, but many people were making the hike with huge full coolers, umbrellas, chairs, towels, etc. I cannot imagine doing that.
Looking at Lake Michigan is so cool. It looks like the ocean but not as sunny. We could see the Chicago skyline from our perch on the beach.
Can you see it? Off in the distance, through the haze, directly above the person in the red shirt. 
And here is Sparky on the beach:
From here we headed to Valparaiso for dinner with my friend Lauren. I hadn't had dinner with Lauren since my freshman year at Purdue, about 7 years ago. She lived across the hall from my roommate Kim and I. She helped me maintain my sanity while living with Kim, the oil heiress.
We ate at Gelsosomos so I could experience my first "pizza pie." It literally looks like a pie. You have to eat it with a fork because you cannot pick it up... like a pie. It was very delicious. But I am still not sure I understand Sparky's obsession with all food from Chicago.
Oh yeah, I also finally figured out why that area is called "the region." There really isn't anything differentiating between Valparaiso, Gary, and downtown Chicago. The buildings merely get closer together and taller the closer you get to the downtown area. For some reason I was under the impression that there were clear distinctions between each city, the suburbs, and Chicago. There really aren't.

From dinner we went to meet Sparky's friend, Chris. We watched him put together his car. Chris and his wife are nice, but they were busy working on the car so we didn't really get to visit much. I am sure we will next time!

I have to share this picture. This is what we came back to when we got home. The puppies have changed their allegiance and have a new pack leader: