Monday, May 25, 2009

Summertime: Old-School Style

My nephew and his wife and two boys came over on Friday to play with Ruthie and Audrey. We had a little picnic and then brought out the sprinkler. This was the girls' first experience with it. Surprisingly, Ruthie took to it immediately, while Audrey was hesitant at first until she observed the other kids playing. Usually, it's the other way around. After running through the sprinkler, we chowed on popsicles. Then we went inside and the kids played with puzzles and jumped on the bed in spare room. By 4 p.m. Ruthie and Audrey were done for the day!

Apologies to Aidan and Cale: I tried to upload some of the photos with you guys, but for whatever reason, I couldn't get 'er done. System error? Operator error?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our First Spring Craft

I'm not a crafty mom in the sense that I don't keep many art supplies on hand. I look at empty toilet paper rolls as trash, not something to keep for a rainy day project. I tried scrapbooking once and quickly discovered it wasn't for me. Too much time and expense and "stuff" for my liking. But sometimes I get a wild hair, and I cook up a project that the girls and I can do together. This week we made bird feeders out of toast, bird seed, and peanut butter.

Ruthie looks annoyed because this is the seventh picture I've taken of her. My camera wasn't working.

Ruthie studies her bunny-shaped bird feeder.

Audrey taste-tests her bird feeder.

Audrey shows off her Santa Claus-shaped bird feeder.

Audrey realizes the bird feeder really IS for the birds and not her morning snack.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Current Favorite Photo and Other Randomness

As of today at 12:17 p.m. CST, this is my favorite photo of the peeps. I took it April 4 during a celebration for my dad's birthday. I am simultaneously happy and sad that my baby girls are now little girls. Sigh.

I finished up my long-term sub job and my master's class on the same day. That was almost two weeks ago. I check the school district web sites and other related employment resources almost everyday. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. The only lead I have right now is a rumor that a teacher at the school in which I subbed is going to retire on June 1. Guess that means I will be contacting the principal of that school on June 2! I stopped in on my last day to thank him for the opportunity. He said he'd be sure to call if anything opened up over the summer. I won't hold my breath because I know how the world works, but you never know.

In the meantime, I'm hanging with the peeps. We're reading books, playing cars, playing house, throwing objects to the sky and watching them fall back to Earth, watering our garden and our flowers, taking field trips to the grocery store, and watching a little (maybe a lot) of TV. I've also been researching activities and crafts for toddlers. I have a couple of ideas that might use up, oh, about 15 minutes of our day.

When the peeps are napping, I try to work in some professional development. I have a list of new and/or award-winning YA lit books that I am plowing through. My goal is to read one a week. So far, so good. I've read two and started a third last night. There are so many talented writers! I found a site that lets people review the books. For every 15 reviews I submit, I can earn a free book. So, my goal is 15 reviews. I'm also reading my favorite professional journal, The Reading Teacher, and thinking of how I can put those ideas to work in my own classroom. And, of course, the master's program continues this summer with two classes. One is an eight-day, two-week workshop on teaching reading to linguistically diverse students. I'm really excited about that class! The other is an assessment and evaluation course. One night a week for eight weeks. Whoop De Doo.

That's about it from this corner of the world.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Almost Did An "I Will NEVER ..."

A few weeks back, I took the girls to Target. They used to love riding around the store, but not so much now. Usually, as soon as we get inside, one of them says, "Go bye-bye car." So long shopping trip. This particular day both peeps were fairly content, not too squirmy. We passed the $5 DVD endcap, and Ruthie saw a Thomas the Train DVD. She wanted to "hold" it. No harm, no foul. I acquiesce, all the while knowing full well that she fixates/obsesses over objects to the point that I have resorted to forcefully prying them out of her sweaty hands so I can return them to their rightful owner (usually another child).

What was I thinking on this day?

We stroll into the checkout line, and I tell Ruthie that we are not taking Thomas home. In an effort to loosen her death grip on poor Thomas, I lift her fingers one by one off of the DVD. Ruthie doesn't cry or whine. She rarely does that. Instead, she starts obsessing and repeating "Thomas DVD" over and over until I absolutely can't stand it anymore. I bet she said those words at least 547 time in the two minutes that we had been standing in line. That's when I almost did it. I almost committed an "I will never ... " You know what I'm talking about. Those statements you make BEFORE you have kids. BEFORE you know the extent of the torture those small, yet powerful, people can inflict. One of my "I will never ..." statements was something along the lines of "I will never buy my kid something just to shut him/her up." And up to this point, I had stuck to it. But before I could stop myself, I heard a voice say, "Well, I guess I have to buy this for you now, huh?"

Thank goodness for the woman in front of me in line. At the precise moment I utter that stupid sentence, I notice her head twitch ever so slightly in my direction. It is as if I had just hit upon one her pet peeves (parents who cave?) and it bothered her so much that it took every bit of self-control she could muster to just twitch her head. She doesn't look at me. She doesn't do a 180 and give me a look that conveys the message, "That's exactly what's wrong with kids today." She just twitches.

In that split second, I realize what I have said and its implications for the future. So, while the shiny candy wrappers distract Ruthie, I hand the DVD to the cashier and tell her I don't want the movie. We go merrily on our way, and Ruthie never said another word about it. So, thanks to the anonymous twitching woman at Target. She held me accountable for my actions and got me back on track.

I'm on a roll ...tonight at dinner I told Audrey she couldn't have a brownie if she didn't finish her chicken fried rice. She refused to eat, and the brownie stayed put.