Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Grown-Up Camper

Madison spent the last week at Camp Redcloud, just outside of Lake City Colorado. We had been planning for her and a soccer friend for the last few months, and both of them were so excited. The family drove up on Father's Day to drop her off. It was especially fun for Brian and I because we had gone there when we were in middle school, oh about 18 years ago!!! It had changed quite a bit, there were several newer bunk houses (when we went there were only 2, a boys and a girls) The bunk houses were even temperature regulated (when we went heat was provided by a wood burning stove). Once we got the girls settled, they were ready to be on their own, they walked us back to the trucks, then headed off for a week of fun with out even a look back. Maddox was pretty upset and ran after them, crying "Sister, Sister!" It was pretty heart wrenching. The trip was 6 hours round trip, and Maddox did amazingly well on the drive.

When we headed home Madison's friend's parents decided to try a different rout home and headed over Cinnamon Pass to Silverton in a MINI VAN. We decided to be a bit less adventurous and return the way we came. This ended up being the best choice because Cinnamon Pass is a 4 Wheel drive only road, and it ended up taking our friends almost 6 hours to get home. They didn't make it over the pass and had to turn around an hour up the mountain. It is a priceless picture thinking of a 4wheeling mini van with a soccer ball sticker on the rear!

The week with out Madison went pretty fast. Maddox and I just hung out, went to the park, and swam in the backyard pool. We all really missed her.

Friday Ann (Madison's friend's mom) and I drove up to get the Gris. When we pulled into the parking lot and got out we could see our girls jumping up and down at the camp, and heard them squeal with excitement. They were so happy to see us. They talked a hundred miles an hour, detailing their adventure. They got to go rappelling, on a high ropes course, an over night camp trip under the stars, summit the continental divide, boating, mountain biking, and both of their favorites, horse back riding. Madison is already eager to go again next year!

Within 15 minutes of the leaving, both of the girls were zonked out in the back. I mean zonked as in heads rolling on rubber necks and mouths open.

I am so glad that Madison got to go on such a fun adventure this summer. I think that she learned a lot about being responsible. No parents around reminding to take showers, brush teeth, pick up after yourself, or to make sure your day pack was packed appropriately. She also made new friends, and has already written letters to some of them.

Learned? This trip makes it even more apparent how grown up my daughter is becoming.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mr. Sand Man and his side kick Sandy Dog

Now that it is light later in the evenings, and a reasonable temperature, I can hardly keep Maddox in doors. His favorite place to be is his sand box. He pulls out all his dump trucks and loaders. Our dog Ranger is a good watch dog, and insists to be outside with him. He lays in the sand box, and allows Maddox to dump sand all over him. Such good boys....

Then, as Brian and I were watching TV, Ranger comes in, accompanied with the sound of sand falling off him onto our wood floor. THen preceeds to the carpet and as if in slow motion, he shakes his body, just as he would to shake water off. Brain (still in slow motion) says NOOOOOO! but it was too late.... I look up just in time to see a dust cloud, one that would rival that of Pig Pen's on Charlie Brown, encompassing the dog.

I have spent the last 20 minutes vacuuming sand out of the carpet, and sweeping up the sand off the wood floor (I got a whole dust pan full).

Learned? A sand box 3 feet from our back door seemed like a good idea for a 1st birthday present at the time, now... not so much. There needs to be substantial distance between a sand box and any entrance into a house.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Which of These Items Don't Belong?

I was putting dishes away this morning and opened our miscellaneous utensil drawer to find this...

It is a USED grilling spatula with pieces of burgers on it and our grill brush. YUCK!

Learned? It seems that my boy is also my little helper, he is pretty good at putting things away.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movin' On Up

Today I officially accepted the Honors Math position at the middle school. I will be teaching pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry, to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. These students are all very bright and advanced in math.

When I interviewed I was unsure of my qualifications, and if I would be considered "highly qualified" to take this position. In order to be highly qualified I need 24 hours of MATH courses, and my masters only has 12 credit hours of MATH. As it turns out, I also have 15 MATH credits from my bachelors degree that are considered. So I guess I am highly qualified! I will probably take some classes that pertain to teaching Gifted and Talented students to boost my effectiveness at teaching these students.

I am looking forward to the change and the challenge of teaching new curriculum and students.

I am a bit nervous, I am leaving EVERYTHING that I know and EVERYONE that I know from teaching; but it is also a fresh start. I know this position will challenge me to grow in many ways, which is good.

I am excited for the change of scenery, and the opportunity to teach what I love, and what is my strength.

It also is a bit of a sad time as I consider all I have been through, learned, accomplished, and survived at TME. I still need to go through my stuff and decide what I am taking home and what is staying for the person that takes my place. That is going to be one BIG job, and it needs to be done before July!

I am anxious to get started looking at the curriculum, and at least having a game plan for next year. I will contact my new principal and get some resources this week. Because these students receive high school credit for these courses, I think it is important to at least visit with the feeder HS, and ensure that there is a similar level of rigor in the classes that I will be teaching.

I feel a bit of relief now that the decision has been made and is a "done deal"; I hate being in a state of limbo, and not knowing what is going to happen.

Learned? Taking a risk and forcing yourself to go through change brings a wide range of emotions, many of which were unexpected.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Potty Training

Earlier I talked about Maddox being ready to potty train for the last few months, but with me working I just couldn't be consistent enough. So now that I am on break I decided to tackle the big mile stone!

We began toilet training one week ago today. I must say that it has been going very well. I think that Maddox was ready because he will not wear a diaper now. Sometimes I can convince him to wear one at nap time, others not so much. But when he is not wearing a diaper during his nap, he doesn't have a huge accident, he starts to go then wakes up and stops and tells me he needs to go and his unders are barely wet. The only reason I want a diaper on him at nap time is because he will nap for 2 to 2 1/2 hours with one, and only 1 hour with out one on. We have had several outings in the last week including McDonald's play place, friends houses, and the mall, and he had no public accidents! He has only had 2 accidents at home.

Part of the success is he gets to wear big boy undies just like his dads! (He wants to be just like his dad, and do everything he does.) He is so proud of himself, and is even acting more grown up just by being able to potty like a big boy!

I know that he is not completely potty trained, and I am sure there are more bumps in the road ahead, but it has been a successful first week.


Learned? My boy is growing up way too fast, but this is one "growing up" step that I am anxious to complete.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pics of the BoulderBOULDER

Here are some of the pics that were taken at the race. The ones of my mom and I are at the very end when we ran into the stadium. You can see how nasty the weather got too. There is also a picture of my wave at the starting line, it is kind-of a "Where's Waldo"; see if you can find us! HA HA HA!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Year Survived

Today marks my first full week on summer break, and it couldn't come any sooner! This year has, by far, been my most difficult year to teach. I had a very difficult class, most of whom have been together since 3rd grade, some even since 1st grade. That is WAY too long for a group of students to be together. It makes the teacher the outsider from the very beginning, rather than the person who unifies the class. I also had a student teacher at the beginning of the year, she started with me at the end of last year, and she is/was wonderful. I agreed to a student teacher last year when I had a really great class, if I had know what was coming my way I wouldn't have put us through that. It made for a poor experience for her, but she survived and will be a great teacher because of it!

I am not going to go into details describing this year, but I was planning on resigning at Christmas, and reluctantly came back. Probably the only reason I came back was because I was almost finished with my masters program and felt it would be a wast of money to quit and still have to pay for the degree. It was an up hill battle the entire year and it NEVER got better, not even on the last day of school. Individually there was not one student that I did not like and enjoy, but as a group they fed off of each other.

I was the sickest I have ever been this year, and I truly think it was because of how stressed I was. (Substitute teachers avoided my room.) It got so bad that my family didn't even want to be around me because I was so grouchy.

I have been very happy at my school all the years I have taught, and feel very supported and have good relationships with administration and staff. But I felt that there was no way I wanted to risk another year like this, so I have put in for a transfer for a middle school math position. One is a 6, 7, 8 honors math, where I would be teaching pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry; the other is a 6th grade math position. I figure that I can at least put in for the transfer, interview, and if I am offered the job I still have the opportunity to decline it. If I take the job, and hate it, I can always transfer back to the elementary school.

The pros of moving to the middle school are if I have another terrible group of students, I only have them for an hour a day rather than all day. Also I get an hour and a half of planning a day, where as now I get an hour and a half 2 times a week! The best pro is that I would teach my favorite and strongest subject...Math. I would also be on the traditional calendar, and in 2 yeas Madison will go to middle school and be on the traditional calendar. There is a greater chance that I will be happier, and therefor be happier at home, and my family will be happier. OH! and I would get a long summer-- much needed after this year!

The cons... well change. That makes me feel uneasy. Elementary is all I know and I have always taught a the same school. I would be leaving the staff that I know and work well with. Other than that I can't see any other cons.

What ever happens, I will be fine with it. At this point I an not entirely sure if I will accept the position or not, but I needed to at least go for it.

Learned? I am just so thankful that I made it through this year, sane, still married, my children still love me, and I actually want to teach again.

EDIT: How embarrassing! I have this issue when I type, and I some how type dyslexic, I thought I did spellcheck, but I guess I didn't, so to anyone who read this post earlier... sorry for all the errors!!!