Saturday, February 28, 2009

Questions I've Been Asked This Week

Linus stumps me with her questions on regular basis. I think I've mentioned the time she asked our realtor what a square foot is when she was four. Our realtor nearly fell off her chair. Over the past week, she's had some doozies.

*(I was cooking pasta) Mama, I see the smoke (steam) coming from the pot, but then it disappears. What's happening to it? Where is it going? Why does it disappear? *Side note: I LOVE the way she says disappear: dis-duh-peers

*Mama, when you die, what happens to your peepee and poopoo?

*Mama, after you die, what does God put on you? What does he use for a diaper?

*Mama, can I have at least a brother and one more sister?

*Mama, how exactly do babies get out? This has been asked several times, but my sister is due soon, so her pregnancy has brought up several questions.

*Mama, how do babies get in?

*Mama, can we pick up dinner tonight and pretend you made it?

*Mama, how come we can't see the moon during the day? Where does it go? Sometimes I see it, but not usually. When I do see it, it looks like a puff of smoke that is in a circle like a moon, not a lighted up moon. How come?

So far I can answer her questions, but I think I've only got another 6 months or so until she passes up my abilities!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Extra Stand

I've mentioned in the past that our family has eaten out more than we should. Lately, though, I've been a cooking machine. It is very rare that we eat out anymore. With flu season, Army comes home pretty late, and with school, Linus needs to head to bed pretty early. Eating out simply isn't an option most nights.

Linus usually loves whatever I cook. She will eat chicken any way it's served, which makes it very easy for me. Army is very easy to please--he doesn't care if we're having a gourmet meal or sandwiches. I have had a lot of variety in the meals I'm cooking, but apparently it's not what Linus was looking for.

One night this week, Linus fell asleep around six. She woke up and took her medicine around nine. We offered her dinner, but she decided to go back to sleep instead. The next morning on the way to school I asked her why she didn't want dinner the night before. I had to laugh at her answer:

We never eat out anymore. I was taking a stand.
Edited: Oops, I got it wrong! I can't believe I did that. She didn't say she was taking a stand. She said she "was making a statement." Same thought, different words.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Ya think she knows?

I have serious issues with my children growing up. It's happening too quickly. Waayyy too quickly. I, however, don't want Linus to be aware of my desire to keep her pint sized forever. I get the feeling that might be unfair. ;) I thought I was doing a pretty good job at hiding it until this morning in the car.

You know, Mama, I'm going to be six next Wednesday. I know you're not ready for that, but you need to be prepared. It's going to happen. You can't stop it.

I guess I don't hide things as well as I think I do since my FIVE (saying it as often as I can until next Wednesday!) year old can see right through me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Last Call

Army and I went to a fundraiser auction tonight that benefits the school Linus attends. While we were there, a guy approached us to buy a raffle ticket. Army asked what it was for, and the guy said, "It's alcohol. Lots of beer and hard liquor." I perked up, but Army declined saying, "No thanks. I don't think we have any more room for it."

What? No room? How much liquor do you have???

Remember, Linus attends a religious school. We looked like total lushes!

PS--We did buy a raffle ticket, but we didn't win. :( It looked like a great assortment!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Extra Strange

Army and I had to go to a government agency yesterday. We had a three hour wait, and we had to have Lolly with us. I thought it would be difficult, but Lolly was amazingly good. She took a little nap in my arms, and when she was awake, she was content to look around or play with us.

When she was sleeping, we couldn't help but hear a conversation between two guys. Guy #1 did the bulk of the talking. He talked about "mounting" women. He also told his friend that it is "much better to be rode than to ride." As he's talking about 'mounting' and 'riding' ladies females, he mentions one person who 'rode me good' and then turns to his friend, Guy #2, and says, "I don't see your cousin any more. You know what she's up to?" HELLO?? Don't talk to me about what you do with my cousin. Ever. A few minutes later he mentioned a controlled substance and how much he hated it. Another guy there (not Guy #2) asked him if he had anymore and how much he'd sell it for.

Once we were called up, we were sitting close enough to another couple to hear one of them lose her temper. She dropped just about every curse word I know. She pitched a fit better than any child I know can do. Really, did she think cursing the lady behind the window out was going to make her do something she had already said multiple times couldn't be done?

What has our society come to that this has become acceptable? I'm in my 30s and I can guarantee you my mother would still chew me out if I acted like that. Not that I ever would...

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Extra Meme

A (late) Valentine's Day Meme. Got this from Leeann.

♥ How long have you been together?
17 years together, married 10
♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating?

Time-wise--not too long, but we had one of those total cliche relationships since we talked for hours when we met and hit it off immediately.
♥ Who asked who out?
He asked me out, but we had been out with a group of friends several times first.
♥ How old are each of you?

We're both in our 30s. I'm a cradle robber though (barely, only by 4 months)
♥ Whose siblings do/ did you see the most?

That's a toss-up. His live closer, but we still see my sister several times a year. We talk with my sister much more often.

♥ Do you have any children together?

Two of the cutest in the world! :)
♥ What about pets?

We have Wonderdog. We also had a fantastic dog that we got on Valentine's Day shortly after we got married (he wasn't a V0Day gift). He's been gone 3 years, and I still miss him. Is that odd?

♥ Did you go to the same school?
When we met we attended separate colleges, but I transferred to his.
♥ Are you from the same home town?

♥ Who is the smartest?
There's NO WAY I could have gotten his degree! He's smarter book-wise and life-wise. And he's definitely smarter with money!
♥ Who is the most sensitive?
♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We rarely eat out without our children.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Not far, maybe 800 miles.
♥ Who has the worst temper?
I explode and it's over. He brews and brews and brews, then he explodes, then he brews and brews and brews.

♥ Who does the cooking?

♥ Who is more social?
He's social at work, in general though, I'm the more social one. He does better when we go to some formal function where I don't know a lot of people though.

♥Who is the neat freak?
Neither one of us are real neat freaks, but that is one of the things I explode about. I can't handle a house that is too messy for too long. I crave order.

♥ Who is the more stubborn?

without a doubt, me
♥ Who hogs the bed?
me, I guess, though probably neither of us

♥ Who wakes up earlier?
he does because of work

♥ Where was your first date?
a bar--we're really classy like that
♥ Who has the bigger family?

He does.

♥ Do you get flowers often?
No, but I tend to think they are a waste of money--they die!

♥ How do you spend the holidays?

with family

♥ How long did it take to get serious?

not long at all; we really hit if off pretty immediately
♥ Who eats more?

him, hands down. well, except sweets--he's a cookie person who can eat them and then walk away. I'm a grazer with sweet.

♥ Who does/ did the laundry?

Me. I'm not sure he knows how to use our machines. He did use to do his own for a short while though. His idea of laundry is tossing it in and turning it on. I sort, change temps according to type of clothes, etc.

♥ Who’s better with the computer?
I use it more, but he's better
♥ Who drives when you are together?
Always him. He gets car sick, so he has to drive. I don't mind one bit!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Extra Shocked, Extra Sad

I had a different post planned for tonight, but I got some news a little while ago that I'm having trouble coming to terms with. Be forewarned, there's lots of background with this.

One thing many teachers know is that principals come and principals go. A few gems stick around for years, but in general, their tenure at one school lasts a few years. For my first teaching job, I accepted a position at an inner-city school. I was young, and I believed I could make a difference. In general, I don't think I'm hot stuff, but quite honestly, I do believe I made a difference that year. Unfortunately, it was also a year riddled with some serious problems. My heart ached for these children. I spent the year at the doctor's office dealing with stomach issues resulting from my inability to compartmentalize my stress and heartache for these children. One was repeating the grade and had been ridiculed by a former teacher (it was documented & the teacher was not asked to return) for being "stupid." One was seriously ill and hospitalized. One was horribly abused (several teachers witnessed it, but DHS did nothing). One would skip breakfast and beg to come into my room (they waited in the halls reading books before the first bell) so she could sleep. She generally slept the first two hours after arriving at school---because she was too scared to sleep with the constant gunfire outside her window at night. One got sick on a regular basis because her family rummaged in garbage cans for leftover food. I was naive back then and believed that the school system was set up to help these kids. I was disapointed, heartbroken really, that this school did not seem to help. In the spring, one of my fabulous students (I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically) brought a gun to school. He was a very promising student with very caring parents. All of a sudden they were faced with placing their son in alternative school (the only placement for the school system because of the zero tolerance policy) or placing him in a private school which they could not afford. Seeing the pain in their faces proved to be the final straw for me. I knew that I could no longer be an effective teacher in that environemnt (the administration).

My next job was in a much more affluent district. It was actually the district in which I lived (this is important). It was VERY hard to get on in this district, so simply being hired renewed my faith a little in my teaching abilities. I once again felt like I could breathe. I had one issue that year, and the principal backed me entirely. My faith in the system was being restored. Then the principal abruptly announced her resignation. When a new principal was announced, my head began to spin again. She had previously been fired from our district for some very unethical issues. She then was hired in my old district, where she was genuinely hated. She remained there until they could no longer take her, and then she returned to my new district. We (teachers, other administrators, parents, other district employees--basically everyone) were shocked. Outraged. Disgusted. Her reign of stupidity was awful. After the first year, over half the faculty left. That's significant. I refused to leave (though I'll admit it crossed my mind). I knew I could outlast her (remember principals come and principals go), and I wanted stability on my resume. There were several cries of foul during her time at the school: thousands of dollars of PTO money was missing, school funds were missing, other things were stolen, etc. She also had ridiculously unethical suggestions for us: keep school money in your car and don't turn it in but once a month, etc. She'd give our home phone number to parents. When I couldn't be reached at home one day, she simply told the parent my address and how to get to my house. Lovely, huh? She made a big deal of how we appeared to the community (remember I lived in this community). Now I agree that we should present ourselves as professionals, but I do not agree that having boys sit in your lap in the community is a good idea! She'd try to "save" the students who were habitually in trouble. I'm all for helping them, but her ideas just let them fly under the radar now, and that will not help them. She'd make them office workers and hand them tests to run off instead of letting us run them off ourselves. Copies of our tests were everywhere. She'd DO projects for students at risk for failing. Helping them do it? Yes, a student can learn from that. DOING it for them? Absolutely not! She plagiarized multiple times and was caught doing so. She bragged about getting new tires on school time and using school money to do so. Bragged. Openly.

Although the school had a superior rating when she began, it quickly began to fall. Teachers had their hands tied (we were told no grades recorded below 60 ever; she also changed--openly--students grades on a regular basis). While I realize that may not sound like a huge deal, it is a really big disservice to the child and their parents. A parent does not know their child does not grasp a concept if they continually bring home good grades. If a child does not understand one step in building block concepts, they cannot be successful as they climb the ladder. It's just not fair to the child. You are setting them up for failure.

At any rate, her reign of stupidity lasted several years before she moved on (to another job that she GOT FIRED from because of unethical issues---google it, you'll find her name, and now her name comes with a nice large lawsuit because her image is tarnished, tsk tsk).

So many of us were just worn out at this point. Our faith in the educational system had hit a new low. We were all excited to get a new principal; somebody who could renew our faith. We didn't really care who it was, though there were rumors that the high school assistant principal was going to be our new principal. Rumors proved true, and we were thrilled! He brought a breath of fresh air to the school, and for the first time in years, a positive light was shining brightly in all the eyes of the teachers. His impact was immediate.

With our new principal, came a new assistant principal. For what it's worth, I loved one of our assistant principals under the last principal---adored him!--but his hands were tied. He tried so hard to help, but when you are met with defeat over and over again, it brings you down. Anyway, the new assistant principal was wonderful too. He and I hit it off immediately. Our personalities just meshed. Both the principal and assistant principal supported us wholeheartedly. It was such a welcomed change.

Anything we needed, the principal or assistant principal (or bookkeeper--she's awesome) made sure we had. They believed in us. They knew we'd been beaten down, and they worked very hard to build us back up. They cheered us on both professionally and personally. They understood that things happen. They treated us like humans--not only humans, but adult humans--for the first time in years. They asked our opinions, and they listened to them. Our students flourished under their leadership. So did our teachers. The entire school environment changed. We were once again a happy place. They encouraged us along the way, and they thanked us for what we did. Our school regained its previous reputation. Most of us were reunited with former love for teaching. I loved these guys, I truly did, as did many other teachers that year.

After a few years, the assistant principal moved on to become the principal of another school. His teachers there loved him too, and would happily do whatever he asked.

Recently he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has a school that loves and needs him. More importantly, he has a wife. He has children. And he likely has less than a year to live. Less than a year to spend with his wife. Less than a year to spend with his children. Less than a year to hug and kiss them. Less than a year to play with them. Less than a year to make memories to last their lifetimes.

I know any of us can go at any moment, but knowing you are dying (though he says he's choosing to live in the present) has got to be hard.

He has such a positive attitude, but I just can't seem to shake my sadness for him. For his wife. For his children. And for generations of future students and teachers.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Extra Missed

Those of you who know me from elsewhere probably know where I got this.

Are there any products that you loved once upon a time but are no longer made?

I loved (as in my mom bought me a ton when I went to college because she was worried I wouldn't eat otherwise) Carnation Breakfast Bars. I think they still make the chewy ones. The ones I loved were before the chewy ones. They were harder. And delicious. I'm pretty certain they were bad for you, but when you start your day out with such goodness, it can't go wrong! I really, really, really miss them.

I also miss these little bags of granola goodness called Granola Crunch. I remember a green packet, a red one, and an orange one. The orange one was peanut butter flavored. They were little pouches of crumbled granola, and my mom used to surprise me with a pouch in my lunch every now and then.

Planter's Cheese Balls anyone? They used to come in a blue can with a yellow lid. They have some attempts at the airy yumminess (I think Cheeto's makes a 100 cal pack), but nothing even compares.

Hmm, does that say something about me that all the things I miss are food?

Oh, I know a non-food one. Bath & Body Works used to make a milk and honey body wash that came in a tall glass bottle. It left your skin so soft, and it smelled delicious.

Is there anything you used to be able to get but miss now?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Customer Service

I used to think my grandmother was uptight when it came to customer service. I remember her complaining about what CS had turned into in the last few years of her life. Then I started spending my own money, the money I worked for, and I started to see things differently.

I don't expect somebody to cater to my every whim by any means. In fact, I can't stand it when a salesperson hovers while I'm shopping. On the other hand, I cannot stand it when I practically have to beg to have somebody ring me up so I can pay for what I want to purchase. Basically, all I ask is a simple acknowledgement when I walk in the door ("Hi, let me know if there's anything I can help you with.") or something equally simple. It irritates me no end when I walk into a store and the people working there are too busy chatting to ever acknowledge my presence, even when I'm at the counter, products in hand, waiting to pay. It also annoys me when a store worker is taking a clearly personal cell phone call. I couldn't care less if they are talking on their cell (or even business phone) while I'm shopping, but if I want to give you my money, please don't make me wait while you gossip with your friend. There is a shop near my old house that I never intend to step foot in again because they never ever stop talking with each other. I've seen more than one person just leave their items on the counter and leave, and I've seen the ladies there never say a word to the customer beyond the total while ringing them up. I find that rude and poor customer service.

I've always wondered how some of these stores stay in business. Today I realized I am part of that equation. While I intend to never shop at that store near my old house, I do shop at a similar store near my new one. It's a little boutiquey store that has fabulous children's items. I've come across one worker there who was decent, the others are ridiculous, including the owner (who once was surprised that I was looking for an outfit for a baby girl because I looked like the mother of a boy---wth???). They rarely stick to their posted hours, they are not willing to help (and when you are ordering a monogrammed item it's kind of necessary to actually speak with them!), and they do not like children in their (children's) store. I don't like their customer service at all, yet I keep going back. Why? Because they have adorable things that I can't find anywhere else. Because it's close to my house. Because I love their stuff, damn it! So it occurred to me today that if the product is what people want, customer service really doesn't matter. Every single time I go there, I leave saying to myself that I'll never return, yet I do. Time and again. Clearly they've got me with their products, and sales are what you need to remain in business.

So, what customer service things make it or break it for you? If a store has something you want/need, will you keep going back despite poor cs?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Extra Love

Most years Army and I don't really celebrate our true anniversary much. We were married a few days before Christmas, and since having children, we tend to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. We intend to go out, we even get a babysitter, but since we have a babysitter, we can't help but run those errands while we have one. This year was our tenth anniversary, and we did celebrate it in a grand way. Today marks 17 years that we've been together. Not something we tend to celebrate really.

This afternoon I crawled into bed after picking up Linus from school. Army had the day off, and he entertained Lolly while Linus and I took a nap. He came in to suggest we have dinner, but I didn't feel well and didn't want to get up. A little while later he suggested I get up and ready for dinner again. Turns out he had planned a dinner date for us. I felt horrible that ruined his surprise! I've got a rain check for later in the month though. :)

I'm so glad we made that decision 17 years ago! I feel really old (17 years?!?), but really loved!

Extra Effort

For a long time, Linus had trouble with the word maracas. She called them caracas. She'd try to say it correctly, but time after time, it came out caracas.

Tonight at dinner, Linus was talking about our president, Maraca Obama. Poor child, she tries, she finally says the word correctly, but it's not the right word. Army and I chuckled, and she couldn't figure out what was so funny.

I can't help but think Maraca Obama is related to John O'Cain (I've heard Linus and many other kids her age call him John O'Cain).