Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm still here

. . . just in case anyone is wondering.

I had a busy week at school. I tested almost 30 kids from three different grade levels.

I also met with the new teacher daily to make sure she was ready for the next day, had a parent meeting with third grade teachers/parents about the TAKS test, looked for/confirmed science fair judges, met with a reading consultant with third and fourth grades, tutored in a fourth grade class one afternoon, had DI practice, prepared materials for mocks TAKS tests, gathered materials for DI and took a field trip for DI.

On Saturday I took my DI kids (along with DI kids from 4 other schools) to Corpus for a field trip in order to get ready for the big meet in March. On Sunday I took it easy. I went to a friend's house and scrapbooked and then came home and scrapbooked some more.

Did I do any laundry?? NO. Guess what I'll be doing in the evenings this week? Mom?? Are you reading this? (Hint, Hint :)

This week doesn't look like it will be any better.

I have a meeting today after school to wrap up organizing the school science fair, I will tutor tomorrow, will have DI on Wednesday, and go to the doctor on Thursday after school. I also want to go to a Pampered Chef party Thursday evening. Mom?? Are you reading this? I'll pick you up around . . . oh, I can't remember when the party is. I'll pick you up at some point on Thursday evening!

The school science fair is on Friday so I'll be busy with that and I need to get classes started -today!

Oh, I have to get my personal kids' science fair projects going as well.

Who else is up for a busy week?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You have to see it to believe it

Last weekend I went to Houston to visit with my old friends Crystal and Elaine. I have talked about both of them here before.

Crystal - Elaine - Me
Crystal recently moved back to Texas after having lived in Colorado for the past several years. Elaine has lived in Houston for a couple of years now. Elaine is an artist - check out her website here - and had a show opening in Houston last Friday night. It is located at the Art League of Houston in case you are interested. This show was like no other I've ever seen before.

Elaine's sculptures are of taxidermied animals (she rescues them off of eBay - she doesn't hunt) that have custom made crocheted sweaters. She totally outdid herself with this show - if I do say so myself.

Not only did Elaine create several new sculptures, she also created habitats for each animal/group of animals, had a gift shop, had brochures, etc. She created everything she would need for:

It was totally awesome. My pictures DO NOT do her exhibits justice. Part of that is my fault - new camera and all - and the other part is ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE THERE! The place was SO packed Crystal and I couldn't even see Elaine while she was giving her artist talk, let alone hear her.
Elaine, I am so proud of you. I can remember how you wanted to be an artist even when we were kids. It isn't everyday when you have a friend who has followed her dreams. I love to tell people that I have this really cool friend who is an artist.
Congratulations - all of your hard work paid off!
(Do I sound like a teacher or what???)

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you can read this, thank a teacher

I know these pictures aren't the best but I just had to have proof of what Garrett is able to do. Ignore my upside down name in black. He wrote his name and dog and log. Earlier in the evening he made dog with the magnetic letters on our refrigerator. I then asked him about making log. I was wondering if he could make the word family connection. He is doing great with rhyming so I want him to know that by finding rhyming words you have more words you can write.

He then wrote Go Go Go Fast. After he wrote it, he read it to me several times. Each time he read it to me he pointed to the word he was saying - moving his finger with each word he said. The rectangle is a period that got a little big as he was drawing it.

He wrote fast by saying the word slowly and stretching out the sounds. He did the same with dog while he was using the magnetic letters. He mixed the letters up and then respelled it without stretching the sounds out.
He then flipped the box over and wrote his sentence again.
Not bad at all for a kid who didn't know any of his sounds at the beginning year - not bad at all!
So, thank you Ms. P. Garrett loves you and learns so much every day. I can't even begin to tell you what a difference you are making in his life.
Earlier in the evening he pointed out commas that he saw on the TV. (They were showing a printed poster of some sort. I can't remember what for now.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I won a prize!!!!!!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I entered a drawing for a huge assortment of wedding scrapbook materials and I just found out today that I won!!!!!!!!

Dahrlin' at Hello Dahrlin' hosted the giveaway. Click on the link to see what I've won!

I can't wait to get the materials because ever since I started scrapbooking I have wanted to do a wedding album. I even started on one time and HATED the way it looked. Winning this package has renewed my interest in finally getting a new album and getting started!

Thank you so much Dahrlin'!

I'll post about the package when I get it and keep everyone posted on the progress of my album.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This one's for you Mom!

I talked to my mom the other night and she let me know she wasn't happy that I hadn't updated my blog lately. She wants to see pictures from trip to Houston.

I will write a post about my trip to Houston tomorrow - I promise Mom!

I will give everyone a quick job update - how's that?

The new girl started on Monday. She went to training on Monday with the other two girls who teach third grade. I was all by myself and to be honest - I didn't know what to do with myself during my conference period!! The three of us are totally attached at the hip and are always together during our conference period. I went and did my work in the office just to be around other people!

When I talked to V and E about it they said I was missed at training too. It was vvvveeerrryyy quiet at lunch without me. At least they are thinking about me!

On Tuesday all of the third and fourth grade teachers went to training in Corpus. I counted wrong when I requested our table at lunch because I was still counting myself as a third grade teacher! (The training was good by the way. It was given by Barry Lane. He's written lots of books about teaching writing. He's funny and the day went by really quickly. If you are a teacher you know that is the sign of a good workshop - the day going by quickly.)

Starting on Wednesday Ms. S watched me and took notes. As we had time we discussed the plans she will be responsible for, the students, routines, etc. The kids were very receptive to her.

Today she was in charge for most of the afternoon and at the end of the day sat down with the kids and explained that on Tuesday she would be taking over. We have a workday on Monday. We (all four of us) will work together to get everything settled for all of them to start the new six weeks on Tuesday.

I know that Ms. S. is going to do a great job. The way that she works with the kids is excellent. We planned on meeting each afternoon just to make sure she is set for the next day.

My leaving third grade has brought lots of other changes to the other two girls as well. V is giving up planning her beloved math. E is giving up her safety net of planning science and social studies. I wouldn't be able to leave my class if I didn't have them there to step in and help Ms. S.

It's really starting to hit me that I am no longer a third grade teacher. A little part of me will always be a third grade teacher. I feel so strongly about this because of all I have been through in room 6. It's been a long road to get where I am today.

It's starting to dawn on other people too. L. an aide that has worked through thick and thin with me said, "Oh yeah, you won't be in here any more." She then gave me the best compliment she ever could. She told me she learned a lot from me. That means so much to me.

On Monday I'll start working in my new room.

I've come full circle. I will be in room 10 which is the first classroom that I ever taught in. I started teaching in January 2000. I took over for a teacher who needed to leave in December.

I don't have lesson plans due on Monday. What am I going to do Sunday night?? (Or should I say Monday morning at 5:00 a.m.?)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

On Wednesday there was much whispering and giggling between Meagan and Garrett and much shushing by Jimmy. At 7:00, after asking the location of any glue sticks in our house, Jimmy and the kids disappeared into Meagan's room. Not one but two doors were closed in an effort to prevent me from seeing or hearing any goings on.

When I awoke Thursday morning and stumbled into the living room this is what I found:

My husband is truly wonderful. The gift means more to me than he will ever know. The fact that he took the time (over an hour) to make all of these letters with our kids and then stay up late to put them all in place means more to me than any gift he could have bought.

Jimmy, I love you and thank you so much for the banner. He also gave me a beautiful Willow Tree angel. My picture of it was too bright so it looks like a big blur. Digital photography hints anyone??

Here is Jimmy and I at my mom and dad's house on Thursday evening.

Here is me with my mom and Meagan and Garrett. Garrett was obviously not happy about having to stop playing with his friend and pose for the picture. Meagan, on the other hand, is a total ham.

Here is me with Nana Mary. If you read this blog regularly you know that Nana is the mom of my best friend from when I was a kid. She is a big part of our lives. Love you Mary!
Here is my with my friend Elice. We have known each 0ther since we were kids but in the last few years have become close friends. We scrapbook together and our kids are about the same age.
Here I am with the German Chocolate cake my mom made for me.
Despite feeling ill, my mom also made me a wonderful dinner. She made homemade roast with carrots and potatoes and gravy. YUM! Thank you so much Mom! One of these days I am actually going to learn how to make it myself. Garrett even asked me the next day if I knew how to make chicken like grandma did. I was puzzled by his question. He said, "You know, what we ate for dinner last night at Grandma's." I told him no, I don't know how to make chicken like that yet. (Especially since it was roast!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You need to listen to this album

The picture is a little small but this is David Cook's first album. And I LOVE it! Santa put the CD in my stocking. (How does Santa always know just what I want??)

What? You don't know who David Cook is? He won American Idol last May. You can listen to two of his songs from my music reader over there on the right. Just click on his name to hear his songs.

David was amazing to watch on American Idol. Week after week he would take all different types of artists and make their music his. Really. He made a Dolly Parton song sound AWESOME!

I love the entire album. That hasn't happened to me in forever. I usually buy a CD for one or two songs and never listen to the rest of the album because it just doesn't click with me. Not true with this one!

What are you waiting for? Go buy his album!

If you want to learn more about David Cook check out his official site by clicking here. There's even a blog that he writes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Garrett the (Assistant) Builder

Garrett received some Legos for his birthday. Here he is putting them together with the help of Jimmy. Garrett did really well looking at the instructions and putting the Legos together. He received a Batman set that came with Batman and Robin.

Cheesy smile for the camera "Hurry up and take the picture Mom, I'm busy here," he seems to be saying.

Trying out an up close shot with my new camera.

"Stop it already Mom!"
Here is he is laughing at something Jimmy said.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Some layouts I recently finished

L - general pics R - opening gifts
L - pool pics R - water balloons
L - Waterburger Field Hooks game R - fireworks pics from after the game

L - dinner at Friday's R - Waterburger Field Hooks game
They are a little blurry. You can click on each picture to see it larger. They are also in reverse order so start at the bottom to follow the "story." These are the layouts from Meagan's 9th birthday. We went to Corpus on her actual birthday to the movies, to dinner and to a Hooks game. On Saturday she had a pool party at our house.
I am still learning how to use my new camera obviously. If I use the flash the pictures are clear and crisp. But when I do use the flash sometimes I get a shadow or a too bright spot.
Any book or websites suggestions on learning to use the manual modes on the computer??

Guess what I bought??

So, I bought a new camera! It is a Canon Power Shot SX10 IS.

The main reason I bought this one (well other than the fact that I couldn't afford the one I really want - a Rebel) was that it has a 20x zoom.

It also has a burst option which allows you to push the button one time and the camera will take mulitple pictures. This is a great feature for sports.

Another reason I liked it was that it uses the same type of memory card that I already own for my Kodak.

I looked at a Kodak that was similar to this Canon but Best Buy was out of them and didn't know when they were going to get any more in.

The camera is a big step up from the Kodak I had. It has tons of features that can be used when you aren't taking pictures on auto.

So, here are my New Year's Resolutions (really it has to do with the camera - I promise):

I want to become a better photographer. I have this nice new camera with lots of options and now I actually want to learn how to use them!

Some people that I read regularly (their blogs that is) are doing something called Project 365. I originally heard about it from Janelle at My Life. It is a scrapbook where you take at least one picture each day of the year and then journal about it. If you click on her link you can read more about it.

I thought this sounded really cool but am totally overwhelmed at the idea of adding another scrapbook project to the ones I've already got going (and am totally behind on!)

Rachael at little bites of heaven has created a second blog where she plans to post her daily picture. I thought that was a GREAT idea - no paper needed! So, I may borrow her idea. The bad news? I already missed a day of taking pictures. I didn't take a picture on January 2nd!

I have some other resolutions but I am not firm on them yet - lets tackle one big goal at a time okay?

P.S. I went to work on Friday to start cleaning out my room/organizing and it was harder than I thought it was going to be!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My newly cleaned and organized scrapbook area

Here it is!
This is in the left hand corner of our living room. Our living room is a long rectangle with four doorways. Our furniture is mostly on the right hand side of the room so that leaves room on the left for my stuff!

The table is a hand me down from my father. The blue organizer on the left is my birthday gift! (My birthday is on Jan. 8th, the same day as Elvis. Thank you, Thank you very much.) The white organizer on the right is a hand me down from my friend Elice. The green containers on the floor on the left are for my kids. I put anything in there that comes home from school, activities, etc. When I scrapbook about their school year I look through the bucket for things I want to include. I need a system for things that are too big for the scrapbook but that I still want to keep. Any ideas/suggestions??

The big black bag under the table holds all of my paper. It is sorted in various organizers/packages.

Yes, the table does block the front door but we never used it anyway.

Blue Organizer - top drawer - small punches, corner cutters, scissors, blades, adhesives

Second drawer - large and medium punches, chalk in the black bag (It is upside down so it doesn't dry out.)
Third drawer - stencils, cutting tools Fourth drawer - pens, open pages and page protectors

Fifth drawer - cutting patterns, personal trimmer

This is my ribbon drawer. Ribbon and journaling boxes/photo mats are kept in the small white organizer on the top of the table.
Here is a picture of part of my mantle. You can see all of the albums I own. The light purple one is Meagan's from birth to age 4. The red one is Meagan's for kinder to now (school stuff). The dark blue ones are family albums. The light blue one is Garrets birth to four album (I know I am behind . . . shh . . . just don't tell him!) The pinkish one is Meagan's own album. (Girl Scout trips, things she and I have done by ourselves, etc.) It doesn't make sense for Meagan to have two separate albums but I've already started them and they can't be combined so oh well.

So, what are your hobbies? (And do you have as much junk for them as I do??)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008: The Year in Pictures

As if my last post didn't tell you more about me than you ever wanted to know . . .

This post is our year in pictures. I got the idea from little bites of heaven who has a daughter and then toddler triplets.

For another year in pictures check out Kristi's post on her blog Kristi's Trio. She also has a daughter and toddler triplets.