Saturday, March 27, 2010

I know, I know...

It's been a while since I have updated. To tell the truth, I simply have not had the energy to update until now. Last weekend we were really busy doing who-knows-what. Then, Sunday night I got like 4 hours of sleep. It was terrible and I had NO ENRGY on Monday. The kids were pretty crazy but they were manageable. Monday night I got 4-5 hours of sleep again. Tuesday, I will admit, I was pretty cranky because I was so tired. Not only that, but the kids were insane! I don't know why it took them until Tuesday to be crazy, but it was very difficult for me not to lose my cool with them.
Also, I found out a student of mine was in criminal court on Monday. Here is a conversation I had with his homeroom teacher:
me- "Why was he in court?"
her- "Gambling"
me- "Gambling? How can a child his age be gambling?"
her- "He and a small group of other kids set up fights between two kids and then they bet on the winner. And if the two don't fight then this little posse beats up those kids because they didn't fight."
me- Stunned looked on my face... "Are you serious?"
her- "Yep, and one of his older family members was really in charge of it, but he was doing all the dirty-work here at school. Apparently there were $100s being exchanged between these kids."
me- More stunned look...
her- "I don't know what the outcome was, but that is why he was there..."

So those are the kind of kids I am dealing with... Makes life very interesting, to say the least.

On Monday we are going to have a meeting about what our bilingual program will be next year at our school. I am stressing out about it, for no other reason than I want what is best for these kids. It will not make any difference at all for my position at the school, but I am very passionate about the benefits of dual language programs, and or principal is trying to get rid of it. I am just going to have to do what I can with my allotted 5 minutes of speaking time and hope that she is willing to listen and really do what is best for these kids.

The rest of the week was relatively uneventful. Tuesday night we went out to eat for my sister's 21st birthday. Wednesday Jason's family came over so his sister could see our finished kitchen. Thursday we went to my sister's house to have dinner (our new weekly thing). And yesterday my brothers came over for dinner and to spend the evening because my parents went out to eat and went dancing with my sister and her "friend" for her birthday. Tonight my sister is going out "all night" to celebrate her birthday and that means my parents are watching the babies.

I guess those are the major updates. Our house hasn't changed any in the last week. Jason is making some square planters for us to put a garden in. He read up about "square foot gardens" and we are going to try it. We have wanted a garden and we thought doing it in planters will make it a little easier (not as many weeds, smaller commitment, etc) and we won't have to plant a ton of plants. We'll see how it goes!

Time to go figure out how to spend my day and stay warm.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More house pictures

Here are some more before and after pictures of the projects we have done so far on the house. The first ones are of our master bedroom and closet.



After 3 1/2 years or marriage I finally convinced Jason to give up his "manly" comforter and purchase one that makes it look like a woman lives there. This is what we picked after searching for MONTHS (not an exaggeration). He was very picky.

Here are pictures of our new closet.

This is our closet organizer that Jason designed and his dad built. Before it was just one bar across the whole thing and three shelves, two above and one below the bar. And yes, those are cubbies for my shoes. Jason has one on his side too!

Here are some pictures of the guest room.



The bed pretty much takes up the whole room, but it was a hand-me-down so we aren't complaining. We painted everything in the room, including the doors and the trim.

We still have quite a bit to do on the house, but we are slowly but surely making progress. I'll continue to post pictures as I get them taken! We still have to take pictures of the office, but it is a mess right now and I won't be posting that on the web for anyone to see. The livingroom needs to be photographed as well, but not in the state it is right now. It isn't even finished being painted. More to come, hopefully soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finally, a relaxing weekend

This weekend was so great! Yesterday, Jason and his dad worked all day on a tractor in the back yard. We had these burms that went all the way around a part of our yard where the old owners had a small fence. It was really annoying because no part of the yard was flat. So, they rented a tractor and just solved the problem. They even tilled the whole back yard, so we can start working on planting grass and other foliage. It would be nice to have grass in the yard so we could keep Abby here and not have to take her to Jason's parents' house every day, but we know they take good care of her so it isn't too much of a sacrifice. Jordan even came over for part of the day and rode around with Uncle Jason on the tractor. He pretty much thought it was the coolest thing EVER. He wouldn't ride with Jason's dad, and he would want someone to hold him at all times if he was not on the tractor, but it was so cute. He was super impressed with how "loud and fast" the tractor was.

After the fun with the tractor we decided we would go to church because the time change would make it hard to get up this morning. It was such a good service, talking about how to start conversation with people about Christ. I learned a lot. My sister even came with us, which was fun, and she brought the babies. I love it when she comes to church with us.

Then, we were able to sleep in this morning. We slowly got up and got moving and then went to ABQ to get a new comforter and sheet set. I have wanted one since we got married and I finally saw one in an ad and convinced Jason we should go work, so he agreed! He is pretty picky about these things, more picky than any guy I know for that matter, but he liked this one enough that he finally gave in. It is beautiful and as soon as I get our room cleaned up I can finally take some pictures of the room completely finished. I haven't done it yet because we still had our old comforter on it and it is such a guys comforter. But no more! So, pictures to come, probably some time this week. After that we went to lunch then came home and just relaxed this afternoon.

After dinner I went over to my sister's house to watch the kids while she finished up some homework for tomorrow. She got in a minor accident this afternoon (not her fault) and she said it really threw off her schedule. I got to spend time with the kiddos, though, and they were wonderful for me. Jordan didn't get much of a nap, so he was quite the pistol, but he was good for the most part, especially during his bath. Shelby didn't conplain once. She even went right to sleep after her bath and bottle. I hope my sister understands how awesome her kids are. They are always so wonderful and are rarely in a bad mood. Jordan is almost 3, so he has his moments, but as long as you are playing with him he is completely fine! I can only hope my kids are as awesome and easy as that. But Lauren got 2 of them, so my luck I will probably get 2 difficult babies. Not that that is anywhere in the future, but hopefully relatively soon.

Speaking of... Jason and I are still thinking we will start trying for a family this summer. I am trying really hard not to get my hopes up because I know that could change at the drop of a hat, but for right now that is the plan. I still don't have a doctor here or anything, and I should probably get on that, but I can't seem to want to make that kind of effort right now. There are so many things we need to do before we actually have the child, but we are both realizing that even when we start trying we will still have at least 9 months before we will have to have any of that done (like getting a baby-friendly car/SUV, buying some kind of camper- because I am not tent caming with an infant, and figuring out the list of priorities on our house-remodel). Things are still kind of up in the air, but I am trying to keep an open mind about it and let God take the lead. It is still hard for me, but I am really trying.

Thankfully, this week is spring break and I have a couple of fun things planned. I am going to lunch tomorrow with one of my friends from high school. Then on Wednesday I am getting a massage! My wonderful in-laws gave me "any treatment I want" from the spa down here for spring break. They said, "We have to take care of the teacher in the family!" And for that I love them. They are so generous and wonderful. I am looking forward to spending a relaxing afternoon at the spa and just getting pampered for an hour and a half. I may splurge a little and get myself a pedicure, but I haven't decided about that yet. This week is going to be wonderful but I already know it is going to go by too quickly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ups and downs

This week has been full of them so far. Early in the week I wanted to scream because of the way all the student were behaving. They were pretty much just wound up and wouldn't settle down. Yesterday I had my first write-up. A student hit another student on the face. I didn't know what to do, but apparently it was a no-brainer to everyone else that this student needed a write-up. What can I say, I am still learning. I have never seen a write-up before, much less done one myself. Then, two groups of kids after the write-up, I made a student cry. I don't necessarily feel bad about it because of the situation, but I never want to make a student cry. I was not doing so hot yesterday after all that.

I was dreading today because it was my last day with the kids before spring break and I thought they might be crazy. Well, they were, but at least I had prepared myself for it. I didn't ask them to do all that much for me, just write a little short story, which they all did without much complaint (surprisingly). Then we played games and I pretty much let them goof off because I got what I could out of them. They were nuts, but it wasn't unbarable. I don't have students tomorrow, so that will be nice. I can just spend the day organizing, planning, and taking care of some admin stuff that I don't get to work on during the week since I have no conference/planning period during the day.

The one thing I am having a hard time with is learning about the family situations of some of my students. There are several foster-family situations, and several of these kids remember their parents telling them they don't want them any more. Other parents are either dead or in jail. Older siblings are dead or in jail or pregnant. One student is being raised by an older sibling because one parent died recently and the other parent doesn't give a rip about the children. My heart just breaks for these kids and I am shocked at how resiliant they are. It gives me a much better picture for what these kids have to go through every day, and helps explain why there might be some behavior issues or personality things that are a little different than some of the rest of the kids. I just feel like I should be doing so much more for these kids, but I can't. I am only one person, and it is inappropriate for me to get involved in their home lives beyond just being there for them during class, and being someone they can talk to when necessary. I care for them so much, I just want to fix all their problems.

Ok, I just had to get that out. These kids have it so much harder than I ever did, and in most of the cases you would never know it, you would just think they were acting up every once in a while. They are great, and I love working with them, and I just hope I can make a slight difference in their lives. I still have a lot to learn, but slowly but surely I think I am figuring it out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friends and Fiery Food

This weekend was so awesome! Our wonderful friends from Lubbock came and stayed with us all this weekend. When they got here on Friday we went out to eat at El Pinto, a great New Mexican restaurant. We had a 55 minute wait when all was said and done, but our friends had been waiting 2 years to eat there, so what's another hour? It was worth it, the food was great. On Saturday morning Jason got up and got donuts for us. They were delicious and we still have a few left. We went to the Fiery Food Show up in ABQ around lunch time. We were a little nervous about going because last year it was so packed it was hard to manouver at you could hardly get to any of the booths to taste the food they were selling. It was MUCH better this year, though, because we went right when the doors opened. We only bought some BBQ sauce, but it is delicious! Saturday evening we had our families over so our friends could see them. It was fun having everyone over. Once the families left we played some RockBand and then went to bed. This morning we went to eat at Frontier and it was also delicious. I don't know why Jason and I don't go there more often, I guess it is just that much out of the way. It was such a good weekend, we were so sad to see them go. If only we lived a little closer to each other.

Now I just have to get through one more week and then it is spring break! I think I can make it... I just need to get through an observation on Monday and the rest of this week with the kids being crazy because they know Spring Break is coming. I don't know why it makes them so crazy, but something about an upcoming break does not make them behave well.

Ok, gonna go relax.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another one come and gone

How can I say this when it is only Thursday? Because I don't see students on Fridays, so my week is complete! I am using tomorrow to plan and prepare for next week (which is a good thing because I, apparently, have my second observation on MONDAY of next week, which I just learned about this afternoon). This week was relatively eventful, but in a good way.

First of all I have had three GREAT days in a row. Today wasn't so hot, but it wasn't bad, so I am counting it in the good column. Tuesday I had really good lessons for all my groups, so that was exciting. Everyone did their work for me and there were absolutely no discipline issues. As if you couldn't tell, this is a pretty big deal, so it was really exciting.

Wednesday was another good day, although this was mostly because it was a half day. I only saw 4 groups of kids out of 9, so it was nice. Again, all the kids did their work and didn't argue about it. It helps that I am able to bribe them with candy and stuff because there aren't those silly regulations like there were in Texas. I can give them anything I want and the only person who frowns on it is the nurse. I am willing to bet that if she had some of the kids I have she would be doing the same thing, though, so I am not too concerned. And bribery works!

Also yesterday I learned that my 6th graders, who I work with in their classroom for 30 minutes each day, really enjoy me coming to work with them. Now, I am not sure if it is because I am all that fun or that they get one-on-one instruction, or what, but these three boys always double and triple check with their teacher to make sure that I am coming every day. Today, one of them actually gave me his chair because there weren't enough when I came in the room and he got another one from his desk. It is a good feeling to know that I am having a positive impact on these kids' lives and when I work with them and I see them "get it" I remember why I chose to be a teacher.

Today was a little shaky, but we got through it. My trouble-maker kept trying to push my buttons, but I did my very best not to let him. I just don't know what to do about him since he is my size and he has a problem with women in authority. He is very argumentative and he keeps trying to get me to send him to the office or something, because he thinks I can't make him. He doesn't understand that I have the principal in my corner and we already have arrangements made for what happens if I have to send him to the office or something gets out of control. It is hard for me to know where to draw the line, and how stern/strict to be. I think for the most part the kids understand when I mean business and they don't push it beyond that point, but I am waiting for the one kid to just blow up one day and I am not entirely sure how I am going to deal with it. I guess until then I am just going to have to stay strong and deal with everything the best way I know how.

I am looking forward to tomorrow also because my BEST FRIEND is coming to visit me! I haven't seen her since December at my graduation and I miss her like crazy. She was my support system when I was still in Texas doing my student teaching and now that I don't live near her it is hard to keep that connection. We talk often (though not often enough) and are staying close, but getting to see her this weekend is going to be so awesome. Her and her husband enjoy many of the same things Jason and I enjoy so it is going to be a wonderful weekend.

Speaking of visitors, I better go finish cleaning my house. There is no way I would even let them in the front door with my house looking like it is right now. Gotta get busy!