Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Asylum is Almost Open

This year's Halloween theme at our house is the 'Red Oak Asylum'.  The whole family is taking part in this theme, with all of us dressing as doctors, nurses, and patients.  This is what our front yard is shaping up to look like, with a day left to go before we open for business.

We are looking forward to admitting new patients tomorrow...

Carving Pumpkins

This afternoon, we finally got around to carving pumpkins.  We let the little ones draw their own faces and then we came back through and 'helped' the drawings before carving.  The older three designed their pumpkins, but K and I took over the carving process for all involved.  I did manage to get a few pictures of the process.  Currently, CED is cleaning the gunk off all the seeds so we can roast them.  Yum!

Carving pumpkins is always an interesting experience in our house.  JAD and I had a wrestling match over who could get pumpkin goo on the other person.  Sadly, it was a draw.  The kid is almost as tall as me now.  A couple more inches and I'll start looking up at him.

It's Never Really Over

The fall soccer season is slowly winding to a close.  We have make up games that have yet to be scheduled, but most of the kids have their last games of the season next weekend.  I'm not sure when the make up games will be, but considering I get to reschedule those, hopefully they'll be really soon or they'll just have to wait til the spring season.  Except for JED - I have to get his done in the next week or so.  Yikes!  Anyway... soccer pictures have been taken for the two little girls' teams and, although I'm too cheap to buy the professionally done pictures, I did snap a couple with my phone.  Classy, eh?

Here is MED with her team and coach.  We really enjoyed watching her play this fall.  She went from being this sweet little girl to a fierce competitor on the field.  In her second game on Saturday, she scored four goals!

MAD with her team.  She was part of the Itty Bitty Soccer Academy and she had a ball while doing it.  This past weekend she scored three goals!

MAD with Flavio - the club director and her favorite person at soccer.
Now we begin the segue and overlap from outdoor soccer to indoor...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's My Blog and I Can Brag If I Want To

It's conference time around here and the first round of report cards are trickling in.  In the midst of doing my classroom conferences, I've been moving around to my own kids' teachers to hear what wonderful (and not so wonderful) things they have to say.  I started off yesterday morning with JEDs conference.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he received one B and the rest As on his report card.  He is also being moved up to the high math and writing groups (already has been in the high reading group).  He's showing some great abilities in school academically (which we already knew, but being at a new school the teachers didn't know) and hopefully moving him up will curb his need to be naughty.  I was really proud of him, however, and excited to see that he is doing as well as he is.
Conference number two yesterday was for MED.  Her teacher gushed on and on about how sweet a little girl she is, how mature she is, what a great helper she is... I could go on and on.  MED loves school and you can see that from the moment she walks in to the building.  Her teacher is already providing enrichment in the area of reading and MED regularly gets chapter books to read where most of her counterparts are reading shorter books.  She loves to read - MED will finish a book within days of starting it.  Junie B. Jones are some of her favorites right now.  I knew MEDs conference would be good and I wasn't disappointed!
At the end of my class conferences, I headed off to CEDs conference at her school.  CED didn't want to attend her school at first and she gave her dad and I a really hard time.  For the first week of school, she cried, pouted, argued, gave us the cold shoulder, glared at us, glared at others, snapped at her siblings... I could go on and on.  She finally has given up on trying to convince us to put her back at her old school and she's adjusted and adapted to her new school.  She has lots of new friends and has really blossomed back into the girl and student we know her to be.  In fact, kids regularly tell her that she's the teacher's favorite student and recently she received the highest grade on a history test that teachers there have ever seen.  Anyway, her report card was wonderful - especially considering a pretty serious learning curve with the requirements and methods this school has.  Her teacher couldn't think of anything she needed to work on.  Wow!  Again, I was really pleased to hear all the great things said (who wouldn't be?).
The next conference, for JAD, will be next Wednesday.  I'm not overly looking forward to that one.  My super-bright-son-who-doesn't-want-to-apply-himself will have an interesting conference, I know.  He has decided that being the class clown is more important than being the quiet kid that pleases the teacher and does everything he's asked.  So, I'm sure I'll learn some interesting facts about him next week.  I can't complain too much, however.  He's not on drugs, he's generally very respectful, and he has a pretty high moral code.  All the things we want for our kids.
This past Thursday, MED was part of another community performance through the conservatory.  We were asked weeks ago if she could be part of the performing group, but it was in the morning and I had to be at conferences (can't take off on that day!) and K was in Arizona at a company business meeting.  They were very understanding, but sad that she couldn't be there.  This past Monday though, I received a phone call.  It turns out this breakfast was a fundraiser for CPCD (Community Partnership for Child Development - the governing group over Headstart, which MED attended two years ago).  They were specifically requesting my daughter to be there.  The director of the conservatory offered to bring MED to and from the performance as long as I didn't mind.  Mind?  Not at all!  So, Wednesday night we headed off to the sound check where we met several nice ladies, the event coordinators, from CPCD who informed us that they see my MED as the face of CPCD and Headstart.  Seriously?  That's pretty cool!  Thursday morning, MED was picked up at 6:30 am to head off to shine and hopefully help CPCD garner some more funding for their programming with her cute smile.  She had to be up before 6 so I could get her 'performance ready' - something I think she might be doing a lot in the next few years as she gets more and more involved with the conservatory.  I am so blessed that she is doing this - her confidence level is through the roof... and she is not 'big-headed' in any way.

I do love my kids.  They may do things at home that drive me crazy (to the point of insanity!), but they are good, kind people to their very core and they just bless me immensely every day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Story Continues...

I think my children are secretly and quietly planning a mutiny against me.

Parenting can really, really suck sometimes.

The End

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Night Out

Last night, K and I were able to get away for the evening (I love having teenage kids - built in babysitters!) and we went to see a play and have dinner. We have a local fine arts center here in town and they put on plays every other month October - May. The ticket prices are reasonable (for theater), the acting is very good, and the theater is cozy and personal. Last night we went and saw Stephen Sondheim's musical 'Assassins'. The play is about the men and women who have assassinated presidents or made attempts to assassinate presidents. I thought it was an odd play - not so much in the content, but in the way that it was presented. There were some very funny moments, however, and I really did enjoy two of the characters very much. Maybe they remind me of me and how I'm slowly losing my mind. Regardless, it was still nice to get out and see a play again. After the play, we went to Macaroni Grill (think a tad more upscale than Olive Garden if you've never been) and pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves. We had a nice time being able to talk without interruption from any number of kids and we enjoyed sharing our main dishes and appetizer. Our waiter was very attentive and kind, checking on us without hovering, but not ignoring us either considering it was nearing closing time and he had a lot of cleaning up to do. All in all, I had a wonderful night out with my husband. I'm looking forward to our next date night (hint, hint!).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Severe Strain

I would like to report that my children are a severe strain on my sanity and, while that may be true many many times of the week, that's not what I'm referring to. My oldest child, JAD took a hard kick to his right knee (of course, his dominant kicking leg - remember, soccer) at practice about two weeks ago. Since then, he has been limping around moaning about the pain and how much his knee hurts. Does this mean that he's stopped playing soccer? Of course not! I'm a stupid mother for even uttering those words. No and soccer are two words that should never be uttered sequentially in my house around the ears of my 14 year old. So, K and I decided that we should finally get him in to the doctor after watching him barely be able to walk by this past Saturday morning.

I was able to get him in to an orthopedic doctor this afternoon and, after four x-rays and a quick examination by the doctor, we learned that he has a Grade 1 tear of his medial ligament. Where is that, you say? It's the ligament on the inside of your knee that attaches the femur and the tibia (who knew you'd read this and get a minor anatomy lesson?). He tore some of the ligament away from his femur and has severely sprained it. Now JAD has to wear a hinged knee brace for 6 weeks and ice it after all activity. He also has about 9 exercises that he needs to do every day for the next 6 weeks to strengthen and help heal the ligament. The doctor also cleared him to play. I was shocked when I heard this. I was expecting him to say he needed to take a couple of weeks off - after all, he had just said that the regular knee brace JAD has been wearing isn't sturdy enough and he would need a hinged brace. Doesn't this somehow mean that his knee is weaker than we thought? But what do I know? I'm just a silly old mom. The doctor actually looked at me when he told JAD that he could play again and said, "Did you want me to say something else?" Umm. Ya. Like tell my kid he needs some time off for rehabilitation.

So, I dropped him off at school this afternoon suited up for his high school game. I'm just praying that he will be smart (he won't be) and careful (he won't be) while he plays. The last thing I need to do is go back to the doctor to tell him what a dumbass he was for clearing my kid to play.

The end.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Soccer Player is Born

Well, okay, she wasn't born yesterday, but we have yet another soccer player in our house. This makes for a grand total of all five kids as MED is also playing soccer. MAD started playing this month as part of Corinthians Soccer's Itty Bity Soccer Academy. How cute is that? Kids ages 3, 4, and 5 are part of this Academy and they practice once a week on ball handling skills and basic team playing skills. It's complete chaos, but the kids are having a grand ole time while doing it. On Saturday mornings, they come out to a 'real soccer field' to scrimmage against one another. It is total craziness, but the parents get a good laugh while watching our kids 'play' and all the little ones have a blast running around chasing the ball. No score is kept and all kids are cheered by all parents. MAD has latched on to the club director, Flavio, and I fear if he isn't there one day, she'll refuse to even walk onto the field. This whole experience adds levity to our competitive schedule and it's fun to watch kids just have fun playing the game of soccer without worrying about stats, goals, and level of play. So, Saturday mornings, you'll find one or both of us parents enjoying the game of soccer in its purest form ever. Through the eyes of a four year old.

Our littlest soccer player. Isn't she cute enough to eat?

MAD standing by her new favorite person, Flavio

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Shining Star

A couple of weeks ago, MED had the opportunity to sing for the kickoff of Pike's Peak United Way Yearly Campaign. I took the morning off to take her there and watch the whole process. Six children (three first graders and three third graders) were chosen for this presentation and they learned an adorable song written by Linda Weise (director of the Colorado Springs Conservatory and Juiliard alum) to the tune of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'. All of the local major news networks were filming and there were about 40 or so people in attendance. MED was placed front and center for the performance (pure luck!) and she sang her little heart out. I am so proud of how she has no fear performing in front of people she doesn't know. Being a part of the conservatory program has given her amazing confidence.

Here are three of the kids as they are warming up and practicing for their performance. I'm not sure what MED is doing. I don't think the girl to her right is sure, either.

The lady in the picture is Linda Weise, director of the Colorado Springs Conservatory. She is an incredibly talented lady and super, super nice to boot! Could they have picked cuter kids? I don't think so!

Friday, September 16, 2011


MED turned six this week. She is our child who wears her heart on her sleeve. You always know how she's feeling because she's either laughing, crying, smiling, scowling, or somewhere in between. She is a champion for the weaker people and animals in our world. She will always stop to help someone who needs it - holding a door open, picking up spilled papers, sharing food - whatever they need. She is the child who is always good for a hug and a snuggle. When K is home, you will often find her snuggled up to him, reading a book, coloring, or watching TV. She loves being on stage performing in front of others. On the soccer field, she becomes a fierce, intensive player intent upon scoring a goal or moving the ball back down to her side of the field. And then she turns around to her teammates and tells them good job. She's such a beautiful addition to our family - I couldn't imagine our lives without her in it. Happy 6th birthday, MED. We love you so very, very much.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm Back

It's been a long time since I've posted and that's because we have been so very, very, very busy. Did I mention we've been very busy? K started his new job two weeks ago and, so far, is enjoying being back in the corporate world. It's even better because it's the corporate agriculture world. However, he's not home during the week, so I am the one and only taxi to soccer practices and games and what-have-you. I leave for school at 6:35 in the morning with the three youngest, drop MAD off at daycare and then head up to school with the other two. I leave school no later than 3:00 (except on Wednesdays - meeting day) to begin the long process of picking kids up, getting them home to change for practice, and heading back out again. We get home, on an early day, at 7:45 and on a late day at 8:30. Then, it's dinner, baths, and getting little people to bed. Then I talk to the oldest as they get homework done and I attempt to get some schoolwork done. We go to bed and it all begins again. Needless to say, I've been running on fumes much of the time and blogging is the last thing I have energy to do. That and working out. That's gone out the window as well. Hopefully I can figure out how to work that back into my schedule - I think it will make me a little more bearable.
So, we are fully into soccer season. The three oldest have all been going for a while (practices, that is), but this week both MAD and MED have gotten started with their practices as well. Fortunately, everyone practices in the same vicinity, which makes for easy travel, but we are at the practice field five days a week. Also add to this that JAD is playing high school soccer (on top of club) and he plays in games for that, as well. This weekend, the three oldest all have games - and JAD has two. Another Saturday in the car. :)
JAD has the great opportunity to get some experience playing on the varsity team along with his usual JV playing. At the first game of the season on Friday, he was put in the varsity game for about 10 minutes. This may not seem like much, but it was enough for him to play in a game that gave him some idea of what the competition would be like. Directly after the varsity game, JAD also played a full game in the JV game. He is one of the captains on the JV team and he was quite verbal with the team giving directions while on the field. He's disappointed in the fact that there are some boys on the team that have never played soccer before. K and I are trying to point out that he has to look at his current high school experience as more 'fun' than competition. But how do you explain that one to a kid that is determined to win in all he does - especially if it's related to soccer? Needless to say, he's out there to win and, dammit, so should everybody else.
To add to the excitement around the house, CED has changed schools two weeks into the school year. She has been on the waiting list at CMCA (a charter school - same as where JAD attends - and one of the top high schools in the state... year after year) and her 'number' finally came up. Last weekend was spent getting all new school supplies and new school uniforms (colors are completely different from the middle school she was attending - of course) and convincing her that this was going to be a good thing. She wasn't buying my song and pony dance and the first couple days of school were rather rough. She was angry about having to leave her friends and change to another school, so things became much harder on her (at her own doing, mind you) than it really should have been. She finished out the week doing much better and having made a couple of friends. Fortunately, she likes her homeroom teacher, which made the transition a mite bit easier. To her delight, one of her good friends from her former middle school has also had her 'number' come up and will be starting on Tuesday. I'm hoping this will 'seal the deal' and she'll really start to settle in.
This Thursday, MED has the opportunity to sing at the Colorado Springs United Way season kick off. It's exciting that she's going to have this experience singing in public. There are about 30 novice kids in her program at the conservatory and she was one of six chosen for this performance. How cool is that? And (while I'm bragging about this child) at school this week, MEDs teacher pulled her aside to give her a chapter book to read for reading class. Everyone else has the typical first grade reader (2 - 3 sentences per page), but MEDs reading skills have progressed so much that she was reading 3rd grade chapter books all summer long. Fortunately, her teacher has recognized this and is continuing to push her forward. Yes, I am a proud mama.
On a great note, I absolutely love my new job. I feel like I can teach again (not be an automaton like in my last school) and the kids are just great. The worst problem I'm having to deal with is social kids. Gee, I think I can handle that! I'm able to read aloud to the students, they're allowed to have silent reading time, we have an afternoon recess every day, and individual styles are welcomed. My team is absolutely wonderful and they have answered all of my questions without problems or frustration. I really like each and every one of them and they make me laugh on a daily basis. It really feels like a dream job. I can see why I was told that once people get into my school, they never want to leave.
So, life is moving along. We're staying extremely busy, but it's all for very good reasons and with really great activities. I am grateful that my kids are so active with all their sports and music - even if the schedules can make me crazy. My husband and I have jobs that we're happy with. Life. Is. Good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Everyone Is Heading Back

Tomorrow is the first day of school for three of my five kids. CED started back on Monday and is doing quite well at the middle school. It helps that she (mostly) likes school and has friends in all of her classes. If she didn't have her friends, she'd be pretty miserable. I'm really proud of how well adjusted she's been. JAD starts high school tomorrow. Gulp. High school! He's the picture of happiness and excitement (dripping sarcasm). Fortunately for him as well, he has many friends and acquaintances at school since it's a K-12 and he was there for the last part of 8th grade. JED and MED will be heading to school with me. I decided to pull them out of our neighborhood school and take them with me. I can keep a close eye on one particular child (ahem) and know that they are both safe before and after school. They both seem to be looking forward to it and are excited to be going to 'my' school. MAD started Pre-K on Monday and, after a few tears, went running off like I didn't exist. She adjusted quickly which made me feel better. She's been at her current childcare facility for 2 years now (this is our 3rd school year there) and she's finally feeling comfortable (even after 3 months off).

I'll keep you posted on how all of our days go tomorrow. I'm excited to get to know my students and do some great 'getting to know you' activities this week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Visitor Goes Up the Incline

K's dad visited us Wednesday through Saturday this last week. We always look forward to family visiting and the kids were, once again, counting down the days until Papa came to stay. His one request while here was to do the Incline. Papa has worked really hard since last October to lose weight and hit his goal this Spring - about 80 pounds lost. Whoot whoot! To celebrate this loss and his new physical health (he walks for an hour at least once a day every day) he wanted to test his mettle on the Incline. Yesterday afternoon, we set out and headed over to Manitou Springs for our adventure. Unfortunately, we had to park about a 1/3 of a mile away from our usual starting point due to the parking lot being full. Papa did a fabulous job and powered through the difficult task known as 'The Incline'.

Here we are on the 'easy' part in the beginning. If you don't pace yourself here, you'll pay for it later. Do you see the top of the Incline way up there amongst the trees? That's NOT the summit, but the false summit. Papa re-labeled it 'the first summit'. Beyond that point, you still have another third of a mile to reach the actual summit.

Awww... father and son.

Here's where it starts to get a little more difficult. See how uneven some of the railroad ties are? Some ties are as high as your knee. Climb anyone?

This picture gives you an idea of how steep it starts to get. I'm just a few steps below and K is a few steps above. And this isn't the steepest part!

At the top! Papa made it and officially has bragging rights.

K and his dad at the top

All three of us just before heading down Barr Trail

I didn't take any pictures on the way down, but you have a 2 1/2 mile walk down Barr Trail that weaves back and forth. You certainly have to watch your footing with the many rocks that are along the path and there are times when you're scrambling down a bit or jumping off rocks. It's a workout! We are certainly proud of K's dad for accomplishing this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Classroom

This week, part of our 'orientation' process was to spend two full days in our actual building with our principal going through school policies, rules, beliefs, expectations, etc. My principal spent 45 minutes with me and another teacher and has let us work in our rooms the rest of the time because she reviews all of this other stuff with all staff at our first staff meeting. I've been very grateful to have this time in my room to organize, clean, and 'decorate'. I've met some great staff members already and one of the nicest and most helpful has been one of our tech people. She has gone out of her way to make me feel welcome and established with passwords and such. In talking with D, she told me about all the technology that we have available for the students. (Keep in mind as I tell you this that I am coming from a school where we didn't have a single computer for the students in our classrooms and technology as a specials class was canceled.) My new school has a technology lab for specials. My classroom has four student computers all hooked up to the intranet and internet. We have an additional lab of laptops that teachers can utilize for various projects. We also have TWO mobile labs - 15 netbooks make up each mobile lab and these can be checked out to a teacher and used in the classroom. Say what? Technology? Yes, please! Every student is given their own personal drive on the intranet so they can save work that they have completed. Every computer is updated with Microsoft 2007 - unheard of in other districts! I truly had to pick my jaw off the ground when I heard all this. It's just so exciting!
Today I was able to get my room decorated and more things put away and organized. It's getting there slowly but surely and I'm really pleased with how things are coming together. My classroom is close to 1 1/2 times the size of my last room and I have far more storage than I've previously had. I'm just truly truly happy and relieved to be where I'm at. Here's what my room is shaping up to look like:

I'm looking forward to a renewing school year. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last Weekend

Because I'm a slacker, I didn't mention that last weekend we drove back and forth to Denver for our first soccer tournament of the year. JADs team played for the first time together (it's a combination of two teams) and the coach used this pre-season opportunity to figure out which positions the boys should play and to see how they would gel as a team. The boys won the first game, but lost the next two. The third game was quite exciting to watch but, unfortunately, the calls were just not with us. At least it's pre-season!

A picture that embodies the absolute frustration JAD felt during the second game when his team just fell apart. Things can only get better from this point.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


At 7:00 am fourteen years ago on this date, I gave birth to a baby boy. He is my first-born, my guinea pig, my always-was-easygoing baby. We thought with this child that parenting must be the easiest job in the world. JAD always had a smile for us, was the consummate flirt with ladies in the grocery line, waitresses in restaurants, and walked around with a level of comfort most people would be jealous of. We never dealt with the step-over-the-line-I'm-a-crazy-boy attitude that we've seen in, ahem, another boy child of ours. JAD was my tow-headed happy baby boy.

I've learned a lot watching him grow and it makes me sad to realize how truly fast 14 years have flown by. We've entered the teenage years with its moodiness and Ineedtobealoneness. But through it all, I'm watching that blonde-headed baby boy turn into a man who is learning how to process the world in all of it's infinite confusion. He still watches from afar and takes things one step at a time, thinking things through. He's become a person with very high morals who treats others well and thinks about the consequences of how he treats them. He's an extremely bright young man and very athletic - not a combination you see all the time. He is immensely passionate about his chosen sport (soccer, if you haven't guessed with the plethora of posts relating to said sport) and will regale you with statistics and stories about his favorite players/teams/teammates/practices/games/etc. He fights tooth and nail to not be known as the 'geeky-super smart' kid and has turned into one who can win a battle of the wits without batting an eye. He is compassionate through and through and will bend over backwards to help a friend and even a sibling when they are down.

I am extremely proud of my son. My first-born. My Ihavetofigurethingsoutonyousosorry kid. He takes everything in stride and uses these moments to grow. He amazes me each and every day. He makes me laugh. He makes me groan and yell in frustration. He makes me want to tear my hair out. He makes me beam with pride that I could give birth to such an amazing human being.

Happy Fourteenth Birthday, JAD. I hope you have an amazing, fun, rewarding year. I am so very proud to be able to call you my son and I love you more than you'll ever comprehend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thought Provoking

I started New Teacher Orientation last Friday. It's a mind-numbing process that anyone new to a district has to go through regardless of experience outside of the district (I've been teaching for 16 years, yet still had to go through this along with many, many other veteran teachers). Today we were shown a video from YouTube that really impacted me. Throughout the first half of the video, I just kept thinking 'Yep, yep, this sounds about right.' At the halfway point and through the end, I sat in awe of what was happening. In a room full of 150 teachers, you could've heard a pin drop as we watched this. I will let you see for yourself...

Reverse Thinking

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Begun

Today was my first 'official' day in my new school district. I've worked in my classroom sporadically over the past week, getting things unpacked and put away, but it's all been on my own time and unpaid. I attended a math training (I know, riveting!) with eight other people from various location throughout the district. There were two trainings going on as the district has two different math programs in its thirty five elementary schools. No, that's not a typo. There are thirty-five elementary schools in this one district. It's by far the largest district I've ever worked in. Interestingly enough, of the nine people at this particular training, four of us had come from the same district previously and we felt we were embattled survivors. Others around us just sympathetically agreed with our conversations and deemed us brave and courageous for having been through such a difficult situation. It's funny how people just hear the name of this particular district and nod their heads, acknowledging the horror stories they have heard from others. It's really quite sad and I feel for my friends who are still working in that district.

Tomorrow I get to attend day one of 'Orientation'. Doesn't that just sound exciting??? We get to sit for eight hours each day (yes, there's more than one day of this) listening to various district higher-ups tell us about the philosophies of the district (which are important - don't get me wrong) and the different odds and ends of expectations, who to contact for various questions/problems/whatnots, and, I'm sure, the new state standards that we will be attacking this year. Don't misunderstand - I'm so very grateful to have a job and I'm very excited to be working in this district - but orientation days just drag on and on and on... On the bright side, orientation days are not part of our salary, so we get paid the hourly rate for these few days. That will be a nice little bonus on the first paycheck!


On the soccer front, we have been going to practice four nights a week for JAD and CEDs practices. Fortunately, practices have been at the same place, so that makes life a little easier. JAD practices Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6 - 7:30 and CED practices on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 - 6:30. I found out this week that JED will also start practicing (thank goodness at the same aforementioned park)... on Tuesdays and Fridays. Really??? Five days a week??? Heaven help me... Now it really doesn't matter when the little girls start practicing because I'll ALREADY BE THERE. Silver lining, people.


School registration has begun. On Tuesday, I had to register JAD for HIGH SCHOOL. Did you catch that? Ninth grade. I don't think I'm ready for this. How did I get old enough to have a child going into high school? Life goes by way too stinking fast. Before I know it, he'll be driving and never home. Yikes! I do like his schedule, however. He has to take Latin. And he got that class 1st hour. What can be better? I was happy to see that he was enrolled (thank you, Vanguard!) in honors history, English, and biology. JAD, on the other hand, was not so happy to see this. What you don't like can only make you stronger, right? It'll be interesting to see how he handles these classes plus high school soccer and club soccer. I think we're heading into our most challenging year yet!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I've really focused this year on how truly expensive it is to get ready for school. And I only have four going to school this year. Next year, it will be all five. Yikes! I have purchased the bulk of the school supplies (we still need all the kleenex and baggies and disinfecting wipes) and have spent over $200 on those things. As a teacher, I understand the need for parents to buy things like baggies, dry erase markers, and disinfecting wipes - we just don't have the budgets to purchase those things for our classrooms. As a parent, I groan every time I see a 4 pack of dry erase markers on the list - those add up quickly, especially when you're buying supplies times four! Add to that, CED needs uniforms for middle school, so we had to go out and purchase those items as well. Although, I didn't buy much simply because we have her on the waiting list for another school that requires uniforms as well. And, of course, the uniforms at this school are different colors than at her current school. Fabulous. So once she gets in there, we get to go shopping all over again. Today, JAD and I went to his school to register and had to pay a $30 fee for copies, paper, etc (charter school, so they can do that) plus an additional $90 for the camp he is required to attend next week. This doesn't include the $100 fee to play high school soccer, either. I'm being sucked dry and school hasn't even started yet! Next year I think I need to make sure I have at least $500 set aside for school shopping/fees/etc. And maybe some Valium as I go shopping for all those items...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Payback is a...

You can fill in the blank. I remember as a kid, my sister and I always knew we had our mom cornered as soon as the upstairs bathroom door shut and the water started running. Why my mom never locked the door is beyond me, but I think she knew we'd probably bang the door down so why bother. I remember those times - me sitting on the sink, my mom hiding behind the shower curtain - as times to pour out my heart or complain or whatever. I thought (or maybe was desperately hoping) that this would not happen to me. I was wrong. Lately, I think my children have a built in tuning device to anytime I go into my bathroom. I can be sitting on the couch or working in the kitchen for HOURS, it seems, and they have no reason to bug me for food, going outside, or tattling about another child. However, the minute I go into the bathroom, I have children lined up at the door for one reason or another. How do they do it? I have no idea, but just relish in the fact that they, too, will one day get their own payback. How delicious.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Yesterday, K and I decided to finally paint CEDs room. We moved into our house 2 years 8 months ago and have had the paint for her room for 2 years 7 months. Yep, we move quickly around here. Though, to our defense, CED has not cleaned her room to the point where we could get in and paint, so... Anyway, it is done now and I think she's happy. K started off by painting her ceiling, which makes me realize how desperately every ceiling in the house needs to be painted. Ugh! In the process of painting, K decided that painting his contacts was a good idea, too. (Not really - painting over your head can have bad effects, though! He did end up with white paint specks all over his contacts. Yuck.) K also installed a ceiling fan in lieu of the standard light fixture. CEDs room gets rather warm (non-air conditioned house) and the fan has already made a difference. We ended up working in her room from about 10:30 until 7:30 - which makes for a long day when it's hot and you're going up and down ladders constantly. But, I think CED is happy with the result (which is not finished quite yet, but more on that later).

Here is a picture of CEDs walls as I was patching the eight million holes she's put in them hanging up posters and such (yes - eight million. And I think I missed about a million more which I noticed as I was precariously perched on a ladder cutting in all the edges).

Why is the corner not painted? Really not sure. I guess that was too hard for the people who last lived here and painted the room these colors.

CED, working hard. Actually, she did do a lot to help - filling paint pans, getting brushes and rollers, loading such brushes and rollers, getting wet rags/paper towels for the unavoidable messes, etc. You can see the difference in colors with the first wall painted. Two walls were painted with this very light green (believe me, it is a very light green).

Here's a better look at the green color of the walls. These were the two hardest walls to paint in her room. One, just like the other rooms on our main level, her room has a 10 foot ceiling. That's a lot of wall to cover with two coats. And two, you can see she has a little alcove area above her closet in the upper left hand corner of the picture. K had a lot of fun painting that area.

The other two walls we painted pink. I would've taken pictures in process, but I just wanted to get done with the painting and I didn't feel like stopping to take pictures. I know. Crabby. But this is the final product of the pink walls. It looks a lot brighter in the pictures than it really is.

Here's the two colors next to each other. They look really good together and it definitely looks like a girl's room now. K thinks CED needs white shag carpeting to complete the look. I think she needs easy clean rubber mats because of all the stuff that gets spilled in there!

On the pink wall you can see in the above picture, we're going to paint white bubbles and write CEDs first name in a color like hot pink across those bubbles (a letter in each bubble). I can picture it, and I think it's going to be super-cute. Now I just have to go get the white and hot pink paint. Maybe in a day or two...

Now the girls want their bathroom painted and MAD and MED are clamoring for their room to be done as well. That just might take us another 2 years and 7 months...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Incline... Again

K and I did the Incline again today. It is fairly hot here (low 90s) and we didn't start until almost 1:00 this afternoon. To add to the challenge, we ended up having to park a 1/2 mile downhill from the entry point. This meant we had to walk uphill all the way to the bottom of the Incline and then climb our way up from there. I wasn't looking to set any new record today, because with the heat I knew that going up the Incline would be challenge enough. K wasn't overly honest with me as we worked our way up the thousands of steps. He kept telling me that we wouldn't make our previous time - but as long as we kept it under our first time, that's a win. Snot. We beat the last time by just over two minutes. I am beat and I know K is too (but he did a 25 mile bike ride before we did the Incline. He's an overachiever.). I feel good about my new time, though! It's a new challenge to beat.

My Exciting Week

Really, it hasn't been. I've officially turned into the soccer chauffeur, however. This week both CED and JAD have attended optional training on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 - 1. JAD started his club team practice on Monday and Thursday from 6 - 7:30 AND high school practice on Wednesday from 9 - 11. Next week will slow down a bit as the Tuesday/Thursday optional training is over with. Wheee! On top of going back and forth to the practice sites (which, aside from the high school practice is a 20 minute drive north via highway), I have gone to the club office to take care of some business, gone grocery shopping, picked CED up from a friend's house, went to my (new!) district office to pick up paperwork, and taken the three girls to their yearly doctor appointment. Is my life exciting, or what? I've paid bills, filled out rebate forms for my contacts, and created a team roster for CEDs team. I just can't stand how riveting my day to day life is!

Last night, however, K and I finally went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We decided to head to On the Border and we both ate WAY too much. In fact, I may not have to eat today because I still feel full as I type this. Really. The thought of eating anything is beyond me. I think that K and I will work off a portion of what we ate last night as we are heading to the Incline in a couple of hours. Hopefully I can drag the huge lump in my belly up those steps. It was nice to get out just the two of us which we don't do very often. After dinner we went over to Bed, Bath, and Beyond where I had a gift card for. I found a super cute double walled cup that will be perfect to use while running errands and for when I'm at school. Other than that, we came home and just flopped - mainly from being so full.

The rest of our day today after the Incline will simply be doing some errands family style. We are heading to the library (yay! reading material!), Barnes and Noble to pick up one of Jake's summer reading books (yes, we are behind. Why do you ask?), and WalMart (Ks favorite store) to get batteries for his various watches/heart rate monitors that have all decided to stop working. Try not to be too jealous of our scintillating lives. I would feel bad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Relief

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a new job. I resigned from my previous school back in March because I really felt it was an unhealthy place for me to be working. When an administrator tells you time and again that you need to decide if you want to be a good mom or a good teacher, I take issue with that. I've been teaching for 16 years and have had 5 children in that time. No one has ever told me that I needed to choose. I shouldn't have to choose. I can work a full time job and be a mom at the same time. Ridiculous. I also rarely ever got any positives about things that I did well. My teammate got all that praise. But, I digress.

I applied for well over 50 positions and finally started getting interviews the beginning of June. It's been a long process and I interviewed for six positions. I hate interviewing. Fortunately, the more I interview, the easier it gets and the better my interviews get. Interview number five is where I'll be working next year. I'm really excited that I'm still going to be teaching fifth grade. I ended up interviewing twice with the principal - she called me and asked that I come back the next day to answer more questions. She told me at the end of the interview that it's rare for a position to come up at this school because once people get in, they are there to stay. Wait, could you repeat that please? People LIKE working at this school? What a difference from my last school where almost 25 staff members left by the end of the year!

Today I received a phone call from one of my teammates letting me know that he's excited to have me on the team and the other two teachers would be calling me soon as well. Now that's classy! I've never been called by a teammate to welcome me. I am so beyond excited to be teaching at this school and I haven't even seen my classroom yet. I immediately liked the teaching and administrative staff during my interview and so far, everything is panning out on my original feelings. I'm going to be happy here. I just know it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meddling Weather

Yesterday my parents were supposed to take off from the Colorado Springs airport towards home around 4:30 pm. At about 4:00, major thunderstorms popped up and pounded the southern portion of the Springs. At the airport, there were a couple of ground delays (sheeting rain, thunder, and lightning) that interfered with any planes taking off. My parents were connecting in Denver to catch a flight home to Milwaukee and Denver also had a ground delay. However, by the time the rain stopped here (three waves of very heavy rain), my parents had missed their connecting flight in Denver. So, K and I went and picked them up from the airport to bring them back home with us for the night. The kids were so happy to see their grandparents again and there were lots of comments like, "You missed us that much, huh?" and "Let's try not to have so much time in between visits again, okay?" My mom, understandably, was frustrated with the turn of events, but we were delighted to have them stay for one more night. We had great conversation and took a late night walk before heading off to bed.

This morning, my parents and I were up bright and early (3 am) for a drive up to Denver so they could catch their 6:45 flight home. Fortunately for them, there was no rain (it's 'monsoon' season here and we get rain every afternoon in the month of July) and their flight was able to take off on time. I dropped them off, headed home, and went straight back to bed. I think they did the same once they got home, too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

16 Years

Today K and I have been married for 16 years. We've weathered highs and lows, good and bad, five kids, a move cross country and I love him more and more every day. If given the chance to do it over, I would do it the same as I already have. I love you, K. You balance me out and make me complete. I'm looking forward to the next 16 years and beyond to see where it takes us!

A Marathon of a Post

Last Saturday, my family from Wisconsin/Illinois all came out for the week. My sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew were all able to come out for 4 days and see us for the first time since we've moved out here. It was great watching the cousins play together (my niece is 2 months older than MED and my nephew is nine months younger than MAD). They got along fantastically and I don't think there was a single argument amongst them the entire time. My parents also came out last Saturday and have been able to stay through this Saturday. Unfortunately, we didn't make life very fun for them this last part of the week. I had two interviews scheduled - one for Thursday and one for Friday - which ended up turning into three interviews. My parents were stuck at home with my kids while K was working and I was driving all over town interviewing for a teaching position. Fortunately, yesterday I was offered a fifth grade position at a school on the north side of town! I'm extremely excited and I think I will be uber-happy at this school.

Back to our activities for this past week...

We did a lot of hanging around at our house with everyone over the holiday weekend. Sunday night, all of the 'boys' and CED went up to Denver to watch the Colorado Rapids (MLS) play. My family had a great time, my dad enjoyed the experience, and my brother-in-law kept up a running monologue yelling at the other team's keeper (which JAD thought was just awesome). The kids played on the slip-n-slide and ran through the sprinkler for a good portion of time on the Fourth. We went to watch fireworks that night and the kids ran around like crazy people waiting for the show to begin - all the while getting along and having a great time.

On Tuesday, we headed out to Manitou Springs - a great little town about 20 minutes east of Colorado Springs close to the base of Pike's Peak. Manitou has a great main street full of little shops ranging from handmade soap to jewelry to clothing to kitchen wares. It's a great eclectic mix of shops and restaurants and a place we like to go several times a year. To the kids' delight, there's an area in the middle of one side that is full of arcade games and kiddie rides. I think K, my dad, my brother-in-law, and I spent at least $30 in quarters just pumping them in for the 5 youngest to go from ride to ride.

My nephew, C


My niece, M



MED and M

MAD again (just loved this 'victorious' picture!)

My sister's family had to leave Wednesday morning and we spent the afternoon walking around downtown Colorado Springs and visiting some of the quaint shops there. Unfortunately, we are in our 'monsoon' season and we've had rain every afternoon which kind of dampens (literally) any plans outside. Thursday morning, I had to leave for interview number one and my parents stayed home with the kids. My mom ended up cleaning up and reorganizing JED's room which kept us occupied the rest of the afternoon once I got home. Friday morning started out much the same - I went off to two interviews (a first interview and a second interview following up on Thursday's interview) and my parents stayed home, continuing to do various projects around my house (for which I am very thankful, but feel horrible that they felt they had to work!) My dad fixed most of the screens in my house (a previous dog had put holes in all of them trying to escape) and he fixed the girls' bunk bed which was broken on day one of everyone being here (the three girl cousins decided to jump on the bed - bad idea). My mom reorganized the little girls' room - there's a theme going on. When I got home, we headed off to Cheyenne Canon park to do a little hiking. It was beautiful out (very sunny and warm) and we hiked around a couple of reservoirs, switching from trail to trail.

Last night we went to the Sky Sox game. For those that don't know, the Sky Sox are the Colorado Rockies AAA affiliate here in Colorado Springs and going to games is always fun. MAD and MED have been looking forward to this game for well over a week because they get to see Sox the Fox, the team mascot. Last night, they actually had the opportunity to take a picture with Sox and it was the highlight of their day and night. My dad is a huge baseball fan, so I think he enjoyed the experience. We like going because 1) We like baseball (well, almost all of us do - JAD thinks it moves too slow so, therefore, it's boring - mainly, it's not soccer) and 2) it's very family friendly.

My mom and dad

K and the girls

JED - all hopped up on Pepsi

And the coup de grace - MED and MAD with Sox the Fox

By the middle of the seventh inning, MAD had had enough. She curled up on the bench, put her head on CED's lap and went to sleep.

We've had a fantastic time with all of my family and we are very sad to see my parents leave today. We love having people come visit us and we've been very happy to have family around - even for the short time they've been here. It gives us something to look forward to as we have no family close to us. Thanks, mom, dad, L, M, M, and C for coming out to see us. It was a GREAT week!