Sunday, August 31, 2008

Night Out

Chris and I got to go out to a nice steakhouse in Tampa with his parents. Both of our anniversaries are close together, so we had a double date. The food was very good. For the Tampa locals, we went to Charley's, but I thought Burnes was better. We went there last year and it still stands as the best steak I have ever had! Their sides were better than Charley's too, but I have to say, Charley's had awesome chocolate cake that I am finishing off as I type. Mmmmm!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Over the Hump

We made it past the 5 year hump and had our 6th anniversary yesterday, Aug. 23rd! Now we only have an eternity to go, and I am looking forward to it! Unfortunately, I left my camera in my classroom over the weekend, so I didn't get any great pictures of our fun day. Another bummer is our photographer from our wedding went digital a year or so after we got married, so I don't have wedding pictures available on my computer to post. I'll have to work on that. Here was our day:

Sleeping in

Lunch at Pei Wei

Went to the Florida Aquarium (Teacher's get in free! YES!)

and much more.

We went to a movie (which was too stupid to admit which one it was and that I thought it was funny).

Went to a new Mexican restaurant, Singual, that is the closest we can find to San Diego mexican food. We have been there a few times and it is really good! 

It was fun to have a relaxing day with my husband all to myself. We have been happily married these six years, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Student: Mrs. Harris, can I tell you a secret in your ear?

Me: Okaaay...

Student: But you can't tell my dad. He'll get mad.

Me: (thinking) Do I want to know this secret?

Student: My daddy sucks his thumb. HA HA

Me: Good for your daddy

While doing an "About Me" worksheet...

Creepy dad's son: Mrs. Harris, how do you spell pretty woman?

Me: Pretty Woman?!

Mini Creep: Yeah, you know, like the song.

Me: (spell it for him being somewhat relieved he was not putting this in the favorite movie slot, but still worried this is his favorite song.)

Mini Creep: Thanks, Bye Beautiful. 

Me: Uh, my name is Mrs. Harris honey! (EW! What is this kid exposed to?!)

Waking from the Nightmare

Just as an update, Fay ended up not being an issue here in Tampa. We got some strong winds, but no rain! Strangely enough, we are getting the rain and wind from Fay now. Since we didn't need to use the school as a shelter, they did not open the school for us to put our rooms back together on Tuesday. It ended up being a really relaxing day because Chris got the day off too. The next morning was awful though because I woke up at a horrid hour of the morning to get to school to throw it back together. It all worked out, no permanent damage done. The only thing I worry about is that hurricanes tend to come in cycles, so this may be a reoccurring nightmare.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Nightmare Named Fay

Today was the first day of school and everything was going great. My students seemed mostly sweet, we played some games, went over rules and procedures, and got to know each other. I had been thinking the day was going really well until about 1pm. At this time we found out that all the schools were closing Tuesday for Hurricane Fay, which was supposedly coming for us. This normally would have been nice, having a day off and everything since we were not real worried about Fay hitting us, but unfortunately that is when we got the bad news. Our school is lucky enough to be a shelter! This means that from about 2:45 to 6:00 pm I had to TEAR MY ROOM DOWN! Yes, that same completely decorated room that I just posted all the pictures of. Our school has been a shelter in the past and has had disasterous results, such as: permanent marker on the walls, stuff stolen, books ripped, and even poop smeared on the walls. Nice, huh? Needless to say, we were all concerned about our stuff if the school did end up being needed. I had to empty student's desks and keep all their stuff labeled and organized in cabinets, unplug and lock up my computer, projector, and elmo machine, clear off every item on shelves and tables, stuff as much as possible into cabinets and zip-tie them closed, barricade my desk area with student desks, bookshelves, and chairs, cover bulletin boards that have loose items with butcher paper, and turn all my other bookcases to the wall and barricade those with more desks and chairs. I was pretty frustrated about it, but all I could do was laugh. I felt really bad for the first year teachers as well as the veteran teachers that have hoarded things through the years. Some teachers were even crying about it. The bad part is that we are 95% sure that our school will not be needed, but you have to plan for the worst. Unfortunately this means that the students come back Wednesday morning, and I have to be ready to teach! I guess this means I am going in on Tuesday if the weather holds to put everything back.  Darn you Fay!

Zip Ties... that'll keep 'em out! So the office says.
You have to see the before pictures in the previous post to realize the extent of the take down.
What can you do?!
This is our floor's resource room. Since it is smaller, we were promised it would not be used for shelter. Our floor packed it pretty well with important books and such! 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet the Teacher Day

So today was Meet the Teacher Day at school. For those of you who don't know, this is where students and parents can come to meet their teacher and see their classroom before the first day of school to make things a little easier. I have to admit that after all my whining, everything went relatively well. I seem to have a group of angelic girls, mostly good boys, and mostly nice parents. I know some of you are wondering about the afore mentioned dad...he was way worse than I thought he was going to be. He stayed in my room for an hour and doesn't seem to know what personal space is! He also told me while walking out the door, "You'll be seeing a lot of me!" Oh good. Aside from him, a very very sweaty dad that told me his son is a major behavior problem, and another dad who (in the most rednecked voice you can imagine) lectured his daughter about having been held back in front of the twin who wasn't, I think my class is going to be pretty good. 
You might have to enlarge the photo to see, but this is what their desks looked like for today. They had a welcome letter that told them what things to do and check out in the room, some info sheets to fill out, a bookmark, and a baggy of starbursts with a cheesy Super Star Second Grader message on it. 
This is me and my awesome suite mate, Melissa. Our classrooms are connected by a hallway where there is a drinking fountain and two bathrooms. When I first started teaching I was so worried about being connected to another room. I thought it would be too loud and I would be embarrassed to have another teacher see and hear everything I did. In truth, it is awesome! Melissa is so mellow like me, and we can run over real quick to each other to grab a material we forgot, watch each other's room for a bathroom break, or go make a copy or something. I admit that we also use each other to vent about some annoying child or, I don't know...a freakish dad! She has become a good friend, not to mention a great person to brainstorm and work with. 
This corner is where we do calendar and small reading groups. Notice the LCD projector and Elmo! Some rooms have had them, but now many of us do. This basically does away with overhead projectors because you can stick any paper under the elmo and it will project onto the screen.
Word Walls are for basic words the kids need to know how to spell frequently, i.e. because, favorite, etc. I did the shooting stars on the class work wall this year so each kid would have a permanent spot to display their work. The desks in front of it will be a listening center. 
This is my desk area and computer. The kids think it is so cool that I like Harry Potter! (See poster and hangy thing)
Those are their mailboxes and where I put extra worksheets and other papers. The table in front will be a spelling center where they can stamp, color, illustrate, and water color their spelling words to memorize them. Each center gets introduced slowly in the first few weeks which is why none of the stuff for them is out yet. This instead will be where they will dump all the school supplies that come in. And yes, Audra, I do let them keep their extra special supplies in their desks. Even the purple ones. 
I am hoping the first day of school goes smoothly! Cross your fingers for me. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Calling All Artists

So I searched the internet and clip art for a while trying to find a picture to portray how I am feeling after working on getting ready for the new school year for the past four days. Unfortunately, when typing in words and phrases like: "cartoon frustrated", "cartoon of exploding head", "picture of exhausted" and "really tired", I found nothing that came close (at least nothing that wasn't a little sickening, having to do with smashing a computer or of a mom with 3 or more kids hanging off her.) 
But seriously, I have had a headache for four days and have to have dropped a pound or two from getting my room organized the way I want it and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with all 50 plus pieces of our brand new reading curriculum. 
It will honestly be a relief when it is all done and the kids can come and enjoy all the hard work...not to mention the parents who will be sizing me up! Luckily, I love how my room is turning out and I feel really organized and ready. Sorry I don't have pictures, but I will post some when I finalize everything.
  So anyway, if anyone is a great artist, there is a need for a cartoonish picture of a woman with a very tired/frustrated/overloaded look on her face and maybe a little steam or explosion coming out of the top of her head. Just a thought.

Not mine but I love 'em!

Close Up!
I was going through my pictures and found this gem of my nephew, Luke. He has the best cheeks! 

Until I have my own kids, my sister's kids are fun to cuddle (when they let me!) Usually I have to ambush them when they watch a show and smother their cheeks until they push my face away and yell, "No Dayell!"   

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Florida Not so Wildlife

So these birds were just hanging out in our neighbor's yard. They are sand cranes and the poor things are having a hard time figuring out that we took their land to build our homes. The best is when there is a line up of cars trying to leave the neighborhood but can't because these birds are crossing the street as slowly as possible! There are all kinds of pretty birds around here. One of the perks of Florida. Take note of the state of our neighbor's lawn. Nice, huh? Just for the record, ours is nicely mowed!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back to school already!

So yesterday was my first official day back to school without the kids. We had boring staff meetings in the morning which are helpful to no one. If it is your first year, everything is over your head because they move too fast and use an inordinate amount of acronyms for everything which they never stop to explain. If it is your second year, you finally figure out what they are talking about, but are too busy trying to remember what in the world you planned for the kids in your foggy first week of school from last year. If it is your third year (as is mine), you realize that nothing they ever say is helpful and you just want them to shut up so you can start decorating your classroom! Any years of experience after that must just be more miserable. Luckily, I cleaned my room well at the end of last year and have everything organized and ready to hang up this year. I am actually very excited to start again except for the fact that it is exhausting to think that I am starting with babies and have to make them into third graders by the end of the year. I am also a little nervous about my class this year. The first grade teachers LOVE to visit all of us second grade teachers and freak us out about all the kids they had that are now our little lovelies. So far I know that I have a strange child with a strange dad who likes to hit on the teachers, a child who will die if he breathes in the scent of peanuts, a child who speaks no english, 2 more who speak limited english, one who's last name is Iraq, one who is a twin that was held back but her sister was not (ouch!), and two who barely made it into 2nd grade. The rest better be angels!!! What I have learned though, is that kids act differently with different teachers and to take what past teachers say with a grain of salt.  Bring it on!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiest Place on Earth

No, I'm not talking about Disneyland... or Disney World for the Floridians, I am talking about San Diego! San Diego is my birthplace and I am having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I don't live there anymore. Luckily I have most all of my family living there, so I get to visit my mecca and soak up as much atmosphere as possible. I recently went home to see my brother, David, off on his mission to West Virginia. Luckily, I stayed for 10 days and got to have all kinds of fun!

Here we are before Dave gets set apart.

Here's Dave as he is about to go through security. It was sadder than I had anticipated to say good bye to my little brother, but I just keep thinking that I would be so angry at him if he had stayed! 

Though it looks like my sister is smiling at an upset Luke, don't be deceived. Those who know Luke will recognize that he is being his favorite animal right now. The king of the jungle himself...a lion!

Here is Aud and I at the Wild Animal Park. How did we get this stunning picture, you ask? Take a look at the bottom left hand corner for a hint. That's right. Ethan is quite the photographer in a pinch!

Everyone's Doing It!

I have finally decided to join the crowd and create a blog for Chris and I. My hopes are to stay connected with friends and family and to keep a journal of sorts. Can't wait to get started!