Monday, November 16, 2009

Candid Comments

Last school year I had an abnormally large amount of creepy and gross kids and parents who would shock me. Think back to creepy dad with no semblance of personal space, sweaty dad (even in December), "I believe in killer whales" child, I will wash off the math game piece I dropped in the toilet and put it back child, and so forth. This year I have such an awesome class, that I feel I am being repaid for my sufferings last year. I still crack up at some of my students' comments and doings and am so glad they just keep on coming. It seriously is one of the best things about teaching to me. Anyway, with these cute kids, I don't have so many gross or weird stories as just funny ones. (Why is it so much funner to post the former kind?) Here are some of my recent favorites anyway:

1. On making a list about places that are special to them, one student wrote:
"Disneyland, school, Adventure Island, church - because I'm supposed to like it and if I don't God with PUNISH me! The bathroom is also special to me because everyone needs some privacy you know."

2. I have 3 students who spend part of their day with a specialist because they have some learning disabilities. One of them has a bit of autism along with some other things, and this kid has become one of my favorites. He is draining because he has to be refocused every three seconds, but he cracks me up. One day he couldn't do what we were doing so he was drawing a mask instead. He colored it with markers and was very proud. He asked for some tape, but when I told him I wasn't going to let him tape it to his face, he took matters into his own hands. When I wasn't looking, he went to the sink and doused his face in water to make the mask stick. I felt a tap on my back and a, "Mrs. Hawwis..." (which is how he says my name). When I turned around I saw this

The marker bled through the wet paper, covering his entire face in marker. He didn't seem to mind though and even wanted to see the picture I took on the camera. His reaction to seeing himself was, "Oh, so funny!"
I had to scrub this poor kids face with soap until it was red to get all the marker off.

3. Same kid as above... We are finishing a test when this child comes back from his special class. I tell him to grab a book to read for a couple minutes. The class is totally silent when he YELLS, "Ha Ha, HE FARTED! Oh my gosh, ew, look at the fart. I can see it, look!" He was reading a book called Walter the Farting Dog. As you can imagine, my whole class erupts in laughter. I do too, so what are you gonna do?

There's a bunch more, but I can't think of them right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby Shower and School Stuff

My sister -in-law, Camie, Is due with a baby boy on Nov. 10th (the Marine Core's b-day which Mike is seriously excited about) and I thought it would be fun to throw her a shower!
We ate tons of food, played a couple games, and watched Camie open some great gifts.

Her husband, Mike, made a guest appearance and brought their daughter, Calla, since a lot of people there hadn't met her yet. She is going to be a cute big sister once she realizes she has a brother! Right now she kisses the "ball" in Camie's tummy.

This wasn't nearly all the gifts yet! She's a lucky girl! (Oh yeah, her son is a lucky boy too :))

The invites

On a totally different note, my class has been awesome so far! I am having a really good time with them this year. I am feeling so lucky! This doesn't mean there aren't days where I think they are all crazy, but it's such huge difference from last year! We read this cute book called, Glad Monster, Sad Monster. Each page describes a feeling and things that make the monster feel that way. Then there are masks for each emotion for the kids to put on and tell what makes them feel that way. At first they were embarrassed to do it, but soon every child wanted a turn.

I was surprised how much I learned about each kid during this. Some have horrible siblings that ignore them or injure them, some have parents who are ill a lot, many of the kids have had bad experiences in water, and some just wanted attention. I have to say that I am scared for the day when my future kids go to school because kids spill dirt like no other! No shame and nothing sacred.

I have several things I do to promote good behavior as a class and as individuals. As a group they try to get pebbles from one jar to another by following directions, being really quiet, or just doing something good. Once they earn the whole jar they get a surprise. This time around they got candy to eat while painting some canvas bags that we are going to use to put their center work in. They had a lot of fun doing it. There were a lot of other cute bags but I didn't feel like editing all the faces out of the pictures. I wish I could post my students' pictures because those are the best ones! Oh well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Murphy's Law & Cracker Country... not together

I have never believed in Murphy's Law, where everything that can go wrong will, nor do I think people should always whine about how horrible their lives are and give the whole, "woe is me" speech. However...have you ever had days/periods of time where you believe Murphy's Law might really exist? I'm not being totally serious of course, but there are days when I can't believe how many things can really get in the way. My life is ridiculously wonderful so I'll stop here. Just throwing it out there after a very frustrating couple of days which have followed an almost laughable series of events.

Just to prove I'm not a downer, here are some pictures of my 2nd graders' field trip to Cracker Country. It is a turn of the century historical site with hands on activities. It was very hot and buggy, but the kids had a really good time despite the fact that I thought they were going to die of hunger since we ate at 12:15 instead of 11:00 as usual. :)

Making candles

Inside of one of the old houses they transported here

Making Butter


Getting the juice out of sugar cane to make into honey

Train depot

A turn of the century house

The kids were worn out after just trying some chores for a few hours! I think it was good for them. Too bad most went home to video games.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nothing to Report

I want to post...I really do. I just have nothing interesting to say. What this means is no pictures and some unrelated bullet points.

*I celebrated my birthday a week ago. Despite the fact that it was really great and my family and friends treated me like a queen, this is the first year I have felt older than I want to be.

*I got to go shopping to spend birthday money. It is depressing how expensive some stores are. You go thinking you have gift cards and are going to get tons of great stuff. When you walk out, you are excited about your two purchases but bummed you had to chip in extra money to cover the cost of the said two items.

*I wish I lived somewhere where I could wear the cute fall clothes I bought. I can't wear them here for another 2 months at least.

*School is going really good. I have both hard and easy kids, but overall they are fun to be around. Three of my students (along with some from each of the other 2nd grade teachers) were put in a newly made second grade class because of our larger sizes. I was sad to lose them but happy to have a more manageable class size! Plus I lost all boys, so now I'm at 7 girls 10 boys! They were going to make me give 2 girls and a boy but I fought them on that one!

*The new teacher for the 2nd grade class came from another grade that had too few students. She is starting to bug me with her comments like, "Oh, your student's parent would be in the office first thing Monday morning if she knew I was moving up to 2nd. She would want me to be her kid's teacher!" or "I don't like that these parents are treating me with hostility like I'm some first year teacher. I just tell them, I've been teaching for 12 years thank you very much." Sorry if this sounds mean...I'm just tired of listening to her talk about her greatness.

*I am really struggling lately with the desire to eat healthy. I am usually pretty good about this but all I seem to feel like eating is stuff that is not good for me. I am trying to work out hard to off set this, but I think I'm losing that one.

*I need some good books to read. I am re-reading things now which I like to do, but really want to read something new. Any suggestions?

*I'm going to San Diego for Christmas this year and can't wait to meet my new niece, Chloe. My sister really needs to stop having her children in the first 2 weeks or so of the school year. I'd like to meet one of the munchkins before they are 4 months old! I can't wait to kiss her squishy cheeks!!

*Okay, enough bullet points. Is it obvious yet I have nothing to say? At least I don't have to feel guilty about not posting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


There is something about the word potpourri that I like. Maybe it's that I think of something that smells good, but I'm really just using it to show a bunch of random stuff that I have been meaning to post, but haven't. Whatever it is about the word, here is a bunch of random stuff I have been meaning to post, but haven't. :)

Our 7th Anniversary
August 23, 2002

August 2009
Dinner at Shulas, a steak house in Tampa.

They put this cheesy sign on our table

Shula was a football coach in FL, so the steak part of the menu is on footballs. Kinda weird for an upscale restaurant. Good steaks though, so I will overlook this fact.

Dinner to celebrate our friend Craig's birthday. It was a really fun night with friends. Notice that Camie and I aren't sitting next to our husbands. I guess when you have been married for a while you realize that sometimes it is fun for the guy to sit next to the guy and the girl next to the girl.

Only in the south does the Elders Quorum have a shooting activity. The guys were ridiculously excited and insisted that the women come along. I did not grow up around guns, and to be honest, had never even held one. After much whining and begging, Chris convinced me to come. Thus, I now have shot a gun. Chris asked, with a huge smile on his face if I liked it. Sorry to disappoint, but I couldn't figure out what the big deal was. I had fun with all the friends though!

The guys had a Osama Bin Laden poster made as a target.

Clark and Mike getting ready.

This is what the girls spent some of the time doing.

I love this picture of a pregnant Camie shooting a gun.
Here I am trying to look like I know what I'm doing.

Chris taking aim.

Craig looking tough.

Some of the guys being way too excited to hold guns. Unfortunately since this day all they talk about is guns. It's really annoying for someone like me who knows nothing...and doesn't want to know anything about them.

Tada! Potpourri is finished and hopefully still smells sweet!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to school...I mean work

My first week of going back to work is over and I am TIRED! The first week of school takes a lot of energy and time. I had to make sure my classroom looked perfect (which required manual labor), I had to smile big for the parents and new students, prepare labels, info sheets to fill out, welcome letters, and an open house slide show that the parents didn't even get to watch, and...oh yeah, prepare lesson plans!

Luckily I didn't have any overly creepy or sweaty dads like last year, nor did I have parents flat out tell me how awful their child is like last year, so I'm feeling pretty lucky. I am, however, the designated teacher for children with learning disabilities and developmental or behavior issues. This has been interesting as those students cannot do most of what I have been doing so far but would rather visit the restroom 16 times or spin in circles while sitting or walking in line. Luckily they will start getting pulled out for part of the day by a resource teacher for some subjects, so things should go smoother. One of those little guys has not sat still for an instant since I met him and likes to stand up and yell out random noises or words. So I'm not trying to be mean by wanting to pawn these kids off, they just need to be in a small group to get the help they (and I) deserve.

I have found myself watching my students and comparing them to classes of years past. Every year it amazes me how different each class is and that they take on a personality. I really like these kids so far and realize how much I love teaching. It just feels good to be back in the classroom with a new group of kids who are so eager to love you and be loved. Their desire for me to acknowledge and like them is literally visible. I got two apples on the first day of school from a couple students which was pretty cute.

There have been some observations I can't help making.
1. More than half my students have a different last name than their parent(s).
2. My class/school has changed drastically in our ethnicity make up just in the years I have been teaching there.
3. More than 2/3 of the parents did not buy the school supplies on the list they were given. Yet only about 1/4 didn't bring any in at all.
4. Every day I feel a huge range of emotions/moods. each day I can be really happy and am laughing but at some point am also breathing deeply to keep my cool. (Is that healthy?)
5. I have yet to discipline one girl in my class but that is not exactly the case for the boys.
6. I have had more boys than girls in my class every year I have ever taught...including preschool. I really hope I'm not one of those moms someday that has 6 boys because I keep trying for at least one girl.
7. I love listening to 7 year old conversations. One student this morning told a boy in his group that his mom must be really rich because he bought a new school shirt and had truck erasers with wheels that really spin.

Okay, enough school talk. For now at least...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tutoring Tots

The new school year starts for me on Monday since teachers go back early. I am actually excited to get back to the grind despite the fact that I found out as of right now I have 12 boys and 5 girls, not to mention I am the designated home room for 2nd graders with learning disabilities. So far that is 5 of the 12 boys. I am confident though that after last year it couldn't be worse... well almost confident.
I have spent the summer tutoring and have really enjoyed it. I tutored three 4 year old girls separately and a 9 year old boy. There were many times when I had to bite back a laugh. Here are some of my favorites:

4 year old
1. N: (Big smile on her face) You know what? When my dog Boris dies I get to have a little puppy!
Me: Oh, but that will be sad when Boris dies.
N: (Shrugs her shoulders) Yeah, but Boris is really old and I really want a new puppy.

4 year old
2. Me: Okay, we're going to pick a word from the book and write some words that rhyme with it. How about...Duck (the whole book was about ducks in my defense.)
L: Hmmm, Luck!
Me: Great job, sound it out and write it down. How about another one.
L: (looks up in the air) Ummmm..... Tuck!
Me: Awesome! Can you think of any more. (In my head I'm thinking "Puck" or "Suck".
L: (Thinking really, really hard, then YELLS) F... (yes, she did and was so proud.)
A lesson totally learned!

9 year old boy
3. Me: (After reading a sci fi book) We're writing a story about what you would do if you had a clone of yourself. What would you have your clone do for you?
J: Beat up my older sisters.
Me: okay, well its your story.

4 year old
4. E: Miss Danielle, don't go! I will come live with you! I want to go in your car! Or you can live with me!
Me: What about my husband? He might miss me if I live with you.
E: No, he's fine. You can sleep in my room.

There's a bunch more, but I can't think of them right now. They were so stinking cute and I'm glad I got to do this this summer!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seriously Spoiled

Chris and I will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary later this month. Normally women wait to redo their wedding rings at least until their 10 year anniversary, but when you're married to a jeweler...there has to be some benefits right? I think so. I told Chris I am a walking advertisement for his business so getting a new wedding ring will be an investment! You've got to give me points for trying. Well, I am feeling seriously spoiled because I got part of my new wedding ring last weekend! I say part because even though I am normally not high maintenance, when given permission to get a new ring, I decided to get one I really wanted so we are doing this in stages. I realize this makes me sound horrible, but I'm willing to live with those consequences.
The picture below is my new engagement ring minus the huge rock in the middle. We are putting my original diamond in the setting (for now). :) It is very sparkly!
These next two pictures are what's going to be added at a later date. I have always loved the look of stackable rings and in fact wanted only stackables for my new ring, but Chris couldn't get over the fact that I wouldn't have a solitaire. So, what I decided was to do both! I'm going to have two rose gold micro pave bands that will go on each side of the two bands above. The rose gold is softer than yellow gold and looks really good with my new setting. It creates a new design when they are all together.
This is what my solitaire will eventually look like. I love the look of pave diamonds around a round cut diamond. This will replace my original princess cut diamond eventually. I'm a patient girl!

So, thank you, thank you dear husband for being so generous! I promise I'll pass out more of your business cards! And dear friends, don't think of me as shallow, but a wife just looking to promote her husband's business! :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

I wish I could say I haven't posted in awhile because I have been doing too many fun things to keep up with. Unfortunately that is not the case! I have had a week full of ups and downs. I usually like roller coasters, but the emotional ones really stink! 
To keep it short and non-gruesome...
- I was supposed to have surgery to remove a septum dividing my uterus on Tuesday.
-My mom arrived in Tampa Sunday night to help me with the surgery.
-I was called Monday morning by the hospital to tell me my insurance had not sent an approval.
-This was a shock to me since I already paid my co-pay for the surgery 2 weeks before.
-I am told by my insurance that my surgery had been denied. "Didn't you get the letter we sent Thursday?" No, no I didn't (and still haven't gotten this so called letter.)
-I am told by others in my Dr.'s office that it was all a mistake. Wrong insurance linked to my ID. 
-Am told it will all go through fine.
-I stay on my liquid diet since I will still get my surgery.
-Am told, oops, it is denied after all. The insurance Dr. did not find it "medically necessary."
-They want to talk to my Dr. who is out of town until the night before my surgery.
-I cry. I need the surgery.
-I do all I can to get ahold of my Dr. and finally do as he is getting off his plane. 
-He can't do anything until the next day because everything is pretty much closed, but assures me he will talk to the insurance and straighten in all out so I can have surgery the next week. (He only does surgery on Tuesdays.)
-I sadly remind him my mom is in town and is leaving before then.
-30 mins. later I am told there is a slight possibility if the Dr. can convince the insurance I in fact need this very necessary surgery, they can squeeze me in on Thursday. Fingers were crossed, prayers were said!
-My mom and I wait at the kitchen table until 12:30 Tuesday afternoon for a phone call.
-The surgery is on for Thursday! It only took my Dr. 5 mins on the phone with the insurance to convince them...or threaten them!
-I get to eat/drink liquids for yet another day before surgery.
-I go to the hospital on Thursday for my surgery.
-While I get admitted the nice lady tells me that she doesn't see an insurance authorization on her screen. 
-Chris and I look at each other like we have been slapped in the face.
-She calls the Dr.'s office and gets an authorization number.
-She tells us she still needs to verify this with my insurance.
-My hopes for having the surgery begin to fall...again.
-While on hold, she tells us we also owe money for the surgery.
-Luckily by now I am smart enough to carry every last bit of info on me and I happen to have a receipt which I promptly produce.
-As I am prepped for surgery, I am still waiting for someone to burst through the door to tell me that they are so sorry, but I cannot have this surgery.
-Happily this does not happen and after talking to Chris and my mom and a slew of doctors, I am wheeled in and having surgery!
-After recovering in a haze for awhile and losing the liquid in my stomach on the way home, I am now feeling great and am so happy it is over with!
-The Dr. found some extra things we didn't know about and was able to take care of those and the septum. 
-After a horrible roller coaster ride, I am feeling very grateful for an amazing doctor, a doting husband, a loving and hard working mother, many great friends, and tons of others who couldn't be with me but were praying for me. 

I guess this didn't fall into the "short" category I was hoping for, but hopefully it wasn't gruesome. I have pictures and a DVD of the surgery for that! Just so you don't feel too bad for me, the extra days of feeling good before surgery gave my mom and I some more shopping days that we took full advantage of. Also, my recovery has been so great, that we were able to sit and pump out around 40 homemade cards. I guess that covers my week!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No More Bachelorette Parties For Me

A good friend of mine is getting married soon and in keeping with the typical tradition of excited brides-to-be, she had a bachelorette party. Me, having gotten married a little earlier than average and having some pretty conservative habits, did not have one of these parties, nor have I gone to one because most of my friends have a similar background to mine.
You can imagine therefore, my mild apprehension at going, yet I love this friend and wanted to support her. We went to The Columbia restaurant first and watched the flamingo dancers and ate good food. This restaurant has been open since 1905 and has some beautiful architecture and decor. 

We then went to Channelside where there are lots of restaurants, shops, bars, bowling, and a movie theatre. We hit a couple bars where there was music and dancing. Melissa, the bride, was pulled on stage where she stood uncomfortably for a minute or two, then hurried off. 

We mostly stood around and listened to music, danced a little, and talked a lot. It was definitely an eye opening experience for me as I watched people act stupid and lose control a bit, or a lot. I was the only one not drinking, yet I was not the only one driving. This made me sad and a little more wary about driving late at night. If anything, this night made me grateful for the habits I have grown up with and the more "boring," conservative lifestyle I lead. It was not my cup of tea, but I know that by the world's standards that makes me strange and I'm okay with that. I was glad that I got to go for my friend, but probably won't go to another celebration of a "last free night out."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!
We celebrated our country's freedom by spending time at my In Law's house with family and friends, stuffing ourselves with food, swimming, and playing on the Wii. It was a really fun day to relax and ponder how lucky I am to be an American! 

Chris's sister, Camie and her husband Mike are now Floridians, and of course they brought their dog. You might not think that is a big deal except that over the last year or two my husband has decided he wants a dog, and "Bear" is just fueling his fire! He wouldn't put the dog down. Thanks guys. 

Our friend Craig decided to bring his dog, Waylo along as well.

Mike just hanging out after swimming

Camie eating some delicious angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries. 
This is Camie's signature pose when she's eating food! 

I decided to make mine look pretty and added blueberries to make it look patriotic.

Craig had his with some blue topping as we really got into the USA spirit.

Mike and our friend Clark striking a pose.

Chris intensely playing Wii.

We tried to cheat on Wii by having someone guide you on one of the games. It didn't really work.

Clark didn't want me to mess him up.

Calla wanted to play too!