Thanks for stopping by! We were a family of three, until we added one more (cat, that is), making us a family of four. In 2012, we added four more...one husband, two girls, and a dog. We have a full plate as a party of eight!

Adoption, blended families, pets, school, running...it's all here. Pull up a chair and read a while. After you do, please leave a little comment love! It makes me happy...and y'all know...if Momma is happy, then everyone is happy...at least at our house!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School Supplies...A Little Over the Top?

**Disclaimer: This post contains a rant. This is not meant to be taken personally if any of my fellow teacher friends are reading. It is simply my rant against the greediness I am seeing in some supply lists. But if it makes you rethink some things...YAY!!**

And now for my rant... 

I am a teacher.
I am a parent.

Being a parent has changed me as a teacher.
And being a teacher also influences the way I parent (an unfortunate thing, if you ask anyone around here...).

I do things differently as a classroom teacher every year because of things I experience as a parent. I have grown and changed and developed as a teacher as a direct result of things I have experienced on the "other side of the desk." I see two sides of many situations. The way I plan, teach, and communicate has all been examined and reflected on and adjusted because I am a parent as well as a teacher.  And I'm NOT perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.  I'll be the first to admit that.  I'm a work in progress, even though I've been teaching since 1992...you know...the "olden days," as some of my students think.

So here we are, a few weeks before school starts.
It's time for the back to school shopping frenzy to take place.
Part of that involves school supplies.
And I'm here to tell you...supply lists are getting ridiculous!

Between our three girls, we have a list that spans an entire page 8.5 X 11 inch sheet of paper...single spaced and printed in a small font size!

I'll spare you the entire list, but I'm going to hit a few "highlights" in order to make my point...

We need five packages of pencils, plus just "pencils" for the middle schooler. One list requests three (3) packages of pencils. Another requests "2 packages of #2 regular wood pencils--sharpened (24 count)." I have a friend who was asked for a specific name brand of pencils, which happen to be the most expensive, also sharpened...which adds even more cost.

Here's the thing about pencils...I have seen too many teachers collect dozens and dozens and dozens of pencils each year and then berate a child when he or she needs a pencil. So why have a stash of hoarded pencils if you aren't going to actually allow children to use them? And why already sharpened? Have you seen the point on those things? They might last through a sentence...maybe two, if you're lucky. If it's because you don't want to take the time to sharpen them, then train a child to do it. You know the one...the one who is FIRST in your classroom EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING...before you can even take a single calming breath as that first bell rings. The second child can pass out the name tags and the third child can unstack chairs. But I digress...back to pencils.

Now, if every child in my class last year had brought in three packages of 24 pencils, I would have had 504 pencils to store and dole out. How about let's start with one package? And when you need more? Just send me a quick email or a note in an agenda..."Hey Mrs. H. We are running low on pencils. I think they eat them when they get hungry before lunch. Could you pick up a package for us while you are out running errands this weekend? Thanks so much!" Guess what? I'll probably get you that package of pencils, maybe even two or three, and maybe an extra box of tissues too.

Which leads me to the next item on the list...between two of the girls, we needed to purchase SIX boxes of tissues. Three each. Do you know how much storage space those things take? Going back to my class from last year...I would have had 63 boxes of tissues to contend with if everyone brought me three! And in a trailer? There's just not that much space. Now, dear teacher friends...I KNOW green snotty nose season will arrive along around October 1 as the seasonal allergies kick back in and the weather cools off just a tiny bit and the students have been sharing 24 different strains of the current bug that is going around...but it does take a while to go through 63 boxes of tissues. Even at one box per week, that's more than a year's worth of tissues. So how about one box at the beginning of the year and then that quick little note or email..."Hey H. Family...You wouldn't believe the amount of snot we are catching right now. So much that we've run out of tissues! Could you send a box in please? Thank you!" Guess what...this doesn't even require a trip to the store for us...we typically have a spare box or two in the closet, so it will most likely arrive the next morning.

 Let's see...pencils...tissues...oh yes...COPY PAPER!

 One list requests THREE REAMS of copy paper. Another list wants a ream of white copy paper and then colored copy paper. At this point, you know where I'm going with this. And I know...copy paper is hard to come by in some schools. It's kept under lock and key and doled out on rare/special occasions. But three reams equals 1500 sheets of paper. That's a lot of paper...30,000 sheets if you actually had 20 students bring you all three reams that were on the supply list. That's more copies than I have EVER been allotted for AN ENTIRE YEAR at ANY school I have been in. Besides that...Where will you store it? You know what I'm going to say about sending me a note, so I'll spare you from reading that again.

Here's the thing...I see both sides of these lists.

As a teacher, I know that half of my students will not have anything on the list, some will have some of what is on the list, and some parents will follow the list to the "T." So that means I won't have 504 pencils or 63 boxes of tissues or 30,000 sheets of copy paper. That's OK. I'm not worried about it. For one thing, I know that I can send a request in a newsletter or email and I'll more than likely get more when I really need it. That way I have room to store the important stuff, like books and math manipulatives and science materials.

As a parent, I want our girls to start the year off on the right foot with their teachers and send in the "right" school supplies. But I also know I can't afford to purchase EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM...and because I'm a teacher, I know which materials are going to be needed and used by our children immediately and regularly (folders, notebook paper, flash drives, pens, pencils, markers or crayons or colored pencils). And I know which things we can tell a teacher that we are happy to provide when they are needed for the classroom (tissue, copy paper, Clorox wipes, pencils...)

Even with being selective in what we have purchased, we have already spent well over $100 on school supplies.
And that hurts the balance in our checkbook.

Because I'm a teacher...
And I haven't had a paycheck since the last working day of May...
And I'm trying to stretch our final few dollars and cents through 'til the last working day of August. 

Because I'm a parent...
I want them to start the school year with everything they need.
And maybe a few things they want.

And "they" could be M, G, & M.
Or it could be their teachers.
You decide.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  New yard art...Oh yes, we have become yard art people.  It happened by accident last summer when we got some flowers made of recycled, industrial-sized, tin cans.  Then we added the peacock, as seen here.  And last week while we were in Lake Lure, we discovered something we had to have while driving along the mountain road...Our new dragonfly makes me smile every time I see it.


2.  I really thought I had seen every episode of Little House on the Prairie when I was young.  But as G watches them on DVD, I keep seeing ones that I swear I have NEVER seen...like the one she watched this morning with the wild dogs...totally do not remember that one.  And darn it, they still make me get teary-eyed.

3.  We are awaiting our next box from Simply Fresh this morning.  I had heard of them a few times and then there was a Groupon for them earlier in the summer, so we decided to give them a try.  I love having a box of fresh organic produce delivered to our front door once a week!  Some is locally grown and some is not.  We have even discovered a few new things that we enjoy, like kale and chard.  I believe we are getting dandelion greens today.  That is another new thing for me...wonder what they will be like?  I'll let you know...

4.  I'm a little sad that today is our last summer Friday.  Brian goes back to the regular five day work week next week.  G has choir camp next week, so I'll be dropping off and picking up on similar hours to our regular school day.  While she is at choir camp, I will be heading to school so I can start setting up my classroom, although unofficially.  (Our real first day back is the 19th.)

5.  I'm going to be teaching kindergarten this year.  Oh. My. Word....KINDERGARTEN!?!  I haven't taught kindergarten since 1990something.  I can't decide if I'm excited or if I want to run for the hills.  It kind of depends on the day...or the hour...

We have absolutely nothing planned today.  Could be a lazy day.  Could turn into an adventure.  One never knows around here.  Hope it turns into a house showing day, at least one day this weekend!  Send us good house selling vibes, OK?  Please and thank you!  :)



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Taming a Troublesome Toilet and Other (Non)Adventures

The joys of home ownership...

Leaky toilet:  Ended up being an easy fix...after two trips to the hardware store and many wet towels.  The original bolts were rusted into oblivion and disintegrated into a rusty puddle the instant I touched them.  I'm so glad this was an easy fix.  I mean, I knew that more than one trip to the store would be necessary....It always is any time we attempt to do something...But I was so worried about cracking the porcelain after everything I read on line about fixing this particular issue.  My vision went something like this...

Over-tighten new bolts ---> Cracked toilet---> Buy new toilet---> attempt to install---> flood the bathroom---> replace bathroom floor and living room ceiling---> take the house off the market and stay here for ever because we won't have any money left

Yep...That was my vision.
So glad it didn't come true!  (yet...)

Rotting wood trim around the back door:  Fortunately, not our responsibility.  The HOA is responsible for the outside stuff.  That was easy.  Just make the appointment with the repair guy.  He was done in less than an hour...and didn't have to make ANY trips to the store.  Lucky dude...

And since things come in threes, I'm counting the window that won't stay open and needs to be repaired as the third thing.

So we're done with that stuff, right?

I sure hope so.

And now for a sign that universes are colliding or something big is going on...


I caught these two actually TOUCHING while sleeping.  And last night, they were sniffing noses and I'm pretty sure there was the tiniest bit of rubbing against each other that occurred at the same time.

Y'all, this is HUGE!
HUGE, I tell you!
Cookie has been scared of the cats since she first arrived here almost a year and a half ago.
(I can't say I blame her when it comes to Hannah Cat...she has a reign of terror around here...)
Can't you tell?

And a picture that makes me laugh...
Because it looks like Brian photo-bombed my picture of me with the river in the background...


A better picture, minus the river...

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ahh, Vacation...

How quickly time goes by when you are away for a few days.

Especially when you...
Take a boat ride on Lake Lure

So that you can see Firefly Cove, where Dirty Dancing was filmed
(Remember when they were practicing the lift in the water?  Yep...it was right there!)

And the steps where "Baby" carried a watermelon
And danced up and down,


Then you wander along the bank of the Rocky Broad River

And go horseback riding...

And see lots of butterflies...

And listen to giggling cousins from the moment they wake up...
until the moment they FINALLY fall asleep...

And feed your favorite animal...

Along with other hungry creatures...
I might get in trouble for this one, but it makes me laugh! I think they were sticking their tongues out at each other!

Each of those could be (and probably will be) individual posts.

But for now, I have to go move a whole bunch of boxes out of Brian's car and into my classroom before I go back to storage and load up more school boxes.  And then there are all the ones in our attic...

I think I need another vacation!