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 husband, two girls, and a dog. We have a full plate as a party of eight!

Adoption, blended families, pets, school,'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 least at our house!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Gloria lives for non school nights, nights when she doesn't have to go to school the next day.  Not because she doesn't like school.  She loves school!  LOVES it!  But, when she doesn't have school the next day, that night is known as "dessert night."  Friday night is eagerly anticipated all week.

  No sense in dirtying up a bowl! (She's learning the joy of eating ice cream straight out of the box early, isn't she...)

You're not really taking my picture, are you?  Oh gee, that means you're probably going to put it on the blog, doesn't it?  MOMMA!!!

I love ice cream! (Just don't ask me to share!)

**Disclaimer:  There was only a little ice cream left in the bottom of the box!

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Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gas Leak

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Sunny.  Blue sky.  About 55 degrees.  Just perfect.

So when we came home from school, Gloria went outside to play on the patio.  Screamer was sitting in the window, crying and pawing and desperate to join her.  I told him he could go out, but only on his harness and leash.  He didn't care as long as he got to go outside and sniff and roll and sit in the sunshine.  Fortunately this was in the back of the house because it really is embarrassing to be seen with a cat on a leash.

While walking around with him, I noticed an odor and realized it was coming from where my natural gas line enters my house.  Not good.  So I called the gas company to inquire.  The customer service representative took my information and told me the closest available technician would be out soon.  Then she had some directions for me:

  • Don't smoke or start a grill.  No problem--I don't smoke and I don't own a grill.
  • Don't start my car.  No problem--the car is on the opposite side of the house anyway and I really wasn't planning on going anywhere.
  • (This one was my favorite...)  Don't start your backhoe.  HUH???  My backhoe???  You mean I can't go dig a hole in my backyard while waiting for someone to come check this odor/leak?  Rats.  That's no fun!
The technician did come--over an hour later.  And there was a leak at a joint.  He tightened it and was gone in less than 5 minutes.

Wonder how long it's been leaking and how much money that has cost me???

And no, I didn't start my backhoe.  We were safe.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Ago

Where were you 25 years ago today?  The day that the Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off into that clear blue Florida sky only to burst into a ball of smoke and flames 78 seconds later.

I remember that so clearly.  It still sends chills down my spine.  I think about it every once in a while but sure didn't realize it had been 25 years until I was greeted with a replay of that tragedy first thing when I turned on the news this morning.  Gloria looked at it and said "Whoa!  What happened?"  She didn't realize that it wasn't happening right then or even yesterday.

I remember being at school.  I was a sophomore in high school.  It was lunch time, almost time for fifth period to begin.  Some of us had gone outside to wait for the bell.  A few of us were watching the sky, knowing that the shuttle was about to take off.  You could see it, once it got up into the air, from where we were in Central Florida.  We saw it and then we saw the cloud of smoke.  Someone joked that maybe the shuttle had just blown up.  But it was a joke, right?  That couldn't really happen.  Just a joke.  A horrible, tasteless one, in hindsight...  We went to fifth period (for me it was Mrs. Ostman's English class) and a few minutes later there was an announcement made about what had just occurred (and some of us had witnessed) and a moment of silence.  For the rest of fifth, sixth, and seventh periods we sat watching the television broadcast.  I'm not sure a high school has ever been so silent.

I do think about it every once in a while.  There was a teacher on board Challenger.  Flying into space so that she could share that experience and passion with her students back home.  Leaving her family behind for this mission.  Sure she would return.  After all, all the other shuttle missions had been successful.  Who ever even thought this could happen???  And then I ask myself if I have that same kind of passion, as well as courage, when it comes to my class, my students, my vocation.  Some days, the answer might be yes, but other days I certainly choose to play it safe.

Those images of 25 years ago are seared in my memory.  Seeing them again this morning on the television brought it all back to the forefront of my mind.

Where were you 25 years ago today?  What were you doing when you heard about or saw Challenger enter into history and our collective memories?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quick notes

well...the school board voted as I thought they would.  My bell schedule will change next year.  Now to figure out what to do for Gloria.  She's very unhappy.

And, while I haven't gotten as much done on my thesis in two days as I had hoped, I have written about 12 pages.  Hey, that's 12 more pages than I had on Monday night.  And I still have tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ready for the Marathon

Not the running kind!  It's a thesis writing marathon.  I'm going to finish start this thing if it kills me.  It haunts me in my sleep.  Seriously!  And if I don't do it, I fear it will haunt me for the rest of my life.  Time is ticking and is perilously close to running.  So, I have everything I need for my marathon:

Most importantly, I have the next three days off from school so I can write.

As important as the necessary time...These arrived in three boxes at my doorstep today.  Thank you to the BPL and the CMT at VTS for the quick arrival!  Plus I have more of my own.  Fortunately, I have read and made notes on parts of many of these.  I don't have to read them

My outline and introduction have been written for *ahem* quite some time.  Since last summer actually. And I have lots of notes and thoughts.  I've got my notebooks, a good supply of paper, and a handful of pens and pencils.  I can't compose at the computer when I am doing this kind of writing.  So, I'll write during the day and then type after a certain someone goes to bed at night.

Time off, books, notes, pens, pencils, paper...what else do I need?  Oh yeah...look who will be at school.  :)  Who can concentrate with this around?  Gotta' love her though.  :)

I fully intend to go the library each day.  That way I will not have the distractions of being home, namely these two creatures, one who thinks she needs to be in my lap if I am working and one who just likes to torment me by knocking things off of shelves, counters, tables, the refrigerator...the list goes on and on.  When he's not being destructive, he's talking to the birds through the window and crying "Meout!!!  Meout!!!" (Seriously!  He says my name and "me-out" all the time.  It's creepy, really.)

Granted, they aren't the only distractions.  At the library there is no tv to watch, no computer to play games on or check in on Facebook (or blog).  There is not a kitchen with snacks or a dishwasher to unload or a counter to scrub.  No telephone, no email, no sofa inviting a nice nap.  Nope. None of that.  I've got to write.  I intend to write.  I will write.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Girl and Her Cat

Cough, cough, sniffle, sniffle, clearing of throat..."Momma, I don't feel so good."  Just what all moms want to hear in the middle of the night, right?  That was in the wee hours of the morning on Friday.  It has continued into Sunday.  She goes from happy and running around to curled up in a weepy heap on the sofa.  And so does Screamer.

Crazy cat.  Runs around when Gloria runs.  Curls up on her legs when she's back on the sofa.  Looks like he's in a protective "Don't you mess with my girl" mood here.

Who's watching "Matilda" and who's daring me to take a step closer???

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Say It Isn't So!!!

The weather man is NOT my favorite person right now.  There is snow and other wintery "stuff" in our forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Seriously?  We just had that stuff last week.  I've got three snow make-up days at school to prove it!  It's not making up the days that bothers me that much.  It's just that next week will be a really inconvenient time for it to snow and close schools.  You see...I'm taking three days off next week to engage in a thesis writing marathon.  My poor thesis is lightyears behind and sorely neglected.  But I was going to remedy that next week.  Got my books (well, they are on the way from Virginia to my house), got my outline, got my substitute at school, and Gloria will be off at school.  My plan is to take her to school and head to the library, away from all the distractions of home--cats, television, computer, Facebook, kitchen floors that need to be swept, bathrooms that need to be scrubbed, snacks to be eaten--none of that at the library!  Just me, my books, my notebook, and a fistful of pens.  But NO snow!  NO!  That will ruin my plans.  Please no snow!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Will the Balance Explode?

There are decisions being made next week by my school system that could dramatically impact the crazily delicate balance I have worked so hard to create in our day.  Well, balance isn't really the right word...but it's the best one I can think of right now.  Everything has to go off like clockwork for our day to work in terms of morning drop off, arrival at work, leaving work, and picking up at carpool at Gloria's school.  If the school board votes the way I believe they will next Tuesday, my instructional day will increase by 45 minutes and that balance will explode.

Allow me to digress for a moment...

Now, professionally speaking, I cannot argue with 45 more minutes of instructional time.  What could I do with that, you ask?  Hmmm....maybe teach science and social studies more in depth.  Maybe have a longer writer's workshop.  Maybe not feel bad when I stop to do a poetry/song break (which works on fluency, phonics, and a whole bunch of other "brain stuff" depending on what I throw into the mix).  Maybe not feel so rushed through every lesson.  Maybe more projects like our recent "Flat Stanley" project that took us nearly 6 weeks to complete.  ( Christmas vacation and 3 snow days were thrown in there, but still it took us W-A-Y too long to complete those and get them in the mail TODAY!!!  :} )  Gosh, the possibilities seem endless.  But we'll probably be told how to use those 45 new minutes.  A girl can dream though, right?

Back to my topic now...

Yes, an 8:00 tardy bell for my students would mean I would probably have to be at school by 7:15, which would leave me time to catch my breath in the morning and possibly not panic when we leave the house at 6:18 instead of 6:15.  Right now, I have to be at school at 6:50--physically impossible for me since the before school care for Gloria doesn't open until 6:30 and then I have a 26 minute drive.  Fortunately, my principal allows this.  However, a 3:00 dismissal won't work for me in the afternoon.  Gloria is out at 3:10. No big deal, you say...just let her go to after school care.  Therein lies the problem.  I plain cannot afford to do that.  I already have before school care and her tuition to pay.  What's the old saying...can't squeeze blood from a turnip?  Yeah, that pretty much sums it up here.  :(

So if this happens--I should probably say when instead of if--I have to figure out a new school situation for Gloria.  She knows this and is very worried.  Her two reasons for loving her school were her teachers and her friends, in that order.  What kid ranks her teachers before her friends when thinking about changing schools?!?!  Mine, that's which one.  And she talked way more about her teachers.  The conversation came up again yesterday and I told her we really couldn't do anything about it except to pray.  Of course I kept talking, but realized quickly that it was suddenly very quiet in the back seat of my car.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to see Gloria with her head down, her eyes screwed tightly shut, and her precious little hands clasped in front of her face.  Yeah, I stopped talking then and just let her be.

I would love to pray selfishly in this situation--that the bell schedule NOT be changed--but I can't do that.  I can only pray that the right decisions be made by all in charge of the decisions for all who will be impacted by these decisions be they bell schedules, schools of choice, budget cuts, financial decisions, job changes, whatever needs to happen, just let it be the right thing....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Know You're Desperate When...

you call the dentist's office and ask if you can reschedule for TODAY just so you can get out of the house!

I wouldn't normally have done that, but I was going to have to reschedule anyway.  MLK Day was supposed to be a holiday, but it is now a make-up day for the snow/ice/mess we've had this week.  I had originally scheduled my appointment for next Monday so I wouldn't have to miss any instructional time at school.  So much for that!  When I called this morning, the receptionist said "Yeah, I've been expecting your call.  Guess you can't come next week?"  I was THRILLED to reschedule for this afternoon because we were finally able to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!

So...hooray for the dentist!  Hooray for getting my teeth cleaned!!  Hooray for getting out of the house!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cabin Fever Has Set In!

Two days of this staying at home stuff is enough for me! Seriously! Gloria enjoyed the snow yesterday, but today there is a layer of ice over that snow. She was content to play in it for a while--taking the "caps" off the bushes and then scraping out the snow underneath. But that only lasted for so long.

We have:

  • cleaned the snow and ice off the car
  • considered venturing out to the Y.  However, I called them and they didn't have the kid fit area open, so that nixed that idea.
  • played Monopoly Jr.
  • played Hullaballo
  • played Jenga
  • played Yahtzee
  • made hot chocolate
  • watched DVD's
  • read books
  • gone to the grocery store to buy butter so we can make corn bread
Not much left to do!  I can't stand it any more, but the roads are pretty ugly, especially in the neighborhood.

Call it what you will...cabin fever, stir crazy, tired of being cooped up...I'm ready to bust out of here and get back into the "normal" routine!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Well, the weather man got it right today.  We did wake up to a "winter storm."  It started snowing sometime during the night.  Gloria's school made their decision to close last night, but my school system chose to wait and actually see the white stuff falling from the sky before making their decision.  I just love it when my phone rings at 5:06 in the morning.  Of course, I was already awake since I usually get up at 5:00 anyway (ONLY on school days, mind you).  The snow is supposed to change over to sleet and freezing rain this afternoon.  Still waiting to see if that happens.  I won't be surprised if we stay home  tomorrow, too.  

Gloria was excited to stay home for two reasons:  one was the snow and the other was that she could wear her Auburn shirt, headband, and tattoos in anticipation of tonight's national championship game.  (Her school has a dress code that doesn't allow her to wear her AU shirt to school.)  After she got dressed and then bundled up on top of all of that, she headed out into the snow on the back patio.  Momma is a wimp when it comes to snow and does not enjoy being out in it for much more than five seconds.  Thankfully, Gloria is ok with playing in the snow by herself while I watch from the living room window.  Screamer was desperate to get outside this morning so I did take him out and put him down in the snow thinking he would hate it and make a bee line for the door.  WRONG!!  When I did take him back inside after a few minutes of exploring in the snow, he sat at the door and cried and pawed  at the door, trying to get back out there.  Hannah Cat is out of her mind with worry about the snow falling from the sky.  She has been on high alert all day and bushes up to three times her size at the slightest disturbance.  They are keeping us entertained today, that's for sure.

So happy to be out in the snow!

Behind our house.

A snowy backyard
 When Gloria finally came in, she was ready for a hot breakfast.  Scrambled eggs and toast are her usual request.
Orange scrambled eggs and toast with blue cream cheese...a breakfast fit for any Tiger fan anxiously awaiting the national championship game tonight.  These were met with exclamations of "AWESOME!" and "That's SO COOL!" and "You're the best momma in the whole wide world!" and "I HAVE to text Uncle Will and tell him what you did!"

Uncle Will and Aunt Martha are in Arizona right now and will be in attendance at the big game tonight.  We hope they are having fun.  Gloria is hoping for another snow day tomorrow so that she can stay up tonight and watch the game.  War Eagle!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why I Do What I Do

I'm an elementary school teacher.  Most of you know that.  My first year of teaching was in 1992.  That's 20 years ago!  Yikes!  During that time, I have seen the pendulum swing from one extreme to the other and back again when it comes to the teaching of reading and writing.  I have taught addition and subtraction with "borrowing and carrying," "regrouping," and now "composing and decomposing" numbers--even though it's all the same thing.  My teaching environments have varied widely and I have taught all grades from K through fourth, including a multi-age grouping of kindergarten, first, and second grade all together (my hands down favorite).  

There are days that I really wonder if I accomplished anything or did anything right.  Then there are days where I can really see the fruits of my labors.  Days like today where a student who started the year as a total non-reader demonstrated the ability to read at a first grade level! (That's two year's growth in a semester!)  Days like last month when a student who could hardly write a few words writes a short paragraph!  Or days like last weekend when an email arrives in my in box, such as the one that follows (which I have edited for privacy)...

Hi.My name is XXXXXXXX.You were my 2nd grade teacher in 19XX-XX.I found my year book in an old box and brought back a lot of memories. I just wanted to tell you, I appreciate your patience and kind words in this grade. You were a phenomenal teacher. My behavior was sooooo awful and I remember you were very kind. I continued to have behavior problems through elementary but every one wasn't as a nice as you. Today, I am 25 and behavior free LOL but I will always remember feeling that you really were concerned and sincerly cared and believed that I would change.The change came later,LOL but thank you for believing and not giving up on me.Thanks a bunch!

This is why I do what I do.  Not for the "thank you" but to believe in my students and hope that they can believe in themselves while knowing someone cares.  So that they can spread their wings and fly.  This email really reminded me of that.  In fact, it made me cry.  Still does to reread it again.  And believe me, I remember this student as if it was last week and not two decades ago.

Is there a teacher who touched your life?  Who is it and how was that teacher inspiring or instrumental in making you into who you are today?  Have you thanked that teacher?  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Am I on to Something?

In my unending quest to find a way to keep him....

off of this...

(since this doesn't phase him in the least)

I went in search of a better way.  I tried many things, including these... (all shamelessly pillaged from Gloria's box of musical instruments that we have accumulated over the years)

Sadly, none of them worked.  The most response I got was a squinty, blinky look and maybe a backward turn of the head (which was probably really a stretch or something and not really a reaction to my noises.)

Then I tried this...

and it worked!  Last night, he was only on the table three times while I was working.  After the third obnoxious round of quacking, he gave up!  This afternoon, again, only three quacks.  Actually, by the third time, I don't really even have to quack.  The sight of the orange beak makes him run.  We would go round after round after round of water bottle squirting after which he would literally be dripping water in puddles and he would simply look at me like "Do you really think a stream of cold water REALLY bothers me?  You poor two-legged creature.  You really don't know a thing about me do, you?"  But the QUACKER?!?!?  He appears to hate it.  His ears go flat, his eyes squint up, his body curves into that defensive "c" shape, and he TAKES OFF.  

Run, Screamer, run!  Stay off my table, you bad cat!  Make us happy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hopefully NOT the Way 2011 Will Go!

Well...2011 came in poorly for me!  Four days of running a temperature and curled up under a pile of blankets on the sofa is NO fun!  No fun at all.  But, the fever has finally abated and I can walk up the stairs without feeling like I then need another nap, so things are looking up.  I just hope this hasn't set a precedent for the new year.  2011--you have no where to go but up for me!

Some things I noticed though...

  • Gloria doesn't need me for much more than cooking an occasional meal and driving her places.  She pretty much took care of herself for a few days.  She was amazing.  I love how independent she is, although I do wish she needed her momma a little bit more some days.  I was so thankful for that independence and her self-sufficiency skills over the weekend though.
  • Screamer, AKA "Bad Cat," can make it from one side of the living room, through the dining room, into the kitchen, to the top of the refrigerator without ever touching the ground.  Unless there are slippery, cloth place mats on the table.  Then he slides over the edge of the table.  Note to self:  purchase more cloth place mats instead of those easy to wipe off plastic ones!  (Can you hear my evil laugh here???)
  • Hannah Cat thinks my pile of blankets is for her and I am glared at and growled at if I try to reclaim them as my own.  But she has been constantly at my side, my little "nurse cat."
  • Do you know how good a scrambled egg tastes when you haven't eaten much in four days???  Seriously!!
Now, crossing my fingers that my little Glo-bug doesn't get whatever awfulness I've had for the past few days.  That won't be fun for any of us!