Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm walkin' on air

Tonight at hockey the head of all the refs was watching our game for a bit because he's friends with my coach. My coach told me later that he had pointed me out to the ref and told him it was my first year playing hockey. The ref was shocked that I had never played before. He said I was doing really well.

Yeah, I pretty much rock.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

But my dear, how 'bout you?

Okay, so I didn't quite make every day for NaBloPoMo, but I did blog more frequently than usual - almost half of my posts for this year are in November. I will try to write more frequently, but I'm never really sure who I'm writing for or why I'm writing. If it's just for me, then I'll just write whatever I want and not worry about my "audience". But if I'm writing this for others, then is it just to keep people updated on my family? Or to share my "random neural firings" about whatever pops into my head? Or for some other reason?

There's a big storm predicted for tonight, and for a while it looked like it was going to happen, but I think the worst of it may be over already, with nowhere near the 20 - 30 cm (8 - 12 inches) that was predicted. There was hail or something for a while, but I don't think it's going to stick around long enough to give me a snow day tomorrow. Sigh. I should probably do some marking, in that case.

I watched Sam and Hailey play hockey today. Holy moly are they ever cute! Everything is big on Hailey, so Ryan tucks her jersey into her pants, and you can't even see her number. I was picking out my kids by their skates (all the kids have matching jerseys, and most of them have black pants and white, black and gold socks).

Ryan, Rylee, Hailey and my dad came to my game last night. Ryan said he could really tell how much I'd improved in the short time I've been playing, which was nice to hear. I had a good game last night, so it was a good one for them to come to. I like when the coach is able to make it (he missed a few games due to the death of one of his parents) because he doesn't just say, "Good shift, D'Arcy." He tells me what I did right and why it was a good shift. If I did something wrong, someone on the team will usually let me know (in a nice way).

Sammie brought home her first term report card on Friday. She earned A's in everything except phys ed and art or music, I forget which, both of which were B+, if I remember correctly. Her learning skills (things like homework completion, cooperation with others, goal setting, etc) were all Excellent or Good. We're very proud of her.

I have nothing interesting going on in my head, so I think I should end this here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm going slightly mad

That was my first thought upon shovelling all that snow I was rhapsodizing about in my last post. It's the only logical explanation.

Now I'm going slightly mad dealing with report cards. I handed them in last week, and got them back today with my administrator's comments. Why couldn't she read them before I handed them in for the final merge? I just want to be DONE with the darn things and now they're back to haunt me again. I've made the changes she suggested, and don't get me wrong, they were valid comments and I agree with the changes she suggested. I've just had enough of the stupid things. Now I get to prepare for report card fallout - they go home next Monday, and then parent-teacher interviews are on the following Thurs/Fri.

THAT should be fun. If I'm still only slightly mad after that, I will be happy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I have just come to a rather startling realization. I just put the girls to bed, and was walking into the office to sit and finish up report cards. I looked outside at the snowy scene that will be my reality for the next few months (unless it suddenly gets warm again) and I realized that I love this weather. Not the white out blizzardy type weather, but nights when it's all white and quiet outside and snuggly and full of love inside. I don't think I could ever permanently live somewhere that didn't have snowy winters. If we ever do move to California, I think I will acutally really miss the snow.

Who knew?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goin' to the chapel

Just a quick post while writing report cards - my baby sister called last night to say her boyfriend proposed! No date is set, as they have made a pact not to discuss a wedding for six months and just enjoy being engaged. Whatever. Probably sometime next year.

Congratulations Meaghen and Ryan!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time keeps on slippin', slippin'...

Okay, well, I've missed a bunch more days. I'm here now.

We've set up Rylee's "big girl bed" in Sam and Hailey's room, so all three of them are sharing a room now. The room formerly known as the nursery is going to be a toy room. Rylee's bed is a toddler bed that looks like a train. We bought it when Sam was getting ready to move from the crib to a bed, and Hailey was coming soon to take over the crib, not that she slept in it for the first few months. When we told Sam and Hailey we were going to set up the train bed again, both girls started talking about how much they loved that little train bed, it was their favourite. This is proof that they have no memory of anything before the age of 2 or 3. Sam slept in the bed for a little while, but she soon decided she preferred the "big bed" (a futon) that was also in her room. When Hailey moved out of the crib, we tried to put her in the train bed in Sammie's room, but she wanted to sleep with Sammie, so it was the big bed for her, too. Happily, Rylee seems to like the new bed. Last night she didn't get out of bed once (that I heard, anyway)

It's report card season. First draft is due on Monday, and I have a fair amount of marking downstairs. I was all caught up and ready to start reports, but I wasn't counting on the students at my new school being near psychotic when it comes to marks. One grade 8 student almost got down on bended knee to ask if he could do some other writing assessment, because his mother would shoot him if he came home with the mark he had currently earned. It was a B+!!!!! So, I caved and gave all the gr 8's an optional assignment which they could use to bring up their reading mark, writing mark or both.

I have learned that if I don't get my caffeine until noon, I'm cranky.

I also decided this week to stop feeling sorry for myself that I haven't gotten close to anyone on staff at my new school yet. There is another teacher who is new to the school who hasn't really bonded with anyone else either, so this week I decided to make the effort to connect with her. We chatted a bit, shared chocolate and coffee, and I think I've made a new friend. I knew she was a graduate of the same teacher training program as me, but I found out this week that she went to the same university that I did for the mandatory third-year-at-a-francophone-university, and even lived in the same residence.

Today is the first time we've attempted to get Rylee to nap in the big girl bed. It doesn't sound like it's going very well. I should probably go look into that, then go do some schoolwork. And drink some more tea. It's chilly and raining here today, so tea is definitely in order.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I remember

Today is Remembrance Day. For as long as I have been teaching, I have cried at Remembrance Day ceremonies. Today was no exception. I was doing pretty well until the little speech after The Last Post - the one that starts, "They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old..." At my grandmother's funeral, when a member of the Canadian Women's Army Corps started to read that passage, she broke down. She explained that that was always the part my grandmother read at other funerals.

Let me back up. When I started teaching, in 1998, Remembrance Day was a reminder that my grandmother and grandfather both served in WWII. The next year, a friend started dating a military man. She married him in 2002. In 2005, my grandfather passed away. In 2007, my grandmother passed away. Also in 2007, my sister-in-law married an army man, and in January of 2008 both he and my friend's husband were sent to Afghanistan. Thankfully, they both came home safely, but it's a lot to process each November 11.

I remember learning about conscription when I was in grade 10. I remember thinking that 18 was plenty old enough to go overseas and fight. Then the Persian Gulf conflict broke out when I was in grade 12. I had friends who were 18, and the thought of them going off to fight was horrifying. Some of my classmates said they were going to enlist as soon as they turned 18, and I thought they were far too young to make that kind of decision, that kind of commitment. Now, in my 30's, I look at my brother-in-law, who is 22, and think _he_ is far too young to be serving overseas. And then you realize that boys even younger were lying about their age and serving in WWI and WWII.

I was discussing the words to In Flanders Fields with my homeroom, and explaining that those who died are asking us in that poem to continue their struggle. One student asked why, if we're supposed to be promoting peace, we would agree to continue that struggle. I asked the students what they thought, but they couldn't come up with an explanation (one student went so far as to say that there is no quarrel to be taken up anymore). To me, we agree to take up the quarrel because there are those who insist on quarreling. As long as people are willing to take away basic human rights from other people, as long as people are willing to maim and kill in the name of country or religion, we have to be prepared to stand up to them. We have to continue to struggle against injustice. Standing by and allowing it to happen is the same as perpetrating the injustice ourselves.

Today, even more than usual, I am grateful to those who chose, and who continue to choose, to risk their lives to fight against what is wrong, and to protect the freedom we enjoy in my country.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yesterday came suddenly

... and went suddenly too! I meant to post last night, but by the time I got the littlest monster to bed, I was toast. T-O-S-T-E, toast, as a friend of mine used to say. We're going to set up the toddler bed this weekend, I think, and then at least I won't be worried about her climbing out and breaking a limb.

So anyway, Ryan will be home tonight. Yay. Today is a PD Day, and we have the option of working off site for the afternoon. I went out for a working lunch at a coffee place (I sat and marked while I ate and drank my mochaccino) I still have some work to do, but will post again later. I'll try to make it something more than, "Here's what I did today."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Someone took a doody in my sandbox

It really is a song lyric. I don't remember the name of the song but Daph will.

Today was marginally better, but only marginally. I dropped the girls off early at the sitter so I could take the van for an oil change. I just missed the shuttle, so I had to wait for the next one, and therefore ended up being 10 min late for work. I called to warn them, so there was someone to cover my class, but honestly, you'd think that dropping my vehicle off at 8 am would allow me to get to work, a 10 min drive away, by 8:40. Not so.

After school, the shuttle picked me up, I picked up the van and drove home, then walked to get the kids. We got home, I made dinner while Sammie did her homework and then played outside with Hailey and a friend. I was so pleased because we got the homework taken care of before I took Sam and Hailey to a friend's house while I took Rylee to swimming lessons. We got away from the house on time, I dropped the girls off, Rylee and I were on the pool deck at 6:28 for a 6:30 class. During the lesson the instructor asked me to remind her of Rylee's name. I told her what it was, and after class she pointed to Rylee's name on a list and asked if that was her. I said, "Yep, that's her." She said, "Yeah, she's actually in the 6:00 class." I'm pretty sure that at some point we made it to a 6:00 class, but I know a couple of weeks ago when I was out of town on a Wed night, I helped Ryan make arrrangements for the same friend to watch Sammie and Hailey, and arranged for him to drop them off at 6:10. So Carrie, if you read this, next time we ask you to babysit during Rylee's swimming lesson, if I say the lesson's at 6:30, smack me upside the head.

Anyway, we came home, I put Rylee to bed, she was being quiet, and I thought all was well. I had put her in pyjamas after swimming, hoping she'd fall asleep in the car, but that didn't happen. Then, as I was reading the bedtime story to Sammie and Hailey, Rylee started coming down the stairs. So much for my hope she'd forget she figured out how to do that. So, we put the big girls to bed, then I sat with Rylee in the rocking chair and rocked her for a while. At about 9 pm I was able to put her down, and she's been in bed ever since.

I was just talking to somebody at work about how just when you think you've got everything under control, it all falls spectacularly apart. That's what today was like. Just when I thought I was getting a handle on things, I find out I've been taking Rylee to the wrong swimming lesson. And then she refuses to go to sleep again.

So, the dishwasher got emptied, two loads of laundry got folded, another one went through the machines (diapers - we were getting low), and some marking got done. It's not everything I was hoping to accomplish, but it's a start. AND I posted again, so I at least seem to have a handle on NaBloPoMo. If nothing else, my misadventures this week are giving me something to write about!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Help! I need somebody!

I almost went to bed without blogging, but then remembered I'm doing NaBloPoMo. This was a terrible night. I went to the visitation for C after school, which is not a great way to start an evening. When I tried to call my dad to wish him happy birthday he wasn't home, so I chatted with my mom. By the time we got off the phone it was past Rylee's bedtime, so she was wired and over-tired and went hysterical. Called my dad, the girls sang happy birthday, put the big girls to bed. I went into my room and heard Hailey talking to Rylee. I came out fully prepared to get angry with her for getting out of bed and going into Rylee's room, when I saw Rylee standing in the hall beside Hailey. She had climbed out of her crib.

At this point I did what any self-respecting, independent woman would do. I called my mommy.

At Mom's suggestion, I took Rylee downstairs and put on a Baby Einstein, while I fought with the crib to figure out how to lower the mattress. After a series of events that I'm sure I'll find funny someday, I finally got it lowered. I cuddled Rylee, kissed her and put her to bed amid loud protests.

Can you see where this is going? A minute or two later she was staring at me from the middle of the hallway. And by this point I had moved the footstool that was just outside her crib, so she managed to get over the side rail and then lower herself all the way to the floor.

Naturally, I called my mommy again.

I put Baby Einstein back on and had something to eat (it was after 10 pm and I hadn't had dinner yet) Then I brought Rylee upstairs and rocked her to sleep. When I put her down in the crib she opened her eyes and looked at me, but all she said was, "Want blanket." So I got her one and walked quietly out. It's been about half an hour now and there's no sign of her, so I think she's down for the night.

I have four class sets of marking to do, about three loads of laundry to fold and put away, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, the counter is full of dishes and a load of clothes needs to go from the washer to the dryer. I will get the clothes into the dryer but the rest will have to wait.

In addition to the regular hockey (me), swimming lessons (Rylee) and skating lessons (Sam, Hailey) this week, we had/have two after school meetings (me), hockey pictures (Sam, Hailey), an oil change/service appointment (van) and visitation for C (me).

This was maybe not the best week for Ryan to go away. At least there's lots of chocolate around.

Monday, November 3, 2008

When the dog bites, when the bee stings

Last Friday, when most kids her age were excited about trick or treating, counting down until they could start the festivities, little T was at the hospital waiting to hear if her sister was going to be okay. At about 5:45, when other kids were getting their costumes on and planning their routes, T got the news that her only sister had died.

I wish this was the germ of an idea for a novel for NaNoWriMo, but it's the true story of one of my former students. I taught T for four years at my last school. Her older sister had a stroke five years ago, the year before I arrived at the school. If I understand correctly, she had another one on Friday and didn't survive this one.

I can't even imagine this family's pain right now. The parents split up some time ago, and they had just the two daughters, T and C. Now C is gone. And every year, on Hallowe'en, the ghosts will be all too real for T.

C was only 12. T is in grade five. Both far too young.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Raindrops on roses

The title has nothing to do with this post - I just couldn't come up with an appropriate song lyric. Suggestions are welcome in the comments.

Welcome to NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. I have decided to follow Daph's example and take on the challenge. I would love to think I could take on NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month - but I just don't think I have it in me. I'll leave that one to Em. For this year, at least. This means I'm supposed to post every day this month. I know, I missed yesterday. I only decided today to take it on. I'm cutting myself some slack and starting today.

On Friday, I gave two of my grade eight classes a test. This week, the other three classes get their tests, plus all three grade seven classes will be handing in an assignment. I really need to get all my marking done this weekend so I'm not overwhelmed again, like I was when I had all five grade eight classes (average class size: 30 students) hand in a writing assignment on pretty much the same day. I'm posting now just so that I have posted something, and will attempt a better post later, if I have time. I had hoped to leave you with some Halloween adorableness, but I still don't know where the cable is to upload pictures from the camera.

Ryan is off to Calgary for the work week tomorrow morning. I'm so looking forward to five days of single parenting. How do people do this on a full-time basis?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Long time passing

Okay, here is the long-overdue update on the family.

Rylee, the wee one, is too cute for words. She is two now, and chatting up a storm, although we only understand about half of what she says. She is in swimming lessons and gymnastics, both parent and tot programs. I've only taken her to swimming once, but she did pretty well that one time. Daddy took her to the rest and says she's improving. One of the things we did was to jump off the side into Mommy's arms. I counted to three, then she "jumped" to me and I put her in the water. The other night as I was giving her a bath, she put her rubber duckies on the edge of the tub, counted to three ("Two...fee...") then had them "jump" into the water. This was followed by what I choose to believe was, "You did it!" Like I said, too cute for words. She goes to the sitter every day and does very well there - she seems to have fun, but is always happy to see me when I come pick her up. The dog comes running to the door as soon as he realizes I'm there. Wee one runs after the dog, calling, "Mommy here!" When the door opens, she gives me a big grin and says, "Hi Mom." When I ask for kisses I get them about half the time. She sleeps well, usually eats pretty well, and has just started sitting on her potty - I think she realized she gets cheers when she does, so she does it over and over and doesn't want to stop. Also, she seems to think she has to be naked to sit on the potty.

Hailey, the middle child, started school this fall, and absolutely loves it. Almost every morning she asks, "Do I go to school today?" (JK and SK here go all day every other day - either Mon/Wed/alt Fri or Tues/Thurs/alt Fri) and gets pouty if the answer is no. She's learning her letters and can recognize at least a half dozen now by sight, and more by sound. She knows H for sure! She is also in gymnastics, which she greatly enjoys, and started hockey a couple of weeks ago. The first session did not go well - she hated it and complained before, during and after. Last week I took the big girls to a public skate and she didn't do so well there, either - crying and complaining most of the time. The next day she went to hockey again, and came up positively aglow. "Mommy, I was so fast, I was so good, I love hockey!" According to her daddy, she definitely wasn't fast - she's probably the slowest skater out there - but she had fun and now says she wants to keep playing hockey again and again and again. She also started skating lessons this week. I was FLOORED at the difference from the kid I took skating to the kid who was at skating lessons this week. She wants to skate all the time now. She is still a drama queen, and has quite a temper, thought not as much as her little sister.

Samantha, our big girl, is in school full-time now, which saves a considerable amount on day care, which has me looking forward eagerly to Hailey starting school full time :) She was named Star of the Week last week, for being a great leader in her class and showing excellent learning skills. We found out through a phone call from the principal, which was cool. She is also in gymnastics, hockey and skating lessons. She moved up a level in gymnastics this year, just because she's too old for Kindergym, so her class is now 2 hours. She enjoys it, but her real passion is hockey (and we can't figure out where she gets that from!) Ryan says she's definitely improved since last year, and has lost none of her love of the game. At skating lessons this week she was probably the best skater on the ice. I'm hoping that will boost her confidence, which will then help her improve even faster. She is a sweet, sweet kid, so kind, and smarter than any kid her age needs to be. Tonight we tried to convince Hailey to give her little pumpkin from her class trip to the pumpkin patch to Rylee, but she refused. I said, "So you get two and Rylee doesn't get any?" Sammie piped up, "Mommy, if Hailey won't let Rylee have hers, she can have mine."

Ryan doesn't like me to write about him on my blog, so I won't.

I started at a new school this fall. I think after almost moving to California last spring I decided I needed a fresh start, a new challenge, some kind of change. Honestly, I think I had sort of latched onto the idea of moving to California as a chance to re-invent myself. When the move fell through, I decided to make a new start here by switching schools. Most days, I think it was a pretty good decision, but it's been a big adjustment. The new school is much larger, with a much larger staff, which has taken some getting used to. One of the teachers is from my hometown and it was nice to have that connection with someone to start off. It's also much more multicultural, which I've loved. We had a Say Hi day at the beginning of October, and my class was able to cover the white board saying hi in many languages. In my homeroom alone, I have kids from Brazil, Germany, China, Korea and a few middle Eastern countries.

Anyway, I think I needed a change, and while I haven't loved every minute of it, I think it's been good for me. I also started hockey this year, as I mentioned in a previous post. My team is 3-3-1, I think. I'm getting better each game - last time I could actually tell what I was doing well/right. I play once or twice per week, so it gets me out of the house and gets me some exercise. Beyond work, hockey and my family, I don't have time for a whole lot else - a few Rangers games, some reading, hoping to go see High School Musical 3 soon (yes, I'm serious)... yep, I think that's it.


I found out last week that one of my former students, who has been battling cancer for four or five years now, probably only has a few weeks left. We've thought he was close before, but from what I've heard, this time is different. He's a real fighter, and still says he's not ready to give up, so it may be a little longer, but not much.

He's nine years old.


And with that, I believe I have brought anyone who is interested up to date. I apologize, but make no promises that I'm going to change :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's the best game you can name

I am one big ear-to-ear grin right now.

It's almost midnight and I'm too keyed up to go to bed. I played my first hockey game tonight. I LOVED it!!! I wasn't that good, but I wasn't that bad, either. I have a lot to learn, skills-wise and strategy-wise, but oh man, it was fun. The women on my team are a lot of fun, which should make for a good season. Our goalie made some highlight-reel saves, which bodes well. But the most important thing is that I had a lot of fun, EVEN THOUGH I WASN'T GOOD. There's a life lesson I needed - you don't have to be good at something to do it in public and enjoy it. I have given myself permission to be terrible (and I don't think I was), it's my first time playing, for heaven's sake, so it's okay to just go out there, do the best I can, and have fun along the way. And I DEFINITELY had fun.

More updates on the family later. I just had to write about how excited I am, how much fun I had and how much I love the good old hockey game :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

...depending on who you ask! Tomorrow is the first day of school for my school board. Most of my friends have mixed emotions about it, as some of them have kids starting school for the very first time, and others are happy to have the kids out of their hair on a regular basis. My friend Carrie and I have wildly fluctuating emotions as we are both teachers and both mothers with daughters entering gr 1 and starting JK this year.

I have to admit to being nervous about tomorrow. I'm starting at a new school which will be very different from my last one, much more multicultural than any school I've ever taught at. Also, I'm teaching just gr 7 and 8 French (with one period of gr 3/4 math, taught in French). I love teaching gr 7 and 8, and love teaching French, but really, it's not the easiest age group to work with when you're teaching them something they WANT to be learning.

I applied for this transfer, and I'm not sorry, but I'm still a little nervous. I'm going to go soak in the tub to relax, then go to bed a little early (well, early compared to when I've been getting to bed lately) and try to get a good night's sleep. To all the nervous parents, teachers and kiddles out there, I wish you a peaceful night and a fabulous day tomorrow.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I want to thank you, show my gratitude

A lot of really great things have happened in my extended family in the past three years.

My cousin Ami got married and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

My aunt Nancy got married (maybe a little more than three years ago, I forget now) and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, followed by a healthy baby boy.

My cousin Dave got married and became the father of a healthy baby boy.

My cousin Nikki gave birth to a baby boy who started off with some health issues but is thriving now.

My cousin Jody got engaged and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

My cousin Kevin got married and became a (step)father.

My sister, Meaghen, met and fell in love with a wonderful man, who loves her to bits.

I mention all of this because it's easy to get bogged down in focusing on the negative. Once you start doing that it's a downward spiral of, "Why me/us? Life sucks!" A lot of crap has befallen my extended family in the last few years, too - the loss of both of my grandparents, stillbirths, miscarriages, heart attacks, etc. I'm not giving a detailed list because my cousins and I have decided we need to stay positive and supportive. I want to focus on what's good in my life and in the lives of the people I love.

Yesterday my uncle, my mom's youngest brother, was given a diagnosis of stage 4 mantle cell lymphoma. It's in his spleen, his groin and the lymph nodes in his neck. He has a wife and 10 year old daughter, plus of course a huge extended family. I've asked this before, but please pray to whatever higher power you believe in for my uncle, aunt and cousin.

And try to focus on the good in your life.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wake me up when September ends

Okay, so where have I been? Well, not at home. I have been home for three weeks since the end of June, and not all in a row. Here's a quick recap of my summer so far:

First weekend of July: Peterborough
First week of July: home
Next two weeks: California (without the kids!)
Next week: home
Next week: Peterborough (lots of hanging by the pool while my dad chased the kids)
Next week: home
Then: cottage near Tobermory (with lots of in-laws to help watch the kids)
This past weekend: Petrolia (for Terpcathalon, for which Rylee behaved this time)

Details will follow. The California trip was amazing - Ryan had a course and since we were able to pawn off the kids on our parents (each set took a week) I tagged along and spent some time with him and some with the wonderful Miss Daphne. Photos to follow maybe. My cousin Christine, who lives in BC, made it back to Ontario, so I got to hang with her and my sister while I was in Peterborough. The annual gathering at my mom and dad's on the August long weekend was better attended than the last few years, and was a lot of fun. Tobermory was fabulous, as always, and we did some great diving. The water wasn't as cold as it's been some years (a balmy 55F at about 90 ft)

Now I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that my summer holiday is almost over, and start thinking about school. I also need to clean my house and get some groceries. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The times they are a-changin'

I knew I couldn't do it.

A couple of years ago I told my students that I planned to stay at the school until my first class of gr 1 (at that school) graduated from grade 8. They're finishing up gr 4 now. I won't be there when they start gr 5.

Last week an internal posting went out that included an opening for pretty much my ideal job - only gr 7 and 8, full time, still teaching French, at a K-8 school, and it's even closer to home than the school I'm at now (4.2 km to my current 6.6 km commute) It doesn't get much better than that, so even though I've been very happy at my current school, I took a deep breath and applied. The posting closed on Thurs, and I knew the principals had until Tues to let HR know if the posting was filled, so I figured I'd hear something on Fri and have an interview Mon. As it turns out, that's exactly how it went, except that during the course of the phone call the principal informed me that I was the only person to have applied! So I went in on Mon to meet with the principal. She told me about the school, about herself and her expectations, the community, etc. By the end of it she hadn't scared me off, but I needed some time to think it over, because I've been so happy at my current school. She was supposed to call by about 4 pm to get my answer, and by the time I took the girls to gymnastics at 5:45, she hadn't called. We got home a little after 7 and there was a message, saying she wanted to chat with me. My heart dropped. I was convinced that she was calling to say that upon reflection, she didn't think that I would be a good fit at the school and she wanted to keep looking. "Holy moly," I thought. "I'm glad I didn't tell too many people about this. I would feel like such a loser if I had to tell the whole staff that I was the only one to apply and I still didn't get the job!" And in those 15 or 20 minutes between hearing the message and calling the principal back, when I thought the job wasn't mine, I realized how much I wanted it. So when I called, and she asked if I had made a decision, I said if she still wanted me I wanted the job. She sounded surprised, but said yes, she definitely still wanted me, she would be thrilled to have me and thought I would be a great addition to the staff. Sooo...long story short(er), I am changing schools. I am very excited, but sad to be leaving a school with an incredibly caring and supportive staff, a school where I have been very happy.

In other news, I have been more literally nit-picky than usual lately. I received a call at work on Friday from the sitter saying she had found something in all three girls' hair that she was pretty sure was lice. Rylee had sat down in the sitter's lap and she noticed a bug, but thought it was something that had flown in there when we walked over that morning. When she found another one, though, she got suspicious and checked everyone's heads. All of my girls had it, but no other kids did. We think Hailey picked it up in Holland (my sister-in-law had it while Hailey was there, and one of the houses she visited was apparently infested) and passed it on to her sisters. Let me tell you, you haven't had fun until you've tried to go through the hair of a 20 month old looking for lice! We were finally able to check and remove them all when she fell asleep on my shoulder - I held her while Ryan picked. Thank goodness my parents were here - Ryan had been in Montreal most of the week, and didn't get back until about 7:30 Fri night. My mom started (and finished) my laundry while my dad vacuumed and I washed, combed and looked through the girls' hair. It has been a long haul, but I think we've got it all now.

Then I got sick on Sunday, and report cards were due Monday, and Ryan left Sunday night to go back to Montreal (he's home tomorrow) and, well, it's just been busy. I am SO grateful that it's almost summer holidays. Oh, and Rylee is officially off the bottle now, so she's been a real joy to get to bed each night (note heavy sarcasm). Hailey gets up pretty much every night now and tells me she can't sleep, so it's 10:00 sometimes before she falls asleep, and then it's rather difficult to wake her on time in the morning. We all need a break around here, I think. And yet here I am, posting at almost 11 pm because I have to stay up long enough to get my laundry into the dryer.

And with that, I think I'll check my email...

Monday, May 12, 2008

A taste of honey

Sammie made me breakfast in bed again today - a honey sandwich. And this time, she made one for each of us, "so we don't have to share." Fortunately, the girls ended up eating mine. At some point I did manage to suggest that maybe next time she could make a peanut butter sandwich for me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It's [my] day... [Mother's] Day...

(...with apologies to Peter Gabriel for paraphrasing his lyrics...I couldn't think of any song lyrics that referenced moms...feel free to suggest your own in the comments...)

My Mother's Day started by waking up and realizing I'd had 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. No, this is not my fantasy of a perfect Mother's Day, it's what actually happened. I was smart enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night (unlike tonight, apparently) and the girls didn't wake up until about 7:30.

**Back up for a minute. Sammie wanted to have a sleepover with one of her friends last night. I said no, but told her she could sleep in my bed with me. I turned off the alarm because I didn't want to wake up at 6 am on my only day to sleep later than that this week (Sam had soccer at 8 AM yesterday so we were up early), but Sam said she wanted to wake up at 6:00. I told her she could get up whenever she wanted as long as she didn't wake Mommy up before 7:30, and that her body would tell her when she needed to wake up. She said okay, but she wanted to get up before me because, "I have a whole lot of things...what am I saying? Nothing. I don't have anything to do."

So Sammie got out of bed at 7:30, and I stayed in bed for a few more minutes. I could hear her downstairs, then I heard Rylee fussing in her crib. I got up to get Rylee and as I was coming out of her room I saw Sam at the top of the stairs. She told me to get back in bed, so I did, and she came in with her little Dora tray and said, "Breakfast in bed!" She had the cutest look on her face, a sweet little proud smile. On the tray was a honey heart sandwich (a sandwich for which the honey has been poured in a heart shape) Now, I don't actually like honey sandwiches, but how could I look at that little girl, so proud of herself for doing this on her own and so happy to have done something nice for her mommy, and tell her I didn't like the sandwich she'd made? I did the only thing I could do. I gave her a great big hug and kiss, thanked her and told her I loved her, and ate the sandwich (actually, I only ate part of it - I shared it with the girls)

After we ate the sandwich Sammie asked me when it was present time. I told her it was whenever she wanted, so she left the room and came back with the bag that we'd brought back from my mom and dad's last weekend, the one I was supposed to give to her when we got home so she could put it somewhere safe. I opened the bag and found a card and a pretty box. On the card were three little cartoon figures, which my mom had named Sam, Hailey and Rylee, and inside Sammie had written a little message and signed all three girls names. In the box were a necklace and matching earrings. This is my best attempt at a picture of me, still wearing them with my pyjamas because I don't want to take them off.

After the gift, we went downstairs, where I made some more breakfast and some tea and Sammie gave me a craft she'd made at school.

The rest of the day was pretty ordinary - nail clipping, bath for Sammie (Rylee had one last night), church, lunch, skating lessons. Hailey (and Ryan) sent me Mother's Day greetings via email - a simple little message that made me cry (%@$ PMS!) Rylee has given me the presents you'd expect from an 18 month old - some kisses, some cuddles, some hysterical laughter at the silly games I play with her, and of course, some poop in her diaper. And my dad didn't even change that one for me as a Mother's Day gift!

Dad is here because the woman who usually watches the girls during the day lost her grandmother last week and the funeral is tomorrow. I was hoping he'd stay till Tuesday so I didn't have to get a sitter for the Rangers game tomorrow night, but he has work to do on Tuesday so he's leaving tomorrow.

Anyway, here's to all the mothers out there, and to everyone who is spending Mother's Day without their mom (I'm thinking of my mom and her siblings here, as this is their first Mother's Day without their beloved mom - we miss you Mim!)

Monday, May 5, 2008

On my own

I know some of my friends read this blog at least partly to know what's going on with my family, so when I post about stuff like SNL, it doesn't tell them much :) So here is an update-y, newsy type post.

Ryan and Hailey are in the Netherlands. Ryan's sister is working there for 8 months, so Ryan, Hailey and Ryan's parents went over for a visit. Hailey got to go because a)she's old enough to remember the trip (maybe) b)she's young enough not to be missing school while she's there and c)she's named after a relative who lives there and who has lung cancer. This may be the only chance they get to meet. They've been gone almost a week and are having a good time, from the sounds of it. Hailey is learning some Dutch and making friends everywhere she goes (no surprise to anyone who knows Hailey). They're back next week.

Sammie has been sick for almost a week, first throwing up and then, well, out the other end. Poor little thing missed two days of school last week (and consequently, so did I). Yesterday was the first day without diarrhea since Thursday. She's feeling much better now. She missed her first soccer game on Saturday because we were at my mom and dad's but is looking forward to starting this weekend. She's also still in gymnastics, and skating lessons as well. She loves to do crafts - it's just about the only centre she ever goes to at school - and is always cutting and pasting and making things for us. She made a poster which she put up in her room that says, "Family, your my BFF." I took her to the Rangers game last Wed and we had a lot of fun together.

Rylee is getting big - my mom and my sister said she looks like an entirely different kid from the one who was there on March Break. She has nine teeth now, I think, including a molar, and a big big smile and loves to chatter away in her own little language. She still loves her dollies and stuffed animals. She's getting to the stage where she doesn't want to sit and cuddle, she wants to go go go, except at bedtime. I still get cuddles and kisses at bedtime.

Ryan is still working (except not right now, of course, since he's in the Netherlands) and playing lots of hockey. Our ball team starts up again next week, and I think he's thinking of playing soccer this year. He played last year for a month or so until he tore a muscle in his calf and had to stop. He's been told there's a good chance he'll eventually tear the other one in half as well, so I'm not sure I want him to play soccer, but it's not my decision.

And as for me...also still working, still enjoying it immensely. I love teaching. As I said, ball starts again next week, so that'll get me out of the house every once in a while. I've also sent in my registration to play in a recreational hockey league next winter! Ryan's cousin plays and has assured me that there are women at all levels of ability, so I won't be a the only beginner out there. I'm looking forward to it, I think. I'm also looking forward to dive season starting back up. I've been reading a lot, and just bought a book about beading, which I'm hoping to get into.

As I mentioned, I was at my mom and dad's this weekend. Nice and relaxing for me, because my parents pretty much completely take over the child care, and my mom does all the cooking, so I don't have much to worry about. It was especially nice given that Sammie was sick and Ryan is out of the country.

This morning I realized my fridge and freezer weren't working. I called the place we bought it from, and they're sending someone out tomorrow to look at it. In the meantime, two different neighbours kindly took in the contents of my fridge and freezer and made room for them in their appliances. It was SUCH a pain to get everything all packed up and take it over to the neighbours, and then feed the girls and get Sammie to gymnastics. I really have no idea how single parents do this on a regular basis. I think I say that every time Ryan goes away but it's true - I have an incredible amount of respect for people who do this, and do it well, on a regular basis.

Anything else you'd like to know?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Am I the only one...

...who thinks Christopher Walken was TERRIBLE on SNL a few weeks ago? I was going to blog about it then, but didn't, then it was on again recently, and I was struck again by how terrible it was. It was like he was so drunk he couldn't remember a line to save his life, so he read everything from the TelePrompTer. Thank goodness he wasn't too out of it to read! I don't know if he was actually drunk or if something else was going on, but it was definitely not his best performance.

...who thinks it's a bad sign when Ashton Kutcher is much better on SNL than Christopher Walken? Now HE was good. I didn't see all of the show the night he hosted, but what I saw was good. I always enjoy watching him play something other than Kelso - he's actually a pretty good actor.

...who would really like to see Amy Poehler play a character, not a caricature? I find that almost every role she plays, on SNL or in movies, is someone who is just so over-the-top that they couldn't possibly be a real person. I don't think it takes much talent to do unbelievable. I think it takes talent to play a character and make the audience believe in that character. I think she has the talent, but I can't be sure because I've never really seen her try. It sort of seems like she doesn't want to get parts because she's a pretty blonde, so she goes out of her way NOT to be the ingenue/pretty girl. Which is admirable, but I'm tired of the schtick. Be a person, Amy.

...who absolutely LOVES Jennifer Weiner? I wasn't crazy about her collection of short stories, but I love love LOVED Good in Bed, Certain Girls and Little Earthquakes. I find her books to be entertaining and escapist without insulting my intelligence. She may be classified as chick-lit, but it's not trash.

...who sits down to blog and forgets what she was going to blog about?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?


I said I was going to take more time for stuff like blogging, then fell off the face of the blogosphere. It's just been a little crazy around here. Kids were sick, then really sick, then I was sick, there was a SuperBowl (and a party that didn't happen because the wee one had what might have been chicken pox, and just about everyone who was going to come to the party couldn't be exposed to chicken pox), and I don't really remember what else. Many, many books :) I got lots for Christmas and have taken lots of my own time to read them. I am now officially one of Jennifer Weiner's biggest fans (I highly recommend Little Earthquakes). I received her first book, Good in Bed, for Christmas and it's the only one of my Christmas books I haven't read yet. I'm trying to put it off because the sequel is coming out in April, and I'd like to read them back to back. I've been inspired by Daph, so I'm hoping to hit the library today and pick up some of the books she's read lately.

Library, you say? But it's Monday. Shouldn't you be at school? For that matter, why are you posting at 9 am on a Monday? I was getting ready this morning, had already showered and put one contact lens in, when I thought I heard Ryan call me from the bedroom. I paused, but didn't hear him, and Sam, who was watching me, said she didn't hear him. Then I heard him again, went into the room and lo and behold, he's holding out the phone, saying, "Phone. School's cancelled." I was shocked. I checked the weather forecast last night and thought there might possibly be a snow day on Tuesday or Wednesday, but not today. I love snow days on Mondays because I don't have planning time on Mondays. Also, I had pretty much nothing ready for today because I was in Quebec City last week with the gr 8's, didn't get back until 9 pm Friday and had nothing at home with me to plan for today.

The trip, by the way, was fabulous. I'm a big fan of making your big trip in the middle of the year. This is something I learned in high school. A trip like this one is a bonding experience, for everyone who goes. There is a lot you can do with a group that has bonded like that, and it's a shame to not have that experience until May or June and be limited as to what you can do with it. In high school, our senior band always went on a big tour through the US in March. We'd come back a different group, and the band director learned way before I got there that if you could get the kids bonded earlier in the year, it made for a better band. So he had all of us out to his house out in the boonies for a weekend in October, where we did trust exercises and group-building stuff and it was amazing. I loved that weekend almost as much as I loved the tours.

So now I have this whole day in front of me, all to myself. Ryan is at work out of town (just for the day, not an overnight trip or anything) and since the schools in town are still open and buses in town are still running, I don't even have to go pick Sammie up and take her to school this afternoon. I have a huge list of things I want to accomplish today - library, groceries, some cleaning - but first, breakfast.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

These five words I swear to you

It's the year of less.

Less weight, less clutter, less procrastination, less giving up what's important to me. I was really inspired by my friend Emily's blog and did some real thinking about what my resolutions should be this year. I'm about to sit down and make a plan, in writing and everything, but here's the gist of it.

First, less weight. I am not happy with my body and I don't think I'm all that healthy either, so I have a plan now to get more exercise and eat better.

Less clutter - Ryan and I were talking the other day and agreed that where we live doesn't feel like home, to either of us. So I am going to go through the house, methodically, and get rid of things we really don't want/need/use. I have always had a hard time with this, because I feel guilty giving things away that were gifts or were passed down to me. Now, I have decided that what I should feel guilty about is having all this stuff that I don't even use, when so many people have so much less. And maybe once I've cleared out what isn't us, I'll be able to bring in some little things that do reflect the family living here.

As for the last part, I am going to stop feeling guilty if I take time for things like reading, blogging, baking, sewing, scrapping...things I like that make me happy, but that are often purely selfish. For almost six years I've been putting other people first, mostly my kids. They will still be my priority, but not so much that I lose who I am along the way. I am a mother, I am proud and happy to be one, and wouldn't trade that title for any other. But it's not my entire identity, it's not all of who I am. At least, it shouldn't be.

So, that's a brief overview of my resolutions for 2008. More to follow, but for now, I'm going to go make my plans.