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?