Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Look Back

I can't believe it has been a week since I last posted. Things have been quite harried. We spent a relatively quiet Christmas Day at home, Skyping with J so she could see Elsie open the gift J gave her, then Skyping with my family, and then I got to Skype with my best friend M, who is a missionary overseas. They are many hours ahead of us. We were both in our pajamas, but for different reasons, haha.

The day after Christmas we made our way to Mobile to have Christmas with Eli's parents and siblings. We spent the night and came back after church and dinner on Sunday just in time to meet my family coming in from snowy Texas. We had a great visit--took my sisters to Sips N Strokes on Monday, went to the art museum on Tuesday, and took Elsie photos on Wednesday. Eli had to work all day, every day. I worked at Sylvan for a couple of hours each day so my sisters, dad, niece, and nephew had unobstructed Elsie time while I was away.

They left yesterday evening and suddenly my apartment was big and eerily quiet. I missed them. I miss them. But (sorry guys) it is nice to be able to walk around in my underwear again. :)

Anyway, today I took Elsie to J's for a little while, since it's been over a week since we saw her. I then went to Kohl's and spent $5 on $50 worth of stuff. I had GREAT coupons. And then I went to Hobby Lobby and Target. Didn't do much damage at either place, thank goodness. Did get a toy bin for Elsie, but that's about it.

I went and picked Elsie up and took her to the group at the hospital. It was a sort of reunion, with three other babies that I recognized that were Elsie's age, give or take two weeks. We had such a good visit! There was toy stealing and hair pulling and rice puff "sharing". Oh, and there was plenty of drool! I can't wait until summer to maybe spend some more time with these moms/babies!

So, a quick look back before tomorrow. Last year, on this very night, I set some goals for the new year. Here's how I fared.

1. I DID NOT finish the last 40 pages of Little Women. I'm not too broken up about this. I really didn't like the book, anyway.

2. I did read more for fun, though not as much as some seasons in my life. I even read some books that I wouldn't have thought to pick up before, such as some mysteries by Dick Francis, and some lesser read Grisham.

3. I did have a baby, and a cute one at that!

4. I did make an effort to spend some time being crafty. I didn't get to do as many of the baby-related crafts that I wanted, but I did get to paint and make jewelry and cards and decorate a cake.

5. I did take a class to learn something new--I went to Sips N Strokes three times and learned to make jewelry in addition to the childbirth and breastfeeding classes.

6. I think that we did okay in watching less television after Elsie came--because were were sooooo tired, but I think we backpedaled a little when football season started. But, since I've been back to work full time, I think I have been watching less overall (speaking for myself). The problem ended up being more about time spent on the computer.

So, that's the list. Tomorrow I will unveil my plans for the new year. You know, if I have time.

Cheers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, 2009!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

And on a mostly unrelated note, here's Elsie, yesterday:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Laughing so hard...

Just a quick Elsie story.

A little while ago she was playing in her jumperoo and she was starting to get bored, so I sat down in front of her and started making faces and sounds. Every time I made a sound, mmmm-GA! or mmmmm-ZA! she would laugh hysterically. She kept doing it, so of course I kept making sounds, changing my consonant plosive. And she kept laughing. After several minutes, she was laughing, but her face started flushing, and in between laughs she had the beginnings of that pouty face that says, "I'm about to cry." And I would make another noise, and she would laugh maniacally. And the skin around her eyes got redder and redder, but she kept laughing, until finally she started crying. It was the cutest, saddest thing I've ever seen.

I often laugh so hard that the only "logical" next emotion is a full-on cry for no good reason. This is definitely my child (even if she doesn't look like me).

Cheers.






UPDATED --






Just minutes later, Elsie is playing on the floor and she gets really quiet. I look under the coffee table and see this, so I had to run and get my camera.





Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sci-Fi no more

Remember when the idea of talking face to face to someone far away was science fiction? Me, too. And then I kept hearing about this Skype thing, mostly from Oprah. My best friend from high school was about to move overseas as a missionary when her sister was about 8 months pregnant, and M was lamenting that she would get to see or meet her niece for 3 years. I said, "What about Skype?" Turns out, that's exactly what they did. And now they all talk frequently, even with the time difference.

So, as an early Christmas present, Mom gave us a new laptop (goodbye old piece of junk) with a built-in webcam solely for the purpose of using Skype to keep in touch. I know, I know. It's mostly so that the whole family can keep up with Elsie's growth, but I like to think they want to see me, too. Haha. So, today, we got all the software up and running and got to Skype it with the fam, ready for a Christmas morning celebration that will span the geographical distance. Woohoo! Elsie's first Christmas and virtually everyone can be there! (Haha...virtually.)

The other joke, too, is that Elsie will think these people are in the computer. My parents used to tell a story (and was there a recording, or am I just making this up?) of when Stacey was little and they were making a tape to send Grandma. "Tell Grandma goodbye." "Where is she?" "She's in the tape recorder." Or something like that. Hard to explain technology to little kids. But I DO remember my niece, when she was little (3, maybe?), asking me if I was checking my e-mail, and me being stunned. Now they have cell phones. My students don't believe me that I was 24 or 25 before I first got one (and they also don't really understand that cell phones haven't always been around).

Which brings me to my last tangent before I call it a night. I had a student who would not behave during locker dismissal time, and as a result she was not allowed to go to her locker. I gave her multiple chances to get it, all she had to do was sit in her seat and not talk for long enough to convince me that she wanted to go to her locker (1-2 minutes, maybe), but she didn't. As a result, her mom called the assistant principal to complain about me and this situation, saying that her daughter was locked out of the house without her key and her phone, and because she didn't have her phone couldn't call her mother. Because she didn't know her mother's phone number.

Really?

Have we gotten so lazy that we don't teach our children how to store important phone numbers in analog ways (i.e. their brains?) in case of emergency. I mean, if she got home, didn't have her house key, though she had her cell phone, but the battery was dead, wouldn't she still be in the same predicament? Call and complain to the assistant principal about that.

Just to wrap this up with a bow, the same student was actively texting in my class two days later, so her phone got taken up and turned into the assistant principal, and again, had to go home without her cell phone. She was mad at me, of all people. Mr. AP said he would be happy to call the mother, as he opened the safe and put the phone in. The kids were mad, too, telling me that I didn't know that cell phone policy because this was my first year here, that the other teachers would have given them a warning. Whatever. I closed my door and pointed to my cell phone policy sign which has been on my door since day one--you know that one that says cell phones will stay in your lockers or be turned over to an administrator, NO EXCEPTIONS? And then I kindly pointed to my name on the door. It doesn't matter what the other teachers do. I follow the rules, and this is my classroom. End of discussion.

And that was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. So you wonder why I had such a stressful three weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas? Yeah. That's why. Teenagers.

Where do I apply for sainthood, again?

Cheers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Disco Diva...without the disco

I survived the first semester. Amen.

I could stop posting right there, but I would have to leave out details about our awesome end of quarter incentive activity! So, I'll go on.

Today, we took the seventh grade roller skating. Yes, kids still roller skate. I made sure I wore the craziest socks I have (or the second craziest, since my neon skull and crossbone socks are in the dirty clothes pile) and when I got my skates, I rolled my jeans up to reveal the rainbow stripes. The science teacher on my hall ALSO wore crazy socks today. The kids thought we planned it. She knew something I didn't though, so her sock selection was better than mine--the roller rink had black lights. Dang! Maybe next time.

Anywho, we had a blast. The music choices were a bit disappointing. No DISCO music??? What kind of roller establishment is this?!? And there was a notable lack of the LIMBO and the HOKEY POKEY--skating standards, I thought. I didn't fall at all, and I impressed most of the kids, because, you know, they think I'm old, and therefore unable to do anthing "cool". That got me to thinking about the last time that I went roller skating.

::biddlydoo biddlydoo biddlydoo:: (flashback music)

I'm eighteen and rocking the rink in my skates. I'm flying high (figuratively) because, guess what?? I just cast my vote in my first presidential election! The screens in every corner of the rink in Waco, TX, were covering the news and the election returns. Every time I made a lap I checked to see the latest results. I thought for sure that we would know before we went to bed who was going to be the next President: Georgie or Al. I was wrong.

::biddlydoo biddlydoo biddlydoo::

That was twelve years ago. That was before many of my students who I skated with today were born. That's right. I am old.

But, now that I think of it, I feel sure that we had at least one BUGWB in Disguise event after that. For those of you who know nothing of what I speak, BUGWB is shortspeak for Baylor Unviersity Golden Wave Band--the marching band I was in for four years in college. The "in disguise" of which I speak was my brainchild while I was at Baylor. (I maybe missed my calling as a party planner.) The band rented out the roller rink and hosted a party where people came in disguise, and then we had a bunch of people in crazy costumes and get-ups skating around. It was a blast. How was I behind this? I was in band leadership--the historian, to be exact. At least that year.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. Tomorrow my age is really going to show when I'm all achy and creaky when I get out of bed after using muscles I haven't used in years! (Although, you could probably argue that those muscles were used a few years ago when we went snow skiing--but it's still been years, people! Haha!)

Happy Christmas break to you all!

Cheers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Countdown

I have survived the worst of it. I had a student assault me this week (fancy words for "he physically shoved me out of the way while going after another student who he initially insulted before the other student insulted his mother") and he has been sent to the alternative school until the end of January. Stinks to be a star athlete with no self control and a bad attittude. That's life.

Same student, in response to me telling him to sit down for the umpteenth time during that class period: "Okay, sweetie."

Same student, in response to me calling his name with the intention of telling him to sit in his ASSIGNED seat for the umpteenth time during the class period: "What NOW?"

Same student, in response to me telling him to sit in his ASSIGNED seat during bus dismissal for the umpteenth time this year: "That's so retarded."

Yes, there were office referrals with at least 2/3 of those.

So, now I have two days left. Tomorrow we play games. Friday we go roller skating. I'm so ready for Friday afternoon to be here. 48 hours! Counting down!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Go Away

Finally, the rain stopped.

Yesterday morning, I got up to go to Sylvan for a couple of hours and it was sprinkling outside, the kind of sprinkle that taunts you, "If it were colder, I would be snow!" By the time I left Sylvan, two hours later, the teasing was over and we had a full on drizzle.

We left around 1, driving the hours in the rain, to come to Mobile for the annual performance of This is Christmas at Eli's parents' church. I did not fall asleep. Woohoo. (It's not boring, people, it's just that after four hours in the car, it's dim, it's warm, and there's this lovely lullaby that sounds like choral chamber music in the background.) And by the time we left, the streets of Mobile were flooded and the radar showed a big red blob in the area, so we hurried back to port and pretty much immediately went to sleep. Thankfully, the rain has stopped.

[Okay, weird. It's 6-something in the morning, and I'm on the computer while everyone else at the Beaver mothership is asleep, and I just heard snoring coming from...the couch. Not sure I want to investigate.]

Elsie was the only baby in the nursery last night, and the ladies fell in love with her (big surprise) and can't wait for her to come back this morning. One of the ladies has been working with the nursery for 30 years and remembered when sister-in-law S, who is now 23, was in the nursery. How's that for longevity?

As I waited for Eli to pull the car around to the awning so that we didn't get wet, I got into a lovely conversation with a woman who commented on how pretty Elsie is (have you entered her into any contests? she asked) and then noticed that my accent didn't sound Southern, where was I from? That's right, my accent. My yankee non-accent is an accent to someone not from here either. She made me guess where she was from when I asked. Eastern Europe, I said. Very good, she said. Now which country? I wish I had gone with my first instinct which was Hungary, but I said Czech Republic. Close, she said. Poland. And then we talked about how she ended up in Mobile, Alabama. She was hitchhiking from California to Florida and got stuck here--now she has a family and this is where she lives. I thought, that's funny, because you're only a stone's throw from Florida. Haha.

Anyway, that's my post for this morning. I may crawl back in bed and pretend like this never happened.

Cheers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lotsa Snotsa

Well, if this weather would ever decide what it's doing I think that our sinuses could finally settle down. Elsie is having a hard time. There's lots of boogage in her nose. She didn't sleep very well last night because she couldn't breathe through it, only her mouth (and so, guess who else didn't sleep well?), and when we woke up this morning she had schnotskies in her hair! Ugh. At 4 something, after I had been up with her an hour earlier, Eli got up with her. She was not happy--screaming, etc.--which makes the mucous drainage situation worse. So, I got up and we tag-teamed her with the blue ball of nasal doom. And while she didn't like it, she did sleep again. And so did we, for about an hour. Eli got up in time to get ready to go to Bible study, but when I woke up at six-thirty (when the study starts), he was still in the shower, comatose, so he completely missed Bible study this morning. And then I was running way late. And the day continued on just like that.

Tonight was our Women's Christmas Party at church and I had the pleasure of designing card-making activities for the ladies. I think they enjoyed it a lot. It was a cookie swap, but this week has been so hectic that I didn't make cookies for it (the irony is that the cookie swapness of it all was partially my idea). I did, however, get to come home with a baker's dozen of various holiday treats. Yum. I know I had a great time watching everyone be creative. There's just something about card-making that is cathartic. I munched on cookies and sipped on cider and helped people who wanted it (and maybe some who didn't...haha).

So, as promised, I completed the New York stage in Mafia Wars on Monday, Elsie's 7-month dodecaversary*. I sent all my great weapons and loot to friends who asked, and I deleted my account from FB. Not as promised, I still have a CastleAge account. I'll probably drop that by the new year. In the meantime, I have been thinking about what kinds of things I can get accomplished while my family is here the week after Christmas. One task I would love help on is fully transitioning the spare bedroom into Elsie's room. She'll be moving around soon enough, and that's just not a safe place for a mobile baby. I also have about a crudzillion totebags full of randomness that I need to just sit down and sort through, but that will probably require heavy amounts of moral support (I'm addicted to totebags almost as much as I am to piling junk). And time to sew up some summer dresses for the little miss. Get a Hobbly Lobby coupon and go get some cute fabric. I have several patterns from an etsy store called Whimsy Couture. And the front closet, which is supposed to be a coat closet but is really more of a place to pile boxes that contain piles--that needs to be cleaned out.

So, I have six more school days until Christmas. Pray that I don't snap. I haven't complained about work this year because--surprise!--there's almost nothing to complain about. But this week has really tested my patience. On Monday, I thought I might just like a good cry to get it out because that's what I did last year, but then I remembered that last year I was pregnant and hormonal, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I remember...nevermind. It was.

On that note, I'm going to sleep. Thanks for tuning in.

Cheers!

*I made up a lot of words in this post. I feel like I may have accomplished more than Bill Shakespeare in the creation of newfangled things to say. What a night!

Monday, December 7, 2009

7 Months

Okay, I admit it. I'm backdating this post. Yesterday I was having issues with the computer and couldn't log in.

So, Elsie is now seven months old! No way! Every month I am more and more amazed at how quickly she's growing and how quickly the time flies.

This month, Elsie has become a solid sitter. She also has been getting up on all fours and rocking, but that's about it. She's very mobile in that she can roll and scoot all over the floor. She thinks it's absolutely hilarious when she ends up under the coffee table.

As far as solids, she has tried rice cereal, sweet potatoes, peas, and prunes. She likes to eat. And she also has been eating way more than I am able to pump. This means that my frozen stores of breastmilk have been diminished severely in the last three weeks. We are down to only three 2.5-oz. bags--three weeks ago I had over 30 bags in the freezer. Part of this is that Elsie had been sleeping through the night with maybe one waking. Then the weather changed, and she has been waking up every 2-3 hours from being cold. I have ordered some wearable blankets to take care of this and am impatiently awaiting their arrival. Because Elsie has been eating more during the night, there has been much less milk available at my first morning pumping. Used to be I could pump 7-8 ounces in the morning. Now I'm lucky if I can get four. It's very depressing. On top of that, Elsie was eating 6-2.5 oz. bottles a day, and then increased to seven. Yesterday J sent a note saying that Elsie ate NINE bottles. I can't keep up.

After the winter break, we're going to set J up with a high chair and a feeding schedule for solid foods. In the meantime, we will probably have to supplement with formula. I know this isn't a big deal in the overall scheme of things. It's just different. Up to this point I have been able to pump enough. Now I'm not.

So, that's it for an update. If I were to guess, I would say that she topped 17 pounds this month.

Love her to pieces. She's just so darn adorable.

Cheers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Picture Pie

So, I had the camera out to take pictures of Elsie's shoes and ended up taking more pictures. I guess that's easier to do when the supplies are handy and there are batteries all ready.

On Thursday night I went to a retirement party for the librarian at our school, and I thought I would be coming home to a hungry screaming baby, but instead I found this:


Then yesterday, I wanted take a picture of Elsie's new shoes, sure, but more importantly the cute blue jacket she's wearing belonged to my niece...about eleven years ago. I remember when Elsie was born I thought that she would never be big enough to wear it. Ha! Now I can't remember when she was ever small enough not to. So, the picture below, she looks like a little boy, but she was looking at the camera without making a silly face.


Then, when we came home yesterday, we had a package from Julie that was full of good stuff. At first Elsie was just interested in chewing on the box, until I unpacked it. We played on the floor with the blocks for a while. You'll notice Timmy in the background wondering what this stuff is.






Uh-oh!


And in the box was a beautiful winter dress that was perfect for Elsie to wear to our first middle school dance last night. We put a bow in her hair and some patent leather shoes on her feet and went dancing!



Whoops. Left the pacifier in the car.


And finally, the in-laws came through last night on their way to Atlanta for the SEC championship game today, and we went out to dinner. By this point, it was way past Elsie's bedtime. Haha. Look how mesmerized she is with her paci clip. Stuck awake.

I'll probably have more pictures for you for tomorrow. We're putting up a Christmas tree today at some point and inviting people over to watch the game. Should be lots of fun.
Cheers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obsessive what?

Okay, okay. Here are a couple pictures of Elsie. The first one shows off her awesome shoes made by my friend Misty at Misty's Blessings. Tomorrow E's going to wear the red ones to show J. The second one is my hungry caterpillar chewing on The Hungry Caterpillar rattle/teether. So, my blog header went from one caterpillar to another. Check out her mint green velour jogging suit.




Two funnies for today:
My students were talking about obsessive compulsive disorder amonst themselves, you know, as if they're experts on the topic (which some may be, and it wouldn't surprise me). They enjoy telling each other that they're OCD about various things. So, yesterday, as some of my students were putting up stickers on our Team Peyton reading chart for Scholastic, someone skipped one of the numbered spaces. The next person went and put her sticker in the empty space to make it all look right again. The boy behind her said, "Man, you're ODD." She asked, "What's ODD stand for?" His reply? "Odd."
I overheard this exchange as we were getting ready to line up for lunch and it really made me laugh. :) But not nearly as much as the kid who bent over the water fountain today to get a drink, but misjudged where the water would squirt and got his eyebrows all wet. An advanced student, I might add. This, my friends, is why I still have a job. :) (FYI -- You should turn the water on and then lean into it and not the other way around, in case you didn't know. Just sayin'.)

Surprisingly, that wasn't my second funny for today. The second one came from a news story on NPR about troop reduction in Afghanistan, talking about how if they reduce troops and then the commander turns around and immediately asks for more manpower, that President Obama will have a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment. Took me a minute, but I had to laugh.
Okay, enough of that. Time for bed.
Cheers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cleaning out my time

I mentioned in a previous post about my addictive gaming personality. I've been playing Mafia Wars on FB since this summer. The game really has no objective and no way to win. So, if you can't win, why play? I don't know. It just seemed like a challenge or something, but it's getting old and it's getting in the way. So, I decided that once I master New York, that I'm done.

Lucky for me, a few weeks ago, the makers of the game that are always adding new content decided to have a Big Apple Week where you could earn twice the experience and twice the loot. As a result of this adventure, I am about a week away from mastering NY, when before I was about two months away. So, ladies and gentlemen, this is me publicly exercising a little accountability. Even though I've been working on it for months, when I meet this goal, I will be deleting my MW account, as well as my CastleAge account (another game that is also futile), and I will be paring down my friends list by deleting MW- and CA-only friends. And while I'm in the mood for profile cleaning, I think I'm going to delete students from the past and high school/college people who I didn't even really know all that well anyhow but were wanting to see my profile.

And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to unpack more of my children's books and read to Elsie more often. There are days when I feel like even though she's only seven months old (almost!!) that I'm already missing out. When she was a helpless babe (lump) and needed/wanted holding, I could think about 100 other things I wanted to be doing, which is why I enjoyed other people holding her. When she was asleep, I wanted to either sleep (or play around on Facebook), now I wish that I had paid more attention to her and held her more at that age, watched her sleep and "treasured all these things in [my] heart."

It's just something that's been on my mind recently.

Cheers.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lip Nose


Well, here we are on the 30th of November. I want to personally apologize to everyone who read any part of my blog over the last month for the true lack of sordid occurrences and the overabundance of the mundane details of our lives. :) It was much easier this year since I didn't have to travel out of state during the month.

On that note, you may be wondering about the title of this post. Me too. I had a student asking me questions about what kind of illness you have when you have swollen lip nose, and my thought was cleft lip? Elephantism? Oh. I see from the way you are gesturing in the general vicinity of your neck and armpits that you mean lymph nodes. No, he assured me, he was talking about lip nose.

Okay.

On another random note, I didn't mention that when we were at the game on Friday, which you will remember we went sans-baby because Auburn does not admit infants without tickets even if they are going to sit in your lap or stay in a Baby Bjorn-type carrier, that a couple walked by us with their infant strapped to them in one of the aforementioned carriers. I told Eli, I know they didn't pay $400 for a ticket for that baby. We sat in a row that had walking space in front of us, and they passed by a handful of times to and from their seats and the concessions stand. Each time they did, I pouted to Eli. I just wanted to run and go get Elsie and bring her. Anyway, after the sun went down, it got cold and I was once again glad that Elsie was elsewhere, but pounted just one more time as they filed down the stairs and out of the stadium ahead of us.

Randomly, the center director at Sylvan is moving because her husband got relocated when the BF Goodrich plant closed, so tonight we had a staff meeting followed by a surprise birthday/going away party for her at a Mexican restaurant in town. I took Elsie with me since Eli is out of pocket (more on that later) so there was a lot of talk about babies. There was a girl there who taught at Sylan before me, but had a baby in February (I was hired to replace her, coincidentally). Somehow the talk of these 9 women, plus the one nerd-guy, turned to Friday's game, and the girl was talking about how they took the baby to the game and how they tried every gate until someone let them in, though they really partially snuck her in. I perked up. Was your baby wearing and orange and white striped hat? Yes... I knew she looked familiar. They were the offending parents at the game. And this has been another episode of it's a small, small world, courtesy of Auburn football and Sylvan Learning Center. Weird.

So, I'm about to roll into bed. Eli had Coast Guard Auxiliary tonight--he was teaching the boating basics lesson--and then hopped in the car to head to B'ham, where he'll stay with his brother tonight, drive to Nashville bright and early to go to MEPS for the National Guard (Medical Entrance Processing S-something), after which he will turn around and head back to Auburn, possibly in time to pick up Elsie from J's. Long day of driving for him.

I, on the other hand, will have to get up early to wash Elsie's dishes for tomorrow because I'm too tired/cold to do it right now.

Again, thanks for hanging in with the mundane details, and thanks for a great month.

Cheers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ho Hum..I've been reduced to boring updates

Well, we slept in this morning as much as we could. Then Elsie and I got up and went to church. We got there on time. Really, we did. There still weren't any bulletins left, so I hope that nothing important is going on at church this week because the calendar on the church website is not useful (for instance, it said there was Sunday school this morning, which I knew there wasn't, but it still made me second-guess myself).

I thought about scaring up some people to go out to lunch, but in the end, my homebody-ness won out. Elsie and I came home, stopping at McDonald's on the way. Then we played for a while--she's fascinated by mouths and nostrils this week. She was getting tired, so we went into the bedroom and I read while I tried to get her to sleep. Yeah, right. She fussed. And tossed. And fussed some more. I sat her up, and she giggled and smiled. Then toppled over and fussed some more. I sat her up and she immediately flopped over to complain some more. Ugh.

Eli came home from the hunting camp and Elsie was still awake. He went out into the living room to watch TV and then came to get her when she wouldn't stop. She belched for him, and pretty much went into sleep mode. So, she slept for almost 2 hours while I tried to finish my book, losing my battle with the waning daylight. I came into the living room and finished it and she woke up. And that's it.

Here I am.

Not ready to go back to school tomorrow.

Ugh.

Three weeks until Christmas break. I can do it.

Fun, right?

Cheers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Keep her away from flag poles

Eli's at the hunting camp until tomorrow evening, so it's just us girls hanging out today. We went out this morning and met Elsie's Aunt S for brunch when she drove through on her way back to Duke. Then, we went to Target, ultimately looking for socks for Eli. But, we didn't find what we were looking for and were waylaid in the baby section. Elsie got cranky, so we went to check out, and I picked her up out of the cart (she was sitting in the big kid seat with a cart cover that MC gave us) and she drooled on my shoulder for a little bit, and then fell alseep, all while we were waiting to check out. So, after I paid, I put her down in the seat, laying down, and we went back in for another round. Somewhere in housewares, Elsie woke up and was not happy, so we went to the car and made our way home (2 quick stops).

The diaper I changed when we got home was unlike any other. Paste. Ugh. And she was wearing her new red shoes from Misty's Blessings and somehow, somehow, she got poop on them. Still not quite sure how that happened.

We played and hung out, but she eventually went to sleep on our bed, sleeping for over an hour. When she woke up, I put her on the floor in the living room and she sat and played and then rolled around a bit. The next time I looked up, she had made her way over to the coffee table, which has metal legs, and was licking the nearest leg. Lots of drool. She was very intent on her absolute drool coverage. It was pretty funny.

It's still early yet, but I think we're going to try some bananas tonight, take a bath, and then go to bed. Then, maybe, just maybe, I'll grade some papers. Maybe.

Cheers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crimson Friday

Gameday.

We woke up this morning with the intent to hit some of the Black Friday sales and then head on over to the campus for the game. Got up, got out and bought a suit for Eli at Belk and officially started our Christmas shopping. You know how you get excited about a gift that you got for someone and just can't wait to give it to them, so you feel like giving it to them before Christmas? Yeah? Me, too. And the only reasons I don't do that are 1) this person doesn't live nearby, and 2) I'm way over-excited about this and am afraid that my excitement might overshadow the person's reaction to the gift and I would be disappointed.

So, after the mall, we took Elsie over to my friend M's house. She couldn't go to the game because evidently she would need a ticket even if she were going to sit on our laps. We said goodbye, and M told me to feel free to call as often as I needed to to check up on the baby, that it would be okay. My response was pretty much, "Please don't think terribly of me if I don't call at all." She laughed. We drove back to the mall, parked the car, and rode the shuttle to the stadium.

The game was a nail biter, for sure. I had a revelation somewhere in the middle of it that the game is called the "Iron Bowl" because it used to take place in B'ham, which is famous for its iron industry (at least in the state of Alabama, it is). Duh. It only took me 5 years to figure that out. And my other revelation was that I've been to several Iron Bowls, but never a one has the Tide won. I started to sweat in an unnecessarily superstitious way. Thankfully, Bama came back to win it. Thankfully. Did I say that?

We made it back to the shuttle stop and the line was soooooooooooo looooooooooooong since EVERY SINGLE FAN stayed to the last seconds of the game. There was no graduated escape from the stadium. Everyone left at once, and everyone headed for the shuttle at once. I could not stand in that long line. It's just a thing. I can't do it. I hate lines. I won't stand in them if they are ridiculous. So, Eli and I took it to the streets and hoofed it the 3 miles back to M's house (remember in a previous post when I mentioned that it was a "healthy" walking distance?) and Elsie was great. Everyone there at M's Iron Bowl party told us how good she was and how the little boys were enamored with her. When we came in, in fact, Elsie was chewing on an airplane propellor that was attached to a toy airplane that one of the boys gave her (they were ages 2, 4, and 5). Nice.

M and her husband used to cater, so they had great food. We ate it up heartily. Finally, M gave us all a ride back to the house. We will pick up the car from the mall in the morning. We're just exhausted!

So, now it's time for bed. And it's only 8:47. :)

Roll Tide!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quiddle me this!

Elsie did not sleep well last night at the g'parents' house. She was cold, even in her fleece pajamas, so she kept waking up. Finally, this morning we brought her into the king-sized bed (because there was plenty of room) to warm her up. It is always so cold at the in-laws' house. Even in the summer I bring a sweatshirt to wear when we're there. Anyway...

We spent the morning watching the parade on TV, and prepping for lunch. We didn't sit down to lunch until 1 p.m, and left to come back home at 1:40. It was a short visit, but it was good. Everyone got a good dose of Elsie time. While we ate lunch, she sat on the floor in the living room watching whatever colorful show was on the TV and playing with her pacifier. She sat up the whole time! No toppling backwards and hitting her head on the floor. It was funny as we heard her talking to herself and giving her pacifier what for. My cute girl.

We got back into town around 5 and Eli went and picked up one of our dinner guests. The other arrived shortly after Eli came back. Both are young men from church who didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. We had a fantastic time talking and getting to know each other better. The architecture student had to get back to the studio and get to work (which is why he didn't go home for Thanksgiving), but the other gentleman stayed and wanted to play a game with us.

I was happy to oblige, since I love playing games and since Eli won't play with just me, dragging out every single board game and card game that I could find. I haven't had the games out at all since we moved into this apartment, so it was great. In searching through the games we came across a few that had never been opened, so we ended up playing Quiddler, a card word game I picked up on the cheap back when I worked at the bookstore. Eli started out dominating the game, but I ended up winning. I love word games.

So, now it's bedtime.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I'm reminded how thankful I am for my family that raised me, for the family I procured through marriage, and for the family I acquired through friendships. Love you all. Thank you, Lord.

Cheers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Live, from Mobile, it's Wednesday night!

We're here in Mobile. After a morning of getting the apartment ready to come back at the last minute before we're supposed to have people over for supper* while Eli went to work for the morning, we made it in the car and made it to the in-laws'. We are currently awaiting the last of the Beavers to show up (M&S, where are you?). Tacos for dinner. Elsie's in bed.

Aaaah.

Grandma and Paw-paw Beaver, as they will be known to Elsie until she starts calling them something else, purchased a crib and put it in M's old bedroom because there is no room in Eli's old room where we usually sleep if we get first pick. So I joked that Elsie would sleep in with M&S while we get to sleep in the comfy bed. Haven't slept in the same room as Elsie since...well, the last time we traveled. South Carolina, I think? Also, the in-laws dismantled M's bunkbeds to make one large king-sized bed, so this should be interesting. King-sized beds make us feel like we're sleeping on different continents than each other. I mean, why not just buy two twin beds (cheaper) and put them across the room Lucy-Desi style? See? I'm just full of tips to save money, short-term and long-term...haha. :)

Either way, it will be a welcome change from our bed at home. I always seem to sleep better when I'm not in my own bed. Weird, I know.

So, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone!

Cheers.

*Evidently "dinner" is a synonym for "lunch" in the South as Eli is quick to remind me--so confusing since I've used them interchangeably my whole life!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Optimus Trash

I was up until midnight last night cutting up fruit. There were moements when I thought it might have been worth it to buy the pre-sliced-and-diced fruit tray, but it really is an expensive luxury. So it was worth it. The teachers ate what I took with me, and I have extras at home. I also had to leave early this morning to get donuts for my homeroom. I went first to the donut shop around the corner that serves up square donuts (4 extra bites!), but they're closed for the week. So I had to go in the completely wrong direction to get donuts, but again, worth it.

Tonight Eli and I watched Transformers 2. Um, not a family movie. Not in a wholesome sense. Lots of foul language. LOTS. It really wasn't that good, and the special effects were way over the top to the point they were distracting. I remember the first one was pretty good except for a stupid conversation between Shia Labeouf and his co-star that made the movie inappropriate for children. Oh, well.

It's midnight again. It's time for bed. Eli is headed into work for a short time in the morning and then we're headed to Mobile for about 24 hours. And I think we may be eating two Thanksgiving meals on Thursday. I'm overwhelmed thinking about it.

In the meantime,

Cheers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nom nom nom

This is going to be a quick post tonight. It has been a long day and Eli and Elsie are already in bed. I'm going to get up early in the morning and get my teacher food prepared for our Thanksgiving social (slice and dice some fruit), and then I have to run and get the promised donuts for my homeroom for dominating our team food drive competition. There are ten teams in the school (4 sixth, 3 seventh, 3 eighth), and our team is pretty amazing. Love these kids, even on days when I just know that my hairs are turning silver.

Anyway, while I was at Wal-Mart tonight, I bought some more diapers--Elsie is now in size 3!!! My baby is growing! And I got several more teething toys because is she ever teething! Everything is nom nom nom right into her mouth. She tried to eat my hair tonight at the judge's house (we went there for dinner after Sylvan), and then decided that it didn't taste so good. Haha.

I promise I will have more pictures soon. The girl who took Elsie's six month pictures is kinda' charging an arm and a leg for the digital rights to one of her photos, so I can't use them on Christmas cards because I'm too cheap to buy the rights. I just dropped part of Elsie's college fund buying prints of the pictures, anyway. I'm about to have to take this into my own hands. We'll see what I can come up with over this Thanksgiving break.

Time for bed!

Cheers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hanging Out

Well, the Beavers were only 3 minutes late to Sunday school this morning, after not eating breakfast and driving right by Hardees. [insert pouty face icon] Elsie made it to the nursery and we rushed upstairs and threw open the classroom door and found...

...the pastor.

We were the only ones. Turns out that conditions today were exactly perfect for people to stay away from church. 1) It was rainy. 2) Auburn didn't have a game this weekend. 3) Auburn students don't have class this week because of the Thanksgiving holidays. So, yeah. Just us. It wasn't so much Sunday school as be-put-on-the-spot-and-answer-personal-questions-posed-by-your-pastor time.*

We had a good talk, getting to reminisce about the early days of Erin and Eli, how we met and all that. He asked about Eli's job plans and a little bit about Elsie and her daycare sitch. Turns out I talk too much and probably need to think more before I speak (or write, as the case may be). Sorry, guys, if I use this as my dumping ground for frustration. Duly noted. :) And we talked about difficulties in trying to coordinate holiday travel schedules (which I mentioned in our advent devotional).

It was a good "hanging out" time, for sure. I still think it would have been fun to learn about different people in our church, which is what the lesson was supposed to be [for new members...we're old hats who hang out with the newbies]. Haha.

Church was good. Our neighbors didn't come, but I'll be sure to invite them after Thanksgiving on a Sunday when we are not scheduled for the nursery. We came home and took a nap, and then EW (a friend from Eli's childhood) came over with the Rug Doctor she rented from Winn-Dixie and we cleaned the living room rug. It is currently draped over the dining room table and chairs drying. But I feel much better about the prospect of Elsie crawling around on it once it goes back on the floor.

In the meantime, Eli went to a deacon training session at church, and when he came home, I went to the "Movie Night" wrap-up from our fall women's study -- Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller. So good! I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but it comes highly recommended. We re-watched the 32 minute video that kicked off the study, and then wrapped up our thoughts. I was disappointed that there were only 7 people there. Our associate pastor's wife was the only non-Sunday night person there, even though it was supposed to be women from all three groups coming together. Oh, well.

So, now I'm home, and I'm trying to mentally prepare for this short week. And I should probably physically prepare, too (i.e. lesson plans).

Cheers!

*Just kidding. He said his wife is now reading my blog--Hi ATB! Hope you're having a good time in Nashville!--so I thought I would poke a little at him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Oddities

Some more things I have on my mind this Saturday.

Left Hand -- Remember when I said I re-injured my wrist bowling? Wrong. I injured my middle and ring finger on my left hand. Weird, right? This morning it was cold outside and they hurt a lot. I couldn't get the fingers to straighten out, and I had to move my wedding rings to the other hand.

Sylvan -- They asked if I would be willing to work Saturdays, that they were trying to put together two teams of two teachers so we could alternate. Well, they went ahead and scheduled me, and then told me that they only got one team of two teachers, so I'm working 3 on and one off. Gee. Thanks. But, on the flip side, that's 6 extra hours a month, and I'm done by 10 a.m. on Saturdays.

Shoes -- My friend Misty from college opened up an Etsy store called Misty's Blessings. She's going to make some shoes for Elsie in black, denim, and red. I'm really excited. And I'm thrilled about helping her get her store off the ground.

Observation -- Thursday at school I was observed by the principal. They call it an announced observation -- there was a note by the sign-in book when I came in on Thursday that said he would be by some time during the day. I'm sooooo glad my planning period is first period. I was able to get everything done that I needed to in order to make sure the day's lesson was pretty good. We started on how-to writing, and I showed the kids my piece on how to cut a hole in a piece of paper that you can put your whole body through. They were amazed, and broke into spontaneous applause.

Poop -- We were getting ready to go to Sam's Club for dinner (Holiday Tasting special) and we got in the car and got out of the parking lot when Eli pulls over. He smelled poop. Yup. Elsie had pooped everywhere, so we had to come back to the apartment, change her clothes entirely after giving her a bath. We tried again. We went to Sam's Club, Academy, and then to the mall. Elsie got tired of being in her stroller so I picked her up, and, sniff sniff. More poop. For real? So, it's been a poopy day.

I feel like there's more rattling around in there, but I can't think of it, so I'll call it a day.

Cheers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oddities of the Mind

Just some random thoughts for today:

1. Tousle. I think the Herbal Essense commercial that created a great discussion on the word is just now airing in the Pacific Northwest/Canada because in the last few days I've had a couple of random comments from that area of the world on that old post.

2. Guilty. The jury found the SOB guilty of the murder of his 7-month-old son, and to their credit, they did take an hour to deliberate. This means that Eli will not have to work on Saturday as we had at first feared.

3. Friday. TGIF. For some reason, it was a long week at school. We have one class that is giving us extreme headaches. They didn't get to finish their lab today in science. They didn't get to go to the library today in English. They didn't get to participate in the team vs. team challenge in math. All because they couldn't get it together and shut their mouths and be respectful to the adults! I don't know what they're doing in social studies, but he never complains about them. They did mention watching a fil about the Civil Rights Movement, which made them cry.

4. Nightmares. My nightmares last night seriously included my student who (probably) has Aspberger's. I don't dream about students. Last night, ALL night, she kept following me around, asking me questions, telling me how to do things, and I remember that I had an office referral in my hand trying to figure out how to write her up so that I could have some peace and quiet! In real life, this same student has been driving me crazy this week (go figure) and I'm very much looking forward to our 2-day week next week just so that I don't have someone asking me questions all the time! (And when I say no to something she wants to do, she re-ASKS the question, justifying why she wants to do it, or giving me a way to make it work. I'm really having to work on not being mean when I'm annoyed with her. Didn't I just say no? What did that mean to you? Ugh.)

5. Cuteness. Elsie Jane vs. the Gerber Baby. I'm pretty sure my baby is cuter. And she's finished with the growth spurt that had her waking up 2-3 times a night to eat over the past two weeks or so. That's my girl.

6. Caretakers. It was quiet for a while, all going well. On Wednesday, I went to pick Elsie up and J had her in a hideous outfit without any explanation as to why she changed Elsie's clothes. I'm pretty sure my first question to Elsie was, "What are you wearing?" J inferred that I didn't like it. I told her that it made Elsie look like a little old lady with her pants pulled up to her armpits. J told me she thought it was cute and that Elsie looked like a Victorian baby. I said okay, but it probably came out more like ooookay. End of it. I was going to take the baby into public (church) and she would not be wearing that, so when we got over to visit the judge's wife, I pretty much immediately changed her clothes. I did really think about it because I didn't want to hurt J's feelings, but she told me she wouldn't be going to church that night, so I figured it couldn't hurt. Except that she asked me on Thursday morning whether I changed her clothes. And I didn't lie to her. She keeps going out and buying these clothes for Elsie--from the thrift store and also brand new. It's just not necessary. That kind of bothers me.

7. Thanksgiving/Iron Bowl. The plan is to take Elsie to the biggest football game of the year if it is warm enough. Otherwise, not. But J sort of thinks it is her right to keep the baby if we don't take her. "Elsie told me she wants to stay with us during the Auburn/Alabama game," she says last week. "Have you reconsidered?" on Monday. "I hope you'll change your mind," on Wednesday. "We're really sad that you won't let her stay with us," on Friday. Ugh. And when I told her that I had Wednesday through Friday off next week, she said, "We'll only get to see her two days? That's so mean!" And she was serious. And I'm serious in saying that this is getting annoying. In fact, if she doesn't go to the football game, Elsie will probably stay with my friend Meredith who lives within healthy walking distance of the stadium, and not J. And it's not because I'm vindictive, though there's a part of me that wants to be.

8. Floors. The house cleaners came back to redo the floors. They look great! Exactly what I wanted the first time. The supervisor came with to oversee the circumstances, and Eli was here. I'm pretty sure his exact e-mail words were, "She was really a...but you talked to her on the phone, so you already know." Eli tipped the girls, since they weren't getting paid for this job.

9. Neighbors. As I was taking Elsie to check the mail, our neighbors by the swimming pool were out trying to get their live Christmas tree into a stand (I guess it is close enough to Thanksgiving...) and needed a wrench. I was happy to oblige. We stood around talking for a while, and she helped me bring everything back to the apartment (baby, mail, wrenches). First thing I thought was that I was not embarrassed to have someone in my house (woohoo!)--and that was a relief. Thank you house cleaners! And then she asked how we got our floors clean. I told her about the cleaning company, and gave her a coupon that I found for them in the newspaper. And invited her to church, since I told her we go to church with the owner. They may come on Sunday. :)

10. Sleep. I've been running late to work most days this week. I really need to catch up on my sleep. And that's easier now that Elsie is sleeping better again.

Cheers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heavy Stuff

Eli is working in the courtroom during his first capital murder trial. I didn't know very much about it when I went to spend our limbo time between school and church with the judge's wife. She mentioned that she told her husband not to give her any details because it was so disturbing, and that she didn't know how he could listen to testimony on the subject. She gave me a little synopsis about it, but not much. Then it was on the front page of the paper today. I'm horrified.

My heart goes out to all the men and women who have to sit through and even give testimony in this case involving a young man who is accused of murdering his 7-month-old son and abusing both the son and a 3-year-old girl (non-relative). The man was 18 at the time. The story caught my eye becaues it was 1) the front page, 2) the court reporter that I know was in the corner of the picture, and 3) the doctor they showed on the stand testifying about the unresponsive baby coming to the emergency room was the same doctor who treated my first asthma attack last summer.

After Eli came home, I asked him some questions. He answered a few of them, but then he said something that reminded me that he's one of those people who has to sit through the horrifying testimony each day. He told me that he'd rather not talk about it, but spend time with us. Sometimes I can be so dense. That totally makes sense.

People who see the depravity of the human race on a regular basis (law enforcement officials, judges, lawyers, ministers, hospital staff, social workers) need a break too, no matter how much we want to know details. They need a time to decompress and leave their work behind them.

Why didn't I think of that before I opened my big mouth?

If Eli goes into his own practice, I'm going to have to learn to wait and listen and be available for him if and when he wants to share. Not to force the issue. As a general state of being.

So, Eli, I'm sorry for being so insensitive. I love you.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bed time is too soon!

There's a lot to do tonight before bedtime.

The house cleaners are coming again tomorrow to make reparations for the last job, so I have to quick clean up like I've been keeping up with this all week! Ugh. I wish there were either more time in the day or fewer places to be.

We went to church tonight and after the main part, talked around our dinner table about Crown Financial vs. Dave Ramsey. I didn't have much to say about Crown, but I do love Dave. Which reminds me...

On Sunday we finally sat down to have a budget meeting. The first one in...well, if I told you I'd have to kill you. It's been a while. I was starting to get stressed out that there wasn't a PLAN in place. It's pretty much been that way since we moved here. I was tired of it. We fixed it. Now I'm happy. (Have I mentioned that I have under 2 years until my student loans are paid off? Woohoo!)

I have to also order Elsie's 6-month prints before I go to bed, because if I wait, I don't get the 10% off deal. So add that to my pre-bedtime list. And now I have to go get some of it done.

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mystery in the kitchen

A little background to today's chuckle:

As a way to build vocabulary, all over the school are vocabulary word cards on the walls that the kids pass on their way to and from class. When we line up for the library, I say, "Please line up under dissent." When we line up for the bathrooms I say, "The end of the line should not extend past stagnant." Weird sentences in and of themselves, but if you were there, you would understand.

Due to budget stuff, our school doesn't offer home economics or family consumer sciences, or whateve they call it now. It just an empty kitchen with refrigerators that are used by teachers to store our lunches (or Elsie's lunch, as it were) during the day.

Now for the funny.

At the seventh grade meeting last week, one of the teachers complained about the strong odor in the kitchen, saying that it smelled like something died. It was during a week in which my sinuses were clogged, so I couldn't smell much of anything. But when I tried really hard to breathe through my one partially working nostril, I could sense the funk in the air. The janitor found a couple of dead rats in the cabinets in the kitchen. Not lab experiments. Starved residents. Ick.

Anyway, I realized today that one of the word cards was missing off the wall on my way to lunch, but I dismissed it and didn't think of it again. Until I got to the kitchen. Someone had relocated the following word card to the door of the kitchen:


I laughed heartily. And am still smiling about it.
Cheers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Advent Devotional

Our church puts together an advent devotional book, and asks members to write individual devotionals. This year the Beavers were assigned Romans 8:18. So, I looked through all the translations until I found the "perfect" one. And since I spent the evening writing and editing with Eli, I figured I would put it here (two birds with one stone, and all that).

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)

Many of us look forward to the holidays as a season to relax and spend time with family. We have idealized notions of what the holidays will look like for us, for our family; yet, for many, the reality falls short of our expectations. We couldn’t find the items we were looking for, so we settled for something less perfect to give. Our tree is slightly lopsided, a bit Charlie Brown-esque, but it’s the best we can afford. The cookies we made using Grandma’s famous recipe come out tasting, well, unsuitable to serve the guests (though they’ll probably get eaten if I put them in the teacher’s lounge). Someone is disappointed by our travel plans, however much we try to satisfy everyone. Though we gave heavy hints about what the perfect present would be, we’re disappointed that no one listened (“present sufferings”…get it?). We don’t have time or energy to do everything, see everyone, and still have the perfect Christmas experience. Woe is we. Uh, woe is us. Well, woes, anyway.

It’s times like this that Paul’s words get straight to the point of things. What is important? Our holiday tribulations are so trivial compared to our purpose here. It’s imperative that we lift our eyes above these earthly concerns to true perfection—the coming of the Lord’s kingdom. Our role in that does not include the perfect presents, the perfect tree, the perfect cookies, or the perfect family-appeasing travel plans. Our role is simply to receive THE PERFECT GIFT and to share Him with the world.

-----
I heard on NPR today that there are 45 days left until 2010. That means there are 38 days until Christmas. Cheers!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Early

I'm going to go ahead and finish up my daily post because I have a TON of papers to grade before progress reports tomorrow.

Today is our church's Thanksgiving Luncheon. They have it every year a week or two before the actual holiday so that the college students can be included (they eat free). Everyone brings a side or a dessert.

Well, yesterday I was thinking about what I should bring, when I remembered that I have this Peterbrooke Chocolate Truffle Cake kit that I've been meaning to use. So, Eli ran to the store and got the eggs, and after game night last night at a friend's house, I came home and made the cake.

At least, I put the ingredients together.

Forty minutes later, when it was time to take the cake out of the oven, I was a smidge surprised that the entire center of the cake had fallen in. Shucks. I figured I would still take it. It was made with espresso powder and milk chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs. I won't eat it at home (coffee/coffe flavor = gross). I may just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and pray no one notices the BIG HOLE in the middle.

Which reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except that this cake is not a Bundt cake. "I fixed it!" (The aunt puts a flower pot in the middle of the cake to fix the hole.)

I'll talk to you all tomorrow. In the meantime, you can jaunt over to CatchLight Photography on Facebook to see a couple of Elsie's six-month pictures. Or you can see the proofs online, for your viewing pleasure.

Cheers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Songs of Nostalgia

The other day I was talking to my mentor when her intern was in the classroom. He pulled out some random music fact about J. S. Bach, and we're like, "How do you know that?" He said that he remembered it from a song he sang in grade school choir, called "The Music Fact Rap."

At which point I started singing.

"The Music Fact Rap is fun to sing.
The beat is rock and lyrics swing.
You can snap your fingers,
clap your hands,
dance to the rhythm of a hundred bands."

Granted, it's been since 5th grade for me (in Germany), but I remember most of the words (so this may not be exact). He was amazed at this, for he had never heard of anyone else who knew the song. So, we sang little snippets.

"Babbit, Bartok, Berrio, Boulet, and Berg, you see."
"Legato means smoothly; Staccato means short. Short. Short short short.
"Fermata means hooooooooooold the noooooooooooooote loooooooooonnnnnnger."

Anyway, I've looked all over the Internet to find the lyrics, but they are not to be found. Now, if I wanted to indulge in some nostalgia, I could purchase the music and CD for $15, but at this point, it's really not worth it. Maybe when Elsie is older. :)

So this reminded me of another nostalgic song that I thought I was the only person to know (my family excepted), and that's the birthday song. When I was little, perhaps when we lived in New York (?), my parents bought me this record of a birthday song that they would play on my birthday...for many years.

"This is Space Command to Erin." Those words woke me up on my birthday for years.

"My name is Zoom and I live on the moon. I came down to Earth just to sing you this tune, because, Erin, it's your birthday--TODAY!" And on and on about the different aliens he wanted to get me.

Anyway, I got into a conversation about this with a co-worker once when I lived in Austin, and she told me her brother Mark had that SAME record (except it didn't say Erin, it said Mark). I was amazed! No one has ever heard this song.

So, with these things in mind, there are some songs from 5th grade choir that I still sing when I'm in the car by myself, but I don't know more than 1 verse. I don't know the title. I don't know anything. So, if you know these songs, could you let me know?

Song #1 (I tried out for a solo and didn't get it. That was the last time I sung by myself in front of people until I tried out for the musical when I was 28):

"When I was home in Scarlet Town, I had a single dream:
to sail away across the seas to lands I'd never seen.
I longed for new adventures, a land to call my own,
but I never thought I'd ever leave home."

It came from a series of songs about sailors and sailing and stuff.

and Song #2:

"It's not fun to feel bad. We don't want you looking sad. Try a happy face and you'll be glad you let us chase your blues away."

On that note (ha), I'm the last one in bed. Goodnight!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miscommunication (or, "If you want it done right, do it yourself.")

I thought for a minute that I might go to sleep, but I do need to reflect on my day.

Wednesday, I had my house cleaned by two girls who work for a cleaning company owned by one of our church family members. Thursday, I got a message from the company wanting to follow-up with my cleaning. I waited until I had gone to pick up Elsie and get home and settled when I could talk to them openly and honestly about the service received, but the ladies who run the company didn't answer the phone. Our friend who owns the company did. I had assured him previously that I would have no problem being honest about the level of service I received, so I was comfortable giving feedback, being careful to assure him that the mostly minor areas of neglect did not outweigh the pleasant experience and my desire to have them come back in the next two months (since that's how frequently they would have to come in order to get the "regular" customer prices). He told me he would relay the message, and that one of the ladies would probably be calling to ask for more specifics, directly from me. So, today, when my phone rang near the end of my planning period, and it was the cleaning company, I answered it, thinking I would know what to expect. I was wrong.

"Mrs. Beaver, this is R--- at [insert cleaning company name here]. It was relayed to me that you were unhappy with your home cleaning last Wednesday. A---, the crew leader who cleaned your home, does not take receiving complaints about her work very well, and is very upset about this. She wants to make it right, so we will come out and redo anything that wasn't done right the first time, and this will be at no charge to you. Just tell me when you are available, and I will personally be there to monitor the end result."

Um. I didn't know what to say. She did not ask for specifics or other information, as our friend said she would, but just assumed the worst based on the phone message. This is, of course, just the gist of what she said. She did mention something about the other girl being new and them just finding out that she's pregnant, but that that had nothing to do with this. (So why bring it up?)

Anyway, now I feel like a jerk, though I went out of my way to express how content I was with the overall service. We had even talked about how it takes 1-2 cleanings to reach a level of familiarity with the customer and the individual expectations since everyone's standards are different. I mean, I'm glad to get a free floor cleaning, since that's really what my major "complaint" was. I told the owner that I didn't feel like the floors were done well (not any better than I could get them, and that's why I called them in the first place--for help with the floors, since Elsie is getting more mobile), and that was the weakest part of the cleaning. But seriously, with everything else going on tonight, I feel like I can't really do anything right. Geez.

On a related note, it's time like these that I realize that my mother's standards have become my own ideal cleaning standards. I'm not saying that that's the way I always keep things, but if I have the time and energy to commit, things get clean. Part of me thinks, well, if I had time or energy to be a perfectionist, I would clean my house myself. And obviously I don't have the time or energy, or I wouldn't be paying other people to come and do it.

So, now that the dirty laundry is out of the bag (as far as me being a jerk), here's the nitpicky list of what was left undone:

the top of the refrigerator (okay, the girls were like 5'5" tall and probably didn't see what I saw)
the inside of the door to the microwave (the rest was clean, though...weird)
the underside of the toilet seat (I wouldn't have noticed if Eli hadn't said anything)
the bathroom floors weren't mopped (and I wouldn't have noticed except for a spot that I knew was there before they came, and was still there after)
one of the five fan blades on the ceiling fan in Elsie's room was left undusted (also very weird since the other four were...and did I mention that the girls were 5'5"?)
ends of the granite countertops closest to the walls were not dusted (it's black, dust is gray--I feel guilty for noticing)
cobwebs on the light fixtures and in ceiling corners (I specifically mentioned these and she got the ones on the antlers and in the den--but not the bathroom!)
and finally, the hardwood floors not cleaned well--swept, mopped, but not spectacular--sticky spots and dribbles were still there

All things that have been left UNDONE by me for a long time. So there it is. I'm a jerk. I'm lazy. And I'm tired.

I want to write a note to A--- and let her know that there was a miscommunication, but Eli has already said that he will be here when A--- and her superviser come again, just to reassure her that things were extremely misconstrued and to apologize for causing upset in her work.

I love him. And for some strange reason, he loves me, even when my foot is planted firmly in my mouth, even when it happens by accident.

Cheers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eulogy for a Gate

No matter what anyone said about it, it was definitely a gate. Because of its presence making our home a part of a so-called "gated community," we were theoretically safter, and therefore, more rent could be charged. If nothing else, it at least did its part in earning its room and board.

Only, if only, the gate had even worked the first year that we lived here. But, alas, it would stand open, forlornly, not knowing what to do. It missed receiving its friendly signal from the clickers in the passing cars. It could only watch us come and go, and could not prevent it.

Until summer. It was as if the gate came alive! And what trouble it caused to make up for the many months of being cast aside as an iron ornament on the property! It would play its silly games, pretending it didn't know that it was supposed to be open from 7am to 7 pm, sometime closing at 4pm, and sometimes not opening until after 8am. Teehee. What a joker it was!

And it would tease visitors with its little call box, giving hope that entrance could be had with the press of the button, only to inappropriately laugh at them for getting out of their cars to use the inconvenient keypad on the passenger side of the car that is not accessible except by foot, finding only three fictitious names listed, ones that started with the letters X, Y, and Z, pre-programmed as the manufacturer trial names. Mwahaha! It was shameless.

Though it still continued to open and close at wanton hours, it finally was preparing to be disciplined by its makers who intended to finally (after 15 months of our residency) put resident names in the magic list of numbers. The little gate would play no more tricks. But unfortunately, little gate played one trick too many. While most were hopeful that the little gate would soon be fully functional, er...disciplined, someone got mad and wanted retribution. Unfortunately, I was the one to find the poor thing in its debilitated state. And I wept bittersweet [nonexistent] tears.





Rest In Peace, little [annoying, bothersome, maddening, elitist] gate.

(Our neighbor was speculating that it may have been his "scorned lady friend" who caused this damage.)

Cheers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Doctor Veteran

Two things.

1) Happy Veteran's Day! To all my favorite veterans out there (and my second favorite, too!), thank you for your service to our country, to my family, to my freedoms. This would be a very different country without your sacrifices! Love you, Dad!

2) Elsie had her 6-month appointment today. Here's the stats:
Weight: 16 pounds, 14 ounces
Height: 26.5 inches long
Head: 18 inches

And to put it in perspective, these were her birth statistics:
Weight: 8 pounds, 1 ounce
Height: 21 inches
Head: 15 inches

All is going well. We talked to the doctor about solid foods and about a red mark on Elsie's abdomen that is raised and growing--called a strawberry-something-or-other. Sara (the pediatrician) says it will grow for a while long and then will shrink back down and disappear. "Should be" no problem.

The day off was a great time to spend together as a family.
Today's date: 11/11
Elsie's appt. time: 10 o'clock (but we didn't get seen until 11)
The nursery pager number at church tonight: #11

Happy prime-prime-square!

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Brain Gunk

Today has been a series of randomness. Mostly I've been very tired and should probably be in bed, except that I needed to blog today to keep up with NaBloPoMo. So, a couple of things on my mind:

1. Timmy has discovered the bathroom rug is a comfortable place to sleep. Yes, we've had the rug for a year and a half, and only just yesterday did he discover this. Weirdo.

2. I don't have to go to work tomorrow! Neither does Eli! Though, he does have to go get some blood drawn in the morning. Elsie has a doctor's appointment mid-morning, and I have the cleaning company coming in the afternoon. We have church in the evening, and thankfully, no Sylvan. And then our day "off" is over.

3. I realized at the very end of the day today that I won't be at school in the morning on Thursday (district writing committee meeting) and that my classroom is a wreck! So, that means that at some point tomorrow I will need to go up to school (booooo!) and get everything together for the sub. Ugh.

4. I hate doing dishes by hand. With all the bottles, etc., I have to do dishes frequently to keep up. It will only get worse as we add sippy cups, bowls, baby spoons, etc, as the top rack of the dishwasher is usually full of other stuff. I will go ahead and accept it now that it just will never end.

I think that's it as far as what I have rolling around in my head for now. At least, the things that I have the brain power to write about right now.

Cheers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I am a jelly doughnut.

I woke up this morning to the reminder that it has been 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. It's a bit disturbing now to admit that I can remember things that happened twenty years ago. (I now officially feel OLD!)

Granted, twenty years ago I didn't really understand what was going on. My German teacher was reading us a story about a boy who woke up one morning and the wall had been erected in the night. He was caught on the other side of the wall from his family. That's the only part of the story that I remember.

The fall of the wall was all over the news. People were set up outside the BX (base exchange, for all you non-military types) selling T-shirts and pieces of the wall. Tiny little Trabi cars full of people appeared all over West Germany. I knew that this was a Big Deal, but I didn't know why. Suddenly, we went from living in West Germany to living in Germany. That was my childhood.

Twenty years. A lifetime ago.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Looking ahead to summer 2010

Remember when I said that I would rather be a hunting season "widow" than a football season "widow"? Can I take that back? :)

Hunting season starts in a few weeks, so the boys are out at the camp getting ready, cleaning out shooting houses and putting up ladders. Eli went to Sunday school this morning and then left for West Alabama. Elsie and I stayed for church and then went to Dollar Tree after church to stock up on supplies to fill our Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child boxes. We then drove through Checkers and were back at church, almost like we never left. It took about an hour and a half to wrap and fill the boxes. Now we're home. I should be working on lesson plans, but all the materials I need are in the car that isn't here. Oh, well.

So, about this summer job for 2010...

First, a little background. I desperately need additional income to pay off my credit cards, the last little part of getting out of personal debt. My student loans will be paid off in two years (October 2011)--woohoo!--so I need the push to get there. The only problem with this plan to pay off personal debt in a timely manner is Elsie.

Now, Elsie in and of herself is not a problem. It's just that I have worked every summer of my life since I turned 16. As a teacher, that means that for the last 8 years (except this past one, of course), summer income has been "extra" money, used to pay for trips to Guatemala and Japan, to pay off furniture, to finance moves, to pay down credits cards, to start an emergency fund--you get the picture. This summer, however, will be very different. I can't just up and work a job 40 hours a week, or even 20 hours for that matter, with a little one to care for. I was in a bind--the cost of childcare would not be economical, as I would basically be working for nothing--until I got an e-mail.

Summer 2008, I participated in the summer institute for the Longleaf Writing Project at the University of Alabama, and then in November I attended the National Writing Project Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Here in Auburn, I have partnered with Sun Belt Writing Project and am on the district writing committee. Well, the director of Longleaf sent out an e-mail this last week asking if any of the alumni were interested in a job working with the E-Team on the e-anthology--a web-based compendium of our summer writings that come out of individual sites, where members can post and get feedback from other sites around the country. The E-Team is paid a stipend to read through the e-anthology during institute months (mid-May to mid-August) ensuring that everyone who posts gets some sort of feedback (press, bless, address). It would be about 2 hours worth of work per weekday, most likely in the evenings after the individual programs end for the day. Perfect for after Elsie goes to bed.

Of course I e-mailed back and said I was interested, and my name was forwarded to the national E-Team director. I interviewed on the phone on Thursday and was accepted to the team on Friday. Yeah! There are only 12 people in the nation on this team, and I am honored to be a part of it. The commitment is for three summers, and I will be required to go to the annual meetings every November (paid for, though), with this year as the exception--this year's meeting is in two weeks in Philadelphia and would be a logistical nightmare with breastfeeding and all. That, and I don't have the $400 to make the quick trip up there for an all-day Saturday meeting. Since I was hired on for next year's team so late, they can't pay for this year's meeting. Anyway, that means I get a great trip every fall for the next three years! I'm excited.

So, I will have extra income and will get to spend my days with Elsie. It's a win-win situation.

Cheers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rice Rice Baby! (or, 6 months)

Dum dum diggy dum dum. (singing along to Vanilla Ice in my head)

Today, Elsie is 6 months old! I remember thinking that I wouldn't be able to make it through the first week home, let alone the first month, and here we are: half a year later! Woohoo!

I've sorta been chronicling all Elsie has learned this month in spurts throughout the blog, so I'll leave it at that. Her six month doctor's appointment is on Wednesday, a day when I don't have school, so I'll give you the stats then.

Elsie has been eating more and more and even more frequently this week. That, along with other factors, led us to the first serving of rice cereal tonight.

We sat her in the Bumbo chair without the tray (mistake) and with a bib (mistake). Eli fed her, and she was more interested in eating the bib at first, so we eventually took the bib off. She wanted to help, so she kept grabbing the spoon with both hands. Then Eli put the tray on the Bumbo seat, and after he took the spoon away, she would lean forward and lick the tray, eating the food that dropped. We didn't even tell her about the starving kids in Asia!

Here are some photos of her first "solid" food (in quotations because it was just soupy).







Contemplating licking the tray:





Check out the close-up of the 'stache:



All in a day's work.

Cheers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More than just Wii bowling

The seventh grade incentive trip was today. We took all the kids who behaved for the first 9 weeks to the bowling alley. It has been a loooong time since I've been bowling for real. And though I bowled a respectable 116 and 106 (in that order), it will be a while before I bowl again. I reinjured my hand/wrist. My family will remember that when Elsie was 8-9 weeks old, I somehow injured my left hand/wrist from holding her awkwardly. I asked the doctor about it when I was there getting my thyroid checked, but she said there wasn't anything she could do. Ice and heat, and that's it. It eventually healed. And then I bowled the first frame of the second game and pain shot through my fingers and up my arm. I knew I had done something wrong. And yet, I still continued to bowl. I know. I'm a little competetive. I had to break 100 in the second game. Gladly, I was the highest scoring female teacher, second highest scoring overall. Not too shabby.

I'll have more to tell you tomorrow about my summer job for 2010.

Cheers!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jolene

Yesterday, the teacher interns on the team next to us were having a conversation about the song "Fancy" by old-school Reba when I walked by on my way to the kitchen to put up my pumping stuff. On the way back, I poked my head into the classroom to comment because Eli and I had recently had a conversation about the song ourselves, and they told me that they were actually making fun of a sample student essay they found on the state department website. Evidently a 7th grade (13-year-old!) wrote about how wonderful it would be to have a baby girl, and that she would name her baby Jolene. Can you believe it? they asked. Hahaha.

Ha.

ha.

Um. What's so funny about that? That's my middle name.

It was kind of an awkward funny moment because they couldn't tell if I was kidding or not. When they realized that I was telling the truth, they reassured me that they liked the name. Uh huh.

I immediately followed their train of thought, though, from old country songs with women's names, and conceded that I had never actually heard Dolly Parton's song until I was in college, if even then. Anyway, that's my funny story to share today.

On another important note, our State Farm agent had one of her quarterly car-seat checks, and I took both cars to get the seats tightened down and to get the free cookies. Yum.

Cheers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Endorsement

I'm a mess. I'm not particularly sure why today seemed so long, but it showed itself after school.

I had to run by the bank after picking up Elsie from the babysitter because I still had two Sylvan checks to deposit into the diaper fund. I got to the drive-thru and there were no other cars there. This is the type of drive-thru where the lanes face the tellers, so I could see straight into the window. I sent the empty canister and when the woman asked how she could help me, I told her I needed a deposit slip. She obliged, and sent me five of them. I thought that was overkill, but come to find out, my brain rotted a little bit today and I ended up having to start fresh on a second one when I totally botched up the first. It was ugly.

Anyway, there were still no cars in the drive-thru, so I was okay. Just as I was closing up my canister, another car pulled up next to me, so I hurried to put everything into the chute and press the send button. The woman is counting out money and entering numbers when I realize that I completely forgot to endorse the checks. Brain drain. I press the call button, but she doesn't respond. A good two minutes later she asks how she can help me. I tell her that I think my brain is broken (yes, I did say this) and that I'm pretty sure I forgot to endorse my checks, and she gives me a look. Then she has annoyed body language as she digs the checks out of her pile. She takes the money out of the canister, slaps the checks in there, and sends them to me. I sign them and return them. She takes them out of the canister, puts the money in, presses send, and turns away from the window.

Not even a thank you.

Or a "Have a good day."

Or even a "Try harder next time."

So rude. I've never been to this branch before, and I don't plan on going back. One teller, one bad day. And she made me feel like I was really inconveniencing her. Seriously, though, I already felt bad enough about myself and my day. I came home and was a little emotional, all things added together. Eli made one little silly jab about me finally remembering to close the bedroom door being ironic because BOTH cats were already in the bedroom. I lost it. Poor guy. He didn't have a chance. :)

He did, however, have lots of hugs. And all was right with the world again. Yay Wednesday!

Cheers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rule of Thumb

I thought it was a fluke, but it might not be. The other day, Eli and I had Elsie in Wal-Mart while we were getting some groceries for the month, when lo and behold, we looked down and Elsie had her thumb--just her thumb--in her mouth. Up to this point, she only tried to put her entire fist into her mouth. Haha. Only. Now she has figured out that she has digits. And the big fat one on the end is quite tasty.

Now, like I said, I would have considered this a fluke, except that tonight, as Elsie jumped in her jumperoo--she LOVES it, by the way--somehow that chubby phalange ended up back in her little mouth AGAIN! Nooooooooooo! I would rather have her addicted to a piece of plastic (pacifier) than to her thumb. I just get so nauseated when I have 7th graders sitting in class sucking their thumbs thinking no one is looking. It's gross! Unsanitary! And soooo uncalled for. Not my child. I hope.

Elsie has adjusted to the time change by waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. This morning she woke up at quarter to five and lay in her crib talking and carrying on. I tried to go back to sleep, and did on and off. I hoped that Eli would get up and change her diaper, you know, once I kicked him and he stirred and then heard her making noise, but unfortunately, the kicking didn't work, and so I put a pillow over my head until she started actually crying, which happened right around six. Anyway, must be nice to be a hard sleeper. :)

Lucky boy.

Cheers.