Monday, March 31, 2008


At this point I need to just do posts of the crazy things that my sweet Ellie says.  She has a different personality from the other two in that her imagination is so vivid that she pictures the world in a way that I never would have percieved.  Therefore I am going to dedicate posts on my blog to her hilarious statements, if for no other reason than I don't want to forget what she has said.

Yesterday, during the rain/snow storm that hit Cedar - Mom, the world is taking a bath!

A couple of weeks ago - We need to build a house without a roof so we can be closer to Jesus.

About a year ago - I think that all little girls should have a rainbow over their house on their birthday.

Sometime I'm convinced that I can take what she says and write children's books to make my millions for retirement.  I have no doubt that I didn't have an imagination like that when I was growing up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I waited a day or two until I calmed down a little before writing this post after I spend a great deal of time answering phone calls and emails from parents who wanted to know why I failed their children.  They want to know why I didn't call them when their grades started to fall, why they failed and if I had any suggestions to help their child find more motivation in school.  They don't understand how to motivate a child who doesn't want to do anything but skateboard, snowboard, bike or play video games.  My suggestions included have them get a job (now I realize that they are freshmen and 14/15 years old, but they can still mow lawns, babysit, rake leaves, dig holes, whatever) but the parents all say, "Oh no, I couldn't do that, he/she would be devastated!!  

While I was feeling a bit downtrodden and depressed, I came across teachers of these lovely freshmen who were in the other core subjects, and a veteran teacher who almost quit his job when he had this class last year as 8th graders.  It's not just me, my classes, my high levels of failures.  It is this whole class, but in all reality, I don't blame the kids too much.  They have parents who just don't care.  They don't check for homework each night, they don't access the powerschool that always has the most up-to-date grades, they don't send the students in to talk to me when the mid-term grades show up at their houses with the students failing.  They just want to know the day before the quarter ends what their child can do in the next 24 hrs to raise their grade 20-30%.  And they are genuinely upset with me when I tell them nothing.  

I don't feel like it is my responsibility to bail out a student who doesn't do anything in class all quarter long.  I don't feel like I need to find tons of work for death bed repentance from parents who couldn't discipline their children well enough during the quarter to keep from failing.  And I have very little patience for parents who want to know why I wouldn't pass their child when they only missed a few assignments (generally to the tune of 12+).  

I want to know what happened between my parents generation and mine that parents are so apathetic and don't feel the necessity to encourage success in school.  I want to know what parents are telling their students at home that makes it okay to not pass school.  I want to know what the parents' five year plan is when their student hasn't passed high school, can't get a decent job, and wants to keep mooching off of their parents.  And the sad thing is this isn't just a select few.  The sad thing is this isn't the first quarter most of these students failed my English class.  The sad thing is that one failed quarter of English can keep a student from graduation. The sad thing is of the 102 freshmen students that I teach, 37 of them failed.  (the other English teacher has just about as many this quarter too) And the truly sad thing is, considering 30 have most likely failed at least one other quarter of English this year, I have had 5 who are willing to accept the consequences and take the steps to make things up.  They haven't even finished their first year of high school and are already not on track to graduate.  

But how do you get rid of something someone doesn't care that they have?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!!!

While it seems strange that Easter is this yearly in the year (not to mention in the middle of all my kids' birthdays) we still like to have some fun. The kids dyed Easter eggs at Grandma Janet's house this morning, and then when Enoch went out to hide them outside, he discovered that the Easter bunny had come to Grandma's house the night before (the kids spent the night while Enoch and I had a much needed date night). I think one hunting for Easter eggs is one of the greatest experiences of childhood. I don't really know who came up with the idea to have a bunny take eggs around, seeing as the two aren't really related in anyway, but if it had been an Easter chicken, that could present all sorts of complications like a chicken was trying to get rid of his/her children, etc (Wow, random thought of the day) Anyway, since it is still chilly and gas could cost me one of my children, we decided to just hang around in Cedar today. Actually, Enoch and his dad are clearing out a shed at Grandma Bruce's (a lovely lady who used to be their neighbor and never had kids of her own so kindof adopted Enoch's family as hers) and making a dump run (Woo hoo, I know you readers are just jealous over that thought). The kids and I are hanging out. Low key, but we have Ellie's birthday on Thursday and Will's is the Monday after that, so I promise we will meet our excitement quota for the month of March.

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day

I have had a computer on the fritz enough that I just have to fight the temptation to throw it out the window with almost any function I try to get it to perform, and now I'm at my mother-in-laws house blogging away and getting caught up on life. For those of you who don't know,
St. Patrick's Day
is a big deal. We all wear green, have a green dinner that night and wear funny green hats. Enoch had to miss out this year because he has been working like a madman trying to see how much concrete he and Ryan Neumann can pour in a week, but I really don't think he felt too bad. These are those occasions when I'm sure he wonders what the heck he got himself into when he
married me. I inherited this love of being crazy during the holidays from my mom and it is continuing on through my kids. This year we had green stroganoff, green bread, salad, punch and green Jello-filled cupcakes for dessert. This was followed by a scavenger hunt through Grandma Decker's house for the pot of gold - a big plastic cauldron filled with gold wrapped Snickers, Twix and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Too Much Fun!!!

Catie is 3 years old

Well, we did it - we made it through the terrible twos and one to the adventures of another three year old (however, I have heard it said recently that three is the new two). We had lots of fun for Catie's birthday, including going to see Horton Hears a Who. It was a great movie, had a weird Japanese anime part in the middle which I just didn't understand, but the whole movie was well done. None of the stupid crass jokes they like to try to through into movies like this and the plot was closely related to the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it as did the kids. Then, feeling Seussish we went and ate Whocakes which we thought we just yummy and too much fun.
Catie had a Dora on her ice cream bar cake, which had whipped cream dyed her favorite color, purple. I long ago realized that my cake decorating abilities were nothing compared to what they should be considering who my mom is, and decided that instead of trying to live up to her amazing capabilities, I would spend the five or so dollars on a toy of preference for that year and stick it in the cake, thereby giving my children the themed cake they want while still maintaining my sanity, a decision I have not yet regretted

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ellie the Performer

This has been a busy month for Ellie because she had the chance to do both mini Mohey and a dress rehearsal for the little competition she has in April. I wasn't sure if she would get tired of dancing, as mini Mohey was an hour practice three days in a row on top of her regular dance once a week. She loved it.

She has also started piano lessons - the practicing isn't quite consistent yet, but her ability to understand what is going on is great. We let her watch the end of School of Rock about a month or two ago and since then she has been asking for a guitar on a semi-regular basis. She currently loves to sing along with Alicia Keyes song No One whenever she hears it on the radio and claims that the reason she loves to dance is because people love to watch her dance. I have a serious performer on my hands and I figure as long as she is enjoying what she is doing, I'm going to encourage this current love of music in all forms that my daughter is experiencing.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I have been thinking lately about my priorities.  I remember hearing Glenn Beck say that in our society, there is no longer such a thing as a balanced life, we have to live an integrated life.  I have found this to be increasingly true as I try to set aside time for each individual thing I want to pursue.  The integrated life is probably one that is familiar to moms anyway, as seen by the fact that we can help a child with their ABC's, one with math, switch the dishwasher, laundry and still cook dinner.  But often I think that in our efforts as moms to take care of everyone else's needs and managing to do so while maintaining a household, we still forget to somehow work our hobbies into our own lives. 

I have heard several times, and generally referring to physical health and long lives, that mom's just need to realize that they are doing the greatest service for their children in making sure that they themselves are happy.  The problem comes when happiness lies in different aspects and activities.  

I have recently discovered that eventhough I'm awake from 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning until 10:00 or so at night, I still can't find all the time in the day to do what is really important to me.  
I love hearing my kids read to me (each at their own level of "reading" of course) and I'm thrilled that Ellie can read almost all of her new favorite book, Eric Carle's ABC and Will has been reading Revolutionary War on Wednesday to me (which blows me away).  Then Ellie and Will both practice the piano, we eat dinner, do a load or two of laundry, maybe go on a walk or hit the park, then it's baths, homework and bed.  And 
frankly, by the time I get my kids in bed, I am usually tapped out. I would love to have that hour to read if I could just figure out how to stay awake...

I know that there is a time and a season for everything, but I do have to admit my jealousy when I hear of the other English teachers who get to go home and read for an hour or two.  But I don't want to not have that play time with my kids, so I wait to read.  I have started reading bits and pieces here and there while I'm cooking dinner, but after watching an enlightening episode of Good Eats last night I have since decided that I need to get my kids cooking with me when I cook.  Granted, Ellie already gets all kinds of experience by helping me make cookies at least once a week, but there is something to be said for kids helping make dinner to learn an appreciation for dinner.  Something I think I will be pondering over the next day or two.  

So I guess the point of this whole post wasn't just to ramble on for no reason at all, but to realize that I still haven't figured out how to integrate everything into my life and stay awake to do it all.  It's a battle for sure, and all up hill.