Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First School Picture

Today was Haley's first school picture day. I think I was more excited than she was. We meticulously picked out her outfit last night and decided on mutually agreeable jewelry (this is ALWAYS a challenge). I took her to get her hair trimmed and then we talked style...curls or straight? Knowing these details the night before I knew would make the morning a bit less crazy and definitely avoid a fashion fight. By the time we walked out the door, I was indeed pleased with how my little girl looked for her first school picture and she was pretty pleased with herself as well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Introducing...Duke and Daisy

After the tragic loss of both our dogs this last July, we decided to give dog ownership another shot. This time with a less spastic more kid friendly breed, cocker spaniels. Growing up I had a pure black cocker named Missy. She was a delightfully loyal pet for 21 years. She lived for her tennis balls, walks with grandpa, and love from her family. I've been slightly wary about giving the cocker spaniel another go...Missy was just such a wonderful dog I couldn't imagine even another dog of the same breed being as perfect. However, Sean convinced me to give it a go.

So...we've adopted 2 pure bred cocker spaniels. Sean's is a pure black male named Duke. Haley's is a rare blue roan partie female named Daisy. We adopted them from a breeder who allowed us to visit with them until they were old enough to come home. Duke was always the playful one, jumping around seeking attention, while Daisy was perfectly happy just to be held and snuggled. We have since brought them home...things have changed. They are just as adorable as ever, but Duke seems to be the gentle giant snuggler, and Daisy is the playful talker. Both are such a joy. They are truly puppies with all that that entails, but their dispositions are so sweet and loving.

The cats aren't quite sure how to take them. Sugar...well she just tries to ignore them. Simon on the other hand seems to think he needs to be a puppy too. He gets down on the tile and wrestles with them both.

This morning Daisy was extra chatty with me. She's so cute when she "talks," she stretches her neck out like a giraffe and goes to town. Duke just lets her talk and comes over for the inevitable ear scratch.

Here are the cuties!

We're just babies.
Haley and Daisy on the ride home.

Sean and Duke on the ride home.


Mom...he's not sharing.

I found my way what? GET ME DOWN!!!

Hello, I'm talking to you!
I'm serious!
I let Daisy do most of the talking.
Pay attention to me! I'm cute!

Grandparent's Day

Haley is absolutely loving COOP. She's making friends, over coming her shyness, and LEARNING, LEARNING, LEARNING. She's like a little sponge. She comes home everyday with some new found knowledge...or a sweet little song she insists on singing to me at least 10 times while she's in the bathtub. I'm refraining from taking pictures just because she's in the bathtub.
Last Friday was Grandparent's Day in the COOP. The kids baked muffins, poured juice, and showed off their skills to their ever so proud grandparents. Haley was absolutely giddy about the entire experience. She woke up in a fit of giggles she was so excited and then wanted to run my poor mom accross the PHS campus to her classroom to show her off.
Haley introduced her grandma to EVERYONE and even loaned her out to a child whose grandparent wasn't able to attend. My mom was shocked at just how must of a social butterfly her shy little grandaughter has become. I must admit, I'm so proud of her. I'm a little sad that my little baby truly isn't a baby anymore, but I love the independent and strong little girl she's growing into. Poor kid...with mom as they yearbook advisor...there is ALWAYS a camera around.

Making blueberry muffins for grandma

I'm just so cute!
She LOVES her friends.

Is there anything better than story time with Grandma?

The crafts seem to be multiplying...they're taking over my house!

I'm cute and SASSY!

Up above the world so high...

This little ducky can shake her booty...

I'm kind of looking forward to the day she's not quite so comfortable with boys.

She's going to be a Panther Cheerleader...I just know it.

Haley and her best friend Shay!

Haley's favorite COOP teacher Miss Samantha

Haley's Photography

Last week Haley and I visited a friend and while we were there she decided to practice her photography. Here are a few of her artistically interpretive shots. Sometimes I think she could teach my yearbook students a thing or two about creative angles. haha

Friday, August 14, 2009

First Day of School, First Day of School

I woke up this morning thinking of Nemo. The excitement of that little Clown Fish as he swum around chanting, "First day of school, first day of school." Even as a teacher I still get the jitters the night before school starts. Last night I had more jitters than any of my own first days of school. The difference, today is Haley's first day of school. She's over the moon thrilled. She's been so excited, she's been an absolute mass of giggles for days. Everyday she has asked how many more days until COOP. This morning she woke up and asked, "Is today finally the day I go to COOP." Excitedly, I said YES!

After a slow start of actually getting out of bed, she got on her outfit, pulled on her socks, let me fix her hair (with butterfly hair ties of course), and ate her breakfast...all without a fight. The excitement and anticipation flowed from every ounce of her little body. We grabbed her lunch from the fridge and I got to snap a couple of shots before we headed to school. Once we got here, she skipped to my classroom so I could drop off my bags and then skipped to her own little corner of Peoria High School. We walked in, I signed her in, and she was off (she almost forgot to even say goodbye). She sat down at a table with a couple of kids and started playing. I'm so proud of her. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. My baby absolutely blew me away. It was encouraging and a little sad to see my baby walk so confidently and independently into a whole new world of experiences. She’s ready…I sure hope I am.

Attached are a few pictures I quickly snapped this morning…I’m sending my student spies around throughout the day to catch a few more ;-)

Breakfast is not exactly her favorite time of day...
Me and my "baby"

Super excited!

Check out that sassy girl!

Who needs mom, I've got friends in COOP?!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

May Update

It's really been some months since I've posted anything. I've had drafts started and thought many times of sitting down to write, but alas life has happened and I've been remiss. However, that's not to say I've been entirely on with the updates...

What was May all about?

1. We signed on our "new to us" house in Peoria and began remodeling.

2. We distributed the 2009 yearbook.

3. The class of 2009 graduated.

4. We let the news out that we are EXPECTING!!!

The tale of the remodel...

I could write a book on this experience alone, however, I will spare you the details and simply include a slide show of some of the work. Somehow that word doesn't even begin to describe the extent of what we did with this house. From the very day we signed we began tearing the place apart and recreating it to be our own. It was a month of little sleep, lots of tears, endless amounts of frustration, and immeasurable growing experiences. Thanks to the help of many family members, the house now truly looks like a home. It's not quite complete, but it's clean, fresh, safe, and OURS! I'm ever so grateful to be rid of the circus striped wall paper, multi-colored walls, tweeker closet, and odd-so-odd kitchen. Once we can finally finish some of the smaller projects that are left and begin really decorating, I think we will really feel permanent here.

If you really want to test your relationship, try remodeling a house with someone. It takes communication issues to a whole new level...I can thankfully say I still love Sean, but I'm hoping to NEVER undertake such a considerable project like this again.

Pics to come...

The 2009 Yearbook

Each year I question whether or not to continue working on the yearbook. My mom tells me she laughs behind my back for even thinking of quiting considering how much it brings to my life each year and she's ever so right. I love this project, I love the challenge, I love the accomplishment, and I L-O-V-E the kids. Each year I wonder how I am ever going to get through another book, and each May when the books arrive and we crack open the first box, and then the first book, I cry. My tears were very different this year. It felt like the end of an era. Kids I had stalkingly tracked down for weeks to get to join were now graduating. They are for all intents and purposes adults. This staff of kids was special. I had them as not only staff members and editors, I had them as students, guests at my wedding, babysitters for Haley, and my friends. This was a staff of varied personalities to say the least. They were stubborn, thick headed, difficult, somewhat pessimistic, and knew how to ruffle mine and each others feathers. Yet, at the end of the day, these kiddos would do anything for each other and me.

The 2009 yearbook is beautiful. It is such an expression of the staff, the school, myself, the school, and even the community. I hope the class of 2009 is as proud of the finished product as I am of it and those who worked tirelessly to create it.

Graduation 2009

I was ready willing and running to the finish line this year! In the 5 years prior to this graduating class I had never struggled so much to get a group of students to graduation. I struggled to stay up with the grading. I struggled to stay motivated to teach. I struggled to even care by the end of the semester. In the end...I know I made a difference. I don't know that I taught or encouraged many of my students to love British literature, but I know that I instilled confidence in a few. I know that I showed a few that someone really does care about them and will hold them to a certain level of expectation. As much as I hated watching a few kids come down to the wire and wonder whether or not graduation would be a reality, I did love the relief and excitement on a few faces when they finally did what THEY needed to do in order to make graduation a reality.

Graduation came...I received my list of names to read and I read and reread and studied for the few hours I had prior to the ceremony. I ran around like a mad woman seeking kids who could tell me how to phonetically pronounce their name. I managed to pronounce one student with 10 Scandanavian names correctly. What a relief. I'm so glad I still have another year before I have to face graduation again.


Yep, that's right, before 2009 rolls out Sean, Haley, and I will welcome a new addition to our home. We are thrilled. We did a decent job of hiding the news until Mother's Day when we spilled the news to our families. By the end of the school year all of my students and teacher friends learned of the news as well. Yea for us! The nausea is driving me a little nuts, but at least I'm not tossing my cookies. I'm hoping that summer brings lots of opportunities for naps.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Furry Friend

Last Thursday I decided to peruse the Humane Society website...just to see what was out there and prices. I came upon a sweet little kitten that I just knew Haley would love.

The previous evening, Haley asked to read "The Kitten." After reading the story Haley informed me that when she got a new kitten she wanted it to be orange and white, short haired, and a girl.

The Humane Society had almost the perfect kitten available. The only problem...HE isn't a girl. He's "altered" but still not a girl. We took Haley down to see the kitty's and the second she saw the little orange and white kitten, she fell in love. Boy or not, she's pretty convinced if she just calls it a girl it will be. Needless to say, we adopted the little kitten, put a PINK collar on it (so he's metro...), and took our sweet little Simon home.

Simon's little paws haven't touched the ground all that much, but he doesn't really seem to mind. He's a happy little kitty, and Haley is a happy little girl. Good match!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4 Year Old Grief

The past 4 days have been emotional to say the very least. Saturday afternoon Sean and I were cleaning the patio and playing with the dogs and I realized I hadn't seen Haley's cat Charlotte since the previous morning. It's very unlike her to skip a meal or disappear (she had disfigured paws so movement was somewhat challenging). We went looking for her and discovered her poor little body in the grassy common area a few doors down from our house. Someone purposely took the life of my poor little girls best friend, her kitty Charlotte. It was awful to find. The thought alone makes my stomach sick and my eyes tear up. She may not have been a perfect cat, but she and Haley adored one another, and we all got a kick out of the "prairie dog" looking cat. For all her bad habits, she was a very loving and sweet little cat.

The hardest part of it all was knowing I would have to tell Haley her kitty wouldn't be sleeping with her anymore. Since we adopted the stray little cat Charlotte last July, she has slept in Haley's bed nearly every night. Anytime Haley goes to lay down to rest or to sleep she asks for 3 things: milk, snack, and Char Char. Charlotte knew when it was time for bed. She would hop onto the patio table and meow until I carried her in and put her in bed with her little girl. Together the two snuggled all night.

Telling Haley was devastating. I've never seen her heart break that way. All she could say was that she needed Charlotte and she wanted Charlotte to be alive. In her prayers she asked Heavenly Father to keep Charlotte safe and to make her alive. She walked outside and looked up at the stars and said, "I wish I wish I wish for Charlotte to be alive." Going to bed Sunday night ultimately required me to hold her. Monday morning while I was fixing her hair I looked in the mirror and saw her eyes just well up and the tears just overflowed. She was just so sad and there was nothing I could do but hold her. Monday turned out to be fairly quiet with the sitter, Cindy, so she got the chance to really talk about her feelings and her kitty and try to make it all make sense in her own mind. Cindy's patience, love, understanding, and wisdom was exactly what she needed. Haley colored pictures for Charlotte and we posted one outside above the plant we planted over Charlotte's grave. Bedtime was even more difficult...10 o'clock came around and Haley was still not settled, even after holding her, she still couldn't sleep. Ultimately, I think she whimpered herself to sleep thinking of her best friend.

Tuesday morning was better. She talked a little about Charlotte, but as much as she still wished for Charlotte to be alive, she seemed ok that Heavenly Father had fixed Char's paws and she was happy with the other kitty's in heaven. Tonight was rough, exhaustion from dance class I'm sure didn't help. She finally asked if she could sleep in my bed with Sugar (my cat). I agreed of course. It only took her 15 minutes to fall asleep. I think a new kitten may be in our very near future.

While I know that learning about death is a part of life. Knowing that our cat died in such a vicious way makes having to deal with the process so much harder. Haley doesn't know that she died in such a violent way, I simply told her Charlotte got sick, went to sleep, and didn't wake up. I'm still furious. People are mean and heartless. I know not everyone appreciates cats like I do, but to hard an innocent creature (especially domesticated) without any thought to the people you might affect is unconscionable.
Charlotte's grave...personalized by Haley.
Having a "breathing" friend sleep with you makes all the difference.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More from Dance World

Here are the two latest dance the first, she REFUSED to attitude. Second...she could have been more of a ham! Gotta love Cybil!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oi with the poodles already...

It is currently 3:00 pm Monday afternoon. I have 7 Gatsby Journals, 40 Macbeth essays, 40 Of Mice and Men short response exams, 25 Old Man and the Sea reading journals, 25 1920's research papers, and 45 Senior papers to grade. And all this after spending my weekend grading roughly 100 essays. I feel totally unaccomplished. Not to mention the fact that I also have my Career Ladder review in exactly 48 hours. My to do list is growing far faster than my ability to cross ANYTHING completely off. So here I sit, blogging, avoiding my responsibilities, and dreaming and hoping for the grading/teaching fairy to carry me away.

I like to think of it as organized chaos

After giving the students 7 weeks to write this thing...if I hear one more kid say "Aren't you ever going to get those things graded" after only two weeks...I may have to trip them as they cross the stage the night of graduation. Each envelope contains 20 minutes of semi-tortuous reading.

Oh well...I'll just pack it up to take it home. That is after I hit the 99 cent store...the Easter aisle is calling...can't you hear it???
I've run in and out of the building so much today that I now have the need for 6 eyes...
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is she really only 4?!

As you can tell from previous posts Haley has been on a roll lately. Well the fun has yet to stop! The past two weeks of dance have been a blast! The girls are finally getting the hang of their routine and are learning the song they have to sing. During break last week, Haley ran out to me jumping up and down yelling, "I did it Mommy, I did it, I DANCED!" As gratifying as it is when I see the light bulb go off for my students, seeing the light bulb over Haley's head just about made me cry. This week she was even more confident. The parents were invited in to see the kids progress this week, and while they were all more interested in just smiling at their parents, it was SOOOO cute to see them try.

Today has been almost non stop laughter from the time Haley woke up. The morning started with a discussion about what to wear. I was informed she could only be happy if she was wearing yellow, because yellow is the happiest color. We compromised....she got her yellow shirt and I got cute Capri's that matched the yellow shirt. On to hair... "Mom, I want my hair straight and down." "No Haley, you have to have at least one pony so your hair doesn't get in your face." "Ugh, Mom!" "Haley, one or two piggies!?" "FINE! 2...but they have to be high and they have to be yellow to match my shirt." "Works for me Chicky-d." I'll let you decide what the D is for. :-)

After school we went by the new house to measure windows. While we waited for the windows to be measured we cleaned the bathroom counters together. Haley decided the mirrors needed cleaned too. I didn't have Windex, but I decided that regardless of how messy she made them, at least they would be dust free. It was about time to go so I told her we needed to wrap it up and I started to help her wipe down the mirrors. Haley's response, "Mom this is my job...nobody cleans mirrors like me!" True that--how do you argue with that kind of logic? hahahaha

Next stop...Costco. "Mom, I'm absolutely starving, my tummy is rumbling, I really need some pizza" "After shopping we can have pizza." "Ok, but we have to hurry, and we have to have ice cream after pizza, or it just won't be fun." "Ok Haley, we'll see." Shopping went well. My students should be happier with me tomorrow when the Pop Tart and chip supply is back in full swing. This is where things got REALLY entertaining. After shopping, Haley said, "Mom, can we may we please have pepperoni pizza." "Yes, do you want cheese or pepperoni pizza?" "I want pepperoni with cheese pizza, I want pepperoni with cheese pizza!" "Ok, are you sure you want pepperoni?" "Yes." DONE! 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and two drinks. The second we get to the table..."Pepperoni!? Mom, you RUINED my life!? I can't have PEPPERONI!" In my head..."are you freaking kidding me?" Out loud, "Haley, you said this is what you wanted. Eat." "But mom, you ruined my life." I wanted to bust out laughing, but instead just ate my pizza while she sat next to me with her back turned towards me and her arms folded across her chest. Of course she got over herself and ate her pizza. Final words before getting back in the cart..."I don't get ice cream cuz I threw a fit, huh, mom?" "You are correct, but if you are good on the way home, maybe you can have some at home." "That's a good deal." ME OH MY!

After cleaning up the house, taking a bath and eating ice cream, I sent her in to brush her teeth while I vacuumed. While I was getting the vacuum ready, I asked her if she had gotten her bed ready for tuck in...she told me's what I found..

Looks to me like she's tucked in her bed...blankie and all! :-)

Then I told her it would time to hop in bed just as soon as I finished vacuuming her room. Her response, "Mom if there's anything left on the floor, just pick it up." "Haley, I thought that was your job?" "Nope mom, it's yours. Don't vacuum up any of my stuff, k." SERIOUSLY?! If I hadn't already laughed at her so much today I would have had other words...instead I just vacuumed.

But, as sassy pants as she can be, her sweet little spirit showed up again when we sat down for bed time prayer and she earnestly asked me to pray for her friend Kennedy that her knee would feel better and be able to sleep.