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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Part 2

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, it can.  Our oven is not cooperating at all.  The heat is fixed (thank you repairman for showing us something that we'd never thought of), but now the oven (that we thought Dad had fixed) is cooking/not cooking as it wishes and I can't even find out how old the stove is.  Of course it is Christmas Eve, and no repair man is even taking calls at this point.  Christmas dinner is going to be interesting.  I can only hope that a friend will let me cook the turkey on Boxing Day at their house, as it will go bad soon after. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

As I write this post I am struck with deja vu.  About 8 years ago I was opening presents while on the phone with my parents when the oil ran out in my tank.  I was in an old apartment in Korea and it was the responsibility of the tenant to make sure they had enough oil.  There was no gauge on the tank for you to be able to tell, so when you had no hot water you knew it was time to order some more.  Of course, I couldn't call myself because the people on the other end of the phone couldn't understand me.  I had to get a Korean friend to make the call.  I had no heat for 2 days.  Thankfully it didn't get to FSJ temps so I was okay. 
So fast forward to today, when I was informed by my husband to stay in bed as the furnace was not working.  It's pretty chilly in here now and the furnace guy won't be available until 1pm.  We are sitting at 13 degrees right now.  I am wearing my ski layers while Dad and Chris wander around with touques on their heads.  I did offer a Tim Horton's run, but noone took me up on it. 
So far our holiday has been pretty good.  We've had visitors, the kitchen is seeing alot of action with Mom baking almost non-stop.  There have been some technical issues.  We have gone through a hand mixer and the oven is acting a little funny.  The last batch of cookies were burnt on the bottom, but raw in the middle.  Tasted okay though.

Here are Mom and Dad trying to stay warm in the house.  My fingers are getting too cold to type.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I should be

Wrapping presents, cleaning something, prepping for school or conversing with my family but instead I am typing this post.  The last few days have been tiring and there is one day left.  The weather is cold right now (about -23+ wind chill) and the kids haven't been outside all week.  Add to that the Christmas concert preparation and all the sweets they seem to bring with them everyday.  I received candles last week from one of my boys and today a cute scarf (handmade) and a box of chocolates.  The first tadpole had it all figured out: I could wear my scarf and eat chocolates by candle light with Mr Nowell.  I had a good chuckle over that one.  There is glitter and glue all over desks and half finished Santas awaiting me in the morning.  I have learned a few things this week.  Stick with what I know, don't get too technical and make the kids do the work.  Oh, and the Crazy Santa craft is one that is not being repeated. EVER.  Let's just say that the level of prep vs the amount of time it really takes the kids is not paying off.  They are pretty excited about the Crafty Extravaganza that I planned with two other classes for tomorrow.  We will start after recess and go until lunch.  Then they will eat and have treats and watch a movie or two with Mr Nowell's class.  All going well.  At this point I have two parents helping me (one of them is my own mom) and have only heard about 2 treats coming in.  For a micro manager like me, it's hard.  I know it will all go well and when I am sitting in my living room tomorrow night with an adult beverage, I will look back and smile.  I just have to get through it first.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's beginning to look....

The countdown has definitely started for me.  Only 4 more days of work left before Christmas holidays.  I figured out this weekend that I am worn out, and looking forward to the break.  Mom and Dad come in Wednesday afternoon.  That will be a busy day as  we have to blast into town after work, pick them up and then head back out to school, grabbing dinner on the way.  It also happens to be Christmas concert night.  The night that parents delight in and teachers try to get through in one piece.  While parents are enjoying the show that has taken months to pull together, teachers are in their classrooms with the students putting in another few hours of child minding.  Hmmm and we don't earn our pay?  Our whole school is involved with a musical production which is interesting.  We'll see how it all turns out as tomorrow is the full dress rehearsal.  The Christmas crazies have started and I swear the kids have been calling each other to make plans of how they can "get me" at school.  There were a few times today when I wanted to put my head down hard on my desk (but I didn't), but smiled instead and repeated myself for the fourth time. 
Another thing that has been happening lately is farting.  I have a few farty kids and they make my eyes water at times.  I know who one of them was last week, although he swore up and down it wasn't, but there was one visiting from another class as well, making it even worse!  In the spirit of farts, I read an awesome book called " Fartsy Claus".  The book was not only hilarious, the art work was grand, and the problem solving the kids showed in the book was awesome.  I also found out that there are people that get offended by the word "fart" (which of course made me want to use it even more).  I had a talk with my kids after a particularly awful smell came from my little tadpoles on the carpet.  It's natural, it happens  blah blah, just please try to excuse yourself and if you have to use the bathroom, please do!  I don't know what their parents are feeding them, but I wish they'd stop.
I had a funny moment with one of my super stars today and it warmed my heart a little too.  Laurie looked at me and said " You know Mrs Nowell, I really like you"  I smiled and said that was good because I really liked him too.  Then he said "That's why I give you hugs all the time, I really like you!"  Then he cocked his head to one side and said "Even if we get mad sometimes"  and with that he threw his arms around my waist and squeezed.  That's a perk of being a teacher and sometimes it truly gets me through a day, especially around Christmas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The house is quiet and I am enjoying the silence.  I have finished (I hope) my first round of report cards of the year and am basking in the glow.  I have made those parent phone calls, the ones where you have bad news about the report card but you give positive ideas and plans.  Thankfully the parents are seeing the same behaviours and have no illusions as to what their child is doing.  That makes things a little easier. 
Winter is definitely here.  It snowed and blew for a few days in a row and hit -20 something plus wind-chill at one point.  Our luck ran out and Winter is here.  I was talking to my friend in Atlanta this morning, laughing at her reaction to the temperatures.  I think she would die up here.  While we were talking I was remembering my life down there.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  The good was finding her friendship, the lifestyle, the city.  The bad was being poorly paid, the troubled students that I worked with.  The ugly was the school system.  It was awful.  Data driven instruction, teaching for testing, the constant stress and anxiety I felt every day.  We as teachers were expected to have great test scores no matter what.  I saw teachers fired, put on personal development plans, forced professional development, always the threats hanging over our heads to have our children perform.  Not learn, perform.  I remember when I got there and Math was the big deal.  Reading too, but all other subjects were overlooked as being unnecessary.  I had to have 180 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction in my  schedule.  No wonder the students (and some of the teachers) had no concept of the world or Scientific Method.  It was crazy.  Teachers helped their students cheat on the tests.... now how does that help anyone?  I've been reading about the schools in the States and the turmoil that they are in right now because of the President's promises to the public.  Teachers are committing suicide for heaven's sake!  I do agree that teachers need to be accountable in some way for the jobs that we do.  Too many teachers hide behind unions and do a terrible job in the classroom, but there are those that are teaching for the right reasons.  We need to be recognized as professionals and not be under constant scrutiny and criticism because of test scores.  Teachers need to be able to teach in a creative way, to be able to touch all kinds of learners.  When I left Georgia scripted lessons were becoming popular in my district.  My question always was 'What if the students don't respond in the way that's in the script, but their answers are still right?'  No one ever wanted to answer that one.  They needed to say what was on the sheet and it was my job to make sure they did.  Period.  Coming back to BC to continue my career was a relief, but I have to say that I'm getting a little nervous about all the data my district likes to collect.  They always preface it with 'we're looking at the students not the teachers' but it's not a big jump.  Do I think we should be testing students?  Yes.  Do I think that should be the only information that we base accountability on?  No way.  Do I have the answers?  Nope, but I'm willing to look at all the alternatives.  I lived in a 'testing system'  I lived with No Child Left Behind.  It was the teachers that got left behind.

Monday, November 8, 2010

bandaids, boogers and tears

For this week and last, this is the theme of my classroom.  I have remembered that a band-aid (especially Scooby Doo ones) can cure all kinds of things.  Now that my class knows that I have them in my desk, I have at least one little tadpole a day coming to me with new and old cuts looking for a Scooby cure.  It's funny because for the fresh accidents I can make the tears dry up almost instantaneously when I mention a Scooby band-aid. 
Boogers are a problem in my class, not only do I find them where they shouldn't be I catch the tadpoles mining for them constantly.  We've had the talks about what boogers are and why they shouldn't eat them etc., but for a few of my kids, they have a very bad habit.  What's funny is when I catch them with a stringer on the end of their finger and they say "no I wasn't".  I have a couple that are personally responsible for the empty hand sanitizer bottles that I recycle. I do try to be indiscreet about it most of the time, but when it's the 20th time in the half hour, my patience wanes a little.
Another side effect of Halloween besides the sugar that they are constantly consuming, is the late nights and the changes in schedules that some of them keep having at home.  This is usually brought to my attention when they start to cry and pout.  Both things I can't stand.  When I investigate, it usually uncovers a late night, a change of custody or something else that shatters the routine of the little one.  I have a couple of kids that have been squirrely since the 29th and I'm hoping that it all calms down soon.  That or I will go bonkers pretty shortly.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The house is filled with the nutty smell of roasted pumpkin seeds and I am sitting here remembering when I was a kid and Halloween was the best time of year.  Christmas was awesome too, but getting dressed up, wandering around in the darkness of the neighbourhood and trying to scare each other was very appealing.  It is 5pm and the street is starting to get busy.  Excited kids running from one house to the other, parents calling out to them to stick close.  Of course these days, kids start trick or treating while it's still light out and there's always an adult close by.  One of my students came by, she was the first kid we had this year.  She was pretty excited to see me at the door.  I also had a parent specifically bring his daughter by so that he could meet me.  We have 8 pumpkins on our steps this year, we bought them for our classes to carve.  It was a good move as we have many pumpkins and didn't actually have to do any of the work for them!  Luckily for the kids all the snow has melted and the sun came out in the evening.  I was worried for them, as last week at this time, there was about 4 inches of the white stuff on the ground.  It is only 7pm as I finish writing this, and it looks like the trick or treating is almost over.  We'll see.

On another note here are some pages I've had hanging around for awhile....
I was so inspired because of the snow, that I started making some Christmas cards after I finished my Halloween banner.  Since it is November starting tomorrow, we are going to start some new routines at home.  We are going to try leaving at 4 pm on most days, to come home and exercise.  My infection is almost gone now, so I am going to start heading to the pool and C is going to start going to the gym.  I also want to check out the new walking track at the new arena, for a change of scenery.  This week is a busy week at school with inservice on reporting and assessment, staff meeting and literacy collaboration.  Whew I'm tired just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sick again

This week has been a total wash!  I finally went to the doctor on Monday after school and was ordered to stay home because of a serious infection.  This is the week of Halloween and I had all kinds of fun stuff for my kids to do.  Instead, they will have a TOC and not do all the great stuff.  My last experience with a TOC (last week) was terrible.  The man came by to meet me and see the classroom and I could tell almost instantly that he was in the wrong place.  He is a high school teacher and had never been in a primary room before.  He also did not seem to understand English very well and as I was going over procedures and routines, he had a glazed look in his eye.  I had planned (as I always do) in a very detailed manner, but when I got back into my class it was apparent that he had not followed the plan very well.  I will have to do some reteaching to make sure the kids understand the review I'd left in Math.  I am always nervous about leaving my class in the hands of strangers.  Some of my kids need the structure and routine and don't do very well without it.  I also try to prepare them for when I am not going to be there, hoping they will go easier on the sub, but I didn't get the chance this time.
I had thought I would get my classroom blog formatted and get everything ready to go, but I ended up sleeping the day away instead.  So much for all that extra work I was going to do on my sick days.  I guess there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

life, snow and other stuff

Well I am looking out at a winter wonderland and loving it.  I think the snow is a perk of living up here.  I don't know if it was because I was snow deprived as a child or what, but when I see the white stuff I get excited.  I know that it is only October, and I feel sorry for the trick-or-treaters, but I still love it.  It means that Christmas is coming, ski season will start soon and the world of brown will go away for a while.  Up here there is a very short autumn, the colours of the trees are mostly the same yellow and then the leaves fall quickly, leaving bareness and brown everywhere.  The snow comes and makes it beautiful again.  Not that I love the road conditions or the freezing temperatures that will come soon, but the snow makes it bearable. 
This weekend has been a wonderful break.  I was able to catchup with two friends on Friday night and had one over for Korean last night.  It's nice to be able to do that.  I haven't been able to see any one since my birthday (well over a month ago) for anything not work related.  We all have busy lives that get in the way.  I also managed to get my Halloween banner finished and put up; I'm not sure if I like it or not, but it's done.  I used Recollections paper with various pieces of grunge board that I painted.  I also used Making Memories chipboard letters that I had hanging around for a few years.  Overall, the only thing I spent money on for this project was the paper.  Everything else was in my stash already.  Now I have to clean up my room and get on with the next project.  My room has become a little lonely lately, as I usually work in the evenings.  I have decided that I will devote only an hour (unless under extreme circumstances) of time in the evenings to work.  We usually stay until 4 or 4:30 most days so that should be enough.  Then this way I can devote some of my time to scrapbooking.  Of course best laid plans....
C was nice enough to go and get some bird seed for me, so I am going to brave the elements this afternoon and go feed the birdies.  I was happy to see some birds checking out the birdy condo that Dad made for us this summer.  Maybe I'll get lucky and have some tenants in there.  I just hope it is far enough off the ground that London and Cairo don't end up with a snack bar. 
Have a happy rest of your weekend and a wonderful week!

PLC? I'm not sure

We had a Pro D day on Friday, my first at our new school.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed.  There were a few people missing as they had signed up for other things, so there were 8 of us in the library listening to an Action Schools presentation.  C and I had already done the workshop, but had cancelled our plans so that the school would have enough people to be able to get the materials and workshop.  While 5 of us were actively participating there were 3 people that sat behind with their computers on doing their own thing.  Two things about this bothered me: 1. It was just plain rude.  2.  We are supposed to be professionals and I found their lack of attention very unprofessional.  I often hear teachers complain about not being taken seriously, not being in control of their professional development and then I see instances like Friday and wonder.
It's funny that when we were hired, the outgoing principal had stressed that this school was really involved in collaboration and worked together as a team.  I haven't seen it-at all.  I have put myself out there, making myself available but nothing has happened.  A teacher on staff is struggling, but refuses to seek help other than to demand materials that I am using at the time.  I offered to get together, but she has been actually quite rude and insists that she can do it.  How are we to build a PLC?  Everything that I have read about building a PLC says there has to be trust, communication, leadership and direction.  At my last school most of those were missing, at this school, it all seems to be missing.  I find that even though we are all in the building, most of the time we are all doing our separate things and communication comes when there is a question about a rule or procedure. Now don't get me wrong, we all have a pretty good relationship, and there doesn't seem to be many conflicts.  There were a few heated discussions about some things, but afterwards it didn't leave any ill feelings that I could see.  There just doesn't seem to be a connection yet.   Beyond C's classroom, I have no idea what's going on anywhere else.  Hmmm how to effect change?  I'm not sure yet, but I'll get there. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is that special time of year again, Thanksgiving, and I have to say that I'm thankful for the long weekend attached to it.  I know, I know, I should be thinking of all the great things in my life and blah blah blah, but really I'm thankful for the long weekend.  It's going to be a break that some of my students really need and I know I need it too.  I did go into school yesterday, but I needed that time without students. 

I woke up this morning at 5:30 and it took a long time to get back to sleep.  While I was laying there, I started to think about people in my life that have come and gone.  Friends that I have collected, held close and then over time have let go of.  I believe that people come into your life for a reason.  Some stick around for ever and some only for a short time.  In my travels I have met some really fantastic people and for a few years there is an effort made to keep in contact and involved in each others lives.  Then one day I realize that I haven't heard from them in a while and am sad.  On another day I may come across a photo of them and realize that I haven't heard from them in a really long time and I didn't notice.  I usually make an effort to reconnect, but after a few tries I let it die.  If there is no back and forth, then to me there is no relationship.  I am not one of these people on FB that collect "friends".  Periodically, I go through my list of "friends" and decide if I really want them to have continued access to my life.  When I decide no, I kick them off.  I feel like they've already kicked me off, so they won't even notice.  It is sad sometimes, but time and life move on.  I am very fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends now.  I had thought in the beginning that FSJ was a wasteland, but I have made strong connections with some women that are fabulous.  Looking back at my  connection with them, it was mostly through my last position in Special Ed.  One of them is a teacher that I had to work closely with and the others hold specialist positions in the district.   I also met one through scrapbooking as funny as it sounds.  She too will be joining the ranks of teachers come December.  It's nice because they all can relate to my job as a teacher working with children, but we all have a different perspective.  It can lead to interesting conversations.  I am thankful for these women in my life. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

leaves, dogs and general craziness

I really can't believe that Friday is here already.  I woke up Monday with a feeling that I had all week to get things done, and here I am facing another Friday and feeling like I haven't caught up yet. 
London (our scrappy little cat) ended up at the vet this week after I noticed on Monday night that he had a swollen back foot.  Me of course jumping to the worst case scenario, thought twisting, breakage, amputation etc. and had a sleepless night.  The vet examined him and decided that it was an abscess.  After quoting us $500 with an overnight stay (Chris went a little pale), I was relieved and went home.  Ten minutes later they called to say that it had ruptured and he could come home!  It's pretty gross, and he's on painkillers and we have to soak his foot daily (a special operation as he HATES water) but the bill was only $185. 
My kids seem to have the case of the crazies this week.   My little super-stars have been punching, kicking and generally making bad choices all over the place.  It's tiring.  My other kids are getting tired of it.  I'm tired of it.  Hopefully a long weekend will help and we will all come back rested and ready.
Today was a big cross country race at our school and five of my kids were in it.  They were so excited and it was contagious.  So I decided to do a messy craft.  They turned out pretty well, but next year I will do them sooner while the leaves are still nice.  My EA walked in the door just as I was dumping large piles of leaves on desks.  She took it all in stride which is a good sign. (I thought she was a good one.)  
My broken down room got a little help today.  New white boards were installed and I didn't even have to beg!  I don't know if my AO had to, but I'm thankful nonetheless.  Now if only my rainbow table would appear before Christmas....
Another great thing that happened this week was when a giant dog managed to get into school.  It was the best thing ever and made me smile throughout the day.  To see this giant dog so excited to see so many kids, wagging his whole body, tongue lolling out as he wriggled through the crowd at the front door, was awesome.  Did I try to catch him?  Did I warn other teachers?  No I did not.  In fact I was rooting for that dog to make it down the hallway.  I did manage to get in just in time to see him scrape his giant tongue up a tiny kindergarten boy's cheek.  They were eye to eye, dog smiling, child big eyed and stunned.  A moment that will take me through the bad days.  The fun was put to a rapid halt by a very diligent collegue who grabbed the beast and wrestled him to a stop.  Party pooper. 
Whew a lot has gone on this week and I'm ready for the long weekend (even though it looks like I'll be going to work on Saturday).  Just one more day.....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What day is it?

Yikes! It's been almost a week since my last post.  Nothing too interesting going on, just school, school and more school.  I haven't seen any friends since my birthday on the 10th which is really sad.  A few of us are thinking of doing a book club, I just have to find the time to read the books and get to a meeting. 

My class of little people numbers 21 and some days I swear they are ganging up on me!  I can seriously imagine them out on the play ground coming up with a plan to make me a little crazy.  I have 4 or 5 that are always busy (this is teacher code for not paying attention or getting anything done.)  5 out of 21 with no severe special needs and only 2 ESL children is pretty good.  I am having fun, but I am going to have to get some balance back into my life.  I feel like all I do is plan, and although I enjoy it, I do have a room full of expensive scrapbooking stuff that is being neglected.  This week has been about assessing the kids to be able to make Math and Reading groups and so that when parents ask questions I can have an intelligent answer.  Parents.  I have met some really nice parents so far.  They are a bit wary of me though as I am new and their babies are probably going home with some interesting stories.  Like how I lose things all over the classroom.  I have forgotten gym time more than once and we've only really done one art project since the start of the year.  I have been suffering with sinus problems for a couple of weeks now and blame it on that.  As I type this I am looking out my kitchen window at the tree in the front yard.  The sun is shining and the leaves are changing colour.  I'd like to be able to go outside to enjoy it, but I have many other things that I need to get done first.  Like figure out how I'm going to get 15 more reading assessments done by Friday.   It's October on Friday already and I want to change my theme to Autumn.  We'll see if I can get it done by then.   
We were able to get a few things done on the house last weekend, and I got my garden cleaned up and bulbs planted.  I just hope that everything comes back in the Spring.  I didn't start thinking about school until Sunday afternoon when I realized that I didn't have a plan for Monday.  Honestly, I write down things on paper, but usually end up changing them on the fly.  At the end of the day I just transfer the stuff I didn't get to onto the next day.  Tonight I want to get in my room and get a layout at least started.  We'll see....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The week seemed to slip away (although it did go slowly at times) and it was Thursday.  I kept forgetting that we had a Pro D day on Friday.  The speaker that came up was fabulous.  Mark Mcleod from Mississippi is a motivational speaker.  His big theme is to "Relight the Fire" of teachers, to remind us about the positive things about teaching and how to make our classrooms a safe, exciting and caring environment.  He reminded me of techniques that I have used in the past, and confirmed some of my procedures as good practice.  There's nothing wrong with my "fire", as I am so happy to be back in the classroom, but I did like some of his ideas that I would like to put into practice.  We had already planned to go to GP on Saturday before we'd known that it was a 2 day event.  I was a little sorry not to go on the Saturday, but I needed to get out of town and away from school work so that my "fire" wouldn't be flickering by Monday. 
Saturday was spent in GP shopping, walking downtown and of course Tito's for lunch.  We didn't leave until around 6pm, but Chris stopped in Pouce Coupe at the Indian restaurant.  It was delicious!  Since FSJ is pretty much a fast food wasteland, the butter chicken was a nice change.  
Today is Sunday and after spending most of the day out at school, I am facing an evening of lesson planning and other prep.  Sigh... a teacher's work is never done!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

It's only Wednesday tomorrow, but it feels like the weekend will never get here!  I know that it's a short week with the kids because of Pro D on Friday, but man, am I exhausted.  I forgot what it's like to be in a room for 5 hours with a group of 20 or so needy little people.  The nose picking, the crying, pouting, shouting out, repeating myself 4 or more times (and that's with only one of them!) is starting to get to me.  By the time 2:39 came around today, I had those wonderful children lined up, coats on and waiting for that bell.  It's true.  No filler activity, no debriefing, just filing them out the door to preserve what ever sanity I had left.  I thinks it's because I feel like I'm still playing catch-up, planning only a couple of days in advance trying to get routines and structure in place and remembering as I go what bugs me and how I fix it.  Today was better than yesterday, and I know it will be better tomorrow, but when it was home time I was extremely happy.  It doesn't help that I am still starting to get sick, and it doesn't seem to matter how much Cold FX I take, it's hiding out in the background just waiting for a weak moment.  We stayed at work to "get things done" until around 6pm, and when we left I still felt that I was not done.  There is still a huge list in my head that needs work this weekend, but we need to get to GP this weekend.  We need to shop and we need to get out of here at least for the day.  It's looking like school is going to consume the better part of my weekend again this week, as there is talk of going out to school to "get more done".  Work and sleep is all that we are doing right now.  I know it will get better.....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Whew I made it!

This week was craziness and finally it is the weekend.  I found out after school Thursday that I would be the grade 2 teacher after expecting a 2/3 all week.  Part of me was estatic, the other a little thrown.  I'd been slowly setting my room up for mostly 3's with some 2's sprinkled in, so today we went out to work for the day to sort things out.  Of course it was the only sunny day that we've had in a week and half so I was a little bitter.  I did manage to get a few shots of the "Coolies", an area that we have to go through on the way to work.
I am officially 35.  I cannot deny the fact that I am getting older or that I am no longer in my early 30's.  35.  Smack dab in the middle.  SIGH...  I did have one of the best birthdays ever.  I had an actual birthday party and people actually brought me presents!  I hadn't expected presents since I'm so old, but it sure was nice.  I felt spoilt, not only because of the presents, but because of all the great people I had to celebrate with.  It was nice to hear the chatter and laughter all around me, and I felt so grateful.  Having wonderful friends certainly makes living here much better.
Here's to getting older.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Goat riding, tantrums and other good stuff

First days of school are always interesting.   Goodness knows that I've seen enough of them by now to realize that nothing usually goes as planned, that it's chaotic, confusing and exciting.  Especially when you are new to a school.  The weather was crap today, windy, rainy and basically winter.  I had "dressed up" determined to wear a shirt that I had bought in the Spring but had never been able to wear as it was always too cold.  It was too cold today too, but I was stubborn.  By afternoon, I was wishing that I'd worn jeans and a sweater, but anyway....  I went out to meet the kids like I was supposed to, but half were in and half were outside causing a traffic jam and making me feel like an idiot.  I finally got them all together and down to the room and noticed there was a group of parents making there way with us.  Hmmm  I am not one for audiences, especially when there's no and I'm not organized.  I tried to pay no attention, thinking they would go away, but they did not.  2 were EA's attached to one of the students and the other was a mom who has a nervous son in the room.  I shrugged and got down to gaining some order.  After the usual hello and intro of myself, I let them talk amongst themselves for 5 minutes and then pulled them back and asked them to introduce themselves and talk about what they like about themselves.  As we went around the room, I got a lot of typical answers but then I got "I like that I am a good goat rider and like to dance."  I stopped the student and asked her to repeat herself, thinking that I'd heard wrong.  Nope, she likes to ride goats.  I have to call her mom and ask to go and watch.  Shortly after this we were called down for an assembly and while we were lining up one of my students had a tantrum and decided to hide under a table.  Her EA helped her get it together and get in line, so that crises was averted.  We only had the kids for a little over an hour, but I really enjoyed myself.  The rest of this week is mostly a wait and see period, so there are community building activities happening tomorrow, Thursday is a reminder of PBIS rules for the school, and MAYBE Friday I will have a class that is my own. 
My picture for today is of the primary hallway, minutes before the students came in.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

I should...

I should be cleaning the bathroom.  I should also be packing my bag for tomorrow and going over last minute ideas.  I should be reading something profound to get me ready to be a teacher again.  There are many things that I should be doing this evening, but instead I baked a banana loaf, had a visit with a friend and now I am going to work on a layout that's been sitting on my desk all day.  I have holding on to the last hours of summer vacation with both hands, and have to say that I am relaxed.  Tomorrow morning on the way to school I will probably be overcome with anxiety for a few minutes, but right now, I am making every minute count.  This weekend was full of last minute visiting, dinners at friends and even a campfire.  It was nice, but busy and I have enjoyed my day of no obligations today. 
I have to admit that I am a little worried about my 30 minutes a day.  It is going to be so hard to drag myself out after being at work all day, but I know that I couldn't possibly get my carcass out of bed any earlier than I will have to for work.  It's painful enough already to be losing all that precious sleep I was able to get living out in Prespatou.  It will be worth it though in so many ways.  Enough said.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The end is near

This week was spent mostly in school finishing up the last minute cleaning and organizing for my classroom.  As I sat at my still messy desk, I wondered what it will be like.  What will the kids be like?  Am I going to like being back in the classroom full time again?  Can I do it?  We'll see I guess.  For the last three years I taught in Prespatou, a rural school an hour from town.  While I won't be in town again this year, I am a lot closer.  I've heard good things about Upper Pine, but there's still that fear of the unknown I guess.  Here's a shot of my finished classroom, at least it looks ready now. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The life of a classroom

As I was sanding some shelves in my classroom today, I started thinking about how dated and sad everything looked in there.  I also started to think about how it might have looked when it was new.  Probably the same only shinier.  It is about nine days until school starts and my room still looks like this.  After 3 days it is starting to look a little better to me, but to the casual observer not so much.  Stay posted for an after picture.  I am hoping that the room will be cheery and inviting for the kids come September, after all the garbage and years of people's left behinds are finally purged.  It's been a while that I've had to start over in a new classroom and I've forgotten how much teachers like to "save" things.  I would not be surprised to find out that many hoarders were teachers at some time in their lives.  I did mange to find a diamond in the rough, my desk.  It needs some TLC, but it will be beautiful when I'm done.  To think the janitor was going to throw it out the same day that I found it!   It's an old wooden teachers desk, similar to the one I have in my scrap room, but smaller.  I was happy to ditch the giant metal and ugly one that was in the room when I got there.  The old wooden desks have character and history, the newer ones (from the '80's) are usually black and chrome and have no style at all.  I hope to refinish this one next summer (I'm adding it to a growing list of projects), but I'll have to get it in writing that I get to keep it.  I know it'll look that good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From here to there and back again

I finally got to Tumbler Ridge for some hiking.  We decided to go on Monday, as the weather was supposed to be decent.  We got to Tumbler around 10:30 in the morning, but by the time we actually decided what hike we wanted and drove out to the trail head and started, it was around 11:30.  Finding the actual start of the hike was also part of the adventure as it was not very clearly marked.  We hiked up Cow moose Mountain and it was hard.  Since I was the one who picked the hike, I have no one to blame but myself.  It was an alpine hike, which to me means all uphill.  We didn't come across any big animals (thank goodness) but there were lots of signs that they were around.  We did happen upon a little village of marmots.  They were living in a slide pile near the top of the mountain.  They were pretty curious of us, and watched us for a long time.  The hike was 5.5 kilometres long and we managed to do it in 3.5 hours.  Not a very good time if you are in shape and not damaged, but for me it was alright.  After the mountain climbing, we went to find the famous dinosaur tracks along the river.  That was another 2 or so kms, and really underwhelming when we arrived at the sight.        I was disappointed that they haven't done more to preserve them.  We managed to find one definite print, but the rest we were guessing at.  Oh well I can say that I've seen them. 
I was not surprised to wake up this morning with sore legs.  actually, everything from the hip down is sore and it's getting worse as time goes on.  As Chris is quick to remind me it will be worse tomorrow, YAY! I did manage to get into the pool for the lap swim today even though it was a little slower than last time. 
Tomorrow, we are going into school to start getting ready.  I have decided to do a purge and clean session this time and then maybe go in on the weekend to do some organizing.  We'll see.  My lovely friend Ang is coming along to help, so hopefully we'll get a lot done and I can stop stressing about it.  I am having a hard time believing that September is almost here, I feel like my summer is finally on track...
I have managed to get a few pages done from our trip from last summer. I'm starting to find my groove again, and it's nice.  I have also decided that I have to use up most of the Basic Grey that I have before I can buy any more.  That's hard as I have just seen a new line of theirs that I know I want already.  Sometimes life is just not fair. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010


We finally got to go out to our new school today.  When I opened the door to my classroom, it was just as bad as the last time I saw it in June.  I had been hoping that I was overreacting because I was injured and not really in a head-space to deal with a new classroom.  Nope.  It's bad.  I am already making plans to go back with garbage bags, cleaning supplies and paint.  Luckily I have my friend Ang and Chris to help me out.  I am going to go multiple days and make a list of things to achieve in small chunks, then maybe I won't hyperventilate and lose my mind.  First clean it up and then see what I have to work with and then start planning.  Doable, totally.
As usual, the day disappeared again and after running around we arrived home at around 4.  I decided to jump on my bike and head out for a while.
I rode to the trail that is close to our house and as I was entering it, I noticed how quiet it was and thought briefly about wild life.  Living here in Northern BC you can encounter animals at any time, even in town.  I shrugged it off and continued down the path.  I heard some talking as I came around a bend and saw a couple of boys, also on bikes, circling ahead.  One shouts out to me, and I slowed down as I was processing (thankfully) "Don't come down here, there's a moose with 2 babies!"  I came to a halt and not 5 feet away from me is the moose having a snack on the edge of the trail!  From where I was, I could hear her munching away on some leaves and I was torn between two thoughts. 1) Damn I don't have my camera and 2) I need to get out of here!  I couldn't see her calves, but I wasn't waiting to see.  I rode quickly away, thanking the kids and hoping that she wasn't running after me.  I passed a family on a bike ride with 2 kids under the age of 5, and slowed to tell them about the animals.  I was stunned and disgusted when the mother stated that maybe they'd go down there anyway and take a look!  I couldn't believe it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

better life

I am proud of myself today, which doesn't happen too often.  I decided to go for a swim today, not just any swim, but a long one.  Well long for me.  I got a new swim program from and wanted to try it out.  I managed to make it through the whole thing and had 15 minutes at the end to do some extra lengths.  The pool was not crazy busy, but we were two to a lane.  I was actually in the fast lane!  Before you think "wow", there were a lot of old people and beginner swimmers in the pool today.  Still it made me smile a little to think that I was in the fast lane.  In total time I swam for an hour, only stopping to rest in between my 50 meter lengths.  Not a bad start.
Last night when I got home from the pool, I had a wonderful surprise of company.  Michelle and Bryce dropped by with an old filing cabinet that Michelle's mom was getting rid of.  She thought of me and my scrap room, so now I have this wonderful treasure to re-purpose for my stamps.  Yay! I already know where it's going to go, but I have to decide on a colour for it.  I'm thinking a blue, we'll see what I can find.
Going back to the visit, I was talking to Michelle about how different it is living in town now, compared to the first time almost 4 years ago.  We didn't know anybody, we were living in a horrible apartment building (which burned down a few months ago) and I remember thinking how we needed to get out of here as soon as possible.  I think living out in Prespatou gave us a whole other perspective. Being in town now with friends dropping by and places to go and things to do that aren't work related is making this a way better life. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 minutes a day

My new goal is to start moving for at least 30 minutes a day.  For some people this does not sound like a lot, but for me right now, it is a goal that I can live with.  I have stumbled upon a couple of blogs written by women who are documenting their weight loss etc., which have inspired me to get moving.  I just have to stay healthy and not over do it as I am prone to do.  Also remembering this goal when work starts up again and I am super involved with that... hmmm.  Luckily I have a very supportive husband.  I also have two long-term goals that I am working towards slowly and surely.  I was super excited to get my new hiking shoes today and then to have Chris suggest a hike in Tumbler Ridge this weekend was the cherry on top.  Because of the accident, I have not been able to get out and do the hiking and camping that I had planned for this summer.  I am hoping to go camping on my birthday weekend in September, but that's cutting it a little close with the weather.  Snow falls in September after all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Today there are all kinds of summer sounds coming through the windows.  Kids playing next door, lawnmowers going and the wind playing in the trees.  I woke up to a sunshine and must say that it gives me a better perspective on the world.  Chris is gone this morning, meeting a friend and I have to say I love the quiet of the house when it's just me.
I managed to get into my room last night for awhile and be creative.  It's still a mess, but I just don't care anymore.  There are too many projects that I am dying to get to.  I know that I also have to start thinking about work, but I want just one more day to do nothing.
We got out to the Fall Fair yesterday, which was interesting.  The first thing we came upon were horses and I have to say I was uneasy.  I felt very uncomfortable and when a horse reared up, my heart dropped and I felt sick for a moment.  I was glad to be away from them and that makes me think my riding days are over. 
We'd missed all the events from the morning, so we walked around to all the exhibits.  I'd never been to a Fall Fair before and I found it interesting.  All the animals, people and of course the mini doughnuts.  Yummmm.  We ate them so fast there was no time for a picture!  After watching the dance competition, Chris said that he'd be open to taking some lessons, so I'm going to set something up for the Fall I think.  I can't let him change his mind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Never ending toilet issues

When we moved into our house a month ago, we had a terrible time with the bathroom floor.  When we'd had the inspection in March, the inspector had said that there was a leak or had been a leak from the toilet.  The stain on the floor was small, and I'd believed in the goodness of people and thought the sellers had fixed it already.  I was wrong.  Not only had they not fixed it to that point, they allowed it to continue until they left so that when we moved in, we found the floor rotted right down through the sub floor!  Thanks to a friend loaning us some tools to get started and of course the internet, we replaced the floor and all the seals on the toilet.  Chris laid a new floor and we thought all was well until yesterday.  Today we went shopping for a new toilet, and Chris had to take the old toilet out and pull up some of the flooring.  As I type I can hear the fan in the bathroom, drying out the sub floor.  So this minor leak that had probably started 6 months ago has now cost us well over $500.  Yes I know it could be worse and I'm sure people out there have horror stories, but for us it's bad.  Not only that, my belief in the good of people has been shaken.  I don't feel that this is the only thing that the sellers left us with, and am worried about what we'll find when we start looking.  I'm thinking about making the old toilet into a planter for the backyard.
On a good note, my little soiree last night went really well.  One person didn't show up and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  I think she forgot.  I did call, but anyway....  It was nice to fill the house with laughter and chatter.  When everyone left and Chris and I were cleaning up, I was left with a feeling of complete happiness.  I'm glad that we've moved back to town and that we are starting to have a life here in the North. I think tomorrow we will head out to the Fall Fair.  Something to do that isn't house related at this point would be a good thing I think.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The beginning

I had started to think about blogging a few months ago.  I already journal and thought it would be an added outlet for me.  If my friend's ten year old could do it, so could I.  Life seemed to get in the way and I just never had the time to sit down and do it.  Until today.  It is still summer for us teachers, and I am happy for it. I am also trying to not think about what's coming in September.  It's been a busy year for me this year.  We got married, bought a house, changed jobs and I had a horse fall on me.  Luckily the wedding was last July and I have been able to get used to all the other stuff in the Summer holiday.  Tonight is supposed to be our house warming party out on the deck, but it has turned cold and windy.  Boo!  We will have to be inside I guess, which is making me a little cranky.  I hate it when a plan falls apart.  We'll see what happens.
I'll leave you with a few images of summer

Mom and Dad in Hudson's Hope

Fresh fruit makes everything better  

WAC Bennett dam

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