Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Plugged In

I am all kinds of plugged in now.

Remember when I mentioned that E was hooking me up with a new Mac PowerBook? (Of course you don't; but a gold star to anyone bored enough to find the post.) Well, some several months later, ta da! I'm typing this post on my couch, from my new (well, at least to me. It's actually a couple of years old.) laptop! I believe this is my first very own computer. Mine mine mine. Not the school's or loaner from E's work or the family's. Mine! Porn sites here I come. ;)

Also--my new phone finally came today! I've been without a cell since Thanksgiving. Then today, just as I had scraped the gravy out of the power outlet on the old phone to see if that would help it keep a charge (it did) the Fed Ex guy delivered my new one. Poor guy. I was on the phone (land line with a 12 inch cord. If anyone is last minute shopping for me, boy could I use a new cordless for the house.) with Katy, and Soph answered the door. Jimmy was just getting ready to freak out on the guy (He's totally ok with strangers that we've let in the house, but those standing outside the door are considered highly suspect.) when I intervened. What kind of new phone do I have? A black flippy one. Sweet.

I'm down to just 2 more gifts to buy--one for my dad and one for Mandy and Clark. (Mand--shut your eyes.) We're headed to Best Buy tomorrow to look for those. I'm crossing my fingers that I can find a cheep boxed set of a season of Dr. Who for my dad. The one with the guy in the scarf. For Mand and Clark, I'm hoping they don't have Firefly yet. If they do, maybe Buffy season one. (Ok. You can open them now.) I hate people (except for you) who tell you all smugly that they have all their shopping done and wrapped--like in November. Those people are worse than the ones (again, present company excluded) who have delicious, homemade, nutritious dinners in the freezer in little labeled containers, ready to bust out at a moments notice.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Cutting snowflakes out of coffee filters and muffin cups together.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
TV guilt.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Have a Happy Zappy Christmas!

My top 5 favorite things about Christmas, this year. (Less than 50% are dairy related. Sweet.)

5. Clam dip
4. Going to Sophie's school and having the cute little girl with the speech impediment rave and rave to me about her new "kitty" pronounced, "titty." (Ok, not super Christmas related, but pretty freakin' funny none the less.)
3. Having cute Soph-made Christmas decor to hang up.
2. Peppermint stick blizzards
1. Listening to Soph sing her new favorite made-up song, "Have a happy, zappy Christmas."

Oh--and honorable mention goes to this outfit she opened last night from her Aunt Karynn. Too Cute.

My top 5 most hated things about Christmas this year.

5. The gravy boat nonsense.
4. Bronchitis
3. Christmas light malfunctions
2. Being dragged into the living room to see every toy commercial and being informed that that is what she REALLY wants. Tough kitties. The Santa shopping is done.
1. Gift anxiety

Today's best thing about being a mom:
We're having our first "Mommy and Sophie" day in a long, long time. I've been making an effort today to just enjoy her company.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Her god-damn bedroom is so filthy, again. I know she can't tackle a mess like that on her own. When are kids old enough to REALLY clean their own room--not just throw shit in the closet?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sick, Sick and Tired, and Sick OF

Today, I'm all of the above. I have something fluish/coldish going on, and frankly, I feel like total shit. Yesterday I called a sub, but today, that was not an option.

You see, I've been working tirelessly (ok, I've been tired sometimes ) for 5 years now to find a way to help my kids be better readers. According to some assessments I've done, at least half are below grade level, and at least half of those are 4 or more grades below grade level. Sheesh. In my teacher ed classes, I was never taught to teach reading. Sure I got the literary criticism stuff, and I can teach the hell out of a novel, short story, poem, essay, what have you, but never anything on what to do with the kid who simply can't READ the novel, short story, poem, essay, etc. I spent a ton of time studying up on comprehension and vocabulary strategies, and for a fraction of my kids, that helped, but only for the ones who were doing ok to start with.

So this year I've been attending a series of classes to get my reading endorsement. Usually it's me, a fellow teacher, and about 100 3rd grade teachers. I've learned a TON, the most important being that if the kid can't decode the word, no amount of comprehension study in the world is going to help him/her comprehend the text. Period.

Long story short, I'm now teaching phonics, decoding, affixes, and multisyllabic fluency. Sounds fun, huh? For fluency (speed+emotion=meaning) to increase, kids have to read the same passage at least 6 times. Then fluency goes up both for that passage and future passages. Enter: (da du du da!!) readers' theater! We've been practicing 4 holiday themed readers' theater(s?) for the last few weeks, and let me tell you, I've seen more improvement with this one activity than any number of expensive, time consuming programs combined. Today they are performing the pieces (The Christmas Orange, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Christmas Orange and The Christmas Truce) for the school AND I (much to the horror of the kids) sent invitations to the parents.

So--I'm here, Theraflu in hand, bag of cheep Christmas cookies under my desk, classroom rearranged into as theater-like a place as I can, hoping that at least a few parents show and that the kids won't cut class.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
When I'm sick, Soph always brings me little things to help me feel better. Yesterday it was a potato chip, a dolly, and a Christmas ornament.

Today's worst t thing about being a mom:
Because of the floor debacle, and me being sick, we were all out of stuff to make her lunch today.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gravy Grinch

Hmm. Tried switching to Blogger Beta and apparently something is awry. I hope it won't mess things up too bad. Also, my blogrolling seems to be out of wack. FYI--Sophie Says has been updated.

Now then. Here is why I hate Christmas. All my mother wants is a new gravy boat. In my family, we take the gravy pretty seriously. The old gravy boat broke, and the gravy needs a new home. What she really wants is a plug in gravy boat that keeps the gravy warm. So, I figured--a quick trip to Wal-mart and that's one gift down, right? Wrong. There are no. gravy. boats. at. Wal-mart. Not plug in ones. Not not plug in ones. Not any ones at all. Ok. So I try the other 2 options in Cedar City. Nope. No gravy boats. Apparently there was a run on gravy boats right before Thanksgiving, and no one has reordered. Ok. Breathe. That's what the internet's for. Right? Only, shipping on a plug-in gravy boat is like ten bucks. And I'l be damned if I'm going to pay ten bucks shipping on a twenty dollar gravy boat. I calculated the hours I spent shopping for a gravy boat--both on and off line. People. 5+ hours. I finally (dur) looked on Amazon and got free shipping and the gravy boat is en route, but crimeny--how lame am I to spend 5 hours of my life on a hunt for the perfect recepticle for fat thickened with flour? (And why is it a boat? How about the gravy bus? Gravy ship? Gravy raft?) Sigh.

In other news, the bulk of my furniture has spent the last week sitting on my front lawn. We're finally having the wood floors redone, and frankly, I don't want to talk about it. What I thought would be a 2 day project has ballooned into a week long project and between living without a kitchen, dining room, or living room and the fumes and dust, I'm about ready to kill people. But, I think the work is done, and tomorrow the floors will be dry enough to move the furniture back in.

Much more to report, but just don't wanna. Maybe more tomorrow.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Grandma J took Soph to see Santa a few days ago. Apparently he was pretty crappy. Maybe 18 years old with a fake-o-rama beard and cheap suit. When I asked what she thought of Santa, she answered, "Well, I think it must have been his brother."

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Do I have enough stuff for her? Too much? Should I break down and get the Bratt? Does she really need stocking stuffers?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

...and a pony and a race car and...

I put up all the Christmas Crap today: tree, wreath, stockings, etc. If I wanted to, I could blog about Christmas light trauma, but I really don't want to relive it. To summarize, lights attached to the tree are a great idea--until the lights quit working.

Instead, here is Sophie's Santa letter, as dictated to E this morning at 6:30 while I was still asnooze in my bed.

Dear Santa Clause,

My name is Sophie Gene.

I want a (Like how she cuts right to the chase?)

1. Super Rocket Snowboard
2. Racer Scooter
3. Dinosaur set for Dad
4. Pom Pom
5. A baby like Bianca's
6. Polly Pocket set with a Jacuzzi, camera, and sunglasses
7. Music box
8. Magnet set that makes a cool monkey
9. Phone number set
10. Glowing Ariel that sings
11. Pom pom sister wig
12. Digging dinosaur bones set
13. Pop up elephant that pops up butterflies
14. My own sproinging Christmas tree
15. A green and pink basket for Bianca
16. My own carriage with real horses
17. Cleaning list like Cinderella's
18. Ariel Vanity

I've been good.


I'm afraid she's going to be pretty disappointed. Last year she played with most of her Christmas toys for about 1 day. The Disney Princess talking vanity was a total piece of shit. The Polly Pocket beading machine was worse than a piece of shit. It was a piece of shit with eighty-million pieces and a battery. She's getting a scooter, a couple of new Barbies, and the rest of her stuff is going to be well made, and learning/craft centered--not because I'm a good granola mommy, but because that's the stuff she plays with.

That said, Christmas is such a good influence on Miss Sophie Gene. I feel equal parts hella guilty (you know--because of the lying and coersion) and elated, but the "be good or Santa won't bring you any toys" works like a fucking magic charm with that girl. I'm serious. She's totally minding, picking up her shit, and did I mention, minding? This weekend was absolutely dreamy. It must be so nice to be the parent of a child that does what you say--like--all the time. Oh--and after she finished her Santa letter, she drew a picture for Mrs. Santa because, "Mommy, I bet Mrs. Santa doesn't get very much mail."

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Seeing Christmas through the eyes of someone who still thinks it's magical and wonderful and not a huge damn pain in the ass. Oh, and watching "The Grinch." Not the Jim Carrey one. The awesome old-school one with Boris Karlof.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Well I ever, ever be able to sleep in until noon on a Sunday again?