Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Please forgive my small little rant.  You've been forewarned - if you don't want to hear it, please leave now. 

I met with my daughter's principal last week, because I wasn't sure that the teacher was a good fit for her.  
Everyday she came home telling me about her teacher's punitive style: lost recesses, yelling teacher, getting after her for not writing fast enough.   

If she were a naughty kid, then I'd say - give it to her, she probably deserved it. 
But not this child.  
She's a model (with a capital M) student.  She's eager, kind, helpful, enthusiastic, and has a heart that's still mostly of gold.  She emanates goodness.  

New to the school, new to the area, with a mean teacher to boot.  How hard on a kid.  
After meeting with the principal, I met the teacher for lunch last week as we discussed some issues.  She was totally surprised that my daughter was so unhappy.  She was floored.  

Fast forward to yesterday when my daughter brought home her math test.  

It had a BIG FAT "D" in red ink across the top. 

WHO does that?  Especially to a child who is struggling academically, and trying to get up to speed on their reading (which affects everything else).  Especially to a kid in elementary school.  

It made me want to cry.    

I so want this teacher to love her and build her up, rather than shatter her finite academic self confidence.

I will begin volunteering in the classroom next week.  Hopefully, I can really observe the tone, and what's happening there, and make some decisions.  

Thank you for indulging in my rant.  Grrr

Friday, August 26, 2011

My latest pool adventure - and chronology of my non-swimming career

I don't know if I've mentioned how much we love the beach.  We've visited the beach every single weekend since we've been here.  
We LOVE the beach.
And the water.
And the community pool. 

When I was a kid, my parents put me in swimming lessons. 
Then I had to get stitches. 
They made me go and watch the lessons. 
It was like torture. 

The next year, they put me in lessons again.  
I was in the baby class.
With the mean teachers. 
They threw you into the pool and told you to swim. 
I know other kids were way more scarred than I was. 

Then I had contacts and never wanted to get my face wet. 

Needless to say - I'm a horrible swimmer.

Fast forward to 5 weeks ago. 
While I lobbied for a pool at whatever home we chose, ultimately, I didn't get it. 

But, we have a very nice community pool 1 block away.  
I have legs and can walk.  
But sometimes I drive. 

With a trusty set of goggles, I spent one evening practicing putting my face underwater.
And blowing. 

My husband is so sweet. 
He watched me one evening and said, 
"Wow, you look like a swimmer"
High praise indeed. 
Every time I go swimming I think of that.
And I'm so glad that I now feel much more comfortable in the water. 

Unfortunately, this week I found I just might be a LITTLE TOO comfortable in the water. 

The kids got out of school early. 
We headed to the pool. 
I was super excited that I found swim shirts, and we were trying them out and I wasn't going to fry!

We walked through the gate. 
I set down the towels and my keys. 

And we raced to see who could jump into the deep end quickest.  

When I resurfaced, I realized I was still wearing my skirt!  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Florida stuff

I've been keeping a mental list of the things I find just a little bit different here in Florida.
I figure if I write it down, I can get rid of at least one mental list.

Some things, I'm still kind of scratching my head and saying, 'huh?' over, and others, I just find novel, or interesting.

Lizards.  We have an entire army of them everywhere - outside our house.  At any given moment I can look out the back window and see one on the window, or scurrying across the patio.  These lizards LOVE to do push ups.  Up and down, up and down.  I figure it has to be a mating thing, 'hey baby, check out these guns...'
They also puff out their chins, which are red.  Pretty cool.

Along with every size of lizard, we also have miniature toads everywhere.  No larger than a cricket.  Teensy little guys.  When I walk through the grass, or past them, they hop out in front, or scurry across the sidewalk seeking cover.  I think they are beetles until I look closer.

Let's talk about plants.
I love plants.  I love gardening.
I just bought my first fake plant (EVER) today.

A couple of weeks ago, I was dying for some green in my house because I had to give all of my plants away back in Colorado.  My daughter and I headed out to Home Depot and got a bunch of plants.  She put together 2 planter boxes for her room, I got a pineapple plant (couldn't resist the novelty), a couple of pothos, a snake plant, and a pretty flowering plant, and a hanging basket for our backyard patio.
Here's what I've found:

  • My houseplants don't ever seem to dry out inside due to the humidity.  
  • They mold. 
  • I've killed most of my plants (well, after they succumbed to the mold, or dried up from not being watered because they always still feel wet).
  • Even though there is high humidity outside, and it often rains in the afternoons, unless watered with tons of water each day from my hose, my outdoor hanging basket will die. - It is in fact, dead now. 
  • Plants outside WILL die if neglected without water (despite 85 - 100% humidity) for 1 day. 
The next thing. 
Soil.  The soil here - it is sand.  Like the beach.  So weird.  The grass here is what we call 'crab grass' back home.  It is a week that we diligently dig out of our lawns in the west.  
Well, not here.  Here it gets fed, and trimmed and mowed, and watered, and covers every single lawn. 

Finally - we have to talk about the water. 
I've spent more time in my swimming suit here in the past 5 weeks than I've spent in my entire life put together.  However, that's besides the point. 

The tap water - yuck...it just isn't good at all.  Not a bit.  And I'm not a water snob.  
However, when taking a shower, or after running the water for cooking for more than 1.30 seconds - the water is warm.  Cold water does not exist here.  They need cold water coolers here (like a hot water heater). Seriously, put on the tap, put your cup under there - patiently waiting for a nice cold glass of water.  You get lukewarm, tepid water...and no matter how long you let it run, it won't get colder.  So if you exercise and want a very cool shower to cool down with - you'll have to settle for a warm one, cause you aren't getting anything cold.  

Finally, all of the parents walk their kids to the bus stop.  And hang out.  It is like a social club.  Really?  The bus stop is only a block away.  I'd rather send my kid out the door 1.30 seconds before the bus shows up so that she can get there, and step onto that big yellow taxi.  Nope - we've got to get there 10 minutes early for social hour.  Then, I get to do it again picking her up after school.  I could just rebel, but I figure I'll either be ostracized for being the bad mom, or else they must know something that I don't.  

Finally (really this might be the final finally), after school here is CRAZY!  I went in to initial a paper that I'd made a mistake on, on my daughter's registration forms today.  The parking lot is a serpentine, windy ordeal.  While I parked and walked in, I couldn't help but marvel at the line of cars.  2 deep, all the way out to the road 20 minutes before the bell even rang.  
I asked the principal if this was normal.  She said the first cars got there almost an hour and a half before school got out to start the que.  It took me a full 12 minutes just to drive through my other daughter's school parking lot to pick her up last week.  

PS - We still haven't seen an alligator.  I think they may be a hoax.     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First day pics

It has been a while.  I've even got some pictures to post - but I had a hard time getting them to upload.
Sigh - technology.
We've weathered half of the first week of school.
This year I was ready for the kids to go back to school.  They needed to make some friends and I needed to stop running around jumping through hoops for the schools to get my kids registered.
Our youngest daughter said her first day was the best day of school she's ever had.  She got to ride the bus and has 2 friends from the neighborhood she just can't wait to see each morning and play with before the bus comes.

Our older daughter started middle school.
Despite her auspicious beginnings (no schedule, showing up early to figure out where to go and them sending me away leaving her at their mercy), her day didn't get too much better.
She knew one girl in her math class from church.
She had 2 friends from church that she sat with at lunch.
I think those were the highlights.

I got a phone call at 4:39 (the time her bus was supposed to be here).
A tearful child was on the line.  "Mom, I took the wrong bus - I have no idea where I am".
I sort of panicked.
She stayed on the bus, and rode it back to the school.  I picked her up there.
We joked that because I took her in the morning, she was trying to make up for it on the way home with the bus.
I think she's got the routine down now.
Anyways - here are the first day of school pics.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to school....bureaucracy

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned how patient I am.  
Well, to talk about it wouldn't be very humble now would it? 

Today we entered the back to school melee... 
You may remember 3 weeks ago when I dedicated almost a full week to collecting every scrap of identification we own, as well as proferring up my firstborn so that we could get the kids registered for school. 
I got it done and thought - whew...now we can enjoy summer. 
Except, they wanted records. 
Our schools we just came from were still on summer break (so no chance for getting records for a while)
And so the fun began
Kind helpful previous teachers scanned and emailed me information, and I dug through more boxes to find test scores and report cards.  Scanned it all in and said, 'phew' - glad that's over. 

Today we went to the middle school to pick up the schedule
We got in a line. 
They didn't have my child's schedule and sent us to the guidance line
(along with all of the disgruntled kids and parents who didn't get the class they wanted)
The guidance person (after the 25 minute wait) told us, 'oh no - you'll have to go to the media center for that'
We went to the media center
They were handing out numbers
we got 43

After 30 minutes of waiting we decided to head to the transportation line to figure out bussing while we waited  for our number to be called
It was only an 18 minute wait in line.

We got back to the media center in time to hear them call 20.

After another 30 minutes we headed out to some of the classes to meet the teachers.  We figured we had at least a 2 hour wait in front of us still. 
We did. 

All of the teachers went home at 12
At 12:30, we decided to forgo the schedule since at least I had traded my pen with a worker for information that my child wasn't even in the computer.  
She was nice enough to find the file (in an old box) and at least enter my child into the system.
We'll be back in line tomorrow. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crocodile Cake

I just did a posting on this cake on my recipe blog for this cake that turned out SO adorable.  
Yes, my husband REALLY wanted an 'adorable' cake for his birthday.  But the girls helped make and create it - so he loves it.  And we think it is pretty great too.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Served Papers

We got served some court papers this morning.   
That server guy - he seriously has a pretty awful job.  
He just gets to give people bad news over and over again all day long.  
I wonder if he catalogs people's reactions?
I be there are categories like:
Relieved that it finally happened cause we knew it was coming
Total shock and dismay (me this morning)
I can't believe this is happening
This is a mistake
Total Anger
Quiet Reluctance

That's all I can think of but I bet there are lots more.  
He could probably write a whole book with stories of his experiences.
And make a million dollars. 

By the way, who rings the doorbell two times at 8:30 in the morning?  
My kids answered the door.  They should know better!
Don't answer the door to strangers.  But there they were - "come on in Mr. Stranger Man who is going to kill mommy's morning!"  

I may appear rather calm.  I think I finally am. 
I've been told by the responsible parties (definitely not me) that it shouldn't have happened and is a mistake.  (denial category?)
It has nothing to do with anything we've done - we were just being informed.  
Thank you Mr. Server/Informant man for seriously putting a downer on my day.