Back in the Saddle Again

Today I was back in a classroom – as a teacher – for the first time in 10 years. Ok, fine, I was a SUBSTITUTE teacher. But it still felt real. The sixth graders were great, and the teacher had left such detailed plans that following it was a breeze. I quickly learned which students needed reminders to focus, which liked to volunteer answers, and who were the kids who kept track of life, such as kid J. who reminded me that they get milk or juice for snack! Thankfully there was still 5 minutes or so left for them to chug it down!

Otherwise, things went incredibly smoothly – considering I started the day by not only leaving my Nook at home, but also my PHONE! Luckily there were lots of assignments for me to grade. :)

Because I like to make lists, here are a few ways you know that teaching is still in your blood:

1.  You say, “please pass your papers forward” – even though that’s not how the class turns in their stuff.

2.  You tell a kid to put an assignment “on my desk”. Oh yeah. It’s not MY desk…

3.  You can still eat your entire lunch in less than 20 minutes.

My favorite part of the day was during the English lesson (surprise!). I asked if they usually did a specific type question together or as homework. One girl looked at me at said, “Homework…but we COULD do it together…” and then waggled her eyebrows! I cracked up.


So, one night I couldn’t find my Country Crock.

It all started so innocently. One evening I couldn’t find the Country Crock, which I alone use on my waffles (& pancakes if you really want to know) because I am the lone dissenter in a family of peanut butter fanatics.

But I couldn’t find it.

We’d had a babysitter the previous afternoon, so I asked the kids if they knew where it was. They promptly threw the babysitter under the bus – “Ellen was the last one to have it!” Apparently she put it on their quesadillas, which sounds like an amazing combo of grilled cheese sandwich + Mexicana (which is a word I think I just made up for American Mexican food).

After looking in the normal places (ie, where food is stored) – and after Aaron looked in the normal places, too – I did what any 21st century mom would do. I went to Facebook.  Here’s what happened:  (WARNING: This went on for 140 comments. If you don’t have that kind of stamina, scroll through to the end and I’ll let you in on how it ended. But the comments are entertaining! Also, some of the comments were deleted simply for clarity of the story line. No offense intended!)


My original status:  If you were our babysitter, and you put away a tub of Country Crock spread, where would you put it? (It’s not in the fridge…or the pantry…or the cupboard…)

  • Jessica It’s all gone…check the garbage.
    September 7 at 8:35pm · Unlike · 1

  • Julie Be afraid! LOL!
    September 7 at 8:35pm · Unlike · 1
  • Liz It was half full! And I haven’t seen it in the garbage!
    September 7 at 8:36pm · Like
  • Angie Ask the babysitter!
    September 7 at 8:36pm · Like
  • Liz I texted her…no response yet…maybe this will get her attention: Ellen! Where is my butter substitute?!
    September 7 at 8:37pm · Like · 3
  • Jenna Freezer?
    September 7 at 8:39pm · Like
  • Liz I checked there too!
    September 7 at 8:40pm · Like
  • Valerie Maybe she did you a favor. #RealButter4Life
    September 7 at 8:40pm · Like · 13
  • Jenna Under a child’s bed? Once when I was a kid I hid and ate the rest of a tub of margarine with my fingers. Gross huh? Now I won’t touch the stuff and have about 8lbs of REAL butter in the freezer.
    September 7 at 8:43pm · Unlike · 4
  • Liz Never fear, Val, I use plenty of real butter too. But I do like some smooth CC on my toast & pancakes!
    September 7 at 8:43pm · Like · 2
  • Jessica Do the kids know?
    September 7 at 8:45pm · Like
  • Liz Nope, they totally threw Ellen under the bus. “She was the last one who had it!”
    September 7 at 8:46pm · Like · 2
  • Angie Breadbox? Behind something in the fridge? Cereal cupboard? Baking cupboard? Microwave? Under stuff on the counter?
    September 7 at 8:47pm · Like · 1
  • Eliza Freezer? Maybe was busy and put it in the wrong place?
    September 7 at 8:50pm · Like
  • Liz Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, NOPE! Aaron even checked the fridge also! Not in the freezer either.
    September 7 at 8:50pm · Like · 1
  • Katie In the oven? Sometimes I hide things in mine
    September 7 at 8:50pm · Unlike · 1
  • Beth I’d call her
    September 7 at 8:51pm · Like
  • John Probably took it home!
    September 7 at 8:51pm · Like · 2
  • Jill Garbage? Or the bathroom.
    September 7 at 8:51pm · Like
  • Liz I’m thinking her mom would make her bring it back.
    September 7 at 8:51pm · Like
  • Brandy This is funny and i really can’t wait for the “reveal”!!!!! And I’m with Val…..#realbutterforever
    September 7 at 8:53pm · Like · 2
  • Liz Not in the bathroom!
    September 7 at 8:54pm · Like · 1
  • Jessica With the Tupperware?
    September 7 at 8:55pm · Like
  • Liz Nope!
    September 7 at 8:56pm · Like
  • Jessica Microwave
    September 7 at 8:56pm · Like
  • Liz Nope!
    September 7 at 8:56pm · Like
  • Liz People, I am completely befuddled!
    September 7 at 8:57pm · Like · 2
  • Jessica Are you sure it’s not hiding in the fridge? Freezer? This is driving me crazy.
    September 7 at 8:57pm · Like · 1
    September 7 at 8:57pm · Unlike · 4
  • Liz ME TOO. Nope, and I just checked both again. And the bathroom, too, just for Jill.
    September 7 at 8:57pm · Like
  • Liz Probably wouldn’t have noticed it was missing, but I am the lone peanut butter- on- waffles abstainer and I really missed my CC!
    September 7 at 8:58pm · Like
  • Katie Drawer under the stove? Under the sink? Laundry room?
    September 7 at 8:58pm · Like
  • Liz I did check the laundry. The drawer under the stove is not bit enough, and I’m going to go check the sink cabinet! September 7 at 8:59pm · Like
  • Valerie What I want to know more than where it is, is what would prompt someone to take it completely out of the kitchen? “Going to put the kids to bed….better grab the Country Crock.” ??
    September 7 at 9:00pm · Unlike · 4
  • Jessica Maybe a kid got his head stuck in the banister-check all stairwells
    September 7 at 9:01pm · Like · 3
  • Liz Haha! She had to make them lunch. My kitchen does have a lot of hidey-holes. Angie gets the prize for being the most familiar with it – “under stuff on the counter” indeed!
    September 7 at 9:03pm · Like · 1
  • Liz I love you guys, btw – this feels like a real conversation!
    September 7 at 9:04pm · Like · 1
  • Justin Hmmm, I wondering what you were planning on eating at 8:30pm on Sunday evening.? Was it the toast or the pancakes you mentioned earlier that you planned on eating that caused you to start this string?#LizisAwesome #toastorpancakes
    September 7 at 9:07pm · Edited · Like
  • Liz We had dinner at 5:45pm. But I haven’t been able to find the blasted Country Crock! Turning to FB was a last resort, trust me!
    September 7 at 9:08pm · Like
  • Cayla I’m sad I missed this all. Bummer. Glad you found it!!
    September 7 at 9:09pm · Like
  • Liz Cayla, you have missed nothing! Still un-found!
    September 7 at 9:11pm · Like
  • Jenna This might be your most popular post lately. Apparently all your friends are currently online and concerned about you lack of hydrogenated oils. I predict disappointment with the reveal.
    September 7 at 9:11pm · Unlike · 8
  • Liz I meant that Angie knows that something COULD be under stuff on my counter. Sadly, the Country Crock is not!
    September 7 at 9:12pm · Edited · Like
  • Liz You are wrong, Jenna. This is my most popular FB status in probably years.
    September 7 at 9:12pm · Like · 2
  • Cayla Oh…nevermind. Yay! I’m excited I get to be a part of the epic “Find Liz’s Country Crock of 2014″
    September 7 at 9:12pm · Unlike · 4
  • Cayla Man…Abby’s crying, have to go feed her. Nuts.
    September 7 at 9:13pm · Unlike · 1
  • Liz Apparently Sunday night TV is less than thrilling!
    September 7 at 9:13pm · Like · 1
  • Lasha I’m gonna say check the trash. She probably was a butter snob!
    September 7 at 9:14pm · Like · 2
  • Liz I checked!
    September 7 at 9:15pm · Like
  • Cayla Jeremy says “Check the grocery store, I’m sure you’ll find some there.”
    September 7 at 9:15pm · Like · 1
  • Liz Har de har. I’m putting it on my list for tomorrow.
    September 7 at 9:17pm · Like · 1
  • Samantha I’m just commenting to get notified of the reveal! Once I almost put the milk in the cup cupboard.
    September 7 at 9:19pm · Like · 2
  • Megan Garage? I can picture walking out to get something and setting it down.
    September 7 at 9:19pm · Like
  • Liz Nope, and Aaron was cleaning out the garage yesterday so he would have found it. That’s exactly why I checked the laundry and bathroom!
    September 7 at 9:20pm · Like
  • Cayla Bathroom? It’s near the kitchen so maybe she was making lunch, helping a kid in the bathroom? Long shot, I know!
    September 7 at 9:21pm · Like
  • Nikki Hahahahaha!!!!!! That’s my contribution!
    September 7 at 9:21pm · Unlike · 2
  • Liz Cayla – nope! Nikki – thanks. so. much!
    September 7 at 9:23pm · Like · 1
  • Lindsay On top of the fridge? What did she make for lunch that used this ingredient?
    September 7 at 9:23pm · Like
  • Stacie All I know is that if I were your babysitter, I’d be really embarrassed that half of Fargo now knows she took your tub-o-margarine.
    September 7 at 9:23pm · Like · 5
  • Liz I love Ellen and she knows it!
    September 7 at 9:23pm · Like · 1
  • Liz Lindsay – you can’t put anything on top of our fridge, but I’m going to go check the cabinet…nope! Ben said she put it on their quesadillas? For a crispy crust? Mostly I think I’m going to feel like a huge idiot when I find it.
    September 7 at 9:26pm · Like
  • Cayla Maybe she did throw it away and took the garbage out???
    September 7 at 9:27pm · Like
  • Liz Garbage def not taken out!
    September 7 at 9:28pm · Like · 1
  • Kristen Maybe I missed it, but did you check the freezer ?
    September 7 at 9:29pm · Like
  • Liz Yep, twice.
    September 7 at 9:29pm · Like
  • Jessica I think a set of new eyes are needed. Where’s aaron?
    September 7 at 9:30pm · Like
  • Liz He did look a bit. I’ll try to coerce him again.
    September 7 at 9:30pm · Like
  • Cayla Oooh…New idea from Jeremy. Have your kids look and offer a reward for whoever finds it. But they are probably in bed, right?
    September 7 at 9:31pm · Like · 1
  • Liz Yes. Thank goodness. I don’t need my CC that badly!
    September 7 at 9:32pm · Like · 1
  • Valerie Where do you keep your tortillas and cheese?
    September 7 at 9:35pm · Unlike · 1
  • Liz In the fridge. Where do you keep yours?!
    September 7 at 9:35pm · Like · 2
  • Valerie In a special drawer in the fridge. A drawer you can’t see everything in unless you open it all the way…
    September 7 at 9:36pm · Unlike · 1
  • Lindsay Check the dishwasher? This is so crazy!
    September 7 at 9:37pm · Like
  • Liz Have you SEEN how big the CC tubs are?! There is no way it would fit in MY special drawer! And the others HAVE been checked. Lindsay. Come ON. Our dishwasher has been emptied and loaded already today.
    September 7 at 9:37pm · Like · 1
  • Jenny Maybe she brought it home to ask her mom what it was?
    September 7 at 9:39pm · Like · 2
  • Liz Haha! She’s a college student with a smartphone – I’m gonna assume she didn’t have to resort to theft.
    September 7 at 9:42pm · Like · 1
  • Jenny But she is noticeably silent…
    September 7 at 9:50pm · Like · 1
  • Jenny Perhaps she’s making herself a few pieces of toast?
    September 7 at 9:50pm · Like · 3
  • Mindy Is it still on the table?
    September 7 at 9:50pm · Like
  • Liz I’m sure she’s busy socializing…or having pancakes! Ellen! Come on now, it’s Sunday night! And I have your water bottle as collateral!
    September 7 at 9:51pm · Like · 1
  • Liz See, now I’m really finding out what my friends think of my housekeeping…
    September 7 at 9:51pm · Like
  • Mindy Usually when I can’t find something, it is right in front of me.
    September 7 at 9:52pm · Unlike · 1
  • Anna I hope you find it but my husband and I in kansas are loving this conversation!!!
    September 7 at 9:53pm · Unlike · 2
  • Liz It def is not on the table. Or the counter. Or in the fridge, freezer, or any of the likely cupboard suspects (ie, ones with food or plastic food storage) and not in the oven, microwave, bathroom, laundry room, garage, garbage…
    September 7 at 9:55pm · Like · 1
  • Liz I am totally having Erin look for it tomorrow.
    September 7 at 9:55pm · Like
  • Aaron Going to look now
  • Aaron Jost's photo.
  • September 7 at 9:56pm · Unlike · 11
  • Liz People, if he finds it I’m never going to hear the end of it.
    September 7 at 9:56pm · Like · 1
  • Jenny Did the kids take it to bed?
    September 7 at 9:56pm · Like
  • Liz Haha! Nope.
    September 7 at 9:57pm · Like
  • Liz It was last seen yesterday afternoon. I just noticed that I couldn’t find it at dinner tonight.
    September 7 at 9:57pm · Like
  • Beth Did you just text or Messager her? I would not be ashamed to do that.
    September 7 at 9:57pm · Like
  • Liz I did!
    September 7 at 9:57pm · Like
  • Jenny My brother used to eat everything in his closet. My mom once found chicken drummies behind his bed. He wasn’t a weird eater, just liked to eat in a weird place.
    September 7 at 9:58pm · Unlike · 2
  • Beth Pantry?
    September 7 at 9:58pm · Unlike · 1
  • Beth Maybe she is doing a social science experiment with your family?
    September 7 at 9:58pm · Unlike · 3
  • Anna Tupperware drawer?
    September 7 at 9:58pm · Like
  • Eliza l I’m WAY too invested in this….
    September 7 at 9:58pm · Unlike · 3
  • Beth Did she respond? How far away is the grocery store? Just go but some more.
    September 7 at 9:59pm · Like
  • Jenny With the coffee, peanut butter or jelly?
    September 7 at 9:59pm · Like
  • Jenny Me too, Eliza!
    September 7 at 9:59pm · Like
  • Jenny Facebook is going to start monitoring this thread soon and ask if Liz needs some sort of validated account to handle her celebrity status!
    September 7 at 10:00pm · Like · 3
  • Liz Jenny, that is so funny! My seester ate dry cake mix in her bedroom as a kid. But no other weird eating around here! Except that one time my boys stole a pan of apple crisp and were eating it in their bedroom.
    September 7 at 10:00pm · Like · 3
  • Liz Beth – I am getting more tomorrow, but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing…
    September 7 at 10:00pm · Like
  • Liz Jenny – not a celebrity, just have lots of bored friends.
    September 7 at 10:02pm · Like · 1
  • Liz SOLVED!
    September 7 at 10:02pm · Like
  • Liz Ellen replied to my last text, and she (hopefully) is going to laugh her butt off at this convo.
    September 7 at 10:02pm · Like
  • Aaron Ellen told us. In the fridge the whole time.#nottheonlyonebadatfindingstuff
    Aaron Jost's photo.
  • September 7 at 10:03pm · Like · 16
  • Eliza Jeez louise!
    September 7 at 10:03pm · Like
  • Nikki Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!
    September 7 at 10:03pm · Like · 2
  • Liz Top shelf of the fridge DOOR! (Just to clarify – NONE of you said to check the fridge DOOR! I blame you ALLLLLL!!!!!)
    September 7 at 10:03pm · Like · 6
  • Eliza BTW you have huge door storage…. I could never fit a tub of butter in mine… I can barely fit the Coffeemate!
    September 7 at 10:04pm · Like · 1
  • Liz Eliza, our fridge (which came with the house) is so big we lose stuff in it. Important stuff.
    September 7 at 10:04pm · Like · 2
  • Eliza Obviously! Your morning would have been terrible with out your one-molecule-away-from-plastic butter spread on your toast! haha (I love CC)
    September 7 at 10:05pm · Unlike · 5
  • Anna I’m fairly certain this fulfills the original purpose of Facebook! Congats Liz, thanks for the entertainment!
    September 7 at 10:06pm · Unlike · 6
  • Liz Anna, I’m sure Zuckerberg was thinking, “What if people can’t find their dang condiments?! WHERE CAN THEY TURN?”
    September 7 at 10:07pm · Like · 7
  • Tanya Loved this conversation!
    September 7 at 10:10pm · Unlike · 3
  • Mindy Like I said… staring at it the whole time!
    September 7 at 10:11pm · Unlike · 4
  • Liz So, here’s what I USUALLY have in top door shelf: garlic, ginger, yeast, tartar sauce, other smallish condiment bottles. I have NEVER put the CC in the door. Didn’t even think it would fit! Now I know. Also SHAME ON ALL OF YOU who thought Ellen would leave it in those clearly insane places! She IS wonderful.
    September 7 at 10:13pm · Like · 6
  • Sarah Next time I need some entertainment, I’m stealing your country crock.I’m so glad Ellen snuck back in your house and put it back in the fridge when you weren’t looking! Atta girl Ellen!
    September 7 at 10:24pm · Unlike · 5
  • Jessica See you just needed a new set of eyes-like I said. Thank goodness this was solved-I can go to bed now.
    September 7 at 10:33pm · Unlike · 1
  • Sarah It’s this going to be the premise of the spring dinner theater script??
    September 7 at 10:35pm · Unlike · 6
  • Amy Sarah, that is an awesome idea. We just need James Earl Jones and Macolm McDowell to get on board.
    September 7 at 10:43pm · Unlike · 2
  • Sarah Haha – Rich Fredine would be a good fill-in if neither of them are available. Of course Ellen will have to make a celebrity appearance.
    September 7 at 10:45pm · Unlike · 2
  • Amy 128 comments in 2 hours??? I don’t think I got that many comments when I had a baby…
    September 7 at 10:48pm · Unlike · 10
  • Sue Amy – don’t feel bad about the # of comments – half of them were Liz!
    September 8 at 12:31am · Like
  • Christopher Liz, before realizing The CCC – Country Crock Controversy – was solved, my first thought was Aaron’s clinic needed it. I’m really not sure for what. Ok, I can think of…. you know, I’m going down a dark road here…. never mind.
    September 8 at 12:57am · Unlike · 1
  • Liz Oh you people make me laugh. And yes Amy, at LEAST half the comments were mine.
    September 8 at 6:59am · Like
  • Brandy I seriously had to check this thread RIGHT when I woke up to see if the mystery was solved! I LOVE the idea of this being the premise for the dinner theater play!
    September 8 at 7:30am · Unlike · 3
  • Brandy Also, thankfully you were able to sleep good last night knowing your cc was safe and sound.
    September 8 at 7:30am · Unlike · 1
  • Christen I can’t believe you got 136 comments on this. That’s more than we got on our “we’re pregnant” announcement
    September 8 at 7:43am · Unlike · 1
  • Liz It will NOT be a dinner theater play- but it will probably be a blog post!
    September 8 at 8:00am · Like · 1
  • Kathleen WHAT A CROCK! If I was not typing my hands would be on my hips. What do you mean no dinner theater play? Will there instead be a dinner for all the participants? There should at the very least be a brunch for this entertaining bunch. You can blog on that!
    September 8 at 9:39am · Unlike · 4
  • Brent Is it too late to join this thread? I want brunch, too.
    September 8 at 9:43am · Unlike · 3
  • Mary I had to keep checking back on this post to find out where the cc was! Thanks for the entertainment!
    September 8 at 8:21pm · Unlike · 1


The Country Crock was in the fridge door the whole time. Here’s what I learned:

1. My fridge door is bigger than I thought. Never would I have guessed it could hold that large tub, and….
2. There is not a lot going on Sunday evenings.

But there is this third thing, too.. I have a lot of helpful and funny friends. Thanks guys! Now I have to find a time to have you all over for brunch, featuring my favorite spread…:)


Confessions of a Zumba Novice

I have gone to exactly two Zumba classes, and here’s what I know so far:

1.  I am horribly un-graceful. My perfect spot in class is wherever I can see the instructor but not my own reflection. Thank you, larger person in front of me!

2.  My friend Crystal is the instructor, and she’s so great and cute that I’d probably come to class just to watch her.

3.  After two classes, I think I am more accurate than the 80+ year old lady also in the class. But I’m pretty sure she looks better doing it.

4.  I’m laughing about half the time – either at how terrible I am (is it possible that I ALWAYS have the wrong arm/leg combo?!), or the cheesy lyrics of the songs.  Songs with directions for dancing always crack me up anyway.  And Lil’ John singing a Zumba song is also pretty good for a laugh.

5.  Sometimes I am so busy concentrating on Crystal’s every move that when she gestures for a change of direction, I do it too.

6. I simply can NOT cheer with the group when she yells, “How are you all doing?!”  What can I say? Peer pressure is not my thing!

7.  Shorts are not the greatest Zumba-wear. I think knee-length leggings might be better. My rear needs more…support.

8.  Certain movements feel kinda silly. But, I know they are actually good for you. Such as shaking “the girls”.  It’s a core-strengthening move, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be doing it any time soon.  A different movement today looked a little like playing the harp while laying on your back – standing up – , but when I did it I realized how inflexible my back is. Ouch!

9.  Lots of people don’t do the steps exactly as Crystal does them. She encourages everyone to make it their own, and take it to whatever level they need it to be. I have a hard time with this. (See number 5.)

10.  I haven’t decided if Zumba is my “thing” yet. I’m definitely sweating like a crazy person, and the time goes by quickly, so for now, it works!  I’m going to try BodyFlow next week, and see how that goes.

Any Zumba sympathy for me out there? Stories of how at first you looked like a newborn giraffe but turned into a galloping gazelle?

Learning the Lesson

I’m gonna blame the last few evenings emotional collapses on that old female standby, hormones.  And for once, I’m not talking about my OWN emotional collapses. No, it seems the torch has been passed and my normally very chill and even-tempered daughter sweet Leah has been overtaken by a desire to cry, pout, stomp, and make wild accusations, using a lot of absolutes. (FYI, her mother ALWAYS uses absolutes in emotional discussions.)

For the most part, the other fifth graders at her school have been getting homework for two years already. She has not. There is a learning curve. (har har)

We have had several sessions now where the lesson learned is not so much about social studies or math, but more about the need to check her planner before packing her homework – not just assuming that everything is in her “to do” folder, such as a journal entry that needed to be finished.  And last night the overall lesson was that you may need to check the homework and see if you should bring a book home to complete it, such as when the sheet says, “Write the sentence that shows how this character felt.”

These are all baby steps that I’m assuming her classmates have learned along the way, and I take for granted. I’ve spent a lot of time saying, “No, I am not driving back to school for that,” and “If you get a question wrong, it’s not the end of the world,” and “I don’t really care if you don’t get an A+, as long as you know that now you need to _____ before leaving school.”

Meanwhile, I’m trying hard not to take it personally when the kids accuse me of not caring about their grades or whether or not they learn anything… clearly I “just don’t want to help them.”  I guess not, if the “help” is telling them the words to write down!  They seem to be forgetting very quickly the three years of my life I dedicated to educating them – obviously, I don’t care about their learning!

Any advice on how to handle homework panic? I’m really hoping that in the next few weeks she gets the hang of this and figures out her own system!


You guys have been on Pinterest, right? Or at least you know what it is? I have a little story to tell about that website – which is basically an online bulletin board, where you “pin” online photos to “boards” and can then get back to the original article by clicking on the “pin”.

Some people seem to be taking things too far.  For instance, this image:

Ever wondered what to do with tees that were stained, had holes, and generally weren't good enough to donate? This tutorial teaches you how to turn old t-shirts into dust rags, and includes the secret to getting crisp edges every time! ----- Don't click the link. Here's how you do it: make a cut, and rip. anywhere. It's a DUST RAG. You don't need crisp edges.  Or a pin! ~Lyz

Someone pinned this, with the caption:

Ever wondered what to do with tees that were stained, had holes, and generally weren’t good enough to donate? This tutorial teaches you how to turn old t-shirts into dust rags, and includes the secret to getting crisp edges every time!

I couldn’t take it, my friends. I pinned it (to my board, “Making Me Smile”) and added my own comment:
—– Don’t click the link. Here’s how you do it: make a cut, and rip. anywhere. It’s a DUST RAG. You don’t need crisp edges. Or a pin! ~Lyz

I thought I was getting fancy by not using the upper half of Aaron’s old t-shirts  - the part with the neck and armpits.

You want to see where I keep MY rags?

View photo.JPG in slide show

It would probably give that poor blogger a heart attack.

First Week of School Meltdown

It was all going so well. We decided to make a quick trip to Target, the kids and I and two neighbor girls who were hanging out with us for the day.  The goal? Leah wanted to make a purchase with some of her lawn-mowing money.  Ben, the day before, had chosen a micro-car set and of course we got Adam a car too, just to be nice.

But that was a different Target location, and that one hadn’t had ANY Littlest Pet Shop items, which Leah was hoping to find.  Hence the trip today.

I left all five kids in the toy aisle while I went to check out a few other items.  When I returned, Leah was trying to make up her mind between about six LPS characters.  (Decisivness is not one of her strengths lately. PLEASE don’t ask her what her favorite food is, unless you are prepared to witness an emotional breakdown.  It’s like she thinks she’s signing a contract to only eat that food for the rest of her life or something!)
But I digress.

After completing the rest of my shopping (about 5 minutes, mind you) I returned again, and she was ready to go.  Adam, of course, decided that he ALSO needed a toy, even though he had gotten his car the day before.

This is where the trip turned ugly.

I decided that it was worth the $$ to get out in one piece, so I offered to get Adam a small Lego set – one of the $10 options.  Of course the first one he wanted was NOT one of those options, and things went downhill from there.  When he looked at the 10+ choices I offered him and said he didn’t want any of them (this, accompanied with whining and crying) it was officially time to leave the premises.

I put him in the cart and he proceeded to throw a huge baby tantrum all the way through the store to the checkout, through checkout to the van, and in the van all the way home.

After spending about twenty minutes in his room alone, he finally calmed down and is a human being again, instead of wild animal. (Seriously, you should have seen him trying to keep me from buckling his carseat!)

I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong. Here’s where it was (I think): I should have only left the girls in the toy aisle. I think it was too much for the boys – especially Adam – to be looking at stuff that they couldn’t have. Ben was asking to buy another toy, also, but took no for an answer (the second time).

If you were in Target around 1:30pm today, I’d just like to point out that although my child was going ballistic, Mommy did NOT lose her temper, and the other children were behaving supremely well.  Thankfully.


Two Days In

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

- Adam will drink chocolate milk if ever given the opportunity. This morning I told him, “Once. Snack OR lunch,” and he actually obeyed!

- If Adam drinks two cartons of chocolate milk, he will only eat about 4 bites out of his sandwich at lunch.

- Snakes poop and pee. Especially when held by 3rd graders.

- Ben’s teacher’s kid is a Viking fan. He named one snake, “Stripes Viking Fan”.

- The concept of “gym shoes stay at school” is totally foreign to my kids.

- The kindergarten teacher is prepared for potty accidents – she even has a pre-printed letter to send home.

- Ben still gets emotional about schoolwork. Today he said, “I was so frustrated I almost started crying.” But a friend helped him and the teacher came over to help. And I wasn’t there to ALSO get upset!

- Leah’s thermos works great!  Kept her spaghetti warm even until her late lunch at 12:45!

- Adam LOVED rest time.

- I asked Adam if he wrote any letters and he said, “Yep – A, D, A, M.”

- Ben *may* need a reminder to brush his teeth after breakfast.

- There really is no good way to get to school from our house right now, thanks to construction in all directions.

Half done with our first “week”!

Holding it Together

Lots of people have asked me how I am doing today.

The truth is, I’m doing better than I was at about 8:10 this morning when I left all my babies in their classrooms!  At that point, all I wanted was to not go back to my quiet house.  And maybe to curl up in a corner, feel sorry for myself, and sob.

Thankfully, a friend and fellow kindergarten mom invited me to join other moms from our church for breakfast at Perkins. JUST what I needed…and was hoping for.

And thankfully, my SIL Erica and her adorable chatterbox C came over to keep me company for a bit. And then a friend and HER adorable chatterbox, stopped by.

And I had coffee.  So now I’ve picked up the kids’ toys and cleaned the bathroom drawer.

Here’s what I know:

The kids are helping to pack lunches tomorrow.

One kid in the bathroom at a time.

I can’t wait to pick them up and hear all about their day! 

Adam at his kindergarten table!  There was a tangram card and a box of tangram shapes to do for “seatwork”.  Adam LOVES these things! I was happy to see an activity that he was familiar with and enjoyed, ready to go and draw him in instead of him acting sad (even though I know he was excited).

Leah wore a dress that her Grandma Claudia made her! She was so excited she tried the whole outfit on last night. And we also braided her hair last night, so it’s super fluffy!

Look! Ben forgot to make a goofy face for a moment or two!  (L & B made their chalkboards in VBS this summer! They came in handy when Mom forgot to go find a cute one at Hobby Lobby!)


Back to School

Our adventure in home schooling has come to an end. It seems like three short years ago that I was buying school desks (which were hardly used), collecting books and workbooks, and decorating the “school area” of our living room.  Gone are the days of sleeping in, being done with classwork by noon, and vacationing at will.

The kids are going back to school on Monday.  Leah went to “real” school for kindergarten and 1st grade, so she is ready to return to her friends and join 5th grade. I am ready to not be the one listening to the whining about writing assignments.

Ben has never attended a brick and mortar school – except for standardized testing. He has a few friends there, and I think he’s excited to see what all the fuss is about and take on 3rd grade. I am excited to not be the one drilling him on the importance of math facts and spelling.

Adam will be in all-day kindergarten, and his world is about to be rocked.  He is my best sleeper, and doesn’t like to eat breakfast right away in the morning. He is also the baby of the family and is used to getting his way if he bats his considerable eyelashes or whines loudly enough for Mom to get irritated.  This will be a big year of growing up for him!

They are all excited and ready to go…but oh, I will miss my babies! I’m a little concerned about the many quiet hours in my house.  Of course I am planning to start attending exercise classes (hellloooo Zumba!) and have a few friends with whom I’d like to have coffee dates, but then what?  Enter substitute teaching. Only at the kids’ school, and only on M-W or F and planned ahead – but any grade level or subject.  I’m looking forward to being in the classroom again and maybe earning some cash to help out with tuition.

There are big changes ahead for all of us! Pray for our peace of mind and ability to get up and function before 8am, if you think of us this weekend!

G-U-A-R, just like in GUARD…

I used to give spelling tests all day. Every Friday, I’d give five spelling tests to five groups of thirty eighth graders. Then we would grade them in class, after I passed out red pens to everyone. My system was to randomly draw 20 words from a bucket of 100 – the same 100 all year – so we had many repeated words. Let’s just say I got really good at spelling “definitely”, which had always given me trouble.

Now, I give two spelling tests on Fridays. One to Leah, in fourth grade, which is pretty straight-forward. I give the words, she writes them down & then checks her paper. She’s a girl (generally better at language), and a big reader, so she usually does very well.

The other test is for Ben, in second grade. Words are not quite so fun for him. He is a good reader, but it hasn’t quite translated to being a good speller.  Here is how his spelling tests go:

Me: Breeze. The breeze blew my hair around. Breeze.

Ben: (scribbles something)

Me: Um, not quite. You have a letter wrong.

Ben: (erases a letter)

Me: No, not THAT letter!

Ben: (grimaces and rewrites the letter, starts erasing another letter)

Me: Ben, you had this word a couple weeks ago, and we just spelled it yesterday with Bananagrams. Remember?

Ben: Yes, I remember! But I don’t remember how we spelled it!

Me: Breezzzze. Breezzzzze.

Ben: Oh yeah! (writes it correctly)

On to the next word. Repeat a similar conversation, but this time maybe he’ll say instead, “Just go on to the next one!”, knowing he’ll have to rewrite his misspelled words three times each.

These spelling tests for a second grader are MUCH more gut-wrenching for me than when I was a “real” teacher. The objectivity of standing in front of the class obviously saved my sanity.


What word do you continue to misspell? I canNOT spell “guarantee” without looking it up.