Monday, December 28, 2009

Doing Absolutely Nothing


I'm still here.


Doing nothing. Well, maybe not nothing but it feels like nothing.


Last week I spent 3 days doing nothing all by myself! All the kids were in school and at the babysitter during those days. I ran errands (slowly and without dragging kids with me) and only went to the stores I wanted to. Then I came home, put on my pajamas, and took naps every day. Blissful!!


Here are some other nothings that I've done on this vacay:
  • started knitting a scarf
  • am reading the new Barbara Kingsolver book The Lacuna (am enjoying it so far)
  • took the kids to the aquarium after the husband had a behind-the-scenes tour; also saw the new show which the kids really liked.
  • tried to read Julie Powell's new book Cleaving and absolutely HATED it. sorry, but no one needs to read hundreds of pages about dismembering meat OR about how much she hates her husband/the affair she had
  • found some good deals at Walgreen's, Jewel, etc.
  • went to Unique 2x
  • watched a million episodes of House Hunters (I am seriously obsessed)
  • fed my friend's cat

That's the rundown.


Oh, and here's a quick Baby M update:

  • at 14 months she has about 5 words-mommy, daddy, mine, uh-oh, ow.
  • on Sunday she threw my slippers in the toilet. of course, those got thrown out.
  • she doesn't like to be left behind-whatever her sisters do, she wants to do
  • she has 4 molars, 4 front teeth and nothing in between
  • she is attached to a blanket that my mom knitted, when she sees it she puts her thumb in her mouth and lays her face on it-it's super cute.
  • she has great receptive language skills-she can follow directions; when we say go upstairs she goes to the stairs and starts climbing up






Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My opinion

A few posts ago I mentioned that I went to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. I started writing this then and am attempting to finish it now. These are strictly my own opinions and my thoughts are still continuing to evolve.





Firstly, this is the second time I have been there. I went last spring as a chaperone with the 7th graders in my school. At that time I was impressed and pleased with the way they approach this topic with children. They have an interactive video game (has to do with strong v. weak) using animated frogs. I'm not describing it well but the message reached the kids. They heard a survivor speak (not of a concentration camp but he escaped the war as a young boy-do you use the word that way, I'm just curious?), and watched a movie about genocide as it relates to the world. I DID NOT see the main exhibit -it wasn't finished yet so I can't speak to that.





The recent time I went I did not see any of the museum, but was there for a professional development on the differences of Eastern v. Western Europe at the time of the Holocaust. The presentation was very well done and I learned a lot of facts that I previously did not know.





Now come the issues.





They provided dinner for those who attended the class but had NO KOSHER FOOD. I asked specifically and was told they served a "kosher style" meal and I was told that I could purchase a sandwich at their cafe-they carry some kosher sandwiches. I understand that most of the people who attend those meetings and go to the museum aren't Jewish or don't keep kosher, but what about those that do? Of all places I expected to be respected for mitzva observance. I mean my husband gets treated better than that at his work! They allow him to bring in kosher food for everyone, pay for a separate meal for him, etc. And he works for corporate America.





But all this food stuff led to a bigger issue in my mind. I am truly not trying to offend anyone, so I apologize in advance if I do-I know this is a touchy subject. It just really seems that they have removed the Judaism from being Jewish. Our belief system. Our religion. Where is that recognized? Are we a race, a culture only? Personally, I don't believe this to be true. We might be those but we also have a belief system. Other races (African-American, Hispanics, etc.) are all defined by cultural similarities but they don't all believe in the same ideologies. In order to identify yourself with Judaism (really and truly-not just by birth) you HAVE to have the belief in one G-D. That belief is a significant reason why we have been persecuted throughout the past. And that doesn't seem to be a focus. This Museum and Education Center has made this all about history. Their approach is intellectual, not emotional. And while I guess that has a place, I think that is a gross inservice to those that experienced the horror of that time.


As I have stated previously, these are just my perceptions. They do not reflect anyone else's views. Even though I started writing this post weeks ago, I am still feeling pretty emotional about it. It still just doesn't sit right with me.


What do you think? Am I way off in left field? Or do I make sense?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yikes!!

Even though it seems like I forgot about this blog, I really haven't!!

Just busy. Oh, and every time I come up with a topic it's usually when I am falling asleep and then I forget about my genius inspiration!! Like the acrostic I was making about snow.

Stupid
Nasty
Over the top
Weather

I think that was what I thought. But then I thought that I would prefer snow over 7 degree weather any day. I didn't want to dis snow too much. Because that bone-crushing cold that freezes your nose hairs just is too unpleasant!

------------------------

I might have previously mentioned that my 7th and 8th grade students are learning about he Holocaust. Last week the 8th graders participated in a very moving lesson that the language arts teacher planned. We put a quote up on the board from Charles Dent:

"We in the United States should be all the more thankful for the freedom and religious tolerance we enjoy. And we should always remember the lessons learned from the Holocaust, in hopes we stay vigilant against such inhumanity now and in the future. "


We passed out post-it notes and had the students write 3 ways they could improve or grow (and to be honest about it). I wrote one too. Then the students got up in front of the class and were able to share something they had written. Some kids apologized to specific peers that they previously made fun of. Others talked about taking responsibility for their actions, etc. You get the idea. My main focus on my post-it is that I that I need to learn how to be more assertive with my peers and colleagues. I am putting it out here so I can hold myself accountable. People who know my IRL know that I intensely dislike confrontation. (Funny that I picked special ed, where I confront children all day long-but that's a topic for a different time). I have recently realized that I also don't want to be disliked by others, so often I don't share something that is in disagreement with others. But that needs to change.


I have already had 2 opportunities at work to improve on this character trait. One involved advocating for my students involving a potentially harmful situation. I wrote an assertive e-mail (with assistance!) and that spurred the powers that be to take action. I will admit to feeling proud of myself about that.


The other situation was simply a difference of opinion with a general ed teacher. Which will always be the case-we are coming from 2 different viewpoints. And in a school setting it is good and puts a balance in the system to have both those viewpoints. But I felt uncomfortable speaking my opinion. But I did it. And I am learning not to care so much about what others think of me. (I should be past this at 32 years old, but I guess there is always room to change)!


It's always nice when the topics I am teaching apply to me as well!


I'll end now-I am rushing off to a professional development (tons of meetings lately).

But remind me to tell you my complaint about the Holocaust museum (I had a meeting there last week).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I promise you will laugh

You must check out this website!!


It is HILARIOUS and slightly disturbing.


http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/


Just check it out.


I might have to get me some free entertainment and take a trip to Wal-mart in the near future!

I seem to start but can't finish

I have started 2 posts but can't seem to finish them.

I just am not in the mood to write about deep thoughts.

I am in the mood to curl up under my covers, have stacks of books around me, lots of coffee-hot chocolate-tea (I like all hot drinks), and just read the days away.

Not getting to do a lot of that unfortunately.

I have been thinking a lot about health lately. How grateful I am that my kids are healthy. That they have a stable 2 parent home. How I am able to give them healthy food (and they like to eat it!) How they like to read books and want to spend time with their parents. How even though I like to shop at thrift stores for their clothes, I don't have to. How even though they fight like siblings do, they are essentially polite and respectful children. How they care about those less fortunate than them. I am thankful for all of that.

This thankfulness stems from a meltdown I had at work last Wednesday before Thanksgiving. No, I didn't have a temper tantrum, it was more of an emotional meltdown. I just felt defeated, like what I do doesn't make a difference. In my head I know that's not true, but sometimes it seems like my students just don't care. About themselves, each other, their community. . . And that makes me sad. Just plain sad. When you don't care about yourself, you certainly don't care about other people.

I LOVE what I do. I couldn't do this job if I didn't. But sometimes it is so hard to put all your heart and soul into something and not see growth. I am not expecting perfection, just growth and maturity. Both of which were in short supply last Wednesday. I want so so much for my students to grow up to be successful adults. But I can't want it more than they do or more than their parents want it for them.

It's a week later and I am over the defeat. It's the little things that make a difference. I have seen small steps: 2 students who usually want to tear each other's throat out worked together today, a student that was so difficult last Wednesday wrote me a letter apologizing for her behavior, a student that can't read tapped out the sounds of words AND worked independently! (I actually told my him I wanted to do a jig, I was so happy!) Can you tell I am enthusiastic? I guess I learned that enthusiasm isn't constant, it ebbs and flows.

I am deeper than I thought.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Not in the mood.

To Blog.

I just haven't been in the mood to write. It might be that I mostly write my posts at work and it has been one BUSY week.

Or maybe I'm just not in the mood to write.

I just don't feel like detailing all the mundane details of my life.

However, I will do a little complaining. (I always have room for that!)

Last Sunday we took the kids to Chuckie Cheese's (I had a coupon-it's such cheap entertainment!). And watching the people that go there is entertaining too. There was the mom that let her small children run up the skeeball ramp to put the balls in the holes. Really?

And then there was the mom that let her son put at least 25 tokens in a row in the game he was playing. So he could play it non-stop even though there was a long line of kids waiting for the game.

Am I the only one who thinks that is WRONG? I was trying to think of a way to tell her this but I thought I would lose my temper, so I didn't. ( I really, really need to learn how to be more assertive!) Those kinds of things bother me so much because of the lessons that it (doesn't) teach children. What about respect for others? What about taking turns? ARRRGH-it makes me angry just to think about it. At least my daughter waited nicely, and it was a teachable moment for us-why we don't do stuff like that.

In other areas, I finished in a perfect world and DID NOT like it. Sure, the writing was great, but I hated the topic. I don't like books that have "alternate realities"-things that could/might happen in the (near) future. I just get so disturbed, unhinged really. It screws with my perspective of the world and that is NOT a good thing. And it didn't really give a hint to it on the back of it. (Another book like this is The Road by Cormac McCarthy-which I read, and I heard they are making into a movie, which I WILL NOT be watching). Anyway, the Borders cashier recommended it, I will not be listening to her again. Although in her defense, she hadn't read it- she just said her friends liked it. LIAR!! Ok, I'm being a little (a lot) harsh, but that's the mood I'm in.

I am finishing another book called In the Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde. It's fiction, about a whitewater rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. The topic is a little light, but well-written and I certainly needed that after the aforementioned book. I'm almost done, and then it will be on to the next one I got out of the library. I am in a reading mood I guess (more than normal).

I would like to get my act together and start/finish a knitting project. Maybe thanksgiving will be a good time-the baby blanket I was making for my nephew is now a toddler blanket.

This morning I made zucchini bread and brownies, washed dishes, cleaned out the fridge, showered (baby also), took care of some other odds and ends for Shabbos-so I do feel like I accomplished something. (I guess I did throw in some mundane details after all).

Now I have to go accomplish something at work-time to go write an IEP.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I know I wrote about my dad on Memorial Day but I didn't want to let this day go by without mentioning him again.



But instead of my words, read his.



I read this article to all the middle school classes yesterday and it was a little surreal. So many of these kids haven't been out of this city and don't have a lot of knowledge about history or the rest of the world. So I felt it was important to show/remind them that there many unselfish, brave people that sacrifice their lives and their safety just so we can have ours.



I used to think "Yay, a day off of school." I still think that (I am a teacher after all, and everyone likes a day off!) but now I am conscious of the reason.



So, thank you to all those soldiers and sailors who have fought for us. And thank you to those who are fighting now. You are appreciated!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finished and Starting

Ok, here's the books I just finished reading and the one I am starting.

Finished:

Farm City by Novella Carpenter

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Both of these were great and I highly recommend them.

Farm City is about a woman who lives in Oakland in the middle of the ghetto, in spite of this, she starts a farm. She uses the abandoned lot next door and plants a huge garden, raises chickens and bees. She also raises other animals for food, but I will leave that as a surprise for those people that want to read the book. I found this book really inspiring and hope to do some research to turn my backyard into a vegetable producing garden next summer (I always grow something but usually not very well). I also found it fascinating because she is combating the processed food that most people in the inner city eat because it's cheap and easy to get. I teach kids that eat only that kind of food and it is a travesty. Their favorite foods are soda and hot chips. And I am not kidding. Some of them eat only one fruit or vegetable in a week. We have "universal breakfast" at our school-where ALL the students get breakfast no matter their income. You would not believe how much fruit is leftover from breakfast everyday!! But here I go again getting off topic. This was well-written and really kept my attention even when she got slightly technical. If you like reading non-fiction I would suggest this book.

Switching topics, Sarah's Key is a fictional account of a little known event that occurred during WWII. The deportation of thousands of French Jews to Auschwitz carried out by the French police. I had no ideas this happened and was shocked and dismayed. I don't often read Holocaust books anymore, but my curiosity was piqued by this book (probably also because my 7th and 8th graders are reading Maus). This was emotional, gut-wrenching, and thought-provoking. It was also an easy read-I read it in a day and a half. If you like to read serious topics, I would definitely suggest checking this out.

I am starting in a perfect world by laura kasischke simply because I heard such wonderful things about it. I hope it lives up to the expectations. If you want to read it along with me, feel free.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hard Work

Blogging is hard work when you're busy.

And I've been busy, but have that feeling that I have nothing to show for it. It's just the business (busyness) of life.

We had a birthday party for M on Sunday- it was a great party but it ate up the whole day which is significant when you work full time. That is my day for errands, catching up on stuff, etc. So I feel like I have been playing catch up all week.

And not just at home. The same thing is going on at work. The quarter ends this Friday so every teacher is giving tests and I just feel so overwhelmed. I HATE GRADES!! I know I am not supposed to say that, being a teacher and all, but I do. I REALLY DO. But that's a soapbox for another time.

I spoke to a friend last night who literally lives about 10 houses away and we could not figure out any time to talk/get together. Doesn't that mean we are too busy?

Plus, the husband is SICK. And you know what that means. I feel like I've been a single parent for the last 2 and 1/2 days. Except he DID make dinner last night so I'm not completely alone. But I have been running around exhausted taking the kids places (swimming, gymnastics) that by 7 o'clock I am seriously worn out.

I'm just whining. But I need to. I am tired of rushing everywhere. I am not naturally a fast moving person (think: turtle) but I have learned how to move fast and use my time effectively since I have had kids. But it really wears me down. I don't like to rush or squeeze things in, just so I can get everything done. I get stressed-I don't know how people do it and NOT get stressed. If there is a secret I'd like to know it.


Anybody know any?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I can't believe it's been a year

Since Baby M was born.

Yesterday was her 1 year birthday. Seriously, where did the time go?

I've mentioned before that all my kids have strong personalities. M is no exception. She knows her own mind, what she likes and dislikes and has known that from a very early age. She likes to eat chicken, meat, avocados, carrots, yogurt, cream cheese sandwiches. She doesn't like baby food. She likes to sleep but doesn't like it when we put her in her crib. She likes to suck both thumbs, it doesn't matter which one as long as she has one.



She has never been a crier. Even when she was a newborn, she barely cried when she was hungry or dirty. When she did cry we knew something was wrong because she did it so infrequently. That's not to say she was a lump. She was very alert and met all milestones but just communicated with us in a much quieter, gentler way. In fact, there were times I would forget about her because she was such a good baby and I was busy with the other children. She has always been a great sleeper, the other girls are always up before I even her noises coming from her room. I say noises because she usually doesn't cry when she wakes up. She just lets us know she's awake.




As she has grown I have watched her communicate with pointing and making noises but she still does not cry very often (she does yell at dinner when she wants to eat-we can't get the food on her tray fast enough!). She watches her sisters and loves it when they play with her, even when they play rough. M is slow to get angry or annoyed with her siblings and often when she sees them her face breaks out into a huge smile and she holds her arms out to them to be held. When we try to give her something she doesn't want, she shakes her arm back and forth to let us know. She loves people!! All people, even strangers. She has no stranger anxiety and loves to be held by other people (of course I am choosy who I let hold her), she would go to anyone if she could. That's how friendly she is.




She looks so much like her sisters (so people say) but her face is changing-she is definitely becoming her own person. I always find it so interesting that even from the moment they are born, babies have their own personalities and temperament. I have seen that be true for all of my children. Their temperament has stayed with them as they have grown. As a parent, it has certainly been an eye-opening experience to learn how to parent each child according to their own temperament.



Baby M has a sweet and loving disposition. I hope I am able to nurture that so she becomes a sweet and loving child. She has truly added so much love to our family.


Our year in pictures:
























Sunday, October 25, 2009

Talk About. . . While I'm Falling

It's funny that I am watching Baby M take some of her first steps while I am getting ready to talk about a book that has falling in the title. She is doing as much falling as walking but she is so determined I wouldn't be surprised if she is walking by the end of the week.

Anyway, it's finally time to share your thoughts (the good, bad, and the ugly) about the book While I'm Falling. Here's a synopsis from the jacket ( I know I'm cheating but gimme a break ok?).

". . . presents a compelling depiction of how one young woman's life changes when her family breaks up for good.
Ever since her parents announced that they're getting divorced, Veronica has been falling. Hard. A junior in college, she has fallen in love. She has fallen behind in her difficult coursework. She hates her job as counselor at the dorm, and she longs for the home that no longer exists. When an attempt to escape the pressure, combined with bad luck, lands her in a terrifying situation, a shaken Veronica calls her mother for help-only to find her former foundation too preoccupied to offer any assistance at all."


You get the idea. Maybe I should get a job writing summaries for book jackets. Get paid to read books and then write a few paragraphs about it. Sounds good to me. Uh, oh-getting off topic.


Back to the book. Whoever was nice enough to follow me in my search to read-what did you think of this one? Did you like the content? What about the writing? I find the older I get, the less that fiction holds my interest, unless it is really well written. Whereas before I would read any fiction I took off the shelf of the library, now I am a little more discerning.


I thought the author has a great writing style but the actual content seemed a tad immature. Even though I think that's what she was going for. But still. I'm not sure I really want to read about college juniors making poor decisions. Don't they all do that?


Ok, enough from me-what did you think?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You might be bored. . .

Not much has happened of late.

Kids going to school, schedule resumed.

Life is actually pretty calm. Which is really wonderful. And I do mean that. But doesn't give much in the way of blogging.

I'm a little stumped for topics.

I did start reading some new blogs last night (it's really addicting once you start) and I did realize something. Just an observation that I made. Many people have blogs that keep them somewhat anonymous. Most of their audience is made up of people who don't know them in real life (IRL). My case is the opposite. Most of the people that read my blog are people that I know. I haven't tried to promote this blog in any way or broaden my audience. Which is fine-I started this for me, not for any other reason. But, since most people know me I can't share everything I probably would if people didn't know who I was. I guess I am afraid of judgement and of being too personal. Sometimes I wish I could just say whatever I want. Although it seems the older I get, the more I do that anyway.

That's my deep thought of the week.

----------------------

Little T did say something funny a while ago. She asked me to buy a new house, one with a pool. I explained that houses are a lot of money ( I even told her "hundreds of thousands of dollars"). I asked her if she had that much money. She said no and then told me she had an idea.

Her words "If we all lost our teeth and put our money under our pillows, we could save up the money the tooth fairy gives us and buy a house that way." You can imagine my face, I was not expecting her to say that. My response "Honey, I don't think the tooth fairy has that kind of money AND not one in our family would have any teeth left!" (in fact I know the tooth fairy intimately and she is in debt-of course I didn't say the last part). Sometimes I just cannot keep a straight face with that kid! She just cracks me up!! I really do try not to laugh though, she gets angry at me when I think she is funny and she wasn't trying to be. Which is basically all the time.


Anyway, that's all I've got. Let's talk about the book on Sunday evening around 8ish? Oct. 25th? Hope that works for everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I finished the book

I have been remiss (ok, I happen to like that word) in not sharing that I finished the book ( While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty)about a week ago!!




Sorry!!




Anyway, I was thinking of maybe doing a new format-what about if everyone who read the book left a comment on this post? Or do we like the "talking" format and we should set a time?



Let me know-it's probably better for me to talk about the book sooner rather than later-otherwise who knows what I might forget!



Anyway, this post was just supposed to be about the book but then something wonderful happened. Again- for the second time!



I found out about another Dominick's that is closing (Foster and Sheridan) and almost everything is 50% off. So of course I had to go. And of course I did not have my coupons with me yesterday (they are heavy-but I am starting to leave them in the car) so I had to drive all the way home just to drive all the way back to almost where I work. But it was worth it. I got so much food and saved so much money!!






Now, I am not a coupon guru like Sara or Shosh but I am trying to learn. So I have hesitated to share when I find good deals because I can't go into a store, walk out with a ton, and have spent nothing. But I am going to share now because I just got so much I can't resist talking about it!




Here are some pictures of my spoils:









So here is a rundown of what I bought:


2 bags of goodnites (like pullups), 4 cans of stir-fry veggies, countless bags of bisli, 1 can of frosting, 5 boxes of jello pudding, 2 boxes of lipton tea, 2 powdered creamers (for work), jars of bbq sauce and marinades, icing and a number 1 candle (M is turning 1 in a week), 2 cans of enchilada sauce, 1 jar crushed garlic, 2 jars of pickles, 1 bottle rice vinegar, 4 muffin mixes, 2 bags of sliced almonds, 1 box of cornflake crumbs, 2 cans chicken soup, a number of bags of kosher candy, 3 boxes of immodium (don't ask), 2 sudafed, 1 advil, 1 kids mucinex.


Not pictured: 8 boxes of pizza bagels, 1 morningstar farms, 1 box cinnamon waffles, and 2 pantyhose. Oh, and a bunch of snacks that are a cross between fruit roll-ups and fruit leather. Which I am annoyed that I bought because they were not half-off-they were considered produce and I didn't know that til after I bought them. But at least they are healthy.


I ended up spending $138. 06 as you can see by my receipt.




But I saved $153.83. That is a total of $291 dollars worth of groceries!!! I am proud of myself because I mostly bought kosher brands of food that don't go on sale (they had a lot of kosher food there, not sure why) and also lots of medicine.





I hope I get to go back!! I now have a $5 off of $50 coupon that is burning a hole in my pocket and I NEED to use it. This coupon stuff is a little addicting I think. I hope this wasn't too boring!! But if anyone is hungry feel free to stop by!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I have the best husband ever!

Guess what my husband did yesterday. Maybe these pictures will help you figure it out.






He took the day off and took all 4 girls to the zoo. Bad weather and all. While I was at work. These 2 gorillas were sleeping curled up together holding each other. Aren't they cute? But not as cute as the cutie pie who was looking at the gorillas!

Anyway, I am super impressed with my husband for taking them out-it is hard work taking all 4 them anywhere by yourself. So I am publicly thanking him for his hard work!!

And the hard work just continues. . . with all the cooking that is being done for Yom Tov. Which he is doing most of. While watching 4 children. And working from home. Because you guessed it, I'm at work today. I will do the baking but he will do probably everything else. Whoever said men can't multi-task? Oh, wait that was me. Well, he has certainly learned how after 11 years of marriage.

So thanks honey, you are the BEST!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

My descriptive skills are lacking

Here is a pic of the boots ( or as close as I could get):





Seriously? Maybe my style judgement is off but these just seem tacky to me. Oh, and just to prove they are trashy, when I was trying to upload a pic of it at work, my computer would not let me go to the website. I got warned that I was going to an inappropriate site. So there. However, I think I have talked this topic to death so I'm done.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shiny. Purple. Boots.

Just to take care of some business from my last post-finna basically means "I'm fixing to. . . " Although it is used in many different ways and doesn't always seem to make sense to my ears. I have to keep up with the slang so I know what my students are saying!




__________________

Ok, new topic. This is funny because it is not what I planned to write about. But I saw something I considered funny/ridiculous when I was leaving Jewel yesterday and I think I just need to share.





I saw a frum (religious) Jewish woman walking to her car. Of course, I looked at what she was wearing (don't we always do that?) and was quite surprised at what I saw. (I don't know her so I am assuming she doesn't read this blog-I think she is from NY, so I feel safe writing this). If you know her, I'm sure she is a very nice person. Anyway, she was wearing all black with a shiny purple belt. That was fine. Until I looked at her shoes. Knee-high. Very Shiny. Bright Purple Boots. They matched the belt of course.



She looked like a streetwalker. Is that the nice way to say it these days? Hooker? Call girl?



Which then made me wonder: did she know that is what she looked like and didn't care? Or was she totally naive and not know and just think they were pretty?





I happen to like clothes. A lot. I have a walk-in closet full and always feel like I could buy more (much to my husband's dismay). I like trendy things and like to stay in style. Sometimes that leads me to make poor decisions about what I buy. Like the red pleather jacket (bad thrift store find). Or the hand-knitted sweater and skirt combo (again bad thrift store find). But I usually manage not wear them-someone stops me from making a fool of myself. But those clothes, as tacky as they are, are NOT slutty. I firmly believe there is a line between form fitting clothes and slutty clothes.





Clothes define who we are more often than not. Some people don't care what they look like and you can tell that just by looking. Some people have the latest trends as soon as they come out. Both of those styles send a specific message. Boots like that send a specific message. At least I think they do. Even though this girl was totally covered (modesty-wise) she still looked trashy to me. Is that possible? Those boots were just calling out for attention.




I think I am especially sensitive to this issue because I work with middle school boys. Who are, ahem, thinking about only one thing. Everyone knows what that is, right? And if you don't, you must have your head in the sand. But the girl students that I work with, more often than not, come dressed in clothes that are inappropriate for their bodies. We do have a uniform code, but even when they follow that they can still look hoochie (I am using a lot of words I wouldn't really use in real life-don't judge). Ultimately, as I am writing this I think it comes down to respect. Respect of your body. When you send a message to the world that you don't respect your body, why should anyone else?




As frum Jews, I really believe that even if clothing follows the modesty to the"letter of the law" there is also the spirit in which it is worn. And I do think you can be immodest even when you are all covered up.



Please don't think I am writing this because I think I dress perfectly. Because I don't. I have my own challenges with things I want to wear that are borderline. But those boots just struck a nerve. And while I am far, far from perfect I do try to be cognizant and aware of my clothes and how they might affect other people around me.




Ok, enough preachy talk for today. Go enjoy the beautiful weather we are having because it only lasts a minute in Chi-town!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Random but interesting facts about me

Nothing interesting has happened lately.

I did get the book from the library, haven't started reading it yet-I was thinking the end of Oct. for discussion?

So, I thought maybe I would tell you some things about myself that you do not know. Except I just re-read my 16 Things About Me post and now have to rack my brain to think of other things. Am I really that boring? I just might be.

Let's see:

1. I HATE scary movies. And I mean HATE. Ever since I saw Silence of the Lambs. Terrifying. I hate that feeling.


2. Speaking of things I hate and am scared of I have an irrational fear of moths. Not butterflies, just moths. They are so quiet and sneak up on you and then flutter around. I find it creepy.


3. I get really enthusiastic when I teach and often make a fool of myself in front of my students. I dance around, say silly things and just act weird. They seem to like it and it gets them to do their work. So it's all good.


4. I don't enjoy driving at night. I feel like a little old lady but it's true. The glare of the lights bothers my eyes.


5. Speaking of eyes, I am freaked out by any medical procedure having to do with eyes. I am not a squeamish person (I even watch them take my blood) but anything having to do with eyes freaks me out.


6. I like to make desserts but don't often eat them. I like to have them in my house, ready and available, if I might want to eat them. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Oh, and bakery items are not the same-they need to be homemade. My husband has learned to accept it and doesn't argue with me anymore when I make extra desserts.


7. Almost every room in our house is painted a different color. There is not one white room in the house. That's because when we lived in our apt. and then when we bought our house we ONLY had white walls and hated them. So now we have rooms that are orange, olive green, and red among others.


8. My mom made me take a typing class in high school even though I didn't want to. It was one of the smartest things I ever did. (I think watching adults hunt and peck on the keyboard is funny). Thanks, Mom!


9. Big groups of people make me nervous.


10. I love bargain shopping and rarely buy anything NOT on sale. Food, clothes, anything. It's sort of my own competition with myself. I do like to shop though, so I probably don't end up saving much money overall.


11. I remember my first "bad" grade. I was in 4th grade and I got a C in grammar. I still do not like grammar and I don't like teaching it either. Who needs proper English when you can say things like "finna"(I will give points to whoever knows what that means!)?


12. I don't appreciate music but I try really hard because my husband is very musical and it means a lot to him. But a lot of music sounds the same to me (although after 11 years of marriage I have grown a true appreciation for Metallica).


That's all I got. Wait, that's not proper-it should be: that's all I have. But that just doesn't sound as good!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Struggling. . . and then not (so much)

I've been meaning to write for days (does every post of mine start this way?) but time really got away from me this past week. Besides for the fact that it was Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was coming up, I had to give a presentation to all the other teachers at my school about differentiated instruction at work on Friday ( and I was really nervous).

So I've been kinda busy.


I really want to talk about R"H and Y"K. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this. And if I am that's fine and I'll be my own support group of one. But since I've had kids, I always find it hard to move (my head) back and forth from the mundane to the spiritual. The physical acts of taking care of kids seems to leave me no room to feel the spirituality of the day.


On R"H it was really hard. Our schedule was really thrown off, I didn't have a seat in shul, the shofar blowing was not good (both because the person blowing and the fact that EVERYONE brought their noisy kids into shul-I did not). It was not the best of holidays for me. I have been known to be resentful and grouchy on such days. I don't mind taking care of the kids, but I should also be a perfect Jew and daven and have kavanah (concentration)-that just seems too hard.


Y"K is always hard depending on how well I fast. I am an inconsistent faster, sometimes I fast great and sometimes I throw up and get headaches. Luckily, this time I fasted well. But I did not attempt to go to shul or even daven until 4 pm. And the reason for that? Besides the fact that my children were fighting every 10 minutes, I just wasn't feeling it. Fasting had to be enough at that point. But that afternoon, I felt like I should daven. So I did. I said Mincha, Neilah, and some extra tefilos (prayers) while my children pulled on my clothes, tattletaled on each other, and I even pushed the baby in the stroller at one point.


I can't force myself to feel something I don't. I do think the awareness of "not feeling" or "not feeling the way I am supposed to feel" is a bit of feeling itself. Confused? So am I. But this is it. Being so immersed in the physical world takes it's toll. Am I crazy? Do other people feel this way? I was feeling really discouraged about it yesterday until I davened and tried to feel some of the meaning of the day.


I am still discouraged. But I am trying to forgive myself a little bit and just be the best person I can be-as a Jew, as a mom, as a wife, and as a teacher.

---------------

I haven't gotten the book yet, maybe today? When I get it I will give everyone a timeline.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I've Chosen

I was reading a gossipy magazine while waiting for Lulu at OT. And (gasp!) they review books.

Many caught my eye.

So I've chosen the next one to read.

It's called While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty.

It got a good review in this magazine. So I am taking their word for it.

I am not buying it. I put it on hold at the Chicago Public Library (it seemed like there were many copies available) and I will let you know when I get it.

Go reserve it now!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's getting a little ridiculous

I fully admit my book hoarding tendencies. But it hit a new level of craziness on Friday.

I went to the library on my way home from work. And decided to look up a book that Shalva recommended-the one by Tracy Kidder. It was actually on the shelf and I checked it out and was so happy to take it home. A few hours later my mil called and among other topics of conversation she asked me to pick out a few books for her from my stash. I went upstairs right away to pick her out some books (I didn't want to forget) and as I was looking, guess what I saw? The book by Tracy Kidder, on my shelf.

Just sitting there, waiting to be read.

Which I didn't know I had. Because I have so many books I don't even remember the books I own.

Lest I give you the impression that I spend all my money on books, I don't. Yes, I have bought books at Borders (that started when I was working on National Board Certification and I did my work there and then needed to reward myself) but I ONLY buy the sale ones. And I usually buy my books secondhand at resale stores and used book sales. So in my defense, if a book catches my eye in one of those places I will usually get it. But I won't have had the intention to buy it. Which is how I can forget I own it. Because I didn't know I wanted it in the first place. Or I guess my memory is suffering from having 4 kids and working full time. I'll let you make your own judgements.


Now about picking a book to read. I'm scared. What if I pick a book everyone hates? Then everyone will think my taste in books is terrible. The first book I chose, I cheated a little bit. I had already read a book the author wrote previously. So I knew he was a good writer. Also, I started reading the book before I suggested it so I knew it was interesting. So as long as people promise not to judge me for my selections-I'll pick something this week.


Maybe I should look on my book hoarding shelf for ideas?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dominick's deals and Screen eating squirrels

Friday and Saturday were not normal days. Nothing bad, just different.



After work on Friday I stopped at a Dominick's on the way home which was about 3:30. I was looking for something specific which they didn't have. As I looked around the store, I saw lots and lots of people. And those people were filling carts and carts with stuff! I was very confused until I looked at some signs on the wall that read "Everything in the store 50% off (except the liquor)!" Well, you can imagine how excited I felt-I grabbed a basket and started putting cans of formula in it. Formula alone can bankrupt a person so I am always looking out for deals. Then I started with other items: juice, lunch bags, detergent. It turns out they are liquidating their stock to close the store and then remodel/reopen it. It is grungy and run down but the food is the same there as anywhere!!



There was one sad part to this story however. I didn't have my coupons with me!! I usually carry them everywhere or leave them in the car but I wasn't prepared on Friday. So of course, I had to go back. 2 hours before Shabbos! With construction traffic everywhere. It ended up that I got home an hour before Shabbos and still had to shower me and the baby (did I mention I took her back with me and her diaper leaked and that still didn't stop me)! So good deals abounded but it was a strange way to enter Shabbos.


But my joy was marred by a screen eating squirrel Shabbos afternoon. We left the kitchen window open and a squirrel chewed through it and started eating food on my counter. I don't know if I can describe how terrifying it was to walk into my kitchen and see food and other items strewn all over the counter and sink! Thank G-d the squirrel was gone, maybe all the noise we make scared it off. I threw away everything on the counter and now we have to replace the screen!! The squirrels in this city are truly a menace-I can think of a few creative ideas to get rid of them.
Poison. . . Traps. . .Larger animals that eat squirrels. . . BB guns? Maybe I should call my alderman with some suggestions?



I am so tired this week-getting back into the swing of things of working full-time has been hard. I did use some of my precious free time finishing The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. It was reeeeeeaaaaaaaaally good! It focuses on the time period of the War of the Roses (York v. Lancaster for any history buffs out there). She did a great job with the main character. Still waiting for some book suggestions. Waiting. . . and waiting. . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Moving On

Baby deleted post I just wrote.

And I was going to say I miss her now that I am back at work.

Oh well, what I wrote probably wasn't good enough to publish and she just saved me from embarrassment.

And I do miss her. A lot. When I see her in the afternoon and evenings she wants me to hold her for hours. Literally. She yells her head off when I put her down. Which makes it hard to get anything done around the house AND my back hurts. But that's ok because she's only 10 months once. Before I know it she'll be a year and then two. So I am happy to hold her while she still wants to be held.


I'm getting off topic, though. In other news, the engineer and construction workers finished my classroom. Over Labor Day weekend. It looks beautiful, no holes in the ceiling or burst pipes sticking out of the floor! I am getting high off the fumes from the sealant they used to finish the floors. Even with all the windows open and 2 fans going. But I am really appreciative of all the hard work they did-I need to get them a present! Maybe I should give them the 2 Brittney Spears tickets my bro-in-law with Downs Syndrome won. (He's lucky like that).


Also, I am not feeling well. I have a sinus infection and finally went to the doctor today to get some meds. I feel yucky and achy and have been fighting it for a week. Now the drugs have to fight it for me.


Reading-wise I am having a hard time carving out time to finish anything. But I am trying. I read Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner. Not my favorite of hers ( a little too predictable) but a light read. I am reading The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory but I just started it so I can't say how good it is. It's historical fiction and if anyone likes that genre you are welcome to read it along with me. I have to finish it soon, it's due back at the library next week. I also can't verify how clean it is, although I don't think her books are too graphic or inappropriate. But that's a personal decision. I'm too tired to add links, so google the books if you want to know more.

That's the update for the week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grief filled day

I just came back from a funeral for a 5 year old girl.

Horrible, Terrible, Tragic, Horrendous, Gut-wrenching, Unspeakably painful.

So many feelings. Such terrible hurt.

Too many tears. Not enough tears.

No mother should ever have to bury her child. Ever.

But Hashem decided that this little girl fulfilled her purpose here on Earth and took her back.

Hashem gives and Hashem takes.

But the pain is still there no matter what.

HaMakom Yenachem Eschem B'soch Sha'ar Avelei Tzion V'Yerushalyim.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to school and some laughs

Getting back to school has been soooooo hard this year. Having kids in two schools, me going back to work, a fourth child to plan for; I'm not sure why it's been so hard.

The school supplies have been packed for weeks (I like school supplies, could be why I became a teacher??).

Uniforms bought and planned out for the year.

Afterschool programs planned out for the kids.

Lots of food/ diapers/ wipes /paper goods stocked up on so I don't have to run errands at this busy time of year.

And yet no matter how organized or prepared I am it seems that there is always some feeling of being overwhelmed and nervous about going back to routine and schedule. Don't get me wrong-the kids NEED to be in school and I like routine too. But I can't help but wonder how I will manage my life working full time and taking care of the kids and house too. I mean, the summer is hard enough. When fall comes I have to start adding another thing to think about-my students. ( Don't even get me started about the fact that they decided to do major construction in my classroom a week before school starts!! That equals no classroom for me AND I haven't set it up for the year yet! Which I guess is a good thing because it would all be ruined anyway.)

Then I start to think about all the holidays coming up and I am NOT prepared for that. Does Rosh Hashanah really have to be 3 weeks after school starts? That requires a whole other level of preparedness that I am just not ready to face. So I'll be in denial about that until I absolutely can't be in denial any more. I happen to like that coping strategy but I seem to be getting off topic.

Anyway, so many things to do and not enough time to do them all.


Might be why I am awake writing this post at 3 am.


But, I have been meaning to post 2 funny Little T stories that happened lately. That kid says the funniest things without trying to be funny and then gets mad when I laugh. Or retell the story. But sometimes I just can't help myself.

I did something really crazy last week and took all the kids to the doctor by myself. I know, I know it was stupid. But they all needed physicals before school and the thought of going to the doctor 3 separate times was enough to make my head spin. So I decided to grin and bear it. That visit could be a whole post by itself. But the reason I bring this up is because I tried to prepare Little T that she needed to behave while her other 2 sisters were being seen by the doctor (the baby just came along for the adventure). But Little T thought just they were going to have doctor appts. and she wasn't (I hadn't gotten to that part of preparing her yet). So she says(starting to cry) "But Mommy, I have problems too! I need to see the doctor too!" To which I responded "I know you have problems too, you are also seeing the doctor." She stopped crying and all was well. I think going to the doctor usually makes kids cry but we don't do usual around here!!


Yesterday when getting in the car the windshield was all foggy from all this crazy cold weather we've been having. So Lulu saw it and asked if it was spring outside. I told her no that spring comes before summer and now it's fall. Little T (in all seriousness) says "No it's not, nothing's fallen yet." We are quite literal around here. But then I started to think-she's right. What's with all this cold weather when the leaves haven't even started to change yet?

Oh well, it's too late at night to start pondering the mysteries of our wonderful/weird/annoying weather.

Here's to hoping everyone's back to school goes smoothly!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I wish I was in Honolulu. . . BOOK TALK

Edited: Well, we're done talking now. Thanks Shosh for reading the book and taking the time to comment!! Should I do this again? I will read no matter what but does anyone want to join me? And if so, does anyone have any book suggestions, this isn't a dictatorship you know-I wouldn't want to choose all the books if we continue this. Also, I am going to research ( read my husband will research) a better way to chat.

Thanks!!

Live Chat Now ( in the comments section).
Ok, I'm not sure this will work or that anybody cares but here goes.

Here is a synopsis of the book Honolulu by Alan Brennert (credit goes to his
website):

Honolulu is the richly imagined story of Jin, a young “picture bride” who leaves her native Korea—where girls are so little valued that she is known as Regret—and journeys to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life. Instead of the prosperous young husband and the chance at an education she has been promised, Jin is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his disappointments out on his new wife, forcing her to make her own way in a strange land.

Struggling to build a business with the help of her fellow picture brides, Jin finds both opportunity and prejudice, but ultimately transforms herself from a naive young girl into a resourceful woman. Prospering along with her adopted city, which is fast growing from a small territorial capital to the great multicultural city it is today, Jin can never forget the people she left behind in Korea, and returns one last time to make her peace with her former life.


I thought we could try and "discuss" the book in the comments section of this post. I don't like to get all english teachery so I thought we could just focus on our thoughts, feelings, opinions about the book.

Here we go . . .




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation in (some) pictures

The universe seems to be stacked against me putting pictures on my blog. First, we can't find the cord to upload the pics from my blackberry (we're not sure it came home from vacation). Then, my husband gave me a card reader that doesn't work. Of course, I had to find that out the hard way. So, I am stuck e-mailing them to myself and then adding them which is a labor intensive process. Anyway, a lot of the better pics are on the husband's blackberry and my sister's camera (we would like to see those pics before we are old and gray :))




Here are some highlights:


We spent a day at Harper's Ferry and this a view from there. This is where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet. It is really beautiful. Harper's Ferry was important during the civil war (John Brown, slave revolts-you get the idea) and I had to come here tons of time for school trips. (It's only about 20 mins from my parent's house, yes they live that close to West Virginia but don't count that against them). After 11 years of marriage, we FINALLY got my husband to go. He actually enjoyed it and so did the kids. And I never have to go again. EVER.







We all were really there. Not all following directions or turning around, but we did enjoy the view.










Big T playing air hockey. Against who? Daddy. Neither remember who won so it must have been fun for them both! We took them to Chuckie Cheeses in MD because I had a coupon for a boatload of tokens (we still have some left for another trip) and we needed to fill an afternoon after our trip to the kosher subway in Balto. Where we pigged out-all of us. Anyway, it's not the time to address my chuckie cheese issues but just know that I have them.





Lulu taking M on a ride. Don't they both look like they are having fun? Lulu is always thinking of others before herself. She took M on lots of these rides. Little story: we went to the national zoo ( hopefully pics will come later) and we told Lulu she could pick out a birthday present for herself. We're in the store; looking around, and the first item Lulu brings up to me is a panda bib for the baby. "We should get this for M, Mommy. She would like it." I had to remind her to find something for herself. Sometimes I forget she is only 7 years old.




So technically this picture was taken after we got back at the Museum of Sci and Industry. But I had to include it. In case you are wondering Little T is dissecting an owl pellet. Yep, owl throw up. She wasn't fazed at all and was so focused and intent, it was amazing! She used those tools like a professional and found lots of little rodent bones (that was the goal after all). Maybe she'll be a scientist when she grows up.





That's it for now. Just a few selected highlights. Hopefully, more will follow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just a reminder

I really must make more time for blogging. . . must put it on the schedule with the other 10,000 things going on. . . .

I did just want to give a quick reminder of our book chat that is schedule Aug. 27 at 8 pm. Even if you have only read a bit of the the book (Honolulu by Alan Brennart) or haven't finished please feel invited to participate!! I can't wait to hear everyone's thought and opinions about the book!

Also, if anyone has any suggestions about an upcoming book please let me know. I have a few books on hold at the library but I would like to hear some other ideas.

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reasons to love the East Coast/Maryland/Small town, USA

1. Less sales tax. Yes, I have mentioned this before but I had to mention it again. Chi-town has the highest sales tax in the country at 10% while MD has only 6%.





2. Utz!!! Anyone who keeps kosher and has been to the East Coast knows about the best chips/popcorn/cheese curls ever! They are all kosher (they even have ones that are like cheetos) and you can buy them in regular grocery stores. They have every flavor you can think of (crab chip anyone-made with old bay seasoning, it's delicious!) I can't stop raving and every time I am on the east coast I make sure to stock up (that is a reason we drive). Nothing in Chi-town compares!





3. Kosher bread that can be bought anywhere. I think this post is becoming all about food but I can't help it. You can find hot dog buns, sliced bread, dinner rolls and you don't have to go to a bakery to get it. It's just sitting there on the bread shelf waiting to be bought.





4. Another food item I found-store brand kosher yogurt. In my quest for saving money I have always had the complaint that we don't have many yogurt choices. We have to buy certain brands and I only buy them when they are on sale and/or I have a coupon. Here I found an inexpensive store brand that I can buy. The kids eat tons of yogurt so I am impressed. Too bad I can't stock up on that.




5. The swimming pool. My parents have a community swimming pool that we can walk to. The girls looooove it! We spent many hours there this vacation.



6. The mountains!! Illinois is soooo flat. I have mainly gotten used to it but whenever I go back to the East I remember that the mountains are beautiful. Because my parents live in a small town you don't need to drive far at all to see nature. Farms, hills, grassy fields, even mountains are just a stone's throw away (and not a large stone)! I used to hate "small town life" and always considered myself a city girl but the older I get the more I appreciate the small town mentality and laid back living it offers. Okay, okay; maybe not "laid back" but at least calmer!



7. Produce stands on the side of the road. They are mini farmer's markets wherever you go. I saw them on the side of highways and roads. I think if you have a backyard garden you qualify to have a produce stand in MD! Great fruits and veggies for really cheap prices!



8. Smooth roads without potholes! Can you imagine? My husband was actually the one who noticed this since he did all the driving. The roads are paved nicely and there isn't constant construction either. And I am not just talking about small town roads. Major highways (270, 70) are a pleasure to drive on and you are not afraid to lose a hubcap or any other car part for that matter.


There you have it: a comprehensive list why you should at least visit the East Coast south of the Mason-Dixon line. Of course the best reason to visit is my wonderful family, but I'm not giving you mine you have to get your own!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The long and short of it

So I am going to take a quick break from vacation talk to commemorate an important day.

It's our 11 year anniversary today!!

I'm not really sure I believe it but it's true. I have been married to my charming, funny, handsome, able to fix anything, sometimes crazy, sometimes quiet, extremely smart, helpful around the house, always guesses surprises, knows me better than I know myself, Torah loving, analytically thinking, musically inclined, lover of power tools, insightful, good listener, likes sci-fi and fantasy books; husband for 11 years.

Part of me wants to say "Where did the time go?"

And another part of me wants to say "Wow, that's been a loooooong time!"

They're both true. How can I be old enough to have 4 kids and be married this long? I still feel like a teenager in some ways (do I really have to make adult decisions?). But it also feels like a long time because in the past few years we have entered another stage of marriage. We continue to learn new things about each other but it's not like when we first got married and we barely knew anything about living with the other person. We know each other's quirks, strengths and weaknesses, and in spite of or because of those things that make us who we are, we love each other more.

I know where he will put his dirty socks (not the hamper). I know his mood when he comes home from work. I know what I can say to make him laugh. I know how to pick out books he'll like from the library. He knows I need to pick my own books from the library. That I need some time in the morning to read or at least a few quiet minutes to get my head into the day. He knows that I am obsessed with making sure the laundry gets done frequently so I don't have a ton to do at one time. He knows what to say to make me feel better or calm down or feel good about myself. Of course, he also know what to say to rile me up too.

In this day and age when divorces are common and for some it is hard to find a partner, I feel truly blessed and appreciative of what I have. Not just to be married but to have a good marriage that we are both willing to continue to work on.

So bring on 11 more!! Happy anniversary Y!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sorry I've been so neglectful

I feel like my blog is a 5th child that I have been neglecting.

I'm sorry blog!! And to those readers out there who read my blog, I haven't forgotten to write. It's just with vacation and all the logistics that go along with it I have been hard pressed to find the time to write. I am working on a post about the trip. Hopefully it will include some pics (even though the best shots are on my sis's camera- the best camera ever-I have camera envy!) In fact, I hope to include some pics that Lulu took, she is becoming quite a photographer at the ripe old age of 7.

So a longer post is coming soon!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

On vacation

Just a quick update- we are in Maryland visiting my fam.

We will be here for about 2 weeks or until they decide they are sick of us.

I hope to post and keep updating but between entertaining the kids and some internet problems out here in the boondocks I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I have a few topic ideas and some video to post so hopefully I'll get around to that too.

I'll leave you with a quick thought. Why do we live in the most expensive city ever? Everything is cheaper here in MD and even the tax is only 6%! In chi-town I wanted to get my wedding and engagement bands fixed (it's a long story but they both cracked all the way through) and the store wanted to charge me $400 dollars just to fix one ring. Here in MD we went to a jewelery store my mom knows does good work and they are charging less than $150 to fix both!!

I'm just saying. . . is Chicago that wonderful?

On that note, I'm going to go enjoy my time away! See you soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

THANK YOU, back to books

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who responded with such AMAZING support with my last post. Honestly, that wasn't why I wrote it. Sometimes I do write posts for that reason, I want everyone to agree with me (I'm a people pleaser and want everyone to like me but that is a WHOLE other post). Anyway, I really just wanted to share what was going on and the support everyone has given me was a wonderful extra bonus!! I really don't look at it like I am doing anything great or even like I have a choice. And as much as I like to "fit in" and be like everyone else in our community, I am not willing to sacrifice my children! Okay, that sounds extreme but you know what I mean!

------

Enough about that. I have been thinking about a blog book club and even though I have been thinking a long time about it I haven't come up with something I think will work wonderfully. So I decided to just start and see how it goes and adjust from there. And if it doesn't work, I'll still be over here reading so it's all good! I am going to choose a book that I was already going to read (but in the future I would like others to suggest books and maybe we could decide together?) Anyway, it's called Honolulu by Alan Brennert. It is a new book but I got it from the library very quickly. I am actually halfway through it and I am really enjoying it.


So I think the best way to "talk" about this book is to chat in the comments section at a specific time. How long should we have to read the book? How about Thursday Aug. 27 at 8 pm? I would like to try this before the school year starts and also give enough time for anyone who want to participate to get/read the book. Everyone can be at their computers and we can comment about the book to each other on my post-I'll write a short summary of the book. What do you think? Could this work?

Monday, July 27, 2009

next school year

So a few post ago I mentioned that something different is happening with the kids. It's pretty final so I wanted to share our decision and why we made it.

We have decided to change schools for Lulu and Little T. They will be attending a jewish montessori school instead of the super conservative jewish day school they had been attending. Big T will still be going to the same school.

Why the change? There are many reasons that we thought this would be best for our kids. I am not going to use this post to disparge the school they were at. That is not my goal. However, as a teacher I have high standards and expectations that were not being met for my children. It's not entirely the school's fault. The education system is broken in our country for a lot of reasons. And the jewish day school system is not exempt from those problems. In fact, the jewish school system is often behind the times and might even have MORE problems.

But ultimately my kids weren't getting what they need to be successful. For Little T, we are trying to be proactive because we do not want her to experience failure during kindergarten, when Lulu's issues started.

I do not want anyone reading this to think that we haven't taken responsibility for our children and their behavior. I KNOW my children aren't easy. That they aren't docile, "cookie cutter " children. They push boundaries. They like to get their way. But don't all children? Seriously, though I take them to appts. and am open to any and all things that will help them. That has been one of the hardest parts for me-the mom and the teacher-that there seems to be no accountability in the jewish school system. Even though we have been more than open and accomodating and done everything they asked to help our children, they have/will not. And it's no one person's fault. It's the limitations of the system that they are in and the lack of knowledge/experience with anything even a little bit outside their perception of the "norm." And that makes me sad. But rather than fight to change the system (which I originally wanted to do) I am not. Because I would rather use that energy to spend time with and enjoy my kids. (And because of the advice of someone within the system who know the ins and outs as a teacher and parent who said it wasn't worth it.)

I am excited for this fresh start for them. I truly think the montessori approach will utilize my children's strengths and build up their weaknesses. Every parent that sends their kids to this school has only wonderful things to say about it. The director is truly there for the kids, you see it in her face and in the excitement in her voice when she talks about the students and the program. There is also a more diverse student popluation which I am happy for my children to experience and be part of.

Hopefully, this will be a smooth transition and a new beginning.