Saturday, August 29, 2009

Since school started, I have...

...discovered which of my 26 students are going to be the most challenging--and the most entertaining--this year.

...compiled a list of all the random health issues my different students have: type 1 diabetes requiring daily insulin shots during class, asperger's, OCD, ADHD, peanut allergy requiring an epipen on hand at all times, and a dye allergy (no Red 40, Blue 5, etc.). He has his own bag of candy stashed in the cupboard so he can have one of those in case the rest of us are eating something he can't have.

...made my class practice lining up more than a dozen times--and that was just on the first day.

...started reading Peppermints in the Parlor to my kids. They informed me it's much more entertaining if I create different voices for all the characters. Request granted.

...started reading Dealing with Dragons to myself. No voices required.

...received a round of applause from the faculty at my school when I announced that I wrote down one page of directions on how to use a machine that the principal gave to everyone--and taught no one how to use.

...seriously neglected the cleaning of my house. Hooray for a willing husband and a daughter who takes great amusement in following directions--sometimes.

...sprouted another UTI/kidney infection. Make this #6...or #7...since I've been pregnant. I've lost count.

...been called as the ward chorister and choir director. I have never directed a choir. My bishop is an accomplished director, if I understand correctly--pressure's on. (P.S. Did I ever tell you that I'm having a baby in a month and a half? How does that fit with directing a choir?)

...went on a date with my husband. Finally! Neither of us could remember the last time we were able to go out on a simple date without bringing Jane along. We went to Iron Gate Grill for dinner, bought The Iron Giant at Walmart, then went to see Harry Potter 6 in the theater. Yay for babysitters! Thanks, Delia.

...seen two of my students at the theater. I'm curious on Monday to find out if they thought it was really cool to see me, or if it was one of those weird "my teacher has a life outside of school?!" moments.

...ordered the "prenatal cradle". Basically, it's a huge brace that helps support the belly weight by spreading it out to the shoulders and more evenly across the back. Best part: it's 80% covered by my insurance. We can pick it up on Monday.

...taught Jane to enjoy plain flour tortillas. Now we're working on how to fold them properly--in half three times, so it looks like a multi-layered slice of pizza. She can also appreciate a good ol' bowl of rice and ketchup.

...discovered that Jane knows how to dance. Believe me, she didn't learn this from us.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Parental Pleas

I have two requests today: one to the parents of students in school, and the other as a parent myself.

#1: Please don't keep your kids out of school for stupid reasons!
(Excuse my language--stupid is not allowed in my classroom.)

One student missed the first two days of school for a family vacation. Another student missed the first two days this week to stay home and help his mom babysit his nieces. A third student's mother came to me today and informed me that he is going to miss all of next week for a family reunion. The best part: the reunion starts on THURSDAY. He's just leaving Monday for the fun of hanging out with his grandparents.

Ok, I'm not trying to sound cynical or rude or anything. I understand that there are times when a child needs to miss school for legitimate reasons. But babysitting is not a legitimate reason! They are kids, not adults. They should be in school. Family vacations should be scheduled when school is not in session. Don't wait until school has started and then leave town! I understand that things come up: family emergencies, death of a relative...but your annual family vacation? How about July?

So that's that. I just needed to vent. If you do choose to put your children into public school, please plan your vacations accordingly. And find a babysitter that is over the age of eighteen who isn't subject to truancy laws for missing school.

#2: Please don't ask me how I'm feeling.

I'm more than seven months pregnant. I'm uncomfortable. I'm hot. I'm sore. I'm exhausted. Yes, I'm tired of being pregnant and yes, I just want the baby to come now.

When someone asks how I'm doing, I find myself faced with a dilemma. My choices: one, I can lie and say I'm fine. Two, I can tell the truth and tell every person how I'm actually feeling, which is generally a lengthy list of negatives. I don't find either option appealing--especially since most people don't actually want to hear it, really.

And: It's always been a pet peeve of mine when people say "Are you ok?" It's my opinion that people only ask that when it is obvious something is wrong. So why ask for information that you already know? Don't ask me if I'm ok. If I'm not, I probably don't want to have it pointed out again. Likely as not, I already know that I'm not ok. If I am ok, why are you asking?

Deep breath. Ok, I'm done. I just wanted to vent. Now you all know. Don't worry, I'm generally healthy and happy. No need to be concerned. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

thinking about ketchup

Well, not really--I haven't had any rice in days. I was actually thinking about "catch up" because I just posted two other posts about recent Wampler adventures, but "ketchup" sounded funnier in my head. But a joke isn't actually funny if you have to explain it. Sigh for dumb jokes. Anyway, I've caught up with the major events, but I still feel like writing tonight, so I'm going to think out loud and tell you about whatever pops into my head...even if it's as lame as ketchup.

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I bought a new watch this week. The battery in my old watch kept stopping for a while, then starting again randomly. That's not exactly reliable for keeping track of time, especially now that school has started and my schedule really matters. So I bought a new one at ShopKo. There wasn't anyone working at the jewelry counter and I wasn't able to get it adjusted right then. I was headed to Walmart later anyway, so I had the band adjusted there.

While I was waiting for the worker to finish, I noticed a paper taped to the counter providing information for the employees. The note listed all the brands that Walmart is willing to service (adjust bands, replace batteries, etc.). There was also a list of all the brands that they would not service. At the end, there was a statement to this effect: Use common sense. If it looks expensive, tell them no.

FYI: If you have an expensive watch, don't take it to Walmart.

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I started school today. I've decided that I'm not a huge fan of the first day. Everything went just fine, but it seems like something of a wasted day. I have to spend hours going over procedures and setting up routines--I willingly admit that it is very important for the success of the rest of the school year, but I get bored. I want to get into actual teaching and not just talking at them all day.

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With all the getting ready for school this week my house has been sorely neglected. One couch is completely covered with stuff that has been dumped when coming in the front door, the floor hasn't been vacuumed in probably a week, and the kitchen...let's just say it's not good. Especially the smell. It makes me glad that school starts on a Thursday, as random as that seems. I'll be glad to have a short day tomorrow and then the weekend to get caught up a bit at home.

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I'm still not a huge fan of being pregnant. I've been way more sore this time around than I ever was with Jane. I'm sure that has something to do with Jane, actually, since last time I didn't have a toddler to chase down, pick up, carry, and otherwise strain my body on behalf of. I mentioned it at my doctor's appointment yesterday and was told that I can basically just expect everything to get worse as I get bigger, and now that I'm back at school and will be on my feet a lot more. Sigh. I'm not looking for sympathy or pity or anything. I'm just talking to myself, mostly. I have heard of a pregnancy brace that can help support the belly weight and relieve strain from a lot of other areas...I'm working on finding out if my insurance will cover any or all of the cost before I buy it. It sounds promising, though, and still worth it even if I have to pay it all myself.

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Speaking of being pregnant, my baby has the hiccups right now. They are big enough hiccups that I can sit here and watch my entire stomach bounce up and down without my ever moving...

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I'm not a grand hairstylist for myself, and even less so for Jane. (I posted about that very issue on the Village--feel free to share any insights.) BUT! I finally have proof that I do indeed fix Jane's hair on rare occasion.

I'm sure there are people out there who will be convinced that Jane's cheese is possessed by an evil spirit, but I assure you, if there were any spirits in that cheese, they have now been fully consumed without any negative side effects. Yet, at least.

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Aberdeen High Class of 2003

Six Year Reunion!

So, I guess a six year class reunion isn't terribly common...well, ok, I know it's not. Chris was the senior class president at his high school and is therefore in charge of class reunions. Unfortunately, things didn't pan out last summer and no five year reunion took place. To make up for it, Chris and his vice president Joyce arranged a five year reunion one year late.

Chris and Joyce came...

...and Chris's older brother David (who graduated the same year as Chris after a severe car accident two years before) and his wife Charyl...

...Spencer Ward and wife Cali...

...and Jenna Wilcox with husband Steve and kids Aiden and Chloe (I think! I might have the kids' names wrong.)...

...and that was it.

Aberdeen Class of 2003 consisted of 54 graduates. The six year reunion boasted a 9.3% attendance. We'll shoot for higher with the ten year reunion. Hopefully more people will be expecting it...and it will happen in the right year!

Spencer and Mailee Pyper

Congratulations to Spencer and Mailee! They were married last Friday, August 14, 2009. It was pretty cool that they ended up together: Spencer is Chris's cousin, so they have obviously known each other forever. Mailee lived in Aberdeen for years--the town where Chris grew up. So, Chris and his family have known both of them most of their lives, without the two ever being connected. Spencer and Mailee first really hit it off at David's (Chris's brother) wedding, then they continued dating mostly through Facebook. And the rest is history...

This isn't the best wedding picture. I promise they really do like each other! This was just the picture that we snapped when Chris and I went through the line.

Chris's mom made the cake. I was there for flower placement consulting for a while, until I decided I was too tired to watch and left. Sorry, Janet!

Yay, Spencer and Mailee!

P.S. This is Chris's aunt's sister, Joyce. I found out that she reads my blog. :) All you other random people that I don't know that read this, you should tell me!

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With family reunions and weddings all scheduled close together, a few of Chris's farther out-of-town relatives hung out in Utah for quite a while. Jane and I had the chance to hang out with Chris's aunts Shelly and Karen when they came to Logan to visit the Willow Park Zoo. This picture is actually Shelly on the right with her daughter Rachel on the left...sorry, Karen! I didn't get any pictures of you.

Jane was more interested in pushing the stroller herself than looking at any of the animals,

except, of course, when there was water close by. I was glad at that point that there were several other people around who could run to her faster than I could.

This is Jane with Chris's cousin, Edie. They are only two months apart in age...Chris thought it was weird that his wife and his aunt were pregnant at the same time.

And a couple random shots from the park: the eagle wearing pants,

one of the only animals that will really hold still long enough to get a truly decent picture (I'll stick with just the sign for this so you can get the full information),

and the picture I got when I accidentally hit the wrong button on the camera and took a picture instead of turning it off.

Chris also had some grand old fun with Edie's older sisters at the wedding--or at least, they had fun with him. They never held still long enough for me to get a good picture, but you get the idea!

...and just because I'm a sucker for sleeping baby pictures...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pregnancy Foods

plain flour tortillas

cold cereal...Frosted Flakes mostly


chocolate bar doughnuts

Chips Ahoy cookies (original)

green apples...but only if they're crunchy and really sour


plain white rice with ketchup

Crying over spilled milk

Apparently full time job + toddler + seven months pregnant DOES NOT EQUAL endless energy...

Yesterday was a long day--not bad, just busy. I woke up and took a shower (a feat in and of itself), then cleaned the entire living room and kitchen. By the time I was done with all that, I was already ready for a nap. Unfortunately, I had a meeting at school. I left Jane with Jess (thanks, Jess) and headed to school. I spent an hour there trying to do something productive and failing miserably.

I finally gave up and went to Maceys. I bought my current favorite breakfast: a chocolate bar doughnut, a granny smith apple, and a bottle of strawberry milk. Then I drove out to the district offices in North Logan for a training on the new math program.

Let me insert here that I am not a fan of redundant trainings. Everything they told us at the meeting yesterday they already told us twice at two different meetings last June...yes, we may have forgotten some things since then, but do we really need to hear the whole thing all over again? I think not...but maybe that's just me.

The only thing I found helpful at that particular meeting was being introduced to the new teacher who I will be working with this year. His name is Ryan, he's a first year teacher, and he is the only male teacher at our school. We talked for a few minutes after the meeting and arranged to meet in my classroom later in the afternoon to talk about a few things he wanted to know.

And home again. I came home to find that Jane had taken herself to bed (she said "night night", walked up the stairs, laid down in bed, and covered up with all her blankets) and was sound asleep an hour before her usual naptime and without lunch. I was ok with that since she was going to have to wake up early to go back to school with me. Jess and I had lunch together, then I got online for a chat. It lasted for about an hour. That gave me about twenty minutes to spare before going to school...I took that chance to stop for a minute and read.

The break was good, because I had to wake up Jane. I am not an advocate of waking kids up before they're ready! Jane had slept for half an hour (she woke up shortly after I came home), ate lunch, then went back to bed. She slept for another half hour or so then woke up screaming (I'm guessing nightmare). She did go back to sleep eventually, but she never got a really good, long stretch of sleep. Basically that means she was really ornery when I woke her up. Lovely, huh?

Our meeting at school was not nearly as productive as I had hoped it would be. But we won't dwell on that...just know that I felt rather dissatisfied at the end, knowing that we'll pretty much have to redo everything we tried to do.

I hung around at school for a while after Ryan left, hanging things on the walls. I gave up on that pretty quick, though. I was reattaching a few pictures underneath the whiteboard. The tape wasn't holding up, so I was stapling them to the wall (yes, I use staples in the wall). Jane, lovely helper that she was trying to be, pulled about half of them down before I could stop her. A couple of them she pulled off and ran away with, folding them in the process. Needless to say, they don't look as nice as they did before. And I was a little annoyed.

So we gave up on school and did a little shopping. I had a few things I needed to pick up for my classroom. First stop: the Book Table. Verdict: Bad Idea. The Book Table is an excellent place for getting educational materials, but they do not have shopping carts or anything designed to restrain small children. I can only hold Jane for so long before it completely drains me of any energy I may have had, so I have to put her down. Well, we're in a store. What behavior would you expect from a toddler? After putting her down, I would then have to chase after her, replace all the merchandise she threw on the floor, then hold her for a while again until I couldn't anymore. We did that several times...I don't even know if I bought everything I needed to. I eventually gave up and left with what I had, and I haven't taken the bags out of the car yet to check what I paid for. (Hopefully it all works out anyway!)

Being a glutten for punishment, we left the Book Table and went to Walmart. I only had a few things to buy there and I knew they had carts that Jane could be securely fastened into. I managed to find only half of what I was looking for. Blah. But at least Jane couldn't touch anything...

Yeah, I was fairly exhausted when we got home in the end. But wait! I had forgotten that I was going visiting teaching. Chris had visits to do with the Elders' Quorum (he's in the presidency), so--you guessed it--Jane had to come with me. Sigh. We weren't getting along real well at this point. Luckily, she was all kinds of cuddly both with my companion and the sister we were visiting, and neither of them seemed to mind. That was good.

The best part of the day was the fact that when we got home from visiting teaching, it was time for Jane to go to bed! YAY!

I stayed up later than I should have because I was so close to the end of my book. Tannie, I finished Ella Minnow Pea. If you still want to borrow it, you're more than welcome. If you already got a copy from the library, you can let everyone else know that I have a copy available.

Everything yesterday made me really tired today. I did not want to wake up. I laid in bed for fifteen minutes listening to Jane knock on her bedroom door, wanting to come out, before I could convince myself to get up. And I gave up on that idea pretty quick, put Jane in bed with me and turned on cartoons on the tv in our room. That lasted for about an hour until I finally made it downstairs. I even got dressed first!

Jane ate breakfast, and I had a glass of milk and a bagel while sitting on the couch. I didn't drink all the milk... Jane found it... and so did the couch.

You know that saying, don't cry over spilled milk? Well, too late.

Holy cow, I'm tired.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The End (with extras)

It's been two days now, but I wanted to post the last few pictures of our visit from Britta and Emmaline. It was a fun vacation from the ordinary, but I confess, it's been nice to get everything back to normal. It is especially nice that Jane has her own room back--she's not in our room anymore! Yay! And it is also nice to only have to deal with one screaming child instead of two...I guess I should enjoy it while I can. October isn't very far away.

You may have noticed from earlier posts that our activities were pretty laid back. On their last full day in Logan, we opted to get out of the house at least for a little while, so we headed over to Ryan's Place park in River Heights. Great park, by the way.

Jane's favorite activity, as usual, was the swings.

Emmaline, on the other hand, seemed content to just push the swing without ever getting in.

We never really could get them to face the same direction at the same time. They would both smile and say "cheese!" for the pictures, but they were almost always looking in opposite directions. Maybe Britta and I needed to stand closer together so they didn't get confused where to look...

...or you can let Jane fall over on top of Emmaline and tell them they have to wait for Mom to get the camera before we'll help them up!

In case you didn't know, Ryan's Place was built entirely by volunteers and donations in memory of a young boy who died. All the fence posts name people who helped. I kept hoping that I would find the name of at least one person who I knew. This was as close as I got...and I don't know if it counts. I've never actually met Ryan Shupe...but I've heard his songs and seen him in concert. Is that the same?

After our adventures in the park, we did a little window shopping at Hobby Lobby (not a whole lot there I would actually spend money on, but a fun place to wander) and went out to lunch at Village Inn. That was an adventure in and of itself. It was the waitress's first day and she sat us all at a table meant for only two people--we ended up having to move a bunch of stuff to the empty table next to us to get it out of the hands of the girls. But, it was fun anyway.

And that was about it. Who knows when we will all get together again...but at least Jane and Emmaline had a lot of happy moments between the screaming!

P.S. I ended up borrowing the extra car seat from my mom. It was my brother Michael's. He's 11 now--who knows why the car seat is still hanging around! But it worked out quite well. Thanks, Mom. Sorry I forgot to give it back. It's in my garage if you need it.

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After taking Britta and Emmaline to the airport on Thursday morning, Jane and I visited my mom at work so she could show us off to all her co-workers. She wanted to show off Jane because she's her cute granddaughter and she wanted to show off me because I'm the one that finally got her on April Fool's--see, I told you it was a big deal.

Anyway, on our way home, the sky looked really weird. I had to stop to buy gas in Brigham City and I took that opportunity to take some pictures. This was the sky to the east, the direction I was headed at that point.

You can tell that it isn't completely clear and that the wind was pretty strong, but other than that, not terribly remarkable, right? Well, here was the sky to the west.

There was a very clear line of where it changed, too.

It wasn't until I watched the news later that night that I found out it was caused by a large fire in Tooele. The winds were strong enough to bring all the smoke as far as Brigham City and even past the mountains into Cache Valley. I'm sure the major thunderstorm moving through had something to do with it. And the storm probably helped clear it up faster, too. But I did manage to get some pretty cool shots of the sun through the smoke. It's not every day you can look right at the sun like that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our never-ending quest for bread

Chris grew up eating homemade bread. I grew up eating whatever was cheapest at the grocery store. Now, we can't find any bread that we both like!

We have tried several brands and varieties, and we have learned a few things. One, Chris doesn't like wheat bread. Rule that out. Two, I am not going to make homemade bread. Rule that out, too.

A few attempts:

Grandma Sycamore. It is moist, which we like, and it's a bit thicker, so Chris can eat less and feel more satisfied. Problems: Probably because of the moisture content, it seems to go bad faster. We can leave it in the fridge, but that dries it out. Even before it goes bad, I can usually taste a very slight hint of mold flavor. Maybe it's just me, but it's enough to make me not want to eat it (and that's not just when I'm pregnant, by the way).

Western Family basic white bread. I like this brand better, but Chris says it's too dry and there's just not enough to it.

...something from Sam's Club. I can't remember the brand name. The loaves were longer, which was nice in theory, but we don't always go through them fast enough to eat it all before it starts going bad. It was a little more moist than the Western Family bread without being quite so moist as Grandma Sycamore's. But still not amazing to either of us.

Sigh. We've been going back and forth on this the entire time we've been married...we have such hard trials, huh? ;)

What kind of bread do you eat?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Feeding the ducks

There is a river? pond? canal? that goes through our neighborhood. There are TONS of ducks that live there, so we like to go down and feed them now and again. Today we took Emmaline and Jane to see what they would think of the ducks.

Now, feeding the ducks little pieces of bread is cool, but sometimes you have to liven things up a bit, right? Being the adult who paid for the bread, you can determine how big the pieces should be. And sometimes it just needs to be the entire slice. I think the ducks agree.

And in case you've been worried about whether or not you have sufficient insurance coverage, the Aflac duck is there to answer any questions you may have.

If that isn't enough diversity for you (since there is only one Aflac duck in the entire area...), the pond is also well stocked with huge, ugly fish. The picture is a little hard to see, but I was trying to capture a shot of how big and fat they are.

And in case you missed it, here is a picture of a fish's mouth. The body is proportionately large. One of the best (and most disgusting) parts of feeding the ducks is hearing the fishes' mouths slap open and closed on the water. Imagine thirty large fish all smacking their lips at the same time... (do fish have lips?)

All told, it's pretty entertaining. Even the girls thought so.

And if that wears you out, you can go home, relax, and enjoy a nice book.

P.S. Notice how Jane's toe sits up on top of the other's always been like that, since she was born. I had a dream the other night that she died (we won't dwell on that part) and the thing that I was most sad about was that I wouldn't ever find out if her toes would eventually lay flat or if they would stay like that forever...funny the things that we worry about sometimes...

But that has nothing to do with ducks.