Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30

I apologize because I shot the video with my camera vertically and forgot that the image can't be rotated. This is a video of my dog drinking from The Evil Water Cooler. You can see what a nervous wreck he is when he is forced to drink from it.

January 29

Bill's home! He was gone for the weekend, snowmobiling in the UP. Glad you're home, honey!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 28

Body Sox rule! Being a special ed teacher definitely has its perks. One of them is being around therapists all day long. One of my good friends is an occupational therapist. She is the OT Supervisor for the program that Billy attends and is also the therapist for the program I teach. Last week Billy had a particularly rough day and I was telling her how deep pressure seems to calm him down. She gave me a weighted blanket to try with him (he used it last night and it was probably the fastest he has ever fallen asleep) and also a Body Sox. Body Sox are like giant, stretchy pillowcases. They provide sensory input to your joints when you stretch them (proprioceptive input) and spatial awareness (knowing where your body is in space). Billy knew what it was immediately when I showed it to him. No doubt they use them in his program at school. Unfortunately the sock is too small for him, but the kids had a great time trying it out last night.

Monday, January 28, 2008

January 27

This is a picture of Billy doing what Billy does. More times than I can count during the day I hear the pantry door open - it's Billy trying to sneak a snack. I was sitting at the table, right in front of the pantry, and he didn't know I had the camera. I caught him trying to be discreet, peeking in there to scope out what he was going to try and score (fruit snacks).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 26

Today my mom and I took the kids to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (above). It is by far my favorite museum in the city. Admission to the museum if free until the end of this month because they will be closing it during February to do some renovating and add some new exhibits. Some of the exhibits are already closed and being worked on, but we still had a great time. Below is a picture of all of us in front of the U505 Submarine. It is a picture of a picture they took at the museum. Now you can see me and my grandmalike qualities (rolling eyes). And seriously, I don't know what the hell is wrong with my boys. They must have a secret pact that at least one of them has to be making a face in a picture.

One of the things I like about going to the museum is being in Chicago. I grew up about 20 miles from the city. We would take school field trips to the museums downtown and when I was little, my grandpa worked downtown. We'd go to the city a few times a year. As we now live in a rural area, my kids don' t get to see Chicago but one or two times a year. The LOVE it. Yesterday I took pictures of some Chicago landmarks while driving to and from the museum. For those from here or familiar with Chicago, I took these pictures on Congress and Michigan and along Lake Shore Drive.

This is one of two Chief Crazy Horse sculptures at the intersection of Congress and Michigan Avenue. I am heading back to the suburbs in this picture. When looking the other way, you are approaching Lake Shore Drive and Buckingham Fountain and Grant Park is to your right.

Below is another one of my favorite places in Chicago - Soldier Field, home of my beloved Chicago Bears. *sigh* Happy thoughts. I love footbal!!!

Next is a (bad) shot of the Sears Tower from Lake Shore Drive. I was heading North on LSD and trying to take pictures of the skyline while driving. NOT SMART! LOL! This was as good as I got. Stupid Grant Park! What are trees doing in the middle of the city, anyway? LOL!

We spent the whole day at the museum. By the time we got home the sun was setting. It was a pretty sunset, so I grabbed a quick picture from the top of my block. No skyscrapers here!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 25

We are in the heart of winter around here. The temperatures this week made it above 20 degrees for the first time today. On top of the cold we have been getting snow. It seems each morning the footprints from the day before have been erased. This is the patio set in our backyard. Anyone up for a barbeque?

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 24

As a teacher, I have been called "mom" more times than I can count. It's happened with every age-group that I've taught, from preschool to middle school. Today was a first, though. Today, one of my sweet, adorable, sparkly, three-year-old, preschool boys called me "Grandma K". Grandma K. Now, he is only three years old, and he does have a young mom, but NO WAY I am old enough to be his grandmother! I called him on it and asked him if I looked like a Grandma to him. He told me yes. He's given me a total complex, now. I broke out the microderm abrasion kit and eye wrinkle cream last night. It's really not helping matters that my birthday is in the very near future, either, and I am already feeling old. It's a good thing this kid is cute! (Obviously, for legal reasons, I can't post a picture of him. I cropped the hell out of the picture I have of him so you can get an idea of what this cutie looks like, but not be able to identify him).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 23

I have no picture today. I had a crappy day, didn't have my camera, didn't get home until 8:30 pm, and was in no mood to take pictures once I finally landed. I'm hoping Thursday is better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 22

I must be food obsessed or something - LOL! Today's picture is the grapefruit juice I treated myself to at the grocery store on Monday. I really like grapefruit juice, but never have it. Occasionally I will get some if we go out for breakfast, but usually I am looking for caffiene and get a Coke. I don't recall a time I have ever bought it to have in the house. Anyway, it was a tasty treat yesterday morning and now has me making typos all over the place because I want to finish this up and get a glass right now. Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 21

Nothing exciting today. We were off of school and just hung out at home. I got a "wild" streak in me after dinner and decided to make a pan of Tollhouse Cookie Bars. They're delicious!

Monday, January 21, 2008

January 20

Two Christmases ago we introduced our kids to the movie A Christmas Story. They loved it. One of their favorite scenes was when Flick, Ralphie's buddy, stuck his tongue to a flagpole on a Triple Dog Dare and it stuck Of course that scene also brought along its share of questions - could that really happen, how do they get it off, does the fire department really have to come, etc etc. We explained that absolutely YES that could really happen and that you shouldn't try it.

Fast forward to yesterday. The temperatures here have been below freezing - below zero for that matter - for a few days. Everything outside is frozen solid. Bill took Caty and Alex down to the pond across the street to slide on the ice yesterday morning. Bill came back into the house to grab a bucket of water and left the two kids down by the pond. Not a big deal - the garage door was up so we could hear them and no one in their right mind was outside yesterday. The pond was frozen solid so there was no danger of the kids falling through. Anyway, he returns with the water to the pond and I guess to the sounds of Caty screaming. The pond is a water retention - there is a large concrete "pipe" that the water drains from the street into and goes into the pond. The front of the pipe has a metal grate over it to filter large pieces of debris. Caty, in all of her blondeness, decided to test the theory that your tongue will stick to metal if it is frozen. She learned the hard way that, in fact, it very much does. Thank goodness Bill had the water with him. I guess it was a bloody mess when he got there as she was trying to pull her tongue off the grate and had ripped some of it off. She managed to take a few chunks off before Bill got her freed with the water.

She's fine today. She says it doesn't hurt - only a little bit when she eats. She was completely embarrassed yesterday when it happened. I'm sure that experiement will never be tested again - at least by my kids.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January 19

Caty was trying to give Hannah a run for her money for the title of "Fashion Diva" today. She put on her favorite black lace skirt and purple, cotton, polka dotted shirt. The brown hat and little-girl-applied make-up were bonuses. Later she would add white socks and light blue Crocs. I should note that Caty poses like a fashion model whenever a camera is pointed in her direction - hand on hips, under chin, behind her head, etc. I did NOT ask her to sit that way for the picture is my point - that's alllllll her.

I also chose this picture because I like how it turned out. It was a bright, sunny day here yesterday (frigid, but bright and sunny) and the sun was pouring through our windows. I like the way the sun is highlighting her hair and face, showing off her fair features.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January 18

Last night I took the kids to see my mom and step-dad. We met at Old Country Buffet - my kids' favorite restaurant. My step-sister and her family were there, too. The picture isn't the greatest - I took it with my phone.

Friday, January 18, 2008

January 17

Bill bought this water cooler for our pets before we left for a trip. It holds about 3 gallons of water and he thought it would be a great idea. I was all on board, too. Many times we would walk past the old water dish and notice it was dry. It would likely never happen with this thing.

Little did we know that the water cooler was EVIL! Oh sure, it looks benign - sitting there all innocent, tempting you to drink from it. But WATCH OUT! Once you start drinking, you never know if or when it will errupt! It's a menace!

Our cat and dog are afraid of the water cooler. You see, like all water coolers, once you tap into the water source, an air pocket starts to form. Eventually, the air pocket breaks and bubbles up, with loud, gurgling bubbles. Many times this happens when the animals are drinking from it. It is the funniest damn thing you have ever seen!! Milo jumped as high as the table one day. The dog approaches the thing with his head down and with very cautious steps. He takes maybe three laps off the top and then backs up and looks at it, moves back in slowly for a few more laps, and then backs up quickly again. It bubbled on him again last night and sent him reeling backward into a chair. It makes me giggle every time I see it happen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 16 - For Grandpa

Here are some pictures of Alex. The first picture shows Alex's typical reaction to a camera being pointed in his general direction.

He's done this since he was a preschooler. You should see the pictures from my brother's wedding when he was the ring bearer - sticking out his tongue, closing his eyes (on purpose), picking his nose. They are a delight, really. A treasure.

Last night Alex was in a mood. He was doing his homework - the bain of his existance. I pointed a camera at him and told him to show me his crabby homework face. This kind of ticked him off, so he made this face instead:
Guess I know what strategy I need to use when I want him to smile from now on!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 15

Well, I only took one picture yesterday and this was it. Unfortunately, it was of my clean and organized dishwasher. I'm quite certain that all of the ladies out there have a "way" to load the dishwasher. I do, too. My biggest sticking point is sorting the silverware in the little baskets. If you look closely you will notice all the tablespoons are in one basket, the sharp knives in another, the table knives in another, forks on their own, etc. All of the dinner plates, (these were small plates as we had grilled cheese and soup for dinner the night before) stoneware, and pots and pans go on the bottom unless I run out of room. All of the glassware, tupperware, and large cooking utensils go on the top. This is a perfectly loaded machine. Last sticking point is that during the week, I run it overnight so I don't have to listen to it while we are trying to chill and wind down for the night.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January 14

My kids' school participates in this program called Art to Remember. Each year, the kids make a project (2D) in art class, and the projects are sent off to this company and they make products featuring the art work. They always send a magnet back, with their ordering information, for you to keep if you want. I've always kept the magnets so I have a nice sized collection of them on my fridge. Most of them are dated so I can see when they are from. They start when Alex and Billy were in Early Childhood - 2002 - and go through until today. As Billy transferred to a different school from Alex and Caty in first grade, he only has three magnets. This is only Caty's 2nd year of school, so she only has two, too. The rest are Alex's. We've had mousepads made of some of them, too. I just like seeing them - I think it is a great idea.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 13

Another Sunday, another football day. Today we had a "football dinner" - chili! This isn't typical meat and bean chili, either. It's a recipe that Bill got from his dad. It is all meat and has unearthly amounts of chili powder, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper to give it a helluva kick. At our house, we serve it over macaroni and top with cheese and crackers. We only make it once or twice a year so it is a special treat. The kids won't eat it, of course, but on Texas Red day, I don't mind cooking two dinners.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 12

Yesterday was football day. The Packers beat the Seahawks and advance to the NFC Conference game next weekend (WOOO HOOO!! Brett Favre is so freaking HOT!! I LOVE HIM!). Anyway, after that awesome game, the stupid Patriots game was on. I hate the Patriots. More specifically, I hate Tom Brady with every ounce of my being. Can't stand him. Wish him broken legs. So, to pass the time while the Jaguars and Pats exchanged touchdowns, Bill and I drew mocking pictures of Tom Brady. This is Bill's picture. He coupled the picture with a psychotic laugh that sent Billy into belly laughs. It made me feel better.

Today the Giants play the Cowboys (go Giants!) and the Colts play the Chargers (go Colts!). I love football weekends!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January 11

Every year for New Year's Eve, instead of having a regular dinner, we get a bunch of appetizers and snack instead. This year we had my cousin and her family over so we bought bulk instead of normal sized. I didn't really feel like cooking last night - we normally order out for pizza on Friday nights. Rather than spend over $30 on pizza, we decided to have The Dinner of Champions. Our kids LOVE US!

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 10

For as much as I complain about the stress and paperwork associated with my job (and my crazy boss!), I really do love it. The kids, naughty as some of them may be, are all cute and they all pretty much love coming to school and doing their work. As we "teach through play", all of the work our kids do - all the concepts we teach - have to be embedded into games and play and therapy. It's a lot of fun. This is what my classroom looks like. You can't see the sensory table, science center, or art center as they are to my right and left in this picture (part of the manipulative corner is cut out, too).
The other thing I love about my job is the people I work with. In special ed you hear all the time "It takes a special person to do your job". I don't know about that, but we are a "special" bunch to say the least. Let's be honest, when you work with 3-5 year olds all day, you have to be firm but caring, fun but disciplined, and otherwise "on" all day long. We cherish the downtime that we get each day (our lunchbreaks and before or after school). There Early Childhood classrooms at my school are a suite. There is my room and Lisa's room, connected by our shared office, the front of which is the speech therapist's office. Behind our classrooms is a mudroom that we share and a motor therapy room that the OT and PT share. There are 10 people on the EC team, 8 of us have been together since last year, and 6 of them have been together for years (Lisa, the other teacher, and I are both 2nd year at this building). Anyway, we have a good time together. We joke and kid around and, on occasion, do stupid things. All special ed teachers/thearpists have a "reason" why they teach special ed (mine is because I can do the math in special ed). Yesterday I walked into work to find this:

Note the number of people involved here. My one assistant is walking into my office because she saw my camera, but she was actively watching this craziness, too. Lisa was behind me, but also watching and laughing at her assistant and the OT trying to dislodge a tinker toy from a funnel. Maybe you had to be there, but it just brought up the "How many special ed teachers does it take...." jokes. Apparently it takes 7 - two to pull, one to brace, and 4 to laugh their asses off at the first two. The tinker toy never came out, by the way.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 9

Everybody needs a best friend. For Billy, his "best friend" is his Timmy Turner doll. He talks to Timmy, Timmy talks back to him (I am Timmy's voice), Billy will prompt US to talk to Timmy, and, of course, Timmy responds to us - by first name - when we talk to him. When we tuck Billy in at night we have to say good-night to him and Timmy and kiss him and Timmy. Oh well, at least it isn't Spongebob anymore.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 8

Well, I have to agree with Kelly, it's getting harder to find things to take pictures of. My life pretty much follows the same routine each day - get up, go to work, get home from work, dinner, homework, hustle the kids through the shower, maybe a few games on the Wii, and maybe some tv before going to bed and doing it all again the next day.

Anyway, with the writer's strike going on in Hollywood, pretty much the only new shows on tv right now are reality or reality based. Luckily for us, Dirty Jobs is one of our favorites and it was new last night. Mike Rowe is not only easy on the eyes (mine at least!) but his quick wit and sarcasm make for an extremely entertaining hour of television. And let's face it, at the end of a long day, what's funnier than watching an amateur large animal vet pick the nose of a horse?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January 7

First day back to work after Winter Break. I have my first of 3 IEP meetings tomorrow. This is the paperwork for one of those meetings - it doesn't include reports from the related specialists (speech, OT, etc) or their goals. The paperwork for this job kills me!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

January 6th

THIS is what Sundays at our house are all about this time of year - FOOTBALL!! It is such a bummer that our team didn't make the playoffs this year, given how far they went last year. Oh well. For another month we get to enjoy our favorite sport. Woo hoo!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

January 5th

Today's picture is the view from my front door. I love that there is nothing obstructing our view and that you can see for miles when looking North and West. I wanted to take a picture of the snow before it is gone. Last week we got about 10" of snow over two days. Today and tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to be well above freezing and by Monday, I'm not anticipating any snow being left on the ground - not even in the shady spots. I love the way the landscape looks out here when everything is under a blanket of snow.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Project 363 - LOL!

Alien has inspired me to start Project 365. Unfortunately, I didn't take my first picture until yesterday, so for me, it will have to be Project 363. Here is yesterday's photo:

This picture definitely sums up how yesterday was spent. It was freezing cold outside yesterday. A friend and I had decided on Wednesday night that we would take our kids to Chuck E Cheese in the morning. After two hours of video games and pizza, we came home and had the definition of a lazy afternoon. I took this photo while laying on my couch watching a movie. This is our dog, Samson, on his new bed. Since putting the hardwood floor in the family room (which you can see in this pic - sort of. LOL!) the dog hasn't had a soft spot to lay on. His typical "bed" is the fireplace hearth right behind him, but he also used to like laying on the carpeted floor next to the couch, next to us. Anyway, Bill felt bad for him so he bought him this gigantic dog bed. The dog is eternally grateful :).

Today's picture is of Caty doing her favorite thing - playing Webkinz on the computer. I like this picture because of Milo, the cat. He loves to lay on the desk when people are working on the computer. Caty looks like she is "schooling" him as she writes down something from the computer (no doubt a recipe from Chef Gazpacho that she will cook up for her pets).