Archive for November 2008

November – Adoption Month

November 30, 2008

100_0678November is Adoption Month.  I have been reading other blog entries about the subject and mulling something of my own in my head.  I have written about our adoptions countless times over the past two years.  Writing about how it has affected our family.  How our family has affected other people.  I tried very hard to think of something new to write tis time around.  Now that the last day of the month is here, I am offering a link to my own very favorite adoption tale.  It was a moment – or several – that I was faced with last February, on a trip to Chicago with my daughter and her girl scout friends.  Enjoy….again!

And so it begins….

November 27, 2008

It’s late.  It’s snowing outside.  The house is quiet with sleep.  The dish washer is humming.  I am sitting here sipping on a huge mug of steaming spiced tea with a nice sense of satisfaction.  I have washed my mixing bowl three times tonight.  (One of the real pleasures of being a minimalist when it comes to available cooking supplies and utensils is that the ‘end’ clean up is a breeze.)   The broccoli/raisin/green onion salad is chilling in the fridge waiting for the addition of it’s bacon bits after tomorrow’s breakfast.  The green bean casserole is prepared and ready for it’s topping and the oven.  The spiced cranberry jello thing that I love is chilling in the fridge.  The ingredients for the pumpkin trifle – a new addition this year as we are already pumpkin pied out – are ready to be assembled.  Potatoes are cleaned and waiting to be peeled.  Celery and onions and a new bottle of sage await an early morning onslaught.  There is a bag of Hummingbird cupcake wannabees on the counter.  I tried a different recipe tonight and they came out more like…polynesian muffins….so tomorrow’s breakfast is ready!  My family are not sweet potato or squash eaters so I have opted to wait until Christmas at my sister’s for those delicacies.  Can’t quite replicate my brother in law’s sweet potato casserole anyway.  And the turkey is….well…..still thawing. 


We are staying home tomorrow….alone….just the four of us.  Probably won’t even make it out of our pajamas….and that’s okay.  We have a stack of holiday movies to watch…..and plans to pick a series to slog through.  Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek….whatever.  HRH is fighting a cold and wants to do nothing but sleep.  The Prince is working on a special project for Economics.  He has been online furnishing an ‘apartment’ and buying clothes for his new ‘job’…all within a budget.  He is ‘shopping’ at IKEA!  Hee.  The Princess has been…well…enjoying the snow.  She is SO true to her Siberian heritage this time of year.  So much so that she has put herself to bed at 7 pm for the last two nights.  Completely exhausted.  She and I are planning to decorate the front porch of our elderly neighbor tomorrow afternoon.


Hard to believe that it’s November.  Hard to believe that with tomorrow’s parades and football and food fest, the holiday season is already upon us.  And after that is the Inauguration to look forward to.  Can’t wait.  So let it begin.  Have a good one, friends….and family!  Whether you be in Florida, New York, Nebraska, Indiana, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Arizona, Boston or MIchigan….we will be thinking of you.

Used To Be

November 25, 2008

Used to be that my family would run and hide when they saw me coming with all the papers and records and stickers and pens that meant it was report card time.  Imaginary tails tucked between their legs they would huddle together and slink away when I was holed up with my records and files during report card time.


Used to be that I would have to spend DAYS pressing through four layers of carbonless sheets that measured 18 X 24 to  record fluctuating assessments for each my Kindergarten or first grade students.


Used to be that I would have to spend hours agonizing over comments to fill the little box for them on each report card.  Then I got ‘smart’ and discovered full sheet sticker paper for my computer!  Type ’em up, print them, save them, cut them apart and stick ’em on.  Progress!


Used to be that I was recording assessments for forty five or so students….two sections of Kindergarten.  I taught 25 – 28 first graders each year for five years and then went part time with 26 Kindergarteners – just one section – again. 


Last year I became a Technnology Teacher.  I see my students for 45 minutes, once a week.   Each report card has 5-6 items to be assessed during the course of the year.  There are 24 – 28 in each class.  Times that by twenty sections of second through fifth graders whose report cards must be graded….twice.  That’s 520 report cards that I have to mark….twice.  And that doesn’t count the eight sections of Kindergarten and first graders that do not have technology requirements for their report cards but DO have a required  curriculumn to follow.  That’s 712 students that pass through my lab every week.


Used to be that I didn’t feel I really needed to get  flu shot in the fall.



A Simple Woman MeMe

November 23, 2008

Found this at Jenn’s site.  Easy post….for a complicated weekend

Outside My Window…’s early morning, dark and freezing cold.

I am thinking….about theater.  We saw two vastly different high school plays this weekend.  ‘Seussical the Musical’ was simply stunning in it’s craftsmanship.  ‘Grease’ was typical high school….not quite up to snuff….not even really enjoyable.  Why is that?
I am thankful for…..every single day…..with all the frustrations and busy-ness and joy.  We are so lucky to have jobs, healthy kids, gas in our car, clean water to drink and food in the fridge.
From the kitchen……loaded and locked for a Thanksgiving food fest.  We are staying home this year.  Together.  I think.
I am wearing……my favorite warm nightie.  Told ja it was early!
I am creating….nothing at the moment.  Need to get some yarn though.  Told ja it was cold!
I am going… church this morning.  I am DETERMINED to get to church.
I am reading……’Twilight’….the first book the Princess has read cover to cover on her own and she wants to go to the movie.  Gotta see what the ‘magic’ is in vampire love….
I am hoping… get my 500+ report cards done with a minimal amount of stress and distress in the coming 2 weeks.
I am hearing….nothing but head noise.  Told ja it was early morning.
Around the house…..stacks and stacks of things we are interested in but haven’t the patience or drive to put away.
One of my favorite things…….these days?  Driving in the car and embarassing my kiddos by singing along with every favorite Christmas song I could fit on a cd mix.  Aww…come on.  Everyone loves ‘Dominique the Donkey”…right?
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… day of school and then a massive cooking/baking fest that I plan to enjoy every second of!
A picture to share…Don’t know why but I became a total cloud freak this summer.  Picture after picture of clouds. This is my favorite.  I snapped it in Gettysbug, PA while on vacation this summer.


That Kind of Day…..

November 18, 2008

I am a part time Teacher. For the last eight years I have taught Kindergarten 2 and a half days a week or two days one week and three days the next week. Last year, my first as a Technology intructor, I was in class every Monday, Wednesday morning and Friday. This year I was upgraded to an 8/10ths position. I work four full days a week. It’s a perfect life. My paycheck has almost doubled. I have every Tuesday off to do ‘my’ thing. It’s for house cleaning issues, errands, appointments, lunch dates, extra school activities, etc. etc. For the past month and a half Tuesdays have been packed with ‘must dos.’ Except for today.

HRH is at a training session for his UAW position deep in the ‘up north’ of Michigan for the whole week. Where they have snow. Many inches of snow. Last night the Princess told me she had signed up for Jazz Band at school and needed to be at her middle school by 7:15….a.m. Sooo…instead of our usual ‘wake Princess at 6:45, drive Prince to high school, come home, breakfast with Princess, make lunch and drive her to middle school by 8’ Tuesday morning routine, I got them BOTH up at 6, made a healthy, hearty breakfast sandwich for BOTH of them, packed a veggie and dip lunch bowl for her lunch, drove him to the high school, tarried on to the middle school, dropped her off and came back home. All in my jammies, thick heavy socks and ugly orange crocs that I was ecstatic to purchase for $7 in South Carolina last summer before realizing the nobody anywhere wears ugly orange crocs in public which is why they were only $7. It’s only 8:30 am and I have no where to go. For the whole day.

Soooo….I am planning to make myself a sugar free hot chocolate, pour a bowl of corn flakes with frozen blueberries on top (yum…love the way the milk freezes around those babies!), plug a movie into the dvd player and grade the 250+ papers that need to be recorded in order to mark the 500+ report cards I need to do in the next few weeks. Maybe I will do a few loads of laundry and fill another bag with clothes for the Salvation Army. Maybe….. And outside? Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!! Loving these ugly orange crocs……

The Sixth of the Sixth

November 15, 2008

Got this one from my friend, Mary. The idea was to open your 6th picture file, post the sixth picture there and explain it. What a laugh! What a memory…..

It’s out of focus but I don’t care. The Princess was six. Had been with us for just barely over a year. She was missing a tooth. She could sing ‘On Top of Spaghetti’ with the cutest Russian lilt and lisp. Decked her out with a giant fork of ‘spaghetti’ to sing at the church’s spaghetti dinner and talent show. She wouldn’t go up without her dad. Half way through the song she looked up at me (in the audience filming with the video camera), forgot all the words and ran into my arms. Completely stole the show. LOL Did it again two years later when she and her dad did a beautiful Vince and Jenny Gill rendition of ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth.’ It was our favorite sing along song in the car for a very long time.

Musta Missed It

November 7, 2008

I seriously must have missed something here. I didn’t go to the polls. Maybe that’s it. I did my voting via Absentee Ballot. We had a Teacher Workshop all day long on election day and I didn’t want to spend my evening standing in line. So I voted at my desk at school five days prior to the Big Day. It was a particularly tiring day so I didn’t even manage to stay up to watch the counting. In fact, I was in bed and sound asleep by 10 pm. So I musta missed something.

They tell me it was a historic event….this election thing. The first time a family of color will be moving into the White House. Hmm. I musta missed something because I ceased seeing Barack Obama as a ‘black man’ MONTHS ago. Seriously. He was just a ‘candidate.’ I was paying more attention to the issues this time around. To what both candidates had to say about education, the war situation and economy. I didn’t really see what color his words were. Just wanted to make sure that they were something I could support. Something that was important to me. So I musta missed something else.

Frankly, I found the last few days of this campaign to be totally boring. I hate aggressive verbal attacks. I can get plenty of that on the playgrounds at school. I didn’t even watch much tv last weekend. (Maura Tierney is gone from ‘ER’ after all. Sigh.) I watched only to see what was happening with Senate, House and local campaigns. I was totally sick of hearing “I am ___ ___and I approve this message.” Even some local candidates were using it. Bleh. Quite frankly, the tack sounded better coming from Richard Dreyfuss’ mouth in ‘An American President.’ Very passe this time after a short while. So I think I musta missed something.

My blogging friend, Mary, at The Eleventh is probably purple with rage reading this by now because I didn’t ‘get’ it. Or maybe she is embarrassed and is not wanting to call me a friend any more. This election was a HUGE deal for her. But, I wasn’t crying when I cast my vote. I was actually trying to balance the durn ballot on top of the huge stack of letters my kiddos had written to Veterans during our Tech Lab sessions. I have very little room for a huge ballot on my desk. And I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to watch which states were turning blue and which states were turning red. Old age is exhausting these days. And I wasn’t particularly stirred to learn who the winner was. Maybe I already knew? But rest assured, Mary. I was totally moved by the bits of his grand speech at Grant Park that I heard. Gonna get that transcript sometime soon. Actually I felt something akin to the same sort of feeling when I heard a similar recorded speech at the museum in Boston last summer?

However, NOW comes my time to sit up and truly pay attention. THIS is the process I am interested in. ‘Transistion’ is MY thing. I am very curious about cabinet appointments. I love reading all the predictions about what the First Lady will be making her ’cause.’ I am intrigued with a young family taking up residence in the White House. Who freaking cares what color they are? It’s going to be interesting to see which schools are scouted for a 7 and 10 year old. (Hint to Michelle: Check out Sidwell Friends. They did good by Chelsea, already know the Secret Service drill and is a 22 minute drive from the White House. Momism knows that the ride time gives you a chance to go over those spelling word lists and Math facts!) It’ll be fun to see if a dad is relegated to dog walking duty on occasion. It will be a joyous thing to see positive spirits and willingness to work hard radiating from Washington again. I am not gonna miss that!

A little cheese with that whine?

November 2, 2008

I have seriously been put to shame. Spanked. Settled in the corner to ‘think’ about my actions of late. I have been whining about being bored. Whining about having nothing to look forward to any more. Whining about the futility of my day to day activities and chores. Not thinking outside of my little world like I should be.

During a recent online conversation, my sister responded with ‘it’s getting to be that time of year for you, isn’t it?’ How could I have forgotten?

I hate the holidays. I hate the money that is spent. I hate the feeling that I have not ‘given’ enough. And I have always been totally torn about where to spend them, how and with whom. When my stepdaughters were smaller there was no question. Whenever we had them we spend that time with my husband’s family. Christmas Eve one year. Christmas Day the next. My sister would drag her husband and kids from their warm southern climate to our ice and snow to be with my parents and us. My steps became teenagers and the decisions about where they spent holidays was no longer ours. Our son came along and there was even more incentive to spend holidays with my far flung family. My parents moved south and traveling during the holidays became expensive….and necessary. My daughter arrived from Russia, I became a part time teacher and the money was no longer there to travel with four. My sister’s family decided to spend holidays at their home and we all snagged bits of time here and there to be together. And I hate the holidays.

But today I logged on and started transversing my favorite blog sites. At the Eleventh I saw my cutie, Rabbit, in her Halloween costume and at Blood Signs, my comrade in stepmomhood was lamenting about steppers finding their ‘place’ on kid holidays (you’re lucky P…we very rarely had the girls on Halloween but I have made several of their costumes.) At Snacks Please, it was a delightful rundown of the new vocabulary of my favorite baby girls and their big sister. ( I want them….seriously. ) But it was when I logged on to The Pioneer Woman that I was taken aback. The Marlboro Man and her two oldest punks are headed for a week in the Dominican Republic to see the work being done by Compassion International.

I have been trying to get our finances in order this month. We have more money coming into the house because of my return to an almost full time position. I sent a donation to Shaohannah’s Hope, the Chapman Family’s program for adoption. It was the money we got back for our tickets when we couldn’t attend the rescheduled concert of last summer. Adoption is important to us. I know we will contribute there again. I signed us up to give monthly to Mercy Corps’s hunger program once again. I also wanted to start sponsoring a child some where. You know…send money to the program and letters of encouragement to a kid. I figured mine are old enough to be involved as well. I had been twiddling about where…which program to use. There are so many to choose from. The Pioneer Woman’s post was perfect timing.

So now my already international family has ties with one more country….Korea, Russia and the Dominican Republic. We are sponsoring an older boy because we figured – like with adoption – the older ones tend to be overlooked. Anthony is 10 and a soccer playing dude like the rest of my children. Soccer? Gads. You’d think I would have learned……