Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pardon the dust

A new year seems like a good time for a new look around here. The design and layout will likely be changing over the next few days, so apologies if the blog suddenly becomes difficult to read.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


We're safely home and, well, that fact is more significant than it may appear on first blush. Yesterday afternoon we had a pretty bad car accident on our way back to Salt Lake from Idaho. The roads got icy very quickly and our car rolled. We got very, very lucky and nobody was injured. The accident happened when there weren't any other cars around us and the car rolled off the shoulder (and not into oncoming traffic) in an area where there was a lot of brush and snow, so damage to the car and to us was about as minimal as it gets with a rollover. We were also all wearing seatbelts, and I've never been so thankful for a piece of fabric in my entire life.

People, wear your seatbelts. Make your kids wear their seatbelts. Make your mothers and your sisters and your friends wear their seatbelts. It doesn't matter how good a driver you are or how many times you've driven that stretch of road; an accident can happen in an instant, and frequently there's nothing you specifically do to cause it. I can't even count the number of times we've made that same drive, usually in worse weather conditions than the ones we encountered on Friday. It didn't matter--we hit ice and that was it. If we hadn't been wearing seatbelts (and Luke hadn't been strapped into his carseat) we certainly wouldn't have walked away from the crash without a scratch, and we might not have walked away at all. Wear your seatbelts.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Everything but the kitchen sink

Packing for our first trip away from home with Luke is...challenging. I'm fighting the urge to just throw every piece of clothing, toy, and baby accessory we own into his suitcase to cover all the bases, and clearly that isn't an option. Experienced mom packers, what's one thing that you wished you had brought with you on your child's first overnight trip?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reasons why this is not a good week to mess with me

I am not the most pleasant person to be around this week. Luke has officially entered the 4 month wakeful stage (so nicely coinciding with the week we're taking him on his first overnight trip away from home) and I'm dead on my feet. Between his sudden decision to drop his evening nap and the last few nights of "MAMA, I IS AWAKE AND WANT TO PLAY!" shrieking into the monitor at 3:00 am (both before and after feeding, I might add) we're not getting much rest around here right now. Mom, Dad, Julia--you are officially drafted for baby duty when we get to Salt Lake this weekend so Juan and I can take a nap.

Anyhow, all of this is just to explain to you exactly why my students don't want to mess with my right now. Aside from the fact that I'm so tired I just spelled "right" as "reight" and had to pause a second when spellcheck flagged it because it looked okay to my sleepy eye, my work laptop was abducted by the IT department yesterday and I had nothing to do (seriously, I couldn't even grade papers, that's how dependent we are on those laptops at my school) for 8 hours. On a normal day that wouldn't have been a problem, but I was giving exams so I couldn't even while the time away by giving a lecture or three. I didn't bring my knitting because I thought I'd have my laptop, and reading a book during an exam just isn't kosher.

So, I started off the day in a bad mood because I was very tired and very annoyed that my computer was forcibly taken from me by people who swore that it would "only take an hour" to do whatever needed to be done to make the computer less vulnerable to hackers or elves or whoever else might want to invade my files. Then my students decided to forget the million or so reminders I had given them for the last week that their final was today and they needed their books, two pieces of blank paper, and a working pen or pencil. Over half of them showed up to class without anything at all and had to book it to their lockers to get the things they're supposed to bring to class every day.

I'd just like to state for the record that I was a very anal retentive high school student. I always brought my books to class; was never without a large spiral notebook and lots of pens; and I never, EVER forgot about a test. So, you can see how frustrating and perplexing it is for someone like me to be confronted with not one, but at least a dozen students who simply "forgot" that today was their test and *gasp!* they needed school supplies to take it. That doesn't include the two kids who outright refused to take the test (resulting in automatic referrals to the Assistant Principal's office) and the one kid who, for some reason, decided to crumple up his essay and put his gum in it so it was impossible for me to grade. I swear, the scheduling clerk gave me all the winners in this year's sophomore class.

Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to Friday since I have the day off to run errands and get us packed before we leave town Saturday. The kids and I need a break from one another.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Four Months

Luke turned four months old on Monday, and I have to say that I am LOVING this age. He babbles constantly, smiles and giggles when you play with him, still wants to snuggle a fair amount, and loves nothing more than reaching for toys and then jamming them firmly into his mouth. He's also started to enjoy the sitting position quite a bit, and just in the last few days he's stopped arching his back and trying to "stand" when we get him to sit.

Vital stats from today's pediatrician appointment:

Length: 23.6 in.
Weight: 13.6 lbs.
Head Circumference: 16.5

We've gotten the go-ahead to start him on rice cereal, so we'll probably give it a try this weekend. Surprisingly, he didn't have a major meltdown after his shots, and right now he's happily playing with Juan and acting like nothing in particular happened at all today. Hopefully this is the way all of his future vaccinations go (as if)!

Now we need to gear up to face our next big hurdle--traveling to see both sides of the family for Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

homeownership bites (no, really)

The roof is leaking, sheetrock needs to be replaced (since it's now wet from said leaking roof), one swamp cooler is shot, and the cat is peeing on furniture again.

Oh, and it's only Monday.

Friday, December 07, 2007

That kind of day

Today was the kind of day that reminded me of the best and worst parts of my job. The best:

-actually getting kids who normally do nothing but goof off to do serious work,
-having a student trust me enough to ask for my advice about a serious personal problem,
-and having some free time during the day to stop and chat with my friends

and the worst:

-not knowing what to say to the student who came to me with the personal problem,
-having a student ditch class and steal my stapler,
-and practically dying of heat exhaustion in my classroom since the building's a/c is broken.

I also had the opportunity to learn that over half my students think that Europe, Africa, Paris, and Barcelona are all countries, and that two of them think that plagiarism shouldn't be a big deal because teachers apparently do it "all the time" with no consequences.

The extreme good and bad of teaching rarely coincide on the same day, but today was clearly special.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dear Students (stupid, stupid students)

Dear Students,

You may wonder why my door is frequently closed and locked before school, during lunch, and during my conference period. Those of you who need to talk to me about different issues (usually related to excuses you have concocted in an attempt to get me to accept late homework) might find it irritating or inconvenient to come to my classroom only to find that you can't get in. For that, I am sincerely sorry.

Those of you who actually pay attention in class should remember that I have said (and repeated ad nauseum) that if you need to see me when my door is CLOSED AND LOCKED you should leave a note for me in my box. I'll come find you so we can discuss whatever pressing issue is on your mind. Those of you who spend class time braiding your hair or flirting with a member of the opposite sex, however, may not have absorbed this information, so you knock on my CLOSED AND LOCKED door when it is CLOSED AND LOCKED. Those of you with more than three brain cells to rub together will come to the conclusion that I'm not inside when no one answers your knock, and hopefully you'll come back later. Those of you who, I assume, don't have any brain cells at all (and no, I don't want to know why) will decide that maybe I'm inside, desperate to visit with you in spite of my CLOSED AND LOCKED door, and will rattle the knob. And knock again. And rattle the knob. And knock yet again. This tactic, while it will force me to make a mental note to remind all six of my classes of what to do if my door is CLOSED AND LOCKED, will not gain you entry. There is a very simple reason for this, and I guarantee you really don't want to know what it is.

Really? You want to know? That much?

When I'm in my room with the door CLOSED AND LOCKED and there isn't a class in session, I'm not grading papers. I'm also not talking to parents about confidential student issues (although this is what I will tell you in person if you ever ask). I'm not even having a wild party with all the other cool teachers. I'm pumping. Breastmilk. To feed my baby.

See, I told you that you didn't want to know.

So, I encourage you to respect the fact that when my door is CLOSED AND LOCKED, I will not let you in no matter how much you bang on the (tastefully frosted) glass or rattle the handle. Even if I'm inside, there's no way you're gaining entry. Accept it and move on, but please don't waste ten minutes of your time trying to break in. It won't work, and (if I ever find out who you are) it will almost certainly affect your grade in a very negative way.


Mrs. M

P.S. I worry for the future of our nation when a 15-18 year old cannot understand that a CLOSED AND LOCKED door means that either no one is inside the room or someone is inside and they don't want to be disturbed.

P.P.S. In case anyone cares, our nanny made it home from Mexico late Sunday night, so daycare crisis averted. Barely.