Friday, September 28, 2012

Work…

I haven’t had to utter that word in quite awhile.  As all my teacher friends were caught up in the frenzy of the first days of school, I was caught up in keeping my head above water here at home – totally different, both difficult in their own way.  My year is dedicated to being a mom and learning what that is all about… yeah, I was a mom before, but for those who have never stayed at home, this is a whole new experience.  I did decided that I would sub at least one day a week if jobs were available.  My in-laws wanted to spend a day with the girls on a regular basis anyway, so it worked out well.  For many weeks of school, I didn’t get calls for subbing that fit with our week.  But yesterday, I went for the first time. 

I was at an intermediate school, in a learning center, serving grades 4-8, with various levels of disabilities.  I am certified in special education, but I was still a bit nervous.  Every district does things a bit different.  All I have to say, is I am not sure I want to be a teacher.  Don’t get me wrong – the kids were great, the teacher had left great plans, and the 4 aides I worked with were fantastic.  What I don’t want to do (and frankly, in 10 years of teaching haven’t done), is plan 7 different lesson plans, on 7 different levels, with who-knows-where-I’m-going-to-find-the-resources resources, with one small planning period… not to mention having to do the alternate assessments for the kids who will be exempt from the Ohio Graduation Test, but still have to do something to “prove” they have been tested, write IEPs and hold meetings, and feel like a chicken with my head cut off because I have no clue if what I am doing is even the right thing. 

The teacher I filled in for is a second year teacher, and I hope she keeps teaching.  She looked to have a good relationship with kids, had a handle on filling all their weekly work folders, delegated work to her aides well, was on the phone checking on the status of absent kids, had a system for tracking IEP progress on a daily basis, and asked for feedback so she could do better with her sub plans.  (If you are wondering, she was at a special ed meeting in the building next door, so she was there in the morning for 30 minutes and a brief moment in the afternoon.) 

That being said, my day was great.  I just admire the teacher.  The kids were not high schoolers, most had very little attitude, and by the end of the day, I think some may have even liked me!  It was a good change in my routine for this year.  And if I get a job like this one in the next years, this “veteran” will go learn from this newbie some tricks of the trade!

Sisters

Madison has been asking to hold Ellie more recently.  I’m not sure why as Ellie swallows her up when she sits with her and then squirms off/away (or pulls her hair) before Madison is satisfied.  Either way, I try to let her do it.  (I have learned it works best to have her sit beside her… I know it is not quite the same thing, but Madison seems content with it.)

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Doctors and Friends

Madison and I left on Sunday after lunch to go to Columbus.  She had an annual check up there early Monday morning.  We decided staying with our friends, Tara and Grace, would help make the event enjoyable.  So, we got there, had pizza, and the girls played.  It was so fun to watch because they can actually have conversations and play now.. not just play near each other, but play with each other – and fairly well, too!  They started out in princess dresses
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Then, the princesses started to be doctors – while still in their beautiful dresses.  (Madison was the patient in this scenario.)
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Then, they started taking pictures of all their beauty
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Then, they had a bath and enjoyed snack together
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Then they went to bed. 
---------------------------------------------------The Next Day------------------------------------------------------
The next morning, Tara headed to work; Grace went to the sitter; and Madison and I went to the doctor for THREE appointments!  She was incredibly brave.  She had to have an ultrasound, then an x-ray of her internal organs after being catheterized, and then to the doctor for the results.  The hardest was obviously the x-ray.  She cried some, but she did it.  And I was so proud of her!  The results:  She looks good – no more medicine every night!!!
Afterward, we went to the Columbus Zoo for a treat!  Madison (and I) experienced Sting Ray Bay for the first time.  There are 41 sting rays (no, I didn’t count them) in the pool, and you just put your hand in the water to touch them.  It was awesome – and I have to say, I was a little scared… although Madison was not.  They swim by and sometimes flip water at you like Shamu does from Sea World (but with a little less water). 
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Then, we went on our way and encountered this animal being trained to sit.  Madison got to touch it too.  She did it so fast, I didn’t have a chance to take a picture.
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We went to see polar bears lounging in the grass
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Grizzly bears sitting by their pool (well, one of them went pee much to the delight of all the little kids…especially the boys!), artic foxes pacing in the cage, and a Polar Playground full of fun.  (She looks like her mommy does when walking along the edge of anything!)
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The carousel, flamingos, gorillas, and bonobos.  The animals were enjoying the beautiful sunny fall day as much as we were!  Finally, we stood in line to see the 3 month old tiger cubs, who were napping. 
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It was a great day to spend with Madison.  These one-on-one times are so valuable. 

Little Chef

Madison loves helping me in the kitchen.  I am enjoying her help more as she get older and more controllable (not just flinging ingredients all over the place0.  I haven’t figured out if she enjoys cooking/baking or just likes tasting the spoon of whatever she is making – either way she is learning about the kitchen.  Our latest endeavor was apple bars.  I love these things.  If I was motivated tonight (which I am only motivated enough to sit here and type), I would post the recipe.  Maybe later.  She has improved her apple coring skills since the last time we did this.  In fact she cored and sliced all but one of the apples we needed.  That meant that I could work on the other steps of the recipe… and it actually went FASTER with her help.  This too is a first.  The result was fantastic – a little like an apple pie with one crust, but not a pie crust.  Again, maybe I’ll post the recipe later…
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MATA

That’s not a Spanish (or other language word), it stands for Missions At The Airport.  It was held near us this past weekend. Although the weather started out rainy in the morning, it cleared up in the afternoon and we thought we would have some good weather to go and explore what was happening.  Well, we made it to the bounce house – Madison loved it and Ellie didn’t think it was too bad either.

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Then, it started to sprinkle.  Although they continued to take flights – you could pay to ride in a various modes of air transport.  (My mind is obviously not too sharp tonight because there has to be a better way to phrase that!  Suggestions?)

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We bought tickets to the chicken bbq.  Jeremy stood in a downpour for our chicken while the girls and I took shelter in a building.  I fed Madison some of the other food options, gave Ellie her pureed goodness, and waited for my knight to return with my feast.  Chicken, baked potatoes, cole slaw, roll, and a fancy (seriously good) cupcake.  We hung out for awhile and looked at the various missions organizations represented (Wycliffe and JAARS mainly).  Then, we headed home.  It was a good night despite the weather.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cool (almost) Fall Days

I love fall – love it!  There is something about the coolness that brings life into the soul.  It makes you want to stand out in the fresh air and just bask in the smell of changing weather and wet earth.  It is also best experienced on a sunny day.  The last few days have held a glimpse of fall.  I have dug out Madison’s old cold weather clothes for Madison and wrangled up some new ones for Madison.  (To be fair, I did get a few, never-worn-by-Madison clothes for Ellie… I only think that’s fair.)

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It surprises me at the season change how a change of clothes can change the look of the child.  This year, Madison has enjoyed prancing around in her pants – or more to her liking, jeans.  Ellie just looks cozy in her little outfits of onesies and sweats.  Then, summer comes and they look long and leggy and just different.  It is neat to see how they change.  More on fall at the end….

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The girls spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa Yoh.  They had a great day from the sounds of it and from the shots I saw on Grandpa’s camera.  (I’ll get those later, and try to share them.)  They played in the house; they played at the park; they took naps; they read books; and they all enjoyed some new faces in a new environment. 

Meanwhile, I went shopping for a teaching outfit.  Yeah, I know, I have taught for the last 10 years.  I have also been wearing pretty much the same clothes for the last 10 years.  So, I thought I would go buy at least one new outfit for subbing.  I figure if I sub at different schools most of the time, no one will notice that I put on the same clothes every time. Genius, right?  I found something to wear, as well as a new pair of jeans (nearly impossible for me!).  It seems that the cost of clothing has skyrocketed in the last 10 years; anybody agree?  THEN, I went to get my haircut, which had not been done since mid-May.  It is cute, shorter – but not too short – kinda angled down to the front.  It was like a What Not To Wear episode.  (Which I often think I would be a good candidate for … the lady at the store was shocked when I said I did not own a black dressy type jacket… slowly but surely I will re-do my closet!) 

Then, reality hit, and I came home and swept and mopped our kitchen floor which desperately needed it.  (Actually, the end result made me almost as satisfied as finding an outfit to wear.)

I picked up the girls, and we came home to enjoy the fall weather.  We played on the swing set and pushed the baby stroller, drove the little car and played in the dirt.  It felt good.  I think the girls enjoyed it too…

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Fair

Two things that Jeremy was worried about when we planned our Kansas trip (see following posts):

1) us being gone for his birthday 2) missing the fair

I felt bad about the first one, too, and almost cut the trip short.  Why did I feel so bad?  Well, last year I totally forgot his birthday.  I didn’t just forget to get a card, I flat out forgot it.  Nope, I didn’t see the notification on facebook.  Nope, I didn’t remember that it falls on a national day of remembrance.  Nope, I didn’t look at my calendar.  He had to remind me.  Yep, I am the wife.  Yep, the women usually remember.  However, I will be the first to admit that my husband is much better at remembering dates and finding good gifts.  I am horrible at the gifts, but I do usually remember birthdays!  So, I had some making up to do.  What did I do?  Well, I mailed a card while on vacation without forgetting; I called him on his birthday in the morning; Madison and I made pumpkin muffins in honor of him while we were away; I scheduled child care so we could go out on a date this weekend; and I looked for (but didn’t buy because I wasn’t sure which one he wanted) a golf bag for him.  I at least am close to making up for last year. 

Okay, so the second one… He enjoys the fair much more than I do.  BUT I did want Madison to have a chance to go and see animals again and just experience the fair.  So, we flew into Cleveland about noon, ate lunch, traveled back while the girls slept, and went to the fair before ever going home.  It was well worth it.  It was a beautiful day.  Madison loved seeing the animals.  The only hitch in the plan was that I didn’t have warm water for Ellie’s bottle or any baby food for supper.  I solved the first one by asking the Lerch’s Donut stand for some hot water (they sell coffee) and then asking the sno cone guys for some ice to cool it down.  Everyone was very helpful.  The second problem was not so easily solved, so we just went home.  Which was a good idea considering we wanted to get the girls to bed at a decent time.  Here are some pictures of the Fair.

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We are home and settling in.  We went to the farm auction this morning because Madison was disappointed that we didn’t see the cows at the fair.  They have taken good naps, and we are back on track!

Traveling: Part 3

The girls were great travelers – driving and flying.  We stopped at Braum’s on the way back to KC.  It is my all time favorite restaurant, and you ever pass by one, stop; you will not regret it.  We had delicious burgers (1/6 pounders) with crinkle cut fries and hand dipped ice cream for dessert. 

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Madison and Ellie burned off a little energy running between light poles while Kristin filled up with gas. 

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On Tuesday, Madison made a bracelet with Kristin, played at an awesome park, and had her nails painted by Josh’s girlfriend. 

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Ellie took a nap, tried to eat sand, and let Kristin give her a bottle!

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The flight home felt a little longer – probably because we were all a little tired and tired of traveling.  But it went well – still no loud crying, and Ellie fell asleep on the descent for about 20 minutes.  We were welcomed back to Ohio by Jeremy.

Traveling: Part 2

Saturday morning, Kristin, the girls, and I piled into the car and headed south to Oklahoma to see my grandpa; it is about a 5 hour drive. On the way we stopped in Hesston to see my uncle David and his wife, Marilyn, as well as my (second) Grandma Linda. It was good to make connections with everyone again. Marilyn distracted Madison with some “secret” areas of the house which meant I got a break from her for about 30 minutes. (Both her and Ellie were extremely clingy for the whole trip, except the last day.) David got some artistic advice from Kristin while Linda and I caught up a little. I hope that I am as full of life and energy as she is when I am older – she had been a host for a couple months at the International Guest House in D.C., exercising every morning at the wellness center, and is taking a bus tour to Savannah. Plus, she is a diligent in building her relationship with Christ.

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We headed on to finish the trip during the girls’ afternoon naps. We arrived to Grandpa’s about 5:15pm and enjoyed a light supper of cold cuts and chips. Madison had a great time exploring the new house – a sprawling ranch style with some baby dolls and cribs tucked away in the back bedroom. On Sunday (coincidentally, Grandparents'’ Day) we went to church with Grandpa. I spent most of the time in the nursery with the girls – the only children in the nursery that Sunday. It wasn’t that bad since all the toys were new to them.

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Shortly after lunch, we welcomed my mom and brother and his two boys (Cale and Landen).  My dad decided not to come because of back issues, so Ben drove with mom; he had wanted to get out to visit Grandpa with his sons, too.  Madison was so EXCITED to see her cousins! 

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That evening, we went to my uncle Gary’s for a bbq and to connect with Oklahoma extended family.  (Four of my cousins were there with their families.)  Gary farms over 150 acres of wheat and canola and usually has a couple hundred head of beef cattle.  Sunday, we just enjoyed being together, exploring the farm equipment and animals, and enjoying family.

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On Monday, before heading back to KC, we went to my cousin Jodi’s house for a treat…. meeting their rescued temporary pet fawn, Leo.  It was a unique experience.  He gets fed a bottle a couple times a day, plays in the yard with her girls and cats, and comes when she calls “here kitty, kitty, kitty.” 

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We love you, Great Grandpa!

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Traveling: Part 1

I was able to take Madison and Ellie to see my grandpa this past week.  We actually saw a whole lot more people than just him, but I wanted him to see Madison again (the last time she was only about 5 months) and meet Ellie for the first time.  My parents were planning on heading out west to visit him as well, so I thought I would time my trip to coincide with theirs.  We left last Wednesday and FLEW from Cleveland to Kansas City.  Jeremy dropped us off and escorted us back to the gate; apparently, you can – sometimes – get an escort pass if you are traveling alone with kids.  It was good to have his help as I worked us through security the first time, and we waited to board the plane.  I fed Ellie a bottle in the car on the way there, gave her breakfast while waiting to board, and let her suck on some fruit at take-off.  Madison had some bagel on the way, sucked a squeezable applesauce treat down at take-off, and enjoyed the juice on board the plane.  They did an excellent job on board – no crying, and Ellie even fell asleep for about 30-40 minutes! 

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We were met my cousin, Kristin, at the airport.  She helped lighten my load and helped me get my giant checked bag!  (Many people commented on my system… a double stroller with a Ellie’s car seat attached and Madison’s car seat in hand, a backpack and a little diaper bag.)  We were greeted by Matthew (her husband) when we got to her house.  Then, her son, Josh, joined the crowd after school let out.  It was good to have the afternoon nap as a time to get settled.  On Thursday, my cousin John and his family came to visit.  Madison LOVED being able to hang out with some other kids.  They have two little girls – Kate and Abby.  Here are the girls hanging out

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Kris and I ran to Target to pick up a few things.  I wanted to look for a smaller wallet, and Madison went with me.  This is what I saw when I looked down… hopefully no one thought she was a billfold bandit – she was stuffing them all in her large purse.  She found everything on her own; it was super cute!

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Because we always eat well when I visit Kris, Matthew decided that we couldn’t be without dessert.  So, he convinced Madison to help him make a chocolate cake.  She was hesitant to help until he promised her she could lick the spoon – like mother, like daughter!

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