about a dream: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Squirrel Island, sick day, and boyfriends...

Poor little Nina was home sick again today. She ran a fever all day yesterday and woke up with a really sore throat again overnight. Poor little dear. She was on the mend though today, so if she's not back at school tomorrow I think she'll definitely be well enough on Wednesday.

Maggie had her field trip to Squirrel Island! Mom chaperoned, and they spent the day wandering around the island. They heard ghost stories, saw the library, built fairy houses, and walked on the rocks. Maggie says her favorite part was the ghost stories. Mom was also responsible for one of Maggie's classmates, and on the way home Maggie told mom that she was a little bit jealous that the other girl got some of her attention. Aw! So cute.

So, last night we were watching this TV show about a guy who builds treehouses (professionally, what a fun job!), and an ad came on for a guy who catches wild animals. He had long, dyed blond hair.  Nina was... disgusted.

This led to a conversation about future boyfriends.

Maggie drew a picture of her and her boyfriend. I'll get a photo of it, but it's at mom and dad's house, so you'll have to use your imaginations until then. There's Maggie in a pink dress, with the tips of her hair dyed red. She has her hands clasped under her chin in that love-struck way.

Her boyfriend has shoulder-length brown hair and bangs (she was very clear about the bangs). He's wearing a tank top and has tattoos on his arms and legs. You can see the leg tattoos because he's wearing shorts. They both have hearts floating above their heads, signifying their love for each other. This is on the left hand side of the page.

On the right is the boyfriend dead. He has a sword through his heart and his head has been cut off. I guess somebody didn't like him. Somebody very mean. These are Maggie's words.

Nina and Maggie won't be fighting over the same men, that's for sure. Nina is horrified by men with long hair, men with dyed hair, men with tattoos, and men with piercings. She definitely goes for the clean-cut, bookish type. The kind of guy who isn't always kissing his muscles (her words). Also no beard. A little bit of scruff like Niki is ok, but that's it. And NO glasses!

Oh my!! Hopefully their dating days are still a long way off!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

TLC will be the death of me

I just went with that headline because it rhymes.

We're watching untold stories of the ER (Nina's favorite). A commercial for another TLC show came on, "Alaskan women looking for love," which basically appears to be about six women who leave alaska to look for love elsewhere. Somewhere warm and sandy, California or Florida maybe.

And Maggie says, "I want to look for love!"

I said, "You do?"

And she said, "Not now though, when I'm bigger."


Thursday, September 26, 2013

The weeks just fly by!

I can't believe it's Thursday already. Excuse me, I mean Friday Eve. Or perhaps we should switch that to Fridmas Eve? Happy Fridmas Eve everyone!

Things are peachy-keen over here. I had a fairly easy week at school on account of having given tests in 4 of my 5 classes. Boy, giving tests is a heck of a lot easier than taking them! I do have to grade them, but c'est la vie, right? Oh wait, I give the final test tomorrow. So, three down, one to go.

I got a really cool new app for my physics class. It allows me to analyze videos frame-by-frame and mark the position of something (say, a ball being tossed in the air). Then it takes each mark and makes a plot that we can analyze. Fun fun fun! Tomorrow we're going to video potatoes we shoot from the potato gun that one of my students built (you know it's Maine when you ask the kids if anyone has a good potato gun and you get a bunch of yesses) and analyze that motion. I'm not sure the iPad camera is going to be able to pick up a flying potato from the 50-yard line, but we'll see. Worst case scenario, we waste a day playing out in the sun with a potato gun. Win-win.

Nina and Maggie have had great weeks. Nina was doing math homework tonight, and among her problems was 53 + ________ = 100. She had to show her work, so underneath the correct answer (47) she wrote "I thot in my head"


Other brilliant observations were on problem number three ( _______ + 63 = 100), underneath which she wrote:
6 + 4 = 10
60 + 40 = 100
                (But Look)
                 7 +  3 = 10
63 + 37 = 100

I love how her brain works! She's just so smart!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's fall!

And what a lovely fall, thus far. Warm and sunny, just like we like it.

I finally got around to uploading some photos that we took of the girls at our friend Morgan's wedding party. (Anna's old friend Morgan. She married a very nice young Romanian man).

Look at this matching dresses cuteness:

The entry way is now the spot for photos

She had a ribbon wand, like the kind they use in rhythmic gymnastic events. It was a hit:

This was at the Southport town hall.  It was a potluck family-gathering type party. I brought banana bread and a bacon/goat cheese quiche. Yum.

Nina was a natural.

The ribbon wand was so incredibly wonderful that Morgan even let the girls keep it. What a sweetheart!

Also, just in case you're wondering, we still love the dogs.

But is the feeling mutual? Not totally sure.

Poor guy just wants to snuggle on his blanket and get some sleep.

In other news, the girls are absolutely loving school this year. I don't know what it is, but there's no grumpiness in the morning, no tears at night about wanting to stay home... just a willingness that at times even borders on enthusiasm. Hooray!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What The Heck!

Maggie is playing with her sticker book.

"What. The. Heck? What. The. HECK! What the heck, only two hats? What the heck is this? WHAT THE HECK!!!"

Oh my gosh, this kid is a riot.

"What the heck?! Go brush teeth?"

That was in response to Nick telling her to brush teeth.

What a day. Little miss came home from school rather moody, but now she's in a great mood. Good thing it's Friday Eve!

Ha, I told Nina yesterday that I was renaming "Thursday" "Friday Eve." And Nina thought that was great, and counter-proposed that "Friday" become "Fridmas." Because it's as great as Christmas!

Fridmas! I love it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feeling better.

Knock on wood, but I don't think I've ever gotten over a cold so quickly in my life. Yes, it was a very mild one for everyone, but my body can take a mild bug and re-arrange it into something deadly, so this was still a pretty big deal for me. Mind you, I'm not totally better, but I'm definitely feeling on the up-swing.

Aside from the cold, our September is going really well. The girls seem to be liking school (no one's begging to stay home in the morning anyway), and my classes are going great too. I think the girls are much happier knowing that I'm going off to school too. We're in this thing together.

Anyway, I think my classes are going well. I'm giving my physics and Algebra II kids tests next week, so we'll see then if they're learning as much as I hope they are.

One thing that's surprised me about teaching is how quickly the day zooms on by. Have I written about this already? I think it's partly because my day is divided into 50 or 55 minute chunks (the periods are shorter on Wednesday because of early release), so I don't have time to ever get bored. Less than an hour doing one thing, and then bam! on to the next! Then there's a lunch break or free period thrown in there, and before you know it the day's over. The weeks just fly by too. Of course, getting out at 3:00 helps there too. But then yesterday, one of the teachers told me that things kind of drag from September until Thanksgiving, but then after that the year just flies. And I kind of panicked! I don't want the year to fly by! Time flies enough as it is, I want it to go slower. So, I'm a little nervous now that I'm going to turn around and it's going to be June. Unacceptable.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The first cold of the school year.

Well that didn't take long. Who's surprised? Raise your hands.

Oops! I'm writing in the blog, not in school. Teacher-think really creeps into everyday life!

I think this cold actually came over from the elementary school, because the parents of the kindergarteners were the first ones to start sniffling. It's in the high school pretty well too though, lots of kids going through lots of tissues. My throat is slightly sore and I'm sneezing just a bit, and hopefully this is the worst of it. I've been feeling about the same for the last 24 hours, knock on wood that that means I'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Maggie's been sniffling too and Nina's been a bit sneezy, but so far they're doing alright. Fingers crossed that this one moves on out in the morning!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another BRLT hike for us this weekend

Before we left for Austria I'd won a guide to all of the Boothbay Region Land Trust hikes and decided that a family goal would be to try all of them. We got though quite a few before we had to leave the country, and now that we're back I'm determined to finish the rest. So yesterday, we hiked Oven's Mouth West. We've done Oven's Mouth East dozens of times, but never the west. It was lovely. Anna McConnell came with us and brought her camera, so hopefully I'll get some pictures from her soon that I can add to this post. 

As promised!!:

Here's Maggie with a flag she made. It's a fern lashed to a stick by the ingenious teamwork of me and Anna. Plus some native American know-how and a supple green stick.

Me and my little hiker pro, who only demanded to be carried 3/4 of the time.

At one point the most perfect forest stream you could possibly imagine crossed our trail and we stopped for 20 minutes to play. Nina couldn't get enough of it!

Oven's Mouth West is longer than Oven's Mouth East, so we ended up cutting back via a shortcut and missing out on the west side marsh portion. The long loop is about 2.5 miles and we probably did 1.7, which still took us 2 hours, so it might be something we save for next spring. We shall see.

After that Nick and I went to a library fundraiser and the girls had a babysitter. They haven't had a sitter in ages, and it was a smashing success. She's one of my students and a total doll. The girls were even asleep when we got home! Oh miracle of miracles!

The fundraiser was a total blast too. It was a poetry slam/wine tasting event (The Poetry of Wine was the title), and there was sooo much delicious wine and food--even a Gruner Veltliner and spaetzle. Good times.

Today we did church and Sunday school before the Brunswick family visited, then cookie baking and soon a bath. So if I'm a little more incoherent than usual today it's because I'm even more tired than usual. I've got to switch off of "summer vacation weekend mode" and into "school year weekend mode."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Into the swing of things

Busy, busy days. I'm slowly adjusting my expectations for my high schoolers. Um, let's just say they listen about as well as Nina and Maggie.

Like, I gave my Algebra II class a pre-test. "Calculators are on the desk here in the front," I said. One or two takers.

Then 5 minutes later, someone raised a polite hand and asked, "Um, are there any calculators we can use?"

"Yup," I said, all enthusiastic and patient. "There's a thing full of them right here on the front desk."

A few more minutes pass... a hand is raised. "Can I go to my locker to get a calculator?"

"Right here in the front!" I say, still smiling.

A few more minutes... I hear someone whispering to the girl next to him. "Where did you get that calculator?"

"Box of them! Right here in front!" Wow. My kids listen better than this.

Five more minutes go by. A hand goes up. "Yes?"

"Are there any calculators?"


I didn't really say that. But omg.

You know what though, I shouldn't mock the children. The announcements came on to tell everyone where each class was having their class meeting, and I totally ignored it. Then kids asked me where they were supposed to go, and I had to admit that I had no idea. I can't even force myself to pay attention to them.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Family room update!

Well, what an exciting weekend! One of the teachers at my school had a couch he needed to get rid of, and I decided that it was much cuter than the one currently in our family room. So he dropped it off on Saturday and behold, a new look!:

It's slightly smaller than the old couch (the bed inside is a full versus a queen in the old one), but the huge plus is that it gives us room for the old armchair and ottoman, so it actually increases our sitting area. Woo hoo! Plus, I love love love being able to put my feet straight up in front of me while I watch TV in the evening. And as unattractive as that orange lounge chair is, it is DARN comfortable.

I put a photo of the old couch on our Boothbay Yardsale Online Facebook group and it was gone in 10 minutes. One of the reasons I hesitated to get rid of the old couch was because I didn't want it to wind up in a landfill, so I was so relieved that it got a taker.

Finally, here's a cute from Friday evening: Maggie was telling us about things that she'd learned in gym class that day, and she said, "I learned about a muscle... is there a muscle named meat strings?" I had no idea what she was talking about but then she said, "Oh, I mean hamstrings!"

Ha! Meat strings! So close, yet so far!

Friday, September 6, 2013

What a week!!

We're exhausted. Well, you wouldn't guess "exhausted" if you could peek into our living room right now, because the girls are smothering the dogs with love, sliding down the banister, and generally creating mayhem. I'm exhausted anyway!

School's been great! Nina was worried about third grade being hard for nothing. All that anxiety, gone to waste. According to her, they're still learning the classroom rules, but she's finding ways to sneak in a little learning by looking at posters and whatnot around the room. So, same old same old there.

Maggie is doing wonderfully. First off, she's been dressing herself in regular clothes, which is really nothing short of a miracle. I'm talking dress, underwear, shoes, and socks. Speechless. She has, in three days, managed to get into more trouble than Nina has in three years, but that's not unexpected. Apparently there was a disagreement over whether she should pick up the cucumbers she spilled in the cafeteria, followed by a disagreement over whether the playground rules apply to her, followed by a disagreement over whether the recess time out rules apply to her. All's well though, she didn't seem troubled by any of this. Just in case though, mom "happened to be" passing by the school at recess time and stopped by to rough up the recess monitors and make sure her grand baby doesn't get another time out. Turned out to be unnecessary though, as there was no trouble today.

Things are fine on my end too. The kids are great. I've been really impressed by how well they work independently on projects. I gave my robotics class bins of Legos and told them to build a car powered by a rubber band, and they got right on it, working quietly until the end of class. Amazing! They even pick up the Legos by themselves! I haven't stepped on one yet.

Still, I'm very glad it's the weekend. There's nothing like sleeping in and relaxing Saturday mornings!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First day!

Another school year already, I just can't believe it! Here's Maggie on her FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN!!:

She's looking about as excited as she felt. It was only 7 am though, and Maggie's not a morning girl.

Nina was much more excited for her day!

Here they are together.  Nina's enthusiasm is starting to rub off on Maggie.

Note that there's no photo of Mommy on her first day. Nick said he'd take one of me at the top of the hill waiting for the bus, then he forgot the camera. D'oh.

Our days were great though! Only freshman and foreign students went to high school today and I don't have many of those, so it was a pretty relaxed day. I got all my teacher-y photocopying done and moved some stuff from last year's classroom into this years, so it was productive anyway. Plus I had time to have lunch with both girls, which was very nice. In the future I'll only have about 25 minutes for lunch, so I'll try to dash over there when I can (especially on those days where my free period falls right after lunch), but generally I won't have such a leisurely hour to spend with them.

Maggie's big news is that she talked today! The librarian talked to them about stories, then they took turns telling stories. And Maggie told a story! Of course, it was the gruesome ghost horror story that she heard at Burnt Island this summer (the one where the wife finds her husband pinned by the hands and feet to the wall with knives and a knife through his throat, with a note stuck to the end of the neck knife that read, "The ghost did this and you're next." Nice. Way to start the year with a bang little girl. I'm sure I'll be hearing from the school psychologist before long.)

Nina finds third grade boring so far. She thought it was going to be challenging, but they pretty much just got a tour of the classroom. Maybe tomorrow? Well, she can always come to my classroom for some challenges! I don't have much of an idea of what I'm doing, and anything that kid can explain to me will be most welcome.

When we got home, we encountered the most unusual situation on the trampoline:

Well shoot, it's not uploading to blogger or you tube. Stay tuned. I will tell you that it involves a bouncing house... very exciting.

Tomorrow's another big day! School's out at 1:30 but I have to stay for meetings until 3, so I think the plan is for the girls to go home with mom.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's the last night before school!!

Eeeek! Not ready, not ready!!

It's been pouring all day, so we've been playing barbies and Candyland all day. Kind of a nice, low-key way to spend the last day of summer vacation.

Then the girls had a bath and we turned on the TV while I brushed out their hair (which takes like, half an hour). And guess what was on? Untold stories of the ER, Nina's favorite show! Lots of good stuff tonight, and episodes continue until 1 am. How ever will I get to bed on time tonight?

First day outfits are picked out, backpacks are getting packed next. I just have to figure out what I'm going to wear on my first day!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A great day at the beach

Today is the last night of the summer that's not a school night. Oh my. Are we ready to go back, you ask? By no means!

So we spent the penultimate day of summer vacation at Hendrick's Head with our very dear friends.

Look at these adorable kids! They all swam, kayaked, climbed the rocks, found sand dollars, built sand castles, and toasted marshmallows. It was the kind of day that childhood in Maine is all about.

And here's our faithful group of mom friends (with a Maggie photobomb). We did pretty much all of the things the kids did except build sand castles plus a lot more eating and chatting. We even brought beer.

Then Brigette's kids shot off some fireworks. Such a fun day!