Thursday, October 27, 2011

Something I Want to Remember

I've been meaning forever to blog something: It's that Mac can't say his "th" sound yet, which makes him the most adorable speaker ever.

Shef didn't have this quality in his speech. Instead, he spoke perfectly clearly with an old-man gravelly type voice as a one year-old.  That was adorable in its own way, but when Mac says stuff like, "I love to play wis my brudder," it really melts my heart.

You can hear a couple of examples of lovely toddler affectation in this classic YouTube video from last June

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday Night I Crashed Your Party

I used my grandfather's birthday lunch as an excuse to make a promotional video for my new initiative, #FridayTen. You'll see in the video that my family had some great ideas about where to donate ten dollars.

In honor of these fine peeps, I'm going to donate $10 to each of their organizations. I'll do it $10 at a time starting next Friday.

In addition to those mentioned in the video, I'll also be donating $10 to the MS Society in honor of my grandmother. When she found out I planned to use her video clip online, she said I couldn't. But, still I'm in support of her organization.

Oh, also I won't be donating to Mac's organization for obvious reasons. I'm pretty sure Dan gets his own cash allowance.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I've Been Cool With the Lines

So, took the kids to the neighborhood park today.  I was just hanging with Mac at the zip line and the jungle gym.  Exchanging a few parenting-type comments with the guy next to me, when I realized the guy next to me was totally DONOVAN McNABB.

Back when I used to play fantasy football, I had that guy on my team. And you may not know this, but Donovan is a quarterback with the (sucky sucky) Vikings this year. 

I tried to act reasonably normal.  In retrospect, I might have recognized him sooner since he was really much larger than the average dad at the park.  Eventually, Dan came over from throwing the football with Shef and confirmed that I had indeed been speaking to a famous NFL player.  He acted like it was totally normal and did not at all respond to my excited whispers.

Dan spent the next ten minutes just hanging out with the kids, thirty feet away from McNabb.  No biggie.

Then, when the QB his fam piled into their black SUVs and drove away, Dan started furiously typing on his iPhone.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm emailing all my friends about the sighting!!" he said.

So, then I knew this was big news after all.

Am I Original?

Last week, Lee started an initiative called #CalmTilChristmas.  Many have joined the list of supporters, and I'm proud to announce right now that I am among them.

Coincidentally, I am also launching my own initiative.  Dan has made fun of it on a regular weekly schedule, but I'm pretty sure that's because he's just jealous.  My commitment is to the #FridayTen.  Each week, I've been donating ten dollars of my weekly cash allowance to an organization of my choice.

The first week, I chose The Advocates for Human Rights Women's Program. You can check out their Stop Violence Against Women Website.  My sister Mary works for this particular organization.  As far as I can tell, they're doing a lot of good work by both raising awareness and fighting legal battles here and abroad.

The next week, I picked the Groveland Food Shelf in Minneapolis.  Groveland has a special Food for Youth program that supports kids up to age 23 who are homeless or who are at risk of being homeless.

This week, I picked The Current, which is the music station associated with Minnesota Public Radio.  They were having a membership drive, and I kept feeling guiltier and guiltier about not being a member.  Plus, I viewed this contribution as a statement against Big Media, an issue which my great Senator Al Franken has also taken up.

Every week, it's fun to pick which place will get my ten dollars.  It's also fun to get made fun of by Dan, who has not contributed ten dollars.

Maybe you want to do the #FridayTen, too?  Or maybe you just want to do the #FridayFive?  Or perhaps you just want to read about where my #FridayTen is going?  In any case, I welcome you to my initiative!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Like Dolphins Can Swim

Tomorrow I conduct the majority of my conferences with my advisees.  I'm also going to conferences as a parent for Mac and Shef.

As Shef and I walked out of the building today, we ran into his music teacher.  As we approached, Shef whispered to me, "I probably got a good report in music."  Later, after we chatted with Mr. B. a bit and said good-bye, I asked him how he knew this.  "Well," he said, "I've never had to take a break on the Calming Cushion." 

Later, I asked Mac what his teachers were going to tell me at conferences.

"They'll say I'm so nice," he said.

"What else?" I asked.

"They'll say I'm so beautiful."

"I bet they will," I nodded.

"Anything else?"

"That I'm having fun."

It'll be fun to see if these self-reports are accurate.   Maybe I should tell some of my advisees and their parents that they are so beautiful.  That would probably put everyone in a good mood.

The Hump

People at my new job keep giving me pep talks about surviving my first year.  It's really sweet of them.  They say stuff like:

"After back-to-school week, you'll feel much better."

Or, "Don't worry, after we get back from camp, things really settle down."

Or, "Once you get through Curriculum Night, you can breathe a sigh of relief"

Or, "After Legacy Day, things really feel normal."

Or, "Once you get your first observation under your belt, you'll know what to expect."

And, "Hang in there, after conferences, you'll get into a routine."

I have a feeling these talks will continue.  Luckily, yesterday my new pal Kaari summed things up for me:

"Let's go out for a glass of wine after conferences.  Because the first time you survive anything in this place is a cause for celebration."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shake It To The Left

This has been a big week at work: my first formal observation, tons of meetings, preconferencing with the children (I have to do 30-minute conferences with each of my advisees and their families after speaking with all of their teachers), starting two new units, PLUS my commitment to Jillian Michaels and her shred.

On Tuesday, the counselor whose room is just right next door to mine expressed that she too was feeling overwhelmed. 

"I'm so tired," she sighed, "but it's Friday, so it's cool."

I laughed really hard at that.  I've been laughing hard about it for three days now, and it's still not Friday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

On That HD Flat

A couple of days ago, on the recommendation of a couple of friends, I purchased Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred DVD.

Jillian leads the workout with the help of two ripped pals, Natalie and Anita. Let me tell you, Jillian does not accept excuses.  She does not allow breaks.  Jillian says if I want results in 20 minutes, I have to PUSH.  She says, "Intensity people!"  She shows me Anita's abs and announces, "These don't come for free!"

I don't know why this motivates me, but it does.  I have now shredded three days in a row.  I'll let you know what happens.  Probably no one will recognize me once 30 days are up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's Up, Y'All

Here's some information about my media consumption habits of late:

Dan and I are almost finished watching Season Four of one of our favorite shows: The Big Bang Theory.  Have you seen it?  The main characters are physics researchers at a California university and are completely unabashedly nerdtastic.  They live across the hall from a cute wannabe actress who works at The Cheesecake Factory. Is that a recipe for hilarity or what?

Also, I'm reading a book for my mother-daughter book club called Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Mind of an Autistic Savant.  The author of this book, David Tammet, has a mind that works much differently than most other people's, and he explains this clearly in his memoir.  I'm happy to be reading it, but the writing is not as artful as writing in other texts I've enjoyed.

For my middle school faculty book club, I read The Schwa was Here by Neal Schusterman.  In that novel, the main character is kind of invisible, but not really.  A lot of people tend to just not notice the poor guy. There's one really memorable and poignant scene in the novel that involves a view of a billboard from a warehouse.  Just for that scene alone, I'm glad to have read the book.

Right now, I'm watching Top Chef: Just Desserts.  I have to multitask because otherwise I'm too busy to read or blog or watch television.  That's the way the fall goes when you're a teacher.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Plan Z

You were probably wondering about the latest in the sleep situation at our house. Well, let me tell you: it's been a full queen bed around here lately. But don't feel too badly for me because sometimes I can convince one of them to camp out on the floor. That way they're NEXT TO my bed, instead of in it.

My latest spate of Internet research turned up a sleep solution that worked for a couple of days, wherein I would go check on Mac every fifteen minutes, but only if he was quiet. The problem with this strategy is that you have to go up there every fifteen minutes and the kid doesn't actually fall asleep for hours. Because I guess it's a lot of fun to wait for the checks. I still haven't completely given up on this strategy, but I've added another component:

Tonight I tried a very special sleeping medicine that I whipped up and administered via syringe. I made a big deal out of this placebo. What happened? Shef read for an hour in his bed and then fell asleep. Mac cried for an hour about how he couldn't sleep. I told him the medicine only works if you lie in your bed and close your eyes. In the dark. He didn't really buy this, but eventually he did get in bed and is now sleeping.

I'll probably try everything again tomorrow night.