Friday, October 28, 2011


I’m so fed up with telemarketers. I hate them. Hate. I wish evil things upon them. I know I’m going to get emails from people defending telemarketers, saying, “They’re people too. This is their job.” My response? “I’m people too. And it’s my job to mess with them.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can You Tell me How to Get, How to Get to Poopy Street

And the poopstravaganza continues. Living in Florida, I’m getting used to seeing unusual things while driving around. I saw two armadillos and four chickens on my way to work earlier this week. Whenever I pick up Savannah from swim practice, I see houses that have miscellaneous appliances and broken-down vehicles in their yards. I see food trucks with signs that read “pupusas” on them. I’m sure I’m mispronouncing this, but poo poo sauce does not sound appetizing.

However, the other day, I saw something even stranger, and I knew immediately, who was responsible for it. As I turned into my subdivision, I beheld this sight . . .


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Shoulda Been a Doctor

Brooklyn woke up at 10:30 last night, crying that her throat hurt and her eyes burned. The poor baby was running a fever. I gave her some Motrin and a cool washcloth for her eyes. Then, instead of lying down and cuddling with her like I would’ve done in the past, I lay there worrying that I was going to have to miss another day of work. No work = no pay. It also scares me that the administrators will come to their senses and fire me so they can replace me with someone who isn’t a single mom of six kids.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Those of you who have read my blog for any amount of time know that I don’t do math. I never really understood math back when I was in school. Math people say it’s easy, precise; there’s only one correct answer for each problem. It’s neat and ordered. It makes sense. But for non-math people . . . well, it makes our eyes bleed. At my job, I work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Most of my sixth graders need help with math. A LOT of help with math. In a weird way, I actually like working with them on math because I remember what it was like to sit there, completely lost, back when I was in school. And the thing about math, is that one skill builds on another. If you don’t understand chapter 3, you’re not going to be able to do chapter 4, and so on. In that way, once a kid is lost, the work snowballs out of control and they simply can’t catch up.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Trip to Old Time Pottery

I don’t know what it is about this store that fascinates me so. The low prices? The eclectic variety of merchandise that makes you wonder if it’s a Frank’s, Walmart, Crate & Barrel, or Michael’s? The great decorating items? Or, more likely, the “made in China” type mistakes on the products. You can see my first installment of Old Time Pottery fails HERE. Go ahead and click the link. It’s worth it. I promise you’ll laugh. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Monday, October 17, 2011

My Son, Tony Hawk (NOT!)

It had been about three months since I’d taken one of the kids to the emergency room. I knew we were overdue for a visit, but was hoping against hope that no one would get hurt or sick before my new insurance kicked in. We’d been doing pretty well in my quest to avoid doctors at all costs until this weekend when Jackson got in a fight with his bike. And lost.

Jackson was supposed to be at home, cleaning his room and mopping the kitchen floor. Everyone else had completed their weekend chores, but Jackson kept finding distractions to keep him from his work. I dragged him inside and reminded him of his jobs for the twentieth time. I went upstairs to finish putting sheets on my bed when Savannah walked up to tell me, “Jackson fell off his bike and got hurt.”


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dinner Traditions

My parents are coming to visit us next week. This will be their first time seeing our new house here in Florida. I'm looking forward to visiting with them and showing them all our new favorite spots to eat, shop, walk around, hang out, swim, etc. I'm sure the kids are going to want to show them their new schools and where all the ice cream places are. So, this week, I'm in "Keep the Freaking House Clean" mode. I'm also trying to figure out what to make for dinner while they're here.

I figure we'll just order pizza (or what passes for pizza down here) one night while they're here. Growing up, we always had pizza on Sunday nights. That was the one night my mom would let us watch TV at the dinner table (Wonderful World of Disney, of course.) As a kid though, I was always jealous of my friends who went to their grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. It was a traditional, weekly event for many of my friends. My own grandparents lived out-of-state, however. When I grew up and had kids of my own, I thought my own parents might incorporate a weekly, or even monthly, gathering for dinner, but they never did. I hope to host Sunday dinners at my house when my kids are grown and have kids of their own.

But back to my parents' visit. I think we'll cook out and eat our meals on the lanai so my parents can enjoy the gorgeous weather down here before heading back to the cold. That has become a new tradition for my family - eating outside. We do it several times a week. The weather is just too beautiful to stay inside.

What kinds of dinnertime traditions does your family have? Check out this family's cool, fun tradition of
"Theme Dining" for some fun ideas! And while you're there, share your own stories and ideas on the Fresh Takes on Family Time site. Every time you share, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway. And, more than that, you could be the next lucky family chosen to have their story filmed and featured on their site! One new family is chosen every month! Check it out here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Savannah came home from school and said, "Let's play Pterodactyl!"

"Pterodactyl? That's a game? Seriously? How do you play?" I inquired, one eyebrow raised, wondering where she was going to go with this.

"You just take turns going around the circle. Everyone has to say pterodactyl, but you have to keep your lips over your teeth like this," she demonstrated. "If someone squawks instead of saying pterodactyl, the direction reverses. If you laugh, you lose."

Well, that sounded simple enough. How hard could it be to keep a straight face when all you're doing is saying pterodactyl?

It's VERY stinkin' hard!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What a Dirty, Disgusting River. It's Chocolate!

I should be used to getting up early. I mean, I've been doing it for nearly two months now. That's plenty of time to adjust, right? One would think. But still, I'm exhausted to the point of passing out nearly every night. I can't tell you how many times I've awakened on the couch in the middle of the night, still dressed, makeup smeared across my face, hair plastered to my cheek with drool. I know, I know, I'm totally hot. And every morning, I perform my ritual of blindly flailing my arm around in an attempt to either hit the snooze button, knock the clock off the table, or stop time altogether.

Last night, after helping my kids with their homework we ate the dinner I cooked. Then, I told my kids, "I need you guys to clean up the kitchen because I have work to do." I took my laptop and retired to my room where I could work in peace. At some point, before finishing, I passed out asleep without even checking on my kids to make sure they'd done what they were told. Big mistake. Big. Huge.


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Fresh Take on Trick-or-Treating

Over at Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site, they've got some great articles with fun fall and Halloween ideas. One that caught my eye was an article named Trunk-or-Treat. It talked about getting your friends together, heading to an empty parking lot, opening your trunks, and letting the kids go from car to car, gathering candy from the tailgates. That idea is okay, but I'd go one step further. That is, I'd go a step further if I was back home in Chicago, surrounded by friends. But since I've recently moved across the country and have no friends, it would be kind of lame for me to try it here.

If I were back in Chicagoland, I'd invite everyone over to my driveway for a potluck. I'd get the fire pit going and roast hotdogs. All my friends and neighbors could enjoy the collection of salads and desserts from everyone. Back in Chicago, since it would undoubtedly be 40 degrees and rainy, we'd bundle up while the kids drank steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows (you know, in case they hadn't ingested enough sugar from their candy). The adults would drink hot toddys or Irish coffee (because Halloween is traditionally known as a drinking holiday). We'd sit back and complain about the cold while we enjoyed each other's company and breathed in the scent of fall in the air - the leaves, the crackling fire, the brisk breeze, and the mist starting to roll in.

But since I'm here in Florida, I guess I'll take my kids around the neighborhood by myself while wearing shorts and sipping a frosty, refreshing pina colada. And I'll enjoy the palm trees and the sunshine and the fact that this year, I won't need to stuff handwarmers in my pockets, or figure out a way to cram winter coats under my kids' costumes.

Check out the
Fresh Takes on Family Time site to add your own story! One lucky family will be chosen every month to have their story filmed and featured on the site! Plus, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway! Check it out today!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Suck at my Job

I hate feeling stupid. Hate it. I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I like being the person that others come to for advice. I like being the one who knows everything; the one others ask for help. I do not like having to ask anyone else for help. Yeah, yeah, it's good to let others help. It makes them feel good. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I still don't like it. And no, I don't have control issues. I just always need to be right. And in charge.

If someone was to ask me a parenting question on nearly any topic, I’d feel confident that I could give an intelligent and constructive answer. That’s an area of my life where I feel like I have some degree of expertise. I may not be perfect at it, but I know what I’m doing. At school, however? I feel like an idiot. I don’t understand the terms they use here. Everyone tosses them around like they’re common knowledge, yet my head spins because they might as well be speaking a foreign language, as far as I’m concerned.

I don't know all the procedures and protocol for doing things here. What do you do if you have a student who is tardy to your class seventeen times? I assumed the attendance people would catch that I was marking him tardy every day and would do something. I guess not. When I brought it up, I was looked at like I was stupid for letting a student get seventeen tardies without saying anything. Sheesh, now that I think about it, maybe I should continue to let the kids get tardies. I should encourage them to take their time getting to my class because it means less time spent here making me insane. Kidding. Just kidding.

But really, I’m not a teacher. I didn’t go to college to be a teacher. I didn’t go to college at all, in fact. I didn’t student teach. I haven’t been doing this for years. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe I’m qualified for my position, but I lack experience and, unfortunately the only thing that can fix that is time.

I’m pretty sure all the eighth grade math teachers hate me. Yesterday, I alienated the eighth grade history teachers as well when I gave a student a copy of a vocabulary quiz with the answers filled in so he could study the words. In hindsight, that was a stupid move. Duh. I have no idea what I was thinking. Clearly, I wasn’t. I should only have gone over the words and never shown the student the test for him to simply memorize. The history teachers have every right to be upset. I was stupid. I hate being stupid.

When I (half) joke about quitting, some teachers nod their heads and commiserate, saying, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t take working with those kids every period, every day.” But, honestly, it’s not even the kids who make me want to quit. They’re not the problem. They are who they are. They do what they do. I try to keep them on track, help them develop organizational skills, encourage them to be responsible. Sometimes it sinks in; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they respond and surprise me; sometimes they don't. It’s more like being a mom to thirty kids than a teacher. I’m fine with that. Yes, it gets discouraging at times. But other times, it’s pretty darn rewarding.

Nope, it’s not the kids. It’s me. I feel like I suck at this job and I don’t enjoy doing things that make me feel all suckish. Sigh.

(Don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. Come back tomorrow for a fun-filled poop extravaganza courtesy of Clayton. Ugh, he's gonna get us kicked out of our neighborhood.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

I love getting comments on my blog posts. I get giddy with excitement when someone takes the time to write to me. Of course, I especially like it when someone finds something I've written humorous, useful, or comforting. I love it when someone tells me that they appreciate the levity or the glimpse into my life because it helps them to see their own life in a different, more positive light. But as much as I love all those comments, I think I particularly like these inane comments the best . . .

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Big Book of Poop

When you first have a baby, you spend hours gazing into his/her little face, dreaming about the person they will become. Will they have your way with words? Their dad’s height? Their grandma’s musical ability? Their uncle’s artistic talent? Imagine my pride when I got home from work the other day and saw on the kitchen table, a book written by my own son. Clay had not only written, but had also illustrated his very own book. Yes, I thought, my son is following in my footsteps! He’s going to be an author! Sure, he’s only seven years old now, but he’s undoubtedly destined for greatness! And then I actually looked at the book. Yeah. Let’s just say that I hope Clay has a “Plan B” for future employment.


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