Lessons in Vacationing

We have learned so much!  Some things the hard way, some things in a typical fashion, but in case you are vacationing soon, I wanted to prepare you for lessons that you too may learn.

Lesson #1, Grilling

On vacation I learned to grill!  I have mostly always been intimidated by the grill.  But we really wanted to be able to grill for multiple meals, so we decided to go ahead and give it a whirl.  And by that I mean I called my brother (who used the grill down here back in July) and asked him to walk me through grilling, starting with turning on the grill.  I made salmon, baked potatoes, and Texas toast.  DELICIOUS!  I was very proud of my newfound abilities and also feel it is much easier and much less scary than originally anticipated.

Lesson #2 Car Maintenance

We noticed that the car didn’t seem to appreciate going over 50 mph, and that didn’t see quite right, so we consulted my dad and he said to check if there were any low tires.  The back tires were indeed a bit low, so we put a little air in them. Fortunately for us (but unfortunately in life) my roommate had been having air troubles in her tires back home, so we had recently ventured to the gas station and learned how to put air in tires.  Turns out all the tires had completely different air pressures in them… After consulting the Pops again, we evened them out and the car drives like a dream now.  

Lesson #3 Sunscreen WILL betray you

We were such responsible little adults yesterday at the beach and put sunscreen on regularly.  What did we get for our troubles?  Not a cute tan like we had hoped – that is for sure!  We all thought we walked away with sun success stories.  But alas, with time, we discovered that we all had horrible blotchy sunburns in random spots.  Fortunately, thanks to my new beach hat that I found at the J Crew outlet, my face is freckly and fine.  That is probably the most important.  My worst burn is on my feet.  All I want to do is itch them.  We had an aloe party last night, and this morning I noticed some non-burnt patches on my legs had a bluish tint.  OOPS.  Someone needs to take the aloe away from me.  I have clearly crossed the line to addiction.  No photo for this one.  Because who wants to see ugly foot burn?  No one.  I’m sorry for even bringing it up.  Amber did share some angry/disappointed words with the sun during sunset, so I’m sure this will not happen again.

Lesson #4 Read the twitter.

We went to the outlets one day too soon – some players told us (or twittered about it) that they were headed there yesterday.  But we went on Friday.  We are disappointed in ourselves.  But also are enjoying picturing Drew Butera heading back to talk to his teammates, “Hey Kevin!  Check out this new button down I got yesterday – guess how much I got it for?”  “Joe – Look at this sweet new polo!  It was so cheap, I basically got it for free!  I think it would really bring out the color of your eyes.”  We are pretty sure more players will be headed to the outlets soon.

Lesson #5 Don’t get eaten by an alligator.

We are headed to the everglades today!

Twins Win! (or more so a Fan Win!) Spring training successes.

Today we followed our hearts and ended up at Hammond Stadium – home of the Twins for spring training.  We are going to play scrabble soon, so I will not bore you with the details, but will focus in on the highlights.

Joe Mauer batting practice 

After which we hung out with Brian Duensing in the stadium.  I was reminded too late that his wife is a teacher and we probably should have taken time to bond over that.  Next time. We watched Joe Nathan be interviewed, then got a photo with him (he was glad to see us – true fans – after some kid had the nerve to ask him to sign a Yankees hat!) 

We watched a little more of the practice on the other field, then joined the throngs of fans awaiting the end of practice and the walk to the clubhouse.  We are pretty sure that Tiffany got Mauer’s autograph because of the extended eye contact they shared earlier in the day.  Once that excitement was over, we saw that Pavano was being interviewed.  Amber and I re-lived our play-offs mustached memories and the genius idea was suggested to sharpie on finger mustaches for an epic photo opp.  He may have watched, looking amused, while he was interviewed, and so naturally he rushed over to have a picture with us.  This is probably our proudest photo moment of the day.  Ridiculous?  Yes.  AMAZING?  Yes.  We are genius fans.   We thought to ourselves, “Wow, our day truly is complete.  It really can’t get better than this.”

Then it did.

We were innocently eating a picnic lunch, (right outside the door of the club house) and who did we see over yonder, strolling up in a Pavano t-shirt and shorts?  Kev.  So we said, “Kevin, can we get a picture with you?”  He said yes, we exchanged some banter, and all was right with the world. 

We wrapped up our lunches, (not literally wrapped them up – more so finished up eating), hung out with Gardy for a bit.  (He promised to hand out flyers to all the players for our Presidents’ Day Party)  (insert sighs of happyness and joy here.)

p.s.  While we were playing scrabble and enjoying the evening, we reminisced about the day.  (When so much excitement occurs, it is never to early to begin reminiscing).  We decided that Joe was probably also playing scrabble that evening with some of his friends.  We decided the group would likely be Joe, Drew, Kev, and Pavano would be the fourth player – he just seems the type.  The game probably came down to being between Kev and Pavano – Kevin is after all taking college classes currently.  Even though Slowey is my favorite, I think I’ll put my money on Pavano for the win.

Twins Fest – I am not actually a twin.

After viewing my pictures of Twins Fest, my student wanted to know if I play on the same team as the Twins.  She pointed out that I was in fact wearing the same shirt as them.  I realize how misleading this might be (specifically to a five year old from Africa), so in case any of the rest of you were wondering, I am not in fact a MN Twin.  Rather, I am a Twins fan.  Almost the same.  But different.

Amber and I with Justin Morneau

I am trying to think of a good reason for TC to visit us in kindergarten.  Any thoughts?

Kevin Slowey! my new best friend. or I paid to take a picture with him. Tricky :)

Speaking of Twins players, I am sad to report that I did not follow through on my promise to make paper dolls to help me correctly identify the players in their street clothes.  I did however go with a less creepy option and play a rousing game of, “Name that Twins player” using google images.  It is like the tech-savvy version of flashcards.  I failed miserably by the way.  I am doing better on some parts of my vacation preparation list though, so you can still be proud of me!  Look!  Tiffany and I made a paper chain!  (the only tricky thing is knowing if it is my turn to take off a link.  I had to count it out tonight to check, and honestly I’m still not sure!)  Regardless, when we get to the end, I’m going to the airport – so I hope it works out and we finish on the day of our flight!

a week from today, i'll be on an airplane!

what is in the air?

Conversations  of ridiculous proportion:

Conversation 1:

Teacher: (pointing at crayon writing on the floor next to a child’s rest time spot)  What is this?

Student 1: I don’t know!  I didn’t write it

Student 2:  She didn’t write it!  I didn’t write it either.  We didn’t see who wrote it.

Student 1:  Yeah, we don’t know.

Student 2:  Somebody probably came in the night when it was all locked and wrote it.

Student 1:  yeah, that’s it!

Teacher: (seeing this is going nowhere productive)  So, like maybe a rabbit came in and wrote it?

Student 2:  Or a killer man.

Teacher:  In a school?  I don’t think so

Student 2:  Maybe it was a teacher!

Teacher:  No, a teacher would know better

Student 2:  Yeah, ’cause a teacher wouldn’t want to get fired, so they wouldn’t want to write on the floor.

Student 1:  Yeah, you wouldn’t want to be fired.  All you want is to be our teacher.

Student 2:  Yeah, you just want to help us learn.

Student 2:  Once a killer came into my house and stole everything out of my fridge.  I have a beer in my fridge in my room.

Teacher:  What?  You don’t drink it, right?

Student 2:  No, it’s my uncles.  He put my fridge in the garage.  We have a mouse in our garage.  He’s my pet.  I call him Mousey Mouse.  Or Mousy Dude.  I don’t put my finger in the trap.

Teacher 2:  Well, that went well.

Yep – got that graffiti ALL figured out.

Conversation 2:

Student: What color is this?

Teacher:  Turquoise

Student:  That’s funny.  Why would Jesus call this color turquoise?

Conversation 3:

Teacher:  Good job!  How did you figure that out?

Student:  Well, my mom says I’m smart!

Conversation 4:

Teacher: If you don’t hurry, I will have to choose someone else to do this activity with me.

Student: No!  Don’t pick somebody else.  You are my bestestest friend!

Conversation 5:

Teacher: Here is the picture of me with a Twins player!

Student: Wow!  Maybe he can come read to us!

Teacher:  That would be really great!

Student:  OR, maybe you can marry him!

Teacher:  I’ll see what I can do.

p.s.  the little girl that says I am her best friend, brought me this card today.  The front was a picture of flowers and this was on the inside:

My educational assistant also got one, but all her’s said was, “you are a wonderful helper”  we laughed at their description- she is wonderful, but  she is also definitely a legit licensed teacher…

go hug a palm tree. or a MN Twin.

You might think that my biggest accomplishment of the week was parent-teacher conferences.  Or being a dominoes co-champion with a fellow Laura.

But no – my biggest accomplishment this week was buying plane tickets.  Yes, I will soon be escaping this cold, snowy, dreary place.  I cannot wait.  I hope that I remember what the sun looks like.

Don’t get me wrong – I love MN, I love winter, and I love snow.  But I hate January.  It is my least favorite month, and I cannot think of anything good about it.  And I’m ready to be done with winter.  Especially because I had an extra week of winter in August when I traveled south of the equator.  What was I thinking?

Purchasing plane tickets was a big accomplishment.  It was no easy task.  It was touch and go for a while.  For a while it seemed that my friends would be going and I would not.  Which was tricky since without me they have no place to stay.  Eventually we got it sorted out.  The stress of it all only caused me to cry a tiny bit out of my left eye.

I will be birthday-ing in Florida this year, and it is time to prepare.*

Here are some things on my to-do list.

  1. Go to Twins fest and get to know some of the players so we can set up some times to hang out while we are all in Florida.
  2. Create paper dolls of the Twins players** so that I will be more likely to recognize them in various potential street clothes.  No one wants a repeat of the Chicago incident of ’07, when I didn’t see Cuddyer at Wicked with us.  Embarrassing.
  3. Review elements of nature I may have forgotten since the snow fell upon us here in the tundra.  This includes, but is not limited to: sun, breeze, ocean, sand, warmth, and pool.  Pool is not nature.  But it is essential to the Florida experience.
  4. Prepare my presidential report for President’s Day.
  5. Pick a president to report on for President’s Day.
  6. Research if there are any Caribous in Florida to get my free coffee drink on my birthday.
  7. Get a few small dogs.
  8. Get a stroller for said dogs.  This is the only way to fit in at the Florida outlet mall.
  9. Create a townhouse paper chain to count down the days until vacation.
  10. Remind the Bible study ladies that we will be meeting on Valentine’s Day, but not on President’s Day.  Because like I told them last week: we care more about Presidents than about love.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things on my list, but it is good to have somewhere to start.

* I like to pretend that I am fancy and go to Florida for my birthday.  This is a lie.  I just happen to have a birthday that falls near a three day weekend.  And I am a teacher.  Thus, I don’t have to work on days like President’s Day.

** I am not actually a creepy stalker.  I do like the Twins, but there is a line, and for the most part, I do not cross it.

*** Here is photographic evidence supplied by my sister in reference to the Cuddyer incident of ’07.

On giving up and sucking up…

The children have been SO loud this week.  One theory is that they have created a calling tree and they are scheming at night how they can make their teachers cranky.  Another theory is that it is January – the worst month of the year.  Regardless, towards the end of the day yesterday, I was trying to teach math to a group of about 11 kindergartners.  We were sitting on the carpet and I was telling an enthralling tale about my farm (this would eventually lead to a sorting lesson) and as I looked around, not a child was listening to me.  My EA was having a similar problem in the pod.  She later reported that one kid was eating a penny, one kids was shaking a bag of pennies, and one kid was banging his work-tray on the table.  I expressed very sadly to my students how frustrated I felt that no one was listening, and I didn’t know what to do anymore.  I was hoping to guilt them into behaving ;) but no.  The loudest response:

Maybe you should just give up.

To which I of course responded: maybe I will.

Also, I was recently reminded of an awesome teaching moment from last week.  I don’t think I shared it on here.  But if I did – you will be fine if you read it again.

We were brainstorming sentences with our new star word “to”.  Several children had offered up sentences.  Then one child suggests: “I like to learn.”  What a suck up answer. I mean – I’m so glad I’m instilling a love of learning into these kids.  :)  Not to be outdone, then next kid plays on my interests, saying, “I like the Twins.” awesome sentence!  Fails the assignment though.  I don’t ask much.  Just for them to use the word “to” in a sentence.

And finally… we learned about kids in China getting red envelopes with money in it for good luck for their birthdays.  We did a follow-up project involving fake paper money inside a red envelope.  Apparently a group of 5 or 6 kids planned to go to the movies together that night.  They would be bringing their newly acquired money with.  Good luck with that, kids.

A Short Story Christmas

Christmas Card #4 – taking the poor photoshopping up a notch

As you can see, Buddy the Elf and Santa are a big part of my Christmas greeting options.  Probably because it doesn’t get much better than Buddy and Santa.  Especially with other things photoshopped in.

Rachel, Amber, and myself sent the following as an actual Christmas greeting.

We enjoy Kevin Slowey’s brother’s blog, and each year they do a thing where if you send them a Christmas card, they will send you one back.  Last year we were newer blog readers friends, so we didn’t participate.  This year we were  excited to create our entry.  However, we were slightly disappointed devastated to see that a few days after we mailed our card book to them, they were all out.  Since we have not yet gotten a response in the mail, we think we were just seconds too late in mailing out our card.  However, the important part is spreading Christmas cheer, right?

Well, in any case, please enjoy the following short non-fiction account of a Christmas.

The ‘Stache

The Mustache has come back into popularity.  I do not personally have anything against the mustache, as I do not know if I would recognize my dad without one.  I (sometimes) support (sometimes secretly – sorry Pancho for not vocally promoting you) others having them.  Or I just don’t care that much.  Or I think you look creepy.  It really depends on your face.  However, regardless of my thoughts about how a mustache looks on your face, I recently gained a new respect for those brave souls who have a long term (or longer than 6 baseball innings) commitment to the ‘stache upon their face.

After my own personal encounter, I have learned firsthand some of the pitfalls, downsides, annoying parts, and joys of having a mustache.  If you have never had one, let me share with you:

  1. Mustaches don’t always stick to your face.  Adhesive can wear off.
  2. Mustaches make it nearly impossible to smile or show any facial expression, as they could fall off at any moment.
  3. You become paranoid that your mustache is straight.
  4. You also grow increasingly in your concern over whether your mustache is all laying in the same direction or of the hair is becoming a bit unruly.
  5. Mustaches make it difficult to drink pop.
  6. Mustaches shed.  Sometimes into said pop.
  7. At times, one may inhale their mustache hair, causing you to wonder if now you have mustache hair stuck in your nose.  A most unpleasant feeling.
  8. Mustaches do not ensure a Twins win.  Sorry Pavano.  I like your facial hair, but your team still broke my heart.
  9. On the upside – you are pretty much always a crowd pleaser.  Even to your enemies (you are welcome Yankees fans, for bringing you such joy)

I’m guessing that you can relate to my experiences if you have ever grown a mustache for your own face.  While I will not be joining you in the facial hair world, I will may continue to support your attempts by baking you cupcakes.