Monday, November 29, 2010

When Organization Backfires

I recently received an email (waving to Sue in TX) that read, "I may have to stop reading your blog. While I am in awe and inspired, I also feel like an organizational failure. I bow to you. You really have it together."

There was more, but I couldn't read it because at that point I spewed an entire mouthful of coffee onto the screen of my MacBook, held my belly and laughed at the irony.

So for Sue in Texas and for anyone else who may have read my blog and mistaking thought, "wow, she's got it all together" I present to you two episodes from this weekend alone.

Exhibit A:

It was super early in the morning. We call my son the "Rooster" because he is up before sunrise each day and then wakes up the entire farm. Since we were up and I knew the grocery stores would be crazy with Turkey Day shoppers later, I did the organized, well-planned thing and decided to go shopping.

I attempted this without caffeine.

I even took one of the Twinkies with us.

We stopped at Dunkins for a muffin for the Boy and hit the dreaded grocery store just as they were unlocking the doors.

We went up and down each aisle and filled the cart higher and higher. At some point between aisle 4 and 6 the Boy gave the Girl a taste of his coffee cake muffin. She went crazy for it. And by crazy, I mean the sweet face you see in the photo above turned into a shrieking mess who NEEDED more muffin NOW!

So aisles 6 through the produce section were a blur of throwing things in the cart while girlfriend shrieked and twisted and attempted to free herself from the confines of it's belt while Big Brother beg, pleaded and whined his demands for various cookies, crackers, and other sweet treats that were at his eye level and marketed in packaging designed to allure 5 year olds. We were more entertaining that any float in the Macy's Day Parade. We were a sight to behold.

And much like marathoners who have the finish line in view, I rallied when I saw the check out lines. I tossed the contents of our heaping cart onto the belt. I gave the people behind me the look that reads, "Don't judge me, pity me because karma will get you." And that's when I realized my wallet was not in my pocket. Nor was my debit card. Nor was my credit card. Nor was any wampum or trading cards or anything else that I could barter with.

I thought it was in the car. After all, I had purchased a muffin at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru en route to Hell, um I mean the grocery store. I told the cashier I would be right back. I gave one last "don't judge me glance" to the heavy-sighing Bachelor behind me. I took the kids and jetted to the parking lot only to find some loose change that I had received at the drive-thru on the passenger seat.

Because I had found 2 dollars in the center console of the car and had paid cash there. Of course I forgot that part until I saw the change.

One quick call to my hubby alerted me to the fact that the wallet was on the table.

Where I had left it.

After I had taken it out of my pocket to make sure that my credit and/or debit card were in it before leaving that morning.

You know, because I am organized and well-planned like that.

Exhibit B:

We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's. She makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker-hostess.


She bakes the bread from scratch to make the stuffing.

Me...I open a box of Stove Top and call it a holiday. But, I digress.

We had decided to stay the night at her house and since she was putting out an elaborate feast for us on Thursday, I figured the least we could do was supply breakfast on Friday.

I bought fruit and hubby planned to make crepes. So as to be well-planned and organized, he cracked 20 eggs, mixed them with milk and vanilla and funneled it into a gallon milk container for easy transport and easy cooking in the morning.

We went to NH for Thanksgiving.

The raw egg and milk mixture spent Thanksgiving back in our fridge in Massachusetts.


Until a baby woke in the week hours and said mixture was poured into a bottle.

And 4 ounces of it were consumed before the mistake was noticed.

According to our pediatrician most US eggs are free from salmonella. That's a good thing.

She's now on 72 hour "symptom watch" though.

You know it's going to be a rough week when Hubby starts the morning by writing a note to the nanny and asks, "How do you spell diarrhea?"

And so my friends...I am organized. I am well-planned. But, by no means do I have it all together.

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed the extra long holiday weekend.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shades of Grey

I've created a new daily blog specifically dedicated to classroom organization and management. Please visit me there at: The Clutter-Free Classroom

I got my hair did last night.

And today I'm a new woman.

Not really. I'm still the same old me, but with darker hair.

As a kid, my hair was super dark. Then 15 year old me discovered Sun-In. And in my teenage logic I deducted that since the directions called for sun or a blowdryer then the necessary ingredient for developing sun-kissed tresses was heat. So I tested my hypothesis and sprayed the heck out of my hair and then slid a curling iron slowly through it.

Oh, the heat activated the color alright and I had streaks of orange hair. As in Sunkist oranges and not sun-kissed. It was awful.

After that I retired from the role of Beauty School Dropout and ventured into salons where I entrusted the pros to work their magic. This summer I went out on a limb and had it highlighted. It was borderline blond.

Blonds don't really have more fun in case you are wondering.

Last night I had her darken it.

Today I went to school and overheard this conversation while I was doing a running record:

Student A: Mrs. D needs to spend more time in the sun. Her blond streaks are fading.
Student B: That's not from the sun. She dyes it to cover the grey.
Student A: She doesn't have grey hair.
Student B: That's because she buys brown hair with highlights.

Dear Student B, I'll be working on your report card this weekend. Just saying. Love, Your Teacher

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

I have a love/hate relationship with field trips.

I usually love to plan and organize events, but when it comes to field trips...not so much.

They are so much work to plan. You often have to track down paperwork. There is a healthy amount of stress. It's challenging enough to keep tabs on 23 kids within the confines of the classroom. Trying to do so out of your element in the big wide world can make your head spin.

This week my class went on two field trips.

They were polar opposites on the field trip spectrum.

Tuesday we went to Plimoth Plantation.
The Good: It was an amazing educational opportunity. We've been studying the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags for the past month and this truly made the history come alive. They were able to see, hear, smell, and experience all that we had been learning about in books. That's priceless.

The Bad: We didn't have as much time there as I would have liked. There were over 1900 students visiting on the day we went. When you dress kids in outerwear they all start to look alike. There was a lot of head counting going on.

The Ugly: Two plus hour bus ride through Boston way!

It was worth the ride and I would do it again, but man did it make me appreciate today's field trip.

Today we boarded a bus much like we had done on Tuesday.

However, there was no sitting in bumper to bumper traffic with a chorus of "are we there yets" while hoping and praying nobody wet their pants...including the chaperones who had boarded the bus with extra large Dunkin Donuts coffees.

Today we simply had to travel 5 minutes to our destination which was another elementary school in town. There we walked down one hall and into the gym. We enjoyed a presentation on woodwind instruments and then we hopped back onto our bus for the "don't blink or you'll miss it commute" back to our school. Easy Peasy!

My week of field trips got me thinking. Organizing for a field trip would be blog worthy.

And so I will do just that next week. In the meantime I have my usual Saturday morning field trips planned. Grocery store and post office here I come.

Happy weekend!

Instant Downloads

I've been wanting to switch to an automatic instant download option for awhile now and have played around with my options. I had started to set up a site of my own, but have decided that for the time being I'm better off going through Teacher Pay Teachers.

It's got a great reputation and at this point it's the easiest choice for me.

I've already uploaded most of the products that I already had available along with some great freebies. They are all instant downloads so you don't need to wait.

Check it out by clicking on the button.

I still have tons of inventory from my online store (teacher resource books, leveled libraries, guided reading sets, etc), but I plan to box it all up and store it until next summer. I will post some seasonal items on here when appropriate (i.e. Valentine's books in February), but for the most part I'm just going to focus on the digital files.

Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where Does the Time Go

Holy Cow! 2010 hit fast forward. I've been running at full speed since the school year started. I've been meaning to blog. I've composed many a post in my head while driving or showering or sitting at my son's tennis practice, but something always comes up. You know how it goes. You fully intend to do something...

And then you wake up one Monday morning and step outside with your school bag and cup of coffee and you realize, "I'm holding a travel mug of hot coffee." And you ask yourself, "when did I make the switch from iced coffee?"

And then you notice that squirrels have eaten through your pumpkins because Halloween was a week ago. So you take out your camera because you want to blog about how time has slipped away.

And you snap a photo of the leaves that have all fallen from the tree and are covered in frost. Which makes you bitter because you know that means...
...that your car will be covered in frost. So you get inside and for the first time in the season... turn the heat on. And you sit in your car and sip your hot coffee because it beats scraping the frost off manually. And while you sit there you mentally compose a blog post about it and promise yourself that you are going to put it online that night because you miss blogging and you miss the people and you have been meaning to get back to it.

And then you get to school and you get busy and the next thing you know it is 11/18 and all the pics are still on your camera and three weeks have slipped away. Yikes!

Hope you are all doing well. I've missed you and am happy to be back.

My head is above water. I have the holidays under control. Seriously. Shopping is done and wrapped. I even got Hubby to put the lights up already. Now all we need is a tree and some cookies. I have an amazingly awesome student teacher who is gearing up for her takeover week. I am going to my sisters for Thanksgiving so I don't need to cook or clean a thing.

I'm back baby!

What's new with you?