Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Day of Pre-School (so it's pretty clear that SUMMER is here...)

Mikelle is no longer a third grader and Christian finished Pre-School. :sniff: :sniff:

Between seeing him getting off that bus for the last time (he'll walk to school next year, as pre-school was at a district campus a little further away) and how cute those little pre-schoolers were with their teacher in their little group, I'm having a hard time with this. I also made the mistake of going through some older pictures last night and running into some baby pictures. Of both of them! So yes, I'm going through the "they're growing up too fast" trepidation.

At left, is Christian with Miss Nancy yesterday , his wonderful pre-school teacher(i took him to class since I didn't have a picture with him and his teacher yet). The Little Coyotes pre-school program has been phenomenal. So many kids could benefit from it! He did wonderful and I know he is that much more prepared for kindergarten.

And here he is, getting off the bus for the last time. The driver and the aid said they'll miss him and really enjoyed having him. :sniff: :sniff:

And like any camera obsessed mother, here is one closer up.

And I couldn't let pre-school end without expressing my gratitude to Miss Nancy, so I made this for her. Christian said he gave her a hug when she opened it.

We took the kids to the neighborhood pool the night before. Christian was a little rusty on his swimming skills, but after working with him for a few minutes, he seemed to pick them up again. Still, I'm not ready to say he "knows how to swim", but he is pretty close. But not close enough for me to be absolutely terrified everytime he goes near a swimming pool, mostly because he is (and has always been) a fearless water-kid.

I made the mistake of going through some older pictures yesterday and found this one of Mikelle from just before she started pre-school and was at one of her swimming lessons! I wanted to post it, but the scanner is being dumb. I'll have to do a follow-up post with those snapshots down memory lane.
Added 5/31/09: Here is a LO I did of Mikelle's swimming lessons from Summer 2004! :sniff: Look how adorable and little she is!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mikelle-isms from the past 24 hours.

Mikelle: Mom, I want this gigantic cupcake maker I saw on TV! (as per a marathon commercial meant to entice...)
Me: You need to stop paying attention to commercials. They're meant to make you want what they're selling.
Mikelle: I don't pay attention to the commercials that much. Only when they have something I want.

Mikelle: (bossing around Christian) Go get a bowl from the dishwasher!
Christian: (going to the dishwasher and yelling out to her in the family room) Are these clean or dirty?!
Mikelle: (calling back to Christian) Are the bowls on the top full of dirty yucky water?!
: Yeah!
Mikelle: They're they're clean!

BTW...yesterday was the LAST day! For lunch, us teachers and I went to the local dive bar and they had their alcoholic daiquiris and margaritas and I had a ball with my virgin strawberry banana daiquiri (forgot how much I loved those! Used to make them in the blender all the time before Chris and I had kids! We need to start doing that again!) and club sandwhich! Woo hoo! Of course I got hassled for the virgin part, but I just gave it back to them. We all know each other pretty well by now. The other LDS teacher was going to come (she has in the past), but she had to stay and do something with her room. Though no one would have hassled her about a virgin daiquiri because she's pregnant! lol

And it was PERFECT day to end the year. After crappy triple digit days, it was in the 80s, breezy, NO SUN and sprinkly. PERFECT. If it was that way all summer, you wouldn't hear a complaint from me!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

T-Minus 5 Days and Counting.... the last day of school. Well, it is for me down at my campus. Christian and Mikelle have another week to go (and you don't hear me complaining). I do not know how well I can get through this coming final week. This past week was not good. I hope these next five days go better than the last set of weekdays.

And I'm trying to snap out of the depressive state I've been in. I was fine Friday night as it was Mikelle and I's annual Mommy/Daughter Date. Christian and Chris went camping at the Fathers/Sons outing, so Mikelle and I went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack way over by AZ Mills (she's been wanting to go back there since we went there as a family last July!), then we went to As You Wish and painted pottery until they closed at 10pm. I would have liked more time to work on my piece, but at least I had the chance to be creative outside the classroom. But of course it was an expensive way to accomplish that needed outlet. Still, Mikelle and I had a good time, and unlike past times she and I have painted there, she was much more cooperative and responsive to my suggestions, even if she didn't always accept them. But hey, it's progress! :-)

Unfortunately, Christian came down with an ear infection while he and Chris were getting ready to settle in for the night with the other guys up on the Mogollon Rim, so they came back home Friday night around 11pm. Chris took Christian to the doctor first thing Saturday morning, and Mikelle and I continued our annual tradition and went out to breakfast. I'm glad she chose the Queen Creek Olive Mill for breakfast. It's nearby (like the doctor's office, so we could be in touch with Chris easier) and a nice local part of history and business. I have to remember to bring out-of-towners there. That is, if there are ever out-of-towners that come and visit. But that's another matter entirely.

However, as Saturday went on, the "poopy-place" I've been with work kind of returned. I just wanted to be in bed, even when I'm not tired, I make myself sleep. Not good. I did that today while sending Chris and the kids to church. I hope it's a temporary thing and once this school year is behind me, so will this "poopy place". But one good thing came out of me not leaving the house in over 24 hours -- I didn't have to feel the reality of the 107 degrees is reached today.

And here's a thank you "shout out" to Lara for the new blog header! Thanks Lara!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Goofballs, Gargoyles, Art and Artifacts

And not necessarily in that order.

Mothers Day Weekend
Here are the goofballs and I earlier today.

Saturday May 9, 2009
This weekend was spent back down at "work" yesterday, but not in the technical sense. This was more for a family event. Just down the road from the school (less than a mile, easily) are the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
The District Art and Music departments decided to have a day celebrating our music and art accomplishments at the Casa Grande Ruins there on the north end of Coolidge. While it was nice to show off some of my students' artwork, I do hope next year it is publicized better AND taking place somewhere fromJanuary-March. Those two factors will easily make it a much more successful event!

Here are some of the artworks I brought to display. Some have been posted on here before.
Some 6th Grade work of a line series with insects

The 7th and 8th grade project using Chagall's "I and the Village"
as inspiration.

Just to give you an idea of the size of these prehistoric Hohokam ruins, you can see Chris and the kids approaching them:

But yes, it was HOT. It really did do a number on me. Thankfully, the museum and its amenities were available to us:

I've already had enough of the heat. That's bad, isn't it? The temps were just an "intro" of what is to come. The look on these Gargoyle's faces below pretty much sums up how I feel about the heat, intense sunlight and dryness.

But of course, these Gargoyle's (project for 7th and 8th grades) were done in the last couple weeks with open mouths to simulate the original "waterspout" and "drainage" use that original gargoyles of the Gothic period of the 12th-14th centuries, primarily in France. Well, at the bottom you'll see the
Monsters Inc. "Mike Wasowski" Gargoyle didn't have the open mouth as per the project assignment. The "Mike Wasowski" maker still did well on the project, but he'll lose a couple points for leaving out the little detail.

"Raw" Just Constructed Gargoyles
(7th and 8th Grade)

Some Gargoyles that were fired, and before they're glazed with the color. Then they'll go back in the kiln again for a second firing. These ended up on my desk, because I couldn't identify the student who made it, based on the initials and other info that was supposed to be carved on the bottom. But the Gargoyle will be claimed! If not, I get a visual aid to use for next year!
A few completed Gargoyles. This is one 8th grade student Gargoyle and two 7th grade ones.
Some completed 5th grade Coil and Pinch Pots

And there you have it. 9 school days left until summer break! (but I'm not counting or anything...)

Monday, May 4, 2009

I never thought a phrase with "throw up" in it could sound so cute...

First Things First...
Before I get to the reason behind the title, just posting some um, "outtake" squinty photos from Easter Sunday. I didn't share them before, so here they are. This was of course after the fun Easter morning candy excitement and the excitement of looking for eggs. This was the part where they had to look clean and ready to go to church! Ahhh....a child's favorite part!

Easter fell after the unfortunate teeth accident at school and before she had them fixed. (Mikelle did get her teeth fixed last Tues (4/28). Not a 100% fix of course, but a huge improvement! her two front teeth look as good as new!)

But I Digress....
So as per one of my recent posts, last Thurs Christian got a mild stomach thing that was very fast moving. He threw up once and then within 12 hours it was as if it never happened. Well, tonight Mikelle hurled in the backseat of the car. She said it was because daddy was driving too fast, but we were just driving down the street in our neighborhood and it was a typical Chris-speed that is usually a little below typical residential speeds. And other little things tonight added up to Mikelle's incident being the same little stomach thing that Christian had. So we get home and I help Mikelle with a quick "rinse down" in the shower and she insists to curl up in the rocking chair instead of going right to bed.

She said, "what if I throw up in the middle of the night?"

I was in the kitchen and I said I had a bowl for her to keep by her bed and Christian wanted to take it to her. I pulled the plastic bowl out of the cupboard and handed it to Christian. He took it to her and gosh, I wish I had it on tape. The cutest little thing as he walked it over to her and said, "this is to throw up in tonight, okay?"

Maybe it's one of those "hand to be there" things. But I never thought the subject of vomit could "come out" (no pun intended) sounding so cute.

I'm sure Mikelle will be fine. It was a mild little stomach attack with Christian and it's looking that way with Mikelle. It's Chris's turn to stay home if that is what is necessary tomorrow.

To Avoid Ending on Vomit....
And now, since I don't want to end on the vomit-story, here's another Easter Sunday picture. :-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Adorable Little Birthday House and "Christian-isms"

Mikelle recently made this oil pastel house from her Blackbird Art class, and she gave it to me for my birthday earlier this week. Now I have to decide the perfect place to hang it!

I had to update my blog sooner rather than later, because my last entry was such a downer. But unfortunately, I still feel in that "down" range. With breaking out on my chin and weight gain from the last 18 months or so, I feel like such a "waste of space". And yes, I know what a self-defeating and ridiculous mindset that is. I'm working on it. And still, I'm not forgetting all the good things there are and the good things that are going on. We're also lucky to have our jobs, our house, healthy children, and despite some little hits from these lovely economical times, we really can't complain too much.

To lighten the mood, here are some "Christian-isms" that have been experienced lately. it also seems fitting to put a recent school picture of him to lead into the conversations that have been shared. A Christian-ism is a question he asks for the sake of asking them. Questions asked just in the last 48 Hours:

Q: Why do crickets crick?

Q: Why do you have boobs?

Q: Why do batteries have to recharge?

First of all, I didn't know "crick" was a verb. Who knew? As for the boob question, I handled it just as matter-of-factly as anything else.

I said, so we can use them over and over. Oh wait, that was the battery answer. For the boob question, I said, "because I am a girl. Girls grow up and have boobs."

And he followed up with (and I'm not kidding) "but why are they big things?"
He tried to pat them while asking it, and as usual, I shoo'd his hand away.

I said, "Mommys sometimes have to feed little babies milk, and the boobies are where the milk is, when there is a little baby."

He got distracted with Wow!Wow!Wubzy! (thankfully) after that.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Christian got some fluke of a stomach bug yesterday, and I left work early to get him and wait for Chris to come home early so I could go back to work for the evening for the first annual carnival. By the end of yesterday, I had driven 120 miles total (30 each way). I was planning on leaving work early today (Friday) for a doctor's appt way up in Scottsdale, but due to Christian's recovery (he's doing fine) I decided I needed to stay home today until it's time to leave for the appt. I feel terribly guilty about it.

And I'm trying to figure out exactly where this burnout is coming from? Anyone with an IQ that adds up to a reasonable earthquake knows that teaching 9 grades a discipline involving numerous supplies and projects (and practically a $0 budget) can lead to burnout. Not only that, but trying to run a household and be a good mom along with the teaching demands is a given to fill a plate and then some.

But that isn't the end of it. Along with the basic teaching and family life, comes district politics, meetings, school politics, etc etc. Yeah, you can just imagine. And in a profession that is heavy on the estrogen, you can imagine the, um, how do I say this on a blog that I'm trying to keep rated PG? Let's just say there should be a law that limits t
he amount of women that can work in one place. (Okay, maybe a law would be a bad idea. Hair salons would be in demand for a lot of flamboyant men hairdressers to fulfill the male quota, and in rural areas or the South, that would be a problem. But in places like LA, San Francisco and New York, the law probably wouldn't be an issue. )

I have to say, I love my students. Yes, even the kindergartners. (They're too darn cute.) Therefore, I'm pretty sure the students ar
e not really contributing to the burnout. I think the amount of them are. And when there are some teachers that just see special area teachers as "babysitters" and don't pick them up on time or generally appreciate what we special teachers do, that is a contributing factor. Plus, when there are discipline issues, there is frustration when it feels as if we teachers are not being supported. We teachers of the arts (music included!) are constantly having to justify our discipline and programs. People still don't see the importance of the arts! But oh, sports are the golden road to heaven! Please.

Which leads me to another frustration: If a student is a good athlete, it's AMAZING how when they are a discipline problem how it's danced around to make sure they can still play. I'm so sick of sports
promoting such hypocrisy. I could go more in detail, but again, I'm trying to keep this blog PG-rated.

Another one of my theories to the burnout factor? I don't like disappointing people. I have a horrible case of "not-selfish enough" in this area. Oh, don't get me wrong. I know how to say "no". I just hate disappointing people! Some people honestly don't care if they disappoint people or not. Trust me, there are some colleagues that don't care. And if more people would be less selfish, many of the world's problems would be eliminated! But in this case, I'm too worried about making sure I don't disappoint anyone. Therefore, it throws some unfortunate side effects:
  • Paranoia that I am seen as a "problem".
  • Worrying that I'm not doing enough.
  • Feeling as if I'm not taken seriously.
And then comes the frustrations IN the classroom. But these I knew I signed up for and while they're frustrating, they're no surprise. It would be like a cop that's frustrated that there are so many thugs out there. It's what they signed up for.

And it is nice to collaborate with other art teachers (in real life or online) and find out I'm
not alone. The blue areas are taken directly from a website that has become my best friend and I agree with wholeheartedly. I could have written them myself!

(for the original link to these that includes more pet peeves, click here I took just a few, but there are certainly loads more that I say AMEN too!)
  • Students who waste paper and throw their art away.
  • Students who don't show their artwork to their families. It usually ends up in the bottom of their desks or in the garbage.
  • No matter how hard we promote, display, and teach, the budgets given us for our classroom are ridiculous. (or in my case, you don't even know WHAT the budget is! You put in your supply request, you don't know what has been ordered, when it was ordered or if it was even ordered!)
  • When students do their artwork and then leave their mess for me to clean up as if I were their mother. (Thankfully, this is less of a problem this year. But don't get me wrong, it's still a problem.)
  • Students who tear down or vandalize art work that is the hallway. (I won't hang artwork in the hallway anymore because of this... )'
  • The day you start painting with watercolors, they turn off all of the water in the building. (this happened once!)
  • Students who still don't understand that a painting needs to be painted--in other words, a student who paints a beautiful alien and says "I'm finished", when all I can see is the vast expanse of white paper left around the alien!! (Word. I get a lot of groans and moans when I send the white paper back with little Mary or Johnny to continue and I give suggestions hoping they'll use them or my suggestion will inspire them to do something they came up with.) And this pet peeve yields this one: Students whose un-finished artwork is "good enough".
  • My biggest pet peeve about being in art education is that the so-called "regular" classroom teachers routinely refer to me as "JUST the art teacher" (Of course this opinion is often shared by colleagues who think that sports are the cat's meow, and when there is a discipline problem, there is a feeling that it "doesn't count" if the problem happens in my room.)
  • Anyone who thinks I just teach kids how to draw. I teach reading, writing, math, science, history, world cultures and religions, geography, spelling, craftsmanship, visual and verbal expression, symbolism, recycling and reuse, aesthetic perception, research, personal and collective responsibility, technology, cooperation and kindness all within my art classes.(nothing more to add there. Amen, sistah!)
  • People who say, "It's only art how can you fail?" "You should get an "A" for trying." "Take art, its an easy "A". "I came everyday, I should at least get a "D". Needless to say, the students who fail, don't come to school or do anything, right? Oh yea, the parents all have degrees from the finest art schools in the country.....