Monday, December 12, 2011

Impressive is in the Eye of the Beholder

Today we were working on our January quilt.  Yes, I know it’s still December, but when the kids come back from winter break it will be January, and I have to have the correct quilt in the window each month…and on the very first day of the month…no matter what! No joke…the second those little kiddos leave on Friday, the December quilt will go down and the January quilt will go up.  OCD…works for me!

Our monthly quilts involve two 8in x 8in pieces. One is an actual quilt square (Checkerboard and Whirligig are the ones we use most often)…it’s just construction paper, people, don’t be too impressed.  Anyway, one piece is always the “quilt” piece and the other piece is always a “theme” piece (i.e., apples for September, jack-o-lanterns for October, etc.).  The “theme” piece for our January quilt is a snowflake. 

Now snowflakes can be a little tricky, especially for First Graders…heck, sometimes they’re tricky for me.  You have to fold the paper just so, then you have to cut through all those folds, then you have to glue the snowflake onto a piece of paper…without gluing the entire contents of your desk onto it as well!  As tough as they are, though, the kids just love making them.

So the kids are folding and cutting and gluing, and I’m walking around marveling at their masterpieces.  And, really, they are doing a great job…much better than I had anticipated.  And, of course, I don’t hesitate to tell them so.  “Wow!  You guys are doing a great job.  You are all impressing me!”  I said in my sticky-sweet, gag-me-with-a-fork, First-Grade teacher voice. 

At that moment I happened to be standing near a student in my class who, well, let’s just say his fine motor skills are, well, um, well, let’s just say he’s “fine motor skill challenged” which means his snowflake doesn’t really resemble a snowflake at all; rather, it looks more like a piece of paper that lost a battle with a garbage disposal. 

I finish telling the class how much they are impressing me and he holds up his, well, his piece of paper that really wants to be a snowflake, but clearly isn’t, and he guffaws (yes, six-year olds guffaw) and he says, “Yeah, well, I bet I’m not impressing you” guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.  Well, yes and no, kid. 

Certainly his snowflake wasn’t impressive…but the fact that it didn’t even come close to resembling a snowflake…well, hey, that was kind of impressive, wouldn’t you say?  However, the most impressive thing of all was his attitude.  He didn’t cry, he didn’t say, “I can’t do it,”  and most importantly, he didn’t give up.  He simply walked his snowflake tragedy to the recycle box, dumped it, picked up a new piece of paper, and started over.  Now that's impressive, my friends...very, very impressive!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What’s the Artist’s Name?

When Justin Bieber first hit the scene…how long’s it been now?  Like two years?  Well, anyway, when he first hit the scene my daughter was quite smitten.  I, however, was not.  Not to be mean or anything because he is, after all, someone’s child, but I really couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  In all fairness, I guess it wasn’t him, per se (though I did think he looked like a girl and sounded like one, too); rather, it was more that I’m simply not a fan of the whole let’s throw millions of dollars at these young kids, follow their every move, and then get really excited and hound them even more when they crash and burn…do the names Britney or Lindsey sound familiar?

I teased her about The Bieb, all in good fun, of course, until one day the crush had run its course and she simply didn’t like him anymore…thank goodness.  So we were Bieber-free for about a year…and then one day one of her very best girlfriends decides to go and become his biggest fan.  Like.  Ever.  Seriously, she is over the moon for him.  She subscribes to his Twitter account, Facebook, and, of course, is a member of his fan club.  She has pictures of him on her phone that look like she actually hangs out with him.  Oh, look, there’s Justin and Selena at the mall.  Oh, and there they are at Starbucks.  It’s sheer madness!  The worst part is that she’s taking my daughter right along with her.  Argh…after all my de-Biebing efforts, we’re right back where we started…my daughter swooning over Justin, and me teasing her about it every chance I get. 

A couple of months ago they heard Justin was going to be in Las Vegas on New Year’s Day, and my daughter’s friend instantly began planning how they could attend the concert, which ended up being quite easy since she has relatives who live in Vegas and her parents said they’d get her the tickets for her Christmas present.  So the friend was set, but now they had to finagle my daughter going to the concert, too. 

Now there is no way in you-know-where that I am going to attend a Justin Bieber concert. Judge me all you want, but I’m just not that mom. I will buy the tickets, no problem, but I draw the line at actually sitting through a concert.  As luck would have it, the friends’ parents were both happy to attend.  They have two other daughters and they were planning on making it a fun family event and were gracious enough to include my daughter.

I thankfully dodged the Bieber bullet and really only had to brace myself for how much the concert tickets would cost me, which really wasn’t all that big of a concern.  I mean, just because I don’t want to waste my time seeing the Bieb doesn’t mean I don’t want my daughter to go and have a great time.  I’m not that mom, either. 

So we’re all set.  My daughter is going to go with her friend’s family and now all we have to do is secure the tickets.  Not an easy feat, but still, we’re pretty confident that if both families are on “ticket alert” that we can come up with some tickets.  So I go on the Bieb’s website and sign up to be alerted when the tickets come on sale; and the other family does the same.  The fact that I then started anxiously awaiting word on Justin Bieber tickets…well, I really have no words to describe just how wrong that is…on every level.

Next comes the waiting part.  We’re waiting and waiting and waiting, and we’re starting to get a little nervous.  I mean, we’re nearing the middle of December and still no word on when the tickets will go on sale.  My friend’s family is really starting to panic because this is the big gift for all her girls, and, well, if we don’t get tickets, then they’ll be scrambling for the big presents at the last minute. No fun there.

They finally decide to call the hotel where the Biebs is scheduled to perform to see what’s up and they’re told…you ready for this?  They were told the concert had been canceled.  More specifically, that the concert was never 100% going to happen and now it’s, like, 0% not going to happen.  My daughter was at a friend’s house when she found this out and she instantly texted me.  Though I was grateful that my hard-earned money wouldn’t be going to the Biebs, I was sincerely sad for both my daughter and her friend; they were so looking forward to this concert. 

Now those of you who know me know that I’m one of those slightly OCD people who has to hear (and see) things for herself.  Like, if I go into a store and ask for a specific item and the salesperson says the store doesn’t have the item (or is out of the item), I’m the person who will go and look for it anyway, just to be sure.  And guess what?  About 90% of the time I end up finding it!

It’s not that I didn’t believe the other parents; it’s just that I needed to hear it for myself.  So I called the hotel.  And here’s where it gets funny….

A very nice lady takes my call and I explain to her that I am calling to check on the New Year’s Day tickets for Justin Bieber. I hear her clacking away on her computer and she says, “Hmm…January 1st…I don’t see anything on that day.  What’s the artist’s name again?”

I repeat, “Justin Bieber.”

“Beaver?”  she says.

“No,” I say, “Bieber.  B-i-e-b-e-r.”

“Oh,” she says, “and what’s the artist’s first name?”


I instantly fall in love with this woman. She doesn’t know who Justin Bieber is and all of a sudden I want to ask her to marry me.  (But then I realize that’s not such a big compliment…I mean, I’m a pretty big shopper, I’m not all that great of a cook, and the skills I do have, well, you know, they won’t really work on her.) So I ditch the idea of the whole ask a strange lady to marry me thing and decide to simply be content that there are still people on this planet for whom Bieber fever might actually be a legitimate illness. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Excuse Me, But That Book Is MINE!

One very important lesson getting older has taught me is that if you don’t ask for something, you don’t get it…Duh! 

This wisdom has carried over into my classroom in terms of Back-to-School Night Wish Lists.  A few years ago I started hearing about teachers putting up wish lists at Back-to-School Night, but I was always too embarrassed to be that bold.  (I never want to be just one more person asking for one more thing from a parent.)  But…

As I watched other teachers get many of the items they asked for, and as I watched their classrooms fill up with really cool stuff, I thought, ‘Don’t be so stupid, just ask, if they don’t want to get it they won’t, but there’s truly no harm in asking.’  So…

I started asking for book sets to be used for reading groups (this means I need six copies of each book).  Not a small donation, mind you, but not a bank breaker for most folks, either.  What I have found is that many parents want to donate items like this and are glad to have something very specific to look for.  In any given year I might get five families who donate a set of books…over time that adds up, and I now have quite a nice library of reading group books thanks to these generous parents.  Anyway…

One of my dads very happily said he’d donate six copies of a Ready Freddy title I had on my list.  GREAT!  He ordered them, they arrived, and he sent his son to school with them.  His son was beyond thrilled!  In fact, he was so thrilled that he started giving them away!  With sheer pride on his face he said, “Look teacher, here’s the books…and look teacher…I already gave one to Johnny.”  He started looking around like, ‘Who else can I give one to?’  At this point, Johnny had already put the book in his backpack!  And I was left standing there thinking, ‘NO, NO, NO!  Those are MY books!  Somebody stop him!  NOW!’

I look at him with my most charming smile and very gently explain to him that those books are for the class and that they are to be used during reading group time (and that they are mine, mine, mine).  Luckily for me he’s one of those happy go lucky kids…he looked at me like, 'Oh, okay' and marched right back over to Johnny and told him he had to give the book back.  I must say Johnny looked a little stunned, but the most important thing here is that I got MY book back!  Whew!  I was worried I might have to tackle poor Johnny for it!  But…

As the saying goes…all’s well that ends well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantasy vs. Reality

Fantasy:  Bang-up sex with your husband followed by lovingly drifting off to dream land together in a perfect spoon of satisfied bliss.

Reality:  Bang-up sex with your husband followed by quick showers and him returning to the living room to continue watching Monday Night Football and you busting out the ironing board to get ready for work the next day. 

I know, I know…TMI, over-share, and all that jazz.  Just keepin' it real folks, just keepin' it real!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gotta' Love...

Gotta’ love the kid who sits down at his desk at the beginning of the day, whips out a pair of sunglasses (from where, you don’t know, they just magically appear), puts them on his face, looks around at the rest of the kids like, ‘Oh, yeah, let the record show that we have just established that I am the coolest cat in the room,’ then looks at you like, ‘What?  You got a problem?  Go ahead, lady, do your thing…I’ve got my sunglasses on and I am ready to learn!’

Gotta’ love the kid who, in the middle of an art lesson, decides his front shirt pocket is the perfect storage place for his scissors and glue stick…and then looks around at everyone like, ‘How clever am I?  All the rest of you losers store your supplies in your baskets…big babies…I’ve got mine in my shirt…suckers!’

Gotta’ love the kid who, at the beginning of a lesson in which he gets to use a pen, takes the pen, clips it to his T-shirt collar, and says, “Look everyone, I’m a dentist!” and then laughs hysterically, and then says over and over, “I’m a dentist” (ha, ha, ha, ha), “I’m a dentist” (ha, ha, ha ha), “I’m a dentist” (ha, ha, ha, ha).  A pen clipped to T-shirt equals a dentist?  Really?  If you say so, kid. 

And my all-time favorite…Gotta’ love the kid who calls you over while on the playground at recess…looks at you all serious like…and with all the sincerity a 6-year old can muster says, oh so earnestly, “I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve finally figured out who my favorite teacher is.”  I smile all big like, and just as I’m about to say, “Thank you,” I realize the name that came out of his mouth was not mine!  Ouch!  I must confess that one hurt just a little bit. 

Gotta’ love…working with kids!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Tree Grows in…a 6-Year Old's Pocket?

The other day I’m in the middle of a lesson and I hear a very loud, very exaggerated sniff.  I look in the general direction of the snorfel and see a student sniffing grass…hey, it’s First Grade, folks, it’s not that kind of grass…it’s playground grass, people, I’m talking about real, live grass (or, at least it was live until my student picked it).  Anyway…

As I look over I notice his hand is moving from below is nose to below his seat partner’s…he takes his handful of grass, shoves it under his seat partner’s nose, and says, “Hey, get a whiff of this.”  His seat partner looks at him like, “What the heck?” then he looks at me like, “Do something…please!”  I give the student “sharing” the grass “the look” and I point to the trash can…and this is where it gets good…

Remember, he’s 6, and he’s a bit on the short side…so imagine a pint-sized 6-year old standing up…and as he stands up, what appears to be a tree starts to unfurl from his pocket.  I really wish I had the words to explain this, but…he stands up and there is literally a branch, with foliage and everything, bursting out of his pocket…truly, I don’t even know how he was able to sit down…I can’t even sit with my cell phone in my pocket, and this kid’s got branches, and leaves, and everything! 

The funniest part is that this whole little 10-second exchange does not faze him one bit.  He sees my look, sees where I am pointing, shrugs his shoulders, stands up all casual like, and heads for the trash can.  Of course, by the time he gets to the trash can, half of his “pocket tree” is now all over the floor.  I swear, it’s been days and I’m still finding parts of that tree around the room.

I can just my notes the first time I have a sub:  Make sure you check so-and-so’s pocket when he comes in from the playground…for trees!  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who Gets in Trouble?

Here’s a little something I call, “Who gets in trouble?”

As you know, I teach First Grade, which means I spend my days with 6-year olds.  Now, technically, they’re 5, 6, and 7, and in their presence I would never, ever generalize and call them all 6; nope, whenever I talk about their age in front of them, believe me I am very sure to use their exact age, down to the month and day!  (Remember when being 5½ was so very important?)

But since we’re all grown ups here, and since we long ago stopped caring about being 5½, let’s just keep it simple and call them all 6-year olds.  So…

Last week, after the last recess, the 6-year olds piled into the classroom and returned to their seats.  They settled themselves pretty quickly and quietly (it was a hot day and we were all drained by the heat).  We were about to begin our final lesson for the day when one of the 6-year olds raised his hand, pointed to the 6-year old in front of him, and said, “She kicked me in the nuts.” 

A little taken aback by the use of his frank language, but always one to capture a teachable moment when I can, I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, but just so I understand correctly, what you are telling me is that someone kicked you in your private parts?”

His response, “Yeah, the private parts called my nuts.  She kicked me there.”

So lucky readers, here’s my question:  Who gets in trouble?  The boy for saying nuts…twice?!  Or the girl for kicking him in the, um, nuts?

And you think teaching is easy…you try making these types of split-second, life altering decisions and then tell me how easy it is!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And The Eyes Have It...

So the other day I accidentally only wore one contact.  I know what you’re thinking, How does a person accidentally only wear one contact?  I mean, you only have two contacts in the first place, right?  So, that’s like, what, a 50% accuracy rate on doing something as simple as putting in contacts?  I mean, how pathetic, right?

Unfortunately, stuff like this happens to me all the time.  Like the time I went to put my keys in my running shorts only to discover I had my shorts on backwards.  Or the day, just this week, when I felt something was a little off all day long and it wasn’t until I got home and changed that I discovered my skirt was on sideways.  Oh, yes folks, wearing one contact on accident is right up my alley.

In my meager defense, let me just say that when I went to put in my contacts that morning I noticed my left contact was torn so I went to replace it.  I evidently became so distracted by the two extra steps it took to replace the contact that I completely forgot to put my other contact in.

So I go about my day and I’m noticing that, well I’ll be, I’m actually seeing better than I have in a long time.  I mean, I can, like, totally see distance and close up.  I can see things going on far away and I can read the words on my iPhone.  Normally, I can wear my contacts and see far away and wear reading glasses for close up, or I can go without the contacts and read close up but wear glasses for distance viewing…but never both at the same time…until now.  Oh my gosh, a miracle has occurred! 

As my day progresses and I suddenly, and miraculously, have great vision, I’m staring to wonder what’s really going on, and the thought that I maybe, kinda, sorta forgot to put in both contacts comes to mind.  So I did what any normal person shopping in the shoe department at Macy’s would do in a similar circumstance.  I close one eye and look at something in the distance…I close the other eye and look at look at something close up…eyes open, eyes close…look in the distance, look close up…when I hear, “Mom, what are you doing?”  (No wonder my daughter never wants to go anywhere with me!)

I explain to her my eye “situation” and my hypothesis that I think I am wearing only one contact and then I ask her, “Can you tell if I have a contact in each eye?”  She chuckles, rolls her eyes, and gets in my face.  So now, instead of one crazy person in the shoe department of Macy’s, there are two.  She is, literally, looking at my eyeballs, and I am, literally, standing there as wide-eyed and as still as I possibly can.  (No wonder we couldn’t get any service that day!)

“Well,” she says.  “I can see your contact in your left eye, but I can’t see anything in your right.”   So now I’m feeling like the guy who discovered the Post-it note.  I mean, I didn’t mean to wear only one contact, but now that I am I have, like, the best vision ever.  Bye, bye reading glasses!

When I get home, I excitedly tell my husband about my new discovery.

Me:  “Hey, honey, did you know that if you only wear one contact you can see, like, totally normal?”
Him (looking at me all righteous-like behind his reading glasses):  “Of course I knew that.  They say if you wear the contact for your weaker eye then you don’t have to wear anything in your stronger eye.”

Me:  “Nuh uh.  There’s no way you could have known that because I just discovered it!”

Him:  “Jane, um, everyone knows that!”
Me:  “Nuh uh.  I didn’t know about until today…when I discovered it…for the first time ever…today!”

Him:  Exasperated sigh…

Me:  “Well, I think you should try it.  But if you end up liking it I think you should pay me or something since I discovered it.”

Him:  “Whatever…”

So…if you wear contacts and you’ve never tried the one contact thing, accidentally or on purpose, you really should!  I'll even let you pay me later…

Thursday, August 25, 2011

And so it Begins...

School is back in session and we are off to a great start…well, most of us are anyway.  This year’s group is pretty similar to every year’s group in that there are those who are ready for school and ready to work, and there are those who are well, um, not!

My group this year also has that one kid that you take one look at and know that he (or she…in my case it’s a he) is going to give you a run for your money.  The instant this kid walked into the room I knew I was in for it…mind you, he’s not a “bad” kid or anything like that, but let’s just say he’s one of those kids with, “Here comes trouble” written all over his face.  But he’s mine and I’ll figure out something to love about him.  Like, maybe, his journal entry today…

At the beginning of First Grade I keep journal writing simple and I basically ask for just one know, your basic, “I can…I like…Today I am going to…” sentences…anything that makes them feel successful and that makes them feel like they are “writers” is pretty much fine with me.

He finishes up his journal and I go over to his desk to have him read it to me.  I can clearly see that he’s written “I can poop” but I want him to read it to me because, well, listening to the kids read what they have written is one of the highlights of my day and, well, listening to him read, “I can poop” is just too rich to pass up.  I point to the first word, which is the universal teacher sign for, “Hey kid, read this to me.”  He looks at what he’s written, he looks and me, and he says, “I should probably erase that, huh?” and before I can even respond he starts to erase it.  Bummer, too, because sharing it with his parents at conferences would have been hilarious!  I point to his next sentence and he reads, “I can have fun in the bathroom.”  Oh my, I can tell already his journal is going to keep me in stitches…the trick, though, is going to be to not let him know it! 

Same kid, fast forward to later in the day…I’m in the middle of a math lesson, and let’s just be honest here, it’s the first week of school and the kids are tired.  Heck, we’re all tired.  But most of them are really and truly trying very hard to hang in there with me.  Except this kid…I look over and he’s pretty much headless!  Imagine looking at a child sitting in a chair and all you see is arms in the air, a shirt pulled over his head, and a wriggling body.  Now what am I supposed to do?  I can’t give him “the look” because all I see is a collared shirt and the top of his head!  So I did what any veteran teacher would do…I looked at this headless, wriggling body, laughed out loud in my head, and proceeded with my lesson…I mean, really, why interrupt someone having so much fun?!  Oh, and, um, let’s see…was this before or after I spotted him making a butt crack with his belly button?!  Can you say, “Not ready for First Grade?” 

It’s going to be an interesting year folks, that’s for sure!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


So my 25th high school reunion was last weekend and preparing for it caused all kinds of angst and drama.  Well, not in any real, serious kind of way, more like in a joking, “Oh, my gawd I’m not old enough to be 25 years out of high school” kind of way.  Joking around about it and having fun with it is the only way I know how to cope with the fact that Oh my gawd I’m 25 years out of high school!

In trying to keep things light and fluffy, which is pretty much what I try to do with everything that causes me anxiety, I put the following status update on my facebook page:

Shopping for something to wear to my 25-year high school reunion.  Let’s see, something that will make me look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter.  Hmm, perhaps I should be shopping for a plastic surgeon instead!

I received all kinds of funny comments, the funniest of which was a single-word response:  SPANX.  Now, I’m not a Spanx wearer, not that I don’t need to be, but I’m just not.

So I’m at the mall with my daughter and I’m trying on different dresses and I find one that is actually pretty forgiving and, equally important, quite comfortable…not to mention not too dressy nor too casual for this highly anticipated (and somewhat dreaded) event.  

My friend’s Spanx comment, and the subsequent ones related to her Spanx comment (which were quite funny, I might add) got me to thinking, well, er, um, maybe I ought to give this whole Spanx thing a try.  I mean, I looked okay in the dress, but I was thinking it couldn’t hurt to at least give the Spanx a try, you know, to smooth things out a bit and such.

I ask the saleslady about Spanx and she gives me quite the Spanx 101 lesson.  Truly, I did not know there were so many varieties of Spanx (and Spanx knockoffs) out there.  She talks me into a certain variety and off I go to the dressing room to try it on.

Have you ever tried Spanx on?  Well, it ain’t easy, let me tell you.  It’s basically like putting on a wetsuit…only harder…much, much harder!  So I wriggle and I writhe, and I wriggle and writhe some more, and my daughter helps me wriggle and writhe some more, and I’ve almost got it on and I do one final pull and I feel a hole…in the, er, um, crotch region. 

“Oh my gawd,” I say to my daughter. “I’ve pulled so hard I put a whole in the Spanx!”  Only guess what?  I didn’t put the hole in the Spanx…it comes with a hole…for the love of gawd it comes with a pee hole!  “Ewww,” we squeal in unison, and I get that thing off as fast as I can, which ain’t fast at all folks, because what’s harder than getting a wetsuit on?  You got it…getting it off!

The whole pee hole thing really freaked me out and I decided against the whole Spanx thing.  Luckily, too, because the one I tried on was $78!  My dress was less than that! 

So we leave the mall and go on our merry way, dress in hand, Spanx most definitely not, and we head for home. 

The reunion gets closer and I start to think about the Spanx again.  You know, how I would feel so much more confident if I walked into the reunion looking the best I possibly could, you know, with all my parts firmly in place like they used to be, not 25 years ago, forget about that, but, say, even 5 years ago.

Back to the mall I go.  The Spanx I had tried on earlier was the kind that went from below your bra to about mid thigh.  Since I was wearing a dress, I wanted to try on the kind made for, well, wearing a dress.  Basically, it’s a flippin’ wrestling singlet!  I manage to get it on, again not easily, and am happy with the way it holds everything together, so I decide to go for it.  It’s not as expensive as the one I tried on before, and really, my dress wasn’t all that much so I’m able to justify the extra expense…we gals can justify anything related to shopping, can’t we?

I get it home and try it on under my dress and am quite happy with the way things look. 

And then the reunion gets closer…and I start to panic a bit, like What if I have to go to the bathroom really bad and can’t get it off? It has one of those pee holes but that seriously grosses me out I mean I just spent time on a river rafting trip having to squat and pee in a bucket and there was this one time I didn’t quite squat exactly right and I peed a little on myself but it was no big deal because I was right by the river and I could just rinse off but what if I was at my reunion and I tried to use the pee hole and I peed bigger than the pee hole and I peed on the Spanx and on myself well then I’m not by the river and I can’t just rinse it off and I’m freaked out about the pee hole but the only other choice would be to lift my dress up to my shoulders and then pull the singlet Spanx shoulder straps down but where’s my dress going to be like around my shoulders and what if it falls in the toilet or like what am I supposed to do  just take the whole dress off and then try the whole get out of the singlet thing and I’m picturing all this happening in a teeny tiny stall with people I haven’t seen in 25 years waiting to use the bathroom also and oh my gawd there is no way I am wearing that singlet Spanx thing!

But…I really wanted to look my best, so…back to the mall I go.  I return the frightening singlet/straight jacket Spanx thingy, purchase something similar to the original Spanx I had tried on in the first place, and call it done!

The reunion went well…I did not get trapped in my Spanx, and I had a grand ole’ time.  I have to say though, in looking at the pictures from that night, I did not look one bit more pulled together than I would have looked if I weren’t wearing Spanx.  In fact, there are a couple of shots that if you didn’t know better you’d think, Hmm, that dress sure would look better on her if she had some Spanx on! 

Oh, I try so hard people…I try so very hard! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Porsche

Due to circumstances beyond my control, but primarily involving having a third driver in the house, I had to take my husband’s big-a** truck out of town the other day.  My daughter and I have been doing some back-to-school shopping for her and some reunion shopping for me…25 years…ugh…and definitely a post for another day.  Anyway, our local mall pretty much sucks; luckily, though, we have two great malls about 20 miles in either direction, and on this particular day we were heading south.

I know what you’re thinking…20 miles…no big deal.  And, really, it’s not, except when you’re driving your husband’s big-a** truck.  You see, the truck is really meant to carry a heavy load…and no, I’m not talking about me!  I’m talking about our camper.  When the camper is on the truck, it’s all smooth sailing; however, when it’s not, it’s nothing but rough waters.  Seriously people, parts of your body shake that you didn’t even know existed!  

My daughter and I giggle our way through the bumpy ride and arrive at the mall unscathed (well, except for a bruises here and there that we both agreed not to talk about).  Now driving the truck on the freeway is one thing, parking it in a mall parking lot is quite another.  Because my skills in this area are lacking, to say the least, I go out of my way to park, well, out of the way.  I find the farthest parking space I can, park in it as carefully as I can, and off we go. 

Our shopping trip is relatively successful…and I even have a couple of funny stories that involve Spanx and four-inch heels that I’ll share with you another time…but for now let’s just fast forward a few hours to when my daughter and I return to the truck.  We are about halfway there when I notice something that stops me dead in my tracks and causes me to send my husband the following text:  Oh my gosh, the nicest Porsche I have ever seen in my life is parked right next to the truck.  I hope I don’t hit it!

Well, you know those people who are tethered to the phones?  You know, the ones who have it in their hands or somewhere on their persons at all times?  Well, my husband is not one of those people (thank goodness).  In fact, his normal text-response time is anywhere from, oh, about 30 minutes, to, oh, about never.

Imagine my surprise when, about half a second after I hit the send button on my text, my phone rings and it’s my husband!  I could have texted him that I was having a heart attack and he wouldn’t have responded that quickly…but since it involves his truck, well, he’s all over that now, isn’t he?!  (I know, I know, if I were having a heart attack I wouldn’t have been able to text, and I know, I know, at my age I shouldn’t even joke about something like that, but you know what I mean, right?)  Anyway…

I answer the phone and he’s laughing and he says, “Hey, I just finished my meeting and what’s this about you hitting a Porsche?”  I laugh back and say, “I know, right?  What kind of dummy parks a Porsche next to a pick up truck?”  Mind you, our pick-up truck is very nice as far as pick-up trucks go, but it’s a pick-up truck for crying out loud…and it’s huge…and it’s got heavy doors that no matter how careful you are they sometimes just get away from you.  I mean, I wouldn’t even park my old mommy mini-van next to our truck at a mall…and this guy (or gal) parks a $70,000+ dollar car next to it.  I mean, come on, use your head Fancy Pants Porsche driver!

I know I’m making much too big a deal out of it, but I really am shocked that, with all the empty spots available in that lot on that particular day, the person driving that Porsche would park right next to our truck (seriously, it was a very, very, very nice, brand-new looking Porsche, and it was a very, very, very empty parking lot).  Then I go from being shocked to being miffed.  I mean, the onus is now on me to NOT hit that Porsche, which I’m guessing even a mere fender bender will cost more to fix than I make in a year!

My husband and I share a few more laughs about the intelligence of this Porsche driver and then he says, “Well, I’m sure he thought a man was driving.”  I laugh a little bit and then say, “Wait a minute, you mean you think the Porsche driver thought a man was driving the truck…meaning if he thought a woman was driving it he would never have parked so close?!”  And you know what, I can’t even be mad at him for this lovely bit of sexism because you know what?  He’s right. Now wait ladies, before you get mad at me, let me clarify, he’s right where I am concerned.  In fact, if Mr. (or Ms.) Porsche driver knew that I was the one driving the truck, he (or she) would have parked at a different mall entirely!

For the record, I carefully backed out of that parking spot, carefully drove away from the  Porsche, and ran smack dab into…a Yugo…ha, ha, ha, just kidding, but I am happy to report that no vehicles were harmed in the removal of my husband’s beloved truck from that parking lot!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Moose-tery is Finally Solved

So yesterday I mentioned how excited my husband and kids were upon returning from a hike in Grand Teton National Park, and today I’ll tell you why…

It was our second time in that area, well, at least it was for me and the kids.  I’m sure my husband traveled there (or at least to Yellowstone) when he was a youngster, but for us as a family, it was our second trip. 

We had visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton about three summers ago and enjoyed it so much that we decided to return again this summer.  If you are at all familiar with this part of the country then you know it’s famous for its wildlife.  And, for the most part, it does not disappoint, except, however, when it came to moose.

On our first trip to that area three years ago we saw not one single, solitary moose.  Not. A. Single. One.  As in zip, zero, nada!  Apparently the moose (or is it mooses…what is the plural of moose, anyway?) heard we were coming and they decided to am-scray. 

We became a little bit nutty about not seeing a moose.  In fact, when various random people we met during our time in that area said that they had, in fact, seen a moose, we made them show it to us on their cameras.  Yes, we were those people! 

As hard as we tried, we never did see a moose on that trip.  Fast forward three years and we are back in that area.  We hit Yellowstone first and spent three nights there, and then we headed to Grand Teton and spent another couple of nights there, so all told we were in “moose country” a good five days.  And guess what?  We still aren’t seeing any moose!

My husband has done every bit of research he can on where the best moose sightings are.  We drive miles…and miles…and miles to each of those places, and, you guessed it, still no moose!  He overhears someone talking about a moose sighting, so he, of course, jumps right in and asks, “Where?!  Where did you see a moose?!”  The man explains where “his” moose was seen and my husband immediately starts making plans to hike that area the next day, which happened to be the day I did my big “Grand Teton/Bucket List Run.” 

If you read the post about the “Grand Teton/Bucket List Run” then you know I didn’t go on that hike.  You know I was too tired and choose to, instead, stay in the camper and relax.  And if I didn’t go on that hike, then guess what my husband and kids saw?  Yep, a moose!

So they come back to the camper and they’re all excited.  At first I thought they were just pulling my leg, but mixed in with their excitement was a little bit of remorse because, though they were excited that they got to see the moose, they had the good grace to feel bad for me because I didn’t get to see it. 

I feel sorry for myself for about a minute and then face the fact that it’s just not my destiny to see a moose…ever (pretty deep, I know).  After my 60-second pity party, I join in their excitement and ask to see the pictures.  Only here’s the deal, the pictures are HORRIBLE.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m bitter because I wasn’t there…remember, my pity party was short-lived and I’m now genuinely excited for them. 

Anyway, back to the pictures…the “alleged” moose, which is what I’m calling it now since I can’t actually see it on the camera…anyway…this alleged moose is clearly far away because of how grainy the pictures are.  And not only is it far away…really, really far away, but it’s also completely camouflaged in the trees.  Really, any kind of animal at all could be in those pictures.  Heck, it could be an eagle for all I could see of it!  Moose, yeah right!

Now I’m beginning to think that maybe they are pulling my leg after all, and that they did not, in fact, see a moose at all.  However, they insisted that it was a moose and so I decided to believe them…but between you and me, it was a pretty crappy moose!  (I later viewed some video my husband shot, and I have to give them credit, it was a bonafide moose all right, but still, the pictures were awful!)

This moose sighting took place on our last full day in the park; the next morning we were packing up and leaving Grand Teton to head over to Utah for our river rafting trip.  So on our last full day, a moose finally decides to show itself to my family!  Thank you, Ms. Moose. 

Fast forward again to the next morning and what are we doing?  That’s right, packing up.  I head to the bathroom for the umpteenth time (funny how often I have to go when a real toilet is available) and as I’m heading back a lady I’m about to walk past very casually says, “Did you see the moose?” 

Um, excuse me, she didn’t say did you see A moose, she said did you see THE moose, as in the moose that is right here, right now…as in the moose that is, Oh. My. Gosh. RIGHT THERE!

Needless to say I’m a little excited and I start to run back to camp…and yes, I’m even flailing my arms!  About half a second into this little spectacle I realize running with arms flailing is, like, a totally stupid thing to do around a wild animal.  As quickly as I had lost my wits, I managed to regain them.  I mean, I’m excited to see a moose and all, but I’m certainly not willing to die for one…or be maimed…or, well, anything at all other than simply see one. 

With wits back intact, I slowly saunter back to camp and tell the family, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, there’s a moose in camp, there’s a moose in camp, there’s a moose in camp!”  Totally cheesy, I know!

I quickly grab my camera and proceed to take, like, a hundred pictures of “my” moose.  I barely even have to zoom in she is so close.  Not only is she so close, but she very graciously walks right through the camp right across from us.  She is, like, right there!  And then…and then, oh my gosh, and then…she sits down!  Right there!  Right at the end of our camp site.  She just plops right down.  And she stays there!  And there she remains the entire time we finish packing up camp…we even drive off and she is STILL THERE!  Seriously folks, we’re literally like 30 minutes from leaving Grand Teton and a moose walks right through our camp!  How cool is that?!

And then, of course, I have no choice but to razz my husband and kids about how much better “my” moose sighting is than theirs.  I have no choice but to tease them about how they had to walk seven miles (uphill, in the snow, blah, blah, blah) to see their crappy little moose, while I barely had to walk seven steps to see my totally awesome, up-close and personal moose.  Not only that, but “my” moose sat down and hung out with me for a while.  I’ll spare you the rest of the ribbing, it’s really much too ridiculous to share, but let’s just say that that’s my moose story, and I’m sticking to it! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Wave

(To my three loyal readers:  This one is for thereddressclub and it's one you've already read.  Never fear, though, there's a new post right below this one.)

This is a “then boyfriend/now husband” story and it takes place, oh, about 20 years ago. 

Then boyfriend/now husband and I had been dating for a while, probably a year or so, and we were taking our first real vacation together.  Another couple invited us to go to Mexico with them…or maybe we invited ourselves…oh well, who can remember a detail like that?  No matter, the other couple ended up canceling on us anyway.  (Interesting to note, their marriage did not last, ours did.  Hmm…I bet they wish they would have gone on that vacation with us after all.)

Anyway, we’re in Mexico and we’re having a great time together. 

We’re lying on the beach one day just enjoying the sun and each other.  It’s summer so it’s hot, and after a while of sitting in the sun, I decide to head to the ocean to cool off for a bit.

I frolic around for a while and then decide to head back to shore.  I do one final dip in the water, stand up, and start walking toward then boyfriend/now husband.  I’m a good distance from him, but as I pop up I notice him waving at me.

How cute, I thought, I’ve barely stood up and he’s waving at me already.  I haven’t even taken a step toward him yet.  Wow, and he’s waving, like, a lot.  Oh, how nice.  I think I’ll wave back.  So I do.  And he keeps waving.  Okay, this is a little weird now.  I mean, he waved to me, I waved back, shouldn’t we be done now? 

But he keeps on waving.  Then I notice him doing this funny movement.  His hands are at his sides, and then he pulls them up to his chest.  Hands down, hands up.  Hands down, hands up.  What on Earth is he doing?  It’s like he’s pretending to pull something up. 

Oh…dear…gawd…no!  You know where I’m going with this, right?  I look down, and sure enough, my bikini top is down.  And it’s not just a little bit down.  It’s All.  The.  Way.  Down. 

There’s no recovering from something like this. I mean, I can’t just shrug it off and pretend it didn’t happen.  I have to, some how, some way, pull my top back up.  I don’t care how smooth you are, people, there is simply no graceful way to pull up a soaking wet bikini top. 

With as much grace and dignity as I can muster (which is pretty much none), I lower myself back into the water, fix my wardrobe malfunction, stand back up, exit the water, walk over to then boyfriend/now husband, and collapse into a fit of laughter.    

I was suddenly very glad that other couple didn’t come with us after all!

Did You Dye Your Hair?

Sincere apologies to my three loyal readers for my absence, and a huge THANK YOU to my one super fan for Facebooking me that you missed me…you’re the best, T!

As you can imagine, the last few weeks of a school year are intense.  Closing out the current school year, while simultaneously planning and prepping for the next school year, is all kinds of crazy!

And if that weren’t enough to nearly do me in, the husband likes to take our summer vacation right away.  In fact, if he had his way, we’d leave the day school gets out.  No possible way I can make that happen without completely losing my mind (and he knows how close I come to that come June each year), so he gladly compromises with the day after school gets out.  Still stressful, but doable nonetheless.

So that’s where I’ve been:  almost losing my mind finishing up the school year, and then finding it again on a long road trip with the family.  Now I realize that some people might say, “Road trip?!  Talk about losing your mind…I’d totally lose mine if I had to spend every single waking moment with my family on a road trip.”  Well, I feel the opposite.   

The family road trip is my favorite vacation, hands down (especially as our kids get older).  I love that, while driving, my husband is to my left and my kids are behind me and I can literally reach out and touch any one of them anytime I want!  I love that my daughter and I slept side-by-side for 15 nights…in a row!  And I love that my family and I ate EVERY single meal together for 16 straight days.  No other vacation allows for that kind of 24/7 family time…and I love every single minute of it.

Being together for such long stretches of time will obviously yield some pretty funny stories.  Take, for example, this one…

The main itinerary of our road trip was Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Gates of Lodore (a river rafting trip on the Green River), and Vegas, and this story involves our time in the Grand Teton area.

One of my “Running Bucket List” items was to run with the Grand Tetons as the backdrop.  If you’ve never been to this area before, I have to tell you that it is beautiful beyond words.  You owe it to yourself to go!

When we first arrived we began scouting places that might be good to run.  As luck would have it, there’s a great bike path that runs from South Jenny Lake to Moose Junction…it’s a total of 7.3 miles, which was perfect since I was looking to run about 5 miles…I ended up running 5.5!  Well, I say running, but really I was jogging.  But still, 5.5 miles at that elevation (and against the wind…carrying my siblings on my shoulders…in the snow…hee, hee, hee) was no easy feat, I assure you. 

So I walked a mile warm up, ran the 5.5, and then walked a cool down for the remaining distance of the path.  It was truly spectacular!

My family was very sweet and stopped at various spots along the way to cheer me on and take pictures.  When I was finished, they picked me up and we headed to nearby Leigh Lake for a hike…well, they were going to hike anyway…I was done!  I figured I had had enough exercise for the day so I gladly stayed behind in the camper while they enjoyed a little exercise of their own…more than a little, really, since it was a seven-mile hike!  No way was I going on it!

Instead, I hung back and participated in my favorite camping activities:  reading, crossword puzzles, and snacking.  About three hours later they return all excited…I’ll tell you why next time…but for now, they come back and they are all very happy.  I, too, am happy, because, well, I’ve pretty much been sitting on my bum the entire time! 

My son steps in the camper, takes one look at me, and says, “Did you dye your hair?”

Now, at first glance, this seems like a simple enough question.  But remember, we’re in the middle of a road trip…where/how on Earth would I dye my hair?  First off, I don’t even dye my own hair (and he knows that), which means he thinks I went somewhere and had my hair dyed!  Again, how on Earth would I do this?  We are in the Grand Tetons!  The closet place I can think of where any type of grooming might even be remotely possible would be Jackson, which I know is about 30 minutes to an hour away, but in which direction I have no clue!

After I gave him my best perplexed look, and laughed at him a bit for good measure, I said, “Um, no son, I did not dye my hair…what you see is called grease!”

Eww…my hair was so dirty that my son thought I dyed it!  Talk about gross…and talk about needing a shower…STAT! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Picture Day 20-10

As I prepare to close out another school year, I can’t help but stop and reflect on all of the funny things that have happened this year in my First Grade classroom.  Many of the stories I have shared here with you, others I have kept to myself. 
One story that I had kind of forgotten about came up last week at, of all places, the beauty salon (thanks to the fab TT for her endless support).  This little ditty happened earlier in the year, and, quite frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t share it with you already (at least, I hope I didn’t share it with you already...and if I did, well, then, you have my sincerest apologies).’s picture day 20-10 (you have to say it like that, 20-10, for full emphasis).  Oh, and what the heck, let’s capitalize it, too.  So, it’s Picture Day 20-10.  All week the kids have been sending in their picture money, and all week I have been keeping it in a safe place so that I can quickly and efficiently hand it back to them on the Big Day...Picture Day 20-10.
It’s first thing in the morning and we are gathered on the carpet.  The way picture day works is you are assigned a time, which is never right, and you sit and wait in your classroom for someone to come and get you, and then you hurry up to the picture-taking location, and then you wait some more, and then you hurry up and take your individual pictures, and then you wait some more, and then you hurry up and take your class picture, and then you are finally, mercifully, released to return to your classroom to try and get some work done.  (Now that I think about it, I’m sure the term “hurry up and wait” was, in fact, invented on picture day!)
Because I know our assigned time won’t be right, and because I know the instant the very sweet parent helper comes to get us we will have to am-scray immediately, I always try my best to have the kids ready to go first thing in the morning.  Primarily, this involves making sure that the children have their picture money with them at their desks so that it can be in their hands when we walk out the door.  Trying to pass out picture money during the rush of being called just doesn’t work (been there, done that, learned that lesson long ago).
So we’re on the carpet and I’m calling the students up one by one and handing them their envelopes with the instructions to, “Take your envelope back to your desk, place it on your desk, and return to the carpet.”  Easy, peasy...or so you’d think...
I’m down to the last two kids, which means 21 kids have successfully taken their money back to their desks, placed it on their desks, and returned to the carpet.  21 successes...and then I get to kid 22.  I hand him the envelope, call the next kid, and then breathe a huge sigh of relief that we got this done before we were called and that we can finally begin our day. 
Because I’m a pro (you say OCD, I say pro...whatever)...because I’m a pro, I quickly scan the desks to make sure each and every desk has an envelope on it.  Well, surprise, surprise, there’s one desk with no envelope.  Kid 22.   
So I ask him:  “Kid 22,” I say, “where’s your picture money?”
Kid 22 looks at me like I have just asked him where Timbuktu is.  He truly has no clue what I’m talking about.
Me again:  “Your picture money.  You know?  I just handed everyone their picture money, and everyone put it on their desk, and now I’m looking at your desk and there’s no envelope.  What did you do with it?”
Again, I am met with a blank stare.  I walk over to the closest desk, pick up an envelope, and say, “Kid 22, I handed you an envelope like this.  Just one minute ago.  You took it from me.  What did you do with it?”
Again, no clue.   
So I ask Kid 22 to check inside his desk.  He does, and it’s not there.  So I ask him to check his backpack.  He does, and it’s not there.  So I look at the ceiling for the hidden camera that is recording all of this and I wait for Ashton Kutcher to come through my door because, surely, I have been Punk’d. 
How can a kid watch 21 other kids do something, and then be given instructions to do the exact same thing, and then, a minute later, have no clue what’s going on?!
Asthon never does come through my door.  Thankfully, though, I have a parent helper (and a witness) in the classroom.  I ask her to check his desk.  She does, and it’s not there.  I ask her to check his backpack.  She does, and...IT’S THERE!  Hallelujah!
But wait, Kid 22 just checked his backpack and didn’t find it.  So not only did he put it in his backpack (after watching, or, well, not watching, 21 other kids put it on their desks), but he forgot that he put it in his backpack (one minute after putting it in his backpack), and then he checked his backpack and couldn’t find it.  Seriously?!
Now I think I know why I didn’t share this story with you, it’s exhausting, and two, it’s taken this long to fully recover from it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Better Watch…That Mouth…Parents, I’m Talking to You!

We were practicing our Father’s Day song today in preparation for our annual Donuts with Dads event.  Can I just say that at no time during this entire year have we not been practicing a song for something!  If my kids learn nothing else this year, I at least know that they will leave me having learned more songs than they will ever know what to do with in their whole entire lives.

So we’re practicing our song and there’s a part that goes:

…I walk the way he walks, dear old dad
I talk the way he talks, dear old dad…

The song comes to an end and a hand goes up from a little girl in the front.

“Mrs. J., um, the part about I talk the way he talks, well, that’s not really appropriate for me because, um, well, my dad says a lot of swear words.”

I kind of chuckle and say, “Uh oh, whoopsy daisy” which is pretty much my standard response to pretty much anything I hear about my students’ parents that I probably shouldn’t.

Her dad, a great guy by the way, is in law enforcement, so I don’t doubt for a single minute that she hears her share of inappropriate words from time to time (or, um, maybe every day for all I know). 

Now I know what you’re thinking…Just because he’s in law enforcement doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s exposed to things that, well, maybe she shouldn’t be.  And yes, that’s true, except…

I’ll never forget one day earlier in the year when it was time to go home and she told me she was going to the on-campus, after-school daycare program.  She goes a couple of times a week and she’s always very confident (and right) about the days she goes so I don’t question her.  She says she going to daycare…so off to daycare she goes…it’s directly across from my room so it’s no biggie for her, or any of the students for that matter, to just march themselves right over there.

I head on up to the front of the school with the rest of my brood and her dad is there happily waiting for her.  “Aw shucks” I say.  (Oh yes, whoopsy daisy and aw shucks…I am one tough momma, let me tell you!)  Anyway, I tell him that she very confidently marched herself to daycare. 

He looks at me, shakes his head, and says, “That girl is on crack…I told her I was picking her up today!”  He lets out a big sigh, breezes past me, and goes to retrieve his six year old daughter!  I cringe and wait for one of the kids to say, “Mrs. J., what’s crack?”  Luckily, the front of the school is such mayhem at the end of the day that no one (well, no one but me, anyway) seems to have heard what he said….thank goodness!

So there you have it…be careful parents…your kids are listening…and they love nothing more than to rat you out!

Monday, May 30, 2011

From Bad to Good

May 17, 2011 ranks as one of the worst working days of this year and one of the best mommy days of this year.  Go figure! 

“Wow!”  You’re thinking.  It must have been really bad/good for you to remember the exact date.”

Well, yes and no.  I remember the general timeframe because it was Teacher Appreciation Week and my kids were the naughtiest they have been all year and I remember thinking, “Come on, guys, this is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Hello!  You’re supposed to be being nice to me…not totally and completely naughty.”  I mean, even the great kids were giving me a hard time…this was certainly not the way this teacher envisioned being appreciated, that’s for sure!

And I remember the exact date because it was a Tuesday.  How did you remember that it was a Tuesday?”  Good question.  I remember it was a Tuesday because Tuesday is our library day and I remember going to the library so it must have been Tuesday.  How did you remember it was library day?”  Another good question.  I remember it was library day, which means it was a Tuesday, because it took us forever to get to the library.

That’s right, my class was being so naughty that it took practically half of our library time just to walk the 20 steps it takes us to get to the library.  How do you know it takes 20 steps to get to the library?”  Wow, you guys (all three of you) sure have a lot of questions today!  Well, I know it takes 20 steps to get to the library because we’ve counted! 

Remember, it’s First Grade people, which means we have estimated and counted, and counted again, how many steps it takes to get to the library.  Learning opportunities are everywhere in First Grade folks, simply everywhere!

So I’ve had a pretty bad day at work and I’m driving home from this day spent with naughty kids, and what do I see when I turn the corner onto my street?  My son washing the car!  That simple little act simply made my day…in fact, it changed my bad day to a good day in an instant.

But wait…it gets better.  I’m reveling in the joy my son brought me by washing the car without being asked (heck, my husband may have told him to wash the car for all I know, but I didn’t even care…seeing him out there when I pulled up was just what I needed)…so I’m reveling in this little moment of joy and I realize it’s time to go pick up my daughter from the gym.  I’m so happy with my son, that having to run out yet again doesn’t make me one bit grumpy…really, not even one bit!  Honest!

And thank goodness I was the one to pick her up.  She gets in the car and we make our usual small talk, and then out of the blue she says…are you ready for this?  Wait, maybe you better sit down.  No, on second thought stand up, because if you’re sitting down then you’ll totally fall out of your chair when you hear what she says…you ready?

My 14-year old daughter…the one whom I typically annoy just by breathing…said, “I just want to thank you guys (meaning me and her dad) for raising me right.”  If I weren’t driving I would have fallen out of my chair, and then I would have collapsed into a mush of mommy pride.  It would have been ugly, so let’s just say I was more than grateful to have been driving. 

“Aww, honey, that’s sweet, what makes you say that?” I ask.

“Well,” she says (and if you knew her, then you would know that what she says next is so totally her that it makes the moment even sweeter), but anyway, she says, “Well, I look around at the kids at school and I’m not a bad kid or a kid who does drugs or anything like that, and, well, I’m not like a nerd or anything like that either.  I’m just a nice, normal kid and I wanted to let you guys know I appreciate how you are raising me.”

Though I tried to play it cool (in the hopes of garnering future moments like this, let’s be honest), I must admit I got a little teary-eyed and confessed to her how touched I was that she would acknowledge how hard her dad and I really do try to do right by her and her brother.  I left it at that because, remember, my breathing annoys her, and I knew if I went on and on then this would, indeed, be the last time she ever said anything nice to me again…ever!