Tuesday, December 27, 2011


This was Liam's second Christmas, you would think we learned our lesson last year. Nope! Joe and I thought that we were doing a pretty good job of not going overboard with the gift-giving to our little guy. That is until yesterday when we tried to find places for everything. We missed the fact that we were not the only people who were going to be spoiling him this season, and now I am almost sick about how much he has. Joe and I stuck to about 5ish gifts, but so did everyone else. I have a huge family (7 siblings and two sets of parents, plus quite a few aunts, uncles, and cousins) and Joe also has two sets of parents, so between our families and friends Liam ended up with the equivalent of his own toy store! Wonderful for him, quite the chore for me! At this point, he has three rooms with space for his toys (his bedroom, the living room, and now our office). He is too little to have so much, and that is why we will be spending some time this week going through his old toys and donating them to kids who don't have so much. I am so appreciative of our amazing family and friends who love our little man as much as we do!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Opportunity to Educate

Tomorrow is my last day at work for two and a half weeks. I absolutely love my job, but it can be so exhausting! The kiddos are crazy, the staff is tired, and all of our attention-spans are waivering. To those people who say that teachers should not get so much time off, work ONE week in our job and we will see what kind of break you want. Last week I read an article in our local paper written by a community member who was upset that their child is not in school enough "due to teachers taking so many breaks." My first response is "I'm a teacher, not a child care provider" and second, "What breaks!?!" Sure, the calandar says that I get a few days for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas, and a week in the spring, but do you really think that I do not work during that time?! If you do, you obviously have never done this job. To the outsider, it may seem like a regular 8 to 3 job. Well, the short answer is hell no!
Every free day that we get, I either bring a huge stack of grading/planning home with me to work on during my "break" or I work twice as much the week before to get it all done. Sounds like what the average worker has to do. Also, other than the above mentioned breaks, all other days off are either- unpaid holidays, workdays (yes, I do work), grading days, conferences, or (thanks to the current budget) furlough days.  Of course, most people say "Hey what about the summer?" Well, most of us teachers spend our summer in trainings, taking classes to further our education, still planning for the year to come, working in our classroom, or occasionally, we take a day for our family.
It's also important to remember that we get no vacation time throughout the year, really only have from mid-June to mid-August "off", and we do not get paid for the months we do not work. Also, imagine being in charge of 60 11 and 12 year olds (and I only work part-time), then you actually have to earn their respect, teach them something daily, and communicate with their parents. I'm sure that most people are thinking "No way!" Now think about doing all of this for less than what the average college graduate makes, eventhough you have a masters degree to pay for. So.... stop complaining about how/when I do my job! Unless you have been a teacher, you have no right to talk about how "little" we do, because no one who has been a teacher would ever say that! They know better!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Turkey and Insults

Last Saturday was Joe's work Christmas party. It was held on a boat that traveled down the Willamette river, while we ate. It was one of my least favorite of his Christmas parties. They are usually a great "adult" night for Joe and I. We get a chance to eat food we wouldn't normally choose, go out to a resturant that we wouldn't normally go to, and talk to other adults for an evening. This year was crap! The boat seemed like a nice idea, but the windows fogged up almost instantly, so we either had to spend all evening wiping them down, or just not see any of the scenery (which was the reason they choose the boat in the first place). Then there was the food! A week after Thanksgiving and what did they have?! Thanksgiving food that was not as good as Grandma's. The company kind of sucked too. We got stuck sitting with Joe's know-it-all (but really is an arrogant idiot) of a co-worker. A direct quote from this man, to my husband and I at dinner was "I'm the only person in this whole company who actually knows what their doing. No one else works at all!" Ass!
Anyway, the topper of the night was when we were talking to another couple about Liam and their kids. About five minutes into the conversation, the wife asked if we had thought about schools yet. My son is 19 months old! When I told her that he would be going to the public schools in our community, she had a look of utter shock on her face. She asked if we had even looked at private schools, because "they fill up fast." I said no and that I work in the school district as a teacher and know them to be very good. Again, a look of shock. Not only was I insulted by the obvious issue with our parental education choices, but also at her lack of respect for the career that I pour my heart and soul into.
I should take a minute to explain, most of the people that Joe works with are very well off. They don't worry about money like most of us do. I'm sure that she has never even considered sending her kids to public school. In fact, one of the things that we talked about was the fact that her youngest daughter (who is 3) has to be in two preschools, because one is well known for "excellence in play" and the other is purely academic. Good for you! My son gets excellent instruction in play at the in-home day care that he attends, he will get his academic education from his father and I for now, and public education when the time comes and he will live!
Sometimes having lots of money doesn't make you a better parent, co-worker, or dinner guest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Visit with Santa

I love the holiday season! I always have, and probably always will. But I love it even more now that Liam is starting to love it too. Everyone says that Christmas is for kids, I think that kids make it Christmas. For the past, I don't know, 10 years I have enjoyed the season, but it just isn't the same once you are "grown up". Now that Liam is getting into it, it's exciting all over again. I have had several people ask me if I really think that Liam knows what's going on. I don't think that he completely gets it yet, but a huge peice of evidence, that parts make sense to him, happened yesterday.
We spent the day at the Portland Christmas bazaar. One of the main attractions this year, was that Santa was there. I was a bit worried about how Liam would handle a meeting with the big guy. Last year he was too young to really notice who was holding him, so I didn't think that we would have a repeat of the calm that took place.
Liam is also a bit of a shy guy. He tends to be reserved and calm when meeting new people. He is not the type of kid to let strangers hold him. But what did he do when he saw Santa? He RAN to him, crawled onto his lap, and smiled big for the camera. None of this behavior is like him.
This leads me to believe that he has already figured out that Santa is a nice guy, who brings him gifts. Why else would my shy, reserved, stand-offish 19 month old, let a complete stranger in a weird outfit, hold him?! I know he's a smart guy (as all parents know about their children), but even this was shocking. I walked around with a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day. My son shocks and suprises me daily, and this was one of the best so far!