Sunday, July 31, 2011

Muffins of Fire

What a week!

Tuesday, the City Schools of Decatur had a welcome back ceremony.  It was closer to a pep rally than a formal ceremony.  All the schools in the district were dressed up with glow sticks, clackers, and pompoms, and there was lots of cheering.  In was the BEST back-to-school welcoming ceremony I've ever been to (nevermind that it was the only one I've been to...).  After the ceremony, Kelsey (the lead teacher in the classroom I'm working in) and I went back to CHECLC to see what we had in our classroom.  We worked on arranging it for a couple hours then decided we needed to sleep on it some now that we knew what furniture we had to work with.

Wednesday through Friday was spent working in the classroom.  Arranging furniture and centers. Taking inventory of books, the art cabinet, and the literacy/science cabinet.  Re-labeling baskets of science stuff.  Rearranging blocks. Playing dress-up.

Friday morning, the school was closed to all the children (the birth-3 years program is year-round), and we had a full staff breakfast.  After breakfast, Zeke decided that we all needed to have a "group experience".  So, he taught us how to "Wobble".  In case you're wondering what that is, here's a link...
Official video:
How to video:
And, no, I cannot move my hips like that, so I looked ridiculous attempting to do this dance.

Today, Sunday, I decided to cook some muffins for breakfast while Davis got ready for work.  As I was pulling the tray out of the oven, I burned my fingers and dropped the tray.  Into the bottom of the oven.  Which was still on.  Two muffins hit the coils and went up in flames; so I slammed the oven shut and grabbed for the fire extinguisher under the sink.  Davis checked the oven again and, luckily, one muffin was no longer on fire.  Davis managed to blow out the other one.  We scraped enough unburned bits of muffin out of the bottom of the oven to have a semi-decent breakfast.  Now, I need to work on cleaning the rest of the oven, so it's Ciao for now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How the Cupid Shuffle saved my life and other random notions

This week has given me my first real taste of what my job is going to be like when it begins in August.  We had curriculum training for all the new lead teachers and paraprofessionals, led by Zeke, our instructional coach.  And I have to say, the training was AWESOME!  It wasn't just sitting around learning about the curriculum.  We played Jeopardy, musical chairs, learned a line dance, did the Cupid Shuffle, and participated in the Amazing Race.  College Heights ECLC had a huge turnover in teachers this year for some reason, so about half of the teachers/paras are new.  It's a really great group of diverse people.  The school itself is like one big family.

It was interesting for me to see the Pre-K educational focus, especially as it relates to an elementary school. Most of the focus was on reading stories, comprehension, and enriching vocabulary.  We reviewed phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, onset rime, .... I actually understand it now!  Apparently, by the time children make it to kindergarten, they should already have a good understanding of letters, sounds, rhymes, and onset rime.  Talk about eye-opening.

I used this week to gauge how long my commute would be.  Today it only took me about 55 minutes.  Yesterday took me 1 hour, 20 minutes.  It's amazing how leaving 5 minutes earlier or later can change the drive time.  I think I've figured out that I'll have to leave at 6 - 6:15 to ensure I make it by 7:15.  Yikes!  It's the afternoons that are the worst; my car is usually warm, which makes me sleepy.  Yesterday I was really struggling to stay awake on the drive home, and the Cupid Shuffle came up on my CD.  So, I promptly started dancing....well, the best I could considering I was driving.  The person next to me on the exit looked at me like I was crazy.  But, dancing did the job!  I made it home without any accidents.  And that's how the Cupid Shuffle saved my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Picture Post

Time for some pictures!

As requested by Susan, here are the dresses that I have been working on.  So far, three complete dresses with 10+ patterns that are cut and ready to be sewn.

One of my favorite things to do now that I have my own kitchen (and now that Mom can't stop me from experimenting!) is try my hand at cooking.  So far, I've made some pretty good food, if I do say so myself.  My favorite was the ham, cheese, and spinach quiche.  Below is a picture of banana bread - I'm proud to say that I used my Mom's recipe, and it turned out pretty well!

This is where I will be working in August!  College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center
I've already met some of the staff, and they seem really great!  A nice big family :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confusing grown-up stuff

Yesterday, I took the hour long journey to the location of my new job.  Yes, you read correctly.  I will be driving an hour (more when you account for traffic) to get to College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center.  I picked up all my paperwork from Human Resources and had my photo snapped for my new I.D. badge.  Then I headed over to the school where I met the instructional coach and the principal.  Zeke, the instructional coach gave me a tour of the school.  I found out that I will be working with a new teacher, so we'll be figuring all this out together, which is exciting.  Also, I got an early preview of the classroom I'll be working in - it's 1 of 4 portables in what have come to be known as the "learning cottages".  How cute!

After a few more wrong turns, I made the trek home again where I began to fill out all the paperwork.  As I tried to fill out tax forms and medical insurance, I realized that it was quite confusing. So I ran to my Dad for help.  The next hour's phone conversation included a string of words and acronyms such as... HRA. HDHP. HMO. G-4. W-4. Out of pocket. In network. Out of network. Deductible. Dependents. Allowances. Marital status.  Woah!  I was somewhat more enlightened post-conversation but still have a long way to go.  I filled out the forms to the best of my ability and will leave the rest to human resources.

Oh, and there's still all the retirement brochures and paperwork that I haven't even looked at yet.

So, my conclusion at the end of the day was this:
1. Growing up is easy.  It's the "grown-up stuff" that is confusing.
2. I can't wait to start my job.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Last summer my parents got me a sewing machine for my birthday.  My first project was an apron - something simple for me to get accustomed to using the machine.  My second project was one that my mom probably thought I was crazy for undertaking.  Instead of going for a simple skirt or pillow cover, I went for a dress that included a zipper, collar, and sash.  It turned out spectacularly, if I do say so myself.

Towards the end of the summer, my mother-in-law showed me patterns for dresses that their family would send to Nicaragua on their mission trip.  I volunteered to make the dresses under the delusion that I would have time to sew once I made it back to school, and Mrs. Linda bought the fabric for me.  I pulled out the sewing machine once last fall and sewed exactly one dress. The machine got put away for several months, being shifted from dorm to home to apartment.

The other day, as I was documenting our "valuables" for insurance purposes, I saw my sewing machine sitting wedged in the corner with all my other sewing stuff.  Then it hit me - I had promised to sew all these dresses and had failed to follow through on that promise.  So, my mission for the rest of the summer is to sew these dresses.  I should clarify that these dresses are for little girls, and they are a fairly simple pattern.  I have completed 3 with many more to go, so wish me luck!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maybe I'll try this blogging thing for a bit

I was talking to my good friend Elizabeth the other day, detailing how horribly my first solo attempt at fried chicken went, and she told me I should start a blog.  Right.  Me.  A blog.  I have figured out over the past several years that I have difficulty keeping up with anything that doesn't have a specific end date.  In fact, I think I started a blog sometime last year, but I no longer remember the name of it or how to get back there.  Well, a few days have passed since that conversation, and I've been rolling the idea of starting a blog around in the back of my head.  And I decided, why not?  I've got some spare time on my hands (really, I have more spare time than I know what to do with) until my job starts in late August.

So, for my first post, I will simply give you a bit of info about me (in case you didn't already know).  I grew up in Madison, MS - a small town that I dearly love and miss at the moment.  In 2007 The University of Alabama called my name, and I gladly answered.  I spent the next four years in Tuscaloosa, AL majoring in Elementary Education.  I met some great people - friends, roommates, coworkers, bosses - while there.  I did a brief stint in Spring 2009 in Sicily where I met some more awesome people.  (For those of you who are wondering, Sicily is the island off the "toe" of Italy.)

In April 2011, a week before final exams and graduation, a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, leaving the city devastated.  Exams were cancelled/postponed, and graduation ("commencement") was rescheduled for August 6, 2011.  I stayed through the end of school and helped Holt Elementary relocate to Lloyd Wood Middle School after their roof was destroyed by the tornado.  In a matter of days, every teacher's classroom had been moved and re-made in their new school home.  I also spent most of my last week helping at the Ferguson Center, since many of our student staff were dealing with more crucial issues or had returned home as The University had urged us to do.

By May 6, I was kicked out of the dorm and headed back to Madison to finish up wedding planning and packing.  The next month dragged by.  I celebrated my bachelorette party in New Orleans with fantastic friends.  Yes, karaoke was involved.  The wedding itself FINALLY arrived on June 10.  I could try to tell you how that went, but it was all such a blur.  Wednesday was fairly calm - Grandma and Alison came in then and had dinner with us.  Thursday, I had a pedicure with my bridesmaids in the morning.  By the time I made it back to the house, it was complete chaos, and it remained that way until sometime late Friday night/Saturday morning.

Davis and I spent our honeymoon in Blue Ridge, GA where we hiked to a waterfall, played putt putt in the woods, went kayaking, frequented a drive-in movie theater, and had the best pizza EVER.  A large pizza wouldn't even fit in the box.  Now we are back at home in Flowery Branch, GA.  Davis is working hard selling cars, and I am hardly working.  That is, I spent my days doing a few dishes, washing laundry every now and then, vacuuming, ironing, and cooking.  Also, I watch TV and read.

My goal for today... after I reheat some of my cheesy chicken and rice casserole for lunch... is to document valuables for our renters insurance and possibly pull out my sewing machine and see what kind of project I should start.

Congratulations if you made it through this post.  I suppose you didn't really want to read all that, but now you have most of the background info you need for any future posts to make sense.