Wednesday, April 30, 2014


One part of subbing I don't like is when a teacher has different rules than the main office. Here the main office says no gum. 

This teacher? Doesn't care. 

Which results in me tells the kids to throw their gum out, and then I get,  "But Mrs. X lets us!!"  

My usual reply? "I'm not Mrs. X am I?"

They really don't like that reply. 

But gum? Hate it!! Makes people look like cows chewing on a cud. Not attractive at all. 

Subbing would be easier if ALL the teachers would just follow the school rules. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Odds and Ends...

Friday at work I heard a very entertaining story.  A little background first....  When I was a teenager in a different part of this state, rolling a house with toilet paper was a sign that you were hated - HATED!  But here? A very different story.  Here, it's a sign that you are loved and popular. I have even heard of parents who have not only bought the toilet paper, driven, but even helped roll a house.

I have to admit, when we first got here and started to hear all these stories, my kids were very enthralled.  One even wanted to go one night.  Drew and I quickly put an end to that!  Hello!! Drew's a federal agent!!  Can't exactly knowingly break the law!!

So, back to Friday morning. A co-worker showed me a picture of the view out of her front window....lots of toilet paper hanging down from her trees. She kept saying, "This is suppose to happen during homecoming week  - NOT PROM!!"

Then I heard the other part of the story....apparently, her teens did roll someone's house back in the fall. Afterwards, they had stashed the left over paper in two large garbage bags and a backpack in their shed. This Friday morning there was an empty backpack in the front yard. 

Yep. Not only did they get rolled. They got rolled with their own stash!

Melissa and I thought this was the most hysterical story!  I guess you reap what you sow.


Saturday Melissa started her driver's ed class - she's thrilled! She very much wants to drive - NOW!!! While she was there, William and Drew were checking out La Tech.  As of now it seems to be a good fit.  With them all out of the house, Benjamin decided to just hang out at his best friend's house and that left me home all alone. Again.  Love it! I have three sewing projects going on, but only send time on one Saturday. It's the easier of the three. I'll post pictures at some point - it's a gift, so need to wait until it's delivered before showing pictures.


Today Ben had another tooth pulled. He did much better this time around that he did a few weeks ago.  Of course, he knew about this one ahead of time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

It's Spring In Louisiana....


....we eat crawfish...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A William Picture

This is what a seventeen year old does when he's bored while he waits for his sister after church: 

Very safe and secure! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Highlights of My (Dissappointing) Day

Today I subbed for one of the 6th grade social studies teachers and was to s show a video. Not a bad way to spend the day....even if I have to watch the same video six times. The video was about how the cathedrals were built in the mid-evil times.  I found it fascinating. I really did! Of course, I love documentaries and this was  a good one. It wove a story of the people who built a certain cathedral as well as the nuts and bolts -the mechanics of how the cathedral was completed.

It even included a story about a bishop forcing the priest-in-charge to use stone from a quarry that his (that is the bishop) family owns - even though the priest-in-charge has declared this stone not good enough to hold up such a tall building.  The bishop doesn't care - he only cares about making money for his family.  Sadly, the part of the building that has this stone falls down - and kills the priest-in-charge. Wow! What a story!!  The king ends up sending the greedy bishop away on a crusade, but all the money is gone.

After a while, a local merchant has a vision from the Virgin Mary to give all his money, so the cathedral can be completed - which inspired others to give.  Soon the money was coming in and the decades-long project was able to be completed. 

What a story!! I wanted more!! So, after  all the classes were over,  I found the box the DVD came it. I wanted to know the name of the cathedral,so I could read more about it and to search for pictures. While during the video it said the name several times, but it was the French name and I wasn't sure how to spell it. Well. I found the box. And I was disappointed.  It seems that while the mechanical information was correct, the stories of the people were a combination of several cathedrals not just one.


After school Melissa said, "Guess what today is???""

Thinking she actually learned something in school, "That's is William Shakespeare's birthday?"

Her: "  It's the tenth anniversary of Mean Girls."

Really?  I had no idea that she had even seen the movie much less loved it enough to happy about the release anniversary!


Later in the afternoon after the kids had gone to church, Melissa text me a picture.  Apparently, as William as walking into the gym at church, he kicked a rock....that hit the glass door....that shattered the door.


Good thing William has a savings account....and good thing tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Short Weekend Get-Away part 2

Here's some pictures from our weekend:

  The boys digging

Drew & this time Melissa was slightly bored as she had realized the diamonds were not just laying on the ground calling her name....

William zipping through the air!

Ben and his pencil-long legs

Melissa...and yes. This part is way, way, way up in the trees!! The person below her with the red helmet was on a lower level - not the ground!!

 Just chillin'

Me zipping on to one side of the nightmare inducing bridge. 

The view from the other side. We were attached to the line on the right side & used those short boards to walk on. 

Easter Morning: the Boys

Easter Morning: the Girls

Our Short Weekend Get-Away

Late Friday afternoon we drove up into Arkansas for some family fun. I love driving in's just so much prettier than this part of Lou-zee-ana (which I think is ugly.) While the fall gets lots of attention for all the wonderful leaves of every colors, the spring has some great colors as well.  I am totally in love with all the shades of green that's on display this time of year....from dark green to bright sour-apple green.  Just lovely!

 Friday night the kids were able to get some swimming in at the in-door pool at the hotel.  They had a blast! It's been such a long time since they had some swim time....possibly since last July 4th...or at least late July. No time for being "too cool" teenagers - they were just kids splashing around!

Our first stop Saturday morning was the Crater of the Diamond State Park.  While I would have loved for any of us to find a diamond large enough to pay for college, we just found some pretty rocks....and had lots of family fun.  I would go back. It's sort of smoothing and relaxing just digging in the dirt.  But I would NOT go in the summer!!  By the time we left at 11:15 the temperature was around 73ish...not that warm  - unless you are sitting in the middle of' an open field in long pants.  I can't imagine how hot it feels in the middle of the summer!

Our next stop after lunch was zip lining at Rowdy's Adventures.  This is our second time to zip line with the Rowdy crew.  We all had fun again. And, once again, I had a little trouble remembering/learning how to break at the end of the zip line.....But I did finally get it and, thankfully, I never knocked our guide off the woodened platform.  I'm sure he's grateful for that!

On our first visit two years ago, after we zipped over the river, we walked a bit then zipped back over the river.  But now the river is higher and the landing platform is not accessible, so we had to cross over on a rusted-out bridge.  Oh, my.  It's the stuff of nightmares!   We did not just walk about on the bridge, we were attached to a zip line.  I didn't ask, but I hope that bridge was inspected and found safe for  walking's definitely NOT for a car! They had added lots of new wooden boards for us to walk on as many of the originals were no longer around. (We were told one story that Bonnie and Clyde had ditched a car at the foot of the bridge once long, long ago.)

I did have to laugh at the differences the harnesses we had to wear made us look. With Benjamin it just made his long thin legs look like pencils. With Drew and William it made their butts look flatter than ever. Then there's the girls....with our Jo-Lo butts.... Oh, well. Such is life.

I will say again, that while zip lining is lots of fun, I would not do this in the summer!  While this weekend it wasn't too hot, last time we went in May and it was almost way too hot!!  I would think that being in the trees it would be cool.  But no. This is the Deep South.  It's just hot.

We drove home Saturday evening so we could worship with our church for Easter morning.  Just a quick trip....but much needed. While the middle school is done with state testing, the high school is now looking at EOCs (end of course testing - a test that MUST be past to receive a grade), AP testing for college classes (William has two), and then finals (all classes - and there's no being excused from them if you have an A - EVERYONE takes a final in EVERY class).  Also, the high schoolers have a few projects to finish.  Drew's new job is keeping him busy, and I have am just about booked for all my available days to sub. It's like a mad sprint to the end of school. So, May is busy...the kids have camps in June....maybe in July we'll get away again.  Of course, by then we'll be looking for some cool temperatures, I'm sure. Summer is a-comin'!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Turning Over

On to the next 100K

Friday, April 18, 2014

No Consistency What-so-ever...

Today I took Benjamin into the doctor's for an asthma check-up. Our normal doctor is deployed - typical problem with military medicine, so we saw a female provider. Not impressed at all! She really had no idea what to do in an asthma check-up. (I so miss our civilian doctor!!) 

He has this thing called a peak-flow monitor. He blows into it & based on the numbers we can decide how much medicine he needs if he is in distressed. She didn't even have him blow into it!! All numbers are based on his best numbers. The numbers we had were two years old taken when he was having lots of asthma issues. I would think the numbers would have changed as he grows. 

After we got home, I had Benjamin blow into the monitor. Sure enough, his highest number was 50 points higher than it was two years ago. 

I won't be making any more appointments with her again. 

Good news though! Ben is now well on the growth chart!! For many years he was well in negative numbers. Today he measured in the 6%! Yea!! 

Of course, just looking at how short his pants have gotten lately, I could tell he's been growing. He's still low on weight, but so is William and Drew. That part just runs in the family. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Passion

One of my goals for this Lent Season was to have the kids watch the Passion of the Christ movie. Last Sunday night was the night. 

Didn't go over so well....

William refused to watch it...but ended up watching it at school in his Bible lit class. 

Melissa walked out within ten minutes. 

Benjamin kept his eyes on his computer game. 

And Drew & I forget all about the subtitles. And we did fast-forward through some of harder to watch parts.  

I'm glad we watched it...even if it was hard to watch. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Work...

Today was a better day at the school....could have done without some of the crazy parents....  But a good day. No word on our ill student. I'm hoping that no news is good news.

Ben did not have a  good day. We have known for awhile that he needed several teeth pulled in order to get ready for braces. I had been putting it off...hoping that they would just fall out on their own.  Several did...but we found out today that only one was one that was in the way.  As we were sitting in the lobby waiting to be called back to see the dentist, Ben said, "Now we're just here to see what needs to be pulled right?"

Me: "Hmmmm....ah...."  with a big smile.

Ben: NOT smiling....tears in fact were there.  Yea.....he was so UPHAPPY!  But he was a trooper and had two teeth pulled.  We'll go back in a few weeks for one last one. the ortho for braces.

Yea....he's not happy about that either!

Monday, April 14, 2014


I was to be the attendance clerk today again, but ended up being the secretary due to her mother passing away on Saturday.  Very sad....she had been sick for years, but still, sad.  Then we found out one  of our students was very ill and needed to be air-vac-ed to Dallas.... With the bad weather her flight was delayed and during the delay, she improved so was able to be driven by her parents.  But still....sad that she's so ill that they can't treat her locally.

Hoping tomorrow is a little more joyful.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Nice End to the Week

Today I worked  in the school office. While we had some busy moments, it was no where near as crazy as it has been.  A good day all in all....except for the two boys that got behavior letters towards the end of the day....I don't know the details of what they did, but apparently they just couldn't deal with the stress of testing week for another hour! The vice principal just sent them to in-house detention with the plan to deal with them on Monday.

Yesterday we found out the scores for William from his attendance at a state-level competition.  He placed fifth in Advance Math and Stats.  Very proud of him!! 

Tonight we are hosting a party for our Sunday school class. We have a new staff member at our church and we are having a social for our class to get to know this new pastor (he'll be over education and missions) and his wife (and kids!). We are, also, using this as a time to "pound" them.  It's an old tradition where you bring a pound of food (flour, sugar, can veggies, etc) to help them re-stock their pantry after the move. We decided to have a taco bar for dinner.  Drew and I are in charge of the meat, so the rest of the class are to bring the toppings, sides, and desserts.  We ended up ordering the meat from a local Mexican restaurant....just so much easier with me working today! And why re-invent the wheel???  It's some good food!!

We love hosting events.....should be fun!  But my kids aren't really excited.  William and Melissa are going to see the movie "Captain America" with friends and Benjamin is hiding out across the street at his best friend's house.  Ben is just not into big crowds....nor helping to entertain the other kids.  He did a great job last time, so I'm letting him off the hook this time around!

Tomorrow Melissa is taking the ACT for her first time. Yes, it's early, but we like having a base line....know what we need to work toward.  It was so nice to know these last few years that William did well enough his first time to qualify for the state tuition program.  Afterwards, I'm hoping to surprise her with some time to shop for an Easter outfit.  Should be fun! After I drop her off in the morning, I'm meeting my friend, Cheryl.  We meet in Guam and she new lives a few towns over.  We usually get together every few months, but I think it's been close to six months since we have meet.  I'm looking forward to catching up with her....and favorite meal of the day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My View

This was my view for most of the last three days.....

Monday, April 7, 2014

Testing, Reading, and Scores

Today was the first day of state testing around here. I was one of the hall monitors....which basically means I ran errands for the teachers, watched their class as they took a quick bathroom break, but mainly sat in a desk in the hallway and read a book.  Not a bad day at all.  We started late due to a broken down bus (can't start until all students were there). One classroom in my hall way didn't finish until about 1:15!! What a long day for those kids!! Hopefully, tomorrow we'll start closer to on-time and finish sooner. Today was math, tomorrow, I think, is English.

Over the last two weeks I have read tons of fiction - probably way too much!  One of my goals this years has been to read more non-fiction than fiction, but I have not done so well on the non-fiction side in the last two weeks.  Today I read Walden On Wheels by Ken Ilgunas. Its about this guy that finished college with over $38,000 in debt. Not nearly as bad as some - his best friend had $66,000. But bad enough that he felt he was drowning in it.  He set a course to pay  it all off in the quickest time possible. And he did! He took jobs that included room and board - many were in far away places like Alaska and involved lots of manual labor.(With a liberal arts degree he couldn't find a job that would cover all living expenses and his monthly debt payments.) He paid all of the $38,000 in two and half years, then he decided to go  back to school for a masters.  The catch was he wanted to complete this degree totally debt free.  He achieved this by living in his van.  Not exactly homeless, but pretty close. It was all very interesting.

When I got home, this choice of reading material was even more interesting by two things in the mail: William's ACT scores and a pamphlet for the school of his choice  - with a list cost....over $14,000 a year. Luckily we live in a state that has a nice tuition program. It's called TOPPS. Any student with passing grades in high school and over a 20 ACT score will get a waiver on tuition (which is really half of the cost).

William first took the ACT as  9th grader...yes, early, but we wanted to know where we stood.  He made a 26.  He took it again as a 10th grader and got a 28. This year as an 11th grader he took it with the class during school instead of on a Saturday and made a 30. We were very proud of the 26 and 28, but very, very proud of that 30!!!  Hoping it'll bring in more scholarship money!!!

There's been a lot of reports in the news over the last year or so about student out of control it so many students have degrees, but can't get a job...  A lot to think about as a parent.  I have friends who feel like they are responsible to pay for every cent college cost...and others who won't pay anything. Drew and I are somewhere in the middle.  But I do wonder how much is too much debt.

For now, William seems to be taken care of - smart boy!!  Now, on to the next two....Melissa actually takes the ACT as a 9th grader this Saturday....scores in about three weeks.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Entertaining Strangers

Yesterday Drew and I went to the movies and had dinner out. The movie was very enjoyable - Divergent,  - they did the book proud, I think. Dinner (Fuddrucker's) was, also, enjoyable - the hamburgers as well as the side show next to us.

This particular Fuddrucker's is quiet small from the others I have been to in the past (first time for this location...yes, we have been here over three years...not sure why we never have gone before).  The tables are  very close and you just can't help but hear the conversations from next to you.  As I returned from getting some fixings for my burger I over heard what turned out to be a pretty  hilarious conversation.

It seem that Mr. Truck-Driver Guy was in line behind Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Neck Guy at the soda refill area.  Mr. Truck-Driver told Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Collar that he was sure what they did, but the sweet tea tasted like they pour tons of sugar in it.

Well, that's NOT what Mr. Stuff-Under-the-Collar heard. He heard something along the lines of "your wife looks like she taste like tons of sugar".

As Drew and I listened to them try to figure this thing out, I thought one just might hit the other.  Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Collar was totally appalled that any total stranger would say something like that to him.  Mr. Truck-Driver was totally appalled that any total stranger would think that HE would say ANYTHING rude like that - after all! He's been married for over twenty years and has been faithful to his wife!!!  Both seem to take it as personal insults.

Finally, Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Collar gave an almost apology IF he heard wrong. Mr. Truck-Driver sort of took it.

Drew and I just found it all absurd.  My question is this: when Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Collar heard what he thought he heard, why didn't he just say, "What did you just say??"  After all, it was a TOTAL STRANGER!!! Why did it never occur to Mr. Stiff-Under-the-Collar that he heard wrong?  Is he that arrogant? There have been lots of times when I heard something that just seems off...totally out-of-the-blue or totally out of character for that person to say WHAT I THOUGHT I HEARD.  Nine times out of ten I heard WRONG!  The person repeats what they said and since I'm purposely listening, I hear them right the second time.  And I laugh.

But these two guys?  There' was no laughter at their tables....just awkward silence with their wives eating fast so they could get out of there. But Drew and I were laughing. They had no clue they were entertaining strangers.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Wednesday when I was at the commissary, I discovered that our door to the back hatch of the van no longer wanted to stay in the up position.  It sort of fell....right on the bagger lady helping me with my groceries....ouch!! She was SOOO not happy! 

I was in shock and confused....the door hatch had never done this before.....a mystery.

We decided to schedule an appointment for Friday at the local dealership for them to look at it along with a few other things like new wipers.   Yes, I know most people change out their own wipers, but that doesn't work very well for us. When we (or rather DREW!!) changes out my wipers, it usually leads to them falling off....on very, very busy the rain...

So, Friday I spent a good portion of it sitting in the waiting room at the dealership.  Which I really don't mind because they have an icee machine!! Yummmy!!!  And big roomy chairs.....a tv....and no kids around.....not a bad place at all.  But what I did mind was the estimate for the back hatch: $558.38 plus labor.


Hmmmm.  We just might be waiting awhile before it gets fixed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Parenting Ups and Downs.....

Yesterday I came across probably the best blog post about parenting. (You can read it here,)  The author relates to parenting to training some dogs just about train themselves....they just make you look good!  Like you know what you're doing! Kids, she writes, are the same.  Some just make you look good they behave so well...that's just their temperament. Others? Well, they're the ones that pee on someone else's tires at Walmart.

That's how our week has been. Yesterday, as I said in my post, I was just so proud of William for going into a local fast-food restaurant and asking for an application. Drew and I really  had no idea what brought it all on, but we were proud and happy! Today he was to go in for the group interview.

Today was more like him peeing on the tires in the parking lot.

(Deep sigh.....)

His deep and real anxiety hit.  I had force him to finish completing the application. Then I had to force him out of the house.....practically dragged him out of the car and into the restaurant.... Then we stood to the side...watching the other teens wait for their turn to talk to the assistant manager.  I did not have to drag him out of the restaurant....he more like ran ahead of me.

(Deep sigh.....again....)

Drew and I both were about in tears.  We both thought that yesterday's high and excitement was a sign that he was ready and willing to conquer this thing.  Today? Wow. It hit full force.  He had twenty-four hours to think about it....way too much time. 

But he and Drew had a good long talk about it.....they seemed to pin down exactly what the anxiety was over. We have a new plan in place to take care of those concerns.  There'll be another group interview in two weeks.  He's going to try again then.  Hopefully, he'll make us look good then....instead of peeing on the tires again.  (But either way we still love him and are proud that he's at least is trying to tackle this thing!)