Thursday, January 29, 2009

Always busy

Do you remember telling your parents the famous phrase when you were young, "I'm bored."? I sure would love to have a day of boredom.

Last year, I found out about the Free Tax Act. You can do your federal and state taxes online and even itemize everything for free. You can print off the return and mail it or you can efile. There is a small fee for that, but it is still WAY less expensive than Turbo Tax or Tax Cut from H&R Block. I have used those in the past and this is FAR better. You can find it by typing in "Tax Act 2008" in google. I believe that it is the first link that comes up when you hit enter. Mine are all taken care of and it only took about half an hour to do it.

I can't say that I have had anything really exciting going on; just time consuming stuff. Tonight is Jared's pinewood derby for scouts. He's very excited. Last Thursday, we drove to my brother and sister-in-law's house in Joseph City. Chris helped Jared make a pretty cool car and I just got to do the fun stuff....visit. It was great!

On Sunday, I was one of the speakers at church. Yikes! I knew I was supposed to be speaking, but once again, I did not prepare a talk until 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. I left the house shortly after 7:30 to pick Tyler up from his dad's house to go to church. I don't know that I would say it was one of my better talks, but it was okay. The good thing is that I should be off the hook on that one for a while.

School keeps me fairly busy. Parent-teacher conferences are in a couple of weeks, so I will be trying to schedule those pretty soon. That should be interesting because I didn't realize that was the week of conferences when I made appointments. Tyler has an orthodontist appointment that Thursday and Alex his having surgery that Monday. Somehow, I will need to schedule my 21 students' conferences and also go to my own six children's conferences around those two things. Hmmmm...that's always a bit challenging.

Speaking of challenging, that is how Tyler has been lately. Teenagers can always make life interesting, but it is especially interesting when one of them happens to be bipolar and have a personality disorder. On Monday, I got a call in my classroom asking if I could come to the high school. (Oh, sure, let me just leave my class full of five year olds while I hurry right over there to chat. Why don't I just leave them a box of matches and some malt liquor to keep themselves entertained until I get back?) Long story short, Tyler is suspended for three days. I have a wonderful friend who has allowed Tyler to go to her school (she is the director there) and do manual labor (for free) the entire time he has been suspended. He thought he would just get to stay home, sleep in, etc. I am surprised he doesn't know me better than that by now.

That night I came home by 6:00 only to have to leave again. One of Erica's friends was kicked out of her house, so she is now living here for a while. She is actually not a bad kid or anything, she's just almost seventeen and is feeling like she does not need to listen to or get along with her parents at the moment. I visited with her mom a little before I brought her home (to our home, that is). That's going okay. What's one more kid when you already have six? The adult to child ratio here is fairy off balance regardless.

There is one more thing I would like to add if anyone reads this. My good friend, Laura, is having a really rough time right now. She is a single mother and was recently diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Then her mother passed away and her fiance of three years dumped her because he "couldn't handle the stress". This has all been just in 2009. (Keep in mind that it is still January.) She is still coming to work (while doing chemo) and is amazingly upbeat and concerned about others. I honestly don't know how she is able to handle all of that. Any one of those things would be extremely difficult for most people. Please keep her in your prayers. She is a kind, wonderful, amazing person and I love her as everyone who knows her does.

Well, that's it for now. I have been up since about 4:00 this morning and actually was able to get some laundry done. There is always a positive side to insomnia.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009, Birthdays, & Work

Happy New Year! My dad and brother have birthdays in early January. Keith turned 41 on the 3rd and dad turned 63 on the 5th. I'm not sure how mom managed having two birthdays so close together and right after Christmas all of these years. As with the rest of my family, my dad and older brother are amazing. Now, Keith was a little ornery while we were growing up...what with the chasing us around the house with a baseball bat when my parents weren't home at times and locking us outside in the cold frequently. But I have to say that he grew out of that very nicely and is so kind, thoughtful, and caring now. He also tends to be a bit of a dork, but I mean that in the good way. He is very funny and likes to do goofy things that make us laugh. He is a good example for his kids and mine and he is a great dad, just like our dad is. Dad, my daddy...I get very emotional these days when I think of my parents. My dad has always put his family before himself. Growing up, I just thought that was how fathers were. After getting married, I was shocked to find out that isn't always the case. I don't know how I was so blessed to get my dad for my father. One thing that always sticks out in my mind is that my dad has always treated people the same. He shows the same respect for people I would consider scary or possibly crazy (and not in a good way) as he did for distinguished people. I miss being able to see him everyday like I did growing up. Once every couple of months just doesn't quite measure up.

Speaking of birthdays, I have two in January as well, but mine are a little later in the month. As I type this, Nathan and Zachary are both six. They like to call themselves twins during this little overlap in their ages each year. Zachary (my baby) turned six on Tuesday (1/13). Nathan will turn seven on Monday (1/19). Nathan and Zachary really are similar to twins in a lot of ways and people mistake them for twins all the time. They have always had this extremely close bond that I can't quite explain. I love to watch them when they are asleep. Often they are lying there with their arms around each other. It is so cute! I will miss that when they get older. Zachary is the bigger of the two which is funny since he was a preemie. He used to be this tiny, fragile, little thing who had an extended stay in the hospital after he was born. Now he is one big kid. It is hard to believe that my babies are all growing up so fast.

Work. Hmmm....well, one of my New Year's resolutions this year was to be home from work no later than 7:00 p.m. each night. So far, I have done that (but just barely). I really love teaching my little kindergarteners. They are the cutest little things and I love them all. That said, teaching kindergarten is a lot of work. I have taught language arts at the junior high level and self contained classes for grades 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, and K and have found that the amount of work involved increases exponentially the lower the grade is that I teach. However, it is worth it just to know you have touched their lives for the better and to watch them grow. Yesterday was one of my little girl's last day in my class. Her dad doesn't have a job (stupid recession) and they have to move away to Globe to live with relatives. She is just the sweetest little girl! I will miss her so much! Yesterday she was telling me how her feet were hurting her and I told her to take off her shoe so I could see. I thought she had hurt her foot. Her shoes were just too small and they were cutting into the back of her feet. She has very nice parents and she is well cared for and happy, but with no job, I know that they are not able to buy her shoes. I told one of my teacher friends about her and she pitched in some money to help with my plan. After school, I ran to Kmart and picked up a new pair of shoes for her. It was meant to be! She LOVES Hannah Montana. They had Hannah Montana tennis shoes AND they were on sale at an amazing price with one pair left that would fit her. I was so excited! I dropped them off at her house and she was really happy, but she started crying when I went to leave. Ugh! It was hard for me not to cry. I have a friend from high school who teaches kindergarten in Globe and she is a very nice lady. I hope my little sweetie is in her class.

Well, I guess I better get myself ready to get going here today. Erica, her friend Cassie, and I have a day trip planned today and we need to get going. It should be fun.