Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to break a mother's heart and make her proud at the same time (by Jonathan)

Step one: When arriving at preschool on the SECOND day of school, tell your mother that you can walk in by yourself.

Step two: When she tells you she has to sign you in, act disappointed.

Step three: Tell your mother that you don't like kisses anymore, only hugs.

Step four: Have a wonderful time at preschool every day, but forget what you do so you can't tell your mom anything more than "I ate lunch."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jonathan's first day of school

Jonathan's first day of Montessori was today. When I dropped him off at 8:45, the kids were all playing in the climber. He looked at me and said, "are you coming in with me?" I told him no, so he said okay and went in by himself with no tears and no hesitation. While I am very proud of this, it sure brings about mixed feelings!
You may also notice that we sent him to school with a bruised face. It happened last night at Elke's house, when Jonathan was lying on a skateboard and rammed into the grass face first. What a way to make a good first impression.
Jonathan loved school and came out beaming. I spent the morning volunteering at school and then shopping.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

It is way too hot and humid!!

Now, I know we live in Florida and I shouldn't be complaining, but this past month has been unreasonably hot and humid. An article in the paper the other day had a graphic demonstrating how much above average our temperatures have been. I half expected this, for we had a beautiful, cool spring. Now we are paying the price. It's been in the mid-nineties most days this month, and the humidity is almost unbearable. This morning I had a ten mile run to do, and I was soaked with sweat after only five minutes. Luckily, the sun decided to stay behind the clouds for my whole run, so it was tolerable. I left the house at 6:35, which is a bit late. If the temperatures stay this warm, I need to leave the house by 6AM. I have a problem with that, though. There's an unwritten rule that no one should have to get up before 6 on a weekend. Unfortunately, I'll be doing just that next Saturday. Unless a hurricane blows thrhrough and takes all the humidity and heat with it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The week in review

Well, the flurry of the first week of school is over. It's a strange feeling, this semi-empty house during the day. Jonathan and I spent the week playing games and running errands. He is a great errand companion. Jonathan is enthusiastic about everything, even a trip to KMart. I needed to buy him a dishtub for school. First I checked Target, my favorite store, to no avail. I try to avoid WalMart at all costs, so we ended up at KMart, probably my second least favorite store. We did find a tub, and Jonathan carried it throughout the store. He was so excited - you would think I had bought him a fabulous toy. He also likes to talk to anyone and everyone, telling them all about school.

Today Jonathan and I went to eat lunch with Alexander. Well, Jonathan ate and I just observed. 10:45 AM is way to early for me to eat. It didn't bother Jonathan and Alexander, who gobbled down their pizza and PB&J, respectively. When Alexander's teacher saw me, she asked if he had issues getting his work done last year (he didn't). This really comes as no surprise to me, given his high degree of distractability at home. We'll give him a chore to do, like pick up the books in his room, and find him 20 minutes later, sitting there reading each book as he picks it up. It takes him twice as long to clean up as Benjamin. We even saw it tonight as we were playing a game. It would come to his turn and he'd be under the table, or talking to Jonathan, or playing with something else besides the game itself. So now we have something he needs to work on this year.
When I went though Benjamin's papers, I found a media permission slip. His teachers maintain a website devoted to their class. Check it out at It's neat, but I can't figure out how his teachers have time to keep up the site. When I was teaching, it was all I could do to get my lessons planned and papers graded. Of course, when I was teaching, there was no blogging yet. I didn't even have an email address. So I guess times have changed. I am excited to be able to keep up with his class. When the kids are younger, teachers encourage parent volunteers, but by the time they are in the upper elementary grades, they're not used as much. Now I can keep track of what they are doing without having to be in his class.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The first day (dictated by Jonathan)

Today is the first day of school for me. Then I maked the gun a long time ago and I use it every morning. So when I use it, I shoot. It's very powerful. When you

press lots of buttons, it will make a shield around it. We can change it or borrow it, but we can't really borrow it. Give me a chance, but you can't really borrow it. The first day I'm going to be wild. There's a Cars lunchbox that I really like and I like it and I'm going to put stuff in my lunchbox. And when I go to school, I'm going to eat lunch, and then I'll come home. When I get to school, I will just think and think when my mom comes, and she will pick me up when she comes. The first grade is really fun, but there's this new school called Montessori school, and I'm going to this school today and it starts tomorrow and I like my Montessori school. (Typist's note: Jonathan begged to do his own blog. This is typed word for word. He was holding a tinkertoy "gun" he made while he was dictating, hence the references to a gun. He is, truly, going to Montessori school, but it doesn't start until Monday. He's enrolled part-time, but then will be bumped up to full time once I am gainfully employed.)

Second Grade (dictated by Alexander)

This year I am in second grade. I was a little nervous the first day, but the second day I was pretty much used to it. At my table is Ryan, Lynnlee, and Rowan. My teacher's name is Ms. Bastian. She's really good. She's nice.

The MAeX Team (dictated by Benjamin)

This year I am in the MAeX team. It is a class of 53 students, divided up betwen two teachers. There are two classrooms connected by a very small hallway. The teachers are Ms. Cady and Mr. Miller. My homeroom is with Ms. Cady in room 101, although I am taught by Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller teaches science and math, and Ms. Cady teaches the rest (reading, language arts, english, etc.) Each day I go over to Mr. Miller's class in room 103. There, he does a lesson. Then, I go back to my homeroom. Then room 103 comes to room 101 (my room) and Ms. Cady does a lesson.
We're the last ones to go to lunch at 12:25. We don't get done until 1:00. After that, we go to the classroom, get the recess supplies, and go out for 15 minutes of recess. There, my favorite activity is to play wallball with the other students. When we go back inside, it's time for cranius maximus, which is basically where you use your full brainpower to finish up your work or read if you've finished your work. Your cranius is your skull. So, cranius maximus is using what is inside your skull with the maximum power. We start packing up at 1:50. Packing up is getting your homework folder and science folder and supplies and adgenda into your backpack and then putting your D.I.R.T. book into your cubby. DIRT stands for daily independent reading time. I get home from school on the bus. I usually arrive home at 2:25.
My friends from school are Christian, who has been my best friend ever since first grade, Allanah, and Drew. Drew I met last year, and Allanah I have known since first grade also. I've also made a few friends this year, basically everyone at my table, which is Brandon, Alex (a girl) and Rina. Brandon I met on the bus in first grade, but then never saw him again.
I think I will like school this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Alexander's tooth

Alexander's front baby tooth has been loose for awhile. Imagine our surprise as the big tooth began moving in. If you look closely, you can see he is now a shark - with more than one layer of teeth! If he doesn't manage to pull it out by the end of the week, I'm going to have to take him to the dentist and have it pulled there. Ugh.

More sailing

As you may remember, Benjamin loved sailing camp this summer. When we got back from our trip, he went to a "mini-regatta," which is basically a race for kids. This was his first official race, so he was pleased not to come in last. Two weekends later, he raced again and this time got up to 6th place! Now he wants to join the racing team.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

First day of school

Yea! The first day of school is finally here. Yesterday the big boys began school. We stood out in the heat and humidity (77 at 7:15AM) waiting for the bus. Turns out they have a new bus driver who was a little late on the first day. If you look carefully, you can see Alexander waving from the bus window. The day went well. Benjamin enjoyed the MAX team. Alexander knew all but three kids in his class and had a good day, too. I spent the day observing teachers. I really enjoyed watching Chris teach. He had a class of freshmen. It's amazing how not much has changed since we went to high school. I could easily identify the groups of students as they walked in. Sure makes me glad I'm out of there!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

12 hours and counting

Yes, school starts in 12 hours. Jonathan is already asleep, and the boys are in their jammies listening to Harry Potter. We packed up some cookies and brownies to send to their teachers to show our appreciation. I'll be spending the day observing teachers (Chris and Liz Clayton) on their first day of school, in the hope that I'll actually have a first day about two weeks from now.....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bleiler reunioin

Here are a few pictures from a family reunion we attended this summer. Jeff had a good time entertaining the boys in the pool. They were having contests to see who could make the biggest splash. I think Jeff won. I tried not to look as Jeff threw the boys into the pool. They loved it!

Florida parents rejoice!!!

Three days and counting..... Yesterday we went to "meet the teacher" day at our elementary school. We paid for lunches, got our bus schedule, and meet the boys' teachers. Alexander is in second grade this year and knows most of the kids in his class. I know his teacher fairly well, and she's great. She is very structured and won't let them get away with anything. Perfect. There are only 17 kids in his class as of now, which is ideal.

Benjamin is going to be on the "MAX Team," which stands for Multi-age experience. There are two teachers for 53 fourth and fifth graders, and they mix the children for all subjects. Having taught a multi age class before, I'm excited for him. I loved teaching K-1-2, and his teachers seem equally excited. He'll be an official fourth grader, but they don't separate the kids by grade at all. It should be a great year.

I called Jonathan's preschool and had him changed to part-time until I find a job. As I understand it, many jobs will be open as of the 9th day of school, when they take an official count all over the whole county and then reallocated units where they have too many children (Benjamin's MAX team may be receiving another teacher). Once I am employed, I can upgrade him to full time. To my pleasant surprise, part-time is free due to a constitutional amendment (that I voted against) allowing for free preschool for all four year olds in the state of Florida. Full time will cost $75 a week. He begins school on the 27th.

So, don't be surprised when you hear lots of yelling and cheering on Monday morning at about 8AM. It is just the parents of Florida's children, excited that they have finally started school. It can't come soon enough for me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Still no job....

No luck yesterday. The principals again were at a meeting. Now I have to wait until Monday to do anything else. Luckily, we've got a full weekend to distract me. Today I was in Tampa planning our Women's fall gathering. Tomorrow we are going to see Peter Pan and then playing games with Jeff, Seamus, and his girlfriend Kelly. Then it's back to reality on Monday morning.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Job Update

Well, I've finally had an interview. Yesterday I went over to one of the elementary schools to personally deliver my resume, since obviously phone and email don't work. I asked to speak to the principal. He wasn't there, so instead of just leaving my resume with the secretary, I asked to speak to the vice principal. To my surprise, he came out and gave me an interview! It went very well, but he cannot hire while the principal is out of town (wondering why the state of Florida scheduled a principal's meeting the week before school starts!!!!) I'm hoping to hear from him tomorrow to schedule a second interview. If not, I'll have to march myself over there and try it in person.

I've also found two other jobs that are open (the hiring freeze doesn't apply when a teacher leaves at the last minute) and am hoping to talk to those principals (who were at the meeting, too) tomorrow. One of them is part time (teaching ESOL students), which I would LOVE, but I'm not exactly certified in that area. But I'm willing to take any classes, so maybe they'll take a chance on me. Here's hoping.....

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Job Frustrations

This has been a frustrating week. Teaching jobs on the hotline have been few and far between. There are over 100 applicants for every elementary job. When I do apply for one, I can't even seem to get an interview. I've been informed that I'm on the "preferred candidate list," but that's not enough to get me in the door, I guess. Today I spoke to my friend at church, who explained why I'm having such a hard time. It seems that while we were away, the Florida Legislature cut taxes. This, although I don't agree, I expected. But now, the lawmakers are all shocked to find out there is a deficit. Hmmmm. Wonder how that happened. They then told our school district that they have to cut 10 million dollars by September. So now there is a hiring freeze. Ah, the wisdom of our lawmakers. Let's cut taxes without examining the consequences. All of this results in very grim job prospects for me. I'm going to hand deliver some more resumes tomorrow, but my hopes are not high. I have to wonder if maybe I'm meant to stay home with Jonathan one more year until he begins kindergarten. That sounds fine to me, until I examine our checkbook. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Fun" in the backyard

From the amount of whining and complaining eminating from our backyard this morning, you would think our kids were the most maltreated in the whole world. What did we ask them to do? Simply weed the back yard along with us for an hour and a half. It certainly seemed like longer than that while listening to their complaints. They seemed to think that the more they complained, the sooner we would stop. What they don't realize is that all the compaining makes us realize we need to give them more work so they are used to it. The front flower bed needs weeding, after all.

Fun with Shelley

As our last stop on our trip, we stopped overnight in Columbia, SC. Shelley works at the Seminary, and was able to put us

in a guest house overnight. Benjamin was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to play with her dogs. He is so good with animals. She has two - two year old black labs who are still learning. Benjamin was able to have them sit for a treat and shake hands. I, unfortunately, was only able to stay in her house for about 15 minutes. Big dogs are the worst for my allergies. I had to go back to the house and shower to get all the dog danger off of me. I had been hoping all the allergy shots I've gotten would eliminate my dog allergies, but I guess not. Benjamin would love to have a dog, but for now he'll just have to play with friends' dogs.