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Thursday, January 31, 2008

A day for a good heart-warming story!

Let me preface the story. The art department often buys a few good leather bound sketchbooks every year with our art order. I saw them on my shelves and decided to ask my mentor a few months ago about them. She said, "Often times we give them to students we see who make an extra effort and seem really serious about art".

So here's the story.

Well, here's what happened today. I have a 3rd grade student who brings me the most elaborate and detailed sketches of mainly animals. She must study photos and the animals in real life. She shades them in wonderfully, and is always thrilled to show me. She always insists on giving them to me, but I told her I want her to start keeping them so she can see how much she's improving as she keeps drawing. I asked her today if she had a sketchbook or something she could tape them in...she had a puzzled look....-her response, "Well no, but every once in a while my dad will bring home some old scrap paper from his work". Needless to, her drawings are always on the back of old quote papers from a construction company. :(

Anyway, so I asked her to come in and visit me at recess for a minute so we could talk about her drawings. I showed her the sketchbook and all the empty pages in it that she can fill...her eyes lit up SO bright. She hadn't seen an actual sketchbook before. This one was nice, with a hard back and everything. I told her I would like to give it to her because I know she will keep drawing, and fill up the pages. She said in the sweetest little voice..."are you sure you want to give that...to...me?" Her face made me sad...it made me sad that she was so unsure of my gift, but I told her OF COURSE I wanted to!

She got SO excited and I handed her the sketchbook. I told her that it's something I do for only a few serious students and she's the first I've given out. I really only have one more. She is a bright girl and quickly understood that she would keep it between us...but that she would cherish this gift more than ever.

It was really...really...amazing. I guess that sounds silly, but some of these kids have nothing-and I was shocked at how taken back she was that someone would give her a real good gift. A sketchbook for crying out loud. Wow.

So, I emailed my mentor (another art teacher) and told her about what happened with my sketchbook story. I felt I owed it to her since she was the one who told me I had the freedom to give it out!

Here is her reply to me:

"That is a lovely, million dollar story! Thanks so much for sharing! Many people make a whole bunch more $$ than teachers, but few have such beautiful interactions!

Thank you for doing so much for this little girl.

She will never forget you!

Donna"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

xoxo.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So not safe.

I force my husband to take pictures when we're driving! I'm so bad...



I'm good at self portraits ;-)

Can you make out what this says? hehe...(at our weekend getaway to the Dupont)

1st Grade's Before and After Self Portraits

Stand in Awe people...these kids are talented! I am so proud!






Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Thursday, and now I know someone reads my blog :-)

As my title says, Someone reads my blog!! I actually didn't think there was anyone but maybe my sister and occasionally my hubby, but last night my Mother-in-law, Kristin said, "I read your blog, like everyday!" I am trying to get her to blog, being that she is the great writer of the family. The rest of us try, sort of, but fail miserably. I love to write, but not for eloquence. I like to write the way I would talk, and for some odd reason, writing is just a way for me to get things out. Duh, I guess thats what it is for everyone, eh?

Well, it's thursday. I have to tell you that yesterday I taught 2nd grade, and they are studying dinosaurs in their regular ed classrooms. So, I had this brilliant idea to do clay dino's in art class. Now, being that I knew very little about them myself, I had to do some research. But, I cooked up this little lesson, and the first 2nd grade came stomping in...they were my guinea pigs. I already thought, "If this is terrible...I am doing something else in the other classes!". Ye of little faith. These kids ROCKED it. W.O.W.! Needless to say, lining my counters are some of the coolest t-rex's, triceratops, teradactels, and brachiosauraus'. I will take a picture when they are all painted. So cool. I will never underestimate them again. It was refreshing. The teachers gawked at them. I liked that they were proud of the kids, cuz I was.

Back to the, "It's thursday part"...I guess I'm realizing that I really don't have anything to write about today being that its early in the morning. I have a busy day full of third and first graders. Two completely different groups. Third are so independent...don't need help, because they can do it themselves. Meanwhile First grade is like whine-fest 2008. Everyone needs help pretty much ALL the time. They are cute though, and I get lots of handwritten notes. Unfortunately I can't show you how they LOOK but I can show you how they write:
(Taken from last week's note:)
Deer Mis. Bala,
Yoo are Prity and Butifull. Yoo are th best tcher in the wurld. I lov art class. I wish yoo wr my sistr. We cood play and I want to meet yr frends.
Lov, Alexander

How stinking cute is that? They really do write like that. But they are just learning all their sounds and letters, and I find that really special that they take practically 30 minutes to write that TO ME! It takes them a while at this stage. How cute? I am lucky.

Anyway, I have been thinking about "Life" lately. Life being, little babies. In the last week I know three couples who have given birth. The older I get, the more and more sappy I get about children. I just find myself really wanting to enter that stage of my life. It's not even so much about me, but how beautiful it is that a new child is entering the world for the first time. They are so innocent, and beautiful. It is just beyond me to think that so many people can just abort their babies without even thinking twice. I do believe it can really mess someone up in the long run, but people are senseless about it. On this note, I am having a very hard time with who I would want for president. Yes, Obama has some great qualities, but can I justify voting in a pro-choice canidate who is going to put other democrats around him, who will persuade him in the pro-choice direction. Bush along with Congress helped to make partial-birth abortion illegal. That was HUGE! I would hate to see something like that reversed, just because of who gets voted in. We are talking about LIFE here...and being that I am getting older and more sensitive to children, and wanting children, etc....I just can't justify the decisions of pro-choice people, or a pro-choice "government" per-say.

Anyway...I need to get rolling with my day. But, that's it for now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's your Wii story?

So, Declan, Susan and I decided that should be Nintendo's new slogan or marketing ploy for the Wii. Because EVERYONE has a story behind how they got their Wii. Everyone.

Declan and Katie's Wii Story is this:

We got an inside tip about 11 Wii's coming in to the Circuit City in Devon, that would be released on Sunday morning. Declan has been saving for one, in fact we had a "Wii Fund" envelope in our bedroom for the last month. He had all the money saved (how cute!). So, as anyone would who wanted a Wii so bad, Declan decided he would bear the cold, go wait in line early in the morning to get a voucher for his Wii, and then finally have the love of his life in his hands, I mean, the coolest video game system ever. Oops ;-) Myself and my sister, Susan heard his plan and thought, heck, let's go along for the ride. Wouldn't be so bad, right? Kind of fun is what we thought. Well, we pulled up the Circuit City around 4:30am Sunday Morning. We saw nothing. As soon as we parked, we saw about 4 people open car doors and jet out to their "spot" in line along the wall of the building. How funny. We got out. We talked to them, had a little Wii talk...and decided, there were now only 5 in line who wanted Wii's, so let's go back into our car and warm up until the next car comes. Being that it was around 10 degreees that night.

At first, my sister and I went along for the ride, then we thought, why are we out here if we aren't getting a voucher? HECK, let's get a voucher, buy a Wii, and then maybe sell it and profit $75.00-$100.00. So, we decided we were getting Wii's too. Gradually more and more cars get coming, we would do the drill, get out of the car, tell them our "spot" in line, agree to go back in the car and warm up, and repeat. Until we had our 11 people. At that point, we had to grin and bear it for the last hour and a half we stood out there. In the meantime you become in a very weird way very close to the people you are standing around. Kind of like, a little "Wii Family". Cute, huh? Everyone all the sudden "has your back"...its amazing, yet funny. We heard everyone elses Wii Story, why they wanted it, who they were in line for, etc. We heard the story of the college student who wanted it for his dorm, the story of the mom who spoils her 5 year old with everything, the story of the mom buying for her 9 year olds birthday, but secretly it is really for her, the story of the Circuit City employee who just wanted it to have for parties, the story of the Father who was waiting for his children...stories, stories...more stories. Then there was our story. My husband has been dying for this system, and just really wants to play it. My story: I want to sell it. Susan's: Sell it. Funny.

So finally after almost two hours, the manager comes out (this time, 7:45am) and hands out vouchers, and sure enough we were numbers 5, 6 and 7. We had the voucher, we are victorious, we are getting a Wii come 9:45am. Hot diggity dog.

We go to Dunkin Donuts, warm up, chill out a little...get some food in our stomachs. Go back, and sit out front of Circuit City again, only to see people who think that they could possibly be first in line for this thing called a Wii, and oh how happy they are....Until....They see the sign on the door. "Sorry, we have handed out all Vouchers for Wii's...none at this time". The look of disatisfaction on their faces as they walk back to their car. People began coming up and rolling down their window to find out what's the Wii story. We told one man. He seemed slightly disappointed, until I told him we were willing to sell him one of our vouchers for $100.00. He tried to bargain with me, then said, "Will you wait if I tap Mac?". WE WERE VICTORIOUS!! Susan just gained $100.00 for standing in the cold for 1.5 hours. SWEET. She was ecstatic.

Finally it was time to line back up again, almost time to purchase the Wii (both Declan and I). I had a couple of people I tried selling my voucher too, but I think they thought it was a scam. This one man seemed into it, but then said no...and still kept hanging around. He was creepy. He counted his money, so I know he was contemplating paying me for it. But then he didn't, and he didn't leave. It made no sense why he would stand there when he had no voucher, couldn't get a Wii and wasn't going to pay me for mine. Fifteen minutes later, he gets close to me and says "How much are you really talking, are you serious about this?" He sounded aggressive and a little scary, so I said, yes, and $120.00. Then he started freaking out at me, telling me that Declan and I are in violation of the code, since we are married. He said "One unit per family"...I told him, Sorry Sir, you're wrong, it's one per customer...and I have one because I've been here sine 4:30am, he doesn't because he showed up at 9am sipping his Latte. SORRRRRYY. So they called in people with vouchers, and this scary man was following still behind me. I was ignoring him. He began badgering me again, saying, "There are families that need one! Everyone wants one...you are wrong!". In my head I'm thinking, Yea and that's why I'm going to sell it to one of those families on EBAY and make some money off it. GO BUY IT ON EBAY! But I shut my mouth. I hear him say, "I'll give you 60 bucks"...I ignore him. I was buying that Wii to resell to SOMEONE else now, someone nicer. If he had just thought harder about it, he could have left that day with a Wii. If he was nice, and gracious, maybe I would have had compassion on him. Instead he acted like a genuine jerk, and I in no way shape or form was going to let him have my voucher...not even for 60 bucks.

He walked up to the Manager and tried to tell him about Declan and I, that we were married, etc...and may resell the system. The manager told him he was sorry, but it's one per customer, etc. Meanwhile, my "Wii Family" all had already determined they had my back if the manager was going to let this scary guy win. How cool is that? Although he definitely didn't "win" or leave there with a Wii, these people who didn't know me 6 hours before, had my back. Cool, huh? Funny.

So Declan went in, got his Wii, I went in, got mine. We are reselling mine on ebay. I can easily make about $120-$150 or so. I am content with that. The look on everyones face as they walked out of Circuit City bag in hand was "VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Trust me, it was. Their faces were LIT up. It was amazing.

Anyway, thats our Wii story.

What's yours?

***Note: We went home and instead of crashing in bed due to lack of sleep, we played Wii for hours...we went to an afternoon church, came home...taught my Dad how to play...for hours. Had Pizza, came back, and then Declan had some alone time with the love of his life, I mean...the best video game system ever....***

Fun Times, Awkward Moments, Surprise!!

I believe in my last post I talked about really wanting and needing to spend some good old QT with my husband. So, Friday...that was the plan. We ended up decided to take some fun time for ourselves and we headed after work to Wilmington, DE. We stayed at our favorite (where we stayed our wedding night), The Hotel Dupont. It is utter class, and makes you feel luxurious every time. I love how they have included Valet parking, and how the bed is all down, and how every room has a jacuzzi tub and a comfy couch. It makes you feel good. So, we checked in, settled in, and headed back out to find a good restaurant.

The restaurant story. We tried finding a place that had American food and we saw this cute place called, "821". We're like, let's go! One little tip...check the menu before you go anywhere. We sat down and started eyeing up the menu, only to see it was one of those places that does "tastings", of REALLY_WIERD_FOOD. It was also HIGH class as in MONEY high class, which would have been okay, but the menu was making my stomach turn. I looked at my husband and said, "We have to leave, I will not eat here!". He agreed, but we have NEVER walked out of a restaurant before. We felt so stupid. So, we politely asked the waiter if he understood that we left because the menu wasn't what we were expecting, and with a look of shock, he said it was alright. It was one of the most awkward moments we've had. It was kind of funny. Needless to say, we ended up going to this GREAT little trendy place called Exchange. It was fabulous! Had a chill bar, couches, little seating area, and just an all around cozy atmosphere. We really enjoyed that.

We just genuinely enjoyed ourselves all together that little "date-excursion" night. No laptops to distract us, we didn't even turn on the tv-just some good old fashion one-on-one time. Good stuff. We came home the next morning after getting some breakfast at Panera (my favorite!).

Now started the whirlwind of my Mother-In-Law's Surprise 50th Birthday Party!! It all turned out just gorgeous, and for the most part, we surprised her, I mean, scared her should we say. We had a good 60 people show, and she felt very loved, which was the point by far. Lyryn, Sue and I made that place sparkle and Kristin was dazzled by it.

Good Friday and Saturday for sure.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snowman.

(Sorry, but I cannot flip the images due to my comptuer hating me)

Snowman BEFORE School:




Snowman AFTER school:

Snow...the one time I really hated it.

So yesterday the snow began around noon. Obviously too late for any sorts of "dismissals" to get people home safely. I figured it would be okay and that my drive home wouldn't be too hard to handle. Well, I was wrong. It was ridiculous! It was literally the worst drive I've had. Scary, scary, scary. Stuck on a huge hill on 322 for 40 some minutes. Scared to death that every time I stop on this hill there is no chance I will get UP it again. I was partially right, becuase most of the time I veered off to the right, had to regain control, and I would PRAY, "God let me make it up this hill by your grace".

It only got worse as I approached the house with all the back roads. Needless to say, I got home with quite a stiff neck from being so tense, and I practically kissed the ground.

After I hated the snow for a while, I started giving it some love. My little brother, Wit and I began to make a snowman. He turned out very cute. What I found so funny is that Stevie did not know the first thing about making a snowman! He had never done it before! It was nuts. I basically had to teach him exactly what to do. That kid is so different then the other three siblings. He just doesn't know how to do "much" life stuff. Like, building a stinking snowman! Because, when it snows, he thinks of the first high-tech thing he can do in the snow....Snowboard. Back in the day, we just thought of sledding on our tobaggan sled or how good was the packing snow, and how many forts or snowmen we could make. I wonder what our kids will be like?

Anyway, I will post a picture of my snowman tonight. I grabbed a shot of him before I left for school this morning, because he already was melting a bit. I knew when I got home from school he'd basically be gone. :-( Poor Frosty.

So, got some plans this weekend, not many tonight...but we will figure something out. I think I may need to spend some time with my hubby. I miss him. I know that it seems hard to believe you can "miss" someone you see so often, but I need more than that. So we may be in need of a date night, and I'm up for that.

Anyway, love to you bloggers out there.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pictures...my crazy life

New camera fun


Isn't he hot?? ;-)


Daisy Mae


Hubby and Me...crazy as normal

Parties, Camera's, Action!

Ohh boy oh boy. I always have this fear when a weekend comes that I won't make the best of it, and it will slip by so fast, not enjoying every moment of it. Well, this weekend was not like that...it really was wonderful. Last night Declan said to me, "Wow, this was a really great weekend". I feel like it's rare to hear him just say that. I agreed, it really was.

It started off with Friday Night, Declan and I met up with Tara and Brent and ate at Ruby Tuesdays, which is always a good time. We enjoyed the food, then headed to Philly to Johnny Brenda's to see Reilly and The Bridge Band play. It was the the opening party for The Bridge Band's new LOVE cd, which is fantastic. I am finding out that I am not as much as a socialite as I once thought I was. There was once a time I definitely would describe myself as a hardcore extrovert...but for some reason, I just don't really feel like being the social butterfly anymore. So, I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to go to a cram packed bar, with hundreds of raging hormones (this place is like a big-flirt-session), but I did it for my husband, and for the music. I was relieved to see my good friend Isaac and his girlfriend Heather. My little brother showed up also, and his friend Brittany. It ended up being more fun than I expected. The Pros: The music, standing by my hubby all night, hearing dan DJ a little, Isaac & Heather, Spending time with T & B, and realizing, "THANK GOD I AM NOT IN THE BIG POND ANYMORE (Looking for a man, that is)". The Cons: Being SO HOT at times, Dumb chicks who squeeze in front of you just to hug their "old friend" and they end up practically elbowing you in the eye, getting a wee-bit lost in Philly, and this girl who appeared intoxicated doing some really ugly dancing. Other then that, a good night.

Saturday. Well, this day I had no idea what I was doing really. But, it started out kind of nice when my parents invited me out to breakfast with them. We went to the favorite for breakfast, Georgio's. Susan met up with us, we relaxed, chatted, then went home for our whirlwind of a day. My mom was hosting a shower for her friend Stefanie, and as always, my sister and I helped do the decorations. I will admit, we help to throw a mean party. We've discussed doing this as a business, but never really get serious about it. It was a wierd day...I really knew no one, but it was nice being able to serve them and just help out. My hubby spent the whole day working on freelance design work and watched football. He said, "This is the perfect day!" when I went to talk to him later. How cute is that? Little things please him. We got very cleaned up from the party, which felt oh so good. Don't you hate how you clean for a party, then it gets SO dirty, everyone leaves, and you think "Why did I ever clean?!"

A little later everyone was out; Sue was babysitting, Mom was visiting at the hospital, Steve was snowboarding...
So Dad, Declan and I decided to head to the mall. We went to the Camera Shop and dad decided to buy himself another camera. He got the Canon XTI and he so kindly bought me another little purse camera (mine just broke!). He just loves photography, it is SO, so cute. What is even funnier is that he just cannot work the camera. He has trouble retaining the information we even give him about it, too. It's funny. We ended up meeting my mom at Houlihans, and we had a blast. I can honestly say I don't know if I've had this fun with my parents in a long time. The food was excellent, everything was just good. We laughed, had a great time, and I don't think we talked about work ONCE! I can't even remember what we talked about, actually :-)

Sunday. Was equally as great as the other days! My sister, Susan lead worship at church. Boy, did the spirit move! She is talented, for sure. I was a proud sister, but yet again, I'm always proud of her! Then we met the rest of the family (Jim, Kesh and Kyra) and went to On The Border for Kesh's 27th birthday. It was a nice time. We came home and lounged for a while. Declan and I played Bloons for a while. We are such kids! You can normally, without fail, walk into our room and see both Dec and I with our Mac's out playing some kind of game while laying in bed. Losers I tell you! However, I love that time together. Corny as it may be. We decided to go to the diner to grab a bite to eat...let me interject now with a story.

I HATE the diner with a passion. Actually, I'm not really sure I hate it (Just don't tell Declan that)...I just would much prefer anything else. So, every time Declan suggests it I make gagging noises and a sickened face, and normally we move on, thus resulting in me not having to go to the diner. Well, we were sitting there playing "Bloons" and I just thought, heck, I want diner food today. So I mentioned this to Declan, and he was basically like, "HECK yes we can go, I gotta take the oppurtunity any time it arises!" So off we went, and yes my dear sister came along. We actually had a nice time sipping coffee and hot tea, watching the game, and talking about life things that got me really excited. I think...I THINK...I would enjoy going to the diner more. (Shhh...don't tell my husband).

We topped off Sunday night with a late session of bowling. My old man came, and he was pretty good! A little rusty from his early years, but I thoroughly enjoyed having him there with us. I genuinely enjoyed being with my parents this weekend...it was a really nice time.

Okay now that was too long...which is why I need to start writing over the weekend. Hmph. Well, You can't do everything right?

Happy Monday!

Pictures to come.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sometimes you just need to Stop.

Like my subject says, sometimes you just need to STOP. We get busy, and run around...between our jobs, home lives, church lives, friends, etc....and you need to just stop. Breathe. Make sure you are telling people you love them, spending quality time with them, and caring for them like you really do. Show it. I am glad to have had one of those stop-in-your-tracks moments recently.

Other news, I believe we are going tonight to see Reilly and The Bridge Band play in Philadelphia. Other then the weather being so terrible, I am excited for it. Declan loves Reilly, and we both really enjoy the Bridge Band. So, all is good in the neighborhood.

I am so happy today is friday. I love my job, I love the kids, I love my school and the teachers here...it truly is all fabulous. But, I have never appreciated a friday so much in my entire life! Really. If you have a child, you know how draining it can be, wonderful, yet draining. I have about 600 children. Granted they change throughout the day, I don't stay with the same kid all day long, but it is exhausting. Today is my favorite day of the week, however. NO...not because it's FRIDAY but on Friday's I see 4th and 5th graders...I LOVE that age! They are so funny, and witty, they get my sarcasm and humor. We just have a lot of fun.

So, on that note. I better go! Happy Friday to you. (Probably only talking to ONE person because I'm pretty sure only my sister reads this)...I am trying to get more of my family to blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hard Decisions

I have had to make some hard decisions about my life and friendships in it lately. I've done a lot of thinking, and it's better now. Sometimes you just don't deserve to be so taken advantage of. There are some times in life you just have to stand up for yourself. So, I am, and I did. I feel ok. I am thankful I have a husband who is behind me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Transition

Life is really different right now. Obviously married, pretty sure I wrote that in here already. Declan and I lived in an apartment for three or so months, and it was okay. We had some issues there that made me hate it, so we figured out what to do, and that was to leave. We started looking into houses and found that our best bet was to buy into new townhomes going in right near where we lived and right by TheFireStore. It was an inexpensive option compared to the rest, believe it or not. So, we offically did buy our first home which we will be able to move into come July. So, for now my parents have been so gracious to allow us to move in for the next few months, save some money, and get ready for our new house. It actually hasn't been that bad, it's just hard not having as much freedom as we were used to. Sharing everything again, kitchen, living room, washer and dryer, etc. We have a big goal in sight, and that is our house which we cannot wait for that day!

Anyway, My sweetheart graduated. I am beyond proud of him for his accomplishments. He is a graduate of Art Institute of York-PA. He was an Alpha Betta Cappa honors student, and he rocked it. He decided to stay at the family business. It seems to be the best choice, and he is content with that. He is doing alot of freelance work on the side, which is awesome! He is working on websites, logo's etc...I am hoping to get more mural jobs, too. We are chugging along...thats for sure!

I have just come back from my Christmas break back into the wonderful world of teaching. I genuinely love every day I teach except for Tuesdays. I got to tell you, Tuesdays are horrendous for me...the mix of students, the full day, the short break...but after that it's smooth sailing. God has really blessed me with this job this year. Other things in store for next year...we shall see what comes of it.

My prayer for today is that I would not let the cute little moments and funny little quirks of the kids just pass by as an annoyance, but that I will actually feel the joy in the day and soak it up. I'm trying...more and more...I am trying.

So, I must be going. I think I hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hallway...ahhh...2nd grade here they come!

xoxo
Mrs. Balla