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Monday, December 14, 2009

my friends call me whiskers

Never underestimate the curiousity of a five-year-old. On Friday as I was holding the classroom door open and greeting my students, I noticed two of my little girls barreling down the hallway and bee-lining straight for me. The one on the left's eyes were popping out of her head and the one on the right had about 5 or 6 kleenex sticking out of her mouth. As they got closer, I could see the kleenex had turned a slight pinkish color. My suspicions were confirmed when girl on the left blurted out, "Mrs. Place, Janey licked the bus!!" Just another day in the life...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Ever since the first day we laid eyes on this house we have been saying, "This is a great Christmas house!" We have been greatly looking forward to Christmas decorations, music, and baking. We've been debating the past few weeks about what type of Christmas tree upgrade needed to happen this year. The tree we so fondly refer to as the Charlie Brown has served us well for the past three Christmases but this year it just wouldn't do. After much discussion, we decided a live tree would be best. On Sunday afternoon we piled (all three of us) into the Honda to head over to Earl May and make the important decision. It seemed that Dameon went in with a sort of "bigger is better" mentality, but I was a bit worried about this game plan. I think I mentioned several times how much "bigger the tree will look once it's inside the house." Nonetheless, he spotted the most perfect Fraser Fir! I wasn't much help as we loaded and unloaded her because I was distracted by the discovery that Rufus had eaten approx. 8 powdered donuts in the front seat while we had gone inside to pay. Thankfully, Dameon's a he-man and could lift the tree over one shoulder. And Rufus's pancreas is now recovering.

We spent the evening unpacking Christmas decorations, trimming the tree, listening to Christmas music, and taking in the refreshing scent of a real pine. The decorating is by no means finished, but we're well on our way to a winter wonderland!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmastime is here again

After much anticipation, we broke out the Christmas music on Thursday. We will now listen to it non-stop until the new year. Hooray! We try to add one new album to the collection each year. This year our new addition has quickly become one of our all-time favorites. I highly recommend this one from Sara Groves entitled, "O Holy Night." It's the perfect mix of old classics and her original stuff. Plus she adds her own very tasteful spin on everything. We picked it up at Family Christian Store for the low price of $9.99. Go get your copy asap!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life Lately

I'm WAY overdue on posting but I couldn't think of any one topic to highlight. This will, instead, be a compilation of random recent happenings in our life.

1.) I was reminded, once again, that I married a true handyman. Dameon single-handedly installed a dishwasher in our kitchen (including plumbing and electrical work) in one weekend. It is SUCH a luxury since being without one since...well...2006.

2.) Marching band season has come to a close since my last post. It was a very successful competition season and exciting to watch the band progress so much so quickly! These days we are adjusting to a more "normal" pace. Instead of being gone every weeknight, Dameon is only gone on Wednesday nights for grad school at UNI.

3.) Jumping right into drill-writing/marching band season shortly after we moved resulted in us basically unpacking our necessities and shoving everything else in the storage space. Now we are enjoying really making our house a home. Last weekend we spent some time at Lowe's picking out a new area rug for the living room and paint for the master bedroom and living room. I'll post before and after pictures as soon as the painting projects are finished.

4.) On Sunday we made a big purchase. We had tossed around the idea of upgrading from a Queen-sized bed for quite awhile. We stumbled upon a price we couldn't refuse and are now the official owners of a King-sized bed. Life is good!!

5.) My job is getting more managable day by day. I just finished my first round of report cards and I'm now gearing up for Parent/Teacher conferences later this week.

6.) We have been enjoying the nice fall weather (when it's not raining) and have learned that our neighborhood is full of BEAUTIFUL fall-colored trees. We also learned that the trees we are so thankful for in the summer create a major amount of raking when the season changes. Good thing my husband has big muscles...and good thing I'm an expert supervisor.

7.) We've been fortunate to spend some good quality time with our families lately. In mid-October I spend the weekend back at my parents' house. We traveled to Dameon's marching band competition that Saturday and then the four of us went to dinner and to "Wicked" on Sunday. So great! This past Friday night we met up with Dameon's dad and step-mom at Mesquawki Casino for the seafood buffet. We came up with the idea a few weeks prior when it came up in conversation that I had never eaten crab legs. This buffet serves king crab legs, so we thought it would be a good adventure. I learned that I don't like crab legs, but it was still a fun time. Then we made our annual journey to a haunted house. This year's selection was just a bit two scary for us women, so the rough and tough men went without us. I like to think they clung to each other and screamed like little girls the whole way. :)

8.) Have to add a couple of things I've been thankful for today...
First: We heard a great message in church this morning. Great because it made us feel "uncomfortably convicted." The pastor was speaking about a passage in Matthew when Jesus is telling his followers that (in summary) many of them/us will walk with Jesus, do good works, claim Jesus as our Savior, and even proclaim Him to others but FEW will pass through the narrow gate into heaven. Why? Because many leave out the relationship part. The pastor said something that really struck me toward the end of his message. I think it went something like, "There's a difference between knowing ABOUT Jesus and KNOWING Jesus. There's also a difference between having conversations with Him and having a relationship with Him." Hmmm...great truths to reflect on and act on.
Second: Dameon did something so great for me today. Many of you may not know, but when it comes right down to it, Dameon is a much better housekeeper than I am. I know, I know, how could this guy get any better?!?! He is more detail-oriented when it comes to cleaning and he also has this whole turbo-speed thing that I've really never been able to grasp in any area of my life. Anyway, I left around noon today to run a couple errands and go to the mall to do a little shopping for a few new items to add to my fall wardrobe. When I got home I found a clean kitchen, clean bathtub, clean living room, clean dining room, and clean family room. WOW. It means so much to me that he took time to serve me in this way when I am completely undeserving and completely guilty of laying around all day yesterday when I could have (and should have) been cleaning. Love that guy. Love, Love, Love him.

Monday, September 28, 2009

fall festivities

Yesterday Dameon had the great idea to head out in search of an apple orchard. I believe his exact words were, "I think we should go to an apple orchard so we can make apple pie. I'd rather be outside than in a movie theatre." (my idea was to go see "FAME") No argument here! Google informed us that there is not one single apple orchard in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area (weird, right??) so we settled on Allen's Orchard in Marion. It only took us about 40 minutes to get there, which wasn't too bad. We ended up with 9 pounds of apples and a jar of apple butter. Dameon followed through and made a delicious apple pie. I made apple sauce, which turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Yum! I heart fall.

Friday, September 18, 2009

the worst thing i ever did

You would think a kindergarten teacher, of all people, would be able to tell the difference between a 7 and a 9. This skill is crucial in a variety of situations.
As a teacher of young children, I always try to make a big deal out of birthdays. I was always one of those summer birthday kids who never had to spend my special day at school, and I always thought it would be such a drag to have to do so. For that reason, and because everyone should be celebrated in a big way, I make a great attempt to focus on the birthday kid. Calendar Time is an important part of my daily routine. I always mark the birthdays of the current month with a special birthday cake icon and we count down to the upcoming birthday. This is always very exciting for the children and helps them have a better frame of reference, since most concepts of "time" are very fuzzy in their young minds. Yesterday, tomorrow, next week...all very confusing.
Now, this being a school story, I have to change some of the details for confidentiality's sake. So, we'll call the child Abby. Abby's birthday has been marked on the calendar as September 15 since the beginning of the month. This means we had been counting down to it for 15 days. Now, keep in mind what a big deal it is to turn 6 before most of your other classmates. Turning 6 is sort of like a right of passage because you now get to show your age with TWO hands. Big stuff. So, right away when Abby entered my classroom on Tuesday morning, I greeted her with a hug and a "Good Morning, Birthday Girl!" She grinned from ear to ear and took her seat. About one minute later she came over to me and said, "Teacher, my mom forgot it was my birthday." I instantly felt so sad. Not wanting her to feel the same, I quickly said, "Oh! I bet it snuck up on her! That happens to my mommy sometimes, too." (Yes, sometimes teachers lie.) I reassured her by reminding her that we would be celebrating all day at school. This seemed to appease her.
When Calendar Time rolled around, Abby was called to the front of the class to receive her birthday crown and glitter pencil. As the class sang "Happy Birthday" she BEAMED from ear to ear. I then always converse with the child and ask them questions about their birthday plans, so they can tell the class. I asked her if she would get a present for her birthday. "Yes," she said. I asked her what it would be. "A surprise," she said. I asked her what kind of frosting she wanted on her cake. "Pink and purple," she said. She continued on through the day reminding everyone that it was her birthday. I always try to refer to the child as "Birthday Girl" or "Birthday Boy" throughout the entire day. Every time I would do this she would whisper to her neighbor, "Teacher just called me Birthday Girl!"
At the end of the day, her 5th grade sister came down to pick her up and head home. She instantly noticed the birthday crown and said, "Who gave that to you?" "My teacher because it's my birthday," Abby said. I thought it was odd of her sister to ask that, so I continued to listen as they walked down the hall together. "It's NOT your birthday," the sister said. "Yes it is! My teacher told me!" And then I was struck with horror. What in the world was going on? I ran into the classroom, grabbed my newest class roster, scrolled down the list until I found her name, AND THERE IT WAS. BIRTHDAY: 7-15-04. why??????????? why did I read that as September????????? How do you explain to a little girl that we just celebrated a fake birthday? How do you convince her that she's not actually 6? I feared that I had caused lifelong confusion and devastation. My fears were confirmed when Dameon told me that night about his similar experience in preschool. He appears to still be scarred from it!
I tried explaining to her the next morning. She didn't seem to understand. She just kept quietly repeating these words in a whisper as she stared straight ahead, "Teacher made a mistake. Not your birthday." I felt so horrible that I had to end the conversation by saying, "You can keep the glitter pencil, though." Too late. The damage is done.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the craziness has begun

Yes, it's true, I've been MIA from the blog world for awhile. I check my friends' blogs regularly and I'm always bummed when they haven't updated, so I figured it was my turn.
The fall is always the most nutty time of year for us Places. Marching band season takes Dameon away a lot and the start of the school year is totally exhausting and time-consuming for both of us. This fall is made even more chaotic by the fact that we've both started new jobs AND Dameon begins classes for his master's degree on Wednesday. That means he has Monday night band rehearsal, Tuesday night band rehearsal on competition weeks, Wednesday night class, Thursday night band rehearsal, Friday night football games (some weeks), and Saturday all-day competitions (some weeks). Couple that with the fact that he has to be at work at 6:30 every morning, and that equals one exhausted guy. I'm trying to find a balance between spending enough time on my new job, being a supportive wife (who gets dinner on the table by 5:00), and squeezing in some down time so I can stay sane. How will we ever introduce kids into this mix?, you ask. That's why I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom :) **And I'd be willing to bet that's an even HARDER job!! :)
Anyway, craziness aside, we are trying to take time every day to be thankful for all the ways the Lord sustains us. One of my favorite parts of my day is my ten minute drive to work. I tune into 101.9 and spend a few brief moments praying for the 25 kids who will be entering my classroom. They come with a lot of big-time needs and a lot of big-time baggage. What if I'm the only glimpse (and I mean GLIMPSE) of the love and mercy of Christ they are exposed to? I'd better sieze every moment to love on them...
Dameon and I both agreed that this move would be a big stretch out of our comfort zone, but we felt confident God had a purpose for us here. In those moments of pure exhaustion or pure frustration, we try to remind each other of that. If you feel led, please pray for our 'mission field' in the Waterloo Public Schools.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

two years

(this post is a little belated, but oh well!)
July 28, 2007. Best day of my life :)
Last year Dameon planned an AMAZING one-year anniversary celebration. I'm just realizing I never blogged about it (hadn't even started my blog yet) but, trust me, it was AMAZING. At that time we decided it would be fun to trade off every other year being the planner of the celebration. That means this year was my year. (A new acquaintance brought it to my attention for the first time the other night that I should have thought this through since most of the "big" anniversaries fall on even years. yikes!! The pressure is on, I guess!)
I wanted our two-year anniversary to be a surprise little getaway. Dameon is pretty hard to surprise with anything, but it went off without a hitch! We left home about 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday and headed south on 380. Unfortunately we had to drive separate cars because Dameon had to give a leadership seminar in Des Moines on Wednesday. Anyway, our first stop was the Panera in Coralville. We picked up some to-go lunch and headed over to City Park for a picnic. Surprise #2 came next as we drove to hotelVetro in downtown Iowa City to check in to our room. This was really a splurge, but well worth it since the room was really cool (see pictures above). We hung out there for a bit and then decided to go for a walk and get some ice cream. Dameon chose Cold Stone while I opted for Whitey's. We spent the next while just roaming around the ped mall stopping in different little shops and browsing around. Then we headed back to the hotel with the intention of going swimming. We got our suits on and headed in the direction of the pool but soon found out it was closed for remodeling. Oh well. It was nearing dinner time so we went back to the room to iron our clothes and get ready to eat. We had fun walking to Linn Street Cafe and had a delicious meal. Continuing with the "splurge" theme, we decided to order big. We started with an appetizer of crab cakes and then our soup and salad. Dameon chose the Iowa beef tenderloin and I had a tasty pasta dish. We topped if off with a piece of blackberry white chocolate cheesecake. After dinner we strolled back to the hotel, changed into some comfy clothes and walked right across the street to Capanna coffee house where I enjoyed a vanilla latte and Dameon had a white chocolate hazelnut mocha. Delish! The next morning we had to wake up early and head out, but it was still a great way to wrap up the summer and celebrate our marriage. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next year! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Furniture and New Tricks

Moving into a bigger home has really been exciting. We are loving having so much space, except when we lose our cell phones. It has also, however, kinda forced us to bite the bit (is that the right phrase??) and make some hefty furniture purchases. Now, let me assure you, these decisions were not made in haste. My Dameon can definitely whip out his "official furniture inspector" badge whenever he deems appropriate. Now, me, I'm usually not a very good decision-maker when it comes to home decor. I like to kinda get my feet wet and then sleep on it awhile. For some reason in this latest venture Dameon decided to take that mentality to the extreme. Even to the point that I was the one shouting "UNCLE!" Our search for a dining room table literally spanned the length of 4 months. The search for the couch seemed almost as torturous since we went on a whirlwind tour of about 11 furniture stores in three days. And, it never failed, every sofa, loveseat, table, chair, or ottoman that I even batted an eye at had to undergo Dameon's "Is it sturdy?" test. Keep in mind that he has muscles capable of bench pressing ME, so he's able to make anything wobble. Phew! We finally found something we both felt good about! And, while I'm giving him a hard time in this little write-up, how can I honestly complain about a guy who just wants to make sure we're getting the most for our money? We are super happy with the way our home is coming together.
In other news, we continue to own the cutest puppy in the world. While we come to realize Rufus' pint-sized frame really can't manage to balance while learning "shake" (dang it!) we HAVE realized that's it's not too late to help him with his manners. He does really well with the barking/yipping thing, but he is not so good with the jumping up on new people thing. Believe it or not, it's all our fault. We think it's absolutely adorable when we sit on the couch and he leaps up at our face with his tounge going a million miles an hour. Visitors, however, do not. We can no longer reward this behavior by giving him attention, so the idea is to ignore him when he does this and praise him when he sits. In the end, hopefully sitting becomes his default mode. So far, he's really catching on and he find him sitting a lot more. This results in over-the-top praise, which makes him run wild hot laps all throughout the house. So cute! Okay, now I'm going to attempt to post some pics. I have yet to learn how to paste them throughout my text. (Thanks for the attempted help, Annie, but I couldn't crack the code.) You'll still get the gist, though. Dining room table, new basement couch, Rufus showing nice manners. :) *And by the way, Dameon had to sit/lay on the floor for like 5 hours last night assembling the table and chairs. What an awesome hubby!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

one short day in the emerald city!

Yessssssssssssssssssssss! I just scored great tickets for Mom, Dad, Dameon and I to see Wicked in Des Moines. Dameon and I saw it last summer in Chicago and it totally knocked our socks off! We couldn't stop talking about it!! I can't wait for my parents to see it and hopefully enjoy it as much as we did. I'm gonna go search for my soundtrack right now so I can get pumped up!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Man

Happy 27th Birthday to my most amazing and handsome husband! On Tuesday I was driving home from picking up a birthday card for Dameon and thinking wonderful thoughts about him while cruising through Waterloo. I found myself pondering this question: How many women out there can say that they are married to a man who loves them for 100% who they are? I wonder if I take for granted that I am COMPLETELY myself with Dameon and that's the person he loves. WOW! I was blown away by this thought. Not only does he love me for who I am (good days and bad), he breathes acceptance into me every single day. God sure does know what He's doing. I am so thankful for the day Dameon was born! Here are some things I love about "my man":
**He has the same sense of humor as me and always gets my jokes.

**He loves our puppy just as much (if not more) than I do.

**His favorite food is anything that I cook. (except that fish that one time...)

**He loves spending time with my family.

**I never, and I mean NEVER, have to beg him to do anything around the house or the yard. (sometimes I even have to ask him to sit down and relax a little)

**He works extremely hard to make sure he is providing for me and doing everything he can to care for me.

**He can clean a kitchen better than anyone I know.

**He's got just the right amount of goofy in him.

**He is an extremely gifted teacher.

**He always holds my hand in public.

**He desires to be a strong, godly leader for our family.

**Pre-fenced in yard, he would always take Rufus out before bed because he knew I was just a tiny bit afraid of being outside alone at nighttime.

**He lets me change the channel rather than forcing me to bear another episode of Deadliest Catch.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009


(If I were a more savvy blogger, I would link JM's song to this post...or something.)
Living in a town like Williamsburg for 3 years certainly has its perks, but one thing I do NOT miss is driving 20 miles to buy paper towels. Unless I want to waaaay over spend.
On Sunday morning, Dameon and I drove around trying to decide if we should get McDonald's breakfast or Burger King's. I got so excited about all the conveniences the "city" has to offer. I kept exclaiming, "Oooh! Bed, Bath, and Beyond!...Oooh! Gordman's!....Ooooh! Sonic!"
So yesterday I made my first solo venture into the city. We decided I should head to Super Target to get the groceries while Dameon went to the school to check in on the drumline rehearsal. I was about to make 3 very major mistakes.
1.) Cart Selection
Don't ask me how, but I managed to select a shopping cart that was literally ELECTRICALLY CHARGED. No joke, this cart honestly shocked me all the way through the store. Like 5 times per aisle, people. It didn't matter where my skin made contact on the dumb thing, it would shock me. And not even at the point of contact! I would just be holding on and suddenly...SHOCK! It hurt so bad that sometimes I couldn't help but audibly say "OW!" My first attempt at a solution was to keep my focus on not allowing my hands to touch any part of the metal. Just keep my little fingers perched on the red plastic-covered part of the handle. No luck. I finally resorted to giving the cart little shoves and then catching up to it as I made my way down the aisles. Good thing I don't know anyone here!! I considered reporting the issue to the cashier, but knew I'd regret it. My fingers were honestly numb by that point.
2.) Placing large items UNDER the cart
Now when you shop at Target, you of course have to load your bagged purchases back into the blasted cart and make your own way out to your car. I had really loaded up on groceries, so I decided it made the most sense to put my gallon of green tea and my bag of potatoes under the cart. As I "shoved and chased" my cart about half way out into the parking lot I heard this horn repeatedly honking somewhere behind me. Again, I think to myself "I don't know anyone here and surely if my husband has somehow tracked me down, he would know better than to get my attention by blaring his horn." I decide it's in my best interest NOT to turn around. I proceed to shove and chase. The next thing I know, a big SUV has pulled up beside me. A woman rolls down the window and says, "Ma'am!" I look at her. She says, "I think you dropped your juice back there." And sure enough, all the way back near the exit is my gallon of Green Tea AND my bag of potatoes ripped wide open setting in the middle of the lot. ARGH! Thank the lady. Shove and chase back to the fallen items. Next comes classic mistake #3.
3.) Parking space choice
When I had initially arrived at Target, I had pulled into a parking space and then realized the space directly in front of me was empty. I decided to pull on through so I could kinda even myself out a little. Yes, I was driving the Sweet Sable which to me feels like a cross between a pontoon and a conversion van. I pulled through but not quite far enough, which meant my front end wasn't sticking out enough for me to be able to spot it. Yep, you guessed it. Can't find the dumb car ANYWHERE! I'm pretty good at pulling off the "I know exactly where I'm headed" face and body language while my sunglass-covered eyes are scanning the parking lot at a feverish rate. Finally I found her, quickly loaded my groceries into the trunk, kicked the cart back to the cart corral, and headed home.
Phew! better luck next time...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moving Day

Dameon is so technologically savvy that he single-handedly set up our wireless internet in like 20 minutes. Phew! Connected to the world once again...
Moving day went so smoothly and we felt truly blessed by all the great friends and family who turned out to help us get from Point A to Point B. We were talking about it today and saying, "It wasn't just like we had help. We had GOOD help." Everyone pitched in and sweated it out to help us load, unload, unpack (a little), and even have a cookout/birthday party in the backyard. All in one day!!! I'm going to attach a few pics. Most of them I'll have to keep hidden forever because I look pretty horrible. :) I need to work on my camera skills because many of the pics ended up blurry. Oh well. Come visit us! We'd love to see you and give you the tour.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Yesssss! After 2.5 months on the market, our house sold. We are so relieved that things turned out the way they did and we're really excited to be able to sell it to a couple who we know will enjoy it and take care of it. Now we're busy packing and wrapping things up here in Williamsburg. We move to Waterloo in one week!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacation, anyone?

T-minus 11.5 days...and counting. If you're a teacher I know you can relate to that uncontrollable itch that starts to creep in around April or so. (And, no, I'm not talking about the annual outbreak of headlice that comes with t-ball season.) So many times I've heard people say, "Must be nice to get the summers off," and then roll their eyes or something to that effect. But, guess what! If teachers didn't get the summers off, nobody would teach! I'm serious. It is mandatory. I basically think of it as comp time for the 180 days of the year I come in before contract hours, the hundreds of dollars of my own money I spend on my classroom/class, and the many weekends I spend writing lesson plans, designing bulletin boards, and switching my dramatic play center from kitchen, to vet's office, to grocery store, to dental clinic. In all actuality, most teachers don't actually take the summer "off". They spend their time teaching summer lessons and running marching band camps (right, honey?) or taking classes to work toward their master's degree, or starting a new job which means getting a new classroom ready and prepping to teach new curriculum. Okay, I'll step off my soap box now. Anyway, this "itch" has got me thinking about how much I would like a vacation. Our Spring Break was filled with make-up snow days, so we've had a whopping one day of vacation since January. This summer is, of course, crazy and unique for us since we're moving, so I think we'll have to postpone a summer vacay this year. But I found myself thinking back on our Jamaican honeymoon (i.e. Best Vacation EVER) and thought I'd share some of my favorite pics. (P.S. for the LIFE of me I can't figure out how to make pictures be at the bottom of my blog. I don't get it!!!)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More House Pics

(Sun Porch!!)

(Master Bedroom)

(Living Room with fireplace!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Star of the Week

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile because I find it absolutely hilarious. I am worried, however, that it will be far less funny in written form. I guess you'll have to let me know.
So, every week a different child in my class has his/her turn to be the star. This includes several highly-anticipated events. First, the child gets to bring in family photos which get hung on the bulletin board. Then he gets to dictate 3 sentences that teach us about things he likes to eat, places he likes to go, etc. He also gets to bring in 3 Show and Tell items from home. Finally, at the end of the week, we interview our Star so that we can make a special book for him. At this time, each student has to think of a question to ask the Star. I write the answer on a post-it and they take it back to their desk. After the interview each child gets a page for the book that says '(Star's Name) likes _________' and they have to fill in their answer and draw a picture. Most of the kids ask questions like "What's your favorite sport?" or "What's your favorite movie?" or "What's your favorite color?" or something along those lines. BUT if you have a little boy like "Billy" in the group, things always get a little more interesting. Billy would certainly be considered a creative mind. I've told the kids numerous times that they don't need to keep their hand raised through the ENTIRE round of interview questions. They can raise their hand if they want to be called on, but can put it down if someone else gets chosen. Two weeks ago, however, Billy's question was just so brilliant, so ingenious, that he couldn't even sit still with anticipation. He sat through 15 other kids' questions bobbing his hand up and down and waving it in the air going "Ooh, Ooh!" I could tell that it was making my Star of the Week choose everyone BUT him. Finally, she had no choice and called his name. He was actually breathless as he spit out, "What's your favorite hobo?" Yep, I nearly lost it. And the Star was dumbfounded. I'm the teacher, but how do I even redirect that into something that makes sense? I can't. I say, "Ummmm, Billy that doesn't really make sense. Could you think of something else?" Now, it never fails that when I child is asked to "think of something else" during the interview, they always resort to asking a very narrow question based on something they already know how to draw. Sure enough, he settles for "What's your favorite snake?" (Okay, kid, who knows 'kinds of snakes'??) She thinks for awhile and then says, "...the baby kind." Phew!
The following Friday the same scenario rolls around. Billy's got a question he can barely hold in but the Star of the Week isn't taking the bait. After 15 questions (which seemed like an eternity) it's unavoidably Billy's turn. And, yes, I've been looking forward to it. Breathless Billy says/shouts, "What's your favorite pumpkin?" My Star says, "The orange one." And then Billy follows it up with, "Awww, I was hoping you'd say the heart one." WHAT?!?!
So I send the kids to their seats to start working on their page. But Billy's creativity will not allow him to draw a simple orange pumpkin and leave it at that. The next 15 minutes proceed as follows:
Billy: "Mrs. Place, Can I draw that string on the pumpkin, too?"
Me: "You mean like a Jack-O-Lantern?"
Billy: "Nooooo. That string."
Me: "Um, sure." (yes, sometimes I choose my battles.)
---3 minutes pass by---
Billy: "Mrs. Place, it's that string thing that ties the cow to the pumpkin. That's what I want to draw."
Me: "You mean like a rope?" (i know...i'm answering him as if this makes sense to me?!?)
Billy: "No"
--3 more minutes pass and Billy's really getting frustrated trying to formulate his thoughts---
Billy: "Oh, yeah! Hay!!"
And he proceeds to draw an orange pumpkin sitting on a hay bale.
I'm looking forward to this week's interview session. I'm sure "Billy" is too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a change is gonna come

Yes, it's true. We are packing our bags and heading north. This is a photo of our new house in Waterloo. (Of course, we still need to sell our current home, so if you know anybody...) For those of you who haven't heard, Dameon is going to be the Director of Bands at Waterloo West. I'll be teaching elementary school up there, but haven't yet been told what grade or what building. It's very scary and difficult and exciting all at the same time. It was one of those things that came up out of the blue, but after much prayer (and tears) we knew it was the best decision for us. We will be moving some time this summer, so we're looking forward to enjoying our last few months here. I know I speak for both of us when I say that Williamsburg will always hold a very special place in our hearts. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just one of the reasons I love this guy

This is the email Dameon sent me the other day at work. It's way too funny to keep to myself.

So…I just completely lost all composure and calm in public…
I let Rufus out the back door, as per our normal schedule. I let him hang out outside for about 5 minutes while I cleaned up my dishes a little. Well, when I went to let him back in, he was gone and his harness was lying empty on the ground facing the street!!!!!!! I flipped out! I ran out the door, yelling and screaming for him. I was sure that he was dead in the road. Well…I don’t know how many times I circled around the house before I realized that he was trotting along right next to me as I was yelling for him…with a turd hanging out of his mouth…
I think I scared him half to death by hugging him so hard! We’ll get a new harness tonight…
YIKES…my chest still hurts from that one!
Love ya!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

For Roman

My friend, Ruth Ann, recently informed me that her cutie-pie little boy loves looking at pictures of my family on this blog. This post is specifically for him. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Feel-Good Kind of Day

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I usually have that intention at the start of most blogs, but I'm REALLY going to do it this time.
The day started out with my class's first Junior Achievement class. To sum it up, Junior Achievement is a five-week "seminar" where a businessperson from the local community comes into the classroom and teaches the kids about making good choices, setting goals, working hard, etc. The slogan is, "Let their success be your inspiration." Anyway, the session went really well and at the end our presentor had the idea to ask each child to share his/her favorite thing about coming to school. Keep in mind that it is a requirement that I not leave the classroom at any time during the class, so I got to take in every last one of their responses. I think about 13 of them said, "Recess", two said "Lunch", one said "Music", and one kid (after a long pause) finally said, "I can't really think of anything I like." Don't mind me, kids! I'm just hear to sing, dance, and twiddle my thumbs. Maybe I was just shocked by their responses because when I was a kid I would have been all over an opportunity to brown-nose about how what I loved most about school was being in Mrs. So-and-So's class. You know me! :)
Moving on. The day ended with me pulling out all the stops to break away from the workbook and play a super fun math game instead. I taught the kids the rules and they were pretty pumped because it was going to be ME versus THEM. They loved the thought of teaming up on me and were really getting into the spirit of the game. (Plus they were practicing addition at the same time.) All was going well until they realized that I was really taking the lead. It started with a girl in the back calling out, "Hey! She's winning!" Then another chimed in with "Yeah, she's evil!" (Evil, right? Where would they even come up with that?!) Before I knew it half of them had totally turned on me and were actually ready to throw in the towel on the whole game. Finally one boy interrupted the chaos by shouting above the rest, "No, guys! Not evil! She's a wizard!" Good or bad, I'd take wizard over evil any day of the week.
The day kind of spiraled out of control from there. I guess it's workbooks tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rufus!

(I actually meant to post this on Sunday, which was the puppy's actual birthday.)
Yes, our puppy turned 1. We're sad that he is that much closer to losing his "puppiness", but in some ways we're glad to see it go. He's great company and we love him lots. His gift was a new chicken-flavored Nylabone which is his personal favorite. I also looked up a recipe online and made him homemade puppy treats. When we gave him the first one, we sang Happy Birthday (much to my husband's chagrin) and I definitely got a little misty-eyed. Man, will I be a nut when I have a kid. Look out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Naps are for wimps

I can't tell you how many times non-kindergarten teachers have said to me, "Oh, it must be SO nice to have your students take a rest during the day." I can totally see where they're coming from. An outsider may think this is a nice, relaxing period of time provided every afternoon for me to plan my activities, check my email, and play an occasional round of Solitaire while my 17 little darlings dream sweet dreams of lollipops and ponies. Wrong. Let's just address this issue of "naptime", shall we?
First of all, five and six-year-olds don't nap. In the world of a kindergartner, to actually fall asleep during the designated naptime would be social suicide. Most of them aren't tired in the least, and even if they are, there is always the fear that if you do doze off your thumb may accidently find its way to your mouth and're playing alone at recess. It's the kids who have to find ways to fight the sleep who drive me the most nuts. Each and every afternoon for those 20 minutes, I deal with the exact same problems:
1. Kleenex Girl
This is the child whose nose is suddenly so excessively runny that she needs to come up to my desk at least four times to get a tissue and wipe. Plus, she obviously needs hand sanitizer after every single trip. Total minutes laying on mat=2; Total minutes wiping and sanitizing=18.
2. Human Vacuum
This particular child makes it her personal mission to find one million TINY specks or crumbs or pieces of hair on the carpet around her mat. She then undoubtedly brings each treasure up to my desk (one at a time) and whispers, "Mrs. Place, what should I do with this?" And do you think I can just say, "LEAVE IT!" No. That would be in direct violation of the litter patrol code of conduct. Yes, I have to approve all, and I mean all, pollution pick-up.
3. "No talking" doesn't mean stop talking. It means talk QUIETER.
One of my personal favorites. You know how there's no crying in baseball? There's no talking at rest time.
4. Deer in the headlights
This happens many times throughout the day. I catch the same kid doing something he clearly knows he's not supposed to do. At rest time this usually means pulling small pieces of foam out of his mat and flicking them at people. Regardless of the circumstance, he always looks at me as if he had no idea he was breaking any sort of rule.
5. Self-talker
This is the child who spends most of her days floating around somewhere in outer space. (Bless her heart.) It's hard to make the "no talking to the people around you" rule apply when she's just talking to....??? Sometimes she's even humming a little ditty. It's rare that I can ever make out exactly what she's saying, hard as I may strain. I do know that one day she was definitely singing "Baby Got Back." (Second time I've caught a kid on that one.)

Anyway, as you can see, rest time is anything but peaceful and productive around here. Some days I think I should just ditch it all together. Until then..."Okay, boys and girls, our bodies and our voices need to rest."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bears, Bears, and More Bears

The past three weeks of kindergarten have been devoted to the theme of Bears. We have learned about real bears and pretend bears and done really cool activities throughout. Tomorrow the culmination of the bears unit will be celebrated by the highly-anticipated Teddy Bear Party. In preparation for this event, I have been pulling the kids one-by-one over to my desk to do a Teddy Bear interview. Basically it's just a sheet I fill out for them based on answers to questions about themselves and the chosen bear. I ask them how old they are and then how old their teddies are, what their favorite food is and then what their teddy's favorite food get the idea. In general, the responses have been pretty basic, but you always have those two or three kids who catch you off guard with something hilarious.
When one girl was asked, "What's your favorite game?" It was an automatic, "Candyland" response. But when asked, "What's your teddy's favorite game?" she had to think for a minute. Finally she said, "Chess."
I asked another girl, "Who's your favorite person?" "My mommy," she said. "Who's your bear's favorite person?" "God."
Now, when asking these questions I tried to use the bear's given name as much as possible in an attempt to add that "personal" touch. This was all well and good until I asked one little guy his bear's name and he made a buzzing noise. I said, "Oh, why did you name your bear that?" He told me his bear is dressed in a bumble bee suit. Yeah. So, for the whole ten questions I had to try to use "Bzzzz" in the third person. The same kid also told me his bear's favorite t.v. show is, "Recording to Jim."
Well, needless to say, tomorrow is bound to be a fun-filled day! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Part 2

So, remember when I blogged like two months ago about my preschool days? Well, I made the mistake of saying that I was going to do something like write 10 blogs in a row to share my top ten favorite kid moments. Hopefully you weren't holding your breath. Here's #2 and #3.

#2 December 2, 2006 was one of the best days ever. It was the day that Dameon shocked my socks off and proposed! Now, as you probably know, the aftermath of an engagement is such an exciting frenzy. You get to make like a million phone calls to inform all your loved ones of your newly-changed status. It's so great! Well, we got engaged on a Saturday, so I had a whole day to contemplate how I would share the big news with my 3 and 4-year-old munchkins. I figured it would make the most sense to tell them first thing in the morning while they were all seated for calendar time. That way I wouldn't run the risk of one finding out, then passing it on to a few more, leaving some to be in the dark possibly all the way until nap time or something! Right??
It wasn't until I actually made my big announcement that it occured to me that a child of this age would have NO IDEA what I was talking about, more or less have an emotional reaction to it. I literally had butterflies in my stomach as we drudged through our 17 "Good Mornings" and the weather report. I can't even remember exactly what I said, but the gist of it was something like, "This weekend I had something very exciting happen to me. My boyfriend asked me to marry him. We are going to get married in the summer!" I guess I expected them to like "oooo" and "ahhh" and come up to give me hugs or something. Why I thought that would ever happen, I have no idea. It was like one of those moments where you could actually hear the crickets chirp. Yeah, awkward.
So, anyway, that's not even the #2 moment. That was all just building the foundation. (Sorry.)
Alright, so about two weeks went by same as always, until one day at lunch. I was sitting next to a sweet little three-year-old girl. Out of the blue (which most three-year-old conversation starters usually are) she said, "Miss Myers, my mommy told me you're getting married." "Yes, I am," I said. She thought for a few seconds and then said, "What kind of a prince are you gonna marry?"
Yes, I practically melted into a puddle.

Several of my favorite moments came from the same child. I haven't written about this little guy yet, but I'm sure he will be included in several blogs to come. For confidentiality's sake, I'm going to call him "Bob."
Bob was one of those kids you just hate to love. He's got quite a bit of trouble up his sleep, but his personality and quirkiness is just so darn cute that you can't help but be thankful for everyday you get a chance to spend time with him. I miss this kid quite a bit.
Anyway, one morning while dropping him off for school, Bob's mother informed me that he woke up with a bit of a stomach ache. I was supposed to keep an eye on it and make sure to let her know if it got too much worse. Well, the morning went problems, at all. That afternoon, as Bob's group was sitting at my reading table, we suddenly jumped out of his chair and darted out the door. At that school, the bathroom was a good distance down the hall. Right away, I knew where he was headed. I took off after him, so that I could be there to clean up whatever mess might be waiting. When I reached the bathroom, I stood at my usual post right outside the bathroom entrance and bent down to look under the stall. I could see his feet dangling and ALL his clothes on the floor. (So weird because I literally ran out right after him. He must have been undressing as he ran or something??) The fact that all his clothes were on the floor didn't really alarm me because this was common practice for this kid everytime he had to do his business. None the less, I needed to check in with him to see what was going on.
"Bob, are you okay?" I say. "Yes." comes his response.
Now the odor is starting to waft (waft?) out into the hallway.
ME: "Do you need clean underwear?"
-----no response------
ME: "Bob, do you need me to get you some clean underwear?"
Bob: "Yep."
ME: "Okay. Did you poop in your pants?"
The response that was about to come out is one that will forever go down in history, just so you know. It was one of those "I almost have to email this recap to Dameon from work because I might burst if I have to wait a whole three hours to tell him face-to-face" moments.

Bob: "Yep. Wet fart."

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I had to double-over in hallway from laughing so hard. And, if you're wondering, I did decide to wait the three hours in order to recap it in full detail (voices and all) for Dameon. I figured it would be funnier that way.