Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Boys

I teach third grade, and in my class I have eleven boys and eight girls. Some teachers can't stand boys - they're wild, gross, silly and inattentive. I have always loved working with little boys because they're wild, silly, gross, and excited about whatever they're doing. When I was younger, my favorite families to babysit for each had two boys.

I have mostly boys in my class, and while I won't say that they are not a handful, I love them. I have bossy boys, talkative boys, athletic boys, musical boys, silly boys, brash boys and wimpy boys. My boys don't always get along, but when they do, they make me proud. We've all worked hard to create harmony among my boys and that peace is a fragile thing.

I have one boy, David* who tends to be a bit of a bully. He is incredibly smart and sometimes uses that against others. He can be very funny and does have a promising desire to succeed. He is sometimes very mean to his fellow classmates, but he and I have bonded through a common love for animals. I get daily updates on how his dog is doing.

A few months go, we got an aquarium for our classroom. Our first two fish (Navvy and Gator) were named after out school mascot, the Navigator. David was thrilled. One week when he had had great behavior, he got to be our class ichthyologist. He loved feeding and caring for our fishy friends.

Last week I noticed that one of our fish's tail was faded and pale. I told our ichthyologist for the week to go observe him to see how he was doing. After hearing that one of the fish might be sick, David immediately dropped his backpack and ran to the back counter where our aquarium resides. On his way there, he said "What? I gotta check on them. Man, Navvy and Gator - they my boys!"

No, I can't say I'm proud of his brand of English there, but it was hilarious. At least SOMEONE is his "boy," even if it is a tiny fish.

Monday, April 20, 2009


This morning was a terrible morning. It was a no-good, awful, horrible start to my day. What was so tortuous, you may ask? Well, I'd be GLAD to tell you.

Set the scene. It's 1:00am. I'm sound asleep, dreaming, when I awaken to the sound of cats fighting. We have a cat that lives outside, and this happens from time to time, so I ignored it. The awful noise sounded a few more times followed by a long, groaning moan. Concerned, I rush downstairs and turn on the porch light to see two strange cats having some sort of showdown on the patio. They run off when I bang on the door so I go outside to check on Suzie the outside cat, who has survived unscathed. I stick around for a few minutes to make sure those rapscallions don't return, then retreat indoors to down some nyquil and go back to bed.

6:30am. Alarm, snooze. 6:45am. Alarm, snooze. 7:18. CRAP. Yes, I woke up at 7:18. And I normally leave for work at 7:15. I rush to get dressed, go to get a Diet Dr. Pepper to drink on my way to work (healthy, I know!) and I had forgotten to put them in the fridge the night before. Mmm, warm soda. This morning keeps getting better.

I hop in my car with my makeup in my bag, to be applied at my desk, and race to get to work before 7:40. See, we are supposed to be at work at 7:40. I'm normally there on time. I'm normally EARLY, but not today. Here's the kicker: I'm "teacher of the month" this month, so I have a fancy schmancy parking spot at the front of the school. In front of the office. Where my boss resides. So when I'm late, I get to walk by the front office on my way in. Not exactly "teacher of the month" behavior.

I ended up getting there at 7:42 so my walk of shame was only a tiny bit shameful, but I was still frazzled from my late start. I was grouchy at our third grade team meeting and crabby with my kids when they first came in. Grouch grouch. Whine whine. Crab crab. I did NOT want to be at school today.

About a half an hour into class, one of my friends that teaches first grade sent a student to "think it out" in my room. Apparently she had been throwing a fit in her classroom so she got to come reflect on that in my room. I let her sit there for a while, but before I let her go back to her class, I wanted to talk her through her thoughts. I asked her why it was that she needed to come think it out in my room:

"I just didn't want to be at school today."

Hmm, sound familiar? We talked about how much attitude affects our day and the days of those around us. Also about how sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do. I gave her permission to go back to her class and she went on her way. I was left thinking about what I had learned from our conversation. I adjusted my attitude and had a better day.

Thank you universe for a big figurative thwack in the back of the head courtesy of a pouting little six year old girl.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Internet, meet Calvin. He is pleased to meet you.

Calvin is my three year old giant grumpy cat. To put it more nicely, he "has lots of personality." He fairly often chooses to express his "personality" with his claws and teeth.

Calvin often expresses displeasure with people petting him, talking to him, picking him up and *gasp* sitting on the same piece of furniture as him. He is a cat that is not afraid to play favorites. To Calvin, I am not Amy, I am HIS PERSON.

I got Calvin at the end of my sophomore year of college as a gift from my childhood best friend, Michelle. She knew I was looking to get a kitten and decided that she was going to get me one for my birthday that May. One afternoon, Michelle called saying that she saw an ad in her college's newspaper (Texas A&M, about an hour and a half away from my college, UT) for FREE KITTENS. I drove down that very evening. Calvin came back to Austin with me in a cardboard box made into a carrier and the rest was history. BFF 4 Lyfe.

At this time, I was in the process of moving from an apartment with three roommates to an apartment with zero roommates. This process was expedited by my procurement of the world's cutest creature. To which my roommate was allergic. Yes, this is a longer, more painful story than I am caring to record here right now. Perhaps for another day. But yes, I did move to my new apartment THAT NIGHT. And, yes, I slept on the floor. But I had MY OWN kitten!

So for my last two years of college, it was just Calvin and me in the apartment. More than I'd like, it was just Calvin because I had Very Important College Things to do, like study. And get drunk. Calvin was always so sweet to me, though, and would follow me from room to room. He spent many an hour sleeping by my feet while I was on my computer, and sometimes he had to get creative about how to stay warm.

Here are some other pictures of Calvin as a baby that are just too adorable NOT to post:

(This was before I went Mac).

And then there was the time that Calvin either tried to off the computer or himself. I'm not sure which.

The point is, now that I'm living with people again, it has become very obvious how fiercely Calvin loves me. He is always by my side and sits on me almost exclusively. He sleeps on my bed and races to see me when I get home from work. He may be a grump, but he is MY grump.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So Sweet

Just a quick post... I'm having a hard time finding the energy/inspiration to post during the week! One of my students said the sweetest thing today, though, and I had to share.

Kayla* is one of my students. She has struggled with reading, so she has been in after-school tutoring, recess tutoring, specialized reading programs...the works. She's made a lot of progress this year, but I'm keeping her in these programs so we can see even more growth. She's a hard worker and a sweet girl.

Today, the kids' prompt for writing was, "Write about a time that someone was kind to you." (Our life principle of the week is kindness). I have the kids write, then I call on a few lucky ones to come sit in the author's chair and share with the class. Kayla got to share today. In her story, she was talking about another boy in the class, James*. He had been in tutoring with Kayla earlier in the year, but tested out a month or so ago.. Kayla said:

"James was my tutoring buddy. I still have friends in tutoring, but it's different now. When James was in tutoring, the room just popped! I miss having him there."

Seriously, nine year old? Did you just describe something as abstract as the emotion and aura a person brings to a setting?? I was amazed and my eyes filled with tears. It makes me so proud when my babies are supportive of each other. I love those darn kids.

*The names of my students have been changed to protect their identities.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Price of Beauty

I was out shopping around yesterday and was feeling guilty as I passed my favorite nail salon. Suddenly, I could FEEL how bushy my eyebrows had become. It had been months since my last wax. I love the feeling AFTER having my nails/brows/hair done, but I hate the process. All the socially required idle chatter with the person I don't know/can't understand/don't really care to know. Go ahead, call me a snob, but you know you hate it too. Somewhere deep down inside, your inner hermit hates talking about your hairdresser's daughter's prom dress as much as I do.

And did I mention the JUDGEMENT that occurs at one of these appointments? Oh my! I have gray hairs!!! At the age old am I???? Yes, woman, I am twenty two. I have gray hair. Believe me, it sucks, I get it. Also, I have sucky nails. And don't get them started on my dry knuckles. How I have lived to the age of twenty two with such terrible hair and nails, no one will ever know.

So I bit the bullet and went in. The first thing they want you to do is sign in and write down what "service" you are having done that day. I hate this part because, secret: whenever I have my brows waxed, I get my upper lip done too. Glamorous, I know. I realize that a lot of other women have to have this done as well (and a couple handfulls more SHOULD have this done) but that doesn't mean that I want to write it down. On a PUBLIC paper for everyone else to read! So I just write "brow wax." (As I'm re-reading this, I notice that I don't mind publishing this on my blog for everyone to read...funny how that works out).

After waiting for a few minutes, I get called back to the back room where they have the wax pots. I kindly ask the woman to do my brows ("I know they're just atrocious, embarassed giggle") and please also do my upper lip. After a few painful rips and snide comments ("Who did your eyebrows last?? They're so uneven.") she says the most hilarious and horrifying things I had heard in a dew days.

"Hmm, you want me to do your chin too? I see some hair down there." ...WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY TO THAT?? I can't say, "No, I like my chin hairy - I keep it like that on purpose," so, what the hell, the lady waxes my chin. In my defense, I come from a long line of hairy people - my mother before me and her mother before her. I'm pretty sure when my mom found out she was having a girl, she prayed each night that I would inherit someone else's genes for body hair. The cards were stacked against me from the start.

After all the ripping and tearing at my whole face, the lovely waxologist finally lets me out the door, but not before she can comment on how dry!! my!! skin!! is!!! I end up paying twenty five bucks to be ripped apart and insulted. In the end, I take the woman's card and tell her I'll be back in three weeks, because if I don't return soon, who else would I find to knock down my ballooning self-esteem? I guess I'd have to get a personal trainer.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Earlier this week, the world became a little darker. Seventeen month old Madeline Alice Spohr passed away. Maddie is the precious daughter of Heather Spohr of The Spohrs are Multiplying. She was born premature and had breathing issues her whole life; because of this, little Maddie logged in more hospital visits than any baby should have to. Regardless of her health issues, Maddie was a child that was full of life. She had big, bright eyes and a grand personality to go along with them. The world mourns for the lovely person lost on April 7, 2009.

I never had the joy of meeting little Maddie, and have only spoken to her mom online, but I feel like I knew Maddie through Heather's blog. She was kind enough to share Maddie with the world and through her beautiful pictures and words, I came to love the sweet little girl. I almost feel guilty mourning the loss of this child. She wasn't mine - I never even "really" knew her. Why should I have the right to feel sad? But that's the beauty of Maddie. So many people grew to love her through this silly thing we call the internet.

The response to Maddie's death has been tremendous. Over twenty thousand dollars have been raised through Heather Spohr's March of Dimes page and many more people have been inspired to walk in their city's March for Babies. I will be walking on April 26th in Houston in remembrance of Maddie. Please donate to the March of Dimes so that one day, all babies will be born healthy and no more families will have to mourn the loss of their lovely child.

I'll miss you, little Maddie but I know up in Heaven smiling your toothy grin over how much good is being done in your name.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stepping Out into the World

Why, hello there.

I have been an active reader of blogs since last summer. I was in limbo, stuck between college graduation and that great thing called My First Job. So what did I do? Spend hours. And hours. And hours online, basking in my boredom. I don't even remember how it first happened, but I ended up on Dooce and I was sucked in. From there, I saw links to other bloggers, who linked to other bloggers and so I read forever and ever amen. Do you have a blog? I probably read it in the wee hours of July 2008. Twice.

"But Amy, why would you have all of this time on your hands? You seem so smart, beautiful and fun!" Oh, please, stop! I'm blushing. Well, you see, I had just moved back home to the lovely suburbs of Houston. Before, I was living the rock-and-roll lifestyle in Austin, TX while attending the University of Texas (and by "rock and roll lifestyle" I mean student teaching, hanging out with ed major friends and my cat, Calvin). As much as I loved Austin, I just couldn't see myself living there forever. While in Austin, I often longed to be near my childhood home, so I decided to move back. I loved seeing my parents more seeing familiar faces around me, but one problem? Approximately 2.7 twenty somethings live in a five mile radius of my home. So yeah, I had a lot of free time.

Since then, I've met more people and kept much busier, but I've still enjoyed following the lives of some lovely people online (see the links on the right). It seems a little weird, to know so much about these people; to care about their welfare and the welfare of their loved ones, but that's what happens, I guess. I was always a reader, an occasional commenter and recently, a twitter follower. (Oy, twitter is fantastic, but more on that at another time). Recently, I've felt a little tug on me to create one of these blogs for myself. Maybe people would even read it! And comment! And know what kind of food MY cat likes best!

So here we go. Blogworld, I am Amy and these are my thoughts. Please be kind.