Monday, March 31, 2008

3 Years ago yesterday.....

Barry, Dad and I headed for China to meet Anna and bring her home to her forever family! I love this time of year as Spring begins and the flowers start to bloom. Three years ago, our littlest flower came home to "bloom", too. I wanted to post what we did in China daily on this blog because I am not sure if our other site will be up much longer with the change in service here. So, indulge me while I recreate the China trip here.

Here is the plane we took over to Hong Kong. It is huge, except for the seats.

Yes folks, that's China down there.


I just had to take a picture of these guys. The different shuttle services have their employees where blazers to signify which company they work for. The company we used had the Illini orange blazers, must be a good sign for the upcoming game.

Day 1 - March 30-31, 2005

Man what a flight. We got out of O'Hare airport without any problems (where we saw Chris Berman of ESPN getting off of a plane), but that flight to Hong Kong is LONG. Fourteen hours long. Joe and I started a cribbage tournament to last the entire trip. After the first day, I am up 12-3 (with 2 skunks). The meals on the flight weren't too bad. Not much leg room, especially for me. Jennifer and Joe got up and walked around quite a bit. The view from the plane was pretty cool, especially over Siberia. Now I know why the Russians used to send people they didn't like out there. It was nothing but mountains, snow, and frozen rivers. We are now in our hotel room in Hong Kong and are getting ready to settle down for the night. We will be adding some pictures to this page in the morning (our morning). Joe's surge protector blew up when he plugged it in the wall in the hotel.
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Sunday, March 30, 2008


It was a LONG, LONG week! I told the Music Teacher at Brandon's school that I would sub for her last Tuesday through Friday. I had 10-11 classes each day with 20-25 kids in each class. That is sooooo different from Special Ed and it is just not really my cup of tea to work with the "regular" population very often. The music part was fine for me to teach, but I don't like having to constantly raise my voice at the class to maintain a quiet and controlled environment.

Some of the kids today are just down right dispectful and I had to have the PE teacher come down because one boy was misbehaving and being disruptive. He was not listening and I placed him away from the other students. Well, this little first grader decided to physically GLUE himself to the cabinet. He would NOT let go and he just needed to be out of the room and in the office. I thought that maybe a male figure would help a little bit and even he had trouble. Finally with the help of the PE teacher and the child's teacher, the little booger was taken to the office for some time of "reflection". He later apologized for his behavior, too.

I am just not used to these behaviors in Special Ed. Seriously...I LOVE teaching and subbing in Special Ed. and I guess we all have our gifts. I went into teaching for Special Ed and now I know that is where I will stay. All but 2-3 of my classes were just fine and the teacher planned some great activities. We have the best music teachers in our district and my boys are so lucky to have these special women to teach them! It was fun playing the piano and singing, but I was on my feet the ENTIRE day and the behaviors of many of the kids are not what I want again any time soon. house went to pot and Anna and I were both crabby!

So...THANK YOU to my hubby. I feel very blessed to be able to stay home with Anna, as I did with the boys, too. I will continue to sub a couple times a month. It gives Anna time away from me and keeps my name in the District. The school is always asking me to do more, but being at home is where I want to be. I usually get a call once a year asking me to take a position part-time in Special Ed., but this year they knew not to call. I always say "not until Anna is in kindergarten". I have told them that I might teach 1/2 time after Anna goes to kindergarten, so we'll see. One teacher would like to job share. I told her she could do 3/4 time and I do 1/4. HEE HEE.......

We are so lucky to have my mom to watch Anna when I sub and Barry's parents help out as much as they can. Plus...MY wonderful neighbor, Christine, watches Anna a ton and we swap kids when she subs, too. We are sooooo sad to see the neighbor's moving. WE LOVE THEM!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Day!

Our day started with church and then off to Barry's parents for a delicious lunch and Easter Egg Hunt. We had snow flurries all day and it was cold out so our hunt was inside. BRRRR. WHERE IS SPRING??

Friday, March 21, 2008

Day at the Park



NO SCHOOL TODAY for Good Friday! It was nice out, so we went to the Outlet Mall and then our favorite park. We had lunch and played there for a while. It is finally Spring! Let's hope this lasts!
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fashion sense? NOT! that is an outfit!

Ok...that's better! A little bit, anyway!

She is dying to learn how to tie her shoes. It has been an ongoing thing for a few months now. She is very determined!

Four year olds certainly have their idea of style! Anna often looks like Pippi Longstocking. And yes, I have let her go to Walmart before in a princess dress and rainboots! Today she HAD to wear her favorite zebra shirt and then she found the jacket, too. It is getting a little small, though. When she was little she would carry around the photo of Faith in this shirt the day they met at the airport upon our return from China. I am not sure how the pink headband and pink crocs tied the whole ensemble together. At one point she even had on pink fuzzy bunny ears from her Grandma Judy. That's my girl! As the day went on, it got a little better. At least the tights weren't pink, too. I am not even sure where she dug the tights out of. They are at least a size too small!
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day and my pet peave of the day!


We are all wearing green today! Anna's preschool has been doing colors and for some reason today is actually pink day! HUH?

That kind of sums up her preschool this year, though, and it is no secret that I am less than thrilled with it. This is her teacher's first year there and it shows that she does not have a lot of experience in early childhood. When I taught at my mom's Day Care, I had a lesson plan book and the day-to-day activities were very well planned out and the lesson plan book was full. If you look at this teacher's plan book (I have since I have subbed there), it is basically empty! contains very few words. That would not have flown when I was teaching Special Ed. We had to turn our plans in weekly to the principal to be approved. I am also a huge music fan and believe that kids need to be taught a lot of music. The current teacher just doesn't have that music ability. Part of preschool is learning daily fingerplays and songs that are different. That helps the kids learn repetition in the songs and build pathways in the brain for learning. Simply doing the same 5 songs all year just isn't what we were looking for.

I will say that things at the Preschool have improved. It is a Co-op so parents are required to volunteer as the parent helper daily. That is nice so you always know what is going on. We turned in a parent survey and I am sure that I am the only one who turned in such a lengthy response to the questions. I kept it constructive and as positive as I could and things have improved. Bottom line, though, is that the teacher does not have experience in preschool and it really shows. Luckily, Anna is fine in the fine motor and acedemic department. However, she needs a lot more in terms of structure and learning how to transition from activities. So, I am sad to say that she is enrolled elsewhere for next year. I hate to leave the friends that she has made, but now she will be able to make more. I know of at least one other student who is following us to the other preschool, so she will at least know one person. We didn't register early enough, though, so we are in an afternoon class. Some of her gymnastic friends are in the morning class there. Bummer.

Ok, I will get off my whining now. I am just irritated and it is the things like wearing pink on St. Pat's Day that sums up everthing. Is Anna getting the socialization that she needs? YES. That was my main reason for sending her to Preschool, but I signed up wanting a little more than she is getting. We go to an Open House April 21 at the new school, so I am anxious for Anna to go to that. We have also visited and feel we have made the right decision. It seems like a better learning environment that will hopefully help Anna more with her squirminess. This will also allow her to make even more friends before kindergarten.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Coldest and Quickest Egg Hunt Ever!


It was about 39 degrees today for the Lion's Club Egg Hunt. BRRRRR. It was also a little windy and sprinkling rain. We were supposed to meet Justin there, but the poor little guy is very sick with a high fever. I am assuming that since the Egg Hunt was at the Lion's Club that is the reason for the LION there. Where was the Easter clue. Funny since we have a costume place here in town. That just cracked me up that the Bunny didn't make his appearance, too. The Egg Hunt took all of 2 minutes and we were off with baskets full of goodies. Brandon was happy to squeak in under the age limit and looks like he can't do it next year.
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New Friends





We had a wonderful visit with another family who has a daughter from Guiping City, China. Joelle is about 14 months older than Anna and Joelle also has a sister who is 2.5. Our tall Anna was about 2.5 inches taller than Joelle. Those long, long legs! The family was so nice and it was a great day at the park to visit. They live a few states away, but were within 2.5 hours of here, so I drove to visit them Thursday. The girls were like two peas in a pod and just went off like they had known each other forever. Fun Day! It is also nice meeting other families with children from the same SWI in China. These girls will always share that commonality.
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Our Wolf



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The third graders had State Testing all last week. In the afternoons, they had people come in and teach them a few things about plays and musicals. They performed their show last night and Brandon was the wolf. He is the most adorable third grader and has them all completely blown away by his personality and cuteness at school. His grades and behavior are so good and never causes an ounce of mischief. He sure does at home, though, but it is a relief that he is respectful to his friends and teachers. And he is getting better with Logan, too. Anyway...Brandon was an adorable wolf and had quite a few lines and then a song to sing ( more of a rap, though). It was a good show and the third graders were proud of their accomplishment and hard work.