Monday, December 29, 2014

the day we spent all the money.

It's not like we were sitting there on the eve of December 28th like, "Hey...we just spent a boat load on Christmas presents for everyone...let's shell out hundreds of dollars more. Shall we?"

But it seemed to happen that way.

It began with our septic system. Every time (and I mean EVERY time) we did a load of laundry, the downstairs toilet would back up and overflow. We made do for awhile by stuffing old towels all around the toilet, but when I went down to check on it the other day and saw several unmentionables in the toilet that had come back up, we knew it was time to call someone.

So this morning, the Septic Sucking Man came to suck the system. He then told us that our field system is shot...not entirely sure what that means other than a LOT of stuff has to be replaced. And that it's going to cost of thousands of dollars. Cool. But today we merely had a bill worth a couple hundred for the septic sucking.

While Ty was home with the Septic Sucking Man, I was at the vet with Abby. She was past due for some shots and stuff, and I also wanted to get her vision checked out. We knew she had cataracts and that her vision was getting a lot worse lately, and I wanted to get a gauge on exactly how well she could see.

The answer to that is, not well. She can't see at all out of her right eye, and can see maybe 10% out of her left eye (and that's mainly shadows and changes in light.) Since she's getting older, they also wanted to do a whole bunch of other Old Dog tests. So today she had:
A Pet Exam with Vaccination
Oral Bordetela Vaccine
Leptospirosis Vaccine
Rabies Vaccine
Triamcinolone with Keto & Enrofloxacin (fancy ear infection medicine)

 All this to say, I was sent home with another bill for a couple hundred dollars. And two tubes. One for a poop sample. And one for a pee sample. Cool.

After THAT we took my car to the dealership to be serviced. When we left a family get together last night, I couldn't shift into drive. When we finally got it into drive, then we couldn't shift into reverse. And so on and so forth. We finally got it home but needed to take it in to get it looked at. I just got off the phone with the Kia Mechanic Guy. He told me that there were 5 open recalls on my car and they took care of all those 5 things (which fixed the problem we were having.) BUT...

I have a license plate light out.
Power Steering fluid needs flushed and replaced.
Brake fluid needs flushed and replaced.
The cabin air filter is bad. (Perhaps that's why there's a thick layer of dust on everything.)
Tires need aligned.

I know exactly what it's going to cost. Another bill worth several hundred dollars. I told him we'd get back to him, because I'm just not sure all those things MUST be fixed today. I'm waiting to get a hold of Ty before I make any important decisions. You know, important decisions like either replace the license plate light today or buy toilet paper tomorrow.

And speaking of toilet paper, my husband is now limiting how many squares I can use, because of our broken septic stuff. What a day!

xoxo, wife.

Monday, December 22, 2014

xmas cards 2014

OMG it's finally Christmas Break! I love my job and my kiddos beyond measure, but we were ALL ready for a break. I intend to spend the next two weeks soaking up time with family, relaxing, getting ahead on some work, and recharging my battery before heading back to the classroom in January.

Before I head out to grab some last minute items for Food Prep Day tomorrow, here are some outtakes of our 2014 Christmas card pictures.

Merry Christmas from the Miller's!

xoxo, wife.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

the gingerbread man.

Every year I spend a week in class doing a gingerbread unit. We do all types of things with gingerbread. By far my favorite activity of the week is always the Gingerbread Man experiment.

I start out by asking the kids, "Why didn't the Gingerbread Man want to fall in the river? Why did he agree to ride across on the fox's back?"

There are always lots of theories. And then I whip out a REAL Gingerbread Man! Cue the "oohs" and "ahhs."

Then I tell them we're going to do an experiment. We're going to drop the Gingerbread Man into some water and see what happens. We'll figure out just why he didn't want to fall in the water. We start by making some predictions about what will happen, and then we drop him in. After a few minutes, this happened.

We talked about what happened, and why the Gingerbread Man wouldn't have wanted to get wet. 

Then it's my favorite part. I tell the kids that I'm going to pull him out so that we can get a closer look. And...

Now normally, this is met with hysterical laughter. But I wish I could have gotten these kids' expressions on camera. They looked so distraught! I laugh just thinking about it. They finally began to chuckle, and we wrapped up the lesson. 

I couldn't just dump the experiment in the trash, and I certainly didn't want them spilling it. So I stuck it up on top of my book case until after school, when I could clean it up.

Except I forgot.

The experiment was on Thursday.

So Monday, I came in and was working at my desk before school. I kept getting this whiff of something bad, and couldn't figure out what it was. Then the kids came, and I kept smelling it. I wondered if someone had left some old food laying around...but I couldn't find anything. Finally during my prep I reached up to the top shelf of my bookcase to grab something...and I saw it. UGH! I knew instantly that's what was making the rancid smell. I reached up above my head to get it, and of course I spilled some. 

I took the container to the bathroom to clean it out. I can't even describe how bad it smelled. I was GAGGING while I was cleaning it out. I finally just threw the container away because I couldn't get the smell out. Then I got back to my room and still smelled it...because I had spilled some on the floor. I clean that up as best I could and then sprayed almost an entire can of Lysol on it. 

The moral of this story is: no matter how cool your experiment in, don't put the aftermath above your head where you won't notice it again for 4 more days.  Eww.

xoxo, mrs. miller

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

my day was made.

I love my job. Love it. Especially this year. I have some amazing little kiddos who make me smile and impress me with their eagerness to learn every day.

But I'll be honest. Sometimes (especially Mondays...) I find myself driving to school wishing I had an office job. There are days where I'd like to just sit in a cubicle and keep to myself. There are times I don't really feel like being an enthusiastic goofball ALL day in order to get 5 year olds excited about place value.

I was having one of those days last week.

The weather was dreary, I knew I'd be at work LATE that night, and Christmas Break was still too far away to seem real. I was sitting at my computer getting some last minute stuff ready before the day started. One of my former students (from my very first class, and now in 3rd grade) came in to say good morning.

"Oh and guess what, Mrs. Miller! You remember that essay contest the school is doing? The one where we write about someone who inspires us? Well I wrote about you!"

"You did?" I said.

"Yeah. You've always been my favorite teacher ever. And I wanted to write about you. I hope I get picked to go up on stage and read it."

And she did. Yesterday morning, my former student was chosen to read her essay in front of the entire school.

And instantly, that feeling of wanting to sit in a cubicle by myself all day vanished. I realized that this is exactly why I do what I do. Not to be recognized in front of the school. But to make an impact. Even if I never heard her essay...even if she never wrote the essay. To have made an impact in her life is why I'm a teacher. Sure, reading and writing are important (and they are my favorite things to teach in kindergarten.) But even more important than that is that my students know my "heart is so full of love" for them. Because it is. And they need to know it. My day was made by this little girl.

I will undoubtedly have days when I wish I could work quietly by myself all day. But I now have this essay hanging on the wall by my desk to remind me that even though my day may be loud, hectic, and exhausting...I'm here to make a difference. And that's my mission.

xoxo, Mrs. Miller

Saturday, November 8, 2014

turkey week 2014

Last week was Pumpkin Week, and this week was Turkey Week!

After learning some new facts about turkeys, we began this awesome turkey project. We fill out this Can, Have, Are chart. The kids came up with all the words, and we figured out how to spell them together. Then they colored in their turkeys and wrote their words on the feathers above. 

We spent one morning learning about the different parts of a turkey. I made this chart and we labeled it together, and then the kids did one on their own. Their favorite fact they learned was that if the turkey has a fan in the back, it's a boy turkey. If there's no fan, then it's a girl.

Once we put our turkey projects together, I hung them out in the hall. Here's how they turned out.

I loved listening to my kids talking about turkeys with each other all week. One boy even came to class the other day and said, "Guess what? At supper last night I told my mom everything we've learned about turkeys. And some of the stuff she didn't even know...that means I know more than my mom!"

Up next, Wampanog Week! (Native Americans)

xoxo, mrs. miller

Monday, November 3, 2014

pumpkin week 2014

Last week was Pumpkin Week at school. I get so excited about this particular week each year. In fact, I was so excited while planning my lessons the other day, that a coworker and I started talking about doing themed weeks ALL YEAR! We planned out some stuff and got it approved by administration. Having themed weeks is a lot more work for the teacher, but it's a lot more fun too. The kids also get a lot more into it, which means they learn a lot's just win-win all around. So without further ado, here are some pictures from Pumpkin Week.

This is our pumpkin. We decided to name it and learned about how to vote in order to choose a name. The winning name was Rainbow. Which is fortunate, because the other choices were: Redbull, Green Team, Bob, and Hello Kitty.

 We learned about circumference during math. We ESTIMATED (another awesome math skill) how long of a string we would need to get around the pumpkin to figure the circumference. Here are the results. 

We filled out this chart I made with our schema (stuff we already know), and our new learning. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture after the chart was filled in, but we learned a lot! Did you know that pumpkins are a fruit AND a vegetable? I didn't! (Although to be fair, I've never really thought about it.) Also, the more lines a pumpkin has, the more seeds it will have. 

We did pumpkin math every day. We estimated how many lines the pumpkin had, and then counted them. We estimated how many cubes (kindergarten unit of measurement) tall our pumpkin was, how many cubes wide, how much it weighed, and then figured all that stuff out too!

 Thursday was the best day yet. We learned all about the pulp inside the pumpkin, and got to feel it! We also estimated how many seeds would be in our pumpkin. While exploring with the pulp, we got all the seeds out and put them into cups so that we could count them. We talked about all the different ways we could count the seeds, and the class decided that putting the seeds into groups of ten, and then counting by tens would be the easiest way to count them, instead of just counting them one by one. I was so impressed that they came up with that!

The last day of Pumpkin Week was Halloween. Since we can't celebrate holidays, we told kids they could dress up like their favorite book character. I joined in too, of course! I dressed as our class favorite, Pete the Cat. (Google him.)

Note: I was pretty sick in the picture above. I had just dropped my kids off at lunch and told administration I was going to go home sick. Instead of saying, "Feel better," my team leader said, "Wait! Let me take your picture first! Gotta get this in the yearbook, ya know!"

Anyway, that was Pumpkin Week. This week? Turkey Week!!

xoxo, Mrs. Miller

Sunday, October 26, 2014

bentlee's 2nd birthday.

Yesterday my mother-in-law and I headed out to my godson Bentlee's 2nd birthday party.

It was a baseball themed party, complete with a hot dog machine, popcorn machine, and baseball pinata!

Unfortunately, when you're only two, you don't typically break the pinata...especially with a nerf bat haha!

But you still get a lot of candy when it does break.

Sometimes when you turn two, it can be very scary when a bunch of people start singing "Happy Birthday" to you. And you might sit back in your chair with a very unsure look on your face.

But as soon as the singing is over, you're ready to blow out those candles!

When you're two, you're expected to eat with a fork...unlike last year, when you just got to stuff your face by using your hands.

But sometimes that's hard to do and you get frosting all over. And using napkins doesn't come until you turn three, so it's still socially appropriate for you to lick frosting off your arm.

Happy Birthday Bentlee! I can't wait to see how much your grow and change in this next year!

xoxo, God-momma

Sunday, October 19, 2014

pinned it. did it. #1

A couple weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that it was about time to conquer all the stuff I've pinned on Pinterest. I spend MORE than enough time pinning all this stuff I'd like to do someday...but I never actually DO any of it. I looked through some of my boards, and realized that I have some pretty good stuff on there, and I should get to work.

I decided to start off easy...those of you who know me know that I don't stick with stuff very long. (To be honest, I'm pleasantly surprised I've stuck with this teaching thing longer than 3 weeks.) I figured if I started off with something easy--and something I knew wouldn't fail--I'd be more likely to keep going.

So without further ado, I present to you my first "Pinned it. Did it" project. Here's the image I pinned:
This is "car essentials kit."

Ever have to meet someone after work, but don't have time to go home and freshen up first? Ever broken your nail, but don't have anything in the car to take care of it? Ever have a really bad cold, but forgot to grab some tissues before you left the house? I can raise my hand for all of those...and more. So I decided it would be a great idea (and really, why hadn't I ever thought of this?) to make one of these kits. 

I filled my kit with things I always wish I had in the car with me: makeup, bobby pins, tissues, and Advil. I also put in some things that I could see myself needing at some point during a long day: nail files, deodorant, bandaids, Tide to-go Pen, and a few other things that aren't pictured. 

This little kit was so quick and easy to put together, and will fit nicely in my center console (once I clean it out, that is.)

So there ya go. I can officially check something off the Pinterest list.

xoxo, wife.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

bad boys, bad boys

Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

The police came to school today. And for once, it wasn't for anything bad! Kindergarten and first grade are in the thick of a unit about communities. One of the huge things we cover is community helpers (people whose job it is to help us in our community.) We set up for some police officers to come and speak with our kids about what they do.

What I really liked was that they geared everything toward the kids and told them that even KIDS can go to jail if they make too many bad choices. They brought the van that they use to take kids to the Juvenile Justice Center, and gave our kiddos an up close look at it.

One of my students said, "It doesn't look very comfy. And it doesn't even have seat belts. I never wanna ride in this van." And I said, "Good. I never want to hear about you riding in a van like this!"

Then they brought out Dex, the K9. The kids (most of them, anyway) loved Dex, and even got to pet him. Then the K9 officer showed us how fast Dex can run, and some of the commands he gives. It was really neat. 

It was definitely a good experience for these kids, whose only impression of police officers is that they are bad, because they took their daddies to jail. (I heard more than enough stories today about who's parent is/has been in jail.)The police officers did a good job of ensuring the kids that police officers keep them safe, but that they also need to make lots of smart choices so they don't end up in that van!

xoxo, Mrs. Miller

Monday, October 13, 2014

i am capable of keeping a baby alive.

Sometimes I think people assume I'm not domestic enough to do certain things.
Like cook a fancy meal from scratch.
Like produce the perfect stain remover from household ingredients.
Like have my house in tip-top shape every day.

And maybe they're right. (Actually they probably are right, about that stuff at least.)

But one thing I CAN do, is keep another human alive. Especially little humans.
If you actually take time to think about it...that's kind of what I do for a living. Keep little humans alive. 22 of them to be exact.

And while those little humans aren't babies, I knew I could keep my 5 month-old nephew alive for a few hours the other day while my in-laws took my other nephew and niece out for some early-Halloween fun.

 Fun fact: I took a babysitting class at the hospital when I was 12. I passed with flying colors.

Case in point:

Bonding time. Watching Notre Dame and talking about life and stuff.


It may not look like he's still alive...but I promise he is.

Time spent building self-esteem by telling the baby how cute he is.

Manners lesson: how to fold our hands politely.

Naked anatomy lesson: how to find your toes and eat them. 

We even had some animal bonding time, where cat and kid played together in perfect harmony.

I fed the baby human. And then changed the baby human's diaper after that food promptly went right through him.

Friendship time.

And then he fell asleep for another few minutes before everyone returned.

During my 6ish hour stint as babysitter:

His mom called to check up on me.
My husband checked up on me.
And my father-in-law checked up on me.

In my forever quest to become more domestic, I hope I proved to the world that I can, in fact, take care of a baby for a few hours. He came away alive, fed, changed, entertained, and unharmed. (And I think he loves me more now than he did before. I think I'm his favorite aunt!)

xoxo, aunt lisa