Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stuff a sock in it, teacher lady!

Just a quick post to share about my first grader's DVD teacher. I'm actually cutting into his class time right now, because he uses my laptop to play the DVD's at his desk. I'm going into withdrawal.

Anyway, Miss (name has been withheld) is his aBeka teacher. We're using aBeka because that is the curriculum that he used last year and that his former classmates will be using this year. We wanted to keep him current in case some money falls into our lap, and we can afford the private school tuition.

She is something else. She has the typical big bangs and bad spiral perm of the eighties, so I'm imagining the DVD is quite old. Really though, has phonics changed over the past twenty years? She speaks like you would expect a pre-school teacher to speak to her students. Everything is perfectly enunciated, and her facial expressions are so exaggerated she reminds me of a cartoon.

I actually went to the college that produces the aBeka curriculum (I didn't last very long), so I can tell you that they teach all their education students the same way. I've never understood the value of treating children like they couldn't understand normal words. Children learn best when they figure things out for themselves, and they are not ever going to learn what a word means if you only speak to them in two syllable words.

So she gets on my nerves, and I'm expecting my six year-old to start talking to me like I'm an idiot. We'll see how this goes. I'm really afraid he'll get bored and lose his understanding of sarcasm. That would be a disaster in our family.

On another note, our tenth anniversary is coming up, so Hubby and I have a special date in the works. I wonder what he would do if I started speaking to him like the DVD teacher? Oh that could be fun...

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Free the leash kids!

I know, I know it's been a while. I have life as my excuse. I have two baby blankets to finish before it gets cold; I'm homeschooling my six year-old monster; I'm still working part-time at my nine year-old monster's school; and well, my house does need some attention. So there's that.

For those of you that pay attention, the PKD walk on Saturday was a great success. They raised over ten thousand dollars, and Team Donna alone raised about fifteen hundred. All my monsters walked with their Nonna even though only Ryder raised money. He raised a hundred dollars.

You may notice the leash on my youngest. Yes, it is necessary. He will take off running, and in crowds that makes me nervous. Say what you want about putting kids on a leash, but if my options are having a child on a leash or having a child hit by a car or lost in the crowd, my choice is a no-brainer. He doesn't wear it everyday, only when we are outdoors in crowds. We actually have two, that's how important it is to his safety and Mommy's sanity. The other one is a little bear backpack, way more adorable but also way more hot. (Also, he wears more orange than any of my other children put together, pretty much for the same reasons.)

There's my update. Once we get settled into the homeschooling routine, I will share my feelings about the teacher on the DVDs. Oh, it's gonna be a good post, too! She's, um, special. Special like "what is wrong with her?" special.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Peachy Keen, Jelly Bean!

I'm all about the birthday cake... any excuse for cake, really. And last night I made another cake for youth group, this one for Andrew's birthday. Andrew is, well, a very excitable young man. He is one of the reasons why I leave youth group with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

I decided against attempting the Bleeding Elmo cake again. I just need more time to perfect my techniques. Instead I came up with a totally acceptable substitute. Andrew likes Peachie-O's; they're those gummy peach-flavored rings. I took two angel food cakes and split them horizontally, iced them accordingly, sprinkled sugar on them, and wrote a message on top. I think it turned out perfectly, and Andrew was pleased (as you can probably tell from the picture Laura took).

I will eventually conquer the Bleeding Elmo, but not just yet. Because I have three more cakes to make in two months time, it will happen soon, just you wait and see...

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My child needs help, more than one kind, too.

My oldest son, Ryder (yes I got his name off the side of a moving van- you should not give in to your pregnancy hormones every time) is joining his grandma in The Walk for PKD. He is raising money to help find a cure so that his Nonna has a fighting chance.

Polycystic Kidney Disease is a genetic disease, so Ryder is raising money to find a cure for a disease that he, his siblings, and his daddy may have. Please help if you can. All donations are tax deductible and every little bit helps. For more information and a safe way to donate please go to his website.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No whimsical title for this one, sorry. Part 2!

Here's the second part of the short story I posted here. Same as always, if you like it, let me know, and please give credit where credit is due.

#37 Part 2

“Where are we going?” she asked while slipping her hand in mine. The look in her eyes told me exactly where she wanted to go.

“You’ll see when we get there.” It wasn’t too far of a walk; we would be there soon enough.

She turned her head so she could see my face, “Do you enjoy being mysterious? Is this how you get girls to follow you into dark alleys?”

My heart jumped. It was too early for her to get scared, “Would you follow me into a dark alley?”

“I can think of worse things to do.” She grinned up at me. I wondered if what she was thinking the same thing I was. Probably not.

“Like what?” I held my breath waiting for an answer. Could she tell that my steps got just a little quicker?

“Like not following you.” She slipped her arm around my waist and rested her head on my shoulder. She was starting to stumble, excellent.

I stopped outside my building. “Your friend’s right, I’m probably not the best person to put your trust in.”

“Who said I trusted you?” She looked up at the old stone fa├žade. “Besides, what’s the worst thing that could happen?” If she only knew.

We were so close that my heart sped up. “I don’t know. It’s still early.” I opened the door and motioned her in, “Come on, up these stairs.”

“Are you gonna tell me where we’re going?” She stepped inside the building first, but let me take her hand and lead her up the stairs.

It was hard not to break out into a run, but I managed. “We’re not there yet. Almost, but not yet.” I stopped at the top of the landing and stuck my key into the heavy metal door. There wasn’t much that I left when I remodeled my loft, but the door seemed appropriate so it stayed.

“Is this your place?” She looked at the door oddly. I did get a lot of comments about the dungeon-like quality of my front door.

“You’re full of questions tonight aren’t you?” I twisted the key and turned to face her.

“It must be the writer in me.”

“Yup this is my place,” I answered her question, “But, you don’t have to come inside if you don’t want to.” I always liked to give them one last chance to back out.

“Is there a reason why I shouldn’t come inside?” She laughed softly, “You got something in there I shouldn’t see?”

“Maybe, I can’t promise you’ll like what you see in here, but I can promise you’ll leave in one piece.” I smiled, hoping she wouldn’t catch on yet.

She didn’t, “And you told me that you weren’t a person I could trust.” She playfully poked my side.

“Okay,” I opened the door and stepped aside, “Inside, let’s go.” She paused right inside the door. I took her purse and set it down on the small table next to us. This was one of my favorite parts, when they saw my studio for the first time.

She immediately started examining all the paintings hung along the walls. “Wow, are all these your paintings?”

“Yup, every single one.” I watched her face carefully for any sign of reaction. So far all I saw was admiration.

“How often do you paint?” She stopped right in front of my latest piece still on the easel. I called it ‘#36’.

“It comes and goes. I get really inspired and paint three or four in a week, and then do nothing for a while.” Standing beside her, I reached up and touched the canvas, surprised at the tingling in my fingertips.

“How long has it been since your last piece?” She traced the muscles in my raised forearm with her finger again. “Is this it?”

“Yeah, this one was finished about ten days ago.” I was waiting for my favorite part. I stared at her expectantly.

“These are mostly women. What inspires you?” She started moving again, following the wall around the room.

I caught up to her and stepped in front of her so I could see her face. “They’re all women. I guess women inspire me.” Any minute now, the smart ones always caught on faster.

“Where do you find all your models?” It was starting to sink in, her smile faded. “Some of these paintings are kind of morbid.”

I was walking backwards as she started moving again, this time a little faster. “Bars mostly, but I found this one in the park.” I pointed at the painting closest to us. The subject of #15 looked a lot like her; I couldn’t help but smile at the memory of that day. Blondes are always more fun.

She turned away from her twin, “So are they named after the women you paint?” Her voice was lower now, almost a whisper.

“No, I just number my work. It makes it easier to stay detached.” I kept my gaze even though my pulse was racing. “That one’s #33.” I pointed to a painting of a brunette with dark bruises around her neck.

It was starting, she was a lot smarter than I gave her credit for, “And are they all so, uh, lifeless?” Her voice cracked.

“Still life, remember?” I took her hand gently, ”but mostly, it’s just however the mood strikes me.”

She yanked her hand away. “Yeah, so, uh, why did you bring me here?” Looking up at me with wild eyes, she had an edge in her voice that was unmistakable, “Is the mood striking you right now?”

This was it, my favorite part. I loved that wild look, the complete fear. “You could say that.” I stepped in closer and leaned to whisper in her ear, “Would you like me to paint you?” She didn’t move; she looked afraid to even breathe.

“I don’t know. Um, will it take long?” I could see her mind racing. She was already coming up with excuses to leave. “I have a hard time holding still.” She took a quick step toward the door, but I extended my arm until my fingers touched the wall, blocking her path.

“Don’t worry,” I put my other arm out behind her, trapping her where she stood, “After I’m done, you won’t have any trouble holding still.” I lowered my head, burying my face in her hair. Her scent was almost enough to knock me over.

She spun around and pressed her back against the wall, “Really? And, uh, how are you going to accomplish that exactly?” Her voice was barely audible, and her eyes were wide with fear. I couldn’t help but grin just a little.

“I have my ways.” I leaned over even further until my nose was inches from hers. “I haven’t had a model move yet.”

She pushed against my chest, bracing herself against the wall. “Huh, you know, I’m thinking now wouldn’t be the best time for this. I’ve, uh, got a piece due tomorrow that still needs polishing. Yeah, I should go now. My friend wanted me to call her soon anyway.” She was grasping at straws now. If I could draw this moment out forever, I would.

My hands left the wall and wrapped around her wrists. I pinned them to her sides ignoring her struggles. “No, I think now would be the perfect time.” I stepped close enough to her that my body pressed her to the wall. “Yes, the mood is definitely striking. I know you’ll like what’s on my mind. They all do.” I tilted my head to whisper in her ear, “You shouldn’t have worn that dress.”

“Still, I think I’m gonna leave now.” She tried pulling her arms free, but couldn’t. She swallowed hard, “One piece, remember you promised me I’d leave in one piece.”

“Yeah,” I chuckled, “I did promise you’d leave in one piece, but I didn’t say if that piece would still be breathing.”

So there it is! What didya think?

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