Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Journal NEVER Used to Complain!

Blogging my life story is good, because it promises to be more consistent than a private journal, due to it complaining more than a journal. I know, it's been a few weeks and most people don't call that consistent, but it was usually a lot longer in my journal when I got busy. I never got complaints in the journal though, because if anyone was reading it (Bethany?) it must have been in secret.

Anyway, if I could draw a line to represent how my life is going right now (and it turns out I can...), it would look like this:
One day I'm in heaven, the next I'm in the Pit-(*cough*), the Pit of Despair. HUGE ups and downs! For example, last week, was really, really hard. Friday was awful. I had a terrible weekend, because I spent the whole wonderful time dreading Monday morning, and wondering how I could get the world to just stop spinning so I didn't have to go to school. Sunday night I asked James to give me a Priesthood Blessing ('I'm just not coping (sob)- I'm too tiiiiired!! (weep, weep.) I don't w-want to go to scho-o-o-o-ooool (blubbering)'), which was really nice (I'm going to live) - what a wonderful blessing to have the Priesthood in our home. Anyway, Monday was terrible too, but Tuesday, Wednesday and today were perfectly wonderful. On Monday I could not think, of a single reason anyone would EVER want to be a teacher! - What a horrible, ghastly, draining profession that sucks the life and happiness out of you! Tuesday, Wednesday and today I love my job to death, and feel hugely privilaged to be a part of it! I can't imagine wanting to do anything else (in terms of vocation - not motherhood, that definitely wins!), and I love my kids to death.

I sound bi-polar.

I don't think I am! :)

It's just been a steep learning curve. On the upside, I think every week things are getting just a little bit better, and the more confident and settled I get, the more fun the kids have, and the more good learning we're getting done.

Highlights of my teaching-centered life lately:

Last week on one of the afternoons (I can't remember which...) I asked James to pick me up early at about 4pm, and I took a recipe book to school. We went to the shops after school and bought ingredients for our chosen meal, Creamy Bustard Chicken. The recipe is from 'Brenda Kitchen's On the table in 20 minutes'. It took me a LOT longer than this - an unfortunate trend with things I cook taking a lot longer than they 'should', but I'm SUCH a beginner, I don't mind, and it's a long work of love (obviously a beginner :)). To go with the chicken, we cut up sticks of zucchini, carrot and capsicum, and I bought a jar of deli-style olives with yummy oils and sundried tomatoes (yes, this dinner cost almost our usual weekly shopping budget, but we'd just gotten my first pay (yay! - another highlight! - I get taxed about a week's wages a fortnight! But Daddy tells me I'll get it all back in July, so it's like savings! :)). Put the veggies in a little cooking dish and poured the olives and accompanying juices and deli...stuff over, then put it in the oven while the chicken was cooking. And we did mashed potatoes with it too, yum! In the tradition of Tammy's friend Brecken, I'll put in the recipe:

1 dessertspoon olive oil
1 dessertspoon butter
500g/1lb lean chicken breast fillets
sprinkle MASTERFOODS Lemon Pepper Seasoning
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 dessertspoon MASTERFOODS (can you tell who Brenda Kitchen's sponsor is?! :)) Wholegrain or German Mustard (Go the Wholegrain! - divine!)
2 tablespoons cream (more... :))
fresh parsley, chopped (we didn't get this, because it was at the end of our shopping list, and we decided the $1 it would have costed wouldn't have been worth going any more over budget for..)

1. Heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat in a frying pan. Add chicken, that has been coated in lemon pepper seasoning and plain flour. You can cook the chicken in strips (DO THIS! :)) or as whole breast fillets.
2. Add wholegrain or German mustard, cream and parsley to create a delicious sauce adn stir frequently. Extra light cream can be used in this recipe, if you want lots of sauce (our cream was NOT light - James forbids it, and I sort of agree :))
If you make it and it's yuck, you must have put in skinny cream, or not put on enough lemon pepper seasoning, or not added enough cream to the sauce, or done something wrong, because it's yummy! And I know this might look lame to you more experienced cookers (you'd only have to have cooked more than 10 meals (i'm including toasted cheese sandwiches and spaghetti with pre-made sauce as well as heating dim sims and meat pies...) to be more experienced...), but we loved it, and here's a photo (yup, that's a bottle of Patriti James brought me back from the wedding he went to in Sydney the other week):

It's really exciting just to be doing homemaker things :) I sewed on a button the other night and I can't tell you what a thrill it gave me!! :)
What else? It was my friend Kate's wedding on Saturday 14th Feb (I got kids books for Valentines, James is sooooo spot on! :) - I got him Monopoly the Oz version and Yhatzee... but instead of buying Yhatzee in the box for $19.95, I bought a refill Yhatzee pad for $4.99 and 5 dice at 50c each, paying $7.49 (happy, slightly scrimping sigh). I was bridesmaid and I looked, in good tradition, awful, while James looked great and sang the first dance song for them, and made me sigh happily and think 'That's my husband!' :)

We went on a date the other week (they have been less frequent due to my psycho school-ness, but we're working on it!) and I wanted to put in a picture or two, because we went up to my favourite spot in Brisbane! It's across the road from the temple. The Brisbane Temple is up on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, on the opposite side of the river to the city. So when you're at my favourite spot, you've got the city on one side and the Temple on the other. I love Brisbane City, and I love the Temple (I love this more...) and there's a little pagola inbetween, and a little place you can go if you jump over the railing between the path and the cliff, where the cliff juts out and you can sit there. We went there after we were sealed on our wedding day, and for lots of dates before and after. I love it. I took some photos of the temple from there but they're all blurry :(

James just came home from rugby. He's traded his basetball singlet for a pair of rugby boots in the new year, with some upsides and some downsides. Upsides: no cost competition... this may be the only upside. Downsides: James has come home every training session so far, needing an ice pack on his face. I don't like it. I don't like the blood and bruises all over him. It scares me. I sound like his mother. People sustain lifelong injuries in this game, all the time, and they've been known to die. The games are not as interesting for me. In my cheerleading days, Rugby Union was not on my list of favourite boy games to cheer for. I just asked James if it's a lot longer than basketball and he said 'not really', so I guess it just isn't as interesting. Okay no it's the injuries that bother me though. If it was safer than basketball, I'd be all for it!
Anyway, I'm actually sorta sick at the moment (Heavenly Father's been helping me be well enough to go to school, I just seem to come down hard at night!) so I'm going to go eat and sleep.
Happy to be back in blogland! Hopefully I'll keep it up a bit more now that school is marginally less full on/scary.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Have you seen 'Duplex'??

There's a lovely elderly lady, Sister W., who Mum and I used to visit teach when we were in the same ward as her, who became sort of another grandmother for both of us I think. On Sunday James and I dropped in briefly to see her, and had a lovely visit. During the visit she happened to mention the painter had been and done most of the house, but hadn't done the back steps because one was loose, so she'd have to get a man in to have a look at it. I (looking at James for confirmation, which I got) wondered out loud if James would be able to fix it. It was agreed after a brief look at the steps that James would return lunchtime on Tuesday with his toolbox to tighten it up.

On Tuesday afternoon I asked James to pick me up from school at 5pm after my meetings, and he dashed in all in a hurry at the right time. We got in the car and drove straight back to Sister W's place, where he'd been all afternoon, while James told me how Sister W's step was rotted through, so Sister W had said "Oh that's alright lovey - they'll have wood at the shops you can just pop down there and get some", then "Are you going to paint the steps when you finish?" "Um, oh... sure I guess - do you have the paint?" "Oh no, lovey - just pop down to the shops I'd like turqoise", and "Sister W. I've really got to go now I'm running late for something" "Oh of course, lovey - would you just put my washing machine together though, the gentleman came and pulled it apart the other day because it's not working". It turns out before I even got there, we'd spent $100 buying supplies for James to 'tighten the back step'.

While James went back to work out the back Sister W. sat down to visit for a bit (James assured me he just needed 15 minutes hopefully...). Sister W. could not say nice enough things about James: "Oh your husband is so sweet, lovey! When we realised the wood was rotten through, he offered to go and buy me a new one, then he offered to paint it, and even went and bought the paint! Oh yes, he's just lovely. What a generous man!"

I was cracking up! Sweet, manipulative adorable Sister W.

Finally James dashed in from the back end of the house, 15 minutes after he was due at the chapel for Young Men. He explained that he really had to go, and Sister W. said her goodbye:

"Oh of course lovey. What a shame you didn't finish. You'll be back again tomorow I suppose anyway to do another coat on the stairs, and there's that door that keeps sticking, and I bought a fan the other day that needs putting together...oh no lovey I'm going out tomorow - best make it Thursday then. I'll see you on Thursday lovey! Oh Abby I forgot to give these (handing 3 wafers) to James for his morning tea! Take them and give them to him, love. Thankyou so much, love to you both have a lovely night!"

As we drive away rather briskly, I hand James the afternoon tea substitute for the 3 whole chickens he could easily accomodate in his stomach, and he sighs then shoves one in his mouth.

Mouth curls in disgust as James sinks teeth in, then wafer is thrown out the window. Wafer is stale.

Thoughts turn to Duplex and I slowly grin - Sister W. is pretty sharp. James is going back tomorow - what a generous lad he is!

Another sister, yay!!! :)

Congratulations Micky and Bec!!!! We are stoked to have another sister in the family, especially if it's you!!! Even if the thought scares you and it's only because you really love Michael that you're willing to be sealed to us FOREVER!!! :)

So Mum, Dad, Micky, Bethany and Bec all went on a week-long cruise up to the Whitsundays while I was going through my first week at school. It was some amazing deal through a friend of a friend of a friend or something like it, and it was an experience of a lifetime, according to all, who loved it! A little bit jealous but I'll try not to dwell on it!

Anyway, one of the formal evenings, Micky and Bec were on the back of the boat up on the deck, Micky in his penguin tux and Bec resplendent in a gown, Micky trying to point the conversation towards marriage ("I'm very fond of you"...not the most well-received of his comments) while Bec poked fun at him, not realising the serious turn the conversation was a bout to take. Eventually according to all sources he finally popped the question, but not the ring. That happened later, when (much to Bec's disgust) he had ensured that they were far enough away from the edge of the ship (10m) for it not to be lost if dropped.

I know! - The question you're all dying to ask! : "Did you get down on one knee, Micky?!!!"
(horrified, incredulous, outraged look) "No! - The deck was wet!!!"

Bless him! :)

Bring on those bells, April 18 :)


Still mostly alive!!!


I feel like I should be introducing myself - I've been deep in the pit of new teacherhood. It's a deep, long, all-encompassing hole, and I hope to graduate to the less encompassing pothole of confident, established teacherhood shortly. I won't go on and on and on about school (well I'll try not to!) but a few highlights:
  • I have just survived my first parent-teacher information evening. That's the one they have at the start of the year so that parents can come and learn more about the classroom routine, homework expectations, extra-curriculars, units we're studying, upcoming camps (yay!), and the school in general. That's the official reason. The real purpose is for parents to come and suss you out (especially if you're new - I was like a celebrity), then grill you, try to intimidate you, ask ridiculous questions, question your ability, and for the lady in the third row with the purple shirt to try to melt through you with her eyes (never figured out who's mum she was! - this could be a problem later on... :S). Then at the end all the cute concerned parents come and talk to you about their kids (and I adore my class so I was happy to!) and offer to come and help out with reading rotations - great!
  • Today after lunch when they were coming into class, one of the kids absolutely slammed one of the other kids from behind at he sat at his desk! It was huge! I almost burst out laughing, but it was not funny. Poor boys! The 'slam-mer' was furious as he stood there in rage, chest heaving, eyes boring into the back of the 'slam-ee' muttering threats under his breathe (his glare was not even in the same league though, as the woman in the third row tonight..)(there was some hurtful name-calling at lunch and as they lined up to come in), and the 'slam-ee' was distraught - from physical as well as emotional upset. It's a call to the deputy and parents etc. when there's physical stuff that goes on so that all happened, but it was okay in the end. Grade six is a bit of a hormonal age, but the boys are waaay worse than the girls right now, surprisingly - with 'he said' 'she said' 'not friends' sort of stuff. (Apparently by the end of the year the boys will be more settled and the girls will be catty...)
  • I'm the girls' basketball coach (yay! :))
  • I'm a panel judge for 'Our School's Got Talent!' (hahaha - I'm sort of looking forward to this one too! :))
  • I don't have a single morning or afternoon free from meetings this week with someone else to train me about something else - but my brain is full to capacity, because the same thing happened last week, and I haven't had time to process anything, because there's school inbetween, and I have to sort of me teaching during those hours... It sort of almost feels like I live at school a bit...James is afraid I'll burn myself out, but I think I just need to keep to early-late hourse for a few more weeks and I'll have it all a bit more down-pat. I do have an awful lot of extra stuff to do being new to the school as well as Ed QLD, and everyone I meet has got something else to tell me about or train me on which I never even knew existed! (sigh)...
  • I love my class! My girls are all angels in behaviour except for one who is a bit crazy but okay. My boys all have MASSIVE personalities and vie for stage time.
  • So far... 3 boys have been moved away from their friends to tables full of girls (their behaviour has been excellent since :) - I told them I might even let them sit back with their friends if it continues this way for ... oh... a few weeks or so - but they double check if it's been long enough every single day, and I do admire how hard they are trying! 2 boys have been sent to the deputy principale (well, the deputy sent to them - that was my boy being taken out today...). And 2 boys have received warnings (it's only the first step on the school behaviour plan... and one of them was bumped off it again for good behaviour :))
  • They're great! We all get along really well and they forgive me for having to make them do actual work! Even if sometimes it's boring :) We're not the most quiet class in the school but we get the work done and mostly enjoy it! Yesterday my partner teacher (1 big classroom, 2 classes) turned around and had to rouse on her class for being too loud and it's hilarious how happy I was that for once we were the quiet ones! High fives all around. Every time we go to library the librarian gets them in trouble for every little thing (I'm not being biased - one of her rules is that you're not allowed to tie up your shoelaces in the library! - That's insane, and um, unsafe.), and I get sorta cranky about it, but I can't act like it, because that would be unprofessional (sigh). I wrote a note to self though next time they're about to go to library to remind them of the insane rules and not to make us all look bad, cause they're not! :P
  • I really am happy with my class - even my crazy kids. There's background to every single kid I've got who behaves badly, and I just hope I can help them have a better time at school, so that not every part of their life makes them sad.
  • It's going to be a fun, maybe a bit draining year :)

Haha I just remembered I said I wouldn't go on about school! :)

I'd better start a new blog entry for other stuff I want to say, or you'll all be bored at hate me! This way if you want to read my blog bit by bit, it'll be easier to find your spot... :)

Happy Days! :) xo