Thursday, January 31, 2008

6th Graders + Snow = Not sane. At all.

What is with this winter?!?!? It is so crazy! Every school day is an adventure when the weather acts up like this. As it is you never know what to expect out of each day when you're a teacher. Last week I found myself fishing a maxi-pad out of a toilet in the girls' bathroom during lunch. Someone wasn't sure what to do with it I guess and tried to flush it, no luck. No custodians were available and I wanted the girls who reported it to me to quit freaking out, so I just did it myself. Like I said, when you wake up every morning as a teacher, you just never know. Today was like that.

Paradise is not a town that deals well with snow. I mean ANY snow. At all. In comparison, however, school is totally disfunctional when it snows. Snow does not make teaching easy. At all.

It was very cold this morning, only 34 deg. at our house, 35 deg. at school. It rained most of the morning, tried, then succeeded at snowing, and was starting to stick by lunchtime. As expected, the girls marched around in their Uggs (yes, real ones) and sweats, only to complain that their feet were wet & cold five minutes later. The boys stomped in puddles, of course while the girls in Uggs stood right next to them, causing them to wail & complain, "Stooooop it! Mrs. Behlke, he's splaaaaashing me!" Snow does not help students use good judgement. At all.

Fog on my classroom windows prompted 10 minute long stories about the ice on mom's windshield earlier that day. Slush on the field reminded one student of an accident they'd observed the day before, prompting another 10 minute long description of events that had nothing to do with what we were attempting to discuss in class. These stories were told right after I asked if anyone had any questions about the story we'd just read together... Six students asked me if they could go to the bathroom during my 3rd period class. All six came wandering back from the bathroom lightly dusted with snow and sighing loudly, "It's coooold out there!" Snow does not help keep students focused or on-topic. At all.

School was closed an hour early today due, of course, to the snow. The principal asked us not to let the kids know school was closing early. I'm sure he didn't want everyone in a panic pulling out the cell phones they aren't supposed to have with them at school to call home & cause mass chaos. The second I hung up the phone relaying this message to me a student ran up to me, "Is it true they're cancelling school?!?! That's what I heard in the cafeteria!" Snow does not help keeping things "quiet" easy. At all.

Seeing the look on their faces when the snow began to fly, however, is pretty cool. Sixth graders are at a magical age- almost teenagers, but still little kids at the same time. This magical age prompts them to gaze at the snow falling from the sky and ask, "Do you think it's snowing at my house?" They can still stand with their mouths gaping open, eyed squinted, tounges extended toward the sky waiting for that one snowflake to find it's way to their mouth without worrying about how silly they appear while doing this. Being cold is not a consideration while getting soaked by slopping in the slush on their way to lunch. They don't care about the squeals of the girls they splash after pouncing in that puddle, they just see the puddle and hop right in.

Today was supposed to be a regular day, regular schedule, no meetings or conferences or I.E.P.'s or assemblies or minimum days or anything out of the ordinary. For my students, and myself, today was not a normal day. It was a wet day. It was a snowy and cold day. It was a day that made my students very excited and freaked most of their parents out (especially the ones without 4WD). It was a day that we'll reminice about in May when it's 98 deg. outside, "Remember that day it snowed and they cancelled school early?..."

Tomorrow we're supposed to walk over to the Performing Arts Center for a field trip, and on the way back I'm taking the 50+ kids who are caught up on their reading goals to lunch at Taco Bell. We're going rain or shine (or snow)... I can't imagine what that will be like. At all... but I'm sure of one thing, it will be interesting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No school! SNOW DAY!

I'd already showered and was pretty much ready when I got the call that school was canceled this morning. This was kinda' nice, since rather than ducking far under the covers & sleeping in, I figured I was already up, so I'd go ahead and make breakfast for the boys, who were still sleeping at the time. This paid off, when, by 9:30 I had already made breakfast & fed the boys, baked a dozen apple muffins (yum!) and completely cleaned the kitchen. Now that is a good start to a snow day!

The thing about snow days is that we do have to make them up at the end of the year, which is kind of a bummer. I didn't let that bother me today though. The roads were solid ice and I did not really want to be out sliding around the roads anyway. Not to mention how excited I was to be able to spend a day home with the boys today! It was one of those great, relaxing days when I had no "agenda" of things to do, I just did what I felt like and enjoyed myself. I did some scrapbooking (only 12 more pages until I complete Owen's baby through 1 year albums!), took a snowy walk with the boys, and watched some Oprah- all things I rarely have time to do. Such luxury!

James loves using his new "safety scissors" as you can see from all the scraps he made while he was "crafting" with me today.

Owen marching along on our very wet & cold rain walk this afternoon.

James insisted on making a snow angel even though the snow was sloppy & wet. It ended up being not much of an angel, but he enjoyed giving it a shot!

Holding hands on our walk with our snowy house in the background. Owen was saying "let me go!" by this time though...

Here's the result of my attempt to take a picture of the three of us on our walk. I guess I should get some help with that next time...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Family faces are like magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future.

This weekend, the boys and I traveled to Vacaville for my cousin Mary's baby shower. It was so wonderful seeing all my family! Sadly, since my grandmother passed away almost four years ago, we don't make it down to see everyone as much as we used to. I loved growing up surrounded by so many aunts, uncles, and cousins and I get so much joy out of bringing James & Owen to see these people I love so much. It is awesome seeing all of the "second generation" cousins visiting and playing together. So many wonderful memories, and so many more to come!

cousins: Tweety, Anna, Aiden & I
my Aunt Diane, and second-cousins: Sarah, Samantha & Danielle and I

my mom with James & Owen, Samantha holding Aiden, Susan holding Clayton
"Diane, stop taking a picture so I can take a picture!" Anna, Diane, Sarah & Danelle
James giving Avery a hug goodbye. Julian told me, "Avery does NOT like James. Last time they just argued the whole time!" Good thing they got along perfectly this time!
Second-generation cousins: James & Owen with Clayton, Avery & Julian
Aiden is so sweet! Love those chubby cheeks!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Owen on crack

We had dinner at Hula's tonight and Owen drank two full glasses of water during dinner. I figured he'd make it home in the diaper he had on since there was nowhere to change him before we left. The diaper did make it, but boy was it full!!! We were "cracking" up at Owen running all through the house "on crack". James even decided to get in on the action, as you can see in the first picture! These two are hilarious!

Our BIG boys!

I just uploaded this picture tonight, I took it earlier this week. Both Jason and I were struck by how BIG these boys have gotten!!! Where has the time gone when Owen could just crawl and James still talked "baby-talk"??? It seems I just blinked, and gone are my babies, here before me are these two big boys, all full of personality and grown up. I do so look forward to the future with these two, watching them change and develop into their own selves; however, a part of me will always long to hold them as sweet little babies again.... Ahhh, my little boys, how I've loved you, at every single stage!


Owen's favorite thing to do when I pull out the camera is to plaster the biggest "cheese" smile possible on his little face! Here are a few of his best "cheesy" smiles...

James' Artwork

James loves to draw on his Magna-Doodle and since he erases his drawings right away, I have to take pictures of his artwork to save it. Here are a few of his masterpieces:

A dog he drew in July.

Our family, drawn in August.

James' daddy, drawn in Dec.

Now for some refining...

I guess it's time I try adding some pictures and personalizing this blog a bit. I love how Kristin posted the "3-years in review", I think I'll do the same as a practice session in posting here. Here's the Behlke version of... 3 1/2 years in review!

Our sweet baby James at 6 days old
5-month old James- 2004

One-year old James- out little motorcycle renegade!

Our new & improved family!!! Owen arrived on July 25, 2006 and made us a family of four!
Owen at 6 months old- he's been a pesty little guy from the start... This was after he got into James' green markers...

Blonde brothers, summer '07

One-year-old Owen!

Present day- our sweet 1 1/2 year old Owen on a walk with his daddy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Well, here we are... blogging!

email. homepage. myspace. message boards. chat rooms.
I guess blogging is the natural progression...

Most people who read this already know me, but for those just popping by, I better introduce myself. After 6-years of dating, I married my high school sweetheart. Not many people get to share their homes and lives with someone they grew up with, this is something we don't take for granted.

After a whirlwind few years of college classes, parties, and making some of the best friends on the planet, we finally settled down in Paradise an joined the grown-up world of mortgages, professional careers and difficult decisions. As a full-time teacher for Paradise Unified School District since 2000, I have grown to become very connected with this community and the families who live here.

Jason and I have experienced the roller-coaster of many unexpected, challenging, and life-changing events over the past 2 years. While difficult to endure, every one of these experiences has contributed to who we are as people, as a family, and have taught us the kinds of lessons you can only learn by truly living life. We have suffered losses, but the blessings hidden in these challenges have surprisingly far outweighed anything bad that has come from them.

Today, we are busy with the most important job of all: raising our two beautiful sons.

James, born in 2004, is the most spunky, social, hilarious, brilliant, stubborn, and inquisitive little boy. Following in his daddy's footsteps, James is very mechanical, good with his hands and so creative. He loves all things "boy"- race cars, motorcycles, and Transformers. "Jennifer's Walk" and "Go Away, Big Green Monster" are his favorite books and retro-Transformers episodes (borrowed from Luke, quoted by James as, "the largest man I know") are, in James' opinion, the best cartoons of all time. Like his mother, James is a social butterfly and would like nothing more than to play with his friends, build with his blocks, and do craft projects all day long.

Owen, our sweet little boy, was born in 2006. This child has brought so much joy to our lives! Full of love and happiness, Owen has a brilliant sense of humor and can make anyone laugh. His wide-eyed, drooly smile with one adorable dimple in his left cheek can brighten even the darkest of days. Always getting into everything, Owen is known as "pesty" around our house. Dialing the phone, pilfering remotes and dumping Cheerio's all over the floor are Owen's favorite pastimes at the moment... Following right behind his big brother, Owen has also recently learned how to climb on top of the table, get onto our bed, and pull any item within his reach off the counter or stove. We've decided it's just his way of asking us to watch him every single second of the day, which we happen to get great pleasure in doing!

These two boys are the center of our family, our hearts & souls personified. When I look at these two blonde, blue-eyed boys, I do not see anything that looks like myself. The funny thing that I've noticed is that when I look in the mirror at myself, all I can see is my boys.

We are also so lucky to have the amazing support of our families. My relationship with my in-laws is unreal, no one can believe how close we are. My parents have been our rock and their love and respect for us has carried us through some very difficult times. My mother's cancer is the only thing in my life I have truly been unable to understand or find any benefit from. I just thank God every day we have been so lucky to have her healthy and cancer-free. So many people have experienced so much worse... I count my blessings for this every day.

No you know my, my past. as for the future... the future is bright for the Behlke family. We are surrounded by health, family, friends, and hope. What more is there to life?