Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

Thanksgiving already. I can't believe that my week off from school is more than half over! Yikes! I've accomplished a lot, but there is much left to do. We celebrated two birthdays this week - - Hannah turned 4 on Tuesday, and Samuel turned 7 yesterday. On Saturday, we celebrated with Samuel. He invited a few friends from school to go and see Bolt 3-D. The movie was pretty good, but I think I would have liked it better without the 3-D. The glasses were bothersome, and there wasn't really anything that the 3-D was needed for. After the movie, we went to CiCi's for some pizza. I thought it would be an easy place to go with a van full of kids. Evidently, a bunch of other people thought the same thing; the place was packed. Samuel had a great time, though - and what an easy party - - little or no prep! Hannah's bday was a little different. I spent a lot of prep time for her bday bash. When I was in Houston a couple of weeks ago, I went to Williams Sonoma and found a set of princess cookie cutters and an adorable pink princess apron. This inspired the party. I spent several hours on Monday baking sugar cookies and cutting them in various princess themed shapes. I also "made" some pretty cute aprons for party favors. (I had asked my mom to help me make aprons, but we found some ready-made aprons at Hobby Lobby, and I ironed-on a princess transfer. I thought they turned out so cute!) Tuesday morning, some of Hannah's little friends from church came over and frosted cookies and played in her room.

I've also gotten the house fairly decked out for Christmas. The kids and I managed to set up the big tree all by ourselves - quite a surprise to John! I switched out all of my dishes for the Christmas set, and have set out an assortment of Christmas decorations. I was really worried about where the big tree would go because our new tv cabinet takes up the whole wall where we used to put our tree. I ended up moving our big chair out of the corner and putting it across from the other living room furniture. It kinda blocks the fireplace a little, and it doesn't face the tv, but I think it looks ok - and it's only temporary. That way, the tree has a really good location in a corner by the fireplace.

We'll be headed to John's brother's house for a big Thanksgiving meal at noon. I'm sure we'll eat way more than we should! Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bring Your Parents to School Night @ Montesssori

Last Tuesday was Montessori's "Bring Your Parents to School" Night for Hannah's class. I took her, and loved watching her show me all of the "work" she does during the day while she's there. She loved showing off and having her picture made. I took some video of her "reading." I'm hoping that I can manage to post it here.

Presentations & Food

I've accomplished two main things in Houston - - 1.)getting some good new ideas for my classroom AND 2.)adding to my waist line with some really great food!! I have attended several different sessions on teaching world history. I saw an awesome poster presentation (meaning that it was a display you visit rather than a session yous it through - and you get to talk one-on-one with the presenter) on scrapbooking history. The whole project was creating a scrapbook of your "journey through time." I"m thinking of doing this as a final exam project instead of a test! It was really neat. I have visited a couple of good restaurants thanks to some Houston teachers I met sitting outside a conference room. They made all kinds of suggestions of different places that the locals like (rather than tourist spots or standard chains) and gave really good driving directions. The mexican food we ate last night was wonderful!

Tonight, we have free tickets to a special showing of a movie that doesn't come out until January. It's called Definiance. It's by the director who did Glory. It's a WWII movie about Jews in Eastern Europe. It looks really, really good, and I'm so excited that we get to go for free! We're going to go really early to make sure we get a seat. It's first come first served with limited seating. The theater is downtown and not too far from our hotel.

We start home tomorrow. I hope the drive goes by quickly. Nothing like nine hours in the car!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Houston, Texas

I am in Houston getting ready to attend the National Social Studies conference which begins tomorrow morning. I left home yesterday morning (with another teacher from McNair - Terry), and we drove as far as Dallas. We had tickets to see King Tut which was showing at a big museum in downtown Dallas. My nephew, James, and his wife Allison met us at the museum and toured King Tut with us. The exhibit was great! It was neat to see in person so many of the things I've been teaching the kids about ancient Egypt. I had such fun getting to see James and Allison as well. We stayed at their apartment last night and got to visit for a short while. (Thanks James & Allison!) We left this morning and drove the rest of the way to Houston. Our hotel is downtown and is connected to the convention center where our conference is located. It's a really, really nice hotel! The only problem is that this place is crazy because the Latin Grammy Awards are going on across the street from us. There are cops everywhere, and tonight when we were trying to come back from shopping, all of the streets were blocked off. We drove around for 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel. We also saw some crazy teenagers at the Galleria where we went shopping. There were close to 3000 (I kid you not!) teenage girls standing in line to see "Jacob" from the Twilight movie (from the famous Twilight Saga book series). We talked to some of them and found out that they had been standing in line since 3:00 a.m.! Unbelieveable! Terry and I do our presentation tomorrow morning at 10:15. I'm actually kind of nervous. I'll be glad to have it over and done!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Family Fotos

This week has been a lot like Christmas - - all of our Panasonic stuff is here and finally installed. We've had boxes and packing material everywhere. Our garage is now full of cardboard and some old furniture. On Wednesday, Greg Harper (the guy in charge of the project for Panasonic), flew in from New York City and spent the day with us. He was incredibly nice! He spent several hours showing us the many functions of our still cameras and the video camera. It was a little overwhelming. Two guys from a home theater installation company drove down from Springfield, Missouri and set up the tv, dvd, and home theater system. Our furniture still isn't all here yet, so we made do with using a bookshelf that's about the same height to complete the entertainment center. It's going to take some getting used to (especially figuring out how to turn on everything!), but it's great so far.

This afternoon we headed outside to see some pretty fall leaves and make some family pictures. We went to the Confederate Cemetery, a favorite place for posing in the fall colors. Here are some of our pics: