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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A letter to my sixth grader

Dear Oldest G,

As you start sixth grade, it is important to remember to find the positive and to not dwell on the negative.  Yes, you have a male teacher this year and you're not real sure about him.  But who knows, he may be the best teacher you've ever had.

Be nice to the fourth graders, you were the youngest in the building not too long ago.

Enjoy catching the bus at 8 a.m. this year because next year that will change to 7 a.m. and you will wish you were still in bed.

It is still hard for me to believe that you are already in sixth grade.  I remember how excited you were to start school and how animated you used to be when you returned home.  You would tell me story after story about what you did and what you were going to do.

You don't have much to say these days and I have to admit that I miss the excitment of days past.  It changed so quickly that I forgot to enjoy the last story.

Here you are at the start of your sixth grade year, half way to the finish line.  Half way, already.  It doesn't seem possible yet I know it is.

If the next six years go as fast as the first six, I'll be sitting at your commencement ceremony in two shakes of a dogs tail.

Here's hoping that I'll get to hear at least a few more stories before that happens.

I love you.

Mom (formerly known as mommy)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Update: Thank Goodness for the Pool

After a week of questionable weather, coupled with the start of school, the kids and I were looking forward to spending a few days at the pool.

Our pool days are numbered with the closing set for next weekend.

Saturday hubby had to put in some hours at work so we went over after lunch.  The water was very cold.  I have to admit that I didn't get in very far before I decided I was significantly cooled.

The kids swam for a while.  Little G has an ugly rash.  I called the doctor and they said it sounds like a "contact dermatitis".  In other words, poison oak, poison sumac, poison pick.

The doctor wasn't interested in seeing him because I guess they can't see everyone with a contact dermatitis but still you kind of want them to make an exception for your kid.  He told me if it hadn't improved by Monday to bring him in.

It's kind of ironic that the word for the day in the cafeteria on Friday was allergic reaction and then my kid ended up having one, but other than being itchy and looking a little rough he seems fine.

I'm hoping that it's completely gone by tomorrow morning, however I have my doubts.

Sunday we headed to church and then back to the pool.  My friend B and her husband invited us down for a crab feast and it was delicious.  Unfortunately, Copper the dog hurt his paw on something (possibly a crab shell) and is now quite gimpy.

Here's hoping that he doesn't have to go to the vets later this week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What I learned in the cafeteria this week

School is back in session.

Life is resuming it's regularly scheduled programming.

This year oldest and middle daughter are at a different school than the one i work at.  Only Little G is riding along with me.

This week I learned:

  1. Allergies.  It is very difficult to ascertain who can have what.  My opinion:  If your child has an allergy to a food and it can kill him, shame on you for not packing his lunch.
  2. Seafood.  It is possible to be so severely allergic to seafood that your mere presence can require the entire school building to become a seafood/shellfish free building.  This means we are no longer allowed to cook/offer/serve fish nuggets/fish patties or tuna fish sandwiches.  No one is allowed to pack a tuna fish sandwich in the entire building....including the adult staff.  How am I supposed to know what you are packing your kid?
  3. Milk/Milk products/Soy.  If you child is listed as SEVERELY allergic to products that include all liquid milk as well as all products with milk or soy in them, please don't send them to school to purchase pizza (cheese is a milk product and the crust contains soy), a cookie (also made with milk and in a factory that produces soy products) fresh veggies with ranch dip (ranch dip is also a milk product) and grapes.  THIS WOULD BE A GREAT DAY TO PACK.
  4. Terror.  The feeling experienced by a  low wage employee when they think they may have caused a child to have a severe allergic reaction by giving them a Smuckers pbj pocket containing SOY. 
  5. ANGER AND ANNOYANCE.  The feelings that same employee has when the mother of said child indicates that it's really not that severe of an allergy.  "He can have cheese and soy as long as it's mixed with something else and he is very aware of what he can have and can't have."  Um that's not what your doctor said and we don't ask 5 year olds what they are allowed or not allowed to eat.
Struggling with an overwhelming desire to choke someone,


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To my daughter at the start of 4th grade

Dear Middle G.,

How can you be starting 4th grade? Wasn't I just dragging your brother out of the car to pick you up at preschool? Didn't you just tell me how much you loved kindergarten?

When did you become so independent? Why do we never agree about anything any more? Why do you always have to be right? How did you become so stubborn?

What happened to the little girl that held my hand and said, "I don't want to leave you mommy. It's not fair. You're gonna have fun without me"

Now you are off to intermediate school, where you will be the youngest in the building. A place where you won't find mommy in the lunch room. You'll be on your own. You will ride a different bus than the one that has been taking you to school for the last four years.

You will be surrounded by 5th and 6th graders, one of them your sister. Those silly songs played on the other bus will be replaced by ipods and an occasional swear word. You will change and grow even more this year than you did last year. I'm not ready for that. But trying to keep you little is like trying to catch the wind. Soon it blows right past you, only staying for a minute.

I'm excited for you to take on this new adventure, but part of me is sad.

Sad that I can't be there, if no one wants to sit with you at lunch.

Sad that I can't help you figure out what to do in that huge cafeteria.

Sad that you will have much fun without me.

I'm excited that you will likely make new friends this year and will cross my fingers that they will treat you the way you deserve to be treated because over the next few years you will value their opinion more than you value mine.

As I look at you, I can't help but remember the baby who looked at me such adoration and awe. The baby that never slept and didn't have much hair until she was two years old. Where did she go?

Do you know how much I love you? Good luck in 4th grade.

I'll be here when you get home.

Mom (formerly known as mommy)
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How I did on my summer to do list

Near the middle of June I complied a list of 30 things I'd like to do this summer.  Today we're gonna find out how well (or how bad) I did.

  1. Visit with FamilyI did pretty well with this one.  In June, my friend B and I went to visit with my mom and attend a scrapbook convention; my sister and our friend G came out to visit in July; my MIL and FIL visited us a handful of times including a very hot day at camp.  My dad and step mom went to a baseball game with us.  We went "back home" for a weekend in July and August.
  2. Get my birthday scrapbooks up to date.  I didn't get this one completely done.  I have them about 3/4 complete, but not exactly what I hoped to accomplish.   Little G's birthday is in October and I'm hoping to get that other 1/4 done before then.
  3. Scrub the living room carpet.  completed.  I know...I'm impressed too.
  4. Get a roofWe haven't come close to getting this one accomplished.
  5. Siding replacement. It's on the calendar for the 2nd weekend in September so I'm considering this one complete.
  6. Car Inspection. We actually remembered to get this one done.
  7. Have the van's hail damage assessed.  We had this done in early June! 
  8. Scrapbook weekly. I may have missed a week or two but for the most part I scrapbooked on a regular weekly basis throughout the summer.
  9. Free bowling.  We didn't get this one accomplished.  We had a very hot beautiful summer and we spent most of it at the pool.
  10. Summer Reading program.  We signed up.  We read a few books. We lost interest quickly.  We spent most of the summer at the pool. 
  11. Read at least three books.  Failed.  I only read one book.
  12. School scrapbooks.  These are ready to go.  But I'll soon need to add....6th grade, 4th grade and 1st grade.
  13. Visit Hershey.  I was very nervous about this trip and thought it might be a form of torture.  However, we stayed the entire day.  We didn't really fight.  We didn't cry.  We didn't get lost.  We had a lot of fun.  Dare I say it but I would be willing to do it again next year.
  14. Use the Pool.  We were there at least three times a week, if not more.
  15. Clean my closet.  I can't believe that I accomplished this, but I did.
  16. Bulletin Board ideasI needed to come up with two unique ideas for the cafeteria and I told one of the kindergarten teachers I would help her out as well.  Our theme this year for Accelerated Reading is under the sea.  Keeping that in mind I made octopus for the one cafeteria bulletin board.  It says Armed with the Rules of the cafeteria and includes the five behaviors we would like to see.  The other bulletin board says Welcome back to school and has all of the classes depicted as fish.  I like how they turned out.  For the kindergarten teacher I made her whales and they say Whale come to Mrs. W's class.  I also did a Dive into a good book bulletin board for 3rd grade.  Don't tell anyone, but I actually like doing it.
  17. Use some scrapppin suppliesI did pretty well with this.  However, I probably bought too much additional paper.
  18. Crayon FactoryUntil about a week ago, I didn't have reliable transportation so this little day trip was pushed to the side.  Now that we have a new van it has a better chance of coming around again.
  19. Encourage my kids to go to summer playground.  I'm pretty sure that summer playground made our summer more enjoyable.  We need a few hours apart from each other or we all start getting on each other's nerves.  My kids loved playground and if you have one in your neighborhood I would highly recommend it.
  20. Go camping.  We went.  We baked in the 100+ temps.  We had fun and we didn't bring the dog.  I think that may have been key.  LOL
  21. Pick blueberries.  We picked two quarts and ate them in a day or two.  They were yummy.
  22. Swimming lessons.  I decided to take Little G out of swim lessons for the summer and to instead encourage him to take the swim test at the pool and it was one of the best ideas I have ever had.  He enjoyed swimming.  He began jumping off the high dive.  He began going down the big twisty slides.  He can actually swim!
  23. Bathe the dog regularlyThis depends on your definition of regularly.  He probably had a bath three times this summer.  It probably should have been six.
  24. Organize my craft room.  This one didn't really happen.  It's still a mess in there.
  25. Cook dinner at least three times a week.  Success.
  26. Pedicure.  I had two...which I guess should make a girl happy.
  27. Housework.  The goal was to keep the house reasonably clean.  I think I made this one, but hubby would probably disagree.
  28. Paint my bedroom.  This didn't happen and probably isn't gonna happen anytime soon.
  29. Teach Little G. to ride a bikeYeah!  Pictures to follow later this week.
  30. Enjoy.  I had a great summer.  Yeah, the kids fought with each other and with me, but that's okay.  We had a lot fun together.  We made quite a few memories that will last a lifetime and for the most part I accomplished all that I set out to do!
How did you do with your summer to do list?
Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Update: It's beginning to look a lot like chicken nuggets

The last weekend of summer is officially over.

I know that it is supposed to be Labor Day weekend that signifies the ending of summer, but alas we go back to school on Wednesday and that's when those processed bits of chicken will be making their grand re-entry into my life.

How did I spend it?

Friday we went to a moonlight swim at our pool and realized that it was far too cold to enjoy a moonlight swim.  So we left and had a bonfire instead.  That was significantly better.

Saturday we planted flowers at the elementary.  I should have taken a before and after photo, but my mind wasn't really focused.

There is a big flower bed near the enterance of the school I work at and it never has any flowers in it.  I found out this was because there was never any money to put any there.  So I asked a local dental business if I could have some money and in return I would make sure everyone knew that he sponsored the flower bed.

He said yes and it was only then that I realized I know nothing about flowers, how to plant them, how to care for them....blah blah.

So I begged asked hubby to help me and he did a fantastic job with just a little help from me and the kids.  I think the bed looks great.  I hope everyone else thinks so too.

Sunday we went to church and I did some grocery shopping.  I had put that off far too long and we were down to bread and black olives.  I'm not joking.

In the evening we went to a baseball game that looked like it could be rained out but then it wasn't.  It turned into a beautiful evening.  Of course, Oldest and Youngest got a baseball at that game so you can imagine how happy Middle was on the drive home.

This morning is my mandatory staff meeting which starts in about 30 minutes and tonight is kindergarten orientation.  I'm orienting people to lunch.  Oldest is coming with me to dress up as the school mascot to have her picture taken with the Class of 2023.  Does that make you feel old or what.

It's possible that oldest may be the shortest bobcat in the history of our school district.  I'll have to get my picture with her too.

Happy Monday....

Friday, August 20, 2010

What I learned at lunch lady training

I know you have all been patiently waiting to hear what I learned in lunch lady training. 

It began with an hour long seminar on diversity and the importance of not making flash judgments.  Of course, this implies that we have the ability to refuse service to someone.


Which, of course, we do not.  Even if we had that ability, I can't imagine any lunch lady refusing to feed a child for any reason but I suppose stranger things have happened.

My favorite part of the diversity training included a piece about apples.  The facilitator lined up six different varieties of apples and challenged us to list their similarities and their difference.

The similarities, which included things like shape, size, the fact that they all grow on trees, that they each have a stem, that they all have seeds, nearly doubled any of their difference.

After diversity training we split up into smaller groups and at one point formed a human knot, played a game of bingo with answers that included things like meat/meat alternate, liquid milk, 40 degrees, and tuna.  We also had a "Find what's wrong with this picture" class that may have depicted the world's most unkempt kitchen in the entire world.

In the mandatory "scare the crap" out of you class they provided us with the following scenario and asked us to tell them what we would do.

The foodservice manager's worst nightmare is coming to life.  The sixth-grade class went on a field trip, and the cafeteria furnished reimbursable lunches to students who ordered them.  The lunches were packed and picked up that morning and put on the bus.  The children ate lunch around noon.

When the students returned to their classroom around 2 o'clock, a couple of them complained of nausea, headaches, and achy muscles.  Some students were vomiting and had to call parents to go home.  Concerned that this could have been caused by the lunch, the teacher tells the principal, who immediately comes to the foodservice manager's office.  The principal decides to call the local public health department because two or more students have reported the same symptoms, and all ate the school lunches packed for the field trip.

What should the manager do?

First, I think it's important to remember that students get sick and that it's not always the foods fault.  Students spend lots of time together and often share the same germs with each other.

Secondly, perhaps the teacher in this scenario was so quick to blame the cafeteria because it was she/he who didn't properly store the lunches.  Was there a cooler on the bus?

Thirdly, I find the Principal's response slightly rash.  Yes, it is protocol to notify health officials if more than two students have symptoms, but I do not believe that would be his/her first phone call. 

That being said all food served that day should be put aside for further investigation, no comments should be made to outside sources to avoid any "sympathy symptoms" and all phone calls should be directed to the food service director because they make the most money.  LOL

Keeping my fingers crossed that this always remains a scenario,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A day late and a dollar short

Seems my days are getting shorter. I can't accomplish everything I want to do in a 24 hour period.

Today I'm posting the post I promised for yesterday and tomorrow I'm going to try and recap lunch lady training for you all. It wasn't terrible and it did make me think about a couple of things, including how often I heard the word meat alternate. The lunch was scrumptious. But more about that tomorrow.

Here's the new van...

I'm still getting used to driving it. All the buttons are different and it has more gadgets, but I'm loving it. I just need to cut out some turtles to put on the back.

And here is that picture of my nephew I promised you.

He's pretty cute, isn't he?

Monday, August 16, 2010

A quick weekend update

I really wanted to post some pictures with this post. I accomplished all the items I wanted to accomplish over the weekend but managed to check off my list and even bigger accomplishment!

We got a new van!

I can't begin to tell you how relieved and happy I am about this. Our van has been on life support for more than a month. The alternator and the battery went and the transmission was clinging to life.

I can't wait to show you the awesome red Kia Sedona that we got over the weekend.

I'll also post some pictures of my nephew blowing out the candles on his 3rd birthday cake. I have to say he's pretty cute...

I'm signing off now. After spending nearly 7 hours at the school today and then attending a school board meeting for the newspaper tonight I'm pretty spent. The fact that I have to attend lunch lady training tomorrow with two other districts full of lunch ladies ought to really be a hoot.

All I can say is I can't wait to hear the hour long seminar on diversity. For the life of me, I just can't figure out how you can diversify lunch more than we already do.

I promise to post a What I learned at Lunch Lady training later this week.

Tomorrow pop back over for pics of the van and my cute little nephew. You know you want to so stop pretending that you wish I would have talked less and pictured more.

See ya tomorrow....
Friday, August 13, 2010

Things I would like to accomplish

I feel like i have a lot to accomplish and little time to do it.

Your favorite lessons from Lunchlady Land will return shortly. School is back in session (gulp) on the 25th. That is just around the corner.

In the meantime, I have to clean the kitchen on Monday, attend Lunchlady Land training on the Tuesday (which may end up being a blog post in and of it's self) and then the following Monday I have to attend a mandatory first day meeting...thankfully only until 10:30.

All of this is cutting into my pool time... *** smile ***

As of this weekend, here's what i need to accomplish:

  • Get a birthday present for my nephew (his party is tomorrow)
  • Cut out the bulletin board pieces I laminated.
  • Finish cutting on the cricut the other pieces I need for the other bulletin boards.
  • Label the gazillion photos i had taken last week and possibly post a few of them. We finally got a family picture!
  • Laminate some newspaper articles

This is probably enough. I don't want to over do it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I miss the friend you used to be

I lived in Ohio for nearly a decade.

My kids were all born there.

I had some roots that were tough to dig up when my husband's company transferred us to Pennsylvania.

I didn't really want to come.

I had tons of friends. The kids had tons of friends. I didn't want to start over. I didn't want to let go. I didn't want to move.

There were pros to this move. We'd be closer by 3 hours to almost all of our family. Not so close that they would just drop by but close enough that they could come for a day if they wanted too.

I was convinced in February of 2005 that I would remain friends with everyone in Ohio no matter what.

But that didn't happen. Sure we are "facebook friends" but we all know that isn't the same. Sure we occassionally look at pics of our kids and comment about how big they are but we aren't really friends anymore.

Even my oldest can't remember most of them.

In some ways, I'm jealous. Part of me wishes I could forget the fact that we aren't all friends anymore.

But I guess friends come into your life for a season, some stay and some don't and that too is okay.

This post inspired by Mama Kat's workshop.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is my dog smart?

Mama Kat posted a video last week showing a test she did with her dog to determine his intelligence.

We decided to try the same test. Here's what we learned:

1. Testing and filming a dog is difficult.
2. My voice sounds freakish on video.
3. Copper the beagle will do anything for an animal cracker.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eight Nine Ten....Weekend update.

8/9/10 isn't today's date so cool.

Okay...enough about that. Here's the weekend update.

We traveled west for the ALS walk. It was a beautiful day. We raised some money in honor of my Aunt who passed away from this terrible disease and we got to visit with each other for a little while.

I think my Aunt Lee would have been happy about that.

I was disappointed that my mother couldn't come but she had to work. Hey mom, if you are reading this, it's always the first Saturday in August and has been for the last five years. Request off for it next year.

This is a picture of me (in the middle) my grandma and my aunt. Of course, two of my kiddos who just can't resist the camera are also in the picture. Don't we look cool in our tye dye?

Here we are at the start of the walk. All of the people in tye dye walked with our team. I think we had about 50.

This is the back of my gram and Aunt's shirt. They are all the same. The reason we walk-for Lee and for everyone affected by ALS.
The rest of the weekend was spent debating on whether or not we should buy a van. Ugh. It gives me a headache just typing about it.
My dad, although he knew I was coming in over the weekend, made plans with his new family. I know i shouldn't feel that way about my stepmother's children and grandchildren, but I do. He sees them much more often than he sees me or my kids and it seemed especially hurtful that he would take his step-grandchildren to the movies instead of getting together with his biological grandchildren.
But I am learning to let it go.
If my mom chooses not to take the day off to attend a walk that benefits her deceased sister that's okay. If my dad, goes to the movies with my stepbrother's kids instead of mine that too is okay. My kids didn't know. My kids didn't ask. The only person who was even a bit bothered by it all was me. And I am learning to let it go.
The more I let go, the less it hurts.
Friday, August 6, 2010
It's the weekend of the ALS walk. We are headed west to participate and visit with family. Surprisingly I am looking forward to it. I'll be sure to post pics.
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mama wants to know what I'd do over

Mama Kat wants to know if you could do it over what would you do?

Hard question.

After reading all the input she received from Twitter, my original answer seems kind of lame but I'm going with it anyway.

I'd name my blog something else.

Something a little shorter.

Something that doesn't have KKK as it's initials.

Something like....

Crap I like to Make, Adventures in Lunch Lady Land, Talking to myself, The Voices in My Head, Thisblognameiseasytoremember, Me and Them, Trapped in Craftopia, What's for Lunch?, Can I have peas with that?, Pass the Whine, Cafeteria Gazzette....

Lady Ga Ga probably feels the same way, but since we're both world famous now I guess we're stuck with our first thought.

If you could do something over....what would it be?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Schooled: Finally I read a book

I loved this book.
It was a simple, easy breezy summer time kind of read. The main character is named Capricorn Anderson and he is an enigma.
He lives in a commune with his grandmother. She has home schooled him his entire life and when she falls picking plums and breaks her hip he is thrown into modern day middle school. To say he is a little overwhelmed would be a complete understatement.
The best part of this book is that the point of view changes with every chapter. Different characters continue the story from their own unique perspective.
I read it in two days and for me that is saying a lot.
Five stars. Definitely worth the read.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saying goodbye to Tippy

My grandma had to put her beloved little Yorkie dog to sleep yesterday. She is very sad about it and it hurts me that she is so hurt.

Tippy was my grandfather's dog and I think while Tippy was alive my grandma felt like a little piece of my pap was still here.

Now that piece is also gone.

She gave her a little bowl of ice cream and took her to the vet. She didn't have any of her children do it for her, but one of her daughters did accompany her.

My grandmother is a strong woman, whom I admire deeply.

She is not the only one who will miss that little mutt.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekend Update: We were busy

We had a very busy weekend. Our surprise company arrived around 4 p.m. on Friday. It was nice to see them even if it was only for a short while. They left to visit with their son and DIL around 10:30 a.m.

There DIL can be a real treat so I am hoping and praying that they are having a decent visit. She is one of those people who is extremely intelligent but lacks a lot of common sense.

Here's a picture of me (in the red) and M. She brought my mother's day tree to me in a bucket nearly five years ago. You can read the story here. It's pretty safe to say that M would do anything for you.

On Saturday our good friends and neighbors invited us out to go boating with them. They have a rather large boat and we could comfortably fit all 1o of us (five of them and five of us). Here is Little G (on the right) and her boy tubing together.

Oldest G almost got up on the water skis which was a very good try for her first time. At first she wasn't sure she wanted to give it a go and then she didn't want to quit. I was proud of her for trying even when she was scared.

Middle G. actually got up for about .2 seconds and surprisingly I got a picture of it. It was a lot of fun and I hope we have an opportunity to go with them again.

My dad and my step mom came out on Sunday for the day and we went to a baseball game.
The weather cooperated and we didn't get wet.
It was good to see them even if it was only for a short while.

The car went to get the hail damaged repaired from this storm and it won't be returning for at least five days. It has nearly $3300 worth of damage. The good news is they gave us a navy blue Kia Optima and I like it.
We are in the market for a new van and I think the Kia brand just moved up a few pegs in my book.
What did you do this weekend?
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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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