Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School

I'm actually typing this post in November, so I have the benefit of knowing the future, but when this picture was taken on the first day of school this year, our family was a mix of excitement and fear.

No, Max didn't take this picture. We figured a selfie was more reliable than a Max-ie.

Reed and Calvin were starting at a new school. I was starting the new job I'd been so hesitant to go for for so many years.  The new teacher orientation and professional development days had been great. So great, in fact, that I'd cried to Ryan on the way home one day that "I love our new life!" But the first day of school is where the rubber meets the road, man. Our boys had been to summer school, but that was with waaaay fewer kids then they'd be with today. As for me, every teacher is pumped about school when there are no kids around. Your lessons go perfectly in your head and your classroom is spotless. But introduce the munchkins into the equation and things can get interesting. And I would be working with shorter munchkins this year! Two years shorter! 

I have to admit, third grade took a month or so to get used to. I mean, the friendly sarcasm that worked so well on ten-year olds went right over the head of my eight-year-olds! But about October, I started to realize that the kids that seemed like tiny babies to me in August had made HUGE changes in behavior AND performance. Let's be honest, I had too. The learning curve is big in third grade - for the students and the new teacher. And the halls seemed to shrink, too. It's late November as I type this and I'm happy to report that all my doubts about making this change have been erased. Yes, I still miss the people I left, but I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be - and I'm lovin' it! 

As for the boys, Calvin has been flourishing this year! Reed's age and personality have made the transition a little harder for him, but he's doing well. He's made new friends and enjoys himself at school. If it ever comes up in conversation, he'll admit that he still wishes he were with his old friends, but it comes up less and less often. 

I remember my first year at my old job. A lot of the pressures were similar. Feeling a little out of place. Being scared that you weren't competent. Having to make everything from scratch. I told Ryan at one point that year that I loved the teaching part, but the minute the kids left the room I felt like I was drowning. Well, I have to say this year I feel a lot like the first-year teacher again - Only this time I have three kids and have to leave by 4:30 to get to the sitter's on time! But, Cross Country season ended a few weeks ago, and our whole family has been riding together. I grade while we talk and for the first time in months I'm feeling a little margin clear up in our lives. And I know from experience, it's just going to keep getting better!

And now, just for the viewing pleasure of the aunts and grandmas, here are the rest of the back-to-school photos we shot. I fully intended to put these up on facebook that night, but life got in the way and I lost the camera (in the console of the car) and didn't discover it until a few weeks ago. 

Monday, August 4, 2014


When I look back over my blog, I realize that squash has been a problem blessing in our household for many years. And, due to picky eaters, I've had to develop many ways to cleverly disguise it. There were the gold doubloons, the squash Parmesan, and several other ways to eat and/or get rid of this prolific vegetable. This summer, inspired by this pin,  I added squash pizza to my repertoire (we called them squizzas). The boys ate it, but they didn't love it. Then, I invented squachos. The concept is simple, shred yellow squash over chips, then cover with cheese and melt in the oven. Once you put salsa on top, you can't tell what's squash and what's cheese. See?

Genius, right? The boys munched happily and I mentally patted myself on the back. For about five minutes. Then, Reed said, "Wait a minute.... What's this?"

Foiled again...


- tortilla chips
- yellow squash
- yellow cheese (Colby Jack is the best disguise, since it's two-toned)
- salsa
- sour cream
- guacamole
- taco meat

1) Spread chips on a baking sheet.
2) Shred squash over chips. Shred cheese over that. 
3) Mix with your fingers to maximize the disguise.
4) Broil until cheese melts enough to cover any sign of squash.
5) Top with salsa and other nacho toppings.
6) Wait with bated breath to see how long it takes your kids to discover your dirty little secret. Hope that they get a little nutrition in before that inevitable moment.