Thursday, January 31, 2008

A G.R.I.T.S. - And Damn Proud Of It!

Yesterday, ThiThi and I took a roadtrip to Dandridge to visit with Dad and Fris. (Just call us Thelma and Louise). Actually, ThiThi had to work on their computer and I tagged along, but we ended up having a really nice afternoon. Everytime I go to Dandridge I am taken back to the summers of my childhood and filled with nostalgia.

You see, I was born in Jefferson Memorial Hospital on April 1, 1968. We lived in Dandridge from the time I was born until I was 3. Then we moved to Lakeland, Florida, where I lived until I was 22. After we moved to Florida, we could always count on seeing Nana and Poppy's Volkswagon sitting in our driveway on the last day of school. They would drive south to pick us up and bring us home, to Dandridge, for the summer. For the most part our summers were spent just killing time and trying to stay out of our Nana's hair. I remember we would always pester Nana for a dollar and when she would give in we would walk downtown to Tinsley Bible to get a coke at the fountain. Then we would wander around downtown, going to the library, rummaging through Gass's 5 & 10, climbing to the top of the dike, or walking through the Civil War cemetary. You would think we would have gotten tired of this ritual but we did it almost daily.

Oh, but that wasn't all we did during the summer. We would play dress up in the old clothes in Nana's basement; sit under the apple tree in the front yard listening for the buzz of dirtbikes (that meant the boys were coming ~ Poppy said their dirtbikes sounded like a bumblebee in a fruit jar); watch our stories (soap operas) with Nana; go to the Maury ball field at night; catch fireflies and put them in a mason jar for a nightlight; and plunder through the old timey dresser in our room, looking at its jewels like they were treasures we had never seen.

The most memorable thing we did in the summers, though, was going to church. Probably because it was the only time we were able to interact with kids that weren't cousins. We went to First Baptist, but not the new one - oh no - the old one. I can still remember the smell of the old Sunday School building. It was a musty anticeptic smell. Kinda like a moldly hospital, I guess. Nonetheless, I loved that old church. We went every Sunday for Sunday School and Church. There was no such thing as "Children's Church" back then. We sat in the sanctuary with Nana, Dad and Fris and listened to Preacher McCray recite his sermon. I, also, loved Bible School; it was always so much fun. We would play games on the hillside and have our kool-aid and cookies for snack. I guess it is no surprise that I was baptised in that old church and have never moved my membership. Every church I go to just doesn't feel like home, even First Baptist in Dandridge. Since they moved to the new building, it just isn't the same.

Well, back to yesterday, when ThiThi finished working on the computer Dad, Fris, ThiThi and I went to Tinsley Bible for lunch. Dad and ThiThi had slaw dogs (a tradition) and Fris and I had the Bible burgers. Then we all had fried apple pies with ice cream for dessert. It was strange sitting in the old drug store eating the familiar food. We told stories and reminisced about summers and Nana and Poppy and "the good 'ole days". Daddy told stories about his childhood and Fris had a few of her own. Then we walked down the block and went through an antique store (I swear Nana had most of that crap in her house). It was nice walking the streets of downtown again. As we passed the courthouse, I could almost see my Poppy sitting on the bench out back talking to all of his old buddies (all of which are no longer with us). I felt like I had come home again.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Really Not A Bum!

You have to understand, when Kaylea started Kindergarten I thought it would be great if I could get a job working at her school. You know, I could be close if she needed me, we would be on the same schedule and it would get me out of the house during the day while she was at school. I immediately thought that a Teacher Assistant (TA) position would be a perfect fit. So, I went to the county offices and filled out an application and asked how I should proceed from there. The nice lady told me that all of the TAs were hired by the Principals at the school, so I would need to go to all of the schools that was interested in and talk to the Principals. Well, that was easy enough (so I thought) since I was only interested in working at Kaylea's school. So, I went to the office at her school and gave the Principal a copy of my resume and spoke with her about my interest. She told me that she hired her TAs from her parent volunteers and substitute teachers. She then advised me to get on the county's sub list and volunteer whenever possible. Well, I took this advise to heart and went back down to the county offices and submitted my application to substitute teach. I, also, became a regular fixture in Kaylea's Kindergarten classroom. The whole subbing thing didn't really take off during Kindergarten, though. You see, the teachers were responsible for acquiring their own subs and none of them knew me, thus they didn't call me. About half way through the year, Kaylea's teacher let me in a little secret. He told me that the substitutes made business cards and passed them out to the teachers so that the teachers would have their phone number. So, I decided I can play their little game and I designed my own business cards and put them in the teachers' mailboxes. Still no calls. Apparently, teachers will not call a sub that they do not know. Talk about a catch 22.

At the beginning of 1st grade I made more business cards and put them in the teachers' mailboxes, again. Then things really started to take off (I put my picture on these business cards so the teachers would recognize my face - see I'm smart!). I was volunteering and substituting all the time. I didn't want to sub at any other schools, though. You see this would defeat my purpose. Remember, I wanted to be seen subbing and volunteering by the Principal at Kaylea's school. You know, so that I would be considered for a TA position should one become available. Imagine my dismay when I found out that the Principal was retiring at the end of Kaylea's 1st grade year. Now, imagine my disappointment when I didn't get a job offer before she left. Basically, I was going to be starting over with the new Principal.

At the beginning of 2nd grade I made more business cards with magnets attached to the backs (so the teachers could stick them to a file cabinet or desk and easily see them when needed). I, also, made chocolate lollipops shaped like apples that I attached to the business cards (hey, I'm not above schmoozing) and put these in the mailboxes, once again. I went into the office with my resume in hand and introduced myself to the new Principal and discussed my interest with her. I was in shock when she told me she didn't have anything to do with the hiring, it was handled by the Central Office. So, here I was, feeling very frustrated and confused. I decided I wasn't going to let it bother me and I would just sub. After all, this way I could set my own hours and I didn't have to work if I didn't want to. Well, I stayed pretty busy subbing and volunteering, but nothing like the previous school year. You see, the new Principal put the responsibility of acquiring subs on one of the secretaries, so it didn't matter what kind of relationship I had managed to build with the teachers. I did have a good rapport with the secretary, so she would call me frequently; however, she tried to keep things fair for all of the subs so the work wasn't as abundant as in the past.

Now, this year, Kaylea has moved up from the Primary School to the Intermediate School where there are no TAs (except in SPED). So I am left still trying to get a TA job at the Primary School; however, I am hardly there anymore. The responsibility of acquiring subs has been given to a new secretary this year and I just don't get the calls. Also, since Kaylea doesn't go to school there anymore, I am not in the building volunteering. When I am at the school subbing I see all these new subs wandering the hallways, all of which have kids at the school. I have really been made a firm believer in "out of sight, out of mind." So, you can see, I'm really not a Bum. I really want to work; the phone just isn't ringing.

Oh, and did I forget to mention, I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education? I know you are probably thinking, "Why is a degreed teacher not able to get a Teacher's Assistant position?" Well, I have asked myself the same question many many times. But, oh yeah, I also forgot to tell you what county we live in. You see we are in Sevier County and unfortunately my last name is not Parton, Reagan or Ogle. I have been told many times over that in this county it isn't what you know, but who you know. Too bad for me that I am from Florida and my husband's family is from Pennsylvania; I guess we just don't run in the right circles. You just gotta love the Good 'ole Boy Network, don't cha!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My ThiThi

Yes, many of you probably think that Missbw and I are a little weird because we call each other ThiThi. Well, let me tell you the cute little story behind it (don't worry Fris, I will try not to embarrass you too bad ;)

You see, many years ago, our stepmom, Fris, told us this story and it has just kinda stuck with us. Well, once upon a time Fris was on a car trip and began to have a really bad stomach ache. She made my dad stop at a gas station and she quickly made her way to the bathroom. Once inside, she made herself comfortable and proceeded to take care of the stomach pains. (How am I doing so far, Fris?) Then she heard some little girls come into the bathroom. From the sounds of their voices they were about 8 and 4. Together, they went into the stall next to Fris to use the bathroom. As they were using the bathroom, Fris had an uncontrollable gas pain which was rather noisy when it was released (We still ok, Fris?) Then she hears this little voice from the other stall say, "Hee Hee Hee! You tho thilly ThiThi, you faaw-ted." (Now, see Fris, that wasn't so bad, was it?)

So, if you are ever at the mall or WalMart or Target and you hear two grown women saying, "You tho thilly, ThiThi!" You will know that it is Missybw and me. Please come over and say, "Hi!"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Recipe for Baked Chow Mein

If you know me, you know that I am a lover of the casserole. I tried a new one tonight and it was a hit with Bub and Kaylea. I just thought I would pass it along; I hope you like it!

Baked Chow Mein

1 lb Hamburger
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 Stalks Celery, finely chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Water
1 1/2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 c. Uncooked Rice
1 can Chow Mein Noodles

Brown the hamburger in a pan. Drain and then add the onion and celery. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender. In a bowl mix together the Meat, Vegetables, Soups, Water, Soy Sauce and Rice. Pour into a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. Sprinkle the top with Chow Mein Noodles and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

**I'm sure you could use ground chicken or pork in place of the beef. Also, if you like water chestnuts and bamboo shoots you could add them also.

Let me know if your family like it, or if my family is freaky.

Say Your Sorry - Because Mommy Said So, That's Why!

I was reading an article on the MSN home page this morning that bumfuzzled me. The article was titled, "Should You Make Your Children Say They're Sorry?" Are they kidding me? I can't believe this is even an issue at question. YES, of course you should make your children say they're sorry!

The whole gist of the article was that if the child was apologizing only because their parent made them, then it was insincere and didn't count. The author went on to say how you should talk to your child and discuss their feelings about the situation and then through conversation lead them to the discovery that they need to apologize. The family in the article had some sort of feelings pow-wow that led to a warm fuzzy moment where two brothers shared their feelings about a situation and resulted in an I'm sorry from the eldest.

Well, let me just say, when Kaylea does something that is inappropriate or hurtful to someone, I am going to tell her that she needs to say she is sorry. And then, I am going to tell her why she should be sorry. And then, I am going to tell her what she needs to say when she says she is sorry. I am sure that Kaylea wishes she could get off so easy as me just saying, "you need to say your sorry." But no, nothing is ever that cut and dry at our house. There is always LOTS of explanation and discussion that goes along with it.

I am a firm believer that she will not learn kindness, compassion or tolerance if her Dad and I do not teach it to her. It just so happens that my way of teaching her these things is to make her aware when she is not demonstrating these qualities and letting her how hurtful her actions are to the other people. I also believe that she will not learn how to express sincerity unless, I model it for her. When I tell her she needs to apologize, I make sure she understands that I do not mean just saying, "I'm sorry." She knows that she needs to admit to what she did that was wrong and tell the person why she is sorry.

So, far, I think we are doing pretty good! I don't how because we haven't had the first feelings pow-wow at our house.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Blog - But Why?????

Well, it is real simple. There were many times that I sat down to type up a post on Curiously Kaylea and thought to myself, well this isn't about Kaylea. You see, I found that I had more to talk about than just my daughter. Imagine that - a stay-at-home mom with more on her mind than just her child. Say it ain't so.

Just so everyone can get to know me a little better, I have created The Ever Growing List(s) of Random Things I Love and Things I Don't Love So Much (Hate is such a strong word). Trust me, these lists are totally random and will be growing. I, also, made a list of my Cast of Characters, just so you don't get confused. This will probably continue to grow, also.

There is no telling what all I will talk about. It could be anything from a favorite recipe to politics to who won the t-ball game at Bower's Field. Not a lot goes on in our sleepy little community south of Knoxville, but there is enough to make this Florida transplant scratch her head and wonder sometimes. Regardless of the subject, I hope you will enjoy my ramblings.

Welcome aboard!