Tuesday, December 23, 2008



Saturday, December 20, 2008

11th annual DAY-O-CRAP

So, as a teacher, I naturally get lots of stuff for Christmas from the kids. And it is really sweet to see how excited they are to give me something. However, I have affectionally referred to the day before Christmas Break as the Day-O-Crap because of all the useless and corny stuff I get that I will never use.

For example, this year I got:
  • An inspriational-type teacher book (you can guess how many times I've gotten one of those)
  • A glass apple
  • A wooden apple
  • Apple earrings
  • A glass paper holder with a big cross on it
  • 3 mugs (of course all teacher-themed)
  • About 14 candy canes
  • A fiber-optic snowman that dosn't work
  • Another inspriatioinal teacher book
  • A baggie of mints
  • A third inpirational book
  • A wooden ruler

BUT, I did get some reall goodies this year too:

  • Some bath and body works shower gel
  • A candle (always popular)
  • A 24-oz diet coke :)
  • A gift card to smokey bones
  • A gift card to cold stone creamery:)

I've always thought that I would rather students and families just not get me anything. But, if they feel they need to, there are so many small things that I would be happy with and could use! A package of pencils, scissors, or some hand sanitizer. Maybe a funky red pen or some white board markers. I guess the other stuff is more fun to give.

Yet, this year, I did receive a gift that almost made me cry. I have to give you a little background so you understand how special the gift is.

I have a little girl in my class... we'll call her 'Susie'. Susie has not had an easy life - her mom left when she was 8 or9 and she lives with her dad who I'm quite positive has some addiction issues. She also lives with her 4 brothers who are all over 14 years old. To top it all off, Susie's best friend just moved out of our school with no notice. They didn't even get to say good-bye to each other. And she doesn't really have any other friends. I have to imagine that Susie's life is a lonely one as she is entering a crucial growing stage with no women or girls really in her life. She constantly seeks out attention, no matter if it is negative or positive. I've tried to be a 'mom-like' figure for her and try to give her special attention and hugs whenever possible.

So, yesterday, she was GLOWING as she came up to me with a present wrapped in paper that was clearly used for a previous present. She drew hearts and christmas trees all over it and it said (gulp) "To my best teacher in the world" (yes- I typed it correctly) from Susie. I fawned and did the whole song and dance about "oh, you shouldn't have, you don't have to buy me anything......" blah, blah, blah. When I opened it, it took me about half a second to realize with sadness what it was. Susie had given me a copy of the book "Rogue Warrior". I'd never heard of this book and immediately could tell it was an old one. It was the condition of the book brought it all home. The book had no cover, was edged with waterspots and stains, and had clearly been sitting on a shelf for years, maybe decades. When I opened it, it reeked of stale cigarette smoke and a clothing tag fell out of it. It was cleary something that she swiped from a closet at her house (or someone else's) before coming to school.

What could I say? I just looked at her a gushed about it. "Oh, Susie, you know how much I just love books and I've never read this one. But I bet it's a good one. Look it has gold writing on it and pictures, too!"

Susie said, "I knew you'd like it because it's about World War II, I think. And you like history so much so I knew it would be a good present for you."

I just gushed over it more and showed it off to all the students and displayed on my desk in front of all the other gifts. She just ate it up.

By far, the best Day-O-Crap...ever.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, we are OUT OF MOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our case worker just emailed us today to let us know that the powers-that-be in Haiti approved our file just TODAY and we are officially in the hands of the American embassy in Port-au-Prince. We are just waiting for Rory's passport and visa appt and then we will be on our way!
Granted, again, this doesn't sound like something that will take long, but we fully expect that it might take a couple months. Especially with the fact that the gov't doesn't work 12/19-1/7. But,THAT'S OKAY WITH US. We are just glad to be UNSTUCK and back on track to get him home. I'm contacting our Senators Bayh and Lugar (again) to request their ability to nudge things along.

It's so weird because today I'd walked around all day thinking about how much we wanted this news before XMAS and knowing that with offices closing tomorrow, we didn't think it would happen. But here we are. It so funny because with every step behind us, it's like being granted permission to get excited again. I just went in Rory's room for some paperwork and realized that I hadn't really been in there for a month or so. His clothes all look so small, I hope SOME of them fit! Well, I guess it's getting to be that time to shop for a winter coat!

Tomorrow is the last day before XMAS break and I don't have to go back until 1/6 or 1/7 (can't remember right off hand) so I'm really happy today! We are having a small party and I'm giving three tests tomorrow. Brandon said I'm mean, but seriously, with all the stuff they make us cram into kids heads these days, there is seriously NO time to waste. I would just LOVE to let the kids color, make crafts, sing, watch videos all day tomorrow, but literally, the curriculum just doesn't allow it anymore. I'm already behind two weeks in math and I'm FREAKING out about it! Plus, you have to be careful to not 'influence' the kids with holiday propaganda. Oh well.... you can't fight city hall.

I have a feeling I'll be posting more often over the holiday with all my free time. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Operation Donkey a Success!

Appartently, the trip to get Rory's paperwork happened on Dec. 1st. We just received the email and invoice for the expenses so we were so excited that THIS drama is over. Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Again, Rory will not be home for Christmas. It would make sense that they could just add this paperwork to his file, send it to the USCIS, get his passport and visa and get him home in a week. But that will not happen. After MOI releases Rory's paperwork it is in the hand of US officials at the embassy in Haiti- hopefully that will be soon... but no one knows what to expect anymore. Apparently there is a new director at the MOI office who is basically a Nazi and demanding all this extra paperwork. Hopefully we jumped through our last hoop and can get out of his jurisdiction soon! From what we hear the US embassy can be just as demanding, so hopefully karma will be on our side after what we've been through! All I know is that the minute I know that he is out of MOI, I will be on the phone with our senators begging for their help to contact the people in Haiti. It's the only thing that we can do, so we will do it to the nth degree!

In other news, we had a really great adoption class via phone conference Sunday night. A woman that has adopted like 11 kids or something and is highly involved in adoption issues led the class. I learned so much. It was interesting some of the things that she brought up and suggested. Things I hadn't thought of yet. She mentioned the sleeping issues and bedroom arrangements and how the bedroom should be somewhat plain (like the orphanage) so that Rory is comfortable when he comes home. Sooooo, this weekend, I am going to take everything down a notch. It's no fun for me, but I have to do what is best for him. But eventually everything will make it's way back into his room. There were so many other things... It was so helpful to hear someone that has gone through this an knows what works and what doesn't.

Looking forward to a low key weekend. Maybe I'll even do my Christmas cards!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Today was a gorgeous day! It snowed, but didn't really accumulate. Although the roads were really slippery this morning. Mom and I went shopping and had some serious success!

No news from Haiti.... the wait continues....

We've gotten lots of responses about Rory's latest picture. He is pretty dashing, if I do say so myself! Brandon and I decorated for Xmas last night, sans tree. It still looks pretty festive and got us into the Christmas spirit. Last night, as I unpacked my fourth rubbermaid container jammed full of Christmas decor, I thought, I've accumulated all of this after only 10 years or so! How much am I going to have in another 10 years? I'm not too concerned though, because those who know me will tell you I am a purger. I love to rid of stuff. It's theraputic or something. I love trash day and trying to find stuff to throw out. I also love to condense stuff. Just 30 minutes ago, I was downstairs taking an excedrin... it was the 2nd to the last in the bottle and I got unnatural satisfaction when I put the last one in with the new bottle and threw the other one away. What is that? I think I get that from my mom. She keeps what she has to, but not much more than that.

Brandon's aunt Mary and friend Judy were here last year sometime and were shocked that I had only two oven mitts. That's it. They thought that was hysterical! But, seriously, how many do you need? I've only got two hands, so there ya go. I actually just got two new ones and I'm throwing the old ones out. Woo hoo! I can't wait for the day after Christmas so we can take down the Xmas decor and get rid of the superfulous stuff.

I'm rambling, so here are some pics from Thanksgiving....

Me and my lovely turkey:)
POKER ----------------------------

Malana's poker face ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tell me this isn't the most adorable thing you've ever seen!!!!

We just got this updated photo a couple days ago and it literally took my breath away! I was just so thrilled with this picture I had to share it. Still no news from Haiti, but maybe soon....

Thanksgiving was awesome. We had a great time with Mary, Don, Mom, Malana, and Josh. My turkey was stunning ( I couldn't believe it turned out so good) and everything was delicious. However, our fridge went out the night before and we are still SANS refrigerator but not for much longer. Thank goodness it's been cold here. We can actually just leave stuff in the garage and it's okay... for now, anyway.

Brandon and I have decided against putting up a tree this year. We are still putting up everything else, just no tree. But we do have a 'Charlie Brown' Tree that will come in handy. I was talking to Tom- my cohort in 5th grade here at school- and we were talking about what a pain a tree is and I guess the just have a really small tree that's predecorated. That got me to thinking... How long will it be until they have hologram Xmas trees? I mean, really, how cool would it be to have the Rockafeller (sp?) tree from NY hologrammed into your living room? Or to have the tree from the Indy circle transformed onto your front lawn? If they can hologram that reporter on CNN on election night, do you really think hologram decorations are far off in the future?? I don't think so... And literally ZERO maintenence AND it take up ZERO space! I want to get in on that business on the ground level. SERIOUSLY!