Sunday, March 3, 2013

Back To Work!

 Things are progressing on the employment front.  I turned in my application for the Alternative Certification program, even though I didn't have ALL my transcripts, because the lady at the Department of Education said that even an incomplete packet would hold my spot in the queue, which can get quite lengthy as teachers-to-be graduate in the spring.

In the meantime, I decided it would be wise to get a foot in the door by becoming a substitute for our local school district.  I attended an orientation on a snowy Tuesday, filled out the paperwork, and saw that they also needed transcripts (*groan*) and fingerprints.  I turned in everything but those two, and then headed to the state capitol complex to find the Department of Education to be fingerprinted.  It was a nice day, which was good, because I ended up doing a lot of walking!  The good news is, now I know where it is, so when I have to go back for all the alternative certification stuff, I know exactly where to go!  Once I was done with that, it was a waiting game.

First I got my transcripts!  With a little inside help, (Thanks DBC!) my transcript finally got somewhat corrected.  Let's just say that at the end of it, I have the right degree, and I suppose that's good enough!  I'll send those in to the right people on Monday.

Next, I made it through the background check, and became an approved substitute on Tuesday!  I promptly went online to look at all the available jobs, but the thought of accepting one just about made me nauseous - what if I ended up being no good at this?  I expressed my feelings about this to a couple of teacher friends, and got one answer of reassurance that I would do great, and one answer that subbing was way harder than teaching, and that I shouldn't let subbing change my feelings about teaching.  Which is all good, but it didn't make me feel better about subbing at that moment!

I finally grabbed the bull by the horns and chose an assignment.  I would be an elementary music teacher!  The next day came, and I got dressed in something besides yoga pants for the first time in a long time, and away I went.  I taught all levels that day, and found that I prefer the 2nd - 5th grade age.  The younger ones are just very, very wiggly!

The next day Maggie had a well-child appointment in the afternoon, so I wasn't planning on subbing, but then a morning-only position for an elementary librarian popped up, and I couldn't resist!  I accepted the job, and then went be-bopping down the hallway, bouncing up and down with excitement, into the bathroom where Gracie was brushing her hair.  "I get to be a librarian today!"  I crowed.

"Oooookay, Mom," she replied, watching me bounce up and down.  I guess it wasn't as exciting for her as it was for me.  I was over the moon.  That day an older student came in and asked a question, and I explained that she was looking for a specific type of book, and those would be found over here in this section. . .   As we walked over there, she looked at me and said, "Have you worked here before?"  and I said, "No, but I'm a librarian!"  I'm such a dork.  But a happy dork!

The next day I taught Spanish.  While I know enough to be comfortable with teaching first semester elementary Spanish, I obviously am not fluent in any way, shape, or form.  That's okay because the teacher assumes that you won't know Spanish.  Instead of teaching something myself, I presented a video with an accompanying worksheet.  The video was of Juana the Iguana, which is the Spanish answer to Barney the Dinosaur.  Here's a sample:

I got to watch the video six times that day!  How lucky am I?

One of the most memorable parts of the day was during the fourth class.  When I walked in the teacher said that she hoped that I knew how to work the VCR because she'd NEVER USED ONE.  Hmmm.  Does that make me old, or does that make her young?  I assured her that I did, and then the VCR ate the tape!  We got another VCR that worked, and I was able to re-spool the tape into the cassette, so we were okay.  I wonder if Juana the Iguana comes on DVD?  

At the end of the week, I was tired - especially my feet, which haven't stood for that length of time in a long, long time, and have definitely have not spent that much time in dress shoes in the last 13 years.  So far, I'm having fun, and it's great to be out there working, earning a paycheck again, even if it is ever so small.  I can hardly wait to see what next week brings!

Birthday Fun

February is a big birthday month for our family.  We start off with my sister's birthday, which is early enough in the month, that by the time I've flipped the calendar page and see her birthday, it's already too late for me to get a card in the mail.  In my original family, this wasn't a huge deal, but to Jerry, it is a bit more important.  I attribute this to the fact that his family owned and operated several Hallmark stores before we married, and so cards are, well, important.  I've tried to tackle this problem before, even making it a New Year's resolution one year, to send birthday cards on time, but alas, it isn't something that I've managed to conquer.  

My brother-in-law's birthday is next - (I got the gift/present there within the week), and then comes Maggie's.  This year she officially became a teenager, although she's been showing symptoms for some time now.  I told her that in my original family, 12 was the limit for parties, and after that it was a special dinner and dessert, but she managed to talk me into a sleepover for just a couple of girls, and then she proceeded to make it into a party using tips and tricks from her American Girl magazines.  Tricky, that girl!  

For the first party activity, each girl got a bag with assorted craft materials, they had 10 minutes to put together a hat, and then model it for Jerry and I.  Here they are at work: 

And here are the finished creations:

Maggie had requested a cheesecake for her birthday cake.  I've never made one, and I don't own a springform pan, so the morning before the party I started calling friends and asking if they had a springform pan for making cheesecake.  The answers all fell under the category of , "No, I just buy cheesecake.  You know they sell those frozen, don't you?"  Ah, yes, I did indeed know that, but Maggie was very specific in her request - she wanted a cheesecake like the one Nana made at Christmas.  I ended up buying a pan when I went to purchase the ingredients for the cake.  If anyone needs to borrow a 9-inch springform pan, just let me know!  Here's her cake: 

And it even tasted good!

Here's our teenager, on her actual birthday.  She's only five inches shorter than me now:

For Maggie's actual birthday, we got snow.  Here's Jerry, heading off to work in it.

Unfortunately, we did not get a snow day.  The school district saved that for the next day, when there was no actual snow, but lots and lots of sleet and ice.  So, the girls had a snow day, but no actual snow to play in.    Oh well - you win some, you lose some.  At least we had one snow day this year - last year (after they added nine snow days to the calendar) we had none.

Before I became a mom, I always thought I would do something fun for my kid's half birthdays,  like make a half-cake, and give them a single silly present, or something.  When Maggie was born, and I realized that her half-birthday was my birthday and vice-versa, those plans died, because celebrating actual birthdays takes precedence over celebrating half birthdays.  This year, the girls used the opportunity to sleep in on the snow day to give me a surprise for my half birthday - breakfast in bed:

Cinnamon toast!  The back of the card said, "From: Maggie & Gracie.  Happy Late Half-B-day."  What sweet girls I have!

Since then, we have had one more birthday this month - my niece, Carissa, turned five.  Believe it or not, Maggie and I sang her Happy Birthday the day BEFORE her birthday.  Of course, I sent the present late, but the song (and the thought!) was early!  Does that count?  No?  Oh well, I'll try again next year!

Happy Birthday, everyone!