Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012 Hodge Podge

Merriest of Christmases!!!  We have had a busy last couple of weeks and so I thought I would just share some stuff through pictures!

Real quick, an update from my last post.  Going into school that Monday after the tragedy of Sandy Hook was hard, emotional, and necessary.  If I haven't said this before, I love my class this them!!!  I actually enjoy spending the day with them and sometimes it doesn't even feel like work.  So, last Monday I sat down with them and we talked about what had happened as a class.  I lasted about twenty seconds before I started crying and they knew it was very difficult for me to talk about certain things.  I apologized to them for how emotional I was and they were very understanding.  I simply told them that it was not only hard for me as teacher, but as a parent because Ryan is almost six years old and all the kids who lost their lives were either six or was a little to close to home.  One boy then realizing what I was saying, buried his face in his hands and didn't look up for a very long time.  Ryan is a fixture in my class as he visits once or twice a week after he gets out of kindergarten and they love him to pieces, so they got it.  A girl in my class raised her hand and said, "Mrs. Marini, what would you do to protect us?"  I told her that I was so glad she asked that because I had been thinking about it all weekend and I told them what I thought might be best and they seemed content with my answer.  As I was wrapping up our talk I said, "If you leave with anything is a safe place.  You are safe here, always."

Later that afternoon we made these and put them in our window.  Every kid was assigned a name and they were very calm and quiet while doing this out of respect. 

And now...on to the holidays.

I was able to run over to Matt's room on last day of school and peak at him making a gingerbread house in his classroom.

On Sunday, the other Marini Family came to town to celebrate Christmas.  We were planning to head to Del Oso Farms and go sledding again, but the weather was horrible and so we decided to move the fun indoors.  The kids made gingerbread houses together and had a great time!!

Finished results...I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you all could guess which one belonged to Mikayla.


After dinner there was some present opening and then some intense Bingo played for prizes.

Some of us didn't win one time...others, cleaned house with prizes.  In the end, everyone got something.

Ryan had a VERY hard time parting with the mini skillet.  However, thank goodness he did because as you can see...everything turns into a weapon with him.

Yep...they are cute.  And yep...they are related.

A few years ago I made Matt sit with me and watch The Polar Express.  He loved it!!!  Since then, we have watched it every Christmas Eve and I love that it has become our tradition.  This was the shot I took from my bed with each boy laying beside me.  Bliss...

Luckily I was half awake Christmas morning because I heard both of them tear out of their rooms and fly around the corner on their way to the living room.  I yelled....STOP!!!  And lucky for them, they listened. :)

And they're off!!!

Boy...this shirt just has so many meanings.  And it belongs on his body!

He was desperate for new slides.

This next gift cost us $12.99 and it was the gift Rich and I were most excited for them to open.

365 days until the next 11 minute party!  Merry Christmas!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Senseless Act

Friday morning I was sitting in the computer lab at our school when I got a text from Rich that said there was a school shooting, at least 18 kids dead.  I immediately went to one of the open computers and was not prepared for what popped up on the screen. Shocked.  Stunned.  Grief stricken.  Numb.  Our computer teacher came over and it was like we both couldn't read the information fast enough.  I began searching countless websites to try and gather as many details as I possibly could.  Details that in hindsight, doesn't change or effect the final outcome.

I am truly lucky.  I have said this before, I am blessed to work where my kids go to school.  On Friday, it was a comfort that I could tell the computer lab teacher I will be right back as I headed out the door in search of my kids.  I needed to see them, know where they were and make sure they were safe.  The need was almost suffocating. 

Let it be known that these kind of situations are always on our mind.  Always.  As teachers, it is impossible not to think of these situations when we have students who come up on our radar as kids to watch out for.  And the most maddening aspect of this entire thing, at least with our district, is that there is not one counselor available for support.  When districts cut budgets, counselors are usually the first to lose their job.  Counselors are needed badly.  Teachers aren't trained to handle certain situations that need to be dealt with.  I would never expect a counselor to walk into my classroom and immediately pick up where I left off and teach the curriculum, just they would not expect me to walk in and speak to a student and know how to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. 

I teach at the elementary school I attended.  I love my school.  I love that it not only houses my memories as a kid, but now my boys' childhood too.  We are an open campus.  At anytime, someone can walk on campus and have access to the kids.  Sure, there are other campuses in our district that are protected because of the neighborhoods they are in.  But not Reese.  There has never been a need before.  What happened in the small town of Newtown...a town and school just like ours...could happen anywhere, so it begs the question...What now?  How do we protect our kids from something like this happening?

One of the most frustrating things about our school is that there is a check-in procedure.  But, unfortunately, there are always those parents who believe that the rules don't apply to them.  And when they walk into our room without a badge on, their excuse is always..."Oh, I am only going to be minute or two."  What happened on Friday...only took minutes.

I did feel numb most of the day on Friday.  I felt like what I was watching was almost not real.  And I couldn't really wrap my brain around the fact that it actually had happened.  When I got home and turned on the television for the first time, the first clip I watched was the President's press release.  About thirty seconds into when it was clear that he wasn't going to be able to get through what he had planned on saying, I lost it. 

I don't know anything about gun laws.  I mean, nothing!  I have never held or touched a gun in my life, so I couldn't even begin to make a comment about the gun control laws and what the stipulations are to buy, own, or carry one.  I am incredibly ignorant on the subject.  The only thing I have to say is...would a few more rules hurt?  I, in no way, want to ban people owning guns or anything like that.  I just don't think it would hurt to have a couple more laws in place.

And lastly.  I'm not ready to walk into my classroom Monday morning and have the conversations I know will take place.  I need to get ready...but I'm not there.  I pray for composure.  I pray that I comfort, instead of fear.  I pray that we can have a meaningful conversation about the rarity of this happening, but the realization that it does.  All of those are long as I keep my thoughts straight.  As long as I don't go to the place in my head that reminds me that it was a classroom full of Ryan's that are now gone.  That twenty parents had to submit a picture of their child so that a face can go with a name of those who are lost.  That this school week before Christmas should have been filled with art projects and holiday cheer and now it filled with people who have unbearable grief and questions of why us.

A senseless act.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Family Pictures

A couple of weeks ago we took some family pictures.  First of all...getting my family to take pictures is like an act of Congress.  Second of all, it is always so expensive!!!  The last time we took family pictures it was an outrageous amount of money and I liked two of them...And the two I liked were single shots of the boys by themselves.  Not really what I was going for.

Fast forward to our October break when Matt's teacher got married and the photographer tagged her in some pictures on Facebook.  As I was looking through her pictures, I noticed the photographer was running a mini-session for the holidays.  I looked at Rich and said this...."Listen, the total price for everything is $75.  I need you to show up, with a positive attitude, smile for thirty minutes, and we are done.  Do you think you can handle that?"  He just stared at me for an extended amount of time, with a look on his face that was funny and little, I took that as a 'Yes' and booked it!

I am still a fan of black and white pics...

I do like this one...however, we can't see where the top of Rich's head ends. :)


Why must he look so old???  Why?
And Ryan...I think that smile says it all.

And I put this one on only because we were laughing so hard when she was taking this series of pics of us together.  When she turned and said look at each other, we both started laughing and said..Really?  Because we have to look at each other EVERY DAY!!!!  And really...these aren't engagement pictures capturing our love...I hate those!!!

Having said that...I don't hate this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saturday Fun!!!

On Saturday, Matt had some of his friends (and some of Ryan's) come together for his birthday and play flag football.  This was all his idea and I am giving him all the credit because it was a huge success.  We had about twelve boys come and meet at the park for a friendly game of flag football.  When, let me tell you that these boys played for three hours straight...THEY PLAYED FOR THREE HOURS STRAIGHT!!!  The only time they took a break was to have cupcakes and open gifts, and I think we timed that at about eight minutes, and then they were off again to play.  It was the easiest birthday in the history of birthdays.  I merely fed them if they were hungry and kept them hydrated....everything else they worked out themselves.

The other great part about the boys that came was that they were mostly all brothers.  We have a lot of friends who have boys both Matt and Ryan's age and so they both came to play.  And boy, were they serious.  Jerseys on, cleats optional, and flags everywhere.  So much fun! 

I also loved that many of the dads came and stayed, even though I said, "Go, go enjoy your afternoon!!"  They wanted to be out and playing just as much as the kids!

And I have to include this picture....we went to our friends house, Brent and Sharon's, for dinner that night.  They have girls, we have boys, but somehow they still love hanging out together.  Here they are, late in the evening after some serious indoor four-square games, playing Mindcraft.  They could not have been happier.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Last year in the single digits....

I told Matt yesterday that this birthday kicked off his last year in single digits.  He couldn't be happier, I wish his mother could say the same.  For his birthday he wanted to change his room around.  It was like he was transitioning from kid room to big kid room.  He wanted a new desk, a new dresser, a nightstand, an alarm clock, and all new bedding.  After all was given (yes, all) we each stepped back and looked at the room with a heavy sigh.  It definitely looked like a big kids room.  As I was processing the entire thing, feel sad about what I saw, all of a sudden my eyes locked on two items that made me breathe a little easier.  There, in the midst of this transformation, was a table full of Legos and a few stuffed animals on top of his bed.  It was a gift.  Like a small sign that this childhood wasn't quite over yet.  At the end of the night I went in to say good night and see how the new bedding was.  He grinned and said it was perfect.  I grabbed the covers and crawled in bed for a second, watched a little Tom and Jerry with him, loving the quiet, and that is when he said it....

"In five years, that's when I get my cell phone, right?"

Talk about a mood killer.  I told him that we will discuss it as it gets nearer.

This what nine years old looks like.

Of course the cake had to be fishing!!!

And quickly, not to forget Halloween.
Representing the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers

 I'm not going to lie....this was the first year that I didn't make a costume and it was depressing.  As much as it stresses me out, I do love making them.  I was all set to make a Pacman costume for Matt when he changed his mind and just wanted to be a football player.  How boring.
Trick or treating almost did them in.  They were EXHAUSTED by the end of the night.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Football and Fishing

I thought I would get in a quick post before the Halloween craziness happens.

Last Saturday was Matt's last football game. I'm so sad. No more Saturday football. I think I am sad for a number of reasons. First of all, it is so exciting to watch and I genuinely like every player on his team. You know how there is usually one or two in the bunch you can do without?? That's not the case with his team. I love the boys he plays with. They are good kids, nice kids, well mannered kids and a fun group to sit and listen to. I am also sad because this is the last time they will play all together because next year is draft and they will all be split up. Greg (Matt's coach) said on Saturday that he hasn't enjoyed coaching a team as much as he had these kids the last two years. And as parents we were all a little reluctant to leave because we knew that the likelihood of a lot of them playing together again was not there and that we would also miss seeing each other too.  

First play of the game.  I think that is what some would refer to as a game face. 

Who loves the eye patches for pink October!?

Hand off from Ryker.

The boy chasing him is his old teammate.

He went pretty far, but no touchdown today.

I just LOVE, LOVE these boys!

One last time, let's bring it in...

Go Giants!!!

Coach Bishop.  Yep...this was luck.  Who wouldn't love having an ex-NFL player as a coach.

Matthew is done until January with sports!!  Ryan starts basketball this weekend.

And on to fishing.  This past weekend, at Matt's suggestion, my mom took both boys up to Apple Hill to fish.  The last time they went, Matt was the only one who went and so he thought Ryan would like it. He was also semi feeling sorry for Ryan that he hadn't caught a fish yet at all and what better place to catch a fish where they stock the pond.  As you may guess, Matthew had a complete strategy going into this trip and it went something like...."I will help him cast out his line and then I will help snag the fish and then help him reel it in because he has never done that before and he needs to be strong and I can help him so he gets his first fish."  Nothing like a huge run-on sentence to squeeze in as much as you can to try and manipulate the situation. 

Here it is...his first fish!  One HAPPY boy!