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.