Saturday, September 25, 2010

Feast of our Farms

Last night we went on a double date to our favorite place on the planet, The Inn at Baldwin Creek. Our date night began with a beautiful fall drive to the picturesque Inn. When we arrived we were all happily surprised at the magnitude of the massive production that Inn owners Doug and Linda put on.

Feast of our Farms is an annual fall celebration of all the local farmers and food producers in the area. Mary's, the restaurant at the Inn only uses local food, and last night the best of the best was on display. Over 40 farmers set up camp in a rustic barn and served their food to 2oo guests. A local band provided some great old timey fiddle music and we ate and ate and ate!

Along with our massive consumption of delicious food, we chatted with farmers, cheese makers, beer, wine, and coffee makers, and some really nice folks who shared a table with us. We plan to make a tradition of this delicious night!

Here is a view of the tent and barn (where the festivities occurred) from the front porch of the Inn.

Posing for a last minute picture with our friends Erik and Hillary

They're Baaaack!

No, not the the students (they've been back for awhile). It's their loving parents that I am talking about. Each afternoon I make it a point to call five or six parents and let them know how their child is doing in my class. In most school districts, I would hope to speak with at least a few parents out of the five or six calls that I make. In my class I'm lucky if I get a hold of one parent a week. It seems that most of my student's parents "lose" their cell phones on a daily basis, so phone numbers are always changing, or being disconnected, and I go for weeks trying to get a hold of parents.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to speak with a parent regarding an on campus suspension for giving another student a "five point star". For those of you who don't know, that's a big hard open handed slap on the back. The kids were in science class and were not fighting, but this year we are really striving to nip any violence in the bud. So, my partner teacher and the principal came down hard on this student.

As I was making the mandatory parent phone call I was unprepared for the earful that this student's mother gave me! I explained to her that we don't tolerate any kind of violence school, and that we are really trying to teach our students coping skills so that they don't resort to violence. She let me know that she gives her daughter permission to fight anyone that does anything to her. This led me to talk a little about how school is a place for academics and learning new skills. After I finished what I thought was a very clear explanation of what we are trying to teach our students, the mother's reply shocked me. She said, "So, your saying that I should tell my daughter to wait until after school to punch him."

Unbelievable, after that phone call I plan to search high and low to get some kind of tape recorder attached to my phone...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shelburne Farms Goes to the Dogs!

Last weekend we took NJ to Shelburne Farms Goes to the Dogs. We had a great day, and after a few hours, so did Norma Jean!

Here is the arrival!

Norma Jean is not quite sure that she likes it here....


Kevin trying his best to win fabulous prizes for Norma Jean!

Lion tamer and Lion.

Doggie Party!

Here are a few more pictures of our day. Check out Norma under the bed. She's a real go getter...

Back to School

Summer is over and fall is finally here! My return to school this year started a bit rocky... The weekend before the first day of school I was scrambling (like many other teachers) to buy some supplies for my class. As I was finishing up my buying frenzy at Staples, I had an unfortunate foot-on collision with a rouge shopping cart and broke my baby toe. It quickly turned an ugly shade of purple, and hurt really bad! My gross toe didn't fit into any of my work shoes, so I've been wearing flip flops for the last few weeks. This week it feels much better and I think I'll be able to go back to my high heal wearing ways very soon.

The other rocky start had to do with our teacher contract negotiations. We haven't had a teaching contract for the last few years and the members of our school board are not exactly "team players". With the negotiations at a stand still, the teachers union set a date to strike. Teachers were worried, students were unsettled, and parents were up in arms about potentially missing school days. Lucky for everyone late Tuesday night, the school board finally came to their senses and settled our contract with the teacher's union. Now we can finally get back to teaching!

Iowa Trip

Iowa Trip

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer, Summer, Summer!

After spending time in Curacao, Waterton, we headed to California. We went to a down home country sing-along, saw a bear, got to spend time with our cousins, and went to a COLD baseball game in San Francisco. It was a great quick trip.

California Trip

Summer, Summer, Summer!

Waterton, Camping, Curacao, and Wedding!