thoughts during my prep hour...

Taking a 5-minute mental break from the stack of papers next to me.

1. This will be my third weekend in a row spent predominantly with teenagers. We have a youth retreat at Spring Hill, which will be fun & freezing.

2. Fellow followers of Christ - we need to stop complaining about "the church" as an establishment and take personal responsibility - we ARE the church.

3. I could really go for a chocolate milkshake right now.

4. I wish teaching didn't involve grading.

5. Besides the students, teacher stickers might be the next best part about teaching.



definitely older, doubtfully wiser

Thanks to everyone who called/emailed/texted yesterday!

Probably one of the most low-key birthdays I've had - I wasn't feeling very well, so your expressions of love were doubly appreciated! 

Doug did an awesome job making the day special for me as well. He brought me Jimmy Johns for lunch at school and made me birthday cake. A few days ago, he asked what my favorite frosting was, and when I couldn't decide - I told him to surprise me. So he did...

... by using both of my favorites. 

I'd also like to add that this was the first cake Doug has ever made! It was absolutely delicious (that Betty Crocker is such a good helper...). Thanks, HB, for thinking I'm special and for all the ways you let me know you love me.


good apple!

Good Apple is having a contest! Check it out!

(& don't forget to check out our Etsy shop while you're at it.)


homecoming: a recap

This blog is purely for my own memory, so I can remember the insanity forever...

Homecoming started with my 14-hour decorating day last Saturday. 
2 freshmen trace the outline of our poster...

then the painting begins...

Our chessboard road in the works...

The finished hallway.

We didn't have school on Monday (MLK day), but despite the 4-day week, last week was one of the longest weeks of my life. Granted, it was a lot of fun, but it was still exhausting. Each day felt like a week in and of itself.

Tuesday was "Come As You Are" Day - i.e. pajama day. Internet, I wore sweatpants to work. I wouldn't get anything done if I was allowed to do that on a regular basis. Our assembly on Tuesday was dodgeball - we came in 2nd place to the juniors! 

Wednesday was "Opposition Day". Each class was assigned a theme: freshmen were Cops & Robbers, sophomores were Rich & Hobos, juniors were Geeks & Jocks, and seniors were Farmers & Aliens. Our assembly that day was a relay race. A few of the components were having a student crawl on all fours to a plate of "dog food" (cocoa puffs), having a student put on a frozen t-shirt, pop guzzling, rope climbing, etc. We came in last...

2 of my students...

Thursday was Theme Day - each class dressed up for their lip-syncs, which were performed during the assembly time.
The freshman class performing our lip-sync for chess (purple = PCA, blue = Southfield, our homecoming opponents). We got 3rd place! We beat the sophomores.

The sophomores doing Monopoly...

The juniors and Candy Land...

The seniors owning Clue (pictured here: the suspects dancing to Smooth Criminal).

And Friday was, of course, Spirit Day.

Here's my whole freshman class (plus someone's mother...).

Doug accompanied me on Friday night to the homecoming games - we won both games, which was exciting. 

Saturday night was the homecoming dessert social - "Drive-In to the 50s," which I helped chaperone. If it wasn't for my co-sponsor, Marisa and the other class sponsors, I don't know how I would have made it through the week!

This morning I had a student whine that it was unfair for me to have a vocab quiz "the day after homecoming weekend." Please. I'll be spending this upcoming weekend with teenagers too. Don't talk to me about unfair.

Oh my word, I'm getting old.


home after homecoming...

Beloved friends,
I am done with my first homecoming week:

I can't really believe I'm posting this picture on the internet, but hey. Welcome to my world. It's a little crazy. 

More pictures & stories later.


beyonce, justin timberlake & andy samberg?!

Oh my word.

props to doug

Reasons it's better being me than living with me:

1. 2 words: deliberately. obnoxious.
2. I'd kill someone if they left cupboard doors open as often as I do.
3. I don't have to look at myself constantly. Especially when I'm wearing shorts with high socks.
4. I don't have to listen to myself whine.
5. I'd kill someone if they put their cold feet on my warm legs as often as I do.
6. 2 more words: overly. dramatic.
7. Mood swings
8. Period cravings
9. Non-period cravings
10. I'd kill someone if they bossed me around as often as I boss Doug around.
11. Seriously, I'm such a know-it-all some[all]times.
12. I'd kill someone if they forgot to take their hair out of the shower as often as I do.

My husband is a saint.


working weekends

We had no school on Friday because of a "cold day", which was nice. However, yesterday I spent a record 14 hours at school, helping my freshman class decorate & prepare for our upcoming homecoming week. It was exhausting, stressful at times, chaotic - and a complete blast. Since they're just freshmen, I didn't have overly high expectations, but I was so pleased with the amount of effort they put forth! 

This is part of our finished hallway (there's also a castle at the other end). The theme for decorating this year was Board Games; our class wound up with chess. Unfortunately, I didn't get the full right-hand corner in this shot - a trembling Southfield Eagle is cowering on the ground, waiting to be crushed under our PCA Eagle's trustworthy steed. (Um, the eagle is NOT in his boxers, as my dear husband thought - that's a shield.) Pretty good for freshmen... right??

I got the apology letter from JC Penny - and a gift card! 

News from Good Apple: keep checking our blog for updates about Etsy news! We've added a new line of finger puppets - the Berry Barnyard Buddies.



Yesterday my "little" brother Robert turned 21. Here are a few random memories of one of the coolest kids/men (MEN?!) I know.

1. One time after we had gotten an extended downpour, the bottom of the hill in our side yard flooded. My parents let us "go swimming" in the flood water (yeah, disgusting, I know) and videotaped our shenanigans. When you watch the video, you see us splashing around happily, when suddenly Robert stumbles upon a huge branch. His tiny frame struggles to pull the branch up out of the water, but once he's got it, he lifts it up, points it directly at me and starts going, "Dsh! Dsh!" - i.e. shooting at me.

2. In one of our more violent arguments, I pinned Robert to the ground and rested my elbow against his temple, then growled, "If I push hard enough, I can kill you." Yep, that's me - the loving big sister.

3. When Robert was probably about 4, he went missing one day. My parents and I were looking around the farm frantically, and my mom called the local police, then told me to go to the house and call 911. I wasn't quite to the house when Mom yelled to me that they had found Robert. He had decided to go on a "walk with Sukie around the pond," neglecting to tell anyone.

4. One day, Robert and I were both very young - I would estimate that I was probably 5, so he'd be about 2 - we were downstairs playing while Dad had gone upstairs to shower quickly. In the 5 or so minutes that Dad was upstairs, Robert dragged out a tiny stool/chair we had and fell off it. I yelled up the stairs to my father, "Dad - Robert hurt himself." This was nothing new, so Dad responded, "Okay, I'll be down in a minute." I paused and said, "Okay, I'll try to clean up the blood by myself." Needless to say, that brought Dad running, face half lathered with shaving cream. Robert ended up getting stitches in his chin.

5. A short while later, he fell off a [parked] tractor and had to get stitches on his head. In elementary school, he broke his foot by doing a back flip on a trampoline... and missing the trampoline on the landing. Freshman year of school, he dropped a tuba on his head, resulting in more stitches. Freshman year of school, Robert also broke his wrist by bouncing off of one of our friends after jazz band. He also broke his collar bone in high school at soccer practice.

6. One morning on the way to school (when I could drive), I was in a hurry and asked Robert to tell me if anything was coming before I made a left turn. He responded, "No.... wait, yes. Yes!" This was another tense moment in our relationship.

7. Back when I was still bigger than Robert, we used to play tackle football in the kitchen, much to Mom's chagrin. Instead of tackling him, I would pick him up and carry him back for a loss of yards. Our games never lasted very long.

8. When we were little, we played with mini cars and trucks, and Robert would always make sound effects for the people driving his cars, especially when they were going to and from their vehicles. These sound effects consisted of: "Open door, walk walk, close door, walk walk walk..."

The past 21 years with you have been a lot of fun, brosive. 
Happy [belated] birthday - I love you!


putting the cool in sc[h]ool

School has started back up with a vengeance, and I have no life. Right now I have a cake in the oven that I'm baking for the January birthdays at PCA, because I accidentally signed up for my own birthday month to bring treats. Why? I don't know.

Random things that have happened in the past week:
-I learned more than I ever wanted to about one of my students' blue belly button lint.
-I have had at least 3 male students ask about my "hot 15-year old sister."
-I missed Jeanette's baby shower because of all the snow on Saturday. I'm sorry, Jeanette. I have a killer gift for you & Master P, too.
-Quote of the week: "I can totally see Mrs. Parton with a butcher's knife..." - in reference to the practice Lock-Down we'll be having later this week.
-Our youth group started a dodgeball league for 6 weeks during the winter, in which some of my students also play. The first night was last Thursday. It is AWESOME. 

-I jokingly told one of my students to get me a Jamocha shake at Arby's... and he did.
-I finally finished grading all the short stories. 
-I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the first time ever. 
-I realized today that there are 91 days of class left in the school year, which is blowing my mind.
-Our hot water keeps going in & out. This morning was my first hot shower in a week.
-A student accidentally told me to shut up today. He was telling another student to shut up, then began to ask me a question, but forgot to pause, so it came out: "Shut up Mrs. Parton! Oh my gosh, I mean..." (I wasn't even talking, otherwise I would have been more suspicious...)
-I made another student sit in the corner with his face to the wall on Friday. 
-I gave out my 3rd detention of the semester today. I gave out 2 detentions last semester. I am on a roll. I told my students my New Year's resolution was to be mean. I don't think they believe me.


sea kitten?

I was going to do a re-cap post about 2008, or a post about New Year's resolutions... but then one of my students showed me this. And I thought, really, this is much more important. The sea kitten stories are especially amusing.


check it OUT!


Victoria & I have put Good Apple on Etsy.com - a venue for crafters to sell their homemade products. 

You can check out our shop HERE.

And don't forget to visit the Good Apple blog regularly for updates!


routine & change

Gentle readers, I am not a person who thrives on change. I get stressed out when we move around the living room to make a place for the Christmas tree. That’s not to say that I don’t like decorating or even that I don’t LIKE change; sometimes I just need a little convincing and patience.

I am good with routine. I like having a list of things to do and being able to check things off. Confession: sometimes when I make to-do lists, I put on something I’ve already done just so I can check it off and feel more accomplished. It’s a mind trick, and it totally works. I like feeling productive and accomplished, and a routine gives me a sense of order. When my routines get messed up – or changed – I sometimes struggle internally.

I like to reflect on things. I definitely have whimsical, daydreamy tendencies. I like sitting in silence alone with my thoughts. In fact, I rarely listen to music in the car when I’m by myself. However, I have discovered that too much alone time to think is also a bad thing for me. I get carried away with thoughts.

The return back to school was good & bittersweet, and I only changed one class. My hilarious, exasperatingly funny speech class has been replaced by a bunch of strangers. I know I’ll love these kids too, but when some of my old speech students stood at the door & waved, I felt a little pang in my heart. It was magnified when I realized that some of those students are seniors, and come next year, they’ll be gone. 99% of the time I’m just enjoying today and not worrying about tomorrow (at least with teaching…), but every once in awhile, I’ll have one of those little moments.

I’m too young to be sentimental, right?!


a tale of two thieves

As promised last time, the tale of when my dear sister-in-law, Michele, & I were almost apprehended. Sort of.

Last Sunday, Michele & I ventured to JC Penny's for some girl time & shopping. I was looking for slippers, and she had a gift card to burn. To my disappointment, there were no cute slippers, but we did have fun perusing the sale racks. We looked at shirts, jeans, jewelry, purses, selected a few things & made our way to the changing rooms. 

After trying on our various outfits, we exited the changing rooms, put down the clothes we didn't plan to purchase, and I walked with Michele to return the jewelry and purse she had opted not to buy. We then decided to stop at the little Sephora section of this particular Penny's. We browsed for a bit, paid for our products and headed out the door. Or so we thought.

When I was opening the door to go outside, a gruff male voice interrupted our conversation and laughter: "Don't walk out that door." A big arm grabbed the handle I was attempting to push open and pulled it shut. I turned, surprised, and was greeted by a stern male face. "You ladies need to come with me."

We were utterly confused and responded with variations of, "What? Us?" It was abruptly confirmed: YES, US. As we walked like guilty little school girls behind this hulking figure, he was radioing other personnel: "I need a female at the LP Office." 

As we were making our way back to the mysterious "LP Office," I asked timidly, "Um, could you explain what this is all about?" The only response I received was a surly, "When we get to the office."

At this point, Michele and I are exchanging confused glances and my heart is pounding a million miles a minute. Did I forget to change out of something in the changing room? Did something fall in my coat pocket? 

We entered the Loss Prevention Office and were directed to sit on two chairs in the corner. As soon as we sat down, Mr. Silent Brooding turned into Captain Interrogation. The conversation/ cross-examination ran like this:

Him: "You ladies want to tell me why you're here?"
Us: *blank stares*
Him: "Don't sit there and look confused when you know what this is about! I'm the one who determines if you get to walk out of here, or if I call the Canton Police and have them escort you."
Me: "Sir, we look confused because we are confused."
Him: "Did you girls look at purses and jewelry?"
Michele: "Yes, we both bought one pair of earrings, and I looked at a purse, but I didn't buy it."
Him: "Do you want to tell me what you did with the jewelry you didn't buy?"
Michele: *confused look* "I put it back where I got it from."
Him: "No you didn't." *Pulls out a purse and begins removing price tags from purse.*
Us: *blank stare*
Him: "What are these?"
Michele: "I have no idea. That's not the purse I looked at."
Him: "Well, where is all this jewelry?"
Michele: "Sir, I have no clue. I put the jewelry back on the table - I have no clue what that is."

At this point, we explained to the guy that we didn't steal any jewelry. We detailed exactly where Michele had replaced the jewelry and bag, and the guy made her walk back to that spot and show him. While they were gone, I asked the lady who had come in with us if she wanted to search me. She responded, "Nope, I'm just here to witness," as carefree as if I had asked her if she wanted a piece of bubble gum.

When Michele and the guy returned, he was sheepish and still keeping up his stern act in an attempt to cover his embarrassment. 

Him: "Well, you know, I saw what I thought I saw, and I'm doing my job. I'm sorry, but I thought I saw what I thought I saw. Do you have any questions for me?"
Me: "Yes, what is your name?"

He told me his name, I thanked him and we left. As soon as we were out of the store, we basically exploded with all the things we wished we had said and done. 

After telling our husbands what had happened, they went back and had a little chat with the guy and the store manager, and apparently we should be receiving written apologies in the mail any day. I mean, I know the guy was doing his job; he probably thought we were sneaky teenagers,  but he still didn't have to be such a jerk about it. 

Here is a pictorial reenactment of what he wished had happened...

Stealing the goods.

Caught red-handed.

Mug shots.

Yeah right, sucka!

Happy New Year.