Monday, April 30, 2007

Help Yourself

If mom is taking too long to put on her make-up, and you need a drink, I guess sometimes that's your only option. Those felt pads on the chairs make them really easy to scoot.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Coffee Comments

My little bro recently posted about his Starbucks experiences and the culture of that chain. There is nothing like sitting in a Starbucks with your yummy drink, especially with a couple friends and no hurry. While my loyalty to the green mermaid was forever engrained through his employment and also the moment I tasted a Frappucino, I've discovered another coffee chain in the last year and a half that has also gained a faithful customer. I know many of you in my blog fam don't live near a Dutch Brother's, and I'm telling you, you are missing out. Dutch has one major component going for it that makes it a no-brainer for me. Two words: DRIVE THRU. (Side bar: why is that phrase always spelled incorrectly? I never see the word "through" spelled all the way out. Is that because they assume those who use it must be in a hurry, so much so that they don't have time to read three extra letters?) If Starbucks had more drive thru windows, I wouldn't have strayed to it's blue lettered competitor.

However, there is another interested aspect of the Dutch culture. It's described on their website as a commitment to "keep solid communication with the customer." Most of the DB's that I visit are staffed with overly friendly and good-looking college or high school students, listening to upbeat pop music, who really want you to feel like you are (whether "still" or for the first time) one of the popular kids. "HEY! Howzit going?!" is pretty common, just as though they'd been waiting all day to see me; even though I know they greeted the old guy in front of me in the same way. They usually ask me what I'm up to today, tell me how cute the kid in the back is, etc. A few times, though, the "solid communication" was really reaching. Once, on a sunny day, the kid said "Here you go! And I'll give you a pink straw to match you cool pink pants!" OK. Seriously? Over the top. You stopped sounding like a cool kid and now sound like a cheesy preschool teacher. Yet another time, an employee who I'm sure was new started chatting me up about how she's an auntie and all about her nephew, while the seasoned employee had finished my drink, given me an apologetic look, and the drink was sitting behind Chatty Cathy, who wasn't paying attention. Other than that time, it has never really bothered me, just kind of peaked my curiosity.

Yet every once in a while a barista will have perfected the method, and will greet me with just the right dose of cheeriness and conversation, and I really will feel like someone who has made it into the "in" crowd by frequenting this joint. But what keeps me coming back is that no matter what the experience, the drinks are decent, and Carson stays in his carseat the whole time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Back in the Classroom

I've had the great opportunity to substitute teach both yesterday and today at my old alma mater, Faith Bible. (Side note: I wikipedia-ed "alma mater" to make sure I was spelling it right, and it literally means "nourishing mother" which, although not literally, is a somewhat appropriate term for how FBCS helped me become who I am.) ANYway. Yesterday I was in a third grade class and today I'm doing Jr. High English. What a hoot it is to be back teaching a little bit. I've got my app in at several different schools to sub, so you may be reading many more stories to come. I just wanted to share a few gems.

Favorite quotes from third grade:
"Teacher, I need to move seats because (insert typical boy's name here) puts ketchup on his pizza and it's making me gag and I might need to throw up."
"Can I call my mom? I forgot _______________."
"At my old school, I was the class clown. Now I'm the class magician. Here: pick a card."
"Mrs. Tompkins, I don't feel good. I think I need to call my mom." (repeat approx. 8 times by different or same students.)

Favorite overheard conversation from jr. high. Please imagine these lines being said very quickly, in a high register, and with the participants jumping up and down, holding on to each other's arms:
"We don't have a vocab quiz today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"OHMYGOSH! And it's FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"And my birthday's next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"And you look so pretty today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"And we're both wearing green!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
(much squealing and hugging ensues)

Also this: right before class, a 7th grader in the front row whined loudly, "Uuggh! I don't have a penculllllllll!"

I whined back, "Uugggh! I wonder what you could do about that?"

Fast-forward 30 minutes and 2 quizzes later. We are getting ready to grade the second quiz. I see he is not active, and when we make eye-contact, he says, "I didn't have a pencil, so I couldn't take the quizzes."

Incredulous, I asked "You just sat there quietly for 30 minutes, didn't do your work, and didn't ask me or anyone else around you for a pencil?!?!"

"Wuhl," he started, " I did ask you and you ignored me! And I asked Mark and he didn't have one."

"First of all, I didn't ignore you. I mocked you." Just kidding I didn't say that. I just repeated my exact words. I then informed him tactfully how ridiculous it was that he was using that as an excuse for doing nothing and made him sit in the hallway for the rest of class (with a pencil that I loaned him after I made him ask for it) doing the two quizzes. Sheesh! There wasn't an eye-roll big enough for that one.

But a big bonus: it is Teacher Appreciation week here, and therefore I am benefitting from the appreciation with plenty of snacks (including a jamba juice and frappucino!) that really were not meant for me. Oh well! Such is life!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A friend of mine had this picture on her blog a while back, and I thought it was great. Reduces me to a blubbering puddle, but still great. No explanation needed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And yet MORE backyard photos:

Really I just didn't have anything else to post, and evidently I tend to take more pictures in the backyard than anywhere else! These are from last week (was it?) when we had a couple really warm days. As my photog bro has mentioned, bright sunlight is not ideal for good photos, but wearing your new pair of shorts for the first time in spring IS.
I now also want to give a shout out to Auntie Carol and all her friends at the 911 center who apparently have a crush on Carson. HOLLA! "Who me?"
"I'll teach her to buy me white shoes!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jen's Big Break

This vid is circa 1988, in my first semi-starring role as Harmony, the spoiled songbook daughter of our favorite childhood hero, Psalty.

Please notice Peaby walking by with bare feet and Hawaiin shorts, not exactly sure of his blocking.


I think it's so interesting how babies and toddlers develop attachments to security objects. Some kids need a thumb or binky almost from the getgo; others have a special blankie they can't live without. We received lots of wonderful blankets when Carson was born--several were homemade. But one special item was a small little blanket/stuffed animal combo my mom made for him. It's basically a puppy head on about a square foot of fabric, but much cuter and less creepy than it sounds in that description. It is made out of some extremely soft material, called "minky." So, I started calling this thing Minky, or Mr. Minky. Carson has always liked soft things against his face, so he didn't seem to mind when I put it in his carseat or swing, but never really cared what he was holding. But just recently, in the last month or so, he has really become attached to Mr. Minky. He goes to find it when it's time to sleep, when I get him from his crib, he is holding it next to his neck, and he wants to bring it with him when we leave the bedroom and begin the wake up process. It it gets left in the crib, he will go into his room, put his hands through the slats in the crib, and pull Mr. Minky through, not without a good tight squeeze to poor Minky's head. It's really pretty cute, and I'm sure it makes my mom feel good. Here are some "waking up process" pictures with Minky and another blanket he really likes.

Then again, when Minky is in the wash, you can always use the substitute of your stuffed beagle and your purse.

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Little Mermaid

The other day I was putting Carson's pants back on after an extra special poopie diaper, and I couldn't figure out why I was having so much trouble pulling the pants all the way up. These particular pants don't have a button and zipper, so it's just a pull and tug maneuver that gets them in the appropriate waist position. Well, as you can see, the reason I couldn't get them up was because both of his legs were in ONE of the pant legs. This caught me so off guard that I busted up laughing, which made Carson laugh too. I ran to get the camera, but he wouldn't SIT so I could get a good shot. He kept trying to move around, which was futile, and made both of us laugh more. That last picture isn't a very good one of Carson, but I wanted to also show off that he is obsessed with wearing the green Mardi Gras beads from St. Pat's day.