Saturday, November 24, 2007

Am I shrinking?

One of these shoes belongs to my 13 year old, the other to his dad.

I went to buy Anthony shoes tonight for the zoot suit he will wear in his jazz band. Last time we bought shoes, Tony was size 10. (Blake is 91/2). I know he's growing fast. He's 5' 5" and he's left me in the dust but I was not prepared for him to be 3 sizes bigger! Ouch! pinchy shoes. He obviously doesn't complain. I hope he grows into his feet. Nate doesn't think he will. He said, "Maybe he's done growing and he'll be a stubby guy with big feet."

Anyone recognize the chair?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Jello Cells

I am not allowed to share pictures of Anthony on my blog but I have been given special permission to share his latest science project. He made models of an animal cell and a plant cell out of jell-o.

Way cool! Except that with all the gross stuff in the fridge to choose from, it doesn't quite make sense that he would use my
expensive yellow and orange peppers for his endoplasmic reticulum.

I was glad he got them to school before the other three thought it was their snack.

Where's Waldo?

I get claustrophobic watching her sleep. And now we add the hat.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The pirate and the princess

I only have one child who is willing to smile when the camera comes out. Here is her new dress. A present from the Halloween witch who leaves presents to all boys and girls that leave their candy on the fireplace after they have picked out their favorites. I have been accused of robbing my children of precious holiday memories like eating candy until Easter but let me emphasize: It has always been their choice! (with big bribes, of course)

Nefertiti's Bust at Church

Teaching at my kid's school has many advantages. If they throw up at school, I'm right there. I can't do anything, but I'm right there. I know their friends. I have parent teacher conferences during lunch. etc. etc.

There is a small drawback. I taught 135 6th graders last year and 128 this year. I can't go down the halls at church without being called "Mrs. Elison" a few dozen times. Costco, library, you name it, those kids are there. Trick or treaters at my door saying, "Hi Mrs. Elison, is this where you live?" Scary.

So today at church, one of my highly entertaining students hung out the door of his Sunday School class and saw me walking by. He was thrilled to let me know he has been working hard on his Egypt report. In what can only be described as a loud, booming voice, he yells into the crowded hallway, "Mrs. Elison! I found the BEST picture of Nefertiti's BUST!!" And, of course, I say, "That is wonderful news. Bring it tomorrow, I can't wait to see it!"

I hope my church going friends realize the said bust is a highly prized find of Ancient Egypt. Lest they turn me in to the authorities...

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Bend in the Road

Just when I was loving the whole I-go-to-work-thing and Blake is Mr. Mom, he took a new job. Well, almost. He's going in to hear the offer on Wednesday--Halloween. I think he should dress up as Superman because you know the guy making the offer will be dressed up and it might make him feel not so silly. Maybe they will offer more money.

Well, so this changes everything. Not only did he bring in 90% more income than me, he cleaned the bathrooms every Wednesday, did homework with the kids before I got home, had the groceries bought and put away with receipts on the counter for me to admire the good deals he found, paid all the bills, balanced the checkbook, went to parent teacher conferences, and well, everything except cook and wash the clothes (but he would fold and put away which is the worst part anyway). I wasn't a working mom. I was just working. He was a working mom. He did it all. Since I don't have the kind of job I can walk away from in October, I will now truly be a working mom.

And I am very scared.

If he accepts the offer, he will be working at Close to My Heart-- that's right, the scrapbook and card making supply place... there's always a silver lining!

Friday, September 28, 2007

there's a bee on your butt

So I'm bringing in my 6th graders from their lunch recess and one of my students, an out spoken girl, says, "oh my gosh! There's a bee on your butt!" I turn and look at her and realize that I can either hold in my laugh or lose all management of my class for the day as I explode into laughter and pee my pants.

Who says "your butt" to your teacher???

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Out of balance

After teaching 130 6th graders, coaching a 3rd/4th grade Knowledge Bowl team, attending a parent's meeting, making dinner, shopping for football treats, dropping off at soccer practice, dropping off at orchestra, making sure someone else can drive to Jazz band and piano practice, picking up from orchestra, going to football game, cheering, getting lesson ready to teach tomorrow, finish feeding rest of family, it is now 11:05pm and I have just finished making my grandmother's cure all chicken soup for the faculty treat table tomorrow. Something is wrong. I don't remember signing up for so much chaos. Good thing I love my kids and my teaching job.

Now I'm off to count the sleeping bodies.

Did I mention my mom and auntie are in Italy?

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Last week, I was on hall duty before school. One of my 6th grade students ran past me so I had to ask her to wait for the bell to ring before scurrying off to class. Without slowing her pace and keeping her head down, she informed me she was off to the bathroom. Being the expert that I am in spotting the irrational preteen hormonal pout, I decide to pick my battles. She is off to the bathroom and I resume my hall duty. A smaller girl came up and informed me that her friend ran to the bathroom crying because some 6th grade boys killed her pet! Oh no, I say. This is more serious than I thought. I ask what happened and who was involved, ready to turn this one right over to the Elementary School higher up powers that be. The younger girl explains the whole thing: These horrid, mean 6th grade boys laughed at her friend-- let's call her Maude-- because Maude was crying after they killed her pet. I am now beyond anxious that I need to spend the year with such awful, uncaring, murderous boys and that my own children go to school with these cruel delinquents. I ask, was it an accident? No, she assured me they meant to do it and then reminded me that they laughed afterwards. How did they do it? With her innocent, sincere, unblinking eyes staring straight into mine she tells me they poured salt on Maude's pet. Now I am looking at her like she is an alien creature from a far off galaxy. "Don't you know salt kills snails?" she asks.

'Maude' continued down in the irrational preteen hormonal dumps until lunch recess. When she was cheered up and more approachable, another teacher asked her why she had such a rough morning and she confirmed the whole story, adding, "They even threatened Gary!" Who's Gary? You got it, her other pet snail.

She can come hang out with my roses, gather herself a plethora of Gary's cousins and call herself a zoo keeper. Better yet, I think I'll invite the 6th grade boys over and tell them to bring their salt shakers.

Which just goes to prove my mother's Words to Live By #84: If you are going to have a whole bunch of something, better to have a bunch of boys than girls. Insulted by this wisdom in the past, Deb and I now whole heartily agree.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Harry Potter the musical

After seeing Hairspray, Louisa can't stop singing
all her new favorite songs.
My favorite...
"Good Morning, Voldemort!"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No hands!

Jonah's been playing for a few years now so he knows the drill. He played hard. He had fun. Louisa is totally new to this game. She loves her outfit. We had one "goal" for her first game: Don't Use your Hands! If she uses her hands, the other team gets the ball. This makes her cry. Why?
Because she is sure the other team will take her brand new Cinderella-blue soccer ball home with them. I could not convince her otherwise. She never touched the ball.

I was ok until I saw the tattoo and cleavage

I take deep breaths and mutter, "I'm ok, I'm ok" as I try to remember the techniques I heard in a Lamaze class about a century ago. How bad can it be, after all? People do it all the time. Every year. And lots of them survive. In fact, I haven't heard of any fatalities from attending the first day of Jr. High. But still I mutter and hyperventilate. Seems no amount of logic can squelch the irrational fear that had an iron grip on my breathing organs. Pressing on, I manage to drive up to Willow Creek Middle School, ready to sacrifice my first born to the wolves. He says, "Really, mom, I'm ok. You can go. You don't need to come with me." I am compelled to go in. The mother part of me thinks that if I walk through the foreboding doors with him, I will be taking some of his anxiety and pressure. He says I will give him more anxiety and pressure. He's wrong. I know. I'm the mom. As we get in the school, he begs me to leave. I tell him I will not even let on that I'm his mother. His friend goes one way to pay his lunch money, while Anthony goes up the stairs to his locker. I call up to him, "Stay with Christian!" Then I immediately cover my mouth, knowing I had just done the unthinkable. Now he is sure he will be stuffed in a locker because everyone in Jr. High now knows that he has a mother. I decide I better leave before I do more damage. After talking to someone in the office about mistakes on his schedule, I leave. As I walk to the car repeating, "I'm ok. I'm ok. Breathe. I'm ok. I'm ok," I see a student with a full on tattoo the size of my head on her arm and Las Vegas cleavage arriving 3 minutes before the rest of her. No amount of Lamaze training can help me now. I pause for a moment, wonder how bad it would be if I grab him and pull him back to the car kicking and screaming. I opt for the more obvious solution. Praying for my son and promising myself chocolate, I cry all the way to work.

Tony has started Jr. High.

Monday, August 13, 2007

On doing hard things

Archery has not come easily to the Elison boys. The quest for the bulls eye starts when they are 8 years old and go to Cub Scout day camp. I have seen them watch other boys shoot with ease, making their struggle that much harder. So when Anthony signed up to do the archery merit badge last summer at Scout Camp, you can imagine my concern. He did part of it last year and was a bit disappointed. This year, Nate signed up. I was VERY concerned. He was the youngest boy there. He would be watching boys 2 years older than him do something that is hard for him. When he came home with only part of it done, he was disappointed. I told him he didn't have to do it while he's 11, maybe he should wait until he's 17. This weekend, our neighbor lent Blake an archery set and these pictures tell the whole story! Archery is now officially an "easy" and "fun" thing to do! They even tried to get their sister shooting. Nate finished his Archery merit badge and received it at his first Court of Honor along with 6 other merit badges.

I have been thinking of the transition from something dreaded and hard to something fun and easy. Is it a miracle? perseverance? hard work? or maybe a change of perspective? I have seen seemingly impossible situations turn around. Like when Boston, down 3-0 to the Yankees, won the pennant. It feels great to put your game face on and defy the odds.

Repeat after me, boys: I CAN DO HARD THINGS!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

MTC Trip

What a fun day we had with my nephew, Will, before he went into the MTC. I cannot believe that we won't see him until Anthony has his learner's permit. We were lucky he could come a day early. His cousins followed him around constantly. Had he turned around too suddenly, he would have knocked someone's teeth out. I was fine at the MTC until they started passing around tissues. I've never seen so many boxes of tissues! And as we left, there were large garbage cans ready to receive the crumpled up, mascara smeared tissue. All day long I've been wondering what he's doing. I loved the MTC and I hope he has an amazing experience.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

a whole new world

Inspired by my friends Cheryl W. and Heather D., I step into blog world. As my life has changed from "I need to get out of this house!" to "When will I have a full day at home?" I find myself out of touch with those who mean so much to me. Here's my attempt to a) stay in touch b) show off pictures of my crazy kids c) pretend like I keep a journal and d) blow off steam as I continue to raise Anthony, Nate, Jonah, and Louisa- my "anjls"- without their instruction manuals.