Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reminders of our first home.

Lots of stuff going on right now, but I don't really feel like venting it all. Maybe later.

The gist:
Chris and I are shooting his cousin Lexi's wedding this weekend. We've got lenses rented, flashes ready to go, batteries charging as we speak. We'll be driving up with his parents, his cousin Bethany (whom we used to live with), and his aunt who's staying with his parents right now. It will be an awesomely tight fit with all of us, our luggage, and camera equipment, in one SUV. Chris actually bought a car adaptor so we can work on our laptops during the drive to Monterey. (I love that guy. He thinks like me.)

Most of my kids majorly bombed their chapter three test today. I'm a little mad at them.

Chris has been working like crazy all week long. Apparently there's many, many projects due all of the sudden, and he's feeling stressed to get everything done before the weekend, since he's taking Monday and Tuesday off for us to drive home and recuperate from the craziness. I want to go love on him and squeeze him and tell him he's so great, but he doesn't like that when he's stressed. (That's where we don't think the same.) So instead I'm giving him some space, letting him have the office to himself and working on my own stuff.

Finally, and the whole point of this post, I am grieving the fact that I don't record as much as I feel I should be, and especially when I read other blogs and appreciate the simple day to day stuff that shows up, I feel like I just want to take my camera and go all over my house and snap pictures to remind myself of what things are like right now. So I did.

There's no people in these pictures (except the one of Chris). These are just pictures of everyday mundane things of how our house looks. Little things like our toothbrushes, our unmade bed with the zillion unmatching blankets since our house is freezing, the plates sitting on our desk from the red velvet cake we ate last weekend for our six month anniversary. And I threw in the one of Chris, which I obviously didn't take, but he took on that same day, because I want to prove I'm not the only one who takes pictures of herself in the bathroom mirror.

Silly to take pictures of random stuff, I know. But all that really matters is that when we're eighty and eighty-one, living in our awesome retirement community (seriously, we keep hearing about those places and they sound amazing- can't wait), we can remember our first house and our first year together.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wacky Wednesday just went to a whole new level.

I seriously don't even know where to start. So tired. Can't think straight.

School was insane today. Started out fine-ish. There's been some tension around the classroom lately for reasons that aren't important here, and we found out we would be having a meeting post-lunch to discuss the issues. This was unfortunate, as today was Sandee's birthday and we had a whole potluck lunch planned, and the meeting was sure to be a big downer. Also unfortunate? The meeting was going to start 15 minutes before my Geometry class was supposed to start, and it was going to be held in our main classroom. Last time we had a meeting like that, we had 20+ kids standing outside the door for half an hour waiting for our meeting to end so they could come in.

Here's how this all played out:
12:30pm- Celebrated Sandee's birthday with a fabulous lunch. Everyone's having a great time! (Or, in a few cases, ignoring the tension.)
1:15pm- Meeting starts; I go into the back room (my little classroom) to set up my laptop and the projector so I'll be ready to go at 1:30. I already have two students back there who arrived early but were allowed to stay in the classroom as long as they were doing work in the back room.
1:20pm- I go back out to listen to the "brief" meeting.
1:21pm- My student teaching advisor shows up.

Time out: My advisor was supposed to come halfway through the class to see the second part of Geometry, since he's always watched the beginning. He forgot about that today. Of all days.

Time in.

1:21pm- I greet my advisor at the door, explain the situation ("we're having a staff meeting literally right now, and the class is probably going to start a little bit late, and I thought you were coming at 2:15...?")
1:23pm - Two more of my kids show up and get hustled into the back room.
1:25pm - I go to the back and explain the situation to the kids and tell them to stay quiet and work on homework. (Yeah right.) Meanwhile, the meeting is still going on, as I run back and forth between the front door, the back classroom, and Michelle's desk to get paperwork for my advisor.
1:30pm- Half my kids are there, as well as four other students who are not in my Geometry class, but were hustled into the backroom so they wouldn't hear the very tense meeting going on in the main classroom.
1:31pm- My advisor takes a seat in the back room to begin his observation. I explain again this is not normal and we're waiting for the meeting to end so I can kick the extra kids out and start class.
1:32pm- More kids come in. More kids that are not mine come in.
1:35pm- It's really hot in our room. And really noisy. I do my best to keep them quiet and try to get them doing work. (Yeah, right.)
1:37pm- I discover not one of my kids did the homework from the night before, so I make them get it out and start working together (quietly... yeah, right) to solve the problems. For the most part they take me seriously, though it's still LOUD.
1:38pm- Everyone is seriously starting to sweat in our little back room, I turn on the fan, and papers go flying. Another student gets hustled in and has to stand behind the door because there are no more seats.
1:39pm- I peek out at the meeting. Still going strong. I get lots of sympathetic looks from the people facing my direction.
1:40pm-Apparently one of the kids escaped to go to the bathroom. When he came back he announced that the teachers were getting reamed (they weren't). More talking ensues.
1:41pm- I'm squeezing through students as I get called to help for problem after problem. They're still loud, but at least they're working... mostly. The non-Geometry kids are just sitting in there looking bored and taking up space.
1:42pm- One of the non-Geometry students asks if she can be in the workshop and I have to explain that we're in the middle of the course, and she's not even enrolled in Geometry right now. Cute kid though.
1:50pm- Finally the meeting is over, and I send the miscellaneous kids packing. My advisor also decides he's seen enough (he usually only stays about 15 minutes), but really I think he was over being in the hot tiny room with twenty high schoolers. Michelle told me afterward when he came to talk to her, he was sweating like crazy. We all were.

After that it was pretty much a rush of reviewing. The kids had a hard time getting into the swing of real class after the fiasco. I'd spent a ton of time creating a fun game for them to review, and we had to rush through it faster than I would've liked. And we didn't even get to do a lot of the important questions. Sigh. I suppose I can hope they'll be responsible and actually do their review homework tonight, and come prepared for their test tomorrow? (Yeah right.)

And then, to top it all off, halfway through my Algebra class, I realize all the calculators I'd borrowed from one of the other teachers were all missing. Usually when I borrow the calculators, they're left on the desks for the algebra kids to use next. Not a one was to be seen.

I started going through the list of kids in my head, trying to figure out who would steal six calculators. (The kids who come to our school steal all kinds of stuff, so I wasn't being very judgmental here. Only a little.) After I finally get the guts to go ask the teacher I'd borrowed them from if any of my students had happened to turn in their calculators to him on their way out, he informed me that, in fact, one of my students had taken it upon himself to collect all the calculators and return them for me.

Then I felt bad for thinking one of them might be a thief. (But really, if you knew some of your kids had been in juvie and were former gang members, wouldn't you be a little suspicious?)

Such a crazy day. But at least my advisor reported to Michelle that I did a great job handling unusual situations. Good thing he didn't know I was seriously ready to lose it trying to wade through all those students, help them with work they should have done two days before, and keeping the noise to a low roar.

Still, it would have been nice for him to see my awesome review game at the end of class instead. Such is life, I suppose.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

True love

Is getting up at 5:30am because your husband wants to go out and play with the new macro lens, the sunrise, and bubbles.
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekend in Redlands

We traveled back to Chris' homeland this weekend. Our main reason for going was for Sarah's birthday celebration. Our secondary reason was to get our taxes done by the most amazing tax guy ever, according to Chris' parents and Kris and Becky Cowen. They were all correct, as Mr. Most Amazing Tax Guy Ever scored us the biggest tax refund either of us has ever seen (or expected). Getting married and buying a house did us good this tax year. I won't reveal our big number, but let's just say we'll be able to pay off my car, get Chris new tires for his, buy a new camera lens (105 macro, holler!), and still have quite a bit left over.

We are happy campers this Sunday evening.

Chris is currently in the office purchasing our website domain, which means we are getting ever closer to being able to reveal our photography name and send people to our website! He's also trying to figure out Quickbooks, since we'll be needing to keep track of a whole lot of stuff now. Mr. Tax Guy gave us some good tips on what to track (pretty much anything and everything), so we are taking this very seriously. (We have a number to beat come next tax season, after all.)

I'm sprawled on the bed, watching How I Met Your Mother (Season 2, Disc 3), finishing up my lesson plans, and gathering the things I need to print tomorrow morning. Another week, another Monday. Another plan for a new chapter. We'll see if this one works any more than the other plans did. I try not to discourage myself, and as I told Chris yesterday, I have to constantly remind myself that if I wasn't doing the class, the kids would be doing it on their own and failing everything, so at least they're doing better than they would be. Even if it is taking a long time to get them motivated enough to work.

While we were up in Redlands/Yucaipa, we took the D90 to get pictures of Sarah's celebration. And since I'm so incredibly on top of things tonight, I've already got them downloaded to my laptop and ready to show the world.

(Farah is Sarah's code name, for when Chris and Sarah make up hypothetical stories about themselves, most of which involve an argument of some sort that they are trying to win people over to. I think the first one ever had to do with parsley vs. cilantro as the go-to herb or choice.)

This cat is the queen.

We're laughing, because we just knocked our heads together getting in close for the photo.

This time I'm laughing because Sarah packed as many things as she possibly could into that purse, including all her other gifts and a pillow.

I just like his shoes. :)

Oh my gosh, I freaking love our new camera, especially for birthday candle pictures!

Chris teaches his parents the ways of the iphone.

Also? We got our daylight back this weekend! Woot!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life and Battleship.

Life's crazy right now. Either I'm at work or at home (or on alternating Thursdays sitting in a four hour seminar class), either grading, or teaching, or planning. These are my daily activities. When I get a chance to go off-book and check up on my google reader, or edit some photos, or update my own blog, I usually just want to go to sleep. Or stare mindlessly at anything.

It's really hard to be productive with the stuff you want to do, when you've got so little free time to do it in.

I'm about a quarter of the way through student teaching. Looking forward to the break April will be, as a lot of my student days will be taken up with the standardized testing schedule. Good for me, because it means less teaching in April. Bad for me (and the kids), because we lose about 3 weeks of class time, and I really want to get my kids through these courses by the time my student teaching is up.

Currently, my geometry kids are doing coordinates, midpoints, measures, blah, blah, blah, and the algebra kids are learning how to solve equations (hopefully- tomorrow will tell if they actually learned what I taught them on Monday) and will soon move to ratios, proportions, and those darn awful airplanes flying west/canoes rowing upstream/ drivers going way too fast word problems. Seriously, Chapter two of Algebra 1 is the worst. It's just all over the place with all these complicated topics. Can't wait to get to a simple chapter like 5: Functions. Or even 3: Linear inequalities. At least there's just one topic being covered.

I've been having a lot of fun with the Geometry kids lately. With the exception of about 3 of them, they all are really trying, come to class in a good mood, and are turning in homework consistently (finally!). Last week I made up a number line game to get them to practice adding positive and negative numbers (without realizing it, they probably did about 150 problems in 20 minutes-- I'm sneaky that way). I thought they'd find it really cheesy, but holy cow they loved that game! So I revamped my next day's lesson to include another game- Coordinate Battleship. Just like regular Battleship, but you use the coordinate graph, split the class into teams, and you get to hide the ships while they try to sink them. It was loud, but super fun, and I loved seeing the kids get a chance to interact with each other. And it was great fun hearing the team names they picked for themselves- especially the Power Rangers. Turns out we all watched Power Rangers when we were younger. Of course, I was the only one who'd watched the original series, but whatever. We bonded, people.

As it turned out, every team ended up sinking one of the ships. It was looking a little bleak for my back row team of K and J (of 106% fame) toward the end. K was really the only one playing, but J was being enthusiastic and paying attention so I let it go. Every time their turn came, K would lean back in his chair, scrutinize his paper, and say, "Well, you see, I'm going to have to say..." and then fill in the blank with whatever coordinate he chose. He never got a hit, but he always got close enough that another team was able to guess the right coordinate to hit and eventually sink a ship. Towards the end, every time he got a "miss" he'd (mostly) good-naturedly say, "I give up!" and be hit by a resounding chorus of "No! You can't give up!" from the others. Seriously. Cute.

Finally it came down to the last ship, the two-coordinate Destroyer. K ended up getting the first hit, and the other teams swarmed in on the area. It was a guessing game after that, as to which way the ship was facing, and I inwardly prayed the other teams would all guess wrong. They did, and it was back to K. He was looking uncertainly at his paper, and I began to get afraid he hadn't been marking down the coordinates the other team had guessed. But finally he looked up and said, "Well, you see, I'm going to have to say... 0, -12." And when I replied with "Hit, sunk," the whole class exploded.

It was awesome. Math games are so fun.

Unfortunately, they're really hard to come up with, find online, or incorporate into the lesson. I mean, what kind of game am I going to come up with for the next chapter on angles?


At least Coordinate Battleship was amazing. Hopefully the memory will keep them floating through a few more chapters.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chris' makeshift studio.

New kid on the block.

We've added a member to our little family:

The Nikon D90.

This is the first meeting between the new siblings:

And yes, I'm aware I'm ridiculously weird, to stage a standoff between our old babies and our new baby. But you know what? Ryan's actually the one that took that money shot. With his cool iphone. :)

I took the rest of these with Chris' iphone:

 (That's Ryan in the background.)

So far this thing's been awesome. It's got way more ISO settings than either of our other cameras. Full frame viewing, so you can get a better idea of how your picture turned out, before it gets to Photoshop. And the settings are pretty easy to figure out (unlike someone else's Nikon I know).

To get an idea of the awesomeness, here's a picture from earlier today, straight out of the camera:

(My cute sister, who came over this morning in the hopes I could help her with her statistics homework.) 
(I could not.)

Not a bad shot, eh? 

Here's another, this one further away from our light source (Britt was sitting right in front of our dining room window). Again, not bad considering Chris is in the hallway, and definitely not bad for an indoor shot, which generally come out pretty poor straight out. 

We're feeling more legit everyday about our photography business! Chris hasn't given me the go-ahead to release our official name yet (he wants to create a logo and brand first), but it's pretty awesome, and we are officially a business as of two weeks ago. We even have a PO box and everything! (And of course we took pictures of ourselves with our new PO box!)

Chris put up a blog about our latest photo shoot-- go over there to check it out! We had a lot of fun with this one down in Coronado. Feisty little boys are difficult to photograph, but we managed to get him to hold still for a few. :)


It's always a good Saturday when Ryan comes to visit!