Sunday, February 27, 2011

a clarification

so today . . . i was finally able to blog.

it has been a frustrating week of intermittent and slow internet access. this has made it really difficult to blog. but you know me and my ocd tendencies... i am not going to be happy with ten empty days on the blog! so, i am going to try to fill in some of those missed days and date them from last week. don't worry, i will let you know when i do that, so you don't have to keep checking. hopefully by the end of the week, i will be all caught up and ready to move on to other things...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the trip home...

so today . . . we are finally home.

i say finally, like it was an ordeal to get here... like we felt the need to kiss the ground once we got here... like we thought we might never make it home...

well, it wasn't quite that bad, but it also wasn't exactly smooth sailing...

it started last night, with the packing. even though we didn't have to check out until 11:00 this morning, i thought it might be a good idea for me to pack last night. i am not a morning person. i would rather stay up late to finish a task than to get up early. and so, about 11:30 last night, i started packing...

i started packing at 11:30 last night, because i really didn't think it would take too long. really. it wasn't like i had to decide what to pack--those decisions had already been made. it wasn't like i had to worry about if everything would fit--it all fit when i packed it to get here. it wasn't like i had even gone to the mall--my biggest packing challenge was going to be fitting in our two miniature louisville sluggers! so i don't quite understand how i was up until 1:00 a.m. packing...

it shouldn't have been that hard. i should have been able to pack in 15 minutes. all i had to do was throw everything back into the suitcase, right? um, no. that is not how i do things. i had to pack efficiently, like a puzzle. and so i did. i gathered everything together, put the shoes in the corners and the boots on the bottom, rolled the hanging clothes, and stuffed everything else into the nooks and crannies. there was not one wasted spot in my suitcase. and i got it all in. well, almost all of it...

my long insulated coat wouldn't fit, and i couldn't figure out why! really, the only extra stuff in the suitcase were our two miniature louisville sluggers! there was no explanation. i guess i could have unzipped the extra three inches in my suitcase, but now i was afraid that my suitcase was going to be too heavy. that had happened to me once, and believe me, it was not an experience i was anxious to repeat. so my solution? i was just going to have to wear diandra's bulky sweater, and then my long insulated coat, and THEN my shorter jacket--yes, two coats and a sweater... when i finally went to bed, i was not looking forward to spending the next day dressed like the abominable snowman.

rollie saved me. when i explained my situation this morning, he said he thought he might have room for my coat. which he did. and so i was able to spend the day much more comfortably dressed. which is good, because it turned out to be a loooong day.

our flight didn't leave louisville until 4:30, so we had some time to kill. we put our bags in the car, checked out, and spent the next hour and a half sitting in the hotel conservatory with our electronics until it was late enough to eat lunch. we could have ventured outside to take some pictures with the interesting architecture or landmarks, but it was COLD, COLD, COLD outside. so we did the smart thing and stayed in.

we made it to the airport with plenty of time before our plane left. the baggage line was short. security was easy. and so we got to our gate almost two hours early. normally this is not a problem for me--i know rollie likes to be at the gate early, so i just plan on reading or playing on my phone or computer or shopping. but we were about to get on a long flight, so i was saving my battery power. and let's just say, the louisville chamber of commerce must want you to spend all your money in town, because they give you very little opportunity to spend it at the airport...

we got great seats on the plane. which is good, because our flight ended up being four and a half hours long as we battled a head wind. when we neared las vegas (where we were going to change planes,) we realized that we were only going to have a few minutes to get to our next flight. fortunately we were sitting in the first row of seats and were able to zip out the door of the plane and race down the concourse to our next gate.

i've never been in the airport in las vegas. i think you could spend your whole vacation there! it smelled wonderful, with all the food possibilities. and not only were there a lot of shops, there were also kiosks selling pretty much anything you might want, lining the concourse. and there i was, with no time to look at anything! not that i was going to buy stuff--i already had my souveniers--but i just like to see what i am not buying... and there was no time to stop. although, i was beginning to think that even if we made the scheduled flight, there was no way, NO WAY our luggage was going to make it.

i have the worst luck of anyone i know, when it comes to my luggage arriving at the same time and place that i do. maybe it is because i am usually on the cheap flights, which usually means changing airplanes, but i have been left standing alone at the baggage carousel on more than one trip, hoping that just one more bag--mine--will come down the conveyor belt. i figured our luggage was still headed to san jose, even though we were not...

when we reached the gate, they were just loading the last of the passengers onto our outgoing flight. we quickly explained our situation and were given the option of waiting for the next plane (which was an hour and a half later, and would have our luggage, they said,) or taking the last seats on this flight and then waiting at lax for our bags.

this seemed like an easy decision--wait for the next flight. that would give us time to eat, possibly better seats, and maybe we could even walk more slowly past all those kiosks... we killed another hour and a half until finally boarding our final flight. (we sure spent a lot of time today, just waiting...) forty five minutes later we were back in los angeles. i wanted to kiss the ground!

we headed for the baggage carousel. i was not confident that our bags had even made it onto this flight, but we had done our best to arrive at the same time our bags did, even taking the later flight to get home. i started settling into a chair with our carry on bags while rollie waited for the checked bags to hopefully come down the conveyor belt. and then suddenly, there he was in front of me, before the conveyor belt had even started, with our bags.

"you won't believe this," he said, "but our bags came in on our original flight. they have been waiting here for us!"

sigh. some days it doesn't matter what i do, i can't win...

Thursday, February 17, 2011


so today . . . i am not blogging. i am too busy blowing my nose.

don't worry though, i have drugs. i'm sure i'll be better soon...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

deja vue...

so today . . . i was mean teacher ms. julie.

mean teacher ms. julie doesn't show up very often, but today i did not feel good. not good at all. i probably should have stayed home, but there were things to do at school today, and i needed to be there. so i got up, got myself to school, and tried to get through the day--which would have been easier if all of my students had just stayed home!

it isn't that they were "bad." they were just active and distracted. they wouldn't stay where they were supposed to be. they kept touching and poking at each other. two little boys decided to "moon" the whole nap room. and no one seemed to listen to a word i said!

i gave directions, and they played with their pencil boxes. i reminded them it was time to do their work, and they just talked to the kids across the room. i gave directions AGAIN, and they said, "what are we supposed to do?"

i wanted to scream.

most days i take these things in stride. most days i am patient and kind. most days i talk in a quiet voice and facilitate good decision making.

today was not most days. today i just wanted them to listen to my words and then do them! today i did NOT want to repeat the same words over and over and over again--which, let's be honest here--is a large part of my job. today i wanted them to just GIVE ME A BREAK!

but they are five years old. they are egocentric and totally unaware of my wants and needs--even when my sinuses are trying to kill me. and so as the day wore on, we found ourselves at odds--more than once. it reached the boiling point at reading group time...

...when i am doing reading groups, the kids know they have to wait to ask me questions until i am between groups. they know they are not supposed to interrupt. but today, i was probably interrupted ten times--during the first reading group!! i kept reminding them that they had to wait, but then someone else would come over. i managed to stay calm and use a quiet voice, until one child was interrupting me for the third time!! and then i sort of lost it.

i didn't exactly yell, but i asked several questions in a row, without waiting for an answer. "why do you keep interrupting the reading group? are you supposed to do that? what are you supposed to do while you wait? why are you over here? AGAIN?!?!?!"

the little guy i was talking AT, just looked at me. he couldn't quite figure out what was happening. i could almost see the speech bubble above his head--"who is this, and what has she done to teacher ms. julie?"

that is when i decided i had to get some help, so i emailed my doctor. she emailed me back and said i had to get an appointment to see someone, and that i should see someone either today or tomorrow. so i called the appointment line, and found that the first available appointment was for the middle of march! now what was i supposed to do?!?! my next step was to call the nurse advice line. at least when i call that number i get to talk to a real, live person instead of a computer. eventually, after being on hold for longer than you can imagine, i got to talk to a nurse. she said she would make me an appointment to be seen at urgent care, if i could just hold for a little longer.

again, i wanted to scream.

when she eventually came back on, she said, "well, they were no help!" and then she told me they didn't have any available appointments either! so my "plan for treatment" turned out to be a trip to urgent care to take my chances among the masses. after an incredibly short wait, the doctor there agreed that i was sick and gave me a prescription (for an antibiotic, although my kids might think a mood enhancer would have been a better choice.)

and so now i am back home, with drugs in hand and a smile on my face. i am not going to school tomorrow. there are still things that need to be done there before i go out of town next week, but i like my kids too much to subject them to my sinusitis crankiness. i am just going to stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and maybe even get out the sinus rinse...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the importance of a valentine...or, is this why there aren't any unicorns?

so today . . . i was late to church. again.

technically i was not late--i actually arrived 45 minutes early, but i had a meeting. and it went long, so church had already started when i was ready to go in. diandra was not late. she SAID she was saving me a seat, but by the time i got in there, she was surrounded by teens. so i sat behind her. pretty soon she turned around and handed me the bulletin. this is what i saw.
i read it and sort of chuckled. i got the humor. but my darling daughter did not. as i looked up to hand it back to her, i saw a very sad face. the lower lip was sticking out juuuust a bit. "isn't that sad?" she said.

sheesh! it's just a cartoon. unicorns aren't real!! (although, maybe they WERE real until they couldn't find anyone to be their valentine...)

but this is how diandra is. she feels things. she connects. even to things that aren't alive. if it has a face, she empathizes with it.

so when she was making the sad face about the cartoon, i wasn't all that surprised. a few minutes later she turned around with a big smile on her face, as she handed me her edited version.
it made me smile. this is my daughter's heart. she cares. she is empathetic. she is compassionate. it isn't always easy being that way, but it is who she is. she understands what it feels like to be alone, and she doesn't want anyone to feel that way--not even mythical cartoon characters.

sometimes, i look at her and think, "how did you turn out this way? i am your mom! my example to you was pretty much 'stop whining and deal with it!'" she is a perfect example that sometimes who we are isn't the result of nature OR nurture. sometimes it is the result of God in us.

thanks diandra, for reminding me of that :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

there is listening, and then there is listening and thinking...

so today . . . i was once again surprised by the five year old mind.

we have been learning about different countries in our social studies curriculum. this week we are learning about china. i always find this a little bit ironic, considering the majority of my students are chinese by heritage. and although many of them were born here in the united states, their parents were not. so i am sure they know waaaay more about china than i do. and really, what we learn about each country is kind of superficial--climate, exports, location, stuff like that. but when i am teaching them what our curriculum says about china, i always expect one of them to say, "that's not right!" it is compounded this year, because my assistant is chinese--really chinese! she has only been here for a few years. i was reading about chinese new year last week, and i kept expecting her to say, "that's not true!" but she didn't. it probably helped that the book i was reading was written by a chinese lady, but still...

i don't know why i expect that the books will get it wrong. it is just that sometimes the generalizations that are made seem kind of simplified--like saying chinese children like to jump rope and play ping pong! really?? that is kind of like saying american children like to play jacks and baseball. i was an american child. and let me just say, baseball was my worst nightmare when i was in school! so when i am teaching the curriculum, i pick and choose what i tell the kids.

today, their paper had the chinese character for "big" printed with red ink. their task was to copy it. but the really cool thing that happend, was that when i showed them the paper, one little girl's face lit up and she said, "oh, oh, i know what that says! that says BIG!" she was so excited! and so was i, because this little girl isn't chinese--she is philipino, but she takes chinese class in the afternoon. and she knew how to read the chinese character for BIG.

i am amazed by this. when i first started working at this school, i thought i would stay late in the afternoons and learn chinese with the kids. it sounded like a great idea, but i quickly gave it up. there was no way i was going to learn chinese. it is way too hard!!

but apparently it isn't too hard if you are five years old...

so anyway, i explained the paper and what they were supposed to do. this was a task that should have taken them all of 30 seconds to complete, so i was kind of surprised to see kevin still working on it ten minutes later. when he finally brought me his paper, this is what i saw.i really like kevin, but like several of the boys in my class this year, he doesn't always listen to my directions. and clearly he hadn't listened to them this time. "kevin," i said, "this is a very cool picture, but you were supposed to draw the character for BIG." he looked up at me and very seriously said, "but i drew God. he was the biggest character i could think of!"

i laughed. it was just too cute! clearly he had been listening, his brain had just tweaked my words a bit. and the really funny thing? kevin is chinese! he should have known what i was talking about, even if i hadn't taken the time to thoroughly explain it.

we sing a song in music time called, "my God is so big!" and i guess kevin got that message. because in his picture, God is definitely the biggest one. he is huge! but the thing that makes me smile, is all the tiny little people crawling all over God, standing on his foot, even balancing on the top of a cloud. i love it!

kevin just kept saying, "what?!" as i laughed. i'm sure he couldn't figure out what i thought was so funny. but i loved it! i loved that God was the biggest thing kevin could think of. i love that the people are all over God. but mostly, i love that kevin has learned that God is big! and we can crawl all over him, and he doesn't mind--he still smiles.

i guess he was listening after all... kind of...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

technical difficulties=a short blog

so today > > > milo has sabotaged my computer>

i was sitting here minding my own business<> milo jumped up onto the couch next to me and flopped his cute little head onto my computer keyboard> he does this often enough that i have taken photos of it> i probably should have made him move, but instead i said to diandra< "look at milo! isn't he cute?"

and he was. and then, a mysterious message popped up on my computer screen. a message that i didn't really understand. so i clicked "ok" and continued eating my chicken nuggets... because, you know, just because i didn't know what it meant doesn't mean it wasn't ok. my computer wouldn't prompt me to click on something bad, would it?

well, maybe not bad exactly. but certainly quirky. because suddenly my computer was doing all sorts of goofy things. every time i went to another page on the internet, it opened a new window. you would not believe how many windows i had open at one time before i figured it out! and whenever i hit a non-letter key, it would type the shift character (which is why there are all those arrows at the beginning of the blog--those are supposed to be periods and commas.) and then suddenly it stopped doing that!

i am very confused and very frustrated. i've tried everything i know to fix this problem, but there is a strange icon at the bottom of my screen that says "filter keys" which i am sure is the key to my problem, but i don't know how to turn it off! and so i am probably going to have to have help. fortunately i am meeting with my computer wizard james tomorrow night. he will be able to help me.

and i can't wait to see his face when i tell him, "my dog did it..."

Monday, February 7, 2011

a plan is only as good as it's implementation...

so today . . . i went shopping with rollie. just to clarify, I went with rollie--HE did not go with me...

friday afternoon, i went to rollie's new office to help him hang stuff on the walls. yes, even the kobe jersey. but as sometimes happens, one project led to another. we started looking around and rearranging things, and soon it became apparent that he might need some furniture for his office.

he inherited a huge desk and a giant leather desk chair from his predecessors. by the time we got done moving things around, that was just about all that was left. so i came home and started shopping online for a couch and a couple of chairs. but i quickly decided this time the internet was not going to be my friend. we were going to have to actually go into a furniture store. or six...

so today was the day. we knew what we were looking for--a black "leather" couch and two chairs. (i say "leather," because we didn't want fabric, but this couch isn't going to get a lot of wear and tear, so faux leather would probably be ok.) we walked into the first store. it was empty except for a lone salesman. and so we got lots of attention--way more than we wanted! while he was very helpful, i was ready to leave the store long before we were able to disengage. because once he found out what we were looking for, he did not want to stop showing us possibilities...

on our way to the next store, i said to rollie, "ok, we need a better story. we cannot tell them what we are looking for, or they won't leave us alone. so here is what we will say. we will say that we are going to be moving in a couple of months (true, i hope,) and are looking for some furniture (also true,) but we don't have a place to put it until we actually move (definitely true.) that way, they will know we are not going to buy anything today, and we will be free to look around without all the unwanted help." i thought it was a brilliant idea. and so we walked into the second store. "and what can i help you find today?" asked the very nice saleslady. "my husband needs a couch for his office." that was me talking. that was me, telling her what we really needed, instead of the brilliant story i had concocted. and so, she proceeded to help us...

on our way the the third store, i said, "ok, i don't know what happened back there. i don't know why i told her what we were really looking for. but don't worry, next time i will just tell them my story and we will be free to wander about on our own."

we made it through the third store without talking to anybody--fortunately the salesperson was talking to someone else! the fourth store was about the size of our living room. we probably wouldn't even have gone in, except the side walls were covered with mirrors, so the store looked huge! it wasn't. but it was very disorienting. the guy at the fifth store didn't even look up from his desk at us--and while i wanted to be left alone to look, i was just a little bit offended that he didn't even acknowledge us! maybe word was getting around...

we got to the sixth store (yes, rollie went to SIX furniture stores. he was probably starting to wish he hadn't asked me to come along. if i had stayed at home, he would have just bought something at the first store and been happy with it. in fact, i was beginning to think we were going to end up back at the first store anyway. apparently black "leather" couches are not really in style right now...) we walked in and were immediately met by two salesmen. it was a big store. this would be the perfect time to pull out my "we are moving" story. "what are you looking for today?" we were asked. "a couch," i answered, "for my husband's office."

what is wrong with me?!?!?! i formulate a perfectly good plan, but i can't seem to implement it! i spilled my guts and told the guy we wanted a black leather couch. he said, "oh, we don't have any of those." see what i mean? what kind of a furniture store doesn't have even one black leather couch?!?! apparently brown is the popular color now, but that doesn't help us--we need black!

it was not our lucky day.

fortunately i had taken pictures of all the couch possibilities. (i even took some video--although it was totally an accident. and i was going to post it, for your amusement. but blogspot still won't let me post video!! i am starting to get annoyed about it...) we went to eat dinner, thinking we would talk about what we had seen, and then make a decision. we looked at the pictures. we compared price and style and size. and i am still not sure which is the best choice.

wait. i take that back. i know which one is the best choice, but guess what? it is also the one that costs $1200! i am pretty sure that one is not going to be living in rollie's office (even though it would be perfect!) i think rollie is going to pick the couch we saw at the first store. i think. but maybe not. maybe he will pick the one from the fourth store. either way, he should have a couch and two chairs in his office by the end of the week.

which is good, because all that shopping and thinking and deciding was exhausting. i am going to need a place to sit...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

a sad top ten list...

so today . . . was the first day in thirty years that i have gone to a church where rollie wasn't the pastor. i mean, we have gone to other churches when we were on vacation, and i have even gone to our church when rollie wasn't there. but today, when i went to church, he wasn't our pastor anymore...

i thought it would be ok. i thought it wouldn't be that much different. after all, i usually don't really see him on sunday mornings anyway, until his cute face shows up to preach on the big screen in the gym, which is where i am. but it was different. it felt different. he didn't pop in to smile at me while the band was rehearsing. when i went to his office to get water, the mini refrigerator was empty. i didn't have to wait for him to get done talking to someone before we could go have lunch after church. he wasn't waiting for me to finish wrapping cords and putting sound equipment away before we could leave. it was different, and i didn't like it. not one tiny little bit.

but i guess we can't have it both ways. he can't do his new job and still be the pastor at our church. (i know this, because he sort of had to do that for the month of january, and it was not pretty!!) and he will be really good at the new job. so we will all just have to adjust (and by all, i mean mostly diandra and me) to our pastor not being rollie. and we will. but i think this momentous occasion calls for a top ten list. so here it is.


10. i will miss hearing him preach. you would think after listening to him week after week, year after year, i would be ready for a change. but i'm not. he is a good preacher. he is easy to understand, he tells lots of stories to illustrate his points, and every week he says something that challenges me. i wish i was perfect, so that i didn't always have to think, "yes, i need to work on that" every week. but i'm not--it is good for me to be challenged.

9. i will miss sneaking out to the foyer at the beginning of the service to hear him play the bass, just for one song. since he plays in "big church," i don't get to hear him play very often. his band is always done rehearsing by the time i get there to play with my band. but several months ago, i figured out that since we start church a bit later, i could sneak over to the foyer and listen to him play during the opening song. so now that is what i do. or, that is what i used to do...

8. i will miss his unending supply of water bottles. he always kept water in a mini refrigerator in his office. i could bring water from home, but i never remember! and so at some point on sunday morning, i usually end up in his office looking for water. and if he happens to be in his office, well, that was just an added bonus!

7. i will miss seeing people respond to his sermons. it has been so cool to watch people change because of the words they hear on sunday mornings. rollie doesn't preach theoretical sermons--he preaches practical, "now go do it this week," sermons. and people do. and when they do, it changes them. we are all better people than we were ten years ago...

6. i will miss guessing what color shirt he is wearing. since we watch him on a big screen in the gym, his clothes are not always the color they seem. the camera has to be adjusted for skin tones, and so you can't trust the colors of people's clothing. one day he brought his black leather jacket onto the platform to illustrate a point, and the lining looked like it was bright purple! his black shirts look burgundy or purple, and his green shirts look brown or black, and his blue shirts look black or gray. so diandra and i have a litttle guessing game going...

5. i will miss knowing that whatever crisis is happening, rollie will take care of it. i have confidence in his abilities to diffuse heated situations, to confront when something is wrong, and to encourage when someone feels ready to give up. he just has this ability to know what is needed in different situations, and then how to give what is needed.

4. i will miss our lunch on tuesdays. tuesday has been rollie's sermon writing day. he needs uninterrupted quiet to write a sermon, and so he usually does it at home. and since i work so close, he brings me lunch on tuesdays, even though i only have half an hour to eat. but now, he doesn't have to write a sermon every week. AND his office is 30-40 minutes away. so now when i go out to the parking lot on tuesdays, he isn't there waiting for me with food from subway.

3. i will miss having input into what happens. there. i said it. when rollie was the pastor, if i had ideas about things, i could tell him and i knew he would at least consider it. but now, first of all, there is no one to tell. and secondly, even if there were, why would they care about what i think? so now, my ideas just roll around in my head with nowhere to go.

2. i will miss seeing kids and teens listening to the sermon. i love it when kids come up and ask him questions about something he said. or when parents report that their kids are still talking about the sermon during the week. the fact that he can preach a message that challenges adults and kids at the same time is kind of cool. actually, the fact that kids are listening and understanding and remembering a sermon is really cool.

and the number one thing i will miss about rollie not being our pastor anymore is...

1. ... the end of diandra's sunday tweets, where she says, "dad, in his sermon." because diandra may still tweet during the sermon, but it won't be her dad who is giving the sermon anymore. and that makes me feel sad. really, really sad.

i never wanted to be a pastor's wife. but i am so very glad that rollie has been our pastor all these years. i'm glad diandra has grown up hearing him preach every week. and while i know that the new responsibilities he has accepted are important too, i am going to miss his cute face up there on the screen in the gym, in his mysteriously colored shirts, challenging us to be more like Jesus... every. single. week.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a collision of holidays

so today . . . i realized that this is the holiday week from... well, someplace i would rather not name.

you wouldn't think of february, with it's mere 28 days, as being capable of creating such chaos. but the planets and calendar have aligned in such a way as to make my week a nightmare of projects.

let me just say, i am not a fan of projects. in fact, i hate them. projects, by their very nature, require waaaay more teacher involvement than i think is appropriate. but valentine's day is coming, which means my students have to make cards for their parents. and since i teach in a school where most of the students are chinese, we cannot really ignore chinese new year, which is also this week. AND tomorrow is groundhog day...

ok, well maybe i could ignore groundhog day, but i love groundhog day! i know that it is a totally meaningless holiday. in fact, since no one gets the day off work, we don't give or receive presents, and there are no special foods or songs or decorations, i'm not even sure we can legitimately call it a holiday. and yet, it is one of my favorite days of the year. i mean, how can you not love a day that is all about a guy in a top hat pulling a big, fat furry animal out of a cage, watching him squint into the light, and waiting for the official pronouncement of when spring will arrive?!?!

my kindergarten kids don't quite get this. i explain the whole thing to them, but they just don't get it. they won't accept what i tell them--they keep asking questions. why is the groundhog afraid of his shadow? how can the groundhog tell when the weather will get better? what is a groundhog? how do they pick the official groundhog? who picks the official groundhog? how do they know when he will come out? what if he doesn't come out? what is spring? (well, to be fair, our spring weather isn't all that much different from our winter weather.) there seems to be no end to their questions...

it would be much simpler to just ignore groundhog day. no one would probably even notice--especially since the groundhog and his shadow are pretty much irrelevant if you live in southern california--but it is a part of our culture. so whether it makes any sense or not, i feel compelled to talk about it every year. and do a project, because i have this cute little pop-up groundhog they can make...

which would be fine, if chinese new year didn't happen to fall during the same week as groundhog day. because i also have a couple of cool projects for chinese new year that i want to do. and then valentine's day is just around the corner. AND we still have our normal school work to complete, which is just a lot to get done.

so the result of this is, today we talked about groundhog day and did a quick activity, and also did the first part of our chinese new year project. tomorrow we will make the groundhog project, finish up the chinese new year one, and start on the parent valentines. by the end of the week, i figure they will be totally confused--is it going to be spring because the chinese dragon saw his shadow? is the groundhog the one who gives them the red envelope with money in it? do the hearts mean the new year is here or that it is spring? and why do we call that shape a heart when our heart isn't shaped like that at all?

life is so much simpler when chinese new year comes in january...