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February 2016 entries

Oo La La Salon by Ellie and Liam

On Monday, Ellie and Liam set up the "Oo La La Salon," following a Fancy Nancy book that Ellie loves.  They invited me to Ellie's room to be pampered for the day.  I know you are really jealous of my eye make up, and that is understandable.  They are now booking appointments for the prom, so call now.  

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Unexpected 4-Day Weekend = Harry Potter Movie Marathon ... Almost!

In a twist of situational irony fit for an O. Henry story, we had off from school on Monday because it was a snow make up day we hadn't yet used.  Then, school was cancelled on Tuesday because of a blend of snow/ice/rain that eventually translated into "yuck."  Since we couldn't go outside in the rain to build a snowman, we decided to watch Harry Potter movies.  Aidan wanted to jump right to the 7th movies (part 1 and 2), but I insisted that we start at the beginning, with the less-scary movies that are more suitable for Liam and Ellie.  

We loved it!  We got through 4 movies (which, if you know me, is kind of a record amount of sitting!) and there are so many great quotes/life lessons that I had to look up to share on here.  It's almost bed time for the munchkins, so I will just share them without much commentary.  

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Chuck Norris Jokes?

Aidan came home from school sometime last week, spouting off Chuck Norris jokes.  "Mom, when Chuck Norris went to college, he told his dad he could be the man of the house,"  and "Mom, Chuck Norris can cut a hot knife with butter."

Finally, I said, "Aidan, do you know who Chuck Norris is?"

Him:  "Nope."

The Devil is in the details, I guess!

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Mystery Solved!

On Sunday, I went out to the van to start it, and there was snow all over the inside.  I checked all the windows, bracing myself for the worst.  They were all closed.  I asked Aidan if he had maybe gone outside to grab something from the car -- nope.  Then I started fretting that someone had broken into my vehicle -- but nothing was missing at all.  What on earth?  Why was there snow all over the inside of my van?

Then I spied this:

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This can of pineapple coconut soda exploded when the temperatures dipped so low on Saturday night!  Bizarre, but better than burglary! 


Fun with 4/5 of the Cousins

The other day, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Adam brought their girls, Leann and Scarlett, over to play.  Aidan was in Lock Haven with his grandma, so we only had the partial "Conbell" clan -- the name we gave the Connor and Campbell kids when we were at Great Wolf Lodge for Liam's birthday -- but we managed to have fun.  The next time we get together, all the kids will be there to celebrate Grandma Tina's birthday, so Aidan will be able to make up for lost time.  I love that our kids are so close.  :) 

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And Uncle Adam is a pretty epic blanket fort builder! 

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Freedom of Speech: My Public Statement to the Montoursville Area School Board

At tonight's Board meeting, a member motioned for district employees to be able to speak freely without fear of retribution by Board members.  I knew this opportunity might arise, and so I prepared a short response which would fit within the 3-minute time limit.  I am proud to say that my three children (one in PJs, mind you) were in the audience as I delivered the following words to both the Board and our community.  The overwhelmingly supportive response by the crowd when I was done was humbling and validating.  While I know what I did may be seen as risky, I am proud to use the freedom of speech I am fortunate enough to have as an American citizen.  I fully believe that I acted -- and continue to act -- professionally then and now. 

"Thank you for this opportunity to address the Board.  I stand before you as not only a district employee, but also as a mother of three children in this district. When I was hired, I was proud to say I live and work here.  Now, I have to admit, the current climate has made me embarrassed and disappointed.  Now, when people hear that I work here, the first thing they ask me is why the community won’t invest in education, why people are fighting over tax dollars when children’s futures are at stake, when safety is at stake.  So, I stand before you as a concerned mother and ask you to restore our community to the source of pride it once was.

I also stand before you as a teacher.  I teach English and Drama at the high school level, and every day I am impressed with how hard-working and respectful my students are.  Ask any substitute teacher.  So often they will say, “When a call comes in to sub at Montoursville, I always take the job.”  If you have been anywhere outside of this district, then you know we have something special here — our students.  

As the Drama teacher, I have 19 students in a freshman intro to drama class.  In that class, these students learn confidence and poise and teamwork and creative problem solving.  We have prepared a short production of Alice in Wonderland that we will be taking to our elementary schools later this month.  Believe me when I say both the high school and elementary school students benefit from such an experience.

In addition to the freshman class, I teach a Drama elective for grades 10-12.  This year, I have 33 students enrolled in that class. Most recently, the class has been writing short plays which will then be performed at our middle school.  One play is about a student struggling with an eating disorder and reaching out for the help she so desperately needs.  When we go to the middle school to perform that play, can you imagine the possible impact it might have on young people in the audience?  

I know my time here is short, and I truly could talk about my students for hours.  The problem is — no one who has been newly elected to the Board has asked.   I read political mailings that dismissed the need for a black box theatre — or the need to expand our stage space —  without ever asking about the drama program, or the music programs. 

So, I ask you — before you make decisions about what this school needs, please take the time to talk to the teachers.  Talk to the students.  And more importantly — LISTEN to what they have to say.  A great place to start would be to attend the Montoursville High School Chorus Concert on Thursday night.  I guarantee that you will be blown away by what a half-time chorus teacher can do with a choir of 100 students, on the very stage that hardly seems large enough to accommodate the school board. 

Thank you for your time."

 

 


Happy 11th Birthday, Aidan!

I was talking to someone recently who said, "I never feel old until I say how old my children are."  Isn't that the truth?  While I am aware that many people who will correct me and tell me I am "not old," I respectfully ask that you remember I am currently as old as I have ever been.  And, so are my children.  To say my oldest son is 11 is surreal.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?

All that aside, this is day isn't about my age...it's about HIS.  Aidan is in the 5th grade, and I couldn't be more proud of the young person he is.  Aidan is thoughtful, respectful, considerate, loving, and intelligent.  His sense of humor is delightful, and his curiosity about the world is endearing.  I love the way he is unapologetically himself: he knows he is "different" in some ways from some of the other boys in his grade, but he truly doesn't care -- not in a way that is disrespectful to those other kids, but in a way that accepts and celebrates diversity.  I love him to the moon and back! 

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