Saturday, May 31, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

There is a great little movie theatre in Irmo. They show all the older movies just before they come out on DVD. The tickets are $1.50 and the popcorn, though still still outrageous, is better than typical theatres. We took Emily to see Horton Hears a Who. I realize this will be on DVD soon, but the point was not specifically the movie, but rather the theatre experience. Em is a champ at the movies. She understands that unlike at home there is no pause button, and therefore we use the ladies room before entering the show. She sits still in her chair and watches the entire time without spilling popcorn or her juice. She doesn't talk loudly, actually rarely does she talk at all. She is very enjoyable.

I wish this was the case for the other children in the theatre.

Scott seems to have a gift for attracting every obnoxious child in the building. Tonight was no different. We had the little toddler boy behind us who was very cute, but after awhile his greasy fingers touching my hair and Scott's shoulder got a little annoying. Then there was the child (this one NOT a toddler) who sat on top of his folded chair, making him sit at a height above many NBA players. Add to that the annoying "loud talker" two rows below. No wonder I have to beg Scott to go to the show. Tonight I understood and didn't blame him.

However, all that annoyance beside, we did have a great time. I am thankful for our little theatre with stadium seats, cheap popcorn, and annoying families. The cheap admission will bring us back... especially on those summer days when the heat and humidity are too much to take.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Balance for the imbalanced

I have blogged a bit about how I how I am struggling with balance. My beloved family, my household chores, my friends, and the job that I am in love with all seem to compete with my time. I have struggled to figure out where balance falls between these things. My prayer has been for wisdom as I continually felt guilty for things I wasn't getting to. I knew I needed to get to the laundry, but felt guilty as I folded it about the precious angel that I wasn't playing with. So common a struggle, but continuous, and heart breaking.

Then I thought I was getting somewhere, and next Scott became the stay-at-home-dad for a few weeks in the interim between him finishing his semester and starting his summer video job once I am out of school. He does an amazing job with Emily, but the house lacked a bit, to say the least. I think any mom knows it is harder to keep the house clean when there are people in it all day. Such the case with Scott. He is an awesome dad, but sometimes I wished he could multi-task. I would come home and see the messes and get in such a funk. I would walk through each room loading my arms with toys, pajamas, empty water glasses, and books and huff my way through the house, delivering each item to its proper place. If you don't know what huffing is, I will explain it to you. Being huffy is when you walk through the house with your lips pursed together as tight as you can get them. (Scott calls this "butt hole mouth.") You scrunch down your eyebrows, and just when you see the recipient of the huffiness enter the room, you inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose as loud as you can. Then you curtly walk out of the room so the recipient can figure out that you're peeved. (as if he doesn't already know this!)

After I was done being huffy, I figured out how stupid the entire thing was. I needed balance, and it wasn't going to come from being huffy with a multi-tasking-less husband. I am learning to let things go, and to enjoy my time with my loved ones without feeling guilty about what is left unfinished. I am learning that I don't have to get to school at 7 a.m. and that has lead me to faithfully starting my day with my Bible study. All of these are good things. I will keep praying for wisdom that I can figure out this balance. Maybe if I figure it out now it will make it a bit easier when we have more than three in our home and have so much more going on in our lives. But right now, I will work on balancing what I have.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dancing with Cinderella

I think I have told many of my friends the phenomenon with this song. Its by Stephen Curtis Chapman, and comes on the christian radio station. Apparently it is not new, only new to me this past year. However, every time (and I seriously mean every time) this song comes on there is something going on that tugs at my heart.

For those who are familiar, it starts out with a toddler girl who goes to her daddy in her princess clothes and asks him to show her how to dance because she was asked to the ball. The dad thinks of all the things he has to do, but knows he won't have these moments long, because some day she will be "gone." Then the chorus is "... now I am dancing with Cinderella..."

Of course this alone can make a tear of joy come to my eye like a big joyful baby as I think of all the times that scenario has played out in our home. Emily is always asking her daddy to be her prince and I love Scott more every time. I am so thankful for my family and my husband who understands that she isn't young forever, and that every moment is precious. Sometimes I need that reminder more than anybody.

So knowing all that, I get into my car to drive to work yesterday and hear the news that Stephen Curtis Chapman's 5 y.o. daughter, who the song was written about, was killed by a car the night before. She was in the driveway and her teenaged brother pulled up and accidently hit her. She was taken to the hospital, but didn't make it.

There have been many "famous" people who have passed in my lifetime that have resulted in friends or family grieving. Princess Diana is the first to come to my mind. But for some reason this little girl who I never met represents something so precious to me that I feel I am grieving for their loss. Life is so precious and a child is such a gift. I seriously don't know if I can even listen to this song any more. But as we enter the summer months and I get to stay home with Em, I hope that I learn from this tragedy and remember to treasure the moments with my family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Standardized Testing Starts Today

I had to pull everything down off my walls yesterday and organize the students into rows. When it was all finished I seriously was sad. There is no evidence of learning at all in our classroom now. The walls are blank. THe books had to be turned around. THe flag, globe, and clock have all been removed.

I hate testing. I seriously hate it. I even called our state senator yesterday (thanks for the heads up Meesh) to urge him to get rid of such test. Of course it will probably be replaced with another test. The issue I have is not with the test itself so much as the way the results are configured to compare students with each other. Our students keep doing better, but yet to look at the scores you would never know. Thanks bell curve.

One of the biggest phenomenons I have ever come across was when I worked in California. The state, the district, and even community (The Fresno Bee) all urged teachers to bring students up to the fiftieth percentile. Now I am not statistician, but isn't that statistically impossible? Every time I heard that, which was often, I giggled to myself and thought, "thank goodness these morons aren't taking the test..."

So if you live in my state and you happen to see a 3-5 grader at the market or something, give him a pat on the back and tell him he is smart. Because no matter how "smart" he actually is, he probably didn't feel that way at 8 am this morning.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Insurance Nightmares

I can honestly say that I can remember the most frustrating time in my life to date. It was after Emily was born and I dealing with the awful insurance company and FUSD. It wasn't until after Emily turned 2 that we finally got all of that straightened out. (And no. We didn't pay the bills that they said we owed. It was settled with the awful insurance company finally paid what they owed. 100% coverage means 100% coverage!)

Now here we are, shortly after her third birthday, and we are getting enormous bills from the hospital after a routine tonsillectomy. They are saying we didn't seek prior authorization. Our doctor's office said they did call to pre-authorize, and insurance company said it wasn't necessary for a standard tonsillectomy, so they didn't file the pre-authorization. Now we are told we really did need it, and we will now have to pay this astronomical bill. Uh. No. Super-stubborn Malisa isn't paying. I don't care if I have to take multiple personal days from work to sit down and settle this, we are not paying this bill. I feel like we are being taken advantage of, and that insurance companies prey on people who don't take time to research the issue, and just pay the darn thing. So no, we don't have that type of money laying around, but also it is also that I refuse to be taken advantage of and continue this system that rakes insurance consumers over the coals.

Add to that the complete wall of the house that needs new siding, and the totaled roof after the 3/15 tornado. Yes we have filed an insurance claim, and they were quick to say we needed to replace all that we thought needed replacing. That was great. What is not great is that we are being told that the estimates from the contractors are too high, and we don't know if the insurance company is going to cover the amount that we need. We bet in the end they will, but the hassle has left me angry sometimes and in tears at other times. We aren't dealing with a local agent because of the number of claims with the catastrophe, and I get that. But instead we are dealing with offices in Jacksonville, FL, Dallas, Tx and our local office here in Irmo. The tell us different directions with what to do, and last night one man in TX told me that I should "take the time to read the insurance estimate instead of listening to the guy from FL." I told him " I am now done speaking to you. Here's my husband." I threw the phone to Scott and said, "you deal with him."

I hope that in my daughter's lifetime there is a major change in health care. I hope that when she is 28 and life grants her with a family health issue that warrants a health insurance claim, and a disaster that warrants home insurance claim that she would be thankful to the wonderful people who take money out of her paycheck every month. Thankful to the quick system, whatever it should be, that took care of her like they are paid to do. Unlike me, who is very jaded and angry. Who needs a surgery this summer to take the painful cyst out of my hand, but is scared not of the surgery, but of the bills that surely will loom afterward.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

All Done

Well, I'm posting my first blog in probably months! I am still alive. The year is officially over though I have work to grade but I have officially completed my coursework. No more going to classes. So instead I will be heading back into the workforce in about 4 months. I don't have to stay up late anymore so I'm wondering why I'm up late. Old habits are hard to break.