Monthly Archives: December 2008

Holiday update

Well, Christmas has come and gone, but it was a good one. Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I spent the day cleaning, baking cookies, wrapping presents, and running out for some last minute gifts and groceries. J got home from work in the late afternoon and then I started getting ready for church. We had Christmas Eve service at 7:00, then J and I came back home and had a late dinner of crab legs, cheese ball and crackers, bongo-bongo dip and garlic bread, cookies, and wine. We then watched some of “A Christmas Story” and then went to bed.

Christmas morning we woke up around 7:30 and exchanged gifts. Then we had sticky buns and coffee for breakfast. Then from approximately 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon J played the two Wii games I got him, and I read my book. Then we got around and went to his parents’ for the evening, which is always a large event, with all of J’s brothers, sisters, husbands, girlfriends, nieces, nephew, grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousins, and parents. It was a fun night, though, and we played a really funny game that Em got for Christmas, called “Loaded Questions.”

Friday I spent the day cleaning while J was at work, and then my grandparents came over in the afternoon for a little bit. Then around 6, J’s family came over again and we had subs and snacks for dinner, and then we played a lot of Wii and Rock Band. Saturday, we went over to J’s sister’s house to eat more food and play more Wii, including Wii Music which is awesome! And then yesterday, we went back to J’s parents’ house because his other uncle and aunt and their son (and dog) were coming, so we ate more food, watched some football, and played an even funnier and perverted round of Loaded Questions.

Overall, it was a fun Christmas. I got some good gifts, but it was even more fun to be J’s “Santa” this year for Christmas morning. J loves his Wii games (he’s been playing them non-stop) and I’ve already finished one of the books his got me for Christmas. On Wednesday we leave for Atlanta, and spend a few days with my family, which will be good. I think my dad already has a day planned for downtown Atlanta, including the National Aquarium, so that will be fun. Then, before I know it, it will be Monday again and time to go back to school . . . and this time of year means PSSA prep! Whoo hoo! *sigh*

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I’ll be home for Christmas

Well, it’s Christmas Eve. I haven’t updated in a while. Things have been crazy at school (as usual) and today is officially the first day of our Christmas break. Twelve days off – can it get any better? Here is my rundown of how those 12 days are going to play out.

Today is going to be spent doing lots of Christmas-y things. I have presents to wrap, cookies to bake, last-minute shopping to do, cleaning to get done, and Christmas movies to watch (“White Christmas” and “Elf” are on the agenda for today). Church is tonight, and J and I are going to the 5:00 (kids’ retelling of the Christmas story) and 7:00 (with his family) services. Afterwards, we’re having crab legs, bongo bongo dip, cheese ball and crackers, and egg nog, and then perhaps a ride to see the Berwick Boulevard. And of course, no Christmas Eve would be complete without at least one viewing of “A Christmas Story” on TBS.

This Christmas is going to be strange, though, because it is the first one for J & I as a married couple, on our own, and the first one where I am not going to see my parents, or any of my family, on Christmas. I called my grandparents last night to ask if they wanted us to come visit on Christmas, but they already have other plans, so I guess it is a true Higgins Christmas. However, J is looking forward to playing Wii (and some new Wii games he might get for Christmas, perhaps?) and taking a nap tomorrow, before going to his parents’ house for Christmas, and I have to admit . . . it does sound nice not having to rush around on Christmas. Usually only bad weather has allowed for a relaxed, stay-at-home Christmas for me and my family in the past.

After Christmas, J has to go back to work during the week, so I will probably just be doing some chores, catching up on some grading, and playing with the dogs. There are some family events coming up this weekend to go to, as well. And then next Wednesday, on New Year’s Eve, J & I are headed out of Philly to the Atlanta airport to spend some time with my family. We were originally going to stay Wednesday night to Sunday, but we’re driving home with my sister, which is a 15 hour drive. Needless to say, neither J and I are looking forward to going back to work after such a long drive the day before, so I think we are going to head home on Saturday, to give us a day to recuperate.

Anyway, those are our plans for the holidays. A bit busy, but for the most part, not too bad. I know it is going to fly by, too, so I just to remember to sit back and enjoy them . . . after I get everything done today!

From our home to yours, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

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Melting in December

I had my first melt down at school on Friday.

A fight that had apparently been brewing all day came to a head in my classroom Friday afternoon. I had not even started class yet; it was only about two or three minutes into class. I had just finished giving a paper to a student , who was near the back of the room, and in the ten steps it took me to get to the front of the room, this same student thrusted himself at another one and began punching him. The attacked student then turned around and pushed the student to the back of the room, towards my computer, and against the wall where he then pummeled him to the floor. I yelled for a student to get another Mr. Edinger next door, because, for a moment, I thought I was not going to be able to separate them. Luckily, the second student got off the first one and I promptly escorted them to the office, explaining to the assistant principal what happened.

By the time I got back to my room (only a short distance from the office), I was emotionally drained. I very curtly told the class they needed to be in their seats and reading. By this time, Mr. Edinger had come into my room and asked me if I was all right. His question triggered something in me, I don’t know what, and I could feel the tears welling up. I said no and asked if he could cover for me, then ran to the library conference room and lost it. I absolutely lost it. I had what I think could be my first panic attack. I have absolutely no idea why I lost it the way I did, but I spent the rest of the afternoon (over an hour and half) in the conference room, trying to pull myself together. Luckily, I have a great administration who by this time knew what was going on and had gotten coverage for my last two classes. Also luckily was that I had some good co-workers who came to comfort me. As long as I didn’t try to talk, I was fine, but as soon as I tried to say anything about what had happened, I lost my breath and couldn’t speak.

Even typing this now, I feel like I am going to cry. I do not know why I broke down the way I did. In this middle school, fights have become a way of life, unfortunately. Kids are constantly pushing and punching one another, either jokingly or in a not so friendly demeanor. I later found out that the reason for the fight was because the first kid thought the other one was laughing at him in math class, thus calling the second kid a name, and in my class the second kid to retaliate by pushing the kid’s pencil box off the desk. Now, I guess it must be understood that the first student has Asbergers, so he is constantly afraid that kids are laughing at him, and getting his pencil box pushed down is a BIG deal to him – it’s the nature of his disorder. Even so, the fact that I was hyperventilating over some name-calling and a pushed-over pencil box makes me feel very, very out of control.

I honestly hope I do not have a day like Friday ever again. I feel as though I hit my first-year teacher low. Talking with the assistant principal after school, she assured me that things get easier after this first year. The guidance counselor reassured me yesterday that this whole year is a learning experience. Yet, often I feel like a failure. And I hate feeling like a failure. It is why I hated my clarinet so much – because I was not that good at it. I have never struggled with something as much as I have this first year of teaching. And yet, if this is was I’m supposed to do . . . if this is my true calling . . . then WHY am I struggling so much? Why am I so stressed out all the time? Why do I dread the weeks so much and countdown so much to the weekends? Why is it only December and I can’t wait until June?

After the incident on Friday, I talked to my principal so he could let me know what the boys had told him and the course of action that was taken. During this conversation, he assured me that I was doing a great job in my lesson planning, and how hard the first year of teaching is, and how he hopes that I don’t get discouraged with teaching because of this difficult first year. I shook my head and told him that I wasn’t, but inside, part of me was screaming “TOO LATE! THIS IS TOO HARD! JUST LET ME OUT!” While most times I do not feel this strongly, I can honestly say at this point that I am not necessarily enjoying my job. I’m not even close to saying that I love my job. I would just hope to like it by the end of the year. And I feel like a failure for saying it, and I hate saying it, but it’s true. I have never been so stressed out in my life. And it absolutely sucks.

I’m not even sure how to end this post. I wanted to end it in some poetic, thought-provoking way, but I am so tired and have so much grading to do right now, that I realize I should just let it go as it is. So until next time . . .

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Mouse hole . . . er, kingdom

So, an update on Thanksgiving.

Along with my family and most of J’s immediate family, we spent our Thanksgiving vacation in Disney World. It was awesome to get away, and in my six day break I managed to devote approximately one hour to school work in two small segments, both taking place in airports. It was also nice to see my parents and spend time with them. However, I discovered that Disney World in four days is nearly impossible, especially when one of those days is spent in a torrential downpour with tornadoes touching ground. But over all, it was a good trip, although it was definitely one of those vacations that felt like we needed a vacation from this vacation.

You should also be proud of me because I conquered my fear of the Tower of Terror. In fact, it was the very first ride we rode upon arriving at Disney World resort and I ended up riding two times. I actually was willing to go on it a third time, but we ran out of time. However, there is officially not a ride I will not go on at Disney World anymore . . . I am a mean, leaning, free-falling machine. On a similar note, we also got my mom to get on the Tower, Expedition Everest, and Splash Mountain, and both of my parents on Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. My mom was hillarious on all the rides, especially on Space Mountain, where she screamed incessantly. She was behind my sister, J, and I, and Age and I were laughing so hard from my mom’s screaming that neither of us could breathe. At one point in the ride, J even said “Who IS that?”, where I tried to catch my breath enough to answer. In fact, after we rode Space Mountain, Age and I both agreed that we needed to ride it again to fully enjoy the actual ride, since we were both too preoccupied and in stitches over our mother’s constant wailing. I never thought I would get my mom on roller coasters, and now I am going to make it my personal goal to get her on as many as possible . . . even if it’s just to hear her scream for my own giggles.

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A quick thought

To anyone who says the economy is doing poorly, just visit Disney World over Thanksgiving vacation, and you will quickly change your mind.

More to come on this, but I have to get to bed to start the dreaded routine all over again tomorrow morning.

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