Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ant Farm Saga

December 25, 2009 - Jackson finds an ant farm wrapped for him under the Christmas tree. The box is opened to reveal instructions for ordering ants, including a warning that ants will not be shipped in extreme cold or heat. A disheartened Jackson, sets the box in his closet until the warmer days ahead.

January-March - Asking repetitively if we have ants yet. Nope.

March - Send off for ants. $6.95 Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Sigh.

March-June - "Are my ants here yet?"

June - Ants arrive. They are HUGE. Container is sealed and states that these ants will bite. Paralyze in refrigerator for 15 minutes before adding to farm. Sigh. Check.

50% of ants die. Other half still kicking.

July 1 - Screams from upstairs. Ant farm has been knocked over...into a partially opened pajama drawer. I grab the pajamas and shake them out on the front porch, while CT smashes the rest with his shoe (Remember, we were warned that they will bite). Screams of agony from Jackson.

July 15 (That's today.) 9:00- New plan. We're going to catch our own ants. Jackson and I attempt to use tweezers to capture ants in the driveway. We fail. We're squeezing them to death, and they're too darn fast.

9:15 We set a trap. We go with strawberries and Apple Jacks. Fool proof.

9:20 No ants yet. Jackson thinks it's because they know we're watching them and makes a plan to convince them that we are not. "Mom, I think I'll go inside now. Wait. Did I leave a plate of food outside? Nope. Guess not. Must have been my imagination." Smiles sneakily and heads inside.

10:00 Ant city! A bazillion on the Apple Jacks (None on the strawberry, FYI). We dump the Apple Jacks into the farm and success!

10:30 Ants are everywhere! We're thinking that they are so little that they can fit through the cracks of the lid. (Probably why Uncle Milton sent us such huge ants in the first place.) Lid sealed with scotch tape.

12:00 They are still escaping! Locate some air holes in the sides. Yep, they can fit though. Tape over those too.

2:30 Ants aren't looking too good. Probably because they aren't getting air. Sigh.

Moral: Don't buy your kid an ant farm.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have some pretty big dreams. One of them is to own a refurbished airstream trailer and drag my children around the country. Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone...the possibilities are limitless.

I would consider myself pretty happy if this were CT and me in forty or so years.

And, lights like these would be hung up out front each time we stopped.

I found this very cool Airstream Penthouse Trailer Park. It's in Cape Town, South Africa of all places.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have now enjoyed one full week of summer vacation bliss, and we are starting to get into our non-routine. The kids are sleeping later, pictures are moving from wall to wall to wall, and I've forgotten what day it is. This is drastically different from the daily hustle and bustle of school year life - rushing, rushing, rushing.

At the end of the year, I have my students take a "confidential" (of course I know their handwriting by now) survey about my class and teaching style. At the end, I have them give me a grade and tell why that grade was assigned. I figured I would share some of the best and worst.

What did you dislike most about the class? Explain.
  • Reading books because there was a lot of books to read

Describe things that you liked about this class.
  • I like that we get awards for completting stuff

Do you think I was ever unfair to any student like yourself whenever I kept them for lunch detention, office referral, etc.?
  • No because mabey we deserve it.

What was your favorite part of the class in regards to content?
  • I like science because we do lab stuff. (Uh, I teach reading.)

Describe your thoughts on the class procedures...what should be changed and why?
  • We need free time.
  • I think that having to raise your hand to sharpen your pencil is a little rediculis.

Describe some hints for improving the look of the classroom.
  • More food.

Is there anything that happened in class that really upset you and why?
  • Nothing upset me ecsept [student name] she gets on my nevers
  • Yes when the sub said a cuss word to a student and that made me mad

What did you like about Mrs. Talburt's teaching style and why?
  • She wants to help us get out of here.
  • She teach good because she is alsome.
  • I liked that she was in comtrall with the students because you need controll for a good class to go on and she did it.

Name 2 things that you could tell Mrs. Talburt that would help her be a better teacher for next year?
  • More food and drenk if we haft to be in here.
  • Get through the stuff faster so we can have free time.
  • Go faster so we can gust get it over whit
  • She need to be more cooler.
  • Bring back up.
  • Only let Mrs. Talburt open the windows.

If you could give Mrs. Talburt a final grade for her teaching of this class, what would you give her, and why?
  • A+ She done a perfect job (Oh, heavens.)
  • C because there was some mistakes in there and I count the mistakes and give the grade by that.
  • C because she was sometimes mean but mostly nice so you get a C
  • A+ because she was a pretty nice teacher. She was a hard worker and so very kind. If I was person like the principle I would make her the principle. She know how to solve problems. She can also be a counsolor.
  • A (Erased circle around F) because I love the way she tech and help me understand what I was doing!

I earned a total of 10 A+'s, 1 B, 1 B-, and 2 C's - not too shabby. I really do love these difficult kids. I am certain that they teach me more about culture and matters of the heart than I teach to them. That said, thank heavens for summer vacation!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dodged a Bullet

Jackson's Kindergarten class watched a Family Life film today. I had forgotten about it until he told me at bedtime that he learned about "bad touches."

"So... what's a bad touch?" I asked, holding my breath.

To which he responded, "It's when a granny grabs hold of your cheeks and says, 'How ya doin, Sonny?'"

Huh. I'm willing to just go with that for now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Four years ago this week, we were blessed by another baby boy. After a long and difficult labor and finally a c-section, Henry was born March 1, 2006 at about 8:30 in the evening, weighing 8 lbs. 9 oz. The next morning, a pediatrician noticed eye fluttering indicating seizure activity and ordered an EEG, which turned out to be abnormal. We were also told of a possible heart murmur and that he would hold his breath when he was in deep sleep. Henry was admitted to the St. John's Newborn Intensive Care Unit, where he would spend his first 10 days of life.

Tears come to my eyes as I remember how scared we were for him. He was immediately given florescent green seizure meds, and no one would tell us what the possible long term damage he might suffer from the seizures or the side effects of the medications. I cannot describe how difficult it was to be discharged and leave the hospital without my baby in my arms.

After what seemed like weeks, we were allowed to stay in the hospital room with Henry, where nurses monitored our ability to take care of him. We had to prove our competencies in measuring and administering his medicine and hooking up and using his monitors. The following day he came to our home, but we still didn't know what his future would hold.

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We had a long month of visiting a lot of different doctors, and Henry finally had a normal EEG. He was taken off his seizure medication, and we turned the monitors back in!

This week we have been celebrating this little life! We could not ask for a happier, sweeter boy. We praise God for the healing and favor that He has placed upon him and our family. I learned a lot of lessons while waiting - that I'm truly in control of nothing, He is in control of everything, and that His grace is sufficient. Thank you to all our friends and family who love Henry too, and thank you to those who helped us celebrate this week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Note from the Sub

When I come back to school after having a substitute, it's NEVER pretty. My 6th graders are only occasionally good for me, and someone new is asking for it. Here is what I found on my desk Tuesday morning:

Dear Mrs. Talburt,

This class has been off task the entire time. This has been my worst class ever as a substitute. I am very happy that this class does not represent the school in its entirety. Students Z, Y, X, W, V and U were very difficult to keep on task. X was on her phone and it was taken away. All of these students need professional help. They were unable to follow directions and were very difficult to work with. I hope that this was just a bad day for them and that this is not the way they behave always. I would work with them again, but I would have to deal with them differently the next time. If you have questions, you can call me at ....


Mr. Substitute

For some reason, it pleased me to find out that he was Jamaican and wore a turquoise vest. This, in addition to his statement that he made to the students at the beginning of class: "It is my policy to never send kids to the office." (Note: In bold print at the top of my lesson plans it reads: This is a VERY difficult class. Please do not hesitate to send students to the office.) I wonder why he had such a tough day?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Storm Troopers and Spiritual Things

A debate has been happening between two Storm Troopers in my living room.

(Insert sounds of electronic guns and light sabers.)

Jackson: Henry, did you know that we're sheep?

Henry: We're not sheep.

Jackson: Yes, we are! We are the sheep, and do you know who the shepherd is?

Henry: We are NOT SHEEP!

Jackson: Our shepherd is Jesus. (Big sigh) Don't you know Jesus yet? Have you still not asked him into your heart?

Henry: I do know about Jesus, but I can't swim underwater.

(Reinsert sounds of guns and light sabers.)

And, off they go.

Monday, February 15, 2010

May You Feel Loved

(via @AnnCurry)

This lemon tree was a Valentine's gift from CT. Ten years ago, on our first Valentine's day as newlyweds, my gift was a lemon tree. After about two weeks, leaves started falling off, and all I was left with was a stick poking out of the dirt. I hope this one sticks around a little longer, because I would really like to say that my lemonade came from my living room.

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I love these boys. Both Henry and Jackson wanted to make special Valentine's for girls in their classes. This was done about a month ago, and while Jackson gave his away immediately, Henry kept his hidden in his backpack until Valentine's Day. In return, she had also made him a special card complete with glitter and a sun catcher for his window.

Jackson was a hoot at his party. After he presented his teacher with a card and a small box of chocolates, he suggested that perhaps it might be time for her to call his table to the cookie table. She laughed and said that she could not play favorites, to which he responded with a sing-song, "But it's chocolate!" Of course, she let him go next, which only makes his manipulation tactics grow stronger. Then, every time Jackson opened a Valentine from a girl at school, he yelled out a "Whoo-ooo!"

Along with my lemon tree, I got Wii Fit Plus, (when I mentioned to CT that I would like to have it, he responded, "Is this a trap?") and a rose from Jackson and Henry (although he wished to give absolutely no credit to Henry since he wasn't with them when it was purchased). Then we celebrated Valentine's evening, with dinner and coffee with good friends. I couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shaky Start

Today. 6:30 AM. Early Staff Meeting Day.

Mornings are my weakness. On a regular day, I'm in the car on my way to school at about 7:00. Usually, the sun is just rising, and I'm slightly functioning when I arrive. However, about once a month, it is an early staff meeting morning.

I stumble through the morning routine. It is dark. Really dark. Pitch black dark. And early. Really early. Did I mention, early? Still in a sleepy haze, with a lunch packed and ungraded papers still in tow, I begin to pull out of the garage. I'm careful to be consistently watching over my shoulder to make sure that I don't run into CT's truck or back over any crazy runner that might be out by choice at this time of morning. As I get to the end of the driveway, I put my foot on the break to put the car into drive, and I am horrified to find a ghastly white, almost naked being, with wild eyes and hair, banging on my car hood!

My sweet, sweet husband, who has been doing his best to get me to like drinking coffee every morning, was rushing a cup to me before I got away.

However, in the still dream-like, quiet state that I was mentally operating in, it might as well have been the devil himself.

A few more hairs turned gray today. My heart had to work a little harder. And, I made it to work, fully caffeinated.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Again? Maybe...I don't know.

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Well, it sure does look like it's been nearly a year since I've posted anything of semi-importance.

My school has started a blog for teachers. I had to sign in with my blogger account, which means my blog will be linked anytime I comment. So...I feel like it's either pull the plug on this whole thing or try it again. We'll see.

In the mean time, the pictures above can catch you up on my life in the past almost year.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Henry, while nonchalantly spinning the globe: "Jackson, Where's Gotham City?"

Jackson: "Move over.  Let me show you.  It's right here. (Beijing)."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gasp...I have to cook?!

(I wish this was my kitchen.)

Much like everyone I know, we are trying our best to pinch our pennies.  Thankfully, I'm starting the get the hang of couponing and stockpiling.  My bathroom cabinets are full of shampoos, deodorants, toilet paper and soap, and I have boxes of cereal running out my ears!  

Our most dramatic life change thus far has been to (almost) cease eating out.  This has become such a bad habit for us, especially if we have worked all day and have somewhere to be in the evenings.  I am not a great cook and most of the time I do not enjoy it much, so I'm exploring the idea of freezing meals.  I figure that if I can get all my cooking done at once, it won't be nearly so bad to thaw and heat.  So here's my request...

Do you have any recipes that freeze well and/ or any that can be divided and frozen into smaller servings? (Most of the time we throw out 1/2 or more of a casserole since my kids eat like birds.)  And, if you are a "freezer," what kind of containers do you use to store it in?

Thanks for sharing!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rainbow are prettier than shamrocks.

I made this rainbow cake for dessert tonight.  You can get the recipe here.  Really all you do is divide your batter into 6 different bowls and color it using gel food coloring.  They were the prettiest dirty dishes I have ever done.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It was supposed to be a nice family outing...

We took advantage of the free admission special to see some exotic animals from the comfort of our car.  At the ticket office, we are given our password to open the gate, sign a liabilty waiver and are handed a set of rules:

"If you will follow the guidelines...we know you will take home memories of a lifetime."

Yeah, we really should have read these beforehand...

"Do not roll your windows more than half way down.  This will keep a barrier between you and the animals."

No, instead we have all four windows rolled all the way down.  We are quickly attacked by a swarm of emus and a camel.  CT thinks my shrieking is funny and decides to lock my window controls, so I have no way to defend myself.  Jackson also thinks it is hilarious.  I do not.

"Do not roll your window up with an animal's head inside.  To do so may result in a broken window or injury to the animal."

CT did not think that it was near as funny when the camel was invading his personal space.  Thankfully, our window did not break, and the camel seemed fine.

"...(we) are not responsible for injuries to visitors or damage to their cars."

After the stress of firing feeding pellets to keep the emus at bay, we approach some sheep and rams.  I begin feeding a black ram, who seems very pleasant.  When I've had my fill of feeding him, I turn to see what else is happening around the car.  I hear clanking and scratching and look to find my friend the ram standing on two hooves - the other two on the side of the car.  Now, the side of the car does not provide great traction for hooves, and as he readjusts his footing over and over, his front hooves bang and carve deeper scratches into Old Burb.  CT pulls forward.  He falls down. All seems to be mostly okay for the time being.  

Literally, seconds later (I don't know how he made it around to the other side so quickly!), he is up at CT's window "clawing" to get our attention.  There are now cars right in front and behind us, and we have nowhere to go.  CT starts fairly calmly, attempting to "shoo" him away to no avail.  He gets louder, tossing the treats at his face.  No response.  When the pellets are gone, he wads up the bag, knocking him in the face [Insert PG 13 language here].  No response.  A very frustrated CT with no other solutions, begins to punch at the ram.  He does not even flinch, probably something to do with the strength of the heads, being rams and all.  FINALLY, the cars in front of us move, and the ram falls when we pull forward.  You can see photos of the scratches on the car doors above.

"Maximum spped through the park is 5 mph.  Never exceed the speed limit. "

It is apparently out of the question to drive slowly after being attacked by a ram.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Dance

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of chaperoning a middle school dance. Let's just say I wish that I could blog smells. About half of the kids were dressed in their "fancies," the others were in their t-shirts, jeans and Converse. There was only one tuxedo t-shirt, and technically he fit into both categories. One of the boys carried around a corsage in a box, waiting for his date to arrive, for about an hour. Thankfully, she wore it, but I didn't see them speak to each other for the rest of the night.

My job was to keep the concessions coming. I poured sodas and replenished the candy bowls. This is where it gets good.

A Boy: 7th grade, slightly overweight, freckled, sweaty big round glasses. His voice was very breathy and squeaky, as it's the time of change.

I don't really pay much attention to him until it's about his 4th time at my table scooping out candy (handfulls each trip). Keep in mind the music is really loud, so he's screaming at me during our conversations. I'm mostly smiling and nodding.

Boy: "I shouldn't be eating all this CANDY!"

(Next trip) This CANDY is delicious!

(Next trip) The last time I ate this much CANDY, I puked!

(Next trip) My dad's going to be so made at me. He doesn't let me eat CANDY!

(Next trip) WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?! (I had refilled the bowls.)

(Next trip) I really shouldn't be taking this...but I just LOVE CANDY!!!

(Next trip - He's settled down, but still taking candy)
"So, I don't think I've seen you around here before." (Oh, goodness. He's not going to ask me to dance, is he?)

Me: I only teach one class - Title Reading.

Boy: Oh, I'm not in Title Reading, that's why. I have an extremely high lexile. It's 1440.

Me: Wow, that's great!

Boy: Yeah, I just love to read. And, I LOVE CANDY TOO! (Swings his arms frantically and knocks over the fifty or so styrofoam cups filled with soda, domino style).

We attempt to clean the huge mess with those non-absorbent brown school paper towels.

I sent him on his way and dodged him the rest of the night.