Sunday, August 31, 2008

What a week!

I feel better knowing that I'm not the only one neglecting to post anything this first hectic week of school... Everywhere I go, same 'ole blog posts.  I've found myself saying, "sheesh, when are they going to post anything new?"  And then I remember I haven't either :)

So, let's see if I can recap most of this past week...  I've noticed my memory failing me quite a bit, so I'm sure to leave out plenty.

Benjamin's news:
We're beginning to see a little neck somewhere in there as he approaches 3 months old.  I've been telling everybody this can't be my son: he's calm, never cries, and sleeps 8 hours a night.  Well, apparently I should have kept my mouth shut.. This past week he's been getting up 2 to 3 times a night.  Leslie realized that it's probably because he wakes up, doesn't know how to suck his thumb or calm himself, doesn't have his pacifier in his mouth, so he starts crying.  With Emily, we'd let her cry for about 15 minutes or so until she calmed herself down, but the problem with Benjamin doing that is then Emily will wake up in the next room.  Last night she let him cry for about 5 minutes at a time before going in there to try to calm him down.  Oh, and he can cry now... wow can he cry :)

Emily's news:
Her first week of school seemed to go well.  Apparently there is another little girl who is obsessed (even more than Emily, which is remarkable) with Disney Princesses, so for the first few mornings she would try to hold Emily's backpack after she had put it up on the hook.  Apparently Emily didn't appreciate this too much, so when the kids would start moving to centers, Emily would place herself squarely in front of her backpack, guarding it while the other kids played.  The very creative teacher decided that it may be better for Emily to put her backpack up on top of the cubbies instead of the hooks, which seemed to do the trick.  I remember her saying to us each day when we'd ask her about school, "well, some girls aren't nice in there, they try to take all the backpacks..." OCD anybody?  That's my girl :)

Two nights ago dad was watching Emily and Benjamin while Leslie and I got something to eat.  When we got home, Emily was complaining about her stomach, neck, and she felt like she had a fever.  We loaded everybody up, and headed out to the Urgent Care, much to the dislike of Emily.  If I would have thought about it more than three minutes before loading everybody up, I would have remembered those were the exact symptoms I had the night before school started, and it lasted about 24 hours...

She didn't enjoy the visit at all.  So little, in fact, that when they looked in her mouth, and swabbed it for a throat culture, she spit up a little (TMI?) Anyway, we got a z-pack (didn't know they did that for kids..) and the next morning she was doing fine.

Leslie and I have been busy trying to keep up with school, home, and the kids.  It's always an adjustment period when school starts, and we spend as much time as possible sleeping :) 

I started my Quant I class this week, and wow was that interesting.  All of my classes for my Masters had no more than about 11 people in the class.  This class had about 40 on the first day, and ALL were there pursuing their doctorate.  My favorite moment of the first class was about an hour in when I looked up from trying to take as many notes as I could, and seeing everybody else with very content looks on their faces and nodding affirmatively... I was wondering if the instructor was even speaking English... It wasn't a great start, hopefully it will get better...

This morning was race day for the Nike+ Human Race .  I got out and did my 10k in 49 minutes.. Not bad for sub-8 minute pace!  Now I just need to get that pace down to about 7 minute pace for 26 miles... That'll be the day :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fly me to the.. well, not the moon.

So, I forgot to tell the story of Emily and I going to the movies last weekend, so I thought I'd recap here. I had been waiting for Fly Me To The Moon to come out for some time, because I thought Journey looked so cool, but not quite Emily's speed... So, I got tickets to the Moore theater, and we headed up.

We got our goodies, and headed for the grand auditorium.  She was amazed at how big everything was, but more excited about how she could sit in the seat by herself without it folding up on her:
So, right before the movie began, I told her we needed to use our new glasses to watch this movie.  I expected a little fight, so that was okay.  By the time the movie began, she would at least hold the glasses close to her head to watch through them which was at least a small step in the right direction.  Then the first 3D jump out and grab you scene happened, and there went the glasses, flying through the air toward the head in front of us.  My ninja-like-reflexes allowed me to grab them before doing any damage, but the real damage had already been done.. I tried to hand them back to her, and she replied (very politely, I must say) "no thanks, I like the movie like this."  Well, without the glasses, it's like watching the screen through six different bottles stacked one in front of the other...

I let her go for a while, and I knew she was tolerating the movie just to keep from putting the glasses back on, so I tried a little more, she put them on once or twice more, but kept saying, "I can see daddy! I like the movie like this!"  So then I asked her, "Emily, would you just rather go home?"

"Yes please."

So there we went.  We had ben there about 45 minutes already (half the movie was over... and.. it wasn't worth watching even with the glasses.. SNOOZER if you ask me), but I thought might as well take my chances with the ticket counter, so I walked over, explained that Emily really didn't go for the 3D thing, and they immediately refunded all my money.  I LOVE THIS THEATER!

I didn't add the pictures of Emily's "Back" to School night, so here's a picture of her in her classroom (eating her treat after the scavenger hunt).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's worth watching...

If nothing else, just for the clapper. Awesome video if you haven't seen it.

Emily's first day of school!

Well, it finally came... Emily's first day at McKinley. Two days before she was showing off all of her new stuff (mostly because Kaitlyn was showing hers, so she needed to do the same.. see video below), and she was very excited to go to "mommy's school." We had figured that with this much hype, there was sure to be a breakdown when she got there, but no such thing! I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but the night before the first day of school, I spent most of the night sleeping with my head on the toilet... Whatever sickness it was hit me at about 1:30 in the morning, and the only comfortable place I could find was with my feet propped up against the wall in the bathroom, head on the toilet (outside cover at least :) crouched as tight as I could to keep the pain as far away as I could.

That morning I was still miserable, but determined to make it to school. Leslie asked me why I was even going in, I responded, "Yeah, so I'll be the guy to not be there the last day of school (when Benjamin was born), AND the first day of school?"

"Yeah, you better go," was her response :)

Anyway, I crouched and crawled my way through the morning, but was bound and determined to get our first day pictures taken, so we got some quick before I slunked (the only word I could think of to describe what I did to get into the car, and the rest of the day for that matter) into the car and off to work. Emily had a wonderful time at school, until the last few minutes when she saw my dad and Emily waiting at the end of her school day. The same thing happened to her when she was in line at bible school and saw us: she immediately dropped ranks and sprinted for us. We tried to get her back in line then unsuccessfully, but this time Leslie managed to drag her back to her class. When the teacher was done with her, she came back out still crying, but quickly got over it on her way home.

The second day sounded about the same as today, but she had a little breakdown during recess when she saw Leslie and couldn't stay outside with her and Kaitlyn. Apparently, no tears back in the classroom afterward, so good news there.

All in all a great start to a year at McKinley for Emily! I still can't believe she's old enough for it! She was talking this afternoon about Benjamin doing cartwheels like her some day, and I said, "when he's 4, you'll be 8!" After I said it, it took a while to sink in... years really do fly by...

So, I regained consciousness this morning at about 1:30 (almost 24 hours to the minute from whence it came)... I guess it helped that I went to bed around 5 last night, and felt fantastic, and what a great feeling that is.. Today was MUCH better than yesterday, I had a great time seeing all the teachers and kids, and can't wait for tomorrow!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Back" to School Night with Emily!

I'll have to get the pictures up later, but tonight Emily went to her school for the first "official" time!

Leslie had to get ready early, so she dropped Emily and Benjamin off at Alcott, and we waited there until it was time to go (good thing too, I needed to get some work done!). When it was time, we rushed in the rain out into the car, and headed to McKinley.

When we walked in, Emily immediately ran to Leslie, as she was standing just outside her door. After a quick hug, Emily took me to her new classroom (she knew where it was, and I didn't... sheesh, I guess it starts already). Once in there, we were greeted by her teacher, and I got to work on some of the paperwork. After a few moments, we started our scavenger hunt and began looking around the room for various objects. Emily loved that part, as she went running from place to place, as if this was already a second home to her (we'll see about THAT on Wednesday.. hehehe), and even knew outside where the bathrooms were. One of our items was a toilet ("potty" if you ask Emily), and as soon as she saw it she went sprinting down the hall into the bathroom (probably should have reminded her to walk.. oh well) and yelled, "there's the potty!"

When we were done in her classroom, we went into Leslie's for a bit and chatted, and then headed out to go back to the car. On the way out, Emily had to say goodbye to every teacher as we left, and I saw McKinley for the first time as a dad, rather than a, well, whatever I am..

Every single teacher, without hesitation, immediately crouched down with their arms wide open, to which Emily ran into their arms hugging and laughing. They all took genuine interest in what she was saying, and made her feel instantly welcome. Now, as I watched this the first few times, I thought to myself, "sure.. well.. that's because it's Emily.. I mean, come on.. she is wonderful, and she knows you all.." but I couldn't have been more wrong. EVERY kid I saw was treated like that, whether the teacher knew him/her or not. So then, I started to wonder what it would be like if every teacher treated students that way, what would school look like? At some point it doesn't become "appropriate" to greet with hugs and laughs, in a welcoming manner, I just don't know when that happens. Here's a thought: what if every class you entered in throughout college your professors met you like that? Okay, that may be a little odd, but why not? At least, why not do your very best to make all the students feel welcome as they enter? When does it become okay to turn on the cold water?

Anyway, I sure did love seeing Emily being well taken care of, with lots of love (and chocolate chip cookies!). I can't wait to see her go to school on Wednesday, even though I know our golden rule will apply: anything we talk about more than twice with Emily, when it comes time to do whatever that is, melt down will occur. No question. Let's just hope we get through that quickly on Wednesday :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I told myself no more...

But I just can't let this one slip away and NOT post it. If anybody sees this on the shelves at the local store, let me know...

Friday, August 15, 2008

How about this? Anybody?

Oh the memories..

For Kate

This one's for Kate because I was never a huge fan.. I don't know if it was because I just didn't like fraggles too much, or more because back when I remember it, it was on HBO. During that time of my childhood, HBO was the forbidden fruit that only during brief moments of mighty courage would I attempt to flip the channel changer (the one still tethered to the television, with the line of numbers that you could zip the plastic handle back and forth on... I would spend hours zipping that little plastic thing back and forth... zip zip zip zip zip zip, that's how WE had fun in those days you little whipper snappers!) over to.

I always knew that when I was watching HBO, two things would happen:
1. Something horrible would be showing (violence, language, nudity, whatever) and
2. My parents would walk in.

With that in mind, I was convinced that Fraggle Rock had one or more of those horrible things on, and therefore could only be watched in snippets of 4 or 5 milliseconds at a time. So, I'm guessing that was the main reason I never really got into Fraggle Rock. I did, however, love this one:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Because last night's was so fun...

How about this one?  (One of my favorites...)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who remembers?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It gets official tomorrow!

After a short summer, the new school year is here again!  Just a few short days before the students are back, and I know both Leslie and I are excited to get the year started!

Now that we're getting back into the school schedule, I've been taking my usual route to school the past few mornings, and realized another part of the school year that I've missed this summer... Right in front of the court house each morning, a guard (I'm assuming sherrif, or deputy) helps people across the street who have parked in the lot.  From what I've been able to tell in the two years I've been taking this route, the guards are on a 30 day or so rotation, as there seems to be a new person each month.  It seems to be a pretty uneventful job, but there they are, every morning (starting at about 7:30), rain or shine, cold or hot.

Through all the mornings that I've driven that route, I've come to know my favorite guard, although I don't know his name.  He's one of the few who waves back at me when I wave at him, and he does it more consistently than any other.  As my little red geo approaches, I'm always on the phone with Ryan, I always look over, wave, and he always waves back.  Nothing like creatures of habit, establishing our routines... it makes more and more sense why people resist change; it has almost become such a natural part of my morning, that when it doesn't happen, things seem "off" and up until recently, I haven't really noticed why.

For those of you still awake reading this (I know, a snoozer this evening, but I've managed to get my laptop from school working both at home and at school, so now I can sit in bed, watch my programs, and blog at the same time.. life is gooooood :), there is actually a point to all of this... And it fits neatly inside the "different" scenerio of my morning routine...

I was driving to work one day last week, and there was my favorite guy, waiting on the side of the road for people to cross.  I was approaching, per normal, getting ready to wave.  He began escorting somebody across the street, and the SUV in front of me slowed to a halt in front of the two of them.  The officer stood in the middle of the road as the woman crossed.  On any other morning, he would have walked back to the side of the road, the car in front of me would have driven off, I would have passed waving, he would have smiled and waved back... But not this morning...

When the woman was about a third of the way across the road, the SUV began inching forward.  I thought nothing of it, and continued to think nothing of it when I saw the officer smiling at the driver, but instead of moving back to the side of the road, the officer was moving toward the driver side window.  "He must know this guy," I thought to myself... but only for a second did I continue that thought.  Here's where my morning got interesting.. As I watched the officer, his gate changed, as well as his facial expression.  He was still smiling, but something was very different about his demeanor.  This must be something they train officers during the academy, because it's only officers that I see be able to do this so well... Anyway, he began speaking to the driver (I could hear him through my closed windows).  I'm assuming it had something to do with the "creeping" forward as the woman was crossing the street.  After a few words, he turned and began walking back to the side of the road.

This must have been where the driver thought to himself... "Yeah, I should probably just keep driving, but, it sure would be fun to see what happens if I say something back to this guy," and so he did.  The officer whipped around, walked RAPIDLY back to the car, and had another "discussion" with the guy.  In this part of the conversation, the officer motioned to the jail on the opposite side of the street, and I could only imagine how that entered into this conversation.  It was over as quickly as it started, and there went the SUV.  I found myself a little tentative to accelerate... 

He looked over at me, and we made eye contact.  There he was again, that guy I had come to know so well over the past two years, smile and all.  The only difference this time was that he wasn't waving back at me, he was just waving for me to go ahead and go.  As I drove past, I rolled down my window, and for the first time in two years, spoke to the officer... for some reason it sounded a lot cooler in my head than what it sounded like when it came out my mouth:

"You gotta gettem... "  Huh, what did that even mean?

"Oh yeah," he replied.  I guess he understood, or at least was kind enough to play along.

The point of this story eludes me at the moment, but if nothing else, it's interesting to see the little deviations in our "normal" lives as we go through each day.  It's the little jewels of chaos that make it so much fun :)

In other news, I had a wonderful evening with Emily tonight... we swam, got home, brushed teeth, bounced on the bed, read a book, prayed, hugged, kissed, loved, and snuck out of bed, all how I love it.  It's those moments of "normal" life that I love, much more than the little jewels of chaos.

I don't know if it hurts more, but it sure does hurt...

Last night Emily was taking her bath, and began whining. Not too much of a deal, we usually just have to ask her to stop once or twice and we move on. Well, she wasn't having any of that last night. So here came the consequence notification:

"Emily, if I have to ask you again, we'll have to get out of the bath and straight to bed tonight, without books or singing."

I sat there for just a few seconds praying she wouldn't.. but then.. she did. I had to "stick to the plan" at that point, there was no turning back. I bathed her quickly, and she already knew something was up, as she began asking me questions about what I was doing. I calmly told her we were washing, then we were getting out of the bath and going straight to bed.


I explained. At this point I was already questioning whether or not she really understood what was going on, but again, had to stick to it. Now, before I continue, and before some of you reading this start internalizing what an easy pushover, weak minded, over protective, not strict enough parent I am, I'll share with you again my perspective:

I still check on Emily throughout the night each night, just to make sure she's still breathing... and she's four years old. I worry about her, Leslie, and Benjamin about three seconds out of every five throughout each day, and I look forward more than anything else coming home to spend time with them every night. I was recently asked, "if there was one thing you could ask for and get... one wish that could be granted to you, what would it be?" I didn't have to think at all for an answer to that one, it was easy: To grow old with Leslie and watch my two kids grow up. I don't think these things or say these things just to be sappy, or gain "points," I truly believe them. One of the comments last night on the Olympics came from a mother who pointed out that once you have a child, you stop living for yourself and start living for somebody else. I cannot agree more with that statement, I feel it every moment of the day. So, that being said...

We got out of the tub, I dried her off quickly, and we headed to her room for bed. The usual routine for bed is this: I get her dressed for bed, brush her teeth (when we remember, but after the gum bleeding incident yesterday morning, we're going to HAVE to remember every night now...), she picks out a few books and heads for the bed, where I'm waiting to read to her. She hops up, and jumps on the bed for about 20 seconds, then jumps straight at me for me to catch her. She sits in my lap with her brown night night while we read. Then, I grab her with one arm, get out of bed, flip her over onto her pillow while saying something like, "OH.. MY.. GOODNESS, you are SO big, I don't know if I can lift you!!" and she giggles back at me (she always laughs at my jokes, another BIG plus in my book :) Then Leslie comes in, they say their prayers, sing, hug and kiss, and then I come back in. I give her a big hug, kiss, touch her finger while telling her I love her, tuck her in, head for the door, turn back around for one more kiss, hug, and "love you," then turn the lights out and leave.

Usually, about three minutes later, she comes out, smiles, and we put her back in her bed. There's never a moment of crying, whining, begging to stay up.. It's always very nice, and all smiles.

Well, last night we didn't get to do any of that. I got her dressed, brushed her teeth, put her in her bed, told her calmly, but sternly, "Emily, do not get up tonight." She didn't complain or argue, just silently nodded her head. I had to hug her quickly to keep from breaking down just from that (remember my perspective before you judge again :) and quickly left the room.

She didn't make a peep, didn't come out, and I sat in my bed feeling like dirt for almost an hour. Then I heard the typical whisper for me through the monitor: "Daddy, daddy.... daddy" (always in threes). I went into her room, walked up to her, she looked up at me and asked quietly, "are you happy with me?"

Now I was at a crossroads:

1. Start weeping immediately - this probably wouldn't benefit the overall goal, however difficult it may be to keep from losing it..
2. Stay strong and stern - stick to the message, probably a good option.. I mean, all of the other stuff would go out the window if I wasn't, right?
3. Gentle approach - Could be..

I went with: "Emily, I'm sad that you chose to whine again, and not do what I was asking you to do (clean her 'letters' up from the water before we washed), so you need to go to bed." Again, no response, just a nod... UUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH.

I went and pouted some more in my bed, then couldn't take it. I walked back into her room, layed down beside her, and held her as tight as I could. She turned to me and smiled. I smiled back. Neither of us said a word, we just sat there and smiled at each other. I told her I loved her, and left the room. That four year old showed more maturity during that entire experience than I've seen most adults.

So there you have it, my evening. I'm just glad that's the last time we'll ever have an issue with her not listening to me :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Water Logged...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Birthday pics/videos

Leslie made all of the cupcakes ("pupcakes" if you ask Emily), and the cake!  Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Emily!

Four years old! She snuck out of bed last night while we were watching the Opening Ceremonies (unbelievable by the way!) and saw all the decorations Leslie had put up... She could barely contain herself :)  The best was last night:

"Emily, you're going to be four years old tomorrow!!"


"Tomorrow, after you get up from sleeping!"


"No, when you get up from sleeping, tomorrow.  When it's tomorrow, it'll actually be today [that was a great way to get her to understand...]"



The "today" "tomorrow" "tonight" stuff still has a little work left... Anyway, she woke up this morning and remembered that she was four years old!  She's been wanting to open presents all day, so we let her open one when I got back from Camp Turning Points this morning (what a week it's been getting ready for that!!).  Benjamin gave her a little bunny with a bottle (already lost it..), some bracelets and... something else I can't remember right now.. good ole memory working well for me again.

We've got a party planned tonight, where Emily will be one of three guests under the age of 30 or so... We've got my dad and mom, Leslie's parents, Amy, Brian and their two kids, and Chebon and Kate.  I can't wait to see all the old folk playing pin the tierra on the barbie :)

I'll get some pictures up of the party and presents after we're done.  We can't believe she's already four, and in just a week and a half will be going to McKinley!  Wow!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Starting the new schedule...

Both Leslie and I have to work today, so this will the one of the first days of the new year's schedule!  So far things seem pretty smooth: Benjamin still sleeping, Emily in our bed watching Curious George (after brushing her teeth with me), me taking [wasting] time blogging, and Leslie getting ready.  Soon will come Emily needing to be dressed, food needing to be prepared, screaming, mass hysteria!  I can't wait!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seeing Red Fish

My second year at Irving I remember seeing a video about a Seattle fish company.  In that short 20 minute video, I remember thinking of how amazing those people were working together, and how easy it would be for any work place (specifically Irving at the time) to follow the same philosophy.  I walked out of that meeting refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the world.

By the end of the day, however, I had a slightly new look.  It seemed most people I talked to were less enthusiastic about our immediate transformation that I felt was needed.  These people seemed to take the video with a grain of salt, and preferred to continue on about their normal routines.

With the help of experience, mentors, education, and conversations over the past 8 years, I can now better understand what I was seeing at Irving that day.  However, even after all of that processing, I saw yet another video just a few short days ago titled "Seeing Red Cars."  The basic premise of the video is that whatever you focus on, that's what you'll get more of.  As I look back to that day at Irving, I noticed that most of the folks seemed apathetic toward the idea.  What I didn't focus on were the ones that felt the same way I did, or, now with better understanding of working with teams of people, noticed that many of the people there were living that philosophy, just in different ways.

I'm fascinated how a simple transformation in approach to people or situations could make that big of a difference on interpretations or perspective.  While I see some parallels in my response to this recent video to my reaction with the fish video from Irving, I feel I come at this one from a different place.  As I've learned since that day at Irving, exposure to a 20 minute video does not change people or philosophies.  They don't suddenly make everything right with the world.  They don't motivate, empower, or justify transitions to thought.  However, to focus on that would undermine my attempts to focus on what I want to see more of... that exposure to 20 minute videos could simply start conversations, and begin opening minds to change.

What will I see my first day back at work this year?  How will I feel?  Will those thoughts and feelings be the same in February, and how will those feelings dictate my actions?  I'm excited more every minute the year approaches, and know that I will continue to see red fish, wherever I look.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Summer Hot

That's what I'm going to call it, because up until two days ago, I had never heard of this "Summer Cold" nonsense.  When I got back from Colorado, I began feeling some aches, pains, sore throat, etc... I ran through it one day (10 miles, to be precise), and continued to will myself (to no avail) away from feeling sick.

So the sore throat worsened, headaches continued, runny nose began, so I started whimpering.  Those of you who know me understand, and those that don't, well, I don't do well with colds, flues, or any other forms of sickness.  The worst was when I woke up feeling like I was going to throw up the other night.  To me, there are few worse feelings on earth than waking up to your body telling you it's time to turn inside out.  Now, common sense would indicate that the sooner you purge, the sooner you can go to sleep... and I know people who can do that.  I, however, am not one of those people.  I'd rather sit in a cold, vicious sweat, shaking uncontrollably, and praying that if indeed it does start moving up from my stomach to my mouth, I'll make it in time to the bathroom before spraying the walls (okay, backing off on the details now..) To put it simply, I'd rather gnaw on a porcuburger (with pointy things still attached) than throw up. 

So, instead of taking medicine, seeking medical attention, etc., I've just been whining myself through the past few days, hoping this thing will go away.  As I was wallowing in my own self pity, Chebon mentioned that I had a summer cold.  I was shocked to see that not many people were as dumbfounded as I by that statement.  In fact, I've since spoken with many people who have not only recently experienced the same, but all seem to know "people" who have it right now.  How is it that I'm in my thirty third year of life and have never heard of this summer cold? Okay, bad question.. There seem to be many things I've never heard of, so that doesn't really count.

Anyway, I'm still sticking to the notion that the summer cold does not exist.  To help on that theory, I'm going to call it the summer hot, and mine's a doosy. 

And before you roll your eyes at me for calling it a summer hot, think of it this way: we all know I love "hot dishes" (termed by my family, apparently a Minnesota/Northern thing - something like goulash) and everybody loves making fun of me when I mention having it by saying, "well, if you're gonna have hot dish, can we have cold plate? har har har har yuk yuk yuk."  So if you people can have your cold plates, I can have my summer hots.  Now, excuse me while I go whine some more.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Professional Goals

I'm often asked how much I like my job.  I particularly like the way in which people ask me as they look at me through a sideways, pitied face, "Soooo, do you like your job?"  I always respond the same way: not only do I like it, I love every minute of it.  If I were asked the question, "if you could do ANYTHING you wanted with your life, what would it be?"  I would say the job I'm doing right now.  Of course there are challenges, but there are challenges with any job.  However, when you're in the kid business, hard decisions become easy when you are focused on what is important.

With my job, I've developed many new professional goals for myself.  One of the many things that describes a typical day for me is working from interruption to interruption.  I quickly had to move past my OCD tendencies that all things I begin must be completed before going home each day, because it just isn't possible.  However, knowing that I work from interruption to interruption, I have always prided myself on multi-tasking.  On closer inspection... I've realized I've just been lying to myself for several years, and it's time to change.

I remember specific times teaching band at NHS when kids would come up to me in the office.  I'd hear some distant muttering as I hammered away at my computer, until finally, I'd hear something like, "HEY! YOU IN THERE??"  Oops.. I'd jerk around in my chair, apologize, and begin listening.  Then, slowly, as the student would begin talking to me again, I'd turn into that phone commercial where the hand goes off on its own... I'd find myself turning ever so slowly back to the computer, all the while nodding at the student (I had stopped listening long before the turning began of course..), until there I would be again, hammering away, not listening.  I made a pact with my classes my second year at NHS, so that when a student would come in, they would get between me and my computer, look at me in the eyes and say, "Mr. Liesenfeld, I need you to make eye contact through this conversation, okay?"  Yes, yes, what a wonderful teacher I was, asking the students to be more responsible for my actions than myself...

And here I am, my third year as an administrator, school has not yet even begun, and yesterday, as I was sitting at my desk emailing folks, two teachers at two different times tried to have conversations with me, and guess what I was doing?  Not multi-tasking, that's for sure...  Teachers are much too nice than to call me out on my failure to connect with them, so they just continue talking, hoping I get some of what they're saying to me.  Well, friends, it's time I take responsibility for myself this time, and stop this one before the year even begins.  Sooooo, professional goal #1:

I am in the people business, not the computer typing business.  When a patron (student, parent, colleague, community member, etc) needs my attention, I will give it to them fully.  I will do this with 100% accuracy by the end of the first nine week grading period.  Benchmarks will take place daily, scored by myself and the patrons in front of me.

In other news... We're having a cookout for the 6th grade teachers this evening over at our house, and I can't tell you how excited I am about it!  I've roped Chebon into cooking the burgers for me, because, as we all know, I don't even know how to start a grill... And speaking of the grill, we checked it again last night, because about a week ago it was shooting flames from the "regulator" (sounds like a Terminator 2 reference, but I'll trust Chebon when he tells me that's what it is), but last night all seemed well.  Let's put it this way, if anybody hears a loud BOOM from the northeast part of town this evening, it isn't fireworks..

I've missed being able to swim with Emily and spend time with Benjamin.  As excited as I am for school, like I've said many times before, I sure do hate leaving them.  I'm sure Leslie enjoys the breaks from me, but I sure would rather be home annoying her and the kids :)

Hope everybody has a wonderful day.  My ten miles this morning was a wee bit better than the last time, and at least I'm not feeling nauscious today!