Thursday, September 22, 2016



I hate them. Yes, I hate them. They are tiny, annoying, plastic pieces of crap. I do not even understand them. What are they exactly? I googled "Shopkins - what are they?" This is what I found.

Shopkins is a range of small, collectable toys, manufactured by Moose Toys. Based on grocery store items, each plastic figurine has a face and unique name. The collectable toys (which are designated as common, rare, and ultra rare) have also spawned a line of books and trading cards, as well as a YouTube channel.

I am sorry, but that is NOT an accurate description of Shopkins. Shopkins are small plastic pieces of shit. Shopkins are over priced teeny toys. Shopkins are small toys that randomly show up under couch cushions. Some Shopkins are tiny charms that can even go down the bathtub drain. Shopkins create a huge mess. Shopkins are a tiny army that take over your house. Shopkins create drama. Shopkins are designed for imaginative play, but they are too small to enjoy other toys so Shopkins come with their own play lands. Shopkins do not create a sharing environment unless you have many Shopkins. Shopkins that are 'ultra rare' are sooooo special they do not get shared, but they get lost due to their size. Shopkins get eaten by the dog. Shopkins can fit up a nose. Shopkins can fit in the crevices of a car seat to never be seen again. Shopkins are the bane of my existence (for now).

Shopkins were created by the devil himself.

I hate Shopkins.

E1 and E2 LOVE Shopkins. Moose Toys markets to their demographics very well. Unfortunately for Moose Toys, my girls have no money and mama's money is done buying Shopkins.

                               (this is a fraction of the army of Shopkins that reside in my home)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Real Struggle

Middle school students are my favorite students. Even with all their personality flaws, they are fun, caring, witty, and STILL want a teacher who cares enough to teach them.

Struggling readers. This is a REAL problem in education. Before the girls were born, I taught 6th grade reading for years and then became a literacy coach for a high school - yes, I am nuts. Like I have said a million times, struggling readers are my best students. My favorite students.

This school year I am blessed to work some amazing students. Their smiles are as big as their face, their willingness to learn is strong, and their inability to read fluently or comprehend is as big as the Grand Canyon.

It is painful to see a 12 year old boy cry because a 3rd grade book is too difficult to read.  It is gut wrenching to do a lesson on syllables and suffixes with a 13 year old girl who can not read the word 'visiting.' It is alarming to know that these children have not been taught. It makes me furious! How the hell did it get this bad?!?  How did the reading teacher not notice the child who uses exact text from the book to answer comprehension questions vs her own words indicates she has NO idea what she reading?

Don't believe me? Today, my student had to answer the question, "How did Walt earn free haircuts?" Her response written perfectly "Walt earned free haircuts with his artistic talent."  My response to her answer? That's a great answer. In fact, that answer gives me the exact sentence from the book. I am so happy you found where to look for your answer. What exactly does your answer mean?  The student not only could not read her answer, she did not know what it meant and had no idea what she read about in chapter two.

This is not an exaggeration. This is real life. Real students. Students that had teachers. This student is in 7th grade.

The reason these students are behind? We, their teachers, their administrators, their school, failed them. We spent too many hours bitching how behind they were vs doing the work it took to get them on grade level. We spent too many hours judging the mom who went to the nail salon vs reading with her child. We spent too many hours judging the parents working two jobs to put food on the table. We spent too many hours judging the mom 'who works nights.'

Guess what? None of these parents woke up on any morning and said, "Hey kid of mine - fuck you. I don't care about you. Good luck with school." Their parents DO care. Maybe they don't 'care' they way you 'care' for your own kids, but they do care.

How about we stop judging the student's home life and actually TEACH the child. What a novel idea. TEACH them!
Will it be hard? Hell yes.
Will you have to spend extra time on your lesson plans? Hell yes.
Will you have to utilize small group instruction? Hell yes.
Will you possibly have to teach phonics to a child that should already know it? Hell yes.
Will you make a difference? Hell yes.

Stop recording a 70 in your grade book and start recording what the child earned. You are not doing them any favors by passing them along. Stop saying you don't have time. That's bullshit. Make the time. You chose this profession. It is your job to TEACH every student that walks through your classroom door no matter what their level is. And if you teach elementary, please don't ever tell a secondary teacher you have too many students. I swear your 40 is nothing compared to their 200.

Please have hard conversations with parents and administrators and explain the child's academic struggles. Most parents are not teachers. They only know what you tell them. If their kid passed, then they think they learned. This is what you have communicated with your report card. If the child is failing and needs a tremendous amount of help and at the end of the year they are still behind, it is OK if to recommend retention. It is far less embarrassing to repeat fourth grade than it is to be in middle school and be on a 2nd grade reading level. Don't believe me? Teach middle school kids and you will. These children refuse to read out loud, refuse to do their work, and get sent to alternative schools. The reason they refuse? They literally cannot do the work.

Teachers: I BEG you, ASK your students WHY they are not doing something. ASK them in PRIVATE. Build a relationship with them. If you're lucky, while you're teaching them, they will teach you a few things too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Because I am an A**Hole

Before I start my rant, I mean blog post, let me say I am not an "anti-vaxxer." As a cancer survivor, I completely understand what immuno-compromised means. As a mother who has seen the devastating effects from common illnesses, I understand the need for vaccines. As a person who is a fan of well health, I understand the purpose of vaccines. I understand what herd immunity means. My children are both completely vaccinated. What I will bitch about is the way people are vilified if they CHOOSE not to vaccinate. This is not a topic I would typically touch with a ten foot pole, but this momma is pissed off. I am sure by tomorrow, I will not be aggravated. Tonight, however, I am annoyed.

The school district sent home a sheet today explaining that my child along with all the other students could receive the flu vaccination from school. I MUST fill out the form. The form, itself, is not optional. The vaccination is.

After a few questions ranging from how old is your child to allergies to health issues, the district then gives you two choices. You MUST check one.

YES, I WANT TO HELP PROTECT MY FAMILY AND COMMUNITY FROM FLU BY ALLOWING MY CHILD TO RECEIVE A FLU VACCINE! (this option was written just like this- all caps, in bold, underlined)

NO, I DO NOT wish to help protect my child and community by allowing my child to participate(reason)_____
(written just like this- smaller font, no bold, no underline)

So to my daughter's school's district-
You have a lot of chutzpah to word your document this way. I would have checked yes, but due to your arrogance, I am checking no and here are my reasons:

  1. I am the parent.
  2. I will take my daughter to her doctor.
  3. I am an asshole.
  4. She already received her flu shot.
  5. Your job is to teach the state requirements and flu vaccination is not part of the curriculum.
  6. Fuck you.
  7. My kid hates needles.
  8. The flu vaccine is NOT required to attend school. When it is, you may have your opinion.
  9. My child's medical needs are my business.
  10. Your wording pissed me off.
  11. I am saying no because I want to see what happens.
  12. Because I said no and that is my right.
DAMN. Why is the form worded this way??? FOR REAL. How about:
____ I would like the school to administer the flu vaccination to my child.
____ I would not like the school to administer the flu vaccination to my child.

Is that so hard? If it is, I can help you redo the form for next year.

How dare you ASSume by checking no that I am careless, reckless, and do not give a damn about my child, my family, and my community. That could not be further from the truth! I care deeply about all those people. ALL of them. 

What I do not care for is your jackass attitude. Your jackass wording. Your jackass thought that a parent who checks no might actually be responsible and make a decision benefiting their child. 

Your form is maddening and again, I vaccinate my kids. I can only imagine what parents, who have valid reasons for saying no to the flu shot, are thinking. 

I get it. People die from the flu. I know this. I also know the flu vaccine is not legally required and your form is intended to scare people into checking yes.

I will protect my child, my family, and my community. I will also be checking NO. 
My reason? None of your damn business. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Just Wait

I have many things that annoy me (shocking), but people who add "just wait...." sentences into the conversations really get on my nerves. I have been guilty of this behavior, but I truly make a conscience effort not to do it. If I have done it to you, I am sorry. While I recognize people are trying to help, these sentences belittle the experience the other person is going through PLUS the other person never asked for the advice, story, experience etc that follows your "Just wait..."  Added bonus? Your "just wait" sentence makes you look like an ass who was not really listening and just wanted to hear themselves talk.


My newborn baby is so sweet.
Just wait until he/she stops sleeping. My kid blah blah blah

I feel like I have been driving all day.
Just wait til your kids are older like mine, I am never home, blah blah blah

My baby won't eat vegetables.
Just wait until they are toddlers and throw the food at you, blah blah blah

The mosquitoes are nuts this season. My kids are getting eaten alive in our backyard.
Just wait until you are outside for a sport like me, blah blah blah

The stress of school work starts so young. It is unfortunate.
Elementary is nothing Just wait, blah blah blah

My kid went for a bike ride and did not check in.
Just wait until they are older and you never know, blah blah, blah

Potty training is so hard.
Just wait until you have to blah blah blah

ALL THE TIME this happens! I hear my friends say it to other friends or to me. Hell, I have even heard it to random people in the grocery store. JUST STOP! The reason I have to type blah blah blah in all the responses....I stopped listening to you.

If someone asks you for advice, then give it. A conversation between friends is NOT an invitation for you to hijack said conversation with what you think is life altering advice. Having older kids or a different experience does not make you an expert.  Instead of "just wait," how about saying, "Girl, I feel you. I have been in my car all day too. Totally sucks. Want to meet for a cup of coffee between the carpool runs?"

It is so fucking annoying when people do this. I am not calling you to hear your advice. I called my friend to see how they were doing, check in, have someone to chit chat with, etc. If I want your "just wait" experience, I will ask "Does this get worse? Better? What did you do?"

Do you want to add to the conversation? Then try not starting your sentence with "just wait." When it is your turn to speak, tell your story. I want to hear about your day. I really do.

And if this has never happened to you.....JUST WAIT.