Sunday, August 30, 2015

And Summer officially comes to an end

Tomorrow school starts for me.
Today is the last day of my summer.
Am I sad to see it go?  Not really.
It's been a crazy one with John's new factory job and odd shift.
We did have some great times with the family, but I am happy to close the book on the chapter, Summer 2015.
Bring on the next chapter.
I have many Preschoolers this year, 40 in all.
The entire school from K - 8 only has 83 kids total so my Preschoolers really make up a big portion of our school population.
I am leary of the mornings with 16 - 20 3 year olds.  That is a lot of little ones with just one teacher and a helper, but with God's help I will make it work.
My afternoon class has only 12, so that will be a nice break.
I hope I sleep okay tonight, but chances are I probably will not.
Time to go over my lesson plans, one last time.
Chances are I will not use them as I planned anyway, the kids will set the mood for the first day.
I am also praying that I will not have any criers.
Wish me luck and stay tuned for how things went.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

St. John's Revisited

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      It was the first day of school for grades K - 8 at St. John's today.  I don't care if it is your first day in Preschool, Grade School, High School, College, or your first day as a teacher, the feelings are the same.  The butterflies, the sleepless night prior to that first day, the stress over the right outfit, it is always there.  On Monday, I will have my first day.  If my calculations serve me correctly this is probably my 50th first day at least and it will feel the same as it did way back in 1957 when I started Preschool.  That is just how it is with first days.

      I shared the following on Facebook today.  I shared it with the ten Facebook friends who were my classmates at St. John's way back when.  I hope they enjoyed it.

      Today was the first day of school at St. John's Watertown. I teach the three and four year old Preschoolers there. As I watched all those excited, happy celebrating a "first day" of school, I took time to remember my first days at St. John's and I thought about all of you. The older I get, the more I love to go back to those memories of St. John's.
      Many things have changed since we have been there:
      1. Our little gym is gone, replaced by a huge new gym
      2. There is no longer a stage. Gone are the days where the spectators would sit up on that stage cheering on the Eagles.
      3. The office is right by the front door, no longer on the second floor. Speaking of the office, the mimeograph machine is long gone. No more smelling that wonderful smell of freshly run off papers.
      4. The cafeteria is the same, but only a few classes eat in it at the same time. I remember all of us eating in there, but maybe that wasn't the case. I just know it was packed.
      5. There are far less students at St. John's now. Most classes are combined. I think our class had at least 40 students.
      6. The playground now has play equipment because kids now a days don't know how to just play. We could do anything with just a few balls and jump ropes.

      I also took time to remember our teachers at the old St. John's. This is how I remember them, please share if you have other memories.
      1. Miss Schoenike, probably the kindest teacher ever. She taught us how to read. She had a soft fur coat that I loved. She is most likely the reason I became a teacher.
      2. Miss Taras and her Brown Uncle, probably the scariest teacher at St. John's. I had to stay after school and stand by the piano while she taught me how to sing. Ruined my confidence in singing for the rest of my life.
      3. Miss Schlueter. It was in third grade that we learned to dial a phone when Watertown was switching over to dial phones. Does anyone else remember that? Miss Schlueter was another very kind teacher.
      4. Our first man teacher and I loved him, Mr. Claus or was it Mr. Clause? He was short, funny, and fair. Anyone remember Cathy Corbin, my absolute favorite friend for two years. Her dad was in the navy and she knew lots of things. A bunch of us girls got into a lot of trouble singing around the piano about him and Miss Opperman getting married. We had to write a lot of sentences for that.
      5. Mrs. Grosnick. I don't think we were very nice to her and I don't have many memories one way or the other.
      6. Probably my favorite year with Mr. Gottschalk. I seem to recall someone crawling up on the tall cabinets to surprise him, but that is a foggy memory. I remember him being fun.
      7. Mr. Eggers. I had so much respect for him and thought he was a wonderful teacher. Tough, but good. He taught us a lot about the new math, I think.
      8. Herbie Richter, what more can I say. It was also the year of the mysterious paper clip flying through the air. Do we really know who launched that? I don't think we were a particularly a naughty class, but that year we really were naughty and disrespectful.
      A lot has changed at St. John's over these many, many years, but some things are the same:
      1 We still start with a chapel service every school year and go to a weekly service every Friday, I think ours were on Wednesdays.
      2. The kids are still every bit as excited for their first day as we were. They still wear their newest, cutest clothes and bring in a backpack full of new school supplies. ( I don't think we had backpacks, I know I carried my books, but may have had a school bag, too)
      3. The teachers are still excited for their new classes, too.
      4. Friends are still so happy to see one another after a summer break. There are hugs and high fives all around.
      So, today, I wanted to let all of you know that I was thinking about you and our memories at St. John's. Those memories are very special to me and each of you fits into those memories in a unique way. Thanks for being a part of my grade school history.

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Tizita visits the Serious Tower

    On Saturday we took Tizita on her annual "back to school" advventure.
    This year we took her to the Willis Tower, which she refers to as the Serious Tower, and which I will from now on refer to as the Sears Tower both in this post and in life.
    Started out as the Sears Tower and it shall remain that in my book.
    We took the train.
    Tiz's first train ride and she loved it.  So did John since it meant he did not have to fight the Chicago traffic.
    We arrived in Chicago around 9:30 and headed to the Sears Tower.
    We had to wait about an hour but with the movie and othe distractions, the hour went quickly and before we new it, we were up on the Ledge on the 103rd floor.
    Tiz loved stepping out on top of Chicago.
    Here re a few photos from the train and the Serious Tower.

     We had lunch in the Sears Tower before walking to Grant Park and seeing the big fountain.

    From there, we were off to Millennium Park with its mirror bean and great splash pads.
    Tiz said the splash pads were her favorite part of Chicago after the Serious Tower.

    Our next plan was to walk to Navy Pier, but best laid plans...
    We never did make it to Navy Pier due to a bunch of high rise condos set in the middle of our path with no outlet.
    We decided to shop on Michigan Avenue for a bit and found a three story candy store.
    Tiz loved it.  She reminded me of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.

    When we were leaving the candy store, we found this:
    We just had to laugh.
    It was now too late to take this secret stairway to Navy Pier, so we got some dinner at a cute little restaurant right on the river.

    It was a yummy, relatively inexpensive dinner and we all enjoyed it very much.
    We had a very nice view of Trump Tower.
    We had to take this photo on the outside chance that the Donald becomes our next president!
    After dinner, we took the riverwalk back toward the train station.
    It was a bit of a hike, but Tiz was such a trooper and never once complained, John, on the other hand, could not stop talking about his sore feet!
    We made it back to the train station and had a great trip back to Milwaukee.
    It was so much fun to take Tizita on this adventure.
    I wonder how we will top this one!

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    A Weekend with my favorite people

    Another weekend has come to a close.
    It was a good one.
    I am so blessed that my girls love to come home and spend time together and with John, my mom, and I.
    Alissa came up on Friday night to spend the weekend with us.  Nathan had his annual camping trip so it was a good time for her to come up.
    Lissa, my mom, Mallory, and I went to On The Rock on Friday night for pizza and beer. 
    We had another pitcher at Firecracker.
    It was so much fun.
    Lots of memories, laughs, and great conversation.
    I love how Mallory is just like one of my girls and I love how my mom is really a cool 86 year old lady who can sit in a bar and drink beer with us.

    On Saturday, Courtney, Paul and the girls arrived.
    We had an afternoon of canvas painting.
    I was a bit uninspired but the others did some great paintings and we all had so much fun.
    We had brats for dinner.
    Mallory went out the the girls and Paul for the night while John and I enjoyed some great TV time with Soli and Tiz.
    It was such a fun, laid back Saturday.

    Today we all went to church together, Mallory and Kev, too, just like the old days.
    We had lunch together, just like the old days.
    Soli decorated the table for us with whatever birthday and holiday decor I had.
    It was so nice to sit together around that table and enjoy more together time.
    Alissa left after lunch for her long drive home.
    I know she had a great time.
    She starts her new job in two weeks.
    She is so excited about that and I am so happy for her.

    Courtney, Paul. the girls and I headed over to the Art Fair in Oconomowoc. 
    It was a fun time.
    The girls were able to make some art projects and we watched a dance troop perform.
    We all enjoyed some ice cream treats at the Kiltie and then the Van Aukens left for home, too.

    The house is quiet.
    I miss having everyone around here, but I am so glad they love coming home!

    Tomorrow it is registration.
    Yep, another year is about to begin.
    I hope it is a good one.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Riverfest Redefined

    I remember the very first Riverfest, it was actually our city's sesquacentennial (I think).
    My girls were pre teens (maybe 8 and 10 or so.
    They asked to go hang out at the rides with friends.
    I remember pointing in a vague direction and saying, "Meet us there."
    I had no idea that so many, many people would crowd into our little park that night to hear one of the popular bands.
    The vague little meeting spot was filled with people upon people.
    There was no way we would find our girls there.
    Luckily, my mom lives up on the hill that overlooks the park.  ( We live there now)
    The girls were smart and walked up to my mom's at the agreed upon meeting time.
    And that is how it all started.
    Riverfest has continued to attract crowds of people who come to enjoy the great food, beer, music, rides, and entertainment.
    John and I have enjoyed many, mnay Riverfests.
    The beer has always gone down so easily in that beautiful atmosphere.
    It has always been fun to run into old friends and catch up on our lives.
    Over the years we have watched children grow and now we get to see grandchildren at Riverfest.
    I have way too many memories to even try and list them here, but suffice it to say I have had lots of fun over the years at Riverfest.

    We looked so forward to sharing Riverfest with our grandchildren.
    We did that as soon as Tizita was old enough to join us.
    John and I always enjoyed at least one night of drinking and adult fun without them in tow, but this year was different and I didn't even miss the adult part of Riverfest.
    Maybe I am finally getting too old for all that beer drinking and loud music and crappy bathrooms!

    We only went down to the park on Sunday afternoon to let Soliana and Tizita ride the rides.
    We gladly paid the $20.00 each for them to ride for four hours.
    They loved it and got every penny's worth out of that money.
    We, luckily ran into two little girls from St. John's who were the same ages as Tiz and Soli.
    Now the big girls could ride the big rides and the little ones could enjoy the smaller rides.
    It was a great Riverfest,
    Different, but great.


    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Pool Time, VBS, and a trip to Sheboygan

    On Thursday morning, John drove me to Oshkosh to spend a few days with my favorite girls.
    We had lunch at Ardy and Ed's followed by some time at the Omro Pool.
    Tiz passed the swimming test by being able to swim free style for 50 yards so she was able to swim and play in the deep water as well as go down the big slides and off the boards.  She was pretty proud of her accomplishments.
    Here are a few photos from our day at the pool:

     On Thursday evening we went to church to hear the VBS students sing their songs.
    It was a great program and I did find a song for my Preschoolers to sing this year in church.

    On Friday we planned to go see Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan.
    They girls had been there last year and just knew that I would love it there.
    The only problem was that the weather did not cooperate with us.
    It drizzled at first, but that drizzle quickly turned into a steady downpour.
    We had lunch under an umbrella there, but at one point a flood of water poured off the umbrella and ran right down Courtney's back.
    At that point we decided to pack it up and head to the children's museum in downtown Sheboygan.
    I was able to see half of Bookworm Gardens and plan to go back to see the rest of it someday.
    They were right, I sure did like it.

    Here are some photos from the museum which was also very nice.

     After our adventures in Sheboygan, we headed to Watertown.
    Courtney and Mallory headed down to Alissa's for a cousins night out while John and I took the girls to the Vilas Park Zoo.
    The zoo was a zoo, so many people and strollers, but we still had a fun time.

    We stopped at Ella's Deli on the way home.
    Great way to end a fun day.
    Tomorrow, I will share my feelings on Riverfest 2015.

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