Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caught red-handed!

Being a preschool teacher, I say the same things repeatedly, day in and day out. Much like a parent, but I have seven children, all the same age. So about 75 times a day, I say (quite automatically) "Use your words, please"... "Go get a tissue if you need to wipe your nose"... "Do you need to go potty?"... "Put your bottom in your chair please"... "Use your spoon/ fork"... "Let's make these dinosaurs play nice and use them to give hugs instead of hitting" (yes, I DO say that last one alot, don't ask)

Anyways, today we had a substitute program director, which means the amazing woman who puts our food out and magically knows which utensil will be best for my kids was gone. It's usually easier to just give them spoons, but today they got forks for very messy food. So, I took away all their forks and gave them spoons, with lots of admonishments to please USE said utensils instead of grabbing handfuls of runny mac and cheese.

Of course, with the extra fork usage, all there was left for me was a spoon. When I finally sat down to eat, 10 minutes after we got in the lunchroom (what with all the utensil swapping, pouring milk, scooting chairs, etc) I was hurried. I went to eat my salad, realized I only had a spoon, and decided to go for it anyways. As a huge piece of lettuce started to slip off my spoon, I caught it with my index finger and slipped it in my mouth. Not something I would do at Buckingham Palace, but fine for preschool lunch. Or so I thought. Until I heard from one of my youngest boys (who had a fistful of pinto beans), "Miss Melissa... please use your spoon."

At least they hear me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resolved (and sharing publicly so I can't back out)

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions.

That being said, I have a New Year's Resolution.

Knoxville has an amazing series of paved trails called Greenways. They mainly wind through parks, along streams, and sometimes next to roads, but they are always surrounded by green (at least in the summer). At this point, there are 41.9 total miles of greenway in Knox County, divided among 30 or so trails, many of them connected.

In 2010, I plan to run every single foot of greenway in Knoxville. Not really a lofty plan... even if I only run trails 20 days this year, I'll only have to do 2 miles a run. Not a stretch. It seems like a little more if you consider that some of the trails are not a loop... so to do a 3 mile trail, I'll actually have to traverse 6 miles to get back to my car(I'm only committed to running each trail once, so I might not actually RUN the whole 6 miles). The bigger committment will be actually getting to all the trails. I probably can't knock out 6 short trails in a day because they are spread out around Knox County.

I'm excited because in doing this, I'll see alot of the parks and pretty places in Knoxville. Probably, I'll spend January and maybe February building up my endurance, and then set out to do a trail most weekends starting in March. Scott and I are going to start running 5Ks in March as well! I'll try to remember to take pictures and share my running adventures!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cabin Fever... is it Spring yet?

The bread was a success. It's also gone. Yum. I wish I had more time to make more of our food from scratch. It's scary to me to think how much preservatives and dyes I put in my body without even considering it. I think I'll try to bake a loaf of bread each month or so, to try to reduce the preservatives a bit. The bread obviously doesn't stay fresh as long as store-bought bread, but that's ok... it just means we have to eat more of it. And it's so delicious, that isn't hard. Plus, staler bread works well for toast!

I now understand the meaning of cabin fever. There is a definite effect on my kids from being cooped up inside for the last few weeks. We haven't played on the playground since I've been back for Christmas, but I think tomorrow is the day... it's supposed to be up to 50 degrees here!

In Carr household news, we are progressing very well on the furniture front. Yesterday, we bought a couch (our first new couch) and a coffee table at a wonderful wholesale furniture store (very inexpensive prices... attractive pieces). Today, we bought a vacuum cleaner, an important item when you have an allergic husband and all carpet. We were sad when we had to leave our vacuum in California, but it just wouldn't fit in our car. So it's finally been replaced! And we found an amazing used bookstore very close to us... stacks of books, two cats, and all!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Random Notes from the Arctic

This is a shout-out to our awesome sister/ sister-in-law Mary! COME VISIT US MARY!!

I am not quite ready for this three-day weekend to end. It was very relaxing... we mostly used the weather as an excuse to stay inside and glance out at the snow every hour and say "Wow, the snow is still there!!"

Scott did take me out for a date last night to the Smoky Mountain Brewery-- apparently everyone else in the city had the same idea. There was barely room to stand and wait for our table... it was wall to wall people. I guess everyone had been stuck inside for a few days like us and wanted some hot food and cold beer (blechhh) to comfort them. But our date was amazing :-)

My favorite accomplishment this weekend: I finished reading Mornings on Horseback. Fantastic book! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in American history or likes biographies. Our 26th President was a highly interesting person. Some interesting trivia:
  • He was highly asthmatic as a child and almost died at least once from suffocation.
  • His family were seasoned world travelers in the days before airplanes. As a preteen, he spent months in Europe and floated for months down the Nile, all while attended to by multiple servants.
  • Until his second year at Harvard he wanted to be a biologist-- at 8 years old he used to kill and dissect multiple birds a day
  • He spent the better part of 3 years as a rancher in the Dakota Territory. He and some friends once chased down and caught three robbers who had stolen their boat and carted them 50 miles to the nearest town to face justice (he was made fun of for having not killed them on the spot)
I love biographies so much. It is so much fun getting engrossed in the story of a person's development and to read about all of the factors that led to who they were as an adult. This one even made me cry (when his wife died), I was so invested in his story!

On another random note, I made Linguine with Clam Sauce tonight. Yum.

And, to end this extremely disjointed post, a picture to remind myself that it once was summer in Eastern Tennessee. And that it will probably eventually look and feel like this again someday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day!

Happy January! We are getting back to normal life and routines after an amazing (and much too short) trip to SoCal. Well, at least we are trying to get back to normal life! I was gearing up for my first 5 day workweek, only to be saved by a treacherous inch of snow!

Knoxville gets snow several times a winter, but it rarely sticks from what I've heard. However, we've had temps below freezing for 9 days straight (highs hovering around 25)... so the snow stuck! We knew it was supposed to start snowing Thursday, so all of us teachers were like little kids, watching out the window all day for the first flakes. We spotted them at lunch, found out Knox County closed schools an hour early (we follow Knox County closings), and everything went into a frenzy. All of the kids were picked up by 1:45, and it was officially a snow day! First of my life! We found out last night that schools would be closed today too.

So what did I do on my first snow day ever? Slept in late. Cleaned the bathroom (official Friday chore). Ate banana bread for breakfast. Caught up on blogs and started reading through the archives of one I really enjoy. Ate a disappointing yam for lunch. Read some of David McCullough's biography of Teddy Roosevelt (I love everything that man has written <3). Walked over to Borders and Food City with Scott (when it was 20.3 degrees outside). Experimented to bake my first loaf of "real bread" (not a quick bread like banana bread, but yeast-based sandwich bread). Made homemade pizza from dough we had made and frozen last week. Watched some Daily Show. Looked out the window every 20 minutes to see if the snow was still there (it is!) :-)

I'm so glad we had a snow day, especially since I have to get up early to take a Praxis (teacher certification) exam in the morning. It was nice to have a morning to rest! And next weekend is a 3 day weekend again because of MLK Day!
Celebrating in our apartment complex on Friday night
Want to go for a swim?
A new level of excitement for the War Machine! Pretty cool icicle (they are all along the front too)
Bread in progress! Mixing the dough at high speed, which made the mixer travel slowly across the counter toward the edge... very exciting.

Before baking... wondering if this is going to work. So far, so good!
Look! A real loaf of bread! Tomorrow, we'll see how it tastes :-)

All in all, a fabulous, relaxing and fairly productive snow day!