Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sad to see them all go.

Both AM and PM Class lined up and ready for the field trip!
Since this was my first year teaching preschool, I really did not know what to expect on our last day.  While I'm proud to say I didn't break down crying as each little kiddo came and gave me a goodbye hug, I was extremely sad and feel a bit empty knowing that there are few of them that I'll never see again.  Thankfully about half the class will be going to the local school here in Trout Creek so there is a good chance I'll see them while I'm subbing there next year.  And better yet there are still a couple of kids from this year's class that are too young to start kindergarten so they will be in our preschool again next year. 

We had an amazing last day, minus me being sad at the very end.  The woman who lives right across from me raises horses and ponies volunteered to give the kids pony rides on our last day of class... and come on... who doesn't love pony rides?  The kid were ecstatic and rode those ponies over and over again.  Shannon brought three different mounts over and plenty of helmets to go around.  Even the kids that were nervous at first when being placed on top of the taller of the ponies ended up with a huge grin on their face about two paces in and would immediately get off and go back to the end of the line which seemed endless.

Meredith also blew up the bouncy house for the kids to go ballistic in.  I'm not sure where she picked up the house from but we've used it at every preschool party and these kids never get tired of it.  I wish I had a 10th of the energy they do.  I know that when I was their age I did.  I can remember going to my friends birthday parties at Peter Piper Pizza in Cheyenne (basically a knockoff of Chucky Cheese) and running around in their bouncy house and ball pits without ever getting tired.  Where does the time go?

I do have to say though that my energy level has increased dramatically over the last year.  Of course shedding 70 lbs in that time might have something to do with that.  As a matter of fact the principal at the local school asked me to be one of the teacher/chaperones for the bike ride at the end of the year.  She said I looked plenty active and wouldn't have any issues with it.  It wasn't until the day before the trip that I found out that this "little" bike ride was actually an 18 mile mountain bike trip up to Martin Creek campground and back.  Never one to back down from a commitment I put my best foot forward and actually ended up surprising myself.  This rag tag group of 12-14 year olds should have been just demolishing me and putting my big toushy to shame but I actually ended up leading the pack over hill and dale and had more energy than they all did at the end of the trip.  I'm so happy to be back in shape and not feeling tired and worn out over the silliest things.  I figure if I can do 18 miles that easily on bike I should be able to do more and plan to over the summer.

Anyway I digress... back to the preschool end of the year party.  We also had amazing food brought in by all the parents and kids.  I was very proud of two of the little boys in my afternoon class that brought in food that they had actually helped make.  One brought in elk meatballs (so yummy) that he proudly told everyone how to make who said they were good and the other brought in brownies (right up my ally) that he insisted his mother didn't help him with.  She actually confirmed that he made them all on his own.  Pretty impressive for a 4 and 5 year old.  Maybe they will be our next generation of chefs. 
Catapiller Cupcakes.... so fun and delicious!!

I have had an amazing year with this group of children and certainly hope that I've helped teach them somethings that they will remember for the rest of their life.  Whether its me singing the "Buffalo Song" to them or teaching them the colors of the rainbow and why they are in the order they are in or why the leaves change color in the fall I hope I've made some impact in their lives because they have certainly left a lasting impression in my heart.  I will miss them so much over the summer but I'm already looking forward to the new group of kiddos I'll meet next fall.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Housesitters Heaven

Cow Elk
This weekend I've had the wonderful opportunity of housesitting for Meredith.  Now this isn't just any ol housesitting job... this is housitting in a gorgeous house on 40 acres in northwestern Montana.  It doesn't get any better than this.  While sitting on the back patio drinking coffee this morning I've seen 37 elk, 16 deer, 4 coyote pups (and their mom), a great horned owl, bald eagle, bunches of different little sparrows and thrushes, ground squirrels and gofers, and one lone skinny fox (couldn't get a picture of him though).  Those are just the wild critters on the property all of which I saw in the course of maybe 20 minutes.  I hope Meredith and her family realize how truly blessed they are here. 

Coyote Pup

I'm also taking care of a managerie of pets.  Two dogs (Piper and Selky), three cats (Egypt, Itty, and Hobbs),  three birds (Digit, Cleo, and Kernel), one tadpole (Leprechan Flower... as previously mentioned in a post from a couple days ago), five chicks (no names as of yet), three horses (Journey, Wynter, and Dakota), and a bunch of chickens and roosters (don't remember all the names).  I'm having soooooo much fun!!!!!! 

Correction:  Coyote Pups!
This place is a wildlife biologists/ wannabe vet's paradise.  I'm sad that I have to give the keys back tomorrow afternoon... lol.
This is Itty!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preschool Projects!

As you might have guessed by now I've been having a lot of fun helping teach the afternoon preschool class associated with the local school.  We've done a bunch of projects during the year that I have enjoyed tremendously, but I have to admit the last few weeks have been even more amazing.

First we got a tadpole for the class around St. Patricks Day.  This isn't just any tadpole, this is OUR tadpole and he'll eventually turn into a water frog.  And OUR tadpole is named Leprechaun Flower (told you it was close to St. Paddy's Day when we got it). Now I've never heard of a water frog but he's pretty neat looking. He started out no longer than half an inch and probably a quarter of an inch wide, pale green brown, huge buggy eyes, and whiskers like a cat fish.  Now hes almost two inches long, super chubby, finally has back legs and he's now starting to use his back legs to help swim.  I swear he has a Buddha belly though we're definitely not feeding him more than he's supposed to get.  Hopefully he'll get front legs before too much longer and start losing his tail before preschool gets out for the year.  Each day the kids come into check his progress and make sure he's doing well.  All of them are commenting about how he's using his back legs and how much bigger he's gotten.  Apparently, he will always live in the water, contrary to most frogs, and will keep the catfish whiskers as well.  I'm really curious about what he'll end up looking like and can't wait to find out.  He's been a great mascot for our little kiddos this spring.

Secondly, because it is indeed spring, Meredith ordered a caterpillar kit for the preschool.  This kit arrived the first week of April and included 5 brown stripped caterpillars that were sooooo itty bitty.  For two weeks we watched them eat and eat and eat and eat some more, much like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" which we read of course multiple times.  Then we watched them shed there skin once and start building a cocoon.  We then moved the cocoons to a special hatching tent and for the past two weeks have been anticipated their "coming out" as butterflies.  Well as luck would have it, Tuesday the first ones came out and of course the kids were enthralled!  We haven't named them all yet but I'm sure we'll get around to it once they are all out and about.  I think one of them died though because the cocoon started to crack and the wings started to come out but it's stayed that way for the past 3 days now and I don't think that bodes well.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Next week we'll release them all and let them go on their merry way to find food on their own and hopefully lay some eggs.  Its been a great example of the life cycle for these guys and we've really had an awesome time with the whole process.

Lastly, we've been working for the past 3 days of preschool class on our Mothers Day gifts.  Now at Christmas the kids each made gifts for their parents in class and were hyped up about that... but that was nothing in comparison to how giddy they are about this project.  Each child made a fancy jar by coating them with glue and rolling the jar in multicolored glitter (made the jars look like jewels).  Next we made our own lavender scented bath salts that we filled the jars with.  Then each child made a card that was in the shape of a teapot and attached yummy flavored tea bags to so that mom and kiddo can have a tea party together.  All in all it was a great gift and they were all super excited to take them home today and give them to their Mom's on Sunday.  We made a huge batch of bath salts and I was lucky enough to get to bring home the left overs which I'm psyched about using. 

Here's the recipe if you are interested
3 cup baking soda
3 cup Epsom's Salts
4 tablespoon mineral oil
1/2 teaspoon of lavender oil or other scent of your choice
Mix this all up... let it dry a bit... put it in an air tight container and use to your hearts content

Yep... good times are being had by all (me included)!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Already?

I swear as I get older the years slip by faster and faster.  It honestly feels like only a few weeks ago that 2012 began and yet the calender says that it is May already.  Where does the time go?  Granted I've been keeping busy and my days are full but it still doesn't seem like it should be this far into the "new" year.  My month of May is nothing but black ink on a calender with something different going on almost every day. 

Between subbing, house sitting, teaching at the preschool, applying/interviewing for wildlife jobs, and starting a new nannying position ,my calender has literally turned into a collection of black ink marks and scribblings.  I literally have to check it every morning to see what I'm doing that day. I'm reminded of my friend Mollie's planner while we were in college.  I used to tease her about it whenever I saw it because there truly wasn't a spare section of paper on any given day that wasn't filled with things she was doing. Apparently I'm getting old enough that I can't remember exactly what I'm doing day to day like I used to. 

While I'm thankful and grateful for all the opportunities I've had I would love to get back to a situation where I have some consistency in the things I'm doing and even better yet if it was in my career field again.  I know it will happen... just has to be when the time is right I suppose.  I'm back to getting responses on my applications and interview opportunities so something has got to give.  It just seems like it was an awfully "dry" winter in that regard.  At least I was able to use my down time this winter to good use.  After a year of plodding through it I've lost 75 lbs and am still trying to do more.  Wish me luck.