Sunday, July 28, 2013

School Supplies

Houston and I ventured to Wally World (that big box store everyone hates but shops at anyway) today to buy school supplies. I know the tax-free shopping days are only a few days away but I've decided my sanity is worth the $5 in taxes. I made that mistake only once. The overly rude people, crowded aisles and picked through shelves are not worth $5 in savings. As a teacher it bothers me to hear people complain about buying school supplies. If I go ahead and make that trip now I can usually do it peacefully. Usually ...

So there were about three other parents in the school supply section tonight. You know that nice little area they set up near the front of the store to help meet all your school supply needs except for that one item that is still going to require you to travel to the other side of the store before you are done with the list? Yep, that one. (It was tissues today.) It was almost a stress-free experience. Almost.

We casually picked our items from the nicely stocked and neatly organized pre-back-to-school-shopping-mayhem shelves and were almost headed to the checkout when a mom looked at me and very snarkily said, "This is ridiculous. Pretty soon they're going to make us start paying to send them." I'm pretty proud of myself for giving the polite smile and nod that I did. On the inside I was giving quite a stern lecture while jumping up and down flailing my arms around explaining how I am about to spend $72 for my own kids and then will proceed to spend several times that over the school year stocking my own classroom and buying things for my students and how dare she complain about supplying her own child with things needed for her free education so her very underpaid teacher doesn't have to.

This experience got me thinking. Do people just feel entitled to have everything for free nowdays? Do people not value the education their children receive for free? Don't people know? Do they know how much teachers spend? Do they have ANY IDEA? (sorry, had to yell) Maybe if people had to pay for it they would value it a little more. Maybe if they cared a little more then we wouldn't be in the situation we are in. Maybe? I don't know. What I do know is our education system is hurting, teachers are underpaid and undervalued, and too many people expect things for free. It's sad and it makes me worry for our future.

I get all excited like a kid at Christmas when students bring supplies to my classroom. It's awesome and unfortunately rare. I know everyone can't afford it but in my experience over the past few years I can tell you that I've only received supplies from a few students each time I've sent out a request.  I usually even end up supplying notebooks and pencils to many of my students because they never bring their own. I would rather spend the money to have them prepared so I can do what I'm there to do ... teach. And I know many other teachers do the same. We aren't in this profession for the money (obviously) and could really use your support.

So I ask you to please consider not complaining when you go buy school supplies. Consider it your contribution to your child's education. You might even consider buying the big bottle of hand sanitizer and getting the items marked "optional" on the supply list. (Crazy, right?) And when your kids are in high school, you could even still send in things like tissues, hand sanitizer, clorox wipes, etc. We use them too but don't have the nice little lists at the front of the store asking for everyone to purchase them for us.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Addition

Looks as though it is time for my yearly blog post ... lol. Boy does time sure fly. We welcomed our third child, Mayken Hazel, two months ago. She is a sweetie pie and is absolutely adored by her big brothers. She followed in their footsteps as another big baby born at home. She weighed in at 11 lbs 1 oz. We were fortunate enough to have the same wonderful midwives assisting, Lynne and Jessica from the Midwives Cooperative. This was the easiest and shortest birth by far yet the most difficult pregnancy, most likely thanks to my full-time plus job combined with robotics season. It was all well worth it, of course, as we are all smitten with baby Mayken. 

If you are wondering about her name (if anyone even reads this), we named her after my late uncle/godfather Ken. She was born in May which I expected even though I was due in April. (My babies like to cook a little longer than most.) I came up with the idea of putting May and Ken together very early in my pregnancy. We explored other name options and narrowed down a list of six to be considered after she was born. It didn't take long after she was born to see that Mayken was really the only option. 

I've always loved the name Hazel. It's classic yet unique. It's the color of my eyes. It's also part of the name of our favorite band, Sister Hazel. The fact that she was going to be a little sister made it fit even more. And now that you know, here she is ...

Less than an hour after birth. 

About two weeks old. 

About a month old or so, at a robotics team fundraiser. 

About two hours old, meeting brothers for the first time. 

A few hours after being born. 

Eight days old. 

Two months and nine days old. Nice face, huh? I was making funny faces to get her to smile for the camera. Love my iPad, not so much the camera on it.