Friday, February 29, 2008

Yeah for me!

What started out as a very hectic and crazy day actually turned out pretty good. My teacher's aide took off from work today for personal reasons which left me by myself all day with a room full of kids! For most teachers, that is a normal day, but not for me. Teaching alternative education poses many unique situations that simply do not arise in regular classrooms. It truly does take two to manage the comings and goings in the room at all times. I was totally spent by the end of the day. It was not a bad day at all because I am the disciplinarian in room (we kind of play the "good cop, bad cop" routine with the kids), but it was busy. Most of the kids are quite "needy" to put it nicely, and they had me jumping. It's Friday, though, so it is all good.

So, once I arrived home, I sat at the old computer with a cup of tea to relax a bit. I opened my e-mail to find a request from Memory Makers magazine for two layouts for their Scrapbook Idea Gallery 8. I am pretty excited as I have not had anything picked up for publication in a while. I guess you can say that I had a dry spell, plus I was busy with other things :)

That made my day and set me up for a good weekend. It's snowing here tonight, so maybe we can do some sledding tomorrow. That would be fun for Ryan...and a great photo op for Mom since my camera has not seen too much action lately. I don't have any snow pics from this winter because I was sick every time it snowed! Here's a pic from last winter for good measure:

Well, off to bed as it is way past my normal bedtime. Until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Little Toy

I so love getting new scrapbooking goodies. I just received this baby in the mail yesterday:

It took me all night to figure out how to use it. I know...that makes me sound pretty dumb. The problem is that it is difficult to line your punches up across the bottom of a page. When you use the punch, the actual cut is about 3 inches long. So you would need to punch four times across the bottom of a page to do a 12 inch border. I have the SU! Spiral punch where there is a metal guide that helps you repeat the pattern over and over again without having to line anything up by yourself. I guess you can say that I am a bit spoiled! Needless to say, I still love this punch and am looking forward to scrapping this weekend so I can use it! Keep watching for whatever I create...I promise that I will share!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How about a great story?

I need to preface this story with some background, so here goes:

Okay, so I took this class at University that was held for one weekend in January (Friday through Sunday) and one weekend in February. During the first weekend, I went to lunch with a girl that I had only met that day. I offered to drive because I was parked closer to the building. She was a very nice girl, and I enjoyed her company. That was it. Class ended on Sunday and we went our own exchange of e-mails or numbers. So, a month later our second weekend of classes rolled around. She arrived late and did not get a seat near me. Class went on for about 3 hours before we had a break. On the break, I was checking my cell phone for messages when she approached me. She proceeded to tell me that we had a friend in common named Gary. It took a few seconds to register who he was, but I quickly had an "ah-ha" moment and came to reality. Turns out he was an old boyfriend of my sisters. She proceeded to explain to me how he figured out who I was:

When she came home on Sunday after class, he had asked her how her weekend was. She said good. He then asked her what she did for lunch and who she ate with (since she knew no one). She told him that she met a girl named Denine and had lunch with her. Upon hearing my name, he immediately became curious. After all, it is not a common name (at least not around here.) She was not sure what my last name was, but remembers seeing "DENINE Z" on the license plate of my truck. That was it. It would be unusual for her to meet a Denine in such a small area, but to meet a Denine with a last name that begins with the letter "Z" that was NOT me would be too weird. He asked her if my last name was Zielinski by any chance, and that rang a bell. She knew it was me that he was talking about.

Okay, so that is really not the cool part of the story. We know, now, that it is a small world, but here is the part that I love:

Gary is a 43 year old guy who my sister dated in 1992. That was about 16 years ago. Not to give my age, let's just say that I was 16 years younger then than I am now. Anyway, Gary and my sister dated for some time, but then broke up when he found another girl (Mary). It's all good. They eventually became friends and everyone got over it. Gary ended up marrying Mary shortly after. They both worked in the medical profession, and I would consider them to be pretty well off. They had 4 children over the 13 years that they were married...three girls and a boy. Mary had some medical issues here and there. Nothing that one would consider life-threatening or unmanageable. She saw doctors for her health and was doing well. I don't exactly know her issues. One night, Mary had stomach pains and went to the ER to be checked. The doctor there had her admitted for testing. That evening, as she tried to get out her hospital bed, she collapsed and died on the hospital room floor. She died at 35 years of age and left Gary behind to raise 4 young children by himself. The children, at that time, ranged in age from 5 through 10. It was a terrible thing for us to hear. We had not seen Gary in years. He lived in a town about 15 miles away so we rarely, if ever, saw him. But, that was not the point. The point was that our hearts broke for him and those children. How would they go on? And Mary...she was so young. Life is not supposed to be like that. She was not supposed to die so young. We sent a card and kept up with his story through friends of friends. After a while, the story began to fade in our minds and life got back to normal. In all honesty, that was 3 years ago, and I have not really thought about it too much in a while. Life gets busy and we go on, right or wrong.

So, when I met this girl at school who said that she was Gary's girlfriend, I was thrilled. His life did go on, and he found a really nice girl. He got a second chance at love. That made my heart so happy. I was so glad to hear that he (and the kids) were doing okay after such a traumatic event. The best past of the story was how they met. This girl (Keelyn) is an elementary school teacher in the town where Gary lives. She was his daughter's first grade teacher. His daughter, having lost her Mom, did not have a strong female figure in her life and began to pull towards Keelyn. She seemed to see her as more than just a teacher. Parent-teacher conferences came around, and Gary went to her classroom to meet his daughter's teacher. They spoke of his daughter, and Keelyn told Gary to call her anytime if he had any questions. They communicated through notes in his daughter's school planner for a few weeks. One in which Gary wrote that he needed to speak to Keelyn and asked if he could call her. She said yes and wrote her school number down. Well, he did call, but it happened to be while she was in class. After school, she tried to call him back from her home and reached him. They spoke for a while about his daughter, then he asked her if she would like to have dinner sometime. The rest is history.

Keelyn, being a divorced Mom of three herself, had a hard time ever imaging that anyone would want to date her. She always asked herself, "Who would ever want to date a divorced mother of three kids?" Well, now she finally had her answer: A widowed father with four kids!

They are currently looking into building a house big enough for 2 adults and 7 kids, and I am sure marriage is not far in their future. They are taking it slow and allowing their two families to merge together in their own time. Sounds a bit like a real life Brady Bunch, huh? It's not television, though. This is a real story with real people. I always say that everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes, it just takes a while for us to find what that reason was. God reveals himself in his own time. I so love a happy ending!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who knew?

I attended my Tuesday night class at University, and we had a great time playing with K'nex! Yes, I said "playing with K'nex." These great little building pieces that my son has played with for years are excellent tools for use in the classroom for many disciplines. A retired teacher who now works for K'nex was our guest, and he came armed with boxes of these little gems. We built shapes, played games, and basically learned about a great resource for classes from kindergarten on up through High School. That is one thing that I do like about being "forced" for further my education...there is a lot to learn out there. For any of you who are classroom teachers, homeschool your children, or just have children of your own, take a peek at the K'nex website for some great ideas to work with. You will not be disappointed! And yes...they will easily tie into your state standards!

And for your scrappy gals out there, I do finally have a layout to share. I have not been sharing too much lately because most of my layouts are saved for possible publication (everyone seems to want "unseen" layouts these days, and I can't blame them) or for contests. But, I came across this one that I did a little while ago. I can't believe how different my Ryan looks these day. These pictures were taken almost 1 1/2 years ago. My little man is growing up so fast!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Home sick =(

Yes, I am home sick today from school. I so do not like missing days of school. I always feel like I have missed so much when I return. I just could not get out of bed this morning. I was feeling sick all weekend like something was brewing. I had university classes all weekend, so I got very little rest. Last night, I felt wiped out. I slept terrible and was up at 3 a.m. sniffling, coughing, and sweating. It was awful. I got on the phone right then and there to call off. I knew that I would never make it. Now, I am lying here in bed (thank goodness for laptops). I have a feeling that I won't last too long, though. I am pretty tired. A mid-morning nap might do the trick. I can use all of the rest that I can get. I surely do not want to miss another day of school tomorrow. Now, I can only hope that my little buddy doesn't catch this bug!

In more happy news, I finally finished painting and decorating Ryan's Pinewood Derby car.

Thank goodness since the race is tonight. We are a simple bunch, so Ryan chose to pattern his car after one of his favorite Pokemon named Latios. I painted the car the colors of the Pokemon and added Ryan's and Latios' name for decor. It will have wings soon, but Dad has those at his house. It turned our pretty nice, and it is pretty fast from what I hear! Ryan is last years reigning champion, so he will need the speed to defend his title.

Incidentally, yet another reason to be thankful that your Mom is a scrapbooker: the words on Ryan's car were done using American Crafts rub-ons! Love getting many uses from my ever-growing stash of scrapbooking supplies!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What a difference a year makes

I'm not sure whether a year has made my boy look older or younger. This picture was taken last March at Chuck E. Cheese:

And this picture was taken just a few weeks ago:

First off, he has a lot more hair this year, and I think it makes him look younger. My sister thinks that the hair makes him look older. I don't know what made me let his hair grow out. It has always been so much easier to just shave his head because I could do that myself. With his hair longer, we have to head to the local barber shop for a professional job. I'm thinking that I will leave it long until the summer arrives. But, then it is "bye bye"! His best buddy sports a mohawk for the summer months, but Ryan has not warmed up to that idea yet. I'll have to remind him of that 5 years from now when all the middle school boys are sporting the Mr. T look and he asks me to give him one! Saying that scares me just a bit...5 years from now will be here before we know it. Mom always said that time goes by faster the older you get. She was so right...but don't tell her that...LOL!

Either way, I still think my boy is pretty darn cute!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Have to brag just a little....

Okay, so I have to brag...not only about my uber talented friend, Becky Fleck and her new book, but also about the fact that one of my layouts was chosen for the cover of her book! That is my Ryan that you see smiling at you on the cover of her PageMaps book. Becky chose me as one the contributors to her book. I was so stoked and honored when she asked me last year that I was in disbelief! It feels like I have been waiting forever to see this awesome book, and I hope to be getting it in my hot little hands in a few short weeks. You can preorder it on amazon here. I guarantee that this book will inspire you!
Something, I am not sure what, has made me decide to start posting to my blog again. It has been almost 2 years since I have blogged. I think it has something to do with all of the thoughts that go through my head every day. So many thoughts that I need a place to store them. So, I am going to attempt to blog once again. I also think it might have something to do with the classes that I have been taking to get my Masters Degree. All of them seem to have one thing in common...I have to keep a journal. I have to take time to reflect on every class and record my thoughts and ideas. I have enjoyed doing it. Of course, that is required if I want to get an "A", so I know that I will do it every time. This, well, this is not a requirement for I hope that I continue to keep up with it. I hope to find some free time to get some sort of cool blog design or something. I think that's what I will start looking into now. Until next time...