Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Week Favorite

So I've completed my first week as a fifth grade teacher. It has been an eye-opening experience to say the least! As someone from the Wizard of Oz said, " You're not in Kindergarten..I mean Kansas anymore". Ain't it the truth. All these kids I teach now can say my name correctly; no more "Mrs. Bald" or "Mrs. Balls" or "teacher". Now it's Mrs. Ball, the correct way.

Fifth graders have more capabilities than Kindergarteners; not that Kindergartners aren't capable, it's just that 10 year olds can finish assignments WAY MORE QUICKLY than 5 year olds can. Overpreparing for each day is a good thing! Keeping 10 year old hands and minds busy is a very good thing!

This week we each took a turn introducing ourselves by including 5 things in a paper bag which described us. I included trail mix (favorite thing to eat), a measuring cup (like to try new things to cook), a flower magnet (like to plant and grow flowers), a Robie Creek magnet (like to torture myself with that race each year), and a picture of my family (I'm a Mom, hello!). Well, through the course of the week each student had his or her turn. On Friday, as we were finishing up our introductions, I had a student who was very concerned that her mother put in the wrong picture - instead of a family picture, an individual picture was included. I told the student to tell us about her family if we couldn't see the picture of them. She started out by saying that her family included her dad, and that he was really old. 40. "Ahem," I protested, "I'm 40." She hurriedly said, "But, Mrs. Ball, you don't look 40. You look like you're 20. My dad looks a lot older than you do."

OK, I know who my new favorite student is!!!

Only until someone else chimed in (breaking a class rule of not raising her hand) by saying, "I think you look like you're 15!" Boy, oh boy, do 5th graders know how to work a teacher! Let's just hope that by the end of the year I still look like I'm 20 to them and not like some frowny lined old bat of a woman who can't wait for her class to get on out the door to 6th grade...stay tuned!

Friday, August 29, 2008

"August Rush"

Monday, August 25:
A day to go down in infamy -

Kris: The first day of teaching 5th grade - They're just 3rd graders in bigger bodies. They're just 3rd graders in bigger bodies. They're just 3rd graders in bigger bodies...

Alyssa: The first day of the last year of high school. She's so used to school by now that she took off for the first day on her bike with NOTHING - that's right, no pens, paper, backpack, purse, or any of the other necessary items so many other school aged kids need. Not to worry however, she did take her phone!
Me: "Where are all of your supplies?"
Her: "I'm a senior and it's the first day of school!" she yelled as she left on her bike.
Me: "What a low maintenance kid."

Kourtni: The first day of 8th grade with a cell phone in her pocket - can I get a "woohoo"?

Lindsay: The first day of 7th grade in a new school, with a new locker, new teachers, and lots of new friends to make! But no cell phone in her pocket!

Payton: The first day of 5th grade with no sisters to go to school with! He's the big guy now.

Kris - practicing her "mean teacher" look...(Is anyone scared or intimidated, maybe just mortified????)

The time has come for Alyssa. I can still remember what she wore for the first day of Kindergarten: An Esmerelda T-shirt and some lovely red stretch pants.

Get ready junior high 'cuz you've got two Ball girls comin'!

Payton all geared up and ready for 5th grade.

Yes, the day that went down in infamy - well, at least for us it did!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eight All Together

Hey, that's a lot of kids, don't you think? Yeah, 8 is enough!

This weekend we got the chance to get all together to celebrate Jana Rae's 40th birthday (Jana Rae in cream) in beautiful Midway, Utah. The weather was perfect, the location was beautiful, and there was never a dull moment during the lively conversation.

Steve asked me to do a "roast" for Jana Rae during the evening, and since I've been in "schoolfreak out mode" lately, I decided to roast her with rules she's followed during her 40 years. I like to be positive about rules in my classroom: using the word "always" instead of "don't". Here are rules Jana Rae has tried to abide by during the past 40 years:

1. Always play with your older sister in double knit polyester outfits riding trikes, playing in the ditch, and swinging in the tire swing attached to the old cherry tree.

2. Always hold on tight when your mother pushes you in said tire swing and you go hurtling through the air.

3. Always swim in a wading pool with hot water supplied by mom fresh from the kitchen stove.

4. Always dress in matching church dresses with sponge roller curls.

5. Always share a bed with your older sister, but don't be a cover stealer.

6. Always be brave when you go to Kindergarten and don't cry - leave that to your older 1st grade sister...

7. Always visit cousins, grandmas and grandpas, and aunts and uncles as often as possible and play "Planet of the Apes" with them.

8. Always help get your family out of a burning house and help keep them out so no one goes back in for shoes!

9. Always get a home perm from Mom about every 3 to 4 months. Be sure not to wash for 2 or 3 days, and DON"T GO SWIMMING DURING THAT TIME!

10. Always take swimming lessons each summer then, when older, take own children back to same pool and point out leathery lifeguard who taught you swimming lessons!

11. Always stand at bus stop by the mailbox and pump arm up and down for passing diesel trucks to honk, and chant "Here comes the bus, the B.U.S.!"

12. Always wear Dittoes or Oz jeans to school.

13. Always avoid sister in high school hallway of school when wearing her clothing without permission to avoid name calling, dirty looks, and near fist fights.

14. Always wash clothing before putting back in drawer or hanging in closet.

15. Always get up early to go to drill team practice and on the way, ALWAYS remember to remove gas nozzle from tank of orange VW before driving way from pump...

16. Always curl hair with tiny curling iron in 1 million curls, flip head upside down, then snap head up and quickly spray with cheap hairspray. Make sure wings are present on sides of head.

17. Always work at a clothing store for employee discount and fashionable wardrobe.

18. Always go to BYU Hawaii to get a good education, become exposed to different culture, and get a KILLER tan.

19. Always marry a good man who will take you far away from your family for lots of years, but will eventually bring you back closer to them.

20. Always have lots of snacks on hand for 5 hungry world travelers.

21. Always be generous to visiting sisters and Mom.

22. always look for a good deal on clothing, furniture, and food. Be sure to go back east to buy all furniture.

23. Always have good friends and party and travel often with them. Then, move within a mile away from them.

24. Always have a listening ear, advice, and an interest in others.

25. Always breathe deeply when husband is far away working and house needs to be kept clean ready for prospective buyers, when roof is leaking, when sink or dishwasher is broken, when creepy workers are leering at 18 year old daughter, when children need to be shuttled to Crew, soccer, and other events. Just breathe and keep it all together!

26. Always turn 40 only once.

27. Always remember that 40 is the new 30!

"It'll be ok, Jana Rae, I'm almost through my first year of 40ism"

Thanks for the fun evening and welcome to the over 40 club. It looks GREAT on you JR!

Love, Kris

Happy New School Year


I'm in a melancholy mood right now just trying to deal with all the emotions (mine and my kids') of a quickly approaching new school year.

Lots of moms are anxious to get their kids out the door and into the classroom. Well, I am too, sort of, but that means I have to go back into that classroom and take control! Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, but for the first few weeks, I miss my own kids and constantly wonder how they're doing during the day and hoping they're good students, good examples, good friends, and overall good people!

I always wax sentimental when a new school year approaches. I mourn the departure of summer and the casual scheduling we enjoyed. I miss the puttering around the house that I get to do. I miss the way the light looks in the kitchen or family room at certain times in the morning. I miss the glorious soaking in of the sun while I lazily lounge at the pool. I miss the skin which was once tan and now quickly turns to white and freckly again. I miss the early morning outdoor runs. I miss the warm evening walks with Bill at 9:00 in the evening. I miss the watering of my various pots of flowers. I miss wearing flip flops everywhere. And I miss seeing my kids sleepily appear from their rooms much later than they have to appear during the school year!

But, I can't mope for too long! Monday will be here in no time and my mindset has to change. I will conquer my dislike for the treadmill during those early mornings. I will enjoy hustling around the house like a mad woman ready to leave for school before 8:00 each morning. I will assign more jobs to my kids so the house doesn't look like Hurricane Ball has hit each day. I will enjoy helping the kids with homework or projects or friend problems or whatever comes from a full day away from the sanctuary of home. I will continue to try to be organized with household responsibilities that arise. I will support each child in their extracurricular activities that occur each day. Of this I can assure you I will do because, if I don't, who will?


(Bring it on!!!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ceramica Happy

Ceramica is an artist's playground! And, since Lindsay is quite the "artiste", she decided to have a couple of friends (and siblings, of course) join her at Ceramica for a belated b-day party. The pictures sorta tell it all.

Happy Birthday, Lindsay! (Again...) more birthday posts...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kettle Krazed

OK, I'll admit I've never been much of a potato chip fan. When I first met Bill, I was amazed that my cute mother-in-law-to-be basically subsisted on Lay's potato chips (followed by a chaser of Pepsi!!!). She loved those things and I quickly learned that Bill didn't like any other chips besides the Lay's variety.

Well, 20 years later, move over, Lay's, Kris has found a much better alternative! Yes, I've found my latest guilty pleasure in :

Kettle brand potato chips

They. are. so. good. I'm not sure what kettle cooking or frying is, but basically, I don't want to know. I'd like to indulge in ignorance and ask questions later! Their cost is reasonable, they're extra crunchy, they're full of flavor, and the bag looks cool and is fun to read when you're munching away. I so look forward to lunch time when I can dump a bunch onto my plate beside my peanut butter and honey. YUMMM... I savor each and every delectably fried potato piece, and when the bag is empty (sigh) I actually pour out all those little honey mustard crumbs into my waiting mouth. It's true, they are that good!

F.Y.I. - There are a few other flavors: New York Cheddar and Herbs, Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, along with Salt and Vinegar (haven't tried the salt and vinegar babies yet).

So far, my taste buds have enjoyed the honey mustard variety the best, and I can't wait until I have another full bag in my pantry!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Lindsay Lou

Yay! Lindsay had a birthday and she is now 12 years old!

Whoopee! Bring on Young Women and Mutual!!!

I was so mad because we were getting ready to do the obligatory sibling birthday picture, and...BATTERY DEAD. @#$!@ Yes, that's right @#$!@!

Alyssa saved the day with her nice camera phone. Thanks, Lyss!

I thought since she just turned 12 I'd mention 12 things
I LOVE about Lindser:

1. She always wakes up with a smile on her face and a kiss for me! (Check back next birthday to see if she still exhibits this behavior!!!)

2. She is thoughtful - always says thank you for things her parents do for her -sweet!

3. She is quiet when she needs to be and funny when we least expect it! "Why can't we all get along and everyone have a pony?" (A quote taken from a couple of years ago!)

4. She enjoys a good piece of meat!!! (She has admitted to being a major carnivore - much to Alyssa's chagrin...)

5. She contributes to thoughtful conversations with her parents.

6. She is frugal with the money she earns. :)

7. She is a sweet babysitter and cleans up the houses where she babysits. (A rare commodity!)

8. She reads her scriptures each night without being told to by her mom or dad.

9. She has a very unique journal full of writing, art, and memorabilia she's collected.

10. She has a great knack for all things artsy!

11. She's very organized and keeps her mother on track with the things that need to be accomplished.

12. Whenever our family goes for a hike, bike ride, or walk, Lindsay is always in front and never complains about the distances we travel. She's a great sport!

Happy Birthday, Lindsay Mae! We love you and are grateful you're in this Ball family!

Forget the birthday cake - Lindsay wanted chocolate cream pie - yummmmm

The sistahs - no Payton - we've lost him to football practice for a couple of months!

Yay! Payton finally got home from practice in time to take one camera photo before Alyssa had to go to work. It's a wee bit blurry...

Happy Birthday, Lindsay Mae!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hittin' the Road

Payton and I just got back from spending the week in Utah.
Alyssa, Kourtni, and Lindsay went to girls' camp, Bill had to work, and so Pate and I decided we'd hit the road, go visit the fam, eat out a lot, shop 'til we drop, and say up waaaay too late.

This is what I saw on the way down:

He needed his blanket over his head while he watched his DVD and played his PSP... "too much glare," he said! This left me with a lot of time for thoughts of my own including the upcoming school year and "what the heck I'm going to do with a bunch of 5th graders when the 25th of August comes around"!!!

My mom had plans for me when I got to her house: Tile the backsplash of her kitchen.

We spent Wednesday looking for tile and when we finished perusing the aisles at Home Depot, we went to this most excellent flick:

Wow!!! What. a. movie.
What great ABBA songs! If you haven't seen it yet, I highly encourage you to make a trip to your local theater and soak in all that Greek sunshine! I especially enjoyed the "Take it Easy" song scene - TOO FUNNY! I know one thing, Bill WOULD NOT have enjoyed it as much as me. Chick Flick all the way! Maybe I'll bribe him to watch it again when it hits DVD status!

On Thursday, we made a mess in the kitchen and tiled the backsplash. Thanks to Ryan for cutting the little pieces that go around the outlets, and to Teressa for helping me grout! (Sorry for the ruined fingernails...)

It turned out beautifully!

Of course visiting Grandma and the cousins isn't complete without video games at numerous cousins' houses:

Payton got to spend a lot of time with the boy cousins including going to Lagoon (thanks Virchow's!), an Owlz game (thanks Ryan, Parker, and Carter), night games with the gang, playing all day with the cousins on Grandma's babysitting day, and just getting reaquainted with everyone since we were down in March.

Ryan and Teressa took me out to carboload at Olive Garden on Friday - because
on Saturday morning, I decided I didn't need two of my toenails, and decided to run the Provo 1/2 Marathon. I was up by 4:15 (yes. a.m.) so I could get to the bus by 5:00, only to stand at the beginning of the race in darkness, with no one I knew, in a running skirt and tank top, literally as cold as ice until the race started at 6:40 (yes. a.m.)! We are a crazy bunch, us runners!!!
The scenery was beautiful - there were cows in a field with a gorgeous stream running through the pasture, all the while mooing at several thousand runners trespassing through their terrritory. The sun came up and shone on the mountains, and I tried not to trip as I marvelled at Bridal Veil Falls and attempted to locate the restaurant atop a very high rocky cliff where we used to go to dances in high school. Sad. It was very broken down and there was no gondola to ride up to it anymore. (I can't believe I actually rode that thing to the top and danced on the deck when I was a youngster! Not now. No way!) I made it to the finish line and felt pretty good but glad to be finished! I had to visualize happy thoughts the last 3 miles!
Thanks, Mom, for meeting me at the finish line! It was nice of you!

We shopped at IKEA on Saturday and endured about an hour of "stinky eye" from an employee who felt it her duty to follow us around the store and stare at us while we explored that monstrous place...hmmm... we must have looked dangerous! After our IKEA adventure we ate burgers at an amazing place called JCW's in Lehi. The best burgers, fries, and shakes EVER!
If you're ever in Utah county, you gotta try that place! They are the "burger boys"!

After saying good bye, Payton and I loaded up and headed out to reunite with our family after a long week without them!

Thanks for the fun Utah family. Payton and I had a great time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

All Things Ball

"Who is Alfred Ball?"

We get asked that question A LOT from e-mail and caller i.d. recipients. (Please don't spam us! We're harmless, really!) Well, as I tell those people who don't know Bill very well, Alfred Ball is Bill's name - a unique family name that was passed on to him. His great - grandfather was Alfred William Ball and he had 9 children. Bill comes from Alfred William and Ann Ball's son Vernon - he was A.V.'s dad. OK, if this is too complicated, as most geneology can be, I'll just say that this past weekend was spent with our closest family on the Ball side - yep - all 255 (or more) of them! We attended the 57th and last "Big Ball Family Reunion". This gathering has been held on the first Saturday of August for the past 57 years, but, due to the increase in family members and the LARGE numbers of family members that do not know 3/4 of the people in attendance at said reunion, it was unanimously decided that the Big Ball Reunion will be disbanded after 2008.

The end of an era: the end of excellent food, the end of a scrumptious table of desserts, the end of foot races for each age, the end of snow cones made by young cousins, the end of lamb chops cooked by the guys who raised the meat, the end of barbecued corn on the cob, the end of homemade grape sherbet (mmmmm), and the end of taking over the Lewisville Park and accompanying bathrooms needed for so many people.

So we come to the end - all 9 original Ball brothers and sisters are deceased, but they've left a great legacy as evidenced by the sheer numbers of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren who carry on their name.

Bill's grandma and grandpa Ruey and Vernon Ball

Bill's dad as a boy - how cute is that!?!

The young A.V. Ball family - L to R: Annette, Julie, Jeff, and little Billy! David hadn't arrived yet! Oh, yeah, LaRae and A.V. are in the back.

The football stud of the entire Ball Family! (Careful of your back, neck, and achilles tendon...)

Payton cruisin' to the finish line!

L - Lindsay in a dead heat!

Kourt and Lyss neck and neck

Kris - trying to avoid the old guy who fell, almost tripped her, and separated his shoulder...that's why you don't see any pictures of Billy racing - no time for injuries!

Can I take your order?

We love to work for free!

Awww... Bill and Kris at sunset -

(OK, so maybe it's not a beach sunset, but an alfalfa field, next to a stinky cow farm will have to do on this trip!)