My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Friday, July 27, 2012

We are ... State College.

Back when the story broke, I was furious.  I was livid.  I was disgusted.  Now it is even worse.  It is a silent fury that I must swallow and remain focused on what I THINK is the best and what too many think is the worst.  My Penn State University.

Of course I am angry at the events that took place and the cover-up that was designed and articulated and put into effect at the expense of how many we will never know.  The abuse that many suffered to what level they suffered makes me sick.  Sick to a degree that I never want to let my children out of my sight.  Does that mean I can never trust a teacher, a babysitter, a football coach?  Because that is what Jerry Sandusky’s victims’ parents did.  They trusted him.   

I will always be a Penn State University fan, supporter, student, and alum.  

I heard about PSU a lot growing up as any high school student in Pennsylvania would and does.  Everyone basically applied to one of three schools in Pennsylvania; PSU, Pitt, and IUP.  I only applied to PSU as a safety since I did not want to be one of those students that just went to Penn State.  I wanted to branch out.  I wanted to leave Pennsylvania.  My boyfriend in high school was about nothing but Penn State and tried to convince me otherwise … that I would and could be a whole different person at PSU without running into high school classmates.  I ended up at a school in Virginia, yet after two years transferred due to cancellations in my department.  My father immediately perked up and suggested PSU. 

I transferred in the summer of 2008, that’s right, the RIOT.  I should say the first RIOT.  I lived in Center dorms with the summer high school students, I got to know fraternity row, I biked to my classes, and took a job at a coffee shop.  Did I see friends or acquaintances from high school?  Yes.  Was it ok?  Yes. 

The years following I lived on Beaver Ave., passed classes, failed classes, picked up a minor, changed my major (Russian to French), ate pizza from ACME or nachos from Grillers, wrote on the wall of the Darkhorse bathroom, preached with the Willard preacher, travelled with the band “The Collective”, spent hours in Paterno library, made life-long friends, took taxis home at ungodly hours from Sigma Pi or Alpha Tau Omega, studied in France, worked at The Big Easy, acquired a B. A. in French, a minor in Religious Studies, and a graduate certificate in K-12 French Education.  Teas on Friday, JR and Sharon, Corner Room Early Bird Breakfast $1.99, Penn Towers, and parking tickets.  I have many memories but also learned many lessons.  I regret things.  I am very happy about how some things worked out, even though they might have been difficult at first.  I remember things.  I forget things.

But this is not just about what PSU meant to me.  It is devastating what is happening to the university that gave me so much, basically the university that gave me my life.  I met my husband there.  I gained my career that allows me to provide for my family.  I earned respect for so much and lost respect for so much.

I want to talk about the town.  I want to talk about State College, PA.  The town that was there and still is there.  State College thrives by its citizens before its college students.  The town folk are always there.  Every day since these heinous events came to be public knowledge, State College has had to endure scrutiny, reporters, news trucks, a bad reputation, constant questions, and much more.

State College is just trying to survive like every other small American town these days.  Can I tell you about Bill who owns the Cheese Shoppe in Calder Alley where you simply throw your George Washington on the counter and walk out with a steaming cup of the best coffee in town.  What about McClanahan’s where students can get anything they might need.  Family Clothesline where you can find any and all that is the Penn State University.  Long live the CafĂ© 210 West.  Lets go farther out to the Barnes and Noble bookstore where students come to get away from the noise of their apartment.  What about the numerous restaurants that are fueled by student employees, Houserville Elementary where education students can tweak their chosen trade, the streets that are pounded by runners.  Everything is still there.  Students come and go.  Football teams come and go. 

Please imagine what will happen to these businesses and therefore the town of State College after the NCAA’s sanctions this past week.  My husband is from State College, PA.  Part of him will always consider State College his hometown.  His father, my father-in-law, is the State Farm Insurance agent in State College.  He built his business from the bottom up.  He has spent hours making his business a success.  He provided for his family to have a good life.  He raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for the university because he believed in it and the town as do many others.   Already, he and many other small business owners are feeling the repercussions of the acts that occurred for so many years and the resulting outcomes and decisions.  I hope they do not lose the town we all love as well.

State College, PA is Penn State University.

July 27th, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Calling in for back-up ...

As I am now going to be working outside and inside the home, the overwhelming feelings have set in.  So much to get done.  So much to achieve in a few short weeks.  What kind of state of mind will I be in to teach 8th graders?  I'm slowly ... no quickly ... losing it.

So, as I cried on the phone to my mum one day, she very willingly without thinking said she would drive 12 hours from home to come help me.  This is what family is for.

And I am patiently today waiting her arrival.

July 22nd, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

It has been realized and decided and must happen.  I am going back to work this August ... in literally a month.  By trained trade, many sleepless nights, coffee galore, accents, flashcard making, lesson planning, crayon coloring and powerpoint making ... I am a French teacher.  I have been for 9 years cumulatively since I took two years off a year apart to have my beautiful sons.

I had hoped and wished and prayed and thought and knew I would not go back ... but alas I am.

I am telling myself things happen for a reason.  I wanted to be truckin' around in our SUV, Goldfish littering the seats, diaper bag in the back, off to pre-school or the park or the library.  That is what I wanted.  No high heels.  No make-up.  No 7-3.  But August 27th, my presence will be blessed with hormonal and challenging 8th graders(and whomever else crosses my path) expecting me to be able to answer any question they have concerning the French Language and Culture :)  Settle a teenage girl argument.  Break up a boy fight(maybe not).  Hand out pencils and intellect.  Yikes.

I know I am a good teacher.  A really good teacher.  I spent so much money earning my Master's and writing my thesis.  I have already toiled so much through the system that perhaps it will be good to go back to my chosen career.

I'm just really going to miss my boys.

I'll try not to rant too much on this blog about my work, I promise.

July 18th, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This does not bode well with moi!

This was cute the first time ONLY.

Charlie - yesterday morning.
Max - back in the day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Max, let me introduce you to sleep."

If you have been following at all, you know that I am struggling with Max sleeping during the day.  As far as I am concerned, one can never outgrow naps, yet he seems to have different feelings on this one.

I have changed its name.  Max now has "quiet time."  When he is supposed to play quietly or take a nap if he wants to, but must allow Charlie to sleep because he LOVES to sleep ... when Max lets him.  Max is loud.  He screeches, he plays, he runs circles around his room, he says things over and over and over again in a raspy breathless voice as he does laps, " ... stop and go, stop and go, stop and go ..."


He takes his trains and cars to the walls that Daddy must paint again ... remember trying to sell the house.  He calls out to me ... "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYYY."

Go to sleep.  Puh-lease.

Charlie is sleeping, the dog is sleeping, the turtle is sleeping, I want to sleep ... why don't you?

If it weren't so bloody hot outside, we could go for a walk and he would fall asleep in the stroller, but alas, it's been upwards of 101 around here.  So, you do what you got to do.

Sometimes I can get 20 minutes later in the afternoon when he is falling asleep at the table with goldfish and raisins in front of him.  I then transfer him to the couch.  Inevitably, he is very pissy when I wake him up so he doesn't sleep the evening away.

And then other times you just have to put them in the car.

And go through the Starbucks drive-thru.

July 9th, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

These are tough economic times ... Walmart vs. Wegmans

I have always loved Wegmans, ever since I went into the Wegmans in State College, PA with my      in-laws.  You just walk in and hear the foodie gods calling to you.  The aisles of pre-made dinners; chinese, sushi, pizza, soups, hot entrees and sides ... AAAAHHHHHHHH!  The beer aisles are even better; every Sam Adams available each season(this blogger's biere preferee).  The organic groceries, the local farm's produce, the gadgets ... the yogurt.  Did I mention the meat?  Tenderloins ... to die for.  Don't get me started on the British food. 
Many people have such a misconception about Wegmans.  They believe with all the choice and excellent quality they must be expensive.
X.  (Think the Family Feud buzzer)
Of course, wholesale clubs are the best for many household items, produce, and meat, but if Costco is not your weekly shopping place, a grocery market must suffice.
I decided to do a little investigating, so I wrote down some very common weekly items for me at the time, loaded up the kids and hubbie(He was only slightly mortified as I walked around with my pad and paper.  Hey, he should be thanking me!), and off we went to Walmart.  Please see below:

(please assume on most items unless noted that this is the Wegman's brand vs. the Great Value brand)

0.47 lb.
bag o’ baby carrots
4.99 (2 lbs.)
3.49 (2 lbs.)
3.49  (1 lb.)
pasta (spaghetti)
2.89  (Reese’s Puffs)
½ gallon of milk
canned green beans
shredded cheese
1.99  (2 cups)
yogurt (4pack Stonyfield)
can of coffee
Gazebo Room Greek Dressing
1.67  (1 lb.)
7.49  (1 lb.)
Chef Boyardee
baby bella mushrooms 
2.00  (8 oz.)
rice (Steamable packs)

I was quite shocked to say the least.  What happened to the lowest price guaranteed?  Am I ready to haggle with a cashier at Walmart instead of just going to Wegmans?  Hell to the No.  I'll be honest and no offense to any, my local Walmart scares me.  At Wegmans, the managers know who I am.  They have seen me go through two pregnancies, watched my two boys devour their freshly made bagels every Friday morning while I down some coffee.  They know my order by heart at the coffee stand; three bagels, one medium coffee, and a refill $4.07(although it might become four bagels; the boys eat a lot).  I appreciate the care they take when I ask where something is.  The atmosphere is friendly and inviting.

So, I think I'll stick with Wegmans.

July 6th, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

They're so different.

I have found myself so often comparing my two children.  Charlie does this ... did Max do that at his age?  Well Max had so many ear infections, will Charlie be on the same track since he has already begun getting them?  Max likes snap peas, will Charlie?  Charlie loves hot dogs, Max hates them?  Charlie, Max took great naps.  Can you please catch on?  Constipated Charlie, mushy poop Max.

Yep, again, I'm being that mum.  The one that expects the second to be as the first instead of letting each be their own person.

Did you have a sibling in school that was older than you?  Did your teachers on the first day of school say, "Oh, you're so and so's sister."  Yep, I got that.  Soon enough, they found out I was not her.  She was less trouble.  (I love you Esme.)  Will my sons' teachers do that to them?  Am I setting them up for that now?

So, then I began thinking about the future.  If I am already comparing them when it comes to how much they eat, how quickly they began/begin walking, what words did they say first; will I always compare them?  Will I fall into the trap of expecting one of them to be like the other in "good situations" say behavior or school?  Heaven forbid I ever exclaim in exasperation or more desperation, "Why can't you be like your brother?"  I am being an absolute hypocrite as I hated it when compared to my sister, yet am I not doing that right now with my two sons?

When I grew up, I remember telling myself I would never do things that my mum and dad did.  I'll not ever use the reason, "Because I said so."  Bedtime would certainly be after 8pm.  TV would not be held hostage because of something like reading.  I know my parents worried more about me getting into trouble at school or at college than my sister.  I wonder, did they compare us?

I'm just sayin'.

July 2nd, 2012