BrondaBailey’s Weblog

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2008 Christmas Ornaments Premiere!



I’d guess that buying a new Christmas ornament every year is a fairly common thing. Brenda and I cemented it as a family tradition early on. Each year, every member of the family (Brenda and I are combined) gets a brand-spanking new ornament for the tree. I’m not talking about a new shiny glass ornament shaped like a ball, I’m talking, a cool (normally licensed ornament) that costs approximately its weight in aluminum.  (Does anyone know how much aluminum is by the bulk these days?  I’m not sure, but worth their weight in gold sounded a little excessive.)  The plan is that someday, when we send our children off into the world, they’ll have some darn cool ornaments to start off their first tree.

Over the years Brenda and I have found a few good ornaments at “normal” stores (I’ve gotten some cool ones from Toys R Us) but usually, we’ve discovered that it’s faster and easier just to go to Hallmark, choke down paying too much for an ornament, and moving on with life.  There is a metric buttload (that’s slightly smaller than the Imperial buttload) of ornaments on eBay (like this high quality gator in a sweater and these so-called Rompin’ Stompin’ Cowboy boot ones) , but browsing through them isn’t the easiest if you don’t have something in particular in mind.

So off we went to Hallmarks in the mall and buy ornaments we did.  I now proudly present to you, the Bailey Family Ornaments of 2008!

2008 Christmas Ornaments (3)

This is the one Brenda and I chose. It lights up and makes bips and boops from the early 80's. I know, you're jealous. It's ok.

2008 Christmas Ornaments

Luke got a Spider-Man. This ornament is a really nifty piece of work showing off the power of perspective. He may or may not have had help selecting it.

2008 Christmas Ornaments (2)

This is Jack's ornament for 2008. For his first ornament, we selected a classic Pooh. You can never go wrong with Pooh, right? Technically, we purchased this before we knew he is a "he," but another benefit of Pooh is that he's pretty gender neutral.

And, for the record, the lights ARE blinking on the bottom half of the tree tonight. I have no idea why.


December 1, 2008 Posted by | Christmas Memories, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dia de Acão Gracias (loosely translated from Portuguese: Day of Thankful ACTION!)

I had a very vivid reminder on Wednesday of how grateful I am of the many, many good things in my life.  Brenda and Jack were taking a quick nap and Luke was tottering around perfecting his graceful walk.  I was momentarily distracted from my fatherly duties by a call from my mother, informing me of the chance to be had next month to attend a Sound of Music play/sing-a-long/vomit fest.  Anyway, my dear, sweet mother called and I was distracted from my son for a moment.  After talking with her and Britt for a moment, I realized the bathroom door is open.  This is bad news in my house (Luke blogged about this, remember?)  I was so grateful when I walked in and realized that Luke hadn’t made it in to the toilet yet.

Luke and his friend John

So as the “Day of Thankful Action” is upon us, the time seems right to list the many things for which I am grateful!  The list has been posted in alphabetical order to spread out the humorous filler, making it more tolerable to be read by the average human being.  I promise there’s a pay-off at the end of the list if you’re willing to stick around!

  1. A comfortable floor to roll around on with my older son (and Jack-Jack too someday)
  2. A great job that I love
  3. Anti-biotics
  4. Awesome friends (who throw Diet Coke bottles in the air for me to take pictures of)
  5. Batteries (they make life so portable and convenient)
  6. Birth mothers who place their babies with adoptive parents
  7. Bren’s caring family that take care of us (and our kids) when we need help
  8. DVRs
  9. Epidurals (without them Sunday night would have been a lot less pleasant)
  10. Japan (Hello? Nintendo and Playstation both come from there, duh)
  11. Luigi
  12. Mario
  13. My calling (how many people get to crawl around in church attics pulling cable and get to call it church work?)
  14. My caring family that take care of us (and our kids) when we need help
  15. My digital camera that allows me to take as many stupid pictures as I want (and the ability to put them on the Internet for the whole world to see!)
  16. My neighborhood friends who make Clearfield such a nice place to live
  17. My Nintendo DS Lite
  18. My Playstation 2
  19. My Wii
  20. My X-Box 360
  21. Pacificiers
  22. Pac-Man
  23. Paper clips (What? Can you imagine life without paperclips? We’d have to staple everything!)
  24. People who serve our country and protect our freedoms (way to go Lindsie!)
  25. Shigeru Miyamoto
  26. Slobbery kisses
  27. Smoked turkey
  28. Star Wars
  29. That refrigerator box that withstood months of abuse in our basement that we had so much fun in (you are missed Fort Baiffett)
  30. The ability to name my children after cool fictional characters
  31. The creation of digital aliens for me to shoot to keep my real aggression in check
  32. The good news of the Gospel
  33. The knowledge that God loves me
  34. The noise a zombie makes when you shoot it in Left 4 Dead (my current game of choice)
  35. Way too many games to play on my various and sundry video game systems

There you have it, my top 35 things to be thankful for! Oh wait, I forgot my real top 3:

Bren, Luke, and Jack

Brenda, Jack and Luke

And here’s something you should be grateful for: You weren’t me faced with what to do when you realized that Luke actually HAD gotten to the toilet already and you had to deal with this:

Spider-Man is down!

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , , | 4 Comments

My classroom

I was thinking the other day (wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles) and I decided that I’d make a blog post about my classroom. Most of you reading this have never seen my classroom, despite the fact that I spend a fair portion of my life in between those walls, and I thought you might like to take a peek behind the curtain.

My Classroom

Since that's been there 3 years, I really should clean the old double-sided tape off the door frame one of these days.

Welcome to Portable 10 – my classroom. You might think that being in a portable is a pain. Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t complain if I were a little closer to the faculty restroom and if the PE students banged on the portable a little less, but it does have advantages as well. I’ve never once been reprimanded for my classroom being too loud (and that’s saying something.) There are kids running through the hall distracting my students by waving from the doorway. Being able to control my own climate (including air conditioning unlike the main building) isn’t a bad thing either.

My Classroom

"Does whatever a spider can"

The first thing you’d probably notice as you enter my room is the Spider-Man plush web-slinging across the ceiling above my desk, as it is directly in front of the door.  Besides looking really cool, this Spider-Man actually has a fair bit of sentimental value to me – but I’m saving that story for a post I’ve been ruminating on for quite some time about adoption.  Anyway, Brenda and I strung him up with fishing line to make him look super cool.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure how he would look not hanging, it’s not like he was made in a seated position.

My Classroom

Click on the picture to go to the Flickr page where all the toys are labeled with notes! How exciting!

Behind my desk (below and to the right of Spider-Man) is my “wall o’ toys.”  I’m going to be straight with you – I cannot think of a good academic theory (not a single one, although I haven’t thought about them since college, so . . .)  Excuse my interruption of myself – I can’t think of a single good reason to have all these toys in my room.  But guess what?  I don’t care.  They’re mostly there because I have no display room at home and because I think it communicates to my students a lot about me (i.e. Mr. Bailey thinks toys are cool.)  There’s quite a variety of things.  There are historical bobbleheads I got from Jeremy as a white elephant gift once, the Cheat Commandos that Brenda bought me for Christmas one year (and their paper playsets!) and plenty of little Star Wars trinkets.  Some I’ve purchased over the years (I’ve owned that plush Yoda way back since  high school) and some have been gifts from students along the way.  I really think this wall describes me well.

My ClassroomOn top of my CPU, I proudly display my husky in his officer jacket.  Yes, this is like the fairly goofy, old-school sweater I own as the student government advisor and proudly wear once or twice a year (that wool gets hot fast.)  I bought the husky, but Brenda made the sweater/jacket thing for him.

My ClassroomRight inside the door to the immediate right, I proudly display the flag of our country.  To the left of the flag is my fish “bubble.”  I saw these on the Internet on a list of cool decorations a few years back and just had to get one.  I overspent getting one on eBay right then, only to be dismayed when I saw one in a pet store a month or so later for a much cheaper price.  Oh well, I still really enjoy it.

My Classroom

This year, the officers named the fish Puff Daddy. I was thrilled.

My ClassroomOk, last one.  Here’s what my classroom looks like from the back of the room.  I normally arrange the desks in the fairly standard, tried and true method of placing the desks in rows as opposed to the trendy horseshoe or in groups facing each other (although for group activities like the one we had the day I took the picture, they do move into group formation.)  You can see the podium that my father-in-law helped me build (from scratch!) and my projector (mounted for the last couple of years, removing the ability for me to trip over a giant train of cords in front of everyone) which I use extensively for power point presentations, news clips, videos, and with the recent acquisition of my document camera, I now use instead of a traditional overhead projector.

I hoped you’ve enjoyed this “insider only” peek into the world of Mr. Bailey.  If nothing else, this should make you feel grateful that you’re no longer in the seventh grade.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | From the Frontlines of the Education of America, Ron's Posts | , , | 2 Comments

Luke has too many toys!

Who’s fault is it that Luke has too many toys?  Society?  Consumerism?  Should I blame the major political parties (and throw the Greens and the Libertarians under the bus as well?)  Or should I just blame. . . myself?

Actually, I’m quite comfortable with the number of toys that Luke has.  It just seemed like an attention grabbing headline that could easily be misinterpreted by the media.  He does have quite a few though.  A giant chunk of them have been purchased for him by me.  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point when we were waiting for someone to choose us for an adoption, I started buying Luke toys.  It began with Star Wars toys.  I noticed what I thought at the time was a new line of “kiddy” Star Wars toys called the Galactic Heroes.  They’re smaller than normal action figures (only a couple of inches) with fewer points of articulation (that’s moving joints for you non-nerds out there) than normal toys.  They also are insufferably cute – Darth Maul has changed from a nightmare-ish clown to a huggable pal, Chewbacca has gained a broad grin, and they even managed to make R2-D2 look pretty darn cute.  (I’ll have to try to get closer up shots of smaller groups sometime.)  Anyway, every pay check or so, I’d snag another two-pack of Galactic Heroes for our future son/daughter (20 points to you if you guessed son.)

As time progressed, I realized that the Galactic Heroes line wasn’t new – in fact I had bought one before.  One of the first Christmas presents I ever gave Jared was an X-wing with Luke, and that was when we first got married.  So, they’ve been around for a while, but I guess their popularity blossomed and I started seeing them everywhere.  Well, eventually other companies saw ways to make money off of people buying nostalgic toys for young kids and so around the launch of Spider-Man 3 in theaters, they got into the act too.  However, unlike the Star Wars toys, almost every two-pack of Spider-Man toys came with a Spider-Man, which means that I have a LOT of Spider-Men.  From a marketing perspective, it’s a dream come true, right?

Marketing Guy #1: “How are we going to sell enough toys to get our Christmas bonuses again this year?”

Marketing Guy #2: “We’ll make people buy five times the number of Spider-Men than they would would if they were packed individually instead of in 2 packs!”

Marketing Guy #1: *sobs*  “Genius, pure genius, Christmas is saved!”

And then everyone’s happy but me (because I know that the true purpose of the Internet is lodging complaints.)  I have a variety of Spider-Man villains – Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, New Goblin, Venom, and Carnage.  Like the Star Wars toys, they are a kiddy line and many of the bad guys look fairly nice (but remember, stranger = danger!)

Anyway, we happened to be at a Dollar Store one day and Brenda always lets me go down the toy aisle at the end of a trip to the store as long as I promise not to break anything.  On the toy aisle, I happen to notice some cute Winnie the Pooh toys about the same size as the other ones I already have (although none of them have joints, they just stand around stiffly – the Hundred Acre Wood must be dull sometimes.)  At $1 apiece, they were significantly cheaper than the Star Wars or Spider-Man toys, so Bren and I snagged Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet (Tigger’s tail got broken once, but we never found out how.  All we know is that one day when Melanie and Maisy were watching Luke, Maisy came out and said that Tigger had been broken, but she didn’t know how.  Luckily, it was cheap to replace.)

By now, the top of Luke’s changing table is getting a little full, and I ended up cleaning off the dresser and placing all the toys on there (a wise choice considering how much he rolls around now-a-days.)  The Marvel comic book company, not content with selling me only Spider-Man figures, expanded it’s line to include more heroes.  Dare Devil, Captain America, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the Wasp (she’s one of the original Avengers, look it up!) among others.  There were some accompanying villains, but not as many as Spider-Man.  Many of the X-Men also joined our plastic super hero team.

Well, just when you’d think that I should probably stop buying painted hunks of plastic, I found a set of Justice League heroes.  Unlike the other toys, these are more made to be collectibles than toys.  They came on stands and don’t move at all (except for their bendy capes!)  Now, again for the non-nerds out there, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash are from D.C. Comics, not Marvel, which is why I hadn’t already purchased them.  I really liked the Justice League TV show, so I really wanted some action figures to represent them.  There were not any that really matched cutesy style, so I settled on these.  They were also convenient because it was around this time I realized that Luke might not have been Luke, he might have been Rachel.  Now, any daughter of mine will play video games and watch super hero stuff with me (whether she likes it or not, just like her mom), but I wanted there to be a little more “Oomph” in the girl power department.  The nice thing about the DC set is it came with Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl.  I started paying more attention to the female action figures – at one point in time Adam and I discussed the merits of repainting immodest female action figures, but we decided we didn’t know how good it would be to have a child gnawing on them afterwards.

Things kept snowballing, I saw an ad for Toys R Us which had some Super Mario Bros. figurines and went and bought them.  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out and they made cute toys of him, so I bought them (I’m still waiting for the one I gathered enough proof of purchases to send away for.)  Indiana Jones needed some more enemies apparently, so they added a mummy and some snakes and put a transparent ghost in the Ark of the Covenant.

By now, Luke’s dresser was pretty packed and I was pretty happy.  (Oh, Luke was born at some point during this process, I’m not sure exactly when.)  Now, lest you think I’m the only one who buys Luke toys, the other day, Brenda was at a Dollar Store and ran across Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy figurines.  She called home to make sure it was ok that she bought (which I think it rather ironic since I’ve bought around 75 toys and she bought 4.)   So, I’ve brought Brenda down to my nerdy level.

Now the moment that you’ve all been waiting for (no, not the end of this post, the glamorous picture (which is actually 4 pictures stitched together.)
Action Figure Pano1

The small size really doesn’t do it justice, you really should click on it and look at all the toys I’ve labeled on Flickr (mouse-over the picture and all the notes show up.)  Also, click on the all sizes button and look at the large one so you can actually see them.  I’m rather proud the way the panoramic turned out, they’re difficult to pull of well that close.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , , , , | 4 Comments