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2008 in Review

2008: More Change and Catching up with Life!


Sarabeth is in Wisconsin dealing with one of the WORST winters the Milwaukee area had seen in 20years and without a husband or a snowblower. For those of you who don’t know, Joe took a great job opportunity in IL and moved back in with his parents September of 2007. Thank goodness our wonderful neighbors in Whitefish Bay (4600 Block!!WOOHOO) rallied around Sarabeth and got her through! By the end of winter the Milwaukee area almost broke the record of 110 inches of snow in one season.


Every weekend Joe went to visit his wife and dog (Cayman) in Whitefish Bay to work on the house to get ready to sell. He did a great job because they sold their house in 70 days in a tumbling real estate market.


This was a BIG month, Sarabeth’s little brother Dave married the love of his life Stephanie Williams and Sarabeth was privileged to not only stand-up in the wedding but participate in the ceremony. This was also the month that we closed on he sale of our house, Sarabeth finished her masters in Instructional Technology, went to Jimmy Buffett , Sarabeth moved in with her parents and then we went to Door County for one of Sarabeth’s best-friends wedding. It was a whirlwind! Sarabeth also got into networking and job search mode, trying to get back into business.


Up in Door County Sarabeth was reunited with an old friend, Jamie PR, from Accenture (previous business position) who was working in Chicago for a small company, Healthy Interactions. During our reunion she realized that my background could be a fit for the company she worked for. After meeting other employees and interviewing I was hired at the end of the August and started on Sept 2.


Joe and Sarabeth living with Joe’s parents with their dog, who tore a ligment and is still not healed ☹ Sarabeth started commuting to Chicago via the Metra and loves it – along with her job. There is some travel but so far it has only taken her to London, England and Toledo, OH. We bought a house (the market actually really helped us get our DREAM house) in Frankfort, IL and we are loving living together and being a real married couple again.

The year has brought a lot of good fortune and we are very grateful. There are friends and family who have not been as blessed as us so we are praying for you to get through your hard times and we will support you where you need us.

We are looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family in 2009!


To buy, or not to buy - that should be the question.

Happy Holidays!

I know it is the season of giving..stuff. So why am I irritated? Why do we need so much stuff? Here are a couple of observations: It seems that people over buy - especially for kids! I mean, lots of time I have witnessed a child open a bunch of gifts and then just play with one. Or the really little ones just want to play with the paper, or the box it came in - hmmm... what about putting all that money into a savings account for the child? I know why - because people don't really have the money, they are using credit. Doesn't that seem like a problem? But our government does it? Spends more then they have, then others have to pay for it. This year I did not get a lot of stuff, almost everything I got I will use frequently - and it felt great! Being a financially responsible family we decided to scale back on the amount of gifts to purchase, how smart is that? How did we figure that out? Basic high school consumer economics, sign your child up for Consumer Economics or better yet - Financing.

Goal for 2009!

I just wanted to say that I am going to make more of an effort to update our blog at least a couple times a month.


On to the NEXT chapter!

Well, Joe and I sold the house, said goodbye to our laid back Milwaukee lifestyle with readi-access to great beer (micros, not Miller). We are both living with our wonderful parents!!!

Next step - I need to find a job, then we will get the house.

Short post...stayed tune.


Cellphone etiquette - necessary?

I am in Subway ordering my $5 footlong veggie, it's not really busy but the customer in front of me is on her phone. From the sounds of it, she was speaking another language. The Subway worker was trying to be patient asking her the same questions over and over again about her sandwich. I starred at her, trying to give her the none verbal - "can you concentrate here?" but it did not work. I passed her up and got my sub. I told the worker helping me that that is very rude.

After I left I thought, can a worker refuse to help someone who is on their phone and not paying attention? Should I have said something since the workers did not feel like they could call her out on her rudeness?


Lakefront Brewery - Cream City Pale Ale (CCPA)

photo taken from: http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/ales.html

I have tasted many Lakefront beers and my personal favorite is Cream City. This is a pale ale with a slight caramel taste from the malt and slight bitter taste. Of course this is not for everyone but if you have tried this you should also try the organic ESB, first fully organic beer ever made.

P.S. Lakefront has been rated the number 1 tour in Milwaukee...you can even go on a Friday night and also have a fish fry!


Stop pushing kids through

What is annoying to me is students who get pushed through the system when they should clearly not be graduating to the next level.

First of all, if they have not worked at the current level why would he/she work at the next? Then the next teacher has to take more time out to help this student, which ends up being wasted time since the student obviously does not care about school.

Second of all, parents need to step up to the plate! If their child is failing, they need to re-evaluate what they are doing to help their child pass. Parents made the decision to have kids, they need to realize that educating their child is partly their responsibility.

Third, administrators need to back their teachers and make parents responsible. If traditional behavior plans do not work (detentions, suspensions) then think outside the box - community service. This child is costing the district money by wasting teachers time and affects other students education - so they should give back to the district. I am sure the custodians have plenty of jobs they could do - or something.

What if the parents refuse to do anything except enable their child to continue to be a problem at school and fail multiple classes... well I have already talked about tax credits being associated with students grades. Another radical proposal is if the student is held back a year, the parents have to pay a certain amount. Yes, pay for public education - if they have to repeat a year because of behavior and/or grades.

Do I have kids yet? No, but if my parents could get me through school then other parents can do it also. I went to summer school, grounded, no TV in my room, loss of phone priveldges (which was HUGE to me) and etc. Nowadays, there are even MORE things to take away from kids - but that does not seem to happen for the majority of poor students (that I have seen).

What are parents afraid of?


Who is SB...

Well, I do not have alot of credentials to lean on to be able to break down each beverage to individual tastes. I can not tell you the process behind each type of beer or liquor. BUT I can tell you where ever I go I seek new beers to taste and if there is a local liquor I will taste that also (unless I have already had beer). I am sure you are thinking, what about wine or champagne? Well, I have found that I have an allergic reaction to many wines and champagnes so I keep trying them every once in awhile - but I do not seek them out.

Enjoy and share your thoughts... Thanks for reading.


I am no K-12 teacher

OK...well... I have come to the realization that I love education, I love teaching - but NOT teaching K-12. You have to have be a special person to be a K-12 teacher, it is difficult. First of all, you have the students who after the 7th grade start trying to become individuals and sometimes that includes being disrespectful to adults. What is interesting is that sometimes you get to meet the parents of these students and I find it disturbing how much the apple does NOT fall from the tree. Sometimes the parents will say, "I'm trying everything" of course you can not dispute this but REALLY??? You've tried EVERYTHING?! Why does your child still have a PSP? a cellphone? out with friends? REALLY???!!!! Of course a teacher would never try and give parenting advice, but if you are lucky you do get teaching advise from parents. For example, "What ever you are doing is not working" What I am doing? You are the parent, with all the power. As a parent you can take things away you can even HOLD YOUR CHILD BACK A GRADE - WOW...novel idea. Now grant it, there will be some teachers extremely upset with having to teach that child again - but you are actually DOING SOMETHING extreme to get your child's attention so he/she knows WHO'S THE BOSS...

Moving forward!

WELL... we have sold the house, made it through the home inspection and looking forward to our house closing July 18th. Sarabeth still has to finish her masters and find a job, so in the mean time we are each living with our respective parents untill we get a place.

Also, David (Sarabeth's brother) is getting married July 12 so we need to get as much done before then so we can relax and celebrate!

Stayed tuned for our next post which will hopefully be... a new job, new house, finished masters.... all back in IL!


Good Grades = Tax Credit

Ok - So I have worked in a couple different districts and it is obvious to me (and I am sure others) that when parents are involved their kids do better in school. I am not sure if you are aware, but there are parents out there that don't take their job as a parent very seriously. Who knew parenting was going to be hard? UM HELLO?! You made the choice to have sex, the choice to have a child so take on the responsibility. If they do not want to take on this responsibility then they should not be able to get any tax credit. More paperwork - but if the parents are not helping their kids get a C average or above then they are not parenting! Its not just teachers doing their job, the parents have to back the school and make their child realize how important it is!


House Update

Well, we had our first advertised open house and it was GREAT. We had 6 people come through and one who was very interested in buying it, but that has not happened. We are hoping to sell it so we can move out in June. We are not in a huge hurry but the sooner the better. As far as our next house, we are looking in downtown Tinley Park and that area in general. Joe's job is in that area and there is enough highway access for any job that I might get. I have started to broaden my search outside of education to consulting firms.

Well, that is our update...alot can happen and alot of change will happen in the next couple months!


Streamlined Education

Since I have been in multiple districts I believe I have discovered something profound. This is the first district that after I was hired was sent a day by day plan of what is taught in each subject. When I arrived at the school I was shown where all the materials are - huh? You mean I do not have to create my own curriculum? Which I have done in 2 other districts, all together making 8-9 different curriculums from scratch. Insane? I agree. I have come to believe that EVERY subject should have a day by day plan created, that has associated standards and can be repeated every semester/year. That being said, once it is set up then the educator can update a unit each semester - which is much more manageable then an entire curriculum. SO, when new teachers come in they are not overwhelmed with creating a curriculum or what has been done in the past - all they have to do is get through their first year in a new district. Aside from teaching a new teacher has to worry about so many other administrative things let along just learning people's names and understanding the culture.

Now, there are teachers out there that would think I am insane and others that would agree. I have experienced both sides and since I am working with a standard curriculum I am able to contact parents, do more differentiated learning, deal with discipline issues better and the list goes on.

NewJob: The Faculty Lounge

I have to say that this is the first district I have been in that the faculty lounge actually is a de-stressor. I walk out of there feeling like I just sat down with my friends and "kicked it" for a little bit. I am thoroughly enjoying it, too bad I will be leaving at the end of the school year because I am now moving. It is a good move, but I actually think this district would have asked me back.


Ok, I am in WI and I am REALLY sick of the snow!! It is the second day of Spring and we have 10-14" out there! Seriously?

Full Circle

Ok, so it has been awhile and lot is going on. We have completely fixed up the house and it looks great! On the inside... and we have it on the market to sell so we can move back to IL. We are looking to purchase in downtown Tinley Park this year sometime. We are not in a huge hurry to sell the house, all though it would be nice.

So this is what July looks like
July 11 - final presentation for Masters
July 12 - My brother gets married in IL
July 19 - Jimmy Buffet at Alpine, yes we got tickets by my parents did not :(
July24-27 - Morgan (BB) gets married in Door County

YIKES - tons of fun though!