Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Birthday Reminder...

Next week, the beautiful Natalie June will be eleven. Now what to get her for her birthday? I have no idea. It used to be so easy. Barbie dolls. Baby dolls. Lincoln Logs. Now she is just five inches shorter than I. Do we just go to the Gap? Do we go get a manicure together? Do I buy her an ipod dock?

I started mourning her childhood. And then, thank goodness she made her own tree fort. A little girl would do that. A little girl would take all of her dad's tree branches and just use them before he started cutting them into his wood pile for his shop. I don't have to say goodbye to her childhood just yet.

When her birthday approaches, I always remember what it was like to be an expectant mother. I remember the dreams I had. Once I dreamed that I had her at home. I couldn't make it to the hospital on time even though we lived two blocks away from the hospital. I dreamed that I took her in my arms and told Jason, "Look, it's a Natalie June." I had dreamed she how beautiful she was.

A week later, I had my ultrasound. The technician wasn't going to tell me what she was because Jason didn't want to know. I told the technician that Jason wasn't his patient. I was.

Oh.. and in case you didn't know... I was right about Nat being a girl.

My sister was pregnant at the same time. She was convinced that she was having a girl too. I said, "Sorry. I dreamed Natalie was playing with a little boy." And of course, I was right.

One thing the surprised me about being pregnant was how much Natalie moved. I remember taking a bath and watching her kick around. My belly looked like a microwave popcorn bag with all the movements.

I knew people could feel the baby move. I knew moms could feel the baby move. But I was surprised at how you could practically see an elbow move back and forth across my belly.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I will always be creeped out by Halloween. I think it stems back to the Halloween movies. Now, my mom and dad were pretty protective, but for some reason, we had HBO and when mom's rheumatoid acted up any TV channel was free game. So my sister and I watched pretty much whatever we wanted.

Another thing that freaked me out is that Red Lake Falls was a wild town back in the day. I mean WILD. Like kids riding-around-the-back-of-pick-ups-yelling-at-little-kids and-old-ladies wild. Red Lake County was so wild that Brooks teens burned down their school. Red Lake county was so wild that the Oklee School janitor would stand guard Halloween night to protect the school. This is not a hyperbole.

One year, a particular wild group decided to burn down deserted homes. Our house was a century old and at the time pink. Metal siding pink. Our house was very, very ugly before my parents remodeled it. I remember hearing my parents whisper about the arson that night. I must have been about Allie's age. I was so scared that I cried so hard I hyperventilated.

My mom had to sleep with me that night.

Things have calmed down quite a bit in Red Lake Falls. Thank Goodness. I need my sleep.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Jason and I bought a different car - not a new car - but a car that has a working horn. A car that has windows that roll down. I have cruise control.

For some reason, this amazes some of the ninth graders.

"Mrs.Aakhus I love your new car."

"Woe... Mrs. Aakhus nice car."

"Hey... " They turn to their friends "Did I tell you I got to see the inside of Mrs. Aakhus' car?"

I suppose my rusted-out-crashed-up mini van was not the epitome of cool.


The past few weeks Natalie has been inspired to write. I love it. She is an awesome writer. Her poetry is so sweet, kind, and magical. She's always reminded me of her father - opinionated, clever, and concise. It's nice to see a little of myself in her. Sometimes, I've wondered if this tall blond-haired beauty could be mine. Can you doubt maternity?

Now, I know. She has a little bit of her momma in her. When I read her poetry and other works from school, I can see she will be even a better writer than her momma!

Natalie's Poems

Dawdling About

He dawdled about in the hallways
had no care at all of what happened next
cause had no reason to pout

He walked in the hallways
with no care or doubt

For he was already happy
that the flower he planted
might very soonly sprout

By Natalie Aakhus


Night is always quiet
I'm near falling asleep.
Glittering stars.
High darknees.
Told to go to sleep.

By Natalie Aakhus

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love That Book -

We're going to read this very soon. !

I love this book so much. I hope the kids do too!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Mea Weekend.

This week is MEA. Which means four days off for super chicks like me!! Woo hoo! Can you imagine the freedom? Can you imagine all the cleaning I've gotten done? All the time bonding with my lovely daughters?

Ok.. That's not really how it went.

I spent the last four days speed reading journal entries, vocabulary sheets, and bully packets. I've spent the past four days entering in grades. And the thing is, I'm only about 3/4 done. That's right. I'll be correcting papers today too.

But I've learned a lesson or a strategy. From now on, 7th and 8th graders will have a separate deadline. I will only have to worry about sixty entries rather than 120. From now on, I will vary how many journal entries they hand in. Sometimes, it'll be six; sometimes, it'll be one.

I am also keeping a paper gradebook. If my online gradebook is slow and a student has a question for me, I can look at my paper copy and tell them. This also makes it easier for me to enter into my online gradebook when my online gradebook is having a great day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grammar Girl Storms the Seventh Grade

So lately, we've been listening to Grammar Girl's podcast - "Quick and Dirty Tips" I have students take notes on the content. Seventh Grade has to find three facts they find interesting. Eighth grade has to find five. We talk about the facts. I have the kids turn in their notes for accountability.

We listened to one podcast about appropriateness of language, one podcast about how teens effect the evolution of the English podcast, and another on how to capitalize what needs capitalization.

I tweeted to Grammar Girl that the students enjoyed her podcast entitled "Yo Momma." She direct messaged me back. They were thrilled. I put my fingers together and said "Grammar Girl and I are like this!"

"Ooooooo." They awed.

I'm not sure they were really amazed or were making fun of me... But, let's just pretend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is so good..

If you have facebook, checkout lamebook!

Big Shoes to Fill

This is the exact reason I wanted to become a teacher because of teachers like this man. If I could have one tenth of his greatness I would be satisfied.

Here is the flip side. OH MY!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Happy Couple

Yesterday, I spent the day in Fargo. I was browsing around JoAnn Fabric's with my mom when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone familiar. "Hmmm..." I thought. "That guy looks like Steve S. from grade school." But, I kept walking because I wasn't sure it was him, and I'm a little shy at times.

Every five years or so, I see Steve. He was a nice kid. Kind of shy. You know the type. I liked to aggravate him and poke his neck with my pencil. Why did I do that? Who knows. I remember him stealing my pencil once or twice, so eventually I stopped.

I went to the till to pay for my purchases, and a couple and their mom came up behind me. And then, I realized... It WAS Steve S.

I looked at him and smiled and asked "Are you Steve?"

And he smiled shyly and nodded and then introduced his wife.

And his wife was beautiful. And kind. And grandma showed me pictures of their babies. And I was SO happy for Steve because he deserved to be happy.

It's funny how you can meet your friends' spouses or significant others and sometimes, they'll make a bad impression. And you'll think, "Hey you prick get away from my friend." I mean... I really do think that. I try not to say anything because everyone wants to find out their S.O is a prick on their own...

But with Steve, I could see in a minute that he found someone who truly loved him. Steve had married a kindred spirit who was excited just to meet me because I had known Steve once when he was a child. And in that five minute exchange, my life seemed a little brighter because I knew one of my childhood friends had a good life and a kind wife.