Thursday, December 23, 2010

yesterday's meatloaf is today's sloppy joe

We are so blessed to have the cafeteria available to us for free! However, while the student's aren't here the cafeteria is closed. But, this is probably good so Elle will have memories of her mother cooking. We usually only eat in the cafeteria for dinner. Chris is usually gone before Elle gets up in the morning and a lot of the students don't have lunch at the same time, or have to eat a sack lunch over in the school building so we like to reserve lunch as our family meal. Dinner is always 5:30-6:30. For the last week or so we have had lunch in the caf because I didn't want to have to go to the store until absolutely necessary. Plus, we'll be on our own for two and 1/2 weeks so we thought we'd take advantage of someone else worrying about what to eat. The caf is contracted out to a company who decides what we eat. The company is different this year than in the past, but they hired all the same people who worked here previously. However, many of the students (and adults) complain about the food not being as good, monotonous, and they run out a lot of the times. They've gone through several managers and currently have temps rotating through. Not sure what the deal is with that. Overall, the foods pretty okay. There is a little of the meatloaf-sloppy joe thing that goes on, but it's not too bad. For lunch and dinner you can choose from the hot entree, the grill, salad bar, soup, or have a deli sandwich or even cereal. I'm still amazed at the kids who bring in microwave meals as well. There's usually dessert and always ice cream (a favorite around here). We have plenty of drink selections as well, except no Diet Dr. Pepper, but I guess it's not QT so you can't have everything. We tried getting the kids to sit with us, but they don't like to eat with us for some reason. We usually sit by ourselves or with the other faculty residents. If we're there at lunch we eat at "the teacher table". We keep a booster seat and disposable bibs on top of one of the closets on the side. Elle usually roams around while Chris and I get the food and then if she finishes first you can find her a) playing by herself under the tables, on the bench, or running around or b) playing with Jonathan (another prof's son) who lives on the 3rd floor or other faculty. She's still cautious of most of the students so she doesn't usually bother them. We also try to keep her out of the fireplaces. It's really eating in a cafeteria with a tray and everything, but we don't have to do the dishes! If you want to visit sometime we can let you experience it first hand. Of course it will have to be when the student's are here as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat!

We got a little break from the students during Thanksgiving when they were gone for a week. Before they left a student asked Chris if the cafeteria was open while they were gone. Chris said no. The student then asked in all seriousness: "How do you eat?" We have realized that a lot of the students don't fully appreciate that this is our home. Not just temporary. Mops had a set back not having any kids around for a week so I'm a little worried about how she'll be after they're gone for 2 1/2 weeks. The kids are in the midst of finals. They started on Friday and have two a day until Wednesday. Chris had to give his final on Saturday morning, but so far he hasn't heard any complaints. They also don't have finals today (Sunday) so I guess they get a little break. I think it's a pretty rough week, but the parents and school provide snacks in the evenings to try and keep their spirits up. They've also been turning on the fire places in the great hall, which makes it feel warm and cozy. We had a little party last Tuesday for our floor. The pic is of the tile/coasters I made for the girls. The difficult part about being here is the fact that this is a public school and being sensitive to the fact that many of the kids may not celebrate Christmas. We've loved being in OKC this year for Christmas! The lights around the city, the BC Clark song, and cooler temps make it seem so festive. We are so excited about Christmas with Elle this year. She's been helping me wrap presents, by being in charge of the tape. Most of it gets in the right spot. Seems so funny to think last year she could walk or talk at this time. We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! I'm going to end this post with a section from one of the Little House on the Prairie books, which I think is really nice.

"Do you know what Pa wants for Christmas?" They did not know. "Horses," Ma said. "Would you girls like horses?" Laura and Mary looked at each other. "I only thought," Ma went on, "if we all wished for horses, and nothing but horses, then maybe--"Laura felt queer. Horses were everyday; they were not Christmas. If Pa got horses, he would trade for them. Laura could not think of Santa Claus and horses at the same time. "Ma!" she cried. "There is a Santa Claus, isn't there?" Of course there's a Santa Claus," said Ma. She set the iron on the stove to heat again. "The older you are, the more you about Santa Claus," she said. "You are so big now, you know he can't be just one man, don't you? You know he is everywhere on Christmas Eve. He is in the Big Woods, and Indian Territory, and far away in York State, and here. He comes down all the chimneys at the same time. You know that don't you?" "Yes, Ma," said Mary and Laura...Then Ma told them something else about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and besides that, he was all the time. Whenever anyone was unselfish that was Santa Claus. Christmas Eve was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning you saw what that had done. "If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy, all the time, then would it be Christmas all the time?" Laura asked, and Ma said, "Yes, Laura." (Laura Ingalls Wilder, On the Banks of Plum Creek)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

you can teach an old dog new tricks

As if school didn't run our lives enough, Mops is now going to obedience school. She has "alert/territorial aggression". She barks at anyone new and is pretty hostile. Morian recommend Full Circle Obedience School and we had a consultation. Mops and I go to class for an hour on Tuesday nights. Since Chris is working Morian graciously watches Elle. Mops is actually taking the puppy class because the instructor thought she might be too intimidated by the big dogs in the regular class. So far we've been to 3 classes and has learned a few new tricks. She has 4 other dogs in the class, the golden Daisy, the tan poodle/mop mix Peanut, the grey poodle Smoky, and the schnauzer Lily. It's scary how true the saying people look like their pets is. Mops was very nervous the first night when we started using the clickers, but she's doing much better. So far the tricks haven't been too difficult for her to pick up on since she already knew some of them. Last night we learned a trick of how to calm them down so I'm going to start taking her out among the students and do some deep massaging which is supposed to be calming. Elle loves helping Mops with her homework. She doesn't quite get that you are supposed hold the treat until Mops comes to you, but we'll keep working on it. The only part Mops doesn't like is that she now sleeps in the corner on her bed rather than ours and she is confined to the kitchen if we leave. This is supposed to help her realize she's not the alpha. I think we're learning just as much as Mops. Hopefully we're making Ceaser proud!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

fall party

Went to my first school dance Saturday night. I didn't know we really needed to be there, or that it was a big deal, or that I had to dress up until Saturday at 3 pm. If you've ever been the wife of a grad student you know what I'm talking about! After a quick run to the mall we went to International Night! The OSSM Parents Association (they use the acronym PAOSSM so I lovingly call them opossum) puts on several functions for the kids throughout the year, but this was the first for the semester. They decorated the great hall with flags and balloons and we had food from everywhere. My favorite was the Georgian bread! Still not sure why there was a whole table dedicated to Texas, but after living there you realize it kind of is like it's own country. A lot of the families attended and several of the students wore traditional outfits. Chris commented on the large number of parents that were there and how different it was from his days. After dinner some of the families left and the kids moved to the dance floor. All I can say is I don't know where you find out about some of the songs or dances, but they knew how to do them. We sat in the back and watched and let Elle run around until she got tired. We put here to bed and then took the baby monitor back out to the great hall to watch some more. Chris and I danced to one dance. We used our new knowledge from dance class to two-step to Boot Scootin' Boogie! At 10:35 the grown-ups ended the dance and everyone had to head back to their rooms for lights out at 11. It was a fun night! It was nice to visit with some parents and that the kids could let loose after their morning of one of Chris' tests and the ACT.

Friday, October 22, 2010

up to date

It's been really busy around here. I don't even know where to start. Chris is starting to get some time during his day to work on dissertation. It's definitely something we both have to work at. I'm trying to work on my proposal whenever possible, but it's difficult. I love my time with Elle. She's been doing awesome at school. Her vocabulary has exploded! I can't believe last year at this time she was just getting her first teeth and had no hair. It feels like it's going so fast. She's also adorable, but I could be biased. Earlier this month I went to St. Louis and presented a paper at my first conference. It was a really good experience. My paper was on media literacy as the bridge to a deliberative curriculum. I came away from the conference fired up, but I still have no idea what I want to do when I'm finished with this degree. Last weekend I surprised Chris with a trip to a bed & breakfast for his birthday. We went to the Cedar Rock Inn in Tulsa while Elle spent her first night away from both of us. She stayed the night with her Nana and Aunt Casey. Chris and I had a wonderful time even though it was hard being away from Elle. The two new dorm wings are really starting to come together. The construction is going on from sunrise to sunset, which is kind of annoying early in the morning. But they are working really fast so hopefully they won't be so loud for very long. The students are doing pretty well I think. Chris still loves his job. He has to give another test on Saturday, which he has scaled down from the last time. He's only giving one to the Junior's so maybe the grading won't be so bad. I think the biggest worry around here right now is what will come of the election. Funding is tied up in 744, which makes everyone worried as the budget is already tight. Also a lot of people worry that some legislators want to close the school because they prefer having the satellite campuses in their district. It would be a very unfortunate loss for everyone though if OSSM closed. This is a truly amazing place and gives students a boost that normally wouldn't get one. My wish is that every school was as wonderful as OSSM, which I guess is why I do what I do. We're still trying to adjust to a new congregation. We've been attending Memorial Road. We like the possibility of helping with the Village of Hope and that Elle is involved in a great children's ministry. The down side of a big church is not getting to know people very quickly. My word of advice is to really pay attention to new members or visitors. Right now we feel pretty discouraged about church. That's us lately!

Monday, September 27, 2010

OSSM (ôsm) animals

This campus is pretty pet friendly. Mops is free to go most places (even to Chris' office!), which is nice since she had to give up her back yard and can only roam leash free when the students aren't going to be outside. But she's not warming up to the students like we wanted. She's most likely headed to obedience school soon.

Mops isn't the only animal with privileges. The assistant dorm supervisor who lives on the first floor boys has two huskies (don't remember their names right now). We've had one encounter with them and Mops and it wasn't pretty so we haven't been around them very much. They are gorgeous, but don't think they get out enough. Dr. Dodd has two westies that frequent campus and if you're an alum you'll probably remember Fred and Grady. Lori the PR person has two dogs, Chloe, a chocolate lab, and Nick, a pooshi (poodle-shih tzu mix). The librarian brings her sheepdog, Vladimir. He's very sweet, but we have to watch him around Elle because he likes to herd small things. The receptionist also brings her chihuahua, Itsy. Since the campus is so large several hawks, owls, bunnies, and other wild things can also be found hanging around.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Life

OK, I really am going to blog more often. The last few weeks have been really crazy though. I thought you might want to know a little bit about the daily life here at OSSM. The students generally get up and eat breakfast between 6:30 and 8:00 am. The juniors have to be out of the dorms by 8:00 and the seniors have to be out by 8:45. They are all usually in the MAC (Manning Academic Center), the library, or the science building throughout the day. Some students come back to the dorms for lunch or to switch books periodically. A lot of the kids don't get a formal lunch break because of their class schedules, especially now that foreign language classes have started, so the cafeteria sends over sack lunches and they eat in the student lounge. The seniors usually get out of school around 3:30 and the juniors get out around 4:00. Students have free time until 8:00 pm, which starts mandatory study time. But free time is limited because students have P.E. in the evenings one night a week, dinner is 5:30-6:30, and this week fine arts classes start. Some students are also put on early check-in (7:00 pm) if their grades are low. (Rumors are thanks to Chris many more students will be on this list.) All students have mandatory study time from 8:00-10:00 pm. They can study in the Great Hall, their common areas, or their rooms. If they're in their room they have to prop their doors. If they need to go to bed early they just have to tell someone. Then everyone has lights out at 11:00.

This is pretty much what most days are like. Some Saturdays students have tests so study time and lights out are the same. Some weekends are called "Open" weekends, which means they don't have tests. Some kids go home and some stay. They don't have study time Friday and Saturday night. There are van trips on these Saturdays and the kids get taken to Walmart or Bricktown, and one other place that escapes me now. They just have to have at least 4 people that want to go and have to sign up early. If kids go home they have to check in by Sunday night at 8. If the kids are there on the weekend they can also get transportation to church on Sundays. One weekend a month the students have to go home. They call this "Extended" weekend and classes are usually cancelled Mondays.

As for our family specifically... Chris is a state employee so he works 8-5. He usually has two classes a day. I still haven't figured out how often he has the same students. We usually all have lunch together at home. However, now that Elle is in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm studying somewhere and we don't see him until we get back to campus. I spend MWF unpacking, doing chores, and entertaining Elle and Mops mostly. We usually eat dinner in the cafeteria so that we can socialize with the kids. Chris has dorm duty Sunday nights from 3:30 to 11, if the kids are there, and Tuesday nights 5-11. On these evenings we try to hang out with him in the Great Hall until study time. All professors have to spend one night tutoring during study time so Chris lumps this in on Tuesday nights. We also have to have floor meetings periodically so we'll do this with our floor at 10:30 before everyone goes to bed.

This is our life so far!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

pizza/dance party

Earlier in the week the girls asked to have a pizza/dance party for the floor last night since it's Open Weekend. Open Weekend means no tests. They can check out if they want and go home for the weekend, but generally half of them stay. The girls were willing to pay for their pizza, but they can't order it themselves. Turns out there's also a rule we can't have pizza delivered. I offered to go get it for them as long as they turned the music off by 10 pm. I figured they may not last that long since they can't have boys on the floor. They decided to do pizza at 5 and then dance later because some people would be leaving. Today (Saturday) is Parent's Day for the juniors so almost all of our girls were here last night. Elle and I went and got the pizza and drinks after her nap. We're quickly learning to get around OKC, but the traffic is something I'm still adjusting to after Waco. We gave the girls some space and we ate in our apartment. We ended up ordering 8 large pizzas for 20 girls. Chris thought there would be pizza left over. Vivid memories of cheerleading sleepovers kept coming to mind and I knew they would eat it up. Sure enough they ate it all and I think some even went and got dinner in the cafe too.

We eventually got the volleyball out and got a good size group of students to play with us down at the sand volleyball courts. It was really fun and helped me get to know some of the boys since I don't get to interact with them much. It's really evident the students here are really good kids overall. Three of the girls from our floor actually offered to walk Mops and play with Elle. It was awesome and Elle really enjoyed them. Later we kept waiting for the dancing to start, but then quickly realized they had moved it down to the basement. You could here the music up in the Great Hall. Chris wasn't on duty, but he went down and checked on things a couple of times. A professor and her husband, who is also a counselor here, live on the 3rd floor and were on duty last night so every 5-10 minutes one of them would walk through. The mother hen in me worried a bit about them all being unchaperoned, but Chris said it looked pretty tame. He said most of them were dancing and when someone would come in they would step away from each other. They quit about 10 because they had to check-in and lights out was still 11. Guess the whole experience was good practice for parents of a daughter!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

1st week romance

Apparently the love bug bites hard the first week. Couples are everywhere! We've seen a break up/get back together drama unfold over several days, some that are joined at the hip, and many puppy dog eyes. Are we all so transparent? We went to Bricktown Saturday night and kept running into couples on dates. I guess when you throw a bunch of teenagers together 24/7 something is bound to happen. It's not all roses and sunshine for everyone though. Chris went to the common room Saturday afternoon to read and there were a bunch of girls in one room. Suddenly one of them flew out of the room shouting, "Boys are stupid!" She then realized Chris was there and quickly said, "I didn't mean you Professor Shrock!" and then ran back into the room with a bunch of giggling.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fire Alarm

So last night Elle fell asleep about 8:45. She was down until about 10:00 (when Chris and I were trying to go to bed) and then started fussing every 15 minutes or so. She's teething and stuffy, and I'm sure still adjusting to a new environment, but we haven't had a solid nights sleep since we got here and it's starting to wear on all of us. About this time Mops starts acting weird as well. She get shaking and running back into the living room or to Elle's door. She wouldn't stay in bed or settle down if she was in bed. So for about an hour I'm trying to get Elle to stay in her bed and Chris is dealing with Mops. The kids have mandatory study time from 8 pm to 10 pm and then lights out is 11 pm. A little after lights out ( just as Chris and I had gotten Elle to sleep, gotten Mops back in bed, and laid down) the fire alarm goes off. The alarm is so loud and the strobe lights are so bright! It's like firecrackers going off in the apartment. I immediately ran to Elle's room and picked her up, Chris corrals Mops, and we all run out the back door to the fire escape and out the door. Chris says he has to run in and get some stuff. Later on I realized it was his pants! I'm trying to keep Elle calm and get Mops to come close enough that I can grab her, but at this point the girls start coming out too. Mops is in total panic barking at everyone and I didn't grab my glasses so everything is fuzzy. The girls have to get over by the gate and line up by floor where the "House Mouse" (one of the seniors who has a list of everyone on the floor) takes role. The boys are on the other side of the dorms, which is a good thing since we were all in our pajamas. Chris came back out pretty quickly and grabbed Mops. The police showed up first and then the fire department. The police made the girls line back up for a head count. The boys were missing a couple of people for a while, but I haven't heard as to why yet. Eventually, the firefighters came out and they determined it was a malfunction in the system. (Earlier in the day they had been testing smoke alarms in the dorms, which may have caused a problem.) We came back in at 12:05 and Chris had to go let girls back into their room and make sure everyone was inside. Elle stayed calm throughout the whole thing and actually wound back down pretty quick. Needless to say she ended up sleeping in our bed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movin In, Movin On

We have almost made it through the first week. Chris has been so busy, but he seems to be enjoying it. Sunday night we met the girls on our floor and everyone seems so sweet. So far Mops doesn't really like anybody, but she doesn't bark at the noises anymore. Elle hasn't really warmed up to anyone either, but she does act like she likes it here. Unfortunately, she's not sleeping well yet. Hopefully, it's just cutting teeth and she'll get better soon. I've been trying to unpack, but Elle makes it go really slow. Chris has dorm duty Sunday and Tuesday nights and then two classes each day. He has almost all the juniors and seniors so he's pretty swamped with grading and class prep for now. My sister and her family were here the last two days so we ventured out to the zoo and to an awesome restaurant called Pops! that has really good burgers and 500+ kinds of pop. So far I think the blessings of being here are outweighing the negatives. The lists look like this:

close to family
mops has a huge yard to run around in
elle has a huge yard to run around in
lots of people are glad we're here
cooler weather (yes, i'm saying this about okc)
great zoo
a great place for chris to work
eating in the cafeteria if we want
no rent or utilities
mops can go to work with Chris
we can pop over and see Chris
short commute for Chris
Cheddar bites at Sonic
sprinklers for Elle to play in
Chris and I have our own offices
enough space for all our books

taking Mops out to the bathroom
not enough space for all our stuff
a long walk to the car

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In the beginning...

Today is move in day at the dorms! We peeked out the windows at 8:45 and there was already a line of parents and kids. Probably mostly juniors. Some seemed nervous and others looked excited. I don't know why I'm nervous for them! Elle and I only got to spend a few minutes in the common area before heading to church and now she's sleeping so we'll have to get acquainted at the library later this afternoon when they get their books. We're also going to eat dinner with them and then we'll have a floor meeting later. So far Chris said they are all really sweet and nice. We'll have a floor meeting tonight so we can get to know them a little better. Thus begins our adventure!