Baby 7 has arrived!!

Alright, so my new cousin's name really isn't Baby 7. But he is grandchild number 7 of the Siscoe's and baby 7 in the hospital, so he already has a nickname. His real name? Collin James Crumrine. We were able to visit Aunt Janna and Uncle Jason in Bloomington today and meet the new half-Siscoe at the ripe age of 2 days!

He did not like us taking his picture with flash so he would open his eyes a tiny bit and furrow his brow as if to say ''Cut it out!''

Austin didn't know what to do with a newborn baby.

I think Kallie was also a little bit intimidated.
Dad's a natural after four of his own :)


Top 25 Things to Do on Christmas Break (in no particular order)

I hadn't finished this blog post yet because I still had photos I wanted to upload, but the Internet wouldn't upload more and also wouldn't save the draft so I could finish it later. So I posted it without finishing it, but now I have finished... I think :). Please see the comments to enjoy my Uncle Jason's numbers 24 and 25 for my list :).

23. Take photos of my unsuspecting Dad.

22. Play fetch with Addy!

21. Help in the kitchen. :)

20. Travel by bus, taxi, plane, train, in that order.

19. See long lost friends!!

18. Admire the Christmas lights.
17. CHEESE!!!

16. Watch my brother Wes´s Christmas videos about Belgium, Germany, and France. http://wes-in-oxford.blogspot.com/

15. Go sledding and get the car stuck in the snow with my other siblings Kallie and Austin.

14. Sleep 12 hours at a time. (Sorry, no photos of this!!)

13. Read new books by the Christmas tree and fireplace... I now recommend The BFG, by Roald Dahl, and Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink.

12. Shop on Amazon.com and actually be at a Stateside address to send purchases. Thanks to Mom and Dad for letting me shop online for my birthday presents :).

11. Talk to Mom.

10. Encourage Kallie and Austing to build snowmen inspired by Calvin and Hobbes comics and then photograph the snowmen at night.

9. Eat as much as I want without worrying how much it costs.

8. Learn Central American geography from the plane window.

7. Warm myself by the fire.

6. Read comics with 3D glasses.

5. Wrap gifts for my family!

4. Enjoy the look on people's faces when they unwrap their Costa Rican coffee :).

3. Hot chocolate and chocolate chips for lunch. It was marvelous.

2. Family traditions, including our first annual pot-banging at midnight on Christmas Eve.

1. Quality time with friends and family!!!


Merry Christmas!!

I´m home!!!! I love the Christmas tree, Christmas lights, the snow, the CHEESE stocked in the fridge, ranch dressing, chocolate chips (all three foods are really expensive in CR because they are imported), and throwing toilet paper in the toilet! lol...

Now could I just order some tropical sun for my weekend dose of Vitamin C?

It´s so good to catch up with friends and family once again. I did nothing but sleep and eat chocolate and talk to Kallie and Austin today... not kidding. Today was my true ''crash'' day, as this whole week was busy with Elgin friends and school visits.

Speaking of school visits, all went well. I am in process of deciding where I will be next year... but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I have a big problem: I am content no matter where I am. I mean, I am in Costa Rica, and I love it there. Then I come to the States, and I love it here (except that the sun is only out for 9 hours... I´ll just have to start fake baking or something -- only half kidding).

Back to the school visits. I was so blessed to speak to several classes and even have a real interview! I spoke to a couple 6th grades, a 5th grade, and a 4th grade, and the teachers of the classes were all huge blessings. One teacher gave me a gift card to a restaurant of my choice, so I took friends Sarah, Christina, and Chris out to Maggiano´s in Schaumburg. We had too much fun ordering and eating to our hearts content. I brought home the leftover calamari, and my 6'2'' growing brother actually refused to eat it! I didn´t think he would ever refuse to eat something :).

I even had a real interview in Spanish and English at an Elgin school! I am really interested in the program the school has called Dual Language. I would teach half day in English and half day in Spanish! I have some endorsement hoops to jump through before I can legally teach in that situation, but I already speak the Spanish, so it´s just a matter of passing the tests.

I am excited to see what God has for me in the future... at this point, it´s wide open.

More Christmas news... My aunt will have her baby soon! Hopefully they decide on a better name than ''Seven''... that´s been the joke all along, but as a teacher, I know how kids would pick that apart. Lol, just kidding, Jason and Janna, but seriously, how about something nicer, like... Kathryn? If it´s a girl, anyway :).

Tomorrow is the annual Christmas shopping spree with Mom!! :) I think I´ll buy something warm... because I'm freezing!!!


Christmas Lights and the Beach

In case I forgot to tell you... Trish and I are toughing out December without Internet (**dramatic gasp** How did anyone ever survive without the Internet????). It's amazing how much simpler it has made life... I mean, I actually get bored in the evenings, until I realized a couple nights ago that I could use that time to paint so the last few nights have been late due to my new painting addiction (what's worse, a painting addiction or a Facebook addiction? At least I have something to show for my painting addiction!).

Life without Internet is also a bit more complicated as I don't have easy access to communication tools like email or my blog. Simplified and complicated all at once... What's a girl to do with life?

Christmas decorations are in full swing here. I forgot about the torquoise and fuchsia garland on every public Christmas tree here, but there it was yesterday at the bank, the grocery store, even in the hallway here at school. It's ironic to me that they also use snowmen and icicle lights to decorate here... when many of them have never experienced snow or the loooooooong cooooooooold winter of the north (or way south for that matter).

I have gone to a beach the last two weekends. I cannot fail on the stereotype that all people living close to the equator are tan. I am also going to another beach this Saturday to complete this self-promise. Plus, I am also just taking in all the Vitamin D I can because there won't be as much in Elgin or Kewanee. My borrowed coats and scarves and hats and gloves will prevent any Vitamin D intake.

(Yes, Mom, I am wearing sunscreen SPF 30 at the beach. I am learning the secrets of wearing sunscreen and getting tan, all at the same time. It's much more comfortable than my past sunburns.)

4th Grade is good. I think the only reason I am so chipper this week is because I know a break is just around the corner. I am excited to do nothing and think nothing about 4th grade for 3 weeks. Well, the thinking part might be hard to start, but at least it won't be required thinking. We have had lots of illness going around, such as bronchitis, head lice, tapeworms, and sore throats. I think the kids are just diagnosing themselves with tapeworms since we talked about it a couple weeks ago in science, but there is one student who really has one and is on medication.

Last week, we discussed what we could do to stop pollution, and one boy pipes up, "Miss Siscoe, I think we should put cars on every street corner and cameras on the dashboards and when the cameras sense someone littering, the car will automatically turn on and run over the person." Am I teaching at a Christian school or something? I couldn't help laughing but when I collected myself I asked him if it was very Christian-ly.

We also had one more dress-up day before the semester ended. The theme: Christmas. I was a Christmas tree in my red shoes, brown pants, green shirt, gold bow in my hair... and don't forget the garland and string of lights wrapped all around my green shirt. I made lots of people laugh when I would pull the plug out of my pocket and plug myself into any nearby socket.

I fly back to the States Monday! See you then!!! :)


Happy Thanksgiving!

This year for Thanksgiving, I headed to the beach :). Sand, sun, waves. Yes! photos to come...

My high school friend Rosie came to visit for the week as well. It has been fun to have her around!

Sorry for the lack of posts. Trish and I moved into our apartment but are holding out on paying for Internet until January.

I am waiting for the bus to San Jose... I think it's here!!!


More Kids Making Me Laugh

''Miss Siscoe, I don't know how to use a Kleenex."
"What do you mean, you don't know how to use a Kleenex?"
"I mean I have never used one properly."
"How do you think you use one properly?"
"I have no clue." (exasperated sigh)

History book says: Children in the 1700s went to a dame school to get a good education.
Student reads: Children in the 1700s went to a damn school to get a good education.

"Miss Siscoe, what is this on my arm???"
"Awwww nooooo." (Student gets about-to-throw-up look on face)
"Run!! Don't get sick in here!" (me thinking I was only kidding, I had no idea what was on his arm)

"Miss Siscoe, have you noticed all the bird poop on our balcony?"
"Well I think I'm going to talk with Mr. Bob" (our principal) "about putting up signs telling the birds where they can and can't go."
"Great idea."

"Miss Siscoe, can we kidnap some more boys for our class so we have more boys than girls?"

"Miss Siscoe, I love you."


Humility Lesson for the Day

Ever dreamed there was a mosquito swarming around your head? And have you dreamed that you are swatting it away but it keeps coming back?

Yup, that happened to me last night. Except I think the mosquito was real and my dream was an interpretation of the attack happening to my face. That's right... my face. As soon as I opened my eyes this morning, I knew something was wrong because my right eye was swollen almost completely shut. I could hardly open it! I looked in the mirror with my other unswollen eye, and there... was my eye. Very swollen.

I asked Trish if a swollen eye was a good enough reason to not go to school and she said no. So off I went to school with my best professional outfit to help me feel more teacher-ly and no makeup to not irritate my eye more.

For about the first hour of school I was able to laugh about the strange looks people were giving me. I explained my situation rather eloquently. I walked around the halls with confidence.

And then about the second hour, I got tired of it. I just wanted to look normal, to have people look at me normally, to not have to explain a million times all the theories on what was going on. By the end of the day I was walking around with my hand over my eye after breaking down in tears when I saw my puffy, red, golf ball size (okay, not really that big... but it sure feels like it!) eye in the bathroom mirror.

Final theory. That mosquito in my dream was real. I have another bite on my left eyebrow, and my right temple and cheek. There are also bites all over my left arm. The mosquito feasted and I... learned humility.

Can we learn something else tomorrow? And can it not involve my face?


Advertising for Photography!!!

I will be in Illinois between December 15th and January 6th, and I am advertising my photography skills as a fundraiser to pay off more of my debt from college loans and save up for future opportunities. I have experience with weddings, senior portraits, and family and child portraits. Looking at this blog will give you an idea of my skills. If you are interested, contact me at kathrynsiscoe@gmail.com, and we will talk about dates, times, and prices!!

Thanks :)


It's official! Trish and I will be moving in together again this Wednesday, and we are getting really excited. I gave a couple gifts to my tico family to show my appreciation...

flowers for Blanca...

and some photos of the family and me!

and then Blanca surprised me Saturday morning with this jar she had painted. It's a Raggedy Anne doll that she renamed Kate...

and here's the gift tag painted on the other side.

AND there was a huge cake waiting for me Saturday morning! This is only half of it after we feasted for breakfast, haha.

and a side angle. This cake is so good, it deserved 2 photos on the blog!! Wow, this family has been good to me. I reminded Blanca I am only moving 2 blocks down the road, and ManRi started laughing at Blanca's exaggerated sad face expression. I am sure I will still see them often even when I don't live with them!


We turned our classroom into a zoo last week with our final projects for our first animal unit. I was blown away by the students' creativity!!!
golden retriever 3D poster
Dolphin aquarium and dead snake in jar

Butterfly garden

Lion hut?

and baby pandas!


Having Too Much Fun ... Again

The Sojourn teachers went all out for Blast from the Past day... We've had lots of dress-up days lately, you've probably noticed, so here we are again!

And the fourth graders all dressed up... We had Al Capone, Cleopatra, a pioneer, mother Mary, Johnny Appleseed, Vikings, and 50s girls... Quite the mix.

me as a Greek, and Trish rocking the 50's housewife look.
and the hair! I put leaves in mine and we put a small tupperward container under Trish's french twist to get it to be a classic beehive. We didn't have enough time to tease it, so we took a shortcut.

and Mariana won the prize for the best-dressed in 4th grade!

And of course, another embarassing moment happened. A tica teacher asked me what my costume was, and I said, ''Soy igriega!!'' which means ''I am a Y!!''... what I meant to say was ''Soy griega!'' (''I am Greek!'') which is way too close to how to say Y in Spanish... Yup, Trish and I had a good laugh about that one...


Recent Thoughts

Ready for the randomness?? Here goes!

I just got back from a pilates class with a real-live instructor!! Ha, I have done pilates in the past, but always to a video. This instructor was hardcore too... telling me to squeeze my butt harder or to point my feet or to straighten my back. Oooo I'm going to hurt tomorrow...

Trish and I have decided it's time to do life a bit more independent again, and we found an apartment that's cheaper than living with our families! It's really nice too... we'll each have our own bedroom and bathroom, and there's plenty of room to host Friday night events :). Photos to come once we've moved in...

We also house-sat and babysat this past weekend, and I am once-again reminded how thankful I am that I am not a mother yet. The 3 year-old woke up and cried for what seemed hours both Friday and Saturday night. Sunday morning in church was a bit rough as we were all (Trish, Lindsay 17 years, and me) nodding off a bit during the sermon... Whoops.

I am feeling much better after my bronchitis episode. Thanks to so many for the encouragment to keep resting... Yes, Mom, you were right that I needed to stay in bed.

Until next time!


4th Graders' Writing Journals

Three times a week, we have a ''10 Minute Writing Frenzy'' when the students write and write until the timer goes off. It's always interesting to see what the students come up with.

Today I saw Lucas seek well... he is a boy bout it doesn't matter he is my friend and when he came to school I was surprised because of his eye and now is 12:56 and were at righting workship and he's writing bout he look like he is really seek and his eye is itching poor Lucas and he said that yesturday he was in a fight and somebody had the purpose to kick his eye really really really poor Lucas and today I feel bad for him bout I know that if I put a prayer request on the tree of pray request that Lucas is seek and that he feels bad Jesus will help his eye and his body to feel well and thats why I want and at recess I want to see Lucas on Monday run and jump and scream and because I say Lucas is my friend and when one friend of mine feels bad I need to help him and that is what Im going to do.

My nicest dream was to go to Italy and visit the leaning tower of pizza and go to get inside it and visit Venecia and build my own hot dog shop right there.

''Do you want to visit Tasty World?'' the boy asked me and of course I said yes. So we saild. When suddenly the water turned chocolat milk and all other icecream flavors. So I took a jar and got some tasty water. Then we got to land. The clouds were cotton candy and the house were made of chocolat andd yumy candys. Every thing in that world was candy and things your parents don't whant you to eat.

Today I had fun. I got to dress up like a G.i. Joe. I wish the G.i. Joes were real. it would be cool. today I learned about how a farmer compare to God's job in chapel. I realy like pumpkin seeds. there fun to eat when there fried. infact, I wish my mom could cook some but we can't grow them hear.

Character Day

Last Friday, we could dress up as our favorite book, movie, or TV character. As Trish and I were discussing how to dress, we impulsively decided to dye her hair to fit in with her Princess Jasmine costume. She had been wanting to do dye it for a long time, so it came as a good excuse. Here we are as Princess Jasmine and Sherlock (or Shirley, if you will :)) Holmes.

4th grade also had ''visitors'' (aka my students) Rapunzel, King Peter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Molly the American Girl Doll, Pokemon Trainer, Spiderwoman, Jessie the cowgirl, Jo from Little Women, a GI JOE, one of the three musketeers, and Violet from the Incredibles. Too much fun!!


Shout Outs

It's about time for a few shout outs here, so here goes!

Thanks to Joann Blum for another of her amazing packages. This time I ate Skittles and read two of the books she sent while laying in bed recuperating from bronchitis. Thanks, Joann, the package arrived just in time!

Thanks to Grandma Siscoe for photos from Aunt Janna's baby shower. A tiny shout out to the new little Siscoe cousin too!!

Thanks to Danette Cooper for substituting for me today. I appreciate it so much!

And of course, thanks to Mom, who talked on the phone with her bed-ridden daughter almost 2 hours today! Thanks Mom for being the entertainment committee, ha!

The Bronchial Tubes Need More Air!


Humble confession.

I'm not always the best at self-diagnosing. My mom has known this my whole life as I used to insist that my stomach ache was from something she fed me... not gas bubbles rumbling around. Or I would be convinced my body simply wasn't hungry, that I would never need to eat again, and I would continue with my creative expeditions in my room (or whatever I was doing) until finally I crawled downstairs, exhausted from no fuel to keep my creativity flowing. Mom was always right... yes, it was gas and yes, I was hungry.

So here I am, a grown woman. I have now learned to diagnose when it's gas bubbles and when I am hungry because I forgot to eat, but new puzzles about my well-being have dawned on the horizon. For example, I am just out-of-breath after walking up the stairs because I haven't worked out in a week, right? Or maybe it's just the San José altitude affecting me again out of nowhere. And maybe the reason I can't sing at church is because I didn't eat very much so now I just don't have very much energy. And maybe the reason I'm coughing up green stuff is just from the cold I had last week... right? And I'm just so exhausted and weak because I've been trying to do too much extra stuff after school... right?


Last year my bronchitis diagnosis came after a neighbor told me to go to the doctor because my coughing was keeping her up at night. This year, the diagnosis came after Blanca told me we should go to the doctor because I felt feverish.

So off we went yesterday to the doctor. Yes, fever. Yes, junk in lungs. Yes, medications.

And then today I took the day off. Is it bad to admit that a day off to do nothing but sleep is actually quite heavenly?? :)

So next time I have bronchitis, I know the symptoms. Quick loss of breath. Cough with the lovely green. Pressure on my chest and upper back. Not being able to sing. And an impending emotional breakdown (right Mom? :)).

Give me a week or so and hopefully I'll be back to my usual creative nonsense.


Classroom Technology

If I were teaching in the States... I would have a telephone in my room. I might have one, if not two, computers. Maybe there would be a television bolted to the wall, or at least one on wheels for my hallway of teachers to share. I would definitely have an overhead, and if the school is researching new forms of technology, I might even have an Elmo (like an overhead, but a computer projector). From what I hear, Smartboards are also the new thing for technology-smart learning environments.

But I'm not teaching in the States. I'm teaching in a 12' by 19' classroom with an 8.5' ceiling. I have 2 whiteboards, about 15 dry-erase markers, 2 lightbulbs, 2 fans, and a huge pile of construction paper. That's about as high-tech as we get here.

We do have 5 computers in the library to use... and my new technology adventure is to take the kids on a YouTube fieldtrip. We'll be traveling to France on Friday. Anyone want to join? :)

I think I'm doing the best with what I have here. I also know that when I return to the States, I will have a serious technology culture shock when my students know more about how to work a Smartboard than I do!!

What Do You Say When...?

Any advice on how to respond to these questions?

''Miss Siscoe, what happens if a dog and a cat have a baby together?''

''Miss Siscoe, do you feel as bad as you look today?''

''Miss Siscoe, is it alright if I plan a class field trip to Europe?''

Recent Art

marker and colored pencil, for a recycling mural contest at the school. The contest was really for K-12 students, but as soon as my students saw me drawing, they were inspired to design a mural too! This morning, the judges announced the final winners... 2 of my 4th graders! :)

acrylics, for Trish's birthday. Translated: They will be called oaks of justice, planted by the Lord to show His glory. Isaiah 61:3. Trish loved it!! :)


Tricia's Golden Birthday

So yesterday, Trish turned 24 on the 24th. Fantastic. I had been planning for over 2 weeks how to help her celebrate, and this is how it went down.

When Trish arrived at my house, I told her the party would be at the Nesbitt's house (our school directors), so we started walking in that direction. On the way we conveniently ran into our friend Eddie, and he gave her a gold necklace. I conveniently remembered that I had to pick up a gift from the Jones family, so we stopped by, where Meredith gave Trish a gold necklace. We arrived at the Nesbitt's home finally, where Barb gave Trish HUGE gold hoop earrings. Here's the first look at her golden outfit.

She still didn't know what all the gold gifts meant... and Barb had conveniently told us she couldn't hostess the party and that she had called Peggy, who had agreed to host... We got to Peggy's, who gave Trish a tiarra.. silver, not gold... and told us that the party was now moved to Medrano's house. The ''hunt'' proceeded like this for another 3 houses...

Trish and Peggy on the walk... Trish rocking her accessories.
A Sojourn high school student and his 3 year old brother sang ''Happy Birthday!'' to Trish when we passed them on Calle Bosque.

Then we made it to Sondra's house, who did gold makeup for Trish. I also gave Trish the rest of her outfit -- a gold halter-top dress and brown baggy pants that I had found at a thrift store in downtown San José and had sewn sequins on for perfection.

I told Trish, ''Your clothes are in this bag... yes, this small bag.''

Makeup with Sondra.

Getting Her Goldness ready for the real festivities.

Trish modeling ... Dad, this truck reminded me of yours!

at the real party house :)

Medrano, Trish, Matt

Courtney putting the finishing touch on Trish's outfit.... gold nail polish!

Peggy made her deliiiiiciouuuuus guacamole .

We played a game like Pin the Tail on the Donkey... except it was Pin the Gold on the Gangster. Each person had a small square of gold colored foil to make a gold item that a gangster might wear or have. Eddie here made a pimp goblet...

Erin with her nose ring and Andrew with his gold grill.

Here's the poor gangster poster with all our goldness pinned to it...

Funfetti cake... her favorite! Many thanks to Trish's mom for sending the mix :)

And Peggy danced the night away... I think she's warming up for her wedding next summer!!! :)

So that's it. . . and I win the best friend award for putting all this together!!