Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Shout Out to Vivint and Beyblade

I've probably mentioned this before but the school I teach at in is a very low income area of the valley.  The security company Vivint does sub for Santa for every student in our school.  They spend between $50-75 per student- on EVERY student.  And they do this for about 5 schools across the valley.  From what i hear they encourage their employees to donate and then they match all the donations.  It is quite amazing what this company does.  When I experienced this last year- my first year teaching at this school- I bawled like a baby watching my little kindergarteners sit there wide-eyed as presents were given to them.  Unfortunately some of the kids get a little calloused as they get older and get this every year.  They can start getting picky and entitled saying things like,"This isn't the xbox game I wanted."  But we have some awesome older grade teachers who will just pluck it out of their hands and say, "Well then you don't have to have it."  But luckily I work with the kids who have no idea what is coming so their reaction is pretty genuine. All their presents come in a big red or green garbage-like bags that are decorated with things like snowflakes or Santa.  Then inside the bag all the presents are wrapped.  The employee who buys all the stuff for the student gets to sit in front of the child they buy for and watch them open their presents and make sure it is what they wanted or that it fits.  They work really hard to make sure it all works- I even had some of the volunteers take back clothing that didn't fit and then bring it back a few days later in the right size.  Then after all the presents are put back in the big bag and the kids get to take it back to class.  It is so fun to watch my kinders try to carry their present-laden bags that are as big as them back to class.  They look like little Santa Clauses struggling with their sacks.
How it works is in November we are given half sheets of paper that we have to fill out for each of the students that give info to Vivint- things like their name, gender, favorite color, shoe size, pant size, etc and a space for one need- like gloves or a coat or snowpants and a space for one want- like a toy.  Last year I was filling these out for my students and when I asked one kid what he wanted for Christmas, he told me "cheesesticks." I don't think this was because he had a lack of food in his house.  I think it was because of a language and cognitive barrier and I don't think he completely understood what I was asking him- which was a running theme for him the whole year!  Anyway when I then changed my question to "What kind of toy would you like?" he was able to tell me a more appropriate answer.  But then on the day of Vivint's visit I told one of the volunteers this story because I thought it was so funny and cute.  After we went back to our class, she went to the store and bought this student a bunch of cheesesticks and cookies for the rest of the class.  It really is amazing to see their giving spirit and desire to fulfill their kids wishes.
This year I had another "lost in translation" experience when I was asking another student what he wanted for Christmas.  This student is also still learning English and has a heavy Spanish accent.  When I asked him what kind of toy he wanted for Christmas he said, "Bayblay".  I had him repeat what he said like 5 times and I honestly had no idea what he was saying and it sounded like nonsense to me.  I then had my aide come over and had him tell her what he wanted.  She had no clue either.  So then I thought maybe another student who speaks Spanish could understand him better.  But after he told another Spanish speaking student "Bayblay", that boy just shrugged his shoulders when I asked what he said.  So I then asked the boy what kind of toy it was so I could maybe just describe it on the paper with the hopes that whoever got his paper would somehow divine what it was.  So this is what I wrote on the paper- "Bayblay? He says it is a toy the spins with a cord."  Now if I had a 5 or 6 year old boy I probably would have known right away what he was asking for but I didn't.  But luckily whoever got his paper must have because when I was having the kids each show their favorite toy this kid proudly held up his "Beyblade."  In my mind I thought, "Oh!  That is what a 'Bayblay' is.  That kid knew exactly what he was talking about.  I was the clueless one in this situation!"
One more shout-out to Vivint.  This year along with doing sub for Santa for all the students, Vivint wanted to give each classroom teacher a $300-400 gift for their classroom.  Our principal recommend that if we wanted an IPAD for our classrooms, this would be a good time to get one.  So I got an IPAD for our classroom c/o Vivint.  So long story short- if you are looking for a good home or business security company my recommendation without a doubt is Vivint!

The Adventures of Buddy the Elf.

Our Elf on the Shelf aka- Buddy- has had quite the holiday season answering questions posed by Katie and Suzie.  It got a bit crazy when Buddy had to answer 10 questions in one night.  He left a note that night asking that they ask one question per person per day since it was hard to answer that many questions and still get to and from the North Pole in one night.(Plus you can imagine trying to hold and write with a pencil that is as big as you!)  But since our Elf on a Shelf days may be limited I wanted to record the questions and answers that have been flying back and forth between Buddy and the girls this holiday season.
Katie &Suzie's Questions
Buddy's Answers
What is your favorite sport?
Snowball Fights
Do you know an Elfis Presley?
The real Elvis Presley, because he became an elf, or Sailor's Elf (Katie has a friend named Sailor Presley & the elf had a hunch that Elfis Presley was the name of her family's elf.)
Sailor's Elf. P.S.- How old are you?
I'll tell Elfis the connection. I'm 493 years old.
When is your birthday?
It's a secret!
What is your favorite food?
Candy Canes (Buddy got a candy cane left at his feet the night after he gave this answer!)
What is your favorite sports team?
The Ice Angels- They play baseball up at the North Pole.. P.S.-Thanks for the candy cane! Yummy!
Did you go to elementary school and if so what is it called?
I went to Elfementary school a long time ago.
Do you know an elf named Crinkle?
I know a few Crinkles. Is it the Crinkle of Cincinnati of the Crinkle of Murray.
The Crinkle of Murray and he belongs to Ava Murray and her family.
Oh yeah! Sometimes Crinkle of the Murrays &I get together to have a hot toddy.
How many siblings do you have?
What is your favorite color?
green & red
I was wondering if could tell Santa to leave a present for the bunnies?
Sure. What would they like?
Apples & carrots would be fine.
Who is your BFF and who is his/her owner?
Spandexter and his owners are the Idiarts in Alaska
What kind of cookies and drink does Santa like?
He calls it "The usual"- sugar cookies and milk
Is our family the first one you've been to?
What is your favorite move?
Besides the obvious "Elf"- "Miracle on 34th Street"
Are these the elf food groups- candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup?
How did you know?!?
The following question is from Katie- who lost a tooth about 3 weeks prior and had patiently left her tooth under her pillow anticipating the tooth fairy and the finanical windfall that visit provides.  It stood to reason in her mind that Buddy and the tooth fairy would possibly know each other so she took her complaint about the tooth fairy's negligence to someone who could possibly do something about it.
Do you know the tooth fairy?  If so could you tell her I have a tooth she needs to pick up and I would really love it if she would take it.  Thanks.
I'll see what I can do!  In the tooth Fairy's defense, I think December is a very busy month because of all the candy kids eat this time of year.
(The tooth fairy did make it after Buddy reminded her of the tooth's presence,  She had completely forgotten about it!)
This next question was written to Buddy on the last night before Buddy went back to Santa for good- the 23rd of December.  It shows the innocence of the Elf believers tand it part of the reason why I wanted to document all these Elf questions because it won't be very long before I don't have any believers and that makes me very sad!
Could you tell Santa the bunnies need a drop feeder?
I'll let him know!  See you next Christmas!  Thanks for letting me be your elf!  Be nice to each other!  Love you!
Here are some of the fun places our Elf landed during the Christmas season.

Being part of the nativity

In the holiday wreath

Enjoying a candy cane and story from Santa

Taking a bath after a particularly long day

About 3/4th way through the Christmas season Buddy discovered Barbie and they had a whirlwind romance with him proposing after a short time that even beat Eric & I's four week record from first date to engagement!  I think their courtship was 24 hours.

Here they are enjoying their engagment of 24 hours

Here is their wedding ceremony-notice the Barbie guests, the wedding cake and Buddy's wedding pants & shoes!  How Buddy ever had time to do his Elf duties along with his courtship, engagement, wedding and Honeymoon is beyond me!  He must have had a fabulous wedding planner and since he is an elf and only needs a full forty minutes of sleep each night, somehow he got it all done! 

Off on their honeymoon!

They honeymooned in an exotic location- Finn's stocking!
We forgot to take a picture of the next day but Buddy was sitting on the couch in the dollhouse watching TV with Barbie behind him ironing his wedding pants.  Man, that was a short honeymoon!  Suzie made the observation, "Buddy and Barbie are just like you and Dad with Dad watching TV and you doing all the work."  Out of the mouth of babes...

This was Buddy's last message to us on Christmas Eve before he went back to the North Pole.  He took Barbie with him and we will be interested to see if Barbie comes back next year with a honeymoon baby... We'll see!

And here are our best elf faces from the most ardent elf supporters in our house!