Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Mackenzie-isms

Here's a good story about why kids are great:

Mackenzie was coloring today and brought over a page she had been working on. Nichole commented how well she was doing at staying between the lines, and then she said, "When did you grow up so fast?"

Then Mackenzie says, "Don't worry mom, no matter what I will always be your baby, even when I grow up."

Of course Nichole and I did the usual proud parent response of smiling and giving each other the "aren't we lucky?" look. Then Mackenzie pipes in, "I'll be your baby until I'm 100. Then I'll get a boyfriend."

I can only hope she waits that long!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover-Reveal Day

It was a crazy day in Chapman today, as our town size probably tripled (at least) with the "Move That Bus!" day for Extreme Home Makeover. I have a nasty head cold, so I missed out on all of the events, but Nichole was there for most of it.

We got out at 1 p.m. to watch, but the show moved up the events to 11 a.m., so half of the high school students ended up leaving anyway. The actual reveal (much like the entire process) isn't nearly as spontaneous as it looks on the show. They actually filmed the limo shot twice (the first with a fake family!).

The actual "Move That Bus" moment didn't even occur until mid-afternoon, so there were a lot of cold feet by that time! It was worth it, though, because a lot of them will probably be on the show.

After the family went into the house, the crowd was encouraged to go down to the park for a "special show." That show ended up being Gavin Rossdale, and English pop singer who used to be the lead singer for Bush (that's how I remember him). His concert will be part of the 2-hour show.

It was a really neat experience, and from what I've been told it will not be over today. Crews are supposed to stick around for at least another couple of days to finish up loose ends and clean up after themselves. I will be ready to drive to school without having to go a mile out of the way, but it was still worth all of the hassles.

This is a shot from the roof of the neighbor's house (which just happens to be one of my students). It gives you a pretty good idea of how many people were there, although there were a lot more outside of the camera's shot.

A shot from the street


The dad's Fort Riley unit was invited to be part of the festivities.

These are CHS students who were up on the roof watching the action.

Gavin Rossdale performs in front of the community center.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover-Day 6

I know I wrote earlier that we really aren't supposed to film footage of the week, but the film crews weren't around tonight when we went for our walk, so I'm calling it fair game and have included a video.

It shows four of the major projects. There are other smaller projects, and I'm sure there will be others that we won't even be aware of until we watch the show. For example, they made a flower garden at the assisted living complex for a elderly woman who loved to garden and lost her home, and they also are making a sign as you come into town. Supposedly it is going to be a big arch, like in St. Louis. We'll have to wait and see on that.

The major projects are coming along nicely. The house looks REALLY good, as you can see in the photos and video. The projects at the park seem like they are further away, but I'm sure they will come together by the end.

Here's the link to the video. It's about five minutes long.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover-Day 4

Sorry for the lack of photos, but my kids took all of the cameras for the weekend, so I don't have much to post. The photos were taken Friday morning by Nichole, so there's been a lot done since then.

The entire high school student body was filmed at the end of Friday when EHM announced that they were giving $50,000 to help rebuild the school. I don't think I got on TV, but it was very cool to see how the business works. My broadcast students have learned a lot in the past few days about how time-consuming every shot is. We filmed the same shot at the high school five times!

There was another "Braveheart Run" today at 7:30. Unfortunately only people over 21 could go, so we couldn't take the kids. I'm not sure what they're building now, but whatever it is I'm sure it will be appreciated. It will be amazing to see everything they did when it's all over.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover-Day 3

Oh what a difference 24 hours makes! As you can see from the pictures below, it was amazing to see the progress on the house. They will now be working around the clock to make sure it gets finished on time (supposedly they are about 4 hours behind schedule right now, but you wouldn't know it by what they have done).

We found out today that the entire district is getting out of school at 1 p.m. so that everyone can go watch the "move that bus!" moment. I'm glad, because I'm pretty sure they would revolt if they couldn't be there.

Nichole's now famous picture with Ty. This was just after she ran over some kids getting out the door of her classroom to chase him down. He looks happy here, but he was actually in the middle of a shoot.

Nichole with Paige (another designer who is in charge of the Irvine's house)

This is what the lot looked like at 11 p.m. They were just laying the cement.

This is what the lot looked like at 7 p.m. Wow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some clarifications:

1. I AM NOT going to eat lunch with Ty Pennington. Obviously I did not make my sarcasm clear enough, because I had about 10 people tell me they thought I was serious. I only wish I was that important. Nichole, however, did get a photo and a birthday hug only after storming out of her room and running over her kids to catch up to him (while he was in the middle of a shoot I might add). That photo will come later, because she has to get it from her student and frame a 20x30 on our wall.

2. I said I would have video tonight, but the bigwigs said we can't post any video that we take that would be used for the show. Thus, all of the video my kids have gotten (which has been very good, by the way) has to sit in a vault until the show airs, which will be sometime next year. I guess you'll have to settle for pictures.

As for us teachers, we're basically getting nothing accomplished at school. Every 5 minutes somebody gets a text or hears something outside of our trailers, and then all hell breaks loose for the rest of the hour.

Of course it's all worth the hassle. There are hundreds of people here, and it really does seem like our little town has become a big city. There are still projects that are going to be done that I don't know what they are. I guess I'll wake up one morning and know what they are.

The "Braveheart March" begins from main street. They have to film everything multiple times, so this march took place three times.

Fort Riley brought in their band for the show.

Ty leads the crew in. I think he's yelling "I told a hot teacher happy birthday today!"

The crew rolls into town.

We were really happy when our friends, Pat & Diana Irvine, received word that the inside of their house was going to be made over. Here the crew lets them know they are going to get some much needed help.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover-Day 1

Our town is being overrun! The big bus showed up around 2:30 today. It actually drove right past our classrooms, so I was able to get a photographer and videographer out right away. The house they're building is only about a block from the school and a couple blocks from our house, so it will be neat seeing the progress each day. Right now our town looks like an incubator, because there are huge portable lights up everywhere they're working. I'm glad I'm not living next door right now!

The cool thing about the whole deal is that it doesn't sound like they're just going to build one house. A community center of some sorts is going to be built, and there are also going to be individual families get help who had partial damage to their house. Plus, I got my journalism kids onto the building site to follow film crews around, and I will also have my print students heading out to get photos and interviews. They're all really excited for the opportunity (of course there will be NO learning going on this week otherwise).

Photos are below and video will follow tomorrow, but if you want to see KAKE TV cover day 1, go to this website:

If you want to see the website that tells about the project, family and schedule, go here:

This is the limo they drove the family away in.

One of the design members gets interviewed. The kid on the left is one of my editors. He was pretty pumped, and we got some really good footage.

The design team (minus Ty) posed for pictures after the family left. I would let the one on the right design for me any day!

Right after this photo, Ty walked up to me and said, "Hey, aren't you the Journalism teacher at Chapman? I've heard a lot about you!" I said, "Yeah, I'm a kind of a big deal around here." We're going to lunch tomorrow. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover Comes To Chapman

The rumors are finally going to stop flying tomorrow when ABC's Extreme Home Makeover comes to Chapman. I've heard just about every rumor possible as to what they're going to do, but I'll hold off any proclamations until I know them to be facts.

I'm going to try and film each night and then give daily updates here. I don't know how close they will let me get, but I think THE journalism teacher at CHS should get just about whatever he asks for. :)

So check here for updates. Until then, you'll have to settle for this KAKE news story about the show.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nichole's 30th Birthday Bash

I thought I would throw a surprise birthday party for Nichole, but in the end the big snoop had everything figured out before we even left. I guess it didn't help that I left the key information on my dresser!

We started out the night eating with a few friends in Junction City, and then a limo picked us up for a cruise to Manhattan. We ended up in The Tropics, which is a bar in Milford.

Did Nichole have a good time? Yes, and we'll leave it at that. But I'll give her a reprieve this time. Hey, you only turn 30 once, right? :)

Us in the limo

Somehow Nichole officially became the chairman of the "Party Platoon"...

Speaking of games, I have no idea what this one was, but I was smart enough not go get involved!

She got some interesting gifts, including her "drinking glasses." Mackenzie thought those were pretty cool the next day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Horror Story

Here's a recap of our Halloween experience:

1. Nichole stayed home with Jace that day because he was sick, but she really wanted him to go and have fun, so we basically willed him into his outfit (check his eyes in the picture and you can see that he wasn't 100%).

2. After leaving our third house, the Mountaineer wouldn't start. I thought it was the battery, but now I think it's the alternator or starter. Anyway, we had to borrow a car from the place we were at to get home. We also didn't get the car seats out, so we're Britney Spears-ing around town illegally (if it sounds white trash-like, it probably was).

3. We decided to hit up one more place, which was our church. Mackenzie and Jace get their candy, and as they're leaving I accidentally knock the bag out of Mackenzie's hands. So she yells out right in front of our minister and his wife, "Daddy, stop being mean to me or I won't let you take showers with me anymore!" AAAUUUGGGHHH! (By the way, let me make it clear right now that I have never taken a shower with Mackenzie, so I have NO idea where she got the idea to say that). I don't think they heard her say it, but that didn't make it any less embarrassing.

4. After we get home, I find out that I need to get a camera battery to one of my students, so I drive my truck out to give it to her and almost hit a deer.

So yeah, it was a great experience.