Sunday, December 30, 2007

For Ada

  • Dougherty?
  • lightening bugs
  • "Let me tell you a little story about a man named Jed..."
  • pink stuff
  • smoking game hens
  • old Christmas tape
  • counting cars on the porch
  • naps on mom's couch
  • phone calls to laugh
  • phone calls to cry
  • cross country road trips
  • cowboys and indians (You get the honey bottle!)
  • days at the beach
  • handstand scores
  • family dinners
  • years together
  • years ahead
  • I love you.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Belated

I totally missed my one year anniversary of blogging. I thought that it was during Christmas break last year that I sat down one day and created this little blog of mine. So yesterday I went back in my archives to see just when it was. And guess what? It was November 4th. So it went by without even a mention.

I can remember that day, though. I was in the midst of a severe, long lasting panic attack. It was a Saturday and my husband was teaching his NIC class and so I was home alone with the boys. That's when my anxiety was the worst. When I thought that I was going to die and there would be no one to find me but Josh and Adam. The only way I could make it through those long days was to try to distract myself from the pain in my chest and the thoughts in my head. I had been thinking about blogging for a while and when I ran out of other diversions I went to blogspot and created "A Butterfly Moment." A butterfly moment is a moment of perfect peace. A moment when everything goes away except the beauty and joy of life. And that is so what I longed for at that time in my life.

Since then, my life has changed so much. I went from that darkness and despair to worse and then finally to help and healing. I gave it to God and with his guidance, which included counseling and medication, I am better. Oh, so much better. Not a day goes by that I don't thank the Lord for my life and my sanity...for him giving me the strength and health to get out of bed in the morning able to take care of myself and my family...for that peace that I couldn't quite reach during those days of darkness.

My blog helped me then. It helped take my mind off my worries. It gave me an outlet for my thoughts. It allowed me write. It was there for me through one of the toughest parts of my life so far. And so were all of you. All of you who stop by and read my ramblings. Those of you whose comments have given me strength and encouragement without even knowing it.

So thank you for being a part of my life for the past year. It's been a blessing and I hope it continues to be for a little while longer.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Christmas Vacation

10. No lessons to plan or papers to grade or students to discipline.
9. Holiday festivities with family.
8. Giving gifts.
7. Cookie trays.
6. New pjs on Christmas Eve.
5. Wearing those pjs all day long.
4. New music (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Bon Jovi, Hairspray) and movies (Ocean's 11&12, Mary Poppins, 13 Going On 30, Hairspray).
3. Not having to set the clock or make lunches.
2. Naps.
1. Time spent with my family without any time schedule.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Decking In The Halls (Almost)

Last night was our school's Christmas program. And I almost started a riot.

First I should explain that since I am the only teacher who can read music, I am officially the music teacher. That's how it works at Christian schools. And that's fine with me. I actually enjoy it. So since Thanksgiving I have had 20 minutes a day to teach 50 kids, ages 4 to 10, their songs for the Christmas program. We learned "Here We Come A-Caroling," "Deck The Halls," "Jingle Bells," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "We Three Kings," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." You would be surprised how quickly kids learn the words to songs. Even the four year olds knew to sing "traverse a far" instead of "travel so far" in "We Three Kings." And they sounded pretty good, too. But I learned from years of doing this, that how they sound doesn't really matter. As soon as they walk on stage in their shiny dresses and new sweaters, the parents are happy. We could sing "Old MacDonald" and they wouldn't care. They just love to see their little angels on stage looking for them and smiling and waving and singing their little hearts out. And I've learned that most groups of kids, unless being directed by a professional with many hours of practice, aren't going to sing like the angels they look like.

So here's where the story begins. At approximately 7:48pm the program was over and my students had been collected by their parents. So I headed upstairs to join in the fellowship and cookies. I saw one of my parents and she asked me if it was okay if she took her family down to see the classroom. Of course it was. That's why I bribed the kids to clean it yesterday afternoon. So she headed down, but the grandma lingered behind. So I'm standing in a full foyer of happy parents when this grandma comes over and asks me if we have a piano in the building. I felt the tension right away and thought maybe it was going to be about the fact that we are a non-instrumental church. I told her no, we don't have a piano. "You don't have a piano anywhere in this building?" she repeated. "Umm, no." "Well," she says, "Your kids were singing flat the whole time and if you had a piano they would able to stay on key." I tried to walk away. Really I did. But this close talker got even closer. (Did I mention that in the beginning I was just trying to get out of the crowd. I get a little nervous when I feel cornered.) She continued, "I'm a music teacher and I could help." "No thank you," I said politely still trying to walk away. "Really?" she asks still getting closer. I was thinking to myself, "Who goes up to the director of elementary age students five minutes after the program and criticizes their performance?" "Not tonight. Don't do this tonight. Please stop talking to me. If you want to talk about this, come to the school tomorrow and I'll talk to you," I pleaded. Still closer. Still following. "Please get away from me." Still closer. Still following. I'm not sure what she was saying because I was actually in the beginning of an anxiety attack.

Now here you must know that I could see my dad over her shoulder watching this whole thing not knowing what was going on but seeing the panicked look on my face and this strange woman harassing me. My very overprotective dad with the quick Irish temper, by the way.

So he walked over and got between us and I'm not sure what he said to her because it gave me a chance to get away. My sister who was also watching all of this and knowing dad, got between the woman and dad. But then her husband came over and got in my dad's face. Bad move. So I hurried back over and literally screamed for my dad to get away from them and not make it worse. She still stood there like she wanted to say more to me even after seeing how upset I was. Finally they went downstairs and I looked around. There was this circle of people who loved me there ready for anything. I'm not kidding. My family and friends, including in-laws and ex-laws, were there not really knowing what was going on but they had my back. Kathy even commented later that that lady didn't know who she was messing with. True. Very true. It was like a scene from "West Side Story." Only with grandparents and Christian school teachers.

Meanwhile, the foyer is still full of parents thinking who knows what with me screaming and crying and a fight almost breaking out.

Here's what I have to say for myself and the possible slight over reaction. I still had a little bit of adrenaline running through me from the performance. I was sooo glad that the whole thing was over. For me it was like vacation had just started. And I'm pregnant and therefore more emotional than normal. And I'm a little freaked out by confrontation, strangers, large crowds, and close talkers. Put all of these together with someone criticizing MY kids, and there's going to be some screaming and crying. And frankly I'm glad that dirty looks was all it turned out to be. And that I was the only one who had to scream and cry.

I do also want to say that after thinking about it, I'm sure this lady was trying to be helpful. But it wasn't helpful. She ruined for me what was supposed to be a wonderful night for my family. And was, too, until she decided to give her two cents. I know the kids sang flat. And maybe a piano would help. But out of 200+ people who sat in the audience last night only one worried about four year olds singing on key.

And I wish she would have just gone home and blogged about it instead of telling me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Countdown

Let me just say that there are 3 more days until Christmas vacation.

Tomorrow is Josh and Adam's class party so I should actually be preparing snacks* and wrapping their teacher's gift.

Thursday is the Christmas program which I am directing half of, so I have two more days to get four year olds to sit still and sing without doing something embarrassing in front of all the parents. (Actually, I hope at least a few do something embarrassing. Parents love that.)

Friday is the kindergarten class party. One word--CHAOS.

Saturday is vacation. Sweet, sweet vacation!

*Josh was chosen to bring a veggie snack to the party. He wasn't thrilled with that, so I got out my "Kid's Cookbook" to find something that he might be happy to take. He decided that we should make veggie bobbers. You cut a cherry tomato in half, put a slice of cucumber between the two halves, and hold it together with a skinny carrot stick. It looks just like the bobbers in his tackle box. He is now excited to take the veggie snack.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Milestones

I remember the day Josh was born. He had this long, dark hair that stuck out every which way and this perfect little nose and long fingers. He was so beautiful and sweet and miraculous. And I knew that day, that my heart was no longer my own.

Since then, he has grown and changed and become this little person that I've known forever and yet learn more about every day. And since the day he was born, he has hit all the milestones that children should. I have a picture of the first time he really smiled. I can see as clear as day the morning he stuck my finger in his mouth to let me know about his first tooth. I remember his first word, his first step, the first time he waved and laughed and said, "no." I remember his first day of school and the first time he read to me and the day that first tooth fell out. There have been so many firsts with him as my first child. Not only for him but for me, too.

And last night we reached another milestone. He spent the night at a friend's house. When the mom asked me, I have to admit that I was hesitant. I am just a little bit of a control freak and like to keep a pretty close eye on things. I've known this mom and her two boys for a few years now. They go to our school and the youngest was in my kindergarten class two years ago. So I decided to ask Josh if he would even want to spend the night at their house. I was secretly hoping he would say no so that I wouldn't have to decide. But he said a very enthusiastic "yes." So I talked to Arrty and we decided that it would be okay. We packed his bag and dug his sleeping bag out of the closet. He was to be picked up after school so that gave him the school day to think about it. At lunch when he came into my classroom, I asked him if he was still okay with the plans. He said, "Mom, I'm not going to change my mind." I guess he knows me as well as I know him. So after school, he got his stuff out of our car and loaded into his friend's car and almost left without even saying goodbye.

Before I headed home after a few hours of shopping, I called to check on him. The mom said he was doing great. She told me that when they got in the car to leave he was talking and laughing and when she asked him if he was excited, he said, "I'm so excited I'm shaking." When I talked to him he said that their new house was really cool, and that they had lots of video games and a new dog. And, no, he didn't want me to come get him. (I had to try, you know.)

So I went home with only one child, who was extremely spoiled on the shopping trip and got to stay up late, by the way. I only had to make sure one set of teeth was brushed and pull up the covers over one little boy. And so far this morning there has been no fighting over what to watch on t.v. or what games to play.

But as much as I have enjoyed the time with Adam and the quiet of one child, I have to say that I am counting the hours until I go to get Josh. And I promise to try not to embarrass him with all the hugging and crying.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Show and Tell Day

*a care bear wearing a diaper (which is apparently hilarious when you're 5)
*two stuffed doggies (Spot and her mom Snow, who is brown)
*a mickey mouse purse complete with library card and a story about the new CDA library and the books and movies that C. checked out
*"little human" action figures and their boat and a big boat that they can go in
*a black dog named Zero (He's a little round dog with almost no legs, hence the name.) He was the best behaved pet I have ever had visit for show and tell. He sat there and let all the kids pet him and hug him.
*a calculator--"This is the numbers and this is the screen and that's all."
*a Kenny Chesney cd with M.'s favorite song called "the very beginning song" And M. is going to marry Kenny some day. I hope I get invited to the wedding and that it's on that island that he owns!
*a stuffed something (horse, I think) with a bottle and a diaper (more hilarity)
*a Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium blimp from Wendy's which was the second best thing from Wendy's that day right after the Frosty.
*a dolly named Sally that "does this little thing" (she rattles), has Osh Kosh clothes, purple things in her hair, yarn for hair, piggy tails, brown eyes, a little tiny pink smile, a bow tied around her neck, who almost got lost two times last night but she was under L.'s pillow (I have to give L. a time limit. She especially likes the "tell" part of show and tell.)
*necklaces that A. made with special beads
*a game where you "try not to run into these little bell things"
*two remote control robots--a "big guy" and a "little guy"--that can walk forward and backward, talk, dance, sing, and hold things. Oh yeah. T. made them. Not bad for a 5 year old. And he sells them at Target, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Did You Know...

...that kindergarteners who pick their noses are the ones who are most bothered when others do the same thing?

...that sentences start with a capital and end with a "pyramid?"

...that if you tell five year olds to make a straight line when writing an "I" and then you don't, they will tell you every time?

...that seventh graders would rather do anything than multiply measurements...or multiply anything for that matter?

...that seventh graders will do pretty much anything for food, especially candy or fries?

...that "quiet" means two different things to the teacher and the students?

...that if you teach "Jingle Bells" to children, second and third grade boys will always teach them all the "Batman smells" version?

...that "Feliz Navidad" can also be sung "Police Mommy Dot?"

...that you should always try kindness first?

...that Christmas comes faster when your shopping isn't finished?

...that the kid who is sick and has to stay home doesn't want to, but the kid who is perfectly healthy would stay home in a second?

...that each day is full blessings with a few challenges mixed in?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some things to be happy about today.

*old home videos
*shooting a whole roll of film
*hiding presents
*good news in the headlines
*a red cardinal at the bird feeder
*making Christmas cookies
*inviting your spouse to lunch
*grown-ups who still go sledding

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Leftovers

Josh: "Mom, do you have ice cream to make shakes tonight?"

Me: "Yes, we have ice cream, but we made shakes last night and we're not going to have shakes two nights in a row."

Adam: "But we had turkey 8 days in a row!"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Today's Show and Tell

  • toy cell phone so C. can text her sisters
  • sticky tack (You know, that blue stuff that teacher's put posters up with.)
  • miniature air hockey game
  • stuffed horse that is "cuddly and soft"
  • another toy cell phone
  • two spider man action figures--one with a glider and one with a motorcycle
  • little yellow unicorn (actually it's a pegasus)
  • nothing to show, but this to tell, "A preying mantis is kind of like a cricket except it doesn't make noise."
  • a stuffed kitty that meows when you rub her back (along with a 5 minute presentation on when she was lost, how she was found, and how L. convinced her sister to let her bring her for show and tell)
  • a coin* that turns into a hand when you drop it into the lake (actually a nickel)
  • a stuffed dog puppet that barks "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
  • a reading book (a teacher's favorite show and tell!)

*said coin was on the table when we started but somehow disappeared. I offered up a reward for the missing coin which sent my whole class into detective mode. It suspiciously appeared in the toy cupboard far away from where it started. I think it found it's way into a pocket and then into the toy cupboard so that the perpetrator could avoid being caught red handed. If you ever need to know, when a teacher offers a reward for something lost, they are watching to see which pocket the lost item appears in.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fitting

Throw one little fit, and your co-workers think you are losing your mind. Or could at any moment.

That's what happened yesterday. As you know, my kindergarten class this year is challenging, to say the least. So on the way to school yesterday I was thinking about what I needed to do to regain control over my class. And whining to myself a little about how I have the biggest class and the most difficult students. So when my administrator announced in front of everyone that I might be getting a new student, I pretty much said, "No." No, I don't want a new student. My class is enough to handle and throwing a new student in three weeks before Christmas would put me right over the edge. I don't care how well behaved and smart he is. I'm already one student over my limit so, no, I don't want another student. And I said so. In front of everyone. With a few tears thrown in for good measure. (I'm blaming pregnancy hormones.)

So since then the other teachers have been stopping by my room to check on me and volunteering their rooms for troublemakers to sit in for a while. And probably checking to see that I haven't run screaming from the building leaving 13 poor five year olds to teach themselves that "a says a as in apple." Kathy, friend that she is, even offered to switch classes with me for the day. And she gave me a huge Toblerone bar today for a little extra encouragement. This would all be fine, except I was embarrassed enough as it was and then felt like a big baby. And I hate being babied.

Today was better. No tears (yet). And the class hasn't been quite as tough as usual. Maybe they sense the danger. And I didn't get babied quite so much. So all in all, I just might be able to make it through the next two weeks until Christmas vacation. And as big as the candy bar is, it might just last until then, too!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mmm...Pineapple

I love fresh pineapple. And pineapple juice and pineapple chunks. And ham and pineapple pizza. And pineapple upside down cake. And I especially love the pineapple express. This wonderful gift from God that has miraculously appeared the last few days has melted over a foot of snow from my driveway and yard, has cleared all the ice from the roads that I have to drive, and has allowed me to throw my big down coat in the backseat of the van. It was 50 degrees when I was driving home today. It's like a reprieve from winter and I love it.

I know it won't last. I know the snow will come again and the coat will have to be worn. But for now, I am so enjoying a little warmth. A few more days and I just may be able to stand the rest of winter.

Monday, December 03, 2007

So Worth It

Guess what? I won a prize from nablopomo! I hardly ever win anything so it's quite exciting. I won a $40 gift card to iTunes from elizasmom. But can someone explain just what I do with a gift card to iTunes? Do I have to download music to an ipod or something? If that's the case, I know what I'm asking Santa for.

And if I didn't think so before, blogging for 30 days straight was so worth it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Habits

They say that if you do something for 21 days straight, it becomes a habit. If that's true, then I have a habit of blogging everyday since I have officially blogged for 30 days straight. I started the month with the intention to blog everyday, but had decided that if I didn't, that was okay, too.

A lot has happened this month and I'm glad that I have just a little of it written down to help me remember. Some of my blogs were serious and some silly. Some long and some short. Some well written, some not so much. But they are what they are. A snapshot of a month in the life (and mind) of me. The ups and downs. Work and play. Just life.

So I hope those of you who stop by have enjoyed reading a new blog everyday for a month. I'll try to blog often but no promises about everyday. At least until next November.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Counting

I watched "White Christmas" for the first time last weekend. I love when Bing Crosby sings the song about counting your blessings instead of sheep to fall asleep. It's not time to sleep yet (although I could go for a nap), but today is one of those days when I need to count my blessings. So here are a few that I feel most blessed by today.

1. my family is healthy...and happy
2. I have a job that I love (most days)
3. I have people in my life who really care about me
4. I have very good snow tires on my car
5. my husband does the outside stuff in winter
6. I can get up everyday and care for my family and myself
7. I have hope for today and forever

See, I already feel better. It works every time. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That Darn Barometer

Today I had to deal with 14 snow-hyped kindergarteners with 14 pairs of snowpants, 28 gloves, 14 zippers, and 28 snow boots (and three little girls with the exact same boots in sizes 9, 10, and 11). After recess, the hall outside my classroom looked like the kid's department at Target exploded. Said kindergarteners also got in trouble for throwing snow balls, not lining up when the whistle blew, and pinching. (Okay, only one got in trouble for pinching.) They also decided that they no longer have to raise their hands to speak in class and can eat candy whenever they want. (Okay, there was only one with the candy. Pockets full and pockets full of candy.) And apparently none of the rules of standing in line apply once there is snow on the ground.

I haven't figured it out, even after 11 years of teaching, why snow on the ground outside somehow changes everything inside the building, too. It must be something with the barometric pressure. But if you know how to stop it, please, please let me know.

And people wonder why I pray for no snow until Christmas break.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

August

The post a few days ago about music actually started out to be about the movie "August Rush," but it became it's own post. So here's the post about the movie. The first time I saw the preview for "August Rush," I knew that it was a movie that I would love. When the preview makes me cry, I know the movie has got to be good. And it was. I laughed and cried and cheered for August.

The movie is about an eleven year old boy who has been separated from his parents since birth. He is played by the amazing Freddie Highmore. From the opening scene when this boy is standing in a field of tall grass directing the orchestra he was hearing in the nature around him, I loved him. August turns out to be a sweet, brilliant child and before long I wanted to adopt him myself.

He ends up going out into the world looking for his lost parents because he can hear their music and thinks that if he makes music too, they will be able to hear him and find him. He has adventure after adventure searching for his parents. And finds out a lot about himself and the world on the way.

But the best part of the movie is the music. The music from instruments. The music from the world. The music from everything. August sees the world with his ears. And throughout the movie, that's how I saw it, too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today's Cliches

1. The pregnant woman was craving dill pickles and went searching the school kitchen for a jar of said snacks. None were to be found. (Well, there were dill slices, but that just wouldn't do.)

2. Adam lost a tooth at lunch while eating an apple. (Then he lost another at 2:00 recess. Yes, two in one day. I think that deserves a tooth fairy bonus!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just A Note

If you know me at all or have read my blog very often, you know that I love music. I love to sing. I love to listen. I love rock and gospel and country and jazz and classical. I love that my boys love music. I love that my husband knows all the lyrics, artists and titles to pretty much any song recorded in the 80's. I love to sing in the car and have often gotten funny looks from those stopped beside me at stoplights because I will sing my heart out if it's the right song. I have sung to my children their entire lives and would make up lullabies for them in the middle of those long nights of infanthood. We sing before bed. We sing while we do chores. We sing together at church. Music has always been a part of my life.

You know how they say smells bring back memories. For me it's music. If I hear old gospel music, it reminds me of my grandpa who was always singing and playing records of southern gospel groups. And of Sunday mornings when I was a teenager and my dad would play gospel songs on the record player while we got ready for church. If I hear "Santa Baby" and "Thistlehair the Christmas Bear" I think of my sister and how we sat one day and recorded Christmas songs off the radio and how we have listened to that tape every year since then. If I hear "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel, it reminds me of the last high school choir concert of my sophomore year. I had just found out that I had made jazz choir for the following year and was so excited to be a part of the group that was singing that song. And if I hear "Mack the Knife" or "Good Day Sunshine" I remember those early morning choir classes and the fun we had performing. When I hear "When I'm With You" I remember falling in love with my husband and how that totally awesome 80's song was our song. If I hear "Open My Eyes" I think of my wedding day and how the hot candle wax dripped on my thumb during the candle lighting and Arrty told me that it would be okay. And I knew that it would be. If I hear "Cowboy Take Me Away" I think of Josh as a baby and how I would sing that song to him as I held him in my arms and danced around the living room. And how I did the same with Adam when I heard the song "Wrapped Up In You." When I hear "Here I Am To Worship" I think of the Saturday when I attended Women Of Faith and cried because it was five days after my car accident and I was truly glad to be there to worship.

I've learned that I can't sing when I'm depressed. And that I sing louder when I'm especially happy. I've learned that music can say things that I just don't have the right words for. I've learned that music can calm a crying child and bring laughter to the whole family. I've learned that music can bring people together like nothing else.

And I've learned that no matter where I am and what's happening in my life, music will be a part of it. Even if it's only in my heart.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bon Voyage

My sister and her Adam are on their honeymoon. Yes, they got married last summer but decided to wait until now to cruise the Mexican Riviera. Which sounds like a great idea to me considering it's below freezing at my house right now. But it made me think about traveling and some of the places that I would like to go. Here are a few:

Ireland--I've long been fascinated by Ireland. Maybe it was all those historical romance novels that I read back in the day that were set in some ancient castle with a strong, handsome lord who was just charming enough to win the fair maiden. Or maybe it's because when my ancestors came to this country their last name started with O'. Either way, any time I think of travel, Ireland is the first place that comes to mind.

Hawaii--I mostly just want to go to Hawaii just to say I've been there. And it looks so beautiful on TV. Plus, I love a good beach.

Zoo tour--I would love to take my family on a road trip around the country to visit all the great zoos and aquariums. Our family loves animals and I've always thought it would be fun to just spend several weeks seeing the country and visiting the zoos. The tricky part would be going at just the right time when the kids are old enough to enjoy it but not so old that they whine about being in a car with mom and dad for weeks. This will be especially tricky with the newby.

Bible lands--This trip is a little worrisome because of the unrest in that part of the world, but if it's ever safe, I would love to visit the places mentioned in the Bible. How cool would it be to walk where Jesus walked and see the seas and mountains that he saw? There's also a zoo in Jerusalem that has all the animals that are named in the Bible. Except maybe the leviathan.

Africa--You know when you watch those nature shows with African safaris and there are trucks driving around and all of a sudden they see a herd of elephants or zebras or giraffes? That would be so fun. I would love to go just for the pictures I'd come home with.

Washington, D.C.--The history in this city would be amazing to a history buff like me. To see the artwork and writings from the beginning of our country would be amazing. The Smithsonian would be my first stop. I'm sure I could spend days and days just wandering around looking at old, dusty documents.

This is a short list as I'm sure that there are many more places I'd love to see. But this is a good start for whenever I find the time and money.

Friday, November 23, 2007

And So It Was

Some of the best parts of Thanksgiving (in no particular order):

1. laughing
2. snackies
3. pictionary and buzz word
4. Ada's yummy mashed potatoes and gravy
5. mom's dressing
6. family, including new brother in law's family and an old family friend
7. taking pictures
8. sunshine
9. the smells of a feast
10. my boys saying that they are most thankful for good parents and family and friends

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. It's not because of the parades or the football games or even the turkey dinner. It's because I know that I get to spend the day laughing and sharing with my favorite people. I know that when I walk into mom's warm, welcoming house this afternoon I will be hugged by those people and surrounded by the familiar smells of so many Thanksgivings before. I love tradition. And Thanksgiving is one of our most traditional holidays. I know that there will be story telling. I know that there will be laughter. I know that there will be two kinds of turkey (roasted and smoked) and mom's yummy dressing and pea salad and pumpkin pie. I know that dad will cut the turkey with the electric knife that they've had forever and that Arrty will stand ready to catch any pieces that fall onto the counter. I know that the boys will be excited and have to be told to settle down at least twice. I know that I will set the table and everyone will help in their own way. I know that the food will be delicious and that I will have seconds of mashed potatoes and gravy. I know that after dinner, we will sit down and look at the ads for tomorrow's big sales whether we intend to go shopping or not. I know that today is the day that the Christmas wish list goes up on mom's fridge for everyone to make their list.

And I know, without a doubt, that I will leave after several hours of this wonderfulness, with a full tummy and a full heart.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Picture Day

Today was picture day for our family. We had an appointment at Sears for the boys first thing this morning. They did great and we ended up with some super cute pictures of them together and individually. I did find out one thing, though. Adam's eyes almost close when he smiles---just like mine. :)

The lady that took their pictures has been there since the first time we took Josh for pictures 8 years ago. She recognizes me when I go in and today specifically assigned the other girl to the other family that was there so that she could take the boys' pictures. I thought that was pretty cool until she confessed that she took them because the other family had a baby and she knew the boys would be easier. Whatever. She takes the best pictures anyway.

Also she always tries to sell me the $200 package when I go in intending to spend $75. Every once in a while she gets me to buy the extras, but today I did well. I only bought a few extra sheets at $2.99 each because they were such great pictures at such a great price. And it's so hard not to buy pictures of your kids when they're right there looking so adorable.

After that we had a doctor's appointment for an ultrasound. I was a little apprehensive just because you never really know what's going on in there. The whole family got to go into the room and the lady explained that she was just going take some measurements to get an accurate due date. They apparently like to do that for repeat c-sections and now is the best time to measure. So she squirted some stuff on my tummy and started. Within seconds, there it was. A tiny, little 2 inch baby. My baby. Growing inside me. The boys were so excited. They oohed and aahed and couldn't believe what they were seeing. Before I knew it, there was a tear sliding down my cheek. I looked at Arrty and he was smiling from ear to ear. And so we all four watched as our baby was measured. We were shown the spine and eye sockets and heart beating. And got the hear the heartbeat as well. It was 162 beats per minute.

I thought to myself that the baby wasn't moving and watched and waited for some activity. And just like that, he or she woke up and started waving and kicking like crazy. Josh said, "Cool," and Adam giggled. They both loved it . So did I. It was amazing. Just as amazing as the first two times with the boys. The lady doing the ultrasound was great and told Josh and Adam that the baby was waving at it's big brothers. She also gave them their own pictures of the baby. I was so relieved to hear the heartbeat and see the baby move. It's just good to know that everything's going the way it's supposed to.

I was also relieved to see that there was only one baby in there. Everybody else thinks it would be so cool for me to have twins. But one baby at a time is plenty for me at my advanced maternal age. :)

So it was picture day. I have pictures of my 3 children to show off at Christmas. And can I just say that they are the cutest ones I've ever seen. Even the one that looks like a peanut with arms.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mornings

This morning I saw, once again, how different my sons are from each other. When I went in to wake them up, Josh moaned and dramatically rolled over and covered his head. His way of saying, "Not yet." Adam, who usually wakes up on his own, stretched and smiled and sat up. Then I reminded Josh that today was the last day of school for the week and we get five days off. He said, "Oh, yeah! Five days off!" Adam said, "I don't want five days off!" Adam ate breakfast, Josh didn't. Josh wore his jacket and hood. I had to warn Adam of frost bite before he would wear his.

So as you can see, they have very different ideas about things. I have to admit that I have to side with Josh on the subject of getting up when it's still dark. And on the fact that we have five days off from school. Woo hoo!

I am so looking forward to a mini vacation with my family. And not having to wake the boys up early.

Monday, November 19, 2007

American Music Awards

Here are some observations I made during the show last night:

1. Daughtry rocks! More specifically, Chris Daughtry rocks. He writes amazing songs, performs them with that great voice, and looks good doing it. He is also loyal to the band that he was with long before Americal Idol and turned down the lead singer job with an established band to risk it all with these guys. And he never lets anyone forget that Daughtry is a band, not just a guy. Pretty cool. They won the first award of the night last night, breakthrough artist. He gave a great speech thanking the fans and God and the band members' "wives for doing the real work of being at home and taking care of the kids." How cool is that? They went on to win the adult contemporary award and the pop/rock group award. And then topped off the show with a great acoustic performance of "Home." I even stayed up until 11:00 to see it. Not much can keep me up past 9:30 these days. But it was so worth it.

2. How cute are the Jonas Brothers? They had hundreds of 13 year old girls screaming their little hearts out. And the lead singer was channeling Mick Jagger last night. He had the outfit and the moves.

3. I'm not a big Celine Dion fan, but I really liked her new song, "Taking Chances." She came really close to rocking the house. Strange but true.

4. There are some young singers with amazing voices. Rihanna and Alicia Keys to name two.

5. Duran Duran still sounds like Duran Duran. I hate it when bands "come back" with a completely different sound. Their new song is cool and they also sang "Hungry Like The Wolf" which was great. And John is still the cute one.

6. Where else on earth could you see Carrie Underwood hugging Slash? She hid her fear well. She only looked a little alarmed.

7. Whatever happened to last names? Fergie, Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher, Akon, Fantasia?

8. Special thanks to Fergie for bringing boyfriend Josh Duhamel to the show. He was the icing on the top of the Chris Daughtry cake. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not So Ordinary

My husband has been teaching a class on the life of Jesus on Sunday mornings at church. Today's class was about those who followed him, the twelve apostles and the early disciples. I have long found these men and women interesting. Especially the original 12 who were hand picked by Jesus to travel with him and learn during his ministry. I love the fact that they were ordinary men, from all walks of life, with all different personalities. I think this was very intentional by Christ. Now, and for the last 2000 years, Christians can look at these men and see themselves in them. Maybe you're a little hot headed. So were James and John, the sons of thunder. Maybe you're not well educated. Neither were most of the twelve. Maybe you speak before you think. So did Peter. Maybe you need to see to believe. So did Thomas. These men were just like us.

Something else that I thought about as I sat in class this morning is that even though these men went through persecution and, the majority, martyrdom, they held fast to their beliefs. None fell away from Christ (with the exception of Judas). They lived their lives serving the Lord and most died upholding his name. Amazing. John alone lived to see old age and died of natural causes. But even then he died on the Island of Patmos teaching others about Jesus Christ.

The Word of God is so wonderful. It teaches us who he is, who and what his son did, and about so many who have had the same faith that I do today. And when I read about those men and women who spoke to Jesus and held his hand as they prayed before a meal and sat on the hill side listening to his voice, it makes me long for the day when I can do the same for all eternity.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Random Thoughts

1. Pregnant women should not go shopping when they're hungry. I ended up with a huge jar of dill pickles, Johnsonville Beddar Cheddar hot dogs and the expensive buns, a cheddar and bacon cheese ball, and a pound of monterey jack cheese. (Am I seeing a pattern with the cheese?) I did, however, resist the coconut cake and the tortilla chips and cheese dip. Barely.

2. Is it wrong that at this very minute I am allowing my children to play outside in the big puddle in our driveway in their brand new snow boots?

3. I love a good bargain. Last night I stopped in Kohl's because I had gotten a $10 gift card in the mail. I ended up getting 2 gameboy games for the boys for Christmas for $3.70. What a deal. (Kohl's is not a store I will shop at often, though. Too expensive for me even after their 50% off sales.)

4. I love Saturdays like today. No schedule. No pressure. And time to read and take a nap.

5. There are six 100 piece puzzles on my living room floor that Adam has put together since last night. He gets that from his dad. I do not have the attention span for puzzles.

6. I love it that my boys like to watch old cartoons like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and Scooby Doo.

7. I am so glad that today's precipitation is rain and not snow. I hope that it doesn't snow until Christmas vacation.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Show and Tell

*two skinned pterodactyls and a King Kong action figure
*toy microphone
*stuffed doggy that has a habit of falling out of bed and has friends in California
*children's digital camera (pink and green, actually kind of cool)
*collectible doll named Alice
*book with "a whole bunch of pages in it," toy cell phone, a Hello Kitty notebook
*a little jar of gold floating in water (After which an argument broke out over whether or not gold is real.)
*an "ear-rin" stand--You know, "ear-rins." The jewelry that girls put in the holes in their ears.
*a huge stuffed bunny that was a gift from Aunt Cindy
*a pink princess Bible complete with bling covered buckle
*a baby doll that moves and giggles that "My mom got for $50!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Music In The Air

I watched the Country Music Awards last weekend and am looking forward to the American Music Awards on Sunday. As I watched all the great acts (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Jamie Foxx, The Eagles, Brooks and Dunn), it made me think of the concerts that I have gone to. They are:

Richard Marx (It was the 80's)
Little River Band and America (outdoor concert with a bunch of people way older than us)
Garth Brooks (joined on stage by Trisha Yearwood)
Dixie Chicks (they rocked then and now)
Jodee Mecina (opening act was Rascal Flatts)
Hootie and the Blowfish (so fun, their last concert of the tour)
The Gaithers (with my mom)

It's not a huge list, but it's a good one. There are so many that I would like to see, though. Like:

Daughtry (my favorite)
Bon Jovi (good old stuff, good new stuff)
Aerosmith (Hello! Steven Tyler)
Brooks and Dunn (great songs)
Dave Matthews (more great songs)
Alison Kraus (and hope a little of her talent travels through the air to me)
Santana (amazing music)
Duran Duran (They have new music!)

I'm sure there are lots more, but these are the top of the list. Until they come to Spokane I'll just have to enjoy their performances on the small screen. Daughtry's up for a bunch of AMAs and is performing at the show. Yeah!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today's "5 Things to be Happy About"


*visualization
*sneaking a kiss
*chandeliers in a hotel
*making progress on a project
*fail-safe dinners for busy days

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Realization

First, let me say that I promise that every post between now and June will not be about being pregnant. But this one is.

Yesterday I went in to have blood drawn for routine prenatal tests. I got right in but was dreading the procedure. I have had it done many times and know it's not a big deal, but still. There is a needle and blood involved. As the lady was preparing my arm for the needle, and I sat there worrying over the little poke, I realized that this was so just the beginning of what is going to be done to me over the next 6 1/2 months. There will be stretching and numerous other things happening to my body that you know about if you've been there and don't want to hear about if you haven't. The baby is going to sit on my bladder and kick me in the kidneys. There will be all kinds of poking and prodding done by doctors and nurses. They are going to measure my belly. And weigh me ALL THE TIME. And then, to top it all off, they are going to stick a needle in my spine, cut me open, and pull a person out of me.

So, now that I think about it, having blood drawn isn't so bad.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Questions, Questions

Here are the questions you get asked when you are a 35 year old mother of two elementary aged sons when people find out that you are pregnant.

1. Was it a surprise? (No, it was planned. It was, however, postponed for a year due to the craziness of the last year.)
2. Do you want a girl this time? (It might be nice to see what it's like. But I already have the boy thing down, so another boy would be okay, too. Plus I would be able to refer to "my three sons.")
3. Do you still have your baby stuff? (No, except for a couple of diapers I found under the bathroom sink and few stray sippy cups. When Adam was two, we sold everything thinking we were done having kids. Plans change I guess.)
4. Are you going to find out if it's a boy or girl? (Yes. We didn't find out with Josh, which was really fun. We did find out with Adam, which helped me bond with him before he was born. And this time everyone is wanting to know as soon as possible, including me. We should be able to find out sometime around the beginning of the year.)
5. When is the baby due? (The due date is June 6th, but it will be scheduled a week or so earlier. I'm really hoping to be able to wait until June. We'll see what happens.)
6. Are you excited? (Yes, more and more every day.)
7. Are the boys excited? (Very. They are already planning what they can teach the baby and giving name suggestions.)
8. How are you feeling? (Mostly good. There's some morning and evening sickness. But it hasn't been too bad so far.)
9. Are you going to have more? (Umm, no. I'm already at advanced maternal age. This one is it!)
10. Are you crazy? (Mostly I ask this of myself and the answer is yes, just a little bit.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Five Good Things About This Weekend

1. A whole Saturday and Sunday with nothing planned.
2. The majority of time was spent in my pajamas.
3. I got a nap both days.
4. I was finally able to get Mexican food which I've been craving for days.
5. I watched movies and played games with my family.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanks

I remember when my boys were babies and were first learning to talk. As soon as they could say anything, we tried to get them to say "thank you." We even taught them baby signs before they could talk and they both used the one for thank you. I would remind them to, "Say thank you," if someone gave them a graham cracker or said they were the cutest thing they'd ever seen or when I picked up the toy they threw from the high chair for the 27th time. And then when they were two or three years old I'd remind some more, but every once in a while, they'd say it on their own. By the time they were four or five, they would almost always remember to say "thank you." And now it's just a given. It comes naturally. At the grocery story. At restaurants. And grandma's house. At school. Even to me. They say thank you when they should. All those reminders over the years have paid off. They both have pretty good manners.

As I thought about this, it reminded me of how God does the same thing for us. His word is full of thanksgiving scriptures. It's like he's telling us over and over, "Say thank you. Say thank you for what you have and who you are and what I've done. Say thank you to each other and to me." And I know that with me, he's had to remind me over and over. But as I've gotten older, his reminders haven't had to come so often. It comes naturally for me to look at my husband or my children and just feel this strong sense of gratitude. And sometimes with a quick prayer to heaven, I say "thank you." I couldn't fit the list of what I'm thankful for on this page. My life is so full of blessings, seen and unseen, that it would take me all day just to put them into words.

One of my favorite ways to pray is a "thank you prayer." It's when I say thank you to God. I don't ask for anything. I don't say anything but thank you and tell him just what I am grateful for. It's not as easy as it sounds. It is easy to say thank you, but there's always something that could follow. "Thank you for my sons. Could you please..." Then I remember. No requests today. Just thanks. This kind of prayer is also the longest. I never run out of things to thank God for. "Thank you for giving me all that I need. Thank you for saying that I'm beautiful in your sight. Thank you for picking me up for the 27th time."

And I know, now more than ever, that living a life of thanksgiving is the only way to live. And why wouldn't I? I'm going to heaven! And until then I can practice saying thank you for the day when I see the Father face to face, and with tears in my eyes, whisper, "Thank you."

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. --Psalm 18:1

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. --Psalm 100:4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. --Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, November 09, 2007

Conferences

Today is parent/teacher conference day. It's always good to sit down with my students' parents one on one and discuss their child. Sometimes it's the only time I really get to see or talk to them. Even some kindergarten parents drop their kids off and pick them up without ever getting out of the car. And a few only step into my classroom a few times a year. So, even though conferences aren't my favorite part of teaching, they are a good thing for the students and the parents.

I have a few challenges in my class this year, both academic and behaviorally. But the good thing is that usually the parents know what's coming. They know their child, so when I tell them that they have trouble focusing or have been in trouble for hitting, it's no big surprise. But sometimes I will give a really good report to a parent and they are speechless. They look at the name on the report card just to make sure that we're talking about the same child. Some kids who are little angels at school apparently aren't at home.

So Monday starts a new quarter with new lessons and new things to learn. And a few new things for me to try to overcome those challenges. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy

On my desk I have one of those calendars that you tear a page from everyday. It is "5 Things to Be Happy About." I like it because everyday there is at least one thing that I really am happy about. Here are some of my favorites from this week so far.

*matinees
*apple pie and ice cream
*time to be quiet
*a room filled with loved ones
*the right to vote
*sketches in your journal
*meditating on the morning commute
*chicken pot pie in a flaky crust
*standing up for a friend
*collapsing on a soft mattress
*dipping a finger in the peanut butter
*sliding into slippers

All such good things to make me happy. The one that would make me the most happy at this very moment: collapsing on a soft mattress. (I really need a nap.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Cupcakes


Today's birthday treat: cupcakes baked in ice cream cones and "birthday party" ice cream (vanilla ice cream with blueberry swirls and party shaped sprinkles).

I'm so glad that tomorrow is a teacher work day. Not only will I be able to do all those things that never seem to get done during school days, but I am guaranteed that there will be no cupcakes in my classroom.*


Kathy, don't even think about putting a cupcake on my desk before I get there!




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cupcakes For Everyone!

I have had 3 birthdays in my class in the past 4 days. I only have 14 students, so three birthdays so close together is kind of strange. But more than that, it means 3 days of cookies or cupcakes or parties. Not to mention invitations to weekend parties. This all adds up to kindergarten overload. To combat the sugar and excitement, I have created a new seating chart, shortened free time and declared war on any talk of birthdays except by the actual birthday child.

On the up side, most parents send an extra cupcake for me. Today's cupcakes are chocolate with chocolate frosting. And they're homemade, too.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bargain Of The Day

I like to share bargains. So here's a good one. If you go to Albertson's and buy 10 boxes of General Mills cereal and/or fruit snacks, you get a certificate for two free tickets to "Bee Movie." Even better is that these products are on sale for $2.00 each. So for $20.oo today I got 7 boxes of cereal, 3 boxes of fruit by the foot, and two movie tickets. Not bad considering the tickets would cost $19.oo at the theater.

But a word of caution. Be sure to get the right products including the size of the boxes of cereal. I had to go through a refund and re-ring to get my tickets. But it all worked out. And I'm pretty sure that tomorrow is the last day of the sale.

Oh yeah, and save your box-tops and send them to Coeur d' Alene Christian School.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

AMA

It's been brought up in a couple of previous posts that I'm pregnant. I am almost 10 weeks pregnant which isn't long for most people, but for me it's been 10 weeks since I've known. I remember on the drive to church one Sunday thinking to myself, "I'm pregnant." There were no signs and it could have only been a few days after conception, but somehow I knew. And if you think about it, I'm over 1/4 through my pregnancy. Especially since it will be a scheduled c-section somewhere around week 38. I'm really hoping that the doctors will let me wait until June. The actual due date is June 6th and I really want to have a June baby since I already have a May baby (Adam). But we'll see what happens. Either way I will miss at least the last week of school which wasn't really what we had planned, but God answers prayers on his timing, not mine. So here I am. A mother of an 8 year old and a 6 year old and expecting a baby. I really thought we'd only have two children, but, once again, my heart didn't listen to my mind. And I really felt like we were meant to have another child.

So now to my story. A few weeks ago I went to my first doctor's visit. I only saw the nurse and it was really just to fill out paperwork and give her my medical history. After pages of names and dates and yes, I have asthma, no, I don't have diabetes, she took me into an exam room to go over her list of stuff. She asked me about my other pregnancies and deliveries. (Even she was surprised about the 32 hours of labor with Josh.) And she told me a whole bunch of stuff that I already knew. "Whatever you eat or drink, the baby eats or drinks." "If anything weird happens call the doctor." I remembered most everything from before. And everything was going just fine until she brought out the AMA paperwork. AMA stands for "advanced maternal age." ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE! I know that I'm 35. I know that I'm probably a little older than most other pregnant moms. But come on! Advanced! I don't know about that. Basically what she told me about being AMA was that I have the option for genetic testing and counseling and other tests that might determine if there are any problems with the baby. Since then I have come to accept that I am AMA and that's okay. I knew how old I was when we made the decision to have another baby. (We were actually trying to have the baby last year before I was AMA, but that's a different story.) So what if I'm 35. So what if I will have two children in middle school and one in kindergarten. So what if I will be 54 years old when this one graduates....Okay, I'll stop there.

I admit that it's scary. Just like the first two times. But also like before, I already love this child that God has so graciously loaned to me. And no matter how old I am, I pray that I can be the mother that all my children need. Even if I do need a walker to attend his or her wedding.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Seattle

After the ACSI conference, four of us drove to Seattle to spend Friday night and Saturday. I just have to say that I love Seattle. I don't like everything about it, of course, but there is just so much to do and so many interesting places and people.

On Friday night, we did something that none of us had ever done before. We ate dinner at "Sky City," the restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. There are a few unique things about this restaurant. First of all, it is 500 feet in the air overlooking downtown Seattle. And secondly it rotates so that over the course of dinner we were able to see the entire city of Seattle at least twice. It completes a full circle every 47 minutes although it seemed much faster to me. I have to admit that it was just a little unnerving when we first sat down. You can definitely feel the rotation and I was a little worried about being able to eat while spinning. But it all worked out just fine and made for great memories.

This is the Space Needle at about 8:30 on Friday night just before we went up to have dinner.

You might be a redneck if you take pictures of your $36 chicken dinner before you eat it. There is a $35 per person minimum at Sky City, otherwise you have to pay the $16 fee to ride up to the top. We thought we might as well eat up there. We had to eat anyway. The chicken was good and I saved half and had it the next night, too.

I never got a really good picture from the restaurant, but this gives you a little bit of an idea of our view. It was pretty amazing.

On Saturday we headed down to the piers. It was a gray day (no big surprise), but we had a lot of fun shopping, eating and watching people. One of my favorite things on the piers is Ivar's. It's a seafood restaurant with a sit down place inside and a fast food stand outside. We really just wanted fish and chips, so we ordered outside and sat at the tables they have available in a little pavilion. Ivar's has the best fish and chips and I wasn't disappointed this day. There are lots of gulls around, which is to be expected, and we saw a guy trying to feed a fry to one. Which wouldn't have been unusual except that he had the fry in his mouth! The gulls were smarter than he was and he wasn't successful.

One of my very favorite places is Pike Street Market. It's crowded and loud and smells like fish. And I love it! It also makes for great pictures.

I really wanted to buy flowers this day, but wasn't sure how they would do on the trip home. Look how beautiful they were.

This is a monk fish that one of the seafood vendors had on display. They had a string attached to the tail and when someone got close, they'd pull it and move the fish and scare the poor person to death. (It was pretty funny.)

The fish mongers are great. It's half market, half show. They throw twenty pound salmon around and call back and forth and play for the crowd. It's really fun to watch. I was thrilled to get a picture of the fish in midair. Pretty cool.

I love all the colors in the produce markets. And on this particular day I was craving fruit and bought strawberries and satsumas. They were delicious.

This vendors display of hanging peppers and garlic is just beautiful. The colors and smells are amazing. I bought one of these for my mom and dad for a souvenir. The peppers dry in nine months and you can eat them fresh or dried.

Later Saturday afternoon we went back to the Space Needle and walked around the park that surrounds it. More shopping and people watching. Our hotel was only three blocks away which was very convenient. (Can someone tell me how to rotate this picture?)

We spotted a Starbucks and just had to have Starbucks in Seattle. But as we walked in, we saw that we were in a big mall kind of a thing with a food court and stage. They just happened to be having a Turkish festival that weekend and we were able to enjoy a show while we drank our Starbucks. See, you never know just what you might see in Seattle!

So, as you can see, we had lots of fun in Seattle. There are more stories like the hugging street musician, the midnight walk, the half-off souvenirs, and the visit with Sylvester. But those will have to wait 'til another time. Now I have to go see if I can find some fish and chips in Coeur d' Alene that will begin to compare to Ivar's. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Today's Show and Tell

*1 "lipstick" complete with demonstration on how to apply (actually it was chapstick that I think her mom found in her purse before school)
*1 stuffed polar bear named Siberia that does tricks
*1 Hello Kitty flashlight (with 3 minute explanation on how to turn it on and off)
*1 Batman figure, 1 robot, a magnetic Frankenstein and zombie, and 1 electronic game all pulled from a variety of choices in a backpack
*1 Bratz movie in a purse (An argument ensued on whether there is 1 Sasha or 2 in this particular film. I have a feeling that 1 Sasha would be enough.)
*1 stuffed horse (white and pink, of course)
*1 Spiderman web shooter with all the webs "wasted"
*1 stuffed penguin from the book fair
*1 toy police car with opening trunk and doors and a Lego guy that fits inside
*1 stuffed dog with a purple carrying case (also does tricks)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

1 Down, 29 To Go

Today starts NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). And the fact that I knew just what Katrina was talking about when she reminded me earlier this week was just a little frightening. I have been a blogger for almost a year, so I guess it's okay that I'm the tiniest bit of a blog nerd.

For NaBloPoMo, bloggers are supposed to blog every day for the month of November. It doesn't sound hard because I have a blog running through my head at least ten times a day. The hard part, though, is actually putting words to keyboard and getting it posted. But I'm going to try. I certainly don't have a lack of topics--kids, kindergarteners, 7th graders, pregnancy/morning sickness/mood swings/cravings/baby names, Thanksgiving, weather changes, parent/teacher conferences, family, etc.

I have never blogged everyday for a month before. I don't even think I've blogged everyday in a week. But I do enjoy a challenge when it comes to writing. So wish me luck. And be sure to comment so that I am motivated to keep writing.

And I also want to take this chance to say thanks to all of you who stop by my blog. It's fun to share my life with all of you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mmm, Tacos

There are times throughout the school year that are more challenging than others. The first day (and week) of school is a challenge because five year olds don't have a clue about anything at school. Any day with a field trip or assembly is crazy because it's out of the normal routine and causes extra excitement. The first day of snow creates a buzz in the halls and the classroom that causes kindergarteners to bounce off the walls. And then there are holidays. Not President's Day or Columbus Day or Memorial Day. Those are fine. But the other holidays that include gifts or parties or candy. Those holidays are not fun for a kindergarten teacher. A regular kindergarten day is enough to suck every ounce energy from Wonder Woman. But as soon as you throw in costumes or sugar or Santa or wrapping paper it's like that myspace video with the coke and Mentos. And so here's where we are. The day before Halloween. (I have to be careful, they can sense just the thought of it.) I have actually banned the word from my classroom. I know, I know. It's just a fun holiday that lets kids pretend and get treats. Blah, blah, blah. It is the bane of my existence this week and I'm not happy. If you've read my blog for any amount of time you know that I really don't complain much. But today I am suffering from morning sickness*, craving a crunchy taco supreme from taco bell, and having to deal with 13 five year olds, who if I could choose their costumes, would all be dressed as those flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.

Oh, well. A few more days and it will all be over. At least until mid-November when Christmas trees appear.

*Yes, I'm pregnant. That's a blog for another day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ACSI

I've been trying to write about my trip to Seattle for a few days now and decided that the conference was something that you had to attend to really appreciate. So I'll skip most of the details and just tell you some of my favorite parts.

*Our fearless leader wanting to stop in Tri-Cities for gas on the way to Seattle. Umm...Tri-Cities is not on the way to Seattle.

*Learning more about my co-workers. (Maybe more than I wanted to know.)

*Worship time spent with hundreds of Christian school educators.

*The classes. Especially "Music in the Christian Classroom" and "Hands On Teaching."

*Learning that there is a thought that there were, in fact, dinosaurs on the ark with Noah.

*Meeting the teacher who I want to be when I grow up.

*Freebies from the venders at the conference.

*The 40 minute quarter mile trip to our hotel from the restaurant because of the power outage. (Mostly because it made for good stories when we called home. With every call the distance got shorter and the time got longer.)

*Truth or dare during the power outage. What's told in Bothell, stays in Bothell.

*Mom's Teriyaki Restaurant.



Things that weren't so fun.

*Having the worst sore throat of my life for the first two days.

*Hard hotel matresses.

*Not being able to find chicken noodle soup anywhere in western Washington.

*The amazingly frightening traffic in western Washington.


On Friday afternoon we left Bothell for Seattle. This was the part of the trip where we played instead of worked. That'll be my next blog.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Teacher School

I'll be back in a few days. We're going on a trip to Bothell, Washington for a Christian educator's conference. Should be lots of fun. Especially the two days we spend in Seattle playing afterwards. Have a good week and I'll tell you all about it when I get home.

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Show and Hotel"

As challenging as my kindergarten class is this year, they still make me laugh everyday. Like today when one little girl was so excited that it was "show and hotel" day. So here's what came to school today to be shown and hotelled.

*one artkit with a book in which you can color anything

*one spiderman sticker book that brought "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd

*one story about vistiting grandparents who apparently can do backflips and somersaults

*one dinosaur playset with dinosaurs that try to eat cars

*one soccer trophy

*one set of orange and red pom-poms

*one little bag of "thousands" of polished rocks (more "oohs" and "aahs")

*one stuffed polar bear

*one "Bedtime Bear" Care Bear

*one leopard print umbrella in a case that matches

*one stuffed, blue Scooby Doo

*one story: "It was my birthday and now I'm this many (5 fingers) and then I'm going to be this many (3 fingers)."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ahh, Kids

Nathan, a guest at Josh's birthday party, was glad that the party was at "Skatema Plazma."

A first grader told me that there was "evidence that a boy has been in the girl's bathroom." That evidence was that the seat was up and they didn't flush!

While discussing pets and veterinarians today in class, one little girl claimed that her baby brother was her pet.

Contrary to what one 7th grader thinks, 7492.57 divided by 32.71 is not "fries."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

8 Years Ago

Today my first born son turns 8. Eight years old. It seems so impossible. We waited a long time before we had kids and it took awhile after that for him to come around. And I remember how extremely happy I was to find out that I was pregnant. I knew right away because I'm one of those "lucky" women who knows pretty much the next day if I'm pregnant. Instant naseau all day long. That lasted for about ten weeks then I felt great the rest of the time. Being pregnant is exciting and wonderful and scary and miraculous. And I enjoyed almost every minute of it. And then the day came. Well, labor came. Josh didn't actually come until the next day after 32 hours of labor and a c-section. But it was so worth it. He was this adorable little bundle with tons of black hair that stood up every which way. Not to brag, but all the doctors and nurses told me that he was a cute baby and that not all babies are as cute as their parents think. (Please don't tell me if they told you the same thing about your newborn.) He was a good baby. He didn't cry much and loved being held which told me right away that he was going to be a snuggler.


And here we are eight years later and he is smart and funny and mostly sweet. He likes dinosaurs and animals and movies and girls (yikes). He has this magnetic personality and therefore lots of friends. He does really well at school but likes recess best. He still has crazy hair that sticks up everywhere and he likes it that way. And he still likes to be held and will crawl up on my lap to snuggle. Except now, everytime he does, I breathe in the smell of his hair and hold on tight because I never know if it might be the last time.

Happy birthday, Josh. I love you more than words can say.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Did You Know...

...that it takes exactly the same amount of time to say the pledge of allegience as it takes me to make sure 13 kindergarteners are all standing and putting the correct hand over their hearts.

...that picking the perfect pumpkin at a nearby farm can take some 5 year olds a loooong time.

...that no matter how many times I do dishes, there are always more to do.

...that even though my son is two days away from turning eight, I still feel like he was born yesterday.

...that regardless of what my six year old does at one moment, he can melt my heart in the next.

...that when discussing television shows with alarming plots, you should make sure everyone listening knows that it's just tv.

...that seventh graders will eat anything. Even sunflower seeds that they harvested, soaked, cooked...and burned.

...that it's still possible to genuinely surprise people. :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Conversation

This morning on the way to school...

Adam: "A lot of people murder."
Josh: "Don't talk about that, Adam."
Adam: "But look at all the trash by the road."
Me: "Umm, Adam, do you mean litter?"
Adam: "Oh, yeah. A lot of people litter."


At lunch...

Me: "Adam, do you know where Josh is?"
Adam: "Am I my brother's keeper?"*

*We've been studying Cain and Abel in Bible class this week.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Persuasion

Yesterday at church I taught the elementary Bible class for the regular teachers who were out of town. Both of my boys were in the class and very excited that I was their teacher. I was teaching a lesson on Noah and how he made the right decision to live for God. One of the activities was to hold some little plastic stars behind my back, half marked with tape and half not marked. The class had to guess if they were marked or not and got to keep the ones they guessed right. They won the game if they had the most stars at the end. The trick was that there were two persuaders who tried to convince them which way to vote. Adam was the persuader who I told to always tell the truth and Josh was the persuader who I told to always lie. It didn't take the kids long to figure out what the persuaders were doing and they won 4 to 2. After the game, I asked them how they knew which persuader to believe. One boy said, "Well, Adam is younger and cuter so he must be the most honest." Obviously Josh took offense at that. Especially the cuter part! But he wasn't too upset and even told his dad the story after church. I personally think they are both the cutest kids I know and am proud of how honest they are. But I might keep the "younger and cuter" advice in mind the next time I vote.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today...

Today I learned...

...five year olds can need two bandaids in the first five minutes of school.
...I can tie shoes with my eyes closed.
...a gillion is not a number.
...aloe belongs to the lily family.
...I know who's stomping in line without even looking.
...there are only two lego "humans" in the bucket, but three boys who want them.
...kindergarteners can, and will, cheat at Candy Land.
...casting out 9's is easy once you get the hang of it.
...kindergarteners love guinea pigs more than guinea pigs love kindergarteners.
...if your forehead is hot and you don't feel good you might have a "feber."
...it is possible to say "don't do that" a gillion times in one day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Well That's New

I've been teaching for a while. I've taught every age from kindergarten to 8th grade. I've had many, many challenging students and two whole classes that have made me reconsider my choice of careers. (Not to mention the parents!) But I've hung in there because I love teaching and most days the rewards far outweigh the trials. This is my third year teaching kindergarten. The reason I took the kindergarten job is because Josh was in kindergarten the first year and Adam was the second year. But this year it's just me and a bunch of other people's kids. (Except one who feels almost like mine.) And of course I love each one. How could I not. They are completely adorable. And I truly understand that their mommies love them just as much as I love my own boys. And so I try to treat them as I want Josh and Adam to be treated by others. But here's the trouble. Out of the 13 kids in my class, at least 6 of them have to be watched every second of every day. As soon as they're out of sight, they're in trouble. Yesterday is a prime example. I had hitting, arguing, and fibbing. Not all that unusual really. But I also had three things happen that have never happened to me in all my years of teaching. First, one of the boys colored all over my white board with a non-white board marker. Luckily I was quick to catch it and was able to wash it off. Then one of the girl's was chasing another girl around with a push pin from the bulletin board. What?!?! I'm still not sure what possessed her to do such a thing. Then, just in the nick of time, I caught one girl about to give herself a haircut. To this I responded, "I have taught kindergarten for two years without anyone cutting their hair. Do not mess up my record!!" (And then I took away her scissors for a week.) All this and it wasn't even a full moon. Each day I'm having to re-evaluate my management techniques and adapt them to rogue colorers, pin chasers, and hair cutters. So I have to ask myself two questions. What will happen on Monday? And how many days 'til June? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It Can Happen

We have been seeing a sign on our way to school the past week or so. It says:

LOST TURTLE
704-****
*REWARD*

Lost turtle? It would be funny except that two summers ago we lost a turtle. Some people think that turtles are slow, but I'm convinced that it's all an act to fool everyone. As soon as you turn your back on these wily creatures, they take off running. Okay, so they don't run all that fast (with the short legs and carrying a house on their backs), but they are faster than the average population may think. This fact combined with leaving a 5 year old in charge of said creature is just asking for trouble. But the turtle we lost wasn't your average, everyday pet shop kind of turtle.

The turtle who ran away was a hillbilly, cross country traveling, turtle. When we were in West Virginia visiting relatives*, my uncles thought it would be great fun to bring box turtles for the boys to play with. And it was. They loved them (all 4 of them). And even my grandparents got involved. Grandpa found the perfect box for them and Grandma gave the boys veggies to feed their new pets. It really was fun, so when we got ready to head for home, we decided to bring the smallest of the turtles with us. We didn't tell the boys so that they wouldn't bug us for 2,347 miles about holding it. We quietly put it in a shoe box and hid it under the van seat. Without the boys ever suspecting a thing, we fed and watered our secret passenger and he safely made it all the way across the country to his new home. The boys were of course thrilled when we revealed what was in the box. And this free turtle only cost us about $100 (tank, heater, light, bedding, food). He was a great pet until that fateful day. Josh loved to take the turtle out into the yard to wander around in the grass and eat bugs. So one day in the late summer, he was doing just that. I got busy doing outdoor chores and Josh got busy chasing butterflies and before we knew it the turtle was gone. We own five acres with no fences, so finding a six inch long, very well camouflaged turtle was nearly impossible. We did look though. For quite a while. And still didn't find the turtle.**

So when I saw the "LOST TURTLE" sign this week, I thought of our own lost turtle and wondered if there was any way that they had found our lost turtle and that he had escaped again. Not likely, I know. When I told my mom this story, she told me the way to find out. She said, "Call the number and ask them if their turtle had a southern accent." Very funny, mom.

*The story of this trip would be a whole other blog. Maybe someday.
**Josh got a new turtle for his next birthday. We still have that one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

5 Ways To Tell That A 6 Year Old Is Sick

1. He falls asleep on the couch in the principal's office at school and sleeps through the lunch rush going down the hall.
2. You take him into the store to get some medicine and he doesn't ask for a toy or candy or pop. Just for a bottle of water.
3. He doesn't utter a peep the whole 25 minute drive home.
4. He lays on the couch watching old Tom and Jerry cartoons so quietly that you think he's asleep.
5. His mommy can't even appreciate the quiet because her baby is sick.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Show and Tell--9/14

*a nintendo magazine with all of L's favorite "charavers"
*a coloring picture of K's pet kitty named Princess
*a car, transformers named Jetfire and bumblebee, and a ninja turtle who does "that" when you squeeze his legs
*a tiny treasure chest filled with "treasures" (polished rocks and marbles)
*a pink poodle purse with magic coins (a quarter and penny)
*a stuffed cheetah with a baby doll face and hands
*a guy with "one of these and a belt and a necklace and a green thing on him and a thing to look at"
*a story about catching butterflies while camping (no show, just tell)
*an angel pin that "is so teeny"
*a monopoly junior board game that C loves very much

Ahh, kindergarten.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Sign With Antlers

This morning I chose to take the back roads into town to school. I did this for two reasons. One, to time the trip to see how much longer it was than taking the highway. And two, to avoid said highway which often causes my anxiety to soar first thing in the morning. On the drive I discovered that the trip only takes an extra minute or two. Kind of what I thought, but I wanted to make sure for future mornings. I also discovered that there is a flock of wild turkeys that spend their mornings in a field off Ramsey Road. This was the second time I had seen them there. (Adam called them roosters, but then remembered that they were turkeys.) And the third thing I discovered was that back roads aren't always safer. Here's why.

I almost hit a deer, a big one, just after leaving home. Had she not chosen to run parallel with the car for a few seconds, which gave me time to slow down, I surely would have hit her. Strike one for lowering my anxiety.

And then shortly after that, a truck passed me and a squished pop can flew out of the back of his truck right in front of me. Not a big deal, but it caught my attention and startled me. Strike two. No sooner had that happened than out of the corner of my eye in the rear view mirror I saw a big brown tarp fly out of the back of the same truck. At least that's what I thought it was. Until I focused on my mirror. It wasn't a tarp at all. It was a moose!* A huge moose with huge antlers. And it hadn't flown out of the back of his truck but was tripping and staggering across the road right between the truck and a car going the opposite direction. If I had been three seconds earlier it would have crossed right in front of me. Strike three.

So, here's my dilemma. Do I take the highway and put my life in the hands of all the drivers going 65 mph around me (including numerous logging trucks)? Or do I take the back roads and risk encountering a thousand pound animal who doesn't look both ways?

We have actually been trying to decide whether or not to sell our house and move into town. It's a hard decision because we love our house and living out where it's so quiet and beautiful. But then there's the drive. Rolling your car a few times makes driving a little difficult, so it's been a real issue. So today, as I drove the back way to avoid the danger but had to dodge wildlife along the way, I began to wonder if it was a sign. Either way I go, it raises my anxiety. So what do I do? I just don't know, but for now I'm going to go clean my house just in case we call a realtor in the next few days. And I'm going to pray for wisdom and answers and a big bubble of safety around my minivan. And that all future signs are bunnies or kittens or at least don't have antlers.

*The moose was fine and continued on his way with no more than an increased heartbeat and a story to tell his buddies.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

100

Here's the thing. This is my 100th post on my blog and I've been racking my brain trying to come up with something that would symbolize the significance of that. But I've got nothing. I thought about "100 things about me" or "100 things I love" or "100 things I've done 100 times (or more)." But nothing feels right. I even missed my first day of school blog waiting to have something special for my 100th post. All I can think of is the day I sat in front of the computer and created this blog. It was spur of the moment although I had considered it a few times before. But the truth is, I did it as a distraction. A distraction from the terrifying pain in my chest and my brain telling me that I was going to die. It was right in the middle of the worst of my anxiety disorder and I couldn't do anything but pray and wait for it to pass. I couldn't clean house because of the exhaustion. I couldn't play with my kids because of the pain. I couldn't even take a shower because I was afraid I would have a heart attack and no one was home to find me except the boys. Wow. I was really sick. Thinking about it now it's easy to see. But then I just thought that I was dying or crazy or both. So I sat and wrote as best I could. I don't even remember what my first few posts were about but I'm sure I hid most of what was going on in my writing just as I did in real life. But the writing helped. It did distract me. And that distraction somehow lessened the anxiety and the symptoms it caused.

So, here I am, 10 months and 100 posts later. Mostly well. 100 times healthier. A million times happier. Now the only thing my blog distracts me from is dirty dishes. And for that I am 100% thankful.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Summer 2 School

I have spent the last week or so getting ready for school. I am going to be teaching kindergarten in the mornings and 7th grade math, science, and music in the afternoons. I am looking forward to it even though it means no more days at the beach for a while. I am a teacher. Through and through. I love the feeling of knowing that I have taught a student something new. And there is no better reward than seeing the eyes of a 5 year old light up when they finally realize that t+a=ta. As of today I have 12 kindergarteners, but my class limit is 14 and the numbers usually change the first week of school. I have three 7th graders so far, which will be great and give me a real chance to make sure they are ready for upper level math and science.

I thought I would share a few pictures of my cute classroom with you.

This is the library and reading corner. I also use the table in the back for reading groups, art projects, and other group activities.


This is one of my bulletin boards. On it there are a variety of educational posters, the birthday graph, and yellow felt used for a felt board to do counting and games on.


This year instead of desks, I am trying tables and chairs. I do have an extra desk just in case someone can't quite handle being so close to other classmates. Hopefully I won't have to use it.


On Thursday we had open house. About half of my students came with their parents to see the classroom and meet me. It was great to see so many anxious faces.


But they also saw something that I bet they weren't expecting. This...




Yes, this is Boys 2 Men circa 1986. My "friends" and co-teachers, Kathy and Marci, thought it would be really funny to put this up on the back of my classroom door complete with hearts. Now don't get me wrong. I was a fan of the r&b group back in the day, but I never had posters of them. At least not until now. When I discovered this the day of open house I laughed like crazy and racked my brain trying to remember the words to one of their songs to sing as I walked down the hall. (I didn't think of any.) And when I saw my "friends" I told them what a good joke they had pulled. All the while reminding myself to take it down before parents arrived. Well, guess what. I forgot. I forgot all about it until the last parents were asking questions and their younger child closed the door. Oh my goodness. I explained that it was a joke and we laughed together. But I didn't get to explain to the half a dozen other families who had obviously seen it. I could have told them it was for my music appreciation class. Or that I was encouraging diversity. Or that my "friends" think that they are SOOO funny. Anything other than them thinking that I have some kind of freakish teenage crush on this harmonic quartet.

So first thing Friday morning (well, after I took pictures), I carefully took it down and put it in a safe place. Because you can bet that my "friends" will someday walk into their classrooms and find the adolescent faces of these "boys" staring back at them. And don't be a bit surprised if it's on conference day!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Also Known As...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Very Lady Jen the Harmonious of Withering by the Wold

Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


What's a wold* and why am I withering by it? I like my peculiar aristocratic title, though. Very cool. (Thanks Scots.) I think I will make my students call me this. Well, maybe not the kindergarteners. Just the 7th graders. And my friends. All my friends must now address me as Very Lady Jen the Harmonious of Withering by the Wold. Okay, just Very Lady Jen the Harmonious.


My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Duchess Jen the Innocent of Fiddlers Green

Wait, I actually like this one better. I am innocent. (No laughing Katrina and Kathy! You know it's true.) I like fiddle music. And I have lots of green (Irish) blood. So you may address me as either of my peculiar aristocratic titles. :)

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Jen the Disheveled of Menzies on the Minges


Okay. They just keep getting better, don't they? I love this one. This is the one. I want this one.

*wold: a tract of open country; a low hill

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Catty

There are some things that they don't tell you about in parenting books. One is that when you are raising boys you should be prepared to have all kinds of creatures come into your house. I have had bug boxes full of grasshoppers, ladybugs, butterflies, moths, and other varieties of creepy crawlies spend the night on my coffee table. I don't mind. Really. It's been quite interesting seeing these fascinating creatures up close.


A few days ago the boys found a fat, furry caterpillar. They were so excited. They fixed up their biggest bug box for it with sticks and grass and leaves. They played with her (they decided it was a her...I didn't ask how they knew) and named her "Catty." Catty became their pet. They took her with us wherever we went and showed her off to kids and adults alike. They took her out of the box and let her crawl over their hands and arms. That's what Adam was doing on Tuesday night. He was sitting on the couch looking at Catty as she crawled on his arm and asked me all kinds of questions about her like "What kind of butterfly would she be?" "When would she make a cocoon?" and "How long did she have to stay in the cocoon?" I answered as best I could. Then we went on with our night. We watched cartoons together and had Popsicles for dessert. I put the boys in bed around 8:00 as usual and was lying on the couch trying to enjoy a few minutes of peace before doing end of the day chores. Around 8:15 Adam came out of his room and said, "Mom, did you put Catty back in the bug box?" "Ummm, no," I answered, "Didn't you?" "No. I forgot. I sat her on the couch arm when I got up." I jumped up since the couch arm in question was the very one my head happened to be lying on. Thankfully there was no squished caterpillar under my cheek. We looked all around the couch for Catty but she was no where to be found. She wasn't under the cushions. She wasn't under the couch. I felt like she was crawling in my shirt, but she wasn't there either. I told Adam that it wasn't very responsible for him to leave Catty out of her box to which he responded, "I got distracted by the Popsicle!!"

Adam was so sad. He had become quite attached to Catty and couldn't understand why she would run away to where there was no grass for her to eat when she had a perfectly fine home that he had made for her. I finally got him settled down and back into bed, but I continued to look for Catty because now instead of being a fat, furry caterpillar in a bug box, she was a big, hairy bug crawling around my house. I just knew she was somewhere in the couch and as soon as I sat back down she would attack. I'm not necessarily scared of caterpillars, but I don't want one on me. Especially when I least expect it. So I continued to look to no avail. Catty had disappeared.

Adam has since accepted that Catty is gone. And I have since accepted that there is a creature loose somewhere in my house. And every morning from now 'til winter I will be looking for, not Catty the caterpillar, but Catty the butterfly.