Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ahh, Spring!

(Upon seeing a new colt in a field on the way home yesterday...)

Josh: "Yep. It's about time for the horses to sprout their babies."


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Counting Down

As of right now, I have 6 days left with my students. During that time I have so much to do for school and just in general. So I decided to combine my list of things to do with my blog. Multitasking is the only way to go at times like this.

To Do List for May 29-June 6

1. Prepare for tomorrow's field trip.
2. Make final plans for kindergarten graduation.
3. Do final evaluations for each student.
4. Calculate grades.
5. Fill out report cards.
6. Order cake for graduation.
7. Put together gift bags for graduation.
8. Finish speech for graduation.
9. Practice songs and readings with kids for graduation.
10. Decorate for graduation.
11. Buy birthday present for party the boys will be attending on Saturday.
12. Go grocery shopping.
13. Fill out diplomas.
14. Decide which award each student gets.
15. Fill out award certificates.
16. Write, publish, print and distribute Grace Notes.
17. Organize Bible class staff.
18. Prepare Bible class lesson.
19. Clean classroom and send home all leftover supplies.
20. Get classroom ready for summer vacation.
(More to come, I'm sure!)

To Do List for June 7

1. REST!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sticks and Stones

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny North Idaho day and since we didn't have school and my husband got off work early, we decided to spend a nice family afternoon together. We went to lunch then drove downtown to check out the lake. As we were heading around Tubbs Hill, I started telling my boys about The Stickman. He lives on the east side of Tubbs Hill and can be seen everyday sitting in his garage creating walking sticks that are much more than that. I was hoping he would be out and that we could find him. I had never visited him, but had heard lots about him at Huckleberries Online and from other bloggers. And lo and behold, as we turned the corner, there he was sitting in the sun working on a beautiful stick that was curved and then about halfway down branched off into two sticks that wound around each other and then met at the bottom. I introduced myself and my family and he began showing us around and telling us the story behind many of his sticks. I thought a stick was a stick, but The Stickman turns these little pieces of God's creation into works of art. He whittles and sands until the wood is smoother than I ever thought possible. Some had toothmarks left by beavers. Some were knotted. Some were heavy. Others light as a feather. But each one was beautiful and I could tell that The Stickman treasured each one because of what they had been and what he had made them. When he told us that we could each choose one, I'm pretty sure the boys smiles couldn't have been any bigger. These boys love sticks (and rocks, which he also let them choose from his collection.)

I spotted my stick right away. It is a light color and has darker markings up and down that look like ancient artwork. These markings were made by some unknown insects as they traveled in a branch of some unknown tree. But the fact that creatures that share this earth with me played a part in the creation of my stick made it the perfect one for me. It's truly a treasure.

Arrty also quickly chose his stick. He had one in each hand and was looking back and forth trying to decide. I knew which one he would pick before he did. He chose a strong, sturdy stick made out of ironwood. It is unbreakable and reliable. Just like him.

Adam chose next. He chose a smooth maple stick just the right size for him. He wanted a straight stick and certainly found one. And it had a green stone on the top and green shells attached the the side. Green is his favorite color so it couldn't have been better.

Josh took the longest to decide. He must have picked up a dozen sticks and looked them over. The Stickman joked about his indecision which made us all laugh. (It takes him forever to just decide what he wants to drink with dinner!) He finally chose more of a wand than a stick. On the top is a shiny stone called hematite. The Stickman told Josh that it was a very rare stone which made him even more sure of his choice.

The boys oohed and aahed over their sticks all the way home and kept saying what a nice man The Stickman was. We discussed why we chose the stick we did and the stones that were on them. The boys thought it was so cool how there were so many different kinds of sticks. They hardly put their sticks down all evening and even put them beside their beds when they went to sleep. Josh even said that he wants to be a stickman when he grows up. And I couldn't keep myself from picking mine up one more time and studying it a little closer before I went to bed either. It was truly a great experience and one our family won't soon forget. Thanks, Stickman. For the sticks, the memory and the joy you share with others by sharing your art.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Music Gene

I love music. I love listening to music, singing, going to concerts, watching musicals, and hope someday to learn to play the guitar I got for Christmas a few years ago. I like all kinds of music and can listen to pretty much anything for at least a little while. My music of preference right now is rock. My husband, too, prefers rock, but from the 80's. Our cd collection is quite varied. We have everything from Beethoven to the Beach Boys, Natalie Cole to Night Ranger, and Flatts and Scruggs to Rascal Flats. My favorite new cd is by Daughtry and it happens to be the one in my car cd player right now. (Chris is the best thing to come out of American Idol if you ask me.)

This love of music that my husband and I have has been passed down to our sons. They both love music and the louder the better. (That they get from their dad alone!) Josh loves to sing and my favorite time that he sings is in church. He sings out loud and proud now that he can read the words. Adam is more of a dancer and likes fast music that he can jump around to. Being a former choir geek, I love that my boys love music. But sometimes I have to wonder. Like the other day we were at McDonald's for dinner and they both started singing some song that I didn't recognize. They said it was a song they heard in Daddy's car the day before. When Arrty got back to the table, I asked him about it. He said, with a twinkle in his eye, "It's from Motley Crue." I had to laugh. My six and seven year old sons were singing Motley Crue. Their parents must have grown up in the eighties! :)

One thing that my boys can say when they're grown is that they were exposed to all kinds of music. And when somebody sings, "Shot through the heart and you're to blame...," they'll know how to finish it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Weekend

Friday--I hosted the birthday party that wouldn't end. Arrty, Adam and I got to a local park at 1:45 to set up. Adam's school friends showed up at the park around 2:15. We played, demolished a poor alligator pinata, ate cupcakes, and opened presents. The kids started leaving at about 4:15 at which time our extended family started arriving for round two. We ate snacks, played catch, told stories, ate cake, and opened presents. After cleanup we headed home at 7:15. Needless to say, our family was in bed and soundly asleep by 9:00.

Saturday--I took a technology test to renew my teaching certification from 8:00 to about 1:15. There were five tasks and I think I did okay. I can play around and figure out most programs well enough to pass. (I hope.) Then I picked up the boys from Grandma and Pappy's house and we headed home for a nap. (Still exhausted from all the birthday festivities.) At 5:00 we went to the church building for an adoption fundraising dinner. We all tried the Thai food that was served and everything was exotic and delicious. After that we took Adam to see "Shrek the Third." (A birthday gift from one of his school friends.)

Sunday--We were at church from 9:00-12:00 and then went to lunch at Outback. Outback is a rare treat, but the Bible class teacher said something about steak and when I leaned over and whispered, "Mmmm, steak," into Arrty's ear, the deal was sealed. You don't have to ask him twice to go out for steak. When we were leaving the restaurant, Josh told me that he named the wooden crocodile outside "Al." "That's a good name," I said. "Joshua is a good name, too," he replied. Then of course I had to tell him AGAIN the story of how we named him. When I was finished, he said, "Thanks for naming me Joshua, Mom. That name rocks out loud!" I love when I do things that rock out loud! :) Sunday afternoon was spent cleaning up the house which still looked like a birthday party exploded all over it.

Monday--I know that this isn't the weekend, but I needed to share about the emergency trip to Target on the way to school. On the drive in to town, Adam suddenly made a sound of disgust and kicked off one of his shoes. Josh looked down and exclaimed, "You're wearing two different shoes!" Apparently Adam had already noticed, hence the sound of disgust. It struck me as funny and I laughed out loud forgetting that Adam DOES NOT like to be laughed at unless he's trying to be laughed at. Needless to say, he was not happy. Knowing how embarrassed he would be if someone noticed his shoes at school, we stopped and bought a pair at Target. (Thank goodness they open at 8:00.) He was happy and I was happy knowing that I had saved my sensitive son from some unnecessary embarrassment. Just as a side note, one of the shoes that Adam had on wasn't even his--it was Josh's! :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Adam D.

My baby turns 6 today. He is quite a character. He is silly and funny and mischievous and charming and lovable and absolutely aggravating. Just when it's time to do something like wash up for dinner or get dressed, he finds some way to make a game out of it. He has always done that from the time he discovered fun. To him, if it's not fun, why do it? Which is a great way to live for a six year old and a great reminder for his sometimes too serious mom. Here are some other things about my wonderful son.

*He loves bugs and one little ant can keep him from getting in the car even when I'm already five minutes late.

*But he's afraid of spiders (I think it's genetic) and they can easily make him squeal like a girl.

*He will only drink strawberry flavored milk and informed me just this morning that I don't need to ask him what kind of milk he wants because he always wants strawberry.

*His favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla and he will order it even at Baskin Robbins.

*He can play outside for hours with just a stick and be perfectly content.

*He loves stuffed animals as much as I did when I was little and has a collection to prove it.

*He doesn't like potatoes and will hardly even eat them french fried.

*He does like carrots and will often choose them over junk food.

*He is a thinker. He asks questions like "Who made God?" and "How can a mommy and daddy choose not to have kids?" (when I was trying to explain why some people don't have kids)

*He chases butterflies in the literal sense and in the figurative sense (meaning that he's not easily distracted once his mind is set on catching that butterfly).

*He collects "puzzle rocks." (You know, those rocks that have been broken apart but can be put back together into their original shape.)

*He believes that all you really need for a good birthday party is cake....

*...but presents are good too and have always made him shake with excitement.

*He loves anything artistic--drawing, painting, play doh, cutting and gluing, etc. And is pretty good at all of them.

*He wants me to lay with him every night at bedtime, but when I do, he scoots as close to the wall as possible so that I don't touch him. I guess just being there is enough.

*He makes me laugh, even when I don't want to. Which makes it nearly impossible to discipline him.

*People say he looks like me. I love that because he is super cute! :)

*He is one of the greatest blessings of my life and will always be my baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Top 10

Top 10 Inventions (for Moms)

1. Disposable Diapers--I know all about the environmental aspect, but since my boys were in diapers at the same time (even the same size for a while), without Pampers they would have probably ended up lying naked on a plastic sheet for most of their infanthood. There's no way I could have kept up with the laundry.

2. Pacifiers--This was a lifesaver sometimes when the thought of a crying child stressed me out. To get rid of it when it was time, I cut the nipple off and told Josh that it was broken. He looked at it, threw it away and never asked for it again. (Adam was a little older and smarter. He knew there was more than one so I had to "break" several.)

3. Sippy Cups--These wonderful inventions saved many carpets, pieces of furniture, and articles of clothing during toddlerhood.

4. M&M's--Packages of these miracle candies should come with instructions for parents. Kids will do almost anything for three M&Ms.

5. Juice Pouches--They are so handy to grab on the way out the door or pack in a lunch box or cooler. And now you can get 100% juice which makes them even better.

6. Shopping Carts with more than one seat--My grocery store of choice got these just in time. Both boys had outgrown the little seat on the back of the cart and loved riding in the little car attached to the front. The steering wheels and horns gave me 14 1/2 minutes of shopping time before any major meltdowns.

7. Prepackaged Snacks--Individually wrapped crackers, granola bars, and applesauce are staples at our house. Convenient and yummy!

8. Triaminic Cough Strips--I've recently discovered these and they are great. They are individually wrapped cough medicine strips that work just like a dose of cough syrup. But they are not nearly as messy and are much easier to carry in my purse.

9. Cameras--One of my very favorite things are the pictures of my boys starting from the day they were born. I'm still stuck in the 90's with a film camera, but I use it often and treasure each picture I get. And on that note...

10. Scrapbooking--I have chronological scrapbooks of my family from the time Josh was born. They are so wonderful because I can organize my pictures but also add journaling which helps keep those memories alive for the boys to read years down the road. (Besides that, you get to use stickers and those cool scissors.) :)

I know that this is a fairly short list and all moms probably have their own things to add, but these are just a few that have made an impact on my mommyhood. I'm sure that as the boys grow so will the list.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

They say that Mother's Day is a day to honor mothers. And that's true. I honored my mother and felt honored by my sons and husband. But more than that for me, it's a day to reflect on myself as a mother. I have this idea of the kind of mother I want to be: godly, gentle, fun, disciplined... And this day each year gives me the chance to do that. This year I feel closer to who I want to be than ever before. Through a very difficult past year, I have had times when I couldn't be the mom I wanted to be to my sons. Physical injuries and emotional distress took away a lot of time and energy from my family. It was the day that I realized that I couldn't take care of my boys that I made my first counseling appointment. It was when feeding and bathing my children became nearly impossible that I fully realized the seriousness of my illness. Thanks to God and some very good doctors, I am now able to not only care for my children the way they need to be cared for, but enjoy doing it as well. I am so grateful for my sons. They are my greatest gifts from above. (And their dad isn't too bad either.) :)

And this year, I'm glad to say that I had a very happy mother's day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What's In Your Wallet?

Yesterday in chapel, Mr. D., the principal, was asking the students to come up front and write on the white board words or phrases to describe their moms. The kids were very sweet and wrote things like cool, nice, appreciates me, believes in God, understanding, and loves plants. Josh was very actively trying to get called on and I thought, "How sweet. He really wants to write something about me." I was wondering what he might write and hoped he would get to go up. Finally he got his chance. As he was writing, he blocked the board and I couldn't see but I waited with anticipation to see the loving, sweet thing that my dear son would write about me. Would he say that I was fun or kind or a good cook? Would he say that I read to him or helped him with homework or taught him things? Then he stepped away and there on the white board, for all the school to see, in his first grade printing, was, "has a lot of money." "HAS A LOT OF MONEY!?!?" First of all, why does he think I have a lot of money? Apparently he wasn't there when I balanced the checkbook Tuesday. And secondly, why of all the possible things he could think of to describe me, does he come up with "has a lot of money?" Just so you all know, I do not, in fact, have a lot of money. I have enough money to pay the bills and feed and clothe our family and occasionally go out to eat. And with out tax refund last week we bought the boys new bikes to replace the ones that they outgrew over the winter. But I do not have A LOT of money.

But I guess to the boy who waits with very little patience for his $2.00 allowance each week, a lot could really be, like $20. And I do have $20. So I guess he was right.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Catch A Wave

Here's the thing about teaching kindergarten. If something out of the ordinary is going on at school on any given day, it's pretty much useless to try to teach curriculum that day. For example, today is wacky beach hair/hat day in celebration of our book fair beach theme. So, we have kids with mohawk waves and shells in their hair and kids wearing hats with beach balls and shells glued to them. And teachers with a combination of all the above. They are all so excited that they can hardly sit still so a phonics or handwriting lesson is pretty much out of the question. So, we did art and read books from the book fair and colored beach pictures. (Which is one of the reasons I love teaching kindergarten. Their attention span closely resembles my own.) All in all, it was a fun day.

It's a good thing, because Thursday is luau dress up day! :)

Monday, May 07, 2007


My "5 Things To Be Happy About" calendar had a good day yesterday.

*giving and receiving
*a humid greenhouse
*organinzing a successful garage sale
*a roast sizzling in the oven
*the sound of wind at night

These are all things that make me happy!

Some of the things that made me happy this weekend were:

*painting with children
*my sister
*remembering why I love my husband
*new bikes
*pictures of my boys when they were babies
*Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo
*feeling healthy
*blessings from above
*book fair set up

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I remember the firsts. The first smile. The first word. The first tooth. The first step. The first day of school. The first time riding a two wheeler. Those are what you are supposed to remember. And it's easy to know when the firsts happen because they've never happened before. But what about the lasts. Will I know when it's the last time they sit on my lap? Or the last time I read them a book? Will I remember the last time they ask for a song at bedtime or for me to lay with them until they fall asleep? Will I wake up and realize the last time one of them crawls in bed with us because he had a bad dream?

Last week I think I had a last.

Until now Josh has taken a bath. Sometimes with his brother and sometimes alone. I fully admit that bathtime is my least favorite time because for some reason it makes my children unable to hear me and they tend to ignore all requests to keep the water in the tub or pull the plug when it's time to get out. (Maybe they have water in their ears!) But last week Josh wanted to take a shower, so I showed him how to get the right water temperature and where to find everything he needed and off he went. When he was finished he dried and dressed and came out ready for bed. He was so proud of himself and he kept asking me if I was proud of him, too. Of course I was. My children taking another step toward independence does make me proud. And honestly, I thought it was a fluke; that he would return to the tub splashing and playing as always. But the last three bath nights he has wanted to take a shower and has gone through the whole process himself. At first I thought, "Ahh, one more thing that I don't have to do for him." But now I wonder.

If I would have known that the last time I helped Josh take a bath was the last time, I would have lingered a little longer over the shampoo. I wouldn't have complained about the splashing. I would have let him play for five more minutes when he asked. But I didn't know. I didn't know that it was the last time that my little boy would sit in the tub and look up at me with bubbles on his chin.

Now, more than ever, I will watch for the lasts. Because they seem to be happening more and more often and I don't want to miss even one.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Catch of the County

Last night some friends and I went back to the 80's. We went to Pizza Hut for dinner. (The same Pizza Hut that I actually ate at in the 80's.) And then we went to a showing of "Dirty Dancing." They were showing it at our local Regal Theater celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release. I admit, with no embarrassment whatsoever, that I have been looking forward to seeing this movie in all of its big screen glory for weeks. I love it. I love the dancing and the music and the 1963 clothes and cars. I love the scenery and the story and the fact that they have a really bad talent show at the end. I love the coming of age that Baby experiences and the fact that the movie is so wonderfully cheesy. But most of all I love Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. (Mostly Patrick Swayze.)

In 1987 when this movie came out, I was 15; the perfect age to fall in love with Johnny and Baby. I wanted to be Baby with her naturally curly hair and her tiny waist and her positive outlook. (And her cute capris and Keds.) And what girl in 1987 didn't want a Johnny. A boy who was older and a little rebellious and a great dancer. Not to mention abosolutely gorgeous. There are just so many moments in this movie that make me smile no matter how many times I watch it. And each time, at the end, I write a sequel in my head where Johnny follows Baby to college and they stay in love and eventually get married and dance their way into retirement together.

So last night, it didn't matter that I'm 35 and a respectable wife and mother or that Patrick Swayze is the same age as my dad or that Jennifer Grey has a new nose. When the most famous line of the movie came near the end, I cheered and clapped and loved every second of it right along with everyone else in the theater. For two hours it was 1987 again and it's truer now than ever that, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."