Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I remember the first time Josh came wobbling over to me with a book in his hand. He climbed on my lap, handed me the book and looked at me expectantly. He couldn't really talk yet, but I knew what he wanted. We had read lots of books together before that, but I'll never forget that first time that he "asked" me to read to him. What fun times I have had reading to my boys. We have shared adventures through our reading and learned a lot about the world and each other. Our whole family loves to read and our house is full of books.

So I wasn't surprised last night when Josh came walking toward me with a book in his hand. He sat down beside me on the couch and said, "Mom, can I read this to you?" Not what I was expecting, but wonderful just the same. He has been reading for a while and has read to me often, but this time was different. He chose a book and came to me to share it. It was great. A little bittersweet, but great. It seems like every day Josh grows up just a little bit more. I cherish each moment, even the challenging ones, because with each moment that he grows up, I grow up a little, too.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Happy Day

On my desk at school sits a daily calendar. (Given to me graciously by someone who knows that I'm needing a few reminders these days.) You know, it's one of those that you tear a page from each day. The title is "5 Things To Be Happy About." Each day there is a list of 5 things that make someone, somewhere happy. Usually one or two are things that actually make me happy and then there are a few that I don't quite get. Like "a cat in a puddle of sun." I don't get that. I am so not a cat person. And "delicate swirls of lace." I don't think I own anything with any kind of lace, especially in delicate swirls. And "red grapefruit." Yuck. But today's page is a good one (parentheses added by me):

-throwing a surprise party (especially for someone you love)
-crayon boxes with sharpeners (64 count Crayola is the best)
-bunny slippers (fuzzy pink ones, of course)
-ornate calligraphy (on antique books)
-going to the movies with friends (chick flicks with sister chicks)

What's not to love? Any one of these would make me happy today or any day.

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Love (Cheap) Books!

I don't really like to shop. I grocery shop because I have to feed my family. I venture into the mall 2 or 3 times a year for school clothes and Christmas gifts. I go to Target once a month for laundry detergent and toothpaste. But yesterday, I went shopping. Kathy and I went to the Scholastic Book Warehouse for their annual clearance sale. (One of the perks of being a teacher.) Every book in the building was $1, $3, or $5. They had hundreds of titles available, and between the two of us, I'm sure we touched every single one. I bought books for my classroom, gifts for family and friends, books for home, and a biography of Mark Twain for myself. I bought calendars, cookbooks, games and toys. I bought books about school to make a basket for our school auction and an antique collecting book for my mom. We had a great time finding our treasures and trying to out-shop the other teachers who were there. (They didn't stand a chance!) Two and a half hours later I walked out with a box full of books worth over $200 for just $60. And if you ask me, that's the only way to shop.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Feuding 101

I just finished creating a presentation on the Hatfields and McCoys for my English class. I was given that topic for my project and was so excited and interested that I researched and wrote it all today. I won't send it for a few days though, so I can go back and re-read it. But, just in case you're not on top of your hillbilly history, here are a few things I found interesting.

1. The Hatfields and McCoys were peaceful neighbors for years. They socialized and intermarried.

2. The most vicious part of the feud was over ownership of a hog. Ole Randall McCoy said it was his. Floyd Hatfield said it was his. A jury of 6 Hatfields and 6 McCoys gave it to Floyd. (One of the McCoys was mad at his family making the verdict 7-5.)

3. Roseanna McCoy and Johnse Hatfield were the Romeo and Juliet of the Appalachian Mountains. Only Johnse wasn't a very good Romeo. He left a pregnant Roseanna after her brothers tried to kill him. (And then married Roseanna's cousin, Nancy.)

4. Dozens of bounty hunters who were sent in to calm the hostility between the two families disappeared without a trace. The National Guard was then called in by the governors of Kentucky and West Virginia.

5. 13 people from the two families died during the feud, but the patriarchs of the families lived to be 80 and 88.

6. In 2003, descendants from the two families gathered and signed a truce. (Just in case any of their pigs escaped the pen, I guess.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Eng. 278

This week is my first week taking a class online. The class is American Literature from the Civil War to present. I was actually disappointed when it was full because I really wanted to take a literature class. But when I went back to put it on my list of preferred classes, there was 1 opening. I was so excited. (I know. Weird.) So I am in the process of reading the section comparing realism with romanticism and trying to determine which I am the most drawn to. Then I have to journal about it and read and comment on the other student's journals. Frankly, I'm not that good at commenting when I don't know someone. I guess I'll just have to pretend like I know them and be honest. And remember that sarcasm doesn't work well in writing.

(Next week we start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I can't wait! Really. I'm not being sarcastic in case you couldn't tell.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To Stay or Not To Stay

A few months ago, Josh was invited to a birthday party at Triple Play. On the way, he said, "Mom, you're not staying are you?" I sucked up my tears, took a moment to let the little tear in my heart heal, and much to his dismay, said that I was in fact staying because it was a public place and I didn't trust just anyone to watch him like I wanted him to be watched. But I assured him that I would stay hidden in the shadows and leave him alone. He agreed reluctantly. (Like he had a choice.) At one point though, during an exciting game of laser tag, he ran into a wall and hurt his arm. And where did he run? To me, standing in the corner. I wanted so bad to say, "See. You need me." But I didn't. I just hugged him, asked him if he was okay, and sent him back to the game.

This past weekend, he attended another birthday party at a friend's house. He again asked me if I was staying. This time, since I know the family and they were not leaving the house, I told him that I was not staying. I was so glad that he didn't cheer or sigh or anything. He just said okay. I guess everything turned out fine. He said the party was fun and his friend liked the gift he took and that his favorite part was playing with their cats. So, we both made it for 2 1/2 hours without each other.

And on the way home, with only the two of us in the car, we had a great conversation about school (how we'd both rather stay home), how many more years of school he has (15 including college), what he wants to be when he grows up (a teacher), how he doesn't think he'd want to be a doctor even if he didn't have to go to school longer (15 more years of school is enough), what we should have for supper (corndogs), and what his dad and brother were doing at home (puzzles and games). I guess that as long as there are these times for talking, I can give him up for a few hours of fun with someone else...just not very often.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wrap It Up

Speaking of Arby's (from yesterday's blog), it turned out to be quite an interesting meal. When I walked in, there was only one other person in the restaurant. She was ordering in front of me and got her order to go. We spoke to each other about ketchup and straws and she made a joke about taking my order instead of her own. Okay, kind of weird, but not bad. But then in walked a woman that I knew would make my solo meal at least a little entertaining. I could just tell. And she did not disappoint. It took her about 5 minutes to order her corned beef wrap--only meat, no cheese, no lettuce, no sauce, nothing but meat. "The Jewish way." Whatever that means. She also wanted extra meat since she wasn't getting the cheese. So she got her order and opened it up right at the counter and was not happy because "last time it was bigger." The guy behind the counter explained that everything is the same, maybe it's just wrapped tighter. She had asked for it to go, but took the bag and sat down at the table directly in front of me. (The building is still empty, mind you.) Oh, and did I mention that she was on the phone the whole time. Not just the phone, speaker phone. The whole time she was ordering and paying and complaining, a person, whom I assumed to be her grown son since I could hear everything, was carrying on a conversation with her. So she sat down, still talking on speaker phone, and began, after further examination of her food, to eat. A few bites into it she jumped up like her seat was on fire and sprinted to the counter. "There's cheese on this wrap. I said meat only." "Where is the cheese, m'am." "Right there, you can see that there was cheese there! You must have put it on and then taken it back off!! I can't have cheese!!! I'm allergic to cheese!!!! And there was lettuce on it but I spit that out!! I just wanted meat!" "Okay, m'am. Sorry, we'll make you a new one." This one was made by one person and supervised by two more just to be sure there was NO CHEESE. And all this time, her poor son was still talking. Pretty soon, he said, "Mom. Mom. Are you there." He must have been used to it though, because just when I thought he had hung up, she came back and they started talking like nothing had happened. He asked her to get some extra horseradish sauce to bring home. They kept talking, and she kept cautiosly eating. She got up and asked for a cup and got some water, all the while loudly continuing her conversation with the phone still sitting on the table. Luckily, I finished eating and stood up to walk out, and just as I opened the door, she was up again and headed to the counter. And from the phone, I heard, "Mom, don't forget the horseradish."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


My sister gives the best gifts. This year for Christmas she gave me Cold Mountain (the book), the new Dixie Chicks cd (yeah!), Grey's Anatomy season 2 (double yeah!!), and a Regal Theater gift card (which we used on Christmas Day). All truly excellent gifts. But on top of all that, she gave me a cd that she made. I got tears in my eyes when I opened it just thinking about all the wonderful songs I knew were on there. I couldn't wait to listen to it, but I knew that to truly enjoy it the way it should be enjoyed, I would need to be alone. So, after several days of Christmas "vacation," my husband agreed that I should go out. (He knows me so well.) So I took myself to dinner (Arby's, but I like Arby's) and a movie (The Good Shepherd).

As I left for my evening out, I put in my much anticipated cd. On it I found a wide variety of artists and styles of music. I heard Jack Johnson, Dixie Chicks, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow and many others. It is the BEST CD EVER!!! Just as I got to the Arby's parking lot, a song about sisters by Dave Matthews came on. I sat there listening and crying and thinking about my sister and how when she laughs it fills my heart and when she cries I feel her tears running down my face, just as the song says. We have always been close, but lately it's been better than ever. We talk more and go to lunch and share all the things that sisters are supposed to. She has become an amazing, strong, smart woman. She is a great mother. And she is my best friend. It's hard to believe that this is the same person who would fight against taking naps and who would sing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song over and over and over just to bug me. Today she would gladly take a nap anytime, anywhere. And now that I think about it, she would still sing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song just to bug me (or make me laugh). I am so thankful for such a wonderful sister and the great cd. Not only is the music great, but her thoughtfulness lets me know that she loves me as much as I love her. And besides that, it's the BEST CD EVER!!!

Monday, January 08, 2007


Today in chapel, our administrator was telling the kids about the change in collecting Campbell's soup labels. Apparently we need the UPC codes instead of the front label now. So in trying to tell the students what the UPC code is, he went into great detail about what it looks like, where it's found, how big it is, and what it's for. He told them how when the checker at the store ran the UPC across the scanner it told how much the can cost and what it was. Then he asked the question, "So, what makes that BEEP!...BEEP!...BEEP! sound you hear at the store?" Silence. Not even the teachers really knew what actually makes the sound. We just swipe our debit cards and hope for the best. But a student in the four year old class knew. He said, loud and proud, "A BOMB!!!" I'm not sure where his mother shops, but I bet the lines move quickly. You never know which can of soup may be your last!

P.S. One of my kindergartners has nominated "Rainbow" to be listed as one of the four seasons. Sounds good to me.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cyber what?

Today is Friday. In Kindergarten every Friday is show and tell day, but in 1st grade, Josh's class, only the first Friday of each month is show and tell day. Show and tell is a big deal. The kids are so excited to show and tell about something important to them. (Or just to show and tell whatever they find in the bottom of their backpack if they forget.) So today, I remembered to tell the boys that it was show and tell day, and they went through Christmas gifts to find just the right thing.

Adam isn't much on public speaking, so he chooses not to show and tell. (He does, however, take a toy to play with after show and tell.) Josh, on the other hand, talks to everyone and makes a new friend wherever he goes, and has no problem with public speaking. Adam chose to take two fly wheels--one to play with and one to share. Josh chose to take the Transformer that Adam bought him for Christmas. It is a T-Rex that changes into a robot. Cool. But just as we got to the end of our road on the way to school, he said, "Oh, no, the cyber key." I knew exactly what he was talking about. I have transformed my fair share of Transformers and know that the cyber key is most important. You must have the cyber key, a quarter sized plastic disc with a little key sticking out one side, to open the secret compartment that allows you to shoot the hidden rocket. So, really, what good is the Transformer without the cyber key. I was late for school already and going back home, unlocking the door, getting the cyber key and getting back on the road would make me 4 minutes later. But show and tell comes only once a month. So I listened to my heart instead of my head and went back. He was thrilled.

I asked him at the end of the day how show and tell went. "Great," he said, "I shot the rocket a few times." All thanks to the cyber key and a mommy moment I can be proud of.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's Official

It is now official. I know with even more certainty that I cannot believe everything that I read. I have been suspicious before when I read articles about people who couldn't have possibly said or done what was written--like in the grocery store checkout line when the cover of a "magazine" told all about the brawl between Jennifer and Angelina over Brad. (I'm pretty sure Jennifer could hold her own. She's stronger than she looks!)

But today, when I read the article on the front page of the Press, I knew without a doubt that what they wrote was absolutely untrue. The headline read "Stomach flu spreads through county." Umm, yeah. I know. I've had it. Then I began reading the article. And I quote, "The bug...lasts 24 hours." 24 HOURS!?!? Then what kind of mutant "bug" have I had for the last 7 DAYS ? That's right, 7 days. That's 144 more hours than 24! I have never in my life been as sick as I have been this last week. Without going into detail, let's just say that what I have been through I would not wish on anyone. (Except for maybe the Press staff writer of the article in question.)

In case you're concerned, I think I'm getting better. And if you don't get this bug, you can thank me. I've apparently had it long enough for all of us.