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


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


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


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


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


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


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.