Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's In A Name?

I am being asked at least once a day if we have a baby name chosen yet. The short answer is no, but the longer answer is this:

When I was pregnant with Josh, I read every baby name book I could get my hands on from cover to cover and made two lists--one with boy names and one with girl names, since we didn't know which he was. Then I gave it to Arrty to confirm or veto each name. Then from there we chose our top two first and middle names on each list and wrote them on a post-it to take to the hospital with us. But then when he was born, we looked at him and looked at the names and they just didn't fit. So we had to rethink the whole thing. Sometime that night or the next morning, Arrty said, "Whatever happened to Joshua?" I answered, "Nothing happened to it." It happened to be third on our list. So we thought about it and decided the day after he was born (not a week or two later like I'm sure will be brought up by certain people in my life) that he was Joshua. And it has turned out to be the perfect name for him even though he prefers Josh these days.

So when I was pregnant with Adam we decided to go in with a list and an open mind concerning names. We did know that he was a boy, so that narrowed down my baby name book reading and list making. Adam was on the top of our name list and happened to fit him when he was born so it didn't take long to decide about that one. And once again it was the right choice. He is Adam through and through.

And this time it's the same. I have gone over and over the name books and written down the names that I like. The field is a little narrower this time because we want a name that starts with "A" or "J" like the rest of the family. (I hate it when Max, Mike, Michelle, and Milly have a baby brother named Ted.) And it will have some kind of biblical meaning like Joshua and Adam. (I hate it when Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have a baby sister Savannah.) And frankly there aren't many "A" or "J" girl's names in the Bible. (Jezebel is out, by the way. And Abby with our last name sounds like a Beatles Album.) So we are having to be creative and use our naming freedom on the middle name. As of today, we have two favorites which both fit our criteria and will go to the hospital with us. Then when we see her little face and look into her little eyes we will know who she is. Until then she is "the baby."

So do we have a baby name chosen yet? No. And kind of.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rock Of Ages

First let me say that 80's rock rocks. Just hearing some of those songs makes me feel young(er) and brings back so many memories. Now let me say that there are three kinds of rock concert attendees. There are those front row chicks (and dudes) who stand for the whole thing and scream and wave their arms and hope to catch thrown guitar picks or get splattered with sweat from the lead singer. Then there are those who sit in the balcony and come to hear the music and experience the event but don't necessarily want to go home with any rock star sweat stains. Then there are the few who want to be in the front row but either can't afford it or didn't buy tickets soon enough and end up sitting in the balcony acting like they're in the front row. I found out last night that I am in the middle group. My husband and I went to see Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon and STYX. We really had a lot of fun and sang along with everybody else and clapped and even screamed a few times. But a front row chick I am not. I watched them from my perch high above and had to smile at their youth and exuberance. And tried to remember if I was ever like that.

The music was great. I absolutely loved hearing all of those songs that I have heard and sang along to 1,000 times being performed live. There's just something about live music that can't be compared to any other musical experience. And those guys in their 50s or maybe even 60s still put on quite a show. It was really fun. But also made me feel just a little old. Here are some of the thoughts I had while watching the show.

Does it really have to be so loud? They could turn it down just a little and it would still be good.
This isn't going to cause my unborn child to have hearing loss is it?
I wonder how the band's hearing is these days.
Just how old are these guys if they started the band in 1971--the year before I was born?
It's a little creepy that shirtless 50-something year old guys are flirting with the 20-something year old front row chicks. Wait, just how old are those front row chicks anyway?
I now know the perfect job for the kids in my class who can't sit still and are constantly making noise--rock star.
How far back in her closet did that woman have to dig to find that outfit from her senior year?
How much Aquanet hairspray did it take to do that to her hair?
I hope that's just her 80's rock concert hair and not her 2008 everyday hair.
How many beers is this guy down the row from me going to drink tonight? I hope he has a designated driver.
I didn't know that I knew so many STYX songs.
Should I go to the bathroom now to beat the crowds during intermission?
I can't believe I just saw "drunk girl" from Saturday Night Live in the bathroom. She should be glad that she stopped hugging strangers before she got to me. I'm not much of a hugger of drunk strangers.
$3.00 for a bottle of Diet Coke. Totally worth it.
I am surprised by the age range of people here--probably 7 years to 70 years.
I didn't know that Def Leppard did that "Hey Kids, Rock and Roll" song.
You would never know that their drummer only has one arm.
I wonder if the boys are in bed yet?
What am I going to do about that problem at school?
I have to remember to make lemon bars tomorrow night for our school auction.
Oh, yeah, back to Def Leppard.
I wonder if they like lemon bars.

Just kidding about that last one, but after 3 1/2 hours of ear blasting 80's rock, I do admit that my mind wandered just a little. But at the end of the night, I was glad we went. We both had a great time and have a once in a lifetime memory. And now when the cd changer goes to "Come Sail Away" or "Armageddon It" or "Can't Fight This Feeling" we can look at each other and smile and remember the night we saw Def Leppard and STYX and REO Speedwagon live. From the balcony.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Warning: Staples Are Sharp

We made it exactly 6 years and 11 months before having to take Adam to the doctor for anything more than a ear infection or check-up. But this morning that all changed.

Every morning before school, the teachers get together to pray. So this leaves the boys alone in my classroom for 10-15 minutes. Well, I guess this morning when I was in prayer, Adam was in the hall reading stories that his class had written that had been displayed on the wall. One fell off while he was reading it, so being the responsible boy that he is, he got my stapler out of my desk and went to put it back up. Somehow, he ended up with a staple in his thumb instead of the wall. And not just sticking in a little so that I could pull it out. But completely in, both sides, just like he meant to do it. He tried to pull it out. I tried to pull it out. It wouldn't budge. So I made arrangements for my class and we headed for the doctor.

The thing about Adam is that he won't cry in front of people. With me he'll let it out, but he hates for others to see him cry. So before we could leave the school, some of the kids saw his thumb and even the older boys were impressed with his injury. And he wasn't even crying, which made him that much cooler. When we got in the car, he did cry a little but not nearly as much as I would have if I had a staple in my thumb like that.

We reached the doctor's office in just a few minutes and within a few more minutes we were in the little room where they apparently remove staples from little fingers. Our family doctor is so great. He has seen the boys since they were born and knows our family very well. He looked at Adam's thumb and explained to him exactly what he was going to do. He had to numb the thumb before pulling the staple out which involved a needle. He told Adam to close his eyes and that he didn't have to watch. Which he did for a second, then he had to look. And it didn't bother him at all. From then on, he watched the whole thing. The doctor was very impressed with how brave he was. And so was I. I was glad because if he would have fallen apart, I probably would have, too. We were all very glad that we had gone in to see the doctor once we saw how deep the staple was. It was completely into his poor little thumb just like if I was putting up a poster or something. Ouch. So, 45 minutes and $179 later, we were done and headed to the pharmacy for antibiotics. And Adam had a bandaged finger, a little jar with his staple in it and a beanie baby to show for it.

So all in all, it turned out okay. And I guess 6 years and 11 months without any major injuries isn't bad for a danger boy like Adam.

Show and Tell

*an acoustic guitar complete with planet stickers ("because they are boy stickers")
*a Webkinz horse (Miss Horsey) and bunny "named Slider because he loves sliding" and Miss Horsey is Slider's mom (I guess that can happen in Webkinz** world.)
*a Spiderwick book from a Honey Nut Cheerios box
*a talking, singing, light up Little Mermaid doll who "has two pairs of lipstick on--red and pink" and "sparkles in her hair"
*a Sleeping Beauty princess doll with a horse drawn carriage (purple, of course)
*a whistle that sounds like a train, a "T" book (everything starts with "t"), and a mini checkers game
*a roll of Smarties candy that K. just picked from the treasure box, and a Barbie cell phone on which K. just dialed 911 and asked for the police to come because apparently her classmates are "driving [her] crazy!" (I know the feeling!)
*another guitar--electric this time with all kinds of buttons that make different kinds of music

**Webkinz is a stuffed animal that comes with a secret code which allows the owner to go online and play games with that animal. It's actually pretty cool. My boys love it because it combines two of their favorite things--stuffed animals and computer games.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today...I am 33 weeks pregnant and have eaten 33 Oreos. (Just kidding. It hasn't been quite that many.)

Today... I learned that just the mere mention of Lucky Charms has the exact same effect on kindergarteners that actually eating the sugary, marshmallowed cereal does.

Today...marks 2 years since my car accident. Two years ago my life was turned upside down when the car I was driving turned upside down (3 times).

Today...I finally settled with the insurance company about my accident. Finally.

Today...I was reminded by a 5 year old that it's okay to say things like, "Yesterday I got 3 new Star Wars action figures--Obi Wan, Luke, and Han," and, "Today I have soccer practice," and, "Tomorrow I'm bringing my guitar for show and tell," when you pray. It's okay to talk to God like he's our friend because he is.

Today...I discussed with my 7th graders the theory of evolution...from a Christian perspective. I love that God is a part of everything we do in our school and that I can freely share my beliefs with my students.

Today...I am glad that tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good Day Sunshine

The sunshine over the weekend was so great...while it lasted. But it at least reminded me that it's possible to have sun instead of snow and I know it will return. Saturday we spent the day visiting with family and playing and sitting in the yard in the sun. We have just enough snow melted to have a border of grass around our yard just wide enough for patio chairs. The rest of the yard is still covered with about a foot of snow. I even told Arrty that it was a good thing that God sent me a sunny day. He knew that I really needed it to lift me up.

Then Sunday we went to church, had Chinese food for lunch and went for a drive around the lake. We were heading toward Sanders Beach, when the boys realized that we were close to The Stickman's house. They were so excited to stop and see him again. We knew he was out because just up the block we saw a couple walking with their dog and they had brand new Stickman walking sticks. The Stickman was as welcoming as always and reminded the boys of the treasures they could take home with them. It didn't take the boys long to choose their five rocks. They love the rocks! And Josh quickly chose his stick mostly because he liked the stones that were on it. But Adam was a little more selective. He picked up and studied many before finally choosing one that had wonderful bug markings and interesting stones on it. And Arrty even left with a new stick that he is looking forward to using on our next walk. Meanwhile, Josh found a 3 inch piece of stick and a piece of sandpaper and started working to sand down the end. By the time we left, both boys had raw sticks and all the supplies they needed to become "stickboys." They even got a mini-lesson on the steps they need to take to finish their sticks. It took some coaxing to get them to leave. I think they would have stayed all day sitting in the sun and working on their new projects. Once we got back on the road, I had to make a new rule. No carving or sanding in the car. But as soon as we got home, they started on their sticks again and are making good progress on their very own woody works of art.

So, thanks once again, Stickman, for the great visit and stories, and especially for making my boys' day by sharing your supplies and love of sticks with them. And for the memories that they will have forever. We'll be by this summer to get a stick with pink stones for their new baby sister. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008


No show and tell report today because the parents of my students are DRIVING ME CRAZY!! (Not you, Kathy. You know I love you.) And frankly, I don't really care what their kids brought for show and tell. They'll be lucky if I even teach their children anything today. They don't read the notes I send home and then complain because I don't let them know what's going on. They don't do the 10 minutes of homework twice a week that I send home and then complain when their children aren't learning fast enough. They don't participate in class projects and then I have to make up where they leave holes. Their kids get into things they're not supposed to and then they blame me (or the other teachers) because we obviously don't watch them well enough. They don't send lunches with their kids and then complain that we don't keep calling cell phone numbers until we find someone who will actually answer. And then they complain that when they didn't call back about their kid's lunch all I gave them was cheese and crackers, string cheese, canned peaches, a granola bar, and fruit snacks from MY OWN LUNCH. (You're welcome, by the way.) So even though the kid's will do show and tell today, I'm not going to pay attention. I'm rebelling for that 30 minutes in protest of parents who don't do what they should and expect, nay demand, that I make up for it. Errgh!!!

(Okay, I admit that only a few parents are like this. Most are great and truly appreciate what I do for their children. Those I love. And I really don't take it out on my students when their parents frustrate me. We learned 3 new special sounds today and practiced counting nickels, adding, and handwriting. And I love all of my students, even if their parents are....not so lovable.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


One of the boys in my class is a child who many would say "marches to the beat of a different drum." He's just a little different. I can sometimes see in his eyes that he isn't at that moment in my classroom, but in another world altogether. He is very bright and enthusiastic about learning, though, and always raises his hand to answer questions. But he gets very agitated if he doesn't get to give his answer. And often says that he "never" gets to answer even though I usually try to include everyone sometime in each lesson.

Today in chapel, this question was asked, "What are some ways we can spend our time?" Some of the answers were playing baseball, reading the Bible, skateboarding, playing computer or video games, swimming, and praising God. This child was raising his hand and as more answers were given, he began waving his hand and making little noises trying to get called on. He was quite frantic by the end of the question time and kept his hand raised even after we moved on to the Bible verse. Actually, the principal had to finally tell him to put his hand down, which brought on the tears since he didn't get to give his answer. So on the way back to class, I asked him what his answer was. The answer, that he was so determined to share with the whole school about how he would spend his time was, "Spring is almost gonna sprung."

And all I could do was smile and think, "I hope so."

Thursday, April 03, 2008


This week on Huckleberries Online, there was a debate about homeschooling. Which was very timely for me because we are seriously considering homeschooling the boys next year. All of my concerns were brought up by the variety of commenters. I'm not concerned about my teaching qualifications since I am a certified teacher and have taught in my own classrooms on and off for the last eleven years. I have even taught my own kids when they were in kindergarten. So I think I can handle the curriculum and scheduling. But what about what other people will say? Should I let that stop me from doing what we all want? My kids are smart, social, "normal" kids and won't all of a sudden start hiding behind me when we go out in public or lose all ability to speak. And they get lots of other socializing with church and family and friends. They get above average grades now in first and second grade. I'm not going to let that slide. We will actually have school everyday and they will learn what they're supposed to. So if they will turn out to be well educated, well spoken, and well rounded, does it matter that some people think it's a little weird?

I have had homeschooled students in my classes at school before, and I am the first to admit that some come in way behind academically and socially. But most come in above average in both areas. I will totally agree that it all depends on the parents and whether or not they are actually homeschooling or just handing the kids a workbook and hoping for the best (or not really caring if they do it or not).

So I guess my dilemmas is this. Is it right for our family no matter what people say? At this point I'm thinking, "Yes." The boys love the idea and it's something that we have wanted to do for a few years now. I just have to get past the point of what people may think about us. But I know that all they'd have to do is talk to my kids for a minute and they'd realize that maybe, just maybe, homeschooling is okay after all.