Thursday, December 30, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things about Christmas vacation.

1. I love it. I love not getting up to an alarm clock other than the one that says, "Hey, mommy," over the baby monitor.
2. We put our Christmas tree up the Friday after school got out. I know that seems late to some people, but it's perfect for me. It's a great way for me to officially declare that I'm ready for Christmas. And it was so much fun to decorate with Julianna this year. She loved looking at all the different ornaments and putting them on the tree. She has also given herself the job of turning on the tree lights every morning as soon as she gets up since she and I are usually the first ones up.
3. I had a great time making Christmas gifts. I made two clocks, 6 frames, a snack tray, a cup cozy, a pen holder, a ribbon shirt with hair clip to match, a treasure box, 5 calendars, peppered pecans, and 3 batches of strawberry jam.
4. Christmas Eve we went to church with my parents and my sister's family where we sang and prayed together. Then back to mom and dad's for West Virginia sandwiches and homemade fries and lots of yummy desserts including homemade cream puffs, no-bake cookies, birds in a nest cookies, lemon bars, rice crispy treats, and buckeyes, which is the official name for this particular dessert. Then we got new jammies. Which I love, love, love.
5. Christmas morning was wonderful. The boys know the routine and were great teachers for Jules. When we got up and were walking down the hall, Adam said, "Mom, is dad going to read the Christmas story before we open our stockings?" "Well," I answered, "he could do it after we open them." "NO. He has to do it first. That's how we do it." Adam wasn't asking to try to put off the reading of Matthew. He was asking to make sure we were sticking with our tradition. I loved that so much. And we did read the wonderful story of Jesus' birth before we opened any presents.
6. There is nothing better than Christmas with a two year old. The boys are still fun and still get excited about their gifts, but oh my goodness, Julianna was sooo excited. She loved every present and wanted to play with everything before she opened her next package. Arrty could hardly keep up with her as he took each baby doll and the tiny pieces that went with them out of the boxes. And how much did I love playing babies with Julianna? I've done Legos and cars and Bakugan and Transformers. And this year I got to do babies and Littlest Pet Shop! Woo hoo!
7. Christmas day afternoon we were back and mom and dad's to open more presents with them and my sister's family. We tried to do one present at a time. That worked for one round I think. Then the kids, especially the girls, couldn't wait. The homemade gifts were a hit again this year. It's a great tradition. As is our new tradition of prime rib for Christmas dinner. Mmmmm. Especially with Ada's loaded mashed potatoes and cream corn, mom's green bean casserole and cooked carrots, and my pink stuff and homemade crescent rolls. I could go for a plate right now, as a matter of fact.
8. After the busy week before Christmas, I was looking forward to a relaxing second week of vacation. And that's what it's been. Reading and movies and playing with the kids. (Except for Monday when I was sick with some kind of stomach bug. Ugh.) I can't count how many hours I've played games with the boys and followed Julianna around doing whatever she wanted to do. I have loved spending so much time with her. She is growing up so fast. Turning into a little girl right before my eyes. A little girl who says things like "actually" and "of course" and "let's pretend..."
9. And speaking of growing up, she has also been potty training. One thing about being of advanced maternal age is that I'm way relaxed about things like potty training. She wasn't interested during the summer so we waited until now. And she is doing really well. She is so proud of herself and loves all the clapping and cheering I do to encourage her. Could I have pushed her earlier? Probably. But why would I want her, my very last baby, to grow up any faster than she already is. Her last diaper, or pull-up, will be my last one, too.
10. Did I mention that I love vacation? I do. I really, really do.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm still here.

Still recovering from Christmas. And snowed in at the moment. But here, none the less.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Just thought I'd check in this morning. It's been a busy but wonderful first 3 days of vacation. Monday was spent cleaning house and taking the boys to the dentist. (No cavities! Woohoo!) Tuesday we celebrated my lovely sister's birthday with dinner, cake, and gifts at mom and dad's. And I had another good day yesterday watching movies and visiting with some more of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Today will be spent finishing (hopefully) last minute Christmas crafts and wrapping the gifts hiding under a blanket in my bedroom. And hoping that the boys' big gift gets here in time for the big day.

Hope you have a great Christmas Eve eve.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Phew!

I survived. I made it through the week before Christmas vacation with kindergartners. It's not easy, let me tell ya. They are always on hyper-drive, but this time of year they are on double hyper-drive. Everything is Santa and presents and candy canes and tinsel. They are doing all kinds of fun, exciting holiday stuff at home and the energy carries on into the classroom. But after so many years teaching kindergarten, I'm ready for it. And we all made it through and had some fun on the way.

I also had the pleasure of teaching Bible class this week. (We combine preschool through 2nd grade and have one big Bible class with four teachers taking turns teaching.) I was glad to get to teach the story of the birth of Jesus. Most of my students have heard the story so many times that they could teach the class. They know all about the angels and the shepherds and Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. So I tried to make it fresh. I used picture cards to tell the story the first time and then reviewed the next day adding more to it. But as we reviewed, it went something like this:

"Then the angel came to Mary and said, 'I have good news. Your pizza is here!'"
"NO! She's going to have a baby."
"Ohhh. That's right. A baby. Then Mary and Joseph headed to New York for the census."
"NO! Bethlehem!"
"Bethlehem. Right. When they got there they started to look for McDonald's."
"NO! The inn."
"Oh, yeah. The inn. They found the inn and they had lots of rooms left."
"NO! There were no rooms!"
"Oh, that's right, no rooms. So they had to stay at the mall."
"NO! In the stable!"
"The stable. Right. Then baby Jesus was born and they put him in a nice, warm crib."
"NO! The manger."
"The manger? Really?"
"YES!"

The kids thought it was great fun teaching the teacher. And hopefully they got the idea and don't go home telling their parents that Mary and Joseph went to McDonald's.

We also had our school Christmas play this week. Adam was Joseph and Josh was a donkey seller. The cutest Joseph and donkey seller ever, if I do say so myself. It was really cute. My class was angels and we only had one angel robe over the head and one lost halo. Not bad. The parents love it, and that's what matters.

Then yesterday we had a little party for our class. There were lots of treats and goodies. It was fun to share in the excitement of the season with my class who love it so much.

And last night when we got home, we decorated our Christmas tree. I like to wait until school's out for vacation to decorate. I'm just never quite ready until then. The kids have been wanting to put up the tree since Thanksgiving, so we told them we'd do it the last day of school. And that's what we did. Julianna had so much fun looking at everything. The rest of us have seen all the ornaments before, but it's the first year she's really been able to join in the fun of the tree. And it's lovely with all the hodge podge of ornaments and snowflakes and icicles.

So here I am today, with a semi-short list of things to do and a whole Saturday with absolutely nothing planned. It's the perfect start to a two week vacation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Treats

Today is National Cupcake Day. Who knew? If I would have known yesterday, I would have made cupcakes for you all. But since I didn't, this one will have to do.

Happy National Cupcake Day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Mode

So this morning Kathy walked into my classroom and it was kindergarten chaos. I had just asked them to line up and well, they weren't listening. Instead they were chattering and bouncing. She gave me a look that said, "What's going on in here?" Or maybe, "I thought MY class was bad." "Watch this," I said. "Who put up your Christmas tree this weekend?" 8 little hands shot up. I knew it. I can tell when the tree goes up at home. Might as well start vacation now. They are in Santa mode.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catch up

After 30 straight days of posting, I guess I needed a little break. I started a few posts but just wasn't in the mood. So in case you're wondering what I have been up to, here's a synopsis of my week.

Saturday--School craft fair. Sold some Avon. Went home and crashed.
Sunday--Church. Chinese food. Church children's Christmas party. Cookies. Crafts. Santa. Almost hit a deer on the way home.
Monday--Memorial service for an amazing 93 year old sister in Christ. Soup and salad for lunch. Took a nap (ahhh). Cleaned the house. Bible study group at our house.
Tuesday--School. Costco. Mom and dad's house. Home.
Wednesday--School. After school care duty. Bible class. Home.
Thursday--School. After school care duty. Target. Home.
Friday--School. Movie party for the entire student body. (Who's bright idea was that, anyway?) Cleaned up popcorn and Skittles. Helped make curtains. Costco (again). Dollartree. Mom and dad's house to pick up the boys. Home.
Today--Up at 6:03 with Jules. Sears. McDonald's with my sister, niece and nephew for breakfast and playland. Downtown. Figpickles. Gingerbread houses. Back to Figpickles. Dropped off nephew. Home.

There you have it. And in case you're wondering, I've also been mitzvahing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Thank goodness it's Friday

I am exhausted. I've had a really long week and have had a sore throat for the past three days. When I get finished with work tonight, I will be setting up my booth for tomorrow's craft fair at our school. Then I can go home. And then be back at 8:00am tomorrow to hopefully sell a lot of Avon. If you're in our neighborhood, stop by and say hello and do a little shopping.

Today's Mitzvah: My class. We did lots of fun things today and played to learn. And they had free time after show and tell to play with what they brought.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

10 Things Thursday

I had this "10 things on my Christmas list" post going for today and then got to #7 and couldn't think of anything else to add because I was thinking about all those people who would love to make lists but can't because they aren't going to be having much of a Christmas this year. Sometimes I have days when I feel sorry for myself because I have to work and my husband only works part time and can't find a decent full time job. Poor me. I have to get up every morning to go to work. But I have a job. Poor me. We barely make enough to pay our bills. But we pay our bills. Poor me. I can't go out to dinner this week. But I have plenty of food to cook at home. My poor kids. They're not getting that expensive video game they want for Christmas. They're only getting 3 gifts instead of 4. Poor, shmoor. We have a roof over our heads and working heat. We have a month's worth of food in our pantry and fridge. We all have warm coats and boots and gloves. And my kids have more toys than will ever get played with enough to wear them out. We are not poor. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Do we have financial struggles? Yes. Do I have to watch what I spend? Yes. Every day. Do we have everything we need and many of the things we want? Yes, yes, yes. We have been given so much over the past few years. This year I want to be a giver. So I'm not going to post a Christmas list today. I'm going to post "10 things I can do to give to others this Christmas season."

1. Donate to the food bank or food boxes at church.
2. Help wrap and deliver gifts from our church's Giving Tree.
3. Look around my house for unopened toys and gifts to share with others.
4. Choose a name for the Giving Tree to give to.
5. Join together with others (at work, at school, at church) to support a needy family.
6. Skip my weekly lunch out or trip to Dutch Bros. and give the savings away.
7. Encourage the children in my life to be givers.
8. Encourage the grown ups in my life to be givers.
9. Share what we have, whatever it might be, with those less fortunate.
10. Pray. Pray for those who need jobs. For those who are discouraged. For those who are in need. Just pray.

The great thing about this list is that YOU can do many of these things, too. Join me in finding a way to give.


Today's Mitzvah: Julianna. Today is her half birthday. She is two and a half years old. So I am going to give her a little pair of Dora socks (she loves socks) and a pair of purple, sparkly slippers (she loves shoes, too). Happy Half Birthday, Sweet Girl.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Chain, chain, chain

For the last several years I have bought the kids these little cardboard advent calendars. You open one door each day to get a little piece of chocolate to count down the days until Christmas. They really liked them. But this year I didn't see them when I was shopping so didn't think to buy them. Until last night on my way home. But it was sort of a blizzard and I had a half an hour drive home so I wasn't stopping for anything. (Except a chai latte. My yummy new friend from Dutch Bros.) So last night as I lay in bed, I was thinking of how I could make my own advent calendar with treats each day. And I had a great idea. (Many of my great ideas come while I'm trying to fall asleep. Hmmm.) I thought that I could make a construction paper chain with numbers 1 through 24 on one side and a riddle or hint written on the inside leading the kids to somewhere in the house where their treats would be hidden. Fun. Free. (Because I have enough treats stashed in the pantry and at school to give 3 each day and not even notice.) Brilliant. So this afternoon while my students were having rest time and watching Toy Story (again), I made my chain. And much to my relief, I was able to think of 24 places to hide treats and 24 clever hints to lead to them. After dinner tonight, I introduced Josh, Adam, and Julianna to the chain. They loved the idea! Woohoo! Here it is.


And here's today's hint: Some people say I'm slow, but I can win a race even against a rabbit.

Any guesses?

The more links I added, the more excited I got about this little activity. (I also started making a list of the hiding places in order so that I didn't have to try to remember what I was thinking for day 22.) I hope it is as fun as it has started out to be. And I really hope I remember to hide the next day's treats every night.

By the way, this was today's mitzvah. My something special for someone special.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 in 30

This, my dear readers, is my 30th and final NABLOPO post. I did it! I actually posted every day during November. And it wasn't even as hard as I thought. Granted some of my posts were short and not in the least bit informative/entertaining/moving/brilliant. But there's always tomorrow.

Which, by the way, starts Mitzvah December. Here are the Mitzvah rules. Okay, so there are no rules. But here are a few things I do.

1. The mitzvah has to be something I wouldn't do already. My sister's birthday is December 21st so giving her a gift on that day doesn't count because I'd do that anyway. (Notice how I dropped that information in there, Ada?) Ditto for Christmas gifts.
2. The mitzvah should be planned ahead of time. But not so much that spontaneous mitzvahing is stifled.
3. The mitzvah should be meaningful. If I gave Kathy some tomatoes and a raspberry smoothie it would not be an act of kindness. Now coffee and chocolate. That would be a mitzvah for her.
4. The mitzvah should be explained when appropriate. I plan to do some anonymous mitzvahing, too.
5. The mitzvah should cost very little if anything. It's truly the thought that counts.

I can hardly wait to get started.

Have a terrific Tuesday and if you are in North Idaho, be careful out there in the winter weather.

Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for children's prayers. They are so honest and open and wonderfully full of faith and love when they talk to God. It makes me happy and I know it makes him happy, too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gloves

I would be so very appreciative is someone would figure out a way to keep the inner lining of kid's gloves in the fingers of said gloves. I spend several minutes of my life everyday trying to fit little fingers into gloves whose lining is not where it should be. And several more minutes trying to explain to the owner's of those little fingers that it is not, in fact, the way I'm pulling their gloves on but the gloves themselves causing the trouble.

Oh, and while you're at it, could you install some kind of locaters in kid's gloves, too. I'm already tired of accompanying kindergartners to the "lost and not found."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blessed Sunday

Over the past few days I have been blessed by spending time with my family. A lot of time. We watched movies, played games, and ate turkey and pumpkin pie. Most of the time has been restful. But there have been moments when the extended time together and close proximity to each other has been a little stressful. Like when the kids couldn't decide on which movie to watch. Or when Chewie kept accidentally shooting R2 during a serious game of Lego Star Wars on the Wii. But there have also been those moments like when my sweet daughter lay giggling with Adam as they snuggled together to watch a movie. And when Josh sat and held my hand for the longest time just to be close to me. And when the five of us laughed and played and loved each other. And there have been those moments when I just take a deep breath and smile. Those moments that I treasure in my heart. Those moments that happen and I'm not sure how I got here. To be this person who's been a wife for 18 years and a mommy for 11. But here I am. And it's a blessing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Get a clue.

I played Clue with the boys last night. It would go a lot faster if they wouldn't act out each suggestion with the tokens and weapons. Who knew that the red Miss Scarlett piece could hold a revolver?


Today's thanksgiving thought:

I'm thankful that the boys in the family are in charge of snow removal. As much as I hate washing dishes, at least I'm warm when I wash them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

White Friday

I am heretofore declaring the Friday after Thanksgiving as "White Friday." The complete opposite of "Black Friday." If you are one of those people who goes out at 4am to shop on this Friday, I hold no ill will against you. I do, however, think you're a little crazy. I looked at the ads yesterday and saw exactly 3 things I would have bought had I gone shopping today. And one of those I can get tomorrow when we go into town for Thanksgiving Dinner #5. So even though my Christmas budget is very strict this year, saving $10 was not in the least bit worth braving the weather and the crowds.

Now on to "White Friday." Here's what I'm going to do to celebrate.

1. Cook a turkey since we ate at mom and dad's yesterday. I love leftovers and so I will cook Thanksgiving dinner at our house today. (#4, by the way.)
2. Watch movies and eat popcorn and drink soda. Any movie is fine. Whatever we can all agree on.
3. Read. I am at the moment reading a book of short stories by O. Henry. And Emma by Jane Austin. (Yes, I sometimes read more than one book at a time.)
4. Work on my Christmas list. It's already started, but I now have a few handmade gift ideas to add. (I love our family's new tradition of handmade gifts.)
5. Organize gifts I've already bought. Mostly stuff for the kids and stocking stuffers.
6. Fill out my Mitzvah calendar while enjoying the perfect cup of Earl Grey.
7. Take pictures of the kids playing outside in the snow. It will hopefully be warm enough today.
8. Hem Adam's snow pants. (Probably before #7 occurs.)
9. Decidedly NOT go shopping.

So basically, "White Friday" is a day to relax. A day to only do things I want to do. A day to spend at home surrounded by the ones I love. It's the very best kind of day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

10 Things Thursday

How can today's 10 things be anything other than 10 things I'm thankful for.

1. God. He is good and takes care of me inside and out.
2. My husband. He is my safe place.
3. My children. I love them more than I ever thought possible.
4. My family. Mom, dad, my sister and her family. They make days like today so very special.
5. A warm house. Where I know that my family can sleep tonight without a care in the world.
6. Good tires. Driving in the snow is not fun for me. It's good to know that I'm as safe as I can be.
7. My job. One day last week I found myself thinking, "I love my job." It hasn't always been that way.
8. Delicious food. Today was full of it.
9. Laughter. Today was also full of this.
10. You. Chances are that if you are reading this blog, you have somehow, sometime, enriched my life. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yeah, Minnie!

Last weekend I took Julianna to see Disney On Ice. (Adam was our date.) I wanted to take her, but didn't want to spend the extra money. But when she saw the commercial on tv and squealed and jumped and danced, I knew it would be worth it. So Saturday afternoon we headed to Spokane to see Mickey and Minnie as they celebrated all kinds of special days.

Not long now. Five minutes until showtime!

Lumiere inviting us to be their guests.
Lots of Disney friends. Who could possibly be in that giant cupcake?! It was Mickey and Minnie and friends. The cupcake led to an unbirthday party in Wonderland with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and their friends. This is a Mardi Gras celebration with the cast of The Princess and the Frog. (Which, by the way, is the Disney movie with the best music.)

Then Valentine's Day with Minnie, her Fairy Godmother and the Disney princesses.

The princesses.

Prince Mickey joining the fun.

Tiana and Prince Naveen.

Mulan and Li Shang.
Snow White and Prince Charming.
Jasmine and Aladdin. Belle and Beast. Ariel and Erik. Chinese New Year's festival. Japanese Cherry Blossom festival. Minnie--Julianna's favorite. Summer vacation in Hawaii with Lilo and Stitch. Hawaiian fire dancer. (Yes! There was fire on the ice!)
Sorcerer Mickey. Dancing brooms from Fantasia. They were kind of creepy. But not as creepy as Jack the Halloween king and his minions. The villains were kind of cool, though. Captain Hook, Cruella DeVille, Jafar, and several wicked stepmothers. More villains celebrating Halloween. Toy Story friends joined in the final celebration--Christmas! Santa Goofy. Mickey and Minnie on Santa's sleigh. Finale complete with pyrotechnics. Saying Goodbye.

It was such a fun time. Julianna loved it! (Except for the witches and brooms.) She loved Minnie the most and if you ask her about it, that's what she'll tell you about. I'm so glad I was able to take her and that Adam was able to share in the fun, too. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner #2*

Today at school, the PTO put on a full turkey dinner for all the students and families at our school. It's a tradition that has been happening for years. It was great. It's one of the few times during the year when almost all the parents join their kids at school. All but one of my students had someone come to share lunch with them. (She was temporarily adopted by another mom and was fine.) And I got to share the time with my family enjoying lunch, too. And now, in 51 short minutes, I will begin my much anticipated Thanksgiving break. And I must get home as soon as possible to perfect my cheeseball recipe for the 2nd Annual F. Family Cheese Off.

*Dinner #1 was at my turkey class a few weeks ago. It was good, too.

Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for active parents. Some parents are great supporters of the school and do so much for the students and staff. Here's a big shout out to Jackie and Patty. Ladies, you rock!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snowy Days and Mondays

I was planning a trip to the grocery store after work today, but was not at all looking forward to it, and really began to dread it when I saw all the snow this morning. On days like this, when the roads are treacherous, I just want to get home as soon as possible. So I decided to take my hour of prep time today and run to the store. I got there, shopped, paid, and got back in just under an hour. Not bad considering I got all the necessities plus all the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. And since I spent over $50, I got my turkey for 23 cents a pound. A twenty-two pounder for just over $5. What a deal!

Just as I pulled into the parking lot, though, I realized that I left my grocery list at school. Yikes. I worked on that list all weekend. So I grabbed a piece of paper I found in the car and scribbled down my list again hoping I would remember everything. And I did! The lists matched! I'm pretty sure it was a mini-miracle.

So I am all shopped for the holiday. (Except for the pumpkin pie that I'll get from Costco tomorrow.) And I'm so looking forward to the next few days. Ahh, Thanksgiving.

Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for people who actually return their shopping carts to the appropriate place instead of leaving them in the middle of the parking lot. Even when the parking lot is covered with snow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blessed Sunday

Remember last year when I did Mitzvah? It's a simple act of kindness. The way I did it was to print out a blank calendar and fill in each day with a name (or two or three) of someone to whom I would like to show an act of kindness. Sometimes it was a word. Sometimes a note. Sometimes a gift. The exercise of intentionally showing kindness every day was such a blessing. So I think I'll do it again. From December 1st through December 31st I will go out of my way to be kind to a specific person (or two or three). Join in the Mitzvah fun if you'd like. It's fun and its a blessing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catch Up

So I realized that I've not included thanksgiving thoughts for the last 8 days. I guess I forgot that I was supposed to be doing those each day. So here's 8 things I'm thankful for to catch up.

Hot chocolate--As hot drinks go, hot chocolate is tops. Followed by a good cup of Earl Grey tea as a close second.

A good pen--Preferably blue ink with a click top, not a cap. One that writes smoothly and doesn't smear. It gets bonus points if it's pretty.

Lists--Lists keep my life in order. Grocery lists, to-do lists, Christmas lists, lists of goals and books to read. Lists are good.

Fuzzy socks--I don't wear socks if I don't have to, but a comfy pair of fuzzy socks on a cold day is nice.

Silence--Silence is not a common occurrence in my life. There are very few moments when it's even a possibility. But that makes me appreciate it all the more when it does happen. I take a deep breath and enjoy every second.

Finishing a project--Is there any better feeling than completing a big project? Being able to stand back and look at what I've done and know it's finished creates such a feeling of relief and sense of accomplishment.

Cameras--I love to capture the moments of my life on film...or disk. And I have such cute subjects to photograph.

And today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for the coming week. 2 days of school with one being a day of celebration and then 5 glorious days to read and snuggle and watch movies and eat turkey and be thankful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Note to self:

Do not take shoe loving toddler shoe shopping.


She wanted these.
And these.
And these.


What she got was these (except black and red).

I know, I know. They are not pink. But they were only $12.00. The pink ones were $33.00. I can't pay $21.00 for pink. But I'm not completely heartless. She also got these.
Payless is having their buy one get one for 1/2 price sale so I got them for $5.50. They have those cool red lights that light up when she walks. She loves them. She's so going to want to sleep in them tonight.


(The boys also got new boots. Yikes! Men's sizes cost way more than youth sizes. Hopefully they'll last two years.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things about today.

1. It snowed. I brushed at least two inches off the van this morning.
2. The boys do not have snow boots. I started to tell them to wear their boots, but then remembered that there is no way they can wear last year's boots. They've each grown at least a shoe size and a half since then.
3. When the first snow flies, kindergartners go crazy. It's like snow is sugar and they have all eaten handfuls before school.
4. The sun came out and melted the snow. Which is just fine with me.
5. I finished my report cards. Just in time for my parent/teacher conferences tomorrow.
6. I have not, however, done my assignment from last weekend's turkey class. I have to do a simple summary to earn my U of I credit.
7. We've done one turkey project. And I have at least two more planned for next week.
8. I was able to sing today. I couldn't yesterday.
9. Tonight is our last Dynamic Marriage class. I'll tell you all about it soon.
10. I looked at the leaked Black Friday ads online. I almost thought about shopping that day. Almost.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Word of the Day

Today's word: frustration.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two For Tuesday

Two things Julianna said this morning.

"I do it myself!" Every mother's dream...and nightmare. It's a dream because it signals a little independence and maybe, just maybe, I won't have to put her socks on her for the rest of her life. And a nightmare because she always wants to do it herself when we have exactly 12 seconds to get out the door if we're going to be on time and it takes her a lot longer than 12 seconds to put on her socks. (She also wanted to put on her pull-up and then wear her pants pulled down around her knees so that you could see the princesses on her pull-up.)

"Mommy's so cute right now." She composed a song (of course) using this phrase over and over and over. It may have been the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Report Cards

Doing report cards for kindergartners is hard. It's very subjective. There are no number grades at this point. Actually there are very few number grades the whole year. So I sit down with each student with a list of what I've taught so far and see what they know. Sometimes they know it all. Sometimes they struggle. But that's okay. This is kindergarten. We are just learning to learn.

Tonight I will fill out report cards based on my evaluations and the written work we've done. I'll see where my students are excelling and I'll see what we need to work on. Then on Friday I'll share that information with their parents at conferences and we'll continue on our journey.

And I'll write 9 times in the comments, "A pleasure to have in class." Just kidding. I'll only be writing that 8 times.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blessed Sunday

Is it cheating on Blessed Sunday to just say that I'm blessed? Blessed to overflowing. Not my checking account. It certainly isn't overflowing. But so many other areas of my life are. And so I feel blessed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Explanations...

...about yesterday's post.

Jules was feverish. All day Thursday, all day Friday and into this morning. She is much better now. Back to her old self--playing, laughing and being silly.

Arrty and the boys are almost done building the fence around a new run for the dogs. We wanted them to be together this winter to be able to play in the snow and sleep in the same house for extra warmth. It's almost done. Just a few finishing touches to the gate. I am so happy about this fence. I can't even tell you.

Last night and today I attended a Project Wild class called "Wild About Turkeys." Who knew there was so much to learn about wild turkeys? Did you know that turkeys make 28 different sounds? And you thought it was just "gobble, gobble." I actually missed the early morning turkey hunting session today because I stayed home to make sure Jules was okay. (There were no turkeys harmed in the hunt. It was just with cameras and binoculars.) She ended up going to the second half of today's class with me. She was great. She whispered and did her puzzles and colored. It was a great class. I have some new great ideas for this month.

The leftovers comment comes in from last night's dinner. The Fish and Game Department fed us a full turkey dinner last night as part of our class. Kathy and I were counting up the number of turkey dinners we were going to have this month. At least 5 for me. But, we decided, at least we wouldn't have leftovers from this first one. Alas, Jamie (who rocks the Cabela's cafe) came into our class and offered the leftovers to whoever wanted them. We gave everyone a chance to claim them, but when they didn't, we did. What could we do? So I came home with a to-go box full of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, a roll, and even a little cup of gravy. Leftovers after all.

It's been a busy, fun, exhausting weekend. And I didn't even mention the tea party yet.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday

Jules is feverish.
Fence is getting built.
Turkey class.
Leftovers.

More on all that later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Things Thursday--Double Scoop

The top 20 movies as rated by Zagats.

20. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
19. Finding Nemo (2003)*
18. The Third Man (1949)
17. The African Queen (1951)*
16. The Pianist (2002)
15. All About Eve (1950)
14. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
13. Citizen Kane (1941)
12. It Happened One Night (1934)
11. Rear Window (1954)
10. Singin' In The Rain (1952)*
9. The Lady Eve (1941)
8. The Wizard of Oz (1939)*
7. Star Wars (1977)*
6. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)*
5. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)*
4. Schindler's List (1993)
3. Casablanca (1942)*
2. The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
1. The Godfather (1972)

*The ones I remember seeing.

How many have you seen? What others should be included in this list? Any that shouldn't be on the list?


Today's thanksgiving thought:

I'm thankful that I get to be home today to catch up on to do lists.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A rose by any other name...

In a parenting magazine I was reading recently, I came across this poll.

Have you ever had second thoughts about your child's name?
Yes--44% No--56%

It made me think about my own children's names. Josh was named after he was born since we didn't know if he was a boy or a girl. We had a list of our top two names for both, but Joshua was #3 and didn't make the "hospital" list. I almost feel like he named himself. After staring at him for awhile, his name just was. Adam, on the other hand, was named before he was born, if only in my head. I knew that even though I thought of him as Adam, we'd have to meet him to see if it stuck. It did. And it didn't take long for either boy to become their names. I can't imagine them being anything other than Josh and Adam.

Julianna, coming into our family so much later, felt different all the way around. First we needed a semi-biblical name since the boys had biblical names. (It bugs me when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have a sister named Savannah or Meghan or Tiffany.) And we wanted her name to start with an A or J to fit into the family mold. That limited our options, but there were still some good ones: Abigail, Ariel, Anna, Joanna, Julia, Jordan, Jezebel. (What?! You don't like Jezebel?) But I kept thinking of putting Julia and Anna together to make Julianna. Not a traditional Bible name, but still. We were definitely not certain of her name when we drove to the hospital on her birthday. We wanted to meet her and hold her and see who she was. I have to admit that I kind of loved the name Julianna Grace. It just sounded so good together. But I knew that it was a big name. And would need a little girl with a big personality to fill it. I hoped the little girl joining our family was just such a girl. Once all the commotion was over and it was just her, her daddy, and I in the hospital room, I held her and looked at her and somehow just knew that she was Julianna. And although it did take me a little while to get used to such a big name for such a tiny girl, I can't imagine her being anything but Julianna.

How about you? Any second thoughts?



Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for hope.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

And just when I thought I'd heard it all...

A. (age 3): "Teacher, M. (age 6) just said she was going to kick my a**."

Oh. My. Goodness.



Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful that it is the 43rd day of school and I am on lesson 43 in my curriculum. Woohoo!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cleanliness

I don't know how much time you've spent on an elementary school playground lately, but I've spent quite a bit. There's this thing that kids do on the swings and have for as long as I can remember. If two of them start swinging side by side at the same speed, they say, "You're in my shower," or "Get out of my shower." I don't know why. But it is better than several years ago before "shower" replaced "toilet."

Anyway, today at recess, Julianna was swinging next to one of my kindergartners. When they were swinging together, K. said to Jules, "You're in my shower." To which my new to the playground toddler replied, "No, I took a bath yesterday."

Today's thanksgiving thoughts:
(4 of them since I haven't included any on my posts since Thursday.)

I am thankful for high school theater. It makes me happy.
I am thankful for Saturdays. Mostly because sometimes I get a nap.
I am thankful for leftovers. It means I don't have to cook dinner.
I am thankful for my sweet niece, Abby. Her hugs everyday make my day.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Blessed Sunday

There are lots of little traditions that our family does on different occasions throughout the year. We watch the Peanuts holiday movies on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We follow the Irish tradition of putting candles in all our windows at Christmas. On Valentine's Day we go to the store, pick out cards for each other, read them and then put them back. On the first day that the temperature hits 70 after a long winter, we roll down the windows in the car and yell, "We love 70!" to any and all who care. On Christmas Eve, Arrty reads the Christmas story from one of the gospels after we get home from my folks' house where every year we eat West Virginia sandwiches and open one present containing new pajamas.

And on the day when the time changes and we "fall back" an hour, instead of sleeping in that extra hour, we get up at regular time and spend it going out for breakfast. So that's what we did today. Adam, Julianna, and I shared the Huevos Grande; a ham, bacon, and cheese omelet, home fries, and biscuits and gravy. It was grande. We all got full and still brought some home. It's really fun and like all those little traditions, it has become a blessing that creates memories for our family.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Paying Dues

Every once in a while some kids at school will form a club. In kindergarten it's usually something like the Unicorn Club where the only rules are that you have to love unicorns and no boys allowed. Or the Pink Club where the only rule is that you have to wear something pink everyday. That rule negates the necessity for the "no boys" rule. Those clubs are mostly fun. Unless someone who wants in is excluded.

But there are some clubs that we join without wanting to. Clubs that we are a part of because of who we are or what we've been through. Clubs with others like us. Others with whom we share something. Something we'd rather not share. I've had this club idea for a while since that episode of Grey's Anatomy where George's dad dies. And Cristina tells him that he's in the Dead Dads Club. She says, "You're not in it 'til you're in it." That's how some clubs work. We're not asked to join. We don't sign on any line. And yet we find ourselves a member. And we're not in it 'til we're in it.

I am an unwilling member of the Crazy Club, whose members have gone through anxiety/panic/depression. I don't mean to make light of it in any way by calling it crazy. But that's how it feels to me. I was initiated into this club a few years ago after my car accident and struggling with post traumatic stress. Which led to severe panic attacks and anxiety disorder and deep depression. The thing about the Crazy Club is that I didn't really know I was in it. It took a long time and some dramatic episodes and some professional help to introduce me to the club. Before I was in the club, I didn't even know there was one. Why would there be a club? Just snap out of it. Or pray out of it. Or count your blessings till you get out of it. From the outside I didn't understand it. I didn't know the rules. Or the dues that needed to be paid. I didn't know the other members or that I would soon be the club president. I wasn't in it 'til I was in it.

Someone I love more than anything in the world is in two clubs to which I don't belong. And like me, she never intended or planned or wanted to be in either. Things happened and people happened and the unthinkable happened and there she is. In the clubs. Two clubs for which she is continually paying dues. Dues that I wish she didn't have to pay. Dues that break her heart. Dues that are unfairly charged. But dues nonetheless. And these clubs that she's in? These terrible clubs with unfair rules? She wasn't in them 'til she was in them.

These clubs that we can find ourselves in are too numerable to list. You are in clubs that I'm not and can't be in. And some of my clubs you can't be in. You may be in a club that I don't even know exists. Or you may change clubs in the blink of an eye. One day you're in the Married Club and the next you're in the Widowed or Divorced Club. One day you're in the Employed Club and the next you're in the Unemployed Club. One day you're in the Pregnant Club and the next day you're not. One day you're in the Sane Club and the next thing you know you are an unwilling member of the Crazy Club. And it remains true for each club that you're not in it 'til you're in it.

All we can do is pay our dues and hope they're not too high. And to not forget that there are others in our club. Others who will understand. Others who have been in the club for awhile and might be able to help us. And someday we might be the one who's been there for awhile and just might be able to help new members navigate their way.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Show and Tell

two Fur Real Friends cats that T. got for her birthday this week (Julianna LOVED them and so I now know what to get her for Christmas.)

a tiny ceramic pirate bear that's "really special" from Walmart

a toy motorcycle that A. got for his birthday from his brother that's "very special" and "it's very special" and "it's very special" and "it's very special" ... "and that's it." (There were lots more "very special"s that began to get groans from the rest of the class which A. loved. And since he's so stinkin' cute, I let it go on for a while.)

a picture of "a lonely tree" on "a windy day" where "no people were there" and where "Jesus didn't want any houses built there" drawn by G. and "it's very special" (Of course it is.)

a brown purse that I. likes "really much" to carry her Zhu Zhu Pet, diary, camera, leaf, little box with a toy lady bug, pink marker, some "crystals" (rocks), little angel, pink fangs, two Littlest Pet Shop toys, silver cross, and heart necklace

"This is my DS that I really like that has two things that goes with it one is walk around the world and I didn't bring the other one and it goes in like this and guys pay attention and it's my favorite ds and this is the button that turns it on and this is the button that moves it and it's my favorite ds in the whole wide world and I'm going to be playing it every day for hours and hours until I'm a grandma and 'til I go up to heaven and it lost a little thing to it I lost it at the playground across my street and it's really cool and there's a "r" and a "l" those are buttons and this is the volume to turn it up and down and this turns it up and this turns it down."

*I have included links to some of today's show and tells just in case you're not up on what's "in" with the elementary crowd these days. You should also know about silly bands.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

10 Things Thursday


10 things about this blog.

1. Today is my 4th blogiversary!
2. It's the first blogiversary that I didn't miss because I thought it was at the end of November.
3. I started this blog as a distraction from crazy, severe panic attacks.
4. It has been a lot of fun and even a blessing at times.
5. My family will often say things like, "You're going to blog about this, aren't you?" or "You should blog about that." or "Please don't blog that."
6. I blog in my head. Very few of those thoughts actually get posted.
7. I love comments on my blog. It makes me happy.
8. I sometimes get jealous when other people get tons of comments on their blogs and I don't. Lots of people read my blog. They are just quiet readers.
9. I know people because of this blog that I would never have known otherwise.
10. I hope that someday my kids will read my blog and know their mom better than they would have without it.

Today's thanksgiving thought:
I am thankful for the sunshine. It does a lot more for me than just the extra vitamin D.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Machines do everything these days.

This morning in chapel, the boy in my class (the one boy) was sitting next to me. Our principal was giving a lesson on doing the right thing. Keeping our hands to ourselves, being kind, obeying our teachers, etc. When all of a sudden my sweet only-boy-in-the-class was making some kind of sign with his right hand. It was kind of like a claw. You know. One of those you can use to pick up stuffed animals in those machines at the mall. I gave him the "stop playing in chapel" look and he leaned over to me and said, "It's my wedgie machine." Then he started miming giving himself a wedgie. During chapel. Right next to me. I couldn't help but to laugh. Are you kidding me? A wedgie machine? What will they think of next?


Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful that my daughter is a born singer. She sings more than she talks. She even writes her own songs. Among her hits from the past few days are "I Love Adam/Josh," "Hallelujah," and my favorite, "I'm Going to See My Mommy." She was singing "Hallelujah" (just the word "hallelujah" over and over and over) yesterday at the grocery store. So cute. Even though some old lady thought she was saying "hello" to her. I didn't correct her even though the reality was so much better. Yes, my girl loves music. Has since she could hear. Or at least since I took her with me to that Def Leppard/Styx/REO Speedwagon concert when I was 8 months pregnant.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Day 2

Here's something random. On the top of my computer screen sits a stuffed butterfly, Nemo (as in Finding Nemo), an Einstein bobblehead, a green ninja, and an origami dragon.

Today's thanksgiving thought:

I am thankful for $2.00 Tuesdays at Dutch Bros. And for hot chocolate with a shot of vanilla.

Monday, November 01, 2010

November

November is here and that means it's NABLOPOMO (National Blog Posting Month). During NABLOPOMO, bloggers who participate are asked to post everyday. That's 30 days straight. If you register your blog and post everyday, you are eligible for prizes. One year I won a $50 itunes gift card. It was great...once I figured out what itunes was.

I'm going to try it again this year. I'm very busy with work and kids and home and life, so some days might be just a word or two. Or maybe a picture or something I copy and paste. But my self imposed theme is "thanksgiving." Each day I will share something I'm thankful for. That will give me something to work from on those days when writer's block kicks in.

So be sure to check in every day. Who knows what you might find.


Today's "thanksgiving" thought:

I am ever so thankful that I can get up in the mornings and take care of myself and my children. There have been days that I couldn't. But today I could...and did. And was glad for it.


P.S. Do you like my Thanksgiving countdown clock? I LOVE Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blessed Sunday

Blessings today...

...Almond Joy candy bars
...little kids in cute costumes
...It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
...the look on Julianna's face when people give her treats
...family fun

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 halloween costume options for my kids...this year and every year.

1. Cowboy (Hat, boots, bandana.)
2. Baseball player (Hat, jersey.)
3. Jason Mraz (Hat, jeans, white tee shirt, guitar.)
4. Orange or pumpkin (All orange clothes.)
5. Pajama Day Kid (PJs and slippers.)
6. Johnny Cash (All black.)
7. Ben 10 (Jeans, jacket, Ben 10 watch.)
8. Jedi (Robe and light saber.)
9. Pirate (Eye patch, head scarf, mascara mustache.)
10. Fairy (Pink dress, wings, wand.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

Rainy days and Mondays aren't so bad. It's indoor recess duty that always gets me down.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blessed Sunday

I was blessed today to do part of my job that I love. Set up our Scholastic Book Fair. Actually it's not really part of my job, I volunteer. I have been helping Kathy set up the book fair twice a year for I don't know how many years. We are good at it. We have a system. A plan. We can work together with few words now. (At least few words about the set up.) I know what I do. She knows what she does. And in just a few hours we are ready for the week. And it's fun. We get the ultimate preview of the books. And we have tons of books this time. I can't wait to fill a lot of my Christmas list.

There is the cutest Pink Purse Alphabet book for Jules. And lots of great animal/adventure/Star Wars books for the boys. And there is a wide selection of monster/vampire/werewolf books if you like that kind of thing. Apparently Twilight has greatly influenced the world of young adult literature. I always choose a book for myself, too. Some of my favorite books were written for an audience 1/2 my age. Okay, 1/3 my age.

And so begins book fair week. If you know where we are, stop by and check it out.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Certifiable

Why, you ask, am I certifiably crazy. Let me count the ways.

I fed a bunch of 9 to 11 year olds soda, ice cream and candy at a birthday party.
And then expected them to sit through two movies.
I hosted a sleepover after that same party.
And I even SUGGESTED said sleep over.
I smiled while lying in bed after 11:00pm listening to the boys talk.
And wasn't even too mad when they were talking again at 6:00am.

But the good thing is, even though I learn things the hard way, I do learn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things I did yesterday...

1. Wrangled one two year old and two pre-teens out the door, into the van, and to school. Not an easy feat, let me tell ya.

2. Discovered that my phone was dead. Not the battery, the phone.

3. Went all day without a cell phone. Not at all convenient.

4. Taught kindergartners all about the letter "H" and counting to 14.

5. Worked on book fair stuff. It's very time consuming. (Here's where I give a shout out to Kathy for all her years of doing all the behind the scenes stuff for the book fair. You rock, Kathy!)

6. Worked at after school care until 5:23.

7. Went to the phone store to replace my phone before withdrawal symptoms set in. Chose a simple phone very much like my old one. No bells or whistles. Just a phone.

8. Ran errands (Dollartree, Target, Super 1) to get stuff for Josh's birthday party tomorrow and the book fair next week.

9. Got home just in time to kiss my baby before she fell asleep. (I also took out her ponytails. Boys don't know how uncomfortable it is to sleep with ponytails so the ones who put her to bed didn't take them out.)

10. Watched House and went to bed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vertical Challenges

This morning a 3rd grader asked me to help her zip her "stubborn" sweater. As I was fighting with the zipper that was in fact stubborn, she said, "My old sister gave me this sweater. It fits because she is short. Like really, really, REALLY short. She's only a couple inches taller than you."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blessed Sunday

What a blessing to have such amazingly beautiful weather in mid-October! I'm going to enjoy every second of it. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sweetest Day

Did you know that today is Sweetest Day? I didn't either until I was reading this article. I love the idea, so in honor of Sweetest Day I'm going to share some of my favorite "sweets."

Sweet husband--Mine. He loves me more than I deserve. He understands and accepts me. He sees things in me that I can't see. And he tells me about it.

Sweet 11 year old--Josh. Josh is sweet because he loves to give and get hugs and he has a big heart for his family. He is very intuitive about the feelings of those he loves. And he shares my love of "sweet" music.

Sweet 9 year old--Adam. Adam is sweet because he is thoughtful and willing to compromise. He is hilariously funny and clever. And he has the sweetest blue eyes.

Sweet 2 year old--Julianna. Julianna is sweet because she is sugar and spice and everything nice. She is easygoing and silly and fun loving. She hugs people and animals with intensity. And have you seen her sweet face?

Sweet mom--Mom. Mom is sweet because she's made that way. Always has been. Always will. She is loving and gentle and generous and amazing. She's who I want to be when I grow up.

Sweet dad--Dad. Dad is sweet because he loves his girls and his grandkids more than I know how to explain.

Sweet sister--Ada. She is sweet because she has a huge heart for her family and friends. She is sympathetic and kind and strong. She is smart and beautiful and funny. And her cooking is "sweet" in every sense of the word.

Sweet brother-in-law--Adam. He is sweet to my lovely sister and their wonderful kids. He is hardworking and kind and funny. I'm so glad he's part of our family.

Sweet nephew--Aidan. Oh my goodness. Aidan is amazing. He is funny and brave and strong. He is crazy smart and creative. I can hardly wait to see how he changes the world.

Sweet niece--Abby. Oh my goodness again. Abby is so adorable and funny. She gives me hugs every morning when I drop Jules off at their house and if that's not sweet, I don't know what is. She also has a sweet smile that can light up a room.

Sweet friends--Kathy, Katrina, Marci, and Kim. My sweet sister friends. Kathy is sweet because she always has my back...and trusts me to have hers. Katrina is sweet because, well, because she's Katrina. It's just how God made her--kind, generous, gentle, considerate. Marci is sweet because she is an amazing mom. I'm counting on her wisdom as my kids hit the teen years. Kim is sweet because she makes me laugh...especially when she's not trying to.

Sweet in-laws--Mother, Grandma, Aunt. Arrty's mom, grandma, and aunt are so loving and kind toward us all. The kids adore them and look forward to spending time with them. They are some of our favorite people.

Who would you like to celebrate on Sweetest Day?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 things I'm doing (or will start doing) to be a better teacher...

1. Plan better. Since this is my fifth year teaching kindergarten, it gets easy to just flip the page in my curriculum guide to the next lesson and teach from memory. But things go so much better when I plan each week ahead of time and then take a few minutes before or after school to gather manipulatives and supplies. It's easier for me and better for the kids.

2. Stay on schedule. Some days with 5 year olds do not go as planned. But by staying on a lesson schedule by doubling up every once in a while insures that I get through my curriculum by June. And makes sure my students learn all they are supposed to.

3. Use my stuff. I have cupboards and boxes and shelves full of stuff that I could, and should, be using to enhance my curriculum. It's a great curriculum and does a great job at teaching the subject matter. But I could add more to it and make it even more effective.

4. Remember that I'm here for the kids. Teaching is not just a job. Sometimes it feels like it. Believe me. But these are human beings. Little people who are counting on me to teach them to read and write and count and share. I need to keep that in mind when I'm sounding out the word "hat" for the thousandth time.

5. Pray for my students by name. I've done this before and it's quite amazing how it makes me feel so much more invested in their success. I'm asking God to bless them. And I feel like he's asking me to help Him do that.

6. Turn off the computer. Well, actually not turn it on until after lunch when my students are gone and the lessons have been taught. I get easily distracted and can get a little addicted to my online activities. I don't mind using it in the afternoons while my kids are having rest time (like now) or free play time. But if the kids are working, I should be, too.

7. Stay on my feet. I know from experience that if I stay close to my students they are better behaved, do better on their work, and learn more. As soon as I sit down at my desk, I become invisible and they are way more prone to stray from what they are supposed to be doing. If I walk around near them while they work I can keep an eye on things as well as evaluate individual strengths and weaknesses.

8. Keep up with paperwork. Even kindergartners at our school do 1-4 pages of work a day. It can add up quickly if I don't stay on top of it. Plus it helps to evaluate on a regular basis where each child is and what I need to focus on in my lessons.

9. Be more consistent and immediate in disciplining. By this time in the year, the kids know the rules and what is expected of them as far a behavior. The time for warnings is over and immediate consequences need to be given. This is hard. Especially looking into the sweet face of a kindergartner. But it is essential in keeping order in the classroom. And it is even more essential in me keeping my sanity.

10. Have fun. Teaching is hard work. Really hard. But it can be fun, too. What other job would provide me the opportunity to make paper bag owl puppets and play with play doh and get paid for it?! Sure I have to teach phonics and numbers and how to write an "N." But after that is finished, I get to play and share God's love with 9 souls whom he has entrusted to my care for a few of their days.

Wow. That was kind of boring. Thanks for reading all the way through. How's this?

10 things I heard today that I bet you didn't.

1. "Is this the right foot?" Why, no. No it isn't.
2. "They are the 5 bowels." Ummm...do you mean "vowels?"
3. "Table." In response to the question, "What animal begins with the letter 't' ?"
4. "Leaf." In response to the same question.
5. "Lost a tooth!! Lost a tooth!!" Said by I. after biting a wooden mask. She did not lose a tooth. But it was a little alarming.
6. "But she smells." Said by S. who did not want to sit by M. in chapel. M. does not smell. And S. is actually the stinker.
7. "Whooo!! Whooo!!" Said by my whole class right after we made owl puppets. Said loudly. And for long enough that I had to put a stop to it.
8. "How many candy bars did I sell?" Asked over and over and over and over by S. who could not remember that she sold 25 candy bars. To her credit though, we've only learned to count to 20 so far.
9. "Are the brownies done yet?" Asked one thousand times when E's. birthday brownies were brought to school baked a little but still stirrable inside. Luckily we have an oven just down the hall in the kitchen and I was able to save the birthday celebration by baking them a little longer.
10."Teacher ate all the brownies." Said by the birthday girl when she saw the empty pan. I, in fact, did not eat all the brownies. Just one. And it was a small one. But she kept saying it so I had to explain when she was picked up that I only had one. Really.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blessed Sunday

Today, on 10/10/10, my firstborn turns...11. He was 10 until 11:25am on 10/10/10. But now he's 11. And he's not here. You see, I knew 11 years ago that this day was coming. The day when he would want to spend his birthday hunting instead of with me. Because his birthday also happens to be the first day of elk season. So today he is somewhere in the woods with his Pappy looking for a trophy elk.

11 years ago on October 9th I called my dad early in the morning to tell him that he might want to stay in town a little longer before heading off to elk camp. At 3:00am I had started feeling contractions. At 11:00am I was at the hospital. At 3:00pm I was really in labor. And at 11:00pm I was...still in labor. Then at 11:25 the next morning, my stubborn baby was born via c-section. 32 long hours after waking up feeling those first few contractions.

But he was worth it with that tiny, sweet face and that crazy, black hair. That was the day I became a mommy. Sure I had been pregnant and felt him kicking, but until that moment when he was in my arms it was all just an idea of what I would be. I looked at this little stranger who I knew but didn't know and was amazed at the miracle I was a part of. This baby, this person, had grown inside of me and was part of me. It was wonderful and joyous and terrifying.

Josh was a good baby. Cute as cute could be and charming from day one. He didn't cry much. Unless I laid him down. He was, and still is, a snuggler. He loved to sleep in my arms or on my lap. But he did sleep through the night really young and quickly got used to sleeping in his crib. He taught me a lot about being a mom. How to change a diaper really fast. How slippery babies are in the bath. How if they can reach it they think it's theirs. How happy the giggle of a baby could make me. How it feels to have my heart walk around outside my body.

And he has continued to teach me over these last 11 years. He is amazingly smart and articulate. He loves with all his heart. He is still stubborn just like on that first day. And I know, that if I ever need a hug, I just have to ask.

I can't believe that it's been 11 years. 11. But even after 11 years, I still see my baby's face when I look at this young man he's become. And I think I always will.

Happy birthday, Josh. You are a blessing and I love you more than words can say.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Music

I heard this song on the way home tonight. Love it, love it, love it.

My Own Little World--Matthew West

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me

I try to stay awake through Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do when it’s
population me

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population two

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Thursday, October 07, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 random questions.

1. Why do the same two boys who I have to drag out of bed by their socks* on school days, get up all on their own on days off from school BEFORE normal time? (*Well, Josh by his socks. Adam by his toes because, like me, he can't stand to sleep in socks.)

2. Why do my kids have to be so stinking cute that I can't even discipline them without laughing at their naughtiness because it's so stinking cute?

3. Why isn't the yummiest food also the healthiest?

4. How are the laundry and dishes never done?

5. What kind of mean trick is it that kids have so much energy to play, but adults don't have an equal amount to chase them?

6. How can I possibly have heartburn when all I've eaten all day is a bowl of Raisin Bran?

7. When we get to Heaven, will we be able to watch all of history on a gigantic screen like one long mini-series?

8. Then will we be able to get Moses' autograph?

9. Will the theme song get stuck in our halo crowned heads?

10. Will we even care about anything but standing in the presence of the Almighty?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Today...

...my almost 11 year old informed me that he's glad he's not a girl. Because girls don't like to do "all the fun stuff."

...my 9 year old informed me that he's now "at the age" where he "knows how to bug" me. Ummm...does he not remember the last 9 years? He was born knowing that.

...my 2 year old decided to act like a two year old. She threw a huge fit because I wouldn't let her wear her diaper, new winter coat, and sandals to bed. Mean mommy that I am made her wear her pink footy pajamas.

It's All In My Head

I have a head full of books. The thousands I've read, of course. But also 3 or 4 or 5 or a dozen half written in my brain. Among them are a couple of children's books, a couple of young adult stories, one or two short novels, and a book about overcoming anxiety. The thing is, I can't seem to get them on paper. I have scraps of paper and notebooks with ideas scribbled on them. And I have pages written here and there, but nothing substantial. Except for in my head. They are good ideas. Some really good. Some even inspired.

My dream is to be a writer. A writer who's work gets read by the masses. And who might even get paid for said writings. But I'm afraid. I'm afraid to fail. I'm afraid that what sounds so good in my head won't translate to the page. Afraid that my words won't be as treasured by others as they are by me.

But lately I've begun to feel like the servant who buried his talent in the sand to just get it taken away by the master when he returned. I don't want to be that servant. The one who's afraid to use his talent. I want to be the 5 talent servant. The one who takes his five and uses them and multiplies them and in turn glorifies his master. I've always felt able to write and been told I was pretty good at it. I remember often my favorite college English teacher telling me to not waste my writing gift. And I truly don't want to waste it. I want to use it and share it. I want to help and entertain and teach with my words.

So I guess the question is, where do I go from here? Do I step out in faith? Do I put in the work? Do I overcome my fear? Can I do those things? I think I'm ready to try. Wish me luck. Or better yet, say a prayer for me.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Catch Up

Since last Wednesday I've missed 10 Things Thursday, Show And Tell Friday, and Blessed Sunday. Plus I've not posted one cute thing Julianna has done or said. Here's why.

Thursday afternoon I was sent home from school sick. Very sick. With the worst flu I've had in years. I slept all afternoon and wished I could sleep all evening but was too sick to sleep. Then Julianna was up half the night with the same thing. Ick. I made it to school Friday having not eaten in 24 hours and somehow survived the day. But then had errands to run, a table to set up for the weekend, and singing practice. 12 hours after I'd left Friday morning, I got home. And crashed on the couch. Saturday I was up early making dessert for our church's Ladies' Day and then at the church building with warm Peanut Butter Swirl Bars by 8:45. I listened to lessons and enjoyed fellowship with my sisters. I also performed with a small group during the afternoon session of Ladies' Day. It was a good day. But I was exhausted.

Other things from the week...

I don't like Sprite.

It only took me until the third kid, but I can now predict and react to a toddler throwing up without having a big mess to clean up.

It takes a lot of energy to sing. I didn't realize it until I was trying to sing, and sing well, after having the flu for two days.

Costco chicken salad is yummy.

The only good parts of Saturday Night Live these days are Weekend Update, Kristin Wiig, and Justin Timberlake cameos.

Monday is Monday no matter what kind of weekend you have.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Confessions

Yesterday I got a copy of this month's People Magazine in my post office box. It was supposed to go to a dentist with a box having almost the same number as ours. I am going to read it before I take it back in to the post office. Is that wrong? Is it also wrong that I'm letting my sister read it, too?

Last night at family dinner, my sweet daughter was in the Moose Room* at my parents' house and started calling for her cousin. "Abby, come here. Abby, come here." Abby was sweetly playing in the other room. So I went to see what Jules needed. "What are you doing?" I asked. She, looking very guilty, said quietly, "Going upstairs." WHAT!?!? You mean those same stairs that you have been forbidden to climb? Those stairs from which you have been removed numerous times and spanked for climbing? AND you are trying to get your poor, innocent cousin to do the very same thing? Oh. My. Goodness. I was so wrong and take back all the stuff I said about Abby getting Jules into trouble. All this time it was the other way around. Who knew? (Besides Abby and her mommy, of course.)

Now this next confession must stay between us. Promise? Okay. Teachers have favorites. It's true. And it's not always the sweetest kid or the cutest kid or the smartest kid. Sometimes it's the one who could drive a teetotaler to drink. But the fact is, we have favorites. And if you have kids, just always assume that your kid is the favorite. It's easier that way.

I did very little actual teaching today. We did puzzles, sang songs, played with blocks, and painted. And when the kids were painting I let them mix all the colors on their paper plates and paint with their hands. I realized too late that we forgot to put on paint shirts and didn't make them put them on even then. I just enjoyed watching my students play. They are only 4 and 5 years old after all. And we still have 32 weeks to learn how to read.

Today when my son was accused of something that I hoped he hadn't done but knew he was capable of, I switched instantly from kindergarten teacher to mama bear. I was able to hold it together to talk to all the parties involved and get to the bottom of things. Turned out it was all a misunderstanding. And hopefully a lesson was learned by everyone .

*The Moose Room is the sitting room in my parents' house that does, in fact, contain a moose. Well, at least from the neck up. And when there is a huge moose head in the room, it is obviously going to be called The Moose Room.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blessed Sunday

I was blessed yesterday with a day by myself. Well, almost. My two year old shadow and best friend* was with me. So here's what I did.

Got up earlier than I wanted.
Watched Glee. (How mean is Rachel these days? Wow.)
Saw Arrty off to work.
Started cleaning the kitchen.
Took a computer break to answer email and check blogs.
Put in a load of laundry.
Finished cleaning the kitchen.
Sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" one thousand times with Julianna. Complete with maracas.
Went outside to do a few things in the yard and let the dogs out to run for a while.
Pushed Jules on the swing.
Yelled at the dogs as they made a run for it to the neighbor's yard acres and acres away.
Sighed.
Got Julianna in the car and went after the naughty dogs.
Found them, scolded them, put them back on their run.
Went in the house to get back to work.
Turned Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for Jules.
Started cleaning the living room.
Put clothes in the dryer.
Made lunch.
Finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. (Yikes. I read it so that when I watched the movie I could compare. Umm...I don't think I want to see the movie anymore. The book is interesting and well written, but very graphic and disturbing.)
Put Julianna down for a nap.
Did a little research on The Clark House. ($54 for a six course meal if you want to know.)
Took a 30 minute nap myself. Ahhh.
Got up when the delivery guy delivered my Avon order.
Ate dutch apple pie and ice cream.
Finished cleaning the living room.
Cleaned our bathroom.
Got Julianna up from her nap.
Downloaded a family tree program that my visiting aunt is sharing with me filled with generations and generations of information. Fascinating. I can't wait to dig even deeper.
Took a shower.
Headed into town to take clothes to my mom's house for the boys who are camping with my dad and needed church clothes for this morning.
Watched the end of a Lifetime movie with mom and my two aunts.
Fed the horses with mom.
Sat on the porch and visited with the girls.
Drove home singing with Jules.
Ate a banana with peanut butter for supper. (Still full from the pie and ice cream I guess.)
Folded and put away towels.
Put Julianna to bed after a giggle session.
Watched Private Practice.
Bagged and wrote out bills for my Avon orders. (While watching part of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Kevin Costner was so young then.)
Did my Dynamic Marriage class homework.
Fell into bed exhausted and happy.
Prayed.
And slept.

*Julianna has declared me her "best friend ever." Me and Abby and Josh and Adam and Piper...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Things Thursday

10 reasons I love our school...

1. The staff. We like each other and work well together and share in this ministry together. I am encouraged each day by these great people and their dedication to God's children.
2. The kids. We have such a great bunch of kids. And my class this year is especially cute.
3. The parents. Sometimes parents are the hardest part of my job, but the truth is, they love their kids and want what's best for them. And some of them are really, really great.
4. The curriculum. I get to teach kids to read and write and count and sing. And on top of all that, I get to teach them about the love of God.
5. My husband. I met him here a whole bunch of years ago when I was 10 and he was 11. The rest is history. (This is the 30th year for our school.)
6. My children. The boys are just down the hall and I get to see them several times a day. And Julianna gets to come to school with me in the afternoons.
7. My classroom. I have taught in this room for 8 years. I'm as comfortable here as I am anywhere.
8. The rewards. I don't get paid much. Not nearly as much as a public school teacher with 10 years experience. But the rewards I do receive could never be measured with dollar signs. My rewards are measured in smiles and stories and hugs and friends.
9. The environment. Working out in the world is hard for me as a Christian. Here I am surrounded by other Christians and don't have to deal with all that working in "the world" brings. Yes, there are still issues. We are human, after all. But in all my years teaching here, I have never heard a swear word spoken by any of my coworkers. (Although, I can't say that for my kindergartners.)
10. The future. I don't know how many more years the boys will attend our school, but Julianna still has a long future with this school that has meant so much to our family. And here's where I need your help. We are trying to start a 3 year old preschool program and are trying to find students to fill that class. I am especially dedicated to this project because it would mean that Julianna could start preschool next year and be just across the hall from me. If you know any families with 3 year olds who are looking for a great and affordable preschool option for their children, please pass our information on to them. Here it is. Thank you so, so much.

Coeur d'Alene Christian School
(208)772-7118
www.cdachristian.org

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

C-U-T-E

Adam: Mom, can I have some P-O-P?
(The boys have learned to spell words that they don't want Julianna to hear. But before I could answer...)
Julianna: Mom, can I have some C-D-F?

Monday, September 13, 2010

1 "Blessed Sunday" + 1 "10 Things Thursday" = 1 Manic Monday

Yesterday I was much too busy to write a Blessed Sunday Post. You see, I was blessed to spend all day at Silverwood Theme Park with my family and Kathy and her boys. So here are 10 things about our day at Silverwood.

1. It was a perfect day for it. 75 and sunny. And a September visit pretty much assures short lines for the rides.
2. The boys had earned their tickets from a reading program at school and we had bought ours at the school auction back in May. (Julianna is still free until she turns 3.)
3. It was great that Kathy and her boys were going on the same day. We met up off and on through the day to go on rides together. All four boys were glad to have buddies to play with, and the parents were glad we didn't have to go on the bumper boats.
4. Speaking of bumper boats, even the best laid strategy for soaking bystanders armed with quarter operated water canons cannot compete with said bystanders and their more powerful weapons. The outcome was four soaked to the bone boys and several thoroughly satisfied bystanders.
5. Magic is magical. I know it's all slight of hand and illusion, but it's still pretty amazing. Even when the audience participant exits his hiding place a little early.
6. There is nothing better than watching the face of a two year old on her first train ride. She loved it. The wind in her hair. The whistle. The train robbery.
7. Yes, I said train robbery. During a little stop on our way around the park, two miners/robbers boarded the train and collected money in bags. (Which is given to local charities.) Even though the show is the same as it's been for years, and the robbers seemed to be new to the gig, the kids liked it. (I think maybe the summer performers are more experienced. These autumn guys weren't quite as...umm...believable.)
8. It's all about the kids. The grown ups went on a few rides, but we mostly followed the kids around to rides and bought them food when they got hungry.
9. Adam got me on Panic Plunge and Timber Terror. He said the best part of the roller coaster ride was hearing me screaming all the way around. Yeah. Real funny.
10. Even though we live less than 5 minutes from the park, we only go once a year. And even though it's lots of fun, I think once a year is just perfect.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kid Pics

My mom wanted new pictures of the kids for her birthday last week. So we went out in the yard and here's what I got.