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 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


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." 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


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... 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." 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. 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.