Monday, December 31, 2012

Another End, Another Beginning

So here I am at the end of another year. And getting ready to begin a new one. Honestly, other than having to write 2013 instead of 2012, tomorrow will be much the same as today. But it is a chance to look at my life, where I've been, and where I'm going. I've had the same resolutions for far too long to write them down again. I know what I need to do...or not do. And hopefully being older, and wiser, will help in finally getting all those things taken care of so I can move on. On to bigger and better things.

But when midnight strikes tonight, it will not change who I am. Who I have been. Who I want to be. I am grateful to know that I can start over every day, not just tomorrow. Each morning when I open my eyes, I am given the blessing of another day. None of which during the last 40 years have been perfect. Nor will any during the next 40. As a matter of fact, some of my days have stunk. Some were full of fear and tears and pain. But even more have been wonderful. Full of laughter and joy and peace. And the older I get, the more of my days are of the wonderful variety. And fewer and fewer of the stinky.

For the last few years my family has been in a sort of limbo waiting for this and that and the other. And finally, finally we are enjoying some security and stability. We still have a lot to overcome, but there is a light at the end of a very long tunnel. And that light is what I've been waiting for most of all.

So as the old year ends and the new one starts, I will feel blessed. What else is there to feel when I am healthy and happy and surrounded by those I love more than life itself?

Happy New Year. May you be blessed to overflowing, too.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Vacation Ramblings

Christmas vacation started a day early, so we didn't get to have our class Christmas party. We will be having a New Year's party in my class in January instead. Then it's right back to learning how to read.

Saturday was date night. Arrty and I went to Red Lobster for dinner and talked and ate crab and solved all the world's problems. Date nights are rare...and nice.

Sunday night we put up our Christmas tree. (Do not judge me.)

Since we don't have a traditional Christmas meal at our house, I decided to start one...Christmas Eve breakfast. This year it included eggs, sausage, bacon, cheesy hash browns, and biscuits. Upon smelling the yumminess, Josh declared me "the best mom ever." Who says teenagers are hard to please?

Christmas Eve morning was spent baking and making treats. Then we made a few stops on the way to the Christmas Eve service to deliver goodie plates to a few special folks. We also waited in line at Dutch Bros. for $1 drinks. And Arrty didn't even complain too much. It was Christmas Eve, after all.

The Christmas Eve service was lovely and singing carols while all in the room were holding flickering candles was my favorite part. Even if the two little girls sitting with me came alarmingly close to setting the old people in front of us on fire.

Then it was time for Christmas Eve festivities at Mom and Dad's. Tons of food including the traditional WV sandwiches and homemade fries. Then we opened presents that weren't surprisingly at all pajamas. Mine are purple polka dotted.

Christmas morning I woke up before the kids and was showered and holding a warm cup of tea before they appeared. We opened stockings and presents and enjoyed each other's company. I was relieved that the boys were happy with their gifts. And I was surprised to find that I missed the days of being surrounded by Legos and Transformers.

Then I did some cooking in preparation for going to Arrty's grandma's house for lunch where we were served Cornish game hens and the best mashed potatoes on the planet. Then there were more presents. And laughter and Christmas cheer.

Then we headed to Mom and Dad's for dinner where I thought I wouldn't be able to eat another bite. I was wrong. There was prime rib cooked to perfection and several yummy side dishes. Then more presents. There are twelve of us and we open gifts one at a time. The kids were very patient waiting for their turn to open. It was busy and crazy and wonderful.

Since then there has been lots of movie watching and playing games and reading. Which makes for a perfect vacation if you ask me.

Oh. And apparently the BEST girl's night EVER at Kathy's. Which it kind of was.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blessed Sunday

I was blessed this morning at sit next to one of my very favorite people in the whole, wide world: my sister. 

And if that wasn't enough, we got to sing together. She with her beautiful soprano voice that matches perfectly with my alto. It was wonderful and natural and a perfect way to start the day and a new week.
 (Her birthday week, by the way.) 

I adore my sweet sister and count her among my blessings each and every day. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Here I sit, in a room full of kindergartners, reading about a tragedy that happened in a kindergarten class thousands of miles away. My heart is breaking. My soul is crying out. My arms are aching to hold my own children.

All I can think about is those poor mamas and dads whose children won't be coming home from school today. How will they survive? How will they make it through this terrible, horrible, life changing tragedy? How will they tell their other children that they have lost one of their own? What will they do with the packages already under the tree for their babies?

And the teachers. How will they be able to walk into their classrooms on Monday or the next week or the next month and teach reading and writing and addition to the survivors? How will they be able to walk into a classroom ever again?

I know, without a doubt, that there is an army of angels descending on Connecticut right this minute to surround those families and provide peace and comfort in a time when it seems impossible. Angels whose purpose it is to clean up another mess made by Satan whose cruelty and hate and devastation never cease to amaze me.

And I know that in Heaven Jesus is surrounded by 20 new angels and he is wrapping each one in his holy embrace and whispering words of love in each little ear.

Because I have to think of how God, the Messiah, is taking care of his children. I have to.

And I have to remind myself that Satan tries, with all his might, to tear us away from our Lord. The Dark One uses some of us humans to hurt others. He tricks the weak and hurting. He targets those who are searching and gives them lies. Lies about how to make their pain go away. Lies about others in their life. Lies, lies, lies. And those lies lead to pain. Terrible, faith shaking, heart breaking pain.

So I will pray for those families who are hurting today. I will pray long and hard. And I will love on all the children I see today. And I will thank God, from the bottom of my heart, for His peace that passes understanding.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday WORD

Where you are right now is God's place for you. 
Live and obey and love and believe right there.
1Corinthians 7:17

Friday, December 07, 2012

Show and Tell

Soccer medal. Apparently E. scored "infinity" points during his soccer season.

Unicorn Dreamlite. "It glows on the ceiling when the light is off." (Kindergarten consensus is that Dreamlites would make perfect Christmas gifts.)

D's sister's "magic for kids" cards since he forgot to bring show and tell.

Knitted pink, beaded purse made by Aunt Vicki. (Teacher voted most special show and tell of the day.)

Plastic dinosaur and purple car.

Pink, sparkly belt. (More of a show and tell accessory.) (The belt went missing...and was finally found around the owner's waist.)

Julianna's brother's stuffed horse...that seemed much larger when her brothers were smaller.

Flower hair clip. Bought by Grandma who "loves is a lot. And so does Grandpa." (More accessories.)

Transformer toy won in the "Shining Star" drawing at school this morning. (He loves it so much!)

Little Mermaid book complete with explanation of each. and. every. page.

Red top (Also won in "Shining Stars.")

Teeny, tiny notebook with a teeny, tiny pencil.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 words not allowed in kindergarten until at least December 17th.

1. Christmas
2. tree
3. presents
4. reindeer
5. Santa*
6. sleigh
7. jingle
8. bells
9. Batman
10. smells

*Santa discussions are not allowed at all. Even after the 17th. There is always a debate about whether he's real or not. And it always ends in a 5 year old wanting me to tell them the truth. And I do not want some parent mad at me for telling their kid that he's real.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Every day is full of blessings. And being able to recognize that is a blessing in itself. But this past week, as we gave thanks with those we love, the blessings were abundantly apparent. Family, friends, and food. Homes and clothes and dependable cars. Health and happiness. Jobs to go to and steady paychecks. Children to make us laugh. And grandparents and aunts and uncles who adore them. Nieces and nephews who we love like our own. Sisters and brothers who know us like no one else. Parents who have sacrificed and worked to make us who we are today. Love and laughter overflowing. And sweet, sweet salvation and the hope that comes with it. All blessings. Blessing upon blessing upon blessing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Things Thanksgiving Thursday

1. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. So laidback and relaxing. All about gratitude and family...and really good food.
2. The annual Flanagan Thanksgiving Cheeseball Contest was once again a highlight. This year's offerings: taco, chili-cheese, chicken jalapeno popper, fiesta, chocolate marshmallow, and peanut butter.
3. And the winner was...everyone! Because, really, with that much cheese, don't we all win? (Although Mom's peanut butter cheeseball with apple slices was super yummy.)
4. I found out that Dad has been reading my blog. Which I love. Any writing talent I have comes from him.
5. I love the kids in our family. They are funny and smart and wonderful. And really, really cute. They are six of my greatest blessings.
6. I will be cooking a turkey dinner at our house tomorrow since we ate at mom and dad's today. It's all about the leftovers.
7. We just finished a rousing game of The Big Deal. It's a board game from the early 80's that's a cross between Monopoly and Life. Julianna and I were a team and we won!
8. Although I think the boys were glad to lose to me since I then got supper ready while they finished the game.
9. And now we are watching our traditional Thanksgiving movie: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
10. I have so, so, so much to be thankful for today. And every other day of the year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disney on Ice

Mom took all of us girls to Disney on Ice on Sunday. It was princess-y and we knew the girls would love it. We didn't tell them where we were going until we got in the car to go. They were so excited! They grinned and giggled. I thought Abby was going to jump right out of her seat!

I learned a trick from a friend that when going to an event, it's a good idea to pick up a related toy to take with you and then when the kids see all the souvenirs, they already have one for half the price. And usually better quality. So I picked up princess dolls for the girls at Costco the night before. Ariel for Jules and Belle for Abby. They were thrilled with their new friends and didn't put them down for the rest of the afternoon.

We got there a little early and found that our seats were four adults with no kids in sight. (Okay. I would have gone to see Skyfall if I was with a bunch of grownups. But whatever.) They soon discovered that their seats were on the other end of the row and moved. And we discovered that they did have kids with them...sitting in the right spot.

The girls were shaking with excitement and could hardly wait to see what was going to happen. Abby apparently thought it was going to be a movie and Jules thought WE were going to be the ones skating. So the real thing was a surprise and a wonderful treat.

Ready for the show.
My four favorite girls in the whole wide world.
The Princess and the Frog was the first story.
The frogs and the Cajun lightning bug.
On the bayou.
Mickey and Minnie introduced the stories. Julianna leaned over and said, "Mommy, Minnie waved at us!"
Next was Cinderella. The wicked stepsisters were naughty. They even stuck their tongues out at the audience!
I wish I had a fairy godmother. But I wouldn't want a ball gown and carriage. I'd want fuzzy pajamas and a new minivan.
So sweet! Horses and carriage and off to the ball.
Prince Charming and Cinderella.
That wasn't in the movie!
Julianna and Ariel at intermission..
Belles of the ball.
Maximus from Tangled...the third story. The poor guy in the back end must have drawn the short straw.
Flynn stealing the crown Mission Impossible style.
Skating AND flying?!
Mom was a little worried.
Finally friends.
Flynn and Rapunzel.
All of the princesses and their princes.
 It was so much fun. And a really good show. Even us grown-ups kinda loved it. And our little girls really loved it. I wasn't sure we were going to get Abby to go home with us. She wanted more princess fun.

Then we went to lunch at Azteca. Ariel got in on the pictures.  
It was such a great day with all the girls. We've decided that it should be an annual tradition. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 titles of unpublished blog posts in my draft file.

1.The Grounding
2. Life Is Hard
3. Supide Down
4. Great is Thy Faithfulness
5. Fear
6. Consider the Hermit Crab
7. 20
8. Play Ball!
9. Seriously
10. Oh, Brother

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Yesterday was girls' day at my house. The boys were away at friends' houses and Arrty taught his NIC class, so it was just Miss Julianna and I in the house for a few hours. Our big project was to clean her room and move a bunch of her toys to the basement. So in I dove...with her "helping." The thing about her helping is this. It's not much help at all. As soon as I put something away she thinks it's the funnest thing ever to play with. Or if I put something in the box to go downstairs it's suddenly her favorite toy and can't possibly be moved to the far off land of the basement. But we got through it and moved two big boxes of stuff out of her room.

In the process, she discovered in her closest a play tent that I had bought at Target last year in the summer clearance. It's shaped like a tree and has branches and leaves surrounding the top. She was thrilled. And wanted to put it up. At that very moment. The problem was, at that very moment, her entire bedroom floor was covered with stuff I was going through. After her impatiently waiting for me to finish, we were able to clear enough space for her new play place. I was able to get it all together and set up...again with her help. And she quickly filled it with friends and books and toys to keep her company. And she loved it. And therefore I loved it. She played in there for the longest time and could hardly wait for the boys to get home so she could show them.

And what I was reminded of is this. I will do pretty much anything within my power to make my kids happy. I try not to go overboard and spoil them. (Although they are a little spoiled. But aren't we all?) But if it's something easy like putting up a tent in the house, I do it. Did it make my life easier? No. Did it make Julianna's day better? Yes.

Because, here's the thing. Kids grow up. Fast. And so if on a day when what I really should be doing is cleaning the house and I end up setting up a tent instead makes any one of my kids smile, I'll let the dishes and the sweeping wait. If I've learned anything from being a mommy for thirteen years, it's this. Kids don't wait. They just keep on moving through their lives. And if I don't join them on the journey, I'll miss out on some lovely, wonderful, exciting adventures with some amazing little souls.

So what is the blessing for today? Well, there are many. One is that I have a daughter when I never thought I would. She is a blessing many times over. Another is that our family is together and even when we are apart, we aren't really. And another is that I have three healthy, whole children to love and follow through this life. And by God's grace, lead into the next.

Friday, November 09, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 completely random things.

1. I am fully aware that it is Friday. So I guess this is 10 Things Friday. Whatever.
2. It is snowing. And there is snow on the ground...and the trees...and the cars. And you may like snow. But I do not. Not one little bit.
3. I spent a whole lot of hours at school yesterday grading papers and filling out report cards. Guess that's why it's called "teacher work day."
4. It takes twice as long to grade papers for 14 students this year as it did to grade papers for 7 students last year. Surprising, I know.
5. Oh, yeah. I also had to figure actual percentage grades for my middle school class. I got in a little bit of trouble because their grades were too high. Really?!
6. Not real trouble. Don't worry.
7. My daughter is going through a phase where she wants everything she sees in the store or on commercials. So the other day I said to her, "Julianna, you want everything you see." To which she replied, "Not everything...not boy stuff."
8. Speaking of my daughter, she wants to sleep in on the days I have to get up early, but she wakes up early on the days I get to sleep in. What's up with that?
9. It's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday.
10. Did I mention the snow? And that I don't like it? Oh, I did?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I found this post in my draft file. I don't know why I never posted it in April of 2008, but here it is today.

I am thankful. I am thankful that I know God and that he has chosen me as one of his own. And that I have chosen him.

Two things this week have reminded me of this. One is that I spent the weekend with 10,000 Christian women of faith worshiping and praising and learning more about his grace. (Which really is amazing, by the way.) And the other is the recent discussion about creation versus evolution on another blog. I didn't want to get into it there, and risk being called a magician or Bible thumper (no thumping here, just reading). I don't need to be called any mean names today. But it did remind me of how grateful I am that I believe. That I believe that God is real. And that he created this world and everything on it. Do I believe that I know everything about how and when and why he did it? Absolutely not. But since I do believe, I will someday get a chance to ask him.

I've always had this idea that when I get to Heaven there will be this big movie screen cloud that I will be able to watch all of history on. It will take a long time to watch from the beginning until the end, but I will, after all, have all eternity to do so. So when I'm sitting there watching the home movies of creation I will no longer have to wonder about any of it.

And for me personally, it takes a lot more faith to believe that all of this wonderfulness happened by chance. That all of the intricacies of life and the human body just happened to fall into place in just the right way at just the right time. What are the odds of that? And when I look at the children in my life and feel the one dancing inside me, I have to believe that there is more to this life than a big bang or a chance mutation. There is a God who made it all. Who still has a hand in it. Who cares what happens to each and every soul to ever live. And if it weren't for Satan we would all believe. And someday we will.

Look around. There are things, perfect things, that were designed. Designed by a loving, imaginative, all-knowing creator. And all I have to say to that is, "Thank you, Lord."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Today is November 4th. On this day 6 years ago I created this blog and wrote my first post. I was scared to death. Scared of writing. Scared of putting my writing out there for the world to see. Scared that I wouldn't know what to write. Or that no one would read it or care anyway.

The truth is, my fears are what drove me to create A Butterfly Moment in the first place. You see, I was in the midst of debilitating anxiety disorder and looking for anything to take my mind off my fears. Way more serious fears than any that I had about the blog itself. Fears of disease and death and craziness. Fear of leaving my children. Fear of taking a shower, even. I was afraid of everything. But I was mostly afraid of myself.

I've learned since that post traumatic stress disorder can do that to a person. But at the time I just thought I was really, really close to being certifiably crazy. Really.

And so I wrote. I wrote like I was the person I wanted to be. The person I used to be. I wrote like nothing was wrong and hoped it would rub off on reality. It helped. It gave me something to think about other than my fears. Something to cling to. It was the beginning of the end of my darkest days.

I called my blog A Butterfly Moment because the thought of butterflies fluttering around me gave me a sense of peace. Peace that I so desperately sought but that was so hopelessly out of reach. I tried to get peace from within myself. There was none there to be found. I tried to find peace through prayer. Boy did I pray. But I felt like my prayers just hit the ceiling. I tried to sleep my way to peace. No luck.

My brain was malfunctioning and I had no idea. My body was rejecting my every attempt at recovering reality and I still tried to fix it on my own. Silly, silly girl. But one day, when my young son asked me to get him some chocolate milk and I could not physically get off the couch to do so, something changed. I knew something had to be done. So I made some appointments with some doctors and I started the long road to recovery. I fought it. I fought the medication and the counseling. My pride still wanted me to go it alone. But my desire to be a mommy who could take care of her children drove that pride right out the door. And so I drove to my first counseling appointment with tears streaming down my cheeks and I sat in front of a complete stranger and sobbed. And she took my hand and looked me in the eye and told me it was okay. And that I could be fixed. And that God wasn't mad at me. Phew. She explained that the problem was with my brain, not my heart or soul.

After that and a prescription for anxiety medication I began a new journey. One that took me out of the hole I was in. One that finally, finally had a light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel. One day at a time. One minute at a time. I slowly healed. I could finally talk my way out of a panic attack. (Although some would argue that talking to yourself isn't improvement.) I even learned to predict and prevent major attacks. My brain was getting better. And so were my heart and soul in the process.

Anxiety is still a battle I fight on occasion. But now I at least have some weapons. And some help from those I love. And from above. (Which I had all along, by the way. I just couldn't see very well in the dark.)

And so six years after my first post on Butterfly, my life has changed dramatically. I have another child. A pink one even. And those two little boys who played on the floor while I wrote are taller than me now. I've celebrated my 40th birthday and my 20th anniversary. And I've healed and learned and grown stronger from those dark days.

And so today I count among my blessings A Butterfly Moment. For giving me a place to write and share and heal. And for giving me the chance to enjoy so many wonderful, peaceful butterfly moments.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Today is a blessing. Just having another day to wake up and love my family and feel the wonder of the world. Isn't that blessing enough? I think it is.

Enjoy your blessed Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Thirteen years ago today I became a mom. Thirteen. Can you believe it? I can't. The half-boy/half-man that lives in my house can't possibly be that little bundle of blue that they handed me all those years ago. But if I look closely into his eyes, that now look directly into mine when he stands flat footed in front of me, I see him. I see that tiny baby who made me a mom and taught me that it was possible to live with part of my heart walking around outside my body.

I remember thinking, as we drove away from the hospital, how weird it was that they were letting us take this little creature home with us. Didn't they know or care that I had no idea how to take care of a baby? Did they really think I was capable of raising this child? Could this person, this tiny little being, be real? And be a part of me? But mostly I was wondering what in the world I was supposed to do now. But, lo and behold, I did okay. I fed him a lot and changed him a lot and held him a whole lot. I stared at his little face and treasured the moments in my heart.

Then he turned two. He was walking and talking and playing and being a big brother. He was smart and adorable. And still I wondered what I was doing thinking I could be a mother. But we made it through those times, too. I fed him, although he ate like a bird. And I changed him, because he refused to go potty. And I still held him close, because he was a snuggler. And I treasured still more moments with my little boy.

Then he turned five. And he started school. And I was his teacher and was glad to spend my mornings with him and his classmates. It wasn't always easy. He was what the experts call "strong willed." But we survived and he learned to read and I learned to love him in a whole new way. And I made his lunches and washed his school clothes. And laid with him every night when I tucked him in because he asked me to. And right along with him, my collection of treasured moments grew.

Then he turned 10. Double digits. It was amazing to me. My little boy wasn't such a little boy anymore. There were moments of something more. Something different. Conversations and questions and actions that weren't one bit child-like. And yet there were moments that were completely child-like. One foot in childhood and one foot climbing the fence to tween-dom. Not quite over the fence, but standing on the top rung. And so I held his hand as he climbed, when he would let me. I still fed him and had to learn to cook a little extra as he grew. And I hemmed and then let out his pants. And I still laid with him every once in a while and wished and waited for the nights he would ask me to. And treasured every one of those moments, too.

And now, today, he turns thirteen. Tall as me. Feet too big to wear my shoes (and even almost his daddy's). Opinions all of a sudden on clothes and hair and girls. (Yikes!) Phone calls and texting and wanting to be on Facebook. All things that I thought wouldn't be here quite so soon. But it's here. The teens. And all that comes with it. A teenaged friend asked me the other day how I was feeling about Josh turning 13. And I told her honestly, "I'm freaking out!" I have no idea how to mother a teenager! None. But the truth is, I didn't know how to mother an infant or a toddler or a preschooler or a tween either. I just did it. And so far we've both survived. So that's my plan. Do what I can and pray for the best. For him. For me. For us. And I will keeping feeding him, although he may eat us out of house and home. And clothing him, although buying men's clothes for him gives me a panic attack. And snuggling him every chance I get, because he still lets me do that as long as no one is watching. And I will hold close all those treasured moments while adding new ones. Bigger ones.

As we enter this new part of our journey together, I am nervous, yes. But also excited to see what the future holds. Who he is. Who he is becoming. Who he will be. And every step of the way I'll be there. Doing everything I can and everything he needs me to do to get him to 14 and 17 and 20...and, someday, to Heaven.

Happy, happy, happy birthday my sweet Josh. Mama loves you more than words can say. Even though you're a teenager now.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Changing leaves. 
Warm sunshine. 
Blue skies.
Happy kids.
And, finally, a nap. 
Blessed indeed.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 things about last night and the Newsboys concert.

1. A few weeks ago I got an email about an upcoming Newsboys concert in Spokane. Adam loves the Newsboys and so I bought tickets to surprise him with a mom/son date night. I didn't tell him until Tuesday that we were going on Wednesday. I wasn't going to tell him until we were on the way because he sometimes gets excited to the point of distraction and I didn't want him to get into trouble at school. But I decided to tell him on Tuesday, because the anticipation is part of the fun. Right?
2. I really wasn't much of a Newsboys fan. Not because I don't like their music. I just hadn't heard much of it. But I wanted to go with Adam. Their music is pretty much all he has on his iPod  And he's made fans out of Julianna and Josh, too.
3. We planned to go to dinner and I let him choose. Azteca is right beside the theater and it's one of his favorite places, so we went there before the show. We had a great time and a great visit. I try to spend time alone with each of my kids often, but special outings are really good for them and me.
4. I had planned to buy Adam a tee shirt from the concert and he was thrilled. He chose a green one (of course). He was so happy with his souvenir and changed into it for the show. And he wore it to school today. (Christian tee shirt day. Christian band tee shirt day. Whatever.)
5. One thing that I love about Adam is that when he's excited, he vibrates. He can't stop moving. He wiggles and squirms and talks and grins. And you can just feel the excitement and can't help but to share in it with him.
6. Before the show, a few of the Christian radio station djs spoke about their stations and upcoming events in the area. And one of the morning guys prayed. He prayed, people! Before a rock concert! It was amazing. And wonderful.
7. Grace Campbell sang first. She has a very unique sound. Kind of alto-y and soft and sincere. Her songs were lovely and I got the sense that she's lovely, too. She was dressed in an off white sweater and floor length skirt outfit that matched her sound. I couldn't help but to think how different her look was from some of the secular female singers her age today. It was very refreshing.
8. Next was Luminate. I liked them a lot. The had so much energy and really got the crowd ready for the rest of the show. I have to admit that I was a little thrown off by the "preachy" part of it. Not because it was bad or unwanted. But because it was so unexpected. And I have come to realize that I am very cynical when it comes to spirituality. I don't know why. I believe. But sometimes I have a hard time believing that others do. Or I question their sincerity. But last night my cynicism shrunk a little about that. Jesus is out there and working in all kinds of people. I need to believe that and appreciate all those that he works through. (Speaking of preachy...)
9. Then came Building 429. Wow! Talk about energy! The lead singer reminded me of all those students I have had who can't sit still in their chairs or who are always humming or playing drums with their pencils. He was all over the place. And he is an expert at audience participation. My arms are sore today from waving my hands in the air because I really did care. And anyone who can get me dancing in public has to be pretty good if you ask me.
10. And then the big moment! They had a countdown to the Newsboys. 4 minutes. Music starts to play. 3 minutes. A little louder. 2 minutes. Louder and faster. 1 minute. Oh my goodness! 30 seconds. Adam could hardly stand it. His smile was worth the price of the tickets 100 times over. And then they were on stage. And a whole bunch of Christians began to scream like I've never heard. It was crazy! And amazing! And a good way.
     All it took was a few bars of their first song and the Newsboys made a fan out of me. They are good. Really good. And the fact that my kids (and I) can listen to some really good, rock music without hearing swear words or suggestive lyrics is a gift. Not once did I have to worry about what Adam would hear or see last night. Not once. I can't say that about any of the other concerts I've been to. (Although Richard Marx was pretty safe back in 1991.) Not only that, but the music was more than safe. It was inspiring and encouraging and empowering and faith building. I thought, about halfway through the night, that I was attending the best, most entertaining, loudest worship service that I'd ever been to. Where two or more or gathered...well, I felt HIM there last night. He was on stage with the amazing performers. He was dancing with the teenage girl and her brother (who happened to have Down Syndrome) two rows in front of us. He was with all the dads and moms who brought their kids to the concert. He was with the crazy bald guy down the aisle who danced like George Michael in the Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video. And he was standing next to me. The 40 year old mom of three who was having the time of her life praising HIM. And there was a moment, when the lead singer led the crowd in an a capella rendition of Nothing But The Blood of Jesus that no one would have been able to doubt that something extraordinary was happening. It wasn't just a concert. I've been to plenty of those. It was worship, plain and simple. Well, not really simple. It was worship with some rockin' music and a pretty fantastic light show. And I didn't even mention that they hung the drummer vertically and spun him and his whole drum kit around!! It was amazing. I don't really know how else to explain it. It's one of those things that changed me. Changed the way I think. The way I see others. The way I see my Adam. The way I see myself. And the way I see Jesus. Because before last night I don't think I would have ever said, "Jesus rocks!" But today, and for the rest of my days, I will say with my whole heart and with a song on my lips that Jesus ROCKS!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Show and Tell Friday

  • Silver, the stuffed hamster that Julianna got from Silverwood last weekend
  • a backpack clip that was a party favor from a birthday party
  • Lego Star Wars ship
  • folders from a backpack...Tinkerbell and horses
  • teddy bear from Build-a-Bear Workshop named Rainbow
  • big stuffed dog named Samson
  • green monster truck...left in the cubby from last week's show and tell
  • Bakugan and Pokemon cards
  • Leap Frog electronic game
  • Halloween light up Happy Meal toy that is apparently "very real"
And winner of the "Most Unusual Show and Tell Since the Black Widow Spider In a Jar" prize goes to

  • Mom's wisdom tooth that got pulled out yesterday
(Which also gets my vote for best show and tell of the day!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Show and Tell Friday (With Commentary)

*some kind of plastic bunch of grapes?? (Looked at it up close. Still not sure what it is or what it's for.)
*furry Siamese cat statue-ie thing that meows (Can't decide if it's cute or creepy.)
*red power ranger that can turn into a tiger (complete with demonstration and sound effects)
*pink pretend girlie stuff--blow dryer that "doesn't make sounds at all", comb, perfume that's "fake but I can pretend it smells," and a curling iron that's "for real hair and it can dye your hair any color you want it" (Wow! That's a good curling iron!)
*blue sequined headband (That I think came to school as an accessory but became show and tell out of necessity.)
*green monster truck with "kinda big wheels" that J. forgot at Sammy's house and he found it under his bed. (Which we all know is where toys try to hide every time.)
*star fish from Oregon; "It's real!" (I loved this show and tell. Not only the most unique one of the day, but it came with a vacation story which included a zoo, some stores, and lots of hotels. Which seemed to be the highlight of the trip.)
*Buzz Lightyear action figure and Mr. Potato Head video game (Toy Story theme. I love Toy Story!)
*stuffed cat, stuffed wolf, stuffed Bernie and Tracker that are "my briothers'", stuffed Otto "from the baseball game" (What kind of kid brings 5 stuffed animals for show and tell?! Oh, yeah...mine.)

And here's my show and tell. This shirt that is...well, decide for yourself.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Note From The Teacher

Dear Blog Readers,

Just a note to let you know that my teaching year is CRAZY. Twenty-six total students from ages 4 to 14. Six grade levels with a learning and skill spectrum far wider. Lessons to plan. Papers to prep. Tests to write and give and grade. Games to create and play. Books to choose and assign. Gogurt and fruit snack and apple sauce cups to open. Not to mention all the extras I do like Box Top duty and being student council advisor. My days are busy and full to the max and flying by. (Two weeks down already!) But as busy as they are (and after surviving a rough first week), my days are also filled with 26 of the cutest, sweetest, funniest, smartest, most wonderful little souls I've ever met. I laugh out loud every single day! And I get to share the wonders of the world with those who are still in wonder. Challenging job? Yes. But an amazing job, too. Just amazing.

So, I guess what you need to know is this. Trying to be the best teacher I can be takes a lot of energy and time and leaves very little time for blogging. Therefore, expect far fewer new posts for a while. (I didn't even get to 10 Things Thursday this week although I had several fascinating topics to choose from. Like the top 10 snack choices of kindergartners and the 10 most amusing middle school excuses for why work isn't finished.)  And if the posts that do happen to appear aren't quite grammatically correct or well written or, you know, coherent, you'll understand why. 

Thanks for understanding. You are the best blog readers ever. All 4 of you.

Mrs. R.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 Things about the first week of school.

1. Last year I had 7 kindergarten students. This year I have 14. You would think that would mean twice as much work. It doesn't mean that at all. It means at least 10 times as much work. Surprising, but true.
2. I like having a bigger class. Last year I felt like half my class was always absent and I had a hard time wanting to teach to half a class.
3. I have no students whose first names begin with any letter past M in the alphabet. No Ts or Rs or Ss. Weird.
4. But I do have two little girls with the 209th most popular name according to Baby Center. What are the odds?
5.  I always forget, and this year was no exception, that I have to teach everything...from where the bathrooms are to every single little rule to how to walk in line. At least most of them know how to hold a pencil, so that's a bonus.
6. Sitting in chapel with 14 four and five year olds and trying to keep them still, quiet, and listening is like, well, sitting in chapel with 14 four and five year olds and trying to keep them still, quiet, and listening.
7. After a year, it has been determined by an expert in the leopard gecko field that my class's leopard geckos are, in fact, girls. Here are the names the kids suggested. Sparkle (3 votes), Shiny, Butterfly (2 votes), A (yes, the letter A), Rainbow (2 votes), Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Head, Robot, Grabber, Praying Mantis, Petshop, Sunny Day, Pencil, Mr. Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head, Cake, and Sprinkle. And after a lengthy Facebook discussion (and lots of more appropriate, but no less amusing, suggestions), the geckos are to be named Lucy Sparkle and Ethel Rainbow.
8. My afternoon class has been fun, too. More challenging in some ways, like lesson planning and preparation. But less challenging in some ways, like how they all know that if they tip their chairs they will, in fact, fall out of said chairs.
9. On day 2, after an exciting and informative lesson on human migration to the Americas, I got the best teacher compliment ever. Josh, my very own son, told me that he liked how I taught history. And in my head I did a fist pump and said, "YES!"
10. I am thinking that this year is going to be one of, if not my most, challenging year yet. Larger class sizes, combined ages in each class, switching from kindergarten mode in the mornings to middle school mode in the afternoon, having my own children in my classes, trying to not just be a good teacher, but a great teacher. Yes. All challenges. But challenges I'm willing and able to undertake. For the sake of the kids. (But I have a feeling I'm going to need lots of Diet Coke and Oreos to get through it!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 words.

1. worry
2. peace
3. guilt
4. forgiveness
5. fear
6. courage
7. pain
8. joy
9. loud
10. gentle

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Story of How I Came To Sit Beside Ellen Travolta

So here's how it happened.

11:00am--Dentist appointment. No cavities and still 33 teeth. (You'd think my dentist would get over that weird thing about me after 25 years of being my dentist. He hasn't.)
11:45--Pick up Arrty (and his Arby's coupons) for lunch
11:53--Run in to my very best friend from high school and not only feel, but tell her numerous times, how glad I am that she looks so young. (Most people from high school look so old and if she looks young, maybe I do, too!) Spend a few minutes catching up and promise to call to set up a time to go to lunch.
12:58--Visit the University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene office to pay for Arrty's college course.
12:59--Grudgingly hand over a check for $1038 for one.three credit course. ONE class. $1038. Yikes. When is the last time I paid for college? I was shocked, I tell ya.
1:15--Arrive at Figpickels with Julianna and begin an hour of following her around the store as she flits and flutters from shelf to shelf.
2:15--Pay for Miss Julianna's choices: a painting book and a pink, sparkly bracelet and necklace set.
2:27--Arrive at Ramsey park to let Jules try out her painting book and play on the jungle gym. Sit in the shade and marvel at the wonder of life and God's green earth...and the quiet that is so seldom a part of my days.
3:15--Arrive at Target to pick out a new backpack and lunch box for the girly girl. And she chose...wait for kitties!
4:07--Drop Jules off at her daddy's office so she can go home with him and I can get ready for girls' night out. Then run a few errands all by myself.
4:59--Arrive to pick up Kathy, who is, as usual, ready and waiting with bells on. Or not. Whatever.
5:08--Continue on my taxi service rounds to pick up Alyson, Katrina, Marci and Emily.
5:40--Arrive at Dangerous Dog. Decide to order the original Dangerous Dog (two dogs open faced with chili, cheese, coleslaw, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos). Only I ordered mine with no onions or jalapenos. Kathy said that made it the Slightly Risky Dog instead.
7:10--Head to the theater excited to see Ragtime.
7:24--Sit down in seat 29 instead of my assigned seat of 27.
7:25--Notice stage and screen actor Jack Bannon sitting in seat 25.
7:26--Realize that his date will be his wife, Ellen Travolta!
7:27--Begin whining to Alyson that she's sitting in my seat.
7:28--Switch seats with Alyson when she generously offers.
7:29--Brush arms with Ellen Travolta when she sits down RIGHT NEXT TO ME.
7:30--The show starts during which I write whole conversations for Ellen and I in my head. She leaves right when the lights go up for intermission and at the end of the show, so all we share is a "hi" and a smile. I spend the whole night telling myself I am respecting her privacy instead of being a big, fat, scaredy cat.
9:52--Realize that if I could sing like the girl playing Sara, I would not be a kindergarten teacher. I'd be a singer!
10:35--Leave the theater in search of something sweet.
10:45--Discover that Baskin Robbins is open until 11:00. Enjoy a waffle cone with one scoop of Snickers and one scoop of Nutty Coconut.
11:00--Get kicked out of Baskin Robbins. Begin the drop off service of my girls.
11:53--Arrive home. Give my husband a mild heart attack as he walks out of the bedroom just as I'm walking in.
12:00--Fall into bed a happy girl.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 questions...

1. Will it ever stop feeling like part of me is missing when my children are away from me? The boys are at camp this week, and as happy as I am that they get to go to camp, I miss them like crazy. Even though when they are here they pretty much drive me to drink. (I mean if I was a drinker, that is.)
2. Do you ever look at your children and they are so cute and amazing that you get this surreal feeling that they aren't really yours? That still happens to me with Julianna after 4 years. Maybe it's because for so many years I only thought of myself as a mommy of boys, then this little girl makes her appearance and I'm still getting used to the idea. (She does not drive me to drink...yet.)
3. Does summer get shorter every year? Or is it just because 3 months is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of my life each year?
4. Will my chores ever be done? I'm guessing no. And that makes me tired.
5. Is it good or bad that working at the school all summer has made me think of school all summer? I have my schedule all finished for next year and have been planning lessons. But my room is a mess and that can't be remedied until summer school is over.
6. Why does our Summer Theater only put on four shows? I know, I know. Time and cost and all that. But I wish it was longer. I am both excited and sad that tonight is our last show of the year.
7. Am I seriously getting a cold? Because if I am, I'm not going to be happy. Not one little bit.
8. Who is going to a tea party on Saturday? I am!
9. What should I eat at Dangerous Dog tonight before seeing Ragtime? Any suggestions?
10. How, pray tell, am I supposed to do the bazillion things left on my summer to do list in only 18 short days? How?!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

WILD Again

I spent the last two days with a bunch of teachers learning how to be better teachers. The Idaho Fish and Game and other state agencies hold classes on using wildlife, forests, and water to teach all subjects in our classrooms. I have taken several of these classes and have never been disappointed. I come away with all kinds of materials to use in the classroom and experience many of the lessons first hand. I use these materials and what I learn in these classes more in my classroom and teaching than anything I've learned in a traditional  education course.

This class, Focus on Literature using Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, and Project WET, was one of my favorites so far because it focused on books. And we all know how much I love books! I was exposed to all kinds of new literature not to mention how to tie it into all subject areas. I have already determined that this next year I'm going to be a different teacher than I've been the last few years. Less traditional. More hands-on. Less read the chapter and do the worksheet. More see-smell-taste-touch-hear this and see what we can learn. Less ho-hum. More fun. Don't you wish you were in my class?! I'm really looking forward to it and this latest class just made me more determined than ever to make the change.

This is one of the books I received at the class.

It has taken a spot on my top 10 list of favorite kid's books. I love it. It's about the lifetimes of a variety of plants and animals. Each page tells about one living thing and then gives a short statement about what we can learn from each. Nice. Can't wait to use it in class.

So another class taken, another credit earned, new friends made, and a whole lot learned. All that's left is to share it!

Friday, August 03, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 (+2) songs on my Summer of 2012 mixed cd...

1. Call Me Maybe--Carly Rae Jepsen
This song makes me happy especially when the kids and I do the Harvard Boys Baseball dance when we hear it in the car.
2. Somebody That I Used To Know--Gotye
No 2012 mixed cd can be without this one. And it's a great song even if a bit overexposed.
3. Home--Phil Phillips
I called it. I knew Phil would win American Idol. I love him and his first single.
4. Moves Like Jagger--Maroon 5
Adam Levine. That's all. (Plus Julianna is really cute when she sings it.)
5. (Kissed You) Good Night--Gloriana
Love this song. Love it. Makes me remember those first kiss days.
6. Ho Hey--The Lumineers
The melody of this song is amazing.
7. What Makes You Beautiful--One Direction
I couldn't not put a boy band song on my summer cd.
8.  I Won't Give Up--Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz...softer and more mature. I like it a lot.
9. Glad You Came--The Wanted
Okay. So two boy band songs.
10. Drive By--Train
How did I just discover Train?
11. Stronger--Kelly Clarkson
Obligatory anthem.
12. Crazy Girl--Eli Young Band
Because I love songs written about me.

Want a copy of my super awesome Summer of 2012 mixed cd?! Just leave a comment and I'll pick a lucky winner next week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

10 Things Thursday

10 things about today...

1. I forgot it was Thursday. Today is the first day I've worked this week and it feels more like Monday than Thursday.
2. Chris at Bistro on Spruce didn't know what day it was either when I called to make dinner reservations for tonight. Me: "Do I need to make reservations for dinner tonight?" Chris: "Ummm, what day is it?" Turns out I did need to make reservations with Spamalot opening tonight and lots of people going out for dinner. I also got a thumbs up on the play from Chris who saw a preview last night.
3. We are having dinner at Bistro on Spruce (in case you missed that). I've never been there and always look forward to trying new local restaurants. I'll give a review tomorrow.
4. Then it's opening night of Spamalot (in case you missed that). It's supposed to be pretty funny. It's based on Monty Python's The Holy Grail. How can it not be funny?
5. At school today, a little boy killed a grasshopper "right in front of" Julianna. She was traumatized. She screams like a little girl when she sees some bugs, but apparently grasshoppers rank right up there with puppies for her.
6. I signed up a new student for my class next year. I'll be teaching a combined 4 and 5 year old kindergarten class. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to try some new techniques to get them reading and writing quicker and better.
7. I pulled out the 7th grade science book since I will also be teaching middle school math, science, and history in the afternoons. I'm planning to do lots of hands-on, interactive lessons and wanted to see what I have to work with. One topic I get to teach is insects. Maybe Jules can help.
8. It's absolutely amazing the mess 10 kids can make in a matter of seconds. And even more amazing that it takes them forever to clean it up.
9. I am finding it bittersweet that summer vacation is about to enter its final month. It means that school will be starting in just over a month (bitter)* but it also means that this summer school childcare situation is about to enter its final month (sweet).**
10. I wonder if Bistro on Spruce has fish and chips on their menu. I could really go for some fish and chips.

*School starting is only bitter because of the getting up and going to work every single day. I really love teaching and am so blessed to spend my days in the same building as my own children.
**I love teaching, but I don't so much love unstructured childcare. May sound weird, but they are two totally different jobs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lake Pend Orielle Adventure...In Pictures

As soon as we got out of the car, Jules got into the water. She tucked her dress into her shorts and went for it.

Check out the view behind the swimming cutie.

More of the gorgeous view of the Blue Monarch Mountain Range.

Adam and Pappy discussing fishing plans.

Jules telling Grams a story.
(Poor mom had carpel tunnel surgery last week. She's been one handed since. Funny, though. She does more one handed than most people do with two.)

Pappy took Jules and I on a boat ride Friday morning. She got to drive. She kind of loved it!
We saw this castle above the lake. It is crazy big and fancy. Who lives there?

View from the boat.

Jules fishing for the first time. Pappy is a great teacher!
The pole weighs as much as her, but she had to do it all by herself anyways.

Jules first catch!!

I saw this on the privately owned island in the middle of the lake. Dad told me it was how they said "no trespassing" in the days before printed signs.

The island from afar.

The island from up close. Can you imagine owning an island?! Even a small one. Too cool!

Then we saw this! It is another castle. It looks so authentic. There's a rock wall all the way around the front and the whole thing looks like it's made of stone. There's even a tower in the back for the damsel in distress.

Again. Who builds this in North Idaho?! I would really love a tour!

Back to camp after the boat ride and fishing. Jules was looking for "special rocks."

Here are the "special rocks" she found at the boat launch.
And here are the "special rocks" she found by the dock. I'm pretty sure all of these came home with us.

Then the storm blew in. It was crazy! One-handed mom and I had to take down the shade canopy and try to save the tent in gale force winds. Then we watched as the boat crashed against the dock over and over. Luckily all the damage was cosmetic. It was a little scary for a while there.
The aftermath of the storm. Everything was soaked. Including the campers.

But mostly it was like this. Now where else can you see a view like this. And we get to live here!

Apparently collecting rocks is tiring work.