Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Where are you Christmas?

I am frustrated. I am sad. I am let down. I am surrounded by Christmas, and yet, the holiday cheer escapes me. I feel like Cindy Lou Who wondering "Where are you Christmas? Where can I find you? Where have you gone away?" I am usually so joyful this time of year, and yet, I feel nothing. As I told John yesterday "I just don't feel Christmas in my heart." Me, the celebrator, cannot muster the spirit of celebration. Not even when it was snowing. I keep waiting for it to hit me. I was much more excited about Thanksgiving this year. It seems my Christmas spirit went on Thanksgiving vacation and has not decided to come back yet. Maybe it is the whirlwind of the holiday season that has me off. I don't have a free weekend until after New Year's. I need to just forget how I am feeling and meditate on the gift that I have received from Christ's birth. Christ, the Wonderful Counsellor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, came to Earth not on a chariot of fire, but born to a virgin in a stable. And although the birth of this King was humble in man's view, the heavens, the ones in the know, exploded with joy! They knew what this meant for mankind. So, to the lowly shepards the angels sang "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace to him on whom his favor rests!" That is pretty exciting and wonderful whether my emotions are on board or not.
"Oh Holy Night
the star were brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining (love that we are described this way. Not just longing-pining -withering away with out someone to fulfill us)
till HE appeared and the soul felt it's worth (We are redeemed. Our worthlessness was traded in for something of ultimate value. We were valueless until Christ was born, for what had we to offer?)
A thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices (even the trees must have known that from that moment on, everything had changed)
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees (as the Wise Men must have done. What can we do but worship?)
Oh, hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine
Oh night, when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh, night, oh night divine."

Friday, December 4, 2009

I just need you to know that...

*I just ate pop-tarts, bacon, and Lay's potato chips for lunch-th elunch of champions. The only reason I ate the bacon was to offset the junkiness of the poptarts. I think that was faulty logic, but I'm not sure. The chips were just a little gift to myself.

*In celebration of "snow day," I decided that Z and I should take a bubble bath, and when I asked her if she wanted to play in the bubbles, she said, "Mhmm, dat djew (thank you) Mommy!"

*I am WAAAAYYYY excited about getting out of school early for this snow day even if it is just an hour early-John's off Fridays are soooo snuggly.

*I am seriously thinking about letting my kids play today. They are so revved up and I feel very sad that they are wasting this precious snow day in school. That should be illegal in Texas...well, south Texas.

*I think it is hilarious that a little bit of snow, and really this is just a little bit-it's not even sticking, throws everyone into a tizzy around here. People up north must think we are crazy.

Lalalalala! Snow day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I hate craft blogs

I always find myself looking at these craft blogs and feeling like a total loser. How is it that these women have beautiful families and homes and still have time to make all those dang crafts? And, to top it off, they all seem skinny too. I'll just tell you the truth-I'm jealous. I want to be cool and crafty. I want to create something that I can give to people that will be a keepsake forever. I want to make my daughter clothes and toys. I want to wear jewelry that when people say, "Oh wow, where did you get that?" I can say with a smug smile " Oh this? I made it." Instead I am just...me. Just boring me. Me, who found a few gray hairs this week. So, not only am I not crafty, but I am old. I am running out of time to be crafty. And honestly, I am not sure that I would be any good at being crafty if I did have time/make time. I tried sewing some burp clothes once. Wow. The stitch looked like Lombard Street. My sister in law (who could have one of those crafty websites) had to finish for me. I have always told myself that if I only had time to work on that kind of stuff, I too could be a craftster. But, when I found those gray hairs, the reality of life set in. I am already who I am going to be. I am not going to be crafty, or skinny for that matter. So, what do I do now? I guess I'll just order some stuff from etsy and pop another cookie. Is 28 too early to be having a mid life crisis?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a few minutes of doing something "naughty"

Okay, maybe not naughty, but it feels that way. I have several things that I should be doing right now, but this is my small rebellion. I am "sticking it to the man" by wasting my time while on their time. It feels good. They waste enough of mine shoving conflicting philosophies and data down my throat. So there administrators, take this. And there goes my time. Here comes the reason I teach.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


We had a fantastic Halloween. The weather was so perfect-a gorgeous fall day! We started our celebration by carving pumpkins. I thought Zoey might be a little afraid or grossed out, but she just dove right it. She had her oversized spoon and was digging out the pumpkin guts like a pro. She even had a little raw pumpkin as a snack. She is such a weirdo. My family and some good friends came over to celebrate with us. The fam manned the homefront while us and the Harlans took our girls trick or treating. It was so much fun! The girls loved it! Zoey was loving rolling around in the wagon with the wind in her hair ( I have a feeling she is going to be a convertable girl). At first, they were a little unsure about what to do. Emma knew that she was supposed to knock on the door, but they didn't know what to do with the candy. Zoey figured it out pretty fast, and she had a dum-dum unwrapped before we knew it. The eventually figured out that people offering them candy was a very good thing. They were so funny!





Thursday, October 29, 2009

so far today....

I have:

snuggled a kitty:)

arrived early to work:)

been forced to do the cupid shuffle:(

been lectured:(

been chastised:(

tried to come up with a solution to hair problems using a hand dryer:)

scarfed down the October birthday breakfast:)

and the bell just rang. The Cupid Shuffle? Really?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Little Punkin

We took our little punkin to a pumpkin patch this afternoon. The weather was perfect for enjoying some fall festivities. Zoey loves pumpkins; every time she sees one, she points and says "poumpin."She is turning out to be a true lover of fall. I am so proud.
A little girl in a BIG chair
She was serious about this sucker. This may have been after she dropped it on the ground.
A quick pose with mommy-kinda. She was still pretty intent on her sucker.
Giving daddy a big hug
Showing some love to the pumpkins (She kisses things she loves)
Happy little girl
a cute little punkin' amongst the other pumpkins
Sharing the love
She especially loved the Zoey sized pumpkins.

Birthday weekend

For my birthday surprise this year, John planned a weekend away from the bug. We bought us tickets to the King's Feast at the Renaissance Festival-something I have always wanted to do. It is a 6 course meal complete with entertainment. The weather was perfect for a weekend of outdoor entertainment. I could not have asked for a better birthday treat!
The King's Feast at the Renaissance Fair
We gorged on the food! It was so delicious! We were stuffed! (and the couple sitting next to us were SLOSHED-it was hilarious!)
Some of the entertainment was a troupe of belly dancers. They were fantastic. One of the girls even danced with a snake.
John tried his hand at knife throwing. He wasn't too bad.
After we enjoyed the festival, John whisked me away to the Messina Hof winery in Bryan.
The weather was so beautiful during our tour of the winery.
After sleeping in and a sumptuous breakfast at the winery, we decided to explore the town of College Station.
The George W. Bush Library at A&M-It was actually a really interesting museum. I was a little surprised:)
A tribute to the Berlin wall

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Okay Nick Jr., we've had enough

I hate Dora the Explorer. There, I said it. I know that she is a much loved symbol to children everywhere, but she is SOOO bossy and loud. The girl never says please. She shouts all the time. She is offensive to all my senses. I can't stand her voice. It is grating and caustic. I can't stand the way she looks. Her eyes are so big and freaky, and if they move any further apart, they are going to fall off her face. Nothing she wears matches. And sometimes, you catch glimpses of her midriff. What a skank. Today, she told children across the world that one of her destinations was a river infested with alligators, essentially giving kids the "go ahead" to play with alligators. Thanks Dora. You have signed the death warrants of hundreds of innocent, naive children. You have pretty much wiped Louisiana off the map.
As much as I hate Dora, Zoey loves her. That is her favorite show. Today, she was sitting in her highchair eating dinner when Dora came on. She practically clawed her way out of the chair when she heard the song start playing. And when the part came that said, "Swipper no swiping!", she, who had contorted her body into unnatural proportions trying to catch a glimpse of her beloved heroine, promptly replied "Aw, man!" In that moment, I died a little. I'm not sure my sweet little girl will ever be the same. If she starts demanding that I "Say backpack! Say backpack!", I may break the TV.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Drop it like it's hot

What can I say? The girl can drop it like it's hot! She cracks me up!
video

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thankful

I love the fall so much. I can feel it in my bones weeks before it arrives, and I practically count down the hours until I can shout "Happy Fall!" Autumn is the beginning of so many wonderful things-crisp air, crunchy leaves, yummy smells, comforting food, and most importantly, CELEBRATING! My heart friend, Toni, and I have been exchanging Autumn gifts for years. This year was no exception. I got her package in the mail on Thursday, and I actually squealed with delight. I wanted to document the moment for her. Ripping into the package

My beautiful new bowl, now lovingly on display in my dining room
Peanuts lip gloss-I love all things Charlie Brown. My Toni knows me so well.
A sampling of the tea Toni sent me. We are lovers of tea!
My new pumpkin stamp!!! I can't wait to use it! I LOVE IT!
I read Toni's handmade card over and over. I miss her so terribly.
The bug liked Toni's package as well! She has already taken over the crayons and coloring book. (Also, please notice that she is wearing pj's with pumpkins all over-so cute!)

So, my sweet little Toni-girl, I love you the world. Thank you for the gift! You were right; this is the best one ever! I hope you liked yours as much as I liked mine. You make my heart dance with joy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

no words

Here is a conversation that I had with one of my students yesterday.

Me: So, when you are taking the test, the first thing it is going to ask you is what type of books you like:
Simone: I don't have a favorite book.
Me: You just have to click what kind you like-romance, mystery, etc.
Simone: I don't like any kind. I only like to read things about me.
Me: (flabbergasted) Really?
Simone: (stone-faced serious) Yeah. Books aren't about me, so I am not interested. I only like to think about me.
Me: (still flabbergasted) So, you don't ever, you know, think about like your mom or what you are going to have for dinner or anything?
Simone: (still so serious. Not understanding at all the tears that are coming to my eyes because I am biting the inside of my cheek in an attempt not to fall on the floor laughing.)No. I only think about me. I am just being honest. I love me. I love the way God made me.
Me: (turning red from effort) I like the way God made you too. You are just right.

What kind of books do you suggest to someone who is only interested in themselves? I pondered with question for a long time, even lost some sleep over it. It finally hit me. I told Simone today that her year long project was to write her life story (yeah, all 11 years of it). She, of course, loved the idea. I told her that she needed to read lots of biographies and autobiographies so she could get some ideas about what to put in her story. She may or may not have seen through my ploy, but at least she is now somewhat excited about something that she can do in my class. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I love that girl.

gesh

I like to ask questions, okay? I need to be able to question every little part of an explanation to make sure I completely understand what the other person is saying. I'm probably a little slow, so just be patient when I ask a million questions. And don't get annoyed when I just repeat or rephrase what you just said. That is simply my way of comprehending something. Have I always been this way? I don't know. Probably. I KNOW that I am annoying, but I can't stop myself. If I reign in my questions, I will be lost. I hate that this is the only way I can learn, but I have tried several methods, and this is the one that works. I have to dissect something and then put it back together myself. I did not learn this about myself until I was a senior in college (I am a late bloomer, apparently). It was amazing when I finally embraced this. I got a 4.o that year.
This is what is making my job so hard this year. I have no one to ask my questions to. I am girl without a team. I am an oar floating in the ocean-well, that is how I feel anyway. I know this has to get better, but I sure feel like I am in over my head right now.
I am really trying not to be annoyed with myself and my MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of inadequacies that are stacking up, but I am making it really hard on myself. And the vicious cycle continues.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

why?

this is going to be written in all lowercase as my left hand is currently shoveling chips into my mouth. words can't even describe how annoyed i am at myself for said action. i am supposed to be on a diet, and until this week, i was doing pretty good. maybe it is school starting that has me stuffing my face. maybe it is the fact that john is not here to be my conscience. maybe i have the onset of pms. who knows. i do know that i am pretty much sabotaging all the good work i have done. i just hope i don't have to start at square one, but we had some friends over for dinner on tuesday, and they brought a pie, and LEFT IT HERE, and of course i had to eat it. it was taunting me. and i am just not one to waste food. starving children in china would be, excuse me, would have been happy to have that pie.

All this eating (okay, chips have been put away. Capital letters may resume) may come from the fact that I work for possibly the most foolish principal in the world. Let me preface this by saying that I work in a school of 1770 students in a building made for 800 students. Needless to say, we have major needs. Not to mention that we are being asked to justify how every single copy we make will further student learning. Basically we have the administration breathing down our necks about TAKS scores, budget, etc. That being said, let me just recount this morning's meeting. After the faculty celebrations, our principal took a deep breath and paused for dramatic effect. He then told a story about a woman who approached him during 6th grade orientation and asked him a simple question: If he could choose one thing for the school what would he want? At this point in the story, the teachers are all leaning forward waiting for him to tell us of the wonderful thing we are going to get that is going to promote student learning. After another dramatic pause, the principal looks at us and says that he could not think of anything. There was collective feeling of let down. However, with a twinkle in his eye, the prinicipal continues the story. I am personally there is going to be a fantasatic ending to this story resulting in us getting new computers or every kid getting a lap top or something. Since he could not think of one thing, the woman then asked him what two things he might pick. He looks at us eager teachers again and says, "Again, I couldn't think of anything." He proceeds to tell us that he led this woman into the front office so that he could consult...wait for it...his SECRETARY. She asks the woman "Is there any financial cap?" The woman says no. At this point us teachers are getting really excited. We must be getting something fabulous for our kids. Maybe a new computer lab since we don't have enough. Hell, maybe a door for the ISS rooms. The principal pauses again. He is totally enjoying the suspense he is building. He looks us in the eye and says, "Marcia suggested an electronic marquee for the front of the school. So, the woman walked into my office today with a $20,000 check. We are getting a new marquee!" I wanted to hit him in the face. A woman gives him a huge sum of money, and it doesn't even cross his mind to a) consult the teachers about what we think would be best, and b) ask for something that promotes student learning! He has been harping on that for a week! Am I wrong for feeling this is a complete waste of money? I'm not much of a confrontational person, I ususally prefer to grumble under my breath, but I am seriously thinking of asking our principal what we was thinking and how he justifies this. I can't even believe this. Okay, I think I am done ranting about all the things that annoy me.

On a short positive note, I am loving all my students. They are so precious. I love the way my classes are running. I am teaching a special reading strategies class, so my classes are super, super small which means that I get to form good relationships with all my kids. I am so excited about all the things that I can do for them. I am nervous about teaching something new, but I think this is going to be really good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

School is NOT cool

Let me preface this by saying that I love teaching. I love forming relationships with my students and watching the lights come on. I love seeing kids find things that they are good at and learn to enjoy things they never thought they would. I love hearing how a kid found a book that he was passionate about or how one realized that a song was just poetry set to music. I love hearing the different takes that kids have on what they are reading. I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. I have been blessed with my job, but it PISSES me off when I am lectured for a whole week about how I need to do a better job teaching my kids, especially the poor, black ones (sorry, but we had a whole lecture on that today). I am mad that I have been lectured about how each kid learns differently (DUH!) and I need to make sure that I reach each kid, but oh, by the way, you are not going to have enough computers or overheads to do it. Also, even though you don't have enough computers, First period teachers, your kids are just going to have to pretend to use a computer because you don't even have a lab that you can take them to at that time. I understand that TAKS is something that we just have to face, but my gosh administrators, have some faith that we are teaching them the right things in the class room! Stop showing me charts and graphs about testing trends and tell me what the best methods are to reach the kids that are not passing. And stop making it sound like AMS teachers are not doing their job just because we are the 4th ranked middle school in the district. I have some news for you-the Kingwood schools do not have the demographics that we have. If my poor, black kid doesn't pass the TAKS it counts against us not once, but three times. Kingwood schools do have enough black kids or poor kids for those sub groups to count. So it is not fair for you to compare us to those schools. And it is certainly not fair of you to tell me that I am not doing a good enough job. All this "motivation" that you have been giving me this week has sounded something like this "Good job, but..." No, not but, just Good Job. We are doing a good job. We are busting our asses for these kids, and certainly not for the pay. Teaching is a labor of love, and I certainly love it, but I have not loved my administrators this week. I have been penalized for being ONE minute late to our faculty meeting (seriously, note in my box and everything), but these administrators can waste an entire week of my time. I have just been reminded of how little I am thought of this week. If I did not know that there are classes of little babies who need someone to help them achieve, I would be even more mad than I am now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mission Agua Prieta

I have prolonged this post because I have just been at a loss as to how to describe my week. It was one of the best mission trips I have ever been on. I felt God's presence so strongly the whole time we were there, and he revealed himself to me in such reals ways through the laughter I shared, the smiles of the children, the tears of joy that were shed, and the gospel that was shared. I really can't describe the emotions that I experienced. To try seem futile. But I will say, the work we did was all for God's glory. It is what we should do as followers of God. It is not necessary that it be fulfilling, but in God's amazing grace, he allows us to be filled when we do. I arrived back home at the end of the week filled to the tip top.The Maroon Van ladies in all our glory! I love these women, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to know them and establish deeper relationships with them. Just one of God's many blessings on this trip!
This could possibly be one of my favorite pictures of all time! I love my Kelli-girl!

We did get to spend Sunday afternoon roaming around Tombstone, AZ. Lots of history in "The Town to Tough to Die." Ha!



My job was to stay in Pirtleville and work with the VBS there. I loved it! The kids were so great! They were way into the drama we performed everyday and the songs we sang. It was exhausting, but such a blessing to share God's love with his little children.

This is such a small preview. There is more to come!