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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kids!! (at work)

Usually my aide does my bulletin boards at school (she retired after teaching first grade for 36 years, so she's had plenty of practice at bulletin boards!), but this year I've been on something of a roll. I think because the class is so much better that I have time and energy to thing about something besides dragging myself through the next day.

Anyway, I have actually been inspired this year with a couple of neat ideas. The one I'm going to show you (if you haven't already lost interest and gone back to the main page) is what I just put up. We've been working on adjectives in English, and I wanted to incorporate that into a seasonal bulletin board.

The board is based on the book Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberly. It describes a monster and then makes it disappear. Well, first I read a description of the monster to my students without adjectives and had them draw the monster. "The monster has eyes, a nose, a mouth with teeth, ears, hair, and a face." The pictures were all very different. Here are a couple of examples...

school 246 no adjective monster

Now, this next one has me a little upset. Look and see if you maybe see a resemblance...

mini me?? Kate

Haha...that kid is SOOOO getting a detention!! (Not really)

Then, I read them the description complete with the adjectives and had them draw the monster again. "Big Green Monster has two big, yellow eyes, a bluish-greenish nose, a big, red mouth with sharp, white teeth, two little squiggly ears, scraggly purple hair, and a big scary green face." This time, the pictures looked much more like the monster in the book.

Green monster 1 Green monster 2

The kids really enjoyed the activity. I was pretty impressed with their drawings (except the mini-me)...usually drawing is really painful in our room. They were very engaged with the activity, though, and now I have a cute, seasonal, and curriculum-related bulletin board (talk about your adjectives!!) that'll last me through the end of October. Yea!!

bulletin board--Adjectives...get the picture?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Please excuse my absence...

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I had every intention of going to the "Welcome New Members" union party after school Friday, I really did.  I was even disappointed that I would only be able to stay for a short time because I had a baby shower later in the evening.  I had even made an appetizer to bring.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend.  I think that once you see the picture, you'll understand, and even appreciate, my absence. 

RIP, favorite jeans

R.I.P., favorite jeans. (Pun somewhat intended). Despite my heartbreaking loss, I do intend to be at work tomorrow. And yes, because I know some of you are thinking it, it may just be time to go on that diet!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quotes that have caught me thinking

I've been writing down quotes that have struck me, and here are some of them.

Joyce Meyer paraphrasing Hebrews 4:3: "Faith is the doorway through which we enter the rest of God."

NIV text notes on John 16:32: "The disciples had faith, but not enough to stand firm in the face of disaster (crucifixion). Jesus knew they would fail; however, His church is not built on peoples' strength but on God's ability to use people even after they have failed." Love this!

From Matthew West's song You Are Everything: "You're the one who looks at me and sees what I was meant to be..." What a thought...that God sees us as we are to Him, not as our flawed selves. The way we look at our children times a million or so.

This is neat

A student is the most important person on the campus. Without them there would be no need for the institution. ...Not a cold enrollment statistic, but a flesh and blood human being with feelings and emotions like our own....Not someone to be tolerated so that we can do our thing....They ARE our thing...Not dependent on us...Rather we are dependent on them....Not an interruption of our work, but the purpose of it. We are not doing them a favor by serving them. They are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

-author unknown

A good reminder. :)


Thanks to Tia at Clever Girl Goes Blog for her post on licensing your work. She inspired me to register for a Creative Commons license. You might want to do so, as well. Not that I'm concerned about one of my three readers stealing my work, lol, but I think it's probably good policy to protect yourself and the work that you do.

Jacob's first field trip

Sadly, I forgot my camera. I realized partway there that I'd forgotten it, but I was running late (go figure) and had to stop for gas. I figured that running out of gas with a carload of kids would be worse than having no pictures from the day other than the two below that I snapped with my cell phone (I love camera phones!). And a few other moms DID have cameras, so I may end up with some pictures to share.

We went to Mill's Apple Farm with Jacob's day care/preschool. I love his daycare SO MUCH! I am so thankful to have such a great place to take him. :) Our drive there was noisy!! I had a total of 4 kids and one parent (he wasn't the noisy one, lol). The kids had a blast talking to each other on the way, and it was really funny to hear the discussions.

At the apple farm, the kids got to help make cider, play on the playset (where Jacob bumped his head several times)...


...and, of course, pick apples.

Apple farm

Good times. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soccer fun (or, the men in my life have big mouths)


Jacob had a 6:00 soccer game tonight.  Somehow we managed to get home from work, cook and eat supper (only because it was eggs), and get to the game on time.  Like, one minute to spare.  And we're the coaches...pat us on the back.  haha.

The very best part was that I not only had time to cook omelets for the family (well, technically for just Jeff and I because Jacob likes his eggs friend and Daniel and Nathan weren't home yet, but still...); I also had time to run a load of laundry.  Yea me!  I had just put all the colors into the washer and heard it kick in when Jeff asked something about Jacob's soccer clothes.


5 minutes before we leave the house, and I have just put Jacob's soccer shirt into the wash.  Turns out it takes more than 5 minutes for a soaked t-shirt to get even remotely dry in the dryer.  So I held it out the window of the car as we drove.  Jeff kept making helpful remarks like, "I can't believe you put his soccer shirt into the wash," and "Make sure you don't let go of the shirt so you don't drop it, too!"  Apparently he has never heard the song Shut Up and Drive.  :)  I mean, really...like he's never made a mistake before?!

Jacob is no better.  No sooner did we walk up to the rest of the team than he announced how Mommy had put his shirt into the washer and it was still all wet.  Nice.  Whatever happend to the "strong, silent" type??

Otherwise, it was a fun night.  Brennan, one of the boys on the team, kept talking to Jeff and calling him "coach".  "Hey, coach, I think we've got everybody here."  "Did you see that kick, coach?"  Cute.

Our team got spanked, like 8-0.  One of our kids did kick a goal for the other team, so at least we scored once.  It wasn't pretty, though.  Our team wasn't helped by Jacob prancing around in the backfield.  Maybe it's the pink--I mean, coral--shirts, but perhaps dance lessons might have been a better choice for him...but being a ballerina is my unfulfilled dream, and I suppose I have to just let it go.  Sigh.  Haha

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This weekend (and maybe a lesson learned)

Whoa...I'm ready to go back to work so I can rest, lol!

Friday was Jeff's birthday, so we went out to dinner (just the two of us...ah...) and then went to Gillespie to watch Marquette's football team. As if we don't get enough football these days watching Nathan play for Edwardsville! It was nice just to get to spend some time alone together. We really need to do that more often.

Saturday morning Jacob played soccer. His team "won" again, though they don't take score. He's having a lot of fun and is a lot more comfortable on the field. You can see already that he lacks a killer instinct. Haha...he's my child, for sure. He does actually manage to get near the ball now, which is a huge improvement over last season.

As soon as Jacob's game was over, we flew across town to watch the second half of Nathan's football game. Apparently while we were at the soccer fields Nathan had a fantastic catch and really laid some kid out on a tackle. Nothing after we got there, though.

After the games, we headed home, and I cleaned all afternoon for Jeff's birthday party. He's sick--again--so I did most of the work while he laid on the couch. You can tell how lousy he felt by that previous sentence. He would never sit around while I did all the work unless he felt miserable. I was fine with it, did what I needed to do, got the food ready...regular Martha Stewart (except I bet she doesn't need to clean furiously to make her house presentable to other people). Luckily Jacob was napping then.

The party was nice, and the food was quite good, if I do say so myself. We tried to watch Shooter (which I had just given him), but the DVD kept messing up. Darn...I can always use a dose of Mark Wahlberg! haha.

Church this morning, and then Jacob and I went to Wal-Mart so Jacob could pick out a gift for Jeff. Last night after Jeff had opened his gifts Jacob asked me, "Which one did I help pick out?" Oops. I meant to take him, but I never managed to find the time. He ended up picking out a Halloween decoration for the house. Later, we went to my sister-in-law's to watch the Rams play the Seahawks. It's a good thing I don't really care or it would have been a very disappointing game. I did get to ride my bike to and from the party while Jeff and Jacob drove there. It was a great day for a bike ride, and I didn't get lost once.

So...the lesson. Well, seems like Jeff has been sick a lot lately. He was miserably sick a few weeks ago, to the point where he missed several days of work. Once he went back to work, I think basically his partner did most everything while Jeff managed to sit there (and that was a painful effort). The man never misses work! Three or four days called in is HUGE for him. I don't think he's ever missed that many days in a row since we started dating, and we've been together for 10 years.

Anyway, last time he was sick I was less than lovingly concerned about it. I was really kind of annoyed by the whole thing. The first couple of days I managed to act sympathetic, but after that I was pretty much done with the whole thing. I know how lousy that is. Compound it with the fact that he is wonderful when I'm sick, and what you get is me not being a very nice person or good wife.

This time, I've been much better. I haven't been just "acting" sympathetic. I am sympathetic. And I haven't minded carrying the load for both of us while he is sick. Today in church I was thinking about it, praying for Jeff to get feeling better, and wondering what lesson there might be for one of us in this situation...and I thought of that saying about how God will keep putting you in the same situation until you handle it correctly. Hopefully that is the case, because if it is, I think maybe I've got it and then he won't have to suffer while I learn to be a more caring person.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why I hate my brother...

We played in a local mud volleyball tournament last week.  Came in 2nd.  :(  Jacob has been in the mud several times, seeing as he's been attending mud volleyball since he was about 8 months old.  It was my nephew's first time in the mud, though.  I got to throw him in. 

Toss 'em in

Jeff tossed in Jacob, and I dropped in Bradey. Bradey got a kick out of it, but Jacob was less than pleased. Turns out he didn't mind getting muddy, but he didn't want to be thrown in!! The boy has, to put it gently, control issues. Haha.

Muddy boys

Here, Jeff is talking things over with Jacob and attempting (futiley, as it turned out) to convince him that it was really a fun thing to be thrown into the mud. Bradey and I were laughing about how muddy he was...and hopefully he wasn't peeing in the mud, as it appears he is. Suddenly, disaster struck, in the form of my charming brother...

Why I hate my brother

There's a lot going on in this picture. To the very right of the picture, you can see my brother Matt running off, and if you look closely, you can see that he's grinning like an idiot. Because he has just shoved me backward into the mud. My wonderful husband attempted to tackle him and just missed. Jacob and my nephew Bradey, however, thought it was just hilarious. Traitors.

I'm gonna get you...sucka!

I did try to get him back. I did. Matt was hampered in his escape by the full beer in his hand (not to mention the numerous ones already consumed). Me, I was hampered by the fact that I am ssslllooooooowwww. :(

Now, at this point my head had remained above the mud. Not for long, though, because he later came back and completely tackled me so that my entire head went under. He's toast.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Giving the glory

There are so many things that I struggle with and wonder about now that I am actually putting thought and effort into knowing God. Many of them which reflect poorly on me and my relationship with God, I'm afraid, but (to paraphrase Popeye), I yam where I yam.

I don't see any point in pretending I'm any further along than where I am or that I'm so sure of things because, after all, God knows what's in my heart. So. One thing that has sort of bothered me is all the talk about giving God glory. Part of me has thought things along the lines of, "He's God...why is it so important to him to be glorified, to get credit for everything."

Along similar lines, I was reminded recently of part of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (a book I've loved since childhood), where Aslan tells the children that any evil done in his name is actually done in the service of the witch, and any good done in her name is really for him. Ever since then, that's kind of how I've seen God, thinking that he takes the good we've done in our lives, no matter in whose name (if any) it was done. Well, as I've grown in the church I have come to learn (if not fully internalize) that it's not about what we do but about accepting Jesus as our Savior. I've read the passages about God being a jealous God and not wanting us to have other gods but Him.

So all of those things have been swirling around in my thoughts, and I've been trying to wrap my mind around what I've been learning. One thing that is really helpful to me is to try and put things in much smaller terms, things I can relate to. I thought about how much we do for our children and how upsetting it is when they act ungrateful. How I feel when one of the older boys gives credit to their father for something that I did for them while he lived his own life. I want to do things for my children, but I also want them to recognize and appreciate it. We all want our children to see how blessed they are.

Another minor incident was something of a revelation to me as well. We have a private family website through myfamily.com. Two actually, one for Jeff's side of the family and one for mine. It has been a real struggle to get Jeff's family actively involved in the website, but it has finally really taken off. One of his cousins, T., whom I'd invited to join the website months ago, finally got interested after talking to his brother about it. The brother asked me to reset T's password so that he could get on the website. So they other day I logged on and read T's post:
Thanks to S, D and I are now online. We were not able to figure it out at first but now that we are online-Look Out. This is really neat.

He added some other things about how cool the website was and totally gave S. credit. At least that's how I read it. And I was annoyed. This thing was my baby. Now, I quickly realized how silly I was being and chose to be glad for more participation ("new attitude") rather thank irked by someone else getting "my" credit.

And then I thought...is this how God feels when we don't recognize and acknowledge His works all around us? I had my nose out of joint over a website where really very little effort was required. I want my kids to appreciate the things I do for them. And really, what is all of that in the grand scheme of things? Cooking supper and running kids to practice isn't in the same universe as breathing out the sun and creating the world. There is nothing I sacrifice for my kids that comes anywhere near God's sacrifice of His own Son for our sins. We could praise Him all day, every day, and it wouldn't even begin to approach what He deserves. Thank God for His goodness AND mercy!

Fun with Jacob

We were playing a game with Jacob tonight, and he had to sing a song. I bribed him with double points if he'd sing it again for the camera. Lucky you!!

He also started soccer this weekend. This is his second session, and this time almost all of the kids are in his class at daycare. He's having a blast. Of course, I have some pictures to show you...


That's him, right up front. Good focus, or does he have to go to the bathroom? lol

Jacob playing soccer

Furthest to the right in the pink, I mean CORAL, shirt.

I love this...last session his shirt was red, and the kids named themselves the Fighting Cherries. This session they came up with the Apricots. ??? Maybe next time we can be yellow Bananas and stay with the fruit theme. Kids are funny.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Right thinking

Pastor Mark has been talking over the past two weeks about having a new attitude and the power of "right thinking". Today he talked about the importance of your "input" and your "output".

Input being the things you pay attention to. What music are you listening to? What shows are you watching? What books are you reading? I accidentally read a Christian romance novel last summer (this was well before I had started the new church process). I say "accidentally" because I had just picked up some books pretty cheap at a yard sale. I don't look all that closely when books cost a quarter. Anyway, the book had a good story, and it was really interesting to me to read something written from a Christian, rather than worldly, perspective. A very different experience, to be sure!

Since going to the new church, I've got a lot of new input. I've started talking more about God with others, reading books on Christian living, reading the Bible, reading the daily devotionals from Proverbs31.org, and reading blogs from other Christian women. The blogs, in particular, have been really helpful to me in this process. It is so helpful to see how "regular" people incorporate God into their lives. Incorporate isn't really the right word. It's not about how God fits into your life (which is still where I am); it's about fitting your life around God.

As well as the "how-to" component (:D), these blogs and books are also helpful just because of the "there is/are" component. As in there are many other people living Christian lives. There is an alternative to the Hollywood lifestyle that so many people aspire to. That just because things seem regular now doesn't make them normal or right. So thank you to those of you who are publicly sharing your Christian walk.

"Input" also refers to how you spend your time and with whom. You are influenced by the things with which you surround yourself. It's much easier to resist temptation when you aren't constantly putting yourself into situations where you will be tempted. And, along with that, monitoring the thoughts you have. While you can't control the thoughts that pop into your head, you CAN control which ones you keep there. I have to admit that I am so weak in this area. I really do let my thoughts control my moods and, often, my actions. Pastor Mark shared a great quote, though (from a heart dr. in England whose name I've forgotten...sorry): "Most unhappiness in life is due to listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves."

Isn't that amazing? How true!

How do you get away from all the negative thinking and influences? "Overcome wrong thinking with right words." Speak passages from the Bible that address your situation. Also, keep in mind that God will provide and take care of those who believe and live in Him. Trust in Him.

On my way home from church, I heard a song on the radio that went right along with today's message, Slow Fade by Casting Crowns. I'd heard it once before, but I was struck by how closely it aligned with what I had just heard. If you don't know the song, here are the lyrics, courtesy of www.elyrics.net:

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Oh, Ike!!

We're loving the hurricane residue here. Woke up this morning to torrential rains, a lake in our backyard, and no power. Could be worse, since the weather isn't too hot or too cold. Could be better, because our sump pump has no battery backup and so Jeff spent some time this morning bailing out the sump pump well just before it overflowed into our recently finished basement. Whew!

Gas prices are up to $4.49/gal for regular gas, but that's no big problem because currently there is very little regular gas available. Lol ('cause what else can you do? ). Looks like I may be carpooling this week to work.

I've very thankful that we don't live along the gulf coast. We have some minor annoyances to deal with rather than huge upheavals or life-threatening situations. It could always be worse. LOTS worse. Praise God that we have a roof over our heads, a still dry basement, and a way to work if we can't get gas later in the week. Those who were affected by the hurricane are in my prayers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Small group

Last night was my first time at the small group that I joined at the new (is it still "new" after 4 1/2 months? As compared to 35 years in the Catholic church...yes) church. I didn't know anyone in the group, though the friend who dragged me to the church assured me I'd like the leader.

It was very different. As I've mentioned here more than once, I'm not one who's really comfortable talking about God to other people except one or two certain people. In addition, the vocabulary/terminology in this church is very different from the way I grew up. I think everything in quotes still..."saved", "the enemy", etc. It's not a natural way of thinking or talking for me. And praying--or listening to--prayers that aren't rote prayers is a big change, too.

Don't get the idea that I don't like it. I do. I get much more out of the services and feel closer to God (or, at least, closer to being closer to God, if that makes any sense), but I'm definitely out of my zone of comfort. Add that to the fact that all of these people were strangers...well, it was a little unsettling.

The leader did some talking and we did some talking. I am really making an effort to listen to other people rather than always thinking about and jumping in with what I have to say, but I did have some things to contribute. One of the men talked about having been almost immediately delivered from some pretty big things and how his wife hadn't really liked it because he didn't want to watch the same types of movies and do the same types of things as before. I commented that the change is so hard for the people around us to deal with and shared how Jeff is less than thrilled with my new church attendance...and laughingly added that his name was Jeff, and there I was sitting between two men named Jeff!

The end is what really made an impression on me, though. The leader passed around a notebook for us to write our prayer intentions on. I wrote what was strongest in my heart, which was increase my faith. After the notebook got back to Marcy, she said that she was going to pray over each intention. She went around the room, did mine, continued through the circle. Then, at the end, she prayed for Jeff and for our marriage. I don't remember everything she said, but she talked about increasing the communication between us and him growing closer to God rather than this coming between us.

I hadn't talked about "problems" between us at all other than his discomfort with the change, but some do exist. Nothing earth-shattering, but the everyday cracks and crevices that seem to erode further every day. And everything she prayed about for us is something that we really need; it was much more than what I had mentioned to the group. I was in tears as she prayed. I just really felt like it was revealed to her what we needed. So, while I truly hope her second prayer for me is answered, my prayer to increase my faith was definitely heard.

In the end, I was SO glad I had gone. I just felt happy afterwards. I did feel a sense of community, one that has been somewhat lacking there for me. I've mostly gone with the friends who initially invited me, and I've met one other couple I've felt like have become at least friendly acquaintences, but that was it. I think, through this group, I will definitely become more a part of the church.


My head is having a rough time of it these days! First was the incident over Labor Day weekend when Daniel kicked a volleyball right into my face (accidentally), cutting my face with my sunglasses. Well, the scar from that is fading, but now I have new damage with which to contend.

Nathan mowed the grass last night and threw the dog's tether into a tree so he didn't mow over it. Fast forward to this morning, still dark, as I walk outside holding the dog by his collar. I discover that the tether is up in the tree and yank on the line to pull it down. Well, it must have been draped over a few branches, because when I pulled, it swung free of one branch but hung, like a pendulum, over another...and right into my forehead. The metal part that you hook to the collar hit me right in the middle of my forehead. D'oh!!

It hurt SO much, and I immediately got a great big lump. If I colored it red, I'd look like one of those Indian women who put the red spot on their forehead. As much as it hurt, though, I thank God that it hit my (admittedly hard) forehead and not my eye or teeth. Ugh. As it is, I can laugh at myself and get a kick out of telling the story...and I've brought quite a bit of amusement to my friends. Glad to help. Really. :D

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

100 Things About Me...#26-50

26. I have a dog named Berkeley and a cat named Dingo. We have several assorted fish without names.

27. I love to buy craft supplies and books but have poor follow-through in actually using them. I have a box full of sewing patterns which have never been used, and truthfully, I don't sew well enough to make anything I'd actually wear, anyway.

28. I have sewed multiple Halloween costumes, though, including a dinosaur (Daniel), a hippie (Nathan), Cleopatra (me), a pirate (Jeff), and the Cat in the Hat (me 9 months pregnant). Oh, my...add a knight (Nathan), a flying monkey (Jacob...Wizard of Oz), a scarecrow (Daniel), a jester (Daniel), and an Indian (me). Probably more that I'm forgetting.

29. When I was pregnant with Jacob, I walked the entire course of the town Halloween parade on Oct. 31, praying the whole time I'd go into labor. He was born Nov. 4.

30. I played flute in our grade school band from 3rd through 8th grade but haven't touched it since then.

31. I also took piano lessons. The teacher called me "Kathy" for an entire year, and I was too shy to correct her. My mom, however, did correct her at my first recital a year later.

32. 90% of people mispronounce my last name. Jacob, in fact, mispronounced our last name for probably 6 months because the people at his daycare mispronounced it (long e sound instead of long i sound), and he could not be convinced by us that the long i sound was, in fact, correct.

33. I hate conflict and get really uncomfortable in any situation where conflict might arise, even if I'm not part of it. Still uncomfortable in conflict situations, but as a necessity am getting better at dealing with it at work. Have even had moments of confrontation brilliance... and once managed to get rid of a terrible aide in such a way that she thought it was her idea. :D

34. My ex-husband was a total conflict avoider. I could try to bring up an issue and talk about things that I was upset about, and he would completely not respond. If he did respond, it was usually with a lie so as not to "upset" me. It made me crazy.

35. My current husband is very good about addressing problems with honesty. I, on the other hand, have to work really hard to reciprocate. I had 6 years of training in "talking doesn't help". Worse and worse at this.

36. I am a yeller, and I like to throw things when I'm mad. I don't throw things anymore, and I have come a long way in managing my temper...at least its outward manifestations.

37. My husband is such a good man that I try really hard to always talk to him in a respectful tone, even when I'm mad. Still true, but I've developed an unfortunate habit of just not talking when I'm mad.

38. I am a moody, moody person and tend to get really annoyed with Jeff for stupid things. Then, I'm crabby with him because I'm so annoyed but don't feel like I can talk to him about it because the problem isn't him, it's me. I think I must be a very difficult person to live with. Oh, gosh...times 1000!

39. I have been Catholic since birth. I can't imagine ever changing churches, but I don't feel the deep connection that I think many people must. I keep going to church and following the laws and paying attention during the readings, etc, hoping that at some point the feeling part will kick in. Hmmm...this has changed some. I've been going to a non-denominational Christian church. I get a lot more out of it. I'm still very conflicted at the idea of not being a Catholic.

40. I am very disorganized.

41. I like to watch TV, but if I had my choice I'd rarely have the TV on because I'd rather read.

42. I'm a procrastinator. I'll think about something that I should do, but never seem to get around to it. I'm much better at emailing people than writing letters. That is, I write the letters but never get around to mailing them. Currently, I have a thank you gift for my aunt and uncle in Atlanta (with whom we stayed in JUNE) and a baby outfit for my friend Sarah (who had her baby in June) waiting to be mailed. Luckily, the outfit is a 3-6 month size!

43. I am the oldest of 4 children and the only girl. While a lot of the birth order stuff is crap, I think there is also some truth in it.

44. My husband's sister was my best friend in high school. He lived at home then and was very quiet. I thought he was a little weird.

45. I lived with my mom for 2 years after my divorce. I had tried living on my own, but I was making very little (though working full time) and receiving partial, intermittent child support and just could not handle it financially. During my time living with my mom, I paid off all of my old bills, paid her back all the considerable money I owed her, and paid her house payment. I also did nearly all of the cooking. She did most of the cleaning and the laundry. It wasn't perfect, but it worked out OK. It was kind of like having a wife (in the old sense of a wife being the housekeeper, caretaker person).

46. I could use a wife!! I have to admit, though, that Jeff does much more around the house than I do. I think maybe it has to do with him being raised in a house full of women (his parents were divorced when he was 12, and he has 3 sisters). He has much more respect and consideration than many men I've been around.

47. My kids had a medical card (from Public Aid), and Public Aid paid for most of my daycare costs while I was working and then while I was going to school. I can't imagine how I'd have been able to pay my bills if I'd had to pay the $140/week for daycare for them that I pay for Jacob now. I don't enjoy paying taxes now, but I certainly enjoy the fact that I am helping support a system that made it possible for me to get my degree and be self-sufficient.

48. I believe that we as a country have a responsibilty to help take care of people who aren't able to take care of themselves until they're able to take care of themselves. I hope that our legislators, as they are working to reform/eliminate welfare programs, try to put themselves in the shoes of the people who need those programs. If it weren't for those programs, I could still be living with my mom, or paying rent on an apartment I couldn't afford while I struggled to buy food and pay my bills. Instead, I own my own home, have a good job, can pay my bills, and even have a little left over! Now that I have two teenagers...VERY little left over!! Haha

49. I once lived on about $7,000 a year plus student loan money.

50. I graduated from college magna cum laude while working part time and raising two kids. My sister-in-law, though, graduated summa. :( But she didn't have any kids! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Allow me to brag...

I am really proud of my boys! We had a busy, busy day thanks to them today, but it was great!

Nathan played in the Triad Jamboree today. We had no idea what exactly a football jamboree was. Turns out there were a total of 5 teams. Each team played a 15-minute quarter against each other team. The team with the best record (or highest point total) won the Jamboree. Our team went undefeated. Go Tigers!!

Nathan played great, despite having a broken toe (yes, the boy plays football, tackling and being tackled...and breaks his toe playing family volleyball!! Luckily it was just a small, very stable fracture, so the doctor OK'd him playing on it as long as it was well taped). He was amazing.

He caught a pass for the 2 point conversion after a touchdown. Look how high above the other player he is!!


Maybe two years of high jump came in handy!!

In another game, one of the opposing players broke away from the pack and was headed to the endzone to score. Nathan came from way back, caught up, and tackled him.


You can just barely see Nathan behind the kid in purple. My ex-husband got it on video, too, and you can see Nathan streak out of nowhere and bulldoze the kid. It was great.

And, they continued the winning tradition. This makes 7 straight years we've won the Jamboree. Yea us!


Also today, Daniel had several parts in the Thespian group's play, "All the World's a Stage". The drama teacher likened being part of Thespians to a Boy Scout getting Eagle Scout...in other words, a big deal. Daniel was great...especially in his part as a girl! :D He just gets more and more confident and comfortable on stage. I am frequently amazed by his voice (didn't get it from me, that's for sure!!) and his ability to get up in front of people and act his heart out.

No question about it, I am blessed to have these kids (and since they're at their dad's house this weekend, it's easy to remember that!!).

Friday, September 5, 2008


As I mentioned in my last post, Nathan broke his toe on Labor Day playing volleyball with us. He hasn't been able to practice football because it hurt, and we took him for x-rays on Wednesday. Turns out he has a "chip fracture" just below the joint on his big toe. The good news is that it's a very stable fracture (according to the dr.), and Nathan can play football with the toe taped as long as he can tolerate the pain.

I emailed the head coach of the team to fill him in, and this is part of the response I got:


Did I mention that my kids go to a public high school? I am really glad to see our coach's faith shining through in even a fairly routine email to a parent. And he doesn't know me from Adam, know my religion or anything. Very impressive, I think. It makes me very glad that my son does play for him. I think Nathan will learn some important life lessons in addition to increasing his football skill.

I myself am much more circumspect about with whom I say much of a religious nature. Especially in my role as a public school teacher myself. Our coach's example has given me a lot to think about. I try to let God shine through me in the ways that I treat my students and others. I've been working to eliminate my gossip and grumbling against my work authorities. That's a start, I guess, but I'd say our coach's bulb is burning quite a bit brighter than my own.

The week in review

It was a good one, all in all, though most likely colored right now by the fact that I'm dead on my feet (well, right now, dead in my seat). My nice, small class is slowly expanding...as I knew it would. I started out with 11, two of whom missed the first several days of school due to serious medical issues (as opposed to the normal year when normally about 2 of the students miss because their parents don't want to mess with school before Labor Day). So, 9 kids. Ahhh.

Well, the two started, which was fine. All my students are sweet, which is WONDERFUL!! The last couple of years I've spent as much time managing behaviors as teaching. Well, teaching different things. Like "how to accept responsibility for your actions 101". And "Remedial Dealing with Frustration in an Appropriate (i.e., non destructive or physically harmful) Manner". And "Basics of Not Blurting Out Every Single Thought that Pops into your Head". "Intro to Turn-Taking". Ah...I could go on...

Anyway, on top of my 11 students, I am currently teaching math to two additional students, have a new student joining my class on Monday, and also on Monday am attending a meeting that will most likely result in another addition to my class. 15 students is getting up there for a special ed class, though I am blessed with two amazing aides. It'll be fine; it's just getting a little more hectic--and crowded!--in my classroom.

Jeff and I had a coach's meeting for Jacob's soccer team on Tuesday night, and we got some unfortunate news. Jacob's soccer games are at 9:00 on Saturday mornings...the exact same time as Nathan's football games. Ugh. So we'll be splitting up most Saturdays so we have parental presence at both events. We were thrilled, however, to find out that Jacob's whole team is friends from his school. He and they are soooo excited. Our team is going to be terrible, though. Only Jacob and one other little boy have ever played, and Jacob's favorite part was high-fiving the coach!! I think he touched the ball 2 or 3 times the whole "season" (6 games)...and only one of those times on purpose!! Haha. It's a blast to watch.

Oh, and Nathan broke his big toe on Monday playing volleyball with us. Lovely. The boy spends weekdays throwing his body in front of other kids on a football field and gets injured playing volleyball. Geez. The doctor said, though, that it's a very stable fracture and he can play as long as it's taped and he can tolerate the pain. So Nathan's happy.

And Daniel got two small parts in the high school's fall production of "Man of La Mancha". He's a little disappointed in that because he'd rather do the tech crew if he doesn't have a "big" part, but I'm trying to remind him that he has dues to pay.

I went out with some work friends after school today again. I'm really enjoying these Friday happy hours. Got home at about 6:10 and had to be at our high school at 6:00 (OOPS) to work the concession stand for tonight's football game. It was crazy how busy it was...and that was only with hometown fans because our opponent was from Chicago!! I'm exhausted. I'm used to standing on my feet all day at school (in heels, no less), but I guess just being able to move around makes a difference. The extra 3 1/2 hours at the game wiped me out. I'm going to sleep well tonight!!

Tomorrow will be crazy, too. Nathan has a 9:00 football game. 11:30 birthday party for my brother. 2:00 play of Daniel's. Poor dog will be on his own again!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier

Thirteen Moons Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Charles Frazier takes his title from the thirteen moons that cross the year, and like those moons, the book marks time across the years of the title character's adulthood. Will Cooper comes to the frontier, beyond it, even, as a bound boy whose job is to work at a remote trading post.

Living in the West (when west was the area around Kentucky and Tennessee)during the time just before and during the removal of the Native Americans to reservations, Will soon becomes good friends with Drowning Bear, a local chief of sorts. His life and fortunes entertwine with those of his adopted tribe while in many ways he remains removed from them in some essential way.

The book kept me interested and involved throughout the story, but ultimately I found it somewhat unsatisfying. There was no real resolution to the story arc, much like real life, I guess, which frequently lacks the big bang finale or pat finish.

View all my reviews.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I need a nap!

This was one of those weekends where you're more tired after the weekend than after a week of work! Softball Saturday (and I'm still sore from that...amazing how doing something different wakes up all kinds of new parts of your body!), and volleyball Sunday and today.

Yesterday's volleyball wasn't great...just mostly games with the kids. I did manage to get hit in the face once when Daniel kicked the ball. I am now the proud wearer of a 1-inch cut above my eye. I'll have lots of 'splainin to do tomorrow at school.

Today was great. We never had more than 4 people on a side, but most of them were pretty good players. I had a few bad moments of play, but overall I did pretty well (if I do say so myself ;D). That's always fun. Now, however, I'm beat. Shower, bed, and back to school tomorrow.