Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2008 Photobook is coming!

After a year of effort (and not having time) the 2008 Christmas photobook is finally off to the printers! All of our immediate family will be receiving one as their Christmas present (from last year, sorry for the delay). Click on the link to check it out for yourself. Not all of the images were coming up online when I clicked on it but most of them were. I am presently working on the 2009 photobook and hoping it won't take a whole year to put this one together. Click or copy and paste the link into your browser to see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Anything but Santa!

This morning, Katie was afraid to come downstairs because Santa might still be there. She cried with the same fear she shows for other people-in-suit characters like mascots and Chick-Fil-A cows. After several minutes we convinced her that Santa had come in the night and left already, so she came down to find that he'd brought her a doll house - just like she asked for! :-) We kept her busy opening presents all day. What fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sooo tired...

Last night Jim helped me get some paperwork done for school and we were up way too late. The week before Christmas is always hectic at school. I was supposed to send out interim grades last week and still have a huge stack of papers to grade. No interims. Of course, I am trying to finish any units that I was doing because the kids will never remember what we learned before the break. So I am rushing to finish and creating tests and...grading them. Then I managed to really tie myself in knots by deciding to get LEP plans done for two grades this week. Should have done one grade per week and should have waited until after Christmas. I was feeling guilty because they should have been done awhile ago but really, it wouldn't have mattered if I had waited over the break.

So last night I was so tired that I only vaguely woke up when Katie crawled over me to get into our bed last night. Usually she asks and we both wake up. She might have asked last night, but we were both too tired to wake up to answer. So she took it upon herself to come into our bed. I am on the side farthest from the door but she always comes to my side to crawl in. The good part about that? Some special snuggling with my little one. The bad part? A little one who usually wants to pat my face and love on me while I am trying to sleep. Fortunately, I was too tired to wake up. She probably tried patting my face but since I didn't engage, she went to sleep. I took her back to her bed at 5:30 so that she would sleep while I took a shower since she doesn't need to get up quite yet. I carried her back to bed but she was wide awake. i don't know why I bother. She hasn't slept through me carrying her since she was three months old and at 42lbs, she's heavy! She did go right back to sleep in her room after I laid down with her for a minute and at least she got another hour of sleep while I dragged myself into the shower and put on my good face for school.

Time for bed...

Coming soon...Katie's first trip to see Santa.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I love Chick-Fil-A. I am so glad that these restaurants exist today as an alternative to McDonald's. While I grew up going to McDonalds and going out to eat there was a huge treat (along with Little Ceasar's Pizza Pizza!), as an adult, I feel McDonald's leaves a lot to be desired. The hamburgers taste...weird. Like the meat is not really what it purports to be. The chicken nuggets, once my favorite food has paled in recent years. It began when my older brother, an assistant manager at a McDonald's, brought home several LARGE bags of frozen nuggets that were apparently past the date that they were allowed to be served at the restaurant. While I loved to eat chicken nuggets, they were mostly a vehicle for their sweet and sour sauce and we didn't have any of that. My mother valiantly fried them at home on our stove...every third day for a year. At least, that was what it felt like. And ketchup just didn't cut it. I was so excited to go to Germany the following year, thinking that I would escape the chicken nuggets. After all, I was in another country! Surely I could eat German food and not McDonald's! Alas, my host mother took us (my host brother Mark and I) to the only McDonald's in town every Thursday for lunch. It was her treat, to herself and us. She didn't have to cook because my host father had a Rotary meeting for lunch and Mark could eat as many 99 cent hamburgers as he could stomach, which, at 14, was a lot. The few times I have eaten at McDonald's since high school, the nuggets have made me sick to my stomach.

But, I digress.

I thought sure that, as a parent of a young child, I would have to return to McDonald's because, I mean, how could we avoid happy meals and play areas?

Then Chick-Fil-A came along. They make good food. Chicken nuggets that don't make me sick. Meat that I can identify. Children's meals with fruit and milk and toys that are fun and educational like books, sticker activities and the like. They even give you free stick on place mats so your child can spread their food on the table and it doesn't immediately pick up the germs of the last 85 children who sprayed swine flu there. There are two near us and they both have playgrounds.

We've always liked to go but it may become a regular weekly event for us. We were having trouble figuring out Tuesday night dinners. I have choir practice at church at 7. Now that we live 20+ minutes from church, it seems silly for me to come home from school, eat dinner, and then drive all the way back to school to go to church. But I still need to eat dinner and it is more reasonable for me to get Katie from daycare because it is close to school and church and not our house or Jim's previous job. Well, it turns out that Chick-Fil-A has kids night on Tuesdays. Kids meals are free with the purchase of an adult meal. They have crafts and, of course, the play area. Now I pick Katie up, meet Jim at the Chick-Fil-A near church, have dinner, spend a little time as a family and Jim takes K home while I go on to choir. Jim does the bedtime routine and noone has to worry about doing the dishes after 9pm when I get home or after wrestling Katie into bed.

A win-win for everyone.

Katie hard at work on this week's art project on kids night...

...and eating her absolute favorite food in the world.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our first college talk

Yes, you read the title right. I have had my first conversation about college with my 3.5 year old daughter. The conversation went something like this (note, Katie is reading letters all over the place which is AWESOME! and led to our college conversation):

Katie (reading the magnet on the car in front of us at a stoplight): U-N-C. UNC! That's a UNC car Mommy!

Mommy: That's right! Good job Katie. UNC is a school, a university. I went to college at UNC.

Katie: I want to go to college, too!

Mommy (chuckling): You will honey, you will. Many years from now.

Katie: I can teach your students!

Mommy (glad that she is driving so as to hide her wide smile): Yes Katie. After you go to college, you can teach my students.

Katie (cute drawn out): Oh-kay.

So, a future college-going teacher in our family?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good eater

Mommy, you may have a piece of candy from my Halloween bucket. What kind of candy would you like? Do you like a lollipop? [Holding up a yellow lollipop]

No, I don't really like lollipops.

How about this? [holding up a Butterfinger]

Oh, yes. I like those.

You may have one piece of candy after you're finished with your supper.

Thank you, Katie. That's very kind of you.

Daddy, you already have your dessert [a cup of ice cream, half eaten]. Oh! That's the sound of my pee pee! [runs off to the toilet]

[a moment later, from the bathroom] Mommy, when you are finished with your supper, you may eat that piece of candy.

I already ate it.

Good job, Mommy! You're a good eater! [then follows the process of finishing with the potty and hand-washing]

[Back at the table] You're a good eater, Mom! Gimme a high five!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Learning Every Day

There are some lessons in life that you learn, forget, learn again, forget again, and relearn until you don't need to know them anymore. One of those lessons for me is remembering to pick my battles and not always take everything quite so seriously.

I relearned that today with one of my students. He is a great kid who is learning a lot, but in the meantime, he is driving me buggers. There are a lot of reasons he acts as he does, not the least of which is that he is a middle schooler (ie t-e-e-n-a-g-e-r). He does things like ask me for candy, repeatedly, whine when I ask him to write notes, refuse to come to the board (with an attitude) to answer a question, complain when I don't call on him more than all the other kids, and go into my closet to rifle through the candy while I'm watching when I don't give him some. Many days I get so frustrated with him and I end my day full of frustration. Today, I didn't. I watched him get in my candy, I quietly waited without reacting when he whined and refused and, to my surprise, without my cajoling or freaking out, he was fine. He didn't take my candy, he still wanted to come to the board and so he did, and he got his work done. I didn't give him anything to react to. For me, I trusted that he is a good kid who needs some guidance right now, not a teacher who freaks out every time he jokes around with the rules. Were his actions inappropriate? Sure. But as he learns to trust me (and as he learns that I don't make a big deal out of it), he will act out less because he won't get the attention he craves from that. Even better, I ended the day without wanting to pull my hair out.

I experienced something similar with Katie tonight. She has been a nightmare to put to bed lately with lots of screaming and crying to do anything. She is a queen staller and when you try to move her along she ignores you and fights like a banshee (and sounds like one too...). If you get tired of waiting for her to do something and do it for her, watch out Mount Vesuvius, Mount Katie is ready to blow! Somehow, tonight I didn't get all worked up about anything from the pickup all the way through the kiss good night. When she wanted to sleep on the floor (not a good choice as she never actually sleeps when she tries to sleep on the floor) I managed to laugh it off and convince her to get back on the bed. In the past I have either let her try to sleep on the floor (I want her to have choices, after all) and then stressed out because I had to go upstairs to intervene several times before fighting to get her in to the bed so she would actually sleep, OR I would just fight her to get her into bed by telling her "no". Not only was I able to brush it off and not get worked up about it, I even made a conscious decision to let her try to sleep on the floor tomorrow if she wants to. It's a weekend night with nothing specific happening Saturday morning so, if she doesn't sleep right away, it's not going to ruin the workday the next day.

Although my student (and his parents) probably wouldn't appreciate my comparing him to my 3.5 year old child, they both test me on a minute by minute basis. With both of them I have two choices, get worked up and stressed out over every infraction, no matter how minor because "The rules are important!" Alternately, if I choose my battles, especially if I choose the right rules, I won't lose my authority, I won't be so stressed out and I'll even have a lot more fun, teaching and parenting.

Now, if I could just remember that tomorrow...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Spooktacular

After a full week of being sick with H1N1 (both Katie and I), we managed to get better in time to enjoy a little Halloween. We were sad to miss the neighborhood activities last week, though. Next year.

When I asked Katie what she wanted to be for Halloween she immediately said "a tiger!" Amazingly, she was very consistent in her desire for the tiger. Even after we got a princess costume when I wasn't sure that I could find a tiger costume in her size, she still wanted to be a tiger. So, I managed to find one. It truly demonstrates how difficult it is to buy clothing for young children without having the child try it on first. After trying on 4-6 and 6-8 size costumes for my 3 YEAR OLD that were too small, I ordered the 6-8 size tiger costume for her. When it arrived, this is what we found:

Fortunately, 4 safety pins and one hair rubberband later, we managed to find a workable tiger in there.

Mommy even got into the fun with her own costume.

The downside of these wonderful costumes this year is definitely the weather. It was 80 degrees and humid today so the headpiece only lasted for half the walk up the street.

I'm afraid we had to forgo our standard picture of weighing the candy bucket and the child stuffing her face with candy this year. After moving, we haven't found the scale yet and, a reflection of how sick Katie has been, after eating one lollipop, she said she wanted to go to bed.

The great part about Halloween this year? Being in our super family friendly neighborhood. There were kids everywhere and tons of places to trick-or-treat. Like last year, we bypassed the scary houses. Unlike last year, there still plenty of houses to go to, just on our street. The kids and parents we met walking around were all really nice and I can't wait to get to know more of them better in the future. All in all, we had a great Halloween in our new neighborhood.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Phone Photo Sunday

I keep meaning to do this on Friday but here they are!

When I returned from NCCAT last week, I was greeted with a great big hug from my daughter. One of the things that I love (and sometimes hate) about Katie is her uninhibited exhibition of emotions. She does everything big. When I came home from NCCAT, she screamed "Mommy!" and ran down the hallway at daycare to fly into my arms. When we got home, she wanted to cook so we ended up having our first impromptu Mommy/daughter cooking session. Our first dish? Mac and Cheese. This is the result:

The work.

The "Mommy, I'm done taking pictures" picture.

And, the perfect pose to please Mommy.

I see cookie baking and lots of kitchen fun in our future.

The bell's ringin' Bossie, it's our turn at the trough

Well, this post was supposed to post last week but I miust have done something funny because it didn't get posted. Just pretend that you are seeing this last week while I was away at NCCAT.

One of the best things about NCCAT is definitely the food. The learning is nice, the meeting with colleagues is great but seriously, being fed 5 times a day and waited on while sitting at a table with white tablecloths, no screaming wiggly child who is flicking milk everywhere with her straw, and, of course, no clean up, just makes my whole week worth the extra time spent on sub plans.

The downside of all this wonderful food is...I have not had a hunger pang in 2 days. Seriously. Not that being full is a bad thing but the next meal is starting before I've had a chance to get hungry again! I haven't even taken advantage of the snacks available around the clock in the residence because, really, I'm NOT hungry. Not even the slightest hint of the munchies. When Heather, my friend and fellow teacher started pushing me to come here, she often talked about the food. Her words, and I quote, as I was leaving last Saturday were, "Just assume you will gain ten pounds and take stretchy pants."

Fortunately, I decided going in I wasn't going to worry about just how much I was eating and I am just enjoying being pampered and waited on. Heaven knows that won't happen again any time soon! So, in the meantime, I'll enjoy a short respite from hunger pangs, knowing that next week I'll be back to starvation by 10am.

Just roll me home.

Fairest of the Fair (Part 1)

Thursday night we went to the NC State Fair and had a fantastic time.

Since eating is a very important part of what we do at the fair, we started by eating. First, Katie ate half of a corn dog over a period of an hour. She was too excited about riding the carousel to eat it before riding anything.

Then she started our rides with the carousel.

Then there was her first pony ride. (Hopefully the first of many!)

After which she just HAD to ride on the airplanes. We kept trying to get her to push the button and take the airplane up but we never quite got the message across. She had a great time, obviously.
We also rode Mommy's favorite ride, the swings!

Vroom vroom!

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday love

I watched this unfold at daycare this morning, about waist-high to me...

Nate: Hi, Katie! Where have you been?
Katie: I was at my house.
Nate: I missed you so much! After you put down your jacket, I want a hug.
She puts her jacket in the cubby and he follows her to that side of the room. They hug.

Dropping the kid off has its rewards :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

While Mommy's away... body and my mind. spirit. love of teaching.

I had the amazing opportunity to attend a seminar this week for beginning teachers at NCCAT, an institute in the mountains of NC that is dedicated to helping teachers remember why they got into education in the first place. We are treated as professionals and adults (not something we always get in our schools and districts) and given an opportunity to become students again and remember that learning can be fun. Since we are always so stressed out with the demands placed on us, we are also pampered, just a bit, with private rooms and bathrooms, white tablecloth meals that we don't have to cook OR clean up after, and some downtime for reflection and relaxation.

The seminars for career teachers allow educators to become students and learn about a topic that is fun and interesting to them. As a beginning teacher, I am attending a seminar to remind me about some of the information in my methods courses and Master's classes and help me put that information into practice, now that I have my own classroom with my own kids. While we all teach different grades and subjects, we have enough in common that we can easily share strategies about what we are struggling with or what we have figured out. We are different enough that approaches a kindergarten teacher takes with her students can prove to be just out of the box enough to be usable in a middle or high school classroom.
For me as an individual, it is nice to get away from the hectic and chaotic atmosphere at home where I can't move a foot without tripping over boxes. It is also an opportunity to step away from the frantic demands of paperwork, lesson planning and grading to reflect on how my teaching can improve to lesson the pressure I feel in the classroom.

Thanks, Heather. I definitely needed this week.

We'll have to check in with the folks at home to see how they are faring this week while Mommy is away. Keep Jim in your thoughts and prayers this week as he is balancing a heavy workload, the craziness of unpacking at the new house and all of the loving, nurturing, and disciplining load that is Katie. Thanks to those of you helping him out and a big shout out to Super Dad whose skills with all of that allow me to leave for 5 days and not worry about what's going on at home.

Phone Photo Fri...(I mean Monday!)

These are some pictures I took from my phone shortly after I got my first camera phone. This is like Little House on the Prairie meets modern grocery store mama. These are some of my favorite pics. Where did my baby go? Who is this little girl looking so grown up?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shopping for Halloween Costumes

She just couldn't decide what she wanted to be...

Dorothy? Tinkerbell? Or...the Wicked Witch? Hmm, maybe Glenda...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who turned out the lights?

This was one of those times when you try reaaaaly hard not to laugh too hard. I pulled out some zucchini bread to eat this evening and inadvertently cut it into 4 pieces. Habit dies hard after you've been cutting 4 pieces after a year!

Katie: That's Ricarda's piece!
Mommy: Well, Ricarda is pretty far away right now. Do you remember where Ricarda is right now?
Katie: She's at Germany! She's hungry right now.
Daddy: Actually, I think she's asleep right now.
Katie: Yeah, but we aren't asleep. We waked up because it's light outside.
Daddy: And Ricarda's asleep right now because its dark outside.
Katie: Yeah, somebody at Germany turned off the lights!

My daughter, the budding physicist.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


After not updating our baby website in over a year, we decided it was time for a change. We needed something that was easy to update and add pictures to. This blog will hopefully help and allow all of our family and friends to keep up with what is going on in our lives. We might even have some flashbacks into the last year before our memories are lost in the mists of time.

In the last month we've seen a lot of changes. After 10 years in our previous house, we found our dream house for sale and, in a crazy series of events, bought the house, moved to an apartment, and sold the old house in just a few months. The old house sold in one week.

The new house has a lot of land in a neighborhood we love with a pool and a playground and lots of families. We even have a playground of our own in the back yard! We are truly blessed.

Check often for updates on our lives!