Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Early writing

(Finn McMissile-from Cars 2)
I have a different viewpoint. By this I mean I have the teacher's viewpoint. And by this I mean I have the teacher's viewpoint when it comes to my kids and how they are developing academically. I try not to analyze. It's a pretty hard thing NOT to do, being a primary teacher as they are in kindergarten. But really, I try.
(Twinkle! Twinkle! little star how I wonder what you are)
Most of the analyzing is good! We are (have been) very fortunate to have 2 five year olds who are on track or a little ahead of the curve when it comes to literacy. Reading this you might think, "Sure, she's one of those parents who thinks their child is a genius." Trust me...I'm not. I know those parents. The ones who think their child is absolutely brilliant and "Can't you just challenge them a little bit more? I think they're ready for the next level of books." I'm not that parent.
(Pilgrims lived in the world a long time ago)
Instead I sit in awe at the things my kids bring to me. I simply cannot believe that they already know that much about sounds, letters, words, etc. The notes I am brought in the morning or in the afternoon or even right before bed range from writing about school things (pilgrims was the topic this morning), family things (snuggling) or friends (a list). Every time I am completely astonished at what they know. Of course they come to us with, "How do you spell...?" And what's my answer? "Use the sounds that go with the letters you know!" Only an answer coming from a teacher, right? I mean who would really force their 5 year olds to sound out the words on their own. They're only 5! That would be me. And I think they're better off for it!
(Mom and Dad I hope I get to snuggle you every day)
As a parent you always hope your child succeeds in school. As a teacher who is a parent, you really hope your child succeeds in school. After all, what kind of judgement could come from a teacher's kid being behind? That's probably what I would be most afraid of, being the people pleaser I am. But here I sit, with two 5 year olds that, even in their earliest writing, show much promise for the kind of writers they can be. It's a pretty good feeling to know they love writing, even if it is a short note here and there. Those are sometimes the best!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


for family: my husband, my kids, my parents, my extended family, my in-laws (I got pretty lucky!)

for friends: new friends, old friends, work friends, family friends, long-time friends, forever friends (you know who you are!)

for health: that all of us were able to eat Thanksgiving dinner (whew!), physical health, mental health, emotional health

for passions: to teach, to love, to care, to give, to share

and most of all

for faith: in Jesus, in God, in prayers (that are answered!)

for all of these, I am thankful

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things to remember

On the 10 year anniversary of 9-11 I cut out some words I had found in the newspaper. It was something Macy's had put out in remembrance of that day. I was cleaning the chalkboard in the kitchen where I had the newspaper clipping to get ready for Christmas cards and decided I would post the words here. These words spoke to me that day and they still speak to me today. I hope you can take something from them too...

Hug your children
Spend the day with family
Think of an old friend
Wave to your neighbor
Go for a long walk
Light a candle
Share your thoughts
Take a moment for yourself
Be there for someone else
Watch the sunset
Look forward to sunrise

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who wants to pray tonight?

Praying is a regular occurrence around here. We pray at meals and we pray before bed. I pray (and I'm sure J does too) at other times throughout the day, but as a family, those are the "standard" prayer times around these parts. Usually J or I lead the prayer before bedtime. There is a bit of a pattern to it-starting out the same and ending the same: "God bless Mommy and Daddy, all the Mammas and Papas and all of our friends (meaning friends and family). Amen." The kids chime in on that part. We haven't ever asked them to lead it. I'm not sure why, it just hasn't happened.

Tonight we had conferences so my mom came to watch the kids. Whenever they're with the Mammas and the Papas, they always ask A & C who wants to lead the prayer. My mom says that usually it is C who volunteers, and tonight was no different. She said he started out with "Dear Jesus..." and proceeded to pray about a list of things. At the end he said, "And thank you for a nice Mamma who came to play with us and take us out to dinner. Thank you for the sweet dreams we will have."

Really? My little honey of a boy said those things? He is the sensitive one of the family. I have to admit, I did have some tears welling up in my eyes as my mom told me about it. I'm so proud of him. I love that there are things we have taught him that he takes to heart. The other thing I'm proud of is the fact that he can pray. At age 5, he can pray. I didn't know how to pray at 5 years old. Or at least I don't remember. I think it's one of those things I always wished I "knew how to do," if you will, and didn't really know until I was an adult. The innocence of kids doing it, especially my own kid...is special. I love it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


C is an artist. It's his new favorite thing to do. Well, not so new, but newer. He draws on the littlest piece of paper or the biggest piece of paper-it doesn't matter! I'm always anxious to see what new picture he may have drawn me while he was at school. Today I got home and it was a picture of a "rock n' roll drum, Mommy. And then this is a little guy with a guitar (c-itar, as he says it). Then here are some lightning bolts." Like I said, you never know what it will be! Here are a few of his latest creations...
This one is a map (and as educators, we of course called it a story map). "You see, First we cross the street. Then I ride my bike. After that we go to the dinosaur museum to see the dinosaur bones. And at the end we go to Elliot's house (a friend of his)." Right. Because who wouldn't have thought of that? I think we need to get the kid his own roll of tape.

These next two are currently taped to his door. I love the one about Dinner Club. He's preparing for the next time we have our friends over for dinner. J helped him with the spelling. He loves to clarify with me..."Mommy, imagine that I'm saying it in a real pirate voice." Ok, buddy. I will!

I also love the boys club one. That is not so much drawing as it is writing, but I thought it was great, regardless. It's a good memory to have right now with who his friends are.
I love this boy. He is still so sweet and innocent. I love that he colors. I love that it is the thing that he loves most. There's plenty of time to get into those "boy-boy" things, if you know what I mean. For right now, I'm perfectly content with my buddy who loves to color. And who tells most who ask, that he's going to be an artist when he grows up. Or a race car driver. Or a mountain climber. It depends on the day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

RUN! Don't walk

Day 3-the first part at Hollywood Studios
If you've been following my writing at all, you'll remember I started writing about our trip to Disney a while back. I'm a little behind. I'm really behind. Clearly. I'm trying my best, but let's just say that once school started again, time to write went to the wayside a bit. Day 2 was done a short time ago, and here we are at Day 3!
This day started off at Hollywood Studios. CRAZY Hollywood Studios. Why? you ask? I'm glad you were wondering, too. See we knew we had to get there early because of one ride: Toy Story Mania. It should be called: Toy Story Mania-RUN-to-get-your-FastPass-and-to-get-in-line-ride-and-still-wait-for-45-minutes-even-though-the-park-just-opened ride. Whew! Really, that's what we had to do. Yes, in the end it was worth it. No, our kids didn't really understand the chaos that accompanied going on this ride (twice), which is all that really matters. This ride was a 4-D one...the 4th "D" coming in the form of smells and water spraying as you were on the ride.
C loved it because you got to shoot things at the screens. I rode with my mom the first time we went, and I'm pretty sure we both laughed so hard we were crying. I had a BLAST! I also realized that for how well I thought I did (both times), J always had a higher score. I came off the ride the second time and thought I had beat him and he let me think I had won consoled me with a smirk on his face, letting me know that he had beat me (again!)!
There were other things, too, other than the Toy Story ride. We did Muppets 3-D, saw the Disney Junior Show, tried to get on the Rockin' Roller Coaster (too long of a line) and Tower of Terror, went on the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area,
and in the end, found a party parade where the kids got to dance! Pizza Patrol also made the mix-really good pizza and lots and lots of crane games; fitting!
A big highlight of being at Hollywood Studios was "meeting" Lightning McQueen and Mater. The kids loved it, as you can see, quite literally! 
My favorite food there was per recommendation from my friend, Kaaryn...a cupcake from Starring Rolls Cafe. Now this, my friends, was not just any cupcake. I know what you're thinking: cupcake shop cupcakes or Byerly's cupcakes. No. This was a chocolate cupcake with a heap of chocolate frosting on top that was taller than the cake it was on. It was topped with Butterfinger. That was just the outside.
Here's what we didn't know-the inside of the frosting was filled with more frosting. Heavenly. We didn't find this out until 2 days later when we decided we should probably eat it. See we were so full from all of the other food we had eaten that we didn't have room for this delectable treat! At least we know for next time!

This was our only visit to Hollywood Studios. This was our only visit to Hollywood Studios where we went on rides, saw shows and where the kids didn't have meltdowns. We did about everything we could in this one morning. Lots of the things were for older kids and adults, it seemed. Nonetheless, we definitely packed it in!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Writing: make the time

That's what I have to do. I've fallen a bit behind with my posts. I guess that's what happens when things are in full swing with work and conferences are coming up soon. Not to mention my family. You know, the daily ins and outs. Love everything about everything-I just haven't made the time for me to write. No excuses from here on out. I have plenty to write about, that's for certain! So look forward to a post a day. Hmmm...I feel like I've written that before. I'm pretty sure I have. You're all on the edge of your seats, waiting, aren't you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I love birthdays!

I love birthdays. It's about my favorite day of the year. Today was no exception. Ice cream, family, wishes, gifts...and I loved every second of it!

Today was a day with some surprises. J surprised me with some ice cream which was very fun. My kids got to meet him too. Then about 5 minutes later my parents walked in! And again...with ice cream! And flowers-another favorite.

The rest of the day provided much love from my kiddos and J, dessert from my favorite place
and very fun gifts from my family (it's like they know me or something!).
Days like today remind me of how lucky I am to have the people surrounding me in my life. I love my friends. I love my family. I love birthdays!