Monday, January 31, 2011

Grammatical Errors

I've been getting a little careless lately about double checking my work.  I realized this today when I looked at the header I created and noticed I misspelled "home."  It is not as if I don't know how to spell home, it's more of an issue of the fact that I got to going on something and didn't even notice that I made a mistake.  I start thinking and typing and I hit publish before I take the time to read it over.   Recreating a header is a huge pain.  I basically had to start from scratch because there are so many steps in creating one.  I was more than a little aggravated at myself.  But maybe it was a hard lesson learned.  Maybe it was time to check myself and pay attention.  Who knows, but I do know that I will work harder to make my posts with no grammatical errors making it easy for the reader to understand  (I mean, that is part of the 3rd grade writing scoring guide, if they can do it, I can do it). 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Concert, A Few Steps, and A Whole Bunch of New Words

Language is blossoming aroun here like crazy.  Each day brings a new word or sound.  Lately Reese says, uh-oh, dog, bye, Mommom, DaDa, babies, moo, nigh-nigh (night-night), doot (that), a very angry UGH (I like to pretend that means please), lo (hello), dah (ta-dah), up and some other random sound that don't mean much.  It is so fun to watch her learn new words.  Before we know it she's going to be saying "no" with a vengence!

She is also starting to take her first few steps.  This is a pretty slow-going process but she will venture out and take 2-3 at a time.  That's the real excitement for me, oh how I love to watch her confidence build and her courage take her farther out of our hands.  It's like an adventure she is stepping out on.  We cheer and clap and she always get so excited for herself.  I've worked all week to get this on video but the minute I get the recorder out, well, she's done. 

And last but not least, the concert.  Reese and I went to my 3rd graders music program on Tuesday night.  The teachers had to do some reading so we sat in the front facing the audience.  I was incredibly nervous about it because I knew I'd have to leave her to get up and read.  With her age, handing her to a stranger and walking away is the equivalent of an ax murderer coming in my house.  But she sat quiet and still and even put on a delightful performance of her own.  At the last number, Reese decided she would like to sing along.  She proudly sang her little heart out, "aaahhhhh, aaaaahhhhhhhh, aaahhhhhhh," she sang and then clapped and clapped for herself.  Many members of the audience stopped to watch my daughter instead of their own, and even the kids singing had to stop and stare at some points because it was so stinkin' cute.  The clapping for herself was really the icing on the cake. 

So, my little girl is growing up.  In tiny little ways but still growing all the same.  Singing happily with the choir, talking up a storm, and taking a few steps out on her new adventure.  She is becoming such a sweet little girl with so much personality and I just adore her.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Before I was a Mom

There are all these hilarious YouTube videos about parent teacher conferences and education in this theme. Tonight I saw one about Stay At Home Dads and it directed me to a bunch of mothers on the play ground talking. Each video was funnier than the last. I finally came to this one and almost cried I laughed so hard. I thought I would share. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Love Story

Dustin got me a Kindle for Christmas this year and I really love it.  The first book I bought, using the term loosely here since it was free, was Pride and Prejudice.  I completely fell in love with it.  I was so engrossed by the book that I could wait to get my hands on it.  The thin line between love and hate for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth was excruciating to read.  They argued, they ridiculued, they finally gave in to love and married.  And with that, I fell in love with the first classic I ever read.

Then this week The Pioneer Woman had a giveaway.  The rules were that a person was to comment on their favorite love story.  Who is the all-time winner of great love stories?  Because I was enamored with the story, I chose Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.  But I didn't end there, I scrolled down the list and saw several couple who are the epitome of love. 

Some of my favorites were listed, (Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail, Vivian and Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman, Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing) some were not, (Melanie and Jake from Sweet Home Alabama, Jenny and Forrest from Forrest Gump).  It really got me thinking about who else should be on that list. 

And with that, I leave it up to you.  I would love to get a lot of feedback about which great love story is on your mind.  I know I'm stealing from Ree on The Pioneer Woman, but I'm also dying to know what the readers of this blog think.  So click the blue words that have a number followed by lovely thoughts (i.e. 0 lovely thoughts) below to post a comment, you can do it annonymously if you haven't set up an account to follow exclusively and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Fun Stuff

Reese has officially had her first step. I am so proud and excited and happy for her that I could just burst. She did it without preamble or circumstance, just took a step, realized she did and hit the deck like she made a mistake. But it wasn't a mistake because she's done it several times since. She even took 3 in a row last night. What a big girl!!

Another thing that she did that deserves mentioning was at dinnertime tonight. We had an informal dinner in front of the TV, which has never happened for Reese and she wasn't really too sure how to behave herself. I made roasted carrots and fish, both of which she loved and gobbled up faster than I could. She even tried to feed me a few bites, it was the sweetest thing. But when I cleaned up and put everything away, I guess she decided that she wasn't quite done with dinner yet so she went to the kitchen, opened a cabinet and pulled out a can of green beans. She brought them all the way to the living room, handed them to me and cried until I opened them and let her have some. She then proceeded to shove them in her mouth by the handful. I guess the girl loves to eat or something!

Reese also has made a friend. It's not a new friend, but an old one, if you could call 14 month old girls' friends "old." But my dear friend, Nova, has a daughter going to the same babysitter as Reese. Her daughter and Reese just love each other so much and they have been doing a lot of giggling at lately. Reese has even picked up on some of Ramona's sign language and used it at home. Last night Ramona told her mother that Reese was her friend and that they have a party. It warmed our hearts and we swore they will be friends forever. Maybe we should get them half heart necklaces to wear too. Sweet girls.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr

Today is the observance of a national holiday remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. I love this day. I love it not only because I get a day off work but also because I really do think about the time of our country when he lived and try to imagine what must've been going on. I read books about Rosa Parks and My Brother, Martin to my kids and think about what it must've been like for the kids, who are so similar to the ones sitting in my class, 60 years ago.

I always try to get the kids to really internalize his speech and I let them listen to it as they do their morning work. They never really get the passion in his voice or the emotion of the times. They just go to school and take for granted that they can sit any where they want or drink from any water fountain. I wish each year that they could truly understand the fear that MLK, jr felt walking down the street during the bus boycotts or how the handcuffs on Rosa Parks' wrists might have cut her for doing nothing but taking a seat. But I am also glad that my students never will have to live that.

I feel very grateful for the times we live in now. We don't have to burn our bras or demand equal pay or equal schools. We go where we please and live as we choose. But we can remember not to completely take for granted that some people before us paved a way to make all that happen.

I will leave you with a quote I read today and I thought it most appropriate for today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
-Martin Luther King, Jr

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gift of Books

I have always been a big reader. I love books and I can name thousands upon thousands of beloved titles that I have poured over and loved. I have read more Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High than is probably even normal. I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and pretty much everything Jodi Picoult ever wrote. I can remember learning new words because of books and ways to describe ordinary things because of the amazing language I have accumulated. So when I had Reese, I knew that I wanted to trasfer that love of reading on to her. From the day we brought her home from the hospital we read books to her. We watched her learn to turn pages and we participated in the summer reading program at the library. But it wasn't until just this last week that I saw the reading really make a difference.

We have been reading a few books over and over and over and over again. With the snow days, weekend and holiday we've had a lot of time to dive in to reading and we really have! But Reese is really getting involved in her reading. She picks out books, she has to be the one who decides what we read of course, and we sit and read book after book. I love having her curled up in my lap wanting to listen to the story.

She has a book describing body parts and this weekend she began pointing to them when I asked her where her nose or mouth or ears were. I was so excited because we've worked on that forever! She told me what a cow says, repeated purple to me and keeps pointing to the dogs and making the sign (panting) for dog (which I've substituted in whenever we read about what a dog says). All these little things are huge rewards for me after all the hard work I've put in starting good reading habits.

Below are some of our very most favorite books. Open the Barn Door has little peekaboo flaps for each animal and she bounces up and down each time we open one. And Farmer Joe and the Music Show has become a crowd pleaser each time it is picked up. We could read it up to 15 times each day. There are many more, but if you are looking for a couple of good reads, check them out, I hope they make someone you know as happy as they make my baby girl.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Vacation

Reese and I have been on Snow Vacation this week. We have been out of school all week and have been chilling around the house and trying to keep from going crazy. We made snow angels and reading books. A lot of books. A lot of a lot of books.
Today we went to Zona Rosa to play at the indoor playground they have there. This was a life saver for us. Reese played on all the spongy-slicky-rubberyish animals until she couldn't play anymore.

She watched the kids go down the slide and then when they cleared out, she went down herself. She loved it! She loved seeing all the other kids and just watched and watched. She didn't mind when they got in her way or when they accidentally bumped her. She just took it in stride and played for an hour.

While we were there, two funny stories happened that I really have to share. The first was this adorable little boy with a cute little sweater vest on. Anyway, he ran over to Dustin and said, "That boy says he is Batman. He is lying, I am Batman and there canNOT be two Batmans!" And off he went. It was just so funny to say to a complete stranger.

Then, there was another boy, who was a typical boy, really not overly onery or anything, but his mother was on him like white on rice. At one point, as she was getting her coat on, you heard her scream, "NOOOOOOOO!" We looked over and all you could see was the little boys pom pon on his hat going right up the escalator. I had to laugh out loud, only because we will be there one day, probably sooner than later.

I'm happy to report that Reese was not at all anxious while we were there. She would've been just fine had we left and never returned, although that didn't happen. She took off and played, went up to people and looked at babies. She had a blast and I was very proud of her adventurous nature today. (Especially when she stole some Ritz Bitz crackers from the lady while her son was on the escalator.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day and a Bowl Game

Today was a snow day in our neck of the woods. I really didn't want a snow day but I guess since our last day of school is pushed up to the 20th anything will seem early from the day before June release we had last year. And when I saw outside I realized I really didn't want to drive in it anyway.
We got about 6 inches at my last observation but that was a couple of hours ago and it's snowed quite a bit more since then.

Reese and I took the opportunity to hang out all day long, as if we had a choice, but we read and we read and we read. She's kind of at this age where she wants to read the story over and over. I probably read Farmer Joe and the Music Show 17 times. I finally put it up on the top shelf, I'm hoping she forgets about it.

I also realized that when Dustin is gone some of these jobs really suck. Taking out the trash for one thing, sucks. Filling up my car with gas; it sucks too. But there is no comparison for how much shoveling the driveway sucks. It sucks a lot. And I had to do it because some random guy came by wanting to shovel and I told him my husband would be home later to do it and I didn't want him to get any thoughts in his head about a lady down the street without a husband at home to shovel her walk.

Today is also the big Tostitos Bowl Game with Auburn playing Oregon. We are big Auburn fans in our household, and our good friend, Jerad along with his brothers, got Reese some fun Auburn apparel that we tried on today. Here is a picture of Reese with her Auburn gear on and her talking Auburn cheerleader that yells, Let's Go XX Let's Go! She loved it and she just wanted to make sure Jerad knew she was saying War Eagle for him tonight!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Blue Plate Special

If I have heard it once, I have heard it 1,000 times; I was so tired, I felt like a little old lady going to bed so early, or something to the similar effect. Going to bed early is usually synonymous with being old. But that sentiment has really made me think long and hard lately about its validity. Is going to bed really for old people?

I've come to the conclusion that going to bed early signifies those of the baby-rearing age instead. Parents with young children must go to bed early or the next day will be hell to get through. I don't know many people who have young children who are out partying the night away but I know lots of "old folks" who are out much, much later that I. Heck, my grandma even worries about calling me too late.

There have been a couple of nights here and there when Dustin and I were more than happy to go eat and be home by 5:30 so we could have a few minutes to play with Reese, put her to bed, have a few minutes to ourselves and then pass out from exhaustion.

I have to laugh at the thoughts of feeling old by going to bed or eating so early, I really think we need to reevaluate it. Maybe I'll start saying, "Oh my, I'm so tired, I feel like a baby's parent when I go to bed so early." Seems like that just makes a little more sense.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pick Your Battles

Today I had a not so good parenting feeling. I felt the judgment seeping out at me and it was mostly from myself.
"I hold her too much," I thought.
"She doesn't even have a coat on...." I worried.
"Ugh, did I miss the jelly on her cheek again?" I noticed.

And then I quietly tried to fix my worries with the age old, "You have to pick your battles."

But then I worried more, "Which battles, exactly, do I pick?" And that question haunted me all day long. Which battles do I pick?

We got home tonight -don't even get me started on the state of the union of this place, because then the judgment will be seeping out of you- and sat down for awhile to play. Reese went over to her crib and pointed for me to get out her blankie. She laid her head on it and put her thumb in her mouth, showing love for her beloved blankie. And a thought popped in my head, "Wow, my kid knows and shows love." *Battle #1.

We played for awhile and I watched her swing her wooden spoon like a sword and then she crawled into my lap and I read her a book. She laughed and giggled when the pig page came up and made me read it to her again 5 more times. "Boy this kid loves reading and gets so excited about it," I decided. *Battle #2.

Finally it was time for bed. I wrapped her in her blankie, said prayers with her and laid her in her bed. I walked out shut the door and never heard another sound. I thought about 30 minutes later, "that sure was easy, she never made a peep." *Battle #3.

I guess looking back on today, balancing pros and cons, I can fairly assess that, my kid sometimes doesn't wear a coat, she sometimes likes being held to the point of inconvenience, and most likely she has something gross on her face. BUT she shows me and others love, she enjoys books and gets excited about them, and she falls (and stays) asleep like a pro. I guess maybe I do pick my battles and maybe I pick the right ones sometimes and sometimes not. I'll take that and I'll keep trying tomorrow to pick my battles, and to maybe pass a little less judgment on myself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Cute Song

Here's a cute little video of Reese and Cooper (that is my step sister Alyssa's son, he's a handsome little thing too!) singing at Christmas. I got a Flip video camera for Christmas and I haven't done a lot with it yet. So I pulled it out tonight and this is my first shot at downloading videos to the computer. I am hoping that the first tentative steps of a 14 month old baby will soon be available for your viewing pleasure!

Wordless Wednesday

What can I say? I'm not perfect. Hopefully now that I have a routine again I won't forget Wordless Wednesday again for awhile. Hope you enjoy our chocolate chip cookie picture as much as we enjoyed eating them!

Back to School

Today was back to school (with kids) after a long 2 1/2 week break. The days after break are the best because the kids come in shy and quiet. They know the routine and what to do but they are feeling things out to make sure that everything is how it should be in the world. Only today it didn't quite happen that way.

For the first time in seven years, they came back with a vengeance. They were ready and wild. They had a million questions and millions of stories to share. Some were over-tired and slap happy. Others were used to being the center of attention (not unlike my own child, mind you) so they got a little pissy when things didn't quite go their own way. I even had a little gossip going on about me behind my back. I think it's a little out of balance when eight year old girls try to start stuff about the teacher behind her back.

Overall though today was a good day. The kids may have been a little hyper but they remembered how 3rd grade rolls. They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. We started a free-for-everyone breakfast program so they were well-fed and nourished. So we're back in the saddle again and hopefully we will be in for a nice journey on the second half.