Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy 3 Years, Babe!

Three years ago, on Labor Day Weekend, Michael and I got married. I can not even begin to tell you how he has made me so happy and how he has improved my life. He brings so much love and support to me daily. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us together!

Last night, we were able to celebrate. We had steak dinners and walked the park where he proposed. They have added nice touches with fountains and benches there. We ended the night talking at a coffee shop.

Over dinner, we went over highlights of the last few years. It was so sweet to remember all of those times we have shared.

I believe special relationships like ours carry a certain energy. This energy is easy and very powerful. It makes you joyful, gives you strength, and wraps you with love. I am glad I have this marriage as an example of Christ's love for us.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day NOT at School

Today was the first day of school for so many kids and teachers out there. There is a saying that the two best days of school are the first day and the last day. No truer words have ever been said.

Audrey woke me up at 6:30 this morning. This is earlier than usual, so I wasn't a happy momma. I brought her in to our room and we played for a little while. I finally let her eat breakfast. As per routine, I open up the blinds in the window across the dining room table that looks onto our yard and the elementary school across the street. I typically enjoy watching those dedicated morning joggers and the hustle and bustle of people scurrying off to work. Today, I got to enjoy watching entire families walking to school, anxious about the year ahead of them.

What struck me was this. These kids with backpacks looked soooo young! I am used to thinking 6th graders were the small kids at school. I watched 4 and 5 year olds bounce down the sidewalk and cross the street with the sweet, old, crossing-guard lady. Then I would put a spoonful of baby food into Audrey's mouth. These last 8 months have flown by and I know that I will blink and find myself taking Audrey's first day of school picture in front of our beautiful tree in the front yard.

I did not contemplate too long that this is the first August in 24 (?) years that I was not in a classroom. I did not go over the excitement of meeting the 130-160 students that will be your responsibility everyday for the next 180 days. I didn't really relish the freedom that I now have. What I did was come very close to shedding a tear for how quickly my little girl will grow up. And, btw, Becky, your blog and video did not help things! :) So, say a prayer for your children -that you will cherish each moment and raise them so that they are confident and ready for their first day of school.

On a side note - Did anyone see what happened to me at church Sunday? We feed Audrey those star puffs during church to keep her as quiet as possible. These puffs become a nasty, soggy mess once they touch her mouth. Since Audrey insists on being the one to put the puffs in her mouth, sometimes they get in and come back out. This can create quite a mess. I was so proud of her yesterday. I didn't see a single puff fall from her mouth and her hands were staying pretty clean. What I didn't see was that a puff had fallen and was hiding behind a bow on her dress. She was sitting in Michael's lap, facing us. She looks down, sees the puff, and proceeds to THUMP the puff off of her dress. I see this random object shoot across the air. The soggy, gross, and apparently very sticky puff strikes me in the neck and stays! It was like I was in a movie, sitting in the forest, minding my own business, when a native shoots me with a poisoness dart in the neck! I peeled the puff off of my neck and made Audrey eat it. Michael and I were trying to suppress our giggling, since this happened at a very inopportune time. Isn't that always the case at church? Can you imagine if it had hit someone else on our pew? How embarrassing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Last Gummy Smile

I snapped this last night after Audrey took a bath. Today, she has a tooth. Looks like its neighbor is coming in too. I'll admit, I'm a little sad. I'm also scared about nursing. Can you say "Ouch!"?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8 Months Old

Today marks 8 months with this little munchkin. It has been so fun watching her develop a personality!
Audrey has decided that she no longer wants a pacifier! One day she wouldn't take one and hasn't looked back since. I need to find all of them and hide them so that she doesn't find a random pacifier one day and pick up on her old habit.
I'm pretty sure that the no pacifier has hurt Audrey's sleeping. There's no telling what to expect from her when it comes to sleeping. I really miss just plopping a paci back into her mouth to settle her. We'll be through with this one day.
Also, she is all over the map when it comes to how well she eats. There have been several times she has gone to bed with just a bite of food for dinner and her other meals weren't great either. The past couple of days have been a completely different story. I had to go to the pantry 3 times to get her more food last night. It has continued into today. I guess she knows when she needs more food.
Audrey is also repeating the sound "ba." She cold totally join the Beach Boys and sing Barbara Ann with them.

Catching Up

It has been a long time since I blogged about life. This post will mainly be about Audrey. Today is Audrey's 8 month birthday, so I will snap some pictures when she wakes up from her nap and post again.

Below is a picture of Audrey and her new friend, Levi. Levi's momma was a great friend of mine in high school. This friend, Jennifer, is so brave. Her husband is on his second deployment to Iraq. It will be over a year before she and Levi will see him again. Can you imagine? Take a moment to say a prayer for all of our soldiers. Levi is two weeks younger than Audrey and is all smiles. He even cuddled with me! That's huge to me because Audrey is an anti-cuddler.

The next two pictures are of Audrey eating breakfast in the mornings. Her hair and messy mouth always make me want to snap some pictures. What am I going to do with this kid's hair?

Like mother, like daughter. Audrey is watching the Olympics. She's a big fan of Nastia and Phelps. She's likes to kick back a lot these days. BTW, anyone else dealing with Olympic fatigue?
This video below makes me laugh. I honestly don't know if you'll find it funny or not. It's the very end that gets me. It leaves the viewer guessing. No babies were harmed in the making of this film.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Public School Crisis

As a former public school teacher, I have seen some pretty sad things. Today, I have been blown away by what I have read in the news.

Harrold ISD, north of Ft. Worth and just south of Oklahoma, is allowing its teachers to carry guns. Their reasoning is that they are far from police and just off a freeway. They would need to protect themselves if something were to happen.

It is sad that we have to think about protecting ourselves, even out in the country. This isn't a school in the rough inner-city, where you might assume you need protection.

Even at my own school last year, a student pulled a knife on our principal. Imagine if that had been a loaded gun instead.

I can't decide if I'm okay with this new policy or not. We do need protection. It's just sad that we do need protection in the places we send our children.

Another thing that I read was about Dallas ISD. Have you heard about this? The new grading policy is to allow late work. Students always have the option to retake a test and they are to receive the higher grade. If homework grades are bringing down their average, those grades don't count. The lowest grade a student can receive as an average is a 50.

As a teacher, I've done some of these things at one time or another. It was a decision that was made after evaluating the situation. The students never assumed that it would happen. I always took late papers, but points were deducted. If a student retook a test (during tutorials before school), I would average out the two grades. I never just took away homework grades! I've had to (due to district policy) give a student a 50 on a report card when it should have been a zero.

I felt bad every time I did these things. I felt that I was becoming part of the problem. But the thing is, I had to have at least some students pass my class. The ultimate goal was for learning to take place. If learning didn't happen by the first test, than hopefully by the retake, that student would learn at least one thing.

Isn't that sad? I understand to some degree why DISD is doing this. Now that it is a policy, the students will never do anything right the first time around. What are we teaching them? Will they expect all of these second chances in college (if they get there) or at work? Will they expect that if something is hurting them, that it will simply be taken away?

This, my friends, is what I think is the most crucial issue. I don't think a president can do something to fix the horrific system that is public education, but something MUST be done. This country will be so different in a few years if we allow all of this to happen. Maybe I will pack up my family and head to Canada.