Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

It's New Year's Eve, a time that always has me reflecting on the year we are closing.  2012 has come to an end, and it's time to say good-bye.  Here are some of the highlights the year brought me.

I began 2012 in fabulous Las Vegas ending a holiday running streak challenge of running at least a mile a day that began on Thanksgiving day.  I'm so thankful to have been able to keep up my newly discovered passion and continue running.

Next came the addition of 2 new family members, Comet and Roxy.  They are not quite friends, as you can tell by the I know you're behind me and I don't like it sign that Comet's ears are sending out, but they have learned to tolerate each other.  And, when Roxy is not chewing on a shoe she has found or sneaking off with a sock, they are quite amusing and fun to have around.

In May, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Twenty years ago Chris and I were married at St. John's Cathedral.  It was a perfect spring day and the start of our life journey together.  It's hard to believe we now have a 17 and 12 year old son.  Time goes by too quickly!

The Firecracker 5K was one of five 5K races I participated in this year.  I have officially raced in every season now. 

In September, I celebrated a major milestone with one of my grandmothers.  My Mamaw Dottie's 100th birthday!  From six wars, to the introduction of plumbing and automobiles, to the first man on the moon, this woman has seen and experienced some amazing things in her 100 years.  Reaching this age is a rare thing, and I am so blessed and thankful to still have her around.

Last but not least, the year ended with a wedding celebration with my sister and her husband Mike at the beach.  I'm so happy for her and  glad I was able to be with them on their special day.  They are perfect for each other.  I know they will have many years of happiness together.

As I say hello to 2013 my New Year's Resolution is to simply do what makes me happy, and that is to run more and enjoy life.  The last picture seems to sum it up quite nicely. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teaching: A Calling From God

"Teachers have class"; "The best teachers teach from the heart"; "If you can read this thank a teacher."

Having been a teacher for twenty years, these are some of the sayings I've run across that relate to teaching.  All of these are nice, but I think the greatest saying I've found comes from a book of inspirational quotes for teachers and the Bible, John 3:2.  It refers to Jesus and says, "Thou art a teacher come from God." 

When I read this scripture, it reminds me of why I'm an educator.  It gives me encouragement on those days when I feel nothing is going right, no one else cares, or it is just not worth it!  Jesus had twelve students (disciples) and it did not go perfectly for Him.  His students just did not get it at times.  He taught in parables, gave them lessons, guided practice, and evaluations, but still He always had to reteach a lesson because some did not get it the first time.

Teaching is not just a profession but a calling from God.  "You are a teacher come from God."  May this saying be forever in my heart as I strive to become the teacher He has called me to be.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Teacher's Reflection In Time Of Tragedy

I have not stopped thinking about the tragedy that struck our country Friday all weekend and what I will do in my classroom now. I take my teaching job very seriously. There is no oath or secret handshake that teachers take to say they dedicate their classrooms to the children that step into them. We do what we do because we love it. I hope I never find myself in the situation that the teachers in Newtown, CT did, but if I did I would do the same as they did and protect the children I serve. So as I step into my classroom tomorrow I will do what I do best, educate the children that walk through my door with love and compassion. I will greet them with a smile and a hug. I will remember that even though I cannot prevent tragedy from happening, I can put my trust in God that he can give me peace and keep me strong.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New School Year

It's a new school year, and thanks to Pinterest and the teacher share ideas page on Facebook I'm finally getting into my back to school mode.  All of the ideas I have seen are easy to adapt to any theme.  Last year I decided to go with the leopard print theme in my class.  I'm having so much fun adding new ideas to my classroom this year.  Here's a peek into my classroom.

1.   Small group table area.

 2,   Class Rules and Conduct Clip Chart

3.   School PBIS Rules (PRIDE)

4.   Homework BINGO

5.   All About Me board

6.   Teacher small group table.  (Love the touch light idea for a no disturbing signal when working with a group.)

7.   Word Wall and Reading Center

8.   New classroom clock (that somehow keeps disappearing and reappearing in my classroom.)

9.   Birthday corner

10.   Crazy straw birthday treats

Monday, June 4, 2012

Random Act of Kindness

I'm not one to normally pick up strangers on the side of the road, but tonight was an exception.  My husband and I made a quick trip to his office building this evening.  As we were leaving, we caught sight of an old man, cane in his hand, hobbling down the sidewalk of a main street not too far from the downtown area.  At first my husband thought he recognized this man as one he sees quite often, but as we passed him up he realized it was a different man.  We slowed down wondering if the old man might be lost or needed help, and I suggested he turn around and ask him.  Then, we pulled into a parking lot the man was walking by and rolled down the window to ask where he was headed and if he needed a lift.  He graciously thanked us and accepted the ride.

I quickly got out of the passenger side of the truck and offered him my seat.  As I was helping this man in the truck I couldn't help but think, "What if this had been my grandfather?"  I climbed into the backseat next to my son Nicholas, the old man gave us directions to his house, and we drove off.  During the short drive we learned he was coming back from one of the casinos, and the bus had let him off there at the parking lot.  He said. "If you win, you take the taxi.  If you lose, you take the bus."  It was obvious that he had taken the bus and for a moment I was sad.  It was getting dark now, and I hated to think of this old man walking by himself to his home.  I wondered if we hadn't of stopped to help if he would have made it home safely.

We found the old man's street.  It looked like an old alley street, and his house was an old rickety two story house that at one time was probably one of the nicer homes in the old Highland neighborhood.  It appeared he lived alone, and we wondered if he had electricity and food.  I helped him out of the truck, and he politely thanked us again.  We may never see this man again, but I am grateful we were able to help out this kind stranger when he needed someone.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Z is for Zippity Do Dah

Zippity do dah, Zippity day. My, oh my, what a wonderful day...

It's Friday, the work week is over, I'm back from the gym, and I'm finishing up my last letter blog.  You would think I'd be tired, but I'm feelin' pretty good.

As I sit here writing and waiting for my husband to get off work, I'm making plans for family night also.   I think I'll suggest crawfish for dinner and maybe that Avengers movie that's playing now.  

It's a wonderful feeling and a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Y is for Ya-Yas

Friends are God's way of taking care of us.  Today, I want to pay a special tribute to my ya-yas.  My ya-yas are my special friendships that have evolved over time.  Friendships take time.  Time to get to know each other, time to build memories, and time to share each other's life.

It got me thinking: no matter how busy we are, we need to make time to spend quality time with our friends. Family is important, but my friends are the people who keep me sane, make me laugh, and allow me to be who I need to be. Friends (real friends, I mean) are those who take your mind off all your problems or who let you unload your problems onto them.  When you have that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, you turn to your friends and they'll crack up a joke that calms your nerves.  Well, at least mine do, and I love them to bits for it.

To all my special ya-yas out there, I just really wanted to express how much I value your friendship.  I'm holding a glass of wine right now.  Here's a toast to our friendship and girlfriend therapy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

X is for X-Anne's Xanadu

The moment X-Anne stepped off the plane she knew she was in paradise.  The palm trees lining the streets, the endless ocean with the sound of waves crashing against the shore, and the unbounded miles of sand gleaming in the sunlight made this unlike any place she had ever seen.

"Ahh, at last." X-Anne said.  "My paradise.  My Xanadu." 

X-Anne had reserved a car for when she arrived and in no time at all was headed to the beachfront bungalow that was waiting for her.  There were no deadlines, no researching, and no interviews to conduct.  Only the feel of the breeze, the smell of the salt water, and the sound of waves crashing against the shore to confirm she was right where she needed to be.

The sun was beginning to set and X-Anne decided to take a stroll along the beach to watch the sunset.  As she reached the sand she slipped off her sandals and padded barefoot feeling the warmth the sun had left behind.  Reaching the water's edge she stopped and stared out into the vast open waters.  Her feet were being teased by the waves as they barely reached her toes and then returned to the ocean.

Just as X-Anne was about to turn back she glanced down and saw something shiny staring back at her.  Curiously, she bent down to examine the object.  Her heart began beating faster as she realized she had found a hidden treasure.  She carefully picked up her treasure and tucked it away safely in her pocket.

Dusk was settling in, and it was time to head back.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  Smiling to herself, X-Anne knew she had found a little bit of paradise she could take back home.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

W is for Windsurfer's Wife

My past vacations got me thinking about what it's like to be married to a windsurfer.  Most of our family vacations are centered around the "windsurfing" vacation as this is my husband's favorite activity.  I can recall many amazing places I have been with my husband.  From Aruba, Mexico, and Hawaii to the shores of Oregon, California, Texas, and Florida, I have traveled along while my husband windsurfed in the places he considered a windsurfer's paradise.

Back when I first met my husband, I did attempt to learn the windsurfing sport.  I soon learned that this was not my thing.  It could possibly have something to do with Chris trying to teach me the sport, but in the middle of our lesson he took off with the wind, and left me stranded in the middle of the lake.  Maybe I just don't get the adrenaline rush he experiences.  Or perhaps it had to do with the fact that I am just not that much of a water sport person.

Whatever the reasons, I have given up on trying to learn this sport and have focused instead on the traveling experiences I have gained by going to places I probably would have never gone to if I hadn't met my husband.

I'm thankful for the amazing experiences I've had and wouldn't trade it for anything.  Being a windsurfer's wife has enhanced my love of traveling, and it's a blessing to be able to share some of these experiences with my children too.

Our adventures are far from over though.  There are still more places to discover and more places to share.

Monday, May 7, 2012

V is for Videos

I'm so glad I made home videos of my children when they were younger.  Not long ago I was cleaning out one of my closets when I came across a bag with some old VHS home videos.  My husband decided to buy a DVD player that was both VHS and DVD compatible, and we decided to convert the VHS videos to DVD.

I'm thankful I took the time to capture the moments when my children were small.  One special video I came across was with my son Nicholas when he was 5 years old.  This was also the time my second child was born.  Nicholas has Down Syndrome and experienced developmental delays typical of what was expected.  He received early intervention services which included physical, speech, and developmental therapies.  Shortly after Nicholas turned 6 he suddenly stopped talking and has not spoken since.  It's been over 10 years now and over time the memory of him talking has become fuzzy.

Thanks to the home videos I made when Nicholas and Caleb were little, I am able to remember these days all over.  Here is a short clip of one that I enjoy watching of Nicholas singing with his dad and his baby brother.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

U is for Ultraviolet Rays

Yesterday was another pool day for the neighborhood kids at my house.  I just realized that I've gone through 3 bottles of sunscreen since spring break which is a good thing.  As soon as I see the crew coming through the gate I'm ready.  Loaded with sunscreen and towels I carry them out shouting, "Don't forget the sunscreen!"

I used to tan (inside and outside) when I was a teenager, and I cringe when I think about how we would use baby oil.  Instead of a tan, I would look like a lobster.  My “excuse” is that we didn’t know it could be harmful, kind of like kids who started smoking before anyone realized how dangerous it could be.  Perhaps the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays could be added to the DARE curriculum.  Hmmm, just a thought.

Some of the neighborhood kids are becoming teenagers now, and I notice their pool time is spent more out of the pool than in.  My oldest came in and asked if we had any tanning oil.  I told him no and to use the sunscreen I gave him.  He said they were working on their tans.  I gave him my words of wisdom about how our skin is fair and how we don't tan first, we burn and get more freckles.   

I guess my words of wisdom went out the door because last night I was hunting down the lotion to put on my son's sunburned back and shoulders. 

Then again maybe he did realize mom is wise after all.  He left this morning to go fishing with his dad.  As he was leaving I asked if he had his sunscreen.  He said, "Yes" and even took the hat I offered him as he left.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

T is for Teacher Reality Show

I'm with a fellow blogger when she says, "When are they making that teacher reality show again?"  I'll sign up with you if they ever have one.  I have a few ideas to throw out there if they need any assistance in a pilot episode.  I think it should be like WifeSwap only instead of husbands and wives swapping out it should be teachers and business professionals.

So, on day 1, the teacher gets placed in the nice little business office.  She has to do all the things business people do.  File, answer emails, create forms, fill in forms, look stuff up online, make phone calls, answer phone calls, keep records.  Should be a snap. We do all that stuff every day.  And, it should feel like a vacation, because the teacher would get a business lunch instead of 20 minutes of hurrying up to get the kids lined up, walk as fast as you can to the cafeteria, wait in line, sit down and eat, line back up, and hurry up and leave for the next class to sit at your table.

The business person would start day 1 on Monday morning, around 7:00 am, entering a classroom.  The business person would have to follow the first day's lesson plans (we wouldn't be too mean! They'd at least have one day of plans). However, they'd have to make copies, set out materials, gather materials, and be ready for the kids to arrive all before 8:00.  The fun would start when the kids show up.  Will the business person be able to keep them seated, listening, meeting standards, completing work?

Day 2, would be much the same for the teacher, as she continues to answer emails, go shoe shopping during lunch, and work on whatever work a business person does.  For the business person, they would be required to plan 6 hours worth of lesson plans, meanwhile, meeting the state standards and creating material that's just right for the ELL students, the learning disabled students, the low group, the high group, the middle group, and the gifted students.  They would have to have a behavior plan in place for the children with behavior problems.

As the week goes on, the stakes get higher... formal observations, paperwork to fill out on a student being referred for special education evaluation, integrating technology to make lessons fun, and an IEP meeting.

The show would conclude with the teacher and the business person meeting one another.  The business person "wins" when they realize that the teacher deserves double her salary!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

S is for Sacramento

I still think of Sacramento every once in a while.  Sacramento, California was an awesome place to live.  About 10 years ago my family and I up and moved from Louisiana with our 2 small children.  My husband had a job opportunity come open in that area and after doing some serious thinking the next thing I know we were selling the house, quitting our jobs, the U-Haul was loaded down, and we were headed West.

When we first moved to Sacramento we lived in a hotel for a week while we looked for a house.  We fell in love with the city of Folsom located about 20 miles outside of Sacramento and found a house to rent.  Chris began his new job right away and Nick was enrolled in his new school.  I then spent the next three months preparing for the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test), a California teaching credential, and the CLAD, an English Language Learner certificate.  I am still amazed at how there were as many as 70 different languages spoken in the Sacramento area.  Every teacher was required to be certified to teach ELL.   Once I had these credentials, I found a special education teaching job at a middle school and enrolled Caleb into daycare.

The four years we lived in Sacramento we experienced it all.  The beaches, windsurfing in San Francisco, skiing in Tahoe, wine tasting in Napa, and vacationing in Yosemite and the Redwood forests were an experience we will never forget.  I can't forget to mention the fabulous friends we met while living there too.  After a few years we returned home to Louisiana to help take care of my father-in-law.  Although this wasn't an easy decision, I'm thankful we were able to spend the little time we had left with his dad before he passed away.

My home is still in Louisiana with my family and friends, but I will always treasure the memories of my California life.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

R is for Reading

Reading.  My favorite pasttime.  Ever since I was a child I have loved to read.  I don't always get to read as much as I like, but now that the school year is coming to an end I find myself looking forward to my summer reading time.  I can stay up late and read, read, read. 

I stopped in the local bookstore this week browsing and looking at what's out there now.  I could spend hours in a bookstore.  I also love the fact that some genius decided to add a coffee shop inside the bookstore.  I get so distracted and lose track of time.  It's wonderful!

While, I do love reading on my Nook, I hope and pray that the paper book will never go away.  I still love them!  Books are, and always will be, a part of who I am.

As I think back on the books I've read in the past few years here are a few of my favorite.

1.   The Twilight Books (Breaking Dawn was my favorite)
2.   Dear John
3.   The Notebook
4.   My Sister's Keeper
5.   The Book Whisperer:  Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
6.   3 Months to Your First 5K
7.   After Your First 5K
8.   Water For Elephants
9.   Deliver Us From Evil
10. Injustice For All

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Q is for Quittin' Time

It's 3:15 p.m., and it's quittin' time.  At least for today anyways.  After work I drove down to the nearest Starbucks to decompress.  A tall crumbled cookie frappucino and a piece of Very Berry coffee cake called my name.  There's just something about Starbucks that is so relaxing.  Oh yeah, could be the COFFEE!

A middle of the week afternoon coffee break was just the thing I craved today.  I know!  I didn't really need that Very Berry coffee cake, but every now and then I say what the heck and just do it!  Sometimes, you just have to forget the calories.  I'll make it up tomorrow on the treadmill.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

P is for Peculiar

It was springtime in the south again. One never knew from day to day what the weather would be like.  One minute it would be a beautiful, perfect day, and the next minute the heat and humidity felt as if it could suck the life right out of you.

Julie opened the door of her classroom and stepped out.  As she turned to lock the door behind her Julie closed her eyes, inhaled and smiled.  Only a couple of more weeks and school would be out for the summer.  She could hardly wait to set sail on the cruise she booked six months ago.  Shaking her head she turned back around and headed to the car.  Julie spotted her canary yellow jeep in the usual parking spot and was glad she had decided to take the top off. 

As Julie made her way to the jeep, she thought of how it would be a perfect ride home this afternoon.  Suddenly, a swarm of bees came from out of nowhere. It was the most peculiar thing. In a matter of seconds, the bees hovered together in thin air then all at once lifted higher and proceeded to fly away together.  They seem to be communicating with each other about something important that was about to happen.  After finally coming out of her dazed state, Julie drove forward and headed home.  Unknowingly to her the bees were a warning sign of what was about to happen that evening.

That evening the weather began to change. It had been cloudy, warm, and humid all day. The rain began and turned into quite a thunderstorm.  As Julie listened to the storm outside she could tell it was getting worse.  Just then she heard the soft lyrics of Brown Eyed Girl singing on her cell phone. 

"Hello," she answered.

She recognized her aunt's voice at once.

"Have you seen the news, dear?"

"No, I'm just finishing up with dinner."  "Why?"

"I'm calling to warn you that a tornado is about to touch down in your area.  Drop whatever you're doing and find a safe place to wait it out in!  There's no time to waste.  You have to hurry!"

Julie started panicking and when she turned on the TV discovered just how bad the storm really was. There were tornadoes touching down all around the area.  She quickly made her way to the hallway closet to wait out the remainder of the storm.

 Luckily, the tornado her aunt had called to warn about had skipped over her neighborhood.  After a few hours everything outside started calming down.  Julie began checking on family and friends to make sure they were safe.  Once that was taken care of she could finally relax.

She thought back to what had happened that afternoon when she noticed the bees.  She would never question odd insect behavior again.

Monday, April 30, 2012

O is for One More Month

Before I left school today I changed out the calendar in my classroom to May.  One more month to go (or 16 more school days to be exact) until summer vacation!  I don't know who's more excited, the kids or teachers.  

I'm wrapping up my 19th year of teaching.  Every year at this time I'm counting down right along with the others til the last day of school.  It will take a few weeks to decompress from the last ten months.  By the time I've "thawed," it's generally time to do something for work, home, or livelihood.  I savor my summertime because I'll be back to work with the kiddos before I know it.  If I didn't get a little bit of a break in there it would be hard to come back and do another ten months with any vim much less vigor.

With state testing out of the way we can now begin to wind down the last few weeks.  Field trips, final projects/exams, graduations, and end of the year parties will keep us busy.  Another year has come and gone.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

N is for Nostalgia

As I was leaving the store today Caleb spotted a little piece of nostalgia on a shelf, and it immediately took me back to the days of my childhood.  If you grew up in the 80s you might remember the popular candy that was fun to eat, pop rocks.  Remember the shock you gave your mouth when the candy melted in your mouth?  The crackling and popping noise it made only added to the fun.  Perfect for when you were looking for a change of candy pace.  What about when you added them to a carbonated beverage?  You could explode the cap right off.

My favorite flavor pop rocks was the strawberry.  They now sell them in other flavors like Watermelon, Cotton Candy, Blue Razz. Bubble Gum, and (hello) CHOCOLATE.  I have yet to taste the chocolate flavor, but rest assured when I do you'll be the first to know.

You are never too old for pop rocks!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

M is for Mini Miracles

March. Walk. Run.  It was your choice.  Today, I joined the hundreds of others marching for babies at the March of Dimes event.  I decided to walk this one.

I was a little worried last night if I would be able to participate in the walk.  A couple of weeks ago my right foot started hurting.  It felt like a bruise on top right where my shoe laces tie and very painful to walk on.  I did manage to get in a couple of 2 mile runs the past couple of weeks.  The pain would subside during the run but returned not long after.  On top of that yesterday, I pulled a muscle in my leg from the teacher races during field day.  That night I went to bed early exhausted and in pain.  (Thus the reason for my 2 posts today since I didn't get one in yesterday.)  I remember just before falling to sleep saying a quick prayer for God to take away my pain so I would be able to do this walk today.

When I woke up this morning I felt no pain at all in my feet.  My leg was still a little sore but not bad.  I sat up in bed and put my feet on the floor.  I stood up and walked around for minute and still no pain.  Seriously, I had been dealing with this pain for 2 weeks and thinking of going to the doctor about it.   Amazing!  God is so great!  I have been thanking him all day for my mini miracle.

When I signed up for the walk I thought it was for 5 miles.  Turns out it was only a couple of miles.  I could have ran this one but decided to take it easy and walk.  I'm good to go now and will be ready to get a good run in tomorrow.

L is for Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons,
Make lemonade.
But what if there were no lemons?

There would be no good
To come out of the bad.
There would be no triumphs
After the challenge.

You wouldn't be the person you are today.
Stronger, wiser, better.

So when life gives you lemons,
Take every chance
To make your life better.
Because when the sour has left,
It's the sweetness that comes at the end.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

K is for Karaoke

I could not stop thinking about it all day.  We were actually going through with it.  Somehow my best friend, Sarah, had convinced me to enter a karaoke contest with her.  This is crazy I kept telling myself.  It had been years since I even attempted to sing in front of anyone.

Just then I had a flash back of way back when I dated Jerry, the reigning "karaoke king."   I like to think I had a brief stint as the "karaoke queen" back then, but it really didn't translate to anything outside of our karaoke bar.

I met Jerry shortly after college.  I had found myself at a particularly low point in my life.  One night I decided it was time to get out of the house.  I got all dressed up and headed out alone for some fun.  When I walked in the door of the karaoke bar all I could hear was the roar of the crowd.  There was some guy singing on stage, and I was mesmerized at how he grabbed the audience's attention. 

I walked over to a table set up in the corner of the room, grabbed a binder with the song selections, and sat down.  Next thing I know I hear someone yell, "Hey, why don't you get up and sing one next?"

Suddenly all eyes turned toward me, and a microphone appeared out of nowhere.  My mind quickly turned to jelly and my knees went weak.  I thought, "Sure, I could sing along with my favorite songs on the radio, but in front of everyone?"

As I sat there with that deer in the headlight look the guy I had been so mesmerized with when I walked in came over introduced himself and said, "Come on!"  He took my hand and as we walked on stage together a confidence I had never known before took over.  We must have sang at least ten songs together that night.

I was interrupted by a cell phone going off and it brought me out of my daze.  It was Sarah calling to make sure I hadn't changed my mind.

"I don't know, Sarah" I said.  "I don't know if I can do this."

"On no you don't!" Sarah replied.  "You are NOT backing out!  I'll be over at your house in ten minutes." she said, and abruptly hung up.

Ten minutes later Sarah arrived, and I knew there was no backing out...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

J is for Junk drawer

Yes, I have one or two.  A drawer where junk accumulates that I don't know what else to do with or is simply absorbed because I'm too lazy to put things where they're supposed to go.  As I was rumbling through my kitchen junk drawer searching through the bazillion pens to find one that still writes, I stopped to take a quick inventory of what it contained.

Amongst the mound of pens and pencils I found the following items: Keys (duplicates and some I have no idea what they open), screws, nails, six screwdrivers of various sizes, 13 pennies, a medal from one of the kid's sports games you wear around your neck, electronic cords that goes to some sort of technology, one tablecloth, progress reports and report cards, a 6 piece Cambridge Demitasse spoon set (never been used), an old cell phone, some pay stubs, and an unused condom.  I probably should explain that last one.  Now, don't get too excited.  It's for the ultrasound probes my husband uses with his ultrasound machines.  Oh, the things you stumble upon in the junk drawer.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I is for Ice Cream Man

The children call him Mr. Dan.  Mr. Dan is our neighborhood ice cream man.  When I hear the infamous ice cream truck jingle coming through the neighborhood I know it's Mr. Dan armed with an endless supply of frozen treats.  You can hear his truck as it turns onto the street and within a matter of seconds children come out of nowhere.

As soon as Mr. Dan stops his fire engine red ice cream truck a crowd gathers around.  On some days I even slip out and gather around Mr. Dan's ice cream truck with the children.  On the outside of his truck displays a yummy selection of treats.  Bomb pops, fudge bars, ice cream sandwiches, sundae crunch, big dipper, double lemon chill, and even the favorite push up that I loved as a kid are some of our choices.

As I sit here writing about ice cream, I can't help but wish that Mr. Dan would make his appearance.  I would love to have one of those delicious, chocolatey fudgsicles right about now.


Monday, April 23, 2012

H is for Humidity

Humidity.  My least favorite word.  You may think you know what humidity is, but until you have lived through it in the South you have no idea.  I'm talking about full blown 100% humidity. 

One reason I despise the humidity here is the way it attacks my hair.  It may be great for the skin, but it's horrid for my hair.  You see, I have thick slightly wavy hair, and all it takes is a hint of moisture and it doubles in size. 

I'm also remembering last summer when I decided to start running.  Why I chose dead in the middle of summer to begin running is beyond me.  I think the heat and humidity must have fried the part of my brain that caused me to think straight.  If I didn't get out and run before 7:00 a.m. then it was night runs for me.  Of course, it didn't really matter humidity wise except that it was a lot more bearable to run in 80 degree weather with 100% humidity as opposed to 100 degree temps and 100% humidity.

It's springtime, and I've been enjoying my weekly runs outside.  Today was especially nice with 71 degree temperature, a light breeze, and no humidity.  I live for these days.  If I could find a place like this year round it would be heaven on Earth.  So, I'll enjoy these few and far between days for now, and thank goodness I joined a gym while I still had some sense. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012

G is for Giving

Today at Mass the priest told a thought provoking story about Giving.

He came from a family of eleven children.  If you have children at all then you know the sacrifice and money it takes to raise a small family.  I can only imagine what it's like to raise eleven children.  Anyway, I would like to tell his story.

Growing up in a household of eleven children there was always a competition of some sort with each other.  Whenever the phone or doorbell rang there was always a race to see who could get to it first.  One day the doorbell rang and he was the first to get to the door.  When he opened the door there stood a grubby looking man wearing a baseball cap, tattered shirt and unwashed jeans with holes in the knees.

Nervously, the young boy asked, "May I help you?"  The grubby looking man answered, "Is the man of the house home?"  The boy replied, "No."  The man asked, "Is the woman of the house home?"  The boy replied, "Yes, just a moment."

He left the man at the door and ran to find his mother.  He found her in the kitchen cleaning up from lunch and said, "Mother, there's a bum at the door!"  Curiously mother went to the door.  She asked the man how could she help him.  He replied, "Do you happen to have anything I can eat?"  Mother looked at him and said, "Wait right here."

She went back to the kitchen and the boy saw his mother open up the refrigerator and take out the last two meatballs that she had saved for him.  Carefully, she unfolded the meatballs from the paper towel and proceeded to cut them in half.  She placed them in between slices of bread and made two meatball sandwiches.  Next, she grabbed his last soda.  It had been in the fridge all day getting nice and cold.  Mother placed the sandwiches in a brown paper bag.  She then reached into the cookie jar and pulled out a handful of the delicious chocolate chip cookies she had baked.  She placed the cookies in the bag along with a juicy, red apple.

Mother returned to the door and gave the man the brown paper bag lunch along with the soda.  She said, "This is for you.  You are welcome to stay and eat here if you want."  The man said, "No, I have a train to catch, but thank you so much for your kindness."  Then he turned and walked away down the road.

When she closed the door the boy asked his mother, "Mother, why did you give that man my two meatballs and my last soda I had been saving?"  She turned and said, "Because that was Jesus."  "Jesus?"  the boy said.  He opened up the door and looked down the road, but the man had disappeared.  "What do you mean that was Jesus?"

His mother looked down at him and replied, "Jesus said when you feed the poor you are feeding me, so we fed Jesus today."

After church was over I drove home and asked my son Caleb what he thought the lesson from Mass had been today.  He said, "I think he was telling us we need to share."  I agree.  Such a wonderful message.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

F is for Field of Dreams

Every spring kids from ages 4 to 22 years old with all disabilities come together to play ball.  The challenger baseball field is located at the Field of Dreams park in Bossier City, LA and is handicap accessible.  The Challenger League of Bossier City allows boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball like millions of others children who play this sport.

My son Nicholas is 17 years old and has been playing in the Challenger League since he was six.  Nicholas has Down Syndrome and is unable to play in a team sport like other kids his age.  Had this program not been organized in my area he may never had the opportunity to play.  I am very appreciative of this wonderful opportunity.

For my son and our family this is not just about him playing t-ball or baseball.  It's a wonderful time for us to spend time together as a family and make friends with other families.  Everyone is able to get involved.  I especially like being one of the "buddies" out on the field cheering and helping anyone who needs assistance.  Nicholas looks forward to going each time and having the chance to socialize and enjoy himself.

The picture below shows Nicholas with his friend Jessica.  If you go to a challenger league baseball game this is what you will see.  Friends saying hi and giving each other hugs and high fives.  I am so proud of each and everyone of them.  We look forward to participating as long as we can.  Until then, let's PLAY BALL!


Friday, April 20, 2012

E is for Ewww!

Recently, my cat decided to bring in a surprise.  I was in the kitchen preparing lunch for school when I noticed the cat coming in from the pet door in the laundry room.  I glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw Comet rush past me with a bird in his mouth.  I totally freaked!  He dropped the bird, and it fluttered around on the floor with it’s broken wing.  Comet stopped it with his paw.  He lifted his paw, and the bird started fluttering toward me.  I screamed and ran the other way.  Comet decided he liked this game and caught it again. 

At this moment my youngest son decided to wake up from all the commotion going on.  When I told him to help me with the bird situation he just stood there and laughed.  Suddenly, I ran and grabbed the broom.

When the cat dropped the bird again I took the broom and tried to sweep it out the back door.  After the first sweep the cat ran to the bird, picked it up by the mouth, and took it to the pantry.  My "OMG" expression just made Caleb stand there and laugh even more.  (Notice there is also no help from the husband either.  He’s still in bed!)

I walked over to the pantry and when Comet released the bird, I quickly swept it toward the door again, feathers flying everywhere.  Ewww!  Comet once again came after the bird and took it back to the pantry.

After the third attempt at last I was able to get the bird outside.  Sadly, it didn’t make it out alive.  I closed the door and turned to find Comet looking for that bird.  After a few minutes he gave up, marched over to his favorite spot on the floor next to the wall, looked up at me, and gave a quiet meow. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

D is for Divas for Davis

On April 28, 2012 the Plantation Park Divas for Davis team will be walking to raise awareness and money to battle against premature births.  Little Davis and his family are the Ambassador Family for the Northwest LA March of Dimes this year.  Davis was born at 26 weeks and weighed just 1 lb. 10 oz. Although Davis was born very sick, he is now a healthy toddler.  The March of Dimes helped make this possible.

The Divas for Davis team will wear our purple shirts tomorrow at work as we get ready for this important event.  We proudly support the March of Dimes, Davis and his family, and other families with premature babies.      

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

C is for The Chase

He was perched on the windowsill enjoying his usual afternoon siesta when out of nowhere a blur of chocolate fur came bounding toward him.  Roxy awoke him with that loud, annoying bark she was famous for.  She stopped when she realized she had Comet's attention.

Ears perked up, Comet looked over at Roxy, meowed, and you could practically read his mind.  "Really?"  "We're doing this again, huh?"  Roxy responded back with a sharp bark, "Yep," and the chase was on!

Comet suddenly darted off the windowsill with Roxy in hot pursuit.  They made a quick chase around the room when out of the corner of Comet's eyes he spotted the back door open.  Running at full speed ahead, Comet made a beeline past the pool and through the white picket fence.  When he made it to the other side of the fence, to the carpet of lush, green grass, he came to an abrupt stop, laid down, and waited.

Roxy was familiar with the routine.  Stop. Bark. Run a complete circle around Comet. Stop. Bark. Wait.

When the moment was right, Comet sprang up and took off like a bolt of lightening away from Roxy.  Roxy, not wanting to be outdone, made one last attempt.  As she begin to close in on Comet she noticed him slowing down.  It was time to make her move.  At that exact moment Roxy bounded on top of Comet, flipping him to his side, and bit him on the tail.  Comet reacted with a sharp "Meow!"  As soon as Roxy's nose was in striking distant the claws came out.  Comet quickly attacked with his left paw, and then plopped smack down in front of Roxy daring her to do that again.

Roxy, realizing defeat made a final bark as to say, "You win" and retreated.  It was not over yet.  Next time...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

B is for Boss

I don't mean to brag, but I have an awesome boss that I work for.  The environment I work in is both challenging and rewarding.  It takes a special person to become a teacher, but it takes a very special person to become a principal.

The greatest strengths I have observed with my boss are fairness and her ability to communicate.  No matter what situation she encounters she is able to think through a decision before presenting it.  She is constantly stressing teamwork to all her employees and models what is expected. 

One other important thing.  I can't forget to mention all the jean days we get during the year.  This may seem minuscule, but jean days are something most of us at work look forward to.  It's the little things that count. ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A is for Army Wives

I've decided to attempt the A to Z blogging challenge.  The goal is to write a blog post every day, one for each letter of the alphabet.  While most people probably begin this challenge at the beginning of the month, I decided not to worry about that and just start today.  I'm not even going to worry if I skip a day.  The goal for me is to write when I can.  So here goes...

I have to admit.  I have an addiction.  Every Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. everything stops for Army Wives.  Anything that has to be accomplished has to be done by 8:00 because once Army Wives begins there's no cleaning, no laundry, no kids, no husband. (You get the idea. No interruptions!) 

It all began six seasons ago.  They had me at hello.  Claudia Joy, Denise, Pamela, Roxy, and I'll even include Roland, the Army husband.  It brings the reality of war, and the daily struggles of Army Wives.  If you want drama, you've got it all in Army Wives.  If I had the opportunity to meet the writers of Army Wives though I would have to tell them to bring back Pamela.

And, just when I thought I could control my addiction along came Once Upon A Time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Bucket List

I've been thinking about my upcoming birthday in a few months in which I turn '44' this year.  For some reason this also make me think of a bucket list.  So, I've come up with a list of things I want to start marking off before it's too late.  If anyone wants to join me on one of these adventures come on aboard!

1.   Develop the 586 pictures I still have on my camera.
2.   Put all of my pictures in photo albums.
3.   Purchase new bath towels.  Nice ones.
4.   Get pull-ups out of my house FOREVER.
5.   Get rid of all those teacher books I bought and are still in the attic.
6.   Do something new in education.
7.   Be more assertive.
8.   Throw a crawfish boil.
9.   Have a family portrait made.  The last family picture we have features only one child.
10. Learn how to make wine.
11. Visit New York.
12. Travel to Italy.
13. Take a cruise.
14. Run a half-marathon.
15. Take a tennis lesson.
16. Laser eye surgery so I no longer have to wear glasses. This is the most frightening.
17. Plant a garden.
18. Write an A-Z blog.
19. Experience ziplining through the air.
20. Make a new friend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras

It's Mardi Gras season in the South.  That means purple, green, and gold decor, parades, beads, and king cakes.  I love this time of the year in Louisiana where we celebrate Mardi Gras throughout the entire state.  When most people think of Mardi Gras they think of New Orleans.  New Orleans is definitely an experience of its own kind, but I'm from Shreveport which is located in Northwest Louisiana.

Here in our little corner of the world we enjoy Mardi Gras just as much as the southern part of the state.  Mardi Gras kicks off Jan. 7 with the Twelfth Night Celebration and wraps up on Fat Tuesday Feb. 21.  The season gets into full swing with the Krewe of Centaur and Krewe of Gemini parades.  There's also the Krewe of Harambee which celebrates African American history, and the Krewe of Highland parade also known as the children's parade.

This season is no different.  My family and I are out enjoying Mardi Gras once again.  For Caleb, it's all about the parades and seeing how many beads he can collect.  For Nick, it's the music of the marching bands and floats that pass by, and of course the beads.  While Caleb catches all the beads for Nick, Nick enjoys playing with them one at a time.  I enjoy Mardi Gras just as much as my kids.  From the parades and tailgating with friends to buying the delicious king cake.  Pecan praline is the best!

 Whether your a child or an adult Mardi Gras if fun for everyone.  So, Laissez les bon temps rouler ~ Let the good times roll!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Holiday Running Challenge

42 miles in 38 consecutive days!

On November 24, 2011, I began the Runner's World Holiday Running Streak. Starting on Thanksgiving and finishing on New Year's Eve I ran everyday. I have to admit that initially I was a little hesitant about beginning this challenge. I wondered if I would be able to run at least a mile everyday considering I have only been running for about 5 months.. I was afraid of not being able to stick to it. Of getting hurt. Of getting busy and skipping a day. I did have days like "OMG, I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS" but then I tell myself it's only a mile I have to do and I'll be back in 15 minutes, and then I'm fine once I get out the door. I sometimes even ran more than a mile. You see, it's a mind thing. You really can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.

One reason I began the challenge was to not gain any weight over the holidays. The second reason was to keep my fitness that I've built up over 6 months. But, the best thing about the challenge is that I don't have to say I'll start exercising after the new year. I've already started and plan to keep it up so I can enter another 5k.

Running in the Fall/Winter is actually nice in the South. Unlike the summer and beginning of Fall months where the humidity hits you like a wall, you don't get the humidity so much in late Fall/Winter. My holiday run streak took place all outside on the sidewalks and roads in my neighborhood. Mostly in the evening time. I don't own a treadmill, and I have not joined a gym. I ran in mostly 50 degree weather during the entire challenge. There were a few days where the temperature dipped a little below or little above, and I even ran a few times in the rain. The coolest thing about the end of the challenge is I ended it in Las Vegas! I couldn't have asked for a better way to begin the new year. Hmmm, maybe this year's resolution will be to work on being financially fit! ;)

Happy New Year Everyone!