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.