Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fun Experiments with my class

Since I actually have a great group of kids this year, I was able to do some fun experiments with them this week. I hope the trend continues throughout the school year. I've found since I have taught school for 12 years (mostly third grade) that each year I'm able to incorporate something different into each year. Some traditions stick and some are tossed out depending on their success rate. Last year I was so burned out I didn't do many interesting things with the group I had, however this year I'm motivated to improve. For one thing I was bored and I know my kids were bored too. I made a promise to myself not to let standardized testing take the zha zha zoom out of my teaching. After all, it's in the fun things that kids actually learn and grow...not to mention remember as the year goes on. My two favorite things to do is to scrapbook and cook. So that's what I'm incorporating this school year into my classroom. The learning is still taking place, so don't fret people!

Lemonade was invented in Paris in August of 1630 when sugar imported from the French West Indies dropped in price. Despite its Parisian roots, lemonade in Europe is quite different nowadays – it's carbonated. It's been really hot here, so Friday afternoon we celebrated this 'invention' and made our own. The kids were able to wash the lemons, cut them in half (with supervision), juice them, measure the sugar and make a 'mixture', and then we added bottled water. They were surprised it tasted so good.

We are studying Rocks and Minerals and we took the time to also make some 'igneous' rock (chocolate chips melted and then cooled again), 'sedimentary rocks' (layers of wheat and white bread pressed together), and 'metamorphic rock' (same bread rolled together with a rolling pin). The loved it and actually "understood" about the different types of rocks!






Swingin' at Grandmas



Watermelons

Remember from this post I told you that my Grandma Sherrill is literally growing watermelons in her front yard? They are still growing! This is so funny, because of course you wouldn't normally want to grow fruit and vegetables in your front landscaping, but hey...Grandma is 87 years old so she can grow them wherever she want to, right? She throws seed anywhere and pretty much everything she "plants" and I use that word loosely...it grows! Now mom and I could really plant things and fertilize, mulch, and water it and it would still die. But everything grows for Grandma! Madison here is so fascinated by the many watermelons amongst the flowers in her front yard!



Hurricanes and Family

I know everyone is following Hurricane Gustov this weekend, but I've had a hurricane of my own blow into town...my extended family! I've spent the last two days laughing, talking, and sharing stories with some of the funniest people you will ever meet! When we are all together, everyone talks as loud as possible to tries to 'over speak' the next person. The stories get funnier and longer as the days go on. At the end of the day you go home and collapse with a severe headache from all the loud talking and laughing and then go back for more the next day! This morning I've had to take a break because I literally feel like I have a hang over, and there has been no alcohol consumed!!

This is (from left-right) my cousin Kim, Grandma Sherrill, great aunt Mot, aunt Shelby, and my mom (Kim is Shelby's daughter)


My cousin Kim is the mother of 11 children!!!!!!!! Look at her people, she's adorable! Eleven kids, all with the same man (her husband of 30 years), single births, no adoptions. They now range from 8 years old to about 28 years old. She has a daughter who is married with a baby, so she's also a grandmother.


My aunt Judy and my brother, Eddie.



Judy telling one of MANY funny stories about her life and marriage. She has to make it funny or else it would be too sad to live with!

Everyone laughing and waiting for more!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pray

Pray for this sweet family who has lost their baby girl that was recently adopted from China. My friend Candace was in their travel group this summer and spoke so highly of them. What a terrible loss to lose a child any time , but especially after only having them for 10 weeks.

Monday, August 25, 2008

18 months Paper Pregnant

I've been paper pregnant for approximately 545 days or 18 months..give or take a few days.

In case you have ever wondered...these are common gestation periods for animals:
elephant - 645 days
beaver - 122 days
domestic cat -61 days
domestic dog - 64 days
kangaroo - 42 days
horse - 336 days
mouse - 19 days
whale - 490 days
zebra - 365 days

So I've got every animal beat except the elephant and it looks like I will beat her out as well. I'm hopeful that adoption referrals will begin to increase now that the Olympics are over. There has been no official word on that yet, though. But hopefully I'm at least halfway through with my wait, it will be worth it though!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms."
--You've Got Mail

Happy Birthday Sister!

Saturday night I cooked a delicious birthday dinner for Ambre, unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the wonderful food:( At her request we had chicken and steak fajitas, mexican rice, corn and black bean salad, homemade guacamole, and key lime pie for desert. I've got to get better at taking more pictures...I should have taken some family group pictures but didn't think about it until it was over.


Eddie decided to take up coloring, mostly he ate the crayons and destroyed the paper.









Maddie wanted to wear mommies birthday present (pj's)












Learning the essentials of blogging!





We're all watching Shepherd take his first steps on video...Baby Eddie see him, this is how you walk all by yourself!






Cousin Jeff is cracking Baby Eddie up! So cute!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

School Update

I've finished two weeks of school now and am now back on a routine and schedule like regular working people. But, oh how I miss my lazy days of summer they went by so quickly. I have 22 lovely friends this year who I have really enjoyed getting to know. For the most part they are sweet, funny, and smart. I have some really nice parents who are able to help when needed. You know, it's funny... when you have a class you really enjoy being with for 7 1/2 hours a day you actually are inspired to do more fun things with them. I'm planning some fun activities for them this week as we begin our rocks and minerals unit in Science. I'll try to post some pictures. I'm incorporating some cooking activities for random holidays and interesting events such as last week was the anniversary of the 'invention" of lemonade...

Lemonade was invented in Paris in 1630 when sugar imported from the French West Indies dropped in price. Despite its Parisian roots, lemonade in Europe is quite different nowadays – it's carbonated.

So we're making a large pitcher of lemonade to enjoy because it's still very hot here and the kids love learning these random things. Also, I always bring a large plastic clear bottle of ice water to school each day and it has a slice of lemon or lime in it. My kids have noticed that and asked me about it last week. One little boy asked "where do you buy the lemons?"...so sad! He'd actually never heard of putting fresh fruit in drinks and certainly didn't know where to buy lemons! So I'm buying some super fine sugar, lemons, water, and a large pitcher to make our special treat this week. I have lots of other ideas for this year, but I need to buy a counter top toaster oven to make some of our future concoctions.

If you are interested in searching for other random holidays you can search www.holidaysforeveryday.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

stori telling...

I hate to admit it, but I read her book this week. I've been intrigued with the life of Tori Spelling since catching a glimpse of her show some this summer. I mean, I was a huge 90210 fan back in the day but haven't exactly followed the journeys of these actors. However knowing that Tori was multimillionaire Aaron Spelling's daughter I wanted to see what really happened between her and her mother after all.(BTW, her mom sounds like a loon!) Apparently when Aaron died, he was worth $500 million dollars and Tori only got a meager $800,000. Now in the grand scheme of things with 'normal' people that would be fine, but come on if your dad was worth that much wouldn't you expect more? Anyway, I think she's probably made some really bad choices in her life (having an affair with Dean to top the list) and she seems whiny and childish at times... however who am I to pass judgment on someone trying to make it in life. Anyway, if you have a good 2-3 hours to burn and know anything of the actress you may want to read it too!

Who Me? No Really, I Can't Accept It...

But, if you insist! I'd like to thank the Peeptoe Pumps Princess for honoring me with the Diamond Blogger Award today! (Honestly she's so cute and adorable I do not know why she is still single...men should be running to her!) And, just when I thought my day was ending on it's normal boredom note, I get such a gracious gift!! I'd like to thank all the wonderful people who have made this day possible... Danielle for pimping out my blog for every season, Kim for giving me the final inspiration through her blog to chronicle my own journey through adoption, and my family (namely Madison and Eddie) for giving me material to write about. Without them, most of my posts would be dull and boring (or are they already?)

I would like to pass the diamonds along to one of my favorite people...
Candace over at Little Red Speaks her Mind or Shepherd, Shepherd, He's Our Man! She is my best friend and lives much too far away. If she had more time on her hands she would blog more, however she is trying to manage two toddlers and about every other volunteer position in their church! The woman can't say no!

There are many other favorite blogs of mine out there, but I think they've received this award somewhere along the way!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The First Week of School

Before





After






After countless hours of working in my classroom it was finally ready. I think I worked (for free) about 10 days, plus the one day that I spent in court all day to testify for one of my student's in a custody battle. It always amazes me the conditions in which teachers are expected to accomplish a great task. If I had not gone into work for 10 days my student's would have walked into the room in photos #1-4. Can you imagine? I spent another 2 - 3 days on the hunt for the cheapest school supplies for my new friends. I went to Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Walmart, and Target on the hunt to find pencils, glue, and folders for as cheap as possible. Do you know they do not supply teachers with pencils and paper? Who could imagine?? Our school system is currently being 'taken over' by the state because we haven't met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) on our standardized tests...No Child Left Behind. I wonder if it has ever occurred to these 'higher ups' to maybe give teachers some ding dang paper and pencils????? Don't get me started about working conditions, technology, and appropriate textbooks for every child?

Disclaimer: We do get $100 for "setting our room up early"...by my calculations that is about $1.00/hour, they are so nice! We also get $300 for supplies throughout the school year. I spend about $1,000 a year, from beginning to end...that's only $700 of my own money, not too bad I guess. So I probably have it better than most places. The first year of teaching, I spent probably $3,000-5,000 on stuff to get started....making a grand total of $21,000/year!!!!! I wish I had kept a total. Each year since then my expenses have gone down. Tip for any new teachers out there: Don't do what I did.

I also work at a school that ROCKS and my principal is the BEST person you could ever meet. So even if they cut my pitiful salary in half I would still work there...well maybe I'd have to make more money, but you get the point! I LOVE my school and... bonus this year I think I will actually LOVE my students!

The first week of school went by quickly. I have 22 new friends and they seem to be a very likable group...I may not have to break up any gang activity this year (yes in third grade)! My parents seem nice and supportive.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blog Sale!

My great blog designer and friend is having a big one year anniversary sale this month! If you are a blogger or have been thinking about joining the ranks with the rest of us, I encourage you to use Danielle to put that extra special touch on your blog. She is easy to work with, very talented, and reasonably priced. So go ahead, start blogging!

I first began reading blogs when I began the adoption process. I came across families who were adopting and found great comfort in reading about their journeys through this often complicated and long road. Then I came across blogs of regular people who I just found interesting. I'm a nosey person by nature, so the ability for me to peruse through some one's life online was a lot of fun! I mean, I don't just intentionally or obviously pry into people's lives...somehow people just automatically tell me their life stories and struggles ALL of the time.(Just last week at the Post Office the worker told me she had been married for 30 years and advised me to stay single! Then at the salon my esthetician told me about her recent breakup from her fiance and how her life was crumbling to pieces...these were both within one hour of each other. Later I went to an Art Museum and had lunch at a cafe and someone just came to my table to share their story with me...maybe I look like a shrink?) I find people intriguing and I find it inspirational to see what people overcome in their own personal journeys.

So all of this got me to thinking maybe I should blog, too. Everyone has a story to tell and I'm an open book to anyone who asks. So why not put it online? Mainly I wanted this as a scrapbook and storyboard for Molly...for her to see what I was doing and thinking as I waited for her. But, it has become so much more than that to me. It's actually therapeutic to get on here and record my thoughts and feelings about life.

This turned out to be a very long commercial just to encourage you to take advantage of Danielle's design expertise and have your blog revamped!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

I'm exhausted from preparing my classroom this week and am ready for the Opening Ceremonies to begin tonight! I hope you can enjoy it too!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tag, you're it!

I have been tagged by Jill to name 5 songs that I am embarrassed to admit I like. I agree with Jill, I like lots of embarrassing songs, but these are some on the top of my head!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others that you like and tell why.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. "Amie" by the Pure Prairie League...I guess you really shouldn't like songs with your name in them, but I do love this song. Its from this old country- rock band of the late 1960's...Vince Gill sang with them at one time.

2. "Hard Candy Christmas" by Dolly Parton...It's so pathetic, but I know all the words and I love it at Christmas time!

3. "Why Not Me" by the Judds...this song is so fitting for my love life! A question I ask very often!!

4. "Rocky Top"...by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band !! I listen to it every weekend in the fall!

5. "Ain't No Hollaback Girl"...by Gwen Stefani...I just always liked it, must I give a reason?

I tag:
1. Tricia
2. Kelly
3. Denna
4. Nancy
5. Candace

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My last day of freedom

I wish I could do this... Cancel Summer's ending. Wouldn't that be great? I'm really not ready to start teacher in service tomorrow. If it weren't for my handy summer checklist, I'd completely forget that I have been off for 10 weeks. It's gone by so fast!

I'm especially not ready to meet parents and children on Thursday night as we greet them to the new school year. It's so overwhelming...preparation, planning, cleaning, setting up, wheww! It's going to be a lot of work. It is an interesting thing to meet the parents at the start of the school year. Last year I met a mom who told me she was pregnant, working on her doctorate, on welfare, and separated from her husband...all in about the first 15 seconds of meeting her. She was an interesting case to work with. Funny...she never had that baby, I don't even know if she was really pregnant or not. I think she was an addict. Another year, I met parents who quizzed me on how smart I thought their kid was....uhhhhh I had only had him for 3 hours, it was a little hard to tell. But I can tell you how smart I think you are!

My all time favorite is parents who come in and tell me how horrible the teacher was from second grade. She was mean, too hard, too easy, she had a conflicting personality with their child....you hear it ALL! Here is what I think about children having conflicting personalities with me...I'm an adult, you are a child...children have to learn to get along with all types of personalities. We don't get to choose these things. I had an awesome assistant principal once who actually told a parent, "children don't get to decide who their personalities clash with, he has to learn to come in, obey, do his work, and behave". It's amazing the excuses we make for our children! But, the majority of the children will be sweet and prepared with their newly sharpened pencils and crisp white tennis shoes. Most of the parents will be nice and enjoyable. But if I have a story to share, you know I'll post it !

Now for a little news: Make sure you watch these shows about Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter, Maria. GOOD MORNING AMERICA will air a special interview with Robin Roberts from The Chapman’s home in Franklin on August 6th, followed by a live interview from Los Angeles on LARRY KING LIVE on August 7th, and an extensive feature in an upcoming issue of PEOPLE magazine. The decision to speak publicly was not an easy one, and these will be the first interviews the family has participated in since Maria’s death.

Finally for my last fun day of summer I'm going to get my eyebrows waxed (super fun!) and I'm going to the Frist Art Center in downtown Nashville to tour the Tiffany light exhibit and have lunch. I've wanted to go all summer, so today is my last day. I think it is going to be the hottest day of summer too...about 100 degrees!

Monday, August 4, 2008

new blog

I've started a new blog for anyone interested in following my path to a healthier me. Especially those of you motivated by this post. I just wanted to separate my blog entries a bit, but will continue to post here about my daily life, adoption details, and other stuff.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy First Birthday!

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to! You would cry to if all these people were in your house and your sister took your new toys away from you!
There is nobody like mommy!

Today is sweet baby Eddie's first birthday! We had his party yesterday. It seemed like there were 100 kids in the house, but was more like 15 probably. They were everywhere! It was a football themed party (in case you couldn't tell by the decor and food!) We had 4 dozen balloons and when everyone left we went outside to let them all float to the moon. Madison loves balloons and so this was very fun! Eddie and Maddie just looked at all the orange and white balloons float away...we did keep a few for them to play with inside.

Those little sandwiches were on wheat rolls and I piped white cream cheese on the top to make them look like footballs.



The little baby is my cousin Kayla. She is soooo cute! Madison kept playing and kissing on her, I think she thought Kayla was a baby doll. She's going to have great hair! Look at those curls!
Since this is my life scrapbook of sorts, I'll take this moment to reminisce a bit about where I was one year ago today...I was somewhere between 'thank God I'm adopting and won't have to go through childbirth' and 'How will Ambre ever walk again'!!!!!! Ambre had been in labor for a long time, my mind is a little fuzzy, but something like 20+ hours and still no baby. It was a couple weeks before his actual due date so things were moving very slow. Madison was born by C-section and the plan was to have Eddie the regular way...

So Eddie and Ambre were at the hospital all day and I was planning on meeting them and video taping/photographing the big event. I was at the mall frantically trying to finish my back to school shopping before they called to say come now. I arrived at the hospital in the late afternoon and the fun began. Ambre was only dilated to like a 5 at this point (she'd been working on it all day, remember?) So we all settled in for a long night. Late in the evening things finally started progressing...but Ambre was really feeling VERY bad. She pushed and pushed and he did not want to enter the world. But, very early in the morning hours he finally was born. The doctor said his arm was bent around his shoulders making it very difficult to come through the birth canal. Did I mention at this point...I WAS IN TOTAL SHOCK??? Seeing a birth on TLC's A Baby Story is nothing like seeing a birth in person. We moved our attention to Baby Eddie, while it seemed poor Ambre had been literally torn in two! I kept looking over at her to make sure she was alive and I just wanted to cry for her. I think secretly I signed away my life to her and vowed anything she ever wanted in life I would always oblige...and I told Eddie he should do the same!

I came home like a zombie and immediately went into mom's bedroom (it was about 4am) and told her 'thank you for giving birth to two children'! Now I understood why she always says on our birthdays "I went through the valley of death to have you"...mothers literally do! And some choose to do it more than once! Amazing!

The next day, on 2 hours sleep, I had to go to a teacher workshop and I told all the teachers/mothers (in my sleep deprived state)..."you are all liars! nobody tells the truth about childbirth to other women". So women, take it from me...a voice of reason. Childbirth is a miracle, yes...a miracle you can ever walk again! There is nothing neat, clean, or easy about it. It's gruesome and gory, the only moment of sweetness is when you see that little baby come out...I guess that is why all of you mothers forget about the facts I've just written about! So Happy Birthday Eddie, and thanks Ambre for giving me the two best gifts of my life so far! A sweet little niece, Madison and an adorable little nephew, Eddie! If those kids wanted me to take them to the moon and back, I'd try to find a way!


Friday, August 1, 2008

my first digital scrapbook pages

OK, so after I posted my list of completed projects I realized I should really take some time to try my hand at digital scrapbooking. I already had PrintMaster Scrapbooking loaded on my computer and I had purchased several digital kits in the last few months. So here it is...my first 3 pages. I was actually finishing up Eddie's first year scrapbook (actual paper & pages scrapbook) when I thought I'd ad a little pizazz...actually I had accidentally skipped two pages and needed to 'fill' them up. Obviously these aren't perfect, I'm already seeing some edges that need cropped. But you get the idea!

On this one, Ambre is going to write in current events/pop misc. items from last year. (fave. TV shows, songs, prices of items, etc.)



And then I did one with an actual photo


So now I have so many questions...first of all Print Master Scrapbooking is OK, probably easy for beginners but it didn't let me crop exactly how I wanted to. Does anyone have a great program you use for digital scrap booking that is EASY and quick? Also, after you make a page what do you actually do with it? I'm sure I'm missing a lot of steps along the way but I want to actually have a book in the end! But, I think I could actually like this a lot.


My Summer is Over

My summer vacation is over. It's so sad to see the lazy days of summer come to an end and the busyness of fall begin. I had lofty goals for this summer and I did a pretty good job at completing them. This was my original summer to do list I posted on March 31st. I've updated it (because I love to see things crossed off in list format!!). Also, I added things in red that were not originally on the list.


Summer 2008 "to do" list:
May 26th – August 1st

· Peel off wallpaper from foyer and hallway
· Patch and Paint walls in foyer and hallway

Remove wallpaper from Kitchen and repaint kitchen

  • Repair leaky faucets and drains in both bathrooms
  • Vacation at the beach!
  • Attend a French Bistro Cooking Class
  • Enjoyed a stay-cation in Nashville!
    · Scrape popcorn ceiling off my bedroom
    · Repaint ceiling in my room
    · Add crown molding to my bedroom
    · Replace fan/light in my bedroom
    · Organize closet space in hall closet, coat closet, foyer closet, and guest room closet

    · Figure out office space dilemma
    · Purchase a quality digital camera and learn how to use it

    · Learn how to digital scrapbook
    · Organize all my digital pictures
    · Begin the process of researching our family tree
    , sort of…
    · Exercise consistently
    · Spend quality time with Madison and Eddie
    · Begin redoing all adoption paperwork that has expired
    · Scrapbook Baby Eddie's last 6 months

  • Made a movie for Eddie's first birthday party using Windows Movie Maker
    · Read all books on my nightstand (completely!)
    I only read a couple…

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