Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Christmas at home was wonderful!  So wonderful that when it was time to return home, I bawled.  I've never had such a hard time leaving my family, even while Anthony was deployed and I was going home to an empty house.  I'm not sure if it was the fact that I had such a great time at home or that I knew Anthony would be working 48 of the next 72 hours that we were home.

So, what did I do?  I turned around and came back to Mom and Dad's the next day.  So, I am getting to spend an extra three days with my family!

Until I return to tell you all about my holiday, here are a few pictures to hold you over.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Time

It is officially Christmas break!  I think we were the school still having to go today.  I am so glad we have a break.

We leave tomorrow to go to my  parents house and then Sunday we go see his family.  Leading up to this time, I really didn't expect us to be able to go home.  Last year we were going to get to be there the 22-24, but some guys got in trouble and we weren't able to go.  I spent my Christmas at our place, while Anthony was at work.  It was very hard, as it was the first Christmas to be away from our families.  This year, I knew he'd be off for Christmas day, but wasn't sure we'd have enough time to go home.  I was okay with that, if it's what we had to do.  But I am so excited that we will get to continue our previous traditions.  Although, I'm a little nervous about how our bags, the presents and 2 dogs are going to fit into my small car.

I hope you all have a great Christmas time, whethere you are with family and friends or creating your own tradition.  My prayers and love go out to all of those who are not able to be with your husbands during Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Time to Relax

I feel that sometimes, when you don't take care of yourself and get some extra rest, your body tells you to get that rest.  That was what my body was telling last week.  It started of subtle, and I didn't listen.  But eventually, I had to no choice. 

It started on Wednesday.  I became a bit stuffy, but kept on going.  Thursday, I was more stuffy and beginning to feel bad.  But I kept on going.  I worked and then went to our team Christmas party.  I came home and went to bed after that, but didn't sleep well because of the aches and pains and fluctuating body temperature.  I woke up Friday feeling awful, but I did what most every teacher does, I went to school.  Who was going to sub a week before Christmas?  The kids are crazy!  Friday night, I was done.  I was finally ready to listen to my body.  I put on my PJs and crawled into bed at 4:00.  I was running a low fever.  My whole body hurt.  I couldn't breathe.   Saturday was spent in my PJs on the couch ALL day and night.  I can't remember the last time I got to do this.  Today, I'm feeling somewhat better.  I spent the day on the couch until about 4:00 when I got up and ran a couple errands.  Now, I am completely exhausted.  It will be an early night in hopes of allowing my body to get enough rest to make it through the next 3 days of work and then through the holiday events. 

So, that was my weekend.  What'd you do this weekend?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Texas Weather

If you've ever lived in Texas, you know the weather is crazy. 

For those of you that aren't familiar with our weather, let me paint you a picture.

Last weekend...the high was in the 60s.  It was beautiful.
Today...it is in the 80s.
Friday...high in the 40s.
Sunday...back to 70.

Try teaching children about the seasons here.  It's near impossible!  And you definately don't put up your short sleeved shirts. 

I wonder what Christmas will be like. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Reason for the Season

My mood today...I'm over it. 

Over the hustle.  Over the having plans every night.  Over the pressure.  Over teaching.  Over trying to fit everyone and everything in.

I found myself in a very fowl mood today.  Tired of everything going on.  I just wanted to crawl into bed and stay.  Until December 23rd and then resume things. 

I sat here tonight after my faculty Christmas party and thought about my frustrations and why I was so frustrated.  That's when I realized it.  I've been so lost in everything going around me, that I have forgotten the true reason for this season.  It's a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And even though I might be extra busy, celebrating I will do.

My goal is to get back to enjoying all that is going on.  For the next 6 days of school, I strive to be a better teacher.  I left work today feeling like the worst teacher in the world.  And I do not like that feeling at all.  My kids do not deserve for me to take my exhaustion and frustration out on them.  They deserve my love and compassion.  They deserve to see the true reason for Christmas shining through me.

I say this, because I am sure I am not the only one feeling so frustrated.  Just remember the true reason for the busy time of the year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie Exchange

This weekend has been so busy, but so much fun.  Yesterday, we had a birthday party for a friend's daughter, then ran a bunch of errands, and then went to hang out with some friends to watch the fight.  The wives spent the evening hanging out in another room and visiting.

Today, I had lunch with my friend Priscilla and her son.  Then I did some shopping.  I have three gifts left to get and a few stocking stuffers to be completely done!  And best of all, they are all wrapped and under the tree.

Then, this afternoon, I went to a cookie exchange with some friends from work.  I had never been to one and was really looking forward to it.  We were to all bring 6 dozen cookies.  I chose cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies.  I blended together a few recipes I had and then made a few changes.  I was really impressed with how they turned out.  Thanks Kimmie for the idea!

There were lots of different cookies there.  This is what I came home with:


(I ran out of room in my first tub)


There's pumkin chip cookies, cake balls, chocolate chip cookies, rasberry bars, graham toffee, lemon cookies, Lottie Moon cookies, Texas Ranger fudge cups, 7 layer cookies, biscotti, cranberry nut cookies, and more!  I brought home atleast six of each of atleast 12 cookies.  I haven't tried any yet, but I can't wait to dig in.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them.  Some people use them as gifts.  Some people freeze them and serve them at Christmas, and some people just eat them now.  I'm leaning towards the last.  

This week is full of lots of parties and then a weekend to rest and unwind.  I can't Christmas is approaching so quickly!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Time

Wow, I'm totally stinking at remembering to blog.  I'm not sure if it's the fact I'm too busy to sit down and write or the fact that I really don't have anything exciting to write about.'

I can't believe how quickly Christmas is approaching.  Less than 3 weeks away.  My tree has been up for a while.  Presents are wrapped under the tree, and only 4 more to buy.  The Christmas scents are in the Scentsy and Wallflower.  And my calendary is full.  I have Christmas stories and cookies tomorrow evening at school, a Christmas cookie swap this weekend, two Christmas parties next week, our class Christmas party the following week.  And I have so much to do, address Christmas cards, decide on and bake cookies, finish buying and wrapping presents, and finalizing holiday plans.

Even with so much going on, I absolutely LOVE this time of year.  I love the hustle and bustle (whatever that means).  I love the smells: candles, cookies, and ever green.  I love the sounds.  And I love the excitement, both mine and the kids. 

What do you love about this time of year?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Shopping

This year, I've done all of my Christmas shopping online.  I really didn't plan to, but it ended up being easier and saving money.  On Black Friday, most retailers offered the same deals online as in the store, plus, I looked on RetailMeNot and was able to find coupon codes for free shipping, a discount, or both.  Additionally, I use Ebates when I order online (and remember) and get cash back.  Last Christmas, we got a check back for about $30.  And you can't beat getting paid to shop.  As you do your shopping, you should check these out!

So far, I've only had 2 small mishaps, but both were quickly resolved.  And out of about 20 holiday packages, 2 problems isn't bad.  One problem was with an order placed at Express.  The items ended up being out of stock after I placed the order and I was bummed because they were 40% off that day.  The customer service was AMAZING.  She told me what colors they had in the sizes I needed, gave me the 40% off, plus an extra 15% off for my troubles AND free overnight shipping.  She was so friendly and so willing to help.  The other problem was with the postal service.  The had a "substitute" carrier who placed my package in the wrong box.  After filing a claim, the package was quickly returned. 

And the best part, it's so fun to see what package will be waiting for me each day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amazing

Thanksgiving vacation has been AMAZING.  We have been blessed to be able to spend time with almost all of our family (both sides) and with each other.  I've been so busy enjoying my family that I didn't get around to blogging all week, so I thought I'd do a quick recap.

I took off work Tuesday and we headed to my parents.  We got there around 2 and spend the day and evening just lounging around.

Wednesday was another day of mostly lounging.  During the day, my cousins and uncle came by.  It was great to see them.  That evening, my grandmother made lasagna and my cousins, uncles, and aunt came.  Since we missed Christmas last year, it's been almost two years since I've really been able to spend time with them all.

Thursday, we woke up and headed to spend the day with Anthony's family.  We had an AMAZING Thanksgiving, complete with my first completely from scratch cheesecake.  I was very proud of myself.  We headed home that evening and at midnight, we headed to Walmart.  Complete chaos!  Before going to bed, we got online and did some online shopping.  We were able to get almost all of the items we had wanted (that we'd seen in the ads) at the same price and with free shipping.  Some we were able to get even cheaper because of coupons.  And we will get cash back on all our purchases as a result of using ebates (message me if you want details).  Since we had gotten most of what we needed, we decided we would not be up shopping at 4am. 

Friday, we slept in a bit and then headed out to pick up a few things we wanted to get on Black Friday.  Because we waited, the crowds weren't bad at all.  Picked up some sheets for our king sized bed we hope to get this summer, as well as a few gifts.  We got home and I helped Mom put up her "Snowman only" tree.  And then, one of my brother's friends and his fiance stopped by.  He is a Marine and we rarely see him.  He will be getting married next weekend and we are so happy for them both.  It was great to get to visit with them both.

Saturday, we had to head back home.  I was really sad to have to leave.  It's so nice to be surrounded by family.

This Thanksgiving, I had so much to be thankful for.  I am thankful that Anthony returned safely (minus having his foot ran over) from Iraq.  I am thankful we were able to go home and see so much of our family, as we weren't able to do this last year.  I am thankful for the loving family that surrounds us.  I am thankful for all that God has provided us with this year. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Nutcracker

Today, I got to see the Nutcracker for the first time.  I was so excited and have been looking forward to it all week.  Our town has this cute little theatre and each year they put on the Nutcracker.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, as I can honestly say I have never been to a ballet.  I was very impressed with the performance and enjoyed it greatly.  I was disappointed that time passed so quickly and it was over before I knew it.  I left wanting to learn ballet (although I'm guessing I'm a little too old for a beginner class).  I look forward to seeing the Nutcracker again next year.  I think this time, I will try out a different performance, perhaps in Dallas area so that I have something to compare it to.

The rest of the weekend will be spent preparing for the week ahead (laundry, cleaning, shopping) and putting up the Christmas tree!  I can't wait!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What a Wonderful Monday

I did NOT have high expectations for today.  I slept horrible because Anthony was gone.  And it was a Monday.  But, today turned out pretty amazing, and here's why.

-Nobody cried today in my class!!!  First day in over a week.
-I came home to find out Anthony doesn't have to be back at work until shift time tomorrow.  (They have been doing an exercise and he was having to work 5pm-6am, which doesn't allow much us time, or much sleep time for him.)
-I don't have to cook.  When I found out Anthony would be home for dinner, I started to plan dinner.  He insisted we eat the leftover chicken enchiladas so we don't have to throw them out.
-And best of all, I found these when I was forced to go to Walmart since the commisary was closed.
Now, on to enjoying my Oreos and watching football with my honey!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Shwoo, I'm Still Alive

I wasn't sure I'd make it.  What happened you ask?  Twenty 6-7 year olds who haven't had more than a 2 day weekend since the beginning of September and a teacher who needs a break.  That's what happened.

This year, our district decided they wanted to get us done with school before June (very rare in Texas with the new rules that started a few years ago).  In order to do that, they took away almost any extra day off.  We still have the big ones, but no little 3 day weekends.  It has resulted in some exhausted and antsy students, as well as teacher. 

My students wouldn't listen unless I yelled.  Then, I think they were just too scared to speak.  (I don't yell on a regular basis, I blame it on my exhaustion.)  There was not a day this week that didn't bring tears (not mine).  Tears because they were in trouble.  Tears because they didn't do what they wanted.  And today, tears because I caught him trying to steal from my treasure chest and took away both the earned prize and stollen one.  And not little tears.  Big sobbing, screaming tears.  Wednesday, I really wanted to throw a fit too.

I have never been so tired in my life.  I'd come home and just collapse and do nothing.  I was so pleased that Anthony wanted to go enjoy free dinner last night because I wasn't sure if I'd have the energy to cook. 

And I am so thrilled that it is the weekend.  The only thing I have to do is attend a birthday party tomorrow, which I am looking forward to.  The rest of the weekend, I plan to just rest and lounge.  No house work.  No errands.  Heck, I don't think I'll even do laundry. 

And after today, I only have 7 more work days until Thanksgiving break.  I can't wait!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

It's that time of year again.  Time to honor those who have served our country.  Veteran's Day has a more personal meaning this year, than ever.  I couldn't be more proud to of my husband and all that he does. 

(My favorite veteran)


Another very special veteran, my granddad


So, to all the men and women who serve, THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shutterfly

I am sure most of you have heard of the wonderful promotion Shutterfly is having where bloggers can earn 50 free holiday cards.  I LOVE Shutterfly!  I have made several of their photo books.  We used them as Christmas presents with wedding pictures and to document vacations and important events.  I think it will be neat to continue making them and have a whole shelf of books that tell the stories of our lives.  We've even made a couple calendars and have one hanging in the kitchen now. 

     Last year was my first year for photocards and I couldn't have been happier with them.  This year they have lots of new styles of both photo cards and holiday cards.   And what's better than great Christmas cards...FREE.  You should go over and check it out!  Here's the link for the promo.  It's so easy, you just have to chose some of your favorites, add some links, and write about Shutterfly.   

And here are some of my favorites:



I've already been playing around with the photos in different cards.  Now I just have to decide on one card.  That'll be the tough part!

*Edited after recieving Shutterfly email.  Just a helpful hint, submit your form and wait for a response before you post your blog!  It took less that 24 hours for me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Weekend Recap

This weekend flew by and I was so busy I didn't even have time to write about it Sunday or even Monday. 

Saturday-Anthony and I slept in.  Until 11.  I thought my internal alarm was permanantly set for 9, but I was wrong.  I was so completely exhausted from last week and my body needed the rest.  When we got up, we cleaned house and ran some errands.  Some of our friends came over to watch the Rangers game and grill burgers.  We enjoyed having people over and a Ranger win.

Sunday-Lounged around until 1.  Showered and ran some errands.  Made some spinach dip, no good Mexican tortilla rolls that went in the trash, and chocolate covered pretzels.  Several of the other firefighter wives and a couple of their husbands were taking their kids trick or treating and invited me to tag along.  We all brought food and ate before the trick or treating.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with them and their kids.  After that, I came home and crashed.

Monday-It was definately a Monday in first grade.  I came home and Anthony was bored.  Headed to the mall and picked up the boots that I blogged about here, except in black.  I can't wait to wear them tomorrow.  Then, instead of coming home and cooking we picked up Chic-Fil-A.  We came home and watch the Rangers game and then crahsed.

It was a wonderful weekend, but I can't wait for next weekend so that I can get some rest.  And, as for the Rangers, I was very sad to see them lose, but very proud of them for how far they came. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Memories

Do you ever get a whiff of someething (good or bad) and you have a flashback? 

I had one of those moments yesterday (and do every other Friday at school).  Every other Friday, our students who haven't missed a day or been tardy or had a behavior problem are rewarded with popcorn.  Since we are a school of 600 + making bags of popcorn isn't logical.  So, they use one of these:

For most people, you might think of a movie theater.  But, I'm reminded of times spent at my grandfather's Five and Dime.  I'm assuming most people my age are not familiar with Five and Dime stores or may have heard for Ben Franklin's.  Now they are almost unheard of.

Anyway, how does this relate to popcorn?  My grandfather had one of these old fashion machines (his was really old fashion) at the front of his store.  When there were events downtown and on the weekends, he would make up some popcorn and sell it for a quarter a bag.  The smell of fresh popped buttered popcorn would fill the store.  I have so many wonderful memories of his store.  When we didn't have school he'd let me "work".  I'd mark items with the price gun.  I'd check people out.  I'd wrap presents.  I loved wrapping presents because it meant I got to make bows with one of these

(picture found here)

I also remember buying school supplies at his store every year.  And on Christmas, he'd give us money to "buy" Christmas presents for all of our family from the store.  His store was around until around 2006 when he was 87 years old.  But, competing with WalMart is just too much for a small local business. 

My grandpa has always been a special man and I cherish my special memories I have with him.  And on Fridays, when I smell the popcorn popping, I can't pass up a bag for myself.  And every Friday, these memories come flooding back and I can't help but smile.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wow...

...time is flying.  I mean really flying.  Anthony's almost been home two months now.  Today was the 50th day of school.  Christmas is less than two months away.  Thanksgiving is 27 days away.

Wow.  Those last two sentences leave me a little overwhelmed.  So much to do.  And, as indicated by flying time, I don't know when it's all going to happen.  We still don't really know what we are doing for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  We know Anthony is off both of those days, but has to work the day before, meaning we will miss lunch with my family each day.  And then there's gift giving.  I like to have all my shopping done before December.  I worked retail in college and I dread the mall and avoid it like the plague in December.  Then, I have to decide what I want.  Normally, my wish list is complete by October, but this year, I just don't know what to ask for.

And then there's Christmas decorating!  I can't wait!!!  I love having the Christmas tree up and stockings hung.  I get giddy just thinking about it.  It'll be here before I know it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Best Best Friend Ever

I have the best best friend ever!  This is what I found when I arrived home today.

Now, I did know it was coming, but that didn't make it any less exciting.  Earlier this month I had bought Kimmie a Dallas Cowboy tshirt and this is what we decided on as a way to pay me back.  I'm not going to lie, chocolate is way more exciting on a Monday afternoon than cash. 

When I went out to visit this summer, Kimmie had a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates waiting for me.  My favorite in the bag was the Milk and Caramel Latte.  They were amazing!  I bought a couple bars at Ghirardelli Square and savored them for a couple months (until my husband came home and found them).  I've looked everywhere (in the tiny town I live in) and had no luck finding any.  So, Kimmie sent three bags of those and a small bag of Pumpkin Spice Caramel.  Those are almost as amazing.  Thanks Kimmie!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Firefighter

This past week in first grade we had been spending time discussing fire safety (yeah, we're two weeks behind, but better late than never).  Who's the best person to talk fire safety?  A firefighter, of course.  And I just so happen to know one.  With some begging and a bargain, he finally agreed to come Friday afternoon. 

When I told my students he was coming, the room was filled with excitement.  You would have thought that I had just told them Santa was coming to visit our room.

Part of the bargaining was that I had to put on his gear to see what it was like.  And I agreed.  It was heavy.  It took forever to get me dressed.  And it was HOT!  These guys have 60 seconds to get their gear on.  They wear all of that gear into a  fire (which is way hotter than my classroom).  And he had to do all of that in Iraq, during the summer.  I was sweating and my thermostat was  on 74.  I can't imagine it being 115 and then going into a fire.  It gave me even more respect for what he does.  I know I couldn't do it.

Here's some pictures from his visit.



I'm so proud of my firefighter and all that he does.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blessed

As a military wife, I often get frustrated with the life that we have.  I hate that my husband works on the weekends and holidays, we don't get to see our family frequently, and we can never really make plans.  But lately I've been thinking about how the military life has actually blessed us and our marriage.  As a military family, we have learned to cherish things that most people take for granted.

I cherish every day I spend with my husband, for I don't get to spend every day with him.  I am perfectly content sitting beside him on the couch while he watches football.

I cherish every kiss hello, goodbye, and goodnight, for some times I only kiss him goodbye and there is no hello.  There is no goodnight.

I cherish my friends because while away from my biological family, they are my family.  I can count on them for anything at anytime.

I cherish the opportunity to do his laundry and to cook dinner for two because it means that he is actually home and not deployed.

I cherish the holidays we have together, because some years he might have to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I cherish my family and the chances I have to visit them.  I don't dread going to visit our families like so many people.  I actually look forward to every minute with them.

What has the military made you cherish more?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Now that fall is here and it really feels like fall (Texas fall anyways) I decided I wanted to do some fall baking.  I have never baked with pumpkin and wanted to try it ever I ate some amazing pumpkin bread last fall.  I went searching for a recipe, and came up with Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from pickycook.com.  I absolutely love oatmeal cookies and loved the idea of combining oatmeal and pumpkin. 

The cookies were so easy to make.  And they turned out amazing.  So amazing, that I may or may not have eaten 5-6 each day for the past 3 days.  But, they are healthy so it's totally justifiable, right?

Since they were so good, I have to share the recipe.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and sit aside. 


Cream butter, honey and sugars in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla.  Mix well.


Gradually add dry ingredients.  Mix until blending, being careful not to overmix.  Chill for 30 minutes.  After chilling, drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  (I flattened mine just a bit with the spoon as I noticed they did not seem to flatten while baking.)  Picky cook recommends sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top, but I used the last of my cinnamon making the cookies.


Bake for about 14 minutes.  Of course, ovens will vary, I baked mine about 16 minutes.  After removing from the oven, all them to cool a few minutes and then move them to a wire cooling rack (if you can resist eating them). 

ENJOY!

Friday, October 15, 2010

TV Rant

I don't rant on my blog much about TV.  I don't really thing I ever have.  But something in particular caught my eye today.

Every morning I watch the first 10-15 minutes of Good Morning America before going to work.  Today, one of their topics was Military Wives as Surrogates (click on it if you want to see the article).  I didn't have a chance to watch that segment, but when I got home this evening, I read the article. 

Next, I did some number crunching.  I wanted to get a rough percentage of military wives that serve as surragates.  (Stay with me, I'll get to my point.)   According to Wikipidea, (I know, not the most reliable sorce, but it will work) there are a little over 1,477,000 members of the military.  And PRB reports that in 2009 52% of adults (over 18) were married.  We'll just say, 50% of military members are married (I'm sure that there's some site that shows this, but I couldn't find it quickly).  I'll say that 5% (personal estimate) are women military members with male spouses who obviously can't be surragates.  So, we'll say there are about 664,650 military wives.  That's just my guess.

Good Morning America reports that there 1000 surragacies a year, 15-20% are military wives, making that about 150-200 military wives who serve as surragates a year.  That's 0.03% of military wives who serve as military wives. 

The whole reason for the segment was discussing that military wives who serve as surrogates are using tax payers money (Tricare) to pay for the medical costs.  Not all military wives do this.  There is a clause in TriCare that says that TriCare can ask for the money back.  They even have a wife who reports she doesn't use TriCare to cover her medical costs. 

So, now to my rant.  I was really bothered by this segment.  I really felt that it was made to look like military wives cheat the system all the time.  It's .03% of military wives.  That's a tiny number of women that do it.  Why not focus on the good of the military wives. Like the strength a military wives must have to endure her husband being deployed and carrying someone else's child.  Yes, she gets money, but I don't think any amount of money (in my opinion) could make a deployment easier.  Your husband is still in danger and you are still alone and you are dealing with a pregnancy.  Show me one women that will happily endure all three of these things for $30,000 and never once have a negative feeling because I want to know what her secret is. 

Okay, that's my rant.  Do any other military wives find this offensive?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I Teach

Last week I did some venting about my frustrations of teaching.  There was a particular student I was really struggling with.  I knew something wasn't right.  I could tell by the way he acted in my room.  I couldn't nail it, but I just had this gut feeling.  I sent him to visit with the counselor and I nailed it right on.  While he's not physically abused or neglected, he's emotionally neglected.  I'm not going to go into details, I will just say that he doesn't get the love I feel every child should.

Now, he's not the only child in my room this year, or any of the four years that I've taught in the past, that I've known is missing out on love.  I've always been at schools where the families are economically disadvantages.  While it's heartbreaking and emotionally draining, I have no doubt that's where God wants me right now.  I know that he puts each of the 18-22 kids in my class each year for a reason.  Every day when we have our moment in silence, I pray that He will help me to love these children the way they need to be loved.  That's usually all I can manage to get in...you try having a 60 second moment of silence with 20 six year olds.  Closing my eyes or bowing my head is out of the question!

Anyway, that being said, one particular thing this child doesn't get at home is hugs.  So, I have made it my point to make sure he gets those hugs.    Today when it was time for him to go home, he came up, gave me a hug around my neck and told me he loves me.  While he doesn't feel love at home, he feels it in my classroom.   And I am reminded what my purpose is.  God is good!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Dogs are Like Children

Sometimes I find myself wondering if having children would be easier than having the two dogs we have.   I've heard people say having a dog is great preparation for having kids.  So, I've been thinking about how dogs are like children.

-They have to go to the bathroom and they can't independently do that. 
-They need attention and love.
-You have to remember to feed them.
-You have to plan what you are doing around your dogs.  Sure, I can leave them home by themselves for a while during the day, but planning an overnight trip is hard.
-They make messes.  And don't clean them up.
-They get expensive.  Grooming, shots, food (80lb dogs eat a lot), toys, repairing holes in the carpet...
-Even when you get mad at them, they can give you a look and melt  your heart.
-They make the house feel not so lonely.
-No matter what, they will always love you.




Friday, October 8, 2010

It's a Love/Hate Kind of Thing

I love, love, love my job.  I love that I am responsible for teaching 20 amazing kiddos how to read.  I love that every day I am greated by 20 students that are happy to be at school and happy to see me.  I love that first graders are full of compliments.  I love that these students love to learn still.  I love that I get to make a difference in the lives of other.  I love that I get to share God's love with my children (no I can tell them, but I can show them).  I love being able to fill a child with confidence and make them feel like they can do anything.  I just love it. 

But, there's one thing I don't love.  One thing that can take an amazing day and turn it to a gloomy day for me.  One thing that just makes me cringe and even brings tears when the day is over and the kids are gone.  One thing that no matter what I do, I can't change.

Parents.  Not all parents, just a few parents.  Parents who don't love their children.  Parents that hurt their children.  I just don't get it.  I don't see how anyone could repeatidly hurt these kids.  I don't see how a parent could never hug her child.  It baffles me.  It shocks me.  And it breaks my heart. 

I have always found this as the hardest part of my job, but I also find it as a driving force for me to be a better teacher.  It drives me to show my kids God's love even when I'm unhappy with them or having a bad day.  It pushes me to push these students to be the best that they can be and to believe in themselves because I know that school may be the only place they will get that.  It makes me strive to make my classroom a positive and safe place, full of kindess and love from both me and the other students, so that these children have a safe place to be.  While I can't change home, I can change my classroom and myself. 

 

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Part

This weekend I posted about the adapting to having my husband home from the deployment.  But I failed to mention ALL the good of having him home.  Being that today marks one month that he has been home (and is also the day that the rest of his group is coming home), I thought I would share the many things I love about him beging home.

-It's so nice to come home after a long day at work and have someone waiting for me instead of just the dogs.
-I love seeing his face, his real face, not a video over the computer.
-We can talk on the phone, or in person, without a 5 second delay, or worse, a lost connection.
-Football season is WAY more fun when you get to watch games with someone.
-Movies are more fun when you have someone to watch them with.  Even if you don't get to pick the movie.
-Cooking for two is much more enjoyable than cooking for one.  It's a bummer when you cook something good and no one is there to taste it.
-There's someone else to take the dogs out.  And the trash out.
-I sleep so much better knowing that he is right beside me.
-I love his hugs.  The big hugs where he picks me up and pops my back. 
-I love that he would skip out on Sunday football and watch The Backup Plan with me.  He must really love me!

The list could go on and on.  He's home.  He's safe.  He's with me.  How could I not be happy about everything?

Friday, October 1, 2010

More Adapting

As I face new things as a military wife, I adapt.  I adapted to being hours away from family.  I adapted to this lifestyle.  Then I adapted to the deployment.  And just when I felt I had that all under control, it was time for Anthony to come home.  With him coming home, came more adapting. 

I really wasn't sure what to expect when he came home.  I had heard some people talk about it being hard to give over responsibilities or finances, but I wasn't really worried about this.  Since we started our marriage out apart while he was in basic, I have been responsible for the finances for our whole marriage.  I would be happy to let him take on other responsibilities around the house, especially the dogs.  So, I thought it would be a breeze.  While having home and having to adapt is a heck of alot better than him being gone, I still had to adapt and am still having to adapt.

Here's some adapting I've had to do:
-Cooking dinner for two on a regular basis.  Apparently he doesn't think cheese sticks and crackers are a reasonable dinner or 8:30 is a reasonable time for dinner.  He does help cook though!
-Sharing the remote.  When Anthony is home, I have to share the remote.  I watch most of my shows on DVR.  He doesn't really like Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy.  Thank goodness for the wonderful invention of DVR!
-Sleeping on my side of the bed.  I sure did like sleeping in the middle of the bed all spread out. 
-Laundry.  I can not longer go 10 days without doing laundry.  I rarely can make it a week without the hamper overflowing. 
-No more quiet time.  While Anthony was away, I learned to love the quiet.  At first, this was a hard thing for me to get used to.  After a while, I got to where I would come home from work and just sit for an hour or two without turning on the TV. 

Don't get me wrong, even though things have changed, I am LOVING having him home.  It's so great to have someone to talk with and eat with and just spend time with.  I like this adapting much better than the adapting I had to do when he left 4 months ago.

So, that leaves me wondering, what do you have to adapt to after a deployment?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Grade Fun

We are finally really into the swing of things in first grade and I'm loving it!  The kids have matured so much from last year which makes them even more lovable.  Honestly, there is not child that I do not love.  There's not even really one big problem child.  I can't pick a favorite.  It is great.  They are a great group of kids.  They've learned so much already and I love that feeling.  I love knowing that I've already taught them something.

That being said, I thought I'd share some of our funnies.

-One student tells me "He told me he was going to kill me."  So, I asked that student if he said that.  His response, "Yes, but I said I was sorry."  (I love how they think sorry should fix every problem.)
-We are standing outside for dismissal, it's 85 degrees outside, one student has on his heavy winter jacket, complete with fur lined hood.  It took 5 minutes to convince him to take it off so he didn't have a heat stroke.
-Yesterday I wore a short beaded necklace.  One little boy raised his hand and said, "Mrs. J, can you take that necklace off?  It is going to choke you."
-During lunch, one of the students gets in trouble for running.  Then another student tattles that the student in trouble is saying bad words.  Well, if you get in trouble at lunch, you sit out at recess for 10 minutes.  He did his time for running and we were visiting.  I was just going to leave the bad word offense out of it, as I've learned bad words to a first grader are not always really bad words.  But, he told on him self.  What was he saying?  "Penis."
-The students are sitting at their desks doing an assignment.  One of them raises his hand so I go to see what he wants.  He says, "Well....can I sing."  (So totally random)

Oh, how I love what I do.  I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks two years of marriage for Anthony and me.  They have been two amazing years.  They have been filled with many ups and many downs, but no matter what, we've faced them all together.  Through everything, we have continued to grow closer and our relationship has grown stronger.

Since the week is so crazy, we celebrated yesterday.  We started the day out with watching the Cowboys beat the Texans.  Next we did a little shopping.  We concluded with dinner at this wonderful local steakhouse that we both love and rarely get to visit.  It was a wonderful day.  I am so happy he was home and we were able to celebrate together.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall!

I am very excited that it is officially fall.  Although, I would be even more excited if it wasn't 85-90 degrees every day, but atleast it's not 100 like 2 weeks ago!  Here are some things I'm looking forward to now that fall is here:

Fall Scents


I love scents that have anything cinnamon.  One that I found that I loved last year is Leaves from Bath and Body Works.  Tonight, the house smells of Autumn Sunset from Scentsy.

Scarves


 
What's not to love about a great scarf?  I love the little extra color a scarf can give to an outfit.  This particular scarf is from Old Navy. 

Boots

While I love wearing sandals and flip flops, I like to put on a good pair of boots.  These are some Gianni Bini's I've fallen in love with this year.  I think they'd be really cute over a pair of jeans with a sweater.

Our Anniversary


And best of all, on Monday, we will be celebrating 2 years as husband and wife!  I'm so happy to have him home on our anniversary.

So, I want to know, what are you looking forward to this fall?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amazing Friends

This post is about two months late, but life has been a bit crazy.   

While Anthony was deployed, God showed me just how blessed with amazing friends I am.  Just before Anthony's birthday, I sent out his address to a few friends of ours, asking them to send Anthony a birthday card.  Since he'd be spending his birthday away from family, I wanted to make it as special as possible from afar. 

I never expected for so much love from Kimmie and her family (although I really should have, they are very amazing women).  They sent ALL of this!
 

And Kimmie's mom even had friends from work send birthday cards too. 

So, to Kimmie and your family, "THANK YOU!"  This was such a loving and generous guesture.  It seriously brought tears to my eyes knowing you all are so kind.  I love you all and am so blessed to have you all in my life!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Homecoming

As I posted earlier this week, Anthony came home on Saturday, almost a week early.  Mom and Dad came out Friday night and stayed long enough for him to land and to take us to lunch, then headed home.  I was happy to have Mom around to help keep me calm.  I was so excited.  He flew in to the local airport and he was the only military member on the flight.  The fire station chief, his supervisor and a coworker and his wife came to the airport.  I can not explain the feeling I felt waiting for him to get off the plane.  It was like waiting to walk down the isle on our wedding day.  I was anxious, nervous, relieved, and excited. 
Waiting anxiously


He's finally here!!!

When I finally got to see him I just burst out in tears.  I kept my emotions in during most of the deployment in attempt to stay strong.  Finally having him home and in my arms was a huge relief and a weight off my shoulders.  I think the crying freaked him out, he kept asking over and over again if I was okay.


I was really glad to see several of the guys from the station come out for his homecoming.  Kelly and Jon, the couple on the left, were a great help while Anthony was gone.  They watched the house while I was gone, changed out batteries in the smoke detector and many other random things.  His supervisor was a great help when I found out about losing our niece.  He took no time getting started and finding out what needed to be done.


These two guys weren't real sure what to thing about Anthony being home.  I don't think they remembered him.  They've finally warmed up to him though. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Nice Surprise

    All of my readers who are military wives know that the military is full of surprises.  Unfortunately, most of the surprises are not so wonderful.  We usually spend important dates like birthdays and anniversaries alone and we spend holidays away from our biological family.  In the short (almost) 2 years as an Air Force wife, I've learned to hope for the best but to always excpect the worst.  We've been granted leave for an anniversary trip and two days before it has been taken away.  We've made plans to spend Christmas with family only to find out that the extra day off is no longer going to happen.
    So, when our niece unexplectantly passed away, I wasn't the least bit surprised that Anthony wasn't going to make it home.  I was, however, surprised when 2 days later the commander did PT with my husband's squadron and told Anthony he would get him home in the next two weeks.  For the reasons stated above, I didn't count on it.  I had gotten excited and then let down too many times.   Even when he told me he had a specific date, I still would not let myself get excited.  I started cleaning house and getting things taken care of, but I wasn't giddy like I'd expected.  I was beginning to think something was wrong with me, but then I figured out, it was my way of protecting myself.  Thursday, when I heard he was no longer in Iraq, it finally became real and "official."  Friday when he was in the United States, I finally became excited.  He was really coming home (almost a month early).  And, on Saturday, the military provided.  My husband came home!!!
     Thank you Air Force for bring Anthony home early and for showing that you really do care.  Now, I actually get to spend our two year anniversary with my husband home (although he will be working all day). 

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Made It!

     You always hear that when your husband is deployed EVERYTHING that can go wrong will.  I made through months 1 and 2 and almost through month 3 with only two issues.  My whole family had a stomach bug the days before and day of my colonoscopy, including me and the compressor in his car locked up (covered under warranty).  This was a breeze I thought.  I only had a month and a half to go.  That's when our sweet niece passed away and we were bummed to learn he couldn't come home and it was the first week back and work for me.  It was rough and very sad time, but I got through it.  School started and then I got great news, Anthony would be home in a week (more on that later).
    That's when it all began.  That's when the deployment elves I've heard about decided my deployement had been way too easy.  Remember Sunday, I wrote about Sam dragging through a grassy area beside a gas station (trying to block out all the germs).  That was the first "attack" by those elves.  Well, the Friday before that, my left eye had started burning.  I didn't think much of it until Saturday when I couldn't stand to have my contact in.  It was still burning on Monday, so I made an appointment for Tuesday.  Come to find out, I have an ulcer on my cornea.  Who knows how I got it.  I have to use drops for a week and no contacts.  Blah!  Then on Wednesday, Sam really wanted to go play with the neighbor's small dog.  In my attempt to stop him, my hand was drug across a tree trunk resulting in an ugly cut and ugly scratches.  Then on Thursday, Frankie decided to get my lunchbox off the table and have his own lunch.  What did he eat?  A little Mexican chicken casserole, a whole granola bar with almonds and chocolate and some fudge covered oreo halves.  Four to be exact.
    Today is Friday though.  I had a great day at work.  Frankie is doing fine.  And Anthony is in the country!  Deployment elves, you can't get me down!!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Being Grateful

A couple weeks ago at church the sermon was about being grateful.  At the time, despite what life had thrown my way, I was grateful for a lot and was in very positive spirits.  On days like today, I am reminded of that sermon.  And I am struggling to be grateful, even though I have SO much to be grateful.  I know it is Satan trying to do his "work" in my life. 

My dog has been acting crazy.  I've came to the conclusion he would much rather live with his grandma so he is acting out.  Then I have the injuries he caused Sunday.  I have an ulcer on my eye.  I can't wear contacts for a week and I look 12 when I wear glasses.  Today, the above mentioned dog decided to drag me around a tree.  Thankfully this time I was not on the ground, but my hand did get nice and scratched up from the tree bark.  I feel like I'm going 90 to nothing trying to get things done around here.  All of that built up and I had a good cry and may have yelled at the dog. 

But later, I realized I was definately overreacting.  God has provided me with SO much and I need to focus on those positives, not the negatives.  I am blessed to have a big dog who will protect me.  I have a wonderful job and I love 1st grade.  While my days have been long, they are a lot easier than they would have been if I was teaching kindergarten.  (thank you Lord for that blessing!).  And, while I am still having to wear my glasses, my husband will come home (earlier than planned)!  God is good!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Letters

No real post, just a few things I'd like to say...

Dear next door neighbors,
It is very rude to move from 10pm until well past midnight.  It is especially rude when she share a wall with a neighbor to be moving at midnight and to be slamming doors.  I have to teach 20 six year olds.  I need my rest.  And by the way, why are you already moving.  You just moved in this summer.

Dear eye ulcer,
I do not have time for you.  I do not have time to put eye drops in my eye every 2 hours and make 3 trips to the doctor.  I am way too busy the 2nd week of school.  And I hate wearing glasses.  Especially when my husband is coming home and I haven't seen him in over 100 days. 

Dear AF,
Please do not let me down.  Please.

Dear parents,
Please put your kids to bed early enough that they can get PLENTY of rest before coming to school.  I am running out of patience for grumpy tired children.  I am grumpy and tired too!

Dear Texas weather,
I really liked the cold front you provided us with last weekend.  I would greatly appreciate more cooler weather.  I am tired of sweating while dismissing my students. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Letter From Sam

Before you begin to read this, yes, we are that couple that when talking to our dogs refer to ourselves as Mommy and Daddy.  Anyway, here was an email Anthony recieved after my drive from my parents house.   

Dear Daddy,
Please get home soon. Mommy is threatening to get rid of me. It all started because my gran gave me foods Mommy doesn't let me eat. Well, those foods gave me awful gas. So, on the ride home I was tooting. A lot. Mommy stopped to see if I needed to go to the bathroom since I kept tooting. We were standing in the grass and I was checking things out when I spotted a door. I thought there was something exciting behind that door and took off. I was so excited that I didn't listen when mom said no and stop. I also did not notice that she had fallen to the ground and I pulled her about 10 feet. She is very mad at me. She has a scraped arm and foot and keeps complaining that her arm, side, leg and foot hurt. Please hurry home and save me.
Love,
Sam

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Grade Fun-Days 1 & 2

My brain is too tired to put together a cohesive post, but I wanted to post about my first two days of school, so bullet points it is.

*I have 20 kids.  Eleven are students  from last year.  They are a very chatty bunch, but I'm so happy to spend another year with them.
*Since I was a kindergarten teacher last year and a first grade teacher this year, one student asked if I'm going to 2nd grade next year.
*I don't think I'm going to have one student that I am able to write lots about like last year.  There's really not any real behavior problems.  Thank goodness!
*Today I went to sit down in my chair at the front of the class and I totally missed the chair.  I'm really not sure what happened.  It was funny and a great chance to explain how to be a good friend when someone gets hurt.  But, did it really have to be on the day I was wearing a dress?  I never wear dresses to work. 
*I may have walked out of the bathroom today with the back of my dress all tucked up.  Perhaps I should not wear a dress to work again.
*I forgot that one thing I don't like about the first weeks of school is that I have to be really strict to set my expectations for the year.
*I am thrilled to be teaching first grade and not kindergarten.  There haven't been any screaming or fit throwing kids during the first week of school!

It is now time for bed.  I am exhausted, both physically and mentally. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TaDa!

Tonight was Meet the Teacher.  It was so funny watching the kids' reactions as they realized that I was their teacher again.  I'm not sure if they were more confused about being in my class again or the fact that I was in another room.  I hope they don't expect to see me again next year in 2nd grade.  I am done moving!

I am very pleased with how my room turned out and finally have pictures to share.  I had intented to take pictures as I progressed, but I forget things. 


View from the door.


View from our bathroom/sink area.


My work area/meeting area.  I love the pollka dots on the black shelves!

Another one of my polka dotted shelves


Our class meeting area and promethean board.


Library nook

I absolutely love it.  I switched from desks to the hexagon tables and it really opened up the room.  I like the colors and the lack of clutter.  Once school gets started I will fill the two bulletin boards with our "Class Promise" and pictures of the kids.  I am looking forward to a great school year!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blessed

I think it's funny, and a bit sad, that it takes a big tragedy in your life to make you realize how blessed you really are.  The sadness that filled my life on Monday, made me realize that I am blessed with so many friends who love me and care about me.  And not just friends that I've known for many years (though they were wonderful too).   These were freinds that I met here after moving.  These are other military wives and other teachers.  And even you guys.

I had so many people telling me that were praying for us.  I had so many people checking in on me.  And I had so many people share hugs and encouraging words.  Even though my biological  family was hours away, I was surround by my family in Christ.  God has truely blessed me with some amazing people.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Just Not Fair

I know that life's not fair, nor will it ever be.  I get that.  But there are some unfairnesses that really bother me.

Today, my sweet 5 month old niece passed away.  It's just not fair for a life to be so short and a mother to have to bury her baby.

It's not fair that the Red Cross only services immediate family members.  It's not fair that Anthony has to deal with the death of his niece from so far away and miss the service.  It's not fair that he's in even more danger because he can't concentrate on what he's doing because his heart and mind are somewhere else.

It's just not fair!  I want nothing more right now than to crawl into the arms of my husband, but instead, I sit on my couch alone.  I know that I'm supposed to be a strong military wife, and I have been.  I've dealt with all the things this deployment has thrown my way.  But I'm tired of being strong.  I'm human. 

Please keep Anthony and his famiily in your prayers. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sam and the Sprinkler

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about how my grandmother let Sam play in the sprinkler and how much he loved it.  Well, we're back home and I don't have a back yard or a water hose.  But, I do have a large area behind our apartment.  So, we went outside to play since he had been stuck in his crate a while today.  I let him off his leesh.  I threw the balll.  He chased the ball and ran back to me.  I then went after the ball (he's not real good at fetch) and threw it again.  We repeated this cycle several times and then he took off towards the apartment.  I was afraid he had spotted some poor, innocent person to lick to death.  But then he stopped. 

He spotted a sprinkler.  He was so excited.  He began trying to catch the water.  By the time I could get to him and get him away he was soaked. 

Anyway, I got him all dried off and came inside to call my grandmother.  I expected her to laugh.  Oh no, she was so excited that he was able to play in the sprinkler.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to Reality

It's back to reality now.  No more lazy days.  No more sitting in my pajamas until 2 every day.  No more weekly shopping trips with mom.  No more vacation to see Kimmie.  It's time to get back to work.  I have very mixed feelings about this.

On the plus side, I am one step closer to Anthony being done with this deployment.  I will have a routine to keep me busy.  I will be surrounded by 20 kids who love me unconditionally.  I will be doing something I love.

I started back unofficially today.  I helped with registration and started working in my room.  Moving grades means moving rooms.  Moving rooms means a gaint mess!  And I hate messes!  I'll be back up there tomorrow to paint some book shelves, place furniture where I want it and start getting settled.  As much as this part of teaching stresses me out, I love it. 

Look for some progress pictures of the room and some first grade fun stories coming soon!  Until then, I'll leave you with one more pictures from my trip.

Us sailing...in case the flying hair didn't give it away.

And by the way, head over to Cupcakes Take the Cake and check out Kimmie's guest post and leave some love.