Saturday, October 30, 2010


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


...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


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  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). 


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 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?