Monday, September 29, 2008

Garrett and A.R.

Every week children who meet their A.R. goal get to do something special at school on Friday.

These pictures are from the last two weeks. Garrett got to wear a cap on one Friday and blue jeans shorts on another.

****A.R. stands for Accelerated Reader, a program in which students read books (at their independent reading level) and then take a test on the book on the computer. The student earns points based on his or her grade. Lots of educators do not like A.R. for various reasons. I happen to really like A.R. and feel that my school does a great job at using A.R. as a motivational tool to get children to read. Children who do not read independently yet are read to.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Soccer Season

As you can tell from the title of this post, soccer has begun. What a difference a year makes! Garrett is much more willing to play and seems to really enjoy practice this year. He understands more about how the game of soccer works and his skills have improved lots over last year. We have a new coach this year who is doing a great job - Thanks Coach H! Jimmy is helping at the games and at some practices. I will start helping at practices soon because Jimmy is starting winter kickball with Meagan this week.

This is a picture of Garrett throwing the ball in after it was kicked out of bounds. Garrett is on the far right of this picture. He just kicked the ball.
Here is Garrett (in the middle) with two of his teammates.
There are four boys and two girls on the team. Three kids are on the field at one time. It is hilarious watching six kids all trying to kick the ball at the same time! One of the players on the green team kept flopping down on the field and just staying there. His coach had to go out on the field at one point and pick him up. I think we had a few moments like that last year! Like I said, what a difference a year makes.

Garrett almost scored a goal. I think he'll do it next week. We play soccer until the end of November so I can't wait to see how good he will be then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Loss of Control

I hate that my child is no longer at my school. (By my school I mean the school that I teach at.)

I am so used to knowing everything that happens, everything that goes on, exactly how we do things, etc., etc., etc.

It is frustrating to not know exactly how a teacher wants something done. I don't want to tell my daughter to do things my way because what if, according to the new teacher, it isn't right??

I miss the days of popping my head into her classroom after school to make sure everything is going okay. I miss knowing exactly how each and every part of her day is going to go.

The reason I knew all of this stuff over the last several years is that I have been at my school for ten years. I know how things are done. I have worked with all of her previous teachers for at least a year or two before she was in their class. We have a fairly small campus and we are, for the most part, a close knit group.

Don't get me wrong; I am a respectful parent. I make sure that my child does things the way her teacher wants her to because I know that I want things done my way. (I usually have a good reason to want something a certain way and I know her teachers do too.)

Tonight I sent two e-mails to different teachers asking for clarification. One to her reading teacher about a question I had about a TAKS style reading passage and one to her social studies teacher about a project that Meagan says is due Friday. I hope that these teachers do not see me as a "helicopter parent" now.

I am just mourning the loss of my little girl. She is on her way to becoming a grown up and moving on to middle school is making this fact more evident each and every day.

Someone tell me that this is normal and that, given enough time, I'll get used to it.

I have learned a very valuable lesson from this though. It has made me have so much more sympathy for the parent who sends me a note or comes to my door or who calls me on the phone and wants to talk about their child!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back to School Busy-ness sets in

First of all, I know I totally made up busy-ness. I was going to spell it with an i (business) but that's a totally different word.

Anyway, soccer practice started this week. Jimmy said it went really well. Jimmy is helping one of the other dads coach. He said the kids had a lot of fun and really worked hard. There are a total of six kids on the team. Three play on the field at one time. A little girl from Garrett's kinder class is on the team. We have practice twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and our first game is on Saturday, Sept. 27th. I'll post pictures!

I did not get to attend practice because I was at a technology training. A few years ago our district added an elementary technology person to our school district. She is a former teacher who is awesome! She figures out how to work all of the programs we have and then she meets with us once a six weeks or so to share information about how we can use technology in our classrooms. She also holds workshops after school and in the summer to teach us how to use these different programs in our classrooms. And the cool thing about these workshops? We actually get paid to attend them! She looks for websites/activities that we ask her too, etc. We have to turn in one technology project per six weeks and she has made this task SO much easier to complete! Thanks A - You rock!

Jimmy and I are still getting used to be the parents of a middle school child. At elementary school she had a responsibility folder. She wrote in it each day and her teacher initialed it. We signed it each night. Well now, she throws everything in a zippered binder and I have to dig through it and see what her homework it. This week I fell down on my job and this is why she came to me at 8:45 to show me her science study guide - FOR THE TEST THAT WAS THE NEXT DAY! Sigh. The bad thing . . . I think that this is only the beginning.

The good thing is that our district has a program where I can check all of her grades on line any time that I want to. I can see each assignment that has been counted for a grade and what grade she received.

Winter kickball will be starting soon for us so that is going to add two more nights of practice for us to attend. Jimmy and I both have to attend since he is the coach and I am the ball girl, I mean assistant coach. (I need to learn how to do that neat strike through thing.)

I need to pick my DI team and get started with meeting with them one day a week (after school). I know that tutoring will be starting soon.

Uggh . . . I don't like to have nothing to do, but it seems like my calendar is starting to fill up really fast!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An old favorite

Recently I pulled Meagan's lite bright down from the top of her closet. (I stuck it up there a while back when I was tired of stepping on all of the little pieces every time I walked into her room!) She also has a travel lite bright. (You know a mom didn't invent that toy. No mom in her right mind would invent a travel toy that needs bunches of little plastic pieces that have to be loose in order to work correctly!)

Anyway, the kids must have had a good time with the lite brights because they were quiet for the whole afternoon. Let's think about this, a toy that keeps BOTH of my kids fairly quiet and happy? Now that is a winning toy in my book.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mr. Serious

Anyone who has met Garrett knows he isn't crazy about sitting still. He is all boy, always on the go, wanting to see things and touch things, and figure out how things work. He loves to play outside and get dirty.

However, in preschool he was very well behaved and the teachers had only good things to say about him. His only downfall is that he is very shy about speaking to grownups.

He has suddenly become interested in working on writing his letters. Nana bought him a Spiderman workbook on their last trip to the dollar store and he has enjoyed practicing with it. He gets frustrated easily however because he wants all of his letters to be perfect. When that happens I encourage him to go find something else to do. We then work a little more on letters later.

Even though he grumbles some mornings I know he really does like going to school. I hope that this continues (the enjoying, not the grumbling!) and he does well in school.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike Update

Updated: I just got a text from my friend Elaine. She made it through Ike OK. She is very tired and has no electricity but she's OK. Thank God!

We still have sunny skies here but we are expecting rain tomorrow.

Ike is predicted to take a northernly turn and hit the Houston/Galveston area. Please pray for all those that will be affected by Ike.

Jimmy's sister lives on the outside of Houston and has prepared to weather the storm so to speak. I also have two good friends who live in Houston, Crystal and Elaine, both who I have mentioned before on this site.

Be safe everyone!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

Check out this site for a chance to help raise money to build a memorial for the members of Flight 93.

The author is donating all of the revenue the ads on her site make during the month of September to a memorial fund. So, click around her site and help raise some funds!

The pictures on this site are beautiful and brought me to tears.

(I found the site through Milk Breath and Margaritas which is really fun to read too!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Ike

The superintendent cancelled school for Thursday and Friday due to Ike. As of last night, Corpus Christi was slated for a direct hit. Tonight the path of Ike has shifted to the north which makes things better for us.

We are prepared. (Well as prepared as you can be in a situation like this.) We have food, batteries, flash lights, water, etc.

I've done most of the laundry and all of the dishes.

Jimmy cleaned up the yard today and we have plans to anchor the trampoline tomorrow.

We have plywood ready to put up, depending on tomorrow's forecast.

Ike is on track to land late Friday night into Saturday morning.

Please pray for anyone whoever will ultimately be in Ike's path.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hanging Out with Nana Mary

My kids are very lucky to have two complete sets of grandparents as well as a great grandma.

They also have a Nana. Nana Mary is the mom of my middle school/junior high/high school best friend Crystal.

Crystal and I don't get to see each other much due to geography and usually don't write or call but when we do get to see each other it is like we were never apart. We have the ability to pick up right where we left off. We are both moms now and I am a teacher and she works in an office but somehow we are still the same two girls who loved to bowl and talk on the phone for hours and hours and gossip about crushes. Every girl should have a friend like Crystal. We were opposites in so many ways, but so much alike in others. We complimented each other in the best of ways. This isn't to say that we never argued though. As Nana Mary can attest to, there were some big fights over the years but I always knew that when it mattered, when it was really important, she would be there for me. She was there during some rocky times in high school, she was there when I got married, she was there when my grandfather died . . . I could go on and on and on.

Anyway, back to the point. (I'm like this when I talk to someone in person too. I start off talking about one topic and wind up on a totally different topic. It's quite exciting to talk to me actually!)

Nana has been involved in my kids' lives since they were born. She used to babysit Meagan when Jimmy and I would go bowl. Once we quit bowling regularly she kept up with visits and hanging out with us occasionally.

She is teaching Meagan to bake and to sew and do all of those other things that moms are too busy and rushed to do with their own kids. Meagan loves her and I do too.

Now that Garrett is older he is getting to spend time with Nana too. Just recently he went and played with Mady, Crystal's daughter. They had a blast together and I wish I had taken some pictures! (It was during the week I went back to work so I was dead tired trying to get back into the swing of getting up at 5:30. Yes, 5:30 AM!)

In case you haven't figured it out, it is Garrett in the Hulk costume in the above pictures. Nana took Garrett to the dollar store (Nana's favorite!) and he talked her into the costume.

Nana, we just want to say thank you for all that you do and we love you!

Did you know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month?

Spuddy Buddy lost a childhood friend to this cancer so she is hosting a contest in order spread awareness about it. Check out this important information and sign up for her prize here.

You can also find some great information at the Ovarian Cancer Awareness website.

I found Spuddy Buddy through Swistle who is a stay at home mom of five. Her blog is really funny and I find myself nodding my head at 99% of her posts because I feel exactly the way she does. Swistle is who started the Pay It Forward contests this summer to liven things up. Yah for Swistle!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Random Thoughts

I always forget how tiring the first few weeks of school are until your body gets used to getting up early and then doing something other than laying around reading and watching T.V.!

I don't even want to think about how it will be once Meagan starts playing kickball and Garrett starts with soccer, and we start tutoring after school and I start coaching DI. My head hurts just thinking about it. If if would only cool off a little, life would be so much easier. It was over 100 degrees here the last two or three days!

We finally got a new kinder teacher so Garrett is now in a class with only 21 other kids. He told me today that this (holding up his hand in the stop sign) was a period. I asked him when you use a period and he said during Writer's Workshop. Not bad for the second week of kinder I say!

A funny while I'm thinking/writing about Garrett. After the first day of school Jimmy asked him how it went and if he learned anything. His response was Yep, I learned I still can't read. (said in an Eyore voice) I about died laughing when Jimmy told me that!

I am working on a few new posts. One is about testing and another is on some new reading lessons that I am using this year. Be on the lookout for them!

Just for fun I thought I would post some older pictures.

This is the picture of a mural that my friend Elaine painted for me. The parents and kids LOVED it. (The wall is now painted a deep blue color.)

Santa always visits our school on the last day before winter break. All of the kids go up on stage and get a candy cane from him. We have a sing-along in the cafeteria either before or after Santa visits.

This is Garrett. This picture was taken at Jimmy's surprise 30th birthday party. Garrett is a little over 2. He thinks he is so cool talking into, my niece's phone and wearing her sunglasses!