Sunday, December 30, 2012

Action Packed Holidays - Or Where Have I Been for the Last Month!

Oh blogging and blogging friends - I have missed you. I have missed the purposeful thinking that blogging creates when I post. I have missed reading your blogs and seeing what's cooking in your lives and at your casas.

So, what the heck happened?!?!?
How did I lose the whole month of December?


Need I say more?!?!
 I couldn't believe it. It was another murder trial. I must look like a juror to some. It's as regular as clockwork at this house. Every 18 months and I get called again. 



My computer bit the dust and was out of commission....argh! Boy, did that put a hitch in my get-a-long. Thank you, Mr. Insideabook for bringing "Dell"a the Desktop back to life. I really missed this ol' girl.



A HUGE observation for work hit at the beginning of December and every minute of my life went into that!! It really cramped my bloggin mojo but it was for a good cause....my job! I did just what I was supposed to do and just kept teaching. Yep, the stars all aligned in heaven and it went fantastically. Whew....
Add Testing + Grades + Holidays and more == December; a wild month for all of us!

I played nurse for mom again after knee replacement. Just a few days off work but serving her feels like such a blessing. And, the patient is doing so well, thank you. She's amazing.



Recitals, Parties, Traditions, Shopping, Christmas

Ahhh....now all is well, computer fixed, School is a memory for another week (I am loving the sleeping in and reading part!) Christmas was a family-filled success and we are still counting our blessings.

PLUS...look what Santa and my family brought me....


Yep...A Team of Rivals even arrived twice. Lucky me, I took one copy back to my favorite book store and promptly got store credit. Any recommends on what I should buy with my credit?!?!? 
I am searching for recommends! What's your 'must read' of this year that I might have missed?

I got to babysit little Tinsley this week. She heartily approved of me reading to her so I finally finished Mr. Churchill's Secretary. She and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. Little Tinsley just didn't see some of the twists coming. Can't you tell?!?


 This little bug is growing so fast... Only 10# still and she really can't sit up yet but I was dying to put her in my great grandma's rocking chair. 5 Generations of readers have listened to stories in this chair!!

I intend to try to catch up with life and enjoy every remaining minute of 2012 and the New Year, 2013. I can't let memories slip through my fingers like they almost did...I'm grateful for a place to record and share via this blog...I'm grateful for good friends, good books, good food, good fun, a good job and great blessings. 

Off to read and catch up with everyone now. 
Yep, all is almost right with the world....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blogging Buddy


From blogging to lesson planning to emailing....he's my buddy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Summer is FINALLY over & Sunday Salon

Yep, Perfect!

Come visit...Summer is FINALLY over!
It was actually cold yesterday - the high was 61 degrees and it was cloudy, rainy and breezy.
We loved it.
Last night it got down to the 30's in some areas.
We actually are thinking about getting out the hot chocolate.


Catching up with my week.....



Best memories of the week - Spending the day baking for a family gathering with my daughter in law, attending the musical Annie with two of our sweet grand-kiddos - our little friend Haley Reed was the star and she was incredible!! (If you live nearby don't miss her...she's a star!!) We were so grateful to be a part of blessing sweet baby Tinsley and having 60+ special people support her, brunching and lunching with friends and family! We packed the house. It was fantastic. Finally, seeing that sweet baby Tinsley wearing the same dress that my mom and I wore when we were christened and wearing the same ring my grandma wore, my mom wore, that I wore and that my daughter wore - 5 generations of only or oldest women!! Such heritage. Her daddy cradled her in his arms and my eyes filled with tears. It was a great day.

On the Book front - School continues to occupy even my off-contract hours and my reading suffers. I did finish our Book Group book for review this week. (Of course, 84 Charing Cross Road is about 2 minutes long so it wasn't too much of a challenge, but I'm happy to have one book under my belt!!)I am reading Midnight at Austenland by Shannon Hale in hardcover and Desert Wives by Betty Webb on my iPad. I heard both authors speak within the last few months so reading each one is like having an extended conversation with the authors. 

Perplexers - Technology continues to both amaze me and frustrate me. MY computer gave up the ghost yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed that resurrection is possible with circuits and power supplies. 

Grateful for - I am so glad that we live in a country where we can vote for our leaders. 
That said, I am SOOOOO glad the election is over!!!!
I never knew how many 'friends' I had. 
They telephoned me daily and asked me to vote for them. 
I am so glad that they have stopped calling. 
Funny, no one has called to say 'thank you!'

Loving - Are you loving November?!?! It is my favorite month of the whole year. I love the attitude of gratitude, Veterans Day AND my very favorite holiday - THANKSGIVING!

Thank you -  So proud of my Airman 1st Class on this Veterans Day(and everyday.)
 He's a man of integrity and honor. 
I feel safer knowing he's patrolling our skies for the Air Force. 
Thank you, Drewboy!
Love ya, sweetheart.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Loving Fall!

Our Little Miss Tinsley just looks good enough to eat! I knew I loved pumpkin before but now I REALLY do!


I just LOVE fall...
the smells, the activities, the food, the fun.
Enjoy your day...
Happy November! 
 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's 10:00pm, Do you know where your children are??













   
Listening.... to clicks, snores, purrs, and quiet. All the sounds of the night.

Loving.... the cool of the mornings around here. I do believe that fall has arrived. I know that some of my friends have had snow, but here we call it wonderful!! We are able to dine outside, enjoy evening walks again and actually wear a light sweater in the morning. Love it! I actually wore tights to church just for fun. Others crave wearing sandals all year and I crave wearing 'fall' clothes.

Thinking....Why am I up this late????
 
Wanting....an organized classroom and files for Christmas. I have put my request in to my husband. I do not want much...just his time to help me feel like I am in control! He has the 'organized' brain. I am the 'creative genius'! JK... But I would love his help to getting control of this problem. Any one else want to 'give' me their time and talent???

Needing....answers to some heartfelt prayers and pleas

Reading.... Unwind by Neal Shusterman and The Receptionist by Janet Groth


Favorite Things....cuddling sweet baby Tinsley, Bagel Nosh blueberry bagels, Grimaldi's pizza, date nights, football, Pinterest, folded laundry, aspen leaves, Sugar-free Werther candies and sleeping with the fan on. Mmmmm.

This Week....Book Group, Acuity testing, Halloween parade, Trick or treat! Dinner with family and a baby blessing for sweet baby Tinsley. I will be baking up a storm to help out. Also I get to take two of my favorite little bugs to see "Annie" for a special date! 
 
Why am I still awake?!?! This teacher needs more time for her beauty rest. Oh, I know....planning, grading and a tiny bit of Mr. Neal Shusterman are keeping this teacher from getting her beauty sleep!



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mini Reviews - Gone Girl and Wonder

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

I think I need a shower ...
 to get away from the two very sick people that twist and weave the story in the book titled,
Gone Girl.
And twist they did.  
(As a matter of fact, I had to keep looking at the photo of the author to make sure she wasn't some wacko-type. Nope, she looks quite normal. Maybe that scares me more!)

This story felt ripped right out of the headlines of today's papers -- but this was one of those stories that sound too unreal to be true - yet probably is....

On their 5th anniversary wife, Amy, goes missing and now husband, Nick, is the prime suspect. (This could be AnyTown, USA.)
 When Amy's diary appears, chock full of a clues pointing to problems in the marriage, Nick's future looks even grimmer. (Sound familiar?)
This was not a mystery but a psychological "thriller" and it just didn't "thrill" me.
Truly, by the end I was just pretty much bored with both the main characters and I just didn't really understand or care about their personal motivations.

But that's just me - I know there are plenty of bloggers who raved over this one. 
(I guess I'm often in the minority.) 

I will admit that I have thought a lot about this book, and maybe that's what the author wants anyway....to have me thinking about things long after I've turned the page. I just wish I felt I was somehow a better person after I'd finished the book.
Nope.
Instead, I need a shower.



Wonder
by R.J. Palacio

Loved it!

I spend my time in school.
With 30+ kids. 
Every day. 
12 hours a day.
I know kids.
I live kids.
This author is spot on as she writes about kids.

Auggie is born with such severe deformities of the face that his life has been a series of operations and homeschooling for most of his elementary school years. Now, ready to start 5th grade, Auggie is heading off to school for the first time. But will he be accepted in the world of school? It's a place where all children make fun of 'different.'

I've had this student. The student with a 'wonky' eye, a face deformed, a smart wit hiding behind a mixed up 'front.' Although Auggie is physically lacking, many kids are lacking in other areas and this becomes their story as well.   

The author paced this so well. Each chapter narrated by a different character in Auggie's life. I felt pulled in quickly and cared about the character and his incredible family.
They were truly loving and caring. (I wanted to be adopted.)
Seriously, it was so cool to read about a family that was NOT dysfunctional. (I was in finishing up parent-teacher conferences though too so it was great to hear and read about a family that loved each other!)

I loved the chapter headings, the 'precepts' that the English teacher reads and espouses. I loved the growth, the messages and the characters. This book made me want to share it; to read it again.

One of my favorite passages was this:
"my head swirls on this , but then softer thoughts soothe, like a flatted third on a major chord. no, no, it's not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn't. it takes care of its most fragile creatures in ways we can't see. like with parents who adore you blindly. and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds."

Now I'm going to Unwind by Neil Shusterman. I was sucked in on page one!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scenes from a Week



Oh my, the scenes from the week are fun to look back on!
There are no photos of Parent - Teacher conferences, of baby Tinsley spitting up ALL over me, or of the computer chair where I spent more hours than I should have today. 
Too bad. 
They would be a good look at my reality.

Currently...

What was I thinking...Kicking the scale in the bathroom is no way to act!! Seriously though, I hit it while carrying laundry and split my toenail. Ouch! Pick up your feet, my dear. Oh well, now I needed a "medicinal" pedicure to fix my owie! It's a tough life. (PS. My toes look great and my broken baby toe is healing!)

Favorite website...TeachersPayTeachers! Wow, so many creative teachers that put me to shame. (But it sure is addicting.)

Favorite product...Sugarfree Werthers candies. Yum.

I want to Remember that...Someone is ALWAYS watching (and listening!) Several experiences this week reminded me of that.

Library Log...We went down to Tucson to the Friends of the Library sale. I got two HUGE boxes of kids books for $3 EACH! 65 paperbacks and over 30 hardcovers. (That's a little over $.06 apiece!!) Of course Rich and I had to add our own choices as well. We had a blast and came home with a full trunk.

I Love this Quote... 
"Never try to lick someone when they're angry!"  
Hero Joy, age 4 

(Out of the mouths of babes...wouldn't she do well with an advice column??? Love that little grandbug!)

Best Memories of the week...
  • We went to my in-laws for dinner only to find out that they forgot we were coming!! We laughed and turned it into a dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and had a great time! 
  • I loved picking up my little Jase after school. He was SO proud to have gotten 2 "0's" -- two Outstandings in a row! He came running to me almost bursting with excitement and pride. I wonder if my students need some more of that?!?!

My Weekly Checklist looks like this...
  • Plan for school.
  • Book Group - read faster!
  • Get-my-crafty-on and make headbands for baby Tinsley.
  • Patch and paint.Vacuum.Scrub. 
  • Grade papers.
  • Find time to read!! (seriously!)
  • Make hotel reservations for Thanksgiving. (It's right around the corner, I swear!)Don't go so fast, fall. You are my FAVORITE! 

What I know...Pumpkin bagels are delish. Date nights are still fun. My cat snores. My husband snores. I wonder if I snore. I hope not.        


Sunday, October 14, 2012

One dark Sunday night...

I am so behind in blogging! I haven't sat down at the computer all week. But I have....

  1. Prettied up the library!! I found the perfect relaxing giclee print, hung curtains and spruced things up some more.
  2. Shopped at Ikea.
  3. Gotten a haircut and color - thank the heavens!
  4. Read a smidge.
  5. Finished all of my report cards.
  6. Gone out to lunch.
  7. Hosted my mom and stepdad when they came to see our sweet baby Tinsley.
  8. Played almost daily with Jennie and the baby.
  9. Read another smidge.
  10. Planned Math Stations.
  11. Shopped.
  12. Bought.
  13. Read.
  14. Attended the Friends of the Library Sale in Tucson. Yippee.
  15. Snacked on Indian fry Bread and honey, "India"n samosas, roasted corn and chili, and Russian dumplings. Okay, that really doesn't sound like a snack....
  16. Attended my husband's __th High School reunion. Wow, were they old!! Just Kidding, honey!
  17. Finished 2 books. 
  18. Missed book group. Boo Hiss.
  19. Prepared a Sunday lesson.
  20. Played in the rain.
PS. I have eaten my weight in cookies and cookie dough tonight.
Can you spell tummy ache?!?!? It's a good thing I am going back to school. My pants won't fit if this keeps up ;)

 
It was a wonderful fall break. 
Now it's done.
I am SAD.
Parent teacher conferences here I come.
I did finally finish Gone Girl. I have thought and thought. Did I like it? Hate it? BOTH! I have stewed on it for more time than I should. Review to follow.
I did read Wonder. Review to follow. 
I did read Math Stretches. Review will NOT follow, but I WILL follow through and teach it.


On to Unwind & The Portrait of Dorian Grey! Bring on the October Book Group reads!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Break Sunday

 

Fall break    (noundefinition:  Having nothing to do and all day to do it in.

Yeah!!
 It FINALLY arrived.
Fall Break.

What are your plans, Mrs. V? ---- Make curtains for the library, shop for Art for the walls, get my hair cut, go to Book Group, Bras for a Cause, & Ikea, play with new little Tinsley, help a friend do her report cards, meet up with my mom, sleep in and READ. That's just day one! (NOT...I do believe in pacing.)

What will you eat, Mrs V? ---- Ohhh, let's see, the State Fair starts this week so Indian Fry Bread is in order. I am craving a corn dog, a trip to The Cheesecake Factory for my dd birthday (she was busy having a baby on the real b'day!) I could also go for some Apple Cider, a pumpkin muffin and how about some movie theater popcorn? Sounds like Fall Break food to me.

What will you listen to, Mrs. V? ---- Well first of all I will enjoy some quiet...shhhhh. Hear that? It sounds nice. Then I will turn up the tunes, open the windows and welcome in fall. I've had my John Denver Pandora on this week and somehow it triggered all sorts of "fall" memories. Dreamweaver by Gary Wright, Styxx, Kansas, Cecilia and Kapono, whoa....it's like the way-back-machine just transported me to fall in the 70's!

What will you read, Mrs. V? ---- I will finish Gone Girl. I am embarrassed that it's taken this long to finish, but I only have 25 more pages, really. Then on to Coming Home Crazy by Bill Holm, Unwind by Neil Shusterman, Wonder by RJ Palacio and the lesson I have to teach on Sunday. 

How are you feeling about 7 days of Fall Break, Mrs. V? ---- Ecstatic! Relieved! Ready! Over-the-moon happy! Overjoyed! Delighted! Euphoric! Content! Blissful! Glad! Gleeful! Silly and on cloud nine!
  
BRING IT ON>>>>

And just because I can:  A little eye-candy before I go:

My grandson Jase got to meet his cousin, new little Tinsley! He is in love. Me too!
 

 



Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Sunday Picture Post

I'm smiling BECAUSE......




1. I caught a glimpse of a man reading instructions....


2. I got to leave school at lunch time on Monday to wait here....


3. This wasn't just ANY waiting room. 
But a gorgeous waiting room.


4. Jennie and her amazing husband invited me to the party!
This was their last photo of  "Just 2"...

Now...


She's worth "waiting" for....
(PS - I even got to cut the cord!! Whoa!)
My baby had a baby!
We are smitten!

Now you know why I'm smiling...

Tinsley is here! 


I feel like the Grinch who's heart grew three sizes.
L.O.V.E. it!

My Dad would have loved it that this new little bug carries our family name. He would have loved her dark hair and her dark eyes. He would have loved her tiny ears. He would have counted every little toe and finger. 
I just figure he kissed her in heaven and sent her our way!
We are counting our blessings.

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Introducing....

My New Addiction!

Tinsley Roxanne
7# 4oz. of pure cuteness

Tinsley is my new excuse for not getting things done...
(Sure, blame the baby!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Journal


What was I Thinking...
                   OUCH! Ow, Ow, Ow! Chair + sandals + 4th grader + teacher's toe = broken toe! Mine. OUCH!

Favorite Products...
                 Tide Pods - clean, convenient and my laundry smells delicious. Sounds like a commercial.
                 Kenra Hair Spray. Expensive but worth it. (And I am NOT a hair snob.)
                 Sport's tape.....it's holding my owie-toe together. Ahhh...

Remember that...
                 Guided Math stations WILL work. I loved what I saw this week when I did it. Remember to Model, model, model it. Time with small groups is worth it!! (I don't want to forget this.)

Library Log....
                I have done NO reading at all this week. Fail. I took my book with me everywhere, I snuck in small micro-minutes and I fell asleep with pages imprinted upon my cheeks, but no reading. I WILL change that this week.
       So... still...
  • Gone Girl
  • Coming Home Crazy by Bill Holm
  • The Marriage Bureau for Rich People 
  • Wonder 
Weekly Checklist... 
  • Make Happy Birthday calls to my first born and last born - wahoo!
  • Wait for new grandkiddo
  • READ
  • Prepare class newsletter 
  • Wait for new grandkiddo
  • READ
  • Birthday dinner with J&K - what DO I get the "ready-to-deliver" daughter that is NOT for baby?
  • Wait for new grandkiddo
  • READ
  • Work
Rules to Remember...
  • Sandals and 4th graders do not mix well. In more ways than one.
  • Pray on the WAY to school
  • Count to 10 - SLOWLY
Currently enjoying...
  • football
  • Instagrams from kiddos
  • raw almonds
  • bananas without spots (how do they ripen so dang fast?)
  • Glee songs on YouTube
Best Memories of the Week...
  • a call from #1 son with "new job" news!
  • Kyle's Birthday dinner - he is so grateful and gracious!
  • Using giftcards with Jennie - we filled a whole cart courtesy of so many generous friends for this new baby.
  • Southern BBQ dinner with friends
  • a 3 1/2 hour visit with a friend
  • A clear PET scan for this same friend. Yippee!
What I Know...
            I need to acknowledge my gratitude more. I have gotten the prompting/feeling to start my gratitude journaling again. I know it works. Now I need to do it.
           An unexpected kind word or email can do wonders! 
 

                 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Journal Inspired by the Pinterest Hole

I fell into the Pinterest Hole...

and while I was there I saw loads of journaling ideas....
I tweaked, I twanged, and I came up with 9 prompts that got me thinking today.

What was I thinking????
  • I checked my own handwriting for Spell Check! Seriously.
Favorite Products...
  • Bombay Saffron reed diffuser from Pier 1
  • Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk - YUM!
  • my iPad
Love this Quote:
  • "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." Leo Buscaglia
                                                                                
Remember that.....
  • the little things DO count! It was a tiny switch on my A/C unit that melted and caused the whole thing to stop cooling. In Arizona that's critical. That tiny piece meant a $7,000.00 new unit - until my Super-Hero son-in-law fixed it with another little thing!!
Library Log ....
  • The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (hysterical picture book that I use to teach inferencing. Check it out!!
  • ALMOST done with Gone Girl
Weekly Checklist:
  • Career Ladder due
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Fingerprint Clearance card renewal
  • Birthday shopping
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Help Jennie sort/organize the baby's room
  • Pay bills
Currently enjoying ...
  • my new lamp from Pier 1
  • cool (er) mornings
  • all the rain we've had (but NOT the mosquitoes!)
  • football
Best memories of the week....
  • A Sunday car-ride with Jase - just Oma and Jase!
  • 3 really good days with my class - FINALLY
  • Book Group
  • hugs
  • dinner with friends
  • Texas Roadhouse with J&K
What I know....
  • that peanut butter tastes great lately
  • that sleep helps everything
  • that I can't resist Texas Roadhouse rolls!!
              

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh The Places You Go


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Oh the Places We've Been...
The last two weeks have been crammed full, busy.....and wonderful!
A 90th birthday for my favorite aunt in Texas, a visit with my super-de-dooper stepmom, lots of kissin' cousins, and another baby shower for my "mommy-to-be" daughter.
Wow!

Loved it. 
Every minute of it.
Even the humidity!
Especially the pie.

Now they are memories.
Now it is quiet.
Now it is calm.

Too quiet.

Today I will....PLAN for school. It's kickin' my patookie.

Today I will....Read. I finished Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker on the trip and now I'm reading Gone Girl and a book group book, Life is So Good by George Dawson.

Today I will....blog and surf and watch football and go to church and eat leftovers. 

Today I will....admire my pedicure, ponder a bit & make the bed. 

Today I will....catch up for a moment.
Today I will....watch the clouds.

Today will be great.

What will you do today??




Monday, August 27, 2012

Charms for the Easy Life


Charms for the Easy Life
By Kaye Gibbons

"I have read two books a week for thirty years. I am satisfied that I know everything."

So says Charlie Kate Birch, and she's not shy about sharing any of what she  knows!  How she reminded me of a few women I know!!!!
A self-styled doctor, midwife and herbalist, Charlie Kate is a strong matriarch of the family and of her community.  She lives with her daughter, Sophia, and her granddaughter, Margaret in North Carolina in the early 1900's.  These three are smart book-loving women and the author paints a picture of these three who rely on each other rather than on men to rescue or defend. I do love me some strong female characters!!!!
I don't know why it is that I love  southern writing and descriptions so much....oh, I know, I'm from the South!!!! Transplanted for years I still can hear the cadence in the speech and feel the caress in their accents.  However Kaye Gibbons does it she captures the voices of her characters with care. This author had just the voice I wanted to hear. Her descriptions are colorful yet spare. Her metaphors were apt and it seems like I was attached to her words like a moth to a flame. 
This book was so easy to pick up and easy to come back to after a long day teaching. It was the perfect tonic for what ails ya.

Our book group loved this book and found it great fun to talk about....oh, and the charm for the easy life??? 
---If you want your own easy-life charm, you'll need to find the hind foot of a white graveyard rabbit caught at midnight, under the full moon, by a cross-eyed Negro woman who has been married seven times.---