Archive for March, 2011

They Liked it!

They liked it!

I finished the “center room” today and the Kindergarten teachers liked it! I was so glad. I moved things around (some 2 and 3 times) until I thought it fit and looked just right. It’s hard to decide if there is enough space or too much for a tiny body. But I think I made it all fit ok. I did have to make a little more room for the blocks, but after a few scoots it was just right.

When my friend poked her head in about half way through the day and asked if I was ready for the kids to come in; I panicked. Today? I don’t think I’m ready yet. She chuckled and said ok she’d wait. After that I kicked it into high gear and started dusting and putting away (it was all piled in the middle of the room). She told me her kids were going crazy trying to figure out what I was doing in there. I laughed and told her that the little girl who came to check the weather (this room has the only windows to the outside), stood and stared at me for the longest time this morning. Finally I asked if she needed something. She quickly looked out the window and said “no I just checking the weather.” T. laughed and said that one of the kids had asked her if she “had to go to California to check the weather,” she was gone so long.

Later that day when I was hidden behind a bookshelf putting away books I heard two kiddos come in from the other class to get their gym shoes, they couldn’t see me but I could see them looking around. The little boy said, “What is she doing? Cleaning for us?” But the little girl adamantly shook her head and said “No she is getting us ready for first grade!” I almost blew my cover from rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles. Oh if they only knew!!!

I saw and heard some interesting things in kindergarten today. I think next year is going to be a lot of fun!

Bored

I am trying my best to keep busy while my student teacher is completing her last few weeks of teaching. Last week I worked on paper work, made lesson plans, and planned for next fall.

This week I decided I can’t sit any more. I am not used to sitting, and I now believe it is more tiring to sit all day doing paperwork than it is to teach a room full of first graders. I am pretty sure I will never be a principal. I like having my small group of kiddos to be with; instead of an entire school and a mountain of reports to fulfill.

Yesterday I stepped into the Kindergarten room before school. We have two kindergarten classes. They each have their own room and share a “center” room. As I stood there talking to the teachers my eyes kept scanning their center room. Finally I had to ask: “Can I rearrange your room, I am so bored.” They at first looked at me as if I was off my rocker, but then shrugged and said, “sure.”

WOO HOO something to do! The room of course doesn’t really need rearranging, and hopefully I won’t make it so “out there” that it is unusable, but I am now busy, and not bored. And I promised to ask before I throw anything away!

Wonder who else needs their things rearranged…..

Desert Days

Dear Daddy,

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. There’s not a day that goes by that you don’t seep into my thoughts. Sometimes it’s early in the morning when I catch a hint of someone’s coffee in the hall at school. Sometimes it comes in the middle of the day when I hear a chuckle or a cough that sounds like you. But mostly it’s the nights when you flood my dreams like the washes of the desert in a monsoon.

This week I have been thinking about us a lot. The pictures Bobby has posted from Tempe, Oak Creek Canyon and “The Big Red” have brought back a wealth of memories.

Remember when we lived in the big read with grandma and grandpa and you and grandpa were killing the chickens for Sunday dinner? I wasn’t afraid even when you grabbed that big rooster and spun him by his neck. I was glad. He was mean and chased me. I remember sitting on the porch holding my favorite red hen (the one you promised wouldn’t be a Sunday supper). I had on my red jumper, and that crazy hen pooped all down the front of it. I was so mad. After that I didn’t care if she was supper or not. But you saved her anyway.

We had some really great suppers there with family. Grandma always made some of the best fried chicken and gravy. I was so jealous that Shelly and Steve got the drumsticks. But it didn’t matter the rest of the chicken was just as good.

The picture of our old house was a real shocker. It has changed a lot since I have been there. I like the stucco instead of the brick. And the smaller bushes in the front really open it up and make it look bright. I can remember sitting on the roof of our house on the Fourth of July and watching the fireworks being shot off at Sun Devil Stadium.

I remember too the dust storms that came across the hot desert and shut everything down. We spent the evening in street with the rest of the neighbors (the electric was out and it was stifling hot in the houses). The storms were scary, but fun.  We kids liked having the adults in “our area” especially after the sun went down and we got to play “kick the can.”  

My favorite of Bobby’s pictures though is of Oak Creek Canyon. I loved it when you would stop for a little while and let us kids play in the cold, cold water. It was my favorite part of our weekend fishing trips. Is that where “slide rock” is? I can’t remember now.

Things are so much easier when you are young. So uncomplicated and free, I hope I didn’t complicate things for you.

We had a lot of good memories in Arizona. Growing up there was unlike anything my kids will ever be able to imagine. I would like to take them there some day. I wish I would have….before.

A lot of years have come and gone since our days on the desert, things that changed us like our house and its stucco. On the outside everything looks different; but underneath it’s the same old house filled with memories and stories of childhood nights and desert days.

Sometimes I think about the things I should have said or done. Thoughts and feelings I wish I had shared, but I didn’t. Did you ever feel that way?  Were there thoughts you wanted to share? Things you wanted to say?  

Times change, people, and places change too.  I will always love you. I always did. I just didn’t always know what to say, where to begin. 

It’s almost been a year now since you found out about the cancer, a year next month since you’ve been gone. I think about you every day. Sometimes I miss the desert, like I miss you.

The house I grew up in Arizona.

 The “Big Red” also known as The Peterson House in Tempe, Az. My grandparents were the caretakers in the 60’s early 70’s.

This is who I am

If you know me, you know: I grew up in the city, but wouldn’t change my country life for anything.

If you know me, you know: I am the oldest in my house (and the shortest), but the youngest sibling in my family.

If you know me, you know: when I was young I was easily persuaded to do “things” with my brothers, even if meant a black eye, cut foot, or sore hands.

If you know me, you know: I don’t like to fish, but when I do I often catch the most or the biggest.

If you know me, you know: I can buck bales, and stack hay, but have horrible hay fever.

If you know me, you know: the only thing I ever wanted as a child was a horse, and the only thing I ever wanted to give my daughter was the same.

If you know me, you know: I am slow to anger and quick to forgive unless it involves my kids.

If you know me, you know: I love to read and write and my favorite spot to do both is my patio.

If you know me, you know: I love to cook, but I am a picky eater.

If you know me, you know: I love to laugh, but cry often.

If you know me, you know: I love my family more than the air I breathe, but I am not very good at telling them.

If you know me, you know: I can ride a horse, sew a quilt, shoot a gun, do the splits, and walk in high heels, but rarely do any more.

If you know me, you know: I like to go places, but there is no place I’d rather be than home.

If you know me, you know: my house may be clean, but my closets are usually a mess.

If you know me, you know: I have thoughts, and ideas on many things, but often won’t share.

If you know me, you know: I like to have friends and family close, and do my best to make it happen often.

If you know me, you know: I aspire to learn new things and hope to inspire through teaching.

If you know me, you know: I don’t go to church, but my faith is probably stronger than some that do.

If you know me, you know: that I have been married over 25 years, he was my first real love and will be my last.

If you know me, you know: my kids are my life and I am in awe of the lives they are making for themselves.

If you know me, you know: sometimes I’m cranky, moody and quiet, but I do my best not to let it show.

If you know me, you know: I am not very organized and often forget things that are important, but I am learning to write things down.

If you know me, you know: I would love to live near water, but don’t want to be in it.

If you know me, you know: I love shoes, but I am almost always barefoot.

If you know me, you know: I miss the mountains, but will never leave the plains.

If you know me, you know: I go to bed early, but often don’t sleep because of the stories and thoughts running through my head.

If you know me, you know: my favorite time of day is day break, but sometimes I roll over just to sleep in.

If you know me, you know: If I could I would give my children everything they ever wanted, but can’t and don’t.

If you know me, you know: I don’t like the cold, but Christmas is my favorite holiday.

If you know me, you know: I can’t sing, but I can dance.

If you know me, you know: I like places like Dollywood and Silver Dollar City, but I don’t like the rides.

If you know me, you know: I hate June Bugs, but LOVE the month of June.

If you know me, you know: that when I think of the word “home” I see my grandparents farm, and the memories we shared.

If you know me, you know: I am a wife, mom, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, teacher, and friend.

This is me, who are you?

What a Teacher Wants

I’m feeling a little lost and out of sorts this week. My student teacher is in her final days in our room which means she is teaching full time, and I am supposed to stay out of the room to give her the full effect of being a teacher.

She is doing a great job, and the kids and I really love her. And yet I can’t help but to feel out of my element. I start my morning in the classroom making sure she has all she needs, and that the kids have all they need, and then like the last guest; I quietly slip away.  

I sit alone at a distant table in our library trying not to get in the way of the coming and going of a busy school day. I check in on the class form time to time, but try not to overdo it.

To keep myself engaged I gather test items that will soon be needed. I make lesson plans, (and life plans). And I work on school related items and professional development. But still, I feel lost.

It’s the school-wide related items that give me pause, and make me unsure. As I sift through things trying to keep busy. I often enter other classrooms or an office to ask a question, or deliver a note. I feel like an intruder, an outsider entering someone else’s realm. The others are teaching, and busy with THEIR kids in their area of expertise and comfort. And I am not.

So I try to busy myself. I am trying to put into action, to categorize and condense goals, and ideas that have been discussed in meetings and conversations. It is my desire to ease their workload, and save us time as a whole when it comes time to implement. But I wonder from reactions; am I overstepping the boundaries or maybe inadvertently stepping on toes?

I sense their resistance, and hesitation at being drawn into things they are unsure of.  I understand their need and want for things to stay the same. Is it the necessity to be “in control?” Or is it a lack of trust in me? My ideas? My judgment?    

Should I just leave everything as it is? Should I not mention my ideas, and forget about the things I feel could help our school community? Or should I continue to forge ahead and shrug off my insecurities? Maybe I should just sit by patiently waiting out my time to return to the classroom.

The irony of it all hits me head on.

Here I am trying to be a role model and teacher for my student teacher; however I am the one feeling the insecurities. I can appreciate what it must be like for her to come into my classroom and want to make it her own, put her mark on it, yet knowing she is only here for a while.  

I can see this from some of my kiddos as well. They walk silently into the classroom at the first of the year. I watch as they scan the room wondering is it ok to venture forth. I perceive in their expressions: “will I be accepted or rejected because of my thoughts, feelings, questions, or ideas?” “Is this really a place for me, is there space for me?” “Do I belong?”  

These are the ones that I give an extra hug to, that I lean into listen as they talk, and who I smile at as they enter the room (ok I do it for all of them). I want them to know, for all my kiddos (and student teacher) to know that there IS space for them. I WANT them to leave their mark (in our room and my heart). I WANT them to know I will listen. I will be open to their ideas and thoughts. I want to wipe away their insecurities with a smile, and give them the gift of time and consideration. I want them to KNOW they belong.

Isn’t that what we all want?

Night Road

 

I’m reading Night Road by Kristin Hannah. She is my all-time favorite author. I only dream of evoking the emotion and feeling she does with her writing. I have yet to read one of her books that doesn’t make me think, feel, remember, laugh out loud, or cry. I cry not only the soundless, chin-trickling tears, but heart- wrenching engulfing sobs brought on through her words, her characters, and the topics she chooses. If you have never read Kristin Hannah and you have a free weekend (because you will not want to put it down), drive as quickly as you can to your favorite book store. Night Road is her latest, but the first book I read from Hannah was Firefly Lane. If you grew up in the 80’s you will love it. But be prepared to do all of the above.

Surprise!

I have a surprise for my mom. So please shhhhh nobody tell her.  She’ll drive me crazy until it happens, so I don’t yet want her to know. She’ll whoop and holler and want to go, go go. You see my son her grandson has played baseball since the age of four. But when he graduated from high school he just didn’t want to play anymore. We begged and pleaded and told him he would miss the game. But his heart was no longer in it; he’d made his mind up. So we had to do the same.

But now he is older and has finally admitted he likes to play for fun. The competition really isn’t his thing, and he does not like to run. But he has joined TWO softball teams, and he plays twice a week. One is a college intramural but the other is a city league!

When he was here last week I asked him (when he was in a good mood). “Do you think I could bring grandma to watch you play?” She always loved it so, and she would think it really cool. “You’d have to come to the city league game, but I think It’d be ok”, he said. I had to hide smile and just nodded my head. “She’ll really like that; you know she was one of your greatest fans.” But it was his mom that did the happy dance when he left the room.

I’m waiting on his schedule before I break the news. My student teacher’s husband is playing in this league too. I hope they play each other. We’ll all go down and clap and cheer for both teams, so no one will know were grandma and mother.

So please shhhh keep my secret. I don’t want her to know just yet. The weather has to be just right and the schedule I haven’t seen. But when it arrives and I know when we can go I’ll call her up say let’s go we have a game to see. Somehow I think she’s going to find out, I can hear the screams as this she reads.

Did I mention she is one of my kid’s greatest fans? Well she kinda feels the same about me!