Monday, October 26, 2015

Teaching Outside the Box or err.. Schedule

Mondays in preschool are not always the best. Yes, of course we start out the day with the best intentions and usually LIFE smacks us right in the gut.  The kids have missed their friends and everything is on loud and fast mode.   It's like they want to catch up all the conversations they didn't have over the weekend. Then there are others who are tired… really.. really tired. Weekends are hard.  Running here and there to see family , shop and make memories.  No one wants to waste precious time just sitting waiting on a preschooler to take a nap.  Yes,  Mondays are often hard.

Today was a different kind of Monday.

First lets talk how a preschool classroom is traditionally ran.  NORMALLY there is free play time and at some point in the morning a teacher , for sake of ease lets just call her Miss Control Freak from here out, calls everyone to clean up. That takes time. We finally get everything cleaned up and Miss Control Freak calls everyone to circle time. Which, lets be real… rarely is a circle. There are kids on their bellies. There are kid bumping into others. There are kids trying really hard to do criss cross applesauce but their little legs aren't ready for all that twisting. Then, if we are being really real.. someone is picking their nose.  So , Miss Control Freak gets everyone to circle and all the miserable children listen. It goes something like this .

Miss Control Freak: Lets sing a song !  LALALALAL  Sit up !  Dont touch your friends hair.  Don't play with the blocks. Dont lick his shoe….   LALALLALALALLALA…
Now, I'm gonna read you a book.   Ok.. I'll sit here until you are quiet.

( crickets)

Now that everyone is ready to listen ( and scared to make a sound ) I will read.

Once upon a time…… ( What do you  THINK is going to happen ? What color is the monkeys shirt ?   )  The end.

" Ok, you guys can go back to playing now.  "

As the children frantically race back to claim the spot Miss Control Freak caused them to lose in the first place by having circle time you hear " No ! I was not finished  ! I was in there !"

Children play and Miss Control Freak calls them down two at a time to do a small group activity at the table.. again causing them to stop all the learning that takes place during play.

DING DING DING !  Time for a science experience .  EVERYONE follow Miss Control Freak !

It never ends. Miss Control Freak is constantly asking us to stop what we are doing and do what SHE wants us to do.

Friday as I was cleaning a table one of my really sensitive little boys looked at me and said " Ms. Debbie, why is your face angry?"


Really.. do I look angry ?  Deep Breath ?  Does my face look angry ?  Why ? It has  not been a bad day..maybe a little hectic.   Sigh…..

If my day is hectic it is my own fault. I am the time keeper.  I am the control freak.

Today is Monday.

Today as the children were playing I took the IPOD down and I just sat down and started playing some music.  First two children joined me.  They just sat around me.  By the second song most of the children were with me.  They were singing . They were dancing.  They were laughing . They were loving.  Music.  It should be happy and simple. Right ?

As I realized I had most everyone with me I asked them could I tell them a story.  From memory I told them the story of Junior the spider.  With a little acting and some flair I was able to keep everyone's attention.  It was loverly.

That went well. I didn't demand  or even ask anyone to stop what they were doing and join me.

As I finished my story I noticed Ms Dallas had joined me.  ( Yes, my story telling skills are that good that she wanted to listen too. )   I said " I think Ms Dallas has a cool science experience to show you.  She rolled straight into " Little Miss Muffet " and asked the kids did they know what curds and whey was .  They replied no.  THEN LETS GO FIND OUT !
And they did.

I know they loved it since later I walked in to find them reenacting the story with friends.  Who knew spiders GROWL !

Lets try something else.

Usually when I  do a graph or chart something I plan  small groups.  Today I picked up my marker board and started walking around to each child and asking them " are you afraid of spiders ?" It worked. They continued what they were doing . An added benefit was that not every child had the same answer. See.. when Miss Control Freak does this in a group the kids tend to all say the same thing. It's called preschool peer pressure.

After graphing , I just set the board up so they could look at it at their leisure.

Reading still took place. I read them books while they were eating breakfast and lunch.   I asked first " May I read you an awesome story I like ?" When a child seemed to wander and was still I would ask could I read them a book.

My friend didn't ask me today why my face looked angry .  I was more relaxed.   I know the kids benefit more from uninterrupted play .  

This is what preschool in my world should look like.  I think I'll try it again tomorrow.  Miss Control Freak just might lose her job.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A 1950's Wife

I would love to be a 1950's wife.  I know many of my friends , and some that are even very close to me would laugh at the thought of my energy, independence and sassiness rolled into the role of a June Cleaver housewife who stays home and raises children and bakes cookies.

I have always kind of known this about myself but days like today made me think to myself " BAM , you are SO 1950's wifey material. "  ( Ok , maybe  you have a hard time picturing June say BAM! but bear with me.)

Randy and I are rarely ever apart.  By rarely I mean... mostly NEVER.  He is here to see me at my best and my worse and all the in between.  I can never perform miracles in housekeeping or self adornment because he is here . All. The. Time.  ( Not complaining... )  Today I came home from a conference at the local school for one of our little girls to find him gone.   I have had the flu for the past few days and the front of the house has GONE TO THE DOGS. ( Ok, maybe June wouldn't say that either... )  Randy has tried to help me keep up with laundry ( it was sweet I was about to run out of underwear. ) but the laundry was piled on the couch. There was medicine and snot filled  kleenex's everywhere. ( sorry.. ) and mounds of mail and paperwork had taken over the desk yet again.  Being the great wife that I am I called him to see where he was and he was at choir practice at church. I wanted to go for a ride with the windows down and suck in the fresh air. I was a little BUMMED at first but then I thought BAM! ( Ugh.. sorry June) I can perform some housecleaning miracles in the next hour and a half and surprise my hubby. It will be as if I just waltzed in from a Boy Scouts meeting and he is coming in from work.

First I folded all the clothes on the couches and put them away. I stripped the bed and threw the sheets in the washer.  I started defrosting the meat for spaghetti which he said he wanted yesterday. STRIP THE BED THAT I SLEPT IN SICK ALL WEEK .  I cleaned the table of snot rags and even dusted the top and arranged his music magazines he is reading on the edge with his glasses on top.  I vaccuummed the carpet .  THE BED  SHEETS ARE FINISHED IN THE WASHER! IN THE DRYER THEY GO.   I threw the garlic bread in the oven.  I took all the medicines out and put them back where they belong. I washed the snack cups from the end of the preschool day.  I cleaned some of the papers off the dining room table and arranged the flowers he gave me earlier in the week.  I finished the sauce for the spaghetti.  THE SHEETS ARE DRY !  PUT THEM BACK ON THE BED! HURRY!  As I hear the back door open and Randy comes in I slow my pace and grab a plate to put his dinner on.  I sat at the table with him and talked about practice.  I am not eating today ( or tomorrow, its a cleanse give me a break) but I sit.. and listen.  After Randy finishes eating I dish up the leftovers ( BAM  for lunch being ready for tomorrow!) and wash the dishes.

That was an hour and a half.  Pretty good huh ?

Now we are sitting side by side in the livingroom. He has his earphones on and is  listening to something on Youtube and here I sit banging out my thoughts on my lap top.   He hasnt noticed all the cleaning I did in the hour and a half he was gone.

( Oh and I wore a dress today and touched up my makeup before my meeting AND didnt put on a tshirt and sweats to clean. )

I did a little research on what a 1950's wife is.

 Excerpt from " HouseKeeping Monthly May 1953 - which was nine months after my husband was born.  With my thoughts added in ......

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.  Well, I think I proved that I can do that tonight !  I mean, it was a jar sauce but I was in a hurry.  I did sprinkle a little extra garlic in it.  
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. I didnt have 15 minutes to refresh after running like a mad lady cleaning up 4 days worth of flu evidence and I dont wear ribbons but I did squirt a little HAPPY cologne  on.  
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.  A little more interesting GIVE ME A BREAK JUNE.. His day wasnt boring and geez.... I am not an babysitter.   
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.  BAM! 
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. Immense personal satisfaction ? I am trying to feel it as he listens to his phone with his earphones on and ignores my now relaxed self. Maybe I am missing something here. Where is that ribbon ? 
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet. CHILDREN Were QUIET ! There are NONE !  And well. I did have 80s music blaring. Does that count  
  • Be happy to see him. I was.... so I could STOP and he looked pretty cute in his little beebop hat .
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. CHECK !
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. I tried.. 
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax. Oh Lordy June.. this is getting DEEP. 
  • Your goal: To try and make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. He looks renewed.. what do you think ?  SEE picture above. 
  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems. Check ! 
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • See Above picture...
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.  Well... I have had the flu and my voice is pretty low right now I dont know if one would call it soothing....   I put a new pillow case on his pillow and but shoes, well, I have to draw the line somewhere... 
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. Yep. Ahem...
  • A good wife always knows her place..
So dont you agree ? I would make a GREAT 1950's wife. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thinking of Mom

Someone wrote me tonight and asked me for the link to moms memorial video that I made for her service.  I found it and of course I had to watch it again.. and cry.

As I watched the video I was reminded how strong a woman my mother was.  Even days that the ground was covered in ice and snow and we were on our way home from another chemo treatment she walked on her own as though she hadnt a care in the world and no burden was too heavy for her.

Sometimes I think about my mom and all the things I want to tell her.

I want to tell her that Danielle is starting over her life and is happy now.
I want to tell her that Addam is engaged to Josie .
I want to tell her how funny Geneviette is and what a joy she is to our life.
I want to tell her that I stopped to see Aunt Gerl and Uncle Ray and that Aunt Gerl looks more like grandma every day.
I want to tell her that Sport is so happy in his new home with us and that Randy spoils him more than dad ever  thought about it.
I want to tell her that Randy is playing BASS at our church now.. a BAPTIST church.
I want to tell her that I read her bible and see her notes in the side  bar and I am reminded of how important she wanted us to know that having a relationship with Jesus Christ is.
I want to tell her that the plum tree I brought from the house on 9th street is growing so tall.
I want to tell her that her grandkids are all doing well now.
I want to tell her that I am happy and content.
I want to tell her how very much I miss her and that I think she was a great mother.

There are some things I want to ask her too.

How old was she when she had to start coloring her hair ?
Why didnt she tell me that having grown children hurts so much more than having young children?
How did  her faith grow so strong ?
How did she keep smiling ?
Did she ever get tired ?
Would she sing with me one more time... I wont walk off the stage...
Why didnt you tell me that growing older had problems , like that whole coughing.. tinkle problem ?

There are so many things... I wish I could say.
I miss mom.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree

As I took down the Christmas tree last night I was reminded what precious memories our tree holds.  We have a tradition each year to add an ornament that signifies something important that happened in our life that year.   The tree also has homemade ornaments that children have made us or that  Geneviette has made.   It used to be covered in ornaments that Addam and Danielle made but when they got married I passed those ornaments on to them to use on their own trees. In retrospect, I wish I would have kept them.  Selfish maybe... but when I put the tree up I miss seeing their tiny handprints or handiwork on the tree.  Last night when I took it down I snapped a few pictures of some of the ornaments .

This first one is one that Danielle and my mom made. There were more and I think Danielle has one for her tree.  Such precious memories. 
 In 2002 Randy and I got married and this was the ornament to signify that !
 This tree is an ornament that Geneviette made when she was three and in our preschool.
 We used to have a lab mix named Sway.  We all loved Sway so much.  This ornament has been broken and I almost threw it away but then I rationalized. Sway was in an accident with a car and lost one of her legs . She ran great for a three legged dog. So.. this broken ornament kinda fits now.
 Randy and I have made two trips to Nashville. He loves it there. I love.. that he loves it there.
 Randy's Aunt Steele does a lot of little hand work and beading. She made this stuffed star for our tree . You cant see the beading but there is a lot . She did a great job !
 My first job was when I was 16 and worked at McDonalds.  This ornament is 30 years old. Wow...
 Randy lost his son in a car accident in the year 2001 . Scott was 21.  We have this little ornament he made hanging on our tree to remember him.
 I have been to Hawaii three times. Once was to visit Addam and G. We went to a children's museum that had a fabulous fairy tale exhibit with Cinderella's carriage.  This was G's ornament that year. Addam also bought a motor cycle and started riding and Randy and I went to Texas .
 I love monkeys.. I especially love monkeys in clothes.  I really love monkeys in clothes on ornaments given to me.  It's she precious  !
 We have lots of teacher type ornaments on the tree that have been given to us.
 Of course there was a guitar to symbolize Randys hobby. This was actually in a shadow box when we got married and I took it out for the tree.
 This is little G's handprint when she was three ... precious huh ?
There are so many more on the tree with stories behind most.  I have added a few blingy ornaments that add color and pizzaz but those tell a story too right ?

Christmas  is a wonderful time around here.  As I take each piece of decoration out I am reminded of when I got it. Why I got it and who was with me.  Christmas brings a special kind of memories.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 is here. The Mayans Were Wrong

If you know me very well you know how ridiculous that whole blog title is.

 I don't worry much about tomorrow. I never have been much of a worrier .

Ive never really  considered myself a woman of strong faith . I mean , when I compare myself to people like my mom, my aunts and ladies from church like Mrs. Pennington  I feel so inadequate and so NOT a vessel ready to serve.  It isn't my heart that feels different , though who knows what is in another persons heart, it is all the wrappings of my heart, of me.  I wear clothes that are not always modest.  I am not meek ( at all ) and most people would probably think I am not humble.  I don't lift my arms in praise in a service but little tear drops escape my eyes when I sing. It is like I am at the throne of God and it is too personal to speak or sing, or lift my arms .. and sometimes even hard to breathe.

 I do have faith, it just looks different than most.  My faith helps me to smile when I am hurting because I know who holds tomorrow.  My faith helps me keep my head up when things go wrong because I know God has a bigger plan for my life.  My faith helps my love others because he loves me - even with all my worldly flaws.  So who am I to judge ? 

A friend posted on facebook that she doesn't do New Years resolutions. She picks a character trait that she needs to work on , a weakness ... and focuses on that for the year.  There is no deadline. You don't have to spend more money on yet another gym . You don't have to radically change your routine. All you have to do is change your thought process and be more intentional about your life and the choices you make as you open your mouth or do something.   She chose non-assuming. She wants to be less assuming about herself and other people.  What a wonderful thing to be.  Much of life's problems happen  when we assume what someone is thinking or what they will do.  Disappointments  usually follow assumptions.

When I started thinking about what character trait I would like to work  on I wanted to arm myself with many choices so I googled ( of course ) character traits.  Some of the traits I found that were interesting to me were not really things I could / or should work on .  They just made me giggle.

Dainty - I would LOVE to become more dainty.
Bossy - Randy says dont worry I already have that one down pat.
Awkward - Well... that sounds fun .
Sarcastic - Who me ?

What I needed to focus on is really very evident. I just cant  put my finger on the word for it. I am not a private person at all.  I need to be more private.  My character trait for 2013 will be unobtrusive.  This doesn't mean that I wont post about school and the awesome things we do.  I hope those post encourage others to go the extra step when they are teaching small children.  What the world doesnt need to see is what I cook. What I think. What I wear. What song I am singing.  I mean, why post that stuff anyway ?  I really never have the intentions of trying to make anyone feel like my life is better than their life or that I am some amazing person.  I am not.

Main Entry:
Part of Speech:adjective
Definition:keeping a low profile
Synonyms:humbleinconspicuouslow-key, low-profile,meekmodestquietreservedrestrained,retiring, self-effacing, soft-pedaled, subdued,tastefulunassumingunnoticeable,unostentatious, unpretentious

What a challenge . This will not be easy for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Route 66 Tour

After our preschool program Randy and I took off for our monthly date . This one was  a tour of Route 66.  We jumped in the car , which was already packed and headed to Route 66.

Our first stop was in Vinita Ok.   There we found SummerSide Winery.  We looked around and had a quiet lunch . I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich and pretzels.  There is something very classy and calm about eating at a winery.  What did we have to drink ?  I had water and Randy had diet coke.  He said it was flat.  My guess ? It had been there a while. Who goes to a winery for lunch and orders diet coke ?

The next stop was looking at some GIANT totem poles . There is some history there but to be honest I am not much of a history buff.  It was all put together by a retired art teacher. All I could think was.... my family makes fun of my eclectic nature. Who knows.. one day maybe my backyard will be visited by random people out on a thrill ride .  This was in Foyil Ok.

Jonah , you know - from the Bible.  He aint got nothing on us. We went in the belly of a big blue whale and lived to tell about it too. Story is that a man made this fun water side whale for his grandkids.  It has slides and diving boards. The water is not anything anyone would want to swim in now but it was a fun stop.  - Catossa Ok.

Our next stop was Arcadia Ok at POPS. Pops is the home to over 600 different labels of soda pop. It is also the home of a 66 foot high LED lit Soda Pop Bottle .   We wanted to wait and eat in OKC but it was getting late so we decided to eat here. SO glad we did ! I ordered a regular cheeseburger and it was AMAZING.  I have been off my diet for a while ( my tight clothes are evidence of that . ) but I rarely just blatantly order things like cheeseburgers.  MAYBE any cheeseburger would have been amazing but for that night,  I believe it had to be the best in the world. THEN Randy ordered Root Bear Bread Pudding.  I am not a big fan of bread pudding but if Randy wanted to drive to Arcadia just to order this.. I would be in the car waiting and seat belted in without a thought. Some of the souvineers I bought from there were BACON soda and so DUH. Funny and interesting place .

We spent the night in OKC . Dino the famous piano player was checking in at the same time.  Randy didnt recognize him at first and mistook him for the valet. oops. :)
If you wondered this isnt a Motel 6  and yes, I picked it out. :) 

On the way home we took a little jog off the path to Muskogee Ok home of the  Renaissance fair.  That was a real treat.  Addam, Josie and Geneviette met us there.  The music was breathtaking and relaxing and calming and invigorating  - yes  - all at one time . I finally rode a horse drawn carriage . Instead of riding under the moon light with romantic music softly playing it was through a street where jestors and " freakish" type people were roaming.  Pardon me for the use of the term freak but I dont know how else to describe that costumes that we saw. They ranged from a full cat, to a pirate to a devilish looking team with knots, horn-type nodules sticking out of their forehead.  AND.. there were MANY MANY.. that had much more revealing cleavage than I had or have ever had.

It was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time. This was date # 5 in my year of dates planned by Randy.  We got our kicks on Route 66.

Where the Wild Things Are

My favorite book as a child was " Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak . He wrote it in 1963 . I was born three years later in 1966.  I can remember really loving this book in the 5th grade ( I think) . Why I think it was the 5th grade is I remember the library was upstairs and very dark and Woodruff school is the only school ( other than my highschool ) that had two stories.  The librarian even had a little film strip of the book. I remember sitting on the floor in a small group of kinds and watching the story strip.  The library had a distinct smell  - a cross between old books and the yummy cinnamon rolls cooking in the cafeteria downstairs.

 What I find alarming is this is listed as a picture book and just the fact that I discovered it in the 5th grade really points out how much more advanced readers children are today. If I handed a 5th grader a book about a boys imaginary friends and it was a picture book he would probably laugh out loud.  Another interesting note about the book is for a while the book was banned from libraries for being TOO SCARY.

If you've never heard the story , here is a description  of the book from Amazon.

The Story

However, after more the 50 years, what keeps Where the Wild Things Are popular is not the impact of the book on the field of children's literature, it is the impact of the story and the illustrations on young readers. The plot of the book is based on the fantasy (and real) consequences of a little boy's mischief. One night Max dresses up in his wolf suit and does all kinds of things he shouldn't, like chasing the dog with a fork. His mother scolds him and calls him a "WILD THING!" Max is so mad he shouts back, "I'LL EAT YOU UP!" As a result, his mother sends him to his bedroom without any supper.
Max's imagination transforms his bedroom into an extraordinary setting, with a forest and an ocean and a little boat that Max sails in until he comes to a land full of "wild things." Although they look and sound very fierce, Max is able to tame them with a single glance. They all realize Max is "..the most wild thing of all" and make him their king. Max and the wild things have a fine time creating a rumpus until Max begins to want to be "…where someone loved him best of all." Max's fantasy ends when he smells his dinner. Despite the wild things' protests, Max sails back to his own room where he finds his supper waiting for him.

Im not sure why I love this story so much.  The little boy in the story is dealing with all the feelings that kids do even today.  Being rebellious and angry, wanting to be in control yet not  having the emotional tools to do it.   When all is said and done  he just wants to be loved by someone that loves him back. 
There is probably an adult life lesson in there somewhere.  
I like to be in control.
I do get a little rebellious at time.
And.. I like to be loved and the comfort of knowing that no matter what I will always be loved.
And, coming home and finding supper waiting isnt too bad either. 

I havent seem the movie but I think I will put that on my bucket list for the summer - watch " Where the Wild Things Are"