Sunday, August 31, 2008

Road Trip --- treadmill???!!!!!!!

OK, what about road trip and treadmill are synonymous?  How about.. nothing.   More about that later, lets start from the beginning.

Danielle and I left Siloam Saturday morning for Bill Halls wedding in Richardson , Texas.  The day started out pretty early-  ohhh about 5:30.  For some reason I woke up super early .  Danielle, as usual, fell asleep on the couch and she was not real happy about my early rising.  Randy got up when I did and we tried to keep our conversations quiet. I think at one point Danielle said " I want to cut my ear drums out, could ya'll please be quiet? "  :)   Isn't it good to get in a great routine and have your grown kids return home to be offended by your maturity?

After Danielle took what seemed HOURS to wash, dry, straighten and straighten and STRAIGHTEN her hair - we left.

She was appalled to find out when we put our bags in the car that we both had zebra print overnight bags.  I mean, the apple ( or animal print in this case ) doesn't fall far from the tree.   She said we are WAY TOO OLD to have matching anything as mother and daughter.  Oh well... too late. I think it is fitting for our last road trip as mother and daughter ( not married ) be REALLY clique.

The trip was 4:19 by our GPS.   We had fun.  Here are my highlights / tips.

1.  When you go to Sonic and usually say keep the change ( meaning SILVER STUFF ) make sure you dont say " keep the change" until AFTER the has handed you the paper stuff. If you dont she will smile  - say ARE YOU SURE_ THANK YOU- and walk away.  

2.  Traveling with an older man on diuretics all summer may make you tend to stop a lot to use the restroom.   Was it that 5.00 diet coke?  Am I getting old?  Have I trained my bladder?

3.   Zebra print dresses are not for BIG GIRLS.

4.  I wonder  why Randy asked me two times do I like the color of our bathroom?  hmm. I am scared.

5.   Africans wear mumu's not Indians.  ( I bought my Halloween costume, much to Danielle's dismay.)

6.  Sam Moon is overwhelming.

7. IKEA is over whelming.

8. You can eat a chicken sandwich at ChickFilA for 3 fat grams.  I am so sad I didnt see the cow.  " Danielle, is all they have here is chicken?". Mom.. here's your sign.

So, here I sit out of the shower from my workout. Yes, workout.  Danielle was determined to work out this morning with me.  Since it is out LAST HOOPLA - I did.  I seriously was thinking that I had enough of a workout from the room to the car to get my tennis shoes. ( WHY DID I BRING THEM ANYWAY???)   I mean, I did have to stand UP to put them on.  My heart rate was up!  Anyway, I walked on the treadmill.  There was a guy on there that had ESPN on the TV. He was very nice. He said " You can change the channel if you want."   Yeah...I can barely breathe and walk there is NO WAY I can do all that AND reach across for the remote.

OK... I feel skinny now.  Wonder what we will do today.  Wedding at 7 pm.

Friday, August 29, 2008

One reason I like my job

One reason I love my job is just talking to the children.

Little Girl at the table : I farted
Ms Debbie : That doesn't sound nice, just say excuse me.
Little Boy : My daddy farts really loud because he is so TALL.

( Ms Debbie just laughs on the inside and decides to walk away.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

3 D Art

Today we talked about 3 D art. It doesn't matter if you have all the materials in the world for children it to create with, if they don't know what to do with them- they are just materials in a closet. We have many art materials such as watercolors, paints, markers, glue, scissors but we also have what we call " beautiful junk." Children have to use creativity and a little different thinking process to be able to make a stick stand up in an ice cream dish .

Can you glue it ? Do you tape it? What about modeling clay? Today we took all our junk and created " stuff". I think it got the energy for making sculptures from " junk" in high gear. Some of the children sat at the table for an hour. They made some pretty creative stuff. All our 3 D Art is displayed on the shelf above the block center.

Hmm... what do we do with all this STUFF???


A peek inside our JUNK barrel

Another COOL creation ( I helped on this one. I showed them how sometimes you can't glue it, it has to be taped. )

LOOK! It's a DUSTER... wonder if he will do my livingroom?

And if all else fails, 3 D Art is definately 3 D if it protrudes from the body, right?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chickens or Children

The children are finally laying down and I can begin to process some information that I received this morning that is really disturbing me. The NWA Times reported this morning about a classroom in Fayetteville , AR basically having a cock fight every day - only instead of chickens they used children. Can you even believe that? This is what the article said.

FAYETTEVILLE : 2 accused of setting up church day-care fights

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2008


FAYETTEVILLE — Two teachers lost their jobs at the Central United Methodist Church day care after state and local officials started investigating reports that preschoolers were being made to fight.

Fayetteville police Sgt. John Warren said the investigation was launched Thursday after a parent reported teachers forcing 3- and 4-year-old students to fight during “circle time.”

The kids had to fight while the rest of the class watched, and the teachers told them not to tell their parents, Warren said.

“Some parents said their children were bruised during the fights, and we’re in the process of setting up interviews with at least some of the 18 kids [in the class ]” he said. “It’s going to take a while to sort it all out.”

The teachers could face charges of endangering the welfare of minors if the allegations are true, Warren said.

Officials declined to release the teachers’ names.

Julie Munsell, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said the fighting is said to have involved punching, kicking and pushing as part of “a game,” and that the department is investigating under terms of the church’s child-care license.

“The [church ] has already taken corrective action by terminating the teachers, but we’ll need to determine whether management knew about the alleged activity or whether it was isolated to the staff,” Munsell said.

Church administrator Brian Swain said the two teachers were “no longer employed” as of Friday and that the church is reaching out to families to help in any way it can.

“We’re communicating with parents and trying very hard to earn their trust back,” Swain said. “No one wants to sweep anything under the rug, for sure. We feel like we’ve resolved the main problem, but we’ll continue to reach out to parents and provide them any help or counseling or whatever they need.”

He said church officials don’t know why the teachers, who worked with students who attended the center every day, may have acted the way they did.

“That’s the big question,” he said. “The kids told one story, while the teachers told another, but ultimately the investigation will have to determine that.”

The church’s day-care center has been in operation for 30 years, he said. Last week, the center moved to a new facility next to the church, but the investigation put a blemish on the move, he said.

The church in looking at other measures, such as more training for teachers and installing cameras in the classrooms.

Munsell said if the teachers want to work in child care in Arkansas again, they’ll have to comply with corrective action decided on by the Human Services Department.

Two teachers lost their jobs? Seriously? Don't we put people in jail for cock fights? And.. these two teachers lost their job? Perhaps we should put them in a ring and let them fight it out. I am sure all the parents would gather around to watch and cheer them on.

How does a person / teacher decide , I think we will let the children fight until someone cries?

The grandson of a friend of mine went to this classroom. She is a childcare professional and talked to him this morning. I thought her question was head on and the little boys answer makes me sad. grandson told me all about it and about how he always won. I asked him if it made him sad when the other child cried and he said Ms. ____ told him it was okay that's how you play the game. Dhs interviewed the class individually and they all told the same story.....

So sad. I dont even know how to address this. SURELY things like this dont happen often. Then we wonder why parents dont trust...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mrs. Wishy Washy

Since we are a quality accredited preschool we have certain guidelines that we meet over and above the norm.  One area that is stressed  is HANDWASHING.  We wash our hands when we come in, we wash our hands before and after we play in the water, we wash our hands after we use the restroom , we wash our hands before and after playing in the moon sand. We wash our hands any time we come in from outside.  We wash our hands if we sneeze or PICK OUR
 NOSE !  ( Who does that anyway, and does it count if the do an oral wash?  )We wash our hands before and after eating.     We wash our hands over and over and over again. I know the reason for it all.  GERMS! Yeah yeah yeah...  When I was a kid I ate dirt and I turned out to be ok. I guess. Maybe I should get a second opinion.   Have you ever tried to teach 16 preschoolers when to wash their hands?  At this point you might as well SKIP the whys and just get the process down so it is a habit.  
Today Mrs. Wishy Washy visited our preschool. She read the book " Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm" . She had on an apron and a gray wig and a cute little rag tied up on her head.   She used props to tell the story.  After reading the story Mrs. Wishy Washy progressed to talk to the kids about when we should wash our hands.  She took baby powder and put it on her hands to show them how germs move from one place to another.  She took all 16 children in the bathroom to SHOW them how to wash their hands.  FIRST you get your hands wet. THEN you add antibacterial soap.  NEXT you wishy washy wishy washy  to make bubbles and rub your hands together under the warm water as you count to ten.   The LAST thing you do ( as you drip water from the sink to the paper towel dispenser ) is get one ( NOT SEVEN ) paper towel and dry your hands.  Here's the tricky part.  DONT touch anything if you are on your way to the table or we start back over again.
I have said this so many times today that I am pretty sure I will count to ten  each time I wash my own hands.   Another provider lost points on hand washing when the inspector said that she left the restroom without washing her hands.  Seriously. This provider says now she plans to sing a washing song LOUDLY to make sure EVERYONE knows she is using good hygiene herself. To make our process easier we installed a motion sensored sink.  The children don't have to turn on the water only stick their hands underneath and MOVE.   I have gotten so accustomed to the automatic water that I find myself standing like a dummy in public restrooms rubbing my hands and waiting for the water to come on - when it isnt automatic.  If you see me doing this , please snap your fingers and remind me I need to turn the little knob to make the water run.  
We are only in our 4th day of school but the children are doing a pretty good job and remembering when to wash their hands.  
Mrs. Wishy Washy had another great day in preschool today and has the CLEANEST hands in Arkansas!  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Singing in Church

I was the " special music" in church today. I am not sure how special I am but I do know that no matter how many times I do it, it doesn't get any easier.  

Before time for me to sing the melodies to all the other songs we have sung are going through my head and I am thinking - do I know my song?

My throat gets dry and I can't seem to get a good breath.

The sanctuary gets VERY Hot... is it  me being scared, is it  the thermostat or am I already getting those " hot flashes"?  

And.. why didnt I go pee before I went in?


Why is it so packed this Sunday?  ( I mean, that is a good thing..I guess)

I feel the URGE to raise my hand when I sing - STOP-- HOLD THE TRAIN .

Is my hair big enough  ?   :)

Will people really understand that I am singing for God? I honestly do hear a lot that I sing well. Thanks.  But one thing from my past just replays OVER AND OVER in my head.  When I was about 20 we had a singspiration-  ( anyone can get up and sing.)  A lady that I adore and respect got up to sing .  Her voice isn't trained and not one that you would normally hear as a solo.   She has had many tragedies in her life and you can hear it through her song. After her   it was my turn.  I got through it.   I dont even remember what I sung.   Why ? After I sung the pastor got up and said " I would rather hear someone that isnt' a great singer sing from the heart than someone that sings with an amazing voice PERFORM.".   Hmmm.... Ok.  Was he talking about me?  Just because a person does sing well, does it mean they DONT sing from the heart?  I didnt sing for a long time after that. Was I being a baby? Was I wearing my heart on my sleeve?  No. I really wanted to look at my own heart and why I sing.   

I do sing for Jesus.  Music has a way of touching my heart in the most tender part and not letting go. Before I sing I pray and ask that God to use my song to speak to someone. It might just be one person out of the 400 in the service but even so, it is not a performance it is a message.  From God, through me.. to someone.  

I pray that I can always be a vessel.  I pray that God can use my voice to speak to someone and that I will never be caught performing, only worshipping.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you-- I, whom you have redeemed.  Psalm 71:23

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It seems like yesterday

This morning I left my huge list of "to do's " on the table and headed to Danielle's apt.   I was a little apprehensive about being there today.    I knew she would be excited and I would be... well.. not so excited. Today my baby, Danielle , had her wedding portraits taken at Old Main on the U of A campus.   As a mom, so many things go on in your head.   Is she making the right decision?  What if she isn't?  What if it rains and ruins her dress? What does she think about all the sorority girls along the side walk cheering her on and wishing her well? It seems like yesterday that she was one of those girls.   

It seems like yesterday that Danielle was a preschooler and hanging out with me all day. She would wear her crown and her red cowboy boots and always wanted to be the line leader.   She always had HUGE bows in her hair that matched her outfit perfectly.   My little princess.  

It seems like yesterday that Danielle tried out for the  junior high cheerleading squad and made it.  How many football games did we go to? Randy would laugh at me because I never watched the actual games. I am not a sports fan, but I do love to watch the cheerleaders.  Especially when Danielle was one of them.

It seems like yesterday that Danielle would spend hours working on her "platform" of bullies in school. I was so proud of her when she returned to the school that the girls tormented her.  There she stood in front of the school looking like America's Top Model and explaining how being bullied can hurt you and how it isn't always the kids that look different that get picked on, it is the cheerleader or the popular kids.   She talked about how she felt and how it made her a better person and a stronger individual. I watched as a girl came up to her afterward and tears flowed from both their eyes and Danielle assured her that " it will get better.. to keep your chin up and know you are worth something."  Then there was that whole AETN special she did about bullying.  Wow.... such a role model and she didn't even know it.

It seems like yesterday that I packed Danielle off to college . I knew she would experience things that I really didn't need to hear about - although facebook pretty much tells all.   This was Danielle's first experience away from home and let's just say - she took full advantage of it.  There need be no talk of sowing wild oats. Danielle was  a farmer of " wild oats."  I am sure all the good and bad experiences led her to where she is now.

It seems like yesterday Danielle packed up again and moved it Honolulu to take care of GG, her niece- my grand-daughter.  I remember her calling me one day crying and saying " I am NOT ready to be a mom. I can't do this . I am NOT her mother."  I think GG and Danielle had a bad day simultaneously and wow... I called Addam and said " You should probably go home and rescue Danielle now." He did and they all lived to tell about it. I think Hawaii Danielle had enough down time to make peace with herself and what she wants out of life.

Today as I watched Danielle it was hard not to beg  her to stop and just be my little girl for a while longer.  

It seems like yesterday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

" Ms Debbie, you look tired"

So, I made it to the end of our first week. Ahhh... Everyone take a deep breath and say ahhhhh with me. Even really great days can be exhausting. Actually GREAT days should probably be more exhausting than days that turn out bad. KNow why ? Great days means I am MOVING and PLAYING.... One of the new moms came in yesterday and said " Ms Debbie, you look tired." It really bothered me that she had that observation on day 2 of school. So, I reflected. Was I really , really tired? Or, maybe it was that I didnt put on that heavy eye liner I usually wear. That tends to make my eyes look different. Or, maybe it was that my jean capris had a hole ALL THE WA Y DOWN THE POCKET that went unnoticed until I stopped in at the neighbors to ask them to go out to eat with us and Keith pointed it out. Seriously, it looks like if I have a huge hole large enough to hide one of the children in someone tell me to go change clothes. Also , why was the neighbor man checking out my rear and my  husband didnt notice all day.   And... lastly, how did I miss this hole when I got dressed? So... we are back to " Ms Debbie, you look tired." Maybe... just maybe.. I was. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is "good " care for preschoolers?

I am somewhat leery of posting this. I mean, what if the things I post , and the things I believe in, don't really mesh with what I do every day. Oh well.. I just finished an amazing book about play. How kids learn through play. I mean, I say it all the time. I know what it means and sometimes all I can muster in how to explain it is--well, they play and we interact with them using language extenders like" which is longer", "Pass me the BLUE ball" and lots of open ended questions . This book not only made me want to be like "Miss Mary" but gave me good solid truths about what makes a great place for a child that will help them excel not only physically and developmentally but academically as well ... all through play. So, what makes a good place and how am I stacking up? Number one you cannot choose a place just by their name or affiliation. For example, just because a facility has "preschool " in it's name does not make it a better place to be. I have heard of " Christian" daycares that are far from what one might expect. I mean, saying a blessing over the food at lunch does not make a Christian setting. Montessori is a philosophy and it cannot be bought at a store. Sure, you can buy the materials suggested but what is going on in each room? The name of my facility is Bright Beginnings. I opened this when I had made a change in my life so it was more a reflection of me than anything else. Don't judge a book by it's cover - or title. Go inside... check it out. You must choose a place based on what is best for your child. Preschool children need a place whose philosophy is age appropriate and based on what is best for children. Sure, it sometimes it might be best for me to throw a worksheet down in front of a child and ask them to set for 20 minutes while I start dinner or answer a phone call but is it best for children?  

According to this awesome book I just read here are somethings you should look for. It is noisy, the children are engaged in play and the teachers are interacting with them. There is children's art decorating the walls - not 20 apples that all look the same because the teacher cut them out and helped paste them together. REAL children's art isn't perfect . There are tables with engaging activities on them... not worksheets. There are children inside and outside. There are no time out chairs. There are no computers You will hear laughter and singing and see smiling faces . There will be toys, equipment and readily available materials. It will smell nice. It will not be overwhelmingly cute. You will see real emotions, even good kids have bad days. But you will see teachers consoling and comforting. There will be people there that enjoy their job you can see it in their faces. They have created an environment that a child can get lost in the curiosity and spend their days surrounded by wonder and discovery . Your heart will be happy, your breathing will be calm and your mind will be at ease. You will know you have found a happy place. " When children are in environments that provide enough time each day for creating. moving, singing, discussing, observing, reading and playing they are able to engage in experiences that are strengthening the foundation that will prepare them for school. These are the preschools that are strengthening the foundation that supports the house of higher learning. The play-based programs are the ones that are " getting them ready" - not the ones with homework, computers and worksheets. Preschool is not the time nature set aside as a boot-camp for kindergarten. Right now children need to be creating, moving , singing, discussing, observing , reading and playing. The author also said " adults suffer from childhood amnesia". Have we all forgotten what it is like to be a child. I have heard it said - well, when I went to school we didn't play, we went to learn and we did just that. " well, most likely when you went to school ( or your mother who gives you advice) kids didn't enter formal education until they were 6 or 7. These kiddos in preschool are 3 and 4 . Give them a break. Let them... be little. Ok.. off my soap box. This is an AMAZING book. It is called " Play" by Lisa Murphy. She is my new hero.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Day of Preschool

I can't even begin to tell you what a wonderful year I think this will be. So many of my students are returning from last year. Today when I opened the door , it was as though we had not been gone for three months. I saw little ones that were " clingers" last year walk in and go straight upstairs to the bathroom to wash their little hands- eager to play. As a teacher, I can't tell you how GOOD that makes me feel. They feel like this is their home. The love us. They feel comfortable here. Wow... what a great feeling it is.

Today we spent a lot of time just getting to know each other and exploring all the materials that we have available. It was funny to hear the veterans saying -" Yes, you can use scissors, Ms Debbie leaves them out all the time." or " did you hear the bell, that means we clean up and we can go sing." My little guys from last year are my leaders this year. I smile as I say that realizing that is the goal of preschool - to create independent, confident short people ready to conquer the world and be successful in school. What creates confidence in children? Glad you asked. Acceptance! Show them you love them , that they are not just fixtures in your room. Be interested in what they say and do. Build Success- Dont set a child up for failure! Give them tasks that are age appropriate and allow them to be successful. Example: I dont expect a 3 year old to sit and watch me throw flashcards at lightening speed to name things like A is for Apple. Why do that when that 3 year old would rather cut the apple and eat it, or paint with it or toss it? As she is doing something more appropriate , I can talk to her in conversation that the word Apple starts with A.. maybe. Set Routines. Children love knowing what to expect. Have you ever said " I can do anything as long as I know what to expect."? Kids are the same way. They thrive on routine. Today was a classic example of that as my returning children dropped right back into our old schedule like it was yesterday. Routines make children feel safe.

Ok, I will jump off my soap box for now and share with you how we learned today.

We played in the moon sand.

We talked to Randy on our phones.

We played Dress up.

We danced and sang to Debbie and Randy's CD. You would think they would get tired of it.
We created in the art center. Gavin is working on a large piece of styrofoam.

Our back to school theme is " Dive into preschool". These is a large basket of shells. The children used a magnifying glass to explore them. As children wandered to the basket we talking about large and small, smooth and course. We sorted. One little boy said he found one shaped like a tornado. We counted.

We sorted Nemo fruit snacks.

Here's one little boy showing me his "tornado" shell.

Same little boy bowling on the porch.

I can only hope tomorrow will be as good as today. Of course, most of our days turn out to be exactly what we expect them to be!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Open House

After a half day training I was able to tie up loose ends to get ready for open house tonight. I am SUPER excited. Our Open House went well. We have 10 children returning and two of the new children are siblings from former families , so all indicators point to a wonderful year for Bright Beginnings. It was so heart warming to see the kids come in totally relaxed in a home setting that they know they are loved in - Their " home away from home". It was great to hear the parents talking saying how comfortable there were here. One thing in particular just touched my heart. This is the time of year that many kids get updated shot records. One of our little ones went today . His mom said she carried him into the office kicking and screaming. She said as soon as Adam got his immunization he looked at her and said " Can I go back to Debbie and Randy's now?" That just melted me. ( I mean, I am an emotional mess right now from exhaustion, it wouldnt take much for me to have a small breakdown.) I dont think I would get a shot to hang out with me. Thanks Adam for making me feel like I might be a little like " Miss Mary." Anywho--- I wanted to share some pictures of our playspace and thought tonight might be a good time!

This is the view off the side of my porch looking into the play area. There is still another white picket fence area around the whole house. The children are allowed to run and play in the grassy area. Many days children can be caught under that arbor reading to each other and telling secrets. Beyond the white fence area you see is out main play area.
This is another view of the play area. The green building is a play house. I love this time of year when the trees create a canopy over the play area.
This is looking inside one of my play rooms. You can see my science center and my writing center. You can see my alone space - the open block. During circle time ( 10 minutes ) we pull the alone space to the side and the children sit on the carpet.
This is our cozy chair for reading and cuddling.
This is a magnetic board I made from an old picture. I use it for my magnetic stories.
This is a view inside my living room , which the children go into as well. Not as often but it isnt off limits.
This is my front porch.
This is a view inside my dramatic play center. We have one whole room that is nothing but imaginative play.
Another view.
And, another.
Science Center
Writing Center
View across downstairs playroom. You can see a loft with an art center under it.
Cubbies ! See the little visitor peeking out? Each child had one waiting on them at open house.
Parent Center and ABC center.
Art Center


All that is missing is the children. There are other areas that I didnt upload - like the water table and the music center. I will add those another time. So, tomorrow will be here before I know it. I better get in bed so I will be ready to run. Oh... did I mention how excited I am? !!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Front Porches The Day Before THEY come back!

Here I sit on my my porch.  SO much to do today... so much. 

  I pretty much finished the playrooms inside last night.  ( Well, bar the cassette and CD racks that Randy is still putting up.   See.. I have decided he has ADD.  He is organizing them before he hangs the rack.  Organizing is good when you arent on a deadline and have too many things to do before THEY come back. But I dont find it too snazzy right now.  )  Anyway , the rooms are ready. I even put fresh paint in the paint tins and brand new markers on the art table.   I know, it all sounds easy but there are over 100 "must have" items that have to find a home.  Maybe trying to paint one of the playrooms after our hectic summer schedule was too much .  But it is done now and it looks good.  

So... here I sit on my front porch....

Today I move to the outside.  I will put a fresh coat of paint on the playhouse.  Wash all the toys that have sat untouched all summer, fill the sand  and water table, buy some new " learning equipment" ( aka --TOYS!) and put new ground cover down .   I have a busy day planned.   I need to get all that completed before 6 pm when I get to meet THEM at the park for a play date.   

As I sit on the porch and drink my cream with a little coffee...

 I watch the kids get on the school bus.   Isn't it cool how around 5 - 10 they are still excited about getting on that big yellow bus?   Somehow that joy diminishes as they get older.   I watch the neighbors get their two daughters off the school for the first day this year.   It was cute to watch them take pictures on their front porch - grinning and hoping no one saw them.   One of my kid kids from last year drove by on his way to kindergarten . His dad saw me and honked.  I said  a little prayer for him. I hope he has a good day.   The traffic is picking up and cars are filing by with anxious and excited children headed back to school with a clean slate -  ready to start a new year.

Here I sit on my front porch.

The " THEY " I am referring to is my  preschoolers.  I am so excited for school to start back on Wednesday.  I have 11 returning so I expect this will be a wonderful year.  As  I sit and reflect the weeds are growing in my flower beds that I want " just perfect " for my kids- so I better get off my porch and get busy. Wednesday will be here before you know it.  

 I think  I will sit on my front porch a few more minutes and hope one of my kids comes by.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I wanna be like Ms Mary !

I was in trainings all day today.  For the most part it was repeat information.  Most of it was not unbearable although during one presentation the thought crossed my mind that I would rather be eating live snakes!  ugh..  That was bad, I know. Sorry.  But please, if you want to use a power point make it interesting. I can read ! If that is all you plan to do, give it to me and send me on my way .


In one of my meetings I won a book. Even thought I didn't sleep well in the hotel last night and had a long drive home I picked it up and I am in love!  This new book is wonderful!  It is called " play" by Lisa Murphy.   I passionately believe that children learn through play. I get so tired of explaining why we don't use worksheets or hear a kindergarten teacher say - I need  you to get them ready for me ! Teach them their letters, how to stand in line, carry their lunch tray and oh yeah.. don't forget their addresses and phone numbers.  

From the introduction in this book, I was reminded that I want to be like Ms Mary.  Here is an excerpt.

" She opened the door and stepped out onto the porch.  She was Miss Mary. My new teacher- my first teacher.   She smiled as I scampered up the walkway to the front door. She bent down on my level and looked right at me . " Come on in." she said " Let me show you what we do here."  She took my hand and we walked through the front door and into the world she created in that old house So many things to do and see were waiting there just for me!  ......

She goes on to describe the things in her first day of school. The red checkered table cloth, the backyard complete with mudpies and then snack.  Her favorite snack was unusual - pepperjack cheese.  Guess what Ms Mary served that day!  You guessed it - PEPPER JACK CHEESE !  Ms Mary had called her mom  to find out what her favorite snack was.  She said " A Two minute phone call that made a life long impact!"

"  Many  teachers become teachers because of a teacher they had.   At some point in their educational experience they were blessed with someone who took some extra time, went  that extra mile, offered support and encouragement and did something that made a life long impact.

Remember this and take it to heart.  NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPACT OF WHAT YOU DO!" At any give moment of any given day you could make a lasting impressing on someone. You could be the facilitating a crystallizing moment!  YOU could be their Miss Mary ! YOU could be their pepper jack cheese!

I became a teacher because of Miss Mary. The precious time I was able to spend in the magical place she had created is what inspired me to become what I am today. I , too, wanted a school in an old house with a huge yard where I could give back what I got during my mornings with Miss Mary.

As I grew up, I vowed to someday create a place for children where they could explore, create and simply be. Not be " getting ready" for something, not " hurried up",  not be forced or pressured to develop past their years.   But simply... be. " 

Isn't this book great?  The other day on the MSN homepage they had an article called "too sexy too soon?"  Do we really wonder why?  We want to potty train babies at 9 months, have them reading by 3 and reciting states and capitals by 5.  Can't they just enjoy being kids and learn the things that kids learn through play?  

I wanna be like Ms Mary.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

This time last year

One of the things I love about blogging is I can go back to see what I was thinking at any given time of the year.  I decided to go back and see how I felt this time last year.  This is what I found:

Ok. Let s start with preschool. Today is the 7th day and I think maybe I need to see if Wal-Mart or Mickey D's has openings. I am exhausted.   It is really tough getting 13 brand-new preschoolers to get in a routine and be social (In a nice way) with friends.   I mean, we have went through about three trees worth of toilet paper, a gallon of glue already, and the sand… where is it going? Do they eat it?  Thankfully I love my job! There are just days that it is like trying to tack jello to a wall.

The really wonderful thing about that post is- this year I have 11 of those children RETURNING so we are all already friends.  Two more of my new children are siblings!  I predict this year to be one of our best yet.  Is it time yet??!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Silver Dollar City

Randy and I decided that today would be the day that we take Geneviette, the granddaughter , to Silver Dollar City in Branson , MO. We had another motive to get there this week. The childrens' festival ends soon and we wanted to see the kids shows hoping they spark something for our concert tour next summer. We went through a storm on our way but it was clear when we got there. We had told GG she could ride a train. She thought the parking trolley was the train and LOVED it. We could have driven two hours back home and she would have been satisfied. Maybe we should have..... Silver Dollar City has a mommy blog to give hints and advice for moms that are planning a visit. They should have me as a guest writer.

1. If you bring a bag to carry small things - remember the key should be small. The bag will get heavier as the day rolls on.

2. Rent a stroller. ( That was the BEST idea we had all day. ) Make sure the bag you bring has long enough handles to hang on the stroller.

3. If you RUSH to get to the first train ride. Make sure your hubby goes TT BEFORE getting in line. If not, you may miss that ride.

4. When taking a 2 year old through a cool toy store , before leaving check her stroller for stolen objects. YIKES!

5. Bring an umbrella if the rain chances are "scattered showers" that may be translated into Torential down pours! ( Not good for a girl with BIG hair and LOTS of hairspray!)

6. If you are sitting in a show and your grand daughter is sitting on your lap and you feel a warm sensation running down your legs. Be scared. ( Also, Great thing you packed HER three outfits and you none.)

7. Make sure you look at the calendar and come on a day when all the kiddie rides, the magician AND the animals are ALL there and working.

8. If you just started a diet AGAIN. maybe you should SKIP THE CANDY FACTORY!

9. But above all make sure your child or BEAUTIFUL grand child has a great time and feels like a princess and her smile will make it all worthwhile.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Today I Must Clean

We have been home since Wednesday and I still haven't gotten the motivation to get all our " stuff" put away and clean house.  If I had a good way to describe my house right now ( I mean rather than just saying it is a PIT) I would say PILES. There are PILES in every corner.  From where I sit right now I see piles of mailbox magazines ( LOVE THOSE) , scrapbooks, guitars, clean- folded clothes, paperwork ( ugh) jewelry that I have worn the last few days ( wierd I know, but my room is also a pit so I placed them here in the living room) , mail.. the list goes on and on.  I have decided that today is the day I am planning to purge.  I went out to eat with Danielle last night to meet her mother in law to be and I made a comment that my house was AWFUL  . Danielle replied no offense mom, but you could clean all day, have it spotless and it still wouldnt look clean, you have too much stuff? What!!?!?!? Too much STUFF! But  I LOVE my stuff. I even added to it a little on the trip.  Just like in my later years  I discovered that I was attracted to older men, I have discovered that I love bright eclectic things in my home.   I have the playrooms at the back of the house , my kitchen is yellow, my dining room is red... you get the picture is a very colorful home.  So today this is my mission.

I will PURGE. 

I will PURGE.

I will develop a sense of style and organization in my home.

I am starting at the front of the house and DEpiling my home.  The scrapbooks are going in the memory closet ( Yes it is an actual closet for my memories, I will blog about it one day.)  Everything will find it's special spot.  I will evaluate do I REALLY NEED it and does it say what I want it to say.   For instance, I on our trip I bought a cute box that has rolled magazine pages all over it.  It is AWESOME.  It doesnt really go with my other stuff. So, I will find a spot for it or I will take away everything else that makes it seem like it doesnt fit.  (  Now, that sounds crazy!)  I am going to get a large cardboard box and just start taking things away.  How dare Danielle say my house doesnt look clean! I will show her. 

I wish I could get rid of this ugly flowered couch that was Randys mothers. I mean, people save bibles- but couches?  

I think it would look better too if I ditched the drapes and let the sun shine in.

Nobody really looks under the chairs anyway, right?

Maybe I need to call the girl that helps me clean my house.

Ugh... I better get busy.