Tuesday, September 30, 2008

School and Life

I have been thinking all day that I need to blog. I haven't in a while and I would probably just feel better.   I have had this struggle though.   This started out as a personal blog during the summer when Randy and I were traveling doing music.  Now that school has started it is more about preschool than anything.   So, what direction do I take ? I have friends that read and like to hear about my life, lack of one, or just the craziness that has party's in my head at times. Then I have teacher friends that I know read to network classroom ideas and fun.   Is this personal or business or both?  

I guess tonight will be both.

I am so anxious tonight.  Danielle called and asked would I still be up at 9:30 when she gets off work that she and Justin want to talk to me.   What in the world couldn't wait until tomorrow?  She cant be pregnant. He has only been home less than a week. I mean, I guess theoretically she could be , but that isnt it.   My heart tells me she is going to ask me how I feel about her going back to Hawaii with him and foregoing the wedding in December. I mean, I think they would still get married right away.  My heart says they want to elope. I might be totally wrong. Why did she even call me to get this all stirred up. Why didnt she just show up tonight?   If that is what she wants- how do I feel about this?  How do I feel that the daughter that I have raised to play princess  will not have the fairytale wedding?Am I hurt ? Am I glad I will save some money?   Will she regret it later?   So many questions. I am trying to settle this in my head before she gets here.   Funny thing. She may walk in and say " Can I use your car next week?" 

Cant they just be four again?

Speaking of fours.  This week has been pretty productive.   I think as you get older you become more seasoned and it all makes sense. I do not believe in flash  card / rote teaching for this age group.  Since school started we have been writing a morning message. Today is..... I am pretty sure they can read Today and is as isolated words  now.  So.... why not make up a list of small sight words that I manage to use in my morning messages for a few weeks at a time. They learn to "read" them in that context.  We get to the end of the year and we have learned 20 -25 sight words.  Yeah.....  Now, I am getting it.  It is possible to stay true to my beliefs on how I feel preschoolers should be taught but reach the academic goals that schools and parents like to see us attain.  

Ok, two more hours before Danielle is here with whatever news she has to tell me that is making me ill at the moment.  

Oh yeah, the engagement party. I think it went well. I cleaned and cleaned the house.  As Danielle likes to say- your house isnt dirty you just have too much stuff.  So, I destuffed and moved and got on my hands and knees and scrubbed.  The house was looking and smelling great.   I decorated the outside for fall. Randy brought the fire pit to the front.   I had tables set up for food and even had calla lillies ( the flower she has picked for her wedding) for decor.  As everyone arrived somethings became very clear.

1. I have some very good friends and family.
2.  I might like Justin after all, I think we just got a bad start.
3.  Justin's mom and sister blended really well with our family.
4.  Hardly no one came in the house at all...... ugh.  I wasted a lot of time cleaning.
5.  I completely forgot the cheese tray in the fridge.
6.  I think they really love each other and that is all that matters.

Ok.. now back to worrying about tonight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anybody Got a Kleenex ?

What an emotional roller coaster day!

I am cruising along through the day and all is going well. We are getting ready to use shaving cream and mix blue and red food coloring to make purple.

One of my parents stops by. SCREECHING HALT.

One of our little ones went camping over the weekend and was anticipating having a great time. Mom was so excited to tell me about the suppers she had fixed in foil for grilling. It made me want to grab a tent and head for a state park. ( Well, not really. Maybe head to a Embassy Suites and drive to a park to have a picnic! ) Anyway, during their well planned weekend get away the little girl ( three ) stumbled over the fire ring and into the camp fire. She had really bad burns ( third degree maybe ) on her hands, knees and tummy. At this point you say a little prayer for it not being worse. Anyway, she has been to the Tulsa Burn Center and today had surgery. They did skin grafts on her little body. I already had her on my mind all morning.


Mom and Dad bring her by on their way home . Mainly they wanted to let her big brother who was here see her and hug him themselves. I went out to see her too. As we talked to her and about her she held up her little hands all bandaged up and looked at me with those huge eyes and said " hurt". Yep, that was the end of my tough girl act. As I leave and go back in to continue the color mixing experiment I am choking back tears. I explained to the other children why I was sad... we went on with Ms Debbie and tears streaming down her face.

Just as I thought I had pulled myself together, my son , Addam rang in on video chat. I have his baby girl Geneviette ( 3) here for the day. So, I take her in the livingroom and lay the lap top in the floor so they could see each other and talk. For over an hour she sat there. He entertained her. She flipped her hair. He showed her the puppy and she told him she is potty trained now. He told her she was beautiful and she told him about the sheep she saw at the fair with clothes on. Ok... one might think this is a happy occasion. And it is... but seeing it made me cry again. Life isnt fair. I will be glad when Addam is out of the Army so he can be here with Geneviette.

After all this.. Randy and I are talking about how great technology is. Randy has a son that was killed in a car accident in 2001 about two months after I met him. Randy said he vividly remembers talking to Scott on the phone for hours when Scott moved to Georgia with his mom. I bet he wished they had video conferencing then.

Then..I hear Randy in the kitchen. Guess it all got to him too.

What a day.

The picture is of Geneviette talking to her dad. I didnt need a picture, I will never forget it.

The video is one the kids made yesterday for Clara.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today was blue day. We got partners and walked to the park . Along the way we saw many things. Pretty ducks walking across the bridge.Randy found a fuzzy caterpillar.
Ring around the Rosie...

blue fun

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Color Week

This week we are having color week.

Look I made a U.

Red day!

Orange glasses.

An orange smile.

Monday, September 15, 2008

DAP - Let's bridge the gap!

I got a call from one of my moms from last year this afternoon. She was concerned that her sons kindergarten teacher said that her son " needs to color in the lines." Her reply to the teacher was " My son had the best preschool teacher ever. If she taught through 12th grade my kids would still be there. She didn't make a big deal about coloring in the lines in preschool. She let them be creative and never used worksheets." ( Thanks mom, for being my cheerleader!) The teacher went on to explain that kindergarten teachers prefer the children be "ready" for kindergarten . I have heard kindergarten teachers say various other things as well. Why should Danielle have to color a paper apple red when I handed her one? We talked about what color it was. We weighed it. We told stories about it. We cut it open to see what was inside. We tasted it. We cooked with it. We even painted with it. By the end of the day, Danielle knew the color red but she knew so much more.

Ok... Now I understand there comes a time when a child has to conform. I am not even really that upset with this teacher. I am sure she is under pressure from state standards and 1st grade teachers to get each child to a certain point.

I remember vividly two years ago taking my preschoolers for their tour of the kindergarten in May. As we arrived we were greeted by the new and very nice counselor. He first separated the boys and the girls and told them to get in two lines. ( We don't separate by gender and we don't stand in lines. ) Then came the famous hang ten ( with the fingers ) and put a " bubble in your mouth." What? " Ms Debbie, he wants us to put a bubble in our mouth. You have spent 9 months asking us open ended questions and building our confidence so we will hold intelligent conversations and now he wants us to shut up?" Ok, no one said that, but I know they wanted to. Then we go in the hallway and enter various rooms. We go in the music room. What? We don't do music all day? We don't sing as we put our dishes away or clean up our toys? And.. why aren't the children that are singing smiling and dancing? Wait ! There is my buddy from last year. He is a year older than I am so he went to big school. Aww... He didn't even stop to talk to me. He walked in a line like a robot and had that darn bubble in his mouth. whoa.....

Why is everyone under such pressure to perform?
Why does everyone want our children to grow up so fast?

Why are the same children that leave me at 5 treated differently 2 months later? Do the rules for DAP change with the setting?

Just in case you wondered here is a good description of DAP.

Children are encouraged to learn through activities that are appropriate to their ages and individual stages of development. Kids can usually choose among several activities and can play alone or in small groups, while the whole group often comes together for songs, stories, or other "circle time" activities. Rote learning, worksheets, and early reading are not part of the program (although many reading readiness skills may be learned informally).
Today, kindergartens have become more academic and less just an introduction to the classroom. As a result, many developmental preschools feel parental pressure to "prep" children, and some have added more structured academics for pre-kindergarteners.

I dont know what to say when parents call. I know in my heart I am doing my job exactly the way it should be done but the school system makes me look and feel inadequate. My kids are exactly where they need to be if not ahead. But they leave me happy, accepted, confident and curious.

Well, until someone sits them down for hours, throws papers in front of them and tells them to color in the lines.

Don't ask me to color your green frog. Give me a piece of paper and I will draw one and color it in for you.

Frustrated.... Should I start popping the flash cards and stuffing the cubby with all those worksheets?

Atleast then... people would know I didn't something all day besides play.

Brown Bear , Brown Bear- What do you See?

This week we start a unit on colors. We read about colors, we wear certain colors on color day. Some of the fun activities I have planned are:

1. I took a muffin tin and put color stickers in the bottom of each section. The children use the tin to sort color bears, pom poms ( with strawberry hullers) and anything else they want to sort.

2. We will play color and shape bingo.

3. We will finger paint .

4. We will build with colorful uniifx cubes.

5. We will play go fish with color cards.

6. We will go on a color walk.

7. We will sort and eat skittles.

8. We will make a Brown Bear Brown Bear book to take home. http://www.dltk-teach.com/books/brownbear/index.htm

9.We will make color collages.

10. We will song color songs.


Lyrics Adapted by Tim Christenbury

We will have tons of fun this week with colors !   

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Mask

Today, I have had on " the mask."  Well, pretty much all week I have had it on. That mask that lets everyone see that I am doing just fine when inside I feel all yucky.  I have been trying to figure out  what is causing this general feeling of BLAH but I can't put my finger on it.

Work is going well.  There are some paperwork things that I need to get a grip  on but other than that, I think we are on cue.  If quality showed up tomorrow I think we would pass.  The kids are all getting used to each other and our routine gets a little more defined each day.  The brightest part of the day is listening to the children's conversations. Amelia announced today that she wants to be a teacher  when she grows up.   When a child says that, I usually start to perk my ears up. I mean, I am pretty much the first teacher they have and if they model a teacher it will be me.  What will she say?   What does she hear me say?  Is she nice to her " kids" as she pretends ?   Then there was this whole situation during circle time that I handled all wrong.  The kids have gotten into a habit when I read a book of laughing after each page.  I mean, uncontrollable crazy laughter that goes on and on.   Every page isn't funny... is it?  So, today we talked about reading books.   I explained that every page is not funny and sometimes we just listen to the words and look at the pictures.  So, I start reading.   Not a sound.   Clara says  " it isn't funny , dont laugh!" in a gruff voice.  Did I sound like that?  Then comes a page that is a little funny and they sit.   Clara says"  Can we laugh?"  Oh my.... what have I done.  YES! L AUGH!  This page is funny.... now after every page someone says - " can we laugh?"  Ok, I take the bad teacher of the week award.  ugh...

Then home.  I love GG my grandbaby so much and I wish for her the fairytale life.  I want her to have a mommy and daddy that love her AND each other.  Is it bad to want that?  Each night when I go to bed, I pray for Addam and that a girl will come into his life that will be amazing for him and for Geneviette.   For the longest I have hoped he and Lauren would get back together but that seems impossible now .   Geneviette is precious.   She deserves a fairytale.

Danielle - the approaching marriage.  Is this guy the one God set aside for her?  Is this the person that will complete her life .  I have all this anxiety.  I wish I could just get peace about this.    Does Justin realize that he is taking part of my heart?  He darn well better take care of it and not hurt her and ....  ugh... again.

Randy.  He has ADD .   He has projects started all over the house. The house is still TWO COLORS. Welcome to red necksville.....  Oh yeah.. Randy has lost 22 pounds.  I can't seem to lose any.  Oh but..I will keep getting up at 5: 20 am walking while he sleeps. 

Ten libraries have called this week to book us for next summer. Then there is that whole Jacksonville wing ding festival.  Why am I not excited?  Is it the thought of living out of a suitcase for 2 more months and sleeping in a Motel 6  that bother me?  Someone spare me.

Randy put a new picture up on the wall today. Six hours later the huge one next to it fell and the glass broke.   Two steps forward... four steps back.

Maybe I just need to go to bed.  Night......

Wait, tomorrow is OVAL day. I need to go get Jelly Beans to sort and count.

Then, I will for sure get to bed early.... right?

Monday, September 8, 2008

This week we are exploring shapes. During free choice time we used things we found around our room to make a beautiful picture with circles.Outside, Randy took us on a walk in the yard to find things that are shaped like a circle. These stepping stones are a circle. This morning at 7 am they were still in my playroom holding down the new adhesive on our " carpet fix." Hint - If you have adhesive that holds down anything bleach WILL dissolve it . :)

Circle Wreath

Circle Walnut

The kids wanted to see what was in it. Randy cracked it open . His hands will be yellow for a week. YUK!

Another Stepping stone.

The bird house has a circle.
We learn all day in so many different fun ways. The children will go home tonight with a circle note asking their parents to join them on a circle hunt at home.

Now- on a personal note. Ever feel like you go in circles all day? I spent the weekend getting groceries and cleaning house. As soon as I got one area clean another area was messy? How is that when Randy and I are the only ones here?

Friday, September 5, 2008


Geneviette got to come hang out in preschool today.  I had a little one gone and seized the opportunity to have her with me.   It takes a little more energy but it is well worth it.   Sometimes it makes me sad that I am having such a great time with all the other little short guys and my own granddaughter  is watching TV  and playing by herself.  She will be old enough to be here all the time next year and I hope that works out. 

Being a grandma is fabulous.

She pained a picture for her daddy and was so proud. I didnt even care that she mixed my paint colors.

She sat with me in my chair at nap time and would whisper " Shhh.. the kids are sweeping."

She ate her supper and then insisted on licking the butter in the little souffle cup. And.. I let her.

She went with me to pick up Kaitlyn from school and yelled " surprise" when she opened the door.

After all the kids left for the day she walked around saying... where kids? I think she believes with all her heart that they live here.

I changed her hair bow THREE  times!

" Who do you love?"  MIA MIA MIA!!!!!!!!!
When I dropped her off at home-- for the first time ever... she cried.  " I want to go to Mias."  Her mommy hadn't seen her all day, so I didnt persist but it broke my heart.  Those little blue eyes looked at me and it was all I could do to fight back the tears. Good thing I am alone now.

Geneviette, I love you and always will.  You will always be my first favorite beautiful gift from God grandbaby.

Funny Breakfast

Elliot: Ms Debbie, what is for breakast?
Ms Debbie: Milk, fruit and english muffins.
Elliot: Do they TALK?
Ms Debbie: No, why do you ask?
Elliot: Because you said ENGLISH MUFFINS, I thought they speak english.....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rainy Day Fun

Some of the best lesson are learned outside - without a lesson plan.

Walking in the rain with a friend creates community.

If we leave the box off the sandbox the sand will get wet.

Gross Motor skills in ACTION!

Umbrellas keep us dry.

Animals find ways to keep dry.

A huge tree is like an umbrella.

Who's idea was this anyway.....

We journaled about what we saw on our " walk in the rain."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just thoughts

I am WAY TOO TIRED to really blog today but I somehow find this therapeutic so here I am. I didnt get near enough sleep this weekend while in Texas but still find myself here at work. Isn't it funny how being an adult doesnt allow you to just STOP the world while you play catch up ? I was already planning my day which included a quiet day with the kids, a grocery run and then an early to bed night. Then I opened my email and was reminded I have a meeting this afternoon. That means, RUSH RUSH RUSH as soon as the kids are leaving to the U of A campus. I actually like these people I get to meet with , I just wish it was tomorrow. So, during nap I touched up my makeup and changed clothes. I am the only provider that comes it this meeting so I TRY to look a little more professional. Today that meant, changing out of my crocs - which by the way happened to be one black shoe and one navy one. I have come to realize that this year will be the year of wardrobe malfunctions.

Here is a piece of my randomness for the day/ weekend.

1. I thought JBU kids sign a covenant saying they wont drink. Interesting. Seem they are just like all the U of A college kids I know - and yes, I am including my own daughter in that.

2. One of our servers from the wedding reception asked Danielle to dance and when she would be back in Texas I had watched him watch her all night. He didnt even try to be sly about it. Geez... when did those kind of compliments stop happening for me. Can we have a replay please?

3. Some three year olds are not ready for scissors yet. I DID get them away before the haircut commenced.

4. Randy really missed me while I was gone.

5. When you shop in Ross for two hours if someone hits your car and damages it - too bad.

6. I hope it rains tonight.

7. Randy is doing really well on his diet, I better get busy. flash forward to the wedding in December. " which one is your mom , Danielle?" Oh.. the one that is so fat she looks like a chinese when she smiles..." ugh.

OK, I have let the kids sleep an extra 12 minutes, so I better get them up now and then out the door for me by three.

When is the next three day weekend?