Sunday, August 15, 2010

Snotty church services

I'm mad at my pastor.

Not for the normal reasons like heresy, preaching politics or neglecting to fully recognize the adorableness that is my son.

No, no. It's worse than that.

She made me cry in church. Which I hate to do.

It all started fine. This was her first Sunday back after maternity leave and I was just stoked to have her back. It's always a little sketchy when you have guest preachers. They don't know you; you don't know them. You don't know if they're going to say something off-color or talk for hours. But Beth is predictable. First, you know she's going to speak the word of the Lord without sugar-coating it. She's engaging and sometimes funny, but not in that stand-up club type way. And she never drones on and on.

She was talking about being prepared for Jesus, but not just in that "Jesus is coming tomorrow and he better find you on your knees" way. She talked about being ready to see Him and see Him work daily and about being prepared to be guided by His spirit. So at the end of the sermon, she showed a video. It begins with an elevenish old girl tell her name and saying that her daddy is in Iraq. Then it shows this same girl sitting in school with her very best I'm-paying-attention look on her face. Then you see confusion. Then unabashed joy as she jumps up from her seat and runs screaming into the arms of a bulking G.I. Joe type.

And the tears started to flow.

But it doesn't end there. Oh, no. This video torture goes on for near five minutes with all kinds of unexpected reunions. Husbands, wives, moms, dads, kids. Everyone. Luckily I had Karen sitting behind me and she offered me a Kleenex. I would have been a hot mess otherwise.

The point of the video as it relates to Beth's sermon, aside from making a whole congregation a blubbering mess, was to show that we don't know when our Father will show up. We just need to be ready.

But I saw something else too. There was one scene that particularly turned on the faucets. It was around Christmas and a little tiny girl is sitting on Santa's lap. She can't be more than two or three. I've already figured out the theme to the video and I think to myself, "She's not going to know him. She won't remember that he's her dad."

But then she turns. Her eyes get big and she whispers, "Daddy?" He scoops her up and you hear her mumble through the bear hug, "I missed you."

She knew her dad. She really knew him. Even though she probably hadn't seen him in a long time. Which means that we'll know Him too. Even if we think we haven't seen Him in a long time. Even if we think we haven't see Him move in our lives and use us in a long time.

It was beautiful. And messy and snotty and I still kind of want to smack Beth for showing it with no warning. I mean, really? No warning?

But, wow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food Choices

Last weekend was Jack's 2nd birthday and my mom brought up some yummy frosted cookies my friend Glenna makes. They're sugar cookies in adorable shapes and all decorated in fun colors. So cute and so yummy. If you want to check them out you should look up Commercial over.

At dinner last night we were trying to get Jack to eat something decent but he had cookies on his mind and he knows where they are. He was repeatedly asking for one and we were suggesting other things he could eat before he had a cookie. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Do you want some strawberries?
Jack: Cookie.
Me: Yogurt?
Jack: Cookie
Me: How 'bout some peas?
Jack: BIG cookie!

As if to say my suggestion of peas was so ridiculous that it warranted an even more substantial reply. Eventually, he got what he wanted.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Obsession

Many of you know that looking at houses with great design is something I love. In fact, I just like looking at houses in general. I can often be found looking at real estate websites just to see what's for sale. It's like snooping in other people's houses with permission. I love to see the layout, the decor, the view and to make fun of ugly carpet and curtains. Seriously, what are some people thinking?

So it's no surprise that I picked up a home design magazine that's based out of Seattle. I love houses and I love local things so this was perfect. To be quite honest, the magazine was less than thrilling, but there was an ad in the back for a local pre-fab company.

Many of you (by this, I mean my mom) might think that pre-fabs are hokey and cheap and you'd be right some of the time. But the ones made by Stillwater Dwellings are beautiful. They're quite environmentally friendly, by that I mean the materials, appliances, heating and cooling methods, etc. They have a very modern look, so if this is your thing, you should definitely take a peek. Be warned, however. There are all sorts of floor plans to look at, as well as the option to choose different living sections, bedroom sections and connectors to create your own layout. Addicting. I'm already coveting a few floor plans. Luckily for Nate, we can't afford it.

The best part may be that there are three style options, which means that people with great taste and a knack for design have put together all the cosmetic stuff that looks good together to take all the guess work out of building a new house. I think it would be so overwhelming to figure out all the fixtures and flooring and tile and trim in and actually make it look cohesive. Of course, some people may hate this because they don't have much choice. I, personally, love it.

So, if you've got some time, mosey on over to It's just so lovely.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Sick" Day

I'm home today with Jack because he's sick and it just might be the best sick day there has ever been. Here's why:

  1. It's sunny and over 50 degrees with hardly any wind. March doesn't get any better around here.
  2. He has pink eye, which means he's not feeling yucky at all. He's actually in a great mood. It's just that he's so contagious he can't go to daycare.
  3. Today was a "no kid" day at school because we had reading and math meetings all day. This means I didn't have to write sub plans, nor did I have to wake up early in order to do so. Sub plans are the worst.
I only have one more sick day left, thanks to my darling child. So I'm glad I could make this one count.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pro Cert Blues

This school year, as is required by the wonderful state of Washington, I'm doing my Professional Certification. In a nutshell, it is a portfolio that all new teachers have to put together, guided by module questions, to prove that we are, in fact, capable of doing the job we've been doing for several years. And we have to pay for it. Awesome.

Sometimes I wonder how this came to be. Who on earth would ever think of such a requirement for new, underpaid teachers? The answer: bureaucrats. Only bureaucrats could come up with something this silly. In my head, it went a little something like this (cue fantasy music)....

Bureaucrat Schmuck #1: Hey, I've noticed that our state test scores are really low. What are we going to do about this?

Bureaucrat Schmuck #2: Well, we already have high state standards from which all our teachers teach and our universities have strict expectations.

Bureaucrat Schmuck #3: We could encourage parents to play a more active role in their children's education, or have them turn off the TV and video games, or fund all the programs we require.

B S #1: Nah. It's probably the teachers' fault. We should require more of them.

B S # 3: You mean more than the 60+ hours most of them put in every week, and their being available to parents and the obnoxiously low pay?

B S #2: Yeah, they should have to go to more school. You know, to prove that they actually learned what they learned in college.

B S #1: I like that idea. We could give them all kinds of requirements, little to no support, no timeline and of course, they should have to do it while still working a full-time job. And they should do all this in their first five years of teaching. Sounds great!

B S #3: Wow, it sounds really expensive. How are we going to pay for this?

B S #2: The individual teachers will pay for it, of course. We can't go wasting our money on teacher education.

B S #3: Hmmmm... young teachers don't make much money and many of them are still paying off student loans. Does that seem fair?

B S #1: Fair? What does that have to do with anything?

B S: #3: Well, okay. But do you really think the teachers are the reason for low test scores? They seem to be putting in a lot of time and effort.

B S #2: Are you suggesting that the problem is with students and parents? HA! No Child Left Behind tells us that all kids can perform at grade level.

B S #1: Yeah, it's not as if lack of parent support, poor diet, language barriers, learning disabilities, unhealthy sleep habits, abuse or neglect have anything to do with test scores. Come on!

B S #3: I guess you're right. But if we're going to require all this work, these teachers will at least get some major college credits or an increase of pay, right. Just like getting a master's?

B S #2: Are you serious? No way! We're doing this for their own good. They'll thank us later for all the hours and money spent. It will make them feel like better teachers. And that's what's important.

B S #1: Amen!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tootin' My Own Horn

I found out yesterday that I got a position I submitted for. Whew! Not that I had any competition, so really I got it by default.

It's the English-speaking half of the 4th grade Dual Language. Our school has been growing our DL program each year by one grade and 4th grade come next.

This couldn't have come at a better time. I've been beyond frustrated and overwhelmed with education lately. It seems like there are always meetings and trainings and paper work and parents to talk to and lessons to plan and implement. It's exhausting. And no matter how much I work, how many papers I bring home and how many hours I stay late or come early, it never ends.

I had started to think that maybe teaching wasn't for me. Of course, I'm absolutely useless outside of the classroom. I have no skills whatsoever besides teaching other people's kids. Truly. So what would I even do?

But with this new job, I'll essentially have two classes. I'll teach reading, two blocks of math and writing/literacy. All in English. My Spanish counterpart who has yet to be hired will teach reading, two blocks of science/social studies, and writing/literacy. We'll have one class in the morning and then will switch for the afternoon. What makes this so great for me is that I don't have as many lesson plans because I don't have to teach science and social studies (I hate teaching social studies!) and I get to teach math, which is my favorite. I know, weird.

I also really love the whole idea behind Dual Language. Kids get to learn in their first language which research shows is better for all kids, they then transfer that knowledge to the language their learning, become more sensitive to other cultures and languages, and by the end of 6th grade are fully bilingual and biliterate. Of course, I think most kids are still stronger in English just because it's all around them. That means that our Spanish speaking kiddos don't have to give up their home language to be successful and can take pride in their culture and language. It also means that both English and Spanish speakers are more ready for the global economy.

All that to say, I think I'm more ready to stick with education for a while. And I'm stoked to teach 4th grade again. Third graders bug me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in the saddle again

We had our "Meet the Teacher" night tonight. Shockingly, well over half of my class showed up to get a glimpse of the lady who will be running their lives for the next 10 months. Last year, I think four kids showed up.

Most of the kids seem very sweet. They answered my nosy questions politely and then shyly hid behind their parents.
I had one mom, however, who said this upon taking her leave, "I hope we won't have to see too much of each other this year." As in, "I know my kid is a brat and we'll be in contact for sure but I'm hoping that he's not too obnoxiously misbehaved that we have to hang out all the time." That's what she wanted to say.
Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.