Friday, December 21, 2012

Ridiculous that's what it is

Out of boredom I  came up with this post.  Staying at home with sick children leaves a lot of time for things like....blogging.  No seriously, this has been on my mind a lot lately so I figured, why not?  I wanted to share what I have to do to take care of myself these days.  It really is ridiculous.  If there is one thing that I am really looking forward to when I got to heaven, it's a new body. A body without flaws.  A body as perfect as the day I was born.  It seems with age, my body has become more maintenance than ever.
Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, let me walk you through my routine.

(I have finally, FINALLY found products that control my acne prone skin.  It is a BEAR to get though and so time consuming, but OH so worth it.)

I get up brush my teeth and wash my face with peroxide based cleanser.  I tone my skin.  I put a benzoyl peroxide cream over my entire face.  I put on moisturizer then eye cream.  I put on my makeup (which is also a serious of several steps I'll spare you).  I flat iron my hair (got to take care of those frizzies). I then curl my hair (I know this seems weird after straightening it, but it doesn't lay right unless I do both).  I style and spray. (This entire process is a 45 minute process)

Going throughout my day I often have to dab my face with towlettes.  Oh the joy of oily skin inherited from my lovely mother. Then in the evening I hop in the shower and use a antidandruff shampoo.  (This is the 4th dandruff shampoo I have tried and I think finally, finally I am seeing some progress).  Dandruff....another lovely problem of I have inherited with age.  I follow this up with a heavy conditioner.  I use baby soap to get all my makeup off.  I use my peroxide based cleanser on my face again.  I use apricot exfoliating scrub on my face.  Get out of the shower and put in heat protectant spray to prepare my hair for styling the next day.  I use toner again.  I then use a acne controlling retinol complex all over my face.  Then it's eye cream again, and then it's moisturizer again.  THEN, it's curel all over my legs and feet and lets not forget those handful of vitamins to help keep my skin clear!

Now to the person with normal average skin this would seem ridiculous, and I agree.  Believe me, if I could get away with one cleanser on my skin and calling it good I would.  However, for years I have struggled with acne, dry skin, dandruff, you name it.  I have tried a gazillion products.  These problems are embarassing and really affect my self esteem.  For the first time in a LONG time I feel I have finally feel my skin is healthy and glowing and balanced.  It is a lot of work and steps to get it to this point and  lot of products, but I do it every day, day in and day out, religiously because I've been on the other side and it ain't pretty!  It is so worth it.

My problems are genetic.  My mother had them, her father had them, and so on.  Totally sucks, BUT I am thankful.  Thankful that I have it in control.  Sometimes I wonder though.  Am I the only one who has to go to such great lengths for beauty or are there a lot of women out there in the same boat as me that find that with age their beauty care routine has gottten huge?  If this is what 35 looks like,what in the world will 60 look like. I keep telling myself that my skin that still acts like a teenager will finally grow up by then and give me a break!  We shall see.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The letter

Home today with both girls.  As you may remember (if you keep up with our blog), Kadyn had a fever last Friday and Saturday and then was better by Sunday.  She attended school Monday and Tuesday, but when she got off the bus Tuesday I could tell something was wrong.  The girl was seriously tired.  She napped much of the day after school and went to bed early which was not like her at all.  The next morning she woke with another fever and complaining of severe ear pain.  I knew we were now dealing with a secondary infection caused by whatever started this thing last Friday.  So it was another day off of school and a visit to the doctor.  She was diagnosed with another ear infection, surprise, surprise.  She continued to run a very high fever that night which I did not treat with fever reducers because of my newfound commitment to try to let the fever do it's job.  We did go ahead and fill prescription for amoxicillin which the nurse assured us would make her feel better in 24 hours.  The following morning (today) she woke fever free and she's been getting back to normal all day.  Looks like we can all go back to work/school tomorrow.  Just in time to do a Christmas party with my students before break.

Now I'm just hoping my littlest doesn't get anything.  Honestly it seems like miracle she hasn't gotten something.  She's surrounded by illness at school and even 2 cases of chicken pox.  Yet, she is clicking along healthy as can be (knock on wood).

I had to type up a letter to Kadyn's school this morning with receipts of her meds and doctor's visit attached to verify that indeed my girl was sick and it was authentic.  We have received a letter from the school stating she has missed too much and there may be an investigation concerning her absences.  Although I know these letters are automatically generated and just protocol, it was hard not to take it personally.  No one wants our child to be healthy more than us and we would never play hookie from school;  to date we have only taken her out one day for vacation (way before any illness) and the rest of her absences (6 to date) were all illness (all fever related).  We value her education.  I wonder if it's letters like those that lead a lot of parents to send their children to school as walking germs for fear of the little slap on the wrists from the school for letting them stay home.  Sigh!  You can't win. 

Anyhoo...I'll get off my soap box.  For now I'm happy because my babe is doing better and all will (hopefully) return to normal tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

What it took

After the tragedy Friday, our school is going to make big changes to our security measures as I'm sure many schools are also doing.  There really was no security system in place at our school before and it did worry me in light of Friday's events.  I am sad it had to come to this and that we even have to worry about these things, but glad that we are taking action to protect ourselves and the children we work with daily.

One of my kiddos said she prayed that God would keep us safe from things like what happened and that was about all I heard from the kids about it.   I was glad for that.  Kids need to be allowed to be kids while the adults do what is necessary to make changes and protect them.

Everyday before school I pray over my girls that God would protect them from evil.  That prayer never meant so much to me as it did this morning knowing what can happen.  Shortly after the tragedy a wave of fear gripped me and it made me want to keep my kids safe at home with me always.  But then reality set in.  This is the world we live in.  It doesn't matter the place, this type of violent crime can literally happen anywhere, any time.  Rather than be hermits, we have to be prayer warriors.  Prayers for protection for our family, friends, and those we love, and prayer that God will help those who are troubled enough to commit these crimes.  Sad, sad, scary, scary times. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hot topic, a little clarification

Whoa! I've never had such a response on a post!  The one danger in stating things in written language is the opportunity to for things to be misconstrued.  There really is no substitute for face to face interaction.  After my last post I feel compelled to offer a little clarification and then I'm ready to put this thing to rest. Hopefully nothing I say this time comes across the wrong way as it pertains to autism.  I'll do my best.

1.  I do not know very much about the disease and am getting my first taste of it this year working with children who have it.

2.  I have watched several experts on television programs give all kinds of explanations and theories and listened to personal testimonies of parents who are dealing with it but that is the extent of my knowledge.  I am still learning and have a long ways to go, but for the first time I am thinking about it more simply because I work with children who have it.

3.  For the first time, I have met a mother who has spent half her life devoted to learning more about the disease (because of her son's diagnosis) and trying things that have worked with her own child; she too has gone to multiple conferences and had personal talks with one of the nation's experts.  I highly value her opinion because I know she is very passionate about it and only wants the best for children with this disease and in no way want to discount her theories as to why it happens and what works to treat it mostly because she literally has personal experience with it.  She is now working as a case worker for families dealing with the disease to give them hope for recovery and treatment.

4.  I IN NO WAY meant to imply that the young man in Conneticut committed the crime he did because of autism.  It is my opinion that there had to be mental illness of some kind going on to commit a crime such as this, quite possibly some evil force at work too.  However, could some forms of autism make certain individuals more prone to mentail illness because of the emotions one must feel dealing with the disease?  I suppose it could be possible.  Food for thought anyways.    I know nothing about the individual other than what the news tells us.  I just thought, like everyone who heard of the tragedy, why?  I guess a person just wants to answer that question so they can figure out how to prevent it from ever happening again.  We may never know.  It seems if one could figure out how to prevent his from happening in the future, it may be the best way to honor those who have passed from this horrific event.

5. I am very thankful for modern medicine and feel it is God given.  However, I also know our great Lord gave us wonderful bodies equipped to deal with many of the things that ail us all on own.  I just feel that lately, the pendulum has swung a little too far to one side and we need to even it out a little and swing a little the other way.    When immunizations first began they were meant to only protect people from a few life threatening diseases.  Now the number of things we are being treated for has drastically rose.  Chicken pox for example.  I had it as a child and most of my classmates had it around the same time.  We all lived through it.  I've never heard of an entire colony of people being wiped out from it (correct me if I'm wrong).  A teacher at my school had it and although it was awful having it as an adult, she survived it.  One of our students at school has it as we speak, in fact.  My point is, when do we draw the line with the things we put into our bodies?  When did we go from only being immunized for a few things to being immunized for 26 different things by the age of 2?  Are we so paralyzed with fear of getting sick that we have come to this, or is it all money driven?  Another immunization puts another dollar in the drug business's pocket.  And if it is all money driven, could a huge cover up be going on as to what it is actually doing to us?  It's a conspiracy theory I suppose.

I wish I could have had my conversation with that mother I have mentioned taped so I could share it with you.  Her testimony really impacted me and she could speak better for herself than I can.  I asked her some of the same questions some of you have brought up such as many children are hitting a developmental milestone around the same time they are immunized and that contracting the disease at that time may be more related to the age than the immunizations.  This mother argued that after talking to countless mothers and hearing their stories, there is no way you can NOT make that link.  

I brought up the argument also that perhaps there are not more cases of it, it is just that we are better able to identify what we are dealing with now.  However, if you talk to any veteran teachers, especially teachers who have been around for a long time, they will ALL tell you that the children today are not like the children of the past.  They are dealing with things they have NEVER had to deal with before identified or not.  The principal of my school has been working with kids for 20 years and says that every year she gets more and more cases of disorders walking through her doors.  

I'm not entirely sure where I stand on it right now.  All I know is that this is the first year it has gotten more personal for me as I am working with some of these children.  I really hope they make some advances on this disease and get some answers.  It is such a sad, sad disease and I really feel for individuals and families that deal with this.  I think in the end we all want the same thing....answers.  Why does it happen?  What causes it?  Can it be cured?  And lastly, as it relates to my I said before I am not going to stop immunizing at this point based on what I have heard.  I still would like to know a lot more before I make a big decision like that.  However, when my children come home with a fever, I am not going to reach for the meds right off the bat.  I want to give our bodies a little credit and let them do what God designed them to do, fight off the virus the way God intended.  However, I am also not willing to let my kid's temp spike high enough that it could risk brain damage or seizures.  With careful monitoring and instinct I will treat appropriately.

I think that about covers it.  Hope I didn't offend anyone.  Just my two cents worth. 

To treat or not

Friday I got a call that Kadyn was running a fever.  Sigh!  Seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were going through this again.  Last time her fever lasted for 5 days.  Then Bren got it and it lasted for 5 days too.  I missed a lot of work and the girls missed a lot of school.  Later I got a letter from K's school saying she missed too much school and there might be an investigation to make sure sure her lack of attendance wasn't affecting her education negatively.  Now I realize this is just a protocol they do with all their students who have 5 or more absences, but I still felt frustrated because there wasn't a darn thing I could do about the fact that she was sick. 

Last time I treated the girls with fever reducers the entire time. I remember wondering if perhaps I was prolonging their illness by doing so.  The meds always reduced the fevers enough so that the girls felt pretty good with the exception of a little puking and lack of appeptite.  Sick kids need to rest.  There were very little naps taken when the kids were on the meds.  They just weren't as tired on the meds. 

I asked the doctor if giving them those meds would prolong the illness.  She said no.  So Friday when I picked Kadyn up I gave her fever reducers.  Then I hopped online and did a little research of my own.  Now I realize just because I read about something online doesn't make it truth, but I did find sources that claimed that giving your children fever reducers does prolong an illness by as long as one day.  Knowing that Kadyn really needed to go to school Monday I decided to take a different approach the next day.  The meds wore off and I didn't give her any more.  She was MISERABLE.  I told myself if her temp got above 102 I would give her pain meds.  It never got there.  She cried a couple times  because she felt like crap and she was very lethargic and tired.  Not the same as when she's on meds.  She actually slept almost an entire day.  It took a lot of will power not to dope her up so she felt better.  I hate seeing my babies suffer.

The next morning she woke up and the fever was gone!  A two day fever vs a 5 day fever!  I'll take it!  It could have been just a fluke that it was so much shorter this time.  It couldn't have been the same virus that caused her fever this time, so maybe this one wasn't as aggressive.  I don't know.  All I know is that her recovery time was soooo much shorter this time.  It makes sense to me that letting the body do what it was designed to do is smart.  Fevers are not the enemy.  It is the body's way of burning up the germs or virus that is causing all the problems.  God made us fully equipped to heal ourselves if we let nature take it's course. 

Upon hearing news of the tragedy in Conneticut Friday I found it interesting that the gentlemen that committed the crime had autisum.  This year has been eye opening working in school again.  Teaching orchestra before I never dealt with children with disabilities.  This year I have two children who are autistic.  After talking to the principal and teachers I have come to realize that the instances of these cases are on the rise.  One of the parents of these children was the kindergarten teacher whom I took over for.  She has spent a good portion of her life researching and educating herself on the disease.  She is now certified to work with children with these disabilities.  She was told that her child would never be fully functioning and never be able to live a normal life without assistance.  She claims that his symptoms started after he was given immunizations.  THIS has been VERY controversial.  Proponents of the immunizations claim there is no correlation and they are completely safe.  It's adversaries claim it is all a lie that the drug administration stands to loose millions of dollars if we start believing it.

Too make a long story short.  This mother has committed half her life to helping her son recover from the disease in a natural way through therapy and diet and recently the doctor has said that this child is almost well enough not to even be labeled autistic.  If you met him, you would never know.  I wouldn't have even known if anyone hadn't told me.   It really makes you think. Is our society really to blame for these super bugs, for increased diesases and disorders?  A pill for ever ill!  I'm beginning to think so.  I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced to not immunize my children just yet,  but at least when it comes to the common virus, I think letting nature do it's thing isn't a bad idea.  Monday Kadyn will be attending school and I will be going to work.  Friday I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen.  Praise God!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wierd realities

It's no secret that my mother's health has been up and down for several years now.  Every cold and flu season she becomes very ill.  Last winter she got pnemonia.  She no longer has fully functioning lungs because of the scarring left on her lungs from sarcoidosis.  This always makes her recovery take twice as long and the symptoms twice as bad as they would be in a normal healthy adult.  This winter is no exception.  She filed for FMLA at work so she could take an extended leave to recover and not have it count against her at work.  She is on several drugs to keep her symptoms under control and they are COSTLY! In addition, there is some fear that two of her discs in her back are starting to fuse together as a side effect of one of the drugs.

A few weeks ago she mentioned to me how scary it had gotten one evening when she was really fighting her sickness and how it made her realize that maybe it was time to start working on her bucket list.  She is realizing that there are no guarantees on her longevity especially in her condition and she has things she wants to do before her time comes.  She is about to hit her 60th birthday.  Her father passed in his seventies.  What a weird reality that must be for an individual to admit you are starting the last leg of your journey on earth. And what a weird reality it is for me as her daughter to know that my time with my parents is going fast and there may be a day when I do not have living parents. I don't want to think about it really, but part of me knows I would be better to think about it, so I will be more prepared when it does happen.

I would love to think my Mom is going to live to a ripe old age of 100, but I think I know that won't happen given her condition. I just wish I didn't live so darn far away.  Once or twice a year is not nearly enough time to spend with your parents, especially when you don't know what the furture holds for them.  One of the reasons I am looking forward to returning to teaching in the public schools is that with the increased pay will come more opportunities to go see my parents more often.  I will also have the time to do so because I will have my summers off.

Life goes by much too quickly!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Changes that I like

I am about to reach the halfway point of the school year.  I've now had 4 months to settle into my new job and being a working mother (working out of the home that is) for the first time.  There have been some changes that have come along with this new role.  Here's the ones that I like:

-My waking times have been earlier, but consistent.  This has forced me to go to bed earlier because my body really gives me no choice.  I start draining very quickly around 9 and by 10 I'm toast. I just feel like my body is in better rhythm now where before I was all over the place and my body felt confused. 

-My youngest has an earlier bed time than my oldest.  Naps are just out of the question for Bren, yet she still needs a smidge of extra sleep.  We have started making her go to bed 1/2 an hour earlier than K.  Now they can't keep each other up and K is forced to be quiet so she doesn't wake her sister.  This has actually made Kadyn fall asleep faster too because she has no one to interact with.  The only option is sleep.

-I am making sack lunches for the first time for BOTH my girls.  I never did it for Kadyn before but figured this year since I had to for B I would for K too.  It's a nice feeling knowing K's lunch account won't run empty because we don't need it and I am in complete control what K eats at school.

-I tried all kinds of laundry schedules this year.  I finally settled on my old standby....once a week, only I altered it slightly.  Kadyn has to put all my shirts and Daddy's shirts on hangars and put away her own laundry (before I did it all by myself).  This is part of her chores to earn an allowance.  I also have bought two extra hampers and the girls' clean clothes go directly into those hampers when I am sorting things.  This makes things so much easier to put away when everyone has their own hamper and gives me extra space on my bed to sort other clothing.

-Kadyn has a set homework time.  Before daycare kind of made this difficult.  She gets one tv show after school to unwind then it's straight to homework.

-I now menu plan for an ENTIRE MONTH.  I LOVE this.  This has made life so much easier. Just grab a menu, make a grocery list and go.

-I grocery shop for two weeks at a time with a small run inbetween weeks. I have not actually put a pencil and a paper to this, but I feel like I save money somehow doing this.

-I freeze my milk.  Since I shop for two weeks at a time, I freeze things that won't be used the first week.  I never run out of milk!

-I put out an entire week's clothing so I don't have to stew each morning about what I'm going to wear and waste time.  This includes doing all my ironing on one day each weekend so I'm good to go for the week.

-I do bible study time with the kids (this is a work in progress because sometimes I forget).  Now that I'm not home all day with my kids they don't get story times with me on a regular basis like they used too.  After one sermon I started to feel convicted to get back into the word.  I had let that part of my routine slide for some time.  I also had a strong desire to have my kids be in the word too and I had slacked on this too.  This made me think, why not just have MY bible study time be with THEM.  Then I can check several things off my list, my bible time, their bible time, and bible stories count as stories so that is storytime too. 

-Errands after school, not on the weekends.  I love that this is an option for me.  Usually Jeff gets my groceries on the weekends, but if not, I make a trip after school the following monday.  I've got plenty of time to do so. I don't have to fight the crowds as much around 2:00 on a weekday.  Before I could only do errands on weekends as I had daycare kids in my home until 6. 

-Saturdays are for relaxing only or doing what I want!  I need at least one full day to reenergize for the next week.  I routinely disobey this rule, but I've been trying to be better about it lately.  Since half a day is spent at church on Sundays may as well just spend the other half on cleaning.  This way I don't have to spend any time cleaning on Saturday and can have a FULL day off!  Woohoo!

There you have it.  Changes I have made and think I will keep! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What THEY teach ME.

I am a teacher, but a teacher also must be taught.  The other day I realized I learn something from everyone in my family.  Here's what I came up with:

Jeff- From Jeff I have learned people skills.  If there's one thing that attracted me to Jeff right away it is how good he is with people.  He can walk into a crowd of strangers and start a conversation with anyone and make them feel comfortable within 10 seconds.  He takes the awkwardness out of meeting new folks.  He has also taught me about writing thankyou cards and how to be a better host.  I still stink at this, but, I'm trying.  He has also taught me (through example) to be more compassionate, loving, and patient.   

Kadyn-Kadyn has taught me that phases come and go.  I have been through so many different phases and trials with her that at the time, felt like they would never end, they always do.  She has also inspired me (through seeing her own passion) to keep hobbies and keep the passion in things I love.  But most of all, she has made me realize how much my children look up to me and the incredible responsibility I have as a role model to them.  I am acutely aware of my impact on my children because of her.  She is notorious for wanting to be like me in the what she does, say, and how she acts.  Sometimes it is a good reflection, sometimes it is not. 

Brennan-Brennan has taught me how each person has their own love language.  Hers is physical touch.  I am not a touchy feely person, but she has made me realize that for some, this is survival and the validation they crave.  I feel fortunate to have learned this while she is still little and easy to love on.  She has also taught me to pick my battles and to be more sensitive to feelings.  She has also taught me that not all children are alike nor should they be expected to be alike even if they come from the same bloodline.   Because of this I have to work on not comparing my children nor having the same expecationas for them both, but rather, to treat them as the individuals they are.

The teacher has been taught. I look forward to learning more about life through them. Thankyou Lord for my family of teachers. 

Turkey Tot is 4!

For the first half of the year I had nick named Bren turkey tot!  She loved it and would always correct me if I used any other term of endearment.  I hope I never forget her turkey tot phase. I think Jeff said it best the other day when he said, "In some ways I want my kids to grow up and other ways, I want them to slow down." 

I finished typing my birthday letter for Bren as I do with both my children for every birthday they have.  Eventually, I will bind all the letters for them and give it to them as a gift when they fly the nest.  When I type those letters I have to go back and read the letters before to figure out just how much my girls have grown and changed in the past year.  This year, I realized Bren is making great strides in dressing herself,  is toilet trained (but still needs help in the wiping department), almost able to write her name, knows her ABCs and 123s,  more comfortable in the water than ever, beginning to show signs of a talent and love for music, and just as loving as ever.

Being my youngest, I'm not as antsy for her to grow up and think I cherish her age a little more than I did with Kadyn.  I'm so proud of her for how easily she transitioned into preschool and being without me for part of her day.  I adore the way she shows me love through multiple hugs each day and how she always  feels compelled to express that love to me the most when I am wiping her, out of all times, LOL.  She is just such a blessing to us and we are so thankful God chose us to be her parents.  So here's a snip of her party, just the four of us.  At this age, having big lavish parties isn't a big deal. She just wants to feel special on her day, and that's just what we did.

Wearing her birthday crown her teacher made her and holding a mouse movie from her pet rat, Daisy.
Kadyn was happy to read her cards for her, but Bren was more interesting in ripping into the present.
A US puzzle.  Getting a head start on history lessons.
Big sister, ALWAYS willing to be of assistance opening presents.
Fashioning her entire Cinderella get up.  You can't tell but the dress lights up with sparkle lights.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Posting so I don't forget

I had a good day today.  Started with a student's mother pulling me aside to tell me that her son talks about me constantly.  So much so, she has to remind him that she is not me and shouldn't be expected to do everything the way Ms. Darci does it.  LOL. 

Later my boss told me one of my autistic music students was inspired by a snowman I made as a decoration for my classroom.  He went home and made an exact replica.  His mother thought it was so cute she posted a pic on facebook. 

As I was walking back to class today one of my students shouted out, "You're the best teacher in the whole world" to which 3 other students concurred in agreement. 

Two of my other students randomly said, "I love you Ms. Darci."

Another student said, "You have the best hair!"

Then to end my day, a former student who is now in college commented on my facebook post, "I still owe nearly all of my music theory knowledge to your ear training classes in 8th grade strings. You were and sounds like still are a great teacher!!

All this in one day.  I post this not to brag....ok maybe a little, but also I want to have it documented somewhere so I can go back and read it on those not so good days when the kiddos are driving me insane and I wonder why in the world I am a teacher.  No, seriously, I have a great job folks!   I am so blessed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In case you needed a laugh Part II

Yesterday I was trying to describe to my students what prophecy was especially as it pertains to the prophecy of the coming Messiah years ago.  I used an example of a man coming up to you and predicting that you would win a million dollars and then finding out later that you do, in fact, win a million dollars.  So today I asked them if they remembered what prophecy was and what a prophet did?  The answer, "When you win a million dollars!" 

Ugh!  Guess I have some more work to do.  LOL.  Sure hope they don't tell their parents that they learned a prophet helps you win a million dollars.

In case you needed a laugh

Today I was trying to describe what an eighth rest looks like to my 4/5th grade class.  I drew one on the board and then pointed to the parts saying, "this rest has a long line and little stick with a ball on the end of it."  Of course, as soon as I said it I knew that it was a mistake.  I tried to act like I didn't hear the giggling that insued from the boys.  Finally, I caved and admitted that perhaps I made the wrong choice of wording in my description.  Geeze!  Gradeschool boys.  I tell ya. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gonna work on it

Something that has been on my mind lately is the amount of physical affection I show to my oldest.  It dawned on me (perhaps God has called this to my heart) that although I do show my oldest physical affection, it is not quite as much as I dish out to my youngest.  Why?  Simply put, the bigger she gets the more awkward it gets.  My parents were not overly physically affectionate when I was growing up.  I'm not sure if this is why.  It seems natural and easy for me to give lots of hugs and kisses when my children are small, but apparently not as easy when they are bigger.

I didn't even realize I was doing this until last weekend when I observed a mother with her children and the absence of physical affection towards them the short time we were together.  I know without a doubt this mother loves her children and perhaps she doles it out on them when we are not around.  I only bring this up to point out that it made me reflect on my own parenting.  I do believe some children who are classified as "behavioral trouble makers"  should be be reclassified as "attention seekers who's behaviors stem from attention deprivation."

The good news is, I do give both my children physical affection and emotional attention.  The bad news is, I need to work on evening it out a bit.  I need to get over the awkward feelings I have about dishing it out on them when they grow into their bigger bodies.  If it's this hard for me when they become school aged, how much harder will it be when they are teenagers?  I've got to get over this!  I don't want to be one of those mothers who's kids say they don't remember their mother hugging them or kissing them much. 

Awhile back I read Dr. James Dobson's book on raising girls.  He addressed this issue in his book.  He stated that children, even in the teen years, crave physical affection from their parents.  He says that children at this age will act like it embarrasses them, but they do in fact want it and crave it despite their objections.  He further goes into the benefits of this physical attention and it is astounding.  If you haven't read this book and have a daughter, you really must.  Very interesting.

So all this is to say that I am going to try to make a more consorted effort to dole out love to my oldest as much as I do for my youngest.  Even though her body is changing, she still deserves the validation of my love through hugs and kisses.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day one down

I finished my first day of teaching Kindergarten.  Easy breezy.  I had to improvise a little as I forgot some of my worksheets at home, but I did pretty good thinking of things on the fly and had a few extra minutes before class began to make some copies.  Part of the ease was due to the fact that the teacher before me did such a fabulous job with the kids.  She had an established routine, had them writing their names, and beginning to read 3 letter words.  It was pretty easy to pick up from where she left off.  It's almost like the hardest part of teaching kindergarten was done before I even got there.

The kids were very complimentary of me.  I heard things like, "You're the best teacher ever!" and "You're so fun Ms. Darci!"  Each nodded in agreement.  I'm not sure if it's just the newness of having me or what.  They had already had me in music, so it's not like they didn't already know my style before.  One of the little boys rolled down the window as he was driving off and shouted, "I love you Ms. Darci!!!!"  Sigh!

One of my goals with my switch is to do a better job not taking my work home with me.  I went above and beyond and way over the top when I was preparing my preschool lessons.  Partly because there wasn't as many resources available, partly because it felt good to be a professional again and I wanted to do my very best, and partly because I just enjoyed it.  However, my house sure did suffer these last two months with me taking my work home with me.  With more resources available to me to teach with at the Kindergarten level there is no reason for me to take work home (although I know occasionally I will get creative and have to take something home just for fun). 

I found it funny that my boss came in to my room after I took over and took one look and said, "I knew you would rearrange the desks this way."  My reply, "Is my type A personality that obvious?"  Apparently it is.  I confessed my personality type to the previous teacher to which she responded, that's probably a good thing.  These kids probably need a personality like that.  This comes to me as a relief seeing as how I just can't seem to run a classroom without a lot of order with a big side of fun.  To me though, fun can never happen without order first.  This means lots of rules, procedures, and routines.  Without them I feel out of control, and frankly, kids this age need a lot of boundaries.

So to wind this post down I just want to say, if today is a testament to the rest of my year teaching kindergarten then I'd have to say it's going to be a great year! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teacher stuff

This week I have been shadowing the current Kindergarten teacher.  I had built her up as this totally amazing teacher that I would never mount up to based on what others had said and seeing her in action in passing.  After two days of observation I have discovered we're actually pretty similar in our teaching styles.  However, I can also see some differences, things I'd like to adopt into my own teaching. 

One of the things I noticed was how much she took time to really listen to what the kids were saying, even if it was totally irrelevant to what was being covered in class.  I think this really helps the kids feel validated.  I want to work on this in my own teaching.  Kindergarteners are notorious for getting off topic, but I don't think they're trying to be disruptive, it's the nature of their age and as annoying as it can be to have some kid raise their hand and tell you about their dog in the middle of a letter lesson, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and listen with interest so they know you still care.  God bless em!

Another thing that I noticed is how much sit and concentrate time the kids were expected to do.  I may take a few more wiggle breaks when I teach, but it made me realize that kids have to be taught how to focus and the only way to do that is to require more focus out of them.   Kindergartners are capable of sitting for longer periods of time. Teaching 30 minute classes in music doesn't require a lot of work on focus because focusing in music for 30 minutes is cake for most kids.  Preschoolers naturally don't have a lot of focus because frankly, it's just impossible for them to focus much longer than 15 minutes at a time do their age, so you have to pace quickly and change activities frequently.  It will be nice to not have to feel like you have to move 100 miles an hour to keep their attention.

Lastly, I have learned to be more thorough with my questions to check for understanding.  Ask for the same information a thousand different ways.  Give them time to answer, don't jump to the answer for them just because it may seem they don't know it.  Some kids just process more slowly and need an extra time cushion or a couple hints to get the right answer.

So those are the things I want to work on have picked up in my two days of shadowing.  What's weird is after being away from my preschoolers for a couple days now, they look so tiny to me and....I miss them.  They still shower me with hugs in the morning and declare their love for me. BUT...I am looking forward to taking over Kindergarten officially on Monday.  I'm not sure why, but moving up a grade makes me feel a little more important.  So silly really.  Every grade is important.  Without preschool teachers, the groundwork for kindergarten would never be laid. Some kids would start school not knowing how to hold scissors, a pencil, use glue, and identify their colors and some letters.  Preschool teachers cover a lot people.  Out of all the things I've taught, teaching kids how to use scissors and pencils has got to be the one of the hardest because they all need one on one help and there's only one of you to go around.  That coupled with short attention spans can make for a crazy mess. 

I'll admit, I feel pretty proud that in only two short months I had my whole kids holding their pencils correctly, identifying by sight and sound 9 letters and drawing them correctly, writing their own names, using scissors with ease, counting to 10, identifying 7 of the 10 numbers, using glue correctly, and beginning to blend letters together to make syllable sounds in words.  I'm telling you this, is no small feat for a group of wormy squirmy 3 and 4 year olds who are in class for only 3.5 hours a day.

So all this is to say, I wonder what I'll be able to accomplish with my kindergarten class.  If I can do that much with preschoolers in 2 months, the sky's the limit.  Oh the fun we'll have!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving on up

If you keep up with my blog you know one of my fears with my current job is that it is not secure.  Private school student populations fluctuate a lot often because people's circumstances change and sometimes what a parent could afford before, can not be afforded later.  Since I was one of two preschool teachers and the last one hired, I knew if the preschool numbers dropped my job was in jeopardy first. fear came true.  We are loosing two more students which puts the numbers down enough that a second teacher is no longer needed.  BUT.....God had my back.  Coincidentally,the Kindergarten teacher was just offered another job doing something that she is VERY passionate about, working with autistic children.  My boss asked me to take over her spot and start teaching the kindergarten class!!!!I am super excited about this for many reasons.  It gives me more job security.  I get to work with slightly older children. I get to move beyond learning ABC's and actually work on reading and simple math.  I get to job shadow the current Kindergarten teacher and learn from her (she's so good at what she does).  This is really just a very exciting opportunity. 

The other thing that was ironic to us all is that for the past two weeks in my absence the other preschool teacher has been covering my class in addition to her own.  She said she was surprised how well she did with the additional kids.  If you've ever worked with a group of preschoolers you would understand why this is big.  Even one extra kid in your class can change the whole dynamic of how things run by quite a bit.  So, it was almost as if God was preparing her, and the kids for that matter, for the transition through my absence.  The kindergarteners know me well from music so the transition for them should pretty easy too.

So next week is my last week of teaching preschool.  The following week I will be job shadowing and the week after that I will begin my new adventure as a kindergarten teacher and part time music teacher.  My hours will remain unchanged.  Like I said, my journey is far from over.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Getting me out there

Thanks to my wonderful inlaws who stayed home with Bren, I got to go to work and even stop by District office of Branson to drop off my resume.  They requested 5 more.  Apparently they don't have a human resources department.  All hiring is done on a per school basis.  With several new elementary schools opening up next year, I figure there's good odds something will open up.  They couldn't tell me for sure.  They're in the process of rearranging the staff they have for next year and then they will know where their holes are, probably close to January or February.  I also know, from my inside sources, they have one current music teacher fixing to retire soon.  Boy oh howdy, I'm excited!  The timing on this couldn't be more perfect. 

Do you ever just sit back and reflect on your life and marvel at the realization of the hand of God in it all?  I have doing a lot of this lately.  When it comes to my professional life, I couldn't have been more blessed.  Right out of college I got my dream job.  Not many people can say that.  I was able to work with some of the best music educators in the nation.  In fact, my music super visor was the NATIONAL president of the music educator's society while I was working there.  This is the largest professional membership for music educators all over America.  I loved that job and I will never forget it.  I still dream about it to this day.  Everything I do after that job will always be compared to it. 

BUT God also provided another dream of mine, to have children and stay at home with them while they were small.  I never thought that would be financially possible.  It meant giving up my dream job which at the time seemed like a big risk and sacrifice.  Do I regret giving up my dream job?  Nope, because I knew if my family suffered for me working I WOULD regret that.  Do I miss it?  YAH!  But the more I sat and thought about it I started to realize that giving up that job may have been in my best interest in the long run even for me professionally and let me tell you why.

First, with budget cuts around the nation, the first music program that gets cut is orchestra.  Now I'm not saying I would have been out a job if I had stayed in my old position since I worked in a very wealthy district.  However, the program was on the chopping block for a list of proposed cuts every year.  Thankfully, there was a lot of support for it and it never got cut or even came close to getting cut.  The point is, it may not be that way forever.  With the economy in dire straights, each year gets more difficult for school budgets around the nation, even wealthy districts like Blue Valley.  The last music program to be cut would be vocal music as the costs to run a vocal music program are the least.

 Second, I think about the actual switch to teaching general vocal music over orchestral music.  There is a much wider variety of things to teach and ways to teach general music as opposed to instrumental music.  You can be more creative with your presentation and I thrive on creativity.  Being able to be creative is like food for my soul.  I guess in a sense, for a long term gig, it may be more mentally rewarding.  And I see my next job as "the job."  The one I will have until I retire....hopefully!

Thirdly, there's the issue of having a career that is family friendly.  Teaching in general is a family friendly job, but when you get specific, teaching elementary vocal music is way more family friendly than teaching instrumental music.  In order to have a successful instrumental program you really have to have students taking private lessons which is often done by the classroom teacher.  You have to have many outside school rehearsals, evening concerts, weekend festivals, and competitions.  There were many nights I didn't get home until 9 at night because I was tied up with those things.  I had to give up several weekends too.  General vocal music does require some evening concerts and maybe a weekend or two at a vocal music festival if you are teaching older elementary kiddos, but overall, their is no comparison to the time commitment outside of the school day.  And yes, I have taught both so I do know what I'm talking about here.

So all this is to say, I can't help but wonder if part of the reason God opened the doors for me to stay at home was bigger than just fulfilling a calling and a lifelong dream of having kids and staying home with them while they are little.  Perhaps, God was trying to have my back for  job security down the road.  Perhaps too, he knew that ultimately teaching vocal music as opposed to instrumental music would also be more family friendly and rewarding mentally.  The opportunity to teach music part time and preschool this year almost seems as such a perfect gig to get me back in the saddle and on the map.  Then the timing on these new schools opening is so perfect for me, almost to good to be true.  Man, I hope it isn't.  Yes, I have been tossing a whole range of ideas in my head as to why things have happened the way they have, and my story is far from over.  Of course, I'll be totally disappointed if I can't get a job in Branson public schools, but I know everything happens for a reason and God has always provided, always.  You can't helped but feel love when you look back on your life and see the blessings like I have professionally.  The next 6 months are sure to be full of great anticipation.  At least for now, today, I was able to get name out there by dropping off a resume.  HOPEFULLY step one in the next dream job.  We shall see.  Either way, thanks God. It's fun seeing your handy work and wondering where you'll take me next.

Halloween 2012

It was not the day I had thought it was going to be.  I was home for another day with my little Bren.  She went to the doc earlier that day and got the same diagnosis her big sis did a week before.  By the time supper rolled around her temp shot up to almost 103.  Keep in mind this was day five of having a fever.  Needless to say, she wasn't in any condition to trick or treat. 

My inlaws came up to help us celebrate.  They got dressed up for the girls.  Grandma was a nurse and Grandpa was some asian dude from some play uncle Jason was in awhile back. To be honest, I was totally surprised Grandpa went all out for halloween this year.  Two years ago he was a cowboy which for him is really just everyday wear anyways.  He was in charge of answering the door and he did SUCH an amazing job bowing to everyone that came to get candy.  It was funny listening the thier reactions.  The little ones were a shocked and big eyed.  The junior high kids thought he was so cool.

We let Bren dress up for pictures.  Her and her sister were K-State cheerleaders.  The outfits were bought for the game we went to earlier in the season so it really worked out perfectly for halloween too.  Jeff was Psy from Korea famous for his video "Oppan Gangnam Style."After K left with her Grandma and Dad Bren watched Charlie Brown Halloween specials, and I painted her tootsie wootsies to ease the disappointment.  She really did handle it all well I thought.  I even made arrangments to trick or treat at our close neighbors a little later when she feels better.  Our pumpkins this year turned out awesome. Our best year yet.

All in all, it was a good Halloween minus the disappointment for Bren. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This is the sick that never ends

I was thinking of that song when I put the title of this post up.  Anyhoo....if you've been on facebook I know you've caught wind since my last post that we are still dealing with sicko crud at my house.  Kadyn is pretty much fully recovered.  Brennan started a fever last Saturday and I have stayed at home with her ever since.  As of today I have taken off 5 days of work officially since sicknesses have began and we have been dealing with at least one sick child for the past 10 days as Kadyn showed first signs of it 10 days ago.  Thankfully, I did get two days of work in last week with Jeff's help and because I prematurely sent K back to school and she managed to tough it out.  Won't do that again, poor girl! 

The doctor told us K had a sinus infection coupled with an ear infection.  Therefore, we thought we were in the clear as far as anyone else getting this stuff.  Obviously, that wasn't entirely accurate.  So, I think K actually had a sinus infection, ear infection, and some kind of viral infection. Her symptoms were 10 times worse that Brens.  Bren has just had a fever for the past 4 days and one tiny bout of vommitting yesterday when she coughed and her gag reflex kicked in.  I think just a fluke really.  Other than that, she's been able to eat lightly and drink just fine.  She has gotten the occasional head ache that comes with a fever and then today she was complaining of her tummy hurting a little (still no more vomit) and leg aching, so I assume that is body aches.  She hasn't really been all that lethargic.  In fact, when given fever reducers, you almost can't tell she's sick until they wear off.  Today she has started sniffling a little, so I guess you could say a little runny nose issues have begun.  Still, nothing like Kadyn was at this point.

With tomorrow being halloween I'm nervous she won't be 100% and it will crush her if everyone goes trick or treating without her.  What's a mom to do?  Thankfully, my inlaws are coming in Wednesday afternoon, so they can watch her Thursday and Friday if need be, but I'm holding out hope tomorrow the fever will finally be gone. Her fever has been hovering around 99-100 all day as opposed to the 102 for the past couple days.  Not sure if that means she's on the mend or not.  I've read in a couple different places a temp of 99 isn't necessarily a fever in children.  I may give school a try tomorrow if she continues to stay in that range as she is pretty perky today.  I hate making decisions like this.  I feel guilty if I do and guilty if I don't.

Anyhoo...I am so ready to go back to work and feel a little stir crazy.  I know.  Silly coming from the lady that spent the last 6 years stuck in her home day in and day out.  I guess you could say I have grown accustomed to being a working mother very quickly, and I like the change.  Days seem to creep by when you have a sick child. I have caught up on all my house work, lesson planning, laundry, etc.  There's only so many movies and TV shows you can watch.  Can't leave the house.  Again, stir crazy. 

Every time I have to call in to my boss to ask for another day off I just feel guilty, like as if I'm lying to her or something because 5 days seems excessive to me.  I know she understands and she has been very accomodating, but I still can't help but feel very guilty; I know it's silly, but sometimes I fear people will think I'm faking it just to get out of work.  None of my children have ever had fevers this long.  Of course since I'm paid by the hour, all of this leave has been unpaid.  Sigh!  It is what it is. All of this does leave me thinking, how in the world do working mothers of 3 or 4 do it?  I can't imagine having to do this for another week or two if I had more of them coming down with it. God bless working mothers of larger families.  It would be hard to hold down a job if you had to miss that much work. If there's one thing I can be thankful for, though, neither Jeff or I seem to have come down with it (knock on wood).  Despite all the snuggles and kissing on sick children.  Praise God!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cleaning confessions

As I was cleaning my bathrooms today I thought to, as I do every time I clean, I wonder how my cleaning stacks up to other people?  I have always thought of myself as a fairly clean and organized person and yet those feelings can change depending on whose house I happen to be in.  Some houses make me feel pretty good about my cleaning. Others...well, I fall short.  So I guess that lands me somewhere in the middle.

I can say that since I have had children, my level of tolerance for messiness has tripled.  Even my tolerance for dirt and grime had to change a little.  Other mothers know what I'm talking about.  You always have little ones tagging behind you messing up everything you did and with the unique ability to even make it look worse than when you started. 

Cleaning.  Sigh!  Love it and hate it.  Love the way a clean and organized home feels and looks, not a huge fan of the process of getting it that way.  About the only time I can say I actually enjoy cleaning is when I've been cooped up and need to move around, or when I've bought the newest cleaning product and am excited to see its magic.  Yep, it's a love hate relationship we have.

So is how I do it at my house.  Some of it may even be considered cleaning confessions.  Maybe it will make you feel like a cleaning saint reading this, maybe you'll feel like you have some work to do.  I really don't care.  It works for us and I suppose that's all that matters.  So here you have it.

1.  I vacuum once or twice a week.
2.  I dust once a week.
3.  I clean the kitchen daily, but even then I still pile dishes on one side of the sink just because I get so tired of doing dishes.  I probably don't wipe up my counters and table as often as I should, but they do get a once over at least once a day if not more. 

4.  I clean my microwave when it looks awful and I can't stand it anymore probably once every two weeks or sometimes less.
5.  Same for my fridge but more like once a month
6.  I clean my bathrooms top to bottom once every two weeks (this used to be once a week before kids)
7.  I clean my ceiling fans on a need be basis, usually twice a year
8.  I do laundry...well this is all over the board.  Sometimes once a week, sometimes 2-3 times a week.  I even tried everyday for awhile.  I can never find a happy laundry schedule.
9.  I sweep my kitchen floors almost after every meal, I NEVER mop them. I spot clean them on my hands and knees and they never look dirty enough to be mopped. 
10.  My sheets on the beds, BIG CONFESSION, usually just wash those sheets when I think to myself, "Man when was the last time I washed my sheets? I can't remember.  Maybe I ought to do that."
11.  Vacuuming my mattresses?  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  There are no allergies in our family.  I just don't think of that.  Dust mites, shust mites.  I figure there are people that sleep on dirt floors all over the world, a few dust mites aren't going to hurt me.  Finding a bug in my house that I can actually see scares me way more than some microscopic bugs.  (can you tell how self conscience I am about this one based on my incessant need to justify my actions or lack of)
12.  Vacuuming under my couch cushions....usually when I notice they are pretty crumby and I remember to do it.
13.  Cleaning vents and floor boards, when they look like they need it although bathroom floor boards get done every two weeks. 
14.  Wiping out cabinets inside and out, not nearly enough, but it gets done a couple times a year.
15.  Do I use natural or chemical?  Both.  I use vinegar water for counters and sinks.  I use CLR for my tubs.  This is a recent switch.  I just got so tired of the elbow grease it took to use the natural stuff on our hard water spots.  Vinegar helped, but it still wasn't the magic I was looking for.  CLR makes promises of making things look like new without a whole lot of scrubbing and let me tell you, it does make good on that promise.  LOVE that stuff!
16.  Our van, when it needs it.  I do a pretty good job not letting it get cluttered, especially since we got a newer van.
17.  Our garage usually gets a good sweeping twice a year.
18.  Shower curtains.  Every couple of months I wash them in the washer.  Usually this is initiated after I notice that the bottom of the curtain is actually stiff with hard water.
19.  Myself, my body gets done daily (most of the time unless I fall asleep and just can't bring myself to shower) and my hair every other day.
20.  Mini blinds, hardly ever, just like my window sills and windows.  I just don't remember them that often and honestly, they're a pain to clean.
21.  Windows, couple times a year.  They just are little hand magnets.  Almost a worthless cause. 
22. Picture frames, as need be and when I remember.
23.  Carpets gets steamed on need be basis.  I spot clean spots as soon as they happen and especially if it is in a highly visible area, otherwise it takes me awhile longer to get to it.  Usually when I get tired of looking at it.

So there you have it.  How do I stack up folks?  Am I a cleaning diva?  In dire need of a cleaning mentor?  Somewhere in the middle?  Honestly, I think (and hope) that the answer is in the middle.  I don't want to be obsessed with being clean.  There are more important things in life.  My mother used to have a sign in her home that read, "My home is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy."  Well said.  I totally get it.  I think that's where I am.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back to the drawing board

Kadyn got off the bus in tears today because she felt awful again.  She was super tired and irritable this morning but thought she could tough it out.  Since I knew she wasn't contagious, was on an antibiotic, and her fever had broke when we went to the doctor's office, I sent her on her way, told her to be tough but to call if she got too miserable and I would come get her. I gave her some ibuprofen to make her more comfortable.

While at school she started shivering and went to the nurses office.  The nurse couldn't get a good reading on her temp because she was so congested she couldn't hold her mouth closed long enough.  She decided to tell the nurse she felt better and asked the nurse not to call me because she wanted to be tough and finish out the day.  Nurse sent her back to class.

So anyhoo, she's now home now and miserable.  Her fever is back. I gave her ibuprofen and it came up about 3 seconds later.  We're right back to where we started.  This is day 5 of this crud.  So I guess we go back to the doctor tomorrow for probably stronger meds.  This sucks!  I'm ready for her to be better and to have my kid back. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What misery looks like

See this?  This is what misery looks like.  My poor baby girls has been running a fever since Sunday evening and it is now Wednesday morning.  She has a horrible case of the flu complete with severe congestion, lack of appetite and two rounds of vomitting.  Jeff helped me out on Monday.  I have taken off the past two days.  SOOOOO hoping Bren or the rest of us don't get it.  Having an hourly job means no pay for me when I take off, but my baby is worth it and I have a really understanding boss.  God will provide so I'm not too worried.  One of the nice things about dealing with sick kids this year is that I don't have to leave parents scrambling to find other care.  This year, I can get a sub.  Woohoo!

I was all caught up on lesson planning and housework, so the past two days have been more relaxing with the girls and playing around on my computer.  I have found an AWESOME website for music teachers with a TON of ideas for music lessons and have been busy copying those and filing them away for later use, a task I was saving up for Christmas break.  The music curriculum I have been working with only comes with 30 lessons, so I knew that I was going to  have to come up with some ideas for lessons on my own.  Now that I've found some, I can't wait to go try them out!

What other kinds of things do us girls do on sick days?  Movies, read books, play with play dough, sit outside on lawn chairs to get fresh air,  and play games. 

If my baby doesn't get any better by tomorrow we will be taking her to the doctor.  I've not let myself rush her in just yet, because previous experience has taught me that 99 percent of the time doctors just say, "It's probably just a virus that needs to run it's course.  Make sure she gets plenty of rest and fluids and if her temp gets above 105 give us a call."  Kadyn is still able to keep most fluids down and a few crackers here and there.  When her temps get to 102 I have been able to get them back down with tylenol to make her more comfortable.  Her energy comes and goes, mostly comes when the meds kick in.  She starts getting lethargic when they wear off.  I figure most fevers subside after 2-3 days.  Since we are on day 3 I figure we've got to be getting close to the end of this. If not, tomorrow we will make a trip to the doc. 

So anyways, here's hoping to a road of recovery for my baby so we can resume life as normal.  Poor girl!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thankfulness 8

Every time I read my friend Sarah's thankful posts, I think, "Man, I need to do one of those again."  Thanks for the reminder Sarah.  Always a lot to be thankful for.

1.  Feeling a sense of contentment with life that I haven't felt in a long time
2.  A supportive principal who backs me up against irrational parents
3.  A BEAUTIFUL drive to work
4.  Playing with Bren during K's gymnastics class
5.  Working out, even if it is only one day a week
6.  Having a untidy house, but knowing it is OK
7.  Kiddos who are at an age where they can pitch in around  the house
8.  Having a husband who doesn't freak out about the new state of our house because he would rather see a happy wife than have a tidy house
9.  Having a house that may be untidy, but is still clean
10. Finding a new rhythm
11. The feeling of accomplishment when I make the kids' lunches each night
12.  The feeling of accomplishment when I clean and tidy the house on the weekends
13.  Fall clothing: Scarves, Layering, having more clothing on to hide those pesky body parts I'm not fond of
14.  Listening to Christian music and feeling inspired
15.  Working with kiddos during worship time at church for the first time and being told , "You're a natural!"
16.  Time passing so quickly while teaching because you're having too much fun and not wanting it to end
17.  Seeing students get amped up about a lesson and squealing to their teachers about it when she picks them up from music
18.  Seeing my students progress with their program songs
19.  Hearing from others that my students are singing their songs at home and getting them stuck in their heads
20.  Seeing the excitement and my 4th and 5th graders over playing silly recorders
21.  Getting to teach an instrument even if it isn't a violin
22.  Being called, "Ms. Music"
23.  Falling in love with my own voice all over again and being thankful for the gift of great vocal chords (didn't use them much when teaching instrumental music)
24.  Healing from laryngitis that I get EVERY year
25.  Not completely loosing my speaking voice during laryngitis
26.  Seeing a happy dog in the back of the pick up wag his tail and sniff the the air with ears flapping in the wind
27.  Husband who is cooking a lot more for the family to balance out things a bit
28.  Watching husband get excited over his teams
29.  Having my shows come back on TV
30.  Finding a way to get up in the morning that works for me
31.  Seeing Bren learn and grow from her preschool
32.  Hearing K's teacher brag on her and say things like, "I don't usually give kids this high of marks ever"
33.  Seeing K's standardized test scores and continuing to be amazed by how well she's doing
34.  Giving K advice about friendship and seeing her put that advice into action
35.  Giving K advice about dealing with school yard squabbles and her having the courage to take my advice
36.  Seeing K work through her problems and return the peace with her friends
37.  Pizza family movie night
38.  E.T. on blue Ray
39.  Pumpkin coffee drinks at starbucks
40.  Feeling like my old self after a couple years of feeling like someone else
41.  Seeing my family continue to thrive even with a working mother
42.  Having a couple close calls, but not accidents
43.  Knowing the Lord is watching over me
44.  The thankfulness and love that comes over me when I think about the state of my life, the doors that have opened for me, and the prayers that have been answered
45.  The excitement that comes with thinking of a summer with my children and no other children for the first time EVER!
46.  Knowing things that seem uncomfortable at the time, are often God's way to urge me to change something
47.  Making those changes and realizing it was all of the best and things are better 
48. Excitement over trick or treating with my family and inlaws again this year
49.  Seeing cute pictures of my niece I've never met in Alabama
50.  Seeing the happiness my sister law has since her new baby came in her life and the contentment she has with her family
51.  Having a brother in law that makes a consorted effort to stay in contact with his big bro.
52.  Seeing my father in law retire and feel a peace he's longed for for YEARS
53.  Seeing my sister get to experience her first pumpkin patch with her family EVER because of move to a new location
54.  Being inspired again
55.  Watching all the plants we have planted the last 2 years come into full bloom and make our house look better than it's EVER looked
56.  Organization at school
57.  My morning hugs from my students
58.  Seeing some of my ornery make a consorted effort to impress me on occasion
59.  Hearing silly things that preschoolers say
60.  Seeing my students chicken scratch their names on paper by themselves and knowing they couldn't have done that before me.
61.  Always having something to do
62.  A different menu planning system that is less stressful for me
63.  Loving my kids and feeling so incredibly blessed by them more and more each day
64.  Feeling so so lucky and blessed that God chose me to be their mom
65.  Feeling like my kids are the cream of the crop (OK I'm partial!) 
66.  Remembering to squash that voice that constantly judges myself
67.  Having clear skin for a couple months, FINALLY!
68.  A new classroom to move in in less than a month that will be larger!
69.  Getting my resume, letters of reference, and other essential paperwork together to give to local public school and thinking, "Dang, this looks impressive!" (Cocky?  Maybe, but I'm proud of all I've achieved.  I worked hard to be able to put all those things on my resume)
70.  Realizing that you have to be bold and confident sometimes to stand out in a crowd when you are competing for a job. 
71.  Being determined to have a go getter attitude when seeking said job. 
72.  Knowing if I don't get the job, it's not God's will and he still has provided a job I love even if it doesn't pay what I was hoping for.
73.  Knowing pay isn't as important as loving what you do.
74.  Being one of the fortunate few that can say that work doesn't feel much like work because I love what I do.
75.  Having way more good days than bad ones
76.  That feeling you get when a new day comes and you feel like you have a clean slate to right your wrongs from yesterday
77.  Gracy and Mercy
78.  Knowing time makes bad memories fade
79.  Being determined to replace bad memories with better ones
80.  Knowing being without family close draws my own family closer together
81.  The constant love and affection Bren shows me
82.  Seeing myself in my children
83.  Seeing a budding musician in Bren
84.  Seeing how much music means to Bren
85.  Listening to Bren sing along with my Ipod in the van on the way to work and then hearing her say every time, "I like that song."
86.  Looking at Bren when I'm teaching and gushing on how adorable she is all the time
87.  Knowing I never have to worry about my kids being the trouble kids in class because they always are on their best behavior for their teachers
88.  Seeing K get better at cartwheels and seeing the pride she feels in that accomplishment
89.  Sleeping in on Saturdays
90.  Running my electric fireplace again
91.  Fragrant candles
92.  Being that goof that baby talks to her fish
93.  Knowing that one of the ratties is very partial to me.  I truly feel loved by a rodent.  Isn't that funny and ridiculous all at the same time.
94.  Being able to feed leftovers to the ratties so I don't feel wasteful.
95.  Putting on silly glasses to encourage all preschoolers to participate in class
96.  Getting particular students to belly laugh
97.  Listening to Evan's laugh.  It's contagious!  And hearing stories about how he always gives himself hiccups from laughing so hard.
98.  Excitement of upcoming holidays.
99.  Having my school breaks back for the first time in 6 years!
100.  Realizing that veggies are becoming a staple in our diet, something I couldn't have said 6 years ago.
101.  Hearing students cheer when principal announces it's a music day. Seeing teachers stare at me and say, "Go Darci" and then performing a silly happy dance in front of them all to return the love.
102.  Being told by teachers their students can't wait for music days and ask every day if it is music day.
103.  Having many students tell me they "love" me.
104.  Having kids that I am so very, very proud of
105.  Knowing I must be doing something right because of how great my kids are
106.  Squirming because a debate is getting intense.  But enjoying the entertainment value of it all at the same time and knowing what is meant to happen will happen.
107.  Not worrying because God is in control.

Sorry if some have repeated from past posts. I guess sometimes there are just things I will be eternally thankful for.


Yesterday I experienced something that I have never experienced before.  It was early release day at Kadyn's school for parent teacher conferences.  My sweet neighbors who sometimes watch our kids for us agreed to meet Kadyn at the bus stop and take her for a few hours while I finished up teaching.  When I came home to pick her up, no one answered the door.   They knew I was going to pick her up at 2 and had never said anything to me about taking her somewhere.  It FREAKED.ME.OUT!  I was confident they had her, but I didn't have a clue where they had gone with her.  Before, if they wanted to take our kids somewhere they had asked permission first.  I did not recieve any messages about their where abouts.  It was the first time in her 6 years of life I honestly didn't know where she was in was a very scary feeling.  Brennan was crying and I was doing what I could to keep it together for her, but my stomach was in knots.  My baby was gone and I didn't know where she was!

Deep down I knew everything was probably OK and Kadyn would show up eventually.  I did not have my neighbors phone number because we had always communicated by email or face to face.  I knew she had my number, however I had not recieved any messages.  After a few phone calls, I tracked down their numbers.   Then after one message left and one text left, I finally made contact, 30 minutes later.  She had taken Kadyn to the store to get a birthday cake for her husband because she wanted us to come over that night and surprise him with a small birthday party.  She apparently had texted me what she was doing, but got my number wrong.  I could breath a sigh of relief that at least I knew where she was.  I later found out Kadyn had sat in her front seat and without a car seat.  To my neighbors defense, they are older adults (my parent's age) who have never had children.  They aren't very familiar with the laws and safety percautions that should be taken when traveling with children.  I love them to pieces and they are super generous and loving to us and our girls, so it was easy to be forgiving as I knew that they felt badly and I was pretty sure they wouldn't do it again after seeing my reaction.
I am paranoid about certain things when it comes to my children.  Probably the biggest thing I am paranoid about is that they will be kidnapped.  For this reason, I NEVER let Kadyn walk down the hill by herself from the bus stop.  I have friends who let their kids walk by themselves.  It is really a short walk. We are only 5 houses down the street, but still.  I won't let them play in the front yard by themselves without an adult around, but a couple of my friends up the street let their kids do it.  I teeter totter back and forth between reason and just playing it safe. 

Part of me says, the odds of it happening are probably slim.  We live in a safe area and it is pretty private too.  But then I think, it would be the perfect setting to kidnap a kid, not a lot of eyes around to see it happen.  I guess the rational I come up with is this, if I go ahead and relax and let my kids out by themselves without me and something DOES happen to them, could I ever live with myself?  If I'm being honest....I think it would destroy me, perhaps to the point of being manic depressive or even suicidal.  I love them too much!  I'm not sure I could forgive myself.  Because that is my answer, not too willing to take that chance.  I just don't want to be that person who says, "I never thought it would happen to me."   

So for now, I continue to be a little overprotective for their sake and for mine.  I do not know how I will feel about it as they get older and larger and more capable of being able to defend themselves and make smart decisions if they see somebody fishy driving around our neighborhood.  They're still so small, innocent, and precious.  I don't want to live in constant fear, and I certainly don't want them living in constant fear that a boogy man is going to be waiting somewhere to get them at every turn.  It's a fine line we walk between exercising caution or just being plain paranoid.  Hoping at some point I'll just know when that time is that I can give them a little more freedom to do things by themselves outside.  Sure wish we had a fenced back yard.  It's sad we have to live in a world where parents have to worry about things like this.  It's times like these I long to be safe in heaven with my family.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My little sleep walker

For the past 3 days Brennan has been sleep walking.  At first, I wasn't sure if that is what it was as she would wake up in the middle of the night and come out of her room mumbling something that didn't make a lick of sense and seeming a little upset. We'd try to converse with her, and she would sort of talk to us, but again, it didn't make sense.  We'd usher her back to her room, and she'd lay down and go out like a light. Last night I confirmed that it was indeed sleep walking because I found her asleep behind her door.  She did not recall getting up.  She mumbled something about her bed being "too soft."  See what I mean?  That doesn't make sense.

SO anyways, it's a little humorous and freaky at the same time.  I think I'll start locking the door to the stairway.  Yes, my mind has already gone there.  Sigh!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Hard Parts

I've been talking so much about the awesomeness of my job, that sometimes I think I paint a perfect picture of it.  I still love it so much!  However, there are parts that I'm not quite as fond of, as there is with any job really.  I try to be careful not to use my blog as a venting only forum, but I also want to be careful to not paint a picture perfect life either.  It can be all too easy to read picture perfect blogs others have written and start to feel as though your own life must be inadequate in some way. 

So let me keep it real...

When I was working in the Kansas City area I was surrounded with parents that cared A LOT about their kids and their education.  Sometimes too much, which can be a problem in its own way.  But I'd say, overall, I was very spoiled by the support I got as a teacher, and the kids were spoiled a bit by that support as well.

I feel the need to be very careful about the wording now, so bare with me.  Let's just say, the one thing that is difficult about my job are choices that are made by certain individuals who mean an awful lot to these children (and I'm not talking about the staff.)  The children have no choices but these individuals do, and their choices really impact these children.  It saddens me.  It frustrates me.  It angers me!!!!  It is beyond my control.  It simply is not fair to the kids, and it really stinks! 

So there you have it.  Teaching is a calling.  There are good days, and there are bad days.  Thankfully the good days always outnumber the bad days.   It is part of who I am and fulfills me in ways being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend can't.  I feel blessed to call myself a teacher.  BUT it doesn't come without its challenges.  At some point though, I have to leave it to God and hope that the kids still somehow rise above the challenges that are thrown their way at such young ages. Sigh!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busy and stuff

Sorry I haven't been as active on here as I'd like to.  I have been so busy with work that blogging has kind of gone to the back burner.  Even now, I need to be planning my music classes for next week, but I also have all these things swirling around in my head of things my girls have done that I just thought I better write down before I loose them.  So here are updates on us all.


My job, although part time, really is full time and then some.  I think I said that already.  I spend all my time after work and on weekends planning, creating things for lessons, creating letters for parents, etc.  I love my job.  Most days are awesome!  I have had two days that were nuts because the kids were testing my every nerve, but even those days don't compare to the stress I once had with a screaming daycare infant tugging on my pant leg all day long.  Nope.  I wouldn't trade what I do for that ever!  I love, love, love teaching.  Most days I plug along 150% and then it hits me and I just feel completely spent and have to force myself to shut down for awhile.  One night I even fell asleep on the couch at 7:30!

My students are really bonding to me.  I get showered with hugs from my preschoolers when they first see me and when I leave each day sometimes mauling me all at once.  They vie for my attention when I'm out and about walking the halls.  Being the music teacher for the school also means that I know every student in it.  I feel so "popular."  I can't walk anywhere without hearing, "Hi Ms. Darci!"  "Ms. Darci!  Ms. Darci!  Ms. Darci!!!!!"  I feel a little guilty as the teachers are trying so hard to get the students to walk quietly through the halls and then I come along.

I've had a 3rd grader tell me that my class is his favorite. I've had a couple parents tell me they hear a lot about my class and one parent say she hears all the songs at home.  Another parent wrote me a note thanking me for all I do.  One of my older students made it a point to tell me she was super excited about coming to class to learn recorders and another student today said she didn't want to go back to her other teacher.  Sigh!  I really feel like I'm making my mark ;)  Although my family valued me when I was at home, there is a lot of validation that comes with doing what I do.  It is very rewarding.  I feel like the professional in me is getting noticed again and it's an amazing feeling.


She still LOVES school.  Lately, what she has been learning is really starting to show.  Just today as I was creating something for my class she noticed an O on the bottle of Modge Podge and exclaimed, "Hey there's a vowel on that!"  Aw, music to my ears.  Yesterday I listened to her retell the story of Cain and Abel for 10 minutes.  The girl can talk.  Then she did it all over again for her dad later.  The bible stories and memory verses really stick with her.  Makes me so happy!  She is starting to spot letters everywhere in her surroundings and always points them out to me.  She especially gets excited if they are letters that are in her name.  One of my favorite memories of her will be when she was squatting over my Better Homes and Garden magazine and shouts, "Mom there's a letter that is in my name on this! YES!  YES!  YES!"  I enjoy looking at her work because I guarantee in addition to coloring the picture, she will have written a gazillion B's and R's on her paper.  It's evident that she takes great pride in the fact she can draw them.


Kadyn's teacher has sent work home for Kadyn, mostly reading.  The guidelines for expectations for this have been very vague.  So we have had to ask Kadyn what she is supposed to do and go from that. Kadyn is usually very honest.  At first K was very good about doing her homework. The newness of it all has worn off a bit and it's not a struggle yet, but let's just say there is a lot of procrastination, a little whining, and reluctance involved.  My approach to it all is to say something along these lines, "Well I can't force you, but I won't feed you supper if you don't do your homework and you will go to bed early.  Maybe I'll even get you up an hour early to think about doing it then."  That seemed to do the trick.  I know, I'm a slave driver. 

But seriously, the girl amazes me.  We no longer have to sit by her for her reading assignments.  She is competent enough that she rarely needs our assistance to figure out words.  Today she brought home a math game that involved multiplication.  She was eager beaver to learn her multiplication tables even though her teacher hasn't required it yet.  This is partly due to the fact that she saw me working with her much older cousin on this over the summer.  I think it makes her feel grown up that she is now starting to be able to do the same.


I'm not quite sure what to say about Jeff.  Not much has changed in his world.  He is still plugging away at work finding small successes here and there.  I will say that he is an amazing help to me since I started work.  He helps more with the kids and also with cooking food.  I couldn't ask for a more supportive husband.  There are certain things I always do and probably will always do like laundry, ironing, cleaning the house, etc., but then there are his things too like mowing, taking out the trash, etc.  It all kind of balances out. We are an amazing team if I don't say so myself.  I appreciate him soooo very much and love him like crazy.  He cracks me up on a daily basis.  I told him last night if someone could just crawl inside his brain for a day it would be a humorous ride. 

Balancing the house with work has become a little easier.  I have started chore charts for the girls and they seem to be working, as long as I stay on top of reminding them to do their chores.  They get a small allowance each week for their efforts and have been instructed to save for something they really want as opposed to just taking their money somewhere and trying to find something to buy.  So far Kadyn has decided on saving for a locket and Brennan wants silly glasses.  Their piggy bank money, which is mostly just change we give them from our pockets, gets cashed in and then split into donation to a charity (we see donating to charity as part of our tithes, who says tithes always have to go to church?) and savings for a car someday.  We've cashed in as much as 200 plus from those piggy banks before.

We have a camping trip coming up this weekend.  I'm a little nervous about being too cold at night, but the get away will be nice.  I have trouble separating myself from work sometimes unless I leave town LOL. 

Well that about covers it.  Now I have it down somewhere I won't forget.  Guess it's time to get back to work.  It's kind of like laundry.  It never ends. Or at least the first year.  After that I can starting reusing all this stuff I'm making and it will be a lot easier. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kansas City Fun

As I mentioned before, we got to spend a little time in KC on our way home from Manhattan visiting with my sister and parents who also drove in for a short time.  We visited the Deana Rose farm while we were there.  It should've been fun, but it was so hot it really was more miserable than fun.  It's a miracle that we got decent pictures and the kids didn't whine any more than they did.  Not a repeat unless the weather is nice I must say.