28 February 2012


I can always count on Noble to both lift my spirits and humble me, and today was no exception.

After I picked him up from school, we had to run to the Post Office (seriously, are we the only ones who still use stamps??).  That's always a fun trip, as there are opportunities for Noble to practice "Ladies first" and using other manners, and then there's the ordering and paying...today we had to let 2 different people go in front of us because Noble was determined to buy stamps from Mr. Monte and only Mr. Monte.  None of this really has anything to do with why I started writing...I just enjoy time with the knucklehead.

On the way home, we drove by a house that has bluebonnets in the yard already.  When I pointed them out (yes, for the second time today), Noble first informed me that we'd already seen that WASTERDAY...and then he kind of sighed, "they're so wucky!"

I was still kind of in Teacher-Mommy mode, so I opened my mouth to find a lesson in his envy.  All I got out was, "well, yes, they're blessed..." and Noble jumped back in:

"Well, yes, they are vewwy bwessed with bwuebonnets.  But that's okay, because we is so bwessed, too!"

I was just about to pat myself on the back when he finished his thought:
"WE is so bwessed with weeds at our house."

We are blessed, indeed, Bub.

Bird-Day Party Prep

The countdown is on...Noble's Bird-Day party is next week!  Don't fret if you didn't get an invitation...nobody did, other than his classmates.  It was a tough decision, but since I *forgot* to reserve the room a year ago, I could only get it for the Friday night before Spring Break--nobody wants to drive in for that!--and also, Noble has 20+ classmates that he wanted to invite...his friends + our family + our friends + MOPS + AWANA + Germania...I don't think the place would even hold that many people, or that we could get enough pizza!  :)  So, please don't have your feelings hurt, but be happy that Bubby is getting exactly* the party he wants...Angry Birds!

*Although, he told me that his birthday wish is going to be for a REAL Angry Birds party...you know, wif real birds!

Noble's countdown--that's his invite.  :)

We owe Grandma and Ms. Lisa BIG for saving and washing all of these cans...

...that are going to be pigs!  
Recognize his Valentines bag?  
It's been surgically corrected (big tape!) to hold his golden egg favors...wish it luck!

Some more games waiting on paint and a little detailing.  You'll have to wait and see...

...and these are going to be FUN!

24 February 2012


Tonight was the annual Brenham HS Band fundraiser--the big pancake dinner. We look forward to this all year!

We're glad to support the Cub Band...but we realized that Noble's plate looked like a scene straight out of "Elf"--pancakes, chocolate chips, whipped cream, sprinkles...only a second child, right? :)

A fANTastic early birthday present

Guess what came in the mail yesterday??? We may or may not have bought this at Thanksgiving...and we may or may not have hidden it away for Christmas and forgotten about it...so it made a fun early birthday present for Bubby. Of course he'll share it with Kayci--he's already got a spot picked out in their room. :)

23 February 2012

Before I was a teacher...

I just finished an online course, and the final assignment was to write a Philosophy of Education.  For the first time, I shared MY philosophy with my students--and I got a good laugh at reading what 22 year old Kristi had to say on the subject.  Here's what I shared with my students (and no, this would NOT be my philosophy today...I'd take some out, add some...maybe I'll do that when things slow down!):

A couple of years ago, I came across this in a box of college stuff.  It's my Philosophy of Education, written in August of 1997.  To set the stage, I'd just finished my fourth year of college and was getting ready to do my Student Teaching so I could graduate in December 1997.  What you guys don't know is that by this time, I'd gotten involved in Student Activities and had decided that I would finish my degree then go straight into a Master's program so I could achieve my goal of being a University Vice President by the age of 35.

Well, I'm 37 now...and I never did complete that Master's.  The Boy of my dreams proposed a couple months after I wrote this, and I went back to my original plan--to get married, move home to the Houston area, and teach.  There's a lot more to this story, obviously, but that's where I was.

Here is my philosophy in all of its untouched, unedited glory.  I'm not sure what the parameters of the assignment were, but I think it's pretty obvious that I had mixed emotions about teaching at the time.  I was patting myself on the back for not being TOO idealistic...then I read the last paragraph and had a little laugh at my own expense.  :)  Enjoy, friends--you guys are light years ahead of where I was when I started teaching...and I think this is a great example of someone who has the heart for teaching but had lots to learn about HOW to be a teacher.  A year after I wrote this, I started teaching...and a year after that, I started my second year of teaching as our district's Rookie of the Year.  I don't tell you this to brag, but to show you that YOU can do it, too!

Philosophy of Education

I have a very definite opinion about my role as a teacher.  First and foremost, it is not the students’ responsibility to learn how I teach.  It is my responsibility to teach how they learn.  I will always give students the benefit of the doubt.  Every day is a new day.  The problems of the day before are left behind, and everyone has a clean slate.  I will strive not to alienate any student by playing favorites.  All of my students will be my favorites, and will have the same opportunities.

I am not the only teacher in my classroom.  Each child has something to teach and share with the others, including me.  All of my students will be both learner and teacher.  And I will be a learner, as well as the teacher.  All students can learn.  I will continually challenge my students to test their limits and try to accomplish beyond their expectations (and mine).  My students will have a sense of “TEAM.”  Our team will be interdependent, supportive, and respectful of each other and our differences.  We will move at different paces, certainly, but we will all be moving toward the same goals. 

The best advice I have ever received concerning classroom discipline is:  NEVER THREATEN.  The first time there is a problem, take action.  Be consistent, and be fair.  Student responsibility is a key factor in the success of any discipline program.  Rather than deciding what students should and should not do, we will decide as a group what we want our classroom rules to be.  It is, after all, our classroom.  By setting the rules together, we can define terms and decide what is and is not appropriate behavior in the classroom, and the consequences for inappropriate behavior.  We can discuss what actions and/or situations are covered by each rule (“Being respectful means listening when others speak.  Being respectful means not touching other students…”).  I would like to experiment, and have each child sign a contract stating that they understand the classroom rules and are responsible for their actions and the consequences of their actions. 

One of the most important unstated classroom rules is:  be tolerant.  Students come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds.  My students and I will respect this, and use it as an opportunity to learn from each other.  No child is more or less important than any other in my classroom.  Socioeconomic status, race, ability, disability, personal hygiene, and other traits do not determine a student’s worth, or potential.  It is most important that I do not ever judge my students.  It is not my responsibility (or right!) to decide which of my students will and will not “make it” in the world.  The only assumptions I will make about any child’s potential is that every single one of my students has the potential for greatness. 

I want to be a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children.  For some, the classroom is the closest thing to a home and family that they have.  My job is to make sure that my classroom remains a safe haven.  A student has the right to a classroom where the rules and consequences are consistent from day to day, no matter who breaks the rule, how “badly” they break the rule, and what kind of mood the teacher is in when the rule is broken.  It is my job to provide consistency, and stability.  I will never draw the line…there is no such thing as being too nice or too supportive.  I will give the students what they need, and never less.  I will try to help students believe in themselves, so they can experience success outside of the classroom.  This is my goal.  And if I ever lose sight of this goal, then I should no longer be a teacher.  

22 February 2012

Six oh oh!

"Wook, Mommy!  I'm wearing my pants on my ARMS!"

DaddyBoy and I both work better early than late, so we go to bed at a decent hour and get up at a not-so-decent hour to work before it's time to start our days (4 am today).  Noble has been an early riser from day one.  We used to think it was because his crib was in our room, and that moving him into Kayci's room would help him sleep longer.  Um, no--that was 3 years ago, and he would still get up at 5 or 5:30 if we'd let him.  

Well, as much as it hurts my heart that he's growing so fast, one of the many benefits is how smart he is.  Once he got his new bed, we started working on a reward system to keep him IN HIS bed all night and to keep us IN OUR bed all night.  We had to amend it to staying in his bed until one of us was awake, because he tended to wake up at the first sound from our room.  The problem with this, beyond the obvious of Noble not getting enough rest, was that we weren't getting our work done in the mornings...which made for very long days.  

So, we came up with a plan:  Noble loves to tell time.  (For the longest time he'd walk around saying, "6:42, wake up time!"  We wish!)  We let him pick out his own digital clock and set it up by his bed.  His rule is:  if he gets out of bed before 6:00 AM, he doesn't get his sticker for staying in his bed all night.  By golly, it works!  Or, it has worked for the past 3 weeks or so since we started it.

But...this morning I was up grading and DaddyBoy was in the office working, and I kept hearing something.  It turns out, Noble woke up a little early today--but stayed in their room for fear of missing out on a sticker.  Kayci ratted him out when they came in at 6:00 (it's 6:00 on the DOT every day, and every day he says, "Guess what time it is on my clock, Mommy?  Six oh oh!  Wake up time!").  I asked when they woke up and Noble said, of course, "Six oh oh!"  Kayci said, "Actually...he's been up since 5:28.  He tried to get me to change his clock to 6:00 so we could come out earlier."  I told you he was smart!  In his defense, we did see a similar trick on "Mr. Bean" yesterday evening.  

Now, if only we could get Noble to use his brain power for good instead of evil...

40 Days of Reflection

I totally forgot that today was Ash Wednesday until I woke up and checked facebook...oops.  I promptly updated my status to "see you at Easter!", deleted the bookmark and got off the page, fast.

For the past 4 weeks, I've been teaching online.  I've got a 2 week break, then I'll be coordinating another online cycle until July.  What this means is:  I *have* to be online each day to work.  But what it really means is, every time I grab my laptop I drive by facebook, check my blogroll...basically, I kill time.  Which is in waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too short supply around here to be killing.

So, that's as far as I've gotten:  during Lent, no facebook.  I think it will be good for me to actually have to call or text or email the person I need to talk to.  And I need to reclaim that time each day, and give it a new name:  healthy.

Oh, yeah, that--the new year's resolution.  Hmm.  Move every day?  Yeah, no.

But you know, there's always time to change, right?

Crap.  You know what else I just thought of?  I need to say goodbye to soda again...I've been drinking it every single day--do you know how many empty calories that is?  Our recycle bag is full of cans...that NEVER happens, which means there's a problem.

My prayer is that for the next 40 days, I am both more reflective and more productive, and more purposeful than I've been in too long to remember.  Pray with me?  :)

21 February 2012

For the Love

Several months after we moved here, we decided that Kayci needed some time in preschool (okay, I needed more time to work). We did some searching, and everything led us back to the same school-what people called the best school. Well, there were no spots. And there was already a waiting list for the next year. And, it turned out that it wasn't just a rumor--people had camped out at the church overnight to get those spots for their kids. I'd never heard of such a thing, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Sure, most of the people we knew sent their kids there...and it was an awesome school...but nope. No part. Kayci had a great experience in Ms. Allison's class, but we didn't care for the school overall and we were glad to be done with it.

We got nervous when we found out we were pregnant again--daycare had been such an issue for Kayci, and we were out of options. We kept him at home until it just wasn't working (okay, I wasn't working) well and then we started the school search again. Same thing: all signs pointed to that school which I'd sworn off. I'll fast forward through a bad day care experience, Noble spending Wednesdays with Heather, and then a half year of floundering around and Noble going to work with me every week...not having child care was for the birds. Oh, wait...I'm fast forwarding...so, through divine (and Heather's!) intervention, Heather gets Bubby a part-time spot at THE school. And it was everything we'd hoped and more.

It's that time again; registration time.  I knew it was this week, but I had the 21st in my head, so I was thinking that I would just deal with it today (had to work yesterday).  Well, it WAS the 21st, and spaces were filling up, which meant we had to suck it up and camp out or Noble would be out of luck next year (and he just loves, loves his school...it's such a blessing to know he's safe and happy and loved...we NEED for him to have a spot at that school).  So...after a 13 hour day, I ate dinner with the family and then while DaddyBoy put the kids to bed, I headed off to camp out.  (In his defense, my Boy had planned to take this one for the team, but I just couldn't do it--he has to go to work today, and I only have to work from home).

I was prepared for a long, yucky night.  I packed a big ol' bag of stuff to do, including a laptop for grading.  There was also the option to socialize, but I just wasn't in the mood.  Well, I got there and I couldn't get on wi-fi, so that meant no grading.  I hesitated for about a second, then I just curled up with a book on my phone and read until I fell asleep.  It was completely silent in my car, save for the odd car coming or going (the parking lot was full, friends...I got there at 8 pm and was the 34th person in line, I think they were up to 80 when I left?).  It was a wonderful, blessedly silent night.  And surprise coffee and donuts at 6:30 am with my family?  What a fun treat!  :)  The moral of the story:  if you want a spot at this school for your kids, I don't care what they say, Moms--volunteer.  Bring pillows and blankets and just enjoy the silence.

Say what you will about the process, I have to think it's the way it is for a reason.  These spots are like gold--I am absolutely, 100% happy with Noble's preschool experience so far.  And once again, this child has made me a hypocrite.

Wait, hold on:  I'm NEVER going to be a millionaire.  I don't EVER want a part of having enough money to give away like crazy.

(What?  It worked before!  I'll NEVER have a baby in my bed...I'll NEVER have a kid who talks back...I'll NEVER camp out for a daycare spot...)

18 February 2012

What's your sign?

Noble LoVeD signing Valentines...in fact, it kind of got to be a problem last week because he signed his name on any paper he found. :) Yesterday, he changed it up, and taped this to the silverware drawer:

This made my WEEK, because it's the first time he's written "Mommy" all by himself. :) Yesterday he surprised Grandma by trying to write her name...he got G-R down before he got distracted. I love what a little literacy sponge he is right now. Can't wait to see what he writes today!

16 February 2012

Valentine's Day Fun

Originally, Noble and I were going to make one of the monster boxes from February's Family Fun magazine.  You know how this goes; we got the box ready, painted it, put it outside to dry...downpour.

Back to the drawing board!  We were at the store to buy another box (what, you think I had two sitting around?) and we walked by the gift wrap aisle.  I thought, hmm, those bags would make great monsters...or Angry Birds.  Noble loved the Angry Bird idea, and chose the black bag.  Which turned out to be awesome, because the black bird's beak lent itself well to our plan.  I can't take any credit for this at all--what makes this so cute is the printable from The Party Animal blog (she ROCKS!).  

Noble and I had a lot of fun making this together--believe it or not, all I did was cut--he did the gluing (and there was lot's of gluing to get the red inside just right, he was very specific about that).  

Can't you just see all of the 3-year olds feeding their valentines to the bird?  :)

Noble's valentine--I *wish* I had pinned or bookmarked the original idea I ran across several weeks ago, this is TOTALLY copied from someone and I'd love to give credit.  Noble's favorite gum is Juicy Fruit, but I was 4 packs short so I supplemented with a grown-up flavor for a couple of people.  He was SO proud of these...and yup, I was, too.  :)  Good job, DaddyBoy!

One thing that I'm really excited about:  Noble can WRITE this year, so that's his signature on the valentine, heart and all, and if you go back up to his bird you can see that he signed the gray tummy.  

Here he is in his new wookin' for wuv...since these Old Navy tees have pockets, I just printed a heart with an "n" inside of it on the front.  I realized I need to start using capitals for him, but design-wise, I just hate to do it.  Again, I wish I had my problems--wah, my little guy digs letters.  

This is last year's design, but I love the vintage look.  Spoiler alert:  I picked up a green tee like this at Old Navy a couple of days ago for a March shirt.  Kayci likes this shirt, too...she asked for me to make her something on a shirt like this.  Their Christmas shirts were this vintage, heathered feel, and I think she likes how soft the shirts are.  I know I do!  But, I digress...

Kayci wouldn't let me make her a Valentine's Day shirt this year.  This one's from Old Navy.  And it's big enough to wear next year, kid...don't get any ideas.

Here's Kayci's Valentine box--we flipped a PiperLime box inside out and she duct-taped the seams with her fun tape.  (Thanks for the box, Grandma, and the shoes in it!)  This box was a total Kayci project, and I love how it turned out.  She put little adhesive gems on it and cut out sayings to glue on like conversation hearts.  I love her work!

Here are Kayci's valentines.  Again, I wish I had pinned the original idea--there are tons of heart felt bookmarks out there from Martha Stewart on down, but we saw these on a blog and just fell in love.  We combined the idea with the picture (you know, like the lollipop in the hand pic), and I like how it turned out.  This will probably be the last year I get to help Kayci make valentines--sniff.  
PS--I did the sewing...it got ugly when Kayci couldn't sew perfectly the very first time she tried.  :/

Here are our friend/family valentines...I just love those kids!  And their Daddy, who makes this stuff possible.  Thanks, Boy!

For teachers (6 this year!), I had planned to bake and decorate cookies with the kids.  Ah, no...we haven't had time.  So, I punted and did a version of Idea Room's candy corn bark and cut it into heart shapes, and then made heart-shaped Rice Krispie treats and made them pretty with sprinkles and white chocolate.  We bagged these babies up and wrapped them in...

...fun Valentine's dish towels (I love, love nice dish towels...Kristi trivia).  I had Daddy print extra of the tag for the candy bags--cut apart, these pics make great gift tags!

And there's Bubby.  :)

That was a long post for what was really a simple holiday around here this year!  The kids and I just did pictures for Daddy, and of course Kayci made him a card.  For the kids, Daddy and I gave each of them a roll of duct tape with a note:  families stick together!  (Kayci has taught Noble how to make duct tape pens...heaven help us.)  The kids were so excited to wake up to a pile of valentine cards Tuesday morning...big thanks to the Fosters, Trueloves, Grandma, Grandma Hagler & Ant Peggy for that!  (Nana & Dan's cards came on Tuesday, so they got to open those before bed.)  

I hope you felt loved this Valentine's Day...and I hope you shared the love, too!

13 February 2012

Aren't we all?

We were up in the air about a Valentines shirt for Bubby this year...Daddyboy & I kept tossing out ideas and none seemed to fit.  Well, let me correct myself:  none fit as well as last year's shirt.  Since it's long gone (one of my first attempts at heat transfer--needless to say, it did not hold up well), we picked up this vintage red (tell Noble it's pink) shirt at Old Navy yesterday and I planned to print this with black paint.  Daddy suggested white and I was all, no, white's too hard to paint...but when I got going, I found some white ink I forgot I had...and, as Kayci says, voila.

I'm digging the vintage.  Noble's the coolest kid I know.  Well, maybe it's a tie...

10 February 2012


Today was PTO day, so I packed a lunch for Noble and me. After the meeting, I went looking for my sandwich and found this:

Noble, did you eat my sandwich AGAIN? (Did I mention he ate my sandwich the other day?) Um no, that's how it was.

09 February 2012

Time Passes By

We had a mini photo-session the other night to get the kids' Valentine shots.  
It was fun.  It was late, but it was fun.  Daddy got some great pictures. 
When we took this one, I was thinking...

...of a day not so very long ago, in the grand scheme of things...

...that in some ways, feels like a lifetime ago.
Look at those babies. 
Blink!  Now look, big kids.

My heart hurts a little at how fast time passes by,
but each day is its own adventure.
How could I want it any other way?  

06 February 2012

What are you going to do today?

It's a simple question.  A variation of it that we ask each other every morning is, "what does your day look like?"  The past week+ has been a little tough around here, but I'm happy to report DaddyBoy is on the mend and back at work.  It's a good thing, as I'm not as kind and patient of a nurse/caregiver/servant as I was 10 days ago.  I think I'm almost as ready as he is for him to be back at 100%.  (Disregard the grammar, okay?  It's my journal.)

We had a great morning here today.  You know when you have a bad morning, it kind of colors the whole day?  I think the same is true of a good morning...it makes everything just a little brighter, a little lighter, a little easier.  I have to be honest, I was a bit worried about this morning.  It's the first day we're all going to be apart after several days together, the first day Daddy's at work, the first day we all have to get around and be someplace...but it was awesome.  The kids were champs, and I didn't have to redirect or repeat myself ONCE.  That was amazing in itself, enough to make my whole day!

Today as I walked my Bitty in to school, she looked up and said, "What are you going to do today, Mommy?"  

Simple question.  But the answer is not so simple today.  I could list 100 things I 

should do,
could do,
would do...if I had time/money/space/motivation...
want to do,
have to do,
need to do,
ought to do,
might do.

So here's what I've done so far:

I came home, ate breakfast (didn't have time before school), sorted clothes, mocked up a Valentine project Kayci wants to try this afternoon, started a load of laundry, washed dishes, checked e-mail, texted a few people back and forth for work and PTO, caught up on my quiet time that I didn't finish this morning, was humbled...and now I'm reviewing my mental list of things I need to do today and revising it.  And blogging, because I haven't spent the time I needed in quiet time or journaling this past 10 days and I am worn down from not taking that time.  I am worn down from serving, serving, serving...and I wish so badly I could serve selflessly.  I'm not there, yet.  

Why do we, as women, believe not only that we CAN do it all, but that we SHOULD do it all, and that somehow doing less than that is failure?  How many times do I hit this brick wall, step back, shake it off and laugh at myself for getting caught up in my madness?  

I don't have a lot of "shake it off" in me right now.  My tank is running a little low, but it's a temporary thing, I know.  

What am I going to do today?  

I'm going to enjoy the silence.
I'm going to hand-write several thank you notes.
I'm going to drink lots of water.
I'm going to heat leftovers instead of cooking--and in doing so, save money AND clean out the fridge.
I'm going to write on some birthday cards and mail a little love to friends and family.
I'm going to do laundry for my family.  
I'm NOT going to sweep the floor.  A little dust and dirt won't kill anyone before tomorrow.
I'm NOT going to go to the grocery store until after we pick Kayci up from school; I've just decided that's 30 minutes of my kid-less time I don't want to spend today, I'll take the kids with me later.  And then probably blog tomorrow about what a mistake it was to take 2 kids to the store at the end of the school day...nah.  They're good kids.  :)
I'm going to be kind to my husband when he comes home for lunch, and let home be a refuge for him instead of another place to hear people complaining.  I don't want to be that wife.  
I'm going to give myself some time to rest a bit, and hopefully, get refreshed.  
I'm going to burn some calories, even if it's just a good walk around the block.  
I'm going to get some work done.
I'm going to pray for a little boy who's in the hospital right now, and for his Mommy and Daddy who must be exhausted and scared and grateful he's going to be okay...and for the friends who saw his accident who must be struggling, too.  
I'm going to thank God for my many blessings, healthy kids and mending husband being at the top of the list.  
I'm going to ask God to replenish my patience...I'm clean out with some people in my life.  Thank You, God, that my knuckleheads are not on THAT list.  We had a great afternoon/evening/morning together...I'm grateful for that.  Sometimes I take the good times for granted, you know, and that makes the tough times seem even tougher.  I find it's better for me if I'm thankful for the good--it keeps the not so good in perspective, and reminds me that the good times will be back before I know it.  

So, when Kayci gets in the car after school today, she'll ask me what I did today.

And I'll tell her what I always tell her:  Oh, I worked a little, did a little housework, not much.  :)
And I'll tell her, like I always do, that I spent some time missing her while she was at school.  It's the truth, especially on a Monday...after so much family time, it's hard to go our separate ways and I look forward to being under the same roof again later today.

What are YOU going to do today? 

01 February 2012

Self Portraits

Guess who's who...

I found these in his backpack, and I did the whole preschool teacher, "tell me about your art" thing. So, he did.

That's me. And what's this one? (At this point he looked at me very condescendingly, and spoke a little more slowly.) That is me, also.