Monday, April 30, 2007

My Best Shot Monday

This is dedicated to everyone who does things a little differently. Everyone who is independent and snuggly, strong and kiss-you-when-you-least-expect-it, thinks-out-of-the-box and obedient. This is dedicated to everyone who is not quite like anyone else and is totally loved by everyone around them.

Check out Picture This to see other entries for My Best Shot Monday. They ROCK this week.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


loving, tender, thoughtful, selfish
daughter of a teacher and an engineer, sister of a seminary student and a loan officer
lover of my husband, my daughter, and my daughter's siblings
feels blessed, scared, and loved
finds happiness in being a mother, wife, friend
needs to create, learn, teach
gives so much of herself, hugs, listening ears
fears the real me, God, war
would like to see my grandchildren, Italy, old age
enjoys creating and perserving memories, stitching fabric into outfits, looking at life through a lens
likes to wear black, my favorite jeans, worn thread-bare pajamas
resident of my home

Now you know a little more about me! I would LOVE to read one written by you about you (that is the AUTO part!), if you'd like to play along with me.

Here is the recipe for an autobio-poem:
line 1: your first name only
line 2: four traits (adjectives) which describe you
line 3: son/daughter of...
line 4: lover of (three people, ideas, or a combination)
line 5: who feels (three sensations)
line 6: who finds happiness in (three items or places)
line 7: who needs (three things)
line 8: who gives (three things)
line 9: who fears (three things)
line 10: who would like to see (three things)
line 11: who enjoys (three items)
line 12: who likes to wear (three colors or items)
line 13: resident of (your city and street or road)
line 14: your last name only

C'mon! It's fun! I'm working on another one that uses words in a more powerful way. I might share soon. I'm also working on an "I'm from" poem that shares a little about my past. If I'm satisfied with the results, I'll share that one, too.

Put your link with your comment. I'll encourage everyone to stop by to check it out. I can't wait to learn a little more about you.

Friday, April 27, 2007


We're watching Fern Gully II as part of our Great Kapok Tree unit.

Here are two funny things that were said:

Me: He said endangered species. What does that mean?
Student 1: He's in danger!
Me: Of what?
Student 2: SPECIES!!!
(Thankfully one of my other students really did know what endangered species meant)

Batty, one of the characters, is acting particularly amusing in this movie.
One of my students said:"He's acting very crazy in this EPISODE!"
How in the world does she know the word episode????

I thought I was going to wet my pants.

I'm in class this weekend. My professor is awesome. She's forcing us to deal with racism/colorism issues--as teachers, that is so important for us to be aware of. I'd like to think I'm not a racist (which I REALLY am not, thanks for asking), but I do have thoughts about race. My experiences as a white woman, teacher, mother, wife, etc, have molded me into the person I am. My students' experiences as black boys and girls, hispanic boys, asian girls, white boys and girls mold who they are. Their cultures are different from my own. It's important for me to recognize that and to help them recognize the beauty in themselves. Whew...stepping off my soapbox now.

We wrote beautiful poems tonight called autobio-poems. I'll share mine tomorrow and the "recipe" for it. It would be a great thing to do for yourself or to have your own children write. You might be surprised.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Visit to the Post Office...and other stuff

I hand delivered my 15 page paper to the post office today!! YAHOO!!!! I'm done, I'm done...doing a little happy dance that you can't see.

And other stuff:
I'm glad I didn't write about my meeting yesterday. I probably would have given way too many details that might have cost me my job if anyone read what I had to say yesterday! It boils down to the fact that one of my special ed students is getting the shaft. And it's all due to upper level school management politics and nothing to do with him or his family. He's being asked to move to another school because they (the powers that be) are changing the way our sp.ed. program is run at my school. He would be better served at another school--I can't get into all the details about why, etc. because of privacy issues. Now that I've had time to settle down and ask questions to the sp.ed. teacher who works with him and my administrator, I do agree that this other school is better suited to meet his needs, but it makes me so darn mad! He's been at my school since Kindergarten. We've met his needs just fine--okay, well, as good as we could. I felt like the parents were put on the spot yesterday to make decisions about next year without knowing all of the important information. I felt like they were expected to play football without any pads or a helmet.

It seemed to me that they were lambasted about the possible move to another school. In reality, the mother had been informed prior to the meeting that he could be better served in this other school, with teachers who are trained to meet his specific needs and to work with him on his deficits. However, there were very influential sp. ed. employees at this meeting who were rushing the parents into making decisions. There were two or three times that I actually spoke up (as if I were the parents advocate and not the child's!) because I felt like the parents were so overwhelmed by all this information that they couldn't possibly make certain decisions. I finally had to tell everyone that I wasn't signing anything until the parents had time to look at the new facility, meet the new teachers, and look over some of the information they were given. Thankfully the parents are very involved in making the best decision for their sp.ed. child, so they refused to sign anything, as well, until they had a chance to digest all of this information. They seem like fighters--and more power to them. I am not in a position to fight my employer. That would not be the right thing for me to do. But it is, without a doubt, the right thing for a parent to fight for the right of their child. If necessary, I will be the silent cheerleader for this family. If possible, I'll be in the forefront, cheering them on!

More other stuff:
Today was picture day at school. Would someone please shoot me the next time we do picture day??? My kids were nutso!!!! My kids wear uniforms to school. On picture day, they are allowed to change into street clothes for the five minutes they take their individual pictures. Then they are required to change back into their uniforms. Oh, dear....the drama that follows. Not to mention all the notes from mamas: please make sure she has a pretty smile; put her hair over one shoulder, make sure his shirt doesn't get wrinkled before he takes his picture, blah, blah, blah. THEY ARE CHILDREN!!!! His shirt is going to get wrinkled in between the restroom and the classroom. I'm going to force her to smile pretty. Ahhhh....the fun times at school.

That's about it. I'm off to stamp and scrapbook for a few minutes after I cook dinner.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Eyes Crossed

I sit here with my eyes crossed from exhaustion. My paper is FINALLY finished.

Wish I had something funny or witty to post. M and I had a terrible afternoon, but it wasn't her fault at all. I was so darn tired and so upset by a meeting this afternoon, which I really want to write about, but don't have the energy. I'll tell all about it tomorrow, when it's not so raw and maybe I'll have some answers from my administrator.

I hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday. Only two more days until the weekend. 20 more days of students!! YEAH!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I am actually working on my paper. At a snail's pace, but that is better than no pace at all.

Here is one question for my paper--which is already 8 pages long:

"Discuss how you would describe community or communities. How would you describe the community context of the region you work? What resources are there? What resources are untapped? What resources feel out of reach? What ideas do you have regarding bridging communities and your classroom?"

WHAT!?!?!?! I'm writing a stinkin' paper on integrating drama into my curriculum!!!!!

What resources feel out of reach? My BRAIN, for one.


At it's finest.

Would someone PLEASE send paper writing vibes my way?????

Only three more classes...only three more classes...only three more classes...only three more classes...

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Best Shots Monday all toddler glory.
Stop by Picture This to check out the rest of My Best Shot Monday ( There are some really talented folks over there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

One quick story

Here is one sort-of-funny M story.

M has decided she doesn't like me very much. Well, more accurately, she's decided to be a bit aggressive towards me. She likes to hit me. Not because she's mad. Not because I'm the meanest mama in the whole world (although she might think she when she's 4). She likes to hit me...hmm....just because. The first few times, I corrected her. A firm No! A squeeze to the hitting hand. A few other tactics. She just laughed and laughed. I realized she thought it was funny to get a response. So, today when she hit me, I just stared at her. Just stared and stared. Oh, golly. The tears and drama that followed my stare.

One time she hit me while I was changing her diaper on the changing table. I ignored her (remember the tears and drama? we were in a hurry and didn't have time for all that). So she pulled her hand back to swat me again. I gave her the stare, so she quickly put her hand down and the Nile River flowed forth. When I stood her up to pull up her pants up, she grabbed me and pulled me in for a HUGE, WET, TEAR-Y SMOOCHAROO and a GIANT SNUGGLE.

The next time she got the stare, same response. Nile River floweth, followed by a giant snuggle and a huge smoocharoo. Hopefully she won't hit tomorrow.

If you have any parenting suggestions, feel free to offer.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Today is better...

Yesterday was not a good day. Let me tell you why:

1.) M and I left the house at 8:15 am to run errands (just a side note: If I was a SAHM, I would grocery shop every Friday morning at 8:15--no one is there and they are finishing stocking the shelves for the weekend...AWESOME!).
2.) I forgot I was supposed to meet a friend at my house before she left town.
3.) M and I raced home after only getting one errand taken care of.
4.) Took care of my friend and left to finish errands.
5.) MY FRIEND GOT IN A WRECK. So, M and I spent the rest of the morning helping my friend. No more errands.
6.) M's naps were all messed up.
7.) Decide to finish errands.
9.) H can't come get us...he has patients. Who can pick us up? Someone who has an empty carseat...My friend E saves the day. H's brother runs to our house and opens it for us.

So, I was late to take dinner to Susie, Joe, Noah, Mimi and the new baby. I was late to help my friend cater last night.

1.) The department store called at 9:00 this morning--SOMEONE HAS TURNED MY KEYS IN!!!! YEAH!!!!
2.) I helped my friend cater another event tonight...not only did she pay me, but the hostess tipped me very, very, very nicely! YES!

One other good thing. Yesterday at the deparment store, I got TWO new purses, one t-shirt and one pair of really, really cute flip flops. Total cost: $40! SCORE ONE FOR ME! (I'm into capital letters today!).

I have all kinds of cute M stories, but I'll save them for another day. I'm a lucky mama to have such a sweet, funny girl.

Friday, April 20, 2007


No, I'm not lost. No, I'm not talking about the keys that are at this very moment mysteriously lost at a local department store. I'm talking about my brother (stop reading now if you don't want to attend my pity party). I'm using this forum to vent, so leave now if you don't want to feel the steam.

I'm very sad. I'm very sad that I feel like I've lost my youngest brother. I won't go into all the details about our relationship, but suffice to say that we were very close until a few months after M was born when he fell in love. I AM NOT SAD THAT HE FELL IN LOVE. Everyone deserves to love and to be loved. I'm so very blessed in my relationship with H--I want everyone to know and enjoy that kind of love.

I'm sad that with this love, my brother disconnected from our family. I'm sad that he feels the need to hide her from us. I'm even a little sad that she's the one he's in love with. She's not like "us." I wanted someone who fit in more. I wanted someone to complete my brother, not create this great divide. Whoa...I'm not blaming her...he's fully responsible for his own actions. And I bear some responsibility for my reactions to this relationship. I can be real here.

I've had a debate the past week. Is my role as my brother's sister more important than my role as my mother's daughter? On which side of this fence should I reside? Is my relationship with my brother and his relationship with our family more important than my mother's understanding and acceptance? (sorry Mom...keep reading) Truthfully, I was on the sister side until today. I was not ready to sacrifice my relationship with my brother. Now I've jumped the fence and I am FULLY on the daughter side. Mothers sometimes do know best.

There are three siblings: Natalie--I'm the oldest, T--he's graduating from seminary in May, and Z--the youngest and the one this post is about. During the early years of my marriage to H, I was sometimes excluded from the "family" things--sometimes the exclusion was intentional and sometimes it was most definitely unintentional, but it happened nonetheless. T and his wife are moving back to our hometown this summer for a while during a life transition. When my sister-in-law (L) is home, I know there will be times when my mom, L, and I do things together. I do not want to intentionally exclude Z's girlfriend. I know how that hurts.

But how in the world can I include her? So much deceit and secrecy shroud their relationship. She doesn't bring out the best in him. If she doesn't bring out the best in him, how in the world can he bring out the best in her?

There are many details that I can not include in this post for privacy sake and my own sanity. Perhaps if you knew those details you would have a clearer picture of my dilemma.

I love my brother, very, very much, and I want to love who he loves. But I don't trust this relationship. There is a web of secrecy and a tangle of lies that keep us, the family, away. How do we begin to mend this? How do I, as the sister, reach out to my brother and tell him how much I love and miss him? How do I tell him how much his niece needs him?

How do I get my brother back?

The Brace That I just finished paying off...

I spent a good long time picking out this brace. It was in the middle of last summer, I knew I couldn't hide it with pants, so I wanted something obvious and CUTE. Little did I know she would only wear it at night and only for 8 weeks. Sheesh...
Not to mention, this cutie little brace cost as much as most cars!! (That's only a little exaggeration!)


M's shoes...not much to say about them. She slept in them, played in them, etc., etc., etc. They were a pain to take on and off, so I mostly left them on. There were countless nights when she didn't get a bath and slept in her clothes so I didn't have to take those shoes off and put them on again.


The first picture is of the casting materials. The second picture is M's last few minutes in a cast--this was post surgery. We were so eager to see her little foot. M had very rarely worn a dress because she would rub her uncasted foot against her cast until it was raw. I was so glad I could finally dress her in, well, a dress! I didn't take pictures of the cast specifically, so I have lots of pictures of in the cast, but she's mostly wearing pants, so you couldn't see them very good.

Questions about M's surgery

M was born with a club foot. There are several interesting things about this:
1.) She only had one club foot. Usually babies are born with two club feet.
2.) Her foot was formed that way. It was not because she was squished in utero (so it was not a positional clubfoot, as the MD's called it).
3.) I was born with clubfeet.
4.) My middle brother was not born with clubfeet.
5.) My youngest brother was born with clubfeet.
6.) Everyone in the hospital said it was not genetic.
7.) M's newest orthopaedist said of course it is genetic.
8.) M's first orthopaedist (who we ADORED!) was very interested in her story because I was clubfooted (not sure if that's a word or not) and only one of my brothers was. Does this mean the gene is passed from mother to child? Could it be passed from father to child? Where did it originate in my family?

Here was the treatment:
1.) Casts (pictures to come). For the first 10 weeks of M's life, starting when she was three weeks old (pictured above), M and I went to the ortopaedist each Thursday for a new cast. Each time, he could straighten her foot a little more.

2.) When M was ten weeks old, she had a tendon release surgery done. Basically, the orthopaedist (did I mention that we adored him?) took a special knife and cut her achilles' tendon. Prior to the surgery, her foot was very straight, but she held her foot like a ballerina en pointe.

3.) Four weeks in the same cast to let the tendon heal properly.

4.) From 14 weeks-6 months in corrective shoes full time.

5.) New orthopaedist now in the picture--other one moved away. New orthopaedist does not use the Dr. Brown's bar shoes, so we went to only using those at night.

6.) New orthopaedist decides he wants M in a special brace, no more shoes at all. M and I get fitted for the new brace, which the people SWEAR is covered by insurance (her shoes were not).

7.) Eight weeks after getting the new brace (and finding out the insurance does not pay for very much of it), M's new doc says she's fine and no need to wear the brace at all. What!?!?!?! We could have stayed in the stupid shoes for another 8 weeks!!!!

She still pulls her foot in a little when she walks, but her doctor thinks she will outgrow that as she walks more and more and strengthens her leg muscles.

That's about it...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Madeline Kate

Welcome to this awesome world, little one. We are so glad you are here!

This is the little sister to M's boyfriend, Noah. So...that makes Madeline Kate M's future sister-in-law!

Oh, the feel of a newborn baby in your arms. She is perfect in every way and so, so sweet. She smelled delicious and was so beautiful. She arrived today at 12:32 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs, 9 oz and 19.5 inches long.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spring Break, Day 3

Hm...what did we do today?

Cleaned my bedroom (as in, on hands and knees cleaning baseboards, vacuuming behind the headboard, dusting the inches of dust off the dressers)
Played at the playground
Ate dinner
Went to bed

Now I'm off to sew some before I hit the sack tonight.

I'm on toddler duty for Susie--who just got called to the hospital. YEAH!! Hopefully Madeline will arrive before sunrise. M and I will spend some time with Noah tomorrow so his MiMi can be at the hospital with Susie and Joe and their new daughter. Exciting times for everyone!

Hey, if you have a minute, check out this site: There is an amazing woman named Heather who is in need of a little support right now. She's just been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The blogosphere is raising money, today only, to help her family out. If you don't read about her today, please, please pray for her. She's got three young children. Heather's faith is so absolute. You'll be inspired just reading about her.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time Flies

I need a moment to collect my thoughts...
Wow. 18 months. Gone in the blink of an eye. That's M's pediatrician holding her when she was 5 days old and again today, 5 days past her 18 month birthday.
How did it happen? How did that little bundle of joy turn into that bigger bundle of joy-delight-exasperation-did-I-mention-joy? I feel like I've barely taken a breath and now my precious, delicious infant is a big girl.
M's milestones:
1.) She's walking (after casts, surgery, more casts, corrective shoes, and an expensive brace that I didn't even pay off before she was done wearing it!!!)
2.) She's babbling. Some real words, some non-sense words. Some of her real words are: mama, dada, kit-kat (for the cats), book, ball, bye-bye, Noah, B-Bee (for OB, my dad), Nona (sometimes, if she's in the mood), more, please. She can sign more, please, eat, milk, Thank you, help, all done. The dr. asked if M was talking. I said yes, but not as much as I had hoped. He told me not to worry that she would start picking up about a word a day before much longer. When we got home, she got the plunger out of the laundry room. I told her to put it back because it was nasty, which she proceeded to mimic saying, "ass-ty, ass-ty." I quickly had to tell her it was DIRTY, not NASTY! Whew...need to watch what I say.
3.) She weighs 23 lbs, 11 oz. and is 34 inches tall.
4.) She's the joy of my life.
I know you're dying to know what we did on day 2 of our spring break:
We slept late.
We ate whatever we wanted for breakfast.
We went to the doctor and got ONE shot--M's last before she's 4.
We ran two errands.
We ate grilled cheeses, potato chips, and fruit for lunch.
We took LONG naps.
We went to the park to swing with Noah and his mom, who was NOT induced today and pretty bummed about it.
We went to M's cousin's baseball game.
We skipped bath time.
We had a great day. Tomorrow we are not leaving the house. We're going to play and sew and make cards and scrapbook. And we're going to take naps.
I hope you have a great day tomorrow. If you have the magic solution for keeping kids young and innocent, would you let me know, please? I'm not ready for her to grow up any more. I need a tissue now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

My Best Shot Monday

the first touch of play-dough

I almost forgot about MBSM!! I can't believe it! Oh, that's is the first official day of my SPRING BREAK! YAHOOO!!! A whole entire week with M and no one's schedule but our own. We spent the morning with my friend Susie and her little guy Noah and our other friend Lauren and her little guy Evan. Susie is being induced tomorrow, so their family is going to grow tomorrow! YEAH!! We helped keep her busy today. Then we took a nap and then we played and played and went for a walk. Ahhhh....a perfect day.

Don't forget to check out other entries for My Best Photo Monday at:

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Egg Hunt Pictures (Easter Afternoon)

The "diva" discovered that she is quite excellent at bossing her big cousins around. M only picked up about 2 of her own Easter eggs. She didn't want to dirty her hands, so she walked around and pointed and grunted at the eggs. Her royal subject (otherwise known as her 12 year old cousin) would gather the bounty and either place the egg in her basket if she held it out for him or give it to her and let her put it in her basket.

I have to run...the princess requires another goodnight kiss.

A few pictures...

Having blogging trouble...trying to upload Easter pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Testing, 1, 2, 3

Just testing...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

My Best Shot Monday

The love between an older boy and a little sweet.
Everyone, meet M's cousin. He is the middle of three brothers. He is one of the most precious people I have ever met in my life. He has been totally in love with M since the moment she arrived in our lives. That love has not dimmed in the past 18 months.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Easter Egg Hunt

It's so hard to believe that a whole year has passed since last Easter. Last year, M was only 6 months old. We carried her around her first Easter egg hunt. We took her Easter basket, but she wasn't too interested, of course. This year, M's "school" had an Easter egg hunt. Her teacher is so smart--each child is color coded at school. For example, M is purple. She drinks from a purple cup, eats off a purple tray, etc. So, she color coded the Easter egg hunt so each child would know what to look for! Silly mom that I am, I changed M into a purple dress to enhance the photo-ops, you know. Here M is picking up the first two purple Easter eggs she found. After this, she just wandered around. She did pick up a few green eggs, but didn't mind handing them over to the rightful owner. Truth be told, she really wasn't too interested in this egg hunt, either. Maybe next year will be the year of the egg hunt.
Happy Easter, everyone.
Natalie, H, and M

Friday, April 6, 2007


What can be sweeter than a sweet little girl playing with Easter eggs? I wanted the perfect posed picture, but got this instead. She refused to stand barefoot in the grass and reach for an egg. I could show the crying pictures, which all my friends know I love, but I'm sharing this precious little image. Does anyone know how to keep them this size forever? I'm not ready to let this go!

Check out Picture This ( for other "Sweet" images.


Thursday, April 5, 2007


I sure wish I knew how to change pictures so they would go the right way!!! This is my "play" submission for Snap Happy at Picture This ( Photo one: M playing. Photo two: Mommy made M stop playing and take a bath. Ignore the cheese grits all over her face. She wants to feed herself.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007


M has lots of friends, but I don't have any recent pictures of them together. It's been a while since us moms could stage a photo op with very active toddlers. When we get together, we're just so glad they can sort of entertain themselves so we can have a moment to talk to each other! So, here is a picture from January of M with our dog, Mocha. When we're home, they definitely entertain one another.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out the Snap Happy participants at:

See you tomorrow! The word for tomorrow is PLAY. And boy, oh, boy am I excited about that!


Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Imagine my surprise when I stopped by Picture This ( to check out everyone else's submission for My Best Shot Monday only to find out that Tracey is hosting a different topic each day this week!!! YAHOO!!! I love it! This is my entry for SPRING.

Those delicious pink blossoms are the center of a 10 day festival around these parts. The blossoms only last for a very short while, so I try to take as many pictures of them as I can. I love, love, love that time in our city.

I hope Spring has sprung where you are!!!