Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I'm sure you're tired of hearing this, BUT another pictureless post because pictures are STILL on my camera. I won't mentiont the part about not taking a single picture of Sampson yet. More on that in a minute.

4:45 PM: Cell phone rings while I'm still at school.
"Natalie, this is B. There is a rescue lab that needs a home. Would you guys be interested?"
Called H to check with him. Need more information.
4:50ish PM: Yes, we're interested. Get contact information.
5:00 PM: Contact "owner" and make arrangements to see puppy.
7:00-7:30 PM: Discuss questions and concerns on the way to see puppy. Make a family decision that if it doesn't feel right, we'll walk away, no tears.
7:33 PM: See "our" puppy for the first time. M was enthralled with sweet boy from the moment she saw him. He took to her pretty quickly, too. She really doesn't understand that we will be taking him home with us.
8:00 PM: Somehow or other (still a blur), H is able to shove sweet boy in the van. He did NOT want to get in. I sit in the backseat with him. He rides home snuggled on my feet.
8:00-8:45 PM: Ride home, discuss names. Sampson just feels right for him. Now we've got a name for our boy.
8:45-9:15 PM: We play with and welcome Sampson home. He's completely overwhelmed. M and I go to bed.
9:15 PM-1:30 AM: H spends lots of quality time with Sampson. Sampson seems most frightful of H, so H wants to make sure they bond with each other. Even after H puts Sampson in his kennel, he sleeps on the floor beside it so Sampson won't be too afraid.

Sampson has a great day!
He's beginning to adjust to our family.
He will go in his kennel with the encouragment of a treat or two.
He only had one accident in the house today.
He is completely in love with M and wants her attention.
His little personality is coming out.
He's a chewer, so we've had to take several things away from him (shoes, M's toys, etc.). Whenever he takes something of M's and we try to take it away from him, she says, "It's okay. That's not my FAVORITE toy."
He sleeps on my feet whenever I sit at the desk.
He's still so scared of so many things. We've got a job to love him lots until he's comfortable in our family.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A new beginning

**This is a pictureless post because we're STILL having some computer issues and I just can't risk putting 300 pictures on the computer and causing it to crash.**
Today marked a new beginning for M. She had lots of trouble sleeping last night because she was so excited. Anyone who would listen yesterday heard about her upcoming excitement.
M started 4K this morning. The long awaited 4K. She chattered, withouth pause, the entire way to school about indication of her slight anxiety. Before we left the house, I asked her if she was nervous. "Mama! I'm not nervous. I've been to school a meellion and a meellion (million) times. I'm not nervous at all!" 4K has loomed large in her mind for a while now. In the spring, H and I started hearing, "When I'm in 4K...." about so many things. That phrase lasted throughout the summer and increased in frequency the past few weeks. I'm not sure why 4K was such a huge monument for her, but it is and so it shall be for our family. We've encouraged her and built it up right along with her. H took her to Open House last week. She loved seeing her classroom and meeting her teacher. She even told me about one of her new friends. I asked her about some friends from her 3K class, only to discover that every other child she knows from preschool is in the other 4K class! That didn't seem to bother her one tiny bit. She marched in this morning as proud and confident as could be. I spoke with the teacher for a few minutes, watched her play, and left. As confident as she is with us and friend we have in our home, I'm always amazed at how reserved she seems to be in a new environment.
Not only is today her first day of preschool, she also starts ballet this afternoon! She's as excited about that as she is about going back to school. I can't wait to see how sweet she looks in her ballet leotard and shoes and how much fun she has in class.
{Pictures will come as soon as we get this computer issue resolved.}

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Almost 28 weeks...random thoughts

Dearest Precious Boy,

I can't believe you've been with us for almost 28 weeks! Every day that your arrival gets closer, we love you a little more and get a little more excited about growing our family. M has almost given up calling you "Handsome." Most of the time, she snuggles up to my tummy and says, "Hello, Lukie-dukie. I love you, precious boy." As my tummy grows, so does the reality of your upcoming arrival for her. You are going to rock her world in so many ways, but she's going to be so wonderful with you.

I had a doctor's appointment today to check on you. Your heartbeat was 130, which was the lowest it's ever been. You were quite still while I was there, so you might have been catching a little nap. You tend to be a super soccer player, so I'm always a bit surprised when I realize I haven't felt you in a little while. I can't wait to see if your real personality is so active! Even if it is, I hope you love to snuggle.

I lost three pounds since my last visit, but that's okay. School has started now and you've caused me to be pretty sick these past few weeks. Thankfully I've got medicine now, so I don't worry as much about getting all the nutrients you need. I think it's the combination of school and sick that caused the weight loss. You're still moving a lot, so you must be doing fine in there.

One sad thing about the appointment today. My glucose level was high. I should have been under 140 and I was at 173. Those 33 points seem like a lot to me, but our sweet nurse said she's seen it higher than that! I feel okay (except for yesterday...we sure didn't have a good day, did we?), so I'm not overly concerned. I will take another diabetes test next Wednesday. I feel very hopeful that all will be well then.

There are times, in the evening when I'm still and relaxing, that this all still feels like a dream. Like all the waiting and praying for you still seems so real and you are still a desire. Then you'll give me a good hard kick and I'll smile with joy that YOU are real, that you are an actual physical answer to our prayers, that in just a few short weeks, you will be in our arms. I want each moment to race by so you'll be here sooner, but I also want to enjoy each moment that you are growing in me.

We love you so much. Your daddy can't wait to share UGA football moments with you and M can't wait to teach you all the things she's stored up for you. In fact, just this morning, Daddy called me and told me not to worry about ever taking you to school. M plans on driving you there herself, so we'd better go ahead and buy her a car and all the things she'll need to get you to school. Daddy and I had a good laugh about that one.

Twelve weeks, baby boy. Stay put for 12 more weeks. Work hard on your breathing and swallowing. We can't wait to meet you, but we'll be patient until the Lord calls you into the world. His timing is indeed perfect and he knows the exact moment our family will be ready for you. It's almost hard to imagine that His love for you is even greater than ours, but it is true.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Day...

M is a flower girl in a wedding today! Can't wait to post pictures of her all dressed up in her finery with a fancy hairstyle! So much fun for her!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poor Girl

Last night, I got home around 8:45. M was in bed, but not asleep. We had a few minutes of sweet snuggles and she went back to bed. A few minutes later, I heard her calling for me in the bathroom. She needed a little help cleaning up after a messsy bathroom situation. I put her in the tub so her bottom wouldn't hurt her. She went to sleep without complaint.

Around 2:30 this morning, she was snuggling in bed with me. I was able to doze on and off, but she couldn't get back to sleep until around 5:00. I constantly worried that she was coming down with something, but she insisted she was okay.

I left for work at 7:15. By 8:15, H was texting me telling me that it had started. She was throwing up. Luckily, it was never much, but it happened several times. He had to work this morning, so he took her to his office, where she slept most of the morning. I left work a little early (about an hour) to come home so he could go back to the office.

My poor girl is all snuggled on the couch, sipping on Sprite. She dozes off and jerks awake, dozes off and jerks awake. I wish there was something I could do to help her. She insists she's feeling much better. I sure hope so!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This is an update to this post.

Remember this for next year, oh doubtful teacher:

1.) Today was the 6th day of school. Your students are already following directions and gaining confidence from the structure of the classroom.

2.) Almost every single student can open their own milk carton. They know how to walk through the lunch line. They can use the bathroom during appropriate times and do not interrupt all day long to go.

3.) They can read the following 5 words: and, the, is, I, a.

4.) They are beginning to request some of the things you've introduced to them (We Are the Dinosaurs and The Days of the Week song). The parents are telling you that the kids are using "school words" at home.

There are good moments each day! The kids are really coming together as a group and you are forming sweet relationships with them. Moms are confiding their struggles at home. As hard as the first days are, the effort is worth it in such a short time. This is going to be a fantastic year.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


What a busy weekend! H picked me up from work Friday afternoon and we headed to the big city to meet up with my ENTIRE family (except one brother) to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday.

Ninety years!


I can't begin to tell you how special this grandmother is to me. My life is filled with memories of time she spent with me and the fun things we did. For several years she lived in the town where I grew up and my brothers and I spent tremendous amounts of time with her. We have certainly been blessed that our children are able to know her. It's true that the great grands don't know her as we did, but they will have someone to connect to our memories.

When we arrived Friday evening, we joined everyone at a restaurant for dinner. There were 18 of us and we took over the entire restaurant. It was SO much fun!!!

There was one slight snag in the weekend. When we got back to the hotel, I noticed that I had some bloody discharge. As I've been so fearful this pregnancy, that certainly did not sit well with me. I confessed to H, we both had moments of panic, but Luke was very active and we decided to wait it out. I didn't sleep much: enjoyed cuddling with M and holding my belly most of the night. We decided not to mention anything to anyone else and just see how the day progressed. Luckily, the bleeding gradually subsided during the day and all is well now. Luke has been active and busy, just like the rest of the family!

Saturday we hired a photographer to take lots of family pictures. It was incredible not being the one trying to capture the perfect picture! I can't wait to see the sweet pictures. We made sure to take pictures of the great grands with my grandmother and every conceivable family structure while we had the attention of a professional!

Saturday evening even more family joined us and we had a great dinner together.

I just can't begin to tell how much fun it was to be together to celebrate someone so wonderful and to create so many memories. I'll post pictures as soon as we can figure out this whole external hard drive issue and not crash the laptop. I can't wait for you to "meet" my grandmother!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A funny student story

For the sake of my own exhausted brain and hopefully your amusement, I'm going to share a hilarious story with you. As usual, I'll make it too long and it will probably bore you to death instead of make you giggle. Oh, well.

First, let me emphasis this by saying, "NOT ALL OF MY STUDENTS ARE THIS DEPRIVED. Many, MOST, of my students are from homes just like yours and mine. Normal, loving homes with a couple of kids, maybe a dog or a cat, active grandparents, etc."

Imagine Daniel...the 4th child in a family of 5. One sister, four boys. One mother, four fathers (not in the home...four fathers, five children...get the picture?). Many last names.

Daniel: You got a baby in there? (pointing to my stomach)

Me: Yes.

Daniel: It a boy or a girl? (all up in my personal space)

Me: It's a boy.

Daniel: What his name is?

Me: Luke.

Daniel: No, what his name is? It Jones? (that's the last name of one of his brothers)

Me: No, honey. His name will be Luke Benson. I'm Mrs. Benson. My baby will be Luke Benson.

Daniel: Oh. (looks completely perplexed) You got a kid at home?

Me: Yes.

Daniel: What it be?

Me: What you do mean, what is it? Do I have a little girl or a little boy?

Daniel: got a boy or a girl at home?

Me: Daniel, I've got a daughter at home. She's almost 5 just like you are already 5.

Daniel: What her name is?

Me: Meryt.

Daniel: No, no. What her name is?

Me: Honey, her name is Meryt. Meryt is the name of my little girl.

Daniel: What her OTHER name is?

Me: Daniel, you really need to ask me correctly like this, "What is her name?" Her name is Meryt Benson. I'm Mrs. Benson. Our baby boy is Luke Benson and my daughter is Meryt Benson.

Daniel: (completely perplexed by this) You got a man at home, too?

Me: Yes. He's my husband. That's when a man and a lady are married to each other. The man is the husband and the lady is the wife. My husband's name is Mr. ______.

Daniel: What his OTHER name?

Me: Well, you'll call him Mr. H, like all the other children, but his name is H---- Benson.

Daniel: You ALL got the name Benson?!

Me: (losing all control I've had during this entire conversation and flat out laughing at this point) Yes, precious. We've ALL got the name Benson. Mrs. Benson. Luke Benson. Meryt Benson. Mr. H Benson. We're all Benson.

Daniel: (walking away) How about that...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A few things to remember

This is a note for myself. Feel free to skip it or read and offer any suggestions you might have.

A note to Natalie from Natalie.

Lessons learned:
1.) Get the students ready for lunch LONG before you think you need to. The past two days have been hectic at lunch time and it could have been avoided if you'd been prepared.

2.) Build in more bathroom breaks and remind the students to go when you're not at carpet time. They have to go to the bathroom a lot more than you realize at the beginning of the year. They will learn that there are times during the day when they can go, but be patient at the beginning.

3.) When you have 15 boys and 9 girls, read more gross stories. Boys do not like mushy stories and princess songs. Invest in lots of gross animal stories, such as "I Know an Old Teacher." They could not care less about "The Kissing Hand."

4.) On the topic is having 15 boys, plan for lots of activities to let their energy out. There are so many benefits of having so many boys: not as much whining, almost no tattling. On the other hand, having so many boys is a challenge!

5.) You've never considered yourself a girly kind of teacher, but in the past two days, it's become obvious that you leaned more toward teaching the girls. You haven't disadvantaged the boys in the last 10 are just more aware of your own faults now. Take it and learn from it.

6.) Slow down some. Spend even more time teaching and training the routines and procedures in the classroom. Yesterday, that's what you did and the kids benefited from it. Today, you rushed things a little and the result was their restlessness.

7.) There is nothing...NOTHING...more important that your rest at the beginning of the year. Today you saw what happens when you are tired and can't be 100% engaged with the children. Next month, that will be fine. Your students will be trained. Today, that was not okay. Even though you gave 90% all day, your kids fed off your exhaustion. Fake it (more) if you don't have it.

8.) Do not give the students one moment to gain control in the classroom. It's exhausting to micromanage every moment of the day the first few weeks, but it's even more exhausting to have to reclaim control when you've allowed it to slip away. Don't allow the children to talk so loud that they can't hear you when you need their attention. Stay on them until they are trained.

9.) Even though you may get bored saying the same thing repeatedly, they need to practice, practice, practice your expectations. Don't talk when they don't do it right. STOP. Do it again. And again. And again. Until they do it perfectly.

10.) Teach the children how to tuck their shirts in immediately. Dress code issues can be so time consuming. It'll take a while to work on the shoe tying, but shirts can be done immediately.

11.) Keep a little journal of the things you do differently this year in case you ever have another year with so many boys or just discover ideas about how to reach the boys more effectively. This is a great year for you to learn and grow as a teacher. Make it fun for everyone!

12.) You really do not dislike the first few weeks of school. The reward is not immediate, but it does come and it is sweet.

Yes, they are all this young and immature when they come to kindergarten. Yes, they will mature and grow up. Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can make it another few hours. Yes, it's okay to feel GOOD when they leave.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quick Prayer Request

I've got a quick prayer request.

My students show up tomorrow. My pregnancy is going great...except this whole vomitting thing. I can't seem to predict when it will happen or why. It's not triggered by a certain type of food. Unless you consider eating.

I sure would appreciate any prayers for this to go away. I can handle (sort of) throwing up at home (or even at church), but I HATE to throw up at school. Particularly because I don't have lots of warning and might not be near a bathroom or have to use the student bathroom where everyone would be a witness (well, not actually SEE the act, but I'm not exactly quiet). I'd really, REALLY rather not throw up in a trashcan in front of the students. That would be bad. They are in KINDERGARTEN.

Thanks. I appreciate it.